Pope Boniface VIII
Overview
 
Pope Boniface VIII born Benedetto Gaetani, was Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 of the Catholic Church from 1294 to 1303. Today, Boniface VIII is probably best remembered for his feuds with Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

, who placed him in the Eighth circle of Hell in his Divina Commedia, among the Simonists.
Gaetani was born in 1235 in Anagni
Anagni
Anagni is an ancient town and comune in Latium, central Italy, in the hills east-southeast of Rome. It is a historical center in Ciociaria.-Geography:...

, c. 50 kilometres southeast of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. He was the younger son of a minor noble family, the Gaetani
Caetani
Caetani, or Gaetani, is the name of an Italian noble family princely family which played a great part in the history of Pisa and of Rome, principally via their close links to the papacy.-Origins:...

.
Quotations

Sive ergo Graeci sive alii se dicant Petro ejusque successoribus non esse commissos: fateantur necesse est, se de ovibus Christi non esse, dicente Domino in Joanne, unum ovile et unicum esse pastorem.

If, then, the Greeks or others say that they were not committed to the care of Peter and his successors, they necessarily confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ; for the Lord says, in John, that there is one fold, one shepherd, and one only.

Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus dicimus, definimus et pronunciamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis.

Indeed we declare, say, pronounce, and define that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Encyclopedia
Pope Boniface VIII born Benedetto Gaetani, was Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 of the Catholic Church from 1294 to 1303. Today, Boniface VIII is probably best remembered for his feuds with Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

, who placed him in the Eighth circle of Hell in his Divina Commedia, among the Simonists.

Biography

Gaetani was born in 1235 in Anagni
Anagni
Anagni is an ancient town and comune in Latium, central Italy, in the hills east-southeast of Rome. It is a historical center in Ciociaria.-Geography:...

, c. 50 kilometres southeast of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. He was the younger son of a minor noble family, the Gaetani
Caetani
Caetani, or Gaetani, is the name of an Italian noble family princely family which played a great part in the history of Pisa and of Rome, principally via their close links to the papacy.-Origins:...

. He took his first steps in the religious life when he was sent to the monastery of the Friars Minor in Velletri, where he was under the care of his uncle Fra Leonardo Patrasso; he became a canon
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

 of the cathedral in Anagni in his teens. In 1252, when his uncle Peter Gaetani became bishop of Todi, in Umbria
Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

, Benedetto went with him and began his legal studies there. Benedetto never forgot his roots in Todi
Todi
Todi is a town and comune of the province of Perugia in central Italy. It is perched on a tall two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the river Tiber, commanding distant views in every direction.In the 1990s, Richard S...

, later describing the city as "the dwelling place of his early youth," the city which "nourished him while still of tender years," and as a place where he "held lasting memories". In 1260, Benedetto acquired a canonry in Todi, as well as the small nearby castle of Sismano
Sismano
Sismano, a little medieval borgo, is a frazione of the Italian commune of Avigliano Umbro, in the province of Terni. Sismano lies 13 km from Todi and 5 km from Avigliano; according to the Italian state census of 2001, Sismano has 17 inhabitants in the densely built historic center and 308...

. Later in life he repeatedly expressed his gratitude to Anagni, Todi, and his family.

In 1264, Benedetto became part of the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 where he served as secretary to Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 Simon de Brion
Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion held the papacy from February 21, 1281 until his death....

 on a mission to France. Similarly, he accompanied Cardinal Ottobono Fieschi to England (1265–1268) to suppress a rebellion by a group of barons against Henry III of England
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

. Upon Benedetto's return from England, there is an eight-year period in which nothing is known about his life, after which Benedetto was sent to France to supervise the collection of a tithe
Tithe
A tithe is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in cash, cheques, or stocks, whereas historically tithes were required and paid in kind, such as agricultural products...

 in 1276 and then became a papal notary in the late 1270s. During this time, Benedetto accumulated seventeen benefices, which he was permitted to keep when he was promoted, first to cardinal deacon
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 in 1281 and then ten years later as cardinal priest. As cardinal, he often served as papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

 in diplomatic negotiations with France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, and Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

.

Pope Celestine V
Pope Celestine V
Pope Saint Celestine V, born Pietro Angelerio , also known as Pietro da Morrone was elected pope in the year 1294, by the papal election of 1292–1294, the last non-conclave in the history of the Roman Catholic Church...

 abdicated
Papal abdication
Papal resignation is envisaged as a possibility in canon 332 §2 of the Code of Canon Law and canon 44 §2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches...

 on December 13, 1294, at Naples, where he had established the papal court under the patronage of King Charles II of Sicily. There is a legend that it was Benedetto Gaetani's doing that Celestine V renounced the papacy—convincing Celestine V that no person on the earth could go through life without sin. A contemporary, Ptolemy of Lucca, who was present in Naples in December of 1294 and witnessed many of the events of the abdication and election, says that Benedetto Gaetani was only one of several cardinals who pressured Celestine to resign. However, it is on record that Celestine V resigned by his own design after consultation with experts, and that Benedetto merely showed that it was allowed by Church law. Either way, Celestine V vacated the throne and Benedetto Gaetani was elected in his place as pope, taking the name Boniface VIII. The Conclave began, in strict accordance with the rules established by Pope Gregory X at the Council of Lyons, on December 23, ten days after Celestine's resignation. Benedetto Gaetani was elected pope the next day, Christmas Eve, December 24. On the first (secret) ballot, he had a majority of the votes, and at the accessio a sufficient number joined his majority to form the required two-thirds. He immediately returned the Papal Curia to Rome, where he was crowned at the Vatican Basilica on Sunday, January 23, 1295. One of his first acts as pontiff was to imprison his predecessor in the Castle of Fumone in Ferentino
Ferentino
Ferentino is a town and comune in Italy, in the province of Frosinone, Lazio, 65 km southeast of Rome.It is situated on a hill 400 m above sea-level, in the Monti Ernici area.-History:...

, where he died the next year at the age of 81, attended by two monks of his order. In 1300, Boniface VIII formalized the jubilees, which afterwards became a source of both profit and scandal to the church. Boniface VIII founded the University of Rome La Sapienza
University of Rome La Sapienza
The Sapienza University of Rome, officially Sapienza – Università di Roma, formerly known as Università degli studi di Roma "La Sapienza", is a coeducational, autonomous state university in Rome, Italy...

 in 1303.

Boniface VIII put forward some of the strongest claims to temporal, as well as spiritual, power of any Pope and constantly involved himself with foreign affairs. In his Bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 of 1302, Unam Sanctam
Unam sanctam
On 18 November 1302, Pope Boniface VIII issued the Papal bull Unam sanctam which historians consider one of the most extreme statements of Papal spiritual supremacy ever made...

, Boniface VIII proclaimed that it "is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman pontiff", pushing papal supremacy to its historical extreme. These views and his intervention in "temporal" affairs led to many bitter quarrels with the Emperor Albert I of Habsburg (1291–1298), with the powerful family of the Colonnas, with Philip IV of France
Philip IV of France
Philip the Fair was, as Philip IV, King of France from 1285 until his death. He was the husband of Joan I of Navarre, by virtue of which he was, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.-Youth:A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born at the Palace of...

 (1285–1314), and with Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 (who wrote De Monarchia
De Monarchia
De Monarchia is a treatise on secular and religious power by Dante Alighieri. With this Latin text, the poet intervened in one of the most controversial subjects of his period: the relationship between secular authority and religious authority...

to argue against it). The quarrel with the Colonnas culminated in Boniface VIII ordering the destruction in 1298 of their family city, Palestrina
Palestrina
Palestrina is an ancient city and comune with a population of about 18,000, in Lazio, c. 35 km east of Rome...

, after it surrendered peacefully under Boniface's assurances that it would be spared. Much of the city still had its buildings and monuments from Classical Roman times intact, but Boniface razed it anyway even spreading salt on the site as the Romans did to Carthage 1500 years before. Only the city's cathedral was spared.

In the field of canon law Boniface VIII continues to have great influence. He published his 88 legal dicta known as the "Regulae Iuris" in 1298. This material must be well known and understood by canon lawyers or canonists today to interpret and analyze the canons and other forms of ecclesiastical law properly. The "Regulae Iuris" appear at the end of the so-called Liber Sextus (in VI°), promulgated by Boniface VIII and now published as one of the five Decretals in the Corpus Iuris Canonici. Other systems of law also have their own "Regulae Iuris" even by the same name or something serving a similar function.

Conflicts in Sicily and Italy

When Frederick III of Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 attained his throne after the death of Pedro III
Pedro III
Pedro III may refer to:*Pedro III of Aragon *Pedro III of Kongo * Pedro III of Portugal...

, Boniface tried to dissuade him from accepting the throne of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

; when Frederick persisted, Boniface laid excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 on him, and an interdict
Interdict
The term Interdict may refer to:* Court order enforcing or prohibiting a certain action* Injunction, such as a restraining order...

 upon the island of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 in 1296, denying Catholic priests the right to conduct certain services there. Neither king nor people responded to this censure. The conflict continued until the Peace of Caltabellotta
Peace of Caltabellotta
The Peace of Caltabellotta, signed on 31 August, 1302, was the last of a series of treaties, including those of Tarascon and Anagni, designed to end the conflict between the Houses of Anjou and Barcelona for ascendancy in the Mediterranean and especially Sicily and the Mezzogiorno.The peace divided...

 in 1302, which saw Pedro's son Frederick III recognized as king of the Sicily, while Charles II
Charles II of Naples
Charles II, known as "the Lame" was King of Naples, King of Albania, Prince of Salerno, Prince of Achaea and Count of Anjou.-Biography:...

 was recognized as the King of Naples. To prepare for a crusade, Boniface ordered Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 and Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 to sign a truce; they fought each other for three more years, and turned down his offer to mediate peace.

Boniface also placed the city of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 under an interdict
Interdict
The term Interdict may refer to:* Court order enforcing or prohibiting a certain action* Injunction, such as a restraining order...

, and invited the ambitious French Count Charles of Valois
Charles of Valois
Charles of Valois was the fourth son of Philip III of France and Isabella of Aragon. His mother was a daughter of James I of Aragon and Yolande of Hungary. He was a member of the House of Capet and founded the House of Valois...

 to enter Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 in 1300 to end the feud of Black and White Guelphs, the poet Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

 being in the party of the Whites. Boniface's political ambitions directly affected Dante when the pope, under the pretense of peace making, invited Charles of Valois to intervene in the affairs of Florence; Charles' intervention allowed the Black Guelphs to overthrow the ruling White Guelphs, whose leaders, including the poet Dante, allegedly in Rome at the time to argue Florence's case before Boniface, were sentenced to exile. Dante settled his score with Boniface in part one of the Divine Comedy, the Inferno
Inferno
Inferno means "Hell" in both Italian and Portuguese, so this word may refer to:*Hell*Conflagration, a large uncontrolled fire.-Literature:* Inferno , the first part of Dante's Divine Comedy...

, by damning the pope even before his death in 1303 (the poet set the time of the poem as being in the year 1300) in the pit of those whose sin was simony
Simony
Simony is the act of paying for sacraments and consequently for holy offices or for positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus , who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24...

. In the Inferno, Pope Nicholas III
Pope Nicholas III
Pope Nicholas III , born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, Pope from November 25, 1277 to his death in 1280, was a Roman nobleman who had served under eight Popes, been made cardinal-deacon of St...

, who can see the future, mistakenly assumes that Dante is Boniface come before his time.

Conflicts with Philip IV

The conflict between Boniface VIII and Philip IV of France
Philip IV of France
Philip the Fair was, as Philip IV, King of France from 1285 until his death. He was the husband of Joan I of Navarre, by virtue of which he was, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.-Youth:A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born at the Palace of...

 came at a time of expanding nation states and the desire for the consolidation of power by the increasingly powerful monarchs. The increase in monarchical power in the rising nation states and its conflicts with the Church of Rome were only exacerbated by the rise to power of Philip IV. In France, the process of centralizing royal power and developing a genuine national state began with the Capetian kings. During his reign, Philip surrounded himself with the best civil lawyers, and decidedly expelled the clergy from all participation in the administration of the law. With the clergy beginning to be taxed in Theri and England to finance their ongoing wars against each other, Boniface took a hard stand against it. He saw the taxation as an assault on traditional clerical rights, and ordered the bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 Clericis laicos
Clericis laicos
Clericis laicos was a Papal bull issued on February 5, 1296 by Pope Boniface VIII in an attempt to prevent the secular states of Europe, in particular France and England, from appropriating church revenues without the express prior permission of the pope...

in February 1296, forbidding lay taxation of the clergy without prior papal approval. In the bull, Boniface states "they exact and demand from the same the half, tithe
Tithe
A tithe is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in cash, cheques, or stocks, whereas historically tithes were required and paid in kind, such as agricultural products...

, or twentieth, or any other portion or proportion of their revenues or goods; and in many ways they try to bring them into slavery, and subject them to their authority. And also whatsoever emperors, kings, or princes, dukes, earls or barons...presume to take possession of things anywhere deposited in holy buildings...should incur sentence of excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

." It was during the issuing of Clericis Laicos
Clericis laicos
Clericis laicos was a Papal bull issued on February 5, 1296 by Pope Boniface VIII in an attempt to prevent the secular states of Europe, in particular France and England, from appropriating church revenues without the express prior permission of the pope...

that hostilities between Boniface and Philip began. Philip retaliated against the bull by denying the exportation of money from France to Rome, funds that the Church required to operate. Boniface had no choice but to contest Philip's demands, informing Philip that "God has set popes over kings and kingdoms."

Philip was convinced that the wealth of the Catholic Church in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 should be used in part to support the state. He countered the papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 by decreeing laws prohibiting the export of gold, silver, precious stones, or food from France to the Papal States. These measures had the effect of blocking a main source of papal revenue. Philip also banished from France the papal agents who were raising funds for a new crusade in the Middle East. In the bull
Bull
Bull usually refers to an uncastrated adult male bovine.Bull may also refer to:-Entertainment:* Bull , an original show on the TNT Network* "Bull" , an episode of television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation...

 'Ineffabilis amor' of September, 1296, Boniface retreated; he sanctioned voluntary contributions from the clergy for the necessary defense of the state, and gave the king the right to determine that necessity. Philip rescinded his ordinances regarding the exports and even accepted Boniface as arbitrator in a dispute between himself and King Edward I of England
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

. Boniface decided most of those issues in Philip's favor.

First Jubilee Year

Boniface proclaimed 1300 a jubilee year, the first in of many such jubilees take place in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. He may have wanted to gather money from pilgrims to Rome as a substitute for the missing money from France. The event was a success; Rome had never received such crowds before. Boniface and his aides managed the affair well, food was plentiful, and was sold at moderate prices controlled by the Vatican. It was an advantage to the pope that the great sums of money so collected could be used according to Boniface's own judgment. Despite half victories and many defeats, Boniface was at the height of his reign.

Continued feud with Philip IV

The feud between Boniface and Philip IV
Philip IV
Philip IV may refer to:* Philip IV of Spain * Philip IV of France * Philip IV of Macedon * Philip IV of Burgundy * Philip IV of Aragon...

 reached its peak in the early 14th century when Philip began to launch a strong anti-papal campaign against Boniface. A quarrel arose between Philip's aides and a papal legate, Bernard Saisset
Bernard Saisset
Bernard Saisset was an Occitan bishop of Pamiers, in the County of Foix in the south of France, whose outspoken disrespect for Philip IV of France incurred charges of high treason in the overheated atmosphere of tension between the King and his ministry and Pope Boniface VIII, leading up to the...

; the legate was arrested on a charge of inciting an insurrection; he was tried by the royal court, convicted and committed to the custody of the archbishop of Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in 1301. In the bull Ausculta fili
Ausculta Fili
Ausculta Fili is a letter addressed 5 December 1301, by Pope Boniface VIII to Philip the Fair, King of France....

("Listen, son", December 1301) Boniface VIII appealed to Philip IV
Philip IV
Philip IV may refer to:* Philip IV of Spain * Philip IV of France * Philip IV of Macedon * Philip IV of Burgundy * Philip IV of Aragon...

 to listen modestly to the Vicar of Christ as the spiritual monarch over all earthly kings; he protested the trial of churchmen before Philip's royal courts, and the continued use of church funds for state purposes and he announced he would summon the bishops and abbots of France to take measures "for the preservation of the liberties of the Church". When the bull was presented to Philip, the count of Artois reportedly snatched it from the hands of Boniface's emissary and flung it into the fire..

On February 1302, the bull Ausculta fili was officially burned at Paris before King Philip and a great multitude. To forestall the ecclesiastical council proposed by Boniface, Philip summoned the three estates of his realm to meet at Paris in April. At this first French States-General
French States-General
In France under the Old Regime, the States-General or Estates-General , was a legislative assembly of the different classes of French subjects. It had a separate assembly for each of the three estates, which were called and dismissed by the king...

 in history all three classes - nobles, clergy, and commons - wrote separately to Rome in defense of the King and his temporal power. Some forty-five French prelates, despite Philip's prohibition, and the confiscation of their property, attended the council at Rome in October, 1302.

From that council, on November 18, 1302, issued one the bull Unam sanctam
Unam sanctam
On 18 November 1302, Pope Boniface VIII issued the Papal bull Unam sanctam which historians consider one of the most extreme statements of Papal spiritual supremacy ever made...

. It declared that both spiritual and temporal power were under the pope's jurisdiction, and that kings were subordinate to the power of the Roman pontiff. In response, Guillaume de Nogaret
Guillaume de Nogaret
Guillaume de Nogaret or William of Nogaret was councillor and keeper of the seal to Philip IV of France.- Early life :...

, Philip's chief minister, denounced Boniface as a heretical criminal to the French clergy. In 1303, Philip and Nogaret were excommunicated
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

. However, on September 7, 1303, an army led by Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna
Sciarra Colonna
Sciarrillo Colonna, byname of Giacomo Colonna , was a member of the powerful Colonna family, and a strong enemy of Pope Boniface VIII. During the Outrage of Anagni, in September 1303, Sciarra reportedly slapped the pope in the face. He was brother to Stefano Colonna the Elder.The Colonna family was...

 surprised Boniface at his retreat in Anagni
Anagni
Anagni is an ancient town and comune in Latium, central Italy, in the hills east-southeast of Rome. It is a historical center in Ciociaria.-Geography:...

. The King and the Colonnas demanded his resignation; Boniface VIII responded that he would "sooner die". In response, Colonna allegedly slapped Boniface, a "slap" historically remembered as the schiaffio di Anagni ("Anagni slap").

Death

Boniface was beaten badly and nearly executed, but was released from captivity after three days. He died of kidney stones and humiliation on October 11, 1303. There were rumors he had died of suicide from "gnawing through his own arm" and bashing his skull into a wall.

Posthumous trial

After the papacy had been removed to Avignon in 1309, Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got was Pope from 1305 to his death...

 consented to a post-mortem trial by an ecclesiastical consistory at Groseau, near Avignon, which held preliminary examinations in August and September of 1310.

A process (judicial investigation) against the memory of Boniface was held and collected testimonies that alleged many heretical opinions of Boniface VIII. This included the offence of sodomy
Sodomy
Sodomy is an anal or other copulation-like act, especially between male persons or between a man and animal, and one who practices sodomy is a "sodomite"...

, although there is little substantive evidence for this and it is more likely that this was the standard accusation Philip made against enemies.

Before the actual trial could be held, Clement persuaded Philip to leave the question of Boniface's guilt to the Council of Vienne
Council of Vienne
The Council of Vienne was the fifteenth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church that met between 1311 and 1312 in Vienne. Its principal act was to withdraw papal support for the Knights Templar on the instigation of Philip IV of France.-Background:...

, which met in 1311. When the council met, three cardinals appeared before it and testified to the orthodoxy and morality of the dead pope. Two knights, as challengers, threw down their gauntlets to maintain his innocence by wager of battle. No one accepted the challenge, and the Council declared the matter closed.

Burial and exhumation

The body of Boniface VIII was buried in 1303 in a special chapel that also housed the remains for Pope Boniface IV
Pope Boniface IV
Pope Saint Boniface IV was pope from 608 to his death.Son of Johannes, a physician, a Marsian from the province and town of Valeria; he succeeded Boniface III after a vacancy of over nine months. He was consecrated on either 25 August or September 15 in 608...

. Boniface VIII had arranged that this would be done to offset the fact that his predecessor was still alive, which caused him to worry that the legitimacy of his own papacy would be thrown into doubt. In choosing such a burial, Boniface VIII was trying to show that he was a legitimate pope with the implicit support from the grave of a popular predecessor, Boniface IV.

The body was exhumed in 1606, the results recorded by Giacomo Grimaldi
Giacomo Grimaldi
Giacomo Grimaldi was an Italian historian and Vatican archivist, who lived in the early 17th century.His principal surviving works deal with the Roman Catholic Church. Several Papal tombs that were destroyed during the rebuilding of Saint Peter's Basilica are only known through illustrations by...

. The body lay within three coffins, the outermost of wood, the middle of lead, and the innermost of pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

. The corporal remains were described as being "Unusually tall" measuring seven palms
Hand (unit)
The hand is a non-SI unit of measurement of length, now used only for the measurement of the height of horses in some English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. With origins in ancient Egypt, it was originally based on the breadth of a human hand...

 when examined by doctors. The body wore ecclesiatical vestments common for Boniface's lifetime: long stockings covered legs and thighs, and it was garbed also with the maniple
Maniple
Maniple may refer to:* Maniple , a division of a Roman legion* Maniple , a liturgical vestment worn on the left arm....

, soutain, and pontifical habit made of black silk, as well as stole, chasuble
Chasuble
The chasuble is the outermost liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist in Western-tradition Christian Churches that use full vestments, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches, as well as in some parts of the United Methodist Church...

, rings, and bejeweled gloves.

After this exhumation and examination, Boniface's body was moved to the Chapels of Pope Gregory and Andrew. It is now located in the grottoes.

Culture

  • In his Inferno
    Inferno (Dante)
    Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as...

    , Dante
    Dante Alighieri
    Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

     portrayed Boniface VIII as destined for hell, where simony
    Simony
    Simony is the act of paying for sacraments and consequently for holy offices or for positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus , who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24...

     is punished, although Boniface was still alive at the fictional date of the poem's story. Boniface's eventual destiny is revealed to Dante by Pope Nicholas III
    Pope Nicholas III
    Pope Nicholas III , born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, Pope from November 25, 1277 to his death in 1280, was a Roman nobleman who had served under eight Popes, been made cardinal-deacon of St...

    , whom he meets. A bit later in the Inferno, we are reminded of the pontiff's feud with the Colonnesi, which led him to demolish the city of Palestrina
    Palestrina
    Palestrina is an ancient city and comune with a population of about 18,000, in Lazio, c. 35 km east of Rome...

    , killing 6,000 citizens and destroying both the home of Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

     and a shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Boniface's ultimate fate is confirmed by Beatrice when Dante visits Heaven. It is notable that he does not adopt Guillaume de Nogaret's aspersion that Boniface VIII was a 'sodomite', however, and does not assign him to that circle of hell (albeit that Simony was placed in the eighth circle of Fraud below Sodomy in the seventh circle of Violence, designating it as a worse offense and taking precedence above activities of sodomy).
  • He is also referenced in François Rabelais
    François Rabelais
    François Rabelais was a major French Renaissance writer, doctor, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar. He has historically been regarded as a writer of fantasy, satire, the grotesque, bawdy jokes and songs...

    's Gargantua and Pantagruel
    Gargantua and Pantagruel
    The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel is a connected series of five novels written in the 16th century by François Rabelais. It is the story of two giants, a father and his son and their adventures, written in an amusing, extravagant, satirical vein...

    . In the chapter where Epistemon is listing the inhabitants of hell and their occupations, he says that Boniface was (in one translation) "skimming the scum off soup pots".
  • Mathematician and astronomer Giovanni Campano served as personal physician to Pope Boniface VIII.
  • In Boccaccio's
    Giovanni Boccaccio
    Giovanni Boccaccio was an Italian author and poet, a friend, student, and correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist and the author of a number of notable works including the Decameron, On Famous Women, and his poetry in the Italian vernacular...

     Decameron
    The Decameron
    The Decameron, also called Prince Galehaut is a 14th-century medieval allegory by Giovanni Boccaccio, told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales by ten young people....

    , Boniface VIII is satirically
    Satire
    Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

     depicted granting a highwayman
    Highwayman
    A highwayman was a thief and brigand who preyed on travellers. This type of outlaw, usually, travelled and robbed by horse, as compared to a footpad who traveled and robbed on foot. Mounted robbers were widely considered to be socially superior to footpads...

     (Ghino di Tacco
    Ghino di Tacco
    Ghinotto di Tacco, called Ghino, was an outlaw in thirteenth century Italy. He was born in the latter half of the thirteenth century in La Fratta, which is now part of Sinalunga in the Province of Siena...

    ) a priorate (Day 10, second tale). Earlier (I.i), Boniface VIII is also mentioned for his role in sending Charles of Valois
    Charles of Valois
    Charles of Valois was the fourth son of Philip III of France and Isabella of Aragon. His mother was a daughter of James I of Aragon and Yolande of Hungary. He was a member of the House of Capet and founded the House of Valois...

     to Florence
    Florence
    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

     in 1300 to end the feud between the Black and White Guelphs
    Guelphs and Ghibellines
    The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, respectively, in central and northern Italy. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the split between these two parties was a particularly important aspect of the internal policy of the Italian city-states...

    .
  • Boniface was a patron of Giotto di Bondone
    Giotto di Bondone
    Giotto di Bondone , better known simply as Giotto, was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages...

    .
  • Boniface had the churches of Rome
    Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

     restored for the Great Jubilee of 1300, particularly St. Peter's Basilica, the Basilica of St. John Lateran
    Basilica of St. John Lateran
    The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran , commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope...

    , and the Saint Mary Major Basilica
    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
    The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major , known also by other names, is the largest Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy.There are other churches in Rome dedicated to Mary, such as Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but the greater size of the...

    .

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK