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Medieval & Renaissance Popes in Paradoxplace


Here are some of the Medieval Popes mentioned in Paradoxplace - more will join in as time goes on. 


Popes of the Renaissance


Rulership and Christianity in Rome and Italy up to the Coronation of Charlemagne on Christmas Day in 800AD


Other Paradoxplace pages about the Medieval Christian Church



Pope St Fabian (? - 236 - 250)


St-Denis (Dionysious in  Latin) is thought to have been one of a group of seven or so Roman bishops sent by Fabian to convert Gaul to Christianity.  Others in the group included Gatianus (Tours), Trophimus (Arles), Paul (Narbonne), Saturnin (Toulouse), Austromoine (Clermont), Martial (Limoges) and they joined Irenaeus who was already in Lyon. 



Pope St Sylvester I (? - 314 - 335)


Lived in the shadow of the Emperor Constantine (c274 - 306 - 337 (63)) to the extent that he was not even present at the church's first Ecumenical Council at Nicea, which had been convened by the Emperor.  A Pope whose importance was greatly exaggerated by history, in part because of the fiction that Constantine was so grateful after Sylvester cured him of leprosy by baptism (both statements untrue) that he gave him Rome - the so called "Donation of Constantine" - a fiction supported by forged documentation from the 700s and believed for a long time to be true.  Constantine did however give the church the basilicas of St John Lateran, St Peters and St Pauls.




The donation fraud was still being promoted in 1246 - these frescos were painted in 1246 in the newly rebuilt Papal Chapel of St-Sylvester, in the convent church of SS Quattro Coronati in Rome, illustrate the grateful leprosy-free Emperor Constantine presenting Sylvester with a tiara, then leading the mounted and tiared Pope into the City which the Emperor had just "given" him (not).



Pope St Celestine I (? - 422 - 432)


Restored Santa Maria in Trastevere and built Santa Sabina.  Pope at a time of strong personalities and heresies in the Eastern and African churches, tackled at the Council of Ephesus (431).




Pope St Sixtus III (? - 432 - 440)


Responsible for rebuilding Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome after the Council of Ephesus (431) reasserted that Mary was the Mother of God, and he also paid personally for the mosaics in the nave and on the triumphal arch (which are still there - see below).




The Triumphal Arch in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Rome) - Mosaic commemorating the Council of Ephesus (431) paid for by Pope St Sixtus III



Pope St Leo I (the Great) (? - 440 - 461)


Tuscan Pope who managed to stop Atilla the Hun invading Rome - which was when Romans started to realize that it was Popes and not Emperors who they had to look to for security and rulership.






The end of the Western Roman Empire - or rather Emperors, because much of the governance went on as before under the long reigns of Odoacer the Barbarian then Theoderic the Ostrogoth.



Pope St Gregory I (the Great) (540 - 590 - 604 (64))


The first monk Pope, which is maybe why he found it easy to (try to) impose celibacy on the priesthood for the first time.  He also imposed a uniform "Gregorian" chanting system to try and bring some order to the huge miscellany of folk tunes being enjoyed in churches across Europe (though a full system of musical notation was another 400 years away - it was invented by Guido d'Arezzo around 990), and sent St Augustine to Canterbury to convert the English (who affectionately called the Pope "our Gregory") before the unromanized Irish / Celtic Christian church in the north got at them.  And much much more, which is why he earned recognition as the major Papal mover and shaker of the early middle ages.



Pope St Honorius I (? - 625 - 638))


Rebuilt Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura, and did a "full restoration" of Saint Peters.



Pope Stephen II (? - 752 - 757)  (also named Stephen III)


A Roman aristocrat who armwrestled and beat the Lombards, going to St- Denis (Paris) to consecrate the Frankish King Pepin (The Short) and his family in exchange for "the Donation of Pepin" - this time a genuine "donation" which established the Pope as temporal owner and leader of the Papal States. 



Pope Hadrian I (? - 772 - 795)


Long serving (23 year) Roman aristocrat Pope who, like his namesake the Emperor Hadrian, was a great builder and restorer.  Amongst others he restored the Rome churches of S Agnese fuori le Mura, S Croce in Gerusalemme, and S Giovanni in Laterano, and rebuilt S Maria in Cosmedin, S Pietro in Vincoli and S Prassede.  In addition to the many churches he restored and rebuilt, he restored the infrastructure of the city of Rome by repairing aqueducts and building embankments along the Tiber.



Pope St-Leo III (? - 795 - 816)


Another successful and long serving Roman Pope (though this time of more lowly birth)  who, on Christmas night 800, in front of a huge assembly in Rome, placed an Imperial Crown on the head of Charlemagne, investing him with the revived / new title of Holy Roman Emperor.



Pope St-Paschal I (? - 814 - 824)


Roman born monk.  Rebuilt Santa Cecilia (Trastevere), Santa Maria in Domnica and Santa Prassede (of which he was titular priest and where he is buried), and inspired a century of Roman church renovations and improvements.  Rescued the remains of more than 2000 martyrs from the Roman catacombs and reinterred them in the safety of churches.




Contemporary mosaic (square halo = living) of Paschal I in the Basilica of Santa Prassede in Rome



Pope Sylvester II (c 940 - 999 - 1003 (63))


Gerbert d’Aurillac (aka "Gerbert le Musicien") - bright French churchman who learnt about Arab Numerals when serving in al-Andalus (Spain) but could not interest anyone in Rome in  the attraction of easy multiplication.  Also wrote the first known book of instructions - for the Astrolabe (Chaucer later undertook the same task).



Pope St Gregory VII (Hildebrand) (1023 - 1073 - 1085 (62))



A Rome educated Tuscan, who became a Clunaic monk on the way to the top job.  His determined efforts at church reform were sidetracked by the major split between Pope and Emperor Henry IV.  This went through the full medieval gamut of a synod (Worms - 1076), excommunications, false reconciliations (1077 at Canossa, facilitated by the formidable Countess Matilda of Tuscany), an anti-Pope, and eventually the 1084 "relief" of the Pope (by then barricaded in Castel Sant'Angelo) by the Norman forces of Robert Guiscard, who for good measure also sacked and burned to the ground most of Rome as the Pope himself retreated to the south - eventually dying and being buried in Salerno.



Pope Urban II (1042 - 1088 - 1099 (57))


Besides launching the First Crusade (in France), the Frenchman Urban often visited Puglia, and organized church meetings there, partly because he was not welcome in Rome where the Antipope Clement III had strong connections.  Urban was a Clunaic monk and he consecrated Cluny III.




Urban II preaches the First Crusade in Clermont (from a manuscript made 200 years later).



Pope Paschal II ( ?? - 1099 - 1118)



Another Clunaic monk, Paschal II restored the old Rome church of San Clemente and rebuilt nearby SS Quatro Coronati (burned to the ground by the Normans in their supposedly Pope saving 1084 sack of Rome).  Paschal also built a chapel by the Porta del Popolo which later grew into the church of Santa Maria del Popolo.  Annoyingly for him, the old adversary Henry V remained up to his anti papal tricks until his death in 1106.



Pope Innocent II ( ?? - 1130 - 1143)



Tomb and mosaic portrait in Santa Maria in Trastevere Consecrated St-Lazare (Autun) in 1130.



Pope Hadrian IV (?? - 1154 - 1159)



So far the only English Pope.


Pope Alexander III (c1101 - 1159 - 1181 (80))



Born Rolando Baldinelli in Siena.  Had to compete with Barbarossa - Emperor Frederick I - three anti-Popes and a hostile Rome.  Also had to handle the Becket Affair in England.



Pope Innocent III (Lotario de' Conti di Segni) (1161 - 1198 - 1216 (55))



Born in Anagni - the most powerful Pope of the Middle Ages (or indeed all time).



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This famous contemporary fresco of Innocent III is in Saint Bededict's Monastery near Subiaco in Lazio. 



Pope Gregory IX (Ugolono di Conti) (1143 - 1227 - 1241 (98))


Nephew of Innocent III and the second of the Anagni Popes Canonized his friend Saint Francis (and the other great contemporary Franciscan Saint Anthony) and also Saint Dominic and Saint Elizabeth (of Hungary).  It was also Gregory who took over the grind of arm wrestling with Frederick II, and he was on the way to winning this when he died, apparently aged 98 and probably exhausted.




Pope Gregory IX (then Cardinal Ugliano) (1143 - 1227 - 1241 (98)) in Saint Benedict's Monastery near Subiaco



Pope Urban IV (Jacques Pantaléon) (c1195 - 1261 - 1264 (69))



A Frenchman from Troyes.  Introduced the Feast of Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi in the UK) into the church calendar in 1264, and also introduced the Anjou dynasty to the South of Italy, which led eventually to the extinction of Manfred and the Norman / Hohenstaufen dynasty at the battle of Benevento in 1266.



Pope Boniface VIII (Benedetto Caetani) (1235 - 1294 - 1303 (68))


The fourth of the Anagni Popes, who also left a statue there of himself (and one in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence, and one in the Vatican Museums, and a Giotto fresco in Saint John Lateran in Rome).  Successfully invented church doctors, jubilee years, and artists at the Papal court, but was politically a loser ........


More about Boniface VIII





Boniface VIII - by Arnolfo di Cambio in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence, and hanging off the west wall of Anagni Cathedral



Pope Clement V (Raymond Bertrand de Got) (1264 - 1305 - 1314 (50))



Another Frenchman who this time did French properly and moved the seat of the Papacy to France - firstly Poitiers then Avignon - where it stayed until tentatively returning to Rome in 1376, then seesawing during the Great Schism until definitely settling in Rome following the Council of Konstanz in 1417.


It was during Clements's Poitiers days that the Knights Templar were closed down by French King Philippe le Bon (Philip IV - 1268 - 1285 - 1314 (46)).



Pope Martin V (Odo Collona) (c1368  - 1417 - 1431 (63))



Resettles the Papacy in Rome.


Popes of the Renaissance



A WIP page for Renaissance Popes including those below


Link to Paradoxplace page on all the Artists of the Italian Renaissance



Pope Pius II (Piccolomini) (1405 - 1458 - 1464 (59))



Sienese Renaissance Pope from Pienza




Bust of Pope Pius II (Piccolomini) in the Sala delle Arti Liberali in the Vatican.  Attributed to Paolo di Taccone (aka Paolo Romano).



These Pope Pius II medal images come from a site with photos of lots of the post Martin V Papal Medals



Pope Alessandro VI (Borgia) (1431 - 1492 - 1503 (72))



Highly sexed Spaniard - proud father of Lucrezia Borgia, Cesare and several others - link to Borgia Family Portraits.




Alessandro VI (Borgia) frescoed by Pinturicchio - Borgia Apartments of the Vatican.




Julius II (Giuliano della Rovere) (1443 - 1503 - 1513 (70))



A Franciscan, like his nepotistic uncle Pope Francesco (Pius III), who had ensured that Giuliano got in depth senior Vatican experiences from an early age.  It was therefore surprising that Guiliano the Pope was actively anti-nepotistic and anti-simonistic - though at the same time he also raised the art of marketing indulgencies to dizzy heights.  Known as "the Terrible", Julius was big, strong and had a legendary temper and was in his element at the head of the papal army going into battle.  At the same time he was a leading patron of the arts, especially Michelangelo, Bramante and Raphael.  A very Renaissance pope!




Julius II painted by Raphael - National Gallery, London.



The Medici Popes


Link to more about the Medici Popes.



Leo X (1475 - 1513 - 1521 (46)), Clement VII (1478 - 1523 - 1534 (56))





Pope Leo X - Leo painted by Rafaello (Raphael), Cardinals done by someone else - Uffizi Gallery, Florence (and there is a copy in the Capodimonte Palace Museum if you are in Naples).




Pope Clement VII - painted by Sebastiano del Piombo - Getty collection


Pope Paul III (Alessandro Farnese) (1468 - 1534 - 1549 (81)



Pope of the Counter-Renaissance and Council of Trent




Two paintings of Pope Paul III (Farnese) by the Venetian master, Titian.  Left, in the Sacristy of Toledo Cathedral, Spain.  Right, in the Capodimonte Palace Museum in Naples, with a copy in the Farnese Palace, Rome.



Link to Paradoxplace page on all the Artists of the Italian Renaissance



Pope  Gregory XIII (Ugo Boncompagni from Bologna) (1502 - 1572 - 1585 (83))



Remembered because of the introduction of his (solar based) Gregorian Calendar to replace the previous (solar based) Julian Calendar introduced by Julius Caesar to replace the earlier still (lunar based) Roman Calendar.  Julian years were on average a bit too long, and the replacement Gregorian ones (which still operate) were just right.  Gregory's implementation of his new calendar scheme meant the disappearing of the 5th to 14 October 1582 in areas he "controlled". 


Predictably, non Roman Catholic states saw this as a great evil conspiracy and refused to take part.  They slowly realized the mathematical error of their ways - England and its North American colonies joined in nearly 200 years later in 1752, losing the 3rd September to the 13 September 1752 to bring their calendars back into line.  Scotland was much quicker to conform with Rome, and changed over in 1600, which must have led to some interesting challenges in the Scottish Borders.


When England went Gregorian, it also took the opportunity to move New Years Day from March 25 (Lady Day) to January 1.  So March 25 1751 was the start of 1751,  which became a just over 10 month year, then the next year, 1752, started on the following January 1.  If you find anyone who claims to have been born in England in January or February 1751, they are not to be believed!  Luckily most family tree research does not get far back into the 1700s and so avoids this complication, and likewise European Australia was only invented later.


So what, you may ask, about all those medieval "labours of the month and Zodiac sign" displays - with the three faced Janus looking back on the past year and forward to the next one etc in January - just another medieval mystery at the moment ......


Anyway, Ugo, the doctor of laws from Bologna University, promoter of the Jesuits and of a failed plot to assassinate England's Queen Elizabeth I, might have secured a high profile place in the history of the times, but he did not do much for the citizens of 1582 Rome, leaving his Franciscan successor an empty treasury and lawless streets .........



Pope Sixtus V (Felice Peretti) (1520 - 1585 - 1590 (70))



A Franciscan from an impoverished family living near Ancona.  In the five years he was Pope he imposed order in a lawless Rome, restored public finances, finished St Peters, rebuilt the Lateran Palace, built many palaces and gave Rome a  town plan (including the Piazza del Popolo) with major new highways, drained marshes, majorly reorganized the administration of the church and capped the number of cardinals, and ... the list is a long one. 


To have achieved so much in just five years he must have been a very uncomfortable bloke to be around, and to say he was not liked is an understatement!  Which was sad, because what he achieved made him a genuinely great Counter Reformation Pope, and one concerned primarily for the well-being of his subjects rather than, as was all too often the case with Popes, the wealth of his family.



Pope Innocent X (Giovanni Pamphili) (1574 - 1644 - 1655 (81))



Reverted to the proud papal traditions of simony and siphoning off church wealth into his family coffers.  Outside our timeline interest but here because he left behind two stunning portraits by Valazquez (left) and by Bernini (right), which are in in the family downtown pad, now the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, close to the Pantheon and well worth a visit.







For other Paradoxplace links visit the home page ......


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