History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-5-2018


Gregory IX (pope 1227-41) asserted his papal authority over secular and religious leaders in an attempt to showcase the strength of the church. His pontificate took place between those of the famous Innocent III (1198-1216) and the powerful Innocent IV (1243-54), meaning that Gregory’s accomplishments are often overshadowed. This thesis aims to prove that Gregory is a worthy protagonist and a worthy subject of study in his own right. Comparing Gregory’s pontificate to those of his immediate predecessor and successor highlights the shifting nature of Gregory’s priorities. This work examines Gregory’s relationship with Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II regarding crusades and the emperor’s controversial relationship with Muslims. Gregory’s unique method of addressing Islam as a propagandistic tactic implies that he was more concerned with a group’s actions rather than its religious affiliation. The pope also had disagreements with St. Clare of Assisi regarding the privilege of poverty, and he tried to limit her monastery’s rights in an effort to secure his authority over female monastic orders. Pope Gregory IX knew how to play the political game, and he marks a transitional period in the papacy as a pope who strove to maintain his position of power.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Sarah Davis-Secord

Second Committee Member

Michael Ryan

Third Committee Member

Timothy Graham




Gregory IX, Frederick II, crusades, papal-imperial relations, Islam, Honorius III, Clare of Assisi

Document Type