Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Senatrix and Papal Power-broker (d.986)

Mazoria was a member of the influential Theophylact family of Rome, Italy. Her father was a Roman Senator, her mother Theodora, papal mistress. She had a half-sister, another Theodora. Mazoria was the product of her time. She was thrice married and had numerous affairs. When Mazoria was aged 15, she was seduced by Pope Sergius III and bore him a son. Aged 22, and with her son now aged 6, Mazoria married Alberic of Tuscany (914) and bore him a son Alberic Junior.

Her husband attempted to seize control of Rome, but failed and was killed by her mother's lover - Pope John X. After the death of her mother, Mazoria was responsible for having the Pope imprisoned (928) and suffocated. Her 20 year old eldest son succeeded as Pope John XI. Mazoria married a second time to Guy of Provence. When he died, she married his half-brother King Hugo of Provence (932). In the meantime Mazoria's second son 18yo Alberic Junior took over Rome. Mazoria was then abandoned by her husband who fled. Her eldest son Pope John XI was put under house arrest (he died four years later).

Mazoria was imprisoned by her son Alberic Junior in Castel Sant'Angelo for over 50 years. She was aged 60 when 40yo Alberic Junior died and her grandson Octavian succeeded as Pope John XII (955). He decided to put her out of her misery. Mazoria was exorcised, her excommunication was lifted and she was then executed (986).

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 Women of History)

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