Pope Benedict VI

Pope Benedict VI (Latin: Benedictus VI; d. June 974) was Pope from 19 January 973 to his death in 974. His brief pontificate occurred in the political context of the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, during the transition between the reigns of German emperors Otto I and Otto II, incorporating the struggle for power of Roman aristocratic families such as the Crescentii and Tusculani.


Benedict VI
Pope Benedict VI Illustration
Papacy began19 January 973
Papacy endedJune 974
PredecessorJohn XIII
SuccessorBenedict VII
Personal details
Birth nameBenedictus
BornRome, Papal States
DiedJune 974
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Previous postCardinal-Priest (964–974)
Other popes named Benedict

Early life and election as Pope

The son of a Roman of German ancestry named Hildebrand,[1] Benedict VI was born in Rome in the region called Sub Capitolio (in what was the old 8th region of Augustan Rome, the Forum Romanum). Prior to his election as pope, he was the Cardinal deacon of the church of Saint Theodore.[2]

On the death of Pope John XIII in September 972, the majority of the electors who adhered to the imperial faction chose Benedict to be his successor. He was not consecrated until January 973, due to the need to gain the approval of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I.[3] Installed as pope under the protection of Otto I, Benedict was seen as a puppet of the emperor by the local Roman aristocracy who resented the emperor’s dominance in Roman civil and ecclesiastical affairs.[4]

Pontificate and death

Record of Benedict’s reign as pope is scant. There is a letter dated to Benedict’s reign from Piligrim, Bishop of Passau, asking for Benedict to confer on him the Pallium, and make him a Bishop so that he could continue his mission to convert the Hungarian people to Christianity. However, the response from Benedict is considered to be a forgery.[5]

He is also known to have confirmed privileges assumed by certain monasteries and churches. At the request of King Lothair of France and his wife, Benedict placed the monastery of Blandin under papal protection. There is also a papal bull from Benedict in which Frederick, Archbishop of Salzburg and his successors are named Papal vicars in the former Roman provinces of Upper and Lower Pannonia and Noricum; however, the authenticity of this bull is disputed.[6]

Otto I died soon after Benedict's election in 973, and with the accession of Otto II, troubles with the nobility emerged in Germany. With the new emperor so distracted, a faction of the Roman nobility opposed to the interference of the German emperors in Roman affairs, took advantage of the opportunity to move against Benedict VI. Led by Crescentius the Elder and the Cardinal-Deacon Franco Ferrucci (who had been the preferred candidate of the anti-German faction),[7] Benedict was taken in June 974, and imprisoned in the Castel Sant'Angelo, at that time a stronghold of the Crescentii.[8] Ferrucci was then proclaimed as the new pope, taking the name Boniface VII.

Hearing of the overthrow of Benedict VI, Otto II sent an imperial representative, Count Sicco, to demand his release. Unwilling to step down, Boniface ordered a priest named Stephen to murder Benedict whilst he was in prison, strangling him to death.[9][10]

Benedict was succeeded, after the overthrow of the Antipope Boniface VII, by Pope Benedict VII.


  1. ^ Gregorovius, pg. 377
  2. ^ Mann, pgs. 306-307
  3. ^ Mann, pg. 307; Gregorovius, pg. 377
  4. ^ Roger Collins, Keepers of the keys of heaven: a history of the papacy, (Basic Books, 2009), 187.
  5. ^ Mann, pgs. 308-309
  6. ^ Mann, pg. 309
  7. ^ Gregorovius, pg. 378
  8. ^ Norwich, pg. 83; Mann, pg. 310
  9. ^ Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI, (HarperCollins, 2000), 161.
  10. ^ Mann, pgs. 310-311


  • Norwich, John Julius, The Popes: A History (2011)
  • Gregorovius, Ferdinand, The History of Rome in the Middle Ages, Vol. III (1895)
  • Mann, Horace K., The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Vol. IV: The Popes in the Days of Feudal Anarchy, 891-999 (1910)

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Benedict VII

The 970s decade ran from January 1, 970, to December 31, 979.

== Events ==

=== 970 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor John I delegates the war in the Balkans to his brother-in-law, the Domestic of the Schools Bardas Skleros, and to the eunuch general Peter Phokas who begin to gather a Byzantine army in Thrace. At the news of this, a powerful Kievan expeditionary force (30,000 men), along with many Bulgarians and a Pecheneg contingent, is sent south over the Balkan Mountains. After sacking the Bulgarian stronghold of Philippolis (modern-day Plovdiv), they bypass the heavily defended city of Adrianople and turn towards Constantinople.

Battle of Arcadiopolis: John I dispatches an elite force (10–12,000 men) to delay the Kievan Rus'. The Byzantines under Bardas Skleros successfully ambush the Kievan-Bulgarian invaders at Arcadiopolis (modern Turkey). The battle turns into a complete rout, killing thousands. Grand Prince Sviatoslav I is driven out of Thrace and withdraws his forces to the fortress city of Silistra.

Summer – Bardas Phokas (the Younger) and his family rebel against their own cousin, John I. Bardas is proclaimed 'emperor' by his troops at Caesarea, but the rebellion is extinguished by Bardas Skleros. Phokas and his relatives are captured and exiled to the island of Chios (Aegean Sea).

====== Europe ======

Summer – Byzantine-Imperial truce: Emperor Otto I (the Great) meets with John I at Bari and accepts a permanent peace agreement. Pandulf I (Ironhead) is released from captivity in Constantinople (see 969).

The oldest preserved document (by Otto I) mentions Leibnitz in Styria (modern Austria).

Eric the Victorious becomes the first (documented) king of Sweden in Uppland.

Skagul Toste leads a Viking expedition to England and demands Danegeld.

====== Africa ======

Al-Hasan ibn Ubayd Allah, Ikhshidid governor of Palestine, is defeated and taken prisoner by General Ja'far ibn Fallah in Syria. Ending the Ikhshidid Dynasty as a ruling power.

Construction is completed on Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, Egypt (the world's oldest Islamic university).

====== Asia ======

A major volcano erupts in Lake Mashū, Japan (approximate date).

=== 971 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Battle of Dorostolon: A Byzantine expeditionary army (possibly 30–40,000 men) attacks the Bulgarian frontier, personally led by Emperor John I. He lays siege to the fortress city of Dorostolon (located on the Lower Danube) and is reinforced by a fleet of 300 ships equip with Greek fire. The Kievan Rus' and their Bulgarian allies are reduced to extremities by famine. After a 3-month siege, Grand prince Sviatoslav I agrees to sign a peace treaty with the Byzantines, whereby he renounces his interests towards Bulgarian lands and the city of Chersonesos in Crimea. Sviatoslav is allowed to evacuate his army to Berezan Island, while the Byzantines enter Dorostolon. John renames the city Theodoropolis (named after the reigning Empress Theodora).

John I returns in triumph in Constantinople. He brings along Boris II, ruler (tsar) of the Bulgarian Empire, and his family, together with the contents of the Bulgarian imperial treasury. Boris is given the Byzantine 'court title' of magistros as compensation. The Bulgarian lands in Thrace and Lower Moesia become part of the Byzantine Empire.

====== Europe ======

Emperor Otto I (the Great) appoints his imperial secretary Willigis as chancellor (guardian of the emperor's seal). An office formerly held by Otto's brother, Archbishop Bruno I.

====== Britain ======

King Cuilén (or Cuilean) is killed by Britons after a 6-year reign. He is succeeded by his nephew Kenneth II as ruler of Alba (Scotland). He will not be sole king until 977.

====== Africa ======

Battle of Alexandretta: The Byzantines defeat a Fatimid force (4,000 men) near Alexandretta (modern Turkey), while the main Fatimid army is besieging the fortress city of Antioch. Coupled with news of an advance against Damascus of the Qarmatians, the Fatimids are forced to lift the siege and withdraw to Egypt.

====== China ======

January 23 – A war elephant corps of the Southern Han is defeated at Shao, by crossbow fire from Song Dynasty troops. The Southern Han Kingdom is forced to submit to the Song Dynasty. Ending Southern Han rule, but also the first regular war elephant corps employed in a Chinese army, that had gained the Southern Han victories throughout the 10th century.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The grave of Swithun, Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester, is moved into an indoor shrine (he was previously buried outside) in the Old Minster. The ceremony is said to have been marred by 40 days of torrential rain.

=== 972 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Spring – Emperor John I divides the Bulgarian territories, recently held by the Kievan Rus', into six new themes. He turns his attention to the East against the Abbasid Caliphate and its vassals, beginning with an invasion of Upper Mesopotamia. John transfers Byzantine troops to Macedonia and the region of Philippopolis in Thrace to dilute the Slavs.

John I removes various Bulgarian boyars from their homes and settle them in Constantinople and Anatolia (modern Turkey), where they are given high titles and lands.

John I, grants a charter for the Monastic Republic of Holy Mount Athos in Greece.

====== Europe ======

Spring – Grand Prince Sviatoslav I is ambushed by the Pechenegs (possibly in the service of the Byzantines) and killed during his attempt to cross the Dnieper rapids (modern Ukraine). His skull is made into a drinking cup. Sviatoslav is succeeded by his eldest son Yaropolk I as ruler of Kiev, which leads to a civil war between his brother Oleg.

April 14 – Otto II (the Red), joint-ruler and son of Otto I (the Great), marries the Byzantine princess Theophanu (niece or granddaughter of John I). She is crowned empress by Pope John XIII at Rome. Creating an alliance between the Ottonian Dynasty and the Byzantine Empire (called the Tzimiscian Peace).

June 24 – Battle of Cedynia: The Polans under prince (or Duke) Mieszko I, defeat at their stronghold in Cedynia (with the help of hidden reinforcements) the German forces of the Saxon count Odo I. The battle – one of the first in Polish history – strengthen Mieszko's hold over Western Pomerania.

====== Africa ======

Buluggin ibn Ziri is appointed viceroy in Ifriqiya (modern Tunisia) and becomes the first ruler (emir) of the Zirid Dynasty.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

September 6 – John XIII dies at Rome after a 6-year reign. He is succeeded by Benedict VI as the 134th pope of the Catholic Church.

The monastery at the site of Peterborough Cathedral is rebuilt by Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury.

=== 973 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Spring – The Byzantine army led by general Melias (Domestic of the Schools in the East) continues the operations in Upper Mesopotamia. In July, he moves against Amida (modern Turkey). Melias defeats the Arabs outside the walls and begins to lay siege to the city. After a few days, a violent wind and a thick dust spreads over the Byzantine camp. Covered by the dust, the Arabs attack and route the Byzantines. Many of them are slaughtered and some, including Melias, are taken prisoner. Previous Byzantine gains in the area are lost. The wounded Melias dies later in captivity.

====== Europe ======

May 7 – Emperor Otto I (the Great) dies at Memleben in Thuringia (modern Germany) after a 37-year reign. He is succeeded by his 18-year-old son Otto II (the Red), who becomes absolute ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. His mother Adelaide will exert great influence on Otto, although her lavish philanthropies will be a source of contention. Otto's succession leads to conflicts in the south German duchies and in Lotharingia.

====== England ======

Edgar I (the Peaceful) is crowned king during a royal ceremony at Bath by Archbishop Dunstan. In a council at Chester, Lothian (a region of the Lowlands) is ceded to Scotland, in return for fealty from King Kenneth II.

Edgar I marches with his army north to Chester. His navy meets him there via the Irish Sea. This show of strength persuades the 'Northern Kings' to submit to his overlordship (approximate date).

====== Africa ======

Caliph Al-Mu'izz transfers the royal residence of the Fatimid Caliphate from El-Mansuriya (modern Tunisia) to the newly founded city of Cairo in Egypt. He leaves general Buluggin ibn Ziri to govern the Western North African territories, which will become the province of Al-Maghreb (meaning the West).

==== By topic ====

====== Commerce ======

Cloves, ginger, black pepper, and other Eastern spices are available for purchase in the marketplace at Mainz. The spices are brought to the city by Jewish traveling merchants, known as the Radhanites, who have contacts in the international trade between the Christian and Islamic world (approximate date).

====== Religion ======

January 19 – Pope Benedict VI is consecrated as the 134th pope of the Catholic Church. He is installed at Rome with the approval of Otto I and becomes a puppet ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. The Roman aristocracy resents Otto's dominance in Roman civil and ecclesiastical affairs.

In the Council of Winchester, Edgar I accepts a 'Monastic Agreement' (called the Regularis Concordia). The document is compiled by Bishop Æthelwold and serves as a rule for how monastic life should be performed.

=== 974 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Emperor Otto II (the Red) defeats the rebel forces of King Harald I (Bluetooth) at Danevirke, who has invaded Nordalbingia (modern-day Holstein) to shake off imperial overlordship. Otto's armies swiftly subdue the Danes, consolidating the frontier between Scandinavia and Northern Germany. Meanwhile, Henry II (the Wrangler) begins an rebellion against his cousin Otto. He forges alliances with Bavarian and Saxon nobles.

====== England ======

King Edgar I (the Peaceful) gives English help to Prince Hywel in ousting his uncle, King Iago of Gwynedd from his kingdom.

A great earthquake occurs in England.

====== Arabian Empire ======

Fall – Caliph Al-Muti dies after a 28-year reign. He is succeeded by his son At-Ta'i as the new ruler of the Abbasid Caliphate. At-Ta'i has no hold on power and becomes a prisoner in the hands of the Buyid Dynasty.

====== Africa ======

The Qarmatians are defeated north of Cairo by Fatimid forces under General Jawhar al-Siqilli (the Sicilian). He consolidates Fatimid rule and sends a legation to the Christian land of Nubia to secure the southern border of Egypt. Arab traders introduce Islam to the population, which gradually supplants Christianity.

An offensive, by the Spain-based Caliphate of Córdoba brings the Maghrebi Idrisid Dynasty to an end. Caliph Al-Hakam II maintains the supremacy of the caliphate over the kingdoms of Navarra, Castile and León.

====== China ======

The Liao Dynasty exchanges ambassadors with the Song Dynasty on New Years Day (Spring Festival).

The city of Fuzhou, located in Fujian province, builds new city walls.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Summer – Pope Benedict VI is imprisoned in the Castel Sant'Angelo at Rome, where he is strangled to death through the influence of the powerful Crescentii family. Crescentius I (the Elder), Italian politician and aristocrat, engineers an election and replaces Benedict with his own candidate Franco, who ascends under the title anti-Pope Boniface VII.

Fall – Boniface VII is expelled by order of Otto II and flees to Constantinople, taking the Church treasury of the Vatican Basilica along with him. He is succeeded by Benedict VII as the 135th pope of the Catholic Church.

An abbey is founded at the site of Mönchengladbach (Germany).

=== 975 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: Emperor John I raids Mesopotamia and invades Syria, using the Byzantine base at Antioch to press southwards to Tripoli. He conquers the cities of Baalbek, Damascus, Sidon, Tiberias and Caesarea, but fails to take Jerusalem.

====== Europe ======

October 15 – Oberto I (Obizzo), an Italian count palatine, dies. The Marca Obertenga (Eastern Liguria) is divided among the Obertenghi family.

Emperor Otto II (the Red) leads a punitive expedition against Boleslaus II, duke of Bohemia (approximate date).

====== England ======

July 8 – King Edgar I (the Peaceful) dies at Winchester after a 16-year reign. He is succeeded by his 12-year-old son Edward II (the Martyr) as ruler of England.

====== Africa ======

December 21 – Caliph Al-Mu'izz dies in Egypt after a 22-year reign in which he has extended his realm from Sicily to the Atlantic. He is succeeded by his son Al-Aziz Billah as ruler of the Fatimid Caliphate.

====== China ======

Emperor Taizu conquers Hunan Province and brings the power of the military under Song control. Ending the era of the warlords (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

March – Otto II appoints his archchancellor Willigis as archbishop of Mainz. He receives the pallium from Pope Benedict VII.

=== 976 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

January 10 – Emperor John I Tzimiskes dies at Constantinople after returning from a second campaign against the Abbasids in Syria. He is buried in the Church of Christ Chalkites and succeeded by his 18-year-old nephew Basil II who becomes sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire. The administration remains in the hands of Basil Lekapenos (an illegitimate son of the late Emperor Romanos I).

====== Europe ======

June – Emir Abu'l-Qasim lauches from Sicily a raiding expedition in Byzantine Italy. He imposes a tribute on the cities of Cosenza and Cellere. Meanwhile, a Fatimid fleet assaults the Apulian coast and raids the surrounding countryside. Abu'l-Qasim sends a army to Otranto and besieges Gravina, before returning to Sicily – bringing home hundreds of captives and slaves.

July – Emperor Otto II (the Red) occupies Regensburg, forcing his rebellious cousin Henry II (the Wrangler) (who claims rulership over the Holy Roman Empire) to flee to Bohemia. Henry is deposed and Bavaria is handed over to Otto I of Swabia (a grandson of the late Emperor Otto I). He sets up the new "Grand Duchy of Carinthia" covering modern-day Austria.

Summer – Otto II appoints Leopold I (the Illustrious), a member of the House of Babenberg, as margrave of the Marcha Orientalis (the later Archduchy of Austria). In order to maintain his possession in Southern Italy, Otto strengthens his army with 2,100 mailed horsemen (heavy cavalry) from Germany, of which around 1,500 are to be provided by the Churches.

Summer – Pietro IV Candiano, doge of Venice, demands Venetian assistance to put down a revolt in his personal fiefs around Ferrara. The Venetians revolt against Candiano too and assault the doge's palace. Repelled by mercenary forces, they burn the neighborhood – bringing the palace down with it. Candiano and his family escapes, but are killed by the mob.

October 16 – Caliph Al-Hakam II dies after a 15-year reign in which he has ended the Fatimid Caliphate in Morocco and made the University of Córdoba the greatest institution in the world. Al-Hakam is succeeded by his 10-year-old son Hisham II as ruler of the Caliphate of Córdoba. His widow Subh becomes regent and together with Almanzor the de facto rulers.

====== China ======

November 14 – Emperor Taizu (Zhao Kuangyin) dies at Kaifeng after a 16-year reign. He is succeeded by his brother Tai Zong as ruler of the Song Dynasty. During his rule the Yuelu Academy (located in Hunan Province) is founded, which becomes one of the renowned academies (Shūyuàn).

Zhang Sixun, a Chinese astronomer and engineer, employs the use of liquid mercury, in order that the escapement mechanism of his astronomical clock can function, and metal parts will not rust by using hydraulics (water), or freeze in winter.

=== 977 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

May – Boris II, dethroned emperor (tsar) of Bulgaria, and his brother Roman manages to escape from captivity in Constantinople. They reach the Bulgarian border, but Boris is killed by mistake by the border guards. Roman is crowned as new ruler, although leadership and the control of the army remains in the hands of General Samuel (a member of the Cometopuli Dynasty).

War of the Three Henries: Henry III (the Younger), duke of Carinthia, gets involved in a conflict over the Patriarchate of Aquileia (March of Verona) in northeastern Italy. Emperor Otto II (the Red) decides in Aquileia's favor, prompting Henry III to go into revolt. He joins forces with Henry II (the Wrangler), duke of Bavaria. They are both joined by Henry I, bishop of Augsburg.

August – Otto II appoints his cousin Charles, illegitimate son of the late King Louis IV (d'Outremer), as duke of Lorraine. King Lothair III – who claims the duchy as his own territory – declares war to the Holy Roman Empire. He leads an expedition into Lorraine accompanied by Hugh Capet. Lothair crosses the Meuse River and takes Aachen, sacking the imperial palace.

Fall – Otto II invades the West Frankish Kingdom accompanied by Charles and ravages the cities of Reims, Soissons (where he halts at the Abbey of Saint Médard for devotions) and Laon. Lothair III escapes and flees to Paris, where he is besieged by imperial forces. Charles is proclaimed 'King of the Franks' by Dietrich I, bishop of Metz, at Laon.

November 30 – Otto II is unable to take Paris, he lifts the siege of the capital and withdraws. A Frankish army under Lothair III pursues and defeats the imperial rearguard while crossing the Aisne River. Otto escapes and is forced to take refuge at Aachen with Charles, after his supplies are destroyed.

====== England ======

King Kenneth II of Scotland kills his rival Amlaíb mac Illuilb (or Amlaíb), brother of the late King Cuilén, to establish himself as Cuilén's successor.

====== Arabian Empire ======

Spring – Sabuktigin, a Samanid general, succeeds his father-in-law Alp-Tegin as governor of Ghazna (modern Afghanistan). He enlarges his dominions and founds the Ghaznavid Dynasty.

Summer – 'Adud al-Dawla, ruler (shah) of the Buyid Dynasty, drives the Hamdanids out of Mosul and tries to unify the country. Abu Taghlib is forced to flee to the Byzantine city of Antzitene.

Emir Sa'd al-Dawla recovers his capital, Aleppo, from the ghulam Bakjur, who receives the governorship of Homs as compensation.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester, rebuilds the western end of the Old Minster, with twin towers and no apses (approximate date).

The Imam Ali Mosque, located in Najaf (modern Iraq), is completed by 'Adud al-Dawla.

=== 978 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Battle of Pankaleia: Rebel forces under General Bardas Skleros are defeated by the Byzantine army loyal to Emperor Basil II, commanded by General Bardas Phokas (the Younger), near Pankaleia (modern-day Hisarköy). Phokas regroups his forces and continues his march to the East, drawing Skleros away from Constantinople.

====== Europe ======

War of the Three Henries: Emperor Otto II (the Red) supported by his nephew Otto I, duke of Bavaria and Carinthia, attacks Passau, where the rebels has assembled. In September, the town surrenders due to Otto's siege tactics, which includes a bridge of boats. Ending of the revolt of Henry II (the Wrangler) against Otto II.

Otto II has the three insurrectionists punished at Magdeburg. Henry II is stripped of all his possessions and imprisoned in the custody of Bishop Folcmar of Utrecht. The other two: Henry III (the Younger) loses his duchy to Otto I and Henry I, bishop of Augsburg, is arrested and imprisoned in Werden Abbey (Germany).

Almanzor, an court official and regent of Córdoba, becomes a chamberlain (hajib) and seizes power from the 13-year-old Caliph Hisham II. During his reign, Almanzor will exercise strong influence over Subh (the mother of Hisham) and wages successful campaigns against the Christian kingdoms in Northern Spain.

Fall – Mieszko I, duke and prince (de facto ruler) of Poland, abducts Oda of Haldensleben from the monastery of Kalbe (Saxony-Anhalt) and marries her. She becomes Mieszko's second wife and Duchess of the Polans.

Pandulf I (Ironhead), a Lombard prince, annexes the Principality of Salerno into his domains. For the first time, the Lombard duchies of Benevento, Capua, Salerno and Spoleto-Camerino are united under one ruler.

Pietro I Orseolo, doge of Venice, escapes from Venice and travels to the Benedictine abbey of Michel-de-Cuxa (Southern France). He is succeeded by Vitale Candiano (not the bishop of Grado) as doge of Venice.

Winter – Vladimir I (the Great), grand prince of Kiev, returns from Norway with a Varangian mercenary army and re-captures Novgorod. On his way to Kiev, he marches against the forces of his brother Yaropolk I.

====== England ======

March 18 – King Edward II (the Martyr) is murdered at Corfe Castle (Dorsetshire) upon the orders of his step-mother Ælfthryth (or Elfrida). He is succeeded by his half-brother Æthelred II (the Unready) who becomes king of England. During his reign Æthelred tries to keep his realm from being overrun by Danish Viking invaders.

English troops are deployed on the Llŷn Peninsula on behalf of King Hywel of Gwynedd in order to prevent his uncle, King Iago, invading with Viking allies from Dublin.

The town of Guildford (Surrey) becomes the location of the Royal Mint.

====== China ======

June 9 – King Qian Chu surrenders his territories and pledges allegiance to the Song Dynasty, saving his people from war and economic destruction. Qian Chu remains ruler and moves 3,000 members of his household to Bianjing (modern-day Kaifeng). Wuyue is absorbed into the Song Dynasty, effectively ending the kingdom.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

One of the Four Great Books of Song, the Taiping Guangji, a Chinese collection of deities, faries, ghost stories and theology, is completed. The collection is divided into 500 volumes and consists of about 3 million Chinese characters.

====== Religion ======

The Badia Fiorentina, an Benedictine abbey in Florence, is founded by Willa of Tuscany, the widow of Hubert of Tuscany.

=== 979 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

March 24 – Second Battle of Pankaleia: An Ibero-Byzantine expeditionary force under General Bardas Phokas (the Younger) inflicts a crushing defeat on the rebels of General Bardas Skleros at Sarvenis (modern Turkey). Skleros manages to escape and founds shelter with his Muslim allies. The rebellion is subdued without difficulty.

====== Europe ======

Vitale Candiano, doge of Venice, abdicates for health reasons after a 14-month reign and retires to a monastery. He is succeeded by Tribuno Memmo, a son-in-law of the murdered Pietro IV Candiano. Tribuno declares a general amnesty for everyone complicit in the plot against Pietro.

June 8 – Louis V, nicknamed le Fainéant (the Do-Nothing), is crowned as the co-emperor of West Francia at Paris by his father, King Lothair. Upon Lothair's death on March 2, 986, Louis becomes the sole ruler.

The city of Brussels is founded by Charles, duke of Lower Lorraine. He constructs fortifications (a castrum on an island) on the Senne River (modern Belgium).

====== England ======

Tynwald (or Tynwald Court), the parliament of the Isle of Man, is founded. It remains active as the longest continuous parliament in the world.

====== Africa ======

Jawhar as-Siqilli is dismissed as vizier of Egypt after an unsuccessful campaign in Syria (near Damascus). He is replaced by Ya'qub ibn Killis.

====== China ======

Battle of Gaoliang River: Emperor Tai Zong leads an expedition into You Prefecture (or Youzhou). The Liao Dynasty counter-attacks and defeats the Song forces near modern-day Beijing.

Summer – Tai Zong invades the Northern Han and besieges the capital of Taiyuan. A relief force sent by the Liao Dynasty is defeated. The Kingdom is absorbed into the Song Dynasty.


Year 973 (CMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 974 (CMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Antipope Boniface VII

Antipope Boniface VII (Franco Ferrucci, died July 20, 985), was an antipope (974, 984–985). He is supposed to have put Pope Benedict VI to death. A popular tumult compelled him to flee to Constantinople in 974; he carried off a vast treasure, and returned in 984 and removed Pope John XIV (983–984) from office. After a brief rule from 984 to 985, he died under suspicious circumstances.

Boniface VII was not yet considered an antipope when the next pope of that same regnal name was elected.

Benedict (given name)

Benedict is a masculine given name, which comes from Late Latin word Benedictus, meaning "blessed". Etymologically it is derived from the Latin words bene ('good') and dicte ('speak'), i.e. "well spoken". The name was borne by Saint Benedict of Nursia (480–547), often called the founder of Western Christian monasticism.

Christianity in the 10th century

By the 10th century, Christianity had spread throughout much of Europe and Asia. The Church of England was becoming well established, with its scholarly monasteries, and the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church were continuing their separation, ultimately culminating in the Great Schism.

Crescentius the Elder

Crescentius the Elder (died 7 July 984) was a politician and aristocrat in Rome who played a part in the papal appointment.

Forgeries of Lorch

The Forgeries of Lorch, also known as Lorch Forgeries, is a collection of forged papal bulls completed in the second half of the 10th century. It is attributed to the Bishop Pilgrim of Passau in 971 to 991 and contained forged epistles that dealt with the definition of the bishopric's jurisdiction.

List of popes

This chronological list of popes corresponds to that given in the Annuario Pontificio under the heading "I Sommi Pontefici Romani" (The Supreme Pontiffs of Rome), excluding those that are explicitly indicated as antipopes. Published every year by the Roman Curia, the Annuario Pontificio attaches no consecutive numbers to the popes, stating that it is impossible to decide which side represented at various times the legitimate succession, in particular regarding Pope Leo VIII, Pope Benedict V and some mid-11th-century popes. The 2001 edition of the Annuario Pontificio introduced "almost 200 corrections to its existing biographies of the popes, from St Peter to John Paul II". The corrections concerned dates, especially in the first two centuries, birthplaces and the family name of one pope.The term pope (Latin: papa, lit. 'father') is used in several Churches to denote their high spiritual leaders (for example Coptic Pope). This title in English usage usually refers to the head of the Catholic Church. The Catholic pope uses various titles by tradition, including Summus Pontifex, Pontifex Maximus, and Servus servorum Dei. Each title has been added by unique historical events and unlike other papal prerogatives, is not incapable of modification.Hermannus Contractus may have been the first historian to number the popes continuously. His list ends in 1049 with Pope Leo IX as number 154. Several changes were made to the list during the 20th century. Antipope Christopher was considered legitimate for a long time. Pope-elect Stephen was considered legitimate under the name Stephen II until the 1961 edition, when his name was erased. Although these changes are no longer controversial, a number of modern lists still include this "first Pope Stephen II". It is probable that this is because they are based on the 1913 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain.

A significant number of these popes have been recognized as saints, including 48 out of the first 50 consecutive popes, and others are in the sainthood process. Of the first 31 popes, 28 died as martyrs (see List of murdered popes).

List of popes who died violently

A collection of popes who have had violent deaths through the centuries. The circumstances have ranged from martyrdom (Pope Stephen I) to war (Lucius II), to a beating by a jealous husband (Pope John XII). A number of other popes have died under circumstances that some believe to be murder, but for which definitive evidence has not been found.

Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor

Otto II (955 – December 7, 983), called the Red (Rufus), was Holy Roman Emperor from 973 until his death in 983. A member of the Ottonian dynasty, Otto II was the youngest and sole surviving son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy.

Otto II was made joint-ruler of Germany in 961, at an early age, and his father named him co-Emperor in 967 to secure his succession to the throne. His father also arranged for Otto II to marry the Byzantine Princess Theophanu, who would be his wife until his death. When his father died after a 37-year reign, the eighteen-year-old Otto II became absolute ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in a peaceful succession. Otto II spent his reign continuing his father's policy of strengthening Imperial rule in Germany and extending the borders of the Empire deeper into southern Italy. Otto II also continued the work of Otto I in subordinating the Catholic Church to Imperial control.

Early in his reign, Otto II defeated a major revolt against his rule from other members of the Ottonian dynasty who claimed the throne for themselves. His victory allowed him to exclude the Bavarian line of the Ottonians from the line of Imperial succession. This strengthened his authority as Emperor and secured the succession of his own son to the Imperial throne.

With domestic affairs settled, Otto II would focus his attention from 980 onward to annexing the whole of Italy into the Empire. His conquests brought him into conflict with the Byzantine Empire and with the Muslims of the Fatimid Caliphate, who both held territories in southern Italy. After initial successes in unifying the southern Lombard principalities under his authority and in conquering Byzantine-controlled territory, Otto II's campaigns in southern Italy ended in 982 following a disastrous defeat by the Muslims. While he was preparing to counterattack Muslim forces, a major uprising by the Slavs broke out in 983, forcing the Empire to abandon its major territorial holdings east of the Elbe river.

Otto II died suddenly in 983 at the age of 28 after a ten-year reign. He was succeeded as Emperor by his three-year-old son Otto III, plunging the Empire into a political crisis.

Papal appointment

Papal appointment was a medieval method of selecting a pope. Popes have always been selected by a council of Church fathers, however, Papal selection before 1059 was often characterized by confirmation or "nomination" by secular European rulers or by their predecessors. The later procedures of the papal conclave are in large part designed to constrain the interference of secular rulers which characterized the first millennium of the Roman Catholic Church, and persisted in practices such as the creation of crown-cardinals and the jus exclusivae. Appointment might have taken several forms, with a variety of roles for the laity and civic leaders, Byzantine and Germanic emperors, and noble Roman families. The role of the election vis-a-vis the general population and the clergy was prone to vary considerably, with a nomination carrying weight that ranged from near total to a mere suggestion or ratification of a prior election.

The institution has its origins in late antiquity, where on more than one occasion the emperor stepped in to resolve disputes over the legitimacy of papal contenders. An important precedent from this period is an edict of Emperor Honorius, issued after a synod he convoked to depose Antipope Eulalius. The power passed to (and grew with) the King of the Ostrogoths, then the Byzantine Emperor (or his delegate, the Exarch of Ravenna). After an interregnum, the Kings of the Franks and the Holy Roman Emperor (whose selection the pope also sometimes had a hand in), generally assumed the role of confirming the results of papal elections. For a period (today known as the "saeculum obscurum"), the power passed from the Emperor to powerful Roman nobles—the Crescentii and then the Counts of Tusculum.

In many cases, the papal coronation was delayed until the election had been confirmed. Some antipopes were similarly appointed. The practice ended with the conclusion of the Investiture Controversy (c.f. confirmation of bishops) due largely to the efforts of Cardinal Hildebrand (future Pope Gregory VII), who was a guiding force in the selection of his four predecessors, and the 1059 papal bull In Nomine Domini of Pope Nicholas II; some writers consider this practice to be an extreme form of "investiture" in and of itself.Although the practice was forbidden by the Council of Antioch (341) and the Council of Rome (465), the bishops of Rome, as with other bishops, often exercised a great deal of control over their successor, even after the sixth century. In addition, most popes from the fourth to twelfth century were appointed or confirmed by a secular power.

Papal selection before 1059

There was no fixed process for papal selection before 1059. Popes, the bishops of Rome and the leaders of the Catholic Church, were often appointed by their predecessors or secular rulers. While the process was often characterized by some capacity of election, an election with the meaningful participation of the laity was the exception to the rule, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later give rise to the jus exclusivae, a veto right exercised by Catholic monarchies into the twentieth century.

The lack of an institutionalized process for papal succession was prone to religious schism, and several papal claimants before 1059 are currently regarded by the Church as antipopes. Furthermore, the frequent requirement of secular approval of elected popes significantly lengthened periods of sede vacante and weakened the papacy. In 1059, Pope Nicholas II succeeded in limiting future papal electors to the cardinals with In nomine Domini, creating standardized papal elections that would eventually evolve into the papal conclave.

Pope Benedict

Benedict has been the regnal name of sixteen Roman Catholic popes. The name is derived from the Latin benedictus, meaning "blessed"

Pope Benedict I (575–579)

Pope Benedict II (684–685)

Pope Benedict III (855–858)

Pope Benedict IV (900–903)

Pope Benedict V (964)

Pope Benedict VI (972–974)

Pope Benedict VII (974–983)

Pope Benedict VIII (1012–1024)

Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, 1045–1046 & 1047–1048)

Pope Benedict XI (1303–1304)

Pope Benedict XII (1334–1342)

Pope Benedict XIII (1724–1730)

Pope Benedict XIV (1740–1758)

Pope Benedict XV (1914–1922)

Pope Benedict XVI (2005–2013) – Now pope emeritus (born 1927)Additionally, four antipopes have used the name Benedict:

Antipope Benedict X (1058–1059) – Several cardinals alleged that his election was irregular and he was deposed. His papacy, though later declared illegitimate, has been taken into account in the conventional numbering of subsequent Popes who took the same name.

Antipope Benedict XIII (1394–1423)

Antipope Benedict XIV (1424–1429) & (1430–1437) – Two individuals

Pope Benedict VII

Pope Benedict VII (Latin: Benedictus VII; d. October 983) was Pope from October 974 to his death in 983.

Benedict was born in Rome, the son of David or Deodatus (brother of Alberic II of Spoleto). His date of birth is not known with certainty, but it is known that he was related to Prince Alberic II and connected to the Conti family. Before his election to the papacy, he had previously served as Bishop of Sutri.He was elected by the Roman clergy and people in October 974 under the influence of Sicco, imperial envoy of Emperor Otto II. He succeeded to the papacy as a compromise candidate to replace antipope Boniface VII (974, 984–985). Boniface, who had caused the death of Pope Benedict VI, usurped the pontificate, and in a month plundered the Vatican of its most valuable contents. He then escaped to Constantinople.The new pope's authority was opposed by Boniface VII and his supporters, and although the antipope himself was forced to flee, his party followed fiercely in his footsteps and compelled Benedict to call upon Otho II for help. Once he was firmly established on his throne by the emperor, he showed himself both desirous of checking the tide of simony which was rising high in the Church, and of advancing the cause of monasticism.Benedict VII consecrated the priest James, who had been sent to him by the people of Carthage "to help the wretched province of Africa," which since the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, had seen a steep decline in the number of bishops. Benedict VII visited the city of Orvieto with his nephew Filippo Alberici, who later settled there and became consul of the city in 1016. In 978 Benedict issued a bull defining the boundaries of the diocese of Vic for bishop Froia, thereby rescinding the bulls issued by Pope John XIII that had made Vic an archdiocese. In March 981, Benedict presided over a synod in St Peter's that prohibited simony. In September 981, he convened a Lateran Synod.

Benedict VII died in the year 984, and was interred at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.

Pope Donus II

Pope Donus II was a non-existent pope who was at one time shown in the official lists of popes.

He was mistakenly inserted after Pope Benedict VI. The name comes from a confusion of the title domnus (dominus) and the Roman name Donus (LP II, XVIII, and 256).

Pope John XIII

Pope John XIII can also refer to Pope John XIII of Alexandria.Pope John XIII (Latin: Ioannes XIII; d. 6 September 972) was Pope from 1 October 965 to his death in 972. His pontificate was caught up in the continuing conflict between the Emperor, Otto I, and the Roman nobility.

War of the Three Henries (977–978)

The War of the Three Henries was a brief rebellion of three German princes, all called Henry, against Emperor Otto II in 977–978.

In 973 Otto II had succeeded his father Emperor Otto I without disturbances. However, like his father he had to cope with a restless Saxon nobility, hostile towards his "foreign" consort Theophanu, and the unstable conditions in Italy culminating in the murder of Pope Benedict VI in 974. He attempted at a conciliation with his Ottonian cousin Duke Henry II of Bavaria, however Henry—not for nothing called "the Wrangler"—challenged the Emperor by enthroning his Luitpolding relative Henry I as Bishop of Augsburg in 973 with the aid of Duke Burchard III of Swabia. Otto had to approve the installation; when Duke Burchard III died in the same year, he denied the Burcharding heritage claims vesting his nephew Otto I with the Duchy of Swabia. This enfeoffment in turn was considered as an affront by Henry the Wrangler. He forged an alliance with Duke Boleslaus II of Bohemia and Mieszko I of Poland but chose to submit before armed conflicts occurred.

Temporarily imprisoned in Ingelheim, Duke Henry returned to Bavaria in 976 and continued to plot against Otto, even scheming with Saxon nobles like Margrave Gunther of Merseburg, Egbert the One-Eyed or Dedo I of Wettin. Otto marched against Bavaria and occupied Henry's residence in Regensburg; the duke had to flee to the court of his ally Boleslaus II of Bohemia. In Regenburg, Otto declared Henry deposed and decreed the separation of the Carinthian lands from Bavaria, about a third of the duchy's territory. He enfeoffed his nephew Otto I, Duke of Swabia since 973, with remaining Bavaria and vested the Luitpolding scion Henry the Younger with the newly established Duchy of Carinthia.

In June 977 King Lothair III surprised Otto by taking his army of nearly 20,000 against Aachen. Otto fled to Dortmund to prepare a response. In September Otto counter-invaded the West Frankish Kingdom, capturing Reims, Soissons, Laon and laying siege to Paris. But plague and the onset of winter forced Otto to lift the siege and withdraw back to Germany. Lothair gave chase and destroyed the German rearguard.The next year the conflict escalated: while the emperor's troop invaded the Duchy of Bohemia and enforced the submission by Duke Boleslaus II, a new conspiracy arose in Bavaria. The conspirators—Bishop Henry I of Augsburg, the recently deposed Henry the Wrangler, and the Carinthian duke Henry I the Younger— even had the support of the Church. Emperor Otto could rely on the support by his nephew Otto I, then Duke of Swabia and Bavaria, and attacked Passau, where the rebels had assembled. Finally in September, the town surrendered due to his siege tactics, which included a bridge of boats. At the Easter court of 978, at Magdeburg, the three insurrectionists were punished. Both dukes were banished: Henry the Wrangeler was imprisoned in the custody of Bishop Folcmar of Utrecht; Henry of Carinthia lost his duchy to the Salian count Otto of Worms, son of Conrad the Red, the former Duke of Lotharingia. Bishop Henry was arrested in Werden Abbey but released in July.

The chief result of the conflict was the complete subjection of Bavaria: henceforth it was no longer the indisputably greatest of the stem duchies. Unlike his father, Otto II made no attempt to reconcile with the Bavarian branch of his dynasty: Duke Henry's minor son and heir Henry II was sent to the Bishop of Hildesheim in order to prepare for an ecclesisatical career. His father Henry the Wrangler was not released until the emperor's death in 983.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
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