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11. The history of the Roman pontiffs, that lived in this
century, is a history of so many monsters, and not The history of men, and exhibits a horrible series of the most
flagitious, tremendous, and complicated crimes, as all writers, even those of the Romish communion, unanimously confess. The source of these disorders must be sought for principally in the calamities that fell upon the greatest part of Europe, and that afflicted Italy in a particular manner, after the extinction of the race of Charlemagne. Upon the death of the pontiff
, Benedict IV. which happened in the year 903, Leo V. was raised to the pontificate, which he enjoyed no longer than forty days, being dethroned by Christopher, and cast into prison. Christopher, in his turn, was deprived of the pontifical dignity the year following by Sergius III.
a Roman presbyter, seconded by the protection and influence of Adalbert, a most powerful Tuscan prince, who had a supreme and unlimited direction in all the affairs that were transacted at Rome. Anastasius III. and Lando, who, upon the death of Sergius, in the year 911, were raised successively to the papal dignity, enjoyed it but for a short time, and did nothing that could contribute to render their names illustrious. II. After the death of Lando, which happened in the
year 914, Alberic, marquis or count of Tuscany, oder whose opulence was prodigious, and whose au
thority in Rome was despotic and unlimited, obtained the pontificate for John X. archbishop of Ravenna, in compliance with the solicitation of Theodora, his motherin-law, whose lewdness was the principle that interested her in this promotion. This infamous election will not surprise such as know that the laws of Rome were at this time absolutely silent; that the dictates of justice and equity were overpowered and suspended; and that all things were carried on in that great city by interest or corruption, by violence or fraud. John X. though in other respects a scandalous example of iniquity and lewdness in the papal
O p It was Albert or Adalbert, and not Alberic, who was the son-in-law of the elder Theodora, of whom Dr. Mosheim here speaks. Alberic was grandson to this Theodora, by ber daughter Marozia, who was married to Albert. See Spanheim, Eccl. Hist. Secul. x. p. 1432. Fleury, Hist. Eccles. livre liv. p. 571, edit. Bruxelle. This latter bistorian is of opinion, that it was the younger Theodora, the sister of Marozia, whe, from an amorous principle, raised John X. to the pontificate.
I Theodora, mistress of Rome, bad John X. raised to the pontificate, that she might continue that licentious commerce in which she had lived with that carnal ecclesiastic for many years past. Jee Fleury, and other writers, &c.
chair, acquired a certain degree of reputation by his glorious campaign against the Saracens, whom he drove from the settlements they had made upon the banks of the Garigliano. He did not however enjoy his glory long; the enmity of Marozia, daughter of Theodora, and wife of Alberic, proved fatal to him. For this bloody-minded woman having espoused Wido, or Guy, marquis of Tuscany, after the death of her first consort, engaged him to seize the wanton pontiff, who was her mother's lover, and to put him to death in the prison where he lay confined. This Licentious and unlucky pontiff was succeeded by Leo VI. who sat but seven months in the apostolic chair, which was filled after him by Stephen VII. The death of this latter, which happened in the year 931, presented to the ambition of Marozia an object worthy of its grasp; and accordingly she raised to the papal dignity John XI. who was the fruit of her lawless amours with one of the pretended successors of St. Peter, Sergius III. whose adulterous commerce with that infamous woman gave an infallible guide to the Roman church.”
iv. John XI. who was placed at the head of the church by the credit and influence of his mother, was Jabo XI. and pulled down from this summit of spiritual grandeur, A. D. 933, by Alberic, his half-brother, who had conceived the utmost aversion against him. His mother Marozia had, after the death of Wido, entered anew into the bonds of matrimony with Hugo, king of Italy, who, having offended his stepson Alberic, felt severely the weight of his resentment, which vented its fury upon the whole family; for Alberic drove out of Rome not only Hugo, but also Marozia and her son the pontiff, and confined them in prison, where the latter ended his days in the year 936. The four pontiffs, who, in their turns, succeeded "John XI. and filled the papal chair until the year 956, were Leo VII. Stephen VIII. Marinus II. and Agapet, whose cha
I r In the original we have Montem Garilianum, which is undoubtedly a mistake, as the Garigliano is a river in the kingdom of Naples, and not a mountain.
$ The character and conduct of Marozia are acknowledged to bave been most infamous by the unanimous testimony both of ancient and modern historians, who affirm with one voice that Jobn XI. was the fruit of her carnal commerce with Sergius III. Eccard alone, in his Origines Guelphica, tom. i. lib. ii. p. 131, has ventured to clear her from this reproach, and to assert that Sergius, before his elevation to the potificate, was her lawful and first husband. The attempt however is highly extravagant, if not impudent, to pretend to acquit, without the least testimony or proof of her innoconce, a woman who is known to have been entirely destitute of every principle of virtue.
The fate of John XLI.
racters were much better than that of their predecessor, and whose government at least was not attended with those tumults and revolutions that had so often shook the pontifical throne, and banished from Rome the inestimable blessings of peace and concord. Upon the death of Agapet, which happened in the year 956, Alberic II. who to the dignity of Roman consul, joined a degree of authority and opulence which nothing could resist, raised to the pontificate his son Octavian, who was yet in the early bloom of youth, and destitute beside of every quality that was requisite in order to discharge the duties of that high and important office. This unworthy pontiff assumed the name of John XII. and thus introduced the custom that has since been adopted by all his successors in the see of Rome, of changing each their usual name for another upon their accession to the pontificate. v. The fate of John XII. was as unhappy as his promo
tion had been scandalous. Unable to bearthe op
pressive yoke of Berenger II. king of Italy, he sent ambassadors, in the year 961), to Otho the Great, entreating him to march into Italy at the head of a powerful army, to deliver the church and the people from the tyranny under which they groaned. To these entreaties the perplexed pontiff added a solemn promise, that, if the German monarch came to his assistance, he would array him with the purple and the other ensigns of sovereignty, and proclaim him emperor of the Romans. Otho received this embassy with pleasure, marched into Italy at the head of a large body of troops, and was accordingly saluted by John with the title of emperor of the Romans. The pontiff however soon perceiving that he had acted with too much precipitation, repented of the step he had taken, and though he had sworn allegiance to the emperoras his lawful sovereign, and that in the most solemn manner, yet he broke his oath and joined with Adalbert, the son of Berenger, against Otho. This revolt was not left unpunished. The emperor returned to Rome in the year 964; called a council, before which he accused and convicted the pontiff of many crimes; and, after having degraded him, in the most ignominious manner, from his high office, he appointed Leo VIII. to fill his place. Upon Otho's departure from Rome, John returned to that city, and in a council, which he assembled in the year 964, condemned the
pontiff whom the emperor had elected, and soon after died in a miserable and violent manner: After his death the Romans chose Benedict V. bishop of Rome in opposition to Leo; but the emperor annulled this election, restored Leo to the papal chair, and carried Benedict to Hamburg, where he died in exile.'
VI. The pontiffs who governed the see of Rome from Leo VII. who died, a. D. 965, to Gerbert or Silvester Jobo XIII. II. who was raised to the pontificate toward the Benedict Vit, conclusion of this century, were more happy in their administration, as well as more decent in their conduct, than their infamous predecessors; yet none of them so exemplary as to deserve the applause that is due to eminent virtue. John XIII. who was raised to the pontificate in the year 965, by the authority of Otho the Great, was driven out of Rome in the beginning of his administration; but the year following, upon the emperor's return to Italy, he was restored to his high dignity, in the calm possession of which he ended his days, A. D. 972. His successor, Benedict VI. was not so happy; cast into prison by Crescentius, son of the famous Theodora, in consequence of the hatred which the Romans had conceived both against his person and government, he was loaded with all sorts of ignominy, and was strangled in the year 974, in the apartment where he lay confined. Unfortunately for him, Otho the Great, whose power and severity kept the Romans in awe, died in the year 973, and with him expired that order and discipline which he had restored in Rome by salutary laws executed with impartiality and vigour. The face of things was entirely changed by that event; licentiousness and dis. order, seditions and assassinations resumed their former sway, and diffused their horrors through that miserable city. After the death of Benedict, the papal chair was filled by Franco, who assumed the name of Boniface VII. but enjoyed his dignity only for a short time; for scarcely
t In the account I have here given of the pontiffs of this century, I have consulted the sources which are to be found, for the most part, in Muratori's Scriplores Rerum Italicar. as also Baronius, Peter de Marca, Sigonius De Regno Italia, with the learned annotations of Ant. Saxius, Muratori, in his Annales Italia, Pagi, and other writers, all of whom have had access to these sources, and to several ancient manuscripts, which have not as yet been published. The narrations I have here given, are most certainly true upon the whole." It must, however, be confessed, that many parts of the papal bistory lie yet in great obscurity, and staod much in need of farther illustration; nor will I deny that a spirit of partiality has been extremely detrimental to the history of the pontiffs, by corrupting it, and rendering it uncertain in a multitude of places. VOL. II.
a month had passed after his promotion, when he was deposed from his office, expelled the city, and succeeded by Donus II.“ who is known by no other circumstance than his name.. Upon his death, which happened in the year 975, Benedict VII. was created pontiff; and during the space of nine years, ruled the church without much opposition, and ended his days in peace. This peculiar happiness was, without doubt, principally owing to the opulence and credit of the family to which he belonged; for he was nearly related to the famous Alberic, whose power, or rather despotism, had been unlimited in Rome.
vır. His successor, John XIV. who, from the bisphoric John xiv. of Pavia, was raised to the pontificate, derived no
support from his birth, which was obscure, nor did he continue to enjoy the protection of Otho III. to whom he owed his promotion. Hence the calamities that fell upon him with such fury, and the misery that concluded his transitory grandeur; for Boniface VII. who had usurped the papal throne in the year 974, and in a little time after had been banished Rome, returned from Constantinople, whither he had fled for refuge, and seizing the unhappy pontiff, had him thrown into prison, and afterward put to death. Thus Boniface resumed the government of the church; but his reign was also transitory, for he died about six months after his restoration." He was succeeded by John XV. whom some writers call John XVI. because, as they allege, there was another John, who ruled the church during the space of four months, and whom they consequently call John XV. Leaving it to the reader's choice to call that John, of whom we speak, the XV. or the XVI. of that name, we shall only observe, that
possessed the papal dignity from the year 985 to 996 ; that his administration was as happy as the troubled state of the Roman affairs would permit; and that the tranquil. lity he enjoyed was not so much owing to his wisdom and prudence, as to his being a Roman by birth, and to his descent from noble and illustrious ancestors. Certain it is, at least, that his successor Gregory V. who was a German,
I u Some writers place Donus II. before Benedict VI. See the Tabulæ Synopticæ Hist. Eccles. of the learned Pfaff.
15* w Fleury says eleven months.
IF x Among these writers is the learned Pfaff, in his Tabulæ Synopticæ, &c. But the Roman catholic writers, whom Dr. Mosheim follows with 'good reason, do not count anuong the number of the pontiffs that John who governed the church of Rome during the space of four months after the death of Boniface VII, because he was never Huly invested, by consecration, with the papal dignity,