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Theodora the Younger (c. 900–c. 950)

Theodora the Younger (c. 900–c. 950)

Member of the influential Crescentii family and mother of Pope John XIII. Name variations: Theodora II of Rome; Theodora Crescentii the Younger. Born around 900; died around 950; daughter of Theophylactus from Tusculum (died c. 925), also known as Theophylact Crescentii and Theophylacte, governor of the Roman senate, and Theodora of Rome (c. 875–c. 925); sister of Marozia Crescentii; married John (a bishop); children: John (who was Pope John XIII from 965 to 972); Crescentius.

Theodora the Younger, born around 900, was the daughter of Theophylacte and Theodora of Rome , the sister of Marozia Crescentii , and the mother of Pope John XIII and Crescentius. Theodora married one John, who served Rome both as consul and duke and who late in life was made a bishop. Like her mother and sister, Theodora was an active partisan in the politics of Rome, but unlike both, she was not the target of sensationalist slander. John XIII was elevated to the papacy in 965 through the agency of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I. Much of Rome's Patricians resented the influence of the German monarch (which would continue for generations), and John attempted to rein in their influence in the interests of his imperial patron. This generated open hostility, but helped by his brother and an imperial army, John retained his position. The loyalty of his brother Crescentius was rewarded by political preference in Rome. John XIII presided over the imperial accession of Otto II on Christmas day, 967. Despite the help he had given Otto I, Crescentius inaugurated a resistance to Otto II which culminated in a coup, giving him control of Rome (980). After his death (984), his son John Crescentius also maintained opposition to imperial intervention in Rome and controlled the papacy until he was captured and executed by Otto (998). John II Crescentius reinstated his family's control over Rome after Otto III's death (thus continuing its political dominance prominence into a fifth generation) and resurrected his forebears' anti-Germanism.

William Greenwalt , Associate Professor of Classical History, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California

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