08: From Schism to the Renaissance Papacy

Urban VI (1378-89)

  • Bartolomeo Prignano, Archbishop of Bari; monk; not in College of Cardinals
  • Clashes: second meeting of College of Cardinals at Anagni: elect Robert of Geneva as Clement VII 1378-94
  • Urban: names 25 new cardinals
  • Regional politics: Giovanna of Naples (d. 1382) recognizes Clement; Urban names Charles of Durazzo instead
  • Urban and Charles then break alliance

Urbano VI at Nocera, from Croniche of Giovanni Sercambi

Boniface IX (1389-1404)

  • 2 jubilees 1390, 1400
  • International support for Rome vs Avignon splits along regional political lines
  • Rome: Italian cities, England, Ireland, E. Europe, Scandinavia, Flanders
  • Avignon: France, Spain, Naples & Sicily, Scotland
  • HRE vacillates

Conciliar Movement

1409 Council of Pisa

  • deposes both popes (Gregory XII Rome, Benedict XIII Avignon)
  • Names new pope: Alexander V, then John XXIII; but fails to achieve consensus

1414-18 Council of Constance

Council of Constance, 1414-18, illustration from Chronicle of Ulrich von Richenthal


1417-31 Martin V (Oddone Colonna)

Other issues: Jan Hus


Rome: a long reboot

Rome ca. 1469 BAV Vat. lat. 5699 – fol-127r



  • Papal power versus councils
  • Church administration
  • City Government
  • Papal states and a peninsula full of chronic warfare



Martin V (Oddone Colonna) (pope 1417- 1431)

Portrait by Pisanello

  • In Florence until 1420
  • Brother in control of Rome in meantime
  • International problems: Hussite wars
  • Rome
  • Biggest old noble families: out of main city government positions 1360s+ but still powerful
  • New elites
  • Physical plant:
  • Lack of maintenance
  • 1348 earthquake
  • 1413 sack by Naples
  • Lateran; Vatican
  • Santa Maria Maggiore
  • Santi Apostoli
  • Many agreements of 1360s fallen into abeyance during schism
  • 1425 renews 1363 statutes but pope chooses most government officials
  • Assisted by brother
  • Promoted Colonna clients, weakened other families:
  • appointments in curia
  • city jobs
  • papal familia (household)
  • Senator; papal Vice-Chamberlain


Growth of new nobles/elites


Magistrate of Streets and Buildings

Eugenius IV (Gabriele Condulmer, Venetian) (1431-47)


Troubles in Rome

Anti-Colonna moves

1434   to Florence (9 years) with Medici support


Giovanni Vitelleschi commander of papal army: condottiere and cardinal

1446 concordat with city; restored some but not all 1363 statutes

Continuing wars with Milan


Council and Curia: main source of difficulty

Obliged to meet every 5 years

Council of Basel (then Ferrara-Florence) 1431-39

Eugenius dissolved,   moved it to Ferrara (1438)

Basel prelates objected, declared Eugenius heretic and therefore deposed

Named own candidate: Felix V, 1439-49


Council moved to Florence

Plague in Ferrara

Cosimo de’ Medici offered to cover costs

Temporary end to East-West Schism; support pledged to Constantinople

Pisanello, sketches of John VIII Palaeologus

Pisanello, medal of John VIII (National Gallery of Art, Washington)

Other regional church agreements as well


Recognizes Alfonso V of Aragon as King of Naples


1443 Eugenius returns to Rome

Continues with religious reforms begun earlier

(1431 had re-opened university)

Tomb of Eugene IV, S. Salvatore in Lauro

Isaia da Pisa, Tomb of Eugenius IV S. Salvatore in Lauro, Rome (formerly Old St. Peter’s)

Foundations for future development


SMM Altarpiece (front) recon