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Full text of "The lives of the popes in the early middle ages"

THE LIVES OF THE POPES 

VOL. XVII. 



THE 

LIVES OF THE POPES 

IN THE MIDDLE AGES 



BY THE 

RT. REV. MONSIGNOR HORACE K. MANN, D.D. 

"De gente Anglorum, qui maxime familiarcs Apostolirac Sedis semper 
existunt" (Gesta Abb. Fontanel., A. D. 747-752, ap. M.G. SS. II. 289). 

RECTOR OF THE COLLEGIO BEDA, ROME J CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF 

HISTORY OF SPAIN ; MEMBER OF THE ACCADEMIA D'ARCADIA AND OF THE R. SOCIETA ROMANA 

DI STORIA PATRIA. 



THE POPES AT THE HEIGHT OF THEIR 
TEMPORAL INFLUENCE 



Innocent 


II. 


to Blessed Benedict XI 
1130-1305 


/goI(\ 


















v;4^/ 




VOL. XVII. 


Nicholas 


IV. 


to St. Celestine V., 1288-1294 



LONDON : 

KEG AN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., LTD. 

ST, LOUIS, MO.: B. HERDER BOOK CO ? 

1931 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY 
STEPHEN AUSTIN & SONS LTD., HERTFORD 



A LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS 
USED IN THIS VOLUME 



Potthast . . = Regesta Pontificam Romanorum, ed. 

A. Potthast, 2 vols., Berlin, 1874. 

Reg. . . = One of the volumes of the Registres 

des Papes in course of publica- 
tion by the French Schools of 
Athens and of Rome, ed. 
Fontemoing, Paris. 

L. P. . . = Liber Pontificalis, 2 vols., ed. 

L. Duchesne, Paris, 1886. 

M. G. H. or Pertz . = Monumenta Germanico Historica, 

either Scriptores (M. G. SS.), or 
Epistolcs (M. G. Epp.), or Poetcu 
(M. G. PP.). 

P. G. . . = Patrologia Gr&ca, ed. Migne, Paris. 

p. L. . . = Patrologia Latina, ed. Migne, Paris. 

R. I. SS. . . . = Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, ed. 

Muratori, Milan, 1723 ff., or the 
new ed. in course of publication. 

R. F. SS. . . = Recueil des Historiens des Gaules, 

ed. Bouquet and others, Paris, 
1738 ff. 

R. S., following an edition = The edition of the Chronicles, etc., 
of a book of Great Britain and Ireland, 

published under the direction of 
the Master of the Rolls. 

Rymer or Foedera . = Foedera, Liter a, etc., ab anno 1101 

ad nostra usque tempora, 
accurante T. Rymer. Unless the 
contrary is stated, we quote 
from the original ed., London, 
1704 ff. 
v 



vi LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS 

Other abbreviations will be readily understood by reference to 
the Sources prefixed to each biography. 

The sign f placed before a date indicates that the date in 
question is the year of the death of the person after whose name 
the sign and date are placed. The sign * placed before the title 
of a book indicates that the author of these volumes has seen 
the book in question favourably mentioned, but has not examined 
it himself. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



14 
142 

163 
179 
207 



List of Abbreviations ...... 

Nicholas IV. (1 288-1 292) 

Chapter I. Holy See. Election of Cardinal Jerome of 

Ascoli. His previous career 
II. Missionary enterprise by Nicholas IV. and 

other mediaeval Popes in (1) Persia, (2) China, 

and (3) Ethiopia 

III. Sicily 

IV. The Empire, France, and the Crusades 
V. Rome and the Papal States, Art . 

VI. The British Isles 
VII. Europe (Portugal, Constantinople, Servia, and 
Bulgaria), Asia, Africa. Heretics, Studies. 
Death and Tomb of Nicholas . . .226 

S. Celestine V. (1294) 2 47 

Chapter I. Long vacancy of the Holy See. Election of 

Peter de Morrone. His previous career . 254 

II. His election announced to Bro. Peter. His 

consecration and coronation. Goes to 

Naples. His pontifical acts . . .280 

,, III. Celestine resigns. The rest of his life's story . 311 

Index . ......... 343 



NICHOLAS IV. 

A.D. 1288-1292. 



Sources. — As there is no extant contemporary biography of 
Nicholas, the best source for his life is his Register which has been 
published in two volumes by E. Langlois (Paris, 1905). The 
editor has done his work well, adding a number of most useful 
tables. One gives the numbers in his edition which correspond 
with certain of the documents analysed by Potthast. Another 
puts the bulls in their proper chronological order ; a third 
gives their " incipits ", and the last an index of proper names. 

The only thing one misses is an introduction such as Prou 
prefixed to his edition of the Register of Honorius IV. The first 
thing that strikes one in looking over the Register of Nicholas IV. 
is the number of indulgences which he granted to those " who 
had confessed their sins, were truly sorry for them ", and who 
had paid a visit to some church on certain feast days. The 
indulgences varied from " forty days " to " two or three years " . l 
This Register also shows that the custom of assigning cardinal- 
protectors to persons and institutions was growing. 2 

The biography of Nicholas, published by Muratori (R. I. SS. 
hi, pt. i) " from the MSS. of Bernard Guidonis " is the same as 
that published by Eccard (Corpus, i, p. 1461) under the name 
of Theoderic of Nein, and almost the same as the one he gives 
" from another " MS. of the Ambrosian library (Milan). Of no 
additional use is the life from Amalricus Augerius, ap. ib., hi, 
pt. ii, p. 433. 

1 Cf. nos. 135, 257, 285, 289, 333, 415, etc. Sometimes the indulgences 
were granted for hearing sermons, e.g., nn. 191, 214 ; and sometimes 
we see the Pope delegating power to others to grant similar indulgences, 
e.g., n. 297. 

2 Cf. n. 3940, where a cardinal-protector is assigned to the city 
hospital of St. Thomas in Formis ; n. 4059 to the Humiliati, n. 4094 
to the Church of S. Croce ; n. 5010 to the Knights of St. James in 
Portugal ; nn. 5459, 6848 to the monasteries of S. Maria de Farneto 
and of Subiaco ; n. 5751 to Margaret, the wife of Guy de Montfort, etc. 

Vol. XVII. b 



2 NICHOLAS IV. 

A few pleasing facts in connection with the early life of Jerome 
of Ascoli may be gathered from the statement or " process " 
which was drawn up for the canonization of brother Conrad of 
Ascoli, the playmate of Jerome. This document was found 
by Luke Wadding, and inserted by him, in an abridged form, in 
his Annales Minorum, v, p. 213 ff. 

Dr. H. Finke's Acta Aragonesia, Berlin and Leipzig, 1908 
(extracted from the diplomatic correspondence of James or 
Jayme II., King of Aragon, 1291-1327, furnishes a number 
of documents useful for the story of the pontificate of Nicholas. 

In the second volume of Mabillon's Museum Italicum, Paris, 
1689, there is a collection of Or dines Romani or books of 
ceremonies. The fourteenth of these he ascribes to Cardinal 
James Gaetano Stefaneschi, the historian and relation of 
Boniface VIII. It is, however, as it stands, obviously interpolated, 
and has been studied by L. H. Labande, " Le ceremonial romain 
de Jacques Cajetan " in the Bibliotheque tie I'ecole des Chartes, 
Jan., 1893, p. 45 ff. He concludes that the original edition of 
the work of the cardinal is represented by MS. n. 1706 of the 
library of Avignon. Then about the end of the fifteenth century, 
an unknown writer, using the Ceremonials of Peter Amelli and 
William d'Estouteville, re-edited the work of Stefaneschi, and 
produced the Or do published by Mabillon. The original work 
of the cardinal embodied certain historical details, some of 
which have been printed by Labande, and illustrate our 
period. 

To the Chronicles already quoted, we may add the Cronaca 
Romana (1288-1301), which is only a brief diary of Guidotto 
Spiapasto, procurator at Rome for the Commune of Vicenza. 1 

In connection with the missionary and crusading efforts of 
Nicholas, mention may be made of that " brilliant Franciscan 
thinker" and martyr (f 1315), Raymond Lull. Born in 1235 
at Palma, and renouncing the world in 1266, he spent the rest 
of his extraordinarily energetic and devoted life in labouring 
both by word of mouth and by his prolific pen - for the con- 
version of the infidel. Understanding that the faith must be 

1 Ed. D. Bortolan, Archivio Veneto, vol. xvii (1887), p. 66 ff. 

2 Salzinger published, or rather proposed to publish, his works in 
ten volumes (1721-42, Mayence) ; but it would seem that vols, vii 
and viii were never issued. These vols, contain only 48 out of the 
260 works certainly written by Lull. 



NICHOLAS IV. 3 

preached, he was for ever urging the Popes and all his superiors 
to establish colleges wherein might be taught the languages of 
those to whom the faith had to be preached. But, in dealing with 
the Moslem, he also understood that the sword must be met by 
the sword, and so urged that he should be driven from Spain, 
and then gradually eastwards along North Africa from Ceuta. 
He came to Rome in 1291, for the second time, in order to pro- 
pound his views to Pope Nicholas. To him he unfolded his plans 
for dealing with the aggressive Moslem, and for the establish- 
ment of centres of Oriental studies. But, " on account of the 
formalities of the Curia — propter impedimenta Curiae," as his 
contemporary biographer expresses it, he did not accomplish 
much. 1 

As in the case of Honorius IV;, time has allowed a few documents 
of Nicholas' treasury department (camera apostolica) to escape 
its ravages. One of Sept. 13, 1290, setting forth the dues of the 
camera, in the two Sicilies, was published by Muratori, Antiq. 
Medii Mvi, vi, pp. 150-4. P. Fabre has published two more, 
ap. Melanges d'Arche'ol., 1890, p. 369 ff., and 1897, p. 221 ff. 
He entitles the first : "La perception du cens apostolique dans 
l'ltalie centrale en 1291," and the second : " Le perception du 
cens ap. en France en 1 291-3." We have freely used his com- 
mentaries on these documents. 

Modern Works. — In 1585 Jerome Rubens, the historian of 
Ravenna, compiled a life of Nicholas which was edited with 
copious notes by A. Mathaeias, a professor of Pisa in I766. 2 This 
work is still very useful. F. P. Massi's Nicolo IV., primo Papa 
Marchigiano, Senigallia, 1905, is a short piece of declamation 
of no practical use for historical purposes. But Dr. O. Schiff, 
in his Studien zur Geschichte P. Nikolaus' IV., Berlin, 1897, 
has written three dissertations on the policy of Nicholas in 



1 Vita, c. 2, n. 13, ap. Acta 55., t. v, Jun., die 30. The data on this 
visit given by Barber, Raymond Lull, London, 1903 ; Andre, Raymond 
Lulle, Paris, 1900, and Beazley, Dawn of Mod. Geog.,i,p. 311, must be 
corrected by Golubovich, Bib. dell' Oriente, p. 366 f. Cf. ib., p. 373 ff., 
for the original of Lull's petition to Popes Celestine V. and 
Boniface VIII. 

2 Nicolai IV. vita ex codicibus vaticanis cum observationibus Antonii 
Matthcei, Pisa, 1766. The dissertation of Benedict XIV. on the cult 
once given to Nicholas is appended. 



4 NICHOLAS IV. 

Sicily, Aragon, etc. He believes that Nicholas was a "well 
meaning, but rather weak man." 1 

We will leave over to the chapter on "The British Isles " our 
notice of some documents that concern them more especially. 

CONTEMPORARY SOVEREIGNS. 

Emperors in the West. Emperors in the East. 

Rudolf of Hapsburg, 1275-91. Andronicus II., Palaeologus, 

1282-1328. 
England. France. 

Edward I., 12 72 -130 7. Philip IV. (le Bel, the Fair) 

1285-1314. 

1 

1 See English Hist. Rev., 1899, Apr., p. 764 ff. Schiff's third disserta- 
tion on the quarrel between Venice and the Patriarch of Aquileia as 
to the government of Istria has but slight importance for the life of 
Nicholas. He attempted to make peace between them as he did 
between all combatants in different parts of Italy. Finally " the 
Republic bought the Patriarch's rights for a rent of 450 marks a year 
(1304) ". Hodgson, Venice, ii, p. 180. 



CHAPTER I. 

HOLY SEE. ELECTION OF CARDINAL JEROME OF ASCOLI. 
HIS PREVIOUS CAREER. 

After the death of Honorius IV., the Holy See was Vacancy, 
vacant for the greater part of a year. Writing with a 
bitterness to no little extent justifiable, the English 
Chronicler, Thomas Wykes, says : " Through the discord, 
at once frivolous and despicable, of the cardinals, due 
perchance to the fact that each of them wanted the 
papal dignity for himself, the Apostolic See was vacant 
for nearly a year. 1 During the vacancy, death so thinned 
the ranks of the cardinals that their number was reduced 
to nine, . . . and the Church swayed to and fro without 
a head." 

From this assertion that death reduced the number 
of cardinals to nine, combined with that of Ptolemy of 
Lucca that " six or seven " cardinals died during the 
vacancy, 2 we may conclude that fifteen or sixteen 
cardinals 3 at first took part in the election of a successor 
to Honorius. For months they could not agree, and when 
the summer heats set in, and one after another of them 
died, the remnant left the unhealthy Aventine palace 
and dispersed. 

1 Wykes, Chron., p. 312, R. S., by mistake says : " fere per bicnnium." 

2 H.E., xxiv, c. 19. Cf. Mem., Pot. Reg., ap. R. I. SS., viii, p. 1168. 
From Eubel, Hierarchia, it is clear that the following six cardinals 
died during the vacancy : Geoffrey of Alatri, Giordano Orsini, the 
English cardinal Hugh Atratus, Gervase of Glincamp, Comes Gluscanus, 
and Geoffrey de Barro, " decanus Parisiensis " whom Ptolemy calls 
" decanus Pisanus ". 

3 Probably 15, as John Cholet seems to have remained in France. 
Cf. Potthast, ii, p. 1825, giving various acts of his dated at different 
places in France from July to December, 1287. 

5 



6 NICHOLAS IV. 

The From a letter in Rymer addressed by " the cardinal- 

C A' 1 

carrion 5 the bishops, priests, and deacons of the Holy Roman Church 
Sicilian to the lord Edward, the dearest son of the Church ", it 

is clear, in the first place, that in carrying on the work 
of the Church, the Sacred College continued the policy 
of the Holy See in supporting the house of Anjou. They 
begged our King to continue his exertions for the release 
of the Prince of Salerno, assuring him that the liberation 
of the heir to the Sicilian crown would bring joy to the 
Church, and general satisfaction. 1 As this letter is dated 
Nov. 4, 1287, at Sta. Sabina, we may conclude that the 
cardinals had by that time reassembled for the election 
of a Pope. 
Election of When the other cardinals had left the Aventine, 
Jerome, Cardinal Jerome alone had remained behind, and we are 
1288 - assured that he escaped the infection by causing fires 

to be kept burning in every room in the palace, even on 
the very hottest days. 2 At length, after many more 
discussions, the cardinal of Palestrina was unanimously 
chosen " by the method of scrutiny " (Feb. 15, 1288). 
Jerome, however, firmly refused the proffered honour ; 
but on the following Sunday (Feb. 22), when he was 
re-elected, finally gave his consent, " lest," as he tells 
us himself, " we who had been brought up under obedience 
should seem too long to resist it." 3 The same day, which 

1 Rymer, ii, p. 353 f. The contents of this letter show that it was 
not the first which the cardinals had addressed to King Edward on this 
subject. 

2 Ptolemy of Lucca, Annates, pp. 94-5, with the note on p. 95, ed. 
Minutoli, Florence, 1876. The passage in Muratori's ed. is corrupt. 

3 See his encyclical of Feb. 23, ap. Reg., n. 1. " Ne sub obedientia 
nutriti diutius earn contempnere . . . et mundi graviter guerrarum 
multiplicatione divulsi . . . tandem acquievimus." " Bis electus," 
says the chronicler Flores temporum, ap. M. G. SS., xxiv, p. 249 ; 
Wykes adds, Chron., p. 313 (" vexatione dante intellectum "), that 
the election was made by six cardinals, as "it is said " that three of 
them had been sent on an embassy. A " versifier " noted : " Frater 
Jeronimus mundo minor, est modo primus." Ap. Annals of Waverley, 
ii, p. 407 R. S. 



NICHOLAS IV. 7 

was the feast of St. Peter's chair, he was solemnly " conse- 
crated", or "with the greatest honour was placed in the 
very chair in which Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, had 
merited to sit ". 1 The new Pope, duly crowned on 
March i, 2 took the name of Nicholas (IV.), and lovers of 
the marvellous, like the unknown author of the Annals 
of King Edward I., tell us that he took that name because, 
when he was a young man, St. Nicholas had foretold to 
him that he would be Pope. 3 More prosaic people 
believe that he took the name in memory of Pope 
Nicholas III. who made him a cardinal. 

" Jerome Petri Massius (Massi) " was born on Early career. 
September 30, 1227, of humble parents, in Lisciano, a 
hamlet so near Ascoli that Nicholas called himself and 
was called by others a citizen of Ascoli. 4 In his youth 
he formed a close friendship with a young noble (after- 
wards brother Conrad) some seven years younger than 
himself. The friendship began by the little noble bending 
his knee to the country lad, and giving as his reason for 
so doing " that he saw in his hands the keys of the 
Kingdom of Heaven ". 5 The two boys grew up in virtue 
together ; and, after talking the matter over between 
themselves, both of them decided to renounce the world, 
and were received into the Franciscan convent just out- 
side the city of Ascoli. They were then sent to continue 
their studies, first at Assisi, and then at Perugia, where, 
despite their humble resistance, they were proclaimed 

1 Wykes, ib. Cf. B. Guidonis, Vita, etc., ap. Potthast, ii, p. 1826. 

2 G. Spiapasto, p. 427. 

3 P. 481, R. S. The third fragment printed at the end of Rishanger. 

4 In the process of Conrad (p. 213), he is described as " juvenculum 
rusticanum humili oppidulo Lisciano natum ". The Pope himself 
{Reg., 2413) wrote : " ad civitatem Esculanam in qua nostre nativitatis 
originem traximus." " Nacione marchie Anconitane " says Gilbert, 
Chron. Pont, et Imp., ap. M. G. SS., xxiv, p. 137 ; " Natione Escu- 
lanus," Mart. Pol., cont. Brabant., ap. ib., p. 260. Cf. ib., vol. xxx, 
p. 714, etc. 

5 Processus, p. 213. 



8 NICHOLAS IV. 

doctors of theology. 1 The two friends were then sent 
to Rome, where they spent "many years" in teaching 
theology and in preaching. Their zeal and earnestness 
at length acquired a reputation for them, and their 
superiors decided to advance them to positions of honour 
in the Order. Conrad contrived to evade advancement, 
and to be sent as a missionary to Africa ; but Nicholas 
had to submit, and became Minister of the province of 
Slavonia or Dalmatia. 2 

Whilst Minister of Dalmatia, he was sent by Gregory X. 
to Constantinople to promote the union between the 
Greek and the Latin Churches (1272) , 3 and we have 
already seen how ably and successfully he accomplished his 
mission. In his absence he was elected Minister-General 
of the Franciscans at the general Chapter held at Lyons 
whilst the Council was in progress. He held that 
important office for five years (1274-9). 4 Then, on 
March 12, 1278, whilst remaining General for a time, 
he was named cardinal-priest of S. Pudentiana by 
Nicholas III. 5 On this occasion also he had received an 
honour during his absence. Jerome was at that date in 
France, whither he had been sent by Nicholas (1277) in 
order to make peace between the Kings of Castile and 
France on the subject of the " Infants of Cerda ". 6 In 

1 lb. 

2 lb., Mart. Pol. cont. Angl., ap. M. G. SS., xxx, p. 714, " Factus 
primum est predicator, dcinde lector provincialis " ; and Chron. 
XXI. General. O.M., p. 352, ed. Quaracchi. Cf. p. 335 n. 

3 Cf. supra. 

4 Chron. XXIV. G., p. 353. We have letters of his in which, as 
Minister-Gen., he sends to the chapter of the Order held at Padua in 1275, 
etc., an account of the miracle by which St. Francis restored eyes to 
a man who had been deprived of them. See his letter of May 5, 1275, 
ap. Archiv. Francisc. hist., an. 1908, p. 85 ff., and of Apr. 23, 1276, ap. 
Chron. XXIV. G., p. 358, n. 

5 Reg. Nic. III., nn. 243, 260. 

6 Cf. supra, and Chron. XXIV. Gen., p. 366 ; Golubovich, Biblioteca 
4ell' Orienle, ii, p. 421 ff, 



NICHOLAS IV. 9 

France, we are told that he was joined by friar Conrad, 
the friend of his early life, and that his mission was 
successful owing to the help he received from his old 
friend. 1 Without making the least attempt to probe the 
accuracy of these two statements, we will content our- 
selves with observing that the Holy See was evidently 
satisfied with the manner in which he conducted his 
mission, for in 1281, Martin IV. made him cardinal- 
bishop of Preneste. 

When Jerome returned to Rome, he took Conrad with 
him, and for two years had the benefit of his society. 
At the end of that period Conrad was sent to Paris to 
teach ; but no sooner was the cardinal of Preneste made 
Pope, than he bade him return to Rome to be made a 
Cardinal. Unfortunately, however, the good friar 
contracted a fever on his journey and died " an hour 
before the dawn " in the monastery outside Ascoli, in 
which he had first been educated (Apr., 1289). 2 Nicholas 
was greatly distressed at his friend's unexpected death, 
and declared to the cardinals that it was a great loss not 
merely to their College, but to the whole Church. 

It is allowed both by contemporary and modern authors character, 
that Nicholas was learned and holy. The writers of his 
Order, to which he was devoted, quite naturally praise 
him very highly, even going as far as to attribute wholly 
to him that union of the Greeks to the Roman Church 
under Gregory X. (1274), which they enthusiastically 
exaggerate. 3 His learning and holiness are, however, 
extolled by contemporaries who were not Franciscans. 4 



1 Processus, p. 214. 

2 lb., p. 214-15. 

3 " Ipso efficaciter procurante, Graeci ad Sedis apostolicae obedien- 
tiam redierunt." Chron. XXIV. G., p. 356. "Hie totam Graeciam 
adduxit ad fidem et obedientiam S. R. E." Reg. Frat. Min. Lond., 
p. 533-4, ap. Mon. Francisc, i, R. S. 

* C. 113 sub fin. 



10 NICHOLAS IV. 

Even the Sicilian historian, Bartholomew of Neocastro, 
who heartily disapproved of the policy of Nicholas towards 
his country, speaks of him as a " pastor of remarkable 
holiness ". 1 From his condemnation of friar Roger 
Bacon, 2 however, one may be excused for doubting 
whether his intellect could be ranked with the best of 
his time. This conclusion may be further justified by 
the allegation made by certain chroniclers that he was 
led by the cardinals. 3 Nor can his intelligence, of what- 
ever calibre it was, be said to have been of a worldly 
and practical order. We are told that, as head of the 
Church, "he displayed such humility that he disbanded 
the guards (clavarios) whom his predecessors had employed 
to protect their persons, and caused fool's bladders to 
be carried in front of him." 4 If Nicholas really acted 
in this way, we can the more readily understand the 
disappearance under his pontificate of the good order 
maintained by his predecessor. Timid in tackling the 
affairs of life that came before him, of narrow outlook 
and slow in the transaction of business, Nicholas lacked 
the qualities that make a successful ruler of men. 5 He 
was, as we believe, according to the just judgment of 

1 Wykes, Chron., p. 313, speaks of him as " virum, nt fertur, 
supereminentis literature, et sanctitatis eximiae ". Cf. Flores Hist.', 
iii, 68, R. S., where his knowledge of Greek is insisted on. 

2 Cf. Chron. XXIV. G., p. 360. " Hie Generalis . . . de multorum 
fratrum consilio condemnavit . . . doctrinam f. R. B., etc." 

3 '* Pre nimia benignitate sua ductilis fuit, ita ut pro voluntate 
cardinalium regebatur." M. Pol. cont. Aug., ap. M. G. SS., xxx, 717. 

4 Chron. de Lanercost., i, p. 121. 

5 Leo of Orvieto, Chron. Pont., p. 336, ed. J. Lamius, Florence, 1737. 
Leo was a contemporary. " Hie . . . Doctor eximius vir vita laudabilis, 
sanctitate famosus, sed in negotiis adgrediendis timidus, et pusillanimis! 
ac in expediendis tardus." Cf. the judgment of Angelo Clareno in 
his Hist. trib. " Vir manswetus (sic) et satis modestus et tardus ad iram 
et injurias inferendas, licet esset remissus et tepidus in promocione 
bonorum." Quinta trib., p. 288, ed. Ehrle in Archiv fur Litteratur, 
Bd. ii, Heft i, 1886. 



NICHOLAS IV. II 

Gregorovius, " a pious monk, without thought of self ; 
concerned only for the peace of the world, for a Crusade, 
and for the extirpation of heresy." 1 When we read that 
he used in all seriousness to say that he would rather be 
his brethren's cook than a cardinal, we can certainly 
see how little he thought of his own advancement. 2 
We are not, therefore, surprised to hear that, in his 
private capacity, he was dear to all, 3 and very generous 
to poor clerics, if only they had satisfactory qualities. 
He expected them to be able to read well, sing well, 
write or compose well (bene construit), and to have skill 
in some science (grammar, logic, rhetoric) or in any of 
the liberal arts (medicine, canon or civil law). To such 
he gave prebends and special favours. 4 

On the day after his election, Nicholas announced it Nicholas 
to the various rulers of the Church and the State. After hig 
expressing his wonder at the ways of God, he went on accession, 
to tell how, against all his wishes (for it had been all his 
desire to lead a retired life of contemplation), he had all 
his life been kept in the midst of the whirl of business. 
Finally, by the unanimous and insistent call of his 
brethren, he had been compelled to shoulder the burden 
of the chief priesthood. That he might be able to bear 
that dread weight, he earnestly begged the prayers and 
help of his correspondents ; and, in conclusion, urged 
them to be just to their subjects and not to give more 
than bare necessaries to the bearers of his letters. 5 

Nicholas did not take long in settling down to the Creation of 
routine work involved in the ruling of the Church. The May, 1288. 
procurator of Vicenza tells us that he held his first 

1 Rome, vol. v, p. 508. 

2 S. Antoninus, Chron., tit. xxiv, p. 781. 

3 Mart. Pol. cont. Aug., ap. M. G. SS., xxx, p. 714. 

4 lb., cont. Brabant., ap. ib., xxiv, p. 260. 

5 Reg., n. 1. This gives a brief sketch of his pre-papal life. Cf. ib., 
2-5. Potthast, 22604, 22648. 



12 NICHOLAS IV. 

business audience on April 6, in the Vatican, 1 to which 
he had betaken himself from the Lateran towards the 
end of March. These business sittings were for the time 
suspended on the last Friday of the same month. But 
when, soon after, the Pope went to Rieti, they were 
resumed, 2 and on May 16 he made a number of cardinals. 3 
In his selection of the new members of the Sacred College, 
Nicholas displayed no little shrewdness. Of his six 
nominees one, Matthew of Aquasparta, was a 
Franciscan, another, Hugh Seguin, was a Dominican, 
while Napoleon, the cardinal-deacon of St. Hadrian, 
was an Orsini, and Peter of St. Eustachio was a 
Colonna. 
Nicholas is Though in the College of Cardinals, Nicholas thus 

said to have 

unduly nicely balanced Roman families and the new religious 

FrTa? s red the 0rders > it is not so clear that he was as careful of his 
episcopal appointments. At any rate, such as were 
opposed to the Franciscans declared that, in his undue 
elevation of his Order, he made a great many of them 
bishops. Rishanger declares that " this idol ", as he was 
called, of the Friars Minor so legislated in their behalf 
as to make them lose their heads completely 4 ; and the 
author of the Flowers of History assures us that the 
Franciscans, " counting the Pope as the sun and the 
archbishop of Canterbury (J. Peckham, O.M.) as the 
moon, began to erect their horns against the whole world, 
sparing neither Order nor position in the English 
province," especially the Benedictines. 5 Nor did this 
same group of writers hesitate to prophesy that, on 

1 " Primo fecit audientiam literarum et causarum." L c 

2 lb. 

3 Potthast, n. 22712 ; Ptolemy of Lucca, 1. xxiv, c. 20. 

4 Chron., p. 112, R. S. 

5 Flores Hist., vol. iii, p. 75, R. S. Cf. Annals of London, ad an. 
1292, ap. M. G. SS., xxviii, p. 553, and Ex notis S. Martini Lemov., 
ap. ib., xxvi, p. 439. 



NICHOLAS IV. 13 

the death of Nicholas, the Friars would fall as quickly 
as they had risen. 1 

It is, indeed, certain that Nicholas favoured his Order. 
He attended its General Chapter in Rieti (1289), and 
there confirmed the election of Raymond Gualfredi as 
its twelfth Minister-General. 2 He protected it from 
calumny, 3 and, naturally enough, granted it privileges, 
such as freeing it from all jurisdiction except that of the 
Holy See. 4 But he also favoured other religious orders, 5 
if not even the Fraticelli, 6 so that there is no reason for 
believing that he greatly surpassed his predecessors in 
bestowing well-deserved favours on the still worthy sons 
of St. Francis. 

1 " Gloria, laus speculum Fratrum, Nicolae Minorum Te veniente 
vigent, te moriente cadunt." Ap. Flores, I.e. Cf. Ann. de Wigornia, 
p. 509. The Friars said: " ' Solem et lunam sub nostro habitu 
habemus.' Sed quarto non. Aprilis sol cognovit occasum suum." 

2 Mariano of Florence, Compend. Chron., p. 54 ; and the Annals of 
Colmar, ap. Boehmer, Pontes, ii, 26. 

3 Reg., n. 2539. 

* Potthast, nn. 22694-7, 22702-10. 

5 Favours for Dominicans, ib., nn. 22758-9 ; for the Order of 
Penitents, 23355. 

6 It is the ill-informed Annales Florentini (1288-1431), ap. Boehmer, 
Pontes, iv, p. 672, that assert that " he permitted the foundation of the 
superstitious sect of the Fraticelli". The first set of these sectaries, 
which split off from the Franciscan body under Angelo Clareno, would 
not appear to have shown itself schismatical or heretical at this date ; 
and it is accordingly possible that N. IV. may have shown some favour 
to this group of Spirituals. 



CHAPTER II. 

MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE BY NICHOLAS IV. AND OTHER 
MEDLEVAL POPES IN (i) PERSIA, (2) CHINA, AND 
(3) ETHIOPIA. 

Interest of When we think of the residence of Jerome of Ascoli in 
the Constantinople, of his successful work for the union of 

missions. the Greek Church with that of Rome, and of what 
he heard and saw of the wonderful enterprise of the 
missionaries of Innocent IV. and his successors, we are 
not surprised to find that, with the exception of the 
Crusades, Nicholas IV. was not interested in anything 
so much as in the eastern missions. His efforts in that 
direction must accordingly occupy our attention at 
some length. But, as his efforts were not isolated ones 
in the story of the Popes, we purpose, for the sake of 
greater clearness of exposition, to narrate here what 
was done in this matter not only by Nicholas, but also 
by some of his more immediate predecessors and 
successors. 

I. Persia. 
introduction The boundaries of the Persian Empire, like those of 

Of v • 1 

Christianity every other empire, have varied from time to time. But 
into Persia. w h en our L or( } came into this world, the Empire of 
Persia occupied not only the great Iran plateau to the 
south of the Caspian Sea, but its western provinces, 
including Mesopotamia, the land of the two great rivers 
Euphrates and Tigris. At that same epoch, it was ruled 
by the Parthian dynasty of the Arsacids. 

As in the case of many another country, it is not known 
exactly when or by whom Christianity was introduced 



NICHOLAS IV. 15 

into it. This, however, we do know, that among those 
who listened to St. Peter on the first Pentecost were 
" Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and inhabitants 
of Mesopotamia." 1 No doubt then the doctrines of 
Christ crossed the frontiers of the Roman Empire, and 
found their way into Persia before the Apostles had all 
gone to their eternal rest. Indeed, there is a tradition 
that the Apostle Thomas himself preached in Parthia. 2 
Then, despite the fact that the Roman and the Persian 
Empires were generally at war with each other, Christian 
soldiers, captives, and traders continued to cross the 
much disputed boundaries, and to pass on the faith they 
had received. 

From the Acts of Thomas? which though only a kind Persian 
of novel, dates from the first half of the third century, ^^third 
it can safely be gathered that Christianity was fairly century, 
diffused in Persia at that epoch. 4 The same can be 
inferred from a letter of Dionysius, patriarch of 
Alexandria, to Pope Stephen I. (253-7). He writes 5 : 
" All the provinces of Syria and Arabia which at 
different times you have supplied with necessaries, and to 
whom you have now written, Mesopotamia, Pontus, 
and Bithynia ... all are rejoicing everywhere at 
the unanimity and brotherly love now prevailing." 
St. Irenaeus, 6 Tertullian, 7 and Bardesanes (Bar-Daisan), 8 
too, are contemporary witnesses that Christianity had 

1 Acts, ii, 9. 2 Eusebius, H.E., iii, 1. 

3 Eng. trans, in Wright, Apocryphal Acts. It is a Syrian document. 

4 Cf. Burkitt, Early Christianity outside the Roman Empire, pp. 63, 
72, 76, and the same author's Early Eastern Christianity , ch. vi. See 
also The Teaching of Thaddeus or Addceus (Addai), a Syriac document 
of the third or early fourth century, pp. 23, 32, 48. Eng. trans, ap. 
Clark's Ante-Nicene Library, vol. xx. 

5 Ap. Euseb., I.e., vii, 5. 6 Adv. hceres., i, c. 10. 

7 Adv. JudcBos, c. 7. 

8 See B.'s (154-223) Book of the Laws in English and Syriac in 
W. Cureton's Spicilegium Syriacum, London, 1855, p. 1 ff. He tells 
of Christian communities in Bactria, etc. 



l6 NICHOLAS IV. 

found its way into Persia in the second century ; and 

Arnobius, 1 in the third century, notes with emphasis that 

the same Christian faith is found among very different 

nations, among which he reckons the Persians, Medes, 

and Parthians. 

Was the The fact of this unity of faith and practice between 

Church auto- Latins, Greeks, and Orientals, is obviously independent 

cephaious in f relation that may have existed between the 

the second J J . 

century ? Church in the Persian Empire and the patriarchal see 
of Antioch. Indeed, later Oriental writers, such as 
Maris, Amri, and Bar-Hebraeus (twelfth and fourteenth 
centuries), have pretended that the Persian Church 
became " autocephalous " towards the end of the second 
century. They say that Achadabues (or Ahadabues), 
the fifth or sixth bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, the 
principal see in the Empire, was sent, when elected, to 
Antioch to be consecrated. There he was accused of 
being a Persian spy. Having escaped with difficulty 
to Jerusalem, he was there consecrated in virtue of 
letters received from Antioch. Thereupon " the Western 
Fathers ", seeing the difficulties connected with the 
journey to Antioch, drew up a syngrapha (or systaticon) 
authorizing the Oriental bishops in future to consecrate 
their own chief, who should rank after the four patriarchs, 
and should have jurisdiction "over all the regions of 
the East, Mosul, Khorasan, and Persia ". 2 It is, more- 
over, contended that the Council of Nicaea confirmed this 

1 Adv. Gentes, i, 10, and ii, 10 al. 12 ; Meshiha-Zekha, Hist., often 
refers to churches which he had seen, and which dated from the second 
century. E.g., pp. 86, 96. Cf. also the " Acts of the Persian Martyrs 
in Rome (270), SS. Maris, Martha, Audifax, and Abacum ". See 
Butler's Lives of the Saints, Jan. 19. 

2 Cf. Maris ibn Solomon, Comment, de Pat. Orient., pt. i, pp. 5-6 ; 
Amri, pt. ii, pp. 4-7, ed. Gismondi, Rome, 1899 ; Bar-Hebraeus, 
Chron. eccles., vol. iii, pp. 24-6, ed. Abbeloos. The four patriarchs 
had no existence then. Cf. what the Rev. G. P. Badger, The Nestorians 
and their Ritual, i, p. 137 f., London, 1852, has to say about this early 



NICHOLAS IV. 17 

resolution 1 in its thirty- third canon. 2 But the 
authenticity of this canon is much more than doubtful, 
nor can it be supposed that towards the end of the 
second century the Church in Persia was as developed as 
this story supposes. 3 We can, however, safely conclude 
from this narrative that the perpetual warfare between 
the two empires was the chief cause of the isolation of 
the Persian Church, and of its subsequent schismatical 
and heretical development. 

In the third century at any rate, the organization of ? e " ec " tioi J h 
the Church in Persia made great progress, whether that century, 
organization came from Armenia or Edessa. 4 Eusebius 
tells us that Constantine was informed not merely that 
there were " infinite numbers " of Christians in that 
Empire, but that " the churches of God were numerous 
among the Persians". 5 Writing in the sixth century, 
the monk Meshiha-Zeka (or Jesuzeka) of Adiabene, in 
his History of the Bishops of Adiabene* says that the 
Persian Church was in a.d. 225 governed by over twenty 
bishops. 

About this very year (227) the Parthian dynasty of 
the Arsacids was replaced by the Sassanid (227-642). 
For some time the toleration which the Christians had 

autocephalous Church, especially p. 403 f., where his editor, J. Mason 
Neale, has to correct the statements of Mr. Badger, as they rest on a 
clear and now generally acknowledged forgery. 

1 Maris, I.e., p. 7. Note what follows : It was further decreed " ne 
quis ex orientalibus proprium primatem apud patres occidentales 
accusaret ". 

2 Al. can. 38. Cf. J. M. Neale, The Patriarchate of Antioch, pp. 29-30, 
38 ff., and 119. 

3 Cf. J. Labourt, Le Christianisme dans V Empire Perse, p. 17, Paris, 
1904. 

4 Sozomen, H.E., ii, 8, says that he thinks that the Armenians 
and Osrhoenians (the people especially of Edessa in Osrhoene) intro- 
duced Christianity into Persia. 

5 Vit. Constant., iv, c. 8. Cf. c. 43. 

6 Sources Syriaques, vol. i, ed. Mingana, p. 106, Mosul, 1907, sold at 
Leipzig. Cf. Wigram, The Assyrian Church, pp. 24, 27, 37. 

Vol. XVII. c 



l8 NICHOLAS IV. 

enjoyed under the earlier dynasty continued under the 
new one, and we see Persians like SS. Abdon and Sennen, 1 
ignorant of persecution in their own land, coming to 
Rome, and there being put to death for their faith. But 
when the Roman Empire became Christian, and the 
Roman emperors began not only to protect their own 
Christian subjects, but to interest themselves in their 
coreligionists in Persia, the rulers of that country began 
to view the Christians with suspicion. Sapor II. the 
Great (309-79) may not have been much disturbed 
when he received a request from Constantine the Great, 
asking him to be kind to " the multitudes of Christians " 
in his dominions ; but he may have wondered what the 
emperor meant when he went on to say that if he acceded 
to his request it would be well for him, as well as for his 
correspondent. His suspicions may well have been 
deepened when he found that Constantine considered 
himself the Defender of all Christians wherever they 
were, 2 and again when, about 343, he saw a missionary 
(Theophilus, the Indian) sent by Constantius causing 
a church to be built " where is the mart of 
Persian commerce hard by the mouth of the Persian 
Gulf ". 3 The Christians in Persia would naturally 
turn to a Christian ruler and a Christian Empire 4 ; and 

1 Butler's Lives of the Saints, vii, p. 364 f. Martyred in the persecu- 
tion of Decius, 250, their portraits, showing their Persian bonnets, may 
still be seen in the Catacomb of St. Pontianus. See the illustration in 
Roller, Les Catacombes, ii, p. 345. See also the case of the Persian 
pilgrims SS. Maris, Martha, etc., martyred at Rome in 270. Butler, 
ib., i, p. 185. 

2 Cf. Eusebius, Vit. Const., iv, cc. 8 and 9, and better in Theodoret, 
H.E., i, 25. 

3 Philostorgius, H.E., iii, c. 4. This place may well have been Ommana 
on the Arabian coast of the Persian Gulf. Most writers place O. in 
the bay of Chabbar on the Makran coast, though others identify it 
with Sohar " on the Batineh coast of Oman, north of Muscat ". Schoff, 
The Periplus of the Erythrcean Sea, pp. 150-1. 

4 Because oft protected by them. See Theodoret, H.E., v, 39. 



NICHOLAS IV. 19 

such a famous man among them as bishop (?) Aphraates, 
known as the Persian sage, 1 writing in 336-7, did not 
hesitate to explain to the Christians that Sapor and his 
soldiers would be humbled and that the Romans would 
be victorious. 2 Whatever were the motives that animated 
Sapor II., he inaugurated one of the most terrible perse- 
cutions which the Church has ever experienced. It lasted 
almost continuously for forty years, and ceased only 
with the monarch's death (379). Sozomen gives 16,000 
as the number of known martyrs in this persecution. 3 

No doubt the motives of Sapor and of his Zoroastrian 
advisers, the Magians, were in the main those of their 
people. Of these we are informed in some of the " Acts 
of the Persian Martyrs ". The Christians, we are there 
told, " destroy our holy teaching, and teach men to 
serve one God, and not to honour the sun or fire. They 
teach them, too, to defile water by their ablutions, to 
refrain from marriage and the procreation of children, 
and to refuse to accompany the King of Kings in his 
wars. They have no scruple about the slaughter and 
eating of animals. They bury the corpses of men in the 
earth, and attribute to God the origin of snakes and 
creeping things." 4 

The death of Sapor did not end the persecution of the Persecution 
Christians. The Magians were ever trying to excite the chosroes I. 
Shahs against them, 5 and at times put forth specious 
arguments in favour of their wishes. The following 
reasoning enabled them to prevail even on Chosroes I., 

1 See the introduction to his Demonstrations in vol. xiii of A Select 
Library of Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers, Oxford, 1898, p. 152 ff. 

2 See especially Demonstrate v, translated, ib., p. 352 ff. 

3 H.E., ii, 14. 

4 Acts of Aqib-shima, ap. Acta SS., ed. Bedjan, 1890-5, cited by 
Wigram, I.e., pp. 64-5. Cf. the official creed put forth by a viceroy of 
Yezdegerd II., 450, in St. Martin, Memoires sur I'Armenie, ii, 472, cited 
in the Diet, of Christian Biography, sub Chosroes. 

6 See, e.g., Socrates, H.E., vii, 8. 



20 



NICHOLAS IV. 



The Persian 

Christians 

become 



surnamed Nushirvan or the Just (531-79), to persecute 
the Christians. The Roman Caesar, they said, compels 
all within his dominions to worship as he does. " Let 
thy godship, therefore, command that ... all persons 
in thy dominions worship according to thy worship, and 
that such as insolently dare to resist thy commandment 
shall no longer live." x 

But the action of the Roman Caesars in trying to force 
upon their subjects acceptance or rejection of the councils 
Nestorians. of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, not merely brought 
temporary persecution upon the Christians of Persia, 
but plunged them for the most part into the "two-person " 
heresy of Nestorius, who had been condemned at the 
Council of Ephesus (431). " For the bishops generally 
throughout the whole country of Persia," says John of 
Ephesus, " are Nestorians, and but few orthodox 
(i.e., Monophysites) are found there." 2 One certain 
result, at any rate, followed imperial interference in 
religious controversies. Whether it was a case of heretical 
emperors persecuting Catholics, or of Catholic emperors 
persecuting heretics, men were in each case driven into 
exile, and truth or error, as the case might be, was thus 
propagated. The great persecutions of the pagan 
emperors of old Rome drove Christians across the 
Euphrates, and thus helped to spread the faith in Persia. 
The attempts of the Basileus on the Bosphorus to make 
all men conform to his religious decrees helped in the 

1 John of Ephesus, H.E., ii, 19; ed. Payne Smith, p. 119. John 
was a contemporary of these events. Cf. Evagrius, H.E., v, 7-15 ; 
and the Acts of S. Hiztibouzit, p. 261, ed. F. C. Conybeare, in his 
The Apology of Apollonius, etc., London, 1894. 

2 H.E., vi, 20. To the Monophysite John " the orthodox " are 
naturally Monophysites. John also tells us significantly that " the 
Catholicus of the Nestorians was constantly at the court of Chosroes I." 
In his life of the Persian Bishop Simeon, he repeats the assertion that 
" believing bishops and their dioceses are few there ". See his " Lives 
of the Eastern Saints " (written 566-8), ed. W. Brooks, with Eng. 
trans, in Bib. Orient., t. xvii, p. 138. 



NICHOLAS IV. 21 

fifth century to spread Nestorianism in that country. 
About the middle of that century, Theodosius II. con- 
demned " the impious creed of Nestorius " and those 
who professed it 1 ; and because they were persecuted 
by the Byzantine rulers, they were naturally favoured 
by the Persian rulers. If the latter were to have Christians 
in their dominions they had better, they argued, have 
those who were at enmity with Constantinople. 2 
Accordingly, the Byzantine historian Cedrenus (c. 1057), 
states that Chosroes I., Nushirvan, out of hatred of the 
Roman Emperor, Heraclius, compelled the Christians in 
his dominions to become Nestorians. 3 

But how exactly did it come about that by the end 
of the sixth century most of the bishops, and presumably 
many of their people as well, had become Nestorians. 
The main reasons were the isolation of the Persian 
Christians, the absence of Persian bishops from the 
Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, 4 the ambition of 
some of their ecclesiastical rulers, and the policy of the 
Shahs. During the first centuries of their Christianity 
the Persians were one in faith with the Greeks and the 
Latins ; and, as they had received their faith and their 
orders from the West, they naturally looked up to its 
great bishops. If their bishops had been consecrated 
at Edessa, 5 they were thus in dependence on the patriarch 

1 Evagrius, II. E., i, c. 12. 

2 Cf. ib., v, 7, where Chosroes I. has to complain of Christians in 
his dominions joining his enemies in time of war. It is true that they 
had been badly treated by the Persians " especially on account of 
their faith ". 

3 Chron., i, 415, or ed. Bonn, i, 727. Cf. Agapius (Mahboub), Hist., 
p. [199]. 

4 Cf. Agapius (Mahboub), Hist., p. 151. On Agap. see note below. 

5 " The ' Church of the Easterns ' was the daughter," says Wigram, 
I.e., pp. 25-6, " not of Antioch, but of Edessa." But Edessa in turn 
got its episcopal succession from Antioch. See Burkitt, Early 
Christianity outside the Roman Empire, p. 12, and his Early Eastern 
Christianity, pp. 18-19, and 26. From this last-named work we read 



22 NICHOLAS IV. 

of Antioch from whom the episcopate of Edessa traced 
its origin. Indeed, Solomon, bishop of Basra on the right 
bank of the united rivers Euphrates and Tigris, writing 
about 1212, and speaking about the Eastern Catholici, 
the successors of Addai and Mari, says that they were 
" of the laying on of hands of Antioch ". Then, of their 
later successors, he writes that they were " of the laying 
on of hands at Ctesiphon." 1 

It is not, perhaps, certain that any Persian bishops 
were present at the Council of Nice. Some, however, 
believe that a certain John of Beit-Parsaya, a name 
found in Syriac lists of the Fathers of that Council, was 
a Persian, while others contend that Parsaya is a mistake 
for Perrhae. 2 Of late years the tradition, given in our 
note below, that Persian bishops were present at Nice 
has been strengthened by the discovery of an anonymous 
history known as the Chronique de Seert, said to have 
been written not later than the beginning of the 
thirteenth century. " Among those," says our author, 
" summoned (to the Council) by the bishop of Rome, was 
Papa, who did not, however, assist at it, on account of 
his great age." He was, nevertheless, represented at it, 
he continues, by Simeon and by Mar Sahdost or James 
of Nisibis. Whether this statement is of any value or 
not, he quotes Elias, bishop of Merv, and Sahdost, bishop 
of Tirhan, for the further assertion that among the 
Orientals at the Council were George, bishop of Sindjar, 
and John, bishop of Beit Garmai. Now as Elias flourished 
in 661 and was the author of a " trustworthy " history 

that according to some ancient Syriac documents, Serapion of Antioch 
(190-203), who consecrated Patut of Edessa, was himself consecrated by 
Pope Zephyrinus. There may be want of historical accuracy in these 
statements, but they serve to show tradition. 

1 Cf. his The Book of the Bee, c. 51, p. 116, ed. and trans, of E. A. W. 
Budge, Oxford, 1886. 

2 In Commagene. Gams, Series Episc, p. 436, does not give a bishop 
John of Perrhae. 



NICHOLAS IV. 23 

of the Church now lost, there does not seem much reason 
to doubt that Persian bishops were actually present at 
the Council. 1 But, in any case, the Persian bishops must 
have known all about the Council, as St. James of Nisibis 
(which fell into the hands of the Persians not many 
years after the Council), and Paul of Neo-Cesarea, a 
fortress on the banks of the Euphrates, were certainly 
present at it. 2 Unfortunately, however, the rivalry 
between the Roman and Persian Empires isolated the 
Christian subjects of the latter more and more from their 
Western brethren. Still, for nearly a hundred years after 
the Council of Nice, Persia was in full communion with 
the Church Catholic. 

The ecclesiastical union between the Orientals and Council of 
the rest of the Catholic world is well brought out by what 410. 
we know of the story of Marutha, bishop of Maipherqat 
(or Martyropolis) near Amida, whom Socrates calls 
" Bishop of Mesopotamia ". 3 Sent on a mission by 
Theodosius II. to Yezdegerd I., Shah of Persia, he made 
himself as much beloved by that monarch as by his 
subject Christians. Through his influence, the Shah 
issued an Edict of Toleration (409) on behalf of his 
Christian subjects, permitted Marutha to erect churches 

1 The Anon. Hist. (ed. A. Scher, Patrolog. Orient., iv, Paris, 1908), 
c. 18, p. 277. It is 'Abhd-isho (thirteenth century) who calls the hist, of 
Elias "trustworthy". See Wright, Syriac Lit., p. 180. Cf. the 
" Hist, of the Metropolitan See of Karka d'Beit Slokh ", ap. Bedjan, 
Acta MM. el SS., ii, 507. Agapius (Mahboub), a Christian Arab of 
the tenth century, says, p. 548, ed. Vasiliev, Paris, 1909, that Zinabius, 
bishop of Seleucia, was present at the Council of Nice. 

2 Theodoret, H.E., i, 7. It may be noted that Bar-Hebraeus, 
Chvon. Eccles., n. 23, ed. Abbeloos, i, p. 70, says that bishops from 
Mesopotamia and Persia were at the Council of Nice ; and long before 
him Maris, De Pat. Nest., i, p. 13, says that Papa, bishop of Valencia 
(whom Wigram, p. 26, calls the " first figure of any reality and weight " 
in the Persian Church), unable to go by reason of his age, sent two repre- 
sentatives who afterwards succeeded him. 

3 H.E., vii, 8. 



24 NICHOLAS IV. 

wherever he wished, 1 and to hold with Mar Isaac, 
Catholicus of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, the first Persian Synod 
(410) . Forty bishops assembled at Seleucia, acknowledged 
their indebtedness not only to Marutha, but also to various 
" chief bishops of the country of the Romans ", 2 and 
accepted "the orthodox and true canons which had been 
laid down by the honoured bishops of the West ", and 
of which the Western Fathers had sent them a copy. 3 
Marutha then insisted that all should show their adhesion 
to them by affixing their signatures to them. This 
was duly done, and all would have been well but for the 
interference of the civil power. The acts of the Synod 
tell us that Yezdegerd declared Mar Isaac head of all 
the Christians of the East, and made it treason for any 
one to resist the bishops appointed by him. 4 It was 
the beginning of the end of the subservience of the 
Orientals to the civil power. When the Council was over, 
Marutha returned to Constantinople, and there proclaimed 
the integrity of the faith of the Oriental Christians. 5 
Eastern Ten years later there was still absolute union in faith 

' between East and West. On the occasion of another 
embassy from Constantinople, another synod of the 
Eastern bishops was called together by the Catholicus, 
Mar Jabalaha I. 6 Again the Eastern bishops asked the 
Western envoy to give them the laws established by the 
blessed bishops for the Catholic Church in the Empire 

1 lb. In fact, Socrates says that only death prevented the conversion 
of the Shah himself. Cf. the Synod of Mar Isaac, a.d. 410. It is the 
first council in the Syriac Synodicon Orientate, ed. Chabot, with a 
French trans., Paris, 1902. A Latin trans, of this particular Synod 
is given ap. Muratori, Antiq. Med. fF.vi, iii, p. 975 ff. 

2 Of these the first named is Porphyrius, patriarch of Antioch. 
S.O., p. 255. 

3 lb. 

4 lb., p. 261. Cf. can. 12, p. 266. 

5 Maris, p. 27. 

6 The acts in Chabot, p. 266 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 25 

of the Romans, in order that " professing the one time 
faith of those bishops who have succeeded the illustrious 
Apostles, we may be directed by the laws which they 
have made at different times, so that there may not be 
the smallest divergence between us and them, but that 
we may all be part of the one body which is Christ ". 

Unfortunately the union of the Orientals with the The Synod 
Church Catholic was at this very time on the eve of Markabta, 
breaking. The peace-loving, fair-minded Yezdegerd I. 424. ^^ 
died the very year of this Synod (420), and Jabalaha, 
the Catholicus, about the same time. Schism followed 
in both Church and State. In the State it was soon 
ended. Vararanes (or Barhram II.) succeeded his 
father, and at once began to wage fierce war on the 
Roman Empire (420-1), and on the Christians of whom 
a number fled for refuge across the Euphrates. 1 But 
in the Church the schism is said to have led immediately 
to results much more fateful. On the death of Jabalaha, 
there were three candidates for his see, two of whom, 
Ma'na or Magnes and Farbokht, appear to have been 
put forward by the sword, and deposed by it. The third 
candidate, Dad-Ishu, who was ultimately selected, had 
in the interim to suffer considerable persecution. When 
his position was secured, there was held the Synod of 
Markabta (424). 2 Thirty-six bishops present at it 
recognized Dad-Ishu as head of the " flock of Christ in 
all the countries of the East". Then one of their 
number rose and pointed out what help the " rulers of 
the West " or " the Western Fathers " had been to them 
in their schisms from the days of Papa onwards. He 

1 Socrates, H.E., vii, 18-21. The persecution ended when the 
Persians had to make peace with the Romans. lb., c. 20. Theophanes, 
Chronog., i, p. 134, ed. Bonn, explains that Theodosius made the 
peace especially for the benefit of the Christians. Cf. Maris, De Pat. N., 
p. 31. 

a Synod. Ay., p. 285 ff. 



26 NICHOLAS IV. 

told how these Western Fathers had taken cognizance 
of the attack on Papa, had reversed the decision of his 
enemies, and had deprived the ring-leaders of the rebellious 
bishops of their sees, but had left those in possession who 
had erred rather from simplicity than malice. 1 They 
also declared that the other Eastern bishops had no 
right to hold a synod against their head, the holder " of 
the patriarchal see established at Seleucia ". Our Lord 
had indeed given the priesthood to all the Apostles, but 
the Principate only to Peter. 2 

Similarly, the Western Fathers and the Emperor of 
the Romans were the means of restoring to their positions 
both Mar Isaac and Mar Jabalaha. 

After this, in the text of this synod which has reached 
us, comes the extraordinary conclusion that the Oriental 
bishops thereupon decreed that " the Orientals must 
not complain of their patriarch to the Western 
Patriarchs ". Christ alone can judge their patriarch. 
This conclusion is so utterly at variance with all that 
precedes it, that modern writers generally believe there 
is interpolation somewhere. Labonst thinks that the 
first part is an interpolation ; but as that is in harmony 
with the language of the synods of 410 and 420, it seems 
more likely that Assemanni is correct, and that the 
conclusion is a Nestorian invention. 3 

1 lb., pp. 290-1. Thus they decided that Mar Simeon, who had been 
elected in Papa's place, might succeed him, as he had been forced to 
what he had done. 

2 They quote Mat. iii, 15, and xvi, 18, 19. Papa was the predecessor 
of Simeon Bar Cabae, who was martyred in 341. 

3 J. A. Assemanni, De Catholicis Chald. et Nestorianorum, p. 17, 
Rome, 1775. He also cites the words of Elias of Damascus (c. 890) 
in his Nomocanone, where anathema is pronounced against anyone 
who should dare to cite the Catholicus before any Patriarch. But, 
as he notes, all that was really decided by the Council under Dad-Ishu 
was that the Orientals should not hold conventicles against the 
Catholicus. Of course, Maris, in his account of Dad-Ishu, knows 
nothing of this unlikely decree (pp. 31-2). 



NICHOLAS IV. 27 

However, before the next Oriental synod was held Nestorius. 
(486), the Council of Ephesus (431) had condemned 
Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, for teaching that 
in Christ there were two persons, and that doctrine, 
with schismatical consequences, had penetrated into 
the Persian Empire. 

Hardly had one council been called together to condemn Eutyches. 
the "two-person" error of Nestorius, than another had 
to be called at Chalcedon (451) to condemn the " one- 
nature " error (monophysitism) of his opponent, the 
monk Eutyches. In his zeal to refute Nestorius, he fell 
into heresy himself, and taught, but in confused language, 
that after the Incarnation the God-man had but one 
nature. 

Unfortunately before his authoritative condemnation 
by the Council of Chalcedon, Eutyches had, through the 
favour of the Emperor, been acquitted by the so-called 
Robber Synod of Ephesus (449). Many, especially among 
peoples at a distance, supposed that the tenets of 
Eutyches had been duly approved, and their belief was 
strengthened by the assurances of his followers who 
were exiled by the decrees of the Catholic emperors. 
Nestorians and Eutychians driven forth from the Roman 
Empire crossed the Euphrates into the Persian Empire, 1 

1 The Nestorians had captured the famous school of Edessa. Broken 
up by the emperor Zeno in 489, its professors spread their doctrines 
over Persia. " Persarum schola ex urbe Edessa excisa est " says the 
Chronicle of Edessa in the Corpus SS. Christ. Orient., SS. Syri, ser. iii, 
t. iv, p. 8, ed. I. Guidi. Cf. ib., p. 9, sub an. 831 (Era of the Seleucidae), 
i.e., a.d. 520, for a banishment of a bishop of Edessa to Seleucia because 
he would not subscribe to Chalcedon. An Eng. trans, of the Chron. 
is in the Journal of Sacred Lit., 1864, p. 28 ff. Re the school of 
Edessa see also John of Ephesus, who wrote his Lives of the Eastern 
Saints (a.d. 566-8), about the same time that the Edessene Chronicle 
was written. See his life of Simeon, the bishop, ap. Pat. Orient., 
t. xvii, p. 139, ed. Brooks. See also the important letter of the Mono- 
physite bishop, Simeon Beth-Arsan (510-25), ap. Assemanni, Bib. 
Orient., i, p. 353. 



28 NICHOLAS IV. 

where they were well received as hostile to the Czesars 
at Constantinople. Both heresies found a permanent 
home in Persia, especially that of Nestorius which was 
first in the field, 1 and which national hatred of Egypt, 
and hatred of St. Cyril of Alexandria, caused to be 
preferred by the Orientals to Monophysitism. 2 It was, 
as we have seen, also fostered by the Shahs. 
r B eai S apStie Nevertheless, as the fifth century progressed, we are 
of Nes- assured by Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria (950), 
that Nestorianism was dying out in Persia, when it was 
revived by Barsauma, archbishop of Nisibis. 3 He had 
imbibed Nestorianism in the famous school of Edessa, 4 
and, after being expelled from it with other Nestorians, 
became metropolitan of Nisibis (453), and all-powerful 
with Shah Firuz (457-85). He persuaded the Persian 
monarch that his Christian subjects would never be true 
to him until their faith was different from that of the 
Greeks, and that consequently he should force upon them 
the doctrine of Nestorius. This the King proceeded to do, 
and succeeded in spreading the heresy throughout his 
dominions. 5 

1 Nestorius himself was banished to Egypt, Socrates, vii, 34 ; 
Evagrius, i, 7. A thirteenth century history known as the Chronicle 
of Seert, ap. Patrolog. Orient., t. viii, p. 415, says that Theodosius 
banished "18 metropolitans, and many bishops, priests, and monks " 
who supported Nestorius. [See also Agapius, p. [155] ubi infra.] Cf ib 
vol. xiii, c. 55, p. 461 (Paris, 1919) for similar action of the Emperor 
Maurice. 

2 Cf. Agapius (Mahboub), first Arabian Christian historian (tenth 
century), Hist. Univers., ap. Pat. Orient., v ff., ed. A. Vasiliev, p. [152] 
and passim. 

3 Annals, ap. Migne, P.G.L., t. iii, p. 1033. 

4 See note, p. 27. 

5 Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. eccles., p. 62 ff. Eutychius, I.e. ; Meshiha- 
Zeka, Hist., p. 147 ; Maris, De Pat. com., pp. 35-40 (the wretched 
character given to Barsauma even by Maris is enough to justify most 
of the accusations of Bar-Hebraeus against him, or even those of 
Leontius of Byzantium in his work against the Nestorians, Lib. iii, 
n. 21. He wrote it between 529 and 544. There would appear to-be 



NICHOLAS IV. 29 

But Barsauma was not satisfied with propagating his 
views by violence only. He established a school at 
Nisibis, where the doctrines which he had imbibed from 
Ibas, bishop of Edessa, were taught, and when, in 489, 
the Emperor Zeno broke up the school of Edessa, 

so much confusion of thought as to what is the kernel of the teaching 
of Nestorius, that we must say something about it, so as to answer 
the question as to whether those Orientals who are now and always 
have been called Nestorians are really so or not. Wigram appears to 
suppose they are not, but that in fact they are orthodox. Leaving 
aside the difficulty of supposing that their opponents for 1,500 years 
have been incapable of properly understanding their position, and 
granting that it may be difficult always to understand their terms, the 
very comparisons which they make in their official confessions show 
that they believed that, for a time at least, there existed a perfect human 
person, whatever became of it when the human nature which belonged 
to it was taken by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. They 
say, to use Mr. Wigram 's own translation, " He took it inseparably, a 
perfect temple, to be the dwelling-place of his Godhead " (p. 275). Now, 
the human nature taken by the Second Person never existed complete 
by itself like a temple to be taken possession of by the Divine person. 
Hence there can be no doubt that the doctrine of these Orientals who 
revere Nestorius is correctly given by one of them who writes : " Note 
the belief in the unity of parsopa (person) of the son of God and of the 
man ; call the Virgin, mother, not of God, but of the Christ ; separate 
the natures ; see the persons ; but give one and the same adoration." 
Mar Sabriso, f 650, ed. Mingana, Sources Syriaques, vol. i, 228. Cf. 
Meshiha-Zeka, pp. 141, 143-6 ; and Chabot, Synod., pp. 583, 586, 597, 
627, 632. See especially p. 597, where an assembly of Nestorian bishops 
states : " When Christ is called God, one does not mean the Three 
Persons of the Trinity, but only the person of God the Word ; and 
similarly when Christ is called man, one does not mean all the persons 
of humanity, but only that one person of the human race who has been 
taken for union with God the Word. Nature cannot subsist without 
the person." And so in a conference before Justinian, Babai, bishop 
of Sigar (Sindjar), said that "nature (or substance) could not exist 
without an hypostasis (person), nor an hypostasis without a nature. 
Therefore, the two natures could not have one hypostasis " (Chronique 
de Seert, p. 188 or [96]. John of Ephesus, too, quotes another " Babai ", 
the Catholicus (499-504) as saying : " The Word of God came down 
on a man like us, born of a woman." (See his "Life of Simeon", 
p. 148, ed. Brooks, ap. Bib. Orient., t. xvii. Mr. Wigram's views are 
not new. They had already been propounded by Mr. Badger, I.e., 
and especially by F. F. Bethune-Baker, Nestorius and his Teaching, 



30 NICHOLAS IV. 

Barsauma greatly strengthened his own school by 

receiving the fugitives into it. 1 
The rise of Now that we have seen Nestorianism well on the way 
Cathoiicus of to becoming the dominant form of Christianity in the 
ctesiphon East, we must retrace out steps a little in order to sketch 

the rise of the bishop who was to become its head. 

with special reference to the newly-recovered Apology of Nestorius, 
The Bazaar of Heraclides (French trans., ed. F. Nau, Paris, 1910), 
Cambridge, 1908. He tries to prove that " Nestorius was not 
Nestorian ", p. vii. In judging of the teaching of Nestorius we must 
never forget that, according to his contemporary the able lawyer and 
historian Socrates (H.E., vii, 32 and 4), he was grossly illiterate, and 
that he erred rather in his spoken than in his written words. He said : 
" I cannot call him God who was but two or three months old." Then 
it would appear that the three modern writers I have cited have never 
themselves fully grasped the Catholic doctrine that the human nature 
assumed by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity had never an 
existence except as united to the divine. From the first instant of its 
existence, " the humanity," to use the words of Socrates, " was 
united to the Divinity in the Saviour." Hence Mr. Badger himself 
quotes documents that show that the Nestorians are Nestorians. One 
of the Nestorian service books (Khamees), he says (ii, p. 39), proclaims 
that God the Son took " from us a nature and a person." Cf. ib., p. 393, 
where he quotes Mar Abd Yeshua, the Nestorian metropolitan of 
Nisibis (1298), as saying in his The Jewel : God " took to Himself a 
man for His habitation . . . and thus united an offspring of mortal 
nature to His Divinity in an everlasting and indissoluble union." 
Mr. Baker assures us (p. 197) that Nestorius had " one only end in 
view — that no one should call the Word of God a creature or the man- 
hood which was assumed incomplete " (the italics are ours), i.e., from 
the words of Nestorius, a manhood complete even as to its individuality 
or personality. Accordingly F. Nau, the translator of Le livre 
d'Heraclide, writes with justice (p. xii) "il a ete victime de l'imprecision 
de son langage theologique ". 

1 M.-Z., p. 147. John of Ephesus in his Life of Simeon the Bishop 
{Persian), ap. Lives of the Eastern Saints, ed. E. W. Brooks, Pat. 
Orient., t. xvii, p. 138 (Paris, 1923), says : " It is especially in that 
country that the teaching of the school of Theodore and Nestorius is 
very widespread, so that believing bishops (i.e., Monophysite) and their 
dioceses are few there." Then, on p. 139, he tells of the suppression 
of the Persian school of Edessa, and of the Persian students (" keen 
enquirers ") being established at Nisibis, " from which all the country 
drinks the dregs of gall." Cf. also Theodorus Lector, H.E., ii, n. 5, 
ap. P.G.L., t. 86, p. 186, etc., 49, p. 210. 



NICHOLAS IV. 31 

Some twenty miles below Baghdad stands the village 
of El-Mada'in (the two cities), marking the site of the 
double city of Seleucia-Ctesiphon on the right and left bank 
respectively of the Tigris. Ctesiphon rose in importance 
with the decay of Seleucia, which from its position was more 
exposed to the attacks of the Romans. Tacitus calls it 
" the seat of the Empire " (of Persia), and in the early 
days of the Persian Church it was a very large city. As 
Christianity entered Persia from the north, it will be 
readily understood that there were other bishoprics in 
Persia before that of " the two cities ". 1 To begin with, 
Seleucia-Ctesiphon was served by visiting bishops. 2 Its 
first permanent bishop was the ambitious Papa who was 
consecrated between the years 285 and 291, 3 and its rise 
to ecclesiastical supremacy followed the same course as 
that of Constantinople. It was natural that the other 
bishops of the Empire should find it convenient to 
transact their business in the capital with the government 
or others through the resident bishop. Very soon Papa 
began to arrogate to himself " supremacy over all the 
other bishops". 4 His ambition met with strenuous 
opposition, and so he appealed " to the bishops of the 
West " to support him. Thinking that, as there were 
patriarchs in the Roman Empire, it would be useful if 
there was a patriarch in the Persian Empire, the Western 
bishops acknowledged Papa as Patriarch (or Catholicus) 
of the East. Fear induced the Oriental bishops to submit, 
for they were afraid that the Western bishops would 
otherwise put them between the enmity of the Christian 

1 In fact Meshiha-Zeka (pp. 106-7) says that at the beginning of the 
Sassanid dynasty, when there were twenty bishoprics in Persia, there 
was not one either at Nisibis or at S.-C. 

2 Cf. ib., p. Ill, for the doings of Sahloupha (258-73), bishop of 
Adiabene, in S.-C. Cf. Acta Miles., in Evod. Assemanni, Acta Martyr. 
Orient., i, 72, or Bedjan, ii, p. 266 ff. 

3 M.-Z., p. 119. 

4 lb., p. 121. 



32 NICHOLAS IV. 

emperors of Rome, on the one hand, and " the perverse " 

emperors of Persia on the other. 1 Such is the succinct 

way in which the sixth century historian tells of the rise 

to ecclesiastical pre-eminence of the see of Seteucia- 

Ctesiphon. This story of Meshiha-Zeka is supported not 

merely by the later compilers, such as Maris, etc., 2 but 

substantially by the Council of Dad-Ishu (424). 3 

The bishop At any rate, the bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon did 

becomes the become the head of the Nestorians ; and as his power 

head of the over the other bishops increased, he and his Church, as they 

Nestorians. . 

became more and more isolated from the West, 4 became 
more dependent on the civil authority, more Erastian. 
Confining our evidence simply to the declarations of the 
Nestorian synods, we see the Nestorian bishops in 
a.d. 585 declaring that they held their sees " by the 
permission of God and the royal authority". 5 A little 
later (598) they call Chosroes II., it may be said perhaps 
with mere Oriental exaggeration of language, " their 
adorable master," 6 and they allow that " the King of 
Kings, the instrument of the great providential care of 
Our Saviour in their regard," ordered them to assemble to 
elect a patriarch. When, on the occasion referred to, 
they did not elect the man he wanted, he would not 
allow the election of a successor to their nominee ; and 
so the patriarchal see was vacant for twenty years. 7 
During that vacancy an assembly of bishops met in 612, 
at the bidding of Chosroes II., to hold a debate with 

1 lb., p. 123. 

2 Maris, p. 5 ; Amri, p. 4, and Bar-Hebraeus, ii, p. 26, though, as 
we saw above, these authors ascribe the action of the Western bishops 
to a supposed predecessor of Papa. 

3 Cf. supra, p. 25. 

4 After the synod of 424, there is no more mention of the Western 
bishops in the Synods of the East. 

5 Chabot, Synod. Orient., p. 292. 

6 lb., p. 470. 

7 lb., pp. 471-2, and 562. 



NICHOLAS IV. 33 

the Monophy sites. They offer the most fulsome praise to 
the man who was oppressing them, 1 and call on him to be 
the guardian of their faith, and to impose it on that part 
of the Roman Empire which he had subdued. 2 

But the Nestorians were not content with disputing 
with the Monophysites. They endeavoured to eliminate 
them. At any rate, the Monophysite historian, John of 
Ephesus, narrates that " on one occasion the Nestorian 
bishops of the chief cities met together to give informa- 
tion to the King of the Persians about the believers 
(Monophysites and perhaps Catholics too) in that country, 
saying : ' These men are traitors to your majesty, as it 
is in your power to learn, since their faith also and their 
rites agree with those of the Romans.' " These insinua- 
tions were successful, and the orthodox were persecuted 
till they could procure the intercession of the Emperor 
Anastasius (491-518). 3 

At the end of the twenty-years' vacancy just alluded 
to, the new Shah, Shoes, according to Elias of Nisibis, 
"ordered Ishu-Yahb II. of Gedala to be elected and 
constituted Catholicus ". 4 

But the Nestorians were soon to change their masters. Fall of the 
The followers of Mahomet had left their burning deserts Empire, 636. 
to spread his faith by the sword ; and the Persian Empire, 
now rotten to the core, went under almost at the first 
assault. The battle of Cadesia decided its fate (636). 
The Nestorians were to live and gradually pine away 
under Moslem rule to the present day. 

1 lb., p. 581. 

2 lb., p. 585. The Nestorians became even more subservient to their 
Moslem rulers. 

3 Cf. Lives of the Saints, ed. Brooks, ap. Bib. Orient., t. xvii, p. 143. 
Cf. p. 152. 

4 Cited in note 1, Vol. II, p. 114 of. Abbeloos' ed. of Bar-Hebraeus. 
Cf. Maris, p. 54. Thomas of Magia, Bk. of Govs., i, c. 35, says that 
S. "commanded the Christians to elect a patriarch, and I. was 
appointed." 

Vol. XVII. d 



34 NICHOLAS IV. 

Spread of But meanwhile glorious work was to be done by them. 

to the East. ne result no doubt of the Arab invasion was to turn the 
thoughts of many of them to the East in order to escape 
the invader. Christianity had, of course, been spreading 
eastwards to a greater or less extent for some time. 1 
This Eastern propagation of the faith had received a 
considerable impetus whilst the friendship lasted between 
the Emperor Maurice and the Shah Chosroes II. During 
that period, says Michael, the Syrian, " Christianity 
developed in all Persia. Churches were built in the 
cities and in the country districts even to the ends of 
the earth." 2 But no doubt the coming of the Arabs 
precipitated the missionary movement towards the far 
East, especially as, at first, the Christians were persecuted 
by the Moslems. It is true that, under the Abbassid 
Caliphate of Baghdad (750-1258), especially during the 
first and best period of its existence (750-847) when it 
was under Persian influence, Christianity was tolerated. 
Indeed, when the Caliph Mansur founded Baghdad on the 
Tigris, some twenty miles north of Seleucia-Ctesiphon 
(762), the Catholicus left the decaying capital of the 
destroyed Persian Empire, went to the new city, and 
with the Christian body generally became the instructor 
of his conqueror. This state of things was very distasteful 
to the rigid Moslem, and we find the author of the Siyasat- 
nania (Treatise on the Art of Government, a.d. 1091-2) 
complaining that, quite different to what was the custom 



1 The Syriac Chronicle of 569, known as that of Zachary of Mitylene, 
tells us (L. xii.c. 7, p. 329 ff., ed. Brooks) that some priests from Arran 
in Armenia went into Central Asia among the Huns, "in a country 
where there is no peace," and " made converts among the Huns . . 
and translated books (the Bible ?) into the Hunnic tongue," and that 
another priest " built a brick Church ". 

2 Chron., vol. ii, p. 374, ed. Chabot. Michael was the Jacobite 
patriarch of Antioch from 1166-99. Cf. Cosmas, Topog. Christ., 
p. 118 ff., ed. McCrindle. 



NICHOLAS IV. 35 

in the "days of Alp Arslan, Jews, Christians, Fire- 
worshippers are employed by the government ". 1 

There was a regular Christian quarter in Baghdad, 
known as Dar-ar-Rum, or House of the Greeks, 2 and the 
Eutychians and the Nestorians, especially the latter, had 
many churches and monasteries within and just without 
the city. 3 Of the various Christian sects, the Moslems 
had from the very first most favoured the Nestorians. The 
Dominican missionary traveller, Ricold of Monte-Croce, 
tells us that he had read in authentic Saracenic sources that 
the Nestorians were friends and allies of Mahomet who had 
ordered his successors to protect them. The reason for this 
friendship is also suggested by the brother when he notes 
that both the Nestorians and the Saracens say that Christ 
is by nature man and not God, whereas the Jacobites 
(Eutychians) hold that by nature he is God and not man. 4 
With all that, especially as time went on, the Christians 
were liable to heavier taxation and to more or less severe 
outbreaks of persecution. 5 We may therefore be sure 
that missionary zeal was helped by a wish to get clear of 
the Moslem. 

Though travel towards the far East was difficult to the 
last degree, there was communication between Persia 
and even China. Under the Sassanids some dozen 
missions penetrated to China between a.d. 455 and 555,° 
and later at Baghdad we know there was a market in that 
city where Chinese goods were exposed for sale. 7 With 
the caravans that made their painful way to China went 

1 Quoted by Browne, Lit. Hist, of Persia, ii, p. 214. 

2 Cf. Le Strange's valuable Bagdad during the Abbasid Caliphate, p. 
207. Cf. p. 202. 

3 lb., pp. 82-3, 208-9 ff. 

4 Voyage, pp. 315, 317, ed. De Backer. 

5 Cf. Browne, A Literary Hist, of Persia, vol. i, pp. 232-3, 343, and 
Muir, The Caliphate, pp. 521-2. 

6 Sykes, Hist, of Persia, i, 447. 

7 Le Strange, p. 197. 



36 NICHOLAS IV. 

Christian teachers, and the famous Si-ngan-fu inscrip- 
tion, erected there in 781, tells us that Nestorian teachers 
taught Christianity in China as early as 635. x The 
teachers, who from the seventh century onwards spread 
the faith eastwards, were mostly Nestorians. If we are 
to believe Michael, the Syrian, Chosroes II., on the 
murder of his friend the Emperor Maurice (602), made 
war not only on the Byzantine Empire but also on the 
supporters of the Council of Chalcedon, especially on the 
bishops. Hence " the memory of the Chalcedonians 
disappeared from the Euphrates to the East ". 2 In 
China, indeed, the Christians suffered so severely in the 
revolution of 877-8, 3 that by 938 it was said to have 
completely decayed there. 4 Still, about that very time 
(c. 940) an Arab traveller, Abu Dulaf Inis'ar, encountered 
Christians in various places betw T een Bokhara and 
China, 5 and the thirteenth and fourteenth century friar 
travellers and Marco Polo found Nestorians here and 
there all across Asia and in China. 

At the time of the greatest extension of the Nestorian 
Church in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 
previous to the devastations of Timur the Tartar, it 
is said to have had a hierarchy of some 250 bishops 
scattered over Mesopotamia, Persia, Khorasan (south-east 
of the Caspian Sea), Turkestan (north-west of Tibet), 
the Merv oasis, the island of Socotra (off Cape Gardafui 
at the entrance of the Gulf of Aden), Malabar (the west 
coast of the Madras presidency), Tartary, and China. 
They were immediately subject to some twenty-five 
metropolitans, and they in turn to the Catholicus of 



1 See Pauthier, L' inscription de Si-ngan-fon, with facsimile, Paris, 
1858, and infra under Nicholas IV. 

2 Chron., ii, pp. 380-1 ; Agapius, Hist., p. (199). 

3 Beazley, Dawn of Mod. Geog., i, 418, and infra. 

4 Le Strange, I.e., p. 213. 

5 Ap. Ferrand, Relations de Voyages, pp. 213, 218, Paris, 1913. 



NICHOLAS IV. 37 

Seleucia-Ctesiphon, or of Baghdad or wherever else he 
placed his see. 1 

If ever the Nestorian Catholicus had such a hierarchy 
under him, he would have had some grounds for conceiving 
a high opinion of his position. In any case, one at least 
of the Catholici had the very highest opinion of it. 
Timothy I. (1823), who appears to have constituted the 
first metropolitan for China, 2 put forth a claim to the 
first place among the five patriarchs in the Universal 
Church, on the ground that our Lord came from the East. 
" For if the first and chief place is assigned to Rome on 
account of the Apostle Peter, with how much more justice 
should it be assigned to Seleucia-Ctesiphon on account 
of the Lord of Peter." 3 

It is true that by the thirteenth century the Nestorians, 
especially in the Far East, were for the most part in a 
degraded state, for their centre in Persia had gone to 
ruin. Persecution and internal corruption had done their 
work. Even before the capture of Baghdad and the 
destruction of the Abbassid Caliphate by the Mongols in 
1258, we read that many of the Nestorian monasteries 
had fallen to ruin. 4 

Like every other eastern civilized community, the 
Nestorians everywhere suffered from the ravages of 



1 Cf. Yule, Cathay and the Way Thither, vol. iii, pp. 20-4, with map ; 
Fortescue, The Lesser Eastern Churches, pp. 97, 108. 

2 Cf. H. Labourt, De Timotheo I., pp. 45-8, Paris, 1904. The 
Catholicus, Theodosius (852-8), accordingly speaks of the Metropolitan 
of China. Cf. Assemanni, Bib. Orient., iii, pt. ii, p. 439. 

3 " Si enim Romae propter Petrum Ap. ordo primus et principalis 
servatur, quanto magis ergo Seleuciae et Ctesiphonti propter Dominum 
Petri." Ep. 26 Timoth., p. 101, ap. 55. Syri (S. ii), t. 67, 
Pat. Orient., ed. O. Braum, 1915, Rome. Fantastically, he argues 
that as there are five books of Moses and five of the Apostles (?), 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul, so there ought to be five 
patriarchal sees ! 

4 Le Strange, pp. 203, 211 ff. 



38 NICHOLAS IV. 

Zinghis Khan and his terrible Mongols. 1 But after 
Hulagu had taken Baghdad (1258), putting an end to 
the Abbassid Caliphate, and his successors had founded 
a Mongol Dynasty in Persia which was practically always 
independent of the Khakhan or Great Khan of the 
Mongols (1265-1337), the Christians in Persia had peace. 
Hulagu favoured them, and they everywhere helped 
him. 2 
The 11- The independence of the Ilkhans brought them 

Christian troubles. They found their match in the Moslem 
aid - Mameluke dynasty of Egypt, and they accordingly 

looked about for allies. The negotiations entered into 
by the early Khakhans with the Christians of the West, 
were, as we have seen, a sham. Zinghis Khan and his 
immediate successors had no thought of an alliance with 
any western ruler. They were bent simply on subduing 
them. But, with the Ilkhans of Persia, it was different, 
and the first of them, Abaga (1265-82), opened bona fide 
negotiations with the West. He had a Christian step- 
mother, and he was the husband of a Christian wife. 3 
He is even said to have been baptized. 4 In 1260 the 
Mameluke Sultan, Beibars, had checked the great rush 
of the Mongols at the decisive battle of Ain-Jalut. 
Impressed with the power of Egypt, 5 Abaga sought an 
alliance with the West, and his ambassadors appeared 

1 Cf. Bar-Hebraeus, Chron., iii, p. 406. 

2 Cf. Hist, de la Siounie, c. 66, p. 227, trad. Brosset, St. Petersburg, 
1866. It was written in 1297, by Bishop Stephannos Orbelian. Cf. 
Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Syriacum, i, pp. 567, 584, ed. Bruns and Kirsch ; 
and Makrizi, Hist, des Sultans Mamlouks, vol. i, p. 98, Paris, 1837. 

3 Maria, a natural daughter of Michael Palaeologus. His step- 
mother, Dokuz-Khatun, was the granddaughter of Ung Khan, 
the original Prester John. 

4 But, says the well-informed Venetian, M. Sanudo, " baptizari . . . 
renuit, et coluit idola." Secreta fidel., ap. Bongars, Gesta, ii, 238. 

5 All this is well brought out by Bro. Fidentius of Padua in his 
Liber recviperationis Terre Sancte, c. 85, ap. Golubovich, Biblioteca 
Francese, ii, p. 57. The book was written to the order of Gregory X. 



NICHOLAS IV. 39 

before Pope Clement IV. (1265-8). They brought with 
them a letter written, not as before in Latin, but in 
Mongol. He may have wished to make the Pope realize 
that the communication was genuine. As his previous 
communications had been in Latin, the papal curia 
could deal with them directly. But as it was, as Clement 
explained in writing to the " Elchan Apacha ", no one 
in the Pope's court could read the letter, and so its 
contents had to be explained by the Tartar envoy. 
Clement gathered from the interpreter, as we learn from 
his letter to the Ilkhan from which alone we know of these 
details, that Abaga was a Christian. Consequently, he 
congratulated him on that fact, and then proceeded to 
deal with the subject of the letter. He told the Mongol 
ruler that a great host of Christians was preparing to 
conquer the Holy Land, and that, as the Khan had 
expressed his intention of helping the Latins, he assured 
him that he would let him know their precise plans as 
soon as the Christian leaders had formed them, and had 
communicated them to him. 1 

Whether or not on the advice of the Pope, the Tartar James of 
embassy visited the warlike James I. of Aragon, who was 1 267-9.' 
only prevented by a storm from joining forces with the 
Khan. 2 



1 Ep. Aug. 13-16, 1267, ap. Martene, Thes. nov., ii, n. 520, p. 517, 
or Raynaldus, an. 1267, n. 70. Cf. Sanudo, Hist. HierosoL, 1. iii, pt. 13, 
c. 8. The letter received by Clement will have been like those recently 
found in the Vatican library from Arghun. See p. 42. 

2 See his Chronicle, pp. 433-56, ed. Gayangos ; Makrizi, Hist, des 
Sultans Mamlouks, vol. i, pt. ii, pp. 77, 101, and vol. ii, pt. ii, pp. 128-9, 
and Nowa'iri, Vie de Bibars, f. 82 r., cited ib. by Quatremere. Cf. Swift, 
James of Aragon, pp. 116-19, and, on all this subject, the well-known 
essay of A. Remusat, " Les relations des Princes Chretiens avec les 
Mongols," ap. Mem. de I'Academie des Inscriptions, vol. vii, 1824, 
p. 335 ff. This is the second memoir and deals with Persia ; the first 
is in vol. vi, 1822, and deals with Zinghis Khan and the united Mongol 
Empire. 



40 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Another 
embassy, 
1274. 



The 

Vassalli, 

1276. 



Encouraged by the bona fide effort made by the old 
warrior of Aragon, another Tartar embassy from Abaga 
appeared, as we have seen, at the Council of Lyons. 
Some of the Tartars received baptism, and our King 
Edward addressed a fairly hopeful letter " to the excellent 
and powerful lord, Abaga-Chaan, Prince of the nation 
of the Moals (Mogalorum) ", in which he said that, as 
soon as the Pope had fixed the date for the expedition 
to the Holy Land, which he hoped would be soon, he 
would at once inform the Khan. 1 

To convince the Princes how much he was in earnest 
the ruler of Persia sent another embassy to Europe. 
This time its chiefs were two Georgian Christians, John 
and James Vassalli. They presented themselves before 
Pope John XXI. at Viterbo (Nov., 1276), and explained 
to him the wish of their master for an alliance with the 
Christians. Thence they wrote to various Christian 
princes telling them how well they had been received by 
the Pope and Charles of Anjou, and telling them that 
they hoped to visit them soon. 2 The envoys, however, 
were robbed by one of their servants, 3 and could get 
nothing but vague promises, although they visited 
several of the European princes. 4 In any case, Pope 
John did not live long enough to help them. But they 
fared better at the hands of the great Pope Nicholas III. 
He sent off to Abaga, at a cost of about a thousand pounds 



1 Ep. Jan. 26, 1275, ap. Rymer, ii, p. 43. 

2 Cf. their letter to King Edward. They called themselves " messages 
dou puissant Abaga, roi des Tatars ". They told Edw. that besides 
letters for the Pope, they had letters for him. There appears to have 
been a Nestorian in their suite. Cf. their interesting letter to Edward, 
n. 3 among " Lettres inedits concernant les Croisades ", by Kohler 
and Langlois, p. 56, ap. Bib. de Vecole des Chartes, 1891. 

3 M. Riccio, II regno di Carlo I., an. 1277, p. 7. 

4 Will, of Nangis, an. 1277, and Chron. S. Denis, t. v, p. 55, ed. G. 
Paris. They even went to Eric of Norway. Cf. the Annals of Iceland, 
an. 1286, ap. M. G. SS., xxix, p. 264. 



NICHOLAS IV. 4 1 

(Turonenses), 1 brother Gerard of Prato, and five or six 
other Franciscans who had been selected by his prede- 
cessor. With Gerard our gossiping chronicler, Salimbene, 
had lived when they were young men together in the friary 
at Pisa, and with him he talked much about his mission 
on his return. 2 The missionaries were bearers of letters 
from Nicholas not only " to the excellent and magnificent 
Prince, illustrious King of the Eastern Tartars," 3 but 
also to Kublai, whom the Pope calls " Quobley, Great 
Khan, Emperor and Governor (moderator) of all the 
Tartars ". 4 Abaga was praised for his goodwill towards 
the Christians in his dominions, and for his promise to 
help the Crusaders when they reached Palestine ; and 
he was asked to send on the envoys in due course to his 
uncle Kublai, who is said to have been baptized, and had 
expressed a desire to have missionaries to instruct his 
people in the Christian faith. With regard to the military 
expedition, the Pope said he would make all arrangements 
when the proper time came. 

Though, in his letter to Kublai, Nicholas told him that Deaths 
he was sending to him Gerard of Prato and others, it h\s a fo n and 
does not appear that they ever made their way to China. 5 ^£™^> 
Abaga had meanwhile suffered another great defeat at 
Abulustayn at the hands of the Mamelukes (1277), and was 
to suffer another at Hims (1281). These military disasters, 
civil wars, and heavy drinking did not leave Abaga much 
time to treat with the Franciscans. He died of delirium 
tremens in 1282. 6 His successor, who had been baptized 

1 Cf. Reg. Nich. IV., n. 7244, ed. Langlois. 

2 Chron., p. 210. 

3 Reg., n. 232, March 31, 1278. 

4 lb., n. 233, Apr. 4, 1278. 

5 The missionaries themselves were furnished with letters of recom- 
mendation to various Princes, and with special faculties to simplify 
their work. lb., nn. 234-8. 

6 Sykes, A Hist, of Persia, ii, pp. 102-3. Browne, Persian Literature, 
iii, p. 24. Still we know from an interesting letter to Edward I. from 



of 



4 2 NICHOLAS IV. 

with the name of Nicholas, no doubt in the Pope's 

honour, apostatized and became a Moslem. He at once 

began to persecute the Christians, and several Franciscans 

received the crown of martyrdom during his brief reign 

(1282-4). 1 Ahmad Takiidar (or Nikudar), as he called 

himself, was succeeded by his nephew Arghun, who 

straightway reopened negotiations with the Popes and 

the West, and with the Christian kings of Armenia and 

Georgia, and began to rebuild the churches destroyed 

by the Apostate. 2 Of all the Mongol rulers of Persia, he 

seems the most familiar to us, as facsimiles of his letters 

Arghun's have recently been found in the Vatican library. 3 On 

embassy to May 18, 1285, he addressed a letter to his holy father 

!285 WeSt ' " the lord Po P e " which has come down to us in an almost 

unintelligible Latin translation. 4 The Ilkhan began by 

pointing out the goodwill which the Mongols had always 

shown towards the Pope and the King of the Franks from 

the days of Zinghis Khan himself, and by emphasizing 

the fact that they had exempted the Christians in their 

Nicole le Lorgne, Grand-master of the Hospitallers, that " la paienisme 
(Islam) est mot affeblie par ceste venue des Tartas ". Nicole wrote to 
our King " porce que vos estes le prince de crestiente qui plus aves 
a cuer le fait de la terre sainte ". Ep. of March 5, 1282, ap. Bib. de 
I'ecole des Charles, 1891, p. 59 ff. 

1 Orbelian, H. de la Siounie, c. 66, p. 238 ; Makrizi, Hist, des Sultans 
Mamlouks, vol. ii, pt. i, p. 57, ed. Ouatremere. Cf. Mariano, Com- 
pendium Chronicantm, pp. 49-50. Mariano's (f 1523) chronicle was 
printed for the first time at Quaracchi in 191 1. Cf. Haiton or Hetoun, 
Fleur des Hists., p. 196, ed. de Backer. 

2 Haiton, ib., p. 198 ; Mem. Potest. Reg., ap. R. I. SS., viii, p. 1158 ; 
Orbelian, p. 238. 

3 Cf. P. Pelliot, Les Mongols et la Papaute, ap. Revue de V Orient Chret., 
nn. 1 and 2, 1922-3, p. 1 ff. Remusat, I.e., had already published 
a copy of his letter to Philip le Bel in 1289. 

4 It has been printed by Raynaldus, Annal., 1285, n. 79 ; Reg., 
n. 489 ; Remusat, I.e., p. 426, etc. We shall follow Remusat's interpre- 
tation of this letter (p. 356 ff.), as modified by Chabot in his Hist, du 
pair. Mar Jabalaha III., p. 191 ff., Paris, 1895. His chief modification 
is the substitution of Syria for Egypt as the point of attack. Speaking 
generally, Chabot must now be followed instead of Remusat. 



NICHOLAS IV. 43 

dominions from the payment of tribute. His grand- 
father, Hulagu, had favoured the Christians, as had also 
his worthy father Abaga. When he had received the 
investiture of his kingdom from the Khakhan, he had 
decided to send envoys and presents to the Pope. A long 
interval had passed since the last embassy from Persia, 
but that was due to the fact that Ahmad had apostatized 
and become a Moslem. He proposed an attack on Syria, 
and asked for reliable information as to the place where 
the two armies could meet. " Between us we will 
annihilate the Saracens." As nothing more is known in 
connection with this tantalizing letter, 1 we may perhaps 
suppose that the envoys who brought it 2 arrived during 
the vacancy of the Holy See after the death of 
Honorius IV. (1287), and that, because it was dated 
1285, it was inserted on a spare page at the end of the 
curial letters of his first year. 

At any rate, it is certain that an embassy from Arghun ^^ of 
did arrive in Rome (July, 1287) during the vacancy of Arghun, 
the Holy See. Of this embassy we know much, as, among 1287 " 8 - 
other documents, we possess the most interesting journal 
of its leader, Rabban Sauma. 3 He was a Nestorian 
Uigur (Turk), born at Pekin, a great traveller, and a 

1 Prou in his Introduc. to his ed. of the Reg. of Hon. IV. has also 
given a trans, of this letter, p. lxix. 

2 Ise, the interpreter, Bogagoc, Mengilic, Thomas Banchurius, and 
Ougueto. The last two are supposed to be the Thomas de Anfusis 
and Uguetus of Nicholas IV., Apr. 2, 1288, in his letter to Arghun. 

3 In the Histoire de Mar Jabalaha III. (Catholicus of the Nestorians, 
1281-1317), translated from the Syriac of a Nestorian monk who wrote 
soon after the death of Jabalaha (t 1317), by J. B. Chabot, Paris, 1895. 
This important biography greatly supplements the documents known 
to Remusat. Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Syriacum, vol. i, p. 627, notes 
that Arghun often received Prankish envoys from the Roman Pope 
and other kings about an alliance against the Egyptians, and that 
he in turn sent " our master Barsuma the Uigur " (Iguraeus) to the Pope 
with whom he made a treaty to attack and destroy Islam. (Ed. Bruns 
and Kirsch, Leipzig, 1789.) 



44 



NICHOLAS IV. 



The 

embassy- 
received by 
the 
Cardinals. 



friend of the Catholicus, Mar Jabalaha III., with whom, 
when he was the simple monk Marcos, he had made his 
pilgrimage from Pekin to Persia. In the papal letters, 
i.e., in the Register of Nicholas IV., this Rabban (monk) 
Bar Sauma generally appears as Bersauma. 

The biographer of the Catholicus, in his naive manner, 
assures us that Arghun " loved the Christians with his 
whole love ", and wished to get possession of Palestine 
and Syria. But, said he, this I cannot do unless I get 
the help of the Christians. He accordingly asked the 
Catholicus to find him a suitable man whom he could 
send to the various kings of the West. Mar Jabalaha 
at once named the Rabban, Sauma. Furnished with 
letters and presents for the Pope from the Catholicus, 
and with letters and presents for the kings of the Greeks 
and the Franks from the Khan, the worthy monk set 
out on his arduous journey from Persia. There accom- 
panied him " honourable men, among whom were priests 
and deacons ". 1 

Travelling by Constantinople and Naples, he reached 
Rome in July, 1287, when the Holy See was vacant. 
" After the death of my lord the Pope," says the charming 
narrative we are following, " twelve men administer the 
see who are called Kardinale." 2 Now at the beginning 
of the year 1287 there were fourteen cardinals. Godfrey 
of Alatri died June 11, 1287, and we know that four 
others died sometime during the course of the year. 
If then we suppose that they died after July, and that 
John Buccamatius had not returned from Germany, 3 
there would have been just twelve cardinals to meet 
Bar Sauma. The monk and his party had been told 
that, on entering the audience chamber, they would 
find an altar which they must venerate before saluting 
the cardinals. "This they did, and that pleased the 



1 Hist, de Mar J., c. 7. 



lb., p. 62. 



lb., p 83. 



NICHOLAS IV. 45 

cardinals." None of them, we are told, rose when the 
envoys entered, " for it was not the custom of these 
twelve, on account of the dignity of this See." x In 
answer to a series of questions by different cardinals, Bar 
Sauma explained that they were envoys of the Mongol 
Khan and the Catholicus, that they had first received 
their Christianity from the Apostle Thomas, that there 
were many Christians among the Mongols, 2 and that 
their sovereign had sent them to get the help of the West 
to enable him to take Jerusalem. Asked about their 
faith, they professed regarding the Incarnation what was 
sheer Nestorianism, 3 but the cardinals do not appear to 
have observed this, and concentrated their queries on 
the Procession of the Holy Ghost. The envoys expressed 
the Greek view ; but, when pressed, said they had come 
not to dispute about articles of faith, but to venerate the 
lord Pope and the relics of the Saints, and to set forth 
the wishes of their master. 

The cardinals, accordingly, bade "the governor °f^[ ts S p^ 
the city" show them the holy places. 4 Then, as the le Bel and 
cardinals said they could not give them a definite answer war 
before the election of the Pope, the envoys went off, 
crossed the Alps, and interviewed Philip le Bel in Paris, 
and King Edward in Gascony. 5 Both kings received the 
envoys favourably, especially our own, who told them 
that he had taken the Cross, that his heart was set on a 



1 lb., p. 63. 

2 Cf. Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Syriacum, vol. i, p. 575. 

3 lb., p. 65. 

4 Our narrative has interesting things to say about them, p. 68 f. 

5 Ed. was in Gascony from the close of 1286 to June, 1289. He did 
not get back to England till Aug. 12. Cf. Gough, Itinerary of Ed. I., 
vol. ii, p. 27 ff. The continuator of Florence of Worcester, ad an. 
1287, tells us that Ed. received a solemn embassy from the Khan of 
the Tartars while he was in Gascony, and that the object of the embassy 
was to renew the alliance between the two rulers. F. of W., ed. Eng. 
Hist. Soc. 



46 NICHOLAS IV. 

Crusade, and that he was delighted to find that Arghun's 

ideas on this matter were the same as his. 

Sauma The Rabban, whose personality seems to have charmed 

Cardinal J. everyone, was back in Genoa about December and there 

Buccamatius passed the winter. 1 There, too, on his way back from 

Germany to Rome, Sauma met the cardinal of Tusculum 

(Frascati), whom he styles " the periodeutes (visiting 

priest, TreptoSevrrj?) of the lord Pope ". To him he 

complained that whilst those whose hearts were harder 

than rocks (the Saracens) wished to hold Jerusalem, those 

to whom it belonged troubled not themselves about it. 2 

Promising to make known his position to the new Pope, 

and meanwhile to try to forward his election, the cardinal 

hurried on to Rome. He fulfilled his promises, and 

immediately after the election of Nicholas IV. (Feb. 22, 

1288), Sauma was summoned to Rome. 3 

Sauma back The new Pope, who knew not a little of the East from 

1288. G ' ms visit to Constantinople, received the Mongol envoy 

most kindly. He not only gave him permission to say 

Mass, but on Palm Sunday himself gave Communion to 

the Rabban. 4 With amazement the good monk saw 

" thousands and thousands of people " receive branches 

of olive from the Pope, who then, in vestments of purple 

embroidered with gold, precious stones, and pearls, 

preached to the people. One would gladly quote the 

whole of the Rabban's simple description of the ceremonies 

of Holy Week as he saw them performed by the Pope, 

but we must be content to add that he estimated the 

numbers of those who dined with the Pope on Holy 

Thursday at two thousand, and several times records 

the Pope's preaching to the people. 

Sauma On his first arrival, the Rabban had presented to the 

Persia with Pope the letters and presents from Arghun and from the 

letters, etc., 

Apr., 1288. 1 The narrative, p. 83. 2 lb., p. 84. 3 lb. 

4 lb., p. 86 f. Evidently the Pope knew nothing of the Nestorianism 
of Sauma. 



NICHOLAS IV. 47 

Catholicus. 1 After Low Sunday he asked the Pope's 
permission to return to Persia. This was granted, and 
Nicholas in turn gave the envoy letters and presents 
for the Khan and for Mar Jabalaha. To the Catholicus 
he sent his own tiara, sacred vestments in precious 
materials, including even the liturgical buskins adorned 
with seed pearls, and the ring from his finger. Then for 
the expenses of his journey he gave the Rabban fifteen 
hundred gold pieces. 2 Further, according to the Rabban, 
Nicholas gave him for Mar Jabalaha a patent letter 
granting him patriarchal authority over all the Orientals. 3 
But in the Register of Nicholas there is no such 
letter. It may be that that particular letter was not 
registered, or it may be that the monk misunderstood 
the extant letter to the Catholicus, or even possibly, 
though we trust and believe not probably, it may be an 
invention of the Rabban, on the lines of previous Nestorian 
fabrications, setting forth that the Catholicus had received 
his power from " the Western fathers ". 

Unfortunately the letters of Arghun and the Catholicus 
to the Pope are not forthcoming, and so we are left to 
conjecture their purport from the replies of Nicholas. 

To judge from the Pope's answer to Mar Jabalaha, Letter of 
and from his admitting his envoy to communion, it the 
would appear that both of them had declared that, if Catholicus. 
their faith was not that of the Pope, it was due to the 
fact that, owing to the distance of their country from 
Rome, they did not know the faith of the Pope, but that 
they acknowledged his faith to be the true one. 4 

1 lb., p. 85. 

2 P. 92. The monk was also given a number of relics, just because 
he had come from such distant lands. 

3 lb. 

4 Nicholas notes that the Catholicus and his people " a Romana 
ecclesia . . . longo maris terraque spatio sunt remoti ". Ep. Apr. 7, 
1288, ap. Chabot, Hist, de M. J., p. 195 ff. Chabot at the end of his 
ed. of the story of Mar J. gives a very valuable Appendix completing 
Remusat's essay on the Popes and the Mongol rulers of Persia. 



48 NICHOLAS IV. 

(Submission This conjecture is confirmed by the orthodox profession 
Mar of faith and act of submission to the Roman Church 

jabaiaha.) which, by the hands of the Dominican, brother James, 
the Catholicus sent to Pope Benedict XI. (May 18, 1304). 1 
That Mar Jabaiaha did make this act of submission, 
which, however, was only personal, is confirmed by the 
narrative of the Dominican missionary, Ricold of Monte- 
Croce. He visited Baghdad during the reign of Arghun 
(1290), 2 and says that the Patriarch (at that time Mar 
Jabaiaha) declared he was not a Nestorian. Although 
brother Ricold believed that the Catholicus was not 
speaking the truth, his assertion greatly shocked his 
fellow bishops, who, nevertheless, after discussion, told 
the Dominican that they believed his doctrine was the 
true one, but that they themselves dared not profess it. 3 
Besides, as early as 1255, some Nestorians had told 
William of Rubruck that they believed " that the Roman 
Church was the head of all the Churches, and that they 
would receive their patriarch from the Pope, if the roads 
were open ", 4 

Nicholas began his letter to the Catholicus by thanking 
him for his kindness to the Franciscan missionaries in 
his country, and then informed him that, as his people 
were, on the one hand, far away from Rome, and, on the 
other, were, as he had been assured, desirous of professing 
" the pure faith which the Roman Church held and 
preserved ", he sent him a profession of faith. In con- 
clusion, he begged the Catholicus to instruct his people 
in accordance with that formula. Seeing that the 

1 It is given in full, ib., p. 249 ff. 

2 lb., pp. 85 and 258. 

3 lb., p. 85 f., where the original text (ed. Laurent, pp. 130-1) is 
quoted. We cite here the old French version (ed. de Backer, pp. 322-4) : 
" Nous savons . . . que la verite de la foy est tout ainsi comme vous 
le preschies, mes pour certain nous ne l'oseriemes point publiquement 
ne appertement dire a nous aultres nestorius." 

4 The Journey of W. of R., p. 213, ed. Rockhill, Hakluyt Soc, 1900. 



NICHOLAS IV. 49 

profession of faith which Nicholas forwarded to the 
Catholicus was the same as that forwarded by Clement IV. 
to Michael Palaeologus, he evidently supposed that the 
Christians of Persia had the same faith as the Byzantines. 
Nothing is said in it about Nestorianism. 

The other letters entrusted to Bar Sauma by Nicholas Letters to 
were just as little political as that to the Catholicus. ^fs. 1 " 1 ' 
In two letters addressed (Apr. 2, 1288) to Arghun, after 
explaining to him the doctrine of the Incarnation, and the 
position of the Pope in the Church, he exhorted him to 
get baptized at once, and not wait till he had captured 
Jerusalem. Indeed, his baptism would, by God's help, 
forward the liberation of the Holy City. 1 

From the journal of the Rabban it would appear that 5 etu ™ of 

J , , Bar Sauma, 

he must have carried back either other letters from the 1288. 
Pope or at least verbal messages, for it is there stated 
that " the lord Pope and all the Kings of the Franks " 
received the Ilkhan's propositions most favourably. 2 
But, although Arghun showed his gratitude to the aged 
monk for the fatigues which he had undergone in his 
service by erecting for him at the entrance of his residence 
a chapel to contain the ornaments given him by the 
Pope, 3 he was not satisfied with the result of the embassy. 

1 These letters are quoted in full, ap. Chabot, ib., p. 200 ff., and also 
one to Bar Sauma with a profession of faith, one to a member of the 
embassy named Sabadin Archaon (i.e., in Mongol, the Christian), 
one " to the interpreters of the king of the Tartars ", one to the 
Franciscans " among the Tartars ", one to the Mongol princess Tuctan 
or Nukdan-Khatun, and to a bishop Dionysius of Tauriz. See also 
Wadding, Annates, v, p. 170 ff., and Mosheim, Hist. Tartar, eccles., 
p. 86 ff. 

2 P. 93. 

3 It would have been a tent of felt close to the great tent of the 
Ilkhan. Ib., pp. 93-4. Cf. Hist, de la Sionnie, by Stephen Orbelian, 
who was consecrated bishop of that province in 1285, and who tells 
us that " the chapel " had been given by " the great Pope of Rome ". 
Trad. Brosset, p. 265, St. Petersburg, 1866. The bishop, writing in 
1297, says that he went " to the master of the world " . . . "He 

Vol. XVII. E 



50 NICHOLAS IV. 

He wanted something more definite than the vague 
promises which he had received, and so dispatched a 
third embassy to Europe. This time he put a Western 
at the head of his mission, a Genoese whom Pope Nicholas 
calls " Biscarellus de Gisulfo, a citizen of Genoa ". 1 
Third Leaving Persia in the second half of April, 1289, 

embassy of . , 

Arghun, Buscarel reached Rome m the autumn of the same year, 
1289-90. passing, but not meeting, an embassy of Franciscans, 
headed by the famous John of Monte Corvino, which 
Nicholas had dispatched to Arghun and the East. The 
mission of Buscarel was distinctly political. It was to 
assure the Pope that, in accordance with his desire, the 
Persian monarch was ready to join the Crusaders in their 
attempt to free the Holy Land, and to make known to 
the kings of the West his plan of campaign. Nicholas 
at once sent the envoy on to Edward, and exhorted our 
King to pay special attention to what he had to say. 2 
On his way to England, Buscarel delivered from his 
master to Philip of France the very letter which is still 
to be seen in the national archives of France. 3 This letter 
is one of the most remarkable documents in existence. 
It is written on a cotton roll about six and a half feet long 
by some ten inches wide, in the Mongol language, and in 
Uigur characters, and bears on it in red ink a seal, thrice 
impressed, some five and a half inches square in Chinese 
characters. 4 " By the power of the eternal God," opens 

ordered us to remain to bless in his palace a chapel which the great 
Pope of Rome had sent him." 

1 Ep. Sept. 30, 1289, ap. Rymer, ii, p. 429. In the letter which 
Arghun sent to Philip the Fair, of which the original is preserved in 
Paris, the envoy's name appears as Mouskril. lb., pp. 212 and 226. 

2 Ep. just cited. 

3 J. 937. 

4 In connection with these seals we may note that William of 
Rubruck in his Voyage, c. 39, says that in a single figure each composite 
letter expresses a word. The letter is beautifully reproduced in Prince 
Roland Bonaparte's Documents de I'epoque Mongole, Paris, J 895, 
plate xiv, n. 1 ; cf. also a reproduction at the end of Remusat's essay. 



NICHOLAS IV. 



the letter. Then, stating that he acted under the 
auspices of the Khakhan and that he had by Mar Bar 
Sauma received the message of the King, Arghun pro- 
ceeded to unfold his plan of campaign. It was to attack 
Damascus in the February of the year 1290, and he 
undertook, if the King kept his word and sent troops, and 
if they took Jerusalem, to hand it over to him. The 
letter concluded with a request for envoys who spoke 
various languages, and for presents. " Our letter is 
written on the sixth day of the first month of the summer 
of the year of the ox (April-May, 1289)." * This letter 
was accompanied by diplomatic instructions in old French. 
If the King of France were to come in person, Arghun 
would bring with him two Christian Kings of Georgia, 
would supply the horses and provisions, etc. 2 

What result Buscarel had with Philip the Fair is not 
known ; but we know something of his reception by 
King Edward. He arrived in London on Jan. 5, 1290, 3 
and appeared before the King and Parliament (Jan. 30). 4 
On behalf of the Ilkhan, Buscarel promised that the 
Mongols would attack " the pagans " in the Holy Land, 
if the King of England would co-operate in person. 
This Edward promised to do in two and a half years, 
i.e., on the feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24), 1292 5 ; 
and, as he said in his extant letter to Arghun, he would 
inform him of the exact date of his coming as soon as 



1 Ap. Chabot, I.e., p. 221 ff. 

2 lb., p. 229. 

3 Cf. T. H. Turner, " Unpublished Notices of the time of Edward I." 
in the Archceological Journal, vol. iii, 1851, p. 45 ff. 

4 Cf. Annals of Worcester, ap. Annal. Monast., iv, p. 499, R. S. This 
fact has escaped the notice of Chabot. The Annals state that the 
King held a parliament in London " after Christmas " (this we know 
was held on Jan. 30), and that Tartar envoys presented themselves 
at it. 

5 As a consequence, the Pope gave him the tenth not only of the 
three years already collected, but of the three years to be collected. lb. 



52 NICHOLAS IV. 

he could obtain the consent " of our most holy father in 
Christ, the supreme pontiff of the Holy Roman Church "} 
It was not the consent of Nicholas that proved to be 
wanting ; but it was Edward's ambition that took him 
to Scotland instead of to the Holy Land. However, at 
this time, Edward was in earnest about undertaking an 
expedition to the Holy Land ; and in the course of this 
year (1290) he dispatched to Acre with large sums of 
money one of his advisers, Otho de Grandison, " to 
prepare the way before his face ". 2 Edward believed, 
too, in the importance of the Tartar alliance, because 
when he was in Palestine, he had himself contrived to 
secure Tartar assistance against the Moslem. 3 
Baptism of Meanwhile Arghun had caused his third son, Kharbenda, 

Arghun s son ° 

and dispatch who afterwards became the Ilkhan, Oljai'tu, to be 
missioners baptized under the name of Nicholas (Aug., 1289). 4 
by the Pope. Meanwhile, too, a little earlier, Pope Nicholas had 
dispatched to Arghun, 5 to other civil and ecclesiastical 
potentates in the East, and to the Khakhan himself, 6 
a number of Franciscans who had already had many 
years' experience of missionary work in the East. The 
head of this important mission was the famous John of 
Monte Corvino of whom we shall speak at length in 
connection with the work of Nicholas for the spread of 

1 See his letter in Chabot, I.e., pp. 234-5, taken from Turner, who 
printed it from the Tower records : Close Rolls, 18 Edw. I., m. 6 
dorso. 

2 Walter of Hemingburgh, Chron., vol. ii, p. 24. " Habuit enim in 
proposito rex in terram sanctam proficisci." To save the money, 
Otho fled to Cyprus during the last siege of Acre, and gave occasion 
for the Chronicler to sneer at him. Despite his name, he made but a 
" little sound " amid the clash of arms. 

3 Cf. Marino Sanudo, Secreta fidel., ap. Bongars, ii, p. 224. 

4 Hist, of M. Jab., p. 95. Cf. Stephen Orbelian, Hist, de la Siounie, 
trad. Brosset, p. 265, who says the baptism was given by a bishop 

ent from Rome. 

5 Ep. of July 15, 1289, ap. Reg. Nich. IV., n. 2240. 

6 Kublai whom he calls Cobla. See his letters, ib., nn. 2218-44. 



NICHOLAS IV. 53 

Christianity in China. Meanwhile we will but note that 
in his letter to Arghun (July 15, 1289) the Pope thanked 
him for the goodwill, which, according to the report of 
Friar John, he entertained towards the Church of Rome 
and the other Christian Churches, and for the kindness 
which he had already displayed towards John himself 
and his companions. Again, as he observed he had 
already done before through " Roban Barsamma, bishop 
in the Eastern parts ", he earnestly exhorted the Mongol 
monarch not to put off his baptism, or the acceptance of 
the true faith which is the light of our lives. 1 

Among the many letters carried by Friar John, was 
another to the Catholicus Mar Jabalaha " to whom " the 
Pope said that it was reported " that a great multitude 
of people was subject ". Nicholas exhorted him without 
further delay to hearken to the Vicar of Christ, and 
embrace " that faith which the Roman Church holds 
and preserves intact ". 2 

Encouraged no doubt by the more or less definite Fourth 
promise of co-operation which he had received from Arghun 3 !' ° 
King Edward, but much alarmed by the warlike activities 1290-1. 
of the cruel Mameluke Sultan, Khalil (1290-3), Arghun, 
immediately on the return of Buscarel, 3 dispatched 
another more important embassy to the Pope and to the 
kings of the Franks. 4 

The head of the mission was a Mongol of position named 
Chagan or Zagan, who with his nephew was baptized 
on his arrival at the papal court. He was accompanied 
by Buscarel. Nicholas immediately hurried the envoys 

1 Ep. ap. Chabot, p. 214 f., or ap. Wadding or Mosheim as before. 

2 Ep. ap. ib., p. 218 f. " Suademus, quatenus ad observandam 
fidem Catholicam quam tenet et servat romana ecclesia inconcusse, 
ac etiam ad ipsius ecclesie unionem sublato cujuslibet tarditatis 
obstaculo . . . promptus advenias." 

3 It is calculated that at this period the journey between Persia 
and France took about four months. 

4 Though only our King's name is mentioned. 



54 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Acre, 1291. 



on to Edward, and begged him to take earnest note of 
the propositions which they were to put before him, and 
to transact business with them as quickly as possible. 
At the same time he informed Edward that, on his own 
account, he proposed to send a special envoy to the 
Ilkhan with his returning embassy. 1 
The fan of Unfortunately we do not know exactly how the Mongols 
fared when they left the Pope, 2 nor do we even know when 
they returned to Persia. But, in the first half of the 
year following their arrival, an event happened which 
was naturally calculated to help their cause. On May 18, 
1291, Acre, the last important stronghold held by the 
Christians in Palestine, fell into the hands of the Mameluke 
Sultan, Khalil-Aseraf. Knowing that the Mongols were 
making every effort to effect an alliance with " the 
Franks ", 3 and realizing that such an alliance would be 
their ruin, the Mameluke sultans strove with the greatest 
energy to make the alliance impossible. They threw 
themselves on the Christian remnant in Palestine, and 
wiped it out of existence. News of this disaster roused 
the greatest grief, say our old chroniclers, in all who were 
zealous for the Christian name— a grief more distressing 
" than the lamentations of Jeremias the prophet ". 
He only bewailed the fall of Jerusalem, a refuge but for 
proselytes and Jews. But Acre was a bulwark for all 
who professed the faith of Christ, and went to Palestine 
to avenge the injuries inflicted on their Redeemer, who 

1 Epp. of Dec. 2 and 31, 1290, to Edward, ap. Chabot, p. 236 f., 
or Rymer, ii, p. 498. 

2 From Everislen, who continued Florence of Worcester, it appears 
that the envoys at least met Edward, as he says that in 1291 envoys 
came from the great Khan to the Pope and to the Kings of France 
and England in connection with his accepting the Christian faith, 
and his granting help for the succour of the Holy Land. 

3 Bro. Fidentius of Padua, in his treatise, De recuperatione Terns S., 
c. 85 (written c. 1266-91), shows why the Tartars of Persia wanted 
an alliance with the Franks. Ap. Golubovich, Bib. Francesc, ii, p. 57. 



NICHOLAS IV. 55 

had watered with his blood the land of promise which 
by hereditary right belonged to the sons who bore 
his name. 1 

News of the fall of Acre seems to have reached the Pope Nicholas 
about the beginning of August. From the very beginning * "J e es 
of his short pontificate, he had urged the Christian Christendom, 
princes to make an effort to save the remnant of the 
Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. 2 He had redoubled his 
efforts when the redoubtable Mameluke sovereign, 
Kilawun, proclaimed a Holy War against Acre (1289), 
and after Hospitallers and Templars had come to Europe 
to tell him of the terrible massacres that Kilawun had 
perpetrated, and to beg assistance. 3 Not content with 
ordering a Crusade to be preached, 4 the Pope had com- 
missioned the Venetians to equip and dispatch twenty 
galleys at his expense to the East immediately, 5 and he 
had implored Philip le Bel to undertake to guard the 
Holy Land till the general expedition could be got ready 
(Dec. 5, 1290). 6 Then, on the receipt of King Edward's 
assurance that he would accept the date to be fixed by 
him for the departure of the Crusade, Nicholas had fixed 
it (March 16, 1291) for the feast of St. John the Baptist, 

1 Florcs Hist., iii, 74. Cf. Les Grandes Chron. de France, torn, v, 
p. 99, ed. Paris. 

2 Cf. e.g., Ep. Oct. 1, 1288, to the King of Cyprus, ap. Raynaldus, 
Ann., 1288, n. 39. He points out what an irreparable loss it would be : 
" si, quod absit, Terrae memoratae particula, quae Christianis 
remansisse dignoscitur, occuparetur ab hostibus Crucifixi." 

3 See the letter of Nicholas to King Edward (Aug. 13, 1289), ap. 
Rymer, ii, p. 428. 

4 Sept. 1, 1289, Potth., nn. 23064, and Jan. 5, 1290, 23151-3. 

5 Sept. 13, 1289, ib., n. 23078. It would appear that the Venetians 
cheated the Pope in the matter of the armaments of the galleys. Cf. ib., 
23439. They were commanded by Jas. Tiepolo, the son of the Doge 
Lawrence Tiepolo. Cf. Amadi, Chron., p. 218. Cf. p. 228, and the 
Chronicle of bro. Christopher of Cyprus (wrote c. 1496), ap. Golubovich, 
Bib. dell' Oriente, vol. ii, 205. 

6 lb., n. 23484. Cf. nn. 23489, 23500. 



56 NICHOLAS IV. 

1293. J He had, moreover, granted our King a variety of 
tithes, and in proclaiming the date of the proposed 
Crusade to the Christian world, he had told how King 
Edward, " thinking nothing of the sweetness of his native 
land, despising the riches of his realm, and shunning its 
delights and the glory of ruling there," had humbly 
accepted that date. 2 
King Of our King's zeal at this period in the cause of the 

Edwards _ ° .... 

embassy to Crusades, we have seen one indication in his sending 
Persia. Grandison to Acre " with his treasures ". Some frag- 

mentary exchequer documents in our national archives 
give us further proof of his earnestness in that matter. 
Impressed by the embassies of Arghun, he sent an 
important embassy of his own to the Ilkhan in reply to 
the Chagan-Buscarel embassy of 1290-1. It was headed 
by Sir Walter de Langele, and it is only from records 
of the expenses of the mission kept by his squire, Nicholas 
of Chartres, that we know anything about it. 3 Sir 
Walter would seem to have been accompanied by 
Buscarel 4 as guide, for we find the latter in company 



1 Rymer, ii, 505. Cf. a number of other letters of March 18 and 25, 
1291, ap. ib., pp. 509-23. 

2 lb., p. 513 ff. Cf. his letter of March 29, sadly announcing the 
fall of Tripoli, ap. Raynaldus, Ann., 1291, n. 2, and that of Aug. 1, 
1291, ap. Bullar. Rom., iv, p. 111. As a sign of the goodwill entertained 
by Edward for the Pope, who was thus urging him to the dangers of 
a distant expedition, we find, from a letter of the Pope {ib., pp. 521-2), 
that he had sent him a present of beautifully embroidered silk, etc., 
and an emerald ring. Nicholas tenders his thanks, "super capa, et 
doxali altaris, ac alio panno, sericis, plumarii operis multiplici 
varietate distinctis, etc." 

3 Public Record Office. Exchequer, Treasury of Receipt, Miscellanea, 
n. 49. Cf. on these "bills", T. H. Turner, "Unpublished Notices 
of the Times of Edward I." in the Archceological Journal, vol. viii, 
1851 ff., but especially, C. Desimoni, I conti dell' ambasciata al Chan 
di Persia (1292) ; it is an extract from Atti Soc. Liguria St. Patria, 
vol. xiii, fasc. iii. 

4 On his family the Ghizolfi, see Desimoni, p. 554 f. 



NICHOLAS IV. 57 

with the embassy making purchases for it . * The embassy, 
procuring supplies of furs, arms, medicines, etc., at Genoa 
and Brindisi, would appear to have left the former place 
in December, 1291, and to have taken some in days 
to reach Tabriz. They went by Constantinople and 
Trebizond. Unfortunately, our ambassador came in 
contact not with Arghun (f March, 1291), but with his 
drunken and incompetent successor, Gaykhatu (or 
Kengiatu). Hence, although we have absolutely no 
hint as to what passed between the Mongol and Sir 
Walter, we may be sure that nothing of any importance 
was arranged between them. Unfortunately, too, when 
the envoys reached Rome on their return journey (Dec. 
24, 1292), the zealous Nicholas IV. was dead, and the 
Holy See was vacant. It was fated that the Mongol 
alliance should not mature. 

Meanwhile, on August 1, Nicholas had issued another Nicholas on 
urgent appeal to Christendom to get ready for 1293, Ac e re a 
but there is no mention therein of the fall of Acre. News 
of its fall must have come soon after, and roused the 
Pope, if possible, to still greater efforts. Letters were 
sent everywhere to tell of the loss of Acre (Aug. 13). 
Often, said the Pope, had the East already inflicted 
terrible blows on the Church, but never before so severe 
a one as this. He told, too, of the efforts which the Holy 
See itself had made in the hope of securing the safety of 
the city, at least until the arrival of the general Crusade — 
of the galleys, men, and money which it had, all in vain, 
sent to Acre. 2 

Most eloquently did Nicholas call on all lovers of the 
Christian name to prepare with the greatest zeal for the 
general Crusade of 1293. The Genoese and other maritime 

1 lb., p. 550 ff. 

2 See the fragment of this encyclical in Walter of Heminburgh, 
Chron., ii, 27 ff. It is practically the same as the one sent to the 
Genoese which is given in full in Raynaldus, Ann., 1291 n., 23 ff. 



58 NICHOLAS IV. 

powers were asked to prepare ships, to make peace with 
one another, not to trade, especially in arms, with the 
infidel, and to send to him experienced men to advise 
as to the best measures to be taken in the meanwhile. 1 
The bishops, too, of the various countries were asked for 
their advice, especially as to the feasibility of uniting 
the Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic knights, as 
their discords had contributed to the loss of Acre. 2 
The response In his concern for the Holy Land, Nicholas gave almost 
to the las? as mu ch attention to the Mongol question, as to the 
embassy of proposed Crusade of 1293. If he could only convert 
1291. the Mongols, or induce the European princes to ally 

themselves with them, the future hold of Christendom, 
or at least of Christianity, on the Holy Land was assured. 
Had the kings to whom he appealed been less selfish, 
there can be but little doubt that, with the Mongol 
alliance, the power of the Turk would have been held 
in check, endless misery and degradation saved to 
Europe, and Western civilization, kept free from the 
Turkish blight, would have advanced much more steadily. 
To lead his new embassy to Arghun, Nicholas selected 
two Franciscans, William of Chieri and Matthew of 
Chieti, and furnished them with no fewer than thirty-one 
letters. 3 The envoys left Italy towards the end of August, 
and from the letters of recommendation which they 
carried we can tell that they journeyed by Sicily, Con- 
stantinople, Trebizond, through Georgia to Tiflis, then 
through Armenia to Tauriz (Tabriz) and Maragha to the 
east of the great Lake Urmiah (Urmi), and finally 



1 See the letter to the Genoese just cited, Will, of Nangis, Chron., 
ad an. 1291, p. 279. The French bishops said that the first thing to be 
done was to bring about peace, especially among the Greeks, Sicilians, 
and Aragonese. 

2 Eberhard Alt., Chron., p. 540, ap. Bohmer, Fontes, ii. 

3 Dated from Aug. 13 to 23, 1291. See these letters in Chabot, 
p. 238 ff. ; in Reg. Nich. IV., ii, nn. 6722-3, 6735, 6806-33. 



NICHOLAS IV. 59 

turning west on the way back, to Mosul on the Tigris, 
to Cis, the capital of Lesser Armenia, 1 and no doubt to 
the port of Lajazzo (Laias, Ayas), the port of the 
Mediterranean trade for north Persia (Tabriz). 

Nicholas appealed to the rulers of these various 
countries to facilitate the journey and forward the work 
of his envoys. 2 To these latter he gave faculties to 
choose their companions, and to exercise various 
ecclesiastical powers generally reserved to higher 
ecclesiastics. 3 He also entrusted them with the task 
of drawing up a report for him on the state of all the 
religions among the Tartars. 4 Various Western Christians 
occupying important posts under the Ilkhan were 
thanked for what they had done to propagate the faith, 
and urged to continue their good work. 5 

Then addressing himself to different members of 
Arghun's family, he congratulated his son Kharbenda 
(Nicholas) on his reception of the sacrament of baptism, 
and bade him live up to his faith, and spread it ; but, 
for the sake of not giving needless offence to his people, 
not to change his style of dress, or mode of life generally. 6 
Kharbenda's brothers, Saro and Ghazan (afterwards 
Ilkhan), were earnestly exhorted to follow their brother's 
example, 7 and two Tartar queens, who were already 
Christians, were asked to use their influence with the 
two princes in that direction. 8 

1 Golubovich, Biblioteca dell' Oriente Francesc, ii, pp. 473, 476. The 
letters in question in the text were addressed to Queen Constance of 
Sicily, the Byzantine emperor Andronicus II., John II., emperor of 
Trebizond, etc. 

2 Pott., n. 23776; Reg., nn. 6809-14. All the letters in connection 
with this papal embassy are dated from Aug. 13 to Aug. 23, 1291. 

3 Reg., nn. 6806-7. 
* lb., n. 6808. 

5 Reg., nn. 6820-3. Raynaldus, Ann., 1291, n. 33. 

6 Ep. in full, ap. Chabot, p. 244. 

7 lb., p. 246. 

8 lb., p. 242. 



6o 



NICHOLAS IV. 



To Arghun himself, Nicholas sent two letters. In the 
first he told him that he had received the letter which 
he had sent to him by his ambassador Chagan, and that, 
in accordance with his strongly expressed wishes, he had 
reported favourably on its contents to King Edward. 
In the rest of this letter, Nicholas does not say another 
word directly bearing on the political topics in the 
Ilkhan's letter. He simply urges him to get baptized, 
pointing out to him that thereby his fame and power 
would be increased. 1 But, in his second letter, he tells 
the Mongol how the fall of Acre had caused him to rouse 
the kings of the Catholic world, and that King Edward 
and other princes were making active preparations for 
the recovery of the Holy Land. He assured the Ilkhan 
that there was every reason to hope that, with his 
co-operation, their efforts would be crowned with success, 
and he again pressed him to be baptized. 2 Letters, 
exactly like this, were sent to the Kings of Armenia and 
Georgia, and to the Emperors of Constantinople and 
Trebizond. 3 
Arghun°Ld Unfortunately, but little came of the strenuous efforts 
Nicholas. of the Pope and the Ilkhan. The latter was already 
dead (March 7, 1291) when Nicholas made these heroic 
exertions against Islam ; and he himself died within a 
few months after making them (Apr. 4, 1292). 
Fortunately he did not live long enough to see that the 
Crusade proclaimed for 1293 did not materialize. Through- 
out the whole of that year (1293), the Holy See was 
vacant, and King Edward, the great hope of Nicholas, 
was engaged in a quarrel with France. Before he died, 
however, the Pope made one more effort in behalf of the 

1 Ep. ap. Chabot, p. 238. " Tuque fama et viribus cresceres, laudando 
christianorum consortio copulatus." 

2 Ep. ap. ib., p. 240. Many of these letters are given in full also 
by Wadding, Annul., v, p. 255 ff., Raynaldus, and Mosheim. 

3 See note to n. 6809 in the Register. 



NICHOLAS IV. 6l 

Christian East. Master of Palestine and Syria, Khalil 
directed his forces against Armenia-Cilicia, and threatened 
Romcla, 1 the residence of the Armenian patriarch. 
Hayton II., King of Armenia, appealed for help to the 
Pope. Nicholas not only received his envoys kindly, 
and sent them on to the Kings of France and England, 
but he ordered the preachers of the general Crusade 
(1293) to exhort some intending Crusaders to proceed 
at once to help Armenia " placed in the very midst of 
perverse nations like a lamb among wolves ". He offered 
them the same indulgences as were offered to those 
who should take part in the general Crusade, and he 
ordered the Grand Masters of the Templars and 
Hospitallers to proceed to the help of Armenia with the 
galleys of the Holy See. 2 Whether they were able to 
effect much or little, the kingdom of Armenia-Cilicia 
contrived to prolong its existence till 1375. 3 

After the death of Arghun, there succeeded in Persia Ghazan 

, , . L f , ,. . Khan, 1295- 

lour years 01 incompetent government and disorder under 1304. 
the Khans Gaykhatu and Baydu. But when law and 
order were restored under the firm rule of Ghazan, the 
grandson of Hulagu, negotiations were reopened with 
the West. Ghazan had obtained the throne by Moslem 
aid ; but, it is said, wrongly perhaps, at the cost of 
apostasy. At any rate, at the beginning of his reign he 
persecuted Christians, Jews, and pagans alike. 4 However, 

1 Or Hromgla, or Roumqualat, or Kalaat (castle) -Rum. Khalil 
took the place and slew its Mongol and Armenian garrison. It was 
the strongest fortress on the Euphrates, and was situated on an 
abrupt promontory at the extreme point of the great western bend 
of the river. 

2 Reg., nn. 6850-6, Jan. 23, 1292. 

3 See Tournebize, Hist, de I'Armenie, p. 220 ff., etc. 

4 According to Prince Hetoun, Fleurs des Hist., p. 199, ed. de 
Backer, Baydu was " a good Christian ", and forbade the preaching 
of Islam. Bar-Hebraeus, indeed, confirms Hetoun so far as to say 
that Baydu favoured the Christians in every way, but he adds that 



62 NICHOLAS IV. 

when it came to the question of fighting the Mamelukes, 
Ghazan gave up persecution, and turned to the West 
for allies. In 1299 he gained a considerable victory 
over the Sultan En-Nasir at Salamia to the north of 
Hims (Emessa). 1 Exaggerated stories of this victory 
and its results reached Europe, for it was only for a brief 
space that Palestine and Jerusalem fell into his hands. 
Dominicans and other religious are declared to have 
said Mass at the Holy Sepulchre. We are even assured 
that Ghazan sent two Friars Minor to the Pope to ask 
him to send out people to take possession of the occupied 
territory. 2 The report of the capture of Jerusalem 
caused the greatest joy, as it was said, even in well- 
informed circles, that Ghazan had undertaken, if he 
received help from the Christians, " to destroy the sect 



he had not the courage to call himself a Christian, and, at length, even 
called himelf a Moslem. Chron. Syriacum, vol. i, p. 642 f. Accordingly 
the Moslems offered the crown to Ghazan " se il vouloit renoncer a 
la foy crestienne. Casan qui petite cure avoit de la foy, etc," agreed. 
But, from the letters of Nicholas IV. quoted above, Ghazan's baptism 
had not then taken place, but, of course, it might have taken place 
after. For the persecution of the Christians, etc., see Hist, de Jabalaha, 
c. 11, p. 106, and M. Sanudo, Secreta fidel., ap. Bongars, Gesta Dei, 
ii, p. 239. 

1 Cf. a letter of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, ap. Annates Reg. Edw. I., 
p. 422 ff., R. S. The Grandes Chroniques de France, " Philippe-le-Bel," 
c. 29, say that Ghazan (or Khazan) or Cassahan, with a great many of 
his people, was converted to Christianity by his Armenian wife ; and 
that, as a result of his victory, the Holy Land fell into his hands, and 
Mass was once more said in Jerusalem. "Et a Pasques ensuivant, si 
comme Ten dit, en Jerusalem le service de Dieu les crestiens avec 
exaltacion . . . celebrerent." Cf. Makrizi, Hist, des Mamlouks, 
vol. ii, pt. ii, pp. 146, 153-4, 170. 

2 Ann. Frisacenses, p. 67, ap. M. G. SS., xxiv ; Martin. Polon. 
Contin. Anglic, ap. M. G. SS., xxiv, 258. The Chronicle goes on to 
say that the Pope sent the friars on to the Kings of France and England, 
and that on June 6 they reported themselves to Edward at Cambridge 
(1300). But at that period the King was at Pontefract (see H. Gough, 
Itinerary of Edw., ii, p. 190), and was never at Cambridge in 1299 or 
any subsequent year. 



NICHOLAS IV. 63 

of Mahomet " and " to restore the Holy Land to them ". 1 
But, whatever were his intentions in these respects, he 
had no opportunity of carrying them out. His success, 
however, duly made known to Pope Boniface VIII. by 
certain citizens of Genoa, " and by the report of brother 
Philip," stirred up his crusading zeal and also that of 
a number of Genoese ladies belonging to the best families 
in Genoa — to the Grimaldis, the Dorias, the Spinolas, etc. 
The Pope proclaimed a solemn " station " in thanks- 
giving for the victory, 2 and preached a crusade, but only 
succeeded in rousing John, Duke of Brittany. 3 The 
Genoese ladies, however, proposed, to the great joy and 
admiration of Boniface, to lit out a fleet at their own 
expense, and to go themselves to the Holy Land to 
minister " to the warriors of the Crucified ". But, 
though Boniface commissioned Porchettus Spinola, the 
administrator of the archdiocese of Genoa, to preach 
the Crusade, and to give the cross to such as were willing 
to go to the help of the Holy Land, the subsequent 
misfortunes of Ghazan, and the difficulties of Boniface 
would appear to have prevented anything coming of the 
heroism of the matrons of Genoa, 4 or of the preparations 
of the Duke of Brittany. 

1 Hetoun, I.e., cc. 43 and 44, avers that Ghazan said: "Nous 
donnerons ordre, en cas qu'ils (the Christians) join Cotulossa (one of 
his generals) les (the Holy Land) leur restituer, et de les aider a retablir 
les chateaux ..." He intended " detruire absolument la secte de 
Mahomet, et de restituer de bonne foi la Terre Sainte aux Chretiens." 
Ed. Bergeron. 

2 Cf. Ann. Fris., I.e., and Gesta Boemundi aep. Treverensis, ap. ib., 
p. 483. Cf. the Christian Copt, Moufazzal ibn Abil-Fazail, Hist, des 
Sultans Mamlouks, ap. Bib. Orient., t. xiv, p. 667. He quotes an older 
historian to the effect that some of Ghazan's Tartars made a raid from 
Damascus (which Ghazan entered in Jan., 1300) against Jerusalem 
and Hebron. This passage gives us the truth of the Jerusalem occupa- 
tion. M.'s own work was finished in 1358. 

3 Cf. ep. of Sept. 28, 1300, ap. Raynaldus, Ann., 1300, n. 33. Cf. n. 34. 

4 " Attendentes quod Casanus, magnus Tartarorum imperator, . . . 
regnum Hierosolymitanum intraverat," Reg. Bonif. VIII., n. 4384 



6 4 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Negotiations 
with the 
West, 
1300-2. 



Death of 
Ghazan, 
1304. 



The victory of the Mongols in 1299 was not well 
followed up. Palestine was soon lost, and floods spoiled 
Ghazan's winter campaign in Syria in 1300-1. But, 
resolving on another campaign in 1303, he meanwhile 
again tried to secure Western help. To this he was induced 
not only by the example of his father, Arghun, but by 
offers of help which had been made to him by James II. 
of Aragon (1300). x His embassy, once more placed under 
the indefatigable Buscarel, left Persia in 1301 2 ; and 
its chief presented himself before Boniface VIII. in Rome, 
no doubt about the end of that year. Then, as before, 
he went on to King Edward. But he came at a most 
unfortunate time. Boniface was in the midst of his 
quarrel with Philip the Fair, and Edward was preparing 
for another invasion of Scotland. Accordingly, on 
March 12, 1303, the latter sent a letter to Ghazan to say 
that, through Buscarel, he had received the Ilkhan's 
letters about the Holy Land, but that wars at home 
prevented him from doing anything in the matter at the 
moment. " When, however," he continued, " the 
Supreme Pontiff, with the help of Almighty God, shall 
have put us into such a position that we can attend to 
this affair, we would have you know that we will give all 
our attention to it, as we desire its success more than 
anything in the world." 3 

One need not say that Buscarel had even less success 
with Philip, whom he visited in Paris in Easter week 



Aug. 9, 1301. Cf. the other letters to these Genoese ladies and others, 
nn. 4380-6. Ed. Digard. See also the Chronichetta di S. Andrea, 
p. 29 f., ed. Carini, Rome, 1893. 

1 Remusat, pp. 386-7. 

2 Finke, Acta Aragonensia, i, n. 60, p. 85, gives a letter which, if 
correctly dated by him, would show that the Tartar envoys were already 
in Apulia on July 2, 1300, and were expected at the curia any day. 

3 Ep. of March 12, 1303, ap. Rymer, ii, 918-19. He sent a similar 
letter to the " Patriarch of all the Christians of the Orient ", i.e., to 
Mar Jabalaha. lb., p. 919. 



NICHOLAS IV. 65 

(Apr. 7 ff. , 1303). 1 Meanwhile his master's forces had 
been utterly defeated near Damascus (March, 1303), and 
the Ilkhan himself died of vexation about a year later 
(May 17, 1304). 

He was succeeded by his brother, Kharbenda, who, Embassy of 

.-.ti-i hit ■, t Olja'itu, 

though he had been baptized, had become a Mohammedan, 1306-8. 
and styled himself Olja'itu Mohammed. Nevertheless 
he, too, sent an embassy to Europe to try to form an 
alliance against the Egyptians. Fortunately his original 
letter, on a cotton roll some ten feet long by ten inches 
wide, to Philip the Fair, is still extant in the Archives of 
France. 2 On the back of it is a contemporary Italian 
translation, for the letter is in Mongol in Uigur characters. 
To judge by the letters addressed to Oljaitu by Pope 
Clement V. in 1308, and by Edward II. in 1307, it is 
clear that the letters sent to them were similar to the 
extant one addressed to Philip le Bel. From this last 
document we gather that the Ilkhan had sent two 
ambassadors, Mamlakh 3 and Tuman, who appears as 
" Tomaso mio iulduci " in the Italian version, and as 
"Thomas Ilduci " ("sword-bearer" in Mongol) in the 
letter of Clement V. 4 It would seem, too, that they were 
accompanied or followed by envoys from Leo IV., King 

1 Grandes Chron., I.e., n. 48, ed. P. Paris. 

2 See a facsimile of it in Prince R. Bonaparte's Documents (see 
supra, p. 50), and a " copie figuree " of it in Remusat. It bears a 
seal in Chinese characters (five times impressed in red ink) signifying : 
" By a supreme decree, seal of the descendant of the Emperor, charged 
to reduce to obedience the ten thousand barbarians." Remusat, I.e., 
p. 392. 

3 Mamalac in the Italian version, ap. Remusat, 437. This version 
is dated 1306, which perhaps shows that the envoys did not leave Persia 
till then. 

4 Ep. March 1, 1308, ap. Raynaldus, Ann., 1308, n. 30. This Tomaso 
has been identified with Tomaso Ugi of Siena, who in a Venetian docu- 
ment signs himself " Alduci del Soldano ". He, like Buscarel, belonged 
to the Sultan's bodyguard. Cf. Heyd-Raynaud, Hist, du Commerce 
du Levant, ii, 123 ff. 

Vol. XVII. f 



66 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Answers of 
Edward II. 
and 

Clement V. 
to it. 



of Armenia-Cilicia. At any rate a letter of his to Edward I. 
dated March 28, 1307, is extant among the English 
Royal Letters, 1 in which he says he is sending " discreet 
men " to explain " our great necessity and need, and 
the very great danger in which we are ". 

The Ilkhan's letter is addressed not only to Philip, 
but also " to the other Sultans of the Franks ". After 
the opening phrase, " the word of one Oljaitu," the 
letter called attention to the alliances that had existed 
between the Mongols and the Franks during the times of 
his great-grandfather (Hulagu), his grandfather (Abaga), 
his father (Arghun), and his elder brother (Ghazan). 
Then, after declaring that it was the wish of Oljaitu 
even to intensify those good relations, and that, after 
forty-five years of disunion, all the reigning descendants 
of Zinghis Khan are now again united, the letter asked 
for an alliance with the Sultans of the Franks. 

What answer, if any, was returned to this letter by 
Philip is not known. On October 16, 1307, however, 
our King Edward II. sent a reply to the letters which 
he had received from the lord " Dolgieto " to the effect 
that the Tartar envoys had arrived after his father's 
death, 2 and that he hoped something might be done 
soon about the alliance, but that, at the moment, internal 
troubles prevented him from attending to it. 3 

The answer of Pope Clement V. was somewhat more 
satisfactory. He told " Olgetucani " with what pleasure 
he had learnt from his letters and his ambassadors of the 
large supplies of men and provisions with which he was 
prepared to come to the assistance of the Christians for 
the recovery of the Holy Land. He and his brethren 
would give the closest attention to the matter, and, as 



1 N. 3285, ap. BibliotMque de I'ecole des Chartes, 1891, 
a Ed. I. t July 7, 1307. 
3 Rymer, vol. iii, p. 15. 



61 f. 



NICHOLAS IV. 67 

soon as an expedition was arranged, he would inform the 
Ilkhan. 1 

Clement, indeed, did his best to rouse the West, but 
in vain. The golden opportunity was utterly lost. 2 
Oljaitu, tired of waiting for Western help which never 
came, attacked the Mamelukes in Syria in 13 12 with 
his own forces, but met with no success. It is true, as 
we hope to relate in his biography, John XXII. tried to 
induce Abu-Said (1316-35), the son of Oljaitu, to 
save Armenia-Cilicia. 3 The power, however, of the 
Mongol Ilkhans of Persia had oozed out, 4 and " with 
Abu-Said's death the dynasty of the Ilkhans of Persia . . . 
practically came to an end ". A period of anarchy ensued 
which lasted till Persia was absorbed by another savage 
all-conquering Tartar, Timur the Lame (Tamerlane), 

ti405- 5 

From the foregoing narrative one might hurriedly Missionary 
draw the conclusion that, during the rule of the J^ Mongol 
descendants of Zinghis Khan in Persia, the only relations dynasty in 
of the Pope and the religious Orders with it were political. 
But such was far from being the case. Although the 
Popes were constantly using the friars for political 
missions, they not only used the very same men for the 
preaching of the Gospel, but they also sent others to 
Persia merely for that purpose. Thus practically the 
whole life of the famous John ot Monte Corvino was 
devoted to missionary enterprise, and the same is true 



1 Ep. March 1, 1308. ap. Raynaldus, an. 1308, nn. 30-1. 

2 Marino Sanudo, in his valuable work on the way to recover the 
Holy Land, is always impressing on Clement the advisability of getting 
the help of the Tartars. Cf. Secretafidel., ap. Bongars, Gesta, ii, pp. 7, 36. 

3 Cf. ib., an. 1322, n. 41 ff. Ep. of July 5, 1322, etc. 

4 A.-S. in 1323 signed a treaty with the Sultan of Egypt, and thus 
put an end to a war which had lasted over 60 years. 

s Browne, Persian Literature, iii, p. 58. 



68 NICHOLAS IV. 

of many another Franciscan 1 and Dominican. Con- 
versions, 2 and even martyrdoms were frequent. 3 Most 
of the latter came from the hands of the ever intolerant 
Moslem, for the Mongols, as we have said before, favoured 
Christianity. All the later Franciscan authors especially 
assure us of that fact. 4 

Conversions were naturally followed by organization. 
Persia was included in the third Franciscan district 
(custodia) in Oriental Tartary. 5 It formed the greater 
part of the Custodia of Tabriz, and we know that in the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries there were at least 
nine important cities in which there were Franciscan 
houses. 6 Pope John XXII., too, established (Apr. i, 1318), 
a metropolitan see (with six suffragans) in the new capital 
of Sultanieh (Congorlaun, according to the Tartars) 
founded (1305-13) by Oljaitu to the south-east of Lake 
Urmiah. 7 

But at this time the heroic work of the friars, and 



1 For records of Franciscan missions in Persia during the period 
in question, see Golubovich, Biblioteca dell' Oriente Francescano, ii, 
153-4, iii ; pp. 59, 214, 218 ff., 350, 413 f. ; Potthast, n. 22644, etc. 

2 Note, e.g., the conversion of a certain Dionysius (Nestorian) bishop 
of Tabriz. See ep. of Nicholas IV. of Apr. 7, 1288, ap. Chabot, Hist. 
de Mar Jub., p. 205. 

3 Cf. Golubovich, ib., ii, pp. 62, 66 ; iii, 182 ; and vol. iv, p. 235, for 
the martyrdom of the English Franciscan, Will. Walden, in Salamastro 
in Persia (c. 1334). 

4 Cf. John Elemosina, Chron., p. 120, ap. Golubovich, I.e., ii, p. 120. 
After speaking of their general toleration, he adds : " Sed precipue 
Christianis concesserunt ista." Cf. an anonymous German, De gestis 
trium regum, c. 65, ap. ib., p. 153, writing about the same time, says : 
" Imperator Tartarorum ... in omnibus regnis suis multum favet 
christianos ; et fides Christiana que ibidem (among the Nestorians) per 
infideles fuit oblita, nunc per Fratres Minores, Predicatores . . . et 
alios doctores de novo cepit florere." 

5 Vicaria Tartariae Orientalis : Custodia Thauris. 

6 See map, etc., in Golubovich, I.e., vol. ii, and pp. 72, 107, 146, 
265-6, in the same vol. 

7 Ep. of John, ap. Raynaldus, Ann., 1318, nn. 4-7. 



NICHOLAS IV. 69 

the generous co-operation of Lombard and other rich 
merchants was not destined to succeed. 1 Their work, 
which was somewhat arrested by the fact of the acceptance 
of Islam by the Ilkhan Ghazan and his successors, was 
finally ruined, along with the country itself, by the 
ravages of the Moslem Tamerlane. 



II. China. 

At what precise period China first began to interest the China first 
West is difficult to say, but, both from Chinese and from w°st. n 
Western sources, it is certain that China and Europe 
were in touch in the first century of our era. To begin 
with the Western sources which we know best, we learn 
from Florus, who wrote in the days of the Emperor 
Trajan (98-117), that in the time of Augustus there came 
to Rome to ask for peace, besides Scythians and 
Sarmatians, also Indians and Seres (or Chinese). He tells 
us that the Indians and Seres declared that their journey 
had taken four years, and he adds that their very com- 
plexion proved that they belonged to another world. 2 
Pliny too, writing towards the close of the first century, 
has something to say of the Seres in his Natural History. 

1 " Nam mercatores de Lombardia et aliis terris ditissimi, qui in 
illis partibus degunt, et frequenter perveniunt, trahunt hos ordines 
(Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, etc.) ad illas partes, et eis cum 
auxilio . . . fidelium claustra fundant . . . Et ipsi mercatores 
adducunt secum . . . juvenes, Unguis diversis eruditos quos tradunt 
Ordinibus." The friars then train the youths. Anon. Germanus, 
De gestis trium regum, c. 65, ap. Golubovich, ii, p. 153. 

2 Hist. Rom., iv, 12. " Ipse hominum color ab alio venire ccelo 
fatebatur." Cf. Yule, Cathay and the Way Thither, i, 18, for Chinese 
support of the account of Florus. 



70 NICHOLAS IV. 

Though his idea of the position of their country was of 
the vaguest, he knew that, in order to reach it, one had 
to cross deserts almost impassable by reason of snow, 
wild animals, and barbarous, even cannibal, Scythians. 
He says that the Seres themselves are " mild ", and, like 
timid animals, shun the society of other men. Still, he 
continues, they are keen to trade with their silk, which, 
speaking of it as wool, he believed grew like cotton. He 
assures us that it was through their wool forests that the 
Chinese are famous 1 ; and he adds that " our women 
have to unravel and weave " the wool which had been 
detached from the trees by " water ". Incidentally we 
may add that with the exception of the Greek geographer, 
Pausanias (fl. 176), practically all the classical Western 
geographers believed that there was a silk plant. But, 
although Pausanias did not know where the Seres (Chinese) 
lived, he was sure that silk was produced by a worm, 2 as 
was also St. Basil, long before the days of Justinian. He 
tells us of the "horned worm of India" (including southern 
China) which " turns from a caterpillar into a buzzing 
insect ", and provides the silk sent by the Chinese for 
" the delicate dresses " of the Roman women. 3 

It was, however, but seldom, if indeed ever at all, 
that the ancient Romans traded directly with the Chinese 
for their silk. They had to get it from the Persians, or 
from the Alans, who lived by the northern slopes of the 
Caucasus and by the Caspian Sea, and in time became 
Christians. However, it would appear that they made 



1 Hist. Nat., vi, c. 20. " Lanicio silvarum nobiles." Cf. vi, 15, 24 ; 
xxxiv, 41. Pomponius Mela, De situ orbis, iii, 7, writing c. a.d. 40-50, 
speaks of the Seres as " full of justice ". 

2 See his Description of Greece, 1. vi, c. 26. Centuries before him, 
Aristotle also knew that silk came from a worm. Cf. Hist. Animal., 
v. 19. Cf. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, iv, 228 ff., and Append, xii, 
p. 534 1, ed. Bury. 

3 Hexameron, horn, viii, 8, ap. Migne, Pat. G., t. 29. 



NICHOLAS IV. 



71 



efforts to get the raw silk direct from China, for the 
Chinese Annals relate that, in the year 166, a Roman 
emperor, whom they call An-thum (Marcus Aurelius 
Antoninus), sent ambassadors to China for trade purposes. 
The said Annals declare that the Romans were very 
skilful in working the silk, and that their dyes were 
better and their colours were more brilliant and gay than 
any in the East. 1 The geographer Ptolemy, too (writing 
in the first century), speaks of Roman caravans that went 
to China (Sera). He says that they went from north 
Persia by the great commercial road between Bactria 
and Sogdiana. The merchants assembled at Hierapolis 
on the Euphrates, and journeyed to Bactria by the 
south of the Caspian Sea. He does not, however, give 
any details of their journey beyond the river Jaxartes ; 
but simply relates that they had to give presents to 
various savage tribes to be allowed to pass farther on. 2 
Hence we may well doubt if many or any of these caravans 
ever reached China proper, and accept the statement of 
the author of the Periplus, believed to have been written 
also in the first century, who, after speaking of Thin 
(China), where the raw silk and silk stuffs come from, 
adds : " It is not easy to get to this Thin, and few and 
far between are those who come from it " — a statement 
we find repeated by the Arabian historian, Abulfeda, in 
the fourteenth century. " There are few travellers," he 
says, " who arrive from those parts." 3 

1 Pauthier, Chine, p. 260, and F. Hirth, China and the Roman Orient, 
p. 42. Cf. pp. 46-7, Leipzig and Shanghai, 1885. The Chinese Annals 
also mention an embassy of the Emperor Carus (282-3). Cf. Beazley, 
Dawn of Modern Geog., i, 180 ; cf. pp. 471-3. 

2 Geog., i, c. 11-12. Cf. i, 17 ; vi, 16, and vii, 2, 3, 5. For other 
classical references, see Yule-Cordier, Cathay, i, 183 ff. 

3 The Periplus, ap. Midler, Geog. Grceci Min., i, p. 303 ; Eng. trans., 
ed. Schoff, c. 64, N. York, 1912 ; and Guyard's French trans, of 
Abulfeda's Geog., n, ii, p. 122. English extracts ap. Yule, Cathay, 
i, pp. 183 and 255. 



72 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Chinese 
Annals and 
the West. 



Nevertheless, it must not be supposed that it was only 
the Romans who endeavoured to get in touch with the 
Chinese. At times, at least, the Chinese tried to get in 
touch with the Romans for purposes of trade or even of 
conquest. From the Chinese Annals it would appear 
that, under Ho-Ti (a.d. 89-106) of the dynasty of Han 
(202 B.C. -a.d. 222) the Chinese general Kan-ying reached 
the coast of Syria (about a.d 90) in his efforts to establish 
relations with Rome (Ta-thsin). 1 

Not unnaturally communications between China and 
the Byzantine Empire were more frequent than between 
it and the early Roman Empire. Ammianus Marcellinus 
( c - 33°-4 00 ) knows of the quiet unwarlike Chinese, of the 
healthy climate of their country, of their silk and other 
exports, and of their not purchasing anything from 
others. 2 A Byzantine traveller, Cosmas Indicopleustes, 
not only speaks of " Tzinista which produces the silk ", 
but was the first geographer to give clearly its true 
boundary on the East. He states correctly : " Beyond 
this there is no other country, for the Ocean borders it 
on the East." 3 Cosmas wrote in the days of the Emperor 
Justinian, in whose time the silkworm was first cultivated 
in the West from eggs which two monks are said to have 
contrived to bring from China sealed in a cane. 4 Chinese 
records speak of several embassies from Constantinople 
especially during the great Tang dynasty (618-907). 
They tell of one in 643 to the Emperor Tai-tsung, in 



1 Cf. Pauthier, Chine, p. 258-9, and his Relat. polit. de la Chine avec 
les puiss. occid., 1859, and E. Bretschneider, On the Knowledge Possessed 
by the Ancient Chinese of the Arabs, etc., p. 4, London, 1871, and his 
Mediceval Researches from Asiatic Sources, i, 143-4 ; ii, 323. 

2 Hist., xxiii, 6. 

3 Topog. Christ., ap. Migne, Pat. Grcec, vol. 88, p. 169. Seethe anno- 
tated English translation of McCrindle, London, 1899 (Hakluyt Soc.). 

4 Procopius, De bello Gothico, iv, 17 ; Theoph., Excerpta, printed 
with Dexippus, etc., ed. Bonn, p. 484 ; ed. Labbe, Eclog. hist, byz., 
pp. 22, 112 ; and Zonaras, Epit., xiv, 9. 



NICHOLAS IV. 73 

whose reign the famous Si-ngan-fu inscription was set 
up. Other missions are spoken of in 711, 719, 742. 1 All 
during this period, and especially in the first three- 
quarters of the ninth century, there was a great deal of 
Arab and Moslem intercourse with China, especially by 
sea. 2 Indeed, until the establishment of the Mongol 
Dynasty, 3 China was never so much in touch with other 
countries as during the Tang dynasty. Taitsung (or 
Tai-tsung, 627-49), the principal ruler of this dynasty, 
is said to have recommended both Islam and Christianity 
to his subjects. 4 At any rate, with regard to the former, 
we are assured that the Moslems erected, in 751, a mosque 
in Canton which still stands. 5 

Although it is true that Byzantine and Moslem envoys 
or traders found their way to China during the nineteenth 
Chinese dynasty, that of Sung, a dynasty distinguished 
for advance in art, literature, and philosophy (960-1279), 
still after the revolution of 878 before the close of the 
glorious Tang dynasty intercourse between China and 
other countries almost ceased. A Moslem contemporary 
traveller, Abu Zeyd, tells us how in that year a rebellion 
broke out, and how in the course of it, the rebels sacked 
Khanfu, 6 the principal city of foreign trade. In the sack 
Christians, Jews, Moslems, and Parsees who were dwelling 
there for business purposes were ruthlessly massacred, 
along with the natives. In their savage fury the rebels 
cut down the mulberry-trees of the district, and for a 
time ruined the silk trade. " From all this," concludes 
Abu Zeyd, " arose unjust dealings with the merchants 
who traded thither, so that there was no outrage, no 

1 Pauthier, Chine, p. 297 ; Hirth, I.e., p. 55. 

2 Cf. Beazley, Dawn of Mod. Geog., i, 401, 414 ff. 

3 Known as the Yuen (original) dynasty. 

4 Cf. I. C. Hannah, Eastern Asia, p. 78, London, 1911. 

5 H. H. Gowen, An Outline Hist, of China, p. 133, Boston, 1918. 

6 The Kin-sai of Marco Polo, c. 68. 



74 NICHOLAS IV. 

treatment so bad, but they exercised it upon the foreign 
traders and the masters of the ships." * The result was 
that foreign intercourse with China practically ceased 
for three centuries. 

With the conquests of Zinghis Khan, and the establish- 
ment of the Mongol (Yuen) dynasty in China in the 
thirteenth century, distrust or at least ill-treatment of 
the foreigner had to cease throughout the Celestial 
Empire. Christianity had another opportunity in China 
and, as we shall see, availed itself of it. 

We have said " another opportunity ", for in its early 
days, and in the beginning of the Middle Ages, Christianity 
had had a first opportunity. The religion of Jesus Christ 
was no doubt introduced into China in the same way 
as it was introduced into most other countries— by 
traders and prisoners of war, by slaves and travellers, 
and also possibly by men, cleric or lay, who made it 
their business to propagate the faith. At any rate, we 
are assured by the Christian apologist, Arnobius, that in 
the third century, at least, the faith of Christ had found 
its way among the Seres, as the Romans called the 
Chinese. 2 The famous bishop and historian, Theodoret, 
writing in the fifth century, also includes the Seres among 
the peoples to whom Christianity had been preached. 3 
" Our fishermen," he says, have carried the laws of the 

1 Cited by Beazley, Dawn of Mod. Geog., ii, p. 418. See pp. 57-8 of 
the Italian version of Abu Zeyd, Bologna, 1749. Reinaud, in his 
Relations des Voyages dans I'Inde, etc., 2 vols, Paris, 1845, has given 
French versions of the voyages of Abu Zeyd Hassan of Siraf, and of 
the Anonymous Traveller, identified with Suleyman the Merchant. 
There is an English version of The Two Mussulman Travellers (as edited 
by Renaudot in 1718) of 1733. Cf. Abou'lfeda, Annates Moslemici, 
p. 213 f., ed. Reiske; and El-Masudi, Meadows of Gold (written 
c 943), p. 323, Sprenger, Eng. trans. 

2 Adv. Gentes, ii, 10. He mentions the Seres again, ib., vi, 3. Cf. 
Theodoret, Serm. 9. For further notes on the intercourse between the 
West and the Extreme East, see Beazley, I.e., i, p. 530 f. 

3 Serm. 9. " De providentia," ap. Migne, Pat. Grczc, 83, p. 1038. 



NICHOLAS IV. 75 

Gospel even to those outside the Roman Empire, " to 
Indians, Ethiopians, Persians, and Chinese (Seras)." 

At the end of a manuscript of the so-called Lausiac 
History of Palladius, seemingly bishop of Helenopolis in 
Bithynia, written in the year 420, there was found a 
curious treatise in Greek on India and the Brahmins. 1 
It has been wrongly attributed to St. Ambrose 2 and to 
Palladius himself, but the date and authorship of the 
little work appear to be unknown. Its contents, however, 
show that it was written at a date when " the Roman 
Emperor " was known all over the civilized world, and 
when to be a " Roman citizen " was sufficient to secure 
respect everywhere. The little narrative then may well 
date from the time of St. Ambrose or even earlier. Its 
author frankly acknowledges that he has never been 
outside Europe, but has set down what he has heard 
and read about the Brahmins. He begins by relating 
that one Musaeus or Moses, called by some bishop of the 
ancient city of Aduli, south of Massowah in Abyssinia, 
told him that he had both visited the Brahmins in 
India, and had travelled over almost all the country of 
the Seres. 3 He added, however, an account of the "silk- 
trees " among the Seres and further stated that, also 
among them, he had seen a column on which were the 
words : "I, Alexander, reached this place." From these 
latter statements it would seem fairly evident that 
Musaeus had never been in China proper ; he probably 
never got beyond Sogdiana nor crossed the Jaxartes. 4 

1 Cf. Ceillier, Hist, des auteurs eccles., vii, p. 493, Paris, 1861. 

2 Hence it is printed in vol. iv of his works, p. 1131 ff., ed. Migne, 
Pat. Lat. It was also printed in London, 1668, with a Latin version, 
by Ed. Bissaeus. 

3 Moses is really described as " Dolenorum episcopus ", and he 
stated that " Sericam fere universam peragravit ". 

4 The rest of the brief, seemingly incomplete, narrative rests on 
the more reliable assertions of a " scholasticus of Thebes " who, embark- 
ing on the Red Sea " navigavit primo sinum Adulicum et Adulitarum 
oppidum (Aduli) ". JL.c, p. 1133. 



j6 NICHOLAS IV. 

As strengthening these vague allusions to the early 
introduction of Christianity into China, we may call 
attention to very ancient objects of Christian worship 
which have been found in that country from time to 
time. An iron cross with Chinese inscriptions in praise 
of the life-giving cross is said to have been discovered 
in the Kiang-si and to date from the third century. 1 
Three other antique crosses found in other places are 
assigned to the fourth or fifth, and sixth and seventh 
centuries respectively. 2 

Whatever may be thought of the proving force of the 
evidence already adduced to show the early preaching of 
Christianity in China, there is at any rate no manner of 
doubt that it was preached there before the seventh 
century. This is certain from the famous Si-ngan-fu 
inscription, 3 which was found in 1625, close to the walls 
of the city which has given its name to the monument. 
The inscription is cut on a large block of a dark coloured 
marble some ten feet high by five in breadth, and is on 
one side of the great slab. Though a small portion of the 
inscription is in Syriac, and in such Syriac characters as 
are found in Syriac manuscripts of an earlier date than 
the eighth century, the great body of it is in ancient 
Chinese. 

From the monument, which was erected in the year 
780-1, " in the days of the Father of Fathers, 

1 Cf. Chardin, Les missions franciscaines en Chine, p. 7, Paris, 1915. 

2 lb., p. 8. Cf. Yule, Cathay, i, 122. 

3 A complete translation of the inscription is given in French in the 
valuable art. " Chine " in Cabrol's Diet, d'archeol., and in English in 
Hue's Christianity in China, etc., vol. i, c. 2, Eng. trans., London, 1857. 
A recent description and photographs of the inscription will be found 
in F. Nichols, Through Hidden Shensi, 1902. Si-ngan-fu is now the 
capital of the province of Shensi, but was then the capital of the 
Empire. Cf. also Gibbon, Decline and Fall, v, Append. 7, p. 520 ff., 
ed. Bury, and Beazley, I.e., i, 215 ff., and Pauthier, L 'inscription de 
Si-ngan-fou, Paris, 1858. 



NICHOLAS IV. 77 

Ananjesus II. (775-80), Catholicos," 1 by a Syrian priest 
to commemorate, as he said, the preaching of the Gospel 
by our fathers to the Chinese, a sufficiently clear idea 
of the doctrines of Christianity may be gathered. The 
inscription also states that a certain religious man of 
great virtue, by name A-lo-pen, along with some others, 
came from the Roman Empire in 635, to Si-ngan-fu. 
He was well received by the reigning Emperor, Tai- 
tsung, who bade him translate the sacred books which 
he had brought with. him. In an imperial decree, cited 
in the inscription, the doctrine taught by A-lo-pen is 
summarized, and pronounced good. Permission is 
accordingly given for it to be taught. 2 

This important decree has also been preserved by the 
Chinese historian, Wang P'u, who was ordered by the 
first Emperor of the Sung dynasty to draw up the history 
of the preceding Tang dynasty (618-907) which it had 
overthrown. As given in the pages of Wang P'u, the 
decree, dated 639, is set forth substantially in the same 
terms as in the monument. "The monk A-lo-pen," 
it states, "came from Po-sze (Persia), bringing from 
afar the Scriptures and the doctrine in order to present 
them at our capital. On examining the spirit of this 
doctrine we find it excellent . . . and that it is quickening 



1 On Ananjesus see Bar-Hebraeus, Chron., vol. iii, p. 163 ff., with 
the notes thereto of Abbeloos. 

2 The inscription also proclaims some of the practices of the Christian 
faith, such as praying for " the living and the dead ". "On the seventh 
day we offer sacrifice, after having purified our hearts, and received 
absolution of our sins." Hue, I.e., p. 51. It is generally maintained, 
without sufficient grounds, as it seems to some, that the scheme of 
Christian doctrine set out by the inscription is Nestorian. Chinese 
Annals, ap. Hirth, China and the Ro. Orient, p. 55 f., assert that in 
719 the Emperor of Byzantium sent " priests of great virtue to our 
court with tribute ". Leo, the Iconclast, was then Emperor. Did 
he send Nestorian priests ? 



j8 NICHOLAS IV. 

for mankind and indispensable. ... It is, therefore, 
worthy of being spread over the Celestial Empire." x 

The Kings and ministers of the Tang dynasty for the 
most part favoured Christianity. 

Besides the decree of 639 just cited, which was the 
work of the famous Emperor, Tai-tsung (627-49), gi ym g 
permission for Christianity to be taught throughout the 
Empire, there is another of the Emperor Hiuen-tsung, 
bearing on Christianity, inscribed on a tablet found in our 
own times. It is dated in the year 745, and decrees that, 
in order to make the origin of " the luminous doctrine " 
(Christianity) ' ' quite clear, their temples should in future 
be known, not as those of Po-se-se (Persia), but as those 
of Ta-tsin, i.e., " of the Roman Empire," or at least 
" of the West ". 2 The only persecutor of the Christians 
in the Tang dynasty was the Emperor U- (or Wu) 
tsung, who in 845 ordered the secularization of the priests 
of Ta-tsin. 3 Throughout the greater part of the Tang 
dynasty, then, Christianity flourished in China. 

Churches were, as just noted, built in various parts, 4 
and, according to Hue, 5 during that period the Nestorian 
Catholicus, Saliba-Zacha (f 729 or 730) founded the 
metropolitan see of China. The abbe cites Ebedjesus 
(or Abdh-Isho '), 6 metropolitan of Nisibis (f 1318), as his 
authority for this statement ; and, in fact, to quote 
from the Latin version of Cardinal Mai, the Syrian 
historian writes : " The Catholicus, Saliba-Zacha, founded 
the metropolitan sees of Heria (in Khorassan), Samarcand 
and China. It is said, indeed, that they were founded 

1 Quoted by the archimandrite Palladius in The Chinese Recorder, 
vol. vi (1875), p. 147, Shanghai. 

2 Cf. Hue, I.e., p. 78, and Cabrol, Diet., iii, p. 1358. 

3 Cabrol, ib., p. 1357. 

4 Cf. the inscription ap. Hue, I.e., pp. 52 fL Indeed, it seems that 
the Emperor, Hiuen-tsung, was a Christian (Nestorian). 

5 L.c., p. 42. 

6 On him see Wright, Hist, of Syriac Literature, p. 285 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 79 

by Achaeus and Silas. 1 But the metropolitans of Heria 
and India take precedence of the metropolitan of China, 
but the metropolitan of China ranks before the metro- 
politan of Samarcand." 2 Similarly, Amru-ben-Matthaei, 
a Nestorian Syrian, who wrote somewhat later (fl. 1340), 3 
but who quotes as his authority Mar Salomon who lived 
some two centuries earlier, when enumerating the 
patriarchs subject to the Catholicus assigns the twelfth 
place to the " metropolitan of the Chinese ". And, 
writing as a contemporary, Thomas of Marga tells us that, 
seemingly about the middle of the ninth century, one 
David, who was known to him, a monk of the famous 
Nestorian monastery of Beth Abbe in Mesopotamia, was 
consecrated metropolitan of Beth Sinaye or China. 4 

In the eighth century the patriarch Timothy I., the 
successor of Ananjesus II., not only speaks of the 
Christians in Thibet and China, but tells us that he made 
the bishop of the Chinese into a metropolitan. 5 In the 
following century, we find the Catholicus Theodosius 
(852-98), deciding that the metropolitans of such distant 
and inaccessible countries as China need not observe the 

1 Achaeus was Catholicus from 412 to 416, and Silas from 503-20. 
Cf. Bar-Hebraeus, ii, p. 52, with the notes ; and p. 82. On Saliba- 
Zacha, ib., p. 150. 

2 Script. Vet. nova Coll., x, pp. 141-2. 

3 Ap. Assemanni, Bib. Orientalis, ii, 458. Cf. Amri and Sliba, 
p. 73, ed. Gismondi, where "the metropolitan of China is given the 
fourteenth place ". 

4 Book of Governors, 1. iv, c. 20, vol. ii, pp. 447-8, ed. Budge, London, 
1893. Cf. vol. i, p. cxv. 

5 Cf. the valuable paper of A. Mingana, The Early Spread of 
Christianity in Central Asia and the Far East, p. 12 ff., Manchester, 
1925, and H. Labourt, De Timotheo I., pp. 45, 48, 64 (Paris, 1904), 
quoting writings of the patriarch, and also Assemanni, Bib. Orient., 
in, pt. i, p. 143. Also on the work of Timothy in China, see Hue, I.e., 
p. 86 ff . He relies on the Historia Monastica, iv, 20, of Thomas of 
Marga (ninth century). Assemanni gives an analysis of it {I.e., pp. 464- 
501), but Budge has published the full text and an English trans., The 
Book of Governors ; Historia Monastica, a.d. 840, 2 vols., London, 1893. 



80 NICHOLAS IV. 

canon which commanded metropolitans to visit the 
Catholicus every four years. It would be sufficient if 
they sent letters of communion every six years, and just 
dues for the upkeep of the patriarchate. 1 

As already stated, it was under the Emperors of the 
enlightened Tang dynasty that these Christian relations 
with China were so frequent ; and, from a story preserved 
by an Arab historian, we can see what an interest they 
took in it. Abu Zeyd Hassan, of Siraf, on the Persian 
Gulf, cited once before, writing in the last quarter of the 
ninth century, describes the journey of his friend Ibn 
Vahab to the court of the Emperor of China, at Si- 
ngan-fu. Finding that Vahab was a Mohammedan, the 
Emperor called for a box in which were a number of 
pictures, and asked the Arab if he could identify his 
Prophet. This he was easily able to do, and he also 
recognized " Moses with his rod, and the children of 
Israel ". He also said to the Emperor : " There is Jesus 
upon an ass, and here are his Apostles with him." 
" Ah," said the Emperor, " he was not long upon the 
earth, for all he did was transacted within the space of 
little more than thirty months." 2 

The Emperor who was thus acquainted with our Lord's 
life was no doubt Hi-tsung, who began to reign in 874. 
Before his reign closed, a rebellion was begun which not 
only broke the Tang dynasty, but practically put an 
end to intercourse between China and other countries, 
and largely destroyed the Christianity which had spread 
so widely. It is again Abu Zeyd who tells us how the 

1 Ebedjesus, Epit. Canon., ap. Assemanni, Bib. 0., ill, pt. i, p. 347. 
On the whole question of Christianity in China, see ib., i, p. 504 ff. 

2 The narrative of Abu Zeyd has been published by Renaudot 
(of which an English version appeared in 1733), but better by Reinaud 
in his Relations des Voyages dans Vlnde, etc., Paris, 1845. We have 
used Beazley's translation, I.e., iii, 420, and an old Italian translation, 
pp. 67-8, Bologna, 1749. It is a translation of E. Renodozio's 
(Renaudot) French version. See also Hue, I.e., i, p. 90 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 01 

rebellion broke out, in two provinces north of the Yellow 
River under a man who called himself "The General 
who attacks the Heavens " (878). Among other places, 
as we have said already, he sacked the then centre of the 
foreign trade with China, the city of Kanfu, 1 hard by 
the modern Hang-chow on the Chang-kiang river. 
" The inhabitants," says the Arab, " were put to the 
sword. Persons acquainted with the events that take 
place in China report that on this occasion there perished 
120,000 persons, Moslems, Jews, Christians, and Parsees, 
who had settled in the city for the sake of trade." 2 

Though the revolution, with the cessation of foreign 
trade which it brought about, caused the progressive 
decay of Christianity in China till its revival by the 
Franciscan missionaries of the fourteenth century, it 
probably did not extinguish it altogether. Not only did 
these missionaries find Nestorians in China, but we have 
a few fleeting notices which tend to show some Nestorian 
activity in those parts in the interim. It is true that an 
Arabian has left it on record that he had talked with 
a young monk at Baghdad who, with five others, had been 
sent by the Catholicus (Ebedjesus, 963-86) to China to 
regulate the affairs of the Church there, but who said 
that he had not been able to find a single Christian in 
China. However, as the young monk also stated that 
" he had returned more quickly than he went ", we 
may reasonably conclude, considering the extent of China, 
that his researches had not been considerable. 3 Against 
this we may note that a Chinese authority of the following 
century speaks of a Christian temple which had 
"formerly" been built by people from Central Asia. 4 

1 It is the Quinsay of Marco Polo. 

2 Zeyd, ap. Hue, I.e., p. 93 ff., or Beazley, I.e., p. 418. 

3 Ap. Abulfeda, i, cdii ; Yule, i, 113-14 ; Le Strange, Bagdad, p. 213. 

4 Ap. Yule, i, 116 n., and H. Cordier, Le Christianisme en Chine, 
p. 17. 

Vol. XVII. g 



82 NICHOLAS IV. 

Unfortunately, however, he does not say whether the 
temple was still used by the Christians. Moreover, one 
of the Jesuit missionaries of the seventeenth century 
found a copy of the Bible of this very eleventh century. 1 
It was written in Gothic characters on the very thinnest 
parchment ; but, as it was in Latin, it may perhaps 
have been brought into China by one of the Franciscans 
in the fourteenth century. 2 Whether these facts really 
prove anything or not as to Christianity in China between 
the close of the ninth century and the thirteenth, the 
following statement by the Franciscan Rubruquis would 
seem to show that there must have been some Nestorian 
activity there during that period. Telling of his journey 
(1253-4) t° the Tartar capital, Karakorum, he says not 
only that he found Nestorians all the way to Cathay, but 
that " in fifteen cities of Cathay there are Nestorians, 
and they have an episcopal see in a city called Segin ". 3 
John of Piano Carpini, too, had previously spoken of the 
people of Cathay who had reverence for our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who believed in eternal life, but had not been 
baptized. 4 They were no doubt the descendants of the 
Nestorian Christians of earlier centuries. 
The West However all this may be, it is certain that Catholic 

fntereTt in Christianity was introduced into China at the close of 
the East. the thirteenth century. The Crusades in the eleventh 
century, the stories of the great priest-king, Prester John, 
in the Far East which reached Europe in the twelfth 
century, the doings of Zinghis Khan and his terrible 
Mongols in the beginning of the thirteenth century, 



1 For list of Christian MSS. found in China, see Mingana, Early 
Spread of Christianity in Asia, p. 42 ff. 

2 Yule, I.e., pp. 122-3. 

3 ch. 26 and ch. 28, ed. Rockhill or Bergeron, Recueil de divers 
voyages, ii, p. 60. In ch. 26 he states that he had met a Nestorian from 
Cathay. Segin is generally identified with Si-ngan-fu. 

4 Ch. 9 of his Voyage. 



NICHOLAS IV. 83 

turned the attention of the West very strongly even to 
the Far East. Gregory IX. and Innocent IV. pro- 
claimed Crusades against the Mongols, and the latter 
pontiff, instituting the " Society of brother travellers for 
Jesus Christ ", sent Franciscans and Dominicans to 
gather authentic information about those dreadful Tartars, 
and to work for their conversion. Most nobly did many 
of the friars fulfil the mission entrusted to them. Despite 
every difficulty of language, barbarous manners, and 
well-nigh impassable country, the friars gradually pushed 
their way to the Far East, and before the end of the 
thirteenth century, they had penetrated into China. 

The pontificate of Nicholas IV. was contemporary The Mongol 
with a small portion of the reign in China of Kublai Yuen in 
Khan, grandson of Zinghis (Genghiz) Khan (1162-1227), Chma - 
the founder of the Mongol Empire. Kublai's brother 
Mangu had made great conquests in China, and on his 
death (1257), Kublai assumed the title of Emperor of 
China (1257-94), was recognized all over China c. 1279, 
and founded the Mongol dynasty of Yuen which held 
sway over that immense realm for about a century 
(1257-1368). 

Owing to the freedom from commercial or religious 
bigotry which in the main characterized the Mongol 
rulers, 1 the Popes had very soon entered into relations 
with them. Regular negotiations between them, begun 
under Innocent IV. through John de Piano Carpini, 
continued for more than 120 years (1245-1368), till the 
fall of the Mongol Chinese dynasty, and the re-establish- 
ment of a native Chinese dynasty, that of Ming, and long 
after the more westerly Mongols, after a period of 
indecision, had accepted Mohammedanism and its 

1 John Elemosina, Liber Hist. S. Romance Ecclesice, ap. Golubovich, 
Biobibliog. dell' oriente Francescano , vol. ii, p. 107 : " Et libere con- 
cesserunt (the Mongols or Tartars) nationibus et populis leges suas 
servare et precipue Christianis." John wrote about 1336. Cf. ib.,p. 120. 



84 NICHOLAS IV. 

official intolerance about the beginning of the fourteenth 

century. 1 

The Friars The agents used by the Popes were the Franciscan 

Pope's 6 and Dominican Friars, then in their first fervour. The 

agents in the £ rst ones w h om they sent to the Mongol princes were, 

not unnaturally, for the most part rather diplomati- 

envoys and explorers than missionaries. Such were 

those whom Beazley has well described as " the great 

friar-travellers of the first generation" — Carpini, 

Rubruquis, and Andrew of Longumeau, who found 

their way to Mongol rulers on the Volga and at Kara- 

korum, their capital, in the far distant region of Lake 

Baikal. 2 

Acting on the information obtained from these first 
devoted and intelligent ecclesiastical explorers, the 
Popes took in hand the organization of regular missionary 
expeditions to the more important sections of the huge 
Tartar Empire, to China, to Persia, and south-western 
Asia, and to the different countries of Central Asia. 
Of these great realms " to the north of the Himalayas, the 
Hindu Kush, and the Arabian deserts," only Tartaria 
Magna, i.e., Cathay or China, will be here touched upon, 
and its story, as far as this work is concerned, will be 
bound up with that of Friar John of Montecorvino. This 
Italian Franciscan, born about the year 1247, established 
a Catholic mission in China which flourished amain 
under the Mongol rule, but was completely blotted out 
when the Tartar dynasty came to an end. Its success 



1 This took place under Khaibenda, otherwise called Oljaitu, the 
brother and successor of Ghazan the Ilkhan of Persia (1304-16). Cf. 
Brother Paolina da Venezia (fl344), Chronologia magna, written 
(c. 1316-14), and published in part by Golubovich, Bibliog., ii, 97 ; 
and Hayton, Flores hist. Orient., iii, c. 44 bis, ap. ib., p. 463. On the 
whole subject of the Franciscan missions to China see also the Abbe 
Hue, Christianity in China, Tartary, and Thibet, vol. i, London, 1857. 

2 The Dawn of Modern Geography, vol. iii, p. 161. 



NICHOLAS IV. 85 

was wholly due to John, of whom it has been said that 
" no character so worthy of respect . . . appears among 
the ecclesiastical travellers " of the age. 1 

After the missionary efforts of Innocent IV., the Popes Papal 
kept in more or less close touch with the Tartars of the with "the 
furthest East till towards the last quarter of the fourteenth Tartars from 

• • r rr^- rr. Innocent IV. 

century, till the reign of the dreaded Timur the Tartar , to Nicholas 

the founder of the second great Mongol Empire, in whose Iv - 

time the Mongols of the centre and south-west generally The Polos. 

accepted Mohammedanism. Details have been already 

given of the intercourse between them and Alexander IV., 

under whose pontificate they gave some satisfaction to 

Christendom by putting an end to one of its great foes, 

the Caliphate of Baghdad (1258). In his reign, too, there 

set out for the Far East the famous Venetian travellers, 

the brothers Maffeo and Nicolo Polo (1260). It was 

while his second successor, Clement IV., was Pope, one 

of whose first acts was to cause a crusade to be preached 

against the Tartars, 2 and who appears not to have been 

very much disposed to place confidence in Tartar promises 

— it was while he was Pope that the Polos stood before 

the Great Khan Kublai in China and told him about 

the position of the Pope among Christian Princes and 

about the Church of Rome. Much impressed, the Khan 

begged the brothers to go, with one of his nobles, on an 

embassy to the Pope in his behalf (1266). Furnishing 

them with a letter in Turkish for the Pope, he therein 

begged him to send him a hundred men " wise in the 

Christian law and acquainted with the seven arts ", 

who could prove that it was better than theirs. 3 Finding 

when they reached Acre (April, 1269) that Clement IV. 

was dead (Nov., 1268), the brothers informed Tedaldo 

1 Sir H. Yule, Cathay and the Way Thither, vol. iii, p. 11, new ed. of 
H. Cordier, London, 1914. 

2 See his letter to the bishops of Hungary cited below. 

3 Polo's Travels, c. 7. 



86 NICHOLAS IV. 

Visconti, the Papal legate in Palestine, of the letters 
they had for the Pope. The legate, whom the Polos 
justly describe as a " wise clerk ... a man of great 
authority ... the most distinguished man in all the 
Church of Rome ", bade them await the election of a 
new Pope. 1 But the election was delayed and delayed, 
and the brothers, with Nicolo's son, the famous author, 
Marco, determined to return to Kublai, without the 
wished-for missionaries. Arrived at Acre, they again 
presented themselves before the legate (1271), who gave 
them letters for Kublai. With these, the Polos departed ; 
but they had not gone far on their way when they were 
recalled by the Legate who had received news that he 
had himself been elected Pope (Sept., 1271). Unable 
at the moment to find the hundred wise missionaries, 
the newly-elected Pontiff 2 attached to the Polos the 
two most learned Dominicans he could find in the 
province, and furnished them with letters. 3 But the 
Dominicans proved to be wanting 4 in the necessary 
courage, and left the merchants, who accordingly once 
more presented themselves before the great Khan without 
missionaries. Interest, however, in the Tartars was 
again aroused in Gregory by the appearance of the legates 
of the Khan Abaga at the Council of Lyons (1274). 
Baptized before the assembled Fathers, " they returned 
with joy to Tartary," says John Elemosina, 5 " telling 

1 Travels, Prologue. 

2 Known as Gregory X. 

3 Polo's Travels, ib. 

4 Ib. 

5 See extracts from his Chronicle, published for the first time by 
Golubovich, Biblioteca, ii, p. 125. The Acts of the Council for July 16 
say that " one of the Tartar envoys, with two of his suite (socii) ", 
was baptized. The remaining thirteen members of the embassy were 
already Christians. On Jan. 26, 1275, our own King Edward directed 
a letter to Abaga Khan, " Prince of the Magali," in which he expressed 
his pleasure at his affection for the Christian faith, and at his promise 
to assist the Christians in the Holy Land. Rymer, ii, 43. 



NICHOLAS IV. 87 

their king and people great things about the faith of 
Christ and about the holy Roman Church. From that 
time the Church of the Faithful increased in Tartaria 
Aquilonari, Gazaria and Kipchak, i.e., among the Tartars 
to the north of the Black and Caspian Seas." Gregory, 
unfortunately, did not live long enough to follow up his 
first dealings with Kublai, and his first three successors 
reigned for too short a time to be able to give much 
attention to Tartar questions. But in April, 1278, 
Nicholas III. sent off a fresh band of Franciscans furnished 
with letters, not merely to Abaga, the subordinate Khan 
of Persia, but to his uncle, Kublai, the great Khan himself 
in China. 1 This he did, to some extent at least, in 
fulfilment of the wishes of his predecessor, John XXI. 
That pontiff had received fresh communications from 
Abaga who had followed up his negotiations with 
Clement IV., and the embassy of sixteen which he had 
sent to the Council of Lyons by another in charge of the 
brothers Vassalli. 2 John had therefore selected five 
Franciscans, placing at their head Gerard of Prato, to 
carry his replies to the Khan, and to work for the con- 
version of his subjects. Salimbene, who gives us this 
information, was personally acquainted with these envoys, 
and on their safe return learnt much about the Tartars 
from them. 3 

Abaga's embassy to John XXI., just like his former 
ones, was mainly political in its object. Faced by the 
power of the Moslem, Abaga, whose wife had told him 

1 See the letters in Wadding, Ann. Minorum, v, 35 ff., or Reg. 
Nich. III., nn. 232-8. Cf. Hue, Christ, in China, i, 287 ff. 

2 The register of Charles of Anjou reveals the fact that one of these 
envoys (Jacobus Vassallus, nuntius illustris regis Tartarorum) had 
been robbed by one of his servants. Cf. M. Ricci, II regno di Carlo I. 
d'Angid, ad an. 1277, Jan. 26, p. 7. 

3 Chron., p. 210. G. de Prato " cum quo habitavi in conventu 
Pisano quando eramus juvenes . . . Reversi sunt itaque fratres . . . 
sopites, et multa dicebant de eis (Tartars) ut ab eis audivi ", 



88 NICHOLAS IV. 

much about the power of the Christian West, 1 hoped 
to get the aid of the Christians to help him to break it. 
He had accordingly as a bait, offered to help them to free 
the Holy Land from the Moslem. This was as far back as 
the days of Clement IV. That Pontiff, in replying to the 
offer (1267), 2 had told him that the Christian princes were 
preparing to wage war on the Moslem, and that he would 
communicate his wishes and those of his father-in-law 
to them, and in due course report to him their decisions. 
As the Crusade of St. Louis (1270) went to Tunis, there 
was no opportunity of testing the genuineness of the 
promises of Abaga ; but Gregory X. gave to his envoys 
at Lyons a reply similar to that which Clement IV. had 



1 He had married a natural daughter of Michael Palaeologus. Abaga 
and Palaeologus also urged the warlike James I. of Aragon to help 
them to recover the Holy Land, promising him supplies of all kinds. 
According to his own account, James was inclined to fall in with 
their suggestions, but the King of Castile warned him that " the 
Tartars were deceitful, and . . . would not perform what they had 
promised " ; and advised him not to undertake such an enterprise 
" for anything in this world ". This was in the year 1268. Cf. James' 
Chronicle, vol. ii, cc. 475 and 481, Eng. trans. 

2 The letter, ap. Martene, Thes. nov. anecdot., ii, 517, n. 520, is 
addressed to " Elchani Apacha ", i.e., to the Ilkhan, Abaga, and is 
of Aug. 13-16, 1267. The Pope says that no one in his court could 
read the letter, as Abaga had not written in Latin as before. He had 
to depend upon what he could gather through an interpreter, from the 
envoy. The letter of the Pope began by congratulating Abaga upon 
being a follower of God's only begotten Son, and by thanking him for 
his congratulations on the defeat of Manfred by Charles. Evidently 
the ruler of Persia was well informed as to European politics, probably 
better informed than the Pope was regarding the Tartars. Clement, 
though his language is ambiguous, appears to have supposed that 
Abaga was actually a Christian. But as Marino Sanudo, Liber 
Secretor., lib. iii, pt. xiii, c. 8, ap. Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, 
p. 238), who wrote between 1306 and 1321, says : " He refused to be 
baptized, and worshipped idols." The first letter of Clement IV. about 
the Tartars had been to the bishops of Hungary (June 25, 1265), urging 
them to preach a Crusade against them in their country and in 
Bohemia, Poland, Brandenburg, etc. Cf. Theiner, Mon. Hung., i, 280. 



NICHOLAS IV. 89 

given. He promised to notify him about the future 
movements of the Christian forces. 1 

Though thus in touch with the Mongols of the south- 
west of Asia, it does not appear that Gregory made any 
further efforts to get into communication with Kublai. 
He doubtless awaited the return of the Polos. His letters 
had by these adventurous travellers been duly presented 
to the Great Khan " probably in the early summer of 
1275 ". 2 But long before the Polos returned to Venice 
with Kublai's replies (1295), Gregory had died, and fresh 
papal missions had been sent to China. 

The first of these was that dispatched by Nicholas III., ^ennssion 
of which we have already spoken. But there is no m. to China, 
evidence that Gerard of Prato and his companions ever 1278 - 
reached China. It is true that Nicholas had urged Abaga 
to help them to reach his uncle, 3 and he had addressed 
a letter to Kublai whom he wrongly supposed to be a 
Christian. He had briefly explained to him the mystery 
of man's redemption by our Lord, and the power that 
the Saviour had left with St. Peter and his successors. 
He had told the Khan that, in virtue of his office, it was 
his duty to preach the Gospel to the whole world, and he 
accordingly urged Kublai to help the missionaries whom 
he was sending to him in order that they might convert 
his people. 4 

Though they appear to have made many converts, 5 

1 Ep. of March 13, 1274, ap. Wadding, iv, pp. 416-17. 

2 Travels, Prologue. 

3 Ep. Apr. 1, 1278, ap. Wad., v, p. 36 f. He calls the great Khan 
" Quolibey . . . moderator omnium Tartarorum ", and says of him, 
" qui jam dudum fuisse asseritur baptizatus." He tells Abaga that 
the friars he is sending him are especially good men, well acquainted 
with the Sacred Scriptures, and he begs him: " eos cum securo 
conductu ad praefatum Cham, cum expensarum et aliorum 
necessariorum provisione matura deliberatione transmittens." 

4 Ep. Apr. 4, 1278, ap. ib., p. 38 ff. 

6 Cf. ep. of Nicholas III. (Oct. 7, 1278), ap. ib., p. 42. 



9° NICHOLAS IV. 

still, as we have said, there is not the slightest evidence 
that Gerard and his companions ever got as far as China. 
Whether they finally lost heart, like the two Dominicans 
who set out with the three Polos, or whether Abaga's 
successor, Ahmad Nikudar, 1 who apostatized, would 
not permit them to proceed, is wholly uncertain. 
It was reserved for the first Franciscan Pope, 
Nicholas IV., to send the first real Franciscan 
missionary to China. 

Montecorvino Towards the beginning of his pontificate, Nicholas IV. 

sent thither selected among others for the important work of the 

by Nicholas „ • £ lA ^ , _,, . 

IV., 1289. conversion of the Tartars of China, two of the most 
distinguished Franciscans of his time, John of Parma, 
who had once been Minister-General of the Order, and 
John of Montecorvino, 2 whom contemporary and modern 
authors alike agree in praising. John had already had 
considerable experience of missionary work in the East, 
and had brought back word that Arghun (Argon), the 
fourth Ilkhan of Persia (1284-91), was very well disposed 
" towards us (the Pope) and the Roman Church, as also 
towards other Christian Churches ". 3 The Tartar Prince 
had himself expressed this goodwill by his envoys, and 

1 M. Sanutus (Sanudo) calls him Tangodomor (1281-4), and tells 
of his inducing many of his subjects to become Moslems like himself, 
and of his persecuting the Christians. L.c, p. 239. It is interesting 
to note that this embassy cost the Holy See : " 998 pounds, 2 solidi 
and 9 denarii." Cf. ep. of Nicholas IV., Jan. 8, 1290, ap. Reg., n. 7244, 
ed. Langlois. See Golubovich, Biblioteca, ii, 426 ff. 

2 Cf. the Chron. of Bro. John Elemosina, ap. Golubovich, ii, pp. 110, 
126-7, and 131. In the last reference we read : " Frater Yohannes 
de Monte corvino de ordine Fratrum Minorum, b. Francisci devotus 
imitator, in se ipso rigidus et severus, et in verbo Dei docendo . . . 
fervidus, a d. Nicolao P. IV. auctoritate ... ad predicandos infideles 
iter aggressus." On John and his work, see A. van der Wyngajrt, 
Jean de Mont Corvin, Lille, 1924, and A. Thomas, Histoire de la mission 
de Pekin, Paris, 1923. 

3 See ep. of Nicholas to Arghun (July 15, 1289), ap. Wad., 
v, 195. 



NICHOLAS IV. 91 

had, at the same time, declared that this same goodwill 
was shared by " Cobyla (Kublai), the great illustrious 
Prince of the Tartars ", who had asked that " some Latin 
religious " should be sent to him. Wherefore, to oblige 
them both, Nicholas sent to them John of Montecorvino 
and a number of companions. 1 

As John of Parma died before the departure of the 
mission, Montecorvino became its chief. Travelling 
first to Tabriz in Persia, he made his way thence to India 
(1291). After staying some thirteen months in India, 
" wherein is the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle," 
and baptizing about a hundred people in different parts, 
he set sail for China. The ship in which he sailed was, 
according to his own description of it, not one to inspire 
much confidence. It was, he wrote, " mighty frail and 
uncouth with no iron in it, and no caulking. It was sewn 
like clothes with twine, and so if the twine breaks any- 
where there is a breach indeed. ... It has, in the middle 
of the stern, a frail and flimsy rudder like the top of a 
table, a cubit in width. Tacking could only be done 
with much trouble, and if there was much of a wind, it 
was impossible to tack at all. There was but one sail, 
and one mast, and the sail was of matting or some 
miserable cloth. The ropes were of resti (some kind of 
grass). The mariners, too, were few and far from good 
. . . Hence when a ship achieved a safe voyage, it was 

1 lb., and the letter to " Cobyla Cham ", ib., p. 196 f. Nicholas even 
wrote to Kaidu who was in arms against Kublai, lb., p. 197, as also 
to the King of Little Armenia (Cilicia), anxious for union with Rome, 
to his Aunt Mary, to the bishop of Tabriz, to the Jacobite Patriarch, 
" to the illustrious Emperor of Ethiopia " and many others. Ib., 
p. 199 ff. The Emperor of Ethiopia may be the Sultan of Delhi, but 
is probably the Emp. of Abyssinia. In the Revue des Quest. Hist., 
July, 1922, p. 201, it is stated that M. Pelliot had found in the Vatican 
archives a letter of Arghun (1291) to Nicholas IV., and a safe-conduct 
for a mission of bishops, and also a letter of his successor (Gamgiatu, 
or Aicatu or Caictu) regarding a mission of Guiscard. 



92 NICHOLAS IV. 

customary to say that it was by God's guidance, and 
that man's skill had availed but little." 1 

Under God's guidance then, Friar John stood before 
the great Khan in Cambaliech (Peking) in 1292 or 1293, 
not very long after the Polos had set out from Zaiton 
(Amoy harbour) on their return journey. These worthy 
merchants had won great favour with Kublai, whom they 
correctly described as "the most puissant man who has 
ever been in the world ", 2 and consequently had prepared 
the way for the missionary. " Continuing my journey," 
says John himself, " I reached the realm of the Emperor 
of the Tartars who is called the Great Cham, and by 
means of the letter of our lord the Pope (Nicholas IV.), 
I invited him to adopt the Catholic faith of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. But he was too firmly rooted (inveteratus) 
in idolatry. Still he bestowed many benefits on the 
Christians, and this is now the twelfth year that I have 
been with him." 3 As Kublai Khan died at the age of 

1 Yule's translation of this letter has here been largely utilized, ap. 
Cathay and the Way Thither, iii, 66 f., new ed., 1914. The original may 
be read, e.g., in Golubovich, i, 305 ff. 

2 Travels, c. 1. Polo says that the statements in his book prove his 
words. " After Chingiz himself," says Mr. Beazley, Dawn of Mod. 
Geog., iii, 43-4, " no one of the Mongol Khans could be said to rival 
Kublai. As a civilizer, a patron of arts and letters, a ruler of spirit 
finely touched and to fine issues, he was unequalled among the princes 
of his dynasty. ... He was the fine flower of Tartar nature : the 
philosopher-king of a dynasty which had begun with no claim but 
force." If he was a great personality, the territory over which he ruled 
from the Chinese Sea to the Dnieper, and from the Arctic Ocean to the 
country south of the Ganges, was the greatest that has ever been 
subject to one ruler. As the Mongol Emperors in China had a Russian 
bodyguard, he must have learnt something of Christianity from them 
before the arrival of John. Cf. H. Cordier, Ser Marco Polo, p. 129 f. 

3 The letter of John of Montecorvino : " Given in the city of 
Cambuliech in the kingdom of Cathay a.d. 1305, Jan. 8." See Golu- 
bovich's new and most correct reading of this letter, iii, p. 87 ff. The 
other printed versions of this letter, giving two years as the time of 
John's being with the Great Khan, have caused great confusion. Yule, 
I.e., p. 45 f., gives an English translation of this letter. 



NICHOLAS IV. 93 

eighty in February, 1294, 1 we may perhaps suppose that 
in 1293 the actual government was already in the hands 
of his grandson, Timur Oljaitu (1294-1307)- Moreover, 
as the devotion of this latter to the doctrines of the Lamas 
is known from other sources, 2 the phrase " grown old in Prince 
idolatry, inveteratus in ydolatria " would apply to him 
as well as to the aged Kublai. At any rate, neither of 
them was converted. 

However, if John failed to convert Timur, he succeeded 
in converting one of his subordinate princes. This was 
the Nestorian Prince George, of the family of the famous 
Prester John. To him John gave the Minor Orders ; and 
when he said Mass, the Prince served it " wearing his 
royal robes ". Angry at their Princes leaving their body, 
the Nestorians " who profess to bear the Christian name ", 
but, adds John, " who deviate sadly from the Christian 
religion," strove to ruin the missionary by saying that 
he was no true envoy of the Pope, but was an impostor 
and a perverter of the minds of men. They also taunted 
Prince George with apostasy. But their calumnies were 
finally exposed, and they were banished with their wives 
and children by the Emperor. As for Prince George, 
he remained firm in the faith, " brought over a great 
part of his people to the true Catholic faith," and built a 
great church " in honour of our God, of the Holy Trinity, 
and of our lord the Pope, calling it the Roman Church ". 3 

It was in vain that John tried to bring back these 
Nestorians to the obedience of the See of Rome, pointing 

1 Cf. H. Cordier, Ser Marco Polo, p. 68, London, 1920. 

2 Rashid-ed-din, the contemporary most important authority on 
Mongol hist., p. 191, ed. Quatremere, cited by Yule, I.e. 

3 Ep. of John. The Nestorians even accused John of having 
murdered the real papal envoy, and stolen the great presents which 
he was bearing to the Khan. Timur is highly praised by the Dominican, 
Jordan of Severac, in his Mirabilia Descripta, ap. Beazley, Dawn, 
iii, 232. 



94 NICHOLAS IV. 

out to them how necessary authority was for salvation. 
They replied by trying to pull down in the night what he 
had built of his " Minorite abbeys " in the day time. 
And, yet, says John of Cora, whom we are here quoting, 
if only, with their numbers and wealth, with the official 
positions they held at the imperial court, with their fine 
churches, they had been willing to co-operate with John 
and his friars, they could have converted the whole Chinese 
Empire. In fact, John would have himself have con- 
verted the whole country if the Nestorians had even left 
him alone, and not done all they could to thwart him. 1 
fib 111 S ^ e m defatigable missionary, however, made converts 

among the idolatrous Mongols, and amongst the Chinese 
themselves, whether among the utilitarian pantheistic 
followers of Confucius or among the magic-loving disciples 
of Lao-Tze, or among the devotees of the Indian Buddha. 
For eleven years John was without help in his missionary 
labours ; but, about two years before writing the letter 
from which we have just quoted, he was joined by a friar 
Arnold, a German of the province of Cologne. However, 
despite the bitter calumnies of the Nestorians, and want 
of assistance, John built a church, baptized thousands of 
people, bought 150 boys and trained them to sing the 
Divine Office, teaching them Latin and Greek. He also 
translated into the Tartar tongue the New Testament 
and the Psalter. But as he had no music books with 
him, the boys had to be taught by ear. He accordingly 
begged " the Minister-General of our Order " to send him 
such books, and also earnest brethren, men who could 
stand the allure of " aromatic spices and precious stones " 
and who would " lead exemplary lives, and not merely 
strive to enlarge their own phylacteries ". 2 When he 

1 See the report of John de Cora, Livre de I'fitat du Grand Caan, 
pp. 344-5, ed. de Backer; and Beazley, Dawn, iii, 208-10. 

2 lb. John had to deplore the relapse of his convert Nestorians on 
the death of Prince George, and the arrival of a Lombard surgeon who 



NICHOLAS IV. 95 

penned this interesting letter which he desired to have 
brought to the knowledge of the Pope, he had not, he 
said, had any news of the Papal court or of his own Order 
for twelve years. Hence he prayed the brethren to whom 
his letter might come to bring it to the notice of the Pope 
and of the agents of our Order in Rome. 

In the following year (1306), John, "legate and nuncio 
of the Apostolic See," had another opportunity of sending 
a letter to the West, and of telling of the further progress 
of his labours, and the anxiety of the Khan to see envoys 
from the court of Rome and the Latin world. John was 
the more anxious to have more fresh workers sent to the 
East, as he had received a deputation from a certain part 
of Ethiopia, 1 asking for Christian preachers, as they had 
had none since the days of St. Matthew the Apostle, 
and his disciples. 2 

From the chronicle of brother Elemosina, we learn the John's 
joy which these letters caused to cleric and lay alike on received by 
their arrival in Italy " and the western regions " in the Clement v. 
days of Clement V. 3 They had been brought to Italy 
by a certain Franciscan, brother Thomas of Tolentino, 
who had himself " preached for many years among the 
infidels ". He then took them to Avignon, and at first 
brought them to the notice of the Pope through the 
Franciscan cardinal, " John de Muro." 4 Anxious that 
" such a holy work of God " should continue, Clement 
bade the Minister-General of the Franciscans pick out 

had spread abroad " incredible blasphemies against the Roman curia, 
our Order, and the state of the West ". All this work of John is 
described also, but not so accurately, in the Chron. of John of Winterthur 
(fl. 1348), ap. Eccard, Corpus, i, p. 1895 f., or Golubovich, iii, p. 160 ff. 

1 That is, no doubt, India, as it was from the fourth century onwards 
often called Ethiopia. Cf. Reinaud, Relations de I'Emp. Rom. avec 
Asie Orient., p. 175. 

2 Ep. of Feb. 13, 1306, ap. Golubovich, iii, p. 91, and Yule, p. 51 ff. 

3 Ap. Golub., ib., p. 86. 

4 He had been Minister-General of the Order. In Eubel, Hierarchies, 
p. 13, he is called " Joannes Minius de Murovallium ". 



96 NICHOLAS IV. 

seven zealous brothers " learned in the divine Scriptures " 
to be ordained bishops by his authority. They were to 
proceed to China, consecrate Montecorvino " archbishop 
and Patriarch of the whole East ", and be his suffragans 
(July 23, 1307). * Montecorvino was to be another Pope 
in the Far East, but he and his successors in Peking had 
ever to acknowledge their submission to the Roman 
Pontiff, and receive the pallium from him. 2 

With a large number of other brothers, the seven who 
were duly consecrated bishops, set out for Peking, 3 and 
as we are informed in a letter of one of them, Andrew, 
bishop of Zayton (Amoy harbour), they reached Peking 
" in the year of our Lord's incarnation 1308, as well as 
I can reckon." 4 When we say " they reached ", we mean 
that a number of them reached China. From the letter 
of Andrew, from which we have just quoted a few words, 
it appears that no fewer than three of the bishops and 
many of the brothers died during the journey "in an 
extremely hot locality " in India. When the three 
bishops arrived in Peking, which cannot have been before 
1309 or 10, they " according to the orders given us by the 
Apostolic See" , duly consecrated Montecorvino Archbishop. 

Among other Franciscans who somewhat later went 
out to work under Montecorvino, was one of the most 
famous of the friar-traveller authors, Odoric of Pordenone 
or of Friuli. 5 He remained in Peking for three years, 

1 Chron. of J. Eles., ap. Gol., ib., p. 94. Cf. pp. 95 and 108. 

2 lb., p. 95. " Tarn ipse fr. Johannes quam omnes archiepiscopi 
Cambalienses futuri per secula Romane ecclesie subjaceant in his 
pactis." 

3 Ib. From the names which can be traced, it would seem that only- 
six set out. 

4 He was writing in Jan., 1326. Ep. ap. Yule, iii, p. 71 ft. The 
original may be read in Raynaldus, Annates, 1326, nn. 30-1. 

5 His story of his travels may be read in the original Latin in Marcell. 
da Civezza, Storia delle Missioni Francescane, iii, 739-81 ; in old 
French in L. de Backer, L'extreme Orient, p. 89 ff., and in English in 
Yule, Cathay, vol. ii. 



NICHOLAS IV. 97 

sometime between 1323 and 1328 ; and then, according 
to the tradition of the Order, he was sent back by the 
great Khan to the Pope in order to obtain more 
missionaries. Unfortunately, however, he died at Pisa 
(f 1331) when on his way to Pope John XXII. 
at Avignon. 1 

Despite the fact that by 1326 all the six suffragan 
bishops who actually set out, except Andrew of Zayton, 
had died, 2 and despite the constant opposition of the 
Nestorians, considerable advance was made under the 
new regime. Churches were built, and many of the 
idolaters were baptized ; though, says bishop Andrew, 
" many of the baptized walk not rightly in the path of 
Christianity." 3 

Three fresh Franciscan suffragan bishops had been 
sent out by Clement V. in 1311, 4 but the distance between 
Europe and China was great ; and the natural obstacles 
of every kind to be encountered in overcoming that 
distance were greatly increased by the wars constantly 
in progress among the Mongols themselves. Hence, 
seemingly, no further help from the West reached the 
Chinese mission. 

In 1328 John of Montecorvino went the way of all 
flesh ; and, as we are told by the Franciscan missionary 
traveller, John of Marignolli, who died bishop of 



1 Wadding, Annates, vii, p. 124 ; Beazley, The Dawn of Modern 
Geography, iii, pp. 250 ff. and 287, and Yule, I.e., p. 275, ed. 1914. 

2 Ib. 

3 Ib. Cf. The Book of the Estate of the Grand Cham, ap. Yule, ib., 
p. 89 ff., nn. 8-10. This was written about 1330, when Montecorvino 
was dead, and is supposed to be the work of the Dominican, John 
de Cora. At any rate it was the work of the Archbishop of Soltaniah, 
and J. de C. was named archbishop of S. by John XXII. See the 
diploma in Raynaldus, ib., 1330, n. 57. The original of the Livre du 
Grant Caan may be read in De Backer, p. 335 ff. 

4 See the bulls of nomination, Dec. 20, 1310, and Feb. 19, 1311, ap. 
Wad., Annal., vi, 467 ff. 

Vol. XVII. h 



98 NICHOLAS IV. 

Bisignano (1357-9), he was " venerated as a Saint " by 
the Alans and Tartars. 1 

The death of Montecorvino would appear to have been 
soon followed by the deaths of bishop Andrew of Zayton, 
and of his successor, Peter of Florence, one of the three 
additional suffragans sent out by Clement V. For the 
Book of the Estate of the Great Cham, which was written 
about 1330, speaks as though they were both dead. 2 
Successors of When news of the death of Montecorvino reached 
vino. Avignon (1333), the energetic John XXII. at once 

nominated as his successor a certain Nicholas, also a 
Franciscan, 3 and sent him to China in company with 
twenty friars and six laymen. They were bearers of 
letters for the Great Khan, for the Tartar princes, and 
other great people whom they were likely to meet on 
their journey, Oct., 1333. 4 But it would appear that 
these missionaries never got beyond the Middle Tartar 
sub-empire, that known in some Latin documents as the 
Medic Empire. 5 A letter of Pope Benedict XII. to 
Chansi (i.e., Jinkshai), Lord of the Middle Tartars, dated 
1338, shows Nicholas -building and repairing churches 
in those parts, while, on the other hand, an embassy 
from the Great Khan himself, and a letter from some of 
his Christian chiefs, which also reached Avignon in 1338, 

1 See his Recollections of Eastern Travel, ap. Yule, iii, 215-16, new ed. 
The original may best be read in Pontes Rerum Bohemicarum, iii, 
p. 492 ff., ed. Prague, 1882, as the Recollections were first inserted by 
Marignolli in his Cronica of Bohemia. Cf. The Book of the Estate, 
n. 8, p. 101. 

2 L.c, n. 8. 

3 Sept. 18, 1333, ap. Eubel, Bull. Francisc, v, n. 1037. Cf., n. 1057 
of Feb. 13, 1334. In a note Eubel records that John gave Nicholas 
"100 gold florins as viaticum ". 

4 The letters in Wadding, Ann., vii, 138 ff., include some to Princes 
in Russia and Armenia. 

5 It was the country between Persia and Cathay (China) with its 
capital Armalec. It was hence called the Middle Empire, and was 
equivalent to Turkestan. 



NICHOLAS IV. 99 

shows that Nicholas and his party had not yet reached 
China when the imperial envoys left it. The letter 
(about July, 1336) from Christian Alan chiefs in the 
Emperor's service, 1 begins by assuring the Holy Father, 
whom they salute, as they say, "with their heads in 
the dust," that " for a long time we received instruction 
in the Catholic faith . . . from your legate Friar John, 
a man of weighty, capable, and holy character. But, 
since his death eight years ago, we have been without 
a director. We have heard, indeed, that thou hadst 
sent another legate, but he hath never yet appeared. 
Wherefore we beseech your Holiness to send us a legate 
wise, capable, and virtuous to care for our souls. And let 
him come quickly, for we are here a flock without a head ". 
They add that, on three or four occasions, papal envoys 
have arrived, have been well received by the Emperor, 
and have promised to return again with messages from 
the Pope, and have not done so. 2 

The Emperor's letter to the Pope, " the lord of the 
Christians," recommending his envoys, merely states 
that he has sent an embassy to facilitate communication 
" between us and the Pope ". 3 

This embassy was well received by Pope Benedict XII. 4 
One of the envoys was attached to the Pope's guard, 5 and 
after many consultations with the cardinals, Benedict 
sent off the Tartar envoys with a number of letters to 

1 See Marignolli's Recollections of Eastern Travel, ap. Yule, Cathay, 
iii, p. 210, ed. of 1914. 

2 Cf. the letter ap. Yule, Cathay, iii, p. 181 ff. The extraordinary- 
names, " Futim Joens, etc.," of the chiefs is one reason why the 
authenticity of this letter has been called in question by some. But 
the names have been proved to be authentic, for several of them have 
been found in Chinese documents. lb., p. 182, n. 

3 Ap. ib., p. 180 f. 

4 See his letter to Philip VI. of France, ap. Raynaldus, an. 1338, n. 73. 

5 Vita octava Bened. XII., ap. Baluze, i, p. 238 n. " Servientem 
armorum suorum creavit." Ed. Mollat. 



100 NICHOLAS IV. 

the great Khan, " probably Toghon Timur Ukhagatu 
(1332-68)," the last Mongol ruler, to the Alan chiefs, and 
to other Tartar and Christian Princes (June, 1338). 1 In 
his letter to the Great Khan, whom he styles " Magnificent 
Prince, Emperor of the Emperors of all the Tartars", 
Benedict thanked him for the respect he had manifested 
to him, and for the favour he had shown the Christians 
in his Empire, which he begged him to continue. He, 
moreover, exhorted the Khan to embrace the faith of 
Christ, and promised to send him the envoys for whom 
he had asked, and from whom he could learn all the Pope 
wished to communicate to him. 2 To the Alans and the 
other Christians, Benedict sent a fairly detailed list of 
the chief articles of the Christian faith. 3 

In October he nominated a number of Franciscans 
as his envoys to the Khan. 4 Of these, one was John 
of Florence, or John Marignolli, who, as we have 
stated, has left us various notices of his mission. 

John tells us how he was sent by Benedict XII. " to 
carry presents and letters " to the " chief Emperor of all 
the Tartars, a sovereign who holds the sway of nearly 
half the eastern world ". 5 He set out from Avignon in 
December, 1338, and reached the city of the Great Khan 
(Cambaliech, Peking) in August, 1342. The Khan was 
delighted, he says, with the great horses and the other 
presents sent him by the Pope, and also with the letters 
of the Pope and King Robert " with their golden seals ", 
and treated us with the greatest honour. John remained 
in Peking between three and four years, and with his 
companions "had many glorious disputations with the 

1 Ap. Wad., vii, 210 fif., or Raynaldus, an. 1338, n. 75 ff. 

2 Ep. of June 13, 1338, ap. Raynaldus, nn. 75 and 76 of the year 1338. 

3 Ap. ib., nn. 77-9. Cf. Hue, Christianity in China, i, p. 404 ff. 

4 lb., vii, p. 214 (Oct. 31, 1338). Cf. Joan. Vitoduranus, Chron., 
ap. Eccard, Corpus, i, 1852. The Chinese envoys left Avignon after 
July 19, 1338. 

5 Ap. Yule, Cathay, iii, p. 209 f. 



NICHOLAS IV. IOI 

Jews and other sectaries, and made also a great harvest 
of souls in that empire ". But John was not prepared to 
devote the whole of his life to the noble work he had 
begun ; and so, " when the Emperor saw that nothing 
would induce me to abide there, he gave me leave to 
return to the Pope, carrying presents from him, with an 
allowance for three years' expenses, and with a request 
that either I or someone else should be sent speedily 
back with the rank of Cardinal, and with full powers 
to be Bishop there." These words would seem to prove 
clearly enough that when they were written Nicholas 
had still not arrived at Peking. Some authors, however, 
believe that, nevertheless, he did ultimately reach that 
city, as they identify him with a certain Nich-ku-lun 
who is mentioned in the Chinese Ming-Shih, a work which 
was concluded in 1724. The document says that " at the 
close of the Yuan Dynasty, Nich-ku-lun, a native of 
Fu-lin (the Empire in the West) came to China for trading 
purposes. When, after the fall of the Yuan, he was not 
able to return, the Emperor, T'si-tsu, who had heard of 
this, commanded him to his presence (1371), and gave 
orders that an official letter be placed in his hands for 
transmission to his King ".* 

The letter explained the fall of the corrupt Yuan 
Dynasty, and the establishment of the " Great Ming " 
Dynasty. It concluded, " We now send Nich-ku-lun 
to hand you this manifesto announcing our peaceful 
intentions." 2 No doubt it is possible that this passage 
refers to the Franciscan bishop Nicholas ; but for our- 
selves, we believe it refers to a trader of that name, 
and conclude that Nicholas never reached Peking. 3 

1 See Golubovich, Biblioteca dell' Oriente Francescano, in, 419 ff. 

2 From F. Hirth, China and the Roman Orient, p. 65. 

3 And that, too, despite the fact that on Nov. 30, 1338, Benedict 
XII. addressed a letter (Etsi pastoralis, ap. Eubel, Bull. Francisc, 
t. vi) to our " Venerable brother the archbishop of Peking " where 
" there are many faithful ". Cf. Golubovich, I.e., iv, p. 261. 



102 NICHOLAS IV. 

Returning to the narrative of Marignolli, we note 
that he interrupts his narrative for a moment to advise 
that any such dignitary as might be sent out to oblige 
the Emperor should be a Franciscan, " because they 
are the only priests that they are acquainted with ; and 
they think that the Pope is always of that Order, because 
Pope Girolamo (Nicholas IV.) was so who sent them " 
John of Montecorvino. 1 During his return journey, 
Marignolli was robbed by a Saracen ruler of the presents 
which he had received for the Pope at Peking, 2 though 
he was afterwards given others for him. 3 

Perhaps with these latter still in his possession, he 
reached the court of Pope Innocent VI. in Avignon 
(1353), and presented to him the letter he had brought 
from the great Khan. In it the Khan, after averring that 
the Christian faith was praiseworthy, declared the Pope 
supreme over all the Christians in his dominions, no 
matter to what sect they belonged, and begged for 
more missionaries. John was most favourably received 
by the Pope, who at once dispatched a letter to the 
Franciscan chapter which was about to meet at Assisi, 
asking that suitable brethren should be set apart for the 
Chinese mission, and stating that he would himself 
consecrate some of them bishops, as the Khan was 
especially anxious for such. 4 

But, for some reason or other, it would appear that no 
fresh mission was sent to China by Innocent VI. Luke 
Wadding, the great Franciscan annalist, says that the 
reason was the internal troubles which had broken out 

1 Marignolli, I.e., p. 215. He incidentally remarks that in his capacity 
of papal legate, he received from the Christians of St. Thomas, who 
were masters of the public steel yard, 100 gold fan (about £3 6s.) 
every month. lb., p. 217. 

2 lb., pp. 231-2. 

3 lb., p. 268. 

4 Cf. Chron. XXIV. General., an. 1352, p. 548 ; Glassberger, Chron., 
ad an. 1353, p. 187 ; and Wadding, Annul., t. viii, p. 87. 



NICHOLAS IV. 103 

in Tartary. He refers no doubt to the rising of the 
native Chinese against the Mongol dynasty which ended 
in 1368 in the establishment of the native Ming (Bright) 
dynasty. 1 Perhaps the reason given by the author 
of the Chronicle of the XXIV. Generals is also not beside 
the mark. He ascribes the failure to a lack of interest 
on the part of those who ought to have promoted the 
mission. 2 He does not, however, say whether the luke- 
warmness was on the part of the Pope or on that of the 
Franciscans, or on the part of all concerned. Moreover, 
we must not forget that between the years 1349 and 1362 
occurred the three terrible Pestilences which completely 
disorganized the traffic of Europe, and carried off two- 
thirds of the whole Franciscan Order. 3 At any rate, the 
Franciscan mission to China was near its end. We read 
in 1362 of the martyrdom by the Saracens in the kingdom 
of the Medes (the Chagatai Khanate) of brother James of 
Florence, " bishop of Zayton " 4 ; and in 1370 of a last 
effort for the conversion of China made by Pope Urban V. 
From a number of letters which he wrote in the March 
of that year, 5 we learn that a certain brother Cosmas, 
who had succeeded Nicholas, the successor of John of 
Montecorvino, was transferred to the see of Sara'i in 
Tartary from that of Peking (1370), and was replaced 
by the Parisian doctor, William of Prato. 6 This 
distinguished Frenchman who had been a professor at 



1 Cf. Hue, China, i, 416. 

2 "Tamen tepescentibus hinc inde qui negotium debebant promovere, 
ulterius modicum est processum." L.c. 

3 Wyngaert, Jean de Mont Corvin, p. 46. 

4 Chron., I.e., p. 559. 

5 See also the Chron., p. 572, " P. Urbanus misit ad imperium de 
Cathay laetissimum dominum fratrem Gulielmum de Prato . . . 
quern fecit episcopum, cum aliis magistris et 60 fere aliis fratribus." 

6 See also the letters addressed to him as " archiepiscopus Cam- 
baliensis " ; to the Great Khan, etc., ap. Wadding, Annal. Min., 
viii, p. 222 ff., or Raynaldus, an. 1370, n. 9 ff . 



104 NICHOLAS IV. 

Oxford, 1 was appointed by Urban chief of all the 
missionaries whom he was sending not merely to the 
Chinese, but to the Saracens, Goths, Jacobites, Nestorians, 
Georgians, etc. He was also made the bearer of letters 
to the Great Khan, and to other Tartar Princes. In his 
letter to the Great Khan 2 Urban, while begging him to 
receive William well, made the mistake of supposing that 
he was a Christian, and hence prayed that his faith 
might never fail. 3 Unfortunately, nothing more is known 
of this important mission ; and though the names of some 
successors of William de Prato in the see of Peking appear 
to be known, 4 there is no evidence that either William 
himself or any of his successors ever visited Peking. 

In their opposition to the Mongols, the Chinese turned 
against the Catholics whom they had favoured, and in 
the course of the fifteenth century destroyed them almost 
entirely, whilst, owing to the fearsome ravages of the 
terrible Tartar, Timur-Leng, or Tamerlane, it was 
impossible to get spiritual help to them from the West. 
The effort of " Pope Girolamo " was spent, but the 
" Society of Brothers Travellers for Jesus Christ ", as 
the Franciscan and Dominican missionaries to the Far 
East were touchingly called, had covered themselves 

1 Cf. note 4, p. 572, to the Chronicle of the Generals. 

2 Still Toghon Timur Ukhagatu (1332-68 or 70), or in Chinese, 
Chum Ti, the last sovereign of the Yuen dynasty. 

3 Ep. ap., Wad., I.e., p. 223 f., or Raynaldus, Annales, 1370, n. 9. 

4 Chardin, Les Missions Franciscaines en Chine, p. 19, from what 
source I know not, gives as successors of William de Prato, Dominic, 
appointed in September, 1403 ; Bartholomew de Capponi, nominated 
in April, 1448 ; John de Pellety created in 1456, and an Alexander de 
Caffa, who was taken by the Turks in 1476, and died in Italy in 1483. 
Eubel, Hierarchia, i, p. 160, on the other hand, from authentic docu- 
ments, names in 1410, John, bishop of Soltaniah in Persia, as adminis- 
trator of the see of Peking, vacant by the death of archbishop Charles ; 
and in 1426 and 1427 a certain Dominican, James, described as an 
Italian " de Capha ". He was transferred to the see of Caffa in 1441. 
Thomas, Hist, de la mission de Pekin, p. 68, gives a different list. 



NICHOLAS IV. 105 

with glory. 1 Moreover, they had brought honour to the 
Papacy which ever encouraged them with words of good 
counsel and with money, and which, by the efforts it 
made through them to bring about an alliance between 
the Mongol rulers and the Princes of Christendom, proved 
its political insight. 2 

Before Christianity was again introduced into China, 
Vasco de Gama had, by doubling the Cape of Good Hope, 
opened the path of the sea to the Celestial Empire, and 
had done away with the necessity of the route across 
Asia which in those days could, even in times of peace, 
only be accomplished by the strongest, 3 and which, in 
times of war, was almost wholly impassable. 

It is interesting to note, in concluding the story of the 
efforts made by the mediaeval Popes for the conversion 
of the Chinese, that, when the Jesuits entered China at 
the end of the sixteenth century, they were able even 
then to discover faint traces of the preaching of the friar 
travellers. 4 Accordingly, we find Ricci declaring in 
letters dated July 26, 1605, and Nov. 12, 1607, that some 
traces of Christianity were still to be found in the 
provinces of Ho-nan and Shen-si. 5 

1 Hue, Christianity in China, i, p. 391 ff. The painfully laborious 
journeys of these observant missionaries did a very great deal towards 
increasing the geographical knowledge of the world in which we live. 
They went " to announce a religion of peace, concord, and fraternity 
to those barbarous populations which seemed to be happy only in the 
midst of the horrors of war. These intrepid and zealous priests returned, 
sometimes after long absence, to their brethren in Europe ; they related 
their travels and their apostolic labours, and the manners of foreign 
nations." lb. 

2 lb., p. 311. 3 lb., c. vi, p. 203 ff. 

4 Yule, Cathay, i, pp. 121-2 ; and Assemanni, Bib. Orientalis, iii, 
pt. ii, pp. 536-7. 

5 Opera del P. Mat. Ricci, S.J., i, p. 469 ff., cited p. 12 in Wessels' 
Early Jesuit Travellers in Central Asia, The Hague, 1924. Cf. the 
story of the Jesuit N. Trigault of numerous Christians in the North. 
He reached China just after Ricci 's death. (Cited in C. H. Robinson, 
History of Christian Missions, p. 175.) 



106 NICHOLAS IV. 



III. Abyssinia (Ethiopia) 
Ethiopia Among the many countries to which Nicholas sent 

(Abyssinia). .... „ ,. 

missionaries, there are reasons to believe that we must 
reckon Ethiopia or Abyssinia. It is, however, far from 
easy to write accurately about mediaeval Abyssinia, as 
one will, perhaps, readily concede, when he finds the 
Roman calling the Ethiopian an Indian 1 ; and some 
mediaeval writers placing Ethiopia in India or adjoining 
it 2 — one writer indeed making it include China 3 — and, 
when he remembers that the present Ethiopia or Abyssinia 
does not extend as far as the early kingdom of Ethiopia 
known to the ancient Egyptians. As Egypt is the land 
of the Lower Nile, Ethiopia was at one time the land of 
the Upper Nile. The traditional boundary of the former 
was at the first cataract of the Nile at Syene, now Assouan. 
Above (south) of Syene there was a comparatively 
short (90 miles) straight stretch of the Nile extending to 
Hiera Sycamminos (Wady Maharrakah ?), known as the 
Dodecaschcenus, generally under Egyptian, Greek, and 
Roman influence. South of this city, we have Ethiopia, the 
Kush of the Bible, the country of the black races, extend- 
ing, in the fullest application of the name, to the south 
of the Abyssinian highlands. In this sense, " Ethiopia " 
includes Nubia, a country on both sides of the great 

1 Juvenal, Sat., xi, 125. " Mauro obscurior Indus (the Ethiopian)." 
The Panegyrist Eumenes associates the Ethiopian and the Indian. 
Addressing Constantius Chlorus he says, n. 5, " Deut veniam trophaaa 
Niliaca, sub quibus .Etbiops et Indus tremuit." Hence an India 
citerior Ethiopia (Africa) was distinguished from an India ulterior 
or India proper ; or in other cases the I.C. was southern Arabia, and 
the I.U., Abyssinia and India. 

2 " Abyssinia is contiguous to India." Cf. Abu-Salih (an Armenian, 
beginning of thirteenth cent.). The Churches and Monasteries of Egypt, 
trans, by B. Evetts, Oxford, 1895. 

3 The Arab geographer, Ibn Khordadbeh (ninth cent.). See Beazley, 
Dawn of Mod. Geog., i, p. 432. Cf. ib., iii, pp. 151, 563. 



NICHOLAS IV. 107 

western bend of the Nile which begins at Hiera Sycam- 
minos, Ethiopia proper or civilized Ethiopia, or the 
kingdom of Meroe between the Nile and its first tributary 
the Atbara (Astaboras), 1 and the highland kingdom of 
Axum or Abyssinia, the kingdom of the Blue Nile, the 
second of the Nile's tributaries, which rises in its midst. 
"Ethiopia" also included a number of other districts 
inhabited indeed by black peoples, but almost impossible 
to locate accurately. 

Speaking, then, generally, we may see that when Abyssinia 

, r •> -XT 1 • j ,r .the land of 

Abyssinia stretched from the Nubian desert to the great the Nile - S 
lakes Rudolf and Stefanie, and from the Nile proper to affluents. 
the Red Sea, it was literally the land of the great 
tributaries of the Nile. Even in its present shrunken 
state, it is so yet to no inconsiderable extent. The last, 
that is the most northerly tributary of the Nile, the 
Atbara, is made up of the rivers Takazze or Setit 
strengthened by the Mareb or Gash, both of which rivers 
rise in Abyssinia — the Mareb in the northern district of 
Tigre, and the Takazze in the central one of Amhara. 
Whereas the largest Abyssinian river, the Abai, which 
ultimately becomes the Blue Nile and joins the White 
Nile, or the Nile proper, at Khartoum, is the river of the 
southern districts of Shoa and Godjam. 2 The greater 
part of Abyssinia consists of a plateau varying from six 
to seven thousand feet above the level of the sea 3 — a fact 
which goes far to explain how its people were able to 
maintain their Christianity and independence against 
the Moslem. 

Even up to the great western bend of the Nile of which 
we have just spoken, ancient Egyptian civilization spread 

1 Hence, because between these rivers, the Kingdom of Meroe was 
often called " the island of Meroe ". 

2 We owe the substance of this paragraph to Colonel Prideaux, 
Abyssinia, p. 2f., London, 1913. 

3 T. Bent, The Sacred City of the Ethiopians, p. 16, London, 1893. 



108 NICHOLAS IV. 

at an early period; and Usertsen III. of the Twelfth 
Dynasty set up at Semnah an inscribed stele setting forth 
that it had been erected in the eighth year of " the Majesty 
of the King of the South and North, giver of life for ever. 
No Black whatsoever shall be permitted to pass (this 
place) going down-stream . . . with the exception of 
such as come to do business ... or an embassy." x In 
fact, " it is probable that he was master of the island of 
Meroe' ". 2 In any case, subsequent Egyptian monarchs 
pushed their way right up to the Blue Nile, and traded 
with the kingdom of Axum (Abyssinia), at first by land 
and afterwards by sea. Thus it was then by the merchant 
that Egyptian civilization penetrated into Abyssinia. 
The trade in gold, slaves, and ivory carried on by ancient 
Egypt with Ethiopia was continued by the Greeks under 
the Ptolemies, and by the Romans. Accordingly, we 
hear Juvenal denouncing the luxury which brought great 
tusks of ivory from " the gate of Syene ", 3 and of Nero 
sending an expedition to explore the Upper Nile. 4 
First j answer the question as to when Christianity was 

PnEthiopil first introduced into Ethiopia, one is naturally inclined 
c - 326 - to tell that most picturesque story of the powerful Jewish 

Ethiopian, the treasurer of Queen Candace, who was 
baptized by the deacon Philip. 5 But the realm of Queen 
" Candace " 6 was seemingly not Abyssinia. It was the 

1 This inscription, with its translation, is given by E. A. Wallis 
Budge, Annals of Nubian Kings, p. 170 f. Cf. p. xxiii, London, 1912. 

2 lb., p. xxiv. 

3 l x. 

4 Pliny, Hist. Nat., vi, 181, cited by M. Charlesworth, Trade Routes 
of the Roman Empire, p. 249, Cambridge, 1924. 

5 Acts, viii, 27 ff. 

• " Candace " was a royal title borne by the queens who ruled 
over Meroe. Cf. Ludolf, A New Hist, of Ethiopia, pp. 164, 247-9, 
London, 1862. Cf. Smith, Diet, of Christian Biography, art. " Ethiopian 
Church". The Jesuit Father Alvarez was in 1520 assured by the 
Negus David that the eunuch of Queen Candace had converted Tigre, 
the northern province of his country, and that the rest of the country 



NICHOLAS IV. IO9 

kingdom of Meroe, and it was a Nubian queen of that 
country and name who attacked the Roman province 
of Egypt, and then had to sue for peace in the days of 
Augustus (22-3 B.C.). Still, if the eunuch introduced 
Christianity into Meroe, it will have found its way by 
traders, captives, and the like into Abyssinia. In any 
case, however, it does not appear that any particular 
impression was made on the country by such isolated 
converts as may have existed there during the first three 
centuries of our era. Despite the Abyssinian tradition 
to the effect that the country owed its Christianity to 
Queen Candace, it seems that the real apostles of the 
country were Frumentius and Edesius about the year 
a.d. 330. Their history comes to us from Rufinus, the 
contemporary and sometime adversary of St. Jerome, 
who got his information from Edesius himself, then a 
priest at Tyre. 1 

Meropius, a philosopher of Tyre, inspired by what he 
had heard of the adventures in "further India", or 
Abyssinia, of the philosopher Metrodorus, 2 set out," in 
the times of Constantine " (306-37) with two boys, 
relations of his, whom he was teaching, in order to visit 
the same distant land. The younger boy was named 
Edesius, the elder Frumentius. On his return journey, 
his ship put into a certain " Indian " harbour for water 

had been converted by force of arms. Queen Candace, he said, had 
been converted ten years after the death of Christ, and since then 
Ethiopia had always been ruled by Christians. Consequently there 
had been no martyrs. Many men and women in the land had led holy 
lives, and had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. See the Narrative, 
c. 83 (cf. c. 39), of Alvarez, Eng. trans., p. 208, Hakluyt Soc, 1881. 
This tradition is accepted by L. J. Morie, Hist, de I'fithiopie, ii, p. 101, 
Paris, 1904 ; but this work is anything but critical. 

1 H.E., i, n. 9, ap. P.L., t. xxi, p. 478 ff. The story is repeated by 
Socrates, H.E., i, 19 ; Sozomen, H.E., ii, 24 ; and Theodoret, H.E., 
i, 23. Rufinus says his story is founded " non opinione vulgi, sed ipso 
Edesio . . . referente cognovimus." 

2 " Inspiciendorum locorum et orbis perscrutandi gratia." Ruf., I.e. 



110 NICHOLAS IV. 

or some other necessity. Unfortunately for the philosopher 
and the ship's crew, the Romans had recently broken a 
treaty with the barbarians, and so, in accordance with 
their custom when this sort of thing happened, massacring 
all the Romans on whom they could lay their hands, the 
" Indians " slaughtered Meropius and his companions. 
However, finding the boys studying under a tree, they 
did not kill them, but took them to the King, who made 
Edesius his cupbearer, and ultimately entrusted 
Frumentius, who was more intelligent and quicker, with 
the care of his revenues and records. Before his death, 
the King gave them their freedom, but the Queen induced 
them to remain with her during the minority of her son. 
Whilst acting as regent of the kingdom, Frumentius 
induced the Roman Christian merchants to build churches 
in different parts of the country, co-operating with 
them in every way by granting them sites, and all that 
was necessary. When the heir came of age, Edesius 
returned to Tyre, but Frumentius, unwilling to take his 
hand from the plough, went to Alexandria, and asked 
St. Athanasius "the lately 1 consecrated patriarch" to 
send a suitable bishop to the Christian communities which 
he had formed. Rightly concluding that Frumentius 
himself was the most suitable person he could find, the 
Saint consecrated him and sent him back to Abyssinia 
as its first bishop. God, concludes Rufinus, is said to 
have given him such grace that he wrought miracles and 
"converted a countless number" to the faith. The 
native historians of Abyssinia, whatever their weight 
for this early period of their history may be worth, also 
tell of the work of Frementos or Abba Salama. 2 They 

1 St. Athanasius became patriarch in 326, and from his Apologia 
ad Constantium, ap. P.G.L., t. xxv, p. 636, it would seem that it 
was between 339 and 347 that Frumentius was consecrated. Cf. 
Duchesne, jfiglises Separees, p. 311, and his Early Hist, of the Church, 
iii, 398, Eng. trans. 

2 Cf. R. Basset, fitudes sur I'hist. d'fithiopie, pp. 96, 220. 



NICHOLAS IV. Ill 

add that when he returned from Egypt, he found 
reigning in Abyssinia the brothers Abreha and Arzbeha, 
who are thus praised by the poetical historian of Ethiopia : 1 

" Their lips the words of Christ's own Gospel taught, 
To build him temples with their hands they wrought." 

There is no doubt that the progress of Christianity in 
Abyssinia was helped by the fact that Greek was in 
common use at the court of the Negus. A first century 
author of a book of travel tells us of a king of the Axumites, 
one Zoscales, who was miserly, " but otherwise upright, 
and acquainted with Greek literature ". 2 Early Ethiopian 
coins bear Greek legends ; and inscriptions have been 
found at Axum in Sabaean and Greek characters. 3 

As Axum and its port Adulis on Annesley Bay were the 
emporiums for the ivory trade, we may be sure that the 
advance of Christianity in Abyssinia was helped, just as 
its introduction had been, by Christian merchants, and 
that too right up to the collapse of the Roman Empire 
in the fifth century, and the occupation of Africa by the 
Vandals (429). 

The religions which the Gospel had to combat in 
Abyssinia were a polytheism of an Arabian type and 
Judaism, and, as always, it made more progress among 
the pagans than among the Jews. 4 

The next known event of any importance in The nine 

Saints, 

1 Ludolf, Hist, of Ethiopia, 1. ii, c. 4, Eng. trans., pp. 164-5. The 455-95. 
Ethiopian Chronicle assigns to them the building of Axum. Ed. Basset, 

I.e., p. 97. According to Morie, Hist, de I'fithiopie, ii, p 113, the Church 
of Abba-Hasabo (Abha-Hasouba) in Axum dates from the days of 
Frumentius. 

2 The Periplus of the Erythrcean Sea, n. 5, p. 23, of W. Schoff's Eng. 
trans., London, 1912. 

3 Bent. I.e., pp. 176, 180, 240-1 ; I. Guidi, Dictionnaire d'hist. eccles., 
art. Abyssinie. 

4 The Ethiopian chronicle, published by Basset, divides the 
Ethiopians of those days into Jews and serpent- worshippers. Ex., 
p. 97. 



112 NICHOLAS IV. 

the history of the Church of Ethiopia is the arrival 
of the nine saints " from Rome and Egypt ". They 
may, perhaps, have been simple fugitives, flying from 
the barbarians who broke up the Roman Empire in 
the West; but, as we are significantly informed by the 
Monophysite chronicle edited by Basset 1 that " they 
reformed the faith ", and as we know that they are greatly 
honoured by the Monophysite Abyssinian Church, we 
may safely conclude that they were teachers of that 
heresy come from Egypt and other parts of the Roman 
(Byzantine) Empire. They are said to have arrived in 
Abyssinia in the reign of Al-Ameda, who reigned about 
455-95 • O ne of the most remarkable characteristics of 
the Abyssinians is their loyalty to Christianity, and to 
Alexandria whence they received their first bishop. 
Their loyalty to the former has enabled them to retain 
their faith in Christ in spite of isolation and the incessant 
attacks of pagans and Moslems for some fifteen hundred 
years, and their loyalty to the latter caused them to drift 
into Monophysitism. The first half of the fifth century 
saw the rise of the disastrous heresies of Nestorius and 
Eutyches, and the crumbling of the Roman Empire in 
the West. The one series of events infected the 
patriarchate of Alexandria with the " one-nature " 
heresy 2 of Eutyches, and the other isolated the Church of 
Ethiopia ; and so not only prevented its people from 
knowing what was going on in the Church, but naturally 
weakened their intellectual hold on their recently acquired 
faith. The " nine Saints " reformed their faith by 
teaching them the heresy in which the greater number of 
them have remained to this day. Still the Ethiopic 
poet praises the concord of the Saints in working for the 
destruction of paganism, which, in view of the particular 

1 lb. 

2 On this point see Neale, Patriarchate of Alex., vol. ii, sect, i, p. 1 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 113 

character of its worship, he calls the " kingdom of 
Arwe " or " of the Serpent ". 1 

When Africa was recovered for the Empire by the Renewed 
genius of Belisarius (533-4), easier communication with JJ^ 0011186 
Abyssinia was re-established, and we begin again to know Abyssinia, 
something of it. The famous Byzantine traveller, the 
monk Cosmas Indicopleustes (c. 545), tells us not only 
of the trade at Adulis 2 in ebony, incense, gold, etc., but 
that there were " in Ethiopia, in Axum, and in all the 
country round about " groups of Christians with 
bishops. 3 

At this period the rulers of Abyssinia were powerful £aieb- 

* . Elesbaas in 

sovereigns, and we read of one of them, with a formidable Arabia. 
army, crossing over into Arabia, more than once, to 
avenge his fellow-Christians who were being cruelly 
treated by a Jewish ruler. These incidents, which took 
place in the reigns of the Emperors Justin and Justinian, 
are told with not a few variations by native writers as 
well as by Greek and Syriac authors. The Ethiopian 
monarch .is called Caleb by the Abyssinians, Elesbaas 



1 Ludolf, I.e., p. 255. Mr. Salt, A Voyage to Abyssinia, p. 466, 
believes " that the conquest of Arabia took place prior to the arrival 
of the holy men from Egypt ". 

2 Somewhat south of the modern port of Massowah. 

3 Topog. Christ., 1. ii, pp. 50 ff. Eng. trans, ed. McCrindle, Hakluyt 
Soc. Also p. 140 ff., and 1. iii, p. 118 ff. Cosmas notes that from the 
Cataract about Syene to Axum is "thirty marches". Procopius, 
De hello Pers., i, c. 19, n. 27, says the same " for a well-equipped 
traveller " ; and he notes (ib., n. 22, that the city of Adulis is only 
20 stadia from the harbour, and "12 days " from Axum. Cosmas 
also gives us a piece of information which shows that, as ivory was 
always reaching Europe, there must always have been some vague 
knowledge of Abyssinia among certain European traders. He points 
out that the Indian elephants have poor tusks, whereas the numerous 
elephants of Abyssinia have great ones, and that they are exported to 
Arabia, Persia, the Roman territory, and even to India. One of the 
great Abyssinian ports for ivory is spoken of by Marco Polo. Cf. Heyd, 
Hist, du Commerce, ii, p. 429 f. 

Vol. XVII. 1 



ii4 



NICHOLAS IV. 



or Hellestheaeus by the Greeks, 1 and Adad or Aidog by 
the Syrians, 2 and he certainly established Abyssinian 
rule in south-western Arabia, and thereby benefited 
suffering Christians (520-3). 3 

About this same time, too, the Ethiopians were able 
to help their co-religionists in Persia. Alarmed at the 
successful propagation of Monophysitism in that country 
by Simeon, metropolitan of Beth-Arsam, the Nestorian 
bishops persuaded the Shah Kobad (or Oawad) that the 
Monophysites were traitors to the Empire. Simeon and 
others were thrown into prison, from which they were 
delivered only after protests had been made by the 
ambassadors of the King of Ethiopia. 4 

The power of the Negus of Abyssinia did not escape the 
notice of Justinian. Even if his diplomacy was not 
responsible for Caleb's invasion of Arabia Felix, he 
certainly tried to use the Abyssinians against the Persians. 
He tried to use their traders to divert the silk trade from 
the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, and to use their arms 
directly against the Persian troops. Both these efforts 



1 The Ethiopic poet, speaking of him as Caleb, sings of his " slaughter 
of the Sabean (Homerite, S. Arabian) host ", and of " Martyrs now 
avenged, and Christians saved ". Ludolf, I.e., p. 167. This author 
conjectures that Elesbaas is formed from the Ethiopic name for 
baptism, Atzbeha, and the Arabic article El. 

2 Cf. Mode, fithiop., ii, 144 n.,for the many variations of the name of 
this sovereign. The work of Morie, useful for information of this sort, 
is not critical, and does not support its statements by any citation of 
authorities. 

3 Cf. Assemanni, Bib. Orient., vol. i, p. 358 ff., quoting John " of 
Asia "or" of Ephesus " ; Zachary of Mitylene, Chron., viii, c, p. 192 ff.; 
Nicephorus Callistus, H.E., lib. xvii, c. 6 ; Theophanes, Chronog., 
pp. 260-1, 346-7, ed. Bonn ; Cedrenus, Compend. Hist., vol. i, 
p. 639, ed. ib. ; Procopius, De hello Pers., i, c. 20 ; Malalas, Chron., 
lib. xviii, pp. 433-4, ed. Bonn. Cf. Basset, I.e., p. 223 f. 

4 John of Ephesus, De beatis orientalibus , ap. Laud, Anecdot. 
Syriac., ii, p. 76 ff., cited by Labourt, Christ, en Perse, p. 158; or 
better, ap. Pat. Orient., t. 17, p. 153, ed. E. W. Brooks, Paris, 1923. 



NICHOLAS IV. 115 

failed, but they led to diplomatic and religious intercourse 
between Axum and Constantinople. 1 

The event which has most profoundly affected the Mahomet, 
history of Abyssinia after the introduction of Christianity 
was the spread of Islam. The followers of Mahomet have 
kept its people perpetually at war, and succeeded for ages 
in almost completely isolating its people from the Christian 
world at large. In the early days of the Prophet's teaching, 
some of his followers, persecuted at Mecca, fled to 
Abyssinia, to that land where, according to himself, " no 
one is wronged." They were well received by the Negus 
(615-16), who could not be bribed by their enemies to 
surrender them. 2 

Some ten years after this flight, the King of Ethiopia, 
in common with the Emperors of Byzantium and Persia, 
was, according to Arab tradition at least, summoned by 
Mahomet to acknowledge his claims as the Prophet of 
God (627). No notice, we are told, was taken of the 
summons by the last two rulers, but the Negus is said to 
have humbly accepted the invitation and to have expressed 



1 Cf. the embassies of Julian and Nonnosus, ap. Malalas, Chron., 
pp. 456-9, ed. Bonn, and Procopius, B. Pers., i, 20, § 9 to end ; and 
ii, 1, § 10, and 3, § 40 ; and Nonnosus himself, ap. Photius, Biblioteca, 
n. 3 or ap. vol. xiii, Corp. Byz., ed. Bonn, p. 478 ff. John of Ephesus 
(ap. Assemanni, Bib. Or., i, 385) speaks of both the Ethiopians and the 
Homerites asking Justinian for bishops. Cf. Diehl, Justinien, p. 392 ff., 
who has best treated of this portion of Ethiopic history. A letter of a 
contemporary bishop, however, Simeon of Beth-Arsam (ap. Assemanni 
B.O., i, 364), would ascribe the intervention of Caleb-Elesbaas to the 
exhortations of the patriarch of Alexandria. We have used the French 
translation of this Syriac document, ap. Leclercq, Les Martyrs, vol. iv, 
p. 180 ff., Paris, 1905. In the same vol. is a translation of the Acts 
of the martyrdom of St. Arethas and his companions (p. 163 ff.), which 
led to Caleb's intervention. It must be added that the authenticity 
of the letter of Simeon is called in question. lb., p. 161. 

2 Muir, The Life of Mohammed, pp. 69, 86 f., 91, quoting Ibn Hisham 
(t 828) and al-Tabari (f 922). 



Il6 NICHOLAS IV. 

regret at not being able to join his standard in 
person. 1 
Moslem However that may be, the Saracen outburst of the 

Egypt°and m iddle °f the seventh century which broke the power of 
Nubia. the Persian Empire, irretrievably damaged that of 

Byzantium, and overran the whole north of the continent 
of Africa, 2 more or less completely cut off Abyssinia from 
communication with the rest of the world. The invaders 
were helped by the native Egyptian or Coptic population, 
which on national and religious grounds hated its Roman 
(i.e., Greek or Byzantine) rulers. The Copts, inordinately 
proud, as they regarded themselves as the oldest race in 
the world, bitterly resented the contempt with which 
they were regarded by the Romans, and, having for the 
most part embraced Monophysitism, they had another 
reason for hating the Romans whom they dubbed 
Melkites (Royalists), instead of giving them their proper 
title of Catholics. 3 Consequently, no sooner did 'Amr and 
his Moslems show themselves in Egypt, than the native 
population " began to aid them ". 4 As time went on, 
the Copts suffered for their baseness in helping the 
infidel against their fellow-Christians. But still " the 
Muslims naturally favoured their allies of the national 

1 lb., p. 368 ff. ; Drapeyron, L'emp. Heraclius, p. 321 ff., Paris, 1869- 
Some authors do not accept this story, which seems only to be based 
on Arab tradition. See A. Pernice, L'imp. Eraclio, p. 262, Florence, 
1905 ; Maspero, Hist, des Pat. d'Alex., p. 23. 

2 Egypt was invaded in 639, and Nubia in 651-2. 

3 Cf. Maspero, Hist, des Patriarches d'Alex., ch. ii, Paris, 1923. 
El-Masudi, Meadows of Gold (written 943), calls the Melkites "the 
main body, and (they) are the original Christians ". Eng. trans., 
vol. i, p. 227, ed. Sprenger. 

4 John of Nikion, Chron., ed. Zotenberg, p. 233. According to 
Eutychius, Melkite (Catholic) patriarch of Alexandria (933-9), a much 
superior historian to Severus, the governor of Egypt, the Monophysite, 
" Makaukasus ", betrayed Egypt to the Moslems. See his Hist., ap. 
Migne, P.G.L., t. cxi, p. 1103. On p. 1105 he tells how the Copts 
helped the Arabs. 



NICHOLAS IV. II7 

or Jacobite Church, rather than the orthodox Church of 
Constantinople which was represented in Egypt ". 1 
This favour enabled the Coptic Monophysite Church to 
keep its hold on Abyssinia, whose Christianity was almost 
ruined by the subjection in which it was kept by 
Alexandria, and by the subdivisions of Monophysitism 
which found their way into it. 2 

When the Moslems entered Egypt, Benjamin I. was Monks enter 
the Monophysite Coptic Patriarch (620-59) ; and, as Ab y ssinia - 
the see of Axum was vacant, he sent as its Abuna 3 one 
of his partisans, Cyril. 4 Benjamin had been acknowledged 
patriarch of the Coptic (Egyptian) Christians by the 
Moslem conqueror 'Amr ; and, from a story told by the 
Monophysite Severus (?) it is easy to see that he had 
favoured the Moslem against his fellow Christians. 'Amr, 
he writes, promised that if he would pray that he might 
conquer Africa as he had conquered Egypt, " I will do 
all for thee what thou shalt ask me." 5 

It has been asserted that it was whilst Cyril was 

1 Lane-Poole, A Hist, of Egypt in the Mid. Ages, p. 26 ; Neale, I.e., 
ii, p. 72 f. 

2 Michael the Syrian, ii, p. 251 ; Maspero, I.e., pp. 95, 193, 289. 

3 The title given to the chief bishop of Abyssinia. 

4 Severus, bishop of Al-Ushmunain, a Coptic historian of the tenth 
century. His poor and inaccurate Hist, of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, 
going down to about the middle of the seventh century, is published 
in the Patrol. Orient., i and v. Its editor, Mr. B. Evetts, has given an 
English translation with the Arabic text. He assigns 622-61 as the 
date of the Patriarchate of Benjamin. It is Neale, I.e., ii, p. 74, who 
gives Severus from Renaudot, p. 170, as the authority for this statement. 
Renaudot, however, distinctly avers that Severus knows nothing 
about Cyril ; but quotes the Jesuit Tellez (Hist, da Companhia de 
Jesus) as his authority, who drew his information from " the books 
of Axum ". 

6 Ed. Evetts, I.e., i, pp. 496-7. 'Amr would seem to have been as 
good as his word, for Severus, ib., vol. v, p. 123, after stating that the 
Catholics (Melkites) complained that at one time all the churches 
were theirs, adds " but the Muslims after their conquest of Egypt 
handed them over to the Copts ". 



Il8 NICHOLAS IV. 

Abuna that monasticism was formerly introduced into 
Abyssinia by one Tekla-Haimanot (Plant of the faith), who 
was supposed to have been sent thither by Benjamin. 1 
As a matter of fact, however, Tekla-Haimanot, "the 
founder of the order of monks of Debra Libanos, who is 
recognized as a Saint by the Catholic Church, did not 
live till the thirteenth century. 2 The Ethiopic tradition 
has it that he was ordained deacon at the age of 15 by 
Cyril, not the one just mentioned, but the third of that 
name (1225-43). He is " thrice commemorated in the 
calendar " of Abyssinia, and his spiritual sons, so 
enthusiasts say, " are as famous in the Ethiopic as the 
Benedictines in the Western Church ". 3 
Relation of We have just seen that Cyril was sent to Abyssinia 
pontan of as its metropolitan ; and though it is generally agreed 
Abyssinia to t j iat tfie Abyssinians have always received their metro- 

Alexandria. J 

politan from Alexandria, it is not easy to discover when 
the canonical relations between the two churches were 
defined. Severus, speaking of the Monophysite Patriarch 
Michael I. (744-68), boasts that " the patriarch of the 
Jacobites exercises authority over all the Kings of the 
Abyssinians and Nubians ". 4 And it is believed that it 
was in this century that the Monophysites concocted a 
canon which they attributed to the Council of Nicaea by 
which Ethiopia was not to have a patriarch, but was to 
be subject to Alexandria. 5 This canon is embodied in 
the treatise on Canon Law compiled in the thirteenth 

1 Neale, I.e., ii, p. 74 ; Ludolf, I.e., p. 257. 

2 Cf. Bruce in his Annals of Abyssinia, which he gives in his vol. iii 
of his Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile, p. 37, ed. Edinburgh, 
1805. Cf. Basset, I.e., p. 231. 

3 Neale, ib. 

4 Hist., I.e., vol. v, p. 146. 

5 Mansi, Concil., ii, p. 994. There is no need to quote this canon, 
as it is faithfully given in Ibn al-A., but it decrees that the Patriarch 
of Alexandria may appoint for the Ethiopians " Catholicum qui 
inferior Patriarcha est ". 



NICHOLAS IV. Iig 

century by Ibn al-Assal, and, under the title of " Fetha 
Nagast ", adopted by the Abyssinians as their code of 
ecclesiastical and civil law. The Coptic canonist explains 
that it belongs to the patriarch of Alexandria to ordain 
for the Ethiopians a head, a bishop, and that too not one 
from among them, but from among his own people, i.e., 
from among the Egyptians. Moreover, the metropolitan 
so constituted may not consecrate other metropolitans 
as patriarchs can. He may, indeed, be honoured by the 
title of patriarch, but he may not have the power. And 
should a council be called in Greco-Roman territory, 
the metropolitan of Ethiopia shall occupy the eighth 
place, the place after the titular of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, 
inasmuch as he is permitted to consecrate bishops for 
his own country, whereas the Abuna is not allowed to 
do this. But it is not lawful for either group of bishops 
to constitute a Catholicos or Abuna. 1 It will be seen 
that the church of Alexandria bound that of Abyssinia 
hand and foot. 

The canon just cited rules that the Abuna must be The Abuna 
a Copt. When this rule was put into actual practice is, copt. 
like so many other matters connected with the history 
of Abyssinia, uncertain. It is said, however, that this 
regulation was brought about by the great monk Tekla- 
Haimanot of whom we have just spoken, and that, when 
Abuna, he caused it to be made because he feared that, if 

1 See the fine edition in Italian of the Fetha Nagast (Legislation of 
the Kings), by I. Guidi, p. 29 f., Rome, 1899. Guidi notes, p. vii, 
that the Nomocanone of Ibn-al-Assal acquired great authority in the 
patriarchate of Alexandria, and like so many other Arab books was 
translated into Geez for use in the dependent country of Abyssinia. 
Fortescue states (I.e., p. 300, note), that : " The Copts also set up a 
law that a Metropolitan must be ordained by twelve bishops. Then 
by not allowing the Ethiopians to have more than seven, they secured 
the right of ordaining Abuna themselves." That right was really 
secured by the regulation mentioned in the text. Renaudot, Hist. 
Pat. Alex., p. 510, however, observes that, if the Abyssinians had 
had ten bishops, they could have consecrated a metropolitan. 



120 NICHOLAS IV. 

Abyssinia were further isolated by ceasing its connection 
with Alexandria, it would fall back into paganism or 
into a very degenerate form of Christianity. 1 The 
connection resolved itself into the Abyssinians having to 
buy their Abuna from Alexandria, 2 and in its kings 
having to write very humble letters to the Sultan of 
Egypt. Thus in 1274 Icon-Amlak, wanting an Abuna 
" virtuous and learned, who does not love gold and 
silver ", but who has been chosen by the Patriarch, 
subscribes himself as " the humblest of your slaves who 
kisses the ground before you . . . and whose country 
belongs to you ". 3 
Relations of Now that we have seen what were the relations of 
Rome! nia ° Abyssinia to Alexandria, we must look into its relations 
with Rome. Before that country was led by Alexandria 
into schism, it was connected with Rome only indirectly 
through the Catholic patriarch of Alexandria. Except 
during a brief period in the seventeenth century, the 
Church of Abyssinia has never, as a whole, been directly 
subject to Rome. 4 But, like some other ecclesiastical 
bodies to-day nearer home, it acknowledged in theory 
its supreme jurisdiction without concerning itself about 
obeying the dictates. Let us again turn to the code of 
the Abyssinian Church, and hear what it says on the 
matter. " The patriarchs," it lays down, " are the 
successors of Christ and his Apostles . . . and the 
power (dignita) of the patriarch over Christians, is like 

1 Basset, I.e., p. 232 ; Bruce, I.e., ii, p. 458. 

2 Cf. Alvarez, Embassy, c. 97. Makrizi before him had stated that 
the King of Abyssinia had to ask a patriarch " a rege JEgypti per 
litteras, quas una cum munere mittit . . . atque tunc patricio metro- 
politan designatio demandatur ". Hist, regum Islam, in Abyssinia, 
p. 4, ed. F. F. Rinck, Lugd. Batav., 1790. 

3 The Sultan was Malik-Daher-Bibars. Cf. Makrizi (1378-f 1441), 
Hist, des Sultans, i, pt. ii, p. 122, ed. Quatremere. Cf. Nowairi cited ib., 
and Bruce, Travels, iii, p. 37 ff. 

4 On paper at least, the Abyssinian Church was united to Rome in 
the fifteenth century. See infra. 



NICHOLAS IV. 121 

the principate of Moyses over the Israelites." Now, 
because there are four Gospels, four rivers of Paradise, 
four seasons, etc., the Fathers of the Council of Nicsea * 
decreed that there should be in the world but four 
patriarchs, "and that the head and Prince of these 
should be he who holds the see of Peter at Rome, as the 
Apostles themselves ordered." The second is the holder 
of the see of St. Mark, Alexandria, the third is the holder 
of the see of Ephesus, that of St. John the Evangelist ; 
the fourth is the holder of the see of Antioch, which is 
also a see of Peter. However, continues the code, the 
patriarchate of Ephesus has been transferred to 
Constantinople " to honour the Empire and the Priest- 
hood (sia onore del Regno e del Sacerdozio) ". 2 The 
code goes on to declare that the power of the patriarch 
is like that of a father over his sons ; and, as the patriarch 
has power (imperio e potest a) over those who are subject 
to him, so the patriarch of Rome has power over all the 
other patriarchs, because he is the head, just as Peter 
had power over all the heads of the Christians (i.e., 
according to a gloss "over the Apostles"), and the 
community of Christian men, over the faithful, 3 because 
he is the Vicar of Christ our Lord over his people and 
his churches. 4 

1 No. 37 of the Arabic canons. 

2 P. 27 ff. of Guidi's Fetha Nagast. Cf. Ludolf, who says (p. 307) 
that, of the four patriarchs, the Abyssinians "reckon the Roman 
patriarch to be the first and call him Bik Papaste Zaromcia or the 
Roman Prince or Master of the Metropolitans. For they have no 
higher title (than Bik Papaste) to give to anyone who may be thought 
superior to a patriarch. Alvarez, too, Embassy, c. 114, p. 311, ed. 
Stanley, says that they named the bishop of Rome " Rumea Negus, 
ligne Papaz ", " which means the King of Rome and Head of the 
Popes." 

3 The gloss adds "over the seventy disciples". 

4 The F.N., p. 30. Cf. ib., p. 530 ff. on the power of the patriarch 
who can add or take away " as he judges advantageous at the moment ". 
The limitations of his power are discussed in the pages quoted, and 
also p. 31 ff. 



122 NICHOLAS IV. 

The Coptic Returning to the realm of facts, we experience the 

r^strifirrh in 

trouble, greatest difficulty in finding even the smallest scraps of 
686-9. information about early mediaeval Abyssinia. This is 

the less to be wondered at when we are told that there 
is not a single known Abyssinian document which can 
be ascribed to any date between the eighth and twelfth 
centuries. 1 

However, before the fatal seventh century had passed, 
we have further evidence of communication between 
Alexandria and Abyssinia. During the patriarchate of 
Isaac (686-9) a war was g° m § on between the Ethiopians 
and Nubians. Thereupon the patriarch sent letters to 
the Negus exhorting him to peace. This act, according 
to Severus, made him suspect by the Moslem Governor 
of Egypt, Abd-el-Aziz. He caused the patriarch to be 
seized. Thereupon, to use the words of the historian just 
quoted, " the (patriarch's) secretaries wrote out letters 
different from the patriarch's letters, and gave them to 
the messengers whom he had sent to the Abyssinians, 
taking the first letters from them. This they did only 
lest evil should befall the Church." When the new letters 
were taken, the Governor was satisfied, because " he 
found nothing in them of what had been told him ". 2 
As Abd-el-Aziz is known to have persecuted the Christians, 
it looks as if the patriarch had written to ask the help 
of the Negus. 
Subservience However this may be, the history of his successor 

of Simon. ' J 

Simon (689-701) shows how dependent on and subservient 
to the Moslem rulers the Coptic patriarchs had already 
become. Without going into the details of Simon's 
election, 3 we may observe that the consent of the Moslem 
governor of Egypt was the deciding factor in it, and 

1 C. Conti Rossini, " Egitto ed Etiopia nei tempi antichi e nell' eta 
di mezzo," p. 15, in the review JEgyptus, April, 1922, Milano. 

2 Severus, I.e., vol. v, pp. 24-5. 

3 They may be read ap. Neale, I.e., ii, p. 83 f. 



NICHOLAS IV. 123 



proceed to translate from the narrative of Severus an 
episode in his patriarchal career which proves his sub- 
servience to the governor. Some " Indians ", or, as we 
are told in another place, " a black Indian who was a 
monk and a priest " came to Simon to ask for a bishop 
for their country. This " black Indian ", as the Ethiopian 
is not infrequently called at this period, may have been 
a Nubian 1 or an Abyssinian. The reply of Simon was, 
" I cannot ordain a bishop for you without the command 
of the Emir who is governor of the land of Egypt." 2 

In this dark period of Abyssinian history, it will be ^f t e he 

seen that the only rays of light that fall upon it come A buna John. 

from the Coptic Church ; and, from the patriarchate of 

Simon, we have to wait more than a hundred years before 

we can glean another fact about Ethiopia. In the year 

826 the patriarch Jacob consecrated one John as Abuna. 

In some way, whilst the King of Abyssinia was at war, 

John earned the enmity of a party at the head of which 

was the Empress. He fled the country, and retired to 

the monastery in Egypt from which he had been taken 

to be made Abuna. However, when the Negus returned 

from the wars, and found an intruded Abuna, he sent 

to Alexandria to beg that John might be sent back. 

But opposition to him was reawakened, and the people 

declared that they would never obey an uncircumcised 

Abuna. It was only when it was discovered that John 

had, as a matter of fact, been circumcised in his youth 

that his position was recognized. 3 

1 Eutychius states (ap. P.G.L., t. iii, p. 1122) that the Nubians 
got their bishops from the Jacobite patriarch of Alexandria, and that 
"from that time Nubia embraced the doctrine of the Jacobites ". 

2 Severus, I.e., v, pp. 36 and 40. Cf. Ibn-Rahib (c. 1257), Chron. 
Orientate, p. 86, who adds that the envoy went off " to another " who 
complied with his wish (this "other" may have been the Catholic 
(Melkite) patriarch.) (Ed. Abraham Ecchellensis, Venice, 1729.) 

3 Makrizi (| 1441), Khitat, ii, p. 494, ed. Boulaq, cited by Basset, 
I.e., p. 227, and Neale, ii, pp. 146, 150, 177. Ibn-Rahib, Chron. O., 
p. 91 f., says nothing of the circumcision story. 



124 NICHOLAS IV. 

Dynastic It was, at a very early period, the belief of the 

revolution in -^ ... . . , J f 

Abyssinia. Emperors of Abyssinia that they were the descendants 
of King Solomon, through the Queen of Sheba. Whatever 
truth there may have been in their traditional belief in 
this matter, some time in the early part of the tenth 
century, Del Na'ad of this dynasty of Solomon was 
deprived of his imperial power by a faction headed by 
Judith, or Esther, the chieftainess or queen of the Jewish 
independent tribe on Mount Samen. The royal princes 
were murdered, but Del Na'ad himself escaped to the 
province of Shoa where he contrived to keep his inde- 
pendence. Bitter persecution of the Christians, and 
destruction of their churches followed the accession of 
the Jewess. 

Fortunately, however, Judith and her family were 
not able to keep possession of imperial power for long. 
It was soon seized by a Christian family, that of the 
Zagues. 1 It would appear to have been just before these 
dynastic troubles that the patriarch Cosmas III. (925-37) 
sent a monk, Peter, as Abuna. This consecration of a 
metropolitan for Abyssinia is described by the biographer 
of Cosmas as " a wonderful event ". 2 The new Abuna 
was received with the greatest honour by the Negus, 
over whom he acquired such influence that, on his death- 
bed, he authorized him to bestow the crown on either of 
his two sons. Peter selected the younger son. Of this 
act two vagabond Coptic monks, Menas and Victor, 
whom he had in some way annoyed, availed themselves. 
By forged letters which they professed to have received 

1 The Chronicle, published by Basset (p. 98 ; cf. p. 227) says, indeed, 
that the imperial power was taken from Del Na'ad, but it does not say 
by whom. It adds that the said power was afterwards " given to others 
who were not Jews ; they are the Zagues." The author proceeds to 
give, " as we have learnt them from men instructed in the law," the 
names of eleven rulers of this dynasty, and to say that their joint 
reigns occupied 354 years. 

2 Ap. Le Quien, Oriens. Christ., ii, 648. 



NICHOLAS IV. 125 

from the patriarch of Alexandria, they persuaded the 
elder brother that Peter was merely an impostor. He 
thereupon rebelled, dethroned his brother, and named 
Menas Abuna. When, however, the patriarch, having 
discovered the fraud, excommunicated Menas, the king 
put him to death. Then, as Peter had died in the mean- 
time, he forced one of his disciples to act as Abuna. 
He would not, however, allow him to go to Alexandria 
for consecration, so that it would seem that neither he 
nor Menas was consecrated. The king who thus outraged 
the rights of the patriarch was Del Na'ad. 1 

The Jewish intruders who followed him naturally did 
not want an Abuna ; but the first ruler of the Zagaean 
line, Mara-Takla-Haimanot, about the beginning of the 
eleventh century, applied as usual to the Monophysite 
patriarch of Alexandria for one. His application was 
made through George, King of Nubia, to whom he wrote 
a letter, of which a part is still extant. He pointed out 
how cruelly the country, the churches, and religion had 
suffered during the days of the intruders. They had no 
Abuna, and their bishops and priests had died off. King 
George passed on the letter, which was received by 
the simoniacal patriarch Philotheus (979-1003). He 
accordingly consecrated Daniel, a monk of St. Macarius, 
metropolitan of Axum ; and, in the words of the ancient 
Abyssinian hagiographer, " Ethiopia breathed once more." 2 

Philotheus was succeeded as Coptic patriarch by The Abunas, 
Zacharias (1005), of whom an item of information has severus. 
been preserved which shows with what difficulty 

1 Michael of Tanis (eleventh century) the continuator of Severus, 
ap. Renaudot, I.e., pp. 336-41 ; of. Neale, I.e., ii, p. 178 ff. ; Basset, 
I.e., p. 227 f. ; Assemanni, Chron. Orient., p. 141. It would appear 
that Ludolf's account of the Jewish intruders and the Zagaean line 
(bk. ii, c. 5, p. 168 f.) must be corrected by the above-named authors. 
But all is dark in Ethiopia ! 

2 Renaudot, Hist. Pat., I.e., pp. 381-3 ; Basset, p. 228 ; Neale, ii, 
pp. 197-8, citing Le Quien, Oriens Christ., ii, p. 650 ; Assemanni, I.e. 



126 NICHOLAS IV. 

communication, ecclesiastical or secular, was maintained 
between the Coptic and Abyssinian Churches. Writing 
at the beginning of the thirteenth century, Abu-Salih 
declares that " the fathers and patriarchs (Coptic) used 
to write letters to the Kings of Abyssinia and Nubia twice 
in the year ". The last, he continues, to do this was the 
sixty-fourth patriarch Zacharias ; for that criminal 
lunatic el-Hakem (996-1021) " forbad the practice which 
ceased from that time till now ". 1 

If, notwithstanding, from this time a little more 
information has reached us about the relations between 
Axum and Alexandria, it is still confused, and reveals 
not a small proportion of unworthy occupants of both 
sees. We find the simoniacal patriarch Christodulos 
(Abd-el-Messiah, 1047-77) prepared to recognize one 
Cyril or Abdun, who had intruded himself unconsecrated 
into the metropolitan see of Abyssinia 2 ; but under 
Cyril the successor of Christodulos, Abdun was driven 
from his position, and ultimately beheaded at Cairo 
through the exertions of a certain Severus. This young 
man had secured episcopal consecration from Cyril 
through the influence of the Moslem vizir which he had 
gained by money and by promising to bring the 
Abyssinians under the yoke of the Caliph ! Once in 
possession of the position of Abuna which he had coveted, 
Severus would appear to have conducted himself better 
than might have been expected. At any rate, he 
strove to stem the practice of concubinage widely 
indulged in by all the Abyssinians, and in a letter seen 
by Mauhub, one of the continuators of the history of 
Severus, he begged the patriarch to help him in his 
efforts. On the other hand he made himself hated by the 
Abyssinians by his efforts to build mosques for the Moslems. 3 

1 The Churches and Monasteries of Egypt, p. 290. Trans. Evetts. 

2 Basset, ib. ; Neale, ii, 221-2 ; Assemanni, p. 143. 

3 Renaudot, I.e., p. 461 f. ; Basset; Neale, pp. 224, 229; Ass., p. 144. 



NICHOLAS IV. 127 

After another wicked patriarch, Michael (or Chail) IV., A move for 

, , .... . .„ . , . ' freedom, 

had sent another iniquitous monk (George) to be Abuna 1131-46. 
(1102), 1 the reigning Negus begged his metropolitan 2 to 
increase the number of bishops so that there would be 
at least ten, and they could then constitute a metropolitan 
of their own. This the Abuna declared he could not do 
without the leave of the patriarch of Alexandria. To 
obtain this permission, the Negus wrote to the patriarch 
Gabriel III. (1 131-46), and also to the Fatimite Caliph, 
El-Hafiz. The Moslem first showed himself favourable 
to the request, but the patriarch caused him to change 
his mind by pointing out to him that he would lose what 
hold he had on Ethiopia, if the petition were granted. 
" Thus," concludes Neale, " ignorance and heresy were 
riveted on its unfortunate people." 3 

The most outstanding figure of the Zagaean dynasty Laiibaia, 
was Laiibaia (the Lion), whose reign may safely be referred century. 
to the beginning of the thirteenth century. He also at 
first received an unworthy Abuna (Kilus, bishop of 
Fua), 4 who was expelled by the people for his cruelty 
and avarice (c. 1209). 5 Laiibaia is remarkable as the 
builder of the eleven famous rock-churches of Abyssinia. 
With the aid of " white men " from Egypt, for, says 
Alvarez, the Abyssinians well know that they cannot 

1 Basset, p. 229 ; Neale, ii, 235 f. ; etc. 

2 Michael or Chail sent out by the patriarch, Macarius II. (1102-29). 

3 P. 248. Cf. Ass., p. 148. 

4 Writing in 1203, Abd Allatif, of Baghdad, who had a relative in 
Abyssinia, says that in August, 1200, there came to the Caliph of 
Egypt an ambassador from the sovereign of Abyssinia, with a letter 
notifying the death of the patriarch of the Abyssinians, and asking 
for another to be sent in his stead. The letter also stated that the 
rains had been but scanty that year, and so the rise of the Nile had 
been small, Relation de I'Egypte, p. 334, ed. Silvestre de Sacy, Paris, 1810. 

5 The continuator of Severus, ap. Renaudot, pp. 562-3, B., p. 229 f., 
and N., ii, p. 275 ff. The successor of Kilus was a monk, Isaac, of the 
laura of St. Anthony, and according to Assemanni in his notes to Ibn- 
Rahib, he was consecrated in 1209, Chron. Or., p. 150. 



128 NICHOLAS IV. 

" do any well executed work " } he excavated complete 
churches, with columns, arches, and windows with 
tracery out of the living rock, just as one sees at Les 
Baux. 2 The king himself lies buried not in the church 
which bears his name, but in one known as Golgotha. 
In another named Abba Libanos, built by the widow of 
Lalibala, is an outline portrait of the famous king. The 
Abyssinians were evidently attached to their rock 
churches, for an anonymous German chronicler tells us 
that beneath Mount Calvary they cut out of the hard 
solid rock a chapel in honour of the Three Kings. But 
now, he adds (writing between 1364 and 1379), the 
Moslems, through envy, have blocked up the entrance 
to it with stones. 3 To Lalibala, too, is attributed the 
idea of diverting the course of the Nile so as to ruin 
Egypt, 4 and later writers go so far as to assert that the 
Caliph of Egypt paid tribute to the Negus in order that 
he might not " shut off the waters and cause Egypt to 
perish ". 5 

It is supposed to be the first or second successor of 
Lalibala, who under the advice of the famous Abuna, 

1 See the Jesuit Alvarez's Narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to 
Abyssinia (1520-7), p. 130. 

2 Alvarez, I.e., p. 122 ff. Cf. Castanhoso, The Portuguese Expedition 
to Abyssinia (1541-3), p. 95, ed. R. S. Whiteway who, on p. 99 ff., 
gives a valuable note on these wonderful churches. He says that 
each church is a monolith, and that the largest measures, outside, 
110£ feet by 77£ feet. 

3 Ap. Golubovich, Bib. delta T. Santa, ii, p. 152. 

4 The Egyptians told the Jewish traveller, Benjamin of Tudela, 
in 1168, that the flooding of the Nile was due to rains in Abyssinia, 
and indeed such is the fact. P. 72, ed. Adler. B. also notes (ib., p. 76) 
that Abyssinian merchants traded in Alexandria, and had an inn of 
their own in the city. About the Nile, see Bruce, Abys., ii, p. 454 ff. 

6 Cf. The traveller Marignolli (1338-53), orig. text ap. Golubovich, 
I.e., iv, p. 275 ; English trans., with interesting note in Yule, Cathay, 
iii, p. 223. Cf. Makrizi, A Short Hist, of the Copts, p. 93, trans, by 
S. C. Malan, London, 1873. It is n. 3 of his " Original Documents of 
the Coptic Church ". 



NICHOLAS IV. 129 

Tekla-Haimanot, yielded up the imperial power to a 
descendant of Del Na'ad, and so restored the dynasty 
of Solomon (1268). 1 

Our brief survey of the history of the Church in European 
Ethiopia has brought us down to that wonderful thirteenth Abyssinia* in 
century in which such great progress was made not t he 

1 •* ! 1 1 1 • -i thl rteenth 

only in philosophy, theology, and art, but in practical century. 
knowledge of the earth on which we live. The Crusades 
had riveted the gaze on each other of East and West, 
they had caused greater attention to be given by the 
Western to the land and sea routes to the East, and they 
had expanded the field of commerce. The Western 
merchant proved himself as enterprising and as daring 
as the Western knight, and if the latter captured Moslem 
territory, the former captured much of his trade. 2 
Matthew of Paris declares that Frederick II. was " friendly 
with all the Sultans of the Orient " and that his trading 
agents (institores) went even to India. 3 Among his 
guards, too, we are told, there were Ethiopians as well 
as Saracens. 4 At the same period Germanus II., the Greek 
patriarch of Constantinople, knew of the " Ethiopians 
who dwell on the confines of the Orient — in prima parte 
Orientis ". 5 Travellers, like Marco Polo, began to describe 
Abyssinia, and to tell of its Christian ruler and of some 
of its religious customs. 6 "Nubians" and "immense 
numbers " of Abyssinians, in the thirteenth century, 
went on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, etc. 7 Their centre in 
Jerusalem was the famous " white monastery " of 
Scenuti. Already, about the year 1187, Saladin had 
granted the Abyssinians a site in Jerusalem near that of 

1 Chron., p. 98, ed. Basset. Cf. ib., pp. 231-2 ; Bruce, Abyssinia, 
vol. ii, p. 457 f., ed. 1805. 

2 Cf. Beazley, Dawn of Mod. Geog., ii, p. 462 n. 

3 Chron. maj., v, p. 217, R. S. 

4 Supra, vol. xiii, p. 251. 5 Mat. Par., CM., iii, p. 460. 
6 Travels, Lib. iii, c. 38, al. 39. 7 Ib. 

Vol. XVII. k 



130 NICHOLAS IV. 

the Copts. 1 The Crusader, Robert de Clery, in 1204, 
tells of the arrival in Constantinople of " the King of 
Nubia", i.e., no doubt, Abyssinia, who had been on a 
pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and was on his way to Rome 
and to St, James of Compostela, He was black, and, 
says Robert, he explained that the cross that was branded 
on his forehead had, in accordance with the custom of 
his country, been done when he had been baptized. 2 
This custom is alluded to by Marco Polo, 3 and many 
subsequent travellers, and is no doubt referred to in the 
Abyssinian Code, the Fetha Nagast.* Christian merchants 
who went to Alexandria and Cairo must have come into 
contact with Abyssinians in these places. In the twelfth 
century (1168), the Jewish traveller, Benjamin of Tudela, 
found Abyssinian merchants with an inn of their own 
in Alexandria, 5 and we read of Coptic patriarchs being 

1 So says Rossini, p. 17, in " Egitto ed Etiopia " in Mgyptus of 
1922, quoting H. Duensing, " Die Abesinier in Jerusalem " in Zeitschr. 
des Paldstina-Vereins, 1910, pp. 100-1. 

a La Prise de Constantinople, c. 54, p. 45, ed. C. Hopf, Chron. Grec- 
Rom. " Si vint illueques un rois qui toute avoit le char noire, et avoit 
un enmi le front, qui li avoit este faite d'un caut fer, etc." We say 
" Abyssinia " here because " Nubia " had become largely Moslem 
about 1145. Cf. Alvarez, Embassy, c. 79. Alvarez, ib., cc. 83, 127-8, 
found that the pilgrimage to Jerusalem was a tradition with the 
Ethiopians. It is, as we have just noted, generally stated that Nubia 
lost its independence and became Moslem about the middle of the 
twelfth century. This statement is, however, not true for all Nubia. 
Makrizi, Hist, des Sultans Mamlouks, ii, pt. i, p. 108, states that Sema- 
mun, King of Dongola, was still independent in 1290. Moreover, 
Abdorrashid, known as Yakuti (Bakui) in his Geographie (ed. de 
Guignes, ap. Notices et extraits des MSS., vol. ii, p. 396), calling Nubia, 
a vast country south of Egypt, and east and west of the Nile, says that 
its numerous inhabitants are Christians, and that they have a king 
whom they call Kabil. He also speaks of Dancala (Dongola), " a great 
city of Nubia on the Nile where the people are Jacobite Christians," 
p. 399. The Geog. was drawn up in the fifteenth century. 

3 L.c. 

4 When it says, p. 528, that the Ethiopians and Nubians tattoo the 
face. « p. 76, ed. Adler. 



NICHOLAS IV. 131 

buried at Cairo " in the Church of the Abyssinians " } 
and of there being in that city a barracks of Abyssinian 
guards, and Abyssinian monks and others. 2 

Accordingly, when, fired by the example of their Popes send 
glorious founder, the Franciscans wished to go every- AbyssiSa? 
where to convert the infidel or to win from him the crown 1245 ff - 
of martyrdom, it is not surprising to find that some of 
them should want to go to Abyssinia where there were 
many Moslems, and not a few pagans as well as 
schismatical Christians. Their desire was granted, and 
Innocent IV. sent both Franciscans and Dominicans not 
only to Nubia but also to the country of the Ethiopians. 3 
It is, moreover, asserted that Alexander IV., 4 Nicholas 
III. and IV., 5 Innocent V., Clement IV. and V., Urban IV., 
Boniface VIII., 6 Benedict XI., and John XXII. "all 
wrote letters to the Emperor of Ethiopia." 7 At any rate, 
in the very first year of his pontificate, Nicholas IV. 
began to take steps to bring back the Abyssinians to the 
one fold of Christ, and in the following year we see him 
addressing a letter " to the illustrious Emperor of 
Ethiopia ". He explained to him that, inasmuch as, 
though unworthy, he occupied the place of Christ on earth, 
it was his duty to strive that all should enter heaven by 
the way established by Christ, i.e., by the way of the 

1 Chron. Orient., pp. 96, 99, and Michael of Tanis, ap. Assemanni, 
ib., p. 142. 

2 Assemanni, ib. See also The Churches and Monasteries of Egypt, 
p. 87, of the Armenian Abu-Salih, thirteenth century, trans, by B. 
Evetts, Oxford, 1895. 

3 Reg. Inn. IV., nn. 1362, 7753, letters addressed to the friars in 
the lands " Ethyopum . . . Nubianorum, etc." 

4 See the bull of Alex. IV. (Apr. 19, 1258, ap. Wadding, Annal., 
iv, p. 84), granting various privileges to the Franciscans working in 
Bulgaria, Ethiopia, etc. 

6 Reg. Nich. IV., n. 611, Sept. 3, 1288. 

6 Reg. Bonif. VIII., n. 3355. 

7 Such, says Beazley, Dawn of Mod. Geog., iii, p. 497, is the state- 
ment of Nicolo Fortignera to Benedict XIII. (1394-1417). 



132 NICHOLAS IV. 

Catholic faith, which the Roman Church ever guarded. 
The Emperor was therefore exhorted to work for union 
with that Church. 1 Similarly, the Archbishop (Abuna), 
bishops, and people of Abyssinia, were invited to enter the 
unity of the Catholic Church. 2 Just two years later, his 
register shows that Nicholas was still working for the return 
of Ethiopia to the communion of the Roman Church. 3 

If aity results followed these efforts of Nicholas IV. , no 
John of Piano Carpini has given us any account of them. 
Some modern writers, indeed, unduly sceptical, believe 
that with the Popes of the thirteenth century there is 
question of " Asiatic ", and not of African Ethiopia. 
However that may be, it would appear that in the 
fourteenth century, at any rate, the Popes in their 
letters about Ethiopia, referred to African Ethiopia or 
Abyssinia. That country is assigned its proper position 
on the map of Marino Sanudo which appeared in the 
first quarter of that century. 4 He knows " of the 
Christian blacks of Nubia and of other countries beyond 
upper Egypt " ; that they were Jacobites, and that 
before baptism they were branded on the forehead — some 
with the sign of the cross. 5 The zealous Dominican 
missionary, Jordan of Severac, had often talked about 
this interesting land "with Latin merchants". 6 They 

1 Ep. July 11, 1289, ap. Wadding, Ann., v, p. 201. 

2 Reg. Nich. IV., nn. 2218-39, Potth., n. 23002. 

3 Reg., n. 6735, Aug. 13, 1291. 

4 Printed ap. Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, Tab. i, Abyssinia 
(Habesse et terra nigrorum) is correctly placed in connection with 
the Red Sea, the Nile, Aden, Lower Ethiopia, Nubia, etc. 

6 See his Secreta fidelium Cruris, ap. ib., vol. ii, pp. 36, 184-5. Cf. 
p. 261. 

6 See two letters of his, one from Gogo, a port of Gujarat (Oct. 12, 
1321), ap. Echard, Script. Ord. Praed., i, 550, and the other from 
Tana near Bombay (Jan. 24, 1323-4) in Wadding, vi, 359 ff. English 
versions of them may be read in Yule, Cathay, iii, p. 75 ff., ed. 1914. 
In his Mirabilia, p. 89, ed. Cordier, 1925, he says he has seen and 
known many of the people of Ethiopia. 



NICHOLAS IV. I33 

had assured him that " the way to Ethiopia was open 
for anyone who wished to go and preach there ", and 
he himself had prayed that he might not die till he had 
been " a pilgrim for the faith in those regions '\ 1 A year 
or two later, Jordan again returns to the subject of 
Ethiopia, and declares that it was a very suitable place 
for some friars to be sent to. 2 But it is in his Mirabilia 
that he sets forth in detail what he had heard of gold- 
bearing Ethiopia, of its people " wholly Christian but 
heretical ", and of its mighty Negus who ruled over 
fifty- two kings, and was the real Prester John. 3 Another 
Dominican, William of Adam (f 1329), who knew " the 
true Ethiopia ", beyond the mountains opposite Eden, 4 
and had been in the island of Socotra for some time, 
also wished to preach the faith in Ethiopia (1317), 5 for 
he was, he said, full of compassion for so great a 
people who were totally cut off " from the knowledge 
of our contemporaries". 6 William's promotion to the 
archiepiscopal see of Sultanieh (Oct. 6, 1322) 7 prevented 
him from putting his wish into execution. 

1 The first letter. 

2 The sec. letter " Et secundum audita, via esset gloriosa per fidei 
dilatationem ". 

3 The Mirabilia has been published in the Recueil des Voyages, 
vol. iv, 1839, and an English translation of it by Yule (Hakluyt Society, 
1863), Jordan and Marignolli (ap. Yule, Cathay, iii, p. 223) were the 
first to make the mistake of locating Prester John in Africa instead of 
in Asia. The mistake had been prepared for them as it was current in 
Egypt that " all the Kings of Abyssinia are priests ". Abu-Salih, 
Churches of Egypt, p. 286. 

4 See his " De modo Saracenos extirpandi ", ap. Recueil des histor. 
des Croisades, Docs. Armen., vol. ii, p. 549, Paris, 1906. This valuable 
pamphlet is analysed in Delaville de Roulx in his France en Orient, 
i, p. 70 ff. 

5 lb., p. 555. 

6 P. 551. Cf. the very valuable work of C. B. de la Ronciere, La 
decouverte de I'Afrique au moyen age, 2 vols., Cairo, 1925. 

7 See the bull of John XXII. printed by C. Kohler, " Documents 
relatifs a S. Adam," ap. Revue de I'Orient Latin, 1905, p. 29 ff. 



134 NICHOLAS IV. 

John xxii. It would seem, then, that if the Friars did not penetrate 
to n Aby f ssfm S a. into Abyssinia in the days of Nicholas IV. they did in 
the days of John XXII. (1316-34), in whose time Jordan 
was praying that it might fall to his lot to preach there. 
It is said that in 1316, eight Dominicans, " having kissed 
the feet of Pope John XXII." and visited the Holy 
Land, after a long and toilsome journey through Egypt 
and Nubia, reached the Ethiopians and Abyssinians. 

Among these, they reconciled many to the Church. 
They even enrolled some of the converts, including one 
of the princes, in their Order, and to keep the converts 
in the faith, even appointed the royal friar as Inquisitor. 1 
John xxii. Encouraged by the reports which he received from 
to the Negus, different parts of the mission field, Pope John XXII. 
1329. backed up the missionary enterprise of the friars with 

all his wonted energy. Wadding assures us that, in the 
year 1329, he sent a large number of Franciscans and 
Dominicans to Georgia, Persia, and other countries, and 
also to Ethiopia. 2 He addressed a letter to the Negus of 
Abyssinia, exhorting him to enter the one fold of Christ, 
and to place himself and his people under its one shepherd. 
He wished him that " grace now which leads to future 
glory ". 3 The sovereign to whom this letter was addressed 
must have been Amda-Syon (1312-42), a man of grossly 
sensual habits, 4 but valiant and generous. Accordingly, 
when under the Mameluke Sultan, Nasir, the Christians 
of Egypt were badly persecuted, 5 he did not hesitate to 

1 Cf. Fontana, Monument. Dominic, p. 172, Rome, 1675. He refers 
to L. de Paramo, De S. Inquisitione, tit. 2, c. 19. 

2 Annates, ad an. 1329, n. 11. 

3 lb., vol. vii, 103 ; Raynaldus, an. 1329, n. 98 ad fin. Neither 
of these authors gives the actual text of the letter to the Negus, but 
the latter says it was of the same import as that addressed to the 
Emperor of Trebizond, which is given by Wadding, I.e., p. 100. 

4 See the Ethiopian chronicle, ap. Basset, I.e., pp. 99, 100, or Bruce, 
vol. iii, p. 41. 

5 Cf. Muir, The Mameluke Dynasty, p. 74. 



NICHOLAS IV. 135 

threaten reprisals, and to stop the overflow of the Nile. 1 
What effect the threats of Amda may have produced is 
not known ; but we do know from Makrizi, 2 that the 
Caliphs of Egypt kept always under arms a body of men 
to resist attacks from the Abyssinians as well as from 
the Nubians and Negroes. Certainly among the Egyptians 
of this period there was a wholesome respect for the 
power of the Negus. They regarded him as " the fourth 
of the Kings of the earth, and no King on earth is strong 
enough to resist him ". 3 

Circumstances during the reign of Amda-Syon were 
favourable to Catholic missionaries. The saintly Abuna 
Takla-Haimanot (f c. 1282) had recently reformed 
monasticism in Abyssinia ; and we read in the Ethiopic 
annals that his spiritual son enrolled in its ranks a 
number of men, whom they designate as " stars " and 
who reflected great credit on the monastic life. 4 Such 
men would welcome the zealous friars, while they must 
have regarded with horror the corrupt state of the Coptic 
Church. Of this we may form some idea from Makrizi's 
description of the " Feast of Martyrs ", which was so 
disreputable that, for a time (1302-38), it was even 
stopped by the Moslems. According to this writer, the 
Copts believed that there would be no satisfactory over- 
flow of the Nile unless they dipped into it a relic case 
containing the finger of a certain martyr. This ceremony 
took place on April 8, " the feast of the Martyrs," and 
was made the occasion of a great fete. The whole Coptic 
population from Cairo and the district round flocked to 
the banks of the Nile at Choubra, a suburb of the 
city, set up tents, and for days shamelessly abandoned 

1 Makrizi, Mem. sur I'Egypte, ii, p. 275, ed. Quatremere, ap. Basset, 
p. 233. 

2 Descript. de I'Egypte, p. 76, ed. W. Bouriaut, Paris, 1895. 

3 Abu-Salih, The Churches and Monasteries of Egypt, p. 286. 

4 Ed. Basset, p. 99. 



I36 NICHOLAS IV. 

themselves to every form of vice. As much as a hundred 

thousand dirhems of silver would be spent on wine 

alone, and the people of Choubra reckoned to make as 

much profit on its sale as to pay all their taxes. But at 

length, in 1355, the Moslem authorities, having destroyed 

the Church where it was kept, publicly burnt the finger, 

and " from that day to this ", concludes Makrizi, " the 

Feast of the Martyrs has — to God be glory — never 

again been celebrated." x 

Bishop Bar- It was during the temporary suspension of the Feast 

TivoH™ ° °* the Martyrs, and during the pontificate of John XXII., 

that the Dominican friar, Bartholomew of Tivoli, was 

consecrated in Rome bishop of Dongola, the then chief 

city of Nubia. Before proceeding to his destination, 

Bartholomew, with two other Dominican priests, went on 

a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (1330). We have just seen 

other missionaries for Abyssinia doing the same ; and it 

may be that they went to Jerusalem, not only to confirm 

their faith, but to meet there " men from Ethiopia who 

are blacker than charcoal ". 2 With information obtained 

from them, Bartholomew and his companions set out for 

Egypt, and after much fatigue and suffering, they at 

length reached Abyssinia. There, we are told, they 

converted many infidels, and brought back many 

Christians to their duty. They ordained priests, and built 

1 Descript. de I'Egypte, c. 22, p. 194 ff. It is only fair to remind 
the reader that this scene is painted by a Moslem. 

2 Viaggio in terra santa (1395), p. 43, ed. F. Z., Bologna, 1867. Cf. 
the testimony of Friar James of Verona in 1335, Liber peregrinationis, 
ap. Golubovich, Bib. dell' Oriente, iv, p. 33, where, speaking of the 
different Christian bodies that said Mass in the basilica of the Valley 
of Josaphat, he enumerates the Nubians and Abyssinians " who are 
black, like the Nubians ". Cf. ib., p. 21, for their presence in Jerusalem. 
Cf. pp. 237-8. Towards the end of the fourteenth century, too, the 
worthy Russian archimandrite, Grethenios, politely records as present 
in Jerusalem, besides " the orthodox Greeks ", also " the accursed . . . 
Latins . . . Abyssinians, etc." Cf. Khitrowo, I liner aires russes en 
Orient, p. 173, Geneva, 1889.. 



NICHOLAS IV. 137 

and repaired churches. Further, " to render more lasting 
his labours among the Abyssinians of Ethiopia — a country 
ruled by the Emperor ' Gran Neguz ', wrongly called 
Pretegianni (Prester John) — Bartholomew built a famous 
convent called Alleluia, because Angels were often heard 
singing Alleluia whilst it was being built." * It is said 
that this monastery became very famous, and that in 
the sixteenth century it was visited by a son of the Sultan 
of Fez and Morocco, when on a pilgrimage to Mecca. 
He was so edified by the piety of the religious that 
he became a Christian, and then a Dominican, and, 
says the authority we are quoting, was still alive 
in 1606. 2 

During the pontificate of John XXII., the prospects Mission from 
of universal diffusion of the faith were most hopeful. th l p^f 
With missions all over Asia even to China, and in 1351 - 
Africa even to Ethiopia, the supreme pontiff was then 
indeed recognized even to the ends of the earth. The 
" Society of friars travellers for Jesus Christ " had been 
organized under a special head, 3 and more system had 
been introduced into their work. But, unfortunately, 
before the close of the century, their heroic labours were 
nearly all undone. In China, their missions were destroyed 
by the overthrow of the Mongol dynasty ; in Asia by the 
ravages of the terrible Tamerlane ; and in Ethiopia by 
an accentuation of the perennial difficulty of communica- 
tion. This increased difficulty of intercourse with 
Ethiopia was one of the results of the terrible Black 
Death which swept over Europe, Asia, and Africa in 

1 Such are the words of the Dominican, F. M. Cavalieri, in his 
Galleria dei Sommi Pontefici, arcivescovi, etc., i, p. 137 f., Benevento, 
1696. 

2 lb. The same author says that bishop Bartholomew died about 
1350. 

3 Cf. Mortier, Hist, des Maitres Generaux, ii, p. 495 ff., and especially 
a dissertation " De congregatione peregrinantium propter Christum " 
in Masetti, Mon. ord. prcedicatorum, i, p. 454 ff., Rome, 1864. 



I38 NICHOLAS IV. 

1348-9, and wrought special havoc among priests and 
religious who with heroic courage attended the plague- 
stricken. Contemporary writers, probably indeed with 
some exaggeration, have set down most terrifying figures 
when they treat of the mortality in the great cities. 1 
Here we will merely give a few figures relating to religious. 
In a Franciscan convent of sixty friars in Messina (Sicily), 
half of them were carried off in a brief space. 2 In the 
same city, all the Carmelites, and all the Franciscan 
hermits perished. 3 At Marseilles all the Friars Minors 
died. 4 But there is no need to continue this list, for the 
records of most of the city monastic houses, especially, 
have the same story to tell. After such a phenomenal 
mortality, there were not enough religious left to do 
what was expected of them in their own neighbourhood, 
let alone to meet the demands of the new missions. We 
will but further quote on this subject a letter of 
Clement VI., dated March 6, 1349, i n order to show how 
the Oriental missions suffered from the dread pestilence. 5 
From this document which is addressed to the Vicar- 
General of the Dominican Order, and to the " Reader " 
in theology in the Apostolic Palace, it appears that in 
Persia out of fifteen Dominican houses (where there were 
only three survivors) and as many of other religious 
Orders, no priests at all were left to look after "the 
copious multitude of the faithful " in those parts. The 
survivors, believing that their Order was, at the time, 

1 See the chapter on "La Peste " in Mortier, Hist, des Maitres gin., 
iii, p. 254 ff. 

2 John of Vitoduranus, Chron., ap. Eccard, Corpus, i, 1925. 

3 lb., p. 1927. 

4 Henry of Hervodia, Chron., p. 269, ed. Potthast. 

5 It is quoted in full in Mortier, I.e., pp. 262-3. In connection with 
it, we may note that like most papal letters of this period, it is very 
badly constructed in that it consists of only two long rambling sentences. 
Even in our own days papal letters are at times models of all that 
such documents ought not to be. 



NICHOLAS IV. 139 

without a Master-General, had turned to the Pope, and 
had asked him to provide suitable labourers. 

It may be that it was to make the same request, that 
the Negus in 135 1 sent an important embassy to the 
same Pope Clement VI. It may, of course, have been 
that the Ethiopic ruler wanted Crusaders to help him 
against the Moslems of Egypt. 1 At any rate, whatever 
was his motive, the anonymous German traveller we 
have already quoted tells us that the Negus, whom he 
also wrongly styled Prester John, sent some of his 
family and other envoys to the Roman court. 2 

Whatever were the subjects discussed by Clement VI. 
and the Abyssinians, we may be sure that the fact that 
an embassy from Ethiopia had been able to get to the 
Pope caused anxiety to the Sultans of Egypt. We know, 
from the author we have just cited, that they kept the 
closest watch on the Red Sea, so that no communication 
might pass between the Princes of Europe and Abyssinia. 3 
They feared an alliance between the Franks and the 
Ethiopians. 4 

Either the Sultan of Egypt, or the Plague, or both, No further 

, r . communica- 

would appear to have been successful in stopping any tion in our 
further religious or political intercourse between the ^™^ wlth 
Pope and the Negus to the close of the period with 

1 Cf. John of Vitoduranus, Chron., 1341, ap. Eccard, Corpus, i, 
p. 1868, or Golubovich, I.e., ii, p. 147. According to the Ethiopic 
chronicle published by Basset, p. 100, one cause of war at this period 
between Egypt and Ethiopia was the fact that the Sultan had 
imprisoned Martin IV., patriarch of Alexandria (1348-63). 

2 " De quorum semine (Pester John) anno dni. 1351, ibidem strenui 
principes fuerunt supe stites in curia Romana et ambasiatores." 
Ap. Golubovich, I.e., ii, p. 152. Basset, I.e., p. 243, quoting Codigni, 
De Abbassinorum rebus, p. 177, Lyons, 1615, says the Ethiopians had 
already sent a mission to Clement V. 

3 lb., c. 10, p. 151. 

4 Cf. Alvarez, Embassy, cc. 102 and 114. Cf. Fra Niccol6 da 
Poggibonsi, Libro dei Santuari d'oltre mare (1345), ii, 277. Bologna, 
1881, ap. De la Ronciere, La decouverte, i, 67, ii, 111. 



14° NICHOLAS IV. 

which we purpose to concern ourselves, i.e., up to the 
pontificate of Martin V. (1417). We must, apparently, 
wait till the reign of the Negus, Zara Yacob, or Constantine 
(1434-68), and the pontificate of Eugenius IV. before 
Rome and Abyssinia get in touch again. In their 
days, the question of the reunion of the Churches was 
much to the fore. It was treated of at the Council of 
Ferrara-Florence-Rome (1438-45). Representatives of 
the different schismatical bodies, Greeks, Armenians, 
Chaldeans, etc., appeared before the Council in one or 
other of the places at which it met. The arrival in Rome 
of the envoys of the Copts and the Abyssinians made a 
sensation, as is clear from an entry in the brief diary of 
Paolo dello Mastro of the Ponte quarter. " I, Paul, 
remember that in the year 1441, October 9, an abbot 
(Andrew) of St. Anthony in Egypt, who was a great lord 
of Prester John (Prete Givanni) , with a company of twelve 
monks came to Rome. When they entered the gate of 
the city, they were escorted by the Castellan of St. Angelo 
and the Conservators of the City. They accompanied 
them to the Church of St. Blaise, and then the heads of 
the different quarters of Rome (the Caporioni) escorted 
them to St. Lorenzo in Damaso. . . . They were 
Christians of the fire." x 

Before this, they had appeared before the Pope and 
the Council at Florence (Sept. 2, 1441), and their spokes- 
man had declared that nowhere was the Pope held more 
in honour than in the great Empire of Ethiopia. There 
men kissed the feet of his legates, and tore their garments 

1 Paolo di Benedetto di Cola dello Mastro, Memorials, p. 9, ed. A. 
De-Antonis, Rome, 1875. Cf. also the Miscellanea Hist., of Paul, 
the son of L. Petronius, ap. R. I. SS., xxiv, p. 1124. They were 
called " Christians of the fire " because, as we have seen, they were 
branded at their baptism. These envoys had come by Jerusalem where 
also they had made a sensation. See a letter to the Pope ap. M. de 
Civezza, Storia delle Missioni, iv, 607 ff . 



NICHOLAS IV. 141 

to keep them as relics. The Queen of Sheba and Queen 
Candace were among the glories of their country. All 
the Churches that were separated from Rome had been 
ruined except that of Abyssinia ; and the reason that it 
was spared was that its estrangement from Rome was 
due, not to rebellion, but to distance, and even to the 
negligence of some of the Popes themselves who had not 
sent them legates. 1 

The outcome of the discussions at the Council was the 
union, temporary only for the most part, of the Greeks, 
Armenians, Copts, Ethiopians, etc., with the mother 
Church of Rome ; and, a little later under Sixtus IV. 
(1471-84), the establishment, at S. Stefano (degli 
Abissini or dei Mori), at the back of St. Peter's, of a hospice 
and monastery for Abyssinians. 2 

1 Hardouin, Condi., t. ix, p. 1031 ff., ap. Hefele, Concil., vii, pt. i, 
p. 1085 ff., ed. Leclercq, Paris, 1916. 

2 Hence the locality of the College came to be known as "in ^Egypto". 
Cf. R. Lanciani, Notes topograph, de burgo S. Petri, pp. 234, 238-9 
(Estratto, 1923). Cf. on the church, Armellini, Le chiese di Roma, 
p. 750 ff. The article needs some corrections. The first opening of 
the College (reopened for Abyssinians, 1919) is assigned to this period 
by Basset, I.e., p. 243. Cf. especially, M. Chaine, Un monastere 
Ethiopien a Rome, Beyrout, 1910. 



CHAPTER III. 

SICILY. 

Efforts for j N ^ attitude towards the Sicilian question Nicholas 

the release ^ 

of Charles of followed exactly the policy of his predecessor. He 
refused to acknowledge the claims of James and Alfonso 
to the thrones respectively of Sicily and Aragon, and 
worked hard, especially through King Edward of England, 
for the release of Charles the Lame, Prince of Salerno, 
the heir of Charles I. of Anjou. He also imitated Honorius 
in making it clear to the Kings of France and England 
that he would not accept the terms on which Alfonso of 
Aragon had offered to release Charles. 1 

He began his efforts on Charles' behalf by urging 
Alfonso to release him, as he had never injured him, but 
had been seized when defending his father's rights. The 
detention of the Prince was an outrage to the whole 
Christian people. Alfonso should, therefore, release him, 
and not assist the usurpation of his brother James. 
Moreover, if he does not appear before the Holy See in 
the course of the next six months, proceedings both 
spiritual and temporal will be taken against him. 2 The 
papal envoys, the archbishops of Ravenna and Monreale, 
and the Dominican Raynonus of Viterbo, were ordered to 
deliver the papal letters to Alfonso personally, or at any 
rate to cite him in public, before the assembled clergy 
and people. 3 

1 See his letters to Philip IV. of France, Reg., nn. 560-1, of March 15, 
1288 ; and to the King of England, ap. Rymer, ii, 358. Cf. Reg., 
n. 1389. He enumerated the proposed conditions to which he objected. 

2 Ep. of March 15, 1288, ap. Reg., n. 565. 

3 lb., nn. 566 ff. 

142 



NICHOLAS IV. 143 

Nicholas next repeatedly exhorted the Kings of France 
and especially of England, to make every effort to secure 
the release of the Prince. 1 

On the other hand, he lost no time in urging James of J ames of 
Aragon to cease his opposition to the Church. He pro- exhorted to 
claimed his grievances against him before the people f£irns P hls 
assembled in St. John Lateran's on Maundy Thursday, 
and ordered the parchment on which the process against 
him was written to be affixed to the doors of the basilica. 2 

Neither of the brothers, however, showed any tendency Action of the 
to comply with the wishes of the Pope. Alfonso reiterated Edward 
the conditions on which he was prepared to release f^j 18 * the 
Charles, 3 and continued, so Philip complained to Edward, 4 1288. 
to act against his ally the King of Majorca. On his side, 
Nicholas pushed on the raising of the tenths in Italy 5 
and in France for the campaigns against James and 
Alfonso. He granted Philip IV. tithes for two years, 
and then for three 6 years, and exhorted the people to 
give freely. Then, finding that the authorities in Genoa 
were not disposed to encourage their citizens in supporting 
James of Aragon in Sicily, 7 he wrote to Philip of France 
urging him to co-operate with the regents of Sicily in 

1 lb., nn. 107-9 ; Rymer, ii, 358, 364, and 365, of May 26. 

2 Reg., n. 559, March 28, 1288. " Cartas sive membranas, pro- 
cessum continentes eundem in presentis basilice S. Johannis L. appendi 
. . . affigi ostiis seu super luminaribus faciemus." Cf. ib., n. 597, 
giving him till September to make his submission. 

3 Rymer, ii, p. 362, Apr. 3, 1288. 

4 Ep. March 20, ap. ib., p. 357. Cf. L. de la Marche, France et le 
royaume de Majorque, i, 298. 5 Reg., nn. 96-100, Apr. 30, 1288. 

6 lb., nn. 613, 615, Sept. 11 and 15, 1288. The tithes were to be 
collected by persons nominated by the Holy See, and were not to be 
demanded from clerics whose income was under 15 pounds " Turo- 
nensium parvorum ", from the Templars, etc. Cf. ib., nn. 617-18, 1634. 

7 Ep. May 18, 1288, ap. Wadding, v, 176. In this letter the Pope 
commissioned two friars to absolve the Genoese (at the request of their 
Commune) from the censures they had incurred because some of their 
citizens had traded with the Sicilians "contra interdictum Sedis 
Apostolicae ". Later on, after the death of Alfonso III. of Aragon 



144 NICHOLAS IV. 

cultivating the Genoese, and in trying to induce them to 
ally themselves with him against Aragon and the invaders 
of the island of Sicily. 1 
Edward On his side Edward, in response to the request of the 

procures the x 

release of Pope, continued his efforts to obtain the release of his 
L288 leS ' kinsman, the Prince of Salerno. Though his motives 
were suspected by some of the French, 2 there does not 
seem sufficient reason to doubt that he was in the main 
disinterested in this matter. However that may be, he 
applied himself earnestly to the task of settling the 
Sicilian question. To make it plain that he did not 
accept the fait accompli as the basis of negotiation, he 
was at pains to proclaim to the world, by a public notarial 
act, that if in the course of diplomatic correspondence, 
James was by him alluded to as King of Sicily, he had no 
intention of acknowledging him as such. This document, 
drawn up by a public notary of the Apostolic See, was 
signed by a number of important clergy and laymen, 
such as Boniface, Peter, and John, archbishops of 
Ravenna, Monreale, and York, Otho of Grandison, etc. 3 
Encouraged by the people of Jaca (in north-west 
Aragon), who swore to use their best efforts to make 
Alfonso carry out the terms of the treaty, 4 Edward had 

(June 18, 1291), when James, leaving his brother Frederick in charge 
of Sicily, had gone to Aragon for the crown of that country, Nicholas 
urged the Genoese not to help him or Frederick in any way. On the 
contrary, they should assist the Pope and Charles II. Ep. of Feb. 29, 
1292, ap. Raynaldus, Annales, 1292, n. 15. 

1 Ep. Oct. 23, 1288, ap. Reg., n. 7178. 

2 Will, of Nangis, Chron., i, 268. Some thought, says William, that 
he was really acting against France. But it is rather more probable 
that he was really acting not merely in the interests of an imprisoned 
cousin, but also in those of the Crusades. 

3 Protestatio, ap. Rymer, ii, 366 f. It was drawn up at Jaca in 
Aragon. 

4 lb., p. 367, Sept. 18. Hardy's summary of this doc. is not accurate. 
Syllabus of Rymer' s Fcedera, i, p. 104 ; nor is his date of the treaty 
of " Campo Francho " ; ib., p. 105. He gives it as Oct. 27. It should 
be Oct. 28 : " Quarto die exeunte mensis Octobris." 



NICHOLAS IV. 145 

a meeting with Alfonso in the neighbourhood of Jaca, 
to wit, at Campfranc (Oct. 28), and a new treaty regarding 
the liberation of Charles was agreed to. 1 Its foundation 
was the treaty of Oleron. 2 Charles himself was present 
at the meeting, and we are assured that the clauses of 
the Oleron treaty were read out distinctly and approved 
by him, subject to the changes introduced in the new 
convention. 3 These changes did not, as we have just 
insinuated, affect the fundamental clauses of the treaties 
of Cefalii and Oleron, such as the cession of Sicily to 
James of Aragon, to which the Popes had objected, but 
simply concerned the ransom, hostages, and securities 
generally, which were to constitute the price of Charles's 
liberation. Seemingly, suspecting that the treaty of 
Campfranc would be no more acceptable to Nicholas 
than its predecessors, the parties to it agreed to stand by 
it, despite the protests or prohibitions of any person what- 
soever, no matter what position he might hold. 4 Yet in 
the agreement between Charles and Edward by which 
the former promised to repay our King all the monies he 
was to advance for him, and in general to perform all 
he had undertaken to do in order to secure his release, 
Edward insisted that he should consent to being forced 
to keep his promises, if necessary, by papal pressure. 5 

1 Rymer, ii, p. 371 ff. 

2 Treaty of July 25, 1287, ap. ib., p. 346 ff. " Personaliter (Alfonsus 
and Edward) convenientes apud Oleron in Beam." 

3 Rymer, ib., p. 371. 

4 " Immo, sine omni excusatione, mandato . . . ac precibus 
cujusqunque personae, quantaeque dignitatis aut status existat, in 
contrarium non admissis, stabunt praedictis conventionibus." Cf. 
the treaty, ap. ib., p. 374, Oct. 27, 1288. Cf. ib., p. 390. This surely 
seems aimed at the Pope. 

5 Agreement of Nov. 3, 1288. On this date Charles now "in sua 
libertate existens " ; agreed to submit " cohercioni d. Papas . . . ita 
quod d. Papa, ad solum requisitioned . . . regis Angliae . . . possit 
eundem principem . . . compellere ad complementum omnium, etc." 
Ap. Rymer, ii, 389 f . 

Vol. XVII. l 



146 NICHOLAS IV. 

And for still greater security, he required that the docu- 
ment embodying this consent should be signed by the 
Pope's envoys, the Archbishops of Ravenna and Monreale. 

Besides acknowledging the claim of James of Aragon 
to the island of Sicily, Charles had to engage to strive to 
bring about within a year a truce of three years between 
Alfonso on the one hand, and the Pope, Philip of France 
and Charles of Valois on the other, and to secure the 
Pope's sanction of the treaty. Within three years he 
was to make a definite peace with James and Alfonso, 
which would satisfy the latter, and was not, during the 
same period, to do, or, as far as he could, suffer to be 
done anything against them. 

As a guarantee of good faith, Charles was to give to 
Alfonso as hostages his two sons, Louis and Robert at 
once, and his eldest son Charles Martel in the course of 
the next ten months, and sixty nobles of Provence. He 
was also to hand over to Alfonso thirty thousand marks. 
Should he fail to carry out these terms, or to return to 
captivity should he be unable to fulfil them, he was to 
lose his hostages and the money deposited with Alfonso, 
by himself and his surety King Edward, to incur the note of 
infamy and to lose Provence and his title of King. To 
insure the prince's keeping his word, our King had also 
to give Alfonso a number of hostages, and to bind himself 
in large sums of money. Finally, it was agreed that the 
hostages, etc., should be handed over to Alfonso either 
at Sta. Christina or between the hill of Panessars and 
Jonquere. 1 

1 With the formal Pact of Campfranc (ap. Rymer, ii, 371 ff.), cf. the 
statement of Charles about the treaty (ib., p. 441, Nov. 1, 1289), and 
that of Alfonso about it, ap. ib., 455 ff., Jan. 4, 1290. For 
the bonds of King Edward for 70,000 marks and hostages, see ib., 
p. 375, Oct. 28, 1288. Edward paid down at once 23,000 marks, 
partly in gold sovereigns (in Sterlingis bonis) at the rate of 13 solidi 
and 4 denarii to the mark ; partly in good silver Tournois, at the rate 



NICHOLAS IV. 147 

When King Edward had duly paid a large deposit, Release of 
and had handed over to Alfonso some eighty hostages 
(Oct. 28), * and Charles had consigned to him his two 
sons Louis (afterwards the saintly bishop of Toulouse) 
and Robert (Oct. 29), 2 the Prince was released and betook 
himself to Edward at Oleron. This took place either at 
the end of October or the beginning of November. 3 At 
any rate, the Prince was free on November 3,* and 
proclaimed that our King was " the head and front " 
of his deliverance. 5 

He was most kindly received by Edward, and having paries ^ 
obtained a loan of money, and a bodyguard from him, 6 the Pope, 
went to Provence, and afterwards to King Philip in Paris. * 88 ~ 9 ' 
However anxious Charles may have been to carry out 
the conditions of the treaty of Campfranc, he soon 
found that he was faced with well-nigh insurmountable 
difficulties. The Pope was not prepared to have his fief 
of Sicily left in the hands of the Aragonese invaders ; 
James of Majorca was not ready to leave his kingdom in 
the power of Alfonso, Charles of Valois was as resolved 
as ever to make good his title to the throne of Aragon, 
and he himself was overwhelmed with debt. To raise 
money, he appealed, not altogether in vain, to the 

of 54 gros Tournois to the mark, and partly in good gold florins at the 
rate to the mark of six florins less 2 solidi " Turonensium minutorum ". 
See the acknowledgment of Alfonso, ap. ib., p. 381, Oct. 28, 1288. 
The details of this treaty occupy about 100 pages in Rymer. The 
terms of the treaty are also briefly given by the chroniclers, Rishanger, 
p. 116, R. S. ; Ann. Edw. I., p. 482, R. S. ; Ann. of Worcester, p. 497, 
R. S. ; Will, de Nangis, i, p. 274, etc. 

1 Rymer, ii, 378 ff., 381. 

2 lb., p. 386. 

3 Cf. ib., p. 436. 

4 lb., 389. 

5 " Liberationis nostrae caput et principium." Ib., p. 486. 

8 lb., p. 388 ; Ann. de Wigornia, p. 498 ; Geoffrey de Courlon, 
Chron., p. 574 ; Muntaner, Chron., cc. 162, 167 ff., but his account 
is hopelessly confused. 



I48 NICHOLAS IV. 

generosity of his friends. 1 Then, to assist Edward in 
fulfilling his share of the treaty, he gave over to him 
another of his sons, Raymund Berenger, so that our King 
might deliver him to Alfonso, and so conclude all he 
had undertaken to do. 2 

Whilst a desultory warfare was being waged between 
the French and the Aragonese in the interests of Charles of 
Valois, but mostly in favour of Alfonso, Charles of Salerno 
was slowly making his way to the Pope. All the time 
he was doing his best to make good the treaty. For this 
even the old Aragonese chronicler, Muntaner, gives him 
credit, declaring that he was " one of the generous . . . 
pious . . . and upright lords of the world ". 3 
Charles is However that may be, he reached Rieti, where Nicholas 

the W pope y th en was > * n May > an d> °f course > discussed the situation 
1289. with him. In the very first month of his pontificate, the 

Pope had clearly stated to the Kings of England and 
France, that, as his predecessor had rejected the pact of 
Cefalii, he also refused to accept that of Oleron which, 
as King James had insisted, had embodied the conditions 
of the earlier agreement. 4 Now, after Charles had laid 
the conditions of the treaty of Campfranc before him, 

1 See his correspondence with the Commune of Brescia which had 
already manifested its goodwill to him, ap. James Malvecio (fi. 1412), 
Chron. Brixianum, ap. R. I. SS., xxiv, p. 953 ff. Charles's letter for 
help is dated Marseilles, Dec. 1, 1288. 

2 See the declaration of Alfonso that Edward was quits, ap. Rymer, 
ii, 415, March 9, 1289. 

3 Chron., c. 167. Cf. Chron. Siculum, p. 6, ed. De Blasiis : " Carolus 
fuit multum Justus, etc." 

4 Cf. ep. of March 15 to Philip, Reg., 560-1. James had insisted 
that " Ut ipse (Alfonso) a compositione sine concordia pridem inter 
eum (Prince Charles) illosque tractata, dum adhuc in Sicilie partibus 
primogenitus ipse esset, recedere non deberet ". Alfonso had hearkened 
to his brother's desire, and had added that the Prince could not be 
released till marriages had been arranged between K. James and his 
eldest daughter, and between his eldest son and Isalanda the sister of 
James and Alfonso. The letter to Edward, in the same terms, is given 
in full in Rymer, ii, 358 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 149 

and had declared that the final settlement must rest with 
him, 1 Nicholas thanked God with tears in his eyes for 
his freedom, but declared that he was not bound by his 
undertakings to his Sicilian enemy. What, however, 
he had promised to Edward, through whom he had 
acquired his liberty, that must be observed. 2 

Then, on the feast of Pentecost (May 29), Nicholas, 
whom Specialis calls " the author of his liberation " 3 
solemnly crowned Charles King of Sicily in the Church 
of our Lady. 4 

Fortunately Cardinal Stefaneschi has left us a record Ceremonies 
of the ceremonies observed on this occasion. 5 Nicholas coronation, 
took his place in the church " in the early morning ", 
and was followed by Prince Charles with an attendant 
bearing a sheathed sword in front of him. Surrounded 
by a number of his nobles, and of the prelates of his 
kingdom clad in copes, he was received at the choir by 
Latinus Malabranca, Bernard of Languisel, John Bocca- 
mazza, and Bentivenga, cardinal-bishops respectively of 
Ostia, Porto, Tusculum, and Albano. After the cardinals 
and others had said various prayers over him, the Prince 
proceeded to an altar at the right of the high altar. 

1 Bartholomew of N., c. 112, p. 109 (new ed.). " Sed nihil actum, 
vel agendum credidero, nisi quod a tua Sanctitate tantum, pater 
clementissime, decernetur." 

2 lb., cf. Will, of Nangis, an. 1289, i, p. 275. " Absolutus totaliter 
a juramento quod fecerat regi Aragonum et Siculis." 

3 Chron., ii, c. 15, ap. R. I. SS., x, p. 958. 

4 lb., B. of N., I.e. ; Chron. Snessanum, ap. Raynaldus, an. 1289, 
n. 1 ; the author of the Memoriale Potest. Reg., ap. R. I. SS., viii, 
p. 1171, who says that " in his presence " Charles, accompanied by his 
wife, Mary of Hungary, was crowned King of Jerusalem and Sicily 
by the Pope who granted to him all the territories which his father 
had held of the Roman Church ; and Charles's own letter written to 
the Commune of Brescia immediately after his coronation. Ap. 
Malvecio, Chron., viii, c. 108. 

5 " La ceremonial romain de Jacques Cajetan," by L. H. Labande, 
ap. Bib. de I'ecole des Chartes, 1893, p. 71 ff. 



150 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Charles 
takes the 
oath of 
allegiance, 
1289. 



There, at his own request, the bishop of Ostia anointed 
him " as the Kings of France are anointed ", to wit, on 
his hands, arms, breast, and shoulders. After this 
anointing, Charles put on more splendid garments, one 
like a dalmatic, and, above it, another like a stole. Next, 
when he had said the " Confiteor " with the Pope, he 
received from him the kiss of peace, " just as the cardinal 
deacons do." Nicholas, then proceeding with the Mass, 
said a special collect for the Prince, and after the epistle 
put the royal crown upon his head, the orb into his right 
hand, and the sceptre into his left. Then taking the 
sheathed sword from the altar, on which it had been 
laid, girded it on the King, who, drawing it from its sheath, 
thrice brandished it in the air. This done, the King 
kissed the feet of the Pope, and was, in turn, kissed by 
him. At the offertory, the King presented the Pope 
with bread, wine, wax candles, and gold pieces. Whilst 
Nicholas was saying the Canon of the Mass, the King 
remained near the altar close to the Deacons, and received 
the Pax and Holy Communion from the Pope. 

After Mass, the King held the stirrup whilst the 
Pope mounted his horse, and led it to the adjoining 
Palace. Then, mounting his own horse, Charles II., with 
his crown on his head, rode to his own abode. 

With reference no doubt to such ceremonies as the 
holding of the stirrup, the account of the coronation closes 
with a remark that " many " of the things that were done 
at it were " not so much approved as tolerated by the 
lord Pope and his brethren ". Accordingly, when Robert 
the Wise, the son of Charles II., was crowned by Clement V. 
at Avignon, those ceremonies were suppressed. 1 

In the month following his coronation, Charles took 
the usual oath of allegiance to Nicholas for the kingdom 
of the two Sicilies, such as it had been granted to his 



Labande, p. 71. 



NICHOLAS IV. 151 

father (June 19, 1289). x Not long after, having received 
from the Pope many concessions as to the date of his 
payment of the tax for Sicily, etc., the newly crowned 
King left Rieti to proceed to his kingdom. He was 
anxious, among other things, to make headway against 
James of Aragon, who was at the moment ravaging his 
realm. 2 On June 27, as we learn from one of his charters, 
he was at Sulmona ; and we may note that henceforth the 
public documents of the kingdom no longer bear the 
names of Cardinal Gerard and Robert, count of Artois, 
but that of King Charles II. 3 

After spending some weeks in Naples, Charles, with Truce with 
troops furnished him by the Pope and the Guelf cities of A^on? 
Tuscany, Lombardy, etc., marched to the relief of Gaeta, 1289 - 
which was being besieged by King James (August). 4 
However, before the month of August was out, a truce 
for two years had been arranged between the two kings, 
through the mediation of Otho of Grandison, an envoy of 
King Edward, and of a papal legate, and James returned 
to Sicily. 5 

Whoever else was satisfied with this truce, or, at any 
rate, with the way in which it was concluded, Cardinal 
Benedict Gaetani (afterwards Boniface VIII.) was not. 
With good reason he had no high opinion of the ability 

1 Given in full in Liinig, Cod. Ital. Diplom., iv, p. 441 ff. In turn 
Nicholas granted Charles various ecclesiastical privileges. Reg., 1052-9, 
June 28, 1289. 

2 Bart, of N., I.e. Re the concessions, Reg., nn. 2246-9, June 20, 1249. 

3 Syllab. Membran. Sic., ii, pt. i, p. 44, n. 

4 lb., p. 57 for a document of Charles of Aug. 18, 1289. " In castris 
in obsidione hostium prope Caietam." Cf. Bart, of N., I.e. 

5 Aug. 25, 1289, to Nov. 1, 1291. Cf. C. M. Riccio, Delia domin. 
Angioma in Sicilia, p. 11 ; Bart, of N., pp. 109, 111. (This author 
is more concerned with concocting speeches than recording facts) ; 
Muntaner, c. 169. Cf. Camera, Annali delle due Sicilie, ii, p. 12. Our 
Chronicler, Rishanger, in telling of this truce, calls James " the occupier 
(occupatorem) of Sicily", P- 118, R. S. See also a letter of Charles 
to Alfonso of Nov. 1, 1289, ap. Rymer, ii, 441. 



152 NICHOLAS IV. 

of Charles II., who would appear to have been more 
chivalrous than intelligent. When, as Pope, Benedict 
had occasion to blame him for acting on his own initiative, 
he recalled the fact that he and Cardinal Gerard had 
been sent to his assistance, and yet he had made the 
truce without the knowledge of Benedict, or, as he says, 
of his colleague. By such conduct, added Benedict, 
you flouted not only me and Cardinal Gerard, but also 
your mother, the Roman Church. After recalling in 
sarcastic terms "the provident, discreet and useful" 
terms he had subsequently made with James for his own 
release and that of his children, the Pope concluded : 
" From such acts we have learnt by long experience that 
in serious matters things do not go well when you rely 
on yourself." 1 
Formal Establishing his son, Charles Martel, as his regent, 

of the treaty Charles II. left his kingdom, which he was not to see 

fr f anc amp " again for over four y ears ' and in the first instance 
returned to Nicholas at Rieti (September). 2 We do not 
know whether he tried or not to induce the Pope to accept 
the treaty of Campfranc ; but, in any case, on 
September 12, 1289, Nicholas issued a bull in which he 
formally annulled all the treaties between Alfonso, 
Edward, and Charles, and absolved the two latter from 
the oaths which they had taken in connection with them. 3 
Nicholas was justly determined that his rights should 
not be bargained away by others. After the signing of 
the treaty both James and Alfonso had sent envoys to 
him. Those of the former had come in three ships of 

1 Reg. Bonif. VIII., n. 3425. 

2 This we know from a document ap. Syllab. Memb., I.e., p. 61. 

3 Reg., n. 1389. Unfortunately, of this important document, 
Langlois has only given the above meagre analysis. However, we may 
regard the bull " Dissolve colligationes " ap. Raynaldus, Ann., n. 17, 
as a reiteration of that of Sept. 12. Again, unfortunately, Raynaldus 
does not date the document, but it appears to have been issued about 
the same time, but after some illness of Alfonso. 



NICHOLAS IV. 153 

war to Rome. Nicholas had at once ordered the Senator, 
Berthold Orsini, to see that their galleys were anchored 
below St. Paul's outside the walls and that the envoys 
themselves were not to be allowed to stay in Rome 
where they might work mischief, but were to be sent on to 
him at once. 1 They, however, were apparently no more 
successful in obtaining recognition for their master's 
claims, than were those who had been sent by Alfonso 
immediately after the signing of the treaty of Campfranc. 
Although Charles had pleaded along with the envoys 
of the latter, Nicholas flatly refused to recognize the 
right of anyone to give away or keep what did not belong 
to him, 2 and, as we have said, issued a specific con- 
demnation of the pact of Campfranc. In the language 
of a later condemnation, he had declared : " ' Loose the 
bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress . . . 
and break asunder every burden ' (Isa. lviii, 6). By 
these precepts of Holy Writ we are led to dissolve 
wicked obligations impiously contracted to oppress the 
innocent." Denouncing the invasion of Sicily and the 
mainland by Peter of Aragon as an outrage of the rights 
of the Church, 3 he reviewed the chief terms of the treaties 
made between Alfonso and Charles, and declared that, 
as Peter was an unjust aggressor, neither he nor his son 
had any right to keep Charles in prison, as he was properly 
defending his father's rights. He pointed out, too, that 
the treaties had been wrung from a man in prison, who, 
as a liegeman of the Church, could not bind himself, 
and still less the Church or the King of France. It would 

1 Reg., n. 7050, June 12, 1288. 

2 See the letter of Alfonso to Edward (Nov. 24, 1289) complaining 
that what he called his justice (or rights — justitia) " eis (his envoys), 
imo nobis in eisdem, per Ecclesiam totaliter extitit denegata ". Ap. 
Rymer, ii, 451. 

3 " Quod (the kingdom of the tv/o Sicilies) ipsius Ecclesiae juris et 
proprietatis extitit." See the letter " Dissolve colligationes ", ap. 
Raynaldus, 1288, n. 17. 



154 NICHOLAS IV. 

be a fine thing, moreover, if the Church were debarred 
from helping loyal friends, and had to favour its enemies. 
Accordingly Honorius IV. had already condemned not 
only the "liberation treaty" of Oleron, but any other 
like it. Therefore, especially as it had been said on good 
authority 2 that Peter on his deathbed, and even Alfonso 
himself in grave sickness had ordered the release of 
Charles, we absolutely annul the treaty, and declare all 
oaths taken in connection with it not binding. At the 
same time, he declared that in another process issued 
by him at Rome on Maundy Thursday, he had ordered 
Alfonso to return the hostages and money which he had 
received. Moreover, he had strictly forbidden Edward, 
King Charles, and all others concerned to fulfil their 
undertakings. This he did, he added, because he was 
aware that generous souls sometimes imagined that they 
were bound to keep promises which they had had no 
right to make. 
Criticism of The position taken up by Nicholas with regard to the 
position. 6 S treaty of Campfranc which must have been generally 
anticipated, and was evidently regarded as natural by 
his contemporaries, 2 quite naturally did not please the 
Sicilians. Accordingly, one of their historians, 
Bartholomew de Neocastro, who was present at the siege 
of Gaeta just mentioned, puts a speech into the mouth 
of a certain Guido, a Templar, in which he is supposed 
to have said that the Pope " the head of all the Princes 

1 " Praecipue cum habeat fide digna relatio, quod . . . Petrus 
in supremis suis . . . principem a carcere liberari mandavit." lb. 
Charles is called by the Pope " Ecclesiae vassallus praecipuus ". 

2 Mr. C. L. Kingsford, indeed (" Sir Otho de Grandison," ap. 
Transacs. of the R. Hist. Soc, 1909, p. 134, calls it a breach of good 
faith, and adds that Edward " naturally indignant, sent O. de G. 
to expostulate with Nicholas for stirring new strife among Christians, 
etc." For this assertion he quotes Rymer, i, 708, May 8, 1289. It may 
scarcely be credited, but the document (in my edition, ii, 421) is 
merely a letter of credence " pro quibusdam negotiis nostris ". 



NICHOLAS IV. 155 

of Christendom " ought to be rousing them to the defence 
of Acre, now threatened by the Moslem. Instead, " for 
the recovery of Sicily . . . you have against its King armed 
other kings. Listen to the voice of your conscience, and 
cause the French to make peace with the Sicilians." x 

After the decided way in which Nicholas had rejected Charles asks 
the treaty of Campfranc, King Charles felt that there was prorogation. 
no hope of inducing him to change his mind in a short 
time. Accordingly, through Hugh, Bishop of Saragossa, 
and Abbot Sinaqua, he asked Alfonso to grant him more 
than a year in which to fulfil his undertakings. 2 His 
request was supported by King Edward. 3 Alfonso, 
however, declared that, though he could not grant the 
delay asked for, he would grant what was really 
equivalent. If King Charles had fulfilled his promises by 
May 1, 1290, he would not meanwhile exact any forfeits. 4 

1 Hist., c. 112, p. 108 f. Cf. ib., p. 110, for a similar speech to the 
Pope by Hugh, an envoy of Edward. He also appeals to the Pope's 
conscience " qua totius orbis circulus gubernatur ". See ib., p. 112 ff. 
for the preposterous and insolent speeches which an angel is supposed 
to have inspired a hermit from Sicily to address to the Pope. The 
said hermit, among other things, tells the Pope, in the style of the 
Pharisee, that he fasted twice in the week, etc., whereas the Pope 
feasted on every kind of fish, flesh, fowl, and wine ! See again, p. 114, 
for the rubbish which, by the mouth of his envoy, brother Raymond, a 
Catalan monk, Nicholas is supposed to have addressed to James of 
Sicily, when asking him to go to the rescue of the Holy Land. Our 
Edward, who had nearly twenty years more of fight in him, is said to 
be too old to fight and the French King too fat ! More ridiculous 
speeches, regarding Gregory IX. and the Crusade of Frederick II. 
on p. 115 ff. 

2 Cf. epp. ap. Rymer, ii, p. 368. These two letters are obviously 
wrongly dated, and belong to the year 1289, after Charles's release, 
and not to 1288 before his release. Cf. also ib., p. 429, for the letter 
of the bishop of Saragossa. 

3 See his letter of Aug. 31, 1289, ap. ib., p. 428. 

4 See Hugh's letter to Charles, Sept. 5, 1289. " Et super hiis . . . 
Rex Aragonum mittit celsitudini vestrae literam suam." Rymer, ii, 429. 
See the King's letter, ib., pp. 430 and 431, of Sept. 7, 1289. With this 
compare the wrongly dated letters, ap. ib., p. 368. 



156 NICHOLAS IV. 

Dissatisfied with this reply, or in despair of being 
able to fulfil the treaty, Charles resolved to give himself 
up to Alfonso and to return to captivity. At any 
rate, he sent envoys to the King of Aragon to prepare 
to receive him. 1 As, however, he did not furnish his 
envoys with any particulars as to his proposed surrender, 2 
it would appear that he was not in earnest ; but was 
going to take a leaf out of the Aragonese book, and play 
a trick similar to that played at the lists of Bordeaux 
by Pedro III. on his father. 3 
Charles 11. However all that may be, on Monday, October 31, 
hfmseiftobe I28 9> Charles presented himself between the hill of 
led back to Panissars and Jonquere to be led back to captivity. 
1289. V1 y ' There he remained for three days, supported by James of 
Majorca, who was careful to explain that he was not 
there to attack Alfonso or his followers, but, if need be, 
to defend Charles. 4 As neither Alfonso nor any repre- 
sentative of his appeared to conduct Charles to his 
prison, that Prince caused documents to be drawn up 
certifying that he had duly presented himself at the 
appointed time and place ready to return to captivity, 
as he had been unable to comply with the terms of the 
peace. He had come " unarmed " and with a small 
number of unarmed followers. 5 He had done his part, and 
was now free ! 

On November 1 he wrote to tell Alfonso what he had 
done, to assure him that he intended to remain some time 

1 Ep. Oct. 21, 1289 (not 1288) of Alfonso to Charles, ap. ib.. p. 368 f. 
Charles's envoys said " quod vos, ad captionem nostram redire volentem, 
nos recipere pararemus ". Cf. ep. of bishop Hugh, ib., p. 368, Oct. 19, 
1289 (not 1288). 

2 See the letter of Alfonso just cited, and his letters of complaint 
about Charles's artfulness of Nov. 24, 1289, and Jan. 4, 1290, ap. ib., 
pp. 450, 455. a Cf. supra. 

4 See his declaration ap. Rymer, ii, p. 440. 

5 " Venit inermis et cum modica gente sua inermi." Ap. ib., p. 437. 
Cf. the two foil, documents of Nov. 1. 



NICHOLAS IV. 157 

in the neighbourhood, and to ask him to come to him 
so that they could continue to treat of peace. Then, as 
it was not his fault that no one had been sent to conduct 
him back to his prison, he intended to push his claim for 
the liberation of his children and hostages, and the repay- 
ment of the thirty thousand marks of silver. 1 

Alfonso lost no time in protesting to King Edward Protest of 

1 j -rr* ^i 1 1 1 n 1' • 1 t Alfonso. 

that King Charles had done nothing but pretend to try 
to fulfil his treaty obligations, and that his offer to 
surrender himself was nothing but a sham, as he had not 
stated whether he intended to present himself at the 
hill of Sta. Christina or at that of Panissars. Yet the two 
places were more than ten days' journey apart, and he 
had chosen the place which had fallen into the power 
of the enemies of Aragon, and had come " with a 
multitude of armed men ". He begged Edward to induce 
Charles to keep his word. 2 

Our King, accordingly, continued his thankless task of Edward 

. . .. 1 t i /-1 1 continues to 

trying to bring about an understanding between Charles strive for 
and his Aragonese foes, and Nicholas continued his P eace > 129 °- 
efforts to raise money for his "chief vassal" against 
James of Sicily. 3 

King Charles also earnestly co-operated with Edward Nicholas 

sends legates 

in his efforts to end the Sicilian question, and begged to France, 
Nicholas to send legates to France in order to facilitate 129 °- 

1 lb. "A jure . . . super liberatione . . . nostrorum liberorum, 
etc., cum per nos non steterit quia parati essemus in condicto loco et 
termino vestrum carcerem reintrare, discedere non intendimus quoque 
modo." 

2 Ep. ap. Nov. 24, 1289, ap. ib., p. 450 ff. Cf. another to the same 
effect of Jan. 4, 1290, ap. ib., p. 455. In this latter letter he expressed 
his belief that Charles could, had he wished, have secured the assent 
of the Holy See to the peace. 

3 See his letters (1) to the Archbishop of Ravenna and all his 
ecclesiastical dependents, ap. Balaze, Miscell., iii, 41, ed. Mansi,Nov. 26, 
1289, and (2) to "imperial" Tuscany, Reg., 2136-8, Feb. 20, 1290. 
Ib., and Kaltenbruner, Actenstiicke, n. 380, Feb. 9, 1290, to the Archbp. 
of Rouen. 



158 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Charles of 
Valois 
renounces 
his claim, 
1290. 



a settlement. Nicholas was glad to comply for other 
reasons as well. A quarrel, which was to culminate in the 
terrible Hundred Years' War, had begun between Edward 
and Philip of France, and the latter monarch was con- 
tinuing his interference with the Church in France, which 
was to embitter the pontificate of Boniface VIII. 1 
Nicholas, accordingly, dispatched to France (March 23, 
1290) two distinguished cardinals. One was cardinal 
Gerard of Parma, who had been in the midst of the 
Sicilian affair since the Vespers, and the learned canonist, 
the famous Benedict Gaetani. 2 Expressing his pleasure 
that, " for the sake of the peace of the world, the profit 
of the Holy Land and the good of souls," serious 
negotiations were again on foot between Charles and 
Alfonso and other " exalted personages ", Nicholas 
gave the two cardinals most extensive powers, and recom- 
mended them to the King of France, the Duke of 
Burgundy, and others. 3 

As James of Sicily had made it quite plain that he had 
no intention of quitting that island, and Charles II. 
had equally no intention of letting him remain there if 
he could help it, the latter devoted all his energies to 
making peace with Alfonso. As a preliminary, he induced 
Charles of Valois, in exchange for the hand of his daughter, 
Margaret, and the counties of Anjou and Maine, to 



1 Jordanus, Chron., ap. Muratori, Antiq. Hal., iv, p. 1017. He 
says of the quarrel " quae magna fuit, et multum duravit " ; and of 
the work of the legates that they could not patch up the quarrel, but 
" Concordarunt tamen Clerum cum Rege, propter quod aliqui putant 
eos principaliter missos ". Cf. Ptolemy of Lucca, H.E., xxiv, 26, 
p. 1197 ; B. Guidonis, in vit. Nich. 

2 Bart, of N., c. 112, p. 118 (new ed.) pretends that the cardinals 
were dispatched in consequence of the pleadings of the aged John of 
Procida sent by James of Sicily to him who " hominum genera, qui 
Deum Patrem agnoscunt, sub tuo cuncta regas imperio ". 

3 Cf. Raynaldus, an. 1290, n. 17 ff. ; Reg., 4254-4300, March 23, 
Apr. 9 and 25, 1290. Cf Rymer, ep. of Charles, July 28, 1290. 



NICHOLAS IV. 159 

renounce his claim to the crown of Aragon. To this the 
Pope agreed, and sent a dispensation for the marriage, 
as the couple were related in the third degree. 1 

Alfonso was the more willing: to come to terms with Treaty of 

Tarascon- 

King Charles, and to let his brother James look after Brignoies, 
his own interests in Sicily, because in addition to his 129L 
difficulties with France and his uncle James of Majorca, 
he had troubles nearer home. His nobles were dis- 
contented, as they saw their country exposed to dangers 
and its resources dissipated in the quarrels of others, and 
he himself was also worried by the aggressions of 
Sancho IV. of Castile and Leon. 2 Accordingly, he sent 
envoys to meet those of Edward. They assembled with 
King Charles at Tarascon (in castro Tarasconensi), and 
then went to Brignoies (Var), where the two legates of 
the Pope were residing (February 19). Their object, 
they stated, was to bring back Alfonso and James to 
their duty (ad devotionem et reverentiam) to the Roman 
Church, and to make a general peace. 3 It was finally 
agreed that Alfonso should send envoys to Rome to 
declare that their master had never consciously offended 
the holy Roman Church, but that he believed that the 
Holy See looked on him as an offender on account of the 
doings of his father. He, in any case, begged for pardon, 
and placed himself and his country at the goodwill of 

1 Will, of Nangis, Chron., i, p. 278. They were married at Corbeil, 
Aug. 15, 1290. The dispensation was sent March 24, 1290 ; Reg., 
n. 7370. Theversion of W. of N., ap. R. I. SS., xx, p. 574, gives Aug. 16 ; 
see also Gerard de Frachet, ap. ib., xxi, p. 10. 

2 Cf. Jofre de Loaisa, Chron. de Castille, c. 38 ff. Sancho's attack 
on Aragon was in connection with the " Infantes de la Cerda ". 

3 See document " datam Brionae ", of Feb. 19, 1291, ap. Rymer, 
ii, 501. Muntaner, Chron., c. 173, tells the story of this treaty in his 
own naive and loose fashion. Among other things he says that if 
anyone would know the names of the envoys at the conference " and 
all that the cardinal said to them in the name of the Holy Father . . . 
let him go to the Gesta which En Galceran de Vilanova wrote of it ". 
But where the reader will find the Gesta. I know not. 



i6o 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Death of 
Alfonso, 
1291. 



James of 



the Pope. On its side, the Roman Church was to 
acknowledge Alfonso as King of Aragon, holding the same 
rights as his father before his quarrel with it. King 
Charles was also to undertake to bring Philip of France 
and Charles of Valois to agree to make the same acknow- 
ledgment. When all this was done, Alfonso was to 
restore the hostages and money he had received, and 
before the following Christmas to renew his promises 
before the Holy Father in person. He would also go on a 
Crusade, and deny all help to his brother James of 
Sicily, if he would not submit to the Holy See. The 
position of the King of Majorca was left over for the 
moment ; but a little later he agreed to submit it to the 
ruling of the Pope and his two legates. 1 

On the following day the two cardinals accepted the 
treaty, saving due respect to God, and to the honour of 
the Pope and the King of France. 2 

As this treaty would have isolated James of Sicily, 
it is more than likely that it would have proved fatal 
to the Aragonese power in that island. But its whole 
force was upset by the comparatively sudden death of 
Alfonso III. (June 18, 1291). When he found that his 
illness was serious, he made his will, and " left the kingdom 
to the Lord King En Jaime, King of Sicily, his brother, 
and his body to the Minorite Friars of Barcelona ". 3 

Accordingly the count of Ampurias and others were 



poTsJssion^of at once dispatched to Sicily "to bring the Lord King 

Aragon. 

1 Doc. of Apr. 12, 1291, ap. ib., p. 523. 

2 Ap. ib., p. 504. Spanish historians add that Alfonso engaged to 
pay tribute to Rome as Peter II. had long ago agreed to do. Cf. Liber 
Censuum, i, p. 16*, ed. Fabre. According to Bart, of N., c. 114, p. 121, 
Alfonso agreed to go on paying the annual 30 ounces of gold which 
had been paid by all his ancestors except his father after he had been 
angered by the Sicilian affair. If the Aragonese tribute was discussed, 
no doubt B. has given us the correct conclusion. But the actual treaty 
says nothing of this. Cf. supra, vol. xii, p. 171. 

3 Muntaner, ib., c. 174. Cf. B. of N., c. 115. 



NICHOLAS IV. l6l 

En Jaime to be lord of Aragon and Catalonia, and of 
the kingdom of Valencia ". 1 Before leaving Sicily, 
James put the island under the control of his mother 
and his brother " the Infante En Fadrique " 2 ; and as 
soon as he landed in Aragon he made peace with Sancho 
of Castile, inducing the Infants of Cerda to renounce 
their claim to that country. 3 They were to receive estates 
in Castile. 

James was anxious to have peace at home in order struggle for 
that he might be freer to carry on the fight for Sicily, continued 
In all the negotiations which the Pope had sanctioned 1291. 
with Aragon, he had never shown any intention of 
surrendering Sicily to its domination. Both during and 
after the parleys which ended in the treaty of Tarascon- 
Brignoles, Nicholas had continued to act against the 
Aragonese in Sicily. At the regular seasons for the 
issue of such things, he had instituted processes against 
James, 4 and he had for sixteen months granted to King 
Charles the tithes from the half of the city of Avignon 
recently ceded to him by Philip of France. 5 He had 
granted indulgences to those who fought for him 6 ; 
and, after the death of Alfonso (June) and the taking 
possession of Aragon by James, he continued his action 
against him. In August he was engaged both by letter 
and by envoys in exhorting the people of Majorca to 
expel the Aragonese intruders, and to return to the 
allegiance of their sovereign (James of Majorca). 7 A 
little later he was exhorting Philip le Bel to help Charles II. 

1 lb., c. 175. 2 lb. Cf. B. of N., I.e. 3 lb., c. 177. 

* Reg., n. 4404. On the feast of the dedication of the basilica of 
SS. Peter and Paul (Nov. 20, 1290), Nicholas had summoned James 
to submit to the Church by Apr. 1, 1291 ; and after the death of 
Alfonso, he had (Nov. 20, 1291, Reg., n. 6839) renewed the 
excommunication already issued against him. 

5 Reg., 4243 ; Feb. 16, 1291. Cf. 6703, 6724. 

6 lb., n. 6702, May 7, 1291. 

7 lb., nn. 6732-4, Aug. 9, 1291. 

Vol. XVII. m 



l62 NICHOLAS IV. 

" to defend the country which he now has, and to recover, 
when the opportunity occurs, his territory now in the 
hands of enemies." * At the same time, he instructed the 
Archbishop of Reggio, whom he had sent to Genoa on 
matters connected with the Holy Land, to help King 
Charles when he should get to the city, so as, if possible, 
to get assistance from the republic. 2 Finally, up to a 
month or two of his death, he was engaged in endeavouring 
" to boycott " Sicily. 3 If Charles did not recover Sicily 
the fault was not that of Nicholas IV. 

1 Reg., n. 6835, Oct. 1, 1291. 

2 lb., n. 6837. It would seem from the Annals of Genoa, ap. R. I. SS. t 
vi, p. 600, that King Charles had already (March, 1290) made one 
effort to induce the Genoese to help him. See especially Bart, of N., 
c. 114, p. 122, new ed. Cf. ib., c. 119, whence it would appear that 
Charles did not get help from the republic. 

3 Reg., n. 6836, Oct. 1, 1291 ; cf. 6838 and 6954, Feb. 29, 1292. 



Chapter IV 

THE EMPIRE, FRANCE, AND THE CRUSADES 

Although Kaltenbrunner has collected about a hundred Relations 
and fifty documents addressed by Nicholas to King Empire. 
Rudolf or other persons in the Empire, 1 there is not 
much of general interest to be extracted from them. 
They are for the most part concerned with the ordinary 
details of church government. There are matrimonial 
dispensations, and dispensations for the holding of 
pluralities, etc. ; there are notices to Rudolf of the 
appointment of bishops. 2 There is, too, a document 
giving various powers to the archbishop of Treves, 
among others, to bestow benefices which had fallen to 
the Holy See during its long vacancy. 3 

Among these numerous documents, however, there Nicholas 

intercedes 

are a few of exceptional interest, and to these we will 10r a Jew. 
now give a little attention. In his struggles against 
the results of the half century of anarchy that preceded 
his accession, and in his efforts to restore the unity of 
the Empire, King Rudolf was often in want of money. 
To replenish his exchequer, it would appear that, at least 
on one occasion, he tarnished his deserved reputation 
as a lover of justice by imitating the methods of our 
King John. To judge from the Annals and Chronicles of 
Colmar, to which the letter of Nicholas about to be cited 
lends support, it would seem that Rudolf seized a 
distinguished Jewish Rabbi. There had been a rising of 

1 Actenstiicke, nn. 317-463. 

2 E.g., tb., nn. 335, appointment of Archbp. of Treves (Trier), and 
n. 336 of Archbp. of Mayence (Mainz). 

3 lb., n. 348. 

163 



164 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Nicholas 
opposes 
baronial 
oppression. 



The arch- 
bishop of 
Cologne is 
taken 
prisoner. 



the people against the Jews, and Rudolf had, apparently, 
taken advantage of the disturbance to imprison " their 
chief master ". For his release, we are told, the Jews 
offered Rudolf twenty thousand marks, 1 and laid the 
case before the Pope. Nicholas at once wrote to the 
King, and, whilst praising his actions generally, reminded 
him that the Jews ought to be treated with kindness 
if only because Our Lord was of their race. He therefore 
begged him to restore the Jew to full liberty, if it was 
ascertained that he had not done anything wrong. 2 
Whether from respect for the Pope and the Apostolic 
See as he had been asked, or by reason of the money or 
of simple justice, Rudolf restored the rabbi to liberty, 
fined his Christian aggressors, and bade the archbishop 
of Mayence publicly proclaim that the Christians had 
greatly wronged the Jews. 3 

As Rudolf's guiding principles were, while striving in 
Germany to restore the central authority, to leave Italy, 
as much as possible, to itself, and to work in harmony 
with the Church, there was no room for misunderstandings 
between him and Nicholas. Acts of oppression of 
ecclesiastics proceeded now, not from the head of the 
Empire, but from insubordinate members. The greater 
Princes carried on private wars as they pleased. 
Accordingly we find Nicholas appealing to Rudolf to put 
a curb on their licence. 

On the Rhine there was strife between Sigfrid, arch- 
bishop of Cologne, and other nobles on the one hand, 
and, on the other, John, Duke of Brabant, Count Adolf 
von Berg and others. Adolf wanted the archbishopric 



1 Chron. Colmar., ad a. 1288, ap. Bohmer, Fontes, ii, p. 72, or ap. 
M. G. SS., xvii. Cf. Annates C, ap. ib., p. 23. " Rex R. coepit . . . 
Judeum qui a Judeis magnus in multis scientiis dicebatur." 

2 Ep. June 22, 1288, ap. Kalt., p. 341. 

3 Chron. C, ib. In justice to Rudolf it must be stated that there 
is no record of his actually having received the marks. 



NICHOLAS IV. 165 

of Cologne for his brother, and Duke John wanted the 
Duchy of Limburg which was claimed by one of the 
allies of the archbishop. A battle was fought near 
Cologne at Worringen (1288), and the archbishop was 
defeated and imprisoned by those, who, wrote the Pope, 
" are declared to be his vassals." Prelates and laymen, 
continued Nicholas, have already, to no purpose, striven 
to induce Duke John and his confederates to cease to 
maltreat the archbishop and his church. The Pope, 
therefore, earnestly exhorted Rudolf to insist on the 
immediate release of the archbishop. 1 The archbishop 
was indeed set free (1289) 2 ; but no attempt was made by 
his opponents to cease their encroachments on his church. 
Accordingly, in 1290, we find Nicholas still taking steps 
with Rudolf and others in the interests of Sigfrid and his 
church 3 ; and in that year we have evidence that Rudolf 
took the matter up, as he summoned the Duke of Brabant 
to appear before him. 4 What steps, if any, were taken 
by the King do not appear to be known, and it would 
seem that Nicholas, having placed the affair in his hands, 
took no further action in it. 

A much more hardy plunderer of ecclesiastical property Meinhard, 
was Meinhard II., Duke of Carinthia, and Count of the j^^i ° * e 
Tyrol. Seemingly without any justification, he had seized 
the city of Trent, which was subject to the temporal 
authority of its bishop, Philip, and possessed himself of 
various rights and property that belonged to the bishop. 
Philip appealed for justice to the Pope, and Nicholas, 
declaring that " in the matter of justice he was a debitor 

1 Ep. n. 358, Aug. 9, 1289, K. 

2 Notes Colonienses, ap. M. G. SS., xxiv, p. 364 ; and Chron. vet. 
Due. Brunsv., ap. Leibnitz, 55. Brunsvic, ii, 18. 

3 lb., nn. 375-9, Jan. 31, 1290, K. ; cf. ib., n. 394, June 13, 1290. 

4 Reg. Imperii, vol. vi, n. 2302. Apr. 29, 1290. See the wholly 
fantastic account of the imprisonment of Sigfrid given in Menzel, 
Hist, of Germany, ii, 82. 



l66 NICHOLAS IV. 

to all ", turned to King Rudolf and asked him to adjudi- 
cate between the Duke and the Bishop (1289). x But 
Rudolf moved slowly, if at all, and Meinhard would not 
give heed to any remonstrances which the Pope caused 
to be made to him. 2 Consequently, Nicholas instituted 
process after process against him, and made further 
appeals to Rudolf to induce him to interfere. 3 Meinhard, 
however, took no heed of the Pope's processes, and even 
despised his excommunications. 4 
The affair On the death of Nicholas, Meinhard was able to impose 

settied^y* u pon his simple successor, Celestine V., who ordered the 
Clement v. withdrawal of the excommunication issued against him. 
But Boniface VIII. promptly recalled his predecessor's 
indulgence, 5 and in turn took steps against the recalcitrant 
noble (Nov. 18, 1295). 6 Before this date, however, the 
Duke had ceased to give trouble to anybody (f Nov. 1, 
1295), and it was hoped that the unfortunate situation 
would now be brought to an end. 7 But it was not so. 
The Duke's sons followed in their father's footsteps in 
their treatment of the Bishop of Trent and his rights. 
But King Albert was a much stronger man than his 
father Rudolf. Besides, by his marriage with Elizabeth, 
Meinhard's daughter, he was the brother-in-law of the 
Duke's sons. Accordingly, when appealed to by 
Clement V., he was able, either by force of character or 

1 Cf. n. 362 Kalt. 

2 N. 381, Feb. 11, 1290. 

3 lb., nn. 415, Nov. 18, 1290 ; 431, Jan. 23, 1291 ; 445, Apr. 19, 1291. 

4 lb., n. 448, May 23, 1291. Cf. n. 449 and n. 451 for yet another 
process against Meinhard, May 31, 1291. Cf. nn. 457-8 and 460, 
Nov. 18, 1291 ; and 462, Feb. 29, 1292. 

5 lb., n. 464, Sept. 3, 1295. He had been also excommunicated 
at a Council at Salzburg in 1294. Ann. Mellicenses, ap. M. G. SS., 
ix, 510. 

6 Process, n. 467 K. 

7 Cf. n. 474, Sept. 8, 1296, and n. 503, Sept. 17, 1301. These docu- 
ments show that various supporters of Meinhard were seeking 
reconciliation. 



NICHOLAS IV. 



167 



family influence, to bring the affair to a satisfactory 
conclusion. 1 . . 

The most important negotiations that were entered Negotiations 
into by the Pope and Rudolf, concerned not the King's imperial 

• r i r id a u crown, 

subjects, but himself. In 1289, if not before, Kudoll 128 9-9l. 
began to treat with Nicholas about his imperial corona- 
tion. His envoys appeared before the Pope in April, 
and said that their master proposed to come to Italy in 
the summer, or about the beginning of the coming winter, 
in order to receive "the diadem of Empire" from his 
hands. Nicholas replied that, knowing that both before 
and after he became king, Rudolf had always shown great 
devotion to the Roman Church, he was anxious to 
arrange everything for the best with regard to the 
coronation, and so would send Benvenuto, bishop of 
Gubbio, to settle everything to their mutual satisfaction. 2 

Nicholas was particularly anxious that the arrange- 
ments should not be spoiled by being too hurried. He 
pointed out that , before he became Pope, he had impressed 
upon the King's envoys not to hasten the necessary 
preparations. Because his advice had not been followed, 
the negotiations for the coronation had ended in nothing. 3 

This note of caution may have had its effect on Rudolf. 
At any rate he did not come to Rome at either of the 
times which he had proposed. It may, on the other hand, 
have been that such instances of lawlessness among the 
greater lords of the Empire as we have just narrated, had 
convinced the King that the time for his leaving Germany 
for the Rome journey had not yet arrived. At any 
rate, two subsequent legations of his to the Pope, of 

1 lb., n. 677. July 7, 1306. 

2 Ep. of Nich., Apr. 13, 1289, ap. M. G. LL., iii, p. 409; cf. ib., 
n. 417, p. 410. 

3 " Nam alii tui nuntii contra nostrum eis impensum consilium, dum 
eramus in minori officio constituti, se ad brevitatem termini nimium 
artaverunt." Ib., p. 409. 



i68 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Rudolf's 
second 
legation, 
1290. 



Rudolf's 

third 

legation 

regarding 

Hungary. 



Claimants 
for the 
throne of 
Hungary. 



which we chance to know, 1 are not recorded to have said 
anything on the subject of the coronation. 

Rudolf's second legation was sent for the purpose of 
again protesting against the grant of tithes to Philip of 
France for the Aragonese war from dioceses of the 
Kingdom of Aries or Burgundy, subject to Imperial 
control. Nicholas had to explain that the tithes were 
really being given to him, inasmuch as the French King 
was fighting his battles. 2 Accordingly, he begged Rudolf 
" as the most special son of the Church, and its chief 
defender ", to tolerate what had been done, in view of 
the needs of the Church, and of his express assurance 
that the reception of the tithes in question would not 
confer any rights whatsoever in those districts on the 
King of France. 3 

In judging of the character of Rudolf of Hapsburg 
from the strongly partisan evidence which has come 
down to us, or from the conclusions of modern writers 
upon it, it is not easy to say whether the leading aim of 
his life was to restore the influence of the central authority 
in Germany or to advance his family. Historians who 
believe the former, maintain that his efforts to improve 
the position of his family were made with a view 7 to 
enabling him the better to subdue the lawlessness of the 
barons, while those who believe that his sole thought was 
the aggrandisement of his family, contend that he only 
opposed such lawlessness as stood in the way of the 
advantage of his relatives. Without attempting to 
resolve this question, we will here merely relate one of 
the things he attempted to do for the advantage of his 
son Albert, whom he wished to succeed him. 

The dissolute, degenerate, Ladislaus IV., King of 
Hungary, was assassinated on July 19, 1290. Duke 

1 Unfortunately, Rudolf's letters are very largely lost. 

2 Ep. Nich. July 3, 1290, ap. M. G. LL., iv, p. 438. 

3 lb. 



NICHOLAS IV. 169 

Andrew, the heir to the throne, the last male descendant 
of the house of Arpad, was more than half a Venetian, 
but, as grandson of King Andrew II., had been acknow- 
ledged his heir by Ladislaus. 1 When, however, one 
reads in one of Hungary's old historians 2 that it was 
in the days of Ladislaus that the glory of Hungary began 
to pass away, and that internal wars were everywhere 
doing their baleful work, one is also prepared to read 
that the right to the succession of his throne was disputed. 

Duke Andrew was crowned ten days after the death of 
Ladislaus, 3 and at once had to face rivals. The first, an 
impostor, who pretended to be a brother of the deceased 
monarch, was soon disposed of. But the pretensions of 
Rudolf and Charles II. of Sicily were not so easily quashed. 

The latter, in behalf of his wife, Mary Arpad, the Claim of 
sister of the late King, wrote to the magnates of Hungary 
to point out to them that by the death of Ladislaus, the 
crown belonged " to his most beloved wife, the late King's 
sister and his heir ". But he had heard that " a certain 
Andrew fellow (Andreacci — Andreatius nomine) from 
Venice " had seized the kingdom. Appealing to their 
well known loyalty to their rightful sovereigns, Charles 
exhorted them to bestow their homage where it was due. 
If Andrew did not at once give up his pretensions, he 
would be forced to. 4 In the spring of the following year, 
Mary made over her claims to her young son, Charles 
Martel. 5 But though he died (1295) a mere titular King 

1 John de Thurocz (fifteenth cent.), Chron. Hungar., pt. i, cc. 81-2, 
p. 80, ed. Frankfort, 1600. 

2 lb. 3 lb. Cf. S. Katona, Epit. rer. Hung., i, p. 543. 

4 Ep. of Apr. 21, 1291, ap. Mon. Hungar. hist., Acta extera, vol. i, 
p. 76, ed. W. Gustav, Budapest, 1874. Cf. ib., p. 78, for another 
similar letter written Sept. 21, 1291, in his own name and in that of 
his wife, " Mary, Queen of Hungary." 

5 lb., n. 101, p. 84. Henceforth Charles Martel signs himself 
" King of Hungary ". See a document of June 7, 1292, ap. Syllabus 
Membr., ii, pt. i, p. 92. 



170 NICHOLAS IV. 

of Hungary, his son Charles Robert (Carobert) was 
destined to be one of Hungary's most able rulers. Through 
him the House of Anjou brought Hungary into close 
touch with the more westerly nations which was to be 
maintained for many decades. 
Rudolf's But a more immediately formidable rival than the 

Hungary. Y oun S Charles Martel was Rudolf, King of the Romans. 
Declaring that Hungary was a fief of the Empire, he 
invested his son Albert of Austria with it. Albert at once 
attempted to make good his claim, and about Christmas 
(1290), entered Hungary with a considerable force. 
King Andrew, however, who was far from wanting in 
energy, collected a great army, and not only drove Albert 
out of Hungary, but pushed forward to the very gates 
of Vienna (1291). 1 

Meanwhile, Pope Nicholas had been taking action. 
Addressing Benvenuto, bishop of Gubbio, he told him 
that it had come to his knowledge that, on the death of 
Ladislaus, the greatest disorders had arisen in Hungary. 2 
As it is well known, he added, that that kingdom is 
subject to the Apostolic See, 3 the bishop is ordered, as 
soon as he gets to Hungary, to summon the clerical and 
lay magnates of the country, and, in the Pope's name, to 
prohibit anyone of any rank whatsoever from invading 
the country to the prejudice of its rights and those of 
the Holy See. 4 

Rudolf had meanwhile sent a third legation to Nicholas, 

1 This is clear both from the Annals of Austria, and from a diploma 
of Andrew himself (Aug. 28, 1291), both cited by Katona, I.e. 

2 "Cum . . . Rex Ungariae rebus sit humanis exemptus, turbationes 
pericula et scandala gravia in regno Ungariae sint exorta." Ep. of 
Sept. 13, 1290, ap. K., n. 404, p. 415. Cf. n. 402. 

3 " Ad quam (Ap. See) regnum ipsum pertinere dinoscitur." lb. 
Cf. the subsequent statement of Bonifacius VIII. " Stephanus Rex 
Ungariae . . . ab ipsa sede (of Rome) accepit humiliter coronam et 
regnum." Ep. Oct. 17, 1301, ap. Theiner, Mon. Hungar., i, p. 387. 

4 Ep. just cited. 



NICHOLAS IV. 17 1 

informing him of what he had done with regard to 
Hungary. 1 Nicholas, however, while declaring that he 
had no wish to interfere with any rights over Hungary that 
the King might have, reminded him that that kingdom 
was known to belong to the Holy See. Accordingly, he 
exhorted Rudolf not to trespass against the rights of the 
Holy See, especially as he was its chief defender. Bishop 
John of Iesi, who was being sent as a legate to Hungary, 
would explain the Pope's position more at length. 2 

Bishop John, thus commissioned to go to Hungary, 
was to send information to the Pope on the exact state 
of affairs. He was, moreover, to befriend Isabella, the 
outraged wife of the late King Ladislaus. 3 Nicholas 
then wrote to the archbishops of Gran and Kalocsa to 
inform them that he was sending a legate to Hungary. 
At the same time he expressed his great astonishment 
that, whereas during the lifetime of Ladislaus they were 
constantly complaining to the Holy See of the wretched 
state of their country, they had not sent him any details 
about the death of their King, or about the claimants to 
his throne. 4 

As to the immediate result of this energetic action of J f h |^ itude 
Nicholas, we are unfortunately very much in the dark. Nicholas. 
If the Hungarian primates, stirred out of what Nicholas 
called their " blameworthy negligence ", sent him in 
reports of the condition of affairs, they have not reached 
us ; nor has the report of the legate John come down to us. 
Historians, moreover, both ancient and modern, by not 
carefully attending to dates, have added to the darkness. 

1 The King's letters are lost, but from the Pope's reply we know 
that he told Nicholas : " Nobili viro Alberto duci Austrian nato tuo 
et ejus heredibus ... in feudum regnum Ungariae concessisti ". Ep. 
of Dec. 28, 1290, to Rudolf, ap. M. G. LL., Constit., iii, pt. i, p. 439. 

2 lb., and the following letter (n. 454) of Jan. 31, 1291. 

3 Cf. epp. of Jan. 2, 1291, to John, nn. 594-6, 600-2, ap. Theiner, 
Mon. Hung., i, p. 370 ff. 

4 Nn. 603-4, Jan. 31, 1291, ap. ib., p. 374. 



I7 2 NICHOLAS IV. 

The cause of most of this trouble would appear to be the 
Chronicle of St. Antoninus or of Villani. The former tells 
us that in 1290 Charles II., then in Naples, caused his 
son to be crowned King of Hungary by a papal legate. 1 
Now Charles II. was not then in Naples, nor had his wife, 
Mary, by that time made over her claim to Hungary to 
her son. Nicholas IV., moreover, died Apr. 4, 1292, and 
we know for certain that as late as Apr. 13, 1292, Charles 
Martel still called himself " Prince of Salerno ". 2 It was 
not till a month or two later that he subscribed himself 
as King of Hungary. 3 If then in that interval he was 
crowned King by anyone, it was not by a legate of a 
Pope, because there was no Pope at the time. But if 
he was then crowned by one who had been a legate of a 
Pope, it is quite certain that he was not crowned by the 
order, or even by the connivance of Pope Nicholas IV. 4 
There is then only one conclusion to draw. Nicholas 
had not received any information which caused him to 
see any reason for interfering with the election of 
Andrew III. Accordingly the Hungarian historian, 
Katona, concludes that Nicholas recognized Andrew as 
the legitimate ruler of Hungary, and he adds that he 
had been unable to find any document in which the Pope 
denied him the title of King. 5 

1 Tit. xx, c. v, n. 7, p. 230, ed. Lyons, 1587 (perhaps from G. Villani, 
Chron., vii, 134, al. 135). " Ac etiam per legatum paps fecit eum 
coronari in regem Hungarian." 

2 Syllab. membran., ii, pt. i, p. 90. 

3 lb., p. 92. M. Riccio in his rare Saggio di Cod. diplom., ii, pt. i, 
pp. 6, 7, gives documents of Apr. 11 and 18, 1292, in which Charles 
Martel signs himself King of Hungary. 

4 With still less ground Sayons, Hist, des Hongrois, i, p. 290, pretends 
that S. Celestine V. crowned him. 

5 Epit. chron. rer. Hung., i, p. 547, n. 451. "Nullum ego sane 
documentum adhuc reperi, quo Nicolaus Andream administratoris 
dumtaxat, non regis, titulo condecoraverit." From what has now 
been said on this matter, the reader can see how unfounded are the 
statements about the crowning of Charles Martel by Nicholas' legate, 



NICHOLAS IV. 173 

In any case, Andrew III. was able to maintain his Andrew 
position as King of Hungary till his early death (1301). r( faim. 
Rudolf, greatly disappointed that the electors, at the 
diet of Frankfort (May, 1291), had refused in his life- 
time to name his son Albert as his successor, had died 
July 15, 1291, and Charles Martel was in a position to push 
such claims as he had to the throne of Hungary by force 
of arms. 

The Hungarian succession would appear to have been Death of 
the last important matter which engaged the joint ^9^ ' 
attention of the Pope and Rudolf. The King of the 
Romans died July 15, 1291, and, it would appear, before 
news of the fall of Acre (May 18, 1291) had reached him. 
As we have seen, 1 Nicholas did not receive the news of 
that disastrous event till after August 1, so that we may 
take it for granted that Rudolf was not stirred by it, as 
the hand of death had prevented the tidings from reaching 
him. This was most unfortunate, as Nicholas had to face 
the grave situation without the counsels of the wise old 
King of the Romans. 2 If, however, the Germans at the 
time, and we now regard Rudolf as wise for devoting 
his energies to increasing his power in Germany, many 
of the Italians of his day blamed him for allowing : — 

" Through greediness of yonder realms detained, 
The garden of the empire (Italy) to run waste." 3 

and about that Pope's requiring Rudolf " to support the prince of 
Naples " — to be found in W. Coxe, Hist, of the House of Austria, i, p. 52. 
Though adversely criticizing these statements in Coxe, we would 
quote with approval the words with which he concludes his sketch of 
his character (p. 58) : "we must place Rhodolph among the best 
and greatest princes who ever filled a throne." 

1 Cf. supra, p. 55. 

2 A chronicler recording his death, praises his wisdom, and calls 
attention to his big nose as a mark of it : " Fecit magnalia in vita 
sua ; fuit enim robustus usque in senectutem ejus et sapiens, magnum 
habens nasum." Ann. Lubicenses (fourteenth cent.), ap. M. G. SS., 
xvi, p. 415. 

3 Cf. Dante, Purg., vi, 103-5 ; Villani, Chron., vii, 145 (al. 146). 



174 NICHOLAS IV. 

Philip the Of very different character to the energetic, clear- 

sighted Rudolf, soldier and statesman, was that mask, 
Philip le Bel, that " image ", fair but brainless. 1 However, 
as the quarrel between the ruler or rulers of France and 
the Papacy did not come to a head till the pontificate of 
Boniface VIII., we shall not here say our last word on 
the obscure character of its, at any rate, nominal head, 
Philip le Bel, till we treat of the reign of Boniface. 
Attacks on Meanwhile we can feel that storm is nearer under 
oMhc 08 " 1011 Nicholas IV. than it was under Honorius IV. It was 
Church. more clear that there was a bitter anti-clerical party in 
France, and that the regime of arbitrariness had advanced. 
The King's officials were more frequently acting against 
recognized law or custom. On March I, 1289, Nicholas 
addressed a weighty letter to Philip, urging him not to 
compel Walter, bishop of Poitiers, to appear before the 
officials of the royal court. The Pope pointed out that, 
by immemorial civil and canonical privilege, the bishop 
was exempted from pleading before the King or any 
lay authority. 2 He reminded the King that the matter 
concerning which the royal officials had endeavoured to 
force the bishop to appear before them was the fraudulent 
acquisition of an episcopal fief by a certain Geoffrey de 
Valeya, a cleric of the diocese of Angers. Then he tried 
to impress upon Philip that to treat the bishops of his 
realm in the way in which Walter was being treated was 
unworthy of the royal honour, inasmuch as it was his 
duty to defend them. If heed were not taken to his 
remonstrance, he would have to look for a suitable remedy. 

1 \'.( rnard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, was accused of saying that 
Philip " non erat homo, nee bestia, sed imago ". Ap. Martene, Thes. 
nov., i, p. 1331. 

2 " At idem episcopus . . . regali privilegio et possessione ac etiam 
canon ica libertate a tempore a quo non extat memoria communitus, 
quod coram rege Francie vel alio judice laicali non tenetur in judicio 
respondere, etc." Reg., n. 709. 



NICHOLAS IV. 175 

The bishops of Evreux and Senlis were ordered to make 
a personal representation to Philip on the bishop's behalf, 
and Walter himself was told that, except against the 
persons or chapel of the King and Queen, he could freely 
use " the spiritual sword ". l 

Soon, other complaints reached the Pope of similar 
wrongs being inflicted on the churches of Chartres, 2 
Lyons, 3 etc. It was always more or less the same story. 
On one plea or another ecclesiastics were brought 
before the civil courts, and the situation was aggravated 
by a royal decree 4 to the effect that " in the King's court 
no prelate of the kingdom of France could act by a 
proctor no matter how legally constituted, or commence 
an action no matter how trivial ". 5 The Pope pointed 
out what harm this would do to the country, as it would 
compel bishops to be absent from their sees for long 
periods. He accordingly urged the King to withdraw 
or modify the decree as contrary to both law and 
equity. 6 

As the situation did not improve, Nicholas sent to Legates sent 
France two experienced cardinals to deal with it, to 12 9o. 
wit, Gerard, bishop of Sabina, and Benedict Gaetani, 
deacon of St. Nicholas " in carcere Tulliano ". 7 They 
were also sent, as we see, in the interests of the Sicilian 
affair, and of the Crusades. 8 Seeing that no more is 

1 Epp. of March 1 and 9, 1289; ib., nn. 710-11. Cf. nn. 752-3. 
a Ep. of March 19, 1289 ; ib., n. 736. 
» Epp. of July 18, 1289; ib., nn. 1175-7. 

4 " Statutum scu consuctum, ut patrie verbis utamur " it is called 
by the Pope. Ep. Apr. 13, 1289 ; ib., n. 825. 

5 Ib. 

6 " Statutum . . . utpotc juri contrarium, dissonum equitati, 
etc." Ib. 

' Epp. of March 23, 1290. Reg., nn. 4296-9. 

• Potthast, nn. 23226-7. Cf. 23246, 23500. A few days before he 
died, Nicholas was writing to the King to get justice for the Church 
of Tours. Epp. of March 27, 1292 ; ap. Reg., nn. 7394-6. 



of bankers. 



176 NICHOLAS IV. 

heard of the grievances of the churches in question, it 
may be that " the angels of peace ", as the Pope called 
the legates, were able, at any rate temporarily, to find 
with the King some " ways and means by which the 
troubled waters were smoothed ". 1 It may, however, 
also be that the excitement caused by the news of the 
fall of Acre pushed the troubles of the churches out of 
sight. 
Molestation But churchmen were not the only ones whose rights 
were not respected by the grasping officials of the Crown. 
On November 8, 1291, Nicholas had to complain to the 
King that some merchants of Lucca had been seized 
along with their goods, and to beg him to restore them 
to liberty. 2 Some of these merchant bankers belonged to 
the principal firms connected with the apostolic camera 
(treasury), firms which, said the Pope, " had served 
the Roman Church long and usefully." 3 Nevertheless, 
only a few weeks before Nicholas died, these trusted 
bankers were still in jail, despite renewed papal protests. 4 
Yet all this time the Pope, by enforcing the payment of 
the tithe for the Aragonese affair, was putting money 
into Philip's hands. 5 

1 This would seem to be proved by the words of the anonymous 
biographer of Nicholas, published by J. Rubens : " Concordaverunt 
tamen clerum cum rege, propter quod aliqui putant eos (the legates) 
principaliter missos." P. 169. The passage is from the Chronicle 
of Jordan, ap. Muratori, Antiq., iv, p. 1017. 

2 Potthast, n. 23859. 

3 Reg., n. 7384, Oct. 3, 1291. 

4 Reg., n. 7393, March 15, 1292. 

5 Reg., n. 2114, Feb. 9, 1290. Cf. ib., 6316, Dec. 18, 1291, and 
Potthast, n. 23874, Dec. 13, 1291, where we see Nicholas refusing to 
satisfy the insatiable greed of the King for further tithes for doing 
little or nothing in connection with " that special business of the 
Roman Church, the affair of Aragon ". Reg., n. 2114. See also the 
bull of May 31, 1289, naming the archbp. of Rouen and the bp. of 
Auxerre collectors of the tenth, and prescribing in detail how the tax 
was to be raised. Ap. " Docs, inedits relatifs a Philippe le Bel," by E. 
Boutaric in Notices et extraits, etc., t. xx, p. 91 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 177 

After what we have said above 1 about the work of Crusades. 
Nicholas for the preservation and redemption of the 
Holy Land from the Moslem, there is no need to say much 
more about it here, especially as the subject will come 
up again in connection with grants of " Saladin tithes " 
to King Edward. We will but note now that before the 
fall of Acre (May 18, 1291), Nicholas most earnestly 
besought the French King to take on himself the protec- 
tion of the Holy Land, at least until the general Crusade 
was ready. 2 Grants of money collected for the Crusades 
were made to him, 3 and after the fall of Acre, Nicholas 
urgently implored him to imitate the zeal of his ancestors 
for the welfare of the Holy Land, and to send a fleet 
thither at once in order to help such Christians as were 
left there, and to be a menace to the enemy. 4 Quite 
unmoved by the Pope's appeals to piety or to glory, Philip 
or his officials took " Crusade " money, but did not 
send a galley to sea. 

Whether the Pope's appeals, 5 and the real zeal of our 
own King would have launched a new Crusade, it is 
impossible to say, because not only Rudolf and Alfonso 
of Aragon died before the time appointed for its departure, 
but, most unfortunately, Nicholas himself also died (Apr. 
4, 1292). Had only a zealous Pope succeeded him at once, 
a great Crusade might possibly have again left the shores 

1 P. 55 fif. 

2 Reg., 4409-14, Dec. 5-16, 1290. 

3 lb., n. 4413-14. 

4 Reg., 6778, Aug. 23, 1291. Cf. nn. 6779-81. Nicholas himself, 
however, sent 20 galleys to Cyprus to help the fugitives from Acre who 
had fled there. Cf. Sanudo, Secreta, ap. Bongars, ii, 232. 

5 lb., nn. 6782-805. Cf. the chronicles of the time, e.g., Ann. 
Blandin., ap. M. G. SS., v, p. 33 f. ; Ann. Colmar., ap. Bohmer, Fontes, 
ii, 27 ; Will, of Nangis, i, 279 ; Eberhardi, Annales, ap. M. G. SS., 
xvii, 594 ; Bartholomew of Cotton, Chron., p. 176. One result of the 
Pope's appeal for advice was that Bro. Fidentius of Padua presented 
him with a special treatise " De recuperatione Terrae Sanctae," ap. 
Golubovich, Biblioteca, i, p. 291 f., 426 ff., and ii, 1-60. 

Vol. XVII. n 



178 NICHOLAS IV. 

of Europe. But a disastrously long vacancy of the Holy 
See followed the death of Nicholas, and effectually 
destroyed all chances of the hoped-for Crusade. Although 
the great crusading era which had lasted for two hundred 
years closed with Nicholas IV., it is a mistake to suppose 
that crusading efforts died with him. For more than 
a hundred years after his death one effort after another 
was actually made to reconquer the Holy Land. 1 

1 Cf. J. D. le Roulx, La France en Orient, i, p. 6 ; Paris, 1886. 



CHAPTER V 

ROME AND THE PAPAL STATES. ART. 

When Nicholas IV. ascended the pontifical throne, he General 

Cnapter or 

found the city of Rome, which the firm rule of the two the Fran- 
brothers Savelli, Pope and Senator, had kept well in ^ ns ' 
hand, in a state of unwonted tranquillity. That it would 
remain in peace he was the more encouraged to believe, 
seeing that the Romans named him their Senator for 
life. 1 Accordingly, with a light heart, he betook himself 
to Rieti about the middle of May (1289), to preside over 
the twenty-third General Chapter of the Franciscan 
Order. With Matteo Rosso, the cardinal protector of 
the Order, he was present at the election of the new 
General, Bro. Raymund Geoffrey of Provence. Though 
it is said that Raymund was not the candidate desired 
by the Pope, he nevertheless confirmed the election. 2 
Raymund belonged to the party of the Spirituals or 
Zealots, and it may have been that Nicholas, knowing 
his unbalanced views, was loath to see him elected 
General. 3 It was after this Chapter that Nicholas crowned 
Charles II. 

Although the whole subject of the disturbances in £ r o ^ les in 
Rome during the pontificate of Nicholas is most obscure, 

1 Vitale, Storia de' Senatori, i, p. 196. The foundation for this 
assertion would appear to be the epitaphs on his first and later tomb. 
The earlier epitaph describes him as " fascibus auctus " (ap. P. de 
Angelis, Descript. S.M. Maj., p. 158), and the later states " Senatoriam 
P.R. dignitatem sedi apost. restituit ". lb., p. 158. 

2 Chron. XXIV. Gen., p. 419, ed. Quaracchi. Cf. Mariano of 
Florence, Compend. Chron., p. 54, and Catal. Gen. Minist., ap. M. G. SS., 
xxxii, p. 669. 

3 About him see the note to the Chron. XXIV., and the Chron. of 
St. Antoninus, tit. xxiv, c. 9, n. 11, p. 782. 

179 



i8o 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Nicholas 
favours the 
Colonnas. 



it would seem that disorders broke out in the city soon 
after the Pope's departure from it. Indeed, the Annals 
of Colmar which speak of these troubles declare, obviously 
quite mistakenly, that the Romans expelled the Pope 
from Rome because he had, against their will, crowned 
King Charles. They add that in the course of the fighting 
attending the expulsion more than five hundred men 
were killed. 1 As to the fact of the disorders, we have 
the additional testimony of Bonincontrius, and he, too, 
would seem to imply that they broke out in the early 
part of the Pope's reign. After telling of his election, 
he adds : "At that time the Romans were agitated by 
civil broils ; and the whole city was a prey to arson, 
rapine, and murder." 2 They were equally " agitated " 
in the last year of Nicholas' reign. They started fighting 
among themselves in the month of February, 1292, and, 
according to the Annals of Parma, " plundered churches, 
religious houses, and foreigners." 3 

We have evidence, moreover, that Nicholas rather 
aggravated than diminished the disorders by his ignorance 
of the most elementary ideas of government. It is 
possible that he even failed to realize that a civil ruler 
must have material force behind him, and it appears 
certain that he failed to understand that the ruler must 
treat all impartially, and compel all alike to obey the 
law. We are assured that Nicholas, on the contrary, 
favoured one party, and that the Colonnas. 4 The 



1 Ann. C, ap. Bohmer, Fontes, ii, 26. 

2 Hist. Sicula, iii, p. 57. He assigns these troubles to the year of 
the release of Charles II. (1288). 

3 Ad an. 1292, p. 63, new ed. 

* Cf. Ptolemy of Lucca, H.E., xxiv, c. 21. Despite his goodness, 
he erred : " quia nimis uni generi adhaerebat." See also F. Pipinus, 
Chron., iv, 23, ap. R. I. SS., ix, p. 727. Boniface VIII. is said to have 
incurred the hatred of the Colonnas because he did not follow them 
as Nicholas had done : " quibus . . . non annuebat, prout annuerat 
N. IV." Cron. Urbevet., ap. R. I. SS., xv, pt. v, p. 201, new ed. 



NICHOLAS IV. l8l 

Bolognese Dominican historian, Franciscus Pipinus, who 
had a greater craving for marvels than for accuracy, 1 
assures us that there was a story current to the 
effect that Nicholas was much attached to a youth 
(puerulus) who was thought to have the gift of prophecy. 
On one occasion he said to this youth : " Nicholas, 
bishop, servant of the servants of God, by whom is he 
ruled ? " The reply came promptly, " By the men of 
the Column " (the Colonnas). 2 The same historian 
goes on to tell us how Nicholas was lampooned in a 
pamphlet entitled : " Incipit initium malorum " or 
" Principium malorum ". The first Pope to be caricatured 
in this pamphlet was Nicholas III. 3 Pipinus describes 
these caricatures from that of Nicholas III. to that of 
Clement V., the last Pope of whom he writes. Attached 
to them, he tells us, were " most obscure inscriptions ". 
Nicholas was represented as enclosed in a column 4 out 
of which only appeared his head covered with a mitre. 
In front of him were two other columns, representing 
perhaps the two Colonna cardinals, James, created by 
Nicholas III., and Peter, created by Nicholas himself. 
On the top of one of them was the head of a bird holding 
in its beak a nest, in which was the head of an aged cleric. 
The inscription on the caricature ran : " Nicholas IV. 
Confusion. Error will be stirred up." 

This book of caricatures is evidently like one which was 
produced in the fifteenth century, 5 and is still preserved in 
the Vatican library. 6 It gives a series of coloured pictures 

1 He wrote after 1320. 

2 Pipinus, ib., 

3 lb., c. 20, p. 724. 

* It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that the arms of the 
Colonna family were and are a column. 

5 Certainly after 1431, a date given on fol. 11 v. 

6 Cod. reg. Lat., 580. It was published in Venice, 1600, under the 
title of Vaticinia sive Propetice Abbatis Joachim, with illustrations. See 
Pastor, History of the Popes, i, p. 151 ff. 



1-82 NICHOLAS IV. 

of the Popes from Nicholas III. to Eugenius IV., purport- 
ing to illustrate prophecies about them. It is a distinctly 
scurrilous production, and of no historical value whatso- 
ever for the story of the Popes of this period. To show 
its nature, we will give its presentment of Nicholas IV. 
Wearing a tiara of three crowns, he is shown seated between 
two female figures. The one on his right is putting a 
chalice into his hand, while on the same side a small winged 
dragon is seen climbing or flying up to his knee. The 
abusive inscription below declares that Nicholas, useless 
to the world which he neglects, is a slave to drink and 
impurity. 
Positions for There is perhaps then evidence enough that Nicholas 
did favour the Colonna family. He made Peter " de 
Columna " a cardinal, Stephen and Landulf of the same 
stock rectors respectively of the Romagna and the Duchy 
of Spoleto, and Giovanni (John) Colonna Senator in his 
own place, after he had made him Rector of the March 
of Ancona. 1 The succession of Senators during the 
reign of Nicholas is now fairly well established, and it 
would seem that it cannot be maintained that he also 
named another Colonna, James (Giacomo) Senator after 
John. When Nicholas became Pope some believe that 
the brother of Honorius IV., Pandulf Savelli, was still 
Senator. 2 However, we know now from documents of 
Feb. 3 and May 24, that Matteo Rosso Orsini was Senator 
for the second time, 3 and Berthold Orsini (de filiis Ursi) 
was certainly Senator on June 12, 1288. 4 He was 



1 Reg., n. 7089, June 27, 1288 ; and Potthast, nn. 22606-9, for the 
nomination of Landulf. 

2 They point out that Honorius : " Pandulphum deinde fratrem in 
magistratu Senatorio confirmavit." Bonincontrius, Hist. Sic, Hi, p. 55. 

3 Docs. ap. Boiiard, Les institutions de Rome, pp. 246-7. 

4 Reg. N. IV., n. 7050. Other authentic documents show him 
still Senator on Oct. 14, Dec. 17, 1288, and Feb. 12, 1289, ap. 
Gregorovius, Rome, v, pt. ii, p. 512-13, n. 3. 



NICHOLAS IV. 183 

apparently followed by Nicholas Conti and Luca Savelli. 1 
Then came the famous John Colonna to whom we have 
letters addressed by the Pope, 2 and who was certainly 
Senator from August, 1290, till May 19, 1291. 3 The 
Register of Nicholas shows us that in July and October, 4 
1291, the Senator of Rome was Roffred (or Loffred) 
Gaetani. He was probably the Senator at the time of 
the Pope's death, though sometime in 1292, certainly 
by May 10, he was succeeded by Stephen Colonna and 
Orso Orsini (de filiis Ursi). 5 

Taking it as a fact that the Gaetani and the Savelli gj^the^ ^ 
as well as the Orsini were at this period in open hostility the 
to the Colonnas and their friends the Annibaldi, we may j^ r °p ial 
well, with this authentic list of his Senators in front of 
us, assert that Nicholas at any rate did not give undue 
civil authority to the Colonnas. The list shows that he 
aimed at balancing the influence in Rome of its most 
powerful families. It is true that in the person of the 
Senator John (Giovanni) the Colonnas made a bold bid 
to keep the civil authority in their hands. We are assured 

1 Gregorovius, ib., p. 513 n., quotes a document to show they 
were Senators on Jan. 1, 1290, and the Senator, John Colonna, in an 
important document of Sept. 9, 1290, speaks of them as " his prede- 
cessors " ; i.e., he speaks of what happened " tempore nostro et tempore 
senatus dominorum De Comite, et Luce de Sabello ". Ap. Pinzi, 
Storia di Viierbo, ii, p. 464. 

2 Cf. epp. of Aug. and Sept. 27, 1290, Reg., nn. 7259, 7264 ; Vitale, 
Senatori, i, p. 199 f. 

3 See a series of authentic documents in Pinzi, Storia di Viterbo, 
ii, p. 459 ff. 

4 Nn. 7333 (July 5) and 7339 (Oct.). In the former letter the Pope 
speaks of his beloved son the noble " Johannes de Columpna de Urbe " 
who was Senator before Roffred. From n. 7369 it would appear that 
he was a cleric and a nephew of Benedict Gaetani (afterwards 
Boniface VIII). 

5 Chron. Parm., ad an., 1292, p. 63, new ed. The above list may be 
used to amend those in Vitale, Gregorovius (ll.cc), and in L. P. Olivieri, 
// Senate Romano, p. 224 f., as it, in turn, may be amplified from 
Boiiard, I.e. 



184 NICHOLAS IV. 

that " the Romans ", i.e., the Colonna faction, in 1290, 
made John " de Columpna " * their lord, led him in 
triumph through Rome in a chariot, and saluted him as 
Caesar. Thus encouraged, John tried to act the Caesar ; 
and, as we shall see, strove, but in vain, to subject Viterbo 
and other places to the authority of the Senate. 2 But 
despite all his assumption of power, he was not able to 
maintain himself in office for more than the year. 
to^subje^ 1 Whilst Conti and Savelli were Senators (1290), the 
viterbo to Viterbese had been summoned to acknowledge the 
overlordship of the Senate, and as a sign thereof to send 
a number of players to the carnival games at Monte 
Testaccio, as did the people of Terracina, Anagni, etc. 3 
This the people of Viterbo refused to do, and appealed 
to the Pope. Nicholas, who at the time was at Orvieto, 
replied that the action of the Senators was prejudicial 
to the Holy See. Viterbo belonged solely (pleno jure) to 
the Roman Church, and consequently its people must 
not take orders from " the Senators and the other officials 
who at the moment govern the city ". 4 But the Romans 
were always jealous of the Viterbese 5 ; and, as the latter 
would not acknowledge their suzerainty, they proceeded 
to ravage their territory. Infuriated by the wanton 
damage inflicted on their vineyards and cornfields, the 

1 Chron. Parmense, ad an. 1290, p. 60. The Chronicle by mistake 
speaks of James. He was the cardinal. 

2 Chron. Parm., ib. 

3 See the process of John Colonna against the Viterbese of Sept. 9, 
1290, given in full by Pinzi, Viterbo, ii, p. 460 ff., both in Italian and 
in the original Latin. 

4 Ep. June 17, 1290, Reg., n. 7252, or Pinzi, ii, 449. 

5 Pinzi's important book shows how the Viterbese even of to-day 
dislike the Romans ! In 1290, the walls of Viterbo had been greatly 
strengthened, as an inscription in Gothic characters still proclaims : — 

" His igitur duris, lector, circumdata muris 
Urbs ego Viterbi, cui stat protectio Verbi, 
Pape sic quarti Nicolai tradita parti." 
Part of the twelve verse inscription given by Pinzi, I.e., p. 454, n. 



NICHOLAS IV. 185 

Viterbese put themselves in the wrong by cruelly 
massacring a number of Romans whom they had 
captured. 1 Thereupon the Senator, John Colonna, 
summoned the Viterbese to pay a fine of twenty-five 
thousand pounds of the money of Provins, and damages 
to the families of the slain (Sept. 9, 1290). 2 The 
unfortunate people called upon Nicholas to arbitrate 
between them and the Romans. He accordingly put 
the matter into the hands of cardinals James Colonna 
and Benedict Gaetani. The final award of the arbitrators 
and of the Pope was so far favourable to the Viterbese 
that the Romans at first tried to render it more severe. 
But the cardinals' conditions were maintained, and there 
was once more peace between the rival cities (1291). 3 

Viterbo was not the only city to which the Senators Nicholas 

, . , , T . -, , , , , defends the 

attempted to dictate. At their request Nicholas had to rights of 
come to the assistance of the men of Arricia, " vassals of ^ icia 
the Roman Church," and to decide that, for crimes Terracina. 
committed in their district by strangers, they were not 
to be punished by the Senators in any way. 4 He was 
also called upon by the people of Terracina to help 
them to maintain their rights in the face of the Senator 
or his friends. Like Orvieto, 5 Ascoli, 6 etc., Terracina 

1 See the proclamation or sentence of John Colonna, ap. ib., p. 462. 

2 Ib. 

3 See the original documents of Apr .-May 19, 1291, from the local 
archives in Viterbo in Pinzi and Signorelli, Viterbo nella storia delta 
chiesa, p. 301. The latter author, too, is full of the superiority of the 
Viterbese, and tells how " La fierezza dei Viterbesi . . . s'impose ai 
degeneri figli di Roma". See also the documents ap. P. Savignoni, 
" L'archivio storico del comune di Viterbo " ap. Archivio Rom. di 
Storia Patria, 1896, p. 15 ff. ( n. 151 ff. Many of the docs, give the 
amounts the Viterbese had to pay in compensation for wounding 
Romans " with effusion of blood ". 

4 Document of May 10, 1290 ap. Theiner, Cod. Dip., n. 474. 

5 Ann. Urbevetani, ap. R.I SS., t. xv, pt. 5, p. 162, new ed. " D. N. 
IV papa fuit potestas et capitaneus Urbisveteris." 

6 Theiner, I.e., n. 471 ; Reg., n. 2413, and 6961, 6963-5. 



l86 NICHOLAS IV. 

had named Nicholas their Senator for life. 1 First it was 
the Senator, Berthold Orsini, who had to be called to 
task by the Pope for attempting to claim jurisdiction 
over Terracina as well as other places in the Campagna. 
He had to be strongly reminded that the cities of the 
Campagna and the Maritima were directly subject to 
the Roman Church both in spirituals and temporals, and 
he was ordered to cancel any action he had taken against 
them. 2 

This interference of Nicholas did not free the people 
of Terracina from trouble. Their liberties were next 
assailed by the Annibaldi, possibly with the secret support 
of the Colonnas, one of whom was then Senator. To him 
(John Colonna) Nicholas at once wrote from Orvieto in 
behalf of his harassed subjects. As this letter failed to 
produce any effect, the Pope wrote him some stronger 
ones. He told him that certain Annibaldi " and other 
Roman citizens " had attempted to seize Terracina which 
belonged to the Holy See, and, failing in that, were 
ravaging the district. The Senator must punish the 
culprits, and let them know that, if they do not desist, 
they will be deprived of all the lands which they hold 
of the Church. He must also exact guarantees that they 
will refrain from such conduct in the future. 3 Nicholas 
achieved his immediate purpose ; but the Annibaldi did 
not cease to scheme to get control of the city, so that later 
he had to forbid the communal authorities to allow any 
of them to enter it. 4 



1 Reg., 7501, July 22, 1289. 

2 Ep. of Nov. 22, 1288, given by Vitale, Senatori, i, p. 197, but 
wrongly assigned by him to John Colonna. 

3 Ep. of Sept. 27, 1290, ap. Reg., n. 7264. Cf. 7265. The Senator 
must fulfil the Pope's orders, " non obstante quod dicti Terracinenses 
dicuntur in Capitolio diffidati." 

4 Reg., n. 7607, May 29, 1291. 



NICHOLAS IV. 187 

From among the very large number of Nicholas' letters The Aido- 

, . , , r ,1 ^v 1 brandini 

which are concerned with the States of the Church, we country. 
may pick out a few more to bring out still more clearly 
the difficulties which he had in preventing aggressive 
barons from rendering themselves masters of portions 
of his dominions. We have seen how on the death (1284) 
of the " Red Count " (Aldobrandino Rosso da Pitigliano), 
the notorious Guy de Montfort left the Romagna to 
protect the great estates of his wife, Margaret, the 
count's heiress. Known as the " contado aldobrandesco ", 
they stretched from Monte Argentario to Monte Amiata, 
and along the valley of the Paglia to lake Bolsena, and 
from there to the sea by Corneto. 1 After defending his 
wife's rights against the pretensions of her relative, the 
count of Santa Fiora, Guy fought for the Angevins, 
was captured (1287), and died in prison (1291). Deprived 
of the strong arm of her husband, and at length wearied 
by his absence, "the noble lady Margaret, countess de 
Pitiliano," appears to have sought and found another 
protector and comforter in the person of the ruffian 
" Nellus de Petra ". With the connivance of the Countess 
(occulta dolositate), he took possession of one of her 
fortresses, that of Pereta, and from it plundered the 
neighbourhood with impunity. Nicholas, accordingly, 
instructed the Rector of the Patrimony of Tuscany to 
summon the pair to give up the fortress to him. 2 We 
may conclude that the summons was unheeded, for, about 
a year later, Nicholas declared that " the noble lady 
Margaret ", wife of Guy de Montfort, detained in prison 
by enemies, was unable to rule the fief she held of the 
Holy See, and that consequently her fief, " the county of 
Soana " was to be put under the strong control of Cardinal 

1 Such is the description given by G. Gaetani in " Margherita 
Aldobrandesca ei Gaetani" ap. Archivio Rom. di stor. pat., an. 1291, p. 5. 

2 Reg., nn. 7260-1, Aug. 23, 1290. 



i88 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Privileges 



Benedict Gaetani. 1 This sentence, however, was far 
from putting a term to the unprincipled conduct of this 
dissolute woman. Accordingly Gaetani, now become 
Pope Boniface VIII., formally declared her deprived of 
her fief altogether, inasmuch as she had illegally alienated 
part of it and had equally illegally married the count 
of Santa Fiora, her cousin and former foe, and a public 
enemy of the Church. 2 

Other rights and properties belonging to the Holy See 

annual Nicholas was able to recover for money. Thus, by paying 

payments. about six hundred and sixty-six florins of gold, he was able 

to recover all the rights over the castrum Miranda in the 

diocese of Narni, which had already been bought by 

Pope Gregory IX. 3 Other rights Nicholas sold for 

money, and so we have many documents which show that, 

for money, he conceded to a number of cities the right to 

elect their own magistrates. 4 In the same way, certain 

nobles were granted civil and criminal jurisdiction in 

their estates. 5 

strfves^or StiU > des P ite the concession of so much local liberty, 

local justice. Nicholas would not suffer the cities to make regulations 

which were detrimental to the general good. True to 

the traditions of the Holy See, he would not suffer the 

levying of new tolls, and we find him blaming various 

towns for not paying sufficient attention to the security 



1 Reg., n. 5751 f., Aug. 2, 1291. 

2 See his sentence of March 10, 1303, ap. Potthast, n. 25219, from 
Ughelli, Italia Sacra, ii, 744. For further information regarding 
Margaret and the dissipated men with whom she was in touch, see the 
article of Gaetani. 

3 Lib. Censuum, i, p. 598, ed. Fabre. 

4 lb., p. 594 fi, 59, n. 365; Reg., 4417-87 ; Theiner, Cod. dip., 
i, nn. 476, 480, etc. 

6 Cf. Cronache di Fermo, pp. 495, 551, ed. De Minicis ; and Theiner, 
I.e., n. 469. 



NICHOLAS IV. 189 

of the roads in their locality, or for acts of injustice. 1 
For these latter he had also at times to blame his own 
officials. The knight, John de Pileo, surnamed Bucca- 
porcus, whom he had appointed Rector of Benevento, 2 
had with his insolent followers, so it was told to the Pope 
by the citizens, grievously oppressed them with a view 
to wringing money from them. The situation was 
complicated by the action of the archbishop, John de 
Castrocceli, who, as it was reported, had interfered 
with the jurisdiction of the Rector and had acted as 
if he also were Rector. 3 One result of this clashing of 
authorities was that one of the papal revenue officials 4 
was killed. Nicholas at once caused inquiries to be made 
into the matter, summoned the archbishop to Rome, 5 
and instituted a legal process against the Rector (1291). 6 
As, however, Nicholas died not long after the process 
was opened, the result of it does not appear to be known. 
But, because Celestine V. named the archbishop cardinal 
and vice-chancellor of the Holy See (1294), 7 we certainly 
cannot assume that he was able to clear himself of the 
charges brought against him. According to James 
Stefaneschi, John was a man " skilled in dissimulation " 
and became cardinal in one of Celestine's foolish and 
irregular promotions. 8 

1 Lib. Cens., ib., p. 596, n. 363 ; Chron. di F., I.e., p. 492 ; Reg., 2048. 
Nicholas was podesta of Fermo. Reg., 7114. See Reg., 7179-84. 
" Contra praedones." " In districtu vestro . . . securus transitus 
non habetur " to Chiusi, etc. For an act of piracy, cf. Reg., nn. 7340-1. 

2 Reg., nn. 7247-8, March 9, 1290. 

3 Reg., n. 7262, c. Sept., 1290. " Quasi alterius rectoris in tem- 
poralibus officio fungeretur." 

4 Reg., n. 7287, Nov. 4, 1290, " Qui ad conscribendum introitus et 
expensas curiae in civitate Beneventana constitutus erat." 

5 Reg., nn. 7286, Nov. 4, 1290. 

6 Loye, Les archives de la Chambre Apostolique au XI V e siecle, 
p. 3, Paris, 1899. 

7 Stefaneschi, Vita Ccelest. V., iii, 10, ap. R. I. SS., iii, p. 637. 

8 " Simulare sciens." Ib. 



190 NICHOLAS IV. 

No leagues Disorders such as we have just chronicled in Benevento 

to be formed. J 

were rampant all over the papal States. Other cities 
besides Rome were striving to dominate other cities, 
and nobles were fighting to subject to their authority other 
nobles, and to grasp all power in the towns in which they 
lived. Nicholas was greatly distressed at the disorders 
he saw all around him, and, though perhaps incapable 
of bringing about peace, still laboured hard to promote it. 
He strove to keep peace within the cities of his dominions, 
and to make them keep it with one another. For this 
latter end, he published a decree forbidding the towns to 
combine together without the express permission of the 
Holy See. Such leagues, he pointed out, were most wisely 
forbidden in the Empire, as they led to great dangers 
both to men's bodies and souls. Any cities which formed 
such leagues would each of them be liable to a fine of 
three thousand marks of silver as well as to other spiritual 
and temporal penalties as the occasion might demand. 
The decree, at the same time, expressly took from " the 
Rectors of Provinces, districts or towns " power to modify 
these penalties in any way. 1 
Troubles in xhe Pope's own native city of Ascoli gave him no little 
trouble. Word was brought to him that serious 
disturbances had broken out in the city, and that what the 
Pope called " detestable excesses " had occurred during 
them. Nicholas accordingly ordered Frederick, bishop- 
elect of Ivrea, Rector of the March of Ancona, and the 
archpriest of Osimo, to proceed thither at once and to 
see that those guilty of outrages appeared before him 
within twelve days. 2 Frederick carried out his com- 
mission satisfactorily, and received an order from the 

1 See the document in Theiner, Cod. dip., i, p. 313, n. 483, Nov. 18, 
1290. " Moderandi . . . penam . . . provinciarum, terrarum vel 
locorum Rectoribus . . . adimimus facultatem." Cf. Chron. Firm., 
I.e., p. 493. 

2 Reg., nn. 6963-5, March 21-4, 1288. 



NICHOLAS IV. 191 

Pope not to depart from Ascoli till the arrival of the new 
Rector. 1 Frederick accordingly continued his work of 
reforming the city, 2 but with the consent of the Pope left 
before the arrival of the new Rector as there were other 
disorders in the March (Ancona) to be remedied. 3 In 
May, Nicholas appointed Stephen Colonna Rector of 
Ascoli, 4 and about the same time sent thither John, 
bishop of Iesi, to help to complete the pacification of 
the city. 5 When, at length, the citizens of Ascoli had 
returned to the ways of law and order, and were paying 
their debts and the fines inflicted on them, 6 Nicholas 
proceeded to make gifts to their churches, 7 to grant 
privileges to their city, 8 and finally to remit part of the 
large fine which was due to the apostolic treasury. 9 

Not to weary the reader with endless local details of Troubles in 
political disturbances in Tuscany, the Duchy of Spoleto, spoieto, etc. 
etc., we will simply say briefly that with regard to the 
first named locality, Nicholas had hardly been elected 
when the wars between the Guelfs and Ghibellines 
" became hot (riscaldandosi) again by reason of the 
war begun by the Florentines and Sienese against the 
Aretines, and by the Florentines and Lucchese against 
the Pisans ". 10 Consequently we read of efforts made by 
Nicholas to reconcile the Guelfs and Ghibellines in various 
places, e.g., in Chiusi, 11 and to pacify the whole province. 



1 lb., n. 6995, Apr. 17, 1288. 

2 Cf. Potthast, 22677, Apr. 22, 1288. 

3 lb., n. 23698, Apr. 29, 1288. 

4 Reg., n. 7030, May 17, 1288. The son : " Johannis Stephani de 
Columpna." 

5 lb., nn. 7036-7, May 19. 

6 lb., 7098, July 26. Cf. 7082-3. 

7 lb., n. 7101. The famous cope of Ascoli, about which see infra. 

8 lb., n. 7122. 

9 Theiner, Cod. dip., i, n. 466, Apr. 29, 1289. 

10 Villani, Chron., vii, 127 (al. 128). 

11 Reg., nn. 4218-20, Feb. 18, 1291. 



192 NICHOLAS IV. 

He had heard that the disorders in the Tuscan province 
of which notice had been brought to him were being 
fomented by the redoubtable Guido da Montefeltro, who 
with extensive powers had been made their captain by 
the Pisans. 1 The Pope accordingly commanded the 
communes of Florence, Siena, Arezzo, etc., to send him 
plenipotentiaries to arrange with him the best means of 
maintaining order throughout the province. 2 Meanwhile, 
because to go to Pisa Guido had left Piedmont to which 
district he " was confined by his terms of surrender to the 
Church ", he, his sons, and the Pisans, were excom- 
municated by Nicholas " as rebels and enemies against 
Holy Church ". 3 But despite all his efforts there was very 
little peace in Tuscany during the pontificate of Nicholas. 
Throughout the whole of it, the Florentines and their 
allies were at war with the Ghibelline cities of Pisa and 
Arezzo. In the main, Florence and the Guelfs were 
successful, especially at the battle of Certomondo in the 
Casentino (1289). There the Florentines completely 
defeated the people of Arezzo, and there, says Villani 
with great local feeling, " were brought low the arrogance 
and pride not only of the Aretines, but of the whole 
Ghibelline party and of the Empire." 4 

Serious, too, was the situation in connection with 
Perugia which was displaying a most aggressive spirit. 
Even under Martin IV. it had been endeavouring to 
reduce Foligno to a state of vassalage. Nicholas strictly 
forbade the haughty hill-town to continue its attempts, 5 
and called upon the communes of Todi, Orvieto, etc., not 
to afford any manner of help to Perugia, but to get 



1 Reg., nn. 2174-5, Villani, I.e. 

2 lb., nn. 6987-92, Apr. 13, 1288. Cf. ib., nn. 7039-44, May, 1288. 

3 Reg., nn. 2172-5, Apr. 7, 1289 ; Villani, I.e. 

4 Chron., vii, 130 (al. 131). 

6 Reg., nn. 7017-18, Apr., 1288. 



NICHOLAS IV. 193 

ready to assist the Rector of Spoleto against it. 1 To put 
more pressure on the recalcitrant Perugians, Nicholas 
next sent to them cardinals Matteo Rosso and Benedict 
Gaetani. 2 Even they failed to check the ambition of the 
Perugians, who continued their attacks on Foligno, 3 and 
furthermore assailed Rieti. 4 At length, however, they 
thought fit to submit to the Pope (1290) 5 ; though it 
would appear that their submission was largely a matter 
of words, as in the following year Nicholas had again 
to complain of their usurpation of rights belonging to the 
Holy See. 6 

Of course if there were disturbances anywhere in the A new 
States of the Church, there would sure to be disturbances the 
in the Romagna, and at this time the chief brawlers were ^° 8 magna ' 
the Malatestas of Rimini, and the Polentani of Ravenna. 
Soon after his accession, Nicholas replaced the existing 
Rector or Count of the province, Petrus Stephani, by 
Armann dei Monaldeschi. 7 Since Guido of Montefeltro 
had had to go into exile, the province had become tranquil, 
so that Armann on his arrival was able to hold in peace 
" a great parliament " at Forli (May 16, 1288). 8 But the 
peace was of very short duration. In the very month 
of his arrival, Malatesta of Verucucchio, who was 
apparently aiming at making himself 9 tyrant of the city, 

1 lb., nn. 7019-28, Apr.-May, 1288. 

2 lb., nn. 584-93, May 28, 1288. 

3 lb., nn. 645-7, Jan. 18, 1289; cf. nn. 2168-9. 

4 lb., nn. 7197-8, Dec. 15, 1288. 5 lb., n. 3680, Nov. 27, 1290. 

6 lb., nn. 7329-30, June 5, 1291. Cf. Hey wood, A Hist, of Perugia, 
p. 153. Hence the Annals of Perugia, ap. Archiv. Stor. It., xvi (1850), 
p. 58, assign the general peace to 1292. 

7 Otherwise called Hermannus de Monaldensibus. Reg., 6366, 
Apr. 4, 1288 ; cf. 6979-80. 

8 Pietro Cantinelli, Chron., ad an. 1288, p. 57, ap. R. I. SS., xxviii, 
new ed. 

9 He is called " rebellis et inimicus capitalis communis Arimini " 
by the Syndic of Rimini. Cf. a document cited by Torraca the editor 
of P. Cant., ib., p. 58. 

Vol. XVII. o 



194 NICHOLAS IV. 

was expelled from Rimini. He appealed to the Rector 
who summoned the representatives of the Commune to 
appear before him. As they declined to go on the ground 
that Malatesta with an army was near the city, the 
Rector (or Count) raised a force to compel them. However, 
he did nothing, and the people of Rimini succeeded in 
capturing some of the sons of Malatesta. 1 After further 
evidence of incompetence, Armann was recalled by the 
Pope, and pending the arrival of the new Rector, there 
appeared on the scene an apostolic legate, Pietro Saraceno, 
bishop of Vicenza (Aug., 1289). 2 He at once took 
possession in the name of the Church of the castles 
belonging both to the Commune and to Malatesta. The 
new Rector Stephen Colonna was, therefore, able straight- 
way to enter Rimini, and to hold a parliament at Forli 
where, by the ambassadors of Bologna and of all the 
cities of the province, he was granted a free hand (Dec.). 3 
The Rector Consequently he was soon able to effect a reconcilia- 
treacherous- tion between the Commune of Rimini and Malatesta, 

1290 1Z6d ' who ^k his P art y returned to tne cit Y ( I2 9 )- However, 
before leaving Rimini himself, the Rector, for safety's 
sake, commanded Malatesta and his sons to retire to one 
of his residences in the country. 4 Unfortunately before 
the year was out, Stephen Colonna, his son and his son- 
in-law, were treacherously seized by the sons of Guido 
de Polenta at Ravenna, whither he had gone to take over 
its strongholds. 5 Instantly disturbances broke out all 
over the province. Malatesta took advantage of the 

1 P. C, ib. 

2 lb., p. 59. 

3 lb., pp. 59-60. By the Chronicle of Bologna, S. C. is called 
" S. de Gananzano (Genezzano) de domo de Columna Romanus ". 
Chron. Bonon., ap. R. I. SS., xviii, p. 230, new ed. 

4 P. C, p. 60. Stephen C. was in this seemingly acting by the 
advice of the two Colonna cardinals, Peter and James. See the 
document quoted as a note to this passage in P. Cant. 

5 P. C. pp. 61-2. Cf. Chron. Bonon., I.e., cf. pp. 232-3. 



NICHOLAS IV. 195 

situation to return and make himself master of Rimini, 
and allying himself with the Polentani and others, drove 
the papal officials out of Forli. 1 

Nicholas at once ordered Agapito Colonna, the Vicar The Rector 
of John Colonna, the Rector of the March of Ancona, to 1291. 
collect troops, and to march into the Romagna in order 
to pacify it, and to effect the release of Stephen. 2 He 
next sent (Dec. 22, 1290) a new Rector to the Province 
in the person of Hildebrandinus, bishop of Arezzo, naming 
him Rector in " spirituals " as well as in " temporals ". 3 
The bishop was a man of energy and courage. He 
convoked envoys and " wise men " from the different 
cities of the province, as well as from Bologna and 
Florence, effected the release of Stephen, and caused 
compensation to be paid to him. 4 

Despite occasional appeals to the Pope, and despite Grants to 
an illegal league of Forli, Faenza, and Ravenna against Cardinals, 
him, Hildebrandinus 5 held his own not merely during 
the pontificate of Nicholas, but all during the long 
vacancy of the Holy See until the new Pope Celestine V. 
sent Rob. de Gernay to replace him (Sept. 9, 1294). 6 

Some domestic troubles of the Pope we can pass 
over here, as they were mentioned in the biography 
of Nicholas III, but we may conclude this chapter 
by recording what we may call an item of domestic 

1 P. C, p. 63. Nicholas himself {Reg., nn. 7317-18, March 7, 1291) 
says that on the seizure of S. C. " status ipsius provincie fluctuaret ". 

2 Reg., n. 7294, Nov. 17, 1290. Cf. many similar instructions to 
other authorities in the neighbourhood. Ib., nn. 7295-7306. 

3 Reg., 7324, May 27, 1291. Cf. ib., 7317-18, March 7, 1291. H. was 
appointed Dec. 22, 1290, ib., n. 7582. See P. C, I.e., pp. 63 and 65. 

4 P. Cant., p. 63 f., and n. l,p. 64. At a general parliament he held 
in Forli, it was decided that he was to receive a salary of 26,000 gold 
florins per annum. 

6 Sometimes called Ildebrandinus, Aldrebandinus, etc. 

6 Cf. P. C, pp. 64-76. On p. 75 we see " ego Petrus Cantinelli " 
taking part in the events he narrates. Cf. Pasolini, I tiranni di Romagna, 
p. 74 ff. ; Rubens, Hist. Ravennatum, p. 477 ff. 



I96 NICHOLAS IV. 

finance. On July 18, 1289, Nicholas published a bull 
which had a considerable effect in enhancing the power 
of the College of Cardinals. He set forth that they were 
the chief supporters of the Papacy, strong and towering 
columns of the Church. Their College was nobler than 
any other in the world 1 ; and so, for their support, he 
decreed that the entire revenues of the Church should 
be divided into two parts— one to belong to the Pope, 
and the other to be divided equally among the cardinals. 
He hoped that one result of this would be that the 
cardinals, being personally interested in these revenues, 
would prevent their alienation, and would see to the 
better administration of the various cities and provinces 
of the Church. For this latter purpose he decided in 
fine that the cardinals should have a voice in the appoint- 
ment of the Rectors of the towns and provinces, and in 
their general financial management. 
Patron of In the midst of his labours to bring about civic order 

in the States of the Church, and to improve the material 
conditions under which his subjects lived, Nicholas did 
not forget the influence of art in this latter direction. 
In his patronage of art in all its branches, he stands 
midway, as in his numerical position, between " his 
father " and model, Nicholas III., and his great successor, 
Nicholas V. Less famous indeed in this respect than 
his successor, Tommaso Parent ucelli, he was more 
distinguished than his predecessor Giovanni Gaetani 
Orsini. By Italy's best known living exponent of the 
History of Art, he is described as the " Maecenas of his 
age ". 2 He gathered round him the greatest painters, 
sculptors, mosaicists — art workers in every department 

1 This document is printed in full ap. Bullar. Rom., iv, p. 88 f., and 
Theiner, Cod. D., i, p. 308, n. 468. " Horum coetus in orbe magnificus 
omnes et singulos quibuslibet titulis decoratos, excellit." 

2 A. Venturi, V Arte d' Italia, vol. v, p. 1050, " Mecenate del 
Dugento." Cf. Sedgwick, Italy in the Thirteenth Century, vol. ii, p. 257. 



Art 



NICHOLAS IV. 197 

whom he could find. Under him Rome became the 
artistic centre of Christendom. 

He had the services of such painters as Pietro Cavallini, 
the greatest master of the thirteenth century, and the 
teacher of Giotto, the Franciscan, Jacopo della Turrita, 1 
Gaddo Gaddi, Filippo Rusutti, and others known only 
by the works they have left behind. Sculptors like 
Cintio de Salvati, and, above all, Arnolfo da Cambio 
also worked for him ; and for his " ribbon pattern " 
mosaics he could command Giovanni and other members 
of the Cosmati family. 

It was in 1291 that Pietro Cavallini finished the mosaics Pietro 
of the apse of Sta. Maria in Trastevere. 2 They illustrate 
six episodes in the life of our Lady : her birth, the 
Annunciation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, 
the Presentation in the Temple, and her death. 3 Speaking 
of these productions of a Roman master, the Florentine 
art critic, Lorenzo Ghiberti, who saw them only about 
a hundred years after their completion, declares that 
he had never seen better mosaics. 4 Ghiberti, in fact, 
would seem not to be able to extol Pietro and his works 
enough. He calls him "the most accomplished of all the 
masters ". If he ventures a little criticism on his style, 
he adds immediately : "he was a most noble master." 
Also in the Trastevere, we are assured by Vasari that 
" he painted almost the whole of the Church of S. Cecilia 



1 Also called Torriti or da Turrita. 

2 On the date see G. Navone, " Di un musaico di Pietro Cavallini 
in Sta. Maria Transtiberina," ap. Archivio di Rom. di Storia Patria, 
vol. i, 1877, p. 224 f. 

3 They are described with pictures by Venturi, I.e., p. 141 ff. Cf. 
Barbet de Jouy, Les mosaiques chret., p. 124 ff. 

4 See Vita di L. G. con i commentarj di L. G., p. 39, ed. C. Frey, 
Berlin, 1886. " Ardirei a dire in muro non avere veduto di quella 
materia lavorare mai meglio." Cf. Frothingham, The Monuments of 
Christian Rome, p. 332 f. 



I98 NICHOLAS IV. 

in fresco ". 1 Although no trace of Pietro's work is to 
be seen in the church to-day, there is no reason to call 
his statement in question, as it had been previously 
made by Ghiberti, and as frescoes of his have been found 
comparatively recently in the adjoining convent of 
enclosed nuns. They were discovered more or less well 
preserved, on the removal of some stalls, and cover three 
sides of the nuns' choir. On the main wall the artist has 
depicted the Last Judgment, and no one who has ever 
seen the dignified face of his Christ, and the glory of the 
colouring of his angels, will ever forget his work. 2 

Again, according to Vasari, he adorned the facade and 
nave of St. Paul's outside the walls with mosaics, and 
he also decorated the chapter-house with frescoes. 
Again, too, are Vasari's assertions in this matter partly 
borne out by the testimony of Ghiberti. Unfortunately 
again, too, hardly any trace of all this work is left. It 
was destroyed by the fire of 1823. However, in the arch 
of the tribune of the present church, there has been 
inserted his kneeling figure of Pope John XXII. which 
once formed part of his frontal mosaic and was preserved 
from the fire. 3 Pietro is further credited by Ghiberti 
and Vasari with having done work at St. Peter's, S. Maria 
in Aracceli, S. Francesco-presso-Ripa, and San Crisogono. 
If that is so, time or the wanton hand of man has 
destroyed all trace of it, though, with regard to the last- 
named church, the mosaic in the style of the Cosmati, 
of the Madonna, enthroned with her Child between 

1 See his life of P. C, init. 

2 The frescoes are described in detail by F. Hermanin, " Un affresco 
di Pietro Cavallini a S. Cecilia " ap. Archiv. Rom. di Storia Pat., vol. 
xxiii (1900), p. 397 ff. See also Crowe and Cavalcaselle, Hist, of Painting 
in Italy, i, p. 92, n. 

3 By mistake, C. and C, I.e., p. 94, call the figure that of Benedict XI. 
The design of the old facade is preserved in the Vatican Library, Cod. 
Barb. Lat., n. 4406. Cf. Venturi, I.e., pp. 129 f., 141. On the identity 
of the papal figure see Villani, S. Paolo, p. 37. 



NICHOLAS IV. 199 

SS. Chrysogonus and James, used at one time to be 
thought a survival of Pietro's work. 

More immediately in connection with Nicholas IV. are Jacopo 

. • -1 x-. • ^r .li Tornti. 

the productions of Jacopo Tornti and Rusutti. Of these 
two, only Torriti is incidentally mentioned by Vasari, 1 
and what he says of him shows that he did not think 
much of him as an artist. However, both his words and 
the more important testimony of an inscription prove 
that Torriti worked at the glorious mosaic of the apse 
of St. Mary Major's. Nicholas IV., in conjunction with 
Cardinal James Colonna, 2 was not merely the decorator 
of that splendid basilica, he was its saviour. If it 
alone of the great fourth century basilicas still stands 
showing its original lines, it is due to his little transepts. 3 
When he had restored the fabric, Nicholas, with the aid 
of Torriti for the interior and of Rusutti for the exterior, 
proceeded to decorate it with mosaics. The restoration 
of the fine fifth century mosaic of the apse was the work 
of the former, and was completed in 1295. 4 Recalling, 
by the sweeping curves of its arabesque designs through 

1 In his life of Andrea Tan. 

2 See the inscription from the Sacristy of the basilica, ap. Galletti, 
Inscrip. Rom., i, p. cxcviii. After praising both cardinals Peter and 
J. C, it continues : — 

" Sed Jacobus opere sumptuque 
Collato cum Nicolao Pontifice 
Ex instauratione basilica? 
Decessit illustrior." 
See also P. de Angelis, Basilica S. M. Maj. descript., p. 90. 

3 See the inscription in mosaic, "almost eaten away" in the days 
of de Angelis (1621), which was once on the right of the apse : — 

" Quartus Papa fuit Nicolaus 
Virginis JEdem 
Hanc lapsam refecit, fitque 
Vetusta nova." 
L.c., p. 89. 

4 On the left of the apse is seen the artist's name. According to de 
Angelis, I.e., p. 90, it read : " Jacobus Torriti pictor hoc opus momaicen 
fecit " ; and in a corner on the right : " anno domini MCCXCV. 



200 NICHOLAS IV. 

a field of gold, the lovely mosaics of Ravenna, the upper 
part of the picture is perhaps more or less the work of 
the original artists. 1 The lower portion is the work of 
brother Torriti ; and a modern art critic has declared 
that " no Italian artist, not even Cimabue or Duccio, 
has imitated with greater skill the solemnity of style, 
the emphasis of feature, and the magnificent colouring 
of the Byzantine productions ". 2 The centre of the apse 
is filled with a large circle within which sit enthroned 
our Lord and His Mother. Mary with hands upraised 
is being crowned by her divine Son ; while angels with 
extended wings cluster round each side of the lower 
half of the circle. On its left are seen the small kneeling 
figure of Pope Nicholas IV. , tall upright figures of SS. Peter 
and Paul, and last in smaller size that of St. Francis, 
showing the stigmata. The figure of the Pope is, on 
the other side, balanced by that of Cardinal James 
Colonna, and the other Saints by St. John the Baptist, 
St. John the Evangelist, and St. Anthony of Padua. 

Below the "shell" of the apse, and between the 
windows which give light to it, Nicholas placed a series 
of seven mosaics. They depict scenes in connection with 
the story of our Lady. Enumerating them from the 
left, we see the Purification of St. Anne, our Lady's 
mother ; the Annunciation, and the Nativity. The 
centre mosaic, the largest of the series, shows the death 
of our Lady. Then follow the Adoration of the Magi, 
the Purification, and the aged Simeon. Whatever adverse 
criticism certain details may call for, there can be no 

1 This is, however, called in question by Mgr. Wilpert. Cf. La 
Peinture Romaine, by R. van Marie, p. 14. Personally, I am very 
sceptical as to the judgments of art critics about the age of a painting 
when they have no extraneous data to help them. Cf. ib., p. 216, 
for Van Marie's judgment as to the extent of Torriti's work on the apses 
of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. 

2 E. Bertaux, Rome, ii, p. 83. 



NICHOLAS IV. 201 

doubt that the decoration of the apse of St. Mary Major's 
is at once sumptuous and beautiful. 1 

The mosaics of the loggia of the facade, now very 
largely restored, were the work of Filippo Rusutti, as 
the inscription on them shows. 2 Again, the centre of 
the work is taken up with a large circle showing a starry 
background, and again have we an elaborate throne with 
our Lord in highly decorated robes seated thereon. His 
right hand is raised in benediction, and in His left He 
holds an open book in which are the words, " Ego sum 
lux mundi." 

Torriti has also worked at the mosaic of the apse of st - J ohn 
St. John Lateran. This mosaic, which in design recalls 
that of St. Stefano Rotondo, is said by some not to have 
been much modified by the Franciscan mosaicist. As 
it now stands, it is divided into three bands. In the 
centre of the upper one is a full-bearded bust of our 
Lord with the head surrounded by a large white nimbus. 
Immediately above the head of our Lord is the figure of 
a Seraph, and all around the bust are angels floating 
through the dark blue sky amid crimson tinted clouds, 
after the manner of the mosaic in the Church of 
SS. Cosmas and Damian. The centre of the second band 
is occupied, on a gold background, by a large jewelled 
cross standing on a mound from which flow the four 
rivers of Paradise at which two stags are drinking. On 

1 In addition to the authors already cited in connection with the 
basilica, see G. Clausse, Basiliques et mosaiques, ii, p. 443 ff. ; A. 
Venturi, Musaici Cristiani in Roma, p. 43 ff., Rome, 1925. Illustra- 
tions will be found in most of the works cited. See also Gregorovius, 
Rome, v, pt. ii, pp. 654-5. 

2 " Philipp Rusutti fecit hoc o(p)us." To him or to Gaddo Gaddi 
are assigned the four mosaics below that of our Lord dealing with 
the story of the foundation of the basilica under Pope Liberius. Cf. 
Venturi, Storia dell' Arte, v, p. 181 ff., with plates, nn. 150-1 ; and Van 
Marie, p. 221. See also Frothingham, I.e., pp. 330-1, for certain frescoes 
in a fragmentary state in St. Mary Major's which that author assigns 
to an unknown artist in the days of Nicholas IV. 



202 NICHOLAS IV. 

the left of the Cross are three large upright figures of 
our Lady, St. Peter, and St. Paul. Kneeling by the 
Virgin's side is Pope Nicholas on whom rests one of her 
hands, 1 and beneath whose figure runs the inscription: 
" Nicholas IV. Pope, the servant of the Holy Mother of 
God. Nicolaus PP. IIII See. Di. Genitri. Servi." Behind 
him stands St. Francis, like Nicholas in smaller pro- 
portions than the figures of the apostles. On the right 
side of the cross are also three large upright figures 
representing St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, 
and St. Andrew, while the smaller figure of St. Anthony 
is placed between the first two Saints. The third and 
narrowest band shows a river with its name, Jordanus, 
into which pour the four streams from the base of the 
cross, and on which swim swans and small boats float, 
carrying little naked children. In the left bottom corner 
we have the proof that the mosaic was the work of 
Torriti in the words of an inscription : " Jacopus Toriti. 
Pict. hoc. op. fecit." Moreover, between the windows 
which give light to the apse are the figures of the other 
apostles, and between the two on the extreme left is the 
little kneeling figure of the Franciscan artist himself 
with a square and compass in his hand. Between the 
two apostles on the extreme right is the kneeling figure 
of Brother James of Camerino, who, as the inscription 
by his side declares, was " the associate of the master of 
the work ", and who, as with his hammer he is seen 
breaking up the enamel into suitable pieces, commends 
himself to his patron St. John. 

1 E. Miintz believes that all Torriti did was to insert the three smaller 
figures, and to alter the figure of our Lady. This he did by giving her 
a second right hand to rest it on the kneeling Pope, and by leaving the 
original right arm raised. He then tried to turn the latter into a left 
arm by inverting the hand, obliterating the original left hand. Such, 
at any rate, is A. L. Frothingham's presentation of Miintz's article 
in Revue Arch., Nov., 1878. 



NICHOLAS IV. 203 

Above this striking scene once ran an inscription which 
proclaims that Nicholas IV., a son of Blessed Francis, 
renewed the Church in 1291, and adorned it with mosaics, 
restoring to its place the face of our Lord as it originally 
manifested itself when the church was consecrated. 1 

But Nicholas was concerned not only with the Churches. The 
He had the honour of laying the foundation stone of one orvieto. 
of the most lovely churches even of Italy. The Annals 
of Orvieto tell us that Nicholas came to that city when 
Adinulf was its podesta and captain ; that on October 13, 
1290, the workmen began to dig the foundations of the 
Duomo, Sta. Maria Nuova, and that " they were terribly 
deep ". On November 13, the Pope, surrounded by a 
number of cardinals and prelates, in presence of all the 
people, " descended to the foundations," and laid the 
foundation stone, and Latinus, cardinal-bishop of Ostia, 
proclaimed the indulgence " granted by the Pope and 
the prelates who were present ". 2 

Among the sculptors employed by Nicholas was c.de Salvati. 
a certain Cintio de Salvati. In a register of the Archivio 
of St. Alexius, Giordani has found a notice to the effect 
that, in 1293, " there died, most piously, Magister Cintio 
de Salvati, a Marmorarius, sculptor of a statue of Pope 



1 On all this, see especially Clausse, I.e., p. 341 ff. For the above 
and for another inscription in mosaic once on the Gospel side, see 
Rasponi, De Basilica Lat., p. 29, Rome, 1656. This second inscription 
sets forth the work done for the basilica both by Innocent III. and 
Nicholas IV. in 1291. See them also in N. Alemanni, De Lateran. 
Parietinis, p. 137 f., who from Rasponi, I.e., p. 91, tells us that, 
before the restoration of Nicholas, there was represented above the 
cross the City of the Church, and in its midst a palm-tree on which was 
seen that emblem of Christ the Phoenix. Now the tree and the bird 
are beneath the cross. 

2 Annates Urbevet., p. 162. Cf. pp. 134, 162, ap. R. I. 55., t. xv, pt. v, 
new ed. Cf. L. Fumi, Cod. diplom. Orviet., doc. 548, p. 339, ap. Penzi, 

Viterbo, ii, p. 448, n., and the same II duomo 'di Orvieto, Rome, 1891, 
for permission for materials to be taken from Rome for the great work. 



204 NICHOLAS IV. 

Nicholas IV." which once was in St. Mary Major's, but 
which is no longer to be found. 1 

Embroidery. ^y e are reminded by an art historian that Nicholas 
was also a princely donor of fine embroidery work to 
many churches. Among other presents to the Church at 
Assisi, 2 he sent it an altar frontal with the history of 
St. Francis embroidered thereon in gold, silver, and 
pearls, and also a most beautiful cope of gold tissue with 
the figures of the Apostles embroidered thereon. To 
St. Peter's he gave an altar-cover (dossale) worked in 
gold and pearls with the figures of our Lady, St. John, 
Francis, Gregory, Nicholas, etc. 3 

The famous On July 28, 1288, Nicholas wrote from Rieti to the 
COpe ' cathedral church of Ascoli Piceno to attest his devotion 
to it from his youth upwards, and his desire to favour 
it. He went on to say that he had recently sent to it 
by his beloved son the Franciscan brother Lambert, 
a cope (pluviale) of samnite with figures embroidered 
upon it, 4 and adorned with gold fringe and emeralds. 
Then, in order, as he said, that the Church might not in 
the future ever be defrauded of it, he absolutely forbade 



1 So says Filippini (Laura), La scultura nel trecento in Roma, p. 54, 
from whom the notice in the text is taken. Some maintain that the 
kneeling papal figure in the Chapel of the Crucifix at St. John Lateran 
is that of Nicholas IV. But, as the arms of Boniface IX. are seen by 
his side, I cannot see sufficient reason for denying that it is a statue 
of the latter Pope. See also Filippini, I.e., pp. 152-9. 

2 The gifts of Nicholas to Assisi are discussed by Rubens, p. 55. 

3 Venturi, Arte, v, p. 1050 ff. With regard to the Dossale, of which 
we find mention in II tesoro delta basilica di S. Pietro, p. 15, ed. Miintz 
and Frothingham, Rome, 1883 (really an extract from the Archivio 
Rom. de Storia Pat., vol. vi), it is simply there stated " quod dossale 
dicitur pape Nicolay ". The presence of the figure of St. Francis on it, 
is the reason for assigning it to Nicholas IV. 

4 Among others with those of Popes Innocent IV., Alexander IV., 
Urban IV., and Clement IV. A description of the cope may be read 
in E. Bertaux, " Tresors d'Eglises," ap. Melanges d'archceol, 1897, 
p. 77 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 205 

it to be alienated from it in any way. 1 As is well known, 
his wishes have not been respected, and it is now in the 
National Gallery of Rome. 2 

Though practicallv all the art work forwarded by Th e palace 

. • , ! 1 1 . . at St. Mary 

Nicholas was in connection with churches, he repaired Major's, 
or completed the palace at St. Mary Major's, begun by 
Clement III. 3 

To execute all this beautiful work, Nicholas required Funds for all 

this work. 

funds. A few documents have been preserved which 
show us some ways in which he procured them. The 
banking firm " Clarentum " — setting an extraordinarily 
rare example of a delicate conscience in a corporate body 
— wrote to Nicholas acknowledging that they were in 
possession of funds which they had acquired by usury 
and other unlawful means. They therefore asked him 
what they should do with regard to the past, as they 
proposed to abstain from malpractices in the future, and 
had made satisfaction to all the creditors whom they 
could trace. After praising their good intentions and 
resolutions, the Pope absolved them from the necessity 
of troubling about future possible demands on them, 
provided they paid a thousand ounces of gold towards 
the repairs of St. Mary Major's. 4 For the works going 
on in connection with the church of St. Francis at Assisi, 
he authorized the using of the offerings made in that 
church and in the Portiuncula. 5 

A little later we find him absolving Sir John de Wotton St. Peter's. 

1 Reg., n. 7101. 

2 It was stolen in 1902, came into the hands of Mr. Pierpont Morgan, 
and was restored by him in 1904. 

3 " Ubi satis magna palacia compleri fecit." Contin. reg. lib. de 
Temp., ap. M. G. SS., xxxi, p. 577, or Mem. Pot. Reg., ap. R. I. SS., 
viii, 1171. Cf. G. Biasiotti, La basilica Esquilina, p. 29 f. 

* Reg., 6926, March 21, 1292. 

5 Ep. May 15, 1288, ap. Wadding, v, p. 512, n. 10. " Continua 
ecclesiae b. Francesci de Assisio conservatio non modicum noscitur 
sumptuosa." 



206 NICHOLAS IV. 

from a vow to make a pilgrimage to Rome, on the ground 
that he was old and weak, and, as sheriff of his county of 
Wiltshire, was very much occupied. In satisfaction of 
his vow, the knight had to send as much money to 
St. Peter's as he would have spent on his journey. 1 

Nicholas was not, however, always successful in his 
endeavours to raise money for his churches. As we shall 
see when we come to speak of his relations with England, 2 
his efforts to assign an English benefice in perpetuity 
to St. Peter's met with a final repulse. 3 

1 Cal. of P. Letters, i, p. 492. 

2 Cf. infra. 

3 Cf. C. of P. L., i, pp. 518, 555 ; Rymer, ii, 494. 



CHAPTER VI. 



THE BRITISH ISLES. 



Sources. — Among the documentary outcomes of the relation 
between Nicholas IV. and England was? the Taxatio ecclesiastica 
Anglics et Wallice auctoritate P. Nicolai IV., circa A.D. 1291, 
which was published, far from well, " by command of H.M. King 
George III." in 1802. 1 Its very inadequate preface begins with 
the misleading statement : " Pope Innocent XXII. (for IV.), 
to whose predecessors in the See of Rome the firstfruits and 
tenths of all ecclesiastical benefices had for a long timebeen paid, 
gave the same, a.d. 1253, to King Henry III. for three years, 
which occasioned a taxation in the following year, sometimes 
called the Norwich taxation, and sometimes Pope Innocent's 
Valor." 2 The preface then goes on to state, more or less 
accurately, that, in 1288, 3 Nicholas IV. granted the tenths to 
King Edward I. for six years towards the expense of an expedi- 
tion to the Holy Land, and that they might be collected to their 
true value, a taxation by the King's precept was begun in that 
year (1288). . . . The taxatio of P. Nicholas IV. is a most 
important record, because all the taxes, as well to our Kings 
as to the Popes, were regulated by it, until the Survey made in 
the twenty-sixth year of Henry VI II. It is the result of this 
taxation or valuation of Nicholas that was published in 1802. 
It shows us, diocese by diocese, the sums yielded by the 
" spiritualities " (tithes, offerings) and " temporalities " (lands) 
of the various churches, abbeys, etc., of the country. But though 
we gather from it that, on the whole, it furnished a higher basis 
for taxation than preceding valuations, it does not show how 



1 Cf. Miss R. Graham, " Taxation of Nicholas IV." ap. Eng. Hist. 
Review, 1908, p. 434 ff., a paper we have here freely used. 

2 We must point out that the " First Fruits " or Annates were 
not exacted till the reign of John XXII., and that only occasional 
tenths had been granted to the Popes. 

3 It was not till Jan. 10, 1290, that Nicholas gave his consent for 
a fresh valuation to be made. Rymer, ii, 459, and see infra. 

207 



208 NICHOLAS IV. 

that basis was arrived at, and consequently does not enable 
us to ascertain exactly the real revenues of the churches. 

In connection with this Taxatio, we would call attention, besides 
the paper of Miss Graham just cited in a note, to that of Mr. W. E. 
Lunt, " Collectors' accounts of the clerical tenth of N. IV.," ap. 
Eng. Hist. Review, Jan., 1916, p. 102 ff. 

King We have already seen how the perilous condition of 

Edward and .--.,-, , , -, , (1 . •, 

the tithes for the Holy Land on the one hand, and on the other a 
the Crusade. p 0ss i D i e alliance with the Mongols to succour it, had 
rekindled King Edward's desire to lead a Crusade in its 
defence. 1 After he had taken the cross, and been named 
captain-general of the hosts of Christendom (1287) , 2 
he had entered into renewed communication with Pope 
Honorius IV. on the subject of the Holy Land, and of 
the tithes he desired to enable him properly to equip 
his forces. On the death of Honorius, he had continued 
the negotiations with his successor, Nicholas IV. The 
latter, in letters now lost, had promptly declared his 
wishes to Edward, who, on February 3, 1289, explained 
his. They were that, without fail, the great Crusade 
(passagium generale) should start on the Feast of St. John 
the Baptist in 1293, that the six years' tithes and other 
crusade taxes (obventiones) already collected in England, 
Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, should be handed over 
to him before that date, and that of the tithes, etc., to be 
collected during the next six years, those received during 
the first three years should be given to him before his 
departure for the Holy Land, and the rest as they fell 
due. The Crusade was to be preached everywhere, and 
those who had taken the cross were to be compelled 
to fight or pay. Finally, he was to receive, as far as 
possible, the tithes from those countries whose rulers 

1 Cf. supra, pp. 55 ff., etc. 

2 Flores Hist., iii, 65 ; Rishanger, p. 130. The French wanted the 
position for their King or, at any rate, for one " ex genere Gallorum ". 
Cf. John of Thilrode, Chron., p. 581 ff., ap. M. G. SS., xxv. 



NICHOLAS IV. 209 

should not take part in the Crusade. 1 In a separate 
letter he undertook to restore the money assigned to 
him, if, for any cause, he was not ready to sail on the 
appointed day. 2 

Some of these wishes of our King led to much corre- The Pope 
spondence between him and the Pope. In the first place ^nt^aii the 
Nicholas declared that, owing to the disastrous loss of King's 
Tripoli (Apr. 26, 1289), which had occurred after the 
dispatch of the King's letter, the Crusade could not be 
delayed beyond 1292. But, with regard to the assign- 
ment of the tithes, always understanding that they 
should be refunded if the Crusade were not undertaken, 
he even granted more favourable conditions than the 
King himself had asked for. Speaking generally, Nicholas' 
answer was in accordance with the King's petitions. 3 

If Edward was anxious to lead a Crusade, he was, a new 
perhaps, still more anxious to get hold of the money J^madT t0 
which was to be raised for it, and to get as much of it as 1290. 
possible. His envoys, accordingly, pressed for the 
granting of a new valuation of ecclesiastical property in 
England. 4 From the Pope's reply we see that they had 
put forward as a reason for their request that there was 
not a uniform basis of valuation in the different countries 
under Edward's sway. Accepting the assertion, Nicholas 
granted that the taxes should be paid " according to the 
true value " of the revenues. The collection of the taxes, 
however, was, he insisted, to be made by persons deputed 
by the Apostolic See, and, though in the King's interest, 

1 Ep. to Nicholas : " cum recommendatione humiii, pedum oscula 
beatorum," ap. Rymer, H, p. 413. 

2 lb. 

3 Ep. of Oct. 7, 1289, ap. ib., p. 432 ff. Nicholas showed himself 
ready to help the King, because he knew that the undertaking was 
necessarily very costly, " pro eo quod negotium multis oneribus et 
sumptibus est onustum." 

4 The Annals of Worcester, p. 509, says that the Pope consented to 
the new valuation " rege procurante ". 

Vol. XVII. p 



210 NICHOLAS IV. 

was so to be made as to avoid scandal. 1 This letter was, 
a few months later, followed by a long one setting forth 
in detail what sort of revenues, profits, etc., were to be 
taxed, and what were not to be taxed, what institutions 
were not to be taxed at all, such as those of the military 
Religious Orders, and what deductions could lawfully 
be made from the revenues before their value could be 
settled for taxation. 2 
Further i n presence of a number of bishops and nobles, of 

rcn ucsts 

from the brother William de Hothun, who had conducted the 
Kmg. negotiations for the King, and of Bartholomew, bishop 

of Grosseto, the papal nuncio, Edward "humbly and 
devoutly " accepted the Pope's conditions. 3 Nevertheless, 
he did not cease to press Nicholas for more money. 
Specially did he ask for the money from those countries, 
whose rulers were not going to take part in the Crusade, 
and for a grant from the Pope himself. In reply to 
Edward's requests, Nicholas declared that he was most 
anxious to help him, who was indeed " Christ's champion 
and the protagonist of Christendom ", but the King 
must know that from France the Church has not received 
anything, that Pope Gregory had granted the tithes of 
Castile to its King, and that very little (modicum) had 
come to the Church from Germany and the countries of 
the North. Moreover, as the tithes of England, Ireland, 

1 Ep. Jan. 10, 1290, ap. ib., p. 459 : " Diversae, ut dicitur, sunt 
extimationes redituum. . . . Statuimus ut, juxta verum ipsarum 
valorem, tibi praedicta decima persolvatur." Cf. ib., p. 460, for a 
similar letter regarding the other crusade taxes (obventiones), and 
ib., p. 509, for a confirmatory letter (March 18, 1291) regarding " the 
true value ", in which he again lays down that in collecting the tithes 
according to this value all occasion of grave inconvenience and 
consequent scandal must be carefully avoided. See a version of 
Bartholomew of Cotton, p. 433, R. S., and other texts from chroniclers 
infra. The scope of the tax is well expressed by the Chronicle of 
Lanercost, ad an. 1291, sub fin. 

2 Ep. May 14, 1290, R., p. 475. 

3 Ep. Oct. 10, 1290, ap. R., ii, p. 495. 



NICHOLAS IV. 211 

Scotland, and Wales had already been granted to the 
King, he could easily conjecture for himself how much 
was left for the Church. Then, out of that residue, he 
had himself equipped men and ships for the defence of 
the Holy Land. Still he assured Edward that he would 
give him all the financial help he could. Further, when 
the King was ready to sail, he would comply with his 
request, and depute a cardinal-legate to watch over the 
interests of the Holy Land, and take him and his people 
under the special protection of the Holy See. 1 

About a month after the dispatch of this answer, a Further con- 
sheaf of letters 2 left the Apostolic chancery, giving action of the 
further grants to Edward, and now fixing 1293 as the Pope ' 129L 
date of the crusade against the Sultan of Egypt who 
" with all his might is striving wholly to blot out the 
Christian faith and name." 3 

On the same day as the issue of this encyclical, Nicholas The new 
appointed Oliver Sutton, bishop of Lincoln, and John England" 
of Pontissara, bishop of Winchester, as chief collectors 
of the tenth to be raised in England. 4 

The fall of Acre (May 18, 1291) everywhere enkindled 
for the moment a lively interest in the Holy Land, 5 

1 Ep. Feb. 12, 1291, ap. R., ii, p. 499. Nicholas added that many 
were grumbling at the special favours he had granted Edward. Cf. 
the following letter (p. 501), of the same date in which the Pope begs 
our King not to delay his preparations. 

2 Epp. of March 18-29, 1291, ap. ib., pp. 509-23. 

3 Encyclical of March 18, 1291, ap. ib., p. 515. 

4 Ep. ap. Bartholomew of Cotton, p. 183 ff . The tenth to be collected 
" juxta veram aestimationem (proventuum) ". Cf. ep. of March 29, 
addressed to the same two bishops. Ib., p. 189 ff. 

5 The letters of the Pope to England on the matter (of which we 
spoke above) may also be read in full in the Regis trum Johannis de 
Pontissara, ed. Deedes, ii, p. 474 ff. ; and the boastful letter of the 
Sultan on it, ap. ib., p. 481. The editor gives an English translation 
of it in his valuable introduction, p. lxxxiii, but he is mistaken in 
supposing it was addressed to Hako of Norway. It was addressed 
to Hayton II., K. of Armenia, and was included by Bartholomew of 
Cotton in his Chronicle, p. 215, R. S. 



212 NICHOLAS IV. 

but Nicholas died within the year after that event, and 
Edward became involved in the affairs of Scotland. 
The Crusade of 1293 was never undertaken, though, at 
the preaching of archbishop Peckham, many of our 
nobles had taken the cross. 1 

Meanwhile, the new valuation was begun in England, 
because, as the Annals of Osney put it, 2 " the lord Pope 
out of the abundance of his power had granted to the 
King of England a tenth for six years of all the possessions 
of ecclesiastical persons, as well religious as secular, . . . 
in aid of his future expedition to the Holy Land in order 
to attack the enemies of the Cross of Christ. The tenth 
was to be raised not on the old valuations, but according 
to the true value of the said possessions which the Pope 
had decided was to be reckoned anew by an intolerable 
valuation." These same Annals go on to say that to 
the greater vexation of the tax-payers new valuers were 
appointed who raised " incomparably " the previous 
iniquitous valuation. " But still they could not satisfy 
the insatiable avarice of the King's heart." 3 

Since the year 1252, the Popes had often granted our 
Kings tithes of ecclesiastical revenues for the succour 
of the Holy Land. For the raising of them a valuation 
had been made by Walter of Norwich in 1256, with the 
sanction of Alexander IV. 4 In 1275, a second valuation 
had been made by the papal nuncio, Raymund de 
Nogeriis, and we are assured by the Canon of Barnwell 
that the first valuation, if tolerable, pricked, that the 



1 Bart, of C, p. 177. 

2 P. 331. Cf. Bart, of Cotton, p. 433, " ad taxationem novam 
secundum verum valorem faciendum." 

3 P. 333. Cf. Ann. of Dunstable, p. 367, and our annalists generally. 

4 For the first clerical income tax levied by Innocent III. (1199), 
each clerk assessed his own income. Cf. W. E. Lunt, " Early 
assessments for papal taxation of English clerical incomes," ap. 
Annual Report of the American Hist. Assoc, 1917, p. 265 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 213 

second was heavy and wounded, but that the new one 
(1291) was most sharp and cut down to the bone. 1 
Though the general opinion seems to have been that 
the valuation of 1291 was oppressive, 2 no one, we are 
told, opposed it in England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland. 3 
The levying of the tithe began on June 24, 1291, but 
owing to the death of Nicholas, the subsequent long 
vacancy of the Holy See and other causes, its collection 
did not begin in earnest till 1296, and was not finished 
till 1302. From a certain want of exactness and definite- 
ness in the Taxatio document, as it has come down to us, 
it does not seem possible to arrive at the knowledge of 
the exact sum raised ; but it appears to have been 
between £206,000 and £220,000. 4 

When Nicholas, in mournful but inspiring accents, Councils to 
proclaimed the fall of Acre to the Christian world (Aug. 18, England^ 
1291), 5 he did not content himself with granting tithes to 
King Edward, but inaugurated extensive measures to 
cope with the situation. He resolved to call together, as 
Gregory X. had done, a diet of Christendom. Meanwhile, 
he ordered local councils to be assembled all over Europe 
to consult on what was best to be done, and to forward 
to him without delay the result of their deliberations. 6 
Especially did he commend to the bishops the considera- 
tion of how best the great Military Orders could be 



1 Lib. memor. eccles. de Bernewelle, p. 191. 

2 " Fuit ilia taxatio durissima," Bart, of Cotton, p. 199. 

3 Pierre de Langtoft, Chron., vol. ii, p. 189, R. S. There were, of 
course, complaints against arbitrary increase of the valuation in 
certain cases. Cf. John of Oxnead, p. 260. 

4 Cf. among other authors who have attempted this calculation, 
Dixon, Hist, of the Church of England, i, p. 249. 

5 Ap. Bart, of Cotton, p. 199. 

6 lb. Cf. Geoffrey de Courlon, Chron., p. 564, ed. Julliot, Letters 
from Northern Registers, p. 96, R. S., where Romanus, archbishop of 
York, gives a letter from Nicholas ordering him to summon a provincial 
council. 



214 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Provincial 
synod of 
Canterbury, 
1292. 



united, as from their discords great harm had been done 
to the Christian cause. 1 

In obedience to the Pope's orders, the metropolitans 
everywhere summoned their suffragans and clergy 
together. On Dec. 22, 1291, archbishop Peckham bade 
the bishops and priests of his Province assemble in the 
New Temple on Feb. 13, 1292. 2 

The council duly met, and it was decided that the 
faithful should be regularly exhorted to prayer, fasting, 
and good works for the benefit of the Holy Land, and 
that the leadership of the Christian forces should be put 
into imperial hands, " as the imperial majesty is the 
greatest among the powers of this world." It was, there- 
fore, recommended that an emperor should be chosen 
at once, " to whom the sword for the recovery of the 
Holy Land could be safely entrusted." Every effort 
should also be made to bring about peace between princes. 3 
If an Emperor was not for any cause available, King 
Edward should lead the Crusade, and the tithes of 
Christendom be made over to him. 4 

Speaking generally the recommendations from the 
different countries were much the same. The French 
councils, whilst also urging the prompt election "of a 
King of Germany " and his promotion to the imperial 
dignity, recommended that the laity should be taxed 
equally with the clergy. They also, like our own, agreed 
that the Military Orders should be united, and also that 
inquiries should be made to see if they were maintaining 
as many knights in the field as their revenues could 



1 Ep. ap. B. of C (Aug. 18, 1291), p. 203, Ann. Blandin., ap. M. G. SS., 
v, p. 33 f . 

2 Epp. ap. B. of C, p. 204 f. 

3 And should they be in rebellion against the Roman Church, to 
bring them back to its unity. 

4 Bart, of C, pp. 206-10 ; Ann. of Dunstable, pp. 366-7, R. S. ; J. of 
Oxnead, pp. 284-5. 



NICHOLAS IV. 215 

support. The French clergy, also, though protesting 
that they were heavily burdened with taxation, professed 
their readiness to pay what the kindly prudence of the 
Roman Church should think fair. 1 

The Council of Salzburg (April, 1292) advised that 
the best parts of the constitutions of the Templars, 
Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights should be selected, and 
a new one made for a united Military Order. The " Rex 
Romanorum " and the Princes should be summoned to 
succour the Holy Land. We are told, however, that 
Nicholas had died before the deputies from that Council 
reached Rome. 2 With the death of the Pope in whom 
all obviously trusted, died all hope of the Crusade of 
rescue. 

Although Nicholas and Edward had the same views on ^ovisions^ 
many subjects besides the Crusades, and the release V ations. 
of King Charles from confinement, their ideas on other 
matters were sometimes in direct opposition. Edward 
believed that the Pope made too free use of his powers in 
granting benefices in England to foreigners or in spite of 
the rights of patrons, and Nicholas was convinced that 
Edward did not always respect the immemorial privileges 
of the Church in his realms. Though the Register of 
Nicholas proves that, at times, he granted provisions 
and reservations at Edward's own request to his kinsmen 
or dependents, 3 it is a fact that far too many English 

1 lb., pp. 210-15. " Gallicana ecclesia . . . non modicum sit 
gravata . . . ne tamen tarn S. Rom. ecclesiae desiderio pioque pro- 
positi videatur deesse . . . nos ad illud offerimus subsidium faciendum, 
quod vestrae sanctitatis prudentia et dementia . . . duxerit imponen- 
dum." Cf. Will, of Newbury, contin., an. 1291, ap. Chron. of Stephen, 
etc., R. S., vol. ii, p. 279. 

2 Eberhard of Ratisbon, Annates, an. 1291, ap. M. G. SS., xvii, 594. 
Other councils advised the formation of a fleet, union with the Greek 
Church, etc. Cf. Hefele, Conciles, vi, pt. i, p. 327 f. 

3 See the striking case of Edward's kinsman, Peter of Savoy. At the 
King's request Nicholas granted Peter " provision of a canonry of 



2l6 NICHOLAS IV. 

benefices were granted by the Pope to foreigners who 
were often non-resident, and generally, even if resident, 
were ignorant of the language and customs of the country. 1 
" The cathedrals and cathedral churches," it has been 
truly noted, 2 " suffered most from these provisions, as the 
benefices and prebends in them as a rule had no cure of 
souls attached." At this period the greatest sufferers 
in England were the dioceses of York 3 and Lincoln. 
The Archbishop of York, John Romanus, had complained 
to various cardinals about the abuse, 4 and even Nicholas 
himself had acknowledged the state of things in that 
diocese owing to provisions. 5 
Edward The complaint of the Archbishop of York was backed 

complains to r 

the Pope, up by the King and the nobles of the land. Edward 
told the Pope that he could not understand how it was 
conceivable that he who had always shown such favour 
to himself and his realm should sanction such appropria- 
tion of English benefices as had lately taken place. 

Especially was the King (and the archbishop of York 
also) 6 annoyed at the proposed permanent alienation of 
the prebends of Fenton and Nassington (in Lincoln) 



Lincoln, with reservation of a prebend, notwithstanding that he is 
under age, and holds the treasurership of Llandaff, and canonries and 
prebends of York, Salisbury, and Hereford." Cal. of Papal Reg., i, 
p. 557. Cf. ib., p. 529, etc. 

1 Ann. of Dunstable, p. 353. 

2 See the introduction to the Register of Arch. John Romanus, vol. ii, 
p. xv. 

3 lb. 

4 lb., n. 1082, vol. i, p. 380, of Sept. 16, 1289. 

5 Ep. of Apr. 1, 1289, ap. Cal. of P. L., i, 406. 

6 See the archbishop's letter of Sept. 20, 1288, from Jaca in Aragon 
to Cardinal Matteo Rubeo Orsini, who had proposed the assignment 
of his prebend of Fenton in Yorkshire to the Hospital of S. Spirito in 
Sassia of which he was protector. " Spoliatur hoc modo," he 
indignantly wrote, " Eboracensis ecclesia et Romanum hospitale 
vestitur . . . Tollitur Anglicis hospitalitas, et transvehitur ad 
Romanos." Cf. his Register, ii, p. xvii ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 217 

for the benefit of St. Peter's and of the Hospital of 
St. Spirito in Sassia which already had the English 
benefice of Writ el. Edward pointed out that these 
numerous appropriations, especially the permanent ones, 
of English benefices to foreigners and foreign institutions, 
were causing damage to the dignity of Divine worship in 
the country, were depriving the poor of the country of 
their alms, were lessening charitable bequests as the 
donors saw that their wishes were not respected, etc. 
The King declared that he could not see that it was for 
the honour of God that " one altar should be unduly 
stripped for the benefit of another ". He therefore 
earnestly besought the Pope to remedy these evils, as 
he could not suffer the alienation of a heritage he had 
sworn to defend. 1 

Edward did not get much satisfaction from the reply 
(Sept. 17, 1290) of the Pope's " superior (prsecellens) 
authority " : Nicholas expressed his astonishment " at 
the curious and serious letter " he had received from 
the King, and confined his comments to the prebends of 
Fenton and Nassington. In his action which had been 
inspired by pure motives, he declared that he had not 
had any intention of diminishing the King's rights, but 
he wished to assign one of the said prebends to the basilica 
of St. Peter's, on whom rests the whole fabric of the Church, 
and the other to the Hospital of St. Spirito whither flock 
such a multitude of sick and poor. Accordingly, the 
Pope professed to have no doubt that out of reverence 
for God and His Apostle, the King, " at once Catholic 
and devout," would forego any rights he may have in 
connection with the two prebends, and offer them to him. 2 

1 Ep. c. July, 1290, ap. Rymer, ii, p. 493, and ib., the protest of the 
English nobles. 

2 lb., p. 494. Nicholas took great interest in this hospital. He 
exempted their houses in England from the Saladin tenth, as their 
" goods are applied to the uses of the sick and poor." Cf. Cal. of 
P. L., i, pp. 534, 536. 



2l8 



NICHOLAS IV. 



With regard, however, to the permanent alienation of 
these two prebends, Edward stood firm, and threatened 
divers severe penalties to anyone who should dare to 
attempt to annex them to institutions in Rome. 1 But 
with regard to the general question of Provisions by 
which he benefited himself, he took no particular action, 
though these were causing endless disputes, and giving 
a great deal of trouble to the bishops of the country. 2 
Even when, in the following century, various Statutes 
of Provisors (1351, 1362, 1390) were passed against the 
granting of Provisions by the Pope, because " if they 
should be suffered, there should scarcely be any benefice 
within a short time within the said realm (of England), 
but that it should be in the hands of aliens and denizens 
by virtue of such provisions " 3 — even then, as the King 
was able to reward his servants by them, the practice 
went on as before, and the rights of the patrons were 
ignored. 4 

If King Edward had to complain that the Pope was 
abusing his prerogatives, Nicholas in turn complained 
to the King's envoy, and by letters and nuncios to the 
King himself, " that things are done by royal authority 



1 Cf. Cal. of Close Rolls, 1288-96, pp. 307, 464. 

2 Cf. Cal. of P. L., i, p. 492, for the case of Stephen Surdus, nephew 
of card. Ric. Annibaldi ; of Boniface, nephew of card. Oct. Ubaldini, 
p. 493 ; Raynold of Sarmineto, nephew of the late Pope Alexander IV., 
p. 493 ; Andrew of Languisel, brother of the card.-bp. of Porto, p. 494 ; 
of Francis Napoleon, papal sub-deacon, p. 495 ; and other cases ap. 
ib., pp. 501, 508, 509, etc. 

3 " A statute of Provisors of benefices, made an. 25, Edw. III., Stat. 6, 
and a.d. 1350 (legal) " ap. The Statutes at large, i, p. 268, ed. Ruffhead, 
London, 1763. 

4 " The latter volumes of the Calendar of Papal Letters . . . show 
how thoroughly the Pope's claims to reserve and provide to vacant 
benefices were recognized by the Church in England." Introduc. to 
Arch. John le Romeyn's Reg., ii, p. xvi. The Statutes did not check the 
abuse of Provisions. Cf. supra, vol. xiii, p. 161 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 219 

in England in subversion of ecclesiastical liberty." 1 As 
no particular attention seems to have been paid to his 
first protests, Nicholas sent to England Bartholomew, 
bishop of Grosseto, with two letters dated May 20 and 
June 27, 1290, addressed to Edward, in which he stated 
that he had been informed that appeals to him had been 
prohibited, that his letters had been overridden by the 
King's writ, that clerics had been made to answer before 
secular judges regarding non-feudal lands and possessions 
belonging to their churches, and that clerics had been 
imprisoned for taking game in the King's preserves. If 
these things are so, and the King does not remedy them, 
the Pope will have to take such steps as justice may 
require. 2 

Accompanied by ten other horsemen, Bartholomew 
duly arrived in England, and presented the Pope's 
letters to the King. To get rid of the nuncio's importunity, 
Edward got him recalled on the ground that, as by the 
Pope's commission he had to be provided with two 
marks a day for his expenses, he was a burden to the 
kingdom. 3 Bartholomew died soon after leaving England, 
and, as the abuses against which he had remonstrated 
had not been remedied, Nicholas had again to renew the 
protest presented to Edward by the bishop of Grosseto 
" of good memory " (June 8, 1291). 4 In this document 
Nicholas further complains that his letters concerning 
ecclesiastical affairs have at times not been allowed to 
be presented to the persons to whom they were addressed, 
and at times persons cited have not been allowed to leave 

1 Cal. of P. L., i, 511, Ep. of Nov. 10, 1289. 

2 lb., pp. 526-7. 

3 Will, of Newbury, Contin., an. 1290, ap. Chronicles of Stephen, 
vol. ii, R. S. The same information is given in what are called the 
Annals of Furness Abbey, ap. M. G. SS., xxviii, p. 559. The bishop's 
importunity was considerable. Cf. the Annals of Dunstable, p. 365, 
which add " Utinam per hoc status ecclesiae Anglicanae emendetur." 

4 Cal., I.e., p. 555, or Rymer, ii, 530. 



220 NICHOLAS IV. 

the realm. The King must write to him undertaking 
to correct this state of things. 

Some more months passed, and the King, through 
his envoys, John de Sancto Johanne and Roger Lestrange, 
had merely sent a vague reply to the Pope to the effect 
that he was at peace with the prelates and clergy of his 
realm, and was ready to do justice to all. With such 
shirking of the questions at issue, Nicholas was naturally 
not satisfied. Accordingly, a few weeks before his 
death he wrote both to his legate, Geoffrey de Vecano, 
and to Edward himself, making it plain that he would 
not be content with anything short of a specific reply to 
each of the points he had raised. 1 
The annual Nicholas had also, in the beginning of his pontificate, 
to complain to Edward that the annual tribute of one 
thousand marks due to the Holy See was three years in 
arrear (Apr. 28, 1288). 2 This time, the King hearkened 
to the complaint, and in the following year sent payment 
for six years. 3 He was, however, desirous of getting rid 
of the obligation of this census, and petitioned to be 
allowed to place the burden on certain churches of the 
realm. But, as " not agreeable to the honour of the 
apostolic see, nor of advantage to the King ", Nicholas 
refused to alter the negative decision which his name- 
sake, Nicholas III., had already given to a similar petition. 4 
Nevertheless, from this time forth, the payments of this 
feudal rent became more irregular. In 13 17 Edward II. 
acknowledged that it had not been paid for twenty-four 
years. 5 After 1334 Edward III. ceased to pay it; and 
it was resolved by the Parliament of 1366 that payment 

1 Epp. of Feb. 18, 1292, ap. Cal. of P. L., i, p. 556. 

2 Ap. Rymer, ii, 364. 

3 See ib. for the Pope's receipt (Nov. 4, 1289) for 6,000 marks. P. 445. 

4 Ep. of March 1, 1292, ap. Cal. of P. L., i, 557. 

6 See the letter of his envoys (Apr. 1, 1317), ap. Theiner, Mon. 
Hibern., p. 193. 



NICHOLAS IV. 221 

of it should be finally abolished and all arrears since 1334 
cancelled (May 4, 1366). 1 

In his need, not to say greed, of money, Edward next Expulsion 
turned his eyes on the unfortunate Jews. It is not ° roni e * ev 
impossible that they may not have been very ready to Edward's 

.. . .. c , dominions, 

pay crusading taxes. At any rate, as enemies 01 the 1288-9. 
Cross," our King in 1288 expelled them from Gascony 
and all his other territories in France. 2 In the following 
year he expelled them from England, needless to say 
confiscating their property, but allowing them their 
expenses to France. 3 We are told that the wretched exiles 
encountered a severe storm on their departure from our 
shores, and that, in consequence, many of them were 
drowned. The sight of their sufferings is said to have 
moved the French King, who, arguing that if " they were 
ungrateful enemies of God they were still his creatures ", 
allowed them to settle in Amiens. For this act of 
humanity, the anonymous historian we are here quoting 
declares that the Pope was inflamed with anger against 
him, and bitterly reproached him. 4 It is possible that 
our nameless chronicler may be here giving us a fact, 
but we believe that he was merely reporting what was 
said by those who wished to justify Edward's conduct. 5 



1 Cf. Parry, The Parliaments of England, p. 129 ; and especially 
O. Jensen, " The Denarius S. Petri in England," ap. Transactions of 
R. Hist. Soc, 1901, p. 188, and 1905, p. 243. See also Stubbs, Constit. 
Hist., ii, 415. 

2 Rishanger, p. 116, R. S. More definitely they were accused of 
dipping the coins, and of " usury, rapine, sacrilege, theft . . . and 
corrupters of the Christian faith ". Chron. of Lanercost, ad an. 1289. 

3 lb., p. 118 ; Ann. de Dunst., p. 361. 

4 Opus Chronicorum, p. 57, R. S. 

5 The full extent of his dexterity (not to use a harder word) in this 
matter is expressed with grim humour by old Sir Thos. Gray in his 
Scalacronica : " E. caused the Jews to be expelled from his realm, 
wherefore he took (a tax of) a fifteenth from the laity, and a tenth from 
the clergy." Ed. Sir H. Maxwell, p. 4. 



222 NICHOLAS IV. 

IRELAND AND SCOTLAND. 

Citation of The relations between Nicholas IV. and Ireland are 

the bull of . ...,„. 

Hadrian iv. merely concerned with ordinary ecclesiastical affairs. 
His letters regarding that country tell us, for instance, 
that he had himself consecrated Stephen as archbishop 
of Cashel, and that the newly-ordained prelate had 
subsequently received the pallium from three cardinals. 1 
There is, however, one of them which deserves special 
mention both from an historical and from a social point 
of view. It is only a matrimonial dispensation, but 
it has incorporated the reasons on which the request 
for the dispensation was based. They set forth that in 
days gone by the people of Ireland did not, " as they 
are bound," obey either the Holy See or the King of 
England, " but roamed, as it were in an unbridled manner 
over the fields of licence." Accordingly, " at the Pope's 
desire," 2 Henry, King of the English, entered Ireland 
with an army, and reduced its people to the obedience 
of the Holy See and to himself. Then to keep the people 
in that obedience, Henry and his successors from time 
to time settled reliable men " of another nation " in the 
country. Among these was the petitioner, Geoffrey of 
Geynville, who had a large estate in Meath, and was 
striving to maintain the people in due obedience and at 
peace with one another. To effect this he had averred 
that he had need of many relations and friends, and these 
he and his children could only obtain by marriages with 
the magnates of the country. As very many of these 
were related to him Geoffrey had asked permission for 
his son to marry a cousin related to him in the fourth 
degree. In view of the good to be effected by the marriage, 

1 Cal. of P. L., i, p. 516. 

2 " De voluntate sedis ipsius (Rome)." Ep. May 13, 1290, ap. 
Theiner, Mon. Hib., p. 151, n. 331. This allusion to the famous bull 
of P. Hadrian is most interesting. 



NICHOLAS IV. 223 

Nicholas declared that he gladly granted the required 
dispensation. 

Turning from this interesting glimpse of English The 
policy in Ireland to Scotland, and just noting that succession, 
Nicholas had trouble with Scotch determination not to 1286 ff - 
promote foreigners to their benefices, 1 we may at once 
devote our attention to the important question of the 
Scottish succession. Edward's sister, Margaret, had 
married Alexander III., King of Scotland, and their 
daughter, Margaret, had in turn married Eric, King of 
Norway. On the death of Alexander III. in 1286, the 
heir to his kingdom was his little granddaughter, also 
called Margaret, known, because the daughter of Eric, 
as the " Maid of Norway ". Edward saw his opportunity 
of uniting the crowns of England and Scotland, and pro- 
posed a marriage between his son and the little Maid. 
His wishes were agreed to, and he applied to the Pope 
for a dispensation, as the two were related within the 
forbidden degrees. This also he succeeded in obtaining 
(Nov. 16, 1289). 2 

Unfortunately, however, for the schemes of Edward, 
the Maid died on her voyage to England (Sept., 1290), 
and there at once appeared over a dozen claimants to 
the Scottish crown. Only two, however, were able to 
establish serious claims. They were John Baliol and 
Robert Bruce, both descended from David, earl of 
Huntingdon, the brother of King William the Lion. 
Baliol was great grandson of the eldest daughter, whereas 
Bruce was the grandson of the second daughter, and so 
was a degree nearer to the common progenitor. Bruce, 

1 Encyclical to the Scotch, Apr. 1, 1289, ap. Rymer, ii, 417. The 
Pope strictly forbids any custom which excludes foreigners " ab 
ordinibus, officiis, et dignitatibus in praedicto Regno ". 

2 Cf. Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, ii, 97, R. S., or 
Rymer, ii, 450. The Pope granted the dispensation in the interests 
of peace. 



224 NICHOLAS IV. 

whose case was really the weaker, appealed to King 
Edward to arbitrate between himself and Baliol (1291). 
Edward forthwith accepted the appeal, and professed 
to act as overlord or lord paramount of Scotland. 1 Then, 
to make his position secure, he begged the Pope to 
confirm his title as arbitrator in the dispute. This, how- 
ever, Nicholas distinctly refused to do. He was desirous, 
he said, of obliging the King, but the case was difficult 
and involved the interests of many, both clerics and 
laymen. If the Holy See were to act inconsiderately, 
great trouble might result both to the King and to others. 
Besides, it would not do to detract from the rights of 
others, " especially from the rights which the Roman 
Church has in that kingdom." Wherefore, on the advice 
of his brethren, he had to refuse to grant the King's 
request. 2 

Unfortunately for Edward, he was able, without 
hindrance, to pursue his ambitions. The Pope died 
within about a month after the dispatch of this prohibi- 
tion, and the long vacancy of the Holy See which followed 
the death of Nicholas prevented further papal inter- 
ference with his immediate designs. After some hesitation 
on the part of Baliol, the Scotch magnates generally 
accepted Edward as overlord and arbitrator. His 



1 Cf. Walter of Hemingford, ii, pp. 32-3. He claimed " esse . . . 
regni Scotiae dominum capitalem " ; and his advisers said " quod 
supremum dominium regni Scotiae pertineret ad regem Angliae, etc." 
See also the Annals of Worcester, p. 504. Ed. " cogitans Scotiam 
subjugare, in antiquis chronicis de jure regum Angliae, quaesitum et 
inventum est " ; and the documents in Annates Regni Scotia, in the 
same vol. as Rishanger, R. S. 

2 Ep. March 1, 1292, Reg., n. 6951. " Petitioni regie in hac parte 
non duximus annuendum." It is unfortunate that in the Cat. of P. L., 
i, p. 557, the not required both by the text and the context has been 
omitted. 



NICHOLAS IV. 225 

decision was correctly given in favour of Baliol 1 ; but 
his interference brought about a state of things which 
was to give trouble to future Popes, to involve England 
and Scotland in bitter strife, and to hasten his own death. 

1 Cf. Lingard, Hist, of England, ii, p. 260 ff. ; and Vickers, England 
in the later Mid. Ages, ch. iv ; and, for the Scotch point of view, Tytler, 
Hist, of Scotland, \, p. 67 ff. 



Vol. XVII. 



CHAPTER VII 

EUROPE (PORTUGAL, CONSTANTINOPLE, SERVIA AND BUL- 
GARIA), ASIA, AFRICA. HERETICS, STUDIES. DEATH 
AND TOMB OF NICHOLAS. 

Portugal, a Already, in the preceding chapters, we have seen Nicholas 

I289. 0rdat> exerting influence all over the world, in Europe, Asia, 

and Africa. In order, however, to give a fuller idea of 

his varied activities, we must say a little more about 

what he effected in each of the then known continents. 

During the reigns of Alfonso III. of Portugal and of 
Pope Gregory X. there had been difficulties in that 
country on the very thorny question as to the respective 
rights of the Church and the State. These difficulties 
had continued under the reign of Alfonso's successor, 
Dionysius or Diniz (1279-1325). Alfonso, indeed, had 
opposed the privileges of the Church, " not from any 
regard for the interests of his people, but from avarice 
or the lust of power." * By whatsoever motives inspired, 
Diniz would not at first observe the agreement, made by 
his father and accepted by himself, not to tax ecclesiastical 
property, not to nominate to ecclesiastical dignities and 
not to subject clerics to lay tribunals. For his contumacy 
he had been duly excommunicated, and his kingdom laid 
under an interdict. The opposition against him was, 
however, too strong, and he agreed at length with repre- 
sentatives of his clergy approved by Nicholas 2 to a 
concordat of forty articles (March 7, 1289). The agree- 
ment, as we now have it, was finally drawn up at Rome 
in the presence of cardinals Latinus, bishop of Ostia, 

1 Dunham, The Hist, of Spain and Port., iii, p. 200. 

2 They were the archbishop of Braga, the bishop of Coimbra, etc. 
Cf. ep. of Feb. 1. 1289, Reg., n. 457. 

226 



NICHOLAS IV. 227 

Peter Peregrossus of St. Mark's, and Benedict Gaetani 
of St. Nicholas in Car cere, and is preserved in the Register 
of Pope Nicholas. 1 

Many of the articles contained accusations to which the 
King pleaded not guilty, but, in any case, he promised by 
them not to do the things of which he was accused. It had 
been said, e.g., that he had forced incumbents to resign 
their appointments. In such cases, he also agreed that, 
if his officials or those of his father had on their own 
account done such things, he would cause satisfaction 
to be made to the injured parties if he had not already 
done so. In many articles, too, promises were made 
that the civil authority would not interfere with legiti- 
mate sentences of excommunication. The King also 
engaged not to impose certain taxes on the clergy, and 
not to violate sanctuary nor the persons or property of 
clerics. He also undertook to prevent his judges or 
barons treating ecclesiastics or their claims unjustly, 
and to see that the Jews wore a special badge and paid 
tithes in certain cases. He further consented not to 
interfere with ecclesiastical elections. On the other hand 
the bishops agreed that delimitations of parishes made 
by them should be just and fair, and only made after 
due public notice had been given (n. 8), and they also had 
to agree to give up certain tithes (n. g). 2 

On March 23, 1289, Diniz was freed from excommunica- 
tion, and his country from interdict. 3 A few months 
later, Nicholas had to ask the monks to come to the help 
of the bishops, and make them grants of money to meet 
the great expenses they had incurred in their long and 
arduous fight for ecclesiastical liberty. 4 

1 Reg., n. 716, whence it is also published in the Raccolta di Con- 
cordati tra la S. Sede e le autorita civili, p. 94 ff., Rome, 1919. 

2 Cf., relating to the above, Potthast, nn. 22908 (March 16, 1289) 
and 22910-12. 

3 Reg., nn. 795-6. * Reg., n. 1618, Sept. 24, 1289. 



228 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Constanti- 
nople. A 
proposed 
marriage, 
1288. 



Though Nicholas had again to exhort the Portuguese 
monarch not to suffer his nobles to injure the Church, 1 
his subsequent relations with him were most friendly. 
He was constantly granting him favours, 2 and, as we 
shall see presently, supported the King's scheme for 
a studiwn generate (university) at Lisbon. 

Passing from one end of Europe to the other, we see 
Nicholas interested in a proposed marriage for Michael, 
the eldest son of Andronicus II., Emperor of Constanti- 
nople. That wretched prince who was only successful 
in breaking the union between the Greek and Latin 
Churches, and in embroiling the Greek Church, deposing 
one patriarch after another, was anxious to secure a 
suitable wife for his son. With no little sagacity, he fixed 
his eye on Catherine, daughter and heiress of Philip of 
Court enay, the son of Baldwin II., the last Latin Emperor 
of Constantinople. Such a marriage would put an end 
to any further danger of Latin interference with the 
rights of the Palaeologi to the Byzantine throne ; and, 
as Catherine's mother was a daughter of Charles I. of 
Anjou, that formidable house would be converted from 
hostility to friendship towards them. Accordingly, on 
the subject of the marriage, he approached Robert of 
Artois, regent for Charles II. of Sicily, uncle of the lady, 
but then a prisoner in Aragon. The count at once 
informed the Pope and the King of France of the offer 
that had been made. Perhaps in the hope of reopening 
the question of reunion of the Greek and the Latin Churches 
for which he had worked so hard, Nicholas would appear 
to have thought that a favourable hearing should be 
given to the Emperor's request. Envoys were, at any 



1 Potthast, n. 23065, Sept. 1, 1289. Cf. ib., n. 23066, or Reg., 
n. 1353. 

2 E.g., Reg., nn. 3014, 3580, 4802, etc. On all these relations with 
Diniz, the reader may also consult M. Murdo, The Hist, of Portugal, 
ii, p. 33 ff., rather badly written as it is, and wholly devoid of references. 



NICHOLAS IV. 229 

rate, at once sent off to the East, and were received with 
the greatest honour by Andronicus then staying at 
Nymphaeum. Pachymeres, who tells us this, adds that 
he himself chanced to come there whilst " the Italians " 
were with the Emperor, and at their request he told them 
all about the young Prince whom he had just left at 
Constantinople. The envoys were delighted with what 
they heard about him, and the marriage treaty seemed 
to be on the point of completion. 1 But the religious 
bigotry of Andronicus spoilt his plans. He would not 
furnish the envoy whom he sent to the Kingdom of 
Apulia where the lady was residing with letters for the 
Pope. This he would not do, 2 because etiquette required 
that he should address him as " Your Holiness " (most 
holy). 3 The fact that Andronicus was at least attempting 
to ignore him cannot but have soon impressed itself 
upon Nicholas. Though he must have been prejudiced 
against the Greek Emperor for his having broken the 
Union, he would perhaps have used his great influence 
with the House of Anjou in his behalf, if he had made 
any kind of friendly advances to him. As it was, he saw 
clearly that there was nothing to hope from the extreme 

1 De Andronico, 1. ii, c. 18, vol. ii, p. 153 ; 1. iii, c. 1, p. 195 ; ed. 
Bonn. The account of these negotiations in Nicephorus Gregoras, 
Hist. Byz., 1. vi, c. 8, is only a series of mistakes. See C. du Fresne, 
Hist, de V Empire de Constantinople, p. 97, ed. Venice, 1729. He, and 
those who have followed him, speak of two letters of Nicholas IV. to 
Count Robert on this matter. There would appear to be only one. 

2 He suspected the pride of the Pope of Rome, says Pachymeres, 
iii, c. 5. 

3 " Ols (letters) eSei ayttorarov ypd<f>€iv tov TraTrav.'' Pach., 
I.e., iii, 5, p. 202. This reminds me that a reviewer, who once wrote 
a very kindly notice of one of my previous volumes (xiii), remarked 
that I went too far in using "as evidence the flowery language of 
compliment . . . which fills the real outlines of contemporary docu- 
ments ". Perhaps I did ; but I do know the special passages to which 
my reviewer referred, and the above quotation shows that some men 
in the Middle Ages attached great importance to the language of 
compliment. 



front, 1290 



230 NICHOLAS IV. 

bigotry of Andronicus, and so opposed his wishes. 
However, he wrote to Robert of Artois not to break off 
the negotiations till he had also heard from the French 
King on the matter. 1 But he need not have counselled 
any such delay, for it was realized in France that Catherine 
could be used at any moment as a card against Andronicus, 
and so was too valuable to be given over to him. The 
" noble gentleman " Andronicus, as the Pope would 
only call him, had to be content with an Armenian princess 
for his son, as she was quite ready to give up her creed 
for that of the Greeks. 2 
Change of Time, however, inspired Andronicus with a little more 

diplomatic sense. The hopeless dissensions of the Greek 
church, and the utter incompetence of his son Michael, 
not to speak of his own, 3 made the Greek Emperor think 
of entering into relations with Nicholas. He caused it 
to be supposed in Rome that he had returned to the 
unity of the Church. The Pope accordingly wrote " to 
his very dear son Andronicus Palaeologus, the illustrious 
Emperor of the Greeks ", to say how glad he was that 
God had placed him in the bosom of the Apostolic See, 
and he excused himself for not having sent him a special 
envoy when he took upon himself the apostolic duties. 
The fact was, he declared, that the envoy whom 
Andronicus had sent to Philip of France had also pre- 
sented himself before him (the Pope), and had assured 
him that the Emperor was about to send an embassy to 
him to make known his desires and intentions. 4 

1 Reg., n. 594, June 3, 1288. On his side Nicholas would only style 
Andronicus " a noble gentleman, nobilis vir ". 

2 Cf. Lebeau, Hist, du Bas-Empire, vol. xviii, 378 f . Catherine 
subsequently (1301) married Charles of Valois. See J. le Roulx, La 
France en Orient, i, p. 43 f. Nicephorus Gregoras, I.e., says that the 
negotiations were broken off on account of the demands of the Latins. 
No doubt one was that Catherine's religion should not be interfered with. 

3 Cf. Finlay, Hist, of the Byz. and Greek Empires, p. 463 ff. 
* Reg., n. 7242, Jan. 12, 1290. 



NICHOLAS IV. 231 

Unfortunately, we know nothing about the sequel of The intended 
these communications. Still friendly intercom se, at 129^ e ' 
least, had been established, so that when the disasters in 
the Holy Land caused Nicholas to attempt to arouse the 
zeal of every Christian against the Moslem, one of those 
whom he tried to induce to make war upon the infidel 
was the Emperor Andronicus. 1 Had Nicholas lived, 
and his Crusade taken shape, it is possible that in 
his own interests, Andronicus might have joined it. As 
it was, he pioved himself incapable of stopping the 
advance in Asia Minor, even of the worn-out Seljuk 
Turks, and powerless to stop the rise of the Ottoman 
Turks who, in a century and a half, were for ever to blot 
off the map the Empire of Constantinople. 

One of those Princes to whom the worthless Andronicus Servia. 
lost territory was Stephen Urosh II., Milutin, King of 
Servia (1282-132 1). During the long reign of this brave 
but utterly undisciplined sovereign, 2 Servia developed 
considerably, and made no little preparation for the 
brief period in the following century when it was to be 
the dominant power in the Balkans. 3 

The real Servia began with the Grand Jupan, Stephen I. its King gets 
Nemenja. He had assured Innocent III. (1199) that he r^^T 
had, like his father (St. Symeon Nemanja), always looked 
to the Roman Church, and ever wished to keep its 
precepts. 4 The development of the country continued 

1 Reg., nn. 6809-14 ; 6825-32, Aug. 13-23, 1291. 

2 He would appear to have been a regular Bluebeard in the matter 
of his wives and his treatment of them. A Serb historian, D. Davidovits, 
whose history of his country has been translated into French (Hist, 
de la nation Serbe, Belgrade, 1848), allows that both Eastern and 
Western historians are agreed on the faults of S. U. II., but says he 
prefers to rely on the narrative of archbishop Daniel, once Milutin 's 
tutor, who says nothing of the King's vices. Pp. 61-2. 

3 Temperley, History of Serbia, p. 50 f. 

4 " Nos autem semper consideramus in vestigia S. Rom. Ecclesiae, 
sicut bone memorie pater meus, et preceptum S. R. E. semper custodire." 
Ep. ap. Theiner, Vet. mon, Slav. Meridional,, vol. i, p. 6, n. 11, 



232 NICHOLAS IV. 

under his son Stephen II. " the first crowned," who 
asked Innocent for a regal crown. Though, out of regard 
for the King of Hungary, his request was refused by 
Innocent, 1 he was more successful with his successor. 
He had already promised Innocent to bring his country 
to the obedience of Rome instead of that of Constanti- 
nople, and now, through his younger brother, the famous 
Servian patron Saint Saba (or Sava), asked Honorius III. 
for the crown. The Saint had been a monk at Mt. Athos, 2 
and then (122 1) by the Emperor and the patriarch of 
Constantinople, at that epoch both Latins, had been made 
archbishop of Servia. 3 His contemporary biographer, 
the monk Dometian, writes : " Sava sent to Rome one 
of his disciples, bishop Methodius, with presents worthy 
of His Holiness. He begged the glorious apostles Peter 
and Paul and their successor to bless his country, and 
to deign to crown its orthodox Prince. He also asked 
the successor of the glorious apostles to confirm his 
own elevation to the archiepiscopal dignity. God who 
hearkened to all the requests of his beloved servant, 
moved the Pope by the Holy Ghost to send the crown. 
When the blessed diadem was brought to Sava's country, 
his orthodox brother, the Grand Jupan Stephen, came 
to the archbishop's residence at Ujitza (Jidicensis), to 
the monastery he had himself founded. . . . Then 
during Matins, the Saint took the sacred diadem into his 
hands, and placed it on the head of his pious brother, 

1 Cf. supra, vol. xii, pp. 8 and 33. 

2 Then in union with Rome. Cf. Nilles, Kalendar. utriusque ecclesice, 
vol. i, pp. 179-80. 

3 Cf. a short account of St. Sava ap. ib., p. 446 ff. S. received his 
archiepiscopal power from the Latin patriarch Gervase (or Everard), 
who, inflated with his new dignity, encroached on papal prerogatives, 
by dispatching legates a latere, interfering with the rights of bishops, 
etc. No wonder S. asked Honorius to confirm his rank. Cf. Belin, 
Hist, de la Latinite de Constantinople, p. 85, and supra, vol. xi ; 



NICHOLAS IV. 233 

and by the grace of the Holy Ghost, consecrated him, 
so for the future he was called the " Lord King ". 1 

The contemporary archdeacon Thomas, in his Historia 
Salonita, says it was Stephen himself who sent to ask 
for the crown, and that Honorius sent with it his legate, 
who crowned Stephen " and constituted him the first 
King of his territory ". 2 To reconcile the two statements, 
we have only to suppose that the mission of St. Sava was 
in Stephen's name, and that the legate allowed one brother 
to crown another in the Pope's name. 

However that may be, it is certain that immediately K. Stephen 
after his coronation, the new King sent Methodius to ^p£ s j^o * 
Honorius with a letter which has come down to us. 3 It 
is addressed : "To the most holy Father and lord 
Honorius, universal pontiff of the See of the Roman 
Church, Stephen by the grace of God crowned King of 
all Servia, of Dioclea, Trebinje, Dalmatia, and 
Herzegovina, humble greeting in all fidelity and con- 
stancy." It then goes on : "As all Christians love and 
honour you, and hold you as father and lord, so we too 
desire to be accounted the faithful son (of your holiness) 
and of the Roman Church, and we pray, if it so please 
you, that God's blessing and yours may ever plainly 
rest on our crown and country. Wherefore have we sent 
you our bishop Methodius ; so that, should you think 

1 This life of Dometian was published by Martinov, Brussels, 1863, 
in his Trifolium Serbicum corona SS. Cyrilli et Methodii. It was written 
about 1250. Martinov has given a Latin translation of the old Slav 
original. A French translation of the life along with the original is 
given by A. Chodzko, Legendes Slaves du moyen age, Paris, 1858. In 
the life of S. Sava, published in 1921 by the Soc. for Promoting 
Christian Knowledge, pp. 25-6, there is no mention of this sending 
to Rome for a crown. But the Lives of the Serbian Saints is translated 
from a martyrology edited last century " for the use of the Church 
throughout Serbia ". lb., p. vii. 

2 P. 91, ed. Racki, Agram, 1894. 

3 It is to be found in the Register of Hon. III., and has been printed 
by Raynaldus, Ann., 1220, n. 37. 



234 NICHOLAS IV. 

it well, you could let us know your will by means of the 
bearer of these presents/' 1 
Nicholas iv. Despite all this, however, and despite the fact that, 
D n r agutm hen in XI 99' tne famous council of Dioclea had acknowledged 
1288. that " the most holy Roman Church was the mother 

and mistress of all the Churches " , 2 it would not seem that 
there was any close union between Rome and Servia after 
these events. At any rate, any union there may have 
been would appear to have worn thin when Nicholas IV. 
began his correspondence with the brothers Stephen 
Dragutin and Urosh II. It has been thought that 
Stephen II. Nemanja was induced to turn to Rome 
through the influence of his wife, the niece of the great 
doge, Henry Dandolo. 3 If Stephen Dragutin did the 
same, it was largely due to his mother Helen, who 
" tradition says, was a French woman, and who was 
probably a Catholic ". 4 On August 8, 1288, Nicholas 
wrote to her as " the illustrious Queen of the Slavs ", 
and urged her not to fail by continued exhortations 
to try to induce her two sons, Dragutin and Urosh, 
Kings of the Slavs, to return to the unity of the Catholic 
faith, and to bring back their people to it. 5 He had 
already written to the two Kings 6 themselves, and had 
sent them two Franciscan monks, Marinus and Cyprianus, 
to convert them. 7 He had reminded them that faith 

1 Cf. supra, vol. xii, pp. 32-3. 

2 Ap. Theiner, Vet. mon., i, p. 7, or Smiciklas, Cod. diplom. regni 
Croatia, etc., ii, p. 335. 

3 A. d'Avril, La Serbie chretienne, p. 118, Paris, 1897. We have 
found all his works on the Eastern churches most useful. 

4 lb., p. 119. 5 Ap. Theiner, I.e., n. 580, p. 359 f. 

6 In 1282 Dragutin had " divided the kingship with his younger 
brother ", but from that date till his death (1316) "he had little power ". 
Temperley, I.e., p. 49. If T. had consulted these letters of Nicholas IV., 
he would probably have modified some of his remarks anent the complete- 
ness of the subjection of Servia to Constantinople at this period. 

7 Ep. of July 23, 1288, ap. ib., p. 360 f. The letter also contains a 
profession of faith. 



NICHOLAS IV. 235 

is one, and that it is preserved by the Roman Church, 
and he had exhorted them to return to her bosom. 

On Stephen Urosh neither Nicholas nor the friars made 
any impression, but it was different with his elder brother 
Stephen Dragutin. He returned to the unity of the 
Roman Church, and in his zeal for the return of his people 
to the faith begged Nicholas to send into those parts of 
Bosnia which were subject to his sway some suitable 
persons who were acquainted with the language of the 
country to withdraw his subjects from heresy. 1 This 
the Pope did, 2 and, in return for the zeal of Dragutin, 
he took under his protection the King's person and all 
the territories which he held justly at the time. 3 

Though the submission had no great effect on the 
Servian people strictly so called, it was not without some 
influence upon them, and these successive Latin influences, 
as it has been truly said, " added a new and rich element 
to the civilization of mediaeval Serbia." 4 

Encouraged by the success of the Queen-mother in King George 
Servia, Nicholas exhorted her to use her influence with of Bu gana " 
the perennially inconstant rulers of Bulgaria. 5 Frequent 
marriages with Greek princesses had removed the Kings 
of Bulgaria further and further from the Catholic faith 
and Western ideas. It would seem, however, that George 
Terterii, who ruled Bulgaria in the days of Nicholas, 
had given some indications of a wish to be united with 
Rome. The fact was that, at this period, as the fortunes 
of Servia in the Balkans were rising those of Bulgaria 
were falling. Greeks and Tartars from without, and 

1 Cf. ep. March 23, 1291, to S. D., ap. Theiner, I.e., p. 377, n. 610. 

2 lb., n. 611. 

3 Ep. March 15, 1291, ap. ib., n. 605. " Quanto propensiori affectu 
consurgis ad nostra et ipsius ecclesie beneplacita prosequenda, etc." 

4 Temperley, I.e., p. 53. 

5 Only a few months ago (writing in Feb., 1926) the ex-King Ferdinand 
of Bulgaria made his submission here in Rome to the head of the 
Church he had repudiated. 



236 NICHOLAS IV. 

dynastic decay from within were bringing the country 
to the verge of ruin. In the midst of disorders of every 
kind, the nobles in 1280 raised one of their number, 
George Terterii, to the throne. To make head against 
the Greeks, George turned to Charles of Anjou for armed 
assistance, 1 and to the Pope for religious support. The 
Sicilian Vespers and its consequences prevented any 
Angevin help from reaching Bulgaria, but, nevertheless, 
Terterii would appear to have still thought of ecclesiastical 
union with Rome. At any rate, he listened to the Queen- 
mother, Helen of Servia, whom Nicholas called " the 
divinely illumined light of the Catholic faith ", and who 
had spoken to him on the need of reunion with the 
Catholic Church. At her suggestion, it was arranged 
that a conference on reunion should be held in the 
summer of 1291, and that the Pope should enter 
into communication with George, " Emperor of the 
Bulgarians," and with the archbishop of the Bulgarians. 
Nicholas approved of her plans, 2 and earnestly exhorted 
her to push them with vigour. He wrote to the Bulgarian 
ruler, impressing on him the necessity of union with the 
Roman Church, which, by the will of Christ, was the ruler 
of all the churches. 3 By that same will it was for him 
to strive to direct all men in the way of God's com- 
mandments. Both to the King and the archbishop he 
sent a profession of faith. Unfortunately Nicholas was 
not sure of the identity of the archbishop, or he might 

1 In this he was following the example of his predecessor, Constantin. 
The Register of Charles I. of Anjou shows that in 1271 he was expecting 
envoys from the ruler of Bulgaria. Cf. C. M. Riccio, Saggio di Cod. 
dip., i, p. 87, n. 94. On this chapter of Bulgarian history, see G. 
Bousquet, Hist, du peuple Bulgare, p. 90 ff., and W. Miiller, The 
Balkans, p. 182 ff. 

2 Ep. of March 23, 1291, ap. Theiner, M.H., i, p. 375, n. 607. 

3 Ep. ib., n. 608. The Roman Church " que, disponente Jesu 
Christo, . . . sola super omnes ecclesias summum et precipuum 
optinet principatum ". 



NICHOLAS IV. 237 

have been able to strike a more personal note with him. 
As it was, recalling his strenuous work in Constantinople 
for the Greek reunion of 1274, he said to the archbishop 
that he had every hope in him if he was the same man 
who, " in the imperial palace of Blachernae before the 
Emperor Michael Palseologus and us, professed that you 
were directly subject to the Pope of Rome." x 

Very little, if any result, would appear to have resulted 
from this intervention of Queen Helen and Pope Nicholas. 
The latter died about a year after the dispatch of these 
letters, and if the archbishop, whose name was Joachim, 
was in favour of union in Rome, he was slain (1296), and 
his successors remained in schism. 2 

Although, speaking generally, until the destruction of Armenia. 
the kingdom of Lesser Armenia (Cilicia) in 1374, the 
people of that country were in communion with the see 
of Rome, their loyalty to it might at times have been 
more pronounced. During the pontificate of Nicholas, 
King Leo III. had died : "an obedient son, and a 
Catholic Christian " (1289), as the Pope had learnt from 
John of Montecorvino, and the same authority had 
assured him that Leo's son and successor, Hayton II., was 
devoted to the Roman Church, and was in union with it. 3 
Nevertheless, in order, as he said, that the King might 
be more fully instructed in the Christian faith as pre- 
served by the Roman Church, Nicholas sent him a 
profession of faith — the same one which Clement IV. 

1 lb., n. 609, like the last of March 23, 1291. " Cum tu, si tamen 
ille sis, qui tunc erat Archiepiscopus Bulgarorum olim coram . . . 
M. Palaeologo . . . eo tempore Constantinopoli residente, professus 
fueris . . . coram nobis . . . oraculo vive vocis te pape Romano 
immediate subesse." 

2 Cf. D'Avril, La Bulgarie chretienne, p. 27 ; and G. Markovic, Gli 
Slavi ed i Papi, vol. ii, pp. 351, 573 ff. 

3 Ep. ad Aytonum, July 7, 1289, ap. Raynaldus, an. 1289, n. 57. 
" Fratre Joanne de Montecorvino . . . nobis ex parte regia referente, 
quod erga R. ecclesiam . . . ferventis devotionis geris affectum." 



2 3 8 



NICHOLAS IV. 



The 

Armenians 
lose their 
inde- 
pendence 
and the 
Catholic 
faith. 



had sent to Michael Palaeologus, and which was the 
one used by the Popes at this period. 

Nicholas also wrote to Mary, the sister of the Queen 
of Armenia, to Thoros the King's brother, and other 
notables, as well as to the Armenian people themselves, 
urging them to cherish the union. 1 He, moreover, 
entrusted his letters to the same famous Friar John who 
had brought him news of the faith of Armenia, and 
whom he was sending to China. Nicholas also encouraged 
union between the kingdoms of Armenia and Cyprus. 
For this purpose he authorized marriages between a 
sister of Henry, King of Cyprus, and a brother of King 
Hayton, and between a son of Hugh, the late King of 
Cyprus, and one of Hayton's sisters, although the parties 
were united in the fourth degree of consanguinity. From 
these marriages the Pope looked for great advantage for 
the Holy Land, and for enhanced security for the faithful 
in those parts. 2 

The affectionate feeling of Nicholas for Armenia was, 
as we have already seen, clearly displayed by his efforts 
to save it, after the fall of Acre, from the destructive 
hand of Khalil. 3 But such Crusaders as, in 1292, sailed 
to the East, practically did nothing, 4 and before the end 
of the next century the gallant little kingdom of Armenia- 
Cilicia had lost its independence. Moreover, as we learn 
from the German traveller, Johann Schiltberger, 5 the 
majority of them had by that time " separated from 
Rome ", though, he says, they had great confidence in 
the Catholic faith, and assured him that between their 
religion and ours (the Catholic) there was only a hair's 



1 lb., n. 58, and Reg., nn. 2229-39, July 7-14, 1289. 

2 Ep. May 7, 1290, ap. Reg., n. 2667, " Ut asserit praedictus Henricus." 
See also Gatenus, Conciliationis eccles. Arm., i, p. 403 ff. 

3 Cf. supra, p. 61. 

4 Sanudo, Secreta, 1. iii, pt. xiii, c. 1, p. 232, " cum. nihil egissent." 

5 Travels of J. S., pp. 91-3, in the Hakluyt series, No. 53. 



NICHOLAS IV. 239 

breadth, but that there was a great division between the 
Greek and their religion. 

Meanwhile, we may note that the Armenian patriarch Presump- 
Stephen was not so submissive to Rome as his sovereign Armenian 6 
Hayton. Although, as his successor the learned Gregory patriarch, 
acknowledged, it belonged to the Roman pontiff alone 
to grant matrimonial dispensations, Stephen presumed 
to grant permission to the Armenian prince Sembat to 
marry Isabella, the daughter of Guy, Count of Joppa, 
though they were related in the third degree. However, 
at the instance of the Patriarch Gregory, Boniface VIII. , 
after annulling the dispensation of Stephen, regularized 
the marriage himself. 1 

Passing over Nicholas' letter to the patriarch of the " Heretical 
Jacobites on the subject of union, 2 but noting his appoint- de P ravit y-' 
ment of the Franciscan, brother Roderick, to the arch- 
bishopric of Morocco (1290), after a long vacancy of that 
see, 3 we may briefly review his attitude towards " heretical 
depravity " with which he was much occupied. A great 
many of his letters are concerned with it. 4 He was 
insistent that local authorities should insert in their 
municipal regulations " the laws against heretical 
depravity promulgated by Frederick (II), once Emperor 
of the Romans ". 5 He also, for the strengthening of the 
faith and the salvation of the faithful, renewed the 

1 See his letter of Oct. 11, 1298, given in full ap. Galenus, I.e., 
p. 412 ff. Cf. Tournebize, Hist, de V Armenia, p. 301 f., who says that the 
act of Stephen can be explained by difficulty of communication with 
Rome and " par un moment d'oubli, d'entrainement ". 

2 Ep. July 7, 1289, Reg., n. 2218. 

3 Ep. ap. Wadding, Annales, vol. v, p. 532, n. 37, and Potthast, 
nn. 23138, and 23180 and 3. This Nicholas was able to do, as the 
Sultans of Morocco employed regular companies of European soldiers. 
See on this curious state of things, M. L. de Mas Latrie, Traites des 
Chretiens avec les Arabes, pp. 147-54, and pt. ii, p. 17. 

4 E.g., Potthast, 22839-47 ; 22946, etc., etc. 

5 Ep. Dec. 23, 1288, ap. Raynaldus, Ann., 1288, n. 27. 



240 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Nicholas 
himself not 
hard on 
heretics. 



Nicholas 
and various 
Universities 
(a) Padua. 



decrees of his predecessors against the Cathari and other 
heretics. 1 Moreover, he commanded the inquisitors to 
force the local authorities by threat of excommunication 
to carry out their sentences. 2 Especially did he devote 
attention to stopping the migration of the Cathari and 
kindred heretics from the south of France to Lombardy. 3 

He condemned, too, the so-called Order of the Apostles, 4 
but though severe against Christians who became Jews, 
or against Jews who had become Christians, and had 
then apostatized, 5 he protected the Jews themselves. 6 

Although very severe on paper against heretics, 
Nicholas, to judge by the case of our countryman, brother 
Richard de " Clappewelle ", would not appear to have 
been very hard on them in practice. According to the 
Annals of Dunstable, 7 the said brother had in the year 
1287 been condemned for heretical teaching on many 
points. He, thereupon, betook himself to Rome, and 
appealed to the Pope. He was simply ordered not to 
ventilate his opinions in future. However, on his return 
journey, he renewed his heretical teaching at Bologna. 
Here, however, he would appear to have lost his mind, 
or to have been regarded as a fool, 8 and at any rate died 
in want and misery. 

Although, on account of the anti-social tendencies of 
the majority of the heretical doctrines of the days of 
Nicholas IV., it was necessary for him to prevent the 
laws against their teachers from falling into desuetude, 



i ib. 2 Potthast, n. 22842. 

3 Documents cited by Douais, Documents de V Inquisition, vol. i, 
p. xxxii f . 

4 Reg., n. 4253. 5 lb., n. 322, Sept. 5, 1288. 
8 lb., nn. 313, 4184. 7 P. 341. 

8 lb., " Sed ibi incidit in desipientiam et miseriam magnam valde." 
Not unnaturally, as much taken up with these matters of conscience, 
Nicholas turned his attention to the Papal Penitentiary, of which 
we have treated under Nicholas III. On the Summa of N. IV. see 
Haskens, The Papal Penitentiary, p. 426. 



NICHOLAS IV. 24I 

it is more pleasant to speak of his zeal for the spread of 
learning, and for the well-being of the Universities. In 
their interest, for instance, we see him absolving students 
from rash vows, the observance of which would have 
meant ruin to the University and to the city in which 
it was. In the autumn before his accession, there had 
been a great commotion at the University of Padua. 
The Italian students and two or three of the Ultramontanes 
had elected a certain James de Arena as a professor of 
Civil Law. 1 He appears to have been a suitable man. 
He is called by the Pope " his beloved son ", and the 
election was approved of by the Commune. For some 
reason, however, the foreign students would not have 
him, and they swore that, if he were not removed from 
the post for ten years, they would leave the University, 
and would not return for ten years. As this would have 
meant ruin for the University and a great loss to the 
town, the Commune begged the intervention of the Pope. 
Nicholas, accordingly, took the matter up, and com- 
missioned the archpriest of the cathedral, for the general 
good both of the students and of the city, to absolve the 
Ultramontanes from the oath they had taken, but to 
impose a suitable penance upon them for the excess of 
which they had been guilty. 2 

A few years later, we find him authorizing the bishop {b) Bologna. 
of Bologna to do the same for the students of the 
University of that city. The civil authorities had ordered 
the banking companies of the Amanati and Clarentes of 
Pistoia, who were the bankers of the University, to leave 
the city by a certain date ; nor would they listen to 
the request of the University that the date should be 
altered. The interval allowed by the city authorities 

1 From the Pope's letter, Reg., n. 112, June 1, 1288, we learn that 
at Padua, the students elected and the city confirmed the election 
of the Professors of Civil Law. 

2 lb. 

Vol. XVII. r 



242 NICHOLAS IV. 

did not give the students time enough to close their 
transactions with the banks. Thereupon, as the request 
was refused, the syndic of the University took an oath, 
in its name, that the students would leave the city if 
their petition was not granted. By partial concessions 
on the part of the commune and the action of the Pope, 
a crisis was avoided. 1 Then, to show his sympathy with 
the Universit}', he granted all its students who had duly 
received from the archdeacon of Bologna their doctorate 
in civil or canon law, the right of teaching anywhere 
without any further examination. 2 
(c) Paris. Nicholas had to pursue an almost identical course of 

action in connection with the University of Paris. This 
time the trouble was, as so often in Paris, between the 
University and the Chancellor. In defiance of Apostolic 
privileges, of custom, and the decrees of the University 
itself, the Chancellor, so it was said, persisted in granting 
the doctorate in theology, medicine, and the liberal arts, 
not to the properly qualified candidates presented by 
the University, but to those whom he thought fit, whether 
qualified or not. The University appealed to the Pope. 3 
Nicholas at once commissioned a number of bishops and 
others to examine into the truth of the charges against 
the Chancellor, and to try to arrange matters. It was 
most important, he said, that peace should be restored 
to the University, so that the abundant fruits which 
came from the teaching of the Paris University should 
not be injured. 4 

Again, as in the case of the University of Bologna and 

1 Reg., n. 5821, Aug. 11, 1291. 

2 lb., n. 5861, Aug. 18, 1291. 

3 The appeal was lodged by the Rector of the University John, 
called Vate, against Master Bertrand of St. Denis, Aug. 6, 1290. Cf. 
Denifle, ubi infra, n. 569. 

4 Reg., n. 6905, March 15, 1292. Should his commissioners be 
unable to settle the question, it was to be referred to him. Cf. Crevier, 
Hist, de l' Universite de Paris, ii. 127 ff. 



NICHOLAS IV. 243 

on the same conditions, he gave the Paris students the 
jus ubique docendi. 1 

At Montpellier there had long been a famous school (<*) Mont- 

pellier. 

of medicine, and Nicholas, considering that " it would 
be for the public good" if a " studium generale " were 
established there, by a bull dated Oct. 25, 1289, duly 
erected a University in that city. Its authorities were 
authorized to confer degrees in canon and civil law, 
medicine, and the arts, but not in theology, and 
its properly approved candidates were also granted 
the right of teaching everywhere without further 
examination. 2 

In response to the request of the archbishop of Besancon (e) Graetz 
of the Count of Burgundy and of a number of abbots, ' ra z '' 
priests and professors, Nicholas erected the school of 
Gratz, the capital of Styria, into a University exactly on 
the same lines as those of Montpellier. 3 Because, said 
the Pope in his bull of foundation, by the help of God, 
where studies flourish, divine worship is improved, the 
Catholic faith grows strong, and people are elevated by 
virtue and learning, " we readily plant those studies in 
suitable places . . . and foster them by apostolic 
favours." 4 

In the first year of the pontificate of Nicholas, a (/) Lisbon, 
petition was presented to him from the abbot of Alcobaca 
and other important ecclesiastics praying him to confirm 
the establishment at Lisbon of a Studium Generale to be 
supported by a tax to be levied on the properties of 

1 lb., n. 6932, March 25, 1292. Nicholas himself had, at times, 
difficulties with the Chancellor of the University of Paris, and could 
not always get a degree for a candidate presented by himself. Cf. 
Denifle, Chartular. Univer. Par., vol. ii, nn. 548, 550-1. Cf. ib., i, p. 291. 

2 Reg., n. 1584. 

3 lb., n. 4570, March 7, 1291. On Montpellier University, see 
Rashdall, Universities of Europe, vol. ii, pt. i, p. 113 ff. 

4 lb., n. 4570, March 7, 1291. He founded the " studium generale " 
" ut cultores sapientiae augmententur ". 



244 NICHOLAS IV. 

the petitioners. 1 As we learn from the Pope's reply, 
King Diniz had already established the various faculties 
at Lisbon, so that Nicholas, in this case, had only to 
ratify what had been done, and to grant the jus ubique 
docendi without further examination to such as had 
been duly acknowledged qualified by the University 
authorities. From this privilege, however, he excepted 
the right of teaching theology. 2 Then, in the interest 
of the students, he urged the King to compel the citizens 
to let vacant houses to the students at a price to be 
fixed by a committee of clerics and laymen. After various 
wanderings backwards and forwards between Lisbon and 
Coimbra, the University that Nicholas confirmed is now 
in the latter city. 

It is especially in considering the relations of the 
Papacy to learning and the Universities, that one perhaps 
realizes most easily what Europe has suffered by having 
ceased to be Christendom, one family under the overlord- 
ship of the Popes. 
Death of The work, however, of Nicholas IV., scholastic and 

1292° aS ' missionary as well as political, was now done. He was 
" worn out with age ". 3 We read, indeed, of his being 
so ill in May, 1279, that he could not attend the General 
Chapter of the Friars Minor at Assisi 4 ; but one does 

1 Cf. Brandao, Monarchia Lusitana, pt. v, p. 530, cited by Rashdall, 
I.e., p. 102. See the reply of the Pope quoted in the following note, 
whence also we learn that, in a truly patriotic spirit, the salaries of the 
masters were to be provided by some prelates, Cistercian abbots, 
Augustinian and Benedictine priors and rectors of certain churches 
in the kingdoms of Portugal and Algarve. 

2 Reg., n. 3102, Aug. 9, 1290. The bull is given in full in Raynaldus, 
Ann., 1290, n. 52, or in Bullar. Rom., iv, p. 103 f. " Et quicunque 
magister in civitate praefata (Lisbon) per episcopum vel vicarium 
supradictos examinatus et approbatus fuerit in facultate quacumque, 
theologica dumtaxat excepta, ubique sine alia examinatione regendi 
liberam habeat potestatem." 

3 Stefaneschi, Vita S. Celestini, 1. i, c. 1, ap. R. I. SS., iii, pt. i, p. 620. 

4 See ep. of Nich. III. to the Chapter, ap. Wadding, Annul., v, p. 70. 



NICHOLAS IV. 245 

not read of any particular illness from which he suffered 
during his pontificate. It was believed, at the time, 
that the fever from which he died x was brought on by 
grief at the loss of the Holy Land. 2 Whether that was 
so or not, we learn from the famous James de Voragine 
that when he had, in 1292, been made archbishop of 
Genoa by Nicholas, and had been summoned by him to 
Rome to be consecrated, he found him on Palm Sunday 
" suffering from a severe and dangerous sickness ". He 
died a few days after, on Good Friday (Apr. 4) in the 
palace at St. Mary Major's which he had completed, and 
" as we believe, entered the heavenly palace ". 3 

The body of the devoted Nicholas was buried near Tomb, 
that of St. Jerome in St. Mary Major's for which he had 
done so much. 4 More exactly, it was interred in that 
one of the four Colonna chapels which was at the north- 
west angle of the basilica, and the site of the coffin 
was marked by a slab which displayed the arms of 
Nicholas, and was decorated with porphyry. 5 His 
epitaph set forth that this son of St. Francis who, when 
Pope, had restored the Church of St. Mary Major, had, 
when dying, ordered that his bones should remain in 
a lowly tomb. 6 

When, however, in 1572, some levelling operations in 
the basilica brought to light " the antique urn " in which 



1 Bonincontri, Hist. Sicil., i, 65. 

2 John Elemos., ap. Golubovich, Bib. dell' Orient., ii, 109. 

3 J. de V., Chron. Jan., c. 9, ap. R. I. SS., ix, p. 53. We, too, 
may hope that, in accordance with his motto, the light of God's 
countenance then fell upon his servant. " Illumina faciem tuam super 
servum tuum." He died " aput S. Mariam M." G. Spiapasto, Cron. 
Rom., p. 427. 

4 Chron. SS. PP., ap. M. G. SS., xxiv, p. 440. 

5 Platina, Vit. Nic. IV., ap. R. I. SS., iii, pt. i, p. 257, new ed. 

6 " Hie tumulus tumulat humilem ; qui fascibus auctus Sic moriens 
statuit ossa manere sua," etc., ap. e.g., P. de Angelis, Basilica S. M. 
Maj., p. 158. 



246 



NICHOLAS IV. 



Benedict 
XIV. 
prohibits 
cult of 
Nicholas IV 



his body had been enclosed, 1 the Franciscan cardinal, 
who afterwards became the famous Pope Sixtus V., 
commissioned Fontana to design for it the mausoleum 
that one now sees on the left of the main door. The 
centre of the monument is taken up with the seated 
figure of the Pope stretching out his hand, not in the 
act of benediction, 2 but in that of gracious invitation to 
approach him. Allegorical figures of Justice and Religion, 
the work of the sculptor Leonardo da Sarzana, stand on 
either side of the Pontiff. At the top of the monument 
are seen the arms of Nicholas, and at the bottom those 
of the cardinal. At the base is an inscription which 
states that Bro. Felix Peretti, cardinal of Montalto, 
erected it in 1574 to Pope Nicholas, who was of the 
same Order (the Franciscan) and nationality as himself, 
and whose body had long lain in a neglected tomb. 3 

Towards the close of the seventeenth century there 
sprang up a cult of Nicholas, but Benedict XIV. showed 
that it was wholly unauthorized, and forbade any relics 
of his to be in any way exposed for public veneration 
(Oct. 24, 1750). 4 



1 lb. 

2 As stated by Gregorovius, Tombs of the Popes, p. 55. 

3 Ap. de Angelis, ib. Then follows a long eulogy of Nicholas of 
not sufficient importance to be quoted here. 

4 See his De beatificatione, in vol. vi, p. 186 ff. of his works, Prati, 
1842. Cf. Rubens (ed. Matthaei), p. xlvi ff. and p. 194 ff. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 

A.D. 1294. 



Sources. — Though there exists a mutilated fragment containing 
seven letters of the Registrum Camerale of C. V., his ordinary 
Register is lost. 1 Existing original bulls of his, however, show- 
that a Register like those of his predecessors was extant even after 
the days of Boniface VIII. Six such documents were examined 
by P. M. Baumgarten, each marked on the back with the letter R 
and other marks, showing not only that they had been registered, 
but even in what chapter of the Register they had been placed. 
As in other Registers of the period, there were in Celestine's lost 
Register both litter ce communes and litter eo curiales ; and in the 
Vatican Archives there may still be seen a smail collection of 
sixteen political letters which appear to have been copied from 
the latter part of the Register, and were certainly copied long- 
after the pontificate of Boniface VIII. It would seem to be 
likely that the Register of C. perished by neglect. As Boniface 
properly cancelled a large proportion of the documents, no doubt 
therein registered, 2 and, as some of them were drawn up in 
improper form, and others were said to contain clauses that 
Celestine had not even seen, still less authorized, 3 it is not 
wonderful that no one had any use for such an unreliable collection, 
and that it perished as valueless. Ptolemy of Lucca, indeed, 
who was often in the presence of Celestine, declares that there 
had actually been found documents which proved that the same 

1 What we have to say on the subject of the Register of C. is, for the 
most part, taken from a pamphlet of P. M. Baumgarten, Regesto di 
Celestino V., Chieti, 1896. 

2 See a number of Boniface's letters of Apr. 8, 1295, ap. Potthast, 
nn. 24061-3. Two are given in full in Bartholomew of Cotton, Hist., 
p. 265 ff., R. 5. 

3 " Concessit," says Boniface, ap. B. of C, p. 265, " inordinata, et 
insolita . . . sub cujus bulla nonnulla, ut fertur, praeter ipsius con- 
scientiam transierunt." Although all the German Annalists speak 
well of C, the Annals of Austria, contin. Flor., ap. M. G. 55., ix, p. 750, 
repeat this charge. He did much " preter usitatum ordinem curie ". 

247 



248 ST. CELESTINE V. 

benefices or favours (gratiae) had been granted to several persons, 
and also blank forms already sealed. 1 Baumgarten, however, 
after positing that no one has seen more documents of Celestine V. 
than he has, 2 declares that not a single one of them lends any 
kind of confirmation to Ptolemy's assertion. 3 He further declares 
that Celestine's vice-chancellor was the Benedictine, John of 
Castrocoeli, archbishop of Benevento, whom he made cardinal- 
priest of St. Vitale, 4 and that the extant documents of this 
Pope prove the existence during his pontificate of a properly 
constituted chancery. 5 Without in the least calling all this 
in question, there is no reason, nevertheless, to doubt the definite 
assertion of Ptolemy. Persons of the simple confiding nature of 
Celestine V. are easily persuaded to act in an arbitrary way, 
so that some of the documents may have been issued 
irregularly. Moreover, it may easily have been that many of the 
fraudulent documents were destroyed wh en Boniface annulled 



_Cel£stin e's concessions . These suppositions are all the more 
probable in that the man, John of Castrocoeli, his vice-chancellor, 
who ought to have enlightened Celestine, was, according to 
Stefaneschi. 6 a man of poor character, who kept the Pope in 
ignorance. 

However all that may be, we have a number of Celestine's 
bulls and briefs that were preserved in the places to which they 
were sent. Potthast's list and synopsis of such documents was 
increased by that of B. Cantera in his 5. Pier Celestmo, Napoli, 
1892, p. 96 ff. In his Regesto degli atti di P.C.V., he gives 94 
documents, to which he adds nine others that are alluded to in 

1 H.E., 1. xxiv, c. 31. " Inveniebantur gratiae aliquae factae . . . 
pluribus personis, membrana etiam vacua sed bullata." 

2 He avers that he has examined them at La Cava, Naples, Mte 
Cassino, Sulmona, Aquila, Rome, Florence, Vienna, Paris, London, 
and Oxford. 

3 " Non c'e nessuna che potrebbe anche da lontano servire a provare 
tale accusa." P. 9. We presume it is to Ptolemy that B. refers ; 
but he does not give a name to the author of the assertion. 

4 He appears to have been made cardinal after Oct. 13, 1294, i.e., 
after the promotion of twelve cards, on Sept. 18, 1294. He died 
Feb. 22, 1295. 

5 L.c, p. 11. 

6 " Haud radiat lucere datus." Cf. Vita Celest., iii, cc. 2, and 10, 
ap. R. I. SS., iii, pt. i, or pp. 59 and 69 in the new ed. of Seppelt, Mon. 
Ccelestiniana. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 249 

later documents. To his collection six more can be added which 
have been preserved by John di Pontissara, bishop of Winchester 
(f 1304), in his Register. 1 Celidonio, moreover, speaks of a 
Codex diplomaticus S. Pietri C. by Baumgarten and Sdralek. 2 It 
does not appear to have been published, but Celidonio himself 
has added a few more documents to those already mentioned. 3 
There is a document which would be of first-class importance 
for the early life of Celestine, if only it were authentic. It is his so- 
called confessio or brief autobiography, published by the Celestine 
abbot, C. Telera, along with eleven Opuscula also attributed to 
the Saint. 4 This work of under twenty printed octavo pages 
was supposed to have been left by Peter Morrone in his cell at 
St. Onofrio, when he left it as Pope. All these documents were 
published by order of the abbot-general of the Celestine Order, 
Dom Franceso d'Aielli. They are, however, probably no more 
genuine than the bloodstained nail which the said general pro- 
fessed to have found in a wall. It was hoped to show that the 
Saint was both Doctor and Martyr. Speaking now only of the 
confessio, we note that the Rev. Dr. Celidonio, the learned local 
modern biographer of the Pope, thinks that it is at least inter- 
polated, added to by later Celestines to glorify their founder. 
Hence he made practically no direct use of it. 5 The Bollandists, 
no doubt correctly, go further, and, urging that Celestine knew 
too little Latin to have been able to write it, reject it as worthless, 
and assign it to a disciple more zealous than wise. 6 The Opuscula 

1 Recently (1915-24) published by the York and Canterbury Soc. 
Cardinal Pitra regards as doubtful the authenticity of those letters 
that rest only on the authority of a French biographer of the Celestines, 
De epp. RR. PP., p. 274. 

2 I, p. 12. 

3 Vita C. V., iii, p. 73, and so has E. Casti, p. 168 f., in the collection 
of papers in Celestino V ed it VI. centenario delta sua incoronazione, 
Aquila, 1894. Hence Celidonio was able to reckon 156 documents in 
all. Cf. iii, 128, and iv, 93. 

4 Opuscula S. Petri Coslestini PP. V. by C. T., Naples, 1640. Seven 
letters and a few prayers, all supposed to be written when he was a 
hermit, are also added. The " confessio " was also published by 
Papebrock in Acta SS., t. iv. Maii, p. 421 ff. 

5 Vita di S. Pietro del Morrone, Lib i, pp. 31-47. On the non- 
authenticity of the Opuscula, ib., Lib. iv, p. 151 ff. 

6 Cf. Analecta Bollandiana, t. xviii, 1899, p. 35 f. They think it is 
possible that the confessio which is alluded to both by Stefaneschi 



250 ST. CELESTINE V. 

are doubtless no more genuine than the autobiography, and as, 
in any case, they do not contribute anything of a biographical 
nature, we may neglect them. 

Most useful and authentic is the account written by two 
disciples of the Saint, and published for the first time by the 
Bollandists. There are two editions of this biography, one 
represented by a manuscript in the Vatican library which 
manifests a spirit of hostility to Boniface VIII. , and the other 
by two MSS. at Paris, which are practically free from any bitter 
expressions against him. Even these two MSS. are not quite 
identical. The second, e.g., tells (n. 15a) of Peter's being made 
abbot of St. Maria in Faysolis in the province of Molise (Apulia), 
of the persecution he endured, and the miracles he performed 
there, and of his resignation of office. 1 

Celidonio and the Bollandists are not agreed as to the priority 
of the Paris and Vatican MSS. With the latter, however, we 
believe that the Vatican version was written first, when the 
feelings of the Celestines were hot against Boniface, when they 
were thinking more of the supposed wrongs inflicted on their 
Founder than of the good of the Universal Church. This version, 
too, shows greater precision of detail, giving more names of 
persons and places, 2 and more frequently appeals to sources 
of evidence for what it states. 3 The Paris editions were no 
doubt written after the death of Boniface (between 1303 and 
1306) when time and reflection had cleared the judgment of the 
biographers. It is regarded as probable that the first part of 
this biography (the first eight chapters) was written by 
Bartholomew of Trasacco, who gave evidence for his canoniza- 
tion, and the second part by Thomas of Sulmona, prior of 

and by the contemporary biography of the two disciples may contain 
something which the writer had heard from Celestine. For citing or 
publishing this confessio, the Bollandists only accuse Telera and the 
earlier L. Marino (La vita ed i miracoli di S. Pietro di Morrone, Milan, 
1630) of excessive credulity, but not of fraud. 

1 The first Paris biography was published in the Analecta Bollandiana, 
vol. ix, 1890, and the second in vol. x, 1891, giving the chapters wherein 
it differs from the first. The Vatican life is printed in vol. xvi (1897). 
See also ib., vol. xviii, 1899, p. 34 ff. for further indications about these 
lives, and criticisms on the work of Celidonio which they justly highly 
praise, though showing some of its shortcomings owing to a somewhat 
confused style. 

2 Vol. xvi, p. 372. 3 Cf. ib., p. 373. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 251 

St. Spirito di Morrone, who was much with Celestine, being with 
him even in his confinement on Monte Fumone. We shall 
quote this biography as B.D. 

Another source of first-class importance for the life x of 
Celestine is the Opus Metricum 2 of James Gaetani " de 
Stephanescis ", cardinal of St. George in Velabro, generally known 
as James Stefaneschi. It was put together at Avignon, and 
sent to the monks of the Celestine monastery of the Holy 
Spirit at Sulmona in 1319. It consists of 2,902 hexameters ; 
is often confused and generally very inflated and obscure. 
Fortunately, it is preceded by a long prose introduction, written 
at Valence in 1316, and is accompanied by a number of glosses. 
The Opus is divided into three parts — I. The life of Cel. V. ; 
II. The election and coronation of Boniface VIII. (finished in 
1296) ; III. The canonization of Celestine V. (finished in 1316). 
With reference to the first part of Stefaneschi's life of Celestine V. 
where he relies on the spurious biography, the Bollandists 3 
call attention to the significant fact that in a Vatican codex 
(Lat. 4932) of the fifteenth century which gives the poem of 
Stefaneschi, that part, consisting of 140 verses, is replaced by 
the following five verses : — 

" Est locus Aprutii, cui profert accola nomen 
Molitium, patria huic humili sub plebe latenti. 
Hunc fugiens petiit, fragilis dum labitur aetas, 
Obseqium praestare Deo, sacrumque professus 
Est habitum Cristo Benedicti dogmata spondens." 
Evidently in the fifteenth century some had no faith in the 
autobiography , even so far as it was used by Stefaneschi. 

Stefaneschi wrote from personal knowledge — as one " known ", 
nay, " dear " to the pontiffs of whom he wrote. He was a grand- 
nephew of Nicholas III., and probably related to Boniface VIII. 

1 Giving " vitam, mores, regulas, electionem ad papatum, gesta 
in eo, renuntiationem, obitum, canonizationem, postremo quoque 
miracula sancti confessorisque mirifici fratris Petri de Murrone, quon- 
dam Celestini pape quinti, ordinis vestri ". The letter of Stefaneschi 
to the monks of St. Spirito de Sulmone sending them his Opus Metricum, 
and prose introduction. 

2 It has been printed by the Bollandists, by Muratori, ap. R. I. SS., 
iii, pt. i, p. 613 ff., and lastly by Dr. F. X. Seppelt, Monumenta Cceles- 
tiniana, Paderborn, 1921. We use this last ed. as more correct than 
Muratori's. 

3 Analecta Bol., vol. xviii (1899), p. 38. 



252 ST. CELESTINE V. 

who made him a cardinal in 1296. As a patron of art, his name 
is closely associated with that of Giotto, and, as an historian, 
even if he naturally looked with a favourable eye on Boniface, 
he has the great merit of truthfulness. Stefaneschi is also the 
author of poems, etc., on the Jubilee, 1 and other subjects ; and 
besides sermons and letters, he also wrote a Roman Ordo or 
Ceremonial from which various historical details can be drawn. 2 
This virtuous and learned man died at Avignon in 1343. 

Other useful sources for the life of Celestine are the pre- 
liminary Process for his Canonization, drawn up by two bishops 
at the order of Pope Clement V., and also published by Seppelt 
(p. 211 ff.) ; the minutes of the last secret consistory preparatory 
to the canonization of C. V., published in the Analecta Boll., 
vol. xvi (1897), P- 475 #•» an d the bull of his canonization 
ap. Celidonio, iv, 74 ff. ; Fontanini, Codex Constitutionum, 
p. 117 ff., etc. 

Modern Works. — Of modern biographies that of Lelio Marini, 
La vita ed i miracoli di S. Pietro di Morrone, Milan, 1630, may 
possibly be of some use even as a source, as he professes to have 
used materials no longer extant ; but, as we said above, he is 
too credulous. The biographies of Pierre d'Ailly (Paris, 1539), 
and Maffeo Vegio, though earlier, do not add to our knowledge, 
and Seppelt, who has published them both, would have done better 
to have republished the original lives printed in the Analecta 
Boll. Seppelt himself published useful Studien zum Pontifikat 
Papst Coelestins V., Berlin, 191 1. 

The most important modern work on Celestine is certainly 
that of Canon G. Celidonio, Vita di S. Pietro del Morrone, in four 
books, each of which is unreasonably paged separately, Sulmona, 
1896. It is, unfortunately, rather wanting in clearness, and is 
somewhat overloaded with perfervid reflections. The 5. Pier 
Celestino of B. Cantera, Naples, 1892, is, as we said before, also 
valuable, indeed in many ways more so than the work of Celidonio. 
The Celestino V. ed il VI. centenario delta sua incoronazione, 

1 Ap. Bibliotheca Patrum, t. xxv, p. 936 ff., ed. Lyons. 

2 Published by Mabillon, Museum Hal., t. ii, p. 241 ff., and numbered 
xiv by him. On the first ed. of this Ordo, cf. L. H. Labande, " Le 
ceremonial de J. Cajetan," ap. Bib. de I'ecole des Chartes, Jan., 1893, 
p. 45 ff. Stefaneschi gives us a brief autobiography on p. 6 f . One 
conceives a good opinion of the man from the grateful way in which 
he speaks of his father and mother, both of ancient noble stocks. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 253 

Aquila, 1894, contains sixteen papers relating to Celestine, by 
different writers. Of slighter value are such biographies as those 
by T. Bonanni, 5. Pietro C, Aquila, 1894, $• Pierre Celestin, by 
Dom Aurelien, Bar-le-Duc, 1873, etc. 1 

A number of pamphlets have been written on " II gran rifiuto " 
of Dante, e.g., G. Roselli, Discolpa di Dante, Pisa, 1896 ; Note 
stir le grand refus, by Jules Lanczy, Paris, 1901, etc. G. Ricciotti 
has written notes on Fumone e Celestino V '., Alatri, 1896. 



CONTEMPORARY SOVEREIGNS. 

(See under Nicholas IV.) 

Emperor in the West. Adolf of Nassau, 1 292-8. 2 

1 In a materialistic spirit, Dr. Hans Schulz treated of C. V. in his 
dissertation for his doctorate (Peter von Murrhone, P. Coelestin V ., 
Berlin, 1894), and continued his work in the Zeitschrift fur Kirchen- 
geschichte, Oct., 1894. 

2 Not one of the " Kings of the Romans " after Frederick II. till 
Henry VII. (1308-14) was strictly speaking Emperor. 



CHAPTER I 

LONG VACANCY OF THE HOLY SEE. ELECTION OF PETER 
DE MORRONE. HIS PREVIOUS CAREER. 



The 

cardinals 
meet and 
disperse. 



Parties 
among the 
Cardinals. 



After the funeral of Pope Nicholas IV. the cardinals, 
twelve in number, met in the palace at St. Mary Major's. 
They were Latinus Malabranca, the virtuous cardinal- 
bishop of Ostia, Gerard the White, bishop of Sabina, 
John Boccamazza, bishop of Tusculum, Matthew 
Acquasparta, cardinal-priest of St. Lorenzo in Damaso, 
Hugh of Alvernia, cardinal-priest of St. Sabina, John 
Cholet of St. Cecilia, who died during the vacancy (1293), 
Peter Petrogrosso of St. Mark's, Benedict Gaetani 
(Boniface VIII.) of St. Martino, Matteo Rosso Orsini, 
of St. Maria in Portico, James Colonna, cardinal-deacon 
of St. Maria in Via Lata, Napoleon Orsini of St. Hadriano, 
Peter Colonna of St. Eustachio, nephew of cardinal James 
Colonna. Of these twelve, Latinus, Boccamazza, Matteo 
Rosso, James and Peter Colonna, and Napoleon Orsini 
were Romans, Hugh and Cholet were French, and the 
remaining four were from different parts of Italy. 

Some of these cardinals were perhaps, as they are 
called by one of our historians, 1 " carnals," men who 
thought more of their own flesh (caro) and blood, of their 
own kith and kin, than of Christ and His Church. 2 So 
it may be said with Villani, 3 that the Orsini party, headed 
by Matteo Rosso, were desirous of a Pope who would 

1 " Cardinales, qui potius dici poterant carnales, etc." Bart, of 
Cotton, p. 251, R. S. 

2 S. Antoninus says severely : " Quaerentibus quae sua, et non quae 
Jesu Christi." Chron., tit. xx, c. 7, p. 233. 

3 Chron., vii, c. 150, al. 151. Cf. S. Anton., I.e., and Mart. Pol. 
contin. Anglica, ap. M. G. SS., xxx, p. 717. 

254 



ST. CELESTINE V. 255 

favour the Angevin dynasty of Sicily, and that the 
Colonna party, headed by Cardinal James Colonna, were 
anxious for a pontiff who would break with the French 
connection. It may be, too, that some of them were 
working merely for their own personal advantage. 1 There 
is ground for more than suspicion that the Colonna 
cardinals were actually in the pay of the Aragonese. 
From a letter of King James of Aragon to his brother 
Frederick in Sicily, it appears that a certain John 
Velletrani, purporting to be an agent of cardinals James 
and Peter " de Columpna ", had presented himself before 
Frederick, and in their name had undertaken to do 
certain things for him in the future as they had done in 
the past, should they receive from him an annual grant 
of a thousand ounces (of gold) with an immediate payment 
of five hundred. Frederick had made the promise, and 
paid over the instalment to the agent. His brother, 
however, evidently was far from sure of the credibility 
of the agent. If, he wrote to Frederick, what John said 
was true, I approve of the payment, but if not I shall be 
vexed, and you will have been fooled, and will have lost 
your money. 2 This document must be taken in connection 
with others. Another from Barcelona tells of the Colonna 
cardinals asking Frederick for money to be able to 
resist the Orsini cardinals who are on the side of King 
Charles. 3 The money, as we have just seen, was duly 
paid ; but, as we learn from another similar document, 
the Colonnas did not draw it, as the unworthy transaction 
had transpired, and the other cardinals had come to 



1 Menko. Chron. contin., ap. M. G. SS., xxiii, 567. The chronicler 
says that after the death of Nicholas IV. most atrocious wars broke 
out all over Christendom, and while the Kings of France and England 
fought for power, " Romae cardinales certabant pro papatu." 

2 Ep. of July 1, 1294, ap. Finke, Acta Aragon., i, p. 18, n. 12. 

3 This document belongs to the year 1294, after May 8. Ap. Finke, 
Aus den Tagen B. VIII., p. xi, n. 2. 



256 ST. CELESTINE V. 

hear about it. Still, though the money was, for the 
moment, returned to Frederick, King James was asked 
to be ready to supply them with " men or money ", 
should need for them arise. 1 These documents prove 
plainly enough that in their party spirit the Colonnas 
were traitors to the papal policy which, since the coming 
of Charles of Anjou, had invariably favoured him and 
his heirs. 

Nevertheless, despite these intrigues on the part of 
some of the cardinals, it may be, on the other hand, that 
some of the others in this dreadful vacancy of two years 
three months and two days, genuinely found it hard to 
choose between the distinguished and experienced men 
of whom the Sacred College was at this time composed. 
In this connection a reflection of Mr. Sedgwick is much 
to the point. " One must remember," he says, " that 
the history of the Roman Curia is not merely a tale of 
wrangling ambitions and worldly policy . . . but, more 
often than not, underneath, deep in their hearts, though 
covered up by covetousness and self-seeking, lay the 
desire to do right, to make the Church fulfil her great 
mission." 2 

There would seem, moreover, to have been an idea at 
this time that the election had to be unanimous. At any 
rate, we find in the election encyclicals of the Popes at 
this period the fact of their unanimous election regularly 
stated. Any idea of the necessity of unanimity would of 
course increase the difficulty of finding a candidate. 
Cardinal Whatever were the dominant motives which animated 

Latinus 

addresses the 

Cardinals. 1 j) oc \\ ap Finke, Acta Aragon, i, p. 15. " Quantum ad primum 

articulum respondit d. Petrus de Columpna : quod regraciabatur d. 
regi de pecunia sibi missa et promissionibus sibi factis. Et quod pecu- 
niam sibi missam non recepit, set mandavit mercatoribus . . . quod 
earn remitterent d. Frederico. Pro tanto autem pecuniam non recepit 
quia negocium aliis cardinalibus fuerat publicatum." 

2 Italy in the Thirteenth Century, ii, p. 142, London, 1913. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 257 

the twelve cardinals who on this occasion met in the 
palace by St. Mary Major's, their duty was put before 
them by their dean, Latinus of Ostia. After prayers had 
been ordered for the election of a worthy successor of 
Nicholas, "who might preside in Christ's name and 
succeed Peter," the Sacred College was addressed by 
Latinus, a man, sings our poetical cardinal, " shining 
with virtue, and radiant with the titles of noble birth." * 
No one of sound mind, he said, would strive for the 
exalted dignity of the Papacy. But the cardinals must 
seek for a candidate who was firmly rooted in virtue. 
This was the more necessary as the days were evil. 
Acre and Tripoli have been lost. The savage Aragonese 
have possessed themselves of a realm which was bestowed 
on the Franks — a situation which is " a disgrace to them 
and to us who give kingdoms. On all sides, too, our 
subjects give us trouble." 2 

" The cold hearts," however, of the cardinals were 
not moved by this address, but, after spending ten days 
in the palace built by Nicholas IV., they adjourned to 
that on the Aventine, which Honorius IV. had erected. 3 
Here, says Stefaneschi, the divergence of the views of 
the cardinals became more and more manifest, as it was 
said that no candidate received even a third of the 
votes. 4 It was to no purpose that the electors again 
changed their place of meeting, and assembled at another 
Dominican centre, that of St. Maria sopra Minerva. The 
feast of SS. Peter and Paul brought on them the heat of 

1 " Virtute coruscans 
Et generis titulis radiatus." 

Stefan., Elect., i, 1. I may note that my study of the cardinal's obscure 
poem was simplified by having had access to a translation which had 
been prepared by the nephew of the late Mr. Oscar Browning. 

2 " Dedecus illis 

Et nobis qui regna damus." lb. 

3 Stef. condemns this habit of building new palaces, and leaving 
those of the Vatican and Lateran. 4 lb. 

Vol. XVII. s 



258 ST. CELESTINE V. 

summer. Faction fights broke out in the city, and the 
Plague stalked through its narrow reeking streets. The 
French cardinal Cholet died (Aug. 2, 1291), and "by a 
grave innovation ", the surviving cardinals dispersed. 
The six Romans remained in different parts of the city ; 
Gaetani in fear of the Plague, because he was seriously ill, 1 
betook himself to his native Anagni, and the remaining 
four went to Rieti " by the waters ". 2 When the heat 
had, by the middle of September, somewhat abated, 
Gaetani and Matthew Aquasparta returned to the 
Minerva. They were gradually joined by the others ; 
but the summer of 1293 still found them in disagreement. 
This time, with the exception of the two Colonnas, 
John Boccamazza and Gaetani, all the cardinals went 
to Rieti to escape the summer heat. Of the four excep- 
tions, the first three remained in Rome, but " the 
Campanian went about his own affairs apart from the 
others ". 3 
Danger of Thereupon, the three cardinals who were together 

proposed that they should by themselves elect a Pope, 
on the grounds that they stood for the Sacred College 
because the majority of it was composed of Romans, like 
themselves, and that they were in Rome. There was 
evidently a rapidly increasing danger of a schism. 
Fortunately, for the present, however, the three declared 
that they preferred to discuss the situation with their 
brethren. Let them, therefore, hasten to Rome, " if 
they were desirous of putting an end to the tears of the 
Church." 4 

1 Cf. the Prosa, p. 8. "Gravi, longa, cronicaqueconcussusinfirmitate." 

2 Poem, i, c. 2 : " Quattuor undatum lymphis placidumque Reate." 

3 lb., c. 3. Benedict G. of Anagni was " the Campanian ". From 
the Prose, I.e., we learn that he went to Viterbo — perhaps for the 
medicinal waters near it. 

4 lb., c. 5. 

" Cupiunt si ponere finem 
Ecclesie lacrimis." 



ST. CELESTINE V. 259 

On this, the cardinals at Rieti met to consider the 
legality of this summons. They were addressed by Matteo 
Rossi Orsini, whose sister, our poet is careful to remind 
us, was his mother. 1 He begged them, and the learned 
men they had summoned, to give their opinion clearly 
on the claims made by those cardinals who had elected 
to remain in the city so full of civil strife. After much 
discussion, it was resolved that, as the majority of the 
cardinals were in Rieti, it was for them to fix the time 
when the College should meet to elect the Pope. After 
some opposition on the part of the cardinal of Milan, who 
was attached to the Colonnas, it was finally decided 
that the cardinals should meet in Perugia on the Feast 
of St. Luke (Oct. 18, 1293). 

To this ruling the Colonnas submitted, and all the The 
cardinals, warmly welcomed by the people, assembled ^Perueif 
at Perugia by the appointed day. 2 There we may leave 
them still to continue for months discussing, quarrelling, 3 
intriguing, and voting, while we see what was meanwhile 
going on in Rome. 

Whilst the cardinals were disputing, the citizens of Disorders in 
Rome, without a ruler, were fighting in their streets, 
and cities of the papal states were warring against one 
another. 4 As month after month sped by, and the Holy 
See still remained vacant, the state of things naturally 

1 Stefaneschi, ib., here sings the praises of the Orsini family. 

2 See also Annul, di Perugiu, ap. Archivio stor. Itul., vol. xvi (1850), 
p. 58, and Ptolemy of Lucca, H.E., 1. xxiv, c. 27. On the welcome 
of the Perugians, see extracts from the municipal archives given by 
Canon Pietropaoli in his paper : " II conclave di Perugia," ap. Celes- 
tino V., p. 106 f. They also prayed God to bring them to unity " for 
their own good and that of the Christian religion ". 

3 Cf. Stef., i, c. 7, p. 31, for the way in which to the great discomfort 
of penitents some of them refused their consent to Aquasparta remaining 
Grand Penitentiary. 

4 Stefan.: " Nos undique turbant Subjecti," p. 20. " Gemitus, 
heu ! nee non tristia bella Insurgunt populo." Ib., i, c. 2, p. 22. Cf. 
ib., c. 3. 



26o 



ST. CELESTINE V. 



Fighting in 

the 

Patrimony. 



went from bad to worse. Not only were foreigners 
robbed, but the very churches and religious houses were 
plundered. 1 The sound of the sacrilegious disturbances 
penetrated even to Iceland, and the author of the saga 
of bishop Lawrence of Holar, speaking of the year 1294, 
says (c. 7) that there was strife in Rome, and people 
were killed in St. Peter's. Indeed, according to the 
Annals of Colmar, one of the Orsini killed eleven pilgrims 
in the basilica about Easter of that year ! In the midst 
of the troubles one Senator, Orso Orsini, died, and the 
other Senator, Agapitus Colonna, retired in fear (spring, 
1293). For six months there was no senator at all. 2 
Then in the month when the cardinals went to Perugia, 
two new Senators were elected, the aged but warlike 
Peter Stefaneschi, the father of our poetical historian, 
and Oldo of San Eustachio. But as they did not act 
together for long, no lasting peace followed their election. 3 
While robbery, sacrilege, murder, and street fighting 
were the order of the day in Rome, many of the towns 
thought that a fine time had arrived to impose their will on 
their weaker neighbours by force of arms. 4 Narni fell 
upon Castrum Strunconi, Orvieto seized Bolsena, and 
laid siege to Aquapendente. 5 In dealing with some of 



1 Chron. Parmense, p. 63, ap. R. I. SS., new ed. 

2 Stef., I.e., i, 3. 

3 lb., c. 6. Cf. the introduction (prosa), p. 9. 

4 " Tutumque putans hoc tempore bellis, 
Lascivire palam." 

Stef., I.e. Cf. Cantera, p. 45, n. for notice of trouble between Ascoli 
and Fermo. 

5 Stefaneschi, i, c. 4, and Bartholomew of Cotton, p. 251 f. Not 
infrequently our historians alone have preserved items of Roman 
news. As far, however, as Bolsena and Aquapendente are concerned, 
the Annates Urbevetani, pp. 163-4, have also spoken of them. Whilst 
Bartholomew wrote the siege of Aquapendente had not ended (nondum 
expugnatur), and we learn from the Annals just quoted that on 
July 18, 1294, the people of Orvieto made a truce with Bro. James 
Pocapaglia, " who was in Aquapendente for the Roman Church." 



ST. CELESTINE V. 261 

these outbreaks the cardinals were successful. With the 
aid of troops sent by Charles Martel, Cardinal Matthew 
Aquasparta, for instance, succeeded in reducing Narni 
to order. 1 In other cases, however, they were not 
successful. Despite threats of excommunication and 
interdict, of a fine of twenty thousand, and of a loss of 
rights, the cardinals were incapable of restraining " the 
Seven " of Orvieto. 2 They, accordingly, resolved to 
raise " a great army ", and called on the vassals of the 
Church to assemble in arms. For the most part, however, 
they would not move, but told the cardinals that, as soon 
as they elected a Pope, they would defend him and the 
Church too. 3 Even this rebuff did not make the cardinals 
end their differences, but they tried to raise an army in 
Rome, and to put it under the command of Agapitus 
Colonna, Luke Savelli, and Berthold Orsini. Here, 
however, cardinal Napoleon Orsini stepped in. This 
arrangement of commanders, he said, would not do. 
There would be two Colonnas to one Orsini. Fortunately, 
however, the Roman people had more care for the 
Church than these despicable " family men ". They, 
too, realized that, if an army was raised for the cardinals, 
they would not devote themselves to electing a Pope. 4 
They, therefore, as our chronicler notes, " resuming their 
ancient vigour ", set the nobles at defiance, and in arms 
to the number of over seventy thousand horse and foot 
withdrew to the Aventine. They then took over the 
Capitol " where justice was administered ", and sent 
envoys to Henry of Spain who had just escaped from the 

1 Stef., i, c. 4. " Regreditur (the cardinal) victor, populo comitante 
regressum." 

2 See one of their many letters to the Podesta and " the Seven ", 
ap. Theiner, Cod. Dip., i, n. 492. 

3 Bart, of C, p. 251. 

4 " Romanis perpendentibus quod si talia effectum haberent de 
papa minime curaretur, etc." lb. 



262 



ST. CELESTINE V. 



Election of 
Peter of 
Morrone. 



Charles II. 
and his son 
Visit 
Perugia, 
1294. 



hands of King Charles, and had fled to Sicily to come to 
be their Senator. 1 

Understanding, at length, " that the Church had lost 
everything, that the Romans were getting out of hand, 
and that their own discomfiture and that of the Roman 
nobility was approaching," the cardinals at length gave 
their serious attention to electing a Pope. Unable or 
unwilling to choose one of their own number, they elected 
(July 5, 1294) the hermit Peter de Morrone, " a man of 
little literary culture, and of absolutely no knowledge 
of worldly affairs," but a man, so it is said, " of 
extraordinary sanctity." 2 

These interesting details, furnished us by Bartholomew 
of Cotton, which appear to have escaped the notice of 
previous biographers of Celestine, are naturally supple- 
mented by Stefaneschi's writings. From him we learn 
other circumstances that preceded and influenced the 
election of Peter. 

In the early spring of 1294, i.e., in the month of 
March, Charles II. on his way from Provence to his 
kingdom, accompanied by his son Charles Mart el, 
King of Hungary, who had come from Naples to 
meet him, 3 approached Perugia. They were met by 

1 "Who," (Henry) says Bartholomew, evidently quoting some 
report he had received from a friend in Rome, " was, I believe, the 
brother of the Queen of England." 

2 B. of C, I.e. He adds that Peter was a member of a Benedictine 
congregation which he had himself founded, that the habit of his order 
was white, and that its members lived as good monks (et bene cohabi- 
tant fratres). 

3 See an order (Dec. 6, 1293) of Charles, " Vicar of the Kingdom 
of Sicily," for the purchase of what was necessary for his journey to 
the Roman Curia. Cf. Syllabus Membran. Sicilies, ii, p. 134, n. 8. He 
was at San Germano on his way to meet his father, Feb. 15, 1294. Cf. 
C. M. Riccio, Saggio di diplom., Supplement, pt. i, p. 75, n. 62. N. 63 
shows that Charles II. was in Naples March 8. But it would appear 
from a fuller series of extracts from the Angevin Archives given by 
Schipa, Carlo Martello, ap. Archiv. Stor. Nap., xv, 1890, pp. 84-5, 
that Charles II. did not reach Naples till Apr. 13, 1294. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 263 

the cardinal-deacons, Napoleon Orsini and Peter Colonna, 
and a crowd of people, and were conducted in great state 
to the great hall where the cardinals awaited them. 
After receiving the kiss of peace from them, the King 
took his place between two cardinal-bishops, and his son, 
whose youth and handsome features are extolled by our 
poetical historian, between the cardinal-deacons. Then 
when a little time had been devoted to talk, the Kings 
were escorted to their lodging. But before continuing 
his journey, King Charles addressed the cardinals, and 
urged them to elect a Pope without further delay. To 
this speech, without giving any hint as to whether he 
thought it was inspired by pure zeal for the Church or 
by a wish to encourage his party, the mild cardinal 
Latinus returned a diplomatic answer. 1 But Gaetani, 
a man cast in a very different mould, gave him plainly 
to understand that the votes of the cardinals must be 
free, and that he had no right to put any kind of pressure 
on them. Hard words passed between them, but Charles 
made no further open effort to get his own way. 2 He left 
Perugia soon after, honourably accompanied by the 
cardinals to the gates of the city, 3 and in the course of 
his journey to Naples visited the hermit Peter near 
Sulmona, and assigned to his monastery of the Holy 
Ghost an annual revenue of ten ounces of gold. 4 

After the departure of the King, months again went The hermit 
by, and there was still no Pope. One day (July 5), how- e ie C tecL 
ever, nine of the cardinals met together in a serious mood. 
They had just attended the funeral of a young brother 



1 Stef., i, 8. 

2 Cf. Ptolemy, H.E., 1. xxiv, c. 28, and Annates, p. 1300, " Regem 

. . . multum exasperasset " ; and Platina, in vit. Nic. IV., sub fin. 

3 Stef., I.e. 

4 See his grant, dated Sulmona Apr. 6, 1294, in Cantera, p. 29. Cf x 
the foil, doc., ib. 



264 ST. CELESTINE V. 

of their colleague, Napoleon Orsini. 1 Grief had kept 
Napoleon away from the meeting, and gout the Milanese 
Pietrogrosso. With the thought of death in their minds, 
the rest listened with attention to cardinal Boccamazza, 
who appealed to them to dry the tears of their mother 
the Church, to put an end to the discord among them- 
selves, and to elect a Pope. Seeing that his brethren were 
moved, Latinus declared that he had received a letter 
from a holy man telling him it had been revealed to him 
that God would punish them unless they elected a Pope 
forthwith. 2 Thereupon Gaetani asked with a smile if 
the holy man in question was the hermit Peter de Morrone. 
Finding that such was the case, the cardinals began to 
talk of the marvellous life of the hermit, and of the 
numerous miracles that were ascribed to him. 3 Some 
even began to wonder whether he were not worthy of 
the Papacy. 4 Then suddenly the virtuous cardinal 
Latinus, who had long loved Peter and had been a 
benefactor of his Order, 5 cried out : "In the name of 
the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, I elect 
brother Peter de Morrone." 6 At the moment all were 
thunderstruck, but almost immediately five cardinals 
voted with Latinus. The required two-thirds seemed 
in sight. Cardinal Napoleon was summoned in haste, 
and at once gave his vote also for the saintly hermit. 
Matteo Rosso, " whom long experience had made slow," 
then fell on his knees, and with tears in his eyes added 

1 The Biog. of the two disciples (which we shall call B.D.), c. 28. 
Unless there is a note to the contrary, it is to be taken for granted 
that there is no difference between the different versions in the passage 
cited. 

2 Cf. Stef., /// Op. M., iii, c. 17. 

3 All this is from Stef., Vit. C, ii, 1 and 2. 

4 " Miraque gesta Extollunt alii, nura quid sit dignus honore Papatus 
secum tractant, diversa loquntur." lb., c. 2. 

5 Ptol. of L., H.E., xxiv, c. 30. 

6 B.D., c. 28. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 265 

his vote to those of the others, and the two Colonna 

cardinals who had left the conclave to consult the sick 

cardinal of Milan about the proposal of Latinus, soon 

returned with his assent and their own. By the unanimous 

vote of the Sacred College, Peter the monk, beloved by 

all the mountainous Abruzzi, had been elected to rule 

the Church of God. 1 " Nor was there any one," add 

the Saint's disciples, " who did not say that the election 

was satisfactory "—a thing which had never happened 

in any pontifical election before." 

Whatever may have been the truth of that assertion, 

the first of the cardinal-deacons proclaimed to the people, 

whilst his brethren were singing the Te Deum, that Peter, 

the aged Hermit of Suimona, was Pope. The excitement 

produced by the glad tidings that the long vacancy of 

the Holy See was over was but added to by the fact that 

the majority of the people were utterly ignorant of the 

identity of the elect. Who was he ? was on the lips of 

everyone. 2 This query may now be answered. 

Peter, afterwards known as " de Morrone ", was born f eter . of 
' . Isernia. 

in the province of Molise in its present chief town, Isernia. 
The year of his birth seems to have been 12 10 (or 1209). 
His parents, Mary and Angelerius, both virtuous, were 
poor and of humble station. They had twelve children, 



1 Stef., and B.D., ll.cc, Ptolemy of Lucca, ib., c. 29, and Annates, 
p. 1300 ; and especially the letter of C. V. himself to our K. Edward. 
Ep. Sept. 3, 1294, ap. Rymer, ii, 654. He tells how the Holy Ghost 
" subito et celeriter conjunxit " (the cardinals) "in unum ; ... in 
humilitatem nostram omnes unanimiter concordantes." See also 
Jas. de Voragine, Chron. Jan., c. 9. By the election decree (cited by 
Celidonio, iii, p. 25) those who went to consult the sick Milanese cardinal 
were Boccamazza, Peter Colonna, and Hugh of S. Sabina. This is 
no doubt correct. 

2 " Fit strepitus, queruntque simul quis noverit ilium," Stef., ii, 2. 
Peter was about 84 when he was elected. One of our historians, 
Florence of Worcester, Chron. contin., p. 272, R. S., says he was 100 
at that time ! 



266 



ST. CELESTINE V. 



Peter 
becomes a 
hermit. 



of whom Peter was the eleventh, 1 and they had always 
prayed that one at least of their children might be " a 
true servant of God "* To his mother's joy, for his 
father had died when Peter was very young indeed, her 
eleventh child soon began to show signs of his future 
sanctity. At the early age of five he was already fond of 
the Bible and holy books. His attachment to books, 
however, was not viewed with favour by his brothers. 
Besides their father, six of their brothers and sisters were 
already dead. The family was poor, and could not 
afford, they urged, to have one of its number brought up 
in idleness. Moreover, they reminded their mother that 
a rich man had taken a fancy to Peter, and had promised 
to make him his heir. But she, recalling to mind that 
the boy had been born with a caul, persevered in her 
determination to bring him up for the service of God, 
the more so that her husband had expressed the same 
wish before his death. The boy corresponded with her 
desires, and by the time he was twelve knew the Psalms 
by heart. But about this time his mother was much 
troubled by seeing him, still a beardless youth, feeding a 
flock of snow-white sheep. She recovered her serenity, 
however, when she reflected that it was a question of the 
flock of Christ. 

Daily did Peter grow in goodness, so that his disciples 
assure us that, even in his youth, he was old in virtue. 3 

1 Stef., ii, 7, and local authorities and traditions, ap. Celidonio, 
i, 73, and iv, 52. From B.D., c. 47, we learn that Peter died in 1296 
aged 86 (Vatican version says 87). He was, therefore, born in 1210 
or 1209. From documents in the Angevin Archives of Naples, cited 
at length by Cantera, p. 6, n., and 54, n., we learn not only the name 
of Celestine's father, but those of two of his brothers (Nicholas and 
Robert) and two of his nephews (William and Peter). 

2 " Precibusque rogarent 

Sepe Dei verum natorum crescere quemquam 
Cultorem, etc." Stef., I.e., All these details of Peter's 
early life are drawn by Stef. from the spurious autobiography. 

3 B.D., c. 8. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 267 

-We learn, too, from Stefaneschi, who alone gives us these 
details of Peter's boyhood and youth, 1 that he felt drawn 
to a hermit's life. He was, however, deterred at first from 
carrying out his project, because, even at home, when 
alone he feared " the phantoms of the night ". He did 
not realize that one might be a hermit in a cave and still 
have a companion. But when he was about twenty 
(c. 1230), 2 he persuaded a companion to leave home with 
him and seek the real " sweet things of life " in solitude. 
They agreed to go first to Mother Rome to get a sanction 
for their proposed mode of life. But after a day's journey, 
his companion returned home, and Peter had to go on 
alone. Hearing that there was a hermit near Cast el del 
Sangro, he went to consult him. But enlightened from 
above, " from Olympus," as sings our poet with classical 
reminiscences, he left him, 3 and, timid though he was, 
passed the night in the open. Comforted and encouraged 
by heavenly visions, he thenceforth lost all fear of 
darkness, and dug out for himself a cave beneath a great 
rock, but so small was it that, though he was not tall, 
he could not stand upright, nor lie down at full length 
within it. Here, clad in a rough tunic, he remained for 
three years, with no companions but snakes, toads, and 
lizards. 4 

Oft was the young hermit here tempted by evil spirits, J"" 5 ^ and 
and oft, too, did he receive " great and mellifluous 
graces ". One of these later he thus lost. It was his 
wish to recite some of the canonical hours during the 
night, and ever was he able to fulfil his desire as a loud- 

1 But as drawn from the spurious autobiography they must be 
received with caution. 

2 This squares with the statement in B.D., c. 46, that at the time 
of his death Peter de Morrone had led a life of sixty -five years of 
penance. 

3 " Forte malus simulare bonum." Stef., I.e. 

4 " Hie fuit, hie jacuit. Serpentibus atque lacertis 

Hie locus est, rospi comites recubantibus adsunt." lb. 



He is 



268 ST. CELESTINE V. 

resounding bell regularly roused him from his sleep. 
Ignorant of this, a brother hermit suggested that he 
should get a cock to rouse him. Peter agreed, but the 
cock that was given him crowed no more, nor was the 
sound of the great bell heard again. 1 
SdaLed ^he * ame °* Peter's sanctity spread abroad, and the 

priest. many who came to visit him urged him to get ordained 

priest. He accordingly went to Rome, and, returning to 
the Abruzzi a priest, took up his abode in a cave on 
Mount Morrone, 2 where now stands the Church of 
St. Spirito. 

The chronology of the life of Peter previous to his 
election as Pope is obscure ; and it is not possible to say 
exactly in what year he was ordained or in what year 
he became a monk. With regard to the latter event, we 
know at least that it took place before the year 125 1, 3 
and we know further that he was received into the 
Benedictine Order in the abbey of Our Lady of Faysolis 
(or in Faivolis). 4 From the evidence of the octogenarian 
physician, Raynald Gentilis, the date of this reception 
can be pushed back beyond 1241, as the doctor testified 
that, when he was " about fifteen " (c. 1241), he saw and 
spoke to brother Peter, who was " clad in the garb of a 
monk ". 5 Finally, as Pope Celestine himself, when 

1 " Sed protinus ille 
Subticuit vocemque negat, cantumque recusat 
Gallus." 

lb. This story is taken by Stefaneschi from the supposititious auto- 
biography, c. i, n. 7. 

2 lb. 

3 The last witness whose testimony was taken in 1306 by the arch- 
bishop of Naples said that he (Leonard Carpentarius) was 80 years 
old, and that he had seen brother Peter, then a beardless young man, 
in the garb of a monk on Monte Morrone, fifty-five years before, i.e., in 
1251, ap. Seppelt, p. 330. 

4 B.D., c. 15a. " Cujus (S. Maria in Fayfolis) abbas dederat sibi 
primo habitum sanctae religionis." 

5 See the twenty-three witnesses, ap. Sep., p. 232. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 269 

confirming " the Celestine congregation of the Benedictine 
Order ", not only expresses his particular affection for 
that Order, but says that he made his vows in it in his 
early youth, 1 we may safely conclude that he became a 
monk before he became a hermit in 1230. 

Finding that his solitude which he loved so much was Retires to 
too much disturbed on Monte Morrone, as it was com- 
paratively near the town of Sulmona, Peter retired to 
the still more inaccessible range of the Majella. He 
was certainly there by the year 1256. 2 

Even here men followed him, and a number of them The 
put themselves under his direction. The Celestine Q f the nmg 
congregation was born. 3 With some strict interpreta- Celestine 

00 1 1 r congrega- 

tions, the Saint placed his followers under the rule of tion. 

St. Benedict which he had himself embraced 4 ; for, say 

his biographers, it was the will of God that this rule, 

which many of its professors had trampled in the mud, 

should be revivified by these His new servants. 5 

As the number of his disciples increased rapidly, brother 

Peter had to seek out suitable places in which they could 

live ; and when they were established in their new 

homes, he used to visit them frequently, in order, we 



1 " In quo (the Benedictine Order) dum juventutis nostrae pro- 
gressio ordiretur, professionis nostrae vota devovimus." Bull, of Sept. 
27, 1294, ap. Bullar. Rom., iv, p. 116 ff., ed. Turin. Ludovisi gives a 
different chronological scheme of Celestine's early life, p. 30 f., in the 
Centenary vol. 

2 Peter de Balduino, the eighty-third witness examined for our 
Saint's canonization in 1306, said that he had often visited him in his 
cell (career) among the hermits on Mt. Majella fifty years before. 
" Dixit quod jam sunt anni quinquaginta quod ipse testis vidit eum 
in heremis in monte videlicet de Majella, etc." Ap. Seppelt, p. 284. 
Cf. n. 49, p. 251 f., for the similar evidence of Dompna Maria. Cf. 
Stef., ii, 7. 

3 " Misit (God) ad ilium non paucam multitudinem fratrum." B.D., 
c. 9, Stef., I.e., p. 52. 

4 Stef., I.e. 

5 B.D., c. 12. 



270 ST. CELESTINE V. 

are told, to strengthen their weakness and to encourage 

them to bear their poverty by his words and example. 1 

T il e .. . These, indeed, were the two things that had drawn 

attraction of ° 

Bro. Peter, them to him — the sight of his austere life, and the 
irresistible sweetness of his words and manner. Both 
his disciples and Stefaneschi tell us at length of his love 
of prayer, how he spent much of the night as well as of 
the day praying, how the devotion with which he said 
Mass inflamed the piety of the bystanders, and how he 
recited the Divine Office on his knees with the greatest 
fervour. His austerities well-nigh pass belief. He 
brought his body into subjection by hairshirts, knotted 
leathern girdles, 2 and even iron chains. When his 
exhausted frame could no longer stand or kneel he lay 
down on boards in a cramped position, with a stone or 
a block of wood for a pillow, and, in the bitter winter 
on an exposed mountain, with coverings utterly 
insufficient to keep out the cold. 3 At no time did he 
eat more than was barely enough to support life. Often 
the bread that he ate was so stale and hard that it had 
to be broken with a hammer, and during the four or six 
" Lents " which, quite apart from everyone, he kept every 
year, he often ate only twice a week, and then took nothing 
but bread and water. Sometimes he even went without 
bread, and took but some raw vegetables and apples. 
On Sundays and festivals, he and his disciples partook 

1 lb., c. 10. 

2 See also the evidence of witness 111, ap. Seppelt, p. 308 ; of W. 162, 
p. 329. 

3 B.D., c. 6, where it is said that, owing to the freezing of his wet 
clothes to the walls of his cave, he remained immovable for twenty 
days. " Qui hujusmodi tenacitate glacierum obsessus diebus viginti 
stetit immobilis." When after this he had been warmed back to life, 
he somewhat modified these austerities, as he heard a voice telling him 
not to put so heavy a load on " the little ass " of his body ; for, if he 
died in consequence, he would have to answer to God for the loss of 
his life. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 271 

of cooked vegetables flavoured with poor oil ; but, as 
far as he himself was concerned, he generally ate the 
vegetables without any kind of flavouring. 

When not occupied in prayer, he was always engaged 
in reading or in some kind of manual work. He was never 
idle. If he was not engaged with visitors he was either 
reading the Bible or some pious book, or copying or 
binding books, or making or mending his own poor 
coarse clothing, or that of the brethren. He knew that 
idleness was the source of all evil. 1 

Except during his " Lents " his time was very largely 
taken up in receiving people who came to see him from 
all parts. All sorts and conditions of men flocked to him. 
The fame of his goodness and sanctity, of his miraculous 
powers, and of his engaging manners 2 drew both men 
and women to him in the hope of getting health of body 
or consolation for their stricken spirits. Not only did 
kings 3 and nobles come to consult him, but even the 
clergy 4 ; and what is the greatest miracle of all, many 
men of evil life were converted as soon as they came in 
contact with him. In fact, we are assured that no matter 
how dissolute some of those who visited him might be, 
they all left him better men. 5 As far as women were 
concerned, though he did not refuse to see them, still, 



1 " (Ut) tentationis interdiceret alimenta, liberalibus aut mechanicis 
sudabat in artibus, scribens scilicet, libros ligans, vestes attritas suas 
fratrumque resarciens aut suens." B.D., c. 3. Cf. c. 7. 

2 Helped for a long time at least by his handsome appearance : 
" Hie . . . juvenili forma decorus." lb., c. 8. Cf. the eighth witness 
notes how people were affected : " solo aspectu faciei illius." Ap. 
Sep., p. 211. 

3 The Kings of Sicily and Hungary, Charles II. and Charles Martel. 

4 Cf. witness 56, ap. Sep., p. 258, and B.D., c. 19, p. 408. 

5 See witnesses 19, ap. S., pp. 226-7 ; wit. 22, p. 231 ; and the 
testimony of Bartholomew of Trasacco, ap. ib., pp. 333-4. Cf. B.D., 
n. 5. 



272 ST. CELESTINE V. 

for the sake of greater recollection, he avoided meeting 
them as far as possible. 1 

He had the greatest love and care for the poor, and, 
though none so poor as he, he was able to help them 
with money that was given to him, 2 and by the effect 
which his words had with the rich and powerful whom 
he ever urged to greater regard for the poor. 
Jf he As the poor got alms from Brother Peter, the sick 

Order. health, the perplexed advice, and the sorrowful 

comfort, his time and attention were largely absorbed by 
the crowds that flocked to him for these blessings. But 
over and above these lesser worries, his ever-growing 
congregation gave him much more concern. From his 
first house of St. Maria del Morrone, and especially from 
his second of St. Spirito di Majella, his religious family 
began to spread steadily. Streams of monks, wrote 
Petrarch, flowed like its water-courses from the Majella 
over the plains beneath. 3 The poet was astonished, and 
we must remember that he was born (1304) only eight 
years after the death of Celestine ; he was astonished when 
he reflected how rapidly the Saint's congregation had 
spread over Italy. 4 In the lifetime of its founder, brother 
Peter's Order counted thirty-six monasteries and six 
hundred monks. 5 

1 See the sworn evidence of various witnesses, ap. S., pp. 226, 234, 
334. One of these witnesses says bluntly (p. 234) : " Frater Petrus 
visionem mulierum horrebat." Cf. witness 81, p. 282 ; w. 85, p. 285 f. ; 
w. 105, p. 303 f. 2 Cf. wit. 125, p. 320. Cf. p. 334. 

3 De vit. solitaria, ii, sect. 3, c. 9, vol. i, p. 296, ed. Basle, 1554. 

4 lb., ii, sect. 3, c. 18. " Et quam brevi spatio temporis per omnem 
Italiae tractum, usque ad alpes quot ab eodem instituti ordinis conventus 
sacri ! " 

6 Before its final collapse in the turmoil at the beginning of the last 
century, it had spread into France and Belgium, and in Italy alone it 
had at one time 120 abbeys, priories, and monasteries, without reckoning 
oratories. Cf. G. Ettore's paper, " Sinopsi storica dell' ordine di C. V." 
in Centen., p. 371 ff. For the numbers in Peter's lifetime, see B.D., 
n. 26. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 273 

It must be confessed, however, that the Order of 
St. Damian, 1 or, as it was afterwards called, that of the 
Celestines, was not a great asset to the Church. William 
of Nangis calls Pope Celestine "the Father of a certain 
thin religion " and after the effect of brother Peter's 
personal example had worn off, the Order began to decay 
steadily. It has been pointed out that he made no 
definite regulation about the regular practice of mental 
prayer, nor about the reception of novices, nor about 
study. Hence, though the various houses were 
dependent on the abbot-general of the monastery of the 
Holy Ghost on Monte Morrone, they were independent of 
one another, and often small, unfit subjects were very 
frequently received, and at length profound ignorance 
even of the proper principles of the spiritual life became 
manifest among considerable numbers of the brethren of 
the Order. Despite the efforts of Blessed Robert Bellar- 
mine, who became Protector of the Order in 1666, to 
reform it, disunion and corruption led to its suppression 
in France in 1766, and to its entire extinction in the 
course of the following few decades. 2 

The first Pope who was brought into contact with The Popes in 
the new congregation was Urban IV. In accordance with thTnew 1 * 11 
a request which had been laid before him on behalf of " the Order. 
Rector and Brothers of the Hermitage of the Holy Spirit iv., 1263! 
on the Majella ", he commissioned the Ordinary Nicholas, 
bishop of Chieti, to incorporate them with the Benedictine 
Order, without prejudice to the rights of any one, seeing 
that at present, he wrote, they are not subject to any 
Order whatsoever. 3 

1 The Order " qui a plerisque dicitur S. Damiani sub regula S. 
Benedicti ". B. Guidonis, Vita, ap. R. I. SS., iii, pt. i, p. 669. 

2 See X. Le Bachelet, " Le B. Bellarmin et les Celestins de France," 
ap. Rev. des Quest. Hist., 1926, p. 527 ff., from which this paragraph 
is mostly drawn. 

3 Ep. June 1, 1263, ap. Potthast, 18551, and in full in Cantera, p. 13. 
Vol. XVII. t 



274 ST - CELESTINE V. 

(2) Clement Five vears later, Clement IV. addressed a letter to the 

IV 1368 

faithful of the dioceses of Valva-Sulmona, Chieti, and 
Marsi. He told them of what he had heard of the hard 
life which " the Prior and brothers of the hermitage of 
the Majella " were leading in the remotest recesses of 
the mountains, in order, by the strictest poverty, to 
serve the poor Redeemer. Now, he added, the Prior and 
brothers of the hermitage of Mte. Morrone, subject 
to the hermitage on the Majella, have taken in hand to 
rebuild the Church of our Lady there. He accordingly 
exhorted the people to help them, and " by the authority 
of God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul which 
had been confided to him, he granted to all such as did 
so, and had, with due sorrow, confessed their sins, a 
relaxation of a hundred days of the penance which had 
been imposed upon them ". 1 

(3) Gregory But no matter into what well-nigh inaccessible places 

X 1273-4 

on the Majella the Saint retired, men followed him ; and, 
whether he wished it or not, kept him in touch with the 
things of the world. Thus he learnt of the great council 
which Pope Gregory X. had summoned, and also of his 
intention to suppress a number of Orders that had been 
recently started. In fear for his own Order, Bro. Peter 
with two companions walked all the way to Lyons where 
the council was to be held. Like other men, Gregory 
fell under the charm of the simple monk ; and, to Peter's 
great satisfaction, readily confirmed his adaptation of 
St. Benedict's rule. 2 Protected from robbers by snakes 
and by an angel in the guise of a beautiful horseman, 3 
the Saint and his companions returned in safety to his 
monks. All flocked " to look once more on his glorious 

1 Ep. of May 26, 1268, ap. N. F. Faraglia, Coclice diplomatic*) Sul- 
monese, Lanciano, 1888, p. 73. 

2 B.D., cc. 11-12 : " Qui (God) in futurum providebat b. Benedicti 
regulam per istos novellos servulos relevare." 

3 See also Stefan., iii. Oi>. Met., iii. c. 16. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 275 

face ", and to hear read the bull confirming their 
Order. 1 

Soon after his return to the Majella, Peter was called to Abbot of S. 
be abbot of the monastery of Sta. Maria in Faysolis in Faysolis, 
which he had received the Benedictine habit. 2 The 1276 ~ 8 - 
monastery had fallen into complete decay. Its buildings 
and finances were ruined. But, not long after Capifer, 
archbishop of Benevento, had made it over to brother 
Peter, it began to revive, and, before he left it, its 
possessions had been recovered, over forty monks were 
in residence, and he had made accommodation for sixty. 
His biographer says that he went back to his solitude 
after being abbot for a year only, 3 but from local episcopal 
letters addressed to Bro. Peter "de Murrone", "abbot of 
Sta. Maria in Faysulis " (1276-8), it would seem that he 
must have been abbot for part at least of two years. 4 
Peter was certainly speaking the truth when, as Pope, 
he said that the great wish of his heart had always been 
to keep churches from falling to pieces, and, if they 
had collapsed, to restore them to spiritual and temporal 
prosperity. 5 

After Peter had been abbot of Faysolis for two or three Peter in 
years " because he had always loved solitude " 6 he 

1 lb., c. 13 : " Omnes fratres . . . concurrebant ad revidendam 
suam faciem gloriosam." Cf. Gregory's bull of March 22, 1275, ap. 
Potthast, n. 21006. 

2 lb., c. 15a. The monastery was in the province in which Peter 
had been born, " cujus abbas dederat sibi primo habitum sanctae 
religionis." 

3 lb. 

4 Reg. Nich. I V.,n. 4217 of Feb. 20, 1291, wherein letters of four local 
bishops are quoted. Two of them bearing dates 1276 and 1278 
respectively, are addressed to Peter " de Murrone", abbot of S. M. de 
Faysulis. 

5 See his letter of Oct. 20, 1294, ap. Faraglia, Cod. Sulm., n. 92, 
p. 117. " Inter cetera desideria cordis nostri illud existit precipuum, 
ut ecclesias preservemus a collapsibus, et collapsas ad prospera, 
spiritualiter et temporaliter reducamus." 

6 B.D., c. 15a. 



(a) Episcopal. 



276 ST. CELESTINE V. 

resigned the abbatial dignity, substituted one of his 
brothers in his place, and returned to live under the eyes 
of his Maker alone. 
Roman -phe affairs of his Order, however, soon called him forth 

monasteries. . . 

again before the eyes of his fellow men ; and, from one 
of the witnesses in connection with his canonization, we 
learn that he was in Rome " in the month of August, at 
the time when the Lord Pope Nicholas died " (1280). x 
He had come to the Eternal City in order to found or 
visit two monasteries of his Order, one St. Pier in Montorio, 
and the other, St. Eusebio. 2 
Persecution. Though in its strictest sense the saying that it takes 
two to make a quarrel is necessarily true, the implication 
in it that the two are both more or less to blame 
cannot be so readily admitted. It may be, of course, 
that, if one knew all the circumstances of every quarrel, 
the implication even might prove to be true. But, in such 
accounts as we have of many quarrels, it sometimes 
seems that only one party to the quarrel is to blame ; 
and certainly in the disputes in which Peter was engaged 
it would seem that he was not at fault. 

When the rumour that Gregory X. intended to suppress 
newly-founded religious Orders took Peter to Lyons, a 
number of bishops who had monasteries of his Order in 
their dioceses promptly declared that it had been 
suppressed, and laid hands on its property. However, 
on his return with a papal bull of approval, the bishops 
" with very great shame " restored what they had seized, 
and most of them, moreover, ceased to worry the monks 
as they had done before. The bishop of Chieti, however, 
was an exception, and " so persecuted the servants of 
God " that, in preparation for moving out of his diocese, 
they sent elsewhere their bells which they had got from 

1 Witness 92, p. 447. Nich. III., f Aug. 22, 1280. 

2 Celidonio, ii, c. 8, p. 58 ft. ; 68 ff. Cf. witness 74. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 277 

Venice, their books and other property. When, however, 
he was taken ill, he expressed his sorrow to Bro. Peter 
for the treatment he had meted out to him and his 
monks, and by way of satisfaction, imitated an example 
that had been already set him, and exempted the 
monasteries of the new Order from episcopal jurisdiction. 1 

Among others who, according to the two disciples, (&) Lay, 
persecuted the monastery and brothers of Faysolis was 
a certain baron, Simon of St. Angelo. Originally the 
quarrel turned on a question of homage for property held 
by the Abbey. Simon maintained that Peter should 
have done homage to him for it, whereas, with good 
reason, as Charles I. had declared on appeal, the abbot 
had taken the oath to the Justiciar of the Terra di Lavoro. 
Abbot Peter therefore appealed to Charles, who, after 
praising the worthy life led by his devoted subject 
(devotus noster) Peter of Morrone, took him and his 
monastery under his special protection in order that he 
might be free from molestation and at liberty to give 
himself wholly to divine contemplation. The royal 
officials were therefore ordered to protect the brethren 
who in security would be able to pray for him. 2 

But, as was often the case in those days, the local baron 
was more powerful than the distant King, and Simon 
continued to harass the monastery. Unwilling to remain 
in the midst of strife, Peter first of all handed over the 
care of the abbey to another (Bro. Philip), and then, 
as his substitute was equally unable to get effective aid 
against Simon, he ordered his monks to leave Faysolis, 
and to betake themselves to the ruined abbey of St. John 

1 Nicholas IV. in taking S. Spiritus de Majella "in proprietam Ap. 
Sedis " confirmed the exemptions of Nicholas of Chieti, etc. Reg., 
n. 4217 of Feb. 20, 1291. Cf. B.D., c. 14. 

2 Ap. C. M. Riccio, II regno di Carlo I. d'Angio, an. 1278, Sept. 27 ; 
but more documents from the Angevin Registers, ap. Cantera, I.e., 
p. 23 f. 



278 ST. CELESTINE V. 

Third Order, in Piano (Apulia) which had been offered to him. While 
the people, we are told, who had profited spiritually and 
temporally by the monks declared that they were 
abandoned by God when the monks left them, Simon 
was delighted. But his joy was short-lived, for death 
in turn soon after robbed him of his life and of his 
ill-gotten goods. 1 

Bro. Peter must also have been kept much occupied 
with a Fraternity or sort of " Third Order " which he 
established. This he founded for those who could not 
take the religious habit, but desired to be connected 
with his Order. Its members had to say every day a 
certain number of Our Fathers " for the living and for 
the dead ", to keep from grievous sin, to give alms, to 
love each other, looking after one another in sickness, 
helping their poorer brethren, and practising the works 
of mercy as far as they could. This society rapidly 
spread everywhere, and in some places soon counted a 
thousand members. 2 
Returns to j Q avo ^ the society of men in order that he might 
Morrone. the better devote himself to communing with his Maker, 
Bro. Peter had retired from one place to another seeking 
out retreats where he could not be disturbed. From 
Morrone he had retired to the Majella, for on that range 
he had gone from one remote spot to another. From 
the mountain by Castel del Sangro where he made his 
first attempt to lead the life of a hermit, he had gone to 
Monte Palleno, and then Monte Morrone, whence he took 
his name. From the last-named mountain, he had retired 
to the more remote Majella, and in its wild recesses or 
on its slopes he had betaken himself to Faysolis, to 

1 So say the two disciples, B.D., cc. \5b-d, and they add that, 
" dicitur," he died under sentence of excommunication for his treat- 
ment of their monastery. Peter soon restored the monastery of St. John 
in Piano, ib. Cf. docs, in Cantera, I.e. 

2 B.D., c. 26. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 279 

St. Giovanni in Piano, to St. Bartolomeo de Legio, and 
to Orfente. But though he had a more or less permanent 
residence at one or other of these places on the Majella, 
he had often to leave them in order to visit the forty 
monasteries or houses he had established in Rome and 
elsewhere. 1 Finding, however, that the people would 
come to him, winter or summer, 2 wherever he went, he 
decided to return to Monte Morrone, in order, says his 
biographer, that they might have more easy access to 
him. He caused a cell (St. Onofrio) to be built by a cave 
on an old fort (cast rum) called Segezanum, two miles 
from Sulmona, and half a mile from the monastery of 
the Holy Ghost. When he came to this new abode, he 
was received, we are told, " like Christ come down from 
heaven," by the whole countryside (June, 1293). Here 
he remained for thirteen months, till the day he left it 
as Pope (July, 1294). 3 

1 Celid., ii, 58 ff. 

2 One witness (n. 128, p. 324) said that he, with other men from 
Sulmona, had often in the winter time cleared away the deep snow 
from the road so that the people could get to the Saint. 

3 B.D., cc. 23-5. Cf. Cel., ii, 88, 108 ff. 



CHAPTER II 

HIS ELECTION ANNOUNCED TO BRO. PETER. HIS CON- 
SECRATION AND CORONATION. GOES TO NAPLES. 
HIS PONTIFICAL ACTS. 

Ordinals When Brother Peter de Morrone had been duly elected 
send envoys Pope, the formal election decree was at once drawn up 
Pet^r ' and si & ned b y a11 the cardinals (July 5, 1294). 1 But, no 

sooner was this done, and the excitement of the extra- 
ordinary moment had passed away, than the cardinals 
began to regret their impulsiveness. 2 This they showed, 
according to Stefaneschi, by sending to the Pope-elect, 
with their decree and a letter asking his consent to their 
election, not one of their own number, but three bishops 
and two notaries. From the letter which was dated 
July n, and signed by all the cardinals, we learn that 
its bearers were Berald de Got, archbishop of Lyons, the 
bishops of Orvieto and Patti, and the two apostolic 
notaries. It was addressed " To the most holy Father, 
and reverend Lord, Brother Peter of Morrone, of the 
Order of St. Benedict, by Divine Providence, bishop- 
elect of Rome and supreme Pontiff ". The cardinals, all 
of whom signed the letter, after saying that they kissed 
the feet of the Pope-elect, told him how God had moved 
them to elect him, and they entreated him, in view of the 
needs of the Roman Church, and of all the flock of Christ, 
to consent to their election of him. 3 



1 Given in full, ap. Raynaldus, Annul, 1294, n. 6 ; Cantera, p. 39, etc. 
It states that he was elected " nullo prorsus discordante ". 
" Nam linquere dulcem 
Incipiunt pacem proceres, monstrantque dolere 
Hunc legisse virum." 
Stef., Op. Met., ii, c. 3. 

3 Document in Raynaldus, I.e., n. 7, and Cantera, p. 41 f. 

280 



ST. CELESTINE V. 28l 

From Perugia the delegates of the cardinals made their Their 

° journey. 

way by Spoleto and Terni to Rieti. There, by the pass 
of the Velino, they entered what our poet calls the " jaws 
of the mountains " } and made their way over difficult 
paths to Aquila. Thence down the valley of the Pescara 
they went to Popoli and on to Sulmona. 2 After their 
wearisome journey of some one hundred and fifty miles 
which must have taken them about five or six days, the 
envoys must, with great satisfaction, have looked up 
from the road to the cell in which dwelt the hermit they 
had come to hail as Pope. 

News of the wondrous event had, of course, already ^fj ates 
reached the whole neighbourhood, and Brother Peter flight, 
himself. Everyone, say his disciples, was filled with 
joy at the news, except the hermit. He was in despair, 
and could not rid himself of his distress day or night. 
He called together his brethren, and told them that he 
could never accept the dignity. They, however, declared 
that schism would follow if he did not. " This selection," 
they argued, " has been brought about not by you, but 
by God. If you refuse to accept it, you are going against 
the will of God." " But who am I," he rejoined, " to 
take up such a burden and such power ? I, who have 
not strength enough to save myself, how am I to save 
the whole world ? " 

He accordingly resolved to fly with a single companion, 
and we learn from Petrarch that he selected to accompany 
him a young monk called Robert de Sala. But the 
people of the district, knowing his humility and fearing 
he would attempt flight, watched him day and night. 
He could do nothing but await the course of events, 



1 " Cumque super strictas fauces montanaque claustra Transissent, 
etc. Stef., I.e. 

2 " Populique domus, ubi pinguior amnis 
Ingreditur gelidas vallis Sulmonis in undas." lb. 



282 ST. CELESTINE V. 

dreading on the one hand to act against the will of God, 
and on the other to be unable to benefit the Church. 1 
Kmgs of Meanwhile, too, other important personages besides 

Hungary the envoys of the cardinals were hurrying to Sulmona. 
Suimona ^ s soon as Charles II. heard that a subject of his, one 
already bound to him by ties of gratitude, had been 
elected Pope, he named one of his sons, Philip, Prince of 
Taranto, Vicar of the kingdom, and, with his eldest son, 
Charles Martel, hastened to the Abruzzi in order to put 
immediate pressure on the new Pope. 2 
Envoys and Meeting in Sulmona, the Kings and the cardinals' 
Peter. envoys together made their way up the steep slopes of 

Monte Morrone to Peter's cell. The mountain rises to 
the height of some six thousand feet, and well over a 
thousand feet up its seared and stern looking face, 
whose wrinkled brow bears even to the end of May 3 the 
remains of the winter's snows, brother Peter had found 
in the soft rock a cave close by a well of water. Hard by 
he had caused a little cell of stone to be built on a narrow 
ledge of rock on one side of which was a steep precipice. 
Here, where in the summer no sound is heard but the 
scream of the hawk, and in the winter none but the howl 
of the wolf, he had already lived for more than a year, 
when he was called to his iron-grated window to receive 
kings and bishops. 

Whilst, with the sweat pouring from them, the kings 

1 B.D., c. 28. " Timebat enim Dei voluntati contraire, timebatque, 
si reciperet, quod non prodesset Ecclesiae Dei, sicut omnes credebant." 
Cf. Petrarch, De vita solit., ii, sect, iii, c. 18, who has much to say in 
Robert's praise. Telera, in his life of R. di Salla, says that when 
Celestine afterwards begged him to accompany him as Pope, he replied 
that he was ready to follow the footsteps of Peter of Morrone, but not 
those of Celestine V. Historie de Celestini, p. 219, Bologna, 1648. 

2 See the Angevin Registers, n. 60 (1292 C), ff. 208, 242; and n. 66 
(1294 C), ff. 23 a tergo, 66 a tergo, etc. ; and n. 185 (1309 B.). f. 26, 
cited by Cantera, pp. 42-3. 

3 When I visited it in 1923. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 283 

and envoys were toiling up the narrow track which led 
to the hermit's cell, 1 they were joined by cardinal 
Peter Colonna. He had come, says Stefaneschi, quite 
on his own account, merely to curry favour. 2 

It is not difficult to imagine the curiosity with which 
Colonna and the delegates peered through the window 
of the little cell to see what sort of a man was the new 
Pope, or their wonder at what they saw. Behind the 
bars stood a man evidently of very great age, seemingly 
dazed at the sight of the dignified throng before him, and 
by the knowledge of the errand on which they had come. 
Bearded was he, and pale, with cheeks and limbs 
emaciated by long fasts, and with the lids of his dark 
eyes swollen with much weeping. Yet with all this, 
and with his stiff coarse garments, he was venerable 
withal ; for his form and features, dress and dwelling, 
all bespoke the Saint. 3 

Uncovering their heads, all present bent their knees Brother 
before the pious recluse, while he in turn bowed down to accepts the 
the earth before his visitors. Then the archbishop of P a P ac y- 
Lyons told him that he had been unanimously elected 



1 Stef., Vita., ii, c. 4. " Fusa per artus Unda fuit gravitate vie." 

2 One MS. of Stef. has a more severe verse about him than the others. 
It runs : " Sed gravi cupiens proprio captare favorem." The same 
version adds what is very unlikely, and that is that brother Peter was 
at first disposed not to receive the forward cardinal. 

3 Such is the description of the Saint as given us by Stefaneschi, 
who saw him. Other descriptions given us by some modern writers 
have no other foundation than that of their imaginations. 

" Grandevum videre senem . . . 

Attonitum tantave super novitate morantem, 
Hirsutum barba, mestum pallore figura 
Atque genis maciem jejunaque membra ferentem, 
Sed tumidum lacrimis oculi velamina nigri 
Palpebras, rigidum toga, vultuque verendum. 
Nam domus et facies, habitus gestusque beatum 
Demonstrant." 
Stef., Vita, ii, c. 5. 



284 ST. CELESTINE V. 

Pope, handed him the decree of election, and implored 
him to undertake the ruling of the Church. After cardinal 
Colonna had added a few words of his own, 1 brother 
Peter, receiving the election decree, begged the delegates 
to add their prayers to his that God would enlighten 
him as to what reply he should make. For a time he 
prayed prostrate on the ground, and then quietly told 
his hearers that he bowed to the wishes of the Sacred 
College and accepted the dignity of the Papacy. For the 
sake of his own peace of mind, he concluded, he would 
not allow the Church of Rome to suffer further wrongs. 2 
Straightway the assembled company hailed him as 
Pope, kissed the hairy buskins (chiffonibus vilosis) 3 which 
encased his feet, and received in turn the kiss of peace. 
Meanwhile the mountain was alive with people swarming 
up its steep sides to gaze on the new Pope. Toiling up 
the steep slopes under the blazing July sun might be 
seen bishops and clergy, nobles and peasants, including 
our poet himself, " with perspiration pouring from his 
face and every limb." Among those who then " adored " 
the new Pope were the King of Naples and his son, Charles 
Martel, whom Stefaneschi describes as bright of face, 
with curly golden hair, and with the velvety down of 
youth on his smooth white cheeks. 4 
The new Jo be more accessible to the crowds who flocked to 

Aquila and see him, the new Pope left his cell, and came down the 
w > tn e tn° ndS moun ta-in to the monastery of the Holy Ghost, which he 

cardinals. 

1 lb. In his brief commentary on his own poem, Stefaneschi adds 
that cardinal Peter spoke simply on his own account, " quia a se, non 
ex parte Collegii loquebatur." 

2 lb., c. 6. Even Gregorovius, Rome, v, pt. ii, p. 520 f., is disposed 
to admire "the courageous acceptance of the Saint", and to believe 
it probable that he acted from "a sense of duty". 

3 lb. Such as may still at times be seen covering the feet and legs 
of an Italian peasant. 

4 lb. Cf. also B.D., cc. 28-9. " Reges Sicilian et Ungariae . . . 
electum . . . depositis coronis regalibus, adoraverunt." 



ST. CELESTINE V. 285 

had himself rebuilt. 1 There he remained a few days, 
and then prepared to leave it, in order to be consecrated 
and crowned. To judge from the narrative of his disciples, 
he had naturally thought of going to Rome to be 
enthroned. 2 But that was not to the mind of Charles II., 
and perhaps it is not to be wondered at that the mind 
of the King should impress itself on that of the new Pope. 
If brother Peter was never "the keeper of the King's 
conscience ", 3 he was very friendly with him, 4 and must 
have been very well disposed towards him for what, 
certainly up to this, had been his disinterested kindness 
to him, and interest in his Order. At any rate, Stefaneschi 
assures us, and subsequent events seem clearly to prove 
that, in his utter ignorance of the ways of the world and 
of affairs of state, he put himself completely in the hands 
of King Charles and his lay lawyers. 5 The members of 
his Order, too, did the same, as they feared that, if power 
again came into the hands of the College of Cardinals, 
they would suppress them. Accordingly, both the King 
and the monks persuaded the Pope that at his age he 
could not in the summer journey to Rome or Perugia, 
and that he should be consecrated at Aquila instead. 
A letter, therefore, to that effect was dispatched to the 
cardinals. 6 

Without waiting for the cardinals' reply to his letter, 
the Pope decided to go to Aquila. King Charles, 

1 lb. 

2 " Ibi (in the monastery) aliquot peractis diebus, arripuit iter, ut 
Romam pergeret . . . mantum apostolicum suscepturus." C. 29. 

3 Geoffroy de Courlon, Chron., p. 580, tells us that it was said that 
bro. P. " suam (the King's) conscienciam audiebat." 

4 lb. 

5 Vita., iii, c. 1. 

" (Ex) quo factum est, ut sibi magni 
Crederet hie laicos, quos juris in arte peritos 
Prudentesve ratus." 

6 lb. 



286 ST. CELESTINE V. 

accordingly, sent word to the Justiciar of the Abruzzi 
that the Pope and he were about to proceed to that city, 
and that, therefore, especially in view of the fact that 
people would crowd to it from every quarter to see the 
new Pope, he must look to it that there was an abundant 
supply of the necessaries of life. 1 

Despite the protests of the two kings and the great 
ones in the Church and State " who take delight in fine 
horses ", the Pope insisted on riding on an ass. Some 
regarded such an act as derogatory to the Papacy, and 
even Stefaneschi thought it would have been better had 
he, in humble spirit, ridden a horse, though at the same 
time he believed that a profitable example had been 
thereby given to some of the clergy. 2 

At any rate, the Pope had his own way, and left Sulmona 

on the 25th or 26th of July. Passing by Popoli, he 

entered Aquila on the 27th, with a King on each side 

of him leading his ass, and accompanied by three 

cardinals, " counts, barons, and a countless number of 

people." 3 

The A reply to his letter now reached him from the cardinals 

the Pope to a t Perugia. They had already sent a letter which crossed 

come to fa^t f ^ e p pe. In it they had begged him to come 

Perugia or to r J °° 

papal to them, as it would furnish a bad precedent if a Pope 

territory. 

1 See his Reg., 1294, M. fol. 232 t., ap. M. Riccio, Studii sopra 84 Reg. 
Ang., p. 47, Naples, 1876. See other similar mandates of July 22-5, 
ap. Cantera, p. 45. 

2 B.D., c. 29 ; Stef., Vita, iii, c. 2, and commentary, p. 59. 

3 B.D., and Stef., II. cc, and documents in Cantera, p. 46, for the 
dates. The disciples speak of the cardinals, " qui praevenerant alios," 
and from Stefaneschi we learn that two others, the Dominican Hugh 
Seguin and Napoleon Orsini, had imitated the example of Peter and 
come : " Non missos gravitate patrum sed sponte ruentes " (iii, c. 4). 
Ptolemy of Lucca, however, in place of Orsini, gives the other Colonna, 
James (Annales, ap. R. I. SS., xi, p. 1300). Ptolemy is probably 
correct. It was perhaps this conduct of the two Colonnas that helped 
to turn Gaetani (Boniface VIII.) against them. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 287 

were consecrated at a distance from the cardinals. Then 
there were the expenses and inconveniences of a summer 
journey and places unsuitable for their residence to be 
considered, besides other powerful reasons which they 
thought advisable not to specify. When, however, the 
Pope's letter reached them, they realized that they would 
have to speak plainly. In their answer, therefore, to his 
letter, they pointed out that it was not desirable for the 
Roman Curia to go into the kingdom of Naples. Pope 
Martin IV. had refused to go to help King Charles I. when 
the Aragonese had seized Sicily. Then, when they had 
repeated their previous arguments about expense and 
trouble for so many of them to go to Aquila, they pointed 
out that he could come to them by slow stages in a closed 
litter, and begged him not to give ear to men who were 
working simply for their own ends. 1 Further, the bishop 
of Orvieto, in the name of the cardinals, begged the Pope 
to come at least into papal territory if the journey to 
Perugia was too much for him. Finally, as a last resort, 
the cardinals even besought the King, by all that he and 
his father owed to the Holy See, to support their petition. 

Deceived, however, by those around him in whom he The new 
placed his trust, the simple Pope would not listen to U nfortSnate 
the cardinals' reasons, but renewed his declaration that appoint- 
he would be crowned at Aquila, and requested the 
cardinals to send him the papal insignia. 2 Meanwhile, 
too, the new Pope showed his simplicity still further by 
appointing, contrary to custom, a lay notary, and one, 
moreover, attached to the chancellary of Charles II. 
This was Bartholomew of Capua, 3 whose name figures 
so frequently in the Angevin archives as Counsellor 

1 Stef., Vita, iii, c. iii. 

" Suberunt que scripsimus olim 
Exemplum, mores, grave damnum murmur egestas." 

2 lb., c. 4-5. 

3 lb., c. 2. 



288 



ST. CELESTINE V. 



Death of 

cardinal 

Latinus. 



Peter takes 
the name of 
Celestine. 



and Protonotary of the Kingdom of Sicily. 1 Charles 
might well, after stating that Bartholomew had been 
made a papal notary, add that he would be as useful — 
even more useful — to him in the future than he had been 
in the past. 2 Moreover, in naming the archbishop of 
Benevento, John of Castrocceli, a mere worldling, his 
vice-chancellor, the confiding Pontiff made perhaps a still 
greater mistake. 3 

At this juncture died Latinus, the worthy cardinal of 
Ostia, who had been mainly instrumental in bringing 
about the election of brother Peter. He was spared the 
sight of the troubles which directly and indirectly it 
brought on the Church. As it was the bishop of Ostia 
who had to take the most important part in the instalment 
of a Pope, Peter ordered the archbishop of Benevento 
to consecrate the Dominican Hugh, one of the three 
cardinals who had already come to him, as bishop in 
place of Latinus. 4 

As soon as the red mantle and the other papal insignia 
reached Aquila, they were conferred by cardinal Orsini 
on the new Pope, who thereupon took the name of 
Celestine. Clad now in all the state that became his 
high office, he received the solemn homage of bishops 
and clergy, kings and nobles, and imparted over and 
over again his solemn benediction to the assembled 
people. 5 



1 E.g., M. Riccio, Delia dominazione Angioma, p. 36. 

2 Naples, Archivio di Stato, Angio. Reg., 68, f. 117, cited by Seppelt 
in his notes to this passage of Stefaneschi. 

3 Stef., I.e., 

4 lb., c. 5. Cf. Ptolemy of L., H.E., xxiv, c. 30. 

5 Stef., I.e., Hi, 5. 

" Subjecta pedum dant oscula proni 
Pontifices, reges, clerus, comites proceresque." 
Cf. Ptolemy, I.e., c. 31, who tells he was present and saw how the shouts 
of the people for his blessing brought the Pope to the window over and 
over again. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 



The 



Realizing at last that their well-founded objections to ^ 
the Pope's being consecrated outside his own realm had come to 
made no impression on the untutored mind of Celestine, ^estinete 
the cardinals made a virtue of necessity and came as they consecrated, 
feared " into the great dangers " of Aquila. 1 The last 
to arrive was cardinal Gaetani. He had at first hesitated 
to come, as he knew that his free speech at Perugia had 
offended King Charles. By his address, however, he 
soon, at least, pacified the King, and gained that out- 
standing position in the Curia which had been previously 
held by the three cardinals who had first come to Celestine. 
They had become " lords of the Curia " (domini curiae) ; 
but when Gaetani came, it was he who was promptly 
looked up to " as the lord of the Curia ". 2 

In the course of the eighties of this thirteenth century, 
brother Peter had entirely rebuilt the Church of our 
Lady of Collemaggio about half a mile from the city of 
Aquila. 3 This great church, whence one sees to the 
north the Gran Sasso d'ltalia with its two peaks, and 
to the East Monte Morrone with the Majella behind it, 
though much damaged by earthquakes, still presents a 
noble appearance. Especially is this the case when the 
sun illumines the rich red and yellow stone of which 
its facade is composed, and throws up into relief its 
dainty twisted columns and the delicately carved foliage 
with which they are adorned. 

In and around this Church on the Feast of the beheading 
of St. John the Baptist (Aug. 29) in the year 1294 stood 
some two hundred thousand people of whom Ptolemy of 

1 lb., c. 6. 

2 Cf. Ptolemy, I.e., and his Annates, p. 1300. In the first passage 
we read : " Venit (Benedict Gaetani) ultimo, et sic scivit deducere 
sua negotia quod f actus est quasi Dominus Curiae." 

3 See the rescript of bp. Nicholas (Oct. 6, 1287) exempting the new 
church, then near completion, from episcopal jurisdiction. Ap. Reg. 
Nicholas IV., n. 4217, or ap. Muratori, Antiq. Hal., vi, p. 943 n. Cf. 
Celidonio, ii, pp. 74 and 84 f. 

Vol. XVII. u 



290 ST. CELESTINE V. 

Lucca was one. 1 They had come from every hill town 
to this solitary little plateau to see their well-beloved 
saint and countryman raised to the highest throne on 
earth. It was, says Stefaneschi, the new bishop, Hugh 
of Ostia, who poured upon the head of the Saint the oil 
of episcopal consecration, and the first of the deacons, 
Matteo Rosso, who bestowed on him the pallium of white 
wool, and placed the glittering crown upon his head. 
After the ceremony in the Church, Celestine mounted a 
platform which had been erected outside it from which 
he could give his blessing to the expectant thousands. 
Thence, this time on a white horse, he returned amidst 
the joyous acclamations of the multitude to the city, 
in order to hold the traditional banquet. 2 
Celestine As Celestine in his new surroundings continued, as far 

continues to , _ ° 

lead his as possible, to lead his old style of life, 3 we may be sure 
simp e i e. ^ a t ]3 an q Ue ^ s were no t to his liking. A contemporary 
poet, Francesco da Baberino, a man in his day (1264-1348) 
well known in royal courts, lets us know of what 
magnificence were Celestine's ordinary banquets. He 
tells us that he saw him walking about in his room 
munching a piece of dry bread whilst a monk from a 
little pitcher of wine gave him to drink. And he heard 
him say, as his mother had been wont to tell him, that 



1 H.E., xxiv, 29. " Et ego interfui." 

2 Stef., I.e., c. 6. He adds that he had described this coronation 
ceremony but briefly, because he intended to describe that " of his 
holy successor " at length, not to gain any kind of favour, but because 
a coronation in Rome was naturally a more splendid affair. We have 
seen that he carried out his intention. Cf. Celestine's ep. of Sept. 29, 
ap. Raynaldus, Ann., 1294, n. 13, and the Angevin Archives (e.g., 
Reg. 1345-6 U. fol. 160, ap. Notizie storiche of M. Riccio, p. 22) for 
notices of an annual grant of money to the Church of St. Maria " because 
Pope C. was crowned there ", or, ap. ib., p. 48, " out of reverence for 
Blessed Teter of Majella whose body is buried there." Other references 
in Cantera, p. 50, n. 

3 B.D., cc. 29, 34. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 2C;I 

eating and drinking in that manner was the most enjoyable 
(sapidius) way in the world to eat and drink. 

He was also wont to say to his monks : But for you 
I would not be Pope. Asked why, he replied : It is a 
greater annoyance to me to command than it was a 
pleasure to do everything for myself. 1 

A few days after his consecration, Celestine announced Announces 
his election to the Catholic world, writing among others 
to our King Edward . After emphatically calling attention 
to the inscrutable ways of God, and to the unfortunate 
delay in the election of a successor to Nicholas IV., he 
told how the cardinals were suddenly moved to elect him. 
Although he knew that the burden that had been put upon 
him was far too heavy for his weak shoulders, especially 
as for a very great length of time (longissimis temporibus) 
he had been leading the life of a hermit, he had accepted 
it, as he knew that a longer vacancy of the Holy See 
would be most detrimental to the Church, and as he 
feared to resist the call of God. He trusted that the 
Almighty would help his inexperience. Meanwhile he 
urged Edward to reign with justice, and to work for 
the peace of his people and of surrounding nations, 
promising him that he would do all he could to promote 
his interests. 2 

Among the many letters of congratulation which the Letter of 
new Pope received one has come down to us. It was ti^fromthe 

archbp. of 
York. 

1 Cf. A. Thomas, F. da B. et la Htterature Provengale en Italie, p. 181 f., 

Paris, 1883. Cf. p. 14. The quotation is from F. da B's Document 
Amoris, fo. 26b. F. da B. does not actually give the Pope's name, 
but it is clear to whom he refers. He tells us, further, that he came 
from a humble station in life (vilis status) and that he had neither been 
in the household of any distinguished person, nor had ever himself 
been waited on. He tells also of others as uncultivated as himself 
(rudes) who served him in their own rough manner. 

2 Ep. of Sept. 3, 1294, ap. Rymer, ii, p. 654. Cf. Potthast, nn. 
23958, and 23969, to the archbishop of Ravenna, the Duke of 
Austria, etc. 



292 ST. CELESTINE V. 

sent by Romanus, archbishop of York, a man who had 
been in favour with five Popes from Innocent IV. to 
Nicholas IV. Addressing his father and lord in Christ, 
subscribing himself the Pope's lowly servant, and pro- 
fessing his complete subjection to him, 1 he told him how 
the Church at large was rejoicing at the close of the long 
vacancy of the chief See, and how much that joy was 
shared by the Church of York, directly dependent as 
it was on the Roman Church. 2 Praying God to grant 
the Pope a long and happy life, he begged him to give 
a favourable reception to his proctors, 
injudicious Unfortunately, as a rule, neither one's own prayers 

acts of the 

new Pope, nor those of others will make up for want of training, 
and Celestine had had no manner of education for the 
post he was called upon to fill. Despite anything that 
could be done by Gaetani and the more serious and 
conscientious of his official advisers, Celestine was misled 
by his monks, more well-meaning than well-informed, 
and deliberately deceived by many who were bent solely 
on advancing their own interests by any means. 3 With 
the place and favour seekers, with the benefice hunters, 
and with all that tribe, many officials of the papal 



1 " Servulus suus . . . cum recommendatione devota, et subjectione 
omnimoda, humillima. 

2 Ep. of Nov. 11, 1294, ap. Letters from North. Registers, p. 108, 
R. S. " llujus autem solatii Ebor. ecclesia . . . parte non caret 
praecipua, propter immediationem praesertim, quia S. R. ecclesiae, 
cujus noscitur decorata patronis, nullo medio est subjecta." This 
letter is not reprinted in the Surtees ed. of the Register of R., but it is 
there noted that the impossible reading " parochia quod " of the 
R. S. ed. should be " persona que " which makes sense (p. 174). 
Cf. Reg. of R., p. 173, for his letter introducing his proctors to the 
Pope and the cardinals. 

3 A report on Celestine's resignation, evidently sent by some English 
agent of the Curia, and printed in the Register of John de Halton (thence 
in Letters from North Reg., p. 109 ff.), p. 30 fl, London, 1913, sets down 
as the worst offenders " quidam cardinales, non habentes conscientiam, 
decipiebant enim quotidie ". 



ST. CELESTINE V. 293 

chancellery co-operated for gain. They sold documents 
drawn up in due form and sealed which could be filled 
in as the purchasers desired. 1 Although this last fact 
is not mentioned by the Saint's disciple, he does tell us 
that " cardinals and prelates . . . kings and magnates 
began to ask the Pope for benefices and fiefs (beneficia) , 
churches, and prebends. And he, inasmuch as he was 
simple and straight, generously granted all their requests ". 2 
The more spiritually minded, such as many of his monks 
and the people generally, sought spiritual favours. It 
was noised abroad that he had granted a plenary 
indulgence to all who had assisted at his consecration. 
Accordingly crowds flocked to Aquila from all parts, 
anxious " to drink from the fountain " of mercy which 
Celestine had caused to flow, and so "on the octave of 
his coronation he granted a similar indulgence ". 3 Then, 
adds his disciple, when he reflected how the rich ceased 
not to beg from him temporal goods, he bethought him 
how he might grant spiritual goods to the poor. He, 
therefore, granted a plenary indulgence to all who should 
visit the Church of St. Maria di Collemaggio on the feast 
of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. 4 This indulgence 

1 " Inventa? fuerunt plures literae albae sine scriptura buUatae." 
lb. Cf. Ptol. of L., H.E., xxiv, c. 31 ; Stefaneschi, iii, cc. 7 and 10, 
and De coron. Bonif., i, c. 4 ; and decrees of Boniface VIII. of Dec. 27, 
1294 (ap. Bart, of C, Hist., p. 258, R. S.), and Apr. 8, 1295, ap. Reg., 
n. 770, ed. Thomas. 

2 B.D., c. 30. Of the first importance in connection with the hopeless 
doings of Celestine, is the evidence of the saintly and learned con- 
temporary author of the Golden Legend, the archbishop of Genoa, 
James " de Voragine " (Varazzo) in his Chronicle of Genoa (ap. R. I. SS., 
ix, p. 54). " Dabat etiam dignitates, praelaturas, ofheia, et beneficia, 
in quibus non sequebatur Curiae consuetudinem, sed potius quorumdam 
suggestionem et suam rudem simplicitatem. (These acts) in magnum 
Ecclesiae praejudicium redundabant." 

3 B.D., c. 30. 

4 lb., c. 31. The grant is thus expressed : " In ecclesia . . . S. M. 
de Collemadio talem indugentiam posuit, ut quicumque poenitens et 
confessus in Decollatione S. J. Baptistae ad eandem ecclesiam annuatim 



294 ST - CELESTINE V. 

never became operative, as it was revoked by Boniface, 
who ordered the Celestines to hand over to him the 
bull granting it. 1 In a word, to cite the conclusion of the 
famous contemporary canonist, Joannes Andreas, " He 
acted like an animal that lacks the light of reason (unum 
pecus). He would grant a favour in the morning, and 
in the evening recall it, and grant it to another." 2 

By degrees it must have filtered into the mind even of 
such a simple soul as Celestine that this wholesale con- 
cession of favours of every kind could not be quite in 
order. Before he resigned, this had become clear to him, 
and so, on the day of his resignation, he told the assembled 
cardinals that " of the many things he had done, he would 
like to undo those that he had not done well, but that, 
as he could not be sure which those were, he left it to 
his successor to decide the question." 3 
Creation of Another disastrously unwise act was his creation of 
Sept. 18.' cardinals. 4 He did well in creating cardinals and in 
creating twelve at once. Indeed, he would have done 
better if he had created four or five times that number. 
But circumstances spoilt his otherwise useful act. 
Celestine's disciple tells us that he made the new cardinals 

veniret, a culpa et a poena a baptismo absolutus esset." Cf. Potthast, 
23981. See also ib., 23975 and 23977 for his extravagant grants of 
indulgences (2,000 years, etc.) to his monastery of St. Spirito near 
Sulmona, and ib., 24040 and 24724 for the way in which they were 
curtailed by Boniface VIII. From n. 23976 we see that C. freed it, 
along with all the other monasteries of his Order, from all episcopal 
jurisdiction. Cf. Cod. Dip. Sulrn., nn. 91-4, p. 115 ff. 

1 Reg. Bon. VIII., n. 815. 

2 Quoted by Thurston, The Holy Year of Jubilee, p. 8, n. 

3 The English report just cited : " Sed successori meo relinquo ut 
super hoc faciat suae beneplacitum voluntatis." P. 109. This little or 
wholly unused document is one of those that show how unfairly the 
actions of the great Pope Boniface have been judged. 

4 From Rishanger, p. 144, and Nich. Trivet, p. 332, we learn that 
the creation was in the month of September ; and from B.D., c. 32, 
that it was in Ember week. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 295 

because the Church was not well served (disposita) by 
the existing ones, and that those he created were among 
the best men that were to be found. He does not, 
however, tell us what other historians do, i.e., that they 
were chosen for him, for the most part at least, by King 
Charles. 1 But even if other contemporaries had been 
as silent on the subject as Celestine's disciple, the list 
of the new cardinals' names would have spoken for itself. 
Seven out of the twelve of them were Frenchmen, and, 
of the five Italians, two of them, Peter of Aquila and 
William dei Longhi, were in Charles' service, being his 
counsellor and chancellor respectively, and the remaining 
three were his subjects. Two of these three, Thomas 
of Ocra and Francesco Ronci, belonged to the Pope's 
Order, and the third, Landulf Brancaccio, was a native 
of Naples. The seven Frenchmen were Simon de Beaulieu, 
archbishop of Bourges (bp. of Praeneste), Berard de Got, 
archbishop of Lyons (bp. of Albano), Jean le Moine, 
bishop-elect of Arras (SS. Marcellinus and Peter), William 
of Ferrier (S. Clemente), Nicholas de Nonancour 
(St. Marcellus), Robert, abbot of Pontigny (St. Puden- 
tiana), Simon of La Charite (St. Balbina). 2 

Speaking generally, the new cardinals were at any 
rate a body of estimable men 3 ; though, to judge from 
the fact that seven of them died in the course of the five 



1 Geoffroy de Courlon, Chron., p. 580; Annals of Verona, p. 443, 
ed. C. Cipolla. The new cardinals were made " sine scitu et voluntate 
cardinalium ad voluntatem Karoli . . . et facit omnia secundum 
beneplacitum suum ". Ptolemy of L. also, H.E., xxiv, 29 ; Stefaneschi, 
Vita, iii, c. 8 ; etc., say the same. 

2 This list is that of Eubel, Hicrarchia Catholica Med. Mvi, which is 
based on the study of P. M. Baumgarten : " Die Cardinals- 
ernennungen Calestins V." in Festschrift des Deutschen Campo Santo, 
ed. S. Ehses, Freiburg-im-B., 1897, p. 161 ff. 

3 Will, of Nangis, Chron., an. 1294, i, p. 285. " Fecit satis 
laudabiles et valentes personas." 



296 ST. CELESTINE V. 

years following their election, they would appear to have 
been men advanced in age. According to Stefaneschi, 1 
the election was engineered by Bartholomew of Capua. 
After the list of names had been agreed upon by the Pope 
and the King, only three cardinals, the French cardinal 
Hugh, Matteo Rosso, and James Colonna were let into 
the secret. Then the Sacred College was called together 
suddenly on Friday, Sept. 17, and the names were so 
sprung upon them that they could do nothing but accept 
them. The whole twelve were thereupon solemnly 
acclaimed on the following day. 
A n f w , Whatever truth there may be in these details, it is 

cardinal 00 

made, Oct. certain that the twelve were proclaimed on Sept. 18, 
and that one of them, the Celestine Ronci, died on Oct. 13. 
Then, says the author of the Golden Legend, 2 " the Pope 
who, in the plenitude of his power, had made twelve 
cardinals, in the plenitude of his simplicity made another" 
in the same way as he had made the others — irregularly 
and at the suggestion of another. This thirteenth cardinal 
was that very indifferent character, John of Castrocceli, 
the archbishop of Benevento, who became cardinal- 
priest of St. Vitalis. One reason, perhaps, why Celestine 
made one mistake after another was that, though not 
altogether ignorant, he was in awe of the Sacred College, 
and so presumably did not consult them much ; and, 
though not without some skill in speaking, he would 
only address them simply in his mother tongue, and 
not in Latin, and would never himself make a public 
reply to any important question. 3 No doubt, too, the 



1 L.c. 

2 James de V., Chron. Jan., p. 54. " Tempore et modo debito non 
servato . . . sed ad suggestionem aliquorum." 

3 Stef., Vita, iii, c. 7. 

" Sic ille sciens, non nescius omnis 
Non etiam ignarus sensus et congrua fandi 
Sed titubans, aliosve timens, reverenscme senatum, etc," 



ST. CELESTINE V. 297 

relations between him and the older cardinals, especially, 
must have gone from bad to worse as they saw him, 
without or contrary to their advice, doing one imprudent 
thing after another. They had been particularly annoyed 
at the promotion of John of Castrocceli. They had seen 
how, to ingratiate himself with Celestine, he, Benedictine 
as he was, had put off his black habit and had clothed 
himself with that of the Pope's Order. 1 Then, too, he 
had been given the hat after dinner (post cenam) in 
Celestine's private residence in Aquila. At first some 
of the cardinals refused to sit with him. But, says 
Stefaneschi, " patience made the Pope great." It was 
finally agreed to hold an inquiry into the custom regarding 
such appointments, and that meanwhile John should 
cease to wear the cardinal's hat. After an inquiry which 
Stefaneschi regarded as but summary, the cardinals 
" rehabilitated the man ", partly, says our poet, from 
fear, and partly " from a secret hope "—a hope, perhaps, 
that the Pope would soon resign, or perhaps more 
probably that the schemer would not long enjoy his 
honours. 2 At any rate the ambitious man did not enjoy 
them long, as he died within a few months after he had 
received them. 3 

With less reason, considering their conduct, but, Celestine 

, .ill confirms the 

considering human nature, perhaps more thoroughly conclave 
were the cardinals annoyed at Celestine's renewing the ^ e r c e r g e ^ r> of x 
conclave constitution of Gregory X. relative to their 
strict enclosure on the death of a Pope till they had 
elected a new one (Sept. 28). 4 On account " of the 
inconveniences which had come upon the world " by the 
delays in electing a Pope, he renewed Gregory's decree, 



1 c. 10. 

2 " Sed timor urgebat, tacite spes addita cetum impulit." lb. 

3 lb. He died Feb. 22, 1295. 

4 His decree ap. Raynaldus, Ann., 1294, n. 17. 



298 ST. CELESTINE V. 

" that dreadful law," which for various reasons Hadrian V. 
and John XXL had suspended. 1 

Somewhat later, he thought it necessary to support 
this decree with others. Another step he had meanwhile 
taken had even more profoundly, and this time with 
good reason, perturbed the Sacred College. After as 
before his consecration, Celestine had made up his 
mind to proceed to Rome, 2 and after as before it, Charles 
induced him to change his mind. This time he persuaded 
him to go to Naples. 3 Seeing from the beginning that 
the Pope was putting himself into the power of Charles, 
the cardinals had exacted an oath from the latter that if 
they followed Celestine to Aquila he would not detain 
them in the event of the Pope's dying in Neapolitan 
territory. 

As the keeping of this oath by Charles might enable 
the cardinals to evade a real conclave, Celestine, when 
at San Germano on his way to Naples, absolved the King 
from his oath, on the ground that, if he were to die in 
the King's territory, it would devolve upon Charles, in 
accordance with Gregory's constitution, to see that the 
cardinals were strictly enclosed. 4 

Finally, in view certainly of his contemplated resigna- 
tion of the Papacy, and to take away every chance of 
the cardinals being able to find a subterfuge for evading 
the conclave, Celestine issued another decision on the 



1 "Lex ilia timenda," Stefaneschi calls it (iii, c. 9) and he says, ib., 
that it inflicted a dire wound on the cardinals. 

" Heu dolor, lieu lacrime ! patimur sine murmure sevum 
Quod loquimur vulnus, vulnus, miserabile vulnus." 

2 Stef., iii, 9. 

3 lb. Cf. B.D., c. 33. " Rex Sicilian cum magna instantia . . . 
petebat ut Neapolim ad suum negotium expediendum papa cum 
cardinalibus pergeret." 

4 Decree of Oct. 17. "Si casus mortis dicti Pontificis in eodem 
regno contingeret, ad te secundum formam Constitutionis (of Pope 
Greg. X.) ipsa coarctatio pertineret." Raynaldus, 1294, n. 17. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 299 

subject a few days before his resignation. He decreed 
that the conclave regulations were to hold good for ever 
and whether the Papacy became vacant by death, 
resignation, or any other way. 1 

On his way to Naples, the Pope and his cortege stopped Celestine 
first at his monastery of the Holy Ghost at the foot of with the 
Mt. Morrone, and there he named Louis, the second son Mt. n cLsLo. 
of King Charles II., archbishop of Lyons. 2 Although 
Louis was only about 20 years of age, 3 and the appoint- 
ment was, of course, due to the dictation of Charles II., 
it may perhaps be justified, or at least explained, if not 
by the candidate's age, at any rate by his exceptional 
virtue. He had already assumed the poor habit of 
St. Francis. Although Boniface VIII. annulled the acts 
of Celestine, he did not altogether overlook the saintly 
young man. He himself gave him the major Orders, 
and then consecrated him bishop of Toulouse. 4 

Celestine's next indiscretion was committed at San 
Germano, the town on the little hill at the foot of Monte 
Cassino. He attempted to force the monks of that famous 
monastery, to which his own congregation had been 
attached, to adopt his own rule, and in sign thereof to 
exchange their black habit for the grey of his own. 

1 Decree issued at Naples (Dec. 10, 1294), ap. Raynaldus, I.e. 

2 lb., n. 15, p. 141, ed. Paris, 1887. Cf. Potthast, n. 23990 (Oct. 7) 
andn. 23994 (Oct. 9). 

3 He was born in February, 1274. Cf. the valuable little life of 
5. Louis d'Anjou by V. Verlaque, Paris, n.d. 

4 Cf. Potthast, n. 24444, Dec. 29, 1296. Cf. Verlaque, c. vi. 
Louis f Aug. 19, 1297, and was canonized in 1317. Verlaque, p. 74, n., 
says that John of Orta, the contemporary biographer of St. Louis, 
does not mention Celestine's appointment, and that he could not find 
the original of the bull of Oct. 9. He therefore, with others, does not 
believe in the nomination. Cantera, however, p. 104 f., says that the 
bulls of Oct. 7 and 9, 1294, are to be found in the small Vatican collec- 
tion of Celestine's bulls, nn. 13 and 14 ; and it is quite in the style of 
hagiographers to omit what does not redound to the glory of their 
heroes. 



Favours 
granted by 



300 ST. CELESTINE V. 

Not unnaturally the Cassinese objected, but Celestine 
made Angelarius, one of his own monks, abbot of the 
monastery, and those monks who would not conform were 
exiled. However, says Niccolo della Frattura, one of the 
sufferers, our holy Father Benedict soon brought about 
the resignation of Pope Celestine, and his successor, 
Boniface, restored us to our monastery and to our black 
habit, 1 and deposed Angelarius. 2 

To strengthen his hold on the poor old Pope, Charles 
Charles to' carefully refrained from attempting to cross him in 
the Pope. such acts as the aboV6j which ^id not interest him, 

but, on the other hand, he was at pains to do things 
which he knew would please him and which would not 
seriously interfere either with his own treasury or policy. 
Hence, before leaving Aquila, he pardoned, at Celestine's 
request, those inhabitants of Sulmona who had been 
condemned by his father for favouring Conradin, 3 and 
ordered his justiciaries to help the papal officials to keep 
order in Benevento when requested to do so. 4 

He also made offerings to Celestine's monastery of 
St. Spirito at Sulmona, 5 granted pensions to his brother 
Nicholas, and to his nephews, 6 and, at the Pope's special 
request, named cardinal Peter of Aquila the guardian 



1 Stef., iii, c. 7, and especially the contemporary monk cited in the 
text, and cited from his MS. by Tosti, Storia della Badia di Monte- 
Cassino, iii, p. 35 ff. The English continuation of the Chronicle of 
Martinus Polonus, ap. M. G. SS., xxx, p. 718, says that he changed the 
black into a " russet " habit. 

2 Reg. Bonif. VIII., n. 96. 

3 Cf. his indult of Aug. 22, granted because Celestine " a santitatis 
(sic) virtute qua rutilat pie motus " had asked him. Ap. Cod. diplom. 
Sulmonese, n. 89, p. 110. Cf. nn. 59, 60, 64. 

4 Docs. ap. Cantera, N. Doc., pp. 8-9. 

5 N. 90, Sept. 20, 1294. It must be said, however, that Charles 
had a genuine regard for the Celestines, and he continued to grant 
them money after the Pope's death. Cf. ib., nn. 95-6, nn. 108, 118. 

6 Doc. of Sept. 6, 1294, ap. Cantera, p. 54. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 301 

of privileges that had been granted to that city. 1 Further, 
in preparation for Celestine's arrival in Naples, he ordered 
the streets to be paved, 2 and gave instructions to his 
officials along the line of route through the Abruzzi 
and the Terra di Lavoro to do everything to make the 
Pope's journey thoroughly satisfactory. 3 

Despite the helplessness of the Pope, much of the ^ fa 1 1 ^ d of 
work of the Church went on as usual through the (i) Arohbp. 
instrumentality of the cardinals and the permanent Wmchelsea - 
officials. This we know by the records of our own country 
for example. 

On the death of Peckham, archbishop of Canterbury 
(Dec. 8, 1292), Robert of Winchelsea was unanimously 
elected to succeed him (Feb. 13, 1293). Setting out at 
once to obtain the Pope's confirmation of his election, he 
reached Rome on Whit-Sunday (May 17), 4 and had to 
remain there or in the neighbourhood for over a twelve- 
month for the election of a Pope. Whilst waiting with 
what patience he could, his learning and sterling character 
so impressed itself upon those with whom he came in 
contact that many thought him worthy of the supreme 
pontificate. 5 After brother Peter had been proclaimed 
Pope, we learn from the Continuator of Gervase of 
Canterbury that he held his first consistory on Sept. 7. 
At this assembly the election of Robert came up for 
discussion, and was referred to a commission of three 

1 Reg. Ang., n. 65 (1294 E.), f. 72, cited ib., p. 63. 

2 Docs. ap. M. Riccio, Sagio di Cod. dipt., p. 80 f., Sept. 2-9, 1294. 

3 Again documents from the Angevin archives, ap. Cantera, pp. 
63 f., 69. 

4 Cal. of Pat. Rolls (1292-1301), p. 7. 

5 Cf. Steph. Birchington (14th cent.), Vitce Arch. Cant., ap. Wharton, 
Anglia Sacra, p. 12. Here we may note that Tout, Diet, of Nat. Biog., 
sub voce, " Winchelsea, Rob." justly observes that Hook in his Lives 
of the A. of C, " is careless in details, and unhistorical in tone " when 
treating of R. W. Our archbp. was, says Tout, " a zealous upholder of 
papal authority ". That explains Hook. 



3°2 ST. CELESTINE V. 

cardinals. It was confirmed on Sept. 6, but Celestine 
wished to make him a cardinal. In view of the needs 
of Canterbury, Robert managed to get the Pope to change 
his mind, and let him, after having been consecrated by 
Gerard, cardinal-bishop of Sabina, return to England. 1 
One of his first acts on his return to his native land was, 
in virtue of powers received from the Holy See, to promote 
the worthy John of Monmouth to the see of Llandaff, 
which had been long vacant. 2 His long enforced residence 
in Italy, and the expenses connected with his consecra- 
tion, had involved him in a good deal of debt. From 
Lapo and company, merchant bankers of Pistoia, he 
had had to borrow, when at the Papal Curia, the sum of 
three thousand pounds, which he agreed to refund by 
a certain date. Unable to provide the money by the 
time specified, he had to plead for delay, and the Register 
of John of Pontissara has preserved for us the letter of 
the company's agents in London (Feb. 25, 1295), by 
which in consideration of the business put in their hands 
by the archbishop of Canterbury, and in hope of future 
business, they agree that he may defer the payment of 
two thousand pounds of the debt to Feb. 2, 1296. 3 
Edward™ 0n September 2 4> Celestine had written to King 
peace with Edward to notify him of his confirmation of the election 
of Robert, and to ask him to return intact to the arch- 
bishop the temporalities of his see which " during the 
time of the vacancy of the see are said to be held by you ". 4 
Then, a few days later (Oct. 2) he wrote 5 what the 
editor of the Register of John of Pontissara 6 calls a 

1 Gervas. Contin., vol. ii, p. 307, R. S., Birchington, I.e. 

2 " Unde cum sibi a sede apostolica attributum fuisset ut Landavensi 
ecclesiae . . . de episcopo provideret, etc." Birchington, I.e. Cf. N. 
Trivet, p. 333. 

3 Reg., vol. ii, p. 505 f. 4 Ep. ap. Rymer, ii, p. 656 f. 

5 Ap. ib., p. 657 f. 

6 It is also printed in that Reg., vol. ii, p. 509 ff. I have availed 
myself of Mr. Deedes' analysis and partial translation of this letter 



France. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 303 

" dignified appeal to Edward " to urge him to stop his 
preparations for war with France. He begins by assuring 
the King of his anxiety for the welfare of Christendom 
in general, and of England in particular, and by praising 
the devotion of his ancestors to the Roman Church and 
to peace. 1 But bitter rumours of quarrels between him 
and the King of France and of preparations for war have 
wrung the heart of the Pope. He fears the gravest 
losses for the souls and bodies of many, and disasters 
for both realms and so for the Holy Land. He is 
anxious indeed that all Christian princes should live in 
peace, but especially is he anxious that the Kings of 
England and France should remain at peace, as Mother 
Church is specially attached to them. Accordingly, he 
has decided to send suitable persons to them to try to 
restore concord. " Would that we ourselves could go 
to you, and, putting aside all other business, thus give 
proof of our earnest desire for peace. But the length of 
the journey and our advanced age will not permit this." 
He then exhorts Edward to avoid actions which will 
hurt the Church which has done so much for him and 
his predecessors. It would be hateful in the sight of God 
and man if violent dissensions should break out between 
princes so nearly related in blood. He begs him " a 
soldier of Christ, a zealous supporter of the true faith, 
an earnest champion of the Church " to abstain from 
acts which will cause such a conflagration that it will 
be well nigh impossible to find a remedy. 2 "So, there- 
fore, devoutly incline your ears to our words, and hearken 
to the prayers of the Apostolic See, that you may not 
offend God, nay rather that you may please Him by your 

1 " Progenitores quidem tui . . . erga Deum et Romanam ecclesiam 
clariori devocione fulgentes . . . pacem undique coluerunt." 

2 Here Celestine spoke as a prophet indeed. Because he was not 
listened to, a conflagration was started which could not be extinguished, 
but took a hundred years to burn itself out. 



304 ST. CELESTINE V. 

filial devotion, and may henceforth win His blessing more 
fully and that of the Apostolic See." As the bearer of 
his letter, he sends to the King, Bertrand " called 
Delgot " y 1 canon of Lyons, our chaplain, and Edward's 
ardent partisan. He will give the King further evidence 
of the Pope's mind. 

Following up this letter by another on the following 
day (Oct. 3), addressed to all the prelates through whose 
district his agent was to travel, Celestine enjoined them 
to provide Bertrand and his suite, whilst " on this side 
of the English sea," with four pounds " Turonensium 
parvorum " a day, and with twenty solidi sterling on 
the other side. 2 

In accordance with this permission, we find Bertrand 
in England appealing to the bishop of Winchester to 
grant him the share of the allowance due from him, and 
showing the greatest care that he was not robbed of the 
papal indult. 3 
Money The same valuable register of John of Pontissara 

England for furnishes us with a number of Celestine 's letters to the 
the Crusade bishops of Winchester and Lincoln relative to the paying 
over to certain accredited bankers in Italy named by 
the Pope of the Crusade tenth ordered by Nicholas IV. 4 
In letters dated October 25. and November, 5, 19, 25 
from Teano, Aversa, and Naples, 5 the two bishops were 

1 That is De Got, afterwards Archbp. of Bordeaux and Pope 
Clement V. 

2 Ep. ap. Reg. of John de P., ii, p. 822. The document was counter- 
signed by Berald, card.-bp. of Albano, who declared that it was intact 
and furnished with the Pope's bulla duly attached with a cord of hemp. 

3 Cf. ib. for Bertrand's letter of May 6, 1295 (p. 824), and ib. (p. 825) 
for a mandate of John de Pontissara ordering a levy of 20 pounds 
from his clergy as their contribution to B's expenses. Cf. the Annals 
of Dunstable, p. 388, whence we see that monastery paying the 20 solidi 
a day to Bertrand. Under threat of interdict the monastery had also to 
let him have a carriage horse. 

4 Supra, p. 208 ff. 

5 L.c, pp. 503, 501, 504. 



to be paid 
over 



ST. CELESTINE V. 305 

peremptorily ordered to raise and pay over the money 
to various named agents of the Frescobaldi company of 
Florence, merchant bankers of the Apostolic See, or of 
the Amandati company of Pistoia. In accordance with 
agreements made with the King, thirty thousand marks 
sterling could be kept in the country, but the rest in 
specified proportions had to be paid over to certain 
branches of the companies just named. 

At the same time, the Pope wrote to the powerful 
bishop of Durham, Anthony de Bek, then in Italy, to 
order him, if it should be necessary — a contingency which 
the Pope does not expect — to compel the two bishops to 
carry out his orders under pain of ecclesiastical penalties. 1 

From a very fiery passage of Pierre de Langtoft's The a ff ai rs 
rhymed Chronicle 2 in which he prays that Scotland may 
be " accursed of the Mother of God " or, as in Mannyng's 
old English version, "sonken to Helle ground," for the 
truth was never in her, we gather that when Edward 
was in trouble with Wales and France, " the foolish 
King, li fol ray" of Scotland, added to his difficulties. 
Though, continues the chronicler, Baliol, who had been 
"brought to the kingdom" by Edward, 3 led astray by 
his " false baronage, against his homage and against his 
fealty", sent envoys to Pope Celestine to contend that the 

1 Ap. ib., p. 505, ep. of Nov. 19. This same register gives a number 
of letters (from p. 804 to 835) relative to a collation of a benefice (that 
of Middleton, now Longparish, Hants) by Celestine. The benefice 
had been in the hands of the famous notary, Berard of Naples. As he 
died in Rome, Celestine gave it to Bartholomew of St. Angelo, a client 
of the Colonna cardinals. Boniface VIII. confirmed Celestine's grant. 
The case was complicated and caused much feeling, so that bishop 
J. de P. had to exhort even the abbess of Were well not to fail in her 
obedience to the Holy See. When in Rome, J. de P. was won over by 
the cardinals, and for their sake professed his regard for Bart. (p. 833), 
and secured him the benefice. 

2 Vol. ii, p. 221, R. S., or in Wright's Political Songs, p. 273, or in 
Rob. Mannyng's old Eng. version of it, vol. ii, p. 265 ff., ed. Hearne. 

3 Cf. supra, p. 223 ff. 

Vol. XVII. x 



306 ST. CELESTINE V. 

voice of antiquity proved that Scotland was a fief of the 
Holy See, but that against his will, King Edward had 
forced him to do homage to him. He, therefore, begged 
the Pope to absolve him from his oath. " Too unadvised " 
Celestine duly absolved him. Thereupon, the Scottish 
barons chose twelve peers, and took counsel how " to 
disinherit Edward of the sovereignty ". And, so con- 
cludes our chronicler, " for the great honour which 
Edward the wise did to John Baliol such is the reward 
he received from John the dreamer (musard)." For the 
moment, as we shall have to treat this matter fully 
under Boniface VIII., we may say with Pierre " with 
Scotland let it be as it may ", it is necessary for us 
" on our geste to spede ". 
Grant to Still, before closing our account of the relations between 

to card. jas. Pope Celestine and King Edward, we must notice a 
Coionna. g rant made by the f ormer to t h e latter. Bartholomew 

of Cotton 1 quotes a letter from the Pope to our King, 
dated Naples, Nov. 19, which is as extraordinary in its 
form as in its contents. As to its form — it is addressed 
to Edward and to cardinal James Coionna. As to its 
contents it is a grant of the firstfruits of ecclesiastical 
benefices in the province of Canterbury for three years 
to Edward for the Crusade, and to the cardinal to enable 
him to liquidate the " heap of (honourable) debts which " 
he had contracted. 2 Celestine made the grant, so he 
explained, in order that the King's zeal for the Crusades 
might increase, and that " the innate purity of the 
cardinal might be preserved intact ". 3 

1 Chron., p. 261. 

2 We acid " honourable " because Celestine speaks of " moles 
debitorum quae tu . . . in cardinalatus dignitate, sinceritatem et 
puritatem in tuis servando vestigiis contraxisti ". 

3 W. Prynne, in his The hist, of King John, K. Henry III., and K. 
Edward I., London, 1670, p. 627, quotes a letter of Edw. to the card, 
thanking him for getting the grant, and telling him he may rely that 



ST. CELESTINE V. 307 

After reading this unprecedented document — an 
evidence of joint scheming on the part of the King, and 
particularly of the cardinal, for whom it was especially 
drawn up — one is very pleased to read immediately after 
it in Cotton, the bull whereby Boniface VIII. promptly 
annulled all Celestine's grants (Apr. 8, 1295). His 
predecessor, he justly said, was ignorant of what was 
due to law and justice, and to the dignity of his office, 
and he was overcome by the insistence of the ambitious, 
and seduced by the guile of the deceitful. Consequently, 
continued Boniface, not only were grants made that 
were quite out of order, but, so it was said, some were 
made even without Celestine's knowledge. 1 Unfortu- 
nately, however, in this case, Boniface had to renew the 
grant to Edward and the cardinal, as is clear from a 
letter in which the King thanks Colonna for obtaining 
the renewal of the grant, and assures him that he will 
find in him a partner with whom he will be contented. 2 

As might have been expected from his character, Approves 

, , , , r conditions 01 

Celestine did all he could to further the cause of peace pe ace 
among Christian Princes, especially seeing that, like all J^ieTand 
his predecessors, he was anxious about the expulsion of james of 
the infidel from the Holy Land. He was accordingly Aragon - 
overjoyed at the prospect of the close of the Sicilian 
trouble, and accepted at once the treaty which had been 
made between the Kings of Sicily (Naples) and Aragon. 
Writing to Charles II. on October 1, he praised him for 
his unsparing efforts to make peace with James of 
Aragon, and for his success in having made it. As the 

he (Edw.) will do for him anything he wants. " Si quid autem pro 
vobis volueritis nos facturos id nobis significetis cum fiducia obtinendi." 
Ep. of Apr. 6, 1295. Prynne quotes from the Patent Rolls, 23 Edw. I., 
n. 10. 

1 Ep. of Apr. 8, 1295, ap. B. of C, p. 265, a document already cited. 
Here again, too, we may see a cause of the subsequent great quarrel 
between Boniface and the Colonnas. 

2 Calendar of Close Rolls, 1288-96, p. 442. 



308 ST. CELESTINE V. 

treaty between them, he said, concerned the Roman 
Church, he enumerated and confirmed its terms. By 
them, Charles was bound to try to induce the Roman 
Church to remove all ecclesiastical censures published 
in connection with the Sicilian affair. Philip of France 
and Charles of Valois were to renounce all claims to 
Aragon, and, on the other hand the four sons of Charles II. 
were to be released from captivity. James was also 
to surrender to Charles all the cities that he held on the 
mainland of Italy, and in three years from the following 
first of November was to give up to the Roman Church 
Sicily, Malta, and the other adjacent islands as they 
were held by Charles I. If the Sicilians were unwilling 
to return to their allegiance, James had to help to force 
them to do so. 1 These conditions, so favourable to Charles, 
were arranged, despite the intrigues of the Colonna 
cardinals, who were working to secure every advantage 
for the Sicilians and the Aragonese, even the election of 
Frederick of Sicily as Senator of Rome. 2 

On the following day (Oct. 2), and here again is manifest 
the paramount influence of Charles in the Papal Curia, 
Celestine, with regrets certainly, granted him for a year 
the " Saracen " tithes from France and England to help 
him to recover Sicily. These were granted on the ground 
that its recovery would be of the greatest service to the 
Crusades on account of its neighbourhood to the Holy 
Land, its fertility, and its possession of all the materials 
useful for war. 3 

1 Ap. Raynaldus, 1294, n. 15, p. 137 f. Also in the interests of 
peace he issued dispensations for the marriages of Bianca, daughter of 
Charles II., with James of Aragon, and of Iolanda, sister of James, with 
Robert, son of Charles. Epp. Sept. 24, ap. Cantera, pp. 100-1. 

2 See the document of the summer of 1294, ap. Finke, Acta Aragon., 
i, p. 15, n. 11. 

3 lb., p. 139 f. Such were the reasons alleged for the wish : "ad 
educendum ipsam insulam de ipsorum detestabilium manibus deten- 
torum." 



ST. CELESTINE V. 309 

A few days later he wrote to the Kings of France 

and Aragon urging them to put no obstacles in the way 

of the final conclusion of the peace, and taking advantage 

of the opportunity to exhort James to break off his 

illicit connection with the daughter of the King of Castile. 1 

But even if Celestine was beguiled into doing many Absolution 
1 • 1 . •_. ^-n , • of Guido of 

unwise things, his personal sanctity was still working Montefeltro. 

wonders. It subdued the indomitable Guido of Monte- 
feltro. On account of his continual support of the 
Ghibelline party, and his active hostility to the subjects 
of the Church, he had again been excommunicated by 
Nicholas IV. Hitherto he had paid no heed to the 
censure. Now, however, he presented himself before 
Celestine, and, professing his sorrow and readiness to 
make satisfaction, begged absolution from him. The 
Pope received him most kindly, and promised that he 
should be duly absolved. But, before the formalities 
had been completed, he had ceased to be Pope. This, 
however, was one of his undertakings which Boniface 
did not annul. Guido was duly absolved by him, and 
began his life of exemplary penance. 2 The " man of 
arms" "in good St. Francis' girdle" clothed him then. 3 

During this unhappy period the needs of the States states of the 
of the Church were not forgotten. In the days of 

1 lb., p. 140 f. On Oct. 8, he had already sent Jasbert, bp. of 
Valencia, and the Hospitaller Boniface of Calamandrana to ratify the 
peace, and prepare for the succour of the Holy Land. Ep. ap. Cantera, 
p. 105. 

2 lb., n. 15, sub. fin., p. 142. The letter of Boniface whence we 
learn this is dated Nov. 27, 1296. The eighth witness for Celestine's 
canonization (ap. Seppelt, p. 212), said that it was generally believed 
that Guido, " that great man of blood," changed his life, and took the 
religious habit as soon as he heard that Celestine had been made Pope. 
Cf. infra. It was Boniface VIII. who made all the arrangements for 
Guido to become a Franciscan, who arranged for the dowry to be 
settled on his wife, as she agreed to his entering a religious Order, etc. 
See his letter of July 23, 1296, ap. Wadding, Ann. Min., v, 349-50. 

3 Dante, Inf., c. 27. 



310 ST. CELESTINE V. 

Martin IV., the twelve consuls of Benevento, unmindful 
of their recognized powers, aspired to the supreme control 
of the city. As a result, the Pope suppressed them 
altogether. 1 But, taking advantage of the long vacancy 
of the Holy See, the people re-elected their twelve consuls. 
However, they brought down upon themselves a severe 
reprimand from Celestine. He annulled their election, 
and severely prohibited them from again choosing 
consuls. 2 

If in such acts as this we merely see the workings of 
pontifical bureaux, we may no doubt see the influence 
of the Pope himself in the instructions which were 
issued to the Rectors of the March of Ancona, and of 
the Romagna, empowering them to moderate the penalties 
which had been inflicted by former rectors or their 
officials, and in the appointment of various rectors " in 
spirituals " in the interests of the ghostly and temporal 
necessities of the people. 3 

But, as we have already said, let us " spede on our 
geste ", as there is no temptation to linger on the 
pontificate of Celestine, pitiable in itself, and deplorable 
in its results. The foolish acts performed in it brought 
ill-deserved odium on his successor, Boniface VIII., one 
of the most arresting figures that ever filled the chair 
of Peter ; and through the preponderance of French 
cardinals whom Celestine created, he involved the Church 
in one disaster after another, culminating in the Great 
Schism of the West. 

1 Ep. Sept. 10, 1281, Potthast, 21786. Cf. S. Borgia, Mem. Stor. 
di Benevento, ii, 169 f. 

2 Ep. Aug. 30, 1294, Potthast, 23950. 

3 Docs. Sept. 1-9, ap. ib., nn. 23952-23963. 



CHAPTER III. 

CELESTINE RESIGNS. THE REST OF HIS LIFE'S STORY. 

When Celestine arrived in Naples, he was lodged in the Celine ^ 
Castel Nuovo, which, begun by Charles I. (1283), over- wooden cell. 
looks with its five great round towers the so-called 
military harbour (porto militare). In one of its great 
halls, when one of the Saint's " Lents " drew nigh— that 
of St. Martin, Nov. n— Celestine ordered a wooden hut 
to be constructed, and decided to remain in it all alone, 
as he had been accustomed to spend his " Lents " in the 
past. 1 To ensure that he would be left undisturbed, he 
caused a document to be drawn up by means of which 
all the pontifical powers were to be handed over to three 
cardinals. However, before it was sealed, cardinal 
Matteo Rosso induced him to withdraw it, lest the 
Spouse should come to be thought to have married three 
husbands." 2 

But, however he might wish to be alone, and however 
he might succeed at times in avoiding intercourse with 
men, he was not hidden, observes Stefaneschi, because, 
like the ostrich, he had buried his head in the sand. 
King Charles could still get at him and persuade him to 
do as he wanted, to suspend, for example, the decree of 
Nicholas III., as Martin IV. had done, and to name 
him Senator of Rome. 3 Thus once more the Colonna 

1 B.D., c. 34, cf. Stefaneschi, Vita., iii, c. 

2 Stef., I.e., vv. 346-7. 

" ne sponsa maritis 
Credatur nupsisse tribus." 

3 Ep of Dec. 11, given in full by Cantera, p. 110, n. Celestine avers 
that he rescinds the decree of Nicholas, because Rome was very well 
governed when Charles I. was senator, and he has every reason to 
hope that it will be equally so by Charles II. and his heirs. However, 
as Celestine resigned two days after the issue of this bull, Charles 
never ventured to assume the title or the position. 

3ii 



312 ST. CELESTINE V. 

cardinals, in the interest of Aragon, had failed to block 
the aspirations of Charles II. They had written to tell 
King James that, if they failed to secure the nomination 
of Frederick of Sicily as Senator, they would try to 
prevent that of Charles, by getting the Pope himself 
named Senator with the proviso that he could not appoint 
a substitute. 1 Charles had, however, as we have seen, 
proved too much for them. 
His scruples At times, however, Celestine did contrive to remain 

aggravated 

by at peace in his cell, and to find time to think over the 

Tod°i P ° ne da situation in which he had been placed. Among other 
things that worried him was a poetical effusion of Fra 
Jacopone da Todi. It was but natural that the Spirituals 
or Zealots among the Franciscans should have been 
overjoyed at the election to the papacy of such a renowned 
ascetical monk as Peter of Morrone. The really sincere 
and sane ones among them simply wanted to be allowed 
to live as far as possible in the same way as St. Francis 
had done ; those of them who were sincere, but fanatical, 
wanted they knew not what, but not to live as they 
were ; the downright merely fanatical ones, full of the 
real and supposed prophecies of Joachim of Fiore, hoped 
that now at last had really dawned the epoch of the 
Holy Ghost and of the monks. 2 To this body of men, 
dangerous from the number of its fanatics of whom the 
main body seemed to think that ignorance was a virtue, 
but among whom were leaders of learning far from 
inconsiderable, but ill-directed by their narrow outlook, 

1 Doc. ap. Finke, Acta Aragon., i, p. 15 f. They beg James to keep 
their communications secret. 

2 Cf. supra, vol. x, p. 435 ff., and vol. xv, 99 ff. According to 
Joachim's scheme of the entire history of the world, the first period 
of its history under the rule of God the Father and the Levites, here 
below, extended from the Creation to Ozias (Uzziah) ; the second 
under God the Son and the priests from Ozias to about the year 1260 ; 
and the third, under the Holy Ghost and the monks, from c. 1260 to 
the end of the world. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 313 

and even more dangerous from the fact that its members 
generally had failed to realize that the essence of any 
kind of religious life is humble obedience— to this body 
had attached himself the famous Jacopone da Todi, the 
generally acknowledged author of the Stabat mater 
dolorosa. After the tragic death of his young, fair, and 
saintly wife, the mind of the worldly and far from virtuous 
Jacopone was for a time completely unhinged. But, 
though he at length so far recovered as to be received 
into the Franciscan Order (c. 1278), and as to become 
a poet of the first rank, it may be doubted whether his 
mind ever recovered its perfect balance, or, to put it 
somewhat differently, whether sympathy did not 
invariably have too large a share in the formation of his 
judgments, and whether waywardness was not but too 
often the mainspring of his actions. 1 

When Peter, the hermit of Morrone, became Pope The 

. , Spirituals 

the then leaders of the Spirituals, among whom is named send an 
Jacopone (Jacopus Tudertus), decided to send to the ^bassy to 
new Pontiff two of their number who had known him 
before he became Pope. It will perhaps give an idea of 
the spiritual pride which, no doubt unconsciously, was 
behind many of the acts of the Zealots, if we give a 
translation of the passage from Clareno 2 which tells of 

1 See the most sympathetic and delightful chapters on him in 
Ozanam's Les poetes franciscaines, Eng. trans., The Franciscan Poets, 
p. 186 ff., London, 1914. Many others, but not so well, have written 
on Jacopone. In her Sons of Francis, Miss A. Macdonnell has a chapter 
on /. da T. She says of him : " too much poet to be all Saint " ; 
but I would venture, I trust, with more truth, to say of her : " too 
much poet to be all historian." Hence I would recommend her work 
much more for her most pleasing renderings of some of J's poems than 
for her historic judgments. One could well have done with more of 
the former and less of " Boniface's fraud and villany " of which 
Miss M. could certainly have known nothing. J. Pacheu's Jacopone 
da Todi, Paris, 1914, will be found useful for his selection of J's poems 
accompanied by a French trans. E. Gebhart's Italie Mystique (Eng. 
trans, by Hulme, London, 1922, Mystics and Heretics in Italy) has 
suggestive material on J. da T. 2 Certainly a superior character. 



314 ST. CELESTINE V. 

this embassy. " Brother Peter of Morrone having 
meanwhile become Pope, it seemed good to the Minister- 
General and to all the more principal brethren in whom 
Christ and His spirit was firmly believed to dwell, and 
especially to brothers Conrad of Offida, 1 Peter of Monti- 
culo, Jacopo of Todi, Thomas of Trivio, Conrad of 
Spoleto, and the others, who aspired to the pure 
observance of the rule, that they should send to the 
Supreme Pontiff brother Peter of Macerata and his 
companion, 2 because they had been friendly with him 
before he became Pope, and he had full confidence in 
their uprightness (bona voluntas)." 3 The envoys found 
the Pope at Aquila, and were favourably received by 
him. He bade them strive to live in accordance with 
the rule and testament of St. Francis, absolved brother 
Peter (Liberatus) from all obedience to his then superiors, 
placed the exempt brethren under cardinal Napoleon 
Orsini, and gave them the name of " brothers or poor 
hermits of Pope Celestine ". 4 For, observes Angelo in 

1 One of the Sons of St. Francis treated of by Miss Macdonnell. 

2 P. of M. was afterwards known as bro. Liberatus, and his com- 
panion, Peter of Fossombrone, became more generally known as 
Angelo Clareno (also treated of by Miss M.). By mistake, the writer 
of the article " Jac. da T." in the Cath. Encyc. says that J. d. T. himself 
went on the embassy. 

3 From the Chronica Septem Tribulationum, p. 308. Most of this 
work was published by Ehrle (now cardinal) in Archiv fur Litteratur 
und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters, ii (Berlin, 1886), pp. 125-55 ; 
256-327. Cf. the Epist. excusatoria of Ang. Clar. to John XXII., ap. 
Ciro da Pesaro, II Clareno, p. 280 ft., 285. Cf. p. 144,. Macerata, 1921. 

4 Chron., S. T., I.e. The same is also stated by Ubertino da Casale 
in that rare book of his, Arbor vitcs Crucifixes, v., 8, Venice, 1485. It 
is also stated in similar terms of spiritual pride. He denounces Boniface 
for killing : " Christi spiritum et evangelicum statum ejus quern paulo 
ante Celestinus ... in legitimis. F. filiis (of St. Francis) per bullam 
autenticam ordinaverat reflorere." This quotation is from the fifth 
col. after the beginning of v., c. 8. On " U. da C." (and on his hostility 
to Boniface VIII., p. 115) see Miss E. M. Salter in Franciscan Essays, 
Aberdeen, 1912. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 315 

another passage, 1 though " the lord Celestine was in 
habit and name a monk, he was in fact, deed, and virtue, 
a poor man of the Gospel (pauper evangelicus), and in 
humility a true friar minor ". 

But no sooner had Celestine resigned the Papacy than 
the opponents of these Spirituals (who no longer professed 
to be Friars Minor, but " poor hermits " living according 
to a rule approved by that pontiff, 2 ) denounced them to 
Pope Boniface as apostates from the Franciscan Order. 
But, says Angelo Clareno, as trustworthy men who 
were present have declared, Boniface bade them leave 
them alone as they were better than they were. 3 Not to 
be thus put off, the opponents of the Spirituals next 
declared that they were schismatics, and preached 
everywhere that Boniface was not a true Pope. A little 
inquiry soon convinced Boniface that there were a 
number of men, some really monks and some pretending 
to be such, and some hermits, who were talking against 
him and the Church generally. He, accordingly, issued 
an encyclical Firma cautela (Sept. 22, 1296), in which 
he renewed the condemnation of the so-called Order 
of the Apostles by Honorius IV., and then proceeded to 
condemn recent " apostates from religious Orders ; men 
known as Bizochi who pretend to be monks ; and such 
as, pretending to lead an eremitical or solitary life ", 
are leading the people into error. The episcopal authorities 
whom the Pope was addressing are urged to be diligent 
in proceeding against such persons, examining " the 
conversation and life " of those hermits and Bizochi 
who appear to be suspicious. 4 

1 Chron., p. 126. 

2 Cf. the Ep. excusat. of A. C, ap. C. da Pesaro, p. 281. Cf. p. 283, 
and his De sept, trib., p. 319, ap. ib. 

3 Ep. excusat., p. 287. 

4 This decree is printed in full, n. 244, pp. 126-7, ap. Alessandri and 
Pennachi, Bullarium Pontificium Assissiense, Quaracchi, 1920. It was 



3i6 



ST. CELESTINE V. 



me C ssage. eS Tt was the best known of these Celestine hermits, 
Jacopone da Todi, who addressed the Pope in verses 
that brought trouble and doubt to his delicate conscience. 
" What are you going to do, Peter de Morrone ? x You 
have come to the test. Your work will show us what 
you have thought out in your cell. If you fail the hope 
of the world, a curse will light upon you. ... If you 
hold not the balance fair, before God men will hail 
you. . . . Great grief had I when from thy lips came 
forth ' I will '. Then didst thou place upon thy neck the 
yoke which may be thy ruin. Right low has fallen the 
Sacred College, each of them but thinks of enriching his 
kin. Beware of benefice-holders ever athirst for 
revenues . . . Beware, too, of the traffickers who make 
black white. If thou knowest not how well to guard 
thyself, sad will be the song thou wilt have to sing." 

Celestine l n the retirement of his little wooden cell, Celestine 

contemplates , 

resignation, began to realize that he could not defend himself. He 
could not even thoroughly understand the language of 
those about him, 2 still less could he cope with the intricate 
questions of law and politics which day by day were 
brought before him. No matter how simple he may 
have been, it must have dawned upon him at last that 
Charles and every one around him were doing nothing 
but ask for favours. He began to realize, too, how often 
he had acted in opposition to the more experienced of 

unfortunate for the genuine " poor hermits " that they were con- 
founded with the Bizochi and the Fraticelli generally. Cf. Celidonio, 
iii, p. 99 f., and especially Tocco, " I fraticelli o poveri eremiti di C. V.," 
ap. his Studii Francescani, p. 239 ff. See also ep. of Bonif. VIII. of 
May 7, 1297, ap. Potthast, n. 24510 ; Ep. ex., p. 287 ; Extra vag. 
John XXII., " Sancta Romana " of Dec. 30, 1317. 

1 "Que farai, Pier da Morrone." Satire 25, ed. Brugnoli, p. 294 ff. 
Le satire di Jacopone da Todi, Florence, 1914. 

" Que farai, Pier da Morrone ? ej vinuto al paragone. 
Vederimo el lavorato ke'n cella ai contemplate 
Si '1 monno e da te ingannato sequita maledictione ! " 

2 Stef., Vit., iii, 7, v. 206 ff. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 317 

the cardinals. Accordingly, " be began to think if, 
without danger to his soul, he could cast down the burden 
he was bearing." 1 

Among the very few books that he had ever possessed 
was a little compendium of Canon Law. After consulting 
this, Celestine came to the conclusion that if, for good 
reasons, other clerics could lay down their office, so, too, 
could a Pope. Of his conclusion, however, as a Pope had 
no superior into whose hands he could resign his office, 
he did not feel quite sure. He, therefore, asked " a 
friend ", who finally agreed that a Pope could resign for 
a suitable cause, and he was of opinion that to resume 
one's former mode of life was reason enough. 2 If that 
were all, replied Celestine, he had causes in plenty. 
Nevertheless, for greater security, he consulted a second 
friend. The second opinion confirmed the first, and 
Celestine made up his mind. He would resign. 3 

1 B.D., c. 34. " Et sic eodem ibidem (in the wooden cell) permanente, 
coepit cogitare de onere quod portabat, si quo modo posset illud abicere 
absque periculo et discrimine suae animae." It is, then, his own disciple 
who tells us that Celestine himself first conceived the idea of resigning. 
After this irrefragable evidence, only those who want to believe evil 
of Boniface VIII. will give the smallest credence to the stupid story 
of the Ghibelline Ferreto Vincentino. Even he only gives it on hearsay : 
" ferunt." The story is that through a hole which he had made in 
the Pope's cell, Gaetani, pretending to be an angel from heaven, 
exhorted him to resign, and devote himself to the service of God 
alone ! Ed. Cipolla, vol. i, p. 64, and the important n. 1. After the 
testimony of the disciples there is no need to add the corroboration of 
Stefaneschi, Vita, iii, c. 12. He reflected : — • 

" Numquid precidere funem 
Est opus, et melius Romanam linquere sedem 
Pontifici, qui sceptra tenens in pace gubernet 
Ecclesiam, etc." 

2 All this is from Stefaneschi, I.e. Some have suspected that this 
" friend " was Gaetani, but as we learn from the next chapter of Stef. 
(c. 13), the first two friends whom Celestine consulted were not cardinals. 

3 Stef., I.e. 

" Firmabat idem ; gaudebat anhelus 
Presbiter altipotens, statuens in corde volatum." 



3*8 ST. CELESTINE V. 

Sme°of "the With his mind now made up ' Celestine consulted some 
cardinals. of the cardinals as to his resignation. Of these, one 
was naturally cardinal Benedict Gaetani, who was 
acknowledged generally to be the most learned of his 
brethren, and who, even by Celestine's disciples, is called 
" the wisest and most upright cardinal of his time ", 1 
According to them, Benedict (as every other sensible man 
must have been) was " exceedingly rejoiced " to hear of 
the Pope's design, assured him that he could resign, and 
even adduced instances of some Popes who had already 
done so. 2 He gave him the only answer that reason and 
common sense, informed by the records of history, could 
have given. If, however, cardinal Benedict correctly 
assured the Pope that he could resign, we have it on the 
best authority that he urged him not to do so. The 
authority is that, too, of a Colonna, the famous iEgidius 
(Giles), archbishop of Bourges, a man as distinguished 
by his learning as by his character — a man immeasurably 
above the detractors of Boniface, and infinitely more 
worthy of credence (f 1316). In his apology for 
Boniface VIII. (De rennnciatione Papce) he boldly 
appealed to the testimony of living eyewitnesses who 
declared that cardinal Benedict had urged Celestine not 
to resign, protesting that his sanctity would suffice to 
instruct and enlighten the Sacred College. Hence, 
concludes iEgidius, as this took place in the hearing of 
many, there were not in his renunciation any of those 

1 " Ad hos suos cogitatus convocavit (Celestine) unum sagacissimum 
atque probatissimum cardinalem tunc temporis, d. Benedictum." 
B.D., c. 34 ; cf. Stef., iii, c. 13. From these words of the Pope's own 
disciples, it is clear that Ptolemy of Lucca (H.E., xxiv, 31, 32, 33 ; 
Annales, p. 1300) does not put the case properly when he makes 
Gaetani (whom he names) and other cardinals take the initiative in 
persuading Celestine to resign on the ground that designing men were 
causing him to throw the whole Church into confusion. 

2 Not to mention such a Pope as Benedict IX., Gaetani may have 
quoted, e.g., the example of Martin I. Cf, supra, vol. i, pt. i, p. 400. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 3IC) 

tricks or contrivances or deceits that the adversaries 
of Boniface talk about. 1 

Before the cardinals as a body had given their opinion Efforts made 

•* . . to dissuade 

on the legality of Celestine's proposed resignation, Celestine. 
rumours of his intention had begun to spread about. 
When those of his monks who had remained with him 
heard the report, they moved heaven and earth to divert 
him from his purpose. His " rustic crowd ", as 
Stefaneschi calls them, implored him not to abandon 
them, his " untutored flock ". They were afraid, they 
said, of the great cardinals ; they will class us as heretics. 
Not content with this, the monks stirred up the people 
of Naples. 2 From Ptolemy of Lucca, who tells us that 
he was present at it, 3 we learn that, by the command of 
the King, a great procession in which were to be seen 
many bishops of the neighbourhood, with all the religious 
and clergy, made its way from the Cathedral to the 
Castel Nuovo. Arrived at the Castle, appeal was made 
by it " in the usual way " for the Pope's blessing. Showing 
himself with three bishops at one of the windows, Celestine 
duly blessed the assembled multitude. He then hearkened 
to an address from one of the bishops of the procession, 
who in a voice so trumpet-like that it was heard by 
Ptolemy and all the people in the square, begged the 
Pope in the name of King, clergy, and people, not to 
consent to resign "as he was the glory of their kingdom ". 
To this one of his attendant bishops gave, in the Pope's 
name, an ambiguous answer. Supposing that his petition 
had been granted, the King's orator intoned the Te 
Deum, which was taken up by the whole procession. 

1 C. 23, p. 56 : " Quia sumciebat collegio quod nomen suae sanc- 
titatis invocaretur super eos." The De R.P. is printed in J. T. Rocca- 
berti's Bibliotheca maxima pontificia, ii, pp. 1-64, Rome, 1695. 

2 This is the assertion, no doubt correct, of Stef. (iii, c. 14). Accord- 
ing to the disciples, the Neapolitans stirred themselves up. 

3 H.E.. xxiv, 32, and Annates, p. 1300. 



Celestine 



320 ST. CELESTINE V. 

This, concludes Ptolemy, took place about the feast of 
St. Nicholas (Dec. 6). 1 

From both Stefaneschi and the disciples, however, it 
would seem that, as a result of the agitation of the Pope's 
monks, a disorderly mob had broken into the Castle and 
made the same request that was afterwards made in 
form by the organized body of the clergy of the city. 

Celestine having put off the intruders with soft words, 

resigns, 

Dec. 13. a request for prayers and his blessing, summoned the 
whole body of the cardinals a day or two after the 
dismissal of the mob. When he had put before them 
his previous mode of life, he asked them whether old 
age, formed habits, ignorance of Latin, or of polished 
speech (inculta loquela), limited intelligence, experience, 
and training were not reasons enough to justify his 
resignation. Though the cardinals could not but agree 
that the reasons adduced were sufficient to justify 
resignation, 2 they urged him to test his powers, and to 
remain in office for a time longer, and meanwhile, refrain- 
ing from following bad advice, to pray himself and order 
prayers to ascertain the will of God for the good of the 
world. 3 

Public prayers were accordingly ordered, and for some 
eight days Celestine so acted as to allay all suspicion 



1 This date harmonizes quite well with the declaration of Celestine 's 
disciples (B.D., c. 34) that he kept silent as to his intentions for 
" about eight days ", and then resigned on the feast of St. Lucy (Dec. 13). 

2 The disciples (c. 34) suggest that, in giving this answer, the cardinals 
were looking to their own advantage. But their hopes, they add, came 
to nought ; for in place " of a simple dove they were to get a most wise 
serpent ". These insinuations show the mental calibre of the disciples 
who had not wit enough to see that, whatever were the hopes of the 
cardinals, they gave the only answer that honest, sensible, and learned 
men could give. 

3 Stef., iii, c. 15. The Chron. S. Petri Erford. mod., add that Celestine 
was also deaf. " Surdus, multamque debilis utpote octogenarius." 
P. 307, ed. Holder-Egger. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 321 

that he still entertained any idea of resigning. Mean- 
while, however, with the aid of cardinal Gaetani, he drew 
up a deed of renunciation. 1 At the close of the period 
of calm, the cardinals were ordered to meet the Pope on 
the feast of St. Lucy (Dec. 13), in the great lofty central 
hall of the Castle, now known as the Sala S. Luigi or 
the Sala dei Baroni. Swinging open the very door which 
still gives entrance into this magnificent apartment, 2 
they found the Pope seated on his throne in full pontificals. 
When he had signified that he did not wish any 
interruption, Celestine suddenly produced the deed of 
renunciation which, with pale face but determined mien, 
he read out clearly to the assembled fathers. He told 
them that of his own accord (sponte) and free will (libens), 
he resigned the papacy, as his age and other defects 
rendered him incapable of fulfilling its duties, and he 
wished to put an end to further disasters, and to attend 
to his soul's salvation. He then exhorted the cardinals 
to show their care for the world by electing a worthy 
pastor who would lead the flock to pastures abundant 
and fresh, and who would correct the many mistakes he 
had made. 3 Then, to the profound astonishment of the 

1 B.D., c. 34, and Stef., iii, c. 16. The suspicions even of the King 
were lulled. 

2 For the reason that this hall is an armoury of modern weapons, 
I had the greatest difficulty in getting permission to see it. 

3 Stef., iii, c. 16, v. 534 ff. 

" Defectus, senium, mores, inculta loquela, 

Non prudens animus, non mens experta, nee altum 
Ingenium, cura solerti cognita nobis 
Cedendi causas subigunt, etc. 
Et date pastorem . . . 

nostrosque ut corrigat actus 
Obnixe petimus, cum devius impulit error, 
Nam multis variisque modis errasse fatemur." 
As we have already stated from the English account of the resignation, 
Celestine also confessed in his mother tongue that he left it to his 
successor to correct his mistakes. Ap. Letters from North. Reg., p. 109. 
The actual text of Celestine's act of resignation is not known ; for the 
Vol. XVII. y 



322 ST. CELESTINE V. 

cardinals in front of him, straightway descending from 
the throne, he took off, one after another, the insignia 
of the papacy — his mitre with its one crown, the red 
mantle, the ring, and the other pontificalia even to the 
alb. 1 All this he did, so we are assured by Petrarch, 2 
who had his information from eyewitnesses, " with 
every sign of joy. If he took the chair of Peter with 
sorrow, he left it with gladness : Ascensus mcestus, 
descensus lsetus." 

He then withdrew for a moment, and returning, clad 
in the simple garb of his Order, he took his seat on the 
lowest step of the throne, and said : " Behold, my 
brethren, I have resigned the honour of the Papacy; 
and now I implore you by the Blood of Jesus and by His 
Holy Mother, quickly to provide for the Church a man 
who will be useful for it, for the whole human race, and 
for the Holy Land." 3 When he had said this, he rose to 
go, but the cardinals who had not been able with dry 
eyes 4 to look at this scene so touching in its simple 
humility, entreated him not to leave them until he had 
duly provided for the future. 

Addressing him, therefore, in the name of the Sacred 
College, Cardinal Matteo Rosso said that by his words 

document given by Ciaconius, Vitce RR.PP., ed. 1677, is not regarded 
as authentic. However, from the English narrative {I.e., p. 110) we 
know it contained the following : " Ego C. P. V., considerans me 
insufneientem ad onus istud, tutus ratione inscientiae, turn quia senex 
et impotens corpore, turn quia vitae contemplativae, sicut consuevi, colo 
vacare . . . resigno papatui et oneri et honori." 

1 B.D., c. 34, Eng. narrat., I.e. This narrative is also found inserted, 
in almost identical terms, in various of our Chronicles, e.g. those of 
Bart, of Cotton, p. 256 f. ; Gervase of Canterbury, Contin., ii, p. 308, etc. 

2 De vit. solit., 1. ii, sect. 3, c. 18. 

3 Eng. nar., I.e. The word before the " Holy Land " is mutilated. 
It appears as ". . . nitati ". I have supposed it to be " humanitati ". 
Cf. Stef., iii, 18. 

4 The disciples suggest that in the case of many of the cardinals 
the tears were those of joy ! 



ST. CELESTINE V. 323 

and acts he had made his determination to resign so 
plain that on that matter there was no more to be said. 
To put the situation in order, however, it would be well 
if he would decree that a Pope could resign, and that 
the cardinals could accept such resignation. A decree 
to that effect was accordingly at once drawn up, and 
signed, and afterwards inserted by Boniface VIII. in his 
Liber Sextus of the Canon Law. 1 

On the resignation of Pope Celestine which, at any Various 
rate, all serious historians both at the time and since thVresigna- 
allow to have been spontaneous and free, 2 various tion of 

Cclcstinc 

criticisms have been passed. The best is the laconic 
one of the procurator of the Commune of Vicenza, 
Guidotto Spiapasto : " On St. Lucy's day Pope Celestine 
resigned the Papacy, and he did well " ! 3 His best deed 
was his self-sacrificing acceptance of it, thereby putting 
an end to its disastrous vacancy, and his second best 
act was his humble resignation of it, whereby he saved 
himself from inflicting irreparable harm on it and the 
Church. 

Whether one is right or wrong in describing Spiapasto's 



1 Stef., iii, c. 17. " Et reserant decreta novis jam consita libris." 
Cf. Annates Austria, ap. M. G. SS., ix, p. 750. The decree is to be 
found in Tit. vii. De renunciatione, c. 1, vol. ii, p. 971, ed. Friedberg. 
In this chapter Boniface says that, to take away all doubts as to 
whether a Pope could resign, Celestine, with the advice of the cardinals, 
of whom he was then one, decreed, by his apostolic authority, that 
a Pope could freely resign (" Romanum pontificem posse libere resi- 
gnare ") and that he himself, also with the advice of " our brethren ", 
had inserted it among other decrees that it might not be lost sight of. 
Cf. Ptolemy of L., H.E., xxiv, c. 33. In H.E., ii, 9, Ptolemy tells 
of the resignation of Pope Clement I. to which he had alluded in the 
former place. 

2 In addition to the absolutely competent authorities already cited, 
add : Anna!. Zwifalt., ap. M. G. SS., x, p. 61, " Sponte papatum 
renunciavit " ; and Ann. Colmar., ap. Bohmer, Pontes, ii, p. 32, 
" Voluntarie resignavit." 

3 Ap. Archiv. Venet., xvii, 1887, p. 428. 



324 ST. CELESTINE V. 

" bene fecit " as the best criticism passed on Celestine's 
resignation, there is no doubt that the one most frequently 
passed upon it, is that " from cowardice he made the 
great renouncement " ; and the main reason that this 
is the popular criticism, is because it is generally believed 
to be the criticism of Dante. In his weird wanderings in 
the nether regions, the poet, in a kind of ante-chamber 
of hell, encountered the shades of the lukewarm, of those 
who in life had been neither good nor bad, and among 
them he recognized him who, from meanness of spirit 
and littleness of soul, had uttered the great refusal. 1 
This passage is, as we have said, popularly supposed to 
refer to Celestine and his renunciation of the Papacy ; 
and some think, moreover, that the identification is 
confirmed by another passage of the Inferno, wherein 
Boniface VIII. speaks of the " two keys which my 
predecessor held not dear ". 2 

"Lo gran rifuto" may, of course, refer to Celestine. 3 
But it is hard to see how even Dante's unmeasured hatred 
of Boniface (which appears to be the principal reason 
alleged for his attack on Celestine) could have led a man 
of his sympathetic intelligence to ascribe to vilta Celestine's 
eminently sensible and heroic act of resignation. 4 For 
our part, we subscribe to the arguments or comments of 
Benvenuto da Imola, the most important of Dante's early 

1 Inf., iii, 59 and 60. 

" Vidi e conobbi l'ombra di colui 
Che fece per vilta lo gran rifuto." 

2 Inf., xxvii, 104-5. 

" Son due le chiave 
Che il mio antecessor non ebbe care." 

3 Such a man as Fazio degli Uberti, who lived near Dante's time, 
accordingly places Celestine in hell. Dittamondo, iv, c. 21. Petrarch 
(De vita solit., 1. ii, sect, iii, c. 18), however, does Celestine but justice 
when he praises his action in this matter. He was wonderful, he says, 
in that he resigned the dignity of the Papacy " qui nihil est altius ". 

4 It was an example of humility, says a contemporary, that was 
" astounding to all, imitable by few ", Jordan, Chron., c. 236. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 325 

commentators. Dante, he urges, could not have meant 
Celestine, as he certainly did not renounce the pontificate 
from want of spirit, for he was truly great hearted : 
" magnanimus ante papatum, in papatu, et post 
papatum." He showed nobility of soul before his 
pontificate, because when he heard of his election he 
wished to fly with a young man of Salerno called Robert. 1 
During his pontificate he showed his magnanimity by 
daily retiring to a little cell for contemplation, and then, 
because he realized his unfitness, surrendering by one 
act every form of honour and distinction. After his 
pontificate, he once more showed his greatness of soul 
by again seeking retirement. It is not, then, possible to 
suppose that " the most wise Dante " would damn a 
most holy man. No, continues Benvenuto, he referred 
to Esau. 2 The commentator goes on to remark that 
Dante was irritated against Boniface, and so very 
frequently spoke evilly of him, that " great souled 
sinner " ; and yet it was Celestine who " of his own 
accord (sponte) " had given the pontificate to him. 3 

To enable us to conclude the story of Peter of Morrone, Election of 
we must here note, though without going now into details, 
that Benedict Gaetani, the one among the cardinals whom, 
at least on one subject towards the end of his brief 
pontificate, Celestine most consulted, 4 was quickly and 

1 This, as we have seen, is also stated by Petrarch from whom we 
learn that the disciple was as great as his master ; for when Celestine 
wanted him to remain with him as Pope, he replied he was ready to 
fly with him to poverty, but not to abide with him in honour and glory. 

2 Many conjectures have been made as to whom Dante referred to. 
G. Rivera, in his pamphlet, Dante e gli Abrnzzi, p. 6, regards it as 
highly probable that D. referred to Vieri de' Cerchi, chief of the 
Bianchi faction, as his family " per vilta " refused the dominion of 
Florence. 

3 Comment., Inf., iii, vol. i, pp. 117-20, ed. Lacaita, or vol. i, p. 95 ff. 
of the Italian trans, of Tamburini. Dante " saepissime dixit multa 
mala de Bonifacio, qui . . . fuit magnanimus peccator ". 

« Cf. John Longus, Chron. S. Bert., ap. M. G. SS., xxv, p. 866. The 



326 ST. CELESTINE V. 

unanimously elected Pope on Dec. 24, 1294. 1 Not a 
little has been written by modern writers to explain this 
speedy election, but it must be confessed that a large 
proportion of them rely rather on their own political 
theories than on such direct evidence as is available. 
Relying exclusively on the latter, we may say that 
Celestine was the chief cause of his election. We have 
just seen that Benvenuto da Imola believed that Celestine 
" gave " (donaverat) the pontificate to Boniface. But 
there is better evidence than that. Stefaneschi assures 
us that he had it from the mouth of Boniface VIII. 
himself, and from others, that Celestine had told him and 
others also that he would succeed him. 2 Celestine's 
disciples, moreover, assert that he foretold to Thomas de 
Ocra, a member of his own Order whom he had made 
cardinal, and to Benedict himself that he would be his 
successor. 3 An English authority is still more definite 
on the influence exerted by Celestine in behalf of cardinal 
Gaetani. It states that when asked whom he regarded 
as a just and holy man suitable to succeed him, 4 he had 
named Benedict Gaetani. Seeing that he had made a 
wise choice, the cardinals elected Benedict Pope. 5 
Peter M. is As soon as Gaetani had been elected, Peter at once 

kept near . . . 

Boniface. paid him due homage reverently kissing his feet ", 
and then asked his permission to return to his cell. 



chronicler makes far too wide an assertion when he says that C. 
consulted Benedict " ut ab eo in suis factis papalibus . . . informa- 
retur ". He would not have made so many mistakes if he had con- 
sulted him regularly. 

1 " Cardinales . . . concorditer per viam scrutinii elegerunt d. 
Benedictum." Eng. nar., ap. Letters from N. Reg., p. 110. 

2 Canonis Cel., iii, c. 17, and Stef.'s own note thereto. 

3 B.D., c. 35. 

4 It will be remembered that when Celestine resigned, he urged 
the cardinals to elect a pastor, " rectum doctumque." Stef., Vita, 
iii, c. 6. 

5 Flores Hist., iii, 276, R.S. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 327 

But, continue the disciples, Boniface had other designs 
in his regard, and said that he did not wish him to 
return to his cell, but that he should accompany him 
into Campania. They even insinuate that Boniface 
began to bully the saint. 1 The fact merely was that 
no one better than the new Pope understood how simple 
Peter was, and how liable he was to be influenced by 
those in whom he trusted. He naturally feared that 
designing men who hoped everything from Peter de 
Morrone might succeed in persuading him that he could 
not resign the Papacy, and so that, especially in view 
of his popularity with the multitude, a dangerous schism 
might be brought about. He was aware that many had 
disapproved of Celestine's renunciation, 2 and so he 
judged it better to keep him under his eye. 3 

Peter's subsequent conduct showed how well founded ^ur/Sf 1 
were the suspicions of Boniface. The new Pope had Peter of 

, 1 --U1 Morrone, 

naturally decided to leave Naples as soon as possible, 1295 . 



1 " Et aliis verbis multis coepit terrere ilium." B.D., c. 35. 

2 " Hac renunciatione peracta, omnes (?) qui hoc audiebant contra 
ilium clamabant quod non bene fecisset." Such is the exaggerated 
language of the disciples. B.D., c. 34, sub fin. 

3 He feared that " simplices " would still think Celestine Pope, " et 
per consequens scisma in ecclesia oriretur." Annates Austria, contin. 
Florianensis, ap. M. G. SS., ix, p. 750. Cf. Chron. Osterhoviense, ap. 
Bohmer, Pontes, ii, p. 557 ; Benvenuto da Imola, Comment., vol. ii, 
p. 42, ed. Lacaita ; Annates Altahen. cont. " Ipsum (C.) reclusit, ne 
scisma fieret," ap. M. G. SS., xvii, p. 416 ; B. Guidonis Vita Cel., etc. 
Even the " Spiritual ", John Peter Olivi, thought it necessary to 
write a work " De renuntiatione Papae " (ed. Oliger, ap. Archiv. 
Francisc. Hist , xi, 1918, p. 307 ff.) to disprove the arguments put 
forth to show a Pope could not resign. He died, 1298. See also, ib., 
p. 366 ff., his letter to the famous " Spiritual " Bl. Conrad of Offida 
(Sept. 14, 1295), in which he refutes the " frivolous and ridiculous 
reasons " (springing not from reason and Canon Law but from a false 
mysticism and Joachism) of those "rash and presumptuous" men 
who " stupidly " say that a Pope cannot resign, and that Boniface is 
not a true Pope. 



3 2 $ ST. CELESTINE V. 

and to go to Rome. 1 Bidding Peter accompany him, he 
left Naples perhaps before December was out, but, at 
any rate, in the beginning of January, 2 1295, as he 
reached Rome on January 17. 3 Having told Peter to 
journey in his company, Boniface presumed that he 
would do so, and evidently did not order any very strict 
watch to be kept over him. Meanwhile, however, Peter 
had allowed himself to be influenced by those around 
him. They had put all kinds of ideas into his mind as 
to what Boniface intended to do with him. Among other 
things they said that he was taking him into Campania 
to imprison him there. 4 Arguing that he had only 
resigned in order that he might be able to lead the same 
sort of life as he had done before his election, Peter 
decided to return to it, despite anybody. He had left 
with quite a large company, including his former disciple, 
Angelarius, Abbot of Mt. Cassino. When, however, 
he reached San Germano, he quickly, with the aid of a 
priest, slipped away, and returned to his cell on Mt. 
Morrone amidst the greatest manifestations of joy on the 
part of the people of all the country round. 5 

On hearing of his secret departure, Boniface was 
perturbed, and justly annoyed. He feared that the simple 
monk had been induced to resume the Papacy. 6 He, 
accordingly, straightway dispatched his chamberlain 
(camerarius), Theodoric of Orvieto, and the abbot of 

1 He left ". . . Ut Petri sedes, compressa dolore 

Libertate frui, sponsumque revisere posset." 
Stef., Bonif., c. 5. 

2 Ace. ib., Prose, p. 1 1, B. left for Rome on the first or second of Jan 

3 This date, not given in Potthast, is furnished by the useful English 
narrative, ap. Letters from N. Reg., p. 111. 

4 B.D., c. 36. " Multi dicebant quod in Campaniam ilium volebat 
ducere, ut ibi ilium incarceraret. Et alii alia cogitabant." 

5 B.D., cc. 37-8. " Sulmonenses cives . . . occurrerunt ei omnes 
obviam et ilium videntes nimium laetati sunt." Cf. Stef., Canon, i, c. 2. 

6 B.D., c. 38. " Credebat ivisse ad papatum, quern dimiserat, 
resumendum." 



ST. CELESTINE V. 329 

Monte Cassino to seek him. They had no difficulty in 
tracking him to his cell, where they found him giving 
thanks to God that He had brought him back there. 
They upbraided him for having gone off without the 
Pope's permission, and bade him return at once lest 
Boniface should be angry with him. Peter, however, 
replied by pointing out that he had resigned in order to 
be able to return to his former mode of life, and he 
begged the Pope's messengers to entreat him to allow 
him to end his life in solitude as he had begun it. He 
undertook, moreover, not to speak to anyone but to his 
monks. Extracting a promise from him that he would 
not leave his cell till they should return with the Pope's 
answer, the messengers departed. 

On their return journey, they were met by another 
papal messenger, who informed them that they were 
to bring Peter back with them whether he wanted to 
come or not. Before the chamberlain could retrace his 
steps, word of his errand had reached the hermit ; so 
that when the messenger reached the cell, Peter was not 
to be found. It was to no purpose that the chamberlain 
scoured the country, uttered threats and offered rewards. 
Peter's hiding place was not to be discovered. However, 
the irate official seized the two monks whom he found 
in the hermit's cell. But, as one was too ill to travel, 
he carried off the other, Angelo di Caramanico. Presumed 
to be privy to Peter's flight, the unfortunate monk was 
imprisoned in the rocky islet of Martana (or Malta), 
one of the two little islands in lake Bolsena. Here he 
died in a few days. 1 

1 All this is from B.D., c. 39, and the note, p. 425, from another MS. 
It is from Benvenuto da Imola, commenting on " Malta " in Paradiso, 
cant. 9, that we learn the name of the prison, and the speedy death of 
the prisoner. But he has confused the monk Angelo with abbot 
Angelarius, and says that it was the latter who was imprisoned by 
Boniface for not guarding Peter properly. He is certainly wrong, as 



330 



ST. CELESTINE V. 



Peter tries 
to cross the 
sea. 



Peter is 
captured. 



Meanwhile, brother Peter of Morrone was making his 
way to " a certain wood in Apulia in which there were 
a number of good servants of God ", and which was about 
four days' journey from his cell. Though clad "in 
a most vile cloak ", he was, we are told, everywhere 
recognized as he walked along, even by paople who had 
never seen him before. In the wood he remained con- 
cealed till Palm Sunday (March 27), but when on that day 
a Benedictine Abbot, searching for him, passed through 
the wood, Peter resolved to fly across the sea to Greece. 1 
Some of his monks, accordingly, engaged some sailors of 
Rodi, on the coast below the northern slopes of Mte. 
Gargano, to convey him across the Adriatic. For five 
or six weeks, however, storms and contrary winds 
prevented their putting to sea, and when, at last, they 
sailed out they were driven back, and had to come ashore 
close to Viesti only fifteen miles from Rodi round the 
promontory. 2 

Again, for several days, the sailors were unable to 
launch their boat, and word reached " the Captain " of 
Viesti that the ex-Pope was in the neighbourhood. 
Overjoyed at the news, the Captain, or Podesta, seized 
him, and at once sent word to the Pope and to the King 
of Naples and his officials regarding his capture. 
Charles II., we are told, was then, according to the 
disciples, at Anagni, no doubt with Boniface, who went 
there in June. 3 The King agreed to act in concert with 
the Pope, as he had done from the time when Peter had 



we know that Angelarius was alive on Apr. 18, 1295, when he was 
deposed by Boniface, not for carelessness in guarding Peter, but 
because he had been most injudiciously forced on the monks of Mt. 
Cassino by Celestine. Cf. Reg. Bonif. VIII., n. 96, and supra, p. 300. 

1 B.D., c. 40. 

2 lb., c. 41. Cf. Stef., Canonis., i, c. 4. 

3 B.D., c. 42. Charles II. reached Anagni June 7. Cf. Syllabus 
Membranar., ii, 157. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 331 

fled from San Germane 1 He, therefore, with the consent 
of Boniface, sent to Viesti " the patriarch of Jerusalem ", 2 
a Templar (William of Villaret, prior of St. Giles in 
Provence), the knight Louis de Roheriis, and the Constable 
William l'Estendard to escort the fugitive to him. 
From the actual documents giving King Charles's com- 
mission to these men to act, it appears that they were 
sent on their errand whilst the King and Boniface were 
still in Rome (May 16 and 17), 3 before either of them 
went to Anagni. However, it was when both of them 
were in that hill town that brother Peter was presented 
to them. 

The disciples tell us on the one hand that " those good 
lords ", the King's Commissioners, treated Peter with 
as much deference as if he were still Pope, 4 and on the 
other hand that " many men " were constantly urging 
him to reclaim the Papacy, as he had no legal right to 
renounce it. "All men were on his side." 5 But, adds the 
biographer, I myself heard him reply : " Far be it from 
me to cause dissension in the Church. I did not give up 
the Papacy to take it back again ; and I am still of the 



1 See his letters dated Jan. 26, 1295, from Rome to the Justiciary 
of the Abruzzi, and other officials, ordering them to assist in the search 
for brother Peter. Docs. ap. Cantera, p. 81 f. 

2 Or, as he is perhaps more correctly called by the eighth witness, 
" the once (quondam) " patriarch of Jerusalem. Ap. Seppelt, p. 212. 
This was Radulf (Raoul or Rudolf) de Grandivilla, a Dominican, who 
had been consecrated patriarch by order of Celestine V. His appoint- 
ment, like the rest of those of Celestine, was cancelled by Boniface. 
Cf. Chron. Gerard de Frachet contin., ad an., 1294, ap. RR. FF. SS., 
xxi, p. 12. However, as witness xi speaks only " of a certain (quendam) 
patriarch of J. " (Seppelt, p. 216) and King Charles II. calls Radulf 
" Patriarch of J.," it may be that his nomination by Celestine had 
not yet been cancelled. 

3 The diplomas are given in Cantera, p. 83, n. They are also published 
by Capasso in vol. x of the Arch. Stor. Nap., vol. x, p. 779. 

4 C. 42. 

5 lb., c. 43. 



33 2 ST. CELESTINE V. 

same mind come what may." 1 So great were the number 
of the Saint's admirers who came to salute him on his 
journey, that at length his escort had to insist on travelling 
by night. By night also was he brought secretly into 
Anagni, and lodged close to the Pope. 2 
Peter is Next day he was brought before Boniface, and asked 

confined in , , , , 

the castle of wn Y ne had not obeyed the orders he had been given, 
Fumone, but had fled from San Germano, and then from his cell 
at Sulmona. When he had explained his reasons, brother 
Peter begged to be allowed to return to his cell. To this 
request the Pope replied that he could give no answer 
till he had consulted the cardinals. The matter was 
accordingly referred to them in consistory. 3 If we are 
to believe Peter's biographers, several (plures) of the 
cardinals advised that his desire should be granted. 
Nevertheless, the majority of them, having in mind that 
brother Peter did not understand that obedience was 
better than sacrifice, that he had shown that he could 
be persuaded to disobey orders, and to break his word, 
and that large numbers of his simple or interested 
admirers believed or feigned to believe that he could 
not resign the Papacy, decided that it was necessary 

1 ib. 

2 lb., cc. 43-4. Cf. Stef., Canonis., i, c. 5.. 

3 The narrative of Celestine's disciples, which we are here following, 
gives the impression of a rather rough reception of the Saint by 
Boniface. But, if we turn to the narrative of Stefaneschi, I.e., which, 
to say the least, is as worthy of credence as that of the disciples, we 
find that Boniface received him most kindly, and so put the situation 
before him, that he expressed his readiness to go to Mte. Fumone, where : 
" Non facilis gressus, nee bello pervia et armis." If he lived hardly 
there, he did so because he wished to live as he had lived before. 

" Blandeque amplectitur almum 
Alloquiturque senem placidis sermonibus heros (Boniface) ; 
In tantumque pium movet, ut consistere promptus 
Arce velit castri Fumonis 

Sed celica spirans 
Parce usus, parceque tulit, moresque priores 
Observare studet." L.c. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 333 

that he should be kept in safe confinement. He was, 
therefore, after being retained two months at Anagni, 
whilst such a place was being prepared, conveyed by 
night to the castle on Monte Fumone, some eight miles 
above Ferentino. 1 The little town of Fumone, standing 
on a round, stony isolated hill, and commanding the 
whole district, forms, like the Italian hill-towns generally, 
as it were a large fortress, with its castello as a sort of 
citadel in its centre. It was in a very small room in this 
castle that the ex-Pope was confined (c. August, 1295). 
When he saw it, he gave thanks to God, exclaiming : 
" I have longed for a cell and a cell I have got." 2 At 
his request, two of his brethren, with whom he could 
recite the divine office, were allowed to remain with him. 
At first, they had to be changed frequently, as they could 
not endure the close confinement. But at length two 
stronger ones were found who remained with him till 
his death, which took place some ten months after his 
arrival. 3 Though it is true that in brother Peter's cell 
there was barely room to turn, we are assured that he 
never made any complaint about it, 4 and it may certainly 
be said that, to say the least of it, it was no worse than 
his cell on Mte. Morrone. Hence it is, that though Peter's 
cell was so narrow, and though no one was allowed to 
converse with him or his two companions, 5 still con- 



1 B.D., c. 44. I visited the castle of Fumone, Dec. 30, 1908. 

2 lb., c. 45. " Cellam desideravi, cellam habeo, sicut tuae placuit 
pietati D. Deus meus." 

3 lb. 

4 " Et, ut ipsi fratres mihi rettulerunt, numquam ipse turbabatur 
. . . nee propter artationem carceris nee propter improbitatem militum 
qui eum custodiebant." lb. As far as the " improbitas or malice " 
of the jailers are concerned, we may be permitted to believe that the 
Saint did not complain of it, because it did not exist. 

5 How necessary this restriction was will be understood when one 
reflects that the two Colonna cardinals, in their hostility to Boniface, 
put forth, in Celestine's lifetime, that his deposition and the election 



334 ST. CELESTINE V. 

temporary historians, as a body, assert that he was 
treated with consideration. 1 
Death of p or some ten months, brother Peter bore his confine- 

bro. Peter, 

1296. ment without any inconvenience. But he had already 

long outlived the allotted span of human life, and God 
now thought fit to bring his sixty-five years of penance 
to a close. The Saint's disciples narrate how, after he 
had celebrated with great devotion the feast of Pentecost 
(May 13), for which he had prepared himself by special 
prayers and fasts, he fell ill before the day had expired. 
A doctor was sent for at once, but he declared that there 
was no hope. The Saint was suffering from an abscess 
(apostema) in his right side which gave him great pain. 
Predicting his death to his brethren, he received the last 
sacraments, and bade his companions disturb him as little 
as might be so that he could devote all his thoughts to 
preparing for his last end. " He who had dominion over 
the whole earth, and had left it all for Christ . . . lay 
dying on a board covered with a single cloak." 2 After 
lying thus for a week, he died on the Saturday, at the 

of Boniface were invalid. " Qui (these cardinals) vivente P.C., schisma 
commoverant, dicentes indebitam ejus depositionem et injustam 
Bonifacii promotionem extitisse." Will, de Nangis, Chron., ad an. 
1296. 

1 W. of N., ad an. 1294. *' Fecit (Boniface) eum (C.) sicut decuit 
honestissime custodiri " ; or in another version : " Honorifice fecit eum 
diligenti custodia . . . custodiri." Cf. Ann ales Halesbnm., ap. 
M. G. SS., xxiv, p. 46. An author of a continuation of Martinus Polonus 
(Cont. Brabant., ap. ib., p. 261), though he believes that Boniface induced 
Cel. to resign by throwing near his bed a parchment written in letters 
of gold as though from heaven, telling him that he could not be saved 
as Pope, still says that he as a captive : " curialiter tenuit (eum)." 
See also Florence of Worcester, Contin., p. 276. 

2 B.D., c. 46. Here again the disciples manifest their bitter feelings 
and utter want, one will not say of Christian charity, but of fairness. 
They complain that their father, who had never used a bed, and would 
not have used one if it had been brought to him, had no bed to lie on, 
whereas " he to whom he had left the Papacy reposed like a god on a 
couch adorned with purple and gold ". 



ST. CELESTINE V. 335 

hour of vespers, just as he said the words : " Let every 
spirit praise the Lord " of the psalm : " Laudate 
Dominum in Sanctis suis " (May 19, 1296). x 

From the day before till the hour of his death, the Appearance 
soldiers on guard declared at the time and afterwards to ° ou ^ cross CU " 
Pope Boniface and everybody that they had seen a 
golden cross suspended in the air in front of his room. 2 
The disciples add that by this miracle the Almighty 
wished to show that He was pleased with the way in 
which His servant had for so many years borne the cross 
of penance. They also state that the brothers who 
were with the dying Saint were so much concerned with 
his state that they had no wish to leave his room in 
order to see the shining cross. 

This apparition of a luminous cross is given as 
miraculous in the bull of Celestine's canonization, but 
the account of it is given somewhat differently by one 
of the witnesses examined for it. Canon Nicholas 
Verticelli of Naples, professor of civil law, swore that he 
had acted as assessor (auditor) to Thomas, cardinal of 
Sta. Cecilia, who on the death of bro. Peter had been 
sent by Pope Boniface to Mte. Fumone. There they 
spoke with Theodoric of Orvieto, the Pope's chamberlain 
(camerarius) and with a number of the warders of the 
castle. These men asserted that before the death of 
the Saint there had appeared before the door of his room 
a ball of fire which gradually formed itself into a cross 
of a golden colour, and remained suspended in the air 
for more than an hour (per magnam horam). 3 

1 lb., c. 47. This was in the 87th year of his age. 

2 lb. A modern inscription in what is shown as the Saint's cell sets 
forth : " Circa hujus cubiculi ostium tota die XIX. Maii, an. MCCIVC 
qua S. Petrus Celestinus PP. Quintus hie obdormivit in Domino aurea 
crux mirabiliter in aere pendere visa fuit." Cf. Stef., Canonis., i, c. 7 ; 
and iii, c. 10. 

3 Witness 9, ap. Seppelt. p. 213. 



Burial of 
bro. Peter. 



336 ST. CELESTINE V. 

Word of the Saint's death was immediately sent to 
Rome, and, though the disciples themselves assure us 
that Boniface showed signs of grief at the news, they, 
in some way best known to themselves, divined that he 
was " exceedingly rejoiced " at it. 1 At any rate, the 
Pope straightway dispatched to Mte. Fumone, cardinal 
Thomas and his chamberlain, Theoderic, with orders 
that all honour should be paid to the body of the one-time 
Pope. Meanwhile, he himself with great solemnity sang 
Mass in St. Peter's for the repose of his soul. 

Arrived at Mte. Fumone, the two representatives of the 
Pope summoned thither the bishops and religious of the 
whole of Campania, and accompanied by a great crowd 
of people carrying candles and torches, took " the holy 
body " in a coffin of wood down to the church of 
St. Anthony close to Ferentino. In this church, which in 
life bro. Peter had completely restored, his body was 
laid to rest near the high altar (May 21), 2 and many, we 
are assured by the disciples, were the miracles wrought 
at his tomb. 3 Whoever else were distressed at the Saint's 
death, his disciples certainly were. They bewailed the 



1 B.D., c. 47. " Nimium gaudens effectus est." It is scarcely worth 
while to observe that Boniface might be glad that danger of schism 
in the Church, and of great trouble to himself, had been removed, 
and yet, at the same time, be sorry that a good man had been taken 
away. 

2 B.D., c. 47 ; witness n. 9, ap. Seppelt, p. 214 ; Stef., Can. i, c. 8. 

3 13. D., ib. " Ubi hunt multa miracula sicut fides petentium exigit." 
This narrative contains accounts of many miracles wrought by bro. 
Peter, both before and after he became Pope, and during his Papacy. 
We have not inserted them in our narrative in order not to interrupt 
the Saint's life story, and because a large proportion of them were 
rejected by the cardinals who examined them in view of bro. Peter's 
canonization, either because the alleged fact was not sufficiently 
established as a fact, or as a miracle, or both. Cf. Sententice cardinalium 
de miraculis f. Petri de M. quondam C. P. V ., ap. Analect. B., 1897, 
p. 475 ff. Stef. gives a number of the miracles in Lib. iii, cc. 2-20 of 
his Canonis. P. de M . 



ST. CELESTINE V. 337 

loss " of the foundation of their religion (i.e., of course, 
their Order), and of the glory of all religious", and of one 
" who was the comfort of the sad, the uplifter of the 
poor, and the support of the weak ". 1 

That the body of the Saint should rest near Ferentino The body of 

J i r a -i a • the bamt is 

was not all to the mind of the people 01 Aquila. As in carried oft to 

life brother Peter had been much more closely connected Aquila, 1326 - 

with Aquila than with Ferentino, they argued that in 

death his body should belong to Aquila rather than 

to Ferentino. Accordingly, when a war had broken 

out between Anagni and Ferentino, in 1326, the people 

of Aquila, thinking that their chance had now come, 

entered into negotiations with the counts of Anagni in 

order to induce them to get possession of the body, and 

then hand it over to them. 2 Hearing of this, the people 

of Ferentino, despite the protests of the monks, brought 

the body within the city walls, and placed it in the Church 

of St. Agatha. But, robbed of their treasure, the monks 

of St. Anthony came to the conclusion that it was better 

that the body of their founder should repose in a 

church of their Order in Aquila than in a church of 

seculars in Ferentino. Despite, therefore, the jealous 

care which the people of Ferentino took of the Saint's 

body, the monks managed to smuggle it out of the 

Church of St. Agatha in a mattress. Then, after a brief 

1 B.D., c. 48. " Lamentatio de eodem Patre." 

2 Cf. " Legenda de translatione S. corporis ejus ", published in the 
Analecta B., 1897, p. 468 ft. This account is evidently written by an 
inhabitant of Aquila ; for the writer thinks that, though the people 
of Ferentino honoured the body of the Saint, their praise was not enough 
" for the merits of Celestine ". Greater praise was due to one " qui 
erat lucerna et speculum mundi ". Of course, that he could get that 
praise in the superior city of Aquila, is the insinuation. The document 
(Vatican MS. 8883) was drawn up in the first half of the fourteenth 
century. There is another narrative of the translation which was first 
published by D. Faber, and reproduced by the Bollandists, Acta SS., 
t. iv, Maii, pp. 435-6. The Legenda is the original version. 

Vol. XVII. z 



338 



ST. CELESTINE V. 



concealment in a desk of their prior, the monks, taking 
advantage of an attack by the people of Anagni, con- 
trived, under cover of night, to convey the sacred remains 
to Aquila. 1 They were then deposited in a chapel at the 
end of the left aisle in the church of St. Maria di 
Collemaggio, wherein he had been crowned. " You 
wished," sings a local poet of the Saint, " to return to 
Aquila which you ever loved." 2 

Overjoyed at the possession of the body of the Saint, 
beloved by all the Abruzzese, the people of Aquila, after 
great preparations, began, on February 15, 1236, 3 a series 
of festivities, ecclesiastical and secular, in which more 
than a hundred thousand persons are said to have taken 
part. 4 

In what sort of a tomb the mortal remains of Celestine V. 
were first placed in Aquila is not known. But in the 
beginning of the sixteenth century, the silver chest 5 
enclosing them was put in the existing tomb of Parian 
marble, made at the expense of the city wool- workers. 
It is remarkable for its grotesque figures and capricious 
intaglios executed with great delicacy. 6 

1 lb., p. 471. 

2 See a quotation from the Laude Aquilane in the notes to the 
Cronaca of Buccio di Ranallo, p. 65, ed. de Bartholomaeis. 

3 The poet B. di R., p. 65, gives 1327 as the date of the bringing of 
the body of St. C. to Aquila, but the authority of the Legenda is better. 

4 Legenda, p. 472. " Veniunt cum muneribus venerari . . . sanctum 
Domini." Cf. B. di R., p. 64. 

" Gran festa ne fo facta, sacciate veramente : 

Tucte le Arte annarovi, ciaschuna con gran gente, 

Ciaschesuna Arte fe ad san Petro presente ; 

L'altre spese facembo nui genera] mente." 

5 This beautifully chased chest was, with other rich treasures of 
the Church, carried off in 1529 by Filibert of Chalons, Prince of Orange. 
Cantera, p. 91. 

6 See an illustration of the tomb in the Bollandists, Propyl, ad mens. 
Mail, p. 391, ed. Antwerp, 1742. Cf. V. Bindi, Monumenti storici ed 
artistici degli Abruzzi, Naples, 1889. See plates 156-7. Among the 
inscriptions on the monument we read : " Opus magistri Hyeronimi 
Vincentini Sculptoris." 



ST. CELESTINE V. 339 

The bones of the Saint are now distributed among Present 
eight reliquaries. In one of these is the skull, and on^^ 
its frontal protuberance on the left side above the middle 
of the left orbit is an oblong hole which might have been 
made by a nail. The existence of this hole furnished 
excellent material for the imaginations of the enemies 
of Boniface VIII. That monster had caused the Saint 
to be killed by ordering a nail to be driven through his 
head ! If there was nothing else to attach any fair or 
generous minded man to the memory of Boniface VIII., 
the realization of the utterly unscrupulous way in which 
he has been maligned would be more than enough. 1 

Though there is no denying that Peter de Morrone Peter de 

° . ° , _ Morrone is 

was a man of " rude simplicity ", and that, when Pope, canonized, 
he did much harm to the Church " not from malice " but 1313 - 
from this very simplicity, 2 and though there is no 
denying that, from want of education, he was deficient 
in secular learning, 3 and even, it may perhaps be said, 
in the knowledge of some of the soundest principles of 
the spiritual life, nevertheless, he made most heroic 
efforts to sanctify himself. There is, moreover, every 
reason to believe that God, who sees the heart, blessed 
his efforts, by giving him a certain control over the forces 



1 After what we have written about the death of Celestine there is 
no need to refute this malicious invention. I will only say that I 
examined the skull with a medical friend, Dr. J. E. A. Ferguson, now 
the Very Rev. Mgr. He assured me that there was nothing to show 
that the hole might not have been made after death, and that, in any 
case, a nail inserted in the position described might not kill ! 

2 Such is the just judgment of the enlightened and pious James de 
Voragine, Chron. Januense, c. 9, ap. R. I . SS., ix, p. 54. In his acts he 
often followed " non Curiae consuetudinem, sed . . . suam rudem 
simplicitatem. ... Et quamvis non ex malitia, sed ex quadam 
simplicitate haec faceret, tamen in magnum Ecclesiae praejudicium 
redundabant." 

3 That is the general verdict of his contemporaries, Will, of Nangis, 
ad an., 1294 ; Bart, of Cotton, p. 252, R.S., etc., etc. 



34° ST. CELESTINE V. 

of nature so as to enable him to work miracles, 1 and, what 
is more wonderful, by giving him exceptional power to 
draw men from indifference or even from vice to virtue. 
Consequently, he had not been long dead when an 
agitation began for his formal canonization. 2 It was 
taken up by princes and people alike. Among the former, 
assuredly from anything but worthy motives, was 
Philip le Bel. His motives can be seen in the form of 
his request to Pope Clement V. ' ' With great importunity, 
he demanded from the Pope the bones of Boniface VIII. 
that he might burn them as those of a heretic, and also 
the insertion of the name of Peter of Morrone, once 
Pope Celestine V., in the catalogue of the Saints." 3 
Not having the slightest intention of granting Philip's 
first outrageous request, Clement took preliminary steps 
towards granting his second. He commissioned James, 
archbishop of Naples, and Frederick, bishop of Valva- 
Sulmona, to collect the necessary evidence with regard 
to the life of Peter of Morrone. The commissioners began 
their work on May 13, 1306, and its result, 4 from which 
we have often quoted, was discussed at the Council of 
Vienne (Oct., 1311), 5 and then frequently by the 
cardinals. At length on May 5, 1313, Clement V., wearing 
a beautiful cope of English workmanship, preached on 
the saintly life of Peter of Morrone ; and afterwards, on 
the same day, issued the bull " Qui facit magna ", by 
which, " relying on the power of Almighty God, and on 

1 The bull of his canonization accepts nine miracles and declares 
that he wrought " very many others ". Cf. Stef., Canonis., iii, cc. 1-21. 

2 Ptol. of L., H.E., xxiv, 35. " De cujus (P. of M.) canonizatione 
facienda . . . apud magnos viros in Curia Romana sollicitudo incubuit, 
ac lungo tempore duravit." 

3 Nic. Trivet, Chron., p. 411, cf. Ptol. of L., I.e. ; Stef., Prose, p. 13, 
and Can., i, 16, and his Ceremonial, p. 61 ff. 

4 Ap. Seppelt, p. 211 ff. 

5 Cantera, p. 87, citing Acta conciliorum, t. vii, p. 1360, ed. Paris, 1714. 
Cf. Stef., Ceremonial, p. 61. 



ST. CELESTINE V. 34I 

the authority of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, 
and on our own, we decide that he (Peter of Morrone) is 
to be enrolled in the Catalogue of the Saints." x 

The portrait we have given of Celestine is said to be taken from Note re 

a most ancient original, and certainly may be said to bear a number pictures of 

Celestine. 
of marks of authenticity. It is taken from Zecca, Memorie artistiche 

istoriche della Badia di S. Spirito sul Monte Maiella, p. 103. In the 

church of S. Pietro a Maiella in Naples there are pictures showing 

Pope Celestine giving a bull of exemption to Abbot Onofrio da Comina. 

Cf. Filangieri, Di alcuni dipinti nella chiesa di S. Pietro, t. ii, pp. 308 f., 

320 f., Naples, 1881. But these date only from the seventeenth 

century, being the work of Calabrese (mostly from Cantera, pp. 4, n., 

and 101, n.). In the book of caricatures entitled Malorum initium, 

Celestine is represented in the habit of a religious with cowl and 

tonsure. In his right hand he has a sickle and in his left a rose. 

The inscription on the picture ran : " Coelestinus P. V. Elatio, paupertas, 

obedientia, castitas, temperantia, gastrimargia." Cf. Pipinus, Chron., 

iv, c. 40. 

1 See the bull, e.g., in the Benedictine ed. of the Register of C. V., 
n. 9668, vol. vii, p. 292 ff. The Pope also granted indulgences to 
those who visited the tomb of the Saint on the anniversary of his 
death or during its octave ; and Philip le Bel, believing he had scored 
a point against the memory of Boniface VIII., gave substantial presents 
to those who first brought him the news of the canonization. Cf. 
Baluze, Vitce PP. Avenion., i, p. 607, quoting from a Regest. earner ce 
Compritorum Paris. Cf. Stef., Prosa, p. 14 (S. assisted the Pope as 
deacon in the Cathedral at Avignon on the occasion of the publication 
of the bull), Canon., ii, cc. 1-8, and Ceremon., p. 65. In the days of 
Charles III. of Durazzo and other Angevin Kings of Naples, Aquila 
and Sulmona are said to have coined money bearing on the reverse 
the bust of St. Celestine with mitre and cope, and the words : S. Petrus 
Papa F. S., etc., which Muratori, Antiq. Ital., ii, p. 630 (plates, 
pp. 639-40) believes to refer to St. Peter Celestine. Cf. Cantera, pp. 92-3. 



INDEX 



Abaga, Ilkhan, 38 ff., 87 ff. 
Abuna, the, 117 ff. 
Abu-Said, Khan, 67. 
Abyssinia, 106 ff. 
Acharabues, 16. 
Acre, fall of, 54. 
Ahmad, Ilkhan, 42, 90. 
Albert of Hapsburg, 166, 170. 
Aldobrandini, 187. 
Alexander IV., pope, 85. 
Alfonso of Aragon, 142 ff. 
Alfonso III. of Portugal, 226. 
Andrew of Hungary, 169. 
Andrew of Zayton, 96 ff. 
Andronicus II., emperor, 

228 ff. 
Aphraates, 19. 
Arghun, Ilkhan, 42 ff., 90. 
Armann dei Monaldeschi, 

193-4. 
Armenia, 237 ff. 
Arricia, 185 ff. 
Art, Nicholas IV. and, 196 ff. 
Ascoli, 190-1. 

Bacon, Roger, 10. 
Baghdad, 34 ff. 
Baliol, John, 223-5. 
Barsauma, 28 ff. 
Bartholomew of Grosseto, 

219 ff. 
Bartholomew of Tivoli, 

136 ff. 
Benedict XII., pope, 98 ff. 
Benjamin I., patriarch, 117. 
Bologna, University of, 241-2. 
Boniface VIII., pope, 63, 166, 

307, 325 ff. 
British Isles, 207 ff. 



Buccamatius, J., card. 
Bulgaria, 235 ff. 



46. 



Caleb-Elesbaas, 113-14. 

Candace, Queen, 108-9. 

Canterbury, Synod of, 214. 

Cardinals, Nicholas IV. and, 
195-6 ; creations of 
Celestine V., 294 ff. 

Catherine of Courtenay, 228. 

Cavallini, Pietro, 197-8. 

Celestine V., St., pope : 
election, 262 ff. ; early 
life, 265 ff. ; accepts 
papacy, 280 ff. ; con- 
secrated, 289 ff. ; life 
as Pope, 290 ; papal 
acts, 292 ff. ; resigns, 
316 ff. ; subsequent 

history, 326 ff. ; dies, 
334 ff. ; canonized, 339. 

Celestine Congregation, 269 ff . 

Chagan, 53. 

Charles Martel of Hungary, 
169 ff., 282 ff. 

Charles of Salerno (Charles II. 
of Sicily), 142 ff., 169 ff., 
262 ff., 282, 300 ff., 307. 

Charles of Valois, 146-7, 
158 ff. 

China, 35 ff., 69 ff. 

Chosroes I., 19 ff. 

Chosroes II., 32, 36. 

Clement IV., pope, 39, 85, 
274. 

Clement V., pope, 66, 95 ff., 

166, 340-1. 
Colonna, James, card., 306. 
Colonna, Peter, card., 283 ff. 



343 



344 



INDEX 



Colonnas, the, 180 ff., 254 ff. 
Conclave after death of 

Nicholas IV., 254 ff. 
Conclave Decree of Gregory 

X., 297-8. 
Conrad, bro., 7-9. 
Constantine the Great, 18. 
Constantinople, Nicholas IV. 

and, 228 ff. 
Crusades, Nicholas IV. and, 

177, 208 ff. 
Cyril, Abuna, 117 ff. 

Dad-Ishu, 25 ff. 
Dante and Celestine V., 324-5. 
Diniz of Portugal, 226. 
Dionysius of Alexandria, 15. 
Dragutin, Stephen, 234 ff. 

Edesius, 109 ff. 

Edessa, School of, 27. 

Edward I. of England, 6, 40, 
45, 51 ff., 55-6, 142 ff., 
208 ff., 291, 302 ff. 

Edward II. of England, 66. 

Elias, bp. of Merv, 22-3. 

Empire, the, 163 ff. 

England, Celestine V. and, 
301 ff. 

Eutyches, 27 ff. 

Faysolis, St. Maria in, 275. 
France, Nicholas IV. and, 

174 ff. 
Franciscans, favoured by 

Nicholas IV., 12 ; in 

Persia, 68 ; in Abyssinia, 

131 ff. 
Frumentius, 109 ff. 

Gaetani, Benedict, card., 
151-2, 158, 175, 188 ; 
see also Boniface VIII. 

Gaykhatu, 57. 

George, Prince, 93. 

Gerard of Parma, 158. 



Gerard of Prato, 41, 87 ff. 
Ghazan, Khan, 61 ff. 
Gratz, University of, 243. 
Gregory IX., pope, 83. 
Gregory X., pope, 8, 86 ff., 

274-5. 
Gualfredi, Raymond, 13. 
Guido of Montefeltro, 309. 
Guy de Montfort, 187. 

Hayton II., k. of Armenia, 

61, 237. 
Heretics, Nicholas IV. and, 

240. 
Honorius III., pope, 222. 
Hungary, 168 ff. 

Ilkhans, the, 38 ff. 
Innocent III., pope, 231-2. 
Innocent IV., pope, 83. 
Innocent VI., pope, 102. 
Ireland, 222-3. 
Isaac, Mar, 24. 

Jabalaha I., 24. 
Jabalaha III., 44, 47 ff. 
Jacopone da Todi, 312 ff. 
James I. of Aragon, 39 ff. 
James II. of Aragon, 64, 

142 ff., 307. 
Jews, expelled from England, 

221. 
John, Abuna, 123. 
John, bp. of Iesi, 171. 
John, Duke of Brittany, 63. 
John XXI, pope, 40, 87. 
John XXII., pope, 67-8, 

134 ff. 
John de Castrocoeli, 189, 

296 ff. 
John of Beit-Parsaya, 22. 
John of Monte Corvino, 50, 

84 ff., 90 ff. 
John of Parma, 90. 
John Marignolli, 100 ff. 



INDEX 



345 



Khalil, sultan, 53, 61. 
Kharbenda, 52 ff., 65. 
Kilawun, 54 ff. 
Kublai Khan, 41, 83. 

Lalibala, k. of Abyssinia, 

127 ff. 
de Langele, Sir Walter, 56-7. 
Latinus of Ostia, card., 256 ff., 

264, 288. 
Leo IV., k. of Armenia- 

Cilicia, 65-6. 
Lisbon, University of, 243. 
Louis, St., of Toulouse, 147, 

299. 
Lull, Raymond, 2-3. 

Mahomet and Abyssinia, 

115 ff. 
Malatesta of Verucucchio, 

193-4. 
Mamelukes, 54 ff. 
Margaret, Maid of Norway, 

223. 
Markabta, Synod of, 25 ff. 
Martin IV., pope, 9. 
Marutha, 23 ff. 
Massi, Jerome Peter, see 

Nicholas IV. 
Matthew of Aquasparta, 12. 
Matthew of Chieti, 58. 
Meinhard, Count of Tyrol, 

165 ff. 
Menas, Abuna, 125. 
Meshiha-Zeka, 17. 
Michael of Constantinople, 

228 ff. 
Missions, Nicholas IV. and, 

14 ff. 
Monte Cassino, Celestine V. 

and, 299 ff. 
Montpellier, University of, 

243. 
Morrone, Monte, 268 ff. 

Nestorianism, 20 ff. 



Nicaea, Council of, 16-17, 22. 

Nicholas the Franciscan, 
98-9. 

Nicholas III., pope, 7, 8, 
40 ff., 87 ff. 

Nicholas IV., pope, election, 
6 ff. ; character, 10 ff. ; 
and missions, 14 ff. ; and 
Sicily, 142 ff. ; and the 
Empire, 163 ff. ; and 
France, 174 ff. ; and 
Italy, 179 ff. ; and art, 
196 ff. ; and British 
Isles, 207 ff. ; death, 
244 ff. 

Nine Saints, the, 111-13. 

Odoric of Pordenone, 96 ff. 
Oleron, Treaty of, 145. 
Oljaitu, 50 ff., 65 ff. 
Orsini, the, 260 ff. 
Orsini, Berthold, 186. 
Orsini, Napoleon, 12. 

Padua, University of, 240-1. 

Papa, bp. of Seleucia, 31. 

Paris, University of, 242-3. 

Persia, 14 ff. 

Perugia, 192-3. 

Peter, Abuna, 124 ff. 

Peter de Morrone, see Celes- 
tine V. 

Peter of Aragon, 153. 

Peter of St. Eustachio, card., 
12. 

Philip le Bel, of France, 45, 
64, 143 ff., 174 ff. 

Polo brothers, the, 85. 

Portugal, 226 ff. 

Provisions and Reservations, 
215-16. 

Raymund of Provence, 179. 
Ricold of Monte-Croce, 35, 48. 
Robert of Artois, 228 ff. 
Romanus, abp. of York. 292. 



346 



INDEX 



Rome, disorders in, during 
Papal interregunum, 

260 ff. 

Rudolf of Hapsburg, 163 ff. 

Rusutti, Filippo, 199 ff. 

Sapor II., 18 ff. 

Sauma, Rabban, 43 ff. 

Sava, St., 232. 

Scotland, 223-5, 305-6. 

Seguin, Hugh, 12. 

Seleucia, Catholicus of, 30 ff. 

Servia, 231 ff. 

Sicily, 142 ff. 

Sigfrid, abp. of Cologne, 
164-5. 

Simon, patriarch, of Alex- 
andria, 122-3. 

Simon of St. Angelo, 277. 

Si-ngan-fu inscription, 76-7. 

Spinola, Porchettus, 63. 

Spirituals and Celestine V., 
313 ff. 

Stefaneschi, card. James, 
251 ff. 

Stephen I., pope, 15. 

Stephen II. of Servia, 232 ff. 



Tarascon, Treaty of, 159. 
Terracina, 185 ff. 
Terterii, George, 236. 
Theodosius II., 21, 23. 
Third Order, Celestine, 278. 
Timothy I., Catholicus, 37. 
Torriti, Jacopo, 199 ff. 
Tuscany, 191-2. 

Universities, 240-1. 
Urban IV., pope, 273. 
Urosh, Stephen, 234-5. 

Vararanes, 25. 

Vassalli, John and James, 40. 

Viterbo, 184-5. 

Wang P'u, 77. 
William of Chieri, 58. 
William of Prato, 103-4. 
Winchelsea, Robert of, abp., 
301. 

Yezdegerd I., 23-5. 

Zinghis Khan, 38. 



Printed in Great Britain by Stephen Austin &■ Sons, Ltd., Hertford. 



MANK, H.K. BOX 

Lives of the Popes in .M2 

the Middle Ages 
Volume XVII 1288-12%