Anacletus II, Antipope
ANACLETUS II, ANTIPOPE
Pontificate: Feb. 14, 1130–Jan. 25, 1138. Born around 1090 into one of the richest and most powerful Roman families, Peter Pierleoni was a student in Paris and a monk of Cluny. In 1111 or 1112 he was made cardinal deacon of SS. Cosmas and Damian by Paschal II (1099–1118). Peter was a leader among the cardinals who elected Callistus II (1119–24) at Cluny, and was promoted to cardinal priest of St. Maria in Trastevere in 1120. In 1121 he was papal legate to England and in 1122 and 1123 to France. A strong opponent of imperial involvement in questions of investiture, nothing else is heard of him until the disputed election that would make him anti-pope.
Pope Honorius (1124–30) was gravely ill and had been moved by the papal chancellor, Aimeric, from the Lateran to the monastery of St. Gregory on the Caelian hill. This part of the city was controlled by the Frangipani family. During the night of February 13, Honorius died and was quickly buried so an election could be held immediately. By morning a minority of 16 cardinals, led by Aimeric, had elected and consecrated Gregorio Papareschi as Pope Innocent II (1130–43). In response to what they perceived as treachery, the majority of cardinals met later that day in St. Mark's (February 14) and elected Peter Pierleoni, who took the name Anacletus II, a reference to a martyr-pope of the early church. These two irregular elections began an eight-year schism. In addition to the old rivalry between the Frangipani and the Pierleoni, most of Innocent's supporters were younger cardinals from northern Italy and France, while most of Anacletus' cardinals represented an older generation within the Curia and came from Rome and southern Italy. There was also the memory of Aimeric's support of Leo Frangipani and his troops, who compelled the previous papal conclave to elect Honorius by force of arms.
Initially, it appeared that Anacletus would prevail. He sent letters appealing for support to the German and French kings. Anacletus was in a strong position since he had the support of the majority of the cardinals and the Roman people. It even appears that the Frangipani temporarily joined his side. Soon Rome became too dangerous for Innocent. He left with Aimeric for France, where the two appealed to major European figures with letters of their own. Innocent was recognized by most western kings and the emperor Lothair (1125–37) largely because of the support of Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), who had exchanged letters with Aimeric for many years. Also both Aimeric and Innocent were early supporters of the Cistercians and Premonstratensians, new but influential orders. Soon only Scotland, Aquitaine, Milan, and southern Italy recognized Anacletus. He secured the obedience of southern Italy when he recognized Duke Roger II of Sicily (1095–1154) as king of Sicily, Calabria, and Apulia overlord of Capua, Naples, and Benevento; in effect making Roger the first King of the Two Sicilies (September 27).
After 1133 Anacletus lost even this support. In that year Lothair came to Italy with Innocent, but they lacked the troops to oust Anacletus, who remained secure in the Castel Sant' Angelo. Soon Lothair left the city and Innocent was forced to flee to Pisa. Anacletus held out in Rome for the next five years. However, he lost Milan in 1136 through the influence of Bernard of Clairvaux, and many of his leading supporters (including Peter of Pisa, an important canonist) abandoned his defense in a series of debates sponsored by Roger in Salerno during November and December 1137. This again was largely due to Bernard's influence. Anacletus died not long afterward in Rome, Jan. 25, 1338. His followers elected Victor IV (1138) to a brief reign as successor. While Peter Pierleoni continues to be seen as having been quite willing to use his family's considerable wealth to secure position, there is an increasing consensus that he has been unfairly branded a reprobate by his enemies. Recognizing the bitter divisions within the college of cardinals at the time and the irregular nature of both elections in 1130, recent scholarship has in some respects restored his reputation.
Bibliography: l. duchesne, ed. Liber Pontificalis (Paris 1886–92; repr. 1955–57) 2.313, 317, 322–28, 379–83, 410, 449, 543. p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum Romanorum (Leipzig 1885–88; repr. Graz 1956) 1.911–19. j. p. migne, ed. Patrologia Latina (Paris 1844–64) 179.687–732. peter the deacon, Chronica monasterii Cassinensis 4.103–29 in Monumenta Germaniae historica, Scriptores 34.564–607 passim (also in older MGH SS edition, 7.816–44 passim). l. duchesne, The Beginnings of the Temporal Sovereignty of the Popes (London 1908). e. vacandard, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1914) 2.1408–19. h. w. klewitz, "Das Ende des Reformpapstums," Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 3 (1939) 371–412. p. f. palumbo, "La cancelleria d'Anacleto II," Scritti di paleografia e diplomatica in onore di Vincenzo Federici (Florence 1945). f. j. schmale, Studien zum Schisma des Jahres 1130 (Cologne 1961). m. da bergamo, "La duplice elezione papale del 1130," Contributi dell'istituto de storia medievale 1 (1968) 265–302. s. chodorow, Christian Political Theory and Church Politics in the Mid-Twelfth Century (Berkeley 1972). w. ullmann, The Papacy and Political Ideas in the Middle Ages (London 1976). r. hÜls, Kardinäle, Klerus und Kirchen Roms, 1049–1130 (Tübingen 1977) 189–91, 225. h. dittmann, Lexikon des Mittelalters (Munich 1977) 1.568–69 for additional bibliography. h. fuhrmann, Germany in the High Middle Ages, c. 1050–1200 (Cambridge 1986) 105, 117–22. j.n.d. kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 169–170. m. stroll, The Jewish Pope: Ideology and Politics in the Papal Schism of 1139 (Leiden 1987). i. s. robinson, The Papacy 1073–1198: Continuity and Innovation (Cambridge 1990). p. kerbrat, Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, ed. a. vauchez (Chicago and London 2000) 1.53.
[p. m. savage]