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Pope Innocent VIII
Innocent VIII, né Giovanni Battista Cibo (1432 – July 25, 1492), pope from 1484 to 1492, was born at Genoa, and was the son of Aran Cibo who under Calixtus III had been a senator at Rome. His early years were spent at the Neapolitan court, and subsequently he went to Padua and Rome for his education. In Rome he became a priest in the retinue of cardinal Calandnini, half-brother to Nicholas V; the influence of his friends procured for him, from Paul II the bishopric of Savona, and in 1473, with the support of Giuliano Della Rovere , he was made cardinal by Sixtus IV, whom he succeeded on August 29, 1484.
The conclave was riven with faction, while gangs rioted in the streets.
Shortly after his coronation he addressed a fruitless summons to Christendom to unite in a crusade against the infidels; the amount of his own zeal may in some degree be estimated from the fact that in 1489, in consideration of a yearly sum of 40,000 ducats and a gift of the spearhead which had pierced the Saviour's side, he consented to favour Bajazet II by detaining the sultan's fugitive brother in close confinement in the Vatican. In 1486, Henry VII of England was declared to be the rightful holder of the English crown by the threefold right of conquest, inheritance, and popular choice.
Innocent, in his papal bull "Summis desiderantes" (5 December 1484) instigated very severe measures against magicians and witches in Germany; the principles enunciated by him were afterwards embodied in the Malleus Maleficarum (1487). It was also he who in 1487 appointed Tomas de Torquemada to be grand inquisitor of Spain -- he was a strong supporter of the Spanish Inquisition; he also urged a crusade against the Waldensians, offering plenary indulgence to all who should engage in it. In 1486, he prohibited, on pain of severe ecclesiastical censures, the reading of the nine hundred propositions of Pico Mirandola.
An important event of his pontificate was the fall of Granada in January 1492, which was celebrated in the Vatican with great rejoicings. The pope was sent a hundred fine Moorish slaves, whom he distributed among the curia and to friends and granted Ferdinand V of Aragon the epithet "Catholic Majesty."
He died July 25, 1492, leaving behind him numerous children (Octo Nocens pueros genuit, totidemque puellas; Hunc merito poterit dicere Roma patrem - "Eight wicked boys born, and just as many girls, so this man could be entitled to be called Father of Rome"), towards whom his nepotism had been as lavish as it was shameless. Savonarola chastised him for his worldly ambitions. The unsympathetic chronicler Stefano Infessura provides many lively details. His successor was Alexander VI.
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