Pope Urban V

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Urban V (Guillaume de Grimoald), pope from 1362 to 1370, was a native of Grisae in Languedoc. He became a Benedictine and a dooctor in canon law, teaching at Montpellier and Avignon. He held the office of abbot of St Victor in Marseilles; and at Avignon, on his way back from Naples, whither he had been sent as papal legate, he was elected pope (28th October 1362) in succession to Innocent VI.

As pope he was a severe disciplinarian, discountenanced the pomp and luxury of the cardinals, introduced considerable reforms in the administration of justice, and liberally patronised learning. His pontificate witnessed one of the last flickers of crusading zeal in the expedition of Peter of Lusignan, king of Cyprus, who took Alexandria (11th October 1365), but soon afterwards abandoned it. The great feature of Urban V's reign was the effort to restore the Papacy to Italy, and to suppress its powerful rivals for the temporal sovereignty there. In 1363 he excommunicated Bernabo Visconti, and ordered a crusade to be preached throughout Italy against him and his kindred, the robbers of the church's estate; but in the following year he found it necessary to purchase peace by removing his ban and making other humiliating concessions.

Continued troubles in Italy caused him to set out for rome, which he reached on 16th October 1367; but, though he was greeted by the clergy and people with joy, and had the satisfaction of being attended by the emperor in St. Peter's, and of placing the crown upon the head of the empress, it soon became clear that by changing the seat of his government he had not increased its power. Unable any longer to resist the urgency of the French cardinals, he took ship again at Corneto on 5th September 1370, and, arriving at Avignon on the 24th of the same month, died on 19th December. He was succeeded by Gregory XI


from the 9th edition (1883) of an unnamed encyclopedia.