Alexander III (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Despite decades of controversy, through patience, moderation, and practicality, Alexander III established administrative and legal reforms that strengthened the papal monarchy and contributed to the development of canon law.
Roland Bandinelli, the future Alexander III, pope from 1159 to 1181, was born early in the twelfth century in Siena, Italy. Although little is known of his early years, his family, probably descended from a French émigré of the previous century, was prominent in city affairs. The earliest substantiated fact places him as professor of theology and canon law at Bologna in the years 1139 to 1142. Since Siena’s schools were not considered distinguished and the appointment was prestigious, it is thought that Bandinelli probably attended school at Bologna as well.
In 1148, he began his career at the Curia in Rome, having been deacon and canon at Pisa and probably having taught in the schools there. A series of appointments advanced his ecclesiastical career. In 1150, Bandinelli was named cardinal deacon. In 1151, he became cardinal priest and by 1153 was appointed papal chancellor, which led to his becoming one of Pope Adrian IV’s closest advisers. He was entrusted with a number of diplomatic missions which enhanced his reputation among churchmen and laity. One such embassy, however, would become significant in negative ways during his own troubled papacy....
(The entire section is 2251 words.)
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