#172 - Pope Urban III
Pope from November 25, 1185 - October 20, 1187
Lived: 1120 - October 20, 1187
Birth name: Uberto Crivelli
Who was this guy before he was pope?
Uberto Crivelli was a native of Cuggiano, a tiny town in the north of Italy. He had four brothers and was an uncle to the future Pope Celestine IV (#179). His predecessor, Lucius III, elevated him to cardinal and Archbishop of Milan in 1185, just before his election.
Okay, give me the scoop on Urban III.
Pope Urban III, like both Eugene III and Anastasius IV, was elected on the very day that his predecessor died, probably to prevent Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor, from gaining any more of a foothold against the papacy. His whole tenure was spent in conflict with the emperor, particularly over territory left by Countess Matilda of Tuscany. Urban was pope just shy of two years, dying October 20, 1187.
What was he known for?
Apparently Urban’s family had been been among those to suffer the greatest under the emperor, so there was no love lost between the two once Urban took office. Against the pope’s wishes, the Patriarch of Aquilea had married Barbarossa’s son to Constance, the daughter of the late Roger II of Sicily, in Urban’s former home of Milan. Pair that with Urban consecrating a new archbishop in Trier of which the emperor wasn’t a fan, and the schism that had just been resolved was in danger of erupting again.
Urban was blocked from excommunicating Frederick by the residents of Verona, where he was living at the time, so he tried moving to Ferrara and to do so there, but died of dysentery before completing his task. Historians are at a loss why the two couldn’t just hug it out.
Given that Urban was ready to rumble with Barbarossa upon taking office, it’s thought that he took the name “Urban” to do homage to Blessed Urban II (No. 160), a rugged pontiff in his own right, best known for calling the First Crusade.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 1186, the third son of the great Genghis Khan, Ogedei Khan, was born. He would go on to succeed his father and become the second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1229-1241.
Coming tomorrow...Pope Gregory VIII
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Guruge, A. (2010). The Next Pope. New Hampshire: WOWNH
Pope Urban III -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 2:00AM