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Pope John XVI

pope

979

After the death of Otho II., his son, Otho III., was elected Emperor, and crowned by Pope Gregory V., in the year of Christ 979, and this Otho reigned twenty-four years. After that he was crowned, he went into Apulia on pilgrimage to Mount S. Angelo, and afterwards returned by way of France into Germany, leaving Italy in good and peaceful estate. But when he was returned to Germany, Crescentius, the consul and lord of Rome, drave away the said Gregory from the papacy, and set a Greek therein, which was bishop of Piacenza, and very wise; but when the Emperor Otho heard this he was very wrath, and with his army returned to Italy, and besieged in Rome the said Crescentius and his Pope in the castle of S. Angelo, for therein had they taken refuge; and he took the said castle by siege, and caused Crescentius to be beheaded, and Pope John XVI. to have his eyes put out, and his hands cut off; and he restored his Pope Gregory to his chair, which was his kinsman by race; and leaving Rome and Italy in good estate, he returned to his country of Germany, and there-70- died in prosperity. With the said Otho III. there came into Italy the Marquis Hugh; I take it this must have been the marquis of Brandenburg, forasmuch as there is no other marquisate in Germany. His sojourn in Tuscany liked him so well, and especially our city of Florence, that he caused his wife to come thither, and took up his abode in Florence, as vicar of Otho, the Emperor. It came to pass, as it pleased God, that when he was riding to the chase in the country of Bonsollazzo, he lost sight, in the wood, of all his followers, and came out, as he supposed, at a workshop where iron was wont to be wrought. Here he found men, black and deformed, who, in place of iron, seemed to be tormenting men with fire and with hammer, and he asked what this might be: and they answered and said that these were damned souls, and that to similar pains was condemned the soul of the Marquis Hugh by reason of his worldly life, unless he should repent: who, with great fear, commended himself to the Virgin Mary, and when the vision was ended, he remained so pricked in the spirit, that after his return to Florence, he sold all his patrimony in Germany, and commanded that seven monasteries should be founded: the first was the Badia of Florence, to the honour of S. Mary; the second, that of Bonsollazzo, where he beheld the vision; the third was founded at Arezzo; the fourth at Poggibonizzi; the fifth at the Verruca of Pisa; the sixth at the city of Castello; the last was the one at Settimo; and all these abbeys he richly endowed, and lived afterwards with his wife in holy life, and had no son, and died in the city of Florence, on S. Thomas' Day, in the year of Christ 1006, and was buried with great honour in the Badia of Florence. And whilst the said Hugh was-71- living, he made in Florence many knights of the family of the Giandonati, of the Pulci, of the Nerli, of the counts of Gangalandi, and of the family della Bella, which all for love of him, retained and bore his arms, barry, white and red, with divers charges.

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Source: Primary

Villani, Giovanni. Trans. by Rose E. Selfe. "Villani's Chronicle". Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd., London, 1906: pp 70-1.

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