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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. 278-279.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.



A.D. 1059-1061.

NICOLAS the Second, a Provençal, at first named Gerard, Bishop of Florence, for his virtue and excellent spirit, upon the expulsion of Benedict (who was not regularly so created) was made Pope at Sienna, and immediately thereupon withdrew to Sutri, where, A.D. 1059, he called a council, whither came not only the bishops, but many of the noblemen of Italy, where he forced Benedict to resign the office and habit of Pope and to retire to Veletri; from hence he went to Rome, where, in the second Lateran Council, he procured a law to be enacted, very wholesome for the Church of Rome, which is to be seen among the decrees, to this purpose, “That if any one, either by simony, or by the favour of any powerful man, or by any tumult either of the people or soldiery, shall be placed in St Peter’s chair, he shall be reputed not apostolical but an apostate, one that transgresses the rules even of common reason; and that it shall be lawful for the cardinals, clergy, and devout laity, with weapons both spiritual and material, by anathemas, and by any human aid, 279 him to drive out and depose; and that catholics may assemble for this end in any place whatsoever, if they cannot do it in the city.” In the same council Berengarius, deacon of the Church of Anjou, was reclaimed from his error concerning the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the bread and wine, whereof he affirmed the true and entire body and blood of Christ was not present, but only by a sign, figure, or mystery; which error at the instance and persuasion of Nicolas and Albericus a deacon, a very learned man, he recanted, affirming the Eucharist to be the true and entire body and blood of Christ. We have said that this error was condemned by Leo IX. but never amended, the praise of which belongs wholly to Nicolas, as Lanfranc writes, a man at that time very learned, who in an excellent work of his confuted the tenets of Berengarius. While these things were acted at Rome by Pope Nicolas, Godfrey the Norman, who succeeded his brother Drogo in the earldom of Apulia and Calabria, dying, left his son Bagelardus his heir, which Robert Guiscard, his brother (as some will have it), not liking, he drove out his nephew and seized upon the earldom, taking in Troia also, which had long been subject to the see of Rome. At this the Pope was not a little enraged at Robert, till by his invitation taking a journey into Apulia, whatsoever the Church had lost was returned again, and then he not only took Robert into favour, but making him a feudatory of the Church, he was constituted Duke of Calabria and Apulia. After this receiving of him a great assistance of forces and returning to the city, he subdued the Prenestines, Tusculans, and Nomentans, who had revolted from the Church; and crossing the Tiber he sacked Galese, and took in other castles of Count Gerard as far as Sutri, rendering the territories of Rome hereby much more secure. It is written also that Henry IV. was crowned by Nicolas with the imperial diadem, and out of gratitude for it all his time never attempted any thing against holy Church. But Nicolas having concluded this life with great praise of all men, died when he had been Pope three years, six months, and twenty-six days.1 The see was then vacant three months.


 1  [It was in this Pontificate settled that henceforward the election of the Popes should be made by the cardinals.]

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Previous Pope: 160. Benedict X. 161. Nicolas II. Next Pope: 162. Alexander II.

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