Pope Innocent VIII
|Papacy began||29 August 1484|
|Papacy ended||25 July 1492|
|Created Cardinal||7 May 1473
by Sixtus IV
|Birth name||Giovanni Battista Cybo or Cibo|
Genoa, Republic of Genoa
|Died||25 July 1492
Rome, Papal States
|Other popes named Innocent|
|Papal styles of
Pope Innocent VIII
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Giovanni Battista Cybo (or Cibo) was born in Genoa of Greek ancestry, the son of Arano Cybo or Cibo (c. 1375-c. 1455) and his wife Teodorina de Mari (c. 1380-). His paternal grandparents were Maurizio Cybo and his wife Seracina Marocelli. Arano Cybo was a senator in Rome under Pope Calixtus III (1455–58). Giovanni Battista's early years were spent at the Neapolitan court, and subsequently he went to Padua and Rome for his education.
In Rome he became a priest in the retinue of cardinal Calandrini, half-brother to Pope Nicholas V (1447–55). The influence of his friends procured for him, from Pope Paul II (1464–71), the bishopric of Savona, and in 1473, with the support of Giuliano Della Rovere, later Pope Julius II, he was made cardinal by Pope Sixtus IV, whom he succeeded on 29 August 1484 as Pope Innocent VIII.
The papal conclave of 1484 was riven with faction, while gangs rioted in the streets. Cardinal Giuliano did not have sufficient votes at the conclave to be elected, so he turned his energies towards the election of Cybo, whom he was confident that he could control.
Shortly after his coronation Innocent VIII addressed a fruitless summons to Christendom to unite in a crusade against the infidels. The amount of his own zeal may in some degree be estimated from the fact that in 1489, in consideration of a yearly stipend of 40,000 ducats and a gift of the Holy Lance, he consented to favor Bayezid II by detaining the Sultan's fugitive brother Cem in close confinement in the Vatican.
- "It has recently come to our ears, not without great pain to us, that in some parts of upper Germany, [...] Mainz, Köln, Trier, Salzburg, and Bremen, many persons of both sexes, heedless of their own salvation and forsaking the catholic faith, give themselves over to devils male and female, and by their incantations, charms, and conjurings, and by other abominable superstitions and sortileges, offences, crimes, and misdeeds, ruin and cause to perish the offspring of women, the foal of animals, the products of the earth, the grapes of vines, and the fruits of trees, as well as men and women, cattle and flocks and herds and animals of every kind, vineyards also and orchards, meadows, pastures, harvests, grains and other fruits of the earth; that they afflict and torture with dire pains and anguish, both internal and external, these men, women, cattle, flocks, herds, and animals, and hinder men from begetting [...]"
Kramer would later write the polemic Malleus Maleficarum in 1486, which stated that witchcraft was to blame for bad weather. These remarks are included in Part 2, Chapter XV, which is entitled: "How they Raise and Stir up Hailstorms and Tempests, and Cause Lightning to Blast both Men and Beasts":
- "Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that, just as easily as they raise hailstorms, so can they cause lightning and storms at sea; and so no doubt at all remains on these points."
Both the papal letter appended to the work and the supposed endorsement of Cologne University for it are problematic. The letter of Innocent VIII is not an approval of the book to which it was appended, but rather a charge to inquisitors to investigate diabolical sorcery and a warning to those who might impede them in their duty, that is, a papal letter in the by then conventional tradition established by John XXII and other popes through Eugenius IV and Nicholas V (1447–55).
In 1487, Innocent confirmed Tomas de Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor of Spain. He also urged a crusade against the Waldensians, offering plenary indulgence to all who should engage in it. In 1486, he became convinced that 13 of the 900 theses of Pico Mirandola were heretical and the book was interdicted.
In Rome he built for summer use the Belvedere of the Vatican, on an unarticulated slope above the Vatican Palace, which his successor would turn into the Cortile del Belvedere. In season, he hunted at Castello della Magliana, which he enlarged. Invariably short of money, he institutionalized simony at the papal court, creating new titles of offices that were discreetly auctioned.
After a shaky peace of 1486 with King Ferdinand I of Naples failed and Ferdinand repeatedly refused to pay the tariff for his investiture, Innocent excommunicated him in 1489 and invited King Charles VIII of France to come to Italy with an army and take possession of the Kingdom of Naples, a disastrous political event for the Italian peninsula as a whole. The immediate conflict was not ended until 1494, after Innocent VIII's death.
An important event that coincided with Innocent's pontificate was the fall of Granada in January 1492, which was celebrated in the Vatican with great rejoicings. Innocent granted Ferdinand II of Aragon the epithet "Catholic Majesty."
Minnich (2005) notes that the position of Renaissance popes towards slavery, a common institution in contemporary cultures, varied. Minnich states that those who allowed the slave trade did so in the hope of gaining converts to Christianity. In the case of Innocent he permitted trade with Barbary merchants in which foodstuffs would be given in exchange for slaves who could then be converted to Christianity.
King Ferdinand of Aragon gave Innocent 100 Moorish slaves who shared them out with favoured Cardinals. The slaves of Innocent were called "moro", meaning "dark-skinned man", in contrast to negro slaves who were called "moro nero".
In July 1492 Innocent fell into a fever. He was said to have been given the world's first blood transfusion by his Jewish physician Giacomo di San Genesio, who had him drink the blood of three 10-year old boys. The boys subsequently died. The evidence for this story, however, is unreliable and may have been motivated by anti-semitism. Innocent VIII died himself on 25 July.
Mystery over his tomb
A mysterious inscription on his tomb in Saint Peter in Rome states: “Nel tempo del suo Pontificato, la gloria della scoperta di un nuovo mondo” (transl. "During his Pontificate, the glory of the discovery of a new world."). The fact is that he died seven days before the departure of Christopher Columbus for his supposedly first voyage over the Atlantic, raising speculations that Columbus actually traveled before the known date and re-discovered the Americas for the Europeans before the supposed date of October 12, 1492. The Italian historian Ruggero Marino (it), in his book "Cristoforo Colombo e il Papa tradito" (transl. "Christopher Columbus and the betrayed Pope") is convinced of this after having studied Columbus's papers for over 25 years.
Innocent had two illegitimate children born before he entered the clergy  "towards whom his nepotism had been as lavish as it was shameless"  In 1487 he married his elder son Franceschetto Cybo (d. 1519) to Maddalena de' Medici (1473–1528), the daughter of Lorenzo de' Medici, who in return obtained the cardinal's hat for his thirteen-year-old son Giovanni, later Pope Leo X. His daughter Teodorina Cybo married Gerardo Usodimare and had a daughter. Savonarola chastised him for his worldly ambitions.
- "Black Africans in Renaissance Europe", N. H Minnich, Thomas Foster Earle, K. J. P. Lowe, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-521-81582-7
- "For the glory of God: how monotheism led to reformations, science, witch-hunts, and the end of slavery", Rodney Stark, p. 330, Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-691-11436-6
- "The problem of slavery in Western culture", David Brion Davis, Oxford University Press US, 1988, ISBN 0-19-505639-6 
- "Doubts over the finding of the Santa Maria of Colombo", Nicolò Carnimeo, IlFattoQuotidiano.it, 2014
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Innocentius VIII.|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Smith, Philip (2009). The History of the Christian Church. General Books LLC. pp. 219–220. ISBN 9781150722455. "CHARACTER OF INNOCENT VIII... Cardinal John Baptist Cibo,' who was elected as Innocent VIII. (1484- 1492)...His family was of Greek origin, but had been long settled at Genoa and Naples by the name of Tomacelli that to which Boniface IX. belonged. The name of Cibo was taken from the chess-board pattern (itii/30s) in their arms. The father of Innocent had been Viceroy of Naples under King Rene, and Senator of Rome under Calixtus III."
- Thomas, Joseph (2010). The Universal Dictionary of Biography and Mythology. Cosimo, Inc. p. 704. ISBN 9781616400712. "Cybo or Cibo, che-bo', (Arano or Aaron,) the ancestor of a noble Genoese family, was born of Greek origin at Rhodes in 1377. He was Viceroy of Naples about 1442, and died in 1457, leaving a son, who became Pope Innocent VIII. in 1485."
- Munsell, Joel (1858). The every day book of history and chronology: embracing the anniversaries of memorable persons and events in every period and state of the world, from the creation to the present time.. Appleton. p. 295. OCLC 1305369. "INNOCENT VIII (John Baptist Cibo), pope, died. He was a Genoese nobleman of Greek descent; employed his influence to reconcile the quarrels of the Christian princes with one another, and left behind him the character of a high minded and benevolent man..)"
- Monstrelet, Enguerrand de ; Dacier, Baron Joseph Bonaventure, Johnes, Thomas (1810). The chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet.. London, Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown. p. 366. OCLC 2286229. "+ Innocent VIII.—John Baptista Cibo, a noble Genoese, but originally of Greek extraction. He was called, prior to his elevation to the papacy, the cardinal of Melfe. He had several children before ho entered holy orders, and did not neglect them during his reign.)"
- The history of the Christian church during the Middle Ages with a summary of the reformation, centuries XI to XVI, Philip Smith, 1885 Harper & bros, University of Michigan, p.219
- "Wikisource, Summis desiderantes, by Pope Innocent VIII". En.wikisource.org. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
- "Malleus Maleficarum (1486)". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
- Heinrich Institoris, Heinrich, Sprenger, Jakob, Summers, Montague; The Malleus maleficarum of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger; Dover Publications; New edition, 1 June 1971; ISBN 0-486-22802-9
- cf., Joyy et al., Witchcraft and Magic In Europe, p. 239 (2002).
- "Giovanni Pico della Mirandola". Catholic Encyclopedia 1913. New Advent. 1913.
- Minnich, p. 281
- "For the glory of God", Rodney Stark, p. 330, Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-691-11436-6)
- David Brion Davis, p. 101 fn. 21
- Jacalyn Duffin, History of Medicine: A scadalously short introduction, University of Toronto Press, 1999, p. 171
- Carnimeo, Nicolò (2014-5-19). "Haiti, i dubbi sul ritrovamento della Santa Maria di Colombo (Doubts over the finding of the Santa Maria of Colombo)". ilfattoquotidiano.it2014. Retrieved 2013-5-21. Check date values in:
- "Catholic Encyclopedia article on Pope Innocent VIII". Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
- (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911).
- <The Life of Girolamo Savonarola (1959) by Roberto Ridolfi
- "The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture - Paperback - David Brion Davis - Oxford University Press". Oup.com. 1988-10-20. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
|Catholic Church titles|
|Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
29 August 1484 – 25 July 1492