Sede Vacante 1406

November 6 —November 30, 1406

[Roman Obedience]

Castel S. Angelo, The Borgo, and the Vatican in the late 15th Century


In March of 1403, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) escaped from his captivity at Avignon, recovered the allegiance of his cardinals, and in short order, with the assistance of Louis d'Orleans, the obedience of France and Castile as well (Charles VI had withdrawn France from the Obedience of Benedict XIII on July 27, 1398). This escape greatly increased the volatility of the international situation. Benedict sent ambassadors to Rome, to Pope Boniface IX, hoping to improve his position and perhaps resolve the Schism [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1404, no. 6, pp. 113-114]. While the ambassadors of the Avignon Pope were in Rome, the Roman pope died (October 1, 1404) [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1404, no. 9, pp. 115]. The 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.

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, another nephew of the late pope, commanded the Castel S. Angelo for the Pope. His loyalty to Innocent, however, was a matter of uncertainty. 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. His continued 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. The pope's nephew Luigi Migliorati served under Mustarda.

On March 15, 1405, trouble broke out when the Colonna and their Roman republican allies went off to besiege a fortress, Molara, belonging to the Annibaldi. The pope tried to head off another Roman civil war by sending the Prior of the Knights of St. John (Malta) to act as mediator. The Prior was successful in his mission, but when the Republican army returned to Rome, the government ordered the Prior arrested and beheaded–without trial. In outrage, Innocent threatened to move the Papal Court to Viterbo, which brought the Septem (the Governors) to their senses. On May 7, they appeared in the presence of the pope and were pardoned. On June 12, Pope Innocent created eleven new cardinals, five of them Romans (Orsini, Colonna, Stefaneschi, Arcioni, and Calvi), in an attempt to gain some control, influence or favor with the Romans (Gregorovius VI. 2, pp. 570-581).

Santo Spirito in Sassia

The next flash point in the struggle between Guelphs and Ghibbelines came at Ponte Molle (Pons Milvius), which belonged to and was garrisoned by the Pope's mercenaries. The bridge was the northern access point to the road that led to Castel S. Angelo and the Leonine City (the Borgo). For exactly those reasons the Romans wanted control over the bridge. They attacked it on August 2, without success. Angry at that, the extremist Roman republicans attacked Castel S. Angelo. Some negotiation with the Pope caused the bridge to be broken down so that neither side could use it, but this inflamed some leading Romans who went to the Vatican to argue with the Pope. Their arrogant and insulting behavior to the pope's person caused his nephew to become involved. As the Romans were on their way back to the city, they were seized by Luigi Migliorati, taken into the Ospedale di Santo Spirito [photo at left] and murdered one after the other by Luigi. Their bodies were thrown out the windows into the street below [Antonio Petri, Diarium Romanum, pp. 976-978; another anonymous account is published by H. Finke in Römische Quartalschrift 4 (1890), 351-352].

The Diary of Gentile Delphini [Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores III. 2, 841-846; at 844; see Gregorovius VI. 2, pp. 576-583] gives the horrific details, and the names of the dead:

In nelli MCCCV [August 6, 1405]. Ludovico de Migliorati nepote di Papa Innocentio VII. ammazzao con certi suoi famigli, et homini suoi certi Romani buoni Cittadini conservatori, et Cappi Regioni in Sancto Spirito, et feceli giettare per le fenestre dello Palazzo, poiche se addussero ad annare a parlare ad esso, li quali avveva fatto chiamare li andassero a parlare; li quali occisi foro questi: Janni Palosio, Messer' Angilo delli Foschi de Berta delli Monti, Messer Gualtieri della Pigna, Jacobello de Jucciolo Ciavattano, Setfano dello Bufalo Cancellieri de Colonna, Tomasuozzo de Pavolo Stati de Sancto Stati, Scudo della Pigna, lo quale visse certi die, poiche fù gittato per la finestra. Consia de Parioni, et Janni de Nola de Sancto Angilo, et tre altri, et questo si fece, perche Romani non offervavano quello, che promettrevano allo Papa, et allo detto Ludovico. Lo ditto Papa subito se ne mostrao essere mal contento, ma per paura delli Romani subito se ne fuggio da Roma, et so del mese de . . . . in granfretta, che alcuni se morivano de fete per la via, et menao lo Papa con esso piu genti de arme, fra quali so Ceccolino de Peroscia, lo quale per camino poco lontano dallo Papa ammazzao un' Abbate de Peroscia figlio di Simone de Cecco, lo quale s' era trovato ad occidere Bigordo fratello del detto Ciccolino.

Eleven persons lost their lives, two of whom were Governatores appointed by the Pope. The people of Rome rose in a fury. The palaces of the Cardinals were sacked and burned. Members of the Curia were maltreated and imprisoned. On the night of August 6, the Pope and the Curia fled the city, and took up residence in Viterbo. Leonardo Bruni provides a famous eyewitness description in a letter to Colucio Salutati (Epp. I. 5). They were gone just in time, for the mob broke into the Vatican Palace and destroyed many of the archives (at least that was Theoderic de Nyem's concern, de schismate II. 36). Once at Viterbo Innocent sent another condottiere, Paolo Orsini, to retake the Vatican. He himself did not return to Rome until March of 1406.


Death of Pope Innocent VII

Antonio Petri provides the date and time of the death of Innocent VII [Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores 24, column 980; Gattico, p. 281]:

Mensis Novembris die Sabbati sexta, qua fuit festum sancti Leonardi, obiit Dominus Papa Innocentius Septimus ante horam unam pulsationis campanarum Sancti Petri de urbi, Stetit in Papatu annum unum, menses XI, dies 25.

Leonardo Bruni of Arezzo gave the details of the pope's developing illnesses in a letter [II. 2] that he wrote to his friend Francesco of Cortona:

Nam praeterquam quod pedibus aeger, et lateris dolore nonnunquam cruciabatur, bis apoplexia, quod quidem scierim, correptus est, Romae primum levius, deinde Viterbii gravius, cum in auditorio sederet. Quo quidem in loco nisi aliquot familiares circa illum fuissemus, qui accurrentes suscepimus, spectante multitudine de sella in caput volvebatur. A nobis tunc in cubiculum relatus semianimis plane atque elinguis, nonnisi longa medicorum cura demum evasit, si id est evadere, mortem differre. Per Martium inde mensem Romam regressus, quamdiu aestas caloresque fuerunt, non improbe se habere visus est. Vergente mox in hyemem anno, rursus corruit, atque interiit. Illud modo interfuit, quod prima illa Viterbiensi aegrotatione linguam sic impeditam habuit, nichil ut exprimere non ridicule quiret. In extrema vero ipsa qua defunctus est, nullum linguae impedimentum apparuit. Praeterea in prima illa difficilis et morosus, in hac perfacilis ac perhumanus. Quadriduo ante obitum ejus tabellarios Florentini Populi, qui captas tnnc primum Pisas attulerant, in cubiculum ad eum perduxi, cum quibus ita prospere locutus est, nullo ut premi morbo videretur; tanta vero patientia, et humanitate, ut pedem ex lodice nudum proferret, quo illi oscularentur.

The pope suffered from gout and an intermittent severe pain in his side. Twice he had a stroke, which Leonardo witnessed, the first at Rome (a lighter one) and then the second at Viterbo [where he arrived on August 8, 1405], a more serious one, while he was sitting in audience. His attendants rushed up, as he was shaking his head around while seated in his chair, with many people looking on, and carried him off to his chamber in a state of semi-consciousness and unable to speak. He would have died, had the doctors not undertaken an extended cure. He returned to Rome on March 13, 1406 [Theoderic de Nyem, de schismate II. 39, p. 196 and n. 3 Erler], even though it was seasonally hot, and did not seem to suffer from it. As the cooler weather came on, however, he grew worse and died. He was still suffering from impairment in his speech because of the attack in Viterbo, though, at the end before he died no difficulty in speech was observed. During the first stroke he was difficult and withdrawn, but in the second he was easygoing and very considerate. In the four days before his death, Leonardo brought the Florentine tabularii, who had been captured at Pisa, to the Pope's bedroom, and he spoke fluently with them to the extent that he did not appear ill at all. He even offered his foot for them to kiss.

Innocent died on Saturday, Novemer 6, 1406.


The Cardinals

Antonio Petri provides a list of Cardinals who entered Conclave on November 18 in his Diary (which is in need of slight corrections: Gattico, p. 281; Erler in Theoderic de Nyem de schismate, p. 204-205 n. 3). A list of Cardinals attending the Conclave is given by Conrad Eubel, Hierarchia Romana editio altera (Regensberg 1913), p. 31 n. 1. Felice Contelori, Elenchus S. R. E. Cardinalium ab anno 1294 usque ad 1430 (Romae: apud Andream Phaeum 1641), p. 141. Their names and titles are contained in the Conclave oath, sworn on Tuesday, November 23, 1406, the Feast of S. Clemente, and ratified a second time by the newly elected Gregory XII on November 30, 1406.

Cardinals attending:

  1. Angelo Acciai(u)oli, Bishop of Ostia and Velletri, former Bishop of Florence (1383-1387). Vice-Chancellor S. R. E. (born 1340 or 1348, died May 31, 1408) "Florentinus" [Cardella II, 296-297] 
  2. 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.   Bishop of Palestrina. Patriarch of Aquileia. Abbot Commendatory of SS. Bonifacio ed Alessio. Appointed Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica by Innocent VII. (died January 11, 1412, according to his sepulchral inscription) [Cardella II, 317-318]
  3. Enrico Minutoli [Neapolitanus],  Bishop of Bitonto (1382-1383); Archbishop of Trani (1383-1389); nominated Archbishop of Naples bu 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), by 1396.  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]. Canon and Prebend of Rikall in the Church of York, from 1404 [Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers VI, 31 and 44 (May 1, 1405)]. Canon and Prebend of Sutton cum Buckingham in the Church of Lincoln, at the time of his death [Twemlow VI, 173 (October 25, 1412); Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae II, 216].

  4. 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"
  5. Corrado Caraccioli [Neapolitanus], son of Roberto, Patrician of Naples [The Cardinal is N2]. Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Crisogono. Nephew of Pope Boniface IX.. Legate in Lombardy (died February 15, 1411) S.R.E. Camerarius. called "Militensis" [Cardella II, 320-321]
  6. Angelo Correr [Corrario, Corraro] (aged ca. 70), Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Marco. He had taken the Conclave oath of 1406, and ought to have been sworn to the Conclave oath of 1404, according to the terms of that oath as imposed on Cardinal Cosimo Migliorati (Innocent VII).  Died October 18, 1417 at Recanati, having resigned the papacy as Gregory XII on July 20, 1415.
  7. Giordano Orsini [Nobilis Romanus], son of Giovanni Orsini, Signore di Nerola, Marcellino, Vicovaro, Cantalupo, Bardella, Pacentro, Montemaggiore, Montelibretti e Scandriglia, Senatore di Roma 1350-1352; and Bartolomea Spinelli, daughter of Nicola Conte di Gioia and Grand Chancellor of the Kingdom of Sicily. Former Archbishop of Naples. Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Lorenzo in Damaso. (a cardinal of Innocent VII). Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica (died May 29, 1438) {Eubel I, 26; Cardella II, 321-324).
  8. Antonio Calvi [Romanus], Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Marco (formerly of S. Prassede, created by Innocent VII in 1405), Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica [L. Martorelli, Storia del clero vaticano, pp. 209-211; Muentz and Frothingham, Archivio della Società romana di storia patria  6 (1883), 69 and n. 3].  He was the last of the cardinals to leave Gregory XII; he came to Pisa on June 16, 1409, and voted in the election of Alexander V.     He was Rector of Shetlington in the diocese of Lincoln, and Archdeacon of Exeter, though there were other incumbents [Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers  VI (1904), 168 (July 14, 1410); Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae I, 394].  Appointed  Canon and Prebendary of Cherminster and Byre in the church of Salisbury; Vicar of Okcham in the diocese of Lincoln [Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers  VI, 196 (October 16, 1410)].  He died on October 2, 1411.   Called "Tudertinus" [Cardella II, pp. 329-330].
  9. Giovanni Migliorati [Sulmonensis in the Abruzzi, Neapolitan], Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Croce in Gerusalemme. Nephew of Pope Innocent VII (Cosimo Migliorati) [Theoderic of Nyem de schismate III. 38, p. 297 Erler]. Archbishop of Ravenna.[Martène-Durand VII, 1179] Doctor utriusque iuris.

  10. 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 (December 18, 1389).  He was called "Barrensis" [Cardella II, 290-291]  Died at Constanz on October 16, 1415.
  11. 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. Canon and Prebend of Lincoln [Brampton Prebend], from 1389;  Canon and Prebend of Coringham in the Diocese of Lincoln, since 1389  [Bliss-Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers IV, p. 383-384 (April 13, 1391); Le Neve Fasti, II, 116].  Prebend of Beckingham in St. Mary's, Diocese of Southwell [Bliss-Twemlow IV, 480 (August 21, 1394)].   He died on June 5, 1427.
  12. Oddone Colonna [Romanus] (aged 41), fourth son of Agapito Colonna, Signore di Gennazzano, Capranica, Palestrina, San Vito et Ceciliano; of the Gennazzano branch of the family [He is K4]; his mother was Caterina, daughter of Giovanni Conti, a Roman Noble and Signore di Valmontone. [Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores III. 2, 845C]. Cardinal Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro.
  13. Pietro Stefaneschi, alias de Anibalis [Romanus, of Trastevere], Cardinal Deacon S. Angelo (translated from Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria, 1405-1409, to of Ss. Cosma e Damiano, and back again to S. Angelo from 1410. This was to accomodate Cardinal Petrus Blavi (created by Benedict XIII in 1395), who was called the "Cardinal S. Angeli", but who died on December 12, 1409). [on 'de Anibalis' see Ehrle, Archiv fur Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte 7 (1900), 643; Gregorovius VI. 2, p. 575]. He was also called or "Cardinal Romanus".
  14. Jean Gilles (Aegidius) [Normannus], Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosmae et Damiani. Apostolic Legate to Trier, Cologne and Reims throughout the reigns of Urban VI and Boniface IX. Withdrew from the allegience of Gregory XII in 1408. Doctor in utroque iure. (died July 1, 1408) "Cardinal of Liège"

    [Salvador Miranda, misled by Cardella, wrongly states that "he abandoned his obedience for that of Pisa". Gilles died too soon for there to be any such thing as an 'Obedience of Pisa'. The Council did not open until March 25, 1409, by which time Gilles had been dead nearly nine months, and there was no Pisan pope to be obedient to until June 26, 1409. Indeed Cardinal Gilles died two days after the Declaration of Livorno, the foundation document of the Pisan council movement, was signed on June 30, 1408—a document to which he did not subscribe] Contelori, pp. 137-138, remarks: Hic dum schisma vigeret suadebat unionem, quod aegre ferens Gregorius Duodecimus iium in odio habuit; ideoque recessit a Gregorio qui ad se vitium vel in frustra discerptum duci praecepit, et quia detineri non potuit, Cardinalatia dignitate privavit anno secundo.]

Cardinals not attending:

  1. Pietro Filargi [Petrus Philargi], OFM, Archbishop of Milan. [Born at Candia, on the Island of Crete, raised by Franciscans there and in Italy] He was sent to Oxford for studies before going to Paris (according to Theoderic of Nyem, de schismate III. 51). 1371, Lector at the University of Pavia. By 1380 he had writtin a commentary on the penitential chapter of the Sentences. 1381, Licencate in Theology, Paris. October 5,1386: Doctor in theologia, Ordinis Fratrum Minorum professor [H. Finke in Römische Quartalschrift 4 (1890), 353]; Bishop of Piacenza (Urban VI). January 23, 1388: Bishop of Vicenza (Urban VI). September 18, 1389: Bishop of Novara (Urban VI). He acted as an ambassador for Gian Galeazzo Visconti in Genoa in 1391, in Florence in 1392 and in Prague (King Wenceslaus) in 1394. On May 17, 1402, he became Archbishop of Milan (Boniface IX). June 12, 1405: Cardinal Priest of the Basilica XII Apostolorum. (Innocent VII), and administrator of Milan. On September 11, 1405, he was named Legate in northern Italy, from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian Sea: Sedes Apostolicae Legatum in Liguria, in Insubria, atque in Aquileiensi et Gradensi Patriarchiatibus, including Genoa and Milan [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1405 no. 17, p. 137].
  2. Baldassare Cossa (Coscia, Coxa) [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 flimsy 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.
  3. Francesco Uguccione [Urbino], Cardinal Priest in the title of Ss. IV Coronati. called "Burdigalensis". Doctor utriusque iuris.   As Archbishop of Bordeaux he was a vassal of King Henry IV [Baronius-Theiner sub anno 1408, nos. lxvi, p. 227; Rymer VIII, p. 568].  Canon and Prebend of  Andesakyre in the Church of Lichfield [Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers  VI, 197 (November 10, 1410)]. Canon and Prebend of York [Twemlow VI, 365 (July 14, 1412).  He died on July 14, 1412).

  4. Valentinus Quinquecliensis [Balint Alsani]. Though created Cardinal on December 17, 1384, he did not enter the Curia until 1407. Cardinal of of S. Sabina (??) [Baronius Theiner, sub anno 1404, no. 10, p. 115], or rather SS. IV Coronati [Eubel I, p. 24, p. 41, and 46 n. 1].. [Cardella II, pp. 288-289]

  5. Ludovico Fieschi [Genuensis], Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano.(a cardinal of Urban VI). Bishop of Vercelli (1382-1423). Nephew of Cardinal Giovanni Fieschi. He did not participate in the Conclave of 1404. He had 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 1406

There was considerable discussion, as soon as the Pope was dead, as to whether to hold a conclave at all. Theoderic of Nyem, who was a member of the Curia, says [de schismate III. 1, p. 204 Erler] that the Cardinals, as was their custom, assembled and argued for some considerable time among themselves as to whether they should elect someone else in the place of Innocent or negotiate with the other pope and his cardinals about the reunion of the Church. Cardinal Caetani was particularly eager, in the interest of ending the schism, to postpone the Conclave:

... ejusque exsequiis solemniter exactis, ut laudabilius longa tribuit consuetudo, licet me renitente ad electionem procedere, cum mihi videretur supersedendum, ut citius et liberius pestiferi schismatis remotio haberetur, cum ambitio principandi ab utraque parte prorogationis notoria extiterit causa; aliiisque tamen dominis meis limpidius temporis malitiam et aliarum circumstantiarum qualitates librantibus, intrare conclave pro celebranda electione deliberantibus, intravimus, Christi nomine invocato, et tandem quatuordecim diebus transactis in conclave cum continua et humili oratione, et Dei digiti invocatione, cum in certis et salubribus obligationibus, ut in instrumentis inde confectis, quorum copiam vestrae caritati transmitto, videre poteritis, cum in laudabilibus ponderosisque tractatibus, prout nobis ex altero concedebatur, et rei gravitas exigebat,

In looking at the immediate situation, however, the Cardinals were of the opinion that having the temporal dominion of the Church without a Head would be an open invitation to the Roman populace to foment trouble yet once again. They had been engaged in a struggle with the Papacy sine 1138 over the right to be a Commune, with their own officials, and their own system of administration and law. The exact thing had happened at the time of the last conclave, when Innocent was elected. The Cardinals decided, therefore, to proceed with a Conclave.


Beginning of the Conclave

The Custodians of the Conclave were the Protonotary della Molara, the Archbishop of Pisa (Ludovico Bonitus), and Nicholas Orsini.

Antonio Petri says in his Diary that the Conclave opened on Thursday, the 18th [Muratori Rerun Italicarum Scriptores 24, column 980]:

Mensis Novembris die Sabbati festa, qua fuit festum Sancti Leonardi, obiit Dominus Papa Innocentius Septimus ante horam unam pulsationis campanarum Sancti Petri de urbe. Stetit in Papatu annum unum, nenses XI., dies 25. Die Jovis dicti mensis 18., quae fuit festum Dedicationis Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, intraverunt conclave Domini Cardinales post horam Vesperorum et occasum Solis. Domini Cardinales sunt isti: imprimis Dominus de Florentia [Angelo Acciaioli], Dominus Barensus [Landolfo Maramaldo], Dominus de Neapoli [Enrico Minutoli], Dominus de Aquila [Antonio Caetani], Dominus Laudensis [Angelo d'Anna], Dominus de Mileto [Corrado Caraccioli], Dominus Patriarcha Cardinalis [Angelo Correr], Dominus Tudertinus [Antonio Calvi], Dominus de Bononia [wrong! Baldassare Cossa did not attend], Dominus Leodiensis [Jean Gilles] Dominus de Brancatiis, Dominus de Columna, et Dominus de S. Angelo [Pietro Stefaneschi]. Item super Conclavium, videlicet pro custodia, sunt isti: Dominus Protonotarius della Molara, Dominus Archiepiscopus Pisanus et Dominus Nicolaus de Ursinis.

Stefano Infessura's diary makes it November 14. His knowledge of dates (or the quality of the transmission of numerals in the mss.) in this period, however, is shaky, and one must contest his testimony. A surviving letter of Cardinal Antonio Caetani indicates that the cardinals were in Conclave for fourteen days:

et tandem quatuordecim diebus transactis in conclave cum continua et humili oratione

Since Cardinal Angelo Correr was elected on November 30, the Conclave would apparently have had to begin on November 16. Since Pope Innocent died on November 6 (according to Pope Gregory himself: Martene et Durand, Veterum Scriptorum Monumentorum VII, 727), and was probably buried on November 8 since the 7th was a Sunday, the Novendiales would have begun on the morning of November 9. The last of the Masses would have been on the morning of November 17, and the Conclave opened on the afternoon of November 18. The apparent contradiction with Antonio Petri, introduced by the Cardinal's remark, can be accounted for, however, by reference again to Antonio Petri himself [Muratori, 981]:

Mensis Novembris, die Martis ultimo dicti mensis [November 30], festo Sancti Andreae Apostoli, videlicet hora ultima diei, vel prima noctis, fuit creatus papa Dominus Constantinopolitanus Cardinalis, et nomen Papale Gregorius XII. Die Mercurii primo mensis Decembris [December 1] de mane ante pulsationem matutini Sancti Petri, fuit publicatus, et in aurora pulsavit campana Palatii Papae, ac etiam campana Sancti Petri. Fuit tempus nubilosum cum pluvia.

The date of November 30, the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, is also mentioned by Theoderic de Nyem [de schismate III. 1, p. 205 Erler]. The election was completed in the evening of November 30, but it was not announced to the public until sunrise on December 1. The Cardinals and the new Pope had spent the night in Conclave. Hence, the fourteen days that Cardinal Caetani counts, which begin on November 18 and end on December 1. The reason that the Pope and Cardinals stayed the night in the Conclave is probably that there was business to transact after the election. The Conclave Oath of 1406 contains an additional subscription, added by the new Pope Gregory and dated November 30, after his election [Contelori, p. 148; Guasti, pp. 21-22, 29-35]:

Ego Gregorius Duodecimus, hodie ultima die Novembris Millesimo Quadringentesimo sexto assumptus in Romanum Pontificem, sic ut praemittitur voveo, iuro, promitto ac confirmo omnia supradicta, etc.

This subscribed and notarized oath may be what Theoderic of Nyem is referring to when he writes:

in locum Innocentii ipso festo sancti Andreae apostoli concorditer elegerunt, et deinde publicum instrumentum publicarunt, ita quod ad noticiam fere omnium curialium et multorum de populo dictae urbis subito pervenit.

The sources, then, are actually in agreement. The Conclave began on November 18, the election took place late in the day of November 30, and the election was published on December 1, 1406.

When the Cardinals were already locked up in Conclave, an embassy arrived from Florence, led by Johannes Dominici, OP, the famous preacher. Leonardo Aretino, who was present, describes the scene:

Ea mente jam in Conclave ingressis, supervenit Joannes Dominici a Florentinis Orator. Huic postulanti contra consuetudinem fenestella Conclavis aperta est, et alloquendi Patres facultas permissa. Summa orationis ejus ista fuit: missum se a Florentino populo, ut Patres cohortaretur electione supersederent; eam quidem esse certissimam viam unionis consequendae. Haec multis verbis, magnaque facundia homo dicendi exercitatissimus cum egisset, Patres per se ipsos ferventes magis incendere visus est. Itaque responsum a Patribus est, quando jam Conclave intrassent, electuros quidem, verum ita provisuros, ut electus qui fuerit, procuratorem potius ad deponendum Pontificatum, quam Pontificem se factum intelligere possit: id enim jampridem se constituisse, atque ea mente Conclave ingressos. Finito in hunc modum colloquio, suum ad negotium Patres revertuntur.

Dominici had some previous experience as a diplomat. In 1404 he had been the Signoria's agent in negotiations with Carlo Malatesta, the Lord of Pesauro. He had also played a role in negotiations between Florence and Milan. In the second half of 1405, he was sent by the Signoria to the Papal Court. Antoninus of Florence (Summa hist. XXII. 5) wrote that he was a zealous promoter of Church unity, and that he actually approached the Florentine government to do something at the time of the Sede Vacante to bring about union (Roesler, 120-122). . He arrived in Rome after the Conclave had actually begun. Contrary to the usual practice, the window of the Conclave was opened up and he was allowed to speak with the Cardinals. His message was that he had been sent by the Florentine government to ask the Cardinals to postpone the election. That (he said) was the surest way to pursue union. He spoke with great facility and an abundance of rhetoric, that he seemed to be on fire. They replied that when they had already entered Conclave, they had decided that they would elect someone who was more prepared to lay down the Papacy than to be elected to it. The Cardinals then returned to their business.


The Conclave Oath

The first part of the Conclave, from November 18 until the Feast of St. Clemente on November 23, was occupied with agreeing to a scheme to end the schism. The Cardinals themselves described the urgency inside the Conclave to have an agreement as to ending the schism:

conclave in palatio apostolico mox omnes intravimus, et ante omnia de divinae pietatis omnipotentia confidentes, ac exoptantes innumeris calamitatibus ac pressuris christianitatis, tam lacrymabiliter ex diuturno dicti schismatis morbo afflictae, quantum in nobis esset, finem imponere, unanimiter et concorditer nonnulla vovimus, ac nos obligando et jurando promisimus, et maxime quod si quis nostrum assumtus esset ad apicem summi apostolatus, pro integratione unitatis christianorum, renunciaret effectualiter juri suo et papatui pure, libere, et simpliciter, si et quando assumti adversarius, qui est et qui pro tempore esset, consimiliter renunciaret et cederet praetensis juri suo et papatui, sive decederet, dummodo illi qui apud dictum adversarium pro cardinalibus se gerunt, effectualiter vellent cum collegio nostro sic convenire ac concordare, quod ex hoc collegio et ipsis sequatur juste canonica electio unici summi Romani pontificis; ac etiam promitteret similiter ut praefertur, quod pendente tractatu unionis hujusmodi effectualiter et realiter ex utraque parte, non crearet nec faceret aliquem cardinalem, nisi causa coadaequandi numerum sui collegii cum numero illorum se gerentium pro cardinalibus adversarii supradicti: nisi ex defectu steterit adversae partis, quod unionis praefatae conclusio infra annum et tres menses a die suae inthronizationis computandos non fuerit subsequuta: quo casu, liceret eidem cardinales eligere et creare prout pro statu suae matris Ecclesiae eidem videretur convenire, prout de praemissis et aliis conventis latius patet.

In fact, Theoderic of Nyem [de schismate III. 1, p. 205 Erler] says that Angelo Correr was elected precisely because he was believed to be more eager for an end of the Schism than any of the other cardinals: credentes eum fore virum bonae conscientiae et caeteris omnibus habiliorem promptioremque ad faciendum unionem. Theodore also remarks that the new Pope Gregory XII was around eighty years of age (octogenarium vel circa). He also says [de schismate II. 42, p. 202 Erler], however, that Correr was engaged in a great fraud against his fellow cardinals:

Subsequenter venio ad Gregorium vel Errorium, qui praedicto Innocentio vita functo in sua obedientia immediate succesit, et si quis fraudes, machinationes, dolos, cautelas, hypocrisias et subtilitates, quibus electus fuit per collegium cardinalium, quibus postea una cum praedicto Petro de Luna unionem in universali ecclesia facere distulit neque fecit, et quare non fecerat illam, se excusavit, in peccatis totam Christianitatem ludificando et decipiendo, necnon et collusiones, versutias et palliationes inter se per medias personas habitas et circa haec acta per utrumque ipsorum Errori et Petri per singula describere vellet, vix chartae et atramentum huic sufficerent et laborando circa ea nimium traheretur in longum.

Six of the Cardinals who were present at the Conclave of 1406 had also been present at the Conclave of October 12-17, 1404, and on that occasion had sworn and subscribed to an oath to elect a person who would work toward the end of the Schism and the reunification of the Church, resigning or abdicating if necessary, if the Cardinals of the Avignon Obedience would agree to conduct a new joint election with the Cardinals of the Roman Obedience to produce a pope around whom the Church would once again be One. These six Cardinals, Acciaioli, d'Anna, Minutoli, Caetani, Brancacci, and Maramaldo, were still bound by their perpetual oath. The oath had specified that any new cardinals would be required to take the same oath; if Innocent VII (Migliorati) had kept to his oath, then all of the Cardinals at the Conclave of 1406 ought to have been bound already by the oath of 1404. But Innocent VII, a weak and unreliable person, had betrayed his oath by promising Ladislaus of Sicily not to make any agreement to end the Schism which did not recognize Ladislaus' title to the throne of Sicily. It is not known whether he kept to his oath to require his nine new cardinals of June 12, 1405, to swear the oath of 1404 as a condition to their creation. Evidently, though, the Cardinals at the Conclave of 1406, were of the opinion that the Oath of 1404 had been a failure, and a new document was needed. From November 18 to November 23, they negotiated an agreement that each was prepared to swear to.

The actual document survived, and it contains exactly what Theoderic of Nyem says it did [Contelori, 141]. The agreement was finally ratified in the Chapel of St. Nicholas in the old Papal Palace next to St. Peter's Basilica. The notary apostolic and imperial, Stephen de Prato, drew up the document. Its stated purpose was the removal of the schism. The Cardinals all promised each other that, if one of them should be elected Supreme Pontiff, he would renounce and cede the papacy, should the Cardinals of the Avignon Obedience wish to come together and come to an agreement with their College, so that a just and canonical election of a single Roman Pontiff might take place. If someone outside the College should be likely to be elected, they agreed to take care to impose the same conditions on him as they were putting on themselves and each other, and that, within a month of his enthronement, he should make known his agreement and intentions to the King of the Romans, the Antipope, his College of Cardinals, the King of France and other notable kings, and the whole Christian world, that he would carry out all the things he had promised on oath to the College of Cardinals. During his first three months on the papal throne, he would send ambassadors to the other side (in consultation with the Cardinals), with powers to arrange a convenient and appropriate place for them to meet. Each cardinal promised that, if elected, he would not, during the negotiations over unification, create any new cardinal except for the purpose of keeping the number of members of his Sacred College equal with that of the other College [obviously, to prevent the packing of the Roman College in anticipation of a joint election], unless, thanks to an obstacle created by the other party, the conclusion of a union had not been carried out within a year after the conclusion of the three month period. He should have this understanding conveyed to the Antipope and his College, so that he should do the same. After his election and before its public announcement, he should confirm and approve all these stipulations in the approved form, with the College of Cardinals as witnesses and with notaries, and he should sign the public instrument with his own handwritten signature. He should also announce his ratification and approval of all the above in his first Public Consistory after his Coronation. Within a month of the the enthronement of the new Pope, the Cardinals would write letters about the election, the agreement, and the new Pope's plans for union to all the personages already mentioned. Each cardinal also promised that he would not seek absolution, nor grant permission to others to absolve him, nor even to dispense himself somehow from the promises and vows undertaken, but instead to remain bound by his promises in perpetuity.

Each of the Cardinals, including Angelo Correr, signed the document with his own hand in the presence of witnesses and five notaries. The document ends with an additional subscription made on November 30, the day of the election:

Ego Gregorius Duodecimus, hodie ultima die Novembris Millesimo Quadringentesimo sexto assumptus in Romanum Pontificem, sic ut praemittitur voveo, iuro, promitto ac confirmo omnia supradicta, etc



Antonio Petri [Muratori, 981] records that Gregory XII was crowned on the morning of Sunday, December 19, 1406, at the top of the stairs that led to St. Peter's Basilica. The crown was placed on the Pope's head by Cardinal Rinaldo Brancaccio [Panvinio Epitome, p. 271; Ciaconius-Olduin, column 750, say that it was Cardinal Ludivico Fieschi–yet another of their gross errors]. After the Coronation, the papal court, the nobility (especially the Orsini, who were the leading Guelph family) and the people of Rome made their way to the Lateran Basilica where the Pope was installed in his Cathedral Church:

Item die Dominico 19. dicti mensis Decembris, fuit coronatus dictus Dominus Papa Gregorius in ortu solis in capite scalarum Basilicae Sancti Petri, ut moris est, et post coronationem suam equitavit ad Sanctum Johannem in Laterano cum maximo honore totius populi Romani, ac etiam cum istis baronibus, videlicet, Poncellus de Ursinis, Gentilis de Ursinis, Paulus de Ursinis, et Antonellus de Ursinis, ac etiam cum Domino Senatore Urbis, videlicet Pier Francesco. Item reversus fuit post vesperam Sancti Petri in Palatio Apostolico una cum supra notatis. Vidi ego Antonius adexterare dictum Dominum Papam a dicto Domino Senatore in reversione per Plateam Sancti Petri una cum Stephano Pauli Gotii tamquam Conservatore Urbis.

As they had promised in the Conclave Oath, the Cardinals began writing their letters about the recent Conclave and about their promises for church unity and the end of the Schism. They specifically mention as well Pope Gregory's confirmation of his own oath. Their letter to the University of Cologne, dated December 10, 1406, survives.




"De Innocentio VII," "De Gregorio XIII.," in Ludovico Antonio Muratori (editor), Rerum Italicarum Scriptores III. 2 (Milan 1724), columns 832-837; 837-841.

B. Platina (edited by Onuphrio Panvinio), B. Platinae de vitis pontificum Romanorum (Coloniae: apud Maternum Cholinum 1568). "Innocentius VII" (pp. 278-280); "Gregorius XII" (pp. 280-282); . Bartolommeo Platina e d'altri autori, Storia delle vite de' pontefice Tomo Terzo (Venezia: Domenico Ferrarin 1763), "Innocenzio VII" (pp. 284-287); "Gregorio XII" (pp. 288-295).

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]

Antonius Petri, Diarium Romanum [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].

Joannes Baptista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii. Tomus I (Romae 1753).

J.-B. Christophe, Histoire de la papauté pendant le XIV. siècle Tome troisième (Paris 1853), Books 16 and 17.   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).   E. Göller, König Sigismunds Kirchenpolitik vom Tode Bonifaz IX bis zur Berufung des Konstanzer Konzils (1404-1415) (Freiburg i.B.: Holder 1902).   Erich Koenig, Kardinal Giordano Orsini (†1438). Ein Lebensbild aus der Zeit der grossen Konzilien und des Humanismus (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder 1906).

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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