Location: Papal States
Surnames/tags: Catholic_Popes Papal States
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The Saeculum Obscurum lasted for sixty years between 904 and 964. This was the time known as the dark age of the Papacy when the popes were strongly influenced by the Theophylacti family and their allies.
Pope Sergius III’s ties with the family of Theophylact, the leading Roman Senator and Count of Tusculum, were made even closer by Sergius’ supposed affair with Theophylact’s daughter, Marozia. This relationship was promoted by Marozia’s mother, Theodora, and the result of this affair was a male child who became Pope John XI (931–935).
It was a time of great immorality in the papacy and was so named by the historian Cardinal Caesar Baronius in his Annales Ecclesiastici, written in the 16th Century. Among his primary sources was Bishop Liutprand of Cremona who wrote Antapodosis sive Res per Europam gestae (958-962).
Popes during the Saeculum Obscurum
The following were popes during the Saeculum Obscurum.
- Pope Sergius III (904-911), alleged lover of Marozia
- Pope Anastasius III (911-913)
- Pope Lando (913-914)
- Pope John X (914-928)
- Pope Leo VI (928-928)
- Pope Stephen VII (928-931)
- Pope John XI (931-935), son of Marozia, alleged son of Pope Sergius III
- Pope Leo VII (936-939)
- Pope Stephen VIII (939-942)
- Pope Marinus II 9942-946)
- Pope Agapetus II (946-955)
- Pope John XII (955-964), grandson of Marozia, by her son Alberic II of Spoleto.