First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Year of the World 6443

Year of Christ 1244

Pope Innocent the Fourth (previously called Sinibaldo), a Genoese, having been a cardinal, was elected pope. The news displeased Emperor Frederick, who knew this man’s strength, virtue and courage. When this pope entered upon his pontificate, he made known his desire for peace with the emperor; but learning that the emperor entertained animosity against him, he went to Genoa, where he became seriously ill. When recovered, he took refuge with King Philip of France, who ordered the pope to be honorably received and conveyed to Lyons. There the pope called a council and summoned the emperor to appear. And when the emperor disobediently delayed doing so, this pope excommunicated and deposed him. This so enraged the emperor that he proceeded to Parma and leveled the houses and beautiful villas that belonged to the pope’s relatives, and also causing much mischief in other places. Beside his transactions in this council, this pope also wrote many excellent books at Lyons; and he there canonized Saint Edmund (Eadimundum) of Canterbury. At this council he also ordained that the cardinals, when appearing in public, should wear red hats as a symbol of their readiness to shed their blood for the Christian faith and the salvation of the Christians. He canonized Peter of Verona, of the Preaching Order, who was slain by the heretics at Perugia; likewise Stanislaus, bishop of Krakow, who was illustrious for many miracles in his lifetime. Finally, at the suggestion of the Sicilian nobles, this pope went to Naples; and there he died, and was buried with great honor in the Church of Saint Lawrence, in the eleventh year, second month, and twelfth day of his pontificate. This pope ordained that in the Christian churches the eighth day of the festival of the birth of the Virgin Mary should be celebrated annually.

Innocent IV (Sinibaldo Fiesco), pope from 1243 to 1254, belonged to the noble Genoese family of the counts of Lavagna. After taking orders at Parma, when he was made canon of the cathedral, he studied jurisprudence at Bologna. In 1223, Pope Honorius III gave him a benefice in Parma, and, in 1226, he was established at the curia. He was next promoted to vice-chancellor of the Roman Church, and, in the same year, created cardinal priest of San Lorenzo in Lucina. In 1243, he was elected pope by the cardinals assembled at Anagni. At this time the emperor Frederick II lay under excommunication, but hoped great things from the elevation of a member of an imperialist family; but it was soon clear that Innocent intended to pursue the traditions of his predecessors. Overtures were made and interchanged, but neither side felt prepared to carry out its part of an agreement by which the emperor would satisfy the demands of the pope and receive absolution in return. Innocent began to feel unsafe in Rome, where the imperial partisans had the ascendancy. He fled to Sutri, sailed to Genoa, and proceeded to Lyons, at that time a nominal dependency of the empire. From there he issued a summons for a general council, before which he cited Frederick to appear in person or by deputy. The council met in 1245 and was attended by the partisans of the pope; and though Frederick condescended to be represented by his justiciar Thaddeus of Suessa, the judgment was a foregone conclusion. Innocent renewed the sentence of excommunication, and declared Frederick deposed as emperor and king of Naples. He proclaimed a crusade against Frederick, arming the Dominican and Franciscan friars with special indulgences for those who would take up the cross against the imperial heretic. At the same time he sought to undermine Frederick’s authority in Germany and Italy, and fomented a conspiracy amongst the feudal lords. At his instigation, the German archbishops and a few secular nobles, in 1246, elected Henry Raspe, landgrave of Thüringia, German king; but the landgrave died in the same year, and the papal party elected William II, count of Holland, as his successor.

Innocent’s relentless war against Frederick was not supported by lay opinion. It wrought havoc and misery in Germany, increasing resentment against the priests. The pope’s legate was driven from England, and not even the saintly king, Louis IX of France, approved the pope’s attitude. Failure of the crusade in 1248 against the Muslims in Egypt was ascribed to the deflection of money and arms to the war against the emperor. Nor were the clergy a unit behind Innocent. At first the war went in Frederick’s favor, but the defeat of his camp before Parma by the papal partisans was a blow from which he never recovered. He died in 1250.

Innocent IV left Lyons for Italy in 1251. He continued the struggle with Frederick’s son, Conrad IV, who in 1252 descended into Italy, reduced the rebellious cities, and claimed the imperial crown. After Conrad’s capture of Naples, Innocent feared that Rome itself might fall into his hands.

But Conrad died in 1254, leaving the infant son Conradin under the pope’s guardianship. Innocent posed as the champion of the infant, exercising his rights over the kingdom of Sicily by nominating his own relatives to its most important offices.

Finally, when Manfred, who by Emperor Frederick’s will had been charged with the government of the two Sicilies, felt himself obliged to acknowledge the pope’s suzerainty, Innocent IV threw off the mask, ignored his ward’s claims, and formally asserted his own claims to Calabria and Sicily. He entered Naples; but in the meantime Manfred had fled, and had raised an army of considerable strength. The news of Manfred’s initial successes reached Innocent as he lay sick, and is said to have hastened his end. He died in 1254, and was succeeded by Alexander IV.

Pope Alexander the Fourth was hastily elected pope after the death of Pope Innocent the Fourth in the month of January in the Year of Salvation twelve hundred fifty-four. This Alexander, the fourth pope of this name, formerly called Rinaldo (Raynaldo), was a native of Campania and cardinal of Ostia. He was elected without delay to protect the churches against the power of Manfred, king of Sicily, whom the pope warned not to undertake any measures against the church. Alexander was a man of magnanimous disposition and counsel, and kind to the poor Christians; and for that reason he destroyed several books written against poverty by a certain William (Guilhelmo). This Alexander excommunicated said Manfred in open council at Anagnia, and persecuted the ravagers and tyrants. He undertook to arbitrate the war between the Venetians and the Genoese. Through a vision, In which the Blessed Augustine appeared to him, he accomplished the unification of the hermit brethren, a measure which his predecessors had begun; and he forced said order to leave its hermitage and to live in the city, where its members would be more useful in teaching and preaching, in setting examples, and in hearing confessions. In this way he confirmed the order, and gave it and the Preaching and Barefoot Friars many privileges, advantages, and concessions. He also gave them much assistance and support, being particularly favorable to the learned of the Order, and promoting many of them to cardinals and bishops. And after this pope in the third year of his pontificate had canonized the virgin Clara in the city of Anagnia, he again undertook to arbitrate and settle the matters involved in the war between those mighty communities of Italy, the Venetians and the Genoese. For that purpose he proceeded to Viterbo. There he was so distressed by the delays in the matter that he died; and there he was buried with great solemnity in the vicinity of the church of Saint Lawrence, in the 7th year of his pontificate; and the chair was then vacant for three months and four days.[Alexander IV (Rinaldo), pope from 1254 to 1262, was elected at Naples to succeed Innocent IV. His succession also involved the guardianship of Conradin, last of the Hohenstaufen, to whom he promised benevolent protection; but in less than a fortnight, he conspired against Conradin and bitterly opposed Conradin’s uncle, Manfred. With excommunication and interdict, he fulminated against the party of Manfred, but in vain; nor could he enlist the knights of England and Norway in a crusade against the Hohenstaufen. Rome itself became too Ghibelline for the pope. He withdrew to the Viterbo; and there he died in 1261.]