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CLEMENT III, POPE

Pontificate: Dec. 19, 1187 (at Pisa), to March 29, 1191 (at Rome); b. Paolo Scolari at Rome to an upper-class family. Educated at Santa Maria Maggiore, where he was elevated to subdeacon in 1176 and subsequently to archpriest. On Sept. 21, 1179 Pope alexander iii named him cardinal-deacon of Santi Sergio e Bacco, in 1180 cardinal-priest of Santa Pudenziana. From 1181 to his election as pope in 1187 he was cardinal-bishop of Palestrina (Preneste). The assumptions of the electors proved correct. The elderly cardinal was indeed able to reach an agreement with the Roman Commune and to overcome divisions in the college of cardinals. After his triumphal entry into Rome in early February 1188, he concluded a peace treaty with the Roman senate that restored papal sovereignty and with it regalian as well as fiscal rights in the city as well and the surrounding regions. Moreover, the senate promised an annual oath of fealty, since it now regarded the pope as its defender against Hohenstaufen claims. Clement III in his turn recognized the autonomy of the Roman Commune and granted it annual financial contributions. However, the pope never succeeded in fulfilling one of his obligations under the treaty: the destruction of the walls of the Roman rival Tusculum.

Clement III was equally successful in his negotiations with the Hohenstaufen Emperor frederick i barbarossa in connection with the Third Crusade, which was planned in response to Saladin's capture of Jerusalem (1187). In the treaty of Strasbourg (April 1189) Barbarossa returned the papal states to the pope with the exception of the former lands of Mathilda of Tuscany. In return Clement promised to crown Barbarossa's son Henry VI emperor, but it was a promise he did not keep. Instead he supported the claims of Tancred of Lecce to succeed to the Sicilian throne (January 1189), when Henry claimed that crown through his wife Constance. The pope feared that Rome and the Papal States would be surrounded by imperial lands both north and south. It attests to his skills as a diplomat that he nonetheless maintained good relations with Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and even managed to persuade King Philip Augustus of France and King Richard Lionheart of England to depart on crusade in the summer of 1190 after the sudden death of Barbarossa in Asia Minor on the way to the Holy Land.

The short and complicated reign of Clement III also brought progress in papal administration and expansion in papal influence. Cardinal Albinus of Albano began to compile census lists and other important documents that benefited the papacy, a work later completed by Cencius Camerarius who became pope as honorius iii. Willingness to expand papal influence is also reflected in the decretals of Clement III especially with regard to matrimonial law and to oaths, even if a fair number of them are now correctly attributed to his successor, celestine iii. He freed the Scottish Church from the jurisdiction of the archbishop of York and formally canonized the Danish Bishop kjeld (Ketil) of Viborg (1188), Bishop otto i of Bamberg (1189), stephen of muret, founder of the Order of Grandmont (1189), and the Irish Archbishop Malachie O'Morgair (1190).

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[u.r. blumenthal]

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Clement III, Pope

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