Nicholas III, d. 1280, pope (1277?80), a Roman named Giovanni Gaetano Orsini; successor of John XXI. As a cardinal he made a great reputation in diplomacy, and he was a close confidant of popes for 30 years. He was elected pope after a six-month delay. Nicholas's principal efforts were directed to rendering the Holy See free of civil interference; he was most successful in obtaining renunciation by Rudolf I (Rudolf of Hapsburg) of all control over the Romagna. By passing laws preventing non-Romans from obtaining privileges in Rome, he quietly frustrated the ambitions of Charles I, king of Naples, to dominate central Italy. He was the first pope in a century to live regularly in Rome, and he has been called the founder of the Vatican. He was succeeded by Martin IV.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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