1118 papal election

The 1118 Papal Election was held to choose the successor for Pope Paschal II, who died in Rome on 21 January 1118, after an 18-year pontificate. Pope Gelasius II was elected as his successor. The election happened during the Investiture Controversy, a conflict between supporters of the Papacy and those of the Holy Roman Emperor. The election was held under the threat of possible violence due to the controversy. The Cardinal electors took refuge in the Benedictine monastery, S. Maria in Pallara, during the election. Within minutes of his election as pope, Gelasius II was attacked and imprisoned by the Frangipani faction, supporters of the Holy Roman Emperor. Gelasius managed to escape, but at the emperor's arrival with his army, he fled Rome and never returned.

Papal election
January 1118
Dates and location
24 January 1118
Palatine Hill, Rome
Key officials
ProtodeaconGiovanni Coniulo
Elected pope
Giovanni Coniulo
Name taken: Gelasius II
← 1099
1119 →


The Papal bull entitled, In Nomine Domini, issued by Pope Nicholas II in 1059, declared that, to choose the successor upon the death of the incumbent pope, the cardinal-bishops would discuss and present the name of a suitable candidate, and the cardinals would subsequently ratify the nomination.[1]

Information regarding the Cardinals during the election was compiled over 12 years later by Pandulf of Pisa, cardinal-priest of Santi Cosma e Damiano. The account is not complete.[2] Indeed, some historians have pointed out the inaccuracy of Pandulf's account, including his list of electors, given his support for Antipope Anacletus II (1130–1138), who made him a cardinal.[3][4]

Pandulf states that the election was attended by 49 cardinals: four bishops, 27 priests, and 18 deacons. Still, the account mentions the names of only 35 cardinals (four bishops, 20 priests, and 11 deacons), including the elected Gelasius.[a] However, the status[clarification needed] of the cardinals, priests, and deacons was unclear from the Pandulf account.[b] In addition, several cardinals mentioned by Pandulf only obtained that position when elevated after the papal election by a later pope.[c] Other chroniclers also made incomplete accounts.

According to the work of Rudolf Huls, the College of Cardinals had only 41 members as of January 1118: 6 bishops, 20 priests, and 15 deacons, of which the following 36 participated in the election:[d]

Cardinal BishopsEdit

Cardinal PriestsEdit

Cardinal DeaconsEdit

Two subdeacons were in attendance, Nicholas, Provost of the Choir School, and Amico O.S.B. (Cluny), Abbot of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls.[h]


It can be established that at least two cardinal-priests, two cardinal-bishops, and a cardinal-deacon were absent:

The choice of Gelasius IIEdit

During his papacy, Paschal II waged the investiture controversy with Emperor Henry V, who had a considerable following among the aristocracy of Rome. From 6 to 11 March 1116, Paschal II presided over a general council at the Lateran Basilica,[23] The leader of the anti-imperial opposition to Paschal's concessions to Henry was Cardinal Giovanni of Gaeta, the chancellor of the Holy Roman Church. In the council, Pope Paschal was forced to condemn his own privilegium. This was a concession that Paschal had granted to the emperor, allowing the emperor to invest bishops with his staff and ring of office. Paschal agreed to again anathematize any person who gave or received ecclesiastical titles from the hands of a layman, though he resisted the council's wish to anathematize the emperor.[24] This action in the council by Paschal was a repudiation of the agreement he had previously reached with the emperor. It caused great offense and anger. After many representations to the pope, Henry marched on Rome.[25] On 5 April 1117, supporters of the emperor forced Paschal to flee the Lateran palace. He spent his time at Montecassino, and then Benevento. There he held a synod, where he excommunicated the emperor's friend, Maurice Burdinus, the archbishop of Braga, who had been the go-between in recent negotiations. He returned to Rome to the Castel S. Angelo on 14 January 1118, where he died on 21 January.[26]

After his death, the Cardinals took refuge in the Palladium (S. Maria in Pallara),[27] a Benedictine monastery on the Palatine Hill, fearing the violence of supporters of the emperor. The meetings were presided over by Cardinal Petrus of Porto. He waited the three canonical days before beginning the election, having also sent a swift messenger summoning Cardinal Giovanni Gaetani, who was at Montecassino.[i] On 24 January 1118, three days after the customary prayers and devotions, the electors unanimously chose Cardinal Giovanni Coniulo from Gaeta for the papacy, the cardinal-deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and Chancellor of the Holy See. On election, he adopted the papal name Gelasius II.


Shortly after his election, as the clergy and people were celebrating Gelasius' enthronement, Cenzio Frangipani, a supporter of the emperor,[j] whose house and headquarters were next door to S. Maria in Pallara, broke into the church with his followers and assaulted the pope. The pope was seized and carried off to Frangipani's house, where he was chained and imprisoned.[28]

Pope Gelasius II was freed by a popular uprising led by Peter, the Prefect of Rome.[29] However, as the emperor Henry and his army approached the city, Gelasius fled from Rome to his native Gaeta on March 1,[30] where he was ordained as a priest on 9 March 1118.[31] He was consecrated a bishop and enthroned on 10 March. Pandulphus Pisanus was ordained a lector and an exorcist on the same day.[32] He then fled to Pisa and ultimately to France, where he remained until his death at the Abbey of Cluny on 29 January 1119.[33] In his absence, the papal vicar in Rome was Cardinal Petrus, the Bishop of Porto.[34]


  1. ^ Alphonso Chacón (1530/40–1599) tried to establish a full list of the names in his posthumously published work, Vitae et res gestae Pontificum Romanorum et SRE Cardinalium, but he included names of cardinals who were appointed only by later popes (Ugo Lectifredo of S. Vitale, Romano S. Maria in Portico, Pietro S. Adriano); for many, their presence at the event is undocumented (Giovanni S. Callisto [but San Callisto became a titular church only in 1517], Pietro Vuilhelmus S. Sabina [undocumented], Ducale of Ss. IV Coronati [undocumented], Crisostomo of S. Ciriaco, Amico of Ss. Vito e Modesto). Two cardinals were listed twice (Teobaldo Boccapecora as a deacon of S. Maria Nuova, and as a priest of S. Anastasia to which he had in fact been promoted in 1123; and Divizo from cardional priest of Ss. Silvestro Martino to bishop of Tusculum.)
  2. ^ Klewitz presents 23 priests and 16 deacons; Furst presents 18 presbyters and deacons 12. This article presents a list according to the analysis of Hüls, pp. 63–64.
  3. ^ It was Pope Callistus II (1119—1124) who created Amico of S. Croce, Gerardo S. Prisca and Sigizo of S. Sisto, and perhaps Gregorio S. Eustachio. Stefano S. Lucia in Silice was appointed only by Honorius II (1124—1130). Cardinal S. Prisca was then Gregorio and Gerardo, although the vacancy is not completely excluded. In addition, Teobaldo Boccapeccora was mentioned by Pandulf as cardinal-priest of S. Anastasia, even though he was still a deacon of S. Maria Nuova (elevated in 1121/22). Klewitz, with the exception of the last case, approved the names given by Pandulf.
  4. ^ This article presents a list according to the analysis of Hüls, pp. 63–64.
  5. ^ Cardinal Giovanni was the son of Giovanni Coniulo. He was not a member of the Gaetani family, though Pandulphus Pisanus calls him Ioannes Gaietanus (Giovanni da Gaeta). He had a nephew, however, Crescenzio Gaetani, who was a member of the comitial family. P. Fedele, "Le famiglie di Anacleto II e di Gelasio II," Archivio della società romana di storia patria 27 (1904), 434-440. Hüls, p. 232, note 2.
  6. ^ Crisogono was papal Bibliothecarius. Pandulfus Pisanus states he was a creation of Pope Paschal II ["Vita Gelasii papae", in Watterich II, p. 93]. He is probably the Chrysogonus, a papal notary in December, 1112, who acted as a datary in 1114 on Cardinal Iohannes Gaetani's behalf. He subscribed a bull as Deacon of S. Nicolai in carcere Tulliano on 20 April 1117. Hüls, p. 240.
  7. ^ Crescenzio had been a papal secretary to Paschal II, who named him a cardinal-deacon. Hüls, pp. 183-184, 246. Watterich, p. 93. There is no evidence for his presence at the election of Pope Gelasius. He is not named on Pandulfus Pisanus' list.
  8. ^ Pandulf mistakenly marked Amico as Cardinal-priest of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. He received this honor only from Callistus II. Hüls, p. 163. Ganzer, p. 69.
  9. ^ According to Pandulphus Pisanus, "Vita Gelasii II", in: Watterich, Tomus II (Lipsiae 1862) p. 94: "Interim autem, Paschali papa defuncto, venerabilis pater dominus Petrus Portuensis episcopus, qui primatum post papam per longa jam diutius tempora detinuerat, cumque eo omnes presbyteri ac diaconi cardinales de eligendo Pontifice, et in commune communiter, et singulariter singuli pertractare coeperunt pro domino cancellario in monasterio Cassinensi commanente."
  10. ^ Gregorovius IV, p. 378, speculates, without evidence, that Frangipani was enraged because some of the cardinals had promised him that a candidate friendly to imperial interests would be elected.


  1. ^ Nicholas Weber (1911). "Pope Nicholas II." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. Retrieved: 5 Aug. 2021.
  2. ^ Watterich II, pp. 94-95.
  3. ^ Robinson, p 63, and Furst, p 69. It is equally likely that the discrepancies originated from the violence that characterised three conclaves, 1118, 1124, and 1130, the Frangipani and their thugs being responsible. About 1118, he states, "we were forced to flee" (fugere poteramus... "fugimus et omnes cum eo"... "ut furgeremus per mare"...). Watterich II, p. 97.
  4. ^ Klewitz, pp. 100–101, 119–134; Furst, pp. 69–80; Hüls, pp. 63–64.
  5. ^ Appointment dates are approximate. Huls, pp. 84–86
  6. ^ Hüls, p. 84, indicates that Lamberto subscribes after Pietro Senex, and Kuno, and before Vitalis.
  7. ^ Hüls, p. 142, 192-193. Alphonso Chacón and Olduin name Cardinal Divizo as a Cardinal-bishop: Chacon and Olduin, Vitae et res gestae pontificum Romanorum I (Rome 1677), p. 929. At the time of the election, he was still a cardinal-priest of Ss. Martino e Silvestro.
  8. ^ Hǔls, pp. 197-198.
  9. ^ Hüls, p. 197.
  10. ^ Hüls, p. 176-178.
  11. ^ Hüls, p. 193.
  12. ^ Hüls, p. 227.
  13. ^ Hüls, p. 238.
  14. ^ Hǔls, p. 241.
  15. ^ Hǔls, pp. 227-228.
  16. ^ Hǔls, p. 231.
  17. ^ Hüls, p. 242.
  18. ^ Klewitz, p. 100. K. Ganzer, "Das römische Kardinalkollegium," in: Le istituzioni ecclesiastiche della "Societas christiana" dei secoli XI-XII, I, Papato, cardinalato ed episcopato, (Milano 1974), pp. 153–181. Stephan Freund, "Giovanni di Tuscolo", Dizionario biografico degli Italiani 56 (2001). (in Italian) Retrieved: 5 August 2021.
  19. ^ Hüls, pp. 113-116.
  20. ^ Hüls, pp. 147-149. Zelina Zafarana, "Bosone," Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani 13 (1971). (in Italian)
  21. ^ Hüls, pp. 81-83. 85, 141, 151.
  22. ^ Hüls, p 233.
  23. ^ C. J. Hefele, Histoire des conciles (History of the Councils) Volume VII (Paris: Adrien le Clere 1871), pp. 138-141.
  24. ^ Jaffé, pp. 761-762. Watterich II, pp. 83-85. Gregorovius IV, pp. 365-366.
  25. ^ Watterich II, p. 87. Gregorovius IV, p. 371.
  26. ^ Jaffé, p. 772. Gregorovius IV, pp. 375-376.
  27. ^ P. Fedele, "Una chiesa del Palatino: S. Maria 'in Pallara'," (in Italian) Archivio della Società romana di storia patria 26 (1903), 343-380. Gregorovius History of Rome in the Middle Ages IV. 1, p. 97 n. S. Maria in Pallara belonged to the Benedictine Congregation of Montecassino, and was the residence of Cardinal Giovanni of Gaeta (Joannes Gaetanus), the papal chancellor (in the perpetual absence of Archbishop Frederick of Cologne.
  28. ^ Pandulphus Pisanus, "Life of Gelasius II," in: Watterich II, p. 96: "Papam per gulam accepit, distraxit, pugnibus calcibusque percussit, et tamquam brutum animal intra limen ecclesiae acriter calcaribus cruentavit et latro tantum dominum per capillos et brachia... detraxit, ad domum usque deduxit, inibi catenavit et clausit." Gregorovius IV, pp. 379-380.
  29. ^ Gregorovius IV, p. 380. The Prefect was accompanied by Petrus Leoni (the father of Cardinal Petrus Petrileonis), Stephanus Normanni, Stephanus de Petro, Stephanus de Theobaldo, Stephanus de Berizone, Stephanus Quatrale, Bucca Pecorini, Bonesci, Berisasi, and their retinues, who had assembled on the Capitol before attacking the Frangipani stronghold.
  30. ^ "Annales Romani," in: Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptorum 5, p. 478: "mansit in patriarchio Lateranensi usque in diem Veneris ante quadragesimam."
  31. ^ March 9: "Annales Romani", p. 478: "presbyter ordinatur die sabbati quatuor temporum Martii."
  32. ^ Pandulphus Pisanus, "Vita Gelasii II", in Watterich II, p. 99;
  33. ^ Jaffé, p. 780.
  34. ^ Falco of Benevento, in: Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores Tomus V, p. 93.


  • Furst, C. G. (1966). Kennen Wir die Wahlern Gelsius' II?, In: Festschrift Karl Pivec. Zum 60 Geburtstag von gewidmet Kollegen, edited by Anton Haidacher, Hans Eberhard Mayer, ed. Sprachwissenschaftliches Institut der Leopold-Franzens-Universität, 1966, pp. 69–80. (in German)
  • Gregorovius, Ferdinand (1896). History of Rome in the Middle Ages. Volume IV. 2, second edition, revised (London: George Bell, 1896) [Book VIII chapter 2], pp. 377–389.
  • Hüls, Rudolf (1977). Kardinal, Klerus und Kirchen Roms: 1049–1130, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer 1977. (in German)
  • Jaffé, Philipp, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum p. Chr. n. 1198 (in Latin); 2nd ed. by S. Löwenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald Vol 1. Leipzig, 1888.
  • Klewitz, H. W. (1957). Reformpapsttum und Kardinalkolleg, Darmstadt 1957. (in German)
  • Robinson, I. S. (1990). The Papacy 1073–1198. Continuity and Innovations, Cambridge University Press 1990.
  • Watterich, J. B. M. (1862). Pontificum Romanorum qui fuerunt inde ab exeunte saeculo IX usque ad finem saeculi XIII vitae: ab aequalibus conscriptae (in Latin). Vol. Tom. II. Leipzig: G. Engelmann.

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