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

Boniface the Eigth, a Campanian, previously called Benedetto Gaetano (Benedictus Caietanus), was elected pope in Naples at the close of the year one thousand two hundred ninety-four. He was a highly learned man of public experience; for he was at the papal court for a long time, and rose to the pontificate through all the official stations. While a cardinal he undertook everything which he considered of promotional advantage toward the attainment of the high papal office. It is said that he cunningly arranged that several of his predecessors secured secret access to the bed-chamber of Celestine, and spoke to him in simulation of a voice from heaven, to the effect that he would attain to blessedness if he should give up the papal chair[They employed the following contrivance to induce Celestine to abandon the pontificate: Having been informed by a chamberlain that the pope was frequently in the habit of shutting himself up in a secret chapel to give himself up to fasting and prayer, as he did in his cell at Mount de Mouron, the cardinal caused the wall to be pierced behind the place occupied by the crucifix, and introduced into the opening a speaking trumpet, which communicated with a chamber of the upper story; then, during the silence of the night, when the pontiff had retired to his chapel to pray, he called out to him in a terrible voice: “Celestine! Celestine! Cast aside the burden of the papacy – it is a charge beyond your strength.”]. After Boniface attained to the pontificate he began to ignore everyone. He persecuted the Ghibellines, and deprived the cardinals, Peter and James (Iacobum) of the family of the Colonni, together with their uncle Sciarra (Sara), of their paternal castles. Yet he established dual festivals for the apostles, the evangelists, and the four Doctors, Gregory, Augustine, Jerome and Ambrose; and enrolled among the number of the saints the Blessed Louis (Ludovicum) of the royal lineage of France and of the Barefoot Order. He recovered for the Church the city of Eugubium[Gubbio, a town and Episcopal see of Umbria, Italy (anciently Iguvium, medieval Eugubium). A bishop of Iguvium is mentioned as early as 413 CE. It was taken and destroyed by the Goths in 552, but rebuilt with the help of Narses. Modern Gubbio occupies an important place in the history of majolica. In the struggles of this period, it was generally on the Ghibelline side. ], which the Ghibellines had taken from it. Three times he declined to confirm the election of Duke Albert of Austria as ruler of the empire. He was the first to institute, in the year one thousand three hundred, the Jubilee, during which complete absolution from all sins was granted to those who should visit the churches of the apostles. Because of this such a great and countless number of people came to Rome that it was impossible for people to pass each other in that spacious city. This pope, through a course of negotiations, subjugated the kingdom of France, deposed Philip, the French king, and crowned the said Duke Albert as king of France and as Roman emperor. Because of this Philip, the deposed king, secretly and by night sent the aforesaid Sciarra to Anagni, and secured the assistance of the Ghibellines, who had been persecuted for a long time by this pope. They fell upon the pope in the bedchamber in which he was born, in his father’s house, and carried him off to Rome as a prisoner; and there he died of dejection after twenty-four days, in the eighth year, ninth month, and seventeenth day of his pontificate.

Boniface VIII (Benedetto Gaetano), pope from 1294 to 1303, was born of a noble family at Anagni, and studied canon and civil law in Italy and possibly at Paris. After being appointed to canonicates in both of these countries, he accompanied Cardinal Ottobuona to England in 1265 for the purpose of reconciling Henry III and the baronical party. Later he became advocate and notary at the papal court, and, in 1281, was made cardinal-deacon, and, in 1291, cardinal-priest. It was he who headed the conspiracy to depose his predecessor, Celestine V, in order to satisfy his own ambitions. After the retirement of Celestine, the cardinals waited ten days before reassembling, so as to give him time to finish his measures, and to assure himself of a majority in the sacred college. The conclave having at last formed in the palace of King Charles, he was chosen sovereign pontiff.

As soon as Boniface had been proclaimed pope, he left Naples for Rome. The streets and public places were strewn with flowers, and the pope was greeted with shouts of joy. He first went to the church of the Lateran to be seated on the pierced chair. From there he went to St. Peter’s, where he was solemnly consecrated, in the year 1295. On the succeeding day, he caused the abdication of Celestine to be confirmed by the sacred college in contempt of all the ecclesiastical rules, which prohibited the abdication of a pontiff. These precautions did not appear to him to be sufficient, for he caused his unfortunate predecessor to be apprehended, confining the old man in a castle, giving him orders to confess that he might prepare to die. While the holy hermit was unveiling the secrets of his soul, the pope was concealed behind a tapestry, and, when he had finished his confession, the new pope suddenly appeared before him, reproached him for the regrets he had expressed for his abdication, and caused him to be placed in a dungeon. It is said that fearful of an uprising of the people in favor of the victim, Boniface decided to starve him to death, and it was announced some days afterward that Celestine, enfeebled by age, had expired while in the act of blessing the holy father.

In his attempt to exercise authority in temporal, as well as in spiritual affairs, Boniface involved the papacy in many controversies with European powers. The attempt to build up the greatest estates for his family, chiefly at the expense of the ancient house of Colonna, made mortal enemies. Until 1303, he refused to recognize Albert of Austria as the rightful German king. Assuming himself overlord of Hungary, he declared that its crown should fall to the house of Anjou. He humbled Eric VIII of Denmark, but was unsuccessful in the attempt to try Edward I, the conqueror of Scotland, on the charge of interfering with a papal fief; for Parliament declared in 1301 that Scotland had never been a fief of Rome. In 1296, by papal bull, Boniface forbade the levying of taxes on the clergy without his consent. Philip IV, king of France, retaliated by ordinance prohibiting the exportation of gold and other property from France, thereby crippling the papal revenues; but Boniface, in the spirit of reconciliation, canonized the king’s grandfather, Louis IX. However, hostilities were later renewed. Philip caused grave charges to be placed against the pope and sent his vice-chancellor Nogaret to arrest him and bring him to France to be deposed by an oecumenical council. With Sciarra Colonna, Nogaret surprised Boniface at Anagni as the latter was about to pronounce sentence of excommunication against the king. Boniface was saved from the vengeance of Colonna by Nogaret, imprisoned for three days until released by the citizens of Anagni, conducted to Rome, only to be confined by the Orsini in the Vatican, where he died in October, 1303. Dante, who had become embittered against Boniface while on a political mission in Rome, calls him the “Prince of the New Pharisees” (Inferno 27, 85), but laments that “in his Vicar, Christ was made a captive” and was “mocked a second time” (Purgatory, 20, 87 f.). Boniface patronized the fine arts, interested himself in the Vatican Library, and founded the University of Rome.

Benedict the Eleventh, from Treviso, formerly called Nicholas, of the Preaching Order, a cardinal, was elected pope. He entered the Preaching Order in his youth and was so competent and virtuous that he became a general of the order. He was made pope because of his virtue, and so conducted himself that after death he was justly regarded as one of the blessed. He excommunicated five citizens of Anagni, and restored the king of France to his realm and freedom. He also restored to grace John (Johannem) and James (Iacobum) of the family of the Colonni, the cardinals deposed by Boniface. It was his intention to aid and rescue the Christians who had gone to Syria and Palestine to combat the Tartars and the infidels. In order to accomplish this more skillfully and conveniently he journeyed to Perugia with his court; but, weakened by sickness, he died there on the Nones of June in the eighth month and seventeenth day of his pontificate, his undertaking unexecuted. He was buried with great pomp in the cloister of the Preaching Order in the one thousand three hundred and third year. The seat as then vacant for 11 months.[Benedict XI (Niccolo Boccasini), pope from 1303 to 1304, entered the Dominican Order in 1254 at the age of fourteen years, became lector, prior of the convent, provincial of his order in Lombardy, and, in 1296, its general. In 1298, he was created cardinal priest, and, in 1300, cardinal-bishop. He was a loyal supporter of Boniface VIII against Philip the Fair of France, and, in 1303, was unanimously elected pope. He did much to conciliate the enemies made by his predecessor, but, in 1304, excommunicated Nogaret and all the Italians who had captured Boniface in Anagni. Benedict died at Perugia in 1304. His successor, Clement V, transferred the papal residence to Avignon. Among Benedict’s works are the commentaries on part of the Psalms and on the Gospel of Matthew. His beatification took place in 1733.]

Pope Boniface himself published the sixth book of papal law in these years. He ordered that this book be compiled by the three most learned men who had published the new decretals. And he ordered by public decree that it be observed and that it be read in the public universities. And this book the archdeacon of Bologna expounded on.[The German edition of the does not have this paragraph. Instead, in an attempt at editorial improvement, it abridges the Latin paragraph’s content as “He wrote the sixth papal book of the canon law, and ordered it read in the universities.” and includes that sentence in the paragraph on Boniface above (before the sentence “He recovered for the Church the city of Eugubium, which the Ghibellines had taken from it.”).]

Louis (Ludovicus), of royal lineage born of Charles (Carolo), king of Sicily, and Mary his mother, a Sicilian and Hungarian queen, had a spiritual preceptor in the days of his youth. Two of his brothers took him to Catalona, where he was given over as a hostage for the release of his father King Charles. There he was instructed in the liberal and spiritual arts for seven years by the Barefoot brothers, and became a lecturer on spiritual and lay matters. He was zealous in prayer, and such a lover of chastity, that outside the cloister he never spoke to anyone other than his mother and sister. All his life he castigated himself. Firstly at the request of the Barefoot Order, and later at the request of Pope Boniface, he accepted the rule of the bishopric of Toulouse. He performed marvelous works of kindness, and, after living a pious life, was favored with a blessed end.[Louis of Naples was a son of Charles II, King of Naples and Sicily (Folio CCXVIII recto and note), and was fourteen years of age when sent as a hostage for his father into Spain. There he spent seven years in captivity, during which time he became dangerously ill, and, thinking himself dying, he vowed to join the Franciscans if health was restored to him. Upon his release he returned to Naples where he took holy orders and was ordained a priest. A favorite friend was Jacques d’Euse, a little deformed man, a cobbler’s son of Cahors. He had followed in his youth the fortunes of an uncle who had a small trading capital at Naples. He was encouraged to study by a Franciscan friar, but refused to enter the Order. The poor scholar was recommended to the instructor of the king’s children. He ingratiated himself into the favor of Louis; and, mounting step by step, he finally became pope (as John XXII) at Avignon (1316). One of his first acts was to canonize his friend and benefactor, Louis of Naples. Louis died at the age of twenty-three, two years and ten months after he left captivity, and during that time became bishop of Toulouse and Pamiers.]