(Viterbo: 2 January 1259). 184 x 270 mm. (7 1/4 x 10 1/2"). Single column, 12 lines in a papal documentary script.
WITH THE ORIGINAL LEAD SEAL AND HEMP TIES ATTACHED. Verso with several notations in later hands, recto with the name of the pope written at the top of the document in a later hand. ◆A hint of overall soiling, a small dampstain affecting a few words (but not destroying legibility), a few vertical horizontal and vertical creases as expected, but all these imperfections quite minor, and the LEAD SEAL IN ESPECIALLY FINE CONDITION, with very little wear, and the relief work very well preserved.
In fine condition and retaining its original lead seal and ties, this papal bull, issued by Alexander IV, addresses a petition made by Bishop Seguntinus regarding the benefice of a village called (in the vernacular) Quinqueviga (possibly Quinqueinga), in the diocese of Toledo. It appears that this benefice had formerly belonged to Seguntinus, but had been reassigned, either to or by a different bishop named Palentinus, and this left Seguntinus without enough money to properly supply his mensa, or table. The pope orders that the schoolmaster, the deacon, and the archdeacon of Colera bring this matter to a resolution. Born Rinaldo Conti, Alexander IV (d. 1261) came from a powerful family that included the illustrious popes Innocent III and Gregory IX. Alexander IV's reign (1254-61) was known especially for three things: his efforts to reunite the Eastern and Western churches (including a failed attempt at a crusade against the Tartars), the institution of the Inquisition in France, and the continuation of his predecessor's policies of persecuting the surviving descendants of Emperor Frederick II. A great friend to the Franciscan Order, Alexander also attested to the truth of St. Francis of Assisi's stigmata, and canonized St. Clare, co-founder of the Poor Clares. The Papal Bull takes its name from the lead seals, called "bullae," that were issued with official documents of the papacy as a way of ensuring their authenticity. Apart from the rare Solemn Privilege (like Innocent III's famous granting of England in 1214 to his involuntary vassal King John), there are three other categories of Papal Bulls: Simple Privileges (also called Solemn Letters), Letters of Grace (which confirm privileges and rights), and Mandates (the present item being from this final type, differentiated by its use of hemp ties as opposed to silk). The present example includes an especially well-preserved seal with very sharp relief, and without the severe edge wear often seen in other specimens. Bulls issued by Alexander IV are uncommonly seen for sale. (ST17758)