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Report No. a275

Innocent III

born c.1161; pope 1198–1216

 

Alternative Names

Innocent III, Pope (LC); Lothario di Segni; Innocenz III.; Innocentius III

 

Biography/Description

Pope who exerted a great influence on the development of the medieval papacy and the canon law. Once reputed to have been a lawyer taught by the great canonist Huguccio, the work of Pennington and others strongly suggests that, whatever his legal talents, Innocent III was not a university-trained jurist by the standards of the time. Innocent studied theology in Paris and probably studied law for a short time at Bologna.

Innocent had a celestial image of the papacy as the intermediary between God and man. This image is best understood as theological rather than juristic, nevertheless, in the language of Innocent’s sermons and decretal letters, he established the language and arguments with which jurists discussed the power and role of the papacy for more than a century.

Innocent III also effected important changes in the administration of the Church. The curia was greatly expanded during his pontificate, and the papacy began to gain control over the translation, deposition and renunciation of bishops and the collation of ecclesiastical benefices. Even though Innocent asserted, in the decretal Quanto personam, that the translation of a bishop was such a serious and extraordinary matter that it required divine authority, he translated many more bishops than any previous pope. Innocent asserted more control over prebends and, in the Fourth Lateran Council constitution De multa, the power of bishops to dispense from the prohibitions against pluralism was curtailed.

Innocent also asserted and defined (broadly) papal power to interfere in secular affairs in a series of decretals, Licet, Novit, Solet, Venerabilem, and Per Venerabilem.

Innocent’s decretals, which effected tremendous changes in many areas of canon law, were collected by several canonists; Petrus Beneventanus’ Compilatio tertia which Innocent himself authenticated for the law school at Bologna, and Johannes Teutonicus’ Compilatio quarta were the most important.

 

Text(s)

 
No. 1

Decretales. See under Alanus (Compilatio Alani), Bernardus Compostellanus antiquus (Compilatio Romana), Gilbertus (Compilatio Gilberti), Rainier of Pomposa (Collectio Ranierii), Compilatio tertia, Compilatio quarta, and the papal registers listed under editions immediately below.

 

Text(s) – Modern Editions

No. 1

Decretales.

 
Modern Editions

Edited (with others) by O. Hageneder, Die Register Innocenz’ III, 1 –_ Pontifikatsjahr 1198/99–_ (Publikationen der Abteilung für Historische Studien des Österreichischen Kulturinstituts in Rom, II. Abteilung, I. Reihe, Band 1–_; Graz/Wien 1964–_). . (This project has been under the direction of Hageneder since its beginning in 1964. It reached its twelfth volume (the pontifical year 1209/1210) in 2012. A few Bänder have separate physical volumes for the indices. The name of the series has changed slightly over the course of time with the change in the name of the Institute. All volumes except for the first are published by the Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien. A full bibliographical description of each volume may be found on the website of the Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung. It includes the names of the many co-editors and collaborators over the years. The site reports that Band 13 (1211/1212) is in press and that Band 14 (1212/1213) is in preparation.).

 

Literature

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ed. A. Sommerlechner,