John XII, Pope of Rome
Born c. 937, Octavian was the illegitimate son of Alberic II and was just
18 when elected to the papacy as John XII in 955. Seven years later, Otto
I helped John recover papal lands from Berengarius II, and John crowned
Otto Holy Roman Emperor. However, when Otto
proclaimed the Privilegium Ottonianum,
which declared that the pope is a vassal of the emperor, John
began to plot against him. When Otto came to Rome later that year, John
took the treasury to Tivoli, where he hid from the emperor. When John
failed to appear at a synod that accused him of misconduct, Otto made Leo
VIII pope. In January of 964, John led a rebellion against Otto and the
new pope; John lost. After Otto left Rome the following month, John
regained the city and the papal throne. Otto's return ended John's papacy.
John died in May, and the cause of his death is attributed variously to a
stroke or an outraged husband.
Karen Rae Keck
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