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Adrian IV (pope)

Adrian IV, d. 1159, pope (1154–59), an Englishman (the only English pope), b. Nicholas Breakspear at Langley, near St. Albans. He was successor of Anastasius IV. At an early age he went to France. There he became an Augustinian canon and later an abbot. Pope Eugene III made him cardinal bishop of Albano and sent him to Scandinavia to organize the church. After his election to the papacy, Adrian defeated (1155) opposition of Arnold of Brescia. He crowned (1155) Frederick I but fell into conflict with Frederick when the emperor, disregarding the Concordat of Worms, invested (1158 or 1159) imperial favorites in the archbishoprics of Cologne and Ravenna. To make peace (1156) with William of Sicily, who had invaded papal territory, Adrian acknowledged William's titles to Sicily, Apulia, and Capua. This angered Frederick, who had designs on the Two Sicilies, but it served to protect the Papal States against further imperial encroachments. Frederick's expressed intention to assume the government of Rome almost brought him excommunication. Adrian, forced by imperial intrigues to leave Rome, died before he could pronounce sentence. The historicity of Adrian's donation of Ireland, as a papal fief, to Henry II of England is the subject of scholarly dispute. He was succeeded by Alexander III.

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Adrian IV

Adrian IV (c.1100–59). Name taken by Nicholas Breakspear, still the only Englishman to be elected pope. After studying at Paris, he became abbot of St Rufus in Avignon and then a cardinal in 1149. As papal legate to Scandinavia in 1152–3, he reorganized the churches there. Elected pope in 1154, he soon found himself at odds with the Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa). In 1155–6 he granted lordship over Ireland to Henry II. According to a papal bull (known from its opening word as Laudabiliter), Adrian made the grant so that Henry could reform ‘a rough and ignorant people’—and scholars still debate whether or not the bull is a forgery.

John Gillingham

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Adrian IV

Adrian IV (c.1100–59). The first and so far only Englishman to be pope. He was born Nicholas Breakspear, and after education partly in France, he became a monk near Avignon. In 1137, he was elected abbot. In 1150–3 he was papal legate in Scandinavia, where his skill in reordering the church led him to be called ‘The Apostle of the North’. He was elected pope in 1154. In the conflicts of the time, he sought an alliance with the German king, Frederick I Barbarossa, crowning him in front of his army as Holy Roman Emperor in 1155, in a ceremony designed to emphasize Frederick's subservient position.

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Adrian IV

Adrian IV (c.1100–59) Pope (1154–59), b. Nicholas Breakspear. The only English pope, Adrian crowned Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) in 1155.

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