BOOK TWO: PAPAL RELATIONS WITH CHRISTENDOM
The Papacy and Italy
'THE bark of Peter is in danger of sinking and the fisherman's net of breaking; instead of calm and peace, storm-clouds are piling up; disastrous wars are laying waste the lands of the Roman Church and the neighbouring regions; the sower of tares is loosing his sharpest darts against them.' 1 In these uncomplimentary words the cardinals, assembled at Perugia, summarised the true situation of Italy at the beginning of the fourteenth century. While the dissension that had so long raged between Guelphs and Ghibellines had lost none of its bitterness, the Guelph faction in Tuscany had split into two: the Whites and the Blacks. Benedict XI, striving to put right the mistakes of Boniface VIII, had tried in vain to reconcile them.
Perhaps the wisest plan would have been to deal with matters on the spot, as the cardinals advised Clement V on 9 June 1305. The Pope, however, considered--and this view was shared by his successors--that before venturing beyond the Alps, it would be better to pacify the Italians and to establish the Church's authority firmly in its own territory.
Obstacles of every kind impeded the realisation of this vast programme: it was too sharply opposed to the Italian ambitions of the king of the Romans, the house of Anjou and the Hungarian princes to be fully successful. It thwarted still further the selfish plans of the republics of Venice and Florence, of the Visconti and other powerful local families, and the intrigues of carefree adventurers whose ambition was to carve out lordships themselves, to the detriment of the communes and the Papacy. The Holy See, after exhausting every means of conciliation without achieving any success whatever, had to accept the necessity of waging war upon its rivals great and small. Had it not done so, its future grasp of temporal power, on which, in the Middle Ages, spiritual power depended, would have been heavily compromised. For nearly seventy years there was to be a succession of military operations and diplomatic negotiations which were eventually to result in the restoration of the Papacy to Rome, its natural seat.
1 D. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, VOL. XXV, Venice 1782, col. 127.
Clement V's Intervention in Tuscany
The policy of the Holy See in Italy had up till this time favoured the Guelphs; Clement V seems to have wanted to change these tactics. Did he have a definite plan of campaign? Did he really cherish the far-fetched idea that he could bring peace to Tuscany? Or was he rather under the influence of cardinals with Ghibelline tendencies, such as Niccolb Albertini and Napoleone Orsini? Did he fear that in his absence Robert of Anjou might take advantage of the title of Captain-General given him by the Guelphs, to encroach upon the territorial rights of the Roman Church? It is very difficult to give an authoritative answer to the many problems raised by his complicated policy.
Clement V was by nature a vacillating diplomat; his object seems to have been to keep manœuvring flexibly among the various factions that were dividing Italy and each in turn seizing power or losing it according to the play of popular feeling or internal quarrels. In this way he hoped to prevent any of them from being crushed and to avoid the destruction of the balance of power among them. His actions were dictated by the turn of events, and were invariably characterised by opportunism and realism. On one essential point, however, Clement V was immovable: his chief preoccupation was always to preserve intact the temporal power of the Church.
While the cardinals were still in conclave at Perugia, they had begged the newly-elected Pope to re-establish peace in Italy. Clement V lost no time in intervening, but he did so on the side of the Ghibellines and the White Guelphs, who were besieged within the walls of Pistoia, and at the precise moment when the Black Guelphs were preparing for a final assault. The town, which was entirely surrounded by entrenchments, was at the end of its resources when there arrived in Florence, in September 1305, two nuncios, Guillaume Durant, the bishop of Mende, and Pelfort de Rabastens, abbot of Lombez, who unexpectedly arranged a truce and summoned the belligerents to appear before them by proxy to conclude peace. The citizens of Lucca and Florence refused to submit to the sentence imposed upon them by the representatives of the Holy See at a time when decisive victory seemed at hand. Acting on the authority of the Bull of 11 November 1305, Guillaume Durant and Pelfort de Rabastens pronounced at Siena the excommunication of all those who did not abandon the siege of Pistoia, and threatened those who disobeyed their orders with a fine of 10,000 silver marks and deprivation of the fiefs and privileges granted them by the Papacy. Robert of Anjou, who had sent troops to Florence, at once bowed to necessity. It was not a favourable moment for resistance, since his father, Charles II, was making ready to render homage to Clement V on the occasion of his elevation to the pontificate. The citizens of Lucca and Florence, who did not have to keep in the good graces of the papal court, lodged an appeal and intensified the siege: any man who attempted to leave the precincts of the town, which was now stricken by famine, had a foot cut off and any woman her nose. Thus mutilated, and forced to make their way back, they struck terror into the hearts of their fellow-citizens. The return of the Black Guelphs to Bologna on 1 March finally decided the besieged townsfolk to capitulate, which they did on 10 April 1306. 1
This rebuff suffered by his nuncios at Pistoia did not prevent Clement V from pursuing his peace-making overtures. Cardinal Napoleone Orsini went to Florence to demand the return of the exiles: he was not received in audience. 2 At Bologna, where he negotiated the return of the White Guelphs, insults were hurled at him and he was robbed by brigands. 3 Together with the citizens of Arezzo, he tried to lead an armed expedition against the Florentines, but in vain. 4
The Guelphs, flushed with success, were prepared to carry on perpetual warfare with the Ghibellines and Whites, who were a constant source of anxiety to them. They conspired against Pisa, since she supported their enemies, and thought to weaken her power by helping James II, king of Aragon, to conquer Corsica and Sardinia, whose investiture had been granted to him by the Pope on 29 October 1305. They promised him a gift of 50,000 florins ( January 1309). But this offer came too late; Cardinal Niccolò Albertini had offered the lordship of Pisa to the king, and was doing his utmost to persuade Clement to give his consent, pointing out to the Pope that, as the result of a gift made in the past by Charlemagne, the sovereignty of Tuscany had devolved upon him as Pope. The Pope hesitated; he was sceptical of the good faith of the Pisans and, despite the affirmations of three
1 R. Caggese, Roberto d'Angiò e i suoi tempi, VOL. 1, Florence 1922, pp. 35, 41.
2 Villani, Istorie fiorentine, Bk VIII, ch. lxxxv.
3 A. Veronesi, ' " La legazione del cardinale Napoleone Orsini in Bologna nel 1306 ",' Atti e memorie di storia patria per le provincie di Romagna, VOL. XXVIII, 1910, p. 79.
4 Villani, op. cir. Bk VIII, ch. lxxxix. The only weapon at his command--an entirely futile one--was to issue a flood of excommunications and interdicts.
cardinals, was uncertain of his right to invest James II with the suzerainty of Pisa. To overcome the Pope's objections, the Aragonese ambassador advised the payment of tribute to the Pope and the loading of the College of Cardinals with gifts. The Holy Father appeared to be yielding, but had no intention of being concerned with the actual handing over of the city to the king of Aragon. James II, for his part, acted with caution: he treated Sardinia and Pisa as separate questions, considering that if the latter did not turn out well, he still had the resource of seizing the island he so ardently desired with the assistance of the Guelphs, with whom he was still laboriously negotiating. 1 Clement V had, in fact, seen the truth of the situation; the Pisans' only motive for beginning negotiations with James II was to insure against the loss of Sardinia. The plans of the Emperor to descend upon Italy interrupted the negotiations and prevented any Guelph expedition from being sent against the Pisans and renewed their courage.
The War with Ferrara, 1308-13
Although Clement V's intervention in Italian affairs was marked by a caution that history must occasionally find baffling, he revealed unexpected energy when the Venetians attempted to snatch Ferrara from him. The Popes had been suzerains of Ferrara since it had been given by the Countess Matilda to Gregory VII in 1077 and confirmed to Pascal II in 1102. The inhabitants, though directly subject to the Roman Church, enjoyed great liberty, and elected their own governors during the thirteenth century. The Papacy allowed them to deal with their own affairs and had cordial relations with the marquises of the house of Este, Obizzo and Azzo, who governed Ferrara in 1264-93 and 1293-1308 respectively, and who favoured the Guelph party. But danger threatened from Venice, who wished to have for her own exclusive profit the right to convoy goods to northern Italy along the course of the Po. On 31 January 1308 Azzo d'Este died and war broke out over the question of the succession, which he had bequeathed to his natural son, Fresco. The young man's uncles, Aldevrandino and Francesco, felt themselves slighted. They attempted to seize power, and sought the
1 P. Silva, ' "Giacomo II d'Aragona e la Toscana (1307-1309)",' Archivio Storico Italiano, VOL. LXXI, 1913, pp. 23-57.
alliance of the Paduans to this end, while Fresco received help from Bologna and later from Venice, which feared interference from Padua. He was thus able to recapture Arquà, a stronghold that he had previously lost. Owing to one of those shifts of policy that so frequently occurred in the peninsula, once Fresco had achieved this success the Paduans joined the victor.
Humiliated by these reverses, Francesco d'Este engaged in intrigues at the court of Clement V and made his nephew out to be a usurper. The Pope, without waiting to judge between the rights of the rival claimants, hastened to intervene; he was determined to take advantage of these events to regain the direct power over Ferrara which his predecessors had let slip. With this end in view, he sent to Italy two nuncios, Arnaud de St Astier, abbot of Tulle in the diocese of Limoges, and Onofrio de Trevi, dean of the church of Meaux, charged with re-establishing the authority of the Holy See in Ferrara. 1 The moment seemed a favourable one, for the people of Ferrara had soon become hostile to Fresco; moreover, it was important that energetic action should be taken, since Venice, in an effort to exploit the situation, was defiantly insisting on the prompt fulfilment of earlier commercial agreements which had been continually contravened, and was making ready for a punitive expedition. Fresco's submission to the will of the Venetian republic caused an outbreak of rebellion in Ferrara; but the dissidents were overcome with the help of the inhabitants of Bologna.
Arnaud de St Astier and Onofrio de Trevi left the Curia in May or June of 1308, and first visited Bologna so that they could find out the state of public opinion. While they were staying in this Guelph city, they called upon Fresco to hand over his power to them, and upon Venice not to impede their actions. Reckoning, however, that these requests might well meet with a refusal, they arranged alliances so that, if the occasion arose, they might take Ferrara by force. Bologna, Ravenna, Cervia, Mantua and Cremona replied to their advances, fearing that Venice might make a base at Ferrara and so obtain supremacy over the whole of the river Po. Only Padua remained outside.
From this point, Fresco's situation became critical. Hated by the majority of Ferrarese and abandoned by Bologna, he was terrified to see considerable military forces rallying under the banner of the Church, while his uncle Francesco joined the nuncios. Venice, on the other hand, quite underrated the effect of the coalition, and saw herself already victorious. Forbidding Fresco to obey the nuncios'
1 Regestum Clementis V, no. 3570, Bulls dated 27 April 1308. ultimatum, she sent him troops and offered him a pension for life if he would hand over Ferrara.
On 23 September 1308, Fresco received warning notice to resign his lordship within five days, on pain of incurring spiritual and temporal penalties. Upon this the Ferrarese determined to rebel, and during the night of 2-3 October 1308, Fresco was forced to flee to Castello Tedaldo while the Venetians retired into the upper town. The attempted attack by the allies came to nothing, and they had to resort to negotiations; but these too proved useless, and on 4 October both Fresco and the Venetians were declared excommunicated. During the night of the 5th, however, the Ferrarese opened the city gates to the papal army and the Venetians had to retreat into the citadel.
The coalition were unable to follow up this success: the Venetians, having cut off communications by the river, were able to starve out their enemies, already disheartened by the Venetians' many sorties and the fires they started in Ferrara. The ranks of the besiegers grew alarmingly thin, and the nuncios had to accede to the demands of Bernardino da Polenta, who insisted that he should be made podestà. To make matters worse, Fresco, having abandoned all hope of ultimate success, handed over all his rights to Venice.
Arnaud de St Astier made one last approach to the Venetians, requesting them to order their troops to retreat. He was answered with nothing but abuse, and wherever he went was greeted with cries of 'Death to the legate,' while a hail of stones rained upon him and his attendants. Accordingly the nuncio proclaimed sentence of excommunication upon the Venetians on 25 October 1308. Far from subsiding, the struggle between the papal troops and those of the republic became more bitter. From their strongholds in the township of San Marco and Castello Tedaldo, the Venetian garrisons inflicted such heavy losses on the Ferrarese that the nuncios were obliged to yield. The peace-treaty, concluded on 1 December, contained clauses which established in the main the division of authority between Venice and the Holy See; but in reality the power of the latter was only nominal; from the point of view of trade, Venice was predominant in the districts watered by the Po and its tributaries, in other words in the whole of northern Italy. 1
The validity of the articles of the agreement, however, depended on their receiving papal ratification, and Clement V was not at all disposed to approve them. On 4 December, unaware that his nuncios
1 See the well-documented work by G. Soranzo, La guerra fra Venezia e la S. Sede per il dominio di Ferrara (1308-1313), Città di Castello 1905.
had signed the capitulation, he had published a Bull, threatening the Venetians with severe penalties if they did not give him back Ferrara. 1 Arnaud de St Astier and Onofrio de Trevi, affected by this document, found themselves in an embarrassing situation: they emerged from it with some skill by spreading abroad the contents of the Bull without reporting it to the Venetians; so it came about that the Ferrarese did not observe the agreements to which the Venetians attached supreme importance.
On 27 March 1309, Clement V, who had at last been informed of the capitulation agreed to by his nuncios, threatened Venice with his interdict and major excommunication if she did not hand back her conquests within thirty days. 2 Moreover, he appointed as legate Cardinal Arnaud de Pellegrue 3 who arrived at Asti 4 with two thousand men. The Papal envoy carried out his mission with despatch, pronouncing against the Venetians the penalties with which they were threatened, and forbidding anyone to trade with their merchants: a disastrous measure for them. This done, he preached a crusade against the rebels. On 28 June 1309 Clement V, for his part 5 ordered that all Venetians living abroad should be arrested and their property confiscated.
Meantime the Crusaders' anomalous army, consisting of men from Ferrara, Bologna, Romagna, Padua, Vicenza, Florence, Lucca and Siena, came together and conceived a cunning plan of attack: while one band of soldiers pressed hard upon the Venetians, shut up in their fortress at Castello Tedaldo, in the township of San Marco and in a tower on the further bank of the Po, others became bridge-builders for the occasion and completely blocked the river with boats, so that no supplies could reach the besieged. An army sent to help them suffered a reverse at Francolino and could not succeed in breaking up the blockade of boats. In Ferrara itself, the besieged Venetians tried to break out through the enemy lines on the night of 27-28 August; but after a bloody defeat costing them between two and three thousand dead, they abandoned first the fortress at Castello Tedaldo and then on 24 September that at Marcamo, which had been specially built to prevent free traffic on the Po. 6
Venice, though conquered, did not ask for pardon but remained
1 Regestum Clementis V, no. 5000.
2 J. Lünig, Codex Italiae Diplomaticus, VOL. IV, pt 2, pp. 1589-1600.
3 His letters of appointment are postdated to the 22 May; see Regestrum Clementis V, nos. 5024-54.
4 Chronicon Astense, in Muratori, Rerum italicarum scriptores, VOL. XI, col. 184.
5 Regestum Clementis V, nos. 5081-2.
6 H. Finke, Acta Aragonensia, VOL. II, Berlin 1908, p. 657 (account of the battle by the leader of the Papal army).
obstinately rebellious. This was to cost her dear: the consequences of the excommunication and the interdict pronounced against her caused irreparable harm. Venetians living abroad were incarcerated; Istria and Zara made themselves independent; earlier alliances were broken off and treaties that had been painfully negotiated were trampled underfoot; Venetian trade, formerly so flourishing, fell into a decline. The proud city bowed beneath so many misfortunes and resigned herself to negotiate an agreement with the Curia in September 1309, through the mediation of Philip the Fair of France. 1 She had a forlorn hope of safe-guarding part of the rights she had acquired over Ferrara through the surrender of Fresco d'Este. But Clement V was not to be moved; he declared to the delegates of the doge that their powers as representatives were insufficient, and insisted on unconditional surrender. In March 1310, the Venetian government agreed to submit to the Pope's wishes, and to give Francesco Dandolo the necessary authority to sign the peace. Thorny discussions were begun with the three cardinals, and not concluded until 1313; on 17 February 2 Clement V gave solemn notice of the important act by which Venice renounced all the rights she held from Fresco d'Este and from the agreements accepted by Arnaud de St Astier and Onofrio de Trevi in 1308. The losers had to pay the cost of the war, amounting to fifty thousand gold florins, to compensate all the crusaders injured by them, and to give up, in part, the commercial advantages they had gained from the different agreements made with Ferrara before 1308. They had now lost all hope of imposing their supremacy on northern Italy.
The republican government was wise enough to realise how great a mistake it had made, and henceforth scrupulously observed the conditions laid down by Clement V.
The Roman Church had done a great service to those who lived on the banks of the Po, and had freed the Ferrarese from Venetian domination: now it had to govern with equity a population that was turbulent, unstable and always prone to sedition. The rivalry and ambition of the noble families were also to be feared, as were the discontent of the Ghibellines and the underhand manœuvres of Francesco d'Este, who was cherishing the hope of succeeding his nephew. The exercise of direct power, accepted on 27 January 13 10, 3 with due ceremony depended for its success on the employment of competent, honest and judicious subordinates. Unfortunately the viscount de Bruniquel, who was appointed vicar-general on 19 May1310
1 Baluze, Vitae, VOL. III, p. 103.
2 Regestum Clementis V, nos. 9007-11
3 Ibid. no. 6316.
1310, made himself hated, and his officers committed malpractices deplored and condemned by the Pope. 1 In July a revolt broke out in Ferrara and was harshly repressed: Cardinal de Pellegrue condemned to be hanged thirty-six well-known citizens found guilty of provoking the rising. 2 The murder of Francesco d' Este by the papal troops on 24 August 1312 heightened the popular excitement. The Church's cause seemed compromised to such an extent that Clement V chose to hand over the vicariate to King Robert of Naples.
It is an open question whether the government by Neapolitan officials was worse than that by the representatives of the Holy See, and whether it was characterised by 'barbarous cruelty, excesses, monstrous acts of horror, detestable infamy and obscenity'. The marquises of the Este family and other witnesses cite the following in support of their violent allegations: virgins violated and married women raped, widows reduced to prostitution, the bishop's palace transformed into a resort of depraved courtesans, and the cathedral itself turned into a den of thieves and a house of ill-repute. It is alleged that the people groaned beneath the crushing weight of new or greatly increased taxes, of the salt tax and the customs duties, and that money gifts were extorted from them by threats of imprisonment. Corrupt judges sold justice to the highest bidder, wronged the innocent and refused to listen to the complaints of the common people. Monasteries, churches and charitable institutions, it is said, were plundered, devastated and overwhelmed by unjust demands for money exacted even with violence. 'The poor, orphans and widows, more sorely tried by these afflictions, shed tears that ran down their breasts, beneath the gaze of the most merciful Creator.' 3
The bombastic style of the indictment brought against the administration of the Neapolitan officials casts some doubt on the truth of its allegations. Should it not rather be considered as a lawyer's pleading, intended to mislead the Holy See as to the true nature of the troubles which occurred at Ferrara on 4 August 1317? On that day about the hour of nones, a sudden tumult arose and cries rang out, 'Death to the robbers! Death to the traitors!' An onslaught was made upon the feeble garrison, composed of Catalans, who fled headlong before the large numbers of their assailants and took refuge in Castello Tedaldo. The crowd forced them out and massacred them; the corpse of the castellan, Rostang, was hacked into small pieces. The fortress itself was partly burned and partly demolished. The sequel to this affair
1 Ibid. nos. 6299, 6313, 6314, 6317, 8749.
2 Villani, Istorie fiorentine, Bk IX, ch. iv.
3 S. Riezler, Vatikanische Akten, Innsbruck 1891, pp. 39 and 55, nos. 51 and 72.
followed swiftly: on 14 August the people led the d' Este with honour to their palace, crying 'Long live the Marchesi! Long live the House of Este!' So this great family returned to power--a power that it was long to retain--as the result of a coup d'état engineered with the help of the Ghibellines who longed to see King Robert driven beyond the confines of northern Italy. 1
The War in Lombardy
2 This was the name given to northern Italy in the fourteenth century. and the Legation of Bertrand du Poujet, 1316-34
The Roman expedition of the Emperor Henry VII had resulted in rekindling the hatred between Guelphs and Ghibellines so that the strife between them became more furious than ever. Upon his untimely death, the inhabitants of Pisa sought to be reconciled, and made peace with their enemies on 27 February 1314. 3 This truce, however, proved short-lived: the death of Clement V on 20 April 1314 and the prolonged vacancy of the Holy See renewed the courage of the Pisans. Uguccione della Faggiuola, their acknowledged leader, was an active and ambitious man, seeking glory and revenge. He established his authority by seizing Lucca on 14 June 1314, and then reorganised the Ghibelline league on stronger lines. His success was crowned by his glorious victory over the Guelphs at Montecatini on 29 August 1315. This secured predominance in Italy for his party and destroyed completely the praiseworthy enterprise begun by Henry VII, of establishing in various places vicars who would eventually put an end to the government by the lesser nobility. Matteo Visconti ruled over Milan, Piacenza, Tortona, Alessandria, Pavia and Bergamo; Can Grande della Scala over Verona and Vicenza; Passarino Bonaccolsi over Mantua and Modena; and the d'Este family over Ferrara. The province of Piedmont was ruled by Count Amadeus VI of Savoy, Theodore, marquis of Monferrat, Philip of Achaia and Manfred of Saluzzo; Lucca by Castruccio Castracani, after the downfall of Uguccione della Faggiuola; and Urbino by Federico da Montefeltro.
The ambition of all these nobles was to create for themselves small regional states. Had they relied on their own strength they would
1 Riezler, op. cit. p. 39 (report made to John XXII by Bernard Gui and Bertrand de la Tour on 20 August 1317).
3 R. Caggese, Roberto d'Angiò e i suoi tempi, VOL. I, Florence 1922, p. 201.
not, perhaps, have constituted too serious a threat to neighbouring cities and to the king of Naples, the nominal leader of the Guelphs; but when, on the other hand, they formed a bloc with Matteo Visconti, who, as Villani tells us, considered himself no less than a king, 1 they were in danger of disturbing the balance of power in Italy which the Roman Church had always sought to preserve intact. Moreover, Bologna and the Romagna were too attractive as booty not to prove tempting to the powerful and crafty master of Milan. Pope John XXII put an end to the cautious and opportunist attitude adopted by Clement V, and undertook to rally the Guelph party, which had always received support from the Church. To achieve this end, he made a personal attack on Matteo Visconti and his chief satellites.
Before adopting this extreme measure, however, the Pope took over the Emperor's rôle and in his turn made a vague gesture of conciliation: he sent to Italy two men of value, the chronicler and Inquisitor Bernard Gui, and Bertrand de la Tour, the minister of the Franciscan province of Aquitaine. 2 They had a twofold mission: to proclaim the six months' truce promulgated on 12 March 1317 3 See also C. Cipolla, Lettere di Giovanni XXII riguardanti Verona e gli Scaliseri, Verona 1908, no. 16. between the king of Naples on the one hand, and on the other, Amadeus, count of Savoy and his allies Philip of Achaia, the marquis of Saluzzo and Matteo Visconti; and to restore peace between Guelphs and Ghibellines. This last enterprise was doomed to failure from the start, as the recent expedition of Henry VII had only too clearly shown. Moreover, it seems unlikely that the Pope was deluded by any false hopes, since as early as March 1317, he announced to King Robert that he intended to appoint a legate in Tuscany and Lombardy. His only reason for delay in naming a cardinal for this post was that he was uncertain whom to choose. 4 No doubt he wished to justify the armed intervention which he had already decided was inevitable. This valiant part remained to be played, if his efforts at peace-making proved unsuccessful.
The people of Piedmont, who had been severely tried by the rigours of war, were glad to welcome the nuncios, who had crossed the snow-clad Alps about Easter 1317. It was easy to persuade the enemies of the king of Naples to negotiate a lasting peace with him at Avignon. 5 It was evident from the start, however, that the task to be
1 Villani, Istorie florentine, Bk IX, ch. cvii.
2 For a short account of their careers, see Histoire littéraire de la France, VOL. XXXV, pp. 139-232, VOL. XXXVI, pp. 190-203.
3 Mollat, VOL. I, no. 5133.
4 Cipolla, op. cit.
5 See the nuncios' letters dated 18 April and published by S. Riezler, Vatikanische Akten, Innsbruck 1891, no. 50, pp. 22-3.
undertaken in Lombardy would prove arduous. Vercelli and Novara had recently been conquered by Matteo Visconti; here the nuncios declared that the people did not dare to tell them of their grievances, because spies kept a close watch on the citizens and the conqueror held them 'in his claws.' Full of apprehension, they wrote, on 18 April 1317, 'We are more afraid of the wiles of the fox than of the pride of the lion.' 1 Their forebodings were soon justified. When he was requested to allow the exiles from Milan to return home, to restore their property to families that had been despoiled and to set free political prisoners, Matteo Visconti replied in enigmatic terms: 'I will take counsel with upright men of experience and give you my answer.'
Accordingly a solemn assembly of the Ghibellines of northern Italy took place at Milan and decided upon a concerted plan of action. Visconti's reply was haughty: in the words of his spokesman, the cities that obeyed him enjoyed peace thanks to his efforts, and had no need of papal intervention; none were held prisoner save criminals who deserved to die but who were allowed to live by his mercy; the della Torre family were guilty of treason, and richly deserved a capital sentence under a decree of Henry VII. The delegates from the Ghibelline cities sang the praises of Matteo Visconti and of their common policy, and loudly abused the Guelphs. Some voices were raised to suggest that in Milan 'Fifty nobles would rather devour their own children than allow the della Torre to be freed.' One went so far as to say, 'If they had been beheaded, they would no longer be spoken of. 2
Bernard Gui and Bertrand de la Tour reached Verona on 14 June 1317, and there met Can Grande della Scala, whom, in accordance with their instructions, they begged to break off hostilities with the people of Brescia and to give up his attempt to capture their city. But the tyrant--for it is thus that the Bulls were to refer to these potentates of northern Italy--had made common cause with the exiles and had agreed to be their overlord; therefore, not wishing to give up this authority, he forbade his protégés to sign the peace with their fellow-citizens who had immediately seen what such an action would entail. When he was urged to give up his warlike plans, he flew into a rage, and brutally declared: 'I shall do everything I think fit, and I will impose my will upon them; no man will dare to do anything against it.' Can Grande categorically refused to set free the captured citizens of Padua and Vicenza, and to renounce the title of vicar-general, bestowed on him for life by Henry VII. He cared
1 Riezler, op. cit. pp. 23-4.
2 Ibid. pp. 24-7 (nuncios' letters dated 23 May 1317).
nothing for the threat of excommunication; the papal sentences would not affect him, for eminent lawyers had assured him that they were worthless.
Passarino Bonaccolsi followed Can Grande's example and agreed to none of the pleas put forward by the nuncios: he continued to consider the exiled Mantuans as undesirables, to encourage the internal dissensions existing at Parma and Cremona, and to style himself vicar-general in the name of the Empire. 1
Bernard Gui and Bertrand de la Tour were failing lamentably to carry out their mission. Then a very unwelcome piece of news reached them: revolution had broken out in Ferrara and the Este family had assumed power. The two nuncios, full of bitterness, painted the Italian situation in the darkest colours. The tyrants, they declared, greedy for new conquests, are the cause of the troubles that are ravaging the country; they oppress the devoted sons of the Church--meaning the Guelphs--and extort from the people the money they need to maintain large numbers of cruel and barbarous mercenaries who cause terror wherever they go. There is no justice, no equity. 'It is pitiful to see churches outside the cities made into desert places by war, lonely and despoiled of their riches.' Ever since the coming of Henry VII, good and praiseworthy though he was, the state of Italy has grown and still grows worse from day to day, because of the ferocity and lust for spoil of those who came in his train. It is generally agreed that peace will never come to Lombardy until 'an indigenous and hereditary' kingdom is set up, whose leaders will be capable of inspiring 'fear and love' and of destroying the unbearable yoke of the tyrants and spreading concord and justice around them. 2
As a result of the setback that his nuncios had experienced, Pope John XXII decided to take the offensive against the Ghibellines, who were in his eyes guilty of disobedience. To this he was driven by his domineering and authoritarian temperament, and exceptional circumstances furthered his plans; for after the death of Henry VII the double election 3 of Frederick of Austria and Louis, of Bavaria, on 19 and 20 October 1314, allowed him to act with complete freedom.
As soon as he was crowned, John XXII invited the two rivals to settle their quarrel by peaceful means ( 5 September 1316); 4 for several years, he preserved an apparently neutral attitude towards them, though his sympathies were rather with Frederick of Austria.
1 Ibid. pp. 29-34 (nuncios' letters dated 15 July 1317).
2 Ibid. pp. 36-9 (nuncios' letters dated 18 July and 20 August 1317).
3 See below, Bk II, ch. 11.
4 J. Schwalm, Constitutiones et Acta Publica Imperatorum et Regum, VOL. V, no. 373. The Pope made the same recommendation in 1320, ibid. no. 579.
James II of Aragon, Frederick's father-in-law, who had warmly embraced his cause, 1 deserved to be treated with consideration because he was working untiringly to bring to a peaceful end the discord between his brother, Frederick II, king of Trinacria, and Robert of Anjou. On the other hand, the Pope had reason to fear the advances made by Louis of Bavaria to the Ghibellines, on whom, in the person of Cardinal Pietro Colonna 2 and four members of his family, he heaped favours.
Truth to tell, John XXII had no wish to see an end to the vacancy in the Empire, prolonged by the double election of 1314, and he prepared to reap the maximum advantage from it. Into the Corpus juris canonici 3 he inserted an act destined to have considerable consequences, in which he declared that, in the absence of a secular authority, the jurisdiction, administration and ordering of the Empire devolved upon him, since God had conferred on him, in the person of the blessed St Peter, the fight to command both in heaven and on earth. He expressed astonishment that those who had received vicariates or offices from Henry VII should have continued in them without having either sought or obtained the permission of the Holy See. Others, he said, had recently taken up such offices, or, having formerly resigned them, had boldly taken them back. The perpetrators of such intolerable abuses would be deemed worthy of excommunication if they did not resign; and the same punishment would fall on those who obeyed them or lent them aid, counsel and assistance. All oaths of loyalty made to representatives of the imperial authority, together with pacts or agreements contracted with them, were to be considered invalid.
Though it did not mention him by name, the Decretal Sifratrum was directed against Louis of Bavaria who had, on 4 January 1315, nominated John of Hainault, the brother of Count William of Holland, as vicar-general in Italy. 4 John XXII pretended to be unaware of this nomination, and, on 16 July 1317 5 confirmed Robert of Naples in the vicariate-general conferred on him by Clement V. After this the Pope claimed the right actually to govern the Empire
1 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, nos. 223, 226, 256, 311, 376. The Aragonese ambassador, Juan Lopez, advised his sovereign that all the cardinals favoured Frederick. Ibid. no. 260, p. 222.
2 Louis of Bavaria calls him his 'very dear friend' in the privileges granted to him in 1315. See Schwalm, op. cit. nos. 289, 290, 333.
3 Constitution Si fratrum, in Corpus Juris Canonici, Extrav. John XXII, tit. V. See also Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 401: Licet de jure sit liquidum et ab olim fuerit inconcusse servatum quod, vacante Imperio, cum in illo ad secularem judicem nequeat haberi recursus, ad Summum pontificem, cui in persona beati Petri terreni simul et celestis Imperii jura Deus ipse commisit, Imperii predicti jurisdictio, regimen et dispositio devolvatur.
4 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, nos. 195-6.
5 Ibid. no. 443.
during the interregnum and to exercise judiciary powers by special right. It may be that John XXII, influenced by the attitude of those around him--for the most part theologians, ardent supporters of the doctrine of the universal supremacy of the Roman pontiff--did not realise that the state of mind of his contemporaries had suffered great changes; it is possible, too, that he deliberately reacted against the new tendencies. 1 Though the Italians of the fourteenth century venerated the spiritual head of the Church this did not prevent them from disputing his right to make use of ecclesiastical penalties to uphold a political cause, such as that of the Guelphs, whom they accused him of flavouring. Furthermore they would not acknowledge his claim to govern the Empire during the vacancy or to exercise judiciary powers; 2 in short, they were already making a clear distinction between temporal and spiritual authority. The author of the Annales Mediolanenses 3 expresses himself clearly on this point: 'Is Pope John XXII waging a just war against the city of Milan? It seems not, for he should not intervene in wars, but only in spiritual matters. . . . Moreover, no man acts with equity when he seizes another's property; since, then, the Pope has no rights over this city, he is acting unjustly in attacking it.' This is why the events in Lombardy and the surrounding regions have such great importance; they foreshadow the birth of what has been called the spirit of the modern world long before the days of Machiavelli.
John XXII's first sanctions were directed against Matteo Visconti, Can Grande della Scala and Passarino Bonaccolsi, who had contravened the Constitution Sifratrum. On 16 December 1317, Inverard, abbot of the Benedictine monastery of St Euphemia at Brescia and administrator of the diocese, opened canonical proceedings against them. The Ghibelline leaders were in no way intimidated by the threats of excommunication and interdict made against those who did not cease hostilities against the Brescians within twenty days and, within thirty, restore the fortresses won from them; 4. they continued, too, to style themselves imperial vicars, except for Visconti, who took the title of duke of Milan, in the hope of disarming the Pope: a hope which proved vain, for John XXII treated him as a usurper for not having asked his consent. On 6 April 1318 the three tyrants were cited to appear within two months. 5 Matteo Visconti had been excommunicated since the previous December, and the interdict
1 N. Valois, in Histoire littéraire de la France, VOL. XXXIV, pp. 480-1. 2 It should be noted that at Verona the secular and regular clergy except for the cathedral canons contravened the interdict pronounced against the town. See Cipolla, op. cit. no. 100, p. 117.
3 Muratori, VOL. XVI, col. 697.
4 Cipolla, op. cit. no. 28
5 Ibid. no. 30.
affected Milan, Vercelli and Novara, for the della Torre family had not been set free. 1 Here, indeed, the Pope was asking the impossible, for to liberate the members of this family would inevitably have led to revolution in Milan and hastened the downfall of its new master.
Visconti, far from being dismayed by the anathemata of the Church, flouted them. Had he not reached the summit of power, since he kept the mastery of Milan for himself, while of his four sons, Galeazzo was master of Cremona and Piacenza, Marco of Tortona and Alessandria, Luchino of Pavia, and Stefano of Lodi, Como and Bergamo? Moreover, did not Voghera, Vercelli and Novara all obey him? When the families of Doria and Spinola were driven from Genoa by the Fieschi and the Grimaldi and called on him for help, Matteo Visconti put his son Marco in command of numerous German and Lombard bands who joined the mercenaries of the Ghibelline league in besieging Genoa by land and sea. 2
The beleaguered city asked for help from John XXII, and the Pope several times appealed to Matteo Visconti to raise the blockade but he replied that Genoa was on imperial territory and not subject to the Church. Then the Genoese called on Robert of Anjou to come to their aid, and he left Naples with a large fleet and an imposing army. The Genoese welcomed him with gratitude and on 27 July 1318 made him lord of the city for twelve years.
The king of Naples was not acting entirely out of disinterested devotion to the Guelph cause. He foresaw that if he were victorious he might be able to involve the Genoese in a campaign directed against Sicily. Moreover, he was glad to fight against the Spinola and the Doria, who were his personal enemies and had often joined Frederick II, king of Trinacria, in plotting against him. 3
Robert of Anjou was aiming still higher. About September 1318, he revealed his distress to his kinsman, King Philip the Tall, of France. His forces were insufficient to combat the Ghibellines who were besieging Genoa. He could not rely on the help of his barons, for he dared not withdraw them from Apulia, which was constantly threatened with sudden attack by Sicily. 'Protected by the victorious standards of the lilies of France, to the sound of the trumpet and the clash of arms'--what a fine opportunity this would be to avenge the innocent blood of the king's brother Pierre and his nephew Charles, shed on the battlefield of Montecatini! 4
The Pope's co-operation was no less to be desired: Robert went to
1 A. Ratti, "'Intorno all' anno della scomunica di Matteo Visconti,"' Rendiconti del R. Istituto lombardo di scienze e lettere, ser. 2, VOL. XXXVI, 1903, pp. 1050-67.
2 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. lxxxviii.
3 Ibid. chs. xci, xcii, cvii.
4 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 505.
Avignon 1 and obtained it without difficulty. John XXII called upon Matteo Visconti to end the siege of Genoa. The tyrant did not deign to reply. Ten months of fighting by the Neapolitan forces that had entered the city were needed before the enemy could be driven back.
Meanwhile Can Grande della Scala was not giving up any of his plans of conquest. The Brescians, molested by his troops, feared that all was lost and saw their only chance of salvation in offering King Robert the lordship, which he willingly accepted on 28 January 1319. This more than compensated him for the loss of Ferrara, and enabled him to cut communications between Verona and Milan. Matteo Visconti immediately parried this blow by forming a league with Philip of Achaia. 2
Can Grande della Scala also had designs on Treviso, and in the hope of seizing that city, formed a coalition with the count of Goritz, Guecello da Camino, and with Uguccione della Faggiuola, the lord of Lucca and Pisa. Faggiuola went so far as to take over the command of the attacking forces. John XXII was requested to intervene, and ordered the bishops of Bologna and Arras and Aimeric de Châtelus to draw up charges against the coalition ( 22 November 1318). The threat of ecclesiastical penalties did not deter the besieging forces from tightening their grip on the city. In their distress, the inhabitants sent ambassadors to Duke Frederick of Austria. But the remedy was worse than the disease for the king of the Romans forced the count of Goritz upon them as his representative! In the circumstances, a compromise with Can Grande was inevitably reached, and on 4 October 1319 the two antagonists signed a pact of friendship, making over Treviso to the count and Padua to Can Grande.
In face of the ever-increasing effrontery of the Ghibellines, Pope John XXII realised that he must appoint a legate in Italy, and chose a compatriot, Bertrand du Poujet, who had been raised to the purple in 1316.
This man, who was to play a rôle of the first importance, was the subject of much controversy in the fourteenth century. 4 While the Pope praised his activity, vigilance and discretion, and others emphasised his wisdom, generosity, sense of justice, literary gifts, learning and administrative ability, some Italians complained at length of
1 His presence, as well as that of the king of France on 27 April and 9 May 1320, is attested by the account-books of the Apostolic Camera. See K. H. Schäfer, Die Ausgaben der apostolischen Kammer unter Johann XXII, Paderborn 1911, pp. 59-60.
2 Cipolla, op. cit. p. 16.
3 Ibid. nos. 36-40, pp. 45-16.
4 See the evidence collected by Baluze, Vitae paparurn Avenionensium, ed. Mollat, VOL. II, p. 221. For biographical studies, see E. Autour de Jean XXII Albe, VOL. I, Rome 1902, pp. 168-82, and L. Il cardinale legato Bertrando del Poggetto Ciaccio in Bologna, Bologna 1906.
his authoritarian personality and unbridled ambition, of the harshness of his character and of his disdainful and haughty manners. Petrarch went so far as to make him out a fierce condottiere, a sort of Hannibal marching at the head of his legions to conquer Italian territory; then, in his usual way, he changed his mind. In 1352 Petrarch wrote, 'His life seemed very long to himself and was so according to the natural law; but, if I am not mistaken, it was all too short for the public weal.' 1 Giovanni Villani 2 has had his share in spreading the legend of the cardinal's relationship with the Supreme Pontiff, and until this very day historians have repeated his false reports without attempting to verify them. This outburst of Italian feeling against Bertrand du Poujet can no doubt be accounted for by the many years he spent as legate among the Italians, and the resentment of those whose policy he so firmly thwarted.
The cardinal was chosen as legate on 23 July 1319, 3 but did not immediately leave the papal court: the troubled situation in northern Italy caused anxiety lest he might find himself in a serious predicament. The Bulls of this time 4 do not indicate exactly what this predicament was. It seems highly probable that owing to the intrigues of Matteo Visconti the days of the envoy's life were likely to be numbered so unsafe were the roads. He was not granted full spiritual and temporal authority until 2 June 1320, and did not leave until 10 July.
Bertrand du Poujet had an exceptionally difficult task before him At the outset he issued a kind of ultimatum to Matteo Visconti, calling on him to renounce the lordship of Milan and give it to Robert of Naples, to recall political exiles to the city and to set free the della Torre. Matteo's only reply was to cast into prison the chaplain entrusted with conveying John XXII's wishes. 6 As a result the legate excommunicated him.
The Pope, however, was not taken by surprise. He had foreseen that the lord of Milan would only yield to force. Since the troops at the legate's disposal--about eight hundred men 7 --were not in his
1 Opera, Basle 1580, Epistle VII (no title); Lettere famigliari, ed. Fracasetti, Florence 1892, No. XI, 6.
2 ' Per li più si diceva piuvicamente ch' egli era suo figliuolo, e in molte cose il somigliava. ' (Op. cit. Bk XI, ch. vi.) E. Albe (op. cit.) has unequivocally revealed the truth and proved, moreover, that the cardinal was not the Pope's nephew, but only related to the family of La Pérarède, who had contracted matrimonial alliances with members of the Duèse family. Bertrand was born at Castelnau-Montratier (Lot), the son of Bertrand, lord of Poujet.
3 Mollat, VOL. II, nos. 10203, 10204. See also Rinaldi, ad annum 1320, §10.
4 Coulon, VOL. I, no. 1040, col. 897.
5 Mollat, VOL. III, nos. 12112-50. See also Coulon, VOL. I, nos. 1041, 1044.
6 Mollat, no. 12296. Annales Mediolanenses, in Muratori, VOL. XVI, ch. xcii, col. 698.
7 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. cvii.
opinion sufficient, he followed the example of Robert of Anjou, and asked for help from France.
This twofold request for help was highly embarrassing to Philip the Tall, especially as he received at the same time a similar request from the Ghibellines. If he lent his support to the latter, he would alienate the Papacy which had helped him to the throne and shown feelings of real friendship towards him. If, on the other hand, he made an alliance with the Guelphs, he would be supporting the interests of their leader, the king of Naples, which were not always identical with his own. All Philip the Tall did was authorise his cousin, Philip of Valois, count of Maine, to go to Italy. He compromised himself, however, with regard to the Empire by allowing his cousin to assume the title of Vicar-General, a title which had been conferred on Robert of Anjou by the Church, and subdelegated to the French king with the approval and confirmation of John XXII.
In the month of April 1320, Castruccio Castracani, the tyrant of Lucca, and the people of Pisa, got wind of what was being planned at the court of Avignon. Their anxiety grew when they learned that a thousand horsemen, from Bologna, Florence and Siena, were concentrated at Reggio Emilia. Urged on by Matteo Visconti, who feared the worst, Castruccio Castracani created a diversion in order to prevent the invasion of Lombardy: he broke off his peaceful relations with Florence without the slightest provocation and made a surprise attack on Florentine territory.
The French army, 3 fifteen hundred horsemen strong, reached Coni on 6 June and then pressed on to Asti. Without waiting for the promised reinforcements from the Florentines and their allies, they left that city on 2 August, intending to liberate Vercelli, which was being besieged by the Ghibellines. At Mortara they met with the Visconti army, which was coming to help the besieging forces. Rightly interpreting the secret wishes of Philip the Tall, who still hoped to have the Ghibellines on his side and to carve out a kingdom in the north of Italy, Philip of Valois parleyed with the enemy. Galeazzo Visconti, a master of persuasive tactics, soon won him over. The Visconti family, he pointed out, had always had friendly relations with the court of France. He would gladly take advantage of the good offices of Philip the Tall to settle the dispute with the Papacy. As a final argument, he referred to the numerical superiority of his forces.
1 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 577 ( 19 May 1320).
2 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. civ.
3 Ibid. chs. civ, cvii, cviii. See also P. Lehugeur Histoire de Philippe V le Long, Paris 1897, pp. 211-16; J. Viard, Philippe deValois avant son avènement au trone, B.E.C., VOL. XCI, 1930, pp. 307-25.
According to Villani, presents and gifts accompanied this cunning speech. Béraud de Mercœur, suborned by Milanese gold, urged Philip of Valois to retreat. Philip heeded his advice and his troops moved off towards the Alps, while the Guelph reinforcements, reduced to relying on their own strength, dared not risk an encounter with the Milanese and dispersed; thus the French expedition came to a lamentable end. The count of Maine is said to have given the king the excuse that neither the Pope nor Robert of Anjou had sent him money in time to pay his troops and those on whose help he had counted. If he did make these unjust statements, John XXII and Robert repaid him generously for the money he had spent. 1 The responsibility for the setback rested entirely upon him: it had been very unwise--unless it was a tactical manœuvre--to go prematurely into action.
The defection of the French army deprived Bertrand du Poujet of all his means of defence, and at the same time made the Visconti even more bold. With the help of Castruccio Castracani, they reinforced the siege of Genoa. 2 In August 1320, forty-two ships arrived from Sicily and, together with the twenty-two galleys of the Genoese exiles, made the blockade complete.
At this news, the small Franco-Papal flotilla, which was in a Mediterranean port preparing for the crusade, changed its objective and under the command of the Admiral Ramon of Cardona sailed to attack the enemy squadron. When they approached, the Sicilians pretended to flee, and put in at the rich island of Ischia, which they laid waste. When the Neapolitan sails were sighted on the horizon, they made as if to retreat towards the south, and then, going about, they returned to renew the blockade of Genoa ( 3 September 1320). Ramon of Cardona pursued them, but the Franco-Papal squadron fell into the hands of Admiral Corrado Doria. Despite this disaster, furious battles took place on 26 and 29 September. Discouraged by the resistance they encountered and the losses they had suffered, the Sicilians were disheartened and put out to sea again. 3
On land, the Visconti were successful in their military operations. They seized Vercelli in April 1321, and Cremona on 5 January 1322.
In this critical situation, John XXII recalled that Louis of Bavaria's rival had given undoubted evidence of friendship. Indeed, at one time, in June 1316, there was talk of a matrimonial alliance
1 Schäfer, op. cit. pp. 59, 60, 172, 816.
2 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. cix.
3 Ibid. chs. cx, cxi, cxiii. See also Ch. de la Roncière, ' Une Escadre franco-papale ( 1318- 1320),' Mélanges, XIII, pp. 397-418.
4 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, chs. cxxvi, cxxvii.
between his sister Catherine, and Charles, duke of Calabria, who had once been proposed as husband of Beatrice of Luxembourg. 1 By 1320, a political alliance with Robert of Anjou seemed likely: the seneschal of Provence, on 15 June, had been given authority to contract 'pacts, conventions, promises and obligations' with the representatives of Frederick of Austria, and to provide all necessary guarantees, after approval by the Holy See. 2 John XXII cajoled the prince, writing, 'We hold thee dear in our heart.' He set himself to force Frederick of Austria to fall in with his wishes, and suggested that he should dissociate himself from 'the great excesses and unconsidered acts' committed in Avignon by an emissary of Frederick II of Trinacria, who had dared to defy Robert of Anjou. If the Pope disapproved of Frederick of Austria's friendly relations with Can Grande della Scala, he expressed himself tactfully and without anger; he was obviously handling him carefully. 3
John XXII was able to show himself in a favourable light by dangling before Frederick of Austria the glittering hope of having his election confirmed, and of obtaining the archbishopric of Mainz for his brother, 4 provided that he came to the aid of Bertrand du Poujet. Matteo Visconti was soon able to tell the king of Trinacria, with whom he had made an alliance, that Duke Leopold would come to the aid of the Guelphs; this news caused violent reaction in the Ghibelline party, especially in Sicily. 5 In July 1321, James II of Aragon calmed his brother by informing him that this Guelph combination had failed. 6
In 1322, John XXII took heart again, and was able with great joy on 21 February to advise the inhabitants of Brescia of the approaching arrival of the Austrians. 7 On 4 April, two thousand soldiers entered the town. Together with the papal army that was concentrated at Valenza and the reinforcements from Bologna, Florence and Siena, they constituted a serious threat to Milan. Matteo Visconti, knowing that the people were groaning under the consequences of the excommunication pronounced against him, took fright. While twelve notables parleyed with Bertrand du Poujet, other ambassadors were working hard to present their case skilfully to the leader of the Austrian expedition, pointing out the dangerous consequences that might result from a successful campaign against Milan: namely, the destruction of the Ghibelline party; as for the Holy See, they said,
1 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 364.
2 Ibid. no. 584.
3 Ibid. no. 582.
4 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. cxlii.
5 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 625 (letters dated 1 May 1321, addressed to James II of Aragon, from Frederick II).
6 Ibid. no. 626 ( James II reply, dated 30 July 1321).
7 Ibid. no. 647.
once it was firmly established in northern Italy, the Emperor would find his way barred. 1
John XXII suspected that Matteo Visconti, 'that pestilent and perfidious enemy of God and the Church' 2 was immobilising the Austrian troops at Brescia; moreover, he warned Duke Henry against Matteo's cunning, and urged him 'to accomplish what had been laudably and manfully begun,' for otherwise 'the divine Majesty would be offended, and the wrath of the Church unleashed.' 3 But exhortations to action and veiled threats were of no avail against the gold so cleverly distributed by the Visconti. On 18 May, the Austrians retreated as far as Verona, where Can Grande della Scala loaded them with honours and gifts. 4 In August, ambassadors were sent to the legate, in order to justify Frederick's conduct, and to conclude a treaty with him. They had chosen a favourable moment, for Ramon of Cardona, the leader of the papal army, was in an unfortunate position in the faubourgs of Bassignana: he had failed to conquer the fortress, and was now himself hard-pressed and besieged. It was agreed that, as surety, the ambassadors should receive the faubourgs and the fortress from the hands of the occupants. But the negotiations came to nothing, and these two pledges had to be handed back to Marco Visconti. 5
This was yet another bitter blow for John XXII. Just as France had deceived him in 1320, so now in 1322 Austria was betraying him and dashing his hopes; he had in truth reaped nothing but disappointment in the field of foreign affairs. The Pope showed his bitterness by ordering Bertrand du Poujet to annul the oaths of loyalty made to Henry of Austria in Lombardy on his brother's account, together with the pacts and alliances made by him to the detriment of the Church.
In October 1322, however, more encouraging news reached Avignon: since the ninth of that month the important town of Piacenza had recognised the Church's authority. Its lord, Galeazzo Visconti, had abused the wife of a Ghibelline, Versuzzo de Lando, who took advantage of a chance absence of Galeazzo to bring in four hundred of Bertrand du Poujet's men, thanks to the complicity of a friend who treacherously opened one of the city gates. The legate set up his headquarters there on 27 November. 7
1 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, chs. cxlii-cxliii.
2 He refers to him thus in a letter addressed to the Brescians. See Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 655 ( 20 May 1322).
3 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 657 (letters of 24 May 1322).
4 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. cxliii.
5 Ibid., chs. clviii, clxii.
6 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 700 ( 30 November 1322).
7 Bertrand du Poujet remained there until 21 November 1325. See Chronicon Placentinum, in Muratori, VOL. XVI, col. 493.
These events caused a sensation in Lombardy; they came at a time when the canonical proceedings brought against Matteo Visconti in 1317 by the bishops of Asti and Como, and, in 1320, by Bertrand du Poujet, were entering a new phase. The legate, cooped up in Asti, a town subject to King Robert, had for long not dared to venture beyond its confines. With such patience as he could muster, he had to wait for the monies brought in by the unwieldy financial system that John XXII had set up throughout Christendom 1 in order to engage a suitable number of German and Catalan mercenaries, who demanded heavy payment. All the cardinal could do was to begin new proceedings against the Ghibelline nobles who had not obeyed the summonses addressed to them to appear in Avignon, and who had remained excommunicate for three years. The Holy See had determined to apply strictly the Decretal Quum contumacia and inquisitorial methods; 2 these laid down that whosoever continued excommunicate for more than one year gave clear evidence that he despised the Church's penalties, and that consequently there rested on him 'a strong presumption of heresy'; in such circumstances, the judge 'could condemn the contumacious offender to major excommunication, and forbid all dealings with him. In obedience to the Pope's commands, Bertrand du Poujet once more cited the guilty to appear, this time in order to answer the charge of 'the stain of heresy' of which they were 'suspect' and to present their defence, on 18 and 27 June and on 18 and 28 November 1320. 3
The case against Matteo Visconti was made worse by depositions heard at Avignon in February and September 1320. A priest from Milan, Bartolomeo Canholati, told how, about the middle of the previous October, the tyrant had summoned him to his palace and had shown him 'a statuette of silver, longer than a man's palm, with the face and form of a man, bearing these letters engraved on its forehead: Jacobus, papa Johannes, and on its breast a cabalistic sign representing Saturn, with the word Amaymon, the name of a devil of the West. The head of the image was pierced and had a silver cover.' Then the tyrant had said, 'The Pope is no more Pope than I am God; if he were, he would not act as he does; he would not plunge the whole universe into error. He is doing his utmost to deprive me of my heritage and to bring me to nought; I shall strive to do the like to him. . . . Behold, Bartolomeo, this image that I have had made to
1 Mollat and Samaran, La Fiscalité pontificale en France au XIVe, siècle, Paris 1905.
2 Corpus juris canonici, Bk V, tit. II, ch. vii, in VIo. See also Douais, Practica Inquisitionis hereticae pravitatis auctore Bernardo Guidonis, Paris 1886, pp. 109, 177.
3 Mollat, VOL. III, nos. 12180, 12185-9, 14193-6, 14211-12. See also Cipolla, op. cit. nos. 45, 47, 49, 52.
bring about the Pope's death; it must be submitted to fumigations. This thou canst do: do it then, with due solemnity; I will make thee rich and powerful.'
The priest begged to be excused, declaring that he knew nothing of incantations. In March 1320, since he was suspected of betraying Visconti's plans, he was cast into prison. But when a powerful intervention was made on his behalf, he was released and finally summoned to Piacenza. There Galeazzo Visconti questioned him on the reasons for the failure of the attempted bewitching of John XXII, and asked for his help in return for a substantial reward. As Bartolomeo was unwilling to reply, Galeazzo pressed him saying: 'Have no fear, but rather be sure that if thy soul were lost or damned' (for the clerk had given as excuse his fear of eternal damnation) 'thou couldst save it by doing what I ask. Consider now how the Pope sows death throughout all Lombardy, and how many murders he causes. He who would put him to death would win eternal salvation. The Pope has joined with the Guelphs; he causes them to return to their homes, but the Ghibellines he puts out. To kill him would be a work of piety. . . . Dost thou know,' he continued, 'that I have had Master Dante Alighieri come here from Florence for this affair. . . ? I would not for the world have him concerned in it; I would not reveal it to him for a thousand gold florins, for I wish thee to have charge of it; I have great faith in thee.' Bartolomeo Canholati pretended to agree, declaring that he must procure the necessary poisons at Milan, and had the image sent to him there. In this way he was able to put this evidence in the hands of the three examining judges appointed by the Holy See.
Others besides Bartolomeo Canholati gave evidence against Matteo Visconti. The archbishop of Milan and the Inquisitors collected many witnesses to speak against him and his son. Matteo was accused in particular of denying the resurrection of the body, divine providence and the existence of hell and paradise, of taking part in the Black Mass, and of bowing the knee at Soncino before the bones of Eccelino da Romano, an excommunicate and a rebel against the Church, and of having an elaborate service celebrated in his honour.
The complete dossier is still preserved in the Vatican; 2 but the Holy See acted only upon the charges of maltreatment of members of the clergy at Milan and elsewhere, that is to say the levying of excessive taxes, the seizure of their goods, their imprisonment and
1 Robert André-Michel, in Mélanges, Paris 1920, pp. 149-206.
2 Vatican Library, Latin MSS. 3936, 3937 ; see the extracts published by Robert André-Michel , op. cit. pp. 184-205.
torture; the incarceration of the vicar-general of the Archbishop Gaston della Torre, who had refused to agree to the levying of taxes, and of the master-general of the Humiliati, who had forbidden his subordinates to make any payment and had been replaced by an outsider. The Bulls specify other misdeeds, such as the arrest of papal messengers and the seizure of the correspondence they were carrying. 1
It is impossible to know whether the papal court believed the truth of the Milanese priest's revelations, for no official pronouncement was made on the subject. Whatever theory we may form, it is certain that people in the Middle Ages believed in the efficacy of magical procedures and sorcery. We have but to recall the notorious trials of the reign of Philip the Fair. It may well be that Matteo Visconti, like his contemporaries, deluded himself with the hope that he could be rid of one of his greatest enemies by unlawful means.
The tyrant's failure to appear at Avignon unleashed against him the full force of the papal anathema. Since he was suspected of heresy, excommunication was pronounced against whosoever gave him 'counsel, aid and assistance,' and Milan was laid under an interdict ( 23 January 1322). Moreover, on 28 January, indulgences were promised to those who took up arms against this enemy of the Church. 2 These extremely serious measures taken by John XXII were complicated by political consequences. Bertrand du Poujet had in fact invited the Guelphs and the doge of Venice to lay hands on all who abetted the Visconti, and to sequester their goods and chattels. 3
Matteo could not count on the friendship of all the inhabitants of Milan; a party of malcontents headed by Francesco di Garbagnate compelled him to negotiate with the legate. A curious state of affairs had arisen: this Ghibelline's opposition to the peace proposals put forward at the beginning of 1322 through the intermediary of the Bishop of Parma had been so violent that it hampered his acceptance of Bertrand du Poujet's comparatively lenient conditions. The sudden change of attitude in April could only be explained either by the fear of the penalties imposed on the partisans of the Visconti, or by a revival of enmity. What happened was that twelve leading men of the party met the cardinal and obtained peace on condition that Matteo renounced his lordship. On their return to Milan, they fell foul of Galeazzo, who refused to ratify the agreement they had reached, and
1 Riezler, op. cit. no. 216 a and d, pp. 114, 116.
2 Mollat, VOL. IV, nos. 16197, 16213; VOL. V, no. 20362. See also Riezler, op. cit. no. 356; Rinaldi, ad annum 1327, §7-11.
3 Ciaccio, Il cardinale legato Bertrando del Poggetto in Bologna, Bologna 1906, document no. 1, p. 152.
so they roused the rabble with cries of 'Peace! Peace! Long live the Church!' Intimidated, Matteo resigned his authority in his son's favour on 23 May and died at Crescenzago on 24 June. In November a further riot broke out and on the 8th Galeazzo was forced to flee to Lodi. The twelve rectors, who had fomented it, begged the legate to join them. Bertrand du Poujet had the good sense not to heed them, and withdrew to Piacenza where he learned that Galeazzo had returned to Milan on 29 December. 1
The appointment of rectors at Reggio and Parma caused the legate to begin more active military operations. The success of the preaching of the crusade gave him good reason for optimism. He had received troops both from Florence and from the della Torre, while Henry, count of Flanders, formerly a marshal in Henry VII's army, had offered his services and assumed command of the non-Italian soldiers. The king of Naples had sent the Pope a renowned warrior, the Catalan Ramon of Cardona, who was given the rank of captain over all the troops. Gold was flowing in to pay the mercenaries. 2
The campaign began about the end of February 1323. Tactics and strategy played but a modest part: we must not imagine slaughter and the clash of armies. Throughout the fourteenth century the war in Italy followed, with few exceptions, a uniform pattern, and consisted of the investment of enemy towns. The assailants' method was to lay waste the outskirts in order to starve the population and to prevent the arrival of help. They also had recourse to trickery, bribery and treason; the cities, beset by a spirit of faction, often remained only for a short time in the conqueror's hands, and changed masters frequently as a result of some unexpected revolution.
Hostilities began in February 1323. Tortona, Monza and Alessandria surrendered on 19 February, 27 February and 2, April respectively. In Genoa, the Neapolitans and Guelphs succeeded in driving the Ghibellines from the faubourgs. A victory on 19 April at Gargazzuola over Marco Visconti allowed the legate to press on with the siege of Milan (11 June). The troops of Ramon of Cardona were so numerous that the city was expected to fall without delay. 3
While northern Italy was ravaged by war, on the far side of the Alps a victory over Frederick of Austria on 28 September at Mühldorf had secured the imperial throne for Louis of Bavaria. Only a few days before this memorable event, on 23 September, John XXII had been calming Frederick's fears, assuring him that the intrigues
1 Annales Mediolanenses, in Muratori, VOL. XVI, col. 699; cf. VOL. XII, col.727-9.
2 See the accounts of payment published by K. H. Schäfer, Deutsche Ritter und Edelknechte in Italien während des 14. Jahrhunderts, Paderborn 1909, VOL. II, pp. 1-20.
3 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. ccx.
of kings, princes and other persons that he so feared--a special envoy had been sent to reveal these fears to the court at Avignon--would not harm him; the imperial election would be carried out according to the rules of the strictest equity. When he was asked to give his support to the victor of Mühldorf, the Pope, usually an extremely fluent speaker, was reserved and chary in his congratulations, begging Louis to show mercy to his conquered enemy, who had been taken prisoner, and offering his services to draw up peace between them. To the vital question of his support he replied in a laconic and enigmatic fashion: 'We shall proceed without delay to do what we think fitting.' 1 John XXII was in fact trying to evade the issue.
Many circumstances of various kinds lead us to suppose that the Pope, before coming to any decision, made conditions which Louis of Bavaria did not accept. At the Avignon court, Louis' designs on Italy and the repeated appeals made to him by the Ghibellines were alike well known. At the very moment when the victorious papal forces were preparing to crush the Visconti and their allies, the Holy See had every reason to fear the arrival in Lombardy of the man who was the obvious supporter of the party that opposed the Church.
Since no agreement was forthcoming on the subject of Italy, Louis of Bavaria did not wait for the Holy See to recognise him as the king of the Romans, but immediately began to act as such. On 25 January 1323, he informed the Visconti, who had asked him for help, that within ten days plenipotentiaries would leave Munich, who would be competent to put right the critical situation into which the Visconti had been driven by Bertrand du Poujet. 2 On 2 March of the same year, German intervention in Italy became effective following the appointment of Berthold von Neifen count of Märstetten, as vicar-general; he began his duties immediately, with the aid of Count Berthold von Graisbach and Friedrich von Truhendingen. 3. The scope of his authority included Lombardy, Tuscany and the Marches of Treviso, in other words exactly the region where Robert of Anjou, in the name of the Roman Church, had the same prerogatives. It was inevitable that a conflict must very shortly break out.
In the month of April, the three representatives of Louis of Bavaria had a meeting at Piacenza with the legate Bertrand du Poujet and demanded the lifting of the siege of Milan, which was still invested by papal and Guelph troops. This they asked because they alleged that Milan was 'a city of the Empire.' The cardinal expressed his astonishment at such a request. Who would dream of giving help to the Visconti, who had been convicted of heresy? Did
1 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, nos. 673, 711.
2 Ibid. no. 723.
3 Ibid. no. 729
Berthold von Neifen, Berthold von Graisbach and Friedrich von Truhendingen have specific instructions? When they were requested to divulge the content of these instructions, they made all manner of excuses, and withdrew. 1
On 5 May 1323 a more serious incident occurred. In the episcopal palace at Mantua, Can Grande della Scala and Passarino Bonaccolsi, who had hitherto wielded power at Verona and Mantua in the name of the Empire and contrary to the Decretal Si fratrum, were now preparing--following the recent successes of the papal troops-solemnly to declare, in the presence of a large assembly, their submission to the Roman Church. At this juncture, the three delegates of Louis of Bavaria arrived and presented their credentials, reminding the tyrants of their oaths of loyalty formerly made to Henry VII and consequently calling on them to come to the aid of the Milanese. 2 This dramatic intervention was enough to alter the peaceful intentions of Can Grande della Scala and Passarino Bonaccolsi, and the Ghibelline league was swiftly re-formed on 28 June 1323. 3 Four hundred men at arms, brought into Milan by the imperial vicar, gave renewed courage to the besieged, who rushed to the attack. The papal army, reduced in size by the defection of the German mercenaries who went over to the enemy, and further decimated by sickness brought on by the heat of summer, had to retreat towards Monza on 28 July. Thus Louis of Bavaria's intervention in Italy had speedily brought all the Pope's plans to nothing. But the aged John XXII did not lose heart; he set to work immediately to build up another armed force and pressed the Florentines to supply him with fresh troops. 4
On many occasions the Church had had recourse to what contemporaries called 'the papal arms,' as a last resort in exceptional circumstances. It was of these that John XXII thought in October 1323. He had plenty of grievances against Louis of Bavaria. In addition to his meddling in Italian affairs, the Pope held against him the fact that he had welcomed at his court those Franciscans who had rebelled after the publication of the Bulls dealing with apostolic poverty. In a Consistory, he proposed to initiate legal proceedings against Louis on various counts: he had 'aided and abetted' heretics and those who had rebelled against the Church; he had said to the legate of Lombardy, 'You are waging an unjust war against the Visconti, and I will come to their aid with arms'; he had no right to rule the Empire before his election had been examined and confirmed
1 Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. cxciv.
2 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 742.
3 Ibid. no. 753.
4 Ibid. nos. 742, 753, 780. See also Riezler, op. cit. no. 330. (Circular letters sent by John XXII to the Guelph communes.)
by the Holy See. This last affirmation was contested by Cardinal Napoleone Orsini, who declared that Louis' victory at Mühldorf had given him the right to assume power, and that to act against him would be an 'unusual and dangerous' step. 'For seven years,' he added, 'you have plunged Germany into strife; you have never uttered one word of peace.' 1. Cardinal Pietro Colonna declared that election and coronation conferred the right to rule the Empire. The Pope retorted, 'You speak in error! You speak in error! We will make a Decretal against your opinion.''Your Decretal,' replied Pietro Colonna, 'will give you no fresh power.' Whereupon Giacomo Caetani Stefaneschi exclaimed, 'Holy Father! Beware the fury of the Teuton.' At this, the Pope brought the discussion to an end, with 'Fury! fury! The Teutons will have to suffer mine.' 2
On 8 October Louis of Bavaria received a monitory, warning him to appear within the next three months at the court of Avignon and to refrain from exercising imperial sovereignty on pain of excommunication. 3
Mischief-makers, foremost among whom was Napoleone Orsini, spread the rumour that these latest developments had been inspired by the king of France, who had been offered the Empire by Pope John XXII, and who was mysteriously plotting with the sovereigns of Naples and Bohemia. The ambassadors of Charles IV protested, however, that their master had not been informed of the Pope's decisions, and had learned of them with deep regret. The plenipotentiaries from Aragon felt unable to decide who was telling the truth. 4
Before the date of the summons had expired, a Bavarian embassy reached Avignon. They pointed out that Louis was being exploited by his enemies, and that he would prove his innocence and amend any errors, if he had really committed any. He 'humbly' begged for an extension of the time-limit. 5 (Text of the request, 4 January 1324.) On 7 January 1324, the Pope granted a delay of two months, after a considerable show of reluctance, and after drawing up a list of charges relating to the actions of Louis of Bavaria in Italy. 6 When this time-limit expired, the duke, who had failed to comply with the orders of the Holy See, was solemnly excommunicated and threatened with loss of his rights if he did not, within the space of three months, refrain from styling himself king of the Romans and from ruling the Empire, unless his election had
1 This was something of an exaggeration as is proved by the papal Bulls; see above, p. 93
2 Despatches from the plenipotentiary of the king of Aragon, in Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, nos. 788-90.
3 Ibid. no. 792.
4 Ibid. no. 801.
5 Ibid. no. 834.
6 Ibid. nos. 835, 839.
by then been confirmed. 1 On the same day, the crusade was once more preached against the Visconti; 2 and in April, Berthold von Neifen, Berthold von Graisbach and Friedrich von Truhendingen, who were responsible for the success of the Visconti and guilty of having fought against the papal army, were excommunicated. 3
John XXII's active opposition to Louis of Bavaria fostered in Germany an agitation that was harmful to his own interests. The aberrant Franciscans who thronged his court advised Louis to imitate the methods of intimidation formerly employed by Philip the Fair against Boniface VIII. At Sachsenhausen, on 22 May 1324, Louis of Bavaria issued a public announcement replying to the judgments of John XXII against himself and his officers by counteraccusations of heresy, and he began a polemical campaign with the intention of appealing to world opinion. 'The Pope's wickedness,' he declared, 'touches even Christ, the most blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles and all whose lives have reflected the doctrine of perfect poverty as set forth in the gospel. Seven Popes have approved the rule which God revealed to St Francis, and on which Christ by his stigmata set, as it were, his seal; but this oppressor of the poor, this enemy of Christ and the apostles, seeks by lying and subterfuge to destroy perfect poverty. . . .'
Louis added to these reproaches a vehement protest against the Holy See's claim to consider the Empire vacant and to rule over it, pretensions whose only purpose was to sow discord among princes, nobles and people in Germany. As for the Ghibellines in Italy, 'cruelly and inhumanly ill-treated, oppressed and unjustly slandered,' it was only right to come to their aid. 4
The Defensor pacis, a work finished about 24 June 1324, had repercussions far different from those of the grossly exaggerated manifesto of Sachsenhausen. One of the writers who composed it, Jean de Jandun, was from Champagne, and the other, Marsiglio of Padua, was Italian by birth. They had become friends when they were both studying at the University of Paris, and both equally anxious to acquire honours and powerful protectors, they conceived the idea of drawing Louis of Bavaria's favourable attention to themselves by combining to write a book which, despite its confusion and obscurity, was boldly to declare the supremacy of the Empire and its independence of the Holy See. According to them, one of the reasons for the
1 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 881.
2 Ibid. no. 882.
3 Ibid. no. 897.
4 Ibid. nos. 909, 910. The so-called appeals of Nuremberg ( 18 December 1323) and Frankfurt ( 5 January 1324) were not made public. See Schwalm, ibid. nos. 824, 836. Cf. K. Zeumer, " 'Zur Kritik der Appellationen Ludwigs des Baiern,' " Neues Archiv, VOL. XXXVII, 1911, pp. 221-72.
disturbance of peace on earth was the Papacy, 'a fiction' and a human institution, which had only acquired pre-eminence by cunningly supplanting throughout many long years priests, bishops, peoples, princes and the Roman Empire, and which had finally come to meddle in temporal affairs, to excommunicate those who disobeyed it and to encroach on lay jurisdiction. The Church had no powers of coercion, since the apostles taught that every man must submit to political leaders, except in matters of faith. The Pope and the bishops could only exercise such powers with the consent of the faithful of a city, or of the community, or of the General Council or of their superior. Supreme authority in the Church was vested in the General Council, which consisted in theory of all the faithful, and in practice of their delegates, both clerical and lay, who must be learned and worthy; it could only be summoned by 'the faithful human legislator, who is subject to none'--in other words, the Emperor, to whom the Roman people, according to the Defensor minor, had transferred their legislative powers. The Pope's only authority was that derived from the Council or the Emperor; he might be punished, suspended or deposed by them; his election was dependent on the people, their representative (the Emperor again) or the Council. In short, the Supreme Pontiff must lose the prerogatives he held most dear, and see them transferred to the Emperor. 1
At first Louis of Bavaria was alarmed by the subversive doctrines put forward by these two writers from Paris. But it was obvious that a war to the death would henceforth be waged, and it would have been difficult for him to escape the pressure put upon him by his followers, who now included the avowed enemies of the Pope. His hesitation was short-lived, however. Jean de Jandun and Marsiglio of Padua were soon to see their theories put into practice. Marsiglio of Padua was eventually loaded with honours, became Louis' physician and probably inspired his Italian policy.
John XXII took up the challenge to the Papacy. On 4 July he declared Louis excommunicate, a sentence postponed by the Bull of 23 March. This sentence was more terrible than the preceding ones: Louis of Bavaria was deprived of any claim to the Empire and summoned, for the last time, to appear before the apostolic tribunal, on
1 N. Valois, in Histoire littéraire de la France, VOL. XXXIII, 1906, pp. 568-87. H. Otto has suggested that there were two versions of the Defensor pacis, the first dating from 1324, and the second from before 1327 and differing from the earlier one, though it draws on it. M. R. Scholz admits that there are two versions, but has proved that the final one was completed in 1324 ( ' Zur Datierung und Überlieferung des "Defensor Pacis" von Marsilius von Padua, ' Neues Archiv, VOL. XLVI, 1926, pp. 490-512). See H. Otto's reply, ibid. VOL. XLVIII, 1929, pp. 174-7. The Defensor minor has been published by G. Kenneth Brampton: The Defensor minor of Marsilius of Padua, Birmingham 1922. Brampton differs from N. Valois in making the date of composition 1342 and not c. 1328.
or about the Kalends of October. The Pope again protested 1 --no doubt with a view to placating German opinion--that he had no intention of depriving the prince-electors of their electoral privileges.
Far from capitulating, Louis of Bavaria informed the Marquis d'Este and the Ghibellines in Lombardy and the March of Treviso that he was determined to advance into Italy during the course of 1325 at the head of two thousand 'valiant knights,' so that he might receive the imperial insignia, 'to the glory of God, the honour of the Holy Roman Church, the metamorphosis of the Empire, the consolation of the faithful and the happiness of the world.' 2
But the diplomatic intrigues of King John of Bohemia, Charles IV of France and Duke Leopold of Austria prevented Louis of Bavaria from carrying out his intentions. When Leopold, the most steadfast champion of the cause of Frederick of Austria, died on 28 February 1326, Louis had complete freedom of action at Trent ( JanuaryFebruary 1327) where, before a brilliant assembly of Ghibellines, he made a solemn oath to come to their help in Italy and to march on Rome. With the encouragement of bishops, prelates, friars minor, Dominicans and Augustinians, who were all in revolt against the Church, Louis declared 'the priest John'--for it is thus that the Pope was now designated--to be heretical and unworthy of the triple crown. The struggle between Empire and Papacy was entering a new phase. Until now, Louis had done no more than side with heretics; now he was himself preparing to make the schism complete.
The Ghibellines had put pressure on him by the offer of 150,000 golden florins, so that he might attack the Guelphs, whose activities were causing them some alarm.
After the siege of Milan had so disastrously been lifted, Bertrand du Poujet had undergone a distressing series of reverses, such as the loss of Pavia, Carrara ( October 1323) and Casciano ( 12 November). In February 1324, during the engagement near the bridge over the Adda at Vaprio, his valiant captain, Ramon of Cardona, had been taken prisoner; and on 10 December the capture of Monza by the Visconti seemed to set a seal on his failure in Lombardy. 3 In 1325, the enemy pressed home the offensive against the papal forces, and their misfortunes reached a climax in the overwhelming defeat of the Florentines at Altopascio on 23 September, followed by that of the Bolognese at Zapolino on 15 November. 4
1 Schwalm, op. cit. VOL. V, no. 944.
2 Ibid. no. 912. (Letters dated 26 May 1324, addressed to the archbishop of Trier.)
3 Villani, op. cit. Bk X, chs. ccxxx, ccxxxviii, cclxx.
4 R. Davidsohn, Geschichte von Florenz, Berlin 1912, VOL. III, pp. 740-3, 748. See also Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, chs. ccciv, cccxxi.
It was obvious that the allies of the Church were in grave danger. On 17 April 1326, John XXII appointed Giovanni Orsini as a second legate to Italy; he was to relieve Bertrand du Poujet in central Italy, south of a line passing through Pisa, Castello, Perugia, Urbino and the March of Ancona. 1 It must not be supposed that the Supreme Pontiff had lost confidence in Bertrand du Poujet; on the contrary, he praised his 'courage and prudence' and was anxious to allow him to concentrate his efforts on Bologna, which seemed ripe for capture. Thanks to the authorisation of the king of France, cardinal du Poujet was provided with a new captain-general--Hugues des Baux, a Pro+00AD vençal, 2.--and was thus able to seize a number of villages and strongholds. Then Modena on 5 June 1326, Parma on 30 September, Reggio on 4 October and Bologna on 8 February 1327, each in turn yielded to the Church.
The surrender to Bertrand du Poujet of the lordship of Bologna was complete and unconditional, a fact explained by the continual phases of anarchy from which the city suffered and which put it in a very disadvantageous position with regard to its enemies, the chief of whom was Passarino Bonaccolsi, and then Can Grande della Scala, Azzo Visconti and the Estense.
The cardinal used to the full the authority granted him and introduced fundamental reforms in Bologna. Thus he abolished the posts of bargello and gonfalonier together with the city council, which had until then had sovereign power. He replaced the podestà by a rector and instituted a 'provost of offices,' who acted as a kind of inspector of all communal administration. In other words the legate suppressed every trace of democratic government and instituted a form of absolutism, by reserving to himself the right to appoint and supervise all officials. The available documents give proof that his rule was a beneficent one. He put down abuses, compelled employers strictly to carry out their duties, introduced improvements into the whole administration of the city and indeed reorganised it. Despite his autocratic personality, he was careful and moderate in the power he exercised. Although his followers received ecclesiastical benefices in Italy, they were not appointed to any of the honorific posts, which remained in the hands of the original inhabitants or of trusted persons from cities obedient to the Church.
The fact that Bertrand du Poujet was a foreigner did him harm. The Pepoli family regretted the lordship which Romeo had held for
1 Riezler, op. cit. no. 666. See also Mollat, VOL. VI, nos. 26398-438;
Villani, op. cit. Bk IX, ch. cccxli.
2 He was appointed on 1 July 1326. See Riezler, op. cit. no. 707, p. 290. The king of France was slow in giving his consent, ibid. no. 623, p. 269
five years, and were jealous of the cardinal. From the months of September and October 1327 onward, they fomented plots against him. The Maltraversi faction were even more anxious to rouse public opinion against the cardinal, and hatched a more dangerous conspiracy in 1329. Bertrand had to take vigorous action: certain conspirators were beheaded and others exiled. Two lawyers who had objected to the papal government had their tongues cut out. Order reigned at Bologna, for fear of sterner measures to come. 1
The possession of this city gave the Roman Church a considerable advantage: Bologna guarded the approach to the Apennines, and was one of the chief haunts of the Guelph party. John XXII decided to make it the centre of a huge state, whither he could transfer his court and from which he could direct Italian policy much better than he could in Rome, which was unsafe and too far from the centre of events. In order to provide a worthy dwelling for the Pope, Bertrand du Poujet adapted for his use the magnificent fortress known as La Galliera which was first begun in 1330 for military purposes. Palaces were requisitioned to provide lodgings for the Sacred College. The inhabitants of Bologna, counting up the financial and commercial advantages that would accrue from the establishment of the Papal court, and delighted at such unexpected good fortune, begged the Pope to hasten his coming. Their ambassadors heard the Pope, in full Consistory, declare his firm intention of coming within the year. Giovanni Villani 2 asserts that all these verbal demonstrations were intended to deceive, and that the promised arrival of the Pope was an invention whose only purpose was to speed up the construction of an impregnable citadel, by means of which any attempted rebellion on the part of the Bolognese could be rapidly put down. It is well known that this author had a marked partiality for his native town, which has surely misled him on this occasion: too many documents prove that John XXII's plans for the future of Bologna were quite definite. For the rest, the proposed transfer of the Papacy to Italy caused feelings to run high not only in Italian circles--no doubt it was on this occasion that Petrarch composed his twenty-third Sonnet, Vedrà Bologna, e poi la nobil Roma --but more especially at the court of France, where every effort was made to dissuade John XXII. 3
The grandiose--and perhaps illusory--plan conceived by the Pope demanded the annihilation or neutralisation of the Ghibelline party. The successes achieved by Bertrand du Poujet caused the Estense to negotiate an alliance with him. A Bull dated 5 December 1329 freed
1 Ciaccio, Il cardinale legato. . . , pp. 31-76.
2 Op. cit. Bk X, chs. cxcix, cc, ccxi.
3 Rinaldi, ad annum 1332, §1, 8.
them from the spiritual and temporal penalties they had incurred after the coup d'état of August 1318; they then consented to give back the fortress of Argenta and to accept the title of vicars-general at Ferrara, upon payment of an annual tax of 10,000 gold florins. 1 Azzo Visconti, who had been driven out of Milan by Louis of Bavaria, declared his submission to the Pope, who granted him the Vicariate for the space of one year. 2 At Mantua, after the murder of Passarino Bonaccolsi on 16 August 1328, Luigi da Gonzaga grew more respectful. 3 The death of Can Grande della Scala on 22 July 1329 removed a dangerous enemy of the Holy See, and the friendly attitude of his successors, Alberto and Mastino, removed all cause for alarm. 4 The situation in northern Italy thus appeared more favourable. All that remained for Bertrand du Poujet was to pacify Emilia and Romagna.
Leaving his lieutenants to carry on the war in Emilia, he himself took on the task of compelling the obedience of the lords of Romagna who had made themselves independent of their master, the Supreme Pontiff. During their travels in Italy, Bernard Gui and Bertrand de la Tour, although not charged with making enquiries in the March of Ancona and in Romagna, had heard of the bad administration of the rectors and governors; they felt morally obliged to warn Pope John XXII, and advised him to act promptly, otherwise disasters similar to those at Ferrara would ensue. 5
Aimeric de Châtelus, who had been appointed rector on 5 June 1320, had encountered the greatest difficulties in Romagna, in spite of his competent and equitable dealings. If he had cause to summon members of the clergy or laity before his tribunal, they would immediately give notice of appeal to the Holy See, and although the appeals were fictitious, they had the effect of impeding his action. If the court at Avignon decided anything in the rector's favour, the tyrants and communes did their utmost to molest any who dared to complain about them to him or to the Pope. In order to improve this situation, Aimeric summoned a general parliament at Bertinoro on 12 November 1320; but this proved completely ineffective. 6 Except at Cesena, Bertinoro, Meldola and Castrocaro, his authority continued to be counterbalanced by local tyrants; Francesco de' Manfredi was in power at Faenza and Imola, the Polenta at Ravenna, the Malatesta at Rimini, the Ordelaffi at Forli, and the count of Cunio at
1 L. Muratori, Delle antichità Estensi ed italiane, Modena 1717, pp. 80-1. See also A. Theiner, Codex diplomaticus, Rome 1861, VOL. I, nos. dccxxxviii-dccxxxix. 2 Riezler, op. cit. no. 1222, p. 430.
3 Ibid. no. 1286, p. 451.
4 Cipolla, op. cit. nos. 102, 103, pp. 118-19.
5 Riezler, op. cit. no. 50, p. 39. (Letters dated 20 August 1318.)
6 Mollat, VOL. III, nos. 12166-75, 12218, 14321-3, 14343; VOL. IV, no. 16152.
Bagnacavallo. Writing from Cesena on 23 February 1321 to the Camerarius, Gasbert de Laval, Aimeric frankly admitted his powerlessness and painted a vivid picture of the behaviour of his perfidious subjects. If he gave any man an order, he would reply, 'I will do it, if it is my lord's will'; and this lord was the very tyrant who had usurped the rectoral authority. In his indignation with his subjects, this gallant man, who did not fail in his task, exclaimed, 'O vainglorious province, always ripe for deceit, worthy of England for frivolity and treachery! Its inhabitants are more cunning and far subtler than the English, and in trickery, supreme among the Italians.' All things considered, his advice was to hand over the government of the province to the king of Naples. 1 The Holy See paid no heed and showed its confidence in Aimeric by appointing him archbishop of Ravenna on 24 September 1322, while allowing him to retain the dignity of rector. 2
Bertrand du Poujet was to find that the severe assessment made by Aimeric de Châtelus of the people of Romagna was only too just. He wore himself out in taking castles. His temporary successes came to nothing, and one by one his conquests slipped from his grasp. As soon as they felt themselves too closely threatened, the lords made a show of submission, only to rebel at the first opportunity. He would have needed a powerful army to achieve a decisive victory, but the forces at his disposal were disseminated by his very successes, for was he not obliged to leave garrisons at the strongholds he had conquered? This petty war of ambushes, skirmishes and sudden attacks into which the cardinal was forced could settle no problems but it dragged on until 1330. 3
The year 1330 was a decisive one in the history of the Italian peninsula: the threat from the Empire which had hung over Italy for so long finally disappeared under concerted attacks from the Guelphs, Robert of Anjou and the Church. There can be no doubt that the many mistakes made by Henry VII and Louis of Bavaria, their heavy demands and their inability to carry out their ambitious plans, had all contributed to the crumbling of the authority of the Empire. From this time, the names Guelph and Ghibelline ceased to have any real meaning, and Italy was only to witness the conflict of regional interests between cities or tyrants desiring to extend their dominion over their neighbours. But the part that the Holy See had to play became, not simpler, but even more complex. Confronted with the revolutionary spirit, and with insubordination, discord, ambition and
1 Fantuzzi, Monumenti Ravennati, VOL. V, Venice 1801, p. 391.
2 Mollat, VOL. IV, no. 16305.
3 Ciaccio, op. cit. pp. 77-116.
jealousy, those abiding evils devouring Italy in the fourteenth century, the Pope had to oppose them with supreme skill, constant vigilance and a deep knowledge of affairs, if he was not to suffer a series of painful and mortifying experiences.
John XXII was the first to benefit from the effects of the events of 1330. He was greatly comforted by the friendly attitude of Azzo Visconti. Three proctors of Milan appeared before him with ropes around their necks, and promised to obey him. The Pope gladly removed the interdict, which had lain upon the city for fifteen years, on reasonable terms: they must recognise him as the true pastor of the Church; promise not to show favour to any heretic or schismatic; give up their exactions from the clergy; restore the property and goods of the della Torre; and undertake not to invade any town or stronghold subject to the Church. Giovanni Visconti handed to the Pope by proxy the cardinal's hat which he had been given by Nicholas V on 15 September 1329 and, in August 1331, received as token of his forgiveness, the bishopric of Novara.
Further sudden developments in the political situation in Italy took place in October 1330. The Brescians, besieged by Mastino della Scala, the tyrant of Verona, and fearing to be overthrown, had asked in vain for help from Robert of Anjou. In their distress they had recourse to a foreigner, a descendant of Henry VII, King John of Bohemia. This prince, thinking to add another kingdom to those he already possessed, hastened to accede to their request, and on 24 December he entered Brescia, which yielded to him.
When this news reached him from Italy, John XXII was gravely displeased, for he already had several grievances against the king of Bohemia. Indeed, this prince had offered to intervene, together with the archbishop of Trier and Duke Otto of Austria, in the hope of settling the conflict between the Holy See and Louis of Bavaria. An unforeseen occurrence--the death of Frederick of Austria on 13 January 1330--smoothed out all difficulties, at least so far as the self-appointed negotiators were concerned. They assured the Pope that Louis of Bavaria was prepared to 'deport' the antiPope, revoke his own acts 'threatening the sacred person of the Pope and the Roman Church,' confess his 'excesses,' recognise the validity of the sentence of excommunication pronounced upon him, and throw himself on the Pope's mercy. But the Pope proved implacable and insisted, before he would consider any reconciliation, that Louis of Bavaria must give up his claim to the dignity of the Empire, from which he had been canonically degraded. This was the real source of conflict, for, while he begged for forgiveness, Louis had made it an express condition that he should 'continue in his state and dignity.'
While his ambassadors were parleying in Avignon, John of Bohemia became still more deeply involved, by making a written request for an interview with Azzo Visconti on the pretext of discussing with him imperial affairs, and by charging him to inform his 'faithful followers' to this effect. Emissaries even came to Milan and declared that John had full authority to reconcile him with Louis of Bavaria. Azzo replied that he scorned his advances and had no desire to make any agreement, whereupon the envoys suggested an annual payment of tribute, in return for which the Emperor would not invade the territories of Milan either in his own person or through a third party. As Visconti remained adamant in his refusal, it was suggested that he was acting in this way because of the Pope, with whom he was negotiating. He replied: 'I am not negotiating for peace: I already possess it by virtue of a treaty.'
John XXII made no attempt to conceal his surprise at such proceedings. Who was 'bewitching' the king of Bohemia? Who was compelling him 'to persecute the Church, to mislead her devoted sons into disobedience, and to entice them into the sway of a heretic?' How could the king forget the benefits bestowed on his house by Clement V and by John himself? 1
It seems clear from a reading of the reprimand addressed to John of Bohemia that John XXII believed him to be in collusion with Louis of Bavaria. At the same time the Chancery sent out a series of Bulls likely to satisfy the Gonzagas and the Visconti, and to keep them within the Church's fold: the interdict was lifted from Mantua as from Milan, Vercelli, Pavia, Novara and Bergamo, and from the castles, districts and lands situated beyond the confines of the county of Milan. 2 A kind of league was even made between Azzo and the Holy See: in case of German attack, the two parties agreed to join forces against the invader. 3
Meanwhile it was rumoured in Italy that John of Bohemia had gone to Trent and there had summoned the rectors of the Lombard cities, with the Pope's knowledge and consent. The Pope, however, protested that this was not so. 4 Indeed, so little was he in agreement with this prince that he loudly proclaimed his displeasure when-following the example of Brescia--Bergamo, Cremona, Crema, Como, Pavia, Vercelli, Novara, Lucca, Parma, Modena and Reggio came one after the other under this foreign domination. John of Bohemia
1 Riezler, op. cit. no. 1386a, p. 481. (Letter dated 21 September 1330.) 2 Ibid. nos. 1407, 1416, 1422, 1434.
3 Ibid. no. 1421.
4 Ibid. no. 1428. (Letter from Azzo Visconti, dated 14 January 1331.)
had to defend himself from the charge of prejudicing the Church's interests, and suggested a settlement, under the aegis of the king of France. Although he humbly besought the goodwill of the Pope, it was the argument at the end of his request that most impressed the Avignon court. After all, he said, 'was it likely that these Lombard tyrants would be more faithful and useful to His Holiness and the Holy Church than he himself, whose devotion they knew well?' 1
Two ambassadors arrived in Avignon on 28 March 1331, and succeeded in changing the Pope's feelings towards their master, and in persuading him of the latter's complete devotion. John of Bohemia had in fact thrown off this mask and shown his true purpose: he was no longer working for Louis of Bavaria, but for himself. His unlookedfor successes, achieved without striking a single blow, had embroiled him with the Emperor, and made clear to him the path he was to follow henceforward. Without the Pope, he could not consolidate the advantages he had gained in Italy, and it therefore became imperative to have his approval. On 17 April, a political compromise was worked out at Castel Franco with Bertrand du Poujet. The king of Bohemia was to restore the towns of Parma, Reggio and Modena to the Holy See, which would give them back to him as hereditary fiefs, on the obligation of paying homage and swearing fealty.
But John XXII completely upset all these political plans. Thinking the pacification of Emilia, where the Ghibelline party had always been preponderant, an illusion, he judged it wiser to favour the establishment in northern Italy of a lay kingdom which should be a vassal of the Church. He remembered that the creation of the kingdom of Naples by his predecessors for the benefit of the house of Anjou had resulted in the complete overthrow of the Ghibellines in the south of the peninsula, and saw no reason why an operation of similar scope should not be successful in the north. The Pope forgot that there was no similarity at all between northern and southern Italy: in the one the tyrants had made themselves masters, while in the other there had been no cohesion among the supporters of the Empire. He had also to reckon with Guelph susceptibilities, and especially with the reactions of the king of Naples; and for this the Pope made provision. John of Bohemia had to undertake not to invade the kingdom of Naples or its possessions in Lombardy or Piedmont; to put Lucca and her territory into the hands of the Holy See until an agreement was reached between King Robert and the Florentines; not to accept the office of captain, overlord or any other position in Lombardy or Tuscany without the permission of the
1 Ibid. no. 1449.
Pope; and not to attack Milan or the surrounding district. If, by chance, he were himself attacked, he was free to defend himself; but in these circumstances the Pope would give him no temporal aid. If John of Bohemia succeeded in subduing Lombardy, he was to compel obedience to the Church of all rebels, to restore to the clergy the goods that had been taken from them, to allow free elections to take place in cathedrals, collegiate churches and conventual houses, and to respect the privileges of the ecclesiastical court. He was, moreover, to promise never to join with Louis of Bavaria and to fight against him if Louis threatened the Holy See, her lands or her subjects. 1
The pact of 17 April 1331 had been considered in the most minute detail by the papal diplomats, and aimed at avoiding any danger of reaction from either Guelphs or Ghibellines. These attempts at conciliating such divergent interests might well have borne fruit, had it not been for the fantastic ideas hatched in the imaginative brain of John of Bohemia. He was no longer content merely to have Italy; he was now casting envious eyes at the Empire, since it seemed that John XXII was driving Louis of Bavaria to abdication, and was working for a new election. The prince first reconciled himself with the king of Hungary, the Austrian dukes and the margrave of Misnen ( September 1331) and visited the Emperor. Then at Fontainebleau, in January 1332, he promised to ratify any territorial encroachments made upon the Empire by Philip VI, and to give him the kingdom of Arles, provided that John himself were given complete freedom to intrigue for the imperial crown for a member of his family. 2 John of Bohemia even handed over to the king of France the recently acquired lordship of Lucca. 3
The negotiations at Castel Franco, which were kept as secret as the scheming of John of Bohemia, aroused the suspicions of the Italians. The Bolognese believed that the Holy See had betrayed them, despite their submission to the Church 'in perpetuity' made in 1331-2, and feared that their city might be handed over to the king. John XXII protested that he would never give up the seisin of Bologna or of its county, and that only stern necessity had prevented the fulfilment of his openly declared intention to transfer to that city: he was detained in Avignon by the organisation of the crusade; 'sinister' events occurring in France--the opening of hostilities with England--were preventing his departure. 4 Guelphs and Ghibellines alike feared the
1 Riezler, op. cit. no. 1457, pp. 505-09.
2 Ibid. nos. 1478, 1510.
3 Robert of Anjou made such a lively protest that Philip VI never took possession. See L. Mirot, "' La Cession de la ville et du comté de Lucques par Jean de Bohême à Philippe de Valois en 1332,'"
Mélanges Henri Hauvette, Paris 1934.
4 Ciaccio, op. cit. doc. XLII, XLIII.
intervention of the king of Bohemia, and at Ferrara in September 1332 they formed a league, into which entered the Estense and the Scaligeri, Luigi Gonzaga, Azzo Visconti, the communes of Perugia, Siena, Florence, Orvieto, Volterra, Colle San Geminiano, Prato and San Miniato, as well as the king of Naples who was wronged by the treaty of Fontainebleau. The members of the league resolved to help Azzo Visconti to take Cremona and Borgo San Donnino, the della Scala to seize Parma, Luigi da Gonzaga to enter Reggio and the Florentines to recapture Lucca.
The league of Ferrara astounded the Italians. The alliance of the leaders of the Guelphs with the Ghibellines of northern Italy, against whom they had fought for so long, did, however, prove justified. In place of the Holy See which was keeping aloof, following the compromise of Castel Franco, it fell to the league to preserve the political balance in Italy, which was being shaken by the immoderate ambition of John of Bohemia.
Scarcely had it been formed when the league of Ferrara took action. As early as October, Azzo Visconti attacked Cremona and then Modena, and in November 1332, took Pavia. The Estense joined in the campaign, but Charles of Bohemia ( John's son), on 25 November before the walls of the castle of San Felice, fought a hard battle with them from nones until vespers, and inflicted considerable losses upon them in killed and prisoners. In February 1333, the legate, Bertrand du Poujet, seized Consandolo in the commune of Argenta and began to besiege Ferrara. He was determined to have the Estense at his mercy, and he dissuaded the Florentines from sending help to tyrants who were as much their enemies as those of the Church. They replied that in their view John of Bohemia was the common enemy, and that it was unseemly to have any dealings or to enter into any alliance with him. Florence, in fact, suspected the legate of plotting with the king to enter her city and to subject her to the fate of the Bolognese; she accordingly sent troops to the Estense, with instructions to take the sea-route and land at Genoa and from there advance on Milan and Verona. Robert of Anjou, who was a member of the league, had no desire to fight against the Church: his soldiers camped on the Florentine frontier near Lucca. 1
The wisest plan was obviously to dissociate the affairs of the Church from those of the king of Bohemia whom the members of the league wished to drive from Italy and who had already lost Brescia in July 1332 and Bergamo in September. But since Bertrand du Poujet's forces were markedly inferior in number to those of the
1 Villani, op. cit. Bk X, chs. ccvii, ccix, ccx, ccxiv, ccxv.
Guelphs and Ghibellines combined, he drew up a plan of campaign with John against the Estense at Bologna on 3 April 1333. All available forces, under the command of Count Jean I of Armagnac, made a concerted attack on Ferrara. Fighting began before the city walls on 14 April; after a prolonged struggle and much skilful manoeuvring, the allies were left in command of the field, and took back to their camp a large number of prisoners, including Jean d'Armagnac himself and the cavalry sent by Bologna and Romagna. 1
On 18 June at Argenta, the Papal troops had a further set-back, though a less serious one, and they maintained their positions. Soon they were to bear the brunt of the war alone, for John of Bohemia, disappointed of his hopes, made a truce with the league, and in October set off to return to his own kingdom. The papal forces inevitably succumbed in this unequal struggle, for, as ill-luck would have it, all the lords of Romagna rose in rebellion. 2 On 23 November, the Estense besieged Argenta, a strategic point of prime importance, and the key to the whole Bolognese area.
A truce was signed, and when it expired on 1 January 1334 the allies met again at Lerici. Some were in favour of a prorogation; others--the Florentines and Mastino delia Scala--expressed the view that it was unwise to allow the legate time to regroup his forces. The war-party won the day, and they divided the spoils of their conquests in anticipation.
Bertrand du Poujet showed no skill in handling this situation. Instead of being conciliatory he was 'hard' and thus antagonised both Guelphs and Ghibellines. John XXII urged him to be moderate, and himself intervened. Bertrand de Déaulx, the archbishop of Embrun, was sent to Italy as nuncio-extraordinary to retrieve the disaster suffered by the Church. As the Pope sadly remarked, 'All our gains have been brought almost to nothing.' 3
The Papal envoy had an interview with the members of the league on 7 March 1334 at Peschiera. He demanded that the league should be dissolved, the siege of Argenta lifted, and the count of Armagnac and the other captives freed without a ransom. Mastino della Scala replied, through the intermediary of one of the Florentine ambassadors, that the league would be dissolved if Parma were no longer subject to the king of Bohemia and if Ferrara were restored to the Estense in return for the payment of the usual tribute, a small due would be paid for the possession of Argenta.
Before confirming this advantageous agreement, Bertrand de
1 Villani, op. cit. Bk. X, ch. ccxvii. See also Galvano della Fiamma, Opusculum de rebus gestis ab Azone, Luchino et Johanne Vicecomitibus ab anno 1328 usque ad annum 1342, ed. C. Castiglioni, p. 13; Corpus chronicorum Bononiensium, VOL. II, pp. 424-7.
2 Ibid. ch. ccxxvi.
3 Ciaccio, op. cit. doc. CXXXV-CXXVIII ( 17-19 October 1333).
Déaulx insisted on conferring with the legate. While he was on his way to Bologna, the inhabitants of Argenta, who had been reduced to a state of famine, capitulated on 8 March.
Instead of favouring a peaceful approach, Bertrand du Poujet persisted in having recourse to arms, and ordered his troops to advance towards Ferrara. To make matters worse, Bologna, where a seditious spirit had been at work for several months, rose against him on 17 August.
The rising broke out at the time of vespers. Obizzo d'Este and some of the notables of Bologna, had prepared the plan. They had agreed that armed bands should invade the countryside around Cento and Pieve and lay it waste, with the intention of compelling the legate to withdraw his troops from the city. When the armed bands had arrived some of the conspirators begged Bertrand du Poujet to help the countryfolk. He replied, 'What can I do? Well-nigh all my men have gone back to the army near Ferrara, except the few soldiers charged with guarding Bologna.' The traitors pressed him further: 'No men are needed here: send your soldiers to fight those who are burning and pillaging the countryside.' The cardinal agreed and ordered his men to go. Then the populace, roused by Brandiligi Gozzadini, seized first the square in front of the palace of the commune, and then, with cries of 'Long live the people! Death to the legate and the people of Languedoc!' rushed out to the cornmarket, where the marshal and the papal officers were, and set it on fire. The archbishop's palace, occupied by the Frenchman Bertrand Tissandier, was attacked by the flames. A systematic slaughter of the French was begun: one was disembowelled and the dogs ate his flesh. Their property was pillaged on every side. The rioters, helped by Ferrarese, then went to besiege Bertrand du Poujet who had retreated into the citadel of La Galliera. Shouts rang out, of 'Death to the legate! Death to the unjust and cruel tyrant!' The siege continued for ten consecutive days. But the Florentines, who were now inclining towards reconciliation with the Church, entered Bologna, parleyed with the insurgents and agreed to take the cardinal away under escort. While this party was leaving by a secret gate, the people rushed upon the citadel of La Galliera and rased it to the ground. 1
Thus John XXII's grandiose scheme crumbled miserably. The restoration of government by the commune in Bologna, which followed immediately, made it impossible for the Holy See to return to Italy.
1 Villani, op. cit. Bk XI, chs. v, vi. Corpus chronicorum Bononiensium, pp. 419, 432-7. See also a letter written by a Frenchman from Bologna on 22 March 1334, published in Not. et extr. des mss. , VOL. XXXV, pt 2, 1897, p. 419.
The Pope had been the victim of the imprudent alliance contracted with the king of Bohemia, under pressure it is true from Bertrand du Poujet who had but little insight into the state of affairs. It had also been a mistake to quarrel with the Florentines, who until 1332 had always supported any military operation undertaken by the legate. An even greater misfortune had been to adhere to the treaty of Frankfurt, concluded with Philip of Valois on 7 December 1333. Robert of Anjou, who was wronged by this treaty, allowed the papal army to be defeated. in Emilia and thus contributed indirectly to the loss of Bologna.
Benedict XII and His Policy of Appeasement
The failures that had so relentlessly dogged John XXII during the last years of his pontificate showed his successor the way he should follow. Since the members of the league had made some show of moderation at Peschiera in 1334, it was advisable to satisfy them and prudently to exploit their conciliatory attitude, provided that this proved sincere. Moreover, Benedict XII, who had been elected Pope on 20 December 1334, did not possess John XXII's pugnacious temperament; on the contrary, he declared that he hated war. He was above all a monk; one who had imbibed in the Cistercian cloister a love of study, austere behaviour, respect for the monastic rule and dislike for any relaxation of ecclesiastical discipline. Since his appointment as bishop of Pamiers on 19 March 1317, and later during his episcopate at Mirepoix, dating from 3 March 1326, he had been noted for his zeal in hunting down heretics, Catharists or Albigensians, who abounded in these dioceses. From the time he became cardinal, his talents as a theologian, displayed during the theoretical controversies which disturbed his predecessor's pontificate, had attracted the attention of the Sacred College. The combination of qualities such as these made him little inclined to the complicated game of politics, nor did they fit him to venture into the difficult paths of appeasement, which demanded versatility, a profound knowledge of the Italian way of life and an unusually broad outlook.
From the year 1335, Azzo Visconti felt it necessary to reconcile his family with the Church. 1 It may be questioned whether his reasons were religious ones. Galvano della Fiamma, 2 his panegyrist, after
1 Galvano della Fiamma, Opusculum de rebus gestis ab Azone, Luchino et Johanne Vicecomitibus ab anno 1328 usque ad annum 1342, ed. C. Castiglioni, p. 15.
2 Ibid. pp. 19, 22, 33-5.
extolling his affable manner, peaceful nature and generosity, decked him in all the Christian virtues and depicted him as the benefactor of the religious orders; according to him, Azzo's piety was as great as his faith. It must be admitted, however, that worldly interest provided the chief motive for Azzo's actions and led him to reconciliation with the Church as the means to consolidating his conquests and to furthering his designs in Pisa and Genoa.
Benedict XII gave a favourable reception to Azzo Visconti's request for the winding up of the legal enquiry into the heresy of deceased members of his family. Though this enquiry was gathering dust among the files of the Inquisition, it still constituted a considerable menace to himself, and caused the interdict to weigh heavily on the Milanese. The names of Matteo and of Galeazzo were still sullied, and their mortal remains were still not lying in consecrated ground.
The noted lawyer from Bergamo, Alberico da Rosciate, presented to the papal court a lengthy memorandum which aimed at establishing the nullity of the inquisitorial proceedings on account of a formal defect, and at making them appear a weapon contrived for political purposes against the Visconti. The accusations of heresy, he alleged, were bound to fall because they were inconsistent and lacked incontrovertible proof. 1
The occupation of Piacenza in 1337 by Azzo impeded the progress of negotiations, and roused the suspicions of Benedict XII, who had no wish to be deprived of a valuable weapon in order to contain Milanese ambition within reasonable limits. By the end of the year, however, the Pope's discontent was appeased: a commission of cardinals, consisting of Bertrand du Poujet, Pierre des Prez and Annibale di Ceccano, was given the task of sifting the evidence of heresy. In December, Benedict XII was hard to please: far from accepting the contention of Alberico da Rosciate, he spoke of ordering the reopening of a full-scale enquiry. The lifting of the interdict would then be more easily granted: the affected towns would pay a componendum of 200,000 florins and a yearly tax of 40,000. In the end, Alberico agreed to the sums of 50,000 and 10,000 respectively.
The conditions to be imposed on Azzo himself gave rise to delicate negotiations, which had the following results: Azzo was to receive 'the vicariate, government and administration of the city, district and county of Milan,' and of the towns of Piacenza, Lodi, Crema, Caravaggio, Martinengo and Castelnuovo on a hereditary basis, without payment of tax--but only during the vacancy of the Empire; he was
1 The memorandum has been published by C. Capasso, La signoria viscontea e la lotta politico-religiosa con il Papato nella prima metà del secolo XIV, Pavia 1908, pp. 83-96.
to restore to the clergy the goods of which they had been deprived, and expel notorious heretics. One vital clause was aimed at Louis of Bavaria. Azzo was to consider as heresy Louis' pretension to depose the Pope, he was not to recognise Louis as Emperor nor to come to his aid, 'he was not to receive whosoever might come to Italy either in the name of the Emperor, or of the King of the Romans, or with the powers of an administrator.' 1
The death of Azzo Visconti on 16 August 1339 prevented the realisation of the proposed agreement with the Roman court. Giovanni, bishop of Novara, and Luchino Visconti, the uncles of Azzo, resumed the negotiations, which on 15 May 1341 reached a conclusion.
Marsiglio of Padua had formerly held the archbishopric of Milan from the AntiPope Nicholas V. Before Marsiglio died on 10 September 1328, he had sown evil doctrines in his diocese, and traces of his subversive teaching were still to be found there. The Visconti promised to acknowledge Benedict XII as the true Vicar of Christ and to obey any prescriptions imposed upon them with regard to making good the culpable excesses formerly committed to the detriment of the Church. They declared that the Emperor had no prerogative to instal or depose the Roman pontiff, and they undertook to root out so far as they were able all heretics and notorious schismatics to be found in their lands. At this time when the conflict with Louis of Bavaria was still unresolved, Benedict XII received positive assurance that the Visconti would not, either directly or indirectly, give counsel, aid or succour either to Louis or to any antiPope. The Emperor, his messengers or his subjects were only to be received with the consent of the Holy See. On the other hand, nuncios and faithful subjects of the Roman church were to be assured of welcome, protection and defence in the territories of Milan, so long as their mission was of a peaceful nature. The local clergy were not to pay taxes, were to be exempted from custom duties and from tolls and were to live peacefully in their parishes. The Pope, for his part, granted the Visconti and their heirs in perpetuity the title of Vicars of the Church in Piacenza, Lodi, Crema, Caravaggio, Martinengo, and Castelnuovo Bocca d'Adda, on condition that they took an oath of fealty and made an annual payment of 10,000 florins. Of Milan, Brescia, Bergamo, Como, Vercelli and Cremona, the Visconti were granted the general vicariate temporarily, so long as the Empire, from which these cities were held, remained vacant. Novara was handed over on the same conditions to the local bishop, because there the temporal power was joined to the spiritual. As a sign of penitence, the Milanese were to expiate their
1 Capasso, op. cit. pp. 72-81.
past sins by building two chapels in honour of St Benedict, and endowing them with sufficient ornaments, sacred vessels and vestments for two officiating priests; furthermore they were, in one day, to distribute alms to two thousand poor persons. 1
Azzo died without issue on 16 August 1339, and the implementation of the proposed agreement was thus postponed, and not completed until 15 May 1341. Though peace had been achieved, from a religious point of view, 2 in all the cities of northern Italy that had been compromised by the schism brought about by Louis of Bavaria, the heresy trial affecting the Visconti family was still in progress; only Luchino and Giovanni were no longer molested. The Holy See gave them some slight satisfaction, while reserving to itself the right to cause them serious embarrassment if they should violate agreements they had entered into with the Pope. It was not until 13 March 1353 that Innocent VI declared a complete annulment of the inquisitorial proceedings begun during John XXII's pontificate against the deceased Matteo, Galeazzo, Marco and Stefano. 3
Alberto and Mastino della Scala obtained pardon much more quickly than Azzo Visconti. Benedict XII granted them the vicariate of Parma, Verona and Vicenza for a period of ten years, on condition that they made an annual payment of 5,000 florins, and he made over to them the additional territories of Magnano and Capria in the Veronese area as hereditary fiefs, in return for the payment of an annual tax of one golden mark and the giving of liege homage. The Supreme Pontiff's graciousness in overlooking a past that had been full of misdeeds was not without a utilitarian motive. The state of the papal finances no longer allowed expenses on the vast scale of those incurred by the war in Lombardy; the frugal Benedict XII preferred to create vassals who would provide him with military retainers. Thus the Scaligeri undertook to provide him with two hundred horsemen and three hundred foot-soldiers, who would ensure peace in Lombardy, in the March of Ancona, in Romagna and in the districts of Bologna and Ferrara ( 1 September 1339). 4
The other 'tyrants' of northern Italy also received satisfaction: the Gonzaga accepted the vicariate of Mantua, and the Estense that of Modena, Comacchio and Argenta. 5
The peace-making activities of the Holy See also extended to Pavia
1 Rinaldi, ad annum 1341, §19-27, 29-33. See also Vidal, Lettres closes de Benoît XII, VOL. I, Paris 1919, no. 286a-g; Galvano della Fiamma, op. cit. pp. 42-3.
2 Vidal, VOL. II, nos. 9161-75. (Bulls dated 15, 16 and 23 May 1341.)
3 Capasso, op. cit. pp. 97-100. (Text of the Bull, in which the different stages of the trial are set out at length.)
4 Vidal, VOL. II, nos. 7533-7. Rinaldi, ad annum 1339, §61-7. (Bulls dated 1 September 1339.)
5 Ibid. no. 7454. See also Baluze, Vitae, VOL. I, p. 231.
and the Riviera. In the Consistory of 11 February 1338, Genoa and Savona begged to receive pardon, 1 and, on the 22nd, Albenga did likewise.
Benedict XII's policy of appeasement appeared at first sight successful. After more than twenty years of discord, it seemed that peace reigned at last between the Church and the Ghibellines. Whereas Matteo Visconti, Can Grande della Scala and Passarino Bonaccolsi had disdainfully rejected the title of vicar at the hands of John XXII, the tyrants who had succeeded them had in effect recognised the validity of the contention always upheld by John: that as Pope he had the right to govern the Empire while it was vacant; a contention opposed with equal vigour by Henry VII, Louis of Bavaria and, in the Defensor pacis, by Jean de Jandun and Marsiglio of Padua. The honour of the vicariate had been dearly bought. On the spiritual side, the complete healing of the schism caused by Nicholas V was easily achieved. All the cities that had made a pact with Louis of Bavaria and the AntiPope Pietro da Corbara, or waged war against Bertrand du Poujet, had repudiated their past misdeeds and besought the Pope's mercy. The sentences of excommunication and interdict, formerly despised, had produced genuine effects, and the populations of the cities rejoiced at being freed from them. A continuator of the Martinian Chronicle, however, remarked that contemporaries -- doubtless the Guelphs are meant --condemned Benedict XII's actions: the granting of the vicariate to 'avowed oppressors of the liberty of the Roman Church' appeared monstrous to them. 2 These critics were not entirely wrong: contrary to the Pope's intentions, the favours granted to the tyrants only served to consolidate their independence and to free them from Papal authority.
The final settlement of accounts after the revolt at Bologna, which incurred the censure of some Italian critics, 3 was long delayed. On 27 February 1335, Benedict XII declared bitterly that the rebels still showed no inclination to be obedient, and that the mediation of the king of Naples had been of no avail. He announced, however, that he was prepared to receive the Bolognese 'joyfully and readily,' but his chief preoccupation was 'to uphold and preserve intact the rights of the Roman Church.' Although he did not say it in so many words, he did not at that time envisage any possible solution other than the subjection of the city of Bologna, in accordance with the grant made in perpetuity to John XXII in 1331-2. 4 The Pepoli, the chief
1 Rinaldi, ad annum 1340, §69-71. Vidal, Lettres closes, VOL. I, nos. 286b, 1674-6.
2 Baluze, op. cit. VOL. I, p. 239.
3 Ibid. p. 237.
4 Vidal, Lettres closes, VOL. I, nos. 76, 121. (Letters dated 27 February 1335, addressed to the Florentines, and 20 March, to the king of Naples.)
instigators of the revolt, had other ideas, and on 28 August 1337 they achieved their ends. Taddeo seized power, but prudently styled himself 'Keeper (Conservatore) of peace and justice' lest he incurred the enmity of Benedict XII. The Pope was not deceived; he summoned the Pepoli to appear at Avignon within the next two months, together with a large number of Bolognese and the members of the town council. A Bull of 2 February 1338, couched in acrimonious terms, recounted in detail the 'shocking excesses' committed in March 1334. The Pope 'blushed' to tell of them. The former judge of the Inquisition awoke in him and he castigated the criminal actions of the insurgents, emphasising the deeds of cruelty that had been perpetrated, and recalling the horrible case of Bertrand de Glar, a member of the bishop's household, who had been 'disembowelled and hacked into pieces, and whose flesh had been given to dogs to eat,' or again, that of the vice-marshal, Olivier Bérald, who was bound with iron fetters and many times put to torture. 1
As by 2 March 1338, no-one had answered the summons to appear, excommunication was pronounced against the contumacious, and Bologna was placed under an interdict, together with its University, to which the teaching of the ablest lawyers of the day attracted a large and cosmopolitan body of students. As such canonical sanctions would have caused a wholesale exodus of the students, Taddeo Pepoli advised his fellow-citizens to make peace with the Holy See. By 13 October they appeared to have settled their differences. 2. When, on 30 December, Guigone da San Germano, who had been sent expressly by Benedict XII, read aloud before the assembled populace of Bologna, the clauses of the convention agreed at Avignon by its representatives, violent protests cut short his speech. To be directly subject to the Church, to swear an oath of vassalage, to allow the Supreme Pontiff to meddle with the machinery of the city's administration--all this was equivalent to subscribing to the loss of their dearest liberties: the Bolognese demanded changes or modifications to the conditions drawn up in the Consistory court after mature deliberation. The Pope's reply was intransigent and he ordered the nuncio to leave if the Bolognese did not ratify, without more ado, what their representatives had already agreed. 3. On 4 March 1339, the ecclesiastical penalties which had been in abeyance since the previous 13 October were again inflicted on the city. This compelled the inhabitants to reopen negotiations at Avignon. This time Benedict XII
1 Theiner, Codex diplomaticus, VOL. II, doc. LII.
2 Ibid. doc. LXIII. See also Vidal, VOL. II, nos. 6422-9, 6472-4
3 Vidal, Lettres closes, VOL. I, no. 2186
slightly mitigated his demands, and agreed to lift the interdict on 14 June 1340. Beltramino Paravicino, the bishop of Como, took possession of the castles in the Bolognese district in the name of the Holy See, received the oath of fealty from the citizens and accepted the keys of the city. These he restored on 21 August to Taddeo Peopoli, who accepted the title of 'Administrator of the rights and property of the Church at Bologna' for a period of three years; in addition a tribute of 8,000 florins was to be paid. 1. Until his death on 29 September 1347, Taddeo lived on good terms with the papal court and pursued a policy favourable to the Guelphs.
As a result of the reverses suffered by Bertrand du Poujet, the lords of Romagna had rebelled against the Pope's authority. Benedict believed that he was capable of restoring order here, in the richest province of the Church States, without having recourse to war. He first turned to the communes of the larger towns and warned them that 'the troubles, molestations and oppressions that they had been compelled to endure without surcease' came 'from those who, not content with exercising their rights within just limits, could neither live in peace nor allow others to enjoy a tranquil existence.' 2 In this way Benedict XII, without mentioning any names, was inviting his subjects to break with the turbulent lords of Romagna, and to help the papal officials in their delicate task of administering the territory. To the lords, 'those fomentors of trouble and invaders of the Church's estate,' he spoke in his usual acrimonious tones, and threatened to take 'the necessary measures' if they failed to restore to the treasurer of the province what they had fraudulently acquired. 3
In urging obedience to the apostolic representatives, Benedict XII was assuming that they possessed rare qualities inspiring respect in those they governed, in particular equity, probity, tact, savoir-faire, and above all perseverance. The insubordination of the people of Romagna made their task difficult. The treasurer, Guillaume Truelle, weighed down with anxiety, longed for his recall and bewailed the fact that his friends had not yet succeeded in obtaining it for him. 4
Benedict XII determined that he would supply his States with rectors and with capable and honest officials. On 13 September 1335, he appointed only Frenchmen, all of them clerks. On their appointment, they received instructions containing some unusual clauses: they were required to investigate the misdeeds and malversations of
1 Vidal, Lettres closes, VOL. II, nos. 8241-8, 8356, 8359. Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. XC
2 Vidal, Lettres closes, VOL. I, nos. 345-50. (Letters dated 22 June 1335.)
3 Ibid. nos. 353-6.
4 H. Otto, "'Benedikt XII als Reformator des Kirchenstaates,'" Quellen, 1928, p. 91.
their predecessors, and to communicate their findings to the archbishop of Embrun, Bertrand de Déaulx. Benedict XII had singled out for authority this trustworthy man, who had previously negotiated the abortive agreement at Peschiera, and who had lost his belongings in the rising at Bologna; to him he entrusted the task of inspecting the States of the Church, of pointing out existing abuses and of introducing well-chosen reforms. 1
Benedict XII, as authoritarian as John XXII and even more imperious, allowed his nuncio little freedom of action. He directed everything from Avignon and in the last resort made all the decisions. He harried the archbishop with recommendations, indicated his course of action in the minutest detail, and did not scruple to ignore his advice, when he thought the moment favourable for military action.
The news he received from Italy persuaded the Pope to promulgate on 10 July 1336 two beneficial Constitutions. 2. The rectors were forbidden to promote their brothers, nephews or any relations by blood or marriage to be marshals at their court of justice. Every six months the judges were to give the rectors an account, in public session, of their activities. If, for the sake of gold, favours or any other reason, the rectors failed to punish their misdeeds, they themselves would incur suitable punishment. The second edict restrained the greed of certain rectors and treasurers, who amassed illicit profits by paying wages to third parties with 'no aptitude or capacity' for commanding mercenaries or executing judgments. Anyone who repeated such avaricious dealings for a second time was to pay to the Apostolic Camera double the amount of what he had received.
But neither the Pope's administrative reforms nor the threats made to the lords of Romagna were put into full effect. Francesco Ordelaffi, the tyrant of Forli, was the most formidable cause of trouble. Obsessed by the desire to round off his territory, in the spring of 1335 he attacked the fortress of Meldola, which was defended by a ridiculously small garrison: two hundred foot-soldiers and one hundred horsemen. The treasurer, Guillaume Truelle, feared the worst: he was short of money, could not pay his soldiers and foresaw their desertion. Florence, warned of this by Benedict XII, came to his help, raised the siege in September 1335 and reached a 'dastardly and intolerable' compromise with Ordelaffi. The fate of the stronghold seemed so little assured, so precarious, that the Pope begged the Florentines to remain on the alert. In September 1336 he feared a fresh attack, and spent 4,000 florins in buying corn, foodstuffs and weapons of defence. In May 1339 the threat became more definite:
1 Vidal, Lettres closes, VOL. I, nos. 527-66.
2 Ibid. nos. 979-80
Eustachio da Polenta joined forces with Ordelaffi and together they prepared to march against Meldola. Had the Florentines not intervened, the fortress would once more have been besieged; but though it was saved, Francesco Ordelaffi took two other strongholds, Elmez and San Casciano, by storm. With an insolent disregard of proceedings begun against him by Raimbaud Romandiola, bishop of Imola, who had been made rector on 15 March, this perfidious tyrant soon reduced Cesena, Bertinoro, Meldola, Castrocaro and Castelnuovo. 1
In the March of Ancona the situation was far worse than in Romagna. There was hardly one town council 2 that troubled to pay the various taxes and dues essential to the normal workings of public affairs. To the lords, Benedict XII uttered a sharp rebuke: he branded 'the countless injustices, the offences, the manifold excesses, the detestable acts too many to enumerate, the usurpations' that they had committed to the detriment and reproach of the Church. The rector of the province called on them to restore, within a fixed time, the goods and the rights that they had seized, to cease from molesting the papal officials or the 'faithful' of the Holy See, and to keep the peace. If they persisted in their insubordination, they would be summarily required to appear before the court at Avignon, on pain of excommunication and seizure 'of their goods, rights, jurisdictions, privileges, liberties and immunities, real and personal.' 3
His correspondence reveals how deeply wounded Benedict XII was by the conduct of his subjects. The austerity of the Cistercian rule, by which he had been profoundly influenced, had inspired him with a respect for justice and a hatred of abuses. He was roused to anger by the acts of insubordination committed against the Roman Church, 'who yet feels a maternal affection for her sons . . . and who, by charitable exhortations rather than by the scourge, is ready to gather in her bosom, with loving patience' those who have offended against her.
The petty tyrants of the March of Ancona did not respond to the Pope's generous appeal. Mercennario di Monteverde, a past master of 'bad faith, villainy and illicit machinations,' disappointed his hopes without the least compunction. When the interdict affected his territory because he had not restored to the Church the castles of Sant' Elpidio, Monsolmo, Montegranaro, Montefiore dell' Aso and Monte Santa Maria, in the diocese of Fermo, or paid the fine, as he had agreed under oath to do, he pretended to make amends, sending representatives to Avignon, who promised all that was required of
1 Vidal, op. cit. VOL. I, nos. 351-8, 450, 598, 624, 766, 1022, 1354, 1066, 1355, 2241, 2389, 2465, 2488 and 2497. See also Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. LXXVI, LXXXII.
2 See the long list in Vidal, Lettres closes, VOL. I, nos. 213-56. (Bulls dated 13 May 1335.)
3 Ibid. nos. 257-77.
them; but he fulfilled none of these undertakings. By March 1339, Benedict XII's patience was at an end. He told Francesco Silvestri, the bishop of Florence, who had acted as his spokesman in dealing with the rebel, that he had no desire to negotiate any agreement, either in his own person or through an intermediary, until Fermo and the fortresses illegally occupied were effectively and truly restored. In May, he ordered the penalties previously imposed to be increased in severity. 1
Clement VI and Giovanni Visconti
Benedict XII's policy had been one of appeasement, because of his reluctance to shed Christian blood on the field of battle. He was very parsimonious, and had economised to the point of meanness in the expenses of maintaining a sufficiently large band of mercenaries to preserve peace in Italy, preferring to spend his financial resources in good works and in constructing the forbidding palace whose majestic towers still overlook the town of Avignon. Moreover, the tyrants, great and small, whose crafty intrigues he had not known how to or had been unable to restrain, had taken advantage of his inexperience in worldly matters and his tendency to be merciful, to laugh 'at him and to grow ever more impudent. When Clement VI succeeded to the papal throne on 7 May 1342, the supremacy of the Church had almost ceased to be recognised in Romagna and the March of Ancona. By 1350, the condition of the Papal States had grown still worse. Giovanni and Giacomo Pepoli, who had taken over the government of Bologna after the death of their father Taddeo on 29 September 1347, were planning to free themselves from the tribute they owed to the Apostolic Camera, and so become independent. Subsequently, on 17 February 1350, Giovanni de' Manfredi seized Faenza. The Malatesta family extended their territories considerably. In addition to Rimini, Pesaro, Fano and Fossombrone, they laid hands on Ancona, Osimo, Sinigaglia, Jesi and Ascoli. As for Francesco Ordelaffi, he boasted about his brilliant conquests. In short, if the Papacy wanted to save its States from complete disintegration, speedy action would have to be taken. Clement VI revived the warlike policy of John XXII and sent out an army under the command of Niccolò della Serra and Marshal Rostang Cavalier of Avignon. The troops consisted for the most part of eleven hundred and fifty cavalry
1 Ibid. nos. 823, 1109, 1515, 2272, 2368.
supplied by Duke Werner of Urslingen. Lesser contingents came from Mastino della Scala, the marquis d'Este, Giovanni Visconti and the Pepoli. Supreme authority was in the hands of the Limousin Astorge de Durfort, a nephew by marriage of the Pope and rector of Romagna since 1347. 1
The papal army first attacked Giovanni de' Manfredi and defeated him on 20 May 1350. Then, instead of marching on Faenza, which was nearby and would at that time have been easy to take, they laid siege to Solarolo, which did not capitulate until 6 July. As the military operations proceeded, the attitude of the Pepoli seemed equivocal. Astorge de Durfort suspected that they were trying to come to an agreement with the enemy, and he set a trap for Giovanni. He invited the latter to confer with him, and Giovanni came, quite unsuspecting, to the camp at Solarolo. He was received with honour, and then arrested and imprisoned at Imola, where he was promised his freedom if he handed over Bologna to the Church. Astorge de Durfort went immediately into action, joined with the reinforcements sent by Mastino della Scala, invaded the region of Bologna and threatened its capital. His success seemed assured, when misfortune befell him: in vain did he appeal time and again to Avignon for funds, so that he could pay his soldiers; Clement VI sent him nothing. The Pope, accustomed to living like a great lord, had soon made large inroads into the treasure amassed by the parsimonious Benedict XII. The completion of the improvements to the Palais des Doms, the reconstruction of the abbey of Chaise-Dieu, the purchase of Avignon in 1348, the upkeep of a luxurious court, the considerable loans he had agreed to make to the kings of France and the nobles of Southern France--all these had exhausted the finances of the Holy See. The great effort he had made to pay the German mercenaries could not be renewed, and Astorge de Durfort had no alternative but to hand over his prisoner to them as a pledge.
Giovanni Pepoli lost no time in paying his captors. He was set free on 29 August and went with all haste to confer with Giovanni Visconti, the lord of Milan since the death of his brother Luchino on 24 January 1349. There was everything to fear from such a development.
During Luchino's lifetime, Giovanni Visconti co-operated with him, and appeared to have no interest in succeeding to power. The two brothers avoided all friction with Clement VI, Luchino because he hoped to secure the succession for his young son, Giovanni in the
1 The lists of the payments made to the Germans have been published by K. H. Schäfer , Deutsche Ritter und Edelknechte in Italien während des 14. Jahrhunderts, VOL. II, Paderborn 1909, pp. 137-52, 191-200. (These date from 1350.)
hope of snatching it more easily for himself. As a result, the pact made with Benedict XII in May 1341 had been scrupulously observed: moreover the Visconti had marched into the Trentino against Louis of Bavaria and the margrave of Brandenburg; they had recognised the papal candidate, Charles IV, as Emperor, and had come to the aid of the rector of Romagna and the archbishop of Ravenna against the rebels at Forli. It is true that the truce that Cardinal Guillaume Court had compelled them to make with their enemies in 1342 1 had been broken; but Clement VI had merely protested, and refrained from taking coercive action. Giovanni, having become sole master of Milan, was thus able to unite the temporal power to the spiritual, since the Pope, carrying the spirit of appeasement to extremes, had been rash enough to confer the archbishopric upon him, on 17 July 1342. A subtle diplomat, utterly unscrupulous and coldly calculating, Giovanni at first made some pretence of pacifism: treaties were signed with the marquis of Montferrat, Luigi Gonzaga, Pepoli and the count of Savoy; his nephew, Galeazzo, married a sister of the count of 'Savoy, and his other nephew, Bernabo, a daughter of Mastino della Scala; military expeditions ceased for the time being. Nevertheless, Clement VI guessed Giovanni's secret plans, and moreover demanded that the troops encamped at a short distance from Genoa and in Piedmont should be disbanded. The Pope gave an evasive reply to a request that the heresy trial of Giovanni's father, Matteo, begun under John XXII, should be reconsidered.
Giovanni Visconti was no great churchman. If we are to believe his relative Alcherio, abbot of San Pietro of Lodi, he only celebrated Mass once in his whole life. 2 Neither religious sentiment nor ecclesiastical discipline caused him the least embarrassment. He was essentially a sceptic, although in order to curry popular favour and the sympathy of the clergy, he increased the number of spectacular processions, the amount of alms given to the poor and the number of charitable foundations. He was handsome and attractive to women, and behaved like a prince: pages, chaplains, secretaries, singers, musicians and knights made the number of his court up to six hundred persons. In the outhouses of his palace there were large numbers of horses for riding, falcons, hawks and hunting-dogs. Guests gathered at his table for 'royal and continual' banquets. 3
1 Rinaldi, ad annum 1342, §17.
2 G. Biscaro, "' Le relazioni dei Visconti di Milano con la Chiesa. L ' arcivescovo Giovanni, Clemente VI e Innocenzo VI,'" Archivio storico lombardo, series 6, VOL. LV, 1928, pp. 44-5.
3 Galvano della Fiamma, Opusculum de rebus gestis ah Azone, Luchino et Johanne Vicecomitibus ab anno 1328 usque ad annum 1342, ed. Castiglioni, pp. 11, 48.
The ambition of this so ostentatious prelate was to carve out for himself a real state in northern and central Italy. Commercial and financial considerations also urged him to extend his territories as far as Genoa and so ensure access to the Mediterranean. The occupation of Bologna was of capital importance to him. His plan was to make this city his headquarters, and from there to invade the Church's lands and, since Florence was rousing the Tuscan communes against him, to reduce her to impotence. The Guelphs were no longer a force to be reckoned with: the death of Robert of Naples on 20 January 1343, had deprived them of a leader who, if not powerful, was at least still able to influence public opinion.
Giovanni Pepoli's journey to Milan caused alarm in Florence, and she offered to mediate with the Bolognese. Astorge de Durfort, guessing that it was the intention of the Florentines to establish themselves and to supplant both the Visconti and the Church, refused their far from disinterested offers, and persisted in his intention of reducing the Pepoli to a state of complete helplessness. This was the cause of the sale of Bologna by Pepoli to Giovanni Visconti on 16 October 1350. 1 On 23 October, Giovanni's nephew, Galeazzo, entered the city with twelve hundred horsemen, and two days later was made its lord.
The acquisition of Bologna, one of the greatest successes of the Viscontis' policy of expansion, had been arranged with the utmost secrecy. In order to achieve his end without hindrance, Giovanni carried his duplicity to the point of sending ambassadors to Avignon, to discuss with the papal court the return of the city to papal authority. When the real truth was known, Clement VI made use of the spiritual weapons at his disposal to regain Bologna. A summons, on 18 November 1350, to appear within forty days, a threat of excommunication on 4 February 1351 if the guilty party persisted in ignoring it, suspension a divinis, the loss of all power, both spiritual and temporal, the promulgation of the interdict--all the accumulated thunder of the Church did not dismay the archbishop of Milan; on the contrary, his defiance only increased the more. 2 But the accusations of heresy, made in full Consistory, by Alcherio, abbot of San Pietro of Lodi, appeared highly compromising. While he was bishop of Novara, on many occasions and before many credible witnesses, Giovanni had declared that the host consecrated by the priests was only a piece of unleavened bread and that the wine, also consecrated by them, was nothing but the pure juice of the grape. When friends
1 Ch. Gherardacci, Historia di Bologna, pt 2, Bk XXII, ed. A. Sorbelli, Bologna 1933.
2 Theiner, Codex diplomaticus, VOL. II, doc. CCII, CCV.
asked him why he did not celebrate Mass, he had replied, 'I prefer to eat tasty dishes, and to drink good wine.' On the first--and last-occasion that he did say Mass, the host slipped from his hands; as none of those present could find it, he had unleavened bread brought to him, and proceeded without more ado to the elevation, saying that that would do just as well. 1
Astorge de Durfort, thinking that his cause was not irremediably lost, and with the help of the marquis d' Este and Mastino della Scala, made one last effort. He won a victory on 26 November before the walls of Bologna, but did not succeed in penetrating the fortifications: his troops were too greatly outnumbered by the enemy to force an entry. Clement VI, who was living on loans, could send neither soldiers nor money. Visconti took advantage of this forced inactivity of Astorge de Dufort to strengthen Bologna with a powerful garrison, and seized the offensive. Bernabo, who had replaced Galeazzo, bought from the mercenaries of the Church the castles in Romagna which they had received in surety for their wages, and took them into his service. On 17 February 1351, Astorge de Durfort, to his shame, was obliged to dismiss those who were faithful to him and to withdraw to Imola. There the Milanese besieged him by way of reprisal. If, as the chronicler Matteo Villani alleged, 2 Clement VI had intended to make a kind of principality for him--a suggestion which is not proven--he must have been deeply disappointed.
Disaster might perhaps have been averted, if the Pope had succeeded in forming a league against the Visconti. But the policy both of the lords and of the communes, consisting as it did in nothing but the pursuit of their private, paltry and selfish interests, prevented him from realising his own wider aims. Since Florence had not supported him, Clement VI decided to do without her co-operation and modified his policy completely. In order to prevent the loss of the Papal States, in September 1351 he entered into negotiations with Giovanni Visconti who, for his part, needed peace to carry out his plans for the conquest of Tuscany. As soon as Florence had wind of these discussions which were taking place at Avignon, she tried by every available means to thwart them and threatened to appeal to the Emperor. Her ambassador, Pietro Bini, many times approached several of the cardinals and declared to them that any agreement with the Visconti would turn to the shame (vergogna) of the Church. 3 The gold, the intrigues and the promises of the representatives of the
1 See the texts published by G. Biscaro, pp. 44-5, in the article cited above, p. 121.
2 Cronica di Firenze, Bk I, chs. li, lvi.
3 See the despatch sent from Florence on 6 November 1351, published by A. Sorbelli, La signoria di Giovanni Visconti a Bologna, Bologna 1902, doc. XII, p. 344.
master of Milan--according to Matteo Villani 1 --carried the day at the court of Avignon. On 27 April 1352 a Bull declared non-proven the allegations previously made in Consistory by the abbot of San Pietro of Lodi, though they had been made under oath; it likewise annulled all the proceedings begun against Giovanni, his nephews and his allies, the Pepoli and the Gonzaga, on condition that Bologna and the castles that had been conquered in Romagna and in the county of Imola should be restored; if any Milanese troops had invaded Imola they were to be withdrawn; a war indemnity of 100,000 florins should be paid; and Mastino della Scala and Obizzo d'Este, who had come to the aid of Astorge de Durfort, should not suffer any reprisals. On 28 April, the archbishop of Milan was granted the vicariate of Bologna for a period of twelve years, in return for an annual payment of 12,000 florins, and the active service of three hundred horsemen in the ranks of the papal army during four months of the year, or a payment equivalent to their wages. If he died, his nephews Bernabo, Matteo and Galeazzo would enjoy the rights granted to him. However--and this clause was of capital importance --the grant of the vicariate, which dated from 29 June, was to cease at the end of the twelve years; Bologna would then revert to the Church. 2 When the pact agreed upon in Avignon had been ratified, Guillaume de Grimoard, the future Urban V, took possession of the town, and then solemnly handed it over to its newvicar on 6 September 1352. Thus Clement VI preserved by a fiction the principle of his dominion over Bologna.
The Florentines had bitterly disapproved of the peace planned between the Pope and the archbishop of Milan; in December 1351 they changed their minds. The fires, devastations, looting and raids in Tuscany during the fruitless campaign of Giovanni Visconti da Oleggio 3 from 28 July until 17 October, and the fear of a fresh Milanese invasion led them to beg Clement VI to include them, together with the Sienese and the Perugians, in the treaty that was being prepared. 4 Clement VI might well have hardened his heart against them for not having helped him in 1350, but he generously forgot his grievances and informed the Signory that, on his instructions, the Visconti accepted in principle a truce to last one year. 5 But when Florence learned this happy news, it put her in an embarrassing position; for Charles IV, in accordance with a pact recorded in a
1 Villani, op. cit. Bk III, ch. i.
2 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCXX, CCXXI, CCXXXIX; see also Sorbelli, op. cit. doc. XIX, p. 351. 3 For details of this campaign, see Sorbelli, op. cit. pp. 115-31.
4 Despatch of 17 December 1381, ibid. doc. XIV. 5 Ibid. doc. XLV.
diplomatic agreement, had promised to enter Lombardy and bring Giovanni Visconti's power to an end. Ambassadors were sent to discuss with him, and all turned out well. The Ghibellines had urged him not to come to Italy, and Charles IV had heeded their advice. He could scarcely respond to the original appeal of the Florentines now that the Church, without whose help no expedition could be made, had become formally reconciled with the tyrant of Milan. Although the Florentines' reply to Clement VI was slow in coming, it was in the affirmative. Giovanni Visconti was no less anxious than they for a truce that would deprive Charles IV of any excuse for crossing the Alps. It was true that this prince was not greatly to be feared, but as far back as men could remember, any imperial invasion had 'convulsed' Italy. Moreover, the lords in Lombardy and Romagna, no less than the Venetians, were threatening to form a coalition against the Visconti, whose policy of conquest was causing alarm.
The initiative thus taken by Clement VI bears the mark of his political genius. It 'allowed his successor to restore harmony between the Tuscan cities and the archbishop of Milan, and to cause a peace treaty to be signed at Sarzana on 31 March 1353. 1 All cause of future conflict seemed to have been removed. On the one hand, the archbishop undertook not to meddle in Tuscan affairs, unless the Holy See requested him in writing to send help to defend the Patrimony of St Peter; on the other, Florence and her allies promised to have no part in the affairs of Bologna and Lombardy. For the Papacy, too, peace offered equally great advantages: the Pope was reconciled with Florence and the Guelph party, while Giovanni di Vico, the prefect of Rome, was deprived of help from Milan, and the way was thus left open for the Church to win back her States. It is to Innocent VI, who succeeded to the triple crown on 30 December 1352, that credit must be given for finding the right man to achieve this great task: Gil Alvarez Carillo Albornoz.
Albomoz and the Conquest of the Papal States
Albornoz had been chosen to head the legation to Italy on 30 June 1353 2 because of the reputation he had gained. He was descended, on his father's side, from Alfonso IV of Leon, and, on his mother's, from King James of Aragon; he had been at the court of Castile and
1 The text of this treaty is in Ughelli, Italia sacra, VOL. IV, Venice 1719, pp. 222-49.
2 A. Theiner, Codex Diplomaticus, VOL. II, doc, CCXLII.
earned the favour of Alfonso XI. His elevation to the dignity of archbishop of Toledo on 13 May 1338 and his appointment as chancellor of the kingdom made him a man to be noticed. Benedict XII had made him legate when the crusade was preached against the Saracens in Andalusia, and he distinguished himself at the battle of Tarifa on 30 October 1340: when he saw that the Christians' courage was flagging, under a vigorous hurrying from the infidel, he rallied them, and it was his energetic intervention that won the day. In 1342 Albornoz took part in the siege of Algeciras and in that of Gibraltar in 1349. He had thus given obvious proof of his military talent. Under Pedro the Cruel, like all the courtiers of Alfonso XI, he fell into disgrace, and was obliged to retire to Avignon towards the end of 1350; there on 17 December Clement VI made him cardinal-priest of St Clement, as a reward for his gallant behaviour.
The Papal States, which Innocent VI wished his legate to restore to his sovereignty, were divided into seven provinces: (1) the district of Benevento; (2) the Campagna and Maremna; (3) the Patrimony of St Peter, bordered by the Tiber, the Paglia, the Flora and the Mediterranean Sea, to which had been added the county of Sabina, the land called Terra Arnulphorum (a mountainous district extending from Spoleto to the river Nera), and the towns and dioceses of Narni, Terni, Rieti, Amelia and Todi; (4) the duchy of Spoleto; (5) the March of Ancona, together with the districts of Urbino, Massa Trabarea and the territory of Sant' Agata; (6) Romagna; and (7) the city and county of Bologna.
The administration 1 of every province, with certain exceptions, was in the hands of a rector, 2 appointed by the Pope directly or through the intermediary of a legate. The Bull, announcing the appointment of a new holder of the office, laid down the precise limits of his authority, which might be reduced by former or subsequent privileges of exemption. When he took up office, the occasion was marked by the holding of an assembly, called a parlamento, where oaths of obedience were taken by prelates, delegates of churches and of chapters, nobles, castellans and representatives of the communes and lesser territories. A banquet was held at their expense.
The assembly met, normally at the place where the rector resided,
1 K.H. Schäfer has given a concise account of the administration of the Papal States, using material from the account-books of the treasurers, in Deutsche Ritter und Edelknechte in Italien to während des 14. Jahrhunderts, VOL. I, Paderborn 1909, pp. 16-44. See also C. Calisse, "' Costituzione del Patrimonio di San Pietro in Tuscia,'" A.S.R.S.P. , VOL. XV, 1892, pp. 5-70.
2 On 8 August 1318, Guillaume of Balaeto, archdeacon of Fréjus, combined the offices of rector of Benevento and of the Campagna. See Mollat, VOL. II, nos. 8322, 8327.
at irregular intervals as the necessity arose, usually in order to arrange for an equitable distribution of the extraordinary subsidies required to meet the expenses of war. The communes duly sent good men and true to represent them, the greater communes four, the lesser one or two. These discussed current affairs, undertook obligations and took cognisance of papal decisions. Letters of convocation, addressed to them by the rector, threatened defaulters with penalties.
There was no freedom of trade. The rector drew up a tariff of selling prices, and permitted or forbade exports. He minted a special coinage known as the papalino, bearing the Pope's effigy, and fixed its rate of exchange in relation to other currencies in circulation. The rector also saw to it that the property of the Holy See was maintained in good order, and opposed evictions. He had no right to make a grant of even the smallest piece of the demesne lands.
During the fourteenth century clergy were generally chosen as rectors. If the Holy See preferred a layman--as Clement VI did--a vicar-general was also appointed to deal with spiritual matters. Sometimes the rectors chose as assistants vice-rectors or vicars who governed parts of the province that were very distant or scattered. They also had counsellors.
A treasurer and vice-treasurer took care of financial administration. The Pope or the rector prescribed the actual payments. The revenues came from many sources: fines for murder, mortal injury, adultery, insults, riotous behaviour, disturbances of the sabbath; the cense, duties, taxes on hearths and horses; subsidies raised at Christmas, Easter and at certain other feasts from abbeys, convents, communes, castles and territories; tolls and dues of the seal; levies on the income of officials and banks; farms of castellanies and of real estate; profits from prisoners; legacies and inheritances; confiscation of goods; taxes for the maintenance of troops, etc.
A court of justice considered appeals, and consisted of two judges, one to judge laymen and the other clergy. In the March of Ancona, three tribunals operated, dealing respectively with criminal, civil and appeal cases. Clerks of the court kept records of the proceedings. Advocates or procurators fiscal defended the interests of the Holy See.
Outside the rectoral court, magistrates functioned in the name of the feudatories, of the communes or the castellans, but on the instructions of the rector, who always reserved to himself the right to intervene and to stop proceedings. In this way, different forms of jurisdiction were superimposed one on the other. It was the rector who had to settle conflicts arising between communes and feudatories, or any body possessing judicial authority. It was he, too, who had to deal with the execution of sentences, with perquisitions, confiscations and arrests.
A marshal had command of a body of horsemen and foot-soldiers, varying in number, and he had a constable at his orders. He carried out police duty.
A captain-general was in charge of the army. His troops consisted of feudal militia supplied by feudatories owing military service, and militia from the communes, recruited in proportion to the number of inhabitants. The communes provided their recruits with arms and victuals, shouldered the expense of constructing or repairing the walls of their cities, and undertook to guard the means of communication. Under Albornoz, they provided the money needed to pay the condottieri.
The fortresses scattered over the territory of the province were occupied by garrisons in command of castellans.
The organisation of the administrative framework was simple, and sufficed to ensure the smooth running of local interests. Like all mediaeval institutions, it left loopholes for arbitrary action, especially in judicial matters, though the subjects of the Holy See could appeal to the Pope against sentences imposed by the tribunals of the rectors. The Vatican registers show only too clearly how venal were the papal officials. During the pontificate of Clement V the Gascons, who held these offices, indulged in scandalous extortions and made themselves hated. John XXII and Benedict XII repressed such abuses by useful reforms and by appointing officials of greater integrity and capability. In the time of Urban V and Gregory XI, the treasurer, Angelo Tavernini, a native of Viterbo, amassed untold wealth--18,000 gold crowns in bullion--acquired fiefs, practised usury and ill-treated his debtors; in fact a riot broke out against him at Viterbo in 1374. Apart from this unfortunate incident, the situation in the Campagna and in the Patrimony of St Peter, which at the beginning of the fourteenth century had for long been deplorable, was greatly improved.
The Romans had taken advantage of the absence of the Papacy to extend their sphere of influence, and were drawing financial and material benefits from neighbouring territories. If citizens or countryfolk refused to obey these illicit demands, a cavalry attack soon made them see reason. 1 The rector of the Patrimony, Guitto Farnese, reckoned that in 1320 his receipts had fallen by half. He declared that those under his jurisdiction were reduced to such despair that, if their defence were not undertaken, they would be in total submission
1 A. de Bouard, Le Régime politique et les institutions de Rome au moyen âge ( 12521347), Paris 1920, pp. 175-6, 211-20, 308, 324-5.
to the Romans. 'Holy Church,' he concluded pessimistically, 'will in the end have no alternative.' 1 Fortunately towards the end of the pontificate of John XXII, the king of Naples, honoured by the title of Senator, succeeded in preventing the Romans from violating the rights of the Holy See. Indeed, before the arrival of Albornoz the position of the Papal States, from the administrative and financial point of view, was not bad, as is shown by the normal collection of taxes and revenues everywhere except in the March of Ancona. 2 The legate consequently allowed existing institutions to remain, and contented himself with minor improvements and modifications.
The situation in the political field was a confused one. Church lands were divided into two categories, according to whether they were immediately or mediately dependent. The first category consisted of all places not infeudated and free from all seignorial subjection; these were designated in the texts as manuales or in manu Ecclesie, and formed the domanium or demesne; the second was made up of all those that the Holy See had ceded as fiefs to barons, churches, monasteries or individuals, or in the form of conditional or long-term leases.
Conditions of tenure of lands directly subject to the Church varied greatly. Over some the Holy See exercised power that followed a feudal pattern; some communes enjoyed only a modified form of liberty, and could not choose their podestàs; others, such as Bologna, Ancona and Perugia, elected their own. Where the Church made the appointments, she granted them to suitable persons who were compelled by their oath of loyalty to give guarantees and to render an account of their administration when their letters of commission expired; or else she farmed them, putting them to auction and granting them under surety to the highest bidder. This farming had the advantage of avoiding any apparently feudal concessions; but its drawback was that the holder of the farm tended to try, to make the maximum profit and to bring pressure to bear on the inhabitants. 3
In no province of the ecclesiastical states did the rector have an easy task; he had to compel individuals, barons and communes to fulfil their duties, and to assure to them the enjoyment of their respective rights: he was in theory a factor for peace and cohesion. During the fourteenth century his authority was whittled down in many ways: by the jealously guarded independence of which the communes boasted; by the manifold privileges of exemption, with which the Holy See was far too lavish; by the infidelity of the
1 See A.S.R.S.P. VOL. XVIII, 1895, pp. 453-67.
2 See the balance-sheets, published by Schäfer, op. cit. VOL. I, pp. 16 - 44.
3 G. Ermini, "' Caratteri della sovranità temporale dei papi nei secoli XIII e XIV,'" Z.S.S.R.G.Kan. VOL. XXVII, 1938, pp. 315-47.
feudatories in carrying out their duties; and by the growth in some important cities of a tyrannical régime in the hands of barons or opportunist adventurers. The Italians had a fanatical hatred of foreigners. One of them wrote to Cardinal Giovanni Orsini in 1326: 'The French are of all men the worst; they hold everything in scorn save their own nation, and will have dealings with none save those willing to join them in committing folly.' 1 In a word, anarchy reigned throughout the Papal States.
To accept the office of legate to Italy was an heroic gesture. Albornoz left Avignon on 13 August 1353. The prospects were depressing, for the active troops at his disposal were inadequate and his financial resources meagre, at a time when the art of warfare had made great strides. Ballistics had progressed as a result of the use of firearms; iron bombards, mounted on wooden carriages and furnished with rammers, fired iron balls weighing up to five pounds, while the foot-soldiers had muskets and guns of a very rudimentary type with which they caused considerable casualties. Side-arms had also become much longer and constituted a more formidable means of attack. Engineers ( ingignerii ) directed sapping operations, the hurling of stone projectiles by means of complicated machinery, and the construction of wooden towers for attacking fortresses and beleaguered cities. The formation of the Great Companies was even more important: instead of forming bands of from twenty to a hundred men, the mercenaries grouped themselves under a single leader and thus gained cohesion and strength. Duke Werner of Urslingen, had as many as two thousand, three hundred and seventy-five horsemen and one hundred and twenty-five officers under his command, and spread terror wherever he went. The author of the Istorie pistolesi alleges that he had, written in letters of silver upon his coat, the motto Duca Guarnieri Signore della Gran Compagnia, nemico di Dio, di pietà e di misericordia. 2 The name of Fra Moriale was no less feared. (His real name was Montréal de Grasse and he came not from a family of the Rhineland but from that of the lord of Bar and was therefore a Provençal.) Although Albornoz himself had several Great Companies in his pay, and owed them many victories, he was in constant fear that they might desert or cease to give service when there was any delay in paying their wages. 3
Before beginning to fight against the usurpers of Church lands, the legate set to work to prevent any alliance among them, and to separate the powerful Giovanni Visconti from their faction. To this
1 H. Finke, Acta Aragonensia, VOL. I, Berlin 1908, no. 335.
2 Muratori, VOL. XI, col. 489.
3 Schäfer, op. cit. VOL. I, pp. 67-95.
end, he went to Milan. The archbishop received him with ceremony and promised to give all the help that was asked of him against his former allies: his considerable influence, subsidies and even troop reinforcements. He was master of Bologna, and for the moment it suited him to be on friendly terms with the Holy See. From Milan, Albornoz went to Parma, Piacenza and Pisa, where he was greeted enthusiastically. On 2 October, the Florentines, now reconciled with the Church, gave him five hundred cavalry, and the able condottiere Ugolino di Montemarte. On 11 October the people of Siena gave him one hundred more, and those of Perugia two hundred.
On 20 November, Albornoz entered the territory of the Patrimony of St Peter, which Giovanni di Vico, the prefect of Rome, 1. was trying to seize for himself. Deceitful and cunning, consumed by ambition, Giovanni had begun his restless career by murdering his brother Faziolo in 1338. He had been skilful in exploiting the discontent roused by the activities of papal officers, and pursued his plans of personal aggrandisement in a remarkably deliberate manner. He was de facto lord of Viterbo, and bought Vetralla from the Orsini in 1345 despite Clement VI's protests; he seized Bagnorea, Toscanella and Piansano and inflicted a crushing defeat on the rector, Bernard du Lac, in July 1346. He was temporarily weakened by the war waged upon him by Cola di Rienzo, and agreed, in 1348, to a peace lasting for three years. In November 1351 renewed hostilities broke out. Either by ruse or by force of arms, Giovanni di Vico became master of numerous localities: in August 1352 he entered Orvieto; in April 1353 he conquered the papal forces, and in June he captured the important towns of Corneto and Toscanella.
This fortunate conqueror regarded the legate's arrival as dangerous; he came to meet him outside the walls of Orvieto and promised to restore the cities he had conquered. Giovanni di Vico carried his deception to the point of appearing at Montefiascone and swearing to Albornoz the feudal oath of obedience to the Holy See. But the moment he realised how paltry were the reinforcements under the legate's command, he threw off the mask and reopened hostilities.
Despite their numerical inferiority, the papal armies began their campaign in December 1353. They seized Civitella d'Agliano on 20 December, but were unsuccessful in their siege of Orvieto and had to retreat, while the enemy carried out successful forays in the Church lands and reduced Montefiascone, where the legate had set up his headquarters, to a state of famine.
1 This was a purely honorary hereditary title, given to the members of the Ghibelline family of di Vico
This was one of the bitterest hours in the life of Albornoz. His sufferings 'crucified' him. He was so greatly afflicted by insomnia that he could not study, or even read. He tells us that prayer gave him renewed courage, and 'his sorrow turned to joy.' Innocent VI, who had been warned of his plight, sent sums of money which saved the situation by enabling him to engage new troops, and even to entice eight hundred mercenaries away from the enemy.
By 10 March 1354, Giordano Orsini, the rector of the Patrimony, had approached Orvieto at the head of a powerful army, and was investing the city that proved difficult to take. He seized the convent of San Lorenzo, which provided him with a firm base and made it easier for him to harry the enemy.
While the siege of Orvieto was in progress, the towns of Toscanella, Graffignano, Abbadia al Ponte, Montalto, and Canino yielded to the Church: Corneto alone resisted the assaults to which she was subjected during March and April 1354. On 21 May, reinforcements ten thousand strong were sent by the Romans and Viterbo was encircled. This town was protected by massive fortifications, and obstinately resisted attack. Even when they had stormed the walls, the assailants had to fight for each yard. After exhausting engagements lasting for a fortnight, Giovanni di Vico, who had sneaked into the town, was reduced to begging for peace.
The treaty was signed at Montefiascone on 5 June. It re-established the Church's suzerainty at Corneto and Viterbo, and declared Orvieto and Piansano to be also subject to the Holy See. Vetralla was to remain as a fief to Giovanni di Vico, provided that the Pope did not purchase it for 10,000 florins. The legate stopped all canonical proceedings against the vanquished di Vico and his supporters, and restored all his goods and rights that had been forfeited. But he and his brothers were compelled to make an oath of obedience to the Holy See, and his son Giambattista was handed over as a hostage. 1
The terms of the treaty were put into immediate effect: Albornoz arrived at Orvieto on 9 June and stayed there until 12 July, during which time he received the submission of the inhabitants. He reached Viterbo on 26 July, and laid the foundation-stone of the citadel which was to be the official residence of the rector of the Patrimony of St Peter. He succeeded in arranging that Giovanni di Vico, in return for the vicariate of Corneto, should not set foot in Viterbo for ten years.
Innocent VI did not approve of the treaty of Montefiascone; he had wished Giovanni di Vico to receive harsh treatment, and viewed with disfavour the granting to him of the vicariate of Corneto. Albornoz
1 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCLXVII.
considered that it would be dangerous to carry out the Pope's orders, and more politic to postpone the recapture of Corneto until later. It seemed to him much more important to bring peace to the Patrimony by summoning a solemn parliament at Montefiascone. On 30 September the barons swore an oath of fealty in the presence of the rector, Giordano Orsini, and undertook to fulfil the feudal obligations that they had hitherto transgressed. In a similar manner, the Church's rights in relation to the communes were defined in such a way as to obviate any future disputes. Albornoz, moreover, promulgated constitutions and ordinances which were completely recast in 1357. 1
The submission of Giovanni di Vico had unexpected repercussions in the Patrimony of St Peter, and gave his partisans matter for thought. The lords of Vitozzo resisted no longer. It is characteristic of the respect and confidence inspired by the legate, that Amelia, Narni, Terni and Rieti, which had for long defied the Church, begged him and the Pope as private individuals to accept their overlordship for life.
On 7 January 1355, well pleased with his good work, Albornoz left Orvieto and made his way to Foligno. In his skilful hands, the task of the pacification of the duchy of Spoleto was achieved without too much difficulty; now it only remained for him to deal with the lords of Romagna and of the March of Ancona.
In the Patrimony, his subordinates succeeded in restoring order. Corneto was occupied on 19 June 1355, and Civitacastellana capitulated in 1358. It is true that in the legate's absence, Giovanni di Vico began his treacherous activities once more, and constantly encouraged revolt among the lesser lords of the Patrimony. His death in September 1363 freed the Church from a constant source of anxiety, and eventually in 1366 the Brancaleoni, the last of the dissidents, submitted. 2
1 At the time of the parliament of Montefiascone, Albornoz had compiled a list of the rights and tides of the Roman Church in the Patrimony of St Peter, See P. Fabre, " Registrum curiae Patrimonii beati Petri in Tuscia,'" Mélanges, VOL. IX, 1889, pp. 298320.
2 We have drawn here on the excellent studies by M. Antonelli: "' Una relazione del vicario del Patrimonio a Giovanni XXII in Avignone,'" A.S.R.S.P. VOL. VVIII, 1895, PP. 447-67; "' Estratti dai registri del Patrimonio del secolo XIV,'" ibid. VOL. XLI, 1918, PP. 59-85; "' Vicende della dominazione pontificia nel Patrimonio di San Pietro in Tuscia della traslazione della sede alla restaurazione dell' Albornoz,'" ibid. VOLS. XXV, XXVI, 1903-04; "' La dominazione pontiticia nel Patrimonio sugli ultimi anni del periodo Avignonese,'" ibid. VOL. XXX, 1907, pp. 269-332, VOL XXXI, 1908, pp. 121-68, 315-55; "' I registri del tesoriere del Patrimonio Pietro d' Artois ( d' Artis )(1326-1331),'" ibid. VOL. XLVI, 1923, pp. 373-88; "' Di Angelo Tignosi vescovo di Viterbo e di una sua relazione al pontefice in Avignone,'" ibid. VOL. LI, 1928, pp. 1-14; "' Nuove ricerche per la storia del Patrimonio dal 1321 al 1341,'" ibid. VOL. LVIII, 1935, pp. 119-57; "' Nouzie umbre tratte dai registri del Patrimonio di San Pietro in Tuscia, Bolletino della R. Deputazione di storia patria per l '" Umbria, VOL. IX, 1903, pp. 381-98, 409-506; VOL. X, 1904, pp. 31-9.
Whilst Albornoz was subduing Giovanni di Vico, Innocent VI was not idle. Regular proceedings were begun against the Malatesta. This had the effect of annoying the Florentines, who would not be able to extend their influence in Tuscany any further if the Church became a strong territorial power in their immediate neighbourhood. In order to parry the blow aimed at the Malatesta, the Florentines intervened many times on their behalf. Innocent VI refused to be intimidated by their demands, or to grant any kind of pardon. On 4 July 1354, he summoned the Malatesta to appear at Avignon, and on 12 December excommunicated them for having ignored his summons. 1
Innocent VI dealt severely with the Malatesta in the hope that Charles IV, who had entered Italy and already reached Udine by 14 October 1354, would help him to restore the authority of the Church in her own States. His hopes proved vain. Charles IV's only purpose during his campaign in the peninsula was to sell at the highest possible price the title of imperial vicar to those who desired it, and liberty to the independent cities. His chief preoccupation was to balance his budget in advance. In the cruel words of Matteo Villani, he behaved like a cheapjack hastening to the fair. 2 After arranging a four months' armistice between the LombardVenetian league and the three Visconti, Bemabo, Galeazzo and Matteo -- their uncle Giovanni had died on 5 October -- Charles received the Iron Crown at the church of St Ambrose in Milan on 6 January 1355, and then took the Mediterranean coast road as far as Rome. He was solemnly crowned Emperor on 5 April by Cardinal Pierre Bertrand de Colombiers, and crossed the Alps again in haste, without giving any help to the Church. 3
Meanwhile Albornoz began by holding discussions with the lords of the March, with the object of isolating the Malatesta. He succeeded in winning over Gentile da Mogliano, the tyrant of Fermo, Ridolfo da Varano, Niccolò da Buscaretto, the Simonetti and the Ottoni. But the last-named, guessing his plan, and perceiving the danger that they were themselves incurring, persuaded Gentile da Mogliano to be false to the undertakings he had given to the legate, and were themselves reconciled with the Ordelaffi. Thus the coalition of barons that the cardinal had tried to break up by his diplomacy had in fact been strengthened and he had to have recourse to arms.
The campaign began in spring. During the military operations success alternated with defeat, and Galeotto Malatesta seemed to
1 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCLXXXIII.
2 Istorie florentine, Bk IV, ch. xxxix.
3 E. Werunsky, Der erste Römerzug Kaiser Karls IV. 1354-1355, Innsbruck 1878.
have the best of it. On 29 April 1355, the Papal cavalry under the command of Ridolfo da Varano made a surprise attack on the enemy camp, which was strongly entrenched near Paderno, and captured it after a violent battle. The capture of Galeotto Malatesta facilitated the invasion of the March: the siege of Rimini and the devastation caused in its outskirts frightened the prisoner and led him to agree, first to a truce on 2 June, and then, five days later, to a peacesettlement at Gubbio, where Albornoz was living. Galeotto gave back to the Church the territories he had usurped, and promised to pay tribute annually and to supply an armed contingent. In return, the sentence of excommunication was lifted, and he received for ten years the vicariate of Rimini, Pesaro, Fano and Fossombrone. 1
The rest of the March was speedily conquered. Fermo was taken on 12 June and its lord, Gentile da Mogliano, was convicted of treachery and punished by banishment and loss of goods. Shortly afterwards, the counts of Montefeltro offered their submission, and Ancona opened her gates to the forces of the legate, who ordered an impregnable fortress to be built there. Albornoz left Gubbio on 20 June and completed the pacification of the country at a parliament held at Fermo on 24 June. He made this town the seat of the court of the new rector, his kinsman Blasco Fernandez.
Once again the legate used the technique that had produced invaluable results in the Patrimony of St Peter. Instead of crushing the vanquished, he forgave them generously and bound them to the Church by real and profitable bonds. Galeotto Malatesta showed himself by no means ungrateful: he was promoted to the rank of gonfalonier in the papal army, and put his sword and military talents at the legate's disposal.
Only one tyrant offered any invincible resistance: Ordelaffi, lord of Cesena and Forli, renowned for his bravado and for his acts of brigandage and cruelty. In July 1355 he had succeeded in routing the legate's troops. Secretly encouraged by the Visconti, and supported by the Manfredi of Faenza, Ordelaffi proved so serious an obstacle that on 17 January 1356 the Pope had a crusade preached against him in Italy and Hungary. 2 The Pope's voice was heeded, and subsidies and reinforcements arrived in such profusion that Galeotto Malatesta was able to march against Cesena. The siege of the town began in May, but was interrupted in August as a result of military operations undertaken against the Great Companies whom the
1 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCCXXIV.
2 J. Wurm, Cardinal Albornoz, der zweite Begründer des Kirchenstaates, Paderborn 1892, pp. 117-21.
Visconti had surreptitiously taken into their pay. Ordelaffi took advantage of this respite to ravage the surroundings of Rimini. Towards the end of the year, on 20 November, the Manfredi treacherously deserted him and were reconciled with Albornoz. The campaign began again in the spring of 1357: in April simultaneous attacks were made on Cesena and Forli. In the absence of her husband, the intrepid Cià degli Ubaldini herself organised the defence of Cesena and rallied the spirits of the besieged citizens; but she was forced to capitulate on 21 June.
Just as the campaign was progressing favourably, it was brought to an abrupt end by the invasion of the March by bands of mercenaries intent on pillage and led by Count Conrad von Landau. Although the forces at his disposal were numerically superior to those of the German leader, the legate preferred to buy off the invaders, and on 5 September his representatives paid them 5,000 florins, on the condition that there should be no further attacks until 28 January following. 1 In this way the papal army had rid itself of a great source of anxiety, while reserving its forces for the assault on Forli.
At the court of Avignon, the emissaries of Bemabo Visconti, alarmed by the rapid succession of victories won by Albomoz, continually spread malicious gossip about him which was spitefully exploited by the cardinal's enemies, who were jealous of his success. The subjection of Bologna to Giovanni da Oleggio led to a suspicion that the Holy See would regard as obsolete the convention of 1352, 2 by which the vicariate of Bologna had been granted to the Visconti, and would simply decree the return of this city to the Roman Church. Accordingly, Milanese ambassadors had many times tried to persuade Innocent VI to allow their master to resume his authority at Bologna under the Pope's aegis. They pointed out that to prolong the siege of Forli at this moment, when the papal coffers were depleted, would gravely compromise the balancing of the budget of the Apostolic Camera. If their requests were favourably received, Milanese troops would immediately join the ranks of the papal army, and Francesco Ordelaffi would shortly be rendered powerless.
Albornoz, who had for long been well aware of Visconti's perfidy, took a course opposed to his suggestions, and set himself to separate the problems of Forli and of Bologna, which Visconti had combined to serve his own ends. He was determined not to decide the fate of Bologna until he had reduced Ordelaffi to submission. He realised
1 Schäfer, op. cit. VOL. I, p. 49.
2 See above, p. 124. that Bernabo would make little attempt to fulfil the undertakings the advantages of which had been so warmly commended to the Pope by Visconti's ambassadors. His agents had warned him that his adversary, far from intending to take sides against the lord of Forli, was secretly encouraging the latter to resist and that the offers made at Avignon were no more than pretence, deceit and barefaced lies.
But Innocent VI thought otherwise. He allowed himself to be deceived and ordered Albornoz to negotiate with Visconti for the cession of Bologna. The legate did not feel himself bound to comply with the orders he received from Avignon, nor could renewed entreaties from the Pope break his obstinate intention of ignoring them. Innocent VI yielded to the pressure put upon him by those who were jealous of the legate, and resolved to replace Albornoz by the abbot of Cluny, Androin de la Roche, newly returned from Germany where he had failed to persuade Charles IV to grant a faculty for the Holy See to levy a tenth on ecclesiastical property. On 17 March 1357, at Ancona, Albornoz received a curt note, dated 28 February, informing him of the imminent arrival of Androin, who would bring important instructions. 1
The fact that he had not yet received the official status of nuncio did not prevent the abbot of Cluny from behaving like one: he entered Milan with great pomp, and Bernabo Visconti showered every attention and honour upon him. At Bologna, naturally enough, he did not succeed in persuading Giovanni da Oleggio to hand over the city to the Church and was obliged to ask the archbishop to pronounce an interdict. On I April he met Albornoz at Faenza and revealed to him the purpose of his mission. 2
Convinced that to allow Bologna to become subject to Bernabo Visconti was a serious mistake, Cardinal Albornoz demanded to be recalled immediately for reasons of health. Innocent VI at once agreed, but begged him to postpone his departure until Forli had yielded. But Albornoz's pride had been hurt, and he insisted on an immediate recall. This reply filled the Pope with sudden apprehension. Androin's lack of success at Bologna and the tidings that war had again broken out with Ordelaffi had sufficed to change the mind of the Pope who was old and unstable of purpose. He now felt that no good would come of Albornoz's departure and, on 1 May, begged him to delay his return to Avignon until Androin de la Roche had fully acquainted himself with Italian affairs. Fearing that the legate
1 E. Filippini, "' La Prima Legazione del Cardinal Albornoz in Italia,'" Studi storici, VOL. V, 1896, p. 501, doc. XL.
2 Villani, Istorie fiorentine, Bk VII, ch. lvi.
might already have set off, the Pope despatched a Bull in great haste on 6 May, granting full powers to Androin. 1
The peoples of Italy were no less alarmed than the Pope at the prospect of Albornoz's departure. At the general assembly at Fano, which met from 29 April to 1 May 1357, the hope was expressed that he would agree to remain in Romagna until the following September. They placed so high a value on the legislative code, known as the Constitutiones Aegidianae 2 --which the legate had drawn up and which, apart from a few subsequent additions, was to govern the Papal States until 1816--that they were unwilling to have so wise a prelate leave them. Androin de la Roche himself, dismayed at the weight of responsibility on his shoulders, added his plea to those of his subjects, and Albornoz at length yielded to their common entreaties. All this was displeasing to Bernabo Visconti, who once again began his intrigues at the papal court. With characteristic cunning and lavish promises, he took advantage of the alarm which the Pope felt at the news that the Great Companies were approaching the walls of Avignon, and craftily suggested that if his views on Bologna received support, troops would be sent from Milan to defend the Pope. This was sufficient to cause a complete change in the Pope's unstable attitude, and he immediately sent word to Albornoz that he must have an interview with Bernabo.
This papal intervention was ill-timed. On 28 June, the legate had joined the league which Mantua and Ferrara had formed against Visconti as early as 1355. He flatly refused to accede to the wishes of Innocent VI, and determined to leave Italy, though not before he had vainly tried to make a surprise attack on Forli.
The attitude of Albornoz was enough to change the Pope's point of view once more and, filled with sudden alarm, he wrote to Albornoz asking him to reverse his decision. 3 But this letter from the Pope had no effect on the legate, who had already set out for Avignon, after
1 Filippini, op. cit. p. 507, doc. XLIII.
2 The Constitutiones Aegidianae are divided into six books. In the first Albornoz states the task he has set himself, and justifies it by reproducing the Bulls whereby Innocent VI granted him full powers in the Papal States. The second deals with the officials in these states; the third lays down regulations appropriate to Church lands. The fourth is a penal code and the fifth a code of civil law. The sixth book deals with rights of appeal.
The Constitutiones Aegidianae, originally intended for the March of Ancona, were extended by Sixtus IV, Leo X and Paul III to all the Papal States. They were revised in 1538, when jurists incorporated regulations promulgated by Popes and legates since the time of Albornoz. The first edition appeared in 1473 at Jesi and the second in 1481 at Perugia.
See F. Ermini, "' Gli ordinamenti politici ed amministrativi nelle Constitutiones Aegidianae,'" Rivista italiana per le scienze giuridiche, VOL. XV, 1893, pp. 69-84, 196-240; VOL. XVI, 1894, pp. 38-80, 215-47.
P. Sella, Costituzioni Egidiane dell' anno MCCCLVII, Rome 1912. A. Zonghi, Aegidianae Constitutiones Marchiae Anconitanae Perusii 1481, Fabriano 1907. 3 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCCXXX.
handing over all his authority to Androin de la Roche on 23 August 1357 at Bertinoro.
Until this date, the abbot of Cluny had been content to follow the directives of Albornoz, in accordance with the express instructions he had received. He was a simple and credulous man, with little knowledge of arms, and quite without any sense of diplomacy; he was faced with a much more able enemy, who combined cunning with valour. As soon as he took over the direction of affairs, everything was in jeopardy: as winter drew on, he was hard-pressed by the enemy and was obliged to raise the siege of Forli; when the war was renewed in April 1358 he was no more fortunate. Two forts, intended to cut off all communication between Ordelaffi and the outside world, were constructed, one between Forli and Faenza and the other at Ponte a Ronco, between Forli and Cesena, but they proved quite ineffective. An attack on the town, on 17 June, was so badly organised that it failed lamentably. Though Meldola was taken on 25 July after a siege lasting twenty-four days, this did not compensate for the reverses experienced by the papal army. In July Forli was entered by the company commanded by Count von Landau which had been hired by Ordelaffi to put out of action the forts which were causing him some inconvenience. In August German mercenaries approached from Tuscany and threatened to invade the March of Ancona. Androin de la Roche despatched troops against them, renewed his attempts to bribe them off and sent his agents to and fro to keep an eye on their progress. But the mercenaries crossed the passes in the Appenines and by September they had harvested the corn and the grapes, and had supplied Forli with victuals and fresh troops. Then, on some trivial pretext, the marquis d'Este and Giovanni da Oleggio recalled to their own standards the mercenaries who were fighting in the ranks of the papal army. Nor was the news from the Patrimony exactly reassuring. In short, in a few months the work so painfully accomplished by Albornoz seemed gravely compromised by the incompetence of Androin de la Roche. 1
At length Innocent VI realised how great a mistake he had made, and that there was only one man who could be sure of conquering
1 Matteo Villani ( op. cit. Bk VIII, ch. ciii) criticises him in severe terms: ' Esso abbate era huomo molle e poco pratico e sperto e sa nell' arme e sè nelle baratte, che richeggiono li stati e le signorie temporali . . . per tanto era poco ridottato e meno ubbidito, parendo loro che suo semplice governo poco atto fosse ad acquisto, e pericoloso a sostenere le terre che la Chiesa havea reconquistate nella Marca e nella Romagna. ' There were complaints from Italy about the administration of Androin de la Roche, who justified, his conduct of affairs in a memorandum published by me in Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France, VOL. II, 1911, pp. 391-403.
the Papal States: on 18 September 1358 Albornoz once more took up his duties as legate. 1 He left Avignon on 6 October, and was at Genoa on 5 November and Pisa on 13 November. Then he spent a month in Florence and arrived about 23 December in the March, where Androin de la Roche handed over to him the direction of affairs.
The bands of mercenaries under the commands of Conrad von Landau and Anechin von Bongartz were a source of great anxiety to the cardinal. 2 After fighting under the banner of the Church, they had now engaged in Ordelaffi's service. At one moment Albornoz thought of making terms with them; but the Florentines, for whom they constituted an equally serious threat, opposed this scheme, and gathered such an impressive force that the adventurers were intimidated and took themselves off to seek their fortune elsewhere. This move was fatal to Ordelaffi, who, left to his own resources, capitulated on 4 July 1359. The legate, following his favourite method, overlooked his crimes, and treated him with moderation, granting him the vicariate of Forlimpopoli and Castrocaro for ten years, in recompense for the loss of Forli.
In 1360 a unique opportunity arose to intervene at Bologna, where the vicariate had fallen to Giovanni da Oleggio. At the beginning of March, Niccolb Spinelli appeared at the court of Albornoz and suggested the restoration of the city to the Church, since his master, who had tried to become independent and had been driven to the last extremity by Bernabo Visconti, could no longer make any attempt to govern it. Without waiting to consult Innocent VI, the cardinal hastily accepted this offer, and granted Giovanni da Oleggio the vicariate of Fermo and the title of rector of the March of Ancona. On 17 March, the cardinal's nephew, Blasco Fernandez, entered Bologna and there took up the duties of rector. 3
Bernabo Visconti protested to the Pope, and did his utmost to have the legate's troops withdrawn. But despite the intrigues of his many partisans at Avignon, the reply he received caused him the greatest vexation. He was told that, since the annual tribute had not been paid as it should have been according to long-standing agreements, he had forfeited ipso facto all rights to Bologna, which in consequence reverted in the normal manner to the Church.
Bernabo Visconti, in a fit of rage, determined to have recourse to
1 E. Werunsky, Excerpta ex registris Clementis VI et Innocentii VI Summorum pontificum histariam S.R. Imperii sub regimine Karoli IV illustrantia, Innsbruck 1885, pp. 469-73. 2 Schäfer, op. cit. VOL. I, pp. 89-93.
3 L. Sighinolfi, La signoria di Giovanni da Oleggio in Bologna (1355-1369), Bologna 1905.
arms: he thought that victory seemed assured, since the legate had neither the troops nor the money to join battle and offer effective resistance. Innocent VI, once he realised the true situation, wrote urgently to the Emperor, to Louis of Hungary, to the cities of Italy and even to the king of England. Germany alone heeded his appeal; and even she sent only inadequate help. Moreover, Charles IV demanded a high price for his support. About the month of May 1359, he had asked for the abolition, or at least for a new version, of the Decretals Romani principes and Pastoralis cura, originally promulgated by Clement V. These Charles considered not so much an attack on the rights of the Empire as a blot on his grandfather's memory. The prince was also well aware that William of Ockham had used specious arguments to attack the validity of his election in 1346. That famous controversialist had claimed that since Henry VII had contravened the Apostolic Constitutions at the time of his expedition to Rome in 1313-14, he was tainted with heresy, and consequently his descendants to the third generation were disqualified from holding any office.
Innocent VI was loath to modify the text of two Constitutions that formed part of the Corpus juris. He was anxious, too, to have his revenge for the publication of the Golden Bull of 13 January 1356, which had settled the question of the vacancy of the Empire without consulting him; this was contrary to the doctrine professed by all his predecessors from the time of Clement V, since it set aside and passed over the papal court's claim to approve and confirm the election of the king of the Romans. He countered Charles IV's demand by a very polite plea of exception, with the excuse that so delicate a matter demanded a decision of the Consistory Court. 1 Towards the end of September 1360, the Emperor took advantage of the Pope's difficulties to renew this demand. This time the Pope yielded to his request in order to obtain military help; nevertheless he profited by the occasion to display all the resources of his legal knowledge: it was as former professor of Toulouse University and sometime juge-mage of the king of France for the region of Toulouse that he declared on 1 February 1361 that, though Henry VII had acted without consideration towards King Robert of Naples, he had none the less been an obedient son of the Church. Clement V had not wished to sully his memory in publishing the Constitutions Romani principes and Pastoralis cura, but only to affirm the rights of the Papacy. The Pope prudently passed over in silence the doctrine of the Church's supremacy over the Empire but did not hide his feelings about the
1 Monumenta Bohemiae, VOL. II, Prague 1907, p. 995.
two Decretals which he continued to regard as fundamentally decisive. 1 see also W. Schefler, Karl IV. und Innocenz VI. Beiträge zur Geschichte ihrer Beziehungen 1355-1360, Berlin 1912, pp. 143-6.
Meanwhile Bernabo Visconti was rapidly going into action. The province of Bologna was invaded. The leaders of the little papal army were resisting at Bologna with difficulty, but not without courage. To avoid, or at least to postpone, disaster negotiations were begun through the intermediary of Niccolò Acciajuoli. To the Pope's suggestion of granting to Bernabo an indemnity of 80,000-100,000 florins, that powerful noble merely replied, 'I want Bologna.' But Innocent persisted in his refusal, and hostilities broke out with renewed force.
Suddenly, in the middle of September, it was rumoured that the Hungarians were coming in great numbers to the aid of the Church. The Milanese army immediately lifted the blockade of Bologna, and abandoned its siege equipment. On 30 September 1360 seven thousand Hungarians were arrayed before the city walls. Their undisciplined hordes frightened the papal supporters who disbanded them having no money with which to pay them. Nevertheless, their timely arrival had caused the enemy to retire so that Albornoz was able to enter Bologna in triumph on 15 October and to reward Niccolò Acciajuoli with the title of rector. But the joy of the inhabitants was short-lived, for the Milanese army soon reappeared before their city walls. The legate did his utmost at the beginning of 1361 to prevent the enemy from receiving help from Aldobrandino, the marquis d'Este, by dazzling the latter with vague promises that he might eventually be granted the vicariate of Bologna. On 15 March he went to solicit the help of the king of Hungary; but the king was under pressure from Visconti's ambassadors, who were lavish with money and gifts, and would not agree to the proposed conditions. Bernabo, for his part, appealed to the arbitrament of the Emperor. The landgrave of Leuchtenberg, chosen as arbitrator by Charles IV, decreed that the war must cease before any equitable decision could be made, but Bernabo refused to obey. Indignant at this evidence of bad faith, the Emperor took away his title of imperial vicar, deprived him of all his privileges, and pronounced sentence of outlawry and banishment against him.
In the meantime a ruse conceived by Albornoz proved extremely successful. Profiting by the absence of Bernabo, he sent to Bileggio, the leader of the Milanese army, a messenger who claimed to have
1 F. M. Pelzel, Kaiser Karl IV., König in Böhmen, VOL. II, Prague 1781, no. 298;
come from Galeotto Malatesta, the commander of the papal forces. This messenger suggested that they should betray the cause of the Church and join together in a military operation in order to hand over Bologna to Visconti. Bileggio fell into the trap and divided his forces on the supposed advice of Malatesta. After a crushing defeat at the bridge of Rosillo on 16 June 1361, he hastily retired into the Milanese district. This victory cost the life of the brave Blasco Fernandez, but it had at least saved Bologna.
But it was to be expected that the enemy would return. On 16 April 1362, Albornoz succeeded in meeting this threat by contracting a defensive and offensive alliance against Bernabo with the della Scala, and the Estense and with Francesco da Carrara. After this the campaign began again in the Bolognese district, with some success on both sides. It was, however, interrupted for a time by the death of Innocent VI on 12 September.
The very day after he was crowned-- 7 November 1362--Urban V hastened to confirm Albornoz's authority. 1 In spite of his gentle disposition, the Pope did not hesitate to summon Bernabo Visconti to appear at Avignon on 28 November. 2 Ambassadors from Milan came to present their respectful homage to the Pope on the occasion of his elevation to the pontifical throne. French plenipotentiaries joined them to discuss in general terms ( in genere ) the possibility of peace. 'Knowing the usual knavery of the Milanese,' wrote Urban to Albornoz on 1 February 1363, 'we replied that we would only enter into negotiations if the castles of the Bolognese district were first restored to the Church, and the molestation of the clergy and their property discontinued.' 3 As Bernabo Visconti did not fulfil the two conditions submitted to his ambassadors, the Supreme Pontiff condemned him for heresy on 3 March, in an open meeting of the Consistory Court and, since he 'despaired of his conversion,' launched a crusade against 'this perfidious and most cruel enemy' and urged the Estense, the della Scala and Francesco da Carrara to fight against him. 4 On 4 May, a Bull forbade 'All dealings, direct or indirect, hidden or public,' with the excommunicate Bernabo; it was forbidden for anyone to provide him with 'troops, grain, wine. victuals, cloth, wood, iron, arms, horses, ships, merchandise of any sort, or money.' 5
In this way Urban V repeated the series of measures formerly
1 A. Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCLXVIII. See also Lecacheux, VOL. I, Paris 1902, no. 126.
2 Theiner, op. cit. VOL II, doc. CCCLXIX.
3 Lecacheux, VOL. I, no. 194.
4 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCCLXXV, CCCLXXVIII; see also Lecacheux, VOL. I, nos. 223-6.
5 Lecacheux, VOL. I, no. 414.
adopted by John XXII against Matteo Visconti. He set out in detail the accusations of heresy, basing his allegations on the fact that since Visconti had not replied when summoned to appear by Innocent VI and himself, he was guilty of contumacy, and had, moreover, for a year and more made no secret of his contempt for the various sentences of excommunication pronounced against him. 1 But the 'evil-doer'--for it was thus that the Pope described him 2 --remained quite unmoved. After the defeat inflicted on him by the members of the coalition at Solarolo on 5 April, he pretended to talk peace but at the same time played an underhand trick on Francesco da Carrara by getting the Venetians to declare war on him over some disputed Paduan territories. 3 But he took fright when a crusading army from Germany, Poland, Austria and Hungary came to the help of the Church, before setting off for the East. Albornoz was preparing to crush his enemy, when a letter dated 26 November 1363 deprived him of all authority in northern Italy and transferred his powers to Androin de la Roche. 4
What had happened? The danger he was in had led Bernabo Visconti to think again. Ambassadors promised, in his name, to give back the castles in the Bolognese district, and that of Lugo in the diocese of Imola, and to destroy the forts which they held in the Modena area, in return for a sum of 32,000 gold florins; after this, peace would be signed. But he would only hand back his captures to a new legate, and only with him would he discuss a treaty. 5
So Urban V sacrificed the one man who might have completed the downfall of Visconti to what he believed to be right for the Church. To organise a crusade was his dearest hope and he had the chimerical scheme of sending the Great Companies to the East, and by so doing freeing France and Italy from their excesses. But the conquest of the Holy Land was only possible if peace reigned in Italy. To achieve this end he agreed in February 1364 to a humiliating treaty, which guaranteed to Bernabo Visconti an indemnity of 500,000 gold florins, on condition that he restored all his gains in Romagna and the district of Bologna.
Urban V could have tried to spare the feelings of Albornoz, but he was niggardly both of praise and of consolation, and merely bade him carry out his duty. Moreover, vexatious orders to Albornoz abounded: he was to dismiss his nephew, Gomez Albornoz, not because he had failed as rector of Bologna, but because he was
1 Lecacheux, VOL. I, no. 734.
2 Ibid. no. 557. (Letters sent to the king of France on 5 August 1363.)
3 Ibid. no. 547.
4 Ibid. no. 681.
5 Ibid. nos. 701-02, 724.
doubtless uncongenial to Bernabo Visconti; he was to hand over to Androin de la Roche all prisoners taken during the war; and he was continually reminded that he must observe the conditions of the peace-settlement, as though he were suspected of evading them. 1
Albornoz saw with sorrow the collapse of all the work he had so painfully accomplished, and asked for his recall through the intermediary of his faithful representative at the papal court, Niccolò Spinelli. This Urban V refused to grant, and instead made him legate to the kingdom of Naples on 13 April 1364. 2 Despite his reluctance to remain where he was, the cardinal did not take up his new appointment until August 1365; in the interval, he gave generous assistance to Androin de la Roche, so that the 'shameful treaty'--for so Matteo Villani describes it--with Bernabo Visconti was speedily put into effect. He also contended with the Companies, who were unemployed now that the war had ceased, reconciled Florence and Pisa and settled the dissensions that had arisen between the Romans and the inhabitants of Velletri. 3 Towards the end of 1364, his life was endangered by a serious illness brought on by his distress at the news that the Pope had taken further action against him: he was deprived of his legatine office in Romagna, and Petrocino Casalesco, archbishop of Ravenna, replaced him as vicar-general in temporal affairs. The ostensible reason for this was that the cardinal could not deal with the Church's interests simultaneously in Naples and in Romagna. 4 But the true explanation was quite different: it was that at Avignon the group of cardinals who heeded the malicious suggestions of Bernabo Visconti had accused Albornoz of having impeded the carrying out of the treaty of February 1364 in Romagna, of having contravened the Supreme Pontiff's orders as to the use of revenues from the Papal States, and even of having used them to his personal advantage.
Full of indignation, the legate again demanded to be recalled, declaring that he could not remain at his post while such accusations were being levelled at him, that he was hated by too many people and that he was old and must think of the repose of his soul. In these circumstances Urban V showed the nobility of his character: he called together the College of Cardinals and emphatically rebutted the malicious allegations that had been disseminated concerning his worthy and faithful servant. On 30 January 1365, he wrote an admirable letter to Albornoz, rallying his courage, praising his zeal in the
1 Ibid. nos. 707, 736, 982, 1003.
2 Ibid. no. 885.
3 Ibid. nos. 1070, 1110, 1250-2, 1485, 1486.
4 Ibid. nos. 1316, 1382, 1447, 1504.
Church's cause, pointing out that his presence in Italy was essential and begging him, in the name of holy obedience, to go to Naples. 1
The cardinal bowed respectfully to the wishes of the Holy Father, who had made a handsome apology: he left in August for the court of Queen Joanna. In January 1366 he was back in the Papal States without having achieved anything worthwhile. He had been received with great ceremony, but the queen's courtiers had proved so obstructive that not one of his orders was executed.
The whole of 1366 was taken up with negotiations. Italy was overrun by the Great Companies, the Companies of Sterz and of St George and the so-called White Company; they had not been disbanded, in spite of the ecclesiastical sanctions imposed on them by the Holy See. On 19 September 1366, Albornoz succeeded in forming a league against them, between the Church, the queen of Naples and the cities of Florence, Pisa, Siena, Arezzo and Cortona. It was thanks to Albornoz that peace was brought to the Papal States, so that the Supreme Pontiff could at last return to Rome. The death of Albornoz on 22 August 1367, brought about a complete change of attitude on the part of Urban V who, during the cardinal's lifetime, had constantly thwarted his skilful policy. Androin de la Roche contrived to muddle through the complexity of Italian politics so long as he had Albornoz at his elbow. After the cardinal's death, the abbot of Cluny, who was better fitted for devoutly singing matins in his cloister, gave immediate and repeated evidence of his incompetence. Too late the Pope realised how culpably indulgent he had been towards Bernabo Visconti; he dismissed his legate and replaced him by Anglic Grimoard. Androin at first refused to resign, but Urban V threatened to excommunicate him if he did not comply; whereupon he finally submitted.
Rome and the Papacy: Urban V's Return to Italy
The commune of Rome had achieved its independence in 1144. During the fourteenth century, its relations with the Papacy were affected by repercussions of contemporary events. In the hope, no doubt, of bringing Clement V back to the city, the Romans made him a senator for life; but he carried out his duties, indirectly, through chosen intermediaries. After Henry VII's expedition to Italy, the Pope, unable by himself to restore order to the city which had been
1 Lecacheux, VOL. I, no. 1535.
much disturbed by bloody street fighting between Guelphs and Ghibellines, delegated his authority on 14 March 1314, together with his office of imperial vicar-general during the interregnum, to King Robert of Naples. 1 But the title of captain-general of the Papal States did not increase that prince's reputation. Robert's authority was not sufficient to impose itself both on a turbulent nobility and upon the people. Violent brawls were constantly breaking out between the Orsini, Colonna, Caetani and Savelli. The situation grew worse when the populace, displeased that John XXII was continuing to evade the question of returning to their city, greeted Louis of Bavaria with transports of joy in 1328. But when six months had elapsed, the Romans realised their mistake, and having driven the Bavarian out with shouts and jeers, they humbly presented the Pope, in his private capacity, not only with the office of senator, but with 'the syndicate' (i.e. the control of the administrative tribunal whose members were called syndics and had the task of supervising municipal officers of all grades), the captaincy and the 'rectorate' of Rome, with permission to have third parties act for him. 2 The Pope subdelegated Robert of Naples on 15 March 1333: ibid. p. 328. When he received the same honours, 3 Benedict XII considered that he was strong enough not to have recourse to the good offices of the king of Naples, as his immediate predecessors had done: henceforth the municipal officials were directly appointed by the Holy See. Thus, on the ruins of the democratic régime set up in the twelfth century and organised in the thirteenth by Brancaleone degli Andalo, was established seignorial rule.
Liberty raised its head again in 1339, when the people drove out the papal senators and divided the rectorate between an Orsini and a Colonna. But Benedict XII annulled all the revolutionary acts they had formulated, and became even more authoritarian. It was a sign of the times that in 1340 the city militia was fighting under the banner of the Church. The capitulation of the Romans followed inevitably from their inability to remedy their unfortunate financial position and to provide their fellow-citizens with the means of livelihood. 4 Nevertheless, internal unrest continued; disturbances occurred more frequently; the tyranny of the lords became more intolerable, and their palaces became dens for bandits who attacked passers-by, stripped peasants and pilgrims of their goods and
1 J. Schwalm, Constitutiones et acta publica imperatorum et regum, Hanover 1906-11, VOL. IV, no. 1164.
2 A. de Bouard, Le Régime Politique et les Institutions de Rome au Moyen âge, 12521347, Paris 1920, p. 327. (Letters from John XXII dated 16 September 1332.)
3 A. Theiner, Codex Diplomaticus Dominii Temporalis Sanctae Sedis, VOL. II, doc. XLII.
4 De Bouard, op. cit. pp. 68, 165, 179, 185-6.
committed the worst acts of brigandage. In short, Rome was in a state of complete anarchy.
The plight of his fellow-citizens so moved a man of obscure birth, the son of an innkeeper and a laundress, that he determined to free his native city from the despotism of the nobles, and to restore order. We may well wonder whether he was a statesman or a fool, a hero or an impostor, a mountebank or a charlatan. Clement VI, while recognising his intellectual gifts, his powers of oratory and his skill in warfare, described him in November 1348 as 'a madman and insane,' suspect of schism and heresy, who had committed against Church, Emperor, nobles and common people a series of acts so impertinent and full of 'conceit' that 'never in the course of history have we read of such folly.' 1 The Pope was an orator himself, and may have been exaggerating. According to one of his latest biographers, 2 Cola di Rienzo was by no means unbalanced, but a precursor of modern times, a man who, unlike the humanists and artists of the Renaissance, formed opinions on the state, the church, society and human personality based on a mystic inner sense of renewal, which ultimately derived from a religious ideal and the cult of antiquity.
From Cola's correspondence, written in a vivid, incisive and pungent style, we undoubtedly gain the impression of a man inspired, absolutely convinced of his mission and the part he had to play. He declares that he acts only with the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, who directs him, comforts him in all he does and gives him invincible courage, that he may bring back to Rome her vanished splendours. So guided, he declares that no fear can appal him--the future was to give the lie to this--though the whole world, Christians, unbelieving Jews and pagans, should oppose him. His one dream is to die for the love of justice and the honour of God and the Church. 3 When he was solemnly given the insignia of a tribune, he ordered that five crowns of leaves and one of silver should each in turn be placed on his brow, to denote the gifts of the Holy Ghost. 4 Cola also had visions. Two days before the bloodthirsty fighting that took place on 20 November 1347 outside Rome, near the gate of San Lorenzo, Boniface VIII appeared to him, urged him to engage in battle against the Colonna and assured him of victory. 5
1 Speech made in Consistory on 17 November 1348; see K. Burdach, Vom Mittelalter zur Reformation. Forschungen zur Geschichte der deutschen Bildung, VOL. II, Berlin 1929, pt 5.
2 P. Piur, Cola di Rienzo. Darstellung seines Lebens und seines Geistes, Vienna 1931.
3 K. Burdach and P. Piur, Briefwechsel des Cola di Rienzo, Berlin 1912, pp. 47, 55.
4 Ibid. p. 130.
5 Ibid. p. 179.
The pious sentiments displayed by Cola di Rienzo and his belief that the Holy Ghost reigned within him were the result of his connections with that off-shoot of the Friars Minor who, calling themselves fraticelli, or Spirituals, proclaimed that the era of the Holy Ghost had come, and the age of the official church was over. Cola had let himself be carried away by the apocalyptic dreams of these aberrant monks, who were in love with a strange mysticism and passionate admirers of the ideas of Joachim of Flora. Yet he had no desire to practise the absolute poverty so vigorously professed by these visionaries: on the contrary, he lived in an atmosphere of dazzling luxury, calculated to impress the Romans who loved ostentation. His gifts of oratory, his resonant voice, attractive smile and fine presence won him the favour of the populace. Assiduous reading of Livy, Seneca, Cicero and Valerius Maximus, together with a knowledge of the monuments of the ancient world, had given him a lively admiration for classical Rome: he resolved to bring her to life again, and cherished the hope of creating an Italy freed from the Empire and from the temporal power of the Papacy. 1
There is something of the miracle in the rise to power of such a man. Sent by his compatriots on an embassy to Clement VI, Cola di Rienzo so impressed the Pope that the latter conferred on him the office of notary to the City Chamber, on 13 April 1344. 2 This office placed him in the limelight, and Rienzo increased his popularity by making virulent speeches against the nobility, and by having allegories painted on public monuments, thereby rousing public opinion to a frenzy. At the same time he was secretly preparing for the day of revolution by clandestine meetings which took place on the Aventine Hill.
A chance happening hastened the execution of his plans. Stefano Colonna, not realising the danger that threatened his party, had led the city militia outside the walls of Corneto to get provisions. Thanks to his absence revolution broke out, on 20 May 1347, in a strange manner, under the guise of a procession. An impressive cortège led Cola di Rienzo to the Capitol. There, before the populace who had been summoned by the tocsin, this skilful orator gave one of his most eloquent speeches and roused the enthusiasm of his hearers. Decrees were read out and submitted to the approval of the crowd, and were greeted with wild applause. By agreement with the Apostolic vicar, Raimond de Chameyrac, bishop of Orvieto, the overlordship of
1 There can be no doubt of this, as is shown by the memorandum addressed in 1350 to the archbishop of Prague. See ibid. p. 241.
2 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CXXXIX.
Rome was conferred on Rienzo; his authority was everywhere recognised, without a drop of blood having been shed. The Roman lords left the city in haste. Stefano Colonna, when he came back from Corneto, did not even try to launch an offensive.
The government of the new master of Rome began under the most favourable auspices. Justice and equity reigned; the reorganisation of the city militia was accomplished without conflict; the wise administration of finance and the suppression of crime succeeded in spreading well-being and security throughout the city.
Clement VI was alarmed by the revolution of 20 May 1347. The numerous letters which the tribune addressed to him, in which he unblushingly boasted of his almost divine mission, aroused the Pope's fears still more. In vain did Cola show himself increasingly respectful; 1 Clement was not to be deceived. He doubtless approved of the new constitution which the Roman people had established without his consent, 2 but he played his part cleverly: his correspondence shows that though he made skilful use of Cola di Rienzo to put down the tyranny of the prefect of Rome, Giovanni di Vico, and the influence of the nobility, he feared the authority that this same Rienzo had acquired, and was secretly undermining it by means of his lieutenants who had remained in Rome.
His victory over Giovanni di Vico in 1347 filled the tribune with pride. In his mad vanity he called himself 'Nicolas, by the authority of our most merciful Lord Jesus Christ, stern yet merciful tribune of liberty, peace and justice, liberator of the holy Roman republic.' The official acts were dated thus: 'Given at the Capitol, where we live with an upright heart, under the reign of justice,' or again, '. . . since justice has once more come down from heaven.' 3 Cola di Rienzo struck a new coinage, surrounded himself with regal splendour and harried the nobility. His ultimate object was to unite all the cities of Italy into a single state with Rome as its centre. To this end, he asked them to send him ambassadors.
On 1 August 1347, the delegates of twenty-five cities appeared before the tribune. Instead of discussing questions of Italian politics with them, he did nothing more than provide them with the spectacle of imposing ceremonies. A magnificent procession accompanied him to the baptistry of St John Lateran, where he bathed in the font where, according to legend, Constantine was baptised. This strange ceremony was not a sign of madness: Rienzo had conceived it as a
1 Burdach-Piur, op. cit. pp. 56, 147, 149.
2 J.-B. Christophe, Histoire de la papauté pendant le XIVe siècle, VOL. II, Paris 1853, pp. 473-7 (documents).
3 Burdach-Piur, op. cit. passim.
symbol of the rebirth that he hoped to bring about in Italy. Afterwards he had the arms of knighthood conferred upon himself, and, through a notary, published a series of extravagant decrees, which in their execution would have been injurious to the Holy See. Since Rome, he said, was once again possessed of world jurisdiction, all privileges contrary to this conception were annulled. He summoned Louis of Bavaria and Charles of Bohemia, as well as all the electors of the Empire, to appear before the tribune on the following Whitsunday 1 thereby openly questioning the election at Rense on 11 July 1346. To emphasise the full extent of his authority, Cola di Rienzo brandished a naked sword, and thrust it alternately in three different directions, shouting 'This is mine!' The Apostolic vicar, Raimond de Chameyrac, immediately perceived the serious implications of these gestures and protested, but the voice of the notary who read his hastily composed manifesto was drowned by the noise of trumpets. Moreover, the tribune made no secret of his future intentions, and told the papal representative that he would govern Rome without any help from him.
These events in Italy caused some anxiety at the papal court. Anxiety there was redoubled when it was learned that Cola di Rienzo had come to an understanding with the king of Hungary to drive the queen of Naples out of her states, and to place her kingdom, as well as the county of Provence, in subjection to the Roman people. On 12 October 1347, Clement VI sent orders to Bertrand de Déaulx, the legate in Italy, to go to Rome and persuade the tribune to give up these plans, which would be disastrous for the rights of the Church. If he refused, the cardinal was to excommunicate him, urge the Romans to reject his authority and put their city under an interdict. 2
Bertrand de Déaulx took up residence in the Vatican without delay and summoned Cola, who appeared before him clad in armour, with a silver crown on his head and a steel sceptre in his hand. 'You summoned me,' said the tribune arrogantly; 'what do you want of me?' The legate replied, 'I bring you instructions from our lord the Pope.' 'What are they?' asked Cola. Bertrand felt his courage fail, and was silent. Quite at ease, the tribune turned on his heel and walked away with a contemptuous smile. As for the timid cardinal, he fled with all haste to Montefiascone.
The Roman nobility, who had felt themselves ill-treated since the revolution of May 1347, had not been inactive: they were conspiring
1 F. Papencordt, Cola di Rienzo e il suo tempo, trans. T. Gar, Turin 1844, doc. PP. 7-9.
2 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CLXXXII.
3 Vita di Cola di Rienzo, ed. A. M. Ghisalberti, VOL. I, Florence 1928, ch. xxxii.
bring about the downfall of their enemy, and were stirring up public opinion against him. Cola di Rienzo felt that his authority was threatened; instead of acting prudently, he aroused the enmity of the people by his despotism, his luxurious way of life and his eccentric behaviour. Bertrand de Déaulx, plucking up courage again, declared him excommunicate and encouraged the count of Minervino to attempt a counter-revolution. On 15 December 1347, cries rang out, of 'Popolo! Popolo! Down with the tribune!' The bell of the Capitol was tolled. No-one came forward to defend the government. Cola di Rienzo feared that the populace was in revolt; he removed his insignia of power and retired within the walls of the castle of Sant' Angelo, from which he soon set out in the direction of Civith Vecchia. The nobles at once came back to Rome and Bertrand de Déaulx, who also reappeared, rescinded all the decrees of the fugitive leader, re-established the old form of government and appointed Luca Savelli and Bertoldo Orsini as senators.
As soon as the nobles returned to the city, disturbances broke out. The safety that had existed in the streets for several months rapidly disappeared. Internal dissension between noble families and their supporters broke out with unprecedented violence. Weary of the quarrels that caused daily bloodshed in their city, a group of Romans met on 26 December 1351 at Santa Maria Maggiore and decided to confer authority on a respected plebeian, Giovanni Cerroni by name, who was immediately summoned from his home and brought in triumph to the Capitol. The populace, flocking to the sound of the tocsin, ratified Cerroni's election without more ado. Thus a revolution was again accomplished, as it had been in May 1347, as though by magic, without the least opposition from the aristocracy and without bloodshed.
Clement VI, glad to be rid of the danger created for him by Cola di Rienzo's pretentions, confirmed Cerroni in his offices of senator and captain until Christmas 1353, and even made him a gift of 14,000 gold florins.
But Cerroni had no statesmanlike qualities. Though he brought peace to the Romans for a while, he lacked firmness and had no knowledge of the art of war. His prestige disappeared after a disastrous campaign against Giovanni di Vico, and he resigned in September 1352 and prudently withdrew to the Abruzzi.
Terrible disorder again broke out in Rome, and the streets ran with blood. The people rose against the nobility, whose constant turbulence was again disturbing the city, and, on 14 September 1353,
1 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCXXIII-CCXXV.
elected Francesco Baroncelli as 'second tribune and august consul.' Innocent VI had no liking for innovation, and decided to oppose Baroncelli with Cola di Rienzo, who was being held in semi-captivity on the first floor of the Tour de Trouillas at Avignon.
Since his fall from power, Cola di Rienzo had many times tried to regain control of Rome. The few seditious risings fomented by him had been easily suppressed. Pursued by the papal officers sent to arrest him, he fled into the Apennines, to Monte Majella, on whose precipitous slopes some of the fraticelli had taken refuge. There he lived for nearly two years with these aberrant friars and came under their influence, delighting to read the Oraculum angelicum, which had been drawn up in the thirteenth century by the followers of Joachim of Flora. 2 Fra Angelo, a pious hermit, revealed to Cola God's supposed intentions for him. The time, he said, was drawing near when the Holy Ghost would begin to reign in this world. Cola di Rienzo was the chosen one, destined to assist in the reform of the Church and to regenerate the world with the help of Charles IV 3 the Emperor. Rienzo lost no time in crossing the Alps and, disguised as a Franciscan, arrived without difficulty at Prague where the imperial court was residing. In July 1350, he appeared before Charles IV and warmly urged him to come over to Italy, begging that he himself might receive the title of imperial vicar of Rome. The Emperor asked to have his plan in writing, and Cola made out an elaborate statement full of the apocalyptic visions of the hermits of Monte Majella. The effect of this memorandum was to land Rienzo in gaol, and later Charles IV handed him over to the Pope, who in turn sent him to Cardinal Albornoz on 24 September 1353. The latter thought it unwise to allow Rienzo to return to Rome, where a rising had deposed Francesco Baroncelli, and only authorised him to come as far as Perugia.
In this city lived Brettone and Arimbaldo, the brothers of the condottiere known as Fra Moriale. Cola di Rienzo persuaded them to lend him money, which enabled him to hire five hundred mercenaries and to march on Rome, armed with the title of senator, which had been granted him by Albornoz. The expedition was successful, and he entered the city on 1 August 1354, amid the acclamations of the populace.
Their enthusiasm was short-lived. Instead of governing with wisdom and moderation, Cola di Rienzo behaved like a tyrant. The
1 Dr. Colombe, "'Nicolas Rienzi au palais des Papes d'Avignon,'" Mémoires de l'Académie de Vaucluse, VOL. XI, ser. 2, 1911, pp. 323-44.
2 Burdach-Piur, op. cit. VOL. II.
3 Ibid. VOL. I, pp. 193-7.
beheading of Fra Moriale, who had helped him to regain power, alienated public opinion, and a series of arbitrary arrests brought about his downfall. On 8 October 1354, the Roman populace made an assault on his palace in the Capitol and set it on fire. Cola di Rienzo escaped from the blaze and, disguised as a peasant, mingled with the throng. But he was recognised, seized and dragged off to the Lion's Cage, half-way up the staircase of the Capitol. Cecco del Vecchio thrust a sword into his heart, a notary cut off his head and the populace mutilated his corpse.
After the tragic end of Cola di Rienzo, the government was taken over by a council of thirteen citizens, although the Pope as a private individual had been granted the office of senator for life. But Albornoz intervened, forbade the introduction of a new régime and appointed Orso Andrea Orsini and Giovanni Tebaldi di Sant' Eustachio as senators. From this time, the Romans enjoyed an era of comparative peace. The legate's presence in Italy had the effect of subduing the aristocracy, who dared not stir up trouble as they had done in the past. Moreover, Innocent VI greatly reduced their influence by abolishing the custom by which, for more than a century, the dignity of senator had been especially reserved for the Roman nobles. From the autumn of 1358 only one senator was appointed and he was a non-Roman. The Pope hoped in this way to keep the Church lands intact from the depredations of the Roman militia which was again active. The people were willing to welcome these reforms, but set up an organisation known as 'The Seven,' reformers who took over the municipal government; thus they hoped to safeguard their independence and prevent the decay of democratic principles.
Ever since 1305 the Romans had constantly urged--at more or less frequent intervals--the return of the Papacy to their city. Major obstacles prevented Clement V and his successors from granting their wishes: apart from other reasons, the almost constant warfare in Italy was sufficient to explain their protracted stay in Avignon. When Albornoz had restored order in the Papal States and succeeded in overaweing the Roman nobility, everything conspired to invite the Pope to return to the banks of the Tiber. His presence was necessary to consolidate the peace so painfully achieved, for there was still a risk that Rome might fall prey to revolution. Innocent VI realised that a return should be made, but his age and infirmity made it impossible for him to attempt such a journey. 1 Urban V, on 23 May 1363, wrote to the senator and the people of Rome: 'As to our coming, we have expressed our inmost desire, in all sincerity, to your
1 Martène-Durand, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, VOL. II, Paris 1717, col. 946-7.
ambassadors. Weighty obstacles, which we have told them of, have prevented us from achieving it; let us hope that the Almighty will dispose of them.'
Foremost among the impediments which the Pope invoked, without mentioning them specifically, was undoubtedly the war against Bernabo Visconti, then at its height and depleting his financial resources. An overland journey would be dangerous, and the seavoyage could not be arranged overnight: to charter a fleet involved long and complex negotiations, while the problem of providing the transport necessary to bring sufficient supplies to Rome for the papal court was almost insoluble. The surrounding countryside had almost nothing to offer, and barrels of wine, cheese and salt fish (cod, herring and eels) had to be brought from France. Moreover, the palace of the Vatican was unfit for habitation: extensive repairs were needed to the roof; doors and windows were either missing or crumbling away. A team of carpenters, locksmiths, masons and marble-cutters had still not completed their task when the Pope did finally disembark at Corneto. Judging by the vast cost of the repairs --15,569 gold florins--the papal palace must have been in a lamentable state.
But the material difficulties were as nothing compared with the problem of overcoming the hostility of almost all the members of the Sacred College. We need not attach much importance to the slanders spread abroad by Petrarch, who depicts the cardinals as concerned at the prospect of no longer being able to enjoy the Beaune wines; 3 but it is true, nevertheless, that those who had lived in Avignon had little enthusiasm for leaving the charms of that country, the sunny skies of Provence, the green countryside of the Comtat-Venaissin and their luxurious dwellings, for a desolated land subject to miasma, an inclement climate, makeshift living quarters and a city that only a few years before had been given over to revolutionary disturbances. In vain had Petrarch disparaged Avignon which he described as 'unholy Babylon, Hell on earth, a sink of iniquity, the cess-pool of the world. There is neither faith, nor charity, nor religion, nor fear of God, nor shame, nor truth, nor holiness, albeit the residence within its walls of the Supreme Pontiff should have made of it a shrine and the very stronghold of religion. . . . Of all the cities I know, its stench is the
1 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CCCLXXXII.
2 J. P. Kirsch, Die Rückkehr der Päpste Urban V. und Gregor XI. von Avignon nach Rom, Paderborn 1898, pp. xii, xxix-xxx, 103-65.
3 See Rerum senilium, Bk IX, ch. i, in Opera omnia, Basle 1581, pp. 845-6. The papal court did set a high value on Beaune wine: the captain of an Italian vessel transported as many as sixty-five barrels from Aries to Corneto in 1367. See Kirsch, op. cit. p. 5.
worst. . . . What dishonour to see it suddenly become the capital of the world when it should be but the least of all cities.' 1 He even made use of a favourite image in fourteenth-century heretical circles and identified Avignon with the harlot of the Apocalypse, 'Arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls; having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and the filth of her fornication.'
But the cardinals enjoyed living on the banks of the Rhône, and despite the invectives of Petrarch preferred to be there, where their well-being was assured; many were under the influence of the king of France, Charles V, who disapproved of the departure of the Holy See; others lent a favourable ear to the suggestions of Bernabo Visconti, who also had no wish to see them go. 3 The Emperor thought otherwise: after coming to an agreement with Giovanni Visconti in February 1364, he suggested that he himself might escort Urban V to Italy. The Pope politely declined the offer; 4 he followed the example of his predecessors in not caring to accept a patronage that might prove compromising, or to support an expedition to the peninsula which, as the Florentines had repeatedly warned him, was sure 'To give rise to unheard-of doings, unfortunate incidents and wrongful acts.' 5 Furthermore, the moment was not propitious, for the Great Companies were infesting the Patrimony of St Peter and the Campagna. Charles IV took the matter up again when he made a short stay in Avignon from 23 May until 9 June 1365. Painstaking discussions were held and resulted in a practical decision: soldiers were to be sent to attack the Turks who had seized Adrianople; it was hoped that Louis I of Hungary would supply provisions for the troops. 6 This proposition was very congenial to Urban V, for the emperor of Constantinople, John V Palaeologus, had recently declared his intention of reconciling the orthodox church with the Papacy, believing that the West would help him to withstand the Turkish danger. If the Latin and Greek Churches were to be united -- and this would be no easy matter from the theological and liturgical points of view -- then the Holy See must be at Rome. Urban V realised this. The first preparations for the return to Italy were made
1 De Sade, Mémoires pour la vie de François Pétrarque, VOL. I, Amsterdam 1764, pp. 25-7.
2 Epistle XVI (no title) in the Basle edition, p. 729.
3 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CDXVII, CDXXI. (Letters of the Pope written with the object of appeasing the wrath of Bernabo Visconti after the Pope's departure had been announced.)
4 Rinaldi, ad annum 1364, §II.
5 Davidsohn, "'Tre orazioni di Lapo da Castiglionchio, ambasciatore fiorentino a Papa Urbano V e curia curia in Avignone,'" Archivio storico italiano, ser. 5, 1920, p. 229.
6 G. Wenzel, Monumenta Hungariae, Acta extera, VOL. II, no. 472. See also Lecacheux, VOL. I, no. 1849.
in the autumn: a Bull of 10 September 1365 gave orders to repair the Vatican palace, and another on 13 November to lay out the adjacent gardens as vineyards and orchards.
In the month of June 1366, the Pope informed the cardinals, the Emperor, Bernabo Visconti, the Romans and the king of France of his irrevocable decision to leave Avignon. 2 The Florentines did all they could to keep him to his resolution. Lapo da Castiglionchio, speaking in their name in full Consistory, made a speech that was both eloquent and florid, saying, 'Rome summons her spouse who will also be her saviour; Italy hopes to prostrate herself at your feet. . . . Do not allow yourself to be detained by anxiety about events beyond the Alps or by the sweetness of your native soil. Think rather of Italy, bereaved by the absence of the Supreme Pontiff. . . . Put aside all private affection. Arm yourself with justice; let the divine will inspire you; think how you may reform the world and the Roman Church. . . . You will see how people and princes come to greet you. . . . You will hear rising to the upper air the shouts of those who applaud and encourage you. The golden age will come again, and erstwhile happiness be born anew.' After describing the marvels lying hid in Christian Rome, the Florentine envoy ended on a solemn note: he warned Urban V that if the Pope continued to absent himself, the Roman Church would lose Romagna, the March of Ancona, the Patrimony of St Peter, the duchy of Spoleto and others of her lands.
In Paris, the royal court, dismayed at the news from Avignon, made one last effort to keep the Papacy within its grasp. A solemn embassy came to the Curia about the end of April 1367. It consisted of the count of Étampes; of the chancellor of Dauphiné, Guillaume de Dormans; of the major-domo of the royal palace, Pierre de Villiers; of the lord of Vinay and of several others. Ancel Choquart, master of the Court of Requests to Charles V, read a turgid speech to the Pope, thick with quotations from biblical, juridical and classical sources in the scholastic manner, setting forth the reasons against his departure for Rome. The author recounted an imaginary dialogue between the Pope and his devoted son Charles. 'Lord, where goest thou?' asked the son. 'To Rome,' replied the father. 'There thou wilt be crucified,' concluded the son, who then respectfully showed him the risks he would run. A peremptory argument closed the speech: 'Ought you not, most Holy Father, to think especially of
1 Kirsch, op. cit. p. 265. See also Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CDVIII. 2 Theiner, op. cit. VOL. II, doc. CDXIII-CDXIX.
3 Davidsohn, in the article quoted, pp. 240-6 (text of the speech).
settling the disputes in every part of France, and bringing peace to those in whose midst you have been living, lest you be like the hireling who "seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep and fleeth," since he cares so little for the sheep entrusted to him?'
But Urban V remained unshaken in his resolve: he left Avignon on Friday, 30 April 1367, and reached Viterbo on 9 June. There he was to remain during the heat of summer in the fortress that Albornoz had built, waiting for the repairs to the Vatican palace to be, if not complete, at least sufficiently advanced for him to live there.
Urban V's arrival at Viterbo caused universal rejoicing in Italy. 'Nobles, magnates, prelates and delegates from the communes' came to pay him homage. But relations between the citizens of Viterbo and the people of the court deteriorated on 5 September. The cardinals' servants polluted the water of the Gruffols fountain, and this caused fighting and bloodshed. The people rose in arms, stretched chains across the streets, and seditious cries rang out, of 'Death to the Church! Long live the people!' Some rioters made their way into the lodging of Cardinal Guglielmo Bragose, killed a major-domo and a servant, threatened the cardinal's life and forced him to hand over his red hat and to pay a ransom of 300 francs. Étienne Aubert escaped secretly from his house, and disguised first as an Augustinian and then as a Dominican, succeeded in taking refuge in the papal citadel, which was besieged for two days. Fortunately help arrived from Rome and quelled the tumult. Gibbets were set up opposite the mansions that had been attacked, and there seven of the worst offenders were hanged.
Urban V thought that this augured ill for the future, and began to say that tribulation was in store for the Church. The ultramontane party also exploited this incident, pointing out that Italy did not provide a safe shelter for the Papacy. Petrarch, stung to the quick, declared that the Viterbo riot was nothing but a motiuncula, a skirmish of very little importance.
When Urban V resolved to leave Viterbo, his escort was made up of two thousand men-at-arms led by Niccollò, the marquis d'Este, the count of Savoy, Ridolfo da Varano and the Malatesta. The exclusion of foreigners made it clear that his entry into Rome on 16 October was that of an Italian prince. Whether or no the Romans appreciated this papal gesture, their joy knew no bounds. Public and religious life took on a new intensity, with magnificent processions through the
1 This speech has been printed by Du Boulay, Historia universitatis Parisiensis, VOL. IV, Paris 1673, p. 396, under the name of Nicolas Oresme.
2 Baluze, Vitae, ed. Mollat, VOL. I, pp. 364, 388, 409; VOL. IV, p. 132.
3 Opera, p. 853. The reference occurs in a reply to Jean de Hesdin; see also p. 1063.
streets, brilliant feasts to welcome the queen of Naples and the king of Cyprus (in Lent 1368), churches restored and abuses hitherto rampant now put down. 1 The humanist Coluccio Salutati wrote enthusiastically to Petrarch: 'If you were at Rome you would see ruined temples rise again by ceaseless toil, and I know you would rejoice. Your piety of soul would bless him who had rebuilt the Lateran, restored St Peter's and roused the whole city.'
When the Pope, to escape the summer's heat, went to the castle of Montefiascone, the Romans began to be alarmed. Their anxiety increased when, on 22 September 1368, only one Roman, Francesco Tebaldeschi, was elevated to the cardinalate, as compared with six Frenchmen and one Englishman. Neither Urban's return to the city, nor the crowning of the empress, nor the recantation of John V Palaeologus allayed their fears. Their ill-humour prompted them to injudicious action. Whilst Francesco di Vico was renewing hostilities against the Church in the Patrimony, the Romans made common cause with the people of Perugia, who had driven the papal legate from their city in the spring of 1370. Perugia even had the audacity to hire the mercenary bands of the condottiere John Hawkwood and to send them to attack Viterbo, whither the Pope had retreated. Even when Hawkwood yielded, the situation remained much the same, for Bernabo Visconti, who was anxious for the Pope to leave, had hired mercenaries in Tuscany. It seemed certain that the Patrimony of St Peter must shortly be invaded. There was no help to be had from the Emperor or the king of Hungary.
Perhaps the unrest among his subjects had an unfortunate influence upon the Pope: or perhaps he obeyed the suggestions of 'whisperers' who made no attempt to disguise their opinion of those subjects. In any case, the strong animosity between Italians and French led them into venomous abuse of each other. Petrarch in his Apologia, acting as spokesman for his compatriots, describes the ultramontane party as haughty, flighty and barbarous (in other words ignorant, brutal, cruel and stupid), as gluttons and drunkards, braggarts and liars. The French rebutted these insults and defended themselves with equal liveliness and spirit. 3 Urban V may well have regretted leaving his own country where he was universally liked, and have desired to return, and so be rid of the discord that surrounded him in Italy. It is very likely that he felt unsafe in Rome, for the news of his departure, at the beginning of October 1369, was given from
1 Baluze, op. cit. VOL. IV, pp. 132-3.
2 Epistolario, ed. Fr. Novati, Rome 1891, p. 61.
3 H. Cochin, "'La grande controverse de Rome et d'Avignon au XIVe siècle,'" Études italiennes, VOL. III, 1921, p. 13.
Viterbo where he was protected by a solid fortress. The Pope declared that he was ready 'to work with all his might' to bring to an end the war which had broken out again between the kings of France and England, and to go wherever this might most easily be achieved.
The Romans begged Urban V to reconsider a decision that was painful to them. To their ambassadors he said, on 22 May 1370: 'My sons, you are welcome. The Holy Ghost brought me to this region; now He takes me to other regions for the honour of the Church. If I am not with you in body, I shall be there in spirit.' 2 An official document dated 26 June begins by praising the Romans, but ends with a discreet reference to their recent aberrations and their intrigues with the Perugians. Urban V asked them to continue in their virtuous frame of mind, 'So that, if we or our successors decide for adequate reasons to return to Rome, we be not deterred by any troubles that may exist there.'
Peter of Aragon, the Franciscan of royal blood, and Bridget of Sweden both did their utmost to persaude the Papacy to remain in Italy. 4 But the misfortunes they foretold had no influence on Urban, and at the end of September 1370 the court entered Avignon with great pomp.
There was bitter disappointment throughout Italy. Petrarch spoke in his country's name, saying, 'Yes, I am bound to confess that I had borne many evil sons. . . . I was wounded with mortal sores; you came to me to bathe my wounds; . . . and began to pour in oil and wine. And then, before my wounds were bound up or the balm had touched them, you left me! You had begun to cut away the rotten flesh with steel, and then, cutting deeper, you perhaps found parts that might have been healed.' 5
The Final Return of the Holy See to Rome and the War of the Otto Santi
With Urban V's return to Avignon it seemed as though the Holy See were likely to remain for ever on the banks of the Rhône. His successor was elected on 29 December 1370; according to Coluccio Salutati, 6 he combined intellectual culture with many rare qualities:
1 Baluze, op. cit. VOL. I, pp. 374-5.
2 Ibid. VOL. IV, p. 136.
3 Rinaldi, ad annum 1370, §19.
5 H. Cochin in the article quoted, p. 12.
6 Epistolario, ed. F. Novati, VOL. I, Rome 1891, p. 143.
prudence, circumspection, piety, goodness; a friendly manner, an upright character, a mind always consistent in word and deed. But would his sickly temperament and delicate constitution make him unlikely to show energy and a spirit of determination? Would this subtle diplomat and past-master of prevarication have the courage to venture into Italy? But Gregory XI dashed the hopes of the Limousins who wanted to stay in Provence. As he wrote to Edward III of England: 'Since we were first elevated to the supreme pontificate, we have always had a heart-felt desire, which constantly remains with us, to visit the Holy City, chief seat of our authority, and there and in the surrounding countryside to set up our dwelling and that of our apostolic court.' 1 For various reasons an early departure was desirable. After the death of Albornoz, Urban V and Gregory XI had scrupulously pursued the policy of that great statesman. They followed his example in keeping the nobles friendly by granting them vicariates or fiefs, on condition, in the latter case, that they did not build any fortresses or restore those that had been damaged or destroyed; on the other hand, in the Patrimony of St Peter they built citadels at Corneto, Montalto, Norchia and Canale. The chief communes were given papal vicars, who had express instructions to conform to local regulations and not to impose any tax or law without the consent of delegates of the communes. Jealouslyguarded privileges softened the rigours of the sovereign's acts, and exemptions from rectoral authority led to easier settlements in litigation. Thus the bonds that kept lords and communes subject to the Holy See were strengthened. As the system of government by vicars extended, the Papal States came to resemble an Italian monarchy, and served as a rallying point for the towns and lordships of the peninsula, against the threat of Bernabo Visconti's ambition. If he were not to lose his supremacy and the benefit of Albornoz's conquests, the Pope must move to Italy and govern his subjects directly. 2
Moreover, the restoration of the Papal monarchy had inevitably caused anxiety in Siena, Pisa and Florence. Gregory XI protested that his intentions were peaceful, and denied any attempt to increase his hold on Tuscany, but the Florentines remained jealous of the Church. The slightest movement of papal troops in the area around Tuscany caused them lively apprehension, and they regarded the occupation of Perugia in 1371 by Cardinal Pierre d'Estaing as a sure sign of plans for further conquest. When Géraud du Puy, abbot of
1 Delachenal, Histoire de Charles V, VOL. III, Paris, p. 589.
2 M. Antonelli, "' La Dominazione Pontificia nel Patrimonio negli ultimi venti anni del Periodo Avignonese,'" A.S.R.S.P. VOL. XXX, 1907, pp. 269-332; VOL. XXXI, 1908, pp. 121-168, 315-55.
Marmoutier, ruled the city as vicar, Florence was even more alarmed, for she feared the energy and warlike qualities of the Holy See's representative, and believed--or pretended to believe--that she was likely to be doubly attacked, from Bologna in the north and Perugia in the south. The powerful republic coveted Tuscany, and was angry to see the continued extension of the Holy See's zone of influence; she feared that she might suffer the fate of Perugia.
Gregory XI saw clearly where his duty lay: on 9 May 1372 he informed the cardinals in Consistory that he intended to return 'very shortly' to Rome. 1 The extreme delay in carrying his plans into execution is due not so much to his alleged weakness of character or natural indecision, as to obstacles that arose perforce out of the circumstances. The coffers of the treasury were empty. While he waited for the arrival of subsidies from the bishops, 2 the Pope ordered the Camerarius to arrange a loan of 50,000 gold florins, for which his jewels were to be the security. 3 He had to hire mercenaries in order to finish the campaign against Bernabo Visconti in Piedmont. Florence did not join the league that Gregory XI strove to form in 1371-2 with Count Amadeus VI of Savoy, the marquis of Montferrat, Niccolb d' Este, the lords of Carrara, the queen of Naples and the king of Hungary. In 1373, Giovanni Albergotti, the bishop of Arezzo, succeeded in leading the army of the Church to victory at Pesaro and Chiesa, in seizing Vercelli and in forcing Ossola, Pianello, Piacenza and Pavia to yield. 4
Encouraged by these successes in Piedmont, the Pope announced his departure to the kings of England, Aragon, Castile, Navarre, Portugal and France. 5 'The welfare of the Christian faith, the interests of our spouse, the Roman Church, the state of papal territory and the public weal,' he wrote, 'all press us to return to holy Rome.' Autumn seemed the best time for the journey.
On 6 September 1374, the date for setting out had not yet been settled, but the cardinal of Sant' Eustachio stated that it shortly would be. Avignon at that time presented an unusual spectacle, as preparations for departure were seen on every hand. Cristoforo da Piacenza told Luigi da Gonzaga of the comings and goings of ambassadors, messengers and men-at-arms. Some time before, the
1 "Despatch sent from Cristoforo da Piacenza to Luigi Gonzaga", in Archivio storico italiano, ser. 5, VOL. XLIII, 1909, p. 41.
2 L. Mirot, Lettres secrètes et curiales de Grégoire XI, VOL. 1, nos. 1083, 1086-8, 10931094, 1100-19, 1160, 1175-7, 1248, 1472-7, 1824-32, 1940, 1941.
3 Ibid. no. 1393 ( 24 September 1373).
4 G. Romano, "' La guerra tra i Visconti e la Chiesa (1360-1376),'" Bolletino della Società pavese di storia patria, VOL. III, 1903, pp. 412-37.
5 Mirot, op. cit. nos. 1738-43.
Supreme Pontiff had said in Consistory: 'We shall never have done with the Milanese, if we do not cross into Italy'; now their plenipotentiaries had been driven out 'like dogs' and when they eventually were admitted in audience, Gregory himself informed them that a Crusade was to be preached against Bernabo Visconti. 1
Autumn went by without any definite developments. But far from abandoning his plans for departure, in February 1375 the Pope invited the Perugians to get ready accommodation for the court, and in March the inhabitants of Arezzo, Pisa, Florence, Siena and Genoa were told to assist Bertrand Raffin, clerk to the Apostolic Camera, to buy provisions. 2 On 5 June he sent word to the queen of Naples, asking that the six galleys 'generously' placed at his disposal should be sent to Marseilles on 1 September. 3 On 8 July this order was countermanded. That day, couriers had brought news that the kings of France and England had made a truce for a year and had agreed to begin negotiations for peace on 14 September, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. To his great 'annoyance,' the Pope was obliged temporarily to put off his departure, but only for 'a few days.' 4 On 28 July Gregory changed his mind again. He now thought that the whole winter should be spent in working out 'a peace most essential for all Christendom.' He proposed to set out in the following spring, 5 and told the Romans on 2 August 1375 that Charles V and Edward III had 'begged' him to ensure the success of their negotiations by staying in Avignon; he added: 'If we had been residing in Rome, we should have returned here.' 6
Other things besides politics were discussed at Bruges. A disquieting disagreement existed between the Papacy and England on the question of benefices and the 'anticlerical legislation' typified by the Statute of Provisors ( 1351) and that of Praemunire ( 1353). Moreover, when, in 1372, the Avignon court proclaimed a caritative subsidy at the rate of 100,000 florins, made necessary by the Italian wars, Edward III had forbidden his clergy to make any payment at a time when he was himself about to ask them for financial assistance. An embassy led by the bishop of Bangor had come to Avignon and protested with some acerbity against the papal tribunals' activities with regard to the English, and against the reservation of benefices, expectative graces and apostolic provisions. Concessions were made on both sides in December 1373, but it was agreed that discussions
1 Archivio storico italiano, ser. 5, VOL. XLIII, 1909, pp. 53-4 (despatches dated 5 June 1373 and 4 February 1374) and p. 56.
2 Mirot, op. cit. nos. 1801, 1833-9.
3 Ibid. no. 1911. (Letter dated 5 June 1375.)
4 Ibid. nos. 1932-5.
5 Ibid. no. 1939.
6 Ibid. no. 1942.
should be begun, at either Calais or Bruges, which, it was hoped, would arrive at a satisfactory agreement.
Negotiations proceeded slowly at Bruges during the years 1374 and 1375; the results were made public in six Bulls, dated 1 September 1375. These results, however, evidently appeared negligible to both Gregory XI and Edward III, since further attempts were made to reach an agreement in the last months of 1375 and in 1376, but were never implemented. 1
The Pope was detained in Avignon for perfectly adequate and legitimate reasons; but they did not impress the Romans. A rebellious spirit was at work among them, and in all the Church lands, especially at Corneto, Orvieto and Todi. Gregory was obliged to warn his subjects that this seditious spirit was bound to delay his return, and would mean that when he did come, he would have to chastise them. 2
It was not only in Rome that the news of the Pope's delay in returning was unfavourably received. General discontent grew in Italy. It was thought that Gregory XI was trying to avoid fulfilling his promises; the reasons he gave were regarded as mere subterfuges to escape the necessity of an enterprise distasteful to his court. Florence exploited the situation with some skill, in order to seize the offensive against the Church. She had been driven to action by the cessation of hostilities in Piedmont following the truce with Bernabo Visconti, signed on 4 June 1375. The republic feared the consequences of the Holy See's return to Rome and the renewed importance of that city. By a fresh outbreak of war she hoped that both would be made impossible. 3
Such inexcusable aggression had to be justified and coloured with some fallacious pretext. Florence unjustly accused the Pope's followers of having encouraged the formidable leader of the mercenaries, John Hawkwood, to invade her territory, and bitterly reproached Gregory XI with having hampered the export of corn from the Papal States at the expense of Florence. Coluccio Salutati ungraciously wrote: 'What had the Florentines done to the Church, that, at a time when they were stricken by famine, they were unable to trade in corn with the Church lands despite so many apostolic letters? It is a principle of imperial law that he who refuses food is guilty of killing. O inhuman cruelty, O cruel inhumanity! That of all peoples one, and that a staunch and Christian one, should be denied the food it
1 E. Perroy, L'Angleterre et le Grand Schisme d'Occident, Paris 1933, pp. 17-50.
2 Mirot, op. cit. nos. 1986-90. (Letters dated 2 and 3 November 1375.)
3 Mirot, "'La Question des blés dans la rupture entre Florence et le St.-Siège en 1375,'" Méanges, VOL. XVI, 1896, p. 187.
needs and was promised, while others, even foreign nations, receive supplies publicly and openly.' 1
Like the rest of his compatriots, this distinguished humanist was giving a tendentious explanation of Gregory XI's behaviour. Long before Florence had made her request, trade agreements had been reached with Marseilles, Pisa, Montpellier, Lucca and Rome, on condition that local resources allowed such trade to be carried on. This caused some alarm among the inhabitants of Romagna and the Patrimony of St Peter, lest their stocks became seriously depleted, and they protested violently. This led Géraud du Puy, vicar-general of the Patrimony, to forbid the export of grain, except to the Luccans and Romans. October 1374 was therefore a bad moment at which to ask for supplies of food. It was not Gregory XI who refused to grant them, however; Géraud du Puy, after several requests to satisfy the Florentines, was wrong in taking up a hostile attitude and so providing them with the grounds for a treacherous attack on the Church.
With equal disregard for truth, Florence alleged that Cardinal Guillaume de Noëllet, the legate in Romagna, had instigated the rebellion of Prato in 1375. 2
Florence showed rather more skill in exploiting the discontent caused by the administration of Church lands by papal officers. Whether these were Frenchmen or not, they had incurred the dislike of the Italians; the Limousins, whose birth, customs and language were all foreign, and so automatically suspect, if not hated, were arrogant in their dealings with subordinates, and abused their authority; the Augustinian Luigi Marsigli who had come under the influence of the fraticelli, described them as 'miserly, dissolute, importunate and shameless.' 3 It is only too true that many of these Frenchmen regarded Italy merely as a place where they could rapidly amass a fortune. Gregory XI did all he could to put right such abuses. The Vatican registers show many signs of his efforts; but they also prove how well-founded were the complaints of the populations of the Italian cities.
Florence took advantage of the general discontent caused by the misgovernment of the legates and rectors, to cause trouble in the Papal States. While making a hypocritical show of her feelings of veneration for the Pope, she brandished her red flag, on which the
1 "Epistolario", VOL. 1, p. 216, translated into French by Mirot in the article quoted above, p. 181.
2 A. Gherardi, "' Di un trattato per far ribellare al comune di Firenze la terra di Prato nell' anno 1375,'" Archivio storico italiano, ser. 3, VOL. X, pt. 1, pp. 3-26.
3 See the text published by E. Dupré-Theseider in I papi di Avignone e la questione Romana, Florence 1939, p. 180.
word 'Liberty' shone in letters of gold, and so caused the Italians to rise up against the French. 'Now is the time,' she proclaimed, 'to revive the liberty of old! . . . Let all peoples unite with Florence! Tyranny will vanish.' 1
The towns and villages of the Papal States, which had long resisted the intrigues of the Florentines, now rushed to join them. In October 1375 Orte and Narni were the first to join a league formed by the Florentines, and drove the papal officers from within their walls. In November, Città di Castello and Montefiascone rebelled. Francesco di Vico returned to Viterbo on 18 November and proclaimed himself its lord. The fortress to which the papal garrison had fled withstood a lengthy siege, but was taken by storm on 14 December and rased to the ground. On 7 December the Perugians had risen and compelled their vicar, Géraud du Puy, to flee. Finally, during the night of 19-20 March 1376, Bologna made herself independent. Thus within a short time, the Church had lost all her domains. 2
All the rebels formed themselves into a league which at first seemed powerful, but rapidly disintegrated. Certain cities were more frightened than attracted by the effrontery of Florence, and her attempts at negotiation with the Venetians, the Genoese and the Neapolitans came to nothing. The Emperor Charles IV and King Louis of Hungary refused to listen to the proposals of her ambassadors. Bernabo Visconti held aloof, though he might have joined the league. Even amongst its members there was hardly any unity. Once the restraint imposed by the officers of the Church was removed from the rival cities and factions, old quarrels were revived. Each tried to snatch some coveted piece of land from a neighbour.
Florence was placed under the ban of Christendom on 31 March 1376, a mortal blow for the league. In addition to the interdict upon the city, Gregory XI invited all European monarchs to expel Florentine merchants from their lands and to confiscate their property. All trade with them was forbidden.
Did the republic of Florence, threatened with complete ruin, ask Catherine of Siena about June 1376 to beg Gregory XI for mercy? Raymond of Capua tells us that the Eight 'summoned her to Florence' and 'having gone to meet her, asked and required her with many prayers to come to Avignon into the Pope's presence, there to treat for peace between them and him. She set out and came to Avignon
1 L. Mirot, La Politique pontificale et le retour du S.-Siège à Rome en 1376, Paris 1899, p. 48.
2 Antonelli, in the article quoted (see p. 161), pp. 121-68. See also O. Vancini, La Rivolta dei Bolognesi al Governo del Vicario della Chiesa (1376-1377), Bologna 1906, pp. 17 ff.
where I met with her. I was interpreter between her and the Supreme Pontiff, he speaking Latin, she Tuscan. I bear witness before God and man that this gentle Pontiff, in my presence, with me as intermediary, gave peace into this virgin's hands, saying, "So that thou mayest see that I desire peace, I place it simply in thy hands; but do not forget the honour of the Church." For the Florentines did not desire peace, but only to destroy the Church. When the ambassadors arrived, the Saint ran to meet them and offered them peace. They answered her that they had no authority to treat with her.' 1
This account by Raymond of Capua, of which the final version was written in 1395, can scarcely be accepted, despite its detail and precision. 2 It is difficult to see how the Eight, who were carefully guarded, could have had an interview with Catherine outside their city. If they did indeed entrust her with an official mission, how can one explain the silence of every contemporary source--narrative, diplomatic, documentary or epistolary. The scornful reply of the Florentine ambassadors is sufficient reason for rejecting this theory. Moreover, the Saint makes no allusion to this occasion in a letter dated 28 June, in which she gives a short account of her interview with the Pope. Even if we are to believe that she really used the words ascribed to her by her confessor, no doubt Gregory XI was speaking ironically in his reply. 3 He was far too well acquainted with the tortuous policy of the Florentines to entrust peace negotiations to a humble religious, whose orthodoxy must have been in some doubt, since a commission of bishops subjected her to an exacting interrogation.
It was now too late for conciliatory intervention. On 20 May 1376, Breton mercenaries, hired with great difficulty through skilful negotiations on the part of Cardinal Robert of Geneva, left the ComtatVenaissin, which was very glad to see them go. They amounted to as many as 10,000 men, under the command of Jean de Malestroit and Sylvestre Budes. The troops crossed the Alps and made their way into Lombardy, where Galeazzo Visconti greeted them as allies, supplied them with plentiful provisions, and, in order to give some satisfaction to the Florentines, tried to hire them for his own service; but the Bretons, faithful to their undertakings, were not enticed by alluring offers.
Florence was disappointed, and soon began to fear. She sounded
1 Legenda major, §421-2, translated into French by R. Fawtier, Ste Catherine de Sienne. Essai de critique des sources. Sources Hagiographiques, VOL. 1, Paris 1921, p. 172.
2 Fawtier, op. Cit. VOL. 1, pp. 173-80.
3 Revue d'Histoire de l'Eglise de France, 1940, p. 100. This suggestion comes from E. Jordan.
the alarm among her allies and called for help, whilst at the same time she put on a false appearance of confidence for the benefit of the Bolognese, who feared the worst and were unwilling to make peace. All efforts to snatch the Bretons and John Hawkwood, the leader of the English mercenaries, from the Church's service were unsuccessful. The enemy advanced, and soon appeared before the walls of Bologna. They had no hope of taking the city by storm, for it was well protected by high ramparts. The legate Robert of Geneva ordered the surrounding districts to be laid waste. Acts of the most horrifying pillage took place, together with killings, fires and wholesale destruction. It was thought that the consequent shortage of food would produce famine in Bologna, and that this would drive her to desert the Florentine league. But they met with stubborn resistance, for the besieged city was waiting for help to be brought by the count von Landau and Ridolfo da Varano. Their courage was restored, too, by a minor victory at the beginning of July on the banks of the Panaro.
At this point, Robert of Geneva, realising that his army was inferior in numbers, tried to combine the Breton troops with those of Hawkwood, so that they could closely invest Bologna. But the English leader, though nominally in the Church's employ and appointed by the Church, refused to leave Faenza, which belonged to him. He was unwilling to break the truce that he had recently made with Bologna, and was proposing to have an interview with the marquis d'Este about the sale of Faenza.
The legate then hoped to take Bologna by a trick: a plot, hatched by the Maltraversi faction in collusion with the marquis d'Este almost succeeded, but was discovered on 11 September and followed by very severe repressive measures. The city, in fact, remained impregnable. Worse still, Ascoli fell into the hands of the Florentines and, by an ironical trick of fate, the countryside, ravaged by constant raids, could no longer keep the Bretons supplied with food. They retreated in January 1377 and concentrated their forces in the neighbourhood of Cesena, Forli, Faenza and Rimini.
Meanwhile the Romans had formed the erroneous impression that, despite his clear affirmation, Gregory did not wish to settle in their midst. The Pope was perfectly well aware that by tarrying longer in Avignon he was acting to the great detriment of the Church, as he declared to Edward III in a letter fixing his final departure for the beginning of September 1376. 1
Some recent writers, with an inadequate knowledge of the course
1 L. Mirot, Lettres secrètes, nos. 1986-90.
of events, and without consulting the Vatican archives, have drawn a misleading and, indeed, entirely fanciful picture of Gregory XI. The numerous postponements until better days of the papal court's departure, and the repeated contradictory orders shown in the Bulls, have been ascribed to the Pope's weakness of character, indecision, lack of willpower and the pressure brought to bear upon him by the duke of Anjou and the cardinals, who were opposed to the journey to Rome. It is true that the speech that Froissart ascribes to the duke might well have impressed the Supreme Pontiff. 'Holy Father,' he is supposed to have said, 'you are going to a country and amongst people where you are little loved, and leaving the fountain of Faith and the kingdom where the Holy Church has more authority and excellence than anywhere in the world. By your fault the Church may fall into great tribulation, for if you die there, which is very likely, from what your master physicians tell me, the Romans, who are foreigners and traitors, will be lords and masters in the Sacred College, and by force will create a Pope to suit themselves.' 1 Cardinal Giacomo Orsini took it upon himself to reply to the effect that the long absence of the Roman pontiff had been harmful to the Papal States. 'Who has ever seen a kingdom well directed and wisely governed in the prince's absence? It is certain that if the king of France left his kingdom and went to Greece, his own realm would not be well governed. I cannot foresee how peace can come to his domains, if the Pope does not reside in his own see.' The cardinal's speech, delivered in the name of Gregory XI, amazed all the courtiers. Pierre Flandrin declared to Cristoforo da Piacenza that the Holy Father was more firmly resolved than ever to depart. 2 The same informant tells us that when the people of Avignon sought to dissuade him, they were told: 'Last year I thought I would die, and I consider that the sole cause of my sickness was that I was not living in Italy.' Moreover, the Pope imposed 'perpetual silence on all men whosoever' on the subject of the impediments which might hinder his return to Rome. 3
The truth was that Gregory XI always remained master of himself, acting with prudence and seeking to attune his acts to the circumstances of the time and the well-being of the catholic world. He had a unique opportunity to put an end to the disastrous war which set France and England in arms against each other, and which was hindering the preparations for a crusade. The Pope's presence in Avignon greatly lightened the task of the legates, who were wearing
1 Froissart, Chroniques, Bk IX, pp. 49-50.
2 Archivio storico italiano, ser. 5, VOL. XLIII, pp. 71-2.
3 Ibid. p. 70.
themselves out at Bruges in their efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement.
The admirers and disciples of St Catherine of Siena have built up another and very persistent legend: they have attributed to her an outstanding rôle in the return of the Papacy to Rome. As one of them has written, 'It was a woman's will that won the day.' 1 Others have given a tendentious interpretation to a passage in the Legenda Major where Raymond of Capua describes the influence of his penitent in the matter of the journey to Italy thus: ' Ipsa eum inducente.' This expression, vague in itself, does not permit us to conclude that St Catherine's intervention was of overwhelming importance. 2
It is true that the urgent exhortations she addressed to the Supreme Pontiff suggest that the virgin from Siena was profoundly convinced that his courage was failing and needed a vigorous stimulant. She set herself to confirm him in his resistance to the pleas of those around him, saying: 'Be the true successor of St Gregory; love God; have no ties with kinsmen, friends or temporal necessity. Fear nothing from the present storm, nor from those spoiled members who have rebelled against your authority. God's help is at hand; have dealings only with the good shepherds, for the bad ones have caused the rebellion. Remedy these evils, and act in Jesus Christ. Forward! Finish what you have begun! Tarry not, for delay has caused many ills, and the devil is using all his wiles to put obstacles in your path. Raise the standard of the true cross, for by it you will have peace. You will console the poor of Jesus, who await you with longing. Come, and you will see the wolves turn to lambs. Peace, that war may cease! Resist the will of God no longer, for the hungry sheep are awaiting your return to the see of St Peter. Vicar of Jesus, you must take your own seat once more. Come without fear, for God will be with you. Do not await the time, for the time waits not. Respond to the Holy Ghost. Come like the Lamb, who will put down his enemies with an unarmed hand, using only the weapon of Love. Be of good courage: save the Church from division and iniquity; the wolves will come like lambs to your bosom and beg for mercy.' 3 Catherine added this advice: 'Come like a man who is courageous and without fear; and above all, take care, for the love of life itself, that you come not with a military following, but come bearing the cross in your hand, like the gentle Lamb of God.' 4
1 J. Calmette, L'Élaboration du monde moderne (Collection Clio), Paris 1939, p. 216.
2 N. Maurice Denis-Boulet, La Carrière politique de Ste Catherine de Sienne, Paris 1939, pp. 113 ff.
3 L. Mirot, La Politique pontificale et le retour du S.-Siège à Rome en 1376, Paris 1899, pp. 93-4.
4 See the translation by E. Cartier, VOL. 1: p. 171.
St Catherine of Siena's words of encouragement may well have been needed. Gregory was beset by every sort of obstacle just before he set sail. Of these one of the most serious was the shortage of funds. In vain did the Pope address repeated appeals to Christendom, demand extraordinary subsidies and pledge his jewels; the sums needed to meet the considerable expenses of the journey were not forthcoming. Before he could embark, the king of Navarre and the duke of Anjou had each to agree, in August 1376, to lend him 30,000 and 60,000 florins respectively. 1
After a stormy voyage, Gregory reached Corneto on 6 December 1376, and entered Rome on 17 January. Far from following the advice of St Catherine, he came to his people accompanied by an escort of two thousand men under the command of Raimond de Turenne. The Saint had promised that the Pope's arrival would disarm the rebels; but it was armed force--not gentleness--that overcame them.
The mercenaries of Robert of Geneva, some encamped inside Cesena and some in its suburbs, behaved with their usual licence. In the course of a brawl, started by them, four butchers were killed. The enraged populace rose in arms and cried 'Death to the Bretons! Death to the pastors of the Church!' In the streets of the city more than four hundred were killed. The survivors went to join the legate, who had taken refuge in the citadel; but there, reduced as they were to a small contingent, they knew the pangs of hunger. The garrison, at the end of their resources, seemed on the point of surrender, when the cardinal sent messengers bidding Hawkwood come to his aid. The English condottiere arrived with all speed. When he entered Cesena, the Bretons came out from their retreat, and made ready to avenge the death of their comrades. The carnage was appalling. To the cries of the legate 'Blood! Blood!' it is said that the followers of Sylvestre Budes replied with shouts of 'Strike! Strike! Kill! Kill!' The soldiers massacred the populace. More than four thousand corpses littered the streets and filled the ditches of the town to overflowing after this battle of 3 February 1377.
This cruel punishment inflicted on the inhabitants of Cesena still casts a dark shadow over the reputation of the man who authorised it. But we must not judge Robert of Geneva by modern humanitarian standards, but according to the customs of his day. If his troops had fallen into the hands of the besieging forces, their lot would have been a tragic one; those who had been taken prisoner by the Bolognese
1 1 L. Mirot, "' Les Rapports Financiers de Grégoire XI et du Duc d'Anjou,'" Mélanges, VOL. XVII, 1897, PP. 113 - 41.
in 1376 had their eyes put out and their hands cut off, according to an anonymous Florentine writer. 1 The Florentines, however, did their best to exploit this slaughter and to rouse general indignation. But the foreign princes 2 did not deign to acknowledge the letters they received; the Italia cities were drawing closer to Rome; the Bolognese betrayed their allies and on 19 March 1377 signed a truce with the legate, which on 4 July became a firm treaty of peace; and Romagna and the Marches submitted to the Church.
The legate's successes caused as great anxiety to Bernabo Visconti, as Hawkwood's plans to sell Faenza to the marquis d'Este. This crafty character now made overtures to Florence, not because he intended to embrace her cause, but in pursuit of his own dream of dominating the whole of Italy. Hawkwood, freed from his obligations to the papal party, was persuaded to go over to the pay of the league on 1 May 1377. This defection was counterbalanced in June by that of Ridolfo da Varano who served under the banner of the Church. Unfortunately his promotion to vicar-general roused the jealousy of Sylvestre Budes, who had formerly beaten him in battle.
Gregory XI, aware of the Breton leader's discontent, sent him to Tuscany and Umbria, with the idea of making a direct attack on Florence. The republic, aware of the danger that threatened her, prepared to occupy the approach routes made by the valleys of the Tiber and the Paglia, and the strongpoints of Perugia, Assisi and Orvieto. With this end in view, Hawkwood sent reinforcements to the borders of Tuscany to bar the road to the invader. There ensued a guerrilla war in the course of which the papal army experienced both successes and reverses. After taking Spello on 8 August 1377, it attacked Francesco di Vico, who had indeed been excommunicated on 17 April of that year. But the prefect of Rome attacked Montefiascone and took Raimond de Turenne prisoner. Then the Breton bands rushed upon Bolsena and massacred its inhabitants. They recaptured Montefiascone, and Francesco di Vico, utterly defeated, begged for mercy and made peace on 30 October 1377. His reconciliation with the Church ended for a time the need for pacification in the lands of the Patrimony of St Peter, a pacification which had been facilitated by the rewards meted out to the barons who had remained faithful, and by the punishment inflicted on the rebels. Thereafter, fighting tended to be concentrated around Assisi, Perugia and Foligno, and diminished considerably.
1 "' Diario d' anonimo fiorentino,'" Archivio storico italiano, set. 3, VOL. VI, 1876, P. 311.
2 Letter addressed to Charles V and inserted in the Annales Mediolanenses. Muratori, VOL. XVI, Col. 764-7.
But now discord broke out among the soldiers of the Church whose leaders were jealous of each other. Worse still, there was no money to pay them, and there was talk of reducing their wages when they were re-enlisted; hence the discontent. Moreover, Malestroit, Budes and Raimond de Turenne were refusing to join in forming a single army to march on Florence, at the very moment when Hawkwood was taking advantage of this tense situation to invade the Church lands. All seemed lost, when at last the Pope succeeded in scraping together the necessary money and hiring the Bretons once again. These iresome contretemps had the unfortunate effect of ruining the plans for the expedition against Florence. 1
Nevertheless, in the long run the consequences of the interdict upon the city made themselves felt. The people grew discontented with the eight burghers, the Otto Santi, who were obstinately carrying on the war. Moreover, the Florentines, deserted by all their allies, were tired of fighting alone against the Church. They were anxious for peace and accepted, though unwillingly, the mediation of Bernabo Visconti. A truly European congress met at Sarzana with the object of restoring the balance of power in Italy. Representatives of the two belligerents and of the mediator sat side by side with ambassadors from the Emperor, the kings of France, Hungary and Spain and Queen Joanna of Naples. The meetings resulted in the triumph of Gregory XI's policy; his skilful tactics had succeeded in isolating Florence and forcing peace upon her.
9 Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples and Hungary up to the Great Schism of the West
Ever since the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, southern Italy had been divided into two: the island of Sicily, governed by the house of Aragon, and the kingdom of Naples, ruled over by the princes of Anjou. But neither Charles II of Anjou nor the Roman Church accepted this situation, or believed that it could continue indefinitely. Their efforts tended towards a single end: to weaken the Aragonese conqueror through diplomatic means, and so pave the way for his downfall by armed force, In order to separate King James II of
1 1 For the military operations, see the well-documented articles by L. Mirot, "'Sylvestre Budes (1305-1380) et les Bretons en Italie,'" B.E.C. VOL. LVIII, 1897, PP. 589614; VOL. LIX, 1898, PP. 262-303.
Aragon from his brother Frederick, who called himself Frederick II of Sicily, Boniface VIII confirmed James in 1296 in the possession of Sardinia, recently seized from the Pisans. 1 In March 1297, the isolation of the hated prince was completed as a result of the marriage of Robert of Anjou with Yolande of Aragon. Military operations could thus be begun with some chance of success. The campaign began well, with the naval victory over the Sicilian fleet on 4 July 1299 at Capo Orlando and the rapid conquest of Catania and the adjoining territory; 2 but unfortunately Robert of Anjou, whom his father had promoted to the rank of leader of the expedition, was of a taciturn and melancholy temperament, which did not express itself in action, and which prevented him from exploiting the advantages that had been gained. The war pursued an uneventful course, to the great displeasure of the impetuous Boniface VIII. He appealed to Charles of Valois, and this led Charles II on 9 May 1302 to make the French prince captain-general in Sicily. The Pope had been too hasty in judging the merits of Charles of Valois; he was bitterly disappointed by the peace treaty signed on 24 September 1302 at Caltabellotta, by which the Angevin loss of Sicily was confirmed.3Ibid. ch. xlix. All he could do was to declare imprescriptible, the rights of the house of Anjou and refuse to recognise Frederick II by the title of 'King of the island of Sicily'which had been granted to him by Charles II but only as 'King of Trinacria' (the name Sicily was not to be used). 4
The Popes who succeeded Boniface VIII modelled their conduct upon his intransigent attitude: until 1372, they treated the Aragonese kings of Sicily as enemies, always regarded them as usurpers and gave moral support to every Neapolitan effort, however unfortunate, to regain the island.
As soon as he became Pope, John XXII gave Guillaume Méchin, Bishop of Troyes, and Pierre Tissandier the task of making Robert of Anjou and Frederick II sign a truce. 5 The two nuncios had the good fortune to promulgate such a truce for six months, and then to prolong it for a further three years. On 24 June 1317, Frederick gave back Reggio Calabria and various Calabrian castles that he had conquered. 6 But he indulged in a piece of insulting behaviour that infuriated the Pope: a messenger who had come to Avignon to discuss peace terms seized the opportunity of Robert's presence to defy him in his own house. By way of reprisal, the Pope excommunicated the
1 1 I. Villani, Istorie fiorentine, Bk VIII, ch. xviii.
2 2 Ibid. ch. xxix.
4 4 Rinaldi, ad annum 1303, §24-9. (Bulls dated 21 May 1303.)
5 5 Letters dated 14 March 1317, in Mollat, VOL. I, nos. 5136-8.
6 Ibid. ch. xxix.
prince for having broken the truce that he had sworn, under oath, to observe, and the whole of Sicily lay once more under an interdict. 1 But far from mending his ways, the king of Trinacria refused either to beg to have the ecclesiastical censures relaxed, or to pay the dues he owed to the Roman Church; he even forced the clergy to violate the interdict, making apostates and schismatics welcome in his lands and allowing them freedom to preach. There is an unmistakable note of anger in Benedict XII's invitation to him to come back into communion with Christendom, and without more ado 'restore' Sicily to the house of Anjou. 2
This inflexible attitude of the Papacy is easily explained. In former times Urban IV had handed Sicily over to the Angevins; consequently, the Holy See was obliged to give loyal support to its vassal's rights against all invaders.
Robert of Anjou was not lucky enough to recapture the lost part of his kingdom. All the expeditions he organised came to nothing, through lack either of energy or of sufficient resources to hire an adequate number of mercenaries; or because of the anxieties arising from the vicissitudes of Italian politics. His last days were darkened by grievous bereavements: his son Charles, duke of Calabria, and his brothers, the princes of Taranto and of Durazzo died in rapid succession. His only remaining direct heirs were his grand-daughters, Joanna and Maria. From this time, the old man's only thought was to make his kingdom secure for his descendants. One of his fears was that the branch of the Angevins that had succeeded to the throne of Hungary would thwart his plans. John XXII shared his anxiety: he believed, as did Robert, that the best way of ending the quarrel was to contract alliances between the two houses. In 1332 it was agreed that Joanna should marry either Louis, the elder son of King Carobert, or, if he were not available, the younger son, Andrew. If the princess were to die, her sister Maria would take her place. At the eleventh hour, these arrangements were modified: on 26 September 1333, Joanna was solemnly betrothed to Andrew, while Louis was promised to Maria. The marriage of Joanna and Andrew took place on 22 or 23 January 1343.
Before his death, Robert foresaw something of the dissensions which were to arise after he was gone. The princes of the blood and the leading figures of the court, gathered round his deathbed, were made to promise that his grand-daughter should be recognised as
1 G. Mollat, VOL. III, no. 12206. See also Rinaldi, ad annum 1320, §14-16. ( Bulls dated 23 July 1320.)
2 Rinaldi, ad annum 1335, §51. ( Bulls dated 4 May 1335.)
undisputed sovereign; but he still felt some doubt as to the sincerity of oaths made in such sad circumstances. Consequently, as a precautionary measure, his will arranged for the setting up of a regency council to give Joanna advice in governing the kingdom until she should reach her majority; in this way he made sure that she should not have as guardians either the Roman Church, with which he had not always seen eye to eye in matters of religion and politics, or the princes of Taranto and Durazzo, who had opposed the Hungarian marriage and coveted the royal crown for themselves. Clement VI could have protested against these clauses of the will attacking the rights of suzerainty exercised by his predecessors, and declared them invalid; but he contented himself with having nothing to do with the actions of the regency council ordained by Robert of Anjou, and waiting until the time was ripe to intervene. 1
The king had no sooner breathed his last, on 20 January 1343, than the widows of the princes of Taranto and Durazzo, Catherine de Courthenay and Agnes of Périgord, began their intrigues, which were to prove fatal to their house. Although Robert of Anjou had in his will promised the hand of Maria, Joanna's sister, to Louis of Hungary or else to a French prince, Agnes of Périgord used her cunning to persuade Clement VI to issue a Bull authorising her son Charles to marry one of his close kinswomen, whose name was not revealed. Armed with this dispensation, Charles became betrothed to Maria on 26 March 1343, and then carried her off, or arranged for this to be done, perhaps with the connivance of the young queen. There was much indignation at this scandalous behaviour. Joanna herself changed her attitude and forbade her followers to be present when the marriage was solemnised on 24 April. Clement VI did his utmost to appease her anger, which was perhaps not altogether sincere. Joanna may well have been anxious to ward off in advance the resentment of Catherine de Courthenay, who was jealous of this union, by which her nephew would have the throne if Joanna died without issue. 2
Catherine was determined to take her revenge. We cannot be sure whether it is true that she conceived the revolting plan whereby Filippa Catanese, Joanna's lady-in-waiting, encouraged her sensual tastes and excessive love of pleasure, and caused her to feel an aversion for her husband. We have no exact knowledge either of the character of Andrew of Hungary or of his wife's feelings for him; but
1 E. G. Léonard, La Jeunesse de Jeanne Ier, reine de Naples, comtesse de Provence, VOL. 1, Paris 1932, pp. 109 - 56, 193 - 226.
2 F. Cerasoli, "' Clemente VI e Giovanna I di Napoli. Documenti inediti dell' Archivio Vaticano (1343-52),'" A.S.P.N. VOL. XXI, 1896, PP. 7 - 14.
we do know that she was very careful to exclude him from public affairs.
This state of things caused some indignation at the Hungarian court. Elisabeth, the queen mother, came to Naples in July 1343 and tried to overcome her daughter-in-law's resistance, while ambassadors in Avignon claimed that Andrew should be given the title of king of Sicily and Jerusalem, and be allowed to play an effective part in the government of the country. But Clement VI was wary of the ambitions of the Hungarian rulers, and saw that it would be most unwise to give any encouragement to the creation of a powerful dynasty at the very gates of Rome. He received the envoys from Naples and Hungary with deference, and reserved his decision until later. His mind was, in fact, firmly made up: unless the Holy See acted with energy and good sense, the young queen and her regency council would soon find themselves quite incapable of thwarting the secret, but easily imagined, Hungarian plans to take possession of the kingdom sooner or later, and incompetent to deal successfully with the difficulties of foreign policy, and to prevent the squandering of public monies. In vain did Joanna and the families of Durazzo and Taranto try, openly or secretly, to upset the papal plans when they became known. Clement VI's reply was uncompromising: the setting up of a regency council was illegal; its members were liable to excommunication if they dared to govern the country; the Pope alone, as suzerain during the queen's minority, could act as her guardian, an office which was to be put in the hands of Cardinal Aimeric de Chêtelus-Marcheix, 1 a skilled diplomatist, a gifted administrator and one well-versed in Italian affairs (17 October and 28 November 1343); Andrew of Hungary was only to be crowned king as consort; nothing at all was said about his share in the government (19) January 1344). 2
The choice of Aimeric de Châtelus was obviously an excellent one. This clear-sighted man was well able to avoid all the pitfalls laid for him by the Neapolitan court, who were anxious to prevent him from arriving promptly. Despite the many obstacles cunningly put in his way, he made a solemn entry into Naples on 2o May 1344. In spite of all resistance and the many attempts at negotiation made in Avignon by the cardinal of Périgord, who was acting for his sister Agnes, Joanna I made an oath of obedience to the Holy See on 24 August and paid homage on 28 August; thereafter, it was the legate who really governed the kingdom of Naples; but he acted in agreement with the members of the regency council who had been
1 See above, pp. 101 - 02.
2 Léonard, op. cit. VOL. 1, pp. 299 - 302, 322, 339.
previously dismissed by Clement VI. But the situation remained delicate; he felt that he was suspect and even unwanted, and often begged to be recalled, thus seconding the queen's own dearest wishes.
Then suddenly the Pope changed his mind; he decided that Joanna was sufficiently mature to wield authority without his help or that of her grandfather's servants. Certain restrictions were laid down, but they were of no practical significance ( 19 November 1344). 1
This untimely decision by the court of Avignon bore immediate fruit: feeling that she was now free of the legate, and disregarding the Pope's advice, the queen agreed to 'many alienations of her goods and rights.' Then discord between her husband and herself broke out, though this was not so much due to the fault of the couple themselves, as to the insidious and treacherous intrigues of those around them. As a result, Aimeric de Châtelus, instead of going, extended his stay in Neapolitan territory until 24 May 1345. Meanwhile Clement VI, uncertain as to whether Aimeric was on his way home, appointed as nuncio Guillaume Lamy, bishop of Chartres, with instructions to reform the abuses which the Pope's informants had criticised. For his part, acting on instructions he had received, the legate published a Bull at San Germano, on 30 May 1345, dated from the preceding 30 January, revoking all the alienations that the queen had rashly made since her grandfather's death. Those who had benefited from her generosity were, on pain of excommunication, to give back what they had received; and he even went further than the sanctions issued under Clement VI's edict, by depriving those who opposed him of their goods and fiefs. But unfortunately Joanna persisted in her aberrations, despite the repeated exhortations of the Pope.
Meanwhile it became evident that the question of the coronation of Andrew of Hungary could no longer remain in abeyance, for the veiled threats of the Hungarians were daily becoming more pressing. Clement VI acted with authority: he declared that the ceremony should take place, but specified, among other harsh and humiliating conditions, that Andrew must give up all hope of wearing the crown, except 'as his wife's husband.' If she died without issue, the kingdom must pass to his sister-in-law, Maria. But the papal letters 2 despatched on 20-21 September 1345, failed in their purpose: on the night of 18-19 September, at the castle of Aversa, Andrew was preparing for bed when a voice called to him. Wondering who it could be, the prince dressed hastily, put on his shoes and went out into a
1 1 Cerasoli, article cited, pp. 238 - 42.
2 2 Léonard, op. cit. VOL. 1, PP. 461-4.
corridor adjoining the nuptial chamber, whence the sound had come. There conspirators leapt upon him and strangled him. 1
The murder of the prince gave Clement VI much cause for anxiety. The king of Hungary, annoyed at the way in which the question of his brother's coronation had been dragged out at the Curia, took his revenge on the Pope by seeking to ally himself with Louis of Bavaria and Edward III of England. Clement wished at all costs to avoid the danger of an invasion of the State of Naples, and for this reason wanted to see justice promptly carried out. After solemnly condemning in Consistory the crime committed at Aversa, the Pope announced proceedings against its unknown perpetrators on 1 February 1346, and reserved to himself the right to punish them. The time for action had come; shortly afterwards an embassy arrived and insisted imperiously that King Louis of Hungary should be invested with the kingdom of Naples, and suggested that the Holy See should forbid Joanna to remarry. But Clement VI was not to be intimidated: he remained immovable, and would accede to none of their demands.
At Naples, the situation was growing complicated. Joanna returned to the city about 24 September 1345, shut herself up in the palace of Castelnuovo and on Christmas night gave birth to a son. He was named Charles Martel to please the Hungarians, and the Pope agreed to act as his godfather. 2 The birth of this heir was highly displeasing to the ambitions of the royal princes. Louis of Taranto gained the queen's favour and begged for her hand. His brother Robert, and his cousin Charles of Durazzo, sank their differences to unite against their more favoured rival, and fomented a rising which took place on 6-10 March 1346. The people of Naples, who accused Joanna of having conspired with Andrew's murderers, rushed through the city crying, 'Death to the traitors! Death to the shameless queen!' The queen was besieged and compelled to surrender. She handed over a considerable number of those suspected of the murder of her husband to the justiciar Bertrand des Baux, to whom the Pope had delegated the duty of holding an enquiry; this took place on 3-4 June 1346.
Catherine de Courthenay, with a complete disregard for the rules of decent behaviour, took up residence in Castelnuovo which Louis of Taranto had been compelled to leave, She set to work to unite in marriage Joanna and her favourite son Robert; he had already been put in power by a royal act of 26 April 1346. A petition was even
1 1 Léonard (op. cit. pp. 465-73) has given a novel reconstruction of the course of these tragic events, using as his chief source the allocution of Clement VI given in Consistory on 1 February 1346. (See Baluze, Vitae, VOL. II, PP. 368-9.)
2 Cerasoli, article cited, pp. 429-31.
sent to Avignon, begging for the necessary dispensations for consanguinity, at the same time as other emissaries were informing the Pope of the queen's loathing for her cousin. Clement VI, taken aback at such contradictory overtures, remonstrated that the first of them was singularly ill-timed, since at that very moment Louis of Hungary was insisting that the queen, whom he accused of adultery and murder, should be deposed. The Hungarian ambassadors, moreover, had proposed that the government of the kingdom should be transferred to Stephen, governor of Transylvania, until Andrew's child should come of age; they threatened Joanna with dire consequences if she dared to marry Robert of Taranto or any other prince. 1 French diplomatists, on the other hand, supported the demand for a marriage dispensation; like the Pope, they feared that the king of Hungary would seize the kingdom of Naples.
Faced with such an alternative, Clement VI played for time. He promised Louis of Hungary that he would only grant a matrimonial dispensation for 'grave and reasonable cause.' He assured him that Joanna could not be deprived of her States, since she had not as yet been declared guilty or brought to justice. As for the child Charles Martel, his welfare would be the concern of the bishops of Padua and Monte Cassino. On 4 November 1346, the Pope, in public Consistory, excommunicated Andrew's unknown assassins, confiscated their goods and charged Bertrand de Déaulx with the setting up of an enquiry, which was to investigate even the queen and the royal princes. 2
To Joanna, the Pope announced his intention of working in her best interests; the same two bishops, of Padua and Monte Cassino, had ready secret powers authorising them to grant the required marriage dispensation should the occasion arise. At the same time, he reproached the queen for cohabiting with Robert of Taranto, a state of affairs likely to rouse the vindictive anger of Louis of Hungary. For the rest, his nuncios were charged to compel her, under threat of ecclesiastical censure, to conform to the admonitions made previously to this date. 3
The capital sentences were ostensibly carried out at the beginning of August 1346; but the court of Naples turned a blind eye, so that some highly-placed nobles escaped any form of punishment. Truth to tell, Robert of Taranto, who had seized power for the time being, was prevented by his lack of energy and good sense from adequately
1 1 Rinaldi, ad annum 1346, §53-6.
2 2 Cerasoli, article cited, pp. 438-40, 452-3.
3 3 Ibid. pp. 443-4, 446-8, 455, 459.
sustaining this rôle, and only succeeded in compromising the queen further by continuing to live under the same roof. Bertrand de Déaulx had been appointed legate many months earlier, and his presence now became imperative. Meanwhile, the bishops of Padua and Monte Cassino undertook the delicate task of persuading Robert of Taranto to leave the royal palace.
But Joanna resolved this tense situation in an unexpected fashion: while the prince was away, in October 1346, attending his mother's funeral, she seized the opportunity to have his 'flunkeys' put out of the palace; and when Robert tried to return, he found the doors shut in his face.
The legate's arrival seemed likely at first to improve matters. Young Charles Martel, as heir to his mother's throne, received his subjects' homage in January and February 1347; edicts were issued proclaiming that all demesne lands illegally alienated should be restored, the country put into a state of defence and brigandage suppressed. But these various measures, all eminently desirable, and taken on the advice of Clement VI, remained unimplemented, for Joanna did not deign to carry them out. In the same way, she paid no heed to the warnings she received from Avignon, and would not agree to give up her intention of an exceedingly hasty second marriage with Louis of Taranto. France supported her in this, and insisted that a marriage dispensation should be granted. Once more Clement VI fell back on the policy of temporisation in which he excelled. He was still afraid that if this marriage took place, Louis of Hungary might be driven to invade the kingdom of Naples.
In other ways, too, Joanna was causing the papal court dissatisfaction. It was suggested that she should send Charles Martel to Provence, where he would be out of all danger. The surest way of giving the lie to the accusation that she and the princes of Taranto and Durazzo had had some share in the murder of Andrew of Hungary, was to appear before the legate who was to hold the enquiry. Unfortunately, Bertrand de Déaulx acted spinelessly, or rather, was unfaithful to his essential duty. Whether he was convinced that his efforts were useless, or thought the situation already lost, or whether he was simply giving way to cowardly feelings, he failed to obey the directives he received from Avignon. Instead, he left the royal palace, took refuge in the convent of San Severino and finally retired to Benevento. Clement VI, seeing that he was receiving so little support, did his utmost to postpone the Hungarian invasion, begging the king of France and Charles IV, king of Bohemia, to intervene. He also wrote a letter to the legate, in which he made no
attempt to disguise his displeasure, and tried to rouse his dormant zeal; but without result.
When the Pope learned of the forthcoming marriage of the queen with Louis of Taranto, and the rumour of a proposed union between young Charles Martel and the daughter of Charles of Durazzo, he was uncertain how to act: should he lend these unions the sanction of his authority? What, indeed, could he do against a fait accompli? Clement VI was determined to ensure that Charles Martel would succeed to the kingdom, and to strangle the covetous ambitions of Louis of Taranto; he announced that even if Joanna died without issue, the throne was to descend to her sister Maria, or her heirs. The Pope's opposition to the prince was made even more clear by his order of 21 June 1347 to the legate, Bertrand de Déaulx, to keep the necessary marriage dispensations secret, and not to have recourse to them unless absolutely necessary. 1
Despite these measures the dreaded Hungarian invasion took place; by 24 December 1347, Louis of Hungary's army, advancing rapidly through northern and central Italy, had come as far as Aquila without any difficulty. Clement VI, after vainly imploring the local nobility to oppose Louis's advance, was obliged to give way before it: not one of his threats to excommunicate the king if he intervened in arms was put into effect. Joanna, betrayed by the princes, fled from Naples on 15 January 1348, leaving her son behind, went by ship to Provence and hastened to Avignon. Clement gave a chilly reception to this somewhat untimely eagerness, for she was living as the mistress of Louis of Taranto, and was popularly suspected of regicide. Nevertheless, she was solemnly received at the papal court about 20 March 1348, and authorised to marry her lover. The Pope had been informed by intermediaries that the queen would not consent to appear at an enquiry into the murder of Andrew of Hungary; he therefore merely went through a form of judicial procedure, which had no practical consequences, since the queen left Avignon on 24 July 1348 without having answered the summons to appear before the cardinals, Bertrand de Déaulx, Guillaume d'Aure and Gailhard de la Mothe. Some time before, on 30 March, Louis of Taranto had actually been awarded the Golden Rose.
Clement VI's attitude left no doubt as to his real feelings: he regarded Joanna as innocent, 2 since Louis of Hungary had produced no proof of her guilt, and since the circumstances in which the
1 Cerasoli, article cited, pp. 465-74, 668.
2 Léonard ( op. cit. VOL. I, pp. 476-84), has shown that there is no proof of the queen's guilt and that grave suspicion rests on Louis of Taranto.
murder at Aversa had taken place were in her favour: it was difficult to believe that if she had planned the crime beforehand, she would have had it committed almost before her eyes. Clement VI sided with her, while at the same time he treated the invader with some respect. Though determined to do nothing to help Louis of Hungary to gain the throne of Naples, to which he was still obstinately laying claim, the Pope began diplomatic negotiations with him, and used every device to make them drag out as long as possible. Time and Louis's blunders gave effectual help to the cause which the Pope had at heart. The people of Naples soon turned against Louis of Hungary when they saw the atrocities committed by his troops, and Charles of Durazzo illegally beheaded, cruel tortures inflicted on the nobles suspected of the murder of Andrew, and the royal princes interned in a Hungarian stronghold. On 18 June 1348, the barons rose against him, and urged their queen to return; at the same time, it seemed likely that Venice was preparing to cut off any attempt he might make to retreat. The king made a sudden departure in the last days of May 1348.
The happy outcome of the Hungarian invasion allowed Joanna to return to her lands. The journey involved heavy expenses, and it was hard to find anyone willing to lend the money. As early as April 1348, the queen had suggested to the Pope that she should sell to the Holy See the town of Avignon and the lands attached to it; the city was finally and perpetually handed over on 9 June at a price of 80,000 gold florins, and the Pope formally took possession on 23 July. 1 The Emperor Charles IV willingly ratified the deed of purchase-
Louis of Hungary had left troops in the kingdom of Naples under the command of experienced leaders. Did this point to an early return? Clement VI, fearing this, sent two legates, Annibale di Ceccano and Guy de Boulogne, to Naples and Buda respectively, charged with persuading the two courts to end hostilities. The cardinals speedily carried out their mission, and procured the signing of an armistice in July 1349. On Louis of Hungary's side this was merely a pretext to get rid of the gullible Guy de Boulogne, whose presence prevented him from making ready for a fresh military venture, and to keep Joanna from taking adequate security measures. In April 1350 troops landed unexpectedly on the coast of Apulia and soon appeared before the walls of Naples. By a curious irony of fate, the husband whom she had so recently married had soon snatched the unfortunate Joanna's authority from her, and was even threatening her life. Clement VI decided to come to her aid, and in July 1350,
1 J.-B. Christophe, Histoire de la papauté pendant le XIVe siècle, VOL. II, pp. 467-71.
galleys from Provence entered the Bay of Naples. They had on board a special nuncio, Raymond Saquet, bishop of Thérouanne, and a masterful character named Hugues des Baux. While the nuncio was parleying with the Hungarians, Hugues blockaded Castelnuovo and compelled Louis of Taranto to hand over the government of the country to his wife; then, at the beginning of September 1350, they both concluded a truce with Louis of Hungary, who agreed to leave the kingdom of Naples at the same time as Louis of Taranto and Joanna. During the armistice the Pope was to make an enquiry into the real part that the queen had taken in the murder of her first husband: if her guilt became apparent, she was to lose her lands which would pass to the Hungarian prince; but if her innocence was proved, she would pay him 300,000 gold florins as an indemnity, to compensate him for the loss of his conquests. 1
This time the truce was punctiliously observed, at least in one of its vital clauses: on 17 September, Louis of Hungary left for Rome, while Joanna and Louis of Taranto went to Gaeta. In February 1351, Clement VI revoked the agreement, by allowing the Neapolitan queen and her consort to return to their capital; but by 20 February the political situation had completely changed, for Louis of Taranto had once more seized power after the murder of Hugues des Baux, and succeeded in ridding the kingdom of many of the Hungarian garrisons who were in occupation. Louis of Hungary was no longer a force to be reckoned with, and Clement VI had every prospect of successfully negotiating an agreement with him. When discussions began, no mention was made of the judicial enquiry into Joanna's conduct, and the war indemnity was reduced to 200,000 florins. The queen and her husband readily accepted the agreed conditions; the question of paying this enormous sum of money almost compromised the whole plan, but in the end Clement VI agreed to vouch for it, having exacted promises of repayment from the court of Naples, and peace was concluded in October 1351. Louis of Hungary undertook to hand over to the Pope or his representatives 'the lands and fortresses of the kingdom of Sicily still occupied' by his troops, shifted on to him the responsibility for punishing the king's murderers, and promised to release Louis and Robert of Durazzo from prison. At the eleventh hour, the king nobly agreed to forgo the stipulated indemnity of 200,000 florins, since he said that his sole object in going to war had been to avenge the violent death of his brother Andrew. 2
1 Cerasoli, article cited, pp. 693-6. See also Rinaldi, ad annum 1352, §1-2.
2 Cerasoli, in A.S.P.N. VOL. XXII, pp. 12-18.
Clement VI gave the archbishop of Braga, Guillaume de la Garde, and Pierre de St Martial the task of making sure that the evacuated lands were handed over in accordance with the treaty. Then he saw to it that Joanna and Louis of Taranto took official possession of the throne of Naples, by authorising their solemn coronation which took place on 27 May 1352. It is impossible to verify the statement, made only by Matteo Villani, 1 that before the ceremony was performed the Pope gave the queen absolution. On the other hand, we know exactly the conditions to which Louis of Taranto had to agree beforehand. Not only had he to promise to respect all the prerogatives exercised by the Roman Church as sovereign ruler, but also to renounce the crown if Joanna died before him and left direct heirs. If the heirs died, he was to succeed them, and would thus oust both Maria of Durazzo and her descendants and Robert, the leader of the house of Taranto. 2
It cannot be denied that Clement VI showed a certain partiality in his dealings with Joanna I; but he was after all only doing his duty as suzerain: she had the invaluable advantage of knowing that she could rely on his constant support and much wise advice. He did not show any annoyance when this advice proved useless, and protected her, as her recent biographer has justly remarked, 'from her bad advisers, from her cousins, from the king of Hungary, from her husband, from almost the whole of Italy and from public opinion.' 3 It is true that his recognition of her union with Louis of Taranto was both unenthusiastic and tardy; but he had not shown too overt a hostility to Louis's coronation.
Despite the difficulties of the political situation at home, Joanna, like her grandfather, continued to maintain a state of hostility with the kings of Trinacria. There were two distinct phases in the military operations: in the first, the Neapolitans seized the offensive and took advantage of the disorganisation following the death of Peter II on 15 August 1342 to seize Milazzo and the Lipari islands and to blockade the harbour of Messina. In the second, John of Aragon, Louis's tutor, recaptured these towns and threatened Naples, at the time when danger from Hungary was increasing. Where circumstances varied so greatly, papal diplomacy was influenced by events as they arose: during the period of Neapolitan victories, in 1343, 1344 and 1345, Clement VI warmly supported the Sicilian demand for an armistice, for he considered that Joanna was playing a dangerous game, and deplored the continuance of the interdict upon Sicily,
1 Istorie fiorentine, Bk II, ch. xxiv. See also Muratori, VOL. XVI.
2 Léonard, op. cit. VOL. II, pp. 307-35, 354-60.
3 Ibid. p. 388.
for it was seriously disrupting religious life; but he met with nothing but refusals. When the Catalan forces triumphed, he was equally unsuccessful in imposing a three-year truce, which he suggested on 5 July 1346; on the other hand, he raised no objection to the recapture of Milazzo. The death of John of Aragon in April 1348, however, made it possible for the two enemies to come to terms; but now it was the turn of the Holy See to refuse to accept the draft treaty, alleging that it was prejudicial to the Roman Church. However, although all efforts at reaching an understanding came to nothing, they at least succeeded in preparing the ground for the negotiations which eventually resulted in the peace settlement of 1372. 1
Innocent VI, who was somewhat vacillating and easily frightened, was inordinately influenced by the cardinal of Périgord, an ally of the Durazzo family. From the first, Innocent's tone in writing to Louis of Taranto was aggressive, bitter and abrupt, and readily became threatening; but when the time for action came, he avoided the issue. This may have been due to a lack of energy or to a change of mood on his part; or he may well have felt himself powerless to act, for he knew from experience that Louis of Taranto thwarted his policy at almost every turn, and either took no heed of his exhortations, or else did precisely the opposite. It was not surprising, therefore, that Innocent VI should hope for Louis's downfall and favour the Durazzo faction. He tried, for example, though in vain, to insist that the daughters of Joanna's sister Maria should be made wards of Louis of Durazzo; he opposed the projected marriage between Robert of Taranto and this same Maria, who having been forcibly married to Robert des Baux, had had him put to death in her presence in 1353; he made enthusiastic overtures, on the other hand, to Giovanni Visconti, in the hope of obtaining the hand of his niece for Robert of Durazzo. Innocent VI did not confine himself to threats: as during the past three years he had received neither the cense due to the Roman Church nor the homage of the Neapolitan rulers, in January 1355 he excommunicated them and proclaimed an interdict upon the kingdom. These rigorous measures coincided with the open revolt of Louis of Durazzo.
But it is not true to allege, as did some of his contemporaries, that the Pope carried his displeasure with Louis of Taranto to the extent of consenting to the invasion of Provence by the Great Companies under the command of Arnaud de Cervole: the parties in collusion
1 Léonard, op. cit. VOL. I, pp. 280-8, 389-92, 447-52, 488, 569-70, 577-9, 685-6; VOL. II, pp. 139 - 41.
were the dauphin, Robert of Durazzo and Cardinal Talleyrand of Périgord. Innocent VI's vigour in tackling the scourge of war is in itself sufficient proof that he had no hand in the conspiracy. Moreover, the tension between Naples and Avignon slackened in the autumn of 1357, when a marriage dispensation was granted to Maria of Durazzo and Philip of Taranto, and at the same time, Louis being dangerously ill promised to mend his ways. These good resolutions, however, went by the board when his health improved, and bitter-sweet exchanges took place between him and the Curia. When it became known that Gil Albornoz had been appointed legate to the kingdom of Naples, the situation was immediately altered, for Louis of Taranto, realising that he had better appease the Pope's anger, adopted a humble attitude and even sent his grand seneschal Niccolò Acciajuoli to Avignon to pay off the greater part of the overdue cense to the Roman Church. At this Innocent VI relented, lifted the interdict from the kingdom of Naples and granted various other lesser favours. Acciajuoli--perhaps deliberately--did not carry out the most important part of his mission, which was to see that Louis of Taranto paid homage together with the queen, and received assurance that, in the event of the queen's death, he should have Calabria and Sicily for his share. Fresh disturbances continued to break out between Avignon and Naples until the prince's death on 26 May 1362. The chief reason for the Pope's hostility towards him was no doubt the fear that the establishment of too powerful a kingdom close to the Papal States would jeopardise their rehabilitation so brilliantly effected by Albornoz. This would explain his favourable attitude towards the Durazzo family, whose incessant intrigues weakened the authority of a sovereign who was in any case unfit to govern. 1
The situation became even more complex on the death of Louis of Taranto. His brothers, fearing that the queen would now marry Louis of Durazzo, hastened the latter's end. Urban V advised Joanna to marry Philip, son of John II (the Good) of France. But the queen rejected this suggestion, saying that she would live the life of a hermit rather than submit to such a union. 2 She had lived in constant discord with Louis of Taranto, and thought that in James III, king of Majorca, she had found the ideal husband.
In 1372, peace was at last made between the courts of Naples and Sicily; but only at the expense of Joanna's capitulation. By proxy, Frederick III undertook to pay liege homage to her and her lawful
1 Léonard, p. cit. VOL. III.
2 Cerasoli, "' Urbano V et Giovanna I di Napoli. Documenti inediti. . . (1362-70),'" A.S.P.N. VOL. XX, 1895, pp. 73-5.
heirs, to pay the annual cense of 3,000 ounces of gold, the equivalent of 15,000 Florentine florins, to the Roman Church, and to bear the title of king of Trinacria only, allowing the queen to retain that of sovereign of Sicily. The island of Lipari, at that time in the hands of the queen, was to remain hers for life and to revert to the king after her death. 1
The text of the agreement which, according to the terms of the act, had to be submitted to the Holy See for confirmation and approval, was considered defective at Avignon. Gregory XI was displeased that it made no mention of the direct jurisdiction to which the Church laid claim, and declared that it contained much superfluous matter, while omitting details of vital importance. He produced instead an extremely lengthy version, which aimed at defining the rights of the Supreme Pontiff in minute detail, and made provision for all kinds of future eventualities.
According to this agreement, dated 31 October 1372, the two contracting parties recognised the Papacy's direct dominion over Sicily, and paid the Pope liege homage, according to the formulary laid down in the Bull. Frederick was to pay homage, too, to Joanna I, her legitimate descendants and her successors. The rules governing his own succession were rigorously defined: if he had no legitimate heir, the throne was to revert to Joanna and her successors, or, if there were none, to the Roman Church; if a daughter succeeded him she was only to marry with the consent of the Holy See, a Catholic, not suspect to the Church but filled with devotion to her, and not an enemy of Joanna I or of her successors. If the inheritance fell to a minor of less than eighteen years of age, the Holy See would act as his guardian. Frederick was forbidden to accept, without the express consent of the Supreme Pontiff, the imperial crown, the title of king of the Romans or of king of Germany, or the overlordship of Lombardy or Tuscany, in whole or in part under pain of losing Trinacria, which would then revert to Joanna or to the Roman Church. If, however, such an acceptance were approved, Frederick was to emancipate his son, and hand over to him the rule of Trinacria. If his heir were a daughter she could not marry the Emperor, the king of the Romans or of Germany, or the governor of the whole or of any part of Lombardy or Tuscany; if she married any one of these, she would forfeit her claim to Trinacria.
There were also religious clauses, abolishing innovations formerly introduced into Sicily by Frederick II. Elections were again to be free; ecclesiastical cases were to come under the jurisdiction of
1 Rinaldi, ad annum 1372, §5.
ecclesiastical courts, and the clergy were to remain exempt from civil justice; the goods and rights of the Church in Sicily were to be completely restored within the space of three years. 1
Hard as they were, by 16 January 1374 Frederick III had accepted all the terms laid down by Gregory XI. The only proviso was that the internuncio at that time resident in Sicily should be instructed to crown him with the royal diadem. The coronation took place on 30 March 1375. 2
The capitulation of l372 assured the Roman Church of complete sovereignty over the island of Sicily. This was a result of capital importance, for during the reign of Innocent VI a messenger from the duke and duchess of Bavaria had suggested that Frederick III should appeal to the Emperor, as suzerain of Naples and Sicily, to deal with the Sicilian problem. 3 The diplomatic agreement contained no innovations and incorporated most of the clauses to which the princes of Anjou subscribed when paying homage to the Pope. Joanna, for her part, was bowing to the necessity of defending her crown. It was as though the house of Anjou were under a curse from heaven. The queen and her sister Maria lost their children. Maria herself died in 1366, and Robert and Philip of Taranto in 1364 and 1373 respectively. Louis of Hungary made no attempt to conceal his impatience to succeed his sister-in-law.
Faced with so dire a threat, Joanna, who had been widowed for the third time by the death of the king of Majorca in Roussillon in 1375, contracted by proxy, on 28 December 1375 at Avignon, a fourth alliance with Otto of Brunswick, a baron of no great lineage, but noted for his bravery as a leader of the mercenaries. 4 But this could not save the kingdom of Naples from anarchy. The nuncios sent there by the Holy See remained powerless, prophesying catastrophes which did indeed take place when revolution broke out in 1381. 5
1 Ibid. §6-24.
2 Ibid. ad annos 1374, 1375 §19.
3 Léonard, op. cit. VOL. III, p. 491.
4 Sauerland, "' Drei Urkunden zur Geschichte des Herzogs Otto von Braunschweig und der Königin Johanna I von Neapel,'" Quellen, VOL. VIII, 1905, pp. 206-16.
5 Cerasoli, "' Gregorio IX e Giovanna I di Napoli. Documenti inediti. . .,'" A.S.P.N. VOL. XXIV, 1899, pp. 325-8. E. Martin-Chabot, "' Le Registre des lettres de Pierre Ameil, Archevêque de Naples (1363-1365), puis d'Embrun (1365-1379),'" Mélange's, VOL. XXV, 1905, pp. 273-84.
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