Pope Clement V
(About 1264 – April 20, 1314), born
Raymond Bertrand de Got
(also occasionally spelled
and de Goth
), was Pope
from 1305 to his death. He is memorable in
history for ordering the execution of the Order of the Templars, and as the Pope who moved the
Roman Curia to Avignon - although,
as a matter of fact, he moved the Roman Curia to Carpentras - in 1309, after staying four years in Poitiers.
Villandraut, Aquitaine, Bertrand was canon
and sacristan of the Cathedral of
Saint-André in Bordeaux, then
vicar-general to his brother, the
archbishop of Lyon, who in 1294
was created Cardinal Bishop of
He was then made bishop of
, the cathedral church of which he was
responsible for greatly enlarging and embellishing; and chaplain to
Pope Boniface VIII
who made him archbishop of
the death of Benedict XI in 1304, he was
elected Pope Clement V in June 1305 (and was consecrated on 14
November), after a year's interregnum
occasioned by the disputes between the French and Italian cardinals, who were nearly equally
balanced in the conclave, which had
to be held at Perugia.
Coinage of Pope Clement V.
Bertrand was neither Italian nor a cardinal, and his election might
have been considered a gesture towards neutrality. The contemporary
chronicler Giovanni Villani
gossip that he had bound himself to King Philip IV of France
(1285–1314) by a
formal agreement previous to his elevation, made at St. Jean d'Angély
. Whether this was true or not, it is
likely that the future pope had conditions laid down for him by the
conclave of cardinals. At Bordeaux, Bertrand
was formally notified of his election and urged to come to Italy;
but he selected Lyon for his
coronation, November 14, 1305, which was celebrated with
magnificence and attended by Philip IV.
Among his first acts
was the creation of nine French cardinals.
Early in 1306, Clement V explained away those features of the
bulls Clericis Laicos
that might seem to
apply to the King of France and essentially withdrew Unam Sanctam
, the two bulls of Boniface
VIII which were particularly offensive to Philip IV's ambitious
ministry. He appears to have conducted himself throughout his
pontificate as the mere tool of the French monarchy, a radical
change in papal policy.
On October 13, 1307, came the arrest of hundreds of the Knights Templar
in France, an action
apparently financially motivated and undertaken by the efficient
royal bureaucracy to increase the prestige of the crown. Philip IV
was the force behind this
ruthless move, but it has also tarnished the historical reputation
of Clement V. From the very day of Clement V's coronation, the King
had charged the Templars with heresy
, immorality and abuses, and the
scruples of the Pope were compromised by a growing sense that the
burgeoning French State might not wait for the Church, but would
1309 the entire papal court moved from Poitiers (where it
had remained for 4 years) to Avignon, which was
not then part of France but an
imperial fief held by the King of Sicily. The removal of the Papacy to Avignon was
justified at the time by French apologists on grounds of security,
since Rome, where the
dissensions of the Roman aristocrats and their armed militia had
reached a nadir, and where the Basilica di
San Giovanni in Laterano had been destroyed in a fire, was unstable and
But the decision proved the precursor of the long
, the 'Babylonian
captivity' (1309–77), in Petrarch
and marks a point from which the decay of the strictly Catholic
conception of the pope as universal bishop may be dated.
Meanwhile, Philip IV's lawyers pressed to reopen Nogaret
's charges of heresy against the
late Boniface VIII that had circulated in the pamphlet war around
Clement V had to yield to pressures for this
extraordinary trial, begun February 2, 1309, at Avignon, which
dragged on for two years. In the document that called for the
witnesses, Clement V expressed both his personal conviction of the
innocence of Boniface VIII and his resolution to satisfy the King.
in February, 1311, Philip IV wrote to Clement V abandoning the
process to the future council of Vienne.
part, Clement V absolved all the participants in the abduction of
Boniface at Anagni.
Cameo of Pope Clement V.
In pursuance of the King's wishes, Clement V summoned the Council of Vienne
(1311), which refused to
convict the Templars of heresy. The Pope abolished the order
anyway, as the Templars seemed to be in bad repute and had outlived
their usefulness as papal bankers and protectors of pilgrims in the
East. Their French estates were de jure
granted to the
, but Philip
IV held them until his death and expropriated the Templar's bank
Charges of heresy
aside, the guilt or innocence of the Templars
is one of the more difficult historical problems, partly because of
the atmosphere of hysteria that had built up in the preceding
generation and the habitually intemperate language and extravagant
denunciations exchanged between temporal rulers and churchmen, and
partly because the subject has been embraced by conspiracy
theorists and pseudo-historians.
Clement V's pontificate was also a disastrous time for Italy.
States were entrusted to a team of three cardinals, but
Rome, the battleground of the Colonna and
Orsini factions, was ungovernable.
the Emperor Henry VII (1308–13)
entered Italy, established the Visconti as vicars in
Milan, and was crowned by Clement V's legates in Rome (1312)
before he died near Siena in 1313.
Ferrara, which was taken into the Papal states to the exclusion of the Este,
papal armies clashed with Venice.
failed to have
their intended effect, Clement V preached a crusade
against the Venetians in May 1309, declaring
that Venetians captured abroad might be sold into slavery, like
non-Christians, a symptom of how polarized that particular conflict
Other remarkable incidents of Clement V's reign are his violent
repression of the Dulcinian
which he considered a heresy, in Lombardy
and his promulgation of the Clementine Constitutions
He died in April 1314. According to one story, while his body was
lying in state, a thunderstorm developed during the night and
lightning struck the church where his body lay, igniting the
building. The fire was so intense that, when it was extinguished,
the body of Pope Clement V was almost completely destroyed.
buried at La
Chaise-Dieu in Auvergne.
Promulgation of a Crusade and relations with the Mongols
Clement engaged on and off in communications with the Mongol Empire
, towards the possibility of
creating a Franco-Mongol
against the Muslims. In April 1305, the Mongol
sent an embassy led by Buscarello de Ghizolfi
Philip the Fair
, and Edward I of England
. In 1307, another
Mongol embassy led by Tommaso Ugi
reached European monarchs. However, no coordinated
military action was forthcoming, and hopes of alliance petered out
within a few years.
On April 4, 1312, a Crusade was promulgated by Pope Clement V at
the Council of Vienne
embassy was sent by Oljeitu to the West and to Edward II
in 1313. In 1313, the French
king Philip the Fair
cross", making the vow to go on a Crusade in the Levant, thus
responding to Clement V's call. Philip was warned against leaving
by Enguerrand de Marigny
died soon after in November 1314 in a hunting accident.
- Basil Davidson, The African Slave Trade revised ed.,
1961, p. 40.
- Peter Jackson, p.172
- Jean Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.485
- Richard, p.485
- Clement V by Sophia Menache ISBN 0-521-52198-X