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From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 245-246.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 903.

JOHN the Tenth, a Roman, natural son to Pope Sergius, in the year 909 succeeded. He was, before, Archbishop of Ravenna, and had been deposed by the people in a tumult; but upon the death of Landus, he obtained the papal chair, and showed more of the spirit of a soldier than of a clergyman. Indeed, the Church and all Italy had then need of such a Pope: for the Greeks (as we said before) being vanquished by Landulphus, had called the Saracens into Italy, who, marching through Calabria and Apulia into Lucaia and 246 Campania, threatened sudden destruction to the city of Rome. The nearness of the danger alarmed Pope John, who, taking Albericus, Marquis of Tuscany, to his assistance, musters up an army, fights the Saracens and gets the better, and beats them out of the territories of the city; but not looking upon his victory as considerable unless he followed the pursuit, he attacks them at Minturnæ, upon the shore of the river Garigliano, and conquers them with so great a slaughter, that they resolved to leave Italy, only burning first all those places on that shore which were in their hands. But they altered their minds afterward, and fortifying Mount Gargano, they harassed the country thereabout with their incursions. Meanwhile, John, taking all the honour of this action to himself, makes his entry into Rome after the manner of a triumph, which gave so great a distaste to Albericus, that a tumult arose upon it, in which Albericus was repulsed, and flying to Orta, fortified the town and castle, and enticed the Hungari into Italy, who brought more destruction and ruin upon the country than the Saracens had done before, for they carried away the youth of both sexes, killing all that were stricken in years; nor did they spare the very Tuscans, for whose indemnity Albericus had agreed in the treaty with them; nay, they were more cruel to them than to other Italians, for they burnt and demolished all the towns they had possessed. It is my opinion that Berengarius (who then held Lombardy only) gave them liberty of passage into Tuscany, upon condition they marched quietly through his country without hurting his subjects. But the Hungari having once tasted the sweet spoils of Italy, did frequently visit it afterwards, which calamities so much enraged the Romans, that not being able to wreak their spite upon the enemy, who was too mighty and fierce for them, they took Albericus and beheaded him. John also, in a mutiny of the soldiers, was, by the followers of Count Guido, taken and put in prison.1 In his room another John was put up, but because he seized the chair by force, and was soon deposed, he deserves not to be among the Popes.


 1  Pope John had been the paramour of an infamous woman, possessed of great riches, at Rome, named Theodora. Her daughter, Marozia, wife of Guido, Duke of Tuscany, and as profligate as her mother, after a fierce struggle with John for the mastery of Rome, gained the victory, and is said to have caused him to be murdered in prison. — ED. See

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Previous Pope: 125. Landus. 126. John X. Next Pope: 127. Leo VI.

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