The 14th century, from 1301 to 1400, opened with the birth of the "Babylonian Captivity". After the death of Boniface VIII in 1303, Clement V was elected. He never entered Rome, but instead took residence in Avignon in France. The popes would remain there for more than 70 years before returning to Rome.

With the Pope absent from Rome, others tried to fill the void. Cola di Rienzo seized power in 1347. His magistracy lasted only a few months before he was forced to flee. He tried again in 1354, this time as senator of Rome. Again, his rule lasted only a few months, and this time he was killed in a riot.

Charles IV of Bohemia was crowned by a cardinal in Rome in 1355, and was sorely disappointed by the city. But in 1368, he returned to be crowned again by Urban V, who was visiting the city. Urban did not like the air in Rome and returned to Avignon, but his successor Gregory XI chose to return the papacy to Rome in 1377.

In 1378, Pope Urban VI provoked the Western Schism, which seriously impeded all attempts to restore the city.


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