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Alexander III

Pope from 1159. Orlando (Roland) Bandinelli, born in Siena, was a professor at Bologna celebrated as theologian and canonist. Becoming cardinal in 1153, he advised Adrian IV, whom he succeeded. A strong antagonist of Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa), he was opposed by three antipopes* set up by Frederick (Victor IV, Paschal III, Callistus III). The schism lasted seventeen years, ending only when Frederick was defeated by the Lombard league at Legnano in 1176, followed by the Peace of Venice (1177). During the schism Alexander lived mainly in France. He supported Thomas à Becket* and imposed penance on Henry II of England for Becket’s murder. First of the great lawyer-popes, he convoked the Third Lateran Council (1179), which vested the exclusive right of electing a pope in a two-thirds majority of the cardinals.

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