Cola di Rienzo

(c. 1313—1354)

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Tribune of the Roman People. In 1343 he was part of a Roman embassy sent to Clement VI to persuade him to return to Rome; his ability impressed the Pope. In May 1347 he stirred up a popular revolution, as a result of which the people made him ‘Tribune of the People’. At first he ruled nominally in partnership with the Papal legate, but he became increasingly autocratic. He bathed in the font of the Lateran Basilica and challenged the election of the Emp. Charles IV, which the Pope had engineered. The people of Rome forced him to flee in Dec. 1347. In 1350 Charles IV arrested him and sent him to Clement, who imprisoned him. Nevertheless, when in 1353 Cardinal Albornoz went to Rome to restore order, Innocent VI sent Rienzo with him, and he triumphantly entered the city in 1354. His behaviour again offended the people, who rose against him and killed him while he was trying to escape.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) — Christianity.

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