Pope Innocent VIII

Pope Innocent VIII was born Giovanni Battista Cybo in 1432, at Genoa. His parents were Arano Cybo and Teodorina de Mari. His father was a Roman senator during the reign of Pope Calixtus III. He was schooled in Padua and Rome during the early years of his life.

Battista Cybo became a priest in Rome under the leadership of cardinal Calandrini. In 1467, he was made bishop of Savona, Italy, by Pope Paul II. He was then made cardinal in 1473 by Pope Sixtus IV, whom he later succeeded. During the 1484 conclave election, there were several riots in the streets of Rome concerning the papacy. One of his opponents, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere did not have sufficient votes and ended up supporting Battista Cybo because he was confident that Cybo could control Rome well. He was then elected the pope on the 29th of August 1484 and adopted the name Innocent VIII.

At the time of his election, there were a lot of witchcraft allegations in most parts of Western Europe. During the early days of papacy, he condemned those who were practicing witchcraft. He was also faced with the great challenge of uniting the people of. He started attempting to unite the Christians although he himself faced difficulties because of his conflict with King Ferrante of Naples. His disagreement with Naples led to the failure of his plan for a crusade against the Turks. When a peace meeting with King Ferdinand I of Naples failed in 1486, Pope Innocent VII excommunicated the king in 1489 and instead invited King Charles VIII of France to come to Italy with his army and take over the Kingdom of Naples. This conflict continued until Pope Innocent VII’s death in 1494.

Pope Innocent VII detained Prince Djem, the Sultan’s brother and the pretender claimant to the Turkish throne in Rome. In 1491, Pope Innocent VII also witnessed the fall of Granada which saved Spain from the Moors and earned Spain’s king the title the“Catholic Majesty”. This victory led to a great celebration at the Vatican as it was considered to be a great victory to the entire Christian world.

On the 5th of December 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued an abused Bull against witchcraft and on the 31st of May 1492, he received the Holy Lance at Rome which was surrendered by the Sultan to the Christians. On the other hand, during his reign crimes were on the rise in Rome because there was very little punishment to people who committed crimes in Rome. However, Pope Innocent VIII dealt seriously with officials who were involved in selling  papal Bulls.

 Pope Innocent VIII reigned at a difficult time when cases of witchcraft and crime were very high in Rome and Europe as a whole. He died on 25th July 1492 and left behind his two illegitimate children whom he had before he entered the clergy. He was succeeded by Pope Alexander VI.