Pope Martin V

Pope Martin V

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Pope Martin V born Odo (or Oddone) Colonna, was Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 from 1417 to 1431. His election effectively ended the Western Schism
Western Schism
The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...



He was born at Genazzano
Genazzano is a town and comune in the province of Rome, located on a tuff spur at 375 m over the sea level which, starting from the Monti Prenestini, ends on the Sacco River valley.-History:...

, the son of Agapito Colonna
Colonna family
The Colonna family is an Italian noble family; it was powerful in medieval and Renaissance Rome, supplying one Pope and many other Church and political leaders...

 and Caterina Conti. He belonged to one of the oldest and most distinguished families of Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. His brother Giordano became Prince of Salerno and Duke of Venosa
Venosa is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata, in the Vulture area. It is bounded by the comuni of Barile, Ginestra, Lavello, Maschito, Montemilone, Palazzo San Gervasio, Rapolla and Spinazzola....

, while his sister Paola
Paola Colonna
Paola Colonna was the lady of Piombino from 1441 until 1445.She was born in Rome into one of the most powerful family of Rome. Her brother Giordano was shortly Prince of Salerno and Duke of Venosa, while her brother Oddo would become Pope Martin V. On June 18, 1396 she was married to Gherardo...

 was Lady of Piombino in 1441–45.

Oddone most likely studied at University of Perugia
University of Perugia
University of Perugia is a public-owned university based in Perugia, Italy. It was founded in 1308, as attested by the Bull issued by Pope Clement V certifying the birth of the Studium Generale....

. He became apostolic protonotary under Pope Urban VI
Pope Urban VI
Pope Urban VI , born Bartolomeo Prignano, was Pope from 1378 to 1389.-Biography:Born in Itri, he was a devout monk and learned casuist, trained at Avignon. On March 21, 1364, he was consecrated Archbishop of Acerenza in the Kingdom of Naples...

 (1378–89), was created Cardinal Deacon of San Giorgio al Velabro
San Giorgio al Velabro
San Giorgio in Velabro is a minor basilica church in Rome, Italy, devoted to St. George.The church is located in the ancient Roman Velabrum, near the Arch of Janus, in the rione of Ripa. Sited near the River Tiber, it is within a complex of Republican-era pagan temples associated with the port of...

 by Pope Innocent VII
Pope Innocent VII
Pope Innocent VII , born Cosimo de' Migliorati, was briefly Pope at Rome, from 1404 to his death, during the Western Schism while there was a rival Pope, antipope Benedict XIII , at Avignon.Migliorati was born to a simple family of Sulmona in the Abruzzi...

 (1405). In 1409 he took part in the Council of Pisa
Council of Pisa
The Council of Pisa was an unrecognized ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in 1409 that attempted to end the Western Schism by deposing Benedict XIII and Gregory XII...

, and was one of the supporters of Antipope Alexander V
Antipope Alexander V
Alexander V was antipope during the Western Schism . He reigned from June 26, 1409, to his death in 1410 and is officially regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as an antipope....

; later he confirmed his allegiance to another antipope, antipope John XXIII
Antipope John XXIII
Baldassarre Cossa was Pope John XXIII during the Western Schism. The Catholic Church regards him as an antipope.-Biography:...

, by whom his family obtained several privileges, while Oddone obtained for himself the vicariate of Todi
Todi is a town and comune of the province of Perugia in central Italy. It is perched on a tall two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the river Tiber, commanding distant views in every direction.In the 1990s, Richard S...

, Orvieto
Orvieto is a city and comune in Province of Terni, southwestern Umbria, Italy situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff...

, Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

 and Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

. He was for this excommunicated by pope Gregory XII. Oddone was with John XXIII's following at the Council of Constance
Council of Constance
The Council of Constance is the 15th ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418. The council ended the Three-Popes Controversy, by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining Papal claimants and electing Pope Martin V.The Council also condemned and...

, and followed him in his escape at Schaffhausen
Schaffhausen is a city in northern Switzerland and the capital of the canton of the same name; it has an estimated population of 34,587 ....

 on March 21, 1415. Later he returned to Konstanz
Konstanz is a university city with approximately 80,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the south-west corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland. The city houses the University of Konstanz.-Location:...

, and took part in the process leading to the deposition of John.

He was elected pope on St. Martin's Day
St. Martin's Day
St. Martin's Day, also known as the Feast of St. Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, the Feast of St Martin of Tours or Martin le Miséricordieux, is a time for feasting celebrations. This is the time when autumn wheat seeding is completed. Historically, hiring fairs were held where farm laborers...

 (November 11), 1417, at the Council of Constance by a conclave consisting of twenty-three cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

s and thirty delegates of the council, which, after deposing (1410–15), had long been divided by the conflicting discourses of Pope Gregory XII
Pope Gregory XII
Pope Gregory XII , born Angelo Correr or Corraro, Pope from 1406 to 1415, succeeded Pope Innocent VII on 30 November 1406....

 (1406–15) and antipope Benedict XIII
Antipope Benedict XIII
Benedict XIII, born Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor , known as in Spanish, was an Aragonese nobleman, who is officially considered by the Catholic Church to be an antipope....


His first act after his election was to publish a brief that confirmed all the regulations made by his predecessors regarding the papal chancery
Apostolic Chancery
The Chancery of Apostolic Briefs , is a former office of the Roman Curia, merged into the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs by Pope Pius X on June 29, 1908 with the apostolic constitution Sapienti Consilio...

, regulations which had long been the subject of complaints. When the "nations" of the council pressed their plans for reform, Martin V submitted a counter-scheme and ultimately entered into negotiations for separate concordat
A concordat is an agreement between the Holy See of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state on religious matters. Legally, they are international treaties. They often includes both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country...

s, for the most part vague and illusory, with the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


By issuing the Papal Bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 to exterminate Hussites, Wycliffites, and other heretics in Bohemia on March 1, 1420, Martin V initiated the Hussite Wars
Hussite Wars
The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1419 to circa 1434. The Hussite Wars were notable for the extensive use of early hand-held gunpowder weapons such as hand cannons...


He left Konstanz
Konstanz is a university city with approximately 80,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the south-west corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland. The city houses the University of Konstanz.-Location:...

 at the close of the council (May 1418), but travelled slowly through Italy, lingered at Florence. His authority in Rome was represented by his brother Giordano, who had fought under Muzio Attendolo against the condottiero Braccio da Montone
Braccio da Montone
frame|Braccio da Montone.Braccio da Montone , born Andrea Fortebracci, and also known as Braccio Fortebraccio, was an Italian condottiero.-Biography:...

. The pope at the time ruled only Rome (when not rebellious) and its neighborhood: Braccio held Umbria, Bologna was an independent commune, while much of Romagna
Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west...

 and the Marche
The population density in the region is below the national average. In 2008, it was 161.5 inhabitants per km2, compared to the national figure of 198.8. It is highest in the province of Ancona , and lowest in the province of Macerata...

 were held by local "vicars", which were in fact petty hereditary lords. In particular, Martin confirmed Giorgio Ordelaffi
Giorgio Ordelaffi
Giorgio Ordelaffi was lord of Forlì and Papal vicar in Romagna . He was a member of the Ordelaffi family.The son of Teobaldo Ordelaffi, he married Lucrezia Alidosi...

 in Forlì
Forlì is a comune and city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and is the capital of the province of Forlì-Cesena. The city is situated along the Via Emilia, to the right of the Montone river, and is an important agricultural centre...

, Ludovico Alidosi in Imola
thumb|250px|The Cathedral of Imola.Imola is a town and comune in the province of Bologna, located on the Santerno river, in the Emilia-Romagna region of north-central Italy...

, Malatesta IV Malatesta
Malatesta IV Malatesta
Malatesta IV Malatesta was an Italian condottiero, poet and lord of Pesaro, Fossombrone, Gradara, Jesi, Narni and other fiefs in Italy.-Biography:...

 in Rimini
Rimini is a medium-sized city of 142,579 inhabitants in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia and Ausa...

, and Guidantonio da Montefeltro
Guidantonio da Montefeltro
Guidantonio da Montefeltro was count of Urbino in Italy from 1403 until his death.In 1403, at the death of his father Antonio, Guidantonio inherited the family lands in the region of Italy called the Marche. Later he abandoned the Papal suzerainty and allied with King Ladislaus of Naples, who made...

 in Spoleto
Spoleto is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. It is S. of Trevi, N. of Terni, SE of Perugia; SE of Florence; and N of Rome.-History:...

, who would later marry the pope's nephew Caterina Colonna. In exchange with the recognition of Joan II of Naples
Joan II of Naples
Joan II was Queen of Naples from 1414 to her death, upon which the senior Angevin line of Naples became extinct. As a mere formality, she used the title of Queen of Jerusalem, Sicily, and Hungary....

, Martin obtained the restitution of Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

, several fiefs in the Kingdom of Naples for his relatives and, above all, that Muzio Attendolo, then hired by the Neapolitans, should leave Rome. Martin, after a long stay in Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, was thus able to Rome in September 1420.

In that period, in 1418, a synod, convoked by the Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 in Forlì
Forlì is a comune and city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and is the capital of the province of Forlì-Cesena. The city is situated along the Via Emilia, to the right of the Montone river, and is an important agricultural centre...

, sent a deputation with costly gifts to the new pope, Martin V, asking that he abolish the oppressive laws promulgated by antipope Benedict XIII and that he grant the Jews those privileges which had been accorded them under previous popes. The deputation succeeded in its mission. In 1419-1420 Martin had diplomatic contacts with the Byzantine emperor Manuel II
Manuel II Palaiologos
Manuel II Palaiologos or Palaeologus was Byzantine Emperor from 1391 to 1425.-Life:...

, who was invoking a council in Constantinople as a move to reduce the pressure from the Ottoman Turks. The pope, on 12 July 1420, conceded indulgence to any who would contribute to a crusade against the latter, which would be led by the King of the Romans, Sigismund
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Sigismund of Luxemburg KG was King of Hungary, of Croatia from 1387 to 1437, of Bohemia from 1419, and Holy Roman Emperor for four years from 1433 until 1437, the last Emperor of the House of Luxemburg. He was also King of Italy from 1431, and of Germany from 1411...

. In the same year Martin obtained a reduction of the autonomy of the commune of Bologna, whose finances would be thenceforth under the authority of a papal treasurer. He also ended the war with Braccio da Montone, in exchange of his recognition as vicar, and reconciled with the deposed John XXIII, to whom he gave the title of Cardinal of Tusculum.

During his permanence in Rome, he moved his residence from St. Peter to Santa Maria Maggiore and, from 1424, the Basilica of Santi Apostoli near the family's palace
Palazzo Colonna
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings in central Rome, Italy, at the base of the Quirinal Hill, and adjacent to the church of Santi Apostoli...

. He also frequently sojourned in towns held by his family in the Latium
Lazio is one of the 20 administrative regions of Italy, situated in the central peninsular section of the country. With about 5.7 million residents and a GDP of more than 170 billion euros, Lazio is the third most populated and the second richest region of Italy...

Tivoli, Italy
Tivoli , the classical Tibur, is an ancient Italian town in Lazio, about 30 km east-north-east of Rome, at the falls of the Aniene river where it issues from the Sabine hills...

, Vicovaro
Vicovaro is a comune in the Province of Rome in the Italian region Lazio, located about 45 km northeast of Rome....

, Marino
Marino, Italy
Marino is an Italian city and comune in Lazio , on the Alban Hills, Italy, 21 km south east of Rome, with population of 37,684 and a territory of 26.10 km2...

, Gallicano
Gallicano is a comune in the Province of Lucca in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 70 km northwest of Florence and about 25 km northwest of Lucca...

 and others). The main concern of Martin's first years of pontificate was the resumed war against Braccio da Montone from 1423. The following year, the combined Papal-Neapolitan army, led by Giacomo Caldora and Francesco Sforza, defeated him at the Battle of L'Aquila (2 June 1424); Braccio died a few days later.

Canon law prohibited interest upon a loan. To avoid this, annuities were paid, interest in effect but not in name. The dispute as to the legality of annuity contracts was brought before Martin V in 1423. He held that purchased annuities, which were redeemable at the option of the seller, were lawful. When the lawfulness of annuities was established, they were widely used in commerce; it seems that city states used them to raise compulsory loans from their citizens.

In accordance with the decree of Constance, confirmed by himself, ordering that councils should be held every five years, in 1423 Martin V summoned the council which met at Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 and afterwards at Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

 (the Council of Siena
Council of Siena
In the Catholic Church, the Council of Siena marked a somewhat inconclusive stage in the Conciliar movement that was attempting reforms in the Church. If it had continued, it would have qualified as an ecumenical council...

)—it was rather poorly attended, which gave the pope a pretext for dissolving it as soon as it had come to the resolution that "internal church union by reform ought to take precedence over external union". It was prorogued for seven years, and then met at Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

 (the Council of Basel); shortly after its opening Martin V died of apoplexy
Apoplexy is a medical term, which can be used to describe 'bleeding' in a stroke . Without further specification, it is rather outdated in use. Today it is used only for specific conditions, such as pituitary apoplexy and ovarian apoplexy. In common speech, it is used non-medically to mean a state...


He is buried in the confession of St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome.

Note on numbering

When the second Pope to take the name Martin was elected, there was confusion over how many Popes had taken the name before. It was believed then that there were three, so the second Pope named Martin was called Martin IV
Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion held the papacy from February 21, 1281 until his death....

. Therefore, the third Pope named Martin was called V. But, in reality, those believed to be Martin II and Martin III were called Marinus I
Pope Marinus I
Pope Marinus I , Pope between December 16, 882 and May 15, 884. He succeeded John VIII in about the end of December 882.-Prior history:...

 and Marinus II
Pope Marinus II
Pope Marinus II , born in Rome, was Pope from 942 to 946. He was elevated to the papacy through intervention of Alberic II of Spoleto and concentrated on administrative aspects of the papacy.-External links:*...

, although they are sometimes still known as Martin II and Martin III. This has advanced the numbering of all subsequent Popes Martin by two. Popes Martin IV–V are really the second and third popes by that name.

Pope Martin V and slavery

Slavery was commonplace in this era and was accepted by "almost everyone" with few arguing against it. During the 15th century, sentiment in Europe increasingly turned against the enslavement of Christians and the Church denounced such practices, but this did not extend to unbelievers. According to Burton (2007) Martin authorized a crusade against Africa in 1418 and this coupled with a later bull (1441) sanctioned the Portuguese trade in African slaves. In March 1425 a bull was issued that threatened excommunication for any Christian slave dealers and ordered Jews to wear a "badge of infamy" to deter, in part, the buying of Christians. In June 1425 Martin anathematized those who sold Christian slaves to Muslims. Traffic in Christian slaves was not banned, purely the sale to non-Christian owners. The papal bull of excommunication issued to the Genoese merchants of Caffa related to the buying and selling of Christians but has been considered ineffectual as prior injunctions against the Viennese, including the Laws of Gazaria, made allowances for the sale of both Christian and Muslim slaves. Ten black African slaves were presented to Martin in 1441 by Prince Henry of Portugal. Martin supported colonial expansion. Davidson (1961) argues that Martin's injunction against slavery was not a condemnation of slavery itself but rather it was driven through fear of "infidel power".