Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) didn't want to save your soul; he wanted to rule your life. Boniface VIII was one of the most ardent supporters of papal authority. What started as a minor squabble with King Philip IV of France over a government's ability to tax clergy members escalated until Boniface VIII excommunicated the king and released a decree stating that "every human creature [was] subject to the Roman pontiff." Boniface VIII sent mercenaries to destroy other people's castles, declared all the prominent Italian Colonna family's property forfeited and proceeded to parcel their land out among his family members. In September 1303, an army led by the Colonna family kidnapped the Pope and demanded that he abdicate. Held in captivity for multiple days, the Pope refused. He survived the attack and returned to Rome only to die a month later.
Although Boniface VIII was still alive when Dante — who had been personally exiled by the Pope for supporting papal limitations — wrote his famous Divine Comedy, the Italian writer placed him in his version of Hell anyway.
Boniface VIII, Pope (SOURCE 2)
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Born:1205? in Anagni, Italy
Died: 1303 in Rome, Italy
Boniface VIII, Pope
Pope Boniface VIII (ca. 1235-11 October 1303) was born Benedict Gaetani in the Ernican hill town of Anagni; he became pope on 24 December 1294, taking the name of Boniface VIII. Because his stormy pontificate led almost immediately into what Petrarch dubbed the "Babylonian Captivity of the Church," it is generally seen as marking the effective end of the medieval papacy.
Trained as a canon lawyer, Gaetani entered papal service at an early age and rose rapidly through the ranks. By the 1260's he was frequently employed on diplomatic missions--for example, to England and France--and in 1281 Pope Martin IV recognized his talents by making him a cardinal deacon. Ten years later Nicholas IV promoted him to cardinal priest.
When Nicholas died (4 April 1292), selecting a successor proved difficult: the cardinals were badly split but subject to rules that called for unanimity. An interregnum of twenty-seven months therefore ensued, ending only on 5 July 1294, when the desperate College of Cardinals finally agreed upon Peter of Morrone, a hermit of eighty, who took the name of Celestine V. Since Celestine's talents ran more to the spiritual than to the administrative, his rule threatened quickly to become a pious disaster. Finally recognizing the problem, the pope first consulted the leading cardinals; next issued a bull affirming his right to resign; and then actually did so on 13 December 1294. Eleven days later Cardinal Gaetani succeeded him.
The unusual circumstances surrounding Boniface's elevation ensured that his would be a difficult reign, but a further complication lay in the fact that Celestine had enjoyed the fervent support of such millenary groups as the Franciscan Spirituals, people unwilling to accept either that he had resigned voluntarily or that he had the right to abdicate. Boniface made matters infinitely worse, first by confining his predecessor to Castello di Monte Fumone (to guard against schism) and then, on 1 August 1296, by declaring the Spirituals to be heretics. In this case, as in others, Boniface's personality tended to multiply his problems, for he was never a man to suffer fools gladly. Always haughty and proud, in his papal years he displayed an increasingly imperious irascibility, a propensity doubtless caused partly by painful attacks of "the stone" and partly by his determined attempts to live up to a high conception of office which never seemed able to distinguish between those matters which pertained only to Benedict Gaetani, the private man, and those which belonged solely to Boniface VIII, the pope.
Boniface's greatest struggle, that with France, began early in 1296, when the French Cistercians protested against royal taxation and appealed to Rome. The pope replied on 24 February with Clericis laicos, a bull prohibiting all secular taxation of the clergy without prior papal approval. The French countered on 17 August by prohibiting the export of gold and silver, thereby hoping to cut papal revenue significantly.
Simultaneously, however, Boniface found himself embroiled in a dispute with the Colonna family, two of whose members were cardinals. The pope had been using his powers to increase Gaetani land holdings near Anagni, but since the Colonnas coveted these properties, hard feelings arose. Matters came to a head on 2 May 1297, when Stephen Colonna ambushed a papal treasure train to prevent yet another acquisition. In his anger Boniface excommunicated the Colonnas and, on 27 November, proclaimed what amounted to a crusade against them. He was not to be satisfied until the Colonna cardinals had been seized and imprisoned, and their principal residence, Palestrina, both razed and sown with salt. Nevertheless, faced with opposition so close to home, Boniface decided to make peace with the French, capitulating completely in the summer of 1297, when he gave way on clerical taxation and announced the canonization of Louis IX, grandfather of the reigning French king, Philip the Fair.
With the possible exception of the publication in 1298 of the Liber sextus, Boniface's compilation of canon law, the high point in his pontificate came in 1300, his year of Jubilee. With indulgences promised to all, hundreds of thousands made the pilgrimage to Rome, thereby convincing the pope of his popular support. Thus, on 12 July 1301, when Philip the Fair ordered Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, arrested for treason, Boniface was in no mood to accept the French impertinence. In Salvator mundi and Ausculta fili (4-5 December 1301), he suspended all privileges of clerical taxation, reproved Philip for his conduct, and summoned all the French bishops to Rome for a review of the king's government and of the state of religion in France.
In April 1302, Philip convoked an assembly of clergy, nobles, and towns in support of his policies, but after a French army was disastrously beaten by the Flemings at Courtrai in July, Boniface felt confident enough on 18 November to issue Unam sanctam, a ringing declaration that it was "altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff." In February, March, and June of 1303, Philip responded with more assemblies, which, following the lead of the Colonna cardinals, proclaimed Boniface a usurping heretic and called on the king to aid in summoning a general council of the church to depose him. A French lawyer, Guillaume de Nogaret, was dispatched to Italy to arrest him, and on 7 September troops under Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna stormed the papal palace at Anagni, taking Boniface prisoner. Although he was freed two days later, he returned to Rome a broken man, and soon died.
In 1311 the first Avignonese pope, Clement V, was to issue a bull, Rex gloriae, in which he ordered many of Boniface's later bulls quashed and then praised his enemies for having attacked him with "an estimable, just, and sincere zeal and from the fervor of their Catholic faith."
Thomas S. R. Boase, Boniface VIII (1933); Georges Digard, Philippe le Bel et le Saint-siège de 1285 à 1304, 2 vols.
(1936); Georges Digard et al., Les registres de Boniface VIII, 4 vols. (1904-1939); Pierre Dupuy, Histoire du différend d'entre le pape Boniface VIII et Philippe le Bel, roy de France (1655, repr. 1963); Charles T. Wood, ed. and trans., Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII, 2nd ed. (1971, repr. 1976).
Wood, Charles T. "Boniface VIII, Pope." Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Ed. Joseph R. Strayer. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1989. World History in Context. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.
Philip IV (source 3) Top of Form
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Died: November 29, 1314
Philip IV (1268-1314), called Philip the Fair, ruled France from 1285 to 1314. His reign was one of the most momentous in medieval history because Philip successfully challenged the traditional power of the papacy in France, thereby strengthening the monarchy.
Son of King Philip III and Joan of Navarre, Philip IV was tall, handsome, and fair, but his character remains enigmatic. His power was great as a result of the Crown's acquisition of numerous fiefs in recent decades, but long and expensive wars with England caused a severe financial crisis. This crisis prompted the King to raise money through rigorous collection of incomes due, forced loans, high taxes, and debasement of the coinage. The Jews were expelled from France in 1306 and the "Lombards" (Italian bankers) in 1311. The property of each group was confiscated. Philip also seized the wealth of the Knights Templar after pressuring the weak Pope Clement V into suppressing them.
Philip introduced various governmental reforms, including the Chamber of Accounts to supervise finances. The Parlement of Paris, a judicial body, was made more specialized. A new institution, the States General, which included clergy, nobles, and commoners, was first called in 1302 in order to win support for royal policy against the papacy.
Continuing financial crises led to a conflict with Pope Boniface VIII over the right of the King to tax the French clergy without papal consent. The Pope finally conceded the point when threatened by the loss of his revenues from France.
In 1301 Philip's conflict with the papacy was revived by the arrest of Bishop Bernard Saisset of Pamiers. The bishop's trial in the royal court led to Boniface's demand that he be released and his convocation of all French bishops to Rome in November 1302. In reply Philip called the first States General, which met at Notre Dame in Paris in April 1302. At this meeting he launched a vicious attack against the Pope and against papal right to intervene in French affairs. The papal council in Rome resulted in the papal bull Unam sanctam, which reaffirmed papal authority over temporal affairs and the papal right to correct a king's morally wrong public acts. Philip's reply was evasive. He had already sent Guillaume de Nogaret to seize the Pope preparatory to having him tried and deposed by a council. Boniface was seized and mistreated at Anagni in September 1303. Liberated by the townspeople, the aged pope died 3 weeks later of the effects of the ordeal.
Philip summoned the States General twice more--in 1308 and 1314--chiefly in order to gain support for his wars against the Flemish. He died on Nov. 29, 1314.
The conflict with the papacy that occurred during Philip's reign has been the subject of numerous studies, such as that of Philip Hughes, A History of the Church, vol. 3 (1949). Charles T. Wood, Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII: State vs. Papacy (1967), gives excerpts from various works which show the state of the problem at the time. For an overall view of Philip's reign see "France: The Last Capetians" in The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 7 (1932).
Strayer, Joseph Reese, The Reign of Philip the Fair,Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1980.
Full Text:COPYRIGHT 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning.
"Philip IV." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.
Boniface VIII’s Bull Unam Sanctam(SOURCE 4)
By Richard Cavendish
Published in History Today Volume 52
Pope Boniface VIII issued the papal bull Unam Sanctam, the most famous papal document of the Middle Ages, on November 18th, 1302. Statue of Boniface VIIICardinal Benedict Gaetani, a canon lawyer and diplomat from a leading Roman family who had spent many years working his way up in the papal government, was chosen pope in 1294 to replace the elderly Celestine V, a saintly former hermit who found himself totally out of his depth. Boniface, who had encouraged Celestine to resign, locked the old man away in a castle, where he died before long. The new pope quickly found himself in conflict with Philip IV (the Fair) of France and Edward I of England. The strong-minded rulers of these developing European nation-states would not allow undue papal meddling in their affairs and were supported by many of their clergy. Already in 1296 Boniface issued a bull forbidding governments to tax the clergy without papal permission, but he had to drop it against Philip the Fair's countermeasures and a suspiciously convenient rising against Boniface by the Colonna family in Rome, which took time to put down. In 1301 King Philip had a French bishop tried for treason and imprisoned. This was intolerable and Boniface issued a reproving bull, which in 1302 was decisively rejected by the Estates General, even the French clergy supporting their king. Boniface announced that he would depose Philip if need be and issued the bull Unam Sanctam(‘One Holy’),the most famous papal document of the Middle Ages, affirming the authority of the pope as the heir of Peter and Vicar of Christ over all human authorities, spiritual and temporal. Spiritual power, according to the bull, rests in the hands of the Church. Temporal power is in the hands of kings and soldiers, but is to be exercised only as the Church permits, because things spiritual are superior to things temporal. If temporal power errs, it is to be judged by the spiritual power. If lesser spiritual power errs, it is to be judged by higher spiritual power all the way up to the supreme spiritual power, the papacy itself, which can be judged only by God. 'We declare, state and define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.' The pope went on in 1303 to confirm the disputed choice of Albert of Hapsburg as Holy Roman Emperor and announce that the emperor was overlord of all other rulers, including the king of France. Under the ultimate supremacy of the pope. Boniface may not have made any greater claims for papal authority than canon lawyers and some of his predecessors had made before him, but he was shouting vigorously against the wind. King Philip's response was to accuse him of crimes from heresy and blasphemy to simony and sodomy, and send his henchman Guillaume de Nogaret to Italy to stir up another rebellion against the pope. In September, with the help of the Colonnas and some of the cardinals, Boniface was seized, threatened with death and manhandled at his summer residence at Anagni. The townspeople rescued him two days later, but the shock broke him physically and psychologically, and he died in Rome soon afterwards, in October. Clement V, who became pope two years later, was French and in 1309 the throne of Peter was moved from Rome to Avignon in France. –
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