Sciarra Colonna

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Illustration of Colonna slapping Pope Boniface VIII by Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville, from François Guizot's The History of France from the Earliest Times to the Year 1789 (1883).

Sciarrillo Colonna, byname of Giacomo Colonna (1270-1329), was a member of the powerful Colonna family, and a strong enemy of Pope Boniface VIII. During the Outrage of Anagni, in September 1303, Sciarra reportedly slapped the pope in the face. He was brother to Stefano Colonna the Elder.

The Colonna family was earlier ruined during the reign of Boniface VIII. Close supporters of the former Pope Celestine V, who had been imprisoned by Boniface after his abdication, Sciarrillo's uncle, Giacomo Colonna, and brother Pietro were deposed of their positions in the Sacred College and stripped of their benefices and vestments. Together with the rest of the Colonna family, they were excommunicated and their last strongold, Palestrina, not far from Anagni, was stormed by papal forces.

It is said that Sciarrillo was involved in the attempted arrest of Pope Boniface VIII in 1303 by order of the French King Philip IV. Sciarrillo Colonna and Guillaume de Nogaret (lawyer and royal advisor of Philip IV) were to arrest the pope and bring him to France to stand trial, but this attempt failed. Pope Boniface VIII died one month later on the 11th of October in Italy.

Sciarrillo Colonna died in Venice in 1329.