Clement III, Antipope

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Pontificate: June 25, 1080Sept. 8, 1100. Known earlier as Guibert (or Wibert) of Ravenna, he was born between 1020 and 1030 in Parma; his family was related to the counts of Canossa. Guibert died at Cività Castellana on Sept. 8, 1100. He was at the German court by 1055, and was named imperial chancellor for Italy (105863) with the backing of the empress Agnes. An independent thinker who was more opposed to Hildebrand-Gregory than to reform, Guibert was at the Synod of Sutri (January 1059), which excommunicated the antipope benedict x (105859). Yet he later became a driving force behind the election of Peter Cadalus as Antipope honorius ii (106164), rival to alexander ii (106173). Nothing much is known of Guibert from then until 1072, when King Henry IV (10561106) named him bishop of Ravenna. Pope Alexander II was not enthusiastic, since Guibert supported Honorius, but he accepted Guibert after his archdeacon, Hildebrand, compelled Guibert to take an oath of allegiance. Not long after Hildebrand was elected Pope Gregory VII (107385), and Guibert became one of the most visible leaders of the opposition to the Gregorian reform program.

Guibert attended Gregory's first Lenten synod (March 1074) and participated in passing decrees against simony and lax behavior among the clergy. But since Guibert declined to attend the following year in spite of an oath to do so, Gregory suspended him in 1075. In February 1075 he excommunicated Guibert along with the other bishops who had adopted a resolution deposing the pope at a synod in Worms (January 1076). Guibert was again excommunicated at the Lenten synod of 1078, probably because he had presided over a synod of Lombard bishops and abbots that excommunicated Gregory (Pavia, April 1076). Finally, when Henry summoned his German and Lombard bishops to a meeting at Brixen in June 1080, the bishops deposed Gregory yet again and elected Guibert as pope. Henry immediately recognized the election.

Four years later Henry marched into Rome and controlled the city, forcing Gregory to flee to the Castel Sant' Angelo. At this point, the people and clergy of Rome elected Guibert pope; he took the name Clement III and was consecrated at the Lateran on Palm Sunday, March 24, 1084. A week later on Easter, with Gregory still in the Castel Sant' Angelo, Clement solemnly crowned Henry emperor in St. Peter's. Soon however, Gregory had made his way to Salerno, and the troops of his Norman ally Robert Guiscard forced both Henry and Clement to leave Rome. Clement went to Ravenna, where he became archbishop in spite of the great support he still had among the people and clergy of Rome (13 of the cardinals still recognized him). Indeed he was back in Rome functioning as pope during the reigns of Victor III (108687) and Urban II (108899). He was also able to broaden slightly his support in German and Italian territories, and at various times had the obedience of England, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Portugal, and Denmark. He even pursued negotiations toward union with Metropolitan John II of Kiev as well as with the eastern emperor and the patriarch of Constantinople. Nonetheless, in the 1190s Henry IV's influence in Rome declined, while support for Pope Urban II steadily increased.

In 1098 Clement was forced out of Rome by the Pierleoni family. Clement and his supporters only controlled the Castel Sant' Angelo, and were forced to abandon that on Aug. 24, 1098. With Henry's troops withdrawn from Italy, Clement's only area of influence was around his diocese of Ravenna. After Paschal II (10991118) was elected, Clement prepared to press his claim to the papacy at Albano, but he was forced to withdraw by Norman troops loyal to the pope. He reached Cività Castellana and died there less than a year later. Clement's Roman supporters set up three successive antipopesTheoderic (1100), Albert (1101), and Sylvester IV (110511), but these men (with the possible exception of Sylvester) never had the backing of Henry IV, who would soon reach a compromise with the reformers and keep his right to invest bishops with their ring and staff.

Clement was an intelligent and principled man who sought his own course in politically complex times. Though he relied on Henry's support, he was more than a pawn of imperial policy. Obviously well educated, Clement was responsible for some of the most articulate opposition to the Gregorian reformers, whose methods he opposed more than their goals. Clement, for instance, legislated against clerical marriage (Nicolaitism) and simony at a synod in Rome (1089) and supported communial for his clergy. Unlike the majority of Gregorian reformers, however, Clement maintained that the sacraments of schismatic priests and his opponent's ordinations were valid. Clement's position was more politically attractive to those caught between the two parties. In much the same way, he allowed his cardinals more influence, thus forcing Urban II to do the same in order to keep their loyalty. As a result, the College of Cardinals increased in importance during this period.

Bibliography: l. duchesne, ed. Liber Pontificalis (Paris 188692; repr. 195557) 2.28295. p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum Romanorum (Leipzig 188588; repr. Graz 1956) 1.649655; 2.713. Decretum Wiberti, and Altercatio inter Urbanum et Clementem, in Monumenta Germaniae historica, Libelli de lite 1.62126 and2.16972. o. kÖhncke, Wibert von Ravenna (Leipzig 1888). p. kehr, "Zur Geschichte Wiberts von Ravenna (Clemens III)," Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin (1921) 355371, 973988. k. jordan, "Die Stellung Wiberts in der Publistik des Investiturstreites," Mitteilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung 62 (1954) 15564. f. x. seppelt, Geschichte der Päpste von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts (Munich 1956) 3.93134. k. reindel, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg 1965) 10.108788. w. ullmann, A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages (London 1972). t. struve, Lexikon des Mittelalters (Munich 1983) 2.213940 for extensive bibliography. j. ziese, Wibert von Ravenna, der Gegenpapst Clemens III, 10841100 (Stutgart 1982). i. heidrich, Ravenna unter Erzbischof Wibert, 10731100 (Sigmaringen 1984). j. n. d. kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 15657. i. s. robinson, The Papacy 10731198: Continuity and Innovation (Cambridge 1990). g. tellenbach, The Church in Western Europe from the Tenth to the Early Twelfth Century (Cambridge 1993) 23064. i. s. robinson, Henry IV of Germany, 11561106 (Cambridge 1999).

[p. m. savage]