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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. 266-267.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.



A.D. 1009-1012.

SERGIUS the Fourth, a Roman, son of Martin, succeeded; a man of a most holy life and sweet conversation both before and in his pontificate. He was charitable to the poor, cheerful among his friends and acquaintances, merciful to those who were faulty, and mild even with the perverse. Besides, he was so prudent, that in all the time he sat in the 267 chair, nothing was committed which could reflect any charge of negligence upon his government. For placing all his thoughts on Heaven (which all Popes ought to do), and having a mind imbued with much natural goodness, he brought about all things to his mind. By his counsel and advice the princes of Italy entered into a league for driving the Saracens out of Sicily, and accordingly made equal preparations of men.1 There were then in Italy most of the sons of Tancred, the great Duke of Normandy, among whom was William, surnamed Ferrebach, a man of so great courage, that, taking for his companion in the expedition, Malochus, general of the forces of Michael Catalaicus, Emperor of Constantinople, he in a short time cleared that island of Saracens, the princes of Capua and Salerno lending some assistance. Afterward, Malochus using injustice in the division of the spoil, William thought good to dissemble for the time, but returning into Italy with forty thousand Normans who were just come from the Holy War, he seizes upon all Apulia, which was subject to the Greeks, and at Amalfi meets Malochus with his army, fights, and defeats him. And thus by the valour of William the kingdom of Apulia was transferred from the Greeks to the Normans; for he dying without heirs, his brother Drogo succeeded him, and to him succeeded Humphrey, a younger brother, from whom descended Robert Guiscard and his brother Roger. While this passed in Apulia, Italy and almost all the world, too, labouring under a famine and pestilence, the holy man Sergius died in the second year and fifteenth day of his Popedom, and was buried in St Peter’s Church. The see was then vacant eight days.


 1  [Platina has antedated events here: thus Michael did not reign until 1034, and the conquest of Apulia took place 1040. See Gibbon, chap. lvi.]

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Previous Pope: 148. John XVIII. 149. Sergius II. Next Pope: 14. Benedict VIII.

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