1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Victor

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VICTOR, the name taken by three popes and two antipopes.

Victor I. was bishop of Rome from about 190 to 198. He submitted to the opinion of the episcopate in the various parts of Christendom the divergence between the Easter usage of Rome and that of the bishops of Asia. The bishops, particularly St Irenaeus of Lyons, declared themselves in favour of the usage of Rome, but refused to associate themselves with the excommunication pronounced by Victor against their Asiatic colleagues. At Rome Victor excommunicated Theodotus of Byzantium on account of his doctrine as to the person of Christ. St Jerome attributes to Victor some opuscula in Latin, which are believed to be recognized in certain apocryphal treatises of St Cyprian.

Victor II., the successor of Leo IX., was consecrated in St Peter's, Rome, on the 13th of April 1055. His father was a Swabian baron, Count Hartwig von Calw, and his own baptismal name was Gebhard. At the instance of Gebhard, bishop of Regensburg, uncle of the emperor Henry III., he had been appointed while still a young man to the see of Eichstädt; in this position his great talents soon enabled him to render important services to Henry, whose chief adviser he ultimately became. His nomination to the papacy by Henry, at Mainz, in September 1054, was made at the instance of a Roman deputation headed by Hildebrand, whose policy doubtless was to detach from the imperial interest one of its ablest supporters. In June 1055 Victor met the emperor at Florence, and held a council, which anew condemned clerical marriages, simony and the alienation of the estates of the church. In the following year he was summoned to Germany to the side of the emperor, and was with him when he died at Botfeld in the Harz on the 5th of October 1056. As guardian of Henry's infant son, and adviser of the empress Agnes, Victor now wielded enormous power, which he began to use with much tact for the maintenance of peace throughout the empire and for strengthening the papacy against the aggressions of the barons. He died shortly after his return to Italy, at Arezzo, on the 28th of July 1057. His successor was Stephen IX. (Frederick of Lorraine). (L. D.*)

Victor III. (Dauferius Epifani), pope from the 24th of May 1086 to the 16th of September 1087, was the successor of Gregory VII. He was a son of Landolfo V., prince of Benevento, and was born in 1027. After studying in various monasteries he became provost of St Benedict at Capua, and in 1055 obtained permission from Victor II. to enter the cloister at Monte Cassino, changing his name to Desiderius. He succeeded Stephen IX. as abbot in 1057, and his rule marks the golden age of that celebrated monastery; he promoted literary activity, and established an important school of mosaic. Desiderius was created cardinal priest of Sta Cecilia by Nicholas II. in 1059, and as papal vicar in south Italy conducted frequent negotiations between the Normans and the pope. Among the four men suggested by Gregory VII. on his death-bed as most worthy to succeed him was Desiderius, who was favoured by the cardinals because of his great learning, his connexion with the Normans and his diplomatic ability. The abbot, however, declined the papal crown, and the year 1085 passed without an election. The cardinals at length proclaimed him pope against his will on the 24th of May 1086, but he was driven from Rome by imperialists before his consecration was complete, and, laying aside the papal insignia at Terracina, he retired to his beloved monastery. As vicar of the Holy See he convened a synod at Capua on the 7th of March 1087, resumed the papal insignia on the 21st of March, and received tardy consecration at Rome on the 9th of May. Owing to the presence of the antipope, Clement III. (Guibert of Ravenna), who had powerful partisans, his stay at Rome was brief. He sent an army to Tunis, which defeated the Saracens and compelled the sultan to pay tribute to the papal see. In August 1087 he held a synod at Benevento, which renewed the excommunication of Guibert; banned Archbishop Hugo of Lyons and Abbot Richard of Marseilles as schismatics; and confirmed the prohibition of lay investiture. Falling ill at the synod, Vicar returned to Monte Cassino, where he died on the 16th of September 1087. He was buried at the monastery and is accounted a saint by the Benedictine order. His successor was Urban II.

Victor III., while abbot of Monte Cassino contributed personally to the literary activity of the monastery. He wrote Dialogi de miraculis S. Benedicti, which, along with his Epistolae, are in J. P. Migne, Patrol. Lai. vol. 149, and an account of the miracles of Leo IX. (in Acta Sanctorum, 19th of April). The chief sources for his life are the “Chronica monasterii Casinensis,” in the Mon. Germ. hist. Script, vii., and the Vitae in J. P. Migne, Patrol. Lai. vol. 149, and in J. M. Watterich, Pontif. Roman. Vitae.

See J. Langen, Geschichte der römischen Kirche von Gregor VII. bis Innocenz III. (Bonn, 1893); F. Gregorovius, Rome in the Middle Ages, vol. 4, trans, by Mrs G. W. Hamilton (London, 1900–2); K. J. von Hefele, Conciliengeschichte (2nd ed., 1873–90), vol. 5; Hirsch, “Desiderius von Monte Cassino als Papst Victor III.,” in Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, vol. 7 (Göttingen, 1867); H. H. Milman, History of Latin Christianity, vol. 3 (repub. London, 1899).

Victor IV. was a title taken by two antipopes. (1) Gregorio Conti, cardinal priest of Santi Dodici Apostoli, was chosen by a party opposed to Innocent II. in succession to the antipope Anacletus II., on the 15th of March 1138, but through the influence of Bernard of Clairvaux he was induced to make his submission on the 29th of May. (2) Octavian, count of Tusculum and cardinal deacon of St Nicola in carcere Tulliano, the Ghibelline antipope, was elected at Rome on the 7th of September 1159, in opposition to Alexander III., and supported by the emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Consecrated at Farfa on the 4th of October, Victor was the first of the series of antipopes supported by Frederick against Alexander III. Though the excommunication of Frederick by Alexander in March 1160 made only a slight impression in Germany, this pope was nevertheless able to gain the support of the rest of western Europe, because since the days of Hildebrand the power of the pope over the church in the various countries had increased so greatly that the kings of France and of England could not view with indifference a revival of such imperial control of the papacy as had been exercised by the emperor Henry III. He died at Lucca on the 20th of April 1164 and was succeeded by the antipope Paschal III. (1164–1168).

See M. Meyer, Die Wahl Alexanders III. und Victors IV. 1159 (Göttingen, 1871); and A. Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, Band iv. (C. H. Ha.)