1185 papal election

The 1185 papal election (held November 25) was a convoked after the death of Pope Lucius III. It resulted in the election of Cardinal Uberto Crivelli of Milan, who took the name of Urban III.

Papal election
Dates and location
25 November 1185
Key officials
DeanKonrad von Wittelsbach
CamerlengoCardinal Melior
ProtopriestAlberto di Morra
ProtodeaconGiacinto Bobone Orsini
Elected pope
Uberto Crivelli
Name taken: Urban III
Urban2 lat.jpg
← 1181

Besieged in VeronaEdit

Pope Lucius III was elected on 1 September 1181, but had to be consecrated and enthroned at Velletri, due to the hostility of the Romans.[1] But, having refused to grant the consuetudines to the Romans which had been conceded by earlier popes, he was forced to retreat to Velletri.[2] In the meantime, refugees from Tusculum, which had been destroyed earlier in the century by the Roman commune, began to rebuild their fortifications. Annoyed by the challenge, the Roman commune reopened the war, devastated the territory of Tusculum in April 1184, and then turned their wrath against Latium. The pope then fled to the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who was at Verona, by way of Ancona, Rimini, Faenza, and Modena.[3] Some of the cardinals followed Pope Lucius to Verona; others, however, whose followers had perpetrated the outrages at Tusculum and in the Roman campagna, remained in the city.[4]

Ten cardinals who were with the refugee pope participated in the consecration of the cathedral of Modena on 14 July 1184. They were: Theodinus of Porto, Tebaldus of Ostia; Joannes of S. Marco, Laborans of S. Maria Transtiberim, Pandulfus of Ss. Apostolorum, Ubertus of S. Lorenzo in Damaso; Ardicio of S. Teodoro, Graziano of Ss. Cosma e Damiano, Goffredfus of S. Maria in Via Lata, and Albinus of S. Maria Nuova.[5]

Discussions between the pope and the emperor quickly turned sour. There was the matter of lay appointment to bishops, and the issue of the inheritance of Mathilda of Tuscany, which had been willed to S. Peter, but which was in imperial hands and of which the emperor insisted he was the feudal overlord.[6] Frustrated and angry, the emperor withdrew to the palace in Pavia. He placed a military cordon around Verona, permitting no one to go to the papal court and allowing no one to leave Verona. Anyone caught was subject to imprisonment and torture.[7]

List of participantsEdit

There were probably 26 cardinals in the Sacred College at the death of Lucius III on 25 November 1185.[8] On 11 November 1185, two weeks before the pope's death, eighteen cardinals subscribed a bull in favor of the monastery of S. Peter Lobiensis. This was the last day on which bulls were signed before the pope's death.[9]

Elector Place of birth Cardinalatial title Elevated Elevator Notes
Konrad von Wittelsbach Bavaria Bishop of Sabina and Archbishop of Mainz 18 December 1165 Alexander III prior episcoporum. External cardinal.
Theodinus[10] Arrone Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina 18 December 1165 Alexander III Abbot of Monte Cassino
(October 1166–14 September 1167).
Henri de Marsiac, O.Cist. Château de Marcy, France Bishop of Albano March 1179 Alexander III Seventh Abbot of Clairvaux in (1177-1179). Papal legate,.
Theobald of Ostia, O.S.B.Cluny[11] France Bishop of Ostia e Velletri 1184 Lucius III Abbot of Cluny (1180–1183)
Alberto di Morra, C.R.Praem. Benevento Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina,
and Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church
21 December 1156 Adrian IV Protopriest; future Pope Gregory VIII (1187)
Joannes Anagninus (Giovanni dei Conti di Anagni)[12] Anagni Priest of S. Marco 1158–1159 Adrian IV Subsequently bishop of Palestrina (1190-1196)
Laborans de Pontormo[13] Pontormo, near Florence Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere 21 September 1173 Alexander III Studied law at the University of Paris, magister and jurisconsult
Uberto Crivelli Milan Priest of S. Lorenzo in Damaso September 1173 Lucius III Canon and Archdeacon of the cathedral chapter of Bourges. Archbishop of Milan. Elected Pope Urban III
Pandolfo Lucca Priest of SS. XII Apostoli 18 December 1182 Lucius III Canon of the cathedral chapter in Lucca, then sub-deacon.
Albino, C.R.S.F. Gaeta (?) Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme 18 December 1182 Lucius III Magister and theologian. Future bishop of Albano (1189-1197)
Melior, O.S.B.Vall. Pisa Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo 16 March 1185 Lucius III Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
Adelardo Cattaneo Verona Priest of S. Marcello 16 March 1185 Lucius III Future bishop of Verona (1188-1214)
Ardicio Rivoltella[14] Piadena near Cremona Deacon of S. Teodoro 21 December 1156 Adrian IV
Graziano da Pisa[15] Pisa Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano 4 March 1178 Alexander III Nephew of Pope Eugenius III
Soffredo Pistoia Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata 18 December 1182 Lucius III Canon of the cathedral chapter of Pistoia
Pietro Diani Piacenza Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere 16 March 1185 Lucius III Provost of S. Antonino, Piacenza. Apostolic subdeacon. Future papal legate.
Radulfus Nigellus[16] Pisa (?)
or France
Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro 16 March 1185 Lucius III
Rolandus[17] Pisa Deacon of S. Maria in Portico 16 March 1185 Lucius III Former bishop-elect of Dol (1177-1185)

Ten electors were created by Pope Lucius III, five by Pope Alexander III, and three by Pope Adrian IV.

Absentee cardinalsEdit

Elector Place of birth Cardinalatial title Elevated Elevator Notes
Paolo Scolari[18] Rome Bishop of Palestrina 21 September 1179 Alexander III Archpriest of the Liberian Basilica;
future Pope Clement III (1187-1191)
Pietro de Bono, C.R.S.M.R.[19] Verona Priest of S. Susanna 18 March 1166 Alexander III Canons Regular of Santa Maria of Reno, Bologna. Then papal legate.
Ruggiero di San Severino O.S.B. San Severino Priest of S. Eusebio
and Archbishop of Benevento
Ca. 1178–80 Alexander III First monk at Monte Cassino then Archbishop of Benevento. External cardinal
Guillaume aux Blanches Mains France Priest of S. Sabina
and Archbishop of Reims
March 1179 Alexander III Minister of State of the Kingdom of France;
external cardinal
Giacinto Bobone Orsini Rome Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin 22 December 1144 Lucius II Protodeacon; future Pope Celestine III (1191-1198)
Bobo[20] Rome Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria 18 December 1182 Lucius III He was papal legate in France from mid-1184 to spring 1186.
Future bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina (1189-1190)
Ottaviano di Poli Rome Deacon of SS. Sergio e Bacco 18 December 1182 Lucius III Subsequently bishop of Ostia e Velletri (1189-1206)
Gerardo Lucca Deacon of S. Adriano 18 December 1182 Lucius III Canon of the cathedral chapter of Lucca. Future Papal Vicar of Rome; Cardinal-nephew (?) of Lucius III

Four absentees were appointed by Alexander III, three by Lucius III, one by Adrian IV, and one by Pope Lucius II.

Death of Lucius III and the election of Pope Urban IIIEdit

Pope Lucius III died at Verona on 25 November 1185, at very advanced age. On that same day, eighteen cardinals started proceedings to elect his successor. Majority of them came from Northern Italy and formed a radically anti-imperial faction, while more moderate cardinals (mostly Romans) were absent.[21] In such circumstances, Northern Italian cardinals quickly secured the election of their candidate Uberto Crivelli of Milan. Crivelli was widely known to have a long-standing rancor against Barbarossa, who had singled out his family and followers when he had conquered Milan, some of whom he ordered to be executed, others to be mutilated.[22] In the words of Ferdinand Gregorovius, he was "... a violent and unyielding spirit, and a strong opponent of Frederick."[23] He was unanimously elected within a few hours after the death of Lucius III, and took the name Urban III.[21] He was crowned at Verona in S. Pietro in monte, on 1 December 1185.[24]

After his election to the papacy, he retained the administration of the metropolitan see of Milan.[25]


  1. ^ Jaffé, p. 432. Gregorovius, p. 609.
  2. ^ Gregorovius, p. 609 with note 2 (from Roger of Hoveden, citing Benedict of Peterborough): "grave dissidium ortum est inter Romanos et Papam Lucium super consuetudinibus quibusdam, quas praedecessores Papae Lucii facere solebant, quas Papa Lucius se nunquam facturum iuravit. Unde Romani indignati sunt it frequenter rapinas et iniquas combustiones facerunt in terra domini Papae. Dominus vero Papa, de loco in locum fugiens, castella sua et munitiones et civitates munitas adiit."
  3. ^ Gregorovius, pp. 609-611. Jaffé, pp. 465-466.
  4. ^ Gregorovius, p. 611. The Continuator of Sigibertus Aquicinctina, cited by Watterich II, p. 656, with note 4.
  5. ^ Oliviero Iozzi, La tomba di Lucio III in Verona, (Roma: Tipografia Labicana 1907), pp. 29-30.
  6. ^ Watterich II, p. 660.
  7. ^ Gregorovius IV. 2, p. 611-612.
  8. ^ I.S. Robinson, pp. 44 and 86.
  9. ^ Jaffé, p. 492, no. 15471.
  10. ^ Kartusch, pp. 413-416. Brixius, pp. 66, no. 30; 126-127, no. 175.
  11. ^ Kartusch, pp. 410-413.
  12. ^ Kartusch, pp. 239-245. Brixius, pp. 59, no. 8; 115, note 142.
  13. ^ Brixius, pp. 63-64, no. 15; 122, note 161.
  14. ^ Kartusch, pp. 88-89. Brixius, pp. 58, no. 2; 113 note 138.
  15. ^ Kartusch, pp. 151-154. Brixius, pp. 61, no. 5; 119-120, note 152.
  16. ^ Kartusch, pp. 357-360.
  17. ^ Kartusch, 382-384.
  18. ^ Kartusch, pp. 310-313.
  19. ^ Kartusch, pp. 325-327. Brixius, pp. 55-56, no. 26; 125, no. 171.
  20. ^ Kartusch, pp. 106-108.
  21. ^ a b I.S.Robinson, p. 86.
  22. ^ "Gesta Treverorum" 98, quoted in: Watterich II, p. 665: "...cum imperator Fridericus Mediolanum...ad deditionem coegisset, cognatos et parentes domini Urbani Papae inter ceteros captivos teneri, quorum quosdam proscriptione damnavit, quosdam mutilatione membrorum deformari praecepit. Ob cuius itaqiue facti vindictam dicebant quidam praedictum Apostolicum, antequam ad sedem Apostolatus conscendisset, gravissimum rancorem servasse in corde suo contra imperatorem."
  23. ^ Gregorovius IV. 2, p. 612.
  24. ^ Watterich II, p. 663, citing Ralph de Diceto.
  25. ^ D.R. Webster (1912), "Pope Urban III." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. Retrieved: 11 January 2022.


  • Gregorovius, Ferdinand (1896). The History of Rome in the Middle Ages Vol. IV, part 2. London: George Bell 1896.
  • Jaffé, Philipp (1888). Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita Ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII (in Latin). Vol. II. Leipzig.
  • Kartusch, Elfriede (1948). Das Kardinalskollegium in der Zeit von 1181–1227. Wien.
  • Robinson, Ian Stuart (1990). The Papacy, 1073–1198: Continuity and Innovation. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521264987.
  • 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. Tomus II. Leipzig: G. Engelmann.