Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/204

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THE THRONE OF THE WORLD

the Florentine historian, is also ruthless in his description of the Pope. According to him, Nicholas, full of zeal for his own kindred, carried out many exploits to secure affluence for them. He adds that Nicho- las was the first Pope at whose court simony was openly practiced in behalf of relatives who were showered with land, gold and castles.

Another French Pope, Martin IV (1281-1285), followed the Roman. So scrupulously did he avoid the vice of his predecessor that when his brother came from France to visit him he hastily sent him back home with a small present of money. The Pope declared that whatever he possessed belonged not to him but to the Church; yet he was the creature of Charles and remained an instrument in his hands. He could not muster up courage to listen as a free sovereign to the complaints of the Sicilians, or to take up their cause as a just Pope. There followed the terrible judgment of the year 1282. The Sicilian Vespers, which broke out in Palermo on Easter Monday, ended the Island's woes. Peter of Aragon, Manfred's son-in-law, whom Con- radin had named in his testament Master of Apulia and Sicily, ac- cepted a call for help which had long since come from the Sicilian Ghibellines, and received the crown in Palermo. Charles could no longer be saved by anything that Roman friends could do for him. In spite of French and Papal intrigues against Aragon, he and his followers had to content themselves with the Papal fief of Naples. Henceforth Sicily belonged to the Spanish King until the wars of the Spanish Succession.

In Rome the Colonna and Orsini began to fight for possession of the Holy See. A third power, that of the House of Anjou, also sought to acquire it. Nicholas IV was a partisan of the Colonna. When he died, the College of Cardinals went on wrangling for more than two years. Charles II of Naples recommended a man who was looked upon also by the strict Franciscans and by all friends of a religious, non-political Papacy as the long awaited Pa fa Angelica. He was not a lawyer, nor a diplomat, nor a warrior, nor a builder and Maecenas. He was a poor hermit from the Abruzzi. Peter of Maroni was persuaded to wear the tiara. Even the kings of Naples and Hungary themselves visited his wilderness resort and begged him on their knees to become Pope and thus bring peace to the Christian world. He followed them amidst tears, and allowed himself to be


PAPA