Colonna(kōlôn`nä), noble Roman family that played a leading part in the history of Rome from the 12th to the 16th cent. They were hereditary enemies of the OrsiniOrsini
, powerful Roman family that included three popes and numerous other churchmen, soldiers and statesmen. The eponymous ancestor was one Ursus. Giacinto Orsini, who became Pope Celestine III in 1191, founded the family's greatness.
..... Click the link for more information. and Caetani families, generally siding with the Ghibellines, or antipapal faction, against the Guelph alliance (see Guelphs and GhibellinesGuelphs and Ghibellines
, opposing political factions in Germany and in Italy during the later Middle Ages. The names were used to designate the papal (Guelph) party and the imperial (Ghibelline) party during the long struggle between popes and emperors, and they were also used
..... Click the link for more information. ). Sciarra Colonna, d. 1329, a bitter enemy of Pope Boniface VIIIBoniface VIII,
1235–1303, pope (1294–1303), an Italian (b. Anagni) named Benedetto Caetani; successor of St. Celestine V.
As a cardinal he was independent of the factions in the papal court, and he opposed the election of Celestine.
..... Click the link for more information. , was excommunicated, fled to the court of King Philip IV of France, and led, with Chancellor Nogaret, the French expedition that captured (1303) Boniface. As senator of Rome, Sciarra supported Holy Roman Emperor Louis IVLouis IV
or Louis the Bavarian,
1287?–1347, Holy Roman emperor (1328–47) and German king (1314–47), duke of Upper Bavaria. After the death of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII the Luxemburg party among the electors set aside Henry's son, John of Luxemburg,
..... Click the link for more information. during his Italian expedition and bestowed the imperial crown on him in 1328, but he was forced into exile when Louis departed shortly afterward. Despite its antipapal attitude, the family produced in Pope Martin VMartin V,
1368–1431, pope (1417–31), a Roman named Oddone Colonna; successor of Gregory XII. He was created cardinal by Innocent VII, and in the schism (see Schism, Great) he attended and supported the decisions of the Council of Pisa (see Pisa, Council of).
..... Click the link for more information. (Oddone Colonna) one of the most successful advocates of papal authority. Fabrizio Colonna, d. 1520, was a general of the Holy LeagueHoly League,
in Italian history, alliance formed (1510–11) by Pope Julius II during the Italian Wars for the purpose of expelling Louis XII of France from Italy, thereby consolidating papal power.
..... Click the link for more information. against King Louis XII of France. His daughter was Vittoria ColonnaColonna, Vittoria, marchesa di Pescara
, 1492–1547, Italian poet; daughter of Fabrizio Colonna. Her love for her husband, Ferrante d'Avalos, is the subject of part of her lamenting verse. After his death (1525) she lived in convents, devoting herself to religious reform.
..... Click the link for more information. (see separate article). Prospero Colonna, 1452–1523, Fabrizio's cousin, also fought the French in the Italian Wars and defeated them (1522) at La Bicocca. Marcantonio Colonna, 1535–84, duke of Paliano, commanded the papal forces in the battle of Lepanto (1571) against the Turks. Many other members of the family distinguished themselves in the service of the Holy See and of Spain. Three lines of the family, all of princely rank, are still in existence. The Colonna Palace in Rome was begun by Martin V.
a Roman feudal family. The first reliable information on the family refers to the 12th century.
The Colonna had huge estates in Rome, the Papal territory, and southern Italy. They played an important role in political life up to the 16th century. They constantly competed with the Orsini family. In the struggle between the emperor and the pope, they most often took the side of the Ghibellines. The Colonna family exerted considerable influence on papal elections. Pope Martin V (1417–31), a member of the family, was noted for his nepotistic policy. The cardinals Jacopo Colonna (died 1318) and Pietro Colonna (died 1326) along with Sciarra Colonna (brother of Jacopo, died 1329) carried on a bitter struggle against Pope Boniface VIII. The Colonna family headed the struggle of Roman feudal lords against the movement of Cola di Rienzi. The condottiere Prospero Colonna (1452–1523) was a member of the family. During the Italian Wars of 1494–1559, he commanded the imperial troops that defeated the French at La Bicocca (1522).