Known for: figure in papal politics, ancestor of Popes
Dates: ~892 – ~937

Background, Family:

  • Father: Theophylact
  • Mother: Theodora
  • Husbands:
    1. Alberic I of Spoleto
    2. Guido of Tuscany
    3. Hugh of Provence
  • Rumored lover: Pope Sergius III
  • Children:
    • Alberic II by Alberic I
    • John XI, rumored to be the illegitimate son of Pope Sergius III

Marozia was the daughter of Theodora and Theophylact, who had been influences in the papacies of Sergius III and Anastasius III. Persistent stories associate Sergius with Marozia as lovers, and allege that when Marozia was 15 she had a son by Sergius. Marozia was married three times, to Alberic I of Spoleto, Guido of Tuscany, and Hugh of Provence.

Marozia herself wielded power and influence during the papacy of John X. He gave her titles of “Senatrix” and “Patricia.” But Marozia became angry when John X allied himself with Hugh of Provence, who had become king of Italy, and imprisoned John.

Then Marozia had her son elected pope as John XI — the same son who was reputedly the illegitimate son of Sergius III.

Marozia’s son Alberic II by her first husband, making him a half-brother to John XI, was the “prince” of Rome. He became angered when Marozia married Hugh of Italy, and Alberic imprisoned his mother and John XI.

From Historians:

An example of one historian’s judgment of Theodora and Marozia:

Towards the beginning of the tenth century a powerful noble, Theophylact, aided by his beautiful and unscrupulous wife, Theodora, secured control of Rome. Their daughter Marozia became the central figure of a corrupt society which completely dominated both the city and the papacy. Marozia herself married as her third husband Hugh of Provence, then king of Italy. One of her sons became pope as John XI ( 931-936), while another, Alberic, assumed the title of “prince and senator of the Romans” and ruled Rome, appointing four popes in the years 932 to 954. (from: John L. Lamonte, The World of the Middle Ages: A Reorientation of Medieval History, 1949. p. 175.)

From the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1856:

Pope John X., elected in 914, owed his elevation entirely to his mistress¬†Theodora, whose beauty, talents, and intrigues had made her mistress of Rome about the beginning of the tenth century. At a late period Theodora’s daughter, Marozia, wielded a similar influence over Sergius III., and finally raised her son by that pope to the pontifical throne, with the title of John XI.