Undergraduate ideas about medieval papal history tend to take the following form. In the late eleventh and early twelfth century the papacy led a reform movement and increased its power. In the mid- to late twelfth century its spiritual authority waned as its legal activities expanded. Innocent III gave a new lease of life to the institution by extending its protection to those elements in the effervescent spiritual life of the time which were prepared to keep their enthusiasm for evangelical preaching and apostolic poverty within the limits of doctrinal orthodoxy. By the middle of the thirteenth century, however, the papacy was more preoccupied with Italian politics than with the harnessing of spiritual enthusiasm. Its power and prestige remained great until the beginning of the fourteenth century, when Pope Boniface VIII was humiliated by the forces of the French King, acting with the Colonna family. The ‘Babylonian Captivity’ at Avignon, which followed shortly afterwards, was a period of grandiose claims and real weakness in relation to secular powers (especially France), of financial exploitation of the clergy, and of costly involvement in Italian wars. The Great Schism and the Conciliar Movement marked a still lower point in the religious prestige of the papacy. In the later fifteenth century the superiority of pope over council came to be generally recognized. Moreover, the papal state, in central Italy, was consolidated to provide a relatively secure base, and popes became patrons of painting and humanism. The patronage was a largely secular matter, however, and the papal court that of a secular prince. As for the popes’ control over the Western Church, it was limited, at least in practice, by the power of kings and princes over the clergy of their territories. Above all, the idea of sovereign papal authority in the religious sphere no longer had any connection with the real forces of religious sentiment and spirituality.