30 October 2013

Antelm the Nasty

Antelm's view and castle of Patras 700 years later.

Antelm the Nasty was very nearly the worst person in the whole world. He comes to attention as the first Frankish archbishop of Patras. "Nasty" is the name Chris Schabel gave him in an outstanding paper (see below), and there is no reason to disagree with that assessment. When William of Chaplitte took the surrender of Patras in 1205, he appointed canons for Patras, and the canons elected Antelm Archbishop. He had to be ordained a priest first.

He spent his time in extraordinary legal and political entanglements, with two popes, and two Villehardouins, and just about everyone else, traveling back and forth to Rome a number of times. The man's persistence in arguing was amazing.

Now, the Pope has just suspended a German bishop for spending too much money on personal luxuries, a lot of money. After complaints from the Bishop of Coron, the Archbishop of Corinth, the Archbishop of Larissa, a cardinal, and a great many others -- "battered our ears," here are the 30 reasons why Pope Honorius suspended Antelm:
  1. He laid violent hands on the treasurer of the Church of Patras, and then said mass without having been absolved.
  2. He violently pushed a priest who was celebrating mass, spilled and stole the chalice, trampled the host, and had accomplices strip the priest of his vestments.
  3. He whipped a priest who could not pay him money he was trying to extort, put the priest backwards on an ass, hands tied behind his back, and had him whipped through Andravida.
  4. He had a canon of Olen whipped bloody and took his horse, and then said mass without absolution.
  5. When the Dean of Cephalonia (?) excommunicated him, he said mass.
  6. He said mass while he was suspended, and never paid satisfaction to the treasurer of Patras, within the time he was sworn to.
  7. He squandered the goods of the Church of Patras and used them to buy possessions in Burgundy, and extorted 100,000 hyperpera from the subjects of the Church.
  8. He kept men of the Church in prison so long that when they were taken out half-alive they died afterwards, and he had his own servant gouge out the eye of one of them.
  9. He promoted an excommunicate to holy orders, and conferred a priory on him.
  10. He performed the vice of infamous incontinence.
  11. He maintained incontinent clerics.
  12. He surrendered Latins and their lands to the Greeks.
  13. By his negligence the Church of Patras suffered partial ruin
  14. He falsified the privileges of the emperors of Constantinople and some papal affirmations and letters.
  15. He removed nearly all the ornaments of the Church of Patras.
  16. Having put aside the Cistercian habit, he conferred himself to the monastery of Casa Dei, and finally worked in a secular habit.
  17. He entertained pirates and gave them support so that they might capture and kill travellers.
  18. He gave indulgences to those who killed Templars, and in his very own presence many of them were killed.
  19. Despite the interdict by Gervais, Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, he celebrated mass.
  20. He so completely destroyed the abbeys of Galea and Gerochoma that no one remained in them.
  21. He incurred excommunication by detaining William de Lu[?]y in prison without cause and having violent hands be laid upon him.
  22. He had the eyes gouged out of one whom he had sworn by oath to protect.
  23. He had had some Greek abbots put in prison, and had the beard forcibly shaved off one of them.
  24. He had Herman, his servant, gouge out the eye of one of them and mutilate the foot of another, from which cause he met with death.
  25. He had the eye of one pulled out because he could not pay him the 10 hyperpera that he owed him.
  26. He had a certain Greek cleric be hanged.
  27. He had the eye removed from a certain layperson, and then had him tied up with rope, and set on fire, which person expired from this affliction.
  28. He had a certain Greek priest thrown into the sea, who, although he was pulled out, was only half-alive, and before he made it home, he exhaled his spirit.
  29. He had someone thrown from a tower, who for this reason perish.
  30. And he even dared to maintain heretics.
"Therefore, although the archbishop, even if not of all the aforesaid, was found guilty of enough of them that one could have prodeeded against him very severely, we however, the rigor of severity being tempered by the mildness of mercy, have decided to provide thus in this case: Indeed, we have suspended that archbishop from his pontifical duties for a year, ordering that for that year he shall live according to a rule in some monastery . . . the same archbishop shall behave such that we are not compelled to change mercy into judgment."

This material is taken from Chris Schabel's "Antelm the Nasty," Diplomatics in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1000-1500: Aspects of Cross-Cultural Communication. Eds, A. Beihammer, M. Parani, & C. Schabel (2008).

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