- Alexander III
1. died 1181, Italian ecclesiastic: pope 1159-81.2. (Aleksandr Aleksandrovich) 1845-94, czar of Russia 1881-94.
* * *Iborn Sept. 2, 1241died March 18/19, 1286, near Kinghorn, Fife, Scot.King of Scotland (1249–86).Son of Alexander II, he came to the throne at age 7. In 1251 he was married to Margaret, daughter of England's King Henry III, who sought to gain control over Scotland. In 1255 Alexander was seized by a pro-English party in Scotland; in 1257 the anti-English party gained control of the government until he came of age (1262). In 1263 he repulsed a Norwegian invasion, and in 1266 he acquired the Hebrides and the Isle of Man from Norway. His reign was later viewed as a golden age by Scots caught up in the long conflict with England.IIRussian Aleksandr Aleksandrovichborn March 10, 1845, St. Petersburg, Russiadied Nov. 1, 1894, Livadiya, CrimeaTsar of Russia (1881–94).He assumed the throne after the assassination of his father, Alexander II. The internal reforms he instituted were designed to correct what he saw as the too-liberal tendencies of his father's reign. He thus opposed representative government and ardently supported Russian nationalism. His political ideal was a nation containing a single nationality, language, religion, and form of administration, and accordingly he instituted programs such as the Russification of national minorities in the Russian Empire and the persecution of non-Orthodox religious groups.IIIorig. Rolando Bandinellidied Aug. 30, 1181, RomePope (1159–81).A member of the group of cardinals who feared the growing strength of the Holy Roman Empire, he helped draw up an alliance with the Normans (1156). As the representative of Pope Adrian IV, he angered Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa) by referring to the empire as a "benefice," implying that it was a gift of the pope. On Alexander's election as pope in 1159, a minority of cardinals supported by Frederick elected the first of several antipopes, and imperial opposition obliged Alexander to flee to France (1162). A vigorous defender of papal authority, he supported St. Thomas Becket against Henry II of England. He returned to Rome in 1165 but was exiled again the following year. He gained support with the formation of the Lombard League, which defeated Frederick at Legnano in 1176, paving the way for the Peace of Venice and the end of the papal schism. Alexander stood in the reform tradition and presided at the third Lateran Council (1179).
* * *▪ emperor of RussiaRussian in full Aleksandr Aleksandrovichborn March 10 [Feb. 26, old style], 1845, St. Petersburg, Russiadied Nov. 1 [Oct. 20, O.S.], 1894, Livadiya, Crimeaemperor of Russia from 1881 to 1894, opponent of representative government, and supporter of Russian nationalism. He adopted programs, based on the concepts of Orthodoxy, autocracy, and narodnost (a belief in the Russian people), that included the Russification of national minorities in the Russian Empire as well as persecution of the non-Orthodox religious groups.The future Alexander (Alexander II) III was the second son of Alexander II and of Maria Aleksandrovna (Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt). In disposition he bore little resemblance to his softhearted, impressionable father and still less to his refined, chivalrous, yet complex granduncle, Alexander I. He gloried in the idea of being of the same rough texture as the great majority of his subjects. His straightforward manner savoured sometimes of gruffness, while his unadorned method of expressing himself harmonized well with his roughhewn, immobile features. During the first 20 years of his life, Alexander had no prospect of succeeding to the throne. He received only the perfunctory training given to grand dukes of that period, which did not go much beyond primary and secondary instruction, acquaintance with French, English, and German, and military drill. When he became heir apparent on the death of his elder brother Nikolay in 1865, he began to study the principles of law and administration under the jurist and political philosopher K.P. Pobedonostsev (Pobedonostsev, Konstantin Petrovich), who influenced the character of his reign by instilling into his mind hatred for representative government and the belief that zeal for Orthodoxy ought to be cultivated by every tsar.The tsesarevich Nikolay, on his deathbed, had expressed a wish that his fiancée, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, thenceforward known as Maria Fyodorovna, should marry his successor. The marriage proved a most happy one. During his years as heir apparent—from 1865 to 1881—Alexander let it be known that certain of his ideas did not coincide with the principles of the existing government. He deprecated undue foreign influence in general and German influence in particular. His father, however, occasionally ridiculed the exaggerations of the Slavophiles and based his foreign policy on the Prussian alliance. The antagonism between father and son first appeared publicly during the Franco-German War, when the Tsar sympathized with Prussia and the tsarevich Alexander with the French. It reappeared in an intermittent fashion during the years 1875–79, when the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire posed serious problems for Europe. At first the Tsarevich was more Slavophile than the government, but he was disabused of his illusions during the Russo-Turkish War (Russo-Turkish wars) of 1877–78, when he commanded the left wing of the invading army. He was a conscientious commander, but he was mortified when most of what Russia had obtained by the Treaty of San Stefano was taken away at the Congress of Berlin under the chairmanship of the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (Bismarck, Otto von). To this disappointment, moreover, Bismarck shortly afterward added the German alliance with Austria for the express purpose of counteracting Russian designs in eastern Europe. Although the existence of the Austro-German alliance was not disclosed to the Russians until 1887, the Tsarevich reached the conclusion that for Russia the best thing to do was to prepare for future contingencies by a radical scheme of military and naval reorganization.On March 13 (March 1, O.S.), 1881, Alexander II was assassinated, and the following day autocratic power passed to his son. In the last years of his reign, Alexander II had been much disturbed by the spread of nihilist conspiracies. On the very day of his death he signed an ukaz creating a number of consultative commissions that might have been transformed eventually into a representative assembly. Alexander III cancelled the ukaz before it was published and in the manifesto announcing his accession stated that he had no intention of limiting the autocratic power he had inherited. All the internal reforms that he initiated were intended to correct what he considered the too liberal tendencies of the previous reign. In his opinion, Russia was to be saved from anarchical disorders and revolutionary agitation not by the parliamentary institutions and so-called liberalism of western Europe but by the three principles of Orthodoxy, autocracy, and narodnost.Alexander's political ideal was a nation containing only one nationality, one language, one religion, and one form of administration; and he did his utmost to prepare for the realization of this ideal by imposing the Russian language and Russian schools on his German, Polish, and Finnish subjects, by fostering Orthodoxy at the expense of other confessions, by persecuting the Jews, and by destroying the remnants of German, Polish, and Swedish institutions in the outlying provinces. In the other provinces he clipped the feeble wings of the zemstvo (an elective local administration resembling the county and parish councils in England) and placed the autonomous administration of the peasant communes under the supervision of landed proprietors appointed by the government. At the same time, he sought to strengthen and centralize the imperial administration and to bring it more under his personal control. In foreign affairs he was emphatically a man of peace but not a partisan of the doctrine of peace at any price. Though indignant at the conduct of Bismarck toward Russia, he avoided an open rupture with Germany and even revived for a time the Alliance of the Three Emperors between the rulers of Germany, Russia, and Austria. It was only in the last years of his reign, especially after the accession of William II as German emperor in 1888, that Alexander adopted a more hostile attitude toward Germany. The termination of the Russo-German alliance in 1890 drove Alexander reluctantly into an alliance with France, a country that he strongly disliked as the breeding place of revolutions. In Central Asian affairs he followed the traditional policy of gradually extending Russian domination without provoking a conflict with Great Britain, and he never allowed bellicose partisans to get out of hand.As a whole, Alexander's reign cannot be regarded as one of the eventful periods of Russian history; but it is arguable that under his hard, unsympathetic rule the country made some progress.Michael T. FlorinskyAdditional ReadingHugh Seton-Watson, The Russian Empire, 1801–1917 (1967), massive information clearly organized and objectively presented; The Decline of Imperial Russia, 1855–1914 (1952), good factual record with little attention to personalities; M.T. Florinsky, Russia: A History and an Interpretation, vol. 2 (1955), a compact, detailed account, factual and analytical.▪ king of Scotlandborn Sept. 4, 1241died March 18/19, 1286, near Kinghorn, Fife, Scot.king of Scotland from 1249 to 1286, the last major ruler of the dynasty of kings descended from Malcolm III Canmore (reigned 1058–93), who consolidated royal power in Scotland. Alexander left his kingdom independent, united, and prosperous, and his reign was viewed as a golden age by Scots caught up in the long, bloody conflict with England after his death.The only son of King Alexander II (reigned 1214–49), Alexander III was seven years old when he came to the throne. In 1251 he was married to Margaret (d. 1275), the 11-year-old daughter of England's King Henry III. Henry immediately began plotting to obtain suzerainty over Scotland. In 1255 a pro-English party in Scotland seized Alexander, but two years later the anti-English party gained the upper hand and controlled the government until Alexander came of age the year 1262.In 1263 Alexander repulsed an invasion by the Norwegian king Haakon IV, who ruled the islands along Scotland's west coast. Haakon's son, King Magnus V, in 1266 ceded to Alexander the Hebrides and the Isle of Man. Alexander was killed in 1286 when his horse fell over a cliff. Because his children were all dead, his infant grandchild Margaret “the Maid of Norway” (d. 1290) succeeded to the throne.▪ popeIntroductionoriginal name Rolando Bandinelliborn c. 1105, Siena, Tuscanydied Aug. 30, 1181, Romepope from 1159 to 1181, a vigorous exponent of papal authority, which he defended against challenges by the Holy Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa (Frederick I) and Henry II of England.LifeAfter studies in theology and law, Bandinelli became professor of law at Bologna and emerged as an important legal scholar and theologian. He wrote a commentary on the Decretum Gratiani and a book of Sentences, or theological opinions. He rose rapidly in the church during the pontificate of Pope Eugenius III and, during the reign of Pope Adrian IV, served as chief papal negotiator with Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.In the complex politics of the 12th century, Bandinelli emerged as a man of keen judgment and shrewd understanding. His intellect was subtle and his instincts diplomatic. He belonged to that group of cardinals in the Roman Curia who feared the growing strength of the Holy Roman Empire in Italy and inclined toward the Norman kingdom of Sicily as a means of redressing the balance of power. He participated in the drawing up of the Concordat of Benevento (1156) between the papacy and King William I of Sicily. He revealed his fear of the empire still further in the following year at Besançon (1157), where he referred to the empire as a “benefice” of the papacy. The term aroused a storm of controversy with the imperial chancellor Rainald Of Dassel, who argued that the term implied that the empire was a fief of the church and thus was an insult to the Emperor. Bandinelli and the Pope maintained that it meant only “benefit,” but they could hardly have been unaware of the ambiguity of the term. Most likely, they intended its use as a warning to Frederick Barbarossa.The papal election of 1159, in which the majority of the cardinals chose Bandinelli as pope under the name Alexander III, witnessed a strong effort on the part of Frederick to secure the election of a candidate favourable to his policies. A minority of the cardinals chose Cardinal Octavian (who took the name Victor IV (Victor (IV))), thus beginning a line of antipopes. Alexander, faced by strong imperial opposition in Italy, fled to France in April 1162 where he remained until 1165. This move prevented a total victory by the Emperor and enabled Alexander to build support in France and England, where he gained the recognition of kings Louis VII and Henry II. During this period Alexander also continued to hold the loyalty of most of the clergy in Italy, especially in the south, and many in Germany. He continued to press forward the program of church reform begun in the previous century under the leadership of Pope Gregory VII. He supported Thomas Becket (Becket, Saint Thomas), archbishop of Canterbury, in his dispute with King Henry II of England on the issue of the legal status of the clergy, despite the risk that he would lose much needed royal support. And he condemned certain propositions of Henry's Constitutions of Clarendon (Clarendon, Constitutions of). If Alexander's efforts on Becket's behalf were cautious, he did not compromise the principles on which the Archbishop's case was based. After the murder of Becket, Alexander found Henry easier to deal with and was able to reach some agreement.Papal relations with the empire in the 12th century revolved around the problems, both theoretical and practical, created by two autonomous powers—one spiritual, the other temporal—vying for authority in the lives of men. The church claimed primary responsibility over moral decisions; secular authorities were attempting to carve out for themselves a sphere of competence over political matters. There was no clear-cut distinction between the two areas, though constant efforts were being made to define them. The important fact is that during the 11th and early 12th centuries medieval society had become increasingly a dualistic society, recognizing two sources of authority and attempting to reconcile them. Alexander found himself playing a large role in the political arena in defense of what he regarded as the legitimate authority of the church. The conflict with Frederick Barbarossa, which consumed most of his efforts in the 1160s and 1170s, was perceived by him as a defense of the papacy, on which the liberty of the church rested.Following the return of Alexander III to Rome in 1165, which was the result of a more favourable political climate in Italy caused by the temporary absence of Frederick Barbarossa, the conflict entered its critical period. In 1166, Frederick returned to Italy and forced the Pope into exile once more. He retreated to Benevento in 1167, remaining there for a decade. In Rome, where he received the imperial crown from his current antipope, Paschal III. Alexander now turned to the communes of northern Italy for support, finding in many of them a deep concern over the protection of their independence from the empire, a concern that united them with his cause. The result was the formation of the Lombard League, which provided the Pope with the support essential to carry on his conflict with Barbarossa.Alexander was unwilling, however, to take extreme measures against the Emperor, whom he saw as the legitimate secular leader of Christendom. He rejected the notion proposed by the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus of a reunification of East and West under Byzantine rule and, instead, placed greater reliance on the Normans (Norman) of southern Italy and the Lombard cities. It was this policy that was ultimately to prevail and to lay the foundation for the policies followed by the papal Curia in the 13th century. Frederick found himself increasingly isolated in Italy and at odds with powerful elements in Germany. His decisive defeat by the Lombards at Legnano (1176) paved the way for the Peace of Venice (1177), which closed this phase of the struggle.AssessmentIn his rule of the church, Alexander stood in the reform tradition and at the beginning of a line of lawyer-popes that would culminate in Innocent III. His concern for education was typical of his age, which witnessed the early development of the universities, in which he played a role both as teacher and later as pope (by ordering that the license to teach should be conferred on worthy candidates without charge). He presided over important synods at Beauvais (1160) and Tours (1163), as well as over the third Lateran Council (1179). He was among the first popes to express concern over the spread of the Catharist (Cathari), or Albigensian (Albigenses), heresy in southern France.With his death, in 1181, the church found itself in a more assured position than at his accession. His policies served as important signposts to his successors. Yet he had succeeded throughout his troubled reign in preserving the image of his moderation and in winning respect even from his enemies. He was not merely one of the abler medieval popes but also one who won greater prestige for his office by his conduct.James M. PowellAdditional ReadingA brief and useful account of the pontificate of Alexander III in English may be found in Marshall Baldwin, Alexander III and the Twelfth Century (1966). The standard biography is Marcel Pacaut, Alexandre III (1956), in French. Pacaut's views are also available in his study of Frédéric Barberousse (1967; Eng. trans. 1970). Of fundamental importance is A. Fliche and V. Martin, Histoire de l'Église, depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, vol. 9 (1953).
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