Sergius III


Cause of Death:

904.01.29 to 911.04.14
Pope #119
Leo V (903)
Anastasius III (911-913)

Sergius, son of Benedict
in Rome

Pope Sergius III


A Roman. Son of Benedict of a noble Roman family.


He was originally elected in 897, but was exiled by Lambert, the Duke of Spoleto.

On 20 January 904, he was reinvited back to Rome, following the revolt against Antipope Christopher (903-904) by the Roman Theophylact faction. He personally strangled his rival, Pope Christopher and Pope Leo V (903), while blessing their necks during confession. He took the papal throne for himself, and had Pope Christopher's record changed to antipope.

Rule of the Harlots

He was described as a "terrorizing criminal". The reign of Pope Sergius III began the period known as "The Rule of the Harlots" (904-963). Theodora, the wife of the powerful Roman noble, Theophylact, and her daughter, Marozia, would control the Papal court for many years. Marozia, while still a child, bore him several illegitimate children, one of which would become Pope John XI (931-935), whom she gave birth to at the age of 15.

Theodora and Marozia were considered whores of the papal court by most historians. Following the death of Sergius III, Theodora had her lover, Pope John X (914-928), return to Rome to be appointed the next Pope.

Rulers & Events:

886-912: Eastern Roman Emperor, Leo VI (the Wise)
898-922: King of West Francia, Charles (the Simple)
899-911: King of East Francia, Louis (the Child)
899-905: King of Italy, Louis III (the Blind)
903-904: Antipope Christopher
904-963: The Rule of the Harlots in the Vatican
905-922: King of Italy, Berengar I (restored)
911-918: King of Germany, Conrad I