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Innocent VIII

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Innocent VIII

Pope
Innocent VIII
Papacy began 29 August 1484
Papacy ended 25 July 1492
Predecessor Sixtus IV
Successor Alexander VI
Orders
Created Cardinal 7 May 1473
Personal details
Birth name Giovanni Battista Cybo or Cibo
Born 1432
Genoa, Republic of Genoa
Died 25 July 1492(1492-07-25)
Rome, Papal States
Other popes named Innocent
Papal styles of
Pope Innocent VIII
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style None

Pope Innocent VIII (Latin: Innocentius VIII; 1432 – 25 July 1492), born Giovanni Battista Cybo (or Cibo), was the head of the Catholic Church from 29 August 1484 to his death in 1492.

Early years

Giovanni Battista Cybo (or Cibo) was born in Genoa of Greek ancestry,[1][2][3][4][5] the son of Arano Cybo or Cibo (c. 1375-c. 1455) and his wife Teodorina de Mari (c. 1380-). His paternal grandparents were Maurizio Cybo and his wife Saeacina Marocelli. Arano Cybo was a senator in Rome under Pope Calixtus III (1455–58). Giovanni Battista's early years were spent at the Neapolitan court, and subsequently he went to Padua and Rome for his education.

Career

In Rome he became a priest in the retinue of cardinal Calandnini, half-brother to Pope Nicholas V (1447–55). The influence of his friends procured for him, from Pope Paul II (1464–71), the bishopric of Savona, and in 1473, with the support of Giuliano Della Rovere, later Pope Julius II, he was made cardinal by Pope Sixtus IV, whom he succeeded on 29 August 1484 as Pope Innocent VIII.

The papal conclave of 1484 was riven with faction, while gangs rioted in the streets. Cardinal Giuliano did not have sufficient votes at the conclave to be elected, so he turned his energies towards the election of Cybo, whom he was confident that he could control.

Shortly after his coronation Innocent VIII addressed a fruitless summons to Christendom to unite in a crusade against the infidels. The amount of his own zeal may in some degree be estimated from the fact that in 1489, in consideration of a yearly stipend of 40,000 ducats and a gift of the Holy Lance, he consented to favor Bayazid II by detaining the Sultan's fugitive brother Cem in close confinement in the Vatican.

Against witchcraft


On the request of German inquisitor Heinrich Kramer, Innocent VIII issued the papal bull Summis desiderantes (5 December 1484), which supported Kramer's investigations against magicians and witches:

"It has recently come to our ears, not without great pain to us, that in some parts of upper Germany, [...] Mainz, Köln, Trier, Salzburg, and Bremen, many persons of both sexes, heedless of their own salvation and forsaking the catholic faith, give themselves over to devils male and female, and by their incantations, charms, and conjurings, and by other abominable superstitions and sortileges, offences, crimes, and misdeeds, ruin and cause to perish the offspring of women, the foal of animals, the products of the earth, the grapes of vines, and the fruits of trees, as well as men and women, cattle and flocks and herds and animals of every kind, vineyards also and orchards, meadows, pastures, harvests, grains and other fruits of the earth; that they afflict and torture with dire pains and anguish, both internal and external, these men, women, cattle, flocks, herds, and animals, and hinder men from begetting [...]"[6]

Kramer would later write the polemic Malleus Maleficarum in 1486, which stated that witchcraft was to blame for bad weather. These remarks are included in Part 2, Chapter XV, which is entitled: "How they Raise and Stir up Hailstorms and Tempests, and Cause Lightning to Blast both Men and Beasts":[7][8]

"Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that, just as easily as they raise hailstorms, so can they cause lightning and storms at sea; and so no doubt at all remains on these points."

Both the papal letter appended to the work and the supposed endorsement of Cologne University for it are problematic. The letter of Innocent VIII is not an approval of the book to which it was appended, but rather a charge to inquisitors to investigate diabolical sorcery and a warning to those who might impede them in their duty, that is, a papal letter in the by then conventional tradition established by John XXII and other popes through Eugenius IV and Nicholas V (1447–55)[9]

Other events

In 1487, Innocent confirmed Tomas de Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor of Spain. He also urged a crusade against the Waldensians, offering plenary indulgence to all who should engage in it. In 1486, he became convinced that 13 of the 900 theses of Pico Mirandola were heretical and the book was interdicted.[10]

In Rome he built for summer use the Belvedere of the Vatican, on an unarticulated slope above the Vatican Palace, which his successor would turn into the Cortile del Belvedere. In season, he hunted at Castello della Magliana, which he enlarged. Invariably short of money, he institutionalized simony at the papal court, creating new titles of offices that were discreetly auctioned.

After a shaky peace of 1486 with King Ferdinand I of Naples failed and Ferdinand repeatedly refused to pay the tariff for his investiture, Innocent excommunicated him in 1489 and invited King Charles VIII of France to come to Italy with an army and take possession of the Kingdom of Naples, a disastrous political event for the Italian peninsula as a whole. The immediate conflict was not ended until 1494, after Innocent VIII's death.

An important event that coincided with Innocent's pontificate was the fall of Granada in January 1492, which was celebrated in the Vatican with great rejoicings. Innocent granted Ferdinand II of Aragon the epithet "Catholic Majesty."

Slavery

Minnich (2005) notes that the position of Renaissance popes towards slavery, a common institution in contemporary cultures, varied. Minnich states that those who allowed the slave trade did so in the hope of gaining converts to Christianity.[11] In the case of Innocent he permitted trade with Barbary merchants in which foodstuffs would be given in exchange for slaves who could then be converted to Christianity.[11]

King Ferdinand of Aragon gave Innocent 100 Moorish slaves who shared them out with favoured Cardinals.[12] The slaves of Innocent were called "moro", meaning "dark-skinned man", in contrast to negro slaves who were called "moro nero".[13]

Family

Innocent VIII died on 25 July 1492 leaving behind him two illegitimate children born before he entered the clergy [14] "towards whom his nepotism had been as lavish as it was shameless" [15] In 1487 he married his elder son Franceschetto Cybo (d. 1519) to Maddalena de' Medici (1473–1528), the daughter of Lorenzo de' Medici, who in return obtained the cardinal's hat for his thirteen-year-old son Giovanni, later Pope Leo X. His daughter Teodorina Cybo married Gerardo Usodimare and had a daughter. Savonarola chastised him for his worldly ambitions.[16]

See also

  • Cardinals created by Innocent VIII

References

  • "Black Africans in Renaissance Europe", N. H Minnich, Thomas Foster Earle, K. J. P. Lowe, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-521-81582-7
  • "For the glory of God: how monotheism led to reformations, science, witch-hunts, and the end of slavery", Rodney Stark, p. 330, Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-691-11436-6
  • "The problem of slavery in Western culture", David Brion Davis, Oxford University Press US, 1988, ISBN 0-19-505639-6 [17]

Notes

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Giovanni Arcimboldi
Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
1484
Succeeded by
Giovanni Michiel
Preceded by
Sixtus IV
Pope
29 August 1484 – 25 July 1492
Succeeded by
Alexander VI

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