Pope Martin IV
Overview
 
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion (between 1210 and 1220, Andrezel
Andrezel
Andrezel is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.-External links:* * *...

 – March 28, 1285) held the papacy from February 21, 1281 until his death.

Simon de Brion, son of Jean, sieur de Brion, was born at the château of Meinpincien, Île-de-France
Île-de-France (province)
The province of Île-de-France or Isle de France is an historical province of France, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history...

, 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...

, in the decade following 1210. The seigneurial family de Brion, who took their name from Brion near Joigny
Joigny
Joigny is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy in north-central France.It is located on the banks of the Yonne River.-Notable people :...

, flourished in the Brie française.
Encyclopedia
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion (between 1210 and 1220, Andrezel
Andrezel
Andrezel is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.-External links:* * *...

 – March 28, 1285) held the papacy from February 21, 1281 until his death.

Simon de Brion, son of Jean, sieur de Brion, was born at the château of Meinpincien, Île-de-France
Île-de-France (province)
The province of Île-de-France or Isle de France is an historical province of France, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history...

, 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...

, in the decade following 1210. The seigneurial family de Brion, who took their name from Brion near Joigny
Joigny
Joigny is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy in north-central France.It is located on the banks of the Yonne River.-Notable people :...

, flourished in the Brie française. He spent time at the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

, then reportedly studied law at Padua and Bologna. Through papal favour he received a canonry at St-Quentin, which he enjoyed in 1238, and spent a period 1248–1259 as 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 chapter in Rouen
Rouen
Rouen , in northern France on the River Seine, is the capital of the Haute-Normandie region and the historic capital city of Normandy. Once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe , it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages...

, finally as archdeacon. At the same time he was appointed treasurer of the church of St. Martin in Tours by Louis IX
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

, an office he held until he was elected pope in 1281. In 1259, just as he disappears from the documents at Rouen, he was appointed to the council of the king, who made him keeper of the great seal, chancellor of France, one of the great officers in the household of the king.

In December 1261, the new French pope Urban IV
Pope Urban IV
Pope Urban IV , born Jacques Pantaléon, was Pope, from 1261 to 1264. He was not a cardinal, and there have been several Popes since him who have not been Cardinals, including Urban V and Urban VI.-Biography:...

 made him cardinal-priest
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...

, with the titulus of the church of St. Cecilia. This entailed Simon de Brion's residence in Rome.

He returned to France as a 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....

 for Urban IV and also for his successor Pope Clement IV
Pope Clement IV
Pope Clement IV , born Gui Faucoi called in later life le Gros , 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...

, in 1264–1269 and again in 1274–1279, under Pope Gregory X
Pope Gregory X
Pope Blessed Gregory X , born Tebaldo Visconti, was Pope from 1271 to 1276. He was elected by the papal election, 1268–1271, the longest papal election in the history of the Roman Catholic Church....

. In the negotiations for papal support for the assumption of the crown 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,...

 by Charles of Anjou, he became deeply politically entwined. As legate he presided over several synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

s on reform, the most important of which was held at Bourges
Bourges
Bourges is a city in central France on the Yèvre river. It is the capital of the department of Cher and also was the capital of the former province of Berry.-History:...

 in September, 1276.

Six months after the death of 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...

 in 1280, Charles of Anjou intervened in the papal conclave at Viterbo
Viterbo
See also Viterbo, Texas and Viterbo UniversityViterbo is an ancient city and comune in the Lazio region of central Italy, the capital of the province of Viterbo. It is approximately 80 driving / 80 walking kilometers north of GRA on the Via Cassia, and it is surrounded by the Monti Cimini and...

 by imprisoning two influential Italian cardinals, on the grounds that they were interfering with the election. Without their opposition, Simon de Brie was unanimously elected to the papacy, taking the name Martin IV, on February 22, 1281.

Viterbo was placed under interdict
Interdict (Roman Catholic Church)
In Roman Catholic canon law, an interdict is an ecclesiastical censure that excludes from certain rites of the Church individuals or groups, who nonetheless do not cease to be members of the Church.-Distinctions in canon law:...

 for the imprisonment of the cardinals, and 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...

 was not at all inclined to accept a hated Frenchman as Pope, so Martin IV was crowned instead at Orvieto
Orvieto
Orvieto is a city and comune in Province of Terni, southwestern Umbria, Italy situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff...

, on March 23, 1281.

Dependent on Charles of Anjou in nearly everything, the new Pope quickly appointed him to the position of Roman Senator. At the insistence of Charles, Martin IV 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...

 the Roman
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus (1261–1282), who stood in the way of Charles' plans to restore the Latin Empire of the East that had been established in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

. He thus broke the tenuous union which had been reached between the Greek and the Latin Churches at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274, and further compromise was rendered impossible.

In 1282, Charles was overthrown in the violent massacre known as the Sicilian Vespers
Sicilian Vespers
The Sicilian Vespers is the name given to the successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out on the Easter of 1282 against the rule of the French/Angevin king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks three thousand French men and women were slain by...

. The Sicilians had elected Peter III of Aragon
Peter III of Aragon
Peter the Great was the King of Aragon of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona from 1276 to his death. He conquered Sicily and became its king in 1282. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.-Youth and succession:Peter was the eldest son of James I of Aragon and his second wife...

 (1276–1285) as their King and sought papal confirmation in vain, though they were willing to reconfirm Sicily as a vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 state of the Papacy; Martin IV used all the spiritual and material resources at his command against the Aragonese, trying to preserve Sicily for the House of Anjou
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

. He excommunicated Peter III, declared his kingdom of Aragon forfeit, and ordered a crusade against him
Aragonese Crusade
The Aragonese Crusade or Crusade of Aragon, a part of the larger War of the Sicilian Vespers, was declared by Pope Martin IV against the King of Aragon, Peter III the Great, in 1284 and 1285...

, but it was all in vain.

With the death of his protector Charles d'Anjou, Martin was unable to remain at Rome. Pope Martin IV died at Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

 on March 28, 1285.

Among the seven cardinals created by Martin IV
Cardinals created by Martin IV
Pope Martin IV created seven new Cardinals in one consistory on 12 April 1281:1. Bernard de Languissel, archbishop of Arles – cardinal-bishop of Porto e S. Rufina, † 19 September 1291....

 was Benedetto Gaetano, who afterwards ascended the papal throne as the famous Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII , born Benedetto Gaetani, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 1294 to 1303. Today, Boniface VIII is probably best remembered for his feuds with Dante, who placed him in the Eighth circle of Hell in his Divina Commedia, among the Simonists.- Biography :Gaetani was born in 1235 in...

 (1294–1303).

In the Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature...

, 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 ...

 sees Martin IV in Purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

, where the reader is reminded of the former pontiff's fondness for Lake Bolsena
Lake Bolsena
Lake Bolsena is a crater lake of central Italy, of volcanic origin, which was formed starting 370,000 years ago following the collapse of a caldera of the Vulsini volcanic complex into a deep aquifer. Roman historic records indicate activity of the Vulsini volcano occurred as recently as 104 BC,...

 eels and Vernaccia
Vernaccia
Vernaccia is a white wine grape that is found in many Italian wines but is most commonly associated the Tuscan wine Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Ampelographers have determined that the Vernaccia vine has many clonal varieties but is unrelated to some Italian vines known as "Vernaccia" such as the...

wine.
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