.p8 THE BRITISH ACADEMY
Benedict IX and Gregory VI
Reginald L. Poole
Fellow of the Academy
[From the Proceedings of the British Academy, Pol.
Published for the British Academy
By Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press
Amen Corner, E.G.
I'rice Three Shillings net
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI
BY REGINALD L. POOLE
FELLOW OF THE ACADEMY
Communicated October 31, 1917
IT is a famous story that in 1046 King Henry III of Germany
went into Italy and held a synod at which three Popes were deposed.
It appears in perhaps its most picturesque form in the Bari annals
known as the Chronicle of Lupus Protospatharius, an author who
wrote about forty years later and who did not so much as know the
German king's name. 'In this year', he says, f Conus', that is
Conrad, 'king of the Alemans went to Rome because there were
three Popes there : Silvester in St. Peter's Church, Gregory in the
Lateran, and Benedict in the Tusculan. They were expelled, and
Clement was consecrated by the aforesaid emperor.' 1 Now there is
no doubt that at various dates in the preceding two years three men
had occupied the Holy See ; but whether all the three were claimants
to it in 1046 is still disputed.
The three Popes in question were, first, Theophylact or Boniface IX,
of the family of the Counts of Tusculum, who had succeeded two
uncles in the Papacy in 1032 ; secondly, John, Bishop of Sabina, who
took the name of Silvester III ; and thirdly, John, otherwise known
as Gratian, who became Gregory VI. For the purpose of the
criticism of our authorities the vital point is that, when this last,
Gregory VI, was deposed and banished to Germany, he was accom-
panied by a young man who rose to the greatest influence in the
Church as Archdeacon Hildebrand and who, when he became Pope
in 1073, showed his firm attachment to his friend by adopting the
name of Gregory VII. 2 It is evident that, whatever may have been the
rights and the wrongs of the case, the position of Gregory VI could
naturally be regarded in a different way from what it had been before,
1 ' Hoc anno venit Conus rex Alemannorum Romam, eo quod erant ibi tres
papae, Silvester in ecclesia sancti Petri, in Laterano Gregorius, et Benedictus in
Tusculano ; quibus eiectis consecratus est Clemens a praedicto imperatore ' :
Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores, v. (1844) 58 f.
2 See my paper on the Names and Numbers of Medieval Popes, in the English
Historical Review, xxxii. 470-492, 1917 ; cf. infra, p. 25, n. 5.
2 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
when Hildebrand openly declared himself a supporter of his canonical
rank as Pope. We may therefore expect that a Hildebrandine
version of the facts would emerge and would become more distinct
as the controversy between Pope and Emperor developed. It is thus
necessary to separate the accounts which were composed at this later
time from those which are more nearly contemporary ; and we must
bear in mind that more than a quarter of a century elapsed between
the proceedings of 1046 and Hiklebrand's elevation to the Papacy.
We must also take into consideration the fact that Henry Ill's
action was so remarkable that it could not fail to be summarized in
a form which enhanced his majesty and power. At various moments
in the two preceding years there had been three claimants to the
Apostolic See : on Henry^s appearance in Rome not one of them
remained; the field was clear, and the German king secured the
election of a German bishop as Pope. Could this be more succinctly
described than by saying that he deposed three Popes and set up
Clement ? l This is in fact the form in which Clement described his
appointment to the church of Bamberg : cum illud caput mundi, ilia
Romana sedes, haeretico morbo laboraret, Henry intervened, and,
explosis tribus illis quibus idem nomen papatus rapina dederat, the
Divine grace caused him to be chosen Pope. 1 There is therefore,
besides the Hildebrandine tradition, an Imperial version to reckon
Moreover, there was a third strain of tradition which was opposed
to the party of reform, but which still less favoured the Imperial
intervention. This may be distinguished as the anti- German or local
Roman statement of the facts. It grew up slowly, but ended by
superseding the others in the late medieval texts of the Lives of the
1 Adalbert, Vita Henrici II Imper., in Monumenta Germaniae Historica,
Scriptores, iv. 800 ; Jaffe, Regesta Pontif. Rom., 2nd ed., no. 4149.
3 SteindoriFs excursus on the Roman journey of Henry III (Jahrbiicher der
Deutechen Geschichte unter Heinrich III, i. 456-510, 1874) is so excellent
a piece of work that later students have for the most part considered themselves
dispensed from undertaking a fresh examination of the materials. It is true that,
through following an error of Jaffe's, he misled scholars for a generation into
placing the disruption of the Papacy in 1044 instead of 1045 (see my paper on
Papal Chronology in the Eleventh Century, in the English Historical Review,
xxxii. 210, n. 29, 1917). But in other respects he is at once thorough and acute,
particularly in his discrimination between the authorities which are of con-
temporary value and those which are affected by the later controversies under
Alexander II and Gregory VII. The remarkable thing is that the conclusions
arrived at in this excursus have had little influence on the book itself, in which
later evidence is constantly cited and accepted on the same terms as that of
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 3
One would like first of all to know what account of the matter
was given in Rome itself at the time when the events took place.
Unfortunately the Liber Pontificalis, which may almost be called
the official collection of the Lives of the Popes, is not at our disposal.
It ends abruptly in the last decade of the ninth century, and is not
resumed in a form deserving the name of an historical narrative until
1073. During the interval we have, with rare exceptions, only
meagre lists containing the Pope's name and the length of his
pontificate, with perhaps a few particulars of his parentage and
birthplace. The complicated succession of Popes between 1044 and
1046, however, made a somewhat more extended record necessary ;
and for these events the lists furnish at least the outline of a narra-
tive. But there is no list preserved in an actually contemporary
manuscript, and curiously enough not one of the existing texts was
written at Rome. If we follow the careful analysis of them published
by Commendatore Giorgi in 1897, the earliest manuscript which
contains any details about the time in which we are interested was
drawn up in 1087 at the Sabine monastery of Farfa. At Farfa also,
he thinks, a transcript of it was made not long afterwards, which
passed to the monastery of La Cava and was printed as the received
text of the Liber Pontificalis for the time in the editions previous
to the standard one of Monsignor Duchesne. Other copies, some
of them abbreviated, were written during the following thirty or forty
years, either in the shape of chronological lists or else embedded in
chronicles. The earliest list then was written in a manuscript, which
we still possess, more than forty years after the contest of 1044-6.
But we may conclude from the slightness of the differences between
the texts that they depend upon an earlier source. Commendatore
Giorgi is of opinion that that source is the Farfa manuscript ; I am
inclined to think that at least two different texts were in existence. 1
But the precision with which the dates of each pontificate are
recorded though here, as might be expected, there are various
readings appears to justify the inference that they are based on
an official Roman list, in which the succession of the Popes with the
exact length of their pontificates was set out. 2 I suggest therefore
1 In the following paragraphs I resume the conclusions at which I arrived in
a paper on Papal Chronology in the Eleventh Century, ubi supra, pp. 204-14.
2 This view of the strictly Roman origin of the Farfa lists has heen supported
since Commendatore Giorgi wrote by Monsignor Duchesne, in his paper on
Serge III et Jean XI in the Melanges d'Archeologie et d'Histoire, xxxiii. (1913)
25-41. [In a more recent discussion of the subject, Archivio della R. Societa
Komana di Storia Patria, xxxix. (1916) 513-36, Commendatore Giorgi maintains
substantially the opinion which he had formerly expressed. Two points in this
4 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
that, though the manuscripts are forty years or more later, they
present a record of contemporary value.
The following is the purport of the text preserved at Farfa :
Benedict nephew of the preceding Popes sat fourteen years. 1
And he was cast out of the pontificate, and there was appointed in
the apostolic see John the Sabine bishop, to whom they gave the
name Silvester ; and he wrongfully occupied the pontifical throne
for 49 days. 2 And being cast out therefrom, the aforesaid Benedict
recovered it and held the pontificate one month and 21 days.
Then he himself gave 3 it to John archcanon of St. John at the
Latin Gate, his godfather, on the first of May; to whom they
gave the name Gregory. And he 4 held the pontificate for one
year and eight months less eleven days ; 6 and he lost it through
the Emperor by process of law and was led by him to the parts
beyond the Alps. 6
This narrative, on the face of it, relates, first, that an Antipope,
Silvester, was set up against Benedict but ejected after seven weeks ;
secondly, that Benedict after another seven weeks handed over his office
to Gratian, who held it undisturbed for more than a year and a half.
There is no hint that there were three Popes at any one time : there
is an Antipope who is promptly expelled and then his rival abdicates.
Not a word is said to suggest that the Antipope, Silvester, ever after-
wards made any claim to reassert his title. The dates make it clear
that he was deposed in March 1045. 7
The Roman lists which I have just quoted have the merit of extreme
simplicity : they merely record the succession of the Popes and the
lengths of their pontificates ; they say nothing about the good or the
evil character of one Pope or another, or about any malpractices in
article are of special interest : the author thinks first that the Farfa list was
written not at the monastery itself hut at the cell which it possessed at Rome
(pp. 522 f., 526, 535); and secondly he gives reasons for believing that the
part down to 1048 was actually compiled not long after July in that very year
(pp. 533 f.).]
1 The MS. originally added ' 4 months and 20 days ', but these words are
cancelled. The La Cava MS. has ' 4 months ' only. There were probably two
variant durations given in different lists : one of 14 years, the other of 12 years
4 months and 20 days, which is found in the Subiaco list.
* The La Cava MS. reads 56 days '.
8 Gregory of Cattno, who worked from this list, altered dedit into vendidit :
Chron. Farfense, ii. 244, ed. U. Balzani, 1903.
4 The La Cava MS. has ' Gregory, who is called Gratian '.
5 The La Cava MS. reads ' 2 years and 6 months '.
Archivio della R. Societa Romana di Storia Patria, xx. (1897) 310 f.
7 Steindorff, i. 258 f. , placing Silvester's elevation a year too early, says that in
the very next month he attended a synod held by Boniface and subscribed its
acts' in the style of John bishop of the holy Sabine church (Ughelli, Italia Sacra,
v. 1115.) The date is April, in the 12th Indiction, which is 1044.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 5
the manner by which the Papacy was conferred. Only two possible
indications of passing judgement appear : one is the statement that
Silvester occupied the see iniuste, which indeed was self-evident ; and
the second is the concluding statement that Gregory was deposed
legaliter, which need not be pressed to mean more, than that the act
was that of a lawfully constituted body.
The chronological notes call for closer examination. 1 They point
to the existence of two variant lists, each consistent with itself, but
each drawn up on a different theory as to the dates when the pontifi-
cates of Benedict IX and Gregory VI came to their end. The intervals
of days are given with minute accuracy and they are in absolute
agreement with the days of the month recorded in the Annales
Romani, the compiler of which, though he wrote long after the time
in the last years of Gregory VII or perhaps a little later, 2 un-
questionably made use of early materials of a documentary character.
These Annals tell us more particulars of what happened. Towards
the end of 1044, 3 before 22 November, the townsmen of Rome rose up
against Benedict IX and drove him out. Then there was a conflict
between them and the men beyond Tiber, and they set forth to lay
siege to this district on 7 January. A battle took place in which they
were beaten. On the third day, Wednesday the 9th, there was au
earthquake. Then the Romans elected John bishop of the Sabina,
and named him Silvester. He held the Papacy for forty-nine days,
when he was deposed and Benedict was restored to his see. But
Benedict could not endure the people of Rome, and he resigned his
office to Gratian, the archpriest of St. John at the Latin Gate, on
1 May, to whom they gave the name Gregory; and he held the
pontificate for 1 year and 8 months, less 11 days. 4 To complete the
dates we must add from the Papal lists that Benedict's period of
restoration lasted for 1 month and 21 days. 6 Now it was the rule
1 Compare my paper on Papal Chronology in the Eleventh Century, ubi supra,
pp. 209 f.
* Duchesne, Liber Pontif. ii. intr. p. xxiiifc. Commendatore Giorgi is of
opinion that the writer made direct use of the Farfa catalogue : Archivio della
Societa Romana di Storia Patria, xx. 289 f.
* The year is given by an obvious slip as nuclvi. The Annals add, in the
13th Indiction, in the 12th year of Benedict IX. The year is fixed by the mention
of an eclipse, which occurred on 22 November 1044. This ought to have saved
a number of 'modern historians from carrying back these events to the winter
4 Annales Romani, in Liber Pontif. ii. 331.
8 Similarly Gregory of Catino says ' post mensem i' (Chron. Farfense, ii. 264).
SteindorflTs proposed emendation of one year and 21 days (i. 489 f.) was rendered
necessary by his mistake as to the year in which Benedict was deposed.
6 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
that the Pope should be ordained on a Sunday. If Silvester III was
appointed on 20 January, his 49 days take us to 10 March ; * that
was the day of Benedict's restoration. Then 1 month and 21 days
lead exactly to 1 May.
I lay stress upon the minute accuracy of these details, because it
furnishes a presumption of the trustworthiness of other chronological
data supplied by the lists. Some of these assign to Benedict a pon-
tificate of 12 years 4 months and 20 days ; others one of 14 years.
The question is, at what point are the periods supposed to terminate.
Not surely, as is suggested as a possible alternative by Monsignor
Duchesne, 2 in January 1045, when Benedict was driven out for a brief
space of time. The shorter duration given for his pontificate must
end at his resignation on 1 May, and 12 years 4 months and 20 days
would carry us back to 12 December 1032 for his accession. It is not
known with certainty when his predecessor John XIX died or when he
himself was elected. 3 The time was one of extreme obscurity, and it
is possible that the record in the Papal lists is not absolutely correct.
But it cannot be very far wrong. The longer period stated in some of
these lists is 14 years. This is a round number, which allows of an
elastic interpretation ; it may be a few days or weeks too long or too
short. But if we reckon 14 years from December 1032 we arrive at
the time of Henry IIPs intervention, at the time when he held two
synods on 20 and 24 December 1046 and, according to one account of
the matter, formally deposed Benedict. Which of the two statements
represents the facts I do not at this stage presume to decide ; but it
may be said that in a Roman list it is more likely that the date when
a Pope resigned would be taken as the end of his pontificate rather than
that when he was deposed, if deposed he was. On general grounds,
therefore, I should be inclined to think that the longer period recorded
indicates a later revision of the figures. It is worth noticing that the
writer of the Farfa list gives 14 years 4 months and 20 days, but the
months and days are deleted. Evidently he had before him two lists,
one of which read 12 years 4 months and 20 days, and accidentally
1 Some lists give 56 days, evidently believing that the ordination took place
on 13 January. This involves no derangement in the chronology.
* Liber Pontif. ii. intr. , p. Ixxii ft.
8 Sigiior Fedele has produced evidence from the dating clauses of private
charters that John XIX was believed to have died before 13 October 1032
(Archivio della R. Societa Romana di Storia Patria, xxii. 67, 1899) ; and Signor
Buzzi, that Benedict IX became Pope after 23 August but before 7 September
(ibid., xxxv. 619, 621 f., 1912). But such dates in the eleventh century are not
always safe guides, and for the present I am inclined to accept the recorded obit
of Pope John on 6 November : see my paper on Papal Chronology, ubi supra,
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 7
conflated the readings. In order to be consistent he ought to have
corrected the 14 into 12, for the 14 involves Benedict's deposition in
December 1046, and of any such deposition his narrative is silent.
We may, infer, however, from this textual detail that this deposition
had become recognized in some papal lists which were current at the
time when the Farfa writer drew up his.
A similar discrepancy occurs with regard to the length of the pon-
tificate of Gregory VI. Some lists give 1 year and 8 months less 11
days ; that is, they make it end exactly on 20 December 1046, the
date of the synod of Sutri. Others extend it to 2 years and 6 months,
that is to about 1 November 1047. l The meaning of this computa-
tion seems to have escaped notice ; but it can only mean one thing,
namely that Gregory was regarded as the lawful Pope as long as he
lived. Incidentally it furnishes the only evidence for the approximate
date of his death, and it confirms the statement of the scurrilous
pamphleteer, Cardinal Beno, that this took place about the same time
as that of Clement II, 2 who died on 9 October.
These varieties of reading are of value because they point to a
difference of opinion in Roman circles as to the authentic succession
of the Popes. One view held that Benedict ceased to be Pope on
1 May 1045 and that Gregory who followed him was the rightful
Pope down to his death. The other view terminated both their
pontificates in December 1046, and thus imply that they were
deposed. Of Silvester III after his transient intrusion in 1045
nothing is said. 3 It is in the accounts written by foreigners that
three Popes are brought upon the scene when Henry III came into
By a strange chance it appears that our earliest record of the events
of 1046 comes from the Westphalian monastery of Corvey. The
Annals written in that house are extremely scanty; they are mere
insertions in an Easter table : but for a good part of the eleventh
1 It is a mere mistake when Desiderius of Monte Cassino says that Gregory VI
had ruled for two years and eight months before Henry entered Italy : Dialog.
Hi., in Migne's Patrol. Lat. cxlix. 1005. Evidently he confounded the reckon-
ings in the variant lists.
8 Defuncto autem in exilio sexto itto Gregorio, Hiidebrandus perfidiae gimul et
pecuniue eius heres extitit. Eodem tempore Clemens papa defunctus est : Gesta
Romanae Ecclesiae, ii. 8, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de Lite
Imperatorum et Pontificum, ii. (1892) 378.
3 A document in the Regesto di Farfa, no. 1234, vol. v. 220, drawn up in
March 1046, is dated ' in the time of Gregory VI and of John the bishop and
of Crescentius and John counts of the Sabine territory '.
8 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
century the notices are added from time to time in contemporary
hands and are preserved in the original autograph. The order of the
entries is not always clear. I follow Jaffe's arrangement in the
present instance because he had the manuscript before him and
designedly abandoned the order in which Pertz had given the notices. 1
I have unfortunately no means of examining the manuscript, which
is preserved at Hanover. Now these notices hardly say a word about any
but German affairs until the entry for 1046 isended. Then comes a fresh
entry for the same year, which looks like the production of a man
who went into Italy in Henry Ill's train. He begins by describing an
earthquake which occurred in the valley of Trent on 11 November
and the obstruction of the river Taro, which was caused by the fall of
rocks. This river he would cross on the road between Piacenza and
Parma, and as Henry was at Pavia on 28 October, the Corvey
annalist or his informant may have been in the neighbourhood at the
time. He then proceeds :
A great synod, the first, was held at Pavia, in the presence of
Henry, then king ; a second, at Sutri, in which in the king's presence
according to the appointments of the canons, two Popes, the second
and the last, were deposed; a third, at Rome on Tuesday and
Wednesday, which was the eve of the Lord's Nativity, in which
Pope Benedict was canonically and synodically deposed, and by
the unanimous election of the clergy and people Suidger bishop of
Bamberg was appointed in his place, and being consecrated next
day by the name of Pope Clement he crowned Henry emperor by
the choice and full approval of the Roman people. 2
The annalist next records the death of Clement II in 1047, and there
is no further mention of the Papacy until 1111.
It is plain that the writer of these notes was not told very much.
He knows only the name of one of the three Popes whose fall he
describes. If I may venture upon an hypothesis, I would suggest
that he heard talk about three men who were still alive having claimed
the Papacy during the past two years, and learned that Benedict was
deposed on Christmas Eve. As his removal left the field clear for the
election of Clement II, he not unnaturally inferred that two Popes
were deposed at Sutri. But it was really the deprivation of Gregory,
as simoniacally elected, which made the resignation of Benedict
invalid and thus required that he should be deposed. There is no
reason to believe that any formal action was taken against Silvester,
who had long subsided into obscurity in his Sabine bishopric.
Mou uni. Germ. Hist, Script, iii. (1839) 6
Monum. Uerm. Hist., Script, iii. (1839) 6.
Annales Corbeienses, s.a., in Jaffe's Monumenta Corbeiensia, pp. 40 f. (1864).
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 9
Another very early account of the entire series of transactions at
Rome was written in the Suabian monastery of Reichenau on the
lower Lake of Constance. The house had long been renowned as
the seat of a great learned tradition, and its chronicler at the middle
of the eleventh century, Herman the Cripple, is reputed the most
conscientious and trustworthy historian of the time. From 1040 to
1052, when he died at the age of forty-one, his work is absolutely
contemporary. There are grounds for believing that he made use of
a Papal list in an earlier and purer form than any of the Italian manu-
scripts, but this list is only preserved in a copy a century later, and
we have to take what Herman gives embodied or paraphrased in his
Chronicle. It may be added that the bishop of Constance attended
Henry III in his visit to Italy in 1046 ; and, though he died during
his stay there, he no doubt did not journey unattended, and Herman
may have learned something of what happened from the bishop's
Now Herman tells us that in 1044 Benedict was by many accused
(criminatus) and was expelled by the Romans from his see. They
then set up one Silvester in his place. But a party came to Benedict's
support, and he excommunicated and drove out Silvester. But after-
wards he abdicated, and contrary to the canons appointed another
man out of avarice. According to this account there was no question
of three Popes being in existence at the same time. For Silvester had
been excommunicated and deposed, and Benedict had voluntarily
resigned the Papacy. However improper were the means by which
he secured the office, this third man Herman mentions no name
was the only claimant. In 1046, he proceeds, Henry III held a
synod at Pavia and then went on to Piacenza, where Gratian, whom
the Romans had made Pope after the expulsion of the others, came
to him and was received with honour. It almost seems as though
the information which reached Reichenau distinguished Gratian from
the unnamed person to whom Benedict had disposed of the Papacy.
Herman then relates that Henry went on to Sutri, where a synod was
held and the case of the ' erroneous ' Popes diligently examined.
Gratian was convicted and deprived of his see. No reason is assigned
for his deprivation, but it is clear from the fact that he had had an
honourable reception at Piacenza that he was treated on a different
footing from Benedict ; we may even say, that he was the one man who
at that time was considered to have any claim to the Papacy. But
before deciding on the validity of his claim it was necessary to inquire
into the circumstances in which the Papacy had changed hands so
irregularly in 1045. It is not said that either Benedict or Silvester
was deprived by the synod : they were treated as having already
ceased to be Popes. Only Gratian was deposed. 1
Two points may be noticed. Herman, as I have observed, does
not expressly say that Gratian was the third of the three Popes who
came upon the scene in 1044. His words even suggest that all
three were deposed and that Gratian was elected in their place. This
was certainly the sense in which the statement was understood by
Otto of Freising 2 a century later. Secondly, Herman does not say
that Gratian assumed the name of Gregory VI. Had he written
after Hildebrand had shown his adhesion to Gratian by calling him-
self Gregory VII, the chronicler's silence would be easy to explain ;
he might have wished to dissociate Hildebrand from the deposed
Pope. But Herman, I have said, died in 1052, more than twenty
years before Hildebrand succeeded to the Papacy. I can therefore
only infer that the story which reached Reichenau told that a certain
Gratian was made Pope, that he was favourably received by Henry III,
and that shortly afterwards he was deprived for what reason is not
stated 3 by the synod of Sutri. An essential fact had been concealed
from Herman's knowledge.
If Herman was only partially acquainted with what happened we
need not be surprised if the reports which reached Germany later
were still less well furnished with accurate information. For example,
the Annals of Niederaltaich were written about twenty or twenty-five
years after the events in which we are interested ; and the monastery,
situated on the Danube between Ratisbon and Passau, was in a
favourable position for hearing news from Italy. This is the account
we there read of the synod of Sutri :
The cause of this assembly was three Popes who were all alike
living at that time. For the first of them abandoned the see by
reason of an unlawful marriage which he contracted ; he retired by
his own will rather than by the pressure of any opposition. Where-
fore, while he was still living in the flesh, the Romans conspired
together and set up another Pope. The first, however, sold his
office for money to a third, because in his wrath he refused that
one subject to him should have it. To be brief, they were all
judged in this synod, and deposed ; and Suitger bishop of Bamberg,
a man worthy of the see, was chosen by the whole council of clergy
and people. 4
1 No Acts of the synod are now preserved.
2 Chron. vi. 32, p. 299, ed. A. Hofineister, 1912.
3 It is hinted at in the Catalogus Augiensis (Eccard, Corpus Historicum, ii.
1640), which, though only preserved in a later manuscript, is believed to
represent the Papal list used by Herman : Gratianus a Romanis constitutus, quern
rex Henricus convictum causa erroneorum pastorali baculo privavit.
4 Annales Altahenses maiores, a. 1046, ed. G. H. Pertz, 1868.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 11
Here we note the suppression of all the names, and this is again the
more interesting, because the notice was written before Gregory VII
became Pope : it was not influenced by the controversy which followed.
It is not, however, essentially inconsistent with the other German
accounts which I have quoted. The only new point which it brings
in is the story of Pope Benedict's marriage. 1
After Hildebrand became Pope and marked his attachment to
Gregory VI in the plainest manner by adopting his name, it was
natural, as I said at the beginning, that the events of 1046 should
assume a different aspect. This we find well displayed in one of the
Dialogues of Desiderius abbot of Monte Cassino, 2 who succeeded
Hildebrand as Victor III and very likely learned from him his ver-
sion of what took place. 3 He draws a strong contrast between the
demerits of Benedict IX, whose misdoings he can hardly bring
himself to describe, and the high character of the man to whom he
resigned the Papacy ; but he does not conceal the fact that the trans-
action was accompanied by a money payment (non parva ab eo accepta
pecunid). What is more important is the way in which he tells us
the circumstances in which Gregory VI ceased to be Pope. Before,
he says, the German king entered Rome,
he assembled a council of very many bishops and abbots, clergy
and monks in the city of Sutri, and asked John, who was called
Gregory, to come to him, sending to him bishops in order that
ecclesiastical business and especially the situation of the Roman
church, which then appeared to have three Popes, might be dis-
cussed under his presidency. But this was done by design, for the
king had long determined that with the counsel and authority of
the whole council he would rightfully depose those three men who
had unrightfully usurped the Apostolic See, and that a man should
be appointed by the election of the clergy and people who would
devote himself to the charge of the Lord's flock in conformity with
the ordinances of the holy Fathers. Therefore the aforesaid pontiff,
at the urgent request of the king and the bishops, willingly went
to Sutri, where the synod was assembled, in the hope that the other
two might be deposed and the Popedom be confirmed to him alone.
But when he arrived there, and the matter began to be raised and
debated by the synod, he recognized that he was unable rightfully
to administer the functions of so great a charge : he rose up from
1 The remaining contemporary account, that of Rodulf Glaber, I deal with
2 Dialog, iii, in Migne's Patrol. Lat. cxlix. 1003 ff.
8 See Steimlorff, i. 464.
12 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
the papal chair, divested himself of his papal raiment, and asking
for pardon laid down the dignity of the great high-priesthood. 1
This account, which I do not doubt Desiderius set down in entire
good faith, represents the tradition which had grown up in Hilde-
brandine circles. The fact that Gregory VI had paid money for the
Popedom was too well known to be denied. But the more Benedict
was depicted as a monster of wickedness, the more venial did
Gregory's offence appear in buying him out. And Gregory was in
all the rest of his life so good a man that people could not believe
that he was deposed. Consequently the events which took place at
Sutri were related in a new form : it was not the synod that deposed
Gregory, but Gregory who resigned his office. It is generally agreed
that this account is untrue, 2 but we can easily see how the story once
stated would be willingly, and very soon honestly, accepted.
This can hardly, I think, be maintained with respect to Bonizo,
bishop of Sutri, who wrote his Liber ad Amicum in order to gain the
protection of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany in 1085. His narra-
tive, however, is so lively, and so much of it has passed down into
most current histories, that it will be well to quote its substance.
But I may premise that Bonizo was not only one of the most in-
accurate of writers and extremely ill-informed about the history
which he relates, but was quite without scruple in falsifying facts
which did not suit his opinions. For example, he more than once
tells us that Charles the Great was never crowned Emperor. 3 This
is what he has to say about the three Popes of 1045 :
Theophylactus, who by inversion of meaning was called Benedictus,
fearing neither God nor man, was often guilty of shameful adultery
and with his own hands committed many murders. At length he
desired to marry his cousin, the daughter of Gerard de Saxo, and
Gerard refused to give her unless he would renounce the Papacy.
Wherefore he went to a certain priest named John, who was then
deemed a man of great merit, and by his advice condemned himself
and renounced the pontificate. The advice would have been highly
praiseworthy, had it not been followed by a most shameful sin.
For the priest whom I have mentioned, seized by wicked ambition
and seduced [by the evil one,] took the opportunity [to purchase
the Papacy from Theophylact] 4 and by immense payments of
1 Dialog., p. 1005.
1 It must not, however, be concealed that this view has its defenders : see for
instance Dr. Hermann Grauert's Papstwahlstudien, in the Historisches Jahrbuch,
xx. (1899) 320 f.
8 Ad Amicum lib. v. in Jaffe"s Monumenta Gregoriana, p. 630, 1865 ; cf. lib. Hi,
* The words which I have enclosed within brackets represent a lacuna in the
manuscript, which I have filled in according to the correction proposed by Jaffe.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 13
money compelled all the people of Rome to swear to him : thus he
mounted to the Pontifical dignity, and they called him by the name
of Gregory. After this Gerard de Saxo with other captains elected
for themselves a certain bishop of the Sabines as Pope, and named
him Silvester. So Theophylact was defrauded of his bride, and
his brothers, hearing what had come to pass, raised him once more
to the Papal throne. 1
It will be seen that Bonizo turns the course of events upside down,
and places the election of Silvester III after that of Gregory VI. 2
He implies that they were both Popes at the same time, and does not
say what happened to them when Benedict was restored. Moreover,
he gives no explanation of the conduct of Gerard de Saxo, who after
Benedict had fulfilled his condition refused to allow his daughter's
marriage. Whether such a marriage was ever proposed, it is
impossible to determine. We have seen that it was believed in
Bavaria not many years later. 3 But, in view of the spirit of defama-
tion which pervaded that age, we cannot confidently exclude the
possibility that the tale was a simple slander.
Bonizo goes on to relate that Peter, the archdeacon of Rome, with
a number of cardinals, clergy, and laity, withdrew from the com-
munion of the usurping Popes, and that he crossed the Alps and
implored the German king and bishops to come to Italy and convoke
a synod. No other writer mentions this action of Archdeacon Peter,
and Bonizo's account has not always been accepted. 4 However this
may be, King Henry marched into Italy in the autumn of 1046, and
Bonizo continues the story as follows :
This intruder (abusivus) Gregory was invited by the king to go to
meet him, being as the sequel showed conscious of no wrong-
doing ; and he went to Piacenza and there found the king. He
was honourably received by him, as beseemed a Pope; for the
bishops who were present did not think it religious to condemn any
bishop without judgement, let alone one who appeared to be the
pontiff of so great a see. And so advancing together they came to
Sutri, and when they had arrived there the king asked him who
seemed to be Pope that a synod should be assembled. This he
granted and confirmed by decree; for he was an ignorant man
(idiota) and of wonderful simplicity.
Bonizo says, that the synod was ' held under Gregory's presidency,
1 Ad Amicum lib. v, pp. 625 f.
* This same inversion appears in Cardinal ECHO'S Gesta Romanae Ecclesiae,
ii. 8 (Libelli de Lite Imperatorum et Pontificum, ii. 378).
8 See above, p. 10.
4 For instance, by Steindorff, i. 262. It is, however, defended by Giesebrecht,
Geschichte der Deutschen Kaiserzeit, i. (5th ed., 1881) 413, 664.
14 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
and he mentions three prelates by name as present, two of whom
had long been dead.
When the question about the usurper Silvester was raised, it was
adjudged by all that he should be divested of his episcopate and
Sriesthood and be consigned to a monastery for life. They also
ecided that Theophylact should be passed over (super sedendum),
especially because the Roman Pontiff himself judged that he should
be deposed. But as to what they should do with the third
claimant, what course could they take when no liberty of accusing
and bearing testimony was granted to them ? The bishops there-
fore begged the president to declare the reason of his election, and,
simple as he was, he disclosed the naked fact l of his election.
He said that by a life of abstinence he had acquired much riches
which he had intended to devote to the good of the church in Rome.
But when he meditated on the tyranny of the nobles, how they set
up Popes without election by the clergy and people, he determined to
use his money for the purpose of restoring to the true electors the
right of election of which by this tyranny they had been wrongfully
deprived. When the council heard this, they hinted at the devices
of the old enemy : nothing, they said, which was venal could be holy.
Judge thyself out of thine own mouth, for it is better for thee to
live poor with St. Peter, for whose love thou didst this thing, than
to perish with Simon Magus who deceived thee.
Gregory then pronounced his own deposition, and the council
This statement that Gregory was not deposed by the council but
deposed himself became an accepted part of the Hildebrandine
tradition. It appears in a striking form in the Chronicle of Bernold
of Constance, who began by transcribing the work of Herman of
Reichenau, and afterwards altered his text so as to emphasize the
wickedness of Benedict and suppress the scandalous circumstances in
which he parted with the Papacy : Benedict, he says, resigned * of
his own free will', and allowed Gratian to be ordained Pope
Gregory VI in his stead. Then he proceeds to add that in 1046
Gregory, whom Herman described as convicted and deposed, c not
unwillingly laid down his pastoral office'; and somewhat incon-
sistently says that the earthquakes which prevailed under Clement II
were attributed to the fact that his predecessor had been ( uncanoni-
cally deposed '. 2
1 Jaffe interprets puritatem as suppurationem, but this seems unnecessary.
* Clirou., in Monum. Germ. Hist. v. 425.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 15
It is unnecessary to accumulate further evidence of the form taken
by the developed Hildebrandine account of what happened in 1045
and 1046. 1 The main points were the depravity of Benedict IX
which drove Gregory VI to adopt forbidden means in order to oust
him, and the substitution of the statement that Gregory voluntarily
resigned the Papacy for the earlier statement that he was deposed by
process of law.
Before inquiring into the charges made against Benedict, it will
not be out of place to remark that it was not only against him that
charges of nefarious conduct were made. We must remember that
they were made when the conflict between Gregory VII and the
Emperor Henry IV was at its height. In a time of acute political
hostility accusations, as we know too well, are made and are believed,
which in a calmer time would never have been suggested. Let me
give a specimen or two of what was said about Gregory VII.
Cardinal Beno informs us that he had in his employment an expert
by whose help he was said to have poisoned five Popes in thirteen
years. 2 The synod of Brixen in 1080 was more moderate ; it only
stated in its decree that four Popes were proved to have been poisoned
by Gregory's means. 3 Of another Imperialist champion, Bishop
Benzo of Alba, it will be enough to say that he accuses Alexander II
and Gregory VII of almost every vice that can or cannot be named,
not to speak of simony, gambling, corruption, sorcery, necromancy,
homicide, and other misdoings. 4 Now no one, I suppose, believes
1 If I pass over St. Peter Damiani, it is not because I underrate the importance
of his contribution to the formation of opinion in his time, but because on the
precise points of fact he adds very little, and that little not, I think, until
a good many years later.
1 He says (Gesta Rom. Eccl. ii. 9, Libelli de Lite, ii. 379) that when Hilde-
brand returned to Rome in 1049, in brew loculos implevit, et cui pecuniam Warn
committeret,filium cuiusdam ludei noviter quidem baptizatum sed mores nummulario-
rum adhuc retinentem,familiarem sibi fecit. Et iam diu conciliaverat iibi quendam
alium incomparabilibus maleficiis assuetum, Gerhardum nomine, qui cognominabatur
Brazutus, amicum Theophilacti [Benedict IX], qui subdola familiaritate dicitur sex
Romanos pontifices infra spacium tredecim annorum veneno suffocasse ; quorum
nomina haec sunt : Clemens . . . Damasus . . . Leo . . . Victor . . . Stephanus . . .
Benedictus . . . Hie non veneno sed vi et dolis Hildebrandifuit eiectus . . . Nicolaus.
3 Jaffe, Monumenta Bambergensia (1869), p. 134 ; also in Monum. Germ.
Hist., Constitutiones, i. 119, 1893. The agent is here called John Brachiutus
or Brachtutus. John Braciuto subscribes a Roman document in 1060 : Regesto
di Farfa, iv. (1888) 302. The synod had declared among other things that
Hildebrand had been wont obncenis theatralibus ludicris ultra laicos insistere,
mensem nummulariorum in porticu transigentium turpis lucri gratia publice obser-
vare. His itaque questibus pecunia cumulata, abbatiam beati Fault invasit, etc.
* Karl Pertz has collected a number of specimens of the bishop's vile and
16 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
these gross calumnies against Gregory VII ; and yet a not very
different set of statements about Benedict IX has been universally
accepted. This has happened, no doubt, because it was considered
that in his case they were not improbable. But probability is not
the same thing as proof. The history of the Tusculan Popes has in
truth been contaminated by the fact that their dynasty was followed
by a reaction. I will digress for a moment to inquire how their power
The city of Rome had for ages past been torn by internal discord.
There was always one or more parties of the local nobility who sought
to strengthen themselves by exciting the lesser people to riot and
pillage. One of these parties was headed by the house of Crescentius,
whose power was put down for the moment by Otto III. Another
great Roman family was represented at that time by Gregory de
Tusculana, the naval prefect, whose mother was a first cousin of the
famous Alberic, the Prince of the Romans, who had ruled the city
with firmness for more than twenty years towards the middle of the
tenth century. 1 The territorial possessions of the family had been
continually growing in the Roman Campagna, and near the end of
the century Gregory is found established in authority at Tusculum.
It may be that Otto conferred the countship upon him in order to
detach a prominent noble from his fellows and, by establishing him
in a strong fortress not too far distant for effective control, to set up
a power which might keep in check the factions of Rome and assist
the Imperial interest. If this was so, Otto's expectations were not
unrewarded. The counts of Tusculum soon gained the upper hand
in Roman politics, and they were as a rule friendly to the Emperors.
Their victory over the house of Crescentius was marked by the
successive appointment to the Papacy of two of Gregory's sons, 2 and
these were followed by a grandson ; so that for thirty-three years the
Popedom continued in the family.
It is with the third and last of the dynasty that I am particularly
filthy abuse : Monum. Germ. Hist. xi. (1854) 593. He misses the point of
Benzo's disgusting invective in i. 22, p. 608, in consequence of his not seeing the
allusions to Proverbs xxx. 15, 16.
1 The details of Gregory's ancestry are discussed below, in the appendix on
the Counts of Tusculum.
* It is possible, as Gregorovius suggests (History of the City of Rome, ir. 11),
that the Tusculan ascendancy began three years earlier with the appointment of
Sergius IV, for he was bishop of Albano, a place where the Tusculan influence
was very strong. See below, pp. 33, 36.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 17
concerned. But before speaking of him I will observe that his evil
repute has cast a shadow upon his two predecessors ; in modern
histories they are all tarred with the same brush. But the first,
Benedict VIII, was an able and vigorous pontiff, who not only kept
Rome in order but also took a leading part in Italian politics.
Besides this he worked in harmony with the Emperor Henry II and
supported him in his aims for reforming abuses in the Church. But
he was too much occupied by public affairs to bestow much attention
upon ecclesiastical administration. Not many more than seventy
rescripts are attributed to him in a pontificate of nearly twelve years. 1
But here it is fair to notice that no Papal Register is preserved
between the end of the ninth century and the time of Gregory VII,
and that, though parchment came into use in the chancery towards
the end of Benedict's pontificate, rescripts continued to be written on
papyrus, a far more perishable material, until beyond the middle of
the century. Scanty, however, as is the list of Benedict's documents,
it is respectable as compared with those of his two successors. The
nine years of John XIX produced but forty-seven ; the twelve of
Benedict IX, only eighteen. John seems to have been a colourless
person, timid and inert ; he left no mark as an administrator and
not a creditable one as a statesman. It is generally said that these
Tusculan Popes lived the rough lives of secular nobles, and this is
very likely true, though I am not aware of any contemporary
evidence to support it. It is certain, however, that Benedict VIII
stood high above the Crescentian Popes who preceded him, and I do
not know that the two brothers understood their episcopal duties
in a very different way from a great many of the French, German,
and English prelates of the same century.
I now turn to their nephew, Benedict IX. His character has been
blasted at the outset by the statement, which has been repeated by
every historian who'has written about him, that he was a boy of ten
or twelve years of age at the time he was made Pope. Now this
statement rests upon the sole, unsupported testimony of a single
writer, Rodulf Glaber, at that time a monk of St. Germanus at
Auxerre, who made a collection of trifling, largely fabulous, narra-
tives, and called it a history. He wrote entirely for edification and
put down anything that served his turn. He is not only the most-
credulous but the most careless and inaccurate of writers. I will
1 The number of 71 in the second edition of Jaffe's Regesta Pontificum
Romanorum includes documents which we know only from references to them,
as well as documents still preserved. When Dr. Kebr's new Regesta is com-
pleted the number may be expected to be somewhat, but not largely, increased.
18 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
give one example from near the end of his book, where he is relating
a fact which he knew from personal observation. After saying some-
thing about the year 1045 he proceeds : ' In the following year, that
is the forty-sixth after the thousandth, there was a great dearth of
wine and vegetables, and after this on the 8th November there was
an eclipse of the moon which affrighted men exceedingly/ -He gives
the calendar notes accurately, the age of the moon, the epact, and
the concurrent ; but these belong not to 1046, but to 1044, when the
eclipse actually occurred, 1 A writer capable of so gross a blunder is
not to be taken as an authority on matters of detail. Again, under
the year 1033 he describes correctly an eclipse of the sun which
occurred on Friday, 29 June. On that day, he says, the Feast of the
Apostles, certain of the Roman princes rose against the Pope in the
church of St. Peter and sought to put him to death, but, not
succeeding, they drove him from his see. Howbeit, on account of
this thing, as well as for other malpractices, the Emperor went thither
and restored him to his see. 2 Conrad did not go to Italy until the
end of 1036, three years and a half after Benedict's supposed expul-
sion ; and there was no need to restore the Pope, since in 1036 he is
found holding a synod to all appearances at Rome. Modern historians
accept the fact that Benedict was expelled, but think that it was
in 1035 or 1036. What, then, becomes of the eclipse so scrupulously
Rodulf twice mentions Benedict IX's age, and each time gives it
differently. First, in book iv, chapter v, 3 he laments the degeneracy
of the times. All the rulers, whether of church or state, were boys,
inpuerili etate. The very Pope, a lad of hardly ten years (puerferme
decennis) was elected by the Romans with the help of money from his
treasures. Secondly, in the last paragraph of his work 4 he says that
the Holy See had suffered from the disease of corruption for twenty-
five years; for f a certain boy of about twelve years (puer circiter
annorum xii] was appointed to it who was recommended only by his
wealth in gold and silver rather than by his age or piety. It were
a shame to mention the baseness of his conversation and life.
However, by the consent of the whole Roman people and by the
command of the Emperor he was expelled from his seat, and in
his place a most religious man and conspicuous for holiness was
appointed, namely Gregory, by race a Roman, by whose good repute
1 Hist. v. 1, 18, ed. M. Prou, 1886, p. 128.
2 Lib. iv. 9, 24, p. 112.
3 17, p. 105.
4 Lib. v. 5, 26, pp. 134 f.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 19
that which the former had defiled was changed for the better/ It
may be presumed that when Rodulf wrote this he was not aware
of the fact that Gregory VI had possessed himself of the Papacy
by the very means which he had just denounced. The statement
that Gregory's appointment was made after Benedict had been
deposed by the Emperor's command, which inverts the order of
events, may possibly represent a story which was circulated by
Gregory's friends. Whence Rodulf derived the twenty-five years
during which the Papacy had degenerated I cannot say ; if he
reckoned from the accession of John XIX, that would be little more
than twenty years. What reason is there to suppose that he was
more accurate when he stated that Benedict was a boy of about
twelve years ? I should not be at all surprised if he simply blundered
over a notice of Benedict's life, which stated that when he had been
Pope for twelve years he was expelled by the Romans. This at least
is the shape in which his catastrophe is recorded by writers of the
next generation. 1 There is not much difference between per ann. xii
and puer ann. xii.
It is strange, too, that it has not been observed that Rodulfs
account of Benedict IX's extreme youth can hardly be reconciled
with the known facts of the Pope's pedigree. His grandfather,
Gregory, appears as vir illustrissimus in 980, in 986 as senator :
in 999 he held high office. There are indications which lead us to
place his birth not later than 940 ; he died before 1013. This date
agrees well with those of his two elder sons, Popes Benedict VIII
and John XIX, who died in the course of nature in 1024 and 1032.
The youngest son, Alberic, is found acting in a judicial capacity
in 999. Now if the men of those days were not as a rule long-lived,
at any rate those who married married early. Though not impossible,
it is at least unlikely that this Alberic's son, Benedict IX, would be
born when his father was about fifty. A comparison of ages and
generations in a pedigree about which a great deal is known 2 would
lead to the conclusion that Benedict IX was nearer thirty than ten
years old at the time that he became Pope.
The scanty records of Benedict's earlier years as Pope furnish no
indication of his exceptional youth. 3 Four years after his accession,
in November 1036, we find him holding a synod. 4 In the following
1 Thus Leo of Ostia, under 1044, Rontae prneterea cum pupa Benedictus per
mi nun 12 sedem apostolicam obsedisset potius quam sedisset, a Romanis expukwt eft :
Chron. Monast. Casin. ii. 77, in Monum. Germ. Hist., Scriptores, vii. 682.
8 See appendix.
5 See the summary in Steindorff, i. 256 f.
* Mansi, Concil. Collect, ampliss. xix. 679.
20 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
summer he went to Cremona to visit the emperor, Conrad II, by whom
he was honourably received. 1 A little later he made a change in the
administration of his chancery, which looks as though he intended to
adopt an independent policy. The- office of librarian, the titular head
of the chancery, had been conferred fourteen years before on Peregrine,
Archbishop of Cologne, who died in 1036 ; but instead of appointing
the new archbishop, who was actually in Italy, to the office, Benedict
determined, in November 1037, that it should be held by one of the
bishops of the Roman province, the Bishop of Selva Candida and his
successors. 2 When we remember that Conrad had made himself
unpopular in Italy by introducing Germans into bishoprics there, the
significance of Benedict's act can hardly be misunderstood. 3 On the
other hand, it may be contended that the Pope was not strong enough
to carry matters further, for next spring he supported Conrad by
excommunicating his principal opponent, Archbishop Aribert of
Milan. 4 In 1040 it is said, though the evidence is not quite satis-
factory, that he travelled to Marseilles to take part in the consecration
of a church. All these acts fall within a time when we are asked to
believe that the Pope was under eighteen or twenty years of age ; and
yet no one of our authorities betrays the smallest indication that
he was canonically incapable of exercising the powers of a Pope.
Benedict was evidently a negligent Pope, very likely a profligate
man. We may believe Herman of Reichenau when he says that he
was unworthy of his high office. 5 But we have to wait until he had
discredited himself by his sale of the Papacy before we hear anything
definite about his misdeeds; and the further we go in time and
place, the worse his character becomes. At Auxerre very soon he is
denounced as a reprobate by Rodulf Glaber. 6 Then, some twenty
years after, it was said in Germany that he gave up the Papacy
because he had taken a wife. 7 A good deal later, after Hildebrand
had become Pope, Benedict's crimes grow in .wickedness, and we get
the picture which is familiar in all the modern histories. I do not
say that the picture is false : all I say is that it was drawn at a time
1 Wipo, Gesta Chuonradi Imperatoris, xxxvi, p. 43, ed. H. Bresslau, 1878.
2 Marini, I Papiri Diplomatic*, p. 83 ; Jaffe, Reg. no. 4110.
8 Cf. Bresslau, Jahrbucher des Deutschen Reichs unter Konrad II, ii. (1884)
4 Ann. Hildeslieim., a. 1038, p. 42, ed. G. Waitz, 1878. I do not find evidence
that Benedict kept Easter at Spello with the Emperor in that year, as Dr. Bresslau
says, ii. 285, 286. But the fact is probable.
8 Indignus tanto ordini moribus etfactis : Chroii., a. 1033, p. 121.
6 Above, p. 18.
7 Above, p. 10.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 21
of acute controversy, when the party opposed to the tradition which
he represented was in the ascendant. He had indeed no friends.
The supporters of the Imperial side would have nothing to say for
a Pope whom they believed to have been removed by Henry III.
The reform party of the school of Hildebrand considered that the
transaction with Gregory VI was proof of Benedict's infamy : to
them Gregory, to the day of his death, continued to be the lawful
Pope. In the version of the Liber Pontificalis which won currency
in later ages both Clement II and Damasus II were set down as
usurpers. 1 So, too, it was said of Clement II : Qui ab aliis potius
demens quam Clemens did dignus iudicatur, cum utique per violentiam
Gratiano amoto eum intrusum asserant. 2 The true line of Popes was
only restored with Leo IX after Gregory was dead.
To this Gregory I now turn. His name was John, but to distin-
guish him from many namesakes he was commonly known as
Gratian. 3 He is never styled John Gratian by contemporaries. 4
He was the head, archcanon or archpriest the two titles indicate
the same office 5 of a house of clergy established in the Church of
St. John at the Latin Gate. By universal testimony he was a man
of unblemished character, who was held by all in the highest regard.
When he was already past middle life, for he was godfather (patrinus)
to Benedict IX, he appears to have been so deeply impressed by that
Pope's unworthiness for his office that he took the daring step of
buying him out of it. Whether the act was simoniacal or not, I do
not know. Simony is understood to mean the payment of money for
a spiritual office which one desires ; whether it includes also the pay-
ment of money in order to remove a scandalous holder of an office by
a person who does not desire it, I leave to those better versed in canon
1 Lib. Pontif. ii. 273 f.
2 See the Zwettl Hist. Rom. Pontif. cliii, in Pez's Thes. Anecd. Noviss. i. iii.
(1721) 385 a.
3 It is possible that this surname was derived from a kinsman, perhaps an
uncle, who on conversion translated Johauan into Gratianus, just as Barach
became Benedictus. But I have not found satisfactory proof that Gratianus was
in fact used as a translation of Johanan. See, however, L. Zunz, Namen der
Juden, in Gesammelte Schriften, ii. (1876) 54.
4 I notice this because Ur. M. Tangl, in the Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft
fur altere Deutsche Geschichtskunde, xxxi. (1906) 162, adduces this combination
of names as an argument against Gregory VI's connexion with the family of
Leo son of Benedict, in which the double name does not occur.
5 See Duchesne, Lib. Pontif. ii. 271, n. 3.
law than I am to decide. The nature of the transaction was perhaps
not at once made known. Directly Gratian became Pope St. Peter
Damiani wrote him a florid letter of congratulation, in which he
specially welcomed the blow which his election had struck at the evil
of simony :
Conteratur iam milleforme caput venenati serpentis ; cesset com-
mercium perversae negotiationis ; nullam iam monetam falsarius
Simon in ecclesia fabricet. 1
But the problem is, how a man like Gratian could have been in the
possession of the immense amount of money which he was reputed to
have paid. 2 Bonizo of Sutri, with his accustomed scurrility, says
that he amassed wealth by his abstinence from profligate courses. 3
This cannot be taken seriously. It is plain that Gratian must either
have inherited great wealth or have had very rich relations.
It is an old-established statement that he was a member of the
powerful family of Peter Leonis. Ciaconius speaks as though he
were Peter's son, 4 but this is, on chronological grounds, impossible.
From what source the statement is derived I have been unable to dis-
cover. There is an inscription formerly on Peter's tomb at St. Paul's
without the Walls, which asserts definitely that Gregory VI was his
uncle (patruus) ; 5 but the inscription is unmistakably of late date,
and has had the misfortune of having been restored in the seventeenth
century. According to it Gregory was a brother of Peter's father
Leo, the son of Benedict the Christian. Signor Pietro Fedele, with
his habitual caution, admits that the relationship is not proved ; but
he thinks that some near relationship is highly probable. 6
Now Benedict the Christian was a wealthy merchant established, it
1 Epist. i. i, Opera, iii. 2, ed. C. Cajetani, 1783. Dr. Grauert, ubi supra,
pp. 315, 321-325, argues that Peter was aware of the facts and thought that
Gregory's conduct could be defended.
2 The sum is variously stated as a thousand pounds of pennies of Pavia (Lib.
Pontif. ii. 275) and 1,500 pounds (Beno, Gest. Rom. Eccl. ii. 7, p. 378) ; it grew
in time to 2,000 pounds (Cod. Vat. 1340, Lib. Poutif. ii. 270). A thousand
pounds meant a thousand pounds' weight of silver, and this, according to the
twelfth -century ratio of 1 : 9, would mean something not far short of 6,000 in
3 Lib. ad Amicum, v, in Monum. Greg., p. 628.
4 fotnnie* Gratiunus Petri Leonis, eximiae nobUitatis in urbevir: Vitae Pontif.
Rom. i. 781 (ed. A. Oldoinus, 1677).
6 It is printed by A. Nerini, de Templo et Coenobio ss. Bonifacii et Alexii
(1752), app. viii, p. 394 u. ; and by V. Forcella, Iscrizioni delle Chiese di Roma,
xii. (1878) 19, no. 31.
6 Le Famiglie di Anacleto II e di Gelasio II, in the Arch, della Soc. Rom. di
Storia Patria, xxvii. (1904) 409 f.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 23
seems, in the region beyond Tiber which was the Jewish quarter of
the city. 1 His name before his conversion was presumably Baruch or
Berachiah, and this was translated into Benedictus when he became a
Christian. He is said to have been converted during the pontificate
of Leo IX and to have called his son after the Pope. 2 This was a not
unnatural conjecture for a later writer to make/ but it will not suit
the dates of Leo's activity. For Leo IX was enthroned in 1048, and
in 1051 we have a grant of land made Leoni, vir magnificus et lauda-
bilis negotiator, filio Benedicti bone memorie Christiani.* In 1060 he
was among the principal witnesses to the investiture of the abbot of
Farfa by Nicholas II. 5 Moreover, we know from his epitaph that his
mother was of noble birth a member of the nobility of Christian
Romae natus, opum dives, probus, et satis alto
Sanguine materno nobilitatus erat. 6
Her marriage may have taken place as early as 1010, and Benedict
was no doubt then already a convert. He was dead in 1051, and his
son Leo is no longer mentioned after 1063.
It has been necessary to consider the antecedents of Leo de Bene-
dicto Christiano, 7 because it has been frequently said that the family
1 Ibid., pp. 405 f. Nothing helpful for our purpose will he found in A.
Berliner's Gesch. der Juden in Rom, n. i. (1893) ; and very little in the work
with the same title by H. Vogelstein and P. Rieger, i (1896). These writers
are not interested in converted Jews. The latter say (i. 214) that there are no
Jewish materials for the history of the Roman Jews at this time.
2 Chron. de Morigny, p. 51, ed. L. Mirot, 2nd ed , 1912. This part of the
chronicle was finished about 1132.
s It is elaborated in the scurrilous account given by Arnulf, afterwards bishop
of Lisieux, of the most famous member of this house of converts, Anacletus II :
Parcendum tamen est obscoenitati rerborum, dum Petri nta narratur, et rerunt
veritus sermonum palliunda decore, ut honos habitus honestati legentium videatur.
Libet igitur praeterire antiquam nativitatis eius originem et ignobilem similem
prosapiam, nee ludaicum nomen urbitror opponendum, de quibus ipse non solum
rnateriam curnis sed etium quasdain priinitias ingeniti contrujcit erroris. Ipse enini
xujfficiens est et copiosa materia, neque quidquam domui eius ipso turpius vel esse vet
fuisse coniecto. C'uius avus cum inaextimabilem pecuniam multiplici corrogassel
usura, tusceptam circumcisionem baptismatis undo dampnamt, etc. : In Girardum
Engolismensem, iii, in L. d'Achery's Spicilegium, i. (ed. 1723) 165 .
* Carte del Monastero dei SS. Cosma e Damiano in Mica Aurea, ed. P. Fedele,
Arch, della Soc. Rom. di Stor. Patr., xxii. (1899) 97.
6 Reg. Farf., no. 906, vol. iv. 300 f. He witnesses another document in 1063 :
ibid., no. 936, p. 329.
8 The inscription was written by Archbishop Alfanus of Salerno, and is
printed by Baronius, Ann. xviii. 217.
7 So he is called, under 1058 and 1062 in the Annales Romani, Lib. Pontif.
ii. 334, 336.
24 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
was one of recent conversion, perhaps as recent as the time of Leo IX. 1
They had in fact been opulent and powerful- members of the Christian
community in the region beyond Tiber and on the Island for at least
a generation ; and Leo and his son Peter were pre-eminent among the
supporters of the reforming party in Rome. When the Tusculans
set up Benedict X, in 1058, Hildebrand obtained money from Leo by
means of which he divided the populace, and it was in the Trans-
tiberine district that he succeeded in holding his ground. 2 In 1062,
when there was hard fighting on behalf of the Antipope Cadalus
(Honorius II), Leo stood by Hildebrand and Alexander II, and dis-
tributed money through the city all the night. 3 His wealth was each
time an important auxiliary to the Hildebrandine forces. The eminent
services performed by Leo's son Peter for Hildebrand after he became
Pope, and for Urban II when he too was in trouble, are too well known
to need recording. 4 Peter had now removed into the heart of the
city, and it was in his house apud sanctum Nicolaum in Carcere that
Urban died. 5 Peter lived on until between 1124 and 1130. One of
his sons, also named Peter, was raised to the Papacy as Anacletus II,
but after many fluctuations of fortune he was destined to rank as an
The great wealth of the house of Peter Leonis and their unvarying
support of Hildebrand and his party are prominently mentioned in
the literature of the time both by friends and enemies ; and there is
a remarkable statement in a chronicle of the twelfth century which
claims Hildebrand himself as a member of it. This is found in the
Annals of Pegau, near Merseburg a compilation which contains
some kernels of fact mixed up with a great deal of loose and unsup-
ported tradition 7 according to which Peter Leonis was Hildebrand's
avunculus:, so that Hildebrand's mother was Peter's sister. This
relationship is indeed favoured by Signor Fedele, who thinks that the
difficulty arising from a consideration of the men's ages as Hilde-
brand was born perhaps as early as 1020 and Peter lived until after
1 124 is not insuperable. 8 To me this view appears quite out of the
1 See, for instance, Giesebrecht, Geschichte der Deutschen Kaiserzeit, iii.
(ed. 4, 1876) 16 ; and compare the allusion in Beno's story, above, p. 15, n. 2.
2 Ann. Rom., Lib. Pontif. ii. 234 f.
8 Ibid., p. 336.
4 See Fedele, in Arch, della Soc. Rom. xxvii. (1904) 411-415.
8 Lib. Pontif. ii. 294.
6 Fedele, p. 415, n. 5.
There is, however, no need to travesty the narrative in these Annals, as
Dr. Tangl does (Neues Archiv, xxxi. 179), in order to hold them up to ridicule.
8 p. 407 and n. 1.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 25
question. It is, however, asserted that in the region where the Pegau
Annals were written the meanings of avunculus and nepos were in-
verted ; so that the annalist really described Peter as Hildebrand's
nephew. 1 The proof of this strange usage has not yet, to my know-
ledge, been produced. If it be correct, it is surprising that neither
the Lives of Hildebrand nor any contemporary writers give a hint
that he had a sister married to a well-known citizen. I incline rather
to believe that avunculus was used in a general sense to indicate
relationship on the mothers side. Now it has lately been discovered
that Hildebrand's mother was a Roman lady named Bertha, who lived
near the Church of St. Mary in Portico. 2 We still await the evidence
for this identification ; but it is not in itself unlikely. Bertha,
I would suggest, was the sister of the wife of Leo, son of Benedict
We have seen that Gratian has been asserted to have belonged to
this same family of converts ; and the close ties which bound him to
Hildebrand have naturally led to a speculation whether they were not
connected in blood. When Gratian was deposed and exiled beyond
the Alps, it was Hildebrand whom he took as his companion. 3 On
his death, it is stated, but on suspicious authority, that he made
Hildebrand his heir. 4 Nearly twenty years later Hildebrand himself
attained the Papacy, and in remembrance of his old friend he adopted
his name, Gregory. 5 If there be a grain of truth in the tales which
were told against Hildebrand in later years, he was brought up under
Gratian^s immediate influence. Cardinal Beno has a wonderful story
of how Gerbert, Pope Silvester II, who had already acquired the
reputation of a necromancer, taught his evil arts to Theophylact
1 See Tangl, p. 166, n. 3.
* The statement is quoted by Signer Fedele, p. 407, n. 3, from an Italian
book to which I have not access. Hugh of Flavigny, who wrote at the end of
the century, stands alone in saying that Hildebrand was born in Rome parentibus
civibus Romanis (Monum. Germ. Hist., Script, viii. 422). His birthplace was
a village in the district of Sovana, and his father was of Tuscan race ; but
Hildebrand speaks of his early Roman associations (ab infantia, Reg. i. 39,
Monum. Greg. p. 58 ; iii. 10 a, pp. 223 f. : cf. vii. 23 p. 415). If his mother
belonged to a Roman family, this might explain Hugh of Flavigny's statement.
8 Reg. vii. 14 a, p. 401. Bonizo, p. 630, says that Hildebrand had previously
been his chaplain, but it is unlikely that he was yet in holy orders.
4 Beno, ii. 8, p. 378.
5 Hunc Gratianum Alpes trantcendentem secutum fuitte tradunt HUtibrandum,
qui postmodum summus pontifex factus ob eius amorem, quia de catalogo pontificum
semotus fuerat, se Gregorium VIl m vocari voluit : Otto of Freising, Chron. vi. 32,
pp. 299 f. Dr. Martens's opinion that the name was imposed upon Hildebrand
in memory of Gregory the Great (Zeitschrift fur Kirchenrecht, xxii. 63 f., 1887)
may be accepted by any one who chooses.
26 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
(afterwards Benedict IX) and to Lawrence (afterwards archbishop of
Aniiilfi), and how Lawrence lived in the house of John the archpriest,
otherwise Gratian, his disciple. From these three Hildebrand learned
magic. 1 Now in 1046 Lawrence undoubtedly resided at the monas-
tery of St. Mary on the Aventine ; and Hildebrand, according to his
biographer, Paul of Bernried, was sent for his education to his uncle
(avunculus), who was abbot of that house. 2
The monastery has an interesting history. Alberic the Prince had
a palace on the site, which he gave, perhaps in 936, to St. Odo, abbot
of Cluny, in order that he might found a monastery there ; 3 and from
that time St. Mary's was the place where the abbot of Cluny stayed
when they visited Rome. St. Odilo was there more than once : his
biographer, Jotsald, says,
Habebat autem hospitium in monasterio sacrae puerperae Virginis,
quod est situm in Aventino monte, qui, prae caeteris illius urbis
montibus aedes decoras habens et suae positionis culmen in altum
tollens, aestivos fervores aurarum algore tolerabiles reddit et habilem
in se habitationem facit. 4
But Odilo was not in Rome after 1032 until he returned near the
end of his life, in 1046, arriving on the eve of the appointment of
Clement II. 5 There is therefore no question of any personal
acquaintance between Odilo and Hildebrand. Still, though Odilo
was not himself at Rome, it is evident that St. Mary's was always
the headquarters there of the reforming movement which is associated
with the famous Burgundian monastery. It was this connexion that
drew thither Odilo's friend Lawrence, the expelled archbishop of
Amalfi, vir per omnia sanctissimus, in scripturis utriusque linguae,
Graecae videlicet et Latinae,facundissimus ; 6 and the same personal
ties most naturally explain the favour with which Peter Damiani
welcomed the appointment of Gratian to the Papacy as ushering in
a new time of purity for the Church. 7
1 Gesta Rom. Eccl. ii. 3-5, Libelli de Lite (Monum. Germ. Hist.), ii. 376 f.
* Vit. Greg. IX, in Watterich, i. 477. One Peter, abbot of St. Mary's,
subscribes the acts of a Roman synod in 1044 : Ughelli, v. (ed. 1720) 1116 ; as
does also John, the archcanon and archpriest of St. John's.
8 Hugh of Farfa, Destr. Farf., in Chron. Farf. i. 39 f.
4 Vit. s. Odilon, ii. 9, in Migne, cxlii. 923.
3 This is acutely pointed out by Sackur, Die Cluniacenser, ii. (1894) 282, n. 2.
6 Vit. s. Odilon, i. 14, p. 909. Compare the additional passages of Jotsald's
Life, printed by Sackur, in Neues Archiv, xv. (1890) 120.
T It is not without interest to read that Peter Damiani was staying in Rome
on the critical days when Clement II was made Pope and Henry III crowned
Emperor : see Opusc. xlii. 6, in Opera, iii. 698.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 27
It would not be wise to make too much of the accusation brought
against Hildebrand that he accumulated riches by usury. 1 He was
certainly closely associated with Peter Leonis, whose money more
than once was of service to his interests ; 2 and this may have
given rise to the story that he himself engaged in speculation.
Peter's constant support suggests, though it does not prove, that he
was his kinsman.
Now in what manner can we combine the various uncertain indica-
tions about Gratian and Hildebrand in such a way as to build up
a tentative pedigree ? We find (1) a modern statement that Gratian
was of the house of Peter Leonis ; (2) an inscription, probably also
modern, asserting that he was Peter's uncle; (3) his great wealth,
which implies that he belonged to a family of capitalists ; (4) his
close attachment to Hildebrand, whom by one dubious account he
made his heir ; (5) that Hildebrand was later on reputed to be con-
nected on his mother's side with Peter Leonis ; (6) he was associated
with Gratian in a way that suggests relationship ; (7) he was reputed
to have business relations with Peter Leonis; (8) when active in
ecclesiastical affairs he enjoyed the steady adhesion of Peter Leonis.
These data, however much they differ among themselves in their
value as evidence, tend to a conclusion which I am tempted to set
out in a provisional pedigree.
A Roman citizen
t ante 1051
Bonizo=pBertha Peter . . =p Leo
abbot on living 1063
(GHEGORV VII) Leonis
fl083 f 1124-1 130
Obitio Guido Peter Leo
3 other sons
This reconstruction avoids the inference, which Signer Fidele's
hypothesis carries with it, that Hildebrand was of Jewish origin.
I do not indeed lay the same stress as Dr. Tangl does 3 on the silence
on this point of Hildebrand's enemies, who brought every conceivable
charge against him. For the family of Benedict the Christian bore
so high a character in ecclesiastical Rome, and were converts of such
1 Above, p. 15 and notes. 2 Above, p. 24. 8 Neues Archiv, xxxi. 174 ff.
28 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
old standing, that no slur on this ground could be plausibly
insinuated. I contest the theory of Hildebrand's Jewish extraction
simply because it seems to me irreconcilable with such data as we
possess relative to Benedict's descendants.
After this paper was completely written and prepared for publica-
tion, I found that its subject had just been discussed with much
greater elaboration by Signer G. B. Borino in two articles which fill
228 pages of the thirty-ninth volume of the Archivio della R. Societa
Romana di Storia Patria (1916). I have thought it best to leave my
paper exactly as it stood ; for it may not be without interest for the
student to compare two independent essays produced at almost the
same time by two writers belonging to different nations and living in
different countries. It is particularly gratifying to me that on many
of the controverted points Signer Borino's conclusions agree with
mine. 1 He goes indeed far beyond me in his analysis of the political
situation, and his remarkable exposition of the reasons which made
it necessary for Henry III to get Gregory VI out of the way (see
especially pp. 332 f., 370-382) deserves attentive consideration. It
is, however, true that, while he balances every detail of evidence in
the most thoroughgoing way, he is not free from the fault, which
he shares with most writers on this complicated business, of not
sufficiently distinguishing between contemporary and later authorities.
I should like to avail myself of Signer Borino's ample materials to
add a couple of supplementary notes.
1. As to the youth of Benedict IX. Signor Borino quotes from
a contemporary Life of Leo IX, published by A. Poncelet in the
Analecta Bollandiana, xxv. (1906) 275, the statement that Benedict's
father Alberic habebat filium parvulum, nomine Theophilactus, qui
succedente lohannis sanctissimi papae per multa donaria militiae
Romanorum sedis apostolicae ordinatus est antistes. Secondly, he
cites the statement of Luke, abbot of Grottaferrata, 2 that Benedict
was elected ploy &v, d>$ //r) o>0eA. Thirdly, the later comment of
Desiderius of Montecassino, Adolescens iuxta viam suam. This
evidence indeed does not prove very much. When Otto the Great
1 For instance, he has arrived at the same conclusion as mine with regard to
the name of John cognomento Gratianus, and even hazards the same conjecture
as I have done, which I have read nowhere else, with regard to Gratianus being
a translation of a Jewish name (pp. 229-231).
a Vita S. Bartholomaei lun. x, in Migne, Patrol. Graec. cxxvii. 484.
BENEDICT IX AND GREGORY VI 29
was told of the misdeeds of John XII seventy years before, he is
reported by Liudprand 1 to have said, Puer est ; facile bonorum
immutabitur exemplo virorum. And John was at that time twenty-
five years of age. On the other hand Signer Borino mentions
(pp. 144, n. 1, 146 n.) that one of Benedict's brothers was married and
had a child in 1130. [This brother, it may be added, was of legal age
in 1022. 2 ] He relates at length what is known of Benedict's official
career down to 1044 (pp. 157-169), and agrees with me that were we
not informed of the scandal of his beginning and end giudicheremmo
il pontificate di questo papa presso che normale, e persino d'una certa
attivita politica e religiosa (p. 148). 3
2. Noticing the long interval which passed between the deposition
of Benedict IX, which he places as early as the beginning of
September 1044 (pp. 180 f.), and the election of Silvester III in
January 1045, Signer Borino considers that the former act was the
result of a general movement of the Romans, while the latter was
effected by the party which represented the old house of Crescentius
and defeated the Tusculans. This party had great influence in the
Sabina and they set up their Bishop John as Pope Silvester III.
Then after a couple of months the Tusculans appeared in force,
expelled Silvester, and restored Benedict. Signer Borino examines
the position of the Crescentian family with great knowledge of the
local circumstances (pp. 188-201) : the contest, he thinks, was more
between two rival parties than between the individual persons (p. 221).
But he considers that Silvester was not a man to accept his deposition
as final (pp. 204, 206). Here he differs from most scholars who have
discussed the subject. The upshot of his argument is that there was
in fact no sale of the Papacy by Benedict to Gregory, but an agree-
ment between the two parties in accordance with which the Cres-
centians recouped Benedict for the money which he had paid for his
election twelve years before (p. 221). In support of this view he
cites some words from the anonymous tract de Ordinando Pontifice,*
which he takes with Sackur 5 to proceed from Lower Lorraine, and
1 Hist. Otton. v.
a Querimonium Hugonis Abbatis, in Chron. Farfense, i. 76.
8 In his criticism of Rodulf Glaber Signer Borino is wrong in thinking that
Rodulf s date 1000 for 1033 is an error of transcription. Rodulf s words are
Anno igitur eodem die dominice passionis M, die tercio kalendarum luliarum (Chron.
iv. 9). Evidently the dies passionis could not fall on 29 June. The word die
should be omitted, and the year (as reference to ch. v shows) is the year not of
the Incarnation but of the Passion.
4 Lib. de Lite, i. 10.
8 Die Cluniacenser, ii. 305, n. 2.
30 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY
which he is no doubt right in assigning not to 1048, as its editor
Diimmler did, but to the last months of 1047 (p. 217, n. 1). The
following is this writer's account of the resignation of Benedict and
of the mode by which Gregory obtained the Papacy :
Ministerio quod illicite appetierat se carere velle disposuit si quis
ei redderet summam pecuniae quam ex appetitu in eo dispendit.
Quern sane tenorem arripiens Satanas non defuit, quaerens et cito
inveniens qui, repensa (ut a quibusdan dictum est) pecunia, in
eadem cathedra pestilentiae resedit. . . . Alii autem excusant eum
pecuniam non dedisse sed dantibus amicis et parentibus suis
Signor Borino does not, I think, mention the obvious objection to
his theory, that if Benedict's resignation was effected by the party of
Silvester III one would naturally expect that they would have
attempted to restore the latter. He suggests that the party of reform
intervened ; they united with the Crescentians to get rid of Benedict,
and then brought forward Gratian as a candidate for election who
would command general approval (pp. 248 f.). But he does not
dispute that Gratian consented to the antecedent transaction. Signor
Borino's treatment of the question is extremely ingenious, but
I cannot say that it appears to me altogether convincing.
THE COUNTS OF TUSCULUM
The ancestry of the counts of Tusculum who exercised so continuous
and powerful an authority over the city of Rome in the eleventh century
has been obscured by a number of legendary accretions ; but there are
sufficient materials contained in a long series of charters, in the names
of grantors and of witnesses, to enable us to arrive at the conclusion
that they were derived from the family to which Alberic the Prince of
the Romans belonged. The fact has been regarded as doubtful, 1 because
one link in the pedigree has been filled up by conjecture. I propose
to show that there is definite documentary evidence which almost
certainly proves the connexion. The accompanying table, a few details
in which may still need verification, sets out the result. 2
On the face of it, when we consider the persistence of the same
names in Italian families in the middle ages, one is struck by the
recurrence of names like Theophylact, Alberic, Octavian, and Theodora ;
but the difficulty has been to show the origin of Gregorius de Tusculana,
from whom the counts of Tusculum descend. He appears with this
1 See Wattenbach's preface to the Chronicles of Monte Cassino, in Monum.
Germ. Hist., Script, vii. 562 f.
2 The pedigree of the Tusculan house up to Gregorius de Tusculana is given
by Wattenbach in the preface above cited. Monsignor Duchesne supplies the
higher generations from Theophylact and Theodora downwards (Lib. Pontif.
ii. 252, n. 2). Tomassetti (Delia Campagna Romana nel medio evo, ii, in Arch,
della Societa Romana di Storia Patria, ix. 81 n., 1886) gives a complete pedigree
of the whole family. But he fell into error through following a suggestion of
Gregorovius (Hist, of the City of Rome, iv. 10) that Gregorius was either the
son or grandson of Alberic II, and made his mother, Marozia, Alberic's daughter
instead of his first cousin. The insertion of Theodora III is due to a brilliant
reconstruction of an inscription by De Rossi (Bullettino di Archeologia
Cristiana, ii. 65-69, 1864). Monsignor Duchesne, I venture to think wrongly,
identifies her with Theodora II. The pedigrees given by Wattenbach and
Tomassetti are vitiated in the later generations by the acceptance of statements
derived from Peter the Deacon's ( improved ' version of his own descent found in
the Monte Cassino MS. 257 (see the notes to Muratori, Rerum Ital. Script., iv.
488, and Biblioth. Casin. v. 51 a, 1894) ; they do not appear in his earlier
version. It is clear that in order to attach himself to the Tusculan family Peter
had recourse to an elaborate system of falsification. See E. Caspar, Petrus
Diaconus und die Monte Cassiner Falschungen (1909) pp. 21 ff.
1-1 ' 'S *jz 1 fri ja
^Ife I 73 " 1 " i-P^'jl
N>iBK -.5 a ~ a>
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r *""* a$ fl
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3 P,'S_ IL
Alberic I =f= 1
duke of Spoleto j [
ric II Constantino Serj
of the bisl
Octavian t<*' 1013
senator, dux. patricius,
count of Tfisculuni
count of Tusculum
Ua Soc. Rom. xxxiv. 212, n. 4
xpected notice of Theodora,
30\ Vita Alex. Magni (ed. G.
nscribed the book at Constan
i Marinus [his young son] e,
lohannis], fheodoram videlicet
itur sacrae scripturae. This r
lister of Marozia II can bar
55 g g 35 ^ -j-z;" c"52= 1 - 5
^ <o "5 S" 5 i-^ sts *
~ X fefpJj:) S'O S'SS
**" K a. .. - O o> 'S " -
I* ,, jilii
surname in the record of a lawsuit at Rome in 999, and he ranks second
among the lay judges :
Residentibus . . . Gerardo gratia Dei inclito comite atque imperialis
Gregorio excellentissimo viro qui vocatur de Tusculana atque praefecto
Gregorio viro clarissimo qui vocatur Miccinus atque vestarario sacri
Alberico filio Gregorii atque imperialis palatii magistro . . .*
The Alberic here named was brother to the first two Tusculan Popes,
Benedict VIII and John XIX. His father Gregory, who in 999 had
attained a position of high dignity at Rome, is found as early as 96 1
witnessing as consul el dux a grant of certain vineyards in the territory of
Albano to the monastery of Subiaco. 2 In 980 or 981 there is an agree-
ment inter Gregorius illustrissimo virojilius Maroze senatrix . . . rectorem mona-
sterii sancti Andree apostoli et sancte Lucie qui appellatur Renal i and the
abbot. 3 Now in 949 we read of a charter of sale da Maroza nobili femina
conius vero Theophilactus eminentissimus bestarario of land in the territory
of Albano called Zizinni. 4 In 979, after the death of Maroze nobilissime
fcmine, her uncle Demetrius at her desire gave property at Zizinni to
the monastery : this document is witnessed by Gregorius consul et dux. s
The title of senatrix given to Maroza in the document of 980 brings us
very close to the ruling power at Rome. In 959 Marozza senatrix omnium
Romanorum makes another grant to Subiaco; 6 in 96 1 she is mentioned
as excellentissima femina atque senatrix; 1 and it has not escaped notice
that this title is assigned to her soon after the death of the famous
Alberic senator and Prince of the Romans in 954. 8 It is evident that
she stood in the foremost rank of the nobility of the city. Her husband
Theophylact held the office of vestararius, one of the highest administrative
posts which a layman could hold in the Papal court, and she herself
bore the title of senatrix. What relation did she bear to Alberic ?
There is a piece of evidence among the Subiaco charters, hidden away
unobserved in a record of boundaries, which furnishes nearly positive
proof that she was his first cousin. In 985 a church and its appurtenances
at Albano were granted to the monastery ; the adjacent landowners are
enumerated : on three sides were the heirs of the grantor, who had
1 Regesto di Farfa, iii. (1883) 160, no. 437 .
2 Regesto Sublacense, p. 191, no. 139.
8 Ibid., p. 165, no. 109.
4 Ibid., p. 176, no. 126.
8 Ibid., pp. 176 f., no. 126; cf. p. 194, no. 143.
8 Ibid., pp. 106 f., no. 66.
7 Ibid., p. 174, no. 124.
8 Wattenbach, ubi supra, p. 662.
become a monk, et a quarto latere Gregorius de Maroza de Theodora. 1
The absence of honorific titles hardly presents a difficulty, for it was
not necessary to insert them in a record of boundaries ; and I have
no doubt that Theodoru is a simple slip of the pen for Theodora. It
cannot be accounted for on palaeographical grounds, for, whether in
the original Lombardic or in the minuscule of the chartulary, a and u are
perfectly distinct. While in the rude Latinity of these documents little
regard is paid to the correct use of case-endings, we find that proper
names are by preference written in the nominative, no matter what
the construction of the sentence may be. In the rare instances in
which a name is written with the termination -it, it seems always to
represent -us or -urn, moving in the direction of the Italian -o ; I do not
think it ever stands for -a. Therefore in the present instance Maroza
ought to be the daughter of Theodorus. But if this were so it would
be difficult to connect her with the family of Alberic or to explain how
after his death she came to bear the title of senatrix. These documents,
however, are by no means free from textual inaccuracies, and I believe
that the scribe accidentally wrote Theodoru when he should have written
This Marozia, then, was the daughter of Theodora sister of Marozia I,
the mother of Alberic II. Her relationship to him is precisely stated
in a document which has been several times printed from a notarial
transcript of 130 1. 2 It is a grant to the monastery of SS. Andrew and
Gregory quod appellatur Clivuscauri dated 14 January in the 3rd year of
Marinus [miswritten Martinus] II in the 3rd Indiction, that is, in 9*5.
The important sentence for our purpose runs as follows ; I divide the
names for clearness into paragraphs :
Nos Albericus Domini gratia humilis princeps atque omnium Roma-
atque Sergius humilis episcopus sancte Nepesine ecclesie,
nee non et Constantinus illustris vir,
atque Bertha nobilissima puella uterina,
et germani fratres Marozze quondam Romanorum senatricis filii,
nee non et Marozza seu [= et] Stephania nobilissima femina,
germane sorores et consobrine eorum Theodore quondam Romanorum
The subscriptions are arranged in the following order : Alberic, Marozza,
Stephania (both the ladies litteras nescientes), Bertha, Sergius, Constantine.
Marozza thus ranks next after Alberic, and she is expressly described as
daughter of Theodora formerly senatrix Romanorum. That Alberic's son
John, surnamed Octavian, afterwards Pope John XII, is not mentioned*
1 Reg. Sublae., p. 189, no. 138.
* I cite it from Marini, no. c, pp. 155 ff.
is accounted for by the fact that he was a boy at the time : his death
in 964 left the inheritance of Alberic's possession to Maroza.
Maroza senatrix, then, the mother of Gregory de Tusculana, was the
daughter of Theodora, who, with her sister the elder Maroza, had
occupied a position of unequalled influence at Rome in the early part
of the tenth century. They were the daughters of Theophylact, who
as vestararius and magister militum held the highest rank among the
officials of the Roman state. As early as 901 Theophylact is mentioned
second in a list of eleven indices, following next after the bishops and
counts, who were present at the decision of a lawsuit at Rome ; l he
soon became beyond question the most important layman in the Papal
The pedigree thus constructed receives an interesting support from
the evidence preserved as to the house which the head of the family
inhabited at Rome. The Palazzo Colonna, adjoining the Church of the
Santissimi Apostoli, bears its name from a descendant in the fifth
degree of Gregory de Tusculana. Gregory's son Alberic (III) count of
Tusculum is found in 1013 dwelling there : on the occasion of a lawsuit
the judges by command of the Pope, Benedict VIII, assembled intra
domum domni Alberici eminentissimi consults et duds iuxta sanctos apottolos.*
Seventy years before, a suit was in like manner held in the same
house, which was then occupied by Alberic (II) the Prince : in 942 the
judges assembled by his command in curie ipsius principi Alberici iuxta
basilica sancti apostoli.* The property seems from later indications to
have extended up the Quirinal, when the Torre Mesa, destroyed by
Innocent XIII, is believed to have been built by the Tusculan counts
in the eleventh century. 5 Tomassetti thinks that this Roman house
was possessed by the lords of the Via Lata, and that it may even be
possible to trace the family back to Pope Hadrian I. 6 Into this con-
jecture I will not enter, for I am at the moment interested only in
establishing the pedigree which connects the family of Alberic the
Prince with the house of Tusculum in the eleventh century. It is
1 Schiaparelli, Diplomi di Lodovico III, p. 19 (1910). For the early pedigree
of Theophylact's family, see W. Sickel's paper on Alberich 1 1 und der Kirchen-
staat, in Mitth. des Inst. fur Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung, xxiii. (1902)
77-81, 87 f.
a This is excellently brought out by Monsignor Duchesne, Les Premiers Temps
de 1'fitat Pontifical, 2nd ed., 1904, pp. 310 f.
3 Reg. di Farfa, iv. 35, no. 637 .
* Reg. Sublac., p. 203, no. 155, where sancti apostoli is the nominative plural ;
as Benedict of Soracte speaks of ecclesia sanctorum apostolorum lacobi et Philippi,
que nos vocamus sancti apontoli: Chron. xxxi., Monum. Germ. Hist., Script, iii.
5 See an article by C. Corvisieri in the Arch, della R. Societa Romana di
Storia Patria, x. (1887) 636-640.
Ibid., ix. 80.
manifest that this Roman property came down from Theophylact and
Theodora. They transmitted it to their daughter Marozia, the consort
of Alberic (I) duke of Spoleto, and hence it was inherited by their son
Alberic the Prince.
There is no sign that the elder Alberic had anything to do with
Rome until his alliance with Marozia. According to Benedict of Soracte,
this followed the victory which he and Pope John X won over the
Saracens at the Garigliano in 915 or 91 6. On his return he was
received with honour by the Roman people and formed an alliance
(not, according to Benedict, a marriage) with the daughter of Theo-
phylact. 1 This is the generally received account. But Signor Fedele
points out that the date is difficult to reconcile with the fact that in
932 the son of this union, Alberic the Prince, was old enough and
strong enough to imprison his mother and drive the Pope from Rome. 2
He thinks, therefore, that Alberic's connexion with Rome began some
years earlier, 8 probably at the time when Sergius III succeeded in
gaining possession of the Popedom of which he had previously failed
to make himself master. Be this as it may, it is necessary to guard
against a figment which has come down from the writers who in former
times sought to magnify the greatness and antiquity of the counts of
Tusculum : this is the assertion that Alberic I was himself count of
Tusculum, which is repeated by De Rossi 4 and Tomassetti. 6 It is abso-
lutely unsupported and is rightly described by Gregorovius as absurd. 8
The family of which Theophylact I and Theodora I are the first
proved ancestors was a Roman family which probably had been long
established in the city. 7 From the early years of the tenth century
it held, as we have seen, a place of great distinction and authority in
Rome. Naturally its members acquired property in the neighbouring
districts. We find them as landowners in the territory of Albano, and
just at the end of the century Gregory, the heir to the main part of
the estates, appears for the first time connected with Tusculum, a fortress
which for nearly two hundred years continued the headquarters of his
\- l Accepit una de nobilibus Romani . . . Theophilacti filia, non quasi uxor sed in
consuetudinem malignam : Chron. xxix., p. 714. Cf. Duchesne, Serge III et
Jean XI, in the Melanges d'Archeologie et d'Histoire, xxxiii. (1913) 48 ff.
* Arch, della Soc. Rom. xxxiii. (1910) 216 f.
8 So too Gregorovius, Hist, of the City of Rome, iii. 256, 271.
4 Bullettino di Archeologia Cristiana, ii. (1864) 68.
5 Marozia ' makes her entry into the Tusculan family by marrying Alberic I
count of Tusculum ' : Arch, della Soc. Rom. ix. 79 f.
8 Hist, of the City of Rome, iii. 275, n. 2.
7 Signor Fedele makes some acute suggestions about their ancestry, but
admits that they must for the present remain conjectures : Arch, della Soc.
Rom. xxx iv. 208 f.
descendants. 1 He died before 1013.* The only positive statement that
Gregory held the office which in his son's time is described as the
countship of Tusculum appears, I think, in the Life of St. Nilus, who
settled near Grotta Ferrata in the closing years of the tenth century
and died at a great age in 1005. Here we read that 'the ruler of
that township, by name Gregory, was notorious for his tyranny and
injustice, but exceedingly shrewd and well furnished with intelligence ',*
very much the typical feudal baron of romance. He was, however,
a good friend to the saint, to whom he granted a site for the future
monastery. As time went on, the counts of Tusculum sought to carry
back their lineage to ancient times. It was asserted that Alberic II
called his son, the future Pope John XII, Octavian to commemorate
his descent from Octavius Mamilius, the son-in-law of Tarquinius
Superbus. 4 In the twelfth century Peter the Deacon, the chronicler
of Monte Cassino, who wished to make himself a scion of the Tusculan
house, boldly invented a letter in the name of Ptolemy, the count of
his day, making him describe himself as lulia stirpe progenitus, 5 and thus
claim an ancestry less ancient but more august than that which traced
back to Tarquin.
1 Cf. Julius Jung, Organisationen Italiens, in the Mittheilungen des Institutes
fur Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung, Erganzungsband v. (1896-1903) 60 f.
3 Reg. Farf., no. 639, vol. iv. 37.
8 *O 8f ap\av rrjs Ku>fjLt)S (Kflvrjs rprjyoptos rw ov6[MTt, Trtpifiorfros tv rvpavvifti Kal
dbtKtq Tvyxdvwv, \iav 8i dy\ivovs Kal vvviati Kexoar/jj^eVo?, Vita S. Nili, xiv, 96,
Act. Sanctorum, Sept. vii. (1760) 340 B.
4 See Gregorovius, iv. 9, n. 1. Livy says (i. 49) that Tarquin Octavio Mamilio
Tusculano (is longe princeps Latini nominis erat, sifamae credimus, ab Ulixe deaque
Circa oriundus): ei Mamilio filiam nuptum dot.
5 Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, iv. 488 n.
Printed by Frederick Hall, at the University Press