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BONIFACE


664


BONIFACE


Matteo, Ottone, and Landolfo. hy appropriating the property rightfully belonging to tliem, and bestowing it on his nephews. To obtain redress tliey appealed to the pope, who decided in their favour, and repeatedly admonished the cardinal to deal justly with his brothers. But the cardinal and his nephews bitterly resented the pope's intervention and obstinately refused to abide by his decision. Moreover, the Colonna cardinals had seriously compromised them- selves by maintaining highly treasonable relations with the political enemies of the pope — first with James II of Aragon, and later mth Frederick III of Sicily. Repeated warnings against tliis alliance having availed notliing, Boniface, in the interests of his own security, ordered the Colonna to receive papal garrisons in Palestrina — the ancestral home of the family — and in their fortresses Zagarolo and Colonna. This they declined to do and forthwith broke off all relations with the pope. On the 4th of May, 1297, Boniface summoned the cardinals to his presence, and when, two days later (6 May), they appeared, he commanded them to do three things: to restore the consignment of gold and silver which their relative Stefano Colonna had seized and robbed from the pope's nephew, Pietro Gaetani, as he was bringing it from Anagni to Rome; to deliver up Stefano as a prisoner to the pope; and to surrender Palestrina together with the fortresses Zagarolo and Colonna. They complied with the first of these demands, but rejected the other two. Thereupon Boniface on the 10th of May, 1297, issued a Bull, " In excelso throne ", depriving the rebellious cardinals of their dignities, pronouncing sentence of excommunication against them, and ordering them, witliin a space of ten days, to make their submission under penalty of forfeiting their property. On the morning of the same day (10 May) the Colonna liad attached to the doors of several Roman churches, and even laid upon the high altar of St. Peter's, a manifesto, in which they declared the election of Boniface Xlll invalid on the ground that the abdication of Celestine V was un- canonical, accused Boniface of circumventing his saintly predecessor, and appealed to a general council from whatever steps might be taken against them by the pope. This protest, compiled at Longhezza, with the assistance of Fra Jacopone da Todi and of two other Spirituals, had somewhat anticipated the papal Bull, in answer to which, however, the Colonna issued the second manifesto (16 May) containing numerous charges against Boniface and appealing anew to a general council. The pope met tliis bold proceeding with increased severity. On the 23rd of May, 1297, a second BuU, "Lapis abscissus", confirmed the previous excommunication, and extended it to the five nephews of Jacopo with their heirs, declared them schismatics, disgraced, their property forfeited, and threatened ■nith the interdict all such places as re- ceived them. Boniface at the same time pointed out how the Colonna cardinals had themselves favoured his election (in the conclave they liad voted for Ciaetani from the first, as they had been among those who counselled Celestine's abdication), had publicly acknowledged liim as pope, attended his coronation, entertained him as their guest at Zaga- rolo, taken part in his consistories, signed aU state ■documents with him, and had for nearly three years been his faithful ministers at the altar. The rebels replied with a third manifesto (15 June), and im- mediately set about preparing their fortresses for defense.

Boniface now withdrew from Rome to Orvieto, where, on the 4th of September, 1297, he declared war and entrusted the command of the pontifical troops to Landolfo Colonna, a brother of Jacopo. In December of the .same year he even proclaimed a crusade against his enemies. The fortresses and castles of the Colonna were taken without much


difficulty. Palestrina (Prsneste), the best of their strongholds, alone held out for some time, but in September, 1298, it too was forced to surrender. Dante says it was got by treachery by long promises and short performances" as Guido of Montefeltro counselled, but the tale of the implacable Ghibelline lias long since been discredited. Clad in mourning, a cord around their necks, the two cardinals, with other members of the rebellious family, came to Rieti to cast themselves at the feet of the pontiff and implore his forgiveness. Boniface received the captives amid all the splendours of the papal court, granted them pardon and absolution, but refused to restore them to their dignities. Palestrina was razed to the ground, the plough driven through and salt strewn over its ruins. A new city — the Citt^ Papale — later replaced it. When shortly afterwards the Colonna organized another revolt (which was how- ever speedily suppressed), Boniface once more pro- scribed and excommunicated the turbulent clan. Their property was confiscated, and the greater part of it bestowed on Roman nobles, more especially on Landolfo Colonna, the Orsini, and on the relatives of the pope. The Colonna cardinals and the leading members of the family now withdrew from the States of the Church — some seeking shelter in France, others in Sicily. (Denifle, see below, and Petrine, Memorie Praenestine, Rome, 1795.)

Early in the reign of Boniface, Eric VIII of Den- mark had unjustly imprisoned Jens Grand, Arch- bishop of Lund. Isarnus, Archpriest of Carcassonne, was commissioned (1295) by Boniface to threaten the king with spiritual penalties, unless the arch- bishop were freed, pending the investigation of the matter at Rome, whither the king was invited to send representatives. The latter were actually sent, but were met at Rome by Archbishop Grand, who had in the meanwhile escaped. Boniface decided for the archbishop, and, when the king refused to yield, excommunicated him and laid the kingdom under interdict (1298). In 130.3 Eric yielded, though his adversary was transferred to Riga and his see given (1304) to the legate Isarnus. In Hungarj' Charobert or Canrobert of Naples claimed the vacant crown as descendant of St. Stephen on the distaff side, and was supported by the pope in his quality of tradi- tional overlord and protector of Hungary. The nobles, however, elected Andrew III, and on his early demise (1.301) chose Ladislaus, son of Wen- ceslaus II of Bohemia. They paid no heed to the interdict of the papal legate, and the arbitration of Boniface was finally declined by the envoys of Wen- ceslaus. The latter had accepted from the Polish nobles the Crown of Poland, vacant owing to the banishment (1300) of Ladislaus I. The solemn warning of the pope and his protest against this violation of his right as overlord of Poland were unheeded by Wenceslaus. who soon, moreover, allied himself with Philip the Fair.

In Germany, on the death of Rudolph of Hapsburg (1291), his son Albert, Duke of Austria, declared himself king. The electors, however, chose (1292) Comit Adolph of Nassau, whereupon Albert sub- mitted. Adolph's government proving unsatis- factorJ^ three of the electors deposed him at Mainz (23 June, 1298) and enthroned Albert. The rival kings appealed to arms; at GoUheim. near Worms, Adolph lost (2 July, 1298) both life and cro^vn. Albert was re-elected king by the Diet of Frankfort and crowned at Aachen (24 Augxist, 1298). The electors had sought regularly from Boniface recogni- tion of their choice and imperial consecration. He refused both on the plea that Albert was the mur- derer of his liege lord, ^'ery soon Albert was at wai with the three Rhenish archbishop-electors, and m 1301 the pope smnmoned him to Rome to answer various charges. Victorious in battle (1302), Albert sent