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Adrian IV

Adrian IV. (Nicholas Breakspeare; the only Englishman in the list of the popes): Pope 1154-59. He was born in England about the beginning of the twelfth century. He went to France as a boy, studied at Paris and Arles, enduring severe privations, and finally settled down in the monastery of St. Rufus near Avignon. Here he became prior, then abbot (1137), but met with bitter opposition from the monks when he attempted to introduce reforms. Eugenius III. made him cardinal bishop of Albano, and chose him (1152) for the difficult mission of regulating the relations of Norway and Sweden to the archbishopric of Lund. Returning to Rome, he was welcomed with high honors by Anastasius IV., whom he succeeded on Dec. 4, 1154.

Arnold of Brescia and Frederick Barbarossa.

His first troubles came through Arnold of Brescia, who, besides his ethical opposition to the hierarchy, aimed at reestablishing the ancient sovereignty of Rome and its independence of the papal see. Adrian strove to secure Arnold’s banishment, and succeeded in 1155 only by pronouncing an interdict on the city. He made Arnold’s capture and delivery to the ecclesiastical authorities a condition of crowning Frederick Barbarossa, who thus sacrificed a man who might have been a powerful auxiliary in his conflicts with this very pope. The first meeting between Frederick and Adrian (June 9, 1155) was marked by friction; but Frederick managed, in return for substantial concessions, to secure his coronation nine days later. The Romans, however, whose subjection to the papal see the new emperor had promised to enforce, refused their recognition; and when Frederick left Rome, the pope and cardinals accompanied him, practically as fugitives. Frederick had also promised to subdue William I. of Sicily, and was inclined to carry out his promise, but the pressure of the German princes forced him to recross the Alps.

William I. of Sicily.

Adrian then attempted to pursue his conflict with William, and, by the aid of the latter’s discontented vassals, forced him to offer terms. When, however, these were not accepted the king rallied his forces, the tide turned, and Adrian was obliged to grant his opponent the investiture of Sicily, Apulia, and Capua, and to renounce important ecclesiastical prerogatives in Sicily (Treaty of Benevento June, 1156). In consequence of this settlement, he was enabled to return to Rome at the end of the year, but the emperor resented this apparent desertion of their alliance, as well as the injury to his suzerainty by the papal investiture. An open breach came when, at the Diet of Besançon, in Oct., 1157, the papal legates (one of them the future Alexander III.) delivered a letter from their chief which spoke of the conferring of the imperial crown by the ambiguous term beneficium. The chancellor, Reginald, archbishop of Cologne, in his German rendering, gave it the sense of a fief of the papal see; and the legates thought it prudent to leave the assembly and retreat speedily to Rome.

Rebuffed by Frederick Barbarossa.

Imperial letters spread the same indignation among the people; and when Adrian required the prelates of Germany to obtain satisfaction from Frederick for his treatment of the legates, he was met by the decided expression of their disapproval of the offending phrase. Adrian’s position was rendered more difficult by the appearance of a Greek expedition in Italy and by a revolt in Rome; he offered the concession of a brief in which he explained the objectionable word in the innocent sense of “benefit.” Frederick took this as a confession of weakness, and when he crossed the Alps to subdue the Lombard towns (1158), he required an oath of fealty to himself, as well as substantial support from the Italian bishops. Attaining the summit of his power with the conquest of Milan in September, two months later he had the imperial rights solemnly declared by the leading jurists of Bologna. This declaration constituted him the source of all secular power and dignity, and was a denial equally of the political claims of the papacy and of the aspirations of the Lombard towns. The breach with Adrian was still further widened by his hesitation to confirm the imperial nomination to the archbishopric of Ravenna; and an acute crisis was soon reached. An exchange of communications took place, whose manner was intended on both sides to be offensive; and Frederick was roused to a higher pitch of anger when the papal legates, besides accusing him of a breach of the treaty of Constance, demanded that he should thenceforth receive no oath of fealty from 54 the Italian bishops, that he should either restore the inheritance of Countess Matilda, Spoleto, Sardinia, Corsica, Ferrara, etc., to the Roman see, or pay a tribute for those lands, and that he should recognize the right of the successor of St. Peter to complete and unlimited dominion in Rome. These claims he met by declaring roundly that on any strict interpretation of his rights the pope also would be bound to take the oath of fealty, and that all the latter’s possessions were but imperial domains held in consequence of Sylvester’s investiture by Constantine.

Impending Conflict Stopped by Adrian’s Death.

Both the opponents sought for allies in the impending struggle. Adrian, who was the sworn foe of the Roman republic and its liberties, joined hands with the Lombard communes who were struggling for their own. The emperor, who was doing his best to abolish communal liberty in the north of Italy, aided the Romans to uphold the principles of Arnold of Brescia. Adrian was already taking counsel with the cardinals as to the advisability of pronouncing a sentence of excommunication against Frederick when death overtook him at Anagni Sept. 1, 1159.

Adrian was a ruler who grasped clearly the ideal of a papacy striving for universal domination, and contended passionately for its accomplishment; but John of Salisbury (who, as ambassador of the king of England, had opportunity to study him at close range) records that there were moments when the terrible burden of his office weighed almost unbearably upon him.

(Carl Mirbt.)

Bibliography: Epistolæ et privilegia, in Bouquet, Recueil, xv. 666-893; idem, in MPL, clxxxviii.; Bullæ, in Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ä d. Geschichte, ii. (1876) 211-213, xv. (1889) 203-206; Vita, in Liber Pontifalis, ed. Duchesne, 1892, ii. 388 sqq.; Otto of Frisengen, Gesta Friderici I., in MGH, Script., xx. (1868) 403 sqq.; Radericus of Frisengen, Continuatio (of Otto’s Gesta), ib. pp. 454 sqq.; Jaffé, Regesta, i.; J. M. Watterich, Romanorum pontificum vitæ, i. 323-336, Leipsic, 1823; Bower, Popes, 1845, ii. 487-502; R. Raby, Historical Sketch of Pope Adrian IV., London, 1849; H. Reuter, Geschichte Alexander’s III., vol. i., Leipsic, 1860; Fr. v. Raumer, Geschichte der Hohenstaufen, ii., ib. 1871; Milman, Latin Christianity, London, 1883; DNB, i. 143-146; Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, v. 527-566; J. Langen, Geschichte der römischen Kirche von Gregor VII. bis Innocenz III., pp. 417-438, Bonn, 1893; Eng. transl. of Letter to Barbarossa (Sept. 20, 1157), Manifesto of Frederick I., Letter to the German Bishops and their Letter to Adrian, and Letter to the Emperor (Feb., 1158), in E. F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, London, 1892; J. Jastrow and G. Winter, Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Hohenstaufen, vol. i., Stuttgart, 1897; S. Malone, Adrian IV. and Ireland, London, 1899; O. J. Thatcher, Studies Concerning Adrian IV., Chicago, 1903; Hauck, KD, iv. 35, 199-227; Eng. transl. of Treaty of Constance, Stirrup Episode, Treaty of Adrian IV. and William of Sicily, Letters of Adrian (1157-58), and Manifesto of Frederick l., in O. J. Thatcher and E. H. McNeal, Source Book for Mediæval History, New York, 1905.

Adrian V. (Ottobuono de’ Fieschi): Pope 1276. He was the nephew of Innocent IV., and as cardinal deacon had been sent to England by Clement IV. to mediate between Henry III. and his barons. He was elected July 12, 1276, in a conclave on which Charles of Anjou had enforced all the rigor of the regulations of Gregory X.; and one of Adrian’s first acts was to abrogate them as oppressive to the cardinals. Before he could promulgate any new system, however, and even before he had been ordained priest, he died at Viterbo Aug. 18, 1276.

(Carl Mirbt.)

Bibliography: A. Chroust, Ein Brief Hadrians V., in Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ä. d. Geschichte, xx. (1894) 233 sqq.; Bower, Popes, iii. 24; A. Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum, ii. 1709, Berlin, 1875; Milman, Latin Christianity, vi. 134.

Adrian VI. (Adrian Rodenburgh or Dedel, more probably the latter): Pope 1522-23. He was born in Utrecht, was educated by the Brethren of the Common Life and at Louvain, and became professor and vice-chancellor of the university. During this period he composed several theological writings, including a commentary on the Sententiæ of Peter Lombard. In 1507 Emperor Maximilian I. appointed him tutor to his grandson, Charles of Spain, and in 1515 Ferdinand the Catholic made him bishop of Tortosa. In 1517 he was created cardinal by Leo X. When Charles was made German emperor and went to the Netherlands in 1520, he appointed Adrian regent of Spain. In 1522 the cardinals almost unanimously elected him pope.

Friend of Reform.

The vexation of the Romans at the choice of a German, moreover a very simple man who was not inclined to continue the splendid traditions of the humanistic popes, lasted during his entire pontificate; more serious minds, however, looked forward to his reign with hope. In spite of the fact that he consented to the condemnation of Luther’s writings by the Louvain theologians, and although as inquisitor general he had shown no clemency, yet Erasmus saw in him the right pilot of the Church in those stormy times, and hoped that he would abolish many abuses in the Roman court. Luis de Vives addressed Adrian with his proposals for reform; and Pirkheimer complained to him of the opposition of the Dominicans to learning. Even in the college of cardinals, the few who favored a reformation looked up to him hopefully, and Ægidius of Viterbo transmitted to him a memorial which described the corruption of the Church and discussed the means of redress.

Adrian fulfilled these expectations. Concerning indulgences he even endeavored to find a way which might lead to a reconciliation with Luther’s conception, viz., to make the effect of the indulgence dependent on the depth of repentance on evidence of it in a reformed life. But here Cardinal Cajetan asserted that the authority of the pope would suffer, since the chief agent would no longer be the pope, but the believer, and the majority agreed with the cardinal. Nothing was done in the matter, no dogma was revised, and the complaints of the Germans increased. Nevertheless, Adrian simplified his household, moneys given for Church purposes were no longer used for the support of scholars and artists, he sought to reform the abuse of pluralities, and opposed simony and nepotism. His effort to influence Erasmus to write against Luther and to bring Zwingli by a letter to his side shows his attitude toward the Reformation in Germany and Switzerland.


His Confession.

When the diet at Nuremberg was opened in Dec., 1522, he complained in a brief of the rise of heresy in Germany and asked the diet, since mild measures could not be effectual, to employ the means formerly used against Huss. But in his instructions to his legate at the diet, Bishop Chieregati, he took a different tone, and acknowledged that “wantonness,” “abuses,” and “excesses” were found at the curia. This is the only instance where such a confession received official sanction. An answer was prepared by a committee, which took notice of the confession, refused to execute the edict of Worms before an improvement was visible, and asked for the meeting of a council in a German city, promising to prevent Luther from publishing his polemical writings and to see to it that the preachers proclaimed the pure gospel, but “according to the teaching and interpretation of the Scriptures approved and revered by the Christian Church.” Chieregati accepted neither this nor any other answer, but left Nuremberg in haste. In strict papal circles Adrian’s confession has not yet been forgiven. He died at Rome Sept. 14, 1523.

K. Benrath.

Bibliography: P. Burmannus, Hadrianus VI. sive analecta historica, Utrecht, 1727; G. Moringus, Vita Hadriani VI., Louvain, 1536; Bower, Popes, iii. 299-302; L. P. Gachard, Correspondance de Charles V. et d’Adrien VI., Brussels, 1859; J. S. Brewer, Letters and Papers . . . of the Reign of Henry VIII., 4 vols., London, 1862-1901 (especially vol. iii.); G. A. Bergenroth, Calendar . . . relating to the Negotiations between England and Spain, ii., London, 1866; idem, Supplement to vols. i. and ii. (1868); M. Brosch, Geschichte des Kirchenstaates, Vol. i., Hamburg, 1880; C. v. Höfler, Papst Hadrian VI., Vienna, 1880; A. Lapitre, Adrien Vl., Paris, 1880; L. v. Ranke, Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation, ii., Leipsic, 1880; idem, Die römischen Päpste, i., ib. 1889; Eng. transl., i. 71-74, London, 1896; Milman, Latin Christianity; Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, ix. 271-299; Creighton, Papacy, vi. 214-273.

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