chapter  15
Exile in Avignon and Aftermath
Pages 18

For almost seven decades of the fourteenth century the papacy resided not at Rome on the banks of the Tiber but at Avignon on the banks of the Rhone, north of the Alps, in what has been called (wrongly) the Babylonian Captivity. Far from Rome at Avignon, the bishops of Rome became the most flagrant absentee churchmen in medieval history, yet it was an absence which they plausibly – to themselves and to many others – felt they could justify. The question of their subservience to the wishes of the king of France also needs to be explored. The return of the papacy to Rome prompted the worst schism in the history of the Western church, which was to last till 1415.