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Benedict

Article from the 1911 Encyclopedia

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BENEDICT I. was pope from 573 to 578. He succeeded John III., and occupied the papal chair during the incursions of the Lombards, and during the series of plagues and famines which followed these invasions.

BENEDICT II. was pope from 684 to 685. He succeeded Leo II., but although chosen in 683 he was not ordained till 684, because the leave of the emperor Constantine was not obtained until some months after the election.

BENEDICT III. was pope from 855 to 858. He was chosen by the clergy and people of Rome, but the election was not confirmed by the emperor, Louis II., who appointed an anti-pope, Anastasius (the librarian). But the candidature of this person, who had been deposed from the presbyterate under Leo IV., was indefensible. The imperial government at length recognized Benedict and discontinued its opposition, with the result that he was at last successful. The mythical pope Joan is usually placed between Benedict and his predecessor, Leo IV.

BENEDICT IV. was pope from 900 to 903.

BENEDICT V. was pope from 964 to 965. He was elected by the Romans on the death of John XII. The emperor Otto I. did not approve of the choice, and carried off the pope to Hamburg, where he died.

BENEDICT VI. was pope from 972 to 974. He was chosen with great ceremony and installed pope under the protection of the emperor, Otto the Great. On the death of the emperor the turbulent citizens of Rome renewed their outrages, and the pope himself was strangled by order of Crescentius, the son of the notorious Theodora, who replaced him by a deacon called Franco. This Franco took the name of Boniface VII.

BENEDICT VII. was pope from 974 to 983. He was elected through the intervention of a representative of the emperor, Count Sicco, who drove out the intruded Franco (afterwards Pope Boniface VII.). Benedict governed Rome quietly for nearly nine years, a somewhat rare thing in those days.

BENEDICT VIII., pope from 1012 to 1024, was called originally Theophylactus. He was a member of the family of the count of Tusculum, and was opposed by an anti-pope, Gregory, but defeated him with the aid of King Henry II. of Saxony, whom he crowned emperor in 1014. In his pontificate the Saracens began to attack the southern coasts of Europe, and effected a settlement in Sardinia. The Normans also then began to settle in Italy. In Italy Benedict supported the policy of the emperor, Henry II., and at the council of Pavia (1022) exerted himself in favour of ecclesiastical discipline, then in a state of great decadence.

BENEDICT IX., pope from 1033 to 1056, son of Alberic, count of Tusculum, and nephew of Benedict VIII., was also called Theophylactus. He was installed pope at the age of twelve through the influence of his father. The disorders of his conduct, though tolerated by the emperors, Conrad II. and Henry III., who were then morally responsible for the pontificate, at length disgusted the Romans, who drove him out in 1044 and appointed Silvester III. his successor. Silvester remained in the papal chair but a few weeks, as the people of Tusculum quickly recovered their influence and reinstated their pope. Benedict, however, was obliged to bow before the execration of the Romans. He sold his rights to his godfather, the priest Johannes Gratianus, who was installed under the name of Gregory VI. (1045). The following year Henry III. obtained at the council of Sutri the deposition of the three competing popes, and replaced them by Suidger, bishop of Bamberg, who took the name of Clement II. But before the close of 1047 Clement II. died, probably from poison administered by Benedict, who was reinstalled for the third time. At last, on the 17th of July 1048, the marquis of Tuscany drove him from Rome, where he was never seen again. He lived several years after his expulsion and appears to have died impenitent.

BENEDICT X. (Johannes "Mincius," i.e. the lout or dolt, bishop of Velletri) was pope from 1058 to 1059. He was elected on the death of Stephen IX. through the influence of the Roman barons, who, however, had pledged themselves to take no action without Hildebrand, who was then absent from Rome. Hildebrand did not recognize him, and put forward an opposition pope in the person of Gerard, bishop of Florence (pope as Nicholas II.), whom he supported against the Roman aristocracy. With the help of the Normans, Hildebrand seized the castle of Galeria, where Benedict had taken refuge, and degraded him to the rank of a simple priest.

(L. D.*)

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This article is from the 1911 edition of an encyclopedia, which is out of copyright here in the U.S. It is in the public domain and you may copy, download, print and distribute this work as you see fit.

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