« Aves, Henry Damerel Avignon Avila, Juan de »


AVIGNON, ā´´vî´´nyēn´: The capital of the department of Vaucluse, southern France, situated on the Rhone, about 400 m. s.s.e. of Paris, and 50 m. n.n.w. of Marseilles. It became the papal residence in 1309, at which time it was under the rule of the kings of Sicily (the house of Anjou); in 1348 Pope Clement VI bought it from Queen Joanna I of Sicily for 80,000 gold gulden, and it remained a papal possession till 1791, when, during the disorders of the French Revolution, it was incorporated with France. Seven popes resided there,—Clement V, John XXII, Benedict XII, Clement VI, Innocent VI, Urban V, and Gregory XI; and during this period (1309-77; the so-called Babylonian Captivity of the popes) it was a gay and corrupt city. The antipopes Clement VII and Benedict XIII continued to reside there, the former during his entire pontificate (1378-94), the latter until 1408, when he fled to Aragon. Avignon was the seat of a bishop as early as the year 70, and became an archbishopric in 1476. Several synods of minor importance were held there, and its university, founded by Pope Boniface VIII in 1303 and famed as a seat of legal studies, flourished until the French Revolution. The walls built by the popes in the years immediately succeeding the acquisition of Avignon as papal territory are well preserved. The papal palace, a lofty Gothic building, with walls 17-18 feet thick, built 1335-64, long used as a barrack, is now to be turned into a museum.

« Aves, Henry Damerel Avignon Avila, Juan de »
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