ALEXANDER, the name of eight Popes.
1. Alexander I, bishop of Rome about 109 A.D., recorded on the list of Popes by all the chronicles except Optatus Milevitanus. He confirmed, some say introduced, the rite of using unleavened bread for the Eucharist, of blessing water with salt, and certain rubrics in the mass. He died a martyr's death.
2. Alexander II, Anselmo Baggio, a native of Milan; he lived for some time at the court of Henry III, and in 1056 or 1057 became bishop of Lucca. In 1059 he became papal legate at Milan, and 1 Oct: 1061, through the zeal of Hildebrand, he was raised to the papal throne, consequently the imperial party elected Bishop Cadaloiis of Parma, a rival Pope, as Honorius II. Alexander was driven by him in 1062 from the vicinity of Rome. He then with drew to Lucca, and on the decision of the contest by Bishop Burchard of Halberstadt he was sent by the German court to Italy and rec ognized as Pope. At the Council of Mantua in 1604, with the assistance of Anno of Cologne, he got possession of Rome against his rival. His reign, under the influence of Hildebrand, carried out the reform of the churches and their emancipation from secular control. When Henry IV wished a divorce from his wife Ber tha, Alexander, through his legate, Cardinal Pietros Damiana, decided against him and sum moned the King to Rome to answer for his crimes, but shortly after he died, 21 April 1073.
3. Alexander III (d. 1181), Rolando Ranuci; Pope, 1159-81. His career is histori tally important because of his vigorous pros ecution, in opposition to Frederick Barbarossa, of the policies begun by Hildebrand. Three anti-Popes Victor IV, Pascal III and Calix tus III had been confirmed in succession by the Emperor. Alexander succeeded, and after the decisive victory at Legnano compelled Fred erick's submission. The papal struggle was carried on in England by Thomas a Becket, ending in a victory for Alexander. William the Lion, of Scotland, was excommunicated for opposing him. Important decrees were issued by Alexander III, safeguarding ecclesiastical powers and privileges 4. Alexander IV, Pope 1254-61; a man of great gifts, which, however, were of little avail in his unfortunate times. His administration is signalized by attempts to unite the Greek and Roman Churches, and the establishment of the Inquisition in France (1255). He was the nephew of Gregory IX. In his battle with Manfred of Sicily, he suffered bitter humilia tions and, deserted by his bishops, was obliged to escape from Rome. He died in Viterbo in 1261.
5. Alexander V, Pietro Philargi, of Can dia. He was for some time professor in Paris, and in 1402 was made archbishop of Milan, and in 1404 cardinal. In 1409 after the deposition of the rival Popes, Gregory XII and Ben edict XIII, he was elected Pope by the cardinals at the Council of Pisa, but was recognized by only a part of Christendom. He forbade the teaching of Wyclif in Bohemia and prohibited Huss from preaching even in private chapels. He died at the age of 70, and it was supposed by some, though without foundation, that he was poisoned by his successor, Balthasar Cossa (Pope John XXIII).
6. Alexander VI, Roderick Llancol, was born at Cativa in the diocese of Valencia, in Spain, 1 Jan. 1431: He assumed the name Bor
gia when his uncle of that name became Pope as Calixtus III. After studying law he entered the papal court and was advanced rapidly, be coming commendatory archbishop of Valencia, cardinal deacon and vice-chancellor of the Church in Rome. Appointed cardinal-bishop of Albano in 1476, he was ordained priest in that year. By the unanimous consent of the cardinal electors he was crowned Pope 11 Aug. 1492. His administration was a remarkable one. He cleared Rome of the bandits who had infested the city; held court every Wednesday; estab lished the Congregation of the Index for the of books; repressed the insolence and rapacity of the Roman nobility; put a stop to the falsification of ecclesiastical docu ments; drew up measures for the reformation of ecclesiastical discipline; co-operated with European rulers in their projects against the inroads of the Saracens; effected peace be tween the kings of Spain and Portugal by re partitioning between them their discoveries in the New World; provided missionaries for preaching the gospel in newly explored coun tries; approved and confirmed several religious congregations; restored discipline in the Church in Flanders; suppressed magic in Germany and Bohemia; popularized the custom introduced by Calixtus III of saying the Angelus at midday; encouraged arts, particularly painting and literature; put an end to the famines which had so often visited Rome; and issued many noted bulls, letters and other papal documents, which alone show that he was a man of extraordi nary genius and power. He is charged by his torians like Guicciardini and Burchard, and more modem writers who follow them, of licentiousness before his ordination to the priesthood, of simony, nepotism and cruelty as Pope. It is difficult to reconcile all the crimes attributed to him with his high qualities and distinguished deeds. Of late years the tendency of moderate historians is to exonerate him from many extreme charges, to extenuate the faults of his youth and cast doubt on the serious accusations brought against him as Pope.
7. Alexander VII, Fabio Chigi, of Siena, was, during the treaties of peace at Miinster and Osnabruck, papal nuncio in Germany. He was chosen Pope 7 April 1665, through the influence of France. In 1161, in spite of the protests of the Jansenists, he confirmed the condemnation of the five Jansenist dogmas which had been condemned by his predecessor, Innocent X. Later he fell into controversy with Louis XIV. During his rule Rome was beautified in many directions, especially by the colonnade before Saint Peter's. He was himself a poet and friend of the arts and sciences. A collection of his poems appeared in 1656.
. 8. Alexander VIII (1610-91), Pietro Ot toboni, of Venice; Pope 1689-91; assisted Italy in wars against the Turks. Through the pur chase of the library of Queen Christina of Sweden he enriched the Vatican with 1,900 precious manuscripts. The collection is known as the Ottobonian Library. Consult Cam bridge, 'Modern History) (Vol. I) ; Hefele, 'History of the Councils); Parsons, 'Studies in Church History); Pastor, 'History of the Popes.'