Hadrian V

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Innocent IV (d. 1254)

Clement IV (1265—1268)

Gregory X (1210—1276)


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(11 July–18 Aug. 1276)

As senator of Rome and actually residing in the city, Charles of Anjou, king of Sicily (1266–85), had oversight, under the conclave constitution approved by the second council of Lyons (1274), of the meetings of cardinals in St John Lateran to elect a successor to Innocent V. As their deliberations dragged on, he applied the rules rigorously, cutting down their rations and confining them so strictly that several were prostrated by the sweltering heat. Eventually, through the influence of the king, whose partisan he was, Cardinal Ottobono Fieschi was chosen. Born c.1205 in Genoa, of the family of the counts of Lavagna, he was a nephew of Innocent IV who, after he had held offices at Reims, Paris, and Parma, in 1251 named him cardinal deacon of S. Adriano. In 1265*Clement IV sent him as legate to England with wide powers in order to preach a crusade, organize church affairs, and resolve the conflict between Henry III (1216–72) and his barons. His mission crowned with success, he returned to the curia in June 1268 and worked to promote Angevin policies in Italy, becoming one of the most respected and influential members of the sacred college.

On the day following his election Hadrian assembled the cardinals in the Lateran and, because of its ‘many intolerable and obscure provisions’, suspended Gregory X's conclave decree, promising to propose a fresh one. This was his sole recorded administrative act, for a few days later he left Rome, with its oppressive summer heat, and settled, seriously ill, at Viterbo. Here he died, without being ordained priest, consecrated, or crowned, on 18 Aug. Dante later accused him (Purg. ix. 88–145) of the sin of avarice. His tomb in S. Francesco is a sumptuous masterpiece by a Florentine contemporary, Arnolfo di Cambio (c.1245–1302).

Further Reading

Potthast ii. 1709 f.R. Graham, ‘Letters of Cardinal Ottobono’, EHR15 (1900), 87–120LP ii. 457EThC 53–4 (P. Herde)NCE i. 127–9 (B. J. Comaskey)N. Schöpp, Papst Hadrian V. (Kardinal Ottobuono Fieschi) (Heidelberg, 1916)DBI i. 335–7 (L. Gatto)

Subjects: Christianity.

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