Skip to main content

Marozia Crescentii (885–938)

Marozia Crescentii (885–938)

Ruler of Rome who for four years controlled the papal court . Name variations: Marotia; Marozia the Senatrix. Reigned from 928 to 932. Born in 885 in Rome; died in 938 in Rome; daughter of Theophylact Crescentii also known as Theophylacte (governor of the Roman senate) and Theodora of Rome; married Alberic I of Spoleto, margrave of Camerino and prince of Rome (d. 928); married Marquis Guido also known as Guido of Tuscany and Guy of Tuscany (d. 932); married Hugo also known as Hugh of Provence, king of Italy (r. 926–932); children: at least two sons, Alberic II, prince of the Romans, and John, later Pope John XI, and a daughter Bertha.

Marozia Crescentii was born in 885, the daughter of Theophylacte, governor of the Roman senate, and Theodora of Rome . Upon her father's death around 920, Marozia became head of the household and assumed the titles senatrix and patrician, becoming the omnipotent ruler of Rome. The Italian noblewoman married three times, was reputed to have had numerous lovers, and outlived each of her husbands. Marozia reportedly was also the long-term mistress of the pope Sergius III, who granted her authority in Rome. Around 908, she had given birth to their son John. Through her close connections with many of Italy's most powerful men, Marozia gained power in her own name, supported by the wealth she had inherited from her husbands.

After the death of her first husband Alberic I of Spoleto in 928 and with the help of her stepson and her new husband Marquis Guido of Tuscany, she overthrew and imprisoned Pope John X and took control of the papacy. Until her son John was prepared to succeed, Marozia was instrumental in electing two stopgap popes: the short-lived Leo VI and Stephen VII. She then installed her own son as John XI (931)—a political triumph for a man whose mother was lambasted across Italy for her flagrant adulteries and abuses of power.

Highly intelligent and gifted with a keen mind for politics, Marozia used her other son Alberic II's position to back up her authority. In the summer of 932, now a widow for a second time, she married Guido's half-brother Hugh of Provence, king of Italy (r. 926–932), who was then at the height of his power. But the Romans were unhappy with her marriage to a brother-inlaw, and suspicious of foreign rule. In December 932, incited by her son Alberic II, an armed mob stormed the Castel Sant'Angelo. King Hugh escaped, but Alberic imprisoned his mother and brother John XI, and declared himself prince of Rome. Hugh was eventually exiled in France, John was released and kept under tight ecclesiastical thumb, and Marozia had to exchange the seat of Roman power for a small cell in a convent. She died in isolation about age 52.

sources:

Echols, Anne, and Marty Williams. An Annotated Index of Medieval Women. NY: Markus Wiener, 1992.

Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane, ed. A History of Women in the West, vol. II: Silences of the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Belknap/Harvard, 1992.

Laura York , Riverside, California

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Marozia Crescentii (885–938)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Marozia Crescentii (885–938)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/marozia-crescentii-885-938

"Marozia Crescentii (885–938)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 11, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/marozia-crescentii-885-938

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.