Pope Clement IV
Clement IV Papacy began February 5, 1265 Papacy ended November 29, 1268 Predecessor Urban IV Successor Gregory X Personal details Birth name Gui Faucoi le Gros Born November 23, year uncertain (between 1190 and 1200)
Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, Languedoc, France
Died November 29, 1268
Viterbo, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Other Popes named Clement Papal styles of
Pope Clement IV
Reference style His Holiness Spoken style Your Holiness Religious style Holy Father Posthumous style None
Pope Clement IV (Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, November 23, ca. 1195 – November 29, 1268 in Viterbo), born Gui Faucoi called in later life le Gros (Guy Foulques the Fat; Italian: Guido Fulcodi il Grosso), was elected Pope February 5, 1265, in a conclave held at Perugia that took four months, while cardinals argued over whether to call in Charles of Anjou, the youngest brother of Louis IX of France (1226–70), to carry on the papal war against the last of the house of Hohenstaufen.
Guy had been an unlikely candidate for holy orders: widowed and the father of two young women before taking orders, he had been successively a soldier and a lawyer, and in the latter capacity had acted as secretary to Louis IX of France, to whose influence he was chiefly indebted for his elevation to the cardinalate. Upon the death of his wife, he followed his father's example and gave up secular concerns for the Church. His rise in the church was rapid: in 1257, he was Bishop of Le Puy, in 1259, Archbishop of Narbonne and in December 1261, he was the first cardinal created by Pope Urban IV (1261–64), in the see of Sabina. He was the papal legate in England, 1262–64. He was named grand penitentiary in 1263.
At this time the Holy See was engaged in a conflict with Manfred, the illegitimate son and designated heir of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, but whom papal loyalists, the Guelfs, called "the usurper of Naples". Clement IV, who was in France at the time of his election, was compelled to enter Italy in disguise. He immediately took steps to ally himself with Charles of Anjou, his erstwhile patron's brother, the impecunious French claimant to the Neapolitan throne. Charles allowed the Pope to be his feudal overlord (a bone of contention with the Hohenstaufen) and was crowned by cardinals in Rome, where Clement IV, permanently established at Viterbo, dared not venture, the Ghibelline party was so firmly in control. Then, fortified with papal money and supplies, Charles marched into Naples. "Papal legates and mendicant friars appeared upon the scene, preaching a formal crusade, with the amplest indulgences and most lavish promises" (Catholic Encyclopedia). Among the Italians who failed to see any nobler crusading purpose in the conflict was Dante (Inferno, Canto xxvii). Having defeated and slain Manfred in the great Battle of Benevento, Charles established himself firmly in the kingdom by the conclusive Battle of Tagliacozzo, in which Conradin, the last of the house of Hohenstaufen, was taken prisoner. Clement IV is said to have disapproved of the cruelties committed by his protégé, and there seems no foundation for the statement by Gregorovius that Clement IV became an accomplice by refusing to intercede for the unfortunate Conradin whom Charles had beheaded in the marketplace of Naples.
Within months Clement IV was dead too, and buried at Viterbo. Owing to unbridgeable divisions among the cardinals, the papal throne remained vacant for nearly three years.
Clement IV's private character was praised by contemporaries for his asceticism, and he is especially commended for his indisposition to promote and enrich his own relatives. He also ordered the Franciscan scholar Roger Bacon to write his Opus maius, which is addressed to him. He was buried at Viterbo, where he had resided throughout his pontificate.
In 1264, Clement IV renewed the prohibition of the Talmud of Gregory IX, who had it publicly burnt in France and in Italy; Clement, though he did not assign to the stake those who harboured copies of it and, responding to a denunciation of the Talmud by Pablo Christiani, assigned a Talmud censorship committee and, ordered that the Jews of Aragon submit their books to Dominican censors for expurgation.
In 1267–1268 Clement engaged in correspondence with the Mongol Ilkhanate rule Abaqa. The latter proposed a Franco-Mongol alliance between his forces, those of the West, and the Byzantine emperor, Michael VIII Palaeologos (Abaqa's father-in-law). Pope Clement welcomed Abaqa's proposal in a non-committal manner, but did inform him of an upcoming Crusade. In 1267, Pope Clement IV and James I of Aragon sent an ambassador to the Mongol ruler Abaqa in the person of Jayme Alaric de Perpignan. In his 1267 letter written from Viterbo, the Pope wrote:"The kings of France and Navarre, taking to heart the situation in the Holy Land, and decorated with the Holy Cross, are readying themselves to attack the enemies of the Cross. You wrote to us that you wished to join your father-in-law (the Greek emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos) to assist the Latins. We abundantly praise you for this, but we cannot tell you yet, before having asked to the rulers, what road they are planning to follow. We will transmit to them your advice, so as to enlighten their deliberations, and will inform your Magnificence, through a secure message, of what will have been decided."—1267 letter from Pope Clement IV to Abaqa
Pope Clement died in 1268, and though his successors continued to engage in diplomatic contacts with the Mongols for the rest of the century, they were never able to coordinate an actual alliance.
His funerary monument is in the church of San Francesco alla Rocca in Viterbo.
- ^ As reported, for example in Arsene Damestetter, The Talmud, 1897:94..
- ^ Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews (Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies) 1991:311.
- ^ Popper, William (1889). The Censorship of Hebrew Books. Knickerbocker Press. pp. 13–14. .
- ^ Runciman, p. 330–331
- ^ Quoted in Grousset, p. 644
- ^ "Despite numerous envoys and the obvious logic of an alliance against mutual enemies, the papacy and the Crusaders never achieved the often-proposed alliance against Islam". Atwood, "Western Europe and the Mongol Empire" Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p. 583
- Runciman, Steven (1958). The Sicilian Vespers. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43774-1.
- Runciman, History of the Crusades
- Grousset, Histoires des Croisades
- "Pope Clement IV" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
- "Le pape, le roy et l'alchimiste : Clémént IV – saint Louis – Roger Bacon" by Laurent Ryder
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