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.
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