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The Late Middle Ages


In 1309 Clement V moved the papal headquarters to Avignon (southern France) ... In all, seven French popes lived in Avignon from 1309 to 1377 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Late Middle Ages

The Late Middle Ages
  • Public Turmoil, Personal Piety

  • Overview of time period (1300 1500)
  • The Hundred Years War between France and England
    raged on
  • The Papacy declined into corruption (multiple
    popes at one point)
  • Individual religious practices flourished among
    common people
  • Europe was ravaged by the Black Death (Bubonic

Black Death
  • Arrived in Europe in 1347
  • Brought to Italy and North Africa on merchant
    ships from the east (fleas most likely infected
    rats on board)
  • In only a few years, one third of Europes
    population died

Popes in Political Turmoil
  • After Innocent III, popes were not as strong or
  • The Hundred Years War weakened the papacy
  • France and England were both Catholic countries
  • This reality caused people to focus more on
    national identity instead of Catholic identity

The Avignon papacy
  • Pope asserted supremacy over the French kings
    decision to tax French clergy
  • French king angry and sent troops to Rome in 1303
    to arrest the pope
  • The king had long been trying to make the French
    church a national church instead of one loyal to
    the pope
  • The pope was saved by the people of Rome, but
    died a month later

The Avignon Papacy
  • In 1305 a Frenchman was elected pope by the
    college of cardinals (Pope Clement V)
  • Clement V was highly influenced by the French
  • In 1309 Clement V moved the papal headquarters to
    Avignon (southern France)
  • He then appointed several French cardinals
  • He also changed several Church policies to please
    the French king

The Avignon Papacy
  • Clement V died of cancer and his successor (also
    French) decided to make Avignon the permanent
    papal headquarters
  • In all, seven French popes lived in Avignon from
    1309 to 1377
  • The popes were heavily influenced by French kings
  • They lived very luxurious and often corrupt
  • Some Christians believed that the Black Death was
    a punishment by God for the corrupt papacy

Why not Avignon?
  • Christians (particularly outside of France)
    believed that the pope should be in Rome for
    several reasons
  • The first pope (Peter) was the bishop of Rome
  • During the Hundred Years War it was not wise to
    have the pope side with one country (France)
  • Living away from the Papal States, the popes
    could not collect usual revenues from the
    territory, so often found corrupt ways to gain

The Avignon Papacy
  • Gregory the XI was the seventh Avignon pope, and
    he had been thinking about Rome for several years
  • In 1376 he was visited by Catherine of Siena
    (member of the Dominican lay order)
  • Catherine told the pope of a message from God to
    return to Rome
  • In 1377 Pope Gregory XI brought the papacy back
    to Rome

Catherine of Siena
  • Though Catherine is famous for influencing
    Gregory XI to move back to Rome, she is
    significant for other reasons too
  • She lived a contemplative life in her teens
  • At 21 years old she became active in serving
    Sienas poor population
  • She became know for holiness and was often asked
    to mediate disputes between the city-state of
    Florence and the Pope
  • She authored a book on her mystical experiences
    and on prayer
  • She did all of this at a time when women did not
    have real rights!

Papal Schism
  • Pope Urban VI follwed Pope Gregory XI in 1378 (he
    was Italian)
  • He was a compromise candidate (the cardinals
    would probably have elected another French pope,
    but feared the people of Rome)
  • Urban VI was hot-tempered and did not get along
    well with the cardinals
  • French Cardinals decided that Urban VI was not
    the real pope because he was elected out of fear
  • The elected a new French pope who moved back to
  • So now there are two popes!!

Papal Schism
  • At one point a group of cardinals tried to solve
    the problem by electing a third pope (FYI
    adding one more pope to the mix did not solve
  • The schism continued for about thirty years
  • Finally the holy Roman Emperor called a general
    council where Martin V was elected in 1417 and
    this ended the schism