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Adrian IV

Adrian IV, d. 1159, pope (1154–59), an Englishman (the only English pope), b. Nicholas Breakspear at Langley, near St. Albans. He was successor of Anastasius IV. At an early age he went to France. There he became an Augustinian canon and later an abbot. Pope Eugene III made him cardinal bishop of Albano and sent him to Scandinavia to organize the church. After his election to the papacy, Adrian defeated (1155) opposition of Arnold of Brescia. He crowned (1155) Frederick I but fell into conflict with Frederick when the emperor, disregarding the Concordat of Worms, invested (1158 or 1159) imperial favorites in the archbishoprics of Cologne and Ravenna. To make peace (1156) with William of Sicily, who had invaded papal territory, Adrian acknowledged William's titles to Sicily, Apulia, and Capua. This angered Frederick, who had designs on the Two Sicilies, but it served to protect the Papal States against further imperial encroachments. Frederick's expressed intention to assume the government of Rome almost brought him excommunication. Adrian, forced by imperial intrigues to leave Rome, died before he could pronounce sentence. The historicity of Adrian's donation of Ireland, as a papal fief, to Henry II of England is the subject of scholarly dispute. He was succeeded by Alexander III.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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