Alexander VIII. (Pietro Ottoboni): Pope 1689-91. He came of a Venetian family, was made cardinal by Innocent X., and, later, Bishop of Brescia and datarius apostolicus. When Innocent XI. died (Aug. 11, 1689), much depended on the choice of his successor, both for Louis XIV. and for the League of Augsburg, formed to oppose him. His ambassador, the Duke de Chaulnes, succeeded on Oct. 6 in accomplishing the election of Cardinal Ottoboni. Louis, whom the coalition had placed in a critical situation, believed that he would find the new pope more complaisant in some disputed points than his predecessor had been. He attempted to conciliate the curia by restoring Avignon, and abandoned the right of extraterritorial immunity which he had so stubbornly claimed for the palace of his ambassador in Rome. Alexander showed a friendly spirit, and made the Bishop of Beauvais a cardinal. The coalition urged the pope neither directly nor indirectly to approve the four articles of the "Gallican liberties" of 1682, on which the strife had turned between the king and the clergy of his party, on one side, and Rome, on the other. Alexander might have been willing to confirm the bishops whom Louis had nominated in return for their part in bringing about this declaration, if they would avail themselves of the pretext that they defended the articles only in their private capacity. Louis rejected this accommodation, and the pope condemned the declaration and dispensed the clergy from the oath they had taken to uphold it.

Alexander made his name memorable in Rome by many benefits to the city, and showed his love for learning by the purchase for the Vatican library of the rich collection of Christina of Sweden. He is reproached, however, for yielding completely to the inroads of nepotism, which his predecessors had driven out. He died Feb. 1, 1691.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Gerin Pape Alexandre VIII. et Louis XIV. d'apres documents inedite, Paris, 1878; Petrucelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomaggw des conclaves, iii. 213, Paris, 1865; A. Remnant. Geschichte der Stadt Rom, iii. 2, 639, Berlin, 1870; Bower. Popes, iii. 334-335; Rankp, Popes, ii. 424. iii. 461.

ALEXANDER: Patriarch of Alexandria 313-328. See ARIANISM, I., 1.



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