Pope Celestine III

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Celestine III
Bishop of Rome
Coelestin III (cropped 2).png
Pope Celestine III, from the Liber ad honorem Augusti (1196)
Papacy began30 March 1191
Papacy ended8 January 1198
Predecessor Clement III
Successor Innocent III
Ordination13 April 1191
Consecration14 April 1191
by Cardinal Ottaviano
Created cardinalFebruary 1144
by Celestine II
Personal details
Birth nameGiacinto Bobone
Bornc. 1106
Rome, Papal States
Died(1198-01-08)8 January 1198
Rome, Papal States
Previous post Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (1144–1191)
MottoPerfice gressus meos in semitis tuis ("Going in Thy path")
Signature CelestinusIIItitel.jpg
Other popes named Celestine

Pope Celestine III (Latin : Caelestinus III; c. 1106 – 8 January 1198), born Giacinto Bobone, [1] was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 30 March or 10 April 1191 [2] to his death. He had a tense relationship with several monarchs, including Emperor Henry VI, King Tancred of Sicily, and King Alfonso IX of León.


Early career

Giacinto Bobone was born into the noble Orsini family in Rome and served as a cardinal-deacon prior to becoming pope. [3] He was ordained as a priest on 13 April 1191. Considered by the Roman Curia as an expert on Spain, Bobone conducted two legatine missions to Spain in (1154–55) and (1172–75) as the Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. [4]


Celestine crowned Emperor Henry VI on the day after his election in 1191 with a ceremony symbolizing his absolute supremacy, as described by Roger of Hoveden, after Henry VI promised to cede Tusculum. In 1192 he threatened to excommunicate King Tancred of Sicily, forcing him to release his aunt Empress Constance, wife of Henry VI and a contender of Sicilian crown, captured by Tancred in 1191, to Rome to exchange for his recognition of Tancred while also put pressure on Henry, but Constance was released by German soldiers on borders of the Papal States before reaching Rome the following summer. He subsequently nearly excommunicated Henry VI for wrongfully keeping King Richard I of England in prison. [5] He placed Pisa under an interdict, which was lifted by his successor, Innocent III in 1198. [6] He condemned King Alfonso IX of León for his marriage to Theresa of Portugal on the grounds of consanguinity. Then, in 1196, he excommunicated him for allying with the Almohad Caliphate while making war on Castile. [7] Following his marriage with Berengaria of Castile, Celestine excommunicated Alfonso and placed an interdict over León. [8]

In 1198, Celestine confirmed the statutes of the Teutonic Knights as a military order. [9]


Celestine would have resigned the papacy and recommended a successor (Cardinal Giovanni di San Paolo, O.S.B.) shortly before his death, [10] but was not allowed to do so by the cardinals. [11]

See also

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  1. The New Cambridge Medieval History, Vol.1, Ed. David Luscombe, Jonathan Riley-Smith, (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 417.
  2. http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios1144.htm#Bobone
  3. The New Cambridge Medieval History, Vol.1, 417
  4. The New Cambridge Medieval History, Vol.1, 417–418.
  5. Sikes, Thomas Burr, History of the Christian Church, from the first to the fifteenth century, (Eliott Stock, 1885), 187.
  6. Clarke, Peter D., The interdict in the thirteenth century: a question of collective guilt, (Oxford University Press, 2007), 118.
  7. Lower 2014, p. 605.
  8. Moore, John Clare, Pope Innocent III (1160/61–1216): to root up and to plant, (Brill Publishers, 2003), 70–71.
  9. Urban, William, The Teutonic Knights, (Greenhill Books, 2003), 12–13.
  10. William Stubbs (editor), Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene Vol. IV (London 1871), pp. 32-33.
  11. Karl Holder, Die Designation deer Nachfolder durch die Päpste (Freiburg Switzerland: B. Veith 1892), pp. 69-70.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Clement III
Succeeded by
Innocent III

initial text from the 9th edition (1876) of an old encyclopedia