June 22, 1276—July 11, 1276


In 1276 and 1277 there were four popes and three conclaves. Pope Innocent V (Peter of Tarantaise) died on June 22, 1276 in Rome. It is said, by the brother of Mateo de Romano, in the Annales Veronenses [in Antiche croniche Veronesi I ed. C. Cipolla (Venezia 1890) p. 418], that the pope was poisoned:

Item eodem anno [1276] die dominico VII intrante Junio, Innocencio pape quinto datum fuit venenum, et dicebatur quod rex Karolus hoc fieri fecerat, qui erat Rome, set bene evasit de ipso tosico.   item eodem anno die lune VIIII exeunte Junio [June 22] mortuus est Innocentius papa quintus.

The same report crossed the Alps, where the Annales Vindoboniensis reports, more shockingly [MGH IX, 707]:   Item, Innocencius V. papa a Karulo senatore Urbis perfidissime in incisione vene toxicatur, et 7. Kalendas Iunii [obviously Iulii is meant]  moritur. Tunc eligitur Adrianus V. papa.   Murder most foul, not just attempted murder!

Sala Malespina, in Book VI, chapter 5, of the Rerum Sicularum Libri Sex [Stephanus Baluzius Miscellaneorum VI , pp. 343-344]  reports that Innocent was devictus fatalibus viribus, 'conquered by deadly forces':

Huic (Gregorio X) autem celeri provisione substituitur in honore Dominus frater Petrus de Burgundia Episcopus Ostiensis, qui mutato Petri vocabulo, cujus adeo plenitudinem postestatis assumpserat, Innocentius V. voluit nominari.  Hic volens episcopatum suum visitationis debitae praesentia honorare sedique propriae reverenter et devote sua visitatione deferre, abjecta mora Romam itinere continuo se dirigit. Tempore autem Domini Innocentii V. Rex Carolus regnum Hierosolymitanum ex concessione cujusdam Domicellae, quae filia J. quondam Regis Hierusalem dicebatur et heres, sive pretio seve amore aut permutatione seu compensatione alicujus excambii est adeptus, Regemque se Hierusalem et Siciliae postmodum titulavit.  Infra sex autem menses Dominus Innocentius apud Lateranense palatium Romae fatalibus devictus viribus, diffinitiva mortis sententia, resignato vitae chirographo, cessit mundo.

Raynaldi [Baronius-Theiner 22, p. 375 no. 25], however, prints a fatuous story that Innocent was poisoned because of his 'hundred and eight propositions', ignoring completely the other statements of the chroniclers.  Thomas Aquinas, OP, had written a defense of these propositions, at the order of John of Vercelli, OP, the Master General of the Dominicans [Thomas Aquinas, Opuscules de Saint Thomas d'Aquin II (Paris 1857), ix, pp. 50-91 (tr. Bandel)]; but Aquinas had been dead for some time, and the propositions were not a new or burning issue.  That they were the motivating factor for the assassination of a pope is not to be believed.

Innocent V was buried in the Lateran Basilica, on July 22 [Baronius-Theiner 22, p. 374 no. 25 (Bernardus Guidonis)],  and King Charles erected a magnificent porphyry tomb in his honor (now lost). Innocent had created no new cardinals during his pontificate. Pope Gregory X's regulations for the conduct of a conclave  Ubi Periculum, promulgated at the Second Council of Lyons, were still in force. The papal throne was vacant for 18 days.


The Rainy Summer of 1276

Fra Salimbene of Parma, the Franciscan chronicler, and friend of Cardinal Ottobono Fieschi, reports extensively on the terrible weather that began at the same time that Pope John XXI died [Chronica p. 268-269 ed. Parma, 1857].

De collegio ergo cardinalium primus fuerat, et vocatus fuit Innocentius quintus; et obiit eodem anno, quo fuit factus Papa, scilicet nona die exeunte junio. Et eodem anno, die martis exeunte junio, in vigilia sancti Johannis Baptistae [June 23] venit diluvium magnum et maximum aquarum; ita quod Crustuneum crevit sic, quod a Rivalta citra usque ad Bagnolum terra tota erat in aqua; et plures personae necatae fuerunt, sive sufficatae fuerunt et mortuae; et blada portata fuerunt de campis de loco ad locum illa occasione; et pontes destructi qui erant super praedictis fluminibus; et domus devastatae et destructae fuerunt propter inundationes aquarum, et segetes mirabiliter submersae nec audita, nec visa fuerunt talia diluvia et tales inundationes aquarum ab antiquis non recordabantur. Et ista diluvia feurunt per totum mundum, et duraverunt istae pluviae et praedictum diluvium per totam aestatem et per totum autumnum, ita quod bene homines non potuerunt seminare....

The reports are seconded by the Chronicon de rebus in Italia gestis [ed. Huillard de Breholles, Chronicon Placentinum et Chronicon de rebus in Italia gestis (Paris 1856) p. 354]:

Eodem tempore quasi per totum mensem julii, augusti, septembris et octubris Deus tantum pluit super terram in Ytalia quod quasi omnes segetes de plano guastate sunt et perdite et timetur multum de caristia temporis in Ytalia, et propter multas aquas quasi omnes boves et vache et oves et capre mortue sunt in Ytalia.

King Charles I of Sicily granted permission to the government of Genoa and Pisa to import foodstuffs from Apulia, through merchants of Piacenza   [Sternfeld, Der Kardinal Johann Gaetan Orsini , p. 354].

The horrible conditions may have extended as far south as Rome. In the next year, 1277, it was reported that in Rome, the flood was so deep that the main altar in S. Maria Rotonda (the Pantheon) was covered with four feet of water [Guillaume de Nangis, Chronicon I (Paris 1843) p. 249 ed. Geraud].


Cardinal Electors

.At the time of Innocent's death, there were thirteen or fourteen cardinals.

There were, therefore, thirteen or fourteen electors present at the Conclave in Rome. Ciaconius [II, 203], however, states that twelve cardinals took part in the Conclave;  Panvinio states that eleven were present  These sixteenth and seventeenth century scholars, however, were working with the materials available to them at the time.

  1. Peter Julian (Giampietro Giuliani, or di Giuliano), of a noble family of Lisbon. He studied in Paris, and was adept in Aristotelianism, Astronomy and Medicine. On his return to Portugal, he was made canon and then Archbishop of Braga; Gregory X made him Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum. He participated in the Second Council of Lyon. He was the future Pope John XXII (1276-1277).
  2. Vicedomino de Vicedomini, of Piacenza, Archbishop of Aix, he was in the suite of Charles of Anjou when he first came to Italy. He was the nephew of Pope Gregory X, who made him a Cardinal (December, 1273) and Bishop of Palestrina. He died in Viterbo on September 6, 1276 (Cardella, 2-3; Cristofori, 201, from the Annales of Piacenza) His family had old connections with the Fieschi of Genoa, one of his ancestors having been Podestà of Genoa in 1144 [Muratori Annali 18, 119]
  3. Bertrand de Saint Martin, born in Arles, Benedictine, Archbishop of Arles (1266-1273); he received the pallium on March 28, 1268; he swore allegiance to Charles of Anjou on January 21, 1270/1, [Gallia christiana novissima pp. 488-504].  In June, 1273, he was appointed by Charles I to judge a case between himself and the Bishop of Avignon.  Cardinal Bishop of Sabina in 1273. Legate in Lombardy, perhaps at the time of his creation [Annales Veronenses, in Antiche croniche Veronesi  I ed. C. Cipolla (Venezia 1890) p. 416]. He participated as cardinal in the Second Council of Lyon, and signed a bull on March 23, 1275 [Potthast 21008].  On June 7, 1275, at Bellicadri, he was assigned the church of S. Marcello in commendam [Posse, no. 848].   Innocent V states that Gregory X was accompanied in his journey back to Italy from Lyon, in continuatione laborum ... nobis, tunc Ostiensi episcopo ac aliis fratribus nostris, quos tam in Urbe quam circa eius finia [sic], iam diversa loca receperant, tribus tantum ex illis existentibus circa ipsum de ultramontana redeuntibus regione.... [Bullarium Romanum  IV (Augustae Taurinorum 1853) p. 35]; Sternfeld (p. 239) takes this to include Bertrand de Saint Martin.  Bertrand and Cardinal Giacomo Savelli of S. Maria in Cosmedin were assigned by Pope Adrian V to meet and negotiate with King Charles I of SIcily  [Letter of the College of Cardinals during the Sede Vacante (July 27,1276): Cristofori, Tombe, p. 175]. He was later present at the Conclave of 1277 May 20—November 25 in Viterbo   [Annales Placentini Ghibellini, in  MGH SS XVIII, p. 569]: Episcopus vero Sabinensis cardinalis tenet mediam viam, nec declinat ad unam nec ad aliam.     The date sometimes given for his death, March 28, 1277 at Avignon, is manifestly wrong. (Cardella, p. 8, says 1275, equally manifestly wrong).    He is spoken of as deceased in a letter of Nicholas III of April 5, 1278 [Registres de Nicolas III, no. 51, p. 13]

  4. Ancherius Pantaleoni, nephew of Pope Urban IV, Cardinal (1261) priest of Santa Prassede   † November 1, 1286, according to his memorial inscription in Santa Prassede [P.Fedele, Archivio della Societa romanà di storia patria 27 (1904), 31].
  5. Guilelmus (Guillaume) de Bray (or Brie), diocese of Reims, Cardinal (1262-1282) priest of S. Marco †1282
  6. Simon Paltanieri, from Monselice near Padua, Cardinal (1261-1276) Priest of S. Silvestro e S. Martino ai Monti. On December 13, 1276, King Edward of England was ordered to admit the agents of Cardinal Simon who were being sent to claim several benefices there [Potthast 21203]   †1276   [Annales Veronenses, in Antiche croniche Veronesi  I ed. C. Cipolla (Venezia 1890) p. 419, reports his death in February of 1277—which was still 1276 in the Roman calendar]

  7. ? Ricardus Hannibaldi (Riccardo Annibaldi de Molaria, a Roman, Cardinal Deacon of Sancti Angeli in Pescheria (1237-1276). Leader of the Ghibelline party. Opponent of the Orsini. (death: Annales Veronenses, in Antiche croniche Veronesi I ed. C. Cipolla (Venezia 1890) p. 418; reported after the death of Adrian V and of Cardinal Peter Julian)
  8. Ioannes (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini), Cardinal (1244-1277). eldest son of Matteo Rosso Orsini 'Il Grande'. Deacon of S. Niccolo in Carcere, future Pope Nicholas III (1277-1280).
  9. Ottobonus (Ottobono, Ottoboni) Fieschi, of Genoa, Cardinal (1251-1276) deacon of S. Adriano, nephew of Innocent IV and about to be elected Pope Adrian V (1276). His niece, Alagia de' Fieschi, was married to Moroello Malaspina, whose grandmother was a natural daughter of Emperor Fredrick I.  He was a Canon of Notre Dame de Paris [Guérard, Cartulaire de l' Église de Nôtre Dame de Paris IV (1850), p. 125]; in his Will, he left the Canons a finger of St. John the Baptist, as well as some silk vestments, and 200 livres Tournois. Strongly Guelf, in opposition to the Doria and Spinola of Genoa, Ottobono Fieschi was acceptable to King Charles. He had been Apostolic Legate in England under Clement IV.
  10. Godefridus (Gottifridus, Geoffroy, Goffredo d' Alatri in Lazio), Cardinal Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro (1261-1287).  Canon of the Cathedral of Alatri (by 1229).  In 1251 he is mentioned as a chaplain of Cardinal Stefano de Normandis of the titulus of S. Maria in Trastevere, and granted the privilege of being Decanus Olensis and pastor of the church of S. Stefano in Alatri at the same time [Registres d' Innocent IV, Tome III, no. 5462, p. 5]. Chaplain of Alexander IV and judge in a case between the Bishop of Ascoli and a certain Rinaldo [G. Mazzatinti, Gli archivi della storia d' Italia III (Rocca S. Casciano 1900-1901), p. 96 (Ascoli, Archivio capitolare, 1257)]. 
  11. Hubertus (Uberto D' Elci, of Siena), Cardinal (1261-1276) Deacon of S. Eustachius † 1276, apparently after the election of Adrian V   [Annales Veronenses, in Antiche croniche Veronesi I ed. C. Cipolla (Venezia 1890) p. 418]
  12. Iacobus (Giacomo Savelli), Cardinal (1261-1285) Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, future Pope Honorius IV (1285-1287)
  13. Matteo Rosso Orsini, nephew of Gian Gaetano Orsini (future Nicholas III), Cardinal (1262-1305) Deacon of Santa Maria in Portico   †1305  The Orsini had turned to supporting the claims of Rudolf of Austria to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor (Sternfeld, 225-228).

Cardinals not participating:

  • Simon Mompitié de Brion [de Brie], Cardinal priest of Santa Cecilia (1262-1281), future Pope Martin IV (1281-1285). He was in France as Papal Legate. In September 1274, his mission to organize the crusade had been expanded to solicit aid in every country for the Holy Land; the Pope was asking for a tenth of ecclesiastical revenures for a term of six years [O. Posse, Analecta Vaticana p. 64, # 795, 806; 65, #808].  Panvinio [174-175] states that he was present at the Conclaves both in January and in June.  Cardinal Simon de Brion presided over a synod at Bourges (Cardella, 304; Adolphe-Charles Peltier, Dictionnaire universel des conciles I, 358; cf. Spondanus, Annalium Ecclesiasticorum  ... Baronii continuatio Tomus I (Ticini 1675), x, p. 295) on September 13, 1276 [Hefele, 176], which would seem to indicate that he was in France, with his Legateship renewed by Adrian V.  If he were present for the election of John XXI on the 8th (or 13th or 15th) of September [Annales Placentini Gibellini, in MGH 18, 564], he could not possibly have been at Bourges on September 13.




King Charles I of Sicily was in Rome from January 8, 1276 (two days before Pope Gregory X died) through July 20 (after the election of Adrian V–who was never crowned), except for a brief visit to Viterbo on February 9, and to Macerata on June 5 (Durrieu, 179-180).

The conclave began on July 2, 1276 and lasted ten days. Eight votes were needed to elect a pope. No records of what took place have survived, though one may surmise that the choice was not easy or obvious. King Charles of Sicily, the Senator of Rome, acted as governor of the Conclave. His administration was exceedingly rigorous, though unfair in his favoring the French faction [Gregorovius, 474-475]. Ottobono Fieschi, who had recently helped bring an end to the civil strife in Genoa, was elected pope on July 11. He took the name Adrian V,  in honor of his Deaconry by whose name he had already been known for a quarter of a century, and ruled the Church for 39 days. According to Bernardo di Guidone, nondum promotus in sacerdotem nec coronatus nec consecratus Viterbi moritur (He was never ordained priest, consecrated bishop or crowned pope.) [Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores III, 605; Novaes, 261; Montor, 47].  The Annales of Fr. Nicolas Trevet (Trivetus), OP [ed. Thomas Hog (London 1845)   p. 295] state: Mortuus vero ante tempus ordinum, sacerdotium et consecrationem pontificalem est minime assecutus; unde in bulla sua non episcopum, sed electum episcopum, se vocavit.

Apparently shortly after the election, Cardinal Hubertus d'Elci (Coccinato) died [Annales Veronenses, in Antiche croniche Veronesi I ed. C. Cipolla (Venezia 1890) p. 418].

Sudden new Vacancy

In July, Pope Adrian had travelled to Viterbo, partly because of the inhospitable climate of Rome in the summer season, and partly to attend to some differences between the Church and Emperor Rudolph of Habsburg.  He took up residence in the monastery of the Franciscans there.  His only surviving bull was issued from Viterbo on July 23, 1276.   Fra Salimbene reports a period of very bad weather, at least in Lombardy and perhaps on a wider scale.  In 1275 there had been extraordinary snowfall and rain [Salimbene, Chronica, p. 264].  And in 1276, there had been so much rain and record flooding that farmers were not able to sow their fields.  Et ista diluvia fuerunt per totum mundum, et duraverunt ista pluvia et praedictum diluvium  per totum aestatem et per totum autumnum ita quod bene homines non potuerunt seminare... et per praedictum tempus duravit pluvia per XIII menses [Salimbene, Chronica, p. 269]

The ten days which Ottobono Fieschi and the other cardinals had spent in the  July Conclave under the rules of Gregory X must have had their effect; at the request of the cardinals in Consistory, while he was still at the Lateran and before the journey to Viterbo, he suspended the operation of Gregory X's constitution on conclaves, intending to make some alterations and improvements (Montor, 46). The bull is extant in which John XXI abrogates the regulations of Gregory X and mentions their suspension by Adrian V (Tomassetti, Bullarium Romanum IV, pp. 37-38).  He gives personal testimony as to what happened, since he had been present:

Licet felicis recordationis Gregorius Papa praedecessor noster, pia meditatione considerans quantum sit onusta dispendiis, plenaque periculis Ecclesiae Romanae prolixa vacatio: et vigilanter intendens, super hoc de opportuno remedio providere, quandam super electione Romani Pontificis constitutionem ediderit in concilio Lugdunensi; quia tamen experientia docuit, constitutionem eandem multa intolerabilia, nonnulla obscura et propter hoc accelerationi provisionis eiusdem Ecclesiae valde damnosa, immo etiam provisionis ipsius impedimenta et dilationem ingerentia continere; piae memoriae Adrianus Papa praedecessor noster, diligenter praemissa considerans et residens in camera sua Lateranensi, in consistorio, nobis et aliis fratribus suis, de quorum numero tunc eramus, praesentibus; bonae memoriae V[icedomino de Vicedomini] Praenestino episcopo, V. [berto] S. Eustachii diacono, et dilectis filiis G[uillaume de Bray] tit. S. marci presbytero tunc infirmitate detentis, ac S(imon Mompitié de Brie) tituli S. Caeciliae Apostolicae Sedis legato, presbytero, cardinalibus dumtaxat exceptis, constitutionem eandem, quoad omnem ipsius effectum, quidquid posset contingere, solemniter et absolute suspendit; et quamvis post eius obitum nos et dicti fratres, qui tunc supererant, et praesentes etiam in Romana Curia, suspensionem huiusmodi non solum verbis, sed litteris etiam nostro et eorundem sigillis munitis, concorditer testaremur; nonnulli tamen corda contumacia in damnatam superbiam erigentes, adhibere fidem nostro testimonio contempserunt; alias etiam infrunitis animis suggerentes huiusmodi nostro testimonio non esse credendum; quamquam insuper aliquorum habet assertio, eundem praedecessorem Adrianum in lecto aegritudinis decumbentem suspensionem revocasse praedictam; nos tamen et iidem fratres frequentes et diligentes super hoc inter nos collationes habuimus; et non solum ab iis, qui revocationis huiusmodi conscii dicebantur, sed ab aliis eiusdem praedecessoris Adriani familiaribus et aliis etiam studuimus veritatem frequentissime indagare; nec invenimus eundem praedecessorem Adrianum ad revocationem praedictam aliquatenus verbo vel literis processisse....

Since Cardinal Uberto de Coccinato of S. Eustachio was still alive and was present (He died on July 13), this Consistory must have taken place on the day of, or on the day after, the election of Adrian V.

On his deathbed, it was said, Adrian retracted his suspension order; and there were some who disbelieved even the sworn testimony of the Cardinals that the reported event was not true.  The Cardinals wrote out a formal declaration, which they all signed and sealed.  Nonetheless disbelief continued. Death finally claimed Adrian V on August 18, after a reign of thirty-nine days (Other sources claim that it was August 15, after a reign of 35 days).   Pope Adrian V (Fieschi) was buried in Viterbo, in the Church of S. Francesco [Fra Salimbene, Chronica, p. 269; Cristofori, 137-185].


Tomb of Adrian V Fieschi, Viterbo
Tomb of Adrian V  Fieschi
S. Francesco, Viterbo


The Brother of Mateo de Romano: Monumenti storici publicati dalla R. Deputazione Veneta di storia patria. Serie terza. Cronache e diarii, Vol. II. Antiche Cronache Veronesi (Venezia 1890), pp. 409-469 "Annales Veronenses"

Monumenta historica ad provincias Parmensem et Placentinam pertinentia. Chronica Fr. Salimbene Parmensis, Ordinis Minorum (Parmae: Petrus Fiaccadori 1857).

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).  Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Annali d' Italia Volume 18 (Firenze 1827). Giuseppe de Novaes, Elementi per la storia de' Sommi Pontefici terza edizione Volume III (Roma 1821).   G. Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 1 (Venezia 1840) 104. Paul Durrieu, Étude sur les registres angevines du Roi Charles Ier Tome second (Paris 1888), 179-180. Francesco   Cristofori, Le tombe dei pape in Viterbo (Siena 1887).  F.Gregorovius, History of Rome in the Middle Ages, Volume V.2 second edition, revised (London: George Bell, 1906) 474-475.  Augustin Demski, Papst Nikolaus III, Eine Monographie (Münster 1903) 34-37.  Richard Sternfeld, Der Kardinal Johann Gaetan Orsini (Papst Nikolaus III.) 1244-1277 (Berlin: E. Ebering 1905) 251-263. N. Schopp, Papst Hadrian V (Heidelberg 1916) 222.

On Bernard Ayglier, OSB, abbot of Montecassino, see: Luigi Tosti, OSB, Storia della Badia di Monte-cassino Tomo III (Napoli 1843) 6-32; 65-89.

On Cardinal Orsini: Augustin Demski, Papst Nikolaus III, Eine Monographie (Münster 1903) 34-37. Richard Sternfeld, Der Kardinal Johann Gaetan Orsini (Papst Nikolaus III.) 1244-1277 (Berlin: E. Ebering 1905).

On Vicedomino de' Vicedomini, and the myth of his one-day papacy, see:  F. Cristofori, Le tombe dei pape in Viterbo (Siena 1887), 185-202. Novaes, 262. Moroni Dizionario di erudizione storico ecclesiastica 32, 279-280.

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. Cardinal Annibaldo Annibaldi died in 1272, according to the Dominican chroniclers: Antonio Senensi, OP, Chronicon Fratrum Ordinis Praedicatorum (Paris 1585) 114 and 157: "Hoc tempore etiam frater Annibaldus Romanus ex magistro sacri Palatii, per Urbanum Quartum Cardinalis factus, sub titulo 12 Apostol. vir fuit eruditionis eximiae, & vitae probatissimae. Obiit in Vrbe Veteri, anno Domini 1272, et ibi requescit in conventu nostro."

Suspension of Gregory X's constitution on papal elections: Adrian V (Ottobono Fieschi) suspended the arrangements of Pope Gregory orally in a consistory: Giordano, quoted in Reynaldi, Annales Ecclesiasticae sub anno 1276. They were officially cancelled by the Bull Licet of Pope John XXI on September 30, 1276. A. Ceccaroni Il conclave (Roma 1901) 57.

On Simon de Brie and the Council of Bourges in September, 1276, see Carl Joseph von Hefele, Conciliengeschichte nach dem Quellen bearbeitet second edition Volume VI (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder 1890) 176-177.


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