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Cardinal Giovanni Gaetano Orsini And His Family

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Chapter Summary

The man who would lead John XXII's second great legation to Italy was born into one of medieval Rome's most powerful families. By 1316 Giovanni was resident at Avignon as a familiaris of his first cousin, Cardinal Napoleone Orsini. The first decade of Giovanni Orsini’s cardinalate was, like his earlier career, uneventful. Giovanni’s elevation to the cardinalate established him as one of his family’s most powerful agents and benefactors at the papal curia. Of all the Roman clans, the Orsini were undisputed leaders in championing the cause of the papacy. By the fourteenth century the principal contest for pre-eminence in Rome lay between the Orsini and the Colonna. Cardinal Giovanni Orsini’s family, the Orsini di Monterotondo or Orsini del Monte, was one of the younger and less spectacularly successful branches of the family.

Keywords: Cardinal Giovanni Gaetano Orsini; John XXII; medieval Rome

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