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"De gente Anglorum, qui maxime familiares Apostolica? Sedis semper 
existunt" {Gesta Abb. Fontanel. A.D. 747-752, ap. M.G. SS. II. 289). 



Formosus TO Damasus II. 



V'- : - 

o^ TE 



VOL. IV 891-999 





The Terms on which this work is supplied to the 
Booksellers do not admit of discount to the public. 




ST cuthbert's college, ushaw 

55 respecttullg 2>eDicatefc 




If edification were the sole, or even the principal, 
object which I had in view in undertaking to write the 
biographies of the Popes of the early Middle Ages, I 
might perhaps have hesitated about publishing the present 
series. But I wish to pursue a higher end than that of 
indulging in a style of historical writing which is supposed 
to be calculated to edify a certain type of mind. I would 
fulfil what I regard as a command laid upon me by the 
late glorious Head of the Church, and strive to make 
known the history of the Popes of Rome. And, as it was 
a cardinal maxim with Leo XIII. that truth would not 
injure the Church, I am convinced that he would not have 
had the Lives of some Popes written and the Lives of 
others left unrecorded, nor would he have wished to see 
some of their deeds blazoned forth and others buried in 
eternal oblivion. 

I know, too, that one of the greatest of the predecessors 
of Leo XIII. laid it down that "if scandal be taken from 
the enunciation of truth, it is better to allow the scandal 
to arise than to leave the word of truth unrecorded." 1 

1 St. Gregory I., " Si autem de veritate scandalum sumitur, utilius 
permittitur nasci scandalum quam Veritas relinquatur." Horn, in 
Ezech., i. } horn. 7. 


Have I not also the assurance of St. Leo I., the Great, that 
"the dignity of Peter is not lost even in an unworthy 
successor"? 1 Besides, I believe that such as have the 
patience to read the following pages will probably conclude 
that the scandals of the Papacy of the Dark Age are not 
so numerous as they had imagined, and that excuses not 
a few serve to palliate most of those which did take place. 2 
Finally, as the history "of the medieval Papacy" is a 
"glorious" one, 8 it would appear to have been necessary 
for it to have its dark pages in order that its bright ones 
may be fully appreciated. It seems as if we must become 
acquainted with the tree of the knowledge of good and 
evil before we can properly appraise what is perfect. 

To the critics who have expressed widely different views 
on the literary style in which I have dressed my biographies, 
I would say that were it not too unconventional, I would 
follow the lead of an old Icelandic historian, and call this 
work a horn-spoon, " because methinks there is much good 
stuff therein ; but I know that there is need that it be 
beautified, and I shall, as long as I am able, busy myself 
with the mending thereof." 4 

It would not be becoming in me to bring to a conclusion 
the short preface to this volume without thanking those 
who have helped me to make it. I must offer my warm 
thanks to those who have so patiently read over the proof- 
sheets for me, to C. 1 [art, Esq., B.A., and to F. F. Urquhart, 

1 " Petri dignitas ctiam in indigno haerede non deficit." Serm. 3. 
n. 3. 

1 Rome "was perpetually rent by factions (in the tenth century), 
which are in great measure responsible for the odium which a pre- 
judiced criticism has so often attached to tl institution.' 5 
Hill, A History of European IHploituuy, i. 176, London, 1905. 
lungham, The Monuments of Christian Ronn, p. I. 

* So writ* y thirteenth-century author of the Lives of the 

early bishops of Iceland, a; m% i. 426. He was a 

very original writer, and called his book H xktr. 



Esq., M.A., and to those who have helped me with the 
illustrations, to the Rev. A. Chadwick and H. Burton, to 
A. Harding, Esq., and the Cavaliere C. Serafini. Nor 
must I forget to include among those to whom my gratitude 
is due, the authorities of the Public Library of the city of 
Newcastle-on-Tyne, and of St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw. 

H. K. MANN. 

The Arch of Septimius Severus in 1594, showing remains of medieval 
fortifications. (From Huelsen's The Roman Forum.) 


Jaffe, or Regesta . . = Regesta Pontiftcum Romanorum, ed. 

Jaffe, 2nd ed., Lipsise, 1885. 
Labbe = Sacrosancta Concilia, ed. Labbe 

and Cossart, Paris, 167 1. 
L. P., Anastasius, or the ) = Liber Pontif calls, 2 vols., ed. L. 

Book of the Popes ) Duchesne, Paris, 1886. 

M. G. H., or Pertz . = Monumenta Germanice Historica, 

either Scriptores (M. G. SS.) or 
Epistolce (M. G. Epp.) or Poetce 
(M. G. PP.). 

P. G = Patrologia Grceca, ed. Migne, Paris. 

P. L = Patrologia Latina, ed. Migne, Paris. 

R. I. SS. . . = Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, ed. 

Muratori, Milan, 1723 ff. 
R. S., following an \ = The edition of the Chronicles, etc., 
edition of a book > published under the direction of 

) the Master of the Rolls. 

The sign f placed before a date indicates that the date in 
question is the year of the death of the person after whose name 
the sign and date are placed. 





Introduction, ..... 


Formosus (891-896), .... 


Boniface VI. (April? 896),. 


Stephen (VI.) VII. (896-897), 

. 76 

Romanus (897), 


Theodore II. (897), .... 


John IX. (898-900), .... 


Benedict IV. (900-903), 


Leo V (903). (Christopher Antipope, 9 



Sergius III. (904-911), . 


Anastasius III. (911-913), . 


Landus (913-914), 


John X. (914-928), . 


Leo VI. (928-928 or 9), . . . 


Stephen (VII.) VIII. (929-931), . 


John XI. (931-936), .... 


Leo VII. (936-939), .... 


Stephen (VIII.) IX. (939-942), . 


Marinus II. (942-946), 




ACAPITUS II. (946-955), 224 

JOHN XII. (955-964) 241 

Benedict V. (964), 273 

John XIII. (965-972). 282 

Benedict VI. (972-974), 305 

Benedict VII. (974-983 315 

John XIV. (983-984) 33 o 

Boniface VII. (Antipope?) (984-985), -339 

John XV. (985-996) 343 

Gregory V. (996-999) 3 8 9 


Plan of Rome, .... 



The Arch of Septimius Severus, 


The Arch of Janus Quadrifrons, 

to face 17 

The Arch of Titus, 


Pope Formosus, portrait of, . 


Coins of Formosus, 


Coins of Stephen VIL, . 


Coin of Romanus, . 

. 87 

Christopher, portrait of, . 

to face in 

S. Pier in Grado, interior of, 

M 117 

John X., portrait of, 

,1 149 

Coin of John XI., . 


Coin of John XI., . 


Agapitus II., portrait of, 

to face 225 

Cenotaph of Benedict V., 

11 279 

John XV., . 



Before we proceed to give the details of the Lives of those Europe in 
Popes who held the See of Rome during the period when Age." 
Italy sank lower in the scale of civilisation than at any 
other period of its history, it will be of advantage to say 
something as to the causes which brought about the evils 
of that age. We would say something of an age when the 
supreme Pontiffs of Rome, dragged down with Italy, were 
so degraded, in part by the treatment to which they were 
subjected, and in part by the vices of some of those whom 
brute force thrust into the chair of Peter, that one might 
have been tempted to believe that their authority must for 
ever have come to an end. 

To the reader who has in mind the facts recorded in the 
preceding volume of this work, these intoductory remarks 
may scarcely be necessary ; but they will at least serve to 
impress still more upon him that the scandals in high 
places which he will soon see, if he continues his reading, 
were due rather to external circumstances than to any 
internal decay of the institution of the Papacy itself. 

The period we would discuss the tenth century and the 
first half of the eleventh is often spoken of as the " un- 
happy or obscure, the iron or leaden age." And for many 

reasons it richly deserves the hard names which have been 
VOL. IV. i 


given to it ; but it must at once be noted that it is very often 
the subject of undue generalisation. It is frequently asserted 
that, for Europe at large, it was the blackest period of its 
long life. No doubt, when the head suffers grievously, the 
body cannot be in a very satisfactory condition. For 
Italy, and for Rome the head and centre at this time both 
of Western civilisation and of Christianity the epoch in 
question was assuredly the most miserable of all the times 
they have passed through. But, though most of the other 
countries of Europe were in anything but a flourishing 
state, the second half of the tenth century saw them in a 
much better condition than the first half, and they had seen 
darker days some three centuries before. And so we find that 
poch witnessed at least a temporary revival of learning 
and discipline in England through the noble efforts of 
St. Dunstan and his monastic brethren. 1 France, indeed, 
suffered almost as much as Italy at this time. Its historians 
are agreed that it never sank so low as in the tenth century. 
Yet even in France the very beginning of the tenth century 
saw the foundation of the monastery of Cluny, 2 the influence 
of which, in the eleventh century, was to be the leaven 
which was destined to permeate and elevate the whole mass 
of Kuropcan corruption. But, apart from what Fulbert of 
Chartrcs called "the strong capitol of the monastic life," 

1 Cf vol. i. c. 8 fascinating work of Sister Dranc, Christian 
Schools and Scholars, and the introduction to Hock's Life of Pope 
French trai, q the original German 

is the one here cited. 

uniian (988-1072), who, as papal legate in 

Ulldei the Abbot Hugh, writes (1. vi. ep. 4): "Vidi 

im MuatuorKvangeliorum fiuentisirriguum,imototidem 

virtutum. . . . Et quid alhid Cluniacense 

mooattrnum. nis: mini plenum dixerim, ubi velut acervus est 

calettiutn tegetum chorus tot it ntulIn nmn.w horum." 

Cf. the first five letters of this book of Damian s letters. Cf chap. v. 

(the Chmiac Reformation) in Tout's The Empire and the Pafiacy 



the Church in France was in as miserable a condition as 
the State. 1 Christian Spain, however, on the other hand, 
advanced its frontiers during this age of woe ; and Germany, 
which under powerful rulers broke the violence of the 
barbarian invaders, aided by its great bishops and by 
the comparatively prosperous state of its monastic institu- 
tions, experienced a decided advance in civilisation gener- 
ally. 2 It was through Germany that Divine Providence 
seems to have worked in effecting the reform of the Church 
in its head. 

The life of the Spirit, too, was not altogether dead 
in the tenth century. There were saintly men in every 
land, and great saints in some. St. Bernard of Menthon, 
" the apostle of the Alps," the founder of the hospices on 
the Great and the Little St. Bernard, was one; St. Odo 
of Cluny, not to mention his three saintly successors, was 
another. England produced St. Dunstan, St. Oswald, 
and others. Italy profited by the presence of St. Nilus, 
the famous Basilian monk, and St. Adalbert was a source 
of light to the Slavs. Earnest and zealous men spread the 
truths of Christianity into countries where they had not as 
yet penetrated. And the darkness of the tenth century 
was lightened towards its close by the conversion of 
the Northmen, the Hungarians, and some more remote 
Slavonic peoples whose ignorance had not been illumined 
by the great apostles of the Slavs, SS. Cyril and 
Methodius. 3 

1 " Nee est prsesul in Galliis cujus viscera tangat affectio pietatis, aut 
zelus sacras legis inflammet. . . . O derelicta, O moesta, O desolata 
Galliarum ecclesia." Ep. 2, an. 1003, ap. P. L., t. 141, p. 192. Cf. Odo 
of Cluny, Collationes, ii., c. 6, ap. P. Z., t. 133. 

2 Christian Schools, i. c. 9, p. 324 to the end of the chapter. Kurth, 
Notger de Liege, i., p. 1 ff. ; Paris, 1905. 

3 See Pardiac, Hist, de S. Abbon, p. 44 ff., for a list of the saints of 
the tenth century. 


Hut if not the darkest day for Europe in general, the 
tenth century, with the first half of the eleventh, was 
confessedly the blackest night for Italy, and for Rome 
and its rulers. The causes which brought about the 
degradation of the Papacy were, to a large extent, those 
which brought about the fall of the empire. First of these 
was the barbarians. Under the strong rule of Charlemagne, 
civilisation had grown apace in Europe. Religion, and 
consequently learning, flourished under the protection of 
that great ruler; and, broadly speaking, till the fall of the 
Frankish empire north Italy at least enjoyed a term of peace 
and prosperity. 1 The strong right arm of Charlemagne had 
pushed back the borders of the barbarians, whose inroads 
were so fatal to the cause of civilisation, and who hung 
the empire ready to take advantage of the smallest 
symptoms of weakness which it might exhibit. These 
symptoms were not long in showing themselves. Following 
the example set by Charlemagne himself, the empire was 
progressively split up by his descendants among their 
children ; and, worse still, those who succeeded him in the 
title of emperor were destitute either of physical vitality, 
mental ability, or both. The reins of government slipped 
from their nerveless grasp under the pressure of the 
barbarians from without, and of the turbulent dukes and 
counts from within. The nobility grew unruly, and the 

' Kffpw Hal., t. v. p. 225 : "Francis regnum 
tenentibus . . . rt justis Francorum imperiis .... cum ad sobolis 
mcrcmentum, et cultum axlificiorum ct rcctarum disciplinarian ornatum, 
lum, in primis, ad religionis sanctitatem, et imperii dignitatem profecit 
tfjjjjf Rf before Sigonius, Hugh, abbot of Farfa, had written 

1 p. Af. G. SS., xi.) : " Qui (Francorum reges) 
P * Ungobardorum imperatorum Italicum regnum 

strenuc potcnterque per multa spatia temporum honorifice guber- 
namnt, icclcsiat Dei exaltando, paupcres recreando, justitiam et legem 
ubtqoe adimplendo." Hugh wrote at the beginning of the eleventh 


inroads of Normans, Saracens, and Slavs became incessant. 
Bad enough before, things became much worse on the 
deposition of the last Carolingian emperor, Charles the 
Fat, in 887. The empire was split up into seven kingdoms, 
and soon into more than fifty feudal sovereignties. In 
bringing these kingdoms into being, racial and linguistic 
tendencies and pressing local 1 needs certainly had their 
share. But beyond doubt the greatest factor in producing 
them was the personal ambition of those who became their 
rulers, of men who by their birth considered themselves all 
equal. 2 And " the ambition of the powerful, together with 
the deplorable miseries of the times," we have it on the 
authority of the famous Gerbert (ep. 130) "turned right 
into wrong." Already, on the division of the empire at the 
time of the death of Louis the Pious, Florus, the deacon of 
Lyons, had, in verse not wanting in pathos, bewailed its 
partition. He had called on the lofty hills and the deep 
valleys to mourn over the race of the Franks who had fallen 
from empire. " A beautiful empire once flourished under 
a glorious crown. Then was there one Prince and one 
subject people. Every town had its laws and its judges. 
. . . The word of salvation was preached to all ; and the 
youth everywhere studied the sacred Scriptures and the 
liberal arts. . . . The name and dignity of empire lost, 
we have now kinglets for kings ; instead of an empire, its 
fragments. ... Of the general good no one has a thought. 
It is each one for himself. . . . The bishops can no longer 
hold their synods. There are no assemblies of the people, 
no laws. Vain were it for an embassy to come hither, 

1 Cf. Capitular., ed. Boretius, ii. 376. 

2 Regino (an. 888) tells us how, on the death of Charles the Fat, 
each section of his empire " de suis visceribus regem sibi creari disponit. 
Quae causa magnos bellorum motus excitavit .... quia inter ipsos 
(principes Francorum) csgualitas generositatis dignitatis ac potential 
discordiam augebat." 


for there is no court to receive it." 1 What would the 
high-minded deacon have said had he lived to see the 
deposition of Charles the Fat, and the divisions and wars 
that followed it ? 

That which rendered these wars specially disastrous was 
the fact that one or other of the contending parties was con- 
stantly inviting hordes of different barbarians to aid them 
in attacking their opponents and devastating their terri- 
tories. Drawn by these invitations, and by the prospect 
of booty, Northman and Slav, Hungarian and Saracen 
44 sometimes trod the same ground of desolation ; and these 
savage foes might have been compared by Homer to the 
two lions growling over the carcase of the mangled stag." 2 

In addition to the progressive subdivisions of the 
empire, and to the inroads of heathen or infidel invaders, 
a third most potent cause of the degradation of Europe in 
the tenth century and in the first half of the eleventh was the 
enslavement of the Church in its episcopacy. Freedom of 
election had been lost in the ninth century, 3 and in this 
Dark Age the Popes and the bishops became the creatures 
not simply of emperors or kings, but of petty local barons. 4 
Though there were some great bishops in Germany and 
in Kngland, the tenth century saw an episcopate largely 
composed of men who cared not for the glory of God and 
of His Church, who looked not to the beauty of His house, 
who had no concern for the spiritual and temporal welfare 
of their flocks, and who held learning in no esteem. 
tally, from the node of their appointment, very 

1 The poem, ,4 Dc querela dc dhris. Imp.," from which ihc above 
extract is taken, is to be found ap. Mabillon, Analcci. Vet. \ or P. I. ., 


:ne and Fall, r. 55. 
% Cf. Imbart de la Tour, / j /ptscopales, 8 14 -1 150. 

Germany, where the kings kept the episcopal appointments 
in their own hands. 


many of them became barons rather than churchmen, and 
worked more for the privileges of a class than for the 
welfare of the whole body. Under such bishops there can 
be no difficulty in imagining what their priests were like. 
And when the salt of the clergy had lost its savour, the 
great mass of the laity necessarily became acquainted with 

Of the barbarians who devastated Europe in the tenth The Danes 
century, the Northmen, 1 that is, the Norsemen and the Norsemen. 
Danes, were destined in the sequel to be as great agents 
for good in the civilisation of western Europe as they had 
once been powerful factors in its disintegration. 

Though the piratical raids of the Norsemen had begun 
even before the close of the eighth century, their expedi- 
tions for permanent conquests did not begin till about the 
middle of the ninth century. About the same time, 
Harold Fairhair (863-934) in Norway, and Gorm the Old 
(860-935) in Denmark, strove successfully to make them- 
selves effective rulers in those countries. Their success 
caused many of the vikings to leave their Northern 
homes for ever. After their light ships had spread the 
terror of their name not only over the British Isles, the 
Low Countries, and France, but even into Spain and the 
countries of the Mediterranean ; and after they had carried 
" property " 2 back to Norway and Denmark from every 

1 Cf. The Vikings in Western Christendom, 789-888, by C. Keary, 
1891. The first "ships of Northmen" touched our coast in 787 {cf. 
Anglo-Sax. Chron.). Before 800 their unwelcome visits had been 
made to Ireland, Frisia, and Aquitaine. The monastery of Iona was 
destroyed in 806. By 825 the viking expeditions were in full force. 
And " we may take the middle year of the ninth century as about the 
time when the Danish vikings cease to be, like swallows, summer 
visitors only, but begin to pass whole years through in the enemy's 
territory " (id., p. 274). 

2 Dudo, who wrote about A.D. 10 15, and who gives us the earliest 
Norman traditions, quaintly writes of the Norsemen : " Dimittuntur 


other European country, the vikings, about the middle of 
the ninth century, turned their attention, as we have said, 
to making regular conquests. Large portions of the 
British Isles and of France soon fell under their control. 
This, however, proved fortunate for Europe. Skilled in 
the art of war, no strangers to the refinements of life, and 
now masters of a considerable tract of sea-coast them- 
selves, they checked the ravages of their countrymen. 
When, in 912, Charles the Simple, of France, making a 
virtue of necessity, ceded to the viking Rolf or Rollo 
what was, from these very Northmen, afterwards known as 
Normandy, the wild Norseman and his followers not only 
became Christians, and adopted the civilisation they found 
attached to it, but presented a strong barrier to future 
marauders. In the following century their proficiency in 
the arts both of peace and war caused them to become one 
of the chief agents in bringing the anarchy of the tenth 
century to a close. But before they thus settled down, 
these terrible sea-rovers, who " never put awnings on their 
ships, never furled their sails to the wind," and would have no 
" straw-made beds outside their ships' berths," 1 were a scourge 
indeed, as our countryman Alcuin, and, long after him, 
Pope Formosus, had the best reason to note. 2 Their aims 
were as lofty as their methods of striving for their accom- 
plishment were ferocious. Hasting, the Danish sea-king, 

mopes, ut mcrcentur ex extrancis dipet. PrivantUT suorum 
fundu ut loccntur quicte alienis. . . . Liberator patria, suis incolis 
desccata. leterac condolcnt provinci.v, ptarimo hoste nequiter toxi- 
cal*. Sic dcpopulantur cuncta qua? sibi sunt obstantia." De morib. 
ft att. Norm,tn, t. i. p. 63, ap. Duchesne, Hist. A ript. A*Hq. 

On the ravages of the Norsemen in Spain, sec herches sur 

ru* ... 250 ft 

I ^* e thc Wick,n K ,aw s. ap. Vigfusson, 325. 

CMtigatio est magna horum eruptio, antiquis ignota temporibus 
popolo Chmnano.' Kp. .84, ed. Dummler. "Nermann* K entis 
proccIUs, laments Pope Formosus, ap. Frodoard, Hist. AV;;/., iv. 2. 


who invaded England in 893, had nothing less in view, so 
we are told, than the making of his king, Biorn Ironside, 
emperor of the West ; and, driven by a storm out of his 
course, he seized Luna, near Carrara, in mistake for Rome x 
(c. 857). 

Worse, however, in themselves than the Norsemen, and The 
certainly much worse for Italy, with which we are especially 
concerned, were the Saracens. While the Norse dragon 
was devouring the north, the Moorish crescent was casting 
its blighting glare on the south of Europe. 2 In the pre- 
ceding volume enough has been said to show the mischief 
they wrought in south Italy in the latter half of the ninth 
century. To the centres of ruin and devastation which they 
established there during that period on the Garigliano, in 
Cetara, and in other places, they added others, towards the 
close of the same century, among the fastnesses of the Alps. 
Of these the most important was Fraxineto, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Fraxinet or Garde-Frainet, situated perhaps 
on the promontory of the maritime Alps, which shuts in 
the bay of Villafranca to the east of Nice. Here and in 
the adjoining passes of the Alps they maintained them- 
selves for the greater part of a hundred years. For 
though attacked at various times, as for instance even 
by a Greek fleet in 93 1, 3 it was only in 942 that they 
were expelled from Fraxineto. Protected by the sea and 
by woods rendered almost impassable by a dense under- 

1 William of Jumieges, Hist. Northman., i. 9, ap. P. L., t. 149. 
" Hastingus dominum suum (Bier) ad altiora cupiens provehere, de 
imperiali diademate cum agmine complicum coepit attentius tractare." 
No doubt much is attributed to Hasting which he did not accomplish, 
but there is nothing incredible in the episode spoken of in the text. 
Cf. Wheaton's charming History of the Northmen, p. 160 ff. 

2 In Spain, as late as 1050, there was still question of the ravages of 
the Saracens. Cf. can. 6 of the council of Coyaca in the diocese 
of Oviedo. 

3 Frod., Anna/., 931, ap. P. L., t. 135. 


:ii, they despised all local efforts to subdue them. At 
length, in 942, Hugh of Aries or Provence, king of Italy* 
obtained the aid of a Greek fleet to attack them by sea, 
whilst he assaulted them on the land side. The joint 
attack was successful. The Moors had to abandon their 
fortress, and fly to the passes of the mountains. But it is 
significant of the type of men who then controlled the 
destinies of Europe, that, instead of destroying this band of 
bloodthirsty bandits, Hugh agreed to let them remain on 
Monte Moro (Mons Maurus) on condition that, to the best 
of their power, they would hinder his rival, Berenger of 
Ivrea, from returning to Italy. 1 It was not till 972 2 that 
they were ousted from this last coign of vantage. 

Issuing from one or other of these lairs, the fierce Moors 
beset the passes of the Alps, plundering and murdering 
pilgrims on their way to Rome, and generally harassing 
the north of Italy. All the chroniclers 3 of the times speak 
with horror of the sea-washed fortress of Fraxineto ; and 
the dread doings of its Saracenic lords form a subject of 
frequent notice by them. Such as the following are the 

recorded by them or by the sad testimony of monu- 

1 Kiutprand, Antap.,v. cc. 9, 16-17. On a spur of the Montagnes 

' iurcs, inland from Frejus, arc the remains of a Moorish fort. 

These ruins are thought by others to indicate the site of Fraxineto. 

lidgc, I he Alps in Nature and History, p 82 f., 1908. Some 

suppose Monte Moro to be the pass leading from the Saas valley 

s'.i ; but the exact locality of the fortress of Fraxineto or 

of Monte M A been ascertained. Cf. Poupardin, Le Royainnc 

<** !*' rll p. 243 ff. ; Paris, 1901. 

Amutl., 972, quoting the Vita S. Maioli by Syrus. The 

been republished, ip. /'. /.., t. 137. The account of the 

.kttnxtmn of the stronghold is given, id., 1. 3, c. 1-8. "Sic Omni- 

9***h & ) mcritis, pra;cipitatis impiis, cliberavit 

mi itinens,'' concludes the monk Syrus, after giving 

ng account of this affair. Cf. Chron. Novalic., v. 18. 

* Cf. Chron. Nt : 3.' 6; Liutprandus, Antapod., 


mental inscriptions. In the year 92 1, 1 says Frodoard, " a 
great number of Englishmen, on their way to Rome, were 
crushed to death with rocks rolled upon them by the 
Saracens in the passes of the Alps." We need not, therefore, 
suspect Gregory of Catino (who towards the close of the 
eleventh century drew up the Chronicle of his monastery 
of Farfa) of much exaggeration when he says 2 of this 
period : " When at length, in punishment of the sins of 
Christians, the power of that dynasty (the Carolingian) 
began to decline, and became altogether impotent, a 
multitude of pagans of that wicked race called Agareni, or 
Saracens, invaded Italy, and few were the cities from 
Trasbido to the Po, with the exception of Rome and 
Ravenna, which escaped destruction at their hands, or 
which were not at least brought under the scourge of 
their tyranny. As for the cities and provinces which 
they conquered, it was their practice to plunder them 
of everything, and either to drive away the inhabitants 
into captivity, or to slay them with the edge of the 

The ports of south Italy were crowded with Christian 
captives waiting to be shipped as slaves to Africa. 3 Saracen 
buildings all along the coast about Amalfi, Naples, and 
Vietri attest to this day the baleful presence of the Moors 

1 Cf. the entry for 923, " Multitude) Anglorum limina S. Petri orationis 
gratia petentium, inter Alpes a Sarracenis trucidatur." " An inscription 
formerly in the parish church of Bourg-St.-Pierre, in the Val d'Entre- 
mont, recorded the murders committed by a band of Saracens in the 
St. Bernard's Pass." Destruction of Ancient Rome, p. 158, by 

2 Chron. Far/., ap. R. I. SS., ii., pt. ii., 416. Miley's translation, with 
additions {Hist, of the Papal States, ii. 180), is here cited. Cf. 
Destructio Farf, c. 1, ap. M. G. SS., xi. 

3 As early as 870 the monk Bernard the Wise, on his way to the 
Holy Land, saw thousands of such captives at Tarentum. Cf. Itinera 
Hierosol., ed. Tobler, i. 310, quoted by Chalandon, Hist, de la 
domin. Normande, i. 5. 


in those districts. 1 Place-names, and Moorish towers on 
the ruins of Roman amphitheatres, enable their hold on 
the Rhone valley to be traced with ease. But of all the 
parts of Italy, it was particularly the Duchy of Rome which 
experienced the greatest hardships at the hands of the 
Saracens. They began to threaten it about 72$* Rome 
itself was partially sacked by them in 846, and Liverani * 
points out that their actual ravages in the Roman Duchy 
lasted for a hundred years; that the whole of it was 
ravaged at one time or another; and that not far short of 
four hundred towns were destroyed by them. They burnt 
such famous monasteries as Mt. Cassino, St. Elia at Nepi, 
Farfa, St. Sylvester on Mt. Soracte, and Subiaco; and 
established centres of aggression at suitable places both in 
and near the Duchy. But for such Popes as John VIII., 
John X., and Benedict VIII., they would have become 
crs of Italy. 
If there is any exaggeration in the language of Gregory of 
Catino when applied to the Saracens only, there is certainly 
none when referred to the united barbarities of the Saracens 
and the Hungarians. These latter, kinsmen of the Huns 
and the Avars, proved the worst of the scourges that wasted 
the continent of Europe at this period. Known to them- 
selves as Magyars (children of the earth), 4 they were called 
by others Hungarians, because they came from Jugaria 
(Ougaria, hence the Greek " Ougroi "), on the slopes of the 
northern Ural Mountains. This Tartar people, of the great 
Turanian family, akin to the Turks and to those who gave 

1 Italian Highways, p. 2 1 6, by E. King; London, 1896. Cf. 
Lenormant, i^Grhc, i. 196. 

' Ep. 27, mm. 

1 Gioranr, ng the second volume of his works. 

1 The derivation of Magyar is doubtful. The one given in the text 
is a likely one. Ma means earth in most of the Finnish languages ; and 
in Hungarian. gyif means child. CJ. Hist. Gin. dti llongrois, p. 3, by 
Ed Sayous, Paris. 


their name to the " Bulgarians," came South, driven by 
hunger and enemies, or simply impelled by their nomad 
instincts. In the ninth century they settled in south 
Russia, in the district behind the Sereth, watered by the 
Pruth, the Dniester, the Bug, and the Dnieper, and then 
known as Ateleusu. 1 Thence they soon advanced further 
West, either driven by the Tartar Petchenegs, or invited by 
the Greek emperor, Leo VI., to help him to make war on 
the Bulgarians, and, it is said, 2 by Arnulf, king of Germany, 
to assist him in his efforts to subdue the Moravians ; or, 
at least partly, urged on again by their love of wandering. 
As early as the year 862, what we may call the advance 
guard of this nation of mounted archers, alluded to by 
Archbishop Hincmar as a people hitherto unknown to 
western Europe, 3 threw themselves upon the kingdom of 
Louis the German at the time when it was being ravaged 
by the Danes. For some thirty years not much is known 
in detail of the doings of the Magyars. They were 
engaged in subduing the Slavs, wedging themselves in 
between them, and getting a hold of the country about the 
Middle Danube and the Theiss. But after the year 892, 
when in the annals 4 of the monastery of St. Gall we read 
the mysterious words that Arnulf the German relieved the 
Hungarians where they were cooped up, the chronicles are 

1 Cf. Sayous, p. 4 ; Les Origines (vol. i. of the Hist. Gen. of Lavisse 
and Rambaud), p. 718. 

2 By <?-German authors, arguing from rather indefinite statements 
in the chronicles of St. Gall and Fulda (Ann. Sangall. maj., and Ann. 
Fuld., both ad an. 892, ap. M. G. SS., i.) ; and from direct assertions in 
Liutprand, Antapod., i. 13, and Widukind, Res. Gest. Sax., i. 19. 
Widukind, a monk of Corbey, wrote about 975. Cf. Sayous, p. 53. 

3 Annal. Hinc, ad an. 862, where another body of marauders is 
spoken of who, " unknown to the Germans," " illis populis inexperti, qui 
Ungri vocantur, regnum ejusdem populantur." 

4 An. 892, Annates Sangall. maj., ** Arnolfus contra Maravenses 
pergebat, et Agarenos (Ungaros) ubi reclusi erant, dimisit." 


full of the doings of the Magyars. It is the Ungari here, 
the Ungari there, the Ungari everywhere, as though Arnulf 
had let the winds out of the bag ! The hoofs of their 
indefatigable horses clattered over almost every road in 
Germany, France, and Italy. 1 Their arrows brought death 
to the men and women of the North as to those of the 
South. And no * distance," says Gibbon. 2 " could be secure 
against an enemy who almost at the same instant laid in 
ashes the Helvetian monastery of St. Gall and the city of 
Bremen on the shores of the Northern Ocean." 3 And so 
we encounter such entries as these in the chronicles of the 
period: A.D. 919, "The Hungarians 4 harry Italy and part 
of France ; to wit, the kingdom of Lothaire." " This year" 
(926), record the annals of Reichenau, 5 "the Hungarians 
laid waste all France, Alsace, Gaul, and Germany ( Aleman- 
niam) with fire and sword"; and under the year 932: 
44 When they had burnt many cities of eastern France and 
Germany, they crossed the Rhine near Worms, and devas- 
tated the kingdom of Gaul even to the ocean, and returned 
through Italy." 

If their widespreading and long - continued ravages 
caused the Magyars to be described by more or less strictly 
contemporary authors as a people who were "greedy, 

1 899 is the date assigned to their first invasion of Italy by many 
of the annals {Ann. Sangali. nun. ct maj. y Laubacensrs, etc.). The 
annals of Flcury, an. 936 ap. P. Z., t. 139, have M Prima in totam 
Galliam Ungarorum irruptio." 
tine and Fa//, c 55. 

Oram gens, cujus omnes pene nationes expense sunt 
uevitiam, Liutp .. 

><1., Ann . 1 1 ungari in Apuliam veniunt," is a no/a 

T" 'visis, ap. MurMor\> An/tgi/i/a/ts 

. iii. 676, cd. Milan, 1741. Among the monasteries 

destroyed by these barbarians was Nonantula, where "codices ibi 

OOCrematL" Ib. t v. 674, from the monastic records. Cf. id., i. 23. 

* Ann, Augienses, ap. M. G. SS. t i. Cf Ann. I- loriacenses, an. 

93&I i 139, etc. 


audacious, ignorant of God, acquainted with every crime, 
and keen only for slaughter and plunder," x and as 
" most fierce in war," 2 their appetite for raw flesh made 
even these coaeval writers lay to their charge that they 
drank the blood of the slain. 3 To later writers they were 
known as men with dark countenances, and deep-set eyes, 
small of stature, barbarous and ferocious in their language 
and morals, so that " fortune must be blamed, or rather the 
divine patience admired, which exposed this beautiful 
earth not to men, but to such monstrosities of men." So 
wrote the good Bishop Otho of Frising 4 in the twelfth 
century. Of these latter exaggerated descriptions the 
popular imagination took hold, and in the ogres of our 
childhood we did but shudder at the wild doings of the 
Ungari in the tenth century. 

The Hungarians, however, were not destined to have all 
their own way. Neither the science nor the art of war had 
been altogether lost in the West, and at length the Germans 
broke the power of the Magyars. A great defeat was in- 
flicted upon them at Mersebourg by Henry the Fowler in 
933, and another by the Saxons in 938. A final crushing 
overthrow was sustained by them at the hands of Otho 
the Great in 955, on the Lech, near Augsburg. Despite 
these reverses, it was not till the death of their great chief 
Taksony 5 (947-972) that their ravages practically ceased. 
How much they contributed to help the confusion of the 
tenth century can easily be imagined. " The Hungarians," 
says 6 Gibbon, " promoted the reign of anarchy by forcing 

1 Liut, Ant., i., c. 13 ; or c. 5, ed. R. I. SS., ii. 428. 

2 Widukind, Res. Sax., i. 17. 

3 Liut., ib., ii. c. 2, " Interfectorum sese sanguine potant." 

4 De Gest. Fred. Imp., 1. i. } c. 31, ap. R. I. SS., iv. 665. Cf. Ott. Fris., 
Chron., vi. 10. 

5 Ann. Augie?ises, an. 934 ; Liut., Ant., ii. 25 f., etc. 

6 Sayous, pp. 86-92. 


the stoutest barons to discipline their vassals and fortify 
their castles. The origin of walled towns (becoming later 
on, we may add, the nurseries of our modern liberties) is 
ascribed to this calamitous period." The empire in the 
West was being broken to pieces for ever. It was at the 
same time being pulled down by its children from within, 
and battered by the barbarians from without. Out of 
its debris were to spring the nations of Modern Europe. 
But painful was their birth. Terrible were the throes of 
Christendom in the tenth century. And while the churches 
of the North l rang with the mournful litany : " A furore 
Normanorum libera nos Domine," 2 those of the South 
resounded with the tearful supplication : " Nunc te rogamus, 
licet servi pessimi, ab Ungerorum nos defendas jaculis." 3 

1 Decline, etc., c. 55. Cf. Muratori, Anna/., an. 892, who assigns the 

wars between Berengarius and Guido as the cause which moved the 

Italians to fortify their towns, and who quotes some interesting verses 

of an inscription in which Bishop Leodoinus records the fortifying 

' dena : 

" His tumulum portis et erectis aggere vallis, 
Firmavit, positis circum latitantibus armis, 
Non contra dominos erectus corda serenos, 
Sed cives proprios cupiens defendere tectos." 

But, as stated in the text, the ravages of the Hungarians were the chief 
cause of the fortification of both towns and monasteries in north Italy. 
Cf. an act of 24th June 904, of the seventeenth year of King Berengarius, 
in which leave is given to the bishop and the people of Bergamo to repair 
the walls of their city which had fallen into decay : " unde nunc maxire 
sevorum Ungarorum incursione, et ingenti comitum suorumque minis- 
trorum opprcssione tenebatur." No. 410, p. 688, ap. Codex difilovi. 
Umgpbardiir ; Turin, 1873. Cf. Nos. 448, p. 773 ; 456 and 467. 

} The Knulish clergy were saying votive Masses "against the pagan." 
Cf. Bndgett, A Hist, of the Holy Eucharist in Great Britain, p. 1 14, 
ed. 1908. 

1 Muratori, Antiq. Med. ACvi, t. i., Diss. 1, p. 21, 2 ed. ; Milan, 1738. 

( oppressed by the Saracens, the people of Aries were praying : " Libera 

populum tuum xpistianum (sic) de obpressione paganorum," etc. See 

>s M pro persecutione paganorum " at the beginning of the Aries 

Sacramentary, ap. Poupardin, Le Royaume de Provence, p. 408. 

1 1 


3 ^ 


The result of all these fierce incursions, and of the General 
intestine wars waged by kings and nobles for the name of nZ$ S% 
emperor or for personal independence, for rivalry or for 
revenge, 1 was, of course, widespread anarchy, ignorance, 
and immorality among all classes, both among the clergy 2 
and the laity. The bonds of civil and ecclesiastical law 
and discipline were cut by the sword, and all at least 
the powerful did what they considered right in their own 
eyes. Taking every advantage of the troubles which had 
come upon the fallen empire of the West, the nobles 
generally made themselves absolute masters in their own 
dominions, and did just as they thought fit. The canons 
of the councils of these unhappy times furnish a clear 
insight of what those deeds were which "they thought 
right," and of their results. The synod of Pavia (889), 
held for the election of Guido as king of Italy, decreed 3 
that the palatines of the king must refrain from plunder- 
ing, and that, in coming to a diet {placitum), they must 
not rob the places they pass through, but pay for what they 
needed. 4 The people, moreover, must not be unduly taxed 
nor violently oppressed (can. 7). Another synod, that of 
Ravenna in 898, under Pope John IX., calls on the Emperor 
Lambert to repress the arson, the robberies, the brutalities 
of all kinds which were rampant in the empire 5 (can. 5). 

1 Cf. St. Peter Damian, Epp., iv. 17. 

2 We read {Chron. S. Mart. Colon,, ap. M. G. SS., ii. 215) of one 
cleric (Warinus, abbot of St. Martin) that he is said to have burned 
alive Gero, archbishop of Cologne. However, after he in turn became 
archbishop (976-984), it repented him, and " de crimine Romam ivit. ,; 

3 Can. 8, ap. Muratori, R. I. SS., II. i. 416. 

4 Id., can. 9. " Hi (palatini) vero qui tempore placiti diversis ex 
partibus conveniunt nullam pertranseuntes in villis seu civitatibus 
rapinam exerceant sibi necessaria antiqua consuetudine digno pretio 

5 Cf the decrees of the synod of Hohenaltheim, ap. Hefele, Concil., 
vi. 152 f. 

VOL. IV. 2 


The council of Trosle, held under Heriveus, archbishop of 
Rheims, in 909, bewails at once the devastation of cities 
and country and the decay of virtue, and proceeds to lay 
the blame of the latter on the bishops. They have kept 
silent when they ought to have spoken out. 

Certainly, in this unhappy period, the Church had not 
much influence for good, as she was in most parts suffering 
from the most grievous oppression. Candidates the most 
worthless and unfit were forcibly intruded into her most 
important offices even into the chair of Peter. The wealth 
of some of the larger monasteries and episcopal sees caused 
them to be much coveted by the powerful. Greedy nobles 
seized on them by force or contrived to intrude into 
them some members of their family. The council last 
spoken of, besides regretting the destruction of many 
monasteries by the barbarians, deplores the absolute want 
of all discipline in many others. Some of them cannot 
be brought to order, as they are under the power of bishops 
different from those in whose dioceses they are situated. 
Others have laymen for abbots, who have taken up their 
abode in the monastic cloisters with their wives and 
children, soldiers and dogs ! And whereas in some 
monasteries there was luxury and pomp, the direst poverty 
forced other monks to turn to worldly employments to 
g.i'm a livelihood. 1 So that, if the somewhat caustic 
Ratherius of Verona (|974) gives 2 us a striking picture 
of Italian prelates of the tenth century, eating and drinking 
out of vessels of gold, entertained by dancing girls, hunting, 
and travelling in gorgeous carriages, it must not be for- 
gotten that it was with those in the Church as with men 

this council Hcfele, ft, p. 146 f. Cf. Labbe, ix. p. 520 f. 
1 Praloquiorum, 1. v., n. 5 f., p. 142 f., & Ballerini, or ap. /'. Z,., 
The translation of this passage in Gregorovius is exaggerated 
in parts, especially where there is question of the immorality of the 
clergy. Cf. his De contempt, can., ii., p. 2, ap. P. /,., t. 136, p. 516. 


in the State in the tenth century. Luxury was for the few, 
poverty and oppression for the many. Bishops who were 
nobles, in many cases violently intruded into the sees they 
held, lived like the nobles. The inferior clergy lived like 
the mass of the people, sure neither of their bread nor of 
their lives. Of this there is more than evidence enough 
in the fact that, even during the ninth century, councils in 
their decrees, and kings in their capitularies, found it 
necessary to be constantly legislating for the protection of 
Church property ; and an author 1 of the last twenty years 
of the tenth century speaks of the Emperor Otho I.'s restor- 
ing churches throughout Italy (Lombardy) and Tuscany 
which had been brought to desolation by the barbarity and 
wantonness of former princes. Needless to say that the 
grossest simony was practised, and that matters went from 
bad to worse. St. Peter Damian has left on record 2 the 
depth of ignorance, simony, and intemperance to which the 
clergy had sunk by the days when the brave Gregory VII. 
began to put into action the moral lever with which he 
was to raise the Christian world into a higher groove. 

The recital of a concrete 3 case or two of lawlessness 
will serve better than anything else, perhaps, to put in clear 
relief the condition of the Church, in Italy especially, in the 
tenth century. 

An historian 4 who flourished under S. Gregory VII. Particular 

informs us that Hugh of Provence, king of Italy, finding of lawless- 

1 The author of the Translatio S. Epiphan., c. 2, ap. M. G. SS., 
iv. 248. 

2 Opusc, 18, 22, 26, etc., ap. T. iii., ed. Cajetan. 

3 Taken from Miley's Hist, of the Papal States, ii. 239 f. I have 
verified or corrected his references. 

4 Arnulf the elder, the historian of the city of Milan. " Sed quia in 
puerili aetate ad episcopandum minime videbatur idoneus, Ardericum 
grandasvum senem interim subrogavit (Hugo) antistitem, sperans eum 
etc. . . . Necem illico meditatur occultam. . . . Sed propitia divinitate 
liberatus evasit Ardericus." Hist. Med., 1. i. c. 2, ap. R. I. SS., iv. p. 8. 


that he could not succeed in getting his son consecrated 
archbishop of Milan on account of his extreme youth, 
had him tonsured (935). He then procured the election 
of Ardericus, from whose advanced years he anticipated 
that a vacancy would be sure to occur by the time that 
his son would have come of age. But as the venerable 
Ardericus lived longer than he wished, he resolved to put 
him to death. Accordingly he was invited, along with 
other magnates of Milan, to Pavia. There, in the midst of 
a royal entertainment, the followers of King Hugh fell on 
the archbishop and his friends. Ninety of the Milanese 
were murdered ; but, as if by a miracle, the aged prelate 

For a pecuniary consideration, this same king appointed 
as abbot of Farfa the murderer of the preceding abbot 
Ratfredo. 1 This wretch, whose name was Campone, had 
an accomplice, one Hildebrand, who went to Pavia and 
paid the money to the king. The new abbot appointed 
Hildebrand to the richest of the "cells," or subordinate 
monasteries of the abbey. But before a year had passed, 
these precious monks, both noblemen, are at open war, with 
bands of armed men on both sides. Success is at first with 
Hildebrand, for he hired the banditti and free-bands of 
Camerino. The monastery of Farfa is carried by storm. 
But, by a judicious distribution of treasure, Campone wins 
the marauders who had secured the victory for 
Hildebrand ; his rival is expelled, and Campone is once 
more abbot of Farfa. 

We will tell one more story of these times from the 
same annals, as Hildebrand figures in it also. Again in 

I Chron. Far/., ap. ft /. SS. t II. ii., 457 f. "Sub hujus memorati 
Ratfredi Abbatis rcgiminc erant duo scelerati in hoc monasterio, falsi 
habitus monachi, pessimaeque nequitia?." The Destructio Fan 
\% here being followed. 


the days of King Hugh, writes the author 1 of the chronicle 
of Farfa, there were savage wars between Ascarius and 
Sarilo for dominion over the March of Firmo. Sarilo slew 
Ascarius and obtained the March. On this, King Hugh 
broke out into a great fury against Sarilo, and pursued 
him with vengeance, because Ascarius was his brother. 
Sarilo, driven to the last straits in a small place in Tuscany, 
where he had taken refuge, put on the cowl of a monk, and 
with a halter about his neck came out from the town gate 
just at dawn, and threw himself at the feet of the king. 
Hugh, moved to compassion, forgave him the murder of 
his brother, and placed him over all the royal monasteries 
within the confines of Tuscany and the March of Firmo. 2 
All the abbots submitted to Sarilo except Hildebrand, the 
rival of Campone. He was accordingly attacked in the 
castle of St. Victoria, and forced to surrender it. Hilde- 
brand returned with recruited forces, attacked the castle, 
and compelled the new abbot to retire ignominiously. He, 
however, returned to the charge, and with success the 
second time. With abbots such as Hildebrand, Sarilo, and 
Campone, ecclesiastical discipline might well have been at 
a discount. 

It must not be thought from our reference to councils Want of 
held in this period that these invaluable aids to order were tenth 
then regularly celebrated. The fact is, as we have it on cen ury " 
the authority of the ablest historian of the councils, 
Bishop von Hefele, 3 this period, especially in comparison 
with the ninth century, was very poor in synodal gather- 
ings ; and those that were held were of no importance. 

1 Gregory of Catino, at the very beginning of the twelfth century. 

2 Chron. Far/., ap. 7?. /. SS., II. ii. p. 475. "Et motus Rex 
misericordia super eum perdonavit ei ipsam culpam, ac praeposuit 
eum super cuncta monasteria regalia infra fines Tuscias et Firmanae 
Marchiae" ! 

3 Cone, vi. 145, Fr. ed. 


Their action was purely local, and had no ameliorating 
influence on the sad condition of the Church in general. 

As might be expected, the period of which we are writ- 
ing was not distinguished for the cultivation of learning 
in any of its branches. " In the midst of such universal 
desolation," asks l the illustrious author of the History of 
Italian Literature, Tiraboschi, "was the pursuit of learning 
possible? If the peace which Italy enjoyed under 
Charlemagne and Lothaire, and the measures taken by 
these princes to make learning flourish once again, were 
not enough to rouse the country and make it turn afresh 
to the ' bell' arti ' so long neglected, what must we suppose 
to have been the effect of disasters so terrible that they 
would have spread barbarism and ignorance even among 
more cultured provinces?" 

The effect may easily be estimated not only from the 
considerations set forth by the modern scholar, but from 
what a quasi-contemporary tells us of the appalling dearth 
of teachers, even to some extent in his own time. The 
philosophic abbot, Guibert of Nogent (fi 124), writing par- 
ticularly of the state of things just before his own days, tells 
us that a teacher in a small town could not be found, 
and that even the large cities could produce but few. 
The learning of such masters as were forthcoming was, he 
says, but very scant, and not to be compared with that of 
any wandering cleric of modern times. 2 

Both a cause and an effect of the prevailing ignor- 
ance of the times was a scarcity of books. No doubt 
there were other causes of this want of books, such as 
their destruction when monasteries, their chief repositories, 

1 Storia delta L,t. It., iii. 169. Cf. p. 166. "Quia musica et 
astronomia in Italia tunc pcnitus ignorabantur." Richer, Hist., iii. 44. 
Cf. iii. 49, " Musica multo ante Galliis ignota." 

De vita sua, i. c. 4, ap. P. L., t. 1 56, p. 844. 


were destroyed. Another cause was the dearth of paper : 
" For since Egypt, the ancient home of the papyrus, had 
fallen into the power of the Arabs, the scarcity of writing 
material had been keenly felt in Italy, and to this cause 
Muratori in part ascribes the intellectual barbarism of the 
tenth century." 1 But we must be on our guard against 
forming exaggerated ideas of the book famine of this 
epoch. It was not so much that there were then no 
books, or but few, in Italy at any rate, as that, owing to 
the troubled state of the times, new ones were not so 
frequently written or old ones copied. We have the 
positive assertion of an author, viz. Gerbert, afterwards 
Pope Sylvester II. (999-1003), who knew more about books 
than any other man of his period, that there were a great 
many books to be found in all parts of Italy, as well as in 
Germany and in the " Belgic " provinces, 2 i.e., the duchy 
of Lorraine. And we read of a Spanish priest stopping a 
whole year at the court of Pope John X. (914-928), and 
collecting " a multitude of books " with which he returned 
" with joy " to his own country. 3 If, too, it be the fact, as 
Richer avers it was, that music and astronomy were 
unknown in Italy in these dark and inharmonious days, 
there was light enough to prevent the brush of the 
artist from quite losing its cunning. The " prince of 
painters" had still his residence in Italy, and when the 
emperor, Otho III., in all things most eager for the glory 
of the empire, needed an artist to decorate the cathedral 

1 Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 500. The too facile pen of this author 
leads him to overdraw his pictures. His sketch of the evils of the 
tenth century is an illustration of this assertion. 

2 Ep. 130 to the monk Rainard. " Nosti quanto studio librorum 
exemplaria undique conquiram. Nosti quot scriptores in urbibus ac 
in agris Italian passim habeantur." Cf. ep. 44, infra ; and Tiraboschi, 
ib., L. iii c. 1, n. 29. Havet's ed. of Gerbert's letters is here used. 

3 Chron. Iriense, n. 7, ap. Florez, Esp. Sagrada, t. xx. 603. " Qui 
collecta multorum librorum multitudine cum gaudio ad propria rediit." 


of Aix-la-Chapelle, be summoned the pious Italian John to 
do the work. 1 

During this hundred and fifty years of bloodshed and 
gloom, how fared it with the city of Rome ? A poem on a 
manuscript of the period 2 supplies us with an answer not 
wholly wide of the truth. u Alas ! unhappy Rome, thy 
power was built up by great rulers ; now, a servant of thy 
former slaves, thou art rushing to thy ruin. Thy princes 
have long abandoned thee ; thy name and thy glory have 
fled to the Greeks. Prosperous Constantinople is known 
as the New Rome. In thy walls and in thy morals, O 
worn-out Rome, thou art falling to thy ruin. Empire has 
left thee, Pride alone remains. The worship of avarice has 
completely possessed you. A mob torn from the ends of 
the earth, the slaves of thy slaves are now thy lords. Not 
one of thy old nobility remains with thee ; thy free-born 
sons are reduced to tilling the soil. You who once cruelly 
put the saints of God to death, are now wont to sell their 
sacred remains. Were you not nourished by the merits of 
Peter and Paul, long ago would you have quite shrivelled 

Taking the evidence of invective verses for what they 
are worth, we are driven to form our ideas on the state 
of Rome at this period rather from conjecture from 
what we know of it in the ninth century, and from a few 

1 Cf. Vita luildtrici Leodiensis, c. 14 flf., ap. M. G. 55., iv. ; and 
Kurth, Notgcr de Litge, p. 319. 

2 Though found in a tenth-century MS., the poem was the product 
of a slightly earlier age, viz. of 878 ; but it may well be applied to the 

century. Ap. Jaffc, Mott. r>ambcrg. y p. 457. 

" Moribus et muris, Roma vetusta, cadis.'' 

I have used Jaffes edition, but the version in the M. G. PP., iii. 555 
is fuller. The following line from it shows that the lords of Rome 
referred to were the Saracens : " Manziribus {i.e. sons of a harlot, 
Ismaelites) tubjecta jacens macularis iniquis." 


passing references to it in the records of the following age, 
than from the extremely little which contemporary docu- 
ments have to say regarding it. 

Were we to confine our gaze to the legal documents of 
this epoch which have come down to us, we might be 
tempted to suppose that all was as usual in Rome. We 
find that the Prefect was still judging criminal cases 
(in the name of the Pope) both in the city and in its 
immediate neighbourhood, and that there were Consules 
Romanorum and Duces and other papal officials exercising 
various executive functions during the whole period of 
these obscure years. Still was justice in civil cases ad- 
ministered by the seven great officials of the papal court, 
the primicerius, the secundicerius, the arcarius (treasurer), 
the first of the defensors, the nomenclator, the saccellarius 
(paymaster), and the protoscrinarius. Indeed, fairly com- 
plete lists of these functionaries during this age have been 
compiled. 1 Assisting these seven judices ordinarii were 
certain subordinate judges, known as judices dativi, who, 
though usually exercising no other than judicial functions, 
were not competent to decide cases apart from the clerical 
judices ordinarii. And these palatine judges themselves, 
under increasing pressure of business, gradually ceased in 
the course of the eleventh century to exercise any other 
than purely judicial duties. 

In theory, then, no matter how " imperfectly known the 
administrative organisation of Rome before the middle 
of the twelfth century may be, it rested wholly on the 
sovereignty of the Pope. It is from him that all authority 
emanated, and it is in his name, and in virtue of powers 
which he had delegated to them, that the different officials 

1 Cf. Etudes sur P administration de Rome au moyen age (751-1252), 
by L. Halphen ; Paris, 1907. This is distinctly the best book on the 


issue orders, levy taxes, and administer justice." l Further, 

if the schola cantorum, which was also known as the 

Orphanotropio the ecclesiastical seminary of preceding 

ages, whence had issued so many Pontiffs who had graced 

the See of Peter was still in existence, it is very certain 

that many who sat in his chair in the tenth century had 

never been inside its walls, or been subject to any kind 

of ecclesiastical training. John, "the venerable subdeacon 

of the Roman Church," who was its primicerius in the days 

of Pope John XI. (934), 2 may easily have lived to wish 

that John XII. had experienced a little of his disciplinary 


a was Hence, as a matter of fact, if certain outward appearances 

really ruled 

either by connected the Rome of the Iron Age with the Rome of 

locmcy or the Carolingians, it was really a changed thing. Not merely 
tlrlf.t. were its ancient fourteen imperial and seven ecclesiastical 
regions, which had hitherto existed side by side, replaced 
by twelve divisions corresponding fairly well to the modern 
rioni* but both the papal and the imperial power were 
reduced there to a shadow. No longer was there a perma- 
nent imperial missus in Rome ; and if an emperor did come 
there in person or by an envoy, his authority was barely 
respected during the time of his visit. If the dignity of 
the emperor, who normally lived at a distance from Rome, 
was regarded there as of no account, even the authority of 
the Pope who resided in its midst was often but as little 
respected. All real power was at this time in the hands of 
the great families who, through their connection with the 
local militia, had become a practically independent feudal 
aristocracy. These families were all jealous of one another, 

' Halphen, I.e., p. 52. * Muratori, Antiquit. Ital., iii. p. 237 ff. 

1 The twelve divisions embraced only Rome proper, i.e., Rome on 
the left bank of the Tiber, and took no account of the inhabitants of 
the Trastcvere or of the Island. 

v >J 





and were perpetually fighting for supremacy. The one 
aim of each party, pursued by every resource of violence 
and intrigue, was to get control of the chair of Peter. Its 
occupant must be one of theirs at all costs. And what a 
price had Rome to pay for their ambitions ! Its law and 
order, its morals, even its very buildings were sacrificed to 

Peering through the historic gloom, we catch sight of 
the fierce retainers of the different families feverishly con- 
verting into robber strongholds the monuments of antiquity, 
the Septizonium, the triumphal arches, and the temples of the 
ancient gods. By degrees the Forum and its immediate 
vicinity became a nest of castles, from the castellated arch 
of Septimius Severus in the north-west to the embattled 
arch of Titus in the south-east. From these fortresses 
issued forth men who neither feared God nor regarded 
man, 1 and to whom were sacred neither the canon nor 
the civil law, neither the vestment of the priest nor the 
cloak of the citizen, neither the gold of the sanctuary nor 
the mite of the widow. And, as though these were not 
troubles enough for Rome, it was, to use the rather 
exaggerated language of Raoul Glaber, 2 almost wholly 
the prey of fire towards the close of the tenth century. 

Moreover, whilst violence was the order of the day within 
the city walls, it was equally rife in their immediate neigh- 
bourhood. Robber nobles beset the highways, plundering 
merchant and pilgrim with equal impunity; while the 

1 The famous Bishop Fulbert of Chartres (tio28) denounces to King 
Robert the Pious nobles of a similar sort in France, men " who do the 
king all the harm they are able to accomplish, and who threaten all that 
they are not able to do." Ep. 57, an. 1020, ap. P. Z., t. 141. And, speak- 
ing of the viscount Geoffrey, he says (ep. 30, an. 1019) that, by rebuild- 
ing the castles which the king has destroyed, and by building new 
ones to oppress the people, he shows himself one "qui nee Dominum 
nee excellentiam vestram se revereri." 

2 Hist., ii. 7. 


quaking watchmen on the walls of Rome, at least during 
the first half of the tenth century, must have been ever 
afraid lest the wild Hungarian archer, whom they beheld 
spreading desolation around and discharging his arrows 
in impotent rage against its lofty towers, might yet stable 
his horse in the atrium of St. Peter's, and transfer his 
barbarities to the already blood-dyed streets of the city. 
Often must they have encouraged one another to untiring 
vigilance ; and often must they have prayed for faith did 
not die in Rome during the tenth century that God would 
deliver them from the darts of the Hungarians. 1 

But again must the note of warning be sounded. Rome 
was not under a Pornocracy, as some writers would have 
us think, for a century and a half; nor was it an utter 
stranger to the arts of peace throughout that long period. 
There were books there, as we have seen, in plenty; and 
thither we know went men to consult them. 2 It was at 
Rome also, as texts to be quoted in the course of this 
volume will show, that ecclesiastics purchased ornaments 

1 At any rate we know that the citizen soldiers of Modena so acted 
in 892. They would have their walls echo with the cry of Watch ! 

> you who keep these walls in arms 
E'er watch in midst of war's alarums. 
Whilst wakeful Hector went the round, 
Troy's ancient walls stood safe and sound." 

44 Et sit in armis alterna vigilia, 
Ne fraus hicc invadat moenia, 
Rcsultet echo, * Comes, eia vigila,' 
Per muros 4 eia,' dicat echo 'vigila.'" 

Cf. The poems of two citizens of Modena, ap. M. G. PP., iii. 703 ff. 
Cf Benedict of Soracte, c 30, writing of some year about the middle 
of the tenth century, Itcrum autem venientes Ungari juxta Romam a 
porta S. Joannis, cxierunt Romani et pugnaverunt cum Ungarorum 
gent, et ccciderunt de nobilcs Romani, 1 etc. The Latin of Benedict 
is a reflex of the times. 

1 Cf St Bartholomew's Vita S. Nili, 4, p. 34, of Rocchi's Italian 


for their churches, both textile fabrics and articles in metal 
or marble. Charters of the tenth century have preserved 
the names of certain Roman artists {exigui pictores as they 
modestly style themselves) ; x and it must be borne in mind 
that even during the sad days of that darkest age of Rome, 
the tradition of Roman art was never lost. It survived to 
a happier time, and passed on its principles to Florence, 
to be by that more fortunate city so gloriously expanded. 2 
But, considering the grinding poverty with which so many 
of the Popes of the Dark Age were oppressed, and the 
turmoil into which their city was so often plunged, an 
epoch of artistic development is not to be expected. On 
the contrary, it is matter for congratulation that the arts 
of painting and sculpture did not perish altogether in 
Rome. And it is remarkable that it was during this 
period of artistic depression that the Roman artists were 
" called upon to produce some of the most extensive works 
in the history of their school," viz. the redecoration of St. 
Peter's and the Lateran. Though their work may show 
"less of artistic quality than at any other time," their 
school "seems to have been pre-eminent in Europe." 3 
Nor was their work confined to Rome itself. Frescoes 
of the tenth century still adorn the walls of the monastic 
church of St. Elia near Nepi, and the artists who painted 
them have inscribed their names beneath the feet of the 
figure of our Saviour whom they have depicted in the 
apse. The brothers Stephen and John, and their nephew 
Nicholas, were the three " Roman painters " who executed 
the frescoes of St. Elia. 4 When about the year 990 

1 Cf. Fedele, Una chiesa del Pa latino, p. 359 f., ap. Archivio dell a 
R. Soc. Rom. di stor. pat, 1903. 

2 Cf. the latest edition of Crowe and Cavalcaselle's History of 
Painting, i. p. 153 n., etc.; and Frothingham, The Monuments of 
Christian Art, pp. 114, 308, 349; New York, 1908. 

3 Frothingham, id., p. 308. 4 Id., p. 310 ff. 


Otho III. wished to decorate the imperial palace of 
Aix-la-Chapelle, he showed "the high esteem in which 
the Roman school of painting was held " by employing, 
as "his chief court painter, the Italian artist John." 1 
Finally, in this connection, it is worth noting that modern 
authorities assign to this age and to a Roman artist the 
little work De coloribus et artibus Romanorum, one of the 
very few technical productions of the early Middle Ages. 
It was the work of one Heraclius, who, while lamenting 
the decay of Roman genius and Roman institutions, and 
sorrowfully asking who is now capable of understanding 
and explaining the noble arts of the ancients, bravely 
made an attempt himself, and issued his practical manual 
"for painters, with all necessary receipts and directions 
for mixing and using colours, and for making mosaics." 2 

In the second half of the tenth century, too, a religious 
reform was being carried out within the walls of Rome. 
The "terrible" tyrant Alberic was to a considerable extent 
under the civilising influence of St. Odo of Cluny (879-942). 
Under him he became " a pious frequenter of the cloisters," 
and to him he gave the care of all the monasteries of 
Rome. Many of them were in consequence led to embrace 
the Cluniac reform, and some new ones were founded, one 
on the Aventine by Alberic himself. 8 

Among the other monasteries which were built at the time 
just mentioned was that of S. Maria in Pallara, on the Pala- 
tine, which was at the same period adorned with frescoes. 

There are not wanting authors who maintain that there 
thingham, /., p. 313. 

1 Ib. y p. 308. I presume it is the work printed by Muratori, Antiq. 
/Ml., ii. 366, and assigned by him to the end of the eighth century. 

in dccus ingenii quod plebs Romana probatur 
Decidit," etc 

Fedele, Una chiesa del Palatino, p. 359 f., ap. Anhivio ddla 
R. Soc. Rom. di itor.pat., 1903. 


was no place in Italy in this unhappy time where learning 
was so conspicuous by its absence as in Rome. One of 
them l cites in proof the words of " the Gallic bishops at 
Rheims " " There is no one at present in Rome who has 
studied the sciences, without a knowledge of which, as it is 
written, a man is incapable of being even a door-keeper. 
The ignorance of other bishops is in some degree pardon- 
able if we compare their position with that of the Bishop of 
Rome. In the Bishop of Rome, however, ignorance is not 
to be endured, since he has to judge matters of faith, mode 
of life and discipline, the clergy, and, in short, the universal 
Catholic Church." The weight of a man's words as evi- 
dence depends to a very large extent on the circumstances, 
such as the condition of body and mind, etc., under which 
he speaks. The words of a person in anger are not ac- 
cepted without question. And in connection with the 
statement just cited, viz., " that, as report hath it, hardly any 
one at present in Rome has studied the sciences," it must be 
explained that the Gallic bishops were engaged in arbitrarily 
deposing 2 Bishop Arnulf, and in substituting Gerbert (after- 
wards Sylvester II.) in his stead. Hence they were en- 
deavouring, by decrying the Pope's intellectual capability, 
to deprive his expected condemnation of their conduct of 
all force. When this is explained, the testimony of the 

1 Gregorovius, iii. 498. The council alluded to is that held at 
Rheims, June 991. A comparison with the original text, which is here 
subjoined, shows that the disrespectful language of Arnulf of Orleans 
has not lost any of its force through the translation of Gregorovius. 
" Sed cum hoc tempore Romas nullus ftene sit, utfama est, qui litteras 
didicerit, sine quibus ut scriptum est, vix hostiarius efficitur, qua fronte 
aliquis eorum docere audebit quod minime didicit. Ad comparationem 
quippe Romani pontificis, in aliis sacerdotibus ignorantia utcumque 
tolerabilis est ; in Romano autem, cui de fide, vita, moribus, disciplina 
sacerdotum deque universali ecclesia Catholica judicandum est, in- 
tolerabilis videri potest." Migne, t. 139, p. 314. 

2 Of this council more will be said under Sylvester II. Cf Hock's 
Life of Sylvester II. , c. 5. French trans. 


M Gallic bishops " as to ignorance in Rome does not count 
for much. It is not equal to the testimony of Ratherius 
of Verona, which is quite to the opposite effect. He cate- 
gorically asserts * that there was no place where ecclesi- 
astical science was better taught than in Rome ; and Gerbert 
himself lets us know 2 that, even towards the close of the 
tenth century, it was one of the cities to go to for books. 
No doubt for Rome there was a great falling off in 
learning in this unhappy period ; but we must beware of 
taking it for granted that its light was there quite ex- 

But how fared it with Rome's rulers, the Popes, during 
this calamitous epoch ? In the same way, though to a 
much worse degree, as it fared with so many other 
European rulers. Just as the power of other Western 
sovereigns was curtailed by the practical independence 
which so many of their nobles won for themselves, so that 
of the Popes was hampered by the Roman nobles. With 
the fall of the imperial authority the curb was removed from 
them. They soon seized all power in Rome, and oppressed 
both the Pope, the clergy, and the people. 3 Some among 

" Quo aptius possum, quam Roma? doceri ? Quid enim de ecclesi- 
asticis dogmatibus alicubi scitur, quod Romae ignoretur." Itin. Rath. 
Rom., p. 440, ed. Ballerini. 

* "Roma dudum ac in aliis partibus Italian, in Germania quoque et 
Belgica, scriptores auctorumque exemplaria multitudine nummorum 
redemi." Ep. 44, written about the beginning of 985. Cf. Tiraboschi, 

C 2, n. 24. 

nizo of Sutri (tiooj), of whom more hereafter, writing from 
what he had heard of these times, expressed all this very clearly in 
his Liber ad Amicum, 1. iii. (ap. Migne, t. 150, or Watterich, i.) : " Nam 
Romanis auxilium imperatoribus ferre non valentibus, propter Sara- 
cenorum frequentissimos incursus, Francis divisis et ab ecclesia 
scqucstratis, urbis Romae capitanei .... Romanam ecclesiam vali- 
dissime devastaverunt. . Hi vero, Urbis capitanei, accepta tirannide, 
licentcr cuncta faciebant Nam non solum cardinalatus et abbatias 
et episcopatus turpissima venal itate fedabant,sed ipsum etiam Romans 
ecdesi;e Pontificatum, non spectataaliqua morum dignitate nee aliqua 


them endeavoured to make the Papacy an appanage of 
their families. 1 

Foremost amongst the nobility was the house of 
Theophylactus, whose relations or descendants were the 
practical rulers of Rome during this period. 2 Of this 
house, if we are to trust Liutprand, the most notorious 
members were a certain Theodora and her equally 
famous or infamous daughters, Marozia and Theodora 
the younger. As ambitious as they were beautiful, 
they obtained the greatest influence in Rome by a 
prodigal prostitution of their charms. The supreme 
power in Rome was for a while practically in the hands 
of these licentious women. " Rome," says a contemporary 
chronicler, 3 " fell under the yoke of women. As we read 
in the prophet : ' The effeminate shall rule over them ' " 
(Isa. iii. 4). Creatures such as we have described would 
naturally not stop at anything which would serve their 
ends. Nothing was sacred to them. Popes, at times 
members of their own families, and consequently not of a 
race calculated to produce saints, were made and unmade 
at pleasure. Sometimes even laymen were intruded into 
the chair of Peter. For the advantage of the party any- 
thing was lawful. That men sprung from a family of 
debauchees, and without any clerical training, should be 
a scandal to the Church, is no matter for astonishment. 

tantte ecclesiae prasrogativa, solummodo ad libitum, cui placebat vel qui 
plus manus eorum implebat, donabant ; et non solum clericis, sed 
etiam laicis. Sicque languescente capite infirmabantur et cetera 
membra in tantum ut non solum altaris ministri secundi ordinis, sacer- 
dotes et levitse, sed ipsi Pontifices passim 'concubinati' haberentur." 

1 "Nonnulli .... episcopatum, non divinum, sed haereditatis putant 
esse compendium. . . . Hoc non fecit papa Formosus. Non enim 
haereditario jure S. R. ecclesiam tenuit." Invectiva in Romam, 
p. 829 f., ap. P. L., t. 129. 

2 Cf. the genealogical chart at the end of this introduction. 
Bened. of Mt. Soracte, Chron., n. 30. 

VOL. IV. 3 


The great wonder is that there were not more really bad 
Popes in this miserable era. Guided by the expressions of 
the great Cardinal Baronius, many seem to imagine that 
all the Popes of the tenth century were bad. His language 
is, no doubt, strong enough. " The greatest monsters of 
cruelty and injustice," he writes in an oft-quoted passage, 
arrogated to themselves, during that period, the election 
of the Roman pontiffs. And, oh, shame ! oh, heartbreaking ! 
what monsters did they not force upon that throne of the 
Apostle which angels regard with reverence ! What woes 
originated from this source ; what dark and bloody tragedies ! 
Alas ! alas ! for the age in which it was reserved for the 
spouse purchased by the Redeemer in His blood, the 
spouse without stain or blemish, to be so defiled with the 
filth thrown upon her as to be made (like her Divine 
founder) the object of scorn and the laughing-stock of her 
enemies." 1 With the documents at his disposal, Baronius 
was, no doubt, justified in making these reflections. But 
since his time sources have "been brought to light which, 
had the cardinal known them, would have caused him to 
modify his strictures. Were we, however, to allow that 
the Popes of this period were as bad as ever they have 
been painted, what has been said above, which we will 
now in part repeat in the words even of Gibbon, 2 must be 
borne in mind : " These Popes had been chosen, not by 
the cardinals, but by lay-patrons " .... and "were insulted, 
imprisoned, and murdered by their tyrants ; and such was 
their indigence, after the loss and usurpation of the 
ecclesiastical patrimony, that they could neither support 
the state of a prince nor exercise the charity of a priest." 
Further, as there is no question that in any case the 
Church was in great danger, it may be pointed out, again 

1 Baron., ad an. 900, n. 3, p. 501, ed. Lucca. 
* Decline \ etc., c. 49. 


with Baronius, 1 that the fact that the Church (which he 
compares to the ark of Noah) did not then perish is a 
striking fulfilment of the promise made to St. Peter that 
" the gates of hell should not prevail against it." 

In fine, all who reflect on the lives of the Popes of the 
tenth century, especially if they be such as are content 
with the present position of dependence which has to be 
endured by the Holy Father in Rome, must ever remember 
that the history of the Popes of the tenth century " is the 
history of the Popes deprived of their temporal power." 2 

Deprived of their temporal power, the Popes of the tenth Loss of 
century lost the patrimonies which had hitherto enabled pa tri- 
them " to support the state of a prince and to exercise the m 
charity of a priest." Some of their patrimonies were seized 
by the powerful, some were freely given away by the 
Popes themselves to their supporters ; while, with regard to 
others, the supreme pontiffs were, so to speak, forced to 
fall in with the feudal ideas in vogue at the time, and 
to grant them to be held in feudal tenure, very often 
receiving but scant service in return. Hence we see 
Gregory V. (998) granting to the famous Gerbert, arch- 
bishop of Ravenna, and to his successors, not merely the 
counties of Comacchio and Cesena, but even the city of 
Ravenna, with its district and all its dues, along with the 
right of coining money. 3 And when, in the eleventh 
century, the Popes recovered temporal dominion, it was 
as Princes, and not, for the most part, as proprietors. 
Their territories became the " Patrimonium beati Petri " 

1 Ad an. 900, n. 1, p. 500. 

2 O'Clery, History of the Italian Revolution, p. 27 ; London, 1875. 

3 " Donamus tibi tuaeque ecclesise districtum Ravennatis urbis, ripam 
integram, monetam, teloneum, mercatum, muros et omnes portas 
civitatis." Ep. 14, Greg. V., ap. P. L., t. 137, p. 921. Cf infra, vol. v. 
p. 102 ff., for the feudal grant of Terracina by Sylvester II. to Dauferius ; 
and p. 96 for the canons of the synod of Ravenna in 898. 


in a new sense, and yielded them only what was their 
due as ruler, and not as owner. 1 
rhe Without here going into any detail on the subject, we 

may note that one point cannot fail to impress itself deeply 

be&wsof on the mind of the historian as he studies this period. 
?ihe tDth That one point is, that the historical sources for it in 
"urjr. general, 2 and particularly for what relates to those who 
occupied the chair of Peter during its progress, are most 
unsatisfactory. Not only have the contemporary papal 
biographies, which for three centuries have provided us 
with a reliable source of information, ceased to be forth- 
coming; not only have even inscriptions, much less 
collections of inscriptions, ceased to be produced, 3 but 
during the whole of the tenth century no remnant of the 
pontifical "registers" has come down to us. Indeed, it 
may be questioned whether they were ever compiled. 4 In 
Rome men would seem to have been so much occupied 
in trying to preserve their own lives or the smallest 
semblance of order, that they had no time to devote to the 
production of literary works of any kind. 5 Hence, apart 
from the one-line contemporary notices which form, as it 
were, the continuation of the Liber Pontificalis, information 
on many of the Popes of the tenth century can only be 
procured from writers who were neither strictly con- 

1 Fabre, De patrimoniis Rom. Eccles., p. 109. 

% E.g., Lot notes that between 966 and 973 there is only one 
chronicle for the history of the Carolingians. Les derniers Cnrolin- 
giens, p. xxx i. 

* To this Grisar {Analect. Rom., i. 139) calls attention. He 
observes that, after the ninth century, inscriptions became ever more 
rare, and that no traces of collections of inscriptions are to be found 
till well on into the eleventh century. 

* Cf. Lapdtre,/*a VIII., p. 16. 

* So in France Gerbert, who is ever deploring the times {cf. epp. 
'3 '47) and the lack of men at once learned and good (epp. 139, 147), 
writes: <4 Mcliora tempora expecta, quibus valcant rcsuscitari studia, 
jampndem in nobis emortua," ep. 1 52. 


temporary nor had any intimate acquaintance with Rome. 
Hence authentic information about the Popes of this epoch 
is of the very scantiest, and it may be emphatically laid 
down that at least the vices attributed to some of the 
Popes of the tenth century are nothing like so well 
authenticated as the virtues of those of the ninth. Much 
of what is said against some of them may be true, but the 
evidence forthcoming to substantiate it is not enough to 
bring conviction to a judicial mind. 

There is another important point to be borne in mind Essence of 
in this connection, and it is this : the essence of the spiritual 107 ' 
Papacy, according to the Catholic point of view, is gul ance ' 
spiritual authority. No promise, it is pointed out, was 
made by our Lord that St. Peter and his successors 
should be either good men or temporal rulers. Accord- 
ing to Catholic teaching, the line of the Popes was given 
to the world that through the ages there might be those 
who could always direct men aright in their spiritual 
necessities ; who could always point out to them the right 
paths they must follow in their belief and conduct. To 
the Alpine traveller it is not the virtue of his guide that 
is to him of the first importance; it is his knowledge 
of the mountain paths. And if, in the period under 
discussion, it be proved that the sovereign pontiffs lost 
at once their virtue and their temporal authority, it is 
certain that they never failed in their office as spiritual 
guides to men through the mists and darkness of the 
mountainous desert of life. With regard to some at 
least among the Popes of this period it was a case of 
doing, not as they did, but as they said. Fortunately, 
among the troubles of this weary period heresy was not 
one. Neither heresy nor schism added to the difficulties of 
the Roman pontiffs. They were not called upon to give 
any important guidance to the Church in what it had to 


believe or practise. No doubt the spiritual influence of 
the Papacy decreased during the century and a half of 
which we are speaking, but its spiritual prerogatives, un- 
like its temporal, did not fail ; and at the close of this 
disastrous period it was to give abundant evidence of its 
undying life by suddenly manifesting the most astounding 
vigour in both the spiritual and the temporal spheres. 
Hence when writers freely speak of the growth or fall 
of the Papacy, the distinction between its temporal and 
spiritual side must never be lost sight of. As in a man 
the body may flourish, pine away, or die while the soul 
lives on, the Papacy in temporal matters may, as it often 
indeed has done, show every sign of life, decay, or even 
death, whereas its spiritual prerogatives always endure. 
And not only do they merely endure, but, speaking 
broadly, it would appear that the exercise of these pre- 
rogatives, even in non-essentials, has gone on steadily 
increasing since they were first bestowed on St. Peter. 
At any rate there can be no question that, at the present 
day, when the Pope is deprived of the temporal power so 
necessary for the full and free use of his authority, the exer- 
cise of his spiritual power is more far-reaching in its effects 
than ever it has been before in the history of the Church. 
*** Though at this period but comparatively slightly con- 

TheNcar nectcd with the West in matters either spiritual or temporal, 
the Eastern Empire, 1 if perhaps better governed than the 
West, still resembled it in many unfortunate particulars. 
Its Church, united with the See of Rome more in name 
than in fact, was in a very unsatisfactory condition. 
Greatly distracted, owing, among other causes, to the fourth 

1 As far as the State was concerned, the victories of John I.,Zimisces 
(963-969), and the terrible Basil II., Bulgaroctonus (963-1025), brought 
about the last period of growth which was to be known by the Byzan- 
tine Empire. The tenth century saw a revival of art also at Con- 
9 sUntinople. 


marriage of Leo VI., 1 the Wise, it has been truly said of it 
that, by the year 963, " the Eastern Church had entered on 
that period of stagnation in which it lies at the present day." 2 
And the synods held at Constantinople during this dreary 
age "only prove the sad state of the Eastern Church." 3 
With regard to the temporal affairs of the Eastern Roman 
Empire, we find the historian 4 of Byzantine history in 
the tenth century making the same complaints about the 
scarcity of documents as the historian of the Papacy, and 
equally regretting the impenetrable darkness which covers 
many of the events he would elucidate. 

Even the Far East shared the depression of the West; u. The Far 
and the continent of Asia suffered in sympathy with that 
of Europe. " It is not a little singular," writes Mr. Beazley, 5 
" that at the very same period when the expansive energy 
of Western Europe, even in pilgrimage, seemed to have 
become practically exhausted, or at least unfruitful, both 
the Caliphate and the Celestial Empire should have 
suffered so severely from social and governmental disorder. 
The whole world seemed to receive about this epoch a 
certain lowering of its tide of life " 

The annexed tables may well serve as a conclusion to 
this introduction, wherein we have seen " the more powerful 
oppress the weak, and men, like fishes of the sea, devour- 
ing each other." 6 It may be hoped that they will be of 

1 He had himself legislated against even third marriages. His 
disregard both for his own laws and for the canon law of the Greek 
Church and for the feelings of the people caused a schism. 

2 Hefele, Cone, vi. 191. 3 Id., p. 268. 

4 Cf. Nicefthore Phocas, by G. Schlumberger ; Paris, 1890. After 
complaining of " la rarete des documents," Schlumberger continues : 
" L'histoire du dixieme siecle byzantin, comme du reste celle du 
dixieme siecle occidental, est encore enveloppee d'epais brouillards, qui 
ne se dissiperont jamais completement," p. ii. 

5 Dawn of Modern Geography, i. 47. Cf. ii. 114. 

6 Cone. Trosleianum, Labbe, ix. 523. 



use to the student who wishes to traverse the mazes of 
the tenth century. 

Shadowy Kings of Italy and Nominal Emperors from 
the End of the House of Charlemagne to the House 
of Saxon v. 

Elected emperor. 

Berenger I., duke of Friuli 

! Guido, duke of Spoleto . 
Lambert, son of Guido, associ- 
ated with Guido . 
Arnulf, king of Germany, de- 
scended into Italy 
Louis III., the Blind, king of 
Provence . . . . 

Began to reign. 

. 888 


891 crowned 892 




blinded 905 




c. 923 

Other very Fugitive Kings of Italy. 

Began to reign. 

Rodolf 1 1., king of Transjurane Leaves 

Burgundy . . .921 Italy 926 

Hugo, king of Provence . . 926 abdicates 945 946 
Lothaire (son of Hugo), associ- 
ated in the empire 931 
(Berenger II., marquis of Ivrea, ^ 
grandson of the emperor 


Adalbert his son, elected with 

his father .... 


Both deposed in pre- 
sence of Otho I. 

} 9 6i 

Kinv.s of Germany and 
Emperors of the Romans. 
Arnulf, 887. 
Louis IV., the Child, 899. 

Eastern Emperors. 

The Macedonian dynasty 
Leo VI., the Wise, 886. 
Constantine VII., Porphyro- 

genitus, 912-958. 
Joint rulers, Alexander, 912-913. 
Romanus I., Leca- 
penus, 919-945. 
Romanus II., 958-963. 
Basil II., Bulgaroctonus, 963- 

Joint rulers, Nicephorus II., Pho- 
cas, 963-969- 
* An asterisk shows those who were emperors of the Romans. 

The Saxon dynasty 
Conrad I., 91 1. 
Henry 1., the Fowler, 918. 
Otho I., the Great, 936. 
Otho II., 973. 
Otho III., 983. 

Henry II., the Lame, 1002 








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Kings of Germany and 
Emperors of the Romans. 

The Franconian dynasty 
*Conrad II., the Salic, 1024. 
*Henry III., the Black, 1039. 

Henry IV., 1056. 
*Henry V., 1106. 
*Lothaire the Saxon, 1125-1138. 

Kings of England. 

Alfred the Great, 872. 
Edward the Elder, 901. 
Athelstan, 925. 
Edmund I., 941. 
Edred, 946. 
Edwy, 955. 

Edgar the Peaceable, 958. 
Edward II., the Martyr, 975. 
Ethelred II., the Unready, 979. 
Edmund II., Ironside, 1016. 
Canute the Great, 1017. 
Harold Harefoot, 1035. 
Hardicanute, 1040. 
S. Edward III., the Confessor, 
1 043- 1 066. 

* An asterisk shows those who were emperors of the Romans. 

Eastern Emperors. 

The Macedonian dynasty 
Joint rulers, John I., Zimisces, 
Constantine VIII., 1025-1028. 
Romanus III., Argyrus, 1028- 

Michael IV., the Paphlagonian, 

Michael V., 1042. 
Constantine IX., Monomachus, 

Kings of France. 

Charles the Fat, 884. 
Charles III., the Simple, 893. 
Louis IV., d'Outremer, 936. 
Lothaire, 954. 
Louis V., 986. 
Hugh Capet, 987. 
Robert, 996. 
Henry I., 1031-1060. 


A.D. 891-896. 

Sources. A one -line notice in the Liber Pontificalis (ed. 
Duchesne, ii. 227), instead of the former regular biographies. 
(Cf. vol. ii. 354 of this work.) 

Of no little importance in connection with the reign of 
Formosus are the controversial writings of Auxilius and Vulgarius, 
of whom (after discovering several pamphlets of theirs) Ernest 
Diimmler penned an account in his Auxilius und Vulgarius} 
Leipzig, 1866. Of these writers the former, Auxilius, a Frank 
at least by descent, and a citizen of Naples, was ordained priest 
by Pope Formosus. 2 When the enemies of Pope Formosus 
declared his ordinations null and void, Auxilius, feeling that the 
Pope's cause was his own, took up his pen in his defence. The 
date of his death is not known, but he "seems to have died as a 
monk at Montecassino." 8 The five following short treatises are 

1 That I know anything of this little work is due to the kindness of 
my friend W. H. S. Meredith, B.A. (Oxon.), who translated for me 
part of the German portion of it. Many of the statements made by 
Diimmler can only be ascribed to the want of a complete understanding 
of Catholic dogma. 

1 He says of himself: " Nos autem, qui de longinquis regionibus ad 
apostolorum limina properamus, sacra? unctionis charismatibus, quae 
per illorum pontificem accipientes initiamur, nullatenus a posteriore 
apostolico expoliari debemus." In def. s. ord. Form., i., c. 11, ed. 
Diim., p. 73. Cf. id., c. 9. 

* Balzani, Early Chroniclers of Europe : Italy, p. 104. 



usually assigned to him ; but the fourth is really the work of 
Vulgarius : 

i. In def ens. s. or din. P. Formosi, in two books, written in 
908, under Sergius III. (cf ed. Diim., p. 95), ap. Diim., p. 59 f. 

2. Libellusin def. Stephaniep. (Neap.), elprcefal. or din.; Ib., 96 f. 

3. Libel, de ordinal, a P. Form, factis, ap. P. L., t. 129, 
1054 ff. Diimmler gives a fuller edition, pp. 107-116. 

4. Libel, super causa el negol. Form. ; seu Libel, cujusd. 
inquirenl, P. L., ib., p. 1103 ff. This was really written by 

5. Tractat. qui Infensor et Def. dicilur, ap. P. L. ; ib., 1073- 
1102; written, like No. 3, c. 911, and, like it, dedicated to Leo, 
bishop of Nola. 

The latter, Eugenius Vulgarius, "une mauvaise langue," * 
flourished between 887 and 928. He was an Italian grammarian, 
and, like Auxilius, seemingly a citizen of Naples. His De causa 
Formos. libellus (according to Diim., p. 117 f., written in 910; 
but cf. ib., c. 1, p. 118) was "not only a defence, but a 
panegyric." But after he had been incarcerated for a time by 
the order of Sergius, he abandoned the party of Formosus, and 
servilely flattered Pope Sergius III. Some suppose he returned 
to his former allegiance under John X., and credit him with 
writing the Invediva in Romam, ap. P. L., ib., p. 823 ff. 2 
This tract, drawn up under John X., inveighs against the 
Romans for their treatment of the body of Formosus, and 
upbraids them with acting in this case as they have been wont to do 
from the earliest times, viz., with putting their benefactors to death. 
As Diimmler found the name of Vulgarius attached to No. 4, that 
pamphlet should also be ascribed to him, and not to Auxilius, as 
it used to be on conjecture. It must be borne in mind that the 
writings both of Auxilius and Vulgarius are party pamphlets. 

Something must now be said, at rather greater length, about 
the most notorious chronicler of the tenth century, Liutprand, 
bishop of Cremona. Born in Lombardy, towards the year 920, 
in an " official circle," his father had been sent as ambassador 

1 Lapotre, Jean VIII., p. 362. 

2 If Vulgarius was not at least a priest, he cannot have been the 
author ; for the writer of the Invect. says (sub fin.) : " legatione et 
sacerdotio Christi fungimur." 


to Constantinople he was possessed of a fine voice which 
helped him, as a lad, to gain the favour of King Hugo. When 
this tyrannical monarch had to quit Italy (945), Liutprand, 
now a deacon of Pavia, turned to the rising sun, Berenger II., 
and contrived to bask in the light of his favour also. For 
some reason, however, he earned the displeasure of Berenger, 
and had to betake himself to Otho I., from whom he received 
a gracious reception. Through the influence of Otho he 
became bishop of Cremona (961), and from that time forth 
was in the thick of affairs. He went as the ambassador 
of Otho both to Rome (964, 965, 967) and to Constantinople 
(968, 971 ; he had been there already, 949-950). His death 
seems to have occurred at the beginning of 972. Evidently his 
career and position pre-eminently fitted Liutprand to become an 
historian of his own times. And to this he was urged by Recemund, 
bishop of Elvira, with whom he formed a friendship whilst at the 
court of Otho (956). Yielding to the bishop's suggestion, he wrote 
three works, all of which, though incomplete, are still extant. 
Of these the most important is the Antapodosis, or Book of Retri- 
bution, written, in six books, between the years 958 and 962. It 
treats of events which occurred throughout Europe during an 
interval of sixty-two years (888-950). His Historia Ottotiis, written 
in obedience to the command of that emperor, treats of affairs 
" of which he had been an eye-witness from 960 to 964." Finally, 
his Relatio de Legatione Constantinopolitana gives a racy account 
of an embassy which he undertook to the court of Nicephorus 
Phocas, to ask that the hand of Theophania, the daughter of 
Romanus II., might be given to the young Otho (II.). On the 
character of Liutprand and the historical value of his writings 
a very great deal indeed has been written. Of the lively bishop an 
equally lively Frenchman writes l that he was a wretched Lombard 
cleric in Otho's pay, who hated everything Roman, because the 
Romans welcomed with too little enthusiasm the German invasion 
of their soil. Quite in harmony with this author write Muratori, 2 

1 Lucius Lector, L dec Hon papule, p. 44 ; Paris, Lethielleux. 

1 He speaks of "le laidezze e maldicenze dclle quali e si vago nella 
sua storia Liutprando. Prestava egli fede a tutte le pasquinate e a 
libelli infamatori di que' tempi, che ne pure allora mancavano." 
Annul., ad an. 911. 


Rohrbacher, 1 and other distinguished historians. And if, gener- 
ally, his credit as an historian was formerly rated too low, 
Balzani 2 notes " a modern tendency to rate him somewhat above 
his due." He includes among those who display this tendency, 
Liutprand's latest editor, Dummler. We shall probably avoid 
both extremes if we conclude by allowing that, while perhaps 
he did not deliberately concoct untruths, he had not that 
gravity or critical talent required in an historian who would 
win the confidence of any serious person. With his taste for 
narrating the obscene, and telling anecdotes, which are often 
but the repetition of scandalous gossip, he may well be com- 
pared to Infessura or Burchard in the fifteenth century. Even 
Dummler notes 3 his party spirit, and his hatred of Berengarius, 
and points out that, especially in the earlier books of his 
Antapodosis, where he relied on the narrative of others, and 
often confused the order of events, he must be corrected by 
other authors ; and that even in the other books it is clear that 
he always attached too much credence to fables and idle reports. 
These words of the learned Dummler must convince anyone 
that Liutprand must be read with great caution. The best 
edition of the works of Liutprand is that of E. Diimmler, 4 which 
is an emended reprint from the Mon. Germ. SS., iii. The Ant. 
and the Relat. also, ap. R. I. SS., ii. p. i, and the Hist. Ottonis, 
ap. Watterich, i. 

In the chronicle of the careless and ignorant Benedict, monk 
of St. Andrew's on Mt. Soracte, finished about 973, there is some 
grain amid much chaff. His work shows, writes Pertz, that he 
made the worst use of the best sources. It has been reprinted 
from the M. G. SS., iii., by Migne, t. 139. A good chronicler 
is Regino, abbot of Prum (1915), whose work was continued to 
967 by a monk of the monastery of St. Maximinus of Triers, 
ap. M. G. SS., i. 

A fragment of a Greek chronicle of the lives of the Popes, 
including those from Formosus to John X., is of no great value. 
It was constantly quoted by the Spanish bishop, Bernard Guido 

1 Hist, de Veglise, t. 59, vol. xii. p. 430 f. ; Paris, 1851. 

2 Chroniclers of Modern Europe : Italy, p. 141. 

3 Pra/at., p. x. Cf. Jungmann, Diss., xviii. 

4 Liutprandi, Op. Om., ed. Dummler; Hannoverae, 1877. 


(t 1 33 1 ) in his Lives of the Popes, and is not, as Gregorovius 
erroneously writes, "merely a translation from B. Guido." 
The fragment was published by Cardinal Mai {Spirit. Rom., vi. 
P- 599 *) Guido's Lives is in the same volume. Of more 
value is a catalogue of the tenth-century Popes in a MS. 
written at the very end of that century. Archbishop Sigeric 
(of Canterbury) visited Rome in 990. A contemporary MS. 
gives a short itinerary of his journey, and attached to it is a list of 
the Popes from John X. to John XV., both inclusive. The 
catalogue (printed in The Memorials of St. Dunstan, Rolls Series) 
is useful, as it gives us the titular churches to which the Popes 
had been attached when cardinals. It will be quoted as the 
Sigeric Catalogue. It is also printed in the L. P., ii. p. xv. Of 
Frodoard ; the panegyric, De laud. Bereng. ; the Annals of Fulda, 
etc., mention has been made in vol. ii. of this work. 

Seven of the letters of Formosus may be found, ap. P. L., 
t. 129, p. 837 f. A few more, privileges for the most part, may 
be found elsewhere; e.g. one for the bishop of Piacenza, first 
published by Mons. P. Piacenza in vol. vii. (1898) of the Archiv. 
Stor. per le Provincie Parmensi. 

Works. In the first part of his Auxilius und Vulgarius, 
Diimmler says something in a rather bitter way about Formosus 
and his immediate successors. 

Emperors and Kings of Italy. Emperors of the East. 
(See p. 40.) Leo VI. (the Wise), 886-912. 

triy Of the early career of Formosus (born 816), bishop of 
Porto, the successor in that see (864) of the deposed 
Radoald, a Roman l and the son of one Leo, enough has 
already been said in the previous volume. There mention 

1 Annal. S. Columb., an. 882, ap. M. G. SS., i. Cf. Invert., p. 825. 
" Patronum tuum Formosum papam in tuo ab ipsis cunabulis educatum 
gremio .... quem litteris imbuisti,"etc. A Corsican tradition makes 
Formosus a member of the familia Perello, and of the commune 
Vivario in Corsica. 

P/ioto, Alinari. 

A section of the frescoes of S. Tier in < hfcdo, showing the portrait 
is. Seep. n6ff. 


was made of his embassy (864) to Constantinople on the 
subject of the election of Photius, and of the great work 
he performed in converting the Bulgarians to the faith 
of Christ. 

Formosus seems to have erected, during his pontificate, a 
memento of this latter episode of his life, in the shape of a 
painting in a little oratory beneath the temple of Claudius, 
near the church of SS. John and Paul. In this picture 
our Lord was represented in the midst of SS. Peter, Paul, 
Lawrence, and Hippolytus. At His feet were depicted a 
barbarian chief on one side, and Formosus on the other. 
The painting was discovered in 1689, and a copy of it was 
published by De Rossi. Even then, though the name was 
visible, the figure of Formosus himself had faded ; and for 
some time past this interesting monument has become 
quite obliterated. 1 

Formosus enjoyed the confidence of Hadrian II. as he 
had that of Nicholas I. ; and, at first, seemingly, that 
of John VIII. also. Then, suddenly accused (876) of 
ambitious scheming with Bogoris, king of Bulgaria, and 
of aiming at the Papacy, he fled from the face of the 
angry John, and afterwards swore never to return to Rome. 
Recalled, however, by Marinus I., and by him absolved 
from the oath he had unwillingly taken at the council of 
Troyes in 878, 2 he was reinstalled in his position as bishop 
of Porto, consecrated Stephen VI., and was pressed to 
succeed him. 3 

"Stephen, the son of Hadrian, having gone the way of Election of 

tt 1 Formosus. 

all flesh, says Vulganus, or whoever was the author of 

1 Direct from Duchesne, L. P., ii. p. 190. Lanciani, Ruins of 
Ancient Rome, p. 355, thinks the figure of Formosus was deliberately 
obliterated after his condemnation by Stephen (VI.) VII. An illustra- 
tion of this picture is given in Cabrol's Diction, d'archeol chret., p. 105, 
sub voce Bains. 

2 Aux., Inf. et Def., c. 32. 3 Cf. supra, iii. 308. 


the Invectiva in Romam} " thy bishops and nobles, O 
Rome, thy clerics too, and the classes (populus) and the 
masses (vulgi tnanus) came together, and going to the 
episcopal church of the See of Porto, situated within the 
city, they acclaimed its bishop (Formosus) Pope." The 
same authority tells us how Formosus refused the high 
honour which was thus thrust upon him, and fled to the 
altar of his church, from which he had to be dragged 
clinging to the altar cloth. The date generally assigned 
to this event is October 6, 891 ; but neither the day nor the 
month are known with certainty. 

As Formosus was a bishop already, he was not conse- 
crated again ; but, amid the greatest demonstrations of joy, 
was simply enthroned, 2 and received the homage of all. 
He was, at any rate, the genuine choice of the Romans. 
He was chosen spontaneously by them without any 
pressure from without, 3 and simply on account of his 
merits his high birth and the nobility of his character. 4 
He was also seemingly chosen without opposition ; for 
what Liutprand 5 relates about a counter-election of Sergius 

1 Invert., p. 825-7. "Principes .... vulgus et scol;c tu 
maximum usque ad minimum, eum elegerunt, acclamaverunt, lauda- 
vcrunt, et adoraverunt ; et episcopi cum sacro Lateranensi ordine 
inthronizaverunt." Cf. Aux., ed. Diirn., p. 62, "Quern (Formosum) 
clerus et populi Romani summopere studuerunt eligere." Cf. ib., 70 ; 
Anna/. Ataman., ad an. 891, ap. M. G. SS., i. 

2 Cf. Inf. cf Def, c. 26 ; Invert., p. 826 ; the Roman council 
of 898. "Omnes ilium inthronizavimus," ap. Mansi, Cone, t. xviii., 

3 "Sine cujuslibet gentis obsidione," Aux., ed. Diirn., p. 70. 

4 Can. 3 of the council of Rome (898), held to rehabilitate his 
memory by John IX. Labbe, ix. 503. Cf. Vulgarius, ap. P. L., 
t. 129, p. 1 106. 

* Ant., i. c. 29-30. Gregorovius, misinterpreting the friendly 
violence spoken of by the Invert., says (iii. 217 n.) that it relates that 
Formosus had been raised to the Papal chair by violent means ! " 
And with no other authority but the mistaken Liutprand, he persists in 
describing Sergius as the opponent of Formosus. 


is the result of utter confusion on his part of dates and 
persons. Sergius opposed John IX. in 897. 

Translations from see to see were at this time certainly 
regarded as uncanonical, but exceptions to the law against 
them had always been tolerated. A good cause had always 
been held to be sufficient to justify a translation ; and, in 
the case of Formosus, the Roman council of 898 declared 
that the satisfactory reason was present. 

As the sequel proved, Formosus had many enemies. 
Some were hostile to him because they were opposed 
to translations from see to see under any circumstances ; 
others because they thought that he ought to have kept 
to his oath and not returned to Rome ; some, again, be- 
cause they supposed he had been guilty of intriguing 
for the archbishopric of the Bulgarians, and others simply 
because he was not of their faction. Among these last 
was especially, as we shall see, the ducal, now imperial, 
house of Spoleto. But none of these parties made any 
decided move on the death of Stephen (V.) VI. The 
election of Formosus was unopposed. 1 

On the deposition of Charles the Fat (887) the Caro- The 
lingian empire finally went to pieces. Arnulf, an illegiti- emp ' r 
mate descendant of Charlemagne, possessed himself of 
Germany and aspired to be recognised as emperor, but had 
to recognise as kings, Odo, count of Paris, over the West 
Franks ; Boso of Provence or Cisjurane Burgundy ; Rodolf 
of Transjurane Burgundy {Regnum Jurense, the Juras and 
Switzerland) ; Berengarius of Friuli, and Guido, duke of 
Spoleto (889), in Italy. 

Guido, successful at first over his rival Berengarius, had Formosus 

and the 
1 It would seem that the account given by Darras (Hist, de Veglise, 8 9 2 - 
xix. 193 ; Paris, 1873) and others of the election of Formosus is not to 
be relied on, as it largely rests on the twelfth-century chronicle of 
Zwethl, and on an imperfect understanding of the Invectiva. 
VOL. IV. 4 


had himself crowned emperor by Pope Stephen (V.) VI. 
(891). 1 In the following year, in order to strengthen his 
hands in his unceasing struggle 2 against Berengarius, who 
was still unsubdued in his Duchy of Friuli, he associated his 
son Lambert with him in the e?npire, and caused 3 him to be 
crowned by Formosus in 892 (April 30?). But though the 
Pope had at one time 4 written to Fulk, archbishop of 
Rheims, and a relative of the house of Spoleto, that he had a 
father's love for Lambert, and wished to keep an inviolable 
peace with him, he afterwards found it necessary (893) to 
invite Arnulf to come and free "the kingdom of Italy and 
the belongings {res) of St Peter " from " bad Christians," 5 
i.e. from the oppression of the two emperors. As emperors 
the representatives of the house of Spoleto continued to 
act towards the Popes as they had done when they were 
merely dukes. They strove to further their interests at the 
expense of the Holy See. 

Fighting, too, had begun again between Guido and 
Berengarius ; and there was no one to check either the 
Greeks or the Saracens in South Italy. Formosus believed 
that the presence of a stronger monarch like Arnulf was 
necessary for the peace of the peninsula. He would be 
able to curb the grasping ambition of the house of Spoleto, 
and perchance prevent the further advance of Saracen or 

With the Pope's missi to Arnulf went primores of the 
kingdom of Italy, some of them at least of the party of Beren- 

1 Cf. supra, iii. 376 ff. 

2 Formosus, writing in 892 (Frodoard, Hist. Rem., iv. 2), says ; 
Fatcmur, Italiam tunc semel et secundo horrida bella perpessam et 
pene consumptam. 

3 "Lambertus in imperium (a Formoso) coronatus, sicut Wido 
Augustus pater ejus imperat." Chron. Catamr^ R, I. SS., ii., p. ii. 
822. Cf. Ep. Form., analysed by Frodoard, Hist. Rem., iv. c. 2, sub fin. 

4 Frod., ft, c. 3. * Annul. Fuld., an. 893. 


garius. Arnulf received the envoys graciously, dismissed 
them with presents, and promised to enter Italy. 1 This he 
did in the early part of 894, before the close of a very severe 
winter. Success attended his march at first, but fever, 
which invariably overtook the German armies during their 
descents upon Italy, fell upon his troops and forced him to 
return without reaching Rome. 2 

The death of Guido (894) did not alter the situation, Arnulf 
which, as Duchesne notes, was almost that of the year 754. Rome. 
Formosus, Arnulf, and Guido or Lambert stand to each other 
as did Stephen III., Pippin, and Aistulf. Lambert, now 
sole emperor, seems to have again forced the Pope to place 
the imperial diadem on his head. 3 But he could not 
prevent him from a second time sending (895) earnest 
entreaties to Arnulf to come to Rome. " By the advice of 
his bishops," the German king complied with the Pope's 
request, and set out for Italy in the October of the same 
year. 4 After overcoming the greatest obstacles, Arnulf at 
length appeared before the walls of Rome. Here a new 
and unexpected difficulty presented itself. Instead of 
finding Rome in the power of the Pope, and its gates 
thrown open to welcome him, he discovered that the' 
city was in the hands of Ageltruda, the mother of the 

1 Annal. Fuld., an. 893. 2 lb., 894. 

3 " Wido .... moritur. Lantbertus, films ejus, regnum obtinuit, et 
Romam veniens, dyadema imperii a prassule sedis apostolicas imponi 
fecit." Regino, an. 894. "Wido, Italici regni tyrannus .... obiit. 
Lantbertus eodem modo regnum invadendo affectatus est." Ann. 
Fuld., 894. 

4 Ann. Fuld., 895. Mgr. Duchesne (Les premiers temps de Pe'tat 
pontifical, p. 152, 3, and p. 156) freely accuses Formosus of playing a 
double and crafty game in his dealings with the house of Spoleto and 
Arnulf. But in the absence of exact evidence, the charge can only be 
made on the French legal axiom that an accused is to be regarded as 
guilty till he establishes his innocence. But, on the preferable English 
principle, Formosus must be regarded as guiltless of the accusations 
made against him by Duchesne till they can be proved. 


emperor Lambert, that the gates were all closed against 
him, and that the Pope was a prisoner. Ageltruda, the 
daughter of that Adalgisus, duke of Beneventum, who in 
871 had seized the emperor Louis II., was one of the many 
Italian women of this period who distinguished themselves 
by their daring, if not always by their virtue. Astounded 
at this unexpected resistance, Amulf turned to his troops 
to know what was best to be done. With courageous 
unanimity they all cried out that the city must be carried 
by assault. The storming was begun at once. The 
defenders were driven back from the walls with showers of 
stones, the gates were battered in with axes, and the walls 
shaken with rams, and scaled with ladders. By the close 
of the day " the Pope and the city were freed from their 
enemies." 1 

There went out then to the Ponte Molle to meet the 
king, and to escort him into the city, " the whole senate of 
the Romans" and the "school" or colony of the Greeks 
with banners and crosses. Escorted into the Leonine city 
with the customary hymns and acclamations, Amulf was 
honourably received by the Pope on the steps of the 
basilica of the Apostles. Formosus then led the king 
into the church, and "after the manner of his pre- 
decessors, anointed and crowned him, and saluted him as 
Augustus" 2 (Feb. 22? 896). After arranging various 
matters, Amulf received the homage of the Romans in St. 

1 Wi- are here following the spirited account given in the Annals of 
Fulda (an. 896, M. G. SS. i. 411) "apostolico pariter et urbe de 
inimicis liberato." The account of Liutprand, Ant., i. 25-8, is rejected 
as obviously inaccurate and fabulous. The same may be said of the 
version in De laud. Berengar., 1. iii. p. 398, ap. I\. I. SS., ii. pt. i. 
Cf. Anna/. A/amannici, et Laubacenses, an. 896, " Arnolfus Romam vi 
csepit, ".-p. M. C 

2 Anna/. Fu/d., ib. tl Secundum morem antecessorum suorum im- 
perialem consecrationem coronam capiti imponcns, Caesarem Augustum 


Paul's. The oath of allegiance, which is inserted in the 
annals of Fulda, shows clearly that the obedience of the 
Romans to the emperor was to be second to that which 
they had to pay to the Pope. It runs as follows : " By all 
these holy mysteries of God, I swear that, saving the 
honour, obedience {lege), and fealty I owe to the Lord Pope 
Formosus, I will be faithful to the emperor Arnulf all the 
days of my life; and never will I to his detriment ally 
myself to anyone, nor ever afford any help to Lambert, 
the son of Ageltruda, or to his mother herself, towards 
worldly honour (imperial power); and never will I do any- 
thing in any way to hand over this city of Rome to 
Lambert or his mother Ageltruda." 

Ageltruda escaped to Spoleto ; but two of the chief His death, 
nobles of the city were accused of high treason for having 
aided her to seize the city, and were exiled to Bavaria. 
Leaving one of his vassals, Farold, to guard Rome, Arnulf 
advanced towards Spoleto ; but, attacked apparently with 
paralysis, as his father, Carlomann, before him had been 
(877), 1 he had to withdraw into Bavaria. He never 
recovered from the stroke, but died on November 29, 899. 
Before the emperor reached Bavaria, the aged Pope he had 
come to aid had also died (April 4, 896). 2 

Nothing could have been more unfortunate for Italy, and Results of 
especially for Rome and the Papacy, than the departure parture of 
and death of Arnulf. When his, the only arm capable of 
keeping anything like order, was withdrawn, not only was 
the whole country torn with intestine war, but the repre- 
sentatives of moral power in the world became the sport 
of petty Roman barons. Nothing more strongly justifies 
the efforts of Formosus in his endeavours to procure the 

1 According to Liutprand, Ageltruda had contrived to get a poisonous 
draught administered to him. Antap., i. 32. 

2 Id., " Die sancto paschae." 


active interference of Arnulf in Roman affairs than the sad 
events that happened in Rome immediately after his death. 
Nine Popes succeeded one another in eight years. Raised 
to the papal throne by factions, several of them suffered a 
violent death at the hands of factions. It is and has been 
the fashion with some authors to blame John VIII. and 
Formosus for imploring imperial protection, and much is 
said about their faithlessness to "Italy" by so doing. 
Much is written not only about the aspirations of national 
churches, but about the state of national parties at this 
time. It would, however, all seem to be beside the mark. 
It presupposes the playing of too high a game of politics 
for the period. Politics there were, and parties there were, 
but they were on a petty scale. To introduce our present 
ideas of European national politics into the tenth century 
is to convey a total misconception of the then existing state 
of affairs. Politics and parties were not then affairs of 
nations, but of individuals grabbing for power, and ready 
to ally themselves for their own ends with any one, Christian 
or heathen, or whether he spoke the same patois as they 
did or not. As yet there were no more formed nations 
than there were formed languages. 1 Europe was then 
aristocratic, feudal, and local, not national. 

1 This view is, I find, certainly that of some German historians. 
" Arnulf s visit to Italy, the first so termed pilgrimage to Rome .... 
has been regarded as a misfortune, because visits to Rome became 
from this period customary, and ever proved disastrous to the empire. 
But judgment ought to be given according to the difference of times 
and circumstances. The union between the people of Lombardy and 
of Rome was not so close at that time as it became at a later period, 
no Italian national interest had as yet sprung up in opposition to that 
of Germany, the Italians were uninfluenced by a desire of separating 
themselves from the empire as in later times, but were rather inclined 
to assert their right over it Guido, who was connected with the Carlo- 
vingians, attempted to turn the separation which had taken place 
between the northern nations to advantage, and appropriated to himself 
the title of emperor ; and, as far as these circumstances are concerned, 


Before we turn to relate what is known of the ecclesiastical Formosus 


doings of Formosus, there still remains something to be Charles 
said of his political action. On the death of Charles the 894 (?). 
Fat, the nobles of France, passing over a posthumous son 
(Charles IV., the Simple) of Louis the Stammerer, elected 
Count Eudes or Odo, the valiant defender of Paris against 
the Normans (885), to be their king. He was supposed to 
rule over the country between the Meuse and the Loire. 
But in the reign of this Pope certain of the nobles, pro- 
bably 1 as much to make head against the power of Eudes 
as from loyalty to the Carolingian dynasty, chose the boy, 
Charles the Simple, king (893). 

Fulk, archbishop of Rheims, was the chief supporter of 
Charles, and succeeded in attaching to him the interest 
of Arnulf, an illegitimate Carolingian, and of Pope 
Formosus. The sympathies of a Pope were naturally with 
a scion of the house of Charlemagne ; and Fulk did not 
fail, by drawing a strong picture of the vices of Eudes, to 
endeavour to arouse them in behalf of his protege. He 
obtained from Formosus in Charles's interest several letters, 
of which Frodoard has preserved the outlines ; and that too, 
though at the time he had his hands full with the house 
of Spoleto. Besides writing to Fulk to instruct him how 
he was to behave towards Eudes, the Pope adjured that 
prince no longer to molest King Charles in his person or 
property, but to grant a truce till Fulk could come to Rome. 
The bishops of France were at the same time invited to 
warn Eudes not to usurp what belonged to another, and to 
grant the truce. The young Charles was congratulated on 

Arnulfs visit to Italy appears to be justified." Thus writes W. Menzel 
{Hist, of Germany, i. 302, Bohn's English ed.) from a German point 
of view. Cf. Lot, Les derniers Carotingtens, p. 168 ff. ; Paris, 1891. 
" Quand on lit Fhistoire du haut moyen age et du X e siecle en particulier 
on est etonne de l'absence d'idee politique," etc. 
1 Cf Ann. Vedast., an. 893, ap. M. G. SS., i. 


his elevation to the throne, and on the devotion which he 
had expressed to the Holy See. He was also instructed 
as to how he was to rule. And as a pledge of his affection 
Formosus sent the young king the blessed bread which he 
had asked for. 1 

At first no success attended the efforts of Formosus. 
Not only did the fighting between Charles and Eudes con- 
tinue, but Arnulf took advantage of these troubles to harry 
that part of the country which was in the hands of Charles. 
Robbed by both Arnulf and Eudes, Fulk implored the 
Pope to order Arnulf by his apostolic authority not only not 
to harass Charles, but, on the contrary, to help him as one 
relative ought to help another. He also prayed Formosus 
to threaten Eudes with ecclesiastical censure, but pointed 
out to him that, in the present disturbed state of the 
kingdom, he could not come to Rome. The one thing 
which the archbishop had at heart was peace not, as he 
told the Pope, because Charles's party was the weaker, but 
lest the resources of the kingdom should be so exhausted 
by war that it would become an easy prey to the Normans. 
The efforts of the Pope and the archbishop were at length 
crowned with success. First a truce was concluded between 
the two rivals, and then a final peace on the basis which 
Fulk asked the Pope to suggest to Eudes and the great 
ones of the kingdom. Charles was to succeed, on the 
death of Eudes, to the kingdom which was his by 
hereditary right, and meanwhile a partition of the kingdom 
was to be made, and a suitable portion assigned to Charles 2 

1 Frod., Hist. Rem., iv., c. 2, 3. Cf. his poem De Christi triumphis, 
1. xii., c. 5 : 

" Bellorum motus per Francica regna coercens 
Primates monet ecclesirc certare labore, 
Totius curae madeant ne regna cruore, 
Christicolae reges bellisve armentur iniquis " 
* Frod., ubi supra. 


(896). Becoming sole king in 898 by the death of Eudes, 
Charles distinguished himself, as we have seen, by granting 
Normandy to the Northmen (911), kept the semblance 
of kingship till 923, and died in 929. The share of Pope 
Formosus in bringing about this peace, so important for 
France, is often passed over. 1 

From the very first months of his pontificate, Formosus Formosus 
turned his attention to the Church in France. He nomin- church of 
ated as his vicar, in accordance with occasional precedents, 
the archbishop of Vienne, Bernoin (Barnoinus), the brother of 
King Boso, 2 and did what he could to remedy evils which 
seemed to be on the increase. Everywhere among both 
clergy and laity was the spirit of personal aggrandisement 
rampant. Simple bishops were striving for the honour of 
using the pallium, while lay nobles were seizing the property 
of the Church. 3 To put some check on the rapacity of the 
nobles, Formosus issued a sentence of excommunication * 
against the powerful Richard, duke of Burgundy, brother 
of Boso, and one of the supporters of Charles the Simple 
against Eudes, and against Manasses, count of Dijon, 
and others. At the same time he ordered 4 Fulk of Rheims 
to repeat the sentence against them. They are denounced 
by the Pope for having, amongst other crimes, been guilty 
of putting out the eyes of Theutbald, bishop of Langres, 
and of casting Walter, archbishop of Sens, into prison (896). 
For the same purpose, Formosus had already sent two 
bishops, Paschal and John, into France. By the order of 
the Pope, these legates presided at a council held at 

1 E.g. by Kitchin, Hist, of France, i. 173. 

2 " Formosus vices suas Barnoino commisit." Hugh of Flavigny in 
Chron.,\. i., ap. Pertz., viii., or P. Z., t. 154, p. 171. Hugh wrote at 
the very beginning of the twelfth century. His chronicle reaches to 
A.D. 1 102. 

3 Frodoard, Hist. Rem., 1. i., c. 1 and 2. 

4 Id., and Hugh of Flav., ubi supra. 


Vienne (892), where various canons were issued, condem- 
natory of the usurpations of Church property, and of the 
outrages offered to clerics. 1 To restrain the ambition of 
certain bishops, on the other hand, Formosus authorised 
Fulk to convoke a synod and pass suitable decrees on this 
subject in the Pope's name. 2 But whether such a synod 
was ever held, or another one which the Pope himself had 
ordered to meet at Rome in March 893, is not known. 
Fulk of Rheims had been summoned to the latter, which was 
to be held to avert the ruin with which the Roman Church 
was threatened, to take measures concerning the troubles 
in the Eastern Church, and to deliberate concerning 
a schism among the bishops of Africa, in connection 
with which deputies had come to Rome to seek a 
decision. 3 
in em- The following extract from Neale 4 will show how it is 

"ormosua that we are unable to furnish any details about the embassy 
Uricx from Africa here spoken of ; though, at the same time, it 
furnishes a reason why such an embassy might well have 
been sent. Of Chail II., the Catholic Patriarch (of Alex- 
andria), history has preserved no particulars after the lega- 
tion of Cosmas to assist in the re-establishment of Photius. 
He departed this life after an episcopate of more than 
thirty years (903), and the see remained vacant. He had 
been long preceded to the grave by his namesake (Chail 
III.), the Jacobite Patriarch (899), and that see also 
remained vacant. This double vacancy seems to point to 
some persecution or affliction which both communions 

1 Labbe, ix. p. 433, "Jussu D. Formosi." 

* Frod., Hist. Rem., iv., c. 1. 

' ft., c. 2. "Formosus monet cum (Fulconem) compati debere 
Romanic ecclesi.x, atquc imminenti ejus subvenire ruinae." The 
action of Formosus in the matter of the Photian schism has been 
explained under the Life of Stephen VI. 

* Patriarchate of Alexandria, ii. 174. 


equally shared ; but such is the ignorance or carelessness of 
the historians of the period, that we are unable to detail its 
nature, cause, or duration." 

Despite the difficulties and dangers of getting to Rome at Appiica- 
this period, itwas the pressure of similar difficulties and dangers /m^. 
at home that caused men to betake themselves thither, and 
to appeal for the protection of the Pope. Althougn at this 
time there were many whom no fear of God or of man would 
restrain, there were still left some who, if they feared not 
man, yet reverenced God, and the one whom they regarded 
as His vicar on earth, the Pope of Rome. Everything that 
was under his protection was sacred in their eyes. At all 
times, even during the darkest hours of this dark night of 
the Papacy, even when the occupant of the papal throne 
was personally unworthy of anyone's honour, men came 
to Rome to beg the Pope to cast his protecting mantle 
over them and theirs. Octavian might be despicable, but 
Pope John XII. was the Vicar of Christ. 1 In the reign of 
Formosus several abbots came to Rome to beg him to 
take their monasteries under his special protection. 2 
One, the abbot of Gigny, took the precaution of offering 
to the Pope the monastery which he and a relative of his 
had founded out of their own resources, " in order that it 
might remain immune." 3 Servus Dei, bishop of Gerona 
in Spain, came to Rome to beg Formosus "to confirm by 

1 " It is remarkable that the first papal bulls confirming to episcopal 
sees freedom of election date from the end of the ninth century, and 
that during the tenth century the custom spread of obtaining from the 
Holy See such confirmatory bulls.' 5 Cf. Imbart de la Tour, Les elections 
e'fltsc, p. 20 1. 

2 Ep. i. Abbot Adalric came to Rome, says the Pope, to ask " ut 
ipsum venerabile monasterium una vobiscum apostolica muniremus 
auctoritate." Cf. ep. 7. 

3 Ep. 7. The deed {testamenti pagina) by which he offered his 
monastery to Formosus, was entrusted by him to the Pope's care. 
Cf. ep. 4. 


a privilege of his apostolic authority (confirtnationis) " the 
goods of his church. 1 

In connection with this bull, it is interesting to note 
with Omont that it is still in existence. The most 
ancient papal bulls actually extant date only from the 
beginning of the ninth century. Up to the commencement 
of the eleventh century they were all written on papyrus, 2 
of from one to several yards in length. Their great size, 
and the fragile nature of the material on which they were 
written, are enough to explain how it is that only 
twenty-three such bulls have come down to us. While 
Spain boasts ten of them, France eight, Italy three, and 
Germany two, it appears that England does not possess a 
single one. 3 

Amongst the fragmentary correspondence in connection 
with his church which Frodoard has preserved for us, he 
has left enough to show that even Fulk of Rheims, who 
was generally on the right side, striving hard for reform 
along with the Popes, could be guilty of tyranny, and 
stand in need of papal correction. Heriland, bishop of 
Therovanne, presumably a friend of Fulk, driven from 
his diocese by the ravages of the Normans, fled to the 
archbishop of Rheims. Fulk temporarily placed him in 
charge of a diocese which at the moment happened to be 
without a bishop, and wrote to ask the Pope to confirm 
Heriland in its possession. He at the same time asked 
Formosus to give as successor to Heriland a man who 

1 Ep. 4. 

- If by chance they were not written on papyrus {charta Romana), 
the attention of correspondents was specially called to the fact. Cf. 
ep. 4 of John X., ap. P. /.., t. 132, p. 804. 

H. Omont, Dulles pontificates sur papyrus, IX ( -X/ e sticles, p. 2. 
1 have to thank Mons. Omont for kindly sending me this interesting 
pamphlet, which contains a complete list of these venerable documents, 
which have for a long time engaged the attention of students of 
diplomatics and paleography. lb. p. 3. 


from his birth and knowledge of their tongue would be 
more acceptable to the barbaric people who occupied 
Heriland's late diocese. When, however, it came to the 
Pope's ears that Fulk had, in giving the see, "like a 
benefice " {beneficiali more), to Heriland, set aside a 
lawfully elected candidate, and had even sent the said 
candidate into exile when he wished to turn to Rome for 
justice, Formosus sent him an order, " peremptory indeed, 
but fraternally expressed," to appear before 1 him. With 
the issue of this, as of so many other affairs at this period, 
we are unacquainted. 

Similarly, though we know that this Pope had relations Formosus 
with this country, the unsatisfactory nature of the historical England. 
data of the period leaves us very much in the dark in 
connection with them. Among a number of documents 
which Eadmer, the disciple and friend of S. Anselm 
(t n 37)> describes 2 as in part obliterated through age, and, 
in part from the material on v/hich they were written 
(papyrus), quite worn away, he found a letter 3 of Pope 
Formosus to Plegmund, and he has cited a few lines of it. 

Rome was at this period very well acquainted with the 

1 Frod., Hist. R., iv. 3. 

2 " Haec (privilegia) in Archivis Ecclesias Dni. Salvatoris reperta. 
. . . Sed aliquibus eorum nimia vetustate obliterans, aliquibus in 
cartis ex biblo (papyrus) compositis, et peregrinis caracteribus inscriptis, 
et ipsis quoque ex majori parte detritis," etc. Hist. Nov., 1. v. p. 126 f. , 
ed. 1623. 

3 This is the last of the series of papal letters given in Malmesbury 
{De Gest. Pont., 1. i.) of which the genuineness is called in question 
(Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, Hi., 65 n.). But, in view of the descrip- 
tion of the documents given above by Eadmer, and of the well-known 
fact that at this period a very large proportion of papal documents were 
written on papyrus, and hence have to such a large extent perished, 
Lingard {Anglo-S. Ch., i. 80 n.) was no doubt right in admitting "the 
authenticity of the letter .... on the authority of Eadmer." And 
this the more justly that the series is in harmony with the letter of 
John VIII., which is to be found in his authentic register. 


condition of things in England. Each year from 887 to 890 
the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the sending of alms or 
letters to Rome. The country, owing to the ravages of 
the Danes, was in a sorry plight, whether looked at 
intellectually and morally or physically. But in his 
kingdom of Wessex the great Alfred was making heroic 
exertions to improve the state of affairs. Doubtless with 
a view to seconding his efforts, Formosus made persistent 
efforts to rouse the bishops of the country to more energetic 
action. That he was well supported by Plegmund, one 
of the able and good men whom Alfred had gathered 
round him, appears from the following letter of the Pope 
to the bishops of England, which Malmesbury has preserved 
for us (895): "When we had heard that the abominable 
rites of the pagans had revived in your country, and that 
like dumb dogs you kept silent, we were minded to cut 
you off from the body of the Church. But, as we have 
learnt from our beloved brother, Plegmund, that you have 
at last aroused yourselves .... we send you the blessing 
of God and St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, and beg 
you to persevere in the good work you have begun. . . . 
Suffer not the flocks entrusted to your charge to be any 
further injured by a dearth of pastors. But when one 
dies, let another fit candidate be forthwith canonically 
elected to replace him on the motion of the primate. And 
he, as you well know, is our venerable brother Plegmund, 
whose dignity we will not suffer to be in any way lessened, 
but nominate him our vicar .... and by the authority 
of God and of blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, 
we command all to obey his canonical dispositions." l 

What was the result of this letter is not satisfactorily 
known. The issue of the affair, as stated by Malmesbury, 2 

1 Ep. For., ap. Malms., ubi supra, ed. P. L., t. 179, p. 1471. 

2 De Gest. Reg., ii., 129. 


is clearly, to say the least, inaccurate, as he makes 
Formosus write in 905 to Edward, the son and successor 
of Alfred. 1 However, out of the chaos of the statements 
on the subject two facts may be plucked. The Pope's 
recommendations relative to the bishoprics were carried 
out at last, somewhere about 909, in the reign of Sergius 
III.; and about the same time Plegmund went to Rome 
" and took the alms for the people and for the king," says 2 
the nobleman chronicler, Ethelwerd. No doubt he also 
went to confer with the Pope on the "bishopric ques- 
tion," 3 though the action which Malmesbury attributes 
to Formosus must, with our later historians, be assigned 
to Sergius. At a council called together by Edward, and 
presided over by Plegmund, five new bishoprics, making 
seven in all, were established among the West Saxons. 
After the council Malmesbury tells us how "with splendid 
presents " Plegmund went to Rome (evidently the mission 
spoken of by Ethelwerd) and "with great humility paci- 
fied the Pope. He then read to him the decrees of the 
king, with which the Pope {i.e., Sergius) was greatly 
pleased." They were then duly confirmed by him, and 
such as should attempt to interfere with them were 

Incidents such as this let us see how the unceasing 
exhortations, threats, and praises of the Roman pontiffs 
greatly helped to preserve the nations of the West from 
sinking back into the barbarism from which their ministers 
had first drawn them. 

1 Formosus died in 896. Rule, in the R.S. ed. of Eadmer, p. 271, 
gives as a " probable emendation of nongentesimo quinto," " quinto 
de nongentesimo, i.e., 895." Alfred was still king of England in 895. 

2 Chron., an. 908. Count Ethelwerd died probably at the close of 
the tenth century. Cf. an entry in his Missal (pp. 1-2) by Leofric, first 
bishop of Exeter (1050) ; ed. Warren, Oxford, 1883. 

3 Cf. also Hist, of the Church in England, Flanagan, i. 197. 


he Formosus had also to intervene in the ecclesiastical affairs 

ecman"! of Germany, in a case which had been begun under his 
: h Bremcn predecessor. When Hamburg had been burnt by the 
SSLbvg. Danes (845), Pope Nicholas 1 had joined its see to that 
of Bremen, and exempted the combined see of Hamburg- 
Bremen from the jurisdiction of the archiepiscopal see of 
Cologne. The loss of Bremen had never pleased the 
archbishops of Cologne ; and Herimann made an attempt 
to recover the former rights of his see over it. This was 
during the episcopate of Adalgarius, who, according to a 
later writer, 2 " received the pastoral staff from King Arnulf, 
and the pallium from Pope Stephen" (VI.). The dis- 
pute was referred in the first instance to Pope Stephen, 
who ordered 3 (890) both parties to send delegates to Rome. 
As only the representatives of Adalgarius, and then Adal- 
garius himself, presented themselves at Rome, Stephen 
decided not to settle the matter out of hand himself, "lest 
the affair might spring up again and the quarrel wound 
fraternal charity." But he ordered Fulk, archbishop of 
Rheims, to convoke in his name a synod to meet at Worms, 
" in the month of August, on the Assumption of the Virgin 
Mary, Mother of God, in the forthcoming tenth indiction " 
(892). At this synod both Herimann and Adalgarius 
were commanded to present themselves, 4 and the Pope 
engaged to settle the question once for all on the report of 
Fulk. Before the time fixed for the holding of the synod, 
Stephen was no more. Formosus, however, adhered to what 
had been decreed by Stephen, and ordered Herimann to 
present himself at the council, and then, along with 

1 Cj. vol. ii. pp. 126, 271 of this work. 

* Adam of Bremen (1. i., 48), who wrote, in the second half of the 
eleventh century, a valuable work on the history of the bishops of 
Hamburg, ap. P. /.., t. 146. 

8 Ep. 1 2, ap. P. /,., t. 1 29, p. 800. 

4 Ep. 32, ib. Cf. Frod., Hist. A'., iv. 1. 


Adalgarius and. delegates from the council, to come to 
Rome for the apostolical decision ; for the council had 
only " to hear and discuss, and not to pass sentence." 1 
No synod was held at Worms, but a meeting of bishops, 
presided over by the archbishop of Mayence, 2 took place at 
Frankfort. Of this assembly word was sent to the Pope, 
and he was assured that the suffragans of the diocese of 
Cologne unanimously declared that, up to the time of Adal- 
garius, the bishops of Bremen had always acknowledged 
their dependence upon the See of Cologne. The bearers of 
this information were priests who were sent by Herimann 
to represent him, and to plead his cause before the Pope. 3 
For some reason or other, Adalgarius on this occasion 
neither came himself to Rome nor sent representatives. 
The consequence was that, for peace' sake, Formosus com- 
promised. He decided that till such time as the city 
of Hamburg had recovered itself, the See of Bremen should 
remain united to that of Hamburg ; and that in important 
ecclesiastical affairs the archbishop of Hamburg, not as 
a subject, 4 but as a brother, should assist at the delibera- 
tions of the archbishop of Cologne. On the complete 
re-establishment of Hamburg, Bremen was to revert to 
Cologne. " Even among men of the world," concludes 
the Pope, "it is regarded as altogether unwarrantable 
to interfere with the rights of others ; how much more un- 
warrantable is it that most holy bishops should transgress 
the boundaries laid down by the Fathers, and that those 
should quarrel who ought to set an example of peace to 

1 Ep. Form. 3, ap. P. L. 

2 Hatto, to whom Formosus had granted the pallium (891). 
Marianus Scotus in Chron. 

3 Ep. Form. 5. Because they did not use this letter of Formosus, 
this affair has been wrongly represented by both ancient (Adam of 
Bremen) and modern (Baronius, Fleury, etc.) authors. 

4 " Non subjectione aliqua sed affectu fraternas charitatis." lb. 
VOL. IV. 5 


those subject to them." 1 This decision of the Pope was 
upheld at the council or diet of Tribur (895), at which were 
present, besides the bishops, King Arnulf and many of 
the nobility. 2 A "brotherly" subjection, however, was 
not calculated to satisfy either party certainly not 
Adalgarius; and about the year 905 he obtained from 
Sergius III. a bull 3 annulling the decision of Formosus, 
and declaring the See of Hamburg-Bremen independent, 
in accordance with the decree of Nicholas I. 

As we have said already, Formosus died (April 4, 896) 
soon after his coronation of Arnulf. It may be readily 
believed that it was with no regret that the octogenarian 
pontiff laid himself down to die. For though full details of 
his life are lacking, 4 we know that trouble was his lot not 
only for some time before he became Pope, but even whilst 
he was wearing the tiara. The party which so outraged 
his memory after his death was no doubt actively working 
against him while he lived. 

As his epitaph has not come down to us, what Frodoard 
(who is thought to have seen and used it), says of him may 
be given as one : 

" Pnesul hie egregius Formosus laudibus altis 
Kvehitur, castus, parous sibi, largus egenis, 
Bulgaricse genti fidei qui semina sparsit, 
Delubra destruxit, populum caslestibus armis 
Instruxit, tolerans discrimina plurima, promptus, 

inpluni tribuens ut sint adversa ferenda 
Et bene viventi metuenda incommoda nulla." 

1 Ep. 5, p. 843. Cf. ep. 6, where Formosus tells Herimann what he 
has done. 

1 L.ibbe, Cone, ix. 438. Adam Rrem., n. 51, ap. P. L., t. 146, p. 492. 

3 Jaflte, ;jj$ 2716 and 2721. But in the new edition the numbers 3537 
and 3549 show that many modern authors look on these bulls as 
spurious, or perhaps rather as adulterated. 

Fulk of Rheims (ap. Frod., Hist. R., iv. c. 1) wrote : "Scrupulum 
denique sibi dicit ac singultum movere, quod audierat .... sanctam 
Romanam ecclesiam turbari." 


Frodoard praises the Pope for his chastity, for his 
nearness to himself, and for his generosity towards the 
poor. He tells how Formosus sowed the seeds of faith 
among the Bulgarians, and how he cheerfully suffered 
many trials, giving an example as to how adversity should 
be borne, and how no difficulties need be feared by the 
man who leads a good life. 

The two silver grossos or denarii of this Pope which Coins, 
are known, and which weigh, the one 22 and the other 21 
grains, bear on the obverse the name Formosus and the 
initials or full name of Scs. Petrus, and on the reverse 
Vvido Imp. and Roma. 1 

Among the other good works placed to the credit of Church 
Formosus by his ardent anonymous defender, 2 is mentioned tions. 
his care for th^ churches of Rome, some of which he 
either built, rebuilt, or adorned. And in this connection 
Benedict of Soracte, whose chronological arrangement 
of the Popes of this period is as extraordinary as. his Latin, 
tells 3 us that Formosus decorated the Church of St. Peter 
with paintings. Part of this decoration, of which a de- 
scription has come down to us, was in existence till the 
demolition by Paul V. of the eastern portion of the old 
basilica. According to tradition, the portraits of the Popes, 
which also adorned the old basilica, were the work of 
Formosus, and formed a portion of his adornment of 
the walls. 4 According to Lanciani, 5 there were in the old 
basilica of St. Peter two sets of portrait heads of the Popes, 
a lower set " on the freize above the capitals of the columns, 
the other on the walls of the nave above the cornice." 
The lower series was painted, or rather restored, by order 
of Nicholas III. ; the upper and more important series 

1 Cinagli, Monete de' Pafti. 2 Invert., p. 826. 3 C. 29, p. 41. 

4 Duchesne, L. P., i., p. xxv., and ii. 227. 

5 Pagan and Christia7i Rome, p. 209. 


" seem to have been painted at the time of Pope Formosus, 
as were also the fresco panels which appear in the drawings 
of Ciampini." Needless to say, all this work, though 
important, was executed in very poor style. Benedict XII. 
thought of restoring it with the aid of Giotto ; but death 
prevented him from effecting any very extensive reno- 
vation. 1 

In view of the suspicion as to his character, which must 
attach itself to the name of Formosus, because of the 
charges levelled against him by John VIII., and of the treat- 
ment his dead body received at the hands of his successor 
Stephen (VI.) VII., it may be pertinently asked how those 
who knew him judged of him. It might not inspire us 
with much confidence in his virtue to find that his professed 
partisans, Auxilius, Vulgarius, and whoever was the author 
of the Invectiva, speak highly of him. And yet it must 
be acknowledged that they do so in a way which shows 
they feared not contradiction in what they said in his 
praise. To his nameless defender, he is 2 " a most excellent 
teacher (doctor egregius)\ and if he is raised to the Papacy, 
it is due "to his upright character" (dignis ejus moribus 
promerentibus) (p. 825). And if, on the contrary, he is 
degraded from his episcopal rank, the Invectiva knows not 
whether to attribute the deed to excessive (or ill advised) 

1 Cf. Miintz, Recherches sur les MSS. archdol. de J. Grtmaldt, 
p. 247 ff. There was another set of painted busts of the Popes 
in the Church of St. John Lateran, which were executed by order of 
Nicholas III. They were destroyed by accident and restoration. 
The mosaic series now to be seen in St. Paul's, outside the walls, has 
been produced since the burning of the old basilica in 1823; but it 
has closely followed the copies of the old series which had been 
made in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Some of the 
old medallions had been painted as far back as the fifth century. 
Lanciani, I.e. 

* P. 831. " Vir sanctus et Justus, atque catholicus ; segregatus a 
peccatoribus." //>. 


zeal, or to spite. 1 Auxilius declares 2 that, with the exception 
of his rivals {exceptis cemulis), it was acknowledged by all 
that he was most devoted to fasting, prayer, alms-deeds, 
and good works of every kind ; that his chastity was re- 
markable and showed itself in his angelical countenance. 
Vulgarius dwells 3 equally on the abstemiousness and 
conspicuous purity of Formosus. These authors extol the 
success of his mission among the Bulgarians, and call 
attention to the splendid reception 4 given to him by the 
people of Rome on his return at the close of 867 or 
the beginning of 868. As further evidence of his sound 
character, they point to the favour with which he was 
regarded by Nicholas I. and by Hadrian II., to the 
unanimity of his election to the chair of Peter, and 
to the fact that nothing was said against him by his 
immediate successor. 

But the praises of Formosus are sounded not merely by 
declared partisans. The librarian Anastasius, or whoever 
was the author of the Life of Nicholas in the Liber Pontifi- 
calis, testifies 5 to his "great sanctity." In the preface to 
the Latin translation of the acts of the eighth general 
council, of which Anastasius was certainly the author, " the 
holy life" of Formosus is spoken of; 6 and in the letter at 
the head of his translation of the Greek biography of St. 

1 " Nescimus zelo an noxa fuerit." Invert., p. 825. 

2 Auxil., In def. s. ord., c. 10, p. 70. " Et castimonia prasditus et, 
quod est praecipuum, modestiam, quae cordi ejus inerat, angelico 
praeferebat vultu." 

3 Libel, de causa Form., p. 131. Cf. Libel, cujusdam inquir., p. 
1 109. " Is est profecto ille, qui in omni vita sua tantae gravitatis forma 
extitit, ut vinum non biberet, carnis gustum nesciret, femineae copulae 
expers octogenarius virgineum suum corpus, hominem exuens, terrae 

4 "Ad mcenia tua cum crucis est triumpho reversus." Invert, in 
Rom., p. 831. 

5 " Magnae sanctitatis," c. 59. 6 Ap. P. L., t. 129, p. 20. 

70 F0RM0SUS 

John Calybite (876), which the librarian addressed to For- 
mosus, he cannot praise him enough. He extols even his 
physical beauty, and adjures the Romans not merely to 
cease to attack such noble sons of theirs, but to embrace 
them with the sincerest love. 1 It was his " holy life " which 
won for him the confidence 2 and praise of no less a 
person than Hincmar of Rheims. Even to the slanderer 
Liutprand, 3 Formosus was " a most religious Pope." And 
he was all in all to the Bulgarian king Bogoris. 

Against all this there is his condemnation 4 by John VIII. 
By that pontiff he was accused of intriguing with Bogoris 
to be made bishop of the Bulgarians ; of wishing to pass 
from his own see to a greater (viz. to that of Rome); 5 
and of treason against the emperor, Charles the Bald. 
The profound esteem which the Bulgarian monarch had 
conceived for Formosus might easily give rise to the first 
charge. What force there was in the last accusation may 
be gathered from the fact that it was to the kingdom of 
Charles that he fled for refuge. And his unfortunate 
association with many of John's enemies would furnish 
grounds enough for the suspicion that he was aiming at the 
Papacy. By Stephen (VI.) VII., who so outraged his 
memory, the only accusation made against him to justify 
the vile treatment to which his body was subjected was his 
translation from the See of Porto to that of Rome. That 
Stephen acted as he did towards the corpse of Formosus 
from such a reason, is the less to be believed since he him- 

1 " Discatque Roma tandem suos non spernere sed colligere, non 
insequi sed amplecti, non invidiam stimulis cruentare, sed medullis 
caritatis amare." Analecta Bolland., t. xv. p. 259 f., ap. Lapotre, l.e 
"souptr" dejean Diacre. 

* " Intimat quia magnum in ipso (Formoso) haberet (Hincmarus) 
fiduciam." Frod., Hist. Rem., iii. c. 21. 

1 Antip., i. c. 28, 29. Ep. 24, an. 876, ap. P. Z., t. 126, p. 675. 

6 Cf. supra, vol. iii. p. 237. 


self was a bishop when he became Pope. And as there is 
no indication that Formosus was an ardent politician with 
views acutely opposed to those of Stephen, it is hard to sup- 
pose that the action of the latter was caused by any fanatical 
attachment of his to the imperial pretensions of the house 
of Spoleto, or by any opposite devotion on the part of 
Formosus to those of the Franks. It is quite possible, 
however, that, as some suppose, Stephen was a mere tool 
in the hands of the empress-mother Ageltruda, that he was 
merely the instrument she employed to manifest her hatred 
of the man who had brought trouble on her house. If this 
is not the case, Stephen must have been a personal foe of 
Formosus ; and in any case, his outrageous conduct with 
regard to him need not lessen our good opinion of that 

To account for the attitude of John VIII. towards him, 
it may perhaps be fair to suppose that, with all his 
learning and piety, Formosus may have been devoid of a 
sufficient share of "the cunning of the serpent." He may 
have lacked worldly astuteness enough to keep himself 
sufficiently aloof from the set upon whom fell the well- 
merited wrath of John VIII. If he was not simply a 
victim of calumny, it is more than likely that he was 
regarded by John as an enemy because he was seemingly 
being made a tool of by the unscrupulous party with 
which, by some bond unknown to us, he was connected. 1 
Formosus was condemned by John more owing to the 
faults of others than to his own. 

He had been chosen Pope " on account of his genuine 

1 In harmony with this theory writes Auxilius {In def. ord. For., i. 
c. 3) : " Idem vero Formosus praesul mutua cum eis (George of Aventino 
and the nomenclator Gregory) videbatur dilectione connexus et idcirco 
ab eodem papa non sequis oculis aspiciebatur." And very naturally. 
It is to be noted that Auxilius does not say a word in defence of 
Gregory and his party. 



piety and knowledge of divine things " 1 Hut if he did 
not fulfil the expectations raised by his election, it was 
not because he ceased to be good and pious, but because 
he had always been somewhat deficient in character, and 
in ability to form a correct estimate of the character of 

1 Liut., Antif.) i. c. 29. 

Coins of Formosus. (From Promis.) 


April? 896. 

With Boniface VI., a Roman and the son of one Adrian, Unsatis- 
a bishop, we enter upon the gloomiest portion of the nature of 
gloomy period of which we are treating. From the death of before us. 
Formosus to the accession of John X., a period of eighteen 
years, we shall have to write the history, or rather we shall 
have to name, no less than eleven Popes. And if there is 
" nothing in a name," we shall certainly not have much to 
record to interest the reader in many of the Popes whose 
names will now be brought before him. And as we are 
dealing with a period of violent turmoil, it should not 
surprise anyone to find scum occasionally rising to the 

Of Boniface, who was certainly the successor of For- Boniface, 
mosus, and who reigned but fifteen days, and was carried 
off by the gout, 1 it is sometimes said that he has no right 
to a place among the Popes, and that "the council of 
John IX. of 898 pronounced his election null." 2 It is 
urged that his election was due to a popular commotion, 

1 Cf. the appendix to Auxilius, In def. P. Form., p. 95 ; Frodoard ; 
and the Annals of Fu/da, an. 896. " Qui podagrico morbo correptus, 
vix xv dies supervixisse reperitur." 

2 Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 225 n. 



and that before his election he had shown himself so 

vicious that he had been degraded from the subdiaconate 

and afterwards from the priesthood. This assertion is 

based on the third canon of the council just quoted. There 

it is decreed that, though Formosus was transferred from 

the See of Porto " from necessity and on account of his 

merits," no rule must be drawn from an exceptional 

indulgence. " Nor may anyone," it continues, " who has 

been degraded by a synod from any ecclesiastical rank, 

and not canonically restored to it, presume to advance 

higher, as Boniface, who had been deprived first of the 

subdiaconate and afterwards of the priesthood, was enabled 

to do by the aid of the arm of the people." 1 As several 

most distinguished historians have inferred that the case 

here stigmatised is that of Boniface VI., it would perhaps 

be bold to say that the third canon of the council of John 

IX. does not refer to the successor of Formosus. But it 

certainly may not ; and several reasons make one hesitate 

to believe that it does. The Boniface of the canon is not 

styled Pope, nor is he connected with the See of Rome by 

any title whatever, while there is no doubt that Boniface VI. 

was recognised as Pope by his contemporaries. Boniface 

VI. would surely not have seemed to the council so 

deserving of condemnation as Stephen (VI.) VII., who 

is nevertheless described (can. i) as "of pious memory" 

(Pub recordationis). It would appear then that, if the 

Boniface of the canon were the successor of Formosus, 

his name would have been qualified by some official 

addition, or by some description connecting him with 

the See of Rome. The more so that he was acknow- 

1 "Sed neque de gradu ecclesiastico synodice ejectum et non 
canonice restilutum, ad altiora provehere ullus prsesumat, prout de 
Bonifacio, primo de subdiaconatu, postmodum de presbyteratu de- 
positum popularis manus agere pnesumpsit." Can. 3, ap. Labbe, 
ix. 503. 


ledged as Pope, not only by his contemporaries, as we 
have remarked already, but also by later pontiffs, who 
quote a privilege of his in favour of the Church of Grado. 1 
Finally, if Boniface VI. had been a degraded priest foisted 
by a mob into the chair of Peter, Frodoard would never 
have set him down as " almus," bountiful or gracious, and 
assigned him heaven as his reward. 2 Thus does he sing of 
him : 

" Hinc subit ad modicum vates Bonifacius almus, 

Ter quinos hie in arce dies explevit honoris. 

Culmina mox mutans superat fastigia celsa, 

Inque brevi spatio quaasita cacumina scandens 

Inter Apostolici proceres adscribitur albi." 

The sepulchral monument of Boniface, whose pontificate Tomb, 
of fifteen days was spent apparently in the month of April 
896, seems to have been still standing "in the portico of the 
Popes " when Peter Mallius copied inscriptions in the days 
of Eugenius III. The worthy canon has preserved for us 
a fragment, in this case an ill-transcribed one, of the 
inscription it bore : 

" Atria magnifici sunt membris plena s&pulchri (or sepulti ?) 
Sedis apostolicae Bonifati presulis almi." 

De Rossi conjectures that the fragment should read 
thus : 

" Atria magnificis (quae) sunt (jam) plena sepulchri(s) 
Sedis apostolicas Bonifati presulis almi 
(Suscipiunt corpus, etc.)." 3 

1 Jane, 3509. 2 P. 829. 3 From Duchesne, L. P., ii. 228. 


A.D. 896-897. 

Sources. To those given under Formosus add three letters, 
ap. P. Z., t. 129. 

Emperors, etc. See p. 40. 
ly Stephen VII., called VI. by such as do not include in 


the list of Popes the Stephen (II.) who was elected Pope 
but not consecrated, was, according to the Catalogues, a 
Roman and the son of a priest John. Taking it for granted 
that Stephen was born before the said John was ordained 
priest, the reader cannot fail to be struck by the number of 
those who at this period became Popes, and counted a 
priest or bishop as their father. It must have been, even 
to married men, an object of ambition to be enrolled in 
the ranks of the Roman clergy. Hence, no sooner were 
they free from their matrimonial engagements, than many 
at once became priests. 

The same Catalogues inform us that, before he became 
Pope, Stephen had been one of the Campanian bishops ; 
and, more precisely, Auxilius 1 says that Pope Formosus 

1 Ed. Dum., p. 95. " Post hunc (Bonifacium) Stephanus, qui fuit per 
quinquennium in Aganina ecclesia episcopus." That he was the suc- 



consecrated him bishop of Anagni, and that he had occupied 
that position for five years when he was elected Pope. 

He was chosen to replace Boniface, if not at the begin- Becomes 

r b Pope. 

ning of May, at least before June n, 896, as there is 
extant a diploma of the latter date which shows that 
Stephen was then Pope. 1 It is frequently asserted that 
he was a violent partisan of the house of Spoleto, and 
bitterly opposed to the German Arnulf. But if that 
were the case, the agents of Arnulf, who were in power in 
Rome at the time of Stephen's election, cannot have 
known their man ; and certainly at first Stephen dated 2 
his privileges by the years of the reign of Arnulf, and 
seemed to be in sympathy with him. 

His pursuing the History of the Church of Rheims led Corre- 

v b J J J spondence 

Frodoard in due course to analyse the correspondence with Fuik. 
between Archbishop Fulk and Pope Stephen. After ex- 
pressing his devotion to the See of Rome, and assuring 
Stephen, as he had already assured Formosus, that he was 
most anxious to visit " the threshold of the Apostles," but 
that various difficulties had interfered with the accomplish- 
ment of his wishes, Fulk informs 3 the Pope that he has at 
length succeeded in bringing about peace between Eudes 
(Odo) and Charles the Simple. In his reply Stephen 
expresses himself as dissatisfied with Fulk's excuses for not 
coming to Rome others have contrived to come and bids 
him present himself at the synod which he is going to hold 
in September 896. Unfortunately, we are not told for what 
end the Pope had determined to summon a council to 

cessor of Boniface is also clear from the Catalogues, Frodoard, the 
Invert., p. 1098, etc. 

1 Jaffe, i. p. 439- 

2 Ep. 1. "Datum .... imperante dom. Aug. Arnulpho .... 
magno imperatore anno primo." 

3 This abstract of the correspondence between Fulk and Stephen is 
given 1. iv. c. 4. 


which distant prelates were to be invited. It cannot have 
been for the purposes for which the infamous synod of the 
beginning of 897 was held. Stephen would never have 
dared to bring bishops, over whom he had no civil control, 
to witness the gruesome sight on which the assembly of 
897 gazed. If a dignified council of many bishops from all 
parts had been held in September, perhaps the wicked farce 
of the following year would never have been perpetrated. 

In sending an answer to the reprimand of the Pope, Fulk 
showed that he felt it; and felt it the more that he knew 
it was undeserved. He therefore begged the Pope not to 
listen to what uncharitable people might say against him. 
He renewed his protestations of loyalty " to the glorious See 
of the Prince of the Apostles and its holy rulers," informed 
the Pope he was sending to Rome a bishop to represent 
him, and assured him that, as soon as he really could, and 
Zuentibold (Arnulfs bastard son and king of Lorraine) 
ceased to block the roads, he would certainly set out for 
Rome. In conclusion, he begged the Pope " by his apostolic 
authority " to repress the tyranny of Zuentibold. We also 
find 1 Fulk recommending his cause to a prelate at Rome. 
The result of all this was that Stephen granted his request 
to remain in his diocese for the time, but instructed him 
to send Honoratus, bishop of Beauvais, and Rodulf of 
Laon, to take part in a synod to be held at Ravenna. 
It would certainly seem, from these different allusions to 
the holding of synods, that Stephen had, at least in the 
beginning of his pontificate, a strong wish to promote 
the general good. 

Except that he confirmed the privileges of the archi- 
episcopal church of Narbonne, and those of the monastery 

1 This abstract of the correspondence between Fulk and Stephen 
is given 1. iv. c. 6. 


of Vezelay 1 .(Yonne), and deposed Argrim, 2 to whom 
Formosus had granted the use of the pallium, from the See 
of Langres, we know no more of Stephen VII. but what 
he did at the Roman synod of 897, which covered his name 
with lasting infamy, and brought about his death. 

As an augury of the terrible events of which the year 897 Fail of the 
was to be a witness, it opened with the complete collapse basilica. 
of the venerable basilica of the Lateran. This untoward 
event, mentioned in the Catalogues, is placed before the 
holding of the synod by the author of the Annates Ala- 
mannici? " Negligently built," writes Lanciani, 4 " with 
spoils from earlier edifices, as were the other churches 
of the time of Constantine, the basilica had long since 
begun to show signs of decay. The walls of the nave 
rested on columns of various kinds of marble, differing in 
height and strength. These yielding under the pressure 
of the roof, bulged outward so far that the ends of the 
beams of the roof-trusses came out of their sockets, and 
the building collapsed." 

The ghastly synod we have now to describe, fortunately The synod 
unique in the history of Christendom, took place probably 
in the month of January 897. 5 Our account of it may well 

1 Ep. 1 and 3, ap. Migne. What is given as ep. 2 there, is a letter of 
Stephen IV., c. 768. 

2 Jaffe, 3513 (2699). His decision was altered "for the better" by 
John IX. Labbe, ix. 494, 5. 

3 Ap. M. G. SS. } i. 53. 

4 Destruction of Ancient Rome, p. 159. Lanciani concludes the 
paragraph we have cited by noting that " the ursurpers of the Apostolic 
See bore from the basilica all its treasures." The "usurpers" referred 
to would seem to be Christopher only. Cf infra, p. 112. 

5 For both the I?ivect., p. 826, and Auxilius (D., p. 71) speak of the 
body of Formosus as having been nine months in the grave when it was 
exhumed. Or at least the Invect. actually mentions the number ; while 
the number before " months " (mensis) has dropped out of the text of 
Auxilius, which reads : " Corpus ejusdem Formosi in eundem conventum 
afferri praecepit et quia vivo nihil nocere poterat, saltern ex putrido 


be opened with the words with which Auxilius x begins one 
of his pamphlets : " ' Who will give water to my head, and 
a fountain of tears to my eyes?' (Jer. ix. i); and I will 
weep, not as Jeremias, not simply for those slain in body, 
but, what is worse, for the loss of souls, and for the dire 
deeds which have been publicly wrought in the head of all 
the churches .... by whose blessings the whole Church 
fructifies, and by whose judgment the faults of all the 
world are corrected." But with the same Auxilius we may 
console ourselves that though we shall see " the floods 
descend and the winds howl, the same Lord comforts me who 
deigned to promise the Prince of the Apostles : ' Thou art 
Peter, and on this rock I will build my church ; and the 
gates of hell shall not prevail against it"' (S. Matt. xvi. 18). 

Unwillingly and in fear 2 a number of the Roman clergy 
were gathered together in synod by the Pope's orders. As 
the emperor Lambert and his warlike mother Ageltruda 
had entered Rome " a few days 3 before," it is very probable 
that Stephen himself also acted as he did in fear of the 
imperial pair. 

No sooner, indeed, had Arnulf left Italy than his 
authority there came to an end. Berengarius and Lambert 
at once asserted their sway over sections of Italy, and 

cadavere, cui jam (nonus?) inerat mensis, suam satiaret feritatem." 
Diimmler notes that after 'jam' there is a blank space, large enough 
for a word such as nonus. Eleven months is assigned by an anony- 
mous Beneventan author of the tenth century (?). Ap. M. G. SS. 
ob., p. 497 ; or R. I. SS., 1 1, p. i. p. 280. 

: . I)., p. i. 

m. 2 of the synod of 898 (wrongly referred by some, e.g. Labbe, 
to 904). " Episcopi . . . . et reliquus clerus qui eidem synodo inter- 
fuerint .... coactos se terroris metu ac formidine interfuisse confessi 
sunt. Labbe, ix. 503. 

Ibant (imperator Lambertus, ejusque mater imperatrix) enim 
Romam. . . . Paucis quoque post hinc diebus elapsis, Stephanus 
Formosum ex sepulcro abjecerat," etc., says the anonymous Beneventan 
just quoted, ap. M. G. SS. Lang., ib. 


put to death such of the imperial officials as opposed 
them. 1 Ageltruda and Lambert, as we have just said, again 
made themselves masters of Rome, and found there a 
willing 2 or unwilling instrument of their spirit of revenge 
against the man who had favoured their rival Arnulf. 

The body of the unfortunate Formosus, still more or 
less entire, but of course half corrupt, was disinterred, and 
dragged before the assembly. Clad in full pontificals, the 
corpse was placed on a seat, and a deacon was assigned 
to defend the accused pontiff. A formal charge was 
brought against him. " When once deposed he ought not 
to have performed the functions of his office; and if he 
did, he ought not to have passed from one see to another." 3 
On these counts Formosus was condemned. " If the 
Bishop of Rome," urges 4 the Invectiva, " is not to be judged 
by any one during his life, after his death is he to be judged 
by any one ? When put to the question, what reply did 
he make ? Had he made answer, that horrible assembly 
would have broken up in abject terror, and fled from the 
place one after another. And the Lord God would have 
said : ' Formosus, who hath condemned thee ? ' To this he 
would have said : No man, Lord ' ; and the Lord would 
have added : ( Neither will I condemn thee.' " 

However, by the synod of Pope Stephen, Formosus was 
anathematised and his ordinations declared null and void. 5 
Then was his dead body subjected to the most barbarous 
violence ; 6 it was stripped of its sacred vestments down 

1 Hermannus Contr., Chron., ann. 895, 6. Cf. Ann. Fuld., 896. 

2 According to Herman he was a willing tool : " tyrannis favens, et 
Arnolfum odiens." An. 896. 

3 Invert., p. 828. 4 P. 826. 

6 " Irritam faciens cunctam ipsius ordinationem." Anon. Benev. 

6 Vulg., ap. Diim., p. 131. " Corporeo siquidem suco hseserat busto, 
unde non tarn facile discerpi poterat, cum, ecce, subito rabidi duo 
frenetica frendentes sagacitate fixis pedibus, horrible dictu, super 

VOL. IV. 6 , 


to the very hair-shirt with which the unfortunate pontiff 
had mortified his body in life. Clad then in the garments 
of a layman, the body, after two fingers of the right 
hand had been cut off, was buried (c. February 897), by 
the order of Stephen, in some place reserved for the 
burial of pilgrims. 1 It was even said that, when the body 
was being dragged forth for burial, fresh blood flowed out 
of its mouth on to the pavement. 2 At this point our 
authorities, among whom up to this there has been an 
awful agreement, part company. While some, as Auxilius, 3 
state that Stephen himself, after a short time, ordered the 
body of his predecessor to be once more exhumed and 
then thrown into the Tiber, the ninth canon of the council 
(an. 898), so frequently cited, makes out with greater 
probability that this last outrage was due to treasure- 
seekers, who some time later had violated the tomb in the 
hope of finding valuables therein. 

When this terrible synod was over, Stephen took 
measures to carry into effect what had been there decreed 
with regard to the ordinations performed by Formosus. 
lie did not, however, interfere with any prelates at a 
distance, 4 who had been consecrated by Formosus ; nor, 
indeed, did he reconsecrate any who had been so or- 
dained. But he made them sign and hand over to him 

venerabile corpus sacri pontificis cruda agitatione totam compagem 
substantia? enerviter ruperunt." Cf. his other pamphlet, ap. Migne, 
1 Aux., ap. I)., p. 71 ; /;//. ct Def, c. 30 ; Ann. Futd., an. 896, " Foras 
a solitum sepulture apostolicis locum, sepeliri pr;i:ccpit." 

mguis exiit tanto jam tempore elapso, ; ' Anon. Benev. Cf 

/"., c. 30. Cf. Invert., 828, etc. 

rdinationes tamen ejus procul existcntes, sicut omnes nostrarum 

onum testes existunt, exagitare non ausus est." Aux., p. 71. Cf 

I per vim intus Roma? ct non (oris de- 

phanus) nee tamen praesumpserat eos iterum consecrare." 

us III., however, went further than this. 


a paper in which they declared that they resigned their 
offices. 1 

But Stephen's career of violence was destined to be short- Death of 
lived. He was seized, clothed as a monk, loaded with vn., 897. 
chains, thrown into a dungeon, and, somewhere about the 
close of July or the beginning of August, strangled. This 
much we know on good authority. It is so stated not only 
in his epitaph, 2 composed by Sergius III. (907), who, of the 
same faction apparently as Stephen, speaks rather ap- 
provingly of his conduct towards Formosus, but also by 
Frodoard and Auxilius. We will quote the words of 
Frodoard, which, as usual, show traces of the influence of 
the epitaph : 

" Turn sextus Stephanus sacra regmina culmine carpit, 
Durus qui nostris, propriis at durior instat. 
Saeva quidem legat vivis, truciora sepultis. 
Folconemque minis, Formosum concutit actis. 
Concilium gregat infaustum, cui praesidet atrox. 

1 There is scarcely any need to point out the mistakes made by 
Liutprand over this synod. He attributes it to Sergius III., and says 
that he reordained those who had been consecrated by Formosus. 
Antapod., i. 30. Browning has described this ghastly trial of Formosus 
in his The Ring and the Booh, vol. iv., p. 2 ff., ed. 1872. 

2 " Hoc Stephani Papae clauduntur membra sacello 

Sextus dictus erat ordine quippe Patrum. 
Hie primum repulit Formosi spurca superbi, 

Culmina qui invasit Sedis Apostolicas 
Consilium instituit, praesedit pastor et ipsi ; 

Lege satis fessis jura dedit famulis. 
Cumque Pater multum certaret dogmate sancto, 

Captus et a sede pulsus in ima fuit. 
Carceris interea vinculis constrictus in imo 

Strangulatus ubi exuerat hominem." 

Post decimunque diem regnanti (for these two wrongly transcribed 
words, Watterich, i. 84, has regens Sedem hunc) transtulit annum 
Sergius hue (viz. before the Church, ante ecclesiam) Papa funera sacra 
colens." L. P., ii. 229. 

Auxilius, I?i def. For., i. 10, " Pro talibus ausis quae ultio secuta sit 
eum vel quo laqueo miseram exhalauerit vitam, omnibus notum est." 


Praedecessorem abjiciens, ponensque patronum. 
Visus abhinc meritis dignam incurrisse ruinam, 
Captus et ipse, sacraque abjectus sede, tenebris 
Carceris injicitur, vinclisque innectitur atris, 
Et suffocatum crudo premit ultio letho." 

But of the causes which brought about such a terrible 
termination to the life of a Vicar of Christ we have no in- 
formation from reliable authors, or even from the gossip of 
Liutprand. We may conjecture that Lambert, unable or 
unwilling to care for the tool he had used, left him to the 
vengeance of a righteously indignant people ; or what, 
under the circumstances, seems more likely, we may suppose 
that the faction of the nobility unfavourable to him got the 
upper hand, and took away his life lest he might ever be in 
a position to punish them for their rebellion. 
:oins. Of the two extant * silver coins of this Pope one bears the 

name of Arnulf (" Arnolfvs Imp. Roma ") and the other that 
of Lambert (" Lamverto Imp. Roma "). Thus do they bear 
eloquent testimony to the fact that the German influence 
in Rome in the earlier part of Stephen's reign was replaced 
by Spoletan in the later. On the reverse of the coins in 
both cases there is the monogram of the Pope, 
itephen In passing under review the conduct of Stephen towards 

F'ormosus. Formosus, it is hard to resist the conclusion that it is to be 
ascribed, at least in part, to the evil influence of the house 
of Spoleto, which, from the time of John VIII., had shown 
itself capable of perpetrating any act of violence against 
the Popes. But the seemingly whole-hearted manner in 
which Stephen lent himself to serve what we suppose to 
have been the ill-will of Lambert, makes one fear that he 

1 Cinagli, p. 6. Promis, Moncte dci Rom. Pont., p. 76, notes that 
whereas the Arnulf coin weighs 24 grains, the other only weighs 18, 
" which proves the deterioration of the coinage " of the period ; for a 
similar variation of weight is to be observed in the monies of his 
immediate predecessors. 



had a share of that bitterly revengeful cruelty which has 
appeared but too often in the Italian from the days of the 
emperors Tiberius and Nero to those of Ezzelino de 
Romano and other tyrants of the later Middle Ages, and 
which has reappeared in the Italian assassins of kings and 
rulers of our own days. In every Christian century the 
hot hearts and cool heads of Italy have produced models 
of wickedness, side by side with men who have proved 
themselves masters in every material art, and models in 
the science of the saints. Italians are the authors of 
hymns to the Living God and to Satan of well-nigh 
equal merit. 

Coins of Stephen VII. (From Promis.) 


A.D. 897. 
Sources. Two privileges, ap. P. Z., t. 129. 

omanus. Gallese, a town of some importance during the Middle 
Ages, nearly midway between Orte and Civita Castellana, 
which had already given one Pope (Marinus I.) to the 
Church, was the birthplace of the short-lived successor of 
Stephen (VI.) VII., Romanus. Pope in August, he was dead 
in November. From the Catalogues it appears that he was 
the son of Constantine, and priest of the title of St. Peter, 
advincula. One of them also adds that " he was afterwards 
made a monk." But as the same is said in other Cata- 
logues of his predecessor Stephen, it is not unlikely that 
some ceremony of degradation was performed on that 
pontiff before he was strangled, and that the notice refers to 
him, and not to Romanus at all. Duchesne 1 calls attention 
to the fact that St. Silverius and Christopher, who were both 
deposed, are also said to have been made monks. 

[is *cts. Of the circumstances of his election, or of his attitude 
towards his immediate predecessor, nothing is known. It 

1 L. P., ii. 230. 



is possible, at any rate, that he was freely elected, and that 
he was no creature of the house of Spoleto ; for Lambert 
must have left Rome soon after the mock trial of Formosus, 
in order to make head against Adalbert, marquis of 
Tuscany, the most powerful noble in Italy, who had 
thoughts of rendering himself independent. 1 Romanus 
reigned long enough to grant the pallium to Vitalis 
of Grado, 2 to confirm to the Spanish bishops of Elna 
(Rousillon) and Gerona, 3 who had come to Rome for the 
purpose, the various possessions of their sees, and to coin 
money. 4 

That he was a virtuous man may be inferred from the 
words of Frodoard : 

" Post hunc (Stephanum) luce brevi Romani regmina surgunt. 
Quatuor haud plenos tractans is culmina menses, 
^Ethere suscipitur, meritos sortitus honores." 

p. 194 ; and the bull of 

1 Cf. Balan, Storia d? Italia, ii. 428. 

2 Dandolo, Ckron., ap. R. I. SS.) 
John XIX. of Dec. 1024. 

3 The two, ap. P. L , t. 129. The bishopric of Elna was afterwards 
transferred to Perpignan. 

4 Bearing the name of the emperor Lambert on one side, and the 
monogram of the Pope with "Scs. Petrus" on the other. 


- -. i 




83r m 



? a y 



Coin of Romanus. (From Promis.) 


A.D. 897. 

As this Pope only reigned for twenty days, it is very prob- 
able that the month of December saw the beginning and the 
end of his pontificate. But he did important work during 
that brief period, and deserved to receive high praise from 
Frodoard not only for his virtues, but for the efforts he 
made to quench the faction fires which were burning so 
fiercely in Rome. He was the son of Photius, and the 
brother of Bishop Theosius. He had been ordained priest 
by Stephen (V.) VI. 1 

As soon as he became Pope, he showed that he disapproved 
of the action of Stephen (VI.) VI I. in deposing those within 
the city of Rome who had been ordained by Formosus. He 
allowed them to resume their rights at once, 2 returned to 
them and ordered to be burnt the written acts of resignation 
which Stephen had exacted from them, and caused them 
even formally to be restored to their functions in a synod. 3 

1 Cf. L. P., and Aux., ap. D., p. 95. 

2 Auxilius, De ord. Fortn., i., c. 4. "Eos namque quos Stephanus 
secum in Ecclesia vestiri prohibuit, papa Theodorus, . . . . et vestiri et 
suum agere officium pmecepit." Cf. Aux., ap. D., 95 : "Hie (Theo.) est 
qui reconciliavit ordinationem Formosi." 

3 John IX. (an. 898) ordered the reading of the acts of the synod of 
Pope Theodore on this subject. Cf. Mansi, Concil. t xviii. 221. The 
councils of John IX. are given more fully in Mansi than in the earlier 
editions of the councils. 



Besides thus doing justice to the authority of Formosus, The 
he did justice also to his outraged body. When writing Formosus 
the Life of Stephen VII., we left the body of Formosus in 
the Tiber. Of its recovery and subsequent treatment by 
Theodore, Auxilius has given x the following account : 
The same night that the body of Formosus was thrown 
into the Tiber (viz. by the treasure-seekers, as we suppose, 2 ) 
a terrible storm broke over the city. The Tiber, as usual, 
was soon in a flood. Carried along by the rushing river, 
the corpse was freed from the weights which kept it down, 
and finally thrown up on to the bank near the Church of 
St. Acontius at Porto. Three days after this, Formosus 
appeared to a certain monk in a vision, and bade him go 
and bury his dead body which had been cast up on shore. 
The monk did as he was bid, but in fear buried the body 
secretly. Word, however, of what had happened was 
brought to Pope Theodore. By his orders, the body, still 
entire, was brought back to the city with the greatest pomp, 
with the singing of psalms and hymns, with lights and 
incense. Clad once more in pontifical vestments, it was 
conveyed to the basilica of St. Peter, and placed beside 
the confession. There, in presence of the Pope, Mass was 
said for the unhappy pontiff, and his body was restored to 
its tomb. 3 Liutprand assures 4 us that he had it " from most 

1 D., p. 72. According to Liutprand, Antap., i. 31, the body of 
Formosus was found by fishermen. One thing is therefore certain, viz. 
that the body was recovered from the Tiber. 

2 Vide supra, p. 82. From the fact that the body of Formosus was 
" entire " when recovered from the Tiber, and in such a state as to be 
able to be reclad with vestments, it is obvious it cannot have been 
thrown into the river by Stephen VII. It must have been thrown in 
only just before it was recovered. 

3 " Ibique (at the confession) immolata pro eo dominica hostia 
efferentes (sic) eum inter apostolicas tumbas suo restituerunt sepulcro." 
lb. Cf Inf. et Def, c. 4, ap. P. L., t. 129, p. 1082. 

4 Ubi supra. " Hoc (the salutation by the images,) namque a religio- 
sissimis Romanse urbis viris persepe audivi." 


religious men of the city of Rome " that when the body was 
brought to St Peter's, it was " reverentially saluted " by 
certain of the images of the saints. 

Coins, etc. Like his predecessor, he granted l a privilege to the See of 
Grado. The one silver coin of his which is known, and of 
which Cinagli gives an illustration, bears on its obverse, 
like the coins of his two predecessors, the name of the 
emperor Lambert. On the reverse we find " Scs. Petrus " 
and the monogram "Thedr." 

Epitaph (?). As his epitaph we will cite the words of Frodoard. He 
speaks in such high terms of this Pope as to make it matter 
for regret that he did not reign longer. To account for the 
very short pontificate of many of the Popes of this period, 
who are not known to have died by a violent death, it has 
been suggested that the faction leaders, who then controlled 
the pontifical elections, of set purpose placed upon the 
throne men who were either infirm or even older than were 
most of their predecessors at the time of their election : 

" Quo (Romano) rapto breviore subit fastigia sorte 
Dilectus clero Theodorus, pacis amicus. 

Bis denos Romana dies jura gubernans, 
Sobrius et castus, patria bonitate refertus, 

Vixit pauperibus diffusus amator et altor. 
Hie populum docuit connectere vincula pacis. 

Atque sacerdotes concordi ubi junxit honore, 
Dum propriis revocat disjectos sedibus, ipse 

Complacitus rapitur, decreta sede locandus.' -' 

According, then, to the canon of Rheims, Pope Theodore 

was beloved of the clergy, a friend of peace, temperate, 

chaste, affable, and a great lover of the poor. He was taken 

to his throne in heaven whilst he was working to promote 

peace and harmony both among clergy and people, and 

was restoring to their rights those who on earth had been 

robbed of them. 

1 Again the bull of John XIX. 

- Frodoard, De Chrisli triumph., xii. 6. 


A.D. 898-900. 

Sources. A few letters of John, ap. P. Z., t. 131, and a few to 
him in the Councils, e.g. in Labbe, ix. p. 483 f. The other 
authorities as before. 

Amid the historic gloom of this period the deeds of The deeds 

r of John IX. 

John IX. burst forth like the lightning flash that for an 
instant reveals to our view all things far and near which 
the impenetrable darkness of the storm had hidden from 
our sight. In John IX. we again see the papal authority 
reaching even to the ends of the earth. 

Already have we depicted him giving his decisions to 
the East 1 on the question of Photius, sending thither as 
his legates Bishop Nicholas and Cardinal John. Here 
in this connection we will merely add that his envoys 
" who came for the union of the Churches," were received 
by the emperor Leo VI., the Wise, with the greatest dis- 
tinction. Every attention was paid to them. Banquets 
were arranged in their honour, at which, in accordance 
with precedent, they occupied the places next to the 

1 Cf. vol. iii. of this work, p. 394. 

92 JOHN IX. 

emperor. 1 Their mission, as we have seen, was eminently 
successful, and East and West were once again united in 
religious harmony. 

We have, too, already set forth his settlement of the 
question of Argrim of Langres in Francia. 2 We shall 
soon see him, in conjunction with the emperor Lambert, 
striving to bring the blessings of peace and order to 
Rome, to the States of the Church, and to all Italy ; and 
endeavouring to render surer the independence of Moravia 
by granting it a fresh hierarchy of its own. 3 But after 
the lightning flash has passed the darkness seems thicker 
than ever. Despite all his efforts to ameliorate the evils 
of the age, John lived long enough to see the gloom of 
the times made denser by the deaths of the emperors 
Lambert and Arnulf; by the contests between Louis 
of Provence (the Blind) and Berenger for Italy and the 
imperial crown ; by the accession of Louis (the Child) in 
Germany ; by the steady increase of the anarchy in south 
Italy; and by the first irruption into Italy of the terrible 
Hungarians at the close of the year 899. 

That John, the son of Rampoald, a native of Tivoli, and 
a Benedictine, was the successor of Theodore II. is certain ; 
but when he mounted the pontifical throne is uncertain. 
While JafTe makes his reign extend from April 898 to May 
900, Duchesne gives him from January 898 to January 
900. It is at any rate practically certain that while the 

1 These interesting little items are made known to us by the De 
cerimoniis of the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. In the 
second book (c. 52) he has inserted the Cletorologium of Philotlieus, 
which was drawn up in the year 900. It is a new edition of the rules 
of etiquette to be observed at the state banquets. In n. 3 it is laid 
down that the legates from Rome, if bishops, take precedence " of our 
bishops"; and, if priests, of our priests, etc. ; and the author notes 
that, in the time of Leo VI., the Roman legates who came for the 
union of the Churches took precedence of everyone. 

2 Cf. vol. iii. of this work, p. 384 n. 3 /., p. 245. 

JOHN IX. 93 

early part of 898 saw his accession, the early part of 900 
witnessed his demise. From the epitaph of Sergius III., 
which will be given in its proper place, and from the words 
of Frodoard, cited below, 1 it appears that John's election 
was not a unanimous one. Sergius, who was destined to 
become Pope later, was elected about the same time. 
Whether Sergius was the representative of any party other 
than that of his personal friends is to the last degree 
doubtful. His epitaph would seem to state that his 
election on this occasion was effected simply by the power 
of his father {jure paternd). At any rate, when we find 
the author of the Invectiva, the strong opponent of Sergius, 
emphasising the fact that Formosus did not mount the 
papal throne as though it were his " by hereditary right " 
(p. 830, hcereditario jure), the meaning we have given to 
jure paterno is no doubt the correct one. We may be sure 
that in putting forward such a defence of Formosus our 
author was inferentially attacking Sergius. 

Some contend but whether on sure grounds is another 
matter that his rival, John, was successful because he 
favoured, and was consequently supported by, the house 
of Spoleto. At any rate, his rehabilitating the memory of 
Formosus, and his condemning the action of Stephen (VI.) 
VII., prove that, if he was a friend of the house of Spoleto, 
he was not their servant, as Stephen seems to have been. 

Sergius and his partisans, who were declared excom- 
municated in the Roman synod of 898, were driven from 
the city, and John IX. was duly acknowledged as the 

1 " Joannes subit hinc, qui fulsit ordine nonus, 
Pellitur electus patria quo Sergius urbe, 

Romulidumque gregum quidam traduntur abacti ( = abactores). 
Conciliis tamen is ternis docuisse refertur 
Dogma salutiferum, novitasque aboleta malorum, 
Et firmata fides doctrinis tradita Patrum." 

De triumph., xii. 7. Cf. Auxil. ap. D., p. 61. 

94 JOHN IX. 

lawful successor of St. Peter. 1 When Gregorovius- says of 
the new pontiff that " during his two years' reign he dis- 
played intelligence and moderation," he is only giving the 
verdict of history as it had already been voiced by Baronius 
and Muratori. 3 
Council of Both in John's epitaph and in the verses of Frodoard, 
' the work of this Pope, to which special attention was called, 
was the holding of three synods. Of these the acts of two 
are known. Both were concerned with the rehabilitation 
of the memory of Formosus, and with taking remedial 
measures to improve the disorders of the times. The 
primary object of the first of these councils, that of Rome, 
was undoubtedly to emphasise the policy of Theodore II. 
with regard to Formosus, who had ordained John priest. 4 
After the acts of Theodore's synod had been read, that of 
Stephen(VL) VII. was condemned, its actswereordered to be 
burnt, and the violence exercised upon those who attended it 
was denounced. For while Peter, bishop of Albano, Sylvester 
of Porto, and other bishops acknowledged that they had 
been present at " that horrible synod " ; that the accusations 
brought against Formosus were false ; and that they had 
subscribed the acts of the synod against him ; they declared 
they had acted under compulsion ; begged for forgiveness ; 
and prayed that " for the future, bishops might not be 
compelled by violence to act against the canons." Re- 
ordinations were interdicted, and those who had been 
ordained by Formosus, but condemned by Stephen, were 

1 Though Sergius had been consecrated bishop by Formosus, he 
was at this period apparently not acting as a bishop. At any rate, if 
the Sergius, condemned by the council of 898, was the same as the 
rival of John IX. and the successor of Leo V., he is described by the 
eighth canon which condemned him as "a priest." "Sergium etc. 
dudum presbyteros S.R.E juste et canonice damnatos." 

2 Rome, iii. 231. 8 *' Uomo molto saggio e pio." AmiaL, viii. 222. 
4 Invect., p. 836. 

JOHN IX. 95 

restored to their respective ranks among the clergy. 
While the translation of Formosus was, as we have already 
seen, approved because done " from necessity," it was 
decreed that, as translations from see to see were con- 
demned by the canons, the case of the late Pope was not 
to serve as a precedent. That " most wicked " custom of 
plundering the palaces of Popes or bishops on their death 
was to be put down both by Pope and emperor. On the 
ground that an increase of sin was the result of such inter- 
ference, secular judges were forbidden to take cognisance 
of carnal sins. Inquiry into adultery and other such crimes 
was to be made by the bishop according to the decisions 
of the canons. 1 There were also issued at this council 
two decrees of political importance. By one (can. 6) the 
u unction of our spiritual son," the most excellent emperor 
Lambert, is acknowledged as valid ; 2 while the " barbaric, 
surreptitiously obtained " unction of Berenger is rejected. 

It is the fashion nowadays both to reject the " Berenger" 
of the text and to replace it by " Arnulf." However, there 
seems no reason why the regal anointing of Berenger, the 
rival of Lambert in Italy, should not be so described, as it 
was only performed (March 888) by Anselm, archbishop of 
Milan. Besides, Lambert had nothing to fear from the 
paralysed Arnulf, but much from the indefatigable Berenger. 
The goodwill of John IX. towards Lambert, and his 
confidence in him, is further shown by the tenth canon, 
which the factious power of the Roman nobility at this 
period rendered necessary, and which was a voluntary 
return to Lothaire's constitution of 824. The canon ran 
thus : " Because the Holy Roman Church, over which by 

1 Can. 12. " Habeantur episcopi .... liberam potestatem adul- 
teria et scelera inquirere, ulscisci et judicare, secundum quod canones 

2 By some oversight the French ed. of Hefele (Cone, vi. 141) runs : 
*' Nous declarons nul le sacre de l'empereur Lambert." 

96 JOHN IX. 

God's will we preside, suffers on the death of the Pope 
the greatest indignities, which are brought about because 
the consecration of the new Pope takes place without 
notice being sent to the emperor, and because the am- 
bassadors sent by him, in accordance with the canons and 
custom, are not present to prevent deeds of violence and 
scandals from taking place at the consecration, we decide 
that, for the future, the Pope be elected by the bishops 
(cardinal) and clergy, with the approval (or in presence of 
expetente) of the senate and people, and then consecrated 
in the presence of the imperial envoys." x 

On the conclusion of this synod, John moved north, 
and, in presence of the emperor Lambert and of seventy- 
three bishops from all parts of Italy, held another important 
synod at Ravenna. 2 The latest edition of the acts of this 
assembly is that of Boretius, which is the one cited here. 
On his way to Ravenna, the Pope was so horrified at the 
signs of the reign of brute force which he saw everywhere, 
" even in our own territories," that, as he told the emperor 
(cap. 5), when he implored him in the synod to punish the 
authors of such deeds of violence, " he would much rather 

1 This is the decree that by mistake used to be assigned to Stephen 
(IV.) V. Cf. Lapotre, Jean VIII., p. 211 n. It concludes by 
forbidding any new-fangled oaths to be extorted from the new Pope. 
(The acts of this synod ap. Labbe, ix. 502 are, as already remarked, 
given best in Mansi, xviii. 222 f.) We can scarcely be here in 
presence of an "election capitulation," by which the College of 
Cardinals, before proceeding to a papal election, bound the one who 
was to be elected to favour their body. Such capitulations were 
frequent in the fifteenth century, can with certainty be traced to the 
election of Innocent VI. (1352), and may date back to that of Boniface 
VI 1 1, but not to the days of John IX. (Cf Pastor, Lives of the Popes, 
Eng. ed., i. 382 n.) The oaths in question would, no doubt, be oaths 
exacted in favour of some faction. 

2 This synod is spoken of by all the partisans of Formosus, e.g. 
Invect., p. 836 ; Auxilius frequently, ap. D., pp. 69, 72, 95 ; Vulgarius, 
118, ed. D. 

JOHN ix. 97 

die than see such things perpetrated in our day. If they 
are not righted," he continued, " both you and I shall have 
a strict account to give to the Supreme Judge." Decrees 
were issued by the synod to confirm those of the Roman 
council (cap. 4), and to enforce the payment of the tithe 
(cap. 1). Others set forth that the Roman Church was 
reduced to such straits that it had money neither for 
the poor nor for the support of its clergy and officials 
(cap. 10) ; that its property, both movable and immov- 
able, had been irrationally given away, presumably to fac- 
tion leaders (cap. 78) ; and that even those whom John had 
sent to cut timber for the restoration of the Lateran 
basilica had been violently dispersed (cap. 10). 

The more important articles constituted a sort of con- 
cordat between the emperor and the Pope. In return for 
the renewed concession of the right of the imperial envoys 
to be present at the consecration of the Popes (c. 4), and 
of the right of any Roman to appeal to the emperor (c. 2), 
the agreements of former emperors to protect the rights, 
privileges, and possessions of the Roman Church were to 
be renewed; and, in particular, the decrees of Louis II. 
(850) against the outrageous doings " in the territories of 
Blessed Peter " of predatory bands of Romans, Lombards, 
and Franks had to be put in force again. At the conclu- 
sion of the synod, which gives us, by the mere presentment 
of its sober decrees, a more graphic picture of the miseries 
of Italy than could any highly coloured description, the 
Pope exhorted the bishops to let their conduct be a source 
of virtuous inspiration to others, and, on their return to 
their dioceses, to try by prayer and fasting to turn aside 
the anger of God. 

And need there was of prayer, for things were yet to get Political 

worse. The death of Lambert while hunting, a very short s^ 16 ' 

time after the close of the synod of Ravenna (October 15), 
VOL. IV. 7 

98 JOHN IX. 

gave free scope to the ambition of Berenger. Up to this 
time he had, with varying fortune, maintained his inde- 
pendence in the north-east of Italy against Arnulf and the 
house of Spoleto alike. Now he made a bold stroke for 
Italy and the imperial crown. But, through the scheming 
of Adalbert II., marquis of Tuscany, Louis of Provence (the 
Blind) entered Italy in the following year to oppose his 
pretensions. Another foe, the swift Hungarian, 1 invaded 
Italy the same year (August 899), and pressed hard on 
the unfortunate Berenger. While Frank and Hungarian 
were helping the Italians themselves to rend the north of 
Italy, the same awful assistance for a like purpose was still 
being furnished to them by Greek and Saracen in the south. 
The death of Arnulf (December) in this same ill-fated year 
was to teach Germany how fatal it was in an hour of crisis 
to be ruled by a " child." 
The Slavs In the midst of all this clash of arms John was quietly 
899. ' working to give stability to a much harassed Christian 
people, the Slavs of Moravia. When mention was last 2 
made of them, it was stated that by German intrigue the 
disciples of St. Methodius, their apostle, were expelled from 
Moravia not long after the saint's death, and that, crushed 
between the Germans and the Hungarians, the Moravians 
lost their ecclesiastical and civil liberty soon after the death 
of their hero Swatopluk (f894). However, during that 
short interval, his son Mo'fmir made a last effort to save his 
people. Reasonably concluding that for his country to be 
free from ecclesiastical dependence on one of its foes, viz. 
Germany, would help its civil freedom, he sent to Pope 

1 The date, 899, of this event is vouched for not only by the 
fragment of the Chronicle of Nonantula, quoted by Muratori 
{Ann., viii. 234), but by a crowd of annals in the first volume of the 
3f. G. SS. And so one of the codices of the Ann. Alamann. has 
* Ungri Italiam invaserunt, et Langobardos bello vicerunt." 

- Cf. vol. iii. p. 245. 

JOHN IX. 99 

John IX. to request that Moravia might have a hierarchy 
of its own. Such details of this affair as have come down 
to us are to be found in two letters from Germany. One 
was from Hatto, archbishop of Mayence, the other from 
some half-dozen bishops, among whom were Theotmar, 
archbishop of Salzburg, and Richard of Passau. Both 
letters were written about the same time, viz. in the early 
part of 900; for both documents speak of the recent 
election of Louis the Child, who was proclaimed king in 
the beginning of 900. In response to the request of 
Moimir, John dispatched three bishops to look into the 
affair. In the Pope's name they consecrated a metro- 
politan and three bishops, 1 without any reference to the 
bishop of Passau, who claimed jurisdiction over Moravia. 
As the letters just quoted give us no further informa- 
tion as to the Church in Moravia, and as we know that 
soon after this it was annihilated along with the State by 
the Hungarians, we might well say nothing further about 
them. However, as in them the same hectoring tone is to 
be found as is often to be met with in a German official of 
to-day, one of them may be analysed to illustrate the per- 
manence of national characteristics, if nothing else. As both 
letters are conceived in much the same terms, it is matterless 
which is selected. The letter of Hatto is chosen as being 
the shorter. 

The archbishop began his letter by assuring the Pope The letter 
that no body of bishops were more devoted to the Roman the Pope. 
Church than were the bishops of Germany, and that they 
rejoiced that the glory of the head of all the Churches was 
so enhanced by the holiness and wisdom of John himself. 
The Pope is then informed of the death of the emperor 

1 "Episcopi (de latere vestro) in nomine vestro, ut ipsi dixerunt, 
ordinaverunt .... unum archiepiscopum et tres suffraganeos." The 
letter of the bishops, ap. Labbe, ix. 499, or ap. P. L., t. 131. 


Arnulf and the election of Louis, because, though "very- 
little," he was of the royal stock. " We have no doubt 
that your prudence will understand how it was that this 
was done without your sanction." 1 These very remarkable 
words seem to point to a right possessed by the Pope to 
have a voice in the regal election of one who, as the son of 
an emperor, might be supposed to have some claim to the 
imperial title. Hatto declared that the only reason of 
their action was that the presence of the barbarians 
(Magyars) prevented them from sending envoys to him. 
Now, however, that the roads are clear, "we beg you to 
confirm our common constitution by your word of power." 2 
The archbishop then informed John that the bishops of 
Bavaria had complained to him that the Moravians, " in 
rebellion against the Franks," were boasting that by virtue 
of a concession obtained from Rome they were no longer 
subject to foreign bishops, but had a metropolitan see of 
their own a thing which, boldly asserted Hatto, ignoring the 
position held by St. Methodius, they had never had before. 
His fellow-bishops, he said, were also annoyed, because John 
had been told that it was through them that the pagans 
(the Hungarians) had been able to do such terrible damage. 
He had not, he continued, cared to give any answer to his 
episcopal brethren before consulting the Pope. He there- 
fore begged the Pope to remedy the causes of complaint 
which the Bavarian bishops (" true servants of God and 
good pastors") had; and assured him that, if the Moravians 
went on boasting of their metropolitan, there would be 
bloodshed. " As far as we may venture to presume, we 
would advise you by correction to bring them to humility 

1 " Sed cur hoc (viz. the election of the parvissimus son of Arnulf) 
sine vestra jussione et permissione factum sit, vestram haud dubitamus 
latere prudentiam." Ap. Labbe, ib., p. 497. 

2 "Rogamus, nostram communem constitutionem, vestras domina- 
tionis benedictione roborari." lb. 


before this should happen, so that they may at length 
understand to whose power they must be subject. We are 
aware that it is our duty to let you know if the Holy Roman 
Church should chance to make any mistake, so that your 
power may do what is right. And if your admonition 
shall not correct them, then, whether they like it or 
whether they do not, they shall bend their necks to the 
princes of the Franks " ! x The poor Moravians might well 
wish to be free from the jurisdiction of such belligerent 

If, as is asserted by more modern authors, John was a Other acts. 
Benedictine, it is only natural to find it on record 2 that he 
confirmed the privileges of the great Benedictine monastery 
of Monte Cassino. And if John had cause to complain 
that much of the property of the Roman Church had been 
unjustly alienated, some of it at least was granted under 
proper conditions, and by John himself. This we know 
from a bull of Innocent III. 3 to the Lords of Frosinone. 
In it he renews the grant of the " Castrum Frusinonis " 
with its territory as it had been conceded to them by his 
predecessors John IX. and Paschal II. 

In the list of places at which Archbishop Sigeric stopped 
on his return from Rome to England, we find, named 
immediately after the Eternal City, certain regular post- 
towns on the Via Cassia. The first of these is " Bacane," 
i.e., " ad Baccanas " (near the modern Baccana), which is set 
down in the Itinerary of Antoninus as twenty-one miles 
from Rome. But before this, mention is made of a 
halting- place, " Johannis Villi." Where or what was 
"Johannis Villi"? Was it a palace or villa which had 

1 " Quod si vestra admonitio illos non correxerit, velint, nolint, Fran- 
corum principibus colla submitted." lb. 

2 Leo Ost., Chron. mon. Cas., i. c. 46, ap. R. I. SS., iv. 

3 Ap. Theiner, Cod. Dip. Dom., i. 40. 

102 JOHN IX. 

been erected by John IX., and to which he had given 
his name, or was it a new city, like the Johannoplis of 
John VIII., which he had founded? Unfortunately we 
are only able to ask these questions. We cannot solve 
them, but must leave them to be answered by some learned 
Coins and The coins of John IX. differ from those of his pre- 

epitaph. _ /t i \ 

decessors by having the emperors name (Lambert), instead 
of that St. Peter, in conjunction with that of the Pope, on 
the obverse. " St. Peter " stands by itself on the reverse. 

The twelfth century canon of St. Peter's, Peter Mallius, 
says that the tomb of John IX. was just in front of the 
basilica, near the gate of Guido, and that his epitaph x ran 
thus : 

" Ecclesiae specimen, clarissima gemma bonorum 

Et mundi dominus, hie jacet eximius 
Johannes, meritis qui fulsit in ordine nonus, 

Inter apostolicos quern vehit altitonans. 
Conciliis docuit ternis qui dogma salutis 

Observare, Deo munera sacra ferens. 
Temporibus cujus novitas abolita mali est 

Et firmata fides quam statuere patres. 
Qui moriturus eris, lector, die, Papa Joannes 

Cum Sanctis capiat regna beata Dei." 

The epitaph tells us where lies John IX., the glory of 
the good and the lord of the world ; it tells us of the saving 
doctrines he taught in three synods ; and calls on its reader, 
who will himself one day die, to pray God that Pope John 
may reign with Him and His saints. 

1 L. />., ii. 232. 


A.D. 900-903. 

Sources. No fresh source except a few letters, ap. P. L. 
t. 131, etc. 

To John IX., who for the good as well of the Church as of Benedict 
the State reigned all too short a time, succeeded Benedict, pe ' 
a Roman, and the son of Mammalus. He too had been 
ordained 1 priest by Formosus, and naturally revered his 
memory. A character of the highest order is given by 
Frodoard 2 to this Pope, whom he designates as Great. He 
sets him down as worthy of the name he bore, generous 
and kind, as distinguished by birth and virtue, as one who 
preferred the common weal to his own advantage, and as the 
bountiful patron of all in need. With regard to his acces- 
sion and death, we have the chronological difficulties usual 
at this period. It is certain that he died in the summer of 
903, and reigned somewhat over three years. According 
to Jaffe, he became Pope in May 900, and died about 
August 903 ; while, according to Duchesne, his pontificate 
lasted from January or February 900 to the end of July 903. 

1 Aux., In. def. Steph., cc. 4, 6, ap. D., p. 100 f. 

2 As Benedict's epitaph will be quoted later, there is no need to cite 
the words of Frodoard, which are very like it. 



Coronation The most important event in Benedict's reign was the 

of Louis of 

Provence, coronation at Rome of Louis the Blind. This grandson, 
through his mother, of the emperor Louis II., and son of 
Boso, the once favoured friend of Pope John VIII., had 
been summoned into Italy by certain of the nobles, 
principally by Adalbert II., marquis of Tuscany, to oppose 
the pretensions of Berenger, just as, on the death of Guido, 
some of them had elected Lambert. 1 As very little is 
really known of the politics of this period, it cannot be 
stated whether Louis was summoned into Italy because 
many were anxious to have as their king a descendant of 
the respected Louis II., or because, according to a plan on 
which they had acted before, the nobles preferred to have 
two masters, so that they could play one off against the 
other, and meanwhile do as they listed. However, quite in 
the style of other kings from France, both before and after 
his time, Louis commenced his struggle against Berenger 
with a campaign more brilliant than thorough. The troops 
of Berenger were scattered, and Louis was crowned emperor 
by Benedict in February 901. A diploma of the new 
emperor shows him and Benedict seated together in judg- 
ment, 2 with the bishops of Italy and the nobles of his 
kingdom, in the great hall of the palace near St. Peter's, in 

1 "Fautores Widonis, veriti ne ab eis inlatam Berengarius ulcis- 
ceretur injuriam, et quia semper Italienses geminis uti dominis volunt, 
quatinus alterum alterius terrore coherceant .... Lambertum .... 
regem constituunt." Liutprand, Antapod., i. 37. 

2 Not "feasted" by the Pope. Miley, Papal States, li. 268. The 
diploma is dated "Anno Imperii D. Ludovici primo, mense Februarii, 
indictione quarta," and begins " Dum D. Ludovicus, serenissimus Imp. 
Aug. a regale dignitate Romam ad summum imperialis culminis apicem 
per ss. et bb. summi Pont, et univ. Pap?e D. Benedicti dexteram 
advenisset ; atque cum ss. . . . episcopis, adqueRegni sui ducibus, etc. 
.... in palacio .... in Laubia magiore .... cum eodem Pont, in 
judicio resedisset," etc. Ap. Muratori, Ann., 901. Cf. Mansi, Cone., 
xviii. 239. Cf. another diploma of Louis in which the Pope is called 
"sanctissimum et coangelicum," ap. Muratori, Antiq. Ital, ii. 49 ff. 


the month of February, of the fourth indiction i.e., 901. 
After an earnest discussion " on the stability of Holy 
Church, and on the condition of the State," judicial pro- 
ceedings were commenced. Among other matters then 
decided, certain Church property which had been taken 
from him was restored to Peter, bishop of Lucca. This 
placitum is further interesting because, among the "judges 
of the city," who are recorded as being present at it, are 
to be read such names as Theophylactus and Crescentius. 
Not for the last time by a great deal, in the history of 
the Popes of this age, do we here encounter the " house of 
Theophylactus " or the family of the Crescentii. 

Altogether the relations between Berenger and Louis, Misfor- 
their alternate triumphs and defeats, are not easy to follow. Louis. 
However, as they do not directly concern our work, it may 
suffice to quote the summary of Duchesne regarding them : 1 
" In 902 Berenger gained the upper hand, and compelled 
the Provencal emperor to swear never again to enter Italy, 
and to recross the Alps. However, on the summons of 
such of the Italian nobles as were discontented with the 
rule of Berenger, Louis broke his oath (905), entered Italy, 
and even succeeded in taking Verona from his rival. But, 
after he had been delivered into his enemy's hands by 
treachery, Berenger put out his eyes and again sent him 
from Italy, this time for ever." 

Among the few acts of Benedict IV. of which the ravages Stephen, 
of time have left us any record, mention has already been Naples. 
made of his support of Argrim of Langres. 2 Another of 

1 Les premiers temps de Vetat pont., p. 161. 

2 Vol. iii. p. 384 n. of this work. The bull in which Benedict 
restored his rights to Argrim (ap. P. /,., t. 131) is interesting as testi- 
fying that papal documents were as usual still preserved in the 
archives of the Church (in scrinio S. R. E. ) ; that the Pope held a 
synod in the Lateran palace ; and that in his opinion Pope Formosus 
was " most saintly." 


his acts in connection with another bishop brought about 
a similar controversy in Naples to the one raised in Rome 
over the translation of Formosus. The history of Stephen, 
the bishop in question, was not known till the discoveries of 
Dummler brought to light the apology for him by Auxilius, 
and the letter of two clerics concerning him. Following 
the account given us by Auxilius, we are enabled to 
see that the disorders in and about Rome were only a 
type of similar ones at other centres in Italy. When first 
introduced to our notice, Stephen is bishop of Sorrento, 
and is described as a man of learning (he could both speak 
and write Greek and Latin) and of eminent chastity, a 
man devoted to his prayers and the Mass, and of the 
tenderest compassion. These qualities did not save him 
from being seized, and even scourged, 1 by some of his 
fellow -citizens, and then driven into exile. Prevented 
from appealing in person to the Apostolic See, he managed 
to do so by letter. Means of subsistence he indeed obtained 
at once from Rome ; but as the people of Sorrento set 
at naught 2 the interdict of the Pope, he could not recover 
his see. Later on, driven from one place to another by 
the machinations of his enemies and the ravages of the 
Saracens, he and the clerics who remained faithful to him 
were often reduced to the point of starvation, and had to 
beg a precarious livelihood from door to door. 8 It was 
at this juncture that the great Pope John VIII., "unable 
to bear the ravages of the Saracens any longer," came to 
Capua to work for their extermination. " Like a good 
pastor," when he heard of the distress of Stephen, he bade 

1 "Ab impiis concivibus apprehensus est et flagellatus." Aux., ap. 
Dummler, p. 96. 

2 lb. Cf. the letter, *<., p. 105 : u Ilia plebs austeris etiam ipsam apos- 
tolicam auctoritatem contempsit et excommunicationem." 

8 " Ita ut clerici ejus ostiatim elemosynas peterent, quibus eum 
sustentare possent." Aux., p. 97. 


him come with him to Rome, assuring him that he would 
give him the Church of St Paul, so that he and his 
clerics might have the necessaries of life. This would 
not have suited the enemies of Stephen, and so, through 
the intercession of the notorious Athanasius II., bishop 
of Naples, they managed to secure John's consent that 
Stephen should reside at Naples, provided he were duly 
supported by its bishop. Needless to say, he was as much 
persecuted as ever. However, as Athanasius made use 
of his episcopal services, he merited the blessings and 
the love of the whole people. On the death of the tyrant 
Athanasius, the people rose, and had in mind to put his 
whole household to the sword. To save bloodshed, the 
clergy and nobility implored Stephen to consent to enter 
the palace of Athanasius as his successor. And then, 
"by the authority of Pope Benedict IV., and the written 
consent of the clergy of the Holy Roman Church, and by 
two bishops, Romanus and Cosmates, sent from Rome 
for the purpose, he was enthroned in the episcopal chair 
of Naples, not to satisfy vainglory, or for the gratification 
of the sensual appetite, or for pomp, but, as we have said, 
to save the episcopal palace and its dependants, for the 
benefit of the poor, and to bring about peace between 
Capua and Naples. All these things he did not fail to 
do to the end of his life." 1 When Pope Sergius later 
thought fit to assail the ordinations of Pope Formosus, 
there were not wanting those who attacked the position of 
Stephen because he had been enthroned by order of Pope 
Benedict, who had himself been ordained by Formosus. 
Auxilius took up the defence of both Formosus and 

Another very estimable prelate and, as we have seen, a Assassina- 

frequent correspondent of the Popes, was Fulk of Rheims. Ftdk 

. . Rheims. 

1 Aux., p. 99. 


His assassination (June iy, 900) is another evidence of the 
violence of the times. Because he refused to surrender to 
Baldwin II., count of Flanders, certain properties belong- 
ing to that nobleman, which King Charles III. (the Simple) 
had with good reason confiscated and handed over to 
Fulk, the archbishop was murdered by an emissary of 
Baldwin. The assassin was at once excommunicated by 
the Pope, who ordered " the bishops of all the provinces " 
of Charles's kingdom to repeat the condemnation. With 
an irony of fate not unusual here below, while his unfor- 
tunate agent died, still under the excommunication, of a 
most loathsome disease, declaring that a feeling of fidelity 
to his lord had been the cause of what he had done, 
Baldwin himself afterwards received back again the very 
abbey which had been the cause of the trouble, as a gift 
from the king. 1 
Maiacenus To pass over two of his privileges to monasteries, there 

of Anusia. . , , , 

remains to be noticed still one other interesting document 
issued by Benedict. It deserves mention because it shows 
the Pope the refuge of distressed bishops in the East as 
well as in the West, and gives evidence of the advance 
of the Saracenic power in the Eastern Empire, then 
ruled by Leo VI., so called, the Philosopher, or the Wise 
(886-912). For "though," says Finlay, 2 "the strength 
of the empire was not seriously affected by the losses 
sustained" under Leo the Wise, not a few "disgraceful 
defeats " were sustained at the hands of the Saracens, and 
"the people often suffered the greatest misery." Thus, 
while Saracen fleets sacked and destroyed Demetrias, in 
Thessaly (902), and Thessalonica, the second city of the 

1 " Baldwinus autem post hasc abbatiam optinuit regia donatione." 
Folcwin, Gesta abbatum, c. 98, ap. M. G. SS., xiii. Cf. Frodoard, 
Hist. Rem., iv. 10. In Richerius, Hist., i., c. 18, a detailed description 
is given of the murderer's death. 

2 The Byzantine Empire (1st ed.), p. 314. 


empire (904), their armies took Hysela, in Carsiana (887), 
and Amasia, the metropolis of Pontus. The bishop of 
the last-named city, Malacenus, 1 thus deprived of his see, 
and full of anxiety to ransom those of his people who had 
been taken captive, but knowing it would be useless to go 
for sympathy to the ease-loving and pedantic Leo, betook 
himself to Benedict. By him he was received with kind- 
ness, and furnished with an encyclical letter addressed to 
all bishops, abbots, counts, and judges, and to all orthodox 
professors of the Christian faith, who were exhorted to 
show Malacenus the greatest consideration, and to see him 
safe from one city to another. 2 As Mr. Beazley 3 well 
observes : " The rich and powerful Christendom of the 
West is again called to aid the elder sister of the East on 
evil times now fallen, and evil tongues. And yet one 
thinks of Western Christendom, at this time, as in its 
darkest ages." 

Of the coins of Benedict, which usually have on them Coins, 
the name of the emperor Louis as well as that of the Pope, 
there is one which bears on its reverse the name of St. 
Paul instead of that of the emperor Louis. This must have 
been struck " during the vacancy of the empire," i.e., before 
February 90 I. 4 

The tomb of Benedict, which was placed not far from Epitaph. 

that of his predecessor, had the following epitaph 5 : 

" Membra Benedict! hie quarti sacrata quiescunt 
Pontiricis magni, prassulis eximii, 
Qui merito dignus, Benedictus nomine dictus, 

Cum fuerit largus omnibus atque bonus. 
Hie generis decus ac pietatis splendor opimus 
Ornat opus cunctum, jussa Dei meditans. 

1 His name ought to be added to the list of the bishops of Amasia, 
in Gams, Series Epft., p. 442. 

2 Ap. P. L., t. 131, p. 43 5 Jaffe, 3530 (27 11). 

3 The Dawn of Modern Geography, ii. 121. 

4 Promis, p. 78. 5 L. P., ii. 233. 


Praetulit hie generale bonum lucro spetiali, 

Mercatus celum cuncta sua tribuit. 
Despectas viduas necnon inopesque pupillos 

Ut natos proprios assidue refovens. 
Inspector tumuli compuncto dicito corde : 

Cum Christo regnes, O Benedicte, Deo." 

The substance of this epitaph has already been given in 
the words of Frodoard : " Do you," it concludes," who gaze 
upon his tomb, say with a heart full of compassion : May 
you reign with Christ, O Benedict." 

Photo, Alinari. 

A section of the frescoes of S. I'icr in ( irado, showing the portrait 
of Christopher. Seep. n6ff. 


A.D. 903. 

If there has been obscurity concerning the reigns of Leo's Leo 


immediate predecessors, almost Egyptian darkness en- 
velops Leo and Christopher. To begin with what certain 
information we possess in regard to them, the Catalogues 
state that Benedict's successor was Leo, a priest from with- 
out (forensis), and that he was a native of Ardea, " from a 
place called Priapi." That forensis implies that Leo was 
not a cardinal-priest of Rome, is curiously confirmed by 
the twelfth (?) century legend of the Breton saint Tugdual 
(Tual), the patron of Tregnier. According to the legend, 
Tugdual went to Rome on a pilgrimage and was made 
Pope, changing his name to Leo Britigena, 1 as is narrated 
in the Roman Catalogue. When exactly he was elected, 
or how long he filled the chair of Peter, is, as usual, uncer- 
tain. According to the Catalogues and Frodoard, 2 who 

1 "Plebs .... Tutgnalum .... intronizat et mutato nomine ipsum 
Leonem Britigenam nominat, ut Romanus catalogus narrat." A. de la 
Borderie, Les trots vies anciennes de S. Tudual, p. ly, quoted by 
Duchesne, L. P., ii. 234. 

2 " Post quern (Benedictum) celsa subit Leo jura notamine quintus 
Emigrat ante suum quam luna bis impleat orbem." 

De triumph., xii. 7. 

112 LEO V. 

only has the length of their pontificates to record about 
Leo and Christopher, Leo was bishop of Rome for less 
than two months apparently 1 in the beginning of the 
second half of the year 903. Auxilius, who makes him 
hold " the rudder of the holy Roman Church " for thirty 
days only, says of him that " he was a man of God and of 
praiseworthy life and holiness." 

Bull of Though Pope for so short a time, he reigned long 

enough to grant the canons of Bologna a favour which 
would no doubt help to keep his memory green at least 
among them. By a special bull {epistola tuitionis) he 
exempted them from the payment of taxes. 2 

Deposed. The next piece of certain information that we have 
about Leo is that he was seized by Christopher, cardinal- 
priest of the title of St. Damasus, and cast into prison. 3 
"Soon after the same Christopher made himself 4 Pope." 
Though Christopher, who is set down as a Roman and the 
son of one Leo, held the See of Rome long enough 5 to 
coin money, bearing the name of the emperor Louis as 
well as his own, and to confirm the privileges of the famous 

1 According to Duchesne, from the end of July to September ; to 
Jaffe, from about August to September. 

1 Jaffc, Supplem., ii. p. 746. 

8 "A quodam Christophoro presbitero suo apprehensus est et 
caceralibus ergastulis mancipatus." Aux., ap. D., 60. When such an 
eminent authority as Rohrbacher {Hist, de rtglise, vol. xii. p. 497) 
denies that the imprisonment of Leo by Christopher is mentioned by 
any contemporary writer, it must be remembered that Diimmlcrs 
discoveries were not known to him. 

4 Aux., id. " Mox autem idem Christophorus se papam instituit." 
Elsewhere (p. 95), " Post hunc (Leonem) Christophorus invasor." 

6 Somewhat over half a year so say the catalogue which serves as 
the L. P. and Frodoard : 

u Christophorus mox sortitus moderamina sedis 
Dimidio ulteriusque parum, dispensat in anno. 

Along with his own monogram, his coins bear the words " Lodov- 
vicvs Imp." 

LEO V. 113 

monastery of Corbey in the diocese of Amiens, he is with 
good reason regarded as an antipope. If anything can 
constitute an antipope, surely to seize and imprison the 
reigning pontiff, and by force to seat oneself in Peter's 
chair, is enough. But, of course, his title, like that of 
any other usurper, may have become legitimatized by 
general recognition. If with the little evidence at our 
disposal it is safe to make conjectures, it may well be 
doubted whether he was ever recognised as lawful Pope 
at Rome. We have the evidence 1 of Auxilius that 
Christopher was dethroned by the joint exertions of 
Sergius, who at the time of the deposition of Leo was in 
exile "amongst the Franks" and the Romans. Moreover, 
Christopher had been seized and imprisoned before Sergius 
entered the city. And it must be remembered that this is 
the information given us by one who was anything but 
well disposed towards Sergius ; for, as we shall see presently, 
that pontiff shared the views of Stephen (VI.) VII., and, 
as far at least as his ordinations were concerned, showed 
himself even more hostile to Formosus than Stephen had 
been. When, then, the time necessary to form and hatch 
plots against those in power especially when help has to 
be sought from a distance be taken into consideration, and 
when it is remembered that Christopher only held the See 

1 This is the passage : " Deinde (viz. on the usurpation of Christopher) 
Sergius quidam, qui apud Francos plurimis jam temporibus fuerit 
commoratus, valido Francorum auxilio, et quorumdam Ro?nanorum 
machinationibus praefatum comprehendi ac recludi fecit Christophorum, 
nee multo post latenter Romam ingrediens eisdem opitulantibus Francis 
apostolatus fastigium conscendit." Ap. D., p. 60. It must not be 
thought that there is question of the Franks of Gaul. The Franks 
referred to are those of Italy, the descendants of those placed in power 
by Charlemagne. If reliance could be placed on Liutprand (Ant., 
i. 30), it was into Tuscany that Sergius had retired, and it was by 
the help of its powerful marquis, Adalbert II., that he expelled 

VOL. IV. 8 

114 L v - 

of Peter for a little over six months, 1 it can scarcely be 
maintained that he acquired a lawful title by prescription. 
And hence he seems to have been regarded as an antipope 
by many of the medieval papal biographers. Almaricus 
Augerius 2 (fourteenth century) frequently contrasts the 
intruder Christopher with the canonically elected Sergius. 
And the sixteenth century anonymous author of certain 
papal biographies first fully printed by Duchesne, when 
treating of the council of Constance, makes an historical 
summary of the schisms in the See of Rome which preceded 
the Great Schism, and reckons as the thirteenth that 
between Leo V. and the antipope Christopher. 3 On the 
other hand, the tradition of Rome would seem to put 
him into the list of true successors of St. Peter. All 
the catalogues set him down as the successor of Leo V., 
though it must be noted that some of them reckon as 
Popes all who have claimed to be such. The bust of 
Christopher figures among the mosaic portraits of the 
Popes in St. Paul's outside-the-walls, and some of his not 
too remote successors would appear to have tacitly recog- 
nised him as a legitimate Pope. 4 
The fate of While, then, we justly regard Christopher as an anti- 
Christo pope, and exclude him from our list of Popes, it is still 
natural to ask what was his fate, and what became of 
Leo V. whom he imprisoned. According to some, the 

1 Most of the catalogues give him six or seven months. Many of 
these catalogues are given in Origines de PSglise romaine by "the 
members of the community of Solesmes." Vol. i., Paris, 1836. 

2 See his Lives of Leo, Christopher, and Sergius, ap. A\ /. 6"5., iii., 
pt. ii. p. 320, 1. " Christophorus per invasionem et intrusionem sedem 
ap. occupavit." u Sergius post Christ, intrusum fuit canonice electus," 

3 "Tertium decimum (scisma) habuit Leo quintus, cujus antipapa 
fuit Christoforus, sedatus (sic) fuit armorum potentia perregem Francie 
ante annum." Ap. Duchesne, L. P., ii. 543. 

4 E.g. St. Leo IX. Cf. Jaffe, 3532 and 4212. 

LEO V. 115 

true answer to these questions is to be found in a highly 
declamatory passage of Eugenius Vulgarius. 1 There it is 
stated that " at length through pity " Sergius had them both 
put to death. But of this "pity" which Leo and Christopher 
could well have done without, Frodoard knows nothing, 
nor do the authors more or less strictly contemporary of 
the various catalogues. Even Auxilius, who would have 
been naturally anxious to make Sergius as black as possible, 
says nothing of all this ; though he does say more than 
once (pp. 78, 87) that Sergius was raised to the papal 
throne " by canonical authority, though two other apostolici 
(popes) were still alive." It is seemingly opposed to the 
authority of the catalogue, which ranks as a continuation 
of the Book of the Popes ; for it is there said that, when 
Christopher was driven from his usurped see, " he was made 
a monk." 2 He seems to have died a good death ; for of him 
Peter Mallius wrote : " His body rests in the Church of 
Blessed Peter, and his tomb has the epitaph : ' Here repose 
the pious members of Christopher.' " 3 

1 " Quod nuper de Leone et Christ, actum totus mundus contremuit ; 
quando simul tres luctabantur apostolici, quorum unus {i.e. Sergius) 
qui fortior reliquos duro domans ergastulo vitam eorum cruda macera- 
tione decoxit ac tandem miseratus diro martyrio finiri compulit et ab 
imis medullis dolentes animas extorqueri fecit, quatenus securus singu- 
laritatis victor suorum hostium in apostolicali cathedra sola majestas 
adoraretur. O novum et inauditum : deus insequitur deum," etc. 
De causa Form., c. 13, ap. D., p. 135. 

2 Another eleventh century catalogue has : " Hie ejectus est de 
Papatu, et factus est monachus." Ap. Les origines, etc., i. p. lvii. 
It is indeed quite possible that, as we have already noted with 
regard to Stephen VII., he may have been clothed with the tunic of a 
monk as a sign of degradation from his office before he was put to 

3 " Hie pia Chriscofori quiescunt membra sepulti." Ap. Duchesne, 
L. P., ii. 235. It is, of course, not denied that Christopher was 
recognised by many at the time as a successor of St. Peter {e.g. Auxilius, 
ap. D., pp. 63, 95). Ignorance, or want of consideration of the circum- 
stances of his election, etc., would suffice to account for that. 

Il6 LEO V. 

It must be further borne in mind that both Auxilius 
and Vulgarius wrote at a distance from Rome, at Naples 
apparently ; so that, considering the rapid succession of 
Popes (from Boniface VI. to Sergius III. we have eight 
Popes in eight years) and the heated state of party feeling, 
it would in any case have been difficult for a writer not 
living in Rome to have discovered the truth. But, if there 
is question of a careless inquirer, it will be readily under- 
stood that in such circumstances his statements will have 
to be received with great caution. Now, such a writer 
was Vulgarius. At the very outset of his pamphlet on 
Formosus, he dates it in the seventeenth year of Charles 
IV. (the Simple), or in 910. He then proceeds to assign 
the Ravennese council of 898 to last year, and next to 
describe the events of 904 as recent. 1 Besides, apart 
from the fact that he was interested in making Sergius 
appear as odious as possible, he fails, from his inflated 
style, to merit our confidence as an historian ; and, from 
his first assailing and then flattering Sergius, he is equally 
unsuccessful in winning our respect as a man. 

Despite Vulgarius, then, it may well be held that Leo V. 
died in prison while the antipope Christopher occupied the 
papal throne, or, more probably, during the pontificate of 
Sergius III., 2 and that the usurper himself died repentant 
in a monastery. However, with such historical data before 
him as is at present available, the reader can form a judg- 
ment for himself as to the guilt or innocence of Sergius III. 
in the matter of the death of Leo V. and Christopher, and 
as to whether the latter should be considered an antipope 
or not. 
s. Pier in Before we lose sight of the shadowy form of Christopher, 
the recounting of an effort on the part of the writer of 
these pages to throw some further light upon it may not 
1 Cf. pp. 1 18, 135. 3 Cf. supra, p. 115. 

LEO V. 117 

be uninteresting to the reader. Reading Carmichael's 
delightful In Tuscany, he came across this passage : " A 
few miles out of Pisa is the old basilica of San Pier in 
Grado, on the spot where tradition makes St. Peter land 
when coming from Antioch to Italy. Pope Clement is 
said to have built a church there. The present church is 
believed to have been erected before the end of the tenth 
century. Portraits of the Popes from St. Peter to John XIV. 
(I-985) run round the walls of the nave above the arches." 
Were these beliefs about the church correct, and were the 
portrait of Christopher to be found among them, the 
conclusion that he was recognised as Pope in his own age 
in northern Italy could scarcely be avoided. In the hope 
of resolving some at least of these doubts, the present 
writer betook himself to Pisa, and on a beautiful afternoon 
in the month of April 1904 found himself leaving that 
unique city by the Porta del Mare, and wandering along the 
left bank of the peaceful Arno, ever and anon gazing back 
at the city with its shapely cathedral and baptistery and 
its curious leaning tower with their beautiful background 
of picturesque mountains. An hour's walk brought him to 
the venerable basilica, which, because of the traditions 
spoken of above, local pride considers as the first church 
" del mondo." Its age, and its marble pillars taken from 
some heathen temple, bound round with iron bands to 
keep them together, impress the beholder at once. Both 
the east and the west end terminate in an apse, and the 
walls are covered with frescoes. By the windows above the 
arches of the nave are the figures of angels, beneath which 
are depicted the doings of SS. Peter and Paul, and below 
these again some ninety-six portraits of Popes. They begin 
with St. Peter and his immediate successors, and then, after 
a break, go on with the portraits of later Popes, as the 
inscriptions beneath them prove unless, indeed, they were 

1 18 LEO V. 

tampered with when the church was restored in 1884, or 
later when an artist retouched the colours of the portraits. 
This, however, is not likely; and the present writer had 
no great difficulty in making out the names below the 
portraits from Pope Christopher to John XV. He could 
not decipher the names below the last two portraits. 

The question seemed now settled. Christopher was 
acknowledged as a true Pope by his contemporaries in 
north Italy. But no ! It appears from the latest re- 
searches that the church does not date further back than 
the twelfth century, and it is now generally agreed that 
its frescoes are the work of thirteenth century artists. 
The "scenes from the lives of the apostles were copied 
literally from frescoes in the atrium of St. Peter's. The 
portraits of the Popes were taken from those in the same 
church, or at the Lateran or at Paul's." * 

1 Hutton writes {Florence and Northern Tuscany, p. 130), "The 
present church seems to be a building of the twelfth century." The 
frescoes are the work of Giunta Pisano or of his school. Cf T. Supino, 
Arte Pisano (Firenze, 1004), p. 257, who says that the portraits of the 
Popes date from the thirteenth century only, therein agreeing with 
Crowe and Cavalcaselle {History of Painting in Italy, i. 146 ff.), and 
Frothingham {The Monuments of Christian Rome, p. 381). 


A.D. 904-911. 

Sources. Besides those already noted, there are some half-dozen 
letters ap. P. Z., t. 131, etc. His relations with the Greek Church 
may be gathered from two letters of St. Nicholas I., the Mystic, 
patriarch of Constantinople (895-925), one to Anastasius III., 
and the other to John X. (ap. Labbe, Cone, ix. 1264 f.). Cf. 
also the Continuators of Theopha?ies, vi. 23, 4, ed. Bonn, p. 370. 
Later Greek authors such as Symeon Magister (c. 18, 19) simply 
copy the Continuators. 

Ordained subdeacon by Marinus (882-884), and deacon Early 
by Stephen (V.) VI., Sergius, a Roman, the son of Benedict, 
was consecrated bishop of Caere by Formosus. 1 He was 
apparently one of those deacons who had been consecrated 
bishops from some motives of jealousy, says Auxilius, 2 and 

1 Auxil., p. 95 ; Invert., p. 832 ; L. P. There does not seem to be 
any foundation for attaching Sergius to the family of the counts of 
Tusculum. No counts of 'Tusculum are known before the very close 
of the tenth century. 

2 "Nonnulli levitarum cujusdam emulationis causa per vim facti 
sunt epp., postmodum .... episcopate officium peregerunt, deinde 
procedente tempore apostolici culminis ambitione succensi, episcopales 
infulas reliquerunt et in leviticum .... reversisuntordinem. . . . Hoc 
cur memorare curavimus ? nisi quia Sergius, cujus pestiferam emu- 



against their wishes, but who had afterwards ceased to act as 
bishops. Ambitious of the Papacy, they would be deacons 
again. According to the same authority, whose interest, it 
must not be forgotten, was to depreciate Sergius, inas- 
much as he had proclaimed the ordinations of Formosus 
null, Sergius declared himself that he had been consecrated 
against his will. And it is certain that he did not act as 
bishop of Caere for more than three years, i.e., most likely 
not after the death of his consecrator. Bishops returning 
to the rank of deacons to become Popes proves clearly 
enough that the ambition of men can scarcely be restrained 
by regulations. 

Of the exact circumstances of his election at the time 
of the death of Theodore (898), of which we have already 
spoken, we have no information. He was doubtless elected 
by the party unfavourable to Formosus. At any rate it 
is certain that his party was not then " the larger and 
saner," and that he spent seven years * in exile " among 
the Franks." Here we may follow Liutprand, though 
his utterly confused statements about Sergius cannot 
generally be accepted, and say that he betook himself 
to the court of Adalbert II. of Tuscany. During his exile 
"among the Franks" Sergius made not the least attempt 
to act as an antipope. We may then emphasise the fact 
that, because he was chosen by a party to be Pope during 
a very factious period, it does not follow in the least that 
he was stained with any unholy ambition. He made no 
effort to be again chosen Pope till the violent usurpation of 
Christopher. And even then, if we ought to follow the 

lationem in exordio tetigimus, licet per vim, ut ipse fatetur, tamen 
episcopus fuit .... tribusque annis .... episcopatum amminis- 
trasse/<?r///r." Auxil., p. 85. 

1 "Sergius .... apud Francos, plurimis jam temporibus com- 
moratus." J6. t p. 60. "Exul .... septem volventibus annis," says 
his epitaph. 


authority of Frodoard, 1 John the Deacon, and his epitaph, 
he waited till he was invited by the people, who could not 
tolerate the conduct of Christopher. 

Sergius accepted the invitation of his friends, but took Second 


care not to come to Rome helpless. He advanced with a 904. 
force of Adalbert's men at his back. This gave occasion 
to Auxilius and Liutprand 2 to say that he obtained the 
Papacy " by the aid of the Franks." However, the usurper 
Christopher was in prison before Sergius entered Rome, 
and the latter became Pope, January 29, 904. 

During the seven years of his pontificate he displayed 
no little energy. Unfortunately, however, he was too much 
of a party-man to try to extinguish the fires of faction. 
He at once showed himself attached to the memory 
of Stephen VII., and a bitter opponent of Formosus 
and his friends. In the epitaph which he wrote for 
the former, he expresses his approval of Stephen's action 
against "the haughty intruder Formosus." In his own 
epitaph his rival John IX. is described as a "wolf"; and 

1 Here is given all that Frodoard says of Sergius. As usual, it is 
very like the latter's epitaph, which will be quoted later. 

" Sergius inde redit, dudum qui lectus ad arcem 

Culminis, exilio tulerat rapiente repulsam ; 

Quo profugus latuit septem volventibus annis. 

Hinc poftuli remeans precibus, sacratur honore 

Pridem adsignato, quo nomine tertius exit 

Antistes. Petri eximia quo sede recepto 

Praesule, gaudet ovans annis septem amplius orbis. 

Ipse favens cleri censura in culmine rapto 

Falce ferit pervasores." De triumph., xii. 7. 
John the Deacon {De eccl. Later., 8, ap. P. L., t. 194), who wrote 
about the middle of the twelfth century, but who, in connection with 
the work of Sergius on the Lateran basilica, has preserved many useful 
particulars concerning that pontiff, says : " Revocatus est domnus 
Sergius presbiter et electus de exilio et consecratus." Muratori and 
others, who speak of John as a contemporary of Sergius, have mistaken 
some words of the Pope for those of the author. 

2 Aux., p. 60 ; Lint, Ant., i. 30. 


the bishop of Uzes is blamed 1 for designating the intruder 
Formosus as a bishop {sacerdos). 
toman Unfortunately, too, he did not confine himself to words. 

ynod, 904. 

In a synod he procured the assent of the Roman clergy to 
the rejection of the orders conferred by Formosus, and, as 
a consequence, to the rejection of those given by such as 
had themselves been ordained by Formosus. This consent 
was, according to Auxilius, wrung from the clergy by threats 
of exile to Naples and other evils, and by violence 2 and 
bribery. Many, therefore, submitted to reordination. 3 
'aper The ecclesiastical world of Italy was at once thrown 


into a ferment. Such as had been ordained by Formosus, 
and were at a safe distance from Rome, did not fail to let 
their indignant cries be heard. Pens were set going, some 
to make inquiries, and some in defence of the work of 
Formosus. The question of the validity of ordinations 
performed by bishops illegally holding their sees was not 
thoroughly understood at this period; and the opponents 
of Formosus, or, what is much the same, Sergius's defenders, 
of whom unfortunately no writings are known, did not fail 
to put forward arguments against such ordinations. Hence 
Leo, bishop of Nola, endeavoured to collect the opinions 
of learned men on the subject. Among others he con- 
sulted Auxilius. 4 Though, as he expressed himself, " he 
was sitting in Peter's barque," Auxilius declared that he 
felt the tempest. He had been summoned to the synod 

1 Jaffe, 3534 (2714). "His nostris apicibus agnosce nominatum 
Formosum esse damnatum," ep. 2, ap. P. L. } t. 131. 

2 P. 60. Cf. p. 78. " Consentanea facta synodo, qua? magis conven- 
ticulum quam synodus appellari potest." Vulgarius states the action 
of Sergius in his usual inflated and utterly unsatisfactory style. He 
says (p. 117) that word was brought from Rome " qualiter iterum 
domnus papa redivive in Formosianos feriret ac crudum resecationis 
mucronem in eos protenderet." 

3 Aux., p. 78. 

4 See the letter of Aux. to Leo, ap. P. L., t. 129, p. 1075. 


by Sergius, but had declined to go. He contended that 
no one was bound to obey unjust commands ; and, taking 
no notice of the excommunication pronounced against 
him by the Pope, continued to say Mass. To justify his 
contumacy, he went the length of distinguishing between 
the respect due to a see and to its occupant. " Due 
honour," he wrote, " must be paid to the different sees. 
But if those who occupy them deviate from the right path, 
they are not to be followed, i.e., if, as has often happened 
in the case of the sees of Constantinople and Alexandria, 
they act against the Catholic faith, no heed must be paid 
to them." 1 He would await, he said at the conclusion of 
one of his tracts, the just judgment of a general council, 2 
which, it is more than hinted, is superior to the Pope. 3 

Whilst reading the words of Auxilius, we seem to be in 
the midst of the controversies of the Great Schism. As 
Saltet, whom we have here been following, very pertinently 
observes, 4 it is most dangerous for authorities to drive 
their subjects to distinguishing between just and unjust 
commands. They will soon make other distinctions which 
are much less innocuous. 

In compliance with the request of Leo, Auxilius issued 
one pamphlet after another showing that consecrations 
performed by a bishop, whether lawfully occupying his 
see or not, were as valid as baptisms performed by 
Catholic or heretic. 

Vulgarius too entered into the fray in a less scientific 
but correspondingly more fierce manner. He would 
have the more important concerns, the causes majores, 

1 "Aliud sunt pontificates sedes, aliud prsesidentes. Proinde honor 
et dignitas uniuscujusque sedes venerabiliter observanda sunt. Prsesi- 
dentes autem si deviaverint, per devia sequendi non sunt," etc. ; Inf. 
et Def, c. 18. Cf. c. 31, and De ordinate c. 35. 

2 De ordinate c. 40. 3 Inf. et >ef, c. 5. 
4 Les rdordinations, p. 158. 


settled by the common consent of all the bishops, and not 
"by any pomp of domination"; and he called on the 
primates to check the pride of the Romans 1 {Romanicos 
fastus). But Vulgarius was very far from always writing 
in this strain. Both in prose and in verse, some of which 
was of a highly artificial character, 2 Sergius, " whose fair 
face," he declared, he would venerate as long as " the bright 
stars ran their course," was proclaimed by Vulgarius as 
" the glory of the world, the incomparable, the harbinger 
of all good," etc. 3 This would be after he had been 

1 Ap. Dum., p. 138. 

2 In the subjoined piece the first, the middle, and the last letter of 
each line form the following salutation to the Pope : /Eternum salve 
praesul stans ordine Petri : 

" Aureus ordo micans c<?li de numine fulge/ 
Elichias vertex sacrati spermatis ome 
Virtutum paret coluwen, sacratio celeby 
Auctor quippe boni c/aro mirabilis act// 
Ecclesiam tali nuptu^ulcrescit, ut uber 
Antistes sacris et n?x inolesceret unus 
Verbi voce potitus o/ive crismate {\1s\1s 
Terrarum custos sokmen preclue necnow 
Sanctus nam praesul wto de jure precatur 
Delectoe plebi trad/t noctando juvame;; 
Exemplum cunctis ut /Jlenus munere vitaf 
Tollere contendit primatum luminis ev/." 

Ap. D., p. 140. 

3 See his poems, ap. D. Others are given ap. M. G. PP., iv. 413 ff. 
Among those in the latter collection the following verses will be 
found : 

" Salve summus et unus, 
Sergi, gloria mundi 
Vertex et decus orbis, 
Tu victor rerum," etc. No. III. 

" Ecce non unum pateris secundum, 
Non tibi compar sociale quiddam, 
Quippe sed subsunt tremibunda cuncta, 
Sergie summe." No IV. 

" Lucida dum current annosi sidera mundi, 
Candida, sancte, tui, Sergi, venerabimur ora." No. VI. 
On Vulgarius himself, cf. M. G. PP., iv. 406 f. 


summoned to Rome to explain or justify his wild writing. 
For we find him dispatching letters not only to the Pope, 
but to the officials of his court, begging that he might be 
allowed to remain in peace where he was. To the former 
he writes 1 that, though raised to the seventh heaven by the 
Pope's gracious letter, and though regarding the Pope as a 
god among men, he fears the gods when they show them- 
selves too kindly disposed (nimium faventes) ! And be- 
cause he has reason to lament, he continues, that morality, 
and all other good with it, has perished, he is afraid of 
everything, and begs the Pope to grant him one only 
favour, viz. his absolution and benediction on the one 
hand, and leave to stay in his cell on the other. Bishop 
Vitalis, "the apocrisiarius of the supreme see and first 
senator," 2 is asked to use his influence on his behalf that 
he may not have to go to Rome, " as the anger of the 
drawn sword is not easily repressed," but that he may get 
the Pope's forgiveness. His request was no doubt granted. 
And if, as seems to some very likely, he was the author of 
the Invectiva, he managed in that work to defend the 
cause of Formosus without attacking Sergius. What was 
the upshot of this ordination controversy there is no 
means of knowing. Very little historical light pierces the 
darkness of this period. Some writers, however, from the 
words of the epitaph of Sergius, which tell how he loved 
all ranks of men alike (atnat pastor agmina cuncta simul), 
conclude that before he died he mitigated the severity of 
his judgments, and ceased to trouble such as had been 
consecrated by Formosus. 

1 Ap D., p. 143. 

2 lb., p. 145. To the letter to Vitalis he appends a few verses. We 
quote the last two. The alliteration of the last line is another indi- 
cation of the style of Vulgarius : 

" Optineas cupimus, longos feliciter annos 
Vitalis vivens vitali vivere vita.''" 


As the theological bearings of historical facts are not 
the concern of an historian, this is not the place to inquire 
whether the action of Stephen (VI.) VII. and Sergius III. 
in declaring the ordinations of a bishop null shows that 
they at any rate were not infallible. We may, however, 
be permitted to remark that, though it was not till the 
thirteenth century that the doctrine of the Church on the 
transmission of the power of order reached its full develop- 
ment, and came to be definitely formulated and generally 
understood, it is certain that there never was any doubt 
that an ordination validly conferred could not be repeated. 
Whatever erroneous views certain medieval Popes may 
have held as to the circumstances which may invalidate 
an ordination, or whatever faulty lines of conduct some 
of them may have followed in consequence of the theories 
they held, nothing more can be deduced from their action 
than that, in the words of the great Gallican historian, 
Natalis Alexander, 1 their errors were those of private men, 
and not those of the heads of the Church. Not one of 
the pontiffs who are known or are believed to have held 
false views on the conditions which invalidate ordinations 
ever attempted to impose his ideas on the Church. And 
the Popes, according to Catholic belief, are only infallible 
when they proclaim^what is revealed truth to the Church 
at large. 2 

Other discoveries, besides those of pamphlets of Auxilius 
and Vulgarius, have in comparatively recent times given 
a further insight into Sergius and his times. A rotulus, 
discovered in the archives of Prince Antonio Pio of Savoy, 
lets us see that Sergius was a man at least of strength of 
will. John of Ravenna, grievously oppressed by Albuinus, 

1 " Sed conversationis error fuit non prasdicationis." Vol. vi. p. 23, 
ed. Paris, 1699. 

2 Cf. Saltet, Les riordinations, p. 152 ff. ; Paris, 1907. 


count of Istria, appealed to Sergius for protection. This 
the Pope at once promised, and wrote (c. 907) to the count 
bidding him refrain from harassing the property of the 
archbishop. As might be anticipated, it required more 
than letters, in these times of violence, to bring nobles to 
order. Albuinus continued his depredations. But Sergius 
was not at the end of his resources. Berenger of Friuli 
was anxious to wear the imperial crown, and had 
approached the Pope through his ambassadors with that 
end in view. Sergius, therefore, not only wrote (910) to the 
bishop of Pola, the most important bishop in Istria, begging 
him to exhort Albuinus to cease his evil conduct and 
make amends to the archbishop, but made it known, 
through the medium of the same letter, that "he would 
never bestow the (imperial) crown on Berenger till he 
promised to take the (Istrian) March from Albuinus, and 
give it to some better man." 1 We may be sure that, if 
it rested with Berenger of Friuli, Count Albuinus did not 
continue his depredations much longer. 

While what we have said about the firmness of Sergius snva 
will have served to show both his views as to his rights with a nd 
regard to the imperial crown and the aims of Berenger ; Nonantula - 
what we shall proceed to say about the Pope's kindness 
and sympathetic feeling will call our attention to the 
continued ravages of the Saracen in the south of Italy 
and of the Hungarian in the north. Among other places 
devastated by the terrible ravages of the Saracens was the 
Church of Silva Candida, one of the suburbicarian 
bishoprics which developed into the sees of the six 
cardinal-bishops in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome. 
Silva Candida, which was united to the See of Porto by 

1 " Berengarius rex non accipiet a nobis coronam donee promittat, ut 
tollat Albuino ipsam marcam (Istrias) et det earn alteri meliori quam 
ipse est." Jaffe, 3546. Cf. 3540-1- 


Pope Calixtus II., was at this time ruled by Bishop 
Hildebrand. Unable of his own resources to repair the 
damage done to his episcopal see, Hildebrand turned to 
the Pope, and the assistance he asked for he received " in 
the current eighth indiction," l i.e., in 905. 

Another 2 of his bulls shows Sergius rejoicing that the 
church of the great abbey of Nonantula, burnt by the 
Hungarians, 3 had been rebuilt. In an old catalogue 
(eleventh century) of the abbots of Nonantula, published 
by Waitz, 4 there is the following entry : " In this year (899) 
the Hungarians came into Italy. On September 24 the 
Christians met them in battle on the river Brenta. There 
the Hungarians slew many thousands of the Christians 
and put the rest to flight. They then advanced as far as 
Nonantula, slew the monks, set fire to the monastery, 
burnt many books 5 (codices), and devastated the whole 
country. The venerable Abbot Leopard, however, with 

1 Jaflfe, 3535 (2715). The diocese " passa est a nefandissima Sarra- 
cenorum gente, sicut ruina ipsius loci testatur, et plebs atque casalia 
quae pene absque agricolis et habitatoribus esse noscuntur." Ep. 3, 
ap. P. L., t. 131. Sergius also granted several estates to the Abbess 
Euphemia, as the property of her convent had also been ruined by the 
Saracens. Cf. the bull cited by Gregorovius, Rome, iii. p. 245. 

2 /*., 3539 <27i8). 

3 Ep. 9, ap. P. L., t. 191, similarly is a privilege for the monastery of 
St. Martin of Tours, which had suffered " a Normannorum perfida 

1 Ap. M. G. SS. Langob., 571 f. 

5 When the professors of learning and its instruments were being 
destroyed in this way, there is no need to be astonished that there 
was intellectual darkness in Italy at this time. What "many books" 
may mean, we may perhaps conjecture from the library of another 
Italian monastery, Nova Lux, at the foot of Mount Cenis, which was 
destroyed by the Saracens of Fraxineto, about the time of Sergius. 
Fearing the destruction of the monastery, the abbot had transported its 
treasures to Turin ; and among these the monastic chronicler with 
just pride names 6000 books : " Et inter cetera delati sunt libri sex 
mille." Cf. Chron. Novaliciensc, iv. c. 26-30, ed. M. G. SS. in usum 
sch. The edition in A\ /. SS., ii. pt. ii. is not so complete. 


a few of his brethren, managed to escape, and for some 
time remained in concealment. At length they thought 
it safe to return. The monastery and its church were 
rebuilt, and the abbot sent to consult with Pope Sergius, 
who then ruled the Roman and Apostolic Church, regarding 
the reconsecration of the (abbey) church and the losses 
the monastery had sustained at the hands of the bar- 
barians and other wicked men." The Pope in his reply 
gave the abbot a choice of one out of three bishops, whom 
he named, to whom he might apply to have the new 
church consecrated, and confirmed the privileges of the 

Passing over the privileges granted by Sergius to the Various 
famous monasteries of St. Gall in Switzerland, Vezelay in Sergius. 
France, to the churches of Vienne and Lyons and to 
the chapter of Aste, as these records are somewhat 
monotonous; and equally neglecting his dealings with 
William, the good bishop of Turin, and with the Church 
of Cologne on the Hamburg-Bremen question, for the 
simple reason that our knowledge of these transactions is 
of the haziest ; and, after what has been already said on the 
subject in the Life of Formosus, saying no more about 
Sergius and England, 1 we may now turn our attention to 
the East. 

At this period there was peace and union between the The 
Catholics under the Emperor Leo and those under the among the 


various rulers of the West. But the causes which were to 
bring about the great separation between them were gaining 
strength. Of these the most insidious, because the least 
comprehensible, and because it was the only one which had 
at least a seeming dogmatic basis, was the alleged difference 

1 In the Chronicle of Ethel werd. an. 908, we read: "Archbishop 
Plegmund .... carried to Rome the alms for the people and for 
King Edward." 

VOL. IV. 9 


in belief among the Greeks and the Latins on the doctrine 
of the Descent of the Holy Ghost. That the Latins had 
deviated from revealed truth on this difficult question was 
an assertion which had been frequently repeated among 
the Greeks since the days of Photius. Finding that it was 
being propagated with renewed vigour, Sergius took steps 
to combat it. And so the council of Trosle, in the diocese 
of Soissons, presided over by Herveus, archbishop of 
Rheims, decreed (June 909) in their fourteenth canon : 
" As the Holy Apostolic See has made known to us that 
the blasphemous errors of a certain Photius against the 
Holy Ghost are still vigorous in the East errors which 
teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds not from the Son but 
from the Father only we exhort you venerable brethren, 
together with us, in accordance with the admonition of the 
ruler of the Roman See, after a careful study of the works 
of the Fathers, to draw from the quiver of Holy Writ arrows 
sharp enough to slay the monster which is again springing 
into life." We may be sure, however, that the " fury of 
the Normans," though soon (911) to be lessened by the 
grant of Normandy to them, prevented the Fathers of the 
council from being able to turn their attention to any 
arrows but those of a very material nature. 
The name One consequence, however, of this action which Sergius 
is struck caused to be taken by the synod was that his name was 
diptychs. struck off the diptychs by the Patriarch Sergius II. of 
Constantinople (999-1019). This we learn from a Greek 
document of the first half of the twelfth century. 1 Another 
similar document of the last half of the preceding century, 
apparently not so well informed, declares that Pope 
Christopher was the first Pope who, in his profession of 
faith, which he sent to Sergius, then (?) patriarch of 

1 Ofiusc, ii., c. 9, p. 168, ap. Mon. Graca ad Photium pertinent., 
ed. Hergenroether ; Ratisbon, 1869. 


Constantinople, asserted that the Holy Ghost proceeded 
" from the Father and from the Son." l 

While the canon of Trosle is an indication that the The fourth 

marriage of 

poison brewed by Photius is slowly weakening the religious Leo vi. 
union between the East and West, another intestine com- 
motion in the Church of Constantinople reveals the fact 
that as yet the Catholic Church among both the Greeks 
and Latins is still one. The Emperor Leo, misnamed the 
Wise, though he had himself 2 in this particular brought the 
civil law into harmony with Greek canon law by causing 
it also to subject to penalties those who elected to marry a 
third time, not only married a third wife, but, when her death 
left him still without male issue, introduced into the palace 
as his concubine Zoe Carbonospina, a grand-niece of the 
historian Theophanes. 3 By her he had a son (905), after- 
wards the literary Constantine VII., Porphyrogenitus. On 
condition that he ceased to live with a concubine, the patri- 
arch, Nicholas the Mystic, or private secretary, solemnly 
baptized the child. Leo fulfilled his promise to Nicholas 
by breaking his father's law which forbade fourth marriages. 
He married Zoe, and crowned her himself! The indig- 
nant patriarch, who showed himself of very different mettle 
from the average occupant of the See of Constantinople, 
excommunicated the priest who had performed the nuptial 
ceremony, and interdicted Leo from entering the Church. 
Both parties turned to the Holy See ; and the legates, 
whom Sergius at once dispatched to Constantinople, 
declared the marriage valid, as fourth marriages had not 

1 Ofiusc, i., c. 8, p. 160, ap. id. 2 Novel,, Constit., 90. 

3 The feeling of the Greek Church on the subject of third and fourth 
marriages may be estimated from the strong language of St. Gregory 
Nazianzen : " Marriage is lawful ; a second marriage is a concession 
(to human weakness), but a third is unlawful, while to contract a fourth 
is to lead the life of a pig.'' Cited by Hesseling, La civilisation 
byzantine, p. 164 ; Paris, 1907. 


been condemned by the Church at large. 1 Nicholas, how- 
ever, though he acknowledged the supremacy of Rome in 
words, would not give way. He was accordingly banished, 
and Euthymius, the emperor's confessor, was named 
patriarch in his stead. Without expressly approving of 
third or fourth marriages, Euthymius recognised Leo's 
marriage as necessary for the public good (for an heir to 
the throne was very desirable), readmitted the emperor to 
ecclesiastical communion, and crowned Constantine. 2 A 
schism among the clergy of Constantinople was the 
immediate result of this compliance on the part of 
Euthymius, and of the obstinate opposition of Nicholas. 
Before he died, Leo repented of what he had done, and 
reinstated Nicholas. But the latter had to reckon with the 
party of Euthymius, who showed themselves very hostile to 
him. Hence, during the reign of Alexander, a joint-ruler 
with the young Constantine VII., he wrote to Pope 
Anastasius III., not, as he said, to ask him to condemn his 
predecessor or the repentant Leo, but to condemn those 
still alive who were causing their patriarch such trouble. 
" This both your dignity and the honour of the Roman See 
require of you." Of any action taken by Anastasius in 

1 Cf. Vita Euthymii, c. 13, p. 46. 

Cf. the letters of Nicholas, ap. Mai, Spicil. Rom., x. ; the continua- 
tors of Theophanes, vi. 23, 24, ed. Bonn. Of the letters of Nicholas, 
the important one in this connection is that to Pope Anastasius III., viz. 
ep. 32, printed also, as already stated, in Labbe. In that letter 
Nicholas concedes to the Roman Church the privilege 0/ ecclesiastical 
supremacy (irpovo/xlov iKK\ri<Tia<TriKT\s virtpoxvs), Mai, p. 293. The Latin 
version in Labbe runs : "Et quidem decebat, primatum ecclesiasticum 
sibi the Roman legates vindicantes, rem totam serio inquirere, atque 
ad summum pontificem referre." He says he believes that any number 
of successive marriages are tolerated at Rome, and indignantly denies 
that, " puffed up with pride," he had refused to meet the Pope's legates. 
Maintaining, however, that a fourth marriage was wrong in itself, he 
vigorously upbraids the Pope for attempting to grant a dispensation 
which would make a sin not a sin. 


response to this letter we have no knowledge. Some nine 
years after Nicholas had written to Anastasius, a synod 
{silentium) was held at Constantinople (920) in which 
fourth marriages were utterly condemned. 1 The patriarch 
hastened to inform 2 John X. that, after fifteen years of 
trouble, peace had come to the Church of Constantinople. 
" But because we seek your fraternal love, the good offices 
of which towards us have been hindered by the disorders 
of the times, and desire the customary union of the 
churches, we have hence decided to send you this letter 
that, all memory of offence being laid aside, we may win 
your Holiness to that sincere friendship and union of minds 
which is proper among pastors of souls. This will be 
brought about when legates have been sent on both sides, 
and when it has been harmoniously decreed that the fourth 
marriage, which brought such dissensions and scandal into 
the Church, was permitted not for itself but for the sake 
of the person. The occasion required that a more 
indulgent treatment should be meted to a prince, lest, 
irritated by a refusal, he might do worse. And hence your 
name will, as of old custom, be celebrated with ours in the 
sacred diptychs of the Church of Constantinople." The 
emperor is set down as making the same request, and as 
sending to the Pope the protospathar Basil, while the 
patriarch sends a priest with him. John is asked to send 
a legate in return, " who with us, in accordance with the 
canons of the Church, may by his learning and advice 
correct anything which may still stand in need of correction." 

l Cf. the decree of the joint emperors Constantine and Romanus, 
" indictione octava " (ap. Liverani, vol. iv. No. 17). For some reason 
Liverani calls this a decree to bring about union between the Greek 
and the Latin Churches. Its object was to bring about union among 
the Greeks themselves. Hence it begins : '"Tomus unionis, sive 
expositio sanctas unionis in ecclesia Constantinopolitana." 
2 Labbe, ix. 1267 ; or Liverani, No. 18. 


From a letter l of Nicholas to Simeon, the powerful king of 
the Bulgarians, it appears that John sent two legates, both 
bishops, Theophylactus 2 and Carus. "By their coming," 
wrote the patriarch, " an end was put to the scandals which 
the fourth-marriage question caused amongst us, peace 
was restored to the clergy, and synods were held with 
marvellous unanimity of minds. In a word, the Churches 
of Rome and Constantinople were so welded together in 
one united faith that there was nothing to prevent us 
from enjoying that communion with them we have so 
ardently longed for." 

Without pausing to note how this marriage difficulty 
showed on the one hand the greater breadth of view 
of the Roman Church, and, on the other, that at this 
period East and West were united under the primacy 
of the See of Rome, it remains to add that the schism 
among the Greeks themselves was not healed, as Nicholas 
had fondly hoped. After his death (925), the party of 
Euthymius was to the fore till the very end of the 
century. 3 

In connection with the deposition of Nicholas, it may 

be noted in passing that the tenth century saw well-nigh 

as many patriarchs arbitrarily deposed by emperors at 

Constantinople as Popes by factions at Rome. 

There- While endeavouring to close a schism in the living 

otthe Church of Constantinople, Sergius III., of whom for some 


1 Ap. Liverani, ib., p. 65. 

a lb., " primum inter ejus episcopos locum obtinentem." 
3 Hergenroether, Hist, de Ptglise, iii. 436. On the fourth marriage 
of Leo see especially Diehl, Figures byzantines, i. 181 ff., Paris 1906. 
Diehl's essay, founded to some extent on a recently discovered bio- 
graphy of Euthymius, throws a flood of light on the haughty and intrigu- 
ing character of Nicholas, whose respect for either Pope or Emperor 
was of the feeblest. He was a forerunner of Michael Cerularius. The 
Vita Euthymii has been published, in Greek only, by C. D. Boor ; 
Berlin, 1888. 


little space we have lost sight, was engaged in repairing a 
very important material church at home. This was the 
famous basilica of the Lateran, which, as we have seen, 
went to ruin in the days of Stephen (VI.) VII., and which, 
by all the chroniclers of his time, Sergius III. is credited 
with restoring. 

From inscriptions which he found in various parts of 
the basilica, and of which copies are to be seen either in 
the body of his work on the Lateran basilica or in an 
appendix to it in the Sessorian MS. 290, and from other 
sources, John the Deacon has put on record the following 
account of the work of Sergius. After recounting the 
building of the basilica by Constantine in honour of our 
Saviour and in commemoration of St. John the Baptist, 
and its fall in the time of Stephen (VI.) VII. and its 
remaining in ruins till the time of the recall of Sergius, 
John continued: "Whilst the intruders occupied the 
Apostolic See, they took from the basilica all its treasures, 
all its ornaments of gold and silver, and all the vessels 
which had been presented to it from its foundation. 
Divine service was no longer celebrated within its walls, 
but it was abandoned to thorns and briars. Sick at heart 
at the desolation of this most glorious building, Sergius 
entirely rebuilt and refurnished it," at the same time 
covering its walls with frescoes. A long inscription in 
prose, which John quoted, not only set forth that Sergius 
accomplished what he did though "placed in the midst 
of many disorders," but also enumerated the different 
objects, images, crucifixes, etc., of silver " and most pure 
gold" with which he supplied the basilica. "All these 
things has the devoted lord Sergius III. offered thee; nor 
will he cease to make offerings to thee as long as his soul 
rules his body." In yet another inscription it is proclaimed 
that the basilica was like Mount Sinai : from the latter was 


the old Law given; from the former laws are issued to 
elevate everywhere the race of men. 1 

There would appear to be a little exaggeration in some 
parts of the language of the worthy Deacon, or of the in- 
scriptions from which he quotes. It is quite impossible to 
think of any other "intruder" who could have robbed the 
basilica but the antipope Christopher; and we can have 
no reason to doubt that the fallen church occupied the 
attention of all the successors of Stephen (VI.) VII., for 
we have actual evidence of one of them, Pope John IX., 
endeavouring to prepare the way for its repair. 2 The new 
building, at any rate, seems to have become very dear 
to the Popes, for "henceforward, during a course of two 
hundred years, it served, instead of St. Peter's, as the 
burial-place of the greater number of the Popes." 3 

By such as are prepared to yield full credence to party 
pamphleteers, to the party pleadings of Auxilius, and 
to Vulgarius, who at one time accuses Sergius of the 
murder of his two predecessors and at another calls him 
" a god among men, the glory of his country, on whose life 
Rome depends for her happiness," 4 by such, no doubt, 

1 This last inscription runs : 

"Aula Dei hxc similis Synai sacra jura ferenti 
Ut lex demonstrat hie quae fuit edita quondam 
Lex hinc exivit mentes qune ducit ab imis 
Et vulgata dedit nomen per climata saecli." 

(Duchesne, L.P., ii. 236.) 
n., Di feci., c. 17, ap. Migne, t. 194 or t. 78. The paintings 
executed by Sergius are alluded to in one of the inscriptions ("ornavit 
pingens haec mcenia"), and in Benedict of Soracte ("quanta donaria 
.... optulit .... in picture renovationis scriptum est "). 
1 Cf. supra, p. 97. 

cgorovius, Rome, iii. 247. 
" O dulce pignus, hominum deus, patrhc decus : te vivente Roma 
te obeunte versa fortuna qua: sit ncscitur futura." Ep. ad Serg., 
ap. Durn., p. 144. It may be that when Vulgarius wrote this letter he 
wat better informed than when he wrote his diatribes against Sergius. 


Sergius will be regarded as ambitious and cruel. But we 
imagine that not even these will be too ready to accept the 
story told by Liutprand which impugns the chastity of 
Sergius in addition. In fact, the more importance one 
attaches to the pamphlets of Auxilius and Vulgarius, the 
less importance can he attach to the accusations of Liut- 
prand. It cannot be doubted that, had these writers known 
anything against the moral character of Sergius, they would 
not have failed to record it. But if, on the contrary, a 
preference should be felt for the authority of Liutprand 
in estimating the character of Sergius, such preference, 
it would appear, can only be entertained by a violation 
of the dictates of sound historical criticism; for, by his 
hopeless confusion of Sergius with Stephen (VI.) VII., 
Liutprand shows that he did not know about whom he 
was talking. And such an authority as Muratori declares 
repeatedly that Liutprand is a very second-rate witness 
for what did not occur in his own time. 1 

His evidence then, whatever it may be worth concerning 
the immorality of Sergius, is as follows 2 : Theodora, the 
grandmother of Alberic II., i.e. Theodora I., whom he 
designates as a shameless harlot, obtained, " in no unmanly 
way," supreme power in the city of Rome. She had two 
daughters, Marozia (I.) and Theodora (II.), women more 
abandoned than their mother herself. By their marriages, 
legitimate and illegitimate, with various distinguished 
persons, popes, dukes of Tuscany, and kings of Italy, they 
were enabled to work their will in Rome. By Pope Sergius, 
Marozia, so says Liutprand, had a son, afterwards Pope 
John XI.; and with John X., both before and after he be- 

1 " Liutprando ha la disgrazia d' essere stato un cattivo storico per 
conto de gli affari non succeduti al suo tempo." Annal., viii. 191. Cf. 
pp. 244, 264. 

2 Antapod., ii. 48. And in iii. 43 he speaks of John XI., "quern ex 
Sergio papa meretrix ipsa genuerat." 


came Pope, she is said to have had illicit intercourse. 
Hence various writers x have described the government of 
Rome at this period as that of a Pornocracy. 

That these women had great influence in Rome at this 
period can scarcely be doubted. Benedict of Soracte, 
quoting the words of Isaias (iii. 4), " the effeminate shall 
rule over them," is at one with Liutprand as far as that 
statement goes. 2 And we have already seen the husband 
of Theodora I. described by Vulgarius as "the lord of the 
city." The faction of Theophylactus and his family were 
certainly dominant in Rome in the days of Sergius, and of 
the Popes that succeeded him during some sixty years ; 
and if the Patricians Crescentii were indeed, as we have 
supposed, 3 descended directly from Theodora I. through 
her daughter Theodora II., then it may be said that the 
house of Theophylactus swayed the destinies of Rome till 
the accession of the German Popes. The title of this 
volume, therefore, might well have been, " The Popes and 
the House of Theophylactus." 

Theodora and her daughters, then, may easily have had 
great influence in Rome, and yet not have been the 
abandoned women that Liutprand would have us believe 
they were. Wives and daughters of the heads of a 
dominant faction, especially if endowed with grace of body 
and mind, would naturally occupy an influential position ; 
and such a proud position Theodora and her daughters 
may have acquired without that wholesale prostitution of 

1 The strictures of the great cardinal-historian Baronius on this 
period ought not to be quoted as in any way authoritative. He was 
not in possession of many facts which have come to light since his 
time, and his work for these years is as confused as the times them- 
selves. Cf. Muratori, Ann., viii. p. 277. 

| In his style, almost unique in its barbarity, he writes (c. 30) : 
Subjugatus est Romam potestative in manu femine." 

1 See the genealogical table. 


their charms and persons of which speaks that indecent 
gossip and imperial partisan, Liutprand. And unless 
Vulgarius was one of the most audacious flatterers that 
ever disgraced mankind, Theodora I. cannot have been 
the disorderly creature that Liutprand paints her. Vul- 
garius addresses 1 her as a most holy, venerable, and God- 
beloved matron, the odour of whose piety is spread every- 
where, and says that he has heard from many of her holy 
life and conversation ; and he rejoices that God has set her 
as a shining example to the world. Especially does he 
praise in her a virtue which he declares to be greatly 
wanting in the world, viz. her chastity. Marozia and 
Theodora could, then, have been much worse than their 
mother, and yet still have been good. 

Returning to the subject of this biography, we may ask : 
Was John XI. the son of Pope Sergius by the abandoned 
Marozia ? Liutprand says he was, and so does the author 
of the anonymous catalogue in the Liber Pontificalis in his 
one-line notice of John XI. But the catalogue by no 
means deserves at all times the respect which Duchesne 
seems disposed to allow it. It is certain that the notice 
of Sergius himself in the catalogue was not written down 
during the lifetime of that pontiff; nay, apparently not 
for some time after it. For, speaking of the inscriptions 
set up by him in the Lateran, the author of the catalogue 
says that they can be read " to this day " {usque hodie). 
Men do not write in that way of an inscription erected a 
few years before. Liutprand's assertion was not written 
down till about fifty years after the supposed criminal 
intercourse. While, then, authors anything but strictly con- 
temporary call John XI. the son of Sergius, the careful, 

1 Ep. ad Theod., ap. D., p. 146. " Et quidem amplectimur in vos, 
quod deesse permaxime cernimus in viros, scilicet sanctum conubium, 
torum immaculatum, hospitalitates, selemosinas," etc. 


respectable, and contemporary author Frodoard twice 
describes John XI. as "the brother of Alberic." 1 What 
more natural than to believe that, as Alberic was con- 
fessedly the son of Alberic (I.) and Marozia, so also was 
his brother, John XL? Besides, what is left on record of 
the deeds of Pope Sergius certainly suggests a man " in the 
midst of troubles" indeed, as he said himself, but a man 
devoted to work, and not to luxury. When Duchesne 
speaks 2 of him as " revengeful, cruel, and mischievous," he 
evidently regards as true all that Auxilius, and especially 
Vulgarius and Liutprand, have said about him ; and, with 
regard to Liutprand especially, it must be repeated that he 
is wholly unworthy of credence with regard to Sergius III. 
and John X. He confuses, as we have seen, this very 
Sergius whom he so freely accuses, with Stephen VII. In 
referring to John X. 3 he makes mistakes of all kinds about 
his See of Ravenna ; and, when speaking of his death and of 
his successor, apparently knows nothing of the two pontiffs 
who immediately succeeded him. 4 Sergius was, unfortun- 
ately, a pronounced party -man, and anxious for the 
supremacy of his party, but the charges of revengeful 
cruelty and lust brought against him by Vulgarius and 
Liutprand must be pronounced " not proven " ; for the 
charge of his having murdered his two immediate pre- 
decessors rests solely on the authority of a wretched 

1 Ann., 933, and Hist. Rem., iv., ap. M. G. SS., xiii. p. 580. Bene- 
dict of Soracte, whose confusion of the events of this period is simply 
hopeless, calls (c. 30) John XI. a relation of domna senatrix, viz. 
Marozia. Muratori and others, who quote Leo Ostiensis and the 
anonymous Chronicle of Salerno as stating expressly that John XI. was 
the son of Alberic, have failed to notice that those authors are both 
obviously speaking of the John who became Pope in 956, viz. John XII. 
Hemans, Hist, of Medieval Christ., p. 10, concludes: Sergius "was 
accused of an amorous intrigue with Marozia, but without shadow of 

LVtat pontif., p. 165. Antapod., ii. 48. 4 //;., iii. 43. 


sycophant (Vulgarius), and that of his illicit intercourse 
with Marozia rests chiefly on the word of a careless, 
spiteful retailer of indecent gossip. Men of that stamp 
may tell the truth about a personal or political opponent, 
but their character causes a judicial mind to hesitate about 
believing what they alone say to his deep discredit. We 
may then hold with Muratori: 1 "Had the biography of 
this pontiff been written, and come down to our times, I 
firmly maintain that his character would have appeared in 
a very different light from that in which the father of the 
ecclesiastical annals (viz. Baronius) was too easily led to 
present it." 

When he says 2 that "the denarii of Sergius III. are not Coins. 
marked with the name of the Emperor Louis," Gregorovius 
must have been following the mistake made by Cinagli, 
who, as was noticed in an earlier volume of this work, 
assigned to Sergius II. a coin bearing the names of both 
Sergius and Louis, which seemingly could only have 
belonged to Sergius III. 3 It is true, however, that most 
of the extant coins of Sergius III. were struck after the 
year 905, and bear only the names of the Pope and St. 
Peter. On the reverse, besides the name of St. Peter, some 
of them have a figure of the saint wearing a mitre. One 
couples the name of Sergius with the significant epithet 
" Salus patrie." 

That Sergius died in 911 is certain, but whether on Death and 
April 14 (Duchesne) or about June (JafTe) is not so clear. 9?^^ ' 
Mallius, who has preserved this Pope's epitaph, confusing 

1 Annal.yVm. 278. Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 245, too believes that our 
estimate of the character of Sergius, at least as drawn from Liutprand, 
" might be modified were the conditions of the time more clearly known." 

2 lb., 248 n. 

3 Promis, however (p. 59), despite the fact that no Emperor Louis 
was contemporary with Sergius II., would nevertheless assign the coin 
to that Pope. 


him with Sergius I., says he was buried in the Church of 
St. Peter, between the Silver gate and that of Ravenna. 
His epitaph he gives thus ' : 

" Limina quisque adis Papae metuenda beati 

Cerne pii excubiasque (exuviasque) Petri. 
Culmen apostolicae Sedis is, jure paterno 

Electus, tenuit, ut Theodorus obit. 
Pellitur Urbe pater, pervadit sacra Joannes, 

Romuleosque greges dissipat ipse lupus. 
Exul erat patria septem volventibus annis ; 

Post populi multis Urbe redit precibus. 
Suscipitur, papa sacratur, 2 Sede recepta 

Gaudet, amat pastor agmina cuncta simul 
Hie invasores sanctorum falce subegit 

Romanae ecclesiae judiciisque patrum." 

It tells of his uncanonical election {jure paterno) on the 
death of Theodore, of his expulsion from the city, of the 
usurpation of John IX., of his seven years of exile, of his 
recall at the prayer of the people, of his love for all his 
flock, and of his condemnation of the usurpers of the Holy 
See. That he was, moreover, worthy to be ranked with 
bishops who were saints, is not said by his epitaph, but by 
his contemporary, Nicholas, patriarch of Constantinople. 3 

1 Ap. L. P., ii. 238. Cf. supra, p. 93. 

* Cf. once more Vulgarius, ap. D., p. 152 : 

" Sergius, ecce, polos magnus qui vertice pulsat, 
Dignus apostolicus divino munere lectus, 
Mistice qui factus conformis imagine divum 
Aurea priscorum reparat nunc secla virorum. 

Quocirca tantus vivat per secula prassul 
Pontificum primas, antistes summus et unus, 
Assiduis precibus dominus poscatur ab alto." 
3 Ep. 43- 


A.D. 911-913. 

Sources. As before, and one bull, ap. P. Z., t. 131. 

Of the two successors of Sergius III., it may be said that Election. 
nothing is known except that it appears from their epitaphs 
and from Frodoard l that they were good men and were an 
honour to the See of Peter. Anastasius, a Roman, and the 
son of Lucian, became Pope in some month, perhaps in 
April (Duchesne) or June (Jaffe), in the year 911. 

In the following year he granted Ragembert, bishop of Grants 


Vercelli, the use of the pallium ; 2 and besides renewing the 
privileges 3 of the Church of Grado, he is credited by 
Sigonius, 4 who as usual gives no authority for his state- 
ment, with granting various distinctions to the bishop of 
Pavia at the request of King Berenger. The bishop was 
to be allowed to have a canopy {umbelld) carried over him, 

1 " Quo (Sergio) rebus adempto 

Humanis, in Anastasium sacra concinit aula." 

It is no use quoting any more from Frodoard, for in citing the epitaph 
-of Anastasius we shall cite Frodoard. 

2 Jaffe, 3550 (2722). 3 lb., 3552. 4 Ap. Pagi in vit.Anxst. 



to ride a white horse, to have the cross borne before him, 
and in councils to sit at the Pope's left hand. 
Vdshiaws Little as we may know now about many of the Popes of 
yAaas- certain periods, various striking pieces of evidence have 
sometimes survived which show that, though to us Rome 
and the Popes may at times look obscure enough, they were 
often at those very times bright and lightsome to their 
contemporaries. This is not unfrequently true of Rome 
and the Popes of the tenth century. While Anastasius III. 
sat in the chair of Peter, little Wales was ruled by a wise 
king called Howel Dda, or the Good. Dissatisfied with the 
existing state of the laws, the king, with some of his bishops 
and nobles, betook himself to Rome " to consult the wise 
in what manner to improve the laws of Wales." On the 
strength of the information there obtained, the king, after 
his return to Wales, drew up a new code of laws ; " and 
after that Howel went a second time to Rome, and obtained 
the judgment of the wise there, and ascertained those laws 
to be in accordance with the law of God and the laws of 
countries in receipt of faith and baptism." According to 
the ancient Welsh document 1 whence the above quotations 
have been taken, Howel went to Rome to get his laws 
confirmed some time between the years 920 and 930. 
But the preface to the Laws themselves, according to the 
Dimetian Code, assigns the date of Howel's visit to the 
pontificate of Anastasius, though it gives the year as 914. 
It says: " After the law had been all made .... Howel the 
Good .... went to Rome, to Pope Anastasius, to read the 
law, and to see if there were anything contrary to the law 
of God in it ; and as there was nothing militating against 
it, it was confirmed. . . . The year of Christ, when King 
Howel the Good went to Rome to confirm his laws by 

1 Bruty Tywysog y cited in Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, i. 209 f., 


papal authority, was 914." x Rome must indeed have been 
"a city on a mountain "when, even amid the darkness and 
confusion of the tenth century, it was looked up to from the 
deep valleys of Wales as the abode of light and learning. 

While in Rome the political situation, which left the Political 
Pope in a jp virion subordinate to a dominant faction, 
remained uivcnanged, elsewhere events were in progress 
which were soon to have a marked effect on affairs in Italy 
and its chief city. The influence and power of the Greek 
emperor was steadily increasing in south Italy. 2 This state 
of affairs was so far fortunate that it furnished John X. with 
an additional resource when he gave his great blow to the 
Saracen power in that quarter. In Germany the terribly 
disastrous reign of Louis the Child came to an end in 911. 
His was a reign during which contemporaries tell us that 
every man's hand was against his neighbour's; that the 
nobles, who ought to have been promotors of peace, set an 
example of strife ; that the law was trampled underfoot ; 
and that the common people murmured and were com- 
pletely out of hand. With the death of Louis the Child the 
Carolingian dynasty in Germany, strictly speaking, came 
to an end. However, as his successor, Conrad the Fran- 
conian, was a Frank, and was thought to be connected with 
the family of Arnulf, he is reckoned with the Carolingian 
sovereigns of Germany. On his death (918) the royal 
power passed, in the person of Henry I., to the house of 
Saxony, 3 a house which, especially under the Othos, was 

1 Id., Councils, i., p. 220, 1. Cf. the Venedotian Code, which tells that 
the Pope "was satisfied with them (the laws), and gave them his autho- 
rity." " Ac y bu uodlawn y Pab udunt ac y rodes y awdurdawt udunt." 

2 Muratori, Annul., viii. 297. 

3 The famous nun Hroswitha, in her poem on the deeds of Otho I., 
sings of this transference, when the King of Kings 

" Jussit Francorum transferri nobile regnum 
Ad claram gentem Saxonum." Ap. P. I., t. 137, p. 1151. 


to exercise an extraordinary influence on the Papacy. It 
was also during the reign of Anastasius that Rodolf II. 
succeeded to the throne of Transjurane Burgundy. We 
shall soon see him fighting in Italy for its iron crown, 
and At least two coins of this Pope, bearing his name and 


>i3- that of St. Peter, are known. Anastasius was buried in 

St. Peter's about the middle (in June or August, following 
Duchesne or JarTe respectively) of the year 913. We are 
indebted as usual to Mallius 1 for his epitaph: 

" Vatis Anastasii requiescunt membra sepulchro 
Sed numquam meritum parvula claudit humus. 
Sedem apostolicam blando moderamine rexit 

Tertius existens ordine pontificum. 
Ad Christum pergens peccati vincula sperat 

Solvere clementer omnia posse sibi." 

As given in Watterich (i. 86), it has the following two 
lines in addition : 

" Undique currentes hujus ad limina templi 
Ut pnestet requiem, poscite corde Deum." 

The epitaph tells us that the tomb enclosed indeed the 
bones of Anastasius III., but could not contain his merits, 
and that he ruled the Apostolic See right well. He died 
trusting that his sins would be forgiven him. " Do you who 
from all quarters come to this temple, pray God to grant 
him rest." 

1 Ap. Duchesne, L. P., ii. 239. 


A.D. 913-914. 

SOME twelve years ago there was discovered in the This 


neighbourhood of Rome a bronze coin of this Pope. name. 
On the obverse were the words, " Landus P. P.," and 
on the reverse were the heads of SS. Peter and Paul, 
with the letters " S. PA. S. PE." This coin serves, 
among other purposes, to prove that this Pope's name 
was Lando (in Latin Landus) and not Landone 1 

Concerning Lando, then, a native of the Sabina, and the His reign. 
son of Taino, we know, from Frodoard, that he was a 
worthy man who sat on the chair of Peter for some six 
months. A Ravennese document 2 proves that he was 
still alive on February 5, 914. He reigned, then, from July 
(Duchesne) or August (Jaffe) to February (Duchesne) or 
March (Jaffe) in 914, and is credited 3 with having granted 
a privilege to the Church of St. Saviour's in Forum Novum 
in the Sabina. 

The words of Frodoard about him are as follows. Jaffe 

1 So observes Cerroti, Bibliog. di Roma, p. 345. 

2 Ap. Jaffe, Regest., i., p. 448. 

3 By a document of 143 1 quoted by Kehr, Italia Po?itiftcia, ii. 73. 



corrected the initial Quando of the text as we now have it 
into Lando, and would also have the ut of the second line 
changed into un : 

" Lando (quando) dein summam Petri subit ordine Sedem, 
Mensibus hanc coluit sex undenisque (ut denisque) diebus 
Emeritus Patrum sequitur quoque fata priorum." 

rhofo, Alinan 

A section of the frescoes of S. Tier in I rrado, showing the portrait 
<>f John X. See p. 116 ff. 


A.D. 914-928. 

Sources and Works. Of the printed works in five volumes of 
Mgr. F. Liverani, Macerata, 1859, the second, including some 560 
closely printed pages, gives an exhaustive biography of John X. 
Rather exter^ive considerations on the " temporal power " and 
other kindred topics cause the volume to be so comparatively 
large. The first part of his fourth volume (Codice diplomatico e 
bollarid) gives in full the documents that concern John's reign. 1 
In vol. xxii. of the Archivio della R. Societa Romana, Roma, 1899, 
there is a useful article by Fedele on "La battaglia del Garigliano 
dell' anno 915." These two authors have been largely used in 
the composition of this biography. In his account of John's 
dealings with the Saracens, Liverani has unfortunately at times 
relied on certain chronicles published by Pratili, which have since 
been proved to be forgeries. 

If history in general repeats itself, so certainly does its John vm. 


biographical department. In reading the life of John X., John x. 
the mind instinctively adverts to that of John VIII. In 
the hope of putting a term to the existing state of chaos, 
and of promoting the sacred interests of peace, both 
pontiffs strove to impart new life to the imperial idea. 

1 Many of them will be found ap. P. L., t. 132. 

150 JOHN X. 

Both of them brought about leagues, and fought in person 
against the savage hordes of the Saracen in Italy. For 
their political freedom at home both of them had to con- 
tend against an unbridled nobility. If there was intestine 
strife in the Church of Constantinople, reference was made 
to both John VIII. and John X., that peace might be 
restored to it. Both strove, though in different ways, to 
attach the Slavs to the Roman Church. And if a threat of 
excommunication was thought necessary to bring kings to 
a sense of their duty, neither of them was afraid to employ 
it. 1 In all countries, both in the East and in the West, were 
heard the names of John VIII. and John X. when there 
was peace and order to be promoted. Of both of them it 
may be said that their energy in the promotion of good 
was untiring. And, if the Annals of Fulda have told 
truly of the end of John VIII., as a reward for all their 
zeal for the general welfare, both perished by a violent 
death. Hence, as in the case of John VIII. so in that of 
John X., most writers are of accord that he is " unquestion- 
ably entitled to respect" 2 at least for the sum of his 
qualities. " For however the archbishop of Ravenna might 
be no example of piety or holiness, as the spiritual head of 
Christendom, he appears to have been highly qualified for 
the secular part of his office. He was a man of ability and 
daring, eminently wanting at this juncture to save Rome 
from becoming the prey of Mohammedan conquest." 8 
Gregorovius goes so far as to give it as his opinion that, 

1 A sharp letter of John X. to the abbot of Bobbio, first published 
by Mons. P. Piacenza (Parma, 1901), shows with what firmness he 
could reprehend ecclesiastics. The conclusion of the letter would 
seem to prove that some at least of the tenth century Popes preserved 
their letters. "Exemplar autem hujus nostri scripti apud nos in 
Scrinio S. R. E. retinemus, per quod te, si contemptor existeris, 

2 Hemans, Medieval Christ, in Italy, p. 1 5. 
1 Milman, Latin Christ., iii. 291. 

JOHN X. 151 

in vigour and independence of character, John X. was 
superior to John VIII., and was the foremost statesman of 
the age. And at the conclusion of his account of this 
pontiff he writes : x " John X., however, the man whose sins 
are known only by report, whose great qualities are con- 
spicuous in history, stands forth amid the darkness of the 
time as one of the most memorable figures among the 
Popes. The acts of the history of the Church praise his 
activity, and his relations with every country of Christendom. 
And since he confirmed the strict rule of Cluny, they 
extol him further as one of the reformers of monasticism." 

That which caused Baronius and earlier authors, who were Liutprand 
not cognisant of many documents which have since been John x. 
brought to light, to execrate the memory of John, and that 
which makes even modern writers speak in his praise 
with a certain amount of reservation, is the account of him 
to be read in the pages of Liutprand. That writer, who 
may be said to be solely responsible for the charges of 
immorality brought against Sergius III., was only born 
during the pontificate of John X., and makes as many 
mistakes in his story of that Pope as he did in that of 
Sergius III. However, he relates 2 that whilst a certain 
Peter, the second in succession from Romanus, was arch- 
bishop of Ravenna, he had occasion frequently to send John, 
who was then his procurator {minister sues ecclesice), to Rome 
on business. Captivated by his handsome appearance, 
Theodora I. " compelled " him to sin with her repeatedly. 
In the meanwhile, the See of Bologna falling vacant, John 
was chosen its bishop, but before his consecration as 
bishop, Peter of Ravenna died. By the influence (instinctu) 

1 Rome, iii. 280. Cf. p. 259. 

2 Ant., ii. 48. "Theodora .... veneris calore succensa, in hujus 
spetiei decorem vehementer exarsit, seque hunc scortari solum non 
voluit, verum post etiam atque etiam compulit." 

152 JOHN X. 

of Theodora, John, against the canons, usurped the 
archiepiscopal see. Then, as the Pope who consecrated 
John at Rome died soon after he had performed that act, 
Theodora, unable to bear the thought of the distance that 
separated her from the object of her affections, " compelled " 
John to desert the See of Ravenna and usurp that of Rome. 

In this short narrative there is a complete confusion of 
time and person. Of time: according to Liutprand, the 
Pope who consecrated John died shortly (modica temporis 
intercapedine) afterwards, and was succeeded by John. 
Now, it is certain from authentic documents 1 that John was 
archbishop of Ravenna as early as the year 905, and 
consequently, that he did not succeed his consecrator, who 
must have been Sergius III.; nor was the interval between 
his consecration as bishop of Ravenna and his enthronisa- 
tion as Pope merely a trifling one. Of person : the bishop 
Peter, mentioned by Liutprand, if anybody at all, must 
have been Peter, bishop of Bologna, who ordained John 
deacon. The bishop of Ravenna at that time was Kailo. 2 
Leaving, then, to such as prefer to accept it, the story 
of Liutprand, "who was born during John's pontificate, 
and the value of whose statements is diminished by the 
frivolity of his character," 3 John's early career will now be 
sketched from more reliable sources. 

Though it might be argued from the catalogue of Peter 
William 4 that the subject of this biography, the son of 
another John, was a native of Ravenna, there seems to be 
a reliable tradition that he was really born some seven 
miles from Imola, at a place on the Santerno, whence the 
appellation " of Tossignano " is added to his name. 
Ordained deacon by Peter, bishop of Bologna, he was 

1 In Fantuzzi, Mon. Rav., cited by Liverani, ii. 194. 

2 Invect.) p. 836. 3 Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 249. 
4 L. P., ii. 240. 

JOHN X. 153 

elected in 905 to be archbishop of Ravenna. 1 According 
to Liverani, 2 he had, whilst archbishop, to vindicate his 
rights both against a would-be usurper of his see, and 
against the abbot of the famous monastery of Nonantula, 
who was anxious to free it from the control of the arch- 
bishops of Ravenna. 

From the ancient chronicle of Monte Cassino, just cited, Elected 

Pope, 914. 
it appears that John was invited to be bishop of Rome by 

the nobles ; i.e., by a faction of them probably. Of this 

party Theodora may very well have been one, if not the 

head. It is generally agreed that John of Ravenna took 

possession of the Roman See in March 914. That he is 

called an intruder into the Holy See by various historians 

more or less contemporary, is due to the fact that they 

disapproved of translations from see to see, and called all 

such as left one see for another intruders. 

From whatever motive John was summoned to be the 

head of the Church, whether it was the one assigned by 

Liutprand ; whether it was because he was known to be 

an opponent 3 of the ordinations of Formosus; or whether 

it was because he was thought to be qualified for the 

position, certain it is that he at once showed himself the 

man whom the times imperatively needed. 

1 This statement is made from a comparison between the author of 
the hivectiva, who was opposed to John, but wrote during his reign, 
and the Chron. S. Bened. Cas., ap. M. G. SS. Langob., p. 484, and 
Liutprand. The passage of the Invect. is corrupt. It runs : " Defuncto 
vero Petro, idem Joannes Bonihensem (?) ecclesiam, vivente Kailone, 
.... invadere praesumpsit .... qua (?) relicta .... Romanam 
ecclesiam .... usurpavit," p. 836. Probably defimcto and vivente 
have changed places, and Bonihensem should be Ravennatem, as it is 
certain that the see which John exchanged for Rome was Ravenna, 
and there would be no violation of the canons in a deacon of the See of 
Bologna becoming its bishop. 

il, p. 194 ff. 

3 Duchesne, De Fe/at fiont., p. 169, on what authority I know not, 
says that he did condemn the ordinations of Formosus. 

154 J0 HN x - 

Casting his glance round the Church to ascertain what 
called most urgently for his attention, John soon saw that 
no good could be done by him until the terrible ravages of 
the Saracens on the Garigliano and in the Sabina were 
stopped. These marauders had been the scourge of south 
Italy from before the middle of the preceding century ; and, 
from 882, when they established themselves on an eminence 
above the right bank of the Garigliano l which separated the 
petty principalities of Gaeta and Capua, they were con- 
stantly ravaging the surrounding country even up to the 
walls of Rome. The famous abbeys of Monte Cassino, of 
Farfa, and of St. Vincent on the Volturno had all been 
sacked by them. To no purpose had Pope Stephen 
(V.) VI. brought about an attack on them. Equally 
fruitless was the assault conducted in 903 by Atenulf I., 
prince of Capua. The Saracens replied by desolating the 
patrimony of Silva Candida. 

Urged on as much by indignation against the people of 
Gaeta, who had basely allied themselves with the enemies 
of Christendom, as by hatred of the Saracens themselves, 
Atenulf 2 had already been endeavouring,before the accession 
of John X., to obtain the aid of the Greek Emperor Leo 
against the infidels. Accordingly, when the Pope consulted 
him as to what was best to be done against them, he bade 
him seek help from Byzantium, and from Camerino and 
Spoleto. u If we conquer," he concluded, "let the victory 
be imputed to God and not to our numbers. If we are 
defeated, let our discomfiture be set down to our sins, but 
not to our want of effort." : * 

1 The mom Garlianus, says Gay {Ultalie mirid., p. 155 n.), must 
be identified with "monte d'Argento 1 ' or castrum Argenti near the 
mouth of the river. 

2 To him and to his son Landulf, Fedele would assign the lion's 
share in the formation of the league against the Saracens. 

1 Liut., Antap.y ii. 51. 

JOHN x. 155 

John took the proffered advice, and vigorously seconded 
the efforts of the princes of Capua. His legates were 
dispatched in all directions. Ships were asked from Con- 
stantinople ! to prevent aid from coming to the infidels by 
sea ; and, realising the importance of deepening the idea of 
Christian unity, the Pope sent, with many presents, legates 
to Berenger to offer him the imperial crown 2 in exchange 
for his help. Where John VIII. failed, John X. succeeded. 
A Christian league was formed. Owing especially to the 
diplomatic address of the Greek Admiral Picingli, even the 
various petty princes of southern Italy for once acted in 
harmony. With the forces of King Berenger, i.e., with 
the troops of the northern parts of Italy, and with those 
of the south, and supported by the Greek fleet, the Pope 
took the field in person, along with the Marquis Alberic I., 
in the spring of 915. After some preliminary engagements 
at Baccano and at Trevi, the Saracens were driven to 
their fastnesses on the Garigliano. A three months' 
blockade ensued.- At the end of that period, reduced 
to despair by hunger, the Saracens, burning their homes 
behind them, endeavoured to cut their way through their 
besiegers. Animated by the presence of the Pope, who 
freely exposed his person, 3 the allies met them with the 
greatest courage, pursued those who succeeded in cutting 
their way through the Christian lines, " and in this way, by 

1 Liut, Ant.) ii., 49 f. 

2 Paneg. Berengar.^ 1. iv., line 95 ff. : 

" Dona duci (Berenger) mittit, .... 
Quo memor extremi tribuat sua jura diei 
Romanis .... 

Imperii sumturus eo pro munere sertum ; 
Solus et occiduo Caesar vocitandus in Orbe." 

3 Writing to Herimann, archbishop of Cologne, John told him : 
" Saracenos, qui 60 jam annis terram Romanam vastassent .... 
dissipatos esse, se ipsum corpusque suum opponendo et secunda vice 
per se ipsum prcelium ineundo." Jaffe, 3556. 

156 JOHN X. 

the help and mercy of God, utterly eradicated them from 
those parts in the year of our Lord's incarnation, 915, 
the third indiction in the month of August." 1 For 
this victory the Pope had to pay, just as his namesake 
John VIII. had had to do on a similar occasion. The 
duke of Gaeta was induced to abandon his Saracen allies 
only on condition that the grant of Traetto, etc., made him 
by John VIII., was secured to him by John X. 2 At any 
rate, it was confirmed to him, " because, for the love of the 
Christian faith, he had fought hard to drive the Saracens 
from all the territory of the apostles." For long years 
after, the place where this most important engagement was 
fought was known as * The Field of Battle " ; and an extant 
inscription shows that local buildings served for a consider- 
able time to keep fresh the memory of the happy day 
when the Saracens were expelled from their fortress on 
the Garigliano. 

Although this campaign of John is called by Muratori 
" a glorious undertaking," the appearance of the " Vicar of 
Christ, the Pacific," at the head of an army seems to have 
shocked that pious and learned ecclesiastic. For our own 
part, however, remembering that our Lord was not always 
" The Pacific," but that He could become angry, make a 

1 Leo Ost., C/iron. Cas. y i. 52. Fedele has certainly proved that 915 
and not 916 is the correct date of the battle. Gregorovius, Rome, 
iii. 267, n. 2, is mistaken when he refers to John X. the words in the 
Chron. Salernit., c. 143. They refer to the yo uthful John XII. 

-' This is deduced from Leo Ost., ft, ii. 35, and the decree of the 
Placitum, "apud Argenteum Castrum," near Traetto, in 1014, which 
quoted confusedly grants of John VIII, John X., and Benedict IV., 
on the strength of which the dukes of Gaeta had tried to encroach on 
the domains of the monastery of Monte Cassino. See the decree, 
already often quoted, in Liverani, iv., 33 f. To the bull of John VIII. 
are appended details and signatures from that of John X. Liverani's 
account of the campaign against the Saracens is unfortunately marred 
by his having freely used the Chronic. Due. NeapoL, now recognised 
as a forgery of its editor, Pratilli. 

JOHN X. 157 

scourge, and drive men before Him by means of it, we 
are content to regard the warlike achievements of John as 
a " glorious undertaking," simply and unreservedly. Good 
work had to be done, and John did it. The influence of 
the Pope alone was then powerful enough to bring together 
into harmony, even for a short space, the discordant 
elements which then composed the ruling powers in Italy. 
What his influence alone could bring together, his presence 
alone could keep together. John's appearance in the 
Christian camp on the Garigliano gave courage to the 
soldiers and unity to their leaders. And this was the 
view of his action which Rome took of his deeds at 
the time. Benedict of Soracte tells us of the magnificent 
triumphal reception accorded by the Romans to the 
victorious pontiff and to the Marquis Alberic, who had 
fought against the Saracens "like the bravest of lions." 
Be all this as it may, an act of no little importance, 
for the advancement of the cause of law and order in 
Italy, had been accomplished by John X. In proceeding 
to place the imperial crown on the brow of King 
Berenger, the same sacred cause was again furthered 
by him. 

Blind, and so confined to his ancestral kingdom, it was Corona- 
obviously impossible that Louis of Provence could exert Berenger, 

T~)pc QIC 

any influence which would make for the regeneration of 
the peninsula. The only man in it calculated, from his 
power and nationality, to command any respect at this 
period was King Berenger. To him, then, had John 
naturally turned. And though such historical records as 
we possess have not left us any precise account of the 
share that Berenger had in the league against the Saracens, 
it cannot be doubted that he did promote its ends, and 
that he received the imperial crown as the promised reward 
of his services. The details of his coronation are furnished 

158 JOHN X. 

us by his anonymous panegyrist. 1 With such troops as 
he could muster, Berenger marched to Rome. Great 
was the joy of the populace when the king's heralds 
announced his approach. Looking forward to an ameliora- 
tion of the existing state of things, the people streamed 
forth to meet and welcome the king, who, as usual, passing 
beneath the Mons Gaudii, or Monte Mario, encamped in 
the Neronian Field, about a mile from Rome. Thither 
to greet him proceeded the " Senate " and the different 
" Scholae " of the foreigners, all chanting the usual " laudes," 
and bearing banners ornamented with the heads of eagles, 
lions, wolves, and dragons. Each nation acclaimed the 
emperor-elect in its own language. First the Romans, 
then the Greeks (Dcedaleis Grains sequitur landare 
loquelis), and then the other nationalities in order. The 
procession was closed by the son "of the consul 
(Theophylact)," and by the brother (Peter) "of the Apos- 
tolicus" (John X.), who, in token of submission, kissed the 
feet of the king. Riding on one of the Pope's horses, 
Berenger advanced through the surging masses of the 
people anxious to see the new emperor to the vestibule of 
St. Peter's, where at the top of the steps the Pope was 
awaiting him. Dismounting from his horse, Berenger as- 
cended the steps with no little difficulty, so demonstrative 
in its greetings was the pressing crowd. After he had been 
greeted by the Pope with kiss and hand-shake, both stood 
before the gates of the basilica, while Berenger renewed all 
the promises made by his imperial predecessors to the Roman 
See. 2 The gates were then thrown open, and, as the Pope 
and the king entered the basilica, the clergy intoned the 
" laudes" in their honour. After praying before the shrine 

1 Ap. R. I. SS., II., p. i. p. 406 f. ; or ap. M.G. PP., iv. 

2 /. " . . . . ctenim se cuncta loco vovet ultro daturum, 

Qu?e prius almifici sacris cessere tyranni." 

JOHN X. 159 

of St. Peter, the Pope and the king adjourned to the palace 
adjoining the basilica. On the following Sunday, 1 probably 
December 3, amid the excited shouts of an easily aroused 
crowd, who called on the Pope " by the chains of the 
Master (St. Peter)" not to delay the coronation, Berenger 
was anointed and crowned. Again were raised the " laudes," 
praying for long life for the new emperor, and that he 
might have strength to free the empire from the burdens 
under which it was groaning. 

" . . . . Imperiumque gravi sub pondere pressum 

But for the evil times, sighs the panegyrist of Berenger, 
John and Berenger might have been Sylvester and Con- 
stantine the Great. 

The donations of previous emperors to the See of Peter 
were then confirmed by Berenger, and forbidden to be 
alienated ; while, in accordance with precedent, no small 
sum of money was distributed among the people. 

But the work accomplished by John, which might have The 
been productive of so much good for Italy, was destined iSSSf, 
not to last. As we have frequently remarked before, while 922 ' 
at this period the great nobles of Italy were thinking of 
nothing but their own personal gain, only the Popes had 
at heart the advantage of the whole country. " It must 
candidly be admitted," says Gregorovius, 2 writing of this 

1 It used to be thought that the words of the poet, which describe 
the emperor's coronation as taking place on the day on which our Lord 
rose again from the dead, necessarily referred to Easter Sunday. Extant 
diplomas (ap. Gregorovius, Liverani, etc.), which show that Berenger 
was emperor in December 915, prove that the poet merely meant to 
designate the first day of the week. A charter of Berenger, published 
by Muratori, Annal.,915, shows him at Lucca on November 10. It 
sets forth that he was marching to Rome " pro timore Dei, et statum 
omniumque sanctarum Dei ecclesiarum electorum Populo hie Italicis 
abitantibus, animaeque suae mercedem justitiam adimplendam," etc. 

2 Rome, iii. 272. 

160 JOHN X. 

period, "that during a long period the Papacy was the 
sole power in Italy, even in a political aspect, and that in 
its absence the country would have sunk into yet deeper 
distress." In the present case, finding that in Berenger 
they would soon have a master, Adalbert, marquis of 
Ivrea, Berenger's own son-in-law, Odelricus, count of the 
palace, Lambert, archbishop of Milan, and others conspired 
against the emperor, and summoned to the throne of Italy 
Rodolf II., king of Transjurane Burgundy. 1 He came at 
the end of 921 or at the beginning of 922 ; and about the 
same time too came the dread Hungarians. 2 Whether 
summoned by Berenger or used by him as they chanced to 
be in Italy, the Hungarians, or some of them, fought for 
the emperor. The condition of Italy may be more easily 
imagined than described. Despite his Hungarians, the 
tide of war set in steadily against Berenger, and in the 
midst of it he fell by the knife of an assassin (March 924). 

But, true to their plan of keeping themselves independent, 
while they played off one foreign ruler against another, 
certain nobles now invited into Italy Hugh, king of Provence, 
the successor of Louis the Blind, and the grandson of 
Lothair II. by his mistress Waldrada. This time the 
fickle jade Fortune turned against Rodolf, and he had to 
return to his ancestral kingdom (926). In the summer of 
the same year, u God, whose will it was that Hugo should 
reign in Italy, brought him by favouring gales to Pisa," 
according to the expression 3 of his protg Liutprand. 
This unworthy monarch, who showed that he had fully 

1 Liutprand, Ant., ii., c. 57 f, ed. Diim. 

2 Ann. Benev., ann. 922, cited ib. Cf. Catal. Comitum Capita (ap. 
\f. G. SS. Langob., p. 500) : " Quarto die stante mense Feb. adventus 
Ungrorurn in Apuliam, indictione 10," i.e., Feb. 4, 922. Frodoard, 
Ann., 922, ascribes the advent of the Hungarians to the invitation of 

3 Ant., iii. 16. 

JOHN X. l6l 

inherited all his grandfather's lust, as even Liutprand 1 
allows, and whom Muratori stigmatises as " un picciolo 
Tiberio, una solennissima volpe, ed un vero ipocrita," is 
set down by the former as a man of equal learning and 
bravery, of no less boldness than skill, as a man who 
honoured God and those who loved religion, who looked 
carefully after the poor, who was eager for the honour 
of the Church and religion, and who loved and honoured 
learned men. 

It would seem that John had been largely instrumental 
in bringing Hugo into Italy. Not only does Frodoard 
say 2 that it was arranged at Rome that Hugo should be 
king of Italy, but the Pope's envoy was among the first to 
welcome him at Pisa. And soon after he had been 
acknowledged king of Italy at Pavia, he had an interview 
with John at Mantua, and concluded some treaty with 
him. 3 The terms of the agreement are not known, but it 
has been conjectured that John - stipulated for aid against 
the growing power of Marozia. If so, it will be seen that 
he did not get it. 

So far, the events themselves and their sequence are Troubles 
certain. We have now to treat of a state of things of which 
some of the issues are known with certainty, but not the 
events that led to them. Being in the dark, we can but 
walk carefully, feeling our way. In 925 died Alberic I. 
(the Upstart) ; and, to strengthen her position, his widow 
Marozia married Guido (Wido or Guy), marquis of 
Tuscany. Later writers, such as the author of the Greek 
chronicle of the Popes, Martinus Polonus, and other 
thirteenth century authors, speak of a difference having 

1 Ant, iii., 19: "Qui etsi tot virtutibus clarebat, mulierum tamen 
illecebris eas fedabat." 

2 AnnaL, 926 : " Hugo rex Romce super Italiam constituitur." 

3 Liut., ib., 17. 


1 62 JOHN X. 

arisen between Alberic and the Pope. They are so far in 
harmony with the contemporary evidence of Benedict of 
Soracte that what he attributes to Peter, the Pope's 
brother, they attribute to Alberic. Later writers then, 
as confusing Alberic with Peter, had better be left aside, 
and the narratives of Frodoard, Benedict, and Liutprand 
followed. Alberic, who had fought and triumphed side 
by side with the Pope, we therefore suppose remained 
true to him. After his death, and her marriage with 
Guido, the ambition of Marozia had freer scope. A 
struggle for power soon commenced between the newly 
married pair and the Pope. 1 They first directed their 
hostilities against John's brother Peter. Compelled to fly 
the city, Peter entrenched himself in Horta, and invoked 
the aid of some of the bands of Hungarians, who, as we 
have seen, had as early as 922 penetrated as far as Apulia. 
And it is precisely in this year (926) that Romuald of 
Salerno, only a twelfth century writer, it is true, chronicles 2 
the presence of Hungarians in the neighbourhood of 
Deposition At length, presuming, no doubt, that the terrible ravages 
of John x, of the Hungarians, who had laid waste the whole of 
a8. Une Tuscany with fire and sword, had sufficiently tamed its 
marquis and his wife, Peter returned to Rome. But Guido 
was as crafty as his half-brother, King Hugo. He con- 
trived secretly to collect a body of troops, and with them 
made an attack (928) on the Lateran palace when Peter 

1 " Orta est intentio inter matrcm Alberici et papa," Bened., c. 29. 
Frodoard, Ann., 928 and 9, speaks of the hostile acts of Guido and 
Marozia against John ; and Liutprand says, Ant., iii. 43 "Wido .... 
cum Marocia uxore sua de Johannis papae dejectione cepit vehementer 
tractare, atque hoc propter invidiam quam Petro fratri papae habebant." 

2 Chron., 926: "Campaniam ingressi (Ungri), non modicam ipsius 
provincial partem igni ac direptioni dederunt." Ap. R. I. SS., vii. 

JOHN X. 163 

was off his guard, and had but few soldiers with him. 1 He 
was cut to pieces before his brother's eyes, while John him- 
self was thrust into a dungeon. How long he lingered in 
prison, or how exactly he died, cannot be stated with any 
certainty. The most trustworthy of our authorities, 
Frodoard of Rheims, makes him live on in prison till the 
following year (929), where he died, according to the 
general belief, from grief. " Pope John," he records, " was 
deprived of his temporal authority (principatus) by a certain 
powerful woman 2 named Marozia, and, whilst confined 
in prison, died as some say by violence, but according to 
the general opinion from grief (929)." Benedict of Soracte 
also implies that John did not lose his life by any act of 
violence. Liutprand, the Annals of Beneventum, 3 and 
other authorities of less weight assert that John was either 
choked or suffocated with a pillow. According to a 
tradition, noted by Liverani, 4 John was seized whilst say- 
ing Mass, was hurried off to precipitous Veroli, nearly 
midway between Frosinone and Sora, and incarcerated 
in a cruel dungeon in the castle of St. Leucius. A 
movement of the people in the Pope's favour caused his 
enemies to take him back to Rome and put him to 
death. While therefore it is probable that John X. died 
a natural death, it is possible in his case, as in that 

1 " Contigit itaque Petro Romae degente, Widonem multos habuisse 
clam milites congregatos. Cumque die quadam papa cum fratre 
paucisque aliis in Lateranensi palatio esset, Widonis et Marociae super 
eos milites irruentes, Petrum .... interfecerunt." Liut., Ant, iii. 
43. Cf. Benedict, ib. ; and Frodoard, who says, ad. ann. 928, " Missus 
Heriberti comitis Roma revertitur, nuntians Johannem papam a 
Widone .... propter simultatem quandam inter illos exortam re- 
trusum in carcerem." 

2 Cf the verses of Frodoard, which will be quoted later as John's 
epitaph ; and also his verses on John XI. : " Decimum sub claustra 
Joannem quae dederat." 

3 M. G. SS., iii. 175, " In castro (Angeli) jugulatus." 

4 P- 535 f- 

1 64 JOHN X. 

of his great namesake John VIII., that he died by 

The circumstances attending the death of John X. show 
us in the first place that Hugo, in whom the Pope seems to 
have placed hopes, was unable or unwilling to help him, 
and that we have certainly reached the times spoken of 
by Bishop Bonizo of Sutri (fiocji) in his hopelessly con- 
fused jottings l regarding the Popes of the tenth century, 
when " the Roman nobles seized the supreme civil power," 
and the days over which the monk Benedict laments that 
Rome had fallen beneath the yoke of women. 

Whilst all these important political events, which 
terminated so disastrously for him, were in progress, John 
was watchfully attending to matters ecclesiastical both in 
the East and West. What he accomplished for the peace 
of the Church of Constantinople has been already narrated. 2 
But not with the Greeks only had he dealings in the east 
of Europe. He was in communication with the Slavs also, 
though at what period of his pontificate is not known with 
certainty. However, if John never thought of them before, 
he must have done so during the last two dread years of 
his pontificate; for, if the so-called Lupus Protospata 3 
and Romuald of Salerno have not made any mistake, the 
south of Italy was harried in the year 926 not only by 
Greeks, Saracens, and Hungarians, but also by Slavs. 

1 Published by Mai, Nova Pat. Bib., vii., p. 45, and by Duchesne, 
L. P., ii., and Watterich, i. u Et de Joanne Tusculano, cujus 
temporibus Romani capitanei patriciatus sibi tyrannidem vindicavere." 
This notice strictly refers to the times of a later Pope John ; to a John 
of the house of Tusculum. 

2 See the Life of Sergius III. 

3 A writer of the eleventh century. His Chronicle has been re- 
printed from M. G. SS., v., in P. L., t. 155. He draws largely from the 
Annals of Bari, which (ib.) say : " Comprendit Michael, Rex Sclavorum 
civitatem Sipontum mense Julio, die. S. Felicitatis, sec. feria, ind. 1 5. 
July 10, 926." 

JOHN X. 165 

Despite the prohibition of Stephen (V). VI. and of later Daimatia 


pontiffs, the Slavonic tongue continued to be used in the between 
Mass and the Liturgy of the Church generally, not only and 
among the more Eastern Slavs under the influence of the ntes. 
Church of Constantinople, but also among those of 
Daimatia, where the Latin rite had long been in more or 
less general use. SS. Cyril and Methodius had introduced 
the use of the Slavonic liturgy among them because, as 
they told Pope Hadrian, they found them so utterly rude. 
Very wisely, then, had their action been approved by 
Hadrian II. and John VIII. These pontiffs naturally 
concluded that it was not absolutely necessary that Mass 
should be said in Latin or Greek, and that it would be a 
mistake to alienate men from the Church for the sake of 
something which was not essential. Other Popes, how- 
ever, with less wisdom it would seem, did not take the 
view of Hadrian and John VIII. Of a surety, in order to 
draw closer the bonds of unity, it is desirable that the 
great sacrifice of the New Law should be offered up every- 
where in the same language ; and so, no doubt, it was the 
proper thing for John X. to prevent the Slav liturgy from 
replacing the Latin without reason. To this end, in 
response to a request from the civil and ecclesiastical 
authorities of the country, 1 he sent two bishops into 
Daimatia, and with them various letters. The first 2 
(c. 924) was addressed "to our brother John, archbishop 
of Salona (Spalatro), and to all his suffragans." In 
it John expressed his astonishment that they had so 
long neglected to visit the Roman Church, the rock of 
the faith ; and said he had learnt with sorrow that a 

1 See the acts of the council of Spalatro. 

2 No. 24, ap. Liverani, iv. ; or ap. Racki, Documenta hist. Chroaticce 
periodum antiqua7n (till the twelfth century) ilhistrantia. Agram, 1877, 
p. 188. In the acts of the council of Spalatro (924), Tamislaus is 
called "king of Croatia and Daimatia." 

166 JOHN X. 

doctrine which was not contained in Holy Writ, but in 
Methodius, was being preached in their province. He ex- 
horted them boldly to correct "throughout the Slavonic 
land " what stood in need of amendment, but in such a way 
that they presumed not to deviate from the doctrine of his 
envoys, and he told them to follow the custom of the Roman 
Church, and say Mass in Latin, because a good son 
should speak as his father dictated ; and, as the Slavs are 
" most special sons of the Holy Roman Church," they 
must remain in the doctrine of their mother. Another 
letter 1 to the same effect was addressed to Tamislaus, king 
of Croatia, and to Michael, most excellent duke of 
Zachulmia (Herzegovina), to our most reverend brother 
John, archbishop of the most holy Church of Salona, to all 
his suffragans, to all the Zupans, and to all the priests and 
people throughout Sclavonia and Dalmatia. In addition 
to repeating what he had already said to the archbishop, 
the Pope gave them an important piece of instruction when 
he begged them to have their children trained in the 
science of God from their very tenderest years, so that by 
their exhortations they might themselves be drawn away 
from the allurements of sin. 

The Pope's words were not without their effect. A 
council was assembled at Salona. Besides vindicating the 
primacy of Dalmatia and Croatia for the bishop of Salona, 
and passing various disciplinary canons, 2 the synod forbade 
the ordination of anyone ignorant of Latin, and forbade 
Mass to be said in Sclavonic, except in case of a dearth of 
priests, and with leave from the Roman pontiff. In con- 
clusion, the assembled bishops decided that all the decrees 
they had drawn up were to be sent to Rome for the con- 
firmation of the Pope, in accordance with the ancient 

1 Liverani, No. 25, or Raki, I.e., p. 187. 
1 No. 29, ap. Liverani ; or KaCki, p. 190. 

JOHN X. 167 

custom of the Church in their country. 1 In due course 
John wrote back 2 to inform the Dalmatian bishops that 
he confirmed " whatever our legates have with you decreed 
in synod," with one exception. This had reference to the 
jurisdiction of Spalatro over the Croatian bishop of Nona. 3 
The council had asserted that jurisdiction (can. 11), and 
Nona had appealed to Rome. John reserved to himself 
the decision of the question of jurisdiction, and summoned 
the parties to Rome. No doubt in this matter of the 
dependence of the Croats, through their bishop, on the 
archbishop of Spalatro, political questions were involved. 
However, in any case, through the contumacy of Gregory 
of Nona, as Liverani supposes, 4 the disputants did not go 
to Rome. Death prevented John X. from completely 
finishing the affair; but he lived long enough to send 
fresh letters (now lost) and more legates to settle it. The 
new embassy, of which Bishop Madalbert was the head, 
first made its way to Bulgaria to negotiate a peace between 
the Croats and Bulgarians. When this task had been suc- 
cessfully accomplished, Madalbert presided at a synod in 
Spalatro (926-927), at which, besides various bishops, the 
king of Croatia and his nobles were also present. After a 
careful examination of the ancient customs of the province, 
it was decided that Spalatro must keep the primacy ; but 
that, as of old there used not to be a bishop in Nona, 
Gregory might select one of those ancient sees, like Scodra, 
where there used to be a bishop, and preside over it. Then, 
with a grim humour which is not often found in synodal 
decrees, the council further decided that if Gregory was 

1 Id., " Quatenus divinitus antiquae religionis dogma in ecclesiis 
Dalmatiarum arbitro summi pontificis universa praelibata sortirentur." 

2 lb., 30. 

3 The ancient ^nonae, in Slavonic Nin, some ten miles north of 

4 ii. 496 f. 

1 68 JOHN X. 

enamoured of the burden of the episcopate, and was not 
content with one diocese, he might take two more of the 
extinct dioceses "to his own loss and theirs," as the 
difficulties of the country prevented easy communication 
between its parts. 

These decisions were first solemnly confirmed by 
Madalbert 1 and then by John's successor. Perhaps 
the only document of Leo VI. which has come down to 
us is the one in which he announces that he has granted 
the pallium to Archbishop John, orders all the bishops 
of Dalmatia to obey him, and bids Nona to be content 
with Scodra, and the other bishops to confine themselves 
to the limits of their dioceses. 2 

But the legates of John X. were seen not only among 
the southern Slavs. They were to be found among a 
people (the Bulgarians), Slav in fact if not in name, whose 
power at this period stretched almost to the walls of 
Constantinople. When John became Pope, the Bulgarians, 
under their great Tsar Simeon (892-927), the younger 
son of Bogoris the correspondent of Nicholas I., reached 
the height of their power. A man of great ambition, 
Simeon was ever striving to increase his sway. And as 
he was ever at war with Constantinople, he caused 
the Bulgarians to renounce spiritual obedience to its 
patriarch, and began merely for his own ends to make 
overtures to Rome. John responded, and exerted himself 
in the first place to try to bring about peace between the 
Bulgarians and the Eastern empire. When he sent 
bishops Theophylact and Carus to bring the Greek Church 
to peace on the " fourth-marriage " question, he gave them 

1 See the acts of this synod, ap. Raki, p. 194 f. " Madalbertus . . . . 
omnia .... sancivit .... (et) cuncta .... Romano pontifici fuerint 
praesentata, et ab eo divina auctoritate et S. Petri per suas litteras et 
palii missionem confirmata. 

2 RaCki, p. 196 ; Jaflfe, 3579 (2742). 

JOHN X. 169 

instructions to visit Simeon on their return. Much of 
this is made known to us by a most interesting letter of 
the patriarch, Nicholas I., to " Prince Simeon." This letter 
also shows the respectful views views we have already 
noted entertained, at times at least, by Nicholas on the 
position of the Pope in the Universal Church. After 
complaining that Simeon had ceased to display towards 
him proper filial obedience, the patriarch went on x to say 
that he was impelled to approach him again not only by 
his former love for him, but also by the authority of the 
Pope, which is very weighty among all good men and whom 
it is wrong not to obey. When the Pope had heard of 
the sufferings of the people of the empire, he sent 
Theophylact and Carus, two bishops, to induce you 
(Simeon) to make peace, or, if you refused, to excommuni- 
cate you. He (the patriarch) had not sent the bishops to 
him, because report had it that he was wont to maltreat 
even ambassadors. He had, therefore, persuaded the legates 
to stop with him, and had forwarded him the Pope's letters, 
which he trusted Simeon would obey. u For do not 
imagine that you can behave towards the Roman pontiff 
in the same contemptuous manner as you have behaved 
towards me." Simeon was then assured that the Princes 
of the Apostles regarded injuries done to the Pope as done 
to themselves, and reminded him that they had inflicted 
death on Ananias and Sapphira, and blindness on Elymas. 
Peace was concluded between the Bulgarians and the 
Eastern empire in November 932. "One of the stipula- 
tions of the treaty was the public acknowledgment of the 
independence of the Bulgarian Church, and the official 

1 Ap. Liverani, iv., No. 19, ad an. 921-3. " Hinc fit, ut cum priscus 
ille, quo te sum prosectus, amor, turn etiam SS. Romani papae, cui 
minime parere, nefas, gravis apud bonos omnes auctoritas, me in 
lacrymas et preces ire, iterum impellat." This letter may be read in 
the original Greek (ep. 28), ap. P.G., t. III. 

170 JOHN X. 

recognition of Damian, archbishop of Dorostylon, as 
Patriarch of Bulgaria both by the emperor and the Patriarch 
of Constantinople." x What influence the letters of the 
Pope may have had in promoting this useful peace it is 
impossible to say, but they show how utterly baseless was 
the supposition, noted by Finlay, 2 that Simeon formed 
" an alliance with the Pope, who sent him a royal crown to 
reward his hostilities against the Byzantine empire and 
Church." We have recorded elsewhere 3 what evidence 
there is that royal crowns were sent to the Bulgarian 
rulers Simeon, Peter, and Samuel by the Popes about this 
period. Whether they ever were sent or not, they 
were never bestowed as rewards for their barbarous acts 
of war. 

The Bulgarian Tsar Peter (927-968), however, who, like 
his father the great Tsar Simeon, is presumed to have 
been crowned by the Pope, is said 5 to have again become 
subject to Rome, along with his autocephalous patriarch, in 
967. In any case, Greek influence resumed its sway in 
Bulgaria after the fall of the first Bulgarian empire in the 
beginning of the eleventh century. 

But Theophylactus and Carus were not the only legates 
sent by John to the Bulgarians. Negotiations between 

1 Finlay, The Byzantine Empire, p. 369, n. 2. Cf. d'Avril, Bulgarie 
chrctienne, p. 14. Finlay adds : "The patriarchal dignity in Bulgaria 
was abolished by John I. (Zimiskes) when he conquered the country in 
972. The Greek writers err, therefore, in asserting that the head of the 
Bulgarian Church was never officially recognised as a patriarch by the 
Church of Constantinople." For a brief season, under another great 
Tsar, Samuel (tioi4), the Bulgarian Church again asserted its inde- 
pendence of Constantinople. After the fall of its first Empire, Bulgaria 
was under Greek supremacy both in Church and State from 1018 to 
1 186. 


L iii. p. 253 of this work. Cf. Theiner, Vet. Afon. Slavorum 
/, i., p. 15 f. ; and 23-25. 

d Avril, I.e. 

JOHN X. 171 

the Pope and Simeon continued. A Bulgarian envoy 
appeared in Rome, and returned to his master with 
Bishop Madalbert as the Pope's legate. Again the work 
of the Pope was peace. The exertions of Madalbert put 
an end to the war which was being waged between the 
Bulgarians and the Croats. 1 The deaths both of John X. 
and the Tsar Simeon, within a few months of each other, 
closed negotiations between them. 

While Franks, Germans, Slavs, Bulgarians, and Greeks Germany. 
were tossing the torch of battle from one end of Europe to of Aitheim, 
the other, from West to East and East to West, and striving 
to sever with the sword every bond that bound them 
together, there was, fortunately for the future, one chain 
that linked them at least indirectly together. One and all 
of them turned with hope to Rome. And among them all 
went the legates of John, preaching the blessings of peace 
and order. As among the eastern peoples of Europe, so 
among the western were to be found envoys from Rome. 
And if from Germany there was soon to come redemption, 
dearly bought it is true, but still redemption for the Papacy, 
so now we find the Papacy itself helping to fashion its 
redeemer. The troubles of Germany had not ended with 
the death of Louis the Child and the accession of the bold 
and energetic Conrad I. of Franconia (91 1-91 8). He had to 
face serious difficulties at home and abroad. Though king 
in name, he was in fact hardly more than ruler of Franconia, 
hardly more powerful than the dukes of Saxony, Swabia, 
and Bavaria, which with Franconia itself and Lorraine or 
Lotharingia constituted Germany. He was in perpetual 
conflict with the young Duke Arnulf of Bavaria and his 
two uncles Erchanger and Berthold. To add to his 
difficulties Henry, duke of the Saxons, who was destined 

1 Cf. Farlati, lllyricum Sacrum, iii. 103 rT., cited ap. Liverani, ii. 
497 ff. ; or Racki, I.e., pp., 194-5. 

172 JOHN X. 

to succeed him, abandoned him, and went over to one of 
his external foes, Charles the Simple. Charles, as a 
descendant of the Carolingian emperors by the male line, 
was indignant that he had not been chosen to succeed 
Louis, but had been rejected for one connected with them 
only on the female side. He seized Lorraine by force of 
arms, perhaps invited so to do by its nobles. 1 Conrad's 
rivals, quite in the selfish style of those times, brought 
another external foe down upon him, viz. the terrible 
Hungarians. Amidst all these troubles the clergy stood 
by Conrad ; and cruelly did many of them suffer for their 
loyalty. Their knowledge of ecclesiastical unity, their own 
connection with the centre of religious unity, naturally 
made them desire a national unity. To further this end, 
they met together at Altheim (now Hohenaltheim) in 
September 916, "in presence of Peter, bishop of Horta 
and apocrisiarius of the Pope," as the preface of the acts 
of the council declares. 2 The preface went on to say : 
"The Pope's legate has been sent to destroy the seed 
sown in our country by the devil, and to make head 
against the machinations of wicked men. ... He has laid 
before us a letter of exhortation sent us by the Pope. This 
we received with all due respect, and after tearfully recog- 
nising our faults and our unworthiness, we have, under the 
guidance of the Holy Spirit, drawn up the following decrees 
for our own amendment and that of our people." Bishops, 
according to them, were to show themselves the salt of the 
earth, and devote themselves to preaching. Both clergy and 
laity were to take care to have no relations with excommuni- 
cated persons. The clergy are not to be judged by laymen. 
Whoever is condemned by the bishops of the province can 

1 Cf. Eckel, Charles le Simple, ch. iv. 

2 Af - G - LLn >i> P. 554 ; or Liverani, iv., No. 6 ; Hefele, Cone, vi. 
154 U "Generalis synodus apud Altheim." 

JOHN X. 173 

appeal to Rome, 1 in accordance with the law from the 
earliest times. After the publication of these and other 
similar decrees regarding clerical and general discipline, 
the bishops and clergy, with the concurrence of the people, 
passed resolutions condemnatory of those who swore 
loyalty to the king with their lips only, and affirmed their 
own devoted attachment to their sovereign. Erchanger and 
his accomplices, who have dared to act against their king, 
the anointed of the Lord, and treacherously to seize Bishop 
Salomon, must do penance in a monastery for the rest of 
their lives. The followers of Erchanger and the other 
traitors, who, summoned to the synod, did not come, were 
commanded, if they would avoid the excommunication 
decreed against them in the Pope's letter, to go to their own 
bishops, and accept from them the penance prescribed by the 
synod. The bishops of Saxony, rebellious like their duke, 
did not come to the synod when summoned. If they do 
not obey a second summons to a council at Mayence, the 
legate and the synod, " by apostolic authority," forbid them 
to say Mass until they have justified themselves before the 
Pope at Rome (can. 30). The synod treated (can. 29) in 
the same way Richevin, bishop of Strasburg, on the 
ground of his being an intruder into that see. It has been 
suggested, with no small degree of probability, that 
Richevin's only crime was that he was devoted to the 
interests of Charles the Simple in Lorraine, and so hostile 
to Conrad. John X., at any rate, was a loyal supporter of 
Conrad, and evidently did all he could to further the 
formation of a strong monarchy in Germany. 

Many of John's letters are addressed to Herimann, Charles the 
archbishop of Cologne, a city at this period in the power 9 2. pe ' 

1 " Constitutum liquet a tempore app. et deinceps placuit, ut accusa- 
tus vel judicatus a comprovincialibus in aliqua causa episcopis, licenter 
appellet et adeat apostol. sedis pontificem." Can. 13. 

174 J HN x - 

of Charles the Simple. Several of them contain replies to 
various moral difficulties which the archbishop had proposed 
to him, while others were on the subject of the bishopric 
of Liege a subject quite on the same lines with that of 
Strasburg, and connected with intrigues between the Franks 
and the Germans for the possession of Lorraine. In May 
920, Stephen, bishop of Liege, breathed his last, and Charles, 
exercising a right sanctioned at least by ancient custom, 
nominated as his successor Hilduin, a priest of that church. 
As far as he himself was concerned, Charles seems to have 
made a bad selection. Hilduin straightway allied himself 
with Gilbert, duke of Lorraine, who was in open rebellion 
against him. Naturally indignant, the Frankish king 
cancelled the appointment of Hilduin, and nominated 
Richer, abbot of Priim and successor of the chronicler 
Regino. Supported, however, not only by Gilbert but also, 
as Charles declared, by Henry I., the Fowler, the successor 
of Conrad, 1 Hilduin forced Herimann, under threat of loss 
of life and property, to consecrate him ; and, again according 
to the capitulary of Charles, rewarded his supporters from 
the plunder of churches. The Frankish king and Richer 
then turned to the Pope. Herimann was soon (921) in re- 
ceipt of a letter 2 from the Pope, in which he was blamed for 
acting as he did through fear, " as ancient custom " required 
that no one except the king should nominate a bishop for 
any diocese a custom resting "on the authority of our 
predecessors." The archbishop, with both Hilduin and 
Richer, was summoned to Rome, and in the interim the 
new bishop was suspended from saying Mass. Charles 
was also informed of what the Pope had done, and of the 

1 Cf. Capit. of Charles, ap. Boretius, ii., p. 378. "Egit (Hilduinus; 
ut Hcrimannus Agrippinae civitatis archiepiscopus per violentiam 
Heinrici .... ilium in pontificem consecraret." 

2 Liverani, iv., Nos. 15, 16. 

JOHN X. 175 

good offices used in his behalf by the Emperor Berenger. 
Richer (922) not only won his case, but was consecrated l 
by the Pope himself, while his rival was excommunicated. 
However anxious John may have been for a powerful 
German monarchy, he would not have its power increased 
at the expense of the king of the Franks. In fact, in the 
midst of all his troubles it was only on John X. that 
Charles could rely. 

We have already seen how Charles began to reign in Charles the 
face of an opposition from Eudes, count of Paris. In this treacher- 
very year (922) he had to fight for his crown against Robert, seized, 923. 
the brother of Eudes, whom some rebels had caused to be 
crowned king. Though Robert lost his usurped crown 
with his life in 923, the troubles of Charles were not over. 
Raoul or Rodolf, duke of Burgundy and brother-in-law 
of Robert, was called to succeed him. In these confused 
and wretched times no king could rely upon any one. 
Charles was treacherously seized (923) by a relation, 
Heribert, count of Vermandois, and kept under restraint till 
his death (929), in order that Heribert might have a weapon 
with which, if necessary, to fight Rodolf, whom he had him- 
self helped to the throne. Against the treason of Heribert 
John alone raised his voice. He threatened the count with 
excommunication unless he restored Charles to freedom. 
But with such men as he had to deal with John could 
effect little, and had to be content with the assurance of 
Heribert that he would do his best to fulfil the Pope's 
wishes, 2 but that he himself had not conspired against 

1 Folcuini, Gest. abb. Lob. Cf. Frodoard, Ann., 920, 22 ; Richer, 
Hist., i. 22, 25. 

2 Frod., Ann., 923 and 8 ; Richer, i., 47 and 54. I quote Waitz's re- 
print from M. G. SS., iii. It may here be noted that the authority of 
Richer, who was a monk of Rheims, who wrote at the very end of the 
tenth century, is debatable ground. To most French authors e.g. 
Masson, The Chroniclers of Europe : France, p. 54 he is well informed 

176 JOHN X. 

the king, though he had had to yield to circumstances. 
With these written assurances Heribert sent envoys 
to Rome begging the Pope to order the restitution of 
Charles. The envoys found John in the same straits 
as they had left Charles, i.e., in the power of an enemy, 
he boy Whilst these negotiations were in progress, the archi- 
Rheims.' episcopal see of Rheims became vacant, and Heribert forced 
the election to it of his son Hugh, a child of five years old. 
Among those who suffered in their goods or bodies for 
opposing this scandalous affair was our worthy historian 
Frodoard. Whether it was because John hoped to get some 
influence over the ruffian, and so move him to release his 
king, or because he thought that opposition would only 
breed greater evils, he at any rate confirmed the child's 
election. But, to minimise the mischief as far as he could, 
he entrusted the spiritual management of the diocese to 
the bishop of Soissons till the child was anything like 
old enough to be consecrated. When Heribert had thus 
gained his will, he flouted both Pope and king, bestowed 
the spiritual administration on another bishopaltogether.and 
did with the temporalities of the see just whatever he had a 
mind to do. 1 We shall hear of Hugh of Vermandois again. 
However, not all the great men among the Franks were 
unfaithful to God, or traitors to their king. Of the loyal 
few was Heriveus, archbishop of Rheims, successor of the 

and honest, while German writers regard his Historia Francorum, 
from 887 to 998, as inaccurate and as written under the influence of a 
false patriotism. An English writer {English Hist. Rev., 1900, p. 561) 
goes so far as to compare him with Dudo, and believes that the grain 
of truth will never be extracted from his writings unless new material 
comes to light. Lot (Les derniers Carolingicns, p. xvii.), however, is 
probably right in concluding that from 970, when he becomes original, 
M sa chronique est une source precieuse." 

1 Frod., Hist. Rem., iv. 20 f. Heribert gave all to understand that if 
his son were not elected he would split up the bishopric and give its 
fragments to foreigners. //'. 

JOHN X. 177 

murdered Fulk. Not only was he true to Charles to the 
end, but like a faithful steward he laboured hard for his 
Divine master among the pagan Normans. Frodoard tells 
us how " he often held synods with the suffragan bishops 
of his archdiocese, in which with wisdom and profit he 
worked for peace, for the spread of the faith of God's 
Holy Church, and for the well-being of the kingdom of the 
Franks. Nobly did he toil for the civilisation and con- 
version of the Normans .... until at length they received 
the faith of Christ. ... On this matter he was careful to con- 
sult the Pope of Rome j and on his advice he ever decided 
what had to be done for their conversion." x There is 
extant a letter of John X. in reply to some of the difficulties 
which presented themselves to the mind of the archbishop. 
He was much perplexed as to how far he ought to treat 
with rigour those who were constantly relapsing into 
idolatry. He received in answer (914) the following 
admirable letter, 2 often by mistake assigned to John IX. : 
" Your letter has filled me at once with sorrow and with 
joy. With sorrow at the sufferings you have to endure not 
only from the pagans, but also from Christians ; with glad- 
ness at the conversion of the Northmen, who once revelled 
in human blood, but who now, by your words, rejoice that 
they are redeemed by the life-giving blood of Christ. For 
this we thank God, and implore Him to strengthen them in 
the faith. As to how far, inasmuch as they are uncultured, 
and but novices in the faith, they are to be subjected to 
severe canonical penances for their relapsing, killing of 
priests, and sacrificing to idols, we leave to your judgment 
to decide, as no one will know better than you the manners 

1 " Insuper etiam Romanum pontificem super hujuscemodi negotio 
consulere studuit. Ad cujus consulta quae circa gentis hujus con- 
versionem exsequenda forent, insinuare non destitit." Hist. Rem., 
iv. 14. 

2 Liverani, n. 3. 

VOL. IV. 12 

178 JOHN X. 

and customs of this people. You will, of course, understand 
well enough that it will not be advisable to treat them with 
the severity required by the canons, lest, thinking they will 
never be able to bear the unaccustomed burdens, they return 
to their old errors." No doubt the wise and temperate 
counsel of the Pope was followed, for the conversion of the 
Normans seems to have gone steadily forward. 

Before proceeding with the narrative of the career of 
John X., enough has been said, we may note, to justify 
an adverse criticism of a remark made by Mr. Tout in 
his admirable little work, The Empire and the Papacy. 
Speaking of the period between 914 and 960, he remarks: 
" For more than a generation the Popes had almost ceased 
to exercise any spiritual influence." No doubt the want 
of anything like an easily accessible full biography of 
John X. may excuse Mr. Tout's remark, but it will not 
justify it, at least for the period during which that pontiff 
occupied the See of Rome. 
The Of all the relations of John X. with France, or the land 

Sciuny. of the Franks, certainly not the least important is his con- 
nection with the famous monastery of Cluny, which was to be 
one of the most potent of the forces that were to bring about 
the revival of order, learning, and morality in the eleventh 
century. A few years before John X. became Pope, 
William, count of Auvergne and duke of Aquitaine, founded 
(910) the monastery of Cluny near Macon. This he did, 
as the charter of its foundation beautifully expresses it, 1 
first for the love of God, then for the spiritual and temporal 
welfare of himself, his wife, relations, and dependants, for 
the preservation of the Catholic faith, and for all the faith- 
ful. It was to be a refuge for the poor, 2 who on leaving 

1 Ap. Labbe, ix. 565. 

2 lb. " Pr-ccipimus siquidem, ut maxime illis sit haec nostra donatio 
ad perpetuum refugium, qui pauperes de sasculo egressi, nihil secum 

JOHN X. 179 

the world would bring nothing into religion but a good 
will. It was to be under the special protection of the Pope, 
who was entreated to be its protector, and to sever from 
the Church and eternal life such as should usurp its goods. 
Of the work of reform effected by the Benedictine monastery 
of Cluny and its dependent houses, it may suffice to state 
here with Tout : 1 "As ever in the Middle Ages, a new 
monastic movement heralded in the work of reformation. 
As the Carolingian reformation is associated with Benedict 
of Aniane, so is the reformation of the eleventh century 
with the monks of Cluny." It was to protect the property 
of this important home of virtue and learning that Pope 
John wrote 2 to King Rodolf, and various bishops and 
counts. He instructs them to restore to Cluny the property 
of which Guido, abbot of Gigny, had, pending a judicial 
sentence, violently possessed himself, and to take under 
their special protection that monastery which had been 
placed under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy See. 

It is interesting to find that John's patronage was sought 
by other of Christendom's most famous monasteries not 
only in Gaul but in Germany (Fulda), Switzerland (St. 
Gall), and Italy (Subiaco). He even increased the posses- 
sions of the last-named monastery on condition 3 that each 
day the monks should repeat the Kyrie eleison and the 
Christe eleison one hundred times " for the salvation of his 
soul." From such conditions some argue that the authors 
of donations of that sort must indeed have felt themselves 
in need of intercessory prayer. But it must be borne in 
mind that the strange fact is that it is the good who are 
anxious to secure prayers for themselves, and not the bad. 

praeter bonam voluntatem attulerint, ut nostrum supplementum sit 
abundantia illorum." 

1 The Empire and the Papacy, ch. v., " The Cluniac Reformation." 

2 Liv., n. 26. 3 lb., 23. 

180 JOHN X. 

Hence, from his deed in favour of Subiaco (926), it may 
be concluded that, at least at this time, John was striving 
after virtue. 

Passing over other relations of John with France, e.g. 
with Geraldus, the forger of papal letters, we may mention 
one more of his "confirmations," viz. that in which he 
grants certain possessions to the bishop of Adria, the 
town which gave its name to the Adriatic, a few miles 
north of the point where the Po divides to flow by many 
mouths into the sea. He also gives him leave to erect a 
fort "in the place called Rhodige" (which brought the 
modern city of Rovigo into being), in order to protect 
his people "both against the pagans and the false 
Christians." 1 Similar permissions which we find granted 
at this period by kings and bishops were fruitful in great 
results. They called into existence the walled towns which 
became centres and strongholds of freedom. 

Such intercourse as we know that John X. had with 
Spain points in the same direction as his grant to Subiaco. 
It has long been the tradition in Spain that the apostle 
St. James, known as the Greater, preached for a time in 
that country, that his sacred remains were brought back 
there by his disciples after his death, and interred near Iria 
Flavia in Galicia. Lost sight of in the troubles which fell 
upon the peninsula in the break-up of the Roman Empire 
in the West, the saint's relics were discovered about the 
beginning of the ninth century, in the days of Alfonso II., 
the Chaste, and of Bishop Theodemir. By the king's 
orders a small church was built over the body of the 
apostle, and the episcopal See of Iria was transferred 
to the place, a few miles from that old city, afterwards 
known, from the apostle's name (Giacomo Postolo), or 
from the lights seen where his body was discovered, 2 as 
1 Liverani, n. 12. 2 Cf. in/ra, under the Life of St. Leo IX. 

JOHN X. l8l 

Compostela. 1 It was by virtue of two bulls 2 of John VI 1 1., 
addressed to Alfonso III., the Great, that the first sub- 
stantial church which had been erected there to the apostle 
was consecrated. 3 And thither it was that, in the be- 
ginning of his pontificate, John X. sent a legate who 
was the bearer of letters to the saintly bishop of the place, 
Sisenand. John had heard of his sanctity, and sent to beg 
his constant prayers to St. James in his behalf. 4 Sisenand 
in return sent a priest to Rome with letters from himself, 
and letters and presents from King Ordofio II. 5 

It is said that the Romans were as much astonished 
at the liturgy followed by the Spanish priest as he was 
at the one in use amongst them. Returning to Spain 
with books from Rome, he told what he had seen and 
heard about the ceremonies of the Mass. The liturgy 
question was at once investigated in a council, and, 
while it was decided that the Spanish rite was not out 
of harmony with the Catholic faith, it was agreed to alter 
its form of consecration {secreta missce) to that of the 
Roman liturgy. 8 Whatever truth there may be in this 
story about the liturgy, there is none in the statement 
put forth and accepted by Burke in his History of Spain 
(i. 229), by Liverani, etc., that John X. gave at least a 
qualified approval to the so-called Mozarabic liturgy (924). 
This assertion, as Hefele points out, 7 " rests on a single 

1 Chron. Iriense, c. 4, ap. Florez, Espana Sagrada, xx. 601. 

2 Cited by Sampiro, Roderick of Toledo (cc. 82-84), perhaps the 
best of the Spanish thirteenth-century chroniclers, etc. Cf. supra^ 
vol. iii. p. 340 ff. 

3 Cf. Chron. Iriense, 6, ap. Florez., I.e., p. 602. 

4 Chron. Iriense, c. 7, ap. Florez, Espana Sag., xx., p. 603. 

5 Chron., I.e. 

6 Villanuno, Summa Concil. HispanicE, i. 401 ; Barcelona, 1850. 

7 Life of Ximenez, Eng. trans., p. 183. The Mozarabic liturgy was 
that of those Spanish Christians who lived under the Arabs or Moors. 
The word Mozarabic seems to mean naturalised (Arabized). Hence 

182 JOHN X. 

document l which is certainly not genuine " ; and whatever 
of fact a supposititious document may preserve incidentally, 
that particular fact which it is its object to establish is 
certainly not true. 
England. So tempestuous was the confusion of this period, that 
its contemplation might easily lead one to think that all 
communication between England and Rome must have 
been suspended. Every now and then, however, the sun 
of truth, faintly illuminating some small spot, enables 
us to see that in even the darkest days of the tenth 
century our countrymen turned to Rome for purposes 
of piety, and for guidance in things both spiritual and 
temporal. Undeterred by the fact that in 923 the Saracens 
of Fraxineto had murdered " a multitude of English who 
were going to Rome to pray at the shrine of St. Peter," 2 
Wulfhelm, archbishop of Canterbury, made his way there 
in 927. 3 Thither too was sent, about the year 924, 
the English noble Elfred, under the following circum- 
stances. 4 The election of Athelstan, the grandson of 
Alfred the Great, as king of the English was opposed by 
one Elfred. The story of Elfred is thus told by Athelstan 
himself in one of his donations to the abbey of Malmesbury : 
" Be it known to the sages of our kingdom that I have not 

the Mozarabs were opposed to the Arabs proper. The Mozarabic 
liturgy was probably the old Spanish liturgy (which was essentially the 
same as the Roman) modified by time and contact with the Greeks and 
Visigoths and their liturgies ; or perhaps it was simply the liturgy of 
the Arian Visigoths as purged from error by their apostle, St. Leander. 
In any case, it is certainly not the composition of St. Isidore of Seville, 
as is often erroneously asserted. Cf. Explic. de la Messe, by Le Brun, 
Paris, 1843, t ii., Diss. 5. Cf. Lucas on " The Roman and Gallican 
Liturgies," in the Month, January 1902, and Dublin Review, October 1893 
and January 1894 ; Cabrol, Les origines lilurgigucs, p. 21 1 ft 

1 Ap. Florez, Esp. Sagrada, iii., app. 3, p. 29 f., and Villanuno, I.e. 

* Frodoard, Ann., 923. 3 A. Sax. Chron., ad an. 

4 Malmesbury, De Gest. Reg., 1. ii., p. 1104, ed. P. L., t. 179 
Bonn's translation is here used. 

JOHN X. 183 

unjustly seized the lands aforesaid, or dedicated plunder to 
God, but that I have received them as the English nobility, 
and, moreover, John, 1 the apostolic Pope of the Roman 
Church, have judged fitting, on the death of Elfred. He 
was the jealous rival both of my happiness and life, and 
consented to the wickedness of my enemies, who, on my 
father's decease, had not God in His mercy delivered me, 
wished to put out my eyes in the city of Winchester. 
Wherefore, on the discovery of their infernal contrivances, 
he was sent to the Church of Rome to defend himself 
by oath before Pope John. This he did at the altar of 
St. Peter; but at the very instant he had sworn, he fell 
down before it, and was carried by his servants to the 
English schola or quarter, where he died the third 
night after. The Pope immediately sent to consult with us 
whether his body should be placed among other Christians. 
On receiving this account, the nobility of our kingdom, with 
the whole body of his relations, humbly entreated that we 
would grant our permission for his remains to be buried 
with other Christians. Consenting, therefore, to their 
urgent request, we sent back our compliance to Rome, and 
with the Pope's permission he was buried, though unworthy,, 
with other Christians." Stories of this kind show in what 
a thoroughly paternal light the Pope was at this epoch 
regarded by the nations of the West, and how such 
temporal power and influence as he acquired in the later 
Middle Ages had their source in spontaneous acts of sub- 
mission offered to him by them, when they were in the 
days of their youth, and stood more in need of a father's 

But when his eyes were turned to the North, John saw John and 
even far beyond the isles of Britain. Before the close of Hamburg- 
the ninth century, the enterprising long-ships of the 
1 The commentator in Migne has John XI. by mistake. 

1 84 JOHN X. 

Northmen had not only discovered Iceland and Greenland, 
but had even conveyed colonists thither. These events 
must have made some sensation even in the tenth century, 
and John so far provided for the future establishment of 
Christianity there as to put those distant countries, more 
or less romantic even now, under the spiritual care of the 
archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen. On the death of Bishop 
Reinward in 917, King Conrad, who did not end his days 
till just before Christmas Day in 918, "by divine inspira- 
tion " selected to succeed him not the elect of the clergy 
and people, but the elect's chaplain, Wenni or Unni. At 
least so the story was told to the good canon Adam of 
Bremen in the following century. To Wenni, as the papal 
bull proves, did John X. send the pallium x (October 29, 
917). The privilege of John X. confirmed the bulls of 
Gregory IV., Nicholas I., etc., and granted Wenni the 
pallium and jurisdiction over the bishops in Sweden, Den- 
mark,Norway, Iceland, Scandinavia,Greenland, and in all the 
northern parts and in certain Slav localities. The privilege 
further subjected to the bishops of Hamburg all the 
countries they might bring to the faith. No doubt this 
final concession explains the subsequent introduction into 
the bull of " Iceland and Greenland," which had no 
bishops in 917. When these countries had been brought 
to the faith of Christ, some scribe who made a copy of 
the original bull after that event, would add their names 
to it ; for he would regard them as clearly subject to the 
archdiocese of Hamburg. In conclusion, the privilege 
declared that the jurisdiction of the bishops of Hamburg 
was not to be interfered with either by the bishop of 
Cologne or by any other bishop. The date of the bull 

1 "Cui (Unni) p. J. X., ut privilegium, palleum dedit." 
Ad. Brem., i., n. 56, ap. Migne, t. 146, p. 497. The bull is in Liverani, 
iv., n. 9. 

JOHN X. 185 

should be " the fourth year of Pope John and the fifth 
indiction," and not the first year of the Pope and the eighth 
indiction, as it appears in the printed editions. By such as 
question the authenticity of this document, it must be ever 
remembered that a bull is not shown to be invalid when it 
is shown that its date, as it is read in such copies as have 
weathered the storms of time, is not properly expressed ; 
that the existence of a bull of John X. is vouched for by 
Adam of Bremen, who had evidently examined it; and that 
nothing conclusive can be urged against the genuineness 
of the particular one which has come down to us. 

Amid the din of battle and the turmoil of faction John Buildings, 
found time to beautify the Lateran, though in what precise 
manner we know not. Benedict of Soracte 1 simply speaks 
of paintings and inscriptions placed by him in the Lateran 

This notice, however, is of value, as it apparently fixes John's 

place of 

the Pope s place of burial. For John the Deacon, in his burial 
oft-quoted description of the Lateran, speaks of the tomb 2 
of a Pope John in the atrium of the basilica near the 
principal entrance ; and, relying doubtless on some subse- 
quent verses of the epitaph of which he quotes the first 
line only, adds of this Pope John that he renewed the 
basilica. Now, as John X. is the only Pope of that name 
of whom we read that he repaired the Lateran basilica, we 
may reasonably conclude that the tomb spoken of by the 
deacon was that of John X. 

Correcting Cinagli and others, Liverani 3 maintains that Coins, 
there are only two and not three extant coins of John X., 
both bearing the names of the Pope and St. Peter, Rome 

1 Frodoard (see below) and Bonizo also mention this work of John. 

2 "Pontificis summi pausant ibi membra Joannis." Ap. P. Z,., 
194, p. 1551- 

3 it, p. 55i f. 

1 86 JOHN X. 

and Berengarius, M.P. for imperator. Since the time of 
Liverani, however, other similar coins have been found. 1 
Content- To show the good opinion of John entertained by 

poraries on 

John x. Frodoard, and that too though he had to suffer for John's 
action in the matter of the young son of Heribert of 
Vermandois, and to serve as his epitaph, we quote the 
words of that careful historian : 

"Surgit abhinc decimus scandens sacra jura Joannes. 
Rexerat ille Ravennatem moderamine plebem. 
Inde petitus ad hanc Romanam percolit arcem. 
Bis septem qua praenituit paulo amplius annis. 
Pontifici hie nostro legat segmenta Seulfo. 
Munificisque sacram decorans ornatibus aulam, 
Pace nitet, dum patricia deceptus iniqua 
Carcere conjicitur claustrisque arctatur opacis. 
Spiritus at saevis retineri non valet antris, 
Emicat immo rethera decreta sedilia scandens." 

In these words Frodoard tells how John was brought 
from Ravenna to Rome, and was Pope for rather over 
fourteen years. He tells of his gifts to his own archbishop, 
and of his decorating the Lateran. Whilst he was work- 
ing for peace, patrician guile cast him into prison ; but its 
black vaults could not enchain his soul, which ascended to 
the bright realms above. 

While the anonymous panegyrist of Berengarius, not un- 
naturally perhaps, praises the friend of his hero, extolling 
his zeal and wisdom, 2 Benedict of Soracte, who knows how 
to be very severe on a Pope when he likes, has no word 
to say against the moral character of John X. Finally, 
it is to be noted that not even John's one detractor, 
Liutprand, brings any charge directly against him after he 

1 Cf. Promis, and Pizzamiglio, Prime tnonctc papali, p. 61. The 
former also assigns to this Pope various coins which bear the name of 
John, but not that of any emperor. They would have been coined 
after 924. 

2 " Officio affatim clarus, sophiaque repletus." R. I. SS., ii., p. i., 405. 

JOHN X. 187 

became Pope. Even if, therefore, that inaccurate and 
slanderous historian is to be believed, and John must be 
set down as of loose character before he became Pope, 
his many glorious deeds are an indisputable testimony of 
his worth when Pope. If, according to Liutprand, he 
was the slave of Theodora while archbishop of Ravenna, 
he was not infatuated by Marozia when Pope of Rome. 


A.D. 928 or 928-9. 

The two immediate successors of John X. are mere shadows 

of whom we barely know " their exits and their entrances." 

The first of them was Leo, a Roman, the son of Christopher 

who had been primicerius under John VIII., and whose 

name appears in several papal documents belonging to the 

year 876. When Leo became Pope he was serving the 

Church of St. Susanna. Practically all we know of him, 

viz. his action in Dalmatia, 1 has been already told under 

the pontificate of John X. Ages ago Ptolemy of Lucca 2 

(fi327) declared that he could find nothing recorded of this 

Pope but that * he exercised no tyranny and died in peace, 

and that according to most writers he was buried in St. 

Peter's." Almost the same confession has to be made now. 

Frodoard simply says of him : 

u Pro quo celsa Petri sextus Leo regmina sumens, 
Mensibus hasc septem servat, quinisque diebus, 
Pncdecessorumque petit consortia vatum." 

Those who say he was placed on the papal throne by 
Marozia say what is perhaps probable ; while those who 
say he died in prison say what is certainly improbable. 

If with JarTe we suppose he became Pope in June 928, 
he must have died in February 929 ; but in December 928 
or January 929 if with Duchesne we hold that he was con- 
secrated somewhat earlier than June. 

1 His bull on this subject may be read ap. P. L., t. 132. 
1 Hist. Eccles.y 1. 17, c. 4. 



A.D. 929-93I- 

The shadow of Stephen VIII., a Roman, the son of 
Teudemund, and formerly cardinal-priest of St. Anastasia, 
the second successor of John X., is scarcely any better de- 
fined than that of Leo VI. ; and that too though he reigned 
longer. He was Pope for over two years and a half. 1 
While Ptolemy of Lucca 2 could find nothing more to say 
of him than that " his pontificate passed in peace, and in 
death his body to St. Peter's," the diligence of such moderns 
as Pflugk-Hartung has brought to light a few of his bulls 
in favour of monasteries in France and Italy. 3 

A silver coin with the name of Stephen, coupled with a coin (?) 

of* Pone 

that of St. Paul on the obverse, and on the reverse that of Stephen. 

Rome along with that of St. Peter, is assigned by Cinagli 

to this Stephen. Other authors, however, suppose it to 

be the work of some other Pope Stephen. There seems 

nothing about the coin to enable its ownership to be 

decided definitely. 

Of this Pope Frodoard writes : 

" Septimus hinc Stephanus binos prsefulget in annos, 
Aucto mense super, bisseno ac sole jugato, 
Disposita post quod spatium sibi sege locatur." 

Those who believe that in a verse each word is the un- 
shackled choice of the poet himself, and do not imagine the 

1 From (Jane), c. Feb. 929 ; (Duchesne), Dec. 928 or Jan. 929 to (J.) 
c. March 931 ; (D.) Feb. 931. 

2 L.c, c. 5. 3 Jane, Reg., 3581 (2743) 1 or ap. P. Z., t. 132. 



exigencies of the line itself have anything to do with the 
matter, will conclude from the word " praefulget " that our 
pontiff was illustrious by his shining virtues. It may be 
so ; but they have failed to pierce the gloom of the period 
and to shed any light on posterity. If, however, we can 
put faith in a twelfth century Greek document, 1 we must 
believe that Stephen VIII. was "the first Pope who was 
shameless enough to shave himself, and to order the rest 
of Italy to do likewise" ! In their anxiety to justify their 
position of schism, any charge was good enough for the 
Greeks to bring against the Roman pontiffs. 

1 Opusc, ii., c. 12, p. 170, ap. Hergenroether, Mon. Grczca ad Photium 

Coin of John XI. (From the Vatican Collection.) 


A.D. 931-936. 

Sources. Over and above the chroniclers already mentioned and 
certain privileges 1 (ap. P. ., t. 132, etc.) brought to light by the 
industry of modern research, a most important document for the 
history of these dark times was printed for the first time by 
Cardinal Pitra in 1885 (De Epp. et Regist. Rom. PP., p. 469 f. 
Cf. also p. 122 f.). It consists of a letter written to the Pope by 
Theodore Daphnopata, the secretary of the Emperor Romanus I., 
in his master's name. The MS. was found in Patmos by Sak- 
kelion ; but the cardinal has to express his regret that, owing to 
the very small and complex characters in which modern Greeks 
write, he does not feel quite sure that either in his Greek text or 
Latin version he has always perfectly reproduced the copy sent 
to him. 

To two shadows there succeeded, in the person of John XI., Position 

i t .1 , . , . . ,, , , , and parent- 

a puppet, a man without authority, destitute of all worldly age. 
dignity, and who merely performed the sacred duties of his 
ministry. For all civil power had been seized by his brother 
(Alberic), the Patrician." So writes our best authority, 
Frodoard. 2 But as the natural qualities of John (glorioscz 
indolis) are highly praised by that rigid upholder of 

1 Generally granted on condition^ a small annual tax to be paid to 
the Holy See. 

2 In his verses, to be quoted, as usual, at the end of this biography. 



ecclesiastical discipline, Ratherius of Verona, 1 it is no doubt 
correct to suppose that his subordinate position was due 
not so much to any marked want of virtue or ability in 
himself as to the force of circumstances, to his youth,' 2 to 
the natural tendency to submission to parental authority, 
and to the masterful character of his brother Alberic II. 
The latter's admirer, Benedict of Soracte, who "thinks 
that his memory will endure for ever," gives us to under- 
stand that his character was in keeping with the fierce and 
gleaming countenance which he had inherited from his 
father. He was simply terrific 3 a type of a ferocious 
Italian bandit. When such a man was lord of Rome, 
little wonder that others had not much authority. 

As John XI. is always spoken of by Frodoard as the 
brother 4 of Alberic II. and the son of Marozia, and as it is 
certain, not merely from Liutprand but from Benedict, 
that Alberic II. was the son of Alberic I., we may well be 
permitted to believe, despite Liutprand, that John XI. 
also was the son of Alberic I. In addition to what was 
said on this subject in the life of Sergius III., it may here 
be noted that the letter of Theodore Daphnopata the 
importance of which as historical evidence cannot be over- 
stated makes it plain that John himself had spoken of his 
mother and his sister in a way that could not be looked for 

1 Ep. v., ad Joan. XII., p. 538, ed. Veron, or ap. P. Z., t. 136. Some 
would discount the testimony of Ratherius because he had been 
favoured by John XI. 

If, as we suppose, he was the son of Marozia and Alberic I., count 
of Camerino, whom she married about 905, he must have been about 
twenty-five at this time. 

3 "Albericus princeps omnium Romanorum vultum nitentem sicut 
pater ejus, grandevus virtus ejus. Erat enim terribilis m'mzs, et aggra- 
batum est jugum super Romanos, et in sancte sedis apostolice." c. 32. 

4 Cf. also Honizo. Benedict (c. 30) speaks of him as the brother or 
relation {consan^uineus) of Marozia. Does he, however, perchance 
use this phrase to denote his illegitimate origin ? 


in a mere bastard. It can scarcely be believed too that 
John would have entered into negotiations with the 
punctilious emperor of Constantinople, with the object of 
allying his sister with the son of Romanus, if his own 
relationship to her was not that of brother in the strictest 
sense. No doubt the reason why John is so generally 
spoken of as the son of Marozia and the brother of Alberic 
is that his father, Alberic I., was dead when he became Pope, 
and his brother made himself so famous by becoming tyrant 
of Rome. 

However, be all this as it may, Marozia, who, through is made 
the influence of her husband Alberic and the possession 
of the castle of St. Angelo, had acquired immense power 
in Rome, in order to increase that power, caused her son 
John, of the title of S. Maria in Trastevere, to be elected 
Pope about the month of March 93 1. 1 Both Benedict and 
Liutprand err in making John XI. the immediate successor 
of John X. 

Not content with the increased importance which accrued Third 
to her from being the mother of the Pope, or perhaps of Marozia, 
already fearing her son Alberic, Marozia determined to 932 ' 
advance her authority still more by marrying for the third 
time. She made choice of Hugo of Provence, the king of 
Italy, a man who, if "gifted in no common degree .... 
(was) the most dissolute voluptuary of his time," 2 and 
was, moreover, her brother-in-law; for he was the step- 
brother of her late husband Guido of Tuscany. But neither 
Hugo nor Marozia 3 paid any regard to canonical impedi- 

1 Jaffe, c. March 931 ; Duchesne, Feb.-March. " Domna senatrix 
(Marozia) .... ordinavit Johannes consanguineum ejus in sedem 
sanctissimus, pro quo undecimus est appellatus 5 so runs the elegant 
Latin of the monk of Soracte, c. 30. 

2 Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 284. Cf. Liut., Ant., iv. 14. 

3 " Nichil hoc Venus ebria curat," says Liutprand of her, quoting 
Juvenal, Sat, vi. 300. Ant., iii. 44. 

VOL. IV. 1 3 

194 JOHN XI. 

ments that stood in the way of their ambitions. She 
wished to be queen of Italy; he, to hold Rome. 
Hugo Accordingly, if one can believe that gross flatterer 

Rome. Liutprand, who has the brazen effrontery to upbraid 
Marozia for ruining such a holy man as Hugo, 1 the king 
accepted the invitation of Marozia and advanced on Rome. 
Whether it was because he trusted in the strength of the 
castle of St. Angelo, or because he found there was an 
indisposition on the part of the Romans to have an army 
within their walls, Hugo followed the usual custom, left 
his troops without the city, and entered Rome merely with 
a bodyguard. He met with an honourable reception from 
the Romans, and his marriage with Marozia was duly cele- 
brated. Safe, as he imagined, within the fortress by the 
Tiber, Hugo determined to reduce the city under his com- 
plete control, and to this end to seize his stepson Alberic 
and to put out his eyes ; for in him he rightly beheld the 
one obstacle to the accomplishment of his designs.' 2 Ac- 
cording to the narrative of Liutprand, an accident brought 
matters to a crisis before the plans of Hugo were quite 
ripe. Chancing carelessly to pour out the water with which 
the king was to wash his hands, the young Alberic received 
a blow in the face from the irate Burgundian. 
Alberic With cheek and passion alike in flame, the youth rushed 

rouses his 

party. from the castle. Soon the whole city was ablaze with his 
fiery words : u To such a depth of degradation," he cried, 
" has Rome been brought, that it obeys the rule of harlots. 
Burgundians, once the slaves of the Romans, now rule over 
them. If though but newly come amongst us, he (Hugo) 
has struck the face of a son-in-law, what will he not do to 

1 "Quid juvat, obscelerata (Marozia), vi rum sic perdere sanctum?" 
lb. Cf. Benedict, c. 32. 

1 "Cogitavit rex pessima, ut oculos Albericis previgni sui erueret, et 
Romanum regnum in sua redigeret potestatis." Bened., ib. 

JOHN XI. 195 

you when his position is secured ? Are you ignorant of 
Burgundian haughtiness and voracity?" All this is, of 
course, merely Liutprand. The fact is, that Alberic 
realised quite as well as Hugo that Rome was not big 
enough for both of them, and he succeeded in stirring up 
the people {i.e. his own particular party) against his rival. 
To the sound of trumpets and bells {voces ecclesiarum) 
men flew to arms, and moved towards the Mole of Hadrian. 
Fearing for his life, Hugo contrived to escape before the 
castle was stormed. Master of St. Angelo and Rome, 
Alberic imprisoned his mother and confined the Pope. 1 

These events probably took place at the close of the The rule of 
year 932, and certainly not later than the beginning of 933. 
And, in the words of Benedict, Alberic's " yoke pressed 
heavily as well on the Romans as on the Apostolic See." 
It continued to press heavily for over twenty years. 
Hence we may be sure that when Frodoard in his verses 
on John XI. assigned him only two years of a reign, he 
did so because he would not reckon the years he was in 
confinement. To this period of the imprisonment of 
Marozia and the keeping of her son in durance vile, 
Muratori 2 assigns the dissemination of those baseless stories 
against Marozia and her family which Liutprand repeated 
with such gusto. The spread of such reports would facilitate 
the usurped rule of Alberic, and may well have received 
his countenance. 

It is of moment to form a correct idea both of the agents The usur- 
and of the results of the usurpation of the son of Marozia. Alberic. 
Writers who speak of the Romans rejoicing over the me ant for 

Rome and 

1 Frodoard, Ann., 933 ; Hist. 7?., iv. 24. ; Bened., c. 32. According the Po P es - 
to Liutprand, " Romanas urbis Albericus monarchiam tenuit." Antap., 

iii. 46. Cf. v. 3, and Legat, c. 62. In his carelessness he speaks as 
though Marozia were driven from the city along with Hugo. Alberic's 
rule lasted from 932 to 954. 

2 Annal., 932. 


action of Alberic because they " had shaken off at one stroke 
the monarchy, the empire, and the temporal power of the 
Pope, and had attained civic independence," must surely 
be attaching undue importance to some 1 words of Liut- 
prand, and neglecting not only other words of that same 
writer, but the far more weighty ones of other more reliable 
authors. The Romans under Alberic had as much " civic 
independence " as they had under the sway of Marozia, i.e., 
practically none at all, and John XI. had still less power 
than he had under his mother. Already for some ten years 
or so the Popes seem to have lost all civil control over 
Ravenna and the exarchate. 2 And now, by the usurpation 
of Alberic and his adherents, John XI. lost not only all 
civil power in Rome, but practically his own personal 
independence. Rome was, in fact, under a tyranny. It 
was in a similar position to Florence, Milan, and the other 
great cities of the northern half of Italy at the close of the 
Middle Ages when under the sway of the Medici, the 
Visconti, and the rest. That section of the Roman nobility 
which had been striving for more power since the days of 
Pippin and Charlemagne, when increased temporal authority 
came to the Popes, had now, in the person of Alberic, 
gained the upper hand. And the titles of Senator, Patrician, 
Prince of all the Romans, which Alberic affected, were in no 
sense bestowed on him by the Romans at large; they 
were assumed by Alberic himself, as was the power they 

1 "Hugonem cuncti deserunt, atque Albericum sibi dominum 
eligunt." Ant., iii. 45. They neglect, ib., c. 46, " Urbis Albericus 
monarchiam tenuit"; and ib.., v. 3, and especially "cum impiissimus 
A. Romanam civitatem sibi usurparet? etc., Leg., 62 ; also the words 
of Benedict, " aggravatum est jugum," etc. ; of Frodoard, " Fratre a 
Patricio juris moderamine rapto." Cf. also the words of Bonizo {Liber 
ad Amicum, 1. iii., ap. Watterich, i. 726) : " Urbis Rome capitanei nomen 
sibi mane imponentes patriatiatus R. ecclesiam validissime devas- 

2 Muratori, Anna/., 921. 

JOHN XI. 197 

expressed. The women of his family assumed the title of 
Senatrix. But the power of the Senator of all the Romans 
was very limited ; it was practically restricted to the city 
of Rome. If the Popes had no temporal jurisdiction 
within its walls, Alberic had none outside them. Hugo was 
frequently in arms before the gates of the Eternal City. 

After laying waste the Campagna, Hugo appeared before Hugo 


the walls of Rome the year after he had been driven from it. Rome, 933 
After having in vain attempted to carry the city by storm, an 
he had to raise the siege. However, in three years' time 
he was back again. On this second occasion, after peace 
had been made by the exertions of the saintly Abbot Odo 
of Cluny, Hugo tried the fox's skin as the lion's had 
failed. Trusting by its use to get Alberic into his power, 
Hugo offered him his daughter Alda in marriage. Alberic 
accepted the daughter, but would have nothing to do with 
the father in-law. On the contrary, he received his enemies 
with great kindness. 1 For a second time Hugo had to 
retire discomfited. 

Alberic no doubt accepted Alda to pacify Hugo. But Albert's 
he had formerly hoped to effect a marriage which would ShenS? 
have strengthened his hands against him. If Benedict 
(c. 34) has not confused Alberic's wish to espouse his 
sister to the son of Romanus I. with a desire himself to 
marry a daughter of Romanus (who at this time was ruling 
in Constantinople with Constantine Porphyrogenitus), it 
would seem that the Prince of the Romans had at one time 
thought of securing his position by a double matrimonial 
alliance with Constantinople. 

At this time the Greek Church generally was in as bad Unhappy 

it-. *s. r- 1 r*% 1 ry 1 condition 

a state as the Roman. Of the Church in Constantinople of the 

, . . ,. , Church. 
1 Liut., Ant., iv., c. 3. Cf. Frod., Chron., 936. From this time forth 

Liutprand professes to be relating what he knows from his own 



in particular, Finlay 1 thus writes : " The attachment of the 
people had once rendered the Patriarch almost equal to 
the emperor in dignity, but the clergy of the capital were 
now more closely connected with the court than the 
people. The power of the emperor to depose as well as 
to appoint the Patriarch was hardly questioned, and of 
course the head of the Eastern Church occupied a very 
inferior position to the Pope. . . . Both religion and civil- 
isation suffered by this additional centralisation of power 
in the imperial cabinet. From this period we may date 
the decline of the Greek Church." Its decline was helped 
by the dissolute patriarch Theophylactus. For some 
twenty years this imperial nominee scandalised the Church 
of Constantinople. He was at once simoniacal, profane, 
and extravagant. He introduced dances into the most 
solemn services of the Church, kept two thousand horses, 
and could not wait to finish Mass if he was informed that 
a favourite mare was about to foal ! This hippomania, 
which Schlumberger 2 is pleased to observe " is worthy of a 
great English gentleman," brought about his death. He 
died (t956) from a fall from one of his horses. 

To make way for the promotion to the patriarchate of 
this unworthy son of his, a eunuch of but sixteen years of 
age, the legitimate patriarch Tryphon had been deposed 
(September 931) by the Emperor Romanus, and negotia- 
tions had been opened with Rome to obtain the con- 
firmation of the youthful Theophylactus. Judging from 
the length of time which elapsed between the deposi- 
tion of Tryphon and the consecration of his successor 

1 Byzantine Empire, p. 355. Speaking of the days of Basil I. (867- 
886), he had already said (p. 282) : " The bishops now lost their position 
of defenders of the people, for, as they were chosen by the sovereign, 
the dignitaries of the Byzantine Church were remarkable for their 
servility to the civil power." 

2 Un Empereur Byzantin, p. 18. 

JOHN XL 199 

(February 933), it would seem that whilst John was free 
he would not grant the required confirmation. But 
when Alberic had seized the reins of civil government, 
and had the Pope in his power, 1 he realised that he 
might profit by compliance with the desires of Romanus. 
The price of the confirmation was to be the double 
matrimonial alliance of which we have just spoken. 
Liutprand, indeed, says that Romanus bought Alberic 
with money. It is, no doubt, likely enough that the 
" Prince of all the Romans " received money as well for 
his share in the transaction. At any rate the letters of 
confirmation were sent 2 by the hands of papal legates 
(one of whom was Bishop Madalbert, whose former 
missions to the East have been already noted), and the 
furthering of the matrimonial projects of Alberic were no 
doubt entrusted to them at the same time. The youthful 
patriarch was duly installed 3 by the papal legates (February 
2, 933), who then turned their attention to the question of 

1 Liut. , Leg., c. 62. Quum Albericus .... "dominum apostolicum 
quasi servum proprium in conclavi teneret." 

2 lb. Romanus by presents to Alberic " effecit, ut ex papae nomine 
Theophylacto patriarchae litterae mitterentur, quarum auctoritate cum 
ipse, turn successores ejus, absque paparum permissu palliis uterentur." 
Cf. Georgius Monachus (a contemporary author), "Theophylactus 
ordinatur .... cum adessent ex Roma vicarii, tomumque synodalem 
de illius tractantem ordinatione inferrent," c. 45, p. 913, ed. Bonn. The 
Latin translation here given faithfully reproduces the Greek original. 
Neale (A History of the Holy Eastern Church, i. 312) seems to have 
misunderstood Liutprand. He does not say that the pallium was 
"first granted" by John to Theophylactus, but that leave was first 
granted to him to assume it without any reference to the Holy See. 
It was generally understood in the West at this time that the patriarch 
of Constantinople had to receive the pallium from the Pope like the 
metropolitans of Cologne, Canterbury, etc. Cf. also the author of the 
Invectiva (p. 833): "A quo ergo Bysandum, quae Constantinopolis 
vocatur, Ravenna, etc., caeteraeque urbes metropolitanas, nisi ab 
apostolica potestate pallium sumant." 

3 Cf. also Theoph. Contin., vi. 34 ; Symeon Mag., c. 43. 

200 JOHN XI. 

the alliances. As far as Alberic himself was concerned, 
we have already seen how the action of Hugo more or 
less forced him to take to wife Alda, the daughter of his 
enemy (936). However, the negotiations for the marriage 
of his and the Pope's sister with a son of Romanus con- 
tinued ; and it is in connection with that subject that there 
arrived in Rome the oft-mentioned letter to the Pope from 
the secretary of the Greek emperor. 

It opened with the bestowal of great praise on the Pope's 
legates. John himself is then thanked for having acknow- 
ledged Theophylactus, and for having caused him to be 
installed as patriarch by his legates, through whom be- 
coming homage was paid to him (John). The letter went 
on to deprecate the conduct of some who had opposed the 
consecration of Theophylactus on the ground that privileges 
ought not to be given up, and that it was within their right 
to manage the affairs of the Church of Constantinople with- 
out the interference of the bishops of Rome Of course, 
they contended that, when there was question of any diffi- 
culty with regard to " our orthodox faith," the bishops of 
Rome and of the other thrones must be summoned to give 
their assistance. But where there was only question of 
making a patriarch, the bishop of Rome had never been 
called in, except in a friendly way to rejoice with them. 
These talkers (rcti/rais rctf? avriXoylais /uL<pt\oxu>pwavT$), 
continued the emperor, had soon fallen into line, and all 
was now in harmony. This desired consummation was 
the work of the Pope, and to him, " the most revered of 
bishops" (apxiepewv a-e^aa- /moor are), thanks are again due. 
Romanus next apologised for detaining the Pope's legates 
so long but the business was important. To accom- 
pany them on their return, he is sending two apocrisiarii 
of his own who will give additional explanations. Further, 
that matters may not go against his son after his (the 

JOHN XL 201 

emperor's) death, " as a suppliant of your supreme ponti- 
fical power" (iKerat 7-/79 vjulcov apxiepaTUcrjs TeXeiorrjrog), 
he begs the Pope, his father, to assemble all the clergy of 
the Roman Church that they may hear the explanations of 
the imperial envoys concerning the consecration of Theo- 
phylactus; to cause a decree to be drawn up confirming 
the young patriarch's ordination ; both to sign it himself 
and see that it was signed by all the rest ; and to add at 
the end of the document: "If anyone should not acknow- 
ledge and confess as proper and lawful the consecration of 
the lord Theophylactus as patriarch of Constantinople, 
but should attempt to carp at it, let such a one, whether 
emperor, senator, priest, or man of low degree, be subjected 
to the ban of the Most Holy Spirit and of the Princes of 
the Apostles and be rendered amenable to eternal ana- 
thema." x Romanus then begged that this document might 
be sent to Constantinople to be there kept ; and assured 
the Pope he would be ever grateful to him, and would help 
him. In conclusion, he declared how pleased he would be 
to be connected with the Pope by the proposed matri- 
monial alliance. Owing to distance and reasons of state, 
his son indeed could not well go to Rome to fetch his 
bride, but perhaps the bride's mother could bring her, 
availing herself of the vessels in which the Pope's legates 
have left for Rome; or, if preferable, faithful servants 
could bring her. Or, in fine, if the present were for any 
cause an unsuitable time, the emperor would, on hearing 
from the Pope, send ships and proper persons to conduct 
the maiden to Constantinople, and by the will of Heaven 
"conclude the matrimonial alliance." 

1 On this formula of anathema, which is that of Gregory I., Pitra 
remarks (id., 123) that, when he showed its use through the ages, "he 
was far from expecting to find it three centuries later in an imperial 
letter from Constantinople. Romanus .... will have consulted the 
legates to enable him to adopt the most solemn form of sanction." 

202 JOHN XI. 

As Constantine Porphyrogenitus, with whom Romanus 
was then reigning, has left on record, in his work on The 
Government of the Empire (c. 13), the various devices to 
which Byzantine rulers were wont to have recourse to 
prevent foreign princes from marrying into the imperial 
family, it is hard to say whether Romanus was in good 
faith in this marriage question. At any rate the young 
couple were never wedded. But it is not from matrimonial 
affairs that this letter is so interesting and valuable. It is 
because it shows the East and West still at one in matters 
of religion, and both as yet acknowledging the Pope as 
the head of that united whole. At the same time un- 
mistakable mutterings of the coming storm are audible in 
it. In it may be noted the existence of those narrow 
spirits who are to be met with in every age of the Church, 
and who are ever trying to make the universal truths of 
which the Church is the guardian subservient to views 
merely local and temporal, and to subordinate the soul and 
its aspirations to the material advancement of the body. 
Pallium for Theophylactus was not the only one for whom Alberic 
933. arranged that the pallium should be sent. We have 

already seen how the powerful count, Heribert of Verman- 
dois, had secured from John X. the confirmation of the 
election, as archbishop of Rheims, of his youthful son 
Hugh. But when, in the course of a quarrel between King 
Rodolf and Heribert, the former seized Rheims, he placed 
by force on the episcopal throne of that city the monk 
Artaud; for the clergy and people refused to accede to his 
request to elect another archbishop, as Hugh was still 
alive. However, according to Artaud himself, 1 he was 
accepted by the whole people of the city after his conse- 
cration (952), and a year afterwards received the pallium 
from Pope John, " the son of Maria, called also Marozia, or 
1 Ep., ap. Frod., Hist. Rem., iv. 35. 

JOHN XI. 203 

rather from the Patrician Alberic, brother of the Pope, who 
kept John in his power." x With one bishop thus actually 
consecrated for the See of Rheims and another (Hugh), 
though not consecrated, long ago nominated for it, we may 
be sure that trouble would soon arise for the Church of 
Rheims ; and it did. The further course of the history of 
the relations between Hugh and Artaud will be related in 
the life of Agapitus II. 

Like his namesake John X., this Pope is also con- Monastic 


nected with the famous monastery of Cluny, the abbot 
of which, the famous Odo, did much good in Italy during 
his pontificate. John confirmed the privileges not only of 
Cluny itself on the condition of a payment of ten solidi 
every five years but also of various of its dependent 
houses, at the request of Odo. 2 With the exception of 
the granting of a few similar privileges to other monasteries, 
we know no more of the actions of John XI. during his 
period of bondage to his brother "the Prince of the 
Romans." Than the biographies of some of the pontiffs 
of the tenth century, no further argument can surely be 
necessary to show the necessity of the absolute freedom 
of the Pope from all local civil control, if he is to be able 
to fulfil adequately his duties as supreme pastor of the 
Universal Church. 

The extant coins of this Pope show clearly the days both Coins. 
of his independence and dependence. Whilst he was free, 
his coins bore only his own name, that of St. Peter and Roma, 
if indeed the coin assigned by Cinagli to this Pope does not 
belong to John XII. 3 His state of subjection is shown by 
a coin discovered somewhat over twenty years ago in the 
Tiber. On the obverse it not only bears the name of 
Alberic " Princeps," but sets forth that he " ordered it to 

1 Ep., ap. Frod., Hist. Re?n., iv., c. 24. 

2 Jaffe, 3584 (2744), etc. 3 Cf. Promis, p. 85. 

204 JOHN XI. 

be struck" {ft j'u, i.e., fieri jussit). On the reverse appears 

the monogram of the Pope. 
The verses John XI. died either towards the close of 935 (Duchesne, 
doard. December) or in the beginning of 936 (January, Jaffe). 

Of his overshadowed career Frodoard wrote l : 

" Xato patriciae hinc cedunt pia jura Joanni ; 
Undecimus Petri hoc qui nomine sede levatur. 
Vi vacuus, splendore carens, modo sacra ministrans, 
Fratre a patricio juris moderamine rapto, 
Qui matrem incestam rerum fastigia mcecho 
Tradere conantem decimum sub claustra Johannem 
Quae dederat, claustri vigili et custode subegit. 
Artoldus noster sub quo sacra pallia sumit ; 
Papaque obit nomen geminum ferre nactus in annum." 

Duchesne tells us there was a contemporary gloss on 
the last verse to the effect that John was Pope in name 
indeed but not in fact. 

In these verses Frodoard tells how John XI., the son of 
the Patricia, was stripped of all power by his brother, who 
placed his mother under the same confinement under which 
she had placed John X., when she attempted to make over 
the supreme power in the city to Hugo {mcecho). It was 
from John XI. that Frodoard's archbishop obtained the 
pallium. He died after having been Pope really only 
two years. 

1 De triumph., xii. 7. 

Coin of John XI. (From a copy of the unique specimen in the Vatican 
Collection. It bears the words Fi Ju, etc. See p. 203 f.) 


A.D. 936-939- 
Sources. Fifteen privileges, ap. P. Z., t. 132. 

With regard to the dates of the consecration and death Becomes 
of Leo VII., a Roman by birth, and priest of St. Sixtus, ope ' 93 
we are on surer ground than we are for the corresponding 
dates of many of the other pontiffs of this period. In 
assigning January 3, 936 as the date of Leo's consecration 
and July 13 as the date of his death, Duchesne is in 
practical agreement with Jaffe. And both authors have 
sound documentary evidence to rest upon. Other evidence 
we have concerning Leo is not so easy to interpret. From 
the fact that Frodoard 1 calls him " a servant of God " 
(servus Dei), and that in a letter regarding the abbey of 
Fleury 2 he himself alludes to St. Benedict as "a worthy 
father" (egregius pater), and speaks of "our lord the most 
blessed Benedict," many authors conclude that Leo was 
a Benedictine monk. This contention may be said to be 

Ann., 639. 

2 Ep. 9, ap. P. L., t. 132, p. 1078. He speaks of Fleury "ubi 
requiescit egregius Pater domnus noster bb. Benedictus, decus 
videlicet gemmaque monachorum." Cf. ep. II. 


206 LEO VII. 

strengthened by the fact that Alberic, " the most glorious 
Prince and Senator of the Romans," 1 was very much 
devoted to monasteries and monks, and hence may well 
be supposed to have selected a monk to succeed John XI. 
Besides, he was sure to have argued that a simple and 
pious monk would not be likely to question his usurpation 
of papal temporal power. It was during the pontificate 
of Leo VII. that our worthy historian Frodoard came to 
Rome, so that what he tells us of the Roman pontiff of 
936 he had first learnt by his own eyes and ears. The 
last of the good canon's verses tell of Leo VII. By them 
Leo is put before us as one whose thoughts were fixed only 
on God, and who had no care for the things of earth. 
Pressure had to be brought to bear upon him before he 
could be induced to accept the supreme pontificate, of 
which he showed himself to be thoroughly worthy. His 
elevation made no change in him ; he remained devoted 
to prayer. Learned was he too, affable in manner, gracious 
in speech and countenance. Speaking of his kind recep- 
tion by Leo, Frodoard fails not to tell us how the good 
Pope refreshed at once his temporal and spiritual needs, 
and sent him on his way rejoicing at the honourable 
treatment he had received. Naturally enough does 
Frodoard close his long poem on the Popes with the 
prayer that God will bestow temporal and eternal blessings 
on the amiable Leo. 2 
Siege of It was during the first year of Leo's pontificate that King 

Odo of Hugo, as we have already related, besieged Rome for the 
second time ; 3 and it is generally believed that this was 
the occasion when the famous Odo of Cluny used his 
influence with the king of Italy to induce him to raise the 

1 So he is spoken of in a privilege in favour of Subiaco, ap. Jaffe, 

2 See the verses at the end of this Life. 3 Supra, p. 197. 

LEO VII. 207 

siege. No doubt thoroughly well acquainted with the 
respect with which this loose-living monarch regarded the 
saintly abbot of Cluny, Leo sent for him to come into 
Italy to act as peace-maker. 1 As we may well imagine 
from his position in the city, and as we are, in fact, directly 
informed, Alberic also had his share in this invitation to 
Odo to come to Rome. Hugh, abbot of the monastery of 
Farfa among the Sabine hills, in his Destructio Farfensi's, 2 
records that Alberic, " the glorious prince, was so anxious 
to bring back the monasteries under his dominion to the 
due observance of their rule, which had fallen into abeyance 
during the ravages of the heathen, that he caused the holy 
Abbot Odo to come from Gaul, and constituted him archi- 
mandrite (or abbot-general) over all the monasteries in the 
neighbourhood of Rome. Moreover, he gave 3 the house 
on the Aventine in which he was born to be turned into a 
monastery in honour of Our Lady. It may be seen to this 
day." And on this day too of the twentieth century a 
church of Our Lady (S. M. Aventinense or S. M. del 
Priorato) still occupies the site of the house of Alberic. 

When Odo reached the Eternal City the troops of Hugo 
were encamped before its walls. " By Pope Leo was he 
sent," writes 4 Odo's disciple and biographer, John the 
Italian, of his master, " as peace-maker between Hugo, 
king of the Lombards, and Alberic, prince of the city of 
Rome." To effect a treaty between them, and " to save the 
city the horrors of siege, the abbot passed backwards and 

1 " Italiam missi sumus a Leone summo pontifice, ut pacis legatione 
fungeremur inter Hugonem, . . . et Albericum." Vit. Odom's, ii., c. 7, 
ubi infra. 

2 Written at the beginning of the eleventh century. Ap. M. G. SS., 
xi., p. 536. 

3 Bened. of Soracte, c. 33, gives a long list of his donations to 

4 In vit. Odonis, ap. Bib. Cluniacensis, p. 35 ; or Migne, t. 133, 1. 2, 
cc. 7 and 9 ff. p. 64. Cf. Du Bourg, S. Odon., c. 13 ; Paris, 1905. 

208 LEO VII. 

forwards between the two rulers in his endeavours to soothe 
the rage of the king." The efforts of the saint, helped by 
famine among the besiegers and the loss of their horses, 
were, as we have already seen, crowned with success, and 
the investment of the city ended like many another tragic 
prelude with a marriage. Alberic took to wife Alda, 
Hugo's daughter, and for the time, at least, there was 
peace between the two rivals ; and Alberic, with the aid of 
Odo, devoted himself to the founding and reforming of 

From Rome and the Pope, however, no wars nor rumours 
of wars, no difficulties nor dangers of any sort have ever 
been able to keep the devout pilgrim. And in the tenth 
century the dangers were anything but imaginary. In 923 
Frodoard chronicled the slaughter of many of our country- 
men on their way to Rome by the Saracens of Fraxineto ; 
and in this year (936) he tells of the same marauders 
making a plundering expedition into Germany, and on their 
return killing a number of people who were on the same 
errand. These scraps of information are worth recording 
because they show that, despite any disreputable deeds 
which may have been enacted even in the palace of the 
Popes during the tenth century, Rome was then to the 
Christian world still the centre of its religion, and the Pope 
of Rome still in its eyes the Vicar of Jesus Christ. 

And again we may remark that many more or less 
isolated facts of this age, which are occasionally brought to 
the surface, prove that the prestige of the Papacy in Europe 
in the tenth century was not so utterly dimmed as many 
are disposed to believe. In the reign of Leo VII. events 
were in progress which were to cause this truth to be illus- 
trated under his successor by affairs in Gaul. In January 
936 died, without issue, Rodolf of Burgundy ; x and the 
1 Cf. supra, p. 160. 

LEO VII. 209 

great nobles of France invited from England Louis, hence 
called d'Outre-Mer (from beyond the sea), the son of 
Charles the Simple, to be their king. His mother had 
carried him as a child to England when his father had been 
seized by Heribert of Vermandois. Though only sixteen 
when he came to France, he showed himself a worthy 
descendant of Charlemagne. Finding him determined to 
rule, we shall see the great nobles who had summoned 
him from England deserting him, and Stephen (VIII.) IX., 
true to the papal tradition of friendship for the Carolingians, 
effectively standing by him. 

In Germany, too, during the pontificate of Leo VII., 
events were taking place which were destined in their 
sequel to have the deepest effect on the Papacy, and on 
which the Popes in turn were to exercise an equal influence. 
It was in this same year (936) also that Henry I., the 
Fowler, died, who by his wise policy at home and gallant 
deeds in the field did so much to form a strong and united 
Germany, a stout barrier behind which the states of Europe 
might advance in safety along the road of civilisation. 
He was contemplating a journey to Rome l whether as a 
pilgrim, to bring Italy also to some semblance of order, or 
for the imperial crown, is not clear when he was seized with 
a mortal illness. His son Otho I., as famous in the annals 
of the Papacy as of Germany, was elected " with the con- 
sent of the nobles of the kingdom." 2 

With the great political events of his age Leo had but Grants of 


little connection. To judge at least by the documents oftomonas- 

his reign which jealous time has suffered to survive till 

now, he was mostly occupied in issuing bulls in favour 

of monasteries. The great monastic development at this 

time, attested by the decrees of Leo VII., is at least 

a good augury for the future. A new monastery then 

1 Widukind, Res. Sax., i., c. 40. 2 Regin. Contin., ad an. 936. 

VOL. IV. 14 

210 LEO VII. 

meant not merely a harbour of peace. for such as were 
sick at heart at the violence and lawlessness they met 
with all round them, but a centre of learning, order, and 
peace. But while these bulls are of the first importance 
for purposes of chronology and local history, it will serve 
no useful end to go into them here in any detail. It will 
be enough to note that most of them are concerned with 
that grand centre of monastic reform, Cluny ; and that 
some are granted at the request of Alberic, " most glorious 
Prince and Senator of all the Romans," x thereby testifying 
in their silent way to the piety of the tyrant, and perchance 
to the dependence of the Pope. Others again had been 
petitioned for even by " Hugo, glorious king, along with his 
son King Lothaire," associated with himself on the throne 
of Italy in 931. 
Reform in One letter at least of Leo VII., of no little importance, 
has reached us. It is addressed to Frederick, archbishop 
of Mainz (Mayence). Leo did not limit himself to groaning 
over the state of the world. It is true he said 2 that, "in 
these our days, times full of danger have come upon us, 
and whilst charity has grown cold, iniquity so abounds that 
well-nigh the whole order of things is upset, and there does 
not seem a place whereon religion may rest." But at the 
same time he endeavoured to make a home for religion. 
What he had heard of the work for law and order accom- 
plished by Henry the Fowler, and what he had been told 
of the energy of his son, Otho I., naturally made him turn 
his eyes to Germany. To co-operate with the enlightened 
efforts of these two great princes, he appointed Frederick 
' his vicar and missus throughout all the regions of the 
whole of Germany, so that, wherever he found any 
bishops, priests, deacons, or monks failing to do their 
duty, he was not to omit to correct them, and to bring 
1 Jaffe, 3597 f 2 lb., 3610 ; cf. ep. 9. 


LEO VII. 211 

them back to the way of truth." 1 But while, in response 
to the archbishop's question as to whether it was better 
to baptize the Jews by force, or drive them out of the 
cities, he would not allow him to baptize them against 
their will, he so far yielded to the spirit of the age as to 
allow him to expel them from the cities unless they 
embraced the Christian religion. Whether Leo lived to 
see any of the fruits of his labours for reform in Germany 
we do not know. He died July 939. 

Little as we know of his life, we know enough of it 
to say that he did what very many in high places fail 
to do. He dignified the lofty station he held with at 
least many of the virtues which became it ; though 
Milman, with what must be stigmatised as his usual 
inaccuracy, classes Leo VII. with his three successors as 
Popes who gave " hardly a sign of their power in Rome, 
no indication of their dignity, still less of their sanctity." 2 

1 Jaffe, 3613. The Pope granted Frederick's request to be made his 
vicar after "a diligent search through the bulls of Gregory (III.), 
Zachary, and Stephen (III.), contained in the archives of our Holy 
Church," to discover what precedent had to say on the matter. Ep. 14, 
ap. L. P., t. 132. The letters in connection with a supposed Gerhard, 
archbishop of Lorch, are forgeries. 

2 Latin Christ., iii. 299. 


A.D. 939-942. 

Sources. Two privileges, ap. P. L., t. 132. 

Fables con- To supplement the little that they found recorded of 


Stephen. Stephen IX. by reliable authors, Bower and others have 
fallen back upon fables derived from Martinus Strepus, 
generally known as Martinus Polonus. This Dominican, 
who did not compile his famous Chronicle of Popes and 
Emperors till the latter half of the thirteenth century, is 
now universally allowed to have been destitute of critical 
ability and to have freely inserted fables for history. As 
his Chronicle was very popular, Wattenbach, in his well- 
known work on the Sources of History, has to regret the 
loss which accrued to historical studies by the wide 
circulation of such an uncritical production. 1 On the 
authority of such a late and untrustworthy source, Stephen 
IX. is described as a German, and as elected Pope by the 
power of his relative Otho I., who set aside the rights of 
the cardinals. Hated as a Teuton, he was seized, and so 
disfigured by the partisans of Alberic that he could not 

1 Gregorovius, Rome, vii. 633, speaks of the "monkish fables and 
fictions of a Martinus Polonus." 



appear in public. But that Stephen, who was attached to 
the Church of " SS. Silvester and Martin," now S. Martino 
ai Monti, was a Roman, is the testimony of the contempor- 
ary or quasi-contemporary catalogues ; 1 and it is needless 
to point out that Otho's influence on the affairs of Italy 
and the Papacy had not as yet made itself felt. In the 
earlier years of his reign he wab too much taken up with 
endeavours to secure his own ascendancy over German 
dukes almost as powerful as himself, and to extend his 
sway westwards at the expense of Louis d'Outre-Mer, to 
have been able to concern himself with Italian interests, 
civil or ecclesiastical. 

Elected on July 14, 939, 2 Stephen seems to have been The affairs 
largely taken up with the affairs of Gaul, as the country 
of the Franks was still frequently called. In the Life 
of Leo VII. reference was made to the crowning of Louis 
d'Outre-Mer as king of France. He had been offered 
the crown because it had been fondly imagined that 
he would not attempt to wear it effectively. But when 
it was found that Louis wished to be king in reality as 
well as in name, several of the more powerful nobles, chief 
among whom were Hugh the Great, duke of the Franks, 
whose authority extended over the territory between 
the Loire and the Seine, and Heribert of Vermandois, 
combined against him. Hugh was the representative of 
the line which was soon to oust the Carolingian dynasty 
from the throne. He was the son of King Robert, and 
father of Hugh Capet, the founder of the Capetian line 
which ruled in France till the beginning of the four- 
teenth century (1328). To strengthen their hands against 
Louis, the malcontents made overtures to Otho I. of 
Germany. Unable to make headway against such a 
powerful combination, the youthful monarch was, by the 
1 Cf. Watterich, i. 34 ; and L. P. 2 Duchesne ; c. July, Jane. 


beginning of the year 942, reduced to the greatest straits. 
At this juncture Stephen decided to intervene in his behalf. 
He accordingly dispatched as his legate to the opposing 
parties one Damasus, " an illustrious man," whom he had 
consecrated bishop for the purposes of this embassy. 1 He 
was the bearer of letters from the Pope to the nobles, " and 
to all the inhabitants of France and Burgundy," to the effect 
that they were to acknowledge Louis, and to cease their 
hostility against him under pain of excommunication. 
Aroused by this action of the Pope, the bishops of the 
diocese of Rheims met in synod and sought to induce 
Heribert to prevail on Hugh the Great to submit to Louis. 
Except that it tended to draw the bishops from the party 
of the nobles, this first attempt of Stephen to make peace 
was unsuccessful. One failure, however, only encouraged 
him to make a second attempt. Perhaps with a view to 
putting the youth's father (Heribert) and his uncle (Hugh 
the Great) under an obligation to him, Stephen granted 
(942) the pallium to Hugh, who, as we have seen, had been 
elected archbishop of Rheims in his fifth year. 2 With the 
bearers of the pallium was dispatched another embassy 
from Rome "to the princes of the kingdom." Again were 
they exhorted to submit to Louis. This time they were 
told that, if before Christmas they had not sent envoys 
to Rome to make their submission known to the Pope, 
they would be excommunicated. The king's cause im- 
proved at once. Many of the great nobles rallied around 
him. " This movement in favour of the king seems to 
have been the result of the menaces from Rome ; for the 
Papacy still enjoyed a considerable amount of prestige 
despite the disorders which had preceded the pontificate 

1 Frodoard, 942 ; Richer, ii. 27. 

8 To the question of Hugh and Artaud we shall again recur under 
"Agapitus II." 


of Leo VII." 1 Before the close of the year (942) Louis 
was at peace with Otho, and had received the submission 
of the great nobles of his kingdom. " None had dared to 
brave the sentence of excommunication. It was a victory 
for the Carolingian royalty in its decline. (But) it was 
almost entirely owing to the intervention of that Roman 
power which, in its heyday of prosperity, the decaying 
dynasty had done so much to establish." 2 Even in the 
darkest hours of the tenth century the Papacy was not 
that negligible quantity in the political affairs of Europe 
which many have so long been wont to suppose. 

The influence which the Popes then exercised was Third siege 
exerted when communication with Rome was, from one Hugo, 94* 
cause and another, most difficult. In 940 Frodoard has 
again to record another massacre, in the passes of the 
Alps, of Englishmen (Transmarini) on their way to Rome, 
by the Saracens of Fraxineto. And in the very year 
(942) which witnessed Stephen's intervention in behalf of 
Louis, there was a renewal of the fierce war between Hugo 
and Alberic, which seriously interrupted communication 
with Rome, and which was once more only brought to a 
close by the successful intervention of the saintly Odo. 3 

Perhaps it is in connection with these efforts from Conspiracy 
without which Hugo made to overthrow the power of AuSSic. J 
Alberic that ought to be placed the conspiracy against 
the latter in Rome itself narrated by Benedict of Soracte 
(c. 34). In alliance against the Prince of the Romans were 
not only bishops, but the senatrices, Alberic's sisters. One 
of these latter, however, betrayed the plot to her brother, 
and he was enabled to triumph over his foes both within 
and without the city, whether they were in league or not. 
The conspirators were scourged {berberati as Benedict calls 

1 Lauer, Louis IV. d' Outre- Mer, p. 81, Paris, 1900. 

2 lb., p. 86. 3 Frod., Ann., 942 ; cf. Liut, Ant., v. 3. 


it), beheaded, or imprisoned. And a diet or placitum 
held by Alberic at this time (August 17,942) shows him 
supreme in the city and, for the purposes of administering 
justice, employing in such assemblies both the officials of 
the papal court, such as the primicerius and secundicerius 
of the notaries, and the chief nobles of the city, the 
Vestararius Benedict, Crescentius, and others whose names 
are of frequent occurrence in Roman affairs of this period. 

It would seem that it was about this time also that he 
renewed his efforts to secure the aid of the Greeks by 
means of a matrimonial alliance. He felt the necessity 
of making a counter-move to that of his powerful foe Hugo, 
who in 942 was himself negotiating for a Greek alliance 
on a matrimonial basis. Hugo's aim was to marry one 
of his bastard daughters to the grandson (afterwards 
Romanus II.) of the Emperor Romanus I. 2 Alberic was 
not a little alarmed when he heard that the emperor was 
preparing to place at his enemy's disposal ships furnished 
with the dread Greek fire, and had already sent great 
presents to the Lombard king. Accordingly, as his 
wife Alda was dead, he again 8 demanded the daughter 
of Romanus in marriage. As usual, a favourable hearing 
was seemingly granted to the request. 

According to the prescribed etiquette of the Byzantine 
court, when Alberic's ambassadors arrived at Constantinople, 
they first offered to the emperor the respects of the Pope 
and clergy, and then the faithful service of " the most 
glorious Prince of Old Rome, of his nobles, and of all the 
people submitted to him." Then the logothete, who 
received them in the first instance, asked about the health 
of the most holy Bishop of Rome, " the spiritual father of 
the emperor," and about that of the Roman clergy ; and 

1 Rcgest. Sublacense, p. 202, ap. Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 301. 

2 Liut., Antapod., v. 14. "Cf. sup., p. 197. 


brought to a conclusion this formal part of the reception 
of the Roman envoys by polite inquiries about " the most 
glorious Prince of Old Rome." 1 

Altogether his embassy was so favourably received that 
Alberic, regarding the matter as settled, made extensive 
preparations for the reception of his expected Greek bride. 
To attend upon her he gathered into his palace all the most 
lovely young ladies of the noble families both of Rome and 
the Sabina. But Alberic and his fair companions waited 
in vain. 2 The Greek princess never came ; no doubt 
because it was never intended that she should come. The 
wily Greeks had no intention of offering substantial 
support to either party. The longer Alberic and Hugo 
fought, and the more they weakened each other, the 
better would their interests in south Italy be served. 

In the little that history has to tell of the career of Pope Death of 

oii i 1 1 Stephen, 

btepnen, there is certainly no sign that he exercised any 942 . 
more civic authority in Rome than his immediate pre- 
decessors or successors. He was released from his state 
of dependence by his death, which took place apparently 
in the month of October 942. 

1 All this formality is minutely set forth in the book of court etiquette 
(De Cerimomis, ii. 47), brought up to date, as is clear from the mention 
of "the Prince of the Romans," by the Emperor Constantine Porphy- 
rogenitus. In the following chapter (ii. 48), dealing with addresses of 
letters, it is laid down that the title of " our spiritual father " is only to 
be given to the Pope, and not to the other patriarchs of Alexandria, 
Antioch, and Jerusalem. 

2 " Verumtamen," laconically concludes Benedict (c. 34), " ad 
thalamum nuptiis non pervenit." 


A.D. 942-946. 
Sources. Seven privileges and bulls, ap. P. Z., t. 133. 

Marinus SHADOWY and still more shadowy are now growing the 
nominee of successors of St. Peter. Although a nominee of Alberic, 
"without whose orders he durst not put his hand to 
anything," 1 Marinus was a most worthy man. Indeed, 
there is this to be said in favour of Alberic's otherwise 
tyrannical domination, viz., that he seems in every case to 
have appointed to the papal throne men who, if weak, were 
at any rate good. Marinus, a Roman of the title of 
St. Ciriacus, was no exception to the rule. He became 
Pope in October (October 30, according to Duchesne) 942. 
Marinus Among the pilgrims who are said to have come 

and S. 

uiric, 909. " to the threshold of the apostles " during the pontificate 
of Marinus was the famous Udalric or Ulric, sometime 
bishop of Augsburg. 2 But as the visit of Ulric referred to 

1 " Electus Marinus pp. non audebat adtingere aliquis extro jussio 
Alberici principi," Bened., c. 32. It is presumed that by this time the 
reader will have ceased to be astonished at the Latin of the monk of 

2 See Butler's Lives of the Saints, vii. 27 flf. 



took place in the year 909, it is plain that his biographer l 
must either have inadvertently written Marinus for Sergius, 
or have called Marinus Pope in 909, because he afterwards 
acquired that dignity. It is generally supposed that the 
latter is the correct explanation. 

When Ulric reached Rome, he was well received by 
Marinus, who asked him of what nationality he was. 
Told that he was a German of Augsburg, and attached to 
the household of Adalberon, the bishop of that city, 
Marinus at once assured him that that prelate was dead, 
and that he was destined to succeed him. The saint ex- 
pressed his profound astonishment at what he had heard, 
and his disinclination to become bishop. "Well," re- 
plied Marinus, " if you will not accept the bishopric now, 
when it is intact, you will have to take it when it is in 
ruins, and you will have to restore it." And so it happened. 
The diocese was laid waste by the terrible Hungarians, 
and, on the death of Adalberon's successor, Hiltinus 
(t9 2 3)> Ulric succeeded him. 2 Three visits of Ulric to 
Rome are recorded, 3 but only the second could possibly 
have fallen in the actual reign of Marinus as Pope. 

Like his predecessor Stephen IX., Marinus, in a quiet Zeal for re- 
way indeed, but steadily, worked for the reform of the 
Church. He continued the appointment of Frederick, 
archbishop of Mayence, as " vicar and missus " of the 
Apostolic See throughout Germany and Gaul, " so that he 
had papal power, if he found any persons whatsoever 

1 Gerard, who was ordained priest by Ulric. 

2 Gerard, in vit. Udal., c. 1, ap. P. L., t. 135, p. 1012 f. 

3 The second, ib., c. 14, is said to have been after 965, when "he 
was honourably received by Alberic, Prince of the Romans." Now 
as Alberic died in 954, the second visit of Ulric must have taken 
place before that event, and so may have taken place in the reign of 
Marinus. The third visit, ib., c. 21, was about 971, "when gifts of 
indulgences were granted him." He died in 973. 


deviating from the right path, to summon them to him 
wheresoever he pleased, to warn and correct them, and to 
hold synods." l Frederick, like most of the great bishops of 
his day, was deep in all the great political movements of his 
age ; but how far he found time to attend to the discipline 
of his clergy and to the improvement of the moral tone of 
the people " throughout Germany and Gaul " is a question 
not easily answered. At any rate, maintaining that it was 
better to have a few really good monks than many 
negligent ones, he made a dead set first against the smaller 
monasteries and then against the larger ones. But there 
is a suspicion that he did this out of resentment, because 
he had for a time been imprisoned in the monastery of 
Fulda on account of some conspiracy against Otho. 
Despite his intrigues against Otho, however, it may be 
fairly concluded from the fact of his meriting the con- 
fidence of two good Popes, that, for the times at least, 
he was a useful bishop, and contrived, in some way or 
other, to find opportunity to work for the good of souls. 
And so the Annals of Hildesheim (an. 954), in record- 
ing his death, speak of him as a man "of the greatest 
abstemiousness, and as of tried faith and morality." Even 
to his successor, who was an illegitimate son of Otho 
himself, he seems to have been regarded as a worthy 
man. The last entry in the Annates Augienses' 1 (954) 
records the death of Frederick, " of happy memory," and 
goes on: "The same year, I, William, unworthy to suc- 
ceed such a great man {tantce succcssionis indignns), was 
elected in his place with the consent of the clergy and 
people of the same holy see," viz. of Mayence. 

1 Jaffe, 3631, " Ita ut, si quos invenerit .... deviantes, .... ad 
se vocare .... corrigere, synodumijue constituere .... potestatem 
apostolici habeat." 

2 Ap. M. G. SS. } i., p. 69. 


While endeavouring to improve discipline in distant Sicus, 

i 11 i a t i bishop of 

lands through his vicars, Mannus in his own person strove Capua. 
to amend it nearer home. Sicus, bishop of Capua, had 
seized a church which his predecessor had given to the 
Benedictines that they might build a monastery alongside 
it, and had bestowed it as a benefice on a deacon who was 
as unworthy a cleric as the bishop himself. When the 
affair was brought to the Pope's notice, he took occasion 
from the incident to upbraid the bishop not only for this act 
of injustice, but also for his ignorance both of sacred and 
profane literature, and for the company he kept. For 
Sicus preferred not merely the company of laymen to that 
of clerics, but even that of the lowest of laymen and the 
most ignorant of clerics. The Pope decided that the 
bishop must restore the church forthwith, so that it may 
no longer be used for disorderly purposes {saltationes et 
vagationes). Sicus must also cease to make a companion 
of the said deacon. If he does not obey, he will be deprived 
of his dignity and excommunicated. 1 Whether Sicus had 
anything to urge against the accuracy of the information, 
which had been forwarded to the Pope " by a certain 
learned man," is not known, but the church was no doubt 

The interest felt by Marinus in the great monastic Privileges, 
development which was then in progress is shown by the 
bulls he issued in favour of various monasteries. Of some 
of these documents the contents have come down to us. 
One of the privileges of Marinus deserves to be mentioned, 
as it serves to show that, though the Popes had at this 
time no civil power in the more distant parts of what 
was once their dominion, they had not lost all their 
property there. It is a privilege addressed to the arch- 

1 Jaffe, 3628, or ep. 7, ap. P. L. ; Leo Ost., i. 57, and the notes 
thereto, ap. R. I. SS., iv. 329. 


bishop of Ravenna "in connection with a portion of the 
county of Ferrara." x 
The papal Whether Marinus ever lived in it or not, it is interesting 
thYipaia" to know that modern archaeological research has revealed 
the fact that the palace built by John VII. out of the ruins of 
the " north-eastern section of the Domus Gaiana, which over- 
looks the Forum and the Sacred Way," was still apparently 
habitable in his time. " The latest bit of evidence regard- 
ing the real or nominal occupancy of the Palatine episcopal 
residence by the Popes came to light November 8, 1883, 
during the excavation of the house of the Vestals. At the 
north-eastern corner of the peristyle the remains of a 
modest mediaeval dwelling were discovered, belonging to a 
high official of the court of Marinus II. . . . This official 
must have been in charge of the Pope's rooms which were 
placed among the ruins of the Domus Gaiana."- 
Generai From what has been already narrated of Marinus, we can 

and work have no difficulty in accepting what is said of him by 
irmus. Q arc jj na i Baronius, 3 though the authority he adduces is no 
more definite than " an ancient Vatican MS." According 
to that document, " Marinus gave himself up wholly to 
the inner life of the Church. He strove to reform both 
the secular and regular clergy, and devoted himself to the 
repair of the basilicas and the care of the poor. And by 
his letters he did all he could to promote the sacred cause 
of peace amongst Christian princes." 
Coin. His own position, or want of position, among Christian 

princes is shown by his extant coin, 4 which, while it 
bears his own name and that of St. Peter on the 
obverse, illustrating by this connection his spiritual posi- 

1 JafTe\ 3629. 

2 Lanciani, The Destruction of Ancient Rome, p. 121, 

3 Hist. Eccles., ad an. 943. 

4 D. Promis, Monete dei R. P. This work, as we have said before, 
supplements that of Cinagli. 


tion, bears on the reverse the names of Alberic, Prince, 
and Rome. 

Marinus died in April (Jaffe) or May (Duchesne) 946. 

In the middle of the twelfth century, and seemingly by The"Re- 
Otho, who was bishop of Tivoli in 1160, a collection was Tivoli." 
made of the chief documents regarding that church. The Marinus 11. 
quarto volume into which they were formed is remarkable 
for the number of illuminated miniatures with which it is 
adorned. It was presented to the Vatican archives by 
Mario Orsini, who was bishop of Tivoli from 1624 to 1634, 
and it was first completely edited by Bruzza. 1 

One of the miniatures represents Pope Marinus II., seated, 
and giving a privilege to Hubert, bishop of Tivoli. The 
Pope is represented as clean-shaven and wearing the 
tonsure. He is clad in a red robe over which is a tunic of 
a brick-red. A blue chasuble, edged with green lace, com- 
pletes his costume. He wears the pallium on his shoulders. 
His feet, shod with red sandals, rest on a yellow cushion. 
The circular nimbus round his head shows he was dead 
when the miniature was painted. 2 

1 In the review " Studi e documenti di storia e diritto," Ann., i., 
fasc. 1 ff. 

2 This paragraph is taken from Battandier, Annuaire pontifical 
catholique, annee 1904, p. 147 f., Paris. Among the miscellaneous 
medieval documents which have been published in recent times is a 
deed wherein, curiously enough, the conditions are sworn to not only 
in the name of God, but by the good estate {salus) of Pope Marinus II. 
*' Juratus dico per Deum omnipotentem sancteque sedis apostolice seu 
salutem uiri bb. et apostolici dni. Marini SS. junioris pape." Ap. 
Archivio delta R. Soc. Rom. di storia pat, 1889, p. 77. Cf. another 
document of 918, ap. Muratori, Antiq. Ital., ii. 125, 805, etc. It was 
quite a common practice in the tenth century. 


A.D. 946-955. 

Sources. Useful now are the historians or biographers of the 
German Emperor Otho I. Among these mention has already 
been made of Liutprand, who received from Otho the bishopric 
of Cremona. Hence his Historia Ottonis and his Legatio are 
redolent with the praises of his benefactor. Bayet, in the Histoire 
geniral of Lavisse and Rambaud, a work now very much quoted, 
says (i. 546) of Liutprand : He " has the soul of the Italian 
courtier. A shameless flatterer of his masters, passionately spiteful 
against all whom he thinks he has reason to complain of, an 
unscrupulous tamperer with the truth, he is nevertheless keen, 
caustic, and always attractive by the passion, the verve, and some- 
times by the buffoonery which he puts into his writings." (Cf. 
Zeller, Hist. d'AIIemagne, ii. 254.) I will not say that such 
critiques of Liutprand are overdrawn; but, as a friend of 
Germany, Liutprand meets with no mercy at the hands of 
a Frenchman. 

As Widukind (Witikind), a monk of the Saxon monastery of 
Corbey, a monastery highly favoured by Otho, speaks of the 
death of that monarch (973), he must have died somewhat 
after Liutprand. His Res Gesta Saxonicce (ap. M. G. SS., hi., 
or P. L.j t. 137) was dedicated to Matilda, the daughter of 
Otho. His German editor, the learned Waitz, regards the Res 
Sax. as " one of the most excellent of the sources of mediaeval 
history," and especially valuable for the times of Otho. For 

the work which Otho accomplished in Italy, he is naturally 


Photo. Alinari. 

A section of the frescoes of S. I 'it r in Grado, ihowing the portrait 
of Agapitus II. See p. 1 16 fT. 


not so good an authority as for what was done by him in 

Though, of course, not in touch with the court as Widukind 
was, and though the portion of her poem which deals with the 
interval from 953 to 962 is lost, still the verses of Hrotsvitha, 
{c. 93o-<r. 1 001), a nun, but not abbess, of Gandersheim, and one 
of the literary lights of her age, are not without value. Her 
poem, entitled Carmen de Gestis Oddonis 1. Imperatoris (ap. 
M. G. SS., in., or P. Z., t. 137), was composed at the request of 
Otho II., and from such materials as were brought to her by 
William, archbishop of Mayence, and others connected with the 

In the same folio volume (viz. iii.) of the Monumenta Germanice 
Historica (or ap. P. Z., t. 139) is the Chronicle of Thietmar (or 
Ditmar), bishop of Merseburg. Though Thietmar (976-1018) did 
not write his Chronicle till some forty years after the death of 
Otho, still, the possibilities of learning the truth which his high 
birth and position gave him, and his evident candour, make 
him a useful authority. His Chronicle treats of the times of 
Henry I., the three Othos, and Henry II. A new edition of it, 
by Strebitzki, appeared at Leipzig in 1892. 

There are twenty-two privileges and letters of Agapitus, ap. 
P. Z., t. 133. 

What we do know of the work of the Roman Agapitus Agapitus 

Pope, 946. 

and what we are told of his " wondrous sanctity l can only 
make us regret with Muratori 2 that no biography of him 
has come down to us. However, that he was consecrated 
Pope on May 10, 946, is a point on which both JafTe 
and Duchesne are agreed, and which is established by 
documentary evidence. 

No doubt that which helped Agapitus to accomplish more Peace for 

1 By Ruotger (c. 26), a cleric of Cologne, who wrote (c. 966) the 
Life of Bruno, the brother of Otho I., and who filled the See of Cologne 
with the greatest distinction. Agapitus is " sanctissimus " in the Sigeric 

2 Annal., viii. 500. 

VOL. IV. 15 


than some of his predecessors was the fact that during his 
pontificate Rome and its neighbourhood were left free from 
the visits of armed enemies. But when Gregorovius writes 1 
that under him the Papacy " reappears as taking part in 
matters connected with foreign countries, matters in which, 
under the immediate predecessors of Agapitus, it had had 
no share," he is robbing Peter to pay Paul. What has 
been recorded in the foregoing pages is more than 
sufficient to show that at no period of the tenth century 
up to this has the influence of the Papacy been unfelt in 
the affairs of Europe. 

Before the accession of Agapitus, King Hugo was in 
serious difficulties. Berenger, marquis of Ivrea, the grand- 
son of the Emperor Berenger, who had married Willa, 
the niece of Hugo, appeared in arms against his uncle 
(945). Some five years before, dread of Hugo's jealousy 
had forced Berenger to fly to the court of Otho. How- 
ever, no sooner did he descend the Alps with a small 
army than the lascivious and avaricious Hugo found 
himself abandoned by all. As a last resort he resigned 
the crown of Italy to his popular son, Lothaire, and 
with his money-bags went back to Provence (946), where 
he died the following year. Among the jottings of news 
entered by Frodoard under the year 946, we find re- 
corded the return of Hugo to his Transalpine kingdom, 
the accession of Agapitus, and the fact that " peace was 
concluded between the Patrician Alberic and Hugo, king 
(of Italy)." 
Berenger For a year or two, with the consent of Berenger and the 
bert. kings nobility, Lothaire retained the title of king, while Berenger 
95o. taly ' held its power. This unsatisfactory state of things was 
terminated in November 950 by the death of Lothaire, 
poisoned, as some relate, at the behest of Berenger. The 
1 Rome, iii. 321. 


next month Berenger and his son Adalbert were proclaimed 
kings of Italy. But the lawlessness of their rule soon 
raised a hornet's nest about them. The young widow of 
Lothaire was treated by them with the utmost indignity, 
and then imprisoned (April 951); justice was sold, 1 and 
papal property seized in the most brigand-like style. 2 
By Liutprand 3 Berenger is lashed in unmeasured terms. 
Quoting Job (xxxix. 13, 18) he says: "'The wing of the 
ostrich is like the wings of the heron and of the hawk. . . . 
When the time comes, she setteth up her wings on high ; 
she scorneth the horse and his rider.' Whilst Hugo and 
Lothaire were still to the fore, that great and voracious 
ostrich was not good, indeed, but it had the semblance of 
good. But on their death .... how he raised his wings 
and despised all of us, I have to tell not so much in words 
as in sighs and groans." Were the words of the evil- 
tongued Liutprand not supported by those of more reliable 
men, not much weight could be attached to them ; for he 
was once in the service of Berenger, and for some cause 
had left it for that of his enemy Otho. 

However, when Adelaide contrived to escape from theotho'sin- 
clutches of Berenger, all who had a grievance, real or in Italian 
imaginary, against the two kings of Italy turned their eyes a airs ' g2? ' 
to Otho, and to him directed their prayers for help. And 
Otho was nothing loath to give it. He determined to free 
Adelaide altogether from the power of Berenger, marry 
her, and with her to obtain possession of the kingdom of 

1 " Eo tempore .... regnavit in Longobardia homo ferus et avarus, 
et qui omnem justitiam venderet Bernharius (Berengarius).' ; Widu- 
kind, iii. 7. For his treatment of Adelaide see St. Odilo's Epitaphium 
Adalheidce, c. 3, ap. P. Z,., t. 142. 

2 " Ut Berengarius .... aliquantum etiam de terminis S. Petri 
praedatoria vi sibi arripere praesumpsisset," Translatio S. Epihan., 
c. 1, ap. M. G. SS., vi. 

3 Ant., v. 30. 


Italy. 1 What he resolved to do, he accomplished. When 
he entered Italy, opposition melted away before him. 
In October (951) he was proclaimed king of Italy, and 
at Christmas he married the attractive Adelaide. But his 
ambition was not satisfied. He would be emperor. He 
had given out before he started on this, his first expedi- 
tion into Italy, that Rome was his goal. 2 And so when he 
found himself so easily master of the north of Italy, he 
sent the bishops of Mayence (Mainz) and of Coire or 
Chur to Rome to negotiate for his reception there (952). 
Through the influence of Alberic, no doubt, who did not 
want a master, Otho was given plainly to understand that 
he was not wanted at Rome. 3 With Berenger still at large 
in Italy, and with his own position at home not too secure, 
owing to rebellious dukes on the one hand and Hungarians 
on the other, Otho did not at the time feel justified in 
braving a new foe. He returned to Germany (952), with 
his own hopes of the imperial crown and those of the 
Pope for liberty alike temporarily frustrated. 

Alberic then, meanwhile, was left in undisturbed posses- 
sion of his usurped power, at least in so far as external 
interference was concerned ; and he knew how to put 
down conspiracy at home with a strong hand. 4 His name 
continued to take the place of the emperor's on the papal 
coins, and it was he who, in conjunction with St. Odo, abbot 
of Cluny, took the leading part in promoting monastic re- 
form in Rome and in its immediate neighbourhood. And 

1 These views of Otho are stated in so many words by the continu- 
ator of Regino, ad an. 951. Cf. the anonymous Life of Otho's saintly 
mother Matilda, c. 15, ap. P. Z., t. 135. 

2 " Cumque eum virtus .... reginae (Adelaide) non lateret, simu- 
lato itinere Romam profisci (sic) statuit." Widukind, iii. 9. Cf 
Ditmar, ii. 3. 

* Frod. and Herman. Contract, in Chron., ad an. The names of the 
bishops are to be found in the latter. 
4 Benedict, c. 34. 


if, as throughout the ninth century, 1 the hall in the Lateran 
palace, to which the presence of the bronze she-wolf, 
popularly known as the " mother of the Romans," gave 
the name of ad Lupam, continued to behold the judicial 
assemblies of the clerical and lay nobility, we may be sure 
that any decisions they came to were in accordance with 
the wishes of " the Prince and Senator of all the Romans." 

Soon after the departure of Otho from Italy, Berenger Berenger, 
submissively placed his pretensions in the hands of Otho, of Italy, 
and received back from him, as his vassal, the kingdom of 
Italy, less the marches of Verona and Aquileia, which were 
entrusted to Henry, duke of Bavaria. 

Meanwhile, the miseries of Italy continued. Seeing that 
Otho was fully occupied at home, Berenger wreaked his 
vengeance for his humiliations on the nobility of Italy, 
both clerical and lay, thereby simply laying up further 
trouble for himself. 2 And while the Hungarians made a 
practice at this period of returning from their plundering 
expeditions by way of the north of Italy, the southern 
portion of the peninsula was still kept at fever-heat by 
the warlike struggles of Greek, Saracen, and native prince. 

However, as we have said, during all this turmoil in Death of 
north and south Italy, Rome remained at peace under the 9S4 . 
strong arm of Alberic II. But at length, in the words 
(c. 34) of Benedict of Soracte, " the glorious prince began to 
languish." And so, summoning the nobles of Rome before 
him in St. Peter's, he made them swear, by the side of the 
Confession of the apostle, that on the death of Agapitus 
they would elect his son Pope. "We do not doubt the 
statement," writes Gregorovius : 3 " Alberic's clear intellect 

1 "Abebat autem in palatio Lateranensis judices preordinati, per 
singulos dies, a locus ubi dicitur a Lupa, quod est mater Romanorum," 
etc. Benedict, c. 24, ad an. 827. Cf. Libell. de imp. potest., ap. P. Z,., 
t- 1 39, P- 53 ; and Jafife, 2633. 

2 Cont. Reg., 952. 3 Rome, iii. 325. 


must have recognised that the separation of the temporal 
power from the Papacy in Rome was impossible for any 
length of time. In the hope of the intervention of Germany, 
however, the Papacy had attained a new power under 
Agapitus, and sooner or later Otho the First must seize 
the reins of government in Rome. Alberic understood 
this. . . . He therefore secured dominion to Octavian in 
thus inducing the Romans to invest him with the papal 
crown." In the absence of any direct evidence as to 
Alberic's intellect, and as to the political theories which he 
adopted, we may take it that these are the views of 
Gregorovius himself; and we may pause to note that it is 
as true now as Gregorovius declared it to have been in the 
tenth century that "the separation of the temporal power 
from the Papacy in Rome" is impossible. 

" Though a cleric," says Frodoard, 1 " his son Octavian 
obtained the princedom (principatuni) in succession to his 
deceased father Alberic, the Patrician of the Romans." 
And as Princeps he awaited the death of Agapitus to 
become head of the Universal Church as well as head 
of the State of Rome. 

The death of Alberic was in many ways a misfortune. 
During his reign, the Popes, if powerless, were virtuous ; 
and, if he himself ruled absolutely, he would appear to have 
ruled justly and firmly. Under his sway the good were 
free to perform the works of virtue, and the lawlessness of 
the barons was kept in check. No sooner was his strong 
arm taken away than violence again stalked abroad, and 
we find Leo, the abbot of Subiaco, complaining to the 
Pope "of the great wrongs they had endured since the 
days when the Lord Alberic, of good memory, departed 
from this life." 2 

1 Ann., 954, ap. P. L., t. 133. 

2 See the statement of the abbot, which appears as ep. 6 of John XII. 


Now that we have reviewed the general political situa- The See of 

. . Rheims. 

tion in as far as it affected Rome and the Pope, we may 
direct our attention to the more particular actions in which 
Agapitus was engaged. Perhaps the most important of 
these was the question of the See of Rheims. It has been 
already told how the powerful Heribert, count of Verman- 
dois, got his child-son elected to the See of Rheims, and how 
King Rodolf, after he had obtained possession of the archi- 
episcopal city, forcibly placed Artaud on its ecclesiastical 
throne. Though somewhat weak in his attachments, 
Artaud was, in the main, true to the Carolingian line, and 
supported Louis d'Outre-Mer against his recalcitrant nobles. 
Naturally, therefore, on every count had he to face the 
enmity of Heribert. In the struggle between Louis and 
Heribert with his allies, not a few of the possessions of the 
See of Rheims fell into the hands of the count of Verman- 
dois. In the presence of Louis and the bishops who 
remained true to him, Artaud solemnly excommunicated 
Heribert for retaining the property " of St. Remy " (939). 1 
Next year, however, Rheims fell into the hands of the 
king's enemies, and Artaud found himself incarcerated in 
a monastery. Attempts were made to force him to resign 
his claims to the archbishopric; and, according to Richer, 2 
report had it that he did so on oath. Hugh, his rival, 
now aged twenty, was ordained priest; and at a council 
held at Soissons (941), was declared duly elected to the 
archiepiscopal see and immediately consecrated. Artaud 
appealed to Rome. 3 Whether or not he had any oppor- 
tunity of getting his case brought properly before the 

1 Frod., Ann. ; and Hist. Rem., iv. 27. 

2 Hist., ii. 22 : " Atque multis minarum terroribus affectus consentit, 
juratus etiam, ut fertur, repudium." Cf. Frod., Ann., 941. 

3 "Ad sedem Apostolicam eos provocabam." . . . " Vocationem 
quoque ad sedem A. iterare curavi" the words of Artaud himself, 
Hist. Rem., iv. 35. 


Pope, certain it is that Hugh procured the pallium from 
Stephen (VIII.) IX. (942). 1 But the fortune of war again 
turned in favour of Louis, and Artaud was once more in 
Rheims (946). He was reinstalled by the archbishops of 
Trier and of Mayence, for Otho was now in alliance with 
Louis. Hugh, however, took good care that his rights 
to the See of Rheims were not lost for want of making 
them known. In accordance, therefore, with instructions 
received from Rome, 2 a council was held in November 
947 at Verdun, under the presidency of Robert of 
Trier. As Hugh would not present himself before this 
assembly, another synod was assembled early the follow- 
ing year at Mouzon itself, where he was residing. But 
after an interview with Robert, Hugh refused to appear 
even before this council. He forwarded, however, to it by 
the hands of a deacon a letter, which purported to come 
from the Pope, and which, without more ado, ordered that 
the bishopric should be given to Hugh. The assembled 
prelates, however, decided that it was not the proper thing 
to pass over a regular commission received by Robert of 
Trier from Rome in favour of a letter presented by an 
enemy and rival of Artaud, and that what had been begun 
in due form, should be also finished in accordance with the 
canons. 3 They further decreed that, till a general (uni- 
versalis) or national council could be called, Artaud was 
to retain the see, and Hugh to be regarded as excom- 
municated. While the latter set the decrees of the council 
at naught, they were forwarded to Rome. Agapitus at 
once authorised the calling of such a council (generalis 
synodus), and sent as his legate to Otho to arrange for its 
convocation Marinus, bishop of Bomarzo, and librarian of 
the Holy See. He also wrote himself to various bishops, 
charging them to be present at the council. Its pro- 
1 Frod., Ann. and Hist., iv. 29. 2 Frod., Hist., iv. 34. 3 lb. 


ceedings show, further, that the Pope wished it to be a 
means of helping the unfortunate Louis d'Outre-Mer. 

In presence of both Louis and Otho, the famous synod 1 The coun- 
of Ingelheim was opened in June 948. Ingelheim, which ingeiheim, 
we have met with before as a villa of the Carolingian kings, 94 ' 
was on the left bank of the Rhine, some eight miles from 
Mayence. Not to count the priests and abbots, over thirty 
bishops, mostly Germans, were present at the council, 
which, as its Acts and the Annals 2 of the period proclaim, 
was presided over by the papal legate Marinus. It was the 
power of Hugh, duke of the Franks, the enemy of Louis, 
which prevented the presence of many bishops from the 
dominions of the latter. The proceedings of the council 
were opened by the reading of the gospel and by prayer. 
Then Marinus produced his commission, in which it was 
stated that he had been sent " by the universal Pope " to 
Germany in order that in every canonical discussion which 
might arise, he might "by apostolical authority" bind 
what ought to be bound and loose what needed loosing. 
Both kings and bishops proclaimed their adhesion to the 
papal mandate. 3 

In connection with the first object of the synod, the 
restoration of Louis, Marinus pointed out that the Pope 
had written to the people of France to induce them to be 

1 On this synod cf. Frodoard (Ann., 948, and Hist. /?., iv. 35), and 
its Acts, ap. M. G. LL., ii. See also Hefele, vi. 170 f. Richer, 
ii. 67 ff., follows Frodoard. 

2 "Sinodus ad Engilenheim congregata est, cui Marinus legatus 
apostolicus presedit." Ann. Hildesheimenses, 948. Cf. the better 
authority of Co?itin. Regin. 

3 " Significatum est ... . Marinum ab universali papa tali tenore 
ad nostros fines directum fuisse, quo in omni ecclesiasticarum legum 
discussione .... qusecumque Uganda essent, apostolica autoritate 
ligaret. . . . Hujusmodi affaminis tam salubri missatico .... reges 
cum pontificibus .... se in omnibus consentire et obedire professi 
sunt." Labbe, ix., p. 624. 


loyal to Louis; and it was decreed (can. i) that in future 
no one was to dare to assail the royal authority, and that 
Hugh was to be excommunicated if he did not present 
himself at the appointed time before a synod and make 
reparation to Louis. Artaud was then (can. 2) declared 
lawful archbishop of Rheims, and Hugh excommunicated. 
After these two most important affairs had been dealt 
with, the council passed various decrees for the amelioration 
of discipline with the approval of the papal vicar. 1 
The synod Through the armed support of Otho, Artaud was restored 

of Trier, & ^ 

948. to his see, and Hugh the Great was summoned to appear be- 

fore a synod at Trier (Treves), September 94s. 2 Here again 
Marinus presided, and as Hugh did not appear, he was 
excommunicated, on the initiative of Otho, till such time as 
he should make satisfaction before the papal legate. If he 
failed to do this, he would have to go to Rome for absolution. 

Council at To give greater solemnity and effect to the decrees of 
9 ' these two assemblies, Agapitus, in a council held in 
St. Peter's, confirmed the condemnation of the youthful 
archbishop, and excommunicated " Prince Hugh till he 
should make atonement to Louis." 3 This settled both 
questions. Finding his nobility, clerical and lay, falling 
away from him, Duke Hugh submitted once more to his 
sovereign (950). " This change in the relations of the 
duke of France and of the Carolingian (king) was, as in 
942, the result of the intervention of the Pope and the 
mediation of the king of Germany." 4 

John xii. The death of Artaud, towards the close of 961, caused 

962. ' the whole question to be reopened again to the great danger 
of the Carolingian line. The representatives of the house 

1 " A quibus (the whole assembly), autorante et confirmante legato 
apostolico, capitula subsequentia statuta sunt." Labbe, id. 

2 Frod., Ann., 948. Cf. the letter of Marinus, cited by Lauer, Hist, 
de Louis, p. 186 n., p. 175 n. 

1 Frod., 949. 4 Lauer, i/>., 208. 


of Vermandois, Albert and Heribert, demanded of Lothaire, 
who had meanwhile succeeded his father Louis, that their 
brother Hugh should now be placed in possession of the 
vacant See of Rheims. Their demand was backed by the 
powerful support of Hugh Capet. 1 Naturally Lothaire did 
not wish to have the most important see in France in the 
hands of a hostile faction. To counteract the alliance of 
Hugh Capet with the family of Vermandois, Lothaire 
sought the aid of Otho I., and meanwhile caused a synod 
to discuss the question of the restoration of Hugh. The 
partisans of the king maintained that a smaller number 
of bishops could not remove from Hugh the excommunica- 
tion which had been imposed upon him by a greater 
number at Mouzon, Ingelheim, etc. It was finally decided 
to leave the matter in the hands of the Pope. 2 John XII., 
influenced perhaps by Otho, renewed the excommunication 
against Hugh, first at Rome and then at Pavia (962)? A 
papal legate brought word of the Pope's action to France. 
Within a brief space Hugh died of chagrin. Through 
the influence of the famous Archbishop Bruno, Lothaire's 
brother-in-law and the adviser of Otho I., Odelric, a canon 
of the church of Metz, a man both acceptable to Lothaire 
and endowed with wealth, nobility of birth, and learning, 
was elected to the vacant see. 4 Thus was another source 
of danger to the successors of Charlemagne removed by 
Rome. If anything could have preserved the Carolingian 
line from political extinction, the support of the Popes 

1 Frod., Ann., 962 ; Richer, Hist., iii. 15 f. 

2 " Relinquitur ratio differenda usque ad interrogationem papae 
romani." Richer, ib. 16. 

3 "Legatio veniens a Johanne papa intimat praefatum Hugonem 
quondam episcopum tarn ab ipso papa quam ab omni Romano synodo 
excommunicatum, sed et ab alio synodo apud Papiam celebrate" 
Frod., ib. 

4 Richer, Hist., iii. 17-19. 


would have done it. But, despite the continued goodwill 

of Rome, the Carolingians could not resist the pressure of 

the Robertians, but had to yield to them the pride of place. 

Further The other relations of Agapitus with Louis and Otho 

intercourse j 

with Otho. were of a character more strictly ecclesiastical. He granted 
a bull in favour of the church of Macon, at the request of 
the " pious " King Louis, " his dear son " ; l and, in response 
" to the intervention of our lord the glorious King Otho," 2 
he does the same for the nunnery of Essen, now famous 
for something very different to nuns. We also find him 
subjecting another monastery simply to Otho himself and 
to the abbot elected by the monks. 3 Agapitus seems to 
have had great confidence in Otho. This he showed not 
merely in the last-mentioned bull, but also in the ready 
way in which he gave him permission to arrange certain 
bishoprics as he listed. However, the protest of William, 
archbishop of Mayence, the papal vicar, 4 whose jurisdiction 
would have been curtailed by the carrying out of the 
schemes of Otho, seems to have rendered this concession 
abortive. 5 Further, to Bruno, archbishop of Cologne, the 
king's youngest brother, and the Alcuin of the court of 
Otho, he not merely granted the pallium, but the excep- 
tional privilege {prater consuetudinem) of wearing it when 
he chose. 6 As far as Bruno was concerned, he well 

1 Ep. 15, ap. P. L., t. 133. 

2 Jafite, 3635 ; ep. 3. It is interesting to find Agapitus granting 
privileges to the nunnery of Gandersheim, where the famous Hrotsvitha 
was writing pious plays in the style of Terence ; id., 3642, or ep. 6. 

3 lb., 3649. 

4 lb., 3668, where the dignity conferred on Frederick is confirmed to 

6 B*% 3673- 

f ' Ruotger, Vita Brunonis, c. 26, ap. SS. rer. Germ, in usutn 
scholarum. It was becoming that he "cum eis pariter, qui traditam a 
b. Petro ap. sanam servare (debent) doctrinam, catholics fidei integri- 
tate, in vera confessione et inviolabili veritate predication is uniri." 
Ruotger (ib.) calls Agapitus " mirae sanctitatis papam." 


deserved honour at the Pope's hands ; for his one desire 
was to be united in word and deed " with' those who pre- 
serve the sound doctrine handed down from Blessed Peter 
the apostle." 1 But if Agapitus had foreseen that Otho's 
dreams of universal dominion would lead him to try to 
enslave the Church, he would probably not have been so 
considerate towards him. 

Before leaving Otho, a word or two must be said of the Denmark 
spread of the jurisdiction of the See of Hamburg-Bremen, burg- 
In his efforts to drive back the pagans, the Danes, the 
Slavs, and the Hungarians, who pressed him on all sides, 
Otho in due course came into collision with the Danes 
under Harold Bluetooth, 2 the son of Gorm the Old. The 
Danish monarch was defeated. With a view to humbling 
and elevating him at the same time, Otho insisted that he 
should become a Christian, as Charlemagne had done in 
the case of Widukind the Saxon, and our own Alfred with 
Guthrum. The result was in every case satisfactory. 
Harold remained true to his new faith. " At that time," 
says 3 Adam of Bremen, " Cismarine Denmark (Dania), 
which the natives call Jutland, was divided (presumably by 
joint agreement between Harold, Otho, and the Pope) into 
three bishoprics, and subjected to that of Hamburg. There 
are preserved in the church of Bremen diplomas of Otho 
which show that he held the Danish kingdom beneath his 
sway, so that he even appointed (donaverit) its bishoprics. 
And among the privileges of the Roman See there may be 

1 lb., c. 26. According to the late (he was born about 1140) but 
accurate Gervase, a monk of Canterbury, in his Actus Pont. Cant., 
ap. Scriptores X., p. 1644, St. Odo, archbishop of Canterbury, also 
received the pallium from Agapitus. 

2 941-991- 

3 Gesta Pontif. Ham., ii. 3, ap. P. L., t. 146. According to the Hist. 
Olav. Tryg. filii max., c. 60, ap. M. G. SS., xxix., it was Frode VI. 
who caused three bishops to be consecrated for Jutland, " according to 
the advice (at radi) of Pope Agapitus " in 948. 


found a bull (Jaffe, 3641) in which Pope Agapitus renewed 
the privileges granted by his predecessors .... to the church 
of Hamburg, and conceded to Adalgar, its archbishop, the 
right of consecrating bishops in the Popes' stead as well 
for Denmark as for the other northern countries " (948). 

Before this, another Danish ruler had been in communi- 
cation with Agapitus. Among those vice-kings whom 
Gorm the Old (883-941) had striven to bring into subjec- 
tion to the king of Denmark was Frode VI., vice-king of 
Jutland. He had been baptized by Unni, and at the 
suggestion of Archbishop Adalgar had sent to Rome for 
missionaries for his country. We will give the account 
of this embassy in the quaint words of Saxo Gram- 
maticus. 1 

After speaking of Frode's success in war, Saxo continues : 
" He also came forward to be baptized with holy water in 
England, which had for some while past been versed in 
Christianity. But he desired that his personal salvation 
should overflow and become general, and begged that 
Denmark should be instructed in divinity by Pope Agapete, 
who was then Pope of Rome. But he was cut off before 
his prayers attained their wish. His death befell before 
the arrival of the messengers from Rome ; and indeed his 
intention was better than his fortune, and he won as great 
a reward in heaven for his intended piety as others are 
vouchsafed for their achievement." 

Some of the letters of Agapitus to different princes of 
Italy, with which Germany was to be so closely connected 
for many centuries, shed no little light on the state of the 
country. When he had to admonish the princes of Bene- 
ventum and of Capua 2 to restore to certain monks their 

1 Gesta Dan., ix., pp. 317-8, ed. Holder. We give Elton's translation, 
p. 385. Cf. Karup, Hist, de Vtglise cath. en Danemark, p. 26. 
- Epp. 2, 17. 


monasteries or their freedom, or to send back to their 
monasteries such monks as had fallen away from monastic 
discipline ; and when he had to condemn x simoniacal 
intruders into the sees of Termoli and Trivento, he 
evidently found South Italy in as unsatisfactory a condition 
ecclesiastically as it was politically. 

In attending to reform nearer home, following the policy The abbey 
of his predecessors in showing well-deserved honour to the 
monks of the Cluniac reformation, he determined to place 
St. Paul's, outside-the-walls, in their hands. Accordingly 
he wrote to Einold, the abbot of Gorze in Lorraine, to send 
him some religious. The request was duly attended to. 

It is, perchance, to go beyond our premises directly to 
connect the monks of Gorze, an abbey originally founded 
by St. Chrodegang, bishop of Metz, with the reformation 
of Cluny. At any rate, Agapitus'was bent on drawing his 
supply of monks from a particularly pure source. And 
how hard it was to find a pure source may be estimated 
(allowing for a little exaggeration) from a remark of the 
biographer of Blessed John of Gorze, that " there was not a 
monastery in all the Cisalpine countries, and scarcely one 
in Italy, in which there was due observance of rule" (c. 20). 
(j-974). At the beginning of the tenth century Gorze 
was almost in ruins. Adalberon, bishop of Metz, restored 
it, and put it into the hands of some pious ecclesiastics 
{933), among whom were Einold and the Blessed John de 
Vendiere. He soon gave them the religious habit, and 
their house, in a very short time, acquired a great reputation 
for virtue. 

The position of the Pope in Rome is very plainly, if 
incidentally, shown by the contemporary author of the Life 
of Blessed John (f974)> from whom we have these par- 
ticulars, when he says that Agapitus proposed to intro- 
1 Jaffe, 3634, 3664, 3636. Ep. 4. 



duce the monks from Gorze, "with the help of King 
Alberic." 1 
Coins of Two coins of this Pope, preserved in the Vatican Cabinet, 

Agapitus. ,, , , , , 

tell the same tale of the rope s loss of supreme temporal 
authority in Rome. Though both coins bear the name of 
Agapitus, that of Alberic is equally prominent upon 
them. 2 
His death, Both Duchesne and Jaff6 are agreed that Agapitus died 
in December 955. His tomb was in the Lateran basilica, 
" behind the apse," and close to those of Leo V. and 
Paschal II., as John the Deacon tells us 3 in his descrip- 
tion of the Lateran. Though it is thought that from 
the time of John X. the Popes were buried, not in 
the Vatican as formerly, but in the Lateran, no express 
mention of the place of burial of those between John X. 
and Agapitus II. is to be found. 

1 The Pope asks for monks "quos in monasterio b. Pauli, ad 
monasticum ordinem transferendo cum auxilio regis Albrici collocet." 
Vit. Joan. Gorziensis, ap. M. G. SS., iv., 352 ; P. Z., t. 137, c. 53, p. 
268, in Jaffa's abridgment. 

2 Promis, Monete dei R. P., p. 88. Provana, however, from the 
fact that some of Alberic's coins bear a Pope's name and some do not, 
concludes that he had less power later on than at first. Studi sovra la 
storia d Italia, p. 143. 

3 Ap. Migne, P. L., t. 194, p. 1 551 ; or ap., #., t. 78, p. 1386. 


* A.D. 955-964. 

Sources. The catalogue which does duty as the continuation of 
the Liber Pontificalis is fuller than usual in its notice of this Pope. 
But whether it has come down to us in as complete a form as it 
was originally written, or whether, indeed, there may not have 
been some more elaborate continuation of the L. P. than the 
catalogue, is open to some doubt; for Benedict of Soracte 
(c. 37) refers his readers for details of the death of John XII. to 
the Libellus episcopalis, while in the catalogues no such details are 
to be found. " De accidentia illius (Johannes XII.)," he writes, 
" et morte in libellum episcopalem repperitur." 

Some sixteen of his letters, etc., are collected in P. Z., t. 133. 

It is unfortunate that the principal data from which a Means of 
judgment has to be formed of the character of John XII. {L S char- 
are supplied from sources either actually German, as the j^ xn. 
Continuation of the Chronicle of Regino of Priim, or 
written in the interests of Germany, as the productions 
of the "malicious Liutprand," to use a correct expres- 
sion of Gregorovius. There cannot be a doubt that 
John XII. was anything but what a Pope, the chief 
pastor of Christendom, should have been. Between the 
vindictive Liutprand, who recorded all that he had picked 

up from the gossip of the spiteful or of the ignorant, 
VOL. IV. 241 16 

242 JOHN XII. 

and Frodoard, who has recorded practically nothing 1 
to the detriment of John, there are other contemporary 
authors who have said enough to let us see that John 
was far from being an exemplary pontiff. Such are 
the catalogues, Benedict of Soracte, and the anonymous 
author of the Chronicle of .Salerno. John is supposed 
also to have fallen under the lash of Ratherius of 
Verona. If that zealous bishop really did scathe John 
XII. for immorality, he certainly respected him as head 
of the Church. To Ratherius John is : " The arch- 
bishop of archbishops, and, if any man ought to be so 
designated, Universal Pope." 2 And if towards the close of 
John's reign Ratherius could not refrain from denouncing 
him, he at any rate did not do so by name. Perhaps this 
was because he had been kindly treated by John. He 
wonders, however, at the general contempt of the canons 
displayed by all, " from the laymen, up, unfortunately, to 
the supreme pontiff." This expression of his occurs in a 
work, De contemptu canonum (n. 6), published in the 
beginning of the year 964. And again, 3 in order to show 
that the possibility of reform depended largely on the 
moral character of those in power, he asked what improve- 
ment could be looked for if one who was leading an 
immoral life, who was bellicose and perjured, and who 
was devoted to hunting, hawking, gaming, and wine, were 
to be elected to the Apostolic See. 

1 The only words in Frodoard that reflect on the character of John 
XII. are that "he was blamed for his irreligious life" quia de 
inreligiositate sua corripiebatur (Ann., 965) and that too by Otho, 
whose plans were the better served when John was made to appear as 
black as possible. 

2 Ep. ad Joan. XII., first written to Agapitus II., c. 951 ; and then, 
with a simple change of inscription, sent to John XII. " Archiprassulum 
archiepiscope, et, si de ullo mortalium jure dici possit, universalis Papa 

3 De contempt, can., n. 12, ed. Verona?, 1765. Cf. n. 19. 

JOHN XII. 243 

However, whether this picture was drawn from life 
or not, it is certain that those who brought the most 
definite charges against John XII. were partisans of Otho 
and the Germans. Hence their stories to his detriment 
have been viewed with suspicion, and that not merely in 
modern times, but in the Middle Ages, when historical 
criticism was not much in vogue, and, moreover, by 
Germans themselves. The worthy bishop, Otho of Frising 
(-f-i 1 58), even though disposed somewhat to favour the 
Empire in its struggle with the Papacy, 1 remarks in his 
Chronicle (vi. 23) : "I have found it stated in certain 
chronicles, but in such as were written by Germans {sed 
Teutonicorum), that John XII. lived in a blameworthy 
manner, and that there were frequent meetings of bishops 
and others on this subject." This Otho goes on to declare 
it hard to believe, on account of the privilege bestowed on 
St. Peter of resisting the gates of hell. While realising 
that our Lord's promise to St. Peter bestowed upon him 
not impeccability but infallibility, we may agree with Otho 
that what he read in the German chronicles is hard to 
believe, not because any impeccability was granted to St. 
Peter or his successors, but because it was written by 
German authors anxious to make out the best case for 

While it is certain that John was the son of Alberic, it Birth- 
is supposed that Alda, daughter of Hugo of Provence, was Sf a j C ohn. tC ' 
his mother. Alberic married Alda in 936, as we know 
from the Annals of Frodoard, and the same is thought to 
be established from some words of Benedict, if anything 
can be deduced with certainty from his barbarous phrases. 2 

1 So notes the learned editor of Otho's Chronicle, p. xxv., in Pertz's 

2 " Genuit (Alberic) ex his principem ex concubinam filium, imposuit 
eis nomen Octabianus " (c. 34). As he had just been speaking of 
Lombard and Transalpine kings, the phrase ex his is supposed to refer 

244 J0 HN XII. 

If, then, John was the son of Alberic and Alda, he was only 
eighteen when he was elected Pope. But if the words of 
Benedict have to be strictly interpreted, and he was the 
son of some concubine of Alberic, then he was probably 
older. A contemporary painting, indeed, represents him 
as quite a middle-aged man in the year 960; for it was in 
that year we are assured that was painted the picture which 
formerly adorned the old sacristy of the Lateran basilica^ 
and which was copied by Cardinal Rasponi, and then in- 
serted by him in his history of that chnrch. The Pope, 
who is represented as bearded and as clad in cassock, 
tunic, and dalmatic, is being invested with a large chasuble 
covered with small Greek crosses. 1 

Alberic's ordinary residence was near the basilica of 
SS. Philip and James, known as that of The Apostles, 
and appears to have been situated where now stands the 
Palazzo Colonna. And so in the catalogues John is 
spoken of as belonging to the region of the Via Lata, 
the aristocratic quarter that was situated between the 
Quirinal Hill and the Campus Martius. 
Elected We have already seen how Prince Alberic, on his death- 

ope, 955- k e( ^ ma( j e h a |j tne R oman nobles " promise that on the death 
of Agapitus they would elect his son, the young Octavian, 
to succeed him. They were as good as their word, and 
the youth was consecrated on December 16, 955,2 taking 
the name of John XII. From the Sigeric catalogue it 
appears that he had been cardinal-deacon not of the title 

to Hugo of Provence, and hence to his daughter Alda. It has been 
suggested that she may have been called a concubine because of some 
canonical impediment which stood in the way of her marriage with 
Alberic ; or perhaps, more simply, because of some confusion on the 
part of Benedict. Sometime, indeed, in the Latin of this age concubina 
was used for a wife at least for a sort of morganatic wife. Cf. Ducange, 
in voce. 

1 Cf. Battandier, Annuaire pont., 1904, p. 150. 

" Suggerentibus sibi Romanis." Frod., Ann., 954. 

JOHN XII. 245 

(presbyterial) but of the deaconry, S. Maria in Dominica or 
Domnica (or in Ciriaca, its Greek equivalent), so called from 
its occupying the site of the house of S. Ciriaca. 1 It is on 
the Celian Hill, not far from S. Stefano Rotondo. In 
temporal concerns the new Pope made use of the signature 
Octavianus, and in spiritual of John. This custom of using 
sometimes their family, and sometimes their assumed, name 
is still observed by the Popes. 

Octavian is generally credited with being the first Pope Changes 

& J & r t his name. 

who changed his name on his election to the pontifical 
throne. Though to take a new name on their accession 
became more or less customary soon after the time of 
John XII., he was not the first Pope so to alter his name. 
It had already been done by a namesake of his, John II. 
(533-535), who when a simple priest had been known as 
Mercury. 2 

Apart from grants of privileges, among the first acts First acts 
recorded of John is the dispatch of a letter 3 to William of reign. 
Mayence, the papal legate in Germany, in reply to one 
which had been sent to his predecessor. John sympathises 
with the archbishop in his troubles, declares that he will 
have a care of the honour due to him, and exhorts him 
boldly to assail those who contumaciously wish to lead a 
bad life, and devastate the churches of God. He expresses 
a great wish to be informed of all that was going on " in 
the parts of the Gauls and Germany." 

Writing (657) to another German archbishop, Henry of 
Trier, while granting him the use of the pallium, he exhorts* 
him to a good life. Equally significant is his confirmation 
{958) of the possession of the monastery of Subiaco. This 

1 According to Marucchi, Basiliques> p. 2 1 7, a more probable deriva- 
tion is from Dominicwn, an appellation at one time applied to titular 

2 Grisar, Anal. Romana, i. 150. 3 Jaffe, 3674. 4 lb., 3682. 

246 JOHN XII. 

he did on condition "that every day by priests and monks 
should be recited, for the gcod of our soul and the souls of 
our successors, a hundred Kyrie-eleisons and a hundred 
Christe-eleisons, and that thrice each week the priests should 
offer the Holy Mass to Almighty God for the absolution of 
our soul and those of our successors." If John was bad 
himself, he had no intention of letting others do wrong, 
and showed himself fully alive to the value of prayer. 

But a quiet life was not for John XII. For some 
cause, unknown to us no dcubt to recover the property 
or territory at one time belonging to the Holy See he 
took up arms, and led an expedition against the princes of 
Beneventum and Capua. Not perhaps unnaturally, as a 
southerner, the author of the Chronicle of Salernum, 1 from 
whom alone we have these facts, and who, moreover, was 
not very discerning? puts the blame of the war on the Pope, 
" a youth, and given up to the vices thereof." John marched 
south at the head of a body of Tuscans and Spoletans, as 
well as Romans. To strengthen their position the attacked 
princes contrived to secure the support of Gisulf, prince of 
Salernum, who is highly praised for his valour and military 
skill by our anonymous chronicler. The mere rumour 
of the approach of this renowned warrior was enough to 
put the papal army to flight, and to make it return to its 
own territories. Struck by the power of Gisulf, the Pope 
decided to make an alliance with him. The chronicler 
tells us how the two met at Terracina, and how the Romans, 
astonished at the display of power made by Gisulf, ex- 
claimed that the sight showed them that his greatness was 
even in excess of what report had declared it to be. Though 
we are informed that a treaty was made between John and 

1 Ap. R. I. SS., ii. p. ii. p. 280. " Dum esset adolescens, atque hujus- 
modi vitiis deditus," etc. 

2 Chroniclers of Italy, Balzani, p. 118. 

JOHN XII. 247 

Gisulf, nothing is known as to its terms. However, from 
the fact that, whereas in the Donation of Louis the Pious 
(817) mention is made of the papal patrimony of Salernum, 
but in those of Otho I. and Henry II. (1020) it is not 
alluded to, Fedele infers that the sacrifice of this patrimony 
was the price paid by John for an understanding with the 
strong prince of Salernum. 1 

About this time (viz. 960) John took a step which Embassy 
very materially altered the state of things. By his cruelty 960. 
and the avarice of his wife, Willa, Berenger, the vassal 
king of Italy, made himself odious to Pope, bishop, and 
noble alike. 2 Accordingly a general appeal for help 
against him was made to Otho. He was not only ap- 
proached by legates of the Pope, by Walpert, archbishop of 
Milan, and others, " but almost all the counts and bishops 
of Italy, by means of letters or envoys, begged him to 
come and free them." 3 The papal envoys bade Otho 
either give up his patriciate or protectorate of Rome 
altogether, or come and help them. 4 

Free now, after his many wars against enemies at home Otho enters 
and abroad, to attend to the affairs of Italy in person, Otho, 
" the warlike soldier of the Church," accepted their invita- 
tion and entered the country (961). He had previously 
taken the precaution of associating his little son Otho 

1 I conti del Tuscolo ed i principi di Salerno, p. 9 ff., ap. Archivio 
delta R. Soc. Rom. di Stor. Pat., 1905. 

2 Coniin. Reg., 952. 

3 lb., 960. Cf. Liutprand, Hist. Oit., c. 1. The envoys asked help 
" a sanctissimo Ottone. ) ' The bishop's friends were all saints ! 

4 So assures us the author of the Translatio S. Epiphan., c. 2, ap. 
M. G. SS., iv. p. 248, who wrote after 984. According to him, 
Berenger too was avaricious : " Avaritias exarsit aestu, ut pecunia 
captus .... etiam de terminis S. Petri praedatoria vi sibi arripere 
praesumpsisset." John bids Otho " ut aut patriciatu Romanae urbis, quae 
sibi a majoribus suis competebat, descisceret, vei fessis eorum rebus 
succurreret. Accingitur .... communi suorum consensu .... 
bellicosus ecclesiarum miles contra apostolicum hostem." 

248 JOHN XII. 

with him in his kingdom. This time also, just as on 
the occasion of his former entry into Italy, no re- 
sistance was offered him. Berenger and his adherents 
fled, and shut themselves up in strong castles, and the 
victorious German marched to Rome. There he arrived 
on January 31, 962. He had sworn that, if received in the 
city, he would not interfere with the Pope's rights therein. 
According to the form preserved by Bonizo of Sutri, 1 the 
oath he had taken ran thus : " To thee, the Lord Pope 
John, I, King Otho, promise and swear, by the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost, by the wood of the life-giving cross, and 
by these relics of the saints, that, if by the will of God I 
come to Rome, I will exalt to the best of my ability the 
Holy Roman Church and you its ruler ; and never with 
my will or at my instigation shall you lose life or limb or 
the honour which you possess. And without your consent 
never, within the city of Rome, will I hold a placititm 
(plea) or make any regulation which affects you or the 
Romans. Whatever territory of St. Peter comes within 
my grasp, I will give up to you. And to whomsoever 
I shall entrust the kingdom of Italy, I will make him 
swear to help you as far as he can to defend the lands of 
St. Peter." 
His Encouraged by these promises, and, no doubt, like the 


coronation, rest of the Romans, duly impressed by the king's fierce 
soldiery ("erat enim," writes Benedict, c. 36, "aspectus eorum 
orribilis . . . . et ad prcelium ut ferro stantes"), John 
bestowed " the glory of the imperial crown " upon Otho 
and his wife Adelaide in St. Peter's on February 2, g62. 2 

1 Ad amicum, L. iv., ap. Watterich, i. 729. 

3 Ann. Sangall. Maj., 692 ; Contin. Reg., 962. " Rex .... a 
Johanne .... imperator et Augustus vocatur et ordinatur," Vita 
Mathildis, c. 21. The life of Matilda, Otho's mother, was written 
before 1012 ; Ann. Ottenburani, an. 962 (M. G. SS. t v.), " Otto rex con- 
secratione Johannis Papac imperator Romse factus est." 

JOHN XII. 249 

Though Frodoard l and others speak of the cordial recep- 
tion accorded to Otho, a German chronicler 2 tells a story, 
and it is probably no more than a story, to the effect 
that Otho on this memorable occasion thus addressed his 
sword-bearer Ansfried : " When this day I pray before 
the sacred shrine of the Apostles, do you hold your sword 
over my head all the time. For I know that my ancestors 
have often had good reasons to suspect the good faith 
of the Romans. And it is for the wise man by forethought 
to anticipate difficulties while yet they are afar, that they 
may not overwhelm him by taking him unawares." True 
or false, the story illustrates the fact that at the time of 
their imperial coronation in Rome, the German monarchs 
had always to show that they possessed the power of the 
sword. There was always in the Eternal City a very 
strong party which objected to the presence of the German 
king in their midst, and it seldom, if ever, failed to make 
its power felt, either at the time of the coronation itself or 
soon after. And on the present occasion we shall see that 
no sooner was Otho's back turned on Rome than it made 
its influence manifest at once. 

Meanwhile, however, the act of John had renewed the "The Holy 
Roman Empire in the West. 3 Through him " the Holy Empire 
Roman Empire of the German nation " came, into being, and German 
that chain was forged which was to bind Germany and Italy na 
together for centuries. Once more the affairs of Christendom 
were regarded as in proper hands. In theory at least, all ac- 

1 Anna/., 962. Cf. Ann. Altahenses Majores, an. 962, Oddo .... 
imperator effectus est cum summo Romanorum tripudio ; L.P., etc. 

2 Thietmar, iv. 22. 

3 " Nunc vero Dei operante dementia charissimus et Christianissimus 
Alius noster Otto, devictis barbaris gentibus .... ut ad defensionem 
S. Dei ecclesiae .... per nos a b. Petro .... susciperet coronam, 
summam .... adiit sedem ; quern .... in imperatorem cum b. 
Petri benedictione unximus." Ep. 12. 


knowledged the supremacy of the Pope in matters spiritual, 
and that of the emperor in matters temporal. And though 
in practice turbulent bishops or nobles did not hesitate, as 
before, to oppose the authority of either or both ; and 
though, indeed, the " two swords " themselves, i.e., the 
spiritual weapons of the Pope and the civil might of the 
emperors were often crossed, still there can be no doubt 
that the grand idea of Pope and emperor, a supreme 
spiritual and a supreme temporal head of the Christian 
commonwealth, had an immense effect in the uplifting of 
Europe. With such ideals, narrow views could not but 
broaden ; and it was difficult for such as put themselves in 
opposition to them to avoid not merely being regarded as 
in the wrong, but, in secret at least, thinking themselves in 
the wrong. It was the common possession of one grand 
ideal in religion and in politics that knit Europe together, 
and not only made possible such enterprises as the 
Crusades, but deepened such important fundamental con- 
ceptions as the brotherhood of nations and of man. 

But to return to John and Otho ; for with Otho of 
Frising l I may say that it is my object rather simply to 
relate the facts of history than to unfold their causes and 
results. The need of an accurate narration of them as far 
as the Papacy is concerned can scarcely be questioned ; 
for, on the basis of a very imperfect knowledge of the 
facts of the history of the Popes, new theories are con- 
stantly being erected. And it is hard to see how a building 
can be stronger than its foundations. 
Mutual The coronation of Otho was accompanied by mutual con- 

b5Jwn nt cessions on the part of the Pope and the emperor. John 
Tm^ro"! 1 and the whole nobility of the city promised on oath, " over 
donation tne most precious body of St. Peter," to remain true to 
of otho. Otho, and never to help Berenger and Adalbert; while the 

1 Chron., vi. 23. 

JOHN XII. 251 

emperor not only gave the Pope many splendid pre- 
sents, but " restored his own " to him ; x i.e., by special deed 
of gift, of which a contemporary copy is still extant, he re- 
newed the Donation of Charlemagne. This contemporary 
document, whether original or a copy, has been made the 
subject of what has been rightly called a " magisterial 
inquiry " by Professor Sickel of Vienna the same author 
who made the searching investigation into the Liber 
Diurnus. With the permission of Leo XIII., of glorious 
memory, he was allowed to examine the diploma, and to 
make a photograph of it. 2 " It is written in italics of 
tenth-century character, with ornaments in harmony ; and 
it is written with gold ink on purple vellum. The professor 
does not regard this document to be strictly the original, 
but a copy executed in the Imperial Chancery ; but its 
lavishly splendid get-up suggests that it was made for a 
special purpose. Hence he holds the Vatican document to 
be an official copy, intended to be laid on the Confession of 
St. Peter." 3 Although this document is dated February 
*3> 962, Duchesne 4 regards it as a copy of an original of 
that date drawn up a year later. To this he is moved by the 
mention in it of " our venerated lord and spiritual father 
Leo." With others he thinks that such a form of expression 
could only be used of a contemporary pontiff, and that 
consequently it must refer to Otho's Pope, viz. Leo VIII. 
However this may be, the authenticity of Otho's diploma 
may be said to be now completely established. It renews 
the grants of territory and patrimonies of the preceding 
donations ; and among the patrimonies it may be noted 
that the ancient one of Sicily, " if God shall deliver it into 

1 Liutprand, Hist., c. 3 ; Cont. Reg., 962. 

2 Das privilegium Otto I.fiirdie romische Kirche, mit einen facsimile. 
Innsbruck, 1883. 

3 Dubli?i Review, xi., p. 236. 

4 Les premiers temps de Vetat pont., p. 179. 

252 JOHN XII. 

our hands," 1 is mentioned. By this donation there was 
guaranteed to the Popes all the land between a southern 
line, drawn from Naples to Capua and on to the mouth of 
the Trinius (Trigno), and a northern one drawn from Luna, 
to include Venetia and Istria, by Berceto, Parma, Reggio, 
and Monselice. This latter line is the one which we have 
quoted in a preceding volume from the Liber Pontificalis 
as showing the limit of the original grant of Pippin, 
and concerning which it has been noted 2 " that the 
claims made by the Pope at different times never went 
beyond" it. The diploma goes on to assure freedom of 
election to the papal throne, " according to the pact of Pope 
Eugenius," but insists that the elect be not consecrated 
before he has made the promise to preserve the rights of 
all, which our venerated lord and spiritual father Leo is 
known to have done of his own accord, in the presence of 
our wissi, of our son (Otho II.) and of the generality 
{universce generalitatis). The remaining articles of this 
document treat of the administration of justice ; and, 
though they are on the same lines as those in the pact 
between Eugenius and Lothaire, just mentioned, they can 
scarcely be reconciled with the terms of Otho's oath to the 
Pope. He had sworn not to interfere with the papal 
government of Rome; and yet the clauses of the concordat 
of 824, which practically limited the Pope's jurisdiction, were 
reintroduced into his privilege. 3 

John XII. was very far from entering into immediate 

1 " Necon patrimonium Sicilian, si Deus nostris illud tradiderit 
manibus," ap. Theiner, Cod. Diplom. domin. temp. S. Sedis, i. p. 4. 
Cf. Liutprand, Legal., c. 17, "Quicquid in Italia, sed et in Saxonia, 
Bagoaria, omnibus domini mei (Ottonis) regnis est, quod ad app. 
beatorum ecclesiam respicit, SS. App. vicario contulit." 

2 By Miss Eckenstein, who is responsible for the letterpress and map 
of Italy of this period in Poole's Historical Atlas of Modern Europe. 

3 Cf. Fisher, The Medieval Empire, ii. 201. 

JOHN XII. 253 

possession of all the territories made over to him by the 
Donation of the emperor. Of some of them the Popes 
were never to have control ; and it was to be long enough 
before they exercised jurisdiction, direct or indirect, even 
over the greater part of them. However, during the reign 
of an emperor at once well disposed and powerful, there is 
no doubt that the Popes even of this age exercised control 
in the exarchate. The first of the letters of John XIII. in 
Migne's (t. 135) collection of them, is a charter in favour of 
the clergy of Bologna, by which John confirmed a privilege 
in their behalf which they had obtained from Leo V., and 
which exempted them from the payment of all public 
taxes ("ut nullam donationem vel redditum publicum 
facerent"). He enumerated the dues they were to be 
free from. They were to pay neither " portaticum, neque 
ripaticum, aut teloneum, sive ostaticum, neque paratam vel 
sacramentum." Some of these taxes were dues levied on 
vessels, others were feudal dues. In either case it is plain 
that they were taxes which only the civil ruler could remit. 
But when there was no powerful and friendly sword-arm 
to support the pacific arm of the Popes, their power at this 
period in the exarchate must have been even more nominal 
than in Rome. 

Before Otho left Rome, he induced the Pope to fall in Privileges 

.,,... .... , granted at 

with his views in connection with various matters regard- otho's 
ing the Church in Germany. To curtail the power of the reque 
archbishop of Mayence, or for the better propagation of 
the faith among the Slavs, as the Pope's bull states, he 
induced John to make Magdeburg into an archbishopric, 
and Merseburg into one of its suffragan bishoprics. 1 
Under the same influence the Pope granted the pallium to 

1 Ann. Saxo., 962 ; ep. 12 ; JafYe, 3689. In granting the pallium to 
Henry of Trier, he says that he ought to have given a fuller exposition 
of his faith. /#., 3691. 

254 JOHN XII. 

Archbishop Frederick of Salzburg, and threatened the de- 
posed prelate Herold with excommunication if he did not 
refrain from saying Mass. 1 
Otho leaves It would seem from the Book of the Popes that before 
February. Otho left Rome, he made strong representations to John 
("who passed his whole life in vanity and adultery") to 
induce him to amend his life. But whether these expos- 
tulations were the same as some that Liutprand records he 
made later, they were equally without effect. At any rate 
Pope and emperor parted (February 14) apparently good 
friends ; the one to see to the final crushing of Berenger and 
his party, and the other to the final crushing of Hugh of 
Vermandois. For on the death of his successful rival 
Artaud, Hugh had made another effort to secure the See 
of Rheims. But he again failed, and was excommunicated 
by John in a synod at Rome. 2 
John in Ecclesiastical affairs, however, do not seem to have had 

wXthe 10 " much attraction for John XII. Pleasures and politics were 
kings." more to his taste; and to both he gave himself up on the 
departure of Otho. Finding that the powerful emperor 
was going to prove a greater check upon him than 
Berenger and Adalbert could be, he opened negotiations 
with the latter, who was wandering about trying to get 
help from any quarter. At any rate it is Liutprand's 
version of the affair that it was the Pope who first began 
to treat with Adalbert. The more sober narrative of the 
continuator of Regino, 3 however, would lead us to believe 
that it was rather the youthful inexperience of John which 
was prevailed upon by Adalbert. It is most unfortunate 
that for all the details of the relations between John and 

1 Jaflte, 3689, p. 38. 

2 Frodoard,.4//., 962. Cf. Les derniers Carolingiens, by Lot, p. 38. 

3 An., 963. " Romanum etiam pontificem multipliciter in suum adju- 
torium sollicitavit." 

JOHN XII. 255 

Otho we have to depend wholly upon the narrative of 
Liutprand, the latter's parasite. And one is disposed to 
believe that his partial narrative has not only almost 
necessarily affected modern historians, but has powerfully 
influenced those of his own time to the detriment of the 

Word of John's attitude could not fail to reach the ears John and 
of Otho. He at once sent to inquire into what was really 
the position of affairs in Rome. He was informed that 
the Lateran was a brothel ; that respectable women of 
foreign nations were afraid to come to Rome on pilgrimage 
on account of the lascivious conduct of the Pope; that the 
churches were all falling to ruins ; and, in order that he 
might continue to do as he listed with impunity, that John 
was in negotiation with Adalbert. Needless to say that 
all this is from Liutprand, 1 and that if such things were 
ever told to the envoys of Otho, they must have been 
looking for gossip. The historians of foreign nations 
(always excepting those of Germany) say nothing about 
the infamies of John, and the churches must have gone 
to decay of set purpose, when such wholesale ruin was 
produced in some six years ! When Otho heard these 
stories he remarked : " He is only a boy, and will easily be 
changed by the example of good men. When I have 
mastered Berenger, I will turn my attention to the improve- 
ment of the Pope." 2 

Accordingly, Otho betook himself to Umbria to besiege 
Berenger in the castle of St. Leo, in the district of Monte 
Feltro. Thither too were sent to the emperor by John the 
protoscriniarius Leo, afterwards the antipope Leo VIII., 
and one of the most illustrious nobles of Rome. The 
ambassadors were instructed to assure the emperor that, 
if the Pope had sinned through youth, he was going to 
1 Hist, c. 4. 2 lb., 5. 

256 JOHN XII. 

live differently, but at the same time to protest against 
his receiving into favour Bishop Leo and the cardinal- 
deacon John, who had proved unfaithful to the Pope, and 
against his action in causing certain cities to take the 
oath of fidelity to himself and not to the Pope. To these 
charges the emperor retorted that, before he could restore 
the cities to the Pope, he had first to get possession of 
them himself; that as for Leo and John, he had heard 
that they had been seized on their way to Constantinople, 
whither they had been sent by the Pope against the 
emperor's interests ; l and that, moreover, others had been 
seized on their way to stir up the Hungarians against him 
(Otho). Liutprand himself, who tells us all this, and others 
were then dispatched to Rome to offer to prove the inno- 
cence of the emperor by oath or trial by battle. They 
met, however, with a cold reception ; and, after a few days, 
were sent back to Otho in company with two envoys from 
the Pope, John, bishop of Narni, and the cardinal-deacon 
Benedict, both of whom afterwards filled the papal chair. 
Adalbert in They had no sooner left Rome than Adalbert was ad- 
Rome, 963. mittec j into the c - lty ^ j ohn (963). This was more than 

Otho could endure, and as soon as the heats of summer 
were over he marched on the Eternal City. At first John 
thought of resistance, and appeared in helmet and cuirass. 
But the power of Otho was evidently irresistible, and, 
gathering together much of the treasure of St. Peter's, he 
fled with Adalbert, apparently to Tibur (Tivoli). 

When master of Rome, the emperor resolved to reduce 

1 From Liutprand, Hist., c. 6. This can scarcely be true, as, accord- 
ing to Liutprand himself, when the cardinal-deacon John fell into the 
Pope's power, he cut off his right hand, ib., c. 19. According to Bene- 
dict (c. 35), whose narrative is here specially confused, it was a certain 
Azzo whose hand, " cum quo brebe scribebat," was cut off, while John had 
his nose cut off. According to Benedict, the one aim of John and Azzo 
was to bring Otho into Italy, that he might dethrone the wicked Pope. 

JOHN XII. 257 

the Papacy to the same state of dependency on himself as 
his own German episcopacy. Though strong, the papal 
party in Rome dared not make resistance, and Otho exacted 
from all the preposterous promise that they would neither 
elect nor consecrate a Pope without his consent. 1 

As the details of what followed the emperor's arrival in Council 
Rome are only to be found in Liutprand, it may be worth John. 
while to quote 2 his exact words, so that the exaggerations 
of this author who was one of John's would-be judges 
may be the more easily noted. 

" After three days, at the request of the Roman bishops 
and people, a large assembly (conventus) was held in the 
Church of St. Peter ; and with the emperor sat the arch- 
bishops : from Italy the deacon Rodalph, representing 
Ingelfred, patriarch of Aquileia, whom a sudden illness 
had carried off, Walpert of Milan, Peter of Ravenna ; from 
Saxony, Adeltac, the archbishop (of Hamburg), Landohard, 
bishop (of Minden) ; from France (Franconia), Otker, 
bishop of Spires ; from Italy, Hubert of Parma, Liutprand 
of Cremona." Then follows a long list of Italian bishops, 
of cardinals, of officials of the papal court, and of Roman 
nobles, and "Peter, who was called Imperiola (or de 
Imperio), representing the people (ex plebe), with all the 
Roman militia. 

"These therefore being present, and keeping perfect 
silence, the holy emperor began thus : ' How right it would 
be that the Lord Pope John should be present at so dis- 
tinguished and holy a council ! But we ask you, O holy 
Fathers, who have had life and business in common with 
him, why he refused to join such an assembly?' Then 

1 Liut., Hist. c. 8. "Jurantes, numquam se papam electuros aut 
ordinaturos praeter consensum .... imp. Ottonis." Cf. Cont. Reg., 


2 lb., 9 f. Balzani's translation {Chroniclers of Italy, p. 128 f.) is 
followed in the main. 

VOL. IV. 17 

258 JOHN XII. 

the Roman bishops and cardinal-priests and deacons with 
the whole populace replied : ' We wonder that your most 
holy prudence should want us to inquire into this matter, 
which is not unknown to the inhabitants of Iberia, Baby- 
lon, or India.' 1 . . . The emperor answered: 'It appears 
to us just that the accusations should be set forth one by 
one ; then what we should do can be decided on by 
common advice.' Then the cardinal-priest, rising up, bore 
witness that he had seen him celebrate Mass without 
communicating. John, bishop of Narni, and John, the 
cardinal-deacon, declared that they saw him ordain a 
deacon in a stable, and out of the appointed times." Others 
accused him of simony, of consecrating a child of ten years 
as bishop of Todi, of adultery, of converting the Lateran 
palace into a bad house, of hunting publicly, of mutilating 
men, of arson, and of wearing armour. " All declared 
clergy as well as laity that he had drunk wine in honour 
of the devil. They said that, in playing dice, he had 
invoked the assistance of Jove, Venus, and other demons. 
Finally, they declared that he did not even celebrate 
matins or the canonical hours, nor bless himself with the 
sign of the cross." 2 

1 There is obviously very much of Liutprand in all this. 

2 This is not the last time that such a farrago of charges against a 
Pope will be forthcoming to meet the convenience of a powerful enemy. 
However, in this instance, they are in the main supported by the 
testimony of Benedict (c. 35) ; unless, indeed, he has drawn his 
information from Liutprand. In relating the doings of Otho, Benedict 
is confused, even for him. The Cont. Reg. mentions the synod at 
which John was deposed, but not the crimes related of him by 
Liutprand. At the close of her poem on Otho, Hrotsvitha simply 
tells of him : 

" Qualiter et recti compunctus acumine zeli 
Summum pontificem, quxrdam perversa patrantcm 
Ejus nee monitis dignantem cedere crebris, 
Sedis apostolicae fraudari fecit honore, 
Constituens alium, rectoris nomine dignum." 

JOHN XII. 259 

Instead of proceeding to say that Otho did not under- 
stand Latin, the adroit flatterer, remarking that Otho knew 
that the others did not understand German {loquela 
Saxonicd), goes on to say that the emperor ordered him to 
remind the assembly in the emperor's name that the great 
are often defamed by the envious, and that hence they 
must not bring baseless charges against the Pope. Then 
the whole assembly exclaimed, " as one man," that they 
prayed they might be eternally lost if the charges 
brought against John were not true ; and, at their request, 
a letter was sent to the Pope bidding him come " and 
clear himself from all these things." The letter (dated 
November 6) offered John a safe-conduct, and received 
(according to Liutprand's version of the matter) the follow- 
ing curt reply : " John, the bishop, servant of the servants 
of God, to all the bishops. We have heard it said that you 
want to make another pope. If you do this, I excommuni- 
cate you by Almighty God, that you may not have per- 
mission to ordain anyone, or to celebrate Mass." It may be 
here remarked, parenthetically, that the learned Cardinal 
Pitra l wonders that the Regesta could ever for a moment 
have regarded such a document as the above as authentic ; 
and he adds that all the injurious writings inspired by the 
struggle between the Papacy and the Empire ought always 
to be viewed with suspicion. 

To this answer of the Pope the synod sent a reply 
(November 22). After some childish remarks, which could 
only have come from the flippant Liutprand, on a gram- 
matical blunder in the Pope's letter, put there, no doubt, by 
the bishop himself, the bishops declared that, if John did 
not come to answer the accusations brought against him, 

1 De epp. et reg. R.P., p. 125. " II est surtout permis de se defier de 
tous les ecrits injurieux inspires par la lutte du sacerdoce et de 

260 JOHN XII. 

they would set his excommunication at naught ; nay, would 
retort it on himself. For he was in the same plight as Judas, 
who, though he had received from Our Lord the power of 
binding and loosing, after his treason had only power to 
bind himself, and that with a halter ! If such coarseness 
really owed its origin to the council, it shows how com- 
petent it was to judge even such a Pope as John XII. 

Those who had been entrusted with the delivery of this 
letter to the Pope returned to Rome to say that they 
could not find out whither he had gone. A later author l 
tells us he was lurking in the woods like a beast (more 
bestice). The emperor thereupon again laid before his 
assembly the political "perfidy" of the Pope towards him, 
and concluded : " ' Now let the holy synod pronounce 
what it decides upon this.' To this the Roman bishops, 
the rest of the clergy, and all the people answered : ' An 
unheard-of wound must be cauterised in an unheard-of 
manner.' . . . ' We therefore beg your imperial greatness 
to drive away from the Holy Roman Church this monster, 
unredeemed from his vices by any virtue, and to put 
another in his place, who may merit by the example of a 
good conversation to preside over us.' . . . Then the 
emperor replied : ' Nothing will be more welcome to us 
than that such a one may be found.' When he had spoken 
thus, all with one voice exclaimed : 2 ' We choose for our 
shepherd . . . Leo the venerable protonotary ; . . . John 
the apostate being cast off on account of his reprobate 
conduct' . . . With the agreement of the emperor, sing- 
ing the customary laudes, they conduct the said Leo to the 
Lateran palace; and, after a given time, 3 raise him by 

1 Gregory of Catino, Hist. Far/., ap. M. G. SS., xi., p. 558. 

2 All the Romans (consensu cleri) ask for Leo, says Gregory. lb. 

3 Two days ! Elected December 4, and consecrated bishop of Rome 
December 6, by Sico, bishop of Ostia, who had quite illegally bestowed 
upon him all the lesser orders in the interval. 

JOHN XII. 26l 

holy consecration in St. Peter's Church to the supreme 
priesthood, and promise with an oath to be faithful to 
him " (December 6, 963). 

Here the narrative of the bishop of Cremona may be 
again interrupted for a moment to point out that both the 
deposition of John and the election of a layman were 
illegal. This is acknowledged by authors as well non- 
Catholic 1 as Catholic. Otho's act was, moreover, con- 
demned at the time even in Germany. " The contempor- 
aries of the Othos," notes Mr. Fisher, 2 "were devout believers 
in the sacred pre-eminence, and even in the infallibility of 
the Popes, and there were doubts expressed in Germany as 
to the right of Otho I. to depose a vicar of Christ. When 
Burchard of Worms, in 1002, compiled a kind of canonical 
florilegium, he was, while recognising the king's right to 
punish and correct clerks, concerned to point out that the 
Pope is a supreme judge, who may be asked to purge 
himself of an accusation, but who may not be judged by 
any mortal save himself." 

Further, there is no doubt that the election of Leo had 
not, in fact, even the appearance of freedom given to it by 
Liutprand. Otho simply "placed Leo in the Apostolic 
See." 3 He was his nominee. 

To resume the narrative of Liutprand : " When these To the 
things had happened in this way, the most holy emperor, 
hoping that he could remain in Rome with but few men, 
gave permission to many to retire, that the Roman people 
might not be oppressed by the great number of the army. 

1 "That deposition was manifestly illegal, as effected by the 
influence of the emperor. The same illegality must brand the election 
of Leo VIII." Hist, of Europe during the Middle Ages, i. 145. 
Cabinet Cyclop, series. 

2 The Medieval Empire, \\. 113. 

8 Ann. Altahenses Maj., 963. " Imperator .... Leonem in sedem 
apostolicam collocavit." 

262 JOHN XII. 

And when John, who was called Pope, heard this, knowing 
how easily the minds of the Romans are bribed with money, 1 
he sent messengers secretly to Rome, and promised them 
the money of St. Peter and of all the churches, if they would 
fall upon the pious emperor and the Lord Pope Leo and 
impiously slay them." A street rising took place (January 
964) ; but the trained soldiers fell upon the crowd " like 
hawks among a crowd of birds." At the request of Leo, 
however, Otho restored to the Romans the hostages he had 
exacted from them ; and, commending his Pope to their 
good faith, left Rome (c. January 12) to pursue Adalbert, 
who was now abandoned 2 by John, and reported to be in 
the neighbourhood of Spoleto or Camerino. At once the 
Romans were in arms again, roused this time, so Liutprand 
would like us to believe, by the numerous lovers of the 
voluptuous John. With difficulty Leo escaped to the 
emperor, and John XII. was once again master in Rome 
(February 964). 
John xii. After severely punishing some of his enemies by 
Rome. m mutilation or death, 3 John assembled a council which met 
on February 26 in St. Peter's. There were present at it 
sixteen bishops, all from Italy, twelve cardinal-priests, and 
a considerable number of clergy of inferior rank. Though 
most of the distinguished members of the council had 
been present at the synod which had condemned John, 

1 A weakness equally displayed by "the minds of the Romans"' 
at this day ; a weakness strongly commented on by such different 
characters as Jugurtha and John of Salisbury. 

2 "Johannes .... sera pcenitentia ductus, ab Adalbertodisjungitur." 
Con/. Reg., 963. 

3 Liutprand is here corroborated by Benedict, c. 37 ; Cont. Reg. t 
964; and Gerbert, the famous Sylvester II., an ally, however, of the 
Othos. In his Acta Cone. Remensis, c. 28, he writes of John "in 
volutabro libidinum versatum," and tells how he maltreated the deacon 
John, " multaque Cicde primorum in urbe debacchatus, in brevi 

JOHN XII. 263 

they had now no scruple, in the three sessions which they 
held, in condemning Otho's assembly. They would 
probably have urged in defence of their conduct that in 
the first instance they were under compulsion. 

John himself opened the proceedings: "You know, 
dearly beloved brethren, that by the power of the emperor 
I was expelled from my see for two months. I ask you 
then if, according to the canons, that can be called a 
synod which was held in my absence in my church on 
December 4 by the Emperor Otho and his archbishops and 
bishops ? " The bishops replied in the negative ; and the 
said synod was duly condemned. Next the action of Sico 
of Ostia in hurriedly ordaining and then consecrating the 
intruder Leo was also condemned, and he was summoned 
to come up for judgment at the third session. Sentence 
was then solemnly passed on Leo by the Pope himself: 
" By the authority of God Almighty, of the Princes of the 
Apostles, Peter and Paul, of the ecumenical councils and 
by the judgment of the Holy Ghost pronounced by us, 
may Leo, one of the employees of our curia, a neophyte 
(layman), and a man who has broken his troth to us, be 
deprived of all clerical honours ; and if, hereafter, he should 
again attempt to sit on the apostolic throne, or perform 
any sacerdotal function, let him be anathematised along 
with his aiders and abettors, and, except in danger of 
death, not receive the sacred body of Our Lord Jesus 
Christ." Then those who had received any sacred orders 
from Leo were introduced before the council, and were 
made to sign a paper to the effect that as Leo had no 
spiritual power himself, he could not impart any to them. 
They were thus reduced to the rank from which Leo had 
raised them. 

In the second session the bishops of Albano and Porto 
acknowledged their guilt in helping at Leo's consecration ; 

264 JOHN XII. 

and in the third session, as Sico did not appear, he was 
definitely degraded from his sacerdotal rank. At the 
conclusion of the synod laymen were forbidden to take a 
place on the sanctuary during the celebration of Mass. 1 

John did not long survive his return to power. But 
before he died he seems to have made some effort to 
come to terms with Otho. With that end in view, he 
released and sent to the emperor, Otger, bishop of Spires, 
whom he had scourged and imprisoned when he took 
possession of the city. * But by the will of heaven," says 
Regino's continuator, " his hopes came to naught. For he 
died on the fourteenth of May." 2 

Though his death brought fresh troubles on the Roman 
See, there can be no doubt that the chair of Peter was the 
better for the death of John XII. His youth and want of 
special preparation for the exalted position he held have, 
however, caused most moderns, whether Catholic or not, to 
put forward pleas for a merciful judgment on him. " But 
perhaps the errors of John XII," says one 3 of the latter 
class, "however scandalous, were not greater than might 
have been expected from the education bestowed on the 
son of Alberic and grandson of Marozia, or from the 
natural struggle of impulse and passion against the 
unnatural restraints of a rank forcibly imposed in the 
absence of every qualification." 

1 Labbe, Cone, ix., 653 f. 

2 No particulars of his death are given by this author, by the L. P., 
nor by the Ann. Alth. Maj. But Liutprand knows all about them. 
"On a certain night," outside Rome, taken in adulter}', "he was so 
struck by the devil on the temples that he died within eight days," 
without receiving the Holy Viaticum "as I have very often heard 
from his friends who were present" (Hist., c. 19). To render this story 
more credible, some, e.g. Gregorovius, have converted the devil into 
the outraged husband, and others into apoplexy. Those will believe 
this story who put faith in Liutprand. 

3 Hemans, Hist, of Med. Christ, in Italy, p. 23. 

JOHN XII. 265 

With all his faults, John XII. has deserved well of>^xn 

J and 

England, if only because he approved of the election of England 

& ' J ^^ and Wales. 

St. Dunstan to the See of Canterbury, of St. Dunstan 
whom our ancestors always spoke of with reverence and 
gratitude as of a man " of great power in earthly matters, 
and of high favour with God," 1 but whom some modern 
English writers, certainly not resting on the testimony of 
antiquity, have not hesitated to depreciate. 2 The battle- 
axes of the Danes had shivered the bonds of society in 
this country, and their torches, by firing the monasteries, 
had destroyed the homes of learning in our land. The 
settlement and incorporation of large numbers of these 
fierce heathens among our people had not improved 
matters ; nor had the plundering of such monasteries 
as had escaped the ravages of the Danes by the Saxon 
princes themselves, in their anxiety to replenish their 
coffers emptied by the wars. As a result of all these 
causes of national deterioration, the laity became well- 
nigh as savage as the pagan Norsemen who had harried 
them ; and the clergy throughout most of the land 
had grown ignorant and undisciplined. The monks 
had well-nigh disappeared from the country along with 
their vanished homes. And a thing which had been 
unheard of in England for two if not three centuries after 
the arrival of St. Augustine the tenth century saw no 

1 Will, of Malmsbury, Hist. Reg., ii., 149. 

2 This does not apply to such a writer as J. R. Green. An apprecia- 
tive account of St. Dunstan will be found in his fascinating Short Hist, 
of the Eng. People, p. 51. With this contrast the party narrative in 
Hook's Lives of the Archbishops of Ca?iterbury ', i., c. 7 ; and still more 
the invective against St. Dunstan in Milman's Latin Christ., for which 
invective Dr. Stubbs, the learned editor of the saint's Lives for the Rolls 
series, says, p. cxviii., " there is not in the writings of contemporaries, 
or in any authentic remains of Dunstan's legislation, the shadow of a 
foundation." The same may be said of a very great deal of the Dean's 
history. It is much more picturesque than well founded. 

266 JOHN XII. 

small number of married priests in the land. Up to the 
very close of the ninth century, the great Alfred made the 
strongest efforts to apply remedies to these evils. But he 
left much to be done after him. It is the great glory of 
St. Dunstan that he continued the work of reform inaugu- 
rated by that enlightened monarch, and restored the 
monastic order and learning along with it. On the death of 
Elfsy or Elfsine, who was frozen to death in the Alps when 
on his way to Rome for the pallium, and on the retirement 
of Brythelm, Dunstan was translated to the See of Canter- 
bury, and instantly set out "on the wearisome journey 
which the Primates are wont to make" to Rome, 1 "on 
account of the vigour of the apostolic faith and authority " 
("ob robur apostolicse fidei vel auctoritatis "). 2 " At length 
he reached the long-wished-for church of the Roman See, 
where he gloriously received the chief (principale) pallium, 
with the privilege of the archbishopric, and the apostolic 
blessing." When he had revisited the shrines of the 
saints, and given alms " to the poor of Christ," the Pope 
"sent him back to the English nation as it were the angel 
of the Lord of Hosts, to unfold the science of God, or as 
it were a column of fire to illumine the face of the earth." 3 
The bull of John XII. 4 granting him the pallium 
and the primacy has been preserved by Eadmer and 

1 So speaks his biographer, the Saxon priest B., who wrote a year 
or two after the saint's death (c. 27, R.S.). In the preceding chapter 
he said of Elfsy : " Qui cum ex summorum pontificum consuetudine, 
post pallium principalis infuke Romuleam urbem contenderet pro- 
perare," etc. 

2 Osbern, a monk of Canterbury, who, in the eleventh century, under 
Archbishop Lanfranc, wrote a Life of St. Dunstan, using authors who 
wrote within twenty years after the death of St. Dunstan. Vit. Dunst. y 
c. 32, ap. P. L., t. 137. This Life and the other Lives of St. Dunstan 
are to be found in a volume of the Rolls Series, edited by Stubbs, and 
entitled Memorials of St. Dunstan. 

3 Osbern, id. 4 Ep. 9, an. 9C0. 

JOHN XII. 267 

others. 1 The new archbishop is exhorted to show himself a 
true pastor of souls, and the primacy is confirmed to him by 
the Pope, who tells him to act in the stead of the Apostolic 
See as his predecessors have done. " According to custom, 
we bestow on thy brotherhood the pallium, to be used at 
the solemn celebration of Mass. We grant it to thee to 
be worn only at Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension 
Day, and Whit Sunday, and at the Assumption of Mary 
the Mother of God, and at the feasts of the Apostles, as 
also at the consecration of bishops, and on thy birthday, and 
on the feast of the consecration of thy church." 

The saint is told to let his life be as bright and spotless 
as the pallium itself, to be strictly yet mercifully just, and 
to defend the poor. 2 

This is not the place to dilate on the work of that truly 
patriotic prelate St. Dunstan, " whose one object in life was 
never to cease working for his Divine Master." His bio- 
grapher, Osbern, has done it most eloquently in the chapter 
(34) from which the last quotation was taken. The little 
leisure that public affairs allowed him, the saint employed 
in prayer, in reading the sacred Scriptures, and a work of 
the utmost importance in correcting their codices. His 

1 Hist. Nov., lib. v., p. 274, R. S. " Primatum itaque tuum, in quo 
tibi ex more antecessorum tuorum vices Apostolicae Sedis exercere 
convenit, ita tibi ad plenum confirmamus." This passage is not found 
in the so-called Pontifical of Dnnsta?i or of Sherborne, " a magnificent 
folio of the tenth century " now in the National Library of Paris, but 
"which once belonged to the church of Sherborne in Dorsetshire, 
and may not improbably have been given to it by Dunstan, or by one 
of his early successors." Besides its ordinary contents as a bishop's 
service book, " it contains on vacant leaves a number of interesting 
pieces touching English church history," e.g. the bull of John XII. to 
Dunstan. Stubbs, Memorials of St. Dunstan, p. cxiii., R.S. The 
authenticity of the passage "Primatum tuum" is sufficiently assured 
by the "pallium principale" etc., of the saint's anonymous con- 
temporary biographer. 

2 In the Memorials this bull is to be found on p. 296 f. 

268 JOHN XII. 

love of his country is frequently insisted upon, as is also his 

zeal in helping all in need, and pushing forward every good 

work, for which he took care to raise money. He practically 

governed the country. For, such faith did King Edgar 

place in him, that " whatever Dunstan thought ought to be 

decreed, that the king ordered." 1 But, as we have said, 

his great work was the reformation of the clergy, especially 

by the establishment of monks in places where the secular 

canons would not amend their lives. One of the principal 

difficulties that Dunstan had to contend against was the 

marriage of the clergy. During the times of trouble many 

had taken unto themselves wives, and had been allowed to 

retain them, or, at any rate, had kept them, if they had 

been married before ordination. And though we have 

absolutely no means of determining the proportion of the 

married clergy in the country, there were certainly enough 

of them to make a stand for their position. 

The clergy An interesting entry in the Brut y Tywysogion, or 
of WaleSj 

Chronicle of the Princes of Wales, shows that the same 

state of things existed in Wales. "The same year (961) 

Padarn, bishop of Llandafif, died, and Rhodri, son of 

Morgan the Great, was placed in his room, against the will 

of the Pope, on which account he was poisoned ; and the 

priests were enjoined not to marry without leave of the 

Pope, on which account a great disturbance took place in 

the diocese of Teilaw, so that it was considered best to 

allow matrimony to the priests." 2 

1 " Totam operam suara patriam impendere," etc. Osbern, c. 34. 
Cf. the anonymous (auctore B) contemporary writer on whom Osbern 
relies, p. 49, R. S. 

1 Gwentian version of the Chronicle ap. Haddan and Stubbs, 
Councils, i. 286. It is the Dimetian version of the Brut that is printed 
in the Rolls Series. Though this Chronicle in the ancient Welsh 
dialect, which goes down to 1282, was not, in the form in which we 
have it, first drawn up before about the middle of the twelfth century, 
it rests on earlier documents. 

JOHN XII. 269 

But in England, under the firm hand of Dunstan, the The 
case of the married priests had at length a different issue, clergy of 
He proclaimed that they must either live in accordance 
with the canons, or be expelled from their churches. 1 
Procuring the elevation to the episcopate of such men as 
St. Oswald and St. Ethelwold, he proceeded with the work 
of reform. And to effect it he had occasionally need of 
the assistance both of Pope and King. To Ethelwold his 
clergy of Winchester offered a desperate resistance a re- 
sistance such as might be expected would be offered by men 
who made no scruple about " repudiating the wives they had 
married unlawfully in the first instance, taking others, and 
giving themselves up to gluttony and intemperance." 2 The 
bishop appealed to his Primate and to the king ; and both 
primate and king turned to the Pope. An authoritative 
letter, not from John XI I., but from his namesake John XIII., 
assigned by Jaffe to 97 1, 3 was in due course dispatched 
from Rome. "John, servant of the servants of God, to 
the most excellent King Edgar, and to all the bishops, 
dukes, counts, abbots, and to all the faithful people of the 
English race, greeting in Christ and the apostolic benedic- 
tion." ..." Wherefore, illustrious king and most dear 
son, what your Excellency has asked of this Apostolic See 
through our brother and fellow-bishop Dunstan, that we 
most willingly grant. With regard to those canons, who 
by their vices are hateful to God, to their bishop, and to 
all good Catholics, we approve, by our apostolic authority, 

1 Osbern, c. 36. Cf. c. 34. 

2 At least so says Wolstan, the contemporary biographer of Ethel- 
wold, c. 16, ap. P. L,t. 137. 

3 Regest. ; the letter, ap. Labbe, ix., 664. There is very considerable 
confusion as to dates and events in the history of England at this 
period both in ancient and modern authors. Hence I have confined 
myself to speaking only of what is to be found in contemporary docu- 
ments. Cf. Eadmer, in vit. Dunst., c. 33, p. 211, R.S. 

270 JOHN XII. 

of their being ejected from the monastery in Winchester 
which is dedicated to the Holy Trinity and to the apostles 
Peter and Paul. And, as your sublimity desires, let our 
most beloved brother and fellow-bishop Ethelwold therein 
establish monks living in accordance with their rule ; and 
let the successors of the See of Winchester be in future 
chosen from them, or from some other congregation of 
monks where a suitable candidate may be found." The 
monks were in due course properly installed. 

With Pope, king, primate, and bishop working in 
harmony, suitable measures of reform could soon be 
established everywhere. But unfortunately those who wish 
to pursue their own courses know how to interfere with this 
harmony. Adelard l and Eadmer have preserved a story 
which shows that Dunstan did not always secure the co- 
operation of the Pope, but that he knew when he might 
safely exercise a wise independence of character. He had 
had occasion to inflict a canonical penalty on an ealdorman 
who had refused to separate from a woman whom he had 
married within the forbidden degrees of kindred. The 
ealdorman contrived to influence King Edgar in his favour. 
But the king's interference only brought a more severe 
punishment on the offender. The ealdorman became 
furious. He would gain his ends cost what it might. 
With well-filled purses he sent his agents to Rome, and 
with these he won over " the hearts and tongues of certain 
Romans." Through their help, it was not difficult to 
procure a bull ordering Dunstan to recall his sentence. 
But, even under this assault, the archbishop stood firm. He 
understood that the " singular sublimity of the Roman 
pontiff" 2 had been deceived, and he told the noble "that 
he would obey the commands of the Pope when he saw 
him (the ealdorman) sorry for his fault" The firmness 

1 In vit. Dunst., p. 67, R. S. Cf. Ead., c. 26. 2 Osbem, c. 31. 

JOHN XII. 271 

of Dunstan was as successful in this case as in that of 

the refractory monks. The ealdorman did his duty, and 

submitted. 1 When such men as Dunstan in England, 

and Bruno in Germany, were at work, there was hope, 

both for the despised laws of God and man, and for the 

down-trodden masses of the people. 

All the coins, silver as usual, of John XII., 2 of whom we Coins. 

have lost sight a little, proclaim his complete independence, 

bearing always the word " Dominus." Those which were 

coined before the coronation of Otho bear his own name 

and that of St. Peter with " Roma." The others show the 

name of Otho as well as that of the Pope ; some having 

" Otto imperato," and others only " Otto." 3 

While on the subject of coins, we may note that if Peter's 
J ; Pence. 

John XII. was as bad as he is painted by Liutprand, our 

ancestors must have thoroughly understood the difference 

between the man and his office. At any rate their Peter's 

Pence was paid with becoming regularity. At least we 

may presume so from the severity of Edgar's laws with 

regard to it. "If anyone failed to pay his penny (denarius) 

by the feast of St. Peter, he had to take it to Rome with 

thirty more ; and on his return with a receipt that he had 

paid it, he had further to disburse 120 solidi (shillings) 

to the king. . . . For the third offence all his goods were to 

be confiscated." i The attachment of the English to the 

1 Anxious to prove the existence in England in the early Middle 
Ages of such an anachronism as an independent national Catholic 
Church, this utterly exceptional action of St. Dunstan is pressed into 
service by Rev. W. Hunt in the first vol., p. 414, of the new Anglican 
Hist, of the English Church : " A papal sentence was, we are told, 
summarily set aside by so eminent a churchman as Dunstan." 

2 All the coins that belong with certainty to the antipope Leo VIII. 
have the name " Otho " in conjunction with " Leoni Pap." 

3 Promis, p. 90. 

4 Ap. Labbe, ix., pp. 681, 2, 6. In Anglo-Saxon the law began : 
" Let every hearth-penny be paid up by St. Peter's mass-day," etc. 

272 JOHN XII. 

See of Rome was then practical as well as theoretical even 
during the dreadful tenth century. 
Spain. The Catholics of Spain also knew equally well how to 

distinguish the personal character of a Pope from the 
office which he held. This we learn from a fact preserved 
for us by the abbot Leo, 1 the legate of John XV. to France. 
Writing in connection with some derogatory remarks made 
at a council at Rheims (991) against certain Popes, the 
abbot says: "In the same way with regard to Spain. In 
the times of Pope John the son of Alberic, whom you (the 
kings and bishops of Rheims) have wantonly besmirched, 
Julian, archbishop of Cordova, sent (to the Pope) by envoys 
a letter on many difficult matters. He wanted guidance, 
and, not asking about the character of the reigning pontiff, 
but expressing his respect for the Apostolic See, he sought 
for what was useful for himself. From this incident," con- 
cludes the abbot, " learn that the Roman Church is still 
honoured and venerated by all the churches." 

Leg. Edg., i. 4. Cf. The Laws of the Northumbt ian Priests, an. 950. 
" We desire that every Rome-penny be paid about the feast of St. Peter 
to the bishop's throne. We desire also that two faithful thanes and 
one priest be appointed to collect it in every Wapentake? Can. 57, 
quoted from Wilkin's Concilia, i. 221, by Hart, Ecclesiastical Records, 
p. 28, ed. 2 ; Cambridge, 1846. 

1 In his letter to the kings Hugh Capet and his son, Robert the 
I'ious, ap. Olleris, QLuvres de Gerbcrt, p. 242. For the abbot Leo see 
under John XV. 


A.D. 964. 

Sources. The Narratio de Benedicto V. t to which Potthast (Biblio- 
theca hist., ii. 1652 and 802) refers, is merely a very late Middle 
Age compilation. It is a section of a work bearing the following 
title : " Incerti auctoris historia Archiepp. Bremensium a temp. 
Caroli Magni usque ad Carolum IV. (1355-78)," ap. Lindenbrog, 
SS. Rer. Germ. sept. (Hamburg, 1706), p. 117, and adds nothing 
to our knowledge. 

FOR peace' sake it would have been very much better if Benedict 


the Romans had now made a virtue of necessity and 
elected Otho's nominee, Leo. But, by their prompt recall 
of John XII., the moment the emperor's back was turned 
on Rome, they had made it plain that they regarded Leo's 
election as the work of Otho, and not theirs ; and so, on 
the death of John, they determined to show that they, and 
not the emperor, had the right to elect popes. They 
accordingly chose as the successor of John XII. the 
cardinal-deacon Benedict, a Roman and the son of another 
John. Frodoard adds that he was a notary, and had 
taken part in the election oi John, i.e., of Leo\ for, through- 
out, Frodoard or his copyist has here written John for 
VOL. IV. 2 73 18 


Leo. According to a twelfth-century catalogue, 1 Benedict 
belonged to the M region of Marcellus, de regione Marcello." 
This would appear to be the only mention of a region 
bearing this title. It may, perhaps, be presumed that the 
quarter was called after the theatre of Marcellus, which, 
at first, in the ninth region (Circus Flaminius), was in the 
Middle Ages included in the eleventh region (St. Angelo). 
Hence, if it be the fact that the tenth and eleventh regions 
are not mentioned in any contemporary document of the 
tenth century, 2 it would appear that the region which 
was afterwards the eleventh, was then known as that " of 
Marcellus." On this occasion certainly their choice did 
the Romans credit, for Benedict was as remarkable for his 
prudence as for his learning. So learned was he that he 
was known by the name of Grammaticus? 

The Romans at once sent to inform the emperor of their 
choice. Their envoys found him at Rieti, but in no mood 
to listen to them. He would, he said, as lief give up his 
sword as not restore Leo. Seeing there was no hope of 
any concession to the wishes of the Roman people, the 
envoys returned to Rome. Undaunted, the electors pro- 
ceeded to the consecration of the object of their choice, 
and Benedict became Pope in May (possibly May 22) 964, 
"without the consent and will of the emperor," 4 after 
having received a promise on oath from the Romans 
that they would never abandon him, but would protect 
him against the power of the emperor. 5 Benedict had 
already had experience of the phenomenal fickleness of 
the Romans. He was destined to have more. 

1 Ap. M. G. SS., xxiv. p. 84. - Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 533. 

:i The monk Benedict (c. 37) says of htm : "Erat enim vir pruden- 
tissimus, gramatice artis imbutus, unde ad Romanum populo B. 
Gramaticus est appellatus." Cf. Gerbert, Acta C. Rem., c. 28 ; and 
Frodoard, A tin., 965. 

4 L. P., in vit. Joan. XII. '* Liut., Hist., c. 20. 


The indignation of the emperor at these events can easily Otho re- 

, , , , , , - , . . . , ,, stores Leo. 

be imagined, and " he swore by the power of his kingdom 
that he would besiege Rome until he had Benedict in his 
power. He had already captured Berenger and his wife, 
and sent them into Germany. The forces of Adalbert and 
of the other sons of the late king of Italy had been scattered. 
He had now nothing else to attend to but the affairs of the 
Papacy. Accordingly, gathering together a large army, he 
advanced on Rome, and closely blockaded it. No able- 
bodied person was allowed to leave it. Famine soon made 
itself felt within the walls. A modius (peck) of bran cost 
thirty denarii. The whole country round about the city was 
devastated ; its walls were ceaselessly battered by engines 
of war. It was to no purpose that Benedict mounted the 
walls, and endeavoured to inspire the Romans with courage ; 
it was in vain he threatened to excommunicate the emperor 
and his army. Hunger soon extinguished the effervescent 
courage of the Romans. They gave up both their city and 
their Pope into the hands of Otho (June 23, 964). Leo 
entered Rome " with his Caesar," as Gerbert well puts it ; 
and at once, with the emperor's co-operation, caused 
Benedict to be brought before him and his clerical and 
lay adherents. Clad in his pontifical robes, and with his 
pastoral staff in his hands, "the innocent Benedict" 1 was 
shown scant courtesy. Asked how he had dared to aspire 
to the Papacy during the lifetime of Leo, whom he had 
himself helped to elect, he simply appealed for mercy. 
" Si quid peccavi, miseremini mei," was his cry, if any 
faith can be placed in Liutprand, from whom alone we 
have these particulars. Assured by the emperor that, if 
he chose to acknowledge his guilt, he would find mercy, 
Benedict threw himself before the feet of Leo and 

1 So is he called even by the L. P., which here shows strong 
imperial leanings. 


acknowledged himself an intruder. Of all this abject 
humiliation the continuator of Regino says nothing; 
but he agrees with Liutprand in stating that Benedict 
was degraded with the consent of all, that by the hands 
of Leo himself his pallium was torn from him, and his 
pastoral staff broken in pieces, and that it was only 
through the intercession of Otho that he was allowed to 
retain his rank as deacon. 1 

Considering, however, the courage which, according to 
Liutprand himself, was displayed by Benedict during the 
siege, the story of his appeal for mercy related by that 
narrator or fabricator of myths may be dismissed, and we 
may take it as a fact that he was simply deposed by Otho 
by brute force. The latter's high-handed conduct was 
condemned by the German historian Ditmar or Thietmar. 
" The mighty emperor of the Romans gave his consent 
to the deposition of the apostolic Lord Benedict, more 
powerful in Christ than he, whom no one but God can 
judge, and who had been unjustly, as I hope, accused. 
Furthermore, what I would that he had never done, he 
ordered that he should be sent into exile to Hamburg." 2 
Whether or not Thietmar has here, as is thought by 
some, confused Otho's second expedition into Italy 
(961-965) with his third (966-972), it is clear enough 
that he wished to record his righteous disapproval of the 
emperor's violent methods, 
otho leaves After he had exacted an oath from the Romans over 
the body of St. Peter that they would be faithful to him 
and to Leo his Pope, 3 Otho on this occasion took no 
further vengeance on the Romans, but left the city soon 
after the feast of SS. Peter and Paul 4 (June 29), with 

1 With Liutprand and Cont. Reg., cf. Frodoard, Benedict of Soracte, 
and the L. P. 

- Chron., ii. 18. 3 L. P. ' Coniin. Reg, 964. 


Benedict in his company. But he had delayed too long 
for the health of his army. And if Benedict imagined he 
had been unjustly used by Otho, he must have believed 
also that the heats of the Roman summer had thoroughly 
avenged him. " Henry, archbishop of Trier .... Godfrey, 
duke of Lorraine, and a countless number of others, both 
of high and low birth, perished by pestilence." 1 

When Otho had recruited his strength with a little 
autumnal hunting in North Italy, and had regulated the 
affairs of that kingdom, he returned to Germany in the 
very beginning of 965, still with Benedict in his train. 

What is known of the last days of the unfortunate Death of 
Benedict may best be told in the words of Adam of 965. 
Bremen, who had learnt from " his fathers " what he says 
of him. Otho entrusted the custody of him to Adaldag 
of Hamburg-Bremen, 2 " The archbishop kept him with 
great honour till his death ; for he is said to have been 
both holy and learned and worthy of the Apostolic See. 
. . . And so living a holy life with us, and teaching others 
how to live well, he at length died a happy death just 
when the Romans had come to ask the emperor that he 
might be restored (to the See of Peter). His death is set 
down as having taken place July 4, at Hamburg" (965). It 
would seem, however, that if Adaldag was kindly disposed 
towards the poor exile, other Germans were by no means 
so considerate. Many regarded him as an antipope, as an 
insolent opponent of their mighty emperor and of the 

1 Co7itin. Reg., 964. 

- Gest. Hamd., ii. 10. Cf. Ann. Alta., 964 ; Hildesh., 963 ; Contin. 
Reg., 965, etc. According to Ceillier, Hist, des auteurs eccle's., xiv. 
207, there is in the edition of Adam of Bremen, by Fabricius (Hamburg, 
1706), a Life of Benedict V., which gives the epitaph from his tomb in 
the cathedral of Hamburg. Unfortunately, I could not find the said 
edition in the British Museum ; but the epitaph will be found further 
on, taken from the Bollandists. 


lawful Pope Leo VIII., their countryman. Scant courtesy- 
did Benedict receive at the hands of these men, who 
endeavoured to keep away from him such as wished 
to show him honour and goodwill. With many they 
were, no doubt, successful. But even among the rough 
Germans of the tenth century, there were men with human 
hearts; and one such, Libentius (Lievizo, t IOI 3)> tne 
successor of Adaldag, found consolation on his death-bed 
from the way in which he had behaved towards one who 
had borne the title of Pope. " My dearest brethren and 
sons," said the dying archbishop to those around him, " that 
none of you may ever lose faith in the divine goodness, 
and that your long labour in nursing me may now be a 
little lightened, I would put before you my own career 
as an example. When the Lord Pope Benedict was an 
exile in these parts, I sought him out ; and though every 
effort was made to prevent my going to him, I would 
never allow myself to be influenced against the Pope. 
But, as long as he lived, I closely adhered to him. After 
his death, I faithfully served my Lord Adaldag, who 
entrusted his poor to my care, and afterwards made me 
his treasurer {camerarius). When that good man went to 
the heavenly country for which he had ever sighed, I 
succeeded him by your unanimous election and the royal 
favour. For the love of Christ let us put from our hearts 
any wrongs we may have done one another, that, parting 
now in peace, we may be joined together again at the last 
day." * 
His body ' By the command of Otho III., Razo, his chaplain, who 
back g to l was afterwards elected to succeed Adaldag (f988), but 
died before his consecration, took back to Rome the bones 
of Benedict, some time before the year 988. But where he 
laid them is not known. Thietmar, who gives 2 us these 
1 Thietmar, Chron., vi. 53. Chron., iv. 39, 40. 

Cenotaph of Benedict V. (from A<(a SS. Bollami., Prfifylaum 
ad mensem Maiam, p, 164*). 


particulars, says that this was done in accordance with a 
prophecy of Benedict himself. " Here," said the deposed 
pontiff, " must my frail body return to dust. After my 
death all this country will be devastated by the sword of 
the heathen and be abandoned to wild beasts. Nor will 
the land experience solid peace till my translation. But 
when I am taken home, I truet that, by the intercession 
of the apostle, the pagan ravages will cease." And all 
this, we are told, was exactly what happened. 

The Bollandists have given us 1 a description of Benedict's The se- 
cenotaph which was to be seen in the old cathedral of Monument 
Hamburg. Raised about a foot from the pavement, and v. 
somewhat over a yard broad and two and a half yards 
long, it was composed entirely of glazed bricks. The 
figures on it were in white on a green ground. Benedict 
was represented as a simple bishop without the pallium, 
but wearing the mitre, and with a crozier in his gloved 
hand. Figures of the apostles, and representations of 
the Crucifixion and the Annunciation, adorned the sides 
of the tomb, while the inscription on it stated to whom it 
belonged. " Benedictus papa qui de Sede apostolica per 
violentiam remotus et postea, cum revocaretur, obiit Ham- 
burgii iv. nonas Julii sepultus est hie." Battandier says 
nothing about the age of this cenotaph, but from the 
illustration which he gives of it, it is obviously not of 
the age of Benedict himself. Indeed, a German author, 
writing in 1675, declares that it was not two hundred years 
old. It may, then, be safely set down as a fifteenth-century 
monument, erected, possibly, to replace an older one. 2 

Of the three denarii which Cinagli assigns to this Pope, Coins. 

1 Propylceuni ad m. Man, p 166, ap. Battandier, Ann. Pont., 1904, 
p. 151. 

2 Cf. Lindenbrog, SS. Rer. Germ., p. 118 (ed. 1706), quoting a paper 
on the subject of the cenotaph by Otto Sperlingius, whom he calls 
" vir historias patriae callentissimus." 


there is one which bears the names of the Pope and St. Peter 
only, and not that of the emperor. But even with regard 
to this coin, it is stated that there are traces of letters on 
it which cannot be made out. However, if it really never 
bore upon it the name Otho, it might have belonged to this 
Pope; but it would seem certain that the other two 
belonged to Benedict VI. (972-973), who had more 
leisure and inclination to strike off coins bearing the 
emperor's name. With Promis, 1 then, we conclude that 
not one of the extant denarii was coined by Benedict V. 
Leo viii. Regarding John XII., and the good but unfortunate 
Benedict V., as lawful Popes, it is by no means easy to 
say what was the status of Leo VIII. Most modern 
Catholic authors describe him as an antipope ; and such, 
till the deposition of Benedict V., he undoubtedly was. 
For as certainly as the deposition of John XII. by Otho 
was illegal, the election of Benedict was legal. But, if 
Liutprand could be relied on, and we could thus be sure 
that Benedict acquiesced in his deposition, then Leo could 
be regarded as lawful Pope from July 23, 964, till his death. 
He was a Roman and the son of John, the protonotary. 
In the Book of the Popes, 2 he is described as a venerable 
man, energetic and honourable ; and when nominated to 
the chair of Peter by Otho, was himself " protonotary of 
the supreme Apostolic See." He belonged " to the region 
which is called Clivus Argentarii" (now the Via di Mar- 
forio, which connects the Corso and the Forum Romanum), 
and gave his name to a street or streets in the locality. 
For there were to be found there streets called " the descent 
of Leo Prothus," and " de Ascesa Proti," where the Prothus, 
etc., is evidently derived from /Vfltoscriniarius. 3 

1 Monete dei RR. Pont., p. 92. 

1 In vit.Johan. XII. ; cf. Contin. Reg., 963. 

3 L. P., ii., p. 248, n. 13. 


The name of Leo VIII. is most famous for its connec- Bulls in 

favour of 

tion with bulls, 1 in virtue of which Otho and his successors the em- 
are alleged to have received the right of choosing their 
successors in the kingdom of Italy, and of nominating 
{ordinandi) the Pope, and the archbishops, and bishops, 
so that they were to receive investiture from him. Leo is 
also said to have given up tc Otho all the lands that 
had been granted to the Apostolic See by Pippin and 
Charlemagne. Though it may be likely that Leo granted 
various concessions to his patron, it is allowed on all hands 
that the bulls in question were, if not wholly fabricated 
during the investiture quarrel, at least then so tampered 
with that there is now no recognising their original form. 2 

As the right of Leo VIII. to be numbered among the 
Popes is so doubtful, the rest of his doings will here be 
passed over in silence. Besides, as a matter of fact, very 
little is known of them to tell. According to Cinagli and 
Promis, there are extant three silver coins of Leo VIII. 
But one of the three which does not bear the emperor's 
name, is by some thought to belong to another Leo. 

Leo VIII. died about the month of March 965 certainly Death of 
between February 20 and April 13, as is clear from the 
dates of various authentic documents which bear his name. 3 

1 Their text may be found ap. Watterich, Vit. Pont., i. 675 f. 

2 Jaffe, 37041". ; Hefele, Cone, vi., 521 ; Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 356 n. 
Bernheim, in his notes to Anselm of Lucca (ap. M. G. Libel I., i. 522), 
calls one of these bulls " that spurious privilege which the supporters of 
King Henry IV. and Guibert forged about the year 1084." 

3 Jaffe, i., p. 469. 


A.D. 965-972. 

Sources. One of the very best of the historians of the Middle 
Ages was Adam of Bremen. Master or director of the schools 
of Bremen, he was in 1077 made one of the canons of its 
cathedral. His history of its archbishops (Gesta Hammaburgensis 
Ecclesice Pontificuni) is the foundation of our knowledge of the 
history of the peoples of the North, and is distinguished for its 
perspicuity and accuracy. He knew how to make a good use 
both of documentary and oral evidence. The best edition of 
his Gesta (ap. M. G. SS., vii.) has been reprinted separately, in 
usum scholarum, and in P. Z., t. 146. 

Thirty-three letters of John XIII., ap. P. Z., t. 135. 

Modern works. On the affairs of South Italy see Un empereur 
Byzantin (Nicephorus Phocas), by G. Schlumberger, Paris, 1890, 
ch. xiii., p. 577; J. Gay, Vltalie meridionale et /'empire Byzan~ 
tin, Paris, 1904; and especially La Grande-Grece (paysages et 
histoire), by F. Lenormant, in three volumes, Paris, 188 1-4. The 
last-named work is as interesting and picturesque as the country 
(Calabria) it describes ; and that, according to Lenormant, is 
"une des plus admirablement pittoresques et des plus interes- 
santes contrees de l'Europe meridionale." Unfortunately, how- 
ever, what it has gained in picturesqueness, it has lost in strict 
historical accuracy. 

Election of On the death of Leo VIII., the Romans for once put a 
965" " curb on their impetuosity and did not complicate matters 

by flouting the emperor. They dispatched to Saxony Azzo 



the maimed protonotary, and Marinus, bishop of Sutri, to 
ask Otho " to nominate anyone he wished to the Papacy." 
This statement of the continuator of Regino, improbable in 
itself from what we know of the feelings of the Romans as 
to their rights of election, is in opposition to the account 
of Adam of Bremen. From him it appears that the 
Romans sent to ask that Eenedict might be sent back 
to them ; and that, had he not died in the meanwhile 
(July 4, 965), their request would have been granted by 
the emperor. 1 Otho then proposed to the envoys as Leo's 
successor, John, bishop of Narni ; 2 and with them on their 
return sent Otger, bishop of Spires, and his trusted 
Liutprand to see that his will was carried into effect. 
His missi did their work well, and John, bishop of Narni, 
was unanimously 3 elected to sit in the chair of Peter. He 
was consecrated on Sunday, October 1, 965. 

Leaving out of consideration the manner in which John Hisfamily, 
was elected, the choice of him was certainly creditable e 
to Otho. The catalogues 4 speak of him as " the most 
reverend and pious bishop of Narni," as "highly learned 
and skilled in the Scriptures and in canon law," and as, 
in short, " most holy." 5 This no doubt was due to the 
fact that he had been properly trained for the sacred 
ministry. For in the same catalogues special stress is laid 
upon the fact that from his earliest youth he had been 

1 " Cum jam Romanis poscentibus ab Caesare restitui deberet, apud 
Hammaburgin pace quievit (Benedictus V.)." Gesta H. P., ii. 10. 

2 " Qui (imperator) sanctissimum papam Johannem episcopum .... 
ad idem opus electum, Romuleas quidem urbi papam instituit dignis- 
simum, orbi vero universo patrem et provisorem industrium." Rath- 
erius of Verona, Itinerar., ap. Migne, t. 136, p. 582, or ed. Verona, 1795. 
The Itinerarium was written in the beginning of December 966. 

3 L. P., in vit. Joan. XIII. There is extant a donation of John as 
bishop of Narni and librarian of the Holy Apostolic See to Subiaco. 
It is dated 961. Cf. Muratori, Antiq. Ital., v. 773, ed. Milan, 1741. 

4 L. P., in vit. Joan. XII. 5 The Sigeric Catal.< 


brought up at the Lateran palace in the schola cantorum, 
and had in due course passed through all the regular 
grades of " doorkeeper {hostiarius), reader, exorcist, acolyte, 
subdeacon, and deacon." 1 After he left the schola, and 
entered on the battle of life, he took a distinguished part 
in public affairs. We find him in the Papal Chancery 
under John XII. and Leo VIII.; sharing in the condem- 
nation of John XII., and in his restoration; and, in 961, 
signing himself "librarian of the Holy Apostolic See." 2 
Even in these dark times the light of learning was evi- 
dently not altogether extinguished in Rome. The care of 
the precious archives of the Holy See was entrusted to its 
most learned son. So that even that hard- hitter and 
learned bishop, Ratherius of Verona (t974), who, by the 
way, praises Otho for nominating John to the See of Rome, 
in his Journey to Rome, writes : a Where shall I learn 
better than in Rome ? What is known concerning the 
dogmas of the Church which is not known in Rome? 
There it is that have ever shone the sovereign teachers of 
all the world, and the princes of the universal Church. 
There are the decretals of the Popes ; there are the canons 
examined, and some are approved and some rejected. 
What is there annulled is never confirmed, and what is 
there established is never overthrown " ! 3 

To what is known for certain of the family of John XIII., 
who, according to some, from the white or light hair he had 
had from his childhood was known as the White Hen* 
something is generally added on more or less plausible 

1 One catalogue speaks of him as a psalmista, doubtless to call 
special attention to the training he had received in the sacred chant. 

2 L. P., ii., p. 252, n. 1. 

3 Itinerary ubi supra, " Nusquam ratum quod illic irritum, nusquam 
irritum quod illic ratum fuerit visum." 

4 Chron. Mosomense, " Legatos suos Romam dirigit (Adalberon, 
archbishop of Rheims) ad D. Joh. P., cognomento Albam Gallinam, 


conjecture. That he was a Roman and the son of Bishop 
John is told us by the Book of the Popes ; and Hugh of 
Farfa, 1 who became abbot of that great monastery in 998, 
is supposed by Gregorovius to add to our knowledge of him 
by informing us that John, " who is known as the Greater," 
exalted a certain nephew of his called Benedict, by making 
him count of the Sabina, and by giving him in marriage 
Theodoranda, daughter of Crescentius, of the Marble Horse. 
But the John " who is known as the Greater " may have 
been John XV., so called, no doubt, to distinguish him 
from his immediate predecessor John XIV. Hence the 
editor (Bethmann) of the work of Hugh for the Monu- 
menta Germania assigns the " exaltation " of Benedict to 
John XV, and to the year 985. 

Two extant diplomas, one of the year 987 and the other 
of 970, show in the one case a Count Benedict and his wife, 
the Comitissa and Senatrix Stephania, making a grant to 
the monastery of S. Alessio ; 2 and in the other the Pope 
granting a lease of the ancient town of Prseneste for a rent 
of ten gold solidi to "his most beloved daughter in the 
Lord, and most dear Senatrix Stephania and her sons and 
grandsons." 3 Hence it is conjectured that this Stephania 
was the mother of the supposed favoured nephew and the 
sister of John XIII.; that Pope John and Stephania were 

qui a juventutis suae primis annis, reverential competentis et dignitatis 
angelicas albebat canis." Ap. Muratori, Ann., 971 ; or M. G. SS., xiv. 
But this account of the white hair of John XIII. probably arose from 
some confusion with John XV., who was born in a locality in Rome 
known as " Gallinas Albas." The history of the monastery of Mouzon, 
near Sedan, was written about 1033. However, in a donation of the 
year 971 we find the signature of a Count Gratian "in place of the 
Lord John XIII., the Angelical." Ap. Muratori, Antiq. Itat., v. 773. 

1 Ap. M. G. SS., xi., or R. I. SS., ii., pt. ii., p. 550. 

2 Ap. Archivio delta R. Soc. Rom. di Slor. Pat, 1904, p. 368. 

3 Ap. P. L., t. 135, No. 18. Some versions give clarissimce, "most 
illustrious Senatrix." 


children of Theodora, the daughter of Theodora I., and 
that therefore John XII I. was of the house of Theophylactus, 
and of that branch of it which produced the Crescentii. A 
genealogical table put forth (sous reserves) by Duchesne 
supposes that Theodora II. was the mother of John XIII. 
Unable to reconcile this with some of the data at our 
command, I have supposed him to be the son of another 
Theodora (III.), the wife of John, who first appears as 
consul and duke, and afterwards as bishop. But it is to 
be feared there is too much supposition about all the 
genealogical tables of the house of Theophylactus to make 
any of them quite satisfactory, 
rhePope Doubtless feeling strong in the support of Otho, John 
December promptly took in hand the task of curbing the Roman 
nobility. 1 But he was not strong enough to carry into 
effect this very necessary undertaking. The emperor was 
far away in Germany, and Adalbert had again appeared in 
arms in Lombardy. Feeling that their liberties (i.e. their 
licence) were about to be checked, certain of the nobles, 
headed by Rofred, a Campanian count, and Peter, the 
prefect of the city, raised the cry of " Down with the 
foreigner." " The Saxon kings," they urged, " were going to 
destroy their power and influence, and were going to lead 
their children into captivity." 2 This specious pretext was 
quite enough to rouse the Romans ; the disaffected nobles 
procured the aid of the " leaders of the people, who are 
called decarcones! * 3 The Pope was seized, disgracefully 

1 Contin. /iV^.,965. 

2 Benedict (c. 39), u Ut non variant reges Saxones et destruat regnum 
nostrum et liberes nostre in captivitatem." 

3 "Adjutorio vulgi populi, qui vocantur decarcones." L. P, It is 
thought that these twelve decarcotts were the captains of the city militia, 
like the patroni scholarum militia of the earlier centuries of the Middle 
Ages ; and that their number shows that the city was already divided 
into twelve regions, as it certainly was at the beginning of the twelfth 
century (L. P., ii. 513), at least for military purposes. 


maltreated, and thrust into the Castle of St. Angelo, " in 
accordance with the malignant practices " of the Romans. 1 
This was in the middle of December. Then, fearing that 
the knowledge that the Pope was a prisoner in his own 
city would give strength to his party, the rebels sent him 
into the Campagna, perhaps into some stronghold belong- 
ing to Rofred. However, they had not their own way for 
long. Rofred was killed by John, the son of Crescentius 
and perhaps the Pope's nephew, the Pope himself made his 
escape, and fled to Capua, and Otho entered Italy (August 
966) with an enormous army. 

Meanwhile the Pope, erecting Capua into a metropolitan He returns 
see, and consecrating as its first archbishop John, the 
brother of its prince, Pandulf, 2 gained the support of that 
ruler, and marched on Rome through the Sabine and Tuscan 
territories. After the death of Rofred, the supporters 
of the Pope had no difficulty in gaining the upper hand, 
and when he drew near to Rome, clergy and people went 
forth to meet and welcome him. After an exile of nearly 
a year, John re-entered the city, November 14, 966. He 
said Mass in St. Peter's, and then once again took possession 
of the Lateran palace. 3 With the usual paternal weakness 
of the Popes, instead of vigorously punishing the turbulent 
Romans, John simply endeavoured to gain their goodwill 
by showing them acts of kindness. 4 There was one, how- 
ever, who justly looked on the outbreak with different eyes. 
That was the Emperor Otho. When he entered Rome, he 
straightway hanged the twelve " decarcones," sent " the 
consuls of the Romans " beyond the Alps, dug up and 

1 " Roman i secundum consuetudinem illorum malignam .... alii 
alapas in facies ejus percutiebat, alii mantes nutis (nates nodis ? ) crucia- 
bantur." Bened,, ib. Cf. L. P. 

2 Chron, Cass., ii. 9. 3 Bened., c. 39. 

4 Ib. " Sepius P. salutabat populum ; gaudebat cum Romanos, et 
epulabatur cotidie." 


scattered to the winds the bones of Rofred and of another 
rebel, Stephen, the vestararius, and handed over the chief 
offender Peter, the prefect, into the hands of the Pope. 
Perhaps to requite the culprit for the insulting treatment 
he had meted out to him, John caused a punishment to be 
inflicted upon Peter that was at once ludicrous and painful. 
The prefect's beard was shaved off, and then he was hung by 
the hair of his head " to the horse of Constantine," that is, 
to the bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which is 
still to be seen on the Capitol, " that those who looked upon 
him might henceforth fear to do as he had done." 1 Taken 
down thence, he was placed, naked, upon an ass with his 
face to its tail, and his hands beneath it. A bag of feathers 
was placed upon his head and two more at his thighs. With 
a bell fastened round its neck, the ass was driven through the 
city with its strange burden. After being thus exposed to 
the ridicule of the people, Peter was cast into a dungeon, and 
finally sent by the emperor into Germany {ultra montes). 

While we may deprecate the manner in which, in some 
particulars, Otho administered justice, or allowed it to be 
administered, one cannot but feel that a little more of 
it, properly applied, would have tamed the turbulence of 
the Romans, and saved themselves as well as the Popes 
from much suffering and misery. For, though powerful 
in words, and against a ruler who was generally old and 
always merciful, the Romans were never a match for 
the Germans, and their childish violence was again and 
again severely punished. However, because the meed of 
justice was meted out by Germans, the patriotic indignation 
of the monk of Soracte was aroused, and his barbarous 
chronicle closes with a lament for the decay of Rome's 
might. "Woe to Rome, oppressed and crushed by so 
many nations ! Even by a Saxon king hast thou been 
1 So says the L. P. 


taken ; thy people have been put to the sword ; thy strength 
reduced to naught. Thy gold and silver have they carried 
away in their purses. Once wert thou a mother ; now thou 
art but the daughter ! " And here we may note that 
John XIII. is the last Pope of whom anything is said by 
another author whose words in connection with the Popes 
of the tenth century have been up to this frequently quoted, 
viz. the bishop of Cremona. Both Liutprand and Benedict 
are interesting in their way. The very extraordinary 
Latinity of the monk of Soracte makes his short chronicle 
striking; and if the pages of Liutprand are scarcely 
historical, they are at least anything but dull. The kind 
of story he loves to tell, and the abusive language he uses 
so freely, make his writings resemble those of certain of 
the Humanists of the Renaissance. 

In company with Otho and bishops from various parts synods, 
of Italy and Germany, John held several synods at different g6? ' 
times for the needs of the Church. Among other things it 
was decided in a council held at Rome in the beginning of 
967 that Grado was to be the patriarchal and metropolitan 
church of the whole of Venetia. 1 And in a similar council 
at Ravenna (April 967), Otho again "restored to the 
apostolic Pope John the city and territory of Ravenna and 
many other possessions which had for some time been lost 
to the Popes." 2 But Otho had no intention that the 
granting should be all on one side. Now that he had a 
Pope after his own heart, he would have his own aims 
forwarded. He procured the extension of the jurisdiction 
of the archbishop of Magdeburg. 3 In the bull which John 

1 Dandolo, Chron., v. 14, n. 17. 

2 Cont. Reg., 967 : " Apostolico J. urbem et terram Ravennantium 
aliaque complura, multis retro temporibus Romanis pontificibus ablata, 

3 Ep. 2; Jaffe, 3715. John sent the pallium to its archbishop Adalbert 
(id., 3728) in the following year. 

VOL. IV. 19 


published for this purpose, he was careful to call attention 
to the fact that, " Rome, the head of the whole world and the 
Universal Church," which in the past had been oppressed 
by wicked men, had been reverently restored to its former 
position by "our son, Otho," whom he designates as 
"great and thrice blessed," and proceeds to call "the 
third after Constantine, who had very greatly exalted 
the Roman Church." Further, to ensure the peaceful 
succession of his son to all his power, the emperor in- 
duced John to write to the youthful King Otho to invite 
him to come to Rome to receive the imperial crown l at 
imperial After this journey to Ravenna the Pope returned to 
ofOthoiT, Rome, while Otho went from one part of Italy to another, 
consolidating his power therein. He soon cast his eye on 
Southern Italy, still distracted by the rival pretensions of 
Italian counts, Greek emperors, and Saracen robbers. He 
would also add that to his crown. At first he tried to 
effect his end by diplomacy; and, as was usual with him, 
his diplomatic efforts consisted in marriage negotiations. 
Envoys were sent to Constantinople to arrange a marriage 
between his son and the Greek princess, Theophania, the 
daughter of Romanus II. and the step-daughter of 
Nicephorus Phocas, the reigning emperor. Whilst these 
schemes were in progress, the youthful Otho came into Italy, 
and was with his father most warmly received " on the 
steps of St. Peter's " (December 21, 967), after he had been 
welcomed with the usual laudes at the third milestone from 
the city " by a very great number of senators with crosses 
and banners (signa)" 2 On Christmas Day, in presence of 
his father, " our son received the crown, which raised him 

1 Cont. Reg., 967. Before completing the entries for this year, 
another of our authorities (the continuator of Regino)laid down his pen. 

2 Annalista Saxo, 967. 


to the imperial dignity (in imperii dignitatem), from the 
blessed apostolic lord," as Otho I. proudly wrote, " from 
Campania, near Capua, on the 15th of the Kalends of 
February (January 18), to the dukes and the other prefects 
of our commonwealth." * 

Various synods were held before the emperors left Rome, 
in which, sometimes at their request, the Pope took several 
German monasteries under his special protection, or decided 
that in some cases they were to remain for ever " under 
the patronage (miindiburdium) of the kings or emperors." 2 
And, in order to further Otho's views with regard to the 
marriage of his son, he addressed (968) a letter to Nicephorus 
to urge the suit. 

Before the dispatch of this document, Otho had sent Marriage 
Liutprand of Cremona to Constantinople in the hope that tions, 968. 
the astuteness of that prelate would win for him as a 
marriage portion with Theophania what he had failed 
in a first attempt to win by the sword, viz. South Italy. 3 
Liutprand reached Constantinople June 4, 968. The 
ill-feeling with which lie was greeted was only deepened 
when Nicephorus received the Pope's letter addressed not 
to the Emperor of the Romans, but to the " Emperor of 
the Greeks." 4 " Was it not unpardonable," it was said, " to 
have called the universal emperor of the Romans, the 
august, great, and only Nicephorus, 'emperor of the 
Greeks,' and a barbarian, a pauper, 'emperor of the 
Romans ' ? " Greek as they were, the emperors of Con- 

1 Ap. Widukind, iii., c. 70. This is the last event chronicled by the 
poetical nun of Gandersheim. 

2 Jaffe, 3722, etc. 

3 Already in March 968, Otho had tried and failed to take Bari, " the 
real capital of the Greek possessions in Italy" ; for, after the Emperor 
Louis II. had recovered it from the Saracens, the Greeks again 
obtained possession of it (875). This attempt of Otho seems to have 
been made when the empires were at peace. 

4 Liut., Legatio, c. 47. 


stantinople prided themselves on being the descendants 
of the Roman conquerors of the world, and on being 
emperors of the Romans. And when Liutprand ventured 
to ask for the hand of Theophania (or Theophano) * for 
the young Otho, and to suggest that her dowry should 
be the provinces, or themes as they were then called, 
of Longobardia (Apulia) and Calabria, 2 he was haughtily 
informed that for a Porphyrogenita to be allied to a 
barbarian was such an unheard-of thing, that it could 
only be entertained if, instead of asking for a dowry, Otho 
were to restore to the emperor at Constantinople not only 
Rome and Ravenna, but all the country south of those 
places. If he would have simply the emperor's friendship, 
he must at least give up the city of Rome and its territory, 
and leave them free, i.e., put them at the disposal of the 
Basileus? The Pope too was abused in the most un- 
measured language not only because he had communicated 
with "the adulterous and sacrilegious son" of Alberic 
(John XII.), but especially because he had not addressed 
Nicephorus as emperor of the Romans. 4 And yet, retorted 
Liutprand, as you have changed your language, your 
manners, and your clothes, the Pope (simplicitate clarus) 
naturally thought you had no regard for the name of 
Romans ! The mission of the. caustic prelate failed com- 
pletely. The emperor would not condescend to write 
back to the Pope with his own hand, but sent him a 

1 She was probably the eldest child of Romanus II. and Theophano, 
and was born about 956. 

- According to Schlumberger, Longobardia comprised Apulia, the 
country about Otranto (Hydruntum) in the heel of Italy, and the 
district north of the mountainous tableland known as La Sila, in 
the toe of Italy ; while south of that district was Calabria. These 
districts had for the most part come into the power of the Greeks in 
885, under Basil the Macedonian. 

3 Leat.,c. 15-17. 

* Unfortunately we have only Liutprand for all this ; ib. y 47-51. 


threatening letter written by his brother. 1 Liutprand, 
on his side, when he had to leave Constantinople, consoled 
himself by wishing that the Pope, " to whom belongs the 
care of all Christians, would send to Nicephorus a letter 
like a sepulchre, white without, but full of dead men's bones 
within. Let him inside the letter reproach him for gaining 
the empire by perjury and adultery ; let him summon him 
to a synod and excommunicate him if he disobey." 2 

But Nicephorus, as well to annoy Otho and the Pope as Nicephorus 

_ _ . . interferes 

to strengthen his influence in South Italy, endeavoured to with the 
extend the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople of the Pope 
in that locality. It was during the iconoclast troubles that i ta iy. 
Leo the Isaurian forcibly withdrew the churches of Apulia 
and Calabria (with their metropolitan sees of S. Severina 
and Reggio) from the jurisdiction of the See of Rome, and 
made them dependent upon the patriarch of Constan- 
tinople. This usurpation did not cease with the image- 
breaking controversy. By the action of Leo V., the 
Armenian, the Latin rite was practically stamped out of 
Calabria in the beginning of the ninth century. And now, 
to further the same policy, Nicephorus "ordered the patriarch 
of Constantinople to transform the bishopric of Otranto 
into a metropolitan see, and no longer to tolerate the 
Divine Mysteries being said in Latin in any part of Apulia 
or Calabria. They were to be said in Greek only. The 
patriarch Polyeuctos accordingly addressed an order to the 
head of the Church of Otranto giving him authority to 
consecrate bishops in the churches of Acerenza, Tursi, 
Gravina, Matera, and Tricarico, all incontestably dependent 
on the Church of Rome." So at any rate writes Liutprand, 3 

1 Legate c. 56. 

2 lb., 52. "Et quoniam Christianorum omnium salus ad R. Papae 
pertinet sollicitudinem, mittat Nicephoro dominus papa epistolam 
sepulchris omnino similem." 

3 Leg., c. 62. Cf. Parthey, Notitia; episc, x. 223. 


and in this case there is confirmatory evidence of his 
War. Thus baulked, Otho again had recourse to the sword 

before the close of 968. Supported by Pandulf, he reaped 
some slight successes against the Greeks in Calabria. To 
please his ally " the prince of Beneventum and Capua, and 
marquis and duke of Spoletum and Camerinum," as he is 
described in the papal bull, he induced John to make 
Beneventum into a metropolitan see (969). 1 This, no 
doubt, the Pope and the Roman council which acted 
along with him were the more ready to do, since the 
position of the Latin Church in South Italy, which we 
have just seen attacked by the Byzantine basileus, would 
be thereby strengthened. 2 All through this troublous 
period in South Italy conflicts in the realm of ecclesi- 
astical jurisdiction between Greek and Latin churchmen 
were going on just as keenly as the struggles between 
the Greek and Latin races in the sphere of political 
organisation. The Greeks endeavoured by every device 
to improve their military grasp of their conquests in 
Apulia and Calabria by increasing their ecclesiastical 
hold of those districts ; with the result that, through the 
natural opposition of the Latins to their schemes, ecclesi- 
astical difficulties added to the other miseries of south 
Italy during these unhappy times. 
Marriage Whilst the war in south Italy was being prosecuted by 
972. C H Otho in a desultory manner, the Emperor Nicephorus was 
murdered (December 969), and his assassin, John Zimisces, 
became emperor of the East. Naturally anxious to make 
friends, Zimisces granted what Nicephorus had refused. 
The young Princess Theophania, or Theophano, who was 

1 Muratori, Ann., 969. Ep. 15. 

2 Cf. Diplomata reg. ct imp. Germ., ii. 879, and Gay (VItalie r 
P- 35 6 )> wn gives this reference. 


about the same age (16) as the youthful emperor, and of 
remarkable beauty, was sent over (972) to Italy with a 
splendid escort and dowry. First crowned by the Pope 
(April 14), the youthful pair were then married by him, in 
St. Peter's, " to the great joy of all Italy and Germany." x 

Soon after the marriage, Otho I., with his son and Deaths of 
daughter-in-law, returned to Germany after an absence of otho.* 
six years years during which his presence had brought 
peace if not liberty to the successor of the Apostles. The 
Pope did not survive the emperor's departure many 
months (f September 6, 972) ; nor did Otho I. himself 
long outlive the Pope (f May 7, 973). With him, says 
his epitaph 2 with no little truth, died also the peace of 
the world. 

The power of Otho I. helped in no small degree the Bohemia, 
spread of Christianity among the Slavs. Among those of 
Bohemia it had entered in the ninth century from Germany 
and Moravia; and their duke, Borziwoi, had been baptized 
by St. Methodius. By the apostacy of some of his succes- 
sors, the young Church had, as usual, much to suffer. It 
was in trouble when Otho forced the pagan Boleslaus I., 
the Cruel, who had assassinated his brother, to give a free 
hand to the teachers of Christianity (950). Under his son, 
the second Boleslaus (967-999), known as the Pious, and 
equally acknowledging the supremacy of Otho I., the 
Church made great headway. The anonymous Annalista 
Saxo gives 3 us certain details of the relations of John XIII. 
with the young Church of Bohemia. A sister of Boleslaus, 
a nun, or one at least who had taken a vow of virginity 
{virgo sacra), of the name of Mada or Mlada, came to 

1 Widukind, iii. 73. Cf. Bened., c. 38. Annal. Hildesh., 972, etc. 

2 " Pax sublata perit, cum maximus Otho recessit." Efiitap., ap. 
P. L., t. 142, p. 968. 

3 Ann., 967. " Mada, virgo sacra, litteris erudita." 


Rome on a pilgrimage in the days of John XIII., and was 
by that pontiff very kindly received. Whilst in Rome 
Mada studied the cloistral life ; and the Pope, seeing that 
she was a woman of no ordinary type, made her an abbess 
of the order of St. Benedict, and, changing her name into 
Maria, sent her back to Bohemia with a bull in which he 
authorised the foundation of the bishopric of Prague in 
accordance with the wishes of Boleslaus. The Pope 
assured the duke that he was thankful to God for the 
spread of His Church, and " by the authority of Blessed 
Peter " granted the request which Boleslaus had made 
through his sister, and decreed that the church of SS. Vitus 
and Wenceslaus should be the new cathedral church. At 
the church of St. George a convent of nuns was to be 
established, over which the duke's sister was to preside. 
The Latin and not the Slavonic rite was to be followed ; 1 
and one who was well instructed in Latin literature 
had to be chosen as the first bishop. The instruc- 
tions of the Pope were duly carried out. A Saxon 
priest and monk named Ditmar, distinguished for his 
eloquence and learning, was selected by Boleslaus, both 
because he was known to him, and especially "because 
of his perfect knowledge of the Slavonic language." 
Following the wishes of their ruler, the clergy and nobles 
elected Ditmar; and Otho, at the request of Boleslaus, 
caused him to be consecrated by the archbishop of Mayence. 
His diocese of Prague remained subject to the arch-diocese 
of Mayence till the middle of the fourteenth century. 
Despite the devoted work of Ditmar and his successor, 
Adalbert, it was not till the middle of the following century 

1 Ann. y 967. " Non secundum ritum aut sectam Bulgarica: gentis 
vcl Rusia?, aut Slavonics linguae, sed magis sequens constituta .... 
apostolica," etc. The authenticity of this bull is in dispute ; but of 
course it must be accepted till it has been proved spurious. 


that the savage pagan manners of the Bohemians were to 
any considerable extent modified. 1 

Though it is true that Miecislas I. (or Miechko), the first Poland. 
Polish duke or ruler of whom any certain particulars are 
known, also acknowledged the suzerainty of Otho, became 
a Christian (966), and founded a bishopric at Posen, 2 the 
statement that the duke, in conjunction with John XIII., 
founded two metropolitan and seven other episcopal sees, 
has a merely legendary foundation. 3 

If John XIII. is connected with this country by England. 
documents, if not certainly spurious, at least of doubtful 
authenticity, 4 he is also connected with it by others the 
genuineness of which is undoubted. His bull supporting 
the action of King Edgar and Archbishop Dunstan against 
the canons of Winchester has been quoted under John XII. 
Edgar's regard for St. Dunstan, who had been abbot of 
Glastonbury, moved that monarch, who, to the great utility 
of the country, showed special favour to monks in general, 
to bestow in particular great possessions on Glastonbury, 
"which he ever loved beyond all others." 5 " Recollecting, 
however," continues William of Malmesbury, who has pre- 
served these documents for us, " how great is the temerity 
of human inconstancy, and on whom it is likely to creep, 
and fearing lest anyone hereafter should attempt to take 
away these privileges from this place or eject the monks, 

1 Hergenroether, Hist, de Peglise, iii. 517 f. 

2 A late list (seemingly of the sixteenth century) of the archbishops 
of Gnesen says that, during the reign of Miecislas, Wilibald was made 
its first archbishop by Pope John XIII. See the list, ap. Bielowski, 
Monumenta Polon. Hist., iii. 405. 

3 Hergenroether, id., 521 f. ; Alzog, Universal Church Hist., ii. I79f. 
For the legend see Bielowski, ib., ii. 482 ; and iii. 783. 

4 E.g. the bull {Quia littcris) confirming the privileges of St. Peter's 
monastery, Westminster. Jaffe, 3712. 

6 W. Malmes., Gesta Reg., ii., p. 11 18 f. Bohn's translation is here 
used for the most part. 


he sent this charter of royal liberality to the renowned lord, 
Pope John (971), .... begging him to corroborate these 
grants by an apostolical bull. Kindly receiving the lega- 
tion, the Pope, with the assenting voice of the Roman 
council, confirmed what had been already ordained, by 
writing an apostolical injunction, terribly hurling on the 
violators of them, .... the vengeance of a perpetual 
anathema." Malmesbury then quotes the text of the bull, 
which sets forth that, at the request " of Edgar, the glorious 
king of the Angles, and of Dunstan, archbishop of the holy 
church of Canterbury," the Pope took Glastonbury "to the 
bosom of the Roman Church, and placed it under the 
protection of the Holy Apostles, and (promised) to support 
and confirm its immunities as long as it should remain in 
the same conventual order in which it now flourishes." 
The bull concludes by invoking, the judgment of God on 
any unrepentant violator of the monastery's privileges. On 
this pronouncement Malmesbury thought fit to comment 
thus : " Let the despisers of so terrible a sentence consider 
well what a weighty sentence of excommunication hangs 
over their heads. To Blessed Peter the Apostle and Prince 
of the Apostles Christ gave both the power of binding and 
loosing, and the keys of the kingdom of heaven. But to 
everyone it must be clear and obvious that the vicar of this 
Apostle and chief heir of his power is the president of the 
Roman Church. Over this church John, of holy memory, 
presided in his lifetime, as he lives to this day in glorious 
recollection, promoted thereto by the choice of God and of 
all the people. If then the ordinance of St. Peter be 
binding, that of Pope John must be so likewise." 

At the same time (971), according to the same historian, 
John dispatched, M from motives of paternal regard," a letter 
to the ealdorman (dux) JEUrlc adjuring him, by the love of 
SS. Peter and Paul and by reverence for his successor, to 


refrain from plundering Glastonbury, "which is acknow- 
ledged to belong solely to, and to be under the protection 
of, the Roman pontiff." " It would have been becoming, 
from the fact that you are its neighbour, that by your 
assistance it might have been enriched ; but, shameful to 
say, it is impoverished by your hostility." Stubbs, 1 with 
no small degree of probability, would refer this letter to 
John XV., as a West Saxon ealdorman named ^Elfric is 
known to have begun his official life c. 982, whereas no 
such noble is known in 971. However that may be, the 
letter shows the lawlessness of the times, and the hope that 
what could not be effected in the way of keeping order in 
the land by the local primate or sovereign, could be done 
by the far-off Pope of Rome. 

Among the many privileges 2 granted by John XIII. to Papal vk 

in Ger- 

churches and monasteries (including several to places many. 
within the Spanish March) which we cannot stop to enu- 
merate, is an important one in connection with the 
church of Trier. We have seen that by the decrees of 
former Popes the archbishop of Mayence was their vicar in 
Germany. But the bull in question provides that the * 
archbishop of Trier, in synods of Gaul and Germany, shall 
sit next to the papal legates, proclaim the decision of the 
synods, and promulgate their decrees, as the vicar of the 
Apostolic See in those parts. 3 If there is one thing which 
documents of this sort make very clear, it is that, while 
at this period there was no thought of anything but one 

1 Memorials of St. Dunstan^ p. 396. 

2 In one (ep. 17, September 29, 970) for the monastery of St. Vincent 
of Metz, we find perhaps the first grant of pontificals. Its abbot was 
granted the use, under certain conditions, of the dalmatic and sandals. 
What value was attached to these privileges may be seen from a 
remark of Sigebert of Gemblours in his Vita Deoderici, c. 14, ap. 
M. G. SS., iv., to the effect that the papal privilege : " sicut est rerum 
nostrarum immunitas." 

3 Jaffe, 3736 (2864). 


Catholic Church in the East and West, of which the Pope 
was the head, his supremacy, because of his being Patriarch 
also of the West, was more practically manifest in the 
countries of his patriarchate. 
The mon- Even of this dark age of Rome, papal bulls conferring 
Novaiisa. privileges are anything but rare, and attention has been 
called to them under almost every biography. But of the 
letters sent to Rome to ask for those privileges but few 
have survived the ravages of time. The chronicle of the 
monastery of Novaiisa (Nova Lux), near Susa, has, how- 
ever, preserved one, directed apparently to John XIII. It 
merits citation on various grounds, as it shows not only the 
perils of monastic life in the tenth century, but the tyranni- 
cal power of the local "count," and the helplessness of 
imperial law when once the powerful emperor himself was 

Belegrimus, the lowly abbot, and all the monks of the 
monastery of St. Peter, Novaiisa, near the confines of Italy, 
present their deferential respects and continual prayers to 
the Lord John, the illustrious guardian {patronus) of the 
whole Christian Church and the true faith, and the author of 
all true belief, whom, after Himself, "the Lord has deigned 
to raise to the most holy seat of Peter and Paul, the Princes 
of the Apostles." After reminding the Pope of the founda- 
tion of the monastery by the patrician Abbo (r. 739), of 
its destruction by the Saracens, and of its rebuilding by 
Adalbert, the father of King Berenger, the abbot goes on to 
say that, as the monastery was always under the immediate 
jurisdiction of the Popes, he must appeal to John, " the 
rector of all Europe," against the oppression of the 
Marquis Ardoin. If the Pope will not help them, they 
cannot live, as they are ever being plundered by Ardoin, 
who at first brought forward a forged deed to justify his 
conduct. However, the Emperor Otho, " the rector of 


many provinces," had caused that document to be burnt, 
and a new grant to be drawn up, which he had confirmed 
with his own hand; and he had warned the marquis to 
cease interfering with the rights of the monastery. But 
when Otho had returned " to the province of his nativity," 
Ardoin treated the monastery worse than ever. Hence 
the Pope is entreated to lay the matter before the emperor, 
and himself to excommunicate Ardoin. Their hopes are 
in the pontiff, because they have been assured that neither 
gold nor threats can make him leave the path of justice. 
In conclusion they add : " Nor would we keep from your 
knowledge, Holy Father, how one of our old monks, 
according to his custom, went one night into the church to 
pray, and was suddenly overcome by an unusual sleep. He 
assures us that then in a vision he saw a man clad in white 
robes, with a golden dagger in one hand and a silver cross 
in the other. After thrice striking him on the head, 
the apparition roused him from his slumber, and bade 
him tell all the brethren that they should implore the help 
of their Roman protector." 1 How far the Pope was affected 
by this appeal is not known. 

The history of the monastery at Mouzon, besides telling Mouzon. 
of the lawlessness of the times, tells also of the reforms 
which were being carried out by Adalberon, archbishop 
of Rheims, of whom we shall hear much in the sequel. 
The house was originally a convent of nuns dedicated to 
Our Lady. The prevailing anarchy no worse, it would 
seem (to judge from recent events in the same country), 
in its effect on religious houses than a tyrannical democracy, 
the worst of all forms of government made it impossible 
for the good sisters to maintain themselves in their convent. 
To the nuns succeeded a college of canons, whose lives do 
not appear to have been exemplary. Imitating the policy 
1 Ep. ap. Chron. Novatic, Append, c. 3. 


which St. Dunstan was carrying out in England, Adalberon 
resolved to replace them by monks. The canons were 
given the usual choice. They had to embrace the monastic 
life or go. Most of them preferred the latter alternative. 
In November 971 they were replaced by monks; and, in 
order that they might live, as the monastery was in a 
ruinous condition, the archbishop endowed the house with 
property he had inherited from his father. Anxious that 
what he had done, not only for Mouzon and other smaller 
monasteries, but particularly for his ** archmonastery " x of 
St. Remy, should receive the highest sanction; and not 
content with the diplomas granted in their behalf by 
Lothaire, he went to Rome (December 971) to obtain the 
protection of the Pope against the king himself. And " inas- 
much as he was a man distinguished as well by the nobility 
of his birth and the energy of his character, as by the 
purity of his life, he was received with the greatest respect 
by Pope John, of blessed memory." 2 Adalberon begged 
the Pope to confirm the property he had made over to the 
monastery of St. Remy, " in the intent that there the poor 
might be cared for, and his own memory live among God's 
servants in the monastery." 3 John readily complied with 
the archbishop's request, and Adalberon returned home 
with the drafts of the privileges he desired. The docu- 
ments 4 themselves, inscribed on the usual papyrus of the 
papal chancellary, and duly signed by John XIII., "known 
as the White Hen," were forwarded to France in due course. 5 

1 So it is called by John, Jaffe, 3763 (2884). 

2 Richer, Hist., iii. 25. 3 lb., 26. 

4 Jaffe, 3762, 3763 ; P. L., t. 135. They are dated April 23, 972. 

6 " Secundum Romanas dignitatis consuetudinem paratis scriptisque 
ex papyreo tomo chartis." Hist. Monast. Mosom., L. ii., cc. 6, 7, ap. 
M. G. SS., xiv. Cf. Richer, Hist., iii. 25-30. I have followed Lot,Z*\r 
derniers Carol., p. 69 n., in the way in which he reconciles the monastic 
history with Richer. 


Shortly before his death, John XIII. met, and had the dis- Gerbert. 
cernment to recognise the merits of the young Benedictine 
monk Gerbert, who was to prove himself the most famous 
scholar of his age, and was one day to sit on the chair of 
Peter as Sylvester II. Brought to Rome (970) by Borel, 
count of Barcelona and duke of the Spanish March, his 
industry and zeal for learning did not escape the observa- 
tion of John ; and, finding that the youth had a knowledge 
of mathematics, he recommended him to Otho as a teacher 
of that science, " because music and astronomy were then 
utterly unknown in Italy." 1 To oblige the emperor, who 
promptly recognised the value of such a scholar as a 
professor, John obtained permission of Borel to allow his 
protege to remain with Otho for a short time, on the under- 
standing that the young man was then to be sent back 
with honour to his first patron. But of all this we shall 
speak again when we have to write of Gerbert himself. 

John, 2 who, as we have said, died September 6, 972, and Epitaph of 
who left behind him the enviable surname of " the Good," 3 
was buried in St. Paul's. His epitaph, says Duchesne, which 
used to be " between the Holy Door and the first column," 
is now in the museum of the abbey. It reads thus 4 : 

" Pontificis summi hie clauduntur membra Johannis, 
Qui prudens pastor persolvens debita mortis, 
Istic premonuit moriens sua membra locari, 
Quo pietate Dei resolutus nexibus atris 
Egregii Pauli mentis conscendat in ethra, 

1 Richer {Hist, iii. 43 f.), from whom all this is taken. 

2 Promis (p. 94) assigns three types of silver coins to John XIII. 
On the obverse nearly all have the names of the Pope and the emperor, 
and on the reverse " + Scs Petrus " and " Roma." But the one of which 
Schlumberger (Un Empereur Byzantin) gives an illustration (p. 599) 
has " + Ottoni Imper" with a cross in the middle on the obverse, and 
on the reverse " + Scs Petrus Ro," with " P Joh P" in the centre. 

3 Johannes, " cognomento Bonus." Gerbert., Cone. Rem., c. 43. 

4 L. P., ii. 254. 


Inter apostolicos ccelorum gaudia metat, 

Gaudeat, exultet, sociatus coetibus almis. 

Dicite, corde pio relegentes carmina cuncti, 

Christe tui famuli misertus scelera purga, 

Sanguine qui sancto redemisti crimine mundum. 

Hie vero summus pontifex Johannes in Apostolica sede 

Sedit annos VII. Depositions ejus dies VIII. Idus Septembris 

Ab Incarnatione Domini anni DCCCCLXXII." 

rt Here, where in death the good pastor would have them 
placed, are the remains of Pope John. By the mercy of 
God and the merits of St. Paul, freed from the bonds of 
death, may he hence ascend into heaven, and share in the 
happiness of the blessed above. Do you who piously read 
this epitaph pray that Christ, who with His sacred Blood 
redeemed the world, may have pity on His servant and 
free him from his sins." 


A.D. 972-974. 

Sources. Among the authors we have now to use to supply the 
place of strictly contemporary authorities, the first position must be 
assigned to Hermann (or Herimann), the fam ous monk of Reichenau 
(Augiensis). Born of noble parents in Suabia in 10 13, he was 
from his early childhood afflicted with paralysis, which caused a 
shrinking of his limbs. From this misfortune he is often referred 
to as Hermanus Contractus. But, if his body was crippled, his 
mind was strong \ and in the monastery (Reichenau) where he 
made his monastic profession, he soon acquired a great reputa- 
tion for learning. The writer (Berthold of Constance, his 
disciple) who continued his Chronicle says he excelled all his 
contemporaries in learning and virtue. Naturally he became a 
teacher in his monastery. Of the various works he left behind 
him, the one best known is his Chronicle, from the creation of 
the world to 1054. The judgment and exactness displayed in 
its latter portion especially, causes Hermann to be regarded as 
one of the best of the medieval chroniclers. It may be read 
ap. M. G. SS., v., and its continuation (1054-1066), #., xiii.; 
both are to be found ap. P. ., t. 143. 

Justly distinguished as the author of the best of the Universal 
Histories written in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, was the 
Benedictine Ekkehard, abbot of the monastery of Uraugia (or 
Ura), now Aura, near Kissingen, in Bavaria. He first brought 
down his work to 11 16, and then by a series of most valuable 
additions to 1125. In company with the German crusaders, 

VOL. IV. 305 20 


he visited the Holy Land in iioi. His Chronicon Universale 
(M. G. SS. % vi., with anonymous continuations, id., xvi. and xvii., 
and ap. P. Z., t. 154) shows that he made good use of the best 
materials, and that he had a great love for his country and 
respect for the Pope. He died some time after 1125. 

A writer who drew upon Ekkehard was the so-called Annalista 
Saxo. This fact concerning the anonymous annalist induced 
one of his editors, viz. G. Eccard {Corpus Hist., i., No. x., the 
edition here cited), to attribute his work to Ekkehard. But it 
is now known that the abbot of Ura was not the author of the 
annals which extend from 741 to 1139, and which are assigned 
to the Annalista Saxo. They are thought to have been drawn 
up in the diocese of Halberstadt ; and though but a compilation, 
may be relied on (ap. M. G. SS., vi.). Six of Benedict's bulls are 
given in the P. Z., t. 135. 

Modern Works. In 1856 Ferrucci wrote Investigazioni .... 
su la persona .... di Bonifazio VII., ftgliuolo di Ferruccio. The 
first words of his preface show the object of his work : " Vi 
restituisco, O Romani, un concittadino che giacque per otto 
secoli sotto il peso di mostruose calunnie." Gregorovius de- 
scribes the work as an attempt to "whitewash his blackamoor 
namesake " ; and even its author declares, in figurative language, 
that if Boniface VII. (antipope) was not "a dove," he was not 
" a bloody vulture," but was perchance " a crow " ! More recent 
investigations have put Ferucci somewhat out of date. 

Benedict : The historical darkness which lies thick over the next 


and conse- thirteen years cannot be said to be lessened by the theories 
which many moderns have invented to illumine the dark- 
ness. They not only tell us of parties, aristocratic, plebeian, 
German, Greek, and Italian or national parties which, in- 
deed, no doubt existed but they devise combinations of 
these parties which have no other foundation than the views 
of their authors. And so Ferrucci would make Benedict VI. 
the candidate of the nobility, and (the antipope) Boni- 
face VII. the choice of the people, following the guidance 


of Constantinople. If actual evidence, however, is to be 
our light, it would seem that the centre of affairs in Rome 
was still the aristocratic party only. Their one object 
was to secure the election of a Pope after their own 
heart ; that is, of a Pope under whom their own particular 
privileges would have the greatest latitude. Some, no 
doubt, of the nobles were attacned to those among the 
clergy probably by far the greatest section who looked 
to the German emperors to curb the licence of their order. 
At any rate, on the death of John XIII., the choice of 
the majority, presumably anxious to suit the wishes of 
Otho, fell upon Benedict, a Roman, the son of Hildebrand, 
and cardinal-deacon of the round church of St. Theodore, 1 
at the base of the Palatine Hill, and not far from St. 
George, in Velabro. He belonged to the eighth region of 
the city, the region which used to be known as the Forum 
Romanum, and which, from the fact of its embracing the 
Capitol, is described in the catalogue of Est, whence we 
have this item of information, as Sub Capitolio. Although 
the division of the city into twelve regions seems to have 
begun in the tenth century, the old system of fourteen 
civil regions and seven ecclesiastical ones endured till the 
eleventh century. The eighth region here referred to was 
the old civil region. 

As Benedict was not consecrated till January 19, 973, 
it is concluded that the delay was caused by the necessity 
of awaiting the approval of Otho. 

After the decisive defeat sustained at Lechfeld (955) by Piligrimof 
the Hungarians, they entered into peaceful relations with lhe Hun- 
the Christian nations around them. Among the zealous ^ XXZXi% - 
preachers who availed themselves of the opportunity thus 

1 This last fact is taken from the catalogue of Sigeric, which is 
a very useful list as far as it goes. Cf. the catalogue of Est, etc., 
ap. L. P., ii. 255. 


afforded them to instruct the heathen Hungarians in the 
saving and civHising truths of Christianity, was Piligrim, 
bishop of Passau. 1 He was one of those great bishops who 
did so much for Germany in the tenth century. In dealing 
with the Hungarians, he followed the teachings of history, 
and made his arrangements for effecting their conversion 
on the lines laid down by St. Gregory the Great in the 
case of the English. 2 So successful were his first efforts, 
that he was able to report to the Pope, whom he addressed 
as " the universal bishop of the Holy Roman See .... 
supreme bishop of bishops," that already about five thousand 
of the nobler sort of the Hungarians had embraced the faith. 
Moreover, the captives who had been taken to Hungary 
from every part of the Christian world were now allowed 
to practise their faith in peace. In a word, the whole 
nation of the Hungarians was ready to embrace Christianity. 
The necessity he was under of preaching the faith to them 
himself was the sole reason, continued Piligrim, which 
prevented him from following his heart's desire, and in 
person communicating with the Pope on this important 
subject. It appeared to him that the time had come when 
the Pope should re-establish the hierarchy, subject to 
Lorch, which had existed in Roman times. He therefore 
begged the Pope to send him the pallium which his 
predecessor in the See of Lorch used to receive "from 
the glorious primates of the principal see." He will thus 

1 At the junction of the Inn with the Danube, and now a frontier 
town of Bavaria. Bishop Piligrim aspired to revive the ancient 
See of Lorch (now Enns, though there is a village of Lorch close 
to), some fifty miles towards the south-east from Passau. Hence, in 
his letter to Benedict VI., he styles himself " episcopus Laurea- 

2 <l Quemadmodum in gestis Anglorum didici." Ep. Pilig., No. 33, 
p. 37, ap. Codex, diplom. et epist. reg. Bohemia, Prague, 1907. This 
beautifully printed work is edited at the expense of the Bohemian 


be able to proceed with his work in a canonical way, and 
the Pope will have the glory of receiving a new flock 
into the fold of Christ. Then, because there were heretics 
about who corrupted where they ought to have enlightened, 
he proceeded to make to Benedict a very clear profession 
of faith. In conclusion, he begged the Pope, "whose 
name is celebrated all over the Church," to let him know 
how he must deal with the converts. 

Unfortunately, the document which purports to be an 
answer to this important letter, and which is variously 
attributed to Benedict VI. and to Benedict VII., 1 is 
regarded as a forgery, so that it cannot be stated what 
share, if any, either of those two Popes had in the 
great work so well inaugurated by Piligrim of Passau 

Although, faute de mieux % some bulls are assigned to Privileges. 
Benedict VI. which may belong to some other Benedict, 
still, a few documents, which certainly bear his name, have 
reached us. At the request of Lothaire, the king of the 
Franks, and of his wife, Benedict took under his special 
protection the monastery of Blandin, between the Schelde 
(Scheldt) and the Lys, 2 and confirmed the privileges of 
various other monasteries and churches. The authenticity 
of a bull 3 in which Frederick, archbishop of Salzburg, and 
his successors are named vicars of the Pope in the provinces 
of Noricum and Pannonia, both Upper and Lower, is 
much debated. 

Two silver coins, each inscribed with the names of the Coins 
Pope, Otho, Rome, and St. Peter, are supposed to have 
been coined by Benedict VI. 

The only thing of further interest that remains for us to Death of 
tell of Benedict is his tragic death. The great Otho, whose 97 e 4 n . e 1C ' 

1 Ep. 1, Bened. VII., ap. P. Z., t. 1 37 j Jaffe, t$77*> 

2 Jaffe, 3776. 3 /A, 3767. 


iron hand l had scarcely been powerful enough to crush 
out the turbulence of the Romans, died May 7, 973, and 
left the German and imperial crowns in the sole keeping 
of a boy of eighteen, Otho II. "And although he had 
already been anointed king, and had been declared 
(designatus) emperor by the Pope," the young Otho was 
again elected " by all the people," and all swore fealty to 
him. 2 All, however, did not keep their troth, and in 974 
the youthful emperor had to uphold his rights in arms 
against his cousin, Henry II., duke of Bavaria. 

The emperor's youth and troubles were thought to be a 
favourable opportunity by a certain faction of the nobility, 
perhaps the party which was opposed to the influence of 
the emperors in the choice of the Popes. The heads of 
this party were Crescentius, or Cencius, the son of Theodora 
Crescentius de Theodora and the deacon Boniface 
Franco. The Pope was seized (c. June, 974) by one of the 
leaders of the party in opposition, viz. by Crescentius, and 
thrust into the Castle of St. Angelo, while the other, Franco, 
was proclaimed Pope in his stead as Boniface VII. The 
intruder (ifivasor), as he is justly called by one of the cata- 
logues, 3 was a Roman, and the son of one Ferrutio. Light 
has recently been thrown on the subsequent course of events 
by an historical fragment discovered at Ivrea, and pub- 
lished by Bethmann. 4 Duly informed of what had taken 
place, Otho II. dispatched Count Sicco to Rome. The 
imperial envoy at once demanded the release of the im- 
prisoned Pope. Fearful of losing the object of his am- 
bition, Boniface brought about the death of the hapless 

1 "Erat autem hisdem imperatoribus (Otho I. and II.) potestas 
firmissimas, et robor eorum in regno Italico," says (c. 38) Benedict, 
barbarously but truly. 

2 Practically the last words of Widukind, Res. Sax. 

3 MS., Paris, 5140, ap. L. /'., ii. 257, n. I. 

4 Reprinted, ib. 


Benedict. 1 He caused his rival to be strangled ; and found a 
priest,a certain Stephen, 2 base enough to do the terrible deed. 
But so awful a crime filled the whole city with indignation, 
and Sicco had no difficulty in gathering together a force 
large enough to besiege St. Angelo. The strength of the 
place enabled Boniface to set his foes at defiance for no 
little time. But he fell at length into the hands of the im- 
perial missus, after between one and two months of usurped 
authority. Our brief fragment then concludes by saying 
that, in presence of the emperor's envoy, the Benedict 
(VII.) who now occupies the papal throne was elected, but 
was prevented from peaceably fulfilling the duties of his 
office by the machinations of Boniface. 

To that "good or evil doer," to that Boniface or The fate o 
Maliface, as he is sometimes called, we shall recur when murderers, 
treating of Benedict VII. Meanwhile it will suffice to note Crescen-" 
here that, getting free in some way or other from Sicco, tms " 
he returned to Rome, again seized the chair of Peter, 
and seems to have met with a violent death. But his 
fellow-robber apparently died the death of the repentant 
thief. A Crescentius, son of a Theodora most probably 
the same who with Franco took part against Benedict VI. 
died, penitent, in the monastery of St. Alexius on the 
Aventine, which his family had enriched, and which still 

1 " Strangulatus propter Bonifacium diaconum " ; L. P. The propter 
of the L. P., and of at least three other catalogues, is thus explained 
by the Ivrean fragment to mean that Benedict was killed by the con- 
trivance of Boniface. Cf. also Catal Aug., "De consilio Malifacii 
(Bonifatii) strangulatus est"; and Gerbert, Acta Concil. Rem., c. 28, 
" Horrendum monstrum Bonefacius, cunctos mortales nequitia superans, 
etiam prioris pontijicis sanguine cruentus." 

2 The fragment. A thirteenth-century author, Ricobaldi of Ferrara, 
in his Compil. Chron., ap. R. I. SS.> ix., seems to have preserved some 
memory of the date of the murder : " B. VI. strangulatus fuit nocte 
natalis a Cynthio Stephani " ; Cynthius is the same as Cencius, and the 
"nocte natalis Stephani" is, no doubt, the feast of the Invention of St. 
Stephen, August 3. 


preserves his epitaph. After telling us of his renown, of 
his father, John, and his mother, Theodora, it says that 
Christ led his soul captive, so that he became a monk. 
It concludes by begging all who read it to pray that he 
may at length get pardon of his sins. He died July 7, 
984. 1 

Attention must now be called to the fact that no Pope 
of the name of Domnus (or Donus II.) had any existence 
at this time, though a Pope of that name is usually given 
as the successor of Benedict VI., not only in modern 
catalogues but in certain ancient ones. This conclusion 
would seem to be established by the following considera- 
tions : No notice of any single performance of his has come 
down to us, although he is said to have reigned for a year 
and a half; those ancient authors who do mention Pope 
Domnus are not agreed as to his position in the list of the 
Popes ; he is not known to some of the earliest catalogues 
{e.g. that of Sigeric), to the Liber Pontificalis of Peter 
William, nor to the best-informed ancient writers {e.g. 
Gerbert) and chroniclers. 2 Finally, it is impossible to find 
time for the insertion of the year and a half's reign which 
is assigned to him, nor can his existence be reconciled with 
the data of the " Sicco fragment." Besides, the origin of 
the mistaken addition of such a Pope can be satisfactorily 
explained. Jaffe gives the explanation of Giesebrecht to 
account for the imaginary Domnus; that of Duchesne :! is 
fuller and is the one here adopted. No doubt, in some of 

1 The epitaph, ap. L. P., II. 256. 

" Hie omnis quicumque legis rogitare memento, 
Ut tandem scelerum veniam mereatur habere. 1 ' 
Cf. Marucchi, Basiliques de Komc, p. 199 f. 

2 E.g. Herman. Contr., an. 974 ; Ekkehard, an. 974, " Post Johannem 
(XIII.) papain, Benedictus ordinatur i22 U8 , post quern item B 123"'" 
Pope Leo IX., ep. 3, mentions John XIII. and then the two Benedicts. 

3 L. P., II., p. xviii. ; and p. 256, n. 4. 


the earliest catalogues, the name of Benedict VII. would 
follow that of Benedict VI. immediately no notice being 
taken of the intruder Boniface. Now, as Benedict VII. 
had been bishop of Sutri, he may have been written down 
in some contemporary papal catalogue as " Domnus de 
Sutri " simply. Later on, when some copyist thought that 
mention should be made of the antipope Boniface VII., 
that name was added to the Domnus de Sutri, and then 
the length of the reign of Benedict VI. was repeated after 
Domnus de Sutri. Hence, as a matter of fact, in some of 
the catalogues after Benedict VI. appears "Domnus de 
Suri, or de Sur " ; 1 then the addition dropped, and we find 
Domnus, Donus, or Bonus by itself. To make Donus II. 
from such abundant data was easy. 

Near St. Peter's is a Campo Santo in charge of a German Epitaph (?). 
confraternity. Not far from this cemetery, which has been 
in use since the days of Leo IV., its rector, Mgr. de Waal, 
who has formed a museum of Christian antiquities there, 
discovered a fragment of an inscription which, as far as all 
appearances go, may well have formed part of the epitaph 
of Benedict VI. The difficulty in the way of its belonging 
to him, however, is that at this period the Popes were 
generally buried at the Lateran, and that, if he had been 
interred in the Vatican, it is hard to suppose, as Duchesne 
urges, that it would have escaped the notice of Peter 
Mallius. 2 

1 The following, from a newly published thirteenth- century catalogue, 
though so far accurate that it makes no mention of a Pope Donus, 
shows what confused motions of the papal succession at this period 
were then current : " Johanne mortuo factus est papa Benedictus 
Sutrinus episcopus, et cum ipso in scismate quidam alius Benedictus, 
quern quidam nobilis Romanus suffocavit et procuravit Bonefatium 
fieri papam, sed praefatus Benedictus fultus imperatoris favore pre- 
valuit, et Bonefatius fugit." Cron. Pont, et imp., ap. M. G. SS., 
xxxi., p. 213. 

2 L. P., ii., p. 568, and p. 36, n. 27. 


LICATA | SUB | ANTRO | IN (quo) 
(se) XTI | BENEDICTI | C (orpus?) 
(? sanctu) S | CLARUS | Q | DE | GE (nte) 
(? se) PULTUS ! ET | ACTU | P 

The only statement that seems to stand out clearly from 
this fragment is that Benedict was a man illustrious by his 
birth and by his deeds. 


A.D. 974-983. 

Sources. Twenty-eight bulls of Benedict VII. are printed in 
Migne, P. Z., t. 137. 

A. FIRST glance at the Regesta of JafTe, and the sight of the Consecia- 
comparatively large number of documents there assigned 
to Benedict VII., would lead one to suppose that no little 
information concerning that Pope and his doings was 
available. But as most of the documents are but 
privileges, our knowledge of Benedict VII. is certainly not 
in proportion to the length of his reign. On the death 
of Benedict VI., the Emperor Otho II. and his mother were 
most anxious that he should be succeeded by the learned 
and pious Maieul, the fourth abbot of Cluny. Maieul 
stood high in the opinion of both emperor and Pope. 
John XIII. spoke 1 of him as well known "as a religious 
man," and commended him and all the monasteries subject 
to his sway to the bishops of Gaul; and Benedict VII. 
gave him the isle of Lerins, so famous in the early history 
of monasticism in the West, with a monastery, on condition 
of a payment " of five silver solidi to the sepulchre of St. 

1 Ep. 27. 


Peter." l When the emperor pressed, the saint begged 
time to consider. He did not wish "to leave the little 
flock which it had pleased Christ to commit to him, but 
desired to live in poverty with Him who descended from 
the height of heaven and became poor." He prayed for 
guidance ; and his eyes by chance caught, on an open 
page of his New Testament, the words : " Beware lest any 
man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit, according 
to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the 
world, and not according to Christ" (Col. ii. 8). Taking 
this as the voice of God, he told the emperor that the 
virtues necessary for a Pope were not to be found in him, 
that he was not equal to so great a burden, and that he 
had nothing in common with the Romans, neither nation- 
ality nor manners. The emperor must look elsewhere ; 
for he will not accept the pontifical dignity, nor leave the 
flock already committed to his care. From this the monk 
Syrus, 2 Maieul's biographer, very properly argues the great 
humility of God's servant, who, when asked by the 
greatest of earth's princes, would not accept the papal 
throne. And he takes occasion to add that what Maieul, 
though entreated, refused to accept, many, his inferiors 
both in learning and virtue, would move heaven and earth 
to get, though unasked. What sort of Pope the humble 
Benedictine abbot would have made, it is impossible to say ; 
but it may be doubted whether he had the necessary strength 
of character, or had had the sort of training which would 
have enabled him to cope with the difficulties of the times. 
As he thus failed with Maieul, the emperor probably 
instructed his envoy, Sicco, to secure the election of 
Benedict, bishop of Sutri, a Roman, and the son of David. 

1 Jaffe, 3796. 

2 Vit, iii. 8, ap. P. /.., t. 137. Syrus dedicated this biography to 
Odilo, Maieul's successor. 


At any rate the Sicco fragment says that the imperial 
agent "substituted, in the place of the deceased pontiff 
Benedict, the Benedict who is now reigning, by the general 
election of all the Romans, supported by the authority of 
the presence of the emperor's envoy." 1 This took place 
in October 974. 

What exactly happened after this cannot be said to Flight of 
be well ascertained. If we are to follow the fragment, pope. 
Boniface must either have been released by Sicco after 
his capture, 2 or must have escaped from his hands, for he 
succeeded in maintaining himself in the city for some time, 
and in preventing Benedict from carrying on the work of 
the Church at all peacefully. At length, however, the Pope 
proved too strong for the usurper, and he had to take refuge 
in flight. That before he fled he stripped St. Peter's of its 
treasures, and then carried them off with him, does not 
appear to be stated by any author before that retailer of 
unfounded stories, Martinus Polonus, in the second half 
of the thirteenth century. At any rate, after leaving Rome, 
Boniface betook himself to Constantinople, 3 a fact which 
has given occasion to some writers to suppose that the 
authorities at the Greek capital had promoted his interests. 
But it was only natural that he should fly there, as he 
could not be ignorant that, though Otho II. was married 
to a Greek princess, the Greek emperors regarded the 
ambitious Othos with suspicion, and would probably 
welcome one of their opponents. 

1 " Eumque qui nunc est B. communi omnium Romanorum electione, 
presentis imperatorii nuntii auctoritate munita, priori mortuo substituit 
(Sicco)." Fragment, ap. L. P., ii. 257. The statement in the Chron. 
Cos., ii. 4, that Benedict was a relation of Prince Alberic, seems to be 
an addition to the original chronicle, and of no great authority. Cf. 
n. 5 to the same, ap. R. I. SS., iv. 341. 

2 Supra, p. 311. 

3 "Bonifacius .... expulsus, Constantinopolim postea petiit." 
Herm. Contr., 974. 


As the usurper had flouted the lawful pontiff, it was 
but proper that his pretensions should be formally con- 
demned. Accordingly a numerous synod was convoked 
for the beginning of the year 975, and the ambitious 
conduct of Boniface therein denounced. 1 The same 
assembly punished another usurper, viz. Theobald of 
Amiens, "who had appealed to the Holy See, and then 
failed to approach it." 2 
Othoii. Though its head had been forced to fly from Italy, the 

comes into _. * < < 

Italy, 980. faction of Boniface was not altogether quashed. Still, for 
many years Benedict managed to maintain himself against 
it by his own power. And it was just as well that he was 
able to rely upon himself, for he could not hope for aid 
from the emperor, who had to establish his own authority 
against his cousin, Henry II., duke of Bavaria, and against 
the Danes and Slavs. He was also engaged with Lothaire 
of France in settling who was to be master in Lorraine. 
The peace of Margut-sur-Chiers, in the department of 
Ardennes, decided that question in favour of Otho 
(July 980), and left him free to turn his attention to Italy, 
where some at least were as anxious to see him as he was 
to see them. On the one hand, Benedict now found 
himself very hard pressed, and begged Otho to come to 
his assistance ; and the emperor himself, on the other, had 
inherited his father's designs on Italy, and was anxious to 
clear its southern portion of both Greeks and Saracens. 3 

1 "Hie etiam fugatus et in magna synodo dampnatus." Gerbert, 
Concil. Rem., c. 28. Cf. Epp. Gerberti, Append. I., ed. Havet. 

2 Ep. Adalb. Rem., ap. Labbe, ix. 72 1 . After refusing to appear at 
two provincial synods, the refractory bishop was excommunicated and 
deposed by Adalberon, archbishop of Rheims, in conjunction with the 
deacon Stephen, the Pope's legate and a friend of Gerbert (Sylvester II.). 
This was in July 975. 

3 "Evocatus (Otto) a Papa, ut ecclesiie succurreret, in Italiam, ubi 
Apuliam et Calabriam Italian provincias ad jus Imperii Graecorum 
appendentes, ad Imperium Romanum conatus transferre," so writes 


Accordingly, in the autumn he entered Italy with great 
pomp. There were with him, besides his mother, Adelaide, 
his wife, Theophano, with his newly born child, who was 
to be the famous Emperor Otho III., and the nobility of 
Germany, Conrad, king of Burgundy, Hugh Capet, and 
Adalberon of Rheims, with his protege, Gerbert. After 
spending Christmas in Ravenna, Otho moved on Rome 
(981). Benedict was soon firmly established on his throne, 1 
and that too apparently without bloodshed. For the 
story, repeated by some modern French 2 and Italian 
historians, that Otho caused some of the rebellious Roman 
nobles to be massacred at a banquet, is destitute of any 
trustworthy basis. 

Before Otho and his distinguished company left Rome, Council in 
where he celebrated Easter (March 27), various matters 
were settled in synod or otherwise, and various favours 
granted by the Pope to the emperor or his allies. A 
letter 3 addressed to " all Catholic and orthodox archbishops, 
bishops, abbots, kings, princes, dukes, and counts, and to 
all the faithful all over the world," informs them that at 
a synod in St. Peter's, in presence of the most serene 
Emperor Otho, it had been solemnly decreed, in accordance 
with the sacred canons, that no money was to be exacted 
for the conferring of sacred orders from the lowest to the 
highest, "from the order of doorkeeper to that of the 
priesthood." And while the archbishops and metropolitans 
are urged loyally to carry out the provisions of the decree, 

a continuator of Frodoard, ap. Duchesne, SS. R. F., cited by Muratori, 
Ann.,v'\\. 626. Cf. Richer, iii. 81 : "Otho .... Romam devenit suos 
revisurus, compressurus etiam, si qui forte essent tumultus." S. Odilo, 
in his Miracula Adalheidis, c. 2, ap. P. L., t. 142, pretends that Otho 
undertook this expedition deceived by the evil advice of his wife "ejus 
pravio ingenio, deteriori consilio deceptus." 

1 Annal. Colon., 981, ap. M. G. SS., i. "Apostolicus in sedem 
receptus est." 

2 E.g. Zeller, Hist. d'Allemagne, ii. 400. 3 Ep*. 17, p. 336. 


those who are seeking episcopal consecration are told to 
come to Rome for it, if they cannot get it gratuitously 
from their metropolitans. We shall see many more such 
solemn decrees issued by the Popes, before observing any 
practical diminution in the widely spread vice of simony. 

Hugh Capet, duke of the Franks, who had come to Italy 

principally with the intent of forming an alliance with 

Otho against his sovereign, Lothaire, took advantage of 

his stay in Rome to obtain (April i) from the Pope 

exemption for his monastery of St. Valery-sur-Somme 

from any but papal jurisdiction. About the. same time 

the like exemption was granted to the renowned abbey 

of Corbey, and its abbot was granted the right of wearing, 

during Mass, on the principal feasts of the year, the 

dalmatic and sandals. 1 

Otho's It does not seem that on this occasion Otho was in any 

quarters hurry to push his own schemes with the Pope. The reason 

Rome, 981. doubtless was that he was in no hurry to leave Rome or 

its neighbourhood. It was to be his base of operations 

against the Saracens. Accordingly, he built a palace in 

the so-called Campus de Cedici, 2 in the territory of the 

Marsi ; i.e., in the high ground round Lake Fucino. There 

he spent his time all through the summer heats during 

which nothing could be attempted. 

Benedict In the autumn (981) we find the Pope legislating for the 

favours to Church in Germany. Already, in the early part of his 

the e^mpi're, reign, Benedict had issued various privileges for the benefit 

98X1 of several great ecclesiastics of the empire, or of different 

monasteries, "on account of love for the emperor." In 

return for the good work in the way of restoring 

monasteries done by Theodoric, archbishop of Trier, by 

1 Ep. 18 for Hugh, 19 for Corbey. 

- Chron. Casaur., 981, ap. R. /. SS., ii. pt. ii. Cf. Murat., Annul., 


the decrees of the Popes " primate of all Gaul and 
Germany," and for his devotion to St. Peter, Benedict 
granted (975) him and his successors "the cell of the 
Quatuor Coronati" 1 The first church dedicated to these 
four brothers, who were martyred in Rome in the fourth 
century in the persecution of Diocletian, seems to have 
been built in that same century. In the Roman council 
of 595 there is the signature of the presbyter, " Fortunatus, 
SS. Quatuor Coronatorum." Restored under Honorius I. 
and Leo IV., burnt down by the terrible Robert Guiscard 
(1084), and rebuilt by Pascal II. (11 n), it still boasts 
colonnades which go back at least as far as the days of 
the first Honorius. 

To one of the monasteries of Trier restored by 
Theodoric, viz. that of St. Martin, ad Littus, Benedict 
granted 2 that its abbots might have the right of wearing 
infulce (a chasuble, or headgear) like a bishop. And in 
confirming the precedence of the archbishop himself, he 
decreed 3 that a cross should be carried before him, as 
before the archbishop of Ravenna ; that, again, like the 
same prelate, he should be entitled to ride to the stations 
on a horse covered with a white cloth ; and that his 
" cardinal-priests " should be allowed, when Theodoric 
said Mass, to wear dalmatics, and that his deacons and 
priests might use " schandaliis " or sandals. 

Another privilege (975) 4 gives the first place in conse- 
crating the king to the archbishop of Mayence. Benedict's 
" love for the emperor " procures (976) favours for the 
archbishop of Cologne and the bishop of Metz. 5 And 
now, in the autumn of 981, the Pope held synods in Rome, 

1 Ep. 2. 2 Ep. 3 ; cf. 5. 

3 Ep. 4. With reference to schandaliis, a note in Migne supposes, 
wrongly, I think, the word to be from scandalia or scanditia, steps by 
which one was placed in a more honourable position. 

4 j a ffe, 3784. 5 lb., 3788-9. 
VOL. IV. 21 


in which, to the great indignation of our historian 
Thietmar, he abolished the See of Merseburg, 1 one of those 
founded under Otho I., divided it between Halberstadt, 
Zeiz, and Meissen, and sanctioned the transfer of the 
bishop of Merseburg to the archbishopric of Magdeburg. 2 
According to Thietmar, who himself became bishop of 
Merseburg in 1009, and who cannot be supposed to have 
been well disposed to one who had brought about the 
suppression of the see which he afterwards held, the 
temporary abolition of the see was affected in this wise. 
On the death of Adalbert or Ethelbert (June 981), arch- 
bishop of Magdeburg, the clergy and people elected as 
his successor Ohtric, who was then in Italy with the 
emperor, and who, so Thietmar tells, according to the 
prophecy of his predecessor, was destined never to succeed 
him. A deputation was sent to make the election known to 
Otho; and, to forward the end his electors had in view, they 
implored the help of Giselar, the bishop of Merseburg, who 
had no little influence with the emperor. But Giselar him- 
self had designs on Magdeburg. He approached Otho and 
asked for a reward for his long services ; he bribed the 
nobles, "and especially the Roman judges, who are always 
to be bought ('quibus cuncta sunt semper venalia')" ; and he 
obtained from the Pope himself a promise that he would 
agree to the translation if it were sanctioned by the fathers 
of the synod. Benedict accordingly summoned a council 
{concilium generale), and asked the assembled fathers if 
it was lawful to transfer Giselar to the See of Magdeburg, 
as that prelate had declared that the bishop of Halberstadt 
had deprived him of his own see. Receiving a reply in the 
affirmative, Benedict sanctioned the translation of the 

1 With an inaccuracy not unfrequent in his Hist. d'Allemagne, 
Zeller (ii., p. 400) speaks of Benedict's pronouncing " la dissolution de 
rarchevgche" de Magdebourg." 

2 lb. 3808. 


ambitious Giselar, who treated his former see as " though 
it were a Slav family which is sold and dispersed." But 
that Thietmar is here relying on mere gossip there would 
seem to be little doubt ; and that doubt is not lessened by 
a story with which he concludes this narrative, though 
he does declare that, if his betters were not ashamed to do 
such deeds, he is filled with shame at having to record them. 
" For the darkening of the truth," he says, Giselar had to 
give Theodoric of Metz, a great favourite of the emperor, 
" a thousand talents of gold and silver " ! And he adds 
that on a certain occasion at matins, when by the command 
of the emperor the said Theodoric "jocularly" asked a 
blessing, a certain man replied : " May God be able to 
satisfy you in the future, whom here all of us cannot 
satiate with gold." * 

In the December of the following year (982), again at 
the request of Otho, we find the Pope taking under his 
protection the monastery of Lorsch, which has given its 
name (Laureshamenses) to annals we have had occasion to 
quote in a previous volume. 

But Otho had come south not only for ecclesiastical but Campaign 
for political purposes. He had his father's wish to be Italy, 982. 
master in the southern parts of the Italian peninsula, as 
well as in the northern and central. 2 Besides, it was im- 
portant, in the interests of Christendom, that some expedi- 
tion should be undertaken against the increasing power of 
the Saracen. Though the infidel power had received a 
great check by being driven from Fraxineto by William 

1 Chron., iii. 9 {cf. 8) : " Saciet te, inquit, Deus in futuro, quern 
hie omnes non possumus auro." According to the reliable Adam of 
Bremen (ii. 21, al. 14), Giselar was a good and holy man, and the 
apostle of the Winuli, a Slav people. 

2 "Otto .... non contentus finibus patris sui . . . . eggresus est 
occiipare .... omnes ulteriores partes Italiae usque ad mare Siculum 
et portum Traspitem." Ann. Sangall. maj., an. 982, ap. M. G. SS. f i. 


of Provence (972), advance of authority on the part of the 
Fatimite Caliphs had brought a fresh Saracen expedition 
into south Italy, which attacked Greeks and Italians im- 
partially (976). Otho was prepared to assail Saracens and 
Greeks with the same impartiality. He allied himself with 
the Italian princes of the South, and at first all went well 
with him ; Greek towns fell into his hands, and Saracen 
forces were defeated in the field. But, falling into an 
ambush (July 982), his army was almost cut to pieces by 
the infidels, and it was with the utmost difficulty he 
escaped falling into their hands himself. " Stricken with 
the sword, there fell the empurpled flower of our country, 
the honour of fair Germany," laments a contemporary 
German patriot. 1 This terrible disaster on the Basiento 
made such an impression on the imagination of men, that 
even in the middle of the following century it was still 
fresh in their minds. 2 It everywhere gave courage to the 
enemies of the Empire, and it is credited with being the 
cause of a far-reaching revolt of the Wends which broke 
out at this time. 

imperial But, because he had lost a battle, Otho was not beaten. 

Rorae, S 983. He at once began to prepare to take vengeance on the 
Saracens. Meanwhile other matters did not escape his 
attention. He sent his missi' 3 to assist at a council held 
in Rome in April (983) to decide a dispute between the 
monks of Subiaco and those of La Cava, which was under 

1 Bruno, in vit. S. Adalbert., c. 10. 

2 "CalabriiE bellum adhuc per orbem terne clade et infamia notissi- 
mum." Wolfer, in vit. S, Godehard. (ti038), c. 7. 

8 Ep. 25. " Is enim ambobus (sic I two bishops) per consensu 
pontifici, ac jussione imperatoria, cura audiendi veritatem eo missi 
sunt." An extant inscription informs us that Benedict dedicated a 
new church in honour of St. Scholastica at Subiaco (981). Jaffe, sub 
3800. A friend of mine, who examined this tablet, suggests that the 
two quaint animals with which it is adorned are possibly the Pope's 


the protection of the emperor. The deed embodying the 
decision of the assembly in favour of Subiaco is interesting 
not only on account of the signatures of the judges in the 
case, but because it tells us, in language unusually bar- 
barous for papal documents, in what part {intro Ospitale) 
of the buildings attached to the basilica of St. Peter's the 
Pope was then wont to sleep, and lets us know that law- 
proceedings were not particularly brisk even in the tenth 
century. The monks of Subiaco had been pleading their 
cause in the Lateran palace for three years. 

And when the emperor himself again visited Rome, 
both from motives of piety and to consult with the Pope 
on matters of religion, he evidently thought that one of the 
best ways of advancing the cause of faith and civilisation 
was to favour monasteries For we find, at this time, 
privileges granted to such institutions at Nienburg and 
Arneburg by Benedict at the request " of our beloved and 
spiritual son. and most worthy advocate of the holy 
Apostolic See." 1 

In June Otho met the nobles of Germany and Italy at The diet at 

1. . 1 1 Verona, 

a diet in Verona, where, to strengthen his position, his son 983. 
by Theophano was elected to succeed to the throne, though 
he was not as yet four years old. When the arrangements 
to continue the war had been completed, Otho returned to 
Rome, where also the death of the Pope (July-October) 
called for his presence. 

But, not long after he had nominated the new Pope Death of 
(John XIV.), Otho II., "whose little body held a great 
soul," and who was "in all things a most Christian 
emperor," 2 died of dysentery (December 7, 983). 

Though our knowledge of the intercourse between Benedict 

and various 

1 Jaffe, 3818 f. alities. 

2 Vit. S.Adalbert. Pragensis, c. 8 (ap. P. L., t. 137), written by a 
monk of S. Alexius, under Otho III. 


Benedict and the different Christian countries is of the 
slightest, what we do know is worth recording, if only to 
show that the various countries of the Catholic world were, 
despite the difficulties of the times, in communication with 
their head. The fact of his consecrating as their arch- 
bishop the priest James, "the elect" of the clergy and 
people of Carthage, proves Pope Benedict in touch with 
Africa. 1 Most interesting and affecting is the extract on 
this subject from the letter to the Pope of the " clergy and 
people of Carthage " which the Abbot Leo has preserved 
for us in his fine letter to the kings of France, Hugh 
Capet and his son Robert. " We beg your Holiness," it 
runs, " to bring succour to the wretched and desolate 
province of Africa, which is so brought to naught that, 
where there was a metropolitan, there is now scarcely a 
priest. And as our predecessors used to have recourse to 
yours, so we, though miserable and lowly, turn to you. 
And hence to you do we send the priest James, that by 
consecrating him you may afford us some consolation." 
This, as we have said, Benedict did in Abbot Leo's 
monastery of St. Alexius, after he had made trial of the 
candidate's orthodoxy. 

Giving the tonsure (975), as we may presume he did, 2 to 
Dunwallon, king of southern Strathclyde (Flint and 
Denbighshire), would quicken his interest in the Church 
in Wales ; and the arrival in Rome of Sergius, archbishop 
of Damascus, expelled from his see by the Saracens (977), 
could not fail to direct his attention to the East. To 
Sergius the Pope gave the ancient church of St. Alexius, 
which is still the highest point on the Aventine. In 
connection with the church he had thus received, the 

1 Jaffe,38i3- 

2 For the Brut, ap. Haddan and Stubbs, i. 286, says he " went to 
Rome and took the tonsure." 


archbishop founded a monastery, placed it under the 
Benedictine rule, and became its first abbot. From the 
subsequent residence within its walls of St. Adalbert of 
Prague, it became quite a centre of work for the conversion 
of Slav countries, and received many favours at the hands 
ofOthoIII. 1 Ragusa became another similar centre, and 
to its archbishop Benedict sent the pallium in 1022 
(September 27)? 

The exact length of the reign of Benedict cannot be Death of 
stated with certainty. The Liber Pontificalis and some 983. 
catalogues 3 assign him a reign of nine years. If that 
were, indeed, the length of his pontificate, he must have 
died October 983. But his epitaph expressly states that 
he died July 10, 983. This epitaph, however, which is 
still to be seen in the Sessorian basilica, now known as S. 
Croce in Gerusalemme, is only a cento of the epitaphs of 
Stephen (VI.) VII., Benedict IV., Sergius III., and Leo IV. 
Hence some authors, who do not believe that a genuine 
epitaph would ever have been composed in such a weak 
way, do not attach any importance to the matter contained 
in the S. Croce inscription. Still, if the want of scholar- 
ship of the time be taken into consideration, it does not, 
perhaps, seem quite incredible that an epitaph should have 
been drawn up in such a patchwork style by some scribe 
possibly more idle than incompetent. The inscription is 
here given as it appears in Duchesne 4 : 

" Hoc Benedicti Papas quiescunt membra sepulchro, 
Septimus existens ordine quippe Patrum. 

1 Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 388, etc. 

2 Jaffe, 4042. Cf. Villari, The Republic of Ragusa, p. 53. 

3 Others, as that of Sigeric, only give seven years and a half. 

4 L. P., ii. 258. In Watterich, i. 86, there are some conjectural 
emendations. Lanciani, Pagan and Christian Rome, p. 234, has con- 
fused this inscription with one to that Crescentius who died in the 
monastery of S. Alessio, and which is given in the L. P., ii. 256. 


Hie primus repulit Franconis spurca superbi, 

Culmina qui invasit Sedis Apostolicae. 

Qui Dominumquae suum captum in castro habebat. 

Carceris interea vinclis constrictus in imo 

Strangulatus ubi exuerat hominem. 

Cumque Pater multum certaret dogmate Sanctorum 

Expulit a sede iniquus, namque invasor. 1 

Hie quoque predones sanctorum falce subegit 

Romans ecclesiae judiciisque patrum. 

Gaudet amans pastor agmina cuncta simul. 
Hiccae monasterium statuit monachosque locavit 
Qui laudes Domino nocte diequae canunt. 
Confovens viduas, negnon et inopesque pupillos 
Ut natos proprios assidue refovens. 

Inspector tumuli compuncto dicito corde 
Cum Christo regnes, O Benedicte, deo. 

D. X. M. Jul. in Apia, (apostolica) sede residens viiii. ann. obiit 
ad Christum, Indie, xii. ' 

The epitaph, after telling that the remains of Benedict VII. 
lie within, adds that he expelled the intruder Franco who 
had cast his lord (Benedict VI.) into prison, where he was 
strangled. He subdued the enemies of the Church, and 
founded a monastery at S. Croce. He comforted the 
widow, and nourished poor orphan children as though they 
were his own. 
Coins. To Benedict VII. Promis 2 attributes those silver coins 

which, besides the name of Benedict, have the legend 
"Otto Imperator Romanorum." In addition to a doubtful 
Benedict coin, which he also allots to this Pope, he 
assigns to the last month of the life of Benedict VII. 
another coin on which appear only "Ben PP" and ' Scs 

1 Watterich : " Expulit a sede namque invasor cum." 

2 P. 97- 


With the exception of the money struck by St. Leo IX. 
and Paschal II., there is no proof that the Roman mint 
turned out any more coins for a hundred and fifty years. 
At the end of that long period coins were again minted in 
Rome ; but then, for a considerable time, not by the Popes 
but by the Senate of the Roman people. 


A.D. 983-984. 

Source. Only one letter of John XIV. is given by Migne, P. L. t 
t 137. 

Election of UNEASY, we are told, lies the head that wears a crown. 

Pavia. The saying is certainly true of the head that wore the 
papal tiara in the tenth century. Peter Canepanova or 
Canevanova, bishop of Pavia (his birthplace), and, since 
966, chancellor of the empire, closed a pontificate of less 
than a year's duration by a violent death. The trusted 
servant of Otho II., he was sent to Rome as his missus for 
the settlement of the dispute, already mentioned, between 
the monasteries of La Cava and Subiaco. With that of his 
brother imperial representative, his signature 1 comes next 
to that of the Pope in the deed which set forth the rights 
of Subiaco. In his epitaph his administration of his 
northern Italian see is praised as well as his rule of that 
of Rome ; therein is also set forth how dear he was to 
Otho, and how sweet and tender to all who came in contact 
with him, whether rich or poor. Such was the man whom 

1 ** Petrus Papiensis Ecclesias episcopus huic judicati paginam (sic) 
perpetualiter, sicuti supra legitur, interfui." Ep. 25 of Bened. VII. 


JOHN XIV. 331 

the will x of Otho placed on the chair of Peter towards the 
close (November or December) of the year 983. 

That Peter of Pavia, who took the name of John XIV., Not two 
should in later ages have been divided into two Popes, is i^ayear. 
quite typical of the obscurity which has ever hung over the 
papal history of the tenth century. The fact that the notice 
of this pontiff in the Book of the Popes gives two separate 
dates in connection with his life, has been enough for the 
compilers of papal catalogues to make one Pope John for 
the eight months assigned to the reign of John XIV., and 
another Pope John for the four months during which 
John XIV. is said to have languished in prison. When- 
ever this blunder first saw the light, it did not affect the 
proper numbering of the Popes of the name of John till 
the thirteenth century, when the John who ought to have 
been called (1276) John XX. took the title of John XXI. 
No doubt the error must have crept into catalogues drawn 
up after the death of John XIX. in 1033. 2 

The Emperor Otho II. did not long survive his nomina- Death of 
tion of John XIV. His most Christian death, which took 9 s 3 . 
place in the imperial palace of St. Peter, close by the 
Vatican, is detailed for us at some little length by Thiet- 
mar. 3 Feeling his end to be drawing nigh, he divided " all 
his money " into four parts ; the first for the churches, the 
second for the poor, the third for his beloved sister Matilda, 
abbess of Quedlinburg, and the fourth for his sorrowing 
ministers and soldiers. Then, when he had made in Latin 
a public confession of his sins before the Pope and his 
bishops and priests, and had " received from them the 

1 " D. Apostolicum digno cum honore Romanse prasfecit Ecclesiae." 
Ann. Saxo, an. 983. 

2 Cf Duch., L. P., II., p. xviii. 

3 Chron., iii. 15. Cf. the Life of St. Godehard (ti038) by his disciple 
Wolfer. " Romae cum summo totius Christianismi mcerore, satis tamen 
honorifice sepulto." C. 7, ap. P. Z., t. 141, p. 1168. 

332 JOHN XIV. 

desired absolution," he was removed from this light on 
December 7. He was buried in the atrium of St. Peter's, 
near the oratory of Our Lady, where "her beautiful image 
is to be seen blessing those who come in" ; and, according 
to Bonizo of Sutri, he was thrice blessed in being the only 
one who, out of so many emperors and kings, merited to be 
buried with Popes and the Prince of the Apostles. In the 
crypt of the basilica of St. Peter (grotte vecchie east) may 
still be seen the tomb of Otho II. " It is about twelve feet 
long and four feet high, and is said to contain an ancient 
sarcophagus, for which the present font of St. Peter's 
is wrongly supposed to have formed the cover." 1 It 
bears the simple inscription " + Otto Secundus Imperator 
Augustus + ." The mosaics with which his wife adorned the 
tomb have been dispersed ; but one fragment at least, show- 
ing our Lord between SS. Peter and Paul, is still in the crypt. 
The pal- On the day before the death of Otho II., the Pope 

Hum for , 

Aio. issued the one document of his reign which we possess. 

From the superior style in which it is written, it is con- 
jectured that it was dictated by the ex-chancellor himself; 
and the high idea John had of his elevated position may be 
safely inferred from it. It was addressed to Alo, the arch- 
bishop of Beneventum and Sipontum, which latter place, 
we take it, must have been of some size even in the last 
quarter of the tenth century. "If in guarding their flocks 
shepherds are ready by day and by night to endure heat 
and cold, and ever keep watch and ward over the fold lest 
any of their flock stray away or be seized by wild animals, 
with what care and anxiety ought we not to watch, we 
who are the shepherds of men, for fear that, through our 
negligence, we may be arraigned before the Supreme 
Shepherd ; and the higher we have been in honour here, the 

1 D. Sladen, Old St Peters, p. 68, London, 1907. Cf. Dufresne, Les 
cryptcs vaticanes, p. 16. 

JOHN xiv. 333 

lower we may be thrust down hereafter." He sends the 
archbishop the pallium, and enumerates the feast-days on 
which he may wear it, names the cities for which he may 
consecrate bishops, and grants to him and his successors 
" the Church of St. Michael on Mount Gargano a famous 
sanctuary still standing on Mount Santangelo, one of the 
lofty spurs of the Gargano and the Church of Sipontum 
itself (which is also still in existence), with all their appur- 
tenances, with all the farm servants {prcediis familiis) of 
both sexes, and with the churches and estates which are 
known to belong to the aforesaid two churches." The 
archbishop is then exhorted to let his life be in accordance 
with his dignity. " Let then your life be the rule of your 
subjects ; for their progress depends on your example, so 
that after your day you may be able to say with safety 
My heart was neither puffed up by prosperity, nor de- 
jected by adversity. May the good find you kind, and the 
bad acknowledge you as discreet." He would have Alo 
judge just judgment; but at the same time strike like a 
Father. He will do all things well if charity be his guide; 
if he follow her, he cannot stray from the right path. 1 

Through the good offices of a mutual friend, the Lady John and 


Imiza, the confidante of the Empress Theophano, the 
Pope was on friendly terms with the celebrated Gerbert, 
then abbot of Bobbio on the Trebbia. When John XIV. 
was Peter of Pavia, though he and Gerbert spoke well of 
each other to their common patron Otho II., the abbot 
had occasion to write to him in rather a sharp style. 
Whether or not the chancellor had been driven to the 
action in order to find money for Otho's expedition against 
the Saracens, Gerbert wrote to him about the middle of 
983 to complain that he gave the goods of Bobbio to 
soldiers as though the abbey were his own ; and as " good 
1 Ep. ap. P. L., t. 137, p. 357 f. 

334 JOHN XIV. 

faith was nowhere to be found," and, what was neither 
heard nor seen was imagined, Gerbert concluded by saying 
that he would only communicate his wishes to the bishop 
by letter, and would only receive those of the bishop in the 
same way. 1 But, by the time Peter had become Pope, the 
two evidently spoke not only well of each other, but to 
each other. One of Gerbert's letters to John is worth 
quoting as, though short, like most of them, it sheds not a 
little light on the state of the times. It is addressed : "To 
the most blessed Pope John, Gerbert, in name only abbot 

of the monastery of Bobbio Whither can I turn, O 

father of our country ? If I appeal to the Apostolic See, I 
am derided. I can neither come to you on account of my 
enemies, nor am I free to leave Italy. It is equally difficult 
to remain where I am, seeing that neither within nor 
without the monastery is anything left me but my pastoral 
staff and the apostolic benediction. The Lady Imiza is 
dear to us, because she is devoted to you. Through her, 
by word of mouth or by letters, you will let me know your 
will; and through her I will let you know what I think 
will interest you in the general condition of public affairs." 2 
John would have Gerbert come to Rome about his diffi- 
culties ; but the abbot was prudent. He begged 8 the 
Pope to let him know what he was to hope for if he under- 
took the risk of a journey to Rome ; and said he rather 
thought that it might be that, under existing conditions, it 
would be safer for him to attach himself to the party where 
physical force predominated. Whether Gerbert ever re- 
ceived any reply to this letter, or whether indeed Pope 
John was not a prisoner in the castle of St. Angelo before 
it reached Rome, is not known for certain. We may, how- 
ever, infer, from a comparison of two of Gerbert's letters 

1 Epp. Gerberti, 5 ; ed. Havet. 

2 lb., ep. 14, December 983. 3 Ep. 23, beginning of 984. 

john xiv. 335 

(25 and 40), that he received an encouraging answer from 
the Pope, and that it was arranged that the abbot should 
come to Rome at the end of the year. At any rate 
the news of the Pope's imprisonment and death gave 
Gerbert a shock, and took away what hopes he had of help 
from that quarter. " All Italy seems to me to be like Rome; 
and at the ways of the Romans the whole world shudders. 
In what state is Rome now?" he asked at the close of 
984. " Who are the Popes and the temporal rulers ? 
What was the end x of my dear friend (the Pope) ? " 
This, as far as it can be ascertained, must now be told. 

Unfortunately, the high character of John XIV. could Death of 
not save him from the ill-will of a section of the Romans ; 984." 
i.e., the section which regarded the exile, Boniface VII., as 
the true Pope, and which is generally supposed to be the 
4 national party " the party which resented the action of 
the German emperors in taking away from the Romans 
their right of electing the Popes, and in placing their own 
nominees on the chair of Peter. The death of Otho II. 
had left the care of the empire in the hands of a child 
(Otho III.) and a woman (Theophano). And there were 
not wanting those who thought that the time had come 
when they could take what they wanted at the expense of 
the empire. Slavs and Danes broke through its frontiers, 
Henry the Quarrelsome of Bavaria put forth an armed 
claim to the regency, and the Romans began to intrigue 
with Boniface for the overthrow of the Pope appointed by 
Otho II. Final success attended the last-named endeavour 
only. Assisted in all likelihood by the court of Constanti- 
nople, which, from the attacks made on their Italian 

1 At least this is a likely meaning of the expression : " Quos exitus 
habuit ille meus, specialiter inquam, meus." Ep. 40, to Stephen, a 
deacon of the Roman Church. According to Havet, this letter was 
written at the end of November or the beginning of December. 

33^ JOHN XIV. 

possessions by Otho I. and his son, must have been glad 
of an opportunity of lessening the ascendancy of the Othos, 
Boniface returned to Rome. His faction succeeded in 
securing the person of the Pope, whom they shut up in the 
castle of St. Angelo (April 984). There he died on 
August 20, as his epitaph informs us. Men stood aghast at 
these deeds of violence. u All Italy seems to be Rome," 
they cried ; 1 " and at the doings of the Romans the world 
shudders " ! 

As to the details in connection with these events, we 
are very much in the dark ; and, in estimating the truth of 
such as have come down to us, we are again confronted 
with the difficulty that those authorities which are not 
anonymous are at once non-local and attached to the 
imperial party. According to the entry in the catalogue, 
which does duty as the Liber Pontificate, after Boniface 
had seized John, he formally deposed him, and then shut 
him up in the castle. There he lay sick and half starved 
for four months ; and, at the end of that period died, " it is 
said by violence." 2 From other anonymous sources we 
gather that Boniface was enabled to accomplish his designs 
by the free use of money, 3 whether acquired from the 
Church treasure, which late authorities say he carried to 
Constantinople, or from the imperial treasury of the East, 
and that John's death was directly ordered by him. The 

1 Gerberti, ep. 40, c. November 984. 

2 "Ibique infirmitatem et famis inopiam per mi menses acriter 
sustinuit ac mortuus est, et, ut fertur occisus." L. P. Cf. Hist. 
Farfensis, ap. M. G. SS., xi. 573. 

:i Vatican, 1 340, " B, dans pecuniam, interfecit praedictum Petrum." 
Cf Chron. Suevicum (M. G. SS., xiii., p. 69), " Post 8 menses a B, 
reverso comprehensus et necatus est" ; Catal. Eccard. (ap. Watterich, i. 
687) and Zwetlensis, " B . . . . per quatuor menses inedia attritum 
jussit occidi." The catalogue of Eccard was drawn up under Leo IX. ; 
the other at the close of the twelfth century only, as was also the 
Vatican, 1340. 

JOHN xiv. 337 

account thus given to us by more or less contemporary 
but nameless scribes is confirmed by the words of Gerbert, 1 
the friend of the Othos, and by those of the German monk 
Hermann of Reichenau. 2 Hence, though the personal guilt 
of Boniface VII. in the matter of the death of John XIV. 
may have appeared more than doubtful to his modern 
namesake, with such evidence as is now available, it would 
seem that the probabilities are that the son of Ferrutius 
was responsible for the murder of Benedict VI. and 
John XIV. Still, it must be borne in mind that the best 
local source, the continuation of the Liber Pontiftcalis, 
only gives the violent end of John as a report, ut fertur, 
and that probably even the notice in the Liber Pontificalis 
was not written down till some years after the event it 

Because on a coin bearing the names of a Pope John, and Coin (?). 
of " Otto Imperator," the title Ap. (Apostolus) is appended 
to " Scs Petrus," which follows the name of the Pope, it is 
thought by some that that coin was struck by John XIV. 
The reason they allege is the not very convincing state- 
ment that the Ap. was not placed after the name of St. 
Peter till the time of Benedict VII. It is to be feared, 
however, that, as to many other papal questions of the 
tenth century, no answer can be given to the query as 
to who was the coiner of the said denarius. However, 
from the fact that John XIV. and Otho II. were only 
Pope and emperor together for a few days, it is much 

1 Cone. Rem., c. 28, B . . . . insignem virum apostolicum Petrum 
.... data sacramentorum fide, ab arce Urbis dejecit, deponit, squalore 
carceris affectum perimit." Cf. ep. 40. 

2 " B . . . . fame, et, ut perhibent, veneno enecuit ejusque sedem 
CXL papa, invasit." Chron., an. 984. The Ann. Einsidlenses, an. 
983 (4), a more or less contemporary authority (ap. M. G. SS., iii.), 
simply say that after Peter of Pavia "Bonifacius sedem sanctam 
injuste usurpavit." 

VOL. IV. 22 


338 JOHN XIV. 

more likely that the coin in question was struck by 
John XIII. 1 
John's John XIV. was buried in the atrium of St. Peter's, next 

to John IX. His epitaph, the substance of which has been 
already quoted, runs thus : 

" Praesulis eximii requiescunt membra Joannis 
Qui Petrus antea extiterat. Quippe 
Sedem Papie blando moderamine rexit. 
Imperator(i) Ottoni dulcis fuit atque praeclarus, 
Commissum populum Rom(anum) in omnibus instruens, 
Dulcis in eloquio, cunctis praeclarus amicis, 
Subjectis placidus, pauperibus pius. 
Defunctus est Joannes pp. Romanus m. Aug. d. xx." 

1 Besides, Promis found on similar coins not A P but R O, and he 
has no doubt that R O is the correct lettering. P. 94. 

8 Ap. Duch., L. P., ii. 259. The substance of the epitaph was given 
at the beginning of this biography. From the absence of any allusion 
to a violent death, Duchesne draws the conclusion that the epitaph 
was composed during the lifetime of Boniface VII. ; but perhaps the 
conclusion to be drawn should be that he did not die by violence at all. 



A.D. 984-985. 

We have now to deal with Boniface VII. and his claim to Was Boni- 
face Pope? 
a place in the list of Popes. Needless to say, he regarded 

himself as a legitimate successor of St. Peter; and 

there are extant a few documents bearing date "the 

eleventh year of Boniface VII., the thirteenth indiction 

985," 1 etc. Moreover, he was apparently regarded as a true 

Pope by the Romans of the tenth century, as seems clear 

from his finding a place in the Book of the Popes and in 

the Sigeric catalogue. Archbishop Sigeric visited Rome 

only a few years after the death of Boniface, probably in 

July 990, and the list of the Popes which he has left us 

assigns sixty days to him after Benedict VI. ; and, after 

John XIV., it adds that "Boniface returned to Rome and 

sat nine months and three days." 

Speaking generally, while most moderns class him as 

an antipope, most of the ancients seem to have recognised 

him as a true Pope. 2 He is assigned a place among the 

1 Ferrucci, p. 59 f. To those there may be added another, ap. 
Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 398 n. 

2 He is not mentioned, indeed, in the list of the tenth-century Popes 
given in the Ann. Leodienses (ap. M. G. SS., iv., p. 15), drawn up in 
the year 1000 ; but the list is not otherwise accurate, and so has no 
great weight. 



Popes whose mosaics adorn the walls of St. Paul's, without- 
the-walls\ and the famous successor of St. Celestine V. 
called himself Boniface VIII. Hence it is possible 
that, at least after the death of John XIV, Boniface 
became Pope by the general, if tacit, consent of clergy 
and people. But in the dearth of documents which un- 
happily distinguishes this period, nothing can be asserted 
positively on the subject. 
The doings Even if John XIV. did not die a natural death in the 
face. castle of St. Angelo, but was therein done to death by the 

fury of faction, and if Boniface VII. was personally impli- 
cated in his death, it is scarcely just to believe any story 
that is told to the detriment of the son of Ferrucius. Yet, 
on the flimsiest authority, we find Gregorovius writing: 
" The casual mention of the fact that he had caused 
Cardinal John's eyes to be torn out, gives us reason to 
suppose that other atrocities were probably committed in 
the desire for revenge fostered by his long exile." 1 It 
should have been stated that the earliest authority for this 
story about Cardinal John is that very Martinus Polonus 
who died in the last quarter of the thirteenth century (1278), 
and whose " monkish falsehoods and fictions " are denounced 
by Gregorovius himself. 2 

Of what Boniface did whilst in actual possession of the 
chair of Peter we know very little. When we have said 
that he leased the stronghold of Petra Pertusa, which once 
used to guard the tunnel cut by Vespasian through the pass 
of Furlo,on the Flaminian Way, and that he permitted the 
consecration of a church in honour of St. Benedict, 3 it is not 
possible to find much more to say of the acts which he 
accomplished whilst he held the See of Rome. Some time 
during his second occupation of the chair of Peter, he caused 

1 Rome, iv. 397. 2 lb., vii. 633. 

3 Jaffe, Peg., or Ferrucci, p. Co. 


money to be struck bearing, as usual, his own name (S C S PEV 
BONIF PAPAE) and that of the emperor 1 (OTTO IMPE ROM.). 
Though we know so little of Boniface and his times, what 

party did 

there are not wanting conjectures, more or less probable, Boniface 
which may serve to enlighten his reign. But as authors repr& 
who approach the subject from different standpoints are 
not agreed as to the view to be taken of it, these 
conjectures cannot be regarded as altogether satisfactory. 
Ferrucci, who has devoted a work to the special study of 
Boniface, makes him out to be the representative of the 
popular party in Rome, which had the support of the 
clergy, and which was opposed to that of the aristocracy. 
On the other hand, some more recent authors regard 
him as the representative of the " national Roman " 
party, and hold that he was restored by the hand of the 
same nobleman, Crescentius, who had raised him in the 
first instance, who died as a monk in the monastery of 
St. Alexius (July 7, 984), and whose inscription 2 in its 
church tells us of the last resting-place of the " illustrious 
Crescentius, Rome's distinguished citizen and great Dux." 
Among the supporters of this view is the Abbe Duchesne, 
who adds : " The tradition continued ; 3 for thirty years 
power passed in Rome from Otho to Crescentius, from 
Crescentius to Otho. It was not always the same Otho 
nor the same Crescentius, but it was always the same 
conflict between the national chief and the foreign prince." 
But, as has been frequently insisted upon in these pages, it 
may well be maintained that the moving principle in Rome 
during all this period was not any feeling of nationalism, but 
simply the personal ambition of different members of the 
aristocracy. As long as an Alberic or a Crescentius could 

1 Promis, Monete. 

2 Ap. Baron., ad an. 996, xi. ; or L. P., ii. 256. 

3 Letat fiont., p. 195. 


rule according to his own will in the city of Rome, he was 
ready to acknowledge the nominal supremacy of any distant 
ruler, whether German emperor or Byzantine basileus. But 
as soon as either Pope at home or prince abroad showed 
that he was going to be master in Rome, then the ruling 
aristocrat showed himself in his true colours. 
Death of This was experienced by Boniface. He incurred the 
vn. mortal hatred of his own party because he showed he was 

going to be the ruler in Rome. He died suddenly ; one 
of our authorities (Vatic. 1340) says by poison. However 
that may be, his own party (sui) showed their hatred of him 
by maltreating his dead body. They flayed it, pierced it with 
their lances, dragged it naked by the feet to the equestrian 
statue of Marcus Aurelius in the Campus before the Lateran 
palace, and there left it. And there it remained all night. 
In the morning, however, some of the clergy, touched at 
the sight of the body of one who had, at least, borne the 
name of Pope, in such a pitiable condition, buried it. 1 This 
took place in the month of July 985. 

1 L. P. " In tanto eum hodio habuerunt sui ut post mortem ejus 
cederent eum, et lanceis vulnerarent atque per pedes traherent," etc. 
To the same effect, in almost the same words, writes Herman. Aug., 
C/iron., 985. The Annals of Einsiedlcn (ap. M. G. SS. t iii. 143) 
indicate that John XIV. died a natural death, but the usurper Boniface 
a violent one. " Post quern Bonifacius sedem sanctam injuste usurpavit, 
eodemque anno vitam interemptus finivit." 


A.D. 985-996. 
Sources. Seventeen documents in Migne, P. Z., t. 137. 

DURING the pontificate of John XV. there occurred an important 
event of a certain importance in the annals of both Church time of i 
and State, though its interest arises not from anything 
striking in its actual occurrence, nor from any great results 
that followed therefrom, but from its intimate connection 
with events of the utmost importance in the past. The 
event alluded to was the final extinction of the royal Carolin- 
gian line, whether that be reckoned from the death of its 
last sovereign Louis V. (987), or from the imprisonment of 
its last representatives (991) by Hugh Capet. True to 
the papal tradition of devotion to the descendants of 
Charlemagne, John XV. will be found loyal to their cause, 
even though it brought him into collision with such a 
powerful adversary as Gerbert, afterwards the famous Pope 
Sylvester II. Apart from " the last stand" of the Carolin- 
gians into which he was drawn, and of which, in the works 
of Gerbert, we have a certain fulness of detail, time has 
not preserved much more of any interest in the compara- 
tively long reign of John XV. 


344 JOHN xv. 

His dec- John, the cardinal-priest of St. Vitalis l (afterwards the 
titular church of another more famous John, our own illus- 
trious martyr-cardinal, John Fisher, bishop of Rochester), 
was a Roman, the son of a priest of the name of Leo, and 
belonging to the region " Galline Albe." From St. Gregory 
the Great (ep. iii. 17) we learn that that place belonged to 
the fourth ecclesiastical quarter, and from the regionnaries 
of the fourth century that the locality known as Gallinas 
Albas was included in the sixth civil region (Alta Semita), 
which embraced the Quirinal Hill, the Baths of Diocletian, 
etc. John became Pope in August 985. and though there 
is really no authentic data to enable one to form any certain 
conclusions as to the circumstances of his election, there 
are as usual modern authors quite prepared to supply the 
deficiency. Accordingly, John figures as at once the friend 
and foe of the family of Crescentius. 2 Likely enough his 
election may have been due to the clergy, for there is no 
certainty that the younger Crescentius had seized the civil 
power in the city at the very beginning of John's reign ; i.e., 
his election may have been brought about in a legitimate 
manner. But whether he was the nominee of Crescentius or 
the hope of the clergy, he apparently disappointed both, and 

1 Sigeric Catal. 

2 " II est clair que Jean XV. . . . dut sa promotion a la faveur de 
Crescentius." Duchesne, Ldtal pontif., p. 190. Gregorovius comes to 
an opposite conclusion, Rome, iii. 399 ; John " must have been hostile to 
the house of Crescentius .... and must, therefore, have been raised to 
the throne by the German in opposition to the national faction." A 
recently published (1903) new source would lend colour to a fresh con- 
jecture. It is a thirteenth-century catalogue, quoting apparently from 
some much earlier document. As it makes John to have been cardinal- 
priest of St. Susanna, it would not, indeed, appear to be very reliable ; 
though I note that, in Cristofori's list of the possessors of that title, a 
certain John had it in 964. However, the catalogue states : " Patricius 
Urbis facit papam Joannem tituli S. Susanne .... qui multas perse- 
quciones substinuit a Crescentio ejusdem patricii germano." Cron. 
Pont. et. imp. S. Barthol. in insula Romani, ap. M. G. SS., xxxi., 
p. 214. 

JOHN xv. 345 

had to rely on the support of the future emperor, the 
German king, Otho III. 

If, even on such a simple question of fact as the author- Character, 
ship of a book, it is safe to follow such a late authority as 
Martinus Polonus, 1 who is followed by the fourteenth- 
century papal biographers, John XV. was learned even 
in military science, and was the author of many books. 
But if he was learned, he is said to have been stained with 
nepotism, and to have been avaricious ; and, on that account' 
to have been odious to the clergy. He disliked the clergy, 
says the Book of the Popes, 2 and was in turn justly dis- 
liked by them, as he handed over to his relatives all 
he could lay his hands upon. From the fact that we read 
(An. 990) of a nephew of John occupying the position of 
Dux of Aricia, nothing can fairly be concluded, except per- 
haps that the Pope was of a good family. But it is thought 
by some that the imputation on his character made by the 
Book of the Popes is supported by the authority of no less 
a personage than St. Abbo, the learned abbot of Fleury, 
who visited Rome both under John XV. and his successor 
Gregory V. His disciple, the monk Aimoin, the author of 
the Historia Francorum, wrote the Life 2, of St. Abbo, some 
time after the saint's death. Speaking of his journey to 
Rome to get the privileges of his monastery confirmed, his 
biographer says that the holy abbot "did not find the 
pontiff of the Apostolic See, by name John, such as he 
could have wished, or such as indeed the pontiff ought to 
have been ; for he found him eager for filthy lucre and 

1 In vit.Joan., ap. M. G. SS., xxii. As a substantial guarantee of 
these statements, we have the assertion of Hugh Capet in his letter to 
John XV. : " Quippe cum sciamus vos omne tempus in humanis ac 
divinis studiis exegisse." Ap. Acta cone. Rem., ed. Olleris, p. 202. 

2 The Hist. Farfenses only repeats the same words. 

3 Ap. Migne, t. 139. The letters of St. Abbo are in the same volume. 
The Life of St. Abbo, by the abbe Pardiac, is both most discursive and 
written in a highly enthusiastic strain, Hist, de S. Abbon, Paris, 1872. 

346 JOHN XV. 

venal in all his acts." " And," adds the biographer, " after 
execrating the Pope, the abbot offered up his prayers at 
the different shrines, bought various silken ecclesiastical 
ornaments of the very best kind, and then returned home." l 
But that such were not the opinions of Abbo regarding 
John XV. is certain from an extant letter of his to a legate 
sent by the Pope to Hugh Capet, viz. the learned 2 abbot 
Leo of the Roman monastery of S. Boniface. In the 
course of that epistle, the saint told his friend that on the 
occasion of his last visit to Rome, before the election " of 
the scion of the imperial house" (Gregory V.), he found 
the Roman Church " bereaved of a worthy pastor " (" digno 
viduatam pastore "). Aimoin must simply on his own 
account, therefore, have ascribed to John's avarice his 
refusal to comply with the request of his master Abbo ; 
or, more likely, he must have referred to the Pope the 
covetousness which really belonged to Crescentius. For, 
just as Alberic, "Prince of the Romans," had used the 
influence which his power over the Popes gave him to 
gratify his greed of gold, 3 so did Crescentius Numentanus, 
" Patrician of the Romans." This we know from the 
testimony of Gerbert, or from that of the fathers of the 
council of Rheims as reported by Gerbert. At first sight, 
indeed, it would seem as if he confirmed the Book of the 

1 Vit., c. ii. "Quern exsecratus .... ad sua rediit, emptis optima? 
specie! aliquantis holosericis palliis ornatui ecclesiastico congruis." The 
arts then in Rome were not all dead at any rate. 

2 Ep. 15 to Leo, distinguished "facundia: pnerogativa, cum vita? 
merito et sapiential doctrina." 

3 Liutprand, Leg., c. 62. Avarice was in the blood of the house of 
Theophylact. The John Crescentius who in the days of John XVIII. 
and Sergius IV. was the "destroyer of the Apostolic See," like the 
sons of Heli plundered the very offerings laid on the altar. "Traxit 
(Crescentius) in prredam, quod multorum devota manus ad aram 
apostolorum pro peccatis congessit in hostiam." Thietmar, Chron. y 
vii. 51. 

JOHN XV. 347 

Popes in its charges against John XV. For he says, in 
connection with the case of Archbishop Arnulf of Rheims, 
of which something will be said in the sequel, that the 
envoys of the king (Hugh Capet) were favourably received 
by the Pope until those of the opposite side had presented 
him with a splendid snow-white horse and other gifts. 1 But 
from another passage, 2 where this matter is explained more 
at length, it is plain that it was Crescentius who got the 
presents. The bishops say that when their envoys reached 
Rome "the Apostolic See was not permitted to pronounce 
a free judgment, but only such a one as gold could procure 
from Crescentius, that limb of the devil. . . . Our envoys 
and those of the king were well received by the Pope ; but, 
as we believe, because they did not offer presents to 
Crescentius, they were kept away from the (papal) palace 
for three days and then returned home without any answer. 
No doubt it is due to our sins that, owing to the tyrannical 
oppression of the Roman Church, which is the mother and 
head of all the churches, all the members are weakened." 
Finally, as another contemporary author, the Roman 

1 Cone. Rent., c. 27. The passage that follows this has, it appears to 
us, been misunderstood by various authors. It is to the effect that the 
envoys of Bruno of Langres sought, at Rome, to obtain from the Pope 
the condemnation of the captors of their bishop. " Ejus ministri 
summam solidorum decern dari censebant." This has been interpreted 
to mean that the papal officials exacted ten golden solidi from the 
envoys before they would let them have an interview with the Pope 
{Gerbert, par Lausser, p. 227). But the context would seem to show 
that the officials had advised that the solidi should be offered for the 
bishop's release ; for the passage goes on to say that the officials were 
laughed to scorn on the ground that, if he (the bishop) could have been 
ransomed by money, a thousand talents would have been forthcoming 
at once. " At length they received this answer from the Pope, that 
he for whom (their bishop) had been captured, would look well to him." 

2 Oratio Efift. in Cone. Causeio, init., ap. M. G. 55., iii. ; or ed. 
Olleris, p. 252. " Non ap. sedi liberum licebit proferre judicium, sed 
quod auri talentum obtinere poterit apud Crescentium, diaboli mem- 
brum," etc. 

348 JOHN XV. 

monk John Canaparius, in his Life of St. Adalbert of 
Prague, has no hesitation in saying that on the Pope's 
death his soul went to heaven, and that his death itself 
was disastrous both to Otho and to Rome, 1 there can be 
little doubt that the charge of avarice levelled against 
John XV. is unfounded, and should be laid at the door 
of Crescentius. For, of this vice of the Patrician, the 
Burgundian monk too, Raoul Glaber, or Glaber Rudolphus 
as he is generally called, pointedly writes 2 that, quite in the 
style of men of his sort in Rome, his extravagance was 
only matched by his avarice. And so, in the words 3 
of yet another of John's contemporaries, viz. the abbot 
Constantine (f 1024), the author of the Life of Adalberon 1 1 ., 
bishop of Metz, who came to Rome to see the Pope, it 
may no doubt be said with truth that John " most worthily 
filled the place of Blessed Peter." 

If, however, John XV. is the "John who was called the 
Greater" (and it seems to some that he was), he may 
have incurred odium on account of his elevation of his 
nephew Benedict, to whom he gave the county of Sabina 
and other honours, and whom he married to the noble 
lady Theodoranda, the daughter of Crescentius (" a caballo 
marmoreo "). 4 But, as the last named is apparently 

1 C. 21, ap. M. G. SS., iv. ; or Migne, t. 137. 

2 Hist., i., c. 4. Crescentius "qui, ut illorum mos est, quantum 
onerosior pecuniae, tantum pronior serviens avaritiav 

1 G. II, in vit. Adalb., ap. M. G. SS., iv. ; or P. L.> t. 139. 

4 Cf. the narrative of the abbot Hugo, ap. M. G. SS., xi. ; or 
R. I. SS., ii., pt. ii., p. 549 f. Cf. supra, p. 285. The narrative of 
Hugo makes it plain that the persecutor of John XV., known as 
Crescentius Numcntanus, was the same as the Crescentius "of the 
Marble Horse." He tells us that Theodoranda, the wife of Count 
Benedict, was the daughter of Crescentius (" qui vocabatur a Caballo 
Marmoreo") ; that "Count" Crescentius was put to death by Otho and 
Gregory ; that, on the death of Otho, John, the son of Crescentius, " was 
ordained Patrician," and that he began to favour his beloved relatives 
John and Crescentius, the sons of Count Benedict. 

JOHN xv. 349 

the same person as Crescentius Numentanus, then it is 
perhaps more than likely that the marriage between his 
daughter Theodoranda and the Pope's nephew was brought 
about not by the Pope but by the Patrician, who would, of 
course, insist that a suitable appanage should be granted to 
his son-in-law. 

When precisely the Crescentius, who is distinguished ThzPatri- 
by the appellation of Numentanus, 1 assumed "the empty centnis, 
title of Patrician," and began to oppress the Pope, 2 ? h | Ji an( 
is not known. However, a document, dated January 3, press ' 
indiction xiv. (986), purports to have been drawn up in 
the first year of Pope John and of the patriciate {impercmte 
patricid) of Crescentius. 3 

But, like most of the petty Roman tyrants of the tenth 
century, he was great in nothing but greed and ability to 
crush the weak, and utterly incapable of offering any 
resistance to the Germans even when led by a woman. 
To look into the state of things at Rome, the regent 
Theophano (whose brothers Basil II. and Constantine VIII. 
were ruling at Constantinople), styling herself not merely 
empress but emperor, approached that city towards the 
close of the year 989. The Patrician made not the slightest 
show of resistance, and the empress-mother had no difficulty 

1 Bonizo of Sutri {Lib. decret., t. vi., ap. Mai, Nova Pat. Bib., Hi., p. 45) 
speaks of "Crescentius Nomentana, qui patricius dicebatur"; and in 
his Liber ad a?nicum, 1. iv., ap. Watterich, Vit. Papp., i. 729, " C. 
quidam, urbis Romas capitaneus, qui sibi inane nomen patriciatus 
vendicaverat, assumens tyrannidem," etc. The appellation of Numen- 
tanus was doubtless assigned by Bonizo to John Crescentius "of the 
Marble Horse," from estates possessed by his family, at least after his 
time, at Nomentum (Mentana). 

2 " C. . . . priorem papam (J. XV.) injuriis scepe laceravit," so 
say the contemporary annals of Hildesheim, an. 996. Cf. the letter 
of the abbot Leo (ap. Olleris, p. 243) to the kings of France, Hugh and 
Robert. John XV. " in tanta tribulatione et oppressione a Crescentio 
tunc positus fuit." 

3 Ap. Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 400 n. 

350 JOHN XV. 

in securing the allegiance of Rome itself and its Duchy. 1 
What else occupied the attention of the empress in Rome 
except that she bestowed privileges on monasteries, and 
met St. Adalbert of Prague, is not known. She did not, 
unfortunately, attempt anything against the Saracens who 
were still engaged in successfully combating her country- 
men in south Italy. 
Death of Whatever immediate limiting effect was produced upon 
996. " the power and influence of Crescentius by the coming of 
Theophano, his wings were not completely clipped. The 
death of the empress (June 991), and the youth of Otho III., 
emboldened him. Once again all the material power of 
the city was in his hands, and once again justice was put 
up to auction. 2 The situation was unbearable. John fled 
from the city and betook himself to Hugo, marquis of 
Tuscany, apparently in 995.3 With the approval of a 
large party of the Romans and of the Italians generally, 
the Pope sent envoys to Otho to implore him to come 
and rid the Church and city of the corrupt tyrant. 4 The 
youthful Otho, who in his ideals (if somewhat Utopian, at 
least lofty) resembled the present German emperor, listened 
favourably to the story of the deputation. He began at 
once to make his preparations for an expedition to Rome, 
" to put a term to the tyranny of Crescentius." 5 This was 

1 "Theophanu .... Romam perrexit, . . . . et omnem regionem 
regi subdidit." A?in. I Hides., 989. 

2 " Sileant ammodo leges .... si neminem in judiciis attingere fas 
est, nisi quern Crescentius tyrannus mercede conductus voluerit ab- 
solvere vel punire." So speak the bishops "in concilio Causeio." 
CEuvres de Gerbert, ed. OIL, p. 255. 

3 It is not really certain whether this flight of John preceded the 
coming of Theophano (989), or that of her son (996). 

4 "Legatiap. sedis cum unanimitate Romanorum atque Langobar- 
dorum regem Romam invitant." Ann. Hildesh., 995. 

6 " Oddo rex ad mitigandam ssevitiam Crescentii Romam invitatur. : ' 
Ann. Altahenses MaJ., 996. 

JOHN XV. 351 

quite enough for the valiant Patrician. John was implored 
to return ; and at his feet the senate, i.e., the nobles and 
their leader, besought his pardon. Nevertheless the hand 
of Otho was not stayed. He entered Italy in the spring 
of 996 ; but before he reached Rome, John XV. was no 
more. Worn out both by " the many good works which 
he had done, and by the great persecutions which he had 
endured in defence of the Roman Church," he died not 
long before Easter Sunday, 996. 1 

There are authors who regard this turning to the 
German as the subjection of Italy to a foreign servitude. 
To do so is to transfer to the tenth century the ideas of 
a much later age. Ideas of nationality, such as they exist 
nowadays in Europe, had, it must be repeated, no ex- 
istence in the tenth century ; they came into being with 
the development of the separate languages of the West. 
The greatest and best men of the earlier Middle Ages ever 
regarded the "One Church, One State" idea as the only 
one worth striving to realise. Apart from them, where 
among the nobles there was ambition, it was for their own 
personal aggrandisement, and where among the people there 
was loyalty, it was to men, not to localities. To work or 
to die for a country, i.e., for some section of what had been 
the empire whether of Rome or of Charlemagne, was an 
idea not entertained by men of the tenth century ; and 
that for the simple reason that then no well-defined large 
sections or countries had been carved out of it. 

What little knowledge we have of the political side of The See of 
the pontificate of John XV. has been given right up to his 
death, in order to leave the way clearer for the more purely 
ecclesiastical events of his reign. Of these, the most 

1 Although some of these details rest directly only on Amalricus and 
other late authorities e.g. the fifteenth-century edition of the L. P. 
they are regarded as well founded. 

352 JOHN XV. 

important was his encounter with the famous Gerbert in 
connection with the See of Rheims. It has been already 
stated that, on the death of Louis V., the Carolingian 
line of sovereigns came to an end, 1 and that Hugh Capet 
succeeded to the name of king (June 987). But descendants 
of Charlemagne, of one kind or another, legitimate or other- 
wise, were not yet wanting. One of these latter was Arnulf, 
the natural son of Lothaire, the predecessor of Louis V. 
With a view to attaching him to his interests, Hugh, 
against the advice of many of his friends, caused him to be 
elected to the vacant See of Rheims (December 988). 
This was certainly a very risky step to take ; the more so 
that at this period the occupant of the See of Rheims was 
not only the first ecclesiastic in Western France, 2 but 
had there a preponderating political influence. However, 
Arnulf was duly installed after taking an oath of allegiance 
to the new dynasty, and received the pallium from the 
Pope. 3 Another member of the Carolingian line was 
Charles of Lorraine, the youngest son of Louis IV., 
d'Outremer, and consequently uncle of Arnulf. To make 
good his claim to the title of king, he took up arms. 
Before long the important city of Rheims was in his 
hands. 4 Not unnaturally, Hugh conceived the idea that 
it had been betrayed to his rival by its archbishop, 

1 "Obiit Hludovicus rex juvenis ; qui nihil fecit. . . . Hie deficit 
regnum Caroli Magni." Odorannus, Chron. an. 987, ap. P. Z,., t. 142. 

2 (Remensis ecclesia) "quae caput regni Francorum est:" Ep. 
Gerbert, 154. Cf. ep. 181. 

3 Richer, iv. 31. Cf. ep. Gerberti 160, in which, in Arnulf's name, 
Gerbert asks a friend "ut pallium a domno papa per vos consequamur. ' 
According to some recent writers Arnulf was elected in May 989, and 
the capture of Rheims by Charles effected in November 989. Lot, 
Lcs derniers Carolingiens, p. 411. Sevinus or Siguinus of Sens had 
also received the pallium from " Pope John " (XV. ?). " Et primatum 
Gallise suscepit," Odorannus, Chron., an. 999. 

4 About August 989. Cf. epp. Gerbert, 162, 3. 

john xv. 353 

especially as Arnulf had confessedly already favoured 
Charles. Accordingly the king dispatched (c. July, 990) 
a strong letter to the Pope to ask his aid in deposing 
Arnulf, " so that the royal power may not be brought to 
naught." " Arnulf," he writes, " who is said to be the son 
of King Lothaire, after perpetrating the greatest wrongs 
against me and my kingdom, was nevertheless treated by 
me as though he had been my son. He was presented 
with the See of Rheims, and then 'took an oath of fidelity 
to me, which cancelled all other engagements. . . . He 
made the soldiers and burghers of his city swear that they 
would remain faithful to me, if he himself should chance 
to fall into the hands of the enemy. And now, in face of 
all this, he has himself opened the gates of his city to 
the enemy, as I am most credibly informed. . . . He pre- 
tends that he is at the mercy of the enemy. . . . But if he 
is a prisoner, why does he refuse to be delivered ? . . . . 
If he is free, why does he not come to me? .... He has 
been summoned by the archbishops and the bishops of his 
province, but he replies he owes them no service. Hence 
do you, who hold the place of the apostles, decree what 
must be done against this second Judas, that the name of 
God may not be blasphemed by me, and that, inflamed 
by a just resentment and your silence, I may not devise 
ruin against the city and province. You will have no 
excuse to offer to God, your judge, if you are not ready 
to comply with our request." x There is no mistaking the 
tone of this letter. Threats are pronounced against the 
Pope, unless he does what is just ? No ! unless he does 
the king's will. Writing to the same effect as their king, 
the bishops of his party, though they say they regard the 
Pope as "another Peter, and the defender and upholder 
of the Christian faith," finish their letter by giving him to 

1 Ap. Gerb., Acta Rem., ed. OIL, p. 202. 
VOL. IV. 23 

354 JOHN XV. 

understand that his condemnation of Arnulf will be the 
gauge of their loyalty. 1 
The coun- With the traditional goodwill of the Popes for the 
Basle. ' Carolingian line, and after the reception of letters written 
in such a hectoring tone, there is no need to suppose that 
presents made to him by the opposite side were the cause 
of the king's envoys meeting with a cold reception from 
the Pope. Indeed, the abbot Leo, whom John sent as his 
legate into France, expressly declared that the accusation 
of taking bribes which had been levelled against the Pope 
was a mere calumny. 2 The king's envoys displayed the 
same insulting kind of deference to the Pope as the letters 
they bore. They only condescended to wait three days 
in Rome for a favourable answer to their petition. 3 They 
were back again in France in September 990. 

The fortune of war, however, came to the help of Hugh 
Capet. In April 991 Rheims and its archbishop fell into 
his hands, and on June 17 he brought Arnulf to trial in 
the basilica of St. Basle at Verzy, near Rheims. There 
were present at the council bishops (no more than thirteen 
in all) from the provinces of Rheims, Bourges, Lyons, and 
Sens. Siguinus of Sens, John's vicar in Gaul, was the 
president of the assembly ; and Arnulf, the bishop of 
Orleans, because most learned and eloquent, 4 was, as it 

1 lb. " Suffragetur nobis vestra auctoritas, in hujus apostatas dejec- 
tione . . . . ut sciamus et intelligamus cur inter ceteros apostolatum 
vestrum praeferre debeamus." 

2 Ep. Leonis ad Hug. et Rob. reges., ib., p. 238, " Calumniatis 
Romanum pontificem, qui munera sibi oblata recepit." 

3 The opponents of Arnulf contended that, bribed by the opposite 
party, the Pope paid no attention to their letters. But the abbot Leo 
(ep. ad Hug., p. 243) pointed out that the tyranny of Crescentius pre- 
vented the Pope from acting as soon as he would have liked, but that 
he sent him as soon as he could. He (Leo), however, had not got 
beyond Aix before he heard that Arnulf had been already deposed. 

4 Cone. Rem., c. 1. Lot, ittudes sur le rcgne de Hugues Capet, c. 2, 
is very full on this synod. 

john xv. 355 

were, the prosecutor for the crown. Among those present 
at the council was Gerbert, who had left the Carolingian 
party scarcely a twelvemonth before. It is from his pen 
only that our knowledge of the council of St. Basle comes. 1 
It is rather unfortunate that he did not draw up a 
verbatim report, for such a highly strung character as 
Gerbert could, under the circumstances, scarcely avoid 
producing a strongly coloured narration of what took 
place. The account given of this council in Labbe 
(ix. 736), from a continuation of the Historia of the monk 
Aimoin, is not worth much, as the said continuation is 
but a comparatively late compilation, containing, as it 
does, quotations from twelfth-century authors. However, 
from whatever source the continuation drew its material, it 
may be noted in passing that it is as favourable to Arnulf 
as Gerbert's account is unfavourable, and that it ascribes 
the action of the bishops in this council to fear of the king, 
and states that its decisions were opposed by Siguinus. 

What told most against the archbishop in his examina- Arnulf 
tion before the council was the declaration of the priest council. 
Adalger. He affirmed that in opening the gates of the 
city to Charles he had but obeyed the express orders of 
his bishop, and, to prove the truth of his words, appealed 
to the judgment of God, and offered to submit to the 
ordeal of fire, boiling water, or red-hot iron. 2 To the 
surprise of many " who thought that Arnulf would be 
condemned simply by the prejudiced decision of the 
bishops," 3 the president of the council invited any one 

1 What Richer says of this council is taken from Gerbert's narrative, 
and is generally in his language. Gerbert wrote down his account of 
the council in 995. 

2 Olleris, p. 182. 

3 lb., Cone. Rem., c. 19. Another also of Arnulf 's opponents offered, 
through his serf ivermaclum), to walk over hot ploughshares ; ib., c. 30. 
Cf. Cone. Rem., c. 28, 9. 

356 JOHN XV. 

who thought fit to undertake the defence of the accused. 
The invitation was at once accepted by John, the scholastic 
of Auxerre, Romulf, abbot of Sens, and Abbo, abbot of 
Fleury, who are said by Gerbert himself to have been 
learned and eloquent men. They did not touch the 
question of the treason of Arnulf, but denied the com- 
petency of the synod to judge him. They cogently 
urged that the condemnation of a bishop was one of 
those more important cases (causes major es) which had 
to be reserved to the Pope. 1 They quoted largely from 
the False Decretals to establish their contention. 

But that the judgment of Arnulf should be left to the 
impartial tribunal of Rome was precisely what the king 
did not want. And consequently the abbots' contention 
drew from Arnulf 2 of Orleans, naturally a man of over- 
bearing temper, his famous invective against the See of 
Rome. It was such a speech as might have been looked 
for from such a quarter on such an occasion, but it was 
not the first time (nor will it be the last) that the legitimate 
authority of the See of Rome had been similarly assailed. 
The exercise of its lawful power called forth the Pompifex 
Maximus of Tertullian, and the vulgar abuse of Dr. Martin 
Luther. And no doubt to the end of time, seeing that we 
have had instances of it in every age up to this, our own 
days not excepted, the decisions of the Roman pontiffs, 

1 Gerbert himself (ep. 217) points out that that was one of the lines 
of defence taken up by Arnulf s friends. "Alii Romano pontifici 
injuriam factam videri volunt, quasi sine ejus auctoritate, et sine suis 
viribus resumptis deponi non debuent." Cf. Cone. Rem., 23. 

2 Arnulf and Gerbert became close friends. The bishop of Orleans 
was the latter's adviser in all his difficulties, and was his acknowledged 
patron. "Qua: michi vitanda essent, quaeve sequenda, docuistis, 
monuistis .... vestraeque clientele et dispositioni me meaque 
omnia committo." Ep. 210. Cf. ep. 190 to Arnulf, "mei animi 
custos." Cf. Pardiac's S. Abbott, pp. 301, 319, to get an insight into 
the temper of Arnulf. 

JOHN XV. 357 

when adverse to the pride or sensuality of men, will be met 
with rhetorical outbreaks similar to that of Arnulf of Orleans 
in the tenth century. His harangue enunciated principles 
subversive of every central authority ; principles which, 
strongly advocated by later Frenchmen at the time of the 
Great Schism in the West, would have subjected the head 
to the members ; principles which, in still later ages, taking 
the delusive name of the " Liberties of the Gallican 
Church," made the Church in France the degraded slave 
of an impure monarchy. Unfortunately, however, we have 
no means of knowing how much of Arnulf's philippic was 
spoken boldly out before the assembly or how much of 
it was simply grumbled into the ears of those who were 
sitting beside him. For, in introducing the bishop's oration, 
Gerbert has had the candour to write : " On this subject 
our father Arnulf spoke at large before the assembled 
fathers {publice) ; but much also that he said on the matter 
was only to those who were sitting beside him. Hence, 
fearing that to set down his thoughts in the disjointed way 
in which they were spoken would cause them to lose in 
effectiveness, I have preferred to bring them together, in 
order that the connected discourse may be more advan- 
tageous to the careful reader." x But the careful reader 
would be glad to know to how much of his diatribe 
Arnulf gave the added authority which comes from public 
utterance. " We indeed, most reverend fathers," he began, 

1 " Multa super his pater A. publice locutus est, multa cum sibi 
tantum assidentibus contulit ; quae ne forte minus suavitatis (is this 
sarcastic ?) habeant ita sparsim posita ut sunt ab eo prolata, ea in unum 
colligere maluimus, ut continuata oratio plus utilitatis studioso lectori 
conferat." Cone. Rem., c. 28. Cf. the prologue of the synod, wherein 
Gerbert states the principles he intends to follow in his account of the 
council. He proposes sometimes to give the actual words of the 
speakers, at others to set forth in suitable language their weighty and 
eloquent opinions, and lastly, by developing some of their expressions, 
to make their meaning more clear. 

358 JOHN XV. 

* decide that, on account of the memory of Blessed Peter, 
the Roman Church must ever be held in honour; saving the 
authority of the council of Nice, which the Roman Church 
itself has always held in veneration. The decrees of the 
sacred councils too, made indeed at different places and 
times, but by the One Spirit, we decree must ever remain 
intact and be observed by all. Now there are two things 
which we must watch especially ; viz. lest the silence of 
the Roman Pontiff, or some new decree of his, should 
destroy the authority of existing canons. For if his silence 
with regard to them takes away their force, then, when he 
is silent on them, all the laws are without effect. Or if a 
new constitution is to have that result, what is the good of 
the laws already passed, if all are to be dependent on the 
will of one man ? . . . . Would we then detract from the 
prerogatives of the Roman Pontiff? Certainly not; for if, 
on the one hand, the Bishop of Rome be commendable for 
his learning and virtue, we need fear neither his silence 
nor his new decrees. And if, on the other hand, he be 
notorious for ignorance, timidity, or avarice, or if, as under 
the existing 1 tyranny at Rome, his freedom is interfered 
with, then still less is his silence or fresh constitution to 
be feared. For he who is in any way in opposition to the 
laws cannot destroy their effect. But, oh, unhappy Rome, 
who to our fathers gave glorious lights, but to us has 
belched forth horrible darksome portents which will be 
infamous to the ages to come ! Of old we received (from 
Rome) the illustrious Leos, the great Gregorys. . . . But 
what do we see (there) to-day ? " Then follow the denuncia- 
tions of John XII. and Boniface Franco which we have 
already cited under their biographies. "To such wicked 
monsters, ignorant of all learning human and divine, are 
countless good and learned priests to be subject? That 
1 " Romre tyrannide prrcvalente." Ih 

JOHN XV. 359 

the head of the churches of God is so debased is due to 
our impiety, who seek the things which are our own, not 
those which are of Jesus Christ. ... It would be better for 
us to seek for a decision from the bishops of Belgium or 
Germany than from that city where justice is measured by 
gold. ... In Rome at present, as it is reported iut fama 
est), there is scarce one with learning enough to be ordained 
doorkeeper (ostiarius). ... In comparison with the Roman 
Pontiff, ignorance in other bishops is to some extent toler- 
able ; but in him who has to judge of the faith, life, and 
morals of bishops, and of the whole Catholic Church, it is 
quite intolerable." l However, he contends, the case was 
referred to the Pope, who did not choose to take it up. 
Hence, if he will not speak, then existing laws must. " But 
unhappy indeed are the times, in which we have to suffer 
the loss of the guidance of so great a Church ! To what 
city shall we be able to have recourse in the future, now 
that we see the mistress of all nations destitute of all 
resources whether human or divine? .... For this city 
(Rome), after the fall of the Empire, lost the Church of 
Alexandria ; it has lost Antioch ; and, to say nothing of 
Africa and Asia, now Europe itself is departing from it. 
Constantinople has withdrawn itself from its jurisdiction, 
and the interior parts of Spain know not its decisions." 2 

1 " In Romano (pontifice) autem, cui de fide, vita, moribus, disciplina 
sacerdotum deque universali catholica ecclesia judicandum est, intoler- 
abilis videri potest." lb. Here, at least in words, we have the position 
of the Pope in the Church fully acknowledged. 

2 Naturally enough, considering the domination of the Moors. But 
how exaggerated many of these statements were was shown by the 
Pope's legate, the abbot Leo, in his fine letter to the kings Hugh and 
Robert. And to anyone who has taken the trouble to read the bio- 
graphies of the Popes in this volume, the shallowness of Arnulfs 
declamation will be sufficiently apparent. The acknowledged learning 
of the abbot Leo and of the Pope himself is enough to refute the 
denunciations of ignorance levelled by Arnulf against the Church 
of Rome. 

360 JOHN XV. 

Amuifis Considering his guilt and utter helplessness, it is not to 


be wondered at that Arnulf publicly confessed his treason 
and abdicated. In deciding to condemn the archbishop 
and to deprive him of his ring, crozier, and pallium, the 
fathers of the council, evidently in doubt as to the legality 
of what they were about to do, were at pains to declare 
more than once 1 that their action was in no way derogatory 
to the Pope, as Arnulf had not appealed to him, and the 
Pope himself had not responded to their advances. In 
virtue of their sentence, Arnulf had to surrender into their 
hands the insignia of his office and to read aloud a deed 
of renunciation of his see. In his stead was elected the 
author of the acts we have been quoting, viz. Gerbert, 
who thus, says a modern author, obtained " what he had 
been aiming at for several years." 2 And it must not be 
forgotten that he it is on whom we have to draw for our 
information concerning his predecessor's trial. It is only 
fair, however, to add that Gerbert himself, in writing 3 to 
the Pope, indignantly denies having had any designs on 
the See of Rheims : " I did not proclaim the crimes of 
Arnulf. I simply abandoned the side of a public sinner. 
God and those who know me are my witnesses that I left 
him, not, as my detractors say, in the hope of obtaining his 
see, but that I might not become a partner in the sins of 

1 " Jam episcopi invidia Romani privilegii carere videbantur, cum 
Arnulfus nee ad alios judices, nee ad sedem apostolicam provocasset 
.... quod bene quidem licuerat si se justam habere causam putasset" 
(c. 40). " Hrcc (annulum, etc.) ergo eum reddere debere, neque vero in 
hoc facto primati Romano pnejudicium inferri, quod neque ad eum 
ab Arnulfo provocatum sit, .... quodque ab episcopis et principe 
Romanus episcopus conventus respondere noluit." Cone. Rem., c. 45. 

- Havet, Lettrcs de Gerbert, p. xxv. The decree of his election, ib., 
ep. 179. 

3 Ep. 197, c. 995. Cf. ep. 217 and his speech at the council of 
Mouzon, where he declared that he resisted his appointment for some 
considerable time. 

JOHN XV. 361 

If there is one thing of which the acts of the council of The effort 
Rheims plainly give evidence, it is that the fathers of the council of 
synod fully expected that the Pope would attempt to forestall l 
revise their decision. And so we find them endeavouring sentenced 
to forestall his action. By the canons of the False Decretals, the Pope * 
indeed, which were at this period universally acknowledged 
as authoritative, a bishop could not be condemned without 
reference to the See of Rome. But, in any case, acknow- 
ledging as they did that the primacy of the Bishop of 
Rome was a primacy of jurisdiction, they could not have 
logically called in question his right to reserve to himself 
such an important matter as the condemnation of a 
metropolitan. They elected, however, to take their stand 
on ancient decrees ; x and, acting more against the spirit 
than against the words of the old Canon Law, they 
maintained that it was with the bishops of the province 
concerned that the final decision on questions of discipline 
rested. Hence, while careful constantly to profess that 
they respected the rights of the Holy See, and while ac- 
knowledging that an appeal could be made to it by Arnulf, 
they declared that such appeal would be of no value when 
once they had passed sentence on the accused ; and they 
endeavoured, by throwing discredit on the private lives of 
some of the Popes of the period, to have it acknowledged 
that the possession of authority was dependent on the 
virtue of its would-be holder. 

But bishops in a more independent position than those 
under the sway of Hugh Capet were not likely to allow 
such revolutionary principles to pass unchallenged. 

Gerbert was not to be permitted to enjoy his new dignity The synod 

of Chelles 

in peace. Arnulf appealed to Rome, and the bishops 992 

1 Can. 15 of the council of Antioch of 341 (August) ; cf. can. 9 of the 
council of Macon, October 585 ; and can. 7 of the third council of 
Carthage, August 397. 

362 JOHN XV. 

of Germany made haste to beg the Pope to annul the 
irregular proceedings of the council of Rheims. 1 John at 
once began to take to task the prelates who had had a share 
in it. 2 To consider their position they met in synod at 
Chelles, under the direction of Gerbert and the presidency 
of King Robert (May 992 ?). The decision they arrived 
at was to stand to what had been settled at Rheims, and 
to regard as null and void anything the Pope might do 
"against the decrees of the fathers," as they phrased it. 3 
They accordingly took no heed of the invitation of the 
Pope to betake themselves either to Aix-la-Chapelle or to 
Rome to have the matter in dispute settled by a full 
council. 4 The affair dragged on. In reply to a request 
from King Hugh that he would come to France to look 
into the whole question himself, 5 John again sent the 
monk Leo, abbot of St. Boniface, in his stead. He had 
been sent before in response to the first embassy of Hugh 
Capet, but had got no further than Aix when he heard 
that Arnulf had been already deposed. 6 The abbot, who 
proved himself to be as prudent as he was learned, was 
well received by the German bishops, and straightway 
opened negotiations with the French kings for the holding 
of a council. The choice of the place of meeting was to 
be left with them. They named Mouzon, in the depart- 

1 Richer, iv. 89, 95. 

2 By mistake, Richer puts Pope Benedict for Pope John XV. 

3 Richer, ib. The exact date of this council is not known. It was 
certainly not later than 995. 

4 Acta Cone. Mosom., ap. Olleris, p. 245 ; cf. also the letter of the 
abbot Leo, ib., p. 243. 

6 Ep. ap. Labbe, ix. 743 ; ep. Gerberti, 188. Hugh declared that'.he 
was not aware that he had in any way acted against the Apostolic See, 
and that he was not in the least unwilling to abide by the Pope's 
decision " Hoc ex integro arTectu dicimus, ut intelligatis et cognoscatis 
nos et nostros vestra nolle declinare judicia." 

6 "Atubi Aquis venimus, jam eum depositum invenimus, et neque 
aliquod responsum a vobis habere potuimus." Ep. Leonis, ap. Oil., 243. 

JOHN XV. 363 

ment of Ardennes, on the Roman road from Rheims to 
Trier, and, though just in the territories of Otho, still 
in the diocese of Rheims. 

The firm attitude of the Pope showed Gerbert that his Gerbert in- 
position was anything but safe. He must, therefore, ance to 
inspire his friends with the same spirit of obstinate resist- 
ance that animated his own heart ; they must be made 
to believe that their rights were being attacked in him, 
and that the voice of God was manifest in the decision 
they had come to at Rheims. 1 Constantine, abbot of 
St. Mesmin (Loiret), is reminded 2 of the proverb that one's 
own house is in danger when one's neighbour's wall is on 
fire; and on Notger of Liege he urges 3 that God knows 
His own (2 Tim. ii. 19), and that if He is with us, who is 
against us ? Coming strangely from one who had brought 
up all the engines of Canon Law to justify his conduct, 
he tells 4 the monks of his old monastery of Aurillac 
that his enemies have brought the law to bear upon him, 
that he regards an armed encounter as more endurable 
than a legal contest, and asks their prayers. In the 
longest of all his letters 5 he endeavours to prove to 
Wilderod of Strasburg that Arnulf had been legally and 
irrevocably condemned; and, like all others before and 
since his time who have not submitted to Rome when 
brought up for judgment and condemned, he complains 
that now " Rome, which up to this has been considered 
as the mother of all churches," curses the good and 
blesses the wicked. And to the Pope himself, again 
imitating the excuses of those who do wrong by not doing 
as they are ordered by proper authority, he puts forward 6 

1 Owing to the fact that the letters of Gerbert are undated, and to a 
want of other dated sources, the exact order of the events of this period 
cannot be ascertained with certainty. 

2 Ep. 191. 3 Ep. 193. 4 Ep. 194. 
5 Ep. 217. 6 Ep. 199. 

364 JOHN XV. 

that he has hitherto so conducted himself in the Church 
as to be useful to many and injurious to no one. 

At some date unknown to us in the course of this affair, 
John had separated from his communion the bishops who 
had condemned Arnulf. Gerbert would have his partisans 
disregard the excommunication. What they had decreed 
was in harmony with the will of God, and therefore not to 
be set aside by anybody. Seguin of Sens l must not listen 
to the mouth which has been opened at Rome to justify 
what had been condemned at Rheims, and to condemn 
what had there been called right. "If Pope Marcellus 
offered incense to Jove, 2 must all the bishops do likewise?" 
The common law of the Catholic Church, he continued, 
must be the Gospel, the writings of the Apostles and the 
Prophets, the canons, inspired by God and consecrated by 
the veneration of the entire world, and the decrees of the 
Apostolic See, which are not contrary thereto? In conclu- 
sion, Seguin is urged to go on celebrating the Divine 
Mysteries as usual. 
The synod But all this plunging was of no avail. The meshes were 
995. ' being tightly drawn round the recalcitrant prelate. The 
synod of Mouzon was held June 2, 995. The acts 4 of the 
council open thus: "In accordance with the mandate of 
Pope John, a synod was held in the diocese of the metro- 
politan See of Rheims. . . . When silence had been pro- 
claimed, Aymo (Haimo), bishop of Verdun, arose and in 
French (gallice) told how the Lord Pope John had invited the 
bishops of the Gauls (Galliarum) to meet in synod at the 
palace of Aix-la-Chapelle, and how they had been un- 
willing to go thither. He had then invited them to the 

1 Ep. 192. 2 A myth. 

Principles of course very convenient for destroying the power of 
any central authority. 
4 Ap. Oil., p. 245. 

JOHN XV. 365 

city (Rome), and they had not come. Now, in his 
anxiety to meet their wishes {pro sua sollicitudine), he 
had ordered the council to be held in the province of 
Rheims, and wished to learn from his vicar the case 
between Arnulf and Gerbert. Then he produced the 
papal bull with its leaden seal. This he broke before 
them all, and read the Pope's letter of authorisation. It 
began : ' John, bishop and servant of the servants of God 
to all the archbishops of the Gauls, health and apostolic 

Owing, it was said, to the discovery of intended treachery 
against the French kings on the part of the Germans, 
the Frankish bishops as a body absented themselves from 
the assembly. 1 Gerbert, however, presented himself before 
the papal legate and the four German prelates, who, with 
various abbots and laymen, formed the council which was 
to hear his case. He endeavoured, in a speech of no little 
merit, to prove that he had not betrayed his lord (Arnulf), 
committed him to prison, nor usurped his see. And he 
assured his judges that if there had been anything irregular 
about his election, it was not due to any malice on his 
part, but to the needs of the time. But he failed to make 
any impression on them. No definite sentence was, how- 
ever, passed; but it was decided to hold another council 
at Rheims itself on the first of July in the presence of 
Arnulf as well as of Gerbert. Meanwhile the abbot Leo 
declared Gerbert suspended. At once the fiery prelate 
denied the right of anybody so to treat him, innocent 
as he was. " But, admonished in a fraternal manner 
by the modest and upright lord archbishop, Liodulf of 
Trier, not to give an occasion of scandal to his enemies, 
as though he wished to oppose the orders of the Pope, 
in the name of obedience he consented to refrain from 

1 In consequence of the prohibition of Hugh Capet. Richer, iv. 96. 

366 JOHN XV. 

saying Mass till the time fixed (July i) for the next 
synod." l 
The letter In the interval between the two synods, Gerbert's narra- 
abbotiLeo tive of the council of Rheims was put into the hands of 
kings 6 ' the legate, a narrative, as the abbot justly said, "full of 
Robert"" 1 insults and blasphemies against the Roman Church." He 
at once wrote to the two kings, Hugh and Robert, that he 
was so thunderstruck at the contents of that document 
that he would have at once returned with it to Rome had 
not they declared that they wished to have the affair 
settled in accordance with the canons. He pointed out 
to them that they were acting the part of antichrist ; 
for he was antichrist who was in opposition to Christ. 
And whereas Christ had proclaimed the Church of 
Peter the foundation of all the churches, they had dared 
to speak of it as a marble statue and temple of idols. 2 
Then, hitting at the profane science of Gerbert (knowledge 
certainly useless for the end of man if not connected with 
the science of the soul), he said : Because the vicars of 
Peter and his disciples did not choose to take as their 
masters Plato, Virgil, nor Terence, nor yet the herd of 
philosophers who have written of the earth and sky, you 
say they are not fit to be doorkeepers (ostiarii). He re- 
minded the kings that Peter was ignorant of the works of 
those authors, but was made the doorkeeper of the 
kingdom of heaven. He upbraided them for calumniating 
the Pope in the matter of taking presents, and for speaking 
against certain Popes who had passed out of this life. 
Asserting that it was characteristic of the Roman Church 
to aid the weak and condemn the wicked, 3 he showed, by 

1 The acts of the C. of Mouzon, ap. Oil., p. 250. 

2 Acta Cone. Rem., c. 28. 

3 "Semper hoc proprium habuit Romana ecclesia, ut justos justificet, 
et impios condemnet, hostes expellat, filios recreet." Ep. ap. Oil., 
p. 242. 

JOHN XV. 367 

citing appeals 1 made to it, that " the Roman Church is still 
honoured and venerated by all the churches, and is by you 
alone insulted and outraged." It was owing to the oppres- 
sion of Crescentius that he (Leo) had not been sent off at 
once to examine into the affair of Arnulf. The courage- 
ous legate finished his letter by denouncing the synod of 
Rheims ; " Who could hear with equanimity of an arch- 
bishop, first deceived, then confined in a dungeon for a 
long time and afterwards led, half naked and bound, by a 
band of uproarious soldiers before a synod, and there 
condemned on the evidence of one witness?" As for 
Arnulf's confession, it was wrung from him ; for he had 
been given to understand that his life depended on his 
conforming to the will of the synod. 

Unfortunately, we are much in the dark as to what a second 
happened after the council of Mouzon. However, as it Rheims, 
was there decided to hold a council at Rheims, we may 99S ' 
suppose that that decision was carried into effect. More- 
over, there is, at least, the authority of the continuator 
of Aimoin 2 that the synod was there held, and that of 
Abbo also, who, in writing 3 to the legate Leo and speaking 
of the flood of eloquence which fell from his lips at 
Rheims, would seem to allude to it. Further, it is gener- 
ally supposed that it was at this council that was pro- 
nounced the apology for the acts of the synod at St. Basle 
which is known as " Oratio episcoporum habita in Concilio 
Causeio in prsesentia Leonis " ; * and that too even though 
there is no certainty as to the meaning of "Causeio." 

1 They have all been noticed in these pages. 

2 C. 46, as quoted by Hugh of Fleury, Reg. Franc. Act., ap. Migne, 
t. 163. 

3 Ep. 15, ap. ib., t. 139. Cf. Lot, Etudes sur le regne de Hugues 
Capet, p. 99 f. Paris, 1903. 

4 Ap. Oil., p. 251. The defence is conjectured to be the work of 

368 JOHN XV. 

From this last document it appears that the defence was 
pronounced before an assembly of the bishops "of all 
Gaul " ; and that in the person of the abbot Leo " the 
Apostolic See presided over the assembly." The apologist 
brought forward authorities to prove that it had been 
already decided by the Apostolic See itself that traitors 
had to be removed from their sees. Hence he spared 
no pains to establish the treason of Arnulf. 
Gerben But it was all to no purpose apparently. The sentence 

demned, f tne council seems to have been to some extent adverse 
" 5 - to Gerbert. We find him at least asserting 1 that the 

legate Leo had been able to get his way against him by 
approving of the marriage of King Robert with Bertha, his 
second cousin, and, moreover, joined to him by the bonds 
of spiritual relationship. However, while it is certain that 
Arnulf was not freed from confinement till the pontificate 
of Gregory V., 2 viz. till some time after November 997, 
things became meanwhile very uncomfortable for Gerbert. 
He was regarded as excommunicated, and treated as such. 
As he tells 3 us himself, neither his clerical nor lay depend- 
ants would eat with him or be present at his Mass. But 
he was not at the end of his resources. He betook himself 
to Rome (996), and endeavoured by the force of his 
eloquence to bring the Pope (now Gregory V.) over to 
his side. Richer, 4 the devoted partisan of Gerbert, avers 
that he was so far successful that Gregory ordered still 
further inquiry into the matter. But Gerbert could not 
maintain himself at Rheims. His patron, Hugh Capet, 
had died October 24, 996, and Robert, his son, had ends 

1 Ep. 181. " Ut michi a Remensibus per litteras significatum est." 

2 Aimoin, in vit. Abbonis, c. 12. 

3 Ep. 181. " Memini etiam meos conspirasse non solum milites, sed 
et clericos, ut nemo mecum comederet, nemo sacris interesset." This 
letter is dated by Havet as late as the spring or summer of 997. 

4 L. iv., sub Jin. 

JOHN XV. 369 

of his own to serve. The archbishop accordingly left 
France for ever about the early summer of the year 997. 
And though he made a second journey to Rome, his 
cause was lost. King Robert released Arnulf, and the 
Pope confirmed him, temporarily at least, in his see 1 
(997). If, however, Gerbert's career in Gaul was at an 
end, there was still a great future in store for the learned 
prelate. His former pupil, Otho III., had the greatest 
esteem for his genius, and was most anxious to attach 
him to his person. He procured Gerbert's election first 
to the vacant See of Ravenna (998), and afterwards, as 
we shall see, to that of Rome itself. 

There also came to Rome, more than once, during the s. Adalbert 
pontificate of John XV., a bishop of very different mettle rague 
to Gerbert. That was the gentle St. Adalbert of Prague, 
the Apostle of Prussia. 2 We are told that after he had been 
consecrated bishop of Prague in 983, " he never smiled 
again," so overcome was he at the thought of the responsi- 
bilities he incurred by taking upon himself the care of souls. 
A native of Bohemia his Slavonic name, Voytiech, signifies 
the comfort of the army he began his episcopal career by 
fervently urging on his countrymen the adoption of a higher 
standard of morality. The Bohemians had but recently 
taken the name of Christians ; and though they had so far 
changed their name, their habits were still practically un- 
changed. 3 It seemed to Adalbert that he was but casting 
pearls before swine. His hearers, thoroughly gross-minded 

1 lb. 

2 Cf. the two Lives of the saint, ap. M. G. SS. f iv. The first (repro- 
duced ap. P. L., t. 137) was written by a monk (probably John Canaparius) 
in the monastery of SS. Boniface and Alexius on the Aventine two 
or three years after the death of Adalbert. The second Life was written 
by Bishop Bruno, under S. Henry I. (tio24) of Germany, and was 
largely founded on the first. 

3 "Plerique vero nomine tenus christiani, ritu gentilium vivunt."' 
Vit., c. 1, ap. P. L. 

VOL. IV. 24 

370 JOHN XV. 

{ad carnalem sensiun lapsi), u would not follow their 
pastor." Their pastor therefore decided to leave his wilful 
flock. "It was better," he thought, " to leave them than to 
lose his time with a people who, with obstinate blindness, 
were hurrying on to their own destruction." J Three causes 
especially moved Adalbert to leave his people. Their 
practice of polygamy, the want of celibacy among his clergy, 
(detestanda conjugia clericorum), and the fact that with 
" accursed gold " a Jew had bought so many Christian 
captives and slaves that the good bishop could not ransom 
them all. 
Adalbert Adalbert fled to Rome (989), and with tears asked 
moniT eS * the Pope what he ought to do. John XV. was not a 
man of the courage of Gregory the Great. He did not, 
therefore, in God's name, address Adalbert as Gregory had 
addressed Augustine; but, falling in with the saint's own 
wishes, he told him to leave the sheep who would not 
follow him. A student himself, he gave advice which he 
knew a student would welcome. " For if with others you 
cannot bring forth fruit, it is not worth while losing your 
own soul. . . . Seek quiet contemplation, and live among 
those who pass their time in retirement amid studies sweet 
and healthful." 2 This advice Adalbert would follow. But 
first he would go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. However, 
after giving to the poor all his own money and what he 
had received from the Empress Theophano (who was then 
in Rome) to help him on his journey, he went first to 
Monte Cassino. 3 Thence he betook himself to the wild 

1 Vit., #., c. 12. 2 C. 13. 

3 Here he showed, what some seem to call in question, that sanctity 
was not in the least inconsistent with spirit. The good monks had 
expressed their readiness to receive Adalbert, and had pointed out to 
him how useful he would be to them, because as a bishop he would be able 
to consecrate their new churches, when he burst out : " Do you take me 
for a man or an ass, that, after practically ceasing to be a bishop by 

JOHN XV. 371 

mountainous district of Barrea, not far from Castel di 
Sangro, where dwelt in the monastery of St. Michael, 
in the Bright Valley (Val-Luce), the famous Greek abbot 
Nilus. This Basilian monk, whose austerity of life was 
only matched by the sweetness of his disposition, and of 
whom we shall have more to say in the next biography, 
advised Adalbert to return to Rome, and furnished him 
with letters of introduction to the famous abbot (Leo) of 
the monastery of SS. Boniface and Alexius. Whether or 
not because he thought he ought to go back to his diocese, 
Leo gave the bishop anything but a warm reception. 
Nothing, however, could damp the ardour of Adalbert ; 
and at length, on Maundy - Thursday (990), with the 
concurrence of the Pope and the cardinals, he received 
the habit of a monk. 1 

But he was not to be allowed to die carrying water for He re- 
the community. The archbishop of Mayence sent an Bohemia, 
influential deputation to urge the necessity of the return of 
Adalbert to his diocese (994). At the synod held to con- 
sider the matter, though the Pope himself and the bishop's 
fellow-monks wished to keep him in Rome, the eloquence 
of the head of the deputation no less a person than the 
brother of the reigning duke of Bohemia, Boleslaus II. pre- 
vailed. Then the Apostolicus (the Pope), " influenced not by 
his own feelings, but by the justice of the case," consented 
that Adalbert should return to Prague, but on the under- 
standing that, if the people would not hear his words, he 
should be free to leave them again. 

giving up the care of my spiritual children, I should now, as a bishop 
but in name, devote myself to consecrating your churches?" And, 
promptly turning his back on Monte Cassino, he set forth to seek 
St. Nilus (c. 15). 

1 C. 16. " Statuit (Leo) .... D. apostolicum convenire, ut quicquid 
agendum foret, tanti patris sententia suorumque cardinalium consilia 
deliberarent." Cf. Passio S. Adalberti (written c. 1000), c. 2. 

372 JOHN XV. 

After " an immense journey," Adalbert was received in 
his episcopal city with every demonstration of joy. 1 But 
the gentle bishop could make little or no impression on the 
savage manners of the Bohemians. The cruel murder of 
a woman " taken in adultery," who had fled for protection 
to the bishop and the Church, and other deeds " even more 
barbarous," decided Adalbert once again (995) to seek "the 
walls of sweet Rome." 

Unfortunately for our saint, his friend and protector, 
John'_XV., died (March 996) soon after his return to Rome. 
In connection with the election of his successor Gregory V., 
there came to Rome both Otho III., over whom Adalbert 
soon exerted a very great influence, 2 and St. Willigis, arch- 
bishop of Mayence, who was as determined as ever that 
the bishop of Prague should return to his post. While at 
Rome he never ceased importuning Gregory, by word of 
mouth, and, on his return home, by letter, till the Pope 
ordered Adalbert to return to the North. When amidst 
the tears of all he left his " sweet monastery " for the last 
time, his only consolation was that he had obtained leave 
to go and preach the Gospel to the heathen if he failed to 
make any impression on his own people. 3 

Arrived at Mayence after a journey of nearly two 
months, he there found the emperor. With him the saint 
stayed for some time, striving to raise his mind to things 
of heaven. That he was emperor, said Adalbert to him, 
was nothing. He must remember he was a man, and would 
have to die. Meanwhile he must be the father of the 
poor, the support of the good, the dread of evil-doers. 
Whilst in the imperial palace he showed himself so far the 

1 C. 18. 

1 Because, to Otho "circa servos Dei maximum studium .... fuit, 
crebro alloquitur S. Adalbertum .... audiens libenter qusecumque sibi 
diceret." C. 22. 

3 Vit., c. 22. 

john xv. 373 

servant of all that he was discovered to be in the habit of 
"washing" the boots of king and porter alike! 1 After 
a pilgrimage to Tours and to Fleury by the Loire, where 
was the body of " our father Benedict," adds the biographer, 
Adalbert prepared to return to his see. But this time 
his people would not receive him. There was too great 
a difference, they said, between his life and theirs. The 
saint accordingly availed himself of the Pope's permission 
and turned him to the heathen. After converting many 
of the Poles, he went into the land of the barbarous 
Prussians, "whose god is their belly (Philip, iii. 19), and 
whose avarice is strong as death," 2 and whose fierce pagan- 
ism was only crushed by the swords of the Teutonic knights 
in the thirteenth century. Among these cruel pagans did 
Adalbert sow the seed of the Gospel in the best way, viz. 
by his blood ; for he soon obtained the martyr's crown he 
had longed for, 3 and the title of the Apostle of the Prussians 
(April 23, 997 ). 4 " His memory," writes Gregorovius, " was 
preserved in the monastery of S. Bonifazio, and from this 
abbey on the Aventine, as from a martyr colony, other 
brave apostles, fired by Adalbert's example, went forth to 
the savage country of the Slavs." 

This outline of the career of Adalbert, as drawn from 
the interesting biography of his disciple, brings out in clear 
light the character of John XV. also. It represents him as 
the counterpart of the bishop of Prague, as a man fond of 
retirement and quiet study, and as sympathising with those 
whose tastes were akin to his own. 

1 "Ab janitore usque ad principem regiae domus omnium caligas 
aqua abluit, et purgatos sordibus eos suo loco restituit." C. 23. 

2 " Pruzzorum fines adiret, quorum deus venter est, et avaricia juncta 
cum morte." C. 27. 

3 "Erant enim multse nationes per circuitum, per quas aut sibi 
martyrium aut eis baptismi gratiam conferre potuit." C. 25. 

4 C. 30. 

374 JOHN xv. 

St. Adalbert, and, if sufficient reliance can be placed on 
the Russian Chronicle known as that of Nestor} Pope John 
also had relations with another Slav people, the Russians. 
Since the ninth century, when St. Ignatius and Photius 
sent bishops among them, Christianity had been making 
some little progress among the Russians. Political and 
commercial relations between them and the Greek Empire 
served to increase what knowledge of the revealed truth 
there was in the kingdom of KiefT. This knowledge was 
deepened by the baptism of the reigning Princess Olga 
(955), and by the intercourse kept up with their country- 
men by those of the Russians who took service with 
the Greek emperor, and formed the commencement of the 
famous Varangian guard. St. Adalbert preached among 
the Tauroscythians, as Leo the Deacon (c. 989) calls 
the Russians, for about a year. But it was only under 
Vladimir (972-1015), the grandson of Olga, that the con- 
version of the Russians made any substantial headway. 
And if the change wrought in their king by the teachings 
of Christianity could be regarded as any sort of gauge of 
the improvement which the Gospel worked among the 
people, civilising indeed must have been the effect of 
Vladimir's action in bringing into his kingdom preachers 
of " Christ, and Him crucified." From being a sanguinary 
debauchee, Vladimir under Christian influences became a 
saint. Most quaint is the story of his conversion as told 
in the pages of Nestor. He was convinced that under 
paganism there was no hope of the elevation of his people. 

1 Cf. a French translation by L. Leger, Paris, 1884. There also 
exists a German translation by Schloezer, Goettingen, 1802. The 
original has been edited by Miklosich, at Vienna, i860, and by the 
Archaeological Commission at St. Petersburg, 1872. The Chronicle is 
the work of an anonymous monk of the eleventh century, and is the 
first national document, prior to the twelfth century, which treats of the 
history of the Russians. 

john xv. 375 

He must introduce some other faith among them. With 
that end in view, he sent envoys to seek for religious 
information among the Greeks, Latins, Moslems, and Jews. 
Accordingly " there came to him Mohammedan Bulgarians 
(Finnish-Bulgarians of the Volga, or Black Bulgarians) 
who said to him : ' Prince, you are wise and prudent, but 
you have no religion. Take our religion, and pay homage 
to Mahomet.' And Vladimir said : ' What is your faith ? ' 
They replied: 'We believe in God. And Mahomet has 
taught us to practise circumcision, not to eat pork nor 
drink wine, but after death to be happy with women.' 
Vladimir heard them with some pleasure, for he was a 
libertine ; but he did not like the idea of circumcision and 
abstinence from wine and pork. So he said : ' Drink is 
the delight of the Russians ; without it we cannot live.' 

" Then came the Niemtsy (Germans) from Rome, saying : 
' We have come from the Pope. He has ordered us to 
tell you that your country is like our country, but your 
faith is not like ours, for our faith is the light. We adore 
the God who has made heaven and earth, the stars, the 
moon, and all things, but your gods are of wood.' Vladimir 
said : ' What are your commandments?' ' To fast accord- 
ing to one's strength, to eat or drink always to the greater 
glory of God, according to the command of our master 
St. Paul' (i Cor. x. 31). Vladimir said to the Germans: 
1 Begone, for our ancestors have not admitted such doc- 
trines.' When the Jewish Kozares (Khazars, Kharaites) 
heard this, they came and said .... 'The Christians 
believe in Him whom we have crucified. For ourselves, 
we believe in one only God, the God of Abraham, of 
Isaac, and of Jacob.' And Vladimir said : ' What are 
your observances ? ' They answered : ' Circumcision, 
abstinence from the flesh of swine and hares, and the 
celebration of the Sabbath.' He said to them : ' Where 

376 JOHN XV. 

is your country?' They replied: 'Jerusalem.' He 
further asked : ' Do you live there now ? ' They re- 
sponded : ' God was angry with our fathers, and has 
dispersed us throughout the world for our sins, and our 
country has been delivered to the Christians.' He said 
to them : " How do you teach others, when you are your- 
selves rejected by God, and dispersed by Him? If God 
loved you and your law, you would not be scattered in 
strange lands. Would you have this evil to come to us 
also ? " The chronicler then relates the coming of a 
" Greek philosopher," and gives his arguments at great 
length. To produce a deep impression on the imagination 
of the rude barbarian, the "philosopher" spared neither 
dramatic eloquence nor the subtle use of kindred arts. 
By showing the king a picture on which the last judgment 
was painted with terrifying detail, u he made Vladimir 
sigh." " Be baptized," said the philosopher, " if you would 
be on the right hand with the just." " I will wait a little," 
naively replied the king, u for I wish to think over all the 

Vladimir then sent (987) ten wise men to study the 
various religions in the places in which they were practised. 
When they reached Constantinople the emperor spared 
no effort to make a lasting impression on the senses of the 
barbarians. u Prepare the church and your clergy," said 
he to the patriarch ; put on your pontifical robes, that 
they may see the glory of our God." The envoys were 
completely won. The transcendent beauty of the Church 
of St. Sophia v\as enough of itself to have won their hearts. 
But when its beauty was enhanced by the bright glow of 
torch and candle, by the sweet perfume of the incense, by 
the magnificent vestments of the priests, by the solemnity 
of the ceremonial, and by the majestic harmony of the 
music, its charm was irresistible. The envoys returned to 

john xv. 377 

their master, and reported that among the Moslem Bul- 
garians there was no joy in their services, but a frightful 
sadness and a horrible stench ; among the Germans nothing 
beautiful; but among the Greeks everything that was 
lovely. " We saw many fine things in Rome, but what 
we saw at Constantinople makes a man wholly forget 

No doubt most of these details as related by Nestor 
are not in accordance with strict truth. But they are true 
in the spirit if not in the letter. They give the funda- 
mental reason why the Russians preferred to accept their 
Catholicism for the faith taught at both centres was 
then the same rather at the hands of Greek monks 
from Constantinople than from Latin missionaries from 

In 989, as a result of a successful campaign against the 
Empire, Vladimir secured the hand of a Greek princess. 
He was baptized by the priests who accompanied Anna, 
and became a saint. 

Of the marriage of Vladimir with Anna, and of his 
subsequent baptism, there is no doubt. And we may take 
it as also true that, before deciding as to whether his 
people should be ecclesiastically subject to Constantinople 
or Rome, Vladimir entered into negotiations with the 
patriarch Nicholas II., the Emperor Basil II., and Pope 
John XV. Though immediately subject to the jurisdiction 
of the patriarchal throne of Constantinople, the Russians, 
of course, acknowledged the Pope of Rome as head of the 
Church Catholic. Hence for some considerable time after 
the definite schism between the East and West under 
Michael Cerularius, the metropolitans of KiefT (Kiev) 
remained faithful in their allegiance to Rome. In fact, 
it was not till the middle of the fifteenth century that the 
metropolitans of Moscow definitely became schismatics 

378 JOHN XV. 

and not till the beginning of the sixteenth that those of 
Kieff followed their example. 1 

John showed his love of peace by his successful en- 
deavours to prevent war between our wretched King 
Ethelred the Unready or Redeless, and Richard I. the 
Fearless, duke of Normandy. By Ethelrcd's marriage 
(1002) with Emma, 2 Richard's daughter, there began that 
close relation between this country and the comparatively 
newly formed Norman Duchy which was destined to be 
so fateful for England. But in the year 991, of which we 
are now treating, Norman influence was vigorously re- 
pelled. For some unknown cause, perhaps because the 
Normans were helping their Danish kinsmen in their 
descents on our shores, symptoms of war between England 
and Normandy showed themselves. On his side, Richard 
proceeded against the English who were in his dominions, 
and Ethelred, on his, made preparations to avenge this 
treatment of his subjects. Hearing of the impending war, 
John at once dispatched Leo (who is described in our 

1 Cf Vicissitudes de Fe'glise catholique en Pologne et en Russic, 
Paris, 1843, p. 9 f. On this whole subject of the conversion of the 
Russians, see A Hist, of the Church of Russia, by MouraviefF, Eng. 
trans., Oxford, 1842, p. 8 f . ; Hist, de la Russie, par A. Rambaud, 
Paris, 1878, Cs. 4 and 5 ; Hist, de tdglise, par Hergenroether, iii. 524. 
In the ninth of his Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church 
(London, 1861), Stanley treats of the beginnings of the Russian Church 
with that peculiar veneration for the Holy Eastern Church which is 
characteristic of certain Anglican writers. These works are supple- 
mented or corrected by Schlumberger (LYflofiSe byzantin, i. 706-11 
and 771 f.), whose version of Nestor we have translated. See also 
Lessai sur I'Jglise russe catholique, by F. Romanet du Caillaud, 
ch. viii. 

2 Henry of Huntingdon {Chron , 1. vi. init.), who " in my youth" heard 
from " some very old persons " certain facts of the reign of Ethelred 
(id.). Roger of Wendover (+1237), by mistakenly antedating the 
marriage between Emma and Ethelred, makes the strained relations 
between England and Normandy, mentioned in the text, spring from 
Ethelred's ill-treatment of his wife. Flores Hist., ad an. 990. 

john xv. 379 

sources as bishop of Trier, but who is thought to have 
been a vice-bishop, because Egbert is believed to have then 
been bishop of Trier) to mediate between the two princes. 
The result of the Pope's efforts had best be set forth in a 
letter 1 which Malmsbury describes as " epistola legationis." 
"John XV., Pope of the Holy Roman Church, to all the 
faithful. Be it known to all the faithful of our Holy 
Mother, the Church, .... that word has been brought to 
us by many of the enmity between Ethelred, king of the 
West Saxons, and the marquis Richard. Saddened at 
these difficulties between our spiritual children .... I 
dispatched an apocrisiarius, Leo, bishop of Trier, with 
letters exhorting them to lay aside their dissensions. 
Crossing over vast tracts of country and over the sea, he 
presented our letters to the king on Christmas Day. After 
taking council with the 'wiser sort' of both orders (with 
his Witan), for the love and fear of Almighty God, and of 
St. Peter, and out of regard for our paternal admonition, 
he granted a most firm peace to be observed without deceit 
by all his children and liegemen. On which account he 
sent Edelsin (Ethelsige), bishop of Sherborne, and two 
thanes to Richard. Receiving our words in a peaceful 
spirit and hearing of Ethelred's action, he ratified the treaty 
with his children and liegemen, on the understanding that, 
if any of their subjects or they themselves should break the 
peace in any way, due compensation was to be made. 
And neither party was to receive the subjects or enemies 
of the other without the production of a written permit 
(sigilluvi). Representatives of both princes swore to 

1 Of course a German has been found who has questioned the 
authenticity of this letter. But it is accepted by Lingard {Hist, of 
England, i. 146) and by Freeman {The Norman Conquest, i. 286, cf. 
note EE, 3rd ed.), though the latter believes that the letter, as preserved 
for us by Malmesbury {Gesf. Reg., ii., 166, ed. P. L.,t. 179), is com- 
pounded of the Pope's letter and the text of the treaty. 

380 JOHN XV. 

observe the treaty, which was signed at Rouen, March 1, 
991." With Lingard, we must call attention to the interest- 
ing fact that " the oldest treaty now extant between any of 
our kings and a foreign power is drawn up in the name 
of a Pope." 

During the pontificate of John XV. two archbishops of 
Canterbury came to Rome for their palliums. The first 
was /Ethelgar * (988-990) ; the second, his successor, 
Sigeric, 2 whose curious itinerary we have frequently quoted. 
Of him the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records: "This year 
(990) Sigeric was consecrated archbishop, and afterwards 
went to Rome for his pall." His itinerary, all too brief, 
shows us that the feverish eagerness of the Catholic 
Englishman of to-day when in Rome to see the Pope and 
the famous churches of the Eternal City was surpassed by 
the learned archbishop of Canterbury of the year 990. One 
cannot but admire the systematic way in which he went to 
work, fearful lest he should lose a minute. The first day 
he was in Rome he made a circuit of the whole city. His 
first visit was, of course, to St. Peter's, the saint to whom 
Catholic England had so deep a devotion. Then, only 
naturally, he went to see his countrymen in the English 
quarter and to pray in the church dedicated to Our Lady 
(S. Maria in Sassia) which had been founded by our King 
Ina S. Maria Scola Anglorum, as the itinerary calls it; 
S. Spirito in Sassia as it is now called. Next, crossing the 
river, he made for the Via Lata (Corso) ; and, after visiting 
the Church of " St. Laurentius in Craticula" (S. Lorenzo in 
Lucina, where, as says the Mirabilia, is his gridiron, crattcula, 

1 "Pallium suscepit a papa Johanne," Gervase, Acta Pont. Cant., 
ap. Twysden, p. 1648. On his way to Rome he visited the famous 
monastery of St. Bertin, to which he showed himself a very great friend. 
Cf. the letter of its abbot Odbert to Archbishop Sigeric, ap. Memorials 
of St. Dunstan, p. 388. 

2 A. -Sax. C/iron., ann. 990. 

JOHN XV. 381 

and the chain that he was bound withal), left the city by 
the Porta Flaminia. The first church, outside the walls, 
which he visited was the old basilica of St. Valentine, near 
the Ponte Molle, which, repaired by Leo III. and John IX., 
afterwards fell into ruins. Its site was only discovered in 
1886. It was one of the halting places of the procession 
of the " great litany " on St. Mark's day (April 23), which 
started from S. Lorenzo in Lucina. Then he made his 
way across the country to the lovely Church of St. Agnes, 
and, as does the traveller to-day, looked with wonder on 
the bright mosaics of Pope Honorius I., already in the 
days of Sigeric over 350 years old. Gazing ever, as he 
journeyed on, at the walls and churches of the city he had 
come so far to see, he reached the great basilica of St. 
Lawrence, outside-the-walls, near which is now Rome's 
Campo Santo. The tombs of heathen Rome along the 
Via Appia seem to have had no more attraction for our 
archbishop than the pagan monuments in the city. He 
had eyes only for the Church of St. Sebastian, of which 
the alterations of Cardinal Borghese (161 1) have left not 
a trace behind. Moving on to the Via Lauren tina, he 
came to the Church of St. Anastasius (known to-day as 
SS. Vincenzo ed Anastasio), near the now famous Abbadia 
delle Tre Fontane, and remarkable as a good example of 
the early Christian basilicas. The Via Laurentina soon 
brought him on to the Via Ostiensis, and that to the 
basilica of St. Paul, outside-the-walls. Perhaps it was the 
sight of the mosaic medallions of the Popes which he saw 
there that moved Sigeric's clerk to attach to his itinerary 
a list of the Roman pontiffs of the tenth century. Re- 
entering the city by the Porta Capena (di S. Paolo), and 
passing the Monte Testaccio, he walked along the Via 
della Marmorata, and then ascending the Aventine, he 
inspected the churches of St. Boniface (S. Alessio) and St. 

382 JOHN XV. 

Sabina. In the cloister of the former he may have read 
the epitaph of that Crescentius "de Theodora" who had 
murdered Benedict VI., and retired to the monastery of 
S. Alessio to die (984). Descending the hill and keeping 
by the river, he went into the church of the Greek traders 
from Sicily or Calabria, viz. S. Maria Scola Graeca (S. M. 
in Cosmedin). Recrossing the Tiber, he went to see the 
mosaics of Pope Paschal I. in St. Cecilia's, and to ask the 
intercession of that great virgin and martyr. Finally, after 
naming three more churches to which the indefatigable 
archbishop turned his steps (St. Chrysogonus, S. Maria 
" transtyberi," and St. Pancratius), the clerk quietly adds : 
" Then we returned home " ! And well they might, after 
such a day of sight-seeing ! The next day the number of 
churches visited by Sigeric and his companion was not so 
great, for in the middle of the day "we dined with the 
Apostolic Lord John." 
Respect for The acceptance of John's mediation by Ethelred and the 
Peter still duke of Normandy, and the respectful visits to Rome of 
tained. our metropolitans, are enough to show that, despite the 
depressed state in which the Papacy was kept during this 
period, and despite the fact that some of the Popes at 
this time were a scandal to the Church, " reverence for the 
chair of Peter" was not extinguished " by the criminals 
who had filled it." And when to the conduct of the princes 
and prelates of the West we add the action of the whole 
Western Church turning to the Popes for grants of privilege, 
and of the Oriental Church looking for instruction in 
difficulties to the Holy See, it will be seen that the contrary 
assertion, which is that of Gregorovius, 1 is not well founded. 
Some twenty grants of privilege are known 2 to have been 
conceded by John XV. to various monasteries and churches 

1 Rome, iv. 404. 

3 See John's Regest., ap. Jaffe, 3826 (2928) f. ; or epp ap. P. L., t. 137. 

JOHN XV. 383 

in Italy, France, Bohemia, the German Empire, and the 
Spanish March. 

Of these charters only one will here be noticed ; and that Regimbaid 
because it brings us in contact with a man of especially 
remarkable attainments for the age in which he lived, and 
whose name is not often seen. The anonymous author, 
who about the year 1080 wrote a short notice of the 
bishops of Eichstadt, 1 in due course treats of Bishop 
Regimbaid (or Riginold, gg6-c. 991), "a man illustrious 
indeed by his noble birth, but still more by his learning. 
Not only was he imbued with Latin, Greek, and even 
Hebrew literature, but, what was very remarkable, he was 
the first musician of his age." His historical labours 
gained him his bishopric ; and, if I rightly understand the 
passage treating of him, 2 he composed a regular oratorio 
concerning the travels of his sainted predecessor Willibald. 
And it would appear that for this he wrote verses in Latin, 
Greek, and Hebrew. This great bishop was a close friend 
of a powerful lady, Pia, who in her way was as accomplished 
as he was, for she far surpassed all her contemporaries in 
her skill at delicate needlework. After a life spent in work- 
ing for the Church, she became a nun (perfecte conversa 
ad Dominum), built a convent at Bergen, 3 endowed and 
beautified it, and " handed it over to the Roman Church in 
an especial manner." Pope John XV. confirmed the gift 
41 by his privilege, 4 which we have still in our keeping." 

It would appear, however, that if John granted many Donation 
things to others, there were not wanting some who made to the 
grants to him. In distant Poland the Judex Dagone, his ope " 
wife, and their two sons, during his reign gave " to St. Peter 

1 From p. 741 to p. 1058, ap. P. Z., t. 146. 2 Ib.> c. 12, p. ion. 

3 Pergin, in Bavaria, between Eichstadt and Neuburg. 

4 The bull which is now extant, Jaffe, 3856, of March 31, 995, is 
thought by Pflugk-Harttung to be at least interpolated. 

384 JOHN XV. 

the town of Schinesghe (Schinesne, Gnesen) and all its 
dependencies " within the limits carefully described in their 
deed of gift. The Judex Dagone has been shown by Fabre 
to be Duke Mieszko I. (962-992), and Gnesen and its 
territory to be the Duchy of Poland, bounded by the 
Baltic, by Prussia, by Russia as far as Cracow, and by the 
Oder. It included, moreover, the country beyond the Oder 
to the mountains of Bohemia. 1 Like most other similar 
donations of countries to the Popes, it was made with the 
object of ensuring its liberty against the encroachments of 
warlike and aggressive neighbours, in this case against the 
attacks of the Germans. 

In an interesting paragraph of the letter of the abbot 
Leo to the kings Hugh and Robert, 2 we are informed 
that " last year (994) Theodorus, 3 archbishop of Egypt, 
and Horestus of Jerusalem, sent legates to ask the Pope 
whether converts from Jacobitism might be received into 
the clerical state, and whether, as they could not, for fear of 
the Saracens, consecrate an altar in every church, they 
might consecrate some linen (pannum) to serve the same 

Though much of our knowledge, then, of John's relations 

1 Bielowski, Mon. Polonicc hist., i., 148, from Cencius Camerarius 
(or Deusdedit) ; Liber Censuum, i., p. 349, n. 17, and p. 358. 

2 Cf. supra, p. 366. 

3 Theodorus was, no doubt, the same as Philotheus, who was also 
known as Theophilus, etc. see Neale's Patriarchate of Alex., ii., p. 
192 and n. and Horestus is the same as Jeremiah, who also bore the 
name of Orestes. The fact that Orestes was already patriarch of 
Jerusalem in 994 might be noted in a future edition of Gams, Series 
Epp. Unfortunately nothing more is known about the embassy of the 
Oriental patriarchs. The request to be allowed to say Mass on a piece 
of consecrated linen shows that the Saracens drove the Catholic clergy 
of Egypt in the tenth century to the same straits as the penal laws of 
Protestant England drove them in this country after the sixteenth 
century. (The letter of Leo, ap. CEuvres de Gerbert, ed. Ollcris, p. 242, 
and ep. 113 of Gerbert, show questions of divorce taken to Rome.) 

JOHN XV. 385 

with distant peoples is often very meagre, it is extensive 
enough to enable us to see that the essentially partisan 
invective of Arnulf of Orleans, of which enough has already 
been said, 1 is not in accordance with fact. 

The pontificate of John XV. is memorable also from the Canonisa- 
fact that, as far as is known with any degree of certainty, 
it is in his reign that we find the first example of solemn 
canonisation by a Pope. 2 It is generally stated that 
Alexander III. (11 59-1 181) was the Pope who first re- 
served to the Holy See the right of enrolling holy people 
after their death in the catalogue of the saints, and in proof 
thereof is quoted a bull which he issued at Anagni (Febru- 
ary 7, 1 161) regarding the canonisation of our St. Edward 
the Confessor. 3 An examination of the bull, however, shows 
that in it, at least, he did nothing of the kind. It simply says, 
in the only passage that has any bearing on the subject, that 
the Pope will do himself what is not wont to be done except 
by solemn councils, viz. canonise King Edward. 4 Perhaps, 
however, it may be safely argued that the manner in which 
"the Church of the English, which was most especially 
devoted to the Roman See," 5 in the person of its bishops 

1 Supra, p. 356 ff. 

2 Hence this bull of John is the first one printed by Fontanini in his 
Codex constitutionum quas SS. PP. edid. in solemni canoniz. SS., 
Rome, 1729. "Luitoldus episcopus Romam ivit, per P. Johannem b. 
Oudalrici sanctitas probatur. Solemnitas conlaudatur et sancitur." 
Ann. Augustani, an. 993 ap. M. G. SS., iii. 

3 Cf. Lingard, A.-Sax. Ch., ii. 81 n, quoting Bullarium, i. 67 ; and 
especially Wouters, Dissertat. in selecta H. E. capita, diss. 41. 

4 Negotium tarn arduum et sublime, non frequenter soleat nisi in 
solemnibus conciliis de more concedi." Bullar., i. 67, ed. Cherubini. 
In Fontanini's version of the bull {I.e. p. 15), the word nisi has acci- 
dentally been omitted. 

5 So speaks Bishop Nigellus of Ely to Pope Alexander III. in his 
letter to him on this subject : " Et praecipue Sedi romanae devotissima 
anglorum ecclesia." Ap. Liverani, Spicilegium Liberianum, p. 749 ; 
Florence, 1864. Cf. the letter to Alexander III. of William, bishop 
of Norwich ("regem mirificum in sanctorum cathalago conscribi et 

VOL. IV. 25 

386 JOHN XV. 

and abbots, begged Pope Alexander III. to enrol King 
Edward in the catalogue of the saints, is enough to prove 
that by his time that important act could only be done by 
the Holy See. This is borne out by the story of Abbot 
Nordpert's obtaining from Clement II. the canonisation of 
blessed Wiborada, 1 and by a fragment of a decree of 
Alexander III. (i 170) in which he forbids public venera- 
tion of a person as a saint without the authority of the 
Roman Church. 2 It would seem, then, that the practice 
of canonisation came gradually and naturally to be left 
solely in the hands of the Popes, who, by degrees, regu- 
lated its whole process. 

In the early days of the Church popular acclamation 
seems not unfrequently to have been the vox Dei in declar- 
ing who were to be honoured as saints. In the eighth and 
ninth centuries this practice was forbidden by various 
councils, 3 and the power of canonising was reserved to the 
bishops. From the time when the right of solemnly add- 

consignari faciatis"), M. t p. 675, and a whole series of others to the like 
effect ; ft, pp. 677, 679, 753, 755. Roger, archbishop of York, would 
have the Pope grant the request " for the honour of the Roman Church, 
which in his life King Edward honoured more than any other king of 
his time," p. 755. 

1 Contin. II. Casuum S. Galli, n. 6, ap. M.G.SS., ii. "Obtinuit .... 
apud D. Apost. Clementem .... quatinus ipsam canonizaret et pro 
sancta haberi preciperet." 

2 " Ilium ergo hominem non praesumatis de cetero colere, quum 
etiamsi per eum miracula plurima fierent, non liceret vobis ipsum pro 
sancto absque auctoritate Romanac ecclesiae publice venerari." Cf. 
Corpus juris, canon., Decretals of Gregory IX., 1. iii., tit. 45, c. 1, de rcL 
et vcn. SS., i. ; "Audivimus quod," vol. ii. p. 650, ed. Friedberg, 
Lipsiae, 1881 ; Jaffe, 13546(9260). 

3 Cf. can. 42 of the synod of Frankfort in 794; and n. 17 of a 
capitulary of Charlemagne (44, ap. Boretius, i. 122), " De ecclesiis seu 
Sanctis noviter sine auctoritate inventis, nisi episcopo probante minime 
venerentur." In fact, Wouters, I.e., has shown that from the earliest 
times worship paid to any one as a saint was regulated by the 
ecclesiastical authorities. 

JOHN XV. 387 

ing to the catalogue of the saints was reserved to the Pope, 
whenever that was, the examination into the life of the 
person who is proposed for canonisation has become more 
and more searching. Indeed, so close is the investigation 
that it has become a matter of wonder to non-Catholics 
that such solid proofs of virtue and miraculous power are 
exacted before a bull of canonisation is issued by the 
supreme Pontiff. 

It was in the year 993 that, after a careful examina- 
tion into the life of Ulrich, bishop of Augsburg (|973), 
John XV., " servant of the servants of God," announced * to 
" all the archbishops, bishops, and abbots of Gaul and Ger- 
many " that, on the motion of Luitolf, bishop of Augsburg, 
before a council in the Lateran palace, it was decreed that 
the memory of the holy Bishop Ulrich be venerated with 
pious devotion, because " we adore and worship the relics 
of martyrs and confessors, that we may adore Him whose 
martyrs and confessors they are. We honour the servants 
that the honour may redound to the Lord, who said : He 
that receiveth you, receiveth me'(S. Matt, x. 40). And 
so we, who cannot rely on our own merits, may be continu- 
ally helped by their prayers before the throne of God." 
The decree is witnessed by five other bishops besides the 
Pope, and by various cardinal priests and deacons. 

In one of the catalogues it is stated that John " decorated John decor- 

n tcs 3.n 

with paintings the oratory of Our Lady ' in Gradibus/ " oratory of 
afterwards known as "in Tuny." 2 It had been built ur a y ' 
originally by Paul I. 8 at the base of the tower erected by 
his brother Stephen (II.) III., which from this very 
oratory came to be known as the tower of Our Lady " ad 
Grada." The tower formed part of the quadriporticus which 
surrounded the atrium in front of the old St. Peter's. 

1 Ep. 12, February 3, 993. 

2 Ann. Romam, an. 11 11, ap. L. P., ii. 339. 3 L. P., i. pp. 465, 7. 



Death of 
John. 996. 

When, centuries later, the portico was pulled down, the 
bright imperishable mosaics of Paul I., still bearing his 
name, were seen and described by the antiquarians of the 

It was at the end of March or at the beginning of April 
996 that a violent fever caused John XV. to give up " his 
body to the earth and his soul to heaven " ; l or, as a later 
author (Amalricus Augerius) 2 expresses it, " After many 
labours and much pain of body, John departed to the Lord, 
and was by clergy and people honourably buried in Rome." 

1 John Canaparius, in vit. S. Adalbert., c. 21. 

2 Ap. R. I. SS., Hi., pt. ii. No coin of John XV. has come down to 
us ; and the epitaph assigned to him by some authors does not, it 
would seem, really belong to him. Both Platina and Fleury, it may be 
noted, have made many mistakes in their accounts of John XV. 

John XV. (?). (After the Register of Tivoli.) 


A.D. 996-999. 

Sources. Some twenty-two letters, privileges, etc., of Gregory, 
ap. P. Z., t. 137. 

We shall henceforth have occasion to quote somewhat frequently 
the Historiarum Libri V. (900-1044), ed. Prou (Paris, 1886), of 
the Burgundian monk Raoul Glaber or the Bald. Born towards 
the close of the tenth century, the young Raoul gave early proofs 
of an unsteady character. To wean him from his attachment to 
the world, a well-meaning but not over-discerning uncle caused 
him to enter a monastery. He passed much of his life in 
wandering from one monastery to another. Expelled from one, 
his literary tastes secured him admittance into another. At 
length he fell under the influence of St. William of Dijon and 
Odilo of Cluny. Acting under their advice, he devoted himself 
to literature, and produced his History. Though full of in- 
accuracies, gossip, and miraculous legends, it contains material 
not found elsewhere, and gives us an animated picture of the 
times. Gebhart, in his Moines et papes, which is a series of 
"essais de Psychologie Historique," has a paper, very psycho- 
logical of course, on Raoul, and characterises his History as 
" the evocation of a bad dream" (p. 32). The year of Raoul's 
death is unknown. 

A very striking figure in the history of Italy, of Southern Italy 
especially, during the tenth century was the renowned Basilian 
monk, St. Nilus. This Italian-Greek, born about 910, did not 
die till 1005. The Saracen troubles in Southern Italy caused him 



to wander from place to place; and wherever he went he was 
revered and beloved by high and low. He died in the famous 
abbey of Grottaferrata, which he had himself founded. His Life 
written in Greek (ap. Migne, in Greek and Latin, P. G. L., t. 120 ; 
in Latin only, P. G., t. 61 ; or ap. Acta SS., September, t. vii.), 
probably by his disciple Bartholomew 1 (11065), " 1S tne om *y 
document which gives us any insight into the life of the southern 
provinces of Italy at the epoch of the Byzantine domination and 
the Saracen inroads. Its historical importance is of the highest.'' 
An analysis of it is given by Lenormant (La Grande Grhe % i., 
p. 341 f.) from whom this quotation is taken. 

In 1892 Sakkelion published in the Sotir, 2 a journal of 
Constantinople, a series of previously inedited letters in Greek of 
a certain Leo. He was one of the ambassadors whom Basil II. 
made use of to conduct the negotiations concerning the proposed 
marriage between Otho III. and a daughter of Constantine VIII. 
In Italy more than once, he was at Rome when Philagathus, of 
whom he always speaks with horror and contempt, was tortured 
and degraded. Hence his letter on the subject to his brother, 
which we shall cite in its proper connection from Schlumberger 3 
(from whom we have gathered these facts), is an authority of the 
first order. 

The march Compelled by the violence of Crescentius Numentanus, 

^6. ' John XV., had, as we have already seen, 4 not long before 

his death, turned to the youthful Otho III. for help. As 

soon as the German monarch had arranged terms of peace 

with the Slavs, he crossed the Alps in the spring (996) 

1 His Life was in turn written by a contemporary, the abbot Luke, who 
died twenty years after him. Cf the rare work (printed at Rome in 
1728) of Dom Giacomo Sciommari, himself a monk of Grottaferrata, 
Note .... alia vita . . . . diS. Bartolomeo .... tradotta da un atitico 
Codice Greco. Luke's Life was first edited in the original Greek by 
Cardinal Mai (Nova Pat. Bib., vi.) ; a Latin version of this edition may 
be read, ap. Migne, P. G. (Latin only), t. 65. Cf. Bartholomew's Greek 
Life ; Rocchi's Vita di San Ni/o (Roma, 1904) is an Italian translation. 

2 T. xv., 1892. L\<pop<!e byzantin, ii. 282 n. 
4 Supra, p. 350. 

GREGORY V. 39 1 

with a large army and, "long desired," 1 entered Italy. 
After celebrating Easter (April 12) at Pavia, he advanced 
to Ravenna. 

He was there met by envoys from Rome with letters Otho 
from " the Roman nobles and the senatorial order." SSapUin 8 
They informed him of the death of John, and expressed pfpacy. 
their sense of the great loss they had all therein sustained. 
Otho himself, they declared, they were loyally anxious to 
see in Rome ; and they would be glad if he would let them 
know whom he would wish them to elect in place of John. 2 
The king at once suggested the name of one of his 
chaplains, the youthful Bruno, son of the duke of Car- 
inthia. Through his grandmother Liutgarda, who was the 
daughter of Otho I., the young ecclesiastic was a relation 
of his sovereign. Though not five-and-twenty years of age, 
he was already distinguished for his learning and ability, 
and, according to the biographer of St. Adalbert, for a hasty 
disposition more in accordance with his age than his office. 3 

All present approved of the king's choice. Accordingly, 
accompanied by Archbishop Willigis of Mayence and Election of 
Hildebald of Worms, Bruno betook himself to Rome, and 996. 
was presented to its people as pope-designate. After a 
most honourable reception, he was duly elected 4 by the 
Romans and consecrated on May 3. If any Pope could 

1 Thietmar, Chron., iv. 18 ; Annalista Saxo, ad an. 996. 

8 " Illius adventum .... totis visceribus desiderai-e ac debita fideli- 
tate pollicitantur expectare. . . . Et quern pro eo (John XV.) ponerent 
regalem exquirunt sentenciam." Vit. S. Adalbert., c. 21. 

3 " Magnae .... indolis, sed, quod minus bonum, multum fervidae 
juventutis." lb. His relationship to Otho III. can well be seen in 
Tout's {The Empire and the Papacy, p. 65) genealogical table of the 
Saxon and Salian emperors. 

4 "Publico consensu et electione fecit (Otto) ordinari Apostolicum 
.... Brunonem." Ann. Saxo, following the Annal. Hildesh., " In 
loco Johannis .... cum omnium laude presentium (Brunonem Otto) 
statuit." Thietmar, I.e. " Cleri et omnium RR. unanimi voto .... 
electum," Ann. Quedlinburj, 996, ap. M. G. SS., iii. 


have contented that ungrateful, cowardly self-seeker, 
Crescentius Numentanus, whom Gregorovius chooses to 
consider " a brave man " and " a patriotic Roman," l Bruno 
would have done. He was of the best blood of Germany, 
rich, handsome, and learned. 2 His father was Otho, duke 
of Carinthia and marquis of Verona ; his mother's name 
was Judith. The emperor, Conrad II., the Salic, was his 
nephew. 3 His grandfather, Conrad the Red, duke of 
Lorraine, who had married Liutgarda, the daughter of 
Otho 1., had died gloriously in the battle by the Lech (955), 
where the power of the terrible Hungarians had been 
effectually broken. He gave practical proof of the learn- 
ing he had acquired in his native city of Worms 4 when he 
instructed the people in German, Italian, 5 or Latin as the 
case might be. But Gregory had not merely the " sounding 
brass or the tinkling cymbal" of an eloquent tongue, he 
had the charity which covereth a multitude of sins. Of 
this twelve poor men (numero cautus apostolicd), who 
every Saturday received a present of clothes from him, 
were witnesses. In a word, this first German who ever sat 
on the chair of Peter was, like the rest of his countrymen 
who were to come after him in the middle of the next 
century, an honour to his king and country, and certainly 
more worthy of the Papacy than not a few of those whom 
the nobility of Rome had forced into the Roman See. 

1 Rome, iii. 419. Muratori, Annal., ad ann. 997, properly designates 
him "un mal uomo, un uomo acciecato dall' ambizione." 

2 See his epitaph at the end of this biography. 

3 Catal. Zwetlcnsis, ap. Watterich, i. 688. Cf. Wipo, Ges/a 
Chuonradi, ed. Bresslau, p. 12 ; Otho III. himself, writing to Gregory, 
says : " Non solum sanguinis linca, verum etiam inter cunctos mortales 
quadam sui generis eminentia connectimur." Inter epp. Gerberti, ep. 
213, ed. Ha vet. 

4 " Lingua Teutonicus Vvangia (Vormazia) doctus in urbe." Epitaph. 
6 " Vulgari voce," i.e. in the Low Latin which was now becoming the 

Italian language. 


The election of Gregory, " illustrious not only by the General 
nobility of his birth, but by the uprightness of his character," <?** 
as Aimoin 1 puts it, gave the greatest consolation to good Grego^v. 
men who were anxious for the uplifting of the Church. 
Abbo, the famous abbot of Fleury, whose learning and 
virtue mark him out as one of the most distinguished men 
of his age, gave expression to this feeling in a letter 2 which 
he wrote to his friend Leo, abbot of St. Boniface's in Rome, 
and, as we have seen, a man of great learning and piety 
himself: "I have just heard a piece of news which has 
rejoiced me more than gold or the topaz ; viz. that the 
dignity of the Apostolic See (apostolicum decus) has been 
raised by (the election of) a man of the imperial family 
and full of virtue and wisdom. . . . May the same Holy 
Spirit who inspired St. Gregory I. with all learning inspire 
the present venerable pontiff of the same holy Roman 
Church, and grant that you may be to him a most accept- 

1 The disciple and biographer of abbot Abbo of Fleury (-f-1004), in 
vit. Abbo., c. 11, ap. P. L., t. 139. 

2 Ep. 15, ap. ib., p. 459. Abbo was brought over to England to help 
to raise the standard of studies in our island. Among his other works 
was a Collectio Canomcm. In c. 5, I.e., p. 479, he lays down that, by 
the will of Christ, the authority of the Roman See extends over the 
whole Church, as the Popes are vicegerents of St. Peter, the Prince of 
the whole Church. " Romanse et apost. sedis auctoritas Christo D. 
propitiante refulget per universalem totius orbis Ecclesiam. Nee 
mirum, cum ejusdem sedis pontifices b. Petri, qui princeps est totius 
Ecclesiae, videantur vices gerere." And in a letter (ep. 5) to the monks 
of S. Martin he declares : " The Roman Church by its excellence has 
this privilege above all churches that, as the key-bearer of the kingdom 
of heaven obtained the chief place among the apostles (principatum 
apostolici culminis), so the Roman Church gives authority to all its 
members throughout the four quarters of the globe. Hence, what else 
does he do who opposes the Roman Church but withdraw himself from 
its society and take his stand with the enemies of Christ? . . . Never, 
then, let it be that the prejudices of moderns should be able to with- 
stand the writings of the saints, and especially of the Roman pontiffs of 
old, nor that the opinion of to-day should hold of slight account those 
whose memories are revered. For if later generations despise the 


able secretary to work for the reinvigoration of the apostolic 


Coronation Scarcely was Gregory seated on the throne of the Fisher- 

ofOtho J & J 

in., 996. man than the youthful Otho arrived in Rome to receive 

the imperial crown at the hands of his young cousin. 1 In 

the presence of his mother and grandmother, of the Roman 

nobility, now all submission, and of a great number of his 

own countrymen, Otho was duly crowned by the Pope, and 

at fifteen years of age found himself emperor of the Romans 

and " advocate of the Church of S. Peter " (May 21). 2 

Crescentius Before Otho left Rome, not only was he engaged with 

before a , J b & 

synod. the Pope in granting privileges to monasteries for both of 
them had great faith in the Cluniac foundations as centres 
of civilisation but on May 25 he held a synod with him 
"to settle various ecclesiastical matters." 3 Among the 
affairs treated of by this assembly was the unsatisfactory 
state of things in the Church of Rheims. It was perhaps 
at this council that Gregory ordered the restoration of 
Arnulf to his archiepiscopal see. At any rate, in a charter 
of privilege, soon to be cited, the Pope brands Gerbert as 
an intruder. The occasion of this grant was a request put 
forward by Herluin that the Pope would consecrate him 

dictates of their ancestors to which they ought to yield assent, there is 
nothing left but for lead to swim on the waves, and for wood to lie 
gaping beneath them ! " Words such as these show that whatever effect 
was produced in weaker minds by the disorderly conduct of some of 
those who, in this age, occupied the chair of Peter, the teachers and 
thinkers of the tenth century were well able to distinguish between 
Peter and his office, and did not suffer in their faith from the sight of 
the sins of any of Peter's successors. 

1 Otto "causa scandendi oilmen imperii, ut mos est a Magno Carolo 
regum Francorum, multo comitatu Romam intravit, optatum diu caput 
Latime terne ostendit, quasi post Deum secunda justitia veniat." 
Bruno's Life of S. Adalbert, c. 18, ap. M. G. SS. } iv., p. 604. 

2 " Unctionem imperialem percepit, et advocatus ecclesirc S. Petri 
efficitur." Thiet., iv., c. 18. Cf. the other chronicles already cited. 

3 Jaffe, sub 3863 (2955). 


bishop. He had been elected bishop of Cambrai; but, 
owing to the troubles between Arnulf 1 and Gerbert, he 
had not been able to get consecrated. He also complained 
to the Pope of the manner in which the temporalities of 
his see had been plundered. Gregory not only consecrated 
Herluin, but addressed a bull to him in which he certified 
that fact, and forbade, under pain of excommunication, any 
noble to dare in the future to interfere with the property 
of the See of Cambrai, or, on the death of bishop or priest 
of that diocese, to plunder the goods they might chance 
to leave behind them. 2 The fact that Gregory had no 
hesitation in denouncing the emperor's favourite as an 
intruder shows his love of justice and his independence of 
character; and that Otho did not demur lets us see the 
harmony which prevailed between the Church and the 
State. No wonder this synod was regarded as the begin- 
ning of a new era, and that men rejoiced to see Pope and 
emperor uniting in giving laws to the world. 3 

Before this august assembly the turbulent Crescentius Crescentius 
was naturally summoned. The youthful emperor very a Sd Otho' 
wisely wished that the rebel should be banished. But the Rome, 
feelings of the Pope, paternal no doubt but mistaken, led 
him to beg for mercy for the worthless noble. 4 He un- 
fortunately obtained his request. Crescentius returned to 
his liberty and to his plots, while Otho marched north to 
Germany (June). 

No sooner had Otho turned his back on Rome than 

1 Cf. supra, p. 351 ff. 

2 Ep. 2, p. 904. Cf. Gesta Po7it. Camerac, t. i., c. ill, ap. M. G. SS. t 
vii., or P. L., t. 149. 

3 " Laetantur cum primatibus minores civitatis .... quia novus 
imperator dat jura populis, dat jura novus papa." Vit. S. Adalbert., 
c. 21. 

4 " Sed ad preces novi apostolici imperator omnia remisit." Annal, 
Hildesh., an. 996. 

396 GREGORY y. 

Gregory felt that his leniency towards Crescentius had been 
a mistake. He was soon made to feel that the pardoned 
noble had a great deal of power in the city, and that his 
fidelity could not be relied on. Conscious that his own 
influence among his new subjects was not enough to enable 
him to cope with Crescentius, should that unruly spirit again 
aspire to supreme power, and full of apprehension that 
such was indeed his intention, the Pope begged Otho to 
return to Rome at once. In reply 1 the emperor expressed 
his grief that he could not do as his affection for his 
friend strongly inclined him. The climate was really more 
than he could endure. But he would be with the Pope in 
spirit. To encourage Gregory, Otho reminded him that he 
had commissioned the great ones of Italy {primores Italice), 
such as Hugh the Great (marquis of Tuscany from 970 to 
about 1001), who was the emperor's devoted adherent, and 
the count of Spoleto and Camerino, to be at once the 
Pope's consolation and protection, 
rescemius Gregory had not misread the political situation ; his 
fbeSion, fears were soon realised. But a few months elapsed after 
57 the departure of Otho ere Crescentius was again in arms. 

He would have no master if he could help it. He worked 
upon the feelings of u the Romans," i.e. of his own party, 
by reminding them of the way in which Otho had dictated 
to them.* 2 Gregory, though he seems to have dreaded it, 

1 Ep. 216, among the letters of Gerbert : "Naturae necessitas suo 
jure omnia constringens, qualitates Italic! eeris qualitatibus mei 
corporis quadam sui generis contrarietate opponit." 

2 " De isto (Gregorio) qualiter a Romanis, imperatori rebellantibus, 
primo expulsus sit." Cf. the additions by Rupert (tii35), abbot of 
Tuy, to Lantbert's (tio69) Life of Archbishop Heribert of Cologne 
(tio2i), ap. M. G. SS. y iv. "Cui (the Pope) rebellans Crescentius," 
says the more or less contemporary catalogue known as Eccards (ap. 
Ecc, Corpus, ii. 1640) or as of Augsburg. Cf. L. P., ii., p. xv., and 
Watterich, i., p. xv. Ademar of Chabannes, who was a boy when these 
events were in progress, speaks of Crescentius endeavouring to snatch 


was not prepared for such perfidy and ingratitude as were 
manifested by John Crescentius. Like the rest of the 
Popes for many a century, he took no effective measures 
for keeping in check the unbridled ambition of the more 
powerful of the nobility. He neglected to prepare those 
means of forcible repression which even a father of a family 
much more a ruler of a state must have at hand to be 
used in case of need. He was forced to fly from the city 
destitute of everything. 1 This took place apparently in 
the early part of 997. 

Expelled from Rome, Gregory made his way to Pavia, The synod 
where he had ordered a synod to assemble. He wished to 997.^ 
discuss other important matters as well as the usurpation 
of Crescentius. There were grave troubles in France. 
Gerbert had been to him to plead his cause in his own 
person before the supreme judge in the Church. 2 And 
news had reached Gregory that King Robert, setting at 
defiance both the laws of the Church and the advice of 

the imperial power out of the hands of Otho : " cum contra Hotonem 
imperium Romanum vellet (Crescentius) arripere." Chron., iii. 31. It 
will be noticed that in all these contemporary authorities there is not 
the slightest hint that Crescentius was a patriot of any sort. Authors, 
who wrote when the passions roused by these transactions had had 
time to cool down, agree with their predecessors in representing 
Crescentius as a man who was simply striving for power for himself. 
And so Bonizo of Sutri ("f-1091) speaks of Crescentius as "urbis Romae 
capitaneus, qui sibi inane nomen patriciatus vendicaverat, assumens 
tyrannidem, Papam .... expulit." Lib. ad Amicum, 1. iv., ap. Jaffe, 
Mon. Gregor. ; cf. his Libri decret., 1. vi., ap. Mai, Nova Pat. Bib., pt. 
iii., p. 45, 6. 

1 " Crescentius d. apostolicum, nudum omnium rerum, Urbe 
expulit." Annal. Hild., an. 996. According to the Annals of 
Quedlinburg, ad. an. 997, ap. M. G. SS., iii., Crescentius seized the 
city whilst Gregory happened to be absent from it. 

2 " Gerbertus Romam ratiocinaturus vadit, ac ibi ratione papas data, 
cum nullus accusaret, alia sinodus indicitur." Richer, Hist., 1. iv., 
sub fin. It is thought that Gerbert came to Rome in the train of 


the wise, 1 had married Bertha, who was his second cousin, 
and moreover spiritually related to him as well. 2 For he 
had been godfather to a child of Bertha by a former 
husband whose death he had contrived to bring about. 
Robert had married Bertha immediately after the demise 
of Hugh Capet, his father (f October 996). 

When, towards the middle of the year 997, the synod 
which Gregory had summoned met at Pavia, 3 the first 
question to which the assembly addressed itself was the 
case of Gerbert. Here again things did not turn out 
favourably for the would-be occupant of the See of Rheims. 
The bishops who had taken part in the deposition of 
Arnulf, and who, though summoned to the synod, had not 
taken the trouble to be properly represented at it, were 
suspended from their office, whereas those who had been 
deposed without " the apostolical authority " were declared 
"to remain innocent." 

It was next decreed that King Robert, who, "despite 
the apostolical prohibition," had married a relation, 
should, along with the bishops who had consented to his 
marriage, give satisfaction to the Pope. Excommunication 
was to be the result of refusal. 

The doings of Crescentius, who, as we shall see presently, 
had meanwhile caused an antipope to be elected, were of 
course discussed by the council. In view of the election of 
the antipope, it was decreed that any cleric who, whilst the 

1 E.g. of Gerbert, " Berta Roberto nubere volens Gerbertum con- 
sulit ac ab eo confutatur." Richer, I.e. 

- Cf. Etudes sur le regne de Robert le Pieux, by Pfister (Paris, 1885), 

p. 49- 

3 A metrical inscription sets forth that Gregory 

"Forte Ticinensem qui tunc pergebat ad urbem, 
Concilii sacri causam habiturus ibi " 

consecrated the Church of St. Prosper at Pavia on January 24 (997), 
ap. Jafife, sub 3872 (2961). 


Pope was safe and sound, should take any steps without his 
knowledge for the election of a new pontiff, should be de- 
prived of his dignity, excommunicated, and anathematised. 
Crescentius himself, " the disturber {invasor et deprccdator) 
of the holy Roman Church," was excommunicated. The 
decrees of this synod, signed by thirteen bishops, are known 
to us through a letter x which the Pope addressed to " our 
vicar" Willigis of Mayence, in which he asked him to 
secure the adhesion to them of the bishops subject to him. 

The action of the synod of Pavia came as a rude shock Robert and 
to Robert, who, at this period at any rate, had no right to 
the title of " the Pious " which history has awarded him. 
Wishing to retain the object of his affections, and at the 
same time to avoid excommunication, he determined to 
try if submission in one particular would enable him to 
avoid it in another. Arnulf of Rheims, who had been 
deprived of his see "without a fair trial," according to 
the biographer of Abbo, 2 was still languishing in prison. 
Decrees of Popes and councils in his favour had up to this 
availed him nothing. King Robert, however, now sent Abbo 
of Fleury to the Pope, who had meanwhile threatened to 
anathematise the whole kingdom of the Franks on account 
of the treatment of Arnulf. 3 The abbot found his task a 
heavy one. The food and drink of foreign climes, especi- 
ally of old England, had had the effect of making the saint 
decidedly stout. 4 But the weight of his body did not in 

1 P. L., e P . 9. 

2 Arnulfus " Remorum archiepiscopus .... absque justa audientia 
sede sua privatus custodiaeque fuerat mancipatus." Vit. Abbonis> 
c. II. 

3 "Toti regno Francorum anathema se invecturum comminatus 
est." lb. 

4 " Et quamvis mole corporis gravaretur (nam, in transmarinis 
regionibus peregrinorum ciborum inusitata qualitas decoctseque 
potionis haustus corpus ejus pingue reddiderat) nequaquam tamen 
labore fatigabatur." lb. 


his case drag down the aspirations of his soul. Eager 
for peace, he faced difficulties of every kind in his efforts 
to find him " whom report had represented as the one to 
look to for the restoration of the standard of religious 
life." 1 When he reached Rome in the autumn of 997, he 
only found a figment of a Pope, the creature of the tyrant 
Crescentius. It was not to speak to such a man that 
Abbo had toiled many a heavy mile. It was the true 
Pope he wished to see. He had no desire to look upon 
Rome "subject to usurpers' rule" (that of Crescentius and 
his antipope); it was to approach "the fifth Gregory, the 
world's watchman " that " on his knees " he had crossed 
the mighty Alps. 2 He must, then, find Gregory. Again, 
therefore, through many a deep and dusky vale, o'er many 
a rugged mountain " per concava vallium, per praerupta 
montium investigans he dragged his weary body. At 
length, in the district of Spoleto, " the two lights of the 
Church" met, and embraced each other. After the Pope 
had duly blessed him, he let the saint know how glad he 
was to see such an ardent champion of the Church and of 
truth. He had heard, he continued, of his learning, and 
knew that no claims of friendship whatsoever would make 
him swerve from the right path. He had long desired to 
see and to converse with him both on sacred and on 
profane subjects. It will be for you to ask, said Gregory, 
and for me to grant. For I know that you will not ask 
for anything I ought not to bestow upon you. Whether 
the Pope spoke in this way to prevent Abbo from pleading 
for Robert cannot be determined, as the saint's biographer 
says nothing definitely about any negotiations on the 
king's behalf. He tells us, however, that for eight days 
the pontiff kept Abbo by his side, and granted him all the 

1 L.c. 

See Abbo's verses at the end of his fourth letter. 


favours he had come to beg for. One of these was a 
charter of privilege for his monastery. And so far was 
the Pope, says the saint's disciple, from wishing to extract 
any profit for himself out of his favours, that he made the 
abbot a present of vestments and other things used at 
Mass. 1 We are told that among the other privileges 
conferred by this charter was exemption from episcopal 
visitation. Moreover, if the whole of Gaul were to be laid 
under an interdict by the Apostolic See, the charter pro- 
claimed that it was not to be in the power of any bishop 
to lay the interdict on the abbey. A copy of this diploma 
of Gregory has been found comparatively recently, and 
has been published by Pfister. 2 It contains the privileges 
mentioned by Abbo's biographer and others as well, and 
concludes with invoking on king or bishop the loss of their 
dignity, and threatening them with excommunication, if 
they contravene the papal grant. As the bull is dated 
November 15, 997, we must conclude that then Gregory 
was still in or near Spoleto. 

Though, to argue from Abbo's letter to Gregory, soon to 
be cited, it would seem that the saint received from the 
Pope anything but a promise of any indulgence for Robert 
in the matter of his marriage, it was, nevertheless, arranged 

1 In vit., c. 12. "Quod (privilegium) .... papa tarn favorabiliter 
largitus est, ut non solum nullum pecuniae quaereret lucrum, verum 
thymiamate ac planeta, qua inter missarum uteretur solemnia, donatum 
.... Dei famulum (domum) remiserit." Among the other matters on 
which the saint spoke to the Pope were the passions ("de passionibus 
animae loquentes "), ep. Abb. 4, ap. P. L., t. 39. 

2 Robert le Pieux, p. lvii. Beneath the glorious porch of the old 
romanesque church of S. Benoit-sur-Loire may be read a long list of 
the names of papal benefactors of the great monastery of Fleury. Of 
course that of Gregory V. (997) figures among them. As the Pope 
had said that he was very curious to know " how the body of Benedict, 
the lawgiver of monks, had been translated into Gaul," Abbo sent 
him an account of the matter, and at the same time two embossed 
Manzerina vases. Cf. ep. Abb. 4. 

VOL. IV. 26 


that Arnulf should be released and restored to his see. 
The abbot was to convey the pallium to the re-established 
archbishop, and to deliver an unpalatable message to the 
king. That Abbo faithfully fulfilled his commissions we 
learn from a letter which he addressed 1 : " To the venerable 
prelate of the holy Roman and Apostolic See, and hence 
doctor of the universal Church, Abbo, the rector of Fleury, 
offers health in Christ." " It often happens," he wrote, 
" that the full purity of truth is obscured by the words of 
an unfaithful interpreter. To guard against such a danger, 
venerable father, I stated your will in terms at once faith- 
ful and simple, as you bade me. Nor do I fear in the 
least degree the animosity of the king, since I added 
nothing (to your words), nor did I diminish, change, or 
omit anything. Of all this, Arnulf, forgiven and freed from 
prison, is my witness, to whom I presented the pallium as 
with your own hands. My witness also is my lord Robert, 
the illustrious king of the Franks, who, as your spiritual son, 
has promised to obey you as he would St. Peter, the Prince 
of the Apostles, whose place on the earth you now hold." 
In conclusion, while thanking Gregory for the vestments 
he had given him, Abbo declares he will never forget the 
Pope in his prayers, and will be ever obedient to him. 

As a result of these negotiations, Arnulf (fi02i) was 
released (November 997) ; but, whatever promises to the 
contrary Robert may have made, Bertha was not dismissed 
from his side. 2 Accordingly, at a synod held in Rome at 

1 Ap. vit. Abbonis, c. 12 ; but in full, ap. P. Z,., t. 139, p. 419. In 
answering (ep. 12) this letter, Gregory speaks "of the kings promise" 
("de regis promissione") whatever it really was and asks the abbot 
for friendship's sake to send him one of his best missals. 

2 Gerbert's party at Rheims gave out that this was done by Robert 
with the connivance of the legate Leo. u Leo Romanus abba ut 
absolvatur (Arnulf) obtinuit, ob confirmandum senioris mei regis Rot. 
(Robert) novum conjugium, ut michi a Remensibus per litteras signifi- 
catum est." Ep. Gerb., 181. 


the close of the year 998 or the beginning of 999, after the 
re-establishment of Gregory, and when Otho was in the 
city, it was decided that, unless Robert discarded Bertha, 
and agreed to do penance for seven years, he was to be 
anathematised. The same penalty was decreed against 
Bertha; and the bishops who had assisted at the illegal 
wedding were declared excommunicated till such times as 
they came to Rome in a spirit of repentance. 1 The first 
signature to these decrees after the Pope's was that of 
Gerbert, now archbishop of Ravenna, and formerly Robert's 

For some time the king braved the condemnation of the Robert 
Church at least so says Pfister. But it is by no means Bertha, 
easy, at the period of which we are now treating, to give 
either accurate facts as to Robert's deeds or precise dates 
to them. Relying on a diploma 2 in which the king is said 
to have acted u at the request of his dear wife Bertha," the 
last-named author believes that on October 26,999, Robert 
had certainly not taken any heed of the Pope's anathema. 
On the other hand, he thinks it clear that by September 
1 OO 1 Bertha had lost her position as queen, and that 
before August 25, 1003, Robert had married Constance. 
Very few certain indications with regard to the chronology 
of the close of the tenth century can, however, be extracted 
from the charters of King Robert. The notes of time 
attached to them are so corrupt or so complicated that 
Pfister himself, who has devoted a close study to them, has 
declared that " each diploma must be examined separately, 
and above all with the greatest prudence and even with a 
certain amount of timidity." 3 And so in the case of the 

1 Cann. 1 and 2, ap. Labbe, ix., p. 772. 

2 Robert le Pzeux i p. lxvi., No. 18, where there is a misprint of 998 
for 999, and p. 57. 

3 lb., p. xliv. The diploma in question is dated thus : u Data vii. 
Kal. Novembris, Indictione xii., anno xii. regnante Roberto." Sir H. 


document under discussion, we should get the year 998 if 
the indiction given (viz. the twelfth) be supposed to have 
begun in September. Besides, should the date 999 be 
accepted, it is necessary to reject a letter 1 which purports 
to have been written by Gregory V. (November 998) to 
Constance, queen of the Gauls (Galliarum), and to assert 
that a signature of Constance to a diploma, signed also by 
King Robert, " must have been added afterwards." 2 

At any rate, certain it is that Robert repented sooner or 
later. " David and Robert," says the latter's panegyrist,* 
" after the manner of kings, sinned ; but, touched by God, 
they repented and bewailed their sins with their tears, which 
is not in accordance with the usual habit of kings." It is 
also certain that he went to Rome, in company with the 
bishops who had supported him in his opposition to the 
laws of the Church, and with them expressed his sorrow 
for his conduct, and accepted the penance which was im- 
posed upon him. 4 During the absence of the king, 
Constance had much to suffer from Bertha, who, owing to 
the encouragement she received " from certain courtiers," 
says Odorannus in his Chronicle (sub an. 103 1), hoped for 
a fresh and, this time, for a favourable decision from Rome. 
Her disappointment when, on Robert's return, she found 

Nicolas observes {The Chronology of Hist., p. 7), "Under the third 
race (of French monarchs, which began with Hugh Capet) great 
variation prevailed in using the Indiction." 

1 Ep. 19, P. Z., p. 934. 

1 Cf diploma 19, ap. Pfister, p. lxvii. 

1 Helgaud, a natural son of Hugh Capet, and a monk of Fleury, in 
vita Rob., ap. P. Z., t. 142. 

4 This we learn from a fragment of a letter of Leo IX. to Henry, 
Robert's son, preserved by Ivo of Chartres. Cf. Jaflfe, 4307 (3270). 
" Robertus (cum episcopis regni) .... excommunicato post ad sedem 
aspostolicam venientes cum satisfactione, sumpta pcenitentia, redierunt 
ad propria." When this journey took place we are not prepared to 
say. Perhaps not before c. 1010, as Pfister holds (p. 68) that it was 
about that time that Robert first went to Rome. 


him "more devoted to Constance than before," may be 

If it be the fact that Robert did not submit immediately, 
we are driven to ask what was the cause of his ultimate 
obedience. Following the testimony of St. Peter Damian 
and a fragment of an ancient chronicle, we should say it 
was on account of the disagreeable consequences which 
his personal excommunication and an interdict on his 
kingdom entailed upon him. Damian asserts l that Robert 
was abandoned by everybody except two servants who 
remained to prepare his food, and that even they after- 
wards threw into the fire the vessels from which he had 
eaten and drunk. It is a fragment of a history of the 
Franks 2 which states that the whole of Francia was laid 
under an interdict by the Pope. But, because the saint 
goes on to assure us that Bertha was the mother of a 
monstrosity which had the head and neck of a goose, and 
because the fragment is crammed full of legends, the 
evidence of both the one and the other is discounted by 
some authors. But when we reflect on the treatment which 
excommunication brought upon Gerbert, 3 there would seem 
to be no reason to call in question the accuracy of Damian's 
statement, so far, at least, as it registers the fact that the 
king was shunned by many. And as it is known with 
certainty that Gregory had threatened to lay the whole 
country under an interdict, and that Abbot Abbo took 
measures to prevent the impending evil from affecting his 
monastery, we may well believe that it actually did fall on 
the land of Francia. 

However all this may be, certain it is, as we have said, 

1 Ep. ii. 15, ad. Desid. Cass., which, ap. P. Z., t. 145, is printed as 
Opusculum 34. Cf. c. 6. 

2 " Gregorius totam Franciam anathemate percussit," ap. Bouquet, 
Recneil des hist, de France, x. 211. 

3 V. supra, p. 368. 


that Robert repudiated Bertha, became reconciled to the 
Holy See, and married Constance. 1 
Gerbert, The affair of Robert of France has not allowed us to lose 

archbishop . . 

ofRavenna. sight of Gerbert of Rheims. Sacrificed, as he believed, by- 
King Robert for Bertha, and abandoned as excommunicated 
by his own partisans, Gerbert finally left France, somewhere 
about the month of May 997, and betook himself to the 
court of the youthful Emperor Otho III. 2 Though received 
with open arms by that powerful and enlightened sovereign, 

1 It seems curious that there should be men who would endeavour 
to criticise adversely the action of Pope Gregory regarding the 
marriage of King Robert. Yet we read in this connection that : 
" The Church punished the weak and friendly, while she let the strong 
and hostile escape. In Robert she had a devout friend : his father 
with the bishops had resisted Rome ; he, to appease the Pope, 
alienated the national Church party, and lost the wife he loved." 
Hist, of France, by Dean Kitchin, i. 201. No doubt there are strong 
kings and weak kings, but to beard a king can seldom be considered a 
trifling operation. Besides, Robert was not quite the weakling Dean 
Kitchin would seem to imagine. Cf Hist. gtndrale, by Lavisse and 
Rambaud, i. 515 : " Recents travaux nous obligent a dire, avec Richer, 
qu'il excellait aussi dans les choses de la guerre et ne manquait pas 

" Lost the wife he loved." What would be the state of the world if 
every man could have to wife the women he loved? It need hardly be 
pointed out that daily experience proves the evil of marriages between 
relations. All honour, then, to the Pope who made a king conform to 
those laws of the Church which are so eminently calculated to preserve 
the purity of our race. Clergymen of the national Church of England 
find no difficulty in discovering prototypes in an age when not even 
nations, still less national churches, had ever been imagined. Cf 
Mr Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire, p. 91 : "The whole fabric of 
medieval Christianity rested upon the idea of the Visible Church. 
Such a Church could be nowise local or limited. To acquiesce in the 
establishment of National Churches would have appeared to those 
men, as it must always appear when scrutinised, contradictory to the 
nature of a religious body, opposed to the genius of Christianity, 
defensible, when capable of defence at all, only as a temporary resource 

in the presence of insuperable difficulties Since there were as 

yet no nations, the plan (of a National Church) was one which did 
not and could not present itself." 

2 Richer, sub fin. ; Epp. Gerb., 181 f. 


the emperor's influence was not strong enough to preserve 
the See of Rheims for his favourite. On the contrary, 
Gerbert's rival Arnulf was, as we have seen, released by 
King Robert (c. November 997) and recognised as archbishop 
of Rheims by Gregory. Still, if Otho could not keep his 
honoured tutor in his French metropolitical see, there was 
much that he could do for him. He not only bestowed 
ample domains upon Gerbert, 1 but, when the violent doings 
of Crescentius caused him to set out for Rome towards the 
close of 997, he took his friend with him. Otho was 
determined to get some honour from the Pope for the man 
who had been the faithful adherent of three generations of 
his family. 2 In the early part of the year 998 Gerbert was 
in Rome with the victorious emperor, and in April he 
succeeded to the archbishopric of Ravenna, the first see 
in Italy after that of Rome, and at that time vacant by 
the abdication (998) of its occupant, John XIII. 

The bull by which Gregory conceded to Gerbert the use 
of the pallium is a very important document. It shows that 
the confirmation by Otho I. of the donations of Pippin and 
Charlemagne to the Holy See had not been without effect. 
Under the powerful protection of the Saxon emperors, the 
sovereign pontiffs began to recover their temporal juris- 
diction over the exarchate of Ravenna, which they had lost 
during the disorders of the earlier part of the tenth century. 
Owing to a mingling together of points of civil and ecclesi- 
astical jurisdiction, the bull is unfortunately not particu- 
larly easy of comprehension. It runs : " Gregory, bishop, 
servant of the servants of God, to Gerbert, archbishop of 
the holy Church of Ravenna, and our spiritual son, and 
through you to all your successors. Moved both by good- 

1 Ep. Gerb., 183. 

2 Id., 185. " Tribus seculi setatibus, vobis, patri, avo, inter hostes et 
tela, fidem purissimam exhibui." 


will towards you'and by ancient custom, we have set your 
fraternity over the Church of Ravenna, and we think it 
right to bestow upon you the insignia of the prelates of 
that church, and among them the pallium to be worn just 
as you know was done by your predecessors. Strive to 
match the beauty of these corporal adornments by the 
internal perfections of the soul. To show you the warmth 
of our regard for you, we are glad gratuitously to bestow 
upon you, after the death of the empress (mother) Adelaide, 
the district of the city of Ravenna, with all the coast rights 
and the privilege of coining money, with the tolls and 
market dues, and with the walls and gates of the city 1 
all things to the contrary notwithstanding. Also after the 
death of the empress we grant you and your successors the 
county of Commacchio, to have and to hold it for ever. 
We, moreover, confirm to you and your church Xhe privilege 
we granted to John, your predecessor, which submitted to 
him the bishoprics of Montefeltre 2 and Cervia (Ficoclum), 
and the monasteries of St. Thomas the Apostle, and St. 
Euphemia, martyr, with all their possessions as well in the 
city of Rimini as in the counties of Pesaro, Rimini, and 
Montefeltre. To these we add all that your predecessors 
have held for a hundred years, and of which you, by the 
mercy of God, are now in peaceful possession, viz. Liga- 
bizzi and other castelli. And still further to display our 
paternal regard for you, we confirm, by virtue of the 

1 " Donamus tibi districtum Ravennatis urbis, ripam integrant, mone- 
tam, teloneum, mercatum, muros et omnes portas civitatis." Ep. 14. 

1 Now San Leo, S.W. of the republic of San Marino. By a bull 
(ep. 11) of the preceding year, Gregory not only restored to the jurisdic- 
tion of the Church of Ravenna the See of Piacenza which, for the benefit 
of John Philagathus, Pope John XV. had "unjustly" removed from it 
(" injuste a meo antecessore ablatam "), but, as a compensation, placed 
under the jurisdiction of Ravenna the See of Montefeltre ("episcopatum 
Monteferetranum "), with all its belongings, down to its serfs and slaves 
("cum famulis utriusque sexus"). 


authority of God and of the Prince of the Apostles, the 
grant of the bishopric of Reggio made to you by the 
Emperor Otho. 1 In fine, we grant you Cesena, all its 
dependencies, and all hunting rights between it and the sea, 
so that with full authority you may there manage every- 
thing." 2 After the customary denunciation of anathema 
against anyone who should dare to contravene this papal 
privilege, it concluded thus : 

" Written by the hand of Peter, notary and scrivener of 
the Holy Roman Church, in the month of April, the eleventh 
indiction. Bene valete. Given April 28 by the hand of 
John, bishop of Albano and librarian 3 of the Holy Apos- 
tolic See," etc. Gregory had already (January 28, 997) 
bestowed similar powers on Gerbert's predecessor, John 
XIII., 4 in order, as he said, that the Church of Ravenna 
" might not lose even the very name of metropolitan." In 
the territories which he conceded, the Pope is always careful 
to add that he grants John and his successors "all judicial 
power," and proclaims that, apart from the archbishop, no 
other ecclesiastic may dare to collect any taxes throughout 
the whole of Emilia and the Pentapolis. 5 It was enough for 

1 "Auctoritate Dei .... hoc nostro privilegio, praeceptum de 
Regiensi episcopatu cum omnibus sibi adjacentiis, a venerabile Ottone 
tibi .... tuis successoribus attributum, confirmamus," etc. Ep. 14. 

2 " Jubemus ut . . . . potestative omnia ibi facias et praecipias. " lb. 

3 The signature of this same librarian appears in many of Gregory's 
bulls. The papal library then cannot have been wholly neglected even 
during this terrible tenth century. 

4 Ep. 6. Unfortunately this document has reached us in a mutilated 

6 "Denique concedimus . . . . ut ab aliquo sacerdote Ravennae 
degente, aut ex familia ejusdem S. R. E., per totam ^miliam atque 
Pentapolim nullum teloneum, atque portaticum, sive squillaticum 
exigatur." The powers of the nobility in the matter of exacting services 
from the people were also curtailed by this bull : "Confirmamus .... 
ut nullus dux, comes, vicecomes, castaldo .... magna parvaque 
persona prsefatis colonis et residentibus aliquam publicam functionem 
aut angariam .... exigant." Gregory also gave to the Church of 


Gregory to know that the Church of Ravenna " was destitute 
of all things " to make him eager to stretch out a helping 
hand to it. But, of course, had it not been that he felt 
sure of the support of the strong arm of Otho, he could 
not have done much to restore either its spiritual or its tem- 
poral jurisdiction. These bulls anent Ravenna give us a 
clear insight into what Gregory and Otho could have ac- 
complished together in the way of curbing the tyrannical 
petty princes who ground down the people of Italy, and of 
raising the Church both in spirituals and in temporals. 
Hence is there the more reason to regret the early demise 
of these two men men undoubtedly of no mean order of 
ability, and of a well-defined strength of character. 

We must now look into what was being done in Rome 
during the absence of the Pope. And to avoid interrupting 
the narrative of the thrilling drama therein enacted in 
which Crescentius was the chief performer, a word or two 
may be prefixed on St. Nilus, who also took part in it, and 
on the sequence of events which brought about that Greek 
influence in Italy of which his career was a vivid illustration. 

During the palmy days of the Roman Empire, that 
important position which their famous colonies 1 (Magna 
Gnecia) had given to the Greeks in South Italy well 
nigh disappeared. With the victories of Belisarius and 

Ravenna certain rights of quarrying for stone not only under the 
earth, but in ancient public buildings no longer in use: "lapides et 
petras tarn supra terram, quam sub terram, extra opus in publicis 
.edificiis positas." Ep. 6. The grand buildings of imperial times 
could not be kept up either in Rome or Ravenna. 

1 Chiefly around the gulf of Tarentum, with some cities (Pestum, 
Cum;t, Neapolis) on the west coast. On "Greece in Italy" read 
Hist, ami Architectural Sketches, p. 231 f., by E. A. Freeman (London, 
1876); and Trinchera in his introduction to his Syllabus Gnrcarum 
Membranarum (Naples, 1865). The hundreds of documents he gives, 
many of which bear dates of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, 
speak for themselves of the survival of Greek influence in South 


Narses, however, Greek influence in the south of the 
peninsula revived ; and, by the iconoclastic persecutions 
of Leo III. and his successors, was fanned into vigorous 
life. The Mahometan invasions of the Eastern-Roman 
empire, and the edicts of the image-breaking emperors 
sent thousands of Greeks into the south of Italy; and 
the forcible transference (732) cf the churches of Calabria 
and Sicily, from the jurisdiction of the Pope to that of 
the patriarch of Constantinople, 1 was a factor of the first 
importance in preventing the immigrants from being 
absorbed by the native population. This tyrannical act 
of Leo III. gave the Greeks of Italy organisation. The 
Saracen trouble, which began in the ninth century (813), 
brought them under the direct jurisdiction of the Greek 
emperors. After the first descent of the infidels upon 
Sicily (827), their ravages in South Italy became so 
extensive that an excellent excuse was thereby given 
to that energetic warrior Basil the Macedonian for 
endeavouring to recover the authority of his predecessors 
in Italy. He availed himself of it (876), and succeeded 
in so firmly laying the foundations of Greek rule in 
Southern Italy that it became paramount there till it 
was overthrown by the Normans at the close of the 
eleventh century. So far had the Hellenisation of the 
southern extremity of the peninsula been carried in the 
tenth century, that our national chronicle could speak 
of Otho the Third's expedition into "Greek-land." 2 In 
order to strengthen Greek influence, Nicephorus Phocas 
(963-969) resolved to extend the ascendancy of the Greek 
Church in Italy. Acting as though the Greek Church 
were autonomous, he ordered the patriarch of Constanti- 
nople to raise the bishop of Otranto to the rank of an 
archbishop, and to make him the metropolitan of Apulia. 
1 Cf. vol. i. pt. ii. p. 206 of this work. 2 A.-Sax. C/iron., an. 982. 


Not content with this double usurpation of papal authority, 
in taking from it new territories, and in modifying the 
ecclesiastical hierarchy without the authorisation of the 
Pope, he forbade Latin to be used in any of the Church 
services in Apulia. 1 

The result of the continued and varied efforts of the 
Greek emperors to Hellenise Southern Italy was so 
successful that, despite the overthrow of their power in the 
peninsula by the Normans, Greek influence lasted even in 
Apulia which is regarded as having been less Hellenised 
than Calabria right down to the fifteenth century. In the 
thirteenth century we find Roger Bacon suggesting that, 
to increase the knowledge of Greek in this country, " some 
should journey to Italy, in some portions of which for 
example, in Apulia the clergy and the people were really 
Greeks," and that the rich, as Bishop Grosseteste had done, 
should " send to those parts in search of books as well as of 
persons acquainted with Greek." 2 In the same century 
a papal envoy to Nardo, in the heel of Italy, writes to 
express his joy at finding himself, as it were, in Greece; 
and from Crotona, in the toe of Italy, we see the Popes 
drawing one Greek bishop after another to send as their 
legates to the emperors of Constantinople. 3 

In the very last decade of the fourteenth century, 
Raimondello Orsini built the Church of S. Caterina at 
Galatina, " because the principal church, St. Peter's, was 
served according to the Greek rite, and all the priests were 
Greek, and so was the language, so that those Latins who 
understood not the Greek tongue could not pray to God in 

1 Liutprand, Legat., c. 62. Cf. Brehier, Le schismc oriental du 
XT sikle, p. 1 1 ; and Parthey, Notitue efiisc, x. 223. 

2 Compendium studii fihilosophice, p. 434, cited by Stevenson, 
Robert Grosseteste, p. 53 f. 

:{ Batiffol, LAbbaye de Rossano, pp. xxviii., xxx., etc. 


a language they comprehended." 1 The great Benedictine 
traveller Montfaucon, who when in Italy made careful 
enquiries about Greek manuscripts, tells us that this 
difficulty of the different rites was brought to an end by 
Sixtus IV. (1471-84), who "ordered all to say their office 
in Latin ; for they endeavoured quite to extinguish the 
use of the Greek tongue in those parts. Nevertheless in 
many parts of that kingdom (Naples) the common people 
speak Greek, but corrupted." 2 

Even to this day, writes a modern author, " the peasants 
about here (Galatina) still speak Greek, with many Italian 
words intermixed." 3 And, "in that part of the Terra 
d' Otranto called ' II Capo,' the people still speak Greek." 4 
Another English traveller, writing only a few years ago, 
tells of some peasants in a mountainous village near 
Catanzaro, who talk a corrupt Greek, and who are even 
called Greet by their neighbours. 5 But it must be borne 
in mind that some, if not all, of these Greek -speaking 
people are descendants of Greeks who fled from Greece 
before " the unspeakable Turk." 

From the sixth century, then, but especially from the 
eighth to the eleventh century, the remaking of Greece in 
South Italy went on ; and from Tarentum to Reggium a 

country was formed which was Hellenic in language, 
manners, religion, and national sentiment. 6 

It was in the chief town (Roscianum or Rossano) of this s. Nilus. 
second Magna Grsecia that, towards the beginning of the 

1 Janet Ross, The Land of Manfred, p. 229, quoting Mem. Stor. 
della citta di Galatina, del Dr. B. Papadia. 

2 The Travels of Montfaucon, p. 249 (London, 1712). 

3 Ross., p. 234. 4 lb., p. 258. 

5 Gissing, By the Ionian See, p. 114 (London, 1901). 

6 Cf Lenormant, La Grande Grece, who shows (i. p. 196) how the 
number of Saracen names of places in S. Italy attests the hold those 
savages had on it. 


tenth century (910), was born Nicholas, who, as the abbot 
Nilus, was to be one of the most famous men of his time. 
With charming naivete' his biographer writes : " I know 
that everyone is acquainted with Rossano, not only because 
it is the capital city of Calabria, but because, though the 
whole province has been laid waste and all its cities 
brought under the sway of the vile Saracens, it alone has 
hitherto escaped that disastrous fate." x For some years 
Rossano beheld Nicholas leading the ordinary married life 
of one of its first citizens. But the thought of death 
caused him to conceive a distaste for the world (940). 
Abandoning his home, he changed his name and his mode 
of living. As the monk Nilus, Nicholas soon became 
famous for his virtues. 2 While declining honours such as 
the bishopric of Rossano, he did not refuse his services to 
anybody. He was as much respected by the ravaging 
infidel as by his own countrymen ; and, though a Greek 
Basilian monk, he was regarded by the Benedictines of 
Monte Cassino "as the great Anthony come to them 
from Alexandria, or as the great Benedict, their own 
divine Legislator and Master, risen from the dead." After 
having been driven from place to place by the ravages of 
the Saracens, Nilus and his companions settled down for 
fifteen years (c. 980-99=;) in the neighbouring mountainous 
monastery of S. Angelo di Vallelucio, given them by the 
abbot of Monte Cassino. But at the time of Otho's second 
coming to Rome to restore Gregory (997), Nilus was living 
in a monastery near Gaeta, known, from a temple of Serapis, 
which had once stood on the spot, as Serpen. 
Crescentius When Crescentius had expelled Gregory from Rome, he 

II. and his 

antipope. l Vit. S, Nil., c. i, n. 2. Rosanno is best known now as the place 
where is preserved the famous Codex Rossanensis, a Greek MS. of the 
gospels of SS. Matthew and Mark, written on purple parchment in 
letters of silver. 
2 On the marriage of Nicholas, cf. Rocchi, p. xi. ff. 


had leisure to reflect on the probable consequences of his 
act and the best means of averting them. His deliberations 
were assisted by the arrival in Rome of ambassadors 
from Constantinople. Wishing to follow the example of 
his father, and to enhance his imperial position by a matri- 
monial alliance with the ruler of the Eastern Empire, 
Otho had dispatched an embassy to Constantinople to 
seek a Greek bride (99s). 1 Among the envoys was John, 
surnamed Philagathus, bishop of Piacenza. Very in- 
different, to put the matter moderately, is the character 
which has come down to us of this Calabrian Greek. 2 
According to the Annalista Saxo, often formerly quoted 
as the Chronicle of Magdeburg, he had once been a 
slave, and was crafty to the last degree. He had come in 
poverty to the court of Otho II., and had contrived to win 
the favour of the Empress Theophano. 3 Otho himself, 
on the advice " of wise and God-fearing men," made him 
abbot of the famous monastery of Nonantula ; for he 
regarded "the archimandrite John" as "quiet and re- 
served, as a man of unblemished morals, learned in Greek 
literature, and both prudent and holy." 4 He soon pushed 
his way to the front, and became the chaplain of the 
Empress. 5 On the death of Otho II., his own astuteness 
and the childhood of Otho III. enabled him to retain his 

1 "Johannes Placentinus et Bernwardus Wirciburgensis episcopi 
Constantinopolim ex latere regis, ut sponsam illi inde peterent, directi 
sunt." Annal. Hildesh., an. 995. 

2 Cf. Bonizo of Sutri, Libridecret., " Graecus genere," and the Anna- 
lista (an. 997), " Genere Calabritanus." 

3 When we hear that Theophano was " rather more than kind " to 
John, we are probably only listening to gossip. With Damian 
(L. i., ep. 21 " Qui etiam cum imperatrice .... obscceni negotii 
dicebatur habere mysterium") compare Bonizo, Ad amicum, L. iv. 

4 Diplomata, Nos. 282-3, ap. Gay, Lltalie merid., p. 392. 

5 Hist. Mediol., i., c. 1 1, by Arnulf of Milan, who, under Gregory VI I., 
wrote the history of the archbishops of Milan from 925 to 1076, ap. 
i?. /. SS., iv. Cf. Thietmar, Chron., iv., c. 21. 


paramount influence at court. He usurped the See of 
Piacenza. But it was not to be expected that a simple 
bishopric would satisfy the grasping ambition of John of 
Rossano ; and when he visited Rome, on his return from 
his mission to Constantinople with an envoy of the Greek 
emperor, he found one who was ready to add fuel to the fire 
of his unholy passions. Twin spirits were John Crescentius 
and John Philagathus. They would share all power in 
Rome between them. The Greek was to become Pope, and 
make a formal grant of the temporal power of the Papacy 
to Crescentius. Both were to place themselves under the 
protection of the emperors of Constantinople, 1 and Phila- 
gathus was to make an effort to attach to his interests the 
deposed archbishop of Rheims, the distinguished Gerbert. 2 
It was felt that, at emnity as the latter was with Gregory, 
liberal promises might induce him to go to extremes, and 
make common cause with them against the true Pope. 3 

Efforts were at once made not only by the interested 
parties, but by such as had the welfare of the Church at 

1 " Crescentius per Johannem Apostaticum imperium sibi usurpavit, 
immemor juramenti et pietatis ab imperatore sibi collate," Ann. Saxo. 
Placentinus Ep. "de quo dictum est, quod Romani decus imperii astute 
in Grrecos transferre tentasset," Arnulf, I.e. The biographer of S. X ilus 
says (c. I3,n. 89) that John seized the Holy See with "insatiable avidity " ; 
and St. Peter Damian, /.., that he did not spare money in his efforts 
to acquire the title of Pope. 

2 Cf. ep. Gerbert, 220, where Gerbert himself, as it would seem, 
writes : " Ille Joannes Grcecus quod nobis placuerit, se facturum 

3 When conduct such as this is described as patriotic, we can only 
note once again that as many wonderful things have been said in the 
name of patriotism as have been accomplished in the name of liberty. 
Lavisse and Rambaud, Hist. ghUrdU y i., p. 552, make no mistake on 
the matter : " II ne faut point se meprendre sur le caractere des 
revolutions qui s'accomplissent alors a Rome : elles sont le fait de 
l'aristocratie feodale." Rome was full of their fortresses ; their 
relations held strong places in the country. " La se recrute le parti 
des Crescentius, non chez le peuple qui n'y gagne rien." 


heart to make Crescentius and his antipope, who took the 
name of John XVI., return to a sense of their duty. 
Gregory and Otho sent formal embassies to Rome. By 
the orders of the antipope they were ruthlessly committed 
to jail. 1 At the same time St. Nilus wrote to him upbraid- 
ing him for his conduct, exhorting him not to be ensnared 
by love of human glory, and imploring him to return to 
the monastic life. In reply to the earnest exhortation of 
his saintly fellow-townsman, John gave the evasive reply 
that he was making preparations to carry out the holy 
man's advice. 

Meanwhile his doom was hurrying on apace. Especially otho 
if Otho's lofty ideas of his imperial dignity are borne in R^me^nc? 
mind, there can be no difficulty in imagining the feelings of " 7 * 
of indignation with which he received the news of the 
expulsion from Rome of his relation, countryman, and 
nominee. But a war with the Slavs in the Prussian 
province of Brandenburg, during the summer of 997 , 2 gave 
Otho no time to think about the affairs of Italy for many 
a month. However, before the close of the year, he was 
marching on the Eternal City " to cleanse the Roman 
sink," 3 and Pope Gregory was advancing to meet his 
powerful kinsman. On the news of the approach of the 
angry emperor with a strong army of Germans and Italians, 
there was great confusion in Rome. No protection for the 
traitors was forthcoming from the Greeks. Crescentius 
threw himself into the Castle of St. Angelo, while John 

1 Thietmar (or Ditmar), I.e. ; Annal. Qued., an. 997 ; Atinalista Saxo, 
an. 997. The Annals of Quedlinburg are especially severe in their 
adverse judgment of Philagathus. They speak of him " avaritias dia- 
bolico inebriatus veneno in tantum se elevavit super se, ut ipsam 
Romse b. Petri sedem .... fornicando potius caccaret, quam vener- 
ando insideret." 

2 Cf. ep. Gerberti, 183. 

3 " Ut Romanorum sentinam purgaret." Annal. Hildesh., an. 997. 
VOL IV. 27 

41 8 GREGORY V. 

fled from the city and shut himself up in some fortress 
deemed impregnable. 1 

Finding themselves untrammelled, a number of the 
Romans, whom the Annaltsta 2 calls ''friends not of the 
emperor only but of Christ," either obeying a call of duty, 
if not the command of the emperor, or following their 
natural fickleness, took up arms against their late rulers. 
A body of them, in conjunction with some of the imperial 
troops, and headed by Birthilo, a vassal of Otho, 3 set off in 
quest of the unfortunate antipope. He soon fell into their 
hands, and, " fearing lest if brought before the emperor he 
might escape unpunished," 4 these barbarians cut off his 
nose and ears, and plucked out his eyes and tongue. 
Brought to Rome, he was incarcerated in a monastery to 
await his trial. 5 
Gregory Before the end of February, if not earlier, Otho 6 and 

re-enter 2 Gregory had made their triumphant entry into Rome, and 
" sometime during Lent John of Rossano was brought 
before them, as the treatment he had already undergone 
" was not an adequate punishment for his great crime." 7 
But the cause of the wretched antipope was not yet 

1 John the Deacon, Chron. Venet., p. 155, ed. Monticolo, "Johannes, 
procul a Roma inexpugnabilem turrim intravit." 
1 Copying Thietmar, Chron., iv. 21. 

3 "Ab Ottonis vassore Birthilone correptus (Johannes)." Catal. 
Aug. vel. Eccard., ap. L. P. 

4 Ann. Quedlinburg., an. 998, followed as usual by the Annalista ; 
St. Peter Dam., ep. i. 21. 

6 Chron. Venet., I.e. An eleventh-century catalogue (ap. M. G. SS. 
Largob., p. 516) assigns to Otho both the blinding of John and the 
death of Crescentius. Otto: "excecavit Johannem papam et interfecit 
Crescentium Romanum patricium." Benzo (ap. M. G. SS., xi. 670) 
in the same century also ascribes the mutilation to Otho. Those 
moderns who assign the infliction of these cruelties to the Pope are 
not, we believe, following the records of history. 

6 Cf. a charter of Otho in favour of Hugh of Farfa (ap. R. I. SS., 
ii., pt. ii., 492), "8 Kal. Martii, A.D. 998 .... Actum Roma." 

7 John the Deacon, Chron. Venet. 


desperate. Though worn with age, sickness, and the fast 
of Lent, the Abbot Nilus 1 appeared in Rome to plead for 
his fellow-townsman. He was received with every mark 
of the profoundest respect by both Pope and emperor. 
They kissed the saint's hands, and made him sit between 
them. Powerfully did the aged patriarch pour forth his 
petition that John might be entrusted to his care, and, in 
his monastery, be allowed to bewail his sins. He reminded 
Otho and Gregory that to both of them had John stood 
godfather. 2 Vain, however, were all the saint's eloquent 
pleadings. The ingratitude of Crescentius and the ambi- 
tion of Philagathus were too great for pardon. Otho felt 
strongly about the first, and the Pope about the second. 
John was declared by the council deposed from his sacred 
rank, and, as usual in cases of public degradation, his 
vestments were rent asunder. 

Then was the unhappy man set upon " by the Romans." 3 Degrada- 
tion of 
He was placed on an ass with his face to its rear and its Phiia- 

...... , , .... gathus. 

tail in his hands ; and thus, with his torn garments, was 
driven through the city, while the people shouted : " Thus 
let the man suffer who has endeavoured to drive the Pope 
from his see." 4 After this insulting treatment, the poor 

1 In the great abbots of the day, in Abbo of Fleury, in Leo of Rome, 
in Nilus of Rossano, we see the ambassadors of Europe and angels of 

2 Vit. S. Nth', c. 13, nn. 89, 90, al., c. 15. Minasi in his note 32 
(p. 344 ff.) to his 5. Nilo dl Calabria, Naples, 1892, gives a full account 
of John Philagathus. 

3 So says John the Deacon, from whom we have most particulars 
regarding the council : " A Romanis impositus deformis aselli tergo, 
versa facie ad caudam, sub praeconi voce per Romanas regiones duce- 
batur." To say the least of it, neither Pope nor emperor seems to have 
interfered to prevent this degrading exhibition. Indeed, according to 
the biographer of St. Nilus, it was "the cruel Pope" who was the 
author not only of this degrading treatment but also of the previous 
barbarities which had been inflicted upon Philagathus. 

4 St. Peter Damian, epp. i. 21, and the other authorities already cited. 


sufferer was doubtless confined in some monastery probably 
in Fulda; and seems to have lived on thus, "sans eyes, 
sans teeth, sans everything," to the year 1013. 1 

A somewhat different account of this ghastly story is 
presented by a letter of the Greek ambassador Leo, of whom 
we made mention when speaking of the sources of the Life 
of Gregory V. From this recently discovered document 
it would appear that the degrading procession of the 
wretched mutilated antipope took place before his con- 
demnation by the Roman synod. This order of events 
perhaps lessens the complicity of the emperor as well as 
of the Pope in the perpetration of the more serious of the 
cruelties practised on Philagathus. Both from the official 
position occupied by Leo, and from the fact that he was 
in Rome when these deeds of violence were perpetrated, 
his narrative is perhaps more worthy of credence than 
that of any of the others who have chronicled the story of 
John XVI. 

" This Philagathus," writes Leo to his brother, " who, to 
sum up, has (fortunately) no equal, whose mouth is ever 
full of curses, blasphemies, and calumnies ; this man to whom 
no one can be compared, and who is not to be likene 1 to 
anyone, this Pope with hands imbued in blood, this Pope 
so arrogant and haughty (oh God ! oh Justice ! oh sun !), 
has stumbled and fallen. And why should I not tell you, 
my brother, what was the character of his fall ? He was 
anathematised by the Church of the West.' 2 Then his 

1 For the notice attached to April 2, 1 01 3, in the An?i. Nccrol. Fuld. 
(ap. M. G. SS., xiii.), viz. "4 Non. Apr. Grecus Johannes viam 
universal carnis ingressus est," seems as if it could only be referred to 
the antipope John of Rossano. A catalogue of the beginning of the 
twelfth century simply says of him, " Qui turpiter vitam suam finivit." 
Ap. Origines de Viglise romaine, par les membres de la com, de 
Solesmes, p. lxxiii. 

1 At the synod of Pavia, 997. 

GREGORY V. 42 1 

eyes were torn out ; in the third place his nose was cut off ; 
fourthly, his lips were removed ; fifthly, his tongue that 
tongue which had uttered so many abominable words- 
was plucked out ; sixthly, he was led about with great 
display, proud and grave, on a wretched little ass the 
tail of which he grasped ; his head, held erect, was covered 
with an old sack ; seventhly, lie was judged and con- 
demned. His ecclesiastical vestments were put upon him 
inside out, and then stripped off. He was then dragged 
from the temple across the proanos and court to the 
fountain. Finally, he was thrown into prison as into a 
place of rest. I have told you, brother you have the 
same views as I have myself the miseries of this un- 
fortunate Philagathus, without adding anything or keeping 
anything back. But I would counsel all to refrain from 
doing what he has dared to do. For justice never sleeps." l 

Justly indignant at the savage and then shameful way indignation 
in which John had been treated by the Romans, who were 
ever at once childish and cruel, the holy Nilus would hold 
no further intercourse with the emperor. To an eloquent 
archbishop whom Otho sent to try and soothe the aged 
abbot, Nilus replied that the emperor had agreed to give 
John to him for God, and that consequently the evils 
which had since then been inflicted on the antipope had 
been done to God. Both the emperor and the Pope, added 
Nilus, would suffer for the ills inflicted on John. When at 
great length the prelate endeavoured to excuse his masters, 
the saint feigned sleep ; and, as soon as the archbishop 
had left him in peace, Nilus promptly left the city to found 
that monastery (Grottaferrata, near Tusculum), in which his 
countrymen have to this day found a conventual home. 2 

We have now to turn our thoughts to Crescentius " of the The end of 


1 The letter of Leo, ap. Schlumberger, Lcpopee, ii. 282 n. Marble 

2 Vit. S. Nz'ti, c. 13, n. 90, al., c. 15. Horse, 998. 


Marble Horse," l battling for life and liberty in the castle 
of St. Angelo against the attacks led by the Margrave, 
Ekkehard of Meiszen. The assault on the mausoleum, 
which our authorities call Domus Theoderici or Turn's hiter 
Celos as well as the castle of St. Angelo, 2 was not begun till 
after Low Sunday. The resistance of Crescentius was the 
fierce resistance of despair. But if he was determined to 
hold out till death in what was then regarded as an 
impregnable fortress, 3 the resolute German had equally 
made up his mind that he would possess himself of the 
Patrician alive or dead. He gave the besieged no rest. 
Day and night he delivered his bold assaults. His mov- 
able towers overtopped the castle walls, his troops poured 

1 John Crescentius (Numentanus) was so called from the famous 
colossal marble group of two youths holding each a restive horse, 
known as the Horse Tamers, and standing in the Piazza del Quirinale 
or di Monte Cavallo, to which it has given a name. The statue used 
to stand in the baths of Constantine. Hence as it now stands near 
the Palazzo Rospigliosi, which was built on their site, it occupies much 
the same place as it has ever done. A fine group in itself, it strongly- 
attracted the attention of the medieval mind. The Einsiedeln traveller 
notified its existence ; it became subject-matter for legend in the 
Mirabilia {cf. Eng. ed., pp. 39, 109) ; and it occupied a very 
prominent position in fifteenth and sixteenth century plans of Rome. 
Cf. plans in the work just quoted (p. 196), and in Les antiquitis tie 
Rome aux XIV, XVI' sikles, by Muntz (Paris, 1886). It might well 
give a surname to a noble who had a fortress-palace in its neighbour- 

2 Later on it was known as the Castle of Crescentius. Castellum 
Crescentii, "quod vulgo domus Theoderici," says Ekkehard of Aura, 
ann. 1083. "Before the end of the twelfth century it was called the 
Castle of the Holy Angel." Cf Mirabilia Urbis Romce, Eng. ed., 
pp. 77, 78. But the Venetian Chronicle of John the Deacon, treating of 
this very incident, shows it was so called even in the tenth century : 
" Munitissimum S. Angeli castellum omnes Romani cives una cum 
Teutoniquorum exercitu expugnare creperunt," ed. Monticolo, p. 155. 
St. Peter Damian, in vit. S. Romuald., c. 25, calls it " Mons S. Angeli 
.... munitio inexpugnabilis." 

3 " Validissima turris Adriani .... fuitfabrica qua? sine ullakesionis 
injuria contra omnem impulsionis machinam durare videtur in saccule" 
Chron. reg. S. Pantaleon., A. 1001 a chronicle of the twelfth century. 


into it ; and, not for the first time, the tomb of one man 
became the slaughter-house of many. Crescentius was 
seized, and, despite his pitiable entreaties for mercy, was at 
once beheaded on the very top of the castle in the sight of 
a great multitude of people. His body was then hurled 
into the moat, and, along with those of twelve of his 
principal followers who had also been decapitated, was 
hung by the heels on gallows erected on Monte Mario. 1 
We may well believe Thietmar when he says that this 
execution "inspired all present with unspeakable fear" 2 

1 This hill, which commands a glorious view of the city, of the 
Campagna, and of the mountains which form Rome's magnificent frame, 
was named after Cardinal Mario Mellini, who, about the middle of 
the fifteenth century, built thereon a villa now included in the fort of 
Monte Mario. Along with the Monte della Creta and the Janiculum 
it was known in classical times as one of the Montes Vaticani, and, in 
part at least, as the Clivus Cimice. By the medieval writers it is 
named either Mons Malus or Mons Gaudii. It is called Mons Malus 
(of which some regard M. Mario as a corruption) by Benedict of 
Soracte (c. 26) " Loduicus rex venit ostiliter usque ad montes Malum 
hubi est ecclesia S. Clementis." This fact disposes of the idea put 
forward by the twelfth-century writer of the Chronicle of S. Pantaleon, 
that the fate of Crescentius caused this hill to be regarded by the 
Germans as a Mount of Joy (Mons Gaudii), and by the Romans as a 
Mount of Evil (Mons Malus). " I, however, derive the name of Mons 
Gaudii from the rejoicings of the pilgrims at the first sight of Rome. 
My view is supported by the fact that the crusaders called the spot 
named Biddu, outside Jerusalem, Mons Gaudii, because here the sacred 
city first came into view" (Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 432 n.). Between 
this hill in conjunction with the Vatican hill and the Tiber, the plain 
through which the Via Triumphalis once ran was the Neronian Field 
(Campus Neronis), on which we have already often seen the encamp- 
ments of besieging armies. 

2 With Thietmar (iv. 21) cf another contemporary, John the Deacon 
{Chron. Venet., p. 155): "Johannem Crescencium veniam miserabili 
voce adclamantem in summitate, ut ab omnibus videretur, decollaverunt ; 
et projecto tellure, aliis, quibus evadendi facultas defuit, simili poena in 
monte Gaudio imperiali decreto suspensi sunt." The coeval A?inals of 
Hildesheim state: "Crescentius decollatus cum 12 suis ante .... 
urbem suspenditur," Ann. 998. Cf Ann. Quedlin., ann. 998 ; Catal. 
Aug., ap. L. P. ; and Vita Meinwerci (ap. M. G. SS. xi.), bishop of 
Paderborn, and related to Otho III. He died 1036. 


(for we have already seen the wholesome terror it infused 
into the lawless nobles of the country) and that " hence- 
forth the Cesar ruled without any further trouble." 

Historians less worthy of credence than the contemporary 
authorities on which we have hitherto relied for what we 
have said about the last days of Crescentius, add various 
embellishments to the account just given. The lively 
Celtic imagination of Raoul Glaber 1 depicts Crescentius 
slipping in disguise from his fortress, suddenly forcing his 
way into Otho's presence, and begging that his life might 
be spared. " Why," sarcastically asked Otho of his 
attendants, "have you suffered this maker of emperors, 
laws, and pontiffs to enter the lowly abodes (maglia or 
mapalid) of the Saxons? Take him back to his lofty 
throne till we have prepared a fitting reception for him." 
When the castle had fallen into Otho's hands he bade his 
men " throw Crescentius down from the highest battle- 
ments in broad daylight, so that the Romans may never 
be able to say that you stole their prince." The Milanese 
historians and St. Peter Damian would make out that the 
Patrician was captured rather by perjury on Otho's part 
than by the valour of his troops, and that he was tortured 
before being put to death. 2 But there is no reason why we 

1 Hist., i., c. 4, n. 12. Raoul was born about the time these events 
were in progress. 

2 Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 434, prints an epitaph of a certain hand- 
some Crescentius, Dominus et dux, " Qui tenuit totam feliciter ordine 
Romam," which Baronius first published ad an. 996, from a copy of it 
which he had taken from the Church of S. Pancrazio. The epitaph 
itself is unfortunately no longer forthcoming. For purposes of identifi- 
cation the fourth and fifth couplets of these Leonine verses are the most 
important : 

" Tempore sub cujus valuit Tyberinaque tellus 
Jus ad Apostolici valde quieta stetit. 
Nam fortuna suos convertit lusibus annos 
Et dedit extremum finis habere tetrum." 

From the latter couplet Gregorovius concludes that the epitaph 


should be dissatisfied with the straightforward narrative 
of contemporaries, or eke out the information which they 
furnish us by additions of doubtful value from later authors. 

After April 29, 998, the day on which Crescentius and 
his abettors atoned for their misdeeds with their lives, 
Gregory passed the remainder of his too short pontificate 
in political peace. 

Of the doings of Philagathus whilst he kept armed The ami- 
possession of the city of Rome we have very little know- Farfa. an 
ledge. What we do know is not to his credit. 

Some forty miles north-east of Rome, and not many 
miles from where the Via Salaria leaves the course of the 
Tiber and turns eastwards, there still stands much of the 
famous monastery of Farfa. Its remains make a village. 
In the year 996 and apparently also in 997 it was ruled by 
Alberic, 1 the fifth successor of the infamous Hildebrand 2 

concerns Crescentius, a Caballo Marmoreo, and, though he allows that 
the fourth couplet is obscure, he believes that the poet speaks " in 
veiled language of the government of Crescentius, and the return of 
Rome to subjection under Gregory V. " He dared not speak the truth," 
supposes Gregorovius, u but the Nam in the fifth distich expresses a 
conclusion from his hidden thought." Rome again became papal, for 
Crescentius "was overthrown by the fickleness of fate." But surely 
this is to force words to a preconceived meaning. Stetit is not vertit. 
The fourth couplet states that in the time of the handsome duke the 
territory of Rome was prosperous, and under the rule of the Pope 
enjoyed, was rooted {stetit) in, a profound peace. It is not clear to 
which Crescentius the epitaph belongs, nor what precisely is meant by 
some parts of it. St. Peter Damian represents a certain Tamnus as 
the agent of Otho's treachery ( Vit. S. Romuald., c. 25, ap. M. G. SS., 
iv.), and adds, with his usual ready acceptance of marvellous stories, 
that Otho took the wife of Crescentius as his concubine. According to 
Arnulf, Hist. Medio/., c. 12, it was "Teutonibus" that Stephania was 
given " adulteranda." 

1 Concerning him we find in two different catalogues of the abbots 
of Farfa (ap. ft. I. SS., II. ii., p. 296-7) the following entries : "996, 
Albericus, presbyter et abbas ; 997, Albericus abbas." 

2 One of the catalogues just mentioned has " Iste concubinis et filiis 
ac filiabus res hujus monasterii dedit." 


of whom we spoke in the introduction to this volume. On 
the death of Alberic, a certain Hugo thought he would 
like to rule the abbey of Farfa. As the sequel proved, he 
was anything but a bad man. He had, however, set his 
heart on being abbot of lordly Farfa. But it was under 
the special patronage of the emperors, 1 and he knew of 
no method of securing the consent of Otho to his wishes. 
He would therefore try to get that of the antipope. The 
so-called John XVI. was probably in need of money, 
as he had had to disburse large sums to Crescentius. 
From Philagathus then Hugo succeeded in buying the 
monastery, 2 and became the thirty-second abbot of 
Farfa. Promptly deposed by Otho, and then at the 
prayer of the monks restored by him, Hugo became 
a glorious restorer both of the spiritual and the temporal 

1 Cf. the prcvceptmn of Otho, by which he finally confirmed Hugo 
as abbot, in Chron. Farf, ap. R. I. SS., ii. pt. ii. p. 492, "Juxta 
Canonum .... auctoritatem et ejusdem monasterii per antiquorum 
Regum ct Imperatorum adeptam prasceptorum libertatem, electus 
quisque ab eadem congregatione, prius ejusdem imperiali patrocinio 
praesentatus gratis roboretur, et tunc a Summo Pontifice canonice 

- Monasterium) "pretio emerat a Romano Pontifice." lb. Cf 
Chron. Farf, p. 491, and Destruc. Far/., c. 17, ap. M. G. SS., xi. 
Gregorovius, Rome, iii. 425 n., maintains against Hofler {Deutsche 
Papste) that the monastery was bought from Gregory, and gives as a 
reason that Otho would never have called Philagathus "Bishop of 
Rome." On the other hand, it is not in the least degree likely that 
Gregory would have been guilty of an act directly calculated needlessly 
to annoy Otho at a time when he was dependent on his good will. 
Besides, Abbot Alberic was alive in 996 and apparently in 997, and 
Otho's precept accepting Hugo is dated February 22, 998. Hence 
in that interval must have occurred the death of Alberic, Hugo's 
scheming with Rome, and his deposition by Otho ; and during all 
that time the true Pope was wandering about Italy. We may be 
sure then that it was Philagathus that fingered the money of Hugo. 
Doubtless Otho used the phrase " Romanus Pontifex" as convenient 
to designate the bishop who was at the time in possession of the city 
of Rome. 


side of his monastery, and a prudent dispenser of its 
charities. 1 

At the risk of being somewhat tedious, we will narrate Gregory 
a few more of the doings of Hugo, as they throw much monastery 
light upon the times, and a little at least on the character f Farfa * 
of Gregory. 

Near the little river Minio 2 (Mignone) in Roman Theceiia 
Tuscany stood the cella of S. Maria, known from the river, i Minwne. 
as in Minione, Hugo contended that this small monastery 
belonged to Farfa ; that it had originally been leased {per 
emphyteasem chartulatn) to the monastery of SS. Cosmas 
and Damian in the Trastevere, and known as in Mica 
Aurea, for the term of the lives of three successive abbots 
{per scriptum trium personarum) ; and that at length the 
authorities of SS. Cosmas and Damian had pretended that 
the cella was theirs. 3 When Otho was appealed to as 
protector of the monastery, he ordered the affair to be 
taken before the Pope. This was accordingly done, and 
the disputants appeared before Pope Gregory in the 
Lateran palace. Charters were produced on both sides, 
and at last a seemingly very ancient one by the abbot of 
St. Cosmas. Hugo offered to produce a champion to 
prove by " trial by combat " that it was a forgery. " Then 
Pope Gregory, in consequence of money received from the 
abbot of St. Cosmas, gave way to anger against Hugo, arose 
and seized him, and bade him give up his claims to S. 
Maria." 4 In vain the frightened abbot asked why he was 

1 Chron. Far/, and Catal. abb. 

2 It flows into the sea between the ruins of the ancient Graviscas and 
Centum Cellae (Civita Vecchia). 

3 No wonder S. Gregory I. was opposed to letting the lands of the 
Holy See by a formal long lease. 

4 From the account of the trial drawn up " with the consent of our 
Apostolic Lord ; ' (Sylvester II.), ap. R. I. SS., I.e., p. 501. As this 
document was evidently drawn up under the influence of Hugo, the 
statement made after Gregory's death that it was money and not the 


used thus violently. The Pope insisted, and Hugo had to 
give way at the time. But he had no intention of finally 
giving up what he believed to be his rights. Hence later 
on in the course of the same year (999) when Sylvester II. 
had succeeded Gregory, and both the Pope and the 
emperor had paid a visit to Farfa, Hugo again put in his 
claim to the cella. Accordingly, once more both abbots 
were summoned to Rome. Hugo duly presented himself 
before the emperor, who was residing as usual in the palace 
on the Palatine (in Palatio). 1 Along with Otho there sat 
in judgment various bishops, John, the prefect, the arcarius 
of the Holy See, several judices dativi, and many of the 

document produced by the abbot of St. Cosmas which induced him 
to give judgment against Hugo, cannot be regarded as too well 
founded. Compare Gregory's refusal of "great treasure of gold and 
silver," infra, p. 435. 

1 Though in this century much of the old palace of the Caesars was 
but a heap of crumbling ruins, still no doubt portions of it were still in 
use. Small churches had been formed out of parts of the imperial 
buildings. Such, for instance, was the oratory of St. Caesarius in 
Palatio, once the official chapel wherein the busts of the emperors of 
Constantinople were placed, but at this period part of a Greek 
monastery (L. /'., ii., p. 136). And such also was the little Church of 
S. Sebastiano alia Polveriera, otherwise called S. Maria in Pallara, near 
the arch of Titus. Hence though Otho III. adapted for his use an 
ancient palace on the Aventine close to the monastery of SS. Alexius 
and Boniface where once had resided St. Adalbert, the friend of his 
grandfather {Gesta Epp. Camerac.,\. i., c. 114, ap. P. Z., t. 149 "in 
antiquo palacio quod est in monte Aventino versabatur"), it would 
seem that this fllacitum was held on the Palatine, as well from the 
simple designation " in Palatio," as from the fact that we know that 
along with Pope Sylvester II. he presided at a gathering in the little 
Church of St. Sebastian : " Presidents D. Gerberto Ap. cum Imperatore 
in Palare, in iccclesia S. Sebastiani martiris" (Thangmar in his Life of 
S. Bern ward, ap. M. G. SS., iv. p. 768). It is even possible that the 
palace referred to may be that one near St. Peter's, where the Vatican 
now stands, which, according to Andrew of Bergamo, was built by 
Charlemagne, and where the emperors and their missi used to reside 
during the ninth century. Cf. Libcllus de imp. potest., and an act of 
1017 (No. 504, ap. Regesto di Farfa, t. iii.) in which there is mention of 
a palace " D Karoli imperatoris." 


highest imperial officials, such as the commander of the 
troops {imperialis militice magister), the head of the fleet 
(prcefectus navalis), the keeper of the wardrobe {yestararius 
sacri palatii), and the master of the household {palatii 
imperialis magister). Though summoned twelve times, 
the abbot of St. Cosmas failed to put in an appearance. 
Judgment was accordingly given in favour of Hugo, and 
by an imperial precept 1 the cella of S. Maria was duly 
handed over to the abbey of Farfa. 

On Tuesday, April 5, 998, " the Lord Pope Gregory and St. Eus- 
the Emperor Otho were sitting in judgment in the basilica against 
of St. Peter." Before them came a crowd of people de- 
manding justice. Among others came certain priests of 
the Church of St. Eustachius in Platana. 2 " Most pious 
emperor," they said, "we would have justice against Hugo, 
abbot of the monastery of St. Mary, by the river Farfa. 
He disputes our right to the two churches of St. Mary and 
St. Benedict, built in the Alexandrine 3 Baths, situated in 
the Ninth Region." 4 It chanced that Abbot Hugo was 
among the throng. He was at once brought before the 
acting judges, who, we are told, were, on behalf of the 
emperor, Leo, the archdeacon of the Sacred Palace, and 
John, prefect of the city ; and, on the part of the Pope, 
Gregory, primicerius of the defensors, Leo, the arcarius, 
and Adrian, Peter, and Paul, judices dativi. Hugo, not 
unnaturally, asked for a delay, as he had not come prepared 
for a lawsuit. He was offered a Roman advocate. But a 
Roman advocate was not what Hugo wanted. The 
monastery of Farfa had always been under Lombard law, 

1 Guided, it was declared, by the dictum of Justinian that judgment 
given in the absence of a litigant who had been thrice summoned 
should stand firm, ap. R. I. SS., I.e., p. 500. 

2 A church still standing, not far from the Pantheon. 

3 The Thermae Alexandrinas were attached to the Pantheon. 

4 The history of the trial, ap. R. I. SS., I.e., p. 505. 


and so the abbot asked for an advocate learned in that 
law. " Whether you like it or whether you do not," 
replied the judges, " Roman law must content you." To 
this Hugo demurred. Whereupon the archdeacon seized 
him by the cowl, and made him sit down next to him. 
11 You shall not leave this place (placitum) until you comply 
with the law." "The law I contravene not," replied the 
abbot, " but I must be granted time." By the express 
command of the emperor, a delay of three days was 
granted to him. When he re-appeared before his judges, 
he insisted upon the case being tried according to Lombard 
law, because for more than a hundred years the property 
of the monastery had been defended according to that 
law. The matter was referred to the emperor himself. 
Otho decided that, if the abbot could prove that in the 
past his monastery had been subject to Lombard law, 
he could now have the benefit of that law. By the 
production of a deed, ratified by the Emperor Lothaire 
and Pope Paschal I., 1 which the opposite party were 
not able to gainsay, the dispute was allowed to be 
tried according to the law of the Lombards. And, as 
in accordance with the provisions of that law, Hugo 
was able to swear to possession of the churches for 
forty years, a verdict was given in his favour. By that 
sentence the two churches with their dependencies were 
made over to Hugo by the presentation to him of a rod. 
Moreover, the document on which his opponents relied 

1 " Ostenderunt confirmationem . . . . ubi continebatur, quomodo 
definitum est ante praesentiam imperatoris (Lotharii) et D. Paschalis 
P., quod idem monasterium sub lege Langobardorum vivere deberet 
et sub tali privilegio esse debet, sicut cetera Monasteria, qua: infra 
regna Francorum constituta sunt, i.e. Luxoviensium (Luxeuil), Lirinen- 
sium et Agaunensium et Pontificem Rom. nullum dominium in jure 
ipsius monasterii habet excepta consecratione." The account of the 
trial, ap. R. I. SS., i.e., p. 506. 


was cut through with a knife in the form of a cross and 
then handed to the defendant. 

The last episode 1 with which the names of Hugo and Abbots 
Gregory are linked is of a more romantic character than Guio an 
the preceding, but was not settled for years after Gregory's counts 
death. The beginning of the affair is thus related by ^3 John. 
Hugo, the historian. Pope John, who is called the 
Greater (John XV.), 2 exalted one of his nephews named 
Benedict, and gave him a noble wife (Theodoranda) and 
the county of the Sabina and other places. The newly 
married couple went to live in the Sabine territory, and 
settled at Oreo (Arci). At that time the monastery of 
Farfa was governed by an abbot (John III.), who was 
an altogether worldly-minded man. Theodoranda soon 
perceived this, and at once proceeded to play upon his 
weakness for her own ends. The dainties 3 in which 
she knew he delighted she cooked and prepared with 
her own hands. She would even serve up the good 
things herself, in her own dainty manner, when he sat 
at table and feasted. In her visits to the abbey too 
she was assiduous, and whenever anything occurred that 
prevented her going there in person, the servants of 
the castle were to be seen constantly going with 
some obliging message from the Lady Theodoranda, 
or returning with some suitable compliment from Abbot 

At this time the hill-fortress of Tribuco was held of the 
abbot by Martino Riconis ; but the rocca itself (the citadel 
of the place) was kept by the abbot in his own hands. 
Whenever for any cause he had to leave home, he en- 

1 On it see R. I. SS., I.e., pp. 509, 510, and p. 549 f. ; M. G. SS., xi. 

2 Cf. supra, p. 348. 

3 From this point Miley's rendering of Hugo's narrative is adopted, 
Hist, of Papal States, ii. 328. 


trusted this rocca to Riconis and his followers, who used 
to give it up to him on his return. Now these men, 
being very ruffianly in their behaviour, and abandoned 
to all manner of criminal courses, were in the habit 
of plundering travellers and brought shame and grief to 
Abbot John. 

Partly to be rid of this desperate gang, partly influenced 
by the attentions of the count and the fair Theodoranda, 
and partly in the hope of obtaining from them a costly 
missal which they had half promised him, he made over to 
them the fortress town of Tribuco by a deed which the 
Romans call a tertium genus. But when Benedict would 
not make over to the abbot the missal which had belonged 
to the count's uncle, and which was said to be worth no 
less than thirty pounds, John refused to ratify the deed 
with his signature. 

Knowing that those who held Tribuco were fierce and 
wily, the count and his wife devised a means of accom- 
plishing by the vilest craft what they could not effect by 
force. Under sworn guarantees of safe-conduct they lured 
a number of the principal men of Tribuco into their castle 
of Oreo. Some of them they at once plunged in chains 
into their deepest dungeons {in ima carceris), while they 
released the rest on payment of a ransom after exacting 
from them the deeds of property which they held of the 
abbey. Even after this loss of their chief men, Tribuco 
held out against the count's men for a year. The place 
only fell into his hands at last by bribery. When, 
however, he had secured it, Count Benedict became a 
greater bandit than ever Riconis had been, and harried 
the whole neighbourhood. 

Among the properties Benedict came into possession of 
as above described, was the manor (curtis) of S. Gethulius. 
In vain the Abbot Hugo daily implored Pope Gregory 


and the emperor for justice against the count. 1 But the 
execution at Rome "of Count Crescentius, by the orders 
of Otho and Pope Gregory " 2 (998), at last struck terror 
into Benedict, and, with the knowledge of the emperor 
and the Pope, he gave up his claim to half the manor. 
Whilst Hugo was holding out for the other half and for 
Tribuco, Crescentius, the son of Count Benedict, 3 was 
foolish enough to come to Rome. He was at once seized 
by Otho and Gregory to be used as a lever against his 
father. Benedict was then ordered to give up Caere, which 
he had also annexed. He promised to do so; but, instead 
of surrendering it, entrenched himself therein. After him 
in wrath at once hastened both emperor and Pope. 
" Come with me to Caere," said the latter to Hugo. " If 
Count Benedict gives it up to me, he shall receive back 
his son, and an end shall be put to the dispute between 
you and him. But if not, I will hang the son before his 
father's face and restore Tribuco to you." Benedict would 
not surrender the city till he saw his son being led blindfold 
to the gallows. 

After this, whilst Otho lived, the monastery of Farfa 
held its goods in peace. But on his death (1002), "John, 
the son of Crescentius, was ordained Patricius; and he 
began to favour John and Crescentius, the sons of 
Count Benedict, as his beloved relatives." 4 Feeling strong 
in the support of their powerful kinsman in Rome, the 
manor and other properties were again seized by the 

1 "Abbas (Hugo) quotidie ad Dom. Gregorium Apostolicum et ad 
Ottonem piissimum Imperatorem'proclamabat ut legem exindehaberet." 
Chron. Far/., I.e., p. 509. 

2 " Ipso anno (the year that Hugo became abbot) interfectus est 
Crescentius Comes jussu Ottonis . . . . et Gregorii." Destruct. Far/., 
ap. 7?. /. SS., I.e., p. 552. 

3 " Praedicti Comitis Benedicti fuerunt filii Johannes et Crescentius. 
. . . Pnelibatus Crescentius venit illuc (Rome) levitatis causa," ib. 

4 Ib. 

VOL IV. 28 


brothers. It was not till 1012, in the reign of Pope 
Benedict VIII., that a settlement was arrived at under 
Abbot Guido, and John, Crescentius, and his wife Hitta 
formally renounced most of what they had long unjustly 
held. 1 

After having thus at no little length recounted the 
comparatively petty affairs of a monastery, we may pause 
for a moment to contemplate with astonishment the 
survival of the privilege of living under either Lombard or 
Roman law at pleasure ; to marvel at the lawlessness of 
the nobility ; and to note the spread of the feudal system 
in the patrimony of St. Peter. We must then hasten to 
consider what there is left of the larger interests with which 
Gregory V. was connected. One of his friends was ^lfric, 
who was elected archbishop of Canterbury in 995, and " was 
a very wise man, so that there was no more sagacious man in 
England." 2 Anxious to promote the reform of S. Dunstan, 
he was desirous of carrying out the designs of his energetic 
predecessor Sigeric, and of replacing the secular canons who 
had got possession of the cathedral of Canterbury with 
monks. But he was also wishful to be just; and before he 
expelled the seculars he would find out who had the prior 
claim to possession. " And forthwith he sent for all the 
wisest men that he anywhere knew of, and in like manner 
the old men who were able to say truest how everything 
was in this land in the days of their forefathers, besides 

1 " Refutaverunt toti tres (John, Crescentius, and Hitta) medietatem 
de suprascripta Curte, quae vocatur S. Getulii, excepto ipsum Castellum 
quod vocatur Tribucum." The deed of renunciation, ap. R. I. SS., /.c, 
p. 510. Cf pp. 518 f, 524, 553 f; and Jaflfe, sub 4005. Tribuco and 
Bucciniano were restored to Farfa through the warlike efforts of 
Benedict VIII. in 1014. 

2 A. -Sax. Chron., ii., p. 106 (R. S.), an. 995. Hook in his Lives of 
the Archbishops of Canterbury, i., c. 7, confuses the archbishop of 
Canterbury with the homilist /Elfric. He " was hallowed archbishop 
at Christchurch " in 996. 


what he himself had learned in books and from wise men." 1 
From this witan he learnt that, "all as St. Gregory had 
commanded," the monks had originally held the cathedral. 
" The archbishop then .... went with these men anon to 
the king, and made known to him all. Then said the king 
(Ethelred) : ' It seems to me advisable that thou, first of 
all things, shouldst go to Rome after thy pall, and that 
thou make known all this to the Pope, and afterwards 
proceed by his counsel.' And they all answered that this 
was the best counsel. When (the secular clerks) heard this, 
they advised that they should take two from themselves 
and send to the Pope, and should offer him great treasure 
of gold and silver, on condition that he should give them 
the arch-pallium. But when they came to Rome, the Pope 
would not do that, because they brought no letter, either 
from the king or from the people, and commanded them to 
go where they would. As soon as the clerks had gone 
thence, came the Archbishop ^Elfric to Rome (997), 2 and 
the Pope received him with great worship, and commanded 
him on the morrow to celebrate Mass at St. Peter's altar ; 
and the Pope himself put on him his own pall, and greatly 
honoured him. ... 'Go now to England again,' said 
Gregory, ' with God's blessing, and St. Peter's and mine, 
and when thou comest home, put into thy monastery 
men of that order which the Blessed Gregory commanded 
Augustine therein to place, by God's command, and 
St. Peter's and mine.' . . . Returned to England .... 
(he) drove the clerks out of the monastery, and therein 
placed monks, all as the Pope had commanded him." 3 

1 A.-Sax. Chron., ii. p. 106 (R. S.), an. 995. 

2 lb., an. 997. " In this year yElfric went to Rome after his arch-pall," 
no doubt, at the beginning of the year. 

3 lb. pp. 108-9. Th i s narrative is one of the "peculiar additions, 
chiefly relating to Kentish ecclesiastical affairs," which belong to MS. 
* F ' of the A.-S. Chron. Cf. z'b., i., pp. xx., xxi. No mention of this 


Fatigued, it may be, with his arduous journey to Rome, 
and exhausted by the closeness of the struggle he had 
had with the secular canons of his cathedral, it would 
seem that ^lfric fell ill on his return to England, for in 
a letter to Abbo of Fleury we find Gregory expressing 
an anxious wish that the good abbot would send him 
word as to the archbishop's condition. 1 At any rate, 
" the most sagacious man in all England " must have 
improved in health, for he ruled his archdiocese eleven 
years, " in the midst of continual trouble from the pagans 
(Danes), and with the most exemplary piety, and then 
in Christ's Church went to his rest, and was translated 
to heaven" 2 (1005). 

If there is one thing which the official documents of 
Gregory V. prove, it is the influence which the Emperor 
Otho had with his kinsman. So great was it that the 
government of the Church may almost be said to have 
been shared by him. Fortunately, Otho III. was a man of 
high ideals, and anxious to do good, and in so often allow- 
ing himself to be moved by his wishes, the Pope was, as a 
rule, but advancing the sacred causes of justice and civil- 
isation. The bulls of Gregory and the other records of the 
time show him in his youthful efforts to renew the world, 
i.e., the Church and the Empire, on the one hand attaching 
himself closely to the head of the Church, and in his acts 
signing himself "Servant of the Apostles," "Servant of 
Jesus Christ," and dating them " from the palace of the 

appeal to the Pope by the clerical and lay heads of the nation is made 
in Hunt's Hist, of the English Church, and Dean Hook, Lives of the 
Archbishops of Canterbury, i. 452, says these statements in the 
A.-S. Chron., "are not made by a contemporary "which is possible 
"and are coloured by the writer, who was a monk." How far 
" coloured " by the monk the dean does not suggest. 

1 Ep. 12. "Petens .... de Cantuariorum archiepiscopi incolumi- 
Ute renuntiet." 

2 Actus Pontif Cant., by Gervase, ap. Script. Decern., p. 1648. 


cloister," 1 and, on the other hand, copying the ways 
of the emperors at Constantinople. We have already 
seen how he surrounded himself with officials bearing 
high-sounding titles like those who assisted the ruler of 

He was rarely in Germany. Rome was his love. He Otho's fatal 

J J love f< -r 

would make it once again the capital of the world ! And Rome, 
then Pope and emperor, acting together, would reform it. 
With this noble end in view, he tried to inspire the people 
of Rome with his own great thoughts, and made the fatal 
mistake of trying to win them over by acts of kindness. 
But the history of the Romans during the Middle Ages is 
a repetition of that of the Jews. " When they were in 
honour they did not understand." To render them docile 
it was necessary that the yoke for their necks should be 
heavy, and that it should be pressed down. " A young 
man, at once courageous and well born, conceiving projects 
great indeed but of impossible fulfilment, he thought to 
raise the empire to the might of its ancient rulers. He 
hoped also to reform the discipline of the Church, which 
the avarice and mercenary ways of the Romans had dragged 
down, and to bring it up to the standard of earlier and better 
days. The more readily to effect these ends, he treated 
the Romans with the most familiar consideration. As they 
were natives, and profoundly versed in men and things, he 
gave them the preference to his own Teutons, and made 
them his chief advisers. 2 Wise measures, doubtless, if they 
had effected their purpose. This, however, they quite 
failed to do. The more gracious the condescension he 

1 His palace on the Aventine by the Church of S. Alessio. 

2 " Ipsos (Romanos), ut locorum accolas et morum ac consuetudinum 
gnaros, suis Teutonicis preferens, consiliarios sibi habebat et primos." 
Gesta Epp. Camerac, i., c. 114 ap. M. G. SS., vii. Cf. Otho's own 
words to the Romans (to be quoted in the Life of S. Sylvester), in vit. 
S. Bernwardi, ap. M. G. SS., iv. 


showed towards them, the greater was the stiff-necked 
pride which they exhibited." 1 

As we have said, the bulls of Gregory V. are a proof of 
much of this. Thus it was " at the request of Otho " that he 
subjected the famous abbey of Reichenau (Augia Dives) 
to the direct jurisdiction of the Popes, and granted its 
abbots the privilege of being consecrated by the Popes 
only, and of saying Mass in various vestments that usually 
are only worn by a bishop; 2 that he confirmed the rights 
of the equally famous abbey of Lorsch, and undertook to 
protect it ; 3 and that he did the same for the monasteries 
of Cluny and Petershausen on the Rhine. 4 It was due to 
the same intervention that he confirmed to the See of 
Beneventum the metropolitan rights which Otho I., to 
oblige his ally Pandulf I., Ironhead, had induced John XIII. 
(969) to grant to it. 5 And again, to oblige "our most 
beloved son," and because we think it right in a fatherly 
way to strengthen the imperial dignity by our apostolic 
authority, " Gregory grants that the Church of Aachen 
(Aix-la-Chapelle) may be served by seven cardinal-deacons 
and seven cardinal-priests, and that, with the exception of 
these cardinals, the archbishop (of Cologne) and the bishop 
(of Liege) of the place, no one else shall presume to say 
Mass on the altar of Our Lady in the said church. 6 

1 Such are the wise reflections of the canon of St. Marys, who, at 
the bidding of Gerard (bishop from 1012 to 105 1), wrote the history 
of the bishops of Cambrai. We shall quote from him again. Cf. 
Thietmar, Chron., iv., 29. He tells us that different men formed 
different opinions as to the wisdom of Otho's conduct at the time. 
They do so still. While some (as Mr. Bryce, Holy Rom. Emp, 
p. 140 f.), with reason, in our opinion, speak sympathetically of 
Otho III., others (French writers in particular) try to belittle him. 

1 Concedit ut "missas celebrent cum dalmatica et sandaliis." Jaffe\ 
3880, 1. 

* Id., 3887. Id., 3895, 6, 7. La, 3884. 

6 Id., 3875, P. /-., ep. 8. 


Otho was also present at synods, and took a share l in 
their decisions in matters ecclesiastical ; as, for instance, 
at the synod of May 9, 998, which was composed of bishops 
and nobles from both sides of the Alps. The synod had 
to decide between the rival claims of Arnulf and Guadald 
to the See of Vich (Ausona) in Catalonia. It was proved 
that the latter had usurped the see, and had slain its lawful 
occupant. At the command of the Pope, the archdeacon 
and the oblationarius performed the ceremony of degrading 
Guadald " after the manner of the Romans." They took 
the ring from off the hand of the deposed prelate, broke 
his crozier over his head, 2 rent his vestments, and made him 
sit on the ground. Then, in accordance with the will of 
the emperor {imperatore jubente), and the decision of the 
bishops, and with the consent of the senate and the military 
nobility, Gregory, " by the privilege of our authority," raised 
Arnulf to the disputed bishopric, gave him the crozier and 
ring, 3 and the power of binding and loosing and, "with 
the precept of the emperor," all the appurtenances of 
the see. 4 

At another synod 5 held in St. Peter's, probably towards 
the close of 998, in which not only was King Robert 
threatened with anathema unless he dismissed Bertha, 
but various episcopal causes and the restoration of 
the See of Merseburg were decided, Otho was again 

As we have had occasion to remark before, the papal Charters o 

. , 1 exemption 

grants to monasteries of exemption from episcopal control, and papal 


1 " Consentiente et judicante D. Ottone imperatore Augusto." 
P. L., ep. 18. 

2 " Et virgam pastoralem super caput ipsius frangentes." lb. 

3 " Annulumque et virgam pastoralem ei dedimus." lb. 

4 It will be on this basis that we shall see the " investiture quarrel " 

5 Labbe, ix., p. 772. 


or of other privileges either to them or to their abbots, 1 
which constitute by far the greater proportion of what is left 
of the papal regesta of this period, have more than a local 
interest. They serve to prevent one from supposing that 
what with the turbulence of the Romans on the one hand, 
and the patronage of Otho on the other, the pontiffs them- 
selves of this troubled time were without influence. Papal 
grants of privilege would not have been so eagerly sought 
for, as well by kings as by abbots, if, in the tenth century, 
it had not been felt that there was more virtue in a papal 
bull than in a royal charter or helmet of steel. And so in 
response to requests from all parts of the West, we find 
Gregory granting fresh privileges or confirmation of exist- 
ing ones to monasteries in smiling valleys, by rushing 
rivers, or on frowning hills, to monasteries both near home 
and in the distant parts of the Western Empire. 2 
Ardoin, Not many weeks before he died, Gregory came into 

marquis > contact ^^ Ardoin, marquis of Ivrea, who was, on the 
death of Otho III., to get himself proclaimed king of Italy. 
Because he was not a German, some see in him another 
Italian patriot. He was simply like the rest of the 
nobility of his time. He wanted as much power for him- 
self as he could seize, and as much property as he could 
pluck from the hands of those weaker than himself. 

1 And so to Azzo, abbot of St. Peter's "Cceli-aurei" at Pavia, 
Gregory granted the use of the insignia of a bishop down to the gloves 
(cyrotheccc or chirothecce) and the right to a bell when travelling. 
" Usum dalmaticae, mitne, sandaliorum, cyrothecarum, et in itiner- 
andum insigne tintinnabuli " concedit. Jaffe, 3871 (2977). 

1 In the order in which they are alluded to in the text we would call 
attention to bulls addressed to the monasteries of St. Martin of Tours 
(Jaffe, 3S70), of St. Andrew at Avignon (3898), of Fulda among the 
Taunus mountains, of St. Saviour on Monte Amiato (3864), and of 
Stabulaus and Malmedy (3867), neighbouring monasteries in the 
diocese of Cologne. The confirmation of the possessions of the 
monastery of Gnesen in Poland (3885) may be regarded as a result of 
the martyrdom of St. Adalbert. 

GREGORY V. 44 1 

Whether or not on any more valid grounds than these, 
Ardoin suddenly seized the property of St. Mary's of 
Ivrea, expelled its bishop, and slew the serfs on his estates. 1 
The bishops of the province denounced him, and laid their 
complaints against him before the Pope. 2 They begged 
their head to take heed of the trouble of its members, 
lest the whole body should become infected. Ardoin had 
gone the length of killing the priests of the Lord, and 
of burning their bodies; 3 and was only made worse by 
their admonitions. Gregory was exhorted to confirm the 
excommunication already pronounced by them against the 
marquis. The Pope, however, did not fully comply with 
the request of the bishops. But he informed 4 Ardoin that 
if he did not repent and amend he would be anathematised 
at the following Easter-time. This missive, it would seem, 
must have produced its effect, as the bishop of Ivrea 
(Warmund) remained in peaceful possession of his see till 
ion, and succeeded (July 9, 1000) in procuring from 
Otho a charta of exemption, by which he secured the city 
of Ivrea and the territory for three miles round it. 5 

After the synod (held probably at the close, of 998) in Death of 


which Robert had been threatened with anathema un- February 
less he dismissed Bertha, Otho had left Rome for the 999 ' 
South. Whilst he was engaged in consolidating his power 
among the turbulent princes who were disputing the 
possession of Southern Italy with one another, with the 

1 "Cujus episcopum a sede propria saepe violenter expulit, cujus 
servos contrivit, cujus famulos exterminavit." Cf document 6, p. 338, 
ap. Provana, Studi cC tempi del re Ardoino, and doc. 9, p. 340. 

2 Id., doc. 10, p. 341. 

3 " lpsos quoque Domini sacerdotes bestialiter trucidant (forse 
trucidat, says the editor) et quasi poena eis ueementior possit inferri, 
inaudita sevitia, postea ipsi cadaueri parat incendium." lb. Provana 
(p. 81 n.) regards this as a rhetorical exaggeration from one case. 

4 lb., doc. 11, p. 343. 

* Cf the charter in Provana, p. 354 ; cf. p. 85. 

44 2 GREGORY V. 

Greeks and with the Saracens, word was brought to him 
of the death of his relative and countryman Gregory V. 
As to most of what happened at Rome after this depart- 
ure of Otho we have no certain knowledge. But at 
any rate, according to Thietmar, our best authority, we 
know that Gregory died on February the fourth, "after 
having made the best dispositions for the government of 
Rome." 1 Less trustworthy authorities, probably mistaking 
the date of Gregory's expulsion from the city, and confusing 
his death with the circumstances attending the degradation 
of the antipope, would make out that he was expelled a 
second time, and put to a violent death. 2 The fact, how- 
ever, that, on the death of Gregory, the Romans quietly 
awaited the arrival of Otho, and accepted the new Pope he 
gave them, while there is no hint of any severe measures of 
reprisal taken by the emperor, is enough to discredit these 
sensational stories. 

According to Peter Mallius, Gregory was buried in 
St. Peter's, " in front of the sacristy (i.e. on the Gospel 
side), near Pope Pelagius." His epitaph, which we have 
already quoted, is still to be seen in the crypt of St. Peter's. 
There is also preserved there the small slab on which was 
inscribed the sepulchral title : " f Gregorius PP. V." 3 At 

1 " Gregorius, bene dispositis Romx omnibus, 2 Nonas Februarii 
obiit." Chron., iv., c. 27. 

2 "Vi exturbabatur quasi tyrannus, ut dicentcs quosdam audivi, et 
cffossis sibi oculis, quos pendentes ad genas ferebat, ea pom pa 
sepultune mandabatur." Vit. S. Nili, c. 91, Latin version. The 
biographer of the saint, only too ready to believe that something 
dreadful had happened to those who did not comply with all his 
master's wishes, acknowledges that he was only repeating rumours. 
Cf. Vit. Meinwerci, c. 7, where it is said that poison put an end to the 
life of Gregory, and where March 12 is given as the day of his death. 
Cf. also Rupert, in vit. Herib., c. 5. In c. 93 the biographer of S. 
Nilus goes equally astray in his account of the death of Otho. 

' Crisar, A nalecta Rom., Tav. iv., gives a photographic reproduction 
of the title and of the first few lines of the epitaph. 



some period the top left-hand corner of the inscription was 
destroyed. The damage was made good in the eleventh or 
twelfth century. As happened so frequently at this period, 
no new coffin was made for Gregory, but there was used 
for the purpose a Christian richly carved sarcophagus of the 
fourth century, which is now in the crypt of St. Peter's, 
near the tomb of Otho II. It was originally placed at 
the right of the tomb of S. Gregory I., and bore the 
following inscription : 

t Hie quern claudit humus oculis vultuque decorum 

t Papa, fuit quintus nomine Gregorius. 
t Ante tamen Bruno Francorum regia proles 

t Fzlius Ottonis de genetrice Judith, 
t Zzingua Teutonicus Wangia (Worms) doctus in urbe. 

t Seed juvenis cathedram sedit apostolicam 
t Ad binos annos et menses circiter octo 

t Ter senos Februo connumerante dies, 
t Panperibus dives per singula Sabbata vestes 

t Divisit, numero cautus apostolico. 
t Usus Francisca vulgari l et voce Latina 

t Instituit populos eloquio triplici. 
t Tertius Otto sibi Petri commisit ovile 

t Cognatis manibus unctus is imperium. 
t Exuit et postquam terrenae vincula carnis 

t .Equivoci dextro substituit lateri. 2 

Discessit XII Kal. Martii. 

1 As further showing the'growth of Italian from the Latin at this 
period, compare the defence of an Italian in 960, who had been laughed 
at for a solecism by the monks of St. Gall : " Falso putavit S. Galli 
monachus me remotum a scientia grammatical artis, licet aliquando 
retarder, usu nostrce vulgaris linguce quce Latinitati vicinaest^ quoted 
by Fauriel, Bib. de Fecole des chartes, ii. 624. And a document at the 
close of the same century bids a bishop explain certain truths to the 
people communibus verbis ; ap. Provana, Studi sovra la Storia d'/lalia, 

P- 339- 

2 That is, he was buried to the right of Gregory I. Cf. Grisar, Analecta, 
p. 188 f. According to Grisar the long curved line with which each 
verse terminates is a^ distinctive peculiarity of epitaphs of the tenth and 
eleventh centuries. The epitaph may be read also ap. L. P., ii., p. 262. 
The italics in the text show the later restoration. A translation of every 
line of the epitaph has^beenf given in some part or other of the text. 


While there is cause for satisfaction that such an excep- 
tionally full epitaph of Gregory V. has been preserved to 
throw a few faint illuminating rays on the obscurity of the 
Iron Age, we have to regret that the light, small but clear, 
which numismatology has hitherto so often furnished us, 
will fail us almost entirely for three centuries, viz. for the 
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth. Not accepting as be- 
longing to Philagathus the coins which Cinagli assigns to 
him, Promis contends that, with the exception of those of 
S. Leo IX. and Paschal II. (i 099-11 18), no papal coins are 
extant from the days of Benedict VII. (975-983) to those of 
Blessed Benedict XI. (1 303-1 305). Pizzamiglio, however, 
shows good reason for holding that coins which Promis 
assigns to Benedict VII. and Sergius III. of the tenth 
century really belong to Benedict VIII. and Sergius IV. 
of the eleventh century. 1 Still, even if his contention 
be allowed, papal coins will not supply us with much 
material for the next three hundred years. 

Having now before us all that the scanty records of his 
time have left us of the life of Gregory V. we may, we 
believe, justly regret that his reign was so brief. Rejecting 
as utterly unproven the charge of avarice which some would 
bring against him, it is his bountiful charity to the needy 
which, on the contrary, deserves to be chronicled. Such 
wealth as he had was at the service of those in want. For 
them only was he rich. By him it was that their naked- 
ness was covered. To his great charity he joined an 
exemplary zeal for the glory of God a zeal which was 
ennobled and saved from any danger of fanaticism by learn- 
ing. In his endeavour to be all things to all men, he 
addressed his exhortations to the learned in Latin, to the 

1 Studi intorno adalcune monete Papa//, p. 59. Cinagli is of the same 
opinion regarding the coins of Sergius IV. Cf. Promis, Monete dei 
R. P., p. 98. 


people of the land of his adoption in the vulgar tongue, i.e. 
in Italian, which was in course of formation from the Latin 
of the common people, and to the men of his own country 
in German. 

And if the fire of his youth, and perhaps some natural 
German roughness, occasionally led him to act with a 
severity to which the Romans were unaccustomed and 
which was at times excessive, their turbulence was at once 
its cause and almost its justification. 

These were the two points in Gregory's character which 
most impressed themselves upon the Abbot Abbo during 
the time all too brief, but never to be forgotten, as he 
declares which he spent in his company, viz. "his 
eloquence, truly Gregorian, and his severity tempered by 
paternal indulgence." x We can only regret that Gregory V. 
and Otho III. did not live longer to put a stronger curb on 
the violent passions of the Roman nobility who oppressed 
with equal impartiality both Popes and people. There 
would have been much better times for Italy, Rome, and 
the Papacy had the joint reign of Otho III. and Gregory V. 
been more prolonged. Then might have been fulfilled 
the aspirations of the anonymous contemporary poet 
which the Bamberg MS. has handed down to us. "O, 
Christ," he sang, " renew the Romans, once more arouse 
the might of Rome. Under Otho III. may the empire of 
Rome once more extend its sway. Hail Our Pope, hail 
most worthy Gregory ! With Otho Augustus, thy Patron 
Peter receives thee. You are a follower of St. Peter, you 
cause his praises to be sung. Once again are you re- 
creating tne rights of Rome. . . . Exult, O Pontiff, in 
the majesty of a glorious name. You are an honour to 
the first see. Sedulously have you raised it up. Your 
prudence shines bright in Gerbert, who is your right hand. 
1 Ep. 3, p. 421. 


Under the power of the Caesar the Pope cleanses the world. 
Do you two luminaries enlighten the churches throughout 
the world, and drive away all darkness. May the one of 
you effect as much by the word of God as the other by 
the sword." 1 

1 These verses were printed by Diimmler in his Auxilius und 
Vulgarius, pp. 57, 58. Unfortunately the poem is full of lacunas. We 
give a few of the verses which are intact : 

Tu es magister omnium, Tu componis populum 

Exulta papa nobilis Majestate nominis 
Sedem primam condecoras Sedulo jam relevas 
Tua claret prudentia In Gerberti dextera. 
Gaude papa, gaude caesar, Gaudeat ecclesia. 

Sub caesaris potentia Purgat papa secula. Christe ! 
Vos duo luminaria Per terrarum spacia 
Illustrate ecclesias, Effugate tenebras 
Ut unus ferro vigeat, Alter verbo tinniat. 


Abbo, St., 345, 393, 399 ff. 
Adalberon, archbishop, 301 f., 

318 n., f. 
Adalbert, St., life of, 325 n., 

327* 35> 369 f- 

Adalbert, son of king Berenger, 
227, 250, 254 ff. 

Adalbert II., marquis of Tus- 
cany, 87, 98, 104, 113 n., 
120 f. 

Adaldag, archbishop, 277 ff. 

Adalgarius, archbishop of Ham- 
burg-Bremen, 64, 238. 

Adam of Bremen, historian, 64, 

Adelaide, 227 f., 319. 

^Elfric, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 434 f. 

Africa, 58, church of, 384. 

Agapitus II., 224 ff. 

Age, the iron, 1. 

Ageltruda, 51 ff., 80 f. 

Aimoin, historian, 345, 393. 

Alberic I., 140, 155, 161 f. 

Alberic II., tyrant of Rome, 
30, 140, 191 f., 194 ff., 
203, 207, 210, 215 ff., 
219 n., 223, 226, 228 ff., 

Alda, daughter of Hugo, 197, 
208, 216, 243. 

Alexander III., 385 f. 
Alfred the Great, king, 62. 
Alo, archbishop, 332. 
Anastasius III., 132 f., 143 ff. 
Anathema, formula of, 201. 
Angelo, St., castle of, 310, 422. 
Annalista Saxo, historian, 306. 
Ardoin, marquis of Ivrea, 440 f. 
Argrim, bishop of Langres, 79, 

92, 105. 
Arnulf, Emperor, 50 ff., 98. 
Arnulf, archbishop of Rheims, 

3 1 * 347, 35 2 ff M 3 68 f -> 

399 ff- 
Arnulf, bishop of Orleans, 31, 

354 ff 
Arnulf the Elder, historian, 19, 

415 n. 
Artaud, archbishop, 202, 231 ff. 
Artists, Roman, 29. 
Athelstan, King, 182. 
Auxilius, author, 42, 122 f. 
Azzo, 256, 283. 

Baldwin II., count of Flanders, 

Bartholomew, biographer, 390. 
Basiento, battle of, 324. 
Basilica, Sessorian, 327. 
Benedict IV., 103 ff. 
Benedict V., 256, 273 ff., 283. 



Benedict VI., 280, 305 ff. 
Benedict VII., 315 ff. 
Benedict, count of the Sabina, 

Benedict, monk, historian, 45, 

Beneventum, archbishopric of, 

294, 438. 
Berengarius or Berenger of 

Ivrea, King of Italy, 10, 

226, 247 f., 250, 255 ff., 

Berengarius or Berenger of 
Friuli, 49, 95, 98, 104 f., 

127, i55 f- 
Bernoin, archbishop, 57. 
Bertha, queen, 368, 399 ff. 
Bohemia, 295, 369 ff. 
Boleslaus II., 295 f., 371. 
Boniface VI., 73 ff. 
Boniface VII., antipope, 310 

ff-, 3i7 f.,.335 ff. 
Bonizo of Sutri, historian, 164. 
Books, want of, 22. 
Boso, king, 57. 

Bruno, St., biographer, 369, n. 
Bruno, archbishop, 235 f. 
Brut-y-Tywysogion, chronicle, 

Bulgarians, the, 167 ff. 
Burchard of Worms, 261. 

Calabria, 292 f. 

Cambrai, history of bishops of, 

438 n. 
Canonisation, 385 f. 
Capua, 287. 

Carthage, church of, 326. 
Charles the Fat, emperor, 5. 
Charles the Simple, king, 55 ff, 

77, 108, 172 ff. 
Charles of Lorraine, 352 ff. 
Christopher, antipope, 112 ff., 

130, 136. 
Church, Bulgarian, 170. 
Church, Greek, 129 ff, 197 ff. 
Church, Roman, poverty of, 97. 

Churches : 

Lateran basilica, 29, 79, 97, 

i35 f. 185. 
Our Lady in Gradibus or in 

Turry, 387 f. 
Quatuor Coronati, 321. 
San Pier in Grado, 1 1 7 f. 
St. Alexius, 326, 341. 
S. Croce, 327 f. 
St. Eustachius, 429 f. 
S. Maria Aventinense, 207. 
S. Maria in Dominica, 245. 
St. Michael on Mount Gar- 

gano, 333. 
St. Peter's, 29, 67, 325, 332. 
SS. Philip and James, 244. 
Churches, national, 54. 
Clement II., 386. 
Cletorologium, 92 n. 
Coins, papal, 444. 
Compostela, 181. 
Conrad the Franconian, 145, 

Constantine, abbot, 348. 
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, 

197, 217 n. 
Councils : 
Altheim, 171. 
Chelles, 361 f. 
Ingelheim, 233. 
Mouzon, 232, 365 ff. 
Pavia, 397. 
Ravenna, (898) 96 f., (967) 

Rheims, (995) 367. 
Rome, (897) 78 ff., 88, (898) 
73, 94 ff, (904) 122, (950) 
234,(9 6 3) 257 ff, (9 6 4) 262 
ff, (967) 289, (983) 324. 
Soissons, (941) 231. 
Spalato (Spalatro, 926), 166. 
S. Basle, 354 ff, 367. 
Trier, 234. 
Trosle, 18, 39, 130. 
Verdun, 232. 
Vienne, 58. 
Crescentius III., John, 346 n. 



Crescentius de Theodora, 3 10 ff. 

Crescentius Numentanus, of the 
Marble Horse, 285, 346 ff., 
35 f -> 367, 37o ff-i 4i4 ff- 

Dalmatia, 165 ff. 
Damascus, archbishop of, 326. 
Decarcons, 286. 
De Cerimoniis, 217 n. 
Degradation, episcopal cere- 
mony of, 439. 
Denmark, church of, 237. 
Donation of Otho I., 251. 
Donus II., 312 f. 
Dorostylon, 170. 

Eadmer, historian, 61. 
Edgar, King, 297 f. 
Edward, St., the Confessor, 385. 
Eichstadt, lives of the bishops 

of, 383. 
Ekkehard of Aura, historian, 

Election, episcopal, 6. 
Elfsy, archbishop, 266. 
Emma, 378. 

Empire, the Holy Roman, 249. 
England, church of, 2, 61, 182 ff., 

265, 297 ff., 385. 
Ethelred the Unready, 378 ff. 
Eudes, or Odo, count, 55, 77, 

Eugenius II., pact of, 252. 
Euthymius, patriarch, 132 ff. 

Formosus, Pope, 42 ff., 89, 93, 
103, 105 n., 107, 113,122 f. 

France, church of, 57. 

Fraxineto, 9, 323. 

Frederick, archbishop, 2 1 o, 2 1 9. 

Frode VI., 237 n , 238. 

Frodoard, historian, 176. 

Frosinone, 101. 

Fucino, lake, 320. 

Fulk, archbishop of Rheims, 
55 ff, 60, 64, 77, 107. 

Garigliano, battle of, 154 ff. 
Gerbert, 303, 319, 333, 343, 

352 ff., 406 ff. 
Germany, 3. 
Gisulf, prince of Salernum, 

246 f. 
Gnesen, bishopric of, 297 n. 
Grado, see of, 87, 90, 143, 289. 
Greek in south Italy, 412 f. 
Greeks, power of, in S. Italy, 

145, 410 ff. 
Greenland, 184. 
Gregory V., 346, 368, 372, 

389 ff. 
Gregory of Catino, monk and 

historian, n, 21. 
Guibert of Nogent, historian, 

Guido, duke of Spoleto, 

emperor, 49. 
Guido, marquis of Tuscany, 

161 f. 

Hamburg-Bremen, see of, 64, 

183, 237. 
Harold Bluetooth, 237. 
Hatto, archbishop of Mayence, 

Helgaud, biographer, 404. 
Henry I., Emperor (The 

Fowler), 171 f., 209 f. 
Heraclius, author, 30. 
Heribert, count of Vermandois, 

175 ff., 202, 214, 231 ff. 
Herimann, archbishop of 

Cologne, 64, 173 f. 
Heriveus, archbishop, 176 ff. 
Hermann of Reichenau, his- 
torian, 305. 
Horse of Marcus Aurelius, 288. 
Hrotsvitha, 225, 236 n. 
Hugh, archbishop, 176, 202, 

Hugh or Hugo of Provence, 

king of Italy, 10, 19, 21, 

160, 193 ff., 206 ff, 2TO, 

215, 226. 




Hugh of Farfa, 4 n., 285. 
Hugh of Flavigny, historian, 

57 n. 
Hugh the Great, duke, 213 f., 

2 33 ff. 
Hugh Capet, 213, 319 f., 352 ff., 

Hugh, marquis of Tuscany, 

35, 396. 
Hungarians, the, 12 ff., 98, 128, 
160, 162, 307 ff. 

James, St., the Greater, 180. 

Jews, the, 211. 

John, archbishop of Ravenna, 

afterwards Pope John X., 

126 f. 
John IX., 91 ff., 121. 
John X., 133, 137, 140, 145, 

149 ff. 
John XI., 137, 191 ff. 
John XII., 230, 241 ff, 292. 
John XIIL, 253, 256, 269, 

282 ff. 
John XIV., 330 ff. 
John XV., 343 ff, 431. 
John, archbishop of Spalato, 

John, artist, 24, 30. 
John Canaparius, historian, 

348, 369 n. 
John, cardinal-deacon, 256. 
John Crescentius, Patricius, 

John, the deacon, historian, 

John, number of Popes of that 

name, 331. 
John Philagathus, 390, 415 ff. 
John, son of Crescentius, 

John Zimisces, 294. 
Judices dativi, 25. 
Jurisdiction, papal, in south 

Italy, 293. 

Kieff, 374, 377 f. 

Lambert, Emperor, 50 ff, 80 f., 

84, 87, 92, 97. 
Landus, 147. 
Learning, state of, 22. 
Leo, abbot, 272, 326, 346, 354, 

366 ff, 371. 
Leo, ambassador, 390, 420. 
Leo V., Pope, 1 1 1 ff. 
Leo VI., the Wise, emperor, 

91 f., 108, 131 ff. 
Leo VI., Pope, 168, 188. 
Leo VII., Pope, 205 ff. 
Leo VIII., 251, 255, 260, 263, 

273 f., 281 f. 
Liturgy, Slavonic, 165 ff. 
Liturgy, Spanish or Mozarabic, 

181 f. 
Liutprand, bishop, historian, 

43, 137, 14', 224, 241 f., 

283, 289, 291 ff. 
Lorch, 308 n. 
Lothaire, King of France, 235, 

318, 320. 
Lothaire, - King of Italy, 210, 

226 f. 
Louis the Blind, or of Provence, 

98, 104 ff, 157. 
Louis the Child, 99 f., 145, 

Louis D'Outre-Mer, 209, 213, 

231 ff. 
Luke, biographer, 390 n. 
Lupus Protospata, 164. 

M ADALBERT, bishop, 1 67 f., 

171, 199. 
Madgeburg, archbishopric of, 

2 53> 28 9> 3 22 - 
Magna Graecia, 410 ff. 
Maieul, abbot, 315 f. 
Malacenus, bishop of Amasia, 

Mallius, 75, 102. 
Marcus Aurelius, equestrian 

statue of, 342. 
Marinus II., 218 ff. 
Marinus, Legate, 232 ff. 



Marozia, 33, 137 ff., 161 f., 
193 ff. 

Marriages, third and fourth, 

131 n. 
Martinus Polonus, historian, 

212, 317. 
Matilda, mother of Otho I., 

228 n., 248 n. 
Mayence, rights of its arch- 
bishop, 321. 
Meinwerc, bishop, 423 n. 
Merseburg, see of, 322. 
Mieszko I., 384. 
Monasteries : 

Blandin, 309. 

Cluny, 2, 178 ff., 203, 210. 

Farfa, 20, 425 ff. 

Fleury, 205. 

Fulda, 220. 

Gandersheim, 225. 

Glastonbury, 297 ff. 

Gorze, 239. 

La Cava, 324. 

Lerins, 315. 

Lorsch, 323. 

Monte Cassino, 101, 156 n. 

Mouzon, 301 f. 

Nonantula, 128, 153. 

Nova Lux, 128 n., 300. 

S. Alessio, 285, 311, 346. 

S. Maria in Pallara, 30. 

St. Martin ad Littus, 321. 

Subiaco, 179, 245, 324. 
Mons Gaudii, 423 n. 
Monte Mario, 423. 
Moravia, 92, 98. 
Moscow, metropolitans of, 377. 
Mozarabic, meaning of, 181 n. 

Nationality, ideas on, 351. 
Neronian field, the, 423 n. 
Nestor, historian, 374. 
Nicephorus Phocas, 290 ff., 294. 
N'cholas the Mystic, patriarch, 

131, 169 f. 
Nilus, St., abbot, 371, 389 f., 

413 fT. 

Nona, bishop of, 167. 
Norsemen, 7 ff. 

Octavian (John XII.), 230, 

2 35- 

Odo, St., archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 237 n. 

Odo, St., of Cluny, 30, 197. 
203, 206 f., 215. 

Odo, or Eudes, count, 55. 

Officials of the papal court, 25. 

Osbern, historian, 266 n. 

Otho I., Emperor, 209 f., 213, 
220 ff., 232 ff., 247 ff., 
290 ff, 310. 

Otho II., 248, 252, 290 ff, 295, 
310, 315 ff, 318 ff, 325, 

Otho III., Emperor, 23, 30, 

325, 335, 35o f., 369, 372, 

390 ff. 
Otho, bishop of Frising, 243. 
Otranto, bishopric of, 293. 

Palace, imperial, in Rome, 331, 

428 n. 
Pallium and the Patriarchs of 

Constantinople, 199. 
Pandulf, prince of Capua, 287. 
Paper, 23. 

Papyrus, bulls on, 60. 
Patrimonies, papal, 35. 
Pavia, privileges of bishop of, 

Peter, King of the Bulgarians, 


Peter, the Prefect of Rome, 
286 f. 

Peter's Pence, 271 f. 

Petra Pertusa, 340. 

Pilgrims, English, massacre of, 
208, 215. 

Plegmund, archbishop of Can- 
terbury, 6t ff., 129 n. 

Poland, 297 ; given to the Pope, 

Politics of tenth century, 54. 



Polyeuctos, patriarch, 293. 

Pontifical of Sherborne, 267 n. 

Popes, condition of, in the tenth 
century, 32 ff. ; portraits 
of, 67 f. ; consecration of, 
before imperial envoys, 
96 f. ; palatine palace of, 
222; burial-place of, 240; 
change of name, 245 ; ex- 
tent of their temporal power, 
253; election of, 257 ; re- 
ceive countries under their 
protection, 383 f. 

Porto, see of, 127. 

Posen, bishopric of, 297. 

Prague, bishopric of, 296. 

Pratilli, 156 n. 

Prefect of Rome, 25. 

Privileges, application for, 59. 

Prussia, 373. 

Ragusa, 327. 

Raoul Glaber, historian, 389 f. 

Ratherius, bishop of Verona, 
18, 192, 242, 284. 

Ravenna, papal control over, 
35, 196, 221, 289, 407. 

Regimbald, bishop, 383. 

Regions, Via Lata, 244. 

Reordinations, 82, 94, 122 ff., 

Rheims, see of, 351 ff. 

Richard I., duke of Normandy, 

Richer, historian, 175 n., f. 

Robert, King, 368. 

Rodolf II., King, 146, 159 f., 
208, 231. 

Romanus, Pope, 86 f. 

Romanus L, Emperor, 197, 216. 

Romanus II., Emperor, 216. 

Rome, 24 ff. ; government in, 
25 ; regions, 26, 274, 280, 
344; great fire in, 27; art in, 
28 ff., 346 ; learning in, 30 
and 284; dogmatic power 
of, 284 ; in decay, 288. 

Ruotger, 225 n. 

Russia, conversion of, 374 fL 

Salona, or Spalato, 165 (f. 

Samuel, King, 170. 

Saracens, the, 9 ff, 106, 108, 

127, 154 f., 3 2 3 f - 

Saxony, house of, 145. 

Schola cantorum, 26, 284. 

Sergius II., patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, 130. 

Sergius III., Pope, 48, 66, 83, 
93, 113 ff, 119 ff. 

Sicus, bishop, 221. 

Sigeric, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 46, 339, 380 ff. 

Silva Candida, see of, 127. 

Simeon, King, 134, 168. 

Simony, decrees against, 319. 

Slavs, the, 164 ff. 

Spain, 180 ff, 272. 

Stephen (VI.) VII., 76 ff, 113. 

Stephen (VII.) VIII., 189 f. 

Stephen (VIII.) IX., 209, 212 
ff, 232. 

Stephen, bishop of Naples, 106. 

Stephania, 285. 

Theodora, 33, 137 ff., 151 f. 
Theodora, daughter of above, 

33, 137 ff. 
Theodoranda, 285, 431. 
Theodore II., 88 ff. 
Theodoric, archbishop of Trier, 

Theophania, or Theophano, 

290, 294 f., 319, 351. 
Theophylactus, house of, 33, 

Theophylactus, patriarch, 198. 
Thietmar, chronicle of, 225; 

bishop, 322. 
Tivoli, register of, 223. 
Towns, walled, origin of, 16, 

Tribuco, fortress of, 431 f. 
Trier, church of, 299 f., 320 f. 



Udalric, bishop, 2 1 8 f. 
Ulrich, St., 387. 

Varangian guard, 374. 
Verona, diet of, 325. 
Vladimir, King, 374 ff. 
Vulgarius, author, 43, 123 f., 
140 f. 

Wales, church of, 326 ; laws of, 
confirmed by the Pope, 144 
f. ; married clergy in, 268. 

Widukind, historian, 13 n., 224. 

William, archbishop, 225, 236, 

Willigis, St., 372, 391, 399. 
Wulfhelm, archbishop, 182. 


MIDDLE AGES. By Rev. H. K. Mann, Headmaster of St. 
Cuthbert's Grammar School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Demy 8vo. 

Vol. L, Parts I. and II. Each 12s. net. 

Vols. II.-VI. Each 12s. net. 

Vol. I. Part I. begins with St. Gregory I. (the Great) (590-634), and 
closes with St. Eugenius I. (654-657). Part II. commences with Vitalian 
( 6 57-672), and finishes with Hadrian I. (772-795). 

Vol. II. begins with Leo III. (795-816) and will close with Benedict III. 
(855-858). Vol. III. commences with St. Nicholas I. (858-867) and finishes 
with Stephen V. (885-891). These two volumes contain the lives of the Popes 
during the period of the Carolingian Empire, i.e. for practically the ninth 
century, and deal with such important events as the revival of the empire of the 
west, the career of Photius and the Greek Schism, and the conversion of the 
Bulgarians and the Slavs. 

"The Rev. Horace K. Mann's 'Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages' have now 
reached the third volume, and it may at once be said that the present instalment, which covers 
almost the second half of the ninth century, maintains the high standard which Mr. Mann set 
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Vols. IV. and V. contain the biographies of the Popes who filled the chair of 
Peter during the tenth century and the first half of the eleventh. Of these 
biographies that of Pope Formosus is the first, and that of Damasus II. the last. 
The period which they cover is the darkest in the long history of Rome. It was 
a period of feudal anarchy, when barons lorded it over Pope and people. For 
that very reason it is not wanting in dramatic interest, and if the reigns of many 
of the Popes are very short and of but little importance, that of Gerbert, Sylvester 
II., is almost enough to redeem the others. 

These two volumes are illustrated by maps, etc. 

Pastor. Translated from the German by Frederic I. 
Antrobus. Vols. I. to VI. Vols. VII. and VIII. translated by 
the Rev. Ralph Kerr. Demy 8vo. Per vol. 12s. net. 

" We can only hope that Pastor's ' Lives of the Popes ' will find their way not only into our 
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an absolute necessity. . . . Those who will but taste and see will find the pages of Pastor as 
interesting as any novel." Tablet. 

REIGNTY OF THE POPES, a.d. 754-1073. By 
Mgr. L. Duchesne, D.D. (Director of the Ecole Franchise 
at Rome). Authorised translation from the French by 
A. H. Mathew. Demy 8vo. (International Catholic Library.) 
7s. 6d. 

L. Duchesne, D.D. Authorised translation by A. H. Mathew. 
Demy 8vo. (International Catholic Library.) 6s. 





Vols. I. and II. translated by M. A. Mitchell and A. M. Christie. 

Vols. III. to XIV. translated by A. M. Christie. 

Demy Svo, cloth. Price 2$s. per two volumes. 


Vol. I. Intellectual Conditions of Germany at the Close of the Middle Ages. 
Popular Education and Science. 
Art and Popular Literature. 
Political Economy. /L 

Vol. II. Political Economy continued. 

The Holy Roman Empire : Its Relation to Foreign Countries Its 
Constitution Its Laws. 
Vol. III. The Revolution Party and its Proceedings up to the Diet of Worms 
in 1521. 
The Diet of Worms and the Progress of the Politico-Clerical Revolution 
up to the Outbreak of the Social Revolution, 1521-1524. 
Vol. IV. The Diet of Worms and the Progress of the Politico-Clerical 
Revolution up to the Outbreak of the Social Revolution, 1 521- 1524 
The Social Revolution. 
Vol. V. Propagation and Systematising of the New Doctrine up to the 
Foundation of the Smalcald League, 1531. 
The Smalcald League. 
VOL. VI. The Smalcald League continued. 

The Smalcadian War and Internal Disintegration down to the so-called 
Religious Peace of Nuremburg, 1546-1555. 
Vol. VII. Politico-Religious Party Struggles from the time of the Ausburg 
Religious Peace up to the End of the Grumbach-Gotha Conspiracy 
in 1567. 
Vol. VIII. Influence of French Calvinism and Success of the International 
Revolutionary Party during a Period of increasing National Weak- 
ness, 1 567-1 575. 
Catholic Reform Lal>ours and Counteracting Influences down to the 
Proclamation of the Formulary of Concord in 1580. 
Vol. IX. Advancing Disintegration of the Empire and growing Sectarian 

Bitterness up to the Formation of the Union in 1608. 
Vol. X. The Influence of Religious Controversy on the People and on the 
Empire up to the year 1618. 
General Political Confusion in the Decade preceding the Thirty Years' 
Vols. XI. and XII. Civilisation and Culture of the German People from the 
End of the Middle Ages to the Beginning of the Thirty Years' War. 
Vols. XIII. and XIV. Schools and Universities, Science, Learning, and Culture 
down to the Beginning of the Thirty Years' War. 

Each volume contains an Index of Places and an 
Index of Persons. 

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Mann, Horace Kinder 

The lives of the Popes