Urban, the name of eight popes, of whom the following are the most important.
Urban H (Othon De Lagny), born at Chatillonsur-Marne, France; about 1042, died in Rome, July 29, 1099. He was archdeacon of Rheims, and became successively a Benedictine monk, prior of Cluny, cardinal, and bishop of Ostia. He was employed by Pope Gregory VII. in the most important missions, and was elected pope at Terracina in 1088, while Rome was held by the antipope Clement III. He was recognized by all Latin Christendom except Germany, where the emperor Henry IV. with a majority of the bishops sustained the antipope, and England, where William II. remained neutral for some time. In 1089 the Romans, having expelled the antipope, put Urban in possession of his see. He immediately summoned a council, excommunicated Clement, Henry, and their adherents, and concluded a matrimonial union between the celebrated countess Matilda of Tuscany and Guelf, son of the duke of Bavaria. The emperor Henry, incensed thereat, marched to Rome with an army in 1091, restored the antipope, and forced Urban to fly for protection to Robert, count of Apulia. In 1093 Conrad, Henry's eldest son, was prevailed upon by Matilda to side with the pope, who crowned him king at Monza. This alliance enabled Urban to regain possession of Rome, excepting the Lateran and the castle of Sant' Angelo. In March, 1095, he held a council at Piacenza, at which 200 bishops, 3,000 of the inferior clergy, and 30,000 laymen were present, and there received the ambassadors of the Greek emperor Alexius Comnenus, who besought his aid against the Turks. There also Urban first appealed to the Christian princes to unite Against the infidels, and this led to the holding of the council of Clermont in Auvergne, Nov. 18. In that assemblage Urban proclaimed the first crusade, giving the cross to multitudes amid the shouts of Dieu le veultf and ratified the sentence of excommunication pronounced in 1094 by the council of Autun against King Philip I. of France. In the 12 councils held by him Urban labored to consolidate and perfect the reforms of Gregory VII., and condemned the opinions of Berengarius on the eucharist, and those of Scotus Erigena. At the council of Bari, in 1098, he made a fruitless attempt to effect a union of the Greek and Latin churches.
Urban was one of the most influential popes of the middle ages. He declared the election of a pope independent of the assent of the Roman emperor, vigorously enforced the law of celibacy, and forbade bishops and priests to accept ecclesiastical offices from the hands of laymen. H Urban V. (Gdillaume de Geimoabd), born at Grisac, Languedoc, in 1309, died in Avignon, Dec. 19, 1370. He was a Benedictine monk, abbot of Auxerre in 1353 and of Marseilles in 1358, and papal legate in Naples and Sicily, and was elected in 1362, at Avignon, successor of Innocent VI. He went in 1367 to Rome, but in 1370 returned to Avignon. In 1369 the Greek emperor John Palaaologus himself visited Rome, abjured the peculiar tenets of the Greek church, and acknowledged the supremacy of the pope. In 1370 Urban sent missionaries to the Tartars and an embassy to Georgia, as the churches of Georgia had joined the Greek church. He was the first pope who blessed a golden rose for princes, presenting it to the queen of Naples. He was a liberal protector of letters, and was praised by his contemporaries as entirely free from nepotism.
Urban VI. (Baetolommeo Butilli-Peignano), born in Naples in 1318, died in Rome, Oct. 15, 1389. Before his accession to the papal see he was archbishop of Bari. He was elected successor of Gregory XL in 1378 by the cardinals assembled at Rome; but the cardinals who were residents of Avignon did not recognize him, and in union with some of the Roman cardinals, who declared his election compulsory, elected Count Robert of Geneva pope under the name of Clement VII. (See Clement VII., antipope, vol. iv., p. 661.) Thus began what is known as the great schism in the Roman Catholic church. When Queen Joanna of Naples, who had supported Urban with an army, abandoned his cause, the pope deposed her and anointed in her stead Charles of Durazzo. With him also Urban soon quarrelled. Charles at his coronation in Eome confirmed Francesco Prignano, the pope's nephew, in possession of several Neapolitan provinces bestowed upon him by Urban; but on his arrival in Naples he refused to dismember his kingdom. Urban, having gone to Naples, was there held prisoner for a time by the king; and having moreover alienated the king of Aragon, Pedro, he found himself abandoned by the cardinals.
Six of them, at the instigation of Francesco Prignano, being accused of conspiracy, were cruelly tortured and all put to death, with the exception of Cardinal Eston, an Englishman. Urban was besieged by Charles in Nocera, and fled in 1385 to Genoa and Lucca, but in 1388 returned to Rome. He ordered the year of jubilee to be celebrated every 33 years, instead of every 50 as before, and appointed the first for the year 1390.
Urban VIII. (Maffeo Bakberini), born in Florence in 1568, died in Rome, July 29,1644. Under the pontificate of Gregory XIV. he was governor of Fano, and under Clement VIII. papal prothonotary; in 1604 he was appointed archbishop of Nazareth in partilms infidelium and ambassador to Paris, in 1605 cardinal, and in 1608 archbishop of Spoleto. He was elected pope, Aug. 6, 1623. He was a patron of sciences and arts, but left the government mostly to his relatives, who favored France and monopolized the most important offices. Through one of his relatives he was involved in a war with the duke of Parma in 1642, which he was obliged to conclude by an unfavorable peace. He bestowed upon the cardinals, the three clerical electors of Germany (the archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, and Treves), and the grand master of the knights of Malta the title most eminent (eminentissimus), which led to a long controversy with Venice. He condemned the doctrine of Jansenius, and under his pontificate Galileo was tried and condemned by the Roman inquisition. He established the college of the propaganda, issued a revised edition of the Roman breviary, gave to the bull In Oosna Domini its present form, and forbade priests the use of snuff in church under pain of excommunication. He left a volume of Italian poetry, including 70 sonnets.
From his knowledge of Greek he was called " the Attic bee;" his Latin poems were printed in 1640 (Maffei Barberini Poernat'a, fol., Paris).