Pope Alexander II

Pope Alexander II (1010/1015 – 21 April 1073), born Anselm of Baggio (Italian: Anselmo da Baggio),[1] was pope from 30 September 1061 to his death in 1073. Born in Milan, Anselm was deeply involved in the Pataria reform movement. Elected according to the terms of his predecessor's bull, In nomine Domini, Anselm's was the first election by the cardinals without the participation of the people and minor clergy of Rome.


Alexander II
Bishop of Rome
Modern depiction of Pope Alexander II
ChurchCatholic Church
Elected30 September 1061
Papacy began1 October 1061
Papacy ended21 April 1073
PredecessorNicholas II
SuccessorGregory VII
Other postsBishop of Lucca
Personal details
Birth nameAnselmo da Baggio
Milan, Holy Roman Empire
Died21 April 1073
Rome, Papal State
BuriedTomb of Pope Alexander VII, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

Early life and work

Anselm was born in Baggio, a town near Milan from 1923 district of the city, of a noble family. Contemporary sources do not provide any information where Anselm might have obtained his education.[2] It was traditionally believed that Anselm de Baggio studied under Lanfranc at Bec Abbey, however, modern historiography rejects such possibility.[3] He was one of the founders of the Pataria, a movement in the Archdiocese of Milan, aimed at reforming the clergy and ecclesiastic government in the province and supportive of Papal sanctions against simony and clerical marriage.[4] They contested the ancient rights of the cathedral clergy of Milan and supported the Gregorian reforms. Anselm was one of four "upright and honest" priests suggested to succeed Ariberto da Intimiano as prince bishop of Milan. When Emperor Henry III chose instead the more worldly Guido da Velate, protests followed. In order to silence a vocal critic, Bishop Guido sent Anselm to the Imperial Court.

The emperor named Anselm bishop of Lucca. As bishop, he was an energetic coadjutor with Hildebrand of Sovana in endeavouring to suppress simony and enforce clerical celibacy.[5] (In this role, he is sometimes known as Anselm the Elder or Anselm I to distinguish him from his nephew St Anselm who succeeded to his office.) So bad was the state of things at Milan, that benefices were openly bought and sold, and the clergy publicly married the women with whom they lived. With the increased prestige of his office, he reappeared twice in Milan as legate of the Holy See, in 1057 in the company of Hildebrand, and in 1059 with Peter Damian.

Election as pope

In the papal election of 1061 following the death of Pope Nicholas II, Anselmo de Baggio of Lucca was elected as Pope Alexander II.[4]

Unlike previous papal elections, the assent of the Holy Roman Emperor to the election was not sought,[6] and cardinal bishops were the sole electors of the pope for the first time in the history of the Catholic Church; in accordance with Nicholas II's bull, In Nomine Domini.[7] The bull effectively removed the control held by the Roman metropolitan church over the election of the pontiff.

The new Pope Alexander II was crowned at nightfall on October 1, 1061 in San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica, because opposition to the election made a coronation in St. Peter's Basilica impossible,[6] and the German court nominated another candidate, Cadalus, bishop of Parma, who was proclaimed Pope at the council of Basel under the name of Honorius II. He marched to Rome and for a long time threatened his rival's position. At length, Honorius was forsaken by the German court and deposed by a council held at Mantua;[5] Alexander II's position remained unchallenged for the remainder of his papacy.

Position on Jews

In 1065, Pope Alexander II wrote to Béranger, Viscount of Narbonne, and to Guifred, bishop of the city, praising them for having prevented the massacre of the Jews in their district, and reminding them that God does not approve of the shedding of innocent blood. That same year, he admonished Landulf VI of Benevento "that the conversion of Jews is not to be obtained by force."[8]

Crusade against the Moors

Also in the same year, Alexander called for the Crusade of Barbastro against the Moors in Spain.[9][10] Alexander II issued orders to the Bishops of Narbonne, instructing crusaders en route "that you protect the Jews who live among you, so that they may not be killed by those who are setting out for Spain against the Saracens ... for the situation of the Jews is greatly different from that of the Saracens. One may justly fight against those [the Saracens] who persecute Christians and drive them from their towns and their own homes."[11]

William the Conqueror

Bayeux Sc.36 William with Papal Banner
The Bayeux Tapestry: William the Conqueror holds a papal gonfalon with a golden cross, a gift from Pope Alexander II.

In 1066, he entertained an embassy from William, Duke of Normandy, after his successful invasion of Brittany. The embassy had been sent to obtain his blessing for William's prospective invasion of Anglo-Saxon England. Alexander gave it, along with a papal ring, the Standard of St. George,[12] and an edict to the autonomous Old English clergy guiding them to submit to the new regime. These favors were instrumental in the submission of the English church following the Battle of Hastings. Count Eustace carried his papal insignia, a gonfanon with three tails charged with a cross, which William of Poitiers says was given to William I to signify the pope's blessing of his invasion to secure a submission to Rome.[13]

Alexander elevated his former teacher, Lanfranc of Bec, to the See of Canterbury and appointed him Primate of England.

In 1068, Emperor Henry IV attempted to divorce Bertha of Savoy. The Papal legate Peter Damian hinted that any further insistence towards divorce would lead the Pope to deny his coronation. Henry obeyed and his wife, who had retired to Lorsch Abbey returned to Court.[4]


In 1072 Alexander commanded the reluctant Polish priest Stanislaus of Szczepanów to accept appointment as Bishop of Kraków - becoming one of the earliest native Polish bishops. This turned out to be a significant decision for the Polish Church (and for Polish history in general): once appointed, Stanislaus was a highly assertive bishop who got into conflict with Polish king Bolesław II the Bold, was assassinated by him and was eventually canonized and venerated as a major Polish saint.


Alexander II oversaw the suppression of the "Alleluia" during the Latin Church's celebration of Lent.[14] This is followed to this day.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Cardini, Franco, Europe and Islam, (Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999), 40.
  2. ^ Vaughn 1987, p. 34.
  3. ^ Vaughn 1987, p. 33.
  4. ^ a b c Loughlin, James. "Pope Alexander II." Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 1 Aug. 2014
  5. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alexander (popes)" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  6. ^ a b Levillain, Philippe. 2002. The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92228-3.
  7. ^ Miranda, Salvator. 1998. "Papal elections of the 11th Century (1061–1099)."
  8. ^ Simonsohn, pp. 35–37.
  9. ^ Jonathan P. Phillips, The Second Crusade: Extending the Frontiers of Christendom, St. Edmundsbury Press Ltd., 2007, p. 246.
  10. ^ Jonathan P. Phillips, The Second Crusade: Walking to Santiago de Compostela, Penn State University Press, 1996, p. 101.
  11. ^ O'Callaghan, Joseph (2003). Reconquest and crusade in medieval Spain. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-8122-3696-5.
  12. ^ Houts, Elisabeth M. C. Van, The Normans in Europe, (Manchester University Press, 2000), 105.
  13. ^ "Flags in the Bayeux Tapestry". Enyclopædia Romana.
  14. ^ Cabrol, p. 46.
  15. ^ "Chapter II: The Structure Of The Mass, Its Elements, And Its Parts". General Instruction Of The Roman Missal. usccb.org. Retrieved 23 March 2017.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Alexander II" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.


  • Vaughn, Sally N. (1987). Anselm of Bec and Robert of Meulan: The Innocence of the Dove and the Wisdom of the Serpent. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
  • Simonsohn, Shlomo. The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492–1404.
  • Cabrol, Fernand. Liturgical Prayer: Its History and Spirit. 2003. p. 46.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Nicholas II
Succeeded by
Gregory VII
1061 papal election

The papal election of 1061 was held on 30 September 1061 in San Pietro in Vincoli ("Saint Peter in Chains") in Rome, following the death of Pope Nicholas II. In accordance with Nicholas II's bull, In Nomine Domini, the cardinal bishops were the sole electors of the pope for the first time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Bishop Anselmo de Baggio of Lucca, a non-cardinal and one of the founders of the Pataria, was elected Pope Alexander II and crowned at nightfall on 1 October 1061 in San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica because opposition to the election made a coronation in St. Peter's Basilica impossible.

1073 papal election

The papal election of 1073 (held 22 April) saw the election of Hildebrand of Sovana (who took the papal name Gregory VII) as successor to Pope Alexander II.

Alexander II

Alexander II may refer to:

Alexander II of Macedon, King of Macedon from 370 to 368 BC

Alexander II of Epirus (died 260 BC), King of Epirus in 272 BC

Alexander II Zabinas, king of the Greek Seleucid kingdom in 128–123 BC

Pope Alexander II (died 1073), Pope from 1061 to 1073

Alexander II of Scotland (1198–1249), King of Scots

Alexander II of Imereti (died 1510, 1483–1510), King of Georgia and of Imereti

Alexander II of Kakheti (1527–1605), King of Kakheti

Alexander II of Russia (1818–1881), Emperor of Russia

Alexander II of Yugoslavia (born 1945), Crown Prince of Serbia

Anselm of Lucca

Saint Anselm of Lucca (Latin: Anselmus; Italian: Anselmo; 1036 – March 18, 1086), born Anselm of Baggio (Anselmo da Baggio), was a medieval bishop of Lucca in Italy and a prominent figure in the Investiture Controversy amid the fighting in central Italy between Matilda, countess of Tuscany, and Emperor Henry IV. His uncle Anselm preceded him as bishop of Lucca before being elected to the papacy as Pope Alexander II; owing to this, he is sometimes distinguished as Anselm the Younger or Anselm II.


Saint Arialdo (c. 1010 – June 27, 1066) is a Christian saint of the eleventh century. He was assassinated because of his efforts to reform the Milanese clergy.

Barisone I of Torres

Barison I or Barisone I was the judge of Arborea from around 1038 until about 1060 and then of Logudoro until his death sometime around 1073. He is the first ruler of Logudoro of whom we have any real knowledge. His whole policy was opposition to the Republic of Pisa and support of monastic immigration from mainland Italy. His wife was Preziosa de Orrubu.On hearing of the death of the judge of Logudoro around 1060, Barison gave Arborea to his nephew (or son) Marianus and went to Porto Torres to receive the vacant judgeship.

In 1063, Barisone gave a gift of a large territory and two churches, including the Byzantine church of Nostra Segnora de Mesumundu and that of Sant'Elia di Montesanto, to the abbey of Montecassino and asked the abbot Desiderius of Benevento to send twelve monks to establish the Benedictine rule on the island of Sardinia. Desiderius sent them, via Gaeta, with books, relics, and other religious and cultural items. However, determined to maintain a religious monopoly in Sardinia, the Pisan archdiocese attacked the monks at sea off the Giglio Island, where four died. The remaining eight returned to Montecassino. While Pope Alexander II excommunicated the Pisans for the assault, only the intervention of Godfrey the Bearded, margrave of Tuscany, secured satisfaction to the monastery and to Barisone.

In 1065 finally the monks, sent by Desiderius, arrived to the island and took possession of the territory and the churches and founded a small monastery, adjacent to the church of Nostra Segnora de Mesumundu.

In that same year, Barisone associated his nephew (or son) Andrew Tanca with him in the government and this Marianus succeeded him on his death.

Berengar (bishop of Venosa)

Berengar (after 25 December 1096) was the Bishop of Venosa. He is mentioned for the last time at Christmas 1096.

The son of Arnaud d'Échauffour, he became a monk in Saint-Evroul-sur-Ouche as a youth. He was a student of Abbot Thierri.

Berengar joined his uncle, Robert de Grantmesnil, in exile in January 1061, when William II of Normandy banished him for violence. According to Orderic Vitalis, Robert and Berengar stopped in Rome and met Pope Nicholas II. In 1062, Robert founded Sant'Eufemia on land donated by Robert Guiscard in Calabria.

In 1063, the Guiscard granted Berengar the church of SS Trinità di Venosa and made him abbot, an important post, as Venosa was the mausoleum of the Hauteville family. Pope Alexander II confirmed Berengar as abbot and, in 1093 or 1094, Urban II made him bishop.

Berengar is most famous for his writings against Berengar of Tours made between 1078 and 1079. He disputed with him in Rome in those years, when the memorialist was forced to recant. A manuscript of his polemic is preserved in the library of King's College, University of Aberdeen.

Crusade of Barbastro

The Crusade of Barbastro (also known as the Siege of Barbastro or War of Barbastro) was an international expedition, sanctioned by Pope Alexander II, to take the Spanish city of Barbastro, then part of the Hudid Emirate of Lārida. A large army composed of elements from all over Western Europe took part in the siege and conquest of the city (1064). The nature of the expedition, famously described by Ramón Menéndez Pidal as "a crusade before the crusades", is discussed in historiography, and the crusading element of the campaign is still a moot point.

Flag of Guernsey

The flag of Guernsey was adopted in 1985 and consists of the red Saint George's Cross with an additional gold Norman cross within it. The creation was prompted by confusion at international sporting events over competitors from Guernsey and England using the same flag. It was designed by the Guernsey Flag Investigation Committee led by Deputy Bailiff Sir Graham Dorey. The flag was first unveiled on the island on 15 February 1985. The gold cross represents William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy (who became, after the conquest, William I of England). William purportedly was given such a cross by Pope Alexander II and flew it on his standard in the Battle of Hastings. Since 2000, a red ensign with the cross in the fly has been used as the government's civil ensign and as a blue ensign.

Jaca Cathedral

The Cathedral of St Peter the Apostle (Spanish: Catedral de San Pedro Apóstol) is a Roman Catholic church located in Jaca, in Aragon, Spain. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jaca.

It is the first Romanesque cathedral built in Aragon (1070s - early 12th century) and one of the oldest in the Iberian peninsula. Its current appearance is the result of later additions and modifications introduced especially in the early modern period (from the late 15th to late 18th century). The cathedral was erected on command of King Sancho Ramírez, who, after renovating in Rome his vassal oath to the Pope Alexander II (1068), had obtained from the latter the right to establish the episcopal seat in Jaca, then capital of the Kingdom of Aragon.

Leo de Benedicto Christiano

Leo de Benedicto Christiano, or just Benedictus Christianus, was a Jew of Trastevere in the late eleventh century. He converted to Christianity and was baptised by Pope Leo IX, whence he took his Christian name. He related himself to the ancient patrician families of Rome by marrying of his daughters to powerful suitors. He himself was extremely rich (probably from usury).

In January 1058, as a partisan of the newly elected Pope Nicholas II, Leo had the gates of the Leonine City thrown open for Godfrey, former duke of Lower Lorraine, and his wife, Beatrice, marchioness of Tuscany. Godfrey immediately possessed the Tiber Island and attacked the Lateran, forcing Benedict X to flee on 24 January. Leo allied himself with the reformers, including Hildebrand and Pope Alexander II, but he was unable to dispel, through negotiations, the attack of 14 April 1062 which gave Rome to Antipope Honorius II.

His son was Pier Leoni and through him he is the father of the great Pierleoni family which dominated Roman politics for much of the Middle Ages. So far as one can tell, he lived in peace with the Roman people and the pontiff, but his grandson, who was elevated to the papacy as Antipope Anacletus II, was lambasted for his Hebrew ancestry; as was another grandson, Jordan, who was elected patrician of the Commune of Rome and became also an enemy of the legitimate popes.

Lucca Cathedral

Lucca Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Lucca, Cattedrale di San Martino) is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours in Lucca, Italy. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Lucca. Construction was begun in 1063 by Bishop Anselm (later Pope Alexander II).

Pope Alexander

There have been eight Popes and Antipopes named Alexander.

Pope Alexander I (c. 106 – c. 115)

Pope Alexander I of Alexandria, ruled in 313–326 or 328

Pope Alexander II of Alexandria, ruled 704–729

Pope Alexander II (1061–1073)

Pope Alexander III (1159–1181)

Pope Alexander IV (1254–1261)

Antipope Alexander V (1409–1410) (considered to be an Antipope; however, the next Pope Alexander took the name Alexander VI due to confusion over Alexander V's status at the time)

Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503)

Pope Alexander VII (1655–1667)

Pope Alexander VIII (1689–1691)

Pope Alexander II of Alexandria

Pope Alexander II of Alexandria (Coptic: AΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟC; died 14 February 729) was the 43rd Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

He presided over his church during an era of great hardship and oppression.

Saint Matthew the Potter

Saint Matthew the Potter, also known as Saint Matthew the Poor, is an Egyptian Christian saint of the 8th century. He was contemporary of Pope Alexander II of Alexandria (704 AD - 729 AD). According to Abu al-Makarim, Saint Matthew the Potter may have also been Coptic Orthodox bishop of the city of Esna. He is the founder of the Monastery of Saint Matthew the Potter.

Sergius III of Amalfi

Sergius III (or IV) (died November 1073) was the duke of Amalfi from 1069, when he succeeded his father John II, until his death. He was first appointed co-regent by his father in 1031. He and his father were expelled from Amalfi by his grandmother and uncle, Maria and Manso II, in April or May 1034.

In 1038, he returned with his father from exile in Naples, but they were forced out again the next year by Guaimar IV of Salerno. In 1052, they returned from an exile in Greece after Guaimar's assassination. The remaining years of John II's rule were peaceful except in regards to his relations with Gisulf II of Salerno, Guaimar's successor. Gisulf eventually made peace with John, but war broke out between Amalfi and Salerno on John's death. In 1071, Sergius (now sole ruler) was at Montecassino for the reconsecration of that great abbey. Gisulf was also present and Pope Alexander II worked out a peace between the two rulers. It lasted until Sergius' death in late 1073. He was succeeded by his infant son John III, who was soon deposed. Sergius is thus the last independent duke of Amalfi.

Udo (archbishop of Trier)

Udo of Nellenburg (c. 1030 – 11 November 1078) was the Archbishop of Trier from 1066 until his death. He was an important mediator during the height of the Investiture Controversy.

Udo was born in Tübingen, Swabia, as the eldest son of Count Eberhard of Nellenburg. After the murder of Archbishop Cuno I of Trier, a foreigner, in early June 1066, the cathedral chapter elected Udo, one of their number to replace him.

In 1067, Udo received priestly consecration. Udo became a leading German voice in the campaign of Pope Alexander II against simony. Beginning in 1075, he became involved in the campaign against lay investiture being waged by Pope Gregory VII against the Emperor Henry IV. He was looked upon as a mediator in the dispute. He was, however, unable to maintain the peace, but still worked at a resolution. In August 1077, he negotiated a reconciliation between emperor and pope and maintained his own good terms with the Holy See. In March 1078, he received a letter from the pope asking him to work further for the establishment of peace. He died in 1078 while besieging Tübingen with an imperial army. He was eventually buried in Trier Cathedral.

William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine

William VIII (c. 1025 – 25 September 1086), born Guy-Geoffrey (Gui-Geoffroi), was duke of Gascony (1052–1086), and then duke of Aquitaine and count of Poitiers (as William VI) between 1058 and 1086, succeeding his brother William VII (Pierre-Guillaume).

Guy-Geoffroy was the youngest son of William V of Aquitaine by his third wife Agnes of Burgundy. He was the brother-in-law of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor who had married his sister, Agnes de Poitou.

He became Duke of Gascony in 1052 during his older brother William VII's rule. Gascony had come to Aquitanian rule through William V's marriage to Prisca (a.k.a. Brisce) of Gascony, the sister of Duke Sans VI Guilhem of Gascony.

William VIII was one of the leaders of the allied army called to help Ramiro I of Aragon in the Siege of Barbastro (1064). This expedition was the first campaign organized by the papacy, namely Pope Alexander II, against a Muslim occupied city in the Emirate of Zaragoza, and the precursor of the later Crusades movement. Aragon and its allies conquered the city, killed its inhabitants and collected an important booty.

However, Aragon lost the city again in the following years. During William VIII's rule, the alliance with the southern kingdoms of modern Spain was a political priority as shown by the marriage of all his daughters to Iberian kings.

He married three times and had at least five children. After he divorced his first two wives, the first due to infertility, he married a third time to a much younger woman who was also his cousin Robert I of Burgundy's daughter. This marriage produced a son, but William VIII had to visit Rome in the early 1070s to persuade the pope to recognize his children from his third marriage as legitimate.

First wife: Garsende of Périgord, daughter of Count Aldabert II of Périgord (divorced November 1058), no children. She became a nun at Saintes.

Second wife: Matoeda (divorced May 1068)Agnes (1052–1078), married Alfonso VI of CastileThird wife: Hildegarde of Burgundy (daughter of duke Robert I of Burgundy)Agnes (died 1097), married Peter I of Aragon

William IX of Aquitaine, his heir

Beatrice? married firstly to Alfonso VI of Leon and Castile and secondly to Elias I, Count of Maine.

William of Gellone

William of Gellone (c. 755 – 28 May 812 or 814 AD), the medieval William of Orange, was the second Duke of Toulouse from 790 until 811. In 804, he founded the abbey of Gellone. He was canonized a saint in 1066 by Pope Alexander II.In the tenth or eleventh century, a Latin hagiography, the Vita sancti Willelmi, was composed based on oral traditions. By the twelfth century, William's legend had grown. He is the hero of an entire cycle of chansons de geste, the earliest of which is the Chanson de Guillaume of about 1140. In the chansons, he is nicknamed Fièrebrace (proud of his arm) on account of his strength and the marquis au court nez (margrave with the short nose) on account of an injury suffered in battle with a giant.

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