Anastasius III

(c. 911—913)

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(c. Sept. 911–c. Oct. 913)

A Roman by birth, son of Lucian, he was elected and died at dates which cannot be firmly determined. Nothing is known of his earlier career or of the circumstances of his election. At this troubled time Rome was dominated by Theophylact (d. c.920), consul and senator, financial director of the holy see, and his ambitious, energetic wife Theodora the Elder (d. after 916); the papacy itself was effectively controlled by this powerful, unscrupulous family. It is likely that Anastasius too, the mildness of whose rule is praised by the chronicler Flodoard (893/4–966), was subject to its influence and did not exercise much, if any, independent initiative. He did, however, bestow the pallium on Ragimbert, bishop of Vercelli, and at the request of Berengar I, king of Italy (888–924), grant certain honours to the bishop of Pavia; as both were important cities in Berengar's dominions, these actions suggest that the king valued good relations with Rome, and was regarded in a friendly light there. In 912 Anastasius received a lengthy, forcefully expressed letter from Nicholas I Mysticus, now restored as patriarch of Constantinople (912–25), deploring both Rome's attitude in approving Emperor Leo VI's (886–912) fourth marriage in 906 and the behaviour of Sergius III's envoys, and demanding amends. His reply is not known, but Nicholas cannot have found it satisfactory, for he proceeded to remove the pope's name from the diptychs, and a gulf yawned between Rome and Constantinople.

Further Reading

LP ii. 239JW i. 448, 706Flodoard, De Chr. trium. 12. 7 (PL 135: 831)PG 111: 196–220 (Nicholas's letter: No. 32)DBI iii. 24 (P. Bertolini)DHGE ii. 1475 (A. Clerval)EThC 7 (S. Scholz)Levillain i. 44–5 (H. Zimmermann)NCE i. 387–8 (A. J. Ennis)Z2: 43

Subjects: Christianity.

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