The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Benedict XI (1303-1304)
Consistory of December 18, 1303 (I)
Celebrated in Rome


(1) 1. ALBERTI, O.P., Niccolò (ca. 1250-1321)

Birth.Ca. 1250, Prato. Son of Mainardo Alberti, count of Prato, and Bartolomea Martini. He is also listed as Niccolò da Prato; and as Nikolaus von Prato; and his last name as Alberti di Prato, Aubertini and Albertini; this latter form was adopted after the time of the cardinal.

Education. Entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1266, in the convent of Santa Maria Novella, Florence. Obtained a doctorate at the University of Paris.

Priesthood. Ordained (no further information found). Maître in theology. Professor at the convent of S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome. Procurator general of his order in 1296; provincial in Rome in 1297.

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Spoleto and named vicar of the pope in Rome, July 1, 1299. Consecrated (no information found). Obtained the license to make his will on June 2, 1300. Legate of Pope Boniface VIII before Kings Philip IV of France and Edward I of England, with the charge of reconciling them; he was successful in his mission; on his return, he was named again vicar of the pope in Rome on May 15, 1302.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal bishop of Ostia e Velletri in the consistory of December 18, 1303. Legate of Pope Benedict XI in Florence and Lombardy from February 19 to July 14, 1304; he lifted the interdict against the first one. Participated in the conclave of 1304-1305, which elected Pope Clement V. He was sent to France, with Cardinal Walter Winterburn, O.P., on a mission to examine the doctrine of Piergiovanni Olivi, O.F.M., who had caused great unrest in his order. He accompanied King Roberto d'Anjou il Saggio of Naples to his kingdom as legate. Legate, with Cardinals Francesco Napoleone Orsini and Arnaud de Falguières, to crown Emperor Henry VII in Rome on June 19, 1311. Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals in August 1313. Participated in the conclave of 1314-1316, which elected Pope John XXII. Author of Treaité du Paradis and of a work on papal elections, De ratione Pontificalium Comitiorum habendorum.

Death. April 1, 1321, Avignon. Buried in the church of the Dominicans, Avignon (1).

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, II, 69-73; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1677, II, col. 348-353; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIVè siècle jusqu'au Grand Schisme". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1930. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1930, p. 137; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi. Volumen I (1198-1431). Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1913; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, pp. 13, 36 and 461; Féret, Pierre. La Faculté de théologie de Paris et ses docteurs les plus célèbres : moyen-age. 4 v. Paris : Picard, 1894-1897. Note: Added t.p.: La Faculté de théologie de Paris au moyen-age et ses docteurs les plus célèbres. Other title: Faculté de théologie de Paris au moyen-age et ses docteurs les plus célèbres, I, 411-413.

Webgraphy. Biography by Timothy Leonard Crowley, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography by Pierre Féret, in French, La Faculté de théologie de Paris et ses docteurs les plus célèbres. Moyen âge, III, p. 411-413, Gallica, Bibliothèque Nationale de France; his portrait by Tommaso di Piero Trombetto, Museo Civico di Prato; his portrait by Tommaso de Modena in a fresco in the former Dominican convent in Treviso; L'Église militante et triomphante by Andrea da Firenze, Cardinal Alberti is at the right of the pope; and his engraving, portrait and arms, Araldica Vaticana.

(1) This is the text of his epitaph, taken from Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 353:

NICOLAI PRATENSIS EPSIC. CARD. OSTIEN.
Æloquium, bona, vita virens, discretio fulta
Consilium, doctrina vigens, prudentia multa,
Ista silent, hic illa docent, sunt cuncta sepulta
Virignis à partu numer atis mille trecentis
Annis bis denis uno, quartisque Kalendis
Quem genuit Pratum, Spoletum Pontificatum
Ostia quem dedit Romano Cardine gratum.

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MACCLESFIELD, O.P., William (?-1303 or 1304)

Birth. (No date found), Canterbury (or Coventry), England. His last name is also listed as Macklefield, Mackelelfield, Maklesfeild and Marsfield.

Education. Entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). Studied at the universities of Paris and Oxford; obtained a doctorate in the latter one.

Early life. Ordained (no further information found). Professor of theology at both Paris and Oxford. He was sent by his order on various missions to Rome. Regent master of Blackfriars in 1300. Definitor of the English province to the general chapter of Besançon in 1303; he had attended several general chapters of his order and was a close friend of Pope Benedict XI, also a Dominican; he died while returning home. He was a renowned theologian and Scriptural scholar. He defended the papal teaching against Henry of Ghent and William de la Mare; and preached a famous sermon before the English clergy on ecclesiastical discipline. He was called Doctor Inclytus (Illustrious Doctor) by European scholars. He wrote sermons, quæstiones on angels , the prologue to Sentences, and Contra corruptorem Thomæ, in which he attacked the Franciscans.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest of S. Sabina in the consistory of December 18, 1303, before the news of his death reached the papal court; some sources say that the new cardinal died before the news of his elevation reached him.

Death. Probably in the summer of 1303, Canterbury. Buried, Blackfriars, London.

Bibliography. Bellenger, Dominc Aidan and Stella Fletcher. Princes of the church. A history of the English cardinals. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire : Sutton Publishing Ltd., 2001, p. 18; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, II, ;73-74; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1677, II, col. 353; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIVè siècle jusqu'au Grand Schisme". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1930. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1930, p. 137-138; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi. Volumen I (1198-1431). Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1913; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, pp. 13 and 46; Féret, Pierre. La Faculté de théologie de Paris et ses docteurs les plus célèbres : moyen-age. 4 v. Paris : Picard, 1894-1897. Note: Added t.p.: La Faculté de théologie de Paris au moyen-age et ses docteurs les plus célèbres. Other title: Faculté de théologie de Paris au moyen-age et ses docteurs les plus célèbres, III, 379-381; Heseltine, George Coulehan. The English cardinals. With some account of those of other English-speaking countries. London : Burns Oates & Washbourne, 1931, pp. 39-40; Schofield, Nicholas ; Skinner, Gerard. The English cardinals. Oxford, UK : Family Publications, 2007, p. 38-39.

Webgraphy. Biography by Pierre Féret, in French, La Faculté de théologie de Paris et ses docteurs les plus célèbres. Moyen âge, III 379-381, Gallica, Bibliothèque Nationale de France; his image in a fresco, former Dominican convent, Treviso; his arms in a stained glass window in the library at the Dominican priory (Blackfriars) in Oxford, England, flickr; and his engraving and arms, Araldica Vaticana.

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