“Pro arduis negociis destinandum” – Papal Delegates and the Neapolitan Succession (1328–1352)

Ágnes Maléth
University of Szeged
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 13 Issue 1  (2024): 18–38 DOI DOI 10.38145/2024.1.18

The Neapolitan succession was one of the most problematic issues of Hungarian foreign policy in the Angevin period. As has been emphasized in the secondary literature, the Holy See, especially Pope John XXII (1316–1334) and Clement VI (1342–1352), played an active role in the negotiations between the Hungarian and the Neapolitan crowns. The diplomatic mediation of the papal court was carried out mainly by papal delegates with different types of authorizations. The primary aim of the present paper is to examine the details of these commissions and reveal who the clerics appointed by the Holy See to handle this delicate diplomatic matter were, what title they were given for the time of their delegations, and most importantly, what the outcomes of their commissions were. The paper focuses on the time when the papacy was most actively involved in the diplomatic events concerning the Neapolitan succession, namely from the death of Charles, duke of Calabria, the sole heir of Robert, king of Naples (1328), until the agreement of Joanna I and Louis I in 1352.

Keywords: Avignon papacy, Kingdom of Naples, Kingdom of Hungary, succession, papal delegates, papal diplomacy

The Neapolitan succession has often been considered as the leitmotif of the foreign policy of Charles I of Hungary (1301–1342).2 As the firstborn son of Charles Martell, eldest son of Charles II (1285–1309), he had the strongest claim for the Neapolitan throne, yet his family seemed determined to exclude him from the lineage after the sudden death of his father in 1295. Following the renunciation of Louis, bishop of Toulouse, the rights of the firstborn son were assumed by Charles II’s third son, Robert. Moreover, the king’s will in 1309 named Philip of Taranto and his descendants as heirs in the event of Robert’s decease without issue. However upsetting these measures were for the Hungarian king, no diplomatic effort could alter the situation,3 and the question seemed settled until the death of Robert’s son, Charles, the duke of Calabria, in 1328. This unexpected event, nevertheless, opened a new chapter in the negotiations between the Neapolitan and the Hungarian Angevins, which culminated in the double marriage treaty of 1333, then began to fray with the assassination of Prince Andrew in 1345 and eventually ended with Louis I’s and Joan I’s agreement in 1352.4

However, not only the different branches of the Angevin dynasty (of Hungary, Taranto, Durazzo) were keenly interested in the fate of the Neapolitan crown. The issue bore similar importance for another European political power, namely the Holy See, for several different reasons. First of all, the Kingdom of Naples had been a papal fief since the accession of Charles I in 1266. The Neapolitan rulers were approved by the popes and swore an oath of allegiance to the Holy See. Consequently, the Kingdom of Naples became the strongest natural ally of the pontiffs on the Peninsula and played a strategic role in the Italian policy of the papacy as leader of the Guelf factions.5 The weakening of the royal power in Naples could seriously affect the Holy See’s position and its military activity for the stabilization of the Papal States, thus, Charles II’s decision on the new order of succession in 1296 did not meet any objection from Pope Boniface VIII, quite the contrary, the pope confirmed it swiftly in a papal bull in the beginning of the next year.6

It is not surprising therefore that the Papal Curia closely followed the negotiations on the Neapolitan succession and sought to be represented whenever the different branches of the Angevin dynasty met. Although such diplomatic events have always attracted the attention of historians, it is still largely unknown how the relations were formed and maintained, especially in the fourteenth century, an era that preceded the professionalization of diplomatic practices and in which occasional and time-limited commissions prevailed. For two decades, historians have recognized how important part the subjective factors (individual skills, interpersonal networks etc.) played in the negotiations and have emphasized the need to pay more attention in the study of diplomacy to the actors themselves and the processes started from “below” (new diplomatic history). To achieve such a change of perspective, the lives and careers of the people charged with diplomatic tasks have to be put in the focus of examination. Biographies, prosopographical case studies, and the history of institutions are the historiographical genres best suited to reveal such data.7

If we adopt the approach of new diplomatic history and consider the importance of the Neapolitan issue, we might well expect to discover that the Holy See paid particular attention to the selection of its envoys. However, the process of the selection is still largely unknown. Were there any consistently applied criteria or at least some common features in the careers of these papal representatives that could predict their future roles in papal diplomacy? Studies on medieval royal diplomacy showed that one institution of the royal court played a pivotal role in the formation of diplomatic personnel: the chancellery.8 Is it possible to identify such an institution leading the diplomacy in the papal court? As the Roman Curia influenced secular institutions in many ways (e.g., administration, the chancellery, legal practices, representation, and rituals), an analysis of papal diplomacy can contribute to the understanding of the development of diplomatic practices.

The primary aim of the present paper, therefore, is to examine who the Holy See appointed to handle the Neapolitan succession and how these clerics were chosen for the diplomatic commissions through an analysis of their backgrounds and career.9

General Remarks on the Commissions

As the forms of papal representation had become highly diversified by the fourteenth century, and the different titles gave the representatives different extent of authority, a brief review of the forms of delegation seems necessary. In the examined source material, two types of delegation are dominant: legatus and Apostolice Sedis nuntius. The former, legatus, and especially its “a/de latere” version can be considered the most comprehensive way of papal delegation. These papal representatives were given full authority inside the territory of their mandate, acting as the alter ego or substitute of the pope generally in all kinds of issues, even in the ones normally reserved for the pontiff.10 The nuntius, on the other hand, had more restricted powers concentrated mostly on one specific task, while the geographical dimensions of the delegation were barely defined.11 The nature of the nuncio’s commission, which had never been completely established by canon law, enabled the popes to modify the original mandate posteriorly, extending the jurisdiction as necessity dictated in specifically issued papal letters.12

The fact that most of the delegates were commissioned in the last seven of the twenty-four years under discussion (i.e., between 1345 and 1352)13 shows how drastically the assassination of Prince Andrew upset the political relations of the parties concerned. Of the fourteen papal delegates commissioned to handle the Neapolitan succession between 1328 and 1352, four were entitled legates.14 Three of them were sent to the Neapolitan Kingdom or, more generally, to Italy (Aymery de Châtelus,15 Bertrand de Déaulx,16 Annibaldo Caetani di Ceccano17), while only one legate (Gui de Boulogne18) had authorization in the Kingdom of Hungary (and other territories) as well.19 The most complex title was given to Aymery (Aymeric) de Châtelus, cardinal-priest of Ss. Silvester et Martinus,20 as he was not only a legate but also “vicarius, baiulus21 et administrator et gubernator generalis regni Siciliae.”22 This designation was meant to emphasize what already had been declared by a papal bull in November 1343: King Robert did not have the right to appoint governors or administrators until Joan I reached the age of majority because the pope, as overlord, was to decide on the administration of the kingdom. The papal representative, therefore, had complete authority not only in spiritual but also in temporal (secular) government.23

Two of the papal delegates were not given any specific titles. The first was Bertrand de Saint-Geniès, who was sent to Naples in 1333 to participate in the meeting of Charles I of Hungary and King Robert of Naples (among other tasks). The papal letters referred to him with his ecclesiastical offices: dean of Angoulême, papal chaplain, and auditor of the papal palace.24 The second was Bertrand (III) de Baux, the only lay person among the delegates, addressed by the Apostolic Chancellery by his secular titles (namely count of Andria and Montescaglioso).25 Otherwise, the rest of the delegates (including Bertrand de Saint-Geniès in 134626) were entitled nuntius sedis Apostolice. It must be underlined that the title “legate” was conferred in the examined source material in all cases to cardinals, and no cardinals were sent as nuncios.27 Nuncios handling the Neapolitan issue were patriarchs, bishops, or clerics of lower ecclesiastical offices.28

However, the complexity of the circumstances thwarted some delegations. Gui de Boulogne, for example, was supposed to replace Cardinal Pierre Bertrand at the end of 1345 and join Bertrand de Déaulx on his legation to Naples. We do not know why this never actually happened, but it is suspected that Gui de Boulogne refused to go to Naples due to the political intrigues at the papal court.29 It is also likely that, despite being officially commissioned, Peter, bishop of Verona,30 and John of Pistoia (Johannes de Pistoria)31 did not set off for their missions in 1348 due to the plague. Bertrand de Déaulx’s journey also started difficult, as his departure was delayed until August 1346, probably because of the cardinal’s weak health.32

As mentioned already, most of the delegates were commissioned to the Kingdom of Naples or, more generally, to Italy. There were presumably several reasons for this, including the vassal-liege relation of the popes and the Neapolitan kings, the Holy See’s Italian policy and its political spheres of influence, and the need for direct intervention, but the nearly two-year period that King Louis I spent in Italy during his military campaigns (spring 1347–spring 1348 and spring–winter 1350) was almost certainly also a factor, as it led to some of the papal delegates being instructed to meet the Hungarian king in Italy. The sources contain data on only four delegates who visited the Hungarian Kingdom: Francis of Amelia, bishop of Trieste (April–May 1346),33 Ildebrandino Conti, bishop of Padua with Cardinal Gui de Boulogne (spring 1349), and Petrus Begonis (summer 1351).34 The charters claiming the payments for the delegates’ procuration enable us to estimate how long time they spent in the Hungarian Kingdom: Francis of Amelia 27 days,35 Gui de Boulogne approximately one and a half to two weeks, predominantly in Pozsony/Pressburg/Bratislava36 which is supported by the fact that Ildebrandino Conti demanded from the Hungarian prelates the payment of procuration for twelve days.37 In Petrus Begonis’ case, the dates are vaguer, as he was commissioned at the beginning of August and had returned to Avignon by December.38 These delegations to the territory of the kingdom also show how important the role played by Elisabeth, the dowager queen,39 in the diplomatic relations with the Holy See was, as some of the delegates were commissioned to negotiate directly with her.40

Prosopographic Analysis of the Delegates

The findings of the comparative analysis of the delegates’ lifepaths and careers are consistent with Bernard Guillemain’s conclusions established in connection with the Avignon Curia.41 If the composition of the papal court is considered from the perspective of the origins of the curialists, the high percentage of clerics of Italian or French42 descent is apparent. These results are perfectly reflected by the papal representatives examined in this paper, as most of the delegates (eight) came originally from the territory of present-day France: Bertrand de Saint-Geniès from Quercy,43 Aymery de Châtelus and Guillaume Lamy from Limousin,44 Bertrand de Déaulx from Gard,45 Gui de Boulogne from Auvergne,46 Petrus Begonis from Languedoc,47 and Raymond Saquet from Foix.48 Guillaume de Rosières, bishop of Monte Cassino, is also believed to have come from the south of France.49 Five of the papal representatives were of Italian origin: Annibaldo Ceccano, Francis of Amelia, Ildebrandino Conti (Segni), John of Pistoia, and Peter Pin.50 Bertrand de Baux came from an Italianized French family. His ancestors participated in the conquest of Naples with Charles I, and since then, members of the family had been holding offices in the royal court.51 Furthermore, as noted above, Bertrand de Baux was the only lay person who was officially commissioned by the pope in connection with the Neapolitan succession.

Considering the careers of the delegates, the strong correlation of two factors becomes obvious, namely education52 and function at the Curia. Most of the delegates (eight) were qualified in law.53 Legal knowledge opened the path to several opportunities at the papal court, including to the office which required the highest level of juristic expertise: auditor of the papal palace.54 The college of the auditors, which consisted of ten–thirteen clerics in the fourteenth century with a relatively short office time (at most five years in general),55 worked in the closest proximity to the popes and were often charged with diplomatic tasks in Western Europe and Italy,56 presumably because of their knowledge of and experience with managing conflicts. Although auditors always bore the title of papal chaplain, being an auditor was not a precondition for becoming a member of the papal chapel. In fact, three of the papal chaplains in the research sample never worked as auditors: Gui de Boulogne, John of Pistoia,57 and Petrus Begonis. Like the auditors, papal chaplains had an important role in the diplomacy of the Holy See, which could also be explained with their position inside the papal court.58

As far as the education of other delegates is concerned, cardinal Annibaldo Caetani di Ceccano was a professor of theology,59 and Gui de Boulogne is believed to have attended the studium generale.60 We know little about the educational backgrounds of the other four delegates. The sample on which this discussion is based suggests that even in the case of the cardinals, education was an important factor in being selected for diplomatic service, at least surely in a delicate political matter such as the Neapolitan succession.

As the examples above show, many of the delegates started their careers by playing functions at the papal court (auditor, papal chaplain, or both). The rest held various ecclesiastical benefices before their commissions. However, by the time they were charged with diplomatic tasks connected to the Neapolitan succession, with the exception of Bertrand de Saint-Geniès in 1333, Petrus Begonis, John of Pistoia, and obviously Bertrand de Baux, all of them belonged to the high clergy. Among the fourteen delegates (and fifteen delegations, counting Bertrand de Saint-Geniès twice), six were bishops, four were cardinals, and one was a patriarch.61

The careers of the delegates continued to progress after their commissions, but it would be difficult to assess how strongly their diplomatic activity influenced their advancement. Some of them were promoted almost immediately after having fulfilled their diplomatic engagements. Guillaume Lamy became patriarch of Jerusalem and administrator of Fréjus in 1349,62 Bertrand de Déaulx cardinal-bishop of S. Sabina in 1348,63 and Gui de Boulogne cardinal-bishop of Porto (1350–1373).64 Others reached the peak of their careers a couple of years later. Guillaume de Rosières was appointed bishop of Tarbes (1353–1361),65 Raymond Saquet archbishop of Lyon (1356–1358),66 and Petrus Begonis archdeacon of Condroz (1370–1385).67 However, six of the delegates died during or not long after their commissions, before the agreement was concluded between Louis I and Joan I: Francis of Amelia in 1346,68 Bertrand de Baux in 1347,69 Aymery of Châtelus in 1349,70 Bertrand de Saint-Geniès in 1350,71 Annibaldo di Ceccano in 1350,72 and Ildebrandino Conti in 1352.73

Nevertheless, an important aim of the analysis is to unravel the less obvious connections among the delegates (inside the papal court and among one another),74 as these connections offer insights into the process of selecting delegates for specific tasks. The secondary literature has emphasized the importance of personal networks and the nepotistic character of the Avignon Curia.75 Indeed, two of the cardinals, Gui de Boulogne and Annibaldo di Ceccano, had extensive family connections that ensured them influential positions under the reign of any pope, while the bright careers of Aymery de Châtelus and Bertrand de Déaulx were mostly attributed to their knowledge, skills, and experience in ecclesiastical government.76 The data confirms, furthermore, the clerics’ high degree of mobility inside the Curia. Not only did the curialists spend a relatively short time in one function, as already mentioned above in connection with auditors, before being promoted to other offices, they also frequently moved from familia to familia, from a cardinal’s to the pope’s.77 Bertrand de Saint-Geniès, for example, was related to one of the confidants of John XXII, Cardinal Bertrand de Montfavès, and this helped him obtain the offices of papal chaplain (1318) and auditor of the papal palace (1321) approximately at the same time when Aymery de Châtelus and Bertrand de Déaulx were members of the same colleges.78 Francis of Amelia had been a familiar of Annibaldo di Ceccano,79 and Petrus Begonis was a chaplain and commensalis familiaris of Guillaume de la Jugie before committing himself fully to papal service.80 Raymond Saquet, on the other hand, was a respected jurist who had worked for Philipp VI of France.81 In the case of the delegates, the rotation of the same people in certain offices can be also observed: the best example would be Guillaume Lamy, who followed Aymery de Châtelus in the bishopric of Chartres in 1342,82 and Peter Pin in the administration of Fréjus in 1349.83

Another important factor was local knowledge, meaning how familiar the delegates were with the territory of their commission and its ecclesiastical, political, social, and cultural characteristics. Some of these connections are obvious. Bertrand de Baux was a member of the royal court in Naples when the pope entrusted him with the investigation of Prince Andrew’s murder. Annibaldo di Ceccano had served as archbishop of Naples, although only for a short time (1326–1327), and Guillaume de Rosières as archbishop of Trani (1343), then as archbishop of Brindisi (1344)84 worked as a papal tax collector in the Kingdom of Naples from 1343.85 Petrus Begonis had been in the Hungarian Kingdom several times as procurator of Guillaume de la Jugie’s ecclesiastical benefices before his delegation as a papal nuncio in 1351.86 Bertrand de Saint-Geniès was considered an advocate of Louis I, as his political interests as patriarch of Aquileia put him on the side of the Hungarian king in his conflict with Venice.87 Even Bertrand de Déaulx must have had some indirect knowledge about Hungary before he was to meet Louis I in Italy, as he had held the provostry of Várad/Oradea and was appointed cardinal promotor of the bishopric in 1346.88

The last aspect of the analysis is to examine how experience in diplomatic matters influenced the selection of the delegates. Based on the present research sample, it can be stated that previous participation in diplomatic negotiations assuredly increased the probability of future commissions. Bertrand de Déaulx, Aymery de Châtelus, Annibaldo di Ceccano, and Bertrand de Saint-Geniès had all been delegated to handle some of the most pressing political issues of the period even before they became involved in the Neapolitan succession: the Anglo-French conflict, the Papal States, or both.89 Furthermore, some of the nuncios had already been entrusted with important diplomatic tasks. Raymond Saquet had replaced Henry of Asti, patriarch of Constantinople, in the crusade plans in 1345,90 and Guillaume Lamy (then bishop of Apt) had mediated as a papal nuncio between the French and the English before the truce of Malestroit.91 Nevertheless, for some of the delegates on the list, the commission connected to the Kingdom of Naples was their first significant diplomatic assignment. Gui de Boulogne participated mainly in judicial cases and issues of ecclesiastical government (resignations and appointments of prelates, etc.) in the papal Curia during the first six years of his cardinalate.92 Ildebrandino Conti was mentioned mainly as executor of beneficial cases93 before his complex authorization to mediate between Queen Joan I and Genova to settle the issue of Ventimiglia and organize the custody of Charles Martel, the infant son of Joan I and Andrew.94 Similarly, Francis of Amelia was entrusted with beneficial cases and the execution of some sentences passed in the papal court,95 while Petrus Begonis’ missions on behalf of Cardinal de la Jugie have been mentioned above.96


The prosopographic data on the papal representatives who were commissioned to handle diplomatic tasks connected to the Neapolitan succession between 1328 and 1352 support the findings of some earlier research. For the most part, the delegates were clerics of southern French or Italian origin with an education in law. Legal qualifications opened the path to the Curia, and by holding functions at the papal court (auditor) and in the familia of the pope or of a cardinal (chaplain), the clerics obtained the opportunity to prove their skills and expertise. The high number of papal chaplains in the sample underlines the importance of the papal chapel in the formation of diplomatic personnel of the Holy See. This suggests that the papal chapel can be considered an equivalent of the royal chancellery in the case of diplomatic practices. Personal networks facilitated advancement and created mobility inside the Curia. Experience in diplomacy and/or generally participation in administration or ecclesiastical government at the papal court could be considered as preliminaries to diplomatic assignments. The last factor which must have created advantages for certain clerics was their knowledge of the local political and ecclesiastical environment of the territory of the commission. Some of the delegates were highly influential members of the papal court (Aymery de Châtelus, Bertrand de Déaulx, Gui de Boulogne, and Annibaldo Caetani di Ceccano) who were commissioned with the title legate and were entrusted with various diplomatic tasks, while the others (the majority) were sent as nuncios with less complex responsibilities.

Archival Sources

Archivio Apostolico Vaticano, Vatican City

Registra Vaticana (AAV Reg. Vat.)

Camera Apostolica, Introitus et Exitus (AAV Cam. Ap., Intr. et Ex.)

Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár Országos Levéltára [Hungarian National Archives], Budapest

Collection of Photographic Reproduction of the Medieval Charters (MNL OL DF)


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1* The present paper is based on research supported by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship
of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Salvus conductus of Francis of Amelia, bishop of Trieste. (December 4, 1345) AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 139, fol. 305v, ep. 1342.

2 Bertényi, Magyarország az Anjouk korában, 88.

3 Before the agreement on the double marriage was concluded in 1333, Charles I of Hungary tried to claim at least some part of his inheritance. In 1317, he asked his brother-in-law, John II, dauphin of Vienne, to represent his interests in this question. February 22, 1317: Fejér, Codex diplomaticus, vol. 8/2, 41–42; Fraknói, Magyarország egyházi és politikai összeköttetései a római Szent-székkel, 151–52. In 1331, Charles I appealed to the pope to convince King Robert to renounce the titles of the principality of Salerno and the lordship of Monte Sant’Angelo. January 26, 1331: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 116, fol. 120v, ep. 441, Fejér, Codex diplomaticus, vol. 8/3, 538–39; Lucherini, “The Journey of Charles I, King of Hungary, from Visegrád to Naples (1333), 343. Éva Teiszler points out that Charles I consistently used the title of prince of Salerno in the intitulatio of his charters since 1323. Teiszler, “I. Lajos nápolyi trónigénye a diplomácia tükrében,” 63.

4 The Neapolitan-Hungarian relationship in the fourteenth century has been in the focus of the attention of historical research since the early twentieth century. See Miskolczy, “András herceg tragédiája és a nápolyi udvar,” 766–800, 869–87; Léonard, Les Angevins de Naples, 196–99, 204–7; Kiesewetter, “Giovanna I d’Angiò, regina di Sicilia”; Csukovits, Az Anjouk Magyarországon: I. Károly és uralkodása, 131–33; Csukovits, Az Anjouk Magyarországon: I. (Nagy) Lajos és Mária uralma, 48; Szende, “Le rôle d’Elisabeth Piast dans la diplomatie de Hongrie,” 225–34; Lucherini, “The Journey of Charles I, King of Hungary, from Visegrád to Naples (1333)”; Teiszler, I. Lajos nápolyi trónigénye, 63–69; Lucherini, “La rinuncia di Ludovico d’Angiò al trono e il problema della successione nei regni di Napoli e d’Ungheria.”

5 Housley, The Italian Crusades; Abulafia, “The Italian South.”

6 February 24, 1297: Fejér, Codex diplomaticus, vol. 6/2, 59

7 Watkins, “Toward a New Diplomatic History of Medieval and Early Modern Europe”; Fletcher, Diplomacy in Renaissance Rome, 6.

8 Pichiorri “Les relations de l’empereur Charles IV avec la papauté et l’Italie: le recrutement du personnel diplomatique et son évolution (1346–1378),” 168–69.

9 The present paper focuses on the delegates for whom papal letters of delegation were issued, whether their missions were fulfilled or not. However, I did not include in the research clerics (or laymen) that the pope planned to commission but for whom no official letters of commission were issued, much as I also did not include the cardinals who handled the Neapolitan succession at the papal court. It also has to be clarified that the present paper uses the term papal “delegate”—similarly to the prosopographical project DelegatOnline—as a synonym for a papal representative to whom a certain degree of authority was delegated; as an umbrella term for all types of commissions (more or less) defined by canon law and/or mentioned by contemporary sources (legate, nuncio, judge-delegate, conservator, administrator, executor, etc.).

10 Kyer, “The Papal Legate,” 37–66; Kalous, Late medieval papal legation, 19–38.

11 As Kyer puts it, “The key difference between legates and nuncios was in the nature of their commission: the legate was given a general mandate in a specific area; the nuncio was given a specific mandate which might take him to many areas.” Kyer, “The Papal Legate,” 44.

12 These special, ad hoc conferred powers described in papal letters are called facultas. Kalous, Late medieval papal legation, 69; Maléth, A Magyar Királyság és a Szentszék kapcsolata, 58.

13 Only three papal representatives were commissioned in the period between 1328 and the assassination of Prince Andrew. See Table 1, no. 1–3.

14 Table 1, no. 2, 7, 11, 12.

15 January 23, 1344: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 161, fol. 3r, ep. 16, AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 215, fol. 4v.

16 March 15, 1346: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 169, fol. 17, ep. 1, AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 217, fol. 30.

17 May 24, 1350: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 144, fol. 4v, Vetera monumenta, no. 1194.

18 The letter of delegation and the facultates for Gui de Boulogne were issued on November 30, 1348. AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 187, fol. 19, ep. 93. For the more than 70 documents specifying his authority, see Maléth, “Gui de Boulogne magyarországi legációja,” Table 1.

19 Kyer’s list shows that Clement VI delegated nine papal legates during his pontificate. Kyer, “The Papal Legate,” 231–32. Four out of nine had authorization to handle some aspect of the Neapolitan succession as well.

20 The basilica is also known as S. Martinus in montibus. Aymery de Châlus was its cardinal-priest from 1342 until his death in October 1349. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi, 47.

21 This title was translated by Vilmos Fraknói as “gyám” (guardian). Fraknói, Magyarország egyházi és politikai összeköttetései, 178.

22 January 23, 1344: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 161, fol. 3r, ep. 16, AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 215, fol. 4v.

23 28 November 1343: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 157, fol. 11–12, ep. 43–44 ; Clément VI (1342–1352). Lettres closes, patentes et curiales intéressantes les pays autres que la France, vol. 1, no. 330–331.

24 Although the letters of delegation of Bertrand de Déaulx in 1333 were not preserved, the receipt of the sums paid to him by the Apostolic Chamber clearly specify that he had to negotiate with the Hungarian and Neapolitan kings. AAV Instr. Misc. 1262. The pope informed Charles I about Déaulx’s commission on August 25, 1333: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 117, fol. 5r (MNL OL DF 291675). Déaulx also obtained some graces which can be interpreted as preparation for a difficult journey: choosing his confessor freely and making a will. AAV Reg. Aven. vol. 337, fol. 580, AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 105, ep. 904; AAV Reg. Aven. vol. 44, fol. 642, AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 105, ep. 1280.

25 Bertrand de Baux was commissioned to lead the investigation into the assassination of Prince Andrew. For the papal letter of the delegation dated to June 3, 1346, see: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 140, fol. 20v, ep. 48, Wenzel, Magyar diplomácziai emlékek az Anjou-korból, 164–66 (no. 162).

26 January 9, 1346: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 139, fol. 183v, ep. 782 (MNL OL DF 291833).

27 Antonín Kalous emphasizes that, with the growing number of the commissions of nuncios, it became more and more common for cardinals to be dispatched as nuncios as well. The reasons for this trend were primarily financial: the cardinals commissioned as legates had to relinquish their share of the different incomes in the Curia for the time of their legation. Kalous, Late medieval papal legation, 25.

28 The example of Bertrand de Saint-Geniès, dean of Angoulême, was already mentioned above. John of Pistoia (Johannes de Pistoria) was dean of St. Salvator in Utrecht at the time of his commission, while Petrus Begonis was sent to the Hungarian Kingdom as papal nuncio in 1351, and his highest office was chancellor of the church of Wrocław.

29 Also in 1349, when Gui de Boulogne was delegated to the Kingdom of Hungary as papal legate, he spent only two weeks in the country and probably only a couple of days negotiating with Louis I. However, his name is recurringly mentioned in the sources as one of the counselors of Clement VI in connection with Naples. Jugie, “Le cardinal Gui de Boulogne (1316–1373),” 124–31; Maléth, “Gui de Boulogne magyarországi legációja,” 175–99.

30 His securus conductus was issued with the date May 13, 1348: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 141, fol. 279, ep. 1416, AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 244k, fol. 90, ep. 179. Clement VI announced Peter’s delegation to Louis I in July when Peter had already been transferred from the bishopric of Viterbo to Verona. AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 142, fol. 26, ep. 97. The same papal letter contains the information that the original candidate for this commission was Peter’s predecessor in the bishopric of Verona, Matteo Ribaldi, but Ribaldi died of the plague while preparing for the journey.

31 March 14, 1348: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 141, fol. 221r-v, ep. 1181; Vetera monumenta, no. 1137; Clément VI (1342–1352): Lettres closes, patentes et curiales se rapportant à la France, vol. 2, no. 3773; March 19, 1348: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 141, fol. 224v–225v, ep. 1199–1209, Clément VI (1342–1352). Lettres intéressantes les pays autres que la France, vol. 1, 1606–1607.

32 Partner, “Bertrando di Deux.”

33 For his securus conductus and daily allowance see (December 4, 1345) AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 139, fol. 305v, ep. 1342.

34 For the letter of delegation dated August 5, 1351, see AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 145, fol. 35, 36, 44v, 49r−v, 95r, ep. 288b, AAV Instr. Misc. 1914.

35 MNL OL DF 248985, 236354, 237246; Monumenta ecclesiae Strigoniensis, vol. 3, no. 797, 798.

36 Maléth, “Gui de Boulogne magyarországi itineráriuma.”

37 MNL OL DF 248986, Monumenta ecclesiae Strigoniensis, vol. 3, no. 938. Historians have assumed previously that Ildebrandino Conti stayed in the Hungarian Kingdom longer than Cardinal Gui de Boulogne, mainly based on the documents issued by the bishop in September 1349 (among them the one cited above). However, there is no proof of Conti’s activity in Hungary between the end of June and September 1349. Gui de Boulogne traveled from his meeting with Louis I in Pozsony to Vienna, spent some time in Klosterneuburg and Znojmo, and finally left for Rome through Freisach in October 1349. It is possible that Conti accompanied the cardinal and later returned to Hungary to collect the procurations. For the detailed itinerary of the cardinal-legate, see Maléth, “Gui de Boulogne magyarországi legációja,” 194–99.

38 Maléth, “Curialists and Hungarian Church Benefices in the 14th Century: The Example of Petrus Begonis.”

39 Elizabeth Łokietek, daughter of the Polish ruler Władisław the Elbow-High married Charles I of Hungary in 1320. In addition to her pious activity and influence on the church (ecclesiastical donations, foundations etc.), she played an active part in diplomatic relations during the reigns of Charles I and Louis I. Szende, “Le rôle d’Elisabeth Piast,” 225–34.

40 For instance, see the letters of delegation issued with the date March 14, 1348 for John of Pistoia, cited in note 32.

41 Guillemain, La cour pontificale.

42 Guillemain highlighted the high percentage of the curialists who came originally from southern France (le Midi). Guillemain, La cour pontificale, appendix, maps 7–8. For the nationalities represented in the papal Avignon, see Hayez, “Nations et nationalités dans l’Avignon pontifical.”

43 Mollat, “Saint-Geniès, Bertrand de”; Tilatti, “Saint-Geniès, Bertrand de”; Tournier, Le bienheureux Bertrand de Saint-Geniès, 213–27.

44 Uzureau, “Aimeric de Chalus”; Leclerc, Généalogie de la famille Lamy de La Chapelle, 1–10.

45 Partner, “Bertrando di Deux”; Mollat, “Bertrand de Déaulx.”

46 Jugie, “Le cardinal Gui de Boulogne,”50–75.

47 AAV Reg. Suppl. vol. 17, fol. 216r.

48 Caillet, La papauté d’Avignon et l’Église de France, 310, no. 81, 312.

49 Laurent, “Guillaume des Rosières et la Bibliothèque pontificale”; Laurent-Bonne, “Notes sur deux canonistes méridionaux du XIVe siècle.”

50 The identification of the latter, Peter Pin is somewhat difficult. The short office time of prelates with similar names and the inconsistencies in the documentation during the plague caused confusion which led historians to believe that Peter Pin was Peter (Dupin), bishop of Viterbo (Dec. 1348–Nov. 1350) who later became archbishop of Benevento (1350–1360). However, the records of the Camera Apostolica on the payments of servitium make it clear that Peter Pin ended his career as bishop of Périgeux. Mohler, Die Einnahmen der Apostolischen Kammer, 207, 259, 268, 271, 283, 323, 634, 636. Based on the cameral data, it seems that Eubel determined the correct succession of the bishops of Viterbo. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica, 133, 252, 533. For a description of Peter Pin’s career (with incorrect data), see Gallia christiana novissima, 367–68; Ughelli, Italia sacra, 149–50.

51 Göbbels, “Del Balzo, Bertrando.”

52 The importance of education in the Avignon period can be illustrated by the fact that many of the cardinals finished university studies and had the title of licentiate or doctorship (66 out of 134 cardinals). Guillemain, La cour pontificale, 217–18.

53 Table 1, no. 1–4, 6, 7, 13, 14, and the biographical works cited above. Jacques Verger pointed out how frequent legal qualification became by the time of the Avignon period. He estimated that 70 percent of the cardinals in the Avignonese Curia were jurists. What is more, 85 percent of those curialists who had studied at universities and belonged to the familia of the Limousin cardinals had also legal qualifications. For obvious reasons, education in canon law was the most common, but civil law and both laws were quite popular as well. Verger, “Études et culture universitaire du personnel de la curie avignonnaise,” 70–72.

54 Table 1, no. 1–4, 7.

55 Verger, “Études et culture universitaire,” 70.

56 Guillemain, La cour pontifical, 347–54. Herde, Audientia litterarum contradictarum.

57 There is a Johannes de Pistorio mentioned as registrator petitionum between 1342 and 1346 in the Introitus et Exitus books of the Apostolic Chamber, however, as the name was quite common, we cannot identify the registrator with the future nuncio with absolute certainty. Schäfer, Die Ausgaben der apostolischen Kammer, 202, 234, 289.

58 Barabás, “Clerics of the Papal Curia and the Realm of Saint Stephen in the Fourteenth Century.”

59 Guillemain, “Caetani, Annibaldo.”

60 Jugie, “Le cardinal Gui de Boulogne,” vol. 1, 77−78, 79−80.

61 See the bishops in Table 1, no. 3–6, 10, 13, for cardinals no. 2, 7, 11, 12, and for the patriarch no. 1.

62 Eubel, Hierarchia catholica, vol. 1, 252, 276.

63 Mollat, “Bertrand de Déaulx,” 396.

64 Jugie,“Le cardinal Gui de Boulogne,” 1, 173–75.

65 Laurent-Bonne, “Notes sur deux canonistes,” 368.

66 Beyssac, “Raymond Saquet, archevêque de Lyon (1356–1358).” There was another delegate who held the archbishopric of Lyon for some time as well: Gui de Boulogne between 1340 and 1342. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica, vol. 1, 316.

67 AAV Reg. Aven. vol. 172, fol. 229.

68 The exact date of the death of Francis of Amelia is unknown, but it is estimated to September 1346, as his successor in the bishopric of Gubbio was appointed at the beginning of October. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica, vol. 1, 242.

69 Göbbels, “Del Balzo, Bertrando.”

70 Uzureau, “Aimeric de Chalus,” 1174−76.

71 Tilatti, “Saint-Geniès, Bertrand de” ; Tournier, Le bienheureux Bertrand de Saint-Geniès, 213–27.

72 Guillemain, “Caetani, Annibaldo.” On the suspicious circumstances of the cardinal’s death, see Beattie, Angelus pacis, 193–94.

73 Eubel, Hierarchia catholica, vol. 1, 386.

74 Although historians rarely use network analysis in medieval studies, the Avignon Curia could be an interesting case study.

75 As shown by Jacques Bernard, “Le népotisme de Clément V et ses complaisances pour la Gascogne.” However, it has been already emphasized that nepotism was already a common practice of the Roman popes before the Avignon period. Theis, “Les progrès de la centralisation romaine au siècle de la papauté avignonnaise (1305–1378),” 33–43.

76 A papal letter from 1316 mentions Bertrand de Déaulx as a nepos of Guillaume (de Mandagout), cardinal-bishop of Palestrina, previous archbishop of Embrun, the diocese where Déaulx obtained his first benefices. Déaulx was also a compatriot (and probably a relative of) Clement VI. AAV Reg. Aven. vol. 3, fol. 439r, AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 63, ep. 815, Guillemain, La cour pontificale, 210, 214; Capasso, “Châtelus, Aimeric de.”

77 Jacques Verger’s examination of the education of the Curia’s personnel also confirmed that this kind of mobility was very common in the Avignon period. Verger added that most of the curialists started their careers after some years of university studies in a cardinal’s familia, and while they moved upward in the hierarchy, they had the possibility to continue (and finish) their educations. Verger, Études et culture universitaire, 69.

78 Mollat, “Saint-Geniès, Bertrand de.” Tilatti, “Saint-Geniès, Bertrand de.”

79 This information comes from a papal letter dated to January 1335. AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 120, ep. 222, AAV Reg. Aven. vol. 220, fol. 401, Benoît XII (1334–1342), no. 468.

80 Maléth, “Curialists and Hungarian Church Benefices,” 61–62.

81 Caillet, La papauté d’Avignon, 294. Saquet is mentioned as legum doctor: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 108, ep. 4, AAV Reg. Aven. 388, fol. 139v.

82 It was also the Diocese of Chartres where Gui de Boulogne obtained his first ecclesiastical benefices, namely a canonry in the cathedral of Chartres in 1328. The future cardinal also held an archdeaconate in Flandres and a canonry in the diocese of Thérouanne in the time of Raymond Saquet’s office time as bishop. Moreover, Gui de Boulogne was assigned to settle the conflict between Bishop Raymond Saquet and the deans of the chapter in 1343. AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 128, ep. 363, Jugie, “Le cardinal Gui de Boulogne,” vol. 1, 87–90, 117–18.

83 Eubel, Hierarchia catholica, vol. 1, 252.

84 In this prelature he was succeeded by Galhard de Carcès (Galhardus de Carceribus), former tax collector in Hungary and appointed Bishop of Veszprém. Maléth, “Papal Government and the Hungarian High Clergy.”

85 Laurent-Bonne, “Notes sur deux canonistes,” 368. He was instructed by the pope on June 15, 1346, to assist and join Ildebrandino Conti, bishop of Padua in his mission to Naples. AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 140, fol. 33, ep. 121.

86 Maléth, “Curialists and Hungarian Church Benefices,” 62–66.

87 Pór, Nagy Lajos király viszonya az aquiléjai pátriárkához.

88 Bossányi, Regesta supplicationum, no. 176, 275. In his monograph on the history of the bishopric of Várad, Vince Bunyitay supposed that Cardinal Bertrand, who held the Provostry of Várad might have been in the Hungarian Kingdom since the beginning of the 1330s. He based his assumption on an expectative grace for a benefice which was granted by John XXII to the son of the ban of Slavonia at the request of Cardinal Bertrand [January 10, 1331: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 98, ep 444, AAV Reg. Aven. vol. 37, fol. 209v, MNL OL DF 291540, Vetera monumenta, 531]. However, Bunyitay merged two cardinals, both named Bertrand: Bertrand du Pouget and Bertrand de Déaulx. The former one, cardinal-bishop of Ostia and Velletri, was sent as a legate to Italy (the Papal States, patriarchates of Aquileia and Grado, dioceses of Milano, Ravenna, Genova, Pisa, Pavia, Piacenza, Ferrara, Orvieto, Todi, Rieti, Terni, Narni, Castello, Spoleto and Tivoli), to the dioceses of Venice, Ragusa, and Bar, to the archdioceses of Crete and Zadar, and those part of Slavonia which were governed by the Venetians (for the letter of delegation see, AAV Reg. Vat., vol. 70, ep. 145, issued between September 5, 1318 and September 4, 1319). Nevertheless, it was the second Bertrand, cardinal-priest of S. Marcus who obtained the provostry in Oradea. Bunyitay, A váradi püspökség története, 42.

89 For the details of these commissions, see Mollat, “Bertrand de Déaulx,” 393–397; Partner, “Bertrando di Deaux,”; Uzureau, “Aimeric de Chalus,” 1174–1176; Guillemain, “Caetani, Annibaldo”; Tilatti, “Principe vescovo”; Lützelschwab, Flectat cardinales ad velle suum?, 131–320.

90 Kyer, “The papal legate,” 231; Setton, The papacy and the Levant, 193, 221–22, 236, 455. For the papal letters that commissioned him to mediate between Joan I and Louis dated to May 24, 1350: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 144, fol. 2v–4r; Vetera monumenta, no. 1192–1193.

91 For the payment received from the Apostolic Chamber to cover the costs of his delegation see (May 12, 1342) AAV Cam. Ap., Intr. et Ex. vol. 195, fol. 18, K. H. Schäfer, Die Ausgaben, 196. In January 1345, he was sent to crown prince Andrew as king of Naples. January 30, 1345: AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 138, fol. 201, ep. 751. When Andrew was murdered, he was to give first-hand account of the situation in Naples to the pope. October 7, 1345: AAV Reg. Vat. vol 139, fol. 109. ep. 431–433.

92 Jugie, “Le cardinal Gui de Boulogne,” 113–120.

93 These were collected by the “Papal delegates in Hungary in the 14th century – online database” project. https://delegatonline.pte.hu/search/persondatasheet/id/293. Accessed January 30, 2023.

94 For the papal letters of delegation starting with the date June 12, 1346, see AAV Reg. Vat. vol. 140, fol. 22, ep. 58; fol. 31–33, ep. 101–122; fol. 42, ep. 163; fol. 61r-v, ep. 256–257; fol. 272, ep. 1223; fol. 305v, ep. 1356; fol. 308r-v, ep. 1369–1370.

95 Also included in the database of the DLO project: https://delegatonline.pte.hu/search/persondatasheet/id/335. Accessed January 30, 2023.

96 For his future assignments in papal service, see Maléth, “Curialistis and Hungarian Church Benefices,” 66–71.

Table 1. Papal delegates authorised to proceed in connection with the Neapolitan succession





Functions, curial offices

Date of commission

Type of delegation

Eccl. title at the time of the commission

Highest eccl. title


Bertrand de Saint-Geniès


doctor of both laws

papal chaplain, auditor

August 1333

dean of Angoulême

patriarch of Aquileia

January 9, 1346


patriarch of Aquileia


Aymery de Châtelus


doctor of both laws

papal chaplain, auditor of the papal palace

January 23, 1344

legate, vicar, “baiulus, administrator et gubernator generalis regni Siciliae

cardinal-priest of S. Silvester et Martinus

cardinal-priest of Ss. Silvester et Martinus


Guillaume Lamy


doctor of civil law


January 30, 1345


bishop of Chartres

patriarch of Jerusalem


Francis of Amelia


doctor of both laws

papal chaplain, auditor

December 4, 1345


bishop of Trieste

bishop of Gubbio


Ildebrandino Conti


June 12, 1346


bishop of Padova

bishop of Padova


Guillaume de Rosières


doctor of canon law

tax collector

15 June, 1346


bishop of Monte Cassino

bishop of Tarbes


Bertrand de Déaulx


professor of law

papal chaplain, auditor

March 15, 1346

legate, apostolic vicar, general reformer of the papal states

cardinal-priest of S. Marcus

cardinal-bishop of S. Sabina


Bertrand de Baux


May 5, 1346

count of Montescaglioso


John of Pistoia


papal chaplain

March 14, 1348


dean of S. Salvator of Utrecht



Peter Pin


July 15, 1348


bishop of Verona

bishop of Périgeux


Gui de Boulogne

Auvergne and Boulogne

studium generale

papal chaplain

(1345) November 30, 1348


cardinal-priest of S. Caecilia

cardinal-bishop of Porto


Annibaldo (Caetani) di Ceccano


professor of theology

May 24, 1350


cardinal-bishop of Tusculum

cardinal-bishop of Tusculum


Raymond Saquet


doctor of both laws

May 24, 1350


bishop of Thérouanne

archbishop of Lyon


Petrus Begonis


bacalarius of canon law

papal chaplain

August 5, 1351


chancellor of the church of Wroław

archdeacon of Condroz