Sede Vacante 1404

October 1—October 17, 1404

[Roman Obedience]

Leonine City_and_Papal_Palace_1493


The restoration of Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) to power began with the return of Louis II d'Anjou from Italy. He had failed in his bid to keep his inheritance in Naples (August, 1402). He took up the cause of Benedict, who, after all, had received his feudal allegiance as King of Sicily, and upon whom Louis therefore depended for legitimacy against Ladislaus of Sicily (Creighton, History of the Papacy I, pp. 168-183). The University of Toulouse attempted to intervene with the King against the University of Paris, with a memorial showing that Paris had been wrong in advising a withdrawal of French obedience. In March of 1403, Benedict XIII escaped from his captivity at Avignon, with the help of the Ambassador of the King of Aragon, Jacobus de Pratis, and Cardinal Martin de Salva; he recovered the allegiance of his cardinals, at first Guy de Malsec, Amadeo de Saluzzo, and Petrus Blavi (March 28: Martin de Alpertil, p. 141Ehrle), and then the rest (April 29, 1403); and in short order, with the assistance of Louis Duc d'Orleans [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1403 no. 21, p. 106], the obedience of France and Henry III Castile (April 28, 1403) as well.  Charles VI had withdrawn France from the Obedience of Benedict XIII on July 27, 1398, but he was now persuaded, in one of his lucid moments apparently, to rejoin [Martin de Alpertil, p. 145 Ehrle].  Jean Gerson, Chancellor of the University of Paris, had been working, as well, to change the mind of the Duc d'Orleans (Gerson, Opera Omnia II [1706], column 74). Gerson's preferred solution was the Way of Cession, and apparently Benedict was now willing, if not eager, to embrace that solution. Pope Benedict had even given the Duc d'Orleans bulls in which the pope cancelled all of his protestations against the Via Cessionis and all of his actions at the time of the withdrawal of obedience as well. This was announced on May 28 from the pulpit of Notre Dame by Bishop Pierre d'Ailly in the name of the King, and affixed to the door of the cathedral. (Ironically, both Jean Gerson and Pierre d'Ailly finally deserted Benedict and joined the Council of Pisa).

On Thursday, November 8, 1403, having escaped from house arrest and having regained his position, Benedict took up residence in Marseille at the Monastery of St. Victor [Martin de Alpartil, p. 145 Ehrle]. In July of 1404, Pope Benedict decided to send ambassadors to Rome, to Pope Boniface IX, hoping to improve his position and perhaps resolve the Schism [Martin de Alpartil, p. 147 Ehrle; Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1404, no. 6, pp. 113-114]. The ambassadors were Petrus Rabati, Bishop of St. Pons, Pedro Zagarigga, Bishop of Ilerda, and Bertrandus Radulphi, the Abbot of S. Facundus and Procurator of the Franciscans at the Avignon Curia. The embassy was conducted to Genoa by Marshal Boucicault, the Governor of Genoa for the French, and from there to Florence, where they were honorably received on July 10. The safe conduct to allow them to travel to Rome itself was finally received on August 16. It appeared that, after a genuine reconciliation and reunion with the French, Pope Benedict XIII was prepared to engage in another genuine effort at reconciliation.

Boniface IX also had problems in Germany. King Wenceslaus (King of Bohemia, son of Emperor Charles IV) had an agreement with King Charles VI of France that, if Charles would force Benedict XIII to resign, Wenceslaus would force Boniface IX to resign. But Wenceslaus was opposed by Rupert (Robert) of the Pfalz and John of Nassau, Archbishop of Mainz (whose confirmation came as a result of a simoniacal transaction with Boniface IX). They enlisted the support of the Archbishop-Electors of Cologne and Trier and the Duke of Saxony to help overthrow Wenceslaus and make Rupert the King of the Romans. With the unstated support of Boniface IX, in violation of his promises to Wenceslaus, these electors were emboldened to elect Rupert in place of Wenceslaus. On August 11, 1400, while Wenceslaus was tied down in Bohemia by a revolt of his barons, and his brother Sigismund was similarly occupied in Hungary, the conspirators met and carried out their plan. Wenceslaus was deposed on the grounds that he had failed to do his part to end the Schism, that he had failed to bring order (if not peace) to the German territories, and that he had failed to maintain the rights of the German Empire. Wenceslaus had in fact sold the title of Duke of Milan to Gian Galeazzo Visconti for the sum of 100,000 gulden in 1395, and then created the Duchy of Lombardy for Visconti as well. Pope Boniface, of course, had admonished Wenceslaus many times concerning his sins and crimes [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1400 nos. 14-16, pp. 72-75; Winkelmann, pp. 6-15]. Not even his own brother Sigismund stood with him. On August 23, at Frankfurt, Robert, Duke of Bavaria and Heidelberg, was elected King of the Romans [Baronius-Theiner, p. 75 n. 1; cf. Gobelinus Person, Cosmidromius ch. 70, p. 64 ed. Jansen; Jean Juvenal des Ursins, Histoire de Charles VI, p. 419 ed. Michaud and Poujoulat; Frey, 9-16]. Wenceslaus immediately had it reported to Boniface that there was a possibility that Bohemia, Hungary and maybe Poland would withdraw from his Obedience [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1401, no. 1, p. 78]

At the same time King Ruprecht decided that it was necessary for him to campaign in Italy to get back the lands of the Empire that Wenceslaus had allowed to pass out of his control [Theoderic of Nyem de schismate II. 14, p. 143]:

Ipse autem dominus Robertus, licet ante dictam approbacionem {by Boniface IX on October 1, 1403] venisset usque ad Italiam contra ipsum ducem Mediolanensem tunc in humanis agentem, tamen in hoc finaliter non profecit et parum aut nichil utiliter seu pro honore ac defendendis seu recuperandis iuribus eiusdem imperii attemptavit, ymmo maius dampnum quam utilitatem intulit imperio memorato.

He hoped to take advantage of a war which the Florentines were engaged in against Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan. Despite two years of campaigning, his efforts were unsuccessful, he was defeated at the Battle of Brescia (October 24, 1401), he ran out of money, and he returned to Germany. Gian Galeazzo Visconti, however, had died (1402), and two of his sons entered papal service as condottieri. To detach the Florentines from the Pope, the Visconti handed over to papal control the cities of Bologna, Perugia, and Assisi, which the Pope put under the control of his new Cardinal, Baldassare Cossa, a man of considerable military and strategical insight.

Rupert was finally recognized and his oath accepted on October 1, 1403 [Deutsche Reichstagakten IV, nos. 103-104, pp. 107-112], nullifying the threat posed by Wenceslaus and his dealings with King Charles VI of France. Rupert was required to swear that he would make no treaty with the King of France, do nothing without Boniface's consent to end the schism, and do his utmost to reconcile the countries of the Avignon Obedience with Boniface. Theoderic of Nyem, who was present, states [de schismate II. 14, p. 143]:

Et non diu ante ipsius obitum eleccionem de domino Ruperto, moderno rege Romanorum, per archiepiscopos Maguntinensem, Coloniensem, Treverensem electores imperii contra dictum dominum Wentzelaum regem factam, me etiam tunc praesente in consistorio publico, approbavit promittens quod sibi favores apostolicos impendere vellet.

Nonetheless, the fact is that Boniface had no real support from the German kings, not from Wenceslaus, not from Sigismund, not from Rupert.

Wenceslaus, however, mattered for less and less. He had announced an expedition to Rome to get his imperial crown, but his faithful subjects revolted. Wenceslaus had to turn to his brother Sigismund for help, but that help brought Wenceslaus under Sigismund's control. It was Sigismund, then, who planned on an expedition to Rome, to have his puppet of a brother crowned. But Sigismund's subjects were restless as well. After his failure as a crusader against the Turk in 1396, the Hungarians began to look toward their older royal family as an alternative to the House of Luxemburg, which meant, for practical purposes, Ladislaus of Naples. In May, 1402, Boniface secretly declared his protege Ladislaus King of Hungary and made Cardinal Angelo Acciauoli his Legate to manage Ladislaus and Hungary [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1403, no. 13-14, pp. 101-102]. Ladislaus launched an expedition, against which Sigismund raised considerable forces, and after a few months Ladislaus thought better of the whole design and withdrew. Apparently, the fact that his great-great-grandmother was the daughter of a king of Hungary was insufficient incentive for the Hungarians to embrace his cause. This left Sigismund in control of Hungary, and very angry against the Roman pope [Theoderic of Nyem, de schismate II. 18]. All papal interference in Hungary was forbidden, and Sigismund became the head of the Church.  He passed out benefices in Hungary as pleased him, not as granted by the Bishop of Rome:

Et extunc in ipsa Curia praefati Bonifacii pauci Ungari visi fuerunt hucusque. Sed ipse rex Sigismundus postea cathedrales ecclesias et monasteria necnon omnia beneficia ecclesiastica un Ungaria per se dedit quibus voluit. Et tantum de exaltacione dicti regis Ladislai, etiam quoad ductum regnum Ungariae et depressionem dicti Sigismundi regis, ipse Bonifacius et eius collegium cardinalium lucrati fuerunt.

Even in his own neighborhood, Boniface stirred up trouble and was successful. He revived the papal fleet, and on August 20, 1398, put in charge of it a Neapolitan from Ischia by the name of Gaspare Cossa, brother of the Archdeacon of Bologna, Baldassare Cossa [Gregorovius VI. 2, p. 554 n.2; Kitts, In the Days of the Councils, pp. 141-142]. In 1399, he made war on Onorato Caetani, the Count of Fondi, who had protected the Cardinals during the Conclaves of 1378 against both the impressio of the Roman mob and the machinations of Bartolommeo Prignano, who became Urban VI. Boniface's war was, of course, preceded by a Bull of Excommunication [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1399, nos. 14-18, p. 50-55; sub anno 1400, no. 2, pp. 63-64]. Driven to the wall by the continued loss of friends and allies (including Louis II d'Anjou, who was forced out of Naples), who were succumbing to the lures of the successful Ladislaus of Naples (a protege and ally of Boniface), his situation grew so desperate that he was forced to make terms with Boniface. He lost the vast part of his land holdings. This was part of a campaign to reduce the nobles of the Campagna and Marittima to obedience to the Church (See his Bulls of June 12, 1400, reorganizing the Campania and Marittima, which also quotes the Bull of Boniface VIII establishing the province: Bullarium Romanum IV [Torino 1859], 627-633).

The defeat of Louis II d'Anjou in Naples was another great benefit for Boniface IX. At the beginning of his reign he had taken the young King Ladislaus (Lancelot), who was a mere eighteen years old, under his protection, and as a fellow Neapolitan and his feudal overlord Boniface promoted the interests of Ladislaus. Ladislaus' success in seizing Naples was, then, in a sense, a victory for the Papacy as well. As Ladislaus grew stronger, however, and as his interests in conquest in central Italy became more obvious, it became clearer that he was the patron of Bonface IX, especially in controlling the city of Rome and the Campagna, rather than the reverse. And, since he had become the only major European ruler who supported the Roman Obedience, his influence over Rome and the Papacy became more stifling. Boniface had had his victories, but at a price. With each triumph he acquired more enemies for himself, his family, and his Papacy (the Roman Obedience).


Death of Pope Boniface IX

Statue of Boniface IXIn the Spring of 1404 Pope Boniface of the Roman Obedience decided to take the waters. This turned out to be a tour of the Naples area, in particular Pozzuoli, though he also took ship and visited Ancona. He was accompanied by a large retinue of the Roman nobility and the Curia. Theoderic of Nyem gives a long description of the sights of Naples and its campagna. This odyssey aroused the suspicions of King Ladislaus of Sicily, though in fact the pope was suffering from urinary problems and was probably seeking relief in the hot waters of the various volcanic baths in the neighborhood of Naples. He had suffered from a long list of complaints for over a decade: multis morbis acutis, scilicet gravi tussi, raucedine guttoris, colica, et calculo, et nonnullis aliis aegritudinibus in ipso ut continue premebatur [Theoderic of Nyem de schismate II. 14, p. 144]. Back in Rome the Republicans plotted, both against the pope and against King Ladislaus.

In September an embassy from Pope Benedict XIII arrived in Rome. Du Boulay (Bulaeus, Historia Universitatis Parisiensis V, p. 109) says that they arrived on September 22. This venture had been planned since at least January, and was strongly encouraged by various members of the French royal family, who were eager to end the schism, each for their own reasons. On September 29, the Feast of St. Michael, this embassy from the kings of France, Castile and Aragon, as well as representatives of Benedict XIII, appeared before Pope Boniface.   The meeting began well, with indications that both sides wanted to come to an agreement.  Boniface's cardinals were particularly well inclined, or so says Theoderic. They had perhaps been engaged in conversations with members of the Embassy between the 22nd and the 29th.  But ultimately the audience was not a success, as both Adam of Usk and Theoderic of Nyem, who were likely witnesses to the scene, indicate. The ambassador, Petrus de Rabat, Bishop of Saint Pons de Tomières, had the bad taste to speak of their own pope (Benedict XIII, Avignon Obedience) as the Pope, and Boniface took offense. Theoderic de Nyem [de schismate II. 23]:

Qui quidem nuntii Bonifacium et ejus cardinales diligenter exhortabantur, quod cum eodem Petro ad faciendam unionem in Ecclesia universali in aliquo loco utrique parti tuto concurrere vellent: ad quod ipsi domini cardinales partis nostrae bene inclinati erant; sed assignato termino, quo super hoc Bonifacius dictis nuntiis finaliter respondere volebat, scilicet in ejus palatio penes Basilicam principis Apostolorum, in eodem festo S. Michaelis in vesperis. Et cum illic Bonifacius, cardinales et nuntii, et multi curiales invicem convenissent, tunc praefati nuntii perquam discrete et solerter, quae ipsis commissa fuerant proposuerunt, rogando et exhortando dictum Bonifacium, quod finem daret huic schismati, eum eorum domino ad hoc paratp, ut dicebant. Quibus pontifex ad hoc parum benigniter respondit, se esse papam et eumdem Petrum antipapam, et similia verba parum vel nihil ad causam facientia, tunc ipsi nuncii dedignati in eius praesentia dixerunt, quod dominus eorum non esset symoniacus, notantes Bonifacium esse talem. Unde Bonifacius valde commotus iussit eos urbem exire, qui responderunt, quod salvum conductum haberent ab ipso et Romano populo adhuc aliquantulum illic manendi et inde recedendi, et quod illo gaudere vellent.

The ambassadors from France shot back at Boniface that at least their pope was not a simoniac. Boniface, who might well have had a bad conscience on the subject, lost control of himself and ordered the ambassadors to get out of the City. Boniface withdrew to his chamber, mortally ill (Theoderic: pungente ipsum dicto morbo calculi lectum aegritudinis subito intravit; Adam of Usk: in cameram rediens infra biduum post vita eradicatur humana).

Boniface was running a fever, and was in pain from his urinary tract problems. Gobelinus Person indicates that he was suffering from "the stone"—likely a bladder stone. His doctors operated, but his penis became infected (probably their avenue of entry to the bladder). He suffered extreme pains until finally he died two days after the interview with the ambassadors from France.

Inter haec Dn. Bonifacius Papa calculi infirmitate gravatur, et dum se opera medicorum satagit sanare, in membro virili putrescit: et sic quamvis torsionibus intolerabilibus cotidie quatitur, tamen aurum sitire non desivit, donec XV. anno pontificatus sui in Kalendis Octobr.[October 1, 1404] praedicto morbo defecit.

One of the continuators of Ptolemy of Lucca, however, says that Boniface died of dolore iliorum [Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores III. 2, 832].

According to the record books of the College of Cardinals, Boniface IX died on Wednesday, October 1, 1404, and the Conclave began in the evening of Sunday, October 12.

Romae, die Mercurii prima Octobris, hora XXI. anno 1404 obiit Bonifatius Nonus, et die Dominico de sero XII. Octobris eiusdem Cardinales intrarunt Conclave apud Sanctum Petrum numero novem

At his death Boniface IX was either 45 years of age (Platina, Bury, Tursellini), or 49 (Buoninsegni, Antoninus of Florence), or 60 (Artaud de Montor, Histoire des souverains pontifes III, p. 215).


The Cardinals

Felice Contelori has published an extract from the Liber communium servitiorum of the Sacred College, containing a memorandum on the Sede Vacante of 1404. He lists the nine cardinals who attended the Conclave from October 12 to October 17, and two cardinals who did not attend. The record does not include the name of Cardinal Ludovico Fieschi, Bishop of Vercelli, who did not attend and who left the obedience of Innocent VII a week after he was elected pope.  Pope Benedict XIII (de Luna), in narrating his ambassadors' version of their interveiws in Rome in a letter to King Charles of France, mentions that there were nine cardinals in the Curia at the time, three days before the death of Pope Boniface IX [Martene-Durand, Veterum scriptorum ac monumentorum amplissima collectio  Tomus VII (Paris 1727), p. 687].

The Cosmidromius Gobelini Person  ed. Max Jansen (Munster i. W.: Aschendorff 1900), VI. chapter 88, p. 154, provides a list of attendees.  


Cardinals attending:

  1. Angelo Acciaioli, son of Jacopo Acciaioli, Gonfaloniere della Repubblica di Firenze (1341; died 1356),and Bartolomea Ricasoli, daughter of Bindaccio Ricasoli; his eldest brother Donato was Barone di Cassano e del Castagno in the Kingdom of Naples, an elder brother Neri was Barone di Vostitza e Nivelot, and another elder brother Giovanni had been Archbishop of Patras (1360-1363).  Angelo Acciaioli was Bishop of Ostia and Velletri (1397-1408), former Bishop of Florence (1370-1383). Vice-Chancellor S. R. E. (Roman Obedience only)  Adam of Usk states that he was "collegii decanum" at the Coronation in 1404 [p. 88 ed. Thompson], He had been Canon of Patras, probably appointed by his brother between 1360 and 1363.  Archdeacon of Exeter, attested in 1402 [Bliss-Twemlow Calendar of Papal Registers IV, 315].  Dean of Salisbury. from November, 1390; he resigned in 1391 [Bliss-Twemlow Calendar of Papal Registers IV, p. 335 (November , 1390); p. 401 (July 30, 1391)]; p. 315 (June 15, 1402)].  Bishop of Rapolla, in the Kingdom of Naples (1375-1383). In 1402 he had been Apostolic Legate in Hungary. In 1400 the Pope of the Roman Obedience, Boniface IX, had granted Cardinal Angelo the reservation of the Archdeaconry of Canterbury;  he finally obtained it on October 28, 1406 [Bliss-Twemlow Calendar V, 289-290; Le Neve, Fasti III, 42]   (died May 31, 1408).    "Florentinus" [Cardella II, 296-297].
  2. Francesco Carbone, O.Cist. [Monopolitanus],   He became Bishop of Monopoli after the deposition of his predecessor (a supporter of Clement VII) by Urban VI, who then promoted him to the Cardinalate on December 17, 1384 as Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna.  He was then promoted Cardinal Bishop of Sabina (1392-1405).  Major Penitentiarius, to 1405 [Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers VI, p. 239].   He died June 18, 1405.  [Eubel I, p. 25; Antonio Petri, p. 976].  Bishop of Kildare, to 1404, originally appointed by Boniface IX, after 1389 [Twemlow VI, p. 6 (November 11, 1404)].  Canon of York and Prebend of Strensall (from 1388 to 1405), and Archdeacon of West-Riding in the diocese of York (from 1384) [Twemlow, VI, p. 2 (July 16, 1405); p. 239 (April 13, 1412); pp. 474-475]; Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae III, 215, 133].  Abbot in commendam of S. Peter ad aram, Naples [Twemlow, VI, p. 2 (July 16, 1405)].  He died on June 18, 1405.
  3. Enrico Minutoli [Neapolitanus],  Bishop of Bitonto (1382-1383); Archbishop of Trani (1383-1389); nominated Archbishop of Naples by Urban VI (1389) but never took possession, resigning in 1400.  Appointed Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia on December 18, 1389, by Boniface IX of the Roman Obedience. Archpriest of the Liberian Basilica (S. Maria Maggiore), 1396?-1412; his predecessor, Stephanus Palotius died on April 24, 1396.  Canon and Prebend of Sutton cum Bucks in the diocese of Lincoln (1390-1412) [Le Neve Fasti II, 216]. Canon and Prebend of Riccall in the Church of York, made possible by the promotion of Henry Beaufort to be Bishop of Lincoln on June 1, 1398 [Bliss-Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers V (1904),  290 (May 12, 1400); Le Neve, Fasti III, 209].  He was Chamberlain of the College of Cardinals in 1401 [Baumgarten, Untersuchungen und Urkunden über die Camera Collegii Cardinalium, p. 233 no. 326]  He was Gregory XII's Bishop of Tusculum (from 1405), Cardinal Camerlengo of the Apostolic Camera, of the Roman obedience [from at least 1401; Guasti, e.g. 35-37]; but he joined the Council of Pisa on September 14, 1408.  In 1409 he became BIshop of Sabina [Cardella II, 312-313]. He died in Bologna, where he was Legate in succession to Baldasarre Cossa (John XXIII), on June 17, 1412.   [François de Conzieu was Camerlengo S.R.E. (1383-1431) of the Avignon Obedience and then the Pisan obedience and then of Martin V; he died December 31, 1432].

  4. Antonio Gaetani [Romanus/Neapolitanus], third son of Giacomo dell' Aquila Caetani, Signore di Anagni, Count of Fondi; and Sveva Sanseverino Signora di Piedimonte, daughter of Roberto Conte di Marsico. He was therefore nephew of Onorato Caetani, Count of Fondi, the enemy of Urban VI.   Cardinal Priest in the titulus of S. Caecilia. Patriarch of Aquileia. Abbot Commendatory of SS. Bonifacio ed Alessio. Appointed Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica by Innocent 1405 (died January 11, 1412, according to his sepulchral inscription) [Cardella II, 317-318]
  5. Cosmatus Gentile de Migliorati [of Sulmona in Neapolitan territory, 75 km south-east of l'Aquila], Cardinal Priest in the titulus of S. Croce in Gerusalemme (from December 18, 1389).  Licenciate in Canon Law.   Chancellor of Capua (1379), Clerk of the Apostolic Camera, Clerk of the College of Cardinals [Bliss & Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers IV, p. 262 (January 3, 1381)].  Papal Chaplain. Nuncio and Collector of Papal Revenues in England, appointed on August 27, 1381 [Bliss & Twemlow, IV, p. 257-264];  Provost of S. Pamphilus in Sulmona [Bliss & Twemlow, IV, p. 272];   Archbishop of Ravenna (1387-1389),  Bishop of Bologna (1389-1390).  S.R.E. Vice-Camerarius and Thesaurius. Camerarius (1396). 
  6. Angelo d'Anna de Sommariva, O.Camald. [Laudensis (Lodi), Neapolitan], Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Pudenziana. (a cardinal of Urban VI) [joined the Council of Pisa on September 14, 1408]. [Eubel I, 25] (died July 21, 1428). called "Laudensis"
  7. Cristoforo Maroni [Roman], created Cardinal Priest in the titulus of S. Ciriaco by Boniface IX on December 18, 1389. Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica (1397-1404) "Iserniensis" (died December 4, 1404, and buried in the Vatican Basilica) [Antonio Petri, p. 975; Muentz and Frotheringham, Archivio della Società romana di storia patria  6 (1883), 66 and n.].

  8. Landolfo Mar(r)amaldo, created Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano on December 21, 1381, by Urban VI.;  he was one of the cardinals deprived of his position by Urban VI, but was restored by Boniface IX.  He was called "Barrensis" [Cardella II, 290-291]  Died at Constanz on October 16, 1415.
  9. Rinaldo Brancaccio [Neapolitan], Cardinal Deacon of Ss. Vito e Modesto [See Paolo Mazio, pp. 4, 10-14]. Elevated by Urban VI, a fellow Neapolitan, on December 17, 1384 at Nocera.  He died on June 5, 1427.

Cardinals not attending:

  1. Baldassare Cossa (Coscia, Coxa) [of the island of Procida, Neapolitanus] (aged ca. 40), Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio from February 27, 1402. (died December 22, 1419). Decretorum doctor. [E. Kitts, pp. 141-144, follows the authorites on the Cossa family back to their flimsily attested or unsupported origins. Only Theoderic de Nyem refers to Baldassare as a pirate, and even he adds ut fertur (de vita ac fatis Constantiensibus Johannis papae XXIII   I. 1, p. 338 Hardt)]. Archdeacon of Bologna. 1392-1396. Chamberlain to Boniface IX, 1396, Protonotary Apostolic, and Auditor of the Rota. Named Legate in the Romandiola in 1403. He was absent in his Legation.
  2. Valentinus Quinquecliensis [Balint Alsani]. Though created Cardinal on December 17, 1384, he did not enter the Curia until 1407. Cardinal Priest in the titulus of of S. Sabina (??); SS. IV Coronati [Baronius Theiner, sub anno 1404, no. 10, p. 115; cf. Eubel I, p. 24, p. 41, and 46 n. 1]. [Cardella II, pp. 288-289]
  3. Ludovico Fieschi [Genuensis], Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano  (created cardinal by Urban VI on December 17, 1384).  Bishop of Vercelli (1382-1423).  Prebend of Driffield in the Church of York [Le Neve, Fasti III, 182, attested in March, 1387].   Archdeacon of Northumberland   [Bliss-Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers V (1904),  290 (October 28, 1400)].  Nephew of Cardinal Giovanni Fieschi. He did not participate in the Conclave of 1404. He was completely disgusted with the Neapolitans [Giorgio Stella, Annales Genuenses sub anno 1404, in Muratori RIS XVII, column 1205]; Souchon I, p. 63], and left the Obedience of Innocent VII on October 22, 1404 (a week after the election of Innocent VII), for that of Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna). [Eubel I, p. 25 and n. 5] (died April 3, 1423). [Cardella II, 302-303, who says Fieschi was deprived of the dignity of a cardinal by Innocent VII; Ciaconius-Olduin II, column 661]

Sede Vacante, November 1404

As soon as the pope was dead, these same ambassadors from France and Spain, who were resident in a hotel in the Borgo San Pietro, decided that it might be safer for themselves if they moved into the city of Rome (leaving papal territory for Ghibelline territory, where there was a Republic hostile to the Papacy). As their cortege moved through the Borgo and reached the bridge at the Castel S. Angelo, they were set upon by orders of the Castellan, Antoniello Tomacelli, the late pope's nephew, arrested and imprisoned. His excuse was that their safe-conduct had expired with the life of the Pope. Their baggage and animals were confiscated. It was only on the payment of 6,000 Florins, supplied by the Florentines, according to Martin Alpartil, that they were freed.   Theoderic de Nyem says it was 5,000 Florins. Either way, the story only adds to the information we possess as to the avarice of the Tomacelli family, Boniface included.

In the meantime the Cardinals were left to discuss the implications of the Embassy and the possibilities it held for the end of the Schism. One day during the Sede Vacante, as the Cardinals were having one of their Congregations in the house of the Archpriest of St. Peter's, Cardinal Maroni, they received a message from the Embassy of Benedict XIII. This is thoroughly surprising. After having been publicly rebuffed by Boniface, arrested and imprisoned by his nephew, and plundered of all their goods, one would have expected them to have given up. But instead the ambassadors begged the Cardinals not to go forward with the Conclave, placing before the Cardinals the hope that a reunification of the Church could quickly be achieved. They asked for time to consult Benedict XIII for further instructions (Theoderic de Nyem II. 24):

Dum iam ipsi cardinales conclave ingredi vellent causa eligendi successorem Bonifacio memorato et ad id quibusdam cardinalibus tunc propterea in domo archipresbyteri in gradibus eiusdem basilicae simul congregatis, dicti nuncii venientes rogarunt, quod tum supersederent in electione huiusmodi, et si hoc facerent, sperarent unionem futuram cito deque ipsorum domino grata vellent nova referre, quod tamen dicti domini cardinales facere noluerunt existimantes, quod talia trufatice proponerent, ac statim conclave ingrediebantur, ut eligerent successorem Bonifacio.

The Cardinals, however, were unwilling, and chose to believe that the propositions were insincere. They decided to enter Conclave according to schedule to elect a successor to Boniface. They may have been influenced in their decision by news that King Ladislaus of Sicily was marching on the city. Perhaps the Cardinals wondered what Ladislaus might do if he heard that the Cardinals were waiting for additional bargaining instructions from Ladislaus' principal enemy, Benedict XIII, the feudal overlord of Louis II d' Anjou. The prospect of Benedict XIII sitting in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican might drive Ladislaus to extreme measures.

Meanwhile, the Papal Appointee as Senator of Rome, Bente de Bentevoglio, and the dead pope's brother, Andrea Tomacelli (Margrave of Ancona), and his Guelf supporters were being besieged on the Capitoline by the citizens of Rome, led by the Colonna brothers (Giovanni and Niccolo, sons of Stefano of the Palestrina line and Sancia Gaetani), as Gentile Delfini notes in his Diary, Stefano Infessura in his Diary [in Muratori RIS III. 2, column 1116], and Theoderic in his chronicle. Both Guelf and Ghibelline nobles were in the city, and Francesco Orsini (to name just one) had brought 400 mounted soldiers and 300 infantry with him. Theoderic's view (II. 34, p. 18is:

Quo facto in urbe magna dissensio inter cives Romanos orta fuit, quia illi de parte Ghibellina voluerunt recuperare statum libertatis et regiminis dictae urbis, prout penes populum et quosdam banderenses erat, antequam praedicto Bonifacio traderetur, cooperantibus ipsis in hoc dominis Nicolao et Joanne de Columna praedictis fratribus et Baptista de Sabellis necnon quibusdam aliis baronibus de ipsa urbe oriundis de Gibellina parte, qui etiam circa urbem ipsam multa castra et alia loca munita tunc temporis possidebant. Pars vero Guelpha et qui favebant eis de Ursinis multique potentes in hoc praedictis eorum concivibus viriliter resistebant asserentes expedire communitati, quod urbicolae per ecclesiam et non per cives regerentur. Interim Gibellini traxerunt in auxilium dictum regem Ladislaum, et pluribus diebus una pars contra aliam tunc in urbe periculose pugnabant, ubi etiam plerique interfecti ceciderunt, et multa mala fiebant tunc in urbe, scilicet violentiae, stupra et adulteria et his similia impune. Qua tempestate Innocentius, qui secundum annum sui pontificatus fere complevit, eligebatur in papam.

It was the Ghibellines who summoned King Ladislaus to their assistance. He may have arrived in the neighborhood of Rome with his army as early as the 15th of October, as Stefano Infessura indicates [Diary of Stefano Infessura, in Muratori RIS III. 2, column 1116]. But it was on October 19, that he made his formal entry into the city, two days after the election was completed. Ladislaus was no fool, and he would not have wanted to be seen personally in the City or the Borgo during the Conclave; that could easily have been construed as impressio and metus. His mere presence in the neighborhood with his army (which was said to number 6000), however, was sufficient to make his point, that a friend of Naples had to be elected. That his army was in fact in the neighborhood at the time of the Conclave seems to be alluded to by Adam of Usk, who was a Papal Chaplain and Auditor of the Rota at the time:

Pro eleccione novi pontificis Romani cardinales intrant conclave, regis Neapolitani suorumque sex mille militum custodiae commendatu....

The Cardinals had an overwhelming set of hostile factors to consider—the fragile successes and many failures of Boniface IX in Italy, the loss of revenues from Hungary and Bohemia, papal and cardinalatial incomes, the expectations of five European monarchs (Charles, Wenceslaus, Sigismund, Rupert, Ladislaus), each cardinal's own ambitions, to say nothing of their own very real danger both from the Roman mobs and the army of Neapolitans.

The Conclave Oath

The French embassy notes that the Novendiales was observed for Boniface IX (probably October 3-11). The Conclave began on Sunday, October 12, 1404 [Contelori, Elenchus, p. 131; Diary of Stefano Infessura, in Muratori RIS III. 2, column 1116].

On October 14, the nine Cardinals who met in conclave entered into an agreement that the Electus would do everything in his power to end the schism, if necessary to the point of resigning .  On Friday, October 17, the Cardinals elected Cosmatus Gentile de Migliorati of Naples as Pope Innocent VII.  The Embassy from Benedict XIII immediately sent a message to Pope Innocent, asking him to choose one of the alternatives that they had presented to Boniface IX to end the Schism, or even to suggest another. They asked for a new safe-conduct and an audience with him. He replied that unless they had something new to offer, he would not give them a safe-conduct or an audience (Martin Alpartil, p. 148 Ehrler):

... requisitus per praedictos nuncios apostolicos, ut alteram viarum per papam oblatarum dignaretur eligere vel aliquam aliam aperire, quae esset magis apta in procuranda ecclesiae unitate, et eis vellet audienciam concedere et salvum conductum pro accedendo ad suam presenciam, respondit eis, quod nisi alia essent expediture et proposituri, nullo modo praedictis nunciis apostolicis salvum conductum aut audienciam concederet....

Innocent did, however, announce that he would hold a general council in Rome on November 1, 1405 [Martin de Alpartil, p. 148 Ehrle]. It was twice postponed and never held. The ambassadors of Benedict XIII, after yet another insult from the Roman Obedience, quiickly removed themselves to Castro Soriano and then to Florence. They certainly had no wish to meet King Ladislaus. They returned to France, meeting the Pope at Nice, as he was preparing to cross into Italy.

On October 22, less than a week after the election of Innocent VII, Cardinal Ludovico Fieschi, who had not taken part in the Conclave, withdrew from obedience to the Roman Pope. He had been strong in favor of Church unity and ending the Schism, and his disappointment at the handling of the Embassy of Benedict XIII as well as the actual election of Cardinal Migliorati must have been too much for him. Migliorati, as Treasurer and then as Chamberlain, had been Boniface IX's enabler in his avarice and simony. He was also his master's voice in rejecting the Embassy of Benedict XIII. His eagerness to do business with King Ladislaus (Migliorati was, after all, a Neapolitan) to the detriment of the Church both spiritually and temporally was a shock for many people.

When the University of Paris heard of the election of Innocent VII, they wrote him a letter and also a letter to his cardinals, in which they exhorted them to bring the Schism to an end. They also complained about the captivity of the ambassadors of Benedict XIII.   Innocent replied in a bull dated February 21, 1405, claiming that he completely detested the Schism and was quite prepared to end it. But the ambassadors of Benedict offered him no other choice than that the two popes should come together. After the death of Boniface IX, when the Cardinals asked the ambassadors whether they had a mandate from Benedict for ceding his papacy, since it had been decided by them that, if they had such a cession document, the Cardinals would not proceed to an election. The ambassadors admitted they had no such mandate, and so the Conclave went forward. As to the maltreatment of the ambassadors, Innocent said that, once Boniface was dead, they should not have stayed in the city, but the treatment given them by the Castellan of S. Angelo was his fault, and, in the midst of the tumult in the city, the Cardinals were unable to rescue them (Du Boulay, Historia Universitatis Parisiensis V, pp. 109-110).


Pope Innocent VII (Cosmatus Melioratus Sulmonensis) was crowned on November 2, 1404, the Feast of Saint Martin, on the steps of the Basilica of St. Peter [Contelori, Elenchus, p. 132].   Onuphrio Panvinio [Epitome, p. 266] says that he was crowned by Cardinal Rainaldo Brancaccio, Cardinal Deacon of S. Vito (believing that Cardinal Landolfo Maramaldo was a creation of Boniface IX; in fact Maramaldo was created on December 21, 1381 by Urban VI, and had three years' seniority on Rainaldo Brancaccio; in fact, Urban had deposed Maramaldo, and Boniface had merely restored him to his Cardinalate). Adam of Usk, however, says that it was the Bishop of Ostia who crowned the new pope:

Item novus papa, finita per eum missa, altum theatrum ad hoc ordinatum ascendit et ibi per Cardinalem Hostiensem, quia collegii decanum, triplici corona aurea solempniter coronatus existit.

At the beginning of his reign, Innocent VII's authority over Rome scarcely extended beyond the Vatican and the Castel S. Angelo [Gregorovius VI. 2, pp. 568-569]. He had been elected in a panic over the approach of King Ladislaus to Rome, and in a situation in which the populace of Rome, led by the Colonna family and Battista Savelli were engaged in street warfare against the brother of the late pope Boniface IX and the Orsini for the control of the Capitol and the government of Rome. Antoniello Tomacelli commanded the Castel S. Angelo for the Pope. When Ladislaus arrived, he was able to pose as arbitrator and peacemaker between Pope and People, and he wrote a new constitution for the City, dated October 27, 1404 [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1404, no. 16-18, pp. 118-123; Gregorovius IV. 2, pp. 568-571]. The people of Rome were back in control over their own Constitution and city. Then, when the King heard about the Electoral Capitulations about ending the Schism, he obliged Innocent to enter into a treaty with him that the Pope would not conclude the unification of the Church until Ladislaus was universally recognized as King of Sicily. This was in fact a repudiation of the Pope's oath, since Louis II d'Anjou, who was also King of Sicily, would never surrender his rights, and he was supported in this by considerable French interests as well as northern Italian ones. Theoderic of Nyem remarks [de schismate II. 41, p. 201]:

Scio tamen ex certis causis quod idem Innocentius aegrum habuit animum contra dictum regem Ladislaum, quamdiu vixit.

But Ladislaus had been made Rector of the Campagna and Maritima for a period of five years, and he thereby ruled Rome in fact. His triumph over the Papacy was complete. Innocent wasn't even crowned in St. Peter's (November 11, 1404) until after King Ladislaus had left Rome [Antonio Petri, p. 974]. The continued papal presence in the Vatican was possible only because of mercenary troops, led by Mustarda Parilio di Forlì, a condottiere in the employ of Pope Innocent.

A copy of Innocent's Electoral Manifesto, "Rex Regum", dated VI.Kal. Januarii [December 27, 1404], and addressed to the Archbishop of Cologne, survives [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1404, nos. 12-13, p. 116]. It contains nothing of interest beyond the fact that its expressed desire for Church unity and an end of the Schism had already been made impossible by Innocent's own actions.



"De Bonifacio IX", "De Innocentio VII," in Ludovico Antonio Muratori (editor), Rerum Italicarum Scriptores III. 2 (Milan 1724), columns 830-832; 832-837.

B. Platina (edited by Onuphrio Panvinio), B. Platinae de vitis pontificum Romanorum (Coloniae: apud Maternum Cholinum 1568). "Innocentius VII" (pp. 278-280); . Bartolommeo Platina e d'altri autori, Storia delle vite de' pontefice Tomo Terzo (Venezia: Domenico Ferrarin 1763), "Innocenzio VII" (pp. 284-287).

Theodericus de Nyem [Dietrich Niem]: Georg Erler (editor), Theoderici de Nyem de scismate libri tres   (Lipsiae 1890). Georg Erler, Dietrich von Nieheim [Thoedericus de Nyem]. Sein Leben und seine Schriften (Leipzig: Alfons Dürr 1887). [ca. 1338/1348—1418] [Theoderic is completely hostile to most of the popes he worked for and wrote about, especially Gregory XII, Alexander V and John XXIII}

Martin de Alpartil, Chronica Actitatorum temporibus Domini Benedicti XIII (Franz Ehrle, editor) I (Paderborn 1906).

Antonius Petri, Diarium Romanum [October 19, 1404-1417] {Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores XXIV,  973-1066;  Savignoni, "Giornale d'Antonio di Pietro dello Schiavo," Archivio della R. societa Romana di storia patria 13 (1890), 295-359]

L. Bellaguet (editor and translator), Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys Tome quatrième (Paris: Crapelet 1842), Liber XXXI [Latin text and French translation].

Felice Contelori, Elenchus S. R. E. Cardinalium ab anno 1294 usque ad 1430 (Romae: apud Andream Phaeum 1641)

Edmundus Martène et Ursinus Durand, Veterum Scriptorum et Monumentorum Amplissima Collectio Tomus VII (Parisiis: apud Montalant 1733) Stephanus Baluzius [Étienne Baluze], Vitae Paparum Avinionensium 2 volumes (Paris: apud Franciscum Muguet 1693).

Augustinus Theiner (Editor), Caesaris S. R. E. Cardinalis Baronii, Od. Raynaldi et Jac. Laderchii Annales Ecclesiastici   Tomus Vigesimus Septimus 1397-1423 (Barri-Ducis: Ludovicus Guerin 1874) [Baronius-Theiner].

J.-B. Christophe, Histoire de la papauté pendant le XIV. siècle Tome troisième (Paris 1853), Books 16 and 17. Mandell Creighton, A History of the Papacy during the Period of the Reformation Volume I (London: Longmans 1882).   F. Gregorovius, History of Rome in the Middle Ages, Volume VI. 2 second edition, revised (London: George Bell, 1906) [Book XII, chapter 5]     Noël Valois, La France et le Grand Schisme d'Occident Tome troisième (Paris: Alphonse Picard 1902)

Martin Souchon, Die Papstwahlen in der Zeit des Grossen Schismas   Zweiter Band (Braunschweig: Benno Goeritz 1899). Augustin Rösler, Cardinal Johannes Dominici, OP, 1357-1419. Ein Reformatorenbild aus der Zeit des Grossen Schisma (Freiburg i.B.: Herder 1893).

Adolf Konstantin Hösler, Ruprecht von der Pfalz gennant Clem, Römischer König 1400-1410 (Freiburg i. B. 1861). Leopold Frey, Verhandlungen mit der Curie über die Approbation Ruprechts von der Pfalz (Leipzig 1886). Alfred Winkelmann, Der Romzug Ruprechts von der Pfalz (Innsbruck 1892). Theodor Linder, Geschichte des Deutschen Reiches unter König Wentzel II (Braunschweig 1880) chapters XLI-XLIII.

Cesare Guasti, "Gli avanzi dell'Archivio di un pratese Vescovo di Volterra che fu al Concilio di Costanza," Archivio storico italiano  Quarta serie 13 (1884), 20-41; 171-209; 313-372. [Stefano Geri Boni di Prato (Bishop of Volterra 1411-1435)].


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