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CATASTROPHE

and excommunication. He declared that the accursed race of Co- lonna, together with all their possessions, were at the mercy of anyone who wished to take them, summoned all to join in a war (for which women on their deathbeds bequeathed money) , and levelled Palestrina and the Castles to the ground. Twelve of the fourteen Cardinals of the College sundered relations with the Colonna. The two guilty noblemen fled to France, where they plotted vengeance.

The Pope declared the year 1300 a year of grace for the universal Church. Vast crowds of pilgrims, among them sick riding in car- riages and old people borne on the shoulders of their children, tramped to this first "jubilee" at the graves of the Apostles. Dante saw them come. The money they donated was literally raked together in St. Peter's; and yet this popular movement, produced by piety as well as other things, took place in the light of a setting sun. During the same year Philippe's Privy-Councillor William Nogaret, the descend- ant of an Albigensian heretic who had fallen a victim to the Pope, dwelt in Rome; and together with the ambassador of the German King Albrecht, he played a trump card against the Curia a new alliance between the French and German monarchs. The object was to prevent the Pope from establishing his family as rulers of Tuscany and from securing still other advantages for his own country. If one were to credit Nogaret's private report, one should have to conclude that Boniface was deaf to all suggestions from the ambassadors, and sought only to poison the friendship of the two kings while besmirch- ing their honour. The Frenchman, whom a compatriot termed a body without a soul, returned home with pestiferous gossip concerning Boniface. But he and the Pope were to cross swords once more.

In 1301 Rome sent a legate to Paris with a request for a Crusade and a bevy of admonitions. But this legate was an imperious bishop and himself a Frenchman. He irritated the King and was taken into custody by the State Council as a traitor. Boniface demanded that he be set free, summoned the French prelates to Rome, reissued the bull Clericis laicos and finally promulgated a new bull, Ausculta fili, by which the King himself was removed from the throne. The language was sharp but not mordant enough to serve the French designs. It was burned immediately and replaced with a counterfeit bull still more gruff in diction. The King solemnly threatened his sons with


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