Silvester IV


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(antipope 18 Nov. 1105–12Apr. 1111: d. ?)

In Nov. 1105 an attempt was made to set up another pope in place of Paschal II. Those involved were probably not, as commonly stated, adherents of the late antipope Clement III but imperially minded malcontents belonging to the Roman aristocracy, chiefly the Varuncii. Meeting in Sta Maria Rotonda (the Pantheon) and alleging that Paschal was guilty of simony and heresy, they elected Maginulf, archpriest of S. Angelo. Nothing reliable is known about him; Paschal stated that he was a stranger to Rome and that he had no idea who had ordained him, while his enemies accused him of dabbling in magic. Things cannot have gone according to plan, for his partisans had to appeal for help to Count Werner of Ancona. No doubt hoping to do Emperor Henry V (1106–25) a service, Werner came at once to Rome with a contingent of soldiers. Paschal being outside Rome itself in the Leonine city, Maginulf went under Werner's protection to the Lateran and was there consecrated and enthroned on 18 Nov. as Silvester IV. On Paschal's return there was a period of bloody fighting in which the usurper's troops more than once soundly defeated the pope's. When Silvester's money ran out, however, his following crumbled away and he found himself obliged to leave the city. After a short stay at Tivoli, he settled under Werner's tutelage at Osimo (prov. of Ancona). Here he lived in obscurity until spring 1111 when Henry V, wishing to put pressure on Paschal, had him brought to his camp near Rome as a warning to the pope that, if he did not fall in with the king's wishes, there was a rival at hand to replace him. Once he had obtained what he wanted, Henry dropped him; on 12 Apr., on the king's orders, he renounced all claim to the papacy and promised obedience to Paschal. He passed the remainder of his life under the care of his patron Werner. It is not known when he died.

Further Reading

LP ii. 298, 348 f.JW i. 773 f.MGConst i: 146 nr. 98MGSS 19: 281 f. (Ann. Ceccanenses)C. Servatius, Paschalis II (Stuttgart, 1979), 43, 71–4, 220, 232, 245, 251Levillain iii. 1423 (G. Schwaiger)

Subjects: Christianity.

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