05 Popes, Politics, Emperors: from Lateran IV to Avignon

two superpowers: Pope and Holy Roman Emperor (plus monarchies)

Latin Europe becomes more Christian in practice, with increasing importance of central Church

The pope has too many jobs:

  1. Center of legitimizing many other European powers
  2. Ruler of central Italy—a parallel to kings
  3. Ruler of Rome
  4. Head of the Latin Church

The pope and the Church

Lateran IV    1215-16

Concilium Lateranense IV

Lateran IV from Matthew Paris, Chronicle, ca 1255



Innocent III  1198-1216

  •      Centralizing control as kings are doing: larger curia, more notaries
  •       new orders (Dominicans, Franciscans–full approval under Honorius III)
  •       new issues: universities
  •       dissent and heresy


Roman families


Politics: the clash between popes and emperors that shapes central Europe

Map Italy ca 1200

Map Europe ca 1200

Emperor Frederick II 1194-1250

  •      Staufen dynasty
  •  Frederick Barbarossa (d. 1190); son Henry VI (d. 1197) marries Constance of Sicily (d. 1199)
  • Son Frederick raised in Sicily; king of Germany 1196; of Sicily 1198
  • Guardian: Innocent III
  • Tutor:   Cencio Savelli, future Honorius III

Lotario dei Conti di Segni (Innocent III), ca 1160-1216

Keeping German influence out of southern Italy

Otto IV and fights over succession

Innocent and papal claims: right to approve or disapprove choice of emperor

Frederick named HRE 1214; crowned by Honorius III 1220

  • Reassertion of imperial interest in North Italy
  • Crusader kingdoms

Excommunication as papal political tool

Son Henry king of Germany; Frederick later deposes him

Son Conrad (d. 1254) declared deposed by Innocent IV

Manfred: illegitimate son (d. 1266)

Coronation of Manfred

Manfred Crowned king of Sicily, 1258. Giovanni Villani, Cronaca. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Cod. Chigi L VIII 296, fol. 85r.

Fights over succession across Italy

No king in Germany until 1273

No HRE until 1312: Henry VII (Luxemburg)

Guelfs (Welf) versus Ghibellines (Staufen)

1266 Battle of Benevento: Manfred defeated by Charles of Anjou (brother of Louis IX)

Charles of Anjou crowned king of Sicily by pope. British Library Royal 16 G VI  f. 429v 

1268 Conradin defeated

Clement IV (from Languedoc)

Florence-Rome-France (Anjou)-Regno  long term alliance

1282 “Sicilian Vespers”:  King Peter  of Aragon

1300 Jubilee or holy year

Boniface VII proclaims holy year 1300

Facsimile of bull

Boniface VIII 1294-1303

Benedetto Caetani  (c. 1230 – 11 October 1303)

Predecessor: Celestine V, abdicated

Feud with Colonna family; destruction of Palestrina

Papal office furthers family economic interests

Philip IV of France 1268 –1314, king from 1285

Taxation of French clergy

No clerical administrators of law

Boniface calls council’ Philip calls meeting of Estates

1302 bull “Unam Sanctam”

1303 Boniface captured at Anagni

Benedict XI

Clement V. French, stopped in Avignon and stayed

Avignon: Anjou

Papal representatives sent to Rome

1340s Cola di Rienzi

Urban V in Rome 1367-70

Gregory XI returns 1377

Giorgio Vasari, The Return of Gregory XI to Rome (ca. 1572-3), Rome, Vatican City, Sala Regia

Great Schism


Urban VI (pope 1378-89

pope (Clement VII); returns to Avignon 1379




1417-31 Martin V (Oddone Colonna)