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The Violent, 20-Year-Old Maniac Who Became Pope Three Separate Times

Updated 3 Sep 2019 141.8k views10 items

Popes are supposed to serve for life, but, historically speaking, it hasn't always worked out that way. In the case of the 11th-century Pope Benedict IX, for example, he was pope three times. He was also a poisoner, held orgies at the Lateran Palace, and may have actually been a “demon from hell.”

On top of that, Benedict IX was the pope who sold the papacy when he got tired of his job – and then STILL managed to come back and reclaim the title. It took imperial troops descending on Rome to finally get rid of Benedict IX.

Benedict IX has the dishonor of being high on the list of history’s most corrupt popes. His name ranks next to Alexander VI (AKA Rodrigo Borgia, the pope who hosted the unbelievably naughty Banquet of the Chestnuts and fathered as many as 10 children) as a controversial pope. But, to Alexander VI's credit, at least the Borgia pope didn't sell the papacy!

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