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The Ancient and Modern Library of Theological Literature. 









B. P L A T I N A 








Biographical Preface 
General Introduction 




St Peter the Apostle, circa 33-68 

St Linus, circa A.D. 68-78 

St Cletus, circa 78-91 

St Clemens, circa A.D. 91-100 

St Anacletus . 

St Evaristus, circa a.d. 100-109 

St Alexander I., circa a.d. 109-119 

St Sixtus I., circa a.d. 1 19-129 

St Telesphorus, a.d. 129-139 

St Hyginus, A.D. 139-143 

St Pius L, A.D. 143-157 

St Anicetus, a.d. 157-168 

St Soter, a.d. 168-177 

St Eleutherius, a.d. 177-192 

St Victor I., circa A.D. 192-202 

St Zephyrinus, circa A.D. 202-219 

St Calistus I., A.D. 219-223 

St Urbanus I., a.d. 223-230 

St Pontianus, a.d. 230-235 

St Anterus, A.D. 235-236 

St Fabianus, a.d. 236-249 

St Cornelius, A.D. 251-252 

St Lucius I., A.D. 252-253 

St Stephanus I., A.D. 253-257 

St Sixtus II., A.D. 257-258 

St Dionysius, A.D. 259-269 

St Felix I., a.d. 269-275 

St Eutychianus, a.d. 275-283 

St Caius, a.d. 283-296 

St Marcellinus, A.D. 296-304 







St Marcellus, a.d. 308-310 
St Eusebius, a.d. 310 
St Melchiades, a.d. 311-31 
St Sylvester, a.d. 314-336 
Marcus I., a.d. 336-337 
Julius I., A.D. 337-352 
Liberius I., A.D. 352-366 
Felix II., a.d. 356 . 
Damasus I., a.d. 367-384 
Siricius I., a.d. 385-398 
Anastasius I., a.d. 399-402 
Innocentius I., a.d. 402-417 
Zosimus, a.d. 417-418 
Bonifacius I., a.d. 419-422 
Caslestinus I., a.d. 422-432 
Sixtus III., a.d. 432-440 
Leo I. the Great, a.d. 440-46 
Hilarius I., a.d. 461-468 
Simplicius I., a.d. 468-483 
Felix III., a.d. 483-492 
Gelasius I., a.d. 492-496 
Anastasius II., a.d. 496-498 
Symmachus I., a.d. 498-514 
Hormisda I., a.d. 514-523 
John I., a.d. 523-526 
FelixIV., a.d. 526-530 
Boniface II., a.d. 530-532 
John II., a.d. 532-535 
Agapetus I., a.d. 535-536 
bylvenus, a.d. 536-537 
Vigilius I A.D. 537-555 
Pelagius I., a.d. 555-56o 
John III., a.d. 560-573 
Benedict I., a.d. 574-578 
pelagius II.,a.d. 578-590 . 
Gregory I. the Great, a.d. 590 
Sabinian I., a.d. 604-606 
Boniface 1 1 1., a.d. 607-608 
Boniface IV., a.d. 608-611: 
Deus-Dedit I., a.d. 615-6^ 
Boniface V., a.d. 618-625 
Hononus 1., a.d. 625-638 
Sevennus I., a.d. 640 
John IV., a.d. 640-642 
Theodorus I., a.d. 642-640 
Martin I., a.d. 649-655 
Eugenius I., a.d. 655-657 




Vitalianus I., A.D. 657-672 

Adeodatus I., A.D. 672-676 

Donus I., A.D. 676-678 

Agatho I., A.D. 678-682 

Leo II., A.D. 682-683 

Benedict II., A.D. 683-685 

John V., A.D. 685-686 

Conon I., A.D. 686-687 

Sergius I., A.D. 687-701 

John VI., A.D. 702-705 

John VII., A.D. 705-707 

Sisinnius, A.D. 708 

Constantine I., A.D. 708-716 

Gregory II., A.D. 716 731 

Gregory III., A.D. 731-741 

Zacharias I., A.D. 741-752 

Stephen II., A.D. 75 2 "757 

Paul I., 757-767 

Stephen IV., A.D. 768-772 

Adrian I., A.D. 772-795 

Leo III. ,795-8i6 

Stephen V., A.D. 816-817 

Paschal I., A.D. 817-824 

Eugenius II., A.D. 824-827 

Valentine I., A.D. 827 

Gregory IV., A.D. 827-844 

Sergius, A.D. 844-847 

Leo IV., A.D. 847,-855 

John VIII. . 

Benedict III., A.D. 855-858 

Nicolas I. [the Great], a.d. 858-867 

Hadrian II., A.D. 867-872 

John VIII., A.D. 872-882 

Martin II., A.D. 882-884 

Hadrian III., A.D. 884-885 

Stephen VI., a.d. 885-891 

Formosus, A.D. 891-896 

Boniface VI., A.D. 896 

Stephen VII., A.D. 896-897 

Romanus, A.D. 897-898 

Theodorus II., A.D. 898 

John IX., A.D. 898-900 

Benedict IV., a.d. 900-903 

Leo V., a.d. 903 

Christopher, A.D. 903 

Sergius III., A.D. 904-911 

Anastasius III., a.d. 911-913 

I 5 8 








Landus, A.D. 914 
John X., A.D.,914-928 
Leo VI., A.D. 928-929 
Stephen VIIL, A.D. 929-931 
John XL, a.d. 931-936 
Leo VI L, A.D. 936-939 
Stephen IX., a.d. 939-942 
Martin III., A.D. 942-946 
Agapetus II., a.d. 946-955 
John XII., A.D. 955-963 
Benedict V., a.d. 963 
Leo VIIL, a.d. 964-965 
John XIII., A.D. 965-972 
Benedict VI., a.d. 972-974 
Boniface VII. 
Domnus II., a.d. 974-975 
Benedict VII., 975-983 
John XIV., A.D. 983-984 
John XV., A.D. 985-996 
Gregory V., A.D. 996-999 
John XVI., A.D. 996 . 
Sylvester II., a.d. 999-1003 
John XVI I., A.D. 1003 
John XVIII. , A.D. 1003-1009 
Sergius IV. a.d. 1009- 101 2 
Benedict VIIL, a.d. 1012-1024 
John XIX., A.D. 1024-1033 
Benedict IX., 1033-1044 
Sylvester III., 1044 . 
Gregory VI., 1044- 1046 
Clement II., A.D. 1046-1048 
Damasus II., A.D. 1048 
Leo IX., A.D. 1048-1054 
Victor II., A.D. 1055-1057 
Stephen IX., A.D. 1057-1058 
Benedict X., A.D. 1058-1059 
Nicolas II., A.D. 1059-1061 
Alexander II., A.D. 1061-1073 

Appendix— Chronological Table 


r PHE author of the following work was born in 142 1 at a 
T little village between Mantua and Cremona, called 
Piadena (Latin Platina). His family name was Sacchi, 
but he changed it to Platina, after his birthplace. There 
is a difference of opinion with regard to his Christian 
name ; some writers saying that it was Baptista, others 
that it was Bartholomew. Vossius has dealt with the ques- 
tion at some length in his work " De Historicis Latinis" 
and, on substantial reasons, has decided for Bartholomew. 
In his early youth he was trained as a soldier, and later 
studied science for some years. At last he went to Rome, 
recommended by Cardinal Vessarion to Pope Pius II., and 
through the influence of his patron he obtained successively 
several posts; in 1464, the important one of Abbreviator, the 
duties of which consisted of drawing up Papal bulls or briefs. 
When he had been installed but a few months, Pius II. died, 
and Paul II., his successor, changed all the officials. He had 
an idea, probably correct, that the Court of Abbre viators was 
the promoter of much corruption, so he determined to restrict 
the powers they possessed, and fixed their number at seventy, 
all of them being tried men, safe to carry out his commands. 
The indignation of those that had been deprived of their office 
was great, and they chose Platina, as being the most distinguished 
of their number, to plead their cause. He argued that the office 
was theirs for life, when once appointed, and that it was not in 
the power of the Pope to dismiss them at will, and he more- 
over threatened that if he would give them no redress, they 
would submit the question to the decision of the Rota. To 

x Biographical Preface. 

which Paul II. answered, " Do you talk of bringing us before 
judges, as if you did not know that the law is settled in our 
breast ? If you talk in that way, all shall be dismissed. I care 
not; I am Pope, and can, at my good pleasure, rescind or confirm 
the acts of others." Platina, not to be daunted, told the Pope 
by letter that he and his colleagues would apply to the Princes 
of Europe, against his treatment of them. The only answer 
vouchsafed to him was an announcement that the Pope had 
ordered his imprisonment, on a charge of treason. He was 
kept in chains for four months, at the end of which time he 
was released through the intercession of Cardinal Gonzoga. 
After their dissolution the Abbreviators used often to meet at 
the Roman Academy, for the airing of their grievances, and 
they thought to take vengeance on the Pope, by holding up 
the priesthood to ridicule. At first the Pope took no notice, 
but during the Carnival of 1468, rumours reached him that 
they were conspiring with the Emperor to create a new 
schism, and he caused Platina and several others to be 
seized. Pomponius Laetus, the founder of the Academy, and 
in reality a simple-minded scholar, was soon released, but 
Platina was kept in prison for more than a year. This mode 
of life did not suit one who had been accustomed to compara- 
tive ease and luxury, and very soon he was ready to submit 
unconditionally, so long as the Pope would give him his 
liberty. In the letters which he wrote at that time, such 
sentences as this occur, " I undertake, that if I hear anything, 
even from the birds as they fly past, which is directed against 
your name and safety, I will at once inform your Holiness, 
by letter or messenger. I entirely approve your proceedings 
for restraining and reproving the license of the scholars ; it 
is the duty of the chief shepherd to preserve his flock from 
all danger and disease." He wrote also to several of the 
cardinals, to urge them to use all the influence they possessed 
with the Pope, and promised that from that time forth, his 
pen should be entirely devoted to the promotion of the 
Church's welfare. He was released, but Paul never called on 

Biographical Preface. xi 

him to fulfil his promise, and till the accession of Sixtus 
IV., Paul's successor, he lived in obscurity. Sixtus IV. 
appointed him superintendent of the Vatican Library, and 
he died holding that office in 1481. At the time of his 
appointment the library contained about 2500 volumes. His 
salary was one hundred and twenty ducats a year, and 
the three sub-librarians each received twelve ducats. Their 
position appears to have been most humble, merely that 
of servants ; among the records it is told how one of 
them, named Salvatus, was in such a state of destitution 
that he was presented with new clothes. At the same time 
they were all learned men, and have left several works of 
merit behind them. Most of the works were secured by 
chains, especially in the room used by the general public. 
There were two other rooms, one for the reception of private 
papers and archives, and one used only by the Pope and 
cardinals. Bibliography was still in its infancy, and it is in- 
teresting to trace the gradual improvements made in the 
drawing up of the catalogue. From the first the names were 
arranged in alphabetical order, but the first letter of the 
Christian name was always given the precedence. Platina 
died of the plague. He is said to have written his own 
epitaph as follows : — " Quisquis es, si J>ius, Platinam et suos ne 
vexes ; anguste jacent et soli volunt esse." Of his writings, by 
far the most important is his "History of the Papacy," which 
he wrote at the request of Sixtus, and published at Venice in 
1479. He drew freely from the writings of his predecessors, 
and with them makes many statements which cannot be proved. 
As he draws near to his own time the historical value of his 
book becomes greater, the source of the last portion, from 
Eugene IV. to Paul II., being his own personal experi- 
ence. In his biography of the latter he pays off many old 
scores of vengeance. Paul II., however, had been dead some 
years, and the only harm caused by his biased judgment was 
that subsequent generations have formed erroneous ideas of 
Paul's real character. For the most part he criticises the state 

xii Biographical Preface. 

of the Papacy as it was in his own time with great severity, 
yet he sometimes plays the part of a flatterer. He displays 
a genuine love of truth, though in the case of Paul II. 
he gives vent to personal hatred. His history of Mantua, 
beginning with the foundation of the town, and continued till 
the year 1464, is a book of great rarity. His other works 
treat chiefly of philosophy. 

The translation here offered to the reader was first published 
in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut, who states that he does not know 
by whom the translation was made, but it was delivered to 
him by the bookseller. He was so convinced of its value and 
usefulness that he has not only published it, but has continued 
it up to his own time. The rest of Platina's work, com- 
prising the history of the Papacy during the period of its 
highest power and pretensions, will form a second volume of 
this present series. 

Platina's work is unquestionably very valuable. It will be 
seen that in his earliest lives he treads on uncertain ground, 
and a good many of his statements will not bear the light of 
close investigation. But it must be remembered that historical 
criticism was hardly born into the world when he wrote, and 
he depended, as did many chroniclers besides, on traditional 
stories rather than on documentary evidence. Whereas he 
gives us the dates of St Peter's occupation of the see, and of 
the accession of his immediate successors, we know that later 
writers of his own communion dismiss such details into the 
limbo of guesses or confused tradition. But when we emerge 
into the light of authentic history, Platina shows every disposi- 
tion to be candid and accurate, and as he passes on he is 
often remarkably vivid and interesting in his presentation of 

In the following edition his text has been left unaltered 
with two exceptions. One passage only has been omitted, as 
containing matter coarser than meets our present ideas of good 
taste. It does not bear on the history at all. And manifest 
clerical errors and misprints have been corrected. In other 

Biographical Preface. xiii 

respects, where I am satisfied that Platina's statements are 
incorrect, or where they are open to question, I have left 
them alone, and simply challenged them in foot-notes which 
are printed within square brackets j and I have endeavoured 
in the introduction to give a general idea of the period of 
which he treats. The dates adopted are taken from the 
Roman Catholic writer, Dr Milner, as now accepted by the 
Roman Church. 



'~PHE early history of the Roman Church is obscure. We 
* are not told in the Bible by whom it was founded ; when 
St Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans he had not himself 
visited the city. The tradition that St Peter was martyred 
there is a very old one, and is so well authenticated that, 
except for controversial reasons, it would probably never 
have been questioned. 1 But the dates confidently given by 
some Roman Catholic historians are certainly not proved by 
any historical evidence, while there is much which goes 
directly in disproof. And for many years there is a dark- 
ness upon the history of the Roman Church. St Jerome 
says that the greater part of the Latins regard Clement 
as second after Peter, though many put Linus and Ana- 
cletus between them. It will thus be understood, that 
not only the life of St Peter as given by Platina, but 
those of his successors during the first century, are tradi- 
tionary and of little value. The Roman Church, like the 
greater part of early Christendom, was a Greek colony, and 
the Epistle of St Paul to it was certainly written in Greek. 
The first Latin Christian writer, Tertullian, was not a Roman, 
but an African. The Roman bishops in early time were 
so obscure, that during the whole period of the heathen 
persecutions there was no great mind among them, and after- 
wards for a long period not a single doctor ; the first is Leo 
the Great. Cardinal Newman uses this fact as an argument 
in favour of the infallibility. (See his "Apologia," pp. 407- 
409). The first emergence of the Roman bishops from the 
1 See Smith's " Bible Dictionary," s.v. "Peter," p. 805. 

xv! General Introduction. 

obscurity is seen in the Paschal Controversy, a.d. 157 
Anicetus and Polycarp are clearly discernible figures, and 
from that time onwards we are standing on firmer ground. A 
work of Hippolytus in the beginning of the third century 
is the principal source of our knowledge of the Roman 
bishops up to his time. But they were still men of little 
weight until the Empire became Christian. As the Empire 
declined in strength under the blows which were struck 
upon it by the fierce nations from the north, the Popes 
became more important. As paganism died and Christianity 
established itself, they were as monarchs over their domain, 
and Monasticism still further strengthened their position. 
Rome was in the year 411 sacked by the Goths, and emerged 
from that catastrophe a Christian city. Before the century 
ended Pope Leo the Great was the most important man in 
Italy. The Western Empire was tottering to its fall, the 
East too was feeble; never was the ancient city in greater 
strait ; it needed one who could consolidate Western Chris- 
tendom, and unite it against the heretical Goths and 
Lombards who were gathering against it. In 452 the fierce 
Attila, "the scourge of God," having desolated North Italy, 
was preparing to descend on Rome. The coward Emperor 
fled. Then Pope Leo went forth to Attila's camp, and by his 
eloquence turned the barbarian back. 

And now the claims to the successorship of St Peter make 
themselves heard. From earliest times the ecclesiastical 
divisions had followed the civil divisions of the Empire, and 
thus the bishops of capital cities were known as metropolitans, 
and presiding at synods of the bishops and clergy of their 
own province, came to be looked upon in Church affairs as 
the representatives of the provinces generally. When Con- 
stantine divided the Empire into dioceses, each consisting of 
several provinces, the bishop of the chief city in each diocese 
received the title of primate, and the most eminent of the 
primates were called patriarchs. Such were the bishops of 
Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople. The 

General Introduction, xvii 

patriarchate of Rome included the vigorous western world, 
that which was rising while the elder ones were declining in 
influence, and this at the outset gave a vast importance to 
the Roman see. The State acknowledgment of Christianity 
gave the bishops of Rome fresh influence year by year, 
since their opinions and assistance were asked for by other 
bishops, and the emperors needed their help and support in 
the difficulties that beset them. This growing influence was 
recognised and resented by the Easterns, and at the Council 
of Sardica, held in 345 to endeavour to end the Arian contro- 
versy, there was an open rupture. On the alleged ground that 
the Western bishops had usurped undue authority, the Easterns 
withdrew from the Council, and opened one of their own in 
Thrace under the presidency of the patriarch of Antioch. 
But they were unequal to the growing strength of their rivals, 
and the Sardican council, in their absence, passed canons, 
giving to the Bishop of Rome appellate jurisdiction in 
the case of any bishop who disapproved of the acts of his 
synod. He was not to decide the case himself, but to say 
whether there ought to be a new trial, in which case he was 
to send legates to sit with the judges. But, as Robertson 
shows, while this greatly increased the Roman power from 
that time onward, it is also a proof that such power was then 
conferred, and did not previously exist (Ch. Hist. i. 304). 
Nevertheless the Bishop of Rome grew into the habit of 
quoting the canons of Sardica as if they were those of Nicaea. 
In the pontificate of Siricius, the Bishop of Tarragona in 
Spain applied for advice, and the result was the first papal 
" Decretal." At first the Decretals were written in the name 
of the Synod of Rome, but afterwards they ran in the name 
of the Pope alone, and the tone changed from that of brotherly 
advice to command. The next step was the change of the 
nature of claim. The power of the Empire was declining, the 
traditions of the august city were great as ever. No longer 
on the ground of imperial dignity was the claim to supremacy 
grounded, but on Christ's charge to St Peter. This claim 

xviii General Introduction. 

was first made by Pope Innocent I., who laid it down as a 
principle that all churches should follow the usages of Rome. 
Yet he appears to have limited the claim to those of the 
West — Italy, Gaul, Spain, Africa, Sicily — on the plea that these 
had been founded by St Peter or the emissaries of his 
successors. Innocent's successor, Zosimus, went further, and 
proclaimed the authority of the Apostolic see to be such that 
no one might dare to question its decisions, and that the 
successors of St Peter were to be regarded as holding an 
authority equal to that of the apostle himself. Pope Leo the 
Great, as we have already noted, was the representative, through 
the circumstances of his time, of the imperial dignity of old 
Rome. And in consequence he became the true founder of 
the mediaeval papacy in its uncompromising strength. Cir- 
cumstances not unlike Leo's were those of Pope Gregory I. 
The Western Empire had quite disappeared, Italy was 
nominally under an exarch or lieutenant who resided at 
Ravenna, and it fell not to him but to the Pope to provide 
for the feeding and protection of the citizens. What Attila 
had been to Leo the Lombards were now to Gregory. But, 
moreover, the Popes had become great land holders ; " the 
patrimony of St Peter," as their estates were called, were 
situated not only in Italy but in other countries. This property 
was managed by agents, whose influence with the sovereign of 
the countries they lived in was great; and thus the personal 
power of the Pontiffs still grew. 

A great change had by this time come over the position of 
the Church. It was no longer the religion of the Roman 
world, but also of the Teutonic. The races which had 
destroyed the ancient Empire and were to play so large a part 
in the foundations of modern Europe, had been Arians. They 
were now orthodox. And meanwhile the old Roman letters 
and arts were almost extinct. For many a long year literature 
had no place ; the only writers were the monks and school- 
men, and their only subject theological discussions. For 
Monasticism having been introduced into the West had 

General Introduction. xix 

received a strong impulse from St Benedict and was increasing 

The Iconoclastic controversy in the eighth century brought 
the Popes and the Eastern Emperors into collision. The 
Emperor, against whom public opinion in his own country 
unmistakably set, had to give way, and the Pope was the 
stronger for the struggle. And now as the nations of modern 
Europe began to emerge from the ruins of the old Roman 
Empire, the claim of the Pope to be a judge of temporal 
matters was for the first time made and allowed. Pipin, 
Mayor of the Palace under Childeric, the last of the feeble 
Meerwing kings, asked Pope Zachary whether the nominal 
power should not be in the hands of the real holder. The 
answer was in the affirmative, and the Meerwing race gave 
place to the Karlings. As a matter of fact, the question 
was one of casuistry, laid before the chief religious judge of 
the Church. But the opportunity was taken of declaring 
that hereby was confessed the Pope's right to depose 

Controversy hangs round the great event which ushers in 
the ninth century, the restoration of the Western Empire under 
Charles the Great, commonly known as Charlemagne. He 
was crowned in St Peter's by Pope Leo III. in the year 800. 
One side declares that he was so by the will of the Pope, who 
thus had the power of raising men to monarchy, the other, 
that the Pope was but the voice of the popular will (see 
Milman ii. 206). The title of the new Empire thus founded, 
and which lasted unbroken, though its splendour waned, until 
1806, was significant of the idea on which that foundation 
rested. It was " The Holy Roman Empire." " In that day," 
says Mr Bryce, " as through all the dark and middle ages, two 
forces were striving for the mastery. The one was the instinct 
of separation, disorder, anarchy, caused by the ungoverned 
impulses and barbarous ignorance of the great bulk of man- 
kind ; the other was that passionate longing of the better 
minds for a formal unity of government, which had its histori- 

xx General Introduction. 

cal basis in the memories of the old Roman Empire, and its 
most constant expression in the devotion to a visible and 
Catholic Church. . . . The act [of coronation] is conceived 
of as directly ordered by the Divine providence, which has 
brought about a state of things that admits but of one issue, 
an issue which king, priest, and people have only to recognise 
and obey ; their personal ambitions, passions, intrigues, sinking 
and vanishing in reverential awe at what seems the immediate 
interposition of heaven." From the first Charles regarded his 
sway as of a distinctly sacred character. He summoned and 
sat in councils (presiding even when Papal legates were 
present), appointed bishops, settled small details of church 
discipline in his capitularies, regulated the monasteries, re- 
stricted the clergy to spiritual duties, even admonished the 
Pope to obey the canons. Among his intimate friends he 
chose to be called by the name of David, signifying thereby 
that he presided over the kingdom of God on earth. ' But his 
might belonged more to his personal character than to his 
Empire. At his death all this temporal and ecclesiastical 
supremacy crumbled to pieces, and as the various portions of 
the Empire became possessions of great nobles, so the spiritual 
supremacy and much of the temporal fell to the clergy. Two 
great forgeries which were put forth at this period did much to 
help the Papal claims. The one was the so-called " Donation 
of Constantine," alleging that that Emperor had conferred on 
Pope Sylvester the right of wearing a golden crown, that he 
had endowed the see with the Lateran Palace, with the City of 
Rome, with the whole of Italy. Probably the Lateran story 
was true j the rest were all fictions purporting to date from a.d. 
330, but really invented about the middle of the ninth century, 
and believed in until the fifteenth. The other was the Forged 
Decretals. Some real ones had been gathered early in the 
seventh century by Isidore of Seville ; about a.d. 840 these 
false ones were put forth, very skilfully arranged, and purport- 
ing to go back to Apostolic days. They aimed at exalting 
the Pope's power, and also at asserting clerical rights against 

General Introduction. xxi 

the oppressions of the Emperors. That they were forgeries is 
now admitted by Roman Catholics, but their influence for 
some centuries was very strong. 

Of course this power of the Pope's was not unfrequently put 
to a righteous use, and the civilised world recognised then, as 
it does still, that the mediaeval Papacy was a great agency for 
good. It defended the peoples against the power of monarchs, 
who but for it would have been cruel tyrants. When Lothair 
II., in 858, wished to divorce his wife, a Frankish National 
Council obsequiously sanctioned the proceeding, but Pope 
Nicholas I. firmly and successfully opposed him. The 
righteousness of the cause sufficed to sanction any irregularity 
or want of just title. 

But now clouds began to gather over the Papacy, and the 
tenth century is a dark and dismal age. Under the disorders 
which accompanied the disintegration of the empire of Charles, 
the Popes became degraded into slaves of the fierce barons of 
the Romagna. The sombre picture which Platina draws of 
the morals and character of the Pontiffs is proved by all con- 
temporary history not to be over-coloured. Italy was in a 
terrible state. As the Karling power came to an end, she 
aimed at freeing herself from the German thraldom, and to 
name her own king, but there was no spirit among the people 
brave or great enough to take the lead. There were rival 
claimants who made war upon each other, but without such 
general support as enabled any one to rule. Pope succeeded 
Pope with such rapidity as to awaken the worst suspicions. 
Yet in the North this period is not without bright features. 
While the Saracens were threatening Europe and acquiring 
almost absolute command of the Mediterranean, the fierce 
Northmen were settling down, embracing Christianity, laying 
the foundations of power, exercised on the whole nobly, and 
themselves sending missionaries to the heathen Prussians on 
the Baltic. The greatest of English Kings, Alfred, was restor- 
ing peace to his country, and laying the foundations of English 
greatness, learning, and literature. 

xxii General Introduction. 

Europe in general knew little and cared little for the miser- 
able intrigues which went on in the Papal city, the Pontificate 
so often won, and again vacated, by murder ; and yet no one 
questioned the spiritual monarchy of the men who thus 
succeeded. Not even the nobles and people of Rome, but 
the soldiers and the rabble were the electors of the vicar of 
Christ. The exception to this was when some profligate 
woman nominated him, or he bought the see. The Trans- 
alpine powers at length interfered, foreign ecclesiastics were for 
nearly a century seated on the Papal throne, and only thus was 
the see delivered from the hatred and contempt of mankind. 

Meanwhile, agencies were at work, begun in antipathy to 

the crimes and ungodliness at Rome, and threatening to break 

up Christendom into sects. They were kept down by the 

strong arm of ecclesiastical and temporal power, but were not 

extinguished, and in the course of years showed themselves 

again with increased force. But two controversies had arisen, 

which were destined to have most serious and lasting effects 

upon Christendom. The first was the quarrel between the 

East and the West. We can trace antipathies almost from 

the beginning, jealousy between Greece and Rome, questions 

about Monasticism, about the time for keeping Easter, about 

ritual. But the first clear breach arose out of Iconoclasm, the 

decrees of the Emperor Leo III. (" the Isauarian ") against 

images, a.d. 730. A quarrel about the conversion of Bulgaria 

in the following century increased the existing ill-feeling, the 

Patriarch of Constantinople alleging that the Pope of Rome 

had intruded into his dominion. The breach was patched 

up, not healed. But the crisis came through the famous 

Filioque, the addition by the Western Church to the words 

of the Nicene Creed, Qui ex Patre firocedit. After long 

disputing, and even for a while the disuse of the addition, 

the Western Church once more revived it, and in 1053 Pope 

Leo IX. excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople, 

and with him all who refused it. The Patriarch, Michael 

Cerularius, invited legates from the Pope to Constantinople, 

General Introduction. xxiii 

to negotiate for peace. They came accordingly, but it was 
to lay the Pope's sentence on the altar of St Sophia (June 
1 6, 1054). The Patriarch retorted the excommunication, and 
the breach was complete. 

The second great controversy was within the Western 
Church, and concerned the presence of Christ in the Holy 
Eucharist. The name of Paschasius Radbertus, Abbot of 
Corbie (a.d. 844-851) is associated with the first promulgation 
of the doctrine of Transubstantiation. The most eminent 
Frankish churchmen combated his views, headed by Ratram- 
nus, another monk of Corbie. A yet more uncompromising 
opponent, who seems to have made the sacrament a commemo- 
rative ordinance only, was John Scotus Erigena. We need 
not add that the view of Radbert has come to be the doctrine 
of the Roman Church. Bishop Ridley declared that he was 
induced to abandon it through reading the reply of Ratramnus, 
The history of this great controversy will be found at length, 
and told with characteristic power and eloquence, in Milman's 
" Latin Christianity," Book vi. ch. ii. 

Toward the end of the period before us, the dark clouds which 
had rested so long on the Papal see began to break. The Em- 
peror Henry III. (1039-1056), was one of the most vigorous of 
rulers, raising the Holy Roman Empire to the zenith of its power, 
and bent on reforming the ghastly abuses of the Church. The 
Romans, sickened with the disorders and crimes around them, 
joyously welcomed him when he came among them; there 
never was any monarch so popular there as he, and Pope Leo 
IX. was his nominee. It was on the occasion of his election 
that Hildebrand, afterwards to become so famous, first comes 
into notice. When at length, after being the means of nomin- 
ating four Popes in succession, he saw fit to accept the see 
himself, he had acquired sufficient power to revolutionise the 
Papacy, and to start a new order of things. 

^be ILives of tbe popes. 

Circa 33-68. 

AFTER the death and resurrection of Christ, and the com- 
pletion of the days of Pentecost, the disciples received 
the Holy Ghost : and being filled with the spirit, they published 
the wonderful works of God in divers tongues, though most of 
them, especially Peter and John, were looked upon as utterly 
illiterate men. Their manner of living was measured by the 
common good ; none of them challenged any propriety in any- 
thing ; and whatsoever religious oblation was laid at their feet, 
they either divided it between themselves for the supply of the 
necessities of nature, or else distributed it to the poor. These 
disciples had each of them his province assigned to him : to 
St Thomas was allotted Parthia, to St Matthew ^Ethiopia, to 
St Bartholomew India on this side Ganges, to St Andrew 
Scythia, and Asia to St John, who after a long series of toil 
and care, died during his abode at Ephesus. But to St Peter, 
the chief of the apostles, were assigned Pontus, Galatia, 
Bithynia and Cappadocia ; who being by birth a Galilean, of 
the city of Bethsaida, the son of John, and brother of Andrew 
the apostle, sat first in the Episcopal see of Antioch for 
seven years in the days of Tiberius. 

This emperor was son-in-law and heir to Augustus, and for 
the space of twenty-three years his administration of the 
government had so much of change and variety in it, that we 
cannot reckon him altogether a bad, or absolutely a good 
prince. He was a man of great learning, and weighty elo- 


2 The Lives of the Popes. 

quence; his wars he managed not in person, but by his 
lieutenants, and showed a great deal of prudence in suppress- 
ing any sudden commotions. Having by arts of flattery 
enticed several princes to his court, he never suffered them 
to return home again ; as particularly among others, Archelaus 
of Cappadocia, whose kingdom he made a province of the 
empire. Many of the senators were banished, and some of 
them slain by him. C. Asinius Gallus the pleader, son of 
Asinius Pollio, was by his order put to death with the most 
exquisite torments ; and Vocienus Montanus Narbonensis, one 
of the same profession, died in the Baleares, where Tiberius 
had confined him. Moreover historians tell us, that his bro- 
ther Drusus was poisoned at his command. And yet upon 
occasion he exercised so much lenity, that when certain pub- 
licans and governors of provinces moved him to raise the 
public taxes, he gave them this answer, " that a good shepherd 
does indeed shear, but not flay his sheep." 

Tiberius dying, C. Csesar, who, with a jocular reflection 
upon his education in the camp, had the surname of Caligula, 1 
succeeded him in the empire ; he was the son of Drusus (son- 
in-law to Augustus) and nephew to Tiberius ; the greatest 
villain in the world, and one who never did any worthy action 
either at home or abroad. His avarice put him upon all 
manner of oppression ; his lust was such that he did not for- 
bear to violate the chastity of his own sisters ; and his cruelty 
was so great, that he is reported oftentimes to have cried out, 
" Oh ! that all the people of Rome had but one neck ! " At 
his command all who were under proscription were put to 
death ; for having recalled a certain person from banishment, 
and enquiring of him what the exiles did chiefly wish for, — the 
man imprudently answering, that they desired nothing more 
than the death of the emperor — he thereupon gave order that 
every man of them should be executed. He would often com- 
plain of the condition of his times, that they were not rendered 
remarkable by any public calamities, as those of Tiberius had 
been, in whose reign no less than twenty thousand men 
had been slain by the fall of a theatre at Tarracina. He ex- 
pressed so much envy at the renown of Virgil and Livy, that 
he was very near taking away their writings and images out of 
all the libraries ; the former of whom he would censure as a 
man of no wit and little learning, the latter as a verbose and 
1 Caliga signifying a common soldier's hose. — Ed, 

St Peter the Apostle. 3 

negligent historian ; and it was his common bye-word concern- 
ing Seneca, " That his writings were like a rope of sand." 
Agrippa, the son of king Herod, who had been cast into 
prison by Tiberius for accusing Herod, was by him set at 
liberty, and made king of Judaea ; while Herod himself was 
confined to perpetual banishment at Lyons. He caused him- 
self to be translated into the number of the gods, and ordered 
the setting up his image in the temple of Jerusalem. At last he 
was assaulted and slain by some of his own officers, in the third 
year and tenth month of his empire. Among his writings 
were found two rolls or lists, one of which had a dagger, the 
other a sword stamped upon it for a seal ; they both contained 
the names and characters of certain principal men, both of 
the senatorian and equestrian order, whom he designed to 
slaughter. There was found likewise a large chest filled with 
several sorts of poisons, which being at the command of 
Claudius Caesar not long after thrown into the sea, it is reported 
that the waters were so infected thereby that there died abund- 
ance of fish, which the tide cast up in vast numbers upon the 
neighbouring shores. 

I thought good to give this account of these monsters of 
men, that thereby it might the better appear, that God could 
then have scarce forborne destroying the whole world, unless 
He had sent His Son and His Apostles, by whose blood 
mankind, though equal to Lycaon in impiety, was yet redeemed 
from destruction. In their times lived that St Peter, whom 
our Saviour (upon his acknowledgment of Him to be the 
Christ), bespake in these words, " Blessed art thou, Simon 
Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, 
but my Father which is in heaven j " and, " Thou art Peter, 
and upon this rock I will build my church ; and I will give 
unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the power of 
binding and loosing." This apostle being a person of most 
unwearied industry, when he had sufficiently settled the 
churches of Asia, and confuted the opinion of those who main- 
tained the necessity of circumcision, came into Italy in the 
second year of Claudius, 

This Claudius, who was uncle to Caligula, and had been 
all along very contumeliously treated and buffooned by his 
nephew, being now Emperor, making an expedition into 
Britain, had the island surrendered up to him, — an enterprise 
which none before Julius Caesar, nor any after Claudius, durst 

4 The Lives of the Popes. 

undertake : he also added the Isles of Orkney to the Roman 
Empire. He banished out of the city of Rome the seditious Jews, 
and suppressed the tumults of Judaea, which had been raised by 
certain false prophets. And while Cumanus was appointed by 
him Procurator of Judasa, there were crushed to death in the 
porches of the Temple of Jerusalem during the days of un- 
leavened bread, to the number of thirty thousand Jews. At 
the same time, also, there was a great dearth and scarcity of 
provision throughout the whole' world ; a calamity which had 
been foretold by Agabus the prophet. Being secure of any 
hostilities from abroad, he finished the aqueduct that had 
been begun by Caligula, whose ruins are yet to be seen in the 
Lateran. He attempted also to empty the Lake Fucinus, 
being prompted thereto by the hope of getting not only hon- 
our and reputation, but profit and advantage by it ; since 
there was a certain person who proffered to undertake that 
work at his own private charge, upon condition that the land 
when it was drained might have been granted to him for his 
reward. The mountain being partly undermined, partly cut 
through, the length of three miles, the passage was at the end 
of eleven years with much ado finished, there being no less than 
thirty thousand labourers continually employed in it. It was 
he likewise that made the harbour of Ostia, by drawing an arm 
of the sea on each hand, and so breaking the violence of the 
waves ; a work, the footsteps of which are not to be seen at 
this day without wonder. Having put to death his wife 
Messalina for adultery, he afterwards, against all law both 
human and divine, married Agrippina the daughter of his 
brother Germanicus, by whom, in the fourteenth year of his 
Empire, he was poisoned with mushrooms prepared by her for 
that purpose. 

In his time St Peter came to Rome, the principal city of the 
world ; both because he judged it a seat best accommodated 
to the Pontifical dignity, and because likewise he understood 
that Simon Magus, a Samaritan, had planted himself there, 
who by his sorceries had so far seduced the people, that they 
believed him to be a god. For his statue had been already 
erected at Rome, between the two bridges, with this Latin 
inscription, u Simoni Deo Sa?icto" i.e., to "Simon the Holy 
God." This man while he stayed in Samaria, pretended faith 
in Christ so far as to obtain baptism from Philip one of the 
seven deacons, which afterwards abusing to ill ends, he laid 

St Peter the Apostle. 5 

the foundation of diverse heresies. To him was joined one 
Sebene, a shameless strumpet, who was his companion and 
partner in villany. To such a height of impudence did this 
lewd fellow arrive that he challenged St Peter to work miracles 
with him ; and particularly he undertook to raise to life a 
dead child, which indeed at first seemed somewhat to move 
at his charms ; but it being manifest presently that the 
child nevertheless continued dead still, at St Peter's com- 
mand in the name of Jesus, it immediately arose. Simon 
being enraged hereat, proffered, as a further trial which 
of them- was the more holy man and more beloved of 
God, to fly from the Capitol to the Aventine in the sight 
of all the people, provided Peter would follow him. While 
he was yet flying, at the prayer of Peter, who with hands 
lifted up to heaven, beseeched God not to suffer so great a 
multitude to be deluded with magical arts, down he fell and 
broke his leg, with grief of which misadventure he not long 
after died at Aricia, whither his followers had conveyed him 
after this foul disgrace. From him the heretics called 
Simoniaci had their original, who pretended to buy and sell 
the gift of the Holy Ghost, and who asserted the creation to 
proceed from a certain superior power, but not to be from God. 

After this, St Peter applying himself both by preaching and 
example to the propagating of the Word of God, was by the 
Christian Romans earnestly desired that John, surnamed Mark, 
who was his son in baptism, and a person of a most approved 
life and conversation, might be employed by him in writing a 
Gospel. St Hierom saith, that he being a priest in Israel, 
a Levite according to the flesh, after his conversion to the 
Christian faith, wrote his Gospel in Italy, showing what he 
owed to his own parentage and extraction and what to Christ. 
Which Gospel, as we now have it, was approved by the testi- 
mony of St Peter. Being afterwards sent into Egypt, as Philo 
the jew a famous writer tells us, after that by preaching and 
writing he had well formed the Alexandrian Church, being a 
man very eminent both for his life and learning, in the eighth 
year of the Emperor Nero, he died and was buried at Alex- 
andria, in whose place succeeded Anianus. 

The year before died James, surnamed Justus, the brother 
of our Lord, being the son of Joseph by another wife, or, as 
some will have it, sister's son to Mary, Christ's mother. 
Hegesippus, who lived near the Apostles' times, affirms of him 

6 The Lives of the Popes. 

that he was holy in his mother's womb, that he drank neither 
wine nor strong drink, nor ever tasted flesh, that he neither 
shaved, nor bathed, nor anointed himself, nor ever wore any 
other but linen garments. He was often accustomed to enter 
into the Holy of Holies, where he continued so incessantly in 
his prayers for the welfare of the people, that his knees were 
grown hard and callous like those of camels. But Festus 
leaving the government of Judaea, before Albinus his successor 
arrived there, the High Priest Ananus, the son of Ananus, 
requiring James publicly to deny Christ to be the Son of God, 
upon his refusal he gave order he should be stoned to death ; 
who, after he had been thrown down headlong from a pinnacle 
of the Temple, continuing yet half alive, and with hands 
stretched forth towards heaven praying for his persecutors, was 
at last killed outright with a blow of a fuller's club. Josephus 
reports him to have been a man of so great sanctity, that it was 
the general belief that his murder was the cause of the de- 
struction of Jerusalem. This is that James, whom our Lord 
appeared to after His resurrection, and to whom, having 
blessed bread and broken it, He said, " Brother, eat thy bread, 
because the Son of man is risen." He presided over the 
church of Jerusalem thirty years, that is, to the seventh year 
of Nero. His sepulchre with an inscription, hard by the 
temple from which he had been cast down, was yet in being 
in Hadrian's time. 

It is evident likewise that Barnabas, by birth a Cypriot, 
surnamed Joses, a Levite, died before St Peter's martyrdom. 
He being chosen together with Paul an apostle of the Gentiles, 
wrote only one epistle of matters concerning the Church, and 
that too is reckoned apocryphal. There happening to be a 
difference between him and Paul, occasioned by Mark a 
disciple, he, accompanied by the said Mark, went to Cyprus, 
where preaching the faith of Christ he was crowned with 
martyrdom. Paul, first called Saul, was descended of the tribe 
of Benjamin, of a town of Judaea, called Giscalis ; which being 
taken in war by the Romans, he with his parents removed 
to Tarsus, a city of Cilicia. 1 And being sent thence to Jeru- 
salem to study the law, he had his education under the 
learned Gamaliel. After this, he became a persecutor of 

1 This is the story mentioned by St Jerome, but independently of its 
contradicting Acts xxii. 3, it is improbable in itself. See Smith's 
" Dictionary of the Bible," s.v. "Paul," note, p. 731.— Ed. 

St Peter the Apostle. 7 

the Christians, and was present and assistant at the death 
of St Stephen the protomartyr. But as he was going to 
Damascus, being wonderfully converted to the faith, he be- 
came a chosen vessel ; and took the name of Paul, from a 
pro-consul of Cyprus, whom he had converted to Christianity. 
After this he, together with Barnabas, having travelled through 
divers cities, upon his return to Jerusalem, was by Peter, John, 
and James, chosen an apostle of the Gentiles. 1 In the twenty- 
fifth year after the death of Christ, which was the second of 
the Emperor Nero, he, with his fellow-captive Aristarchus, 
was as a free denizen sent bound to Rome ; where continuing 
the space of two years under very little confinement, he was 
daily engaged in disputation with the Jews. Being at length 
set at liberty by Nero, he both preached and wrote many 
things. We have at this day fourteen of his epistles ; one to 
the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, 
one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the 
Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to 
Titus, and one to Philemon ; that to the Hebrews is generally 
said to be his, though because of the difference of style and 
phrase from the rest, it is uncertain whether it were so or not ; 
and there have been anciently divers who have entitled it, 
some to Luke, some to Barnabas, some to Clemens. St Peter 
also wrote two general epistles, though the latter is by many 
denied to be his for the same reason of the difference of style. 
But being so taken up with prayer and preaching, that he 
could not attend any other great variety of business, he con- 
stituted two bishops, viz., Linus and Cletus, who might 
exercise the sacerdotal ministry to the Romans and other 
Christians. The holy man applying himself entirely to these 
things, gained thereby so great and universal a reputation, that 
men were ready to worship him as a god. The Emperor Nero 
being displeased hereat, began to contrive his death ; where- 
upon St Peter, with the advice of his friends, that he might 
avoid the Emperor's envy and rage, departed out of the city 
by the Via Appia ; and at the end of the first mile he travelled, 
to use the words of Hegesippus, meeting with Christ in the 
way, and falling down and worshipping Him, he said, " Lord 
whither goest Thou ? " to whom Christ replied, " I go to Rome 
to be crucified again." There is yet remaining a chapel built 
on the same place where these words were spoken. Now St 
1 This is not quite compatible with Gal. ii. J -a. — Ed. 

8 The Lives of the Popes. 

Peter believing this saying of our Saviour to relate to his own 
martyrdom, because Christ might seem to be ready to suffer 
again in him, went back to the city, and forthwith consecrated 
Clemens a bishop, and in these words recommended to him 
his chair, and the Church of God : " I deliver to thee the 
same power of binding and loosing which Christ left to me ; 
do thou, as becomes a good pastor, promote the salvation of 
men both by prayer and preaching, without regard to any 
hazard of life or fortune." Having set these things thus in 
order, at the command of Nero, in the last year of his empire, 
he was put to death together with St Paul, though the kinds 
of their punishment were different. For St Peter was crucified 
with his head towards the ground, and his feet upwards, for so 
he desired it might be, saying, that he was unworthy to under- 
go the same kind of death with his Saviour. He was buried 
in the Vatican, in the Via Aurelia, near Nero's Gardens, not 
far from the Via Triumphalis which leads to the temple of 
Apollo. He continued in the see twenty-five years. But St 
Paul being on the same day beheaded, was interred in the Via 
Ostiensis, in the thirty-seventh year after the death of Christ. 
This is confirmed by the testimony of Caius the historian, who 
in a disputation against one Proculus a Montanist has these 
words : " I," says he, " can shew you the victorious ensigns of 
the apostles ; for you cannot pass the Via Regalis that leads 
to the Vatican, nor the Via Ostiensis, but you will find the 
trophies of those heroes that established this church : " where 
certainly he refers to these two St Peter and St Paul. Jn the 
forementioned gardens of Nero, were reposited the ashes of a 
multitude of holy martyrs. For a fire happening in the time 
of Nero, which raging for six days together, had wasted a 
great part of the city, and devoured the substance of many 
wealthy citizens, the blame of all which was laid upon the 
Emperor, he, as Tacitus tells us, being very desirous to quell 
the rumour, suborned false witnesses to accuse, and lay all the 
blame of that calamity upon the Christians. Whereupon so 
great a number of them were seized and put to death, that it 
is said the flame of their empaled bodies supplied the room of 
lights for some nights together. There are those who say this 
fire was kindled by Nero, either that he might have before his 
eyes the resemblance of burning Troy, or else because he had 
taken offence at the irregularity of the old houses, and the 
narrowness and windings of the streets ; neither of which are 

St Peter the Apostle. 9 

improbable of such a man as he, who was profligately self- 
willed, intemperate, and cruel, and in all respects more lewd 
and wicked than his uncle Caligula. For he put to death a 
great part of the senate, and also without any regard to 
decency would in the sight of the people sing and dance in 
the public theatre. His dissolute luxury was such, that 
he made use of perfumed cold baths, and fished with golden 
nets, which were dragged with purple cords. Yet he took 
such care to concea all these vices in the beginning of his 
empire, that men had generally great hopes of him. For 
being put in mind to sign a warrant according to custom 
for the execution of one that was condemned to die, " how 
glad," says he, "should I be that I had never learnt to 
write." He was very sumptuous in his buildings both in 
the city and elsewhere j for the baths called by his name, and 
the Aurea Domus, and the Portico three miles long, were 
finished by him with wondrous magnificence ; besides which 
he was at a vast expense to make the haven at Antium, 
at the sight of which I myself not long since was wonderfully 
pleased. I return to his cruelty, which he exercised towards 
his master Seneca, towards M. Annceus Lucanus the famous 
poet, towards his mother Agrippina, and his wife Octavia, to- 
wards Cornutus, the philosopher, Persius's master, whom he 
banished towards Piso, and in a word towards all those who 
were in any reputation among the citizens. In the end, he so 
highly provoked the rage and hatred of the people against 
him, that most diligent search was made after him to bring 
him to condign punishment ; which punishment was, that be- 
ing bound, he should be led up and down with a gallows 
upon his neck ; and being whipped with rods to death, his 
body should be thrown into the river Tiber. But he making 
his escape four miles out of the city, laid violent hands upon 
himself in the country house of one of his freemen, between 
the Via Salaria, and Nomentana, in the thirty-second year of 
his age, and of his reign the fourteenth. 

10 The Lives of the Popes. 


Circa a.d. 68-78. 

LINUS, by nation a Tuscan, his father's name Herculeanus, 
was in the chair from the last year of Nero to the times 
of Vespasian, and from the consulship of Saturninus and Scipio, 
to that of Capito and Rufus. 

In this space of time there were no less than three 
emperors, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, each of them reigning 
but a very little while. 

Galba, a person descended of the most ancient nobility, 
being created emperor by the soldiers in Spain, as soon as he 
heard of the death of Nero, came immediately to Rome. But 
rendering himself obnoxious to all men by his avarice and 
sloth, through the treachery of Otho, he was slain at Rome 
near Curtius's lake in the seventh month of his reign j together 
with Piso a noble youth whom he had adopted for his son. 
He was doubtless a man, who before he came to the empire, 
was very eminent in the management both of military and 
civil affairs ; being often consul, often proconsul, and several 
times general in the most important wars. That which makes 
me speak this in his praise, is the learning of M. Fabius 
Quintilianus, whom Galba brought with him out of Spain to 

Otho, a man of better extraction by his mother's than by 
his father's side, who while he led a private life was very loose 
and effeminate, as being a great and intimate friend of Nero's, 
in the midst of tumults and slaughters, as I hinted before, in- 
vaded the empire. But being engaged in a civil war against 
Vitellius, who had been created emperor in Germany, though 
he got the better in three small skirmishes, one at the Alps, 
another at Placentia, the third at Castor, yet losing the day 
in the last and most considerable, which was at Bebriacum, he 
thereupon fell into so deep a melancholy, that, in the third 
month of his empire he stabbed himself. 

Vitellius, concerning whose extraction there are different 
opinions, coming to Rome, and obtaining the empire, soon 
degenerated into all manner of lewdness, cruelty and gluttony, 
being used to make several meals in a day, and some of them 
to such an height of luxury, that there have been at one supper 
no less than two thousand fishes, and seven thousand fowl 

St Linus. 1 1 

served up to his table. But having intelligence that Vespasian, 
who had been created emperor by the army in Judaea, was 
advancing with his legions, he at first determined to quit the 
empire ; yet being afterwards encouraged by those about him, 
he took up arms, and forced Sabinus, Vespasian's brother, with 
his Flavian soldiers into the Capitol ; which being set on fire, 
they were all burnt. Hereupon being surprised by Vespasian, 
and having no hope of pardon left him, he hid himself in a 
private chamber in the palace, from whence he was most 
ignominiously dragged and carried naked through the Via 
Sacra to the Scalae Gemoniae, where being quartered he was 
thrown into the river Tiber. 

During this time Linus was successor to St Peter, though 
there are some who place Clemens here, and wholly leave out 
Linus and Cletus, who yet are sufficiently confuted not only 
by history, but also by the authority of St Hierom, who tells 
us, that Clemens was the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter, 
for Linus was accounted the second, and Cletus the third, 
notwithstanding that most of the Romans immediately after 
Peter reckon Clemens. To whom, though St Peter had as 
it were by will bequeathed the right of succession, yet his 
modesty was so great that he compelled Linus and Cletus to 
take upon them the pontifical dignity before him, lest any 
ambition of pre-eminence might be of ill example to after 
ages. This Linus by commission from St Peter, ordained that 
no woman should enter the church but with her head veiled. 
Moreover, at two ordinations which he held in the city, he made 
eighteen presbyters and eleven bishops. In his time lived 
Philo, a Jew of Alexandria, in whose writings there is so much 
wit and judgment, that, from the likeness there appears be- 
tween them, he deserved to have it proverbially said, either 
Plato does Philonize, or Philo does Platonize. By his learning 
and eloquence he corrected the rashness of Apion, who had 
been sent ambassador from the Alexandrians with complaints 
against the Jews. While he was at Rome, in the time of Claudius, 
he contracted an acquaintance with St Peter, and thereupon 
wrote several things in praise of the Christians. 1 Josephus also 
the son of Mattathias, a priest at Hierusalem, being taken 
prisoner by Vespasian, and committed to the custody of his 
son Titus, till that city was taken, coming to Rome during the 
pontificate of Linus, presented to the father and the son seven 
1 This is mere fable Philo died soon after a.d. 40. — Ed. 

1 2 The Lives of the Popes. 

books of the Jewish war, which were laid up in the public 
library, and the author himself, as a reward for that perfor- 
mance, had most deservedly a statue erected to him. He wrote 
likewise twenty-four other books of antiquities, from the begin- 
ing of the world to the fourteenth year of the emperor 
Domitian. As for Linus himself, though he had gained a 
mighty reputation by the sanctity of his life, by his power of 
casting out devils and raising the dead, yet was he put to death 
by Saturninus, the consul, whose very daughter he had dis- 
possessed, and was buried in the Vatican near the body of St 
Peter, on the twenty-first day of September, when he had sat 
in the Pontifical See eleven years, three months, and twelve 
days. There are some who affirm that Gregory Bishop of 
Ostia, did, according to a vow which he had made, remove the 
body of this holy bishop to that place, and solemnly inter it 
in the Church of St. Laurence. 

Circa 78-91. 

CLETUS, born in Rome in the Vicopatrician 1 region, son 
of ./Emilianus, through the persuasion of Clemens, un- 
willingly took upon him the burden of the pontificate, though 
for his learning, life, and quality, he was a person of very great 
esteem and authority among all that knew him. He lived in 
the time of Vespasian and Titus, from the seventh consulship 
of Vespasian, and the fifth of Domitian, to the consulate of 
Domitian and Rufus, according to Damasus. 

Vespasian, as I said before, succeeding Vitellius, committed 
the management of the Jewish War, which had been carrying 
on two years before, to his son Titus, which he, within two 
years after, with great resolution finished. For all Judaea being 
conquered, the city Hierusalem destroyed, and the temple 
levelled to the ground, it is reported that no less than six 
hundred thousand Jews were slain ; nay, Josephus, a Jew, who 
was a captive in that war, and had his life given him because 
he foretold the death of Nero, and that Vespasian should in 

1 One of the divisions of the City of Rome, answering to one of our 
wards in London. — Ed. 

St Cletus, 13 

a short time be Emperor, relates that eleven hundred thousand 
perished therein by sword and famine, and that a hundred 
thousand were taken prisoners, and publicly exposed to sale. 
Nor will it seem improbable, if we consider that he tells us this 
happened at the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when 
they came from all parts of Judaea to Jerusalem, as into a pub- 
lie prison j and especially on the day of the Passover, upon 
which they crucified Christ : being now to undergo the de- 
served punishment, both of their frequent revolts from the 
Roman government, and also of their villany and perfidious- 
ness in putting to death the innocent Jesus. Upon this victory 
over the Jews, the father and son were honoured with a tri- 
umph, both riding in the same chariot, and Domitian upon a 
white horse following them. The monuments of this triumph 
remain still in the Via Nova, where are to be seen engraven 
the candlesticks and the tables of the old law that were taken 
out of the temple and triumphantly brought away. Yet Ves- 
pasian exercised so much humanity towards the Jews, even when 
they were conquered, that for all those whom he found among 
them remaining of the House of David, as being of royal 
descent, he had a very good esteem. And indeed he always 
used his power with great moderation, being of so mild and 
merciful a temper, as to discharge even traitors with no other 
than a verbal correction, and to slight the discourses of insolent 
and talkative people, and in general to be forgetful of faults 
and injuries. He was looked upon as too much inclined to 
avarice, and yet he used no oppression for the getting of 
money, and what he had he employed in bounty and magnifi- 
cence. For he both finished the Temple of Peace adjoining 
to the Forum, that had been begun by Claudius, and began 
that amphitheatre, a part of which is yet to be seen with 
admiration. He had so great an opinion of the bravery and 
merit of his son Titus, that upon occasion of certain tumults, 
raised by some ambitious men who aspired to the empire, he 
said publicly, " That either his son, or no man, would be his 
successor in the empire." And good ground he had to say 
so, for that Titus, both for his courage and integrity, was 
accounted the darling and delight of mankind. He was 
endued with an eloquence excellently suited to the times of 
peace, and with a courage to those of war ; he was very merci- 
ful to offenders, and so kind and bountiful to all, that he never 
denied any man anything. Upon which occasion when some 

14 The Lives of the Popes. 

of his friends took the liberty to find fault with him as too pro- 
fuse, he told them, " It was not fit that any man should depart 
sad out of the presence of a prince." And remembering at a 
certain time that he had not conferred any benefit in a whole 
day, he thereupon cried out to those about him, " My friends, 
I have lost a day." Never any emperor was superior to him in 
magnificence ; the amphitheatre, together with the baths near 
adjoining, being perfectly completed and dedicated, and an 
hunting of five thousand wild beasts exhibited by him. He 
recalled from exile Mursonius Rufus, a famous philosopher, 
and was much pleased with the conversation of Asconius 
Pcedianus, a most learned man. He died in the second year 
of his empire, and was carried to his sepulchre with so great 
and universal a lamentation, as if every man had lost a father. 
There are some who write that Cletus succeeded Linus in 
the second year of Vespasian, who held the empire ten years. 
Whether that were so or no, it is certain that Cletus was a most 
holy and good man, and that he left nothing undone that might 
contribute to the enlargement and increase of the Church of 
God. In his time lived Luke, a physician of Antioch, one 
extraordinarily well skilled in the Greek language, a follower 
of St Paul the Apostle, and his constant attendant and com- 
panion in his travels. He penned the gospel, which is com- 
mended by St Paul, and which St Paul for a good reason calls 
his gospel. He wrote also the Acts of the Apostles, being 
himself an eye-witness of them. He lived eighty-four years, 
was married in Bithynia, and buried at Constantinople, whither 
his bones, together with those of Andrew the Apostle, were, in 
the tenth year of Constantius, conveyed out of Achaia. At 
the same time likewise Philip returning out of Scythia, which, 
by his example and preaching he had kept stedfast in the 
faith for twenty years together, into Asia, died at Jerusalem. 
As for Cletus himself, having settled the Church as well as the 
times would bear, and ordained, according to St Peter's com- 
mand, twenty-five presbyters, he was crowned with martyrdom 
in the reign of Domitian, and buried near the body of St 
Peter in the Vatican, April 27. There were many other 
martyrs about the same time, among whom is reckoned Flavia 
Domitilla, sister's daughter to Flavius Clemens the consul, 
who was banished into the island Pontia for the profession of 
Christianity. Cletus sat in the chair twelve years, one month, 
eleven days ; and by his death the see was vacant twenty days. 

*SV Clemens. 15 

Circa a.d. 91-100. 

CLEMENS, born in Rome, in the region of Mons Coelius, 
his father's name Faustinus, lived in the time of 
Titus's successor Domitian, who was more like to Nero or 
Caligula than to his father Vespasian or his brother, yet at 
the beginning of his empire he kept within some tolerable 
bounds, but soon after he broke out into very great enormities 
of lust, idleness, rage, and cruelty \ crimes which brought 
upon him so great an odium, as almost entirely defaced the 
memory and renown of his father and brother. Most of the 
nobility he put to death, whereof most were by his order 
assassinated in the places whither he had banished them. He 
was so industriously idle as to spend the time of his privacy 
and retirement in killing flies with a bodkin ; for which 
reason, when a certain person coming out of his presence was 
asked, whether any one were with Caesar, he answered merrily, 
" No, not so much as a fly." He arrived to such a height of 
folly and arrogance, as to expect divine honours, and com- 
manded that in all discourses and writings concerning him, 
the title of Lord and God should be given him. He was the 
second from Nero that raised a persecution against the 
Christians. Moreover, he gave order that all those of the 
lineage of David among the Jews, should by interrogatories 
and racking them to confession, be diligently searched after, 
and being found, utterly destroyed and extinguished. In the 
end, the divine vengeance overtaking him, he was in the 
fifteenth year of his empire stabbed to death in the palace by 
his own servants. His body was carried out by the common 
bearers, and ingloriously buried by Philix at her country house 
in the Via Latina. 

Clemens was now (as I have said) the fourth Bishop of 
Rome from St Peter, Linus being accounted the second, and 
Cletus the third, though the Latins generally reckon Clemens 
next after Peter ; and that he was designed so appears from 
his own letter to James, Bishop of Jerusalem, wherein he 
gives him the following account of that matter : " Simon Peter 
being apprehensive of his approaching death, in the presence 
of several brethren, taking hold of my hand, This," says he, 
" is the person, whom having been my assistant in all affairs 

1 6 T fie Lives of the Popes. 

since I came to Rome, I constitute Bishop of that city ; and 
when I showed my willingness to decline so great a burden, 
he expostulated with me in this manner, ' Wilt thou consult 
only thine own convenience, and deny thy assistance to the 
poor fluctuating Church of God when it is in thy power to 
steer it ? ' " But he being a person of wonderful modesty, did 
freely prefer Linus and Cletus to that dignity before himself 
undertook it. He wrote in the name of the Roman Church 
a very useful epistle to the Corinthians, not differing in 
style from that of the Hebrews, which is said to be St Paul's. 
This epistle was formerly read publicly in several churches • 
there is another bearing his name which the ancients did not 
think authentic; and Eusebius in the third Book of his 
History, does find fault with a long disputation between St 
Peter and Apion, said to be written by our Clement. It is 
certain that John the Apostle, son of Zebedee and brother of 
James, lived to this time, who was the last penman of the 
Gospel, and confirmed what had been before written by 
Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The reason why he wrote last is 
said to be that he might confront and defeat the heresy of the 
Ebionites, who impudently denied Christ to have had a being 
before His birth of the Blessed Virgin j and accordingly we 
find him very particular in demonstrating the divinity of our 
Saviour. He wrote several other things, and among the rest 
his Revelation, during his banishment into the island Patmos 
by Domitian; who being afterwards slain and his acts for 
their excessive severity rescinded by the Senate, he returned 
to Ephesus in the time of Nerva, where he continued till the 
reign of Trajan, supporting the churches of Asia by his 
counsel and writings, till at last being worn out with age he 
rested in the Lord the sixty-eighth year after the Passion of 
Christ. Our Clemens by his piety, religion, and learning- 
made daily many proselytes to Christianity; whereupon P. 
Tarquinius the High-priest, and Mamertinus the city Prsefect, 
stirred up the emperor against the Christians, at whose 
command Clement was banished to an island, where he found 
near two thousand Christians condemned to hew marble in 
the quarries. In this island there being at that time a great 
scarcity of water, which they were forced to fetch at six miles' 
distance, Clement going to the top of a little hill hard by, 
sees there a lamb, under whose right foot flowed miraculously 
a plentiful spring, with which all the islanders were refreshed, 

St Anacletus. \J 

and many of them thereupon converted to the Christian faith. 
At which Trajan, being enraged, sent some of his guards, 
who threw Clement into the sea, with an anchor tied about 
his neck. 1 But his blessed body was not long after cast 
on the shore, and being buried at the place where this miracu* 
lous fountain had sprung up, a temple was built over it. 
This is said to have happened September the fourteenth, in 
the third year of the Emperor Trajan. He was in the chair 
nine years, two months, and ten days. He divided the wards 
of the city among seven notaries, who were to register the 
acts of the martyrs; and at the ordinatioas which he held 
according to custom in the month of December, he made ten 
presbyters, two deacons, and fifteen bishops. By his death 
the see was vacant two-and-twenty days. 


ANACLETUS, an Athenian, son of Antiochus, was suc- 
cessor to Clement in the time of Trajanus. This 
Trajan's predecessor, Nerva Cocceius, was an excellent person 
both in his private and public capacity, just and equal in all 
his proceedings, and one whose government was very advan- 
tageous to the republic. Through his procurement the acts 
of Domitian being repealed by decree of the Senate, multi- 
tudes thereupon returned from banishment, and several by 
his bounty had the goods of which they had before been 
plundered, restored to them. But being now very old, and 
drawing near to the time of his death, out of his care of the 
public weal, he adopted Trajan, and then died in the sixteenth 
month of his reign, and of his age the seventy-second year. 

Trajan himself, a Spaniard, surnamed Ulpius Crinitus, 
coming to the empire, surpassed the best of princes in the 
glory of his arms, the goodness of his temper, and the modera- 
tion of his government. He extended the bounds of the 
empire far and wide, reduced that part of Germany beyond 
the Rhine to its former state, subdued Dacia, and several 
other nations beyond the Danube ; recovered Parthia \ gave a 

1 This story is probably not older than the ninth century. — Ed. 

2 The modern historians make him identical with Cletus. But all is 
uncertain at this period. — Ed. 

1 8 The Lives of the Popes. 

king to the Albanians ; made provinces beyond the Euphrates 
and Tigris ; overcame and kept Armenia, Assyria, Mesopo- 
tamia, Silesia, Ctesiphon, and Babylon; and proceeded as 
far as the borders of India, and the Red Sea, where he left a 
fleet to infest those borders. 

The ecclesiastical laws and constitutions of Anacletus were 
as follows, viz.: That no prelate or other clerk should suffer 
his beard or hair to grow long ; that no bishop should be or- 
dained by less than three other bishops ; that the clergy should 
be admitted into holy orders in public only ; and that all the 
faithful should after consecration communicate or be put out of 
the Church. By this means the Christian interest so increased, 
that Trajan, fearing lest the Roman state might be impaired 
thereby, gave allowance to a third persecution of the Chris- 
tians, in which multitudes were put to death, and particularly 
Ignatius, the third bishop of the Church of Antioch after St 
Peter. Who being taken and condemned to suffer by wild 
beasts, as he was carried to Rome by his guards, whom he 
called his Ten Leopards, he all along in his passage encour- 
aged and confirmed the Christians, by discourse with some, 
and by epistle to others ; declaring his readiness to suffer in this 
manner : " Come cross, come beasts, come, rack, come the 
torture of my whole body, and the torments of the devil upon 
me, so I may enjoy Christ." And upon the occasion of his 
hearing the lions roar, "Corn," says he, "I am, let me be 
ground by the teeth of these beasts, that I may be found fine 
bread." He died in Trajan's eleventh year, and his bones 
were afterwards buried in the suburbs of Antioch. But 
Plinius Secundus, who was then governor of that province, 
being moved with compassion to see so many executed, 
wrote to the Emperor Trajan, informing him that incredible 
numbers of men were daily put to death, who were persons of 
an unblameable life, and who in no point transgressed the 
Roman laws, save only that before daybreak they would sing 
hymns to Christ their God. but that adulteries and the like 
crimes were disallowed and abominated by them. Hereupon 
Trajan gave order, that the magistrates should not make 
search after theChristians,but only punish those who voluntarily 
offered themselves. During this persecution Simeon, the 
kinsman of our Lord, son of Cleophas and bishop of Jerusalem, 
was crucified in the hundred and twentieth year of his age. 
These things which we have spoken of were acted in the time 

St Evaristus. 19 

of this bishop and not of Cletus, as Eusebius in the third book 
of his history would have it ; for Damasus makes out that 
Cletus and Anacletus differed both as to their country and 
manner of death — Cletus being a Roman, and suffering under 
Domitian, but Anacletus an Athenian, and suffering under 
Trajan. Our Anacletus having erected an oratory to St Peter, 
and assigned places of burial for the martyrs distinct from 
those of other men, and at one Decembrian ordination made 
five presbyters, three deacons, and six bishops ; upon his 
martyrdom the see was vacant thirteen days, after he had sat 
in it nine years, two months, and ten days. 



Circa a.d. 100-109. 

VARISTUS, by birth a Grecian, his father a Jew, named 
Juda, of the holy city of Bethlehem, lived in the time of 
Trajan, a prince whom I take delight to mention, because of 
his singular justice and humanity ; who behaved himself so 
acceptably towards all men, that, as far as the times of 
Justinian, the usual acclamation of the people at the creation 
of an emperor was this : " Let him be more prosperous than 
Augustus and better than Trajan." He was of a temper so 
courteous and condescending in visiting the sick, in saluting 
his friends, in keeping festivals, and being present at colla- 
tions to which he was invited, that the fault which some found 
with him for that very reason, gave the occasion of that 
worthy noble saying of his, " That a prince ought to be such 
to his subjects as he desires they should be to him." He 
impartially distributed honours, riches, and rewards to all that 
deserved well ; never oppressed any man to fill his own ex- 
chequer ; granted advantageous immunities to poor cities ; 
repaired the highways, and made the passages of rivers secure ; 
made a high large mole at the haven of Ancona, to break the 
violence of the waves ; and indeed neither acted nor designed 
anything in his whole life but what tended to the public good. 
Having gained such renown both in war and in peace, he 
died of a flux at Seleucia, a city of Isauria, in the eighteenth 
year and sixth month of his reign. His bones were afterwards 

20 The Lives of the Popes, 

conveyed to Rome, and there buried in an urn of gold in 
the Forum which he himself had built, under the winding pillar 
of a hundred and forty feet high, which is yet to be seen. 

But we return to Evaristus, who, as Damasus tells us, 
divided the city of Rome among the presbyters into parishes ; 
ordained that seven deacons should attend the bishop when- 
ever he preached, to be witnesses of the truth of his doctrine ; 
and moreover, that the accusation of a layman should not be 
admitted against a bishop. He held Decembrian ordinations, 
at which he made six presbyters, two deacons, and five bishops. 
In his time lived Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, an auditor of 
John, a person who'took not so much delight in the records 
of the ancient disciples of our Lord, as in the living conversa- 
tion of Aristion and John the elder. And it is manifest, from 
the order he observes in setting down the names of these two 
after the mention of almost all the apostles, that the John 
whom he places among the apostles was a distinct person 
from this John the aged, whom he reckons after Aristion. 
He was certainly a very learned man, and followed by many, 
as particularly Irenseus, Apollinarius, Tertullian, Victorinus 
Pictaviensis, and Lactantius Firmianus. Now also Quadratus, 
a disciple of the apostles, did by his industry and courage 
support the Church of God as much as might be in such 
dangerous times. For when Hadrian, who now passed the 
winter at Athens, and was admitted a priest to the goddess 
Eleusina, began to persecute the Christians, Quadratus with 
his own hand presented to him a very honest and rational 
book of the excellence of the Christian religion. The like 
did Aristides, an Athenian philosopher, converted to Chris- 
tianity ; who at the same time with Quadratus, presented to 
Hadrian a treatise, containing an account of our religion. 
The effect of which apologetics was, that Hadrian being con- 
vinced of the injustice of putting the Christians to death 
without their being heard, wrote to Minutius Fundanus, the 
proconsul of Asia, ordering that no Christian should be 
executed, unless his guilt were proved by a credible witness. 
As for our Evaristus, some tell us that he was martyred in the 
last year of Trajan ; but they are more in the right, who are 
of opinion that he suffered under Hadrian before his being 
reconciled to the Christians. For he was in the chair nine 
years, ten months, two days, and was buried in the Vatican, 
near the body of St Peter, October 27th. The see was then 
vacant nineteen days. 

St Alexander I, 21 

Circa a.d. 109- 119. 

ALEXANDER, a Roman, son of Alexander, a person of 
wisdom and gravity far exceeding his years, held the 
pontificate in the time of vElius Hadrianus. 

This Hadrian, who was son to Trajan's cousin-german, at his 
first coming to the empire proved an enemy to the Christians, 
but afterwards (as shall be said anon), upon knowledge of 
their religion and devotion, became very kind and propitious 
to them. From the great benefits which the Roman State 
received by his government, he was called the Father of his 
country, and his wife had the title of Augusta. He was ex- 
cellently well skilled both in the Roman and Greek languages, 
made many laws, erected a goodly library at Athens, being 
mightily pleased with the learning and conversation of Plutarch, 
Sixtus, Agathocles, and Oenomaus the philosopher; and at 
the request of the Athenians, compiled laws for them accord- 
ing to the model of Draco and Solon. Being admitted to the 
Eleusinian mysteries, he was very bountiful to the citizens of 
Athens, and repaired their bridge broken down by an inun- 
dation of the river Cephisus. He built also a bridge at 
Rome, called by his own name, remaining to this day, and a 
stately sepulchre in the Vatican near the river Tiber, which 
the popes now make use of for a citadel. Moreover, he made 
that most sumptuous and stately villa, now called Old Tiber, 
to the several parts of which he gave the names of provinces 
and the most celebrated parts of the world. Coming to 
Pelusium, he was at great expense in adorning Pompey's 
Tomb, and in Britain he built a wall of sixty miles to sever 
the Romans from the natives. And because Septicius Clarus, 
the captain of his guards, and Suetonius Tranquillus, his 
secretary, with several others, had without his leave conversed 
somewhat more familiarly with his Empress Sabina than the 
reverence of a court admitted of, he removed them all and 
put others into their offices. 

But to return to our Alexander. He was the first who for 
the remembrance of Christ's passion, at the communion 
added those words, Qui pridie quam pateretur to the 
clause, hoc est corpus mewn. He ordained likewise that the 
holy water (as it is called), mixed with salt and consecrated 

22 The Lives of the Popes. 

by prayer, should be kept in churches and in private houses, 
as a guard against evil spirits. Moreover, he instituted that 
water should be mingled with the wine, at the consecration of 
the elements, to signify the union of Christ with His Church ; 
and that the host should not be of leavened bread, as was 
formerly used, but of unleavened only, as being the more 
pure, and by which all occasion of cavilling would be taken 
away from the Ebionite heretics, who were very much ad- 
dicted to Judaism. In his time lived Agrippa Castor, who 
learnedly and effectually confuted the books which Basilides 
the heretic wrote against the Holy Gospel ; exposing to 
derision his prophets, Barcabas and Barthecab, and his great 
god Abraxas, names invented by him to amuse and terrify the 
ignorant. This Basilides died at that time when the Christians 
were very much persecuted and tormented by Cochebas, the 
head of the Jewish faction. But Hadrian soon repressed the 
pertinacity of this rebel and the whole nation of the Jews, by 
an almost incredible slaughter of them ; and then commanded 
that no Jew should be suffered to enter Jerusalem, permitting 
only Christians to inhabit that city, and having repaired the 
walls and buildings of it, he called it after his own name, 
^Elia ; Marcus being, after the expulsion of the Jews, chosen 
the first Gentile bishop of it. In the time of this bishop also 
Sapphira of Antioch, and Sabina, a Roman lady, suffered 
martyrdom for the faith of Christ ; and Favorinus, Palaemon, 
Herodes Atheniensis and Marcus Byzantius were famous 
rhetoricians. Our Alexander having at three Decembrian 
ordinations made five presbyters, three deacons, five bishops, 
was, together with his deacons Euentius and Theodulus, 
crowned with martyrdom, on the third day of May, and buried 
in the Via Nomentana, where he suffered, seven miles from 
the city. He was in the chair ten years, seven months, two 
days. After his death the see was vacant twenty-five days. 

Circa a.d. i 19-129. 

SIXTUS, a Roman, the son of Pastor, or as others will 
have it, of Helvidius, held the Pontificate in the time of 
Hadrian, to the consulship of Verus and Anniculus. 

St Sixths L 23 

Which Hadrian is reckoned in the number of the good 
emperors, upon the account of his liberality, splendour, 
magnificence, and clemency ; an eminent instance of the last 
of which good qualities was this, that when a servant ran 
madly upon him with his sword, he took no farther notice of 
the action than to order him a physician to cure his frenzy. 
He visited the sick twice or thrice in a day ; at his own charge 
he repaired Alexandria when it had been ruined by the 
Romans ; he rebuilt the Pantheon in Rome, and made 
aromatic presents to the people. Being at the point of 
death, he is said to have uttered these verses : 

" Animula, vagtila, blandula, 
Hospes, comesque corporis. 
Qua nunc abibis in loca, 
Pallidula, rigida, nudula? 
Nee, ut soles, dabis Jocos." 

He died of a dropsy in the two-and-twentieth year of his 
reign, and was buried at Puteoli, in Cicero's Villa. 

Sixtus, out of his care of the Church, ordained that the 
elements and vessels of the altar should not be touched by 
any but the ministers, but especially not by women ; and that 
the corporal, as it is called, should be made of linen cloth 
only, and that of the finest sort. That no bishop who had 
been cited to appear before the apostolic see, should at his 
return be received by his flock, unless he brought with him 
letters communicatory to the people. At the celebration he 
instituted the hymn, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of 
Sabaoth." Anciently the office of the communion was per- 
formed in a plain manner, and unclogged with human mix- 
tures. St Peter, after consecration, used the paternoster ; 
James, Bishop of Jerusalem, added some rites; Basil more, 
and others more still. For Celestine brought in the Introitus 
of the mass, Gregory the Kyrie Eleison, Telesphorus The 
Glory be to God on High, Gelasius the First the Collects, and 
Hierom the Epistle and Gospel. The Alleluia was taken 
from the Church of Jerusalem, the Creed was instituted by 
the Council of Nice ; Pelagius introduced the Commemora- 
tion of the Dead, Leo the Third the Incense, Innocent the 
First the Kiss of Peace, and Sergius ordered the Agnus Dei to 
be sung. During the time of Sixtus, the persecution being so 
sharp that few had courage enough to own the profession of 
Christianity, and the Christian Gauls desiring a bishop, to 

24 The Lives of the. Popes. 

them he sends Peregrine, a citizen of Rome, who, having 
confirmed them in the faith, at his return suffered martyrdom 
in the Via Appia, at the place where Christ appeared to Peter 
as he was leaving the city. His body was by the faithful 
carried into the Vatican, and buried near St Peter. Aquila, 
also by birth a Jew of Pontus, who with his wife Priscilla had 
been banished by the edict of Claudius, is said by some to 
have lived till this time ; he was the second translator of the 
Old Testament, after the seventy who lived in the time of 
Ptolomy Philadelphus. As for Sixtus, having at three 
Decembrian ordinations made eleven presbyters, eleven 
deacons, and four bishops, he was crowned with martyrdom, 
and buried in the Vatican near St Peter, having been in the 
chair ten years, three months, and one-and-twenty days. 
Upon his death the see was vacant only two days. 


A.D. 1 29-T39. 

TELESPHORUS, a Grecian, the son of an anchorite, lived 
in the time of Antoninus Pius. 
This emperor was by his father's side a Cisalpine Gaul, and 
together with his sons, Aurelius and Verus, he ruled twenty- 
two years and three months, with so much moderation and 
clemency that he deservedly gained the name of Pius, and 
Father of his country. He was never severe or rigorous 
towards any man in the recovery of his own private debts, or 
the exaction of public taxes, but would sometimes wholly 
remit them by burning the bonds of his debtors. What shall 
I need say more of this prince, who in the opinion of all 
good men was for religion, devotion, humanity, clemency, 
justice, and modesty, equal to Numa Pompilius himself. 
When the river Tiber had by an inundation much impaired 
many private and public buildings, he was at vast expense to 
assist the citizens in restoring the city to its former state 
again. Moreover, it was he who carried on those prodigious 
works which appear to this day, for improving the havens of 
Tarracina and Gaeta ; and I believe that the famous winding 
pillar, from which the principal ward of the city is deno- 
minated, was built at his charge. 

St Telesphorus. 25 

As for our Telesphorus, he ordained that a Quadragesimal 
Fast should be observed before Easter j and that on the Feast 
of the Nativity of our Lord there should be three masses : 
one at midnight, at which time Christ was born in Bethlehem ; 
another at break of day, when he was discovered to the shep- 
herds ; the third at that hour wherein the light of truth and 
our redemption shone in the world {i.e., when our Saviour 
was crucified), — whereas at other times the celebration of the 
mass was forbidden till the third hour, or between the hours 
of nine and twelve o'clock, the time when, as St Mark tells 
us, he was fastened to the cross. He also appointed that the 
hymn, "Glory be to God on High," should be sung before 
the sacrifice. In his time Justinus, a philosopher of Neapolis, 
a city of Palestine, who laboured successfully in the defending 
of Christianity, presented to Antoninus and his sons a book 
which he had written against the heathens; and held a 
dialogue with Tryphon, a principal Jew. He wrote also very 
warmly against Marcion, who, adhering to the heresy of Cerdo, 
affirmed that there were two gods, the one good, the other 
just, as two contrary principles of creation and goodness. He 
opposed likewise Crescens the cynic, as a person gluttonous, 
fearful of death, given over to luxury and lust, and a blas- 
phemer of Christ. But being at length by this man's 
treacherous practices betrayed, he suffered in the cause of 
Christianity. Eusebius, writing of this cynic, allows him only 
to have been a vain-glorious pretender, but not a philosopher. 
At the same time the Valentinian heretics prevailed, who 
were the followers of one Valentinus, a Platonist ; and held 
that Christ took nothing of the body of the Virgin, but passed 
clean through her, as through a pipe. Now also Photinus, 
Bishop of Lyons, a man of singular learning and piety, as 
Isodore tells us, suffered martyrdom with great resolu- 
tion, being ninety years old. Telesphorus, having at four 
Decembrian ordinations made fifteen presbyters, eight 
deacons, thirteen bishops, died a martyr, and was buried in 
the Vatican near Saint Peter. He was in the chair eleven 
years, three months, twenty-two days. By his death the see 
was vacant seven days. 

26 The Lives of the Popes. 

a.d. 139-143. 

HYGINUS, an Athenian, son of a philosopher, succeeded 
Telesphorus, during the empire of Antoninus Pius, 
whose extraordinary merit compels me to add something 
farther in his praise, before I come to give an account of 
Hyginus. He was so far from the vanity of valuing himself 
upon the glory of his arms, that he made it his business 
rather to defend the provinces of the empire, than to increase 
them ; and had often that saying of Scipio in his mouth, that 
he had rather save one citizen than destroy a thousand 
enemies : being herein of a quite contrary temper to that of 
Domitian, who, from a consciousness of his own cruelty, did 
so hate and fear a multitude, that he would expose the Roman 
army to the fury of its enemies, on purpose that it might 
return home thinner and less formidable. Moreover, Pius 
was so famous for his justice, that several princes and nations 
did at his command cease their hostilities, making him the 
arbitrator of their differences, and standing to his determina- 
tion as to the justice of their pretensions. For these admir- 
able qualities, the Romans, after his much lamented death, 
in honour to his memory, appointed cirque-shows, built a 
temple, and constituted a Flamen, with an order called by 
his name. 

At this time Hyginus prudently settled and confirmed the 
several orders and degrees of the clergy ; and ordained the 
solemn consecration of churches, the number of which he 
would not have increased or diminished without leave of the 
metropolitan or bishop. He forbade also that the timber or 
other materials prepared for the building any church should 
be converted to profane uses ; yet allowing that, with the 
bishop's consent, they might be made use of towards the 
erecting any other church or religious house. He likewise 
ordained that at least one godfather or one godmother should 
be present at baptism ; and that no metropolitan should con- 
demn or censure any bishop of his province, until the cause 
were first heard and discussed by the other bishops of the 
province ; though some make this latter an institution of 
Pelagius, not Hyginus. In his time lived Polycarp, a disciple 
of St John the Apostle, and by him made Bishop of Smyrna ; 

St Pius /. 27 

the most celebrated man for religion and learning in all Asia. 
He, coming to Rome, reduced to the orthodox faith multitudes 
who had been seduced into the errors of Marcion and 
Valentinus ; the former of which by chance meeting him, and 
asking whether he knew him, Polycarp answered, that he 
knew him to be the first-born of the devil. For this heretic 
denied the Father of our blessed Saviour to be God the 
Creator, who by His Son made the world. But afterwards, in 
the time of M. Antoninus and L. Aurelius Commodus, who 
raised the fourth persecution, Polycarp was burnt at Smyrna 
by order of the proconsul. Melito, also an Asian, Bishop of 
Sardis, and a disciple of Fronto the orator, presented to 
M. Antoninus a book written in defence of the Christian 
doctrine. Tertullian highly extols his parts, and says that 
most of the Christians looked upon him as a prophet. More- 
over, Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, wrote a book against the 
heresy of Hermogenes, who asserted an uncreated eternal 
matter, co-eval to God himself. As for Hyginus himself, 
having deserved well of the church, and at three Decembrian 
ordinations made fifteen presbyters, five deacons, six bishops, 
he died, and was buried in the Vatican, by St. Peter, January 
11. He was in the chair four years, three months, four days. 
The see was then vacant four days. 


A.D. I43-I57' 

PIUS, an Italian of Aquileia, son of Ruffinus, lived to the 
time of M. Antoninus Verus, who, together with his 
brother, L. Aurelius Commodus, jointly exercised the Govern- 
ment nineteen years. 

These two princes undertook a war against the Parthians, 
and managed it with such admirable courage and success, 
that they had the honour of a triumph decreed to them. But 
not long after Commodus dying of an apoplexy, Antoninus 
was sole emperor; a person who so excelled in all good 
qualities, that it is more easy to admire than to describe him ; 
for both because from his very youth no change of his fortune 
made any alteration in his mind or his countenance, and 
because it is hard to determine whether the sweetness of his 

28 The Lives of the Popes. 

natural temper, or the knowledge he learnt from Cornelius 
Fronto, were more conspicuous in him ; he deservedly gained 
the surname of Philosopher. And indeed (as Capitolinus 
tells us) he was often wont to use that saying of Plato* that 
then the world would be happy, when either philosophers were 
princes, or princes would be philosophers. He was so great 
a lover of learning, that even when he was emperor he would 
be present at the lectures of Apollonius the philosopher, and 
Sextus Plutarch's nephew ; and he set up the statue of his 
tutor Fronto in the Senate House as a testimony of the 
honour he had for him. 

At this time Pius maintained a strict friendship and 
familiarity with Hermas, who wrote the book called "Pastor;" 
in which book he introduces an angel in the form of a shep- 
herd, who commanded him to persuade all Christians to keep 
the feast of Easter on a Sunday, which Pius accordingly did. 
Moreover, he ordained that every convert from the Cerinthian 
heresy should at his reception be baptized. At the request 
of Praxedes, a devout woman, he dedicated a church at the 
baths of Novatus to her sister, St Pudentiana ; to which he 
himself made several donations, oftentimes celebrated mass 
in it, and built a font which he blessed and consecrated, and 
at which he baptized a great number of proselytes. He also 
appointed a punishment upon those who were negligent in 
handling the body and blood of Christ. If through the 
priest's carelessness any of the cup had fallen upon the 
ground, he was to undergo a penance of forty days ; if it fell 
upon the altar, of three days ; if upon the altar-cloth, of four 
days ; if upon any other cloth, of nine days. Whithersoever 
it fell, he was to lick it up if he could ; if not, the board or 
stone to be washed or scraped, and what of it could be re- 
covered thereby either burnt or laid up in the sacrarium. In 
his time, Apollinaris, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, was much 
esteemed, who wrote an excellent apology for Christianity, 
and presented it to Antoninus the second. He wrote also 
against the Montanists, 1 who, with their two fanatic prophet- 
esses, Priscilla and Maximilla, pretended that the descent of 
the Holy Ghost was not upon the apostles, but themselves; 
an opinion which they had learned from their leader Montanus. 
At this time also, the learned Tatianus was in good reputation, 

1 This is wrong. The Montanists did not appear until some years after 
this pope's death. — Ed. 

St Anicetus. 29 

so long as he swerved not from the doctrine of his master, 
Justin Martyr; but afterwards being puffed up with a 
great conceit of himself, he became the author of a new 
heresy, which being propagated by one Severus, the fol- 
lowers of it were from him called Severians. They drank 
no wine, ate no flesh, rejected the Old Testament, and 
believed not the Resurrection. Moreover, Philip, bishop 
of Crete, now published an excellent book against Marcion 
and his followers, whose errors were the same with those 
of Cerdo. Musanus also wrote a book against the heretics 
called Encratitae, or the Abstemious, who agreed in opinion 
with the Severians, looking upon the marriage rites as filthy 
and unclean, and condemning those meats which God hath 
given for the use of mankind. But to return to Pius, having 
at five Decembrian ordinations made nineteen presbyters, 
twenty-one deacons, ten bishops, he died, and was buried in 
the Vatican, near St Peter, July 11. He was in the chair 
thirteen years, four months, three days ; and by his death the 
see was vacant thirteen days. 


A.D. 157-168. 

ANICETUS, a Syrian, the son of one John de Vicomurco, 
lived in the time of Antoninus Verus, concerning whom 
we have spoken in the life of Pius. 

Which Antoninus, though he were a great philosopher, yet 
neglected not the pursuit of military glory. For, together 
with his son, Commodus Antoninus, he did with great courage 
and success gain a victory and a triumph over the Germans, 
Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatae. At his first enterprising 
this war, his exchequer being so low that he had not money 
to pay his soldiers, he exposed to public sale in the Forum 
Trajani all the furniture of his palace, and all the jewels of 
his empress. But afterwards returning home victoriously, to 
those who were willing to restore the goods they had bought, 
he refunded what they paid for them, but used no force 
against those who refused to relinquish their bargains. Upon 
this victory, he was very liberal to all who had done any good 
service to the public : to some provinces he remitted their 

30 The Lives of the Popes. 

accustomed tribute ; he caused to be publicly burnt in the 
Forum the writings by which any man was made a debtor to 
the exchequer ; and by new constitutions moderated the 
severity of the old laws. By this means he became so much 
the darling of the people, that any man had a particular 
brand of infamy set upon him who had not Antoninus' 
effigies in his house. 

Anicetus, that the reputation of the Church might not 
suffer by the extravagancy of a few men, ordained that no 
clergyman should, upon any pretence, wear long hair ; and 
that no bishop should be consecrated by fewer than three 
of the same order (a constitution which was afterwards con- 
firmed by the Council of Nice) ; and that at the consecration 
of a metropolitan, all the bishops of the province should be 
present. Moreover, he ordained (as Ptolemy tells us) that no 
bishop should implead his metropolitan but before the primate 
or the see apostolic (this being also a constitution which was 
afterwards confirmed by the Council of Nice, and several suc- 
ceeding bishops of Rome) ; and that all archbishops should 
not be called primates, but only those of them who have a 
particular title to that denomination; the primates having 
also the style of patriarchs, whereas the others are simply 
archbishops or metropolitans. In his time, Hegesippus was 
a great defender of the Christian faith ; who, as an imitator 
of their manner of speaking, of whose lives he had been a 
diligent observer, in a very plain, unaffected style, wrote a 
history of ecclesiastical affairs from the passion of our Lord 
to the age in which He lived. He says of himself that he 
came to Rome in the time of Anicetus, whom he calls the 
tenth bishop from St Peter, and that he stayed there to the 
time of Eleutherius, who had been deacon to Anicetus. He 
inveighed much against idolators for building sumptuous 
monuments and temples to the dead ; as particularly Hadrian, 
the emperor, who, in honour to his darling Antinous, had in- 
stituted solemn games and prizes at the city, which he built 
and called by his name Antinoe, and also erected a temple, 
and appointed priests for his worship. Some say that Diony- 
sius lived in the pontificate of Anicetus ; but writers are in this 
place very confused in their chronology, some placing Pius 
first, others Anicetus, and so they are in their histories too. 
However, in a history of things so remote, and of which, 
through the negligence of the ancients, we have so slender an 

St Soter. 3 1 

account, it will be better to say something of the matters 
themselves, though it be some time before or after they were 
transacted, than altogether to pass them by in silence. As 
for Anicetus, having at five Decembrian ordinations made 
nineteen presbyters, four deacons, nine bishops, he received 
a crown of martyrdom, and was buried in the sepulchre of 
Callistus, in the Via Appia, April the 17th. He was in the 
chair eleven years, four months, and three days ; and by his 
death the see was vacant seventeen days. 


A.D. 168-177. 

SOTER, a Campanian of Fundi, son of Concordius, lived 
in the time of L. Antoninus Commodus. 

This Commodus was (as Lampridius plays upon his name) 
very incommodious and hurtful to all his subjects ; being in 
nothing like his father, save that he also, thanks to the 
Christian soldiers for it, fought successfully against the Ger- 
mans. In that war, when the army of Commodus was in 
great straits for want of water, it is said that at the prayers of 
the Christian legion, God supplied and refreshed the Romans 
with rain from heaven, and at the same time destroyed the 
Germans with thundershot. 1 The truth of which the Em- 
peror himself testified by his letters. But at his return to 
Rome, he utterly renounced all virtue and goodness, and 
shamefully gave himself up to all manner of luxury and un- 
cleanness. He used, in imitation of Nero, to combat with the 
gladiators, and oftentimes encountered with wild beasts in the 
amphitheatre ; many of the senators he put to death, and 
those especially whom he observed to be more conspicuous 
for extraction or merit. 

Soter, diverting his mind from the contemplation of this 
wretched scene of things to the care of ecclesiastical affairs, 
decreed that no deaconess should touch the altar-cloth, or put 
the incense upon the censer at the time of celebration. There 
is extant an epistle of his concerning that matter, written to the 

1 This legend, which has been abandoned, at least in the above form, 
by modern historians, is generally attributed to the reign not of Commodus, 
but of his father Marcus Aurelius. See Robertson, i. 28. — Ed. 

32 The Lives of the Popes, 

bishops of Italy. He ordained likewise that no woman should 
be accounted a lawful wife, but she whom the priest had form- 
ally blessed, and whom her parents had with the usual Christian 
solemnities given to her husband. This constitution he made 
to remove the danger and scandal that was incident to new- 
married persons from the juggling magical tricks of lewd 
fellows. Indeed, Gratian ascribes this decree to Evaristus, 
but whose due it is I leave the reader to judge, for it matters 
not much whether it be attributed to the one or the other. 
During the pontificate of Soter, as Eusebius tells us, lived. 
Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, a person of so great parts and 
industry, that he instructed not only the people of his own 
city and province, but also by his epistles the bishops of other 
cities and provinces. For being thoroughly acquainted with 
the writings of St Paul, he could the more easily keep others 
within the bounds of their duty by the authority which his 
learning and sanctity had gained him. Theodotion also, an 
Asian, scholar to Tatianus, wrote several things in defence of 
our religion ; and in particular he very handsomely exposed 
Apelles the heretic, for worshipping a God whom he professed 
he did not know ; for he denied Christ to be truly a God, and 
affirmed Him to be only in appearance a man. Some say that 
the Cataphrygian heresy was at this time set on foot by Mon- 
tanus. Moreover, Clemens, a presbyter of Alexandria and 
master to Origen, was now a great writer ; among other things 
he was author of Stromata (" Miscellanies "), Hypotyposeis 
(" Outlines"), Poedagogos ("The Instructor"), and a popular 
address, " What rich man is saved ? " There are some who make 
Pinytus, a person of admirable eloquence ; Oppian, a famous 
poet, who wrote the Halieutics or books concerning fishes ; 
and Herodian, the grammarian — contemporaries to our Bishop 
Soter ; who having at five Decembrian ordinations made eight 
presbyters, nine deacons, eleven bishops, he died and was 
buried in the Via Appia, in the Sepulchre of Calistus. He 
was in the chair nine years, three months, twenty-one days e 
And the see was vacant twenty-one days. 

St Elentherius. 33 


A.D., 177-192. 

ELEUTHERIUS, a Grecian of Nicopolis, son of Habun- 
dius, lived also in the reign of L. Antoninus Commodus, 
for whose flagitious life the city of Rome smarted sorely ; 
for in his time the Capitol, being fired with lightning, together 
with the famous library which had cost the ancients so much 
care in collecting, was consumed ; nor did the neighbouring 
houses escape the same calamity. Not long after, another fire 
broke forth, in which the temple of Vesta, the palace, and a 
good part of the city were burnt to the ground. He was of 
so rash and freakish a humour that he caused the head of a 
vast colossus to be taken off, and that of his own statue to be 
placed in room of it j and in imitation of Augustus, he would 
needs have a month of his own name, ordering December to 
be called Commodus. But these things were soon changed 
after his death, and himself adjudged an enemy to mankind, 
such an hatred and detestation did all men entertain of his 
villanies. He was strangled in the twelfth year and seventh 
month of his reign. 

Eleutherius, soon after his entrance upon the pontificate, 
received a message from Lucius, king of Britain, wherein he 
expressed a desire that he and his subjects might become 
Christians. Hereupon Eleutherius sends Fugatius and 
Damianus, two very religious men, to that island to baptize 
the king and his people. There were at that time in Britain 
twenty-five heathen priests called Flamens, and among them 
three styled Archflamens, in the place of which, as Ptolemy 
says, were constituted three archbishops — the ancient Church 
being wont to fix patriarchs there, where in the time of Gen- 
tilism Protoflamens had been seated. Furthermore, Eleu- 
therius ordained that no person should superstitiously abstain 
from any sort of meat which was commonly eaten ; and that 
no clergyman should be degraded before he were legally found 
guilty of the crime laid to his charge — following herein the 
example of our Saviour, who so patiently bore the fault of 
Judas, being not yet convicted, though really guilty, that what- 
soever he acted in the meantime, by virtue of his apostleship 
remained firm and valid. He also prohibited the passing 
sentence against any person accused, unless he were present 


34 The Lives of the Popes. 

to make his defence, which was afterwards confirmed by 
Damasus and the pontifical laws. In his pontificate the 
Church enjoyed peace and tranquillity, and Christianity was 
wonderfully propagated in the world, but especially at Rome, 
where many of the best quality, with their wives and children, 
received the faith and were baptized. Only Apollonius, 
a great orator, was now a martyr, having first in the 
Senate made an excellent speech in favour of Christianity, the 
doing of which was then a capital crime. Apollonius being 
dead, several heresies very much prevailed. For the sect of 
the Marcionites was divided into several parties ; some of 
them owning but one principle, or God, others two, others 
three, thereby utterly undermining the credit of the prophets 
and other discoverers of revealed religion. Moreover, Florinus 
and Blastus set up new figments against the truth, asserting 
God to be the author of all kinds of evil, in contradiction to 
that text, that "every thing which God made was good." 1 
Opposite to these were the Quotiliani, who denied God to be 
the author of any kind of evil, in equal contradiction to that 
other text, " I the Lord create evil." 2 Some are of opinion 
that Galen of Pergamus, the famous physician, and Julian, the 
great lawyer, and Fronto, the rhetorician, lived at this time ; 
though whether they did or no, in so great a confusion of 
time and story, I shall neither affirm nor deny. But I dare be 
confident concerning Modestus and Bardesanes, the former 
of which wrote against Marcion, the latter against Valentinus, 
being now as strenuous an opposer, as he had been formerly 
a zealous follower, of that heretic. St Hierom, upon the 
perusal of his books, translated out of the Syriac language 
into Greek, affirms this Bardesanes to have been a wonder- 
fully brisk ingenious writer ; " And if," says he, " there be so 
much smartness in the translation, how much more shall we 
judge to be in the original ? " As for Eleutherius, having at 
three Decembrian ordinations made twelve presbyters, eight 
deacons, fifteen bishops, he died and was buried near St 
Peter in the Vatican, May 26. He was in the chair fifteen 
years, three months, two days, and the see was vacant five 

1 Gen. Isaiah xlv. 

St Victor I 35 


Circa a.d. 192-202. 

VICTOR, an Asian, son of Felix, was, as I believe, in 
the time of iElius Pertinax, which ^Elius, being 
seventy years of age, was from the office of city - prsefect 
created emperor by a decree of the Senate. Being after- 
wards desired to declare his lady Augusta, and his son 
Csesar, he refused both, saying it was enough that he him- 
self was emperor against his will. But undergoing the 
reproach of that unprincely vice, covetousness, being so 
sordid as to cause the half of a lettuce or artichoke to be 
served up to his table, he was without any opposition slain 
in the palace by Didius Julianus in the sixth month of 
his reign. This is that Julian 1 who made the perpetual 
edict, and who in the seventh month after his coming to the 
empire was vanquished and slain in a civil war by Severus 
at Pons Milvius. 

Victor, out of his care of the affairs of the Church, decreed, 
that according to a former constitution of Eleutherius, as 
Damasus tells us, Easter should be kept upon the Sunday, 
which fell between the fourteenth and twenty-first day after 
the phasis or appearance of the moon in the first month. 
Theophilus, bishop of Caesarea Palestine, was obedient to 
this decree, and wrote against those who observed that feast, 
as the Jews did their Passover, always upon the fourteenth 
day of the moon, whatever day of the week it happened to 
be. But Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, very hotly declaimed 
against this constitution, stiffly contending that, according to 
ancient custom, it ought to be celebrated precisely on that day 
on which the Jews kept their Passover. For he maintained 
that herein he followed the example of St John the apostle, 
and others, the ancients. We, says he, observe the exact day, 
neither anticipating nor protracting it. Thus did Philip, who 
died at Hierapolis ; thus did John, who leaned on our Lord's 
bosom ; thus did Polycarp, Thraseas, Melito, and Narcissus, 
Bishop of Jerusalem. Hereupon some tell us, that a council 
was held in Palestine, at which were present Theophilus, 
Irenaeus, Narcissus, Polycarp, Bacchylus, all bishops of great 
note in Asia. But the whole matter was afterwards referred 

1 A mistake. The author of the perpetual edict in the reign of Hadrian 
was Salvius Julian, a different person altogether. — Ed, 

15 2 

36 The Lives of the Popes. 

to the Council of Nice, in which it was decreed that Easter 
should be kept on the Sunday following the fourteenth day 
of the moon, to avoid all appearance of Judaising. Victor 
also ordained that, in cases of necessity, proselytes might at 
their desire be baptized in any kind of water or at any time 
of the year. During his pontificate there flourished many 
learned men. As, for instance, Appion, who wrote the 
" Hexaemeron," or account of the six days' work of creation \ 
Paulus Samosatenus, 1 who, together with Theodotus, held our 
Saviour to have been a mere man ; Sixtus, who wrote of the 
resurrection ; and Arabianus, who published several treatises of 
Christian doctrine. Now also one Judas wrote a chronology 
to the tenth year of Severus the emperor ; wherein yet he is 
guilty of a mistake in asserting that Antichrist would come in 
his time — an error into which I suppose him to have fallen 
from the observation he had made of the cruelty and other 
vices of the age, which he saw now grown to such a height, 
that he thought Almighty God could not bear with mankind 
any longer. By which very thing Lactantius and St Austin 
themselves were after deceived. Our Victor, having first 
written some books concerning religion, died and was buried 
near St Peter in the Vatican, whose feast we observe on the 
28th day of July. He was in the chair ten years, three 
months, ten days, and the see was vacant twelve days. 

Circa a.d. 202-219. 

ZEPHYRINUS, a Roman, son of Habundius, lived in 
the time of Severus the emperor, who, being by birth 
an African, of the town of Leptis, upon the death of 
Julian succeeded in the empire, and took the surname of 
Pertinax. He was first an officer of the exchequer, then 
a colonel in the army, till, by several steps, he advanced 
himself to the dignity of imperator. He was of a very 
frugal temper. The cruelty of his nature was heightened by 
the many wars he had been engaged in \ and he exercised 
great valour in defending, and great care in governing, his 
subjects. He was eminent not only for his skill in arms, but 
1 lie lived considerably later, being made Bishop of Samosata about 
A.D. 260.— Ed. 

St Zephyrinus. 37 

in letters too, taking very much delight in the study of philo- 
sophy. He conquered the Parthians and Adiabeni, and made 
Arabia Interior a province of the Roman empire. For this 
achievement he triumphed, and upon the arch erected to him 
in the Capitol he was styled Parthicus Arabicus and Adiabeni- 
cus. Moreover, he adorned the city with public buildings. 
For he made those which from his own name are called the 
Severian Baths, and erected the famous Septizonium — that 
part of which noble pile that is now remaining, hardly escaped 
being pulled down some years ago by order of Pope Paul the 
second, to make the best of the stones. 

But Bishop Zephyrinus, being more intent upon ecclesiasti- 
cal than secular affairs, decreed, that' every deacon and priest 
should be ordained in the presence of the faithful, both clergy 
and laity ; which was afterwards confirmed in the council of 
Chalcedon. He decreed likewise, that the wine at the com- 
munion should not be consecrated, as had been before used, 
in a wooden chalice, but in glass. Though this constitution 
was altered in following times ; wherein order was given that 
it should neither be in wood, because of its sponginess, 
whereby some of the sacrament might soak into it ; nor of 
glass, because of its brittleness, and the danger of its being 
broken ; nor of any ordinary coarse metal, by reason of the ill 
taste it might contract from it ; but only in vessels of gold or 
silver, or at least of pewter ; as appears in the canons of the 
councils of Triburia and Reims. He also ordained that all 
Christians of fourteen years of age should communicate every 
year upon Easter Day, which in aftertimes Innocent the 
Third extended not only to communion, but confession too. 
He commanded likewise, that no bishop being accused by his 
patriarch, or primate, or metropolitan, should have sentence 
passed against him but by the authority of the see apostolic. 
Lastly, he ordained that when the bishop celebrated, all his 
presbyters should be present. In his time flourished 
Heraclius, who wrote a comment upon the apostle; Maximus, 
who in a large book decided the great controversy of this age 
(viz., concerning the author of evil and the original of matter); 
Candidus, who composed an Hexaemeron ; and Origen, who 
in the tenth year of Severus Pertinax, a great persecution 
being raised against the Christians, and his father Leonidas 
put to death for his religion, whom he himself, being yet a 
youth, did very much confirm in his constancy and resolution, 

3 8 The Lives of the Popes. 

was left with his mother, a widow, and six brethren, in a very 
low condition — all his father's estate being confiscated, 
because they owned Christ to be the true God. Hereupon 
he was forced to teach a grammar school to get a livelihood 
for himself and his relations ; and among others he had for 
his scholar Plutarchus, who afterwards became a martyr. 
Not long after applying himself wholly to religion, he under- 
took the office of a catechist or preacher. He was a person 
of very great parts and skilled in all languages and kinds of 
learning. He was wonderfully temperate and abstemious as 
to meat and drink and all other things \ imitating the poverty 
of Christ, and for many years walking barefoot ; and, more- 
over, in his younger days he made himself an example of that 
passage in the gospel, " There be Eunuchs which have made 
themselves Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake." 1 
Many were so encouraged in religion by his pattern, that they 
did with great constancy lay down their lives for Christianity, 
and particularly a woman named Potamiena, who was put to 
death by pouring scalding pitch upon her head. As for 
Zephyrinus, having at four Decembrian ordinations made 
thirteen presbyters, seven deacons, thirteen bishops, he died 
in the time of Severus, and was buried in the Via Appia, not 
far from the sepulchre of Calistus, August the 26th. He was 
in the chair seventeen years, seven months, ten days ; and the 
see was vacant six days. 


A.D. 219-223. 

CALISTUS, an Italian of Ravenna, son of Domitius, 
lived in the time of Severus, an emperor whose 
fortune changed with his mind ; for no sooner did he 
raise the fifth persecution against the Christians, but 
he was presently exposed to a multitude of dangers, and 
engaged in several wars : on the one side by Piscennius 
Niger, who was the cause of great commotions in Syria; 
on the other by Clodius Albinus, whom yet he vanquished 
with great slaughter in Gaul. But passing over from 
thence into Britain, being deserted of his friends, and accom- 
1 Matt. xix. 12. 

St Calistus I. 39 

panied only with calamities, he died at York in the fifth year 
of his empire, leaving behind him two sons, Bassianus and 
Geta ; the latter of which was looked upon and put to death 
as a public enemy, both because of his abominably dissolute 
life, but especially because he had with his own hand slain 
Papinian, the great asylum of the civil law. But Bassianus, 
receiving from the Senate the name of Antoninus, became 
possessed of the empire and took the surname of Caracalla, 
from a kind of long vests which he bestowed by way of largess 
among the people. He was of a nature more cruel than his 
father, and so impotently vicious, that there was no kind of 
villany which he was not guilty of. He is said to have slain 
his brother Geta, and to have married his own step-mother. 
He left behind him nothing great and magnificent to per- 
petuate his memory, save only the Antoninian Baths (which 
bore his name as being begun by him, but were indeed 
finished by the emperor Alexander Severus), and the causeway 
he made in the Via Nova. He made it capital for any to 
wear amulets about their necks for the cure of quartan or 
tertian agues. But at length undertaking a war against the 
Parthians, he was surprised by his enemies between Edessa 
and Charrae, and stabbed, in the seventh year of his reign, as 
he was alighting off his horse to ease nature. 

But during the most confused state of things and under the 
government of the most dissolute emperors, Calistus was not 
at all diverted from his purpose of establishing a solemn fast 
three times in the year, to be observed on the Sabbath or 
Saturday, particularly to implore a blessing upon the fruits of 
the earth, corn, wine, and oil, viz., in the fourth month, the 
seventh, and the tenth, beginning the year according to the 
custom of the Jews. Though afterwards he changed his 
opinion, and appointed it at the four seasons of the year, viz., 
spring, summer, autumn, and winter; at which times in 
succeeding ages holy orders were conferred, which before was 
used to be only in the month of December. He also 
ordained that accusations against clergymen -should not be 
admitted of in any court if the informers were either infamous, 
or liable to just suspicion, or avowed enemies of the accused. 
Moreover, he adjudged those to be heretics who maintained 
that priests, after they were once convicted of any notorious 
crime, were not to be restored to their former dignity, though 
they showed never so great signs of their repentance. Damasus 

40 The Lives of the Popes. 

tells us that he built St Mary's Church in Trastevere; but 
I cannot imagine that of his founding to be the magnificent 
vast one which continues there at this time, since in those 
days of frequent persecution all things were carried secretly, 
and the Christians had only small chapels, and those private 
and hidden, and for the most part underground. He likewise 
built a burial-place, called by his own name, in the Via Appia, 
at the very place where the ashes of a multitude of martyrs 
had been formerly reposited; so that the reader must not 
think it strange that we have already said of several that they 
were buried in the Cemetery of Calistus, though it had not 
that name till now. I myself with some of my friends have 
religiously been to view it, wherein the ashes and bones of 
the martyrs are yet to be seen, and oratories and chapels in 
which the Christians privately communicated, when through 
the edicts of some emperors they could not do it publicly. 
In his time lived Tertullian, an African, the son of a 
Proconsular centurion, whom St Hierom reckoned next to 
Victor and Apollonius, the principal of the Latin writers. He 
was a man of excellent parts, and wrote a multitude of books. 
I have seen (saith Hierom) at Concordia, a little town in Italy, 
one Paul, who said, that when he was very young he was at 
Rome acquainted with St Cyprian's amanuensis, who assured 
him that St Cyprian never passed a day without the reading of 
Tertullian. But having continued half his life-time a presbyter 
at Rome, through the envy and reproaches of the Roman 
clergy he afterwards turned Montanist, and wrote several 
pieces against orthodox doctrine, particularly those " de 
Pudicitia," "de Monogamia," and "de Jejuniis." He also com- 
posed six books against Apollonius. At the same time like- 
wise Origen flourished, and did great service for the Church. 
For he opposed the heresy of the Ebionites, who asserted our 
Saviour to be a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary, and 
pressed the observation of Mosaical rites ; both which errors 
were maintained by Symmachus. Moreover, by his learning 
he brought over to the orthodox faith one Ambrosius, who 
had been (as Eusebius tells us) a Valentinian, or (as Hierom 
will have it) a Marcionite j to whom, with Protoctetus, a 
presbyter, he dedicated his book " de Martyrio." Porphyry, 
that violent opposer of Christianity, and who was Origen's 
professed adversary, cannot yet sometimes forbear commend- 
ing him, calling him the most learned and prince of 

St Urbanus L 41 

philosophers, acknowledging that he was profoundly skilled 
in Platonism, and finding no fault in him but his being a 
Christian. St Hierom himself says that he wrote six thousand 
volumes ; though that father and St Austin too tell us that 
he was erroneous in most of them, and particularly in his 
book on First Principles entitled mpi ap^uv ; yet Pamphilus 
the martyr, and Eusebius, and Ruffinus, a priest of Aquileia, 
appear very much in his praise and defence. As for Calistus, 
having at five Decembrian ordinations made sixteen presbyters, 
four deacons, eight bishops, he was crowned with martyrdom, 
and was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius, in the Via 
Aurelia, three miles distant from the city, October 14. He 
was in the chair four years, ten months, ten days. The see 
was then vacant six days. 


A.D. 223-230. 

URBANUS, a Roman, son of Pontianus, was Bishop of 
Rome in the time of the Emperor M. Aurelius 
Antoninus, a.d. 223. 

This Antoninus, supposed to be the base son of Caracalla, 
coming to Rome, and being advanced to the empire not 
without an universal expectation of good from him, took the 
name of Heliogabalus from the sun, so called by the 
Phoenicians, to which he built a temple and was himself a 
priest of it. But he led a life so contrary to the hopes and 
opinion men had entertained of him, that he has left no other 
memory of himself than that of his exorbitant villanies and 
all kinds of debauchery. For he violated the chastity of the 
Vestal virgins, made his palace no better than a stews, and in 
a rage commanded Sabinus, a man of consular dignity (and 
to whom Ulpian, the famous civilian wrote) to be immediately 
put to death. He conferred all places of trust and honour 
upon the vilest of men, with whom he was wont sometimes to 
make himself sport after this manner : he would make them 
lie down with him at supper, but it should be upon large 
bellows, which being raised and distended, they would all of 
a sudden tumble down under the table. He had such a loud 
and indecent way of laughing, that in a full theatre his voice 

42 The Lives of the Popes. 

might be heard above all the company. He was the first 
among the Romans who wore velvet, and used tables and 
other utensils of silver. When some of his friends advised 
him to beware that by his luxury he did not reduce himself to 
want ; " Can I do better," says he, " than to make myself my 
own and my wife's heir?" He was once so extravagantly 
freakish as to cause a collection to be made of ten thousand 
pound weight of spiders, from whence he pretended an 
estimate might be taken of the bigness of the city of Rome ; 
and to get together ten thousand mice, and as many weazels, 
and rats. These mad pranks by degrees rendered him so con- 
temptible in the eyes of all men, that himself and his mother 
were both slain in military tumult. It is said that some 
Syrian priests having told him that he should undergo a 
violent death, he thereupon fairly provided himself of a 
decent scarlet silken halter to do his own work withal. He 
died in the fourth year of his reign, at the same time when the 
city of Nicopolis in Palestine (formerly called Emmaus) was 
built — Africanus, the historian and chronologer, undertaking 
an embassy to promote that affair. 

Urban, who lived in the time of this monster, not of 
Dioclesian (as some would have it), by his eminent piety and 
learning proselyted multitudes to the Christian faith ; and 
among others, particularly Valerianus, an excellent person, and 
contracted to St Cecilia, with his brother Tiburtius, both 
which afterwards suffered martyrdom with great constancy of 
mind ; as did also the espoused virgin herself, in her father's 
house, which was at her request consecrated and made a 
church by Urban. The same Urban also ordained that the 
Church might receive estates in land or houses, given and 
bequeathed to her by any of the faithful, but that the revenues 
of them should not be any one's property, but for the common 
good be distributed among the whole clergy, to every one his 
share — a constitution long since antiquated through the 
covetousness and rapacity of following ages. Some attribute 
to him the distinction of the four stated annual times of 
fasting, or Ember-weeks, which through men's ignorance were 
before kept very confusedly. In his time lived Tryphon, one 
of Origen's disciples, remarkable for the book he composed 
concerning the red heifer in Deuteronomy. Minutius Felix, 
also a famous pleader at Rome, wrote a dialogue, in which he 
introduces a Christian and a heathen disputing ; besides 

St Pontianus. 43 

another book against the mathematicians, of which Lactantius 
makes mention. Moreover, Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, 
at this time founded the famous library there, by which he 
has gained so great a reputation. As for Urban himself, 
having at five Decembrian ordinations made nine presbyters, 
five deacons, nine bishops, he received a crown of martyrdom, 
and was buried in the cemetery of Pretexatus, in the Via 
Tiburtina ; having been in the chair seven years, ten months, 
twelve days ; and the see was vacant thirty days. 


A.D. 230-235. 

PONTIANUS, a Roman, son of Calphurnius, lived in the 
time of the Emperor Alexander, in the year nine hun- 
dred and seventy-four from the building of Rome, and the year 
of our Lord two hundred and thirty. 

But between the reign of Heliogabalus and Alexander there 
are reckoned three other emperors, Macrimus, Diadumenus, 
and Albinus — whose names I intended to have left out, not 
only because they governed but a very little while, but chiefly 
because they did nothing memorable : only Albinus became 
notorious to posterity for his gluttony, eating, if we may 
believe the authority of Cordus, an hundred large peaches, 
ten choice melons, five hundred dried figs, and four hundred 
oysters at one meal. But to pass by these monsters of men, 
I come to Alexander, a singular pattern of virtue, who being 
created emperor by the Senate and the army, immediately 
applied himself to the settling of the commonwealth, which 
had been very much impaired by the miscarriages of former 
princes. To which end he made use of Julius Frontinus, a 
very learned man, and Ulpian and Paul, two excellent 
civilians, as assistants and coadjutors in that affair. He was 
so upright in all his dealings, that no man could ever com- 
plain of any injury received from him ; and so far removed 
from any kind of vanity or ostentation, that he appeared but 
once in the costly robes belonging to his office, while he was 
consul. All those who in their addresses to him were 
sneakingly obsequious in their carriage, or affectedly com- 
plaisant in their words, he would reject as fawning fellows : 

44 The Lives of the Popes. 

for he was so wise and discerning that no man could impose 
upon him; one instance of which was his proceeding with 
Turinus, to whom, for his taking bribes upon the pretence 
of his being the emperor's mighty favourite, he allotted this 
remarkable punishment : that being bound to a stake in the 
Transitory Forum, a place of greatest concourse, and the most 
public thoroughfare, he should be suffocated with smoke — the 
common crier in the meantime proclaiming these words, " He 
that sold smoke, is punished with smoke." Though his mother 
Mammsea, as she was a woman, had a great love for money, 
yet he was altogether above it; and for jewels he slighted 
them as feminine trifles, being often wont to say that in Virgil 
(whom he called the Plato of the poets), there were more and 
more precious gems to be found. The revenue which arose 
from bawds, and whores, and catamites, he forbade to be laid 
up in the sacred treasury, and judged it more fit to be assigned 
to the defraying some public charge, as the repairing of the 
theatre, the cirque, the amphitheatre, and the stadium. Having 
after great search gotten a collection of the images of famous 
men, he caused them to be put up in the Transitory Forum; and 
likewise finished and beautified those which are at this time 
called the Antonian Baths, having been begun by Antoninus 
Caracalla. He had it in his design to acknowledge our Saviour 
to be a God, and build a temple to Him, and did actually set 
up the effigies of Christ, and Abraham, and Orpheus in his 
domestic chapel. Being renowned for so many excellent 
qualities, and created emperor while he was very young, he 
immediately engaged in a war against the Persians, and 
bravely vanquished the king Xerxes. In reforming the 
military discipline he was so strict that he cashiered some 
whole legions at once; which severity of his was the occasion 
of his being slain in a tumult of the soldiers at Mentz. 

Pontianus being now Bishop of Rome, at the instigation of 
the idol priests both he and Philip, a presbyter, were at the 
emperor's command transported from the city of Rome to the 
island Sardinia, much about that time when Germanus, a 
presbyter of Antioch, and Beryllus, a bishop of Arabia, were 
converted to the faith by Origen. The heresy of Beryllus 
was his denial that Christ had any being before His incarna- 
tion. He wrote some small pieces, and particularly certain 
epistles, in which he returns thanks to Origen for his sound 
doctrine. There is extant likewise a dialogue between them, 

St Anterus. 45 

wherein Origen convicts Beryllus of heresy. As for Origen 
himself, he was a person of so great wit and learning that 
seven amanuenses, taking their turns, were scarce sufficient 
for him. He had also as many transcribers and young 
women well skilled in writing, all of which he wearied 
out with the copiousness and fertility of his inventions. 
Being sent for from Antioch to Rome by Mammaea, the 
pious emperor's mother, he was in great esteem with her, 
and having, fully instructed her in the Christian faith, 
he returned to Antioch. But Pontianus, having suffered 
diverse calamities and severe torments for the faith of Christ, 
at length died in Sardinia, his body being afterwards at the 
request of the whole clergy brought back with great veneration 
to Rome by Bishop Fabian, and interred in the Via Appia in 
the cemetery of Calistus. At the ordinations which he held 
twice in the month of December, he made six presbyters, five 
deacons, and six bishops. He was in the chair five years, 
five months, two days ; and from his martyrdom the see was 
vacant ten days. 

a.d. 235-236. 

ANTERUS, a Grecian, the son of Romulus, was made 
bishop of Rome in the time of Maximine ; who a.u.c. 
987, having fortunately managed the war in Germany, was 
elected emperor by the army without any authority of the 

He was a man of a mighty stature, being about eight feet 
high ; and had a foot of such a magnitude, that it is since be- 
come proverbial, when men talk of a tall silly fellow, to say, 
" He needs Maximine's hose." His wife's bracelet served him 
only for a ring j and his appetite was so large, that he would 
drink a rundlet of nine gallons of wine at a sitting. He raised 
the sixth persecution against the Christians, but in the third 
year of his reign, himself, together with his son Maximine, was 
slain by Pupienus at Aquileia, a city which he besieged, and so 
an end was put to his life and that persecution together ; by 
which means Mammaea, a Christian lady, and the famous 
Origen, the blood of both which he very much thirsted for, 

46 The Lives of the Popes. 

escaped his cruelty. It is reported, that during this siege of 
Aquileia, when their bowstrings failed, the women of the city 
supplied that want with their hair ; for which reason, in honour 
to those matrons, the Senate dedicated a temple to Venus 
the Bald. 

Anterus was the first who, for the sake of one Maximus a 
martyr, ordained that the acts of the martyrs diligently searched 
after should be committed to writing by certain notaries ap- 
pointed for that purpose, and being written should be deposited 
in the treasury of the church, that so the memory of good men 
might not perish with their lives. He ordered likewise that 
no bishop should be translated from his first bishopric to an- 
other for his private need or benefit, but only for the sake of 
the flock committed to him, and by the leave of the supreme 
bishop — a constitution which at this day is made void by 
common practice ; for now the prelates being intent upon 
their own profit and pleasure, are always looking out for a 
fatter ; not that they are at all inquisitive how they may feed a 
larger flock, but the great enquiry is, how much any see may 
be made worth yearly. There is very little discourse among 
them concerning the care of souls, but very much concerning 
the increase of their revenues, that thereby they may be able to 
keep more horses, and have a greater retinue of useless lubberly 
servants. In his time flourished Julius Africanus, an eminent 
writer, who, as Eusebius tells us, founded a famous library at 
Cesarea. This Julius, in the reign of M, Aurelius Antoninus, 
undertook an embassy for the rebuilding the city of Emmaus, 
which, as I have already said, was afterwards called Nicopolis. 
He wrote also an epistle to Origen, showing that the story of 
Susanna was not received among the Jews : against whom 
Origen afterwards penned a large epistle upon that argument. 
At this time likewise flourished Geminus, a presbyter of the 
Church of Antioch, and Heraclas, patriarch of the Church of 
Alexandria. As for Anterus himself, having consecrated only 
one bishop, he suffered martyrdom, and was interred in the 
cemetery of Calistus in the Via Appia, on the 3rd of January. 
He was in the chair one year, one month, twelve days, and 
the see was then vacant thirteen days. 

St Fabianus. 47 


A.D. 236-249. 

FABIANUS, a Roman, the son of Fabius, continued from 
the reign of Gordianus and Philip to that of the 
Emperor Decius. Gordianus getting the empire, and having 
given a mighty defeat to the Parthians, in his return home 
to triumph was slain by the two Philips. His chief commenda- 
tion was, that he is reported to have had sixty-two thousand 
books in his Library. 

Philip, a.u.c. 997, having brought home his army out 
of Syria into Italy, reigned, together with his son, whom he 
joined to him as a partner in the empire, five years. He was 
the first Christian emperor, and it is said of him that he never 
presumed to goto the holy mysteries before he had confessed. 1 
After the third year of his reign, the thousandth year from the 
building of the city being completed, he caused to be cele- 
brated the secular games, which were wont to be repeated 
every hundredth year. They were first instituted by Valerius 
Poplicola after the expulsion of the kings, and had their name 
from the Latin word seculum, which signifies the space of an 
hundred years. But by the fraud of Decius, both the Philips 
were slain : the father at Verona, the son at Rome. 

Fabianus distributed the several regions of the city among 
the seven deacons, by whom the Acts of the Martyrs written 
by the notaries were to be collected and digested, for the 
example of others who professed the faith of Christ. He also 
built monuments in the cemeteries for the honour of the 
martyrs. Further, he ordained, that every year at some sac- 
rament the chrism or holy oil should be new consecrated, and 
the old burnt in the church. In his time sprang up the 
Novatian heresy. For Novatianus, a presbyter of the city 
of Rome, out of an eager desire of being bishop, put all things 
into a great disorder, that the pontificate might not come into 
the hands of Cornelius, who was successor to Fabianus. 
Having separated himself from the Church, he gave to him- 
self and his followers the denomination of the Pure ; and 
denied that apostates, though truly penitent, ought to be re- 

1 It is very unlikely that Philip was a Christian. See Smith's Did. of 
Christian Biography s.v. u Philip." Platina has quite mistaken the story 
about the Confession. There was a legend that he was refused the com- 
munion on one occasion until he had made amends for a specific crime. — Ed. 

48 The Lives of the Popes. 

ceived into the Church. Upon this occasion a Council of 
sixty bishops, as many presbyters, and several deacons, was 
held at Rome, in which the opinion of Novatianus was con- 
demned as false, for that according to the example of our 
Saviour, pardon is to be denied to no man that repents. At 
the same time Origen opposed the heretical doctrine of certain 
persons, who affirmed that the souls of men died with their 
bodies, and were both together to be raised again at the 
resurrection ; as also that of the Helchesaites, who altogether 
rejected the Apostle St Paul, and asserted, that though a man 
in his torments should outwardly deny Christ, yet he might be 
free from guilt, provided his heart were upright. The same 
author wrote against Celsus an Epicurean, who opposed the 
Christians, and sent letters concerning religion to the Emperor 
Philip and his wife Severa, and wrote also many things con- 
cerning the order of faith to Fabianus. Alexander, Bishop of 
Cappadocia, having, from a desire to see the holy places, made 
a journey to Jerusalem, was there compelled by Narcissus, 
bishop of that city, and now grown old, to be his assistant in 
the administration of that bishopric. But the persecution 
under Decius growing hot, at the same that Babylas suffered 
martyrdom at Antioch, he being carried to Caesarea, was there 
put to death for the faith of Christ. As for Fabianus (con- 
cerning whom it is commonly believed, that, when inquiry 
was made for a successor to Anterus, a dove lighted upon his 
head in the same shape with that which descended upon the 
head of Jesus at Jordan) he received a crown of martyrdom, 
after that at five ordinations, which he held in the month of 
December, he had ordained twenty-two presbyters, seven 
deacons, eleven bishops ; and was interred in the cemetery of 
Calistus in the Via Appia, Jan. the 19th. He was in the 
chair thirteen years, eleven months, eleven days, and by his 
death the see was vacant six days. 


A.D. 251-252. 

CORNELIUS, a Roman, the_ son of Castinus, lived in the 
times of the Emperor Decius, who being born at Buda 
in Hungary, upon the death of the two Philips, assumed the 

St Cornelius. 49 

empire, proving a bitter enemy to the Christians, be- 
cause those Philips had been favourers of their religion. But 
having with his son Caesar reigned only two years, he was so 
suddenly cut off by the Goths, that not so much as his dead 
body was ever found — a just judgment upon him who, rais- 
ing the seventh persecution, had put to death a multitude of 
most holy men. 

During the pontificate of Cornelius, whose judgment was, 
that apostates upon their repentance ought to be received, 
Novatus irregularly ordained Novatianus and Nicostratus ; 
upon which occasion the confessors who had fallen off from 
Cornelius, being of the same opinion with Maximus the 
presbyter, and Moyses, reconciled themselves to the Church 
again, and thereby gained the name of confessors indeed. 
But, not long after, these heretics pressing hard upon him, 
Cornelius is banished to Centumcellae j to whom Cyprian, 
Bishop of Carthage, being himself imprisoned, wrote letters, 
by which he came to understand both the calamity of his 
friend and the confirmation of his own exile. There are 
extant also other epistles of Cyprian to Cornelius, full of 
religion and piety, but the choicest of them is accounted to 
be that wherein he accuses and condemns Novatus, a certain 
disciple of his. Concerning the same heresy, Dionysius Bishop 
of Alexandria, who had been scholar to Origen, wrote to 
Cornelius; and in another epistle reproves Novatian for 
having deserted the communion of the Roman Church, and 
pretending that he was forced against his will to take the 
pontificate upon him ; to whom he thus replies : " That thou 
wert," says he, " O Novatian, chosen to that dignity against 
thy will, will appear when thou dost voluntarily leave it." 
Cornelius, before he went into banishment, at the instance of 
Lucina, a holy matron, by night removed the bodies of St 
Peter and St Paul out of the public burial places, where 
they seemed to be less secure. That of St Paul was by Lucina 
herself deposited in ground of her own in the Via Oxiensis, 
near the place where he suffered ; and that of Peter was by 
Cornelius laid near the place where he also was martyred, not 
far from the Temple of Apollo. But when Decius came to 
understand that Cornelius had received letters from Cyprian, 
he caused him to be brought from Centumcellae to Rome; 
and in the Temple of Tellus, the city prefect being present, 
he thus expostulated with him : " Are you," says he, " resolved 

50 The Lives of the Popes. 

to live thus contumaciously, that neither regarding the gods, 
nor fearing the commands and threatening of princes, you 
keep a correspondence tending to endanger the public weal ? " 
To whom Cornelius replied, "That the letters which he re- 
ceived and returned, were only concerning the praises of 
Christ, and the design of the redemption of souls, but con- 
tained nothing in them tending to the diminution of the 
empire." At this Decius, being enraged, gave order that the 
holy man should first be scourged with a kind of whips that 
had small globes of lead fastened to the end of them ; that 
afterwards he should be carried to the Temple of Mars to pay 
adoration to his image, and upon his refusal so to do, that he 
should be put to death. The good man, as they were leading 
him to punishment, disposed of what he had to Stephen the 
archdeacon ; and afterwards, upon the 5 th of May, was 
beheaded. Lucina, with some of the clergy, buried his body 
by night in a grotto of hers in the Via Appia, nor far from the 
cemetery of Calistus. There are some who write that the 
bishop suffered under Gallus and Volusianus, but I rather give 
credit to Damasus, who affirms Decius to have been the 
author of his martyrdom. Cornelius held two ordinations 
in the month of December, in which he made four presbyters, 
four deacons, seven bishops. He sat in the chair two years, 
three days ; and by his death the see was vacant thirty-five 


A.D. 252-253. 

LUCIUS, by birth a Roman, his father's name Porphyrius, 
was chosen bishop when Gallus Hostilianus was 

Gallus associated to himself in the Government his son 
Volusianus, in whose time there arose so great a plague to 
revenge the cause of Christianity, that there were few families, 
much less cities and provinces, which had not their share in 
the public calamity. But while Gallus and Volusianus were 
engaging in a civil war against ^Emilianus, who had attempted 
an alteration of the government, they were both killed at 
Terani, before they had completed the second year of their 
empire. ^Emilianus, a person of obscure birth, was slain 

St Lucius I. 51 

ere he had possessed his usurped power three months ; and 
soon after Valerianus and Gallienus were chosen emperors — 
the former by the army in Rhetia and Noricum, the latter at 
Rome by the Senate. Their government proved very per- 
nicious to the Roman State by means of their own pusil- 
lanimity and the cruelty they exercised against the Christians. 
For both the Germans had marched forward as far as Ravenna, 
laying all waste wherever they came with fire and sword ; 
and also Valerianus himself, making war in Mesopotamia, was 
taken prisoner by the Parthians and forced to live in the most 
ignominious servitude, for Sapor, king of Persia, made use 
of him for a footstool when he got up on horseback — a 
punishment which justly befell him for this reason, that as 
soon as he was seized of the empire, he was the eighth from 
Nero who commanded that the Christians should be put to 
tortures, be made to worship idols, or upon their refusal be 
put to death. Gallienus, being terrified by this manifest judg- 
ment of God, suffered the Christians to live quietly. But it 
was now too late, for by the Divine permission, the barbarians 
had already made inroads upon the Roman borders, and 
certain pernicious tyrants arose, who overthrew at home 
what Was left undestroyed by the foreign enemy. Gallienus 
hereupon leaves the care of the public, and spending his time 
very dissolutely at Milan, was there slain. 

Lucius, upon the death of Volusianus, being released from 
banishment, at his return to Rome ordained that every 
bishop should be accompanied wherever he went with two 
presbyters and three deacons, as witnesses of his life and 
actions. In his time suffered St Cyprian, who was first a 
professor of rhetoric, and afterward, as St Hierom tells us, 
at the persuasion of Csecilius, the presbyter, from whom he 
took his surname, becoming a Christian, he gave his estate to 
the poor. Having been first ordained a presbyter, and then 
Bishop of Carthage, he was put to death under Gallus and 
Volusianus. His life and martyrdom were excellently well 
written by Pontius, a presbyter, and his companion in exile. 
And it ought not to be forgotten that Cyprian, before he died, 
was reconciled to the opinion of the Church of Rome, that 
heretics were not to be rebaptized, but to be received without 
any further ceremony than that of imposition of hands — a 
matter about which there had been formerly a great contro 
versy between him and Cornelius. But to return to Lucius ; 

52 The Lives of the Popes. 

before his martyrdom, which he suffered at the command of 
Valerianus, he delivered up his ecclesiastical power to 
Stephanus, the archdeacon. He conferred holy orders thrice 
in the month of December, ordaining four presbyters, four 
deacons, seven bishops. He was interred in the cemetery of 
Calistus in the Via Appia, August the 25th. He was in the 
chair one year, three months, three days ; and by his death 
the see was vacant thirty-five days. 

a.d. 253-257. 

STEPHANUS, a Roman, the son of Julius, was chosen 
bishop when the Roman Empire seemed to be utterly 
ruined, and particularly at the time when Posthumus exer- 
cised his usurped power in Gallia, though not without great 
advantage to the public, for he governed very well ten 
years together, freed the country from hostility, and re- 
stored that province to its ancient form. But being 
afterwards killed at Mentz in a tumult of the soldiers, 
Victorinus succeeded him, who was indeed an excellent 
soldier, but being excessively incontinent and adulterous, 
was slain at Cologne. 

Stephanus, applying himself to the regulation of the Church, 
ordained that the priests and other ministers should not use 
their sacred vestments anywhere but in the church, and 
during the performance of divine offices j lest otherwise they 
should incur the punishment of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, 
for touching the holy vessels with profane hands. Concern- 
ing the rebaptization of those who returned to the faith, he 
was of the same judgment with Cornelius, his predecessor, 
and thought it by no means lawful to communicate with those 
who rebaptized them 5 whereupon Dionysius, who had formerly 
concurred in opinion about the matter with those of Carthage 
and the East, both his and their sentiments of it being now 
altered, writes to Stephen, and encourages him from the 
assurance that both the Asian and African Churches were 
now reconciled to the judgment of the Roman see concerning 
it. About the same time Malchion, a presbyter of Antioch, 
a person of extraordinary eloquence, became very useful to 

St Sixtus I/. 53 

the Church of God in writing against Paulus of Samosata, the 
bishop of that place, who endeavoured to revive the opinion 
of Artemon, affirming Christ to have been a mere man, and 
that he had no existence till he was conceived by the Virgin 
Mary, — an opinion which, being afterwards condemned in the 
Council of Antioch by general consent, this Malchion, in the 
name of the synod, wrote a large epistle to the Christians con- 
cerning it. As for Stephanus, when he had by his example 
and persuasion converted a multitude of Gentiles to Christian- 
ity, being seized by Gallienus, as some say, or else by those 
who upon the edict of Decius were appointed to persecute the 
Christians, he himself, together with many others his pro- 
selytes, was hurried away to martyrdom ; and having suffered, 
he was interred in the cemetery of Calistus in the Via Appia, 
August the 2nd, after that he had at two Decembrian ordina- 
tions made six presbyters, five deacons, three bishops. He 
was in the chair four years, five months, two days ; and the 
see was vacant two and twenty days. 


A.D. 257-258. 

SIXTUS, an Athenian philosopher, became a Christian, 
the Decian and Valerian persecution yet continuing. 

But it will not be foreign to our present purpose to go on, 
as we have begun, to give some account of the other tyrants, 
till we come to the true successor. Victorinus therefore being 
slain in Gallia, Tetricus, a senator, being at that time governor 
of Aquitain, was in his absence chosen emperor by the 
soldiers. But while these things are transacting in Gallia, 
Odenatus overcomes the Persians, defends Syria, and seizeth 
Mesopotamia as far as Ctesiphon. 

At this time in Ptolemais, anciently called Barce, a city of 
Pentapolis, there was broached a doctrine, full of blasphemies 
against God the Father, and against Christ, whom it denied 
to be the Son of the Most High God and the first-born of 
every creature, and against the Holy Ghost, whose being it 
disowned. The assertors of it were called Sabellians, from 
Sabellius, the author of this perverse sect. What shall I say 

54 The Lives of the Popes. 

of that carnal opinion of Cerinthus? 1 who affirmed, that 
Christ should personally reign upon the earth a thousand 
years (from whence by the Greeks he was called a Chiliast). 
Being himself a man of unbounded lust and luxury, he 
feigned a great plenty of delicious viands and a great variety 
of beautiful women to be the principal ingredients of the 
happiness of that kingdom. Of the same opinion likewise 
was Nepos, a bishop of some parts of Egypt, who affirmed 
that the saints were to reign with Christ on the earth, in the 
highest enjoyment of all sensual delights and pleasures (from 
whom his brutish followers were called Nepotiani). Sixtus 
had it some time in his mind to baffle and suppress these 
opinions, but being accused for preaching the faith of Christ 
contrary to the emperor's edict, he was taken and led to the 
Temple of Mars, where he must either offer sacrifice to the 
idol, or, upon his refusal, be put to death. As he was going 
forth to punishment, Laurence, his archdeacon, thus bespake 
him : — " Whither art thou going, O my father, without thy 
son? whither, O best of bishops, art thou hastening without 
thy attendants ? " To whom Sixtus answered, "I do not 
forsake thee, O my son ; there are yet greater conflicts behind 
which thou art to undergo for the faith of Christ : within three 
days, thou, as a dutiful deacon, shalt follow me, thy bishop ; 
in the meantime, if thou hast any stock lying by thee, dis- 
tribute it all to the poor." On the same day with Sixtus, 
which was the eighth of August, there were executed six 
deacons, viz., Felicissimus, Agapetus, Januarius, Magus, 
Innocentius, Stephanus. And on the third day after, August 
the tenth, the same Lawrence, with Claudius the subdeacon, 
and Severus the presbyter, and Crescentius the reader, and 
Romanus the door-keeper, were all put to death together, 
though with several kinds of tortures ; among which it is said 
that Laurence was broiled upon a gridiron. Vincentius, who 
had been scholar to Sixtus, being gone into Spain, could not 
be present at this martyrdom. Sixtus, during his pontificate 
having at two Decembrian ordinations made four presbyters, 
seven deacons, two bishops, his body was interred in the 
cemetery of Calistus, in the Via Appia. The other martyrs 
lay in the cemetery of Prsetextatus, in the Via Tiburtina. 
Sixtus sat in the chair two years, ten months, twenty-three 
days. And the see was vacant thirty-five days. 

1 Our author seems here to be confused in his dates. Cerinthus was 
a contemporary of St John. — Ed. 

St Dionysius. 5 5 


A.D. 259-269. 

DIONYSIUS, whose original Damasus could not trace, 
being of a monk advanced to the pontifical dignity, 
forthwith allotted to the several presbyters in the city of 
Rome their several churches and cemeteries, and to others 
elsewhere distributed their respective parishes and dioceses, 
that so every one might be confined within his own bounds 
and limits. 

His contemporary emperor I take to have been Claudius, 1 
who, when by consent of the senate he had undertaken the 
government, made war upon, and with incredible slaughter 
defeated the Goths, who had for fifteen years together wasted 
Illyricum and Macedonia. Hereupon it was decreed by the 
senate, that in the council-house a golden shield, in the Capitol 
a golden statue, should be erected to his honour. But falling 
sick at Sirmium, he died before the second year of his empire 
was completed. Upon his death, Quintillus, his brother, was 
straightway chosen emperor by the army — a person of 
singular moderation, and the only man who deserved to suc- 
ceed his brother ; but he also governed a very little time, being 
slain in the seventeenth day of his reign. 

During the pontificate of Dionysius, Paulus of Samosata, 
deserting the orthodox faith, revived the heresy of Artemon. 
This Paul, being made bishop of Antioch in the room of 
Demetrianus, behaved himself with excessive haughtiness and 
affectation ; for as he passed along he affected to read and 
dictate letters, a great throng of attendants going before and 
following him ; so that for the sake of his arrogance, multi- 
tudes were very strongly prejudiced against the Christian 
religion. But had they lived in our times, wherein pride and 
pomp, not to say luxury itself, are at their height, what would 
they think to see prelates led on by so many young sparks, 
and brought up by a crowd of presbyters, all mounted upon 
high-fed and gay-trapped horses ? Certain I am they would 
abhor and execrate them, and say, that they were false and 
hypocritical pretenders to the religion of the blessed Jesus. 
But I return to Paul, whom I may more securely reprove. 

1 It was Gallienus. Claudius did not attain the purple until the last 
year of Dionysius. — Ed. 

56 The Lives of the Popes. 

He was highly self-opinionated and ambitious, and denied our 
Saviour's eternal generation, or that he had a being till his 
conception of the blessed Virgin. For this reason, at the 
council of Antioch, he was publicly condemned by the consent 
of all the bishops that were present; but especially by the 
sentence of Gregory, Bishop of Cesarea, a most holy man who 
was present at the council, and afterwards suffered martyrdom 
for the faith of Christ. Malchion, also a presbyter of Antioch, 
disputed and wrote much against this Paul, for the reason that 
I have already mentioned. Dionysius himself could not be at 
this council because of his great age, but of all the transactions 
there he had full intelligence given him by Maximus, Bishop 
of Alexandria. Dionysius dying, was buried in the cemetery 
of Calistus ; after that at two Decembrian ordinations he had 
made twelve presbyters, six deacons, seven bishops. He sat 
in the chair, ten years, two months, four days ; and the see 
was vacant six days. 


A.D. 269-275. 

FELIX, a Roman, son of Constantinus, lived in the time 
of Aurelianus, who came to the empire a.u.c. 1027, 
and being an excellent soldier, gained a great victory over the 
Goths at the river Danube. From thence passing into Asia, at 
a place not far from Antioch, by the terror of his name rather 
than by fighting, he overcame Zenobia, who from the time that 
her husband, Odenatus, had been slain, was possessed of the 
Eastern Empire. Her he led in triumph, together with 
Tetricus, by his defeating of whom at Chalons, Gallia was 
again recovered. Yet by the humanity and clemency of 
Aurelianus, Zenobia lived all her time very honourably in the 
city, from whom the Zenobian family in Rome derives its 
original ; and Tetricus being saved, was afterwards made 
governor of the Lucani. The emperor now applying himself 
to works of peace, repaired the Temple of Apollo and the walls 
of the city with great magnificence. But not long after, raising 
the ninth persecution against the Christians, the Divine ven- 
geance meeting with him, he was slain at a small fort between 
Constantinople and Heraclea, called Zenophruriurn. 

St Eutychianus. 57 

Felix, out of the great regard he had to the honour of the 
martyrs, ordained that upon their account masses should be 
celebrated yearly ; and that the sacrifice of the mass should be 
celebrated by no other persons but such as were in holy orders, 
and in no places but such as were consecrated — cases of 
necessity being always excepted. But if through the age or 
loss of records it were doubtful concerning any church whether 
it had been consecrated or no, he commanded that it should 
be consecrated anew ; saying, that nothing could properly be 
said to be repeated, of which it is uncertain whether ever it 
were once done at all. During his pontificate, one Manes, a 
Persian, had the impudence to profess himself to be Christ, 
and that he might gain the greater credit to his imposture, he 
associated to himself twelve disciples. But as that Manes was 
detested and abhorred for his pride and blasphemy, so 
Anatolius, the Bishop of Laodicaea, was as much extolled and 
magnified for his religion and learning. At the same time also 
Saturninus, relying upon the assistance of his army, enterprised 
the building of a new Antioch j but when it appeared that he 
designed to invade the empire too, he was slain at Apamaea. 
Felix, after that at several Decembrian ordinations he had 
made nine presbyters, seven deacons, five bishops, suffered 
martyrdom, and was buried in the Via Aurelia, May the 30th, 
in a church which he had built, two miles distant from the 
city. He sat in the chair six years, three months, fifteen days ; 
and the see was vacant seven days. 


A.D. 275-283. 

EUTYCHIANUS, a Tuscan, his father's name Maximus, 
was in the time of the emperor Aurelianus, who being 
slain, was succeeded by Tacitus, a man who both for his 
valour and justice, was certainly very fit for government, but 
he was slain in Pontus in the sixth month after he came 
to the empire j as was also his successor Florianus in Tarsus, 
before he had reigned three months. 

Eutychianus ordained that the fruits of the earth, as beans 
and grapes, &c, should be blessed upon the altar ; and also 
that no persons should bury the martyrs in any but purple 

58 The Lives of the Popes. 

vestments, unless with his knowledge and leave. Some write 
that in his time Dorotheus the eunuch flourished, a man 
questionless of very great skill in the Greek and Hebrew 
languages, and with whose learning it is said the Emperor 
Aurelianus was wonderfully delighted. For in the beginning 
of his reign he was such a favourer of the Christians that he 
severely censured the sect of Paulus of Samosata. But being 
afterwards corrupted by evil counsels, and, as hath been said, 
raising a persecution against the Christians, having sent des- 
patches concerning that affair to the several governors of 
provinces, he was cut off by the Divine hand. Eusebius, when 
he was young, was an auditor of Dorotheus at his expositions 
of Scripture. At this time also Anatolius an Alexandrian, 
Bishop of Laodicaea, a man of great learning, wrote several 
excellent things in mathematics and divinity, and was very 
severe against the Manichsean heresy which then very much 
prevailed. These Manichees, to their other errors, brought in 
two substances, the one good, the other evil, and held that 
souls flowed from God as from a fountain. The Old Testa- 
ment they altogether disowned, and received but some parts 
of the New. 

Eutychianus, after that at several ordinations he had con- 
secrated fourteen presbyters, five deacons, nine bishops, was 
crowned with martyrdom, and buried in the cemetery of 
Calistus, July the 25th. He sat in the chair one year, one 
month, one day ; and by his death the see was vacant eight 
days. There are some who say he lived in the pontificate 
eight years, ten months ; 1 but I rather give credit to Damasus, 
who is the author of the former assertion. 


A.D. 283-296. 

CAIUS, a Dalmatian, the son of Caius, a kinsman of the 
Emperor Diocletian, lived in the times of Probus, Cams, 
and Carinus. 

Probus, a person renowned for military skill, having under- 
taken the government, was very successful in recovering Gallia 
that had been possessed by the barbarians. He also van- 
1 They are correct according to Milman (i. 15). — Ed. 

St Cuius. 59 

quished Saturninus, who was attempting to usurp the Empire 
in the east, and Proculus and Bonosus at Cologne. But this 
valiant and just man was notwithstanding slain in a tumult of 
the soldiers at Sirmium, in the sixth year of his reign. After 
whom Carus Narbonensis entered upon the Empire, and held 
it two years. He having admitted his two sons, Carinus and 
Numerianus, to a share in the government, and having in the 
Parthian War taken Celsenae and Ctesiphon, two famous cities, 
was in the camp slain by a thunderbolt. Numerianus, who 
was returning with his father, was murdered by the fraud of 
his father-in-law, Arrius Aper. But Carinus, a person most 
dissolutely lewd, was overcome after a sharp and doubtful 
engagement by Diocletian in Dalmatia; and at length suffered 
the just punishment of his villanies. 

Caius stated the several orders in the Church by which, as 
by certain steps and degrees, the clergy were to rise to the 
Episcopal dignity. These were the door-keeper, the reader, 
the exorcist, the acolythus, the sub-deacon, the deacon, the 
presbyter, and the bishop. He also, as Fabianus had done 
before him, allotted several regions to the deacons, who were 
to register and compile the acts of the martyrs. He ordained, 
likewise, that no laic should commence a suit of law against 
a clergyman, and that no pagan or heretic should have power 
to accuse a Christian. In his time lived Victorinus, Bishop 
of Poictiers, who wrote diverse commentaries on the Scrip- 
tures, and was very sharp and severe against the heresies 
then prevailing, though he had greater skill in the Latin 
than the Greek tongue, as Hierom will have it, who tells us 
that the sense of his writings was great, but the style mean. 
Pamphilus, also a presbyter, and the intimate friend of 
Eusebius, bishop of Cesarea, was so eagerly greedy of divine 
learning, that with his own hand he transcribed a great part 
of Origen's books ; which books Eusebius affirms himself to 
have seen in the library of Cesarea, with as great satisfaction 
as if he had gained the riches of Croesus. The same Pam- 
philus wrote the defence of Origen, as Eusebius himself also 
did not long after. 

But in the reign of Diocletian, there arising against the 
Christians a persecution sharper than ever was before, Caius 
lay a long time concealed in certain grottoes and vaults under- 
ground ; but being at length discovered and taken from 
thence by the persecutors, together with his brother, Gabinius, 

60 The Lives of the Popes. 

and his niece, Susanna, he was crowned with martyrdom, and 
buried in the cemetery of Calistus, in the Via Appia, April 
the 22nd. Some write that Lucia, Agatha, and Agnes be- 
came martyrs not long after. Caius sat in the chair thirteen 
years, four months, twelve days ; in which time, at four several 
Decembrian ordinations, he made twenty-five presbyters, eight 
deacons, five bishops ; and by his death the see was vacant 
eleven days. 


A.D. 296-304. 

MARCELLINUS, a Roman, the son of Projectus, was, in 
the times of Diocletian, a Dalmatian of obscure birth, 
and Maximian. 

Diocletian being elected Emperor by the army in a.d. 
284, slew that Aper who had murdered Numerian. But a 
commotion arising in Gallia, which was a sedition rather than 
a war, thither Diocletian sent Maximianus Herculeus, by 
whom the peasants were soon quelled. But wars breaking 
out on every side, Diocletian not being able singly to bear 
the shock of so many dangers, associated Maximian as his 
colleague by the name of Augustus, and Constantius and 
Galefius under them by the name of Caesars. Maximian, after 
that Carausius was killed by the treachery of Alectus, in ten 
years' time made himself master of Britain. And Constantius, 
after one unsuccessful engagement in Gallia, renewing the fight 
a second time, slew several thousand Germans who were 
mercenaries there, and thereby restored peace to that pro- 
vince. In the meantime Diocletian took Alexandria, which, 
being bravely defended by Achilleus, held out a siege of 
eight months, and gratified his soldiers with the plunder of 
it. But Galerius having behaved himself gallantly in two 
fights against Narseus, was at length routed between Galietium 
and Carrse ; and his forces being scattered and lost in that 
unfortunate battle, he was forced to fly to Diocletian, who 
received him with such disdain, that it is said he suffered him 
in his imperial habit to run on foot several miles before his 
chariot. Maximian, being nettled at so foul a disgrace, under- 
took the war afresh, and in the end became victorious. 

*SV Marcellinus. 61 

Affairs being thus settled, Diocletian in the east, and Maxi- 
mian Herculeus in the west, commanded that the churches 
should be destroyed, and the Christians tortured and put to 
death ; and so raised the tenth persecution, which lasted 
longer, and was more vehement and bloody than any before. 
For now Bibles were publicly burnt ; all Christians who were 
in any office ignominiously cashiered ; servants who continued 
constant to their profession cut off of all hope of being ever 
made free, and the Christian soldiers compelled either to offer 
up sacrifice to idols, or else to lay down their arms and their 
lives together, by an imperial edict publicly affixed in the 
forum. This edict, a certain person being so hardy as to 
pull down and tear in pieces, he was thereupon ordered to be 
flayed and to have vinegar mixed with salt poured upon his 
raw flesh till he died ; which he patiently endured, being con- 
firmed and encouraged in his sufferings by Dorotheus and 
Gorgonius, two very eminent men. At the same time the 
royal palace at Nicomedia happening to be on fire, the 
emperor groundlessly suspecting it to be caused by the Chris- 
tians, commanded multitudes of them to be put to the sword, 
and several others to be thrown alive into the flames. The 
same severity was exercised against them in Mitylene, Syria, 
Africa, Thebais, and Egypt, by the several governors of those 
provinces ; and in Palestine and Tyre great numbers of them 
were exposed to be devoured by wild beasts. Indeed, there 
was no kind of torment could be invented which the Chris- 
tians did not undergo. Some had their flesh scraped and torn 
off with potsherds ; to others, sharp reeds were thrust 
under their nails, and to the women run into their bodies. 
A certain city in Phrygia was set on fire and burnt to the 
ground, because the citizens, who were kept constant to the 
faith by Adauctus, a pious Roman, refused to offer sacrifice to 
idols. In the end their inhuman tormentors came to such a 
height of cruelty, that they would first burn out their eyes 
with searing-irons, and then wreak the remainder of their fury 
and rage against them. At this time were also put to death 
for the profession of Christianity, Anthimus, Bishop of Nico- 
media ; and Lucianus, the learned presbyter of Antioch ; and 
Pamphilus of Cesarea j and Phila^as, an Egyptian, and Bishop 
of Thmyis — this last being beheaded because he had written 
a book in praise of the martyrs, and had courage enough to 
tell his unjust judges their sin. I need not enumerate more 

62 The Lives of the Popes. 

instances, since Damasus affirms that there were no less than 
seventeen thousand persons of both sexes who suffered 
martyrdom through the several provinces in the space of 
thirty days. I shall not mention those who were banished to 
the islands, or condemned to work in the mines or melting- 
houses, or to dig sand, or to hew stones, or to other the like 
kinds of servitude, whose numbers were almost infinite. 

But our Marcellinus, being carried to the heathen sacrifices, 
and his tormentors, with menaces, urging him to offer, he being 
overcome with fear, submitted to their importunities, and 
joined with them in their idolatries. But not long after, a 
council of a hundred and eighty bishops being held at Sin- 
uessa, a city of Campania, thither goes Marcellinus, clothed 
in sackcloth, with all the marks of a humble penitent, and 
beseeches them to inflict upon him the just punishment of his 
cowardice and inconstancy. Yet, in so numerous a council, 
there was not a man who would pass any sentence against 
him, they all agreeing that he had lapsed only after the same 
manner that St Peter himself did, and that by his tears and 
sorrows he had already sufficiently suffered for his fault. To 
Rome returns Marcellinus, full of zeal, hastens to Diocle- 
tian, and boldly reproves him for causing him to sacrifice 
to false gods. Hereupon, by Diocletian's order, he was 
forthwith led to execution, together with Claudius, Cyrinus, 
and Antoninus, three other assertors of Christianity. As he 
went along, he admonished Marcellus his presbyter, not to 
submit to the command of Diocletian in matters appertaining 
to religion ; and forbade him to suffer his body to be buried, 
saying that, since he had denied his Saviour, he was unworthy 
of the least acts of humanity — though, indeed, by Dio- 
cletian's order, the bodies of all these four martyrs lay unburied 
in the highway the space of thirty-six days. Afterwards, at 
the command of St Peter the Apostle, who appeared to Mar- 
cellus in a dream, they were buried in the Via Salaria, in 
the cemetery of Priscilla, near the body of St Crescention, 
May the 27th. After so long a series of miseries, God at 
length, as Eusebius words it, opened his eyes, and, to free the 
Christians from such a plague, so wrought upon Diocletian's 
mind that he voluntarily resigned the empire and retired to a 
private life. And he compelled Maximian, his partner in the 
government, to do the same. He was as violent a persecutor 
as himself, who, some years after, was afflicted with divers 

St Marcellinus. 63 

diseases, and after incessant torment was smitten with dis- 
traction, and haunted with the reflections on his guilt. 
It is the judgment of Eusebius that this calamity befell 
the Christians by God's permission, as a just punish- 
ment for the great corruption of manners which the liberty 
and indulgence which they before enjoyed had occasioned 
among them all in general, but especially among the clergy, 
to the hypocrisy of whose looks, the fraud of their words, and 
the deceit of their hearts, the Divine justice deigned to give 
a check by this persecution. Indeed, the envy, pride, ani- 
mosity, and hatred with which they strove among themselves, 
was grown to such a height that it seemed rather a contention 
between haughty tyrants than humble churchmen ; and having 
forgotten all true Christian piety, they did not so much per- 
form as profane the Divine offices. But what calamity shall 
our presaging minds prompt us to expect in our age, in which 
our vices have increased to such a magnitude that they have 
scarce left us any room for God's mercy. It would be to no 
purpose for me to mention the great covetousness of the 
clergy, especially of those who are in authority j their lust, 
their ambition, their pomp, their pride, their idleness, their 
ignorance of themselves and of the doctrine of Christianity, 
their little piety, and that rather feigned than true, and their 
great debauchery, so great that it would be abominable even 
in the profane (for so they superciliously call the laity) ; this 
I say, it would be to no purpose for me to tell, since they 
themselves do avow their sins so openly that one would think 
they judged vice to be a laudable quality; and expected to 
gain reputation by it. The Turk (believe me, though I wish 
I may prove a false prophet) — the Turk is coming whom we 
shall find a more violent enemy to Christianity than Dio- 
cletian or Maximian. He is already at the gates of Italy ; 
while we idly and supinely wait the common ruin, every one 
consulting rather his own private pleasure than the public de- 
fence. I come now again to Marcellinus, whom I would to 
God we might at last imitate, and return to a better mind. 
For he, as I said before, finding his error in falling away from 
his profession, came to himself, and did with great constancy 
suffer martyrdom for the sake of Christ ; after that, at two 
Decembrian ordinations, he had made four presbyters, two 
deacons, five bishops. He was in the chair nine years, two 
months, fifteen days ; and by his death the see was vacant 
till 308. 

64 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 308-310. 

MARCELLUS, a Roman, of the region called Via Lata, 
the son of Benedict, was in the chair from the time 
of Constantius and Galerius to Maxentius ; for Diocletian 
and Maximian, having laid down their authority, Con- 
stantius and Galerius undertook the government and divided 
the provinces between them. Illyricum, Asia, and the East 
fell to the share of Galerius ; but Constantius, being a person 
of very moderate desires, was contented with only Gallia 
and Spain, though Italy also was his by lot. Hereupon 
Galerius created two Caesars, Maximinus, whom he made 
governor of the East, and Severus, to whom he intrusted 
Italy, he himself holding Illyricum, as apprehending that the 
most formidable enemies of the Roman State would attempt 
their passage that way. Constantius, a man of singular meek- 
ness and clemency, soon gained the universal love of the 
Gauls, and the rather for that now they had escaped the danger 
they had been in before from the craft of Diocletian, and the 
cruelty of Maximian. But in the thirteenth year of his reign, 
he died at York in England, and by general consent of all 
men was placed in the number of the gods. 

Marcellus being intent upon the affairs of the Church, and 
having persuaded Priscilla, a Roman matron, to build at her 
own charge a cemetery in the Via Salaria, constituted twenty- 
five titles or parishes in the city of Rome for the more advan- 
tageous and convenient administration of baptism to those 
Gentiles who daily in great numbers were converted to the 
faith, having a regard likewise to the better provision which 
was thereby made for the sepultures of the martyrs. But 
Maxentius, understanding that Lucina, a Roman lady, had 
made the Church her heir, was so incensed thereat, that he 
banished her for a time, and, seizing Marcellus, endeavoured 
by menaces to prevail with him to lay aside his Episcopal 
dignity and renounce Christianity ; but finding his commands 
despised and slighted by the good man, he ordered him to be 
confined to a stable, and made to look after the Emperor's 
camels and horses. Yet this ignominious usage did not so 
discourage the good bishop, but that he kept constantly to 
stated times of prayer and fasting, and though he was now dis- 

St Ensebiiis. 65 

abled in person yet he neglected not by epistle to take due 
care for the regulating of the churches. But before he had 
been there nine months, his clergy by night rescued him from 
this loathsome restraint ; whereupon Maxentius, being yet 
more enraged, secured him the second time, and condemned 
him to the same filthy drudgery again, the stench andnastiness 
of which at length occasioned his death. His body was buried 
by Lucina in the cemetery of Priscilla in the Via Salaria on 
the sixteenth of January. In time following when Christianity 
flourished, a church was built upon the ground where this 
stable stood, and dedicated to St Marcellus, which is to be 
seen at this day. We read, moreover, that Mauritius, together 
with his whole legion of Christian soldiers, suffered themselves 
to be tamely cut off near the river Rhone ; to whom may be 
added Marcus, Sergius, Cosmas, Damianus, with multitudes 
more who were slain in all places. Marcellus being in the 
chair two years, six months, twenty-one days, at several 
Decembrian ordinations made twenty-six presbyters, two 
deacons, twenty-one bishops ; and by his death the see was 
vacant twenty days. 


A.D. 310. 

EUSEBIUS, a Grecian, son of a physician, entered upon the 
pontificate when Constantius and Maxentius were Em- 

For Constantius (called Chlorus from his paleness) dying, 
Constantine, his son by Helena, whom he afterwards divorced 
to marry the daughter of Maximian, was with universal consent 
made Emperor of the West. But the Praetorian Guards at 
Rome in a tumultuary manner declared foi Maxentius, son to 
Maximian, and gave him the title of Augustus. Hereupon 
Maximian himself, being raised to some hopes of recovering 
the Empire, left his retirement in Lucania and came to 
Rome, having by letter endeavoured to persuade Diocletian 
to do the same. To suppress these tumults, Galerius sent 
Severus with his army, who besieged the city, but being de- 
serted by the treachery of some of his soldiers who favoured 
Maxentius' pretensions, was forced to fly to Ravenna, and 


66 The Lives of the Popes. 

there slain. And Maximian himself did very narrowly escape 
the revenge of his son Maxentius, who eagerly sought his 
father's life for endeavouring by promises and bribes to gain 
the good-will of the soldiers for himself. So Maximian went 
into Gaul to Constantine, and gave him his daughter Fausta 
in marriage. But afterwards he laid a design to ensnare and 
circumvent him too, till his plot being discovered by Fausta, 
who revealed the whole matter to her husband, he betook 
himself to flight, but was taken and put to death at Marseilles, 
thereby suffering the just punishment of his villanies ; or, as 
others tell us, he laid violent hands upon himself. 

During the pontificate of Eusebius, on the third of May, the 
Cross of our Saviour was found, and very much adorned, and 
had in great veneration by Helena, Constantine's mother; 
Judas also, who found it, was baptized, and his name being 
thereupon changed, was afterwards called Cyriacus. Eusebius 
admitted heretics to the communion of the Church upon 
their retractation by the imposition of hands only. More- 
over he ordained that no laics should commence a suit 
against a bishop. In his time lived Lactantius Firmianus, a 
scholar of Arnobius, who being a Professor of Rhetoric at Nico- 
media, and discontented that he had so few scholars in a city 
of Greece, he thereupon betook himself to writing, wherein he 
became so excellent that he gained a reputation next to that of 
Cicero himself. He wrote many things, but his works that are 
chiefly extant, are those against the heathens, concerning the 
creation of man, and the anger of God. In his old age he was 
tutor to Constantine's son, Caesar Crispus, in Gallia. Eusebius 
also, bishop of Cesarea in Palestine, a partner w r ith Pamphilus 
in the diligent search after divine learning, wrote a vast num- 
ber of books ; particularly those " On the preparation of the 
Gospel;" an Ecclesiastical History; against Porphyry, a vio- 
lent opposer of the Christians ; six apologies for Origen ; and 
three books of the life of Pamphilus the martyr, whose name 
he added to his own for a surname, as a testimony of the 
strict friendship there had been between them. But our 
Eusebius, the bishop of Rome, having at one Decembrian or- 
dination made thirteen presbyters, three deacons, fourteen 
bishops, died at Rone, and was buried in the cemetery of 
Calistus, in the Via Appia, October the 2nd. He sat in the 
chair six months ; and by his death the see was vacant one 


St Melchiades. 67 


A.D. 3H-314. 

ELCHIADES, an African, was co-temporary with Max- 
entius, Maximin, and Licinius a Dacian, who for his 
being an excellent soldier, was admitted by Galerius to a 
partnership in the empire. 

These being sensible that Constantine was well beloved and 
highly esteemed by all men, did for that reason seem less 
enraged against the Christians. Yet Maxentius sent his 
soldiers about with private instructions to massacre all they 
could secretly meet with ; and taking delight in magic, at the 
performance of the hellish rites belonging to that black art, 
he would send for great-bellied women, .especially Christians, 
and rip them up for the sake of their unborn infants, whose 
ashes he made use of in his sorceries, thereby showing that 
tyranny might be supported and kept up even by villany. 
Maximin also exercised the like rage and cruelty in the East, 
giving rewards and preferments to the professors and teachers 
of witchcraft and sorcery ; and being himself very much in- 
clined to give credit to auguries and divinations, became the 
more bitterly incensed against the Christians, because they 
despised such superstitions. He commanded likewise, that 
the decayed idolatrous temples should be repaired, and 
sacrifices offered to the gods in them after the ancient manner. 
Against them Constantine advancing with his army, gained so 
perfect a victory over Maxentius at Pons Milvius, that his 
grief at being so shamefully defeated, caused him to forget the 
snares which himself had laid, and so passing over a bridge 
which he had deceitfully contrived to entrap his enemies, he 
himself with the greatest part of his guards was drowned in the 
river. Constantine having both by sea and land overcome 
his sister's husband Licinius, forced him at Nicomedia to yield 
himself, and to live privately at Thessalonica ; a confinement 
which he justly deserved, because having apostatised from the 
faith merely through envy, he had been a grievous persecutor 
of the Christians for the good-will they bare to Constantine. 
As for Maximin, he became manifestly the object of Divine 
vengeance ; his bowels and entrails being on a sudden so 
swollen and putrified, that there appeared no difference between 
him and a putrid carcase ; worms in great abundance breeding 

c 2 

68 The Lives of the Popes. 

in his flesh, and rottenness with intolerable stench overspread- 
ing his body. This dreadful punishment had been long 
called for by his wicked practices ; for he had forbidden the 
Christians to assemble at the sepulchres of the martyrs, and 
had given out that at Antioch an image had spoke and pro- 
claimed aloud, that the Christians must be banished out of 
the cities, when indeed they were certain knavish priests 
whom himself had suborned, who from their adjoining private 
recesses had uttered these words ; and moreover, he had 
distributed rewards through the several provinces to the idol- 
priests who were active against the Christians. But at length 
the physician plainly telling him the danger of his condition, 
the tyrant began to relent, and by a public edict forbade all 
persons to molest or injure the Christians, and suffered them 
to enjoy their liberty. But this forced repentance stood him 
in no stead ; for having been a long time afflicted with 
grievous pain and disease, at last died this cruel and incon- 
stant man, who had been sometimes an encourager, some- 
times a persecutor of the Christians. During these calamities, 
multitudes of Christians were put to death, and particularly 
Dorothea, a most virtuous and beautiful virgin, who chose 
rather to die than to yield to the tyrant's lust. Sophronia also 
having been oftentimes solicited by Maxentius, like the noble 
Lucretia, slew herself to avoid the danger her chastity was in 
from him. 

Melchiades ordained, that no Christian should keep a fast 
upon a Sunday or a Thursday, because those days were so ob- 
served and kept by the pagans \ and the Manichaean heresy 
being at that time very prevalent in the city of Rome, he made 
several constitutions concerning oblations. These things being 
settled, he was by Maximin's order crowned with martyrdom ; 
as were also Peter, bishop of Alexandria ; Lucianus, a presbyter 
of Antioch, a man eminent for piety and learning ; Timothy, 
a presbyter of Rome, and divers others both bishops and 
priests. Melchiades was buried in the cemetery of Calistus, 
in the Via Appia, December the ioth. During his pontifi- 
cate, he did at one ordination make seven presbyters, six 
deacons, twelve bishops. He sat in the chair four years, 
seven months, nine days ; and by his death the see was 
vacant seventeen days. 

St Sylvester. 6g 

a.d. 314-336. 

SYLVESTER, a Roman, the son of Ruffinus, was bishop 
in the time of Constantine, anno dom. 314. 

Under this prince the Christians, who had been continually 
harassed by tyrants, began to have some respite. For Con- 
stantine was equal to the best of princes in all endowments 
of body and mind, very desirous of military glory, successful 
in war, and yet freely granting peace to them who asked it. 
When his other great affairs permitted, he took very much 
delight in the study of the arts : by his bounty and goodness 
he gained the love of all men ; many good laws he enacted, 
repealed those that were superfluous, and moderated those 
that were too rigorous. Upon the rains of Byzantium he 
built a city of his own name, and endeavouring to make it 
equal in stateliness of buildings to Rome herself, he ordered it 
to be called New Rome, as appears from the inscription under 
his statue on horseback. 

This great prince, well weighing and considering all things, 
when he came to understand the excellence of the Christian 
religion, how it obliges men to be moderate in their enjoy- 
ments, to rejoice in poverty, to be gentle and peaceable, 
sincere and constant, &c, he thereupon heartily embraced it ; 
and when he undertook any war, bore no other figure on his 
standard but that of the cross, the form of which he had seen 
in the air as he was advancing with his forces against Maxen- 
tius, and had heard the angels near it saying to him, 'Ei/ rovru 
vixa — " by this do thou overcome ; " which accordingly he did, 
freeing the necks of the people of Rome and the Christians 
from the yoke of tyranny, and particularly defeating Licinius, 
who had expelled the Christians from city and camp, and 
persecuted them with banishment, imprisonment, and death 
itself; exposing some of them to the lions, and causing others to 
be hung up and cut to pieces limb by limb like dead swine. 

Sylvester, having so potent and propitious a prince on his 
side, left the mountain Soracte, whither he had been ban- 
ished by the tyrants, or, as some say, had voluntarily retired, 
and came to Rome, where he soon prevailed with Constan- 
tine, who was before well inclined towards the Christians, to 
be now very zealous in deserving well of the Church. For as 

yo The Lives of the Popes, 

a particular testimony of the honour he had for the clergy, 
he allowed to the bishops of Rome the use of a diadem of gold 
set with precious stones. But this Sylvester declined, as not 
suiting a person devoted to religion, and therefore contented 
himself with a white Phrygian mitre. Constantine being 
highly affected with Sylvester's sanctity, built a church in the 
city of Rome, in the gardens of Equitius, not far from 
Domitian's baths, which bore the name of Equitius till the 
time of Damasus. Upon this church the munificent emperor 
conferred several donations of vessels, both of gold and silver, 
and likewise very plentifully endowed it. 

While these things were transacting at Rome, at Alexandria 
a certain presbyter, named Arius (a man more remarkable for 
his person, than the inward qualifications of his mind, and 
who sought more eagerly after fame and vain-glory than after 
truth), began to sow dissension in the Church. For he 
endeavoured to separate the Son from the eternal and 
ineffable substance of God the Father, by affirming that there 
was a time when He was not ; not understanding that the 
Son was co-eternal with the Father, and of the same substance 
with Him, according to that assertion of His in the gospel, 
"I and My Father are one. Now, Alexander, Bishop of 
Alexandria, having in vain attempted to reclaim Arius from 
this his error, by Constantine's appointment, and at his great 
charge, a general Council was called at Nicsea, a city of 
Bithynia, at which three hundred and eighteen bishops were 
present. The debates on either side were long and warm. 
For divers persons subtile at arguing, were favourers of Arius, 
and opposers of the simplicity of the Gospel ; though one of 
these, a very learned philosopher, being inwardly touched by 
the Divine Spirit, all on a sudden changed his opinion, and 
immediately embraced the sound and orthodox doctrine 
which before he had pleaded against. At length the matter 
being thoroughly discussed in the Council, it was concluded 
that the Son should be styled o^oovGicg, i.e., acknowledged to 
be of the same substance with the Father. Of those who 
were of Arius's opinion, affirming the Son of God to be 
created, not begotten of the very Divinity of the Father, there 
were seventeen. But Constantine, coming to understand the 
truth of the controversy, confirmed the decree of the Council, 
and denounced the punishment of exile to those who contra- 
dicted it. Hereupon Arius with only six more were banished, 

St Sylvester. 71 

the rest of his party coming over to the orthodox opinion. 
In this Council the Photinians were condemned, who had 
their name from Photinus, Bishop of Sirmium/ who, taking up 
the heresy of the Ebionites, held that Christ was conceived 
of Mary by the ordinary way of generation ; as were like- 
wise the Sabellians, who affirmed that the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost were but one Person. In this Council also, the 
bishops, according to custom, gave in bills of complaint to 
Constantine, wherein they accused each other, and desired 
justice from him ; but the good emperor burnt all their accu- 
sations, and told them, that they must stand or fall by the 
judgment of God only, and not of men. In this Council 
moreover it was decreed, that no person who, upon pretence 
of allaying the heat of his lust, had castrated himself, should 
be admitted into holy orders ; that no new proselyte, without 
a very strict examination, should be ordained, and being so, 
that it should not be lawful for him to associate with any 
other women than his mother, or sister, or aunt ; that none 
should be promoted to the order of a bishop, unless by all, or 
at least by three, bishops of the province ; and that one bishop 
should not receive any person, whether clerk or laic, who 
stood excommunicated by another. It was decreed likewise, 
and that very sacredly, to prevent all oppression, that there 
should be a Provincial Synod held every year, whither any 
who thought themselves injured by the bishop might appeal ; 
and I cannot see why this wholesome institution should be 
abolished by the prelates of our age, unless it be because they 
dread the censures of the pious and orthodox. It was decreed 
also, that they who in time of persecution fell away before they 
were brought to the torture, should from thenceforward con- 
tinue five years among the catechumens. Finally, it was 
decreed, that no bishop should upon the account of ambition 
or covetousness leave a smaller church for a greater — a canon 
which is quite laid aside in our days, wherein with eager 
appetites, like hungry wolves, they all gape after fatter 
bishoprics, using all importunities, promises, and bribes to 
get them. The constitutions of Sylvester himself were 
reckoned these that follow, viz. : That the holy oil should be 
consecrated by the bishop only ; that none but bishops should 

1 This seems to be inaccurate. Photinus developed his heresy some- 
what later. He was repeatedly condemned, and in 351 was deposed by a 
synod held in his own city. — Ed. 

72 The Lives of the Popes. 

have the power of confirmation, but a presbyter might anoint 
any person baptized upon the occasion of imminent death. 
That no laic should commence a suit against a clergyman ; 
that a deacon, while he is doing his office in the church, 
should use a cope with sleeves ; that no clergyman should 
plead for others or for himself before a secular judge. That 
a presbyter should not consecrate the elements upon a pall of 
silk or dyed cloth, but only upon white linen, for the nearer 
resemblance of the fine white linen in which the body of 
Christ was buried. He also fixed the several degrees in the 
orders of the Church, that every one might act in his own sphere, 
and be the husband of one wife. But Constantine being desir- 
ous to promote the Christian religion, built the Constantinian 
church (called the Lateran), which he beautified and enriched 
with several great donations, the ornaments and endowments 
which he conferred upon it being of a vast value. Among 
other things, he set up in it a font of porphyry stone, that part 
of it which contains the water being all silver ; in the middle 
of the font was placed a pillar of porphyry, on the top of 
which stood a golden lamp, full of the most precious oil, 
which was wont to burn in the night during the Easter 
solemnities. On the edge or brink of it stood a lamb of 
pure gold, through which the water was conveyed into it ; not 
far from the lamb was the statue of our Saviour, of most pure 
silver. On the other side stood the image of John Baptist, of 
silver likewise, with an inscription of these words, "Behold the 
Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." There 
were, besides, seven hearts placed round about it, and pouring 
water into it. For the maintenance of this font he gave 
several estates in land and houses. Moreover, Constantine, 
at the motion of Sylvester, built and dedicated a church to St 
Peter, the chief of the apostles, in the Vatican, not far from 
the temple of Apollo, where he very splendidly deposited the 
body of that apostle, and covered his tomb over with brass 
and copper. This church, likewise, he magnificently adorned, 
and very largely endowed. The same emperor, also at the 
instance of Sylvester, built a church, which he enriched and 
endowed as he had done the former, in the Via Ostiensis, in 
honour to St Paul, whose body he entombed after the same 
manner with that of St Peter; by his order also, a church 
was built in the Sessorian Atrium, by the name of St Cross of 
Jerusalem, wherein he deposited a part of the holy cross, 

St Sylvester. 73 

which was found out by his mother, Helena, a lady of in- 
comparable piety and devotion, who, being prompted thereto 
partly by the greatness of her own mind and partly by visions 
in the night, went to Jerusalem to seek after the cross upon 
which Christ was crucified. To find it was a very difficult 
task, because the ancient persecutors had set up the image of 
Venus in the same place, that so the Christians might by 
mistake worship her instead of their Saviour. But Helena, 
being animated with zeal, proceeded on to dig and remove 
the rubbish, till at last she found three crosses lying con- 
fusedly one among another ; on one of which was this in- 
scription, in three languages, " Jesus of Nazareth, King of the 
Jews." Macarius, the bishop of that city, was at first mistaken 
in his opinion as to which was the right ; but at length all doubt 
concerning it was removed by an experiment upon the body 
of a dead woman, who was raised to life at the application of 
the true one. From the sense of so great a miracle, Constan- 
tine published an edict, forbidding any malefactor to be from 
thenceforward punished by crucifixion. Helena, having first 
built a church upon the ground where this cross was found, 
returned, and brought the nails with which our Saviour's body 
was fastened to it, as a present to her son. Of one of those 
nails he caused to be made the bit of the bridle with which he 
managed the horse he used in war, the other he wore on the 
crest of his helmet, and the third he threw into the Adriatic 
Sea, to suppress the rage and tempestuousness of it. That 
part of the cross which the devout lady brought along with 
her in a silver case, set with gold and precious stones, was 
placed in this Sessorian Churcn, to which Constantine was 
very liberal and munificent. Some tell us that the Church of 
St Agnes was built at Constantine's command, upon the 
request of his daughter Constantia, and a font set up in it, 
where both his daughter and his sister of the same name 
were baptized, and which in like manner he largely presented 
and endowed. The same emperor built also the Church of 
St Laurence without the walls, towards which he was not 
wanting to express his usual beneficence. Moreover, in the 
Via Lavicana he built a church to the two martyrs, Mar- 
cellinus the presbyter, and Peter the exorcist ; not far from 
which he built a stately monument in honour to his mother, 
whom he buried in a sepulchre of porphyry. This church 
also received signal testimonies of his exemplary bounty. 

74 The Lives of the Popes. 

Besides these churches in the city of Rome, he built several 
others also elsewhere. At Ostia, not far from the port, he 
built a church in honour to St Peter and Paul the blessed 
apostles, and John Baptist ; near Alba he built a church 
peculiarly dedicated to John Baptist ; at Capua, also, he 
built in honour to the apostles, that which they called the 
Constantinian Church, — all which he enriched as he had done 
the former. At Naples he built another, as Damasus tells us, 
but it is uncertain to whom he dedicated it. And that the 
clergy of New Rome also might be sharers in the emperor's 
munificence, he built likewise two churches at Constantinople, 
one dedicated to Irene, the other to the apostles, having 
first quite destroyed the Delphic Tripods, which had been the 
occasion of a great deal of mischief to superstitious people, 
and either demolished the pagan temples or else transferred 
them to the use and benefit of the Christians. Besides all 
the foregoing instances of Constantine's munificence, he 
distributed moreover, among the provincial churches and 
the clergy, a certain tribute or custom due to him from the 
several cities, which donation he made valid, and perpetuated 
by an imperial edict. And that virgins and those who con- 
tinued in celibacy, might be enabled to make wills, and so to 
bequeath by testament something to the clergy (from whence 
I believe the patrimony of the church to have received a great 
increase), he repealed a law which had been made for the 
propagating of mankind, by which any person was rendered 
incapable of entering upon an estate who had lived unmarried 
till five-and-twenty years of age — a law upon which the 
princes had founded their jus trium liberorum, the right or 
privilege of having three children, of which they often took 
advantage against those who had no issue. All these things 
are exactly and fully delivered to us by Socrates and Sozomen, 
the historians. In the time of Sylvester flourished several 
persons of extraordinary note, by whose labour and industry 
many countries and nations were converted to Christianity, 
and particularly by the preaching of Julianus, Frumentius, 
and Edisius, whom certain philosophers of Alexandria had 
carried thither. The Iberi also, a remote people, were 
brought to the knowledge and belief of Christianity by a certain 
captive woman, through the assistance and persuasion of their 
king Bacurius. At this time likewise, the authority of Antony, 
the holy hermit, did much towards the reformation of man- 

Marcus L 75 

kind ; Helena did oftentimes, both by letter and messengers, 
recommend herself and her sons to his prayers. He was by 
country an Egyptian ; his manner of living, severe and 
abstemious, eating only bread and drinking nothing but 
water, and never making any meal but about sunset ; a man 
wholly rapt up in contemplation. His life was written at 
large by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. As for Sylvester 
himself, having at seven Decembrian ordinations made forty- 
two presbyters, thirty-six deacons, sixty-five bishops, he died, 
and was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla, in the Via Salaria, 
three miles distant from the city, on the last day of December. 
He was in the chair twenty-three years, ten months, eleven 
days ; and by his death the see was vacant fifteen days. 



A.D. 336-337- 

ARCUS, a Roman, son of Priscus, lived also in the reign 
of Constantine the Great, concerning whom historians 
differ in their writings. 

For some affirm that Constantine, towards the latter end of 
his reign, recalled Arius from banishment, and became a 
favourer of his heresy through the persuasion of his sister, who 
always insisted that it was nothing but envy that had caused 
his condemnation. These I believe to be deceived by the 
nearness of their names, and so to ascribe that to the father 
which was the act of the son. For it is not probable that that 
wise prince, who had all along before disapproved of the Arian 
opinion, should now begin to incline to it in that part of his 
age wherein men are usually most judicious and discerning. 
They write moreover, that Constantine was baptized by 
Eusebius, an Arian, Bishop of Nicomedia. But that this is a 
mistake appears both from the Emperor's great bounty towards 
the orthodox, and also from that stately font upon that occa- 
sion erected with wonderful magnificence at Rome ; at which, 
after he had been successful in expelling the tyrants, he, with 
his son Crispus, were instructed in the faith, and baptized by 
Sylvester. They who are of the other opinion tell us that 
Constantine deferred so great an affair till the time that he 
might come to the river Jordan, in which he had a great de- 

j6 The Lives of the Popes. 

sire to be baptized, in imitation of our Saviour; but that in an 
expedition against the Parthians, making inroads upon Meso- 
potamia, in the thirty-first year of his reign, and of his age the 
sixty-sixth, he died on the way at Nicomedia, before he could 
reach the river Jordan for the purpose he designed, and was 
there baptized at the point of death. But let these men con- 
found and perplex the matter as they please, we have reason to 
believe, according to the general opinion, that Constantine, who 
had so often overcome his enemies under the standard of the 
Cross, who had built so many churches to the honour of God, 
who had been present at holy councils, and who had so often 
joined in devotion with the holy fathers, would desire to be for- 
tified against the enemy of mankind by the character of bap- 
tism as soon as ever he came to understand the excellence of 
our religion. I am not ignorant what Socrates and Sozomen 
and most other writers say concerning it, but I follow the 
truth, and that which is most agreeable to the religion and 
piety of this excellent prince. The vulgar story of his having 
been overspread with leprosy, and cured of it by baptism, with 
a previous fiction concerning a bath of the blood of infants 
before prescribed for his cure, I can by no means give credit 
to, having herein the authority of Socrates on my side, who 
affirms that Constantine, being now sixty-five years of age, 
fell sick, and left the city of Constantinople to go to the hot 
baths for the recovery of his health, but speaks not a word 
concerning any leprosy. Besides, there is no mention made of 
it by any writer, either heathen or Christian, and certainly, had 
there been any such thing, Orosius, Eutropius, and others who 
have most accurately written the memoirs of Constantine, 
would not have omitted it. One thing more concerning this 
great prince is certain, viz., that a blazing star or comet of 
extraordinary magnitude appeared some time before his death. 
Marcus, applying himself to the care of religion, ordained 
that the Bishop of Ostia, whose place it is to consecrate the 
Bishop of Rome, might use a pall. He appointed likewise 
that upon solemn days, immediately after the Gospel, the 
Nicene creed should be rehearsed with a loud voice both by 
the clergy and people. He built also two churches at Rome, 
one in the Via Ardeatina, in which he was buried, the other 
within the city: these churches Constantine presented and 
endowed very liberally. In the time of this Emperor and 
Bishop lived Juvencus, a Spaniard of noble birth and a pres- 

Jtdiiis I. 77 

byter, who in four books translated almost verbatim into hexa- 
meter verse the four Gospels ; he wrote also something con- 
cerning the sacraments in the same kind of metre. Our 
Marcus having at two Decembrian ordinations made twenty- 
five presbyters, six deacons, twenty-eight bishops, died, and 
was buried in the cemetery of Balbina, in the Via Ardeatina, 
October the 5th. He was in the chair one year, eight months, 
twenty days j and by his death the see was vacant twenty days. 


A.D. 337-35 2 - . 

JULIUS, a Roman, the son of Rusticus, lived in the time of 
Constantius, who, sharing the Empire with his two breth- 
ren, Constantine and Constans, reigned twenty-four years. 
Among the successors of Constantine the Great is sometimes 
reckoned Delmatius Caesar his nephew, who was certainly a 
very hopeful young gentleman, but was soon cut off in a tumult 
of the soldiers, though by the permission, rather than at the 
command of Constantius. In the meantime the Arian heresy 
mightily prevailed, being abetted by Constantius, who com- 
pelled the orthodox to receive Arius. In the second year of 
his reign, therefore, a council was called at Laodicea, a city of 
Syria, or, as others have it, at Tyre. Thither resorted both the 
Catholics and Arians, and their daily debate was, Whether 
Christ should be styled h^oohioc, of the same substance with the 
Father, or no. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, asserted it, 
and pressed hard upon them with his reasons and arguments 
for it ; which when Arius found himself not able to answer, he 
betook himself to reproach, and calumny, accusing the holy 
man of sorcery, and to procure credit to his charge, producing 
out of a box the pretended arm of Arsenius, whom he falsely 
asserted that Athanasius had killed, and was wont to make use 
of that dead arm in his incantations. Hereupon Athanasius 
was violently run down and condemned by the Emperor, but 
making his escape he lay concealed in a dry cistern for six 
years together without seeing the sun; but being at length 
discovered by a certain servant maid, when his enemies were 
ready to seize him, by Divine admonition he fled to the Em- 
peror Constans, who by menaces compelled his brother Con- 

78 The Lives of the Popes. 

stantius to receive him again. In the meantime, Arius, as he 
was going along in the streets, attended with several bishops 
and multitudes of people, stepping aside to a place of ease- 
ment, he voided his entrails into the privy, and immediately 
died, undergoing a death agreeable to the filthiness of his life. 
Our bishop, Julius, having been very uneasy amidst this 
confusion of things, at length, after ten months' banishment, 
returns to Rome ; especially having received the news of the 
death of Constantine the younger, who, making war upon his 
brother Constans, and fighting unwarily near Aquileia, was 
there slain. But notwithstanding the present face of things, 
Julius desisted not from censuring the Oriental bishops, and 
especially the Arians, for calling a council at Antioch without 
the command of the Bishop of Rome, pretending it ought not 
to have been done without his authority, for the pre-eminence 
of the Roman above all other churches. To which they of 
the east returned this ironical answer ; "That since the Christian 
princes came from them to the west, for this reason their 
Church ought to have the preference, as being the fountain 
and spring from whence so great a blessing flowed." But 
Julius, laying aside that controversy, built two churches, one 
near the Forum Romanum, the other in that part of the city 
beyond Tiber. He erected also three cemeteries — one in the 
Via Flaminia, another in the Via Aurelia, the third in the Via 
Portuensis. He constituted likewise, that no clergyman 
should plead before any but an ecclesiastical judge. He ap- 
pointed likewise, that all matters belonging to the Church 
should be penned by the notaries or the protonotary, whose 
office it was to commit to writing all memorable occurrences. 
But in our age most of them (not to say all) are so ignorant, 
that they are scarce able to write their own names in Latin, 
much less to transmit the actions of others. Concerning their 
morals, I am ashamed to say anything, since panders and 
parasites have been sometimes preferred to that office. During 
the reign of Constantine and Constantius, Marcellus, Bishop 
of Ancyra, was a man of considerable note, and wrote several 
things, particularly against the Arians. Asterius and Apol- 
linarius wrote against him, and accused him of the Sabellian 
heresy, as did likewise Hilarius, whom while Marcellus is con- 
futing, his very defence shows him to be of a different opinion 
from Julius and Athanasius. He was opposed likewise by 
Basilius, Bishop of Ancyra, in his book " De Virginitate," 

Liberius I. 79 

which Basilius, together with Eustathius, Bishop of Sebastia, 
were the principal men of the Macedonian party. About this 
time also, Theodorus, Bishop of Heraclea in Thrace, a person 
of terse and copious eloquence, was a considerable writer, as 
particularly appears by his commentaries upon St Matthew, 
St John, the Psalms, and Epistles. As for Julius himself, 
having at three Decembrian ordinations made eighteen pres- 
byters, three deacons, nine bishops, he died, and was buried 
in the Via Aurelia, in the cemetery of Calepodius, three miles 
from the city, August the 12th. He sat in the chair fifteen 
years, two months, six days, and by his death the see was 
vacant twenty-five days. 1 


A.D. 352-366. 

LIBERIUS, a Roman, the son of Augustus, lived in the 
times of Constantius and Constans. 

For Constantine, as I said before, engaging unadvisedly in 
a war against his brother Constans, was therein slain. And 
Constans himself, having fought with various success against 
the Persians, being forced by a tumult in the army to join 
battle at midnight, was at last routed, and designing after- 
wards to make an example of his seditious soldiers, was by the 
fraud and treachery of Magnentius slain at a town called 
Helena, in the seventeenth year of his reign, and the thirtieth 
of his age. 

Constans being dead, the old firebrands of the Arian 
heresy began afresh to make head against Athanasius. For in 
a council held at Milan, all those that favoured Athanasius 
were banished. Moreover, at the council of Ariminum, 
because the subtle, crafty eastern prelates were too hard at 
argument and disputation for the honest well-meaning bishops 
of the west, it was thought good to let fall the debate for a 

1 In this Pontificate was held the Council of Sardica, in Illyria, attended 
by 100 western and 76 eastern bishops. Its object was to decide some 
disputed questions in the Arian controversy, and to reconcile the breach 
which that controversy had caused between the eastern and western 
churches. The result, however, was not successful, for the alienation was 
made stronger. — Ed. 

80 The Lives of the Popes. 

time ; the Orientalist denied Christ to be of the same sub- 
stance with the Father. This because Bishop Liberius did at 
first oppose, and because he refused to condemn Athanasius 
at the Emperor's command, he was banished by the Arians, 
and forced to absent from the city for the space of three years. 
In which time the clergy, being assembled in a synod, in the 
place of Liberius made choice of Felix, a presbyter, an ex- 
cellent person, and who, immediately after his choice, did in 
a convention of forty-eight bishops excommunicate Ursatius 
and Valens, two presbyters, for being of the Emperor's opinion 
in religion. 1 Hereupon, at their request and importunity, 
Constans recalls Liberius from exile : who being wrought 
upon by the kindness of the Emperor, though he became, as 
some tell us, in all other things heretical, yet in this particular 
tenet was on the orthodox side, that heretics returning to 
the Church ought not to be rebaptized. It is said that Libe- 
rius did for some time live in the cemetery of St Agnes with 
Constantia, the Emperor's sister, that so through her assistance 
and intercession he might procure a safe return to the city ; 
but she being a Catholic, and apprehending he might have 
some ill design, utterly refused to engage in it. At length 
Constantius, at the instance of Ursatius and Valens, deposed 
Felix, and restored Liberius. Upon which there arose so 
fierce a persecution, that the presbyters and other clergy were 
in many places murdered in their very churches. Some tell 
us that they were the Roman ladies at a circus show, who by 
their entreaties obtained of the Emperor this restoration of 
Liberius, who, though he were of the Arian opinion, yet was 
very diligent in beautifying consecrated places, and particularly 
the cemetery of St Agnes, and the church which he built 
and called by his own name, near the market-place of 
Livia. During these calamitous times lived Eusebius, Bishop 

1 All this portion of the history is more than doubtful. By Milner, as 
well as by Milman and Robertson, Felix II., who was placed in the see 
in place of Liberius, is reckoned as an anti-pope. Athanasius calls him a 
monster and a minister of Antichrist. He is said by Milman to have been 
elected by three eunuchs, who styled themselves "the people of Rome." 
Some ancient authorities, while condemning his usurpation, declare, as 
Platina does, that he adhered to the Nicene creed ; others, that he was 
an Arian. The cause of the recall of Liberius is very differently given by 
other authors, viz., that while on one hand, all except the Arians refused 
to attend the communion of Felix ; on the other, Liberius made conces- 
sions which the Emperor accepted. — See Robertson's "Church History," 
i. 227 ; and Milman, i. 62. — Ed. 

Liberius I. 81 

of Emissa, who wrote very learnedly and elegantly against 
the Jews, Gentiles, and Novatians. Triphyllius, also bishop 
of Ledra or Leutheon, in Cyprus, wrote a large and exact 
commentary upon the Canticles. Moreover, Donatus an 
African (from whom the sect of the Donatists are denominated) 
was so industrious in writing against the Catholic doctrine, 
that he infected almost all Africa and Judaea with his false 
opinions. He affirmed the Son to be inferior to the Father, 
and the Holy Spirit inferior to the Son, and rebaptized all 
those whom he could pervert to his own sect. Several of his 
heretical writings were extant in the time of St Hierom, and 
particularly one book on the Holy Spirit, agreeing exactly with 
the Arian doctrine. And that the Arians might neglect no 
ill arts of promoting their opinions, Asterius, a philosopher of 
that faction, at the command of Constantius, compiled divers 
commentaries upon the Epistle to the Romans, the gospels, 
and the psalms, which were diligently read by those of that 
party to confirm them in their persuasion. Moreover, Lucifer, 
Bishop of Cagliari, together with Pancratius the presbyter, and 
Hilarius the deacon, were sent in an embassy from the 
bishop to the emperor ; and being by him banished for 
refusing to renounce the Nicene, under the name of the 
Athanasian faith, he wrote a book against Constantius, and 
sent it to him to read. But, notwithstanding this provocation, 
he lived till the time of Valentinian. It is said also, that 
Fortunatus, Bishop of Aquileia, had been tampering with 
Liberius just before his banishment, and endeavouring to 
bring him over to the Arian heresy. Serapion likewise, who 
for his great parts had deservedly given him the surname of 
Scholasticus, compiled an excellent book against Manichseus, 
nor could all the menaces of the emperor make him desist 
from the open confession of the truth ; but on the contrary, 
hoping to have rendered Constantius more favourable to 
Athanasius the Great (so called from the constant and 
unwearied opposition which he always kept up against pagans 
and heretics), into his presence he boldly goes, nor did the 
threats of so great a prince cause him to stir one step back- 
ward from his constancy and resolution. As for Liberius, 
having at two ordinations, held in the city of Rome, made 
eighteen presbyters, five deacons, nineteen bishops, he died 
and was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla, in the Via 

82 The Lives of the Popes. 

Salaria, April the 23rd. He sat in the chair fifteen years, three 
months, four days ; and by his death the see was vacant six 


A.D. 356. 

FELIX the Second, a Roman, the son of Anastasius, was 
Bishop of Rome in the reign of Constantius, who by 
the death of Constans, slain by Magnentius, becoming now sole 
emperor, sent into Gallia to suppress a sedition arisen there, his 
cousin-german Julian, whom he had created Caesar ; who in 
a short time, by his great valour and conduct, reduced both 
the Gauls and Germans; whereby he gained so much the 
affections of the army, that by universal consent they made 
him emperor. At the news of this, Constantius, who was 
engaged in a war with the Parthians, suddenly strikes up a 
truce with them, and forthwith marches forward to oppose 
Julian ; but in his march being seized with an apoplexy, he 
died between Cilicia and Cappadocia, at a town called 
Mopsocrene, in the twenty-fourth year of his reign, and of his 
age the forty-fifth. The physicians were of opinion that the 
excessive grief and anxiety of mind which the rebellion of 
Julian had brought upon him, was the occasion of that fatal 
distemper to him. He was (excepting always the case of the 
Christians, against whom he was unjust and cruel) a person of 
so great moderation and clemency, that, according to the 
ancient custom, he deserved an apotheosis. Upon his first 
undertaking the government, at his entering triumphantly by 
the Via Flaminia into the city of Rome in his golden chariot, 
he did with wonderful condescension take notice of and 
salute the citizens that went out to meet him, affirming that 
of Cyneas, the ambassador of Pyrrhus, to be true, that he saw 
at Rome as many kings as there were citizens. In one thing 
only he was the occasion of laughter to the people, viz., that 
as he passed through the lofty gates of the city, and the stately 
triumphal arches, though he were a man of very little stature, 

1 See preceding note. 

Felix II 83 

yet as though he feared to hit his head against the tops of them, 
he bowed it down low, like a goose stooping as she goes in at 
a barn door. Being conducted to view the rarities of the 
city, and beholding with admiration the Campus Martius, the 
sepulchre of Augustus Caesar, adorned with so many statues 
of marble and brass, the Forum Romanum, the temple of 
Jupiter Capitolinus, the baths, the porticoes, enlarged like so 
many provinces, the amphitheatre, built with Tiburtine stone 
of so vast a height that a man's eye could scarce reach to the 
top of it, the Pantheon, built with stately arches, of a wonder- 
ful altitude, the temple of peace, Pompey's theatre, the great 
cirque, the Septizonium of Severus, so many triumphal arches, 
so many aqueducts, so many statues erected here and there 
throughout the city for ornament ; beholding all this, I say, 
he at first stood astonished, and at length declared, that 
certainly Nature had laid out all her stock upon one city. At 
the sight of the famous horse of brass set up by Trajan, he 
desired of Hormisda, an excellent workman whom he had 
brought along with him, that he would make such another for 
him at Constantinople, to whom Hormisda replied that the 
emperor ought then to build such another stable (meaning the 
city of Rome). The same Hormisda being asked by Con- 
stantius what he thought of the city of Rome, returned an 
answer becoming a philosopher, that all which pleased him in 
it was, that he understood that there also men were wont to 

Felix, who, as we have said, was put into the place of 
Liberius by the orthodox (though Eusebius and St Hierom, 
which I much wonder at, affirm it to have been done by the 
heretics), presently after his entrance upon the pontificate 
pronounces Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great, a 
heretic, and rebaptized by Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, in 
a little town called Aquilo, not far from Nicomedia. And 
hereby may be discovered the error of those who accuse 
Constantine the Great himself of this heresy — an imputation 
which certainly, as appears by history, neither ought nor can 
be fastened upon that great prince and great favourer of the 
Christian religion. While this great contention which we 
have spoken of between Liberius and Felix lasted, the Arian 
heresy branched itself into two factions. For on the one 
side Eunomis (from whom they were called Eunomians), a 
man leprous both in body and mind, and who had a falling- 

84 The Lives of the Popes. 

sickness as well within as without, affirmed that in all things 
the Son was unequal to the Father, and that the Holy Spirit 
had no community of essence with the Father or the Son. 
On the other side, Macedonius, whom the orthodox had 
made Bishop of Constantinople before he became erroneous 
in his opinions, was renounced by the Arians, for holding the 
Son to be equal with the Father, though he uttered the same 
blasphemies against the Holy Spirit that themselves did. It 
is said that Felix held a council of forty-eight bishops, in 
which it was decreed that all bishops should attend in person 
at every General Council, or else by letter give a good account 
why they could not ; which decree was afterwards renewed in 
the Council of Carthage. In his time lived Acacius, for his 
having but one eye called Monophthalmus, Bishop of Cesarea 
in Palestine, who wrote largely upon Ecclesiastes, and who 
by his fair speech and swimming carriage had gained such an 
ascendant over Constantius that he himself undertook to 
appoint Felix, an Arian, to be bishop in room of Liberius. 
This St Hierom tells us, though I much marvel at it, since, 
as we have already said, it is evident that Felix was a 
Catholic, and a constant opposer of the Arians. At length, 
after Felix had done all that in him lay for the propagation 
and defence of the true faith, he was seized by his enemies, 
and together with many orthodox believers, was slain and 
buried in a church which he himself had built in the Via 
Amelia, two miles from the city, November the 20th. 1 He was 
in the chair only one year, four months, two days, through 
the means of a sedition raised by Liberius (whom I have in- 
serted into the number of bishops, more upon the authority 
of Damasus, than for any deserts of his own). 

1 This is very doubtful. Modern Roman Catholic historians reject the 
story of the massacre, though Gibbon accepts it. But Felix escaped and 
lived for eight years longer in peaceful obscurity. By some curious over- 
sight his name stole into the Roman martyrology. See a curious note in 
Milman i. 62. — Ed. 

Damasus L $5 


A.D. 367-384. 

DAMASUS, a Spaniard, son of Antonius, lived in the 
reign of Julian, 1 who was certainly an extraordinary 
person, if we regard his fitness either for civil or military 
affairs.' He had his education under Eubulus the sophist, and 
Libanius the philosopher, and made such proficiency in the 
liberal arts, that no prince was his superior in them. He had 
a capacious memory, and a happy eloquence, was bountiful 
towards his friends, just to foreigners, and very desirous of 
fame. But all these qualities were at last sullied by his per- 
secution of the Christians, which yet he managed more 
craftily than others had done ; for he did not persecute at 
first with force and torture, but by rewards, and honours, and 
caresses, and persuasions. He seduced greater numbers of 
them than if he had exercised any manner of cruelties against 
them. He forbade the Christians the study of heathen authors, 
and denied access to the public schools to any but those who 
worshipped the Gentile gods. Indeed, he granted a dis- 
pensation to one person, named Prohseresius, a most learned 
man, to teach the Christians publicly ; but he with disdain 
refused to accept of that indulgence. He prohibited the con- 
ferring military offices upon any but heathens, and ordered 
that no Christians should be admitted to the government or 
jurisdiction of provinces, upon pretence that the laws of their 
religion forbade them the use of their own swords. He openly 
opposed and banished Athanasius, at the instigation of his 
sorcerers and soothsayers, with whose arts he was wonderfully 
pleased— they complaining to him that Athanasius was the 
cause why their profession was in no greater esteem. At a 
certain time, as he was sacrificing to Apollo at Daphne, in the 
suburbs of Antioch, near the Castalian fountain, and no 
answers were given him to those things concerning which he 
enquired ; expostulating with the priests about the cause of 
that silence, the devils replied, that the sepulchre of Babylas 
the martyr, was too near, and therefore no responses could be 
given. Hereupon Julian commanded the Galileans, for so he 
called the Christians, to remove the martyr's tomb further off. 
1 He lived certainly, but he was not elected to the papacy until the 
reign of Gratian. — Ed. 

86 The Lives of the Popes. 

This they applied themselves to with wondrous exultation and 
cheerfulness, but rehearsing at the same time that of the 
Psalmist, " Confounded be all they that serve graven images, 
that boast themselves of idols." They hereby so heightened 
the rage of Julian, that he forthwith commanded multitudes 
of them to be put to death, which he did not before intend. 
I much wonder that Julian should act after this manner, 
having had before experience of the vanity of diabolical arts. 
For entering once into a cave in company with a magician, 
and being sorely affrighted when he heard the demons howl, 
in the surprise he used the sign of the cross, at which the 
demons immediately fled. Upon this, telling his companion 
that certainly there must needs be something miraculous in 
the sign of the cross, the sorcerer made him this answer, 
" That indeed the demons themselves did dread that kind of 
punishment." By this slight account of the matter Julian 
became more obstinate than before, so strangely was he ad- 
dicted to magical allusions, though he had formerly, to decline 
the displeasure of Constantius, feignedly embraced the 
Christian religion, publicly read the Holy Scriptures, and built 
a church in honour to the martyrs. Moreover, this emperor, 
on purpose to spite the Christians, permitted the Jews to 
rebuild their temple at Jerusalem, upon their declaring that 
they could not sacrifice in any other place. By which con- 
cession they were so mightily puffed up, that they used all their 
endeavours to raise it more magnificently than the former. But 
while they were carrying on the work, the new fabric fell down 
in an earthquake, by the fall of which multitudes of the Jews were 
crushed to death, and the prophesy a second time verified, 
" That there should not be left one stone upon another." On 
the following day the very iron tools with which the workmen 
wrought were consumed by fire from heaven ; a miracle by 
which many of the Jews were so wrought upon that they be- 
came proselytes to Christianity. After this Julian undertakes 
an expedition against the Persians, of whom he had intelli- 
gence that they were endeavouring a change in the govern- 
ment ; but before he set forth, he spared not to threaten 
what havoc he would make among the Christians at his re- 
turn. But having vanquished the enemy, and returning 
conqueror with his army, though in some disorder, he died 
of a wound given him near Ctesiphon. Whether he received 
it from any of his own men or from the enemy, is uncertain ; 

Damasus I. %j 

though some tell us, that he was pierced through with an arrow 
sent no man knew from whence, as also that when he was just 
expiring, with his hand lifted up to heaven, he cried out, 
"Thou hast overcome me, O Galilean," for so in contempt he 
was wont to call our Saviour, the Galilean, or the carpenter's 
Son j upon which was grounded that answer of a young man 
to Libanius, the sophist, asking him by way of derision, "What 
he thought the carpenter's Son was doing ; " to whom the 
youth replied, "That he was making a coffin for Julian," a 
witty and prophetic reply ; for soon after his saying so, Julian's 
dead body was coffined up and brought away. We are told 
that this emperor had once been in holy orders, but that 
afterwards he fell away from the faith, for which reason he is 
commonly called the Apostate. He died in the twentieth 
month of his reign, and in the thirty-second year of his age. 

Him Jovinian succeeded, who being voted emperor by the 
army, refused to own that title, till they should all with a loud 
voice confess themselves Christians. This they having done, 
and he having commended them for it, he took the government 
upon him, and freed his army out of the hands of the barbar- 
ous, with no other composition but that of leaving Nisibis, and 
part of Mesopotamia, free to Sapor the Persian king. But 
in the eighth month of his reign, whether from some crudity 
upon his stomach, as some will have it, or from the faint and 
suffocating steam of burning coals, as others, or by what means 
soever, certain it is that he died suddenly. 

Damasus being chosen to the pontificate, was soon rivalled in 
that dignity by Ursicinus a deacon, whose party having as- 
sembled themselves in a church, thither also Damasus's friends 
resorted, where the competition being managed not only by 
vote, but by force and arms, several persons on both sides 
were slain in the. very church. But not long after the matter 
was compromised, and by the consent both of the clergy and 
people, Damasus was confirmed in the bishopric of Rome, and 
Ursicinus was made Bishop of Naples. But Damasus being 
afterwards accused of adultery, he made his defence in a 
public council, wherein he was acquitted and pronounced in- 
nocent, and Concordius and Calistus, two deacons, his false 
accusers, were condemned and excommunicated. Upon 
which a law was made, " That if any man did bear false wit- 
ness against another, he was to undergo the same punishment 
that the person accused should have done if he had been 

88 The Lives of the Popes. 

guilty." The affairs of the church being at length settled, 
Damasus, taking great delight in study, wrote the lives of 
all the Bishops of Rome that had been before him, and 
sent them to St Hierom. Notwithstanding which, he ne- 
glected not to increase the number of churches, and to add 
to the ornaments of Divine worship. For he built two 
churches, one near Pompey's theatre, the other at the tombs 
in the Via Ardeatina, and in elegant verse wrote the epitaphs 
of those martyrs whose bodies had been buried, to perpetuate 
their names to posterity. He also dedicated a marble table 
with an inscription to the memory of St Peter and St Paul at 
the place where their bodies had once lain. Moreover, he 
enriched the church which he had built in honour of St Lau- 
rence, not far from Pompey's theatre, with very large donations. 
He ordained likewise, that the psalms should be sung alter- 
nately in the church, and that at the end of every psalm the 
gloria patri should be added. And whereas formerly the Sep- 
tuagint only had been in vogue, Damasus first gave authority 
to Hierom's translation of the Bible, which began to be read 
publicly, as also his psalter faithfully rendered from the Hebrew, 
which before, especially among the Gauls, had been very 
much depraved. He commanded also, that at the beginning 
of the mass the confession should be used as it is at this day. 
But having at five ordinations made thirty-one presbyters, 
eleven deacons, sixty-two bishops, he died and was buried 
with his mother and sister in the Via Ardeatina, in the church 
built by himself, December the nth. He sat in the chair 
seventeen years, three months, eleven days ; and by his death 
the see was vacant twenty-one days. 1 


A.D. 385-39 8 - 

OIRICIUS, a Roman, son of Tiburtius, lived in the time 
O of Valentinian, who, for his being a Christian, had 
been very unjustly dealt withal, and cashiered from a 
considerable command in the army by Julian. But upon 
the death of Jovinian, being by the universal consent 

1 During this pontificate the great council of Constantinople was held, 
a.d. 381. — Ed. 

Siricius I. 8g 

of the soldiers elected emperor, he admitted his brother 
Valens his colleague in the Empire,* and assigned to him 
the government of the east. Afterwards, in the third 
year of his reign, at the persuasion of his wife and her mother, 
he created his young son Gratian Augustus. And whereas 
one Procopius had raised a sedition and set up for himself 
at Constantinople, him with his adherents the emperor very 
suddenly overthrew and put to death. 

But Valens having been baptized by Eudoxius, an Arian 
bishop, and becoming a bigoted heretic, presently fell to 
persecuting and banishing the orthodox, especially after the 
death of Athanasius, who, while he lived, was a mighty support 
to the Christian state for forty-six years together. Lucius, 
also another heretical bishop, was extremely violent and out- 
rageous against the orthodox Christians ; nor did he spare so 
much as the Anchorites and Eremites, but sent parties of 
soldiers to invade their solitudes, who either put them to death 
or else sent them into exile. Amongst this sort of men, they 
who at that time had the greatest esteem and authority were 
the two Macarii in Syria, the disciples of Anthony, one of 
which lived in the upper, the other in the lower desert ; as 
also Isidorus, Panucius, Pambus, Moses, Benjamin, Paulus 
Apheliotes, Paulus Phocensis, and Joseph in Egypt. While 
Lucius was intent upon the banishment of these men, a certain 
inspired woman went about crying aloud, that those good men, 
those men of God, ought by no means to be sent into the 
islands. Moreover, Mauvia, queen of the Saracens, having by 
frequent battles very much impaired the Roman forces, and 
harassed their towns on the borders of Palestine and Arabia, 
refused to grant the peace which they desired at her hands, 
unless Moses, a man of most exemplary piety, were conse- 
crated and appointed bishop to her people. This Lucius 
willingly assented to ; but when Moses was brought to him, he 
plainly told him, that the multitudes of Christians condemned 
to the mines, banished to the islands, and imprisoned through 
his cruelty, did cry loud against him, and that therefore he 
would never endure the imposition of his polluted hands. 
Hereupon, certain bishops being recalled from exile to conse- 
crate him, he was presented to the queen, and thereby a peace 
concluded. But Valens and Lucius continued still to wreak 
their fury against the orthodox, though Valens was rendered 
somewhat more favourable towards them by the letters of 

90 The Lives of the Popes. 

Themistius, the philosopher. Athanaricus also, king of the 
Goths, exercised very great cruelty against those of his people 
who were Christians, many of whom suffered martyrdom for 
their religion. 

In the meantime, Valentinian, by his valour and conduct, 
subdued the Saxons and Burgundians. But while he was 
making preparations for war against the Sarmatians, who had 
spread themselves through the two Hungaries, he died at a little 
town called Brigio, through a sudden effusion of blood. At 
this time the Goths, being driven out of their own country, 
had possessed themselves of all Thrace ; against them Valens 
marches with his army (having first, though now too late, re- 
called from exile the bishops and monks, and forced them 
to serve in the war with him), but his army was utterly routed, 
and himself burnt in an obscure cottage, — an overthrow 
which proved very fatal to the Roman Empire and all 

While these things were transacting, Siricius ordained that 
those monks whose life and manners were approved of, should be 
capable of admission into any ecclesiastical office, from the low- 
est to the highest, even the Episcopal dignity itself. That the 
several degrees of holy orders should not be conferred at once, 
but at certain distances of time. Moreover, he forbade the Mani- 
chees who lurked in the city, the communion of the faithful; but 
withal provided that upon their repentance and return to the 
orthodox faith, they should be received into the Church, upon 
condition they would undertake a monastic course of living, 
and devote themselves to fasting and prayer all their life ; 
upon which, if it appeared that their conversion were sincere, 
they might, at the approach of death, receive the blessed 
sacrament as their viaticum. He ordained likewise, that 
none but a bishop should have power to ordain a presbyter ; 
that whosoever married a widow, or second wife, should be 
degraded from his office in the church, and that heretics, upon 
their repentance, should be received with only the imposition 
of hands. In his time lived Hilarius, Bishop of Poictiers, 
who wrote twelve books against the Arians, and one against 
Valens and Ursatius ; but not long after he died at Poictiers. 
Victorinus, also an African, who had once been a professor of 
rhetoric at Rome, but afterwards, being very ancient, was 
converted to Christianity, wrote several books after the 
dialectic manner against Arius. Moreover, Gregcrius Baeticus, 

Sir kins I. 91 

Bishop of Illiberis, wrote at this time divers tracts, showing 
the excellence of the Christian religion. But Photinus, a 
Galatian, the scholar of Marcellus, Bishop of Ancyra, endeav- 
oured now to revive the heresy of Ebion, who held Christ to be 
a mere man, born in the ordinary way of generation. Being 
banished by the Emperor Valentinian, he wrote divers treatises, 
and especially against the Gentiles. Didymus of Alexandria, 
who had been blind from his very childhood, and thereby 
utterly ignorant of the first rudiments of learning, became yet 
afterwards in his old age so great a proficient in those arts 
which most require the assistance of sight, particularly in logic 
and geometry, that he wrote some excellent treatises in the 
mathematics. He published also commentaries on the psalms, 
and the gospels of Matthew and John, and was a great opposer 
of the Arians. Moreover, Optatus, an African, Bishop of Mela, 
compiled six books against the Donatists; and Severus 
Aquilius, a Spaniard, who was kinsman to that Severus to 
whom Lactantius penned two books of epistles, wrote one 
volume, called " Catastrophe." As for our Siricius, having 
settled the affairs of the Church, and at five ordinations made 
twenty-six presbyters, sixteen deacons, thirty-two bishops, he 
died and was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla, in the Via 
Salaria, February 22. He was in the chair fifteen years, 
eleven months, twenty days ; and by his death the see was 
vacant twenty days. 

The Emperor Gratian was a young prince of eminent piety, 
and so good a soldier, that in an expedition against the Ger- 
mans, who were now harassing the Roman borders, he did 
at one battle at Argentaria cut off thirty thousand of them, 
with very little loss on his own side. Returning from thence 
to Italy, he expelled all those of the Arian faction, and 
admitted none but the orthodox to the execution of any ecclesi- 
astical office. But apprehending the public weal to be in great 
danger from the attempts of the Goths, he associated to him- 
self, as a partner in the government, Theodosius, a Spaniard, 
a person eminent for his valour and conduct, who, vanquish- 
ing the Alans, Huns, and Goths, re-established the Empire 
of the east, and entered into a league with Athanaricus, king 
of the Goths, after whose death and magnificent burial at 
Constantinople, his whole army repaired to Theodosius, and 
declared they would serve under no other commander but 
that good emperor. In the meantime, Maximus usurped the 

92 The Lives of the Popes. 

empire in Britain, and passing over into Gaul, slew Gratian at 
Lyons, whose death so terrified his younger brother, Valen- 
tinian, that he forthwith fled for refuge to Theodosius in the 
east. Some are of opinion that those two brethren owed the 
calamities which befell them to their mother Justina, whose 
great zeal for the Arian heresy made her a fierce persecutor of 
the orthodox, and especially of St Ambrose, whom, against 
his will, the people of Milan had at this time chosen their 
bishop. For Auxentius, an Arian, their late bishop, being 
dead, a great sedition arose in the city about choosing his 
successor. Now Ambrose, who was a man of consular 
dignity and their governor, endeavouring all he could to quell 
that disorder, and to that end going into the church, where 
the people were in a tumultuary manner assembled, he there 
makes an excellent speech tending to persuade them to peace 
and unity among themselves, which so wrought upon them, 
that they all with one consent cried out, that they would 
have no other bishop but Ambrose himself. And the event 
answered their desires ; for being as yet but a catechumen, he 
was forthwith baptized, and then admitted into holy orders, 
and constituted Bishop of Milan. That he was a person of 
great learning and extraordinary sanctity, the account which 
we have of his life, and the many excellent books which he 
wrote, do abundantly testify. 


A.D. 399-402. 

ANASTASIUS, a Roman, the son of Maximus, was made 
Bishop of Rome in the time of Arcadius ana Honorius, 
the sons of Theodosius. 

Our Anastasius decreed that the clergy should by no means 
sit at the singing or reading of the holy Gospel in the church, 
but stand bowed, and in a posture of veneration ; and that no 
strangers, especially those that came from the parts beyond the 
seas, should be received into our holy orders, unless they could 
produce testimonials under the hands of five bishops. Which 
latter ordinance is supposed to have been occasioned by the 
practice of the Manichees, who, having gained a great esteem 
and authority in Africa, were wont to send their missionaries 

Anastasius I. 93 

abroad into all parts, to corrupt the orthodox doctrine by the 
infusion of their errors. He ordained, likewise, that no per- 
son infirm of body, or maimed, or defective of any limb or 
member, should be admitted into holy orders. Moreover, he 
dedicated the Crescentian Church, which stands in the second 
region of the city, in the Via Marurtina. The pontificate of 
this Anastasius, as also that of Damasus and Siricius, his pre- 
decessors, were signalised not only by those excellent em- 
perors, Jovinian, Valentinian, Gratian, and Theodosius, but 
also by those many holy and worthy doctors, both Greek and 
Latin, that were famous in all kinds of learning. Cappadocia, 
as Eusebius tells us, brought forth Gregory Nazianzen and 
Basil the Great, both extraordinary persons, and both brought 
up at Athens. Basil was a Bishop of Cesarea of Cappadocia, 
a city formerly called Mazaca. He wrote divers excellent 
books against Eunomius, one concerning the Holy Ghost, and 
the orders of a monastic life. He had two brethren, Gregory 
and Peter, both very learned men, of the former of which 
some books were extant in the time of Eusebius. Gregory 
Nazianzen, who was master to St Hierom, wrote also many 
things, particularly in praise of Cyprian, Athanasius, and 
Maximus the philosopher ; two books against Eunomius, and 
one against the Emperor Julian, besides an encomium of 
marriage and single life in hexameter verse. By the strength 
of his reasoning and the power of his rhetoric (in which he 
was an imitator of Polemon, a man of admirable eloquence), 
he brought off the citizens of Constantinople from the errors 
with which they had been infected. At length, being very 
aged, he chose his own successor, and led a private life in the 
country. Basil died in the reign of Gratian, Gregory of 
Theodosius. About the same time flourished Epiphanius, 
Bishop of Salamine, in Cyprus, a strenuous oppugner of all 
kinds of heresies ; as did also Ephrem, a deacon of the 
Church of Edessa, who composed divers treatises in the 
Syrian language, which gained him so great a veneration that 
in some churches his books were publicly read after the 
Holy Scriptures. Anastasius, having at two Decembrian 
ordinations made eight presbyters, five deacons, ten bishops, 
died, and was buried April 28. He was in the chair three 
years, ten days ; and by his death the see was vacant twenty 
one days. 

94 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 402-417. 

INNOCENTIUS, an Alban, son of Innocentius, was bishop 
in part of the reign of Theodosius, who, with great con- 
duct and singular despatch, overcame the usurper Maximus, 
and at Aquileia, whither he had fled, retaliated upon him the 
death of Gratian, — a fate which the good Bishop Martinus 
had foretold to Maximus himself, when he was going, against 
all right and justice, to invade Italy, having drained Britain 
of its military forces, and left it an easy prey to the Scots and 
Picts. Moreover, Theodosius, relying wholly upon the 
Divine aid, in a very short time defeated not only Andra- 
gatius, Maximus's general, and Victor his son, but Argobastus 
and Eugenius, two other usurpers ; which was the occasion of 
that strain of the poet Claudian upon this Emperor's success : 

O nimium dilecte Deo, tibi militat cether t 
Et conjurati veniunt ad classica ventil 

Englished : 

Darling of Heaven, with whom the skies combine, 
And the confederate winds in battle join ! 

He was not only a great soldier, but a very pious and devout 
man, as appears by his carriage upon the repulse he found at 
the Church of Milan; for, being forbidden entrance by 
Ambrose the bishop of it, till he should have repented of a 
certain crime committed by him, he so well resented the 
bishop's plain dealing with him, that he frankly gave him 
thanks for it, and completed his course of penance for the 
fact that had been the occasion of it. By his Empress 
Flaccilla he had two sons, Arcadius and Honorius. Being 
once in a great transport cf rage against the citizens of 
Thessalonica for their having killed a soldier, or, as others 
say, a magistrate of his, all the clergy of Italy were scarce 
able to keep him from destroying the whole city upon that 
provocation. But afterwards coming to himself, and under- 
standing the matter better, being convinced of his error, he 
both bewailed the fact which he had only willed, but not 
executed, and also made a law that the punitive decrees of 
princes should be deferred for three days, that so they might 

Innocentius L 95 

have space left for compassion or retraction. It is reported 
of him that, when at any time he was in a sudden heat of 
anger, he would force himself to repeat over distinctly all the 
letters of the alphabet, that so in the meantime his anger 
might evaporate. It is said also that he contracted a great 
friendship with one John, an Anchorite, whose advice he 
always used, both in war and peace. But in the fiftieth year 
of his age he died at Milan. 

Innocentius, improving the opportunity of such a peaceable 
state of affairs and so propitious a prince, made several con- 
stitutions concerning matters of the Church. He appointed 
that every Saturday should be a fast, because our blessed 
Saviour lay in the grave, and His disciples fasted on that day. 
He made certain laws concerning the Jews and pagans, and 
for the regulation of monks. By the consent of Theodosius 
he banished from the city and confined to a monastic life the 
Cataphrygian heretics of the gang of Montanus, Priscilla, and 
Maximilla. Moreover, he condemned the heresy of Pelagius 
and Ccelestinus, who preferred free-will before the Divine 
grace, and asserted, that men by their own natural strength 
were able to perform the laws of God ; against whom St 
Austin wrote largely. But Pelagius persisting obstinately in 
his opinions against all conviction, went into Britain and 
infected the whole island with his errors, being assisted by 
Julian, his companion and confederate in that wicked design. 
He also consecrated the church of Gervasius and Protasius, 
erected and beautified at the cost of a lady named Vestina, 
whose goods and jewels, bequeathed by will, were sold accord- 
ing to a just appraisement, and employed to that purpose. 
This church was endowed with several estates both in houses 
and land within and without the city, and the cure of it, and 
that of St Agnes, given to Leopard us and Paulinus, two 
presbyters. In his time lived Apollinarius, Bishop of 
Laodicea (from whom the Apollinarians had their name and 
original), a man vehement and subtle at disputation; who 
maintained, that our Saviour at His incarnation took only a 
body, not a soul ; but being pressed hard with arguments to 
the contrary, he at length granted that He had indeed an 
animal soul but not a rational one, that being supplied by His 
divinity, — an opinion which had been before exploded by 
Damasus and Peter, Bishop of Alexandria. But Martianus, 
Bishop of Barcelona, a man eminent for his chastity and 

g6 The Lives of the Popes. 

eloquence, was very orthodox in matters of faith, and a great 
opposer of the Novatian heresy. Cyril also, Bishop of 
Jerusalem, who before had been several times deposed and 
as often restored, at length, under Theodosius the Emperor, 
held his episcopal dignity peaceably and without interruption 
eight years together, and became a great writer. 1 Euzoius, 
who in his youth had been co-disciple to Gregory Nazianzen 
at Cesarea, under Thespesius the rhetorician, took a vast 
deal of pains in amending and rectifying the corrupted copies 
of the works of Origen and Pamphilus, and was himself a 
considerable author. At the same time Hieronymus, a pres- 
byter living in Bethlehem, was a very successful propagator of 
Christianity, as appears by his writings. Now also the Synod 
of Bordeaux condemned the doctrine of Priscillian, a 
heresy patched up out of the tenets of the Gnostics and 
Manichees, of whom we have spoken above. Our Inno 
centius, having at four ordinations made thirty presbyters, 
twelve deacons, fifty-four bishops, died and was buried July 
the 28th. He sat in the chair fifteen years, two months, 
twenty-five days ; and by his death the see was vacant twenty- 
two days. 

Z O S I M U S. 

A.D. 417-418. 

ZOSIMUS, a Grecian, his father's name Abraham, lived 
during the reign of Arcadius and Honorius, who suc- 
ceeded their father Theodosius, in the Empire. 

These divided the government between them, Arcadius 
ruling in the east, and Honorius in the west, though 
Theodosius had left them to the tuition of three of his 
generals, who, as their guardians and protectors, were to 
manage affairs in their minority ; Ruffinus in the east, Stilico 
in the west, and Gildo in Africa. But they, moved with 
ambition and a thirst after greatness, and not doubting to get 
the advantage of the young princes, set up every one for him- 

1 Cyril of Jerusalem died in 386. During the pontificate of Innocent 
I. died St Chrysostom, A.D. 407. Platina places him in the next pope- 
dom. The sacking of Rome by Alaric took place in the pontificate of 
Innocent I. — Ed. 

Zosimus I. §y 

self. Against Gildo, who was engaged in a rebellion in 
Africa, his injured and incensed brother, Mascezel, is sent 
with an army, and soon defeats and puts him to flight, 
who not long after died, either through grief or by poison. 
And Mascezel himself, being so puffed up with this success, 
that he falls into a great contempt of God and cruelty towards 
men, is killed by his own soldiers. Ruffinus also, who 
endeavoured to possess himself of the empire of the east, is 
surprised and punished by Arcadius. At this time Rhada- 
guisus, King of the Goths, invaded Italy, and laid all waste 
with fire and sword wherever he came ; but, by the Roman 
army, under the command of Stilico, he was vanquished and 
slain on the mountains of Fiesoli. Him Alaricus succeeded, 
whom Stilico, to work his own ambitious designs, very much 
countenanced and assisted, when he might have conquered 
him. But in the end, Alaricus being now at Polentia, on his 
way to Gaul, part of which Honorius had granted to him and 
his followers to inhabit, had disturbance given him by one 
Saul, a Hebrew by birth and religion, whom Stilico to the 
foul breach of articles had sent with a party for that purpose. 
It was an easy matter to surprise and disorder the Goths, who 
little suspected any such practices, and were peaceably cele- 
brating the feast of Easter. But the day following, Alaricus 
engaging with them slew Saul, and made a universal slaughter 
of his men, and then changing his former course towards 
Gaul, moves against Stilico and the Roman army. These he 
overcame, and then after a long and grievous siege, takes the 
city of Rome itself, a.u.c. 1163, a.d. 411. Notwithstanding 
this success, Alaricus exercised so much moderation and 
clemency, that he commanded his soldiers to put as few to 
the sword as might be, and particularly to spare all that 
should fly for refuge to the churches of St Peter and St Paul. 
After three days' plunder he leaves the city (which had 
suffered less damage than was thought, very little of it being 
burnt), and marches against the Lucani and Bruti, and 
having taken and sacked Cosenza, he there dies. Whereupon 
the Goths with one consent made his kinsman, Athaulphus, 
his successor ; who, returning to Rome with his army, was so 
wrought upon by the Emperor Honorius's sister, Galla 
Placidia, whom he had married, that he restrained his soldiers 
from committing any further outrages, and left the city to its 
He had it certainly once in his purpose to 


98 The Lives of the Popes. 

have razed to the ground the then city of Rome, and to have 
built a new one which he would have called Gotthia, and 
have left to the ensuing emperors his own name, so that they 
should not any longer have had the title of Augusti, but 
Athaulphi. But Placidia not only brought his mind off from 
that project, but also prevailed with him to enter into a league 
with Honorius and Theodosius the Second, the son of 

Zosimus, notwithstanding all these disturbances, made 
several ecclesiastical constitutions ; allowed the blessing of 
wax-tapers on the Saturday before Easter in the several 
parishes; forbade the clergy to frequent public drinking- 
houses (though allowing them all innocent liberty among 
themselves), or any servant to be made a clergyman, because 
that order ought to consist of none but free and ingenuous 
persons. Whereas now, not only servants and bastards, but 
the vile off-spring of the most flagitious parents are admitted 
to that dignity, whose enormities will certainly at long-run 
prove fatal to the Church. It is said that Zosimus at this 
time sent Faustinus, a bishop, and two presbyters of the city, 
to the council of Carthage, by them declaring that no debates 
concerning ecclesiastical affairs ought to be managed any- 
where without permission of the Church of Rome. During 
his pontificate lived Lucius, a bishop of the Arian faction, who 
wrote certain books upon several subjects. Diodorus also, 
Bishop of Tarsus, during his being a presbyter of Antioch, 
was a great writer ; following the sense of Eusebius, but not 
able to reach his style for want of skill in secular learning. 
Tiberianus likewise, who had been, accused together with 
Priscillian, wrote an apology to free himself from the suspicion 
of heresy. Evagrius, a man of smart and brisk parts, trans- 
lated into Latin " The Life of St Anthony," written in Greek 
by Athanasius. Ambrosius of Alexandria, a scholar of Didy- 
mus, wrote a large volume against Apollinarius. At this time 
flourished those two famous bishops, Theophilus of Alexandria, 
and John of Constantinople, for the greatness of his eloquence 
deservedly surnamed Chrysostom, 1 who so far prevailed upon 
Theodorus and Maximus, two co-disciples of his, that they 
left their masters, Libanius the rhetorician, and Andragatius 
the philosopher, and became proselytes to Christianity. This 
Libanius, lying now at the point of death, being asked 
1 See note on p. 96. — Ed. 

Bonif actus I. 99 

whom he would leave successor in his school, made answer, 
that he desired no other than Chrysostom, were he not 
a Christian. At this time the decrees of the council of 
Carthage, being sent to Zosimus, were by him confirmed, and 
thereby the Pelagian heresy condemned throughout the 
world. Some tell us that Petronius, Bishop of Bononia, and 
Possidonius, an African bishop, had now gained a mighty 
reputation for sanctity ; that Primasius wrote largely against 
the heresies to Bishop Fortunatus ; and that Proba, wife to 
Adelphus the proconsul, composed an historical poem of our 
Saviour's life, consisting wholly of Virgilian verse, though 
others attribute the honour of this performance to Eudoxia, 
Empress of Theodosius the younger. But certainly the most 
learned person of the age he lived in was Augustinus, St 
Ambrose's convert, Bishop of Hippo in Africa, a most strenu- 
ous defender of the Christian faith, both in discourse and 
writing. As for Zosimus, having ordained ten presbyters, 
three deacons, eight bishops, he died, and was buried in the 
Via Tiburtina, near the body of St Laurence the martyr, 
December 26th. He sat in the chair one year, three months, 
twelve days, and by his death the see was vacant eleven days. 


A.D. 419-422. 

BONIFACE, a Roman, son of Jucundus, a presbyter, was 
bishop in the time of Honorius. 

At this time a great dissension arose among the clergy, for 
though Boniface was chosen bishop in one church of the city 
by one party, yet Eulalius was elected and set up against 
him by a contrary faction in another. This, when Honorius, 
who was now at Milan, came to understand, at the solicita- 
tion of his sister Placidia, and her son Valentinian, they were 
both banished the city. But about seven months after 
Boniface was recalled, and confirmed in the pontifical dignity. 

In the meantime, Athaulphus dying, Vallias was made king 
of the Goths, who, being terrified by the judgments inflicted 
on his people, restored Placidia, whom he had always used 
very honourably, to her brother Honorius, and entered into 
a league with him, giving very good hostages for the con- 

d 2 

ioo The Lives of the Popes. 

firmation of it ; as did also the Alanes, Vandals, and Suevians. 
This Placidia Honorius gave in marriage to Constantius, 
whom he had declared Caesar, who had by her a son named 
Valentinian; but she being afterwards banished by her 
brother, went into the East with her sons Honorius and 

Our Boniface ordained that no woman, though a nun, should 
touch the consecrated pall or incense ; and that no servant or 
debtor should be admitted into the clergy. Moreover, he 
built an oratory upon the ground where St Felicitas the martyr 
was buried, and very much adorned her tomb. During his 
pontificate flourished divers famous men, especially Hierom, 
a presbyter, son of Eusebius, born at a town called Stri- 
don, seated in the confines of Dalmatia and Hungaria, but 
demolished by the Goths. It is not to my purpose to rehearse 
how great benefit the Church of God reaped from his life and 
writings, since he is known to have been a person of extraor- 
dinary sanctity, and his works are had in so great honour and 
esteem, that no author is more read by learned men than he. 
He died at Bethlehem on the last day of September in the 
ninety-first year of his age. Besides him there were also 
Gelasius, successor to Euzoius in the bishopric of Caesarea 
Palestine, a man of excellent parts ; Dexter, son of Pacianus, 
who compiled an history inscribed to St Hierom ; Amphi- 
lochius, who wrote concerning the Holy Ghost in an elegant 
style; and Sophronius, commended by St Hierom for his 
learned book of the " Destruction of Serapis." It is said also 
that at this time Lucianus, a presbyter, directed by a divine 
revelation, found out the sepulchres of St Stephen the proto- 
martyr, and Gamaliel, St Paul's master, of which he gave an 
account to all the churches by an epistle in Greek, which was 
afterwards translated into Latin by Abundus, a Spaniard, and 
sent to Orosius. Some likewise tell us that John Cassianus 
and Maximine, two very learned men, lived in this age ; but 
though it be doubtful of them, it is not so concerning Eutro- 
pius, St Austin's scholar, who, in a handsome style, epitomised 
the Roman history, from the building of the city to his own 
times ; and who, moreover, wrote to his two sisters, recluses, 
concerning chastity, and the love of religion \ to whom we 
may add Juvenal, the Bishop of Constantinople, and Heros, 
a disciple of St Martin, the wrongfully deposed Bishop of 
Aries, both men of great reputation for sanctity. As for 

Ccelestimis I. 101 

Boniface himself, having at one ordination made thirteen 
presbyters, three deacons, thirty-six bishops, he died October 
25th, and was buried in the Via Salaria, near the body of St 
Felicitas the martyr. He sat in the chair three years, eight 
months, seven days. Boniface being dead, some of the clergy 
recalled Eulalius, but he either, through indignation at his 
former repulse, or from contempt of worldly greatness, disdained 
the revocation, and died the year following. The see was 
then vacant nine days. 


A.D. 422-432. 

C^ELESTINE, a Campanian, lived in the times of Theo- 
dosius the younger. This Theodosius, upon the death 
of that excellent prince Honorius, creates the son of his aunt 
Placidia, Valentinian, Caesar, and commits to his charge the 
Western Empire, who, being immediately, by the universal 
consent of all Italy acknowledged their emperor, and actually 
entering upon the government at Ravenna, was wonderfully 
prosperous in subduing the enemies of the Roman state, and 
particularly John the usurper. In the meantime the Vandals, 
Alemans and Goths, a barbarous and savage people, passing 
over out of Spain into Africa, under the conduct of their king 
Gensericus, not only miserably depopulated and harassed that 
province with fire and sword, but also corrupted the Catholic 
faith there with the mixture of Arianism, and banished some 
orthodox bishops ; during which troubles St Augustine, Bishop 
of Hippo, died in the third month of the siege of that city, 
August 28th, in the seventy-seventh year of his age. The 
Vandals having taken Carthage, sailed to Sicily, and made the 
like havoc in that island ; as also did the Picts and Scots in 
the island of Britain. In this extremity the Britains implored 
the aid of Aetius, a patrician and a famous soldier, but he not 
only denied them his assistance, but having other ambitious 
designs to carry on, solicited the Huns to invade Italy. The 
Britains being thus deserted by Aetius, call over the Saxons or 
English to their help, whom they soon found more their 
enemies than assistants ; for being in a little time overrun by 
them, they lost both their country and their name. While 

102 The Lives of tJie Popes. 

these things were transacting, Theodosius, dying at Constan- 
tinople in the twenty- seventh year of his and his uncle 
Honorius's reign, Bleda and Atilla, two brothers, kings of the 
Huns, invading Illyricum, laid waste and burned all places to 
which they came. 

Notwithstanding our Cselestine ordained several rites apper- 
taining to divine worship, as that, besides the epistle and 
gospel before the Mass, the Psalms of David should be sung 
by all alternately. Martinus Cassinas tells us, that the Psalm 
Judica me Deus, "Give sentence with me, O God, and defend 
my cause," &c, which is used at the beginning of the sacrifice, 
was introduced by him j as likewise the Gradual is ascribed to 
him. Many other ecclesiastical constitutions he made, to be 
seen in the archives of the Church. He also dedicated and 
enriched the Julian church. At this time Nestorius, Bishop 
of Constantinople, endeavoured to sow a new error in the 
Church, asserting that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary a 
mere man, and that the Divinity was conferred upon him of 
merit. To this impious doctrine Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, 
and our Cselestine, opposed themselves very strenuously. 
For in a synod of two hundred bishops, held at Ephesus, 
Nestorius himself, and the heresy denominated from him, 
together with the Pelagians, who were great favourers of the 
Nestorian party, were by universal consent condemned in 
thirteen canons levelled against their foolish opinions. More- 
over, Cselestine sent Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, into Eng- 
land to oppose the Pelagian heresy, and reduce the inhabi- 
tants to the orthodox faith ; and Palladius, whom he had 
made a bishop, to the Scots, who desired to be instructed in 
the Christian religion. And indeed it cannot be denied but 
that, by his endeavours and the industry of those whom he 
employed to that purpose, a great part of the west were con- 
verted to Christianity. It is said that at this time the devil 
assumed human shape, and pretended himself to be Moses, 
and imposed upon a multitude of Jews, by undertaking to 
conduct them out of the island of Crete into the land of 
promise through the sea, as upon dry land, in imitation of 
the ancient miracle wrought for that people at the Red Sea. 
Many of them followed this false Moses, and perished in the 
waters, those only being reported to have been saved who 
presently owned Christ to be the true God. Our Cselestine 
having, at three Decembrian ordinations, made thirty-two 

Sixtus III. 103 

presbyters, twelve deacons, sixty-two bishops, died, and was 
buried in the cemetery of Priscilla, in the Via Salaria, April 
6th. He sat in the chair ten years, ten months, seventeen 
days, and by his death the see was vacant twenty-one days. 


A.D. 432-44°. 

SIXTUS the Third, a Roman, son of Sixtus, lived in the 
time of Valentinian, who, being governor of the Western 
Empire, entered into a league with Gensericus, king of the 
Vandals, whom he permitted to inhabit part of Africa, confin- 
ing themselves within certain boundaries agreed upon between 
them. Genseric being afterwards instigated by the Arians, 
became very zealous in propagating their errors, and violently 
persecuted the orthodox bishops. And Valentinian going to 
Constantinople, and there marrying Theodosius's daughter, 
the Vandals in the meantime, under Genseric's conduct, retook 
and sacked Carthage in the five hundred and eighty-fourth year 
since its first being in the hands of the Romans. While these 
things were transacting in Africa, Attila, King of the Huns, not 
contented to have invaded the two Hungaries, miserably 
harasses Macedonia, Mysia, Achaia, and the Thraces ; and 
then, that he might have no sharer in the kingdom, puts to 
death his brother Bleda. Soon after, his growing ambition 
prompts him to endeavour the gaining of the western Empire; 
and therefore getting together in a very little time a great army, 
he begins his march upon that design. This Aetius having 
intelligence of, forthwith sends ambassadors to Toulouse to 
King Theodoric to strike up a peace, with whom so strict a 
league was concluded, that they both jointly engage in the 
war against Attila, at a common charge and with equal forces. 
The Romans and Theodoric had for their auxiliaries the 
Alanes, Burgundians, Franks, Saxons, and indeed almost 
all the people of the west. At length Attila comes upon them 
in the fields of Catalonia, and battle is joined with great 
valour and resolution on either side. The fight was long and 
sharp ; a voice being overheard, none knowing from whence it 
came, was the occasion of putting an end to the dispute. In 
this engagement were slain on both sides eighteen thousand 

104 The Lives of the Popes. 

men, neither army flying or giving ground. And yet it is said 
that Theodoric, Father of King Thurismond, was killed in 
this action. 

Sixtus had not long enjoyed the pontificate before he was 
publicly accused by one Bassus ; but in a synod of fifty-seven 
bishops he made such a defence of himself, that he was by 
them all with one consent acquitted. Bassus, his false accuser, 
was, with the consent of Valentinian and his mother Placidia, 
excommunicated and condemned to banishment, but with this 
compassionate provision, that at the point of death the Viaticum 
of the blessed sacrament should not be denied him ; the for- 
feiture of his estate was adjudged, not to the Emperor, but the 
Church. It is said that in the third month of his exile he died, 
and that our Bishop Sixtus did with his own hands wrap up 
and embalm his corpse, and then bury it in St Peter's church. 
Moreover, Sixtus repaired and enlarged the church of the 
Blessed Virgin, which was anciently called by the name ot 
Liberius, near the market place of Livia, then had the name 
of St Mary at the manger, and last of all was called St Maries 
the Great. That Sixtus did very much beautify and make 
great additions to it, appears from the inscription on the front 
of the first arch in these words, Xystus Episcopus Plebi Dei ; 
for, according to the Greek orthography, the name begins with 
X and y, though by custom it is now written Sixtus with S and 
i. To this church this bishop was very liberal and munificent; 
among other instances adorning with porphyry stone the ambo 
or desk where the gospel and epistles are read. Besides what 
he did himself, at his persuasion the Emperor Valentinian also 
was very liberal in works of this nature. For over the Con- 
fessory of St Peter, which he richly adorned, he placed the 
image of our Saviour in gold set with jewels, and renewed those 
silver ornaments in the Cupola of the Lateran Church which 
the Goths had taken way. Some are of an opinion that in 
his time one Peter, a Roman presbyter, by nation a Sclavonian, 
built the Church of St Sabina upon the Aventine, not far from 
the monastery of St Boniface, where St Alexius is interred. 
But I rather think this to have been done in the pontificate of 
Cse.lestine the first, as appears from an inscription in heroic 
verse, yet remaining, which expresses as much. It is said also, 
that at this time flourished Eusebius of Cremona and Philip, 
two scholars of St Hierom, both very elegant writers, as also 
Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons, a man of great learning and elo- 

Leo I. the Great. 105 

quence, and Hilarius, Bishop of Aries, a pious man, and of no 
mean parts. Our Sixtus having employed all his estate in the 
building and adorning of churches, and relieving the poor, 
and having made twenty- eight presbyters, twelve deacons, fifty- 
two bishops, died, and was buried in a vault in the Via Tibur- 
tina, near the body of St Laurence. He was in the chair eight 
years, nine days, and by his death the see was vacant twenty- 
two days. 


A.D. 440-461. 

LEO, a Tuscan, son of Quintianus, lived at the time when 
Attila, having returned into Hungary from the fight of 
Catalonia, and there recruited his army, invaded Italy, and first 
set down before Aquileia, a frontier city of that province, which 
held out a siege of three years. Despairing hereupon of suc- 
cess, he was just about to raise the leaguer, when observing the 
storks to carry their young ones out of the city into the fields, 
being encouraged by this omen, he renews his batteries, and 
making a fierce assault, at length takes the miserable city, 
sacks and burns it, sparing neither age nor sex, but acting agree- 
ably to the title he assumed to himself of being God's scourge. 
The Huns having hereby gained an inlet into Italy, overrun all 
the country about Venice, possessing themselves of the cities, 
and demolishing Milan and Pavia. From hence Attila march- 
ing towards Rome, and being come to the place where the 
Menzo runs into the Po, ready to pass the river, the holy 
Bishop Leo, out of a tender sense of the calamitous state of 
Italy and of the city of Rome, and with the advice of Valen- 
tinian, goes forth and meets him, persuading him not to pro- 
ceed any further, but to take warning by Alaricus, who, soon 
after his taking that city, was, by the judgment of God, 
removed out of the world. Attila takes the good bishop's 
counsel, being moved thereunto by a vision which he saw, while 
they were discoursing together, of two men (supposed to be St 
Peter and St Paul) brandishing their naked swords over his 
head, and threatening him with death, if he were refractory. 
Desisting therefore from his design, he returns into Hungary, 

106 The Lives of the Popes. 

where not long after he was choked with his own blood vio- 
lently breaking out at his nostrils, through excess of drinking. 
Leo returning to the city, applies himself wholly to the de- 
fence of the Catholic faith, which was now violently opposed 
by several kinds of heretics, but especially by the Nestorians 
and Eutychians. Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, 
affirmed the blessed Virgin to be mother, not of God, but of 
man only, that so he might make the humanity and divinity of 
Christ to be two distinct persons, one the son of God, the other 
the son of man. But Eutyches, Abbot of Constantinople, that 
he might broach an heresy in contradiction to the former, 
utterly confounded the divine and human nature of Christ, 
asserting them to be one, and not at all to be distinguished. 
This heresy being condemned by Flavianus, bishop of Con- 
stantinople, with the consent of Theodosius, a synod is called 
at Ephesus, 1 in which Dioscorus, bishop of Alexandria, being 
president, Eutyches was restored, and Flavianus censured. 
But Theodosius dying, and his successor Marcianus, proving 
a friend to the orthodox doctrine, Leo calls a council at 
Chalcedon, wherein by the authority of six hundred and thirty 
bishops, it was decreed as an Article of Faith, that there are 
two natures in Christ, and that one and the same Christ is 
God and man ; by which consequently, both Nestorius and 
Eutyches, the pestilent patron of the Manichees, were con- 
demned. Moreover, the books of the Manichees were 
publicly burnt ; and the pride and heretical opinions of Dios- 
corus discountenanced and suppressed. In the meantime, 
Valentinian being treacherously murdered, Maximus usurps 
the empire, and against her will marries Eudoxia, the widow 
of Valentinian. Upon this occasion, the Vandals being called 
out of Africa, Genseric being their leader, force their entrance 
into the city of Rome, throw the body of Maximus, who had 
keen killed in the tumult by one Ursus, a Roman soldier, into 
the river Tiber, plunder and burn the city, pillage the churches, 
and refuse to hearken to Bishop Leo begging them whatever 
spoils they carried away only to spare the city itself and the 
temples. However, on the fourteenth day from their entrance 
into Rome they left it, and taking away with them Eudoxia 
and her daughter, with a great number of other captives, they 
returned into Africa. Leo being now very intent upon making 

1 This is that known by the name of the Robber Council, from the 
violence used there. — Ed. 

Leo I. the Great. 107 

good the damages sustained from this people, prevailed upon 
Demetria, a pious virgin, to build upon her own ground in the 
Via Latina, three miles from the city, a church to St Stephen ; 
and did the same himself in the Via Appia in honour of St 
Cornelius. The churches which had been in any part ruined, 
he repaired, and those of the sacred vessels belonging to them 
which had been bruised and broken, he caused to be mended, 
and those which had been taken away to be made anew ; 
moreover, he built three apartments in the churches of St John, 
St Peter, and St Paul ; appointed certain of the Roman clergy, 
whom he called Cubicularii, to keep and take charge of the 
sepulchres of the Apostles j built a monastery near St Peter's ; 
introduced into the canon of the mass the clause Hoc sanctum 
sacrificium, this holy sacrifice, &c, and ordained that no re- 
cluse should be capable of receiving the consecrated veils, 
unless it did appear that she had preserved her chastity spot- 
less for the space of forty years. But while the good man was 
employed in these things, there started up of a sudden the heresy 
of the Acephali, so-called because they were a company of foolish, 
undisciplined schismatics, or, if it be not a quibble, because 
they wanted both brains and head. These men decried the 
council of Chalcedon, denied the propriety of two substances 
in Christ, and asserted that there could be but one nature in 
one person. But our Leo abundantly confuted their absurd 
doctrines in his elegant and learned epistles written to the 
faithful upon that argument. Men of note in his time were 
Prosper of Aquitain, a learned man, and Mamertus, bishop of 
Vienne, who, as it is said, was the first that appointed pro- 
cessionary supplications, or litanies, upon the occasion of the 
frequent earthquakes with which Gaul was at that time very 
much afflicted. To conclude, Leo, having ordained eighty-one 
presbyters, thirty-one deacons, and eighty-one bishops, died, 
and was buried in the Vatican, near St Peter, April the 10th. 
He sat in the chair twenty-one years, one month, thirteen 
days, and by his death the see was vacant eight days. 

io8 The Lives of the Popes. 



A.D. 461-468. 

ILARIUS, a Sardinian, the son of Crispinus, continued 
in the chair till the time of the Emperor Leo, who 
being chosen Emperor upon the death of Marcianus, creates 
his son, of his own name, Augustus. During his reign the 
Roman State suffered very much by reason of certain ambi- 
tious men, who endeavoured to get the government into their 
own hands. And Genseric, the Vandal king, being tempted 
with so fair an opportunity, sails out of Africa into Italy with 
design to gain the empire for himself. Leo having intelligence 
hereof, sends Basilicus a patrician, with a mighty fleet, to the 
assistance of Anthemius, the emperor of the west. These 
two, with joint force and courage, meet Genseric near Popu- 
lonia, and force him to an engagement at sea, in which being 
routed with a great slaughter of his men, he was glad to make 
an inglorious flight into Africa again. In the meantime, 
Ricimer, a Patrician, having on the mountains of Trent con- 
quered Biorgus, king of the Alanes, and being puffed up with 
that victory, was purposed to attempt the city of Rome, had 
not Epiphanius, bishop of Pavia, made him and Anthemius 

Hilary, notwithstanding this confused state of things, did 
not neglect the care of ecclesiastical affairs, for he ordained 
that no bishop should choose his own successor (a constitution 
which belongs as well to all other ecclesiastical degrees as that 
of Episcopacy) ; he also made a decretal which he dispersed 
throughout Christendom ; and wrote certain epistles concern- 
ing the Catholic faith, by which the three synods of Nice, 
Ephesus, and Chalcedon were confirmed, and the heretics 
Eutyches, Nestorius, and Dioscorus, with their adherents, con- 
demned. In the baptistry of the Lateran church he built 
three oratories, which were adorned with gold and precious 
stones, their gates of brass covered with wrought silver ; those 
he dedicated to St John Baptist, St John Evangelist, and 
St Cross. In the last of these was reposited some of the wood 
of the cross, enclosed in gold and set with jewels, and a golden 
agnus upon a pillar of onyx. He added moreover the 
oratory of St Stephen, built two libraries adjoining, and 
founded a monastery. I shall not here recite the almost 

Simplicity s I. 1 09 

numberless donations which he made to several churches of 
gold, silver, marble, and jewels. Some tell us that Germanus, 
bishop of Auxerre, 1 and Lupus, bishop of Troys, lived in his 
time, both great supporters of the Christian cause, which 
was now very much undermined by the endeavours of 
the Gentiles and Pelagians. Gennadius, also bishop of 
Constantinople, did great service to the church by the 
integrity of his life and the excellency of his parts and 
learning. During the pontificate of our Hilary, Vic- 
torinus of Aquitain, a famous arithmetician, reduced the 
Easter account to the course of the moon, far out-doing 
Eusebius and Theophilus, who had attempted it before him. 
And among those that flourished at this time, by some is 
reckoned Merline, the famous English bard, concerning whom 
we are told more than enough. As for Hilary himself, having 
performed the duty of a good bishop, both in building and 
adorning of churches, and also in teaching, admonishing, cen- 
suring, and giving alms where need required, and having also 
ordained twenty-five presbyters, five deacons, twenty-two 
bishops, he died, and was buried in the sepulchre of St 
Laurence, near the body of Bishop Sixtus. He sat in the 
chair seven years, three months, ten days, and by his death 
the see was vacant ten days. 


A.D. 468-483. 

SIMPLICIUS, son of Castinus, born at Tivoli, was bishop 
during the reigns of Leo the second, and Zeno. 
For Leo the first falling sick, makes choice of Leo the 
second, son of Zeno Isauricus, and his own nephew by 
Ariadne, his sister, to be his successor, who, not long after 
being seized by a violent distemper, and apprehending himself 
to be at the point of death, leaves the empire to his father 
Zeno. In the meantime Odoacer, invading Italy with a great 
army of his Heruli and Turingians, conquers and takes 
prisoner, Orestes, a noble Roman, near Pavia, and then causes 
him to be put to death in the sight of his whole army at 
Placentia. Hereupon Zeno, pitying the calamitous state of 
1 He died in 348.— See under Celestine.— Ed. 

1 10 The Lives of the Popes. 

Italy, speedily sends Theodoric, king of the Goths, a man 
whom he had before very much esteemed, with a mighty force 
to oppose him, who, having in a pitched battle, not far from 
Aquileia, near the river Sontio, overcome Odoacer's captains, 
and having oftentimes the like success against Odoacer him- 
self, at length he besieged him three years together in Ravenna, 
and reduced him to that extremity, that, with the advice of 
John, the bishop of that city, he consented to admit Theodoric 
as his partner in the empire. But the day following both 
Odoacer and his son were contrary to promise and agreement 
slain, by which means Theodoric possessed himself of the 
government of all Italy without any opposition. 

In the meantime Simplicius dedicated the churches of St 
Stephen the protomartyr, on Mons Ccelius, and that of St 
Andrew the apostle, not far from St Maries the Great, in 
which there appear to this day some footsteps of antiquity, 
which I have many a time beheld with sorrow for their neglect, 
to whose charge such noble piles of building now ready to fall 
are committed. That this church was of his founding appears 
by certain verses wrought in mosaic work which I have seen in 
it. He dedicated also another church to St Stephen, near the 
Licinian Palace, where the Virgin's body had been buried. 
He also appointed the weekly waitings of the presbyters in 
their turns at the churches of St Peter, St Paul, and St Laur- 
ence the martyr, for the receiving of penitents, and baptising 
of proselytes. Moreover, he divided the city among the pres- 
byters into five precincts or regions; the first of St Peter, 
second, St Paul, third, St Laurence, fourth, St John Lateran, 
fifth, St Maria Maggiore. He also ordained that no clergy- 
man should hold a benefice of any layman, a constitution 
which was afterwards confirmed by Gregory and other Popes. 
At this time the Bishop of Rome's primacy was countenanced 
by the letters of Acacius, Bishop of Constantinople, 1 and 
Timothy, a learned man, in which they beg him to censure 
Peter Mongus (" the stammerer "), Bishop of Alexandria, an 
asserter of the Eutychian heresy. Which was accordingly 
done, but with proviso, that he should be received into the 
communion of the church again, if within a certain time prefixed 
he retracted his errors. Some say, that during his pontificate 
lived Remigius, Bishop of Reims, who (as history tells us) 
baptised Clodoveus, the French king- Now also Theodorus, 
1 See the next note, p. 112.— Ed. 

Felix III. 1 1 1 

Bishop of Syria wrote largely against Eutyches, and compiled 
ten books of ecclesiastical history in imitation of Eusebius 
Caesariensis. At this time almost all Egypt was infected with 
the heretical doctrine of Dioscorus, concerning whom we have 
already spoken ; and Huneric, King of the Vandals, a zealot 
for the Arian faction, raised a persecution against the orthodox 
Christians in Africa. Upon this, Eudoxia, niece to Theodo- 
sius, a Catholic lady, and wife to Huneric, left her heretical 
husband upon pretence of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to per- 
form a vow which she had made ; but upon so long a journey, 
the effect of which proved intolerable to the tenderness of her 
sex she there soon died. It is said that at this time were found 
the bones of the prophet Elisha, which were carried into Alex- 
andria, as also the body of St Barnabas the apostle, together 
with the gospel of St Matthew, written with his own hand. As 
for Simplicius himself, having by his constitutions and dona- 
tions very much promoted the interest of the Church of Rome, 
and having at several ordinations made fifty-eight presbyters, 
eleven deacons, eighty-six bishops, he died, and was buried 
in St Peter's church on the second day of March. He was 
in the chair fifteen years, one month, seven days, and by his 
death the see was vacant twenty-six days. 


A.D. 483-492. 

FELIX, by birth a Roman, son of Felix a presbyter, was 
bishop from the time of Odoacer, whose power in Italy 
lasted fourteen years, till the reign of Theodoric, who, 
though he made Ravenna the seat of the empire, yet the 
city of Rome was much indebted to his bounty. For he 
rebuilt the sepulchre of Octavius, exhibited shows to the 
people according to ancient custom, repaired the public build- 
ing and churches, and indeed neglected nothing that became a 
good and generous prince. And to confirm and establish the 
empire, he married Andefleda, daughter of Clodoveus, King 
of France, and gave in marriage his sister to Huneric, king of 
the Vandals, and one of his daughters to Alaric, king of 
the Visigoths, and the other to King Gondibate. 

Felix, now fully understanding that Peter the Stammerer, the 

1 1 2 The Lives of the Popes. 

Eutychian, who had been banished for his heretical opinions 
upon the complaint and at the desire of Acacius, was by the 
same Acacius recalled from exile, suspected that there was 
a private agreement between them, and therefore excommun- 
icated them both by the authority of the Apostolic see, which 
was confirmed in a Synod of the orthodox. 1 But three 
years after, the emperor Zeno testifying that they were penitent, 
Felix sends two bishops, Messenus and Vitalis, with full 
power, upon enquiry into the truth of their repentance, to 
absolve them. These legates arriving at the city Heraclea, 
were soon corrupted with bribes, and neglected to act 

1 This is not very accurately stated. The emperor Zeno, with the assist 
ance of Acacius, patriarch of Constantinople, put forth in the year 482 the 
Henoticon ("bond of Union"), a document intended, by comprehen- 
siveness of statement, to reconcile the various parties that were divid- 
ing the church. But it did not satisfy the Nestorians or Entychians, and 
Pope Felix III., who succeeded to the Roman Popedom next year, indig- 
nantly repudiated it, declaring that the emperor was taking upon him to 
make articles of faith. He further wrote to Acacius charging him with 
having expelled the lawful bishop of Alexandria, John Palaia, in order to 
put the Eutychian Peter in his place. Acacius replied that Felix had been 
misinformed by John, and that Peter was both duly chosen and orthodox. 
There is no evidence of Zeno's certificate of his " penitence." Thereupon 
Felix sent his two legates, and they were induced, whether by fair or foul 
means, to assent to Acacius's action. This was a very critical moment be- 
tween the east and west. The primacy of the Roman Pontiffs had come 
to be recognised, as the bishops of the chief city of the world, and they had 
begun since the days of Innocent I. to rest their claims on the purely re- 
ligious ground of their succession from St Peter. But the Bishops of Con- 
stantinople had not admitted such a claim, and Acacius, who was watching 
the gradual downfall of the western empire, saw, in imagination, Constan- 
tinople rising to the foremost place, and himself as Primal Pontiff. Hence 
he assumed the title for Constantinople of " Mother of all Christians and 
of the Orthodox Religion." Pope Simplicius had protested, but his pro- 
test is lost. There was therefore a good deal of bitterness already existing 
when this new quarrel arose. Felix on the return of Messenus and Vitalis 
not only excommunicated them, but Acacius. He was encouraged thus 
to flout the imperial authority by the successes of Odoacer in the west, 
though he did not venture to include Zeno, the prime mover, in his ban, 
but instead even addressed him in terms of adulation. One of the monks of 
Constantinople who was on the Roman side, audaciously pinned the Pope's 
sentence upon the robe of Acacius as he was proceeding to the altar to 
celebrate holy communion. Acacius calmly proceeded with the service un- 
til the due moment arrived, when he suddenly turned, and in a calm but 
ringing voice uttered a counter ban against Felix. The schism lasted forty 
years ; neither party would give way ; the great eastern patriarchs of 
Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, continued in communion with Acacius, 
and he held his see until his death. — Ed. 

Gelasius I. 113 

according to their commission. Whereupon Felix, out of a 
just indignation, having first called a council upon that 
occasion, excommunicates them too, as Simoniacs and be- 
trayers of the trust reposed in them, though Messenus, who 
confessed his fault, and begged time to evince the sincerity of 
his repentance, had it accordingly granted him. The same Felix 
also built the church of St Agapetus, near that of St Laurence, 
and ordained that churches should be consecrated by none 
but bishops. It is said that at this time Theodorus, a Greek 
presbyter, wrote against the heretics a book of the Harmony of 
the Old and New Testaments ; and some reckon among the 
men of note in this age, the learned and famous divine John 
Damascene, who wrote the Book of Sentences, imitating there- 
in Gregory Nazianzene, Gregory Nyssene, and Didymus of 
Alexandria, and compiled also certain treatises of medicine, in 
which he gives an account of the causes and cure of diseases. 
Our Felix, having at two Decembrian ordinations made twenty- 
eight presbyters, five deacons, thirty bishops, died, and was 
buried in the church of St Paul. He sat in the chair eight 
years, eleven months, seventeen days ; and by his death the 
see was vacant five days. 


A.D. 492-496. 

GELASIUS, an African, son of Valerius, was bishop of 
Rome at the time when Theodoric made war upon his 
wife's father, Clodoveus, the French king, for that he had slain 
his daughter's husband, Alaric, king of the Visigoths, and 
seized Gascoigne. They were both allied to him by marriage ; 
but the cause of Alaric seemed to him the more just, and 
therefore he preferred his son-in-law before his father-in-law. 
And gaining the victory over the French in a very important 
battle, he recovers Gascoigne, and undertakes the present 
government of it till Almaric, the son of Alaric, should come 
to age. The same Theodoric to his conquest of Italy added 
that of Sicily, Dalmatia, Liburnia, Illyricum, Gallia Narbo- 
nensis, and Burgundy. He also walled round the city of Trent, 
and to secure Italy from a foreign invasion, upon the frontiers 

1 1 4 The Lives of the Popes. 

of it, near Aosta, placed the Heruli, whose king, being yet a 
minor, he made his adopted son. 

Gelasius in the meantime condemns to banishment all the 
Manichees that should be found in the city, and causes their 
books to be publicly burnt near St Mary's Church. And 
being satisfied of the repentance of Messenus, who had given 
in his retractation in writing, at the request of the synod he 
absolved him, and restored him to his bishopric. But having 
intelligence that several murders and other notorious outrages 
were committed in the Greek churches by the factious followers 
of Peter Mongus and Acacius, he forthwith sends his legates 
thither, with commission to excommunicate for ever all those 
who did not immediately recant their errors"; a new and unusual 
severity, whereas the primitive church was wont to wait long 
in hopes that separatists would at length return to her bosom. 
At this time John, Bishop of Alexandria, an orthodox prelate, 
and who had been very much persecuted by these seditious 
people, fled for refuge to the Bishop of Rome, who very 
kindly and courteously received him. The churches which 
Gelasius consecrated were, that of St Euphemia the martyr 
in Tivoli, that of St Nicander and Eleutherius in the Via 
Labicana, and that of St Mary in the Via Laurentina, twenty 
miles from Rome. He had a great love and honour for the 
clergy, and was very liberal and charitable to the poor. He 
delivered the city of Rome from many dangers, and particu- 
larly from that of dearth and scarcity. He composed hymns in 
imitation of St Ambrose, published five books against Eutyches 
and Nestorius, and two against Arius, made very elegant and 
grave orations, and wrote weighty and learned epistles to his 
friends of the household of faith ; all which works of his are at 
this time to be seen in the public libraries. Some tell us that he 
excommunicated Anastasius, successor to Zeno in the eastern 
empire, for favouring Acacius and other heretics ; which is an 
argument as clear as the sun, that the Bishop of Rome has 
power to excommunicate any prince who is erroneous in the 
faith, if he continue refractory after admonition. The same 
course likewise he took with the Vandals and their king, who, 
being infected with the Arian heresy, proved now very cruel 
and barbarous persecutors of the orthodox. At the beginning 
of his pontificate lived Germanus and Epiphanius, the latter 
Bishop of Pavia, the former of Capua ; men who by the authority 
which the sanctity their lives had gained them, and by their 

A nastasius II 1 1 5 

humble and obliging deportment, wrought so much upon the 
minds of the barbarous invaders, that afflicted Italy fared the 
better for their sakes. At the same time also, Lannociatus, 
Abbot of Chartres, with Aurelianus and Mezentius of Poictiers, 
persons of great piety and learning, gained so much ground in 
Gaul, that they persuaded Clodoveus the French king, and his 
queen, Crocildis, to become Christians, and to undertake the 
protection of the Catholic faith throughout their dominions j 
though some attribute this honour to Remigius, as hath been 
already said. Gelasius, having ordained thirty-two presbyters, 
two deacons, sixty-seven bishops, died, and was buried in St 
Peter's Church, November 21st. He was in the chair four 
years, eight months, seventeen days j and by his death the see 
was vacant seven days 


A.D. 496-498. 

ANASTASIUS the Second, a Roman, son of Fortunatus, 
was contemporary with the Emperor Anastasius. At 
which time Thorismund, king of the Vandals, shut up the 
churches of the orthodox clergy, and banished one hundred 
and twenty bishops into the Island of Sardinia. It is reported 
also that one Olympius, an Arian bishop, having publicly in 
the baths at Carthage declared his detestation of the doctrine 
of the Trinity, was immediately smitten, and his body burnt 
with three flashes of lightning. And when Barbas, another 
bishop of the same faction, was going to baptize a certain 
person in this form of words : " Barbas baptizeth thee in the 
name of the Father, by the Son, and in the Holy Ghost," it is 
said the water disappeared ; which miracle so wrought upon 
the man who was to be baptized, that he immediately came 
over to the orthodox. 

It was this Bishop Anastasius, as some writers tell us, who 
excommunicated the Emperor Anastasius for favouring 
Acacius ; though afterwards being himself seduced by the 
same heretic, and endeavouring privately to recall him from 
exile, he thereby very much alienated the minds of his 
clergy, who for that reason, and also because, without the 
consent of the Catholics, he communicated with Photinus, a 

1 1 6 The Lives of the Popes, 

deacon of Thessalonica, and an assertor of the Acacian heresy, 
withdrew themselves from him. It is generally reported that, 
the Divine vengeance pursuing him for this apostasy, he died 
suddenly ; and some say that the particular manner of his 
death was that, going to ease nature, he purged out his bowels 
into the privy. In his time Fulgentius an African, Bishop of 
Ruspse, though he were among the other orthodox bishops of 
Africa banished into Sardinia by Thorismund, yet neglected 
nothing that might contribute to the propagating of the 
Catholic faith, whether by exhortation, preaching, or ad- 
monition. He likewise published several books of the 
Trinity, of free-will, and the rule of faith ; and, besides 
the several elegant and grave homilies he made to the people, 
he wrote against the Pelagian heresy. The learned Hegesippus 
also, who composed monastical constitutions, and in an 
elegant style wrote the life of St Severinus the abbot, was at 
this time very serviceable to the Church. Moreover, Faustus, 
a Gallican bishop, was now a considerable writer ; but among 
all his works, the most in esteem was his tract against Arius, 
wherein he maintains the persons in the Trinity to be co- 
essential. He wrote also against those who asserted any 
created being to be incorporeal, demonstrating both by 
the judgment of the fathers, and from the testimonies of 
holy writ, that God only is purely and properly incorporeal. 
But I shall here conclude the pontificate of Anastasius, who, 
at one Decembrian ordination, having made twelve presbyters 
and sixteen bishops, was buried in St Peter's Church, No- 
vember 1 9th. He sat in the chair one year, ten months, twenty- 
four days ; and by his death the see was vacant four days. 


a.d. 49 8 '5 I 4- 

SYMMACHUS, a Sardinian, son of Fortunatus, succeeded 
Anastasius, though not without great controversy, and 
after a long bandying of two contrary factions. For, while 
one part of the clergy choose Symmachus in the Church of St 
John Lateran, another part of them in St Maria Maggiore 
make choice of one Laurence ; whereupon the senate and 
people of Rome, being divided into two parties, the dissension 

Symmachus I. 1 1 7 

rose to such a height that, to compromise the business, a 
council was by mutual consent called at Ravenna, where the 
whole matter being discussed in the presence of Theodoric, he 
at length determined on the side of Symmachus, and con- 
firmed him in the pontificate, who by a singular act of grace 
made his very competitor, Laurence, Bishop of Nocera. Yet, 
about four years after, some busy and factious clergymen, 
being countenanced and assisted by Festus and Probinus, two 
of the senatorian order, set up for Laurence again ; upon 
which King Theodoric was so highly displeased, that he sends 
Peter, Bishop of Altino, to Rome, to depose them both and 
possess himself of the chair. But Symmachus called a synod 
of a hundred and twenty bishops, wherein, with great presence 
of mind, he purged himself of all things laid to his charge, 
and by a general suffrage obtained the banishment of Laurence 
and Peter, who had occasioned all this mischief. Hereupon, 
so great a sedition arose in the city that multitudes both of 
the clergy and laity were slain in all parts, not so much as 
the monastic virgins escaping. In this tumult Gordianus, 
a presbyter, and a very good man, was killed in the Church of 
St Peter ad Vincula ; nor had an end been put to slaughter 
here, had not Faustus, the consul, in compassion to the 
clergy, appeared in arms against Probinus, the author of 
so great a calamity. 

After this, the Christians having some small respite, Clod- 
oveus, banishing the Arian heretics, restores the orthodox, 
and constitutes Paris the capital city of his kingdom. 

Symmachus at this time expelled the Manichees out of the 
city, and caused their books to be burned before the gates of 
St John Lateran. Several churches he built from the ground, 
and several others he repaired and beautified. That of St 
Andrew the apostle, near St Peter's, he entirely built, enrich- 
ing it with divers ornaments of silver and gold; and he 
adorned St Peter's itself and its portico, with chequered 
marble, making the steps of ascent into it more and larger 
than they were before. Moreover, he erected Episcopal 
palaces. He built also the church of St Agatha, the martyr, 
in the Via Aurelia, and that of St Pancrace. He repaired 
and adorned with painting the cupola of St Paul's, and built 
from the foundations the church of St Sylvester and St Martin, 
the altars of which he very richly adorned. He made also the 
steps that lead into the church of St John and St Paul, and 

1 1 8 The Lives of the Popes. 

enlarged St Michael's. He built from the ground the ora- 
tories of Cosmus and Damianus, being assisted in that work 
by Albinus and Glaphyras, two men of principal note. Be- 
sides this, near the churches of St Peter and St Paul, he 
built two hospitals, making provision of all things necessary 
for the poor who should dwell in them. For he was in all 
respects very charitable, and sent supplies of money and 
clothes to the bishops and other clergy in Africa and Sardinia, 
who had suffered banishment for the profession of the true 
religion. He repaired the church of St Felicitas, and the 
cupola of that of St Agnes, which was decayed and almost 
ready to fall. He also at his own charge redeemed multitudes 
of captives in several provinces. He ordained that on 
Sundays, and the birthdays 1 of the martyrs, the hymn, " Glory 
be to God on High," should be sung, and, indeed, left 
nothing undone which he thought might tend to the glory of 
Almighty God. In his time Gennadius, Bishop of Marseilles, 
a great imitator of St Augustine, did good service to the 
Church. He wrote one book against heresies, wherein he 
shows what is necessary to every man in order to his salva- 
tion, and another de viris illustribus, in imitation of St Hierom. 
As for Symmachus, having at several ordinations made ninety 
presbyters, sixteen deacons, one hundred and twenty-two 
bishops, he died, and was buried in St Peter's Church, July 
the 19th. He sat in the chair fifteen years, six months, 
twenty-two days ; and by his death the see was vacant seven 



A.D. 5l4-5 2 3- 

ORMISDA, the son of Justus, born at Frusino, lived in 
the time of Theodoric and Anastasius, as far as to the 
consulship of Boethius and Symmachus. 

These two, upon suspicion of designing against his govern- 
ment, were by Theodoric at first banished, and afterwards 
imprisoned. Boethius, during his confinement, wrote several 
things extant to this day, and translated and made com- 
mentaries upon the greatest part of Aristotle's works. He 
1 The days on which they suffered were anciently so called. — Ed. 

H or mis da I. 119 

was thoroughly skilled in the mathematics, as his books of 
music and arithmetic clearly demonstrate. But at length 
both he and Symmachus were put to death by the order of 
Theodoric. Some tell us that the cause of Boethius's suffer- 
ings was the zeal he showed in opposing the Arians, who were 
favoured by Theodoric, but I think the former opinion to be 
more probable. 

Hormisda, with the advice of Theodoric, held now a pro- 
vincial synod at Rome, in which the Eutychians were again 
condemned by universal consent. He also sent letters and 
messengers to John, Bishop of Constantinople, admonishing 
him to renounce that heresy, and to believe there are two 
natures in Christ, the divine and human. But John continued 
refractory, trusting to the interest he had with the Emperor 
Anastasius, who not long after was struck dead by a thunder- 
bolt, which was believed to be a just judgment upon him, 
both for his patronising so pernicious a heresy, and especially 
for his ill-usage of the legates sent to him by Hormisda, 
whom, contrary to the law of nations, he treated very con- 
tumeliously, and sent them home in a shattered leaky vessel, 
ordering them to return directly into Italy without touching at 
any shore in Greece. It is said that he bid them tell the 
bishop that he must know it to be the part of an emperor to 
command, not to obey the dictates of the Bishop of Rome or 
any other. These legates were Euodius, Bishop of Pavia; 
Fortunatus, Bishop of Catina ; Venantius, a presbyter . of 
Rome; and Vitalis, a deacon. Anastasius, dying in the 
twenty-seventh year of his reign, Justin, a patron of the 
Catholic faith, succeeds him, who forthwith sends ambassa- 
dors to the Bishop of Rome, to acknowledge the authority of 
the apostolic see, and to desire the bishop to interpose his 
ecclesiastical power for the settling the peace of the Church. 
Whereupon Hormisda, with the consent of Theodoric, sends 
Germanus, Bishop of Capua ; John and Blandus, presbyters ; 
and Felix and Dioscorus, deacons, his legates to Justin, by 
whom they were received with all imaginable expressions and 
testimonies of honour and respect — John, the Bishop of Con- 
stantinople, with multitudes of the orthodox clergy, and other 
persons of principal note, going forth, in compliment to meet 
them and congratulate their arrival. But the followers of 
Acacius, dreading their coming, had shut themselves up in a 
very strong church, and upon consultation what to do, sent 

120 The Lives of tJie Popes, 

messengers to the emperor, declaring that they would by no 
means subscribe to the determination of the apostolic see, 
unless an account were first given them why Acacius was ex- 
communicated. But Justin soon forced them out of the 
church and city, too ; and Hormisda dealt in the same 
manner with the Manichees, who began to spring up afresh 
in Rome, whose books he caused to be burned before the 
gates of St John Lateran. 

About this time Thorismund, king of the Vandals, dying in 
Africa, his son Hilderic, whom he had by the captive daughter 
of Valentinian, succeeded him in the kingdom. He inherited 
none of his father's errors, but following the counsel of his 
religious mother, recalled all the Catholics whom Thorismund 
had banished, and permitted them the free exercise of their 
religion. At this time also several rich presents were sent to 
Rome for the ornament of the churches there by Clodoveus, 
king of France, and Justin, the emperor. King Theodoric 
also richly adorned the church of St Peter ; nor was Hormisda 
himself behind these princes in bounty and munificence to 
the Church. Having settled things according to his mind, 
and ordained twenty-one presbyters, fifty-five bishops, he 
died, and was buried in St Peter's Church, August the 6th, in 
the consulship of Maximus. He sat in the chair nine years, 
eighteen days ; and by his death the see was vacant six days, 


A.D. 523-526. 

JOHN, by birth a Tuscan, son of Constantius, was in the 
chair from the consulship of Maximus to that of Olybrius, 
in the time of King Theodoric and the Emperor Justin, 
who, out of his great zeal for the orthodox faith, and that he 
might utterly extinguish the name of heretics, banished the 
Arians, and gave their churches to the Catholics. This was 
so highly resented by Theodoric, that he sends John himself 
with Theodorus and the two Agapeti, his ambassadors to 
Justin, to advise him to restore the Arians, or upon his 
refusal to let him know that he would pull down all the 
Catholic churches in Italy. These ambassadors were at first 
very kindly and honourably received. But having given an 

John /. 12 1 

account of their embassy, and rinding Justin wholly averse 
to grant what they desired, they betook themselves to tears 
and prayers, humbly beseeching him to prevent the ruin of 
Italy and all the orthodox Christians in it j by which means 
the good prince was prevailed upon to recall the Arians, and 
to grant them a toleration. Some write that it was in this 
bishop's time that Symmachus and Boethius were brought 
back from exile, imprisoned, and slain by the cruelty and rage 
of Theodoric. However, certain it is that they were put to 
death by Theodoric's order ; and it matters not much whether 
it were in the pontificate of Hormisda or John. Which 
John, returning from Constantinople, Theodoric was so 
highly incensed against him for his agreement with the 
Emperor Justin both in faith and manners, that it was a 
chance that he had not taken away his life immediately ; but 
throw him into prison he did at Ravenna, where, through 
stench and nastiness and want of necessary provision, the 
good man at length died — a cruelty for which the Divine 
vengeance sorely punished Theodoric not long after, for he 
died suddenly of a fit of an apoplexy, and his soul (if you 
will take the word of a devout hermit who reported it) was 
cast into the flames of the Island Lipara. 

Theodoric was succeeded in the kingdom by his daughter, 
Amalasuntha, with her son, Athalaric, whom she had by her 
husband, Eucherius ; a woman who with a prudence above 
her sex, rectified her father's ill decrees, restored the con- 
fiscated estates of Boethius and Symmachus to their children, 
and caused her son to be instructed in all kinds of good 
literature, though she were herein opposed by the Goths, who 
cried out that their king was not to be bred a scholar but a 
soldier. Much about this time died Justin, being very aged, 
leaving the empire to his sister's son, Justinian; and Clodoveus, 
king of France, leaving four sons his successors in that 
kingdom. Persons of note and esteem at this time were 
Benedict of Nursia, who settled among the Italians the rules 
and canons of the monastic life ; and Bridget, a devout virgin 
of Scotland, and John, presbyter of Antioch, who wrote much 
against those that held that Christ should be worshipped in 
one nature only. To these Isidore adds one Cyprignius, a 
Spanish bishop, who wrote elegantly upon the Apocalypse. 

Our John, before he went to Constantinople, had repaired 
three cemeteries — namely, that of Nereus and Achilleus in 

122 The Lives of the Popes. 

the Via Ardeatina, that of the martyrs St Felix and St Adauctus, 
and that of Priscilla. He also adorned the altar of St Peter's 
with gold and jewels. He likewise brought with him from 
Constantinople, a paten of gold, and a chalice of gold set 
with precious stones, the presents of the Emperor Justin ; but 
these I suppose to have been lost together with his life. At 
several ordinations he consecrated fifteen bishops. It is said 
that his body was brought from Ravenna to Rome, and buried 
in St Peter's Church, July the 27th, Olybrius being then 
consul. He sat in the chair two years, eight months ; and by 
his death the see was vacant fifty-eight days. 


A.D. 526-530. 

FELIX the Fourth, a Sammite, the son of Castorius, lived 
in the time of the Emperor Justinian, whose General 
Belisarius was victorious over the Persians, and passing into 
Africa, by his singular courage and conduct subdued and almost 
quite rooted out the Vandals, whose King Gelimer he took 
prisoner, and brought him home with him in triumph. About 
this time Amalasuntha, having a long time lived very uneasily 
with her malcontented Goths, and having buried her way- 
ward and unruly son, Athalaric, associates her kinsman 
Theodatus in the government. This Theodatus was so great 
a proficient in Greek and Latin learning, that he wrote an 
elegant history of his own times, and was thoroughly skilled 
in the Platonic philosophy. And though he were not naturally 
of an active martial temper, yet at the desire of Amalasuntha 
he undertook a war against the Burgundians and Alemanni, 
and managed it very successfully. 

Felix, in the meanwhile being careful of the affairs of 
the Church, excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople 
for heresy, and built in the Via Sacra, near the Forum 
Romanum, the church of St Cosmus and Damianus, as 
appears from the verses yet remaining, wrought in mosaic 
work. He also re-built the church of St Saturninus in the 
Via Salaria, which had been consumed by fire. Some write 
that in this age lived Cassiodorus, who while he was a senator 
wrote several things in politics, and when he became a monk 

Boniface II. 123 

composed a comment upon the psalms. It is said also that 
Priscian of Cesarea, the famous grammarian, now wrote his 
book of grammar. Arator, likewise a sub-deacon of Rome, 
translated the gospels into hexameter verse; and Justinian, 
Bishop of Valence, was had in great esteem for what he 
preached and wrote concerning the Christian faith. As for 
Felix himself, having ordained fifty-five presbyters, four 
deacons, twenty-nine bishops, he died, and was buried in St 
Peter's Church, October the 12th. He was in the chair four 
years, two months, thirteen days; and by his death the see was 
vacant three days. 

a.d. 530-53 2 - 

BONIFACE the Second, a Roman, son of Sigismund, was 
also in the time of Justinian, a prince whose vast parts 
and learning qualified him for that great work which, for the 
public good, he undertook, of collecting and methodising the 
scattered Roman laws, and retrenching those which were 
useless and superfluous. Yet herein he made use of the 
advice and assistance of John, a patrician, Trebonianus, 
Theophilus, and Dorotheus, men of great learning and 
authority. With their help an immense number of near two 
thousand volumes of decrees, made from the building of the 
city to this time, confusedly heaped together, were digested 
under their respective titles into fifty books, which are some- 
times called Digests, and sometimes Pandects, because they 
contain the whole civil law. He made also an epitome of the 
laws in four books, which go under the name of Institutes, or 
Justinian's Code. Moreover, some tell us that Justinian 
wrote certain books concerning the incarnation of our Lord, 
and that at his own charge he built the temple of St Sophia, 
than which there is not a more noble and magnificent pile of 
buildings in the world. 

In his reign Boniface was made bishop ot Rome, though 
not without some opposition ; for the clergy being divided, 
one party of them chose Dioscorus into the place of Felix 
deceased. The contention about this matter lasted twenty- 
eight days, but the death of Dioscorus put an end to the 

124 • The Lives of the Popes. 

controversy. Things being quiet, Boniface applied himself to 
the settling of the Church, and decreed that no bishop should 
appoint his own successor, which was afterwards confirmed by 
several following bishops of Rome. He decreed also, that upon 
the decease of any bishop of Rome, another should be chosen 
to succeed him, if it might be, within three days, to prevent 
any bandying or dissension which might be occasioned by 
delay. 1 He ordained likewise, that the clergy should be 
separated and placed distinct from the laity at the time of 
celebration. At the same time many of the Roman nobility 
were so wrought upon by the sanctity of Benedict, that they 
retired to Mount Cassino and became monks there ; among 
whom the more eminent were Maurus and Placidius. Other 
men of note and esteem were Dionysius Exiguus, famous 
for the extraordinary skill and judgment which he snowed in 
his Paschal Cycle ; Facundus, whose writings against certain 
Eutychians then springing up, were very much commended ; 
and Martin, who by his preaching and writings converted 
the people of Soissbns from the Arian heresy to the truth. 
But Boniface having sat in the pontifical chair two years, two 
days, died, and was buried in St Peter's Church. The see 
was then vacant two months. 


a.d. 532-535- 

JOHN the Second, a Roman, son of Projectus, lived in the 
time of Justinian, and soon after his entrance upon the 
pontificate condemned Anthemius, an Arian bishop; some 
say that he had been Bishop of Constantinople. Justinian, 
to show his respect to the Roman see, sent Hypatius and 
Demetrius, two bishops, to Rome, both to compliment John 
in his name, and to make to St Peter's Church several rich 
presents. During this embassy, Mundus, Justinian's general, 
took the strong city of Salona, and gained a victory over the 
Goths, though not without great loss on the conquering side. 
For Mundus himself, together with his son, a valiant and 

1 He went further, and arranged that each Pope, during his lifetime, 
should nominate his successor, and he carried out his extraordinary mea- 
sure, for his successor was his nominee. — Ed. 

Agapetus I. 1 25 

brave young gentleman, was slain in that engagement ; the 
news of which misfortune was extremely laid to heart by 
Justinian, he having always had a great value for that leader's 
courage and fidelity. Our bishop John, of whom historians 
say very little, having at one ordination made fifteen presby- 
ters, twenty-one bishops, died, and was buried in St Peter's 
Church, May 27th. He sat in the chair two years, four 
months \ and by his death the see was vacant six days. 


A.D. 535-536. 

AGAPETUS, a Roman, son of Gordianus, a presbyter of 
the church of St John and St Paul, being created 
bishop by Theodatus, was by him forthwith sent to the 
Emperor Justinian, who was highly incensed against that king 
for his having first banished Amalasuntha, the mother of 
Athalaric, into the island of the Lake of Bolsena, and after- 
wards caused her to be put to death there. For she was a 
woman so well acquainted with Greek and Latin learning, 
that she durst engage in disputation with any professed 
scholar. Moreover, she was so thoroughly skilled in the 
languages of all the barbarous invaders of the Roman empire, 
that she could discourse any of them without an interpreter. 
Her death Justinian so highly resented, that he threatened to 
make war upon Theodatus for that reason. Hereupon 
Agapetus was sent to him, who being received with great 
honour and affection, and having obtained the peace he was 
sent to sue for, he was then practised with to confirm the 
Eutychian opinions. But Justinian finding that the good 
man utterly detested any such proposal, from desiring and 
requesting he fell to threats and menaces. Upon which 
Agapetus told him, that he should have been glad to be sent 
to Justinian, a Christian prince, but that he found a Diocle- 
tian, an enemy and persecutor of Christians. By this bold- 
ness of speech, and God's appointment, Justinian was so 
wrought upon that he embraced the Catholic faith, and having 
deposed Anthemius, Bishop of Constantinople, who patron- 
ised the Eutychian heresy, put into his place Menas, one of 
the orthodox, who was consecrated by Agapetus himself. 

1 26 The Lives of the Popes. 

But not long after Agapetus died at Constantinople, and his 
body being wrapped up in lead was conveyed to Rome, and 
buried in St Peter's Church. He sat in the chair eleven 
months, twenty-one days ; and by his death the see was vacant 
one month, twenty-nine days. 


A.D. 536-537. 

SYLVERIUS, a Campanian, son of Bishop Hormisda, was 
chosen Bishop of Rome at the command of Theodatus, 
though till this time the emperors only, not the kings, had 
interposed their authority in that matter. But the menaces 
of Theodatus prevailed, who had threatened to put to death 
every man of the clergy who would not subscribe his name to 
the choice of Sylverius. 

For this reason, and that he might also revenge the death 
of Amalasuntha, Justinian sends Belisarius, a patrician, with 
an army into Italy. In his passage thither he first put in at 
Sicily, and brought that island to the emperor's devotion. In 
the meantime Theodatus dying, and the Goths having chosen 
themselves a king against the will of Justinian, Belisarius 
quits Sicily that he might deliver Italy from the tyranny of 
the Goths. Coming into Campania, and the city of Naples 
refusing to obey the emperor's summons, he took it by storm 
and plundered it, putting to the sword all the Goths that 
were in garrison there, and a great part of the citizens, carry- 
ing away their children and what other spoil they could lay 
their hands on. The soldiers pillaged the very churches, 
violated the chastity of cloistered virgins, and committed all 
the outrages which are wont to be acted by an enraged vic- 
torious enemy. Marching hastily from thence with his army" 
to Rome, and entering the city by night, he struck such a 
terror into the Goths who defended it, that they all left the 
gates and the walls and fled to Ravenna. But Belisarius 
apprehending that Vitiges might surprise him with a mighty 
force, which he should not be able to fight in open field, with 
all possible despatch fortified the city with trenches and bul- 
warks where occasion was for them. Soon after Vitiges, 
according to his expectation, coming towards him with a 

Sylverius. 1 27 

mighty army, for it consisted of a hundred thousand men, 
Belisarius, who had not above five thousand, thought it best 
to keep within the city. Vitiges encamped between two 
aqueducts, the one of which ran towards the Via Latina, the 
other towards the Via Praenestina, and both met five miles 
from the city. And that the city might not be supplied with 
water, he cut off all the conduits and conveyances, which 
were fourteen. Moreover, he sent part of his army who 
possessed themselves of the port, and thereby reduced the 
Romans to the double calamity of war and famine. 

In the meantime, at the motion of Vigilius, a deacon and 
surrogate of Rome, the Empress Theodora laid her com- 
mands, joined with threatenings, upon Sylverius, to banish 
Menas from Constantinople, and to restore Anthemius, who, 
as we have said, had been deposed for patronising the 
Eutychian heresy. Which, when he refused to do, she writes 
to Belisarius, ordering him to depose Sylverius, and to put 
Vigilius into his place. But Belisarius being wholly taken 
up with the defence of the city, left that affair to the 
management of his wife, Antonina, who, upon the depositions 
of certain witnesses suborned by Vigilius, attesting that 
Sylverius had a design to betray the city into the hands of the 
Goths, not only compelled him to quit the pontificate and to 
enter into a monastic life, but also banished him to the Island 
Pandataria, where he died, not without the reputation of 
having been a very holy man. It is said that at this time 
the Gauls despatched messengers to Benedict, desiring him to 
send to them any one of his disciples to instruct them in the 
rules of the monastic life. Upon which Benedict sent Maurus, 
who, by his own example, instructed them in a good and 
happy course of living, and also set up several monasteries 
among them. Vigilius, at the desire of the Roman clergy, 
in pursuance of Antonina's determination, was created Bishop 
of Rome. Sylverius, after his possession of the chair one 
year, five months, and twelve days, died, as we have already 
said, in Pandataria, and was buried June the 20th. 1 Upon 
his death the see was vacant six days. 

1 There was a strong suspicion that he was murdered. — Ed. 

128 The Lives of the Popes. 


a.d. 537-555- 

VIGILIUS, a Roman, his father a man of consular dignity, 
was likewise in Justinian's reign created Bishop of 
Rome, in whose time a fifth synod was held at Constanti- 
nople against Theodorus and other heretics, who held that 
the Blessed Virgin brought forth man only, not God-man ; in 
this synod therefore it was decreed that the Blessed Virgin 
should be styled (dsoroxog, i.e., the mother of God. 

Belisarius had now defended the city one whole year and 
nine days, and having in this time received fresh supplies of 
men, he resolved to march out and to engage the enemy in a 
pitched battle. But Vitiges, distrusting his own force, sets 
fire to his tents, and hastens by great marches to Ravenna. 
Belisarius with all possible speed follows him, and entering 
the city, takes Vitiges himself prisoner with all his family and 
a great part of his nobles j and having recovered almost all 
Italy, in the fifth year from his arrival there, he carries them 
with him to Constantinople. The same Belisarius, with in- 
credible expedition, quelled the Moors, who were harassing 
Africa, and out of the spoils of that victory he made two very 
rich presents to St Peter's Church in Rome. He built also 
two hospitals for strangers at his own charge, one in the Via 
Lata, the other in the Via Flaminia ; and founded the monas- 
tery of St Juvenalis at a town called Orta, endowing it with 
an estate in land for the maintenance of the monks in it. 

At this time Theodora was earnest with Vigilius to come 
to Constantinople, and according to his promise, to restore 
Anthemius. But Vigilius denies the doing it, for that unjust 
promises are not to be performed, and he was of opinion that 
the proceedings of Agapetus and Sylverius against that heretic 
were legal, and that therefore their acts were by no means to 
be made void by him. Theodora being hereat enraged, with 
the assistance of some of her creatures at Rome, causes Vigilius 
to be impleaded upon two accusations : one, that he had 
fraudulently procured the banishment of Sylverius ; the other, 
that by his order a certain youth had been beaten to death by 
his nephew Vigilius, son of Asterius, the consul. And that he 
might not escape with impunity she sends one Anthemius to 
Rome, with instructions to bring Vigilius by force to her, if he 

Vigilius I. 129 

refused to make his appearance. He, coming to Rome, in 
pursuance of his commission, seized the bishop in the church 
of St Cecilia, as he was, according to custom, distributing gifts 
to the people upon his birthday; and being assisted by some 
Romans, conveys him to Constantinople. It is said that at 
Vigilius's passage down the River Tiber, the people followed 
him with curses, pelting him with sticks and stones, and par- 
ticularly using this exprobration, " Mischievous hast thou been 
to the city of Rome, and may mischief go along with thee." 
Being arrived at Sicily, by the permission of those who had him 
in custody, he ordained several persons, and among them Am- 
pliatus a priest, and Valentinus a bishop, who were to have the 
inspection of the clergy and Church of Rome in his absence. 
Coming near Constantinople, Justinian with a great retinue 
went out to meet him, and they both entered the city together, 
the clergy going before them, as far as the temple of St Sophia. 
Theodora had now opportunity to tamper with Vigilius, and 
persuade him to the performance of his promise. But he told 
her that he had rather suffer the greatest punishment in the 
world than change his resolution in the case. She, therefore, 
and her attendants, beginning to menace him, and he saying 
that he was come to a Diocletian, not as he thought to Jus- 
tinian, was thereupon so roughly handled and beaten that 
it almost cost him his life. And flying from their rage to the 
church of St Euphemia, not far distant, he was from thence 
dragged by certain rude people, who put a halter about his 
neck, and led him like a common rogue publicly through the 
city till the evening. After this he was imprisoned, and forced 
for some time to live upon nothing but bread and water, which 
yet he bore with so much patience and temper, that he would 
often say that he had deserved worse than all this, and was not 
yet punished according to his demerits. Those of the clergy 
who had accompanied him from Rome were some of them 
banished, others condemned to dig in the mines. But at the 
request of the Romans, who had now a better opinion of him, 
and upon the importunity of Narses, whom Justinian had sent 
to Rome to oppose the Goths, Vigilius, and all the others who 
were confined, had liberty granted them to return into Italy. 
But in their passage thither, being come as far as Syracuse in 
Sicily, Vigilius, who had outlived so many calamities and 
troubles, died there of the stone, and his body was carried to 
Rome, and buried in the church of St Marcellus, in the Via 


1 30 The Lives of the Popes. 

Salaria. He lived in the pontificate at Rome and elsewhere 
seventeen years, six months, twenty-six days ; and by his death 
the see was vacant three months, five days. 

P E L A G I U S I. 

A.D. 555-560. 

PELAGIUS, a Roman, lived in the time when Totilas, King 
of the Goths, advancing with a great army from Treviso, 
overran and spoiled Italy in such a manner, that from his sa 
vage cruelty he was called God's Scourge. Coming as far as 
Mount Cassino, in his way to Campania, though he were in 
the habit of a common soldier, yet he was discovered by St 
Benedict, who spared not by threatening of Divine vengeance 
to terrify him from raging so furiously against the Christians. 
Moving thence towards Abruzzo he dismantled Beneventum, 
besieged Naples, took Cumse, where yet he exercised an ex- 
traordinary respect and civility towards the Roman women 
whom he found in it, permitting them to go to Rome to their 
friends without any violence or rudeness offered to them. After 
this having taken Naples, and made himself master of all that 
part of Italy which lies towards Sicily, he marches to Rome ; 
and having first seized the port, by which supplies should come 
to the city, he reduced them to such extremity for want of pro- 
visions, that some were forced to feed upon man's flesh. At 
length, forcing his entrance at the gate which leads to Ostia, he 
possessed himself of the city, which, having plundered, he set 
on fire. Some tell us that Totilas designed to save the build- 
ings of the city, and sent messengers about by night to publish 
his pleasure in that particular, but his orders therein were not 
obeyed. Justinian having intelligence of these proceedings, 
speedily despatches Narses, the eunuch, with a great army into 
Italy. It is said that this Narses was at first a bookseller, but 
being advanced to an office near the Emperor's person, 
Justinian, finding him to be a man of great merit, raised him 
to the dignity of a patrician. And, indeed, in all the accom- 
plishments of religion, and virtue, and clemency, and generos- 
ity, and sweetness of temper, he was a most exemplary and 
extraordinary person. Narses, with the addition of some auxili- 
ary forces from Alboinus, King of the Lombards, advances 

Pelagius I. 131 

against the Goths, routes them, and makes a great slaughter in 
the pursuit of them. Totilas lost his life ingloriously at Bris- 
sillo, and Theias, who was chosen king in his stead, though he 
behaved himself bravely, yet was slain by Narses not far from 
Nocera. And thus both the name and power of the Goths 
were extinct together, in the seventy-second year after that 
their King Theodoric first entered Italy. Not long after died 
Justinian, in the fortieth year of his reign ; a prince worthy to 
have his memory perpetuated to all posterity, and who, accord- 
ing to the custom of preceding emperors, deserves the addi- 
tional titles of Alemanicus, Gotthicus, Vandalicus, Persicus, 
Africanus, though he only advised, but did not act, in the suc- 
cessful expeditions made against those nations. 

Pelagius, in the midst of these disturbances not neglecting 
the affairs of the Church, ordained that heretics and schis- 
matics might be suppressed by the secular power, when they 
would not be reclaimed by reason and argument. Being 
accused that he was the occasion of the calamities that befell 
Vigilius, as having a greater interest with Justinian than 
Vigilius had, in the sight of the clergy and people, he laid 
his hand upon the Cross and the Gospel, and by a solemn 
oath purged himself from that charge. Narses, coming to 
Rome, made a procession from the church of St Pancras to 
St Peter's, with thanksgiving for his late success ; and set him- 
self with all possible application to repair the damage which 
the city had received by the Goths. In conjunction with 
Pelagius, he ordained that no person should be admitted to 
any holy orders or ecclesiastical dignity by the way of canvass- 
ing or bribery. Pelagius, making his notary, Valentinus, a 
very religious person, treasurer of the Church, begins the build- 
ing of the church of St Philip and St James. Some tell us 
that the learned monk, Cassiodorus, who had been first consul, 
then a senator, and afterwards renouncing all human greatness, 
embraced a monastic life, lived to this time ; and that Victor, 
Bishop of Capua, now wrote a book concerning Easter, in 
which he particularly discovered the mistakes of Dionysius, 
the Roman abbot, who had, with little care and skill, com 
posed a Paschal Cycle. Moreover, Sabinus, Bishop of Canosa, 
and Gregory, Bishop of Langres, and Vedastus, a scholar ol 
St Remigius, and Bishop of Arras, were ornaments to the Pon- 
tificate of Pelagius ; and Herculanus, Bishop of Perugia, who 
had been put to death by Totilas, was canonised. Pelagius, 

E 2 

132 The Lives of the Popes, 

having at two Decembrian ordinations made twenty-six pres- 
byters, eleven deacons, thirty-nine bishops, died, and was 
buried in St Peter's. He was in the chair five years, ten 
months, twenty-eight days. The see was then vacant twenty- 
six days. 


A.D. 560-573. 

JOHN the Third, the son of Anastasius, descended of a noble 
family, lived in the time of Justin, who succeeded Jus- 
tinian, but was in nothing like him. For he was covetous, 
lewd, rapacious, a contemner of God and men to such a 
degree, that his vices made him frantic; so that his wife 
Sophia managed all affairs till the time of Tiberius the 
Second. This woman, being prompted thereto by some 
envious persons who hated Narses, recalls him out of Italy in 
these reproachful words, " That she would have the eunuch 
come home and spin." This he very highly resenting, as well 
he might, returns answer, " That he would spin such a web, 
as none of his enemies should ever be able to unweave." 
And he was as good as his word ; for he presently sends and 
invites Alboinus, King of the Lombards, with all his people, 
then possessed of Pannonia, to come and seat themselves in 
the more plentiful country of Italy. Alboinus, complying 
with the proposal of Narses, and entering Italy with a vast 
number of men with their wives and children, first possesses 
himself of Friuli and Marca Trivigiana j thence passing into 
Insubria, he takes and sacks Milan, and at length makes him- 
self master of Pavia, after it had held out a siege of three 
years. Being thus flushed with victory, he goes to Verona, 
which he constitutes the capital city of his kingdom, where, 
being once at an entertainment over-heated with wine, he 
compelled his wife, Rosamund, to drink out of a cup which he 
had made out of her own father's skull, whom he himself had 
slain. Now, there was in Alboinus's army one Helmechild, 
a very handsome young gentleman, and an excellent soldier ; 
and who was Rosamund's particular favourite. Him she dis- 
courses privately, and by proposing to him the hopes of suc- 
ceeding in the kingdom, prevailed with him to murder 

John III. 133 

Alboinus. But they were both so hated for the fact by the 
Lombards, that they not only failed of their hopes, but were 
glad to fly for protection to Longinus, the Exarch of Ravenna, 
where, not long after, they poisoned each other, and died 
together. At this time Italy, by reason of the incursions 
which the barbarous nations made into it, was in a very cal- 
amitous state, which had been portended by prodigies and 
apparitions of flaming armies in the air, and also by an ex- 
traordinary inundation of the river Tiber, which had very 
much damaged the city of Rome. 

In the meantime our John repaired the cemeteries of the 
saints, and finished the church of St Philip and St James 
which had been begun by Vigilius, and drew Narses, who had 
been an avowed enemy to the Romans for their ill opinion of 
him and their misrepresenting him to the Empress Sophia, 
from Naples to Rome, where he not long after died, and his 
body was conveyed in a coffin of lead to Constantinople. In 
such a confusion of things, the State of Italy must needs cer- 
tainly have been utterly ruined, if some eminently holy men 
had not supported and propped up the tottering nation. 
Among others, Paul, Patriarch of Aquileia, and Felix, Bishop 
of Treviso, interceded successfully with Alboinus, when he 
first entered Italy, in the behalf of the inhabitants. Moreover, 
Fortunatus, a person of extraordinary learning and eloquence, 
very much civilised and polished the Gauls by his books and 
example, compiling a treatise of government, inscribed to 
their king, Childebert, and writing in an elegant style the "Life 
of St Martin." Some write that at this time lived Germanus, 
Bishop of Paris, a person of wonderful piety, who kept the 
kings of France within the bound's of their duty to such a 
degree, that each strove to excel the other in religion and 
piety, in goodness and clemency. So prevalent is the example 
of a good pastor, such an one as Germanus was, in whom they 
saw nothing but what was worthy of their imitation. After 
this one further remark, — that in our John's time, the Armen- 
ians were converted to Christianity, — I shall say no more of 
him, but that having been in the chair twelve years, eleven 
months, twenty-six days, he died, and was buried in St Peter's. 
Upon his death the see was vacant ten months and three days. 

1 34 The Lives of tJie Popes. 


A.D. 574-578. 

BENEDICT, a Roman, the son of Boniface, lived in the 
time of Tiberius the Second, whom Justin had adopted, 
and appointed his heir to the empire — an honour which he well 
deserved, as being a person adorned with all the princely 
accomplishments of clemency, justice, piety, religion, wisdom, 
resolution, and unshaken fortitude. Among his other virtues 
he was eminent for his bounty and liberality towards all, 
especially the poor, and God supplied him in an extraordinary 
manner for it. For walking once hastily in his palace, and 
spying the figure of the cross upon one of the marble stones 
in the pavement, that it might not be trampled under foot, he 
devoutly caused it to be removed from thence, and laid up in 
a more decent and honourable place. At its taking up there was 
found under it another stone with the same figure on it, and 
then a third, under which he discovered such a vast heap of gold 
and silver as was requisite to furnish and maintain his large 
bounty, a great part of which treasure he distributed to the 
poor. It is said also that he had brought to him out of Italy 
a great estate which Narses had got there, which in like man- 
ner he employed in liberality and munificence. To Childe- 
bert, the French king, who had sent ambassadors to him, 
besides the other presents that he made, which were very con- 
siderable, he sent certain medals of gold, of very great weight, 
on the one side of which were the effigies of the Emperor, with 
this inscription, " Tiberii Constantini perpetuo Augusti ; " on 
the other side was a chariot with its driver, and this inscrip- 
tion, " Romanorum Gloria." And to complete his successes, 
the army which he had sent against the Persians, returning 
victoriously, brought away with twenty elephants so vast a 
booty as no army had ever done in any expedition before. 
Thus signally was he rewarded for his good services to man- 
kind in general, for his religion towards God our Saviour, 
and for his beneficence, particularly to the people of Rome, 
whom he not only protected and defended from their enemies 
as much as could be by his arms, but also at the prayers and 
intercession of our bishop, Benedict, whom he had a wonder- 
ful love and esteem for, he delivered them from dearth and 
famine by sending a supply of com out of Egypt. For 

Pelagius II 1 35 

the Lombards, by a long and tedious war, had so harassed 
Italy far and wide that from their devastations there arose a 
great want and scarcity of all things. While things went thus 
in Italy, John, Bishop of Constantinople, by reading, disputing, 
writing, admonishing, and teaching, kept the Oriental Church as 
much as might be right in the faith, though he met with many 
opposers therein. The same did also the equally learned 
and eloquent Leander, Bishop of Toledo, or as others think, 
of Seville, who wrote several treatises both to confirm the 
orthodox doctrine and to confute the Arian heresy, which, 
like a contagious pestilence, the Vandals, driven out of Africa by 
Belisarius, had brought with them into Spain. As for Benedict, 
some write that he, laying sadly to heart the calamities which 
now befel Rome and all Italy, died of grief, after he had been 
in the chair four years, one month, twenty-eight days. The 
see was then vacant two months, ten days. 


A.D. 578-590. 

PELAGIUS, a Roman, son of Vinigildus, was from the 
time of Tiberius to that of his son-in-law, the Emperor 
Mauritius, to whom, though he were a Cappadocian, yet the 
empire was committed, upon the account of his great courage 
and ability in the management of affairs. At this time the 
Lombards having, after the death of Alboinus, for twenty 
years been governed by dukes, make Autharis their king, 
whom they also called Flavius, a name which was afterwards 
used by all the kings of Lombardy. But Mauritius, endeavour- 
ing to drive the Lombards out of Italy, hires Childebert, the 
French king, to engage in a war against them ; who forthwith 
raising a great army of Gauls and Germans, fights Autharis, 
but with great loss is discomfited. The Lombards being 
flushed and heightened by this victory, marched on as far as to 
the Straits of Sicily, possessing themselves all along of the 
cities of Italy, and at length besieging for a long time Rome 
itself, of which certainly they had made themselves masters, 
had they not been driven from its walls by the great rains 
which fell so violently and incessantly, and made such an 

136 The Lives of the Popes. 

inundation, that men looked upon it as a second Noah's 

This was the only cause why Pelagius was made Bishop of 
Rome without the consent of the Emperor, the city being so 
closely besieged that none could pass to know his pleasure 
therein. For at this time the Roman clergy's election of a 
bishop was not valid unless they had the Emperor's approba- 
tion. Hereupon Gregory, a deacon, a man of great piety and 
learning, was sent to Constantinople to appease the Emperor ; 
where, having effected what he came for, he neglected not to 
employ his time and parts, but both wrote books of morals 
upon Job, and also at a disputation in the presence of the 
Emperor himself, he so baffled Eutychius, Bishop of Con- 
stantinople, that he was forced to retract what he had written 
in a book of his concerning the Resurrection, in which he 
asserted that our bodies in that glory of the Resurrection 
should become more thin and subtle than the wind or air, and 
so not tangible. Which is contrary to that of our Saviour, 
" Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as 
you see Me have" (Luke xxiv.). As for Pelagius, having, at 
the request of the citizens of Rome, recalled Gregory, turned 
his father's house into an hospital for poor old men, and en- 
tirely built the cemetery of Hermes the martyr, and the church 
of Laurence the martyr, he died of the pestilence, which at 
that time was very epidemical throughout Europe, after he 
had been in the chair twelve years, two months, ten days, and 
was buried in St Peter's in the Vatican. The see was then 
vacant six months, twenty-eight days. 


A.D. 590-604. 

GREGORY, a Roman, son of Gordianus, one of the 
senatorian order, was against his will unanimously 
chosen Bishop of Rome, a.d. 590. Now because, as I have 
already said, the consent of the Emperor was required herein, 
he despatches messengers with letters, beseeching Mauritius 
that he would not suffer this election of the clergy and people 
of Rome to stand good. These letters were intercepted and 
torn by the city prefect, and others written, by which the 

Gregory I. the Great. 137 

Emperor was requested to confirm him who was by universal 
suffrage thus chosen. There could nothing be more pleasing 
and acceptable to the Emperor than the news of this choice, 
for the conversation of Gregory, while he was at Constan- 
tinople, had been very grateful to him, and moreover he had 
christened his son. Mauritius therefore speedily sends word 
back to Rome, that he did confirm the election of Gregory, 
and that in such a fluctuating state of things they should 
compel that holy man to undertake the government of the 
Church. He therefore, not consulting his own inclination, 
but the benefit of mankind, and the honour of God, which, 
as he was a most devout and religious man, he had ever pre- 
ferred before all other things, without any regard to riches, or 
pleasures, or ambition, or power, takes the burden of the 
pontificate upon him. And he behaved himself so well in it, 
that no one of his successors down to our times has been his 
equal, much less his superior, either for sanctity of life or for 
diligence in managing affairs, or for his learning and writings. 
He composed a book of the sacraments ; wrote commentaries 
upon Ezekiel, and, as T have already said, upon Job, and 
homilies upon the gospels ; four books in dialogue, and that 
which he called the " Pastoral," to John, Bishop of Ravenna, 
concerning the way of governing the Church. Moreover, he 
introduced several rites, and made several additions to the 
offices of the Roman Church ; and particularly he first in- 
stituted the greater Litanies or Processions, and appointed a 
great part of the Stations. 1 And that the good man might 
not in anything be wanting to the Church, he held in St 
Peter's a synod of twenty-four bishops, wherein he took away 
many things which might prove pernicious, and added many 
which might be beneficial to religion. He also sent into 
England, Augustine, Melitus, and John, and with these 
divers other monks, all persons of approved lives, by whose 
preaching the English were then first entirely converted to 
Christianity. By his means likewise the Goths returned to 
the union of the Catholic Church. We are told by some 
writers, that Gregory sent his dialogues concerning morals to 
1 Our author does not mention his labours for the emancipation of slaves, 
nor his great improvements in music, which have caused his name to be 
perpetuated till the present day in the title "Gregorian Chant." Nor does 
he allude to the unfavourable feature in the great Pontiffs life, his base 
praise of the Emperor Phocas for his brutality to his predecessor, Maurice. 

1 38 The Lives of the Popes. 

Theudelinda, Queen of the Lombards, by the reading of 
which she might smooth and polish the rugged temper of her 
husband, Autharis, and bring him to a better sense of religion 
and morality. She was an excellent lady, &nd a zealous 
Christian, and not only built the church of St John Baptist at 
Monza, a town ten miles distant from Milan, but also 
furnished it with vessels of gold, and liberally endowed it. 

It is said that at the time when Hermenigild was put to 
death by his father, Leovigild, King of the Goths, because he 
professed the Catholic faith, the seamless coat of Christ, which 
fell by lot to one of the soldiers, was found in the city Zaphat, 
laid up in a marble chest there; Thomas being then Bishop of 
Jerusalem, John Bishop of Constantinople, and Gregory Bishop 
of Antioch. In the meantime Mauritius, having in Tuscany 
and Terra di Lavoro, by his General, Romanus the Exarch, 
gained the better of the Lombards, who from a confidence 
grounded upon their former successes were now degenerated 
into all manner of vice, makes a law, that no person who had 
listed himself in the Roman army should be at liberty to 
withdraw and take upon him a religious life till either the war 
were ended or the man himself maimed or disabled. Gregory 
being moved hereat, admonishes him not to oppose the 
religion of that God by whose bounty he had been raised from 
a very mean condition to the highest degree of dignity. 
Moreover, John, Bishop of Constantinople, having in a synod 
which he held, procured himself to be styled the Ecumenical, 
i.e., universal bishop, and Mauritius hereupon requiring 
Gregory to yield obedience to John ; he, being a person of 
great courage and constancy, returns answer, that the power 
of binding and loosing was committed to Peter and his 
successors, not to the bishops of Constantinople, and there- 
fore warns him to desist from provoking the wrath of God 
against himself, by being too busy in sowing dissension in the 
Church. But Mauritius, not content with the mischief he had 
done already, recalls his soldiers who were in Italy, and 
encourages the Lombards to assault the Romans, without any 
regard to the league they had entered into with them. Here- 
upon Agilulphus, moving from Lombardy, and laying waste all 
Tuscany through which he passed, infests and very much 
annoys the city of Rome one whole year ; in which time 
Severus, Bishop of Aquileia, becoming heretical, was the 
occasion of many evils. For, after his death, the patriarchate 

Gregory I. the Great. 139 

of Aquileia was divided into two : Agilulphus, King of the 
Lombards, constituting John of Aquileia, and our Gregory, 
Candianus of Grado, bishops to the people of Friuli. But 
Agilulphus, quitting all hopes of gaining the city, raises the 
siege, and returns to Milan. Mauritius now began to treat 
Gregory more respectfully, but it proceeded not from a 
voluntary but forced repentance; he having heard that a 
certain person in the habit of a monk, with a drawn sword in 
his hand, had proclaimed aloud in the market-place of Con- 
stantinople, that the Emperor should in a short time die by 
the sword. The same was confirmed to him by a dream of 
his own, in which he saw himself, his empress, and their 
children murdered. And accordingly, not long after, the 
soldiers, being discontented for want of pay, create Phocas, 
who was a centurion in the army, emperor, and assassinate 
Mauritius, in the nineteenth year of his reign. But Gregory, 
having added what ornaments he could to the churches in 
Rome, and dedicated by the name of St Agatha the martyr, 
the church of the Goths in Suburra, built by Fl. Ricimerius, 
a man of consular dignity, converted his father's house into a 
monastery, wherein he received and entertained strangers, 
and supplied with meat and drink the poor which from 
all parts flocked to it. He was certainly a person every 
way praiseworthy, whether we regard his life and con- 
versation, or his learning, or his abilities in things both 
divine and human. Nor ought we to suffer him to be 
censured by a few ignorant men, as if the ancient stately 
buildings were demolished by his order, upon this pretence 
which they make for him, lest strangers coming out of 
devotion to Rome should less regard the consecrated places, 
and spend all their gaze upon triumphal arches and monu- 
ments of antiquity. No such reproach can justly be fastened 
upon this great bishop, especially considering that he was a 
native of the city, and one to whom, next after God, his 
country was most dear, even above his life. It is certain that 
many of those ruined structures were devoured by time, and 
many might, as we daily see, be pulled down to build new 
houses ; and for the rest, it is probable that for the sake of 
the brass used in the concavity of the arches, and the 
conjunctures of the marble or other square stones, they 
might be battered and defaced not only by the barbarous 
nations, but by the Romans too, if Epirotes, Dalmatians, 

140 The Lives of the Popes. 

Pannonians, and other sorry people, who from all parts of the 
world resorted hither, may be called Romans. Now, Gregory 
having used all means to establish the Church of God, died in 
the second year of the Emperor Phocas, having been in the 
chair thirteen years, six months, ten days ; and, the loss of 
him being lamented by all men, was buried in St Peter's, 
March 12. By his death the see was vacant five months, 
nineteen days. 


A.D. 604-606. 

SABINIAN, Gregory's successor, deserved not to have 
the place of his nativity remembered, being a person of 
mean birth and meaner reputation, and one who violently 
opposed the great things which his predecessor had done. 
Particularly, there being a great scarcity during his pontificate, 
and the poor pressing him hard to imitate the pious charity of 
Gregory, he made them no other answer but this, that Gregory 
was a man who designed to make himself popular, and to that 
end had profusely wasted the revenues of the Church. Nay, 
the ill-natured wretch arrived to such a degree of rage and 
envy against Gregory, that he was within a very little of 
causing his books to be burned. Some tell us that Sabinian 
was, at the instigation of some Romans, thus highly incensed 
against Gregory because he had mutilated and thrown down 
the statues of the ancients which had been set up throughout 
the city ; but this is a charge as dissonant from truth as that 
of his demolishing the old fabrics, concerning which we have 
spoken in his life ; and considering the antiquity of these 1 " 
statues, and the casualties which might befall them, and the 
designs which men's covetousness or curiosity might have 
upon them, it is fairly probable that they might be mangled or 
lost, without Gregory's being at all concerned therein. But to 
go on with Sabinian, it was he who instituted the distinction 
of canonical hours for prayer in the church, and who ordained 
that tapers should be kept continually burning, especially in 
the church of St Peter. Some tell us that, with the consent 
of Phocas, a peace was now made with the Lombards, and 
their king Agilulphus's daughter who had been taken captive 

Boniface HI 141 

in the war, restored to him. At this time appeared divers 
prodigies portending the calamities which ensued. A bright 
comet was seen in the air ; at Constantinople a child was 
born with four feet ; and at the Island Delos were seen two 
sea-monsters in human shape. Some write that in the ponti- 
ficate of Sabinian, John, Patriarch of Alexandria, and Latin- 
ianus, Bishop of Carthage, both persons famous for piety and 
learning, did wonderfully improve the dignity of those 
churches. Moreover, Severus, a very learned man and an 
intimate friend of Latinianus, wrote very much against 
Vincent, Bishop of Saragossa, who had fallen off to the Arian 
heresy ; he also wrote to his sister a book concerning 
virginity, entitled " Aureolus." But Sabinian, having been in 
the chair one year, five months, nine days, died, and was 
buried in the church of St Peter. By his death the see was 
vacant eleven months, twenty-six days. 


A.D. 607-608. 

BONIFACE the Third, a Roman, with much ado obtained 
of the Emperor Phocas, that the see of St Peter the 
apostle should by all be acknowledged and styled the head of 
all the churches \ a title which had been stickled for by the 
Church of Constantinople, through the encouragement of 
some former princes, who asserted that the supremacy ought 
to reside there, where the seat of the empire was. But the 
Roman bishops alleged that Rome, of which Constantinople 
was but a colony, ought to be accounted the chief city of the 
empire, since the Greeks themselves in their writings styled 
their prince ruv 'Pw/Adt/wv 'Auroxpdropa — i.e., the Emperor of 
the Romans ; and the Constantinopolitans, even in that age, 
were called Romans, not Greeks. Not to mention that 
Peter, the chief of the apostles, bequeathed the keys of the 
kingdom of heaven to his successors, the bishops of Rome, 
and left the power which God had given him not to Con- 
stantinople, but to Rome. This only I say, that several 
princes, and particularly Constantine, had granted to the 
Roman see only, the privilege of calling and dissolving 
councils, and of rejecting or confirming their decrees. And 

142 The Lives of the Popes. 

does not a Church which has with so much integrity and 
constancy baffled and exploded all manner of heresies, as the 
Roman see hath done, deserve, think you, the preference of 
others? The same Boniface, in a synod of seventy-two 
bishops, thirty presbyters, and three deacons, ordained that, 
upon pain of excommunication, no person should succeed in 
the place of any deceased pope or other bishop till at least 
the third day after the death of his predecessor; and that 
whoever should by bribes, or by making of parties and 
interests, endeavour to raise themselves to the popedom 
or any other bishopric should undergo the same penalty. 
He decreed likewise that the choice of any bishop should be 
by the clergy and people, and that the election should then 
stand good when it were approved by the civil magistrate, 
and when the pope had interposed his authority in these 
words, " We will and command," — an institution in part 
very necessary, for our times especially, so many corruptions 
daily creeping in. For it is probable that, the election being 
free, the clergy and people will choose, and the magistrate 
approve of no other than such an one as deserves and is fit 
to be governor in the Church. Though (if I may speak it 
without offence to any that are good) the truth is, multitudes 
do now aspire to the dignity of bishops, not as they ought 
to do for the sake of the public good, but that they may 
satisfy their own covetousness and ambition. For the great 
question is, what any bishopric is worth — not how great a 
flock there is to take the charge of. But enough of this : 
I return to Boniface, whose decrees, as it appears, were ex- 
tinct with his life. He died in the ninth month of his ponti- 
ficate, and was buried in the church of St Peter. The see 
was then vacant one month, six days. 


A.D 608-615. 

BONIFACE the Fourth, born in Valeria, a city of the 
Marsi, the son of John a physician, obtained of the 
Emperor Phocas, the Pantheon, a temple so called because it 
was dedicated to Cybele and all the gods, and having cast out 
all the heathen images that were in it, he consecrated it on 

Boniface IV. 143 

May the 12 th, in honour of the blessed Virgin and all the 
martyrs ; whereupon it was afterwards called St Maria 
Rotunda, and Virgo ad Martyres. 

At this time the Persians, under the conduct of their king, 
Chosroes, making an irruption into the Roman provinces, 
and having routed Phocas's army, possess themselves of 
Jerusalem, profane and pillage the churches of the Chris- 
tians, carry away the wood of our Saviour's cross, and take 
captive Zacharias, the holy patriarch of that city. Hereupon 
Phocas, falling into contempt with all men, but especially the 
senate, was deprived of his empire and life by Heraclius, 
general of the forces and governor of the provinces of Africa. 
Now also Caganus, King of the Avares, forcing his entrance 
through Pannonia and Illyricum into Italy, was so much too 
hard for the Lombards, that he was very near making himself 
master of the province itself, and through the treachery of 
Romilda, who was enamoured of him, he did actually take 
Friuli, and sacked it in such a manner that scarce any foot- 
steps of it were left remaining. While things went thus in 
Italy, John, Bishop of Girone, proved a great defence to 
Christianity, both by his preaching and writings. He, being a 
Goth, born at Portugal, so soon as he came to the years of 
discretion travelled to Constantinople, and parted thence so 
well skilled in Greek and Latin learning that, at his return 
into Portugal, he was able easily to baffle the Arian heresy 
which very much prevailed there. For this reason he was by 
the heretics confined in Barcelona. But afterwards, upon the 
death of King Lemungildus, who countenanced those heretics, 
he came back into his own country, and both wrote very 
much concerning the Christian religion, and also founded a 
monastery, and prescribed rules of living, which the monks 
thereof were to guide themselves by. Eutropius, also Bishop 
of Valentia, was now by his learning and example very instru- 
mental to keep the Spaniards sound in the faith. Moreover, 
Columbanus, an abbot, a very holy man, by descent a Goth, 
coming first out of Scotland into Burgundy, built there the 
stately monastery of Luxeui] ; and thence passing into Italy, 
built another fair one at Bobbio. Pope Boniface, that he 
might not be behindhand in this matter with either of them, 
converted his father's house into a monastery, and gave his 
estate for the maintenance of the monks in it. But not long 
after he died, having been the chair six years, eight months, 

144 The Lives of the Popes. 

seventeen days, and was buried in the church of St Peter, in 
a time of dearth, pestilence, and great inundation of waters. 
By his death the see was vacant seven months, twenty-five 



A.D. 615-618. 

EUS-DEDIT, a Roman, son of Stephen a sub-deacon, 
being unanimously chosen to the pontificate, proved a 
great lover and encourager of the clergy. It is reported that 
he was a person of so great sanctity, that meeting with a man 
who had a leprosy, he cured him of that disease with a kiss. 
He ordained that the son should not marry any woman to 
whom his father had been godfather. 

At this time Heraclius with a great army recovered several 
provinces which the Persians had possessed themselves of, 
dismounted and slew their general in a single combat, van- 
quished their king, Chosroes, and took his son prisoner, 
whom having first christened, he released and sent home 
again. Entering Persia, he took a strong tower in which 
Chosroes's treasure lay, part of which he distributed among 
his soldiers, and assigned another part for the repairing of 
the churches which the Persians had pillaged and spoiled. 
Returning to Jerusalem with seven elephants loaded with 
other great booty, he brought along with him the cross of our 
blessed Saviour, which the Persians had taken away, and laid 
it up in the place where it was before. Those of the Persians 
whom he had taken prisoners, he suffered to return into their 
own country. After this, being arrived at Constantinople, 
and taking delight in study, he applied himself to astrology. 
But yet this great emperor, against all law both divine and 
human, married his own sister's daughter, and to add one 
crime to another, as is usual when men once become guilty, 
he falls off to the Eutychian heresy. This happened at the 
time when Anastasius, a Persian, being converted to Christi- 
anity, and having entered upon a monastic life, was seized by 
his own countrymen, and suffered martyrdom for the sake of 
his religion ; whose body was afterwards conveyed to Rome 
and deposited in the monastery of St Paul. It is said that at 

Boniface V. 145 

this time Sisebert, King of the Goths, reduced several cities 
of Spain which had revolted to the Romans, and that by tor- 
ment he forced all the Jews which he discovered in his king- 
dom to profess the belief of Christianity. This, it is reported, 
he did at the request of Heraclius, who had been forewarned 
to beware of the circumcised ; but yet afterwards, he being 
not sufficiently careful to prevent his fate, was crushed by the 
Saracens, who observed circumcision. Thus things went in 
the East, nor did the West want its assertors of the Christian 
faith. For Arnulphus, Bishop of Metz, by his piety and 
prudence, kept Dagobert, the French king, within the bounds 
of his duty ; being therein assisted by Amandus, an excellent 
person, and a vigorous defender of the Christian religion. 
Among the Spaniards, Isidore, Bishop of Seville, successor to 
Leander, wrote several things very beneficial to the state of 
Christianity ; particularly, of the Chief Good, of Famous Men, 
of Grammar and Etymology, a History from Adam to the 
times of Heraclius, the Lives of several saints, the History of 
the Lombards, and a short Cosmography. Some say that this 
Isidore was a German, though the Spaniards lay claim to him ; 
but whatever countryman he were, it is certain that he was a 
most excellent person, both for his great learning and his 
greater sanctity. 

As for Deus-dedit, the time of whose pontificate, besides 
what we have already mentioned, was rendered remarkable 
by an earthquake, and a scab so near approaching to a leprosy, 
that it deformed men beyond each other's knowledge, he died 
in the third year and twenty-third day of his being in the 
chair, and was buried in the church of St Peter, November 
the 8th. By his death the see was vacant one month, sixteen 


A.D. 618-625. 

BONIFACE the Fifth, a Campanian, his father's name John, 
was chosen Pope at the time when Eleutherius, a patri- 
cian, being sent by Heraclius to Rome, and having revenged 
the death of John, the late Exarch of Ravenna, usurped the 
kingdom of Italy. But on his way to Rome he was put to death 
by his own soldiers, and his head sent to Constantinople; 

146 The Lives of the Popes. 

upon which Isaac of Constantinople, another patrician, 
was made exarch in his stead. Theudelinda now, after the 
death of her husband Agilulphus, governing together with her 
son the kingdom of the Lombards very prudently and justly, 
maintained a peace between her people and the Italians for 
ten years together, made several presents and donations to 
several churches, and endowed them with lands for the better 
maintenance of the clergy belonging to them. In the twelfth 
year of Heraclius, Mahomet, an Arabian, as some will have 
him, or as others, a Persian, descended of a noble family, his 
father a Gentile, his mother a Jewess, was the author of so 
much mischief to the Christian state, that I am afraid lest his 
sect should utterly extinguish the remains of Christianity, 
especially in our age, wherein we are grown listless and 
inactive, and stand still tamely expecting our own ruin. His 
sect prevails and increases now more than ever ; all Asia and 
Africa, and a great part of Europe is subject to Mahometan 
princes ; the Turks press hard upon us by sea and land, that 
they may ferret us like coneys out of these burrows in Europe. 
In the meantime we sit idly, looking upon one another, as if 
the whole state of Christianity were not at all in danger. The 
clergy expect that so important and necessary a war should be 
undertaken by the laity. The laity expect that the clergy should 
expend their money to bear the charge of a war for the defence 
of religion, and not put it to worse uses, as most of them are 
wont to do, laying out their stock gotten by alms and martyrs' 
blood upon huge, large vessels of massive gold and silver, 
while themselves in the meantime carry it arrogantly towards 
men, are contemners of God, whom they serve only for gain, 
and are not at all solicitous for the time to come. But I 
return to Mahomet, a man of so wily a temper and so sharp 
a wit, that having long conversed among the Christians, and 
acquainted himself with all the sects that had been before 
him, he introduced a new kind of superstition, which has, 
as we see, almost rooted out Christianity. Moreover, having 
got together a great army of Arabians, he was so hardy as to 
encroach upon the borders of the Roman empire, but Heraclius 
soon put a stop to his motion, having by promises and bribes 
prevailed with his soldiers to make a revolt from him. 

As for Pope Boniface, he was a person of singular humanity, 
clemency, and obliging deportment towards all men, and 
neglected no part of the duty of a good bishop. He ordained, 

Honorius 1. 147 

that criminals who fled for refuge to churches, should not be 
taken thence by force ; that the acolythi should not meddle 
with the relics of the martyrs, that belonging to presbyters 
and sub-deacons ; and that in every place those who were 
guilty of sacrilege should be excommunicated. He built 
and dedicated the cemetery of St Nicomedes, and was in an 
extraordinary manner liberal and munificent towards those of 
the clergy who led exemplary lives. At this time Gallus, a 
scholar of St Columbanus, lived so devoutly, that he deserved 
to be canonised a saint even in his lifetime. Eustachius, the 
abbot, followed his example, and so did St Aurea, in honour 
to whom Eligius built a nunnery. It is said also, that at this 
time one Basilius was very famous for his life and learning, 
and in both equal to Isidore himself. Our Boniface having 
been in the chair seven years, ten days, died, and was buried 
in the church of St Peter. By his death the see was vacant 
thirteen days. 



A.D. 625-638. 

ONORIUS, a Campanian, son of Petronius, a man of 
consular dignity, entered upon the pontificate at the 
time when Theudelinda died, and her son Adalwaldus was 
deposed, Ariwaldus being made king in his stead. At which 
time Heraclius, who had been victorious over the Persians, 
was very urgent to have all the Jews who were subjects to the 
empire baptized. Hereupon the Saracens and Arabians 
taking up arms, a.d. 623, gained such a victory over Heraclius's 
army, that they rendered that successful man the most un- 
fortunate. This was done under the conduct of Mahomet, 
who pretending himself to be the great prophet of God, and 
deluding the Asians and Africans by magical arts, put such 
vigour into the people who embraced his new religion, that he 
was very near to have ruined the empire ; having taken 
Alexandria and several important cities of Syria and Cilicia. 
He had for his followers the Saracens, so called from Sarah, 1 

1 This is the derivation of the word adopted by mediaeval authors, but 
it is probably erroneous. It seems to be now agreed that the word is 
from Sharkeya (Arab.) : " eastern people," corrupted by the Greeks into 
Sarakenoi. — Ed. 

148 The Lives of the Popes. 

Abraham's lawful wife, as if they were the only legitimate suc- 
cessors and heirs of the Divine promise. The crafty man 
herein followed the example of Jeroboam, who prescribed 
distinct rules of worship to his tribes, that they might not be 
subject to the Jewish Government. The same also after- 
wards did the Greeks who dissented from the Catholics, not 
only for the sake of religion but empire, upon the score of 
which they followed the errors of the Nestorians, Jacobites, 
and Ebionites. But in the end their pertinacity reduced 
them to that pass, that their religion and government were 
dissolved together, and they brought into the vilest servitude. 
But Mahomet (as we see in the Koran), that he might separate 
his disciples as far as possible from Christianity, in composing 
his laws followed the example of several heretics, and especi- 
ally the Nestorians ; collecting here and there, and reducing 
into one body, many things repugnant to the law of Moses 
and the Gospel. It is said that at this time Heraclius, dis- 
trusting his own strength, struck up an inglorious peace with 
the Saracens, and that being imposed upon by the arts of 
Pyrrhus, patriarch of Constantinople, and Cyrus, bishop of 
Alexandria, he fell off to the heresy of the Monothelites, a 
sect so called from their asserting one Will only in Christ. 
But these seducers, at the instance of Honorius, who was very 
diligent to reclaim Heraclius, were afterwards banished. 1 
And Honorius having now some respite from other cares, by 
his learning and example proved a great reformer of the clergy. 
The church of St Peter he covered with brass taken out of the 
temple of Jupiter Capitolinus ; repaired that of St Agnes in 

1 Our author has passed lightly over a very awkward and difficult 
fact in the Papal history, namely, that Pope Honorius distinctly 
pronounced himself in favour of the Monothelite heresy, in his 
Edhesis, or "Exposition of the Faith," issued in 639. His successor, 
John IV., condemned it, and it was finally anathematised at the sixth 
General Council held at Constantinople in 680. The difficulty of re- 
conciling this fact with the Vatican decree (1870) of Papal infallibility is 
admitted by Roman writers. See Robertson's learned note (Ch. Hist., 
ii. 54), and a very candid discussion of the question in Addis and Arnold's 
"Catholic Dictionary," s. v. " Honorius." The writers, after discussing the 
various attempts which have been made to explain the discrepancy, come to 
the conclusion, though with a good deal of hesitation, that if Honorius 
had enforced his own belief on the Church and threatened excommuni- 
cation on those who rejected it, it would be impossible to reconcile this 
with the Vatican decree, but that as he did not do so, he cannot be held 
to have spoken ex cathedra. — Ed. 

Severinus /. 149 

the Via Nomentana, as appears by an inscription in verse 
therein, and likewise that of St Pancras in the Via Aurelia ; 
built those of St Anastasius, St Cymcus* seven miles from 
Rome in the Via Ostiensis, and St Severinus in Tivoli ; all 
which he made very stately, and adorned with gold, silver, 
porphyry, marble, and all manner of ornamental workmanship. 
He repaired also the cemetery of St Marcellinus and St Peter 
in the Via Labicana, and was at the charge of building other 
churches besides those before mentioned. Moreover, he 
ordained that every Saturday a procession with litanies should 
be made from St Apollinaris to St Peter's. But having been 
in the chair twelve years, eleven months, seventeen days, he 
died, and was buried in the church of St Peter, October the 
1 2th. By his death the see was vacant one year, seven 
months, eighteen days. 



A.D. 640. 

EVERINUS, a Roman, son of Labienus, being chosen in 
the place of Honorius deceased, was confirmed therein 
by Isaac, Exarch of Italy, the election of the clergy and 
people being at this time reckoned null and void without the 
assent of the emperors or their exarchs. Now Isaac having 
made a journey to Rome upon the occasion of confirming this 
Pope, that he might not lose his labour, fairly sets himself to 
plunder the Lateran treasury, being assisted in that attempt 
by several citizens, though he were resisted for a time, but in 
vain, by the clergy of that church, the principal of which he 
afterwards banished. The ground of this action was Isaac's 
resentment that the clergy alone should grow rich, without 
contributing to the charge of the wars, especially at a time 
when the soldiers were reduced to the greatest want and ex- 
tremity. Part of the spoil he distributed among the soldiers, 
part he carried away with him to Ravenna, and of the rest he 
made a present to the emperor. Those of the Saracens who 
had been listed by Heraclius being discontented for want 
of pay, marched into Syria, and made themselves masters of 
Damascus, a city subject to the empire. Then joining with 
the other Arabians, and being furnished with provisions and 

150 The L ives of the Popes, 

arms, and heated by Mahomet's zeal, they overran Phoenicia 
and Egypt, and put to the sword all those who refused to 
subscribe to their government and Mahomet's religion. Ad- 
vancing thence against the Persians, and having slain Hormisda, 
the Persian king, they ceased not to commit all manner of 
outrages upon that people, till they had entirely reduced them 
to subjection. But Heraclius, having intelligence of what 
work these Saracens made, especially upon their taking of 
Antioch, and fearing that they might possess themselves of 
Jerusalem itself (which they not long after did), took care to 
have the cross of our Saviour conveyed to Constantinople, 
that it might not again come into the hands of the Agarens 
(for so the Greeks in contempt call the Arabians, as descend- 
ing from Agar, Abraham's servant). Mahomet dying at Mecca 
in 632, was succeeded by rulers called Caliphs, i.e., successors. 
The first was Abu-bekr. The fourth, Ali, was disowned by 
some, and thus the Caliphate became divided. It is said also, 
that to complete the calamities of the Roman empire, Sisebert, 
king of the Goths, did at this time recover out of the hands 
of the Romans all the cities of Spain ; and so a period was 
put to the Roman government in that country. 

As for Severinus, who was a person of extraordinary piety 
and religion, a lover of the poor, kind to those in affliction, 
liberal to all, and in adorning of churches very munificent, 
having been in the chair two months, he died, and was buried 
in St Peter's Church, August the 2nd. The see was then 
vacant four months, twenty days. 


A.D. 640-642. 

JOHN the Fourth, a Dalmatian, son of Venantius, entering 
upon the pontificate, forthwith expressed a wonderful 
compassion, in employing the remainder of the treasury 
of the Church which Isaac had left behind him, for the 
redemption of a multitude of Istrians and Dalmatians who had 
been taken captive. In the meantime, Rhotaris, who suc- 
ceeded Ariwaldus in the kingdom of Lombardy, though he 
were a person eminent for iustice and piety, yet became a 

John IV. 151 

favourer of the Arians, and permitted that in every city of his 
kingdom there should be at the same time two bishops of 
equal authority, the one a Catholic, and the other an Arian. 
He was a prince of great parts, and reduced the laws, which 
memory and use alone had before retained, methodically in- 
to a book which he ordered to be called the Edict. His 
excellence in military skill appeared in that he made himself 
master of all Tuscany and Liguria, with the sea-coast as far as 
Marseilles. But in the sixth year of his reign he died, and 
left the kingdom to his son Rhodoaldus. It is reported that 
a certain priest entering by night into the church of St John 
Baptist, and there opening the tomb in which the body of 
Rhotaris lay, robbed it of all the things of value with which 
the bodies of kings are wont to be interred. Hereupon John 
Baptist, a saint to whom Rhotaris had been in his lifetime 
very much devoted, appeared to the priest, and threatened 
him with death if he ever entered his church again. The 
like happened even in our times to Cardinal Luigi, Patriarch 
of Aquileia, whose sepulchre was broken open and pillaged 
by those very men whom he himself had enriched and raised 
from a mean condition to the sacerdotal dignity. Rhodoaldus, 
entering upon the government of the kingdom, marries Gundi- 
berga, the daughter of Queen Theudelinda, who, imitating her 
mother's devotion, built and richly adorned a church in 
honour to St John Baptist at Terracina, in like manner as 
Theudelinda had done at Monza. But Rhodoaldus being 
taken in adultery, was slain by the husband of the adultress. 
Successor to him was Aribertus, son of Gudualdus, and 
brother^of Queen Theudelinda. He built our Saviour's chapel 
at Pavia, and very much beautified and plentifully endowed it. 
Pope John fearing now lest the bodies of Vincentius and 
Anastasius might sometime or other be violated by the bar- 
barous nations, took care to have them safely conveyed to 
Rome, and with great solemnity deposited them in the 
oratory of St John Baptist, near the baptistery of the Lateran. 
We are told that in his pontificate Vincentius, Bishop of 
Beauvais, and Muardus, Archbishop of Rheims, were in great 
esteem for their learning and sanctity. Moreover, Regin- 
ulpha, a French lady, was very eminent for piety, and 
Renaldus, Bishop of Trajetto, famous for his life and miracles. 
Jodocus also was not inferior to any of these, who though he 
were the son of a king of the Britons, yet despising worldly 

152 The Lives of the Popes. 

greatness, became for some time a hermit, and died at 
length in an obscure village. Pope John having been in the 
chair one year, nine months, nine days, died, and was buried 
in the church of St Peter, October the 12 th. The see was 
then vacant one month, thirteen days. 


A.D. 642-649. 

THEODORUS, a Grecian, son of Theodorus, a bishop, 
born at Jerusalem, was no sooner in the chair but he 
applied himself like a good bishop to all those things which 
he thought might tend to the advancement of the Christian 
religion ; being a person obliging to all men, but extraordi- 
narily bountiful to the poor. 

At this time Heraclius died of a dropsy in the thirtieth year 
of his reign, having a little before made Theodorus, surnamed 
Calliopa, his exarch in Italy, in the place of Plato deceased. 
Heraclius was succeeded by his son Constantine, who in the 
fourth month after his coming to the empire was poisoned by 
the procurement of his step-mother Martina and her son 
Heracleon, whom, it is said, Pyrrhus the patriarch prompted 
to commit that villany. Heracleon, upon the death of his 
brother, takes upon him the ■ government, at that time par- 
ticularly when Cyrus, Sergius, and Pyrrhus reviving the heresy 
of the Acephali, maintained the opinion of one only nature in 
Christ, one operation, and one will. Among these, Pyrrhus, 
hearing of the death of Heraclius, and being very desirous to 
return out of Africa, whither he had been banished, into his 
own country, coming to Rome and making a hypocritical 
retractation of his errors, was restored by Theodorus, and 
received from him a form of belief. But he lost his life before 
he could accomplish the end which he sought to compass by 
such ill means. For the senate and people of Constantinople, 
being acquainted with the cause of Constantine's death, first 
seized Martina and Heracleon, and having cut off his nose, 
and cut out her tongue, banished them both; then appre- 
hending Pyrrhus, who endeavoured to make his escape, they 
put him to death. Constantius, the son of Constantine who 
had been thus treacherously murdered, they create emperor ; 

Martinus L 1 53 

and instead of Pyrrhus make Paul their bishop ; whom yet 
Theodorus deprived for being in the like kind heretical, his 
pertinacity therein being favoured by Constantius, who was 
unadvisedly fallen into the same heresy. But the Pope laying 
aside this controversy, and applying himself to other cares, 
caused the bones of the martyrs Primus and Felicianus to be 
removed out of a sandy grotto in the Via Nomentana to Rome, 
where he deposited them in the church of St Stephen the 
proto-martyr, sparing no cost in ornaments both of silver and 
gold upon their tomb. He also built and adorned a church 
in the Via Flaminia, as likewise two oratories, one near the 
Lateran Church dedicated to St Sebastian, the other in the 
Via Ostiensis to Eupolus the martyr. Having finished these 
things, and been in the chair six years, five months, eighteen 
days, he died, and was buried in St Peter's, May the 14th. 
The see was then vacant fifty-two days. 


A.D. 649-655. 

MARTIN the First, born at Todi, son of Fabricius, 
succeeding Theodorus, forthwith despatches his legates 
to Constantinople, to admonish Paul to quit his errors, and 
at length to return into the way of truth. But he not only 
disobeyed the Pope's commands, but also, being countenanced 
therein by Constantius, offered great indignities to those leg- 
ates, and then banished them into several islands. Martin, 
highly resenting this usage, calls a synod of a hundred and five 
bishops at Rome, wherein he renews the condemnation of Cyrus 
of Alexandria, Sergius, and Pyrrhus, and excommunicates and 
deprives Paul the patriarch with the bitterest anathemas 
imaginable. . 

While these things were* transacting, the peace of Italy, 
which had lasted between the Romans and the Lombards 
thirty years, began now to be disturbed. For the Lombards 
took mightily upon them, and imposed such unjust conditions 
upon the Romans as they could not submit to ; particularly 
Rhotaris, being himself an Arian, and scarce any city over 
which he did not set up an Arian as well as a Catholic bishop. 
This was an evil which both Theodorus and Martin had often 

1 54 The Lives of the Popes. 

endeavoured to remedy, but in vain. For this reason, and also 
at the instance of Theodorus the exarch, a war was proclaimed 
with the Lombards, whereupon they take up arms, and near 
Scultenna, a river of Modena, a sharp engagement there was on 
both sides. But in the end Theodorus was vanquished and 
routed, and lost in the fight near seven thousand of his men. 
Rhotaris, being flushed with this victory, in a short time easily 
made himself master of all Liguria. Now Constantius, hoping 
that the change of his general might change his fortune too, 
recalls Theodorus, and sends Olympius, his exarch, into Italy, 
with instructions, both to propagate the sect of the Mono- 
thelites throughout Italy, and also either to put Pope Martin 
to death, or else to take care to have him sent prisoner to 
Constantinople. Olympius coming to Rome, where there had 
been already a synod held against this and other the errors 
of the Oriental Church, and finding that he could not disperse 
the contagion as he thought to do, sends one of his officers to 
seize Martin in the church of St Maria Maggiore, and either 
to bring him to him, or else to kill him if he refused and 
made resistance. The officer, being just ready to execute this 
order, was by miracle suddenly struck with blindness ; and 
so by Divine providence Martine escaped the danger. The 
Saracens taking heart upon this great dissension between the 
Eastern and Western Church, set sail from Alexandria with a 
great fleet, and arriving at Rhodes, and taking the city, they 
destroyed the famous and celebrated colossus there, with the 
brass of which it is said they loaded nine hundred camels ; this 
colossus being seventy feet high, the workmanship of Chares, 
the scholar of Lysippus. Afterwards having possessed them- 
selves of several islands in the Archipelago, and thence sailing 
to Sicily, they very much infested the inhabitants of that 
island. Hereupon Olympius, at the entreaty of Pope Martin, 
makes an expedition and forces them thence ; though not 
without the loss of many of his ships and men, and even that 
of his own life too, for he fell sick in Sicily, and died there. 
But Constantius, who was not in the least bettered by all these 
calamities, commands Theodorus Calliopa again into Italy, 
with express order that he should forthwith send Pope Martin 
bound to him ; and to assist him in that affair, he joins Paulus 
Pellarius with him, who was to take care to see it done. 
Theodorus, having been honourably received by the Romans, 
and going upon pretence of making a visit to the Pope, seizes 

Eugenius I. 155 

and puts him in fetters, and so sends him to Constantinople, 
from whence he was afterwards banished to the Chersonese, the 
place where Clemens Romanus had formerly been an exile. 
Now Martin, being thus compassed with calamities, and 
pinched with extreme want, at length dies in banishment, 
after he had been in the chair six years, one month, twenty- 
six days. And because it was long before there came certain 
intelligence of his death, the see was vacant fourteen months. 


A.D. 655-657. 

EUGENIUS, a Roman, son of Ruffinianus, succeeded 
Martin about the time that in the place of Paul the 
heretic, Peter was made patriarch of Constantinople, who, 
though he were a little more orthodox than Paul, yet did not 
in all things agree in doctrine with the Roman Church. His 
letters sent to Rome, in which he denied two operations and 
wills in Christ, were so exploded, that the clergy took upon 
them to interdict the Pope's celebrating mass in St Maria 
Maggiore, till he had first publicly declared his dislike of 

In the meantime, Grimoaldus, duke of Beneventum, leaving 
his son to govern at home, and marching with a great army 
into Lombardy, forced Pertheri and Gundibert, the two sons 
of Aribertus, to quit Pavia and Milan. Of which Clodoveus, 
the French king, having intelligence, he, out of compassion 
to the young princes, immediately sends a considerable force 
into Italy, to recover their right for them. Beyond the Po 
battle is joined, and the dispute managed very briskly on both 
sides, the young princes being eager to retrieve their paternal 
possessions, and he endeavouring as much to keep what he 
had gained by war. At length fortune inclined to Grimoaldus's 
side, and the French were routed, and driven out of Italy. 
We are told by some, that the French were out-witted by the 
enemy after this manner : the Lombards dissembled a flight, 
leaving their tents furnished with plenty of all manner of pro- 
visions, and especially of wine, but not far off they made 
a halt, watching their opportunity ; the French, entering their 
tents, and thinking they had been really fled, fall to feasting, 

1 56 The L ives of the Popes. 

and eat and drink to such excess, that the enemy coming upon 
them, and finding them dead asleep, and lying about like beasts, 
they made such a slaughter of them, that there was scarce 
one left alive to carry the news to Clodoveus. Grimoaldus, 
growing confident upon this victory, quickly makes himself 
master of the whole province. As for Pope Eugenius, who 
was a person of very great piety, religion, meekness, humanity, 
and munificence, having been in the chair two years, nine 
months, he died, and was buried in the church of St Peter, 
June the 2nd. The see was then vacant one month, twenty 
eight days. 


A.D. 657-672. 

VITALIANUS, born at Segna, a town of the Volsci, the 
son of Anastasius, entered upon the pontificate at the 
time when Cesarea, the Persian Queen, attended only with a 
few of her confidants, and without the knowledge of her 
husband, came to Constantinople in the year 663. She was 
very honourably received by the emperor, and not long after 
baptized, for the sake of which it was that she came thither. 
The Persian King, having intelligence hereof, forthwith sends 
ambassadors to Constantinople to demand his wife of the 
emperor. To them the emperor answered, that it was in the 
queen's choice to stay or go, and therefore they should enquire 
of her pleasure. The queen being asked, made answer, that 
she would never return into her country, unless the king would 
become a Christian. Who being acquainted herewith, comes 
forthwith in a peaceable manner with forty thousand men to 
Constantinople ; where, being received by the emperor with all 
expression of kindness, he, together with his soldiers, were 
baptized, and then he returned with his queen into his own 
kingdom. After this Constantius, having associated to himself 
in the government his son Constantine, and prepared a great 
fleet, setting sail from Constantinople, arrives at Tarentum, 
bringing with him in ships of burden a great force of land 
soldiers. From thence he advanced by land into Abruzzo, with 
design to besiege Beneventum. But understanding that that 
city was very strongly garrisoned, and plentifully furnished with 

Vitalianus I. 157 

provisions by the care of Rhomoaldus, he marched to Lucera, 
which he took, and plundered, and then levelled with the 
ground. Passing from hence to Acherontia, and not being 
able to make himself master of so well-fortified a place, he 
again attempts the siege of Beneventum, but soon raises it, 
upon intelligence that Grimoaldus would suddenly be there 
with a great army to assist his son Rhomoaldus. Hereupon 
Constantius, moving first towards Naples, though very much 
incommoded in his passage, and having left Saburrus, a Roman 
citizen, with twenty thousand men at Formiae to oppose the 
enemy, at length he comes to Rome, the Pope and clergy and 
people, in honour to him, going six miles out of the city to 
meet him. And being conducted through the city with great 
acclamations to the church of St Peter, he there made a very 
rich present. In the meantime Rhomoaldus, presuming upon 
the supplies he received from his father, joins battle with 
Saburrus, conquers him, and puts to the sword a great number 
of the Greeks. Constantius, being enraged and growing almost 
desperate upon this misfortune, on the fifth day after his 
entrance into the city, falls a-plundering, takes away all the 
statues of brass and marble set up in the principal parts of the 
city, and the rich ornaments of the churches, and lades his 
ships with them \ and in seven days did more damage to Rome 
than the barbarous nations had done before in two hundred 
and fifty-eight years ; so that ill men, ignorant of history, have 
no reason to say that the statues and monuments of antiquity 
were demolished by Pope Gregory's order. On the twel th 
day the vile and perfidious paltry Greek leaving Rome, with 
a vengeance to him, goes towards Naples, thence to Sicily, 
being so severe in his exaction of tribute wherever he came, 
as to take away children out of the embraces of their parents 
who could not pay him. But the covetous wretch, staying 
some time in Sicily, as he was bathing for pleasure at Syracuse, 
was slain ; and Mecezius, who is thought to have been the 
contriver of his death, was by the soldiers made emperor in 
his stead. This Constantius was a person of a strange variety 
and inconstancy of mind. For at first, hearing that Vitalianus 
was chosen Pope, he sent his ambassadors to congratulate 
him, and to make a present of the Gospels written in letters of 
gold and set with jewels, to St Peter. Whereas afterwards his 
mind being changed, he cast off all regard to God and man, 
and turned all things both Divine and human topsy-turvy, 

1 58 The Lives of the Popes. 

But Vitalianus, being intent upon sacred things, composed 
ecclesiastical canons, and regulated singing in the church, 
introducing organs to be used with the vocal music. He also 
sent, with ample power of binding and loosing, Theodorus, as 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and Adrian, an abbot, two very 
learned and pious men into England, that by their preaching 
and example they might keep that people steadfast in the faith, 
which the good men did what they could to perform. This 
Theodorus also wrote a book, showing by what penance 
every sin may be washed off; though some ascribe that work 
to Pope Theodorus. Now Vitalianus, having governed the 
Church as well as lay in his power fourteen years, six months, 
died, and was buried in St Peter's, January the 27th. The 
see was then vacant four months, fifteen days. 


A.D. 672-676. 

ADEODATUS, a Roman, son of Jovinian, was of a monk 
created Pope, at the time when Lupus, Duke of Friuli, 
endeavoured to possess himself of the kingdom of Italy. For 
Grimoaldus, being (as we have said) called by his son Rho- 
moaldus, Duke of Beneventum, to aid him against Constantius 
the emperor, at his departure commended his people to the 
care of Lupus, and so, according to the proverb, left the sheep 
to the keeping of the wolf. 1 For Lupus, taking the advantage 
of Grimoaldus's absence, involves all Tuscany, Romandiola, 
and a great part of Lombardy in tumult and confusion. Here- 
upon Grimoaldus, by gifts and promises, prevails with Coganus 
to advance with his Avares against Lupus ; which he did, and 
in the first engagement had the worst of it. But the next 
day, renewing the fight, he overcame and slew Lupus, and 
then sacked and laid waste all Friuli. Grimoaldus, upon 
Constantius's leaving Italy, returns into Lombardy, and in his 
way, on the Saturday before Easter, takes Forlimpopoli, puts 
all the inhabitants of it to the sword, plunders it, and then 
levels it to the ground, upon the score of an injury which 
he had received there from the people of Ravenna, in his 

1 The author's play upon the name of the tyrant, Lupus being the 
Latin word for a wolf. 

A deodatus 1. 1 59 

passage to the aid of his son. Now, Arnesites, the son of 
Lupus, being assisted by the Dalmatians, endeavoured to 
recover his father's dukedom ; but near the river Natisone, he 
was vanquished and slain by the Lombards. The inhabitants 
of Uderzo had a share in his misfortune, being forced to quit 
their country for having countenanced him in his pretensions. 
At this time Sicily also was in a bad condition ; for soldiers 
were sent thither out of all the provinces of Italy to make 
head against Mecezius, by whose treachery Constantius had 
been murdered — who, being overcome and slain, and the 
soldiers again dispersed, the Saracens, arriving with a great 
fleet, surprise Syracuse and possess themselves of the whole 
island. After some time they return to Alexandria loaded 
with spoil, and carry away with them those ornaments of the 
city of Rome which Constantius had brought to Syracuse 
with design to transmit them to Constantinople. These 
miseries and calamities had been portended by a comet which 
appeared three months together, by great rains and frequent 
thunders, such as had not been at any time known before. 
But such is the blindness of mankind, that though they be 
warned of future evils, yet they do not as they ought provide 
against them. It is reported that all the standing corn which 
had been lodged by the continued rains, grew yet up again, 
and came to maturity, especially in Lombardy. In the mean- 
time, Adeodatus, being a person of great piety and humanity, 
merciful towards offenders, bountiful to the poor, hospitable 
towards strangers, and compassionate towards all in calamity, 
repaired and dedicated the church of St Peter in the Via 
Portuensis. He also added to the building and revenues of 
the monastery of St Erasmus on Mons Ccelius, wherein him- 
self had been a monk. Moreover, he appointed frequent 
litanies upon the account of those prodigies which we have 
said appeared at that time. At length, having been in the 
chair four years, two months, five days, he died, and was, 
with general lamentation, buried in St Peter's, June the 26th. 
The see was then vacant four months, twenty days. 

160 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 676-678. 

DONUS, a Roman, son of Mauritius, was made Pope at 
the time when Grimoaldus, King of the Lombards, 
drawing a bow high to shoot at a pigeon, and thereby strain- 
ing his nerves and veins, though it were nine days after he had 
been let blood in the arm, yet thereupon it fell a-bleeding 
afresh, and could not be stanched till he died. There were in 
this king several excellent endowments both of body and mind. 
He was a person of great wisdom and prudence in all affairs, 
and added several things very useful to Rhotaris's edict, 
which afterwards received the form of a law. He was of a 
middle stature, strong constitution, had a bald head and long 
beard, and was every way fitted for action. He was buried at 
Pavia in the church of St Ambrose, which he had built at his 
own charge. Pertharis, son of King Aribertus, who, as we have 
said, had been deprived of his right by Grimoaldus, passing 
now during his exile out of France into Britain, was prompted 
by a voice which he knew not from whence it came, that 
Grimoaldus being dead, he should seek to recover his paternal 
inheritance. Encouraged by this voice, though the author of it 
were uncertain, he returned into Italy, and within three months 
after Grimoaldus's death became repossessed of his father's 
kingdom without any opposition. About the same time died 
Dagobert, the French king, a subtle and crafty prince, and 
who was equally fitted for counsel and action ; whose soul, 
when it had been carried by devils almost as far as the island 
of Lipara, is reported to have been delivered out of their 
clutches by Dennis and Maurice, the martyrs, and Martin the 
Confessor, saints for whom, as his patrons, he had all his life- 
time a great veneration, and had been very liberal in beautify- 
ing and enriching their churches. Now, Pope Donus, con- 
sulting the honour of the Church, paved the porch of St 
Peter's, called Paradise, with marble, which he took, as I sup- 
pose, from the pyramid over against Castel St Angelo. 
Moreover, he repaired and dedicated in the Via Ostiensis the 
church of the Apostles, and in the Via Appia that of St 
Euphemia. He also appointed the several degrees of honour 
and distance to be yielded to the several orders of the clergy. 
And discovering in the Boethian monastery a company of 

A gat ho I. 161 

Syrian monks, who were of the Nestorian heresy, them he 
censured and dispersed into divers other monasteries, assign- 
ing their own to Roman monks. By his eminent learning and 
piety, and through the submission of Theodorus, Bishop of 
Ravenna, he reduced to obedience to the apostolic see the 
Church of Ravenna, which had for a considerable time separ- 
ated itself from that of Rome, and upon that account had got 
the name of Allocephalis. Some tell us that in his time, Pro- 
jectus, a bishop, underwent the torment, and acquired the 
glory of martyrdom for the cause of Christianity; and that 
Mezelindis, a woman of incomparable chastity, being solicited 
by her lover Ardenius, and upon her not yielding to his 
desires, put to divers torments by him, yet prayed so fervently 
even for her persecutor, whom God, for this crime, had struck 
with blindness, that upon her prayers his sight was restored to 
him. Our Donus having been in the chair two years, ten 
days, died, and was buried in St Peter's, April the ioth. The 
see was then vacant two months, sixteen days. 



A.D. 678-682. 

GATHO, a Sicilian, was of a monk made Pope, a person 
of great piety, and who cured a leper whom he 
chanced to meet with, only by a kiss. He was a man of so 
obliging a temper, that no person went away sad out of his 
presence. And being so happy as to have a contemporary 
emperor like himself, he designed to hold a council 1 upon the 
account of the Monothelites. Only he waited the time till Con- 
stantine had returned from the war, who had vanquished the 
Saracens, and made them tributary to the Roman empire. 
But the Bulgarians advancing out of Scythia into Thrace, and 
the emperor endeavouring to put a check to their motion, he 
was with great loss routed between Hungary and Mcesia. 
Hereupon he found himself obliged to strike up a peace with 
them upon disadvantageous terms, permitting them to inhabit 
Hungary and Mcesia ; though that concession in the event 
proved a great benefit to the state of Christianity. For these 
are the men who for this seven hundred and seventy years 
1 680, Council in Trullo. 

1 62 The Lives of the Popes. 

since have maintained a continual war, and been the bulwark 
of Christendom against the Turks. Well, a peace being upon 
these conditions concluded, Pope Agatho sends to Constan- 
tinople his legates, John, Bishop of Porto, and John, a deacon 
of Rome. Constantine received them with all expressions 
of respect, and very affectionately advised them to lay aside 
all cavils and sophistical wranglings and controversies, and 
sincerely to endeavour to unite the two churches. There 
were present at this synod two hundred and eighty-nine 
bishops ; and by the command of the emperor there were 
brought out of the library of Constantinople those books, 
from whence the opinions and determinations of the ancients 
might be collected. Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople, 
and Macarius, Bishop of Antioch, perverting the sense of 
the Fathers, maintained only one will and operation in Christ. 
But the orthodox pressing hard with their reasons and autho- 
rities, they thereby reclaimed Gregory ; and Macarius adher- 
ing obstinately to his opinion, they excommunicated him and 
his followers, and made Theophanes, an orthodox abbot, 
Bishop of Antioch in his stead. This affair being thus suc- 
cessfully managed, that thanks might be returned to God for 
this union of the two churches in heart and mind, John, 
Bishop of Porto, on the octave of Easter, in the presence of 
the emperor, patriarch, and the people of Constantinople, in 
the Church of St Sophia, celebrates the Mass in Latin, all that 
were present approving that way, and condemning those that 
thought otherwise. This was the sixth general Council, con- 
sisting of two hundred and eighty-nine bishops, held at Con- 
stantinople, wherein, upon the authority of Cyril, Athanasius, 
Basil, Gregory, Dionysius, Hilary, Ambrose, Augustine, and 
Hierom, it was concluded that there were two wills and 
operations in Christ, and their pertinacity was exploded who 
asserted one will only, from whence they were called Mono- 
thelites. The first general Council of three hundred and 
eighteen bishops was, as we have already said, held at Nice, 
in the Pontificate of Julius and the reign of Constantine, 
against Arius, who asserted several substances in the Trinity. 
The second at Constantinople, of ah hundred and fifty bishops, 
in the reign of Gratian and the Pontificate of Damasus, against 
Macedonius and Eudoxus, who denied the Holy Ghost 
to be God. The third in Ephesus, of two hundred bishops, 
in the reign of Theodosius the Second, and the Pontificate of 

Leo II 163 

Celestine, against Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, who 
denied the Blessed Virgin to be the mother of God, and made 
Christ's humanity and divinity two persons, asserting sepa- 
rately one to be the Son of God, the other the son of man. 
The fourth at Chalcedon, a city over against Constantinople, 
of six hundred and thirty prelates, in the Pontificate of Leo 
and the reign of Martian, against Eutyches, abbot of Constan- 
tinople, who durst affirm that our Saviour, after His incarna- 
tion, had but one nature. The fifth at Constantinople, 
against Theodorus and all other heretics, who asserted the 
Virgin Mary to have brought forth man only, not God-man ; in 
which synod it was concluded, that the Blessed Virgin should 
be styled (dsoroxog, or the mother of God. Concerning the 
sixth synod we have spoken already, in which the letters of 
Damianus, Bishop of Pavia, and Mansuetus, Archbishop of 
Milan, were very prevalent ; the principal contents of them 
these, viz. : The true faith concerning Christ, God and Man, 
is, that we believe two wills and two operations in him ; our 
Saviour says with respect to His divinity, " I and My Father 
are one;" 1 but with relation to His humanity, "My Father 
is greater than I." 2 Moreover, as man He was found asleep 
in the ship ; as God He commanded the winds and the sea. 
As for our Agatho (in whose time, after two eclipses, one of 
the moon, another of the sun, there followed a grievous pesti- 
lence), having been in the chair two years, six months, fifteen 
days, he died, and was buried in St Peter's, January the 10th. 
The see was then vacant one year, five months. 



A.D. 682-683. 

EO the Second, a Sicilian, son of Paul, was, as appears 
by his writings, a person thoroughly learned in the 
Latin and Greek languages. Having also good skill in music, 
he composed notes upon the Psalms, and very much improved 
all church music. He ordained likewise, that at the celebra- 
tion of the mass, the pax should be given to the people. 
Moreover, he so vigorously maintained and asserted the sixth 
synod, of which we have spoken in the life of Agatho, that he 

1 John x. 30. 2 John xiv. 28. 

F 2 

164 The Lives of the Popes, 

excommunicated all those whom, in the presence of Constan- 
tine, that synod had condemned. He also repressed the 
pride of the bishops of Ravenna, a matter before attempted 
by Pope Agatho, and ordained that the election of the clergy 
of Ravenna should be invalid, unless it were confirmed by 
the authority of the Roman see ; whereas before, they presum- 
ing upon the power of their exarchs, managed all things 
arbitrarily, owning no subjection to any, but mating even the 
popes themselves. He likewise solemnly decreed, that no 
person promoted to the dignity of an archbishop should pay 
anything for the use of the pall, or upon any other score, a 
decree which I could wish it were observed at this day, seeing 
how many evils have arisen through bribery. While Leo was 
busied in these matters, Rhomoaldus, Duke of Beneventum, 
having raised a great army, possessed himself of Taranto, 
Brindisi, and all Apuglia, and his wife, Theodata, a devout 
lady, out of the spoils of the war, built a church in honour 
to St Peter, not far from Beneventum, and a nunnery. 
Rhomoaldus dying, was succeeded by his son, Grimoaldus, 
who deceasing without issue male, left the dukedom to his 
brother, Gisulphus. 

Our Leo, who besides his great learning and eloquence was 
also an extraordinary person for devotion and charity, and 
by his doctrine and example very much promoted justice, 
fortitude, clemency, and good will among all men, having 
been in the chair only ten months, died, and, June the 28th, 
was accompanied to his burial in the church of St Peter with 
the tears of all men, who deplored the loss of him as of a 
common father. After his death the see was vacant eleven 
months, twenty-one days. The time of his pontificate was 
short, but the reputation he gained therein so great, that 
one would think he had lived longer than he did, by the 
celebrated name which he had deservedly acquired in so 
little time. 


A.D. 683-685. 

BENEDICT the Second, a Roman, his father's name John, 
being from his youth brought up to the clergy, was so 
intent upon the study of holy writ, that he became an extra- 

Benedict II 1 65 

ordinary proficient in divinity. He was likewise a person of 
great compassion, charity, and good will towards all, especially 
the poor ; virtues by which he so won the hearts of men, that 
he was pitched upon as the only person who by general con- 
sent was fit to succeed in the place of Leo deceased. The 
Emperor Constantine, out of the veneration he had for this 
man's sanctity, sent him a decree, in which it was established 
that for the time to come he whom the clergy and people of 
Rome should choose Pope, should be forthwith acknowledged 
Christ's true vicar, without expecting the authority of the 
emperor or his exarchs, according to former usage, when the 
confirmation of the emperor or his vicegerent in Italy was 
necessary to the creation of a Pope. Pertheris, now king of 
the Lombards, in imitation of the religion and charity of 
Benedict, built a monastery in honour to St Agatha at Pavia ; 
and his wife, Rhodelinda, prompted by the example of her 
husband, built the church of St Mary ad Perticas without 
the walls of Pavia. This they did out of a principle of 
emulation, understanding that Pope Benedict had with vast 
expense repaired, beautified, and enriched the churches of 
St Peter at Rome, that of St Laurence in Lucina, that of St 
Valentine in the Via Flaminia, and that of St Mary ad 
Martyres. Pertheris had designed greater things of this 
nature, but he was diverted by Alalchis, Duke of Trent, who 
being puffed up by a great victory which he had gained over 
the Bavarians, turned his arms against his king. But Pertheris, 
raising an army, at the first engagement routs him, besieges 
Trent, whither he had fled for refuge, and though Alalchis 
had first made his escape thence by night, takes the city. 
However, Pertheris was a prince of so great clemency as to 
receive him again into favour upon his submission, and to 
make him Duke of Brescia. Some tell us that in Benedict's 
time an extraordinary star was seen near the Vergiliae several 
nights together in a clear sky between Christmas and Epiphany. 
I deny not but that a comet then appeared, and portended 
something; but its neighbourhood to this constellation is 
incoherent, unless we make that prodigious too. For the 
Vergiliae rise at the vernal equinox, when the sun enters the 
sign Aries, about the 24th of March, and begin to set at the 
autumnal equinox. But that out of Vesuvius, a mountain in 
Campania, so great a fire did at this time burst forth, that it 
burnt up all the places round about it, may seem less wonderful, 

1 66 The Lives of the Popes. 

considering that Pliny, the natural historian, leaving the ships 
which he commanded under Trajan, and approaching too 
near it out of curiosity to find out the causes of its burning, 
lost his life by that means. However, it is certain that not 
long after these things there followed slaughters, rapines, fires, 
the death of great men, and particularly of Pope Benedict, 
who, as he was universally beloved in his life-time, so after 
his death he was famous for his piety and the good offices he 
had done to mankind. He was in the chair only ten months, 
twelve days, and was buried in St Peter's, May the 15th. By 
his death the see was vacant two months, fifteen days. 


A.D. 685-686. 

JOHN the Fifth, by nation a Syrian, born at Antioch, his 
father's name Cyriacus, was created Pope about the time 
when the Emperor Constantine died, in the seventeenth 
year of his reign and left the Empire to his son Justinian the 
Second. The Saracens now invaded Lybia and Africa, and 
possessed themselves easily of all the places that lay towards 
the sea. But Justinian, having in some measure settled the 
affairs of his Empire and raised a competent army, advancing 
against these Saracens, struck such a terror into Abimelech, 
their chief, that without engaging, he sued for a peace, and was 
glad to restore all his conquests in Africa. And a peace, it is 
said by some, was granted them for ten years, but upon con- 
dition that they should pay a thousand pieces of gold, and 
a slave of their own nation on horseback every day to the- 
Emperor. At this time John, a person of great piety and good- 
ness, being by general suffrage chosen Pope in the Constan- 
tinian Church, was consecrated in the same manner with Leo 
the Second by the three Bishops of Ostia, Porto, and Veletri, 
a precedent which so obtained, that it was afterwards constantly 
practised. His pontificate was rendered remarkable by two 
extraordinary persons, Felix, the uncle of Flavianus, and John, 
Bishop of Bergamo, men of such eminent learning and sanc- 
tity, that they received from princes themselves marks of the 
highest respect and veneration. Pope John, who both before 

Conon L 167 

and during his pontificate was a sickly man, having written a 
book concerning the dignity of the pall, died in the first year 
after his coming to the chair, and was buried in St Peter's, 
August the 2nd. By his death the see was vacant two months, 
nineteen days. 


A.D. 686-687. 

CONON, by birth a Thracian, educated in Sicily, and 
thence entering into orders at Rome, was of a presbyter 
made Pope. For there happening a controversy about the 
election, the citizens being for Peter, an Archbishop, and the 
soldiers for one Theodorus, a priest, at length, after a long 
contention, both parties agreed in the choice of Conon. And 
indeed he did every way deserve so great a dignity ; being a 
man of great learning and very good life, pious and devout, of 
a comely person, and most venerable, or as some called it, 
angelical aspect ; of wonderful simplicity and sincerity, modesty 
and justice, resolution and prudence. For these excellent 
endowments of his all persons concerned with mighty acclama- 
tions of applause immediately confirmed his election ; as did 
also Theodorus, Exarch of Ravenna, who, being deceased, was 
not long after succeeded in the Exarchate by John Platina, 
whom I believe to have given the name to the place of my 
nativity, called Platina, within the territory of Cremona. For 
there being frequent wars between the exarchs and the kings 
of Lombardy, it is not improbable, considering that that place 
was situated almost in the midway between Ravenna and 
Pavia, one of which was the seat of the Lombard kings, the 
other of the exarchs, there might at some time be a battle 
fought or a camp pitched there, from whence we know that 
names are oftentimes given to places, as particularly in the 
same country there isVitelliana,a town so called from Vitellius's 
encamping there, and Bebrignano, not far from Babriacum, 
famous for the defeat which Otho there received. I return to 
Conon, who, presently after his entrance upon the pontificate, 
falling sick, Paschal, an archdeacon and manager of the 
church stock, endeavours to bribe John, the exarch, to pro- 
cure him to be chosen Pope upon the death of Conon. The 

1 68 The Lives oftlie Popes. 

exarch took the money, though he afterwards performed none 
of the promises he had made upon that account. And indeed 
such a covetous and ambitious wretch deserved to be frustrated 
in his designs, who made a bribe of that treasure of the 
Church, which, according to Conon's will, should have been 
laid out in relieving the poor and repairing of churches — a 
crime to be abhorred in all men, but most detestable in an 
ecclesiastic. Such a breach of trust would not have been com- 
mitted by Hubert, who was now a bishop in Bretagne, of great 
note for his learning and piety ; nor Leodegarius, the martyr 
bishop of Autun, who was put to death by Theodoric, King of 
France, for his frequent and free reproofs ; nor by Audoenus, 
Bishop of Rouen, a man who was second to none for knowledge 
and sanctity. These were men removed from ambition and 
avarice, fixing all their trust in God and religion, and gaining 
thereby reputation among men in this world, and eternal 
happiness from God in the other. As for Conon, having been 
in the chair only eleven months and three days, he died, and 
was buried in St Peter's, September the 21st. The see was 
then vacant two months, twenty-three days. 


A.D. 687-70I. 

SERGIUS, a Syrian, born at Antioch, son of Tiberius, 
coming to Rome in the time of Pope Adeodatus, was 
admitted into the number of the Roman clergy. Afterwards, 
through his industry and improvements in Divine knowledge, 
advancing gradually he was ordained parish priest of the 
Church of St Susanna. He thereupon beginning more and 
more to frequent the cemeteries, and there to perform sacred 
offices, by this means he gained so great a reputation, that 
upon the decease of Conon he was chosen his successor, 
though, indeed, after a long debate. For the people being 
divided into two parties, one stood up for Theodoras, and the 
other for Paschal, the archdeacon. Theodoras with his party 
had forced his entrance into the inner part of the Lateran 
palace; the outer, from the oratory of St Sylvester to the 
church of the house of Julia, was possessed by Paschal. But the 
contention and debate growing so high that every one thought 

Sergius /. 169 

they would come to blows, each party resolving not to give 
place to the other unless by force compelled thereunto, the 
principal citizens, clergy, and soldiery assembled together to 
consult what was best to be done to lay this tumult. At 
length, having duly considered the whole matter, and judging 
it not fit to commit the Popedom to either of those who, to 
satisfy their own ambition, had been the cause of so great 
disorders, by Divine direction they make choice of Sergius, 
without the least opposition, and taking him out of the midst 
of the crowd upon their shoulders, they carry him first into 
the oratory of St Caesarius the martyr, then into the Lateran 
Palace, breaking open the doors by force, and driving out 
those who were in it before. Theodorus seeing how all agreed 
in the choice, salutes Sergius by the name of Pope, and kisses 
him. Paschal, the other competitor, did the same, though 
sorely against his will, and being only awed thereunto by the 
armed multitude. For secretly and underhand he did by 
letters, messengers, and promises, so strongly solicit John, 
Exarch of Ravenna, to perform at length what he had pro- 
mised him for his money, that the said John comes forthwith 
to Rome, without sending any advice before, that so he might 
have the advantage of coming upon them unprovided, and 
while they were off their guard. But when he understood that 
Sergius was by universal consent declared Pope, and urged 
the performance of what Paschal had promised him, upon 
Sergius expressing a high dislike and detestation of any such 
bribery, he violently seizes and carries away several things of 
value from the church of St Peter. As for Paschal, the occa- 
sion of this mischief, he being accused and convicted of 
sorcery, was deprived of his archdeaconry, and for penance 
was confined to a monastery, wherein, after his having con- 
tinued obstinate for five years, he died. In the meantime 
Justinian, being strangely inconstant towards God and men, 
both attacks the Saracens and Bulgarians, contrary to the 
articles of peace he had concluded with them, from whom yet 
it is certain he received more damage than he did to them ; 
and also returning to Constantinople, being generally hated by 
the citizens for his not restraining the cruelty of the city 
prefect, he held a synod, wherein some decrees passed not 
agreeing with the orthodox faith ; which also Sergius's 
Apocrisiary, or Nuncio, then residing at Constantinople, very 
foolishly confirmed by his subscription. But these decrees 

170 The Lives of the Pope$. 

being afterwards brought to Rome, and there exploded by 
Sergius, who held that there were two natures in Christ, and 
that the Blessed Virgin was the mother of God, Justinian, en- 
raged thereat, sends Zacharias Protospatharius (which we may 
render the captain of the guards) to Rome, to bring Sergius 
bound to him, which, when the soldiers of the Exarchate of 
Italy understood, they immediately took up their arms, and 
not only defended the Pope from violence, but were very near 
having slain Zachary, had he not saved himself by flying for 
refuge to the Pope, who kept him for some time in his bed- 
chamber, and afterwards sent him back privately to the em- 
peror. While these things were transacted at Rome, Leontius, 
encouraged by Callinicus the patriarch, having excited the 
people of Constantinople to take up arms, and broke open all 
the prisons of the city, whereby multitudes of prisoners were 
set at liberty, deposes Justinian, and cutting off his nose, 
banishes him to the Chersonese of Pontus. Abimelech, 
Admiral of the Saracens, having intelligence hereof, and 
hoping to make his advantage of these tumults, presently 
invades Africa, whither Leontius, with all expedition, sends 
his army to check their motion. But not long after, a mutiny 
arising among the soldiers, they create one Tiberius, a citizen 
of Constantinople, Emperor, who, immediately returning with 
the army to Constantinople, seizes Leontius, and having re- 
taliated upon him what we have said he did to Justinian, throws 
him into prison, reserving him there for future greater igno- 
miny. Moreover, he banished Philip, the son of Nicephorus, 
a Patrician, and one who had been assistant to him in getting 
the Empire, only because he had told his companions how he 
dreamt that he saw an eagle covering his head with her wings, 
which Tiberius feared might be a presage of the young man's 
coming to the Empire. While things went thus at Constanti- 
nople, Pipin, Duke of Austrasia, laid the foundation of gaining 
the kingdom of France. For, understanding that one Ber- 
tarius, a mean fellow whom King Theodoric made use of as 
his chief minister, was generally hated by all people, he 
marches with a vast army into France, and being encountered 
in his passage by Theodoric and Bertarius, he engages in 
battle with them and defeats them. Bertarius saved himself by 
flight, but Theodoric retreating, by agreement upon a truce, 
constitutes the victorious Pipin mayor of the palace, and 
principal administrator of his kingdom. After this Pipin re- 

Sergius I. 171 

turned to Austrasia upon intelligence that the Germans and 
Suevi infested his people ; and having quelled them, he sets 
forward towards France again, upon the news that Theodoric 
being dead, the kingdom had fallen to his brother, Childepert. 
Arriving there, and being very kindly received by the king, 
after he had put his son into the place of mayor of the palace, 
he again returns enraged at the Suevi and Germans, who 
were now the second time in arms. 

At this time Sergius having, since the banishment of Jus- 
tinian, enjoyed peace and tranquillity, repaired the Church of 
St Peter, and restored it to its ancient beauty. The front of 
it he adorned with mosaic work, made the candlesticks and 
other ornaments of it of gold and silver, found a part of our 
Saviour's cross in a little brass coffer, and because the body of 
St Leo had hitherto lain less regarded than his merits re- 
quired, he reposited it in a more honourable and celebrated 
place. The statues of the apostles defaced with age he 
renewed, and either repaired or made wholly new the orna- 
ments of many churches, which it would be tedious to 
enumerate. Moreover, he ordained that at the breaking of 
the body of our Lord, should be sung " O Lamb of God, that 
takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us " ; and 
that on the day of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, and 
of St Simon, there should be yearly a procession with Litanies 
through the city, setting out at St Hadrian. He made Dami- 
anus Archbishop of Ravenna, and Berflauardus Archbishop 
of Bretagne. By his learning and authority he brought over 
to the truth the Church of Aquileia, which before consented 
not wholly to the fifth synod. Some tell us, that at this time 
Lambertus, a person of great sanctity, suffered martyrdom at 
Liege, because he was so hardy as to reprove Pipin for slight- 
ing his wife's bed and keeping Alpais, a whore. The author 
of his death is said to have been her own brother, who after- 
wards died of the lousy disease. It is written also that by 
the exemplary sanctity of Sergius, the Saxons were now first 
wrought upon to embrace Christianity. The good man 
having by these means gained a great reputation ; and having 
been in the chair thirteen years, eight months, twenty-three 
days, he died, and was with the lamentation of all men, who 
wept as at the loss of a common father, with great solemnity 
buried in the church of St Peter, September the 8th. The 
see was then vacant one month, twenty days. 

172 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 702-705. 

JOHN the Sixth, a Grecian, was elected Pope at the time 
when Theophylact, the exarch, in his passage to Italy, 
arrived first at Sicily, which, being known to the Italian 
soldiers, who having of late times usually sided more with 
the popes than the emperors, were afraid that his coming 
might betoken some ill, they resolved to kill him at his 
entrance into Rome. But by the authority of Pope John, 
who made himself umpire between them, Theophylact was 
protected, and all things being made up and accommodated, 
he goes for Ravenna. In the meantime Gisulphus, Duke of 
Beneventum, taking heart upon this disagreement of the 
exarch and soldiers, invades Terra di Lavoro, possesses him- 
self of Sora and Arpino, burns villages, makes the villagers 
his prisoners, and drives away their cattle. The Pope being 
deeply sensible of this calamity, sends his ambassadors to 
Gisulphus, to admonish him to quit those places which he 
had no right to, and to return into Abruzzo ; which, if he 
refused to do, he should soon feel the vengeance of Almighty 
God upon him. Gisulphus being terrified hereby, restores 
the towns he had taken, and returns to Beneventum. Of 
those which were carried away captive, Pope John redeemed 
all he could find out, as far as the treasure of the Church 
would reach for their ransom. 

At this time Justinian, who, as we have said, had been 
banished by Leontius to the Chersonese of Pontus, making 
his escape, thence comes to Cacanus, King of the Avares, 
who at first treated him with the greatest respect and kind- 
ness, and promised him his daughter in marriage ; but after- 
wards being corrupted with bribes by Tiberius, he designed 
to betray his guest and son-in-law into his hands. Justinian 
having notice hereof, flees to Trebellius, Prince of the Bul- 
garians, by whose aid he was in a little time after restored to 
the Empire. While these things were transacted in Europe, 
the Saracens being possessed of Libya and Africa, set sail 
from Septa, and passing over into Spain, made themselves 
masters of it all, except that part inhabited by the Asturians 
and Biscains ; who, as they had been the last people of Spain 
who were subdued to the Roman Empire, and the last who 

John VII. 173 

revolted from it, and the only people who shook off the yoke 
of the Visigoths, so now having received the Christian faith, 
they were the men who continued steadfastly with the greatest 
resolution to defend themselves by arms against the per- 
fidious Saracens. So then, Africa, which being recovered by 
Belisarius, general to Justinian the First, had been subject to 
the Roman Empire a hundred and seventy years, and also 
Granada in Hispania Boetica, being at this time seized by the 
Saracens, have been obedient to their laws and customs now 
this seven hundred and forty years, to the great reproach of 
Christianity ; the Spaniards, who are wont to boast of their 
wit and valour, not being able to drive them out of Europe. 
Some tell us that Bede, who lived in these times, by letters 
written to several Christian princes, did very much bewail this 
calamity, that thereby he might excite them to enter into a 
war against these enemies of God and men. This Bede 
was not only extraordinarily well skilled in the Greek and 
Latin tongues, but also for his eminent piety and modesty, 
gained the surname of Venerable. He wrote many things 
upon the Acts of the Apostles, and upon St Luke ; he pub- 
lished a book of chronology, and several homilies, which are 
much used by the Gallican clergy. Moreover, of Strabo and 
Haymo, two very learned men, said to be Bede's brethren, 
one composed divers elegant homilies, and the other com- 
mented upon Genesis. As for Pope John, having repaired 
the church of St Andrew in the Vatican, and the roof of that 
of St Mark, and adorned with pillars on each hand the altar 
of St Peter's, in the third year and third month of his pon- 
tificate he died, as some think, a martyr, but by whom he 
suffered martyrdom does not sufficiently appear. It is said 
he was buried in the cemetery of St Sebastian in the Via 
Appia. By his death the see was vacant one month, 
nineteen days. 


A.D. 705-707. 

JOHN the Seventh, a Grecian, son of Plato, entered upon 
the pontificate at the time when Justinian, being returned 
to Constantinople, caused Tiberius and Leontius, by 
whom he had been deposed, to be publicly put to death. Many 

1 74 The Lives of the Popes. 

of his enemies he cut off by sundry kinds of death, and 
many he imprisoned j some one or other of which he would 
every day order to be killed, when the wiping of his nose 
put him in mind of the injury that had been done him. 
Moreover, having caused the eyes of Callinicus, the patriarch 
of Constantinople, to be put out, he banished him to Rome, 
and made Cyrus an abbot, who had maintained him in Pontus, 
patriarch in his stead. Being acted by the same foolish 
humour as he had been before his loss of the Empire in 
the time of Pope Sergius, he sends to Rome two metropoli- 
tans, to persuade Pope John to hold a synod, wherein they 
of the Western Church might confirm the truth of what those 
of the East believed concerning the consubstantiality of the 
Son with the Father, sending to him the articles to which he 
would have him subscribe. The Pope sends the men back to 
the emperor without doing anything in the matter ; but yet 
he did not by his censures and interdicts correct the errone- 
ous opinions concerning God, as it was fit he should, and as 
it would have become a steady and resolute Pope to have 
done. Some write, though without good authority, that 
Arithpertus, King of the Lombards, from a religious principle, 
gave the Cottian Alps, and all the tract that reaches from 
Piedmont to the coast of Genoa, to the Church of Rome. 
Others say that this donation was only confirmed by Arith- 
pertus. But since there is no certainty concerning the dona- 
tion itself, and the lawyers call it the chaff, because it yields 
no corn, and it appears in no respect to have been the gift of 
Constantine, how can there be any evidence of its confirma- 
tion ? I return to Pope John, a person who spake and lived 
very well, and who built an oratory in the church of St 
Peter, in honour to the Blessed Virgin, upon the walls of 
which, on each hand, were wrought in mosaic work the effigies 
of several of the holy fathers. Moreover, he repaired the church 
of St Eugenia, which had long before been decayed through 
age. He adorned also the cemeteries of the martyrs, Marcel- 
linus and Marcus, and Pope Damasus. Finally, he beautified 
divers other churches with the pictures and statues of the 
saints, wherein the painters and statuaries had so well imitated 
the gravity and majesty of his own aspect, that whosoever 
looked upon them thought they saw the Pope himself. 
Having been in the chair two years, seven months, seventeen 
days, he died, and was buried October the 18th, in the 

Constantine I. 175 

church of St Peter, before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, 
which himself had built. The see was then vacant three 

S I S I N N I U S. 

A.D. 708. 

SISINNIUS, or (as others call him) Sozimus, a Syrian, his 
father's name John, lived in the pontificate no more than 
twenty days, in which time it is said the body of St Benedict 
was by stealth conveyed away from Mount Cassino, by reason 
of the solitude of the place, and carried into France. Now 
Sisinnius, though he was so afflicted with the gout, both in his 
hands and feet, that he could neither walk nor feed himself, yet 
he took such care both of the city and Church of Rome, as 
to leave nothing undone which became a good Pope. He 
had already prepared all materials for raising^ the decayed 
walls of the city, and the repairing and beautifying of the old 
ruined churches ; but he died suddenly, and was buried in St 
Peter's, February the 6th. The see was then vacant one 
month, eighteen days 


A.D. 708-716. 

CONSTANTINE, another Syrian, his father's name like- 
wise John, was created Pope at the time when there 
happened to be a famine at Rome, which lasted three years ; 
in which exigence he was so charitable to all, but especially the 
poorer sort, that men thought him to have been sent down 
from heaven for their relief. In the meantime Justinian, out 
of the hatred he bore to the name of Pontus, sends Mauritius, 
one of the patrician order, and Helias, one of his guards, with 
a fleet to the Chersonese, where he had been in exile, with 
commission to put all above the age of fourteen to the sword; 
which, to glut the emperor's rage, they accordingly put in 
execution. And that we may not think that cruelty was his 
only vice, he became guilty of so great ingratitude as in an 

176 The Lives of the Popes. 

hostile manner to surprise King Trebellius, by the aid of 
whose forces he had been restored to the Empire, at a time 
when he was engaged in a war with the Thracians ; but Tre- 
bellius not only bore the check, but also forced him to retreat 
with loss. There was no alteration from his former course of 
life, wrought in him by the calamities he had undergone, in 
anything save in this, that he now venerated and defended 
the apostolic see contrary to what he had formerly used to do. 
For when Felix, having been consecrated Archbishop of 
Ravenna by the Pope, was required, according to custom, to 
send in writing his acknowledgment of the papal authority 
and money to Rome, which he stiffly refused to do, Justinian, 
upon knowledge of the matter, presently sends order to Theo- 
dorus, a patrician, his admiral, with the first opportunity to 
leave Sicily and go against the Ravennates. He obeying the 
emperor's order, and having in battle gained a victory over 
them, exercises the greatest cruelty towards them, and sends 
Felix bound in chains to Constantinople ; whom Justinian 
afterwards banished into Pontus, having first deprived him of 
his sight, after this manner, he caused him to fix his eyes 
long upon a red-hot concave vessel of brass, out of which 
there issued a fiery pyramid, which easily overcame his eyes 
and blinded him. Yet Constantine did by no means approve 
of this cruelty, being more desirous of his reformation than 
his punishment. 

While the Pope and emperor were thus employed, Anspran- 
dus, endeavouring, with the aid of the Bavarians, to recover the 
kingdom of his ancestors, comes into Italy, and engaging in a 
pitched battle with Arithpertus, vanquishes him, and gains the 
kingdom of the Lombards, Arithpertus himself by a too fearful 
and hasty flight being drowned in a swift river. But Anspran- 
dus, not long after dying, did with general approbation leave 
his son Luithprandus successor to his kingdom. 

Justinian being now very desirous to see Pope Constantine, 
having sent ships to convey him safely, makes it his request 
that he would come to him. Constantine, yielding thereunto, 
and approaching now near to Constantinople, Tiberius, Jus- 
tinian's son, with a princely retinue, and Cyrus, the patriarch, 
with all the clergy, in honour to him go out eight miles to 
meet him ; and being dressed in his pontificalibus, they conduct 
him with Qjlemn pomp into the city, and lead him into the 
palace. ' °oing from thence to Nicomedia, whither also the 

Constantine I. 177 

emperor was to come from Nice, he was received there after 
the same manner as at Constantinople. Justinian entering the 
city soon after, not only embraced the Pope, but also kissed 
his feet in sign of honour. Having on the days following dis- 
coursed of several affairs between themselves, and Justinian 
having confirmed the Pope's decrees, Constantine, at his taking 
leave, advises him not to proceed too severely against Philippi- 
cus, then an exile in Pontus, apprehending some mischief 
might arise thereupon, because he understood that Philippicus 
was a person of great fortitude and prudence. But Justinian 
not following the Pope's good counsel, sends a fleet to Pontus 
with design to despatch Philippicus, who, upon a revolt of the 
soldiers to him, with the same fleet makes towards Constanti- 
nople, and at twelve miles distance from the city engaging with 
Justinian and Tiberius, got the victory and slew them, and with 
universal acclamation was declared emperor. This Philippicus 
afterwards banishing Cyrus, the patriarch, into Pontus, for his 
consenting in belief with the Pope, puts one John, a monk and 
an arch-heretic into his place j whose opinions he forthwith 
sent in writing to Rome, requiring all to subscribe their assent 
to them. But Constantine. holding a synod, not only con- 
demned the opinions of Philippicus and John the monk, but 
also appointed the images of those holy fathers, who had been 
present at the councils universally approved of, to be painted 
in the Portico of St Peter's, upon intelligence that in a way of 
contempt they had been rubbed off from the walls of St Sophia 
by Philippicus' order. Moreover, the same Pope ordained 
that the name of no heretical emperor should be inserted in 
any public or private writings, or impressed upon brass or silver 
or lead. But Anastasius, surnamed Arthemius, by force of arms 
deposes Philippicus, in the first year and sixth month of his 
Empire, and seizing him puts out his eyes. This Anastasius 
sends letters to Pope Constantine, in which he promises to be 
a zealous defender of the Catholic faith and the sixth synod. 
But he also, within three years, being slighted by the soldiers, 
was deposed, and compelled by Theodosius, who succeeded 
him, to take holy orders, that so he might never afterwards 
pretend or aspire to the Empire. Theodosius, a Catholic 
Emperor, forthwith gave order for the restoring of the images 
of the Holy Fathers, which, as we have said, had been de- 
stroyed by Philippicus. And Felix, who had been banished 
into Pontus, quitting his former obstinacy, returned home and 

178 The Lives of the Popes. 

was restored to his see, of which he had been deprived. At 
this time also it was declared that the Bishop of Pavia was sub- 
ject only to the see of Rome, and not to the Archbishop of 
Milan ; concerning which matter there had been a great and 
long controversy between the two prelates. Some write that 
two kings of the Saxons, under the obligations of a religious 
vow, came now to Rome, and that they there died, as I think, 
of the pestilence. Not long after them died Constantine, 
having been in the chair seven years, twenty days, and was 
buried in St Peter's, February the nth. The see was then 
vacant one month, eleven days. 


A.D. 716-731. 

GREGORY the Second, a Roman, son of Marcellus, enter- 
ing into holy orders in the time of Sergius, was, upon the 
reputation of his great fidelity and integrity, made the Pope's 
almoner and library-keeper. Being afterwards ordained 
deacon, he attended Pope Constantine to Constantinople, 
where there being a warm debate concerning some articles of 
religion, he disputed so smartly, that all men admired his 
learning, wit, and eloquence, by which he easily confuted those 
who held any erroneous opinions. Soon after his being created 
Pope, he rebuilt the walls of the city, which in several places 
were fallen down through age, and repaired the decayed 
churches of St Peter and St Laurence without the walls, laying 
in the water anew, by mending the battered and disjoined 
pipes, which formerly had conveyed it into them. He repaired 
also, and enriched with presents of gold and silver, divers 
other churches, which it would be tedious to enumerate. Yet 
I will not pass by in silence his reviving a monastery in the 
Via Ostiensis, not far from St Paul's, whose ruins are yet to 
be seen, and also that of St Andrew, settling monks therein, 
who were to be continually employed in the exercise of 
devotion. Moreover, it was the peculiar commendation 
of this Pope, that through his means the Germans were 
converted to Christianity ; he having sent among them 
Boniface, a monk, to bring them out of darkness by 

Gregory II. 179 

setting up the light of the truth. Of these Germans a great 
number came to Rome, and were baptized with the Pope's 
own hands. He also by his authority compelled Luithprandus, 
who at first refused it, to confirm the donation of Arithpertus, 
of which we have spoken before ; which Luithprandus did at 
the beginning of his reign both possess himself of a great part 
of Bavaria, and also besiege and take Ravenna. In the time 
of this Pope there was such an inundation of the river Tiber, 
which flowed into the city through the Porta del Popolo, that 
in the Via Lata the water was almost a man's height, and 
from Ponte Molle to the steps of St Peter's, men rowed about 
in large boats. This inundation continued seven days, to 
the great loss and damage of the citizens, it having borne 
down houses, and rooted up trees, corn, plants, and herbs. 
The moon also being now in an eclipse, appeared of a bloody 
colour till midnight ; and there was seen a comet, with its tail 
extending towards the north, betokening some future calamity. 
Whereupon Gregory, that he might avert the displeasure of 
Almighty God from the Christians, ordered frequent litanies 
in procession through the whole city. While the Pope was 
thus employed at Rome, there came advice that the Lom- 
bards under the Duke of Beneventum had surprised the fort 
of Cuma ; at which Gregory, being very much disturbed, sends 
to admonish them to restore this fort, which contrary to the 
articles of peace they had unjustly possessed themselves of, or 
otherwise they would soon feel the indignation of Almighty 
God upon them. But after several messages of the like nature, 
they not quitting it, he encourages the Neapolitans, upon th 
promise of a sum of money, and the sending some Roman 
soldiers for their assistance, to recover it by force. Theodunus 
the arch-deacon, having the management of this affair, the 
Neapolitans set briskly to the work, and re-take the fort, kill- 
ing three hundred of those who were in garrison therein, and 
taking five hundred prisoners, whom they carried to Naples, 
where the soldiers forthwith received the reward which had 
been promised them. Gregory now enjoying peace, applied 
himself to church work. For he repaired the church of St 
Cross in Jerusalem, which had long lain neglected, and new 
arched and roofed the porches on every side of it ; he built 
from the foundations the oratory of St,' Susanna on Mount 
Ccelius ; and after the death of his mother, dedicated his 
father's house to the honour of St Agatha, building it into a 

1 80 The Lives of the Popes. 

monastery, which he plentifully endowed for the maintenance 
of the monks therein. 

The Saracens, now encouraged by the discord they observed 
among the Christians, setting sail from Septa in Africa, and 
arriving in Spain, ravage all the country except Granada, 
which was inhabited by those of their own nation already, and 
at length with their wives and children pass as far as Aquitain, 
designing to possess themselves of that province also. 
Charles Martel, the son of Pipin, was at this time famous 
throughout the world. This Pipin, after the death of Grim- 
oald, had two other sons left, Carloman and Charles Martel ; 
which Charles, this brother also dying, gained afterwards to 
himself the kingdom of France, though not without great op- 
position, especially of Eudo, Duke of Aquitain and Chilperic, 
whom some of the French, upon the death of Theodoric, had 
sent up to be their king. But Martel having passed the river 
Seine, and advanced to Orleans, at the first attack puts them 
to flight, and becomes sole possessor of the kingdom of France. 
After this he passed the Rhine, and conquered the Saxons, 
Alemans, Suevi, and Bavarians. But having intelligence 
that the Saracens had been invited by Eudo into France, by 
great marches he comes forth against them, and obliging them 
to fight, gains a mighty victory not far from Tours. Histor- 
ians write that in this battle there were slain of the Saracens 
three hundred and sixty thousand, but of the French only one 
thousand, one hundred and fifty, and it is said, that Eudo here* 
upon came over to Mattel's side. The Saracens being by 
this means through Martel's valour diverted from any further 
attempts upon the Spaniards and French, turn all the rage and 
indignation which upon so great an overthrow had been raised 
in them, upon the Constantinopolitans, whose city they be- 
sieged by sea and land in the space of three years. But 
suffering all the extremities of war, being pinched with hunger 
and cold, and a pestilence moreover raging among them, they 
raised the siege and returned home. It is said, that of this 
plague there died in Constantinople three hundred thousand. 
As for the affairs of Italy, the Lombards now under the con- 
duct of Luithprandus after a long siege took and sacked 
Ravenna, carrying away from thence to Pavia all things of 
considerable value, and amongst the rest, as I believe, the 
famous statue on horseback in brass. Thus according to the 
usual vicissitude of human affairs, it so fell out, that what 

Gregory II. 181 

Theodoric and other kings of the Goths, and after them the 
exarchs, had taken from Rome and carried to Ravenna, was 
by others afterwards scattered about and dispersed into 
several places. In the meantime there was at Rome a plot 
laid by some seditious people against the Pope, the heads of 
the conspiracy being Basilius, Jordanus a notary, John a sub- 
deacon, surnamed Lurion, and Marinus, an officer of the 
guards, who at this time was Governor of Rome under the 
emperor. But upon the emperor's recalling Marinus, the 
business was deferred to another time. The conspirators 
tampered also with Paul the exarch, being willing in a matter 
of so great importance to have him to head them. The whole 
design being at length discovered by the people of Rome, they 
appear in arms, kill John Lurion, and dissipate the other con- 
spirators. Basilius was confined to a monastery, where he 
died. The forementioned Paul being highly enraged at the 
Pope for prohibiting his levying new taxes, did by the em- 
peror's orders seek all ways, both secret and open, of taking 
away the good man's life ; but the Romans and Lombards tak- 
ing up arms, defended him. The Emperor Leo hereupon 
publishes an edict, commanding all those who were subjects 
of the Roman Empire to rase out and take away all the 
pictures and images of saints, martyrs, and angels out of their 
churches, with design, as he professed, thereby to prevent 
idolatry j and declaring that whosoever refused so to do should 
be accounted a public enemy. But Gregory not only not 
obeyed this order, but also encouraged all Catholics to stand 
up stoutly against it. Whereupon the people of Italy were so 
animated, that they were near choosing another emperor, had 
not Gregory by his authority interposed to prevent it. Not- 
withstanding which there arose such a dissension at Ravenna, 
some pleading for obedience to the emperor, others to the Pope, 
that Paul the exarch, together with his son, was slain in the 
tumult, to succeed in whose place the emperor sends Eutychius, 
an eunuch, who by gifts and promises was to endeavour to break 
the friendship and alliance between the Lombards and the Pope. 
But that attempt having been often made in vain, was dropped 
for a time ; and the Pope being freed of this trouble, began 
to visit the hospitals and churches, and to repair those of 
them which, through age or neglect, had fallen to decay. 
Moreover, he made a peace between the King of the Lom- 
bards and the Dukes of Spoleto and Beneventum, which that 

1 82 The Lives of the Popes. 

king had intended to crush, but having marched in a peaceable 
manner as far as Rome to confer with the Pope about the 
matter, Gregory, by his Christian counsel, so mollified his 
mind, that, laying aside all thoughts of war, he offered up his 
sword and other arms in the church of St Peter. The Em- 
peror Leo now, in another wild humour, commanded all the 
images, either of wood, brass, or marble, to be brought to 
him, which he forthwith caused to be burnt, and seized upon 
and put to death those who refused to bring them. Germanus, 
the patriarch, who vigorously opposed it, he banished, and 
put into his place Anastasius, an heretic, whom Gregory after- 
wards in a synod deprived, and interdicted the exercise of 
sacred offices if he refused to return to the Catholic faith. 
Furthermore, as became a pious prelate, he oftentimes by 
letters admonished the Emperor to quit the erroneous opinions 
into which some ill men had seduced him, and at length to 
embrace the truth, and to cease the destroying of the images 
of the saints, by whose example and memory men might be 
excited to the imitation of their virtues. Some write that in 
this Pope's time, Boniface came out of Britain to Rome, and 
for his sanctity was of a monk made a bishop, and sent into 
Germany, that by his preaching and example he might confirm 
that people in the faith, which he performed so well, that he 
was deservedly made Bishop of Mentz ; but passing thence 
into Africa, he was for his preaching the Word of God put to 
death by the enemies of Christianity. It is said also that 
St ^Egidius, a Grecian, was now famous for the holy life he 
led and the miracles he wrought ; and that Petronax, a citizen 
of Brescia, did by vow repair at his own charge the monastery 
of St Benedict, which was almost quite left desolate. As for 
Gregory, who by his good example excited all men to the 
practice of piety and virtue, having been in the chair sixteen 
years, nine months, eleven days, he died, and was buried in 
St Peter's, February the nth. By his death the see was 
vacant thirty-five days. He is said to have consecrated during 
his pontificate one hundred and forty-eight bishops. 

Gregory III. 1 83 


a.d. 73 J -74i. 

GREGORY the Third, a Syrian, his father's name John, 
was unanimously elected Pope in the year seven hun- 
dred and fifty-nine. He was a person of singular learning, 
very well skilled in the Greek and Latin tongues, and of such 
an insight into the sense of holy writ, that no man was more 
ready at the expounding of the abstruse and difficult places in 
it. Nor did he work upon the people merely by his preaching 
and eloquence, but in all respects he gave them such a pre- 
vailing example that it is difficult to determine whether he 
spake or lived better. He was so valiant a defender of the 
Catholic faith that he thereby contracted the displeasure and 
hatred of the greatest Princes j but by no force or power or 
menace was removed one step from his resolution. Finally, 
his goodwill towards all men was such that he cherished and 
relieved the poor, redeemed captives, released insolvent 
debtors, and asserted the cause of widows and orphans against 
potent oppressors in such a manner that he deserved the 
name of a common father and pastor. Soon after his entrance 
upon the pontificate, with the consent of the clergy of Rome 
he excommunicated and deposed the Emperor Leo for his 
having rased the pictures of the saints out of the churches and 
destroyed their images, and also for not being orthodox in 
opinion concerning the consubstantiality of the Son with the 
Father. In the meantime Luithprandus, King of the Lom- 
bards, from an ambitious desire of enlarging his dominions, 
having possessed himself of all the towns round about, lays siege 
to Rome itself; whereupon Gregory forthwith dispatches mes- 
sengers by sea, it not being safe for them to pass by land, to 
Charles, Prince of the French, to pray him that he would 
speedily aid the distressed city and Church of Rome. Indeed, 
formerly the Popes when they were in any great danger from 
abroad, had been wont to seek for succour from the Emperor 
of Constantinople ; but Gregory now declined it, both for the 
causes we have just before mentioned, and also especially 
because Leo was now hard put to it to defend Constantinople 
itself against the Saracens, and therefore little able to protect 
others. By which means it came to pass that the Constanti- 
nopolitan Emperors being for the time to come unapplied to, 

1 84 The Lives of the Popes. 

the protection of the church was from henceforward put into 
other hands. Upon Gregory's request, Charles undertaking 
the church's patronage, desires Luithprandus as his friend, and 
particularly upon the account of his son Pipin, his near ally, to 
quit his enterprise, and not give the Pope any disturbance, 
whereupon Luithprandus raises the siege. The affairs of Italy 
being thus composed, Charles turns his army with success 
against the Burgundians ; crushes the idolatrous Frisons ; takes 
Lyons, Aries, and Marseilles from the Visigoths, who there- 
upon invite to their aid Athimus, the King of the Saracens, who, 
passing the Rhone, takes Avignon by storm, intending to make 
use of the convenience of that place for a citadel. But Charles, 
upon intelligence hereof, hastens thither with his army, and 
retakes Avignon, putting to the sword all the Saracens who 
were in garrison in it. From thence he marched to Narbonne, 
whither he understood that Athimus had fled. But having 
advice that Amoreus, another Saracen, King of Spain, was 
coming with a great army to the aid of Athimus, he quitted 
the siege of Narbonne, and marched to the valley of Corbiere, 
not far off, wherein there was a fair plain very commodious to 
join battle in. Amoreus, thinking that Charles, having been 
routed, had fled thither, enters the valley, and prepares to 
engage, which Charles did not decline, though the number of 
the adversary's army was incredibly great. The dispute 
having continued for some time very warm, and Amoreus 
himself having been slain at the beginning of the engage- 
ment, at length the Saracens were forced to betake themselves 
to flight, and a great part of them were killed in the fens and 
marches thereabouts. Athimus, as good luck would have it, 
making his escape by sea towards the farther part of Spain, 
in rage and despair laid waste, by fire and sword, all the 
islands which he arrived at in his passage. Much about this 
time the body of St Augustine, which, two hundred and fifty 
years before, when the Vandals wasted Africa, had been 
carried away from Hippo into Sardinia, was by the care of 
Luithprandus translated thence to Pavia, and reposited in a 
very honourable place of interment. The Saracens being now 
pretty well tamed, kept themselves within the Pyrenean Hills, 
upon which all the Visigoths, who possessed the hither parts 
of Spain and part of France, being not able to defend them- 
selves, were subdued by Charles ; and so that people, who 
had domineered for almost three hundred years, were utterly 

Gregory III. 185 

extinguished, except some few who were saved by the people 
of Barcelona. Some write that Charles was in this war 
assisted by Luithprandus with men, who after the victory 
returned home laden with booty. In the meanwhile Pope 
Gregory, not neglecting to improve the time of peace he now 
enjoyed, applied himself to church work. The altar of St 
Peter's he made more stately, by erecting a row of six pillars 
of onyx on each hand of it, whereas many of the same 
magnitude and figure had formerly stood, but were now 
decayed through age. Upon these pillars were architraves, 
gilt with, silver, on which he set up the images of our Saviour 
and the apostles at equal distances. He built also an oratory 
in the same church, in which he reposited some of the relics 
of almost all the saints, and ordered Mass to be therein daily 
performed, in the canon of which he added these words, 
which were engraven upon the marble round about the 
oratory : " Quorum Solennitas in conspectu tuce Majestatis 
celebratur, Domine Deus noster, toto in Orbe terrarum, 6°r.," — 
i.e., Whose anniversaries are celebrated in the sight of Thy 
Majesty, O Lord our God, throughout all the world, &c, — 
which clause is not in the general canon now used. More- 
over, he gave to this church several vessels of silver, and 
caused to be made at his own charge the image of the 
Blessed Virgin with our Saviour in her arms, of gold, 
which he placed in the church of St Mary ad Pnesepe. He 
also repaired the roof of the church of St Chrysogonus, 
appointing monks for the daily performance of Divine service 
therein, and settling an estate for their maintenance. Several 
monasteries he either repaired or built from the ground, to 
the recluses whereof he prescribed rules of strict and holy 
living, He rebuilt also the ruined walls of the city of Rome, 
and in like manner those of the almost desolate Civita 
Vecchia. Furthermore, he ordained the celebration of Mass 
in the church of St Peter, almost without intermission, both 
by the priests in weekly attendance and by the monks ; upon 
which account we may observe the cells of the monks and 
the houses of the secular priests to be in several places 
contiguous, each of them striving to outdo the other in 
diligence at their devotion. Our Gregory, having well 
discharged his duty towards God and men, died in the 
tenth year, eighth month, and twenty-fourth day of his ponti- 
ficate, and was, with general lamentation, buried in St Peter's, 
November the 28th. The see was then vacant only eight days. 

1 86 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 74I-75 2 - 

ZACHARIAS, a Grecian, the son of Polychronius, is 
reckoned in the number of the best Popes. For he was 
a person of a very mild disposition and wonderfully sweet 
conversation j every way deserving ; a lover of the clergy and 
people of Rome ; slow to anger, but very forward to exercise 
mercy and clemency ; rendering to no man evil for evil, but 
in imitation of our Saviour, overcoming evil with good, and 
that to such a degree, that after his arriving to the papal 
dignity, he preferred and enriched those who had envied and 
hated him. At the beginning of his pontificate, finding Italy 
inflamed in war, in order to procure a peace he forthwith 
sends legates to Luithprandus, King of the Lombards, who 
now made war upon Transamundus, Duke of Spoleto. But 
these legates not effecting the design, he himself goes in 
person, accompanied with the Roman clergy, into Sabina ; 
and it is said that, in sign of honour, the king met him eight 
miles from Narni, and alighting oft his horse, accompanied 
him on foot into the city. The day following, while they 
were at Mass, the Pope made publicly an elegant oration, 
wherein he set forth the duty of a Christian king both in the 
time of peace and war j and it is reported that the king was 
so wrought upon by it, that he presently put the sole power of 
accommodating matters into the Pope's hands. The king had 
already deposed Transamund, and invested Agrandus, his 
nephew, in the dukedom. Yet, at the Pope's intercession, 
Transamund was received into favour; but he, quitting all 
pretensions to the dukedom, entered into holy orders. All 
the towns which had been taken in Sabina were restored ; as 
also Narni and Ancona, and whatever places the Lombards 
had for thirty years past made themselves masters of in 
Tuscany. Moreover, all who had been made prisoners 
during the war were set at liberty. Luithprandus, haying 
been treated by the Pope with all imaginable expressions 
of endearment and respect, marched thence peaceably with 
his army, and not long after died, in the thirty-second 
year of his reign. He was a person who deserved that 
kingdom, both for his extraordinary wisdom and prudence, 
and also for his valour and warlike temper, in which 

Zacharias I. 187 

no man excelled him ; so eminent also for justice and 
clemency, that it is hard to judge whether of these two 
virtues were more conspicuous in him. His nephew Hilde- 
prandus succeeded him in the kingdom, which having held 
only six months, he also died ; and Duke Rachis, a prince 
whose piety and integrity deserve the highest praise, was 
unanimously chosen in his stead. By him also a league was 
renewed with the Pope, to whose legates the devout and 
religious king graciously granted whatever they desired. But 
having reigned four years, he quitted his government, and 
betook himself to a monastic life, encouraging his wife and 
his sons to do the like. His brother Aistulphus succeeded 
him, whose crafty and fierce temper threatened disturbance 
to all Italy, but especially to the Pope and the Romans, 
whom he designed by force to bring under his jurisdiction 
In the meantime Charles Martel, being seized with a violent 
sickness, at the persuasion of his friends divided his acquests 
between his two sons ; of whom Carloman, the elder, had 
Austrasia and Suevia, and Pipin, Burgundy and part of 
France. And so that valiant and wise man died at Cressey 
sur Serre, in the thirty-fifth year of his office of Mayor of the 
Palace, and was buried at Paris in the Church of St Dennis. 
He had had by a former wife another son named Grypho, 
whose rapacious temper suited with his name ; he prevailed 
with the warlike Saxons to assist him in making war upon his 
brethren. But Carloman and Pipin entering Saxony with 
an army, force their prince, Theodoric, to submission. After 
this expedition, Carloman comes to Rome, and there re- 
nouncing the Pope and glory of empire, he goes to Mount 
Cassino, and takes the habit of a monk of St Benedict. But 
Pipin, being of an aspiring mind, sends ambassadors to the 
Pope, desiring that by his authority he would confirm to him 
the kingdom of France. The Pope upon the score of former 
good services performed by his family, and the ancient friend- 
ship which had been between them and the Popes his 
predecessors, yields to his request, and accordingly confirms 
him, a.d. 751, and so from mayor of the palace, who was the 
first officer of the kingdom, Pipin was advanced to the 
kingdom of France itself, from whom the succeeding kings 
derive their original. It is reported that Carloman, who, as 
we have said, had taken the habit of a monk, came now with 
others of the same order, from Mount Cassino to Pope 

1 88 The Lives of the Popes. 

Zachary, desiring that by his mediation they might gain leave 
to remove the body of St Benedict, which had by stealth been 
carried away to the Abbey of Fleury in the kingdom of 
France. The Pope granted their desire, and thereupon sent 
a message to King Pipin, who, upon information in the 
matter, freely gave way to it. Zachary, now enjoying peace 
on every side, set himself to the repairing of several decayed 
churches. The tower and portico before the Lateran Church 
he built from the ground, made the windows and gates of 
brass, and upon the frontispiece of the portico caused a map 
of the world to be delineated. He renewed the defaced 
images of the saints; enlarged and beautified the Lateran 
Palace ; repaired the Palatine library, and assigned to every 
church a revenue for the maintenance of oil for their lamps. 
He gave to St Peter's an altar-cloth embroidered with gold 
and set with jewels, having the effigies of our blessed Saviour 
wrought upon it. He built the church of St George in 
Velabro, and reposited the head of that saint therein j as also 
the church of St Cecilia in the Via Tiburtina, six miles from 
the city, and in it an oratory in honour of St Cyrus the abbot, 
settling a maintenance for the priests that ministered in it. 
He rebuilt the roof of the church of St Eusebius, which 
happened in his time to tumble down. He also gave order 
that his servants should daily distribute and give out at the 
Lateran Palace alms to the poor of all sorts. Moreover, he 
forbade the Venetians, upon pain of excommunication, the 
selling of Christian slaves to Saracens and heathens, which 
those merchants were before wont to do. Finally, that we 
may not think that his advancement to so great a dignity 
made him neglect his studies, he translated out of Latin into 
Greek four books of Gregory in dialogue ; that so the Grecians 
might be instructed in the rules of good living. But having 
with such integrity to the satisfaction of all men governed 
the Church ten years, three months, he died, and was buried 
in St Peter's, March the 15th. By his death the see was 
vacant twelve days. 

Stephen II 189 


A.D. 752-757. 

STEPHEN the Second, a Roman, son of Constantine, from 
one degree in the Church to another, ascended at length 
to the papal dignity; although upon the death of Zachary 
the people presently made choice of another Stephen, a priest, 
who on the third day of his pontificate awaking out of 
sleep, and beginning to settle his domestic affairs, was 
suddenly seized with a fit of an apoplexy, of which he died. 
After whom our Stephen the Second (for we reckon not 
his short-lived predecessor of that name in the list) was 
unanimously elected by the clergy and people in the Church 
of St Mary ad Prsesepe, and being highly beloved by all, was 
carried upon men's shoulders to St Saviour's, called also the 
Constantinian Church, and from thence into the Lateran 
Palace. He was a person of extraordinary piety and prudence, 
a lover of the clergy, a repairer of churches, a diligent preacher 
and writer of the doctrine of Christianity, a father of the poor, 
a zealous defender of orphans and widows, and in going 
through with anything he undertook, hardy and resolute, but 
not obstinate. For Aistulphus now making inroads upon the 
borders of the Romans, he at first endeavoured by persuasions 
and presents to bring him off. But that covetous prince requir- 
ing the payment of a tribute of so much a head yearly from the 
people, the Pope thereupon was forced to seek for help from 
abroad, and accordingly he sent Nuncios to Constantine, the 
Emperor of Constantinople, to desire aid of him against 
Aistulphus, who gave disturbance to all Italy, and had 
already taken Ravenna, the seat of the Exarchate, and a 
great part of Romagna. But finding no hope of succours 
from him, he resolves to go to Pipin of France ; and there- 
fore sends to that king to desire that he would prevail 
with Aistulphus to permit him safe passage through his 
country, which Aistulphus at -Pipin's request consented 
to. Stephen now reaching the borders of the kingdom of 
France, Pipin's son, Charles, who from his mighty achieve 
ments was afterwards surnamed the Great, in token of honour 
goes forth an hundred miles to meet him. Pipin himself met 
him three miles from the city, and alighting off his horse, 
kissed his feet, and led the horse upon which he rode by the 

190 The Lives of the Popes. 

bridle till he had conducted him into the city, and brought 
him to his apartment. Aistulphus now fearing that the Pope 
was practising against him, sends Carloman a monk, to his 
brother Pipin, to persuade him not to make war upon the 
Lombards in Stephen's quarrel ; which Pipin not only refused 
to grant, but also confined the monk to a monastery in Vienna, 
where not long after he died of grief. But it not being a fit 
season of the year to undertake an expedition, and Pipin 
allowing much to the ancient friendship there had been be- 
tween them, he sends ambassadors to Aistulphus, to advise 
him to restore the places he had taken, or otherwise to let 
him know that he should be obliged in a short time to recover 
them by force of arms. Aistulphus hearkened not to this 
good counsel ; whereupon Pipin, the spring now approaching, 
advances with an army against the Lombards ; 1 and having 
sent before some light-harnessed soldiers to force Aistulphus's 
guards to quit the passes of the Alps, he marches down into the 
plain of the State of Milan, and having without any opposition 
sacked and harassed all places he came to, at length he invests 
Pavia, the seat-royal of the kings of Lombardy, which Aistul- 
phus and those that were in garrison with him defended. But 
Stephen moved with compassion at the numerous calamities 
which this obstinate man had brought upon himself and his 
people, voluntarily offers Aistulphus a peace, upon condition 
he would restore what he had taken; which Aistulphus at 
length consented to, and promised upon oath more than was 
demanded. Pipin reckoning that the Pope had now satis- 
faction, raises the siege, and returns into France, leaving 
Varrenus the arbitrator of this peace between them. Stephen 
and Varrenus go to Rome, not doubting but that Aistulphus 
would in a little time perform his promise ; instead of which 
he presently mustering up from all parts what forces he could, 
with a tumultuary rout rather than a just army, follows them, 
and besieges Rome, laying waste and burning the suburbs 
and places adjacent, insomuch that the people of Rome 
suffered more damage by the outrages he then committed, 
than they had received in three hundred and forty-four years 
before from the declining of the Empire. Hereupon Pipin 

1 Platina omits to record that the Pope, rendered desperate by the ad- 
vance of Aistulphus, forged a letter from St Peter to Pipin, promising 
paradise or threatening hell, according as he hastened or retarded his 
movements. See Milman, ii. 180. — Ed. 

Stephen II 191 

being again sued to by the Pope to aid the distressed city of 
Rome against the periidiousness and cruelty of Aistulphus, 
he with all possible expedition raises an army for that purpose. 
In the meantime the Turks, willing to mend their quarters, 
over-run and conquer the Alanes first, then the Colchians and 
Armenians, after them the people of the lesser Asia, and lastly ' 
the Persians and Saracens, a.d. 755. Some writers tell 
us that these were of the race of those Scythians whom 
Alexander the Great kept within the Hyperborean Mountains 
with iron bars, meaning by that metaphor, that he had shut 
up that wild nation there as into a prison. But after much 
mischief done and received on both sides, a peace being con- 
cluded between the Saracens and Turks, it was agreed that 
the Turks which dwelt in Persia should be called Saracens ; 
and by this means the Saracens did more patiently suffer the 
Turks to bear sway in Asia, especially apprehending, more- 
over, that they might soon be brought to embrace the 
Mahometan religion. But we return to Pipin, who coming 
again with his army into Italy, was met by Gregory, principal 
secretary to the Emperor Constantine the Fourth, who desired 
him in his master's name, that if he should prove victorious 
over the Lombards, he would not give the Exarchate of 
Ravenna to the Pope or the Romans, it belonging of right to 
the emperor. To which Pipin answered, that he came into 
Italy to do the Pope and people a kindness, and that he 
should consult their advantage to the utmost of his power. 
After this he marched to Pavia, and reduced Aistulphus to 
such extremity, that he was forced to accept of the former 
conditions of peace. Hereby the Exarchate was restored to 
the Romans, together with all the tract contained between 
the Po and Apennine, from Piacentino to the Gulf of Venice, 
and whatever lies between the river Isara, the Apennine and 
the Adriatic, with all that Aistulphus had taken in Tuscany 
and Sabina. Pipin stayed at the foot of the Alps till con- 
ditions should be performed, having left Holcadus, an abbot, 
with part of his army to oblige Aistulphus to perform what he 
had promised, and moved no farther till he understood that 
Aistulphus had died of an apoplexy while he was hunting, 
before the surrender was fully made. Upon his death, 
Desiderius, Duke of Tuscany, forthwith raises an army of 
Lombards, with design to possess himself of the kingdom. 
The same also did Rachis, Aistulphus's brother, who had 

192 The Lives of the Popes, 

before, as we have already said, taken the habit of a monk ; 
and, indeed, the Lombards generally, except those of Tuscany, 
were on his side. But Desiderius by making large promises 
to the Pope and the Romans, wrought them into a favour of 
his pretensions; and accordingly they with all speed sent 
ambassadors, and among them Holcadus, the abbot, to Rachis, 
to require him to lay down his arms, and submit to Desiderius. 
And so Faenza and Ferrara were at last delivered to the Pope, 
and the name of the Exarchate, which had continued from 
the time of Narses to the taking of Ravenna by Aistulphus 
an hundred and seventy years, was extinguished. Things 
being now peaceably settled, and the jurisdiction of the Church 
greatly increased, Stephen holding a synod, takes an account 
of his several flocks and their pastors, gently chastises those 
who had offended, directs such as had gone astray, teaches 
and instructs the ignorant, and finally sets before them the 
duty of a bishop, of a presbyter, and of all orders in the 
clergy. Moreover, he appointed litanies for the appeasing of 
the Divine anger ; the procession on the first Saturday to be 
to St Marie's ad Prsesepe, on the second to St Peter's in the 
Vatican, on the third to St Paul's in the Via Ostiensis. He 
also repaired several churches which had been damaged by 
Aistulphus while he lay siege to the city ; yet he did not 
recover the reliques of the saints which that king had carried 
with him to Pavia, and there reposited not dishonourably in 
divers churches. The good man having by these means 
proved serviceable to God, his country, and the Church, died 
in the fifth year and first month of his pontificate, and was 
buried, April the 26th, with general lamentation as for the 
loss of a common father. The see was then vacant thirty- 
two days. 


A.D. 757-767. 

PAUL, a Roman, son of Constantine, brother of Stephen 
the Second, became well skilled and practised in all 
things belonging to a churchman, by his having been educated 
in the Lateran Palace under Pope Gregory the Second and 
Pope Zachary, by which latter he was, together with his brother, 

Paul I. 193 

ordained deacon \ and when upon the vacancy of the Pope- 
dom by the death of Stephen, some persons proposed Theo- 
phylact, the archdeacon, for his successor, yet others stood 
for Paul, as one who both for the integrity of his life and 
great learning, deserved to succeed his brother in that dignity. 
After a long dispute, therefore, Theophylact was rejected, and 
Paul by general suffrage chosen, in the time of Constantine 
and Leo. This Paul was a person of an extraordinary meek 
and merciful temper, and who, in imitation of our Saviour, 
never returned to any man evil for evil, but, on the contrary, 
by doing good to them, he overcame those ill men that had 
oftentimes injured him. He was of so kind and compassion- 
ate a nature, as that he would go about by night with only 
two or three attendants to the houses of poor sick people, 
assisting them with his counsel, and relieving them with his 
alms. He also frequently visited the prisons, and paying 
their creditors, discharged thence multitudes of poor debtors. 
The fatherless and widows that were over-reached by the 
tricks of lawyers, he defended by his authority and supported 
by his charity. Moreover, having asoembled the clergy and 
people of Rome, he did with great solemnity translate the 
body of St Petronilla, St Peter's daughter, with her tomb 
of marble, upon which was this inscription, " Petronilla Filia 
dulcissimce" from the Via Appia into the Vatican, and placed 
it at the upper end of the church dedicated to her father. At 
this time the Emperor Constantine having in all places plucked 
down the images, and put to death Constantine, patriarch of 
Constantinople, for opposing him therein, and made Nicetas 
an eunuch, his abettor in the sacrilege, patriarch in his stead, 
the Pope, consulting by all means the interest of religion, sends 
Nuncios to Constantinople to advise the Emperor to restore 
and set up again the images he had taken away, or upon his 
refusal to do so, to threaten him with the censure of excom- 
munication. But Constantine, persisting obstinately in what 
he had done, not only despised this good counsel, but also 
granted peace to Sabinus, King of the Bulgarians, because he 
also made the like havoc of images with himself, though he 
were before engaged in a war against him. Having also 
associated to himself into part of the empire his son Leo 
the Fourth, whom he had married to the most beautiful 
Athenian lady Irene, he enters into a league with the Saracens, 
thereby to despise and provoke the orthodox Christians. In 

194 The Lives of the Popes. 

the meantime Pipin entirely subdued Taxillo, Duke of the 
Bavarians, and admits of a league with the Saxons, but upon 
this condition, that they should be obliged to send three 
hundred horsemen to his assistance as often as he should 
have occasion to make an expedition. Against the Aquitains 
he maintained a tedious war, which at length he committed 
to the management of his young son Charles, himself being 
so worn out with age that he could not be present at it. 
This war being ended, Charles takes by storm Bourbon, Cler- 
mont, and several other towns of Auvergne. But Pipin, who 
as we have said was now very old, not long after dies, leaving 
in the kingdom his two sons Charles and Carloman. Some 
tell us that Aistulphus, King of the Lombards, who, as is 
above declared, had carried away the bodies of divers saints 
from Rome to Pavia, died at this time ; and that he had built 
chapels to those saints, and also a cloister for virgins, in which 
his own daughters became nuns. He was an extraordinary 
lover of the monks, and died in their arms, in the sixth year 
and fifth month of his reign. At the beginning of his govern- 
ment, he was fierce and rash, in the end moderate; and a 
person of such learning, that he reduced and formed the 
edicts of the Lombards into laws. He was, as has been said, 
succeeded by Duke Desiderius ; the valour of the Lombards 
beginning now to dissolve and lose itself in luxury. Our 
Paul, having repaired some old decayed churches, died in St 
Paul's in the Via Ostiensis, in the tenth year and first month 
of his pontificate ; and his body was with very great solemnity 
carried into the Vatican. The see was then vacant one year 
and one month. 


A.D. 768-772. 

STEPHEN the Fourth, a Sicilian, son of Olibrius, entered 
upon the pontificate, a.d. 768, a learned man, and in 
the management of affairs, especially those belonging to the 
Church, very active and steady. Coming to Rome very 
young, by appointment of Pope Gregory III., he took orders, 
and became a monk in the monastery of St Chrysogonus, 
where he was inured to the stricter way of living, and instructed 

Stephen IV. tgt, 

in ecclesiastical learning. Being afterwards called by Pope 
Zachary into the Lateran Palace, and his life and learning 
generally approved of, he was constituted parish priest of St 
Caecilia ; and for his great integrity and readiness in business 
both Zachary and his successors Stephen and Paul, would 
always have him near their persons. But upon the death of 
Paul, whom our Stephen never deserted to his last breath, 
Desiderius, who, as we have said, was by the assistance of 
Stephen II. made King of Lombardy, being by Pipin's death 
rid of all fear, encourages Toto, Duke of Nepi, to promote 
his brother Constantine to the pontificate by force of arms, 
if he could not compass it by canvassing and bribery. He 
accordingly marches to Rome with an army, and with the 
assistance of some whom he had corrupted and made his 
friends by gifts and promises, gets Constantine to be elected 
Pope. Indeed, there were those who set up one Philip 
against him, but he was presently forced to quit his 
pretensions, and Gregory, Bishop of Prseneste compelled 
to initiate Constantine, who at the time of his choice 
was a laic, into holy orders, and then to consecrate 
him bishop ; the hands of which Gregory are said thereupon 
by miracle to have so withered that he could not reach them 
to his mouth. But Constantine having persisted to exercise 
the papal function for one year, was at length in great rage 
and disdain deposed by the people of Rome, and Stephen 
unanimously chosen in his stead. Upon which Constantine 
being brought into St Saviour's Church, and the sacred canons 
read, he was publicly and solemnly divested of the pontifical 
habit, and commanded to lead a private life in a monastery. 
After this, Stephen being consecrated by three bishops in the 
church of St Adrian, and saluted as the true Pope by all the 
clergy and people of Rome, applied himself to the censuring 
and suppressing of the practices of some ill men who endea- 
voured to break the unity of the Roman Church. Therefore 
calling a council, he writes to Charles desiring him to send to 
Rome, as soon as might be, some bishops of France, by their 
learning and integrity well qualified for the affair. The same 
also he writes to the other Christian princes ; who all comply- 
ing with him therein, a council is held in the Lateran Church, 
where the fathers having discoursed among themselves divers 
things tending to the settling of the Church, they ordered 
Constantine to be brought before them. For the underhand 

- G 2 

196 The Lives of the Popes. 

dealings of Desiderius, King of the Lombards, and Paul 
Aphiarta having occasioned frequent tumults among the 
people ; Desiderius endeavouring all he could to alienate the 
affections of the Romans from Charles to the emperor ; here- 
upon several were killed on both sides, and Constantine, the 
occasion of all the mischief, had his eyes put out by the con- 
trary faction, though Stephen declared against it, and did what 
he could to prevent it; but there is no opposing a furious, 
enraged multitude. Constantine appearing before the council, 
and being accused that he had usurped the Apostolic see, not 
being in any holy orders, lays all the fault upon the people, 
and especially upon some particular persons who forced him 
against his will to take the pontificate upon him. Then pro- 
strating himself upon the floor, and humbly begging pardon, 
the persons present moved with compassion, ordered him to 
be dismissed, and put off the debate of his whole case to the 
next day, intending then more maturely to deliberate what 
ought to be done in the matter. But the next day Constantine 
returning to the council, was quite of another mind, and 
remonstrated that he had precedents of former prelates for 
what he had done ; that Sergius, Archbishop of Ravenna, and 
Stephen of Naples, had been of laics consecrated bishops. 
The fathers resenting this impudence, caused him to be cast 
out with disgrace, and having nulled his decrees, applied 
themselves to the settling of the state of Christianity. Among 
other things it was unanimously decreed by them, that no 
laic, but such only as had passed through the several 
degrees in the clergy, should presume to take the popedom, 
upon pain of excommunication. It was ordained likewise, 
that those who had attained to the episcopal dignity in the 
time of Constantine, should renounce that character, and fall 
back into the same rank and order which they were of before, 
but with this reserve, that if their life and doctrine were 
approved by the people, it then pleased the council, that upon 
their application to the Apostolic see, they might be conse- 
crated anew. The same was judged meet concerning presby- 
ters and deacons ; yet it was forbidden that any of them should 
arrive to the greater degrees, upon a jealousy, as I believe, lest 
some error or sect might thence arise, as from a seminary of 
discord and sedition. Moreover, it was decreed that all the 
sacred offices which Constantine had performed, should be 
deemed null, except only baptism and confirmation. Finally, 

Stephen IV. 197 

having made void the Constantinian synod, in which the 
Greek prelates had decreed that the pictures and statues of 
the saints should be defaced and thrown out of churches, it 
was ordained that those images should be in all places restored, 
and an anathema passed upon that execrable and pernicious 
synod, by which the condition of the immortal God was 
rendered worse than that of men ; it being allowed us to erect 
the statues of men who have deserved well of the public, both 
for the expressing of our gratitude, and the raising our emula- 
tion of their brave deeds, but forbidden to set up the image of 
our Saviour, whom we ought if it were possible to have always 
before our eyes, whewher we consider the mighty obligations 
He has laid upon mankind, or the dignity of His Divine 
nature. These things having thus passed according to the 
Pope's mind, it was decreed, that on the following day there 
should be a solemn procession, both to return thanks to God, 
and also in order to the averting of His displeasure. This 
procession was made from the Lateran Church to St Peter's, 
with universal great devotion, the Pope himself, with all that 
were present, walking bare-foot. But in our times piety and 
devotion are grown so cold, that such expressions of humility 
are not only laid aside, but men are so proud as scarcely to 
vouchsafe to pray at all. Even the more eminent and dignified 
persons, instead of weeping at procession or at mass, as these 
holy fathers were wont to do, are employed in indecent and 
shameless laughter, instead of singing hymns, which they dis- 
dain as a servile thing, they are breaking jests, and telling 
stories among themselves to make each other merry. What 
should I say further ? the more petulant and full of buffoonery 
any one is, the more he is commended in such a corrupt age. 
Our present clergy does dread severe and grave men ; as being 
more desirous to live thus licentiously, than to be obedient to 
good admonitions, and subject to wholesome restraints, by 
which means the Christian religion does daily suffer and 
decline. I return to Stephen, who, when the procession was 
over, forthwith caused the acts of the council to be first openly 
pronounced by his commissary, and then published in writing, 
threatening excommunication against any who should presume 
to oppose what the holy synod had decreed. But not long 
after, Sergius, Archbishop of Ravenna dying, Michael, registrar 
of that church, with the assistance of King Desiderius and 
Maurice, Duke of Rimini, whom he had corrupted with 

198 The Lives of the Popes. 

bribes, though a mere laic, possesses himself of the see, in 
opposition to Leo the Archdeacon whom the clergy were very 
desirous to choose. Yea, these abettors of his presumed so 
far, as to send ambassadors to Pope Stephen to bribe him 
into the confirmation of this Michael. But Stephen not 
only refused their offers of money, but also published an 
excommunication against him, if he resigned not the see which 
he had against all right usurped. However, he forcibly kept 
possession of it so long as he had anything left, either of his 
own or belonging to the Church, whereof to make a bribe to 
greedy Desiderius. Upon which the Pope sending his nuncios 
and King Charles his ambassadors to Ravenna about that affair, 
who declared the Pope's pleasure therein, Michael was forth- 
with deposed, and Leo chosen and confirmed by the Pope, 
who being for that reason secretly despited and mischiefed 
by Desiderius, begs Charles to oblige Desiderius to cease 
injuring him any further. This Charles performed with great 
diligence, though he were not in a condition to restrain the 
Lombard by force, because upon the death of his brother, 
who had reigned jointly and amicably with him for two years, 
he was necessarily engaged in several wars at once. The 
Aquitains, against whom his father had begun a war, he 
brought into subjection, and subdued the Gascons inhabiting 
part of Aquitain. Then passing the Pyrenean Hills, he routed 
the Saracens, pursuing them to the river Betis, as far as 
Granada, the part of Spain wherein the Saracens are now 
seated. In the meantime Stephen, a most vigilant pastor, 
and true successor of Peter and imitator of Christ, having 
been in the chair three years, five months, twenty-seven days, 
died and was ^buried in St Peter's. The see was then vacant 
nine days. 


A.D. 772-795- 

ADRIAN the First, a Roman, son of Theodorus, one of 
the prime nobility, entering upon the pontificate, de- 
generated not at all from his ancestors ; being a person, who, 
for his greatness of mind, prudence, learning, and sanctity, 
may be compared with the best of Popes; and of whose 

Adrian I. 199 

interest and authority Desiderius, King of the Lombards, had 
such apprehensions, that he presently sent ambassadors to 
treat of a peace and alliance with him. But Adrian being 
acquainted with the extreme perfidiousness of that king, 
deferred the concluding anything therein to another time. 
Now, after the death of Carloman, his relict Bertha, out of 
envy towards the grandeur of Hildegarda, the great Charles's 
consort, by the advice of one Adoarius, flies with her sons 
into Italy to King Desiderius, who received her very kindly 
and honourably, both because he thought he should by this 
means be less in danger from the power of France, and also 
reckoned that the French upon setting up Carloman's sons 
would the sooner appear in arms against King Charles if he 
should give him any disturbance. But not being able by 
entreaties to prevail with Adrian to anoint these sons of 
Carloman kings, he applies himself to forcible means, and 
invading the State of Ravenna, which was under the Pope's 
jurisdiction, he takes Faenza and Comacchio. Ravenna was 
at this time under the government of its Archbishop and 
three tribunes, who forthwith desired aid of Adrian. The 
Pope at first sends to Desiderius, admonishing him to contain 
himself within his own territories, and not to invade the 
rights of the Church. But understanding afterwards that 
this king had also possessed himself of Urbino, Sinigaglia, and 
Eugubio, he then began to threaten him with the approach of 
Divine vengeance towards him for the violation of peace. To 
which the Lombard made no other reply, than that Adrian 
ought to quit the interest of the French King, and to be of 
his side. For it was his great design to make a breach 
between Charles and the Pope; which when he could not 
obtain by solicitations and promises, he threatened to besiege 
Rome itself within a little time. He was already come to 
Spoleto, with Aldagasius, Carloman's son, but intended to 
march from thence to Rome, though in a peaceable manner, 
and, as he pretended, out of devotion. But Adrian having 
caused the relics of all the churches without the walls to be 
brought into the city, sends three bishops to Desiderius to 
forbid him entering the confines of Rome upon pain of 
excommunication, who thereupon fearing lest he might incur 
the Divine displeasure, presently returned into Lombardy. 
In the meantime Charles receiving from Adrian intelligence 
of the injury which had been done him, sends ambassadors 

200 The Lives of the Popes, 

to Desiderius to persuade him to restore what he had wrong- 
fully taken from the Pope, or otherwise to let him know that he 
would soon visit him with such an army as should oblige him 
to it. Desiderius, notwithstanding all this, refuses it, and so on 
both sides great armies are prepared. But Charles having sent 
some part of his forces before to secure the Passes of the Alps, 
with wonderful expedition leads the main body of his army 
over Mont Cenis into Italy, where encountering Desiderius, 
he vanquishes and puts him to flight, and then takes and 
spoils his whole country. Desiderius after so great an over- 
throw despairing to get the better in a pitched battle, retreats 
to Pavia, having sent his wife and children to Verona. And 
the people of Spoleto, Rieti, and all the Lombards inhabiting 
those parts, hearing his misfortune, betake themselves to 
Rome, and commit their persons and estates to the Pope's 
protection, taking an oath of fidelity to him, and shaving their 
heads and beards, which among that people was the greatest 
sign and token of a perfect submission to his power and 
jurisdiction. By their example those of Ancona, Osimo, and 
Firmo did the like. Now to such of these Lombards as were 
unwilling o return into their own country, the Vatican Hill 
was granted them to inhabit and seat themselves in ; whither 
afterwards there was from all parts a great concourse of 
others their countrymen, who chose to live there. But 
Charles leaving his cousin-german Bernardus at the siege of 
Pavia, marches with part of his army to Verona, which city, 
upon the inclination of Bertha and Carloman's sons to the 
French side, in a little time after surrendered to him ; though 
Adelgisus, Desiderius's son, escaping thence fled to the 
Emperor of Constantinople. Almost all the cities of Lombardy 
beyond the Po having in like manner yielded to Charles, he 
goes towards Rome, that he might there celebrate the feast of 
Easter with the Pope. At his approach to the city, he was in 
compliment met by three thousand judges, as Anastasius tells 
us, calling them judges who were not handicraftsmen or did 
not exercise any mean trades. Adrian with his clergy 
expected him at the steps of St Peter's, and at his coming 
embraced him with all imaginable affection, but could not 
restrain the humble king from kissing his feet. The usual 
salutations and respects having passed on both sides, they 
entered the church, and being come up to the altar, Charles 
and the Pope, the Romans and the French, took a mutual 

Adrian I % 20 1 

oath to maintain a perpetual friendship, and to be enemies 
to the enemies of each other. After which, Charles making 
his entrance into the city, devoutly visited all the churcheSj 
and made several presents to them. Four days after his 
being there, he by oath confirmed and amply enlarged the 
donation of his father Pipin to Gregory the Third, containing, 
according to Anastasius, in Liguria all that reaches from the 
long-since demolished city Luna to the Alps, the Isle of 
Corsica, and the whole tract between Lucca and Parma, to- 
gether with Friuli, the exarchate of Ravenna, and the Duke- 
doms of Spoleto and Beneventum. These affairs being thus 
settled, Charles, taking his leave of Adrian, returns into Lom- 
bardy, and becomes master of Pavia on the sixth month after 
the investing of it. Towards Desiderius however he was so 
favourable, as that though he bereft him of his kingdom, yet 
he spared his life, and only confined him with his wife and 
children to Lyons. Advancing thence against Arachis, Duke 
of Beneventum, who was son-in-law to Desiderius, and had 
been an abettor of his rash proceedings, he soon forced him to 
sue for a peace, and received his two sons for hostages. After 
this in his passage farther he religiously visited Mount Cassino, 
and confirmed all the grants which had been made by other 
princes to the monastery of St Benedict. And so the affairs 
of all Italy being composed, and strong guards left in the 
most important places of Lombardy, he returns with great 
spoil and mighty glory into his kingdom of France, carrying 
with him his brother Carloman's relict and sons, whom he 
always treated with respect and honour; and also Paul, a 
deacon of the church of Aquileia, a person for his parts and 
learning highly beloved by Desiderius, to whom he gave his 
freedom, and had for some time a great esteem for him. But 
understanding afterwards that the man was assisting to 
a design of Desiderius's flight, he banished him into the 
island of Tremiti ; from whence after some years making his 
escape, and coming to Arachis, at the request of Adelperga, 
daughter to Desiderius and the wife of Arachis, he added two 
books to the history of Eutropius, giving an account of what 
passed from the time of the Emperor Julian to that of Justinian 
the first. After the death of Arachis, he betook himself to 
the monastery of Cassino, where, leading the remainder of his 
life very devoutly, he oftentimes wrote elegant and obliging 
letters to Charles, and received again the like from that king, 

202 The Lives of the Popes. 

who had preserved him for the sake of his learning, thus 
ended the kingdom of the Lombards, in the two hundred and 
fourth year after their coming into Italy, and in the year of 
our Lord seven hundred and seventy-four. Charles now with- 
out any delay marches against the idolatrous Saxons, who 
during his absence in Italy had rebelled ; utterly subdues that 
people, with whom he had been engaged in war for thirty 
years before, and compels them to receive Christianity. Then 
turning his army against the Spaniards, who were also fallen 
away from the faith, he took the cities of Pampeluna and 
Saragossa, and permitted his soldiers to plunder them ; not 
granting a peace to these Spaniards, but upon condition they 
would entirely embrace the Christian doctrine. After this 
returning into France, matters having went according to his 
mind, as he passed the Pyrenean Hills he fell into an 
ambuscade of the Gascons, in engaging with whom, though 
he gallantly defended himself, yet he lost Anselmus and 
Egibardus, two brave commanders. Some tell us that in this 
encounter Rolandus, Charles' sister's son, perished, after he 
had made a great slaughter of the enemy; though, whether 
he died of thirst, as is commonly said, or of the wounds he 
received, is uncertain. At length these Gascons were van- 
quished by Charles, and received from him the deserved 
punishment of their revolt and perfidy. At this time Taxillo, 
Duke of Bavaria, Desiderius's son-in-law, having gained the 
Huns to be on his side, made an attempt of war against the 
French, which yet Charles by his great expedition almost 
made an end of before it was quite begun ; and to him also, 
upon hostages given, he granted a peace. While these things 
were transacting in France, Constantine, emperor of the East, 
was seized with a leprosy (from whence perhaps arose the 
groundless opinion of the leprosy of Constantine the Great, 
through the confusion of their names), and dying, left Leo the 
Fourth his successor ; who so strangely doted upon precious 
stones, that robbing the church of St Sophia of its jewels, he 
made with them a crown of a vast weight and value, which he 
wore so often, that either through the weight, or from the 
coldness of the stones in it, he shortly fell sick and died. The 
same I believe to have happened in our time to Paul the 
Second, who so effeminately prided himself in such ornaments, 
almost exhausting the treasury of the Church to purchase 
jewels at any rate, that as often as he appeared publicly, 

Adrian I. 203 

instead of wearing a plain mitre, he looked like the picture of 
Cybele with turrets on her head ; from whence, what with the 
weight of the jewels and the sweat of his gross body, I am apt 
to think arose that apoplexy of which he died suddenly. After 
the death of Leo, his relict Irene and his son Constantine 
managed the empire. In a council of three hundred and 
fifty bishops held the second time at Nice, it was decreed, 
that whosoever maintained that the images of the saints were 
to be destroyed, should be censured with perpetual excom- 
munication. But young Constantine, through the persuasion 
of some ill men about him, treading in the footsteps of his 
father, soon after revoked this constitution, and wholly de- 
prived his mother of any share in the administration of affairs. 
Then putting away his wife, he received to his bed, and 
caused to be crowned empress, Theodora, one of her maids. 
Moreover, he gave order to those commanders he had in Italy, 
to give disturbance to their neighbours ; but they were at the 
first message terrified from any attempts by the prevailing 
authority of Charles, who at this time was advancing with his 
forces against the Sclaves and Huns (or we may call them 
Hungarians) because by their incursions they had molested 
all the country about the Danube ; whom having vanquished, 
he marched into Franconia the country of his ancestors, from 
whence the Franks or French derive their name ; which pro- 
vince he with ease brought to his devotion. Two years after, 
Theophylact and Stephen, two bishops of great note, held a 
synod of Frank and German bishops at Frankfort, wherein that 
which the Greeks called the seventh synod, and the Felician 
heresy touching the destruction of images, was condemned. 
Adrian being now by the interest and power of Charles secured 
from the fear of any warlike incursions, applies himself to 
the repairing the city, beautifying the churches, restoring the 
aqueducts, and such like public works, which I need not 
particularly enumerate, performed at his vast expence. But 
while he was employed in these matters, there happened such 
an inundation of the river Tiber, as bore down a principal 
gate, and bridge, and several buildings of the city, and did 
otherwise great damage. In this extremity Adrian took care 
to send boats to convey provisions to such as, while the waters 
were so high, could not stir out of their houses. And after- 
wards he comforted with his advice, and supported with his 
charity, the principal sufferers in that calamity ; nor did he 

204 Tlie Lives of the Popes. 

spare any cost in repairing the public loss. In short, Adrian 
left nothing undone, that became a good prince and excellent 
Pope; defending the Christian religion, maintaining the Roman 
liberty, and asserting the cause of the poor, the orphans, and 
widows. After he had held the chair with great honour 
twenty-three years, ten months, he died, and was buried in St 
Peter's, December the 27th. 


A.D. 795-816. 

LEO the Third, a Roman, son of Azzupius, was, upon the 
account of merit, advanced to the pontificate, having 
been from his youth so thoroughly educated and instructed in 
ecclesiastical learning, that he deserved to be preferred before 
all others. A modest, upright, and well-spoken person, and 
such a favourer of learned men, that he encouraged them 
by the proposal of generous rewards to resort from all parts 
to him, and was wonderfully pleased with their conversation. 
Moreover, to visit and exhort the sick, to relieve the poor, to 
comfort the dejected, and to reduce the erroneous by his 
preaching and admonition, in which, through his art and elo- 
quence, he had gained a great perfection, was his peculiar 
providence. He was naturally of a meek temper, a lover of 
all mankind, slow to anger, ready to commiserate, eminent for 
piety, and a vigorous promoter and defender of the honour of 
God and His Church. Hereupon he was (as I have said) 
unanimously elected to the papal see on St Stephen's day, 
and the day following with general acclamations seated in St 
Peter's chair. At this time Irene, mother of Constantine the 
Emperor, not being able to bear her son's ill courses, and 
being instigated thereto by certain of the citizens, returns to 
Constantinople, puts out his eyes, and throws him into prison, 
where, as an undutiful son, he miserably ended his days. In 
the meantime Charles, having disturbance given him on many 
sides, sends his son Pipin against the Hungarians, whom, 
having worsted in several engagements, he at length totally 
subdued. Alphonsus, likewise King of Asturia and Gallicia, 
having received auxiliary forces from Charles, vanquished the 
Saracens and took Lisbon ; upon the hearing of which victory 

Leo III, 205 

of his, the garrison of Barcelona forthwith yielded up to 
Charles. Moreover, the Bavarians, who made inroads upon 
the inhabitants of Friuli, were now overcome by Henry, 
Charles's lieutenant there. At this time Leo, with the clergy 
and people, being employed in the solemn procession instituted 
by Pope Gregory, he was, through the treachery of Paschal 
and Campulus, two of the principal clergy, seized near the 
church of St Sylvester, stripped of his pontifical habit, so 
cruelly beaten and misused that it was thought he had been 
deprived both of his sight, and speech, and then closely im- 
prisoned in the monastery of St Erasmus. From whence yet 
soon after by the diligence of Albinus, one belonging to his 
bed-chamber, he made his escape, and was secretly conveyed 
to the Vatican, where he lay concealed till Vinigisius, Duke of 
Spoleto, being privately invited thereunto, came, and with a 
strong guard of soldiers to secure him on his way from any 
violence which his enemies might offer to him, carried him off 
safely to Spoleto. The factious being not now able to wreak their 
malice upon the persons of Leo and Albinus, express their rage 
in pulling down their houses ; nay, so hardy and daring were 
they, as to go to Charles, who was now making war upon the 
Saxons, and to whom they understood Leo had repaired, on 
purpose to complain of and accuse the Pope. But Charles, 
deferring the debate of the matter to another time, sends the 
Pope to Rome with an honourable retinue, promising that 
himself would be there in a little time, in order to the com- 
posing of the affairs of Italy. Leo in his passage being come 
as far as Ponte Molle, was there in honour met by the clergy 
and people of Rome, who congratulated his return, and 
introduced him into the city. And Charles, without making 
any long stay, passing through Mentz and Nuremberg into 
Friuli, severely chastises the citizens of Treviso for having put 
to death Henry, their governor, and having constituted another 
to succeed him in that office, he thence goes first to Ravenna, 
and presently after to Rome, where his presence was earnestly 
desired and expected. At his entrance into the city all imagin- 
able expressions of honour, as good reason was, were made to 
him. On the eighth day of his being there, in the presence of 
the people and clergy, assembled in St Peter's Church, he 
asked all the bishops, who had come thither out of all the 
parts of Italy and France, what their opinion was concerning 
the life and conversation of the Pope. But answer was made 

206 The Lives of the Popes. 

by all with one voice, that the apostolic see, the head of all 
churches, ought to be judged by none, especially not by a 
laic. Hereupon, Charles laying aside any farther inquiry into 
the matter, Pope Leo, who extremely wished that he might be 
put upon that way of purging himself, going up into the pulpit 
and holding the gospels in his hands, declared upon his oath 
that he was innocent of all those things which were laid to his 
charge. This was done on the thirteenth day of December, 
a.d. 800. While things went thus at Rome, Pipin, by his 
father's order, advancing against the Beneventans, who, under 
Grimoald's conduct, made inroads upon their neighbours, and 
having given them so many defeats, that at length they were 
scarce able to defend themselves within the walls of their 
city, he left the farther management of that war to Vinigisius, 
Duke of Spoleto, and returned to his father, who was now 
in a short time to be crowned Emperor. For the Pope, 
that he might make some requital to Charles, who had 
deserved so well of the Church, and also because he saw 
that the emperors of Constantinople were hardly able to 
maintain that title ; upon which account Rome and all 
Italy had suffered great calamities; after mass in St Peter's 
Church, with the consent and at the request of the people of 
Rome, declares with a loud voice the said Charles to be Em- 
peror, and put the imperial diadem upon his head, the people 
repeating thrice this acclamation, " Long life and victory to 
Charles Augustus, whom God has crowned, the great and 
pacific Emperor." Then the Pope anointed him, and his 
son Pipin, whom in like manner he pronounced King of Italy. 
Charles being now invested with imperial power, gave order 
that Campulus and Paschal, the conspirators against the Pope, 
should be put to death j but the Pope, who was all clemency, 
obtained a pardon of their lives, and they were only banished 
into France. After this there were some who would have 
persuaded Charles to expel all the Lombards out of Italy. 
But that not appearing to be a safe course, because they had 
mingled in blood and affinity with multitudes of families in 
Italy, it was determined, both by Charles and Leo, that the 
name of Lombard should remain there only, where that 
nation had chiefly had their seat. Pipin being now returned 
to Beneventum, and having continued the siege of that place 
for several months without success, he turns his arms against 
the city Chieti, of which having, after some opposition, made 

Leo III. 207 

himself master by force, he plundered and burnt it, upon 
the terror whereof at his marching thence, he had the cities of 
Ortona and Luceria surrendered to him, and in the latter he 
took Grimoald, Duke of Beneventum, who not long after died 
of grief. In the meantime, the Empress of Constantinople, 
sending ambassadors into Italy, enters into a league with 
Charles, their several pretensions to Italy being thus adjusted, 
viz., Irene was to have that part which, beginning on the one 
side from Naples, and from Siponto (a city now called Man- 
fredonia) on the other, lies extended between the two seas, 
eastward, together with Sicily ; all Italy beside, only except- 
ing always those places which were under the jurisdiction of 
the Church, were by the articles of peace adjudged to be 
Charles's own. But Nicephorus, a Patrician, not stomaching 
to submit to the dominion of a woman, having craftily seized 
Irene, and banished her into Lesbos, by his ambassadors 
renews the league before entered into with Charles; which 
Charles at this time compelled the Saxons, who had so often 
revolted, to remove, with their wives and children, into France, 
following them close in their passage with his army to prevent 
their committing any disorders as they went along. Pope 
Leo, being perpetually disturbed by one sedition after another, 
leaving Rome, goes to Mantua to see the blood of Christ, 
which was now in great esteem for the miracles said to be 
wrought there by it. Having been received with great respect 
and affection by the Mantuans, and approved it to be indeed 
Christ's blood upon frequent trial of the miraculous effects of 
it, he makes a journey to Charles, who was very desirous to 
know the trnth of this matter, that he might certify him con- 
cerning it, and also that he might discourse with him about 
settling the affairs of Italy. Returning then to Rome, and 
being assisted by King Pipin, who had his father's order 
therein, he proceeded to a gentle punishment of some of the 
chief plotters and movers of sedition. Charles being now very 
aged, having intelligence that Pipin was dead at Milan, de- 
clares Louis, his younger son, King of Aquitain, and his suc- 
cessor in the empire, and Bernard, his nephew, King of Italy, 
to whom he gave charge that he should in all things be 
obedient to Louis. To the extent of the empire he set these 
bounds : in Gallia, the Rhine and the Loyre ; in Germany, 
the Danube and the Save ; and to these provinces he added 
Aquitain, Gascoigne, a great part of Spain, Lombardy, Saxony, 

208 The Lives of the Popes. 

both the Pannonias, Istria, Croatia, and Dalmatia, excepting 
only those parts of it situate on the sea-coast, which were 
subject to the Emperor of Constantinople. Having thus 
settled affairs, while he was at Aachen for the recovery of his 
health by the use of the hot baths there, he died of a fever 
and pleurisy, in the seventy-second year of his age, January 
the 28th, a.d. 814. His body was, with all imaginable pomp 
and solemnity, interred in the church of St Mary, which him- 
self had built at Aachen, with this inscription on his tomb, 
" Magni Caroli Regis Christianissimi, Romanorumque Im- 
peratoris Corpus hoc Sepulchro conditum jacet." He was 
indeed, whether we regard his management of civil or mili- 
tary matters, so illustrious and excellent an Emperor, that 
none of his successors have either excelled or equalled him. 
Moreover, when leisure from other weighty affairs permitted 
him, he took such delight in the study of learning, that it was 
he who, at the persuasion of Alcuin, first made Paris an 
university. Of three tables of silver which he had, one, on 
which was engraven the city of Constantinople, he gave to the 
church of St Peter ; another, on which the city of Rome was 
described, to the church of Ravenna \ the third, which some 
tell us was of gold, on which was a map of the whole world, 
he left to his sons. 

As for Pope Leo, having repaired the roof of St Paul's, 
which had fallen down in an earthquake ; built from the 
ground a very capacious hospital for strangers near St Peter's ; 
and ordained litanies on the three days before Ascension Day : 
on the first of which the procession was to be from St Marie's 
ad Praesepe to the Lateran church ; on the second, from the 
church of St Sabina to St Paul's ; and on the third day, from St 
Cross to St Laurence's, without the walls, — in the twenty-first 
year of his pontificate he died, which year there appeared a 
comet, thought by some to have been a presage of so great a 
calamity. 1 He was buried in St Peter's, June the 12th ; and 
the see was vacant ten days. 

1 The latter days of his pontificate were disturbed by violent insurrec- 
tions in Rome ; the people declared that his exactions and tyranny were 
intolerable, and there were fires and bloodshed in the attempt to depose 
him. He executed many of the insurgents, and wrote to the Emperor to 
deprecate his anger for doing so. The tumults were still going on when 
he died.— Ed. 

Stephen V. 



A.D. 816-817. 

STEPHEN the Fourth, a Roman, son of Julius, in the 
third month of his pontificate went into France to the 
Emperor Louis; though the reason of his journey is not 
certainly known. Some conjecture that it was to secure him- 
self from the relics of the faction and conspiracy of Cam- 
pulus, which, upon the death of Leo, prevailed afresh. The 
Emperor Louis, surnamed the Godly, was now at Orleans, 
who, as soon as he had intelligence of the Pope's coming, 
forthwith sends all the persons of principal quality to meet 
him j and among others, particularly Theudolphus, Bishop of 
Orleans, with the clergy, and a great part of the people. And 
Louis himself going forth a whole mile for the same purpose, 
as soon as he saw him, alighted off his horse, and after 
mutual salutations had passed between them, introduced him 
very honourably into the city, the clergy going before and 
after, repeating the hymn called "Te Deum Laudamus." 
For Stephen was not only a person of noble extraction, but 
of such learning and integrity, that he easily gained a general 
veneration for sanctity, having been well instructed by an 
advantageous education under those two pious Popes, Adrian 
and Leo. Being entered into the city, supported by the 
emperor, because of the crowd of the people who pressed out 
of a desire to see him, he was conducted to the apartment 
appointed for him in the palace, where he often had con- 
ferences with the emperor about the composure of the affairs 
of Italy, besides the other frequent mutual entertainments 
and civilities that passed between them. Louis would have 
detained the Pope longer with him, had he not now been 
engaged in such important wars that it was necessary he 
should oppose the enemy in person. For both the Gascons 
had revolted, whom in a short time he reduced ; and those of 
Bretagne began to endeavour a change of government, whom 
in like manner by his arms he kept in obedience ; and more- 
over, at an assembly held at Aachen, he granted peace to the 
ambassadors sent from the Saracens inhabiting Saragossa. 
Stephen being now upon his departure, in imitation of our 
Saviour, who spared even His enemies, obtained of Louis, that 
all those whom Charles had punished with banishment or 

2io The Lives of the Popes, 

imprisonment for their conspiracy against Leo, might have 
their liberty. He also carried with him a cross of great 
weight and value, made at the charge of Louis, and by him 
dedicated to St Peter. But returning to Rome, he died in 
the seventh month of his pontificate, and was buried in St 
Peter's \ and by his death the see was vacant eleven days. 


A.D. 817-824. 

PASCHAL, a Roman, son of Bonosus, was created Pope 
without any interposition of the emperor's authority. 
Whereupon at his first investiture in that office, he forthwith 
sends Nuncios to Louis, excusing himself, and laying all the 
blame upon the clergy and people of Rome, who had forcibly 
compelled him to undertake it. Louis, accepting this for 
satisfaction from Paschal, sends to the clergy and people, 
admonishing them to observe the ancient constitution, and to 
beware how they presumed for time to come to infringe the 
rights of the emperor. Also, in the assembly held at Aachen, 
he associated to himself in the empire his eldest son, 
Lotharius, and declared Pipin, his second son, king of 
Aquitain ; and Louis, his third son, king of Bavaria. But 
Bernardus, king of Italy, having, upon the instigation of 
certain bishops and seditious citizens, revolted from the 
empire, and compelled some cities and states to swear alle- 
giance to himself, Louis, being hereat incensed, sends a strong 
army into Italy ; whose passage over the Alps Bernardus 
endeavouring to oppose, he was vanquished. The heads of 
the rebellion being taken, were presently cut off, and Ber- 
nardus himself, though he very submissively begged forgive- 
ness, was put to death at Aachen. Those bishops who had 
been authors of the mischief were, by a decree of synod, 
confined into several monasteries. This tumult, for so it was 
rather than a war, being thus composed, Louis moves with 
his army against the Saxons rebelling now afresh, and over- 
comes and slays Viromarchus, their hardy chief, who aspired 
to the kingdom. After this, he sends his son Lotharius, 
whom he had declared king of Italy, to the Pope, by whom 
he was anointed in the church of St Peter's, with the title of 

Paschal I. 2 1 1 

Augustus. But there arising great commotions in Italy, and 
Lotharius seeing himself unable to withstand them, he goes 
to his father in order to provide greater force. Upon which 
Theodorus the Primicerius, and Leo the Nomenclator, having 
had their eyes first pulled out, were murdered in a tumult in 
the Lateran Palace. There were some who laid the blame of 
this disorder upon Paschal himself; but he in a synod of 
thirty bishops did both by conjectures, and by reasons, and 
by his oath purge himself of it. Louis rested himself satisfied 
herewith, and as Anastasius tells us, that no future distur- 
bance might arise from uncertain pretensions, writing to 
Paschal, he declared in his letters what cities of Tuscany 
were subject to the empire, viz., Arezzo, Volterra, Chiusi, 
Florence, which had been repaired and enlarged by his 
father, Charles the Great, Pistoia, Lucca, Pisa, Perugia, and 
Orvieto \ the others he allowed to be under the jurisdiction of 
the Church of Rome. He added, moreover, Todi in Umbria, 
and Romagna beyond the Apennine, with the Exarchate of 
Ravenna. The same Anastasius says, that Louis granted to 
Paschal a free power (the same which he also tells us was 
given by Charles to Pope Adrian) of choosing bishops, 
whereas before the emperors were wont to be advised, and 
their consent and confirmation desired in the case. Our 
Paschal, who, for his piety and learning, had been by Pope 
Stephen made prior of the monastery of St Stephen in the 
Vatican, being now in the chair, both caused the bodies of 
several saints, which before lay neglectedly, to be conveyed 
into the city with great solemnity, and honourably interred ; 
and also by paying their creditors procured the release of 
divers poor prisoners. He also built from the ground the 
church of St Praxedes the blessed martyr, not far from the 
old one, which, through age and the clergy's neglect, was run 
to ruin. This church having consecrated, he oftentimes 
celebrated mass in it, and also deposited therein the bodies of 
many saints which lay about unregarded in the cemeteries. 
In the same church was an oratory dedicated to St Agnes, 
which he made very stately and ornamental. Moreover, he 
built the church of St Cecilia (as appears still by an inscription 
on the nave of it), in which he in like manner reposited the 
bodies of that virgin herself, and her affianced husband, 
Valerianus, as also of Tiburtius and Maximus, martyrs, and 
Urban and Lucius, Bishops of Rome, adorning it with all 

212 The Lives of the Popes. 

kinds of marble, and enriching it with presents of gold and 
silver. He also repaired the church of St Mary ad Praesepe, 
that had been decayed by age, and altered the nave of it to 
advantage. In fine, having been very exemplary for religion 
and piety, good nature and bounty, after he had been in the 
chair seven years, two months, seven days, he died, and was 
buried in St Peter's. The see was then vacant only four days. 


A.D. 824-827. 

EUGENIUS the Second, a Roman, son of Boemundus, was 
for his sanctity, learning, humanity, and eloquence, 
unanimously 1 chosen into the pontificate, at that time particu- 
larly when Lotharius, coming into Italy, made choice of a 
magistrate for the administration of justice, and execution of 
the laws among the people of Rome, who after a long and 
heavy servitude, had enjoyed some liberty under the Emperor 
Charles and his sons. In the meantime Louis, after he had 
for forty days been spoiling and laying waste the country of 
Bretagne with fire and sword, having received hostages, he 
goes to Rouen, and there gives audience to the ambassadors 
of Michael, Emperor of Constantinople, who came to consult 
what his opinion was concerning the images of the saints, 
whether they were to be utterly abolished and destroyed, or 
kept up and restored again. But Louis referred them to the 
Pope, who was principally concerned to determine in the 
matter. After this he marched against the Bulgarians, who 
were now making inroads into the Pannonias, and at first 
repelled them ; but Haydo, governor of Aquitain, upon con- 
fidence of auxiliary forces from Abderamann, king of the 
Saracens, having rebelled, he was obliged to quit this war, 
and so the Bulgarians, in a hostile manner, marched without 
control through the middle of the Pannonias into Dalmatia. 

1 Hardly unanimously. There was the imperialist party, comprising the 
nobles and the plebeians, more papal than the Popes themselves, who, 
scorning the subservience of the Popes to the German Emperor, were 
anxious for an independent pontiff. They put up one Zinzinnus, but the 
imperialist legate, by astute management, caused Eugenius to be elected, 
though he had to repress the popular voice with some sternness. — Ed. 

Valentine I. 213 

But before Louis advanced against Haydo, a great part of 
Spain had revolted to Haydo, who sent out a fleet which an- 
noyed the sea-port towns all about. Only Bernardus, Earl of 
Barcelona, though he had disturbance given him both by sea 
and land, yet continued firm to the emperor. Our Eugenius, 
excelling in the gifts of body and mind, and despising the 
goods of fortune, applied himself to works of bounty and 
munificence, and particularly took so much care in the matter 
of provision, that all sorts of it, and especially grain, was nowhere 
cheaper than at Rome. Moreover, he supported the lives 
and defended the cause of the poor, the fatherless, and 
widow, in such a manner that he deservedly gained the name 
of the Father of the Poor. The same course of living he also 
took before his pontificate, both while he was a priest of St 
Sabina in the Aventine, which church, when he came to be 
Pope, he beautified, and also while he was arch-priest of the 
Lateran Church, from which place he was afterwards for his 
great merit by an unanimous choice advanced to the papal 
chair. By his procurement and intercession likewise, all the 
prisoners and exiles in France returned at length to Rome, 
who, being stripped of all they had, were relieved and sup- 
ported by his charity. Nor was it his fault that Sico, Duke of 
Beneventum, did not quit the siege of Naples, which he at this 
time reduced to great straits, and carried from thence the 
body of St Januarius to Beneventum, where he honourably de- 
posited it in the great church with Desiderius and Festus. 
For the Pope endeavoured to persuade Sico to undertake an 
expedition against the Saracens, who had already possessed 
themselves of Palermo in Sicily. The good man, having after 
this manner continued four years in the pontificate, died 
lamented of all, who grieved for themselves rather than for 
him, to whom death was a welcome passage into happiness, 
and was buried in St Peter's. 


A.D. 827. 

ALENTINE, a Roman, son of Leontius, being only a 


deacon, not a priest, was yet for his extraordinary 
sanctity deservedly preferred to the pontificate. Nor will 

2 14 The Lives of the Popes. 

it appear strange, if we consider that, having from his youth 
upwards been instructed in learning and piety by those good 
Popes, Paschal and Eugenius, he did not give his mind to 
pleasures and sports, as most young men are wont to do, but 
applied himself to the acquiring of knowledge by the reading 
of the ancients, and the rule of good living from the example 
of holy bishops. He was, moreover, a person of such ready 
parts and prevailing eloquence, that he had a great facility in 
persuading to or against what he pleased, without offering 
anything that was not sound, learned, and decent. Finally, 
both in his private station and while he was Pope, he came 
behind none of his predecessors in devotion, mercy, and 
charity. For these reasons he was unanimously elected to 
the chair; but possibly as a punishment upon the sins of 
that age, he died on the fortieth day of his pontificate, and 
was buried in St Peter's, all people lamenting that they were 
bereft of such a man, who, if he had lived, would have been 
an almost impregnable support to the Roman liberty and the 
Christian religion. While the see was vacant, Sicardus, Duke 
of Beneventum, who after his father's death ruled tyrannically, 
for the want of a bribe which he expected, cast Deus-dedit, 
abbot of Monte Cassino, into prison, where he died with the 
reputation of being a holy man. 


A.D. 827-844. 

GREGORY the Fourth, a Roman, son of John, and 
Cardinal of St Mark, entered upon the pontificate 
at the time when the Saracens possessed of Asia shut up the 
passage to the Holy Land from the Christians, and the 
Moors passing with their fleet into Sicily, wasted a great 
part of that island, having, as is already said, made them- 
selves masters of Palermo. Nor could the Venetians — 
though at the desire of Michael, Emperor of Constantinople, 
they sailed thither — check their proceedings, the Moors 
having more ships and men than they. The state of Venice 
was now in its increase, having had its original from the 
Veneti, at the time when Attila, with his Huns, took and 
destroyed Aquileia, Concordia, Altino, with other cities of the 

Gregory IV. 215 

province anciently called Venetia; that people having no 
other defence against the cruelty of the barbarians but only 
the fens and marshes. Justinian Patricius was now Duke of 
Venice, whose name I therefore choose to mention, because 
in his time the body of St Mark was by some Venetian 
merchants brought from Alexandria to Venice, where that 
saint is now had in great veneration, a most magnificent 
•church being, in the principal part of the city, built and 
dedicated to him, and adorned and enriched with very great 
donations. And from hence it was that the Venetians first 
bore upon their standards and banners the picture of St 
Mark as the patron of their city. But Gregory, understanding 
that the Venetians were not able to expel these barbarians 
out of the island, sends to Louis and Lotharius, desiring 
them to send aid to the Sicilians at the first opportunity. 
They were very shy of the business, alleging that that war 
belonged to Michael, Emperor of Constantinople, but yet 
declared themselves ready to contribute their share of men 
and money for the undertaking of it. But in the meantime, 
while ambassadors were sent from one to the other about that 
affair, Boniface, Earl of Corsica, with his brother Bertarius, 
and the assistance of some of the people of Tuscany, sailing 
into Africa, engaged four times with the enemy between 
Utica and Carthage, where he made so great a slaughter 
that the Moors were forced, as formerly in Scipio's time, to 
recall their forces from Sicily to the succour of their own 
country in distress ; and by this means Sicily was delivered 
from them. Boniface then returns with his victorious fleet, 
laden with vast spoils, from Africa into Corsica. Some there 
are that write that during this peace in Italy, the Emperor 
Lotharius, envying the preference that his father Louis did in 
all matters give to his youngest brother Charles, afterwards 
surnamed the Bald, he put him in prison, but soon after set 
him free ; and that the barbarians, taking hold of the oppor 
tunity, embarked in a great fleet from Africa for Italy, and 
arrived at Centum Cellse, which city (since called Civita- 
vecchia) some will have to be demolished by them; and 
that from thence marching to Rome, they took that city; 
but this is not probable. What is said concerning Centum 
Cellae I shall not deny, and I doubt not but that they 
attempted the taking of Rome itself; but Guy, Marquis 
of Lombardy, defended it so stoutly that, having burnt the 

2 1 6 The Lives of the Popes. 

suburbs and the churches of St Peter and St Paul in the Via 
Latina, they withdrew to Monte Cassino, where they de- 
stroyed the town of St German and the monastery of St 
Benet, which stood on the hill ; and going down to the 
seaside near the river Garigliano, whither their fleet was 
brought from Ostia, they invaded Tarentum and Sicily ; and, 
as I said before, were recalled home by their own country- 
men, at that time broken in war by the valour of Boniface. I 
take it to be about this time that the body of the apostle St 
Bartholomew was translated from Lipari in Sicily to Ben- 
eventum by Sicardus, prince of that place (who was personally 
present in this great war), lest the body of the holy apostle 
should fall into the hands of the enemies of the name of 
Christ. But to return to Gregory. He was a person of 
so much modesty that, though he were chosen as well by 
the clergy as people of Rome, yet he would not take upon 
him the office of Pope till he was confirmed by those 
ambassadors of the Emperor Louis, who had been despatched 
by him to Rome, that they might oversee an election of 
so great moment. This was not done by Louis out of 
pride, but with respect to the preservation of the imperial 
prerogative, he being naturally very kind and gracious, and 
one that always took care of the dignity and privileges 
of the Church. For he ordained that they who should take 
upon them a religious life should be exempt from all secular 
services, and that every church should be endowed with such 
a certain income, as that the priests might live without being 
forced for want of necessaries to forsake the Divine service or 
to take up any trade. Beside, in the year 830, he held a 
synod of a great many bishops, designed for the honour of 
God and the advantage of the Church, wherein it was ordained 
that neither bishops nor clergy of what degree soever should 
be clad in sumptuous and gaudy apparel, whether silk, scarlet, 
or embroidered ; nor that they should wear on their fingers 
any precious stones (except prelates at mass), nor that gold or 
silver should be used on their girdles, shoes, or pantofles, 
which certainly is far from all religion and a manifest sign of 
great incontinence and vanity. Would to God, Louis, thou 
mightest live in our times. Thy holy institutions, thy censures 
are wanting in the Church at this present, when the clergy let 
themselves loose to all manner of luxury and pleasure. You 
may see now not only the men in scarlet and purple, which 

Gregory IV. 217 

perhaps, would be no great matter, but even their horses and 
beasts of carriage ; and when they march in state a number of 
footmen must go before them, and they must be followed by 
another retinue of priests, not riding upon asses, as Christ did 
(Who was the author of our religion, and the only pattern of 
well-living on earth), but upon steeds pampered and betrapped 
as if they came in triumph from a vanquished enemy. It 
would be to no purpose to speak of their silver vessels, their 
choice household stuff and dishes of meat, when in comparison 
of them the dainties of Sicily, the most magnificent apparel 
and the plate of Corinth would be thought of no value. What 
will be the effect of this exorbitance I shall not determine 
here, lest I should seem to pry into the decrees of heaven. I 
return to Louis, who by these means taking care as well for 
religion as the public weal, died in the thirty-sixth year of his 
empire, and lies buried in the church of St Arnulphus. He 
was not long after followed by our Pope Gregory, remarkable 
for his birth, famous for his sanctity, notable for learning and 
eloquence, and worthy of admiration for his care and diligence 
in both spiritual and civil affairs : for he did after an extraor- 
dinary manner consult the good of the people, by containing 
the wealthy in their duty, by feeding the poor, comforting the 
hopeless, and reducing those that went astray into the right 
way by wholesome admonitions; he also restored many 
churches which time had ruined. Those that were admitted 
to holy orders he kept to their duty as long as he lived by his 
advice and example. This holy Pope translated the body of 
St Gregory, and very much adorning it he placed it where now 
it lies, where many people in those times, either out of devo- 
tion or for the sake of some vow, were wont to keep watch. 
It is said that the bodies of St Sebastian and Tiburtius were 
also translated by him from the cemeteries in which they lay 
before, to the church of St Peter. Some authors say that 
Gregory, at the request of Louis, instituted the feast of All- 
Saints on the first day of November, which act of his was much 
commended both in prose and verse by Rabanus, a monk, a 
famous divine ; for in both those ways of writing that learned 
man was excellent, especially considering the age he lived in. 
The same Rabanus also wrote " Commentaries on the books 
of Chronicles and Maccabees." He made eloquent sermons to 
the people, but that of his is chiefly celebrated which he made 

2 r 8 The Lives of the Popes. 

upon All-Saint's Day. Gregory died in the sixteenth year of 
his pontificate, and was buried in St Peter's Church, after 
which the see was void fifteen days. 


A. D. 844-847. 

SERGIUS the Second, a Roman, whose father was named 
Sergius, of the fourth ward, came to the popedom in the 
second year of Michael III., Emperor of Constantinople. It 
is said that this Sergius was surnamed Bocca di Porco, or 
Hog's-mouth, which for shame of it he changed for Sergius, 
and that from thence came the custom down to our times, that 
when any one is made Pope he laid by his own name and took 
one of some of his predecessors, though all have not observed 
it. However it was, it is certain that Sergius came of a noble 
family and degenerated not from his ancestors, being assisted 
in his good inclinations by Leo III., Stephen IV., Eugenius 
II., and Gregory IV., under whose tuition he lived so well, 
that upon the death of Gregory he alone was thought worthy 
of the pontifical dignity. At that time there was so great a 
feud between the sons of Louis, about the division of the 
empire, that Louis and Charles gave their brother Lotharius 
battle in the country of Auxerre, near Fontenay, where many 
on both sides were slain ; Lotharius losing the day, fled first 
to Aachen, but being forced from thence by the pursuing 
enemy, he conveyed himself with his wife and children to 
Vienna. Hither also he was followed by his brothers with 
their army, to whom not only many of the great men of the 
empire came, but several also were sent by Pope Sergius to 
endeavour to make peace between them, the chief of whom 
was George, Archbishop of Ravenna, who having been before 
to make up the matter, was present with Lotharius in the 
second battle, and the victory inclining to Charles and Louis, 
he lost all his train there (of 300 horsemen), and hardly 
escaped alone from the slaughter. But these men at last 
looking with pity upon the misery and ruin under which the 
whole empire lay, procured a peace upon these terms, viz., that 
the western part of the empire which reached from the British 
Ocean to the Maese, should be subject to Charles, and the 

Sergius, 219 

name of Franks should continue to the inhabitants j that all 
Germany, as far as the river Rhine, and so much on the other 
side of it as his father had been possessed of, should be 
allotted to Louis ; and that Lotharius should, with the title of 
the emperor, hold the city of Rome, with Italy and that part 
of France which was formerly called Gallia Narbonensis, now 
Provence. To this they added that country lying between 
the rivers Scheld and Rhone, which, as I suppose, now took 
the name of Lotharingia [Lorain] from Lotharius. Matters 
being thus composed, Lotharius sends his son Louis, whom 
he had taken into a partnership in the empire, into Italy with 
a mighty army; giving him for companions Drogon, Bishop 
of Metz, and others of the clergy eminent for prudence 
and gravity, by whose advice he was to govern himself. 
But the young man, being puffed up with his great fortune, 
wheresoever he marched, filled the country with slaughter, 
rapine, and destruction. Yet when he approached the city, 
and the citizens of Rome came out of respect to meet him, 
laying by his Gaulish fierceness he grew more mild, because 
contrary to his expectation he found that he might enter the 
city without force of arms. The religious also came a mile 
out of the city to meet him with their crucifixes, singing, 
" Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna 
in the highest." Thus they accompanied him as far as the 
steps of St Peter's Church, where, meeting the Pope, they re- 
ciprocally kissed and greeted each other and went together to 
the Silver Gates, which were not opened. Then said the Pope, 
" If thou comest hither with peaceable and friendly intentions, 
and if thou hast more regard to the advantage of Christianity 
than to the pleasure of exercising cruelty and rapine, then 
with my good will thou mayest enter ; if thou art otherwise 
minded, touch not these gates, for over thy head hangs a 
sword, which will certainly avenge any such wickedness." 
But when he had given the Pope assurance, immediately the 
doors were thrown open. Hereupon a multitude of Romans 
and Franks entering pel-mel, as soon as they came to the 
altar of St Peter, they all kneeling down together gave thanks 
to God Almighty and to the prince of the apostles, that 
matters had been carried according to their minds without 
hurt to anybody; this was done upon the Monday after 
Whitsunday. But soon after the suburbs were sacked by the 
soldiers, and it wanted little but that they had got into the 

220 The Lives of the Popes, 

city for the same end, so that the eighth day after their coming 
the Pope anointed Louis with the holy oil, crowned him and 
declared him king of Italy. Soon after came Siconolfus, 
Prince of Beneventum, to congratulate him, and then the 
multitude was such that the trees were lopped, the beasts driven 
away, and even the standing corn cut down, that their horses 
might not want provender. The Pope therefore easily agreed 
to all their requests, if they were reasonable, that he might 
the sooner rid the city of them : and the Romans being now 
delivered from the fear of their tyrannical barbarity, celebrated 
their Pope as the true vicar of Christ and the only father 
of his country. He betaking himself to the* beautying of 
churches, restored that of St Sylvester and St Martin which 
time had ruined, and in it, together with those of the two 
confessors, he placed the bodies of Fabianus, Stephanus, 
Sotherius, Asterius, Cyriacus, Maurus, Smaragdus, Anastasius, 
Innocentius, Quirinus, Leo, Arthemius, Theodorus, and 
Nicander. He built also near that church from the founda- 
tion a monastery dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, where 
mass was incessantly sung. But at last this holy Pope having 
managed the affairs of the Church with great integrity and 
success, in the third year of his pontificate, died and was 
buried in St Peter's Church. The see was vacant upon his 
death fifteen days. 


A.D. 847-855. 

LEO the Fourth, a Roman, son of Radulphus, was in the 
year 847 by a general consent elected Pope, and very 
deservedly ; for he was one that, whilst he lived a private life, 
was very eminent for religion, innocence, piety, good nature, 
liberality, and especially for ecclesiastical learning. He was 
a person of so much prudence and courage that, as the gt>spel 
directs, he could, when it was necessary, imitate either the 
wisdom of the serpent or the innocence of the dove. So 
general was the good report of him that Pope Sergius II. was 
persuaded to create this pattern of virtue a priest from a 
sub-deacon and to give him the title and church sanctorum 
quaiuor coronatorum, from whence upon the death of Sergius 

Leo IV. 22 1 

he was brought to the Lateran Church and placed in St 
Peter's chair, being universally saluted as Pope, all that were 
present, according to ancient custom, kissing his feet. There 
are some of opinion, that by the prayers of this good man it 
was that God was moved to repress the rage of the Saracens 
by drowning their fleet as they were returning home laden 
with spoil. For they having overcome Theodotius, admiral 
to the Emperor Michael in a sea fight near Tarentum, 
ravaged far and near through Italy without opposition, and 
having taken and sacked Ancona and harassed the coast of 
Dalmatia, when they were returning triumphantly to their own 
country, it pleased God they were cast away at sea by storm. 
So that Leo, being free from his fear of the Saracens, betook 
himself to public works, and caused benches of marble to be 
placed in the entrance to the Lateran cloister and finished the 
gallery which Leo III. had begun. This good prelate ordained 
that yearly in the church of St Paul, on the birthday of that 
Apostle, vespers should be said by all the clergy. He pro- 
hibited all laymen entrance into the chancel during divine 
service. About this time at his command solemn supplications 
were made to avert God's anger, which the frequent earth- 
quakes seemed to threaten. He adorned, after an extraordinary 
manner, the cross which Charles the Emperor had given to 
the Basilica Constantiniana, which had been pilfered of the 
precious stones that belonged to it. It is sure he was a man 
of so great sanctity, that by his prayers he drove away out of 
an arch in St Lucie's Church, a basilisk (called by the Latins 
Regulus), which with its breath and poison had killed many ; 
and by the sign of the cross he stopped a great fire, which had 
burned down the quarter where the Saxons and Lombards 
lived, and reached very near St Peter's Church. This happened 
the eighth day after the assumption of our Lady, which day was 
afterward kept as a festival without the walls not far from St 
Laurence's Church, where stood a church dedicated to the 
Blessed Virgin, to which this munificent Pope had made many 
donaries of gold and silver. Beside this he finished the mosaic 
work in the churches of St Martin and St Silvester in montibus, 
and the pargetting which Sergius had begun, as the inscrip- 
tion shows which is all that is left ; the painting being long 
since perished either for want of care or by time and rotten- 
ness. He took care also that the cross of gold which is 
usually borne before the Pope, was decked with precious stones, 

221 The Lives of the Popes. 

and neglected no manner of ornament that might contribute 
to the honour of the Christian name. He re-edified the city 
walls and gates that had suffered by age, and raised from the 
ground fifteen forts for the defence of the city ; of which two 
were very necessary — one on the right, the other on the left 
hand of the Tiber below the hills Janiculus and Aventinus, to 
hinder the ships of any enemy from entering the town. He by 
his diligence found out the bodies of the sancti quatuor coronati, 
and built a church to them after a magnificent manner j and 
reposited their bodies under the altar, viz., Sempronianus, 
Claudius, Nicostratus, Castorius; to which he added those 
of Severus, Severianus, Carpophorus, Victorinus, Marius, 
Felicissimus, Agapetus, Hippolytus, Aquila, Priscus, Aquinus, 
Narcissus, Marcellinus, Felix, Apollos, Benedict, Venantius, 
Diogenes, Liberalis, Festus, Marcellus (the head of St Protus), 
Cecelia, Alexander, Sixtus, Sebastian, Praxedes. But while 
he was diligently intent upon these affairs, as became so holy 
a man, news was brought that the Saracens were coming with 
a huge fleet to sack the city, and that the Neapolitans and 
the inhabitants upon that shore would come to his assistance ; 
whereupon with what forces he could raise he marched to 
Ostia, and summoned thither the auxiliaries, designing upon 
the first opportunity to fight the enemy. But first this holy 
Pope exhorted his soldiers to receive the sacrament, which 
being devoutly performed, he prayed to God thus, " O God, 
whose right hand did support the blessed Peter when he 
walked upon the waves, and saved him from drowning, and 
delivered from the deep his fellow-apostle Paul when he was 
thrice shipwrecked, hear us mercifully and grant that for their 
merits, the hands of these Thy faithful ones fighting against 
the enemies of Thy holy Church, may by Thy almighty arm 
be confirmed and strengthened ; that Thy holy name may 
appear glorious before all nations in the victory that shall be 
gained." Having pronounced this, by making the sign of 
the cross he gave the signal for battle, and the onset was 
made by his soldiers with great briskness as if they had been 
sure of victory, which after a tedious dispute was theirs, the 
enemies being put to flight ; many of them perished in the 
fight, but most were taken alive and brought to Rome ; where 
the citizens would have some of them hanged without the 
city for a terror to the rest, very much against the mind of 
Leo, who was very remarkable for gentleness and clemency, 

Leo IV. 223 

but it was not for him to oppose the rage of a multitude. 
Those that were taken alive Leo made use of in re-edifying 
those churches which the Saracens had heretofore ruined and 
burnt, and in building the wall about the Vatican, which from 
his own name he called Urbs Leonina. This he did lest the 
enemy should with one slight assault take and sack the 
church of St Peter, as heretofore they were wont. The 
gates also had his prayers, for upon that which leads to St 
Peregrin this was graven in marble, " O God, who by giving 
to Thy apostle St Peter the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven 
didst confer upon him the pontifical authority of binding and 
loosing, grant that by the help of his intercession we may be 
delivered from all mischievous attempts, and that this city 
which now with Thy assistance I have newly founded may 
be free for ever from thine anger, and may have many and 
great victories over those enemies against whom it is built." 
And on the second gate near St Angelo that leads into the 
fields were these words, " O God, who from the beginning of 
the world didst vouchsafe to preserve and establish this holy 
Catholic and Apostolic Church of Rome, mercifully blot out 
the hand-writing of our iniquity, and grant that this city 
which we, assisted by the intercession of the apostles Peter 
and Paul, have newly dedicated to Thy holy name, may 
remain secure from the evil machinations of its enemies." 
The third was on the front of the gate by which we go to the 
Saxon school, in these words, "Grant, we beseech thee, 
almighty and merciful God, that crying to Thee with our 
whole heart, and the blessed apostle Peter interceding for us, 
we may obtain Thy favour. We continually beg of Thy 
mercy, that the city which I, Thy servant Leo IV., Bishop of 
Rome, have dedicated anew and called Leonina from my own 
name, may continue safe and prosperous." This city he 
began in the first year of his pontificate and finished in his 
sixth, and gave it to be a habitation for the men of Corsica, 
who had been driven out of that island by the Saracens, to 
each of whom also he assigned a piece of ground for his main- 
tenance. But I wonder now that another inscription is to be 
read on these gates in dull hexameter verse, which I cannot 
by any means think to be Leo's, though it go under his name. 
Of the spoils of the Saracens he made several donations of 
gold and silver to the churches of Rome. Some write that 
it was by his command that St Mary's Church in the new street 

224 The Lives of the Popes. 

and the tower in the Vatican next St Peter's now to be seen, 
were built. Beside he restored the silver door of St Peter 
which had been pillaged by the Saracens. He held a synod 
of forty-seven bishops, wherein Anastasius, presbyter cardinal 
of St Marcellus, was by the papal canons convicted of several 
crimes, upon which he was condemned and excommunicated, 
the chief allegation being that for five years he had not resided 
in his parish. Moreover he brought colonies from Sardinia 
and Corsica (which now upon the repulse of the Saracens had 
some respite) and planted them in Ostia, which partly by 
reason of the unhealthiness of the air and partly by being so 
often plundered was left without inhabitants. Lastly, he fully 
satisfied Lotharius, who having been informed that Leo was 
upon a design of translating the empire to the Constan- 
tinopolitans, came himself to Rome. But the informers being 
caught in lies received condign punishment, and the friend- 
ship was on both sides renewed. It is said that Johannes 
Scotus, a learned divine, lived at this time, who coming into 
France, by the command of King Louis, translated St 
Dionysius's book " de Hierarchia " out of Greek into Latin, 
but was soon after (as they say) stabbed with a bodkin 
by some of his scholars : but the occasion of this villanous 
act is not anywhere recorded. It is said too, that now 
Ethelwulf, King of England, out of devotion, made his 
country tributary to the Church of Rome, by charging a penny 
yearly upon every house. Our holy Pope Leo having 
deserved well of the Church of God, of the city of Rome, and 
of the whole Christian name for his wisdom, gravity, diligence, 
learning, and the magnificence of his works, died in the 
eighth year, third month, and sixth day of his pontificate, on 
the 17 th day of July, and was buried in St Peter's Church. 
The see was then void two months and fifteen days. 


JOHN, of English extraction, but born at Mentz, is said 
to have arrived at the Popedom by evil arts j for disguis- 
ing herself like a man, whereas she was a woman, she 
went when young with her paramour, a learned man, to Athens, 

Benedict III. 225 

and made such progress in learning under the professors there, 
that, coming to Rome, she met with few that could equal, 
much less go beyond her, even in the knowledge of Scriptures ; 
and by her learned and ingenious readings and disputations, 
she acquired so great respect and authority, that upon the death 
of Leo (as Martin says), by common consent she was chosen 
Pope in his room. As she was going to the Lateran Church, 
between the Colossean theatre (so called from Nero's colossus) 
and St Clement's, her travail came upon her, and she died 
upon the place, having sat two years, one month, and four 
days, and was buried there without any pomp. This story is 
vulgarly told, but by very uncertain and obscure authors, and 
therefore I have related it barely and in short, lest I should 
seem obstinate and pertinacious if I had omitted what is so 
generally talked j I had better mistake with the rest of the 
world ; though it be certain, that what I have related may be 
thought not altogether incredible. Some say that at this 
time the body of St Vincent was brought by a monk from 
Valentia, in Spain, to a villiage in Albigeois, in France. They 
say, too, that Lotharius, being now aged, taking on him a 
monastic habit, left the empire to his son Louis, who passing 
into Germany, by his presence composed matters there which 
otherwise threatened a war. 1 


A.D. 855-858. 

TDENEDICT the Third, by birth a Roman, son of Peter ; 
■"-J he was deservedly called Benedictus for the sanctity of 
his life and his knowledge in divinity. For while he lived 
under Gregory, he was made by him sub-deacon, and thence- 
forward led so exemplary a life, that, upon the death of Leo, 
he only was thought worthy to succeed so great a Pope. To 
him therefore they address themselves, as to a kind angel by 
God sent down to them, and presently declare him Pope. 
He, weeping and calling God and His holy saints to witness, 
professed himself utterly unworthy of so high a dignity. But 
the election being universally liked and applauded, he at last 
unwillingly accepted of the office, was brought to the Lateran 
1 This story is now universally rejected. — Ed. 

226 The Lives of the Popes. 

and placed in St Peter's chair, whence he was led upon a 
white horse to the church of St Mary Maggiore, where he spent 
three days in fasting and prayer, begging God to grant that he 
might govern His Church with integrity and holiness. The 
third day past, the people came thither again, and according 
to custom kissed his feet, especially those of the faction of 
Rhodoardus, Bishop of Porto, who the day before had 
attempted to set up, instead of Benedict, one Anastasius, an 
obscure man, who had been turned out of his bishopric by 
Leo ; but now finding their error, they asked pardon, and be- 
coming of the right opinion, they also made the usual adora- 
tion to this holy man, as likewise did the ambassadors sent 
to Rome by the Emperor Louis to confirm the election of the 
clergy and laity. The next day he was attended by the people 
to St Peter's Church, where being, according to custom and 
ancient tradition, publicly consecrated, he received the insignia 
of his office with unanimous shouts and acclamations. For he 
was a man of so sweet a temper, and so great modesty, both in 
his mind and aspect, that, as well in his public managements as 
in his private station, he gained the love and respect of all 
men. And now setting his mind on the service of God, he 
repaired many churches almost tottering with age, and in- 
creased their treasures. He ordained that the Pope and 
clergy should accompany the funerals of bishops, priests, and 
deacons, as well to honour their corpse as to pray for their souls ; 
and that the clergy should in like manner attend the funerals 
of Popes ; and what he had thus ordained, himself observed 
punctually as long as he lived, for he was always present at 
the burials of the priests. He was a frequent visitor of the 
sick, a nursing father to the poor, a comforter of the miserable 
and hopeless, a zealous patron of the widow and fatherless. 
And in thus doing, having spent a most holy life, late enough 
for himself, but too soon for the people of Rome, he died, hav- 
ing sat two years, six months, and nine days, and was buried 
before St Peter's church-doors. The see then was vacant 
fifteen days. 

Nicolas I. 227 

NICOLAS I. [The Great.] 
a.d. 858-867. 

NICOLAS the First, a Roman born, son of Theodosius, 
was ingenuously and religiously educated from his child- 
hood, and made, first sub-deacon by Sergius, then deacon by 
Leo, in which order he stood, when, with great piety and 
many tears, he laid the body of Benedict in the grave, whose 
exequies being performed, it was necessary to think of a suc- 
cessor ; and the people hereupon pressed the Divine Majesty 
with prayers, watchings and fastings, that he would vouchsafe 
them as good a Pope as him they had lost. After a long con- 
sultation in the church of St Denis, Pope and Confessor, 
(where they convened for this purpose), they chose this 
Nicolas Pope ; but he was absent, and upon hearing the news 
fled into the Vatican, and there hid himself to avoid the 
dignity, where at length they found him, brought him to the 
Lateran, and placed him, however unwilling, in the apostolical 
chair. Being consecrated in St Peter's Church, and, agreeably 
to custom, having put on the pontifical mitre, he concerted 
several affairs with the Emperor Louis relating to the Pope- 
dom and to the Empire. 1 Louis afterwards leaving Rome, 
stayed at a place the Romans call Quinto, whither it is 
said Nicolas went, attended by the great men of the city, and 
was honourably received, for the Emperor came a mile to 

1 During this important pontificate, the growing power of the see was 
shown by the prohibition of the divorce of King Lothair of Lorraine from 
his queen, Theulberga, as well as by the struggle between the Pope and 
the northern prelates, headed by Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims, termin- 
ating in the Pope's favour. To this must be added the circumstance of 
an Eastern quarrel. Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople, was unjustly 
deposed for reproving the Emperor for his wicked life, and Photius was 
elevated to his throne. Ignatius, weak and unprotected, appealed to 
Pope Nicolas, who took high ground, declared Photius an intruder, and 
called upon the faithful to recognise his authority, and obey his commands 
to restore Ignatius. (See Robertson, "Ch. His.," Book iv., ch. 3.) To 
this pontificate belong the Forged Decretals, a collection of letters and 
decrees purporting to be the work of successive Popes, beginning with St 
Clement, claiming for the Roman see the fullest authority, and asserting 
or assuming the whole dogmatic system of the Roman Church. That 
they are forgeries is now admitted (see " Cath. Dictionary," s.v. "False 
Decretals "), but they passed unquestioned for several generations. They 
were probably manufactured at Maine, and played a large part in the 
Pope's battle with Hincmar. — Ed. 

H 2 

228 The Lives of the Popes. 

meet him, and alighting, took his horse-bridle in his hand and 
led him into the camp. And, indeed, he was a man of so great 
veneration and majesty, and of so much learning and elo- 
quence, that, like the Deity, he forced respect from all men. 
After some repast, they held a long and private conference, 
and then having kissed each other, the Pope returned to 
Rome; which he found so overflowed by an extraordinary 
rise of the Tiber, that there was no passing from street to 
street but in boats. St Laurence's Church and the monastery 
of St Sylvester, with all the low part between Via Lata, Campi- 
doglib, and the Aventine, was so much under water, that 
another deluge was feared ; many houses were borne down by 
it, trees forced up by the roots, and corn that was sown quite 
washed away ; and the same happened again the same year 
in December. To make up these losses, or to make them 
more tolerable, the Pope omitted no manner of good office 
or kindness to the citizens. At this time Michael, son of 
Theophilus, Emperor of Constantinople, sent ambassadors 
with presents to Rome, to visit the apostolic see and his 
Holiness. The presents were a large paten and chalice of 
gold with precious stones of great value. This was that 
Michael who, having taken Basilius to be his partner in the 
empire, was murdered by him, that he might reign alone. 
His ambassadors were kindly received, and sent home with 
presents. Nicolas, being earnestly intent upon the conserva- 
tion of the pontifical dignity, deprived John, Archbishop of 
Ravenna, for refusing to obey a citation from the apostolic 
chair to answer some accusations. Whereupon he goes to 
Pavia, and procures of the Emperor Louis commendatory 
letters to the Pope, and to his ambassadors, that they should 
get leave that the Archbishop John should have a safe conduct 
to come to Rome and plead his own cause, which the Pope 
readily granted ; and John, in a great convention of prelates, 
being allowed liberty of speech, only confessed himself guilty, 
and begged pardon of the Pope and of all that were present. By 
which confession, and the intercession of the auditors, the Pope 
was persuaded to receive him into favour upon these condi- 
tions : that he should recant his error before the Synod ; that 
he should promise to come to Rome once a year, if possible \ 
that he should not be capable of consecrating any bishop in 
Romagna, however canonically elected, without leave first 
obtained from the see apostolic ; and that he should not hinder 

Nicolas I. 229 

any of those bishops from coming to Rome as often as they 
pleased ; that he should not introduce any exaction, custom, 
or usage contrary to the sacred canons ; and lastly, that under 
the penalty of anathema he should not alter or meddle with 
the treasure of holy Church without the consent of the Pope, 
nor should without the same allowance receive anything 
secular. These holy institutions were so highly approved by 
the whole Synod, that thrice they all shouted, " Righteous 
is the judgment of the supreme prelate, just is the decree of 
the universal bishop j all Christians agree to this wholesome 
institution. We all say, think, and judge the same thing." 
Then John, in the sight of them all, took his oath, and gave 
it under his hand that he would observe the articles. Thus 
the convocation was dissolved, and John returned to Ravenna. 
The Pope, having overcome this trouble, rebuilt the Church 
of our Lady (then called the old, afterwards the new, church), 
and adorned it with excellent paintings. He, by letters and 
good admonitions, converted the King of Bulgaria to the 
Christian faith, with all his realm, to whom he sent bishops 
and priests to confirm the young proselytes, driving out 
Photius, who had craftily disseminated erroneous opinions 
among them. He procured a peace between Louis the 
Emperor, and Andalisio, Duke of Beneventum, and repelled 
the Saracens, who had made an incursion as far as the same 
Beneventum. Lastly, with the consent of the Emperor, he 
decreed that no emperor or other layman should thrust him- 
self into any convocation of the clergy, except the debate was 
concerning matters of faith, and then his opinion was that 
they might reasonably be present. It is said that at this time 
St Cyril brought the body of St Clement from the Chersonese 
in Pontus, to Rome, and placed it in the church now called 
St Clement's, where, a little while after, himself also was 
buried. Nicolas now, who was a great exemplar of all the 
virtues one man could be endued with, died, the ninth year, 
ninth month, and thirteenth day of his pontificate, and was 
buried, according to his last will, in St Peter's Church porch. 

230 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 867-872. 

HADRIAN the Second, a Roman, son of Talarus a 
bishop, was a familiar friend of Pope Sergius, who 
having once given him forty julios, when he came home he 
gave them to his steward to give to the beggars and poor 
strangers that were at his door ; which the steward going to 
do, saw the number was so great, that it would not serve a 
quarter of them, and so he returned and told Hadrian : who 
hereupon takes the money, and coming to the poor folks, gave 
every one three julios, and reserved to himself as many for 
his own use ; at which miracle the steward being astonished, 
" Dost thou see," says Hadrian, " how good and bountiful the 
Lord is to those that are liberal and charitable to the poor ? " 
By this and other virtues he grew into so high estimation with 
all men, that when the consultation was held for making a new 
Pope, they unanimously elected him, and brought him against 
his will from the church of St Mary ad Praesepe to the 
Lateran, and immediately created him pope, not regarding 
the consent of any person in a proceeding so tumultuary : 
which gave great offence to the ambassadors of the emperor, 
who came on purpose upon this occasion, but could not (as 
they ought) interpose the imperial authority in this election. 
But satisfaction was made to them by remonstrating that it 
was impossible in so great a tumult to moderate the violent 
inclinations of the multitude ; they were desired therefore to 
concur with the clergy and people, and, according to custom, 
to congratulate as Pope this excellent' man whom they had 
chosen ; this at last the ambassadors did, though they saw 
plainly that the clergy and people-did arrogate to themselves 
the full power of creating a Pope, without expecting the con- 
sent of any temporal prince ; and this perhaps in order to 
enlarge the liberties of holy Church by making it a custom. 
Soon after arrived letters from Louis, highly applauding this 
action of the Romans, and commending them that they had 
proceeded so religiously and sincerely in this affair, without 
waiting for the approbation of any one, whose ignorance of 
the fitness of the candidates might render them incompetent 
judges in the case. " For how," said he, " can it be that one 
that is a foreigner and a stranger, should be able in another 

Hadrian II 231 

country to distinguish who is most worthy ? To the citizens, 
therefore, dues it properly belong, and to those who have had 
familiarity with, and knowledge of, the competitors." Hadrian 
then being made Pope, took diligent care of all matters relat- 
ing to religion, and by word, example, and authority, both of 
himself and his predecessors, exhorted all men to good and 
holy lives ; particularly he showed himself a strenuous defender 
of those that had been oppressed by injustice and the power 
of great men. He caused a Council to be called at Constan- 
tinople ; the sentence against Photius was renewed. In this 
Council a long debate was held, whether the Bulgarians 
(whose ambassadors were present) should be subject to the 
Roman or Constantinopolitan see ; and by the favour of the 
Emperor Basilius, they were adjudged to the see of Rome, 
whereupon the Bulgarians, making their applications to 
Hadrian, that some man of good life and ability might be 
sent into their country, by whose authority and example they 
might be retained in the Christian faith, he sent three most 
religious men with plenary power to settle the churches there 
as they should see fit. 1 They were Sylvester, the sub-deacon, 
Leopardus of Ancona, and Dominic of Trevisa, who soon 
composed the whole affair to the Pope's mind ; though it 
was not long ere the Bulgarians, corrupted with gifts and pro- 
mises by the Constantinopolitans, expelled the Latin priests 
and received the Greeks ; and this sedition gave occasion to 
many quarrels betwixt the Greeks and Latins. Hadrian, still 
opposing himself to all the enemies of the Church as much as 
was possible, when he was about to anoint Charles Emperor, 
in the room of Louis now deceased, died himself in the fifth 
year, ninth month, and twelfth day of his popedom. A little 
before his death it rained blood for three days together at 
Brescia, and France was miserably wasted with locusts ; both 
certain presages of his much lamented death. 

1 A very different version of this Bulgarian episode will he found in 
Robertson, "Ch. Hist.," ii. 368-393.— Ed. 

232 TJu Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 872-882. 

JOHN the Eighth, a Roman, son of Gundo, as soon as he 
was made Pope, declared Charles (surnamed the Bald, 
who came to Rome for that purpose) emperor, which so 
enraged the sons of his elder brother Louis, King of Germany 
(Charles, surnamed the Gross, and Carloman), that, levying an 
army, they invade Italy, resolving to deprive their uncle of his 
crown and life. Charles hereupon makes haste towards 
Verona with his forces, intending to cut off the passage of his 
nephews by Trent, but was taken ill at Mantua and there 
poisoned (as it was thought) by one Zedechias a Jew, whom 
he made use of for a physician. Upon this news Pope John 
used his utmost endeavour that Charles's son Louis (sur- 
named the Stammerer), King of France, might be made 
emperor; but the great men of Rome opposed it, desiring 
rather that Charles III., King of Germany, might succeed, 
who, with his brother Carloman, had now overrun a great 
part of Italy. So great was the sedition, that though many 
favoured Louis, yet they took the Pope and clapped him in 
prison. But by the help of some friends he soon made his 
escape into France to Louis, where he stayed a year, anointed 
him king, and ended some controversies depending between 
the ecclesiastics. For Gibertus, Bishop of Nismes, had by 
force turned Leo, an abbot, out of his monastery. This 
monastery was dedicated to St Peter, and in it lay buried the 
body of St Giles ; it is situated in a place called Flaviano, 
from a valley of that name given to St Giles by a certain 
king named Flavius, and he built there a monastery to the 
honour of Saints Peter and Paul. The Pope, in the pre- 
sence of many bishops and judges, heard the cause, and 
adjudged the monastery to Leo. This was done at Aries, 
from whence John, departing with the approbation of 
Louis, held a Council at Troyes, where he made several de- 
crees about religious affairs, and appointed a bishop for the 
Flemings, who, having left their woods and fastnesses, now 
betook themselves to an orderly way of living. But Italy all 
this while being harassed by the Saracens, who had taken and 
plundered the monastery of Monte Cassino, John was called 
home to Rome, and, with the help of some Christian princes, 

Martin II. 233 

drove the greatest part of them out of Italy and Sicily j and at 
last, that he might live the more quietly in the city, he placed the 
imperial crown on the head of Charles III., who quickly after, 
marching against the Normans, then infesting the borders of 
France and Loraine, defeated them, so that their king, Rothi- 
fredus, was forced to sue for peace, and to become a Christian^ 
the Emperor himself being his godfather, and taking him into 
favour. This writes Anastasius, the Roman library-keeper, 
who was then highly in vogue, being so skilful in both tongues, 
that by the persuasion of the Emperor Charles he translated 
out of Greek into elegant Latin the seventh general council 
and Dionysius the Areopagite's book, " De Hierarchia," with 
the lives of several saints. Some say that this Charles built 
many monasteries and was liberal to the Church ; but it is 
certain that it was his particular commendation that he put 
many learned men upon writing, for Milo, a monk of St Amand, 
wrote the life of that saint very exactly, and Johannes Scotus 
did very solidly and acutely handle many points of our 
religion ; nor was our Pope John without desert in the same 
way, having, while he was deacon, excellently composed the 
life of Gregory I. in four books. When he had sat ten years 
and two days he died, and was buried in St Peter's Church. 


A.D. 882-884. 

MARTIN the Second, a Frenchman, son of Palumbus, 
succeeded John. Some, perhaps deceived by the 
likeness of the names, called him Marinus. This Martin (the 
story of whose life is so short because of the small time he 
held the chair) was Pope at the time when the sons of Basilius, 
Leo, and Alexander were Emperors in the East, and Charles 
III. in the West, who, we told you, was crowned by John VIII., 
and who broke the forces of the Normans infesting France in 
so many battles, that he forced them to submit to him and 
receive the Christian faith. Some write that it was this 
Martin that, with his tricks (of which somewhat will be said in 
the life of Formosus), did so plague Pope John with seditions 
as to get him thrown into prison and force him to fly. But 
having by ill means gotten the Popedom, he soon died, 

234 The Lives of the Popes. 

having sat but one year and five days, and in that time doing 
nothing remarkable, either because his time was short, or 
because no occasion offered itself from whence he could 
acquire repute, except we may suppose it to be the will of 
God that those who attain to power by indirect means should 
lose that true glory which is the chief aim of every good 


A.D. 884-885. 

HADRIAN the Third, a Roman, son of Benedict, was a 
man of so great a spirit, that immediately upon his 
entrance on the Popedom he proposed to the Senate and 
people that a law should pass that no regard should hereafter 
be given to the authority of the Emperor in the creation of 
any Pope, but that the election of the clergy and people 
should be free. This institution was rather attempted than 
begun before by Nicolas I., as was said j but I believe Hadrian 
took now the opportunity, when the Emperor Charles was 
marching with his army out of Italy against the rebellious 
Normans. He went with a design utterly to extirpate that 
unquiet people ; but perceiving that would be difficult, and 
not to be done without great slaughter of his own men, he 
granted them that part of France to live in which lies beyond 
the river Seine, and is still called, from the name of the people, 
Normandy. They were bound to pay a yearly tribute to the 
crown of France, to mind them that they stood possessed of 
the country, not by their own power, but by the bounty of the 
Emperor Charles. At this time William, surnamed the Godly, 
Duke of Aquitain and Earl of Auvergne, not having any heirs 
male, began magnificently to build the monastery of Clugny, 1 
in his father's manor, in a village of Burgundy, and made 
Berno abbot of the place, having set out an income for the 
maintenance of the monks ; but he dying left it unfinished, 
having constituted Ebbo, Earl of Poictou, his heir, who should 
take care, according to his last will, of the whole matter. And 
now Hadrian, of whom, for his courage and haughty spirit, 

1 This is an error. The monastery of Clugny was not founded until 
912. — Ed. 

Stephen VI 235 

the clergy and people of Rome had conceived so great hopes, 
died in the first year and second month of his Popedom, and 
was buried in St Peter's Church, with the general lamentation 
of the people for the unseasonable loss of such a father. 

a.d. 885-891. 

STEPHEN the Sixth, a Roman, son of one Hadrian, of the 
Via Lata, was made Pope at the time when the Normans, 
assisted by the Danes, contrary to their treaties, had well-nigh 
overrun all France. For fear of these invaders the body of 
St Martin was carried from Tours to Auxerre, and placed in 
the church of St German; which begot a feud among the 
monks, who could not agree by the name of which of the two 
saints the church should be called. To solve this doubt, 
they took this way: They set a leper in the midst between, 
the two saints' bodies, who grew whole only on that side 
which was towards St Martin, and then turning the other 
side towards him, he was quite healed. This miracle 
determined the controversy, which St German is thought 
to have suffered his new guest to perform, lest it should 
be thought that the body had lost any of its sanctity by being 
translated. Authors say that during this Pope's time Charles 
the Gross, who had been emperor twelve years, was deposed 
by his nobles for his sloth and dulness, and Arnulphus, his 
nephew, was set up in his stead, who was the seventh 
emperor from Charles the Great. This troublesome state of 
things tempted the Huns, a Scythian nation (according to 
Vincentius and Martinus), to make a descent into Pannonia, 
where, joining their brother-tribe, the Hungari, they possessed 
themselves of the country, driving thence the Gepidi and 
Avares : and from hence marching with their forces into 
Germany, they pierced as far as Burgundy, destroying all with 
fire and sword. Stephen, in this confusion of affairs, was yet 
not a little comforted with the sanctity of Luithprandus, 
deacon of Pavia, Waldrad of Bavaria, and Bernard of Picardy, 
by whose lives and conversation the Christian religion got so 
great reverence that many monasteries and churches were 
sumptuously built throughout France. In the sixth year and 

236 The Lives of the Popes. 

eleventh day of his papacy, he died, and the see was vacant 

five days. 


A.D. 891-896. 

FORMOSUS, Bishop of Porto, succeeded Stephen, and in 
the beginning of his pontificate adorned St Peter's 
Church with some slight paintings. This Formosus had 
formerly, for fear of Pope John, left his bishopric and fled to 
France ; and denying to return when he was recalled, he was 
anathematized, and then coming to Rome he was deprived of 
all his preferments ecclesiastical, and put on profane manners 
with his secular habit. Some think the reason that Formosus 
was thus persecuted was for that he was a party, if not ring- 
leader, of the faction that put John into prison. However, 
Formosus was so enraged at this hard usage, that he swore he 
would never return either to Rome or to his bishopric ; but Pope 
Martin, who succeeded John, absolved him from his oath, and 
restored him to his country and to his former dignity, whence 
not long after he came to the Popedom, rather by bribery 
than for the sake of any good that was in him, many men 
opposing his election. Arnulphus now, the seventh emperor 
from Charles the Great, as we said before, marching valiantly 
against the still rebellious Normans, gave them several over- 
throws, but was too much puffed up with his success and 
became so intolerably imperious to all men, especially to the 
clergy, that it pleased God he died soon after of the lousie 
disease ; in whose room Louis was put up for emperor, but 
we read not he was ever crowned, for (as Martinus writes) 
Berengarius, Duke of Friuli, descended of the old kings of 
Lombardy, renewing his claim to the kingdom of his ancestors, 
and bringing his pretensions to the decision of war, though 
at first he was overcome by Louis, yet giving him battle again 
at Verona, Louis was vanquished, and, with great slaughter of 
his men, being taken prisoner, had his eyes put out. And 
thus the empire which the Franks had enjoyed almost one 
hundred years, was transferred to the Lombards, Constantine, 
the son of Leo, being Emperor of the East. 1 I know not how 

1 Inaccurate ; Leo was on the throne from 886-91 1, when Constantine 
succeeded him. — Ed. 

Boniface VI.— Stephen VII. 237 

it fell out, that at this same time that the emperors showed so 
little courage, the Popes too were as greatly wanting in virtue 
and integrity, which rendered those times very miserable, 
subjects being very apt (as Plato says) to follow the examples 
of their princes. I return to Formosus, whose times (lest 
they should have been the most unhappy that ever were) were 
honoured with the learning and good life of Remigius of 
Auxerre, who wrote divers commentaries, especially upon the 
gospel of St Matthew and St Paul's epistles. Some say in- 
deed, that that author was not the person of whom I speak, but 
Remigius of Rheims ; however that be, it is certain they were 
both very learned men. Formosus died in the fifth year and 
sixth month of his pontificate, and the see was vacant two 


A.D. 896. 

BONIFACE the Sixth, a Tuscan, was created Pope in the 
room of the deceased Formosus, but how long he con- 
tinued in the papacy is a great question, for some writers say 
longer, others say shorter. I am of opinion with the most, 
that he sat but twenty-six days, and that which makes me 
think so is, that historians make little or no mention at all of 
him; and how can it be, that (as some say) he should sit 
twelve years in the chair of St Peter, and yet his reign be past 
over unregarded ? I have placed him therefore in the 
catalogue of Popes, not for anything done by him, for he did 
nothing (indeed what could be expected to be done in so 
short a time ?), but because he was regularly and canonically 
elected Pope. He died, as I said before, in the twenty-sixth 
day of his pontificate, and was buried in St Peter's Church. 


A.D. 896-897. 

STEPHEN the Seventh, a Roman, Bishop of Anagni, being 
made Pope, persecuted the memory of Formosus with 
so much spite, that he abrogated his decrees and rescinded all 

238 The Lives of the Popes. 

he had done, though it is said that it was Formosus that con- 
ferred the Bishopric of Anagni upon him. But this I take to 
be the effect of his ambition ; the clergy being come to that 
pass, that they were so far from needing compulsion, as 
formerly, to take upon them the pontificate, that now they 
sought it with bribery ; and hence it was that Stephen, 
because Formosus had hindered him before of this desired 
dignity, exercised his rage even upon his dead body ; for 
Martin the historian says he hated him to that degree, that 
in a council which he held, he ordered the body of Formosus 
to be dragged out of the grave, to be stripped of his pontifical 
habit and put into that of a layman, and then to be buried 
among secular persons, having first cut off those two fingers 
of his right hand, which are principally used by priests in con- 
secration, and thrown them into the Tiber, because contrary 
to his oath, as he said, he had returned to Rome and exercised 
his sacerdotal function, from which Pope John had legally 
degraded him. This proved a great controversy, and of very 
ill example ; for the succeeding Popes made it almost a constant 
custom either to break or abrogate the acts of their predeces- 
sors, which was certainly far different from the practice of any 
of those good Popes whose lives we have written. In our 
own time, Paul II., a Venetian, had like to have taken upon 
him the name of Formosus (which would have been agreeable 
enough to him, being a proper man and of a venerable aspect), 
but that the Cardinals, remembering this story, dissuaded 
him, lest that should happen to him after his death which 
did to this Formosus ; but Paul was hardly wrought upon, as 
thinking nothing but this name to be wanting to his felicity. 
Meantime the Emperor of Constantinople, taking occasion 
from the sloth of the Popes, sends one Symbaticus, a noble- 
man, his sword-bearer, with an army into Italy, who, after a 
siege of three months, takes Beneventum, after it had been in 
the possession of the Lombards three hundred and thirty 
years ; but three years after, Guy, of Lombardy, retook it, and 
drove out the Greeks, and so it fell to the Lombards again. 
But to return to Stephen, he died in the first year and third 
month of his papacy, and the see was vacant three days after 
his death. 


Theodoras IT. 239 


A.D. 897-898. 

OMAN US, a Roman, as soon as he was got into the 
pontificate, disavowed and rescinded all the acts and 
decrees of Stephen. And indeed these popelings 1 studied 
nothing else but to extinguish the memory and honour of 
their predecessors, than which nothing is more mischievous 
or a more certain sign of a narrow soul ; for they that trust 
to such tricks as these are only such as, wanting all manner ot 
virtue, endeavour to rob the well-deserving of that fame which 
themselves can never attain to. Indeed, you shall never find 
any man envying the good name of another, but one that, 
being obnoxious to all manner of reproach, is hopeless of ren- 
dering his own name honourable to posterity. Such men as 
these maliciously, falsely, and craftily backbite, slander, and 
find fault with those that have deserved well of mankind, like 
useless and cowardly dogs that dare not seize a wild beast, 
but will venture to snap at them when they are fast chained. 
I was obliged, however, at least to mention this Pope 
Romanus, because he obtained St Peter's chair after the 
ordinary manner, in which, after he had sat three months, he 


A.D. 898. 

HTHEODORE the Second, a Roman, followed the steps of 
-l these mutineers, for he restored the decrees of Formosus 
and preferred his friends. Arnulphus (according to some 
writers) still ruled in Italy, and in France Charles the Simple, 
Constantine, the son of Leo, being emperor of the East, at 
which time the Saracens, invading Apulia, possessed them- 
selves of Mount St Angelo, and took abundance of men and 
cattle ; but the Italians hastily got together an army, set upon 
them and recovered all with great slaughter of the enemies. 
While affairs went thus in Italy, William, Earl of Angouleme, 
surnamed Sector-ferri, of the lineage of Charles the Bald, 
1 " Pontificuli." Ed. 1551. 

240 The Lives of the Popes. 

ordered the relics, which had been taken from the Chartreux 
Friars at the time of the Norman invasion, to be restored, for 
now that the Normans were quieted, he perceived there would 
be some uproar about them if they were not restored. Who 
the Normans were is not on all hands agreed : but they are 
said to have come into France from Norway. Theodorus, in 
the twentieth day of his papacy, died, leaving, through the 
shortness of his time, nothing memorable of himself. 


A. D. 898-900. 

JOHN the Ninth, a Roman, was next created Pope, and 
immediately reasserted the cause of Formosus, a great 
part of the people of Rome being against it, who raised 
such a tumult that it wanted little of a battle. He therefore 
removed to Ravenna, where, calling a Synod of seventy-four 
bishops, he damns all that Stephen had done, and restores 
the decrees of Formosus, declaring it irregularly done of 
Stephen to re-ordain those on whom Formosus had conferred 
holy orders. These Popes, by their constant inobservance of 
all apostolic practices, were the occasions (in my opinion) of 
these turmoils, especially joining with that the cowardice and 
negligence of the princes of Christendom ; whose interest it 
was that the ship of St Peter should labour with tempests, that 
so the master, being unable to animadvert upon them, might 
throw them, like naughty mariners, overboard. Arnulphus 
was immersed in pleasures, and Charles, King of France, was 
truly worthy of his surname of Simple, or rather blockhead. 
So that the Hungari, a fierce and wild people, tempted by 
this prospect of things, with a formidable army invade first 
Italy, then Germany and France, without any considerable 
resistance, consuming all with fire and sword, and sparing no 
sex or age wherever they marched. The Moors, too, invaded 
Calabria, of a great part whereof they possessed themselves ; 
but whilst they besieged Cosenza, their king was killed by 
thunder from heaven, whereupon they were dispersed and 
returned home. Thus God Himself punished with His own 
hand the enemies of the name of Christ, out of pity to His 
people, who were miserably forsaken by the princes of the 

Benedict IV. 241 

earth, which, if He had not done, the name of Italy and the 
holy Church had been no more, such sluggish and sorry 
fellows were the potentates of those times. John died after 
he had been Pope two years and fifteen days, leaving nothing 
behind him worthy notice, but that he renewed some old 
quarrels which had been almost forgotten. 


A.D. 900-903. 

BENEDICT the Fourth, a Roman, for his good nature 
and mildness was made Pope, but nothing was done 
in his time worthy of any great commendation. In his age 
it happened, as to others it does sometimes, that a strange 
negligence of all manner of virtue had possessed mankind, 
no incitements being applied by which the minds of men 
should be stirred up to actions that are praiseworthy, which 
yet are never wanting under good princes or well constituted 
governments. At this time, as I said before, Louis, the son 
of Arnulphus, endeavouring to recover his father's empire, 
was taken and killed at Verona by Berengarius ; and then the 
posterity of Charles the Great first lost their titles to France 
and the empire of Germany. So true it is that which Sallust 
says, " Every rising hath its setting, and every increase its 
wane." The Empire, which had arrived to so great a height 
lost its splendour by the sluggishness of the great men and 
people of Rome, when they once grew remiss in the exercises 
of virtue, and emasculated their bodies with luxury and with 
studied softnesses. And this we may say was the case of the 
Papacy, for at first the pontifical dignity (without wealth and 
among enemies and furious persecutors of Christianity) was 
illustrious with a holiness and learning not to be attained 
without great pains and a consummate virtue ; but now the 
Church of God was grown wanton with its riches, and the 
clergy quitted severity of manners for lasciviousness, so that 
there being no prince to punish their excesses, such a licen- 
tiousness of sinning obtained in the world as brought forth 
these monsters, these prodigies of wickedness, by whom the 
chair of St Peter was rather seized than rightfully possessed. 
Yet this may be said for Benedict, that in this debauched age 

24^ The Lives of the Popes. 

he carried himself with gravity and constancy, and died in the 
third year and fourth month of his pontificate, after which the 
see was vacant six days. 

L EO V. 

A.D. 903. 

LEO the Fifth, whose native country historians mention 
not, succeeded him, but was soon taken and thrown 
into prison by one Christopher, a chaplain of his own, who 
aspired to the Popedom, which was not done without 
great tumults and the loss of many men's lives. How lightly 
the Papal authority was now esteemed (by fault of former 
Popes) may be seen in this, that a private person should in a 
moment be able to seize so great a dignity. But that saying 
is certainly true, that great places receive more honour than 
they confer upon the persons that supply them, as appears in 
the Roman censorship, which at first was slighted as a mean 
office, but when several of the nobility had once conde- 
scended to execute it, the office- became so honourable, that 
the nobleman who had not once in his life been censor was 
looked upon as very unfortunate. Leo had sat but forty days 
when Christopher got into the chair, which indignity he laid 
so to heart, that in a little while after he died for grief, deeply 
resenting it that he should be robbed of his dignity by one 
that had eat of his bread j according to that of Theocritus, 
" Nurse up a wolf and he will devour you." 


A.D. 903. 

CHRISTOPHER, whose country and family is, because 
of the meanness of his extraction, not known, having 
got the Popedom by ill means, lost it as ill ; for after seven 
months he was justly deposed, and forced to take on him a 
monastic life, the only refuge of men in trouble, for at that 
time clergymen that deserved ill were, as it were, banished 
into monasteries by way of punishment. There are those that 

Sergius III. 243 

say Christopher was deposed in the reign of Louis III., while 
others ascribe him to the times of Berengarius, who, we told 
you, was from Duke of Friuli created Emperor, as descending 
from the Longobardian kings of Italy, and as being the only 
man in whom, for his valour and nobility, they could place any 
hopes of seeing the honour of the Empire retrieved. And 
that I should suppose Berengarius to have reigned at this 
time, I am persuaded by considering the short lives of the 
Popes before-going (who, as monsters, were soon snatched 
away by a Divine power), and the length of the reign of that 
Emperor, who having vanquished Guido, Duke of Spoleto, and 
slain Ambrose, Count of Bergamo, who were his first adver- 
saries, was crowned Emperor by Formosus, and lived nine 
years after. What became of Christopher after his being 
deposed shall be spoken in the life of Sergius. 


A.D. 904-9II. 

SERGIUS the Third, a Roman, son of Benedict, entering 
upon the pontificate, re-edified the Lateran Church, 
which was then ruined, and taking Christopher out of his 
monastery, put him in prison ; and then settling his affairs, he 
took a journey to France ; after his return from whence, being 
now strengthened with the favour and friendship of the French 
king, Lotharius, he totally abolished all that Pope Formosus 
had done before, so that priests who had been by him ad- 
mitted to holy orders were forced to take new ordination. 
Nor was he content with thus dishonouring the dead Pope, 
but he drags his carcase again out of the grave, beheads it 
as if it had been alive, and then throws it into the 
Tiber, as unworthy the honour of human burial. It is 
said that some fishermen, finding his body as they were fish- 
ing, brought it to St Peter's Churcfy and while the funeral 
rites were performing, the images of the saints which stood 
in the church bowed in veneration of his body, which gave 
them occasion to believe that Formosus was not justly pro- 
secuted with so great ignominy. But whether the fishermen 
did thus or no, is a great question ; especially it is not likely 
to have been done in Sergius's lifetime, who was a fierce 

244 The Lives of the Popes. 

persecutor of the favourers of Formosus, because he had 
hindered him before of obtaining the pontificate. And now, 
reader, pray observe how very much these Popes had degener- 
ated from their predecessors : they, good men, refused this 
dignity when it was freely offered them, choosing rather to 
spend their time in study and in prayer ; these, on the con- 
trary, sought the papacy with ambition and bribery; and 
when they were got in, slighting the worship of God, pursued 
animosities among themselves with the violence of the fiercest 
tyrants ; to the end that when no one should be left to anim- 
advert upon their vices, they might the more securely 
immerse themselves in pleasures. It is my opinion that 
Sergius acted thus, by the instigation of Lotharius, because it 
was by Formosus's means that the Empire was translated from 
the French to the Lombards. Sergius, leading his life after 
this rate, died in the seventh year, fourth month, and six- 
teenth day of his papacy, several fiery apparitions and blazing 
stars, with unusual motions, having been seen in the heavens a 
little before. Soon after, the Hungari invaded Italy with an 
army, and several defeats were on both sides given and taken. 


A.D. 9II-913. 

ANASTASIUS the Third, a Roman, came to the chair at 
the time when Landulphus, prince of Beneventum, fought 
a fierce battle with the Greeks, and defeated them, in Apulia. 
For Patricius, general of Leo, Emperor of Constantinople, had 
invaded Italy, and threatened a general ruin, if they did not 
immediately acknowledge subjection to Leo : but (as was said) 
by the valour of Landulphus, his boasting and his rage came 
to nothing, though Berengarius also was bringing an army 
together to meet him ; but they made rather a terrible show 
than were truly of force. But Anastasius, not acting any- 
thing worth mention, died after he had been Pope two years, 
and was buried in St Peter's Church. This Pope we may 
commend in this one instance, that he did not persecute with 
ignominy and scandal the memory of any of his predecessors ; 
for he lived quietly and soberly, and had nothing chargeable 
upon him that was blameworthy. 

Landus — John X. 245 

L A N D U S. 

A.D. 914. 

LANDUS, a Roman, succeeded Anastasius ; but his life 
was so obscure, that some do not reckon him for a 
Pope, especially Vincentius the historian. But Martin and 
Cusentinus are of another mind, together with Gothifredus, 
who writes, that this Landus, by interposing his authority, 
hindered a battle between Berengarius and Rodulphus, son 
of Count Guido \ though others say that Rodulphus overcame 
Berengarius near Verona, and enjoyed the empire three years. 
There was indeed at this time a great contention for the 
empire between the Italians, Germans, and French, which 
was the cause of many cruel wars, which were not ended 
without great destruction of men and mischief to each 
country. The Romans and Italians laboured, might and 
main, to preserve the empire in their own country against the 
power of those barbarous people, but they wanted some man 
that could lead them on in so great an enterprise ; for those 
noble spirits who had rendered the name of Italy famous 
through the world, were now not only extinct, but even those 
virtuous inclinations were quite stifled which gave life to such 
glorious actions. Landus died in the sixth month, and 
twenty-first day of his pontificate, and was buried in St 
Peter's Church. 


A.D. 914-928. 

JOHN the Tenth, a Roman, natural son to Pope Sergius, 
in the year 909 succeeded. He was, before, Archbishop 
of Ravenna, and had been deposed by the people in a 
tumult ; but upon the death of Landus, he obtained the papal 
chair, and showed more of the spirit of a soldier than of a 
clergyman. Indeed, the Church and all Italy had then need 
of such a Pope : for the Greeks (as we said before) being 
vanquished by Landulphus, had called the Saracens into Italy, 
who, marching through Calabria and Apulia into Lucaia and 

246 The Lives of the Popes. 

Campania, threatened sudden destruction to the city of Rome. 
The nearness of the danger alarmed Pope John, who, taking 
Albericus, Marquis of Tuscany, to his assistance, musters up 
an army, fights the Saracens and gets the better, and beats 
them out of the territories of the city ; but not looking upon 
his victory as considerable unless he followed the pursuit, he 
attacks them at Minturnae, upon the shore of the river Gari- 
gliano, and conquers them with so great a slaughter, that they 
resolved to leave Italy, only burning first all those places 
on that shore which were in their hands. But they altered 
their minds afterward, and fortifying Mount Gargano, they 
harassed the country thereabout with their incursions. Mean- 
while, John, taking all the honour of this action to himself, 
makes his entry into Rome after the manner of a triumph, 
which gave so great a distaste to Albericus, that a tumult 
arose upon it, in which Albericus was repulsed, and flying to 
Orta, fortified the town and castle, and enticed the Hungari 
into Italy, who brought more destruction and ruin upon the 
country than the Saracens had done before, for they carried 
away the youth of both sexes, killing all that were stricken in 
years ; nor did they spare the very Tuscans, for whose indem- 
nity Albericus had agreed in the treaty with them j nay, they 
were more cruel to them than to other Italians, for they 
burnt and demolished all the towns they had possessed. 
It is my opinion that Berengarius (who then held Lombardy 
only) gave them liberty of passage into Tuscany, upon con- 
dition they marched quietly through his country without 
hurting his subjects. But the Hungari having once tasted 
the sweet spoils of Italy, did frequently visit it afterwards, 
which calamities so much enraged the Romans, that not being 
able to wreak their spite upon the enemy, who was too mighty 
and fierce for them, they took Albericus and beheaded him. 
John also, in a mutiny of the soldiers, was, by the followers of 
Count Guido, taken and put in prison. 1 In his room another 
John was put up, but because he seized the chair by force, 
and was soon deposed, he deserves not to be among the 

1 Pope John had been the paramour of an infamous woman, possessed 
of great riches, at Rome, named Theodora. Her daughter, Marozia, 
wife of Guido, Duke of Tuscany, and as profligate as her mother, after a 
fierce struggle with John for the mastery of Rome, gained the victory, and 
is said to have caused him to be murdered in prison. — Ed. 

Leo VL— Stephen VIIL 247 


A.D. 928-929. 

LEO the Sixth, a Roman, was canonically elected Pope, 
acted nothing tyrannically in his whole life, but lived 
soberly and modestly, taking care of religion as far as an age 
of so corrupt manners would bear. For he made it his en- 
deavour to quiet the minds of the citizens (who, through the 
rashness and folly of former Popes, were inclining to tumults), 
to compose the affairs of Italy, to make peace with foreign 
enemies, and to drive the barbarians from the skirts of his 
country, than which nothing could be done to better purpose 
or more commendably in so short a time ; for in the seventh 
month and fifteenth day of his pontificate he died, and was 
buried in St Peter's Church, to the great grief of the citizens 
of Rome. 


A.D. 929-931. 

STEPHEN the Eighth, a Roman (according to some 
authors), came to be Pope at the time when the Hun- 
gari, who were overrunning Germany and Saxony, were by 
Henry, King of Germany, overcome with a great slaughter 
near Mersburg. 1 It is said also that at this time Rodulphus, 
King of Burgundy, made his descent into Italy with a great 
army against Berengarius II., who, by the treachery of his 
own men, was driven out of his kingdom and fled to the 
Hungarians for refuge, who taking up arms in his cause, the 
third year after his expulsion, under the conduct of one 
Salardus, invade Italy with huge forces, and take Pavia by 
storm, destroying the greatest part of it with fire and sword. 
The Italians hereupon finding Rodulphus to want strength 
and courage, call in Hugh, Count of Aries. It was not with- 
out contention that Rodulphus gave place to him, but his 
enemies bearing hard upon him, he retreated into Burgundy. 
After this, Hugh, finding occasion to mistrust those persons 
that called him in, banished many of them, who fled to 
Arnoldus, Duke of Bavaria, a man greedy of rule, and per- 

1 This battle was not fought till 934. Most of these events belong to 
the next Popedom. — Ed. 

248 The Lives of the Popes. 

suade him to make war upon Italy. He passes the Alps, and 
is immediately received within the walls of Verona by the 
citizens with great kindness and friendship, but Hugh, march- 
ing against him, beats him in a pitched battle, and soon re- 
takes Verona. Meanwhile Berengarius dies in Bavaria, or, as 
others say, in Hungary, and Berengarius III., grandson of 
Berengarius I. by his daughter, comes into Italy, and in the 
year 935 gets the Empire. Some there are that ascribe these 
actions that I have mentioned to the time of this Pope, but I 
would rather assign them to some of those Popes that pre- 
ceded and succeeded ; because, though I have set them down 
in short, yet they must needs require a long time to be brought 
about. But in so great a diversity of opinions concerning 
times, I chose rather to place them somewhere, than utterly to 
omit things, which were certainly once done, for the uncer- 
tainty of writers. For the sake of posterity we would not be 
so superstitious as to disbelieve that which various authors 
have here or there thought good to record. To the times of 
this Pope may justly also be ascribed St Ugibert, a nobleman 
of Loraine, who in a short time, at his own charge, built the 
monastery of Gemblours after a magnificent manner. At this 
time also it is said that Spireneus, Duke of Bohemia, first 
received the Christian faith; those that were then called 
dukes being now, upon the increase of their wealth and 
strength, entitled kings of Bohemia. But Stephen, having led 
a peaceable and religious life, died in the second year, first 
month, and twelfth day of his Popedom, and was buried in 
St Peter's Church. 


A.D. 931936. 

JOHN the Eleventh, a Roman, son (as some say) of Pope 
Sergius, 1 came to be Pope when a fountain at Genoa 
streamed blood in great quantities (as Vincentius and 
Martinus relate), a sure presage of the ensuing calamities, for 
soon after Genoa was taken and sacked by the Saracens, who 
came from Africa, and the Hungarians entering Italy, utterly 

1 And of Marozia, so Roman Catholic historians say. — Ed. 

Leo VII.— Stephen IX. 249 

destroyed all things, far and near ; but as they passed, laden 
with prey, by the confines of Sulmona, the people of Taglia- 
cozza, on a sudden taking arms, they were routed by them, 
and lost their lives and plunder together. Racherius, who of 
a monk had been made Bishop of Verona, was now a great 
writer, but was banished to Pavia by King Hugh, because he 
inveighed against his manner of living with too great freedom. 
John died after he had been Pope four years, ten months, and 
fifteen days. The see was vacant twelve days. 

a.d. 93 6 -939. 

LEO the Seventh, a Roman, was created Pope during the 
reigns of Hugh and Lotharius in Italy, but did nothing 
worthy of our mentioning. But his time was made famous 
by the lives of Spireneus (according to Martinus), Duke of 
Bohemia, a man of signal devotion and justice ; and of his 
son, Wenceslaus, who degenerated not at all from his father, 
killed by his brother, Boleslaus, who desired to reign. This 
Wenceslaus was afterwards justly canonised for a saint, upon 
proof made of the holiness of his life and of miracles wrought 
by him both while he lived and after his death. Leo, after he 
had sat three years, six months, and ten days, died, and was 
buried in St Peter's Church. The see was then vacant three 

a.d. 939-942. 

STEPHEN the Ninth, a German, coming to the papacy, 
was so molested by the Romans with factions, that he 
could do nothing remarkable ; nay (as Martinus relates), they 
wounded him so foully in one tumult that he was ashamed to 
appear abroad. King Hugh prepared to avenge his quarrel, 
but died in the meantime, to whom succeeded his son, 
Lotharius, but he made no mention of the matter, either 
because he had a kindness for the citizens of Rome, or 

250 Tlie Lives of the Popes. 

because his reign was short, for he out-lived his father but 
two years. Otho, King of Germany, did now undertake to 
revenge the murder of Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia, upon 
Boleslaus, his brother, who had killed him, and marching 
against him, after several battles won and lost, at last took him 
captive. Stephen died when he had been Pope three years, 
four months, and twelve days. The see was vacant ten days. 


A.D. 942-946. 

MARTIN the Third, a Roman, imitated the meekness 
and peaceable carriage of Stephen, for being made 
Pope he laid aside thoughts of war, and employed his mind 
in religious matters, repairing churches that were ready to fall 
with age, and relieving the poor with his charity. Not but 
that in his time Europe was very much torn with cruel wars : 
for Otho, attempting to enter Italy against the will of Lotharius, 
much blood was spilt on both sides, but Pope Martin per- 
suaded them to lay down their arms, because (among other 
reasons) there was a great famine in the land, by reason the 
trees were felled, the standing corn trodden down, and even 
the husbandmen with their cattle were in this grievous war 
taken away. At Constantinople also were great tumults, the 
citizens, making their Emperor a prisoner, and shaving his head, 
banished him to a certain island j but soon after Constantine, 
son of Leo, getting the empire, punished these factious citizens 
after the same shameful manner and. banished them to the 
same island. Martin died in the third year, sixth month, and 
tenth day of his Popedom, and was buried in St Peter's 
Church. The Roman see was vacant twelve days. 

a.d. 946-955. 

AGAPETUS the Second, a Roman, was created Pope at a 
time when Italy was full of warlike hurly-burly ; for 
the Hungarians, having invaded Italy with a mighty force, had 

Agapetus It, 251 

overrun all the country beyond the river Po. Henry, Duke of 
Bavaria, takes up arms immediately, and getting an army 
together, marches against them, and in two fierce battles routs 
them, though not without great damage to the inhabitants 
thereabouts, and seizes all the country from Aquileia to 
Pavia ; from whence yet he soon departed into Austria, when 
he heard that Berengarius was coming against him with a 
great army. Berengarius being therefore now master of Italy, 
takes to himself the name of Emperor, and calls his son 
Albertus, King of Italy, casting into prison Alunda, Lotharius's 
brother's daughter, lest she should lay claim to the city of 
Pavia, which was her dowry. Pope Agapetus and the great 
men of Italy (observing the arrogance of Berengarius, and that 
he made pretensions to everything without regard to right and 
justice), sent for Otho, King of Germany, into Italy, who, 
entering by the way of Friuli with fifty thousand men, quickly 
dethroned Berengarius and Albertus, and taking Alunda out 
of prison, married her, of whom he had a son, afterwards 
succeeding him by the name of Otho II. And now Otho, 
leaving Italy, showed a great deal of moderation by permitting 
to Berengarius and his son the government of a province, and 
making peace between him and the Pope. This Otho assisted 
Louis, King of France, with a great army against Hugh, Earl 
of Paris, though his brother-in-law, who with the help of some 
of the great men of that country had well-nigh ousted him of 
his kingdom. But Albertus, son of Berengarius, who then was 
Governor of Ravenna, aided with some forces and ships from 
Comachio, pirated upon the merchants of "Venice, much 
against the mind of Pope Agapetus j at which the Venetians 
were so enraged, that they immediately rigged out a navy, 
and took Comachio and burnt it. While these things were 
doing, Pope Agapetus, a harmless man, and a great lover of 
the Church, died in the ninth year, seventh month, and tenth 
day of his pontificate ; about the same time that Otho, abbot 
of Clugny, also slept in the Lord ; whose disciple Domaielus 
is supposed to be, that wonderfully holy man and great 
restorer of monastic discipline. 

252 The Lives of the Popes, 


A.D. 955-963. 

JOHN the Twelfth, a Roman, by the power of his father, 
Albericus, of the Via Lata, gets into the chair. His name 
was before Octavian; he was one that from his youth 
up had been debauched with all manner of vice and wicked- 
ness ; and if he had any time to spare from his lusts, he spent 
it in hunting and not in prayer. The Romans had at this 
time two consuls annually and one prefect, who was a judge 
among the citizens. Out of the people were created twelve 
decarchons, who were instead of the senate ; neither were the 
Romans without some kind of dominions; for the neighbouring 
towns of Tuscany between Orvieto and Todi, and all that lies 
between the city and Beneventum, Naples, Tagliacozzo, and 
Rieti, were subject to the city of Rome. What lies beyond 
was possessed partly by the Greeks and partly by the Saracens. 
It is not altogether certain who then held Marca di Ancona 
and the Duchy of Spoleto. In the city thus free, Octavian, 
favoured by the power of his father, assumes the papal dignity, 
a weight for which his shoulders were very unfit ; which gave 
so great offence, that two cardinals who were nettled at it, 
sent to Otho, beseeching him to come and deliver the clergy 
and the people of Rome out of the hands of Berengarius and 
this Pope John, otherwise telling him that the Christian 
religion, and the Empire too, would both be ruined. Otho 
was at that time great in the estimation of all people, having 
(as we said before) conquered Boleslaus, King of Bohemia, 
and routed the Hungarians that infested Germany in three 
fierce battles, taking three of their princes, who were hanged 
up by the Germans, against the mind of the Emperor. While 
Otho was expected, the whole design was betrayed to John, 
who took both the cardinals, and cut off the nose of the one 
and the hand of the other. This moved Otho to hasten his 
march into Italy, where first he took Berengarius and his son 
Albertus, prisoners, and banished one to Constantinople, the 
other into Austria j and soon after entering Rome, he was 
splendidly received, even of John himself, and crowned 
Emperor of Germany and Hungary, the Empire being now 
first translated to the Germans. There are authors yet that 

John XII. 253 

place this to the times of Leo VIII., 1 of whom we shall speak 
hereafter ; whose opinion is followed by Gratian in his decree ; 
though Ricardus and Cusentinus disallow not the former : but 
the Lateran library-keeper writes that Otho came to Rome in 
John's time, but says not a word of his coronation ; so per- 
plexed and confused are the affairs of those times by the 
carelessness and neglect of their writers. Otho, however, 
having somewhat settled the state of the city, had some con- 
ference in private with John, dissuading him kindly from his 
naughty way of life, and exhorting him to reform ; but when 
he found fair words would not avail, he made use of threats 
and declared for a general council, convening all the bishops 
of Italy to judge of the way of life of this wicked fellow. The 
censures of these good men, he apprehended, would be heavy, 
and therefore fled to Anagni, sculking up and down in bye- 
places like a wild beast : so that Otho, by the persuasion of 
the clergy, creates Leo; a Roman, a keeper of the archives in 
the Lateran, Pope. But, upon the departure of the Emperor, 
the kinsmen and friends of John turn out Leo, and recall him, 
who within a few days after was struck dead (as was thought) 
from heaven, lest the Church of God should be ruined by so 
pernicious a sedition as was then growing on. Some, indeed, 
write that this wicked wretch, or monster rather, was taken in 
adultery and there stabbed. However, this put not an end to 
the schism ; for the Romans, upon the death of John, put 
up Benedict in his room, and were earnest with the Emperor 
(who was then at Spoleto) to confirm their choice. But the 
Emperor was highly displeased, and not only denied their 
request as unjust, but (as shall hereafter be told) compelled 
them by force of arms to abrogate Benedict and receive Leo. 
Many prodigies are said to have been seen at this present time 
in Italy ; for in a mighty tempest of wind and rain there fell 
a stone of a wonderful bigness from the sky; and in the 
garments of many persons the figure of a bloody cross 
appeared miraculously ; which portents were looked upon to 
foreshow great slaughters and calamities to the Church. This 
John, who was certainly the most pernicious profligate fellow 
of any that preceded him in the pontifical chair, died in the 
eighth year, third month, and fifth day of his popedom ; upon 
whose death during the sedition the see was vacant twelve days. 

1 They are wrong j Platina is right. — Ed. 

254 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 963. 

BENEDICT the Fifth, a Roman, in the sedition was of a 
deacon made Pope, chiefly by the assistance of the 
kindred and dependents of John, to whom the preferment of 
Leo by Otho gave great disgust. But the Emperor disapprov- 
ing this election, flatly denied the confirmation of it to the 
Romans who earnestly sought it, and wasting the territories of 
the city with fire and sword, forced them not only to turn out, 
but to yield up Benedict, and submit to Leo, with an oath not 
to attempt any alteration in what the Emperor had established 
in the affair of the popedom. Matters thus composed in Italy, 
Otho goes back for Germany, taking Benedict with him, who 
soon after died at Hapsburg, whither he was banished. He 
held the Papacy six months and five 3ays ; the see was after 
vacant thirty days. 


A.D. 964-965. 

LEO the Eighth, the Proloscriniary (as I said before), upon 
the expulsion of John, was created Pope by the clergy 
and people of Rome. For when John led such an abominable 
and exorbitant life that the Romans urged the Emperor to 
depose him and set up another Pope, he answered that the 
election belonged to the clergy and people; and let them 
choose a man they took to be most fit, he would confirm him 
immediately. Hereupon, when they had chosen Leo, and the 
Emperor had confirmed him, soon after altering their minds, 
they deposed him and put up Benedict, which so angered 
Otho that he compelled them by force of arms to yield up 
Benedict and accept of Leo again, who was so teased with the 
mutinous humour of the Romans, that he transferred the whole 
power of electing of Popes from the clergy and people to the 
Emperor. But he lived not long after, dying in the sixteenth 
month of his popedom. 

John XIII. 255 


A.D. 965-972. 

JOHN the Thirteenth, bishop of Narni, a Roman, son of 
John, a bishop, succeeded Leo. But the Romans, having 
got the trick of expelling their Popes, vexed this man also 
with seditions ; for having called to their assistance Geoffrey, 
Lord of Terra di Lavoro, they broke into the Lateran Palace, 
and seized upon John, whom they first cast into the prison of 
Castle St Angelo, and soon after banished to Capua ; but 
Geoffrey, with his only son, being slain by John, prince of Capua, 
the Pope returned straight to Rome in the eleventh month of 
his exile. Otho also, upon notice of the Pope's distress, to- 
gether with his son Otho and a good army, by long journeys 
came to Rome, and immediately threw the consuls, the praetor, 
and the decarchons into prison in order to a trial for their 
treason ; who being by torture forced to confess, the consuls 
were banished into Germany, the decarchons were hung up, 
and Peter, the praetor, the cause and ringleader of all the 
mischief, was several times dragged most ignominiously, and 
whipped with rods through the most public places of the city, 
and then sent prisoner to Germany. Others say his punish- 
ment was thus, — being delivered to suffer at the will of the 
Pope, his beard was first shaved off, then he was hung by 
his hair upon the head of the statue of Constantine's horse, 
for the terror of all such ill men ; from whence being taken, 
he was set upon an ass with his face backward, and his hands 
tied under its tail, and so led through the city, being, as he 
went, whipped almost to death with rods ; and then banished 
into Germany. The like severity (for example's sake) was 
used by the Emperor against Count Geoffrey and his son, who 
were killed (as I said before) by John, prince of Capua, — their 
carcases being dragged out of their graves and denied 
Christian burial. At this time the Sclavi, who (when Hadrian 
III. was Pope), under Sueropylus, prince of Dalmatia, had 
received the Christian faith, crossed the sea into Italy, gave 
the Saracens a great route at Monte Gargano, and drove them 
thence ; and the Hungarians by their example so broke their 
remaining force by recovering Cosenza out of their hands, 
that it became easy for Otho, son of the great Otho (who came 
for that purpose with his army), to make a perfect conquest of 

256 The Lives of the Popes. 

them j nor was he content to have vanquished the Saracens, 
but he subdued too the Greeks who had made a league with 
the Moors, and drove them out of almost all Apulia and 
Calabria. Some say, indeed, that Otho made this war upon 
the Greeks because Nicephorus, Emperor of Constantinople, 
had denied to give him to wife his daughter, who had been 
espoused to him before. This is certain, that Otho, who was 
a generous young man, deposed Nicephorus, and made his 
son John emperor, himself marrying his sister Theophania, 
who together with her husband were crowned by this Pope in 
the Lateran Church with an imperial diadem, by the consent 
of Otho, the father, who had made his son his partner in the 
empire. During the great and universal rejoicing upon this 
occasion, Pope John raised the Church of Capua to a metro- 
politan see. But Otho, now worn with old age, returning into 
Germany, died at Vienna; Pope John had died not long 
before him, after he had sat six years, eleven months, and five 
days ; after which the see was vacant thirteen days. 


A.D. 972-974. 

BENEDICT the Sixth, a Roman, succeeded John in his 
office and in his troubles, for being taken prisoner by 
Bonifazio, a potent citizen, he was put into Castle St Angelo, 
a jail for malefactors, or rather for innocent persons, where in 
a little while he was strangled, or (as Cusentinus says) famished. 
I cannot but admire that the actors of so great an outrage were 
never punished, neither by the citizens of the adverse party, nor 
by the Emperor Otho, who was reputed an excellent man, and 
a stout defender of the Church of Rome. But I am afraid 
Bonifazio did no worse by him than he deserved ; not but that 
how faulty soever Benedict might be, it was ill done of Bonifazio 
to lay violent hands upon the Pope, since the censure of him 
did not belong to a private man. But see the turn of human 
affairs ; the Popes of our times make nothing to clap up 
citizens into the same place and there starve them, whether 
they deserve it or are only a little too powerful than they 
desire. I believe Otho was too much taken up with other 
business, so that he could not help him. He died when he 
had been Pope one year and six months. 

Boniface VIL 257 


BONIFACE the Seventh, the deposer of Benedict VI., 
whose family and country (I suppose because of their 
baseness) writers mention not, got the popedom by ill arts, and 
lost it as ill ; for he was no sooner got into the chair, but the 
honest part of the citizens confederating, he was forced out of 
the city, taking with him the most precious things out of the 
church of St Peter, and fled to Constantinople, where he only 
tarried till, by the sale of what he had so sacrilegiously got, he 
had amassed vast sums of money, with which he returns to 
Rome, not doubting but by the help of that to retrieve his 
dignity, by bribing the citizens. He met yet with great oppo- 
sition from all good men, but especially from John, a deacon 
cardinal, whom, by the assistance of some wicked bravoes, he 
caught, and put out his eyes. But his enemies increasing 
about him, whether for fear or remorse for his great wicked- 
ness, this author of so many mischiefs miserably ended his life. 
Observe, I beseech you, how these Popes did degenerate from 
their predecessors, who left the church so ample and magnifi- 
cent at the expense of their blood. The Pope of Rome, the 
father and protector of things sacred, does himself steal them 
away, and he that should punish sacrilege is the author of it ; 
but thus it must needs fall out in any government where the 
pride and covetousness of ill men shall prevail over the virtue 
and wisdom of the good. To great benefices none of the clergy 
ought to be chosen, but such of whose life and learning there 
is a certainty; not those who, having nothing of virtue or religion, 
seek by ambition and simony to get into places of power. 
Boniface lived seven months and five days in his pontificate, 
and then the see was vacant twenty days. 

1 [He is reckoned an Anti-Pope by later Roman historians. Platina 
becomes very confused here. Boniface seized the Papacy as soon as Bene- 
dict died, fled to Constantinople with his stolen treasures, as stated in the 
text, and was absent until the accession of John XIV. Then he suddenly 
reappeared at Rome, presuming on the Pope's unpopularity. He got pos- 
session of John's person, and imprisoned him in the Castle of St Angelo, 
and caused him to be murdered, again usurped the see, but was overthrown 
as above described.] 

258 The Lives of the Popes. 



a.d. 974-975- 

OMNUS the Second, a Roman, a man of great modera- 
tion, and though there was nothing done by him 
worthy of high commendation, yet he was never charged with 
any injustice or dishonourable action. There were, however, 
many memorable actions of great and of holy men which 
render his times not altogether obscure. For in his time 
Baianus, a great magician, prince of the Bulgarians, so har- 
assed with war Basilius and his son Constantine, Emperor of 
Constantinople, that he narrowly missed of taking the town, 
which by the negligence of the Greeks was left almost empty ; 
but at last upon hard terms a peace was concluded between 
them. Adalbertus, also a Bohemian, bishop of Prague, 
flourished now, who was a man of so great sanctity that he 
(by the impulse of the Divine Spirit) travelled into Hungary, 
and baptized the king thereof, and by his good life and godly 
example taught the bishops of the country to seek the grace 
of God j from whence passing into Prussia, preaching the 
gospel of Christ with great diligence, he was there crowned 
with martyrdom. At this time too St Edward, king of Eng- 
land, was for his sanctity in great honour ; but was murdered 
by the fraud and villany of his stepmother. Richardus the 
historian adds to these St Maiolus, abbot of Clugni, who left a 
great name behind him for his miracles and holy life. Domnus 
died in the first year of his pontificate, and was buried in St 
Peter's Church, whereupon the see was vacant two days. 


975-9 8 3- 

BENEDICT the Seventh, a Roman, as soon as he was 
made Pope, called a Council, in which he restored 
Arnulphus, Bishop of Rheims, who had been expelled in a 
sedition. At this time Otho II., having conquered Henry, 
Duke of Bavaria, who had endeavoured some alterations in 
the State, marched against Lotharius, who had possessed him- 
self of Lorraine, a province of the Empire, and laid waste the 
territory of Aachen : arid gaining a victory over him. he overran 

Benedict VII. 259 

the country 01 Soissons and set fire to the suburbs of Paris ; 
but upon his retreat with his forces he received some damage 
near the river Aisne. After this, raising a greater army, he 
brought it into Italy against Basilius and Constantine, the 
Greek Emperors, who had seized Calabria and that part of 
Italy that lies toward Sicily, but receiving a defeat at Basanello, 
he was forced to make his escape by sea, where he was by 
chance taken by pirates, and carried into Siciiy. The Sicilians 
paid his ransom, and sent him to Rome, and soon after caught 
the pirates and put them to death. Otho now gets his army 
together again, and designed to chastise severely the Romans 
and Beneventans, because they occasioned the loss of the battle 
at Basanello, by flying first : but it was not thought safe to 
begin with the Romans, and therefore he turns against Bene- 
ventum, which he takes and consumes with fire, translating from 
thence the body of St Bartholomew, and placing it at Rome, 
in an island of the Tiber, formerly called Ostia Jovis Lyca- 
onia, which was of the shape of the poop of a galley. Nay, 
even to this day, as you view it from Tivertino, the island re- 
sembles a galley, so made, I suppose, to represent that which 
brought ^Esculapius to Rome ; there is also to be seen engraven 
in stone the serpent (in the form whereof that god is said to 
have arrived) and the ribs of the galley : so studious were the 
excellent men of those times to bring nature to art as well as 
art to nature. But to return to Otho, he soon, after the afore- 
said translation of the body of St Bartholomew, died at Rome, 
and was honourably buried in a porphyry tomb, still to be seen 
on the left hand as you go in, in the portico of St Peter's 
Church (called Paradise). Whilst consultations were held 
about choosing a new Emperor, some insisting upon Otho III., 
son of Otho II., others standing up for Henry, Duke of 
Bavaria, Otho's nephew by his brother, the Italians being 
earnest for one Crescentius of Lamentana, an eminent man ; 
the Germans on the sudden, of whom there were many then at 
Rome, chose Otho III. ; the Pope, good man, all the while 
urging them, that in their election they would have a regard 
to the Church of Christ, which needed a governor of great 
ability and diligence j but at last, to prevent tumults, he 
approved of what the Germans had done. He died after he 
had been Pope eight years and six months, upon which the 
see was vacant five days. In his time Valdericus, Bishop of 
Hamburg, was famous for his great learning and sanctity. 

I 2 

260 * The Lives of tJie Popes. 


A.D. 983-984. 

JOHN the Fourteenth, a Roman, or, as some will have it, a 
Pavian, had not been Pope three months but he was 
taken by the Romans 1 and put into the public jail of 
Castle St Angelo, where he pined away so long with the stink 
of the prison, want of necessaries, and trouble of mind, that he 
died. Whether he was deposed for his tyranny and arrogance, 
or by the malice and envy of seditious people, is not certain, so 
confused are the accounts we have of those times. In his time 
lived Odo, Abbot of Clugni, and Berengarius of Tours, men 
famous for learning and holy lives ; though it is said of Beren- 
garius, that, through his confidence in his vast learning, he 
erred in the faith, holding a wrong opinion of the Eucharist, 
which, in a general council held at Rome, he afterwards re- 
canted, and leaving off his study of controversial matters, 
though he were archdeacon of Anjou, he gave all that he had 
to the poor, and got his living by the labour of his hands. 


A.D. 985-996. 

JOHN the Fifteenth, a Roman, son of Leo, a priest, born 
in the ward of Gallina Bianca, being got into the pope- 
dom, 2 hated the clergy strangely, and was, deservedly, for 
the same mutually hated of them, and more especially because 
whatever he could get either of things sacred or profane he 
gave to his kindred and relations without any regard to the 
glory of God or the honour of the Church, and this evil 
humour has descended to his successors, even to our own 
times, than which naughty custom nothing can be more per- 
nicious, when our clergy seem not to seek the popedom for 
the sake of religion and the worship of God, but that they may 
with the profits of it satisfy the luxury and avarice of their 
brethren, nephews, or domestics. They write that a comet ap- 
peared about this time, portending the coming calamity, for there 

1 [He was imprisoned and murdered by the Anti-Pope Boniface VII. 
See note p. 257.] 2 [He succeeded Boniface VII.] 

Gregory V. 261 

followed a long pestilence and famine, and both Beneventum 
and Capua suffered much by an earthquake, and these were 
generally looked upon as judgments for the pride and rapacious 
temper of the Pope, and his contempt of God and man. 


A.D. 996-999. 

GREGORY the Fifth, a Saxon, son of Otho, before called 
Bruno, by the authority of Otho III. for kindred sake 
was made Pope. 1 But upon the return of Otho into Germany, 
being vexed by the Roman factions, he fled first into Tuscany, 
and thence into Germany to the Emperor. Meanwhile the 
Romans vest Crescentius with an absolute consular power, 
who immediately creates Pope, John, a Greek, Bishop of 
Piacenza, not more wealthy than learned, whose name, I con- 
fess, is by some left out of the catalogue of Popes as not 
regularly created ; but others make him John XVII. because 
he was chosen by the clergy and people of Rome, to whom 
of right the election belongeth. Crescentius, upon the news 
of Otho's approach with his army, fortifies the walls and gates 
of the city with all diligence ; he fortifies too the castle of St 
Angelo, and places strong guards in every post that required, so 
that for some time after it was called Crescentius's castle, taking 
the name of him that fortified it instead of that of the builder. 
At length the Emperor arrived, and investing the city, when 
the Romans perceived themselves unable to withstand so great 
forces, trusting to the clemency of Otho, they opened their 
gates to the Germans. And now, Crescentius and John being 
without friends, and at their wits' end, fled into Castle St 
Angelo and defended themselves well, till, upon hopes of 
pardon, coming forth to address themselves to the Emperor, 

1 [He was a man of holy life and character, and his austerity gave offence 
to the laxer spirits. His accession marks an important crisis in the history 
of the Papacy. The outrageous wickedness of the pontiffs had horrified 
Christendom, indifferent as it was to religion at this time, and the choice 
of Otho's kinsman was made in the hope of securing a man of decent life. 
But this kinship was a deadly offence in the eyes of the Romans ; they 
were eager to get rid of him, and were incited by Crescentius, the consul, 
a very eloquent speaker, who roused them by his passionate reminders of 
the liberties of their fathers, and the glories of the ancient republic] 

262 The Lives of the Popes. 

Crescentius, receiving many wounds from the multitude, was 
killed ; but John, having his eyes first put out, lost both his 
popedom and life together ; and Gregory, after he had been 
expelled nine months, was restored. He, taking notice of the 
weakness of the Empire and the uncertainties of chance, and 
being willing to preserve the Empire among the Germans, and 
that he should be preferred before others who excelled in 
worth and virtue, with the consent of Otho, he made a decree 
concerning the election of an emperor, a.d. 1002, which has 
continued in force to this day : — To wit, that it should belong 
to the Germans alone to choose a prince who should be 
Caesar and king of the Romans, till the Pope should have 
confirmed him, and then to have the titles of Emperor and 
Augustus. Ptolemy writes that at first the power of election 
of emperor was in the Archbishop of Mentz for Germany, the 
Archbishop of Triers for France, and the Archbishop of 
Cologne for Italy. To these were added four secular princes, 
the Marquis of Brandenburgh, who, after the election, is 
chamberlain to the emperor, the Count Palatine, who is 
chief sewer, the Duke of Saxony, who is sword-bearer, and 
the King of Bohemia, the seventh elector (and cup-bearer), 
was added, they say, to prevent discord between parties, for 
if the rest were equally divided, his vote turned the scale. 
This, it is said, gave distaste to the French : but because the 
line of Charles the Great being extinct in Louis, the son of 
Lotharius, that realm was fallen into the hands of Hugh 
Capet, the chief minister at that time (the great affairs of that 
kingdom for some time not being managed by kings), they 
waved all thoughts of retrieving the Empire ; but the main 
reason was, that the new possessors were well enough 
satisfied with their fortune, and dared not attempt any thing 
further, till they were certain that their late-acquired regal 
power stood upon a good foundation. Robert, the son and 
successor of the great Hugh, is much and deservedly praised 
for his courage, justice, modesty, and religion ; for though 
he exercised himself very much in the art military, yet he 
found time so often to frequent the churches of God, and to 
celebrate the Divine service, as if he had been in holy orders. 
He is said to have made the hymn, " Sancti spiritus adsit nobis 
gratia ;" and by these arts not less powerful than his arms, he 
gained the hearts of the people, and drew those honourable 
respects to his family which they had before given to that of 

John XVI. 263 

Charles the Great. Robert, a certain bishop of Chartres, is 
about this time said to have been in great repute for learning 
and sanctity ; he having written much and reduced the sing- 
ing in churches to a better method. Gregory died after he 
had been Pope two years and five months. The see was 
vacant fifteen days. 


A.D. 996. 

JOHN the Sixteenth, a Roman, succeeded when Otho was 
Emperor, but had not yet been crowned. He was a man 
of great learning, and (as Martinus writes) was the 
author of several elegant things. He was so teased with sedi- 
tions by Crescentius, the consul of Rome, who claimed to 
himself an absolute power in the city, that he gave place 
to the man's ambition, and withdrew into Tuscany. But 
Crescentius, understanding that John was so extremely en- 
raged that he had sent for Otho and his army into Italy, he 
despatched all the Pope's kinsmen and friends that were left 
in Rome, to him, to desire him to lay by all thoughts of bring- 
ing Otho to his assistance, but to come to the city, there to 
exercise his most ample power, promising perfect obedience 
in all matters. John, being moved with the entreaties of his 
friends, and partly fearing lest if Otho should enter Italy with 
his army he might do more hurt than good, went to Rome, 
where Crescentius, with all the magistrates and a multitude of 
citizens, meeting him, he was brought to the palace of Lateran, 
in the porch whereof Crescentius and all the heads of the 
faction kissed his feet and begged his pardon ; and thus 
matters being composed, they afterwards lived quietly together. 
At this time Henry, Abbot of Loby in Lorraine, Adolphus, 
Bishop of Utrecht, who wrote much in praise of the Blessed 
Virgin and of the Holy Cross, and Albo, Abbot of Fleury 
(who afterwards in Gascoigne suffered martyrdom for the faith 
of Christ), men famous for learning, religion, and sanctity, are 
said to have flourished. 

1 [He is an Anti-Pope, inasmuch as he was chosen by Crescentius as the 
opponent of Gregory V.] 

264 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. 999-IOO3. 

SYLVESTER the Second, before called Gerbert, a French- 
man, got the popedom (as they say) by ill arts. When 
he was young he was entered and sworn a monk of Fleury, in 
the diocese of Orleans ; but he left the monastery to follow 
the devil, to whom he had wholly delivered himself up, and 
went to Seville in Spain to study human sciences; being 
extremely greedy of knowledge and learning, in which he 
made such progress, that of a scholar he soon became an 
excellent master. Martinus writes that the Emperor Otho, 
King Robert of France, and Lotharius, a man of noble birth 
and great learning, afterward Archbishop of Sens, were his 
scholars. Gerbert, therefore, full of ambition and pushed 
on with the diabolical desire of rule, by simony first gets the 
Archbishopric of Rheims, and then of Ravenna ; at last the 
devil helping him with an extraordinary lift, he got the pope- 
dom, upon this condition, that after his death he should be 
wholly the devil's, by whose assistance he had arrived at so 
great a dignity. Being greedy of rule, he asked the devil 
once, how long he should enjoy the pontificate, the enemy of 
mankind answered (as he is wont) ambiguously, that he should 
live long, if he came not near Jerusalem. So that when in 
the fourth year, first month, and tenth day of his papacy, he 
was at Rome at mass in the Church of the Holy Cross of 
Jerusalem, it came into his mind that now he must die ; 
where he, heartily repenting, confessed his fault before the 
people, exhorting them all to lay aside ambition and to with- 
stand the stratagems of the devil, betaking themselves to a 
holy and pious life : then he desired them that after his 
death they would lay the trunk of his body, however torn and 

1 [The whole of this life is utterly unworthy of one who aimed at the 
character of an historian. Pope Sylvester II. was a man of unimpeach- 
able morals, of great learning, and of real piety. But he was unpopular 
because his election was not by the people but by the bishops, and the 
severity of his morals offended the loose clergy. Above all he was high 
in favour with the German Emperor. The origin of the absurd stories of 
his intercourse with the devil is discussed at length by Milman (ii. 
418-419), and by Robertson (ii. 452, note). He was a great student of 
natural science, and it is remarkable that he invented an organ which 
worked by steam.] 

John XVII. 265 

dismembered, as it deserved to be, in a cart, and there to bury 
it where the horses should of their own accord carry it : and 
then (as it is said) that wicked men might see that yet there 
was some room for pardon left with God for them, if they at 
any time repent, by the Divine will and providence, the horses 
of their own accord went to the church of the Lateran, where 
his body was buried. Martinus writes beside, that as well 
from the clattering of this Pope's bones, as from the sweat or 
rather moisture of his tomb, people are wont to gather 
presages, and those most manifest of the approaching death 
of any Pope, and that this is hinted in the epitaph on his 
tomb. Whether it be true or no, let the Popes, whom it 
concerns, look to it. 


A.D. IOO3. 

JOHN the Seventeenth, whose surname and family, because 
of their baseness, are not recorded, died four months and 
twenty days after he was made Pope. So that because 
of the shortness of his pontificate there was nothing memor- 
able done either by himself or any other in the time, unless 
that many prodigies, apparitions, and comets were seen, and 
many towns ruined by earthquakes, foreshowing the calamities 
that were to come ; some ease in which yet was given by 
Hugh, the Viceroy of Italy under Otho, and Governor of 
Tuscany; for he managed his province with so great justice 
and integrity, that no one complained for want of an excellent 
prince. Who afterward dying at Pistoia, the Tuscans uni- 
versally bewailed him as a public parent, not suffering any 
manner of respect to be wanting to his funeral. In this place 
I therefore thought good to mention the deserved praises of 
Hugh, that governors of countries may know, that it is much 
better by a just and generous administration to acquire 
glory and honour, than by unjust ways to heap up riches with 
everlasting shame and ignominy. 

266 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. IOO3-IOO9. 

JOHN the Eighteenth, a Roman, of the ward of Port- 
Metropolitan, being made Pope, indulged himself in an 
easy way of living, and did nothing worth mentioning. 
But Robert, King of France, deserved the highest commenda- 
tions, who at this time led a life as devout as kingly, excelling 
all the contemporary Christian kings in knowledge and 
religious living, and being himself excelled by no man in 
controversial learning; he, not owning that opinion which 
the princes of our times have embraced, that it is not worth 
a potentate's while to be learned ; but that it behoves them 
that are to rule the nations, to take their rules of government 
from the precepts of others, which yet cannot be done without 
reading and study. What else, indeed, is an illiterate prince, 
but the image of a lion commanding the other beasts. It is 
necessary they should be able to moderate their own passions 
as well as the people's, who would be thought to govern 
others. With great reason, therefore, it is that we speak well 
of Robert, whose devotion was such, that as oft as he had 
leisure from his warlike employments, he would sing the 
canonical hours with the priests ; and so great were his merits 
in this way, that once when he had beleaguered a town of his 
enemy's, and neglected the siege to attend the canonical 
hours, the walls miraculously fell down, and his men immedi- 
ately rushing in, took the place. But John (according to 
some authors) having sat in the chair six years and four 
months, died, and was buried in St Peter's Church. The 
see was then vacant nineteen days. 


A.D. IOO9-IOI2. 

SERGIUS the Fourth, a Roman, son of Martin, succeeded ; 
a man of a most holy life and sweet conversation both 
before and in his pontificate. He was charitable to the poor, 
cheerful among his friends and acquaintances, merciful to 
those who were faulty, and mild even with the perverse. 
Besides, he was so prudent, that in all the time he sat in the 

Benedict VIII. 267 

chair, nothing was committed which could reflect any charge 
of negligence upon his government. For placing all his 
thoughts on Heaven (which all Popes ought to do), and having 
a mind imbued with much natural goodness, he brought about 
all things to his mind. By his counsel and advice the princes 
of Italy entered into a league for driving the Saracens out 
of Sicily, and accordingly made equal preparations of men. 1 
There were then in Italy most of the sons of Tancred, the great 
Duke of Normandy, among whom was William, surnamed 
Ferrebach, a man of so great courage, that, taking for his 
companion in the expedition, Malochus, general of the forces 
of Michael Catalaicus, Emperor of Constantinople, he in 
a short time cleared that island of Saracens, the princes of 
Capua and Salerno lending some assistance. Afterward, 
Malochus using injustice in the division of the spoil, William 
thought good to dissemble for the time, but returning into 
Italy with forty thousand Normans who were just come from 
the Holy War, he seizes upon all Apulia, which was subject 
to the Greeks, and at Amain* meets Malochus with his army, 
fights, and defeats him. And thus by the valour of William 
the kingdom of Apulia was transferred from the Greeks to the 
Normans ; for he dying without heirs, his brother Drogo suc- 
ceeded him, and to him succeeded Humphrey, a younger 
brother, from whom descended Robert Guiscard and his 
brother Roger. While this passed in Apulia, Italy and almost 
all the world, too, labouring under a famine and pestilence, 
the holy man Sergius died in the second year and fifteenth 
day of his popedom, and was buried in St Peter's Church. 
The see was then vacant eight days. 


A.D. IOI2-IO24. 

BENEDICT the Eighth, born at Frascato, his father's name 
was Gregory, became Pope, in the reign of Henry II., 
Duke of Bavaria, who had been made Emperor in the 
room of Otho III. Some say that Otho died at 
Rome, and that his body was carried into Germany; 
1 [Platina has antedated events here : thus Michael did not reign until 
1034, and the conquest of Apulia took place 1040. See Gibbon, chap. 

268 The Lives of the Poets. 

others say it was buried in St Peter's Church. However 
that may be, it is certain that Henry, Duke of Bavaria, 
who was an excellent and a most holy person, was now 
created Emperor, and that he had an Empress equally 
praiseworthy for charity, devotion, and affability. In his 
time the Pope defeated a powerful armament of Sara- 
cens, who had taken possession of the territory round Pisa, 
and drove the same race out of Sardinia. Henry, having 
settled the state of Germany, coming to Rome, received the 
imperial crown, and then marching to Capua, drove the 
Saracens out of it, and carried on the war against Bubagano, 
a general of the Greeks, who favoured the Moors with so much 
vigour that he dispossessed them of Troia, a city he had built 
in the confines of Apulia, in a place where Hannibal was said 
heretofore to have encamped. The Emperor Henry and his 
wife Cunigunda are reported to have led such chaste and holy 
lives that they grew famous for working miracles, omitting no 
action which might contribute to the glory of God. He 
founded the Bishopric of Bamberg, and married his daughter 
to the King of Hungary, by whose means that king and all his 
subjects received the Christian faith; but Henry died in the 
eighth year of his empire, to the great loss of his subjects. 
He being dead, of whom in all exigencies Benedict made use as 
his protector, he was expelled by a faction, and another Pope 
chosen in his room, though he soon after agreed the matter 
with his adversaries, who turned out again the pseudo-pope, 
and restored Benedict with honour. He died in the eleventh 
year, first month, and thirteenth day of his popedom, and was 
buried in St Peter's Church. It is said that a certain bishop 
walking in a solitary place, Benedict appeared to him sitting 
upon a black horse, whereupon the bishop asked him the 
reason of his appearance in that manner ; he answered that 
his business was to desire him to take some money which he 
had hid in a certain place to which he directed him, and to 
give it to the poor as from him, for that the money had been 
of no profit to him, it consisting of what had been given of 
alms or gotten by rapine. The bishop executed his request, 
and immediately surrendered his bishopric and led a monastic 
life. Vincentius writes that Gerard, Bishop of Canobia, was 
in great account about this time for his learning and ex- 
emplary life ; as also was Gutherus, Bishop of Prague, who 
for his great abilities and holiness suffered martyrdom from 

John XIX. 269 

the enemies of the Christian religion. At this time also so great 
a pestilence raged in the world, that it was thought fewer sur- 
vived it than died of it, which calamity was foreshowed by a 
well of wholesome water in Lorraine being turned into blood. 


A.D. IO24-IO33. 

JOHN the Nineteenth, a Roman, son of Gregory, was, as 
some will have it, Bishop of Porto, though others say he 
never was in holy orders at all. He was made Pope at the 
same time that Conrad of Schwaben was by a just suffrage elected 
Emperor in the room of Henry, though he was not crowned 
for three years. In this interregnum, I suppose it was, that 
several cities of Italy revolted from the Empire and stood up 
for their liberty : wherefore Conrad, who was a great soldier, 
and had been for many years in great command in the wars 
under Henry, raising an army, speedily enters Italy, and 
marching first against the Milanese, the chief authors of this 
defection, he sits down upon the town, burns the suburbs, 
and breathes forth nothing but utter ruin to the city ; but 
quickly raises his siege by the persuasion of the Archbishop of 
Cologne, who assured him that as he was at mass St Ambrose 
appeared to him and threatened destruction to them all, ex- 
cept they departed from the city of which himself was patron. 
Conrad therefore holds on his journey to Rome, where at the 
hands of Pope John he received the imperial crown, and 
then marched against the Hungarians and Sclavonians, who 
had assisted the rebellious Italians, and soon subdued them. 
Rodolphus also, Duke of Burgundy, being vexed by the 
seditions of his subjects, put himself under the protection of 
Conrad, and therefore Burgundy has been ever since reckoned 
for a good part of it a province of the Empire. It is said 
of Conrad that he made several useful laws, among which 
one was, that it should be death for any prince of the Empire 
to disturb the peace of it ; and upon that account was a fierce 
persecutor of Leopold, a German count, who was a ringleader 
of some disturbances in his country. He sent ambassadors to 
charge the Greeks and Normans, who were quarrelling about 
the kingdom of Apulia, to lay down their arms, and threatened 

270 The Lives of the Popes. 

ruin to the Romans if they persisted, as they had begun, to 
tease their Pope with seditions. In his time religion was 
adorned in France by the strict life and holiness of several 
abbots, and Himericus, son of St Stephen, king of Hungary, 
had great reputation for his miracles. But John, who is very 
much to be praised for his life, died, after he had been Pope 
nine years and nine days. The see was then vacant eight days. 



BENEDICT the Ninth, as some say, the nephew of John, 
born at Frascati, son of Albericus, came to the ponti- 
ficate when Canute, a king of England, out of devotion and 
for performance of a vow, came to Rome, which having done, 
as he returned home he married his daughter to Henry, the 
son of Conrad. Soon after, Conrad dying, his son Henry 
III. succeeded his father, and, raising an army, gives battle 
to Uldericus, King of Bohemia ; but the victory being doubt- 
ful, he renewed the fight, overcame him and took him prisoner, 
but setting him under tribute, he discharged him from his im- 
prisonment ; then marching against the Hungarians, who 
were contending about the crown, he restored Peter to his 
throne, who had been driven out by Alboinus. In the mean- 
time, the Romans deposed Benedict, who was a sluggish 
fellow, and good for nothing, and set up in his room John, 
Bishop of Sabina, by the name of Sylvester III., who also, 
after a popedom of nine and forty days, was turned out, and 
Benedict restored ; and he, finding himself still liable to the 
same danger again, of his own accord resigned the chair to 
John, archdeacon of St John at Port Latin, afterwards called 
Gregory VI., though some affirm that he sold it to him. 
Wherefore Benedict was ill spoken of by all men deservedly, 
and condemned by the Divine judgment ; for it is certain that 
after his death he was seen in a most monstrous likeness, 
and being asked why, having been Pope, he appeared in 
such a horrid shape, " Because (says he) I led my life without 
law or reason, it is the will of God and St Peter, whose seat I 
defiled with all manner of wickedness, that I bear the shape 
rather of a monster than of a man." After he had by intervals 

Sylvester III. — Gregory VI. 271 

held St Peter's chair ten years, four months, and nine days, he 
died, upon which the see cannot be said to have been vacant 
at all, because he sold it. Historians write that at this time 
Gerard, a Venetian, Bishop of the Hungarians, an excellent 
man and of great learning, cheerfully suffered martyrdom by 
the enemies to the name of Christ, being bound to a cart, and 
from a high hill let down upon a precipice and torn to pieces. 


SYLVESTER the Third, a Roman, son of one Lawrence, 
was substituted into the room of Benedict when he was 
expelled, but held it not long, for after nine and forty days 
Benedict was restored by his own faction. The popedom 
was now brought to that pass that he who was most ambitious 
and would give most for it, not he who was most religious 
and learned, surely obtained this high office, to the great 
oppression and discouragement of all good men ; a naughty 
custom which I wish were laid by, even in our own times ; 
and yet this mischief is not so great, but that I fear (except 
God avert) we shall see much worse. I return to Sylvester, 
who, being Cardinal of Sabina, was made Pope, not by the 
College of Cardinals, for that had been tolerable, but merely 
by simony, as some write, and soon after justly deposed, 
having entered like a thief and a robber, not by the gate, but 
by the back-door. Benedict, indeed, was restored, but the 
city continued in a hubbub, sometimes desiring this man and 
then another to be put up ; which uses to be the case of a 
Mobile who, wanting a governor to steer their giddy humours, 
generally prefer the worse to the better men. 

1 044-1 046. 

GREGORY the Sixth, Archdeacon of St John at Port 
Latin, received, as we said, the chair of Benedict. But 
the Emperor Henry III., hearing of these miscarriages, with a 

272 The Lives of the Popes. 

great army enters Italy, and calling a council, causes Benedict 
IX., Sylvester III., and Gregory VI. all to be deposed for so 
many wretched monsters, and creates Syndegerus, Bishop of 
Bamberg, Pope, by the name of Clement II. Yet Gilbertus, 
the historian, affirms this Gregory to have deserved very well 
of the Church, having by his authority and great spirit in a 
short time reasserted the dignity of the see apostolic, which 
had been much weakened in its powers by the negligence of 
some of his predecessors ; for he recovered the patrimony of 
the Church, and first with excommunications and curses, and 
(when they availed not) with downright force of arms he 
destroyed the banditti who, lurking near the city, would 
cruelly murder pilgrims as they came to Rome for devotion 
sake. For this reason some wicked rogues slandered him 
commonly with the names of murderer, simoniac, and blood- 
thirsty j nay, even some cardinals would say so too, which so 
moved Gregory that, whilst he lay ill of that sickness of which 
afterwards he died, he sent for those cardinals, and rebuked 
them sharply for finding fault with that which was done with 
so much justice and honesty. And that you may know 
(says he) whether I have done that which is right or not, 
when I am dead, carry my corpse to the church doors, which 
first let be locked up, and if they do miraculously open, then 
think that I am an honest man, and worthy of Christian 
burial j if not, that both soul and body is damned, and you 
may cast out my corpse where you please. The cardinals did 
accordingly, and the doors were thrown open by a strong 
wind that rose on a sudden, and the body brought in, to the 
admiration of all men, and to the great reputation of his 
sanctity. This is the substance of what various authors write 
of Gregory, who sat in the chair two years and seven months 
during the schism. 


A.D. IO46-IO48. 

CLEMENT the Second, before called Syndegerus, Bishop 
of Bamberg, was made Pope in the council, by the 
consent, or rather authority and command of Henry III., who 
having received at this Pope's hands the imperial crown, 

Damasus II. 273 

caused the Romans to take an oath after a form he pre- 
scribed, not to meddle in the election of any Pope, except by 
a command from him ; for the Emperor saw things to be 
come to such a height of licentiousness, that any factious and 
potent fellow, however ignoble, could arrive at that dignity 
by purchasing the suffrages of the electors, which ought not 
to be conferred but by the spirit of God upon those that 
excelled in learning and a holy life. From hence he went to 
Capua, where he settled all things, and having listed those 
soldiers who had so stoutly resisted the Saracens, he returned 
by Rome for Germany. He was no sooner gone (as some 
write), but the Romans contrived to poison the Pope, because 
made so without their assent, in the ninth month of his pope- 
dom ; nay, some authors say, the venomous potion was prepared 
for him by that Stephen, who, by the name of Damasus II., 
succeeded him, at the time when Odo, abbot of Clugny, a man 
of extraordinary holiness, dying, Hugo was made abbot after 
him, a noble personage, pious, devout, affable, and learned, 
Henry II. at this time reigning in France, Alphonso in Spain, 
and Michael with his son, Constantine, being emperors of 
Constantinople, which Empire was now in great weakness and 


A.D. IO48. 

DAMASUS the Second, a Bavarian, surnamed Bagnario 
or Pepone (as some say), seized the papal chair by 
force, without any consent of the clergy and people. So deep 
root had this licentious custom taken, that any ambitious 
fellow durst invade the seat of St Peter. But the just God 
avenged himself upon this villain, that he might be an 
example to the rest, who should seek by ambition and 
simony that which ought to be the reward of virtue ; for on 
the twenty-ninth day of his pontificate he died. Some would 
not have this man put in the catalogue of Popes, because he 
came not regularly to that dignity, and admire that the 
Romans were not moved with the villany of the action, con- 
trary to their oath to Henry, to compel him to lay down his 

274 The Lives of the Popes. 

office ; but because he lived so short a time, that the citizens 
could not so seen bethink themselves what to do, I think 
they are not to be blamed. We shall then pass to Leo. 


A.D. IO48-IO54. 

LEO the Ninth, a German, a.d. 1048, was made Pope after 
this manner. The Romans having sent ambassadors to 
the Emperor to entreat him to send to them a good Pope, he 
immediately nominated to them Baunon, Bishop of Toul, a 
good man and of great integrity ; who, taking his journey 
towards Rome in his pontifical habit, was met by the Abbot 
of Clugny and Hildebrand, a monk, born at Soana, who 
persuaded him to lay by his pontifical habit, and to enter 
Rome, for that Henry had no power from God to create a 
Pope, but it belonged of right to the clergy and people of 
Rome. With these words Leo was so moved (and because 
as he came along he had heard a voice saying, " Ego cogito 
pads cogitationes, non afflictionis") that he laid by his habit 
and entered Rome as a private man, accusing himself that 
he had chosen to obey the Emperor rather than God. The 
Roman clergy then, by the persuasion of Hildebrand, elected 
Baunon Pope, and so much the more readily, because he had 
professed the right of electing Popes ought not to be in the 
Emperor, but in the clergy. And yet the vices of several 
Popes were (as we have said) so great, that it seemed to be 
done by the judgment of God, that this power should be 
taken from the clergy, that they might amend their flagitious 
lives and sinful inclinations, and that the Church of Christ 
might not suffer ruin in the hands of such evil prelates. Thus 
Baunon, having got the papacy, and having changed his 
name to Leo IX., he immediately created Hildebrand a 
cardinal- deacon, and gave him the government of St Paul's 
Church ; so that it seemed as if they had divided the pon- 
tifical charge between them, one ruling the church of St Peter, 
the other that of St Paul. In the meantime Drogo, chieftain 
of the Normans in Apulia, dying, his brother, Gisulphus, suc- 
ceeded him and possessed himself by force of the city of 
Beneventum, which was the Pope's by surrender ; for when the 

Leo IX. 2ft 

JEmperor Henry having built a church at Bamberg to the 
honour of St George, and had a great mind it should be 
made a cathedral, Benedict VIII. consented, upon condition 
the said church should pay yearly, as a kind of tribute, a 
hundred marks of silver and a white horse with his caparisons; 
which yearly payment Leo IX. remitted to the church of 
Bamberg, receiving of the Emperor in lieu thereof the city 
of Beneventum. Leo, therefore, strengthened with the justice 
of his title and the Emperor's forces, marches againt Gisulphus 
with an undisciplined army, and is by him defeated and 
taken prisoner, but was soon remitted to Rome with an 
honourable retinue. It is storied that in his time, Robert 
Guiscard bringing an army out of France into Italy, and 
driving the Greeks and Saracens before him, possessed him- 
self of Apulia, where he chanced to find a statue, with 
these words engraven on a brass circle round the head, 
"The first day of May at sunrising I shall have a golden 
head," which words, being well considered by a certain 
Saracen who was Robert's prisoner, a skilful magician, 
he marked how far the shadow of the statue extended, 
and on the first day of May at sunrise, having dug up the 
place, he found a great treasure, with which he bought his 
liberty of Robert. But to return to Leo, who was certainly a 
man of great devotion, innocence, benignity, and religion, 
particularly so eminent for hospitality, that his palace was 
always free for pilgrims and poor people ; nay, once when he 
found a poor leper at his door, he with pity ordered him to 
be taken in and laid in his own bed ; but in the morning when 
the door-keeper opened the door, the leper being not to be 
found, it was thought that it was Christ himself that lay there as 
a poor man. In matters relating to the faith, he used great dili- 
gence and industry, for in a council holden at Vercelli he con- 
demned Berengarius for a heretic, and by his monitories put the 
Emperor of Constantinople upon repairing the holy sepulchre 
at Jerusalem, which had been spoiled by the barbarians. At 
this same time lived Theobald, a noble Frenchman, famous 
for his holy life at Vicenza ; and Vincentius, Bishop of Liege, a 
person remarkable for learning and piety, wrote many things 
skilfully and acutely concerning the quadrature of the circle 
to Hermannus, a man of an excellent wit. Leo died when 
he had been Pope five years, two months, and six days. 

2/6 The Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. IO55-I057. 

17 ICTOR the Second, before called Glaberdus, a Bavarian, 
V succeeded Leo rather by the favour of the Emperor 
Henry than by a free election ; for the clergy and people of 
Rome stood in great fear of the power of Henry, whom they 
had before offended by putting up new Popes, and therefore 
lest contrary to their oath they should seem to make any 
innovations, they propose this Victor, and by Hildebrand, 
their ambassador to Henry, all things were managed to both 
their satisfactions. Victor being by universal consent placed 
in the chair, with the approbation of the Emperor he called 
a council at Florence, where he deprived a multitude of 
bishops of their bishoprics for simony and for fornication, and 
admonished the clergy of their duty, threatening severity against 
those that should transgress the canons. Some write that 
Victor made a visit to Henry, and that he was splendidly en- 
tertained by him ; but I am of opinion, that Hildebrand only 
went thither, who by virtue of his legantine power, created 
Henry IV., the son of Henry, Caesar. Capua was now be- 
sieged by the Saracens, which struck terror into all the neigh- 
bouring cities, but Robert Guiscard taking up arms, set upon 
the Saracens and defeated them, thereby delivering at once 
Capua from a siege and their neighbours from their fears. 
Of what extraction this Robert was is not certain, some 
account him a Frenchman, others a Norman ; however it be, 
it is sure he was a person of a noble spirit and an excellent 
understanding, so that he deserved the crown he held of 
Apulia. Pope Victor, whose life we are upon, died in the 
second year, third month, and fourteenth day of his pontificate ; 
after which the see was vacant five days. 


A.D. IO57-IO58. 

STEPHEN the Ninth, before named Frederick, a Lorrainer, 
abbot of Monte-Cassino, was no sooner made Pope but 
he took care that the Church of Milan, which for almost two 

Benedict X. 2jj 

hundred years had withdrawn its subjection to that of Rome, 
was now at length reduced to obedience thereto, as to the 
mother and nurse of all churches, which obedience she has 
since persevered in, as becomes true daughters to do to a 
pious mother. Near about this time Henry IV. succeeded 
his father, deceased, and Alexius succeeded Nicephorus, 1 Em- 
peror of Constantinople ; Robert Guiscard also in a mighty 
battle overthrew the Greeks and drove them out of Calabria, 
leaving none but Greek priests, who even to our times kept 
their own language and customs. Indeed, the Constantino- 
politan Empire was now so broken by the Saracens that they 
had much ado to preserve Thrace, Galatia, Pontus, Thessaly, 
Macedon, and Achaia, and even out of these either the Turks 
or Saracens every day cantled out one place or another. But 
Stephen, when he had been Pope seven months and eight 
days, died at Florence, where he was honourably buried, as 
Martinus writes. Some say that Pope Stephen accused the 
Emperor Henry of heresy for endeavouring to diminish the 
papal authority, without regard to religion and the immortal 


A.D. IO58-IO59. 

BENEDICT the Tenth, a Capuan, before named Nuntius, 
Bishop of Veletri, was by a faction of noblemen created 
Pope, at the same time that Agnes, mother of Henry IV., con- 
stituted Gilbert of Parma, a man of great abilities, Viceroy of 
Italy. There was then in Italy also, Godfrey, the husband of 
the Countess Matilda, a most noble lady, who was very power- 
ful ; for Beatrix, the mother of Matilda, had been sister to the 
Emperor Henry III., and had married one Boniface, a potent 
man and of an honourable family, of the city of Lucca in Tus- 
cany ; upon whose death all his estates fell first to Beatrix, 
and after her decease were devolved upon Matilda and her 
husband Godfrey : so that they stood possessed of Lucca, 
Parma, Reggio, Mantua, and that part of Tuscany now called 
St Peter's patrimony. But to return to Benedict ; he was 
deposed by Hildebrand, because he came not in by the right 
[Alexius did not succeed Nicephorus till 1081.] 

2 7% The Lives of the Popes. 

way, but by force and simony : for the generality of the clergy 
had passed their words to Archdeacon Hildebrand, when he 
went to Florence, that they would not proceed upon any 
election of a new Pope till his return to the city. When he 
was come back therefore, together with Gerard, Bishop of 
Florence, he inveighed most bitterly against them all, espec- 
ially against those who had promised to stay till his return. 
But there arising great contention upon this matter, many 
approving of Benedict, as a very good and prudent man, 
though they disallowed that election of him, with great 
clamours that it was irregularly and illegally done ; yet at last, 
by the persuasion of Hildebrand, Gerard, a man worthy, indeed, 
of so high a dignity, was by a majority of votes created Pope, 
and Benedict turned out. Some will have this election to have 
been made at Sienna, because a free choice could not be had 
at Rome, by reason of the partialities of some men in power 
there. Benedict was deposed after he had sat nine months 
and twenty days, and then was confined to Veletri. 


A.D. IO59-I061. 

j^" ICOLAS the Second, a Provencal, at first named Gerard, 
^ Bishop of Florence, for his virtue and excellent spirit, 
upon the expulsion of Benedict (who was not regularly so 
created) was made Pope at Sienna, and immediately there- 
upon withdrew to Sutri, where, a.d. 1059, he called a council, 
whither came not only the bishops, but many of the noblemen 
of Italy, where he forced Benedict to resign the office and habit 
of Pope and to retire to Veletri; from hence he went to 
Rome, where, in the second Lateran Council, he procured a 
law to be enacted, very wholesome for the Church of Rome, 
which is to be seen among the decrees, to this purpose, 
" That if any one, either by simony, or by the favour of any 
powerful man, or by any tumult either of the people or 
soldiery, shall be placed in St Peter's chair, he shall be 
reputed not apostolical but an apostate, one that transgresses 
the rules even of common reason j and that it shall be lawful 
for the cardinals, clergy, and devout laity, with weapons both 
spiritual and material, by anathemas, and by any human aid, 

Nicolas II. 279 

him to drive out and depose ; and that catholics may 
assemble for this end in any place whatsoever, if they cannot 
do it in the city." In the same council Berengarius, deacon 
of the Church of Anjou, was reclaimed from his error con- 
cerning the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the bread and 
wine, whereof he affirmed the true and entire body and blood 
of Christ was not present, but only by a sign, figure, or 
mystery ; which error at the instance and persuasion of Nicolas 
and Albericus a deacon, a very learned man, he recanted, 
affirming the Eucharist to be the true and entire body and 
blood of Christ. We have said that this error was condemned 
by Leo IX. but never amended, the praise of which belongs 
wholly to Nicolas, as Lanfranc writes, a man at that time very 
learned, who in an excellent work of his confuted the tenets of 
Berengarius. While these things were acted at Rome by Pope 
Nicolas, Godfrey the Norman, who succeeded his brother 
Drogo in the earldom of Apulia and Calabria, dying, left his 
son Bagelardus his heir, which Robert Guiscard, his brother 
(as some will have it), not liking, he drove out his nephew and 
seized upon the earldom, taking in Troia also, which had long 
been subject to the see of Rome. At this the Pope was not 
a little enraged at Robert, till by his invitation taking a 
journey into Apulia, whatsoever the Church had lost was 
returned again, and then he not only took Robert into favour, 
but making him a feudatory of the Church, he was constituted 
Duke of Calabria and Apulia. After this receiving of him a 
great assistance of forces and returning to the city, he subdued 
the Prenestines, Tusculans, and Nomentans, who had revolted 
from the Church j and crossing the Tiber he sacked Galese, 
and took in other castles of Count Gerard as far as Sutri, 
rendering the territories of Rome hereby much more secure. 
It is written also that Henry IV. was crowned by Nicolas 
with the imperial diadem, and out of gratitude for it all his 
time never attempted any thing against holy Church. But 
Nicolas having concluded this life with great praise of all men, 
died when he had been Pope three years, six months, and 
twenty-six days. x The see was then vacant three months. 

1 [It was in this Pontificate settled that henceforward the election of the 
Popes should be made by the cardinals.] 

280 TJie Lives of the Popes. 


A.D. I061-IO73. 

ALEXANDER the Second, whose name at first was 
Anselm, a Milanese, Bishop of Lucca, upon the death 
of Nicolas, though absent, was, for his good temper, affability, 
and learning, elected Pope. But the bishops of Lombardy 
thinking, for the honour of their country, that it was just a 
Pope should be chosen out of their number, Gilbert of Parma, 
at that time very powerful, taking their part vigorously, they 
obtained of the Emperor Henry, against the mind of his mother 
Agnes, that they might set up another Pope. Whereupon the 
bishops, holding a council, made one Cadolus Pope, who was 
Bishop of Parma, to whom all Lombardy straightway sub- 
mitted, except Matilda, a noble lady who had great reverence 
for the Roman see. Cadolus being soon after called to Rome 
by the adversaries of Alexander, both parties engaged in 
battle in the Prati di Nerone at the foot of the Hill Montorio, 
in which fight many were slain on both sides. Alexander 
and Godfrey, the husband of Matilda, stayed in the Lateran 
Palace, not knowing where to trust themselves, all places were 
so full of treachery ; though some say that Alexander, to avoid 
the bloody fight, did before the battle retire to Lucca, and 
lived there securely for some time, which kind protection from 
the Luccheses he gratefully acknowledged by granting both to 
their church and city very notable privileges. Cadolus was 
repulsed at Rome, but rested not long at quiet in his country, 
being invited again by some citizens (who found that to 
satisfy their avarice it was their interest that the city should 
be kept in confusion), and getting together a greater army 
than before, he comes to Rome and by force seizes the Citta 
Leonina and St Peter's Church. But the Romans, with the 
forces of Godfrey, falling forth, struck such a sudden terror 
into the enemy that they betook themselves to their heels, and 
Cadolus narrowly missed being taken, having been forsaken 
by his friends, but Cincius, son to the prefect of Rome, with a 
strong squadron carried him safe through the whole adverse 
army with great difficulty into Castle St Angelo ; where being 
besieged for some time and seeing little hope of getting out 
free, he corrupted the besiegers with three hundred pounds in 
silver, and mounting a lean horse he escaped all alone. In 

Alexander IL 281 

the meanwhile Hanno, Archbishop of Cologne, before Henry, 
the young emperor, charged his mother Agnes with meddling 
too much with the affairs of state in Christendom to the great 
dishonour of the Empire, whereupon a commission was given 
him to compose the Church divisions according to his discre- 
tion ; and he, coming to Rome, at first rebuked Alexander 
with very hard words, for entering upon the Papacy without 
the consent of the Emperor, contrary to law and custom ; but 
Archdeacon Hildebrand took him up and stiffly defended 
what the Pope had done, proving that both by law and 
ancient usage the election of Popes belonged to the clergy, 
and convinced Hanno so far, that the Emperor Henry, being 
at last conscious of his error, desired Alexander to call a 
council, and promised to come thither himself. The city of 
Mantua was pitched upon as most fit ; and thither every one 
came who was concerned for the safety and protection of the 
Church ; where all things being settled, the Emperor himself 
not only got the favour of the Pope, but begged and obtained 
of him a pardon for Cadolus who submitted to him, and for 
Gilbert, the author (as we said) of all this mischief, the Arch- 
bishopric of Ravenna : the first of these the Pope easily 
agreed to, by the example of our Saviour who even prayed for 
His persecutors ; but the second he granted much against his 
will, and not till tired with the importunity of Henry, fearing, 
what fell out afterwards, that it would be very pernicious for 
the Church of Rome. The Pope, departing from Mantua and 
passing through Lucca, consecrated the great church there, 
of which he had been bishop, with great solemnity, intending 
to stay there till Archdeacon Hildebrand had settled matters 
a little in Apulia, who having received some auxiliary forces 
of the Countess Matilda, not only opposed the power of 
Richard and William, but forced them to restore what they 
had taken from the Church : and then Alexander came to the 
city, and after a pontificate of eleven years and six months, 
he died, and was buried in the church of St John, in the 
Lateran, no manner of pomp being spared (that could be at 
the funeral of a Pope), either by the clergy or people. In his 
time flourished John Gualbertus, a monk of Vallombrosa, and 
first of the order, a most holy man and famous for miracles. 




a.d. Emperor3. 

Contemporary Notes. 

St Peter, about 

33 Tiberius. 


Fall of Jerusalem. 

St Linus 

68 Galba. 

Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian. 

St Cletus . 


Rise of Gnosticism. 

Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Tra- 

Apostolic Fathers. 


St Evaristus . 


St Alexander I. 



The Apologists. 

St Sixtus I. . 


St Telesphorus 


Antoninus Pius. 

St Hyginus . 


St Pius I. 


St Anicetus . 



Easter Controversy be 

Marcus Aurelius. 

tween East and West 

St Soter 


St Eleutherius 



St Victor I. . 

193 Pertinax, Didius Julian us, 
Septimus Severus. 

St Zephyrinus 


Caracalla, Geta, Macrinus, 

St Calistus I. 


Catechetical School of 
Alexandria — 

St Urban I. . 

223 Alexander Severus. 


St Pontian 


Clement of Alexandria 

St Autherus . 

235 Maximus. 

St Fabian 





Maximus and Balbinus. 
Philip, Decius. 


St Cornelius . 251 
St Lucius I. . 252 

St Stephen T. 253 Valerian and Gallienus. 
St Sixtus II. . 257 
St Dionysius . 259 

Claudius II. 
St Felix I. . 269 

St Eutychian . 275 Tacitus, Probus, Carus. 
St Caius . 283 

Diocletian and Maximian. 
St Marcellinus 296 

Constantius, Galerius, Constan- 
tine, Maxentius. 

St Marcellius I. 308 Licinius. 
St Eusebius . 310 
St Melchiades 31 1 

Constantine the Great alone. 

St Sylvester I. 314 

St Mark 


Contemporary Notes. 

The Goths cross the 
Danube and enter the 

Cyprian, Bishop of Car- 

The Novatian Schism. 

Sabellian heresy. 

St Julius . 337 Constantine II., Constans, 

Constantius II. 
Tiberius . 352 

Felix II. . 355 

Julian, Jovian, Valentinian, 
St Damasus I. 366 

Gratian, Valentinian II., Theo- 
St Siricius . 384 

Eugenius usurps. 

St Anastasius J. 398 

W. Empire. 

E. Empire. 


The Meletian Schism. 

Beginning of the Donat- 

ist Schism. 
The Edict of Toleration. 
Arian Controversy. 
Council of Nicsea. St 

The Church historians, 

Eusebius, Theodoret, 

Socrates, Sozomen. 
Council of Sardica. 

Rapid growth of Monas- 
ticism in the West. 

Apollinarian Contro- 
Council of Constatinople, 
St Ambrose, Cyril, 
Ephraem Syrus, Basil 
the Great, Gregory of 

St Chrysostom, Synesius, 


The Lives of the Popes. 

St Innocent I. 

St Zosimus . 

St Boniface I. 

St Celestine L 

St Sixtus III. 
St Leo I. (the 

St Hilary 

St Simplicius . 



W. Empire. E. Empire. 

Theodosius II. 

Constantius I. 



Leo I. 


Avitus Mar- 
461 Severus. 



Olybrius Gly- Leo 

Julius Nepos. Zeno. 


St Felix III. . 483 

St Gelasius I. 
St AnastasiusII. 
St Symmachus 


St Hormisdas 514 

St John I. . 
St Felix IV. . 

Boniface II. . 
John II. 
St Agapetus I. 
St Silverius . 

Pelagius I. 

John III. 

Benedict I. . 






Anastasius I. 

Tustin I. 
Justinian I. 

Justin II. 

Contemporary Notes. 

Rome sacked by Alaric. 
Vandals in Spain. 
Visigoths in Spain. 

Franks on Lower Rhine. 

Nestorian Controversy. 
Council of Ephesus. 

Pelagian Controversy. 

Attila the Hun. 

The Eutychian Contro- 
versy. Council of Chal- 

Odoacer overthrows the 
Western Empire. 

Clovis founds the king- 
dom of the Franks. 

Theodoric sets up the 
kingdom of the Ostro- 
goths in Italy. 


Italy recovered to the 
Eastern Empire. 

St Columba of Ireland. 

Fifth General Council at 

Dionysius Exiguus. The 
birth of Christ made 
the first epoch in 
Christian chronology. 

Lombards enter Italy. 



Pelagius II. 



St Gregory I. 

(the Great) . 590 

Sabinian . 604 

Boniface III. 607 

St Boniface IV. 608 

St Deus-dedit 614 

Boniface V. . 618 

Honorius I. . 
John IV. 


Theodore I. . 


St Martin I. . 
St Eugenius I. 
St Vitalian . 


Domnus I. 
St Agatho 


St Leo II. . 


St Bendict II. 
John IV. 
Conon . 
St Sergius I. . 


John VI. 
John VII. . 



Sisinnius . 708 
Constantine . 708 

Gregory II. . 715 

St Gregory III. 731 

W. Empire. E. Empire. 

Tiberius II. 


Contemporary Notes. 

Council of Toledo adds 
Filioque to the Creed. 

Conversion of England. 


The Hegira of Moham- 


Constans II. The Eastern Empire 
wanes under the assaults 
of the Saracens. 


The Venerable Bede. 

Sixth General Council at 
Constantinople ("In 

Karl ing dynasty in France 
and Germany. 

Justinian II. 

Tiberius III. 

Justinian II. 

Phillipicus, Moorish Conquest of 

Bardanes, An- Spain, 
astasius II. 

Theodosius III. St Boniface in Germany. 
Leo III., "the First Edict of the Em- 
Isaurian." peror Leo against Im- 



The Lives of the Popes. 



W. Empire. E. Empire. 

Contemporary Notes. 

St Zacharius 


Constantine V., 

Stephen II. 


St Paul I. 


Stephen IV. 


Hadrian I. 

. 772 

Leo IV., Con- 
stantine VI., 
and Irene. 

End of the Greek Ex- 
archate of Ravenna. 

St Leo III. 

• 795 

Charles the 


Nicephorus I., 
Michael L, 

In 800 the Western Em- 
pire is restored under 
Charles the Great, 
" Charlemagne." 

Stephen V. 

816 Louis the Pious. 


St Paschal I. 



Eugenius II. 



. 827 

Lothar I. 

Gregory IV. 


Louis II. 

Michael III. 

Sergius II. 


St Leo IV. 


Benedict III 


Conversion of Bulgaria. 

St Nicholas I 

Disputes on the Eucharist 

(the Great) 


and on Predestination. 

Hadrian II. 


Basil I. 

Russians under Ruric. 

John VIII. 


Charles II. 

("the Bald.") 
Charles III. 

("the Fat.") 

Marinus 01 

Martin II. 


Hadrian III. 


Stephen VI. 


Leo VI. 






Boniface VI. . 


Stephen VII. 




Theodore II. . 


Louis, the Child. 
Louis III. 

Tohn IX. 


Benedict IV. . 



LeoV. . 







Sergius III. . 
Anastasius III. 

Landus . 
John X. 

Leo VI. 
Stephen VIII. 
John XL 
Leo VII. 

Stephen IX. . 
Martin III. . 
Agapetus II. . 
John XII. . 

Leo VIII. . 

Benedict V. . 
John XIII. . 

Benedict VI. . 
Domnus II. . 
Benedict VII. 

John XIV. . 
Boniface VII. 
John XV. . 
Gregory V. . 
Silvester II. . 

John XVII. . 
John XVIII. . 
Sergius IV. . 
Benedict VIII. 
John XIX. . 

. Emperors. Contemporary Notes. 

AD - W.Empire. E.Empire. v 

g Q . The Normans christianised. 

9 n Alexander. Rollo. 

Conrad I. Constantine X. 


914 Berengar. Romanus I. 

Lecapenus and 
Henry I. " the his sons. 


936 Otto I. ("the 




972 Otto II. 



Otto III. 

Romanus II. 
Nicephorus I. 

John Zimisces. 





999 Henry II. 

("the Saint.") 
1024 Conrad II. 

Basil II. and 
Constantine XL 

Benedict IX. . 1033 

Henry HI. 

Hugh Capet in France. 

Romanus III. 

Michael IV., 
Michael V., Zoe, 
and Theodora. 
Constantine XII. 

Gregory VI. . 1044 
Clement II. . 1046 
Damasus II . . 1048 


The Lives of the Popes. 




Empire. E. Empire. 

Contemporary Notes 

St Leo IX. . 




Victor II. . . 


Michael VI. 

Stephen X. . 


Isaac Com- 

Nicholas II. . 




Alexander II. 


Eudocia, Ro- 

manus IV. 
Michael VII. 

Norman Conquest of 
England. 2nd Eucha- 
ristic Controversy. 
Berengar and Lanfranc. 

St Gregory VII. 1073 

2 M. W.-5/92. 

Turnbull & Spears, Printers, Edinburgh. 

BQX 103 .P7 v.l c.2 SMC 

Platina, B. 

The lives of the Popes