Pope Benedict VI
Date of birth unknown; d. August, 974 (see
Ricobaldi of Ferrara, Compil. Chron., in Rer. Ital. SS. IX).
Benedict, Cardinal-Deacon of St. Theodore, a Roman and the son of
Hildebrand, was elected as the successor of John XIII, who died 6
September, 972; but the necessity of waiting for the ratification of
the Emperor Otho delayed his consecration till 19 January, 973.
Nothing is known of his deeds, except that he confirmed the
privileges of some churches and monasteries. The most striking event
of his pontificate is the tragic close. He was seized and thrown into
the Castle of Sant' Angelo by a faction of the nobility headed by
Crescentius and the Deacon Boniface VII. There, after a confinement
of less than two months, he was strangled by their orders, to prevent
his release by Sicco, an imperial envoy, sent to Rome by Otho II.
The most important source for the
history of the first nine popes who bore the name of Benedict is the
biographies in the Liber Pontificalis, of which the most useful
edition is that of Duchesne, Le Liber Pontificalis (Paris, 1886-92),
and the latest that of Mommsen, Gesta Pontif. Roman. (to the end of
the reign of Constantine only, Berlin, 1898). Jaffé, Regesta
Pont. Rom. (2d ed., Leipzig, 1885), gives a summary of the letters of
each pope and tells where they may be read at length. Modern accounts
of these popes will be found in any large Church history, or history
of the City of Rome. The fullest account in English of most of them
is to be read in Mann, Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages
(London, 1902, passim).
Horace K. Mann.