Pope Clement IV

Pope Clement IV was the 183rd pope and the last man to hold the position for several years due to infighting among the cardinals. He was known for his interest in literature and his relationships with several writers. This article will look at some of his relationships and his papacy.

Early Life

Born in the Kingdom of France, the future pope was known as Gui Foucois. His father was Pierre who worked as a lawyer while his mother stayed home and raised their children. Gui enlisted in the military and decided to attend college when he returned home.

The knowledge that he gained of the legal system made him a popular man in several cities. Gui would later marry and have children, only finding his way to the Church after he became a widower. After becoming a pastor and a bishop, he worked as an archbishop and then a papal legate.

Papal Election

While living in France, Gui learned that the cardinals elected him as the next pope. He became friends with Charles of Anjou while living in disguise and later revealed himself. With his support, Gui returned to Rome for his coronation and official became Pope Clement IV.


During his papacy, Clement IV became a patron of literature while overseeing some of the feuds around Rome. Though he remained close to Charles, he disagreed with some of the steps that the man took, namely the cruel acts that he committed on a march into Naples.

He also disapproved of the beheading that Charles did while in Sicily. As he refused to speak out in public about those acts, some viewed him as an accomplice to those acts.


Pope Clement IV did not agree with some of the decisions made by Gregory IX. The former pope spoke out against the religious text called the Talmud and even had the text burned in some public settings.

Clement IV eventually ordered that Jewish men submit copies of the text and allowed others to censor the work. He also supported the efforts to end Mongol control and sent men to the region to help.

Though he gave Charles money for his war efforts, the pope wasn’t happy with what Charles did with those funds. Pope Clement IV spent most of his papacy living in Viterbo outside of Rome where he felt he could do the most help. The Church chose to bury him there.

List of Events In The Life of Pope Clement IV (Gui Foucois)

23 Nov 1190Born
11 Jun 125766.5SelectedBishop of Le Puy-en-Velay, France
19 Oct 125766.9ConfirmedBishop of Le Puy-en-Velay, France
Jan 125867.1Ordained BishopBishop of Le Puy-en-Velay, France
10 Oct 125968.8AppointedArchbishop of Narbonne, France
17 Dec 126171.0AppointedCardinal-Bishop of Sabina
17 Dec 126171.0Elevated to Cardinal
5 Feb 126574.2ElectedPope (Roma, Italy)
22 Feb 126574.2InstalledPope (Roma, Italy)
29 Nov 126878.0DiedPope (Roma, Italy)

Quick Facts About Pope Clement IV

  • He was born on November 23, 1190, in the Kingdom of France.
  • His birth name was Gui Foucois.
  • The pope died on November 29, 1268, in Viterbo.
  • His death was due to natural causes.
  • The papacy of Pope Clement IV began on February 5, 1265.
  • His papacy ended when Clement IV passed away.
  • Gregory X succeeded him as pope more than three years later.

Interesting Facts About Pope Clement IV

  • Pope Clement IV was one of the only popes to marry. He was the son-in-law of Simon de Malbois through that marriage. The pope also had two daughters with his wife.
  • The pope was close to Roger Bacon and encouraged some of his writings. Bacon credited the pope with his help when creating “Opus Majus.”
  • Clement IV spent nearly his entire papacy in Viterbo. After his death, his remains were interred in Santa Maria in Gradi outside of the city.
  • His papacy lasted for three years and 298 days.
  • The period following his death is known as the Interregnum. This period lasted for three years and left the Church without a pope as the cardinals could not reach a majority decision.