#117 - Pope Benedict IV
Pope from February 1, 900 - July 903
Died: July 903
Give me the scoop on Benedict IV.
A native Roman and the son of Mammalus, Benedict IV ascended to the papacy around February 1, 900. He had been ordained a priest by Pope Formosus, and thus followed in John IX’s footsteps as a fan of the late pontiff. While pope, Benedict excommunicated an assassin, Count Baldwin II of Flanders, for murdering Fulk, the Archbishop of Reims. No-brainer there.
He was also responsible for elevating a new Holy Roman Emperor in the year 901, though there was a bit of controversy (because of course there was). Berengar, the king of Italy, had lost respect among Italians in 899 after letting the Avars invade and pillage northern Italy. A young member of the royal Carolingian family, Louis of Burgundy, came onto the scene to fill the void, and eventually became Benedict’s choice for emperor. Benedict IV died in 903, and a suspicion exists that he was, in fact, murdered for his support of Louis. He was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
What was he known for?
Benedict IV was actually known, at least by his historian, Flodoard, for being “Benedict the Great” due to his great public generosity, noble birth, and his general zeal for the good of his people.
According to the
, the years between Pope Benedict IV and Pope Benedict IX (a real dandy guy we’ll learn about in a few weeks) make up some of the darkest days of the papacy -- and, to be fair, history in general. As a result, very little is known historically about these popes aside from a few key details.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In the year 900, King Donald II of Scotland died, leaving the kingdom to his cousin, Constantine II. Constantine II would rule for 43 years, the second-longest reign in Scottish history. Only King William the Lion (it's a metaphor), in the 12th and 13th Centuries, held the crown longer. In fact, it was during Constantine’s time that the words “Scot” and “Scotland” were first derived and used to describe that nation.
Coming Tomorrow...Pope Leo V
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Guruge, A. (2010). The Next Pope. New Hampshire: WOWNH
Pope Benedict IV -
Pope Benedict IV -
Constantine II of Scotland -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 2:00AM