Crescentii

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Coat of arms of Crescenzi family. Wapen van Crescenzi.jpg
Coat of arms of Crescenzi family.
The house of Crescentius the Elder House of Crescentius.jpg
The house of Crescentius the Elder

The Crescentii clan (in modern Italian Crescenzi) — if they were an extended family — essentially ruled Rome and controlled the Papacy from 965 [1] until the nearly simultaneous deaths of their puppet pope Sergius IV and the patricius of the clan in 1012.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Papal appointment

Papal appointment was a medieval method of selecting a pope. Popes have always been selected by a council of Church fathers, however, Papal selection before 1059 was often characterized by confirmation or "nomination" by secular European rulers or by their predecessors. The later procedures of the papal conclave are in large part designed to constrain the interference of secular rulers which characterized the first millennium of the Roman Catholic Church, and persisted in practices such as the creation of crown-cardinals and the jus exclusivae. Appointment might have taken several forms, with a variety of roles for the laity and civic leaders, Byzantine and Germanic emperors, and noble Roman families. The role of the election vis-a-vis the general population and the clergy was prone to vary considerably, with a nomination carrying weight that ranged from near total to a mere suggestion or ratification of a prior election.

Contents

History

Castel Sant'Angelo was known in the 10th and 11th centuries as the Roman stronghold of the Crescentii (domum Crescentii). Castel santangelo Tevere.jpg
Castel Sant'Angelo was known in the 10th and 11th centuries as the Roman stronghold of the Crescentii (domum Crescentii).

Several individuals named Crescentius who appear in the very scanty documentation of the period have been grouped together by historians as the "Crescentii." Some do seem to bear family relationships, falling into two main branches, the Ottaviani and the Stefaniani, and their policies were consistent enough, especially as regards confronting the rival gang of aristocratic thugs, the Tusculani, who were descended from the influential curial official Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, ruler of Rome at the beginning of the 10th century. Their territorial strongholds were situated mainly in the Sabine Hills.

The Crescentii had another formidable enemy, whose power did not always extend to Rome, in the German kings and emperors of the Ottonian Saxon dynasty, notably Otto the Great and Henry II. Emperor Otto's intervention in Italian affairs in 961 was not in Crescentii interests. In February 962, the pope and the emperor ratified the Diploma Ottonianum , in which the emperor became the guarantor of the independence of the papal states. It was the Crescentii who most threatened papal independence.

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor German king and first emperor of the Ottonian empire

Otto I, traditionally known as Otto the Great, was German king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda.

Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor

Henry II, also known as Saint Henry the Exuberant, Obl. S. B., was Holy Roman Emperor from 1014 until his death in 1024 and the last member of the Ottonian dynasty of Emperors as he had no children. The Duke of Bavaria from 995, Henry became King of Germany following the sudden death of his second cousin, Emperor Otto III in 1002, was crowned King of Italy in 1004, and was crowned by the Pope as Emperor in 1014.

The Diploma Ottonianum was an agreement between Pope John XII and Otto I, King of Germany and Italy. It confirmed the earlier Donation of Pippin, granting control of the Papal States to the Popes, regularizing Papal elections, and clarifying the relationship between the Popes and the Holy Roman Emperors.

The clan's triumph was in the later 10th century. They produced one pope from among their number — John XIII — and controlled most of the others, whom the leaders of the Crescentii installed as puppet popes. They held the secular offices such as praefectus by which Rome was technically still governed, and exacted large contributions and donations from the Papal treasury, in a thinly disguised extortion. From this power base within the city, they were able to influence even those popes who had not been their direct candidates.

Pope John XIII pope

Pope John XIII was Pope from 1 October 965 to his death in 972. His pontificate was caught up in the continuing conflict between the Emperor, Otto I, and the Roman nobility.

In the countryside, Crescentii castles concentrated a cluster of population that depended on them for their defense and were dependable armed members of the Crescentii clientage.

After Sergius IV's death (1012), the Crescentii simply installed their candidate, Gregory, in the Lateran, without the assent of the cardinals. A struggle flared between the Crescentii and the rival Tusculani. The failure of their bold attempt and the pontificate of the Tusculan pope Benedict VIII, whose powerful protector was the King of the Germans, Henry II, whom he crowned Emperor in Rome in 1014, forced the Crescentii out of Rome, retreating to the fortified strongholds. In the 1020s, the abbot Hugh of Farfa was able to play one branch of Crescentii against another, and Crescentii support of two unsuccessful antipopes in mid-century, Sylvester III (Pope in 1045) and Benedict X in 1058 were symptoms of the clan's loss of unity and political prestige. As landowners, they settled into more local forms of patronage, as the Crescenzi.

Lateran Palace Ancient palace of the Roman Empire and the main papal residence in Rome

The Lateran Palace, formally the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran, is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome.

Pope Benedict VIII pope

Pope Benedict VIII reigned from 18 May 1012 to his death in 1024. He was born Theophylactus to the noble family of the counts of Tusculum, descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, like his predecessor Pope Benedict VII (973–974). Horace Mann considered him "...one of the few popes of the Middle Ages who was at once powerful at home and great abroad."

Farfa Abbey Church in Fara in Sabina, Italy

Farfa Abbey is a territorial abbey in northern Lazio, central Italy. It is one of the most famous abbeys of Europe. It belongs to the Benedictine Order and is located about 60 km from Rome, in the commune of Fara Sabina, of which it is also a hamlet.

Notes

  1. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope John XIII"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.

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Crescentius the Elder Italian noble and aristocrat

Crescentius the Elder was a politician and aristocrat in Rome who played a part in the papal appointment.

Crescentius the Younger Italian noble

Crescentius the Younger, son of Crescentius the Elder, was a leader of the aristocracy of medieval Rome. During the minority of Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, he declared himself Consul of Rome and made himself de facto ruler of Rome. After being deposed, he led a rebellion, seized control of Rome, and appointed an antipope, but the rebellion failed and Crescentius was eventually executed.

John Crescentius Italian noble

John Crescentius also John II Crescentius or Crescentius III was the son of Crescentius the Younger. He succeeded to his father's title of consul and patrician of Rome in 1002 and held it to his death.

Emilia was the duchess of Gaeta first as consort of John III (984–1008) and then as the regent for her grandson John V (1012–1032) until at least 1029.

Papal selection before 1059

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From 756 to 857, the papacy shifted from the orbit of the Byzantine Empire to that of the kings of the Franks. Pepin the Short, Charlemagne, and Louis the Pious had considerable influence in the selection and administration of popes. The "Donation of Pepin" (756) ratified a new period of papal rule in central Italy, which became known as the Papal States.

Tusculan Papacy

The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.

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