Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Brockwell, Charles W.

Author's Keywords

Middle ages; Religious history; Biographies


Clement VI, Pope, ca 1291-1352; Popes--Primacy--History; Popes--Temporal power--History


The papacy of Clement VI (1342-1352) was distinguished by its political activism, its attempt to resurrect the impetus for crusading, and its efforts to attract the best and brightest talents to Avignon. The attributes which characterize his pontificate highlight his interest in resurrecting the papal monarchy. His political conservatism was manifested most vividly in his struggles with the German emperors Louis IV and Charles IV. Clement VI asserted that papal auctoritas superseded temporal imperium. Canonistic and publicists arguments were alloyed with Clement's own unique views to stem the loss of the papacy's secular power. Clement VI's political dynamism was also displayed in renewed efforts to create an expeditionary force to wage a holy war against the Muslims. His Smyrna Crusade and Holy League achieved the last resurgence of western Christian influence in the Levant in the Middle Ages. Finally, the intellectual legacy of Clement VI is one of humanistic involvement. In the pontificate of Clement VI can be found the seeds of Renaissance humanism, represented by realistic art forms, a rebirth of classical literature, and the presence of humanist scholars at the papal court. Confined by the realities of the Anglo-French war and the Black Death, Clement VI was able to achieve only limited results.