Clement VI, 1291–1352, pope (1342–52), a Frenchman named Pierre Roger; successor of Benedict XII. His court was at Avignon. He had been archbishop of Sens, archbishop of Rouen, and cardinal (1338). During his pontificate there was a major outbreak of the plague known as the Black Death (1348–50); Clement did what he could for sufferers. He tried to stem the wave of anti-Semitism brought on by the plague, and he did much to protect the Jews. In Roman affairs Clement at first favored Cola di Rienzi, then helped to defeat him. He had a quarrel with Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV over the annulment of Margaret Maultasch's marriage; the struggle was aggravated by enmity between the pope and the German archbishops, caused by the elevation of Prague into an archbishopric, detaching it from Mainz. The years before the onset of the Black Death were the heyday of papal Avignon, which Clement purchased (1348) from Joanna I. Clement spent extravagantly, had an elegant court, patronized the arts, and vastly favored his relatives. He was completely pro-French. He was succeeded by Innocent VI.
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