SEDE VACANTE 1241-1243

November 10, 1241—June 24 (25), 1243



The relationship between Church and State, Gregory IX and Frederick II, was an uneasy one. Both were ambitious and resourceful men. Each understood what the other's intentions were. And they were incompatible. Their first period of open warfare began with the Sixth Crusade, 1227-1229, which Gergory claimed that Frederick had deserted; in fact, Frederick was seriously ill. But Gregory used it as an excuse to stop Frederick's aggrandizement of his power by excommunicating him. Wrong tool, wrong man. Frederick eventually did get to the Holy Land and reached an agreement that got Jerusalem for the Christians. But the Pope pretended that it was a horrible thing for an excommunicated man to lead a Crusade. Instead of being grateful, he continued the excommunication, and tried to overthrow Frederick's throne in Sicily, revealing his own deceitfulness and treachery. Frederick returned and drove out the Pope's mercenary troops, but thought it better to reach an understanding with Gregory than to humiliate him. The result was a Treaty, which revised Frederick's position in Sicily and his relation to the papacy in the latter's favor. But Frederick desired the unification of his Kingdom of Sicily, and, despite his promises to the Pope, he went forward and achieved his aims in the Constitutions of Malfi in 1231.

The second period of mutual hostility began in 1237. Frederick was rebuilding his empire in Lombardy, and had won a considerable victory at the Battle of Cortenuova (November 27-28, 1237). At total of perhaps 35,000 soldiers were involved in the battle. The Lombard League was seriously harmed. Its army was destroyed completely, with thousands dead (some say 10,000) and over 5,000 prisoners, including 2500 from Milan alone. The League and Genoa had been Gregory's principal allies in Itally. Frederick intended to consolidate his position throughout Italy, and one step in this process was to install one of his sons, his natural son Enzio, on the island of Sardinia. This required Enzio to marry Adelasia of Torres, who was heiress to half of the island of Sardinia, a scheme which had the encouragement and blessing of the Doria family of Genoa, as part of their own schemes for aggrandizement. Since Sardinia was a papal fief, this action was sure to cause trouble with Gregory IX. In early 1239, Gregory again excommunicated the Emperor. Frederick obviously was not worried, for he immediately retailiated by expelling Gregory's favorites, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, from Lombardy. Enzio, however, spent little time in Sardinia. Instead, he was brought back to the mainland and made his father's vicar for Lombardy and Legate for the Romagna, giving him a considerable responsibility in consolidating Imperial victories in northern Italy.

The struggle between Pope and Emperor next took the form of mutual denunciations as to character and orthodoxy, and both Frederick and Gregory promoted the idea of a church council for the purpose of disposing of the other. Gregory had the power to actually move in that direction and he did so, summoning a Council to meet in Rome at Easter of 1241. It was impossible, of course, for all of these delegates to travel by land, since Frederick and his allies controlled northern and central Italy. They could get as far as Provence through friendly territory, but either at Nice or Genoa they had to take ship to get to Rome. The Papal Legate in northern Italy, Gregory of Romania, and the two cardinals who were coming from England (Oddo de Monferrato) and France (Giacomo da Pecorara, OCist.) made such arrangements as they could with the Genoese to hire ships to transport them, but there were not enough and conditions were very crowded. Despite warnings to the Genoese of likely attacks to their positions on land, plus fears of desertion or reassignment from the navy to the army, and the uncertainty of the Genoese ships' ability to take on the navy of Pisa, as reinforced by the Emperor and ships from Sicily, the Legate and Cardinals insisted on proceeding. On May 3, 1241, off the island of Giglio. The Genoese version of the story of the naval battle is given by Bartolommeo the Scribe in considerable detail. All but five of the twenty-seven Genoese ships in the armada were captured, including the ones with the Cardinals, the Legate, the Archbishop of Rouen, and the Abbots of Cluny and Clairvaux [MGH SS 18, p. 196-197]. Many of those who were captured were sent to imprisonment in Naples

In July, as Ryccardus of S. Germano records it, the Emperor had ordered his agents to confiscate all of the gold, silver, and precious objects that they found in the treasuries of the churches in his jurisdiction. This material was collected at S. Germano in the Church of S. Maria, and put in the custody of twelve well-to-do men of the Kingdom of Sicily. Some of the precious objects he allowed to be redeemed, the rest was stored at the Church of S. Maria de Grottaferrata. Along with his capture of one city after another in the Campagna of Rome, this was a terrible warning to Gregory and his Cardinals of what the Emperor was prepared to do. In August he assembled an army of vastatores at Insula Pontis Solarati and at S. Giovanni de Incarico. Its misson could not be clearer.


Death of Pope Celestine IV

Gregory IX died on August 22, 1241. The Electoral process began in August, but due to a stalemate between two candidates, Cardinal Guifredus (or Gaufredus) Castillioneus (Castiglione) and Cardinal Romanus Bonaventura, there was no resolution. After an unpleasant summer electoral process lasting some nine weeks, and even with the temporary presence of Cardinal Oddo de Monferrato, released on parole by the Emperor Frederick, it was only with difficulty that a two-thirds majority was accumulated for Cardinal Castiglione. Unhappily, he was old and ill. Or perhaps that was the point. A new election, in a different place, under different circumstances, the Cardinals might have the chance to agree on a better result. Nicolaus de Curbio says that Pope Celestine IV did not receive the pallium, was not crowned, and issued no bulls. He was dead in 17 (others say 18) days.

qui morte praeventus, pallium non recepit more papali, munus consecrationis non habuit, neque bullam, et infra XVII. dierum spatium obdormiens in Domino diem clausit extremum.

He was buried the day after his death in S. Peter's Basilica [Innocent IV, Summus orbis opifex: Anagni, July 2, 1243:  MGH Epp. II, no. 1, p.2; Bullarium Romanum Turin edition, III, p. 302; Martinus Polonus, p. 151 ed. Klimeš];

Hinc est, quod felicis recordationis Celestino papa predecessore nostro, qui bone memorie Gregorio pape successerat, infra modicum temporis spatium soluto carnis debito censuali ad superos, ut credimus, ut introeat in potentias Domini, evocato, ac eius, ut moris est, exequiis in crastino celebratis, post vacationem diutinam quae peccatis exigentibus propter malitiam temporis intervenit, fratres ad tantum subrogandi pastoris officium Anagniae convenientes in unum, tandem Spiritus sancti gratia invocata in nos providentiae suae oculos iniecerunt, imbecillibus humeris fascem tanti oneris imponere dercernedo.


The Cardinals

The list of cardinals at the Election of 1241-1243 is essentially the same as that of August-October, 1241, without Cardinal Somercote or Cardinal Castiglione (Celestine IV). Two Cardinals, Oddo and Jacobus, were still held in captivity by the Emperor Frederick, though Oddo was released and joined the other cardinals in August, 1242, in time for six of the Cardinals to write a letter to the Abbot of Wardon (1242 or 1243) [Matthew of Paris, Volume IV, p. 250; Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1243, no. 3, p. 260]. Jacobus de Pecorara was released in May, 1243. in time for the Election of 1243.


List of Cardinals who assembled to elect a pope in mid-May, 1243:

  1. Raynaldus dei Conti [Jenne, Diocese of Anagni], Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and Velletri (1231-1254), formerly Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio (1227-1231). Protector of the Franciscans. As Legate to Viterbo, he had reconciled the city to Rome; as Legate in Lombardy, he worked to reconcile Frederick II to the Milanese. [Cardella I. 2, p. 246-247].  In May of 1241, the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry was ordered to help the procurator of Cardinal Rinaldo to recover his ecclesiastical and temporal property in England; he was Rector of the church of Castre; he also had a kinsman, Thomas Folioth, who was to be given a canonry at Hereford.  Cardinal Rinaldo's predecessor as Rector of Castre was Cardinal Robert de Somercote (at the time, 1236, only a Subdeacon) [Bliss, Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland I (1893), p. 154; 196, 198]. When the new pope fled to France in June, 1244, Cardinal Rinaldus was one of four cardinals who remained behind voluntarily.
  2. Jacobus (Giacomo) da Pecorara, OCist. [Piacenza, Lombardy], Cardinal Bishop of Palestrina (1231-1244).  He had earlier been Abbot of Trois Fontaines in the Diocese of Châlons. In October 1239 he was sent as a Legate by Pope Gregory IX to the princes of the west; he travelled secretly to Genoa as a pilgrim, where he took ship.  By November 10, 1239, he is at Aix, raising money and troops from Count Raymond Berengar against the Emperor Frederick. He also authorized the excommunication of Count Raymond of Toulouse which took place on July 15, 1240; the stated reason is that Raymond would not help Gregory IX against Frederick II   [Winkelmann, Acta imperii inedita I (Innsbruck 1880), no. 662, pp. 528-529; 665, pp. 530-531].  In November, 1240, he was involved in trying to raise money in France to pay papal creditors if the English subsidy, raised by Cardinal Oddo, was not sufficient [Bliss, Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland I (1893), p. 195]. As he was returning, he was captured in a naval battle between the Emperor Frederick and the Genoese near Pisa. He was held in custody by the Emperor from May, 1241, until May, 1243.   Frederick II called him his notissimus adversarius [Huillard-Bréholles VI, 93].  (died June 25, 1244).

  3. Joannes (Giovanni) de Columna (Colonna) [Romanus], second son of Oddone Colonne, Signore di Colonna, Monteporzio, Zagarolo, Gallicano e Palestrina; his younger brother Oddone was Senator of Rome in 1238 and 1241. Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede (1216-1244) Papal Legate on the VI. Crusade.  A Ghibelline  (died on February 9, 1245: 'Matthew of Westminster', Flores Historiarum II, 270 ed. Luard)
  4. Stefano de Normandis (dei Conti) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere (1228-1254), formerly Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano (1216-1228)   Nephew of Innocent III (dei Conti) [Moroni, Dizionario storico-ecclesiastica 48, 110-111]   Innocent IV wrote a letter for him on July 10, 1243, to aid in his collection of revenues owed him for benefices in England [E. Berger, Registres d' Innocent IV, I (Paris 1884), p. 3 no. 7; Bliss, Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland I (1893), p. 198].  On October 10, 1243, he is Archpriest of S. Peter's: Berger, p. 32, no. 177].  When the new pope fled to France in June, 1244, Cardinal Stephanus was one of four cardinals who remained behind, with the title of  Vicarius in Urbe  He  died on December 8, 1254. 
  5. Sinibaldus de Flisco (Fieschi) [Genuensis], Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina (September, 1227–June 24, 1243) [Cardella, p. 247]

  6. Rainerius, OCist. [Viterbiensis], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin (1216-1250). [According to C.Eubel Hierarchia catholica I, p. 532 n. 3, he may not be the same person as Rainerius Capocci, made Cardinal Deacon in 1216]; but cf. Pinzi, I, pp. 331-334.   His funerary inscription near the high altar in S. Maria di Gradi in Viterbo reads: RAYNERIO CAPOCCIO VITERBIEN.TIT.S.MARIE | IN COSMEDIN DIACONO CARDINALI, AEDIS HUJUS | COELITUS DEMONSTRATAE RELIGIOSIIS FUNDATORI | FALMILAEQUE PRAEDICATORUM PIISSIMO LARGITORI | FRATRES AD BENEFICII MEMORIAM SEMPITERNAM | AMPLISSIMO BENEMERITO ANTE DIGNIOREM | ARAM CONDITO NUNCUPARUNT. [Ughelli-Colet, Italia sacra I, 1412].     He was the principal victim of Frederick's devastation of papal territory in May-June 1243 [Pinzi, I, 380].   Cardinal Raynerius led the successful fight for the recovery of his native Viterbo for the Church in  the summer of 1243 [E. Winklelmann, Acta imperii inedita I (Innsbruck 1880), no. 693, pp. 546-554; Maubach, 9-12].  When the new pope fled to France in June, 1244, Cardinal Rainerius was one of four cardinals who remained behind, with the title of Legate in Tuscia, the Duchy of Spoleto, the March of Ancona and the Patrimony of S. Peter [A. Theiner, Codex diplomaticus dominii temporalis S. Sedis I (Rome 1861), p. 145, no. cclxxi], which he held until his death [Mamachi, Annalium Ordinis Praedicatorum I, Monumentorum p. 162].  He died in 1250, and is commemorated in the Cistercian calendar on May 27.
  7. Egidius [Hispanus] (Gil Torres), Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosmae et Damiani (December 1216-1255).  He was elected Archbishop of Toledo by the Canons of the Cathedral, but Innocent IV refused to ratify his elevation, considering him to be more valuable to the universal Church at his side [Cardella I. 2, 235; Eubel I, p. 5, p. 487]. [Warning: The same anecdote is told about Honorius III and Cardinal Conrad von Urach and the See of Besançon]   He died ca. 1255, at least according to Matthew of Paris [MGH SS 28, 355]; also,   Obiit et Magister Robertus de Cortuna archidiaconus Dunelmensis in Curia Romana, qui ibidem degens rexit in theologia, et in eadem curia Egidius Hispanus et Willelmus nepos Innocentii Papae, cardinales [Vol. 5, p. 534 ed. Luard].
  8. Oddo (Odo, Oddone) de Monferrato, son of Marquis Guillelmus III [Frederick II calls him Oddo de Todenengo], son of William, Margrave of Monferrat.  Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicolai in Carcere Tulliano (1227-1244), later Bishop of Porto (1244-1251). Legatus a latere in England and Scotland, arrived in England on June 29, 1237 [Matthew of Paris III, p. 395 Luard; Bliss, Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland I (1893), p. 159;  cf. letter  Quemadmodum si of April 1, 1261: Delisle, Bibliothèque de ' École des chartes 38, no. xxxv.]. He was returning to the Curia, when, on May 3, 1241, he was captured by the Pisans and Emperor Frederick. He was finally released in August of 1242 [Ryccardus de S. Germano, MGH 19, p. 382] [Cardella, 247-248; Ciaconius-Olduin II, 81-82].  He died in 1251.
  9. Ricardus Hannibaldi (Riccardo Annibaldi) de Molaria, a Roman, Cardinal Deacon of Sant' Angelo in Pescheria (1237-1274), died at Lyons in 1274, according to his memorial inscription. Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica (named by Innocent IV). Ghibelline. Opponent of the Orsini. [Cardella, 257-259]. When the new pope fled to France in June, 1244, Cardinal Ricardus was one of four cardinals who remained behind, with the title of Legatus in Campania and Maritima.   The remains of his tomb are in the Cloister of the Lateran Basilica.


Conditions during the Interregnum

The death of Pope Celestine IV on Sunday, November 10, 1241, caused certain of the cardinals to flee immediately, leaving the pope to be buried by others, and to head off for Anagni (according to Ryccardus de S. Germano [p. 381]):

Mense Novembris Celestinus papa Romae aput Sanctum Petrum obiit; et de cardinalibus quidam, eo insepulto, de Urbe fugerunt, et contulerunt se Anagniam.

The Cardinals at Anagni were summoned by some of their bretheren in Rome to appear for the Conclave,  but they (or some of them) replied that it would be like going to prison, and that, in Rome, they would be without their canonical liberty to elect a pope [document published by Hampe].  They demanded that the cardinals in Rome not proceed to an Election under the circumstances, or they would appeal to a general church council (ad generalem ecclesiam seu generale concilium appellamus).

Matthew of Paris [IV, p. 194 Luard], too, speaks of the time immediately after the death of Celestine IV in November. The Curia was demoralized, and only six or seven cardinals remained in Rome. Some were in hiding, some were ill, some had fled to their home towns to hide with their friends and followers; being scattered in various places, their souls too were confused. The tiniest fire of charity between one and another was exstinguished. They were like sand without lime and unable to make progress on building the house of God:

Tunc etiam temporis, Romana curia adeo viluit exturbata, adeo languit desolata, ut adhuc miserabiliter vacante sede Papali, vix sex vel septem cardinales Romae remanserunt; quibusdam raptis de medio, quibusdam aegrotantibus, quibusdam autem partibus remotis quibus nati sunt, cum amicis et parentibus suis latitantibus; dispersique locis et animis dissipati, extincto caritatis inter eos igniculo, similes facti sunt arenae sine calce, ne domus Dei, caemento murali aedificata, prosperum caperet incrementum.

Travel became difficult, and people had to be careful what they wrote in their correspondence. Fra Salimbene of Parma remarks in his Chronica that the Emperor Frederick had closed the roads and was having travellers arrested. But the Cardinals were also at odds and dispersed [p. 58; cf. Matthew of Paris IV, p. 256 Luard, under the date 1243]:

Mortuus est Papa Gregorius nonus, qui fuit amicus et pater et benefactor Ordinis Fratrum Minorum. Et substitutus est ei Coelestinus quartus natione Mediolanensis, qui cito obiit, scilicet infra spatium XVII. dierum. Et cessavit episcopatus ab anno MCCXLI. usque ad MCCXLIII. Quia et cardinales discordes erant et dispersi. Et Fridericus vias clauserat usque adeo ut milti caperentur. Timebat enim ne aliquis transiret, qui Papa fieret. Nam et ego ipse tunc temporis captus pluries fui. Et tunc didici et excogitavi scribere litteras diversis modis sub cautela.

Frederick himself spent the entire winter in Apulia, mostly at his palace in Foggia (as subscriptions to his documents indicate).

All of this is discreetly omitted by Innocent IV's biographer, chaplain and confessor, Nicolaus de Curbio ("Life of Innocent IV", ch. 7 Muratori, p. 592a). He places the entire burden for the long interregnum on Emperor Frederick. He says:

Post vacationem diutinam, quae per annum et decem menses et dies sex, peccatis exigentibus, et propter temporis malitiam intervenit, Sacrosanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinales, qui per multiplices Frederici Imperatoris persecutiones et dissensiones fuerat per diversa loca, tanquam oves non habentes pastorem dispersi, ad tantum subrogandum pastorem Anagniae in majori Ecclesia convenerunt.



But the Emperor Frederick made another effort to come to an understanding with Rome. He sent ambassadors—the Master of the House of the Teutonic Knights, the Archbishop of Bari (Marinus Filangieri), and Master Ruggiero Porcastrellus—to the Roman Curia in February of 1242, to discuss a peace. This is perhaps what Matthew of Paris [IV, pp. 239-240 Luard) is referring to when he remarks that the Emperor had advised the Cardinals that they ought to assemble together and elect a pope.  This advice was tendered in a letter   [J.-L.-A. Huillard-Bréholles (editor), Historia diplomatica Friderici Secundi   Tomus VI. Pars I. a mense Septembri 1241 ad mensem Julium 1247 (Paris: Plon 1860), pp. 35-36]:

Fridericus, etc. cardinalibus, etc.  Cum ad unanimam et salubrem provisionem Ecclesiae generalis tanquam Romanus Cesar et princeps catholicus intendamus, ut omnis omnino defectus et materia scandali in substitutione novi pontificis auferantur, venerabilem Penestrinum episcopum et Ottonem Sancti Nicholai in carcere Tulliano diaconum cardinalem, qui de mandato nostro Capue commorantur, offerimus nos paratos ad vos mittere liberos ut intersint electioni predicte in loco tuto et ydoneo, ne ipsis absentibus et intra provinciam commorantibus nec vocatis, defectus possit aliquis in electione notari [the rest is lost].

It was the ignorant who were saying that he was taking advantage of the cardinals' dissentions to try to keep a pope from being elected. But it was in fact the cardinals who were delaying. They immediately replied to the Emperor that, if he really wanted peace with the Church, he should immediately release the prelates he was holding in prisons:

Diebus quoque sub eisdem, dominus imperator F[rethericus] significavit cardinalibus, corpore dispersis et voluntate dissentientibus, ut in unum convenientes unanimiter Papam eligerent. Asserebat enim in hoc eorum crimine etiam ipsummet notam infamiae non minimam contraxisse. Credebatur enim et dicebatur a multis, veritatem rei ignorantibus, quod ipse principaliter ecclesiae Romanae promotionem impediret, et vacationem Sedis Apostolicae procuraret. At ipsi cardinales, non adhuc inter se saltem scintillantem sub cinere caritatis igniculum invenientes, impediente antiquo humani generis inimico, nec concordes nec convenientes Papam eligere voluerunt. Verumtamen instanter dominum imperatorem postulabant, ut si se pacis ac libertatis ecclesiasticae haberi cuperet aemulatiorem, sub bonae pacis spe certissima, quos adhuc tenuit incarceratos praelatos ecclesiae liberos abire permitteret.

Shortly thereafter, on February 12, his eldest son and principal heir, Henry, died. Coming within weeks of the death of his wife, this must have been a terrible blow to the Emperor.

The Guelfs were also fortifying themselves.  Senator Matteo Rosso Orsini and the Roman government entered into a formal treaty with Perugia and Narni, on March 12, 1242, during the sede vacante [Franco Bartoloni, Codice diplomatico del Senato Romano dal 1144 al 1347 (Roma 1848), pp. 163-166 no. 90; Enrico Narducci, La lega romana con Perugia e con Narni contra Federico II. d'Hohenstaufen, illustrata con un documento originale e con note, proceduta da un discorso storico e da alcuni cenni intorno alla vita di Matteo Orsini (1856); Gregorovius, pp. 219-220; R. Brentano, Rome Before Avignon  (Berkeley 1990), p. 113]. More than eighty of Rome's leading citizens, including several known to have been senators previously, signed the documents. 

Also in March of 1242, perhaps in response to his negotiations with the Cardinals, the Emperor Frederick dispatched one of his captains, Thomas de Montenigro, to Tibur; and in April the two Cardinals, Oddo and Jacobus, were likewise sent to Tibur, under the command of Dybbold de Dragone. In May the Imperial army was assembled near Reate (Rieti) in Marsian territory under the command Andreas de Cicala, Captain of the Kingdom. On June 14, 1242, Matteo Rosso Orsini wrote to the leaders of Alatri that the Romans were making war against the Emperor, his lands and his followers (contra imperatorem guerram movimus et terram suam sequacesque suos), who were active in the neighborhood of Tibur and Reate, and that they were in fact in the field and calling on their allies for assistance [Winkelmann, Acta inedita imperii  I (Innsbruck 1880), p. 541 no. 685].   The Romans marched out and destroyed the olive orchards and vinyards of Tibur.  In June the Emperor moved from Apulia to Capua, then to S. Germano, Aquinum, Sora, to Avezanum (Avezzano).  In July, he and the army attacked the neighborhood of the City of Rome, whereupon he returned to his own territory [Ryccardus of S. Germano, Migne p. 1050; MGH 19, 383-384]:

Mense julii imperator congregato exercitu copioso super Urbem vadit, et hostilem faciens in exterioribus vastitatem, mense augusti in regnum reversus est.

Shortly thereafter, in August, he released Cardinal Oddo de Monferrato, but Cardinal Giacomo de Pecorara and Master John of Toledo were removed again to a castle near S. Germano. Frederick was again willing to make concessions, but he looked for something in return. In August of 1242, the Emperor was back in the Kingdom of Naples, and in September of 1242 he was entertaining Raymond VII (VIII) the Count of Toulouse, at Malfi. He and his guests spent the autumn and winter in the pleasant atmosphere of the south, enjoying the pursuits of the imperial court. The Cardinals, however, seem to have made no effort to reciprocate, and the Vacancy continued. Life without a difficult master like Pope Gregory could have its pleasures too.



But in February of 1243, the call went out for a general muster on the First of April.  In May of 1243, according to Ryccardus of S. Germano [MGH 19, 383-384], the Emperor Frederick came north again from Capua

Mense Madii [1243] imperator ipse de Capua movens, et per Sanctum Germanum transitum habens et per Aquinum, aput Flagellam se contulit; ubi faciens aliquandiu moram, inde per Campaniam, facto ponte super flumen Ceperani, transitum habens, super Urbem vadit, ubi turres nonnullas funditus fecit everti, faciens in aliis etiam quam potuit vastitatem; et tunc ad preces cardinalium ab Urbe discedens, est reversus in regnum. Item mense Madii Praenestinus episcopus imperatore mandante liberatus est, et aput Anagniam ad cardinales cum honore remissus.

This is confirmed and amplified by Matthew of Paris (IV, pp. 240-241 Luard):  

Imperator igitur, dictis cardinalium fidem adhibens indubitatam, et firmiter credens tam Papam eligendum, quam ipsos cardinales pacem regno et sacerdotio congruam et honorabilem provisuros, omnes quos habebat incarceratos praelatos et legatos liberos sine aliquo impedimento vel redemptione liberaliter abire permisit.

Finally, the College of Cardinals was at its full strength of nine members. Six votes were needed for a canonical election of a pope. And Frederick expected results. The liberated Cardinals, however, unmindful of the agreement with the Emperor that brought their release, simply joined in the behavior of the uncooperative cardinals, making Frederick appear to be a fool:

Cardinales autem adhuc obstinati, et in dissensione et odio mutuo permanentes, et imperatorem quasi pro deluso habentes, seminante zizania inter eos Sathana, ne adhuc voluerunt convenire, ut unanimiter Spiritus Sancti gratiam invocando postularent, ut ecclesiae universali et Papali sedi feliciter ac rite providerent; cum tamen nuper liberati a carcere imperiali in districto veritatis examine et verbo veritatis, quae est Deus, promisissent ipsi imperatori, suo liberatori, ut ipsi efficaciter pacem ecclesiae et imperio convenientem et sedi Papali consilium pro posse suo procurarent.

Frederick was not pleased. He launched his army at Rome. The citizens complained to him that it was not their behavior that was causing the trouble in Church and State, but that of the Cardinals, who had dispersed and were in hiding in various cities. (In fact, some of them were already at Anagni at the time of the release of Cardinal de Pecorara in May)   Frederick therefore ordered the seige of Rome to be lifted, and instead ordered that all of the possessions and churches of the Cardinals and the towns of the Church should be looted [Matthew of Paris IV, p. 241 Luard]:

Cum autem vidisset imperator haec effectu caruisse, et se sua spe defraudatum, in iram excanduit vehementem. Et congregato exercitu copioso, ex novem aciebus constituto, qualibet ex quinque milibus armatorum equitum existente, Romam ex magna parte obsedit ratione eorum, qui dicti scismatis in detrimentum ecclesiae et imperii tam civium quam cardinalium, procuratores et fautores esse videbantur. At cives, causa quorum urbem expugnare proposuit se legaliter excusaverunt, suam sufficienter purgantes innocentiam, et asserentes cardinales tam locis quam cordibus [dissidentes] diversis urbibus dispersos fuisse et latitantes. Jussit igitur imperator obsidionem solvi, et edicto imperiali proclamari ac juberi, ut omnes possessiones et ecclesiae cardinalium et civitates ecclesiae ab ipso exercitu depopularentur.

The Saracens in the Imperial army were allowed to take Albano, which they completely destroyed. The devastation went on through May and June. Finally, the Cardinals got the point and they begged the Emperor to relent. He did so, and returned to his Kingdom.


Election and Coronation

The Cardinals quickly assembled at Anagni and elected Cardinal Sinibaldo Fieschi of Genoa, a relative of the Counts of Lavania, as Pope Innocent IV on June 25, 1243 (Nicholas de Curbio) or on the Feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24 (Matthew of Paris IV ed. Luard, p. 256; Matthew also says, however, at p. 249, that the Cardinals were assembled at Rome).    At the time of the election the Emperor Frederick was at Melfi, where, when he heard the news, he ordered the Te Deum to be sung throughout his kingdom [Ryccardus de S. Germano, p. 384].

The internal dynamics of the Election are completely unknown.  The usual electoral manifesto was issued, dated from Anagni on August 2 [Bullarium Romanum  Turin edition  3 (1858) p. 502 no. 1], but, though it admits the election took place post vacationem diutinam, quae peccatis exigentibus propter malitiam temporis intervenit, nothing except the usual refusal of the office on the grounds of humility, unworthiness, and insufficiency of powers is mentioned.  Needless to say, these are always overcome by the pressure of the cardinals and the intervention of the Holy Spirit.

Innocent IV was crowned (according to Matthew of Paris) on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul, June 29, or on June 28 (according to Nicholas de Curbio). Panvinio (Epitome, p. 160) says he was crowned at St. Peter's Basilica on June 29, by Cardinal Rainerius Capocci, OCist., Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin.

In 1244, during the Quatuor Temporum of Pentecost, on Saturday, May 28, Innocent IV created twelve cardinals [Nicholas de Curbio, "Life of Innocent IV, ch. 12; Eubel I, p. 7]:

Cernens igitur Dominus Papa se plurimum Fratrum indigere consilio, cum non essent tunc, nisi septem in Ecclesia Cardinales, primo anno Pontificatus sui in Ecclesia S. Petri Apostoli de Urbe Sabbato infra octavam Penetcostes, XII. Cardinalium, videlicet trium Episcoporum et trium Presbyterorum ac sex Diaconorum ordinatione decentissime Ecclesiam adornavit.

  • Petrus de Collemedio (d. 1253)
  • Guilelmus de Sabaudia (d. 1251)
  • Odo de Castro Radulfi, O.Cist. (d. 1273)

  • Petrus de Barro, O.Cist. (d. 1252)
  • Guilelmus de Talliante, OSB Clun. (d. 1250)
  • Joannes de Toledo, O.Cist. (d. 1275)
  • Hugo de S. Caro, OP (d. 1263)

  • Goffridus Castillionaeus (d. 1245)
  • Octavianus Ubaldini (d. 1273)
  • Petrus Capoccius (d. 1259)
  • Joannes Cajetanus Ursinus (d. 1280) [son of Matteo Rosso Orsini and Perna Gaetani]
  • Guilelmus Fliscus (d. 1256)
It was believed by some authors that Innocent IV created Odon Rigault, OMin., a cardinal in 1248 or thereabouts.  The source of this allegation is unknown, and the suggestion appears nowhere else in the literature.   He is not registered by Ciaconius (1601). Rigault's cardinalate is denounced by Abbe Roy, Nouvelle histoire des cardinaux francois IV.  He was, however, provided as Archbishop of Rouen by Innocent IV in 1248 [Gallia christiana 11, 67-72.]. He died on July 2, 1275


Pope Innocent also had a nephew, Opizo de Sancto Vitali, who was granted the church of Geynesford in the Diocese of York [Bliss, Calendar of Papal Registers I, p. 223 (October 19, 1245)].  Another relative, Tedesio de Camilla also lived off the generosity of the people of England; was a papal Chaplain, a relative of Pope Adrian V, and former household clerk of King Henry III. [Registrum Johannis Peckham II, pp. 540-541 no. CCCCXIX. M. M. Sheehan, "Archbishop John Pecham's Perception of the Papacy," The Religious Roles of the Papacy: Ideals and Realities 1150-1300 (ed. Christopher Ryan) (Toronto Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies 1989), 299-320, at pp. 312-313].

The German Emperor Frederick II had a mixed reaction to the election of Cardinal Fieschi.  He wrote to the Duke of Brabant [Huillard-Bréholles VI.1, p. 99] that he was always showed himself friendly to the Emperor more in word than in deed:

... divina...providentia...cardinalibus quando sibi placuit unanimiter inspiravit quod die sequenti post primo transactum festum beati Johannis Baptiste, quemdam de fratribus eorum nomine magistrum Sinibaldum tituli Sancti Laurentii in Lucina presbyterum cardinalem votis concordibus in summum pontificem assumserunt.  Qui cum sit de nobilioribus imperii filiis et pro nobis tam verbo quam opere semper se benevolum, obsequiosum prestiterit et acceptum, plena datur culmini onstro de sua sinceritate fiducia quod generalem pacem, bonum statum imperii et nostre unitatem amicitie paterno procurabit affectu, ut nos eum revereamur in patrem et ipse nos amplectatur in filium.




Nicolaus de Curbio, OFM [Niccolò da Calvi], "Vita Innocentii Papae IV," Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores Tomus Tertius (Mediolani 1723) p. 592-592e. Stephanus Baluzius, Miscellanea Tomus VII (Paris 1715), pp. 353-405 [Nicholas was Bishop of Assisi, 1250–ca. 1274; he was also Innocent IV's chaplain and confessor] F. Pagnotti, "Niccolò da Calvi e la sua «Vita d' Innocenzo IV»," Archivio della R. Societa Romana di storia patria 21 (1898) 7-120 [with new text].

K. Hampe, "Ein ungedruckter Bericht über das Konklave von 1241," Sitzungsberichte. Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften,.phil. hist. Klasse 4 (1913) 1-31.  [The text is not an historical narrative, but a partisan polemical pamphlet, directed against the Orsini, and justifying the refusal of some cardinals to appear in Rome for the election of a successor to Celestine IV.  It is the source of most of the lurid details of the Election of 1241].

Henry Richards Luard (editor), Matthaei Parisiensis, Monachi Sancti Albani, Chronica Majora   Vol. IV.   A.D. 1248 to A. D. 1258 (London: Longman 1880) 

Cronaca di Fra Salimbene Parmigiano (tr. Carlo Cantarelli) Volume 1 (Parma: Luigi Battei 1882).   Monumenta historica ad provincias Parmensem et Placentinam pertinentia. Chronica Fr. Salimbene Parmensis, Ordinis Minorum (Parmae: Petrus Fiaccadori 1857) [editio princeps, from a single Vatican ms., containing only part of chronicle 1212-1287]. Emil Michael, SJ, Salimbene und seine Chronik (Innsbruck 1889).

Joannes Benedictus Mittarelli, Annales Camaldalenses ordinis Sancti Benedicti Tomus I (Venetiis 1755), Tomus IV (Venetiis 1759). Alberto Gibelli, O.Camald., Memorie storiche dell' antichissima chiesa abbaziale dei SS. Andrea e Gregorio al Clivo di Scauro sul Monte Celio (Roma 1888). Lawrence Richardson, A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press 1992).

E. Berger (Editor), Les Registres d' Innocent IV. Recueil des bulles de ce pape publiées ou analysées d' après les manuscrits originaux du Vatican et de la Bibliothèque Nationale (Chatillon-sur-Seine 1891).

Philippus Klimeš (editor),  Martinus Polonus  (Pragae: Sumptibus F. A. Credner 1859).

Bartolomeo Platina, Historia B. Platinae de vitis pontificum Romanorum ... Onuphrii Panvinii ... cui etiam nunc accessit supplementum ... per Antonium Cicarellam (Coloniae Agrippinae: sumptibus Petri Cholini, 1626), pp. 208-212. Bartolomeo Platina, Storia delle vite de' Pontefici edizione novissima Tomo terzo (Venezia: Domenico Ferrarin, 1763), 82-97. Onuphrio Panvinio, Epitome Pontificum Romanorum a S. Petro usque ad Paulum IIII. Gestorum (videlicet) electionisque singulorum & Conclavium compendiaria narratio (Venice: Jacob Strada 1557).  Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa Tomo primo Parte secondo (Roma: Pagliarini 1792).

Augustinus Theiner (Editor), Caesaris S. R. E. Cardinalis Baronii, Od. Raynaldi et Jac. Laderchii Annales Ecclesiastici   Tomus Vigesimus Primus 1229-1256 (Barri-Ducis: Ludovicus Guerin 1870) [Baronius-Theiner].

MGH: G. H. Pertz (editor), Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptorum Tomus XVIIII (Hannover 1866). [Ryccardus de S. Germano, Chronica]

Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Annali d' Italia Volume 18 (Firenze: Leonardo Marchini 1827).

J.-L.-A. Huillard-Bréholles (Editor), Historia diplomatica Friderici Secundi Tomus V, Pars II (Parisiis: Henricus Plon 1859); Tomus VI. Pars I. a mense Septembri 1241 ad mensem Julium 1247 (Paris: Plon 1860).  A. Huillard-Bréholles, Vie et Correspondence de Pierre de la Vigne, ministre de l' Empereur Frédéric II (Paris Henri Plon 1865). Giuseppe De Blasiis, Della vita e delle opere di Pietro della Vigna (Napoli 1860). Constantin Höffler, Albert von Beham und Regesten Papst Innocenz IV. (Stuttgart 1847).  Romeo Pavoni, "L'ascesa dei Fieschi tra Genova e Federico II," I Fieschi tra Papato ed Impero (ed. D. Calcagno) (Lavagna 1997), 3-44.

Aloysius Tomassetti (editor), Bullarum, Diplomatum, et Privilegiorum sanctorum Romanorum Pontificum Taurinensis Editio III (Turin 1858), pp. 593 ff. [Bullarium Romanum]

J. Maubach, Die Kardinäle und ihre Politik um die Mitte des XIII. Jahrhunderts (Bonn 1902).  F. Gregorovius, History of Rome in the Middle Ages, Volume V.1 second edition, revised (London: George Bell, 1906) Book IX, Chapters 5-6, pp. 205--233.   J. B. Sägmüller, Thätigkeit und Stellung der Kardinale bis Papst Bonifaz VIII. (Freiburg i.Br.: Herder 1896). Karl Wenck, review of Sägmüller, Thätigkeit, in Göttingsche gelehrte Anzeiger 163 (1900) 139-175.   

A. Parravicini Bagliani, Cardinali di curia e "familiae" cardinaliste, dal 1227 al 1254 Volume II (Padua 1972)

W. H. Bliss (editor), Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland. Papal Letters. Volume I (London 1893). W.W. Shirley (editor), Royal and Other Historical Letters illustrative of the Reign of Henry III Volume II. 1236-1272 (London: Longmans 1866).   Abbot Francis Aidan Gasquet, Henry the Third and the Chruch (London 1905).

On Cardinal John of Toledo, see Hermann Grauert, "Meister Johann von Toledo," Stizungsberichte der philosophisch-philologischen und der historischen Klasse. königl. bayer. Akademie der Wissenschaften 1901 (München 1902) 111-325. On the Annibaldi: Fedele Savio, SJ, "Gli Annibaldi di Roma nel secolo XIII," Studi e documenti di storia e diritto 17 (1896) 353-363. Francis Roth, OESA, "Il Cardinale Riccardo Annibaldi, Primo Prottetore dell' Ordine Agostiniano," Augustiniana 2 (1952) 26-60. M. Dikmans, "D' Innocent III à Boniface VIII. Histoire des Conti et des Annibaldi," Bulletin de l' Institut historique belge de Rome 45 (1975) 19-211. On Cardinal Ottaviano degli Ubaldini: G. Levi, "Il Cardinale Ottaviano degli Ubaldini, secondo il suo carteggio ed altri documenti," Archivio della R. Societa Romana di storia patria 14 (1891), 231-303.  Gaetano Tononi, Storia del cardinale Giacomo Pecoraria, vescovo di Preneste, 1179-1244 (Parma 1877).

On Cardinal Raynerius of Viterbo, Cesare Pinzi, Storia della citta di Viterbo, illustrata con note e nuovi documenti in gran parte inediti  Volume I (Roma 1887). Ignazio Ciampi (editor), Cronache e statuti della Citta di Viterbo (Firenze: M. Cellini 1872) [Documenti di storia italiana, V]   [Niccola di Bartolomeo della Tuccia, Parte I, 1-112]. Elisabeth von Westenholz, Kardinal Rainer von Viterbo (Heidelberg : C. Winter, 1912).

Conradus Eubel, OFM Conv., Hierarchia Catholici Medii Aevi...ab anno 1198 usque ad annum 1431 perducta  editio altera (Monasterii 1913) 7-8.  

Christian Huelsen, Das Septizonium des Septimius Severus (Berlin:Georg Reimer 1886). Rodolfo Lanciani, Storia degli scavi di Roma Volume Quattro (Roma: Ermanno Loescher 190 ).  Th. Dombart, Das palatinische Septizonium zu Rom (München: Beck 1922).

Anura Gurugé, The Next Pope: After Pope Benedict XVI (Alden, New Hampshire: WOWNH, LLC [self-published] 2010).

January 5, 2016 5:41 PM

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