The Crescentii clan (in modern Italian Crescenzi) — if they were an extended family — essentially ruled Rome and controlled the Papacy from 965until the nearly simultaneous deaths of their puppet pope Sergius IV and the patricius of the clan in 1012.
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 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.
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, 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, 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 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.
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 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 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.
Antipope Boniface VII, was an antipope. He is supposed to have put Pope Benedict VI to death. A popular tumult compelled him to flee to Constantinople in 974; he carried off a vast treasure, and returned in 984 and removed Pope John XIV (983–984) from office. After a brief rule from 984 to 985, he died under suspicious circumstances.
Pope Gregory V, born Bruno of Carinthia was Pope from 3 May 996 to his death in 999.
Pope Sylvester III or Silvester III, born Giovanni dei Crescenzi–Ottaviani in Rome, was Pope from 20 January to March 1045.
Pope Sergius II was Pope from January 844 to his death in 847.
Pope Sergius IV was Pope and the ruler of the Papal States from 31 July 1009 to his death in 1012. He was born in Rome as Pietro Martino Buccaporci, which translates as "Peter Martin Pig Snout". The date of his birth is unknown.
Otto III was Holy Roman Emperor from 996 until his early death in 1002. A member of the Ottonian dynasty, Otto III was the only son of the Emperor Otto II and his wife Theophanu.
Pope John XVIII was Pope and ruler of the Papal states from January 1004 to his abdication in June 1009. He was born Giovanni Fassano at Rome, the son of a Roman priest, either named Leo according to Johann Peter Kirsch, or named Ursus according to Horace K Mann.
Theophylact I was a medieval Count of Tusculum who was the effective ruler of Rome from around 905 through to his death in 924. His descendants would control the Papacy for the next 100 years.
On the death of Pope Sergius IV in June, 1012, "a certain Gregory" opposed the party of the Theophylae, and had himself made Pope, seemingly by a small faction. Gregory VI was the first to claim to be Pope as successor to Pope Sergius, and that Benedict VIII's claim was subsequent.
The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Catholic doctrine, spans from the time of Peter to the present day.
Crescentius the Elder was a politician and aristocrat in Rome who played a part in the papal appointment.
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 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.
There was no fixed process for papal selection before 1059. Popes, the bishops of Rome and the leaders of the Catholic Church, were often appointed by their predecessors or secular rulers. While the process was often characterized by some capacity of election, an election with the meaningful participation of the laity was the exception to the rule, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later give rise to the jus exclusivae, a veto right exercised by Catholic monarchies into the twentieth century.
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.
The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.