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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book and how the other chapters of the book are organized. The problem of two rival popes-one in Rome and one in Avignon-continued until, in 1409 at a council convened at Pisa, the cardinals attempted to solve the problem by deposing them both and electing a new pope, Alexander V. The popes and the cardinals in first half of the fifteenth century were inextricably bound together in a struggle for power. Since the twelfth century the cardinals had been the sole electors of the pope, free from the participation of the bishops and the representatives of secular rulers or Roman barons, and this in particular defined their role. The three popes of the schism-of the Avignon, Roman, and Pisan obediences-and their three colleges represented different models of papal government, each of which fed into the formation of the fifteenth century papal paradigm.

Keywords:Avignon; cardinals; fifteenth century; pope; Rome

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