Article

Pope Innocent III

John Doran

in Medieval Studies

ISBN: 9780195396584
Published online June 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0041
Pope Innocent III

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
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Pope Innocent III (b. 1160 or 1161––d. 1216) is widely regarded as the most powerful pope of the Middle Ages. Serving as pope from 1198 to 1216, he was the man who realized the implications of Pope Gregory VII’s vision of papal power, who vindicated the papal claim to arbitrate in the succession to the Holy Roman Empire, who forced the king of France to bow to his will, and who received the submission of the king of England as a vassal of the Holy See. He was the pope who founded the papal states; realized, albeit temporarily, the unification of the Latin and Greek churches; who brought to completion the reforms of the previous two centuries; and who instituted such long-standing practices as annual confession at Easter. In reality, Innocent was not as powerful as his rhetoric would suggest, and his interest for modern scholars does not lie in his political program as much as in his pastoral concern, formed in the schools of Paris and fitting perfectly with a new generation of evangelical enthusiasts. Note that there are two resources that are particularly useful for students of the papacy in general and of Innocent in particular. The first is the series of bibliographies, arranged by theme and by pope, published annually in Archivum Historiae Pontificiae. The second is International Medieval Bibliography, published by Brepols and available electronically in institutions that subscribe.

Article.  22579 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy ; Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400) ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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