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Eugenius IV

Pope from 1431. Born Gabriele Condulmaro, of a wealthy Venetian family, he entered an Augustinian monastery at an early age. Brought to the papal court by his uncle, Gregory XII, he was appointed cardinal priest of San Clemente in 1408. Under Martin V he governed the March of Ancona and Bologna for a time. On his election as pope he dismissed the Council of Basle convoked by Martin which had sought to limit papal power. The council refused to dissolve, and reasserted and extended the principle of conciliarism enunciated at the Council of Constance. Eugenius was forced to withdraw his dissolution in 1433. A popular insurrection in Rome led by the Colonnas caused him to flee to Florence. His relations with the council worsened. It tried to destroy papal authority completely and in 1439 elected Amadeus VII, duke of Savoy, as antipope (Felix V). Eugenius had, however, called a council at Ferrara, transferred later to Florence. He concluded a short-lived reunion of Eastern and Western churches (1439) and excommunicated the bishops at Basle. In 1443 he returned to Rome, and in 1444 promoted a crusade against the Turks which ended in defeat at Varna.