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Clement V was the first of the Avignon Popes and his reputation has suffered from it. To history, his servility towards the French king Philip IV is what stands out, while his better sides are mostly forgotten. For the record, it is said that he was both kindly and devout, but it did not always show.

Bertrand de Got, the Archbishop of Bordeaux, was elected pope in 1305 after much controversy between pro- and anti- French. Since he was a Frenchman himself, it appears the pro side won. King Philip IV immediately demanded that the new pope be crowned in Lyons, instead of Vienna as de Got intended. After that the king pretty much dictated Clement V in all affairs concerning France: he got a papal rehabilition for himself and his minister Guillaume de Nogaret for attacking Pope Boniface VIII, and even a blessing for having opposed him. When the 'Fair King' outlawed the Knights Templars to get at their wealth, Clement let him.

Outside of the interest sphere of France, the Pope managed to use his power independently, however. He instated Albert I as ruler of Habsburg as well as ending a year-long conflict in Hungary by declaring Charles I Robert, or Carobert, king. He banned Robert the Bruce for staging a murder in a church. The Pope also founded universities in Orléans and Perugia and several schools for Oriental languages.

His nepotism was extreme even for his time, and a great deal of his cardinals were relatives. When he died they inherited such sums that the papal treasury was emptied. It would also take more than 2 years to agree on the next pope. Pope Clement V died about 55 years old in 1314, probably from stomach cancer. He never went to Rome.

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