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Marozia (born Maria)

Marozia (born Maria)

Female Abt 890 - 937  (~ 42 years)

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  • Name Marozia (born Maria)  
    Born Abt 890 
    Gender Female 
    Died Between 932 and 937 

    • «b»Marozia«/b», born «b»Maria«/b» and also known as «b»Mariuccia«/b» or «b»Mariozza«/b» (c. 890 \endash 932/937), was a Roman noblewoman who was the alleged mistress of «u»Pope Sergius III «/u» and was given the unprecedented titles «i»senatrix«/i» ("senatoress") and «i»patricia«/i» of «u»Rome «/u» by «u»Pope John X «/u».
      «u»Edward Gibbon «/u» wrote of her that the "influence of two sister «u»prostitutes «/u», Marozia and Theodora«u»[1]«/u» was founded on their wealth and beauty, their political and amorous intrigues: the most strenuous of their lovers were rewarded with the Roman «u»mitre «/u», and their reign may have suggested to darker ages the fable of a «u»female pope «/u». The «u»bastard «/u» son, the grandson, and the great grandson of Marozia \endash a rare genealogy \endash were seated in the «u»Chair of St. Peter «/u»." From this inaccurate description the term «u»«i»pornocracy «/u»«/i» has become associated with the effective rule in Rome of Theodora and her daughter Marozia through male surrogates.
      Marozia was born about 890. She was the daughter of the Roman consul «u»Theophylact, Count of Tusculum «/u» and of «u»Theodora «/u», the real power in Rome, whom «u»Liutprand of Cremona «/u» characterized as a "shameless whore... [who] exercised power on the Roman citizenry like a man."
      At the age of fifteen, Marozia became the mistress of Theophylact's cousin Pope Sergius III, whom she knew when he was bishop of «u»Portus «/u». The two had a son, John (the later Pope John XI). That, at least, is the story found in two contemporary sources, the «i»Liber Pontificalis«/i» (first ed., 500s; it has papal biographies up to Pius II, d. 1464) and the «i»Antapodosis sive Res per Europam gestae«/i» (958-62), by Liutprand of Cremona (c. 920-72). But a third contemporary source, the annalist Flodoard (c. 894-966), says John XI was brother of Alberic II, the latter being the offspring of Marozia and her husband Alberic I. Hence John too may have been the son of Marozia and Alberic I.
      At any rate, Marozia married «u»Alberic I «/u», duke of Spoleto, in 909, and their son «u»Alberic II «/u» was born in 911 or 912. By the time Alberic I was killed at Orte in 924, the Roman landowners had won complete victory over the traditional bureaucracy represented by the papal curia. Rome was virtually under secular control, the historic nadir of the papacy.
      In order to counter the influence of «u»Pope John X «/u» (whom the hostile chronicler «u»Liutprand of Cremona «/u» alleges was another of her lovers), Marozia subsequently married his opposer «u»Guy of Tuscany «/u», who loved his beautiful wife as much as he loved power. Together they attacked Rome, arrested Pope John X in the Lateran, and jailed him in the «u»Castel Sant'Angelo «/u». Either Guy had him smothered with a pillow in 928 or he simply died, perhaps from neglect or ill treatment. Marozia seized power in Rome in a «u»coup d'état «/u». The following popes, «u»Leo VI «/u» and «u»Stephen VIII «/u», were both her puppets. In 931 she even managed to impose her son as pontiff, under the name of «u»John XI «/u». John was only twenty-one at the time.
      When her husband died in 929, Marozia negotiated a marriage with his half-brother, «u»Hugh of Arles «/u», who had been elected «u»King of Italy «/u». Hugh was already married, but had that marriage annulled so that Hugh and Marozia could be wed. «u»Alberic II «/u», Marozia's son, led the opposition to the rule of Marozia and Hugh. After deposing them in 932, at the very wedding ceremonies, Alberic II imprisoned his mother until her death. Hugh escaped the city.
      Marozia died in prison, sometime between 932 and 937. Marozia had the great misfortune of having eloquent detractors: the «u»«i»Liber Pontificalis «/u»«/i» and the chronicle of Liutprand of Cremona are the main sources for the details of her life.
      Alberic II was in his turn father of Octavian, who became «u»Pope John XII«/u» in 955. Popes «u»Benedict VIII «/u», «u»John XIX «/u», and «u»Benedict IX «/u», of the «u»House of Tusculani «/u», were also Marozia's descendants. By Guy of Tuscany she had a daughter named Berta Theodora, who never married.

      «b» Sources
      «tab»«/b»Chamberlin, E.R. (1969). «i»The Bad Popes«/i».
      «tab»Williams, George (1998). «i»Papal genealogy, the families and descendants of the popes«/i».
      «tab»di Carpegna Falconieri, Tommaso (2008), «i»Marozia«/i», in «i»Dizionario biografico degli italiani«/i», 70, pp. 681-685


      «u»1 ^«/u»«/b» Here Gibbon confused «u»Theodora «/u»(the mother of Marozia) with Theodora (the sister of Marozia)
      Retrieved from "«u»<>«/u»"
    Person ID I59723  Glenn Cook Family
    Last Modified 16 Nov 2012 

    Father Theophylact I, Count of Tusculum,   b. Bef 864,   d. Between 924 and 925  (Age ~ 60 years) 
    Mother Theodora (10th century), senatrix,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F551616415  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Alberic I of Spoleto, Lombard duke of Spoleto,   d. Abt 925, Orte Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 909 
     1. Alberic II of Spoleto,   b. 905,   d. 954  (Age 49 years)
     2. David (or Deodatus),   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Constantino,   d. Aft 14 Jan 945
     4. Sergio, Bishop of Nepi,   d. Bef 963
    Last Modified 16 Nov 2012 
    Family ID F551616416  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Guy (also Guido or Wido), count and duke of Lucca and margrave of Tuscany,   d. 929 
    Last Modified 22 Apr 2009 
    Family ID F551616414  Group Sheet

    Family 3 Hugh of Italy, King of Italy,   b. Bef 887,   d. 10 Apr 948  (Age ~ 61 years) 
    Last Modified 18 Jan 2013 
    Family ID F551618551  Group Sheet

    Family 4 Sergius, Pope Sergius III,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Type: Associated with 
    _STAT Associated with 
     1. Johannes, Pope John XI,   b. Abt 910, Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Dec 935  (Age ~ 25 years)
    Last Modified 16 Nov 2012 
    Family ID F551618560  Group Sheet

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