Alexander I

Alexander I

bishop of Rome, succeeded Evaristus about A.D. 110. He ruled for eight years and five months, and is said to have suffered martyrdom under, Hadrian in 119, though this is doubted (Euseb. H. E. 4, 4; Irenaeus 4:3). Alexander is said by some writers to have been the first who directed that water should be mixed with the wine in the Eucharist, and also to have introduced holy water; but it is the usual custom of Roman Catholic writers to attribute the events of later periods to earlier ones. The epistles attributed to him are spurious.

II, Pope (originally called Anselmo da Baggio), a native of Milan. As priest of his native town, he began, about the middle of the 11th century, to preach against the marriage of the clergy. Archbishop Guido, of Milan, who sympathized with the married clergy, obtained for him from the Emperor Henry and the Pope Stephen II, the diocese of Lucca, in order to remove him. Anselm, however, in his new position, vigorously pursued his attacks upon the married clergy, and became intimate with the leaders of the hierarchic. 1 party, Hildebrand and Petrus Damiani. On the death of Pope Nicholas II (1061), Hildebrand, who was already all-powerful at Rome, succeeded in elevating Anselm to the papal throne under the name of Alexander II. The party of the count of Tusculum, in union with the married clergy, opposed to him Bishop Cadolous of Parma as anti-pope under the name of Honorius II, but Alexander was generally recognised in Germany by the Synod of 1062. As pope, Alexander endeavored to enforce all the exorbitant pretensions of the papacy, and in this effort was supported by Hildebrand and Damiani, who acted as his legates and councillors. He forbade King Henry II of Germany to divorce his wife Bertha, excommunicated the councillors of the king, and summoned the latter to Rome. He died before Henry had resolved to go, April 21, 1073, and was succeeded by Hildebrand under the name of Gregory VII. Forty- five of his epistles are extant (Concilia, tom. 9, p. 1115). — Neander, Ch. Hist. 3, 395-398; 4, 106; Cave, Hist. Lit. anno 1061; Wetzer and Welte, 1:154.

Bible concordance for ALEXANDER.

III. Pope (originally called Rolando Bandinelli), a Tuscan. In 1159 he was made pope, but was driven out of Rome by the anti-pope Victor III. The Emperor Frederick Barbarossa convoked the Council of Pavia in 1160, in which Victor was confirmed, and Alexander deposed and excommunicated. Alexander and his party, in their turn, excommunicated Victor and his abettors. Alexander was recognised by the kings of France, England, Spain, Sicily, Jerusalem, and Hungary; while Victor, who claimed to have been elected by the clergy, the Senate, and the barons of Rome, was only recognised by Germany and Lombardy. Alexander had to flee to France, where, at a council held at Tours (1162), he declared all the ordinations made by the anti-pope sacrilegious, and condemned the Albigenses as heretics. After the death of Victor, April 20, 1164, Frederick had a new anti-pope elected, who assumed the name of Pascal III. In 1165 Alexander returned to Rome, where he met with an enthusiastic reception. Against the advancing armies of the emperor he was supported by the king of Sicily. In 1166 the Greek emperor, Manuel, opened negotiations with Alexander for the purpose of bringing about a union of the Greek and Latin Churches, as well as of the two empires; but the negotiations led to no permanent result. In 1166 he was again ejected from Rome by the emperor, who was crowned there by Pascal, while Alexander excommunicated him, and absolved his subjects from the oath of allegiance. Alexander also allied himself with the League of the Lombardian cities which rose against Frederick, and established a new federal city, which they called, in honor of the pope, Alexandria. The anti-pope Pascal died Sept. 26, 1168, but his partisans elected in his place John, abbot of Sturm, in Hungary, who assumed the name of Calixt III. In 1171 Alexander was informed of the murder of Thomas A Becket. He put all England under the ban, and sent two cardinals to England to examine the whole matter, which terminated in the absolution of the king and the canonization of Thomas A Becket. In 1177 the emperor got reconciled with Alexander at Venice. The emperor threw himself upon his knees and kissed the foot of the pope, while the latter gave to the emperor the kiss of peace, and gave him his arm to conduct him into the church. The anti-pope Calixt abdicated in 1178, and was appointed by Alexander governor of Benevent. The opponents of Alexander elected, however, another anti-pope (Sept. 29, 1178), who assumed the name of Innocent III, but was soon after captured by order of Alexander, and imprisoned in a monastery, until his death. In 1179 Alexander held at Rome the third general council of Lateran (q.v.), which issued a number of decrees on church discipline and excommunicated the Albigenses. In 1180 Alexander prevailed upon the kings of France and England to undertake a new crusade for the purpose of aiding the king of Jerusalem against Saladin. Alexander even endeavored to convert the sultan of Iconium by addressing to him a kind of catechism under the name of Instructio Fidei. Alexander reserved the canonization of saints, which had formerly been practiced also by the metropolitans, to the popes, and introduced the Literae Monitoriales. Several Epistles of Alexander are found in the Concilia of Labbe, and his bulls have been printed in the Bullarium of Cherubini, and in the Italia Sacra of Ughelli. Alexander died at Rome, Aug. 30, 118l. — The best work on the history of Alexander is by Reuter, Geschichte Alexander III und der Kirche seiner Zeit (3 vols. Berl. 1845-64). See also Turner, Hist. Engl. vol. 4; Neander, Ch. Hist. 4, 168.

IV, Pope (originally Rinaldi, count of Segni), a man of worldly spirit, ascended the throne in 1254, at a period of great disturbance. Alexander, like his predecessor, endeavored to confiscate the entire kingdom of Sicily on the ground that the Emperor Frederick II, who was also king of Italy, had died excommunicated. When Manfred, an illegitimate son of Frederick, maintained himself against the papal troops as ruler of Sicily, Alexander excommunicated him, proclaimed against him a crusade, and put the entire kingdom under the ban. At the same time he asked considerable sums from Henry III, king of England, in order to defray the expenses of the crusade, and, as an indemnification, offered the kingdom of Sicily to Edmund, the second son of Henry. A legate gave to this young prince in advance the investiture. Manfred, however, maintained himself, and, aided by the Saracens, conquered the pope, and compelled him to take refuge at Viterbo, where he died, May 25, 1261, leaving the papal authority greatly enfeebled. At the beginning of his pontificate, Alexander, at the request of Louis XI, sent inquisitors to France. He was very partial to the Dominicans, and condemned a work by William of St. Amour against the mendicant orders ("On the Dangers of the last Times") and a work entitled "The Everlasting Gospel," and ascribed to John of Parma, the general of the Franciscans. Like his predecessors, he endeavored to bring about a union between the Greek and the Roman Churches. Several letters and bulls of this pope have been printed in Labbe's Concilia, Ughelli's Italia Sacra, d'Achery's Spicilegium, and other collections. — Hoefer, Biog. Generale, 1, 878; Neander, Ch. Hist. 4, 188, 283, 421.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

V, Pope (originally Pietro Philargi), a Franciscan monk from Candia, was raised to the papal throne in 1409 by the Council of Pisa, which deposed the popes Gregory XII and Benedict XIII. His prodigality of gifts and offices during his pontificate was so unbounded that he used to say, "When I became a bishop I was rich; when a cardinal, poor; and when a pope, a beggar." He died May 3, 1410, it was supposed from poison administered by his successor, John XXII. He was regarded as one of the most learned men of his age. He translated several works from Greek into Latin, which, however, have never been printed. Mazzuchelli (in his work Scrittori d'Italia) gives a list of the writings of this pope, but he only published his letters, his bulls, and a little treatise on the conception of the Virgin Mary. — Hoefer, Biog. Generale, 1, 879.

VI, Pope (originally Rodrigo Lenzoli, but afterward Borgia, from his mother's family), was born at Valentia, Spain, in 1431. His mother, Jane Borgia, was the sister of Pope Calixtus III. Roderic first studied law, but entered on a military career at the age of 18. His youth was a very dissolute one; and he early formed a criminal connection with a Roman lady living in Spain with her two daughters. He soon seduced the daughters also; and one of them, Rosa Vanozza, became his life-long mistress. By her he had five children, two of whom, Caesar Borgia and Lucretia, surpassed their father, if possible, in abominable crimes. In 1455, while Roderic was living in adultery in Spain, his uncle became pope. This opened to him a new career of ambition. He went to Rome on a promise from the pope of an office worth 12,000 crowns a year; and at the same time his mistress and her children went to Venice, under the charge of an intendant, Manuel, who afterward passed as her husband, to shield the amours of Roderic. The pope was charmed with the pleasing manners and apparent piety of his nephew, and made him cardinal and vice-chancellor in 1456. Roderic affected great piety, visited the prisons and the poor, was diligent in keeping church services, and soon beguiled the Romans into confidence in his purity. During the pontificates of Pius II, Paul II, and Sixtus IV, successors of Calixtus, he remained quiet. In the pontificate of Innocent VIII, which began in 1484, he brought his mistress to Rome, and put her in a house near St. Peter's, when he passed his nights with her, the days being devoted ostentatiously to his public duties and acts of piety! In the mean time he was busy buying up votes for the papal chair, and when Innocent died (1492), he had purchased a sufficient number of cardinals to secure his election. This statement rests on the authority of Burchard, master-of ceremonies to Alexander VI, who left a journal, which was afterward published in 1696 (Hanover, ed. by Leibnitz) in part, and has recently been published in full (Florence, 1854, 8vo). Burchard states the price paid by Roderic for the votes of the cardinals as follows: to Cardinal Orsino, the castles of Monticelli and Sariani; to Ascanius Sforza, the vice- chancellorship of the Church; to the cardinal of Colonna, the rich abbey of St. Benedict, as well as the domains and right of patronage for himself and family forever; to the cardinal of St. Angelo, the bishopric of Porto, and the tower which was a dependency on it, with a cellar full of wine. The cardinal of Parma received the city of Nepi; Savelli received the government of Citta Castellana, and of the church of St. Mary the Greater; a monk of Venice, who had obtained the cardinalate, sold his vote for five thousand ducats of gold. Roderic became pope August 2, 1492, and took the name of Alexander VI. His pontificate of eleven years was a stormy one, as he made every thing subordinate to the purpose of raising his bastard children above the heads of the oldest princely houses of Italy. Of the crimes alleged against Alexander and his children, Caesar and Lucretia, this is not the place to speak in detail; it is enough to say that this pontificate rivalled the worst periods of the Roman Empire in debauchery, venality, and murder. It was in 1492 that Columbus discovered America, and the Portuguese were soon after disputing with the Spaniards as to their claims through Vasco de Gama. The dispute was referred to Alexander. He traced a line which passed from pole to pole through the Azores, or Western Islands, and decreed that all the countries which were beyond this line, that is, the West Indies, or America, should belong to Spain; and all east of it, i.e. the East Indies and the African coast, to Portugal. The censorship of books forms one of the many claims of Alexander to the gratitude of posterity, as he is said to have originated it in 1502. The monk Savonarola (q.v.) fearlessly exposed the wickedness of Alexander, who caused him to be burnt in 1498.

The wits of the time did not fail of their duty in pasquinades, one of which runs thus:


De vitio in vitium, de flamma transit in ignem. Vendit Alexander claves, altaria, Christum; Vendere jure potest, emerat ille prius;

The death-scene of this wretch is stated by Tommasi, in substance, as follows: After the marriage of his daughter Lucretia, the pope requested Cardinal Corneto to lend him his palace for a great feast, to which all the cardinals and nobility were to be invited, and at which some of them were to be poisoned. By mistake the poisoned wine was handed to the pope and his son Caesar. Both were soon taken ill; Caesar recovered, but the pope died the same night, August 18, 1503.

Of course there have not been wanting apologists even for such a monster as Alexander VI. Among chose who doubt, or affect to doubt, the stories of his great crimes, are Voltaire, Roscoe, the Biographie Universelle of Michaud, and Appleton's Cyclopoedia. But the evidence of contemporary writers is not to be shaken by the kind of criticism employed by those who would whitewash the Borgias. See, as the chief authorities, Burchard, Diarium, nunc primum pub. juris factum ab A. Gennarelli (Florence, 1854, 8vo); Tommasi, Vita di Caesar Borgia. The chief points of Burchard's diary are given in Gordon, Life of Alexander VI and Caesar Borgia (Lond. 1729, fol.; 1730, French, 2 vols. 8vo). See also Ranke, History of the Papacy, 1, 44 sq.; Masse, Hist. du Pope Alexandre VI (Paris, 1830, 8vo); Gieseler, Ch. Hist. per. 3, § 133, and authorities there cited.

VII, Pope (originally Fabio Chigi), born at Sienna 1599, succeeded to the papacy in 1655. He surrounded himself with splendor, and while he indulged in luxury and licentiousness he also spent vast sums in improving and adorning the city of Rome. He confirmed the bull of Innocent X against the five propositions of Jansenius; and was the author of the

''Formulary" — an act the intention of which was to prove that these five propositions were contained in the writings of Jansenius. In consequence of a difficulty with the government of France, French troops seized the town and the district of Avignon, which at that time still belonged to the Papal States; and the Sorbonne published theses in order to prove that the popes, so far from being infallible in temporal affairs, were not even infallible in spiritual matters. After having in vain invoked the aid of several Catholic princes, Alexander complied with all the demands of the French king, and had Avignon restored to him. He died May 22, 1667. His bulls are found in Cherubini's Bullarium. A volume of his verses, Philomathi musae Juveniles (so called because written when he was at the college of the Philomathi, at Sienna), was printed in 1656. — Biog. Univ. 1, 526; Ranke, Hist. of Papacy, 2, 191; Pallavicino, Della Vita di Alessandro VII libri 5 (Prato, 1840, 2 vols.); Hoefer, Biographie Generale, 1, 903.

VIII, Pope (originally Ottoboni), born at Venice 1610, made pope 1689, died Feb. 1, 1691, having held the chair long enough to advance his own family, and secure for himself an enduring reputation for avarice and duplicity. He declared the decrees of 1682 which guaranteed the independence of the Gallican Church, to be null and void. This pope, though opposed to the Jansenists, nevertheless condemned the doctrine of "philosophical sin," as taught by the Jesuit professor, Bongot, of Dijon. The Vatican Library is indebted to him for the acquisition of the magnificent collection of books and manuscripts of the Queen Christina. — Hoefer, Biog. Generale, 1, 905; Ranke, Hist. of Papacy, 2, 279.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.