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By the Waters of Babylon

Pope Clement V has moved the Papal Palace from Rome to Avignon where it will remain for 67 years, diverting money for the Church away from Rome to Avignon. Shepherds will graze their sheep on the seven hills and Rome will become a place of fear and danger. The Popes of this period are often portrayed as the puppets of the King of France, but their actions suggest passive resistance and appeasement while they get their way more often than the King. In any case this move will substantially diminish the reputation of the Papacy and eventually lead to a serious schism within the Church. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Over the coming years some will see the move to Avignon as the Church in exile similar to the exile of the Jews to Babylon. Many who have been lost to exile have looked to Psalm 137 for comfort such as the Greek Orthodox Church and the American slaves before and after the Civil War. Jews in the modern day recite Psalm 137 when the Blessings after Meals is recited on weekdays. The value of reciting such a dismal Psalm is to remember that the prophesy for exile was coupled with the promise of redemption. If you believe in the first, you must believe in the second. That knowledge is a comfort to many who must trudge a long road to their destiny.

Here are the first few lines of Psalm 137...

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our harps.
For there they that led us captive asked of us words of song,
and our tormentors asked of us mirth: 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'

How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember you not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chief joy.


The Philosopher King of Virtue and Hell

With the passing of King Charles II of Naples, King Robert the Wise takes the throne. He is a lover of education and the arts supporting the University of Naples. He is known by the poets Petrarch and Boccaccio as a friend of knowledge and virtue. Of course it would have been nice if Petrarch and Boccaccio had been virtuous themselves, but that's another story. Naples in those days was a place of leisure and easy virtue for the aristocracy and the merchants. Young men engaged in sword play while pretty young ladies looked on from their balconies and tittered. But Robert the Wise will have his detractors as well. Dante will dedicate a few verses to King Robert in his Divine Comedy, accusing the king of treachery for stealing the crown, but it looks less like theft and more like ceding the position to the best guy for the job. [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is a problem with how Naples runs at the peasant level. While things are looking pretty good for the aristocracy and the merchants, the peasant farmers are getting the screws put to them by the landowners to the point that they might just rebel. It is easy to remember the niceties of Naples and forget that it's not all flowers and pretty girls for the peasants. Because of that, agricultural output stinks.... not because the farmers don't have enough pretty girls but because they see no end to their suffering. Thus, like the slaves that they are, they are doing only the minimal work to get by.

See Also


  1. Durant, Will and Durant, Ariel. The Story Of Civilization, Volume 5, The Renaissance: A History of Civilization in Italy from 1304-1576 A.D.. 1953. (BOOK)
  2. Damerow, Harold. Senior Professor of Government and History. Avignon Papacy, Union County College, 2007 [last update]
  3. Snell, Melissa. BA in History, UT, Austin. Avignon Papacy - When the Popes Resided in France, about.com, 2014 [last update]
  4. Avignon Papacy - Wikipedia, Union County College, 2014 [last update]
  5. Nelson, Lynn H., Professor, University of Kansas. ORB: The Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies, the-orb.net, 2003 [last update]
  6. Hines, Michael. MDiv in Christian History, Cincinnati Bible Seminary. THE AVIGNON PAPACY, christianchronicler.com, 2006 [last update]
  7. Robinson, J. H.. Readings in European History: Petrarch, Letter to a friend, 1340-1353, Boston. 1904. p. 502.
  8. Shahan, Thomas. "Pope Clement V." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 23 Feb. 2014.
  9. Durant, Will and Durant, Ariel. The Story Of Civilization, Volume 5, The Renaissance: A History of Civilization in Italy from 1304-1576 A.D.. 1953. (BOOK)
  10. Kelly, Samantha. The New Solomon: Robert of Naples (1309-1343) and Fourteenth-century Kingship, BRILL, Jan 1, 2003. pp. 1-3. (BOOK)
  11. Robert, King of Naples - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]

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