Pope Innocent III

Pope Innocent III (Latin: Innocentius III; 1160 or 1161 – 16 July 1216), born Lotario dei Conti di Segni (anglicized as Lothar of Segni) reigned from 8 January 1198 to his death in 1216.

Pope Innocent was one of the most powerful and influential of the medieval popes. He exerted a wide influence over the Christian states of Europe, claiming supremacy over all of Europe's kings. He was central in supporting the Catholic Church's reforms of ecclesiastical affairs through his decretals and the Fourth Lateran Council. This resulted in a considerable refinement of Western canon law. He is furthermore notable for using interdict and other censures to compel princes to obey his decisions, although these measures were not uniformly successful.

Innocent greatly extended the scope of the crusades, directing crusades against Muslim Spain and the Holy Land as well as the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars in southern France. He organized the Fourth Crusade of 1202–1204, which ended in the disastrous sack of Constantinople. Although the attack on Constantinople went against his explicit orders, and the Crusaders were subsequently excommunicated, Innocent reluctantly accepted this result, seeing it as the will of God to reunite the Latin and Orthodox Churches.

In the event, the sack of Constantinople and the subsequent period of Frankokratia led to an increase in the hostility between the Latin and Greek churches. The Byzantine empire was restored in 1261 but it never regained its former strength until its final destruction in 1453.[1]


Innocent III
Papacy began8 January 1198
Papacy ended16 July 1216
PredecessorCelestine III
SuccessorHonorius III
Ordination21 February 1198
Consecration22 February 1198
Created cardinalSeptember 1190
by Clement III
Personal details
Birth nameLotario de' Conti di Segni
Born1160 or 1161
Gavignano, Papal States
Died16 July 1216 (aged 55–56)
Perugia, Papal States
Other popes named Innocent
Papal styles of
Pope Innocent III
C o a Innocenzo III
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone


Early life

Lotario de' Conti was born in Gavignano, Italy, near Anagni.[2] His father was Count Trasimund of Segni and was a member of a famous house, Conti di Segni (Earl of Segni), which produced nine popes, including Gregory IX, Alexander IV and Innocent XIII. Lotario was the nephew of Pope Clement III; his mother, Claricia Scotti (Romani de Scotti), was from the same noble Roman family.[3]

Lotario received his early education in Rome, probably at the Benedictine abbey of St Andrea al Celio, under Peter Ismael;[4] he studied theology in Paris under the theologians Peter of Poitiers, Melior of Pisa, and Peter of Corbeil,[5] and (possibly) jurisprudence in Bologna, according to the Gesta (between 1187 and 1189).[6] As Pope, Lotario was to play a major role in the shaping of canon law through conciliar canons and decretal letters.[2]

Shortly after the death of Alexander III (30 August 1181) Lotario returned to Rome and held various ecclesiastical offices during the short reigns of Lucius III, Urban III, Gregory VIII, and Clement III, reaching the rank of Cardinal-Deacon in 1190.

As a cardinal, Lotario wrote De miseria humanae conditionis (On the Misery of the Human Condition).[7][8] The work was very popular for centuries, surviving in more than 700 manuscripts.[9] Although he never returned to the complementary work he intended to write, On the Dignity of Human Nature, Bartolomeo Facio (1400–1457) took up the task writing De excellentia ac praestantia hominis.[10]

Election to the papacy

Celestine III died on 8 January 1198. Before his death he had urged the College of Cardinals to elect Giovanni di San Paolo as his successor, but Lotario de' Conti was elected pope in the ruins of the ancient Septizodium, near the Circus Maximus in Rome after only two ballots on the very day on which Celestine III died. He was only thirty-seven years old at the time.[2] He took the name Innocent III, maybe as a reference to his predecessor Innocent II (1130–1143), who had succeeded in asserting the Papacy's authority over the emperor (in contrast with Celestine III's recent policy).[11]

Reassertion of papal power

Papal Bulla of Innocent III (FindID 235228)
Papal Bulla of Innocent III

As pope, Innocent III began with a very wide sense of his responsibility and of his authority. During the reign of Pope Innocent III, the papacy was at the height of its powers. He was considered to be the most powerful person in Europe at the time.[12] In 1198, Innocent wrote to the prefect Acerbius and the nobles of Tuscany expressing his support of the medieval political theory of the sun and the moon.[13] His papacy asserted the absolute spiritual authority of his office, while still respecting the temporal authority of kings.[14]

The Muslim recapture of Jerusalem in 1187 was to him a divine judgment on the moral lapses of Christian princes. He was also determined to protect what he called "the liberty of the Church" from inroads by secular princes. This determination meant, among other things, that princes should not be involved in the selection of bishops, and it was focused especially on the "patrimonium" of the papacy, the section of central Italy claimed by the popes and later called the Papal States. The patrimonium was routinely threatened by Hohenstaufen German kings who, as Roman emperors, claimed it for themselves. The Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI expected to be succeeded by his infant son Frederick as king of Sicily, king of the Germans, and Roman Emperor, a combination that would have brought Germany, Italy, and Sicily under a single ruler and left the patrimonium exceedingly vulnerable.[2]

The early death of Henry VI left his 3-year-old son Frederick II as king. Henry VI's widow Constance of Sicily ruled over Sicily for her young son before he reached the age of majority. She was as eager to remove German power from the kingdom of Sicily as was Innocent III. Before her death in 1198, she named Innocent as guardian of the young Frederick until he reached his maturity. In exchange, Innocent was also able to recover papal rights in Sicily that had been surrendered decades earlier to King William I of Sicily by Pope Adrian IV. The Pope invested the young Frederick II as King of Sicily in November 1198. He also later induced Frederick II to marry the widow of King Emeric of Hungary in 1209.[2]

Coat of arms of Innocent III
Painting of the coat of arms of Pope Innocent III, in the "Palazzo del Commendatore", part of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, Rome.

Involvement in Imperial elections

Innocent was concerned that the marriage of Henry VI and Constance of Sicily gave the Hohenstaufens a claim to all the Italian peninsula with the exception of the Papal States, which would be surrounded by Imperial territory.[14]

After the death of Emperor Henry VI, who had recently also conquered the Kingdom of Sicily, the succession became disputed: as Henry's son Frederick was still a small child, the partisans of the Staufen dynasty elected Henry's brother, Philip, Duke of Swabia, king in March 1198, whereas the princes opposed to the Staufen dynasty elected Otto, Duke of Brunswick, of the House of Welf. King Philip II of France supported Philip's claim, whereas King Richard I of England supported his nephew Otto.[15]

In 1201, the pope openly espoused the side of Otto IV, whose family had always been opposed to the house of Hohenstaufen.[16]

It is the business of the pope to look after the interests of the Roman empire, since the empire derives its origin and its final authority from the papacy; its origin, because it was originally transferred from Greece by and for the sake of the papacy...its final authority, because the emperor is raised to his position by the pope who blesses him, crowns him and invests him with the empire....Therefore, since three persons have lately been elected king by different parties, namely the youth [Frederick, son of Henry VI], Philip [of Hohenstaufen, brother of Henry VI], and Otto [of Brunswick, of the Welf family], so also three things must be taken into account in regard to each one, namely: the legality, the suitability and the expediency of his election......Far be it from us that we should defer to man rather than to God, or that we should fear the countenance of the powerful....On the foregoing grounds, then, we decide that the youth should not at present be given the empire; we utterly reject Philip for his manifest unfitness and we order his usurpation to be resisted by all....since Otto is not only himself devoted to the church, but comes from devout ancestors on both sides.....therefore we decree that he ought to be accepted and supported as king, and ought to be given the crown of empire, after the rights of the Roman church have been secured."Papal Decree on the choice of a German King, 1201" [17]

The confusion in the Empire allowed Innocent to drive out the imperial feudal lords from Ancona, Spoleto and Perugia, who had been installed by Emperor Henry VI.[18] On 3 July 1201, the papal legate, Cardinal-Bishop Guido of Palestrina announced to the people, in the cathedral of Cologne, that Otto IV had been approved by the pope as Roman king and threatened with excommunication all those who refused to acknowledge him. At the same time, Innocent encouraged the cities in Tuscany to form a league, called the League of San Genesio against German imperial interests in Italy, and they placed themselves under Innocent's protection.[18]

In May 1202, Innocent issued the decree "Venerabilem", addressed to the Duke of Zähringen, in which he explained his thinking on the relation between the papacy and the Empire. This decree was afterwards embodied in the "Corpus Juris Canonici", contained the following items:

  • The German princes have the right to elect the king, who is afterwards to become emperor. This right was given them by the Apostolic See when it transferred the imperial dignity from the Greeks to the Germans in the person of Charlemagne.
  • The right to investigate and decide whether a king thus elected is worthy of the imperial dignity belongs to the pope, whose office it is to anoint, consecrate, and crown him; otherwise it might happen that the pope would be obliged to anoint, consecrate, and Crown a king who was excommunicated, a heretic, or a pagan.
  • If the pope finds that the king who has been elected by the princes is unworthy of the imperial dignity, the princes must elect a new king or, if they refuse, the pope will confer the imperial dignity upon another king; for the Church stands in need of a patron and defender.
  • In case of a double election the pope must exhort the princes to come to an agreement. If after a due interval they have not reached an agreement they must ask the pope to arbitrate, failing which, he must of his own accord and by virtue of his office decide in favour of one of the claimants. The pope's decision need not be based on the greater or less legality of either election, but on the qualifications of the claimants.[2]

Despite papal support, Otto could not oust his rival Philip until the latter was murdered in a private feud. His rule now undisputed, Otto reneged on his earlier promises and now set his sights on reestablishing Imperial power in Italy and claiming even the Kingdom of Sicily. Given the papal interest to keep Germany and Sicily apart, Innocent now supported his ward, King Frederick of Sicily, to resist Otto's advances and restore the Staufen dynasty to the Holy Roman Empire. Frederick was duly elected by the Staufen partisans.[19]

The conflict was decided by the Battle of Bouvines on 27 July 1214, which pitted Otto, allied to King John of England against Philip II Augustus. Otto was defeated by the French and thereafter lost all influence. He died on 19 May 1218, leaving Frederick II the undisputed emperor. Meanwhile, King John was forced to acknowledge the Pope as his feudal lord and accept Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury.[20]

Joao sem terra assina carta Magna
John of England signs Magna Carta. Illustration from Cassell's History of England (1902).

Feudal power over Europe

Innocent III played further roles in the politics of Norway,[21] France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Spain and England.[20] At the request of England's King John, Pope Innocent III declared the Magna Carta annulled, resulting in a rebellion by the English Barons who did not accept this action.[22]

Crusades and suppression of heresy

Albigensian Crusade 01
Innocent launched the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars.

Innocent III was a vigorous opponent of religious heresy and undertook campaigns against it. At the beginning of his pontificate, he focused on the Albigenses, also known as the Cathars, a sect that had become widespread in southwestern France, then under the control of local princes, such as the Counts of Toulouse. The Cathars rejected the Christian authority and the teachings of the Catholic Church, claiming it corrupt.[23] In 1198, Innocent III dispatched a monk named Rainier to visit France with the power to excommunicate heretics, and orders to local temporal authorities to confiscate the lands of heretics or to "as became Christians to deal with them more severely."[24]

The murder of Pierre de Castelnau – Innocent's legate – in 1208, by unknown assailants commonly believed to be friends of Count Raymond of Toulouse (who was not a Cathar himself but was seen as supportive of them), caused Innocent to change his methods from words to weapons. Innocent called upon King Philip II Augustus of France to suppress the Albigenses. The Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown and soon took on a political flavor, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of practising Cathars and realignment of the County of Toulouse in Languedoc, bringing it into the sphere of the French crown and diminishing the distinct regional culture and high level of influence of the Counts of Barcelona. Under the leadership of Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, a campaign was launched. The Albigensian Crusade, which led to the deaths of approximately 20,000[25] men, women and children, Cathar and Catholic alike[25] and brought the region firmly under the control of the king of France. It was directed not only against heretical Christians, but also the nobility of Toulouse and vassals of the Crown of Aragon. King Peter II of Aragon was directly involved in the conflict, and was killed in the course of the Battle of Muret in 1213. The conflict largely ended with the Treaty of Paris of 1229, in which the integration of the Occitan territory in the French crown was agreed upon.

Burning of the Waldensians
Burning of the Waldensians. Toulouse in the 13th century.

Pope Innocent III spent a majority of his tenure as Pope (1198–1216) preparing for a great crusade on the Holy Land. His first attempt was the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) which he decreed with the papal bull Post miserabile in 1198.[26][27] Unlike past popes, Innocent III displayed interest in leading the crusade himself, rather than simply instigating it and allowing secular leaders to organize the expedition according to their own aspirations.[25]

Innocent III's first order of business in preaching the crusade was to send missionaries to every Catholic state to endorse the campaign. Innocent III sent Peter of Capua to the kings France and England with specific instructions to convince them to settle their differences. As a result, in 1199, Innocent was successful in forging a truce of five years between the two nations. The intent of the truce between the kings was not to allow them to lead the crusade, but rather to improve the likelihood that they would provide assistance. For the army's leadership, Innocent aimed his pleas at the knights and nobles of Europe.[25] The pleadings were successful in France, where many lords answered the pope's call, including the army's two eventual leaders, Theobald of Champagne and Boniface, marquis of Montferrat. Innocent III's calls to action were not received with as much enthusiasm in England or Germany. For this reason, the Fourth Crusade became mainly a French affair.[28]

The Fourth Crusade was an expensive endeavor. Innocent III chose to raise funds by doing something previously unheard of in popes. He forced the entire clergy under his leadership to give one fortieth of their income in support of the Crusade. This marked the first time a pope ever imposed a direct tax on his clerical subjects. The pope faced many difficulties with collecting this tax, including corruption of his own officials and disregard by his subjects in England. He continued in his attempt to garner funds for his crusade by sending envoys to King John of England and King Philip of France. Both men pledged to contribute one fortieth of their own salaries to the campaign. John also declared that the tax would be collected throughout England as well. The other source of funds for the crusade was the crusaders themselves. Innocent declared that those who took the vow to become crusaders but could no longer perform the tasks that they had promised to complete, could be released of their oaths by a contribution of funds to the original cause. The pope put Archbishop Hubert Walter in charge of collecting these dues.[25][29]

At the onset of the crusade, the intended destination was Egypt, as the Christians and Muslims were under a truce at the time.[28] An agreement was made between the French Crusaders and the Venetians. The Venetians would supply vessels and supplies for the crusaders and in return, the crusaders would pay 85,000 marks (£200,000).[30] Innocent gave his approval of this agreement under two conditions: a representative of the pope must accompany the crusade, and the attack of any other Christians was strictly forbidden. The French failed to raise sufficient funds for payment of the Venetians. As a result, the Crusaders diverted the crusade to the Christian city of Zara at the will of the Venetians to subsidize the debt. This diversion was adopted without the consent of Innocent III, who threatened excommunication to any who took part in the attack. A majority of the French ignored the threat and attacked Zara, and were excommunicated by Innocent III, but soon were forgiven so as to continue the crusade. A second diversion then occurred when the crusaders decided to conquer Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. This diversion was taken without any knowledge by Innocent III, and he did not learn of it until after the city had been captured.[31]

Innocent viewed the capture of Constantinople as a way to reunite the schismatic Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The pope excommunicated the Crusaders who attacked Christian cities, but was unable to halt or overturn their actions. Erroneously, he felt that the Latin presence would bring about a reconciliation between the Eastern and Western Churches. His tactics ultimately failed due to the significant differences between the two churches. The crusade did lead to the start of the Latin Empire's rule of Constantinople, which lasted for the next sixty years.[32]

Francis of Assisi

In 1209, Francis of Assisi led his first eleven followers to Rome to seek permission from Pope Innocent III to found a new religious Order, which was ultimately granted.[33] Upon entry to Rome, the brothers encountered Bishop Guido of Assisi, who had in his company Giovanni di San Paolo, the Cardinal Bishop of Sabina. The Cardinal, who was the confessor of Pope Innocent III, was immediately sympathetic to Francis and agreed to represent Francis to the pope. Reluctantly, Pope Innocent agreed to meet with Francis and the brothers the next day. After several days, the pope agreed to admit the group informally, adding that when God increased the group in grace and number, they could return for an official admittance. The group was tonsured.[34] This was important in part because it recognized Church authority and protected his followers from possible accusations of heresy, as had happened to the Waldensians decades earlier. Though Pope Innocent initially had his doubts, following a dream in which he saw Francis holding up the Basilica of St. John Lateran (the cathedral of Rome, thus the 'home church' of all Christendom), he decided to endorse Francis's Order. This occurred, according to tradition, on 16 April 1210, and constituted the official founding of the Franciscan Order. The group, then the "Lesser Brothers" (Order of Friars Minor also known as the Franciscan Order), preached on the streets and had no possessions. They were centered in Porziuncola, and preached first in Umbria, before expanding throughout Italy.[35]

Fourth Council of the Lateran

On 15 November 1215 Innocent opened the Fourth Lateran Council, considered the most important church council of the Middle Ages. By its conclusion it issued seventy reformatory decrees. Among other things, it encouraged creating schools and holding clergy to a higher standard than the laity. Canon 18 forbade clergymen to participate in the practice of the judicial ordeal, effectively banning its use.[36]

In order to define fundamental doctrines, the council reviewed the nature of the Eucharist, the ordered annual confession of sins, and prescribed detailed procedures for the election of bishops. The council also mandated a strict lifestyle for clergy. Canon 68 states: Jews and Muslims shall wear a special dress to enable them to be distinguished from Christians so that no Christian shall come to marry them ignorant of who they are.[37] Canon 69 forbade "that Jews be given preferment in public office since this offers them the pretext to vent their wrath against the Christians."[38] It assumes that Jews blaspheme Christ, and therefore, as it would be "too absurd for a blasphemer of Christ to exercise power over Christians",[39] Jews should not be appointed to public offices.

Death and legacy

Innocent III bas-relief in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber
Innocent III honored by the U.S. House of Representatives

The Council had set the beginning of the Fifth Crusade for 1217, under the direct leadership of the Church. After the Council, in the spring of 1216, Innocent moved to northern Italy in an attempt to reconcile the maritime cities of Pisa and Genoa by removing the excommunication cast over Pisa by his predecessor Celestine III and concluding a pact with Genoa.[40]

Innocent III, however, died suddenly at Perugia[2] on 16 July 1216. He was buried in the cathedral of Perugia, where his body remained until Pope Leo XIII had it transferred to the Lateran in December 1891.[2]


His Latin works include De miseria humanae conditionis, a tract on asceticism that Innocent III wrote before becoming pope, and De sacro altaris mysterio, a description and exegesis of the liturgy.[8]

  • "On Heresy: Letter to the Archbishop of Auch, 1198"
  • "On Usury: Letter to the French bishops, 1198"
  • "On Church Independence/Tithes: Letter to a bishop, 1198"
  • "On the crusade and Trade with Saracens: Letter to the Venetians, 1198"
  • "On Jews: Decree of 1199"[17]

See also


  1. ^ Moore, John (2003). Pope Innocent III (1160/61 – 1216): To Root Up and to Plant. Leiden, Boston: Brill. pp. 102–134. ISBN 90 04 12925 1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Innocent III". Newadvent.org. 1 October 1910. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  3. ^ Jane Sayers, 'Innocent III: Leader of Europe 1199–1216' London 1994, p. 16
  4. ^ Jane Sayers, 'Innocent III: Leader of Europe 1199–1216' London 1994, p. 17
  5. ^ Jane Sayers, 'Innocent III: Leader of Europe 1199–1216' London 1994, p. 18
  6. ^ Jane Sayers, 'Innocent III: Leader of Europe 1199–1216' London 1994, p. 21
  7. ^ Innocentius III. "On the misery of the human condition, De miseria humane conditions". Open Library. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b Moore, John C. (1981). "Innocent III's 'De Miseria Humanae Conditions: A Speculum Curiae?'". The Catholic Historical Review. 67 (4): 553–564. JSTOR 25021212.
  9. ^ "LOTARIO DEI CONTI DEI SEGNI [POPE INNOCENT III], De miseria humanae conditionis [On the Misery of Human Condition] In Latin, manuscript on parchment likely Italy, c. 1250" (PDF). LES ENLUMINURES, LTD. 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  10. ^ Schmitt, C. B. (1988). The Cambridge history of Renaissance ... – Google Books. ISBN 9780521397483. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  11. ^ See Julien Théry-Astruc, "Introduction", in Innocent III et le Midi (Cahiers de Fanjeaux, 50), Toulouse, Privat, 2015, pp. 11–35, at pp. 13–14.
  12. ^ Civilization in the West, Kishlansky, Geary, O'Brien, Volume A to 1500, Seventh Edition, p. 278
  13. ^ Medieval Sourcebook: Innocent III: Letters on Papal Polices. Fordham.edu
  14. ^ a b Muldoon, James. "Empire and Order, Springer, 1999, p. 81ISBN 9780230512238
  15. ^ Comyn, p. 275
  16. ^ Bryce, p. 206
  17. ^ a b Medieval Sourcebook: Innocent III: Letters on Papal Polices. Fordham.edu
  18. ^ a b Comyn, p. 277
  19. ^ "Innocent, III". Encyclopedia of World Biography. 1998 – via Gale. (registration required)
  20. ^ a b Powell, James M. Innocent III: Vicar of Christ or Lord of the World? Washington: Catholic University of American Press, 2nd ed., 1994. ISBN 0-8132-0783-5
  21. ^ "Diplomatarium Norvegicum".
  22. ^ "Magna Carta: people and society". British Library. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Fourth Lateran Council: 1215". Papal Encyclicals Online.
  24. ^ Powell, James M. (1994). Innocent III: Vivar of Christ or lord of the world?. Catholic University of America Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0813207834. Washington DC
  25. ^ a b c d e Cheney, Christopher R. (1976). Innocent III and England. Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann.
  26. ^ Packard, Sidney Raymond (1927). Europe and the Church under Innocent III. New York: H. Holt.
  27. ^ Innocent III, Pope (1969). On the Misery of the Human Condition. De Miseria Humane Conditionis, trans. Donald Roy Howard. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.
  28. ^ a b Clayton, Joseph (1941). Pope Innocent III and His Times. Milwauke: Bruce Pub.
  29. ^ Migne, Jacques Paul (1849–1855). Patrologia Latina. Vol. 214–217. Paris: S.I.
  30. ^ Villhardouin, Geoffrey De (1908). Memoirs or Chronicle of the Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople, trans. Frank T. Marzials. London: J.M. Dent.
  31. ^ Elliott-Binns, Leonard (1931). Innocent III. Hamden, Conn: Archon.
  32. ^ Roscher, Helmut (1969). Papst Innocenz III. Und Die Kreuzzuge. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck U. Ruprecht.
  33. ^ Chesterton (1924), pp. 107–108
  34. ^ Galli (2002), pp. 74–80
  35. ^ Robinson, Paschal. "St. Francis of Assisi." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 16 December 2018
  36. ^ Pennington, Kenneth. "The Fourth Lateran Council, its Legislation, and the Development of Legal Procedure", CUA
  37. ^ Gottheil, Richard and Vogelstein, Hermann. "Church councils", Jewish Encyclopedia
  38. ^ "Medieval Sourcebook: Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215". Fordham.edu. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  39. ^ "Lateran 4 – 1215".
  40. ^ "School of Theology". Sthweb.bu.edu. 2 September 2009. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2010.


  • (in Italian) (in Latin) Constitutiones Concilii quarti lateranensis – Costituzioni del quarto Concilio lateranense, ed. by di M. Albertazzi, La Finestra editrice, Lavis 2016.
  • Barraclough, Geoffrey (1968). The Medieval Papacy. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Bolton, Brenda, Innocent III. Studies on Papal Authority and Pastoral Care, Variorum, " Collected Studies Series ", Aldershot, 1995.
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • (in Italian) Maccarrone, Michele (ed.), Chiesa e Stato nella dottrina di papa Innocenzo III, Roma: Ateneo lateranense, 1941.
  • (in Italian) Maccarone, Michele, Studi su Innocenzo III, Padoue, 1972.
  • (in Italian) Maccarone, Michele, Nuovi studi su Innocenzo III, éd. Roberto Lambertini, Rome, Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo, 1995.
  • (in German) Maleczek, Werner, Papst und Kardinalskolleg von 1191 bis 1216, Wien, 1984.
  • Moore, John C. "Pope Innocent III, Sardinia, and the Papal State." Speculum, Vol. 62, No. 1. (Jan. 1987), pp. 81–101. doi:10.2307/2852567. JSTOR 2852567.
  • Moore, John C. Pope Innocent III (1160/61-1216): To Root Up and to Plant. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2003; Notre Dame IN: U. of N.D. Press, 2009 (pb, lacking illustrations).
  • Powell, James M., Innocent III: Vicar of Christ or Lord of the World? 2nd ed.(Washington: Catholic University of American Press, 1994).
  • Sayers, Janet E. Innocent III: Leader of Europe 1198–1216, London, New York, Longman (The Medieval World), 1994.
  • (in Italian)(in French)(in German) Andrea Sommerlechner, Andrea (dir.), Innocenzo III. Urbs et Orbis, Rome, Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo, 2003, 2 vol.
  • Tillman, Helen, Pope Innocent III, New York, 1980.
  • (in French) Théry-Astruc, Julien, "Introduction", in Innocent III et le Midi (Cahiers de Fanjeaux, 50), Toulouse, Privat, 2015, pp. 11–35.

Further reading

  • Kendall, Keith. "'Mute Dogs, Unable to Bark': Innocent III's Call to Combat Heresy." In Medieval Church Law and the Origins of the Western Legal Tradition: A Tribute to Kenneth Pennington, edited by Wolfgang P. Müller and Mary E. Sommar, 170–178. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2006.
  • Kendall, Keith. "Sermons of Pope Innocent III: The 'Moral Theology' of a Pastor and Pope." PhD diss., University of Syracuse, 2003.

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Celestine III
Succeeded by
Honorius III
1198 papal election

The papal election of 1198 (held January 8) was convoked after the death of Pope Celestine III; it ended with the election of Cardinal Lotario dei Conti di Segni, who took the name Innocent III. In this election for the first time the new pope was elected per scrutinium.

1200s (decade)

The 1200s began on January 1, 1200, and ended on December 31, 1209.

== Events ==

=== 1200 ===

August 25 – After touring an army through Aquitaine to assert his right to it, John of England marries Isabella of Angoulême at Bordeaux.

The Iroquois invade modern-day Ohio from the north.

The Mongols defeat Northern China.

The University of Paris receives its charter, from Philip II of France.

The rebel Ivanko is captured and executed, by the Byzantine general Alexios Palaiologos.

The Cherokee and Catawba tribes fought in a great battle in the Brown Mountain of modern day North Carolina.

=== 1201 ===

July 31 – John Komnenos the Fat attempts to usurp the throne of the Byzantine Empire; he is overthrown and decapitated by the end of the day.

John, King of England, puts an embargo on wheat exported to Flanders, in an attempt to force an allegiance between the states. He also puts a levy of a fifteenth on the value of cargo exported to France, and disallows the export of wool to France without a special license. The levies are enforced in each port by at least six men, including one churchman and one knight. John also affirms this year that judgements made by the court of Westminster are as valid as those made "before the king himself or his chief justice".

The town of Riga is chartered as a city by Albert of Buxhoeveden, Bishop of Livonia, who had landed on the site with 1,500 crusaders earlier in the year.

Boniface, Marquess of Montferrat is elected leader of the Fourth Crusade, after the death of Theobald III, Count of Champagne.

Pope Innocent III supports Otto IV as Holy Roman Emperor, against the rival Emperor, Philip of Swabia.

=== 1202 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

May 20 – An earthquake strikes in Syria.

Genghis Khan crushes the Tatars.

====== Europe ======

May – October – The Fourth Crusade gathers in Venice.

July – John, King of England rescues his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, from near capture by the rebellious forces of Arthur I, Duke of Brittany.

July 27 – Battle of Basian: Georgians defeat the Seljuqids of Rüm.

August 1 – Arthur I, Duke of Brittany is captured in Mirebeau, north of Poitiers, during a battle with John, King of England.

November 10–23 – Fourth Crusade – Siege of Zara: In the first major action of the Crusade, the Crusaders besiege and conquer Zadar in Dalmatia. Unable to pay the Republic of Venice in cash for its contributions to the Crusade, the Crusaders agree to sack the city (an economic rival to Venice), despite letters from Pope Innocent III forbidding such an action, and threatening excommunication (which is carried out at the urging of Emeric, King of Hungary). This is the first attack against a Catholic city by Catholic Crusaders.

The Almohad fleet expels the Banu Ghaniya from the Balearic Islands.

The Livonian Brothers of the Sword is founded, to support a crusade against the inhabitants of Medieval Livonia.

Pope Innocent III reasserts his right to evaluate and crown the Holy Roman Emperor, in a letter to Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen.

Danes make a crusade to Finland which is led by the Archbishop of Lund Anders Sunesen and his Brother.

==== By topic ====

====== Culture ======

Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa writes Liber Abaci, about the modus Indorum, the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, including the use of zero; it is the first major work in Europe to move away from the use of Roman numerals.

Approximate date – The first jesters are hired in European courts.

====== Religion ======

The Rueda Abbey is founded by Cistercians at Sástago, in the Kingdom of Aragon (modern-day Spain).

=== 1203 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Minamoto no Sanetomo becomes shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate.

====== Europe ======

April 16 – Philip II of France enters Rouen, leading to the eventual unification of Normandy and France.

William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber becomes the guardian of Arthur I, Duke of Brittany, and is possibly responsible for his death.

The House of Burke is founded in Ireland.

Battle of Basiani: The Georgians defeat a Muslim coalition.

The Almohads begin the conquest of the Balearic Islands.

The troops of the Fourth Crusade reach the Byzantine heartland:

June 23 – The Fleet of the crusaders enters the Bosphorus.

July 17 – The armies of the Fourth Crusade capture Constantinople by assault; the Byzantine emperor Alexios III Angelos flees from his capital into exile.

August 1 – The Fourth Crusade elevates Alexios IV Angelos as Byzantine emperor, after the citizens of Constantinople proclaim as emperor Isaac II Angelos (Alexius IV's father).

The Oeselians ravage Danish Scania. The returning pirates later skirmish with the German settlers of Riga, near Visby in Gotland.

==== By topic ====

====== Markets ======

The first evidence is revealed, that the Temple in London is extending loans to the king of England. The sums remain relatively small, but are often used for critical operations, such as the ransoming of the king’s soldiers captured by the French.

====== Religion ======

April 8 – Congress of Bilino Polje: Ban Kulin officially declares his allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church, and denounces heresy.

The Temple of Nataraja is completed, at Chidambaram in India.

The Benedictine abbey of Iona is founded by Ragnall mac Somairle, on a previous Columban site.

=== 1204 ===

January – Four-year-old Guttorm is proclaimed King of Norway; his "reign" ends with his death a few months later.

January 28 – Byzantine emperor Alexios IV Angelos is overthrown in a revolution.

February 5 – Alexios V Doukas is proclaimed Byzantine emperor.

April 13 – Fourth Crusade: The Crusaders take Constantinople by storm, and pillage the city for 3 days. Forces of the Republic of Venice seize the antique statues that will become the horses of Saint Mark.

May 16 – Baldwin, Count of Flanders is crowned emperor of the Latin Empire a week after his election, by the members of the Fourth Crusade.

Theodore I Laskaris flees to Nicaea after the capture of Constantinople, and establishes the Empire of Nicaea; Byzantine successor states are also established in Epirus and Trebizond.

Boniface I, Marquess of Montferrat, a leader of the Fourth Crusade, founds the Kingdom of Thessalonica.

The writings of French theologian Amalric of Bena are condemned by the University of Paris, and Pope Innocent III.

Tsar Kaloyan is recognized as king of Bulgaria by Pope Innocent III, after the creation of the Bulgarian Uniate church.

Valdemar II of Denmark is recognized as king in Norway.

Angers and Normandy are captured by Philip II of France.

The Cistercian convent of Port-Royal-des-Champs is established.

The district of Cham becomes subject to Bavaria.

Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia submits to Philip of Swabia.

Beaulieu Abbey is founded.

The Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey decide, after a plebiscite of wealthy land owners, to remain with the English crown, after Normandy is recaptured by Philip II of France.

=== 1205 ===

==== By area ====

====== Africa ======

The general Muhammad al-Inti b. Abi Hafs establishes the Almohad domination over the eastern parts of Ifriqiya, and enters Tripoli.

====== Asia ======

Theodore I Laskaris is proclaimed Byzantine Emperor, formally founding the Empire of Nicaea, after repelling the invasions of rivals David Komnenos and Manuel Maurozomes into his domains.

====== Europe ======

January 6 – Philip of Swabia becomes King of the Romans.

April 14 – Battle of Adrianople: The Bulgarians defeat the Latins.

Anjou is conquered by Philip II of France. Fearing a French invasion of England itself, John of England requires every English male over 12 to enter an association "for the general defence of the realm and the preservation of peace".

Othon de la Roche founds the Duchy of Athens.

William of Wrotham, Lord Warden of the Stannaries of England, oversees a reform of English currency. In keeping with other high-ranking bureaucrats of his time and place, this is just one of Wrotham's many offices: he is also Keeper of the King's Ports & Galleys, supervisor of the mints of Canterbury and London, ward of the vacant Diocese of Bath and Wells, an archdeacon of Taunton, a canon of Wells, and will serve the following year as a circuit judge.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

July 15 – Pope Innocent III lays down the principle that Jews are doomed to perpetual servitude, because they had crucified Jesus.

=== 1206 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Temüjin is proclaimed Genghis Khan of the Mongol people, founding the Mongol Empire.

Mukhali is appointed myriarch of the left wing of the newly reorganized Mongol army, and granted immunity for up to 9 breaches of the law.

Qutb-ud-din Aybak, a Turkish Mameluke from Central Asia, proclaims the Mameluk dynasty in India, the first dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.

====== Europe ======

Theodore Lascaris is crowned Byzantine Emperor at Nicaea.

The Livonian Brothers of the Sword, in alliance with the Semigallians, conquer Livs.

King Valdemar II and Archbishop Andreas Sunonis raid Saaremaa Island, Estonia, forcing the islanders to submit. The Danes build a fortress, but finding no volunteers to man it, they burn it down themselves and leave the island.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and culture ======

Sugar, an import from the Muslim world, is mentioned for the first time in a royal English account. Almonds, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are also imported for royal banquets.

====== Education ======

Colchester Royal Grammar School is founded in England.

====== Religion ======

The Order of the Friars Minor is founded by Francis of Assisi.

A peasant named Thurkhill in England claims that Saint Julian took him on a tour of Purgatory. Thurkhill includes realistic touches including descriptions of Purgatory’s torture chambers, and is believed by Roger of Wendover, one of his society’s leading historians.

This year, Dominic de Guzmán claims to have received the Holy Rosary from the Virgin Mary.

====== Technics ======

The Arab engineer al-Jazari describes many mechanical inventions in his book (title translated to English) The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices.

=== 1207 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Before 1207 – Kosho writes Kuya Preaching, during the Kamakura period (it is now kept at Rokuhara Mitsu-ji, Kyoto).

Hōnen and his followers are exiled to remote parts of Japan, while a few are executed, for what the government considers heretical Buddhist teachings.

====== Europe ======

February 2 – Terra Mariana, comprising present-day Estonia and Latvia, is established as a principality of the Holy Roman Empire.

November – Leeds, a market town in England, receives its first charter.

Pope Innocent III declares for Philip of Swabia as Holy Roman Emperor, a reversal of his previous support for Otto IV.

King John issues letters patent, creating the new Borough of Liverpool.

==== By topic ====

====== Markets ======

The first evidence is discovered of forced loans in Venice. This technique becomes the staple of public finance in Europe, until the 16th century.

====== Religion ======

June 17 – Stephen Langton is consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury, by Pope Innocent III.

=== 1208 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

April 15 – A fire breaks out in the Song Chinese capital city of Hangzhou, raging for four days and nights, destroying 58,097 houses over an area of more than 3 miles (4.8 km), killing 59 people, and an unrecorded number of other people, who are trampled while attempting to flee. The government provides temporary lodging for 5,345 people, in nearby Buddhist and Taoist monasteries. The collective victims of the disaster are given 160,000 strings of cash, along with 400 tons of rice. Some of the government officials who lost their homes take up residence in rented boathouses, on the nearby West Lake.

====== Europe ======

January 15 – The murder of Pierre de Castelnau by a vassal of Raymond VI of Toulouse takes place; Raymond is held responsible and excommunicated by Pope Innocent III, leading to the Albigensian Crusade.

January 31 – Battle of Lena: Inferior Swedish forces defeat the invading Danes, and King Sverker the Younger is deposed as king of Sweden. He is succeeded by his rival Erik Knutsson.

March 24 – Pope Innocent III places England under an interdict, as punishment for King John of England rejecting his choice for Archbishop of Canterbury. Under the interdict, Church sacraments including marriage and consecrated burial are probably stopped, but there is no sign of the popular discontent which interdicts are intended to produce over the next several years.

June 21 – Philip of Swabia, King of Germany and rival to Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV, is assassinated in Bamberg by German Count Otto of Wittelsbach, because Philip had refused to give him his daughter in marriage.

Livonian Crusade: With the help of the newly converted local tribes of Livs and Letts, the crusader Livonian Brothers of the Sword initiate raids into Ugandi County in southern Estonia. The resulting Estonian ancient fight for independence lasts until 1227.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and culture ======

Robert of Courçon writes his Summa.

=== 1209 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Genghis Khan conquers Western Xia.

The army of the Kingdom of Georgia raids the Muslim principalities in north Iran.

====== Europe ======

The Albigensian Crusade is launched against the Cathars.

July 22 – Massacre at Béziers: Simon de Monfort, leader of the Crusade, sacks Béziers, killing many Cathars and Catholics alike.

August – Simon de Monfort takes over Carcassonne.

May – The First Parliament of Ravennika is held in Greece.

June – Treaty of Sapienza: the Republic of Venice recognizes the possession of the Peloponnese by the Prince of Achaea, Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, and keeps only the fortresses of Modon and Coron.

November – John of England is excommunicated by Pope Innocent III. Despite the excommunication, John will continue to make amends to the Church, including giving alms to the poor whenever he defiles a holy day by hunting during it. This year, he feeds a hundred paupers to make up for when he "went into the woods on the feast of St. Mary Magdalen", and three years from now, he will feast 450 paupers "because the king went to take cranes, and he took nine, for each of which he feasted fifty paupers."

London Bridge is completed.

Black Monday, Dublin: A group of 500 recently arrived settlers from Bristol are massacred by warriors of the Gaelic O'Byrne clan. The group leaves the safety of the walled city of Dublin to celebrate Easter Monday near a wood at Ranelagh, and are attacked without warning. Although in modern times a relatively obscure event in history, it is commemorated by a mustering of the Mayor, Sheriffs and soldiers on the day, as a challenge to the native tribes for centuries afterwards.

==== By topic ====

====== Education ======

Cambridge University is founded.

====== Markets ======

Philippe Auguste of France grants a "conduit" to merchants going to the Champagne fairs, guaranteeing the safety of their travel, as any attempt made against them is now to be considered as a crime of lese-majesty. The decision increases again the appeal of the fairs, to merchants from Italy and the Low Countries.

The banking firm known as the Gran Tavola is formed; most of the partners are members of the Bonsignori Family.

====== Religion ======

The Franciscan Order is founded.


The 1210s was a decade of the Julian Calendar which began on January 1, 1210, and ended on December 31, 1219.

== Events ==

=== 1210 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Emperor Juntoku succeeds Emperor Tsuchimikado, on the throne of Japan.

Jochi, eldest son of Genghis Khan, leads a Mongol campaign against the Kyrgyz.

====== Europe ======

May – The Second Parliament of Ravennika is held at Ravennika in Central Greece, resulting in a concordat between the princes of Frankish Greece and the Roman Catholic clergy.

July 18 – Battle of Gestilren: Former king Sverker II of Sweden is defeated and killed, by the reigning king Erik X.

November 18 – Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor is excommunicated by Pope Innocent III, for invading southern Italy in defiance of the Concordat of Worms.

November 21 – King Eric X of Sweden is crowned, which is the first known coronation of a Swedish king. Shortly thereafter, he marries the Danish princess Richeza, in order to strengthen his relationship to the Danish king Valdemar the Conqueror. Valdemar used to support King Sverker II, but through the marriage, Valdemar makes peace with his former enemy, Eric.

King John I of England raises £100,000 from church property as an extraordinary fiscal levy; the operation is described as an “inestimable and incomparable exaction” by contemporary sources.

Livonian Crusade – Battle of Ümera: Estonian forces defeat the Livonian Brothers of the Sword.

The citadel of the Acrocorinth in Greece surrenders to the Crusaders, after a five-year siege.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and culture ======

Gottfried von Strassburg writes his epic poem Tristan (approximate date).

1210–1211 – Shazi creates the Pen Box, from Persia (Iran) or Afghanistan (it is now kept at Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.).

====== Nature ======

September 24 – Venus occults Jupiter (the last such occurrence until 1570).

====== Religion ======

Pope Innocent III gives oral permission to Francis of Assisi, to begin the Order of Friars Minor.

The church of St Helen's Bishopsgate in the City of London is founded, as a priory of Benedictine nuns.

=== 1211 ===

April 21 – Santiago de Compostela Cathedral (begun in the 11th century) is consecrated, in the presence of King Alfonso IX of León.

September 14 – The Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross are founded in Liège.

October 15 – Battle of the Rhyndacus: Latin emperor Henry of Flanders defeats the Nicaean emperor Theodore I Lascaris.

Livonian Crusade: Battles of Viljandi and Turaida – The Crusaders fail to conquer the Viljandi stronghold, but manage to baptize Sakala and Ugandi counties in southern Estonia.

Mongol forces under Genghis Khan invade the Jurchen-led Jin Dynasty of northern China, aiming at this stage simply to loot the countryside. A Jin army is defeated and slaughtered at the Battle of Yehuling near Zhangjiakou, and another is beaten at Mukden, where the city is taken. Zhongdu is also besieged by the Mongol hordes.

Byzantine–Seljuq wars: Battle of Antioch on the Meander in Anatolia – Forces of the Empire of Nicaea under Theodore I Laskaris defeat those of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm whose leader, Kaykhusraw I, is killed on the battlefield.

The church in the French city of Reims burns down; soon after, construction begins on Reims Cathedral.

King John of England sends a gift of herrings to nunneries in almost every shire, despite his status as an excommunicant.

The oldest extant double-entry bookkeeping system record dates from this year.

=== 1212 ===

July 10 – The most severe of several early fires of London burns most of the city to the ground; over 3,000 people die, many of them by drowning in the Thames. According to a contemporary account, "An awful fire broke out on the Southwark side of Lond. Bridge; and by some means, while it was raging, a fire broke out at the other end also, and so hemmed in the numerous crowds who had assembled to help the distressed. The sufferers, to avoid the flames, threw themselves over the bridge into boats and barges; but many of these sunk, the people crowding into them.".

July 16 – Battle of Navas de Tolosa: The Christian kingdoms of Spain decisively defeat the Almohads, and the victory leaves the Kingdom of Castile in a difficult financial position, as numerous soldiers have to be paid by the treasury.

December – Frederick II of Hohenstaufen is crowned King of Germany, with the support of Pope Innocent III.

The Children's Crusade for the Holy Land is organised. There are probably two separate movements of young people, both led by shepherd boys, neither of which embark from Europe, but both of which suffer considerable hardship:Early spring – Nicholas leads a group from the Rhineland to Genoa and Rome.

June – 12-year-old Stephen of Cloyes leads a group across France to Marseilles.

The contemplative Order of Poor Clares is founded by Clare of Assisi.

In Japan, Kamo no Chōmei writes the Hōjōki, one of the great works of classical Japanese prose.

Bran Castle is erected by the Teutonic Knights, in the Southern Carpathians (present day Romania).

John of England impounds the revenue of all prelates appointed by bishops who had deserted him at his excommunication. He remains on good terms, however, with churchmen who stood by him, including Abbot Sampson, who this year bequeaths John his jewels.

The Banner of Las Navas de Tolosa is begun. It is a trophy of Ferdinand III of Castile, and will end up in the Museo de Telas Medievales.

=== 1213 ===

May 15 – King John of England submits to Pope Innocent III, who in turn lifts the interdict of 1208.

May 30 – Battle of Damme: The English fleet under William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, destroys a French fleet off the Belgian port, in the first major victory for the fledgling Royal Navy.

September 12 – Battle of Muret: The Toulousain and Aragonese forces of Raymond VI of Toulouse and Peter II of Aragon are defeated by the Albigensian Crusade, under Simon de Montfort.

Jin China is overrun by the Mongols under Genghis Khan, who plunder the countryside and cities, until only Beijing remains free, despite two bloody palace coups and a lengthy siege.

Pope Innocent III issues a charter, calling for the Fifth Crusade to recapture Jerusalem.

Mukhali seizes Mi Prefecture and orders all the inhabitants massacred.

=== 1214 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

November 1 – Siege of Sinope: The Black Sea port city of Sinope surrenders to the Seljuq Turks.

The Emperor Xuanzong of Jin China surrenders to the Mongols under Genghis Khan, who have besieged Beijing for a year. He pays a huge ransom and then abandons northern China, heading for Kaifeng.

In his campaigns in Liaodong, the Mongol general Mukhali commands a newly formed Khitan–Chinese army, and a special corps of 12,000 Chinese auxiliary troops.

====== Europe ======

February 15 – John, King of England, lands an invasion force at La Rochelle in France.

July 27 – Battle of Bouvines: Philip II of France defeats an army of Imperial German, English and Flemish soldiers led by Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor, in the Kingdom of France, ending the Anglo-French War (1213–14).

Summer – King Alfonso VIII of Castile besieges Almohad troops in Baeza. The famine experienced in the peninsula is such that neither army is able to fight.

September 18 – The Treaty of Chinon is signed by John, King of England, and Philip II of France, recognising the Capetian gains from the Angevin Empire.

October 5 – Upon the death of their father, King Alfonso VIII of Castile, and of their mother, Eleanor (October 31), Berenguela becomes the regent of her young brother, King Henry I.

December 4 – William the Lion, King of the Scots, dies, having reigned since 1165; he is succeeded by his son, Alexander II (crowned at Scone on December 6), who will reign until his death in 1249.

The German city of Bielefeld is founded.

==== By topic ====

====== Education ======

June 20 – A papal ordinance defines the rights of the scholars at the University of Oxford.

====== Religion ======

April 13 (approx.) – Simon of Apulia is elected Bishop of Exeter in England.

According to Catholic Church tradition, the rosary is given to Saint Dominic by Mary (mother of Jesus).

=== 1215 ===

March 4 – King John of England makes an oath to Pope Innocent III as a crusader, to gain his support.

May 31 – Mongol conquest of the Jin dynasty: after the long Battle of Zhongdu, Genghis Khan's Mongols capture and torch Beijing (the city burns for more than a month).

June 15 – King John of England is forced, by rebellious barons of England at Runnymede, to put the Great Seal of the Realm on a set of articles confirming their rights and those of the towns and Church, and confirming the status of trial by jury, which on June 19 is confirmed as the Magna Carta.

August – King John of England rejects the Magna Carta, leading to the First Barons' War.

August 24 – Pope Innocent III declares the Magna Carta invalid.

November 11 – The Fourth Council of the Lateran gathers in Rome under Pope Innocent III, who adopts the title "Vicar of Christ".

December – First Barons' War: Alexander II of Scotland invades northern England.

Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor, is excommunicated and forced to abdicate as Emperor and King of Burgundy, replaced by Frederick II (King of the Romans 1212–1250).

The Dominican Order is founded, according to some sources.

Bhiksu Ananda of Kapitanagar completes writing the holy Buddhist book Arya Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita (sutra), in gold ink in Ranjana script.

1215–1216 – The Macy Jug, from Iran, is made. It is now kept at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Kalinga Magha, from Kalinga Province in India, lands in Sri Lanka with a force of 24,000 men, to capture the city of Polonnaruwa and depose its king, Parakrama Pandya.

=== 1216 ===

==== By area ====

====== Europe ======

January – First Barons' War: The English army sacks Berwick-on-Tweed, and raids southern Scotland.

April 10 – Upon the death of Erik Knutsson, he is succeeded by his rival Johan Sverkersson, as king of Sweden.

April 22 – Battle of Lipitsa: Mstislav the Daring and Konstantin of Rostov defeat their rivals for the rule of the Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal.

May 21 – First Barons' War: Prince Louis of France, the future King Louis VIII, invades England in support of the barons, landing in Thanet. Entering London without opposition, he is proclaimed, but not crowned, King of England at Old St Paul's Cathedral.

July 24 – The French Albigensian Crusaders of the castle of Beaucaire surrenders to Raymond, future count of Toulouse.

October 18 or 19 – John, King of England, dies at Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire; he is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry, with William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, as regent. The young Henry III of England is crowned at Gloucester on October 28.

November 12 – William Marshal and the papal legate to England, Guala Bicchieri, issue a Charter of Liberties, based on the Magna Carta, in the new King of England's name.

Dresden receives city rights.

In England, Roger of Wendover begins to cover contemporary events, in his continuation of the chronicle Flores Historiarum.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

July 24 – Pope Honorius III succeeds Pope Innocent III, as the 177th pope.

December 22 – Pope Honorius III officially approves the Order of Preachers (the Dominican Order), by the Papal bull Religiosam vitam.

Ballintubber Abbey is founded by King Cathal Crovdearg O'Connor of Connaught, in Ireland.

=== 1217 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Mukhali returns to Genghis Khan's camp in Mongolia, and receives the hereditary title of prince, a golden seal, and a white standard with nine tails and a black crescent in the middle. He is appointed commander in chief of operations in North China.

The Fifth Crusade reaches the Holy Land.

====== Europe ======

April 9 – Peter II of Courtenay is crowned emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople at Rome, by Pope Honorius III.

May 20 – First Barons' War in England: Occupying French forces are defeated at the Battle of Lincoln, by English royal troops led by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and survivors are forced to flee south.

June 6 – King Henry I of Castile dies aged 13, from the fall of a roof tile in Palencia, an event which his regent, Álvaro Núñez de Lara, attempts to conceal. Henry's sister Berengaria succeeds to the throne.

June – Haakon Haakonsson becomes King Haakon IV of Norway, following the death of Inge II, and largely ends the civil war era in Norway, reigning until 1263.

August 24 – First Barons' War: In the Battle of Sandwich in the English Channel, English forces destroy the French, and the French mercenary Eustace the Monk is captured and beheaded.

August 31 – Ferdinand becomes King of Castile, upon the abdication of his mother Berengaria.

September 12 – The First Barons' War in England is ended by the Treaty of Kingston upon Thames; The French and Scots are to leave England, and an amnesty is granted to rebels.

September 20 – The Treaty of Lambeth is signed, ratifying the Treaty of Kingston.

September 21 – Livonian Crusade: The Livonian Brothers of the Sword and allied Livs and Letts defeat the Estonian army in the Battle of St. Matthew's Day, and kill their leader Lembitu.

October 18 – Fifth Crusade, Reconquista: Alcácer do Sal is reconquered by the troops of King Afonso II of Portugal.

November – In the Kingdom of Castile, former regent Álvaro Núñez de Lara is captured, and forced to relinquish all his castles.

Stefan Nemanjić is elevated to be the first King of the Serbian lands by Pope Honorius III, and crowned by Stefan's brother, Archimandrite Sava, in Žiča.

A decree made in England establishes that only Englishmen can be clergy of Ireland.

=== 1218 ===

==== By area ====

====== Africa ======

August 31 – Al-Kamil becomes the new Egyptian Sultan, on the death of his father Al-Adil.

====== Asia ======

May 24 – The Fifth Crusade leaves Acre for Egypt.

May 30 – Damietta is besieged by the knights of the Fifth Crusade.

Minamoto no Sanetomo becomes Udaijin of Japan.

The Kara-Khitan Khanate is destroyed by Genghis Khan's Mongolian cavalry.

Genghis Khan's Mongols, under the leadership of his eldest son Jochi, conduct a second campaign against the Kyrgyz.

Genghis Khan proposes to the Khwarazm shah of Persia that he accept Mongol overlordship, and establish trade relations.

====== Europe ======

March – The Treaty of Worcester recognises Llywelyn the Great as regent of south Wales.

July – Spain: In order to facilitate the movement of Reconquista, Pope Honorius III reverses Innocent III’s earlier judgement, and declares Ferdinand III of Castile legitimate heir to the Kingdom of Leon.

==== By topic ====

====== Education ======

Alfonso IX of León grants a royal charter to the University of Salamanca.

====== Markets ======

The northern French city of Rheims emits the first recorded public life annuity in medieval Europe. Theretofore, this type of instrument had been mostly issued by religious institutions. The emission by Rheims is the first evidence of a consolidation of public debt that is to become common in the Langue d'Oïl, the Low Countries and Germany.

====== Religion ======

Saint Pedro Nolasco founds the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy in Barcelona, Spain.

=== 1219 ===

==== By area ====

====== Africa ======

November 5 – Fifth Crusade: Damietta, Egypt falls to the Crusaders after a siege.

Saint Francis of Assisi introduces Catholicism into Egypt, during the Fifth Crusade.

The Egyptian city of Al Mansurah is founded.

====== Asia ======

By letter, Genghis Khan summons Qiu Chuji (Chongchan) to visit him, to advise him on the medicine of immortality (the Philosopher's Stone).

The Hojo family, vassals of the shōgun, reduce him to a figurehead.

====== Europe ======

June 15 – Livonian Crusade: Danish crusaders, led by King Valdemar II, conquer Tallinn in the Battle of Lindanise. What is to become the flag of Denmark allegedly falls from the sky during that battle. Their stronghold in Tallinn will help the Danes conquer the entirety of northern Estonia. The Dannebrog remains the national flag of Denmark.

Twenty-four Lithuanian dukes and nobles purportedly sign a peace treaty with Halych-Volhynia, stating a common cause against invading Christian Crusaders.

Upon the death of Aymeric of Saint Maur, Alan Marcell becomes master of the Temple in England.

The East Frisian island of Burchana is broken up in a North Sea flood.

==== By topic ====

====== Technology ======

The windmill is first introduced to China, with the travels of Yelü Chucai to Transoxiana.

1216 papal election

The papal election of 1216 (July 18), was convoked after the death of Pope Innocent III in Perugia (July 16, 1216), elected Cardinal Cencio Camerario, who took the name of Honorius III.

Bernard (bishop of Carlisle)

Bernard (died 1214) was a medieval English Bishop of Carlisle.

Bernard was the custodian of vacant see of Carlisle from about 1200. He was translated from the bishopric of Ragusa to the bishopric of Carlisle on 15 May 1203 by Pope Innocent III. He died about 8 July 1214.

Coat of arms of Lubawa

The coat of arms of Lubawa (German: Löbau in Westpreußen) in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland, depicts a bishop of Chełmno or Culm, generally identified as the first bishop, Christian of Oliva (who according to the 1216 bull by Pope Innocent III baptised the local duke of the Prussians, Surwabuno), with his right hand raised in benediction. He stands between a lime tree and a fir tree.

Fifth Crusade

The Fifth Crusade (1217–1221) was an attempt by Western Europeans to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt.

Pope Innocent III and his successor Pope Honorius III organized crusading armies led by King Andrew II of Hungary and Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, and an attack against Jerusalem ultimately left the city in Muslim hands. Later in 1218, a German army led by Oliver of Cologne, and a mixed army of Dutch, Flemish and Frisian soldiers led by William I, Count of Holland joined the crusade. In order to attack Damietta in Egypt, they allied in Anatolia with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm which attacked the Ayyubids in Syria in an attempt to free the Crusaders from fighting on two fronts.

After occupying the port of Damietta, the Crusaders marched south towards Cairo in July 1221, but were turned back after their dwindling supplies led to a forced retreat. A nighttime attack by Sultan Al-Kamil resulted in a great number of crusader losses, and eventually in the surrender of the army. Al-Kamil agreed to an eight-year peace agreement with Europe.

Fourth Council of the Lateran

The Fourth Council of the Lateran was convoked by Pope Innocent III with the papal bull Vineam domini Sabaoth of 19 April 1213, and the Council gathered at Rome's Lateran Palace beginning 11 November 1215. Due to the great length of time between the Council's convocation and meeting, many bishops had the opportunity to attend. It is considered by the Catholic Church to have been the twelfth ecumenical council and is sometimes called the "Great Council" or "General Council of Lateran" due to the presence of 71 patriarchs and metropolitan bishops, 412 bishops, 900 abbots and priors together with representatives of several monarchs.During this council, the teaching on transubstantiation— a doctrine of the Catholic Church which describes the method by which the bread and wine offered in the sacrament of the Eucharist becomes the actual blood and body of Christ— was defined. It also infamously was the first to require from Jews (and Muslims) to wear distinctive clothing.


Gavignano is a town in the Metropolitan City of Rome, Lazio, central Italy. Gavignano is approximately 50 km south east of Rome, on a hill in the Lepini Mountains.

The name of the town is believed to be derived from the Roman consul and general Aulus Gabinius, a friend of Pompey and ally of Julius Caesar.

The nearest train station is located in the town of Colleferro. Nearby, within the communal territory, is an archaeological site of a Roman villa from the Republican era, the villa "Rossilli", believed to be a country home of the Julii family. At Rossilli there is also a historical abbey, built by the Benedictines in the 12th century.

Pope Innocent III was born there in 1160.

John de Leicester

John de Leicester (or Johannes de Lacester) († 1214) was an early 13th-century bishop of Dunkeld. Before becoming bishop, he had been archdeacon of Lothian. He was elected to the bishopric on 22 July 1211. As bishop-elect, he is present when King William of Scotland paid homage to King John of England in 1212. He had been consecrated by June 1212, when a letter from Pope Innocent III to Walter, bishop of Glasgow, and Radulphus, bishop of Brechin, writes of the election and consecration of John, archdeacon of Lothian. John's episcopate would only last a few years; he died on 7 October 1214. His death occurred at Cramond, Midlothian, and was buried on Inchcolm.

Morgan (bishop)

Morgan was a medieval Bishop-elect of Durham.

Morgan was an illegitimate son of King Henry II of England and Nesta, daughter of Iorwerth ab Owain, Lord of Caerleon. Nesta was married to Sir Ralph Bloet, who raised Morgan as his son. The date of his birth is unknown but presumed to be toward the end of King Henry's life.Morgan was the provost of Beverley before being nominated to the see of Durham between 7 March and 7 May 1215. He was never consecrated because Pope Innocent III refused consecration on the grounds of his illegitimacy. Innocent offered to confirm the election and allow the episcopal consecration if Morgan would swear that he was the son of Nesta and her husband Ralph and not King Henry. Morgan, after deliberation, replied that it was unthinkable for him to deny his father the king.After his accession to the throne of England, John, Morgan's half-brother, was known to be generous to the entire Bloet family.

Pierre de Castelnau

Pierre de Castelnau (? - died 15 January 1208), French ecclesiastic, was born in the diocese of Montpellier.He was archdeacon of Maguelonne, and in 1199 was appointed by Pope Innocent III as one of the legates for the suppression of the Cathar heresy in Languedoc. In 1202, he became a Cistercian monk at the abbey of Fontfroide, Narbonne, and was confirmed as Apostolic legate and first inquisitor, first in Toulouse, and afterwards at Viviers and Montpellier.

In 1207 he was in the Rhone valley and in Provence, where he became involved in the strife between the count of Baux and Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse. Castelnau was assassinated on 15 January 1208, quite possibly by an agent of Raymond. His murder was the immediate cause of Raymond's excommunication and the start of the Albigensian Crusade.He was beatified in the year of his death by Pope Innocent III, who held Raymond responsible. The relics of Pierre de Castelnau are interred in the church of the ancient Abbey of St-Gilles.

Plenitudo potestatis

Plenitudo potestatis was a term employed by medieval canonists to describe the jurisdictional power of the papacy. In the thirteenth century, the canonists used the term plenitudo potestatis to characterize the power of the pope within the church, or, more rarely, the pope's prerogative in the secular sphere. However, during the thirteenth century the pope's plenitudo potestatis expanded as the Church became increasingly centralized, and the pope's presence made itself felt every day in legislation, judicial appeals, and finance.

Although Plenitudo potestatis had been used in canonical writings since the time of Pope Leo I (440-461), Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) was the first pope to use the term regularly as a description of papal governmental power. Many historians have concluded that the pope's jurisdiction within the church was unchallenged. Essentially, the pope was the highest judge in the Church. His decisions were absolute and could not be abrogated by inferior members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Post Miserabile

Post miserabile (Latin: Sadly, after) was a papal bull issued by Pope Innocent III on 15 August 1198 calling for the Fourth Crusade in the Holy Land. More than any other crusading bull, it was not issued in response to any single event, such as setback in the East, but was more organisational in tone, foreshadowing the bureaucratic and administrative changes Innocent would make to the crusading institutions.

Richard de Prebenda

Richard de Prebenda (died 1210) was an early 13th-century bishop of Dunkeld. He had previously been a clerk of King William of Scotland and was appointed to the bishopric in 1203. Records indicate a commission of Pope Innocent III attempting to resolve a dispute between Richard and the prior of St Andrews regarding control of the church of Meigle. He died in May 1210, at Cramond in Midlothian, and was buried on the island of Inchcolm (Innse Choluim).

Saint Homobonus

Saint Homobonus (Italian: Sant'Omobono, German: Sankt Gutmann) is the patron saint of business people, tailors, shoemakers, and clothworkers, as well as of Cremona, Italy.

He was canonized in 1199 at the urgent request of the citizens of Cremona. He died on November 13, 1197 and his feast day is celebrated on November 13.

He was a merchant from Cremona, northern Italy. Born Omobono Tucenghi, he was a married layman who believed that God had allowed him to work in order that he would be able to support people living in a state of poverty. His name is derived from the Latin homo bonus ("good man").

Homobonus was able to pursue this calling in life easily as a result of the inheritance he received from his father, a prosperous tailor and merchant. He practiced his business at Cremona with scrupulous honesty. He also donated a large proportion of his profits to the relief of the poor.

Homobonus was a frequent church attendee that would partake in the Eucharist every day. While attending mass, prostrated in the form of a cross, on November 13, 1197, Homobonus died. Fourteen months later Homobonus was canonized by Pope Innocent III. In the bull of Homobonus's canonization Pope Innocent III called him "father of the poor", "consoler of the afflicted", "assiduous in constant prayer", "man of peace and peacemaker", "a man good in name and deed", "this saint, is still like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in our time."

The church of Sant'Omobono in Rome is dedicated to him.

Siege of Zara

The Siege of Zara or Siege of Zadar (Croatian: Opsada Zadra, Hungarian: Zára ostroma; 10–24 November 1202) was the first major action of the Fourth Crusade and the first attack against a Catholic city by Catholic crusaders. The crusaders had an agreement with Venice for transport across the sea, but the price far exceeded what they were able to pay. Venice set the condition that the crusaders help them capture Zadar (or Zara), a constant battleground between Venice on one side and Croatia and Hungary on the other, whose king, Emeric, pledged himself to join the Crusade. Although some of the crusaders refused to take part in the siege, the attack on Zadar began in November 1202 despite letters from Pope Innocent III forbidding such an action and threatening excommunication. Zadar fell on 24 November and the Venetians and the crusaders sacked the city. After spending the winter in Zadar the Fourth Crusade continued its campaign, which led to the Siege of Constantinople.

Simon Langton (priest)

Simon Langton (died 1248) was an English medieval clergyman who served as Archdeacon of Canterbury from 1227 until his death in 1248. He had previously been Archbishop-elect of York, but the election was quashed by Pope Innocent III.

Stephen Langton

Stephen Langton (c. 1150 – 9 July 1228) was an English Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Canterbury between 1207 and his death in 1228. The dispute between King John of England and Pope Innocent III over his election was a major factor to the crisis which produced Magna Carta in 1215. Cardinal Langton is also credited with having divided the Bible into the standard modern arrangement of chapters used today.

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