The Avignon Papacy

The Avignon Papacy - The Avignon Papacy, 1305-1378 The...

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The Avignon Papacy, 1305-1378 The Great Famine was the result of the growth of Europe's population to the limit of the capacity of the land to support it. The Black Death was one of the consequences of European contacts with the great civilizations to the east. As such, they were natural disasters in the sense that they did not come about because of any conscious human policy. Their effects were magnified and prolonged, however, by a general failure of European leadership to take any constructive action to cushion the effect of these calamities. During the preceding century, European society had become more institutionalized and regulated, and the kings, nobles, wealthy, and Church had exercised an increasing control over the population at large. When they were unable to provide leadership during these disasters, there was no one else in position even to attempt to do so, although the spread of the flagellants may have marked an attempt by common men and women to solve the difficulties in which they found themselves. The first of the governing elites to lose its power to lead effectively was the Church. The attention of the papacy during the thirteenth century had been focused on the Holy Roman emperors and upon the goal of keeping the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in southern Italy and the city-states of Lombardy in the north independent of imperial authority and not powerful enough themselves to threaten the independence of the Papal States. This was of great importance to the clergy since it was clear that the pope would never be able to be an independent moral force if the lands upon which he and his administration were located were under the control of some secular power. If this seems difficult to understand, consider that the men who created the United States took care to create the District of Columbia, a territory independent of any state's jurisdiction, in which to situate the federal government. Mexico City and several other national capitals occupy the same position and for much the same reason that the medieval popes wanted to be able to run the church from a place that was not under the jurisdiction of some secular authority. During this struggle, the popes perhaps failed to pay close enough attention to the growing centralized power of the "national" monarchies in England, France, Castile, and Aragon. Perhaps, too, Boniface VIII lacked sufficient perception and had been lulled into a false sense of security by the triumphant tone of the celebration of the Jubilee year of 1300. Whatever the reason, Boniface seemed unaware that the French monarchy was quite different, and much more dangerous, than the Holy Roman emperors had ever been. Pope Boniface VIII and Philip IV of France soon clashed over two basic
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course HISTORY 170 taught by Professor Romero during the Fall '11 term at Rutgers.

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The Avignon Papacy - The Avignon Papacy, 1305-1378 The...

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