Category Archives: Biographical Sketches

Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464)

Nicolaus Cusanus was born in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 1401, in the German city of Kues, to a “middle-class” boatman and vineyard owner. As a young man Nicholas was influenced by the “Modern Piety” (<em>devotio moderna</em>), a reform … Continue reading

Posted in 15th Century, Biographical Sketches | 1 Comment

Pope Nicholas II (r. 1058-1061)

Originally known as Gerard, Nicholas II was born somewhere around the year of the Lord’s incarnation 1010. Like many important men of his age, Nicholas was a reformer in the monastic sense. That is, he was attempting to counter the … Continue reading

Posted in 11th Century, Biographical Sketches | Leave a comment

Otto I, Emperor of the Germans (936-973)

Crowned “Emperor of the Romans” by Pope John XII in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 962, Otto I (a.k.a. “Otto the Great”) was the first emperor of what would eventually be called “the Holy Roman Empire,” but which was … Continue reading

Posted in 10th Century, Biographical Sketches | Leave a comment

Pope Calixtus II (r. 1119-1124)

Calixtus II (also spelled Callistus), played an instrumental role in the recovery of the papacy from the concessions made to the Holy Roman Empire by his twice-removed predecessor, Paschal II (r. 1099-1118). Paschal’s solution to the Investiture Contest had apparently … Continue reading

Posted in 12th Century, Biographical Sketches | Leave a comment

Hincmar of Rheims (806-882 A.D.)

The ninth century is a pivotal one for the development of Medieval Christendom for a number of reasons. The collapse of Charlemagne’s Empire, the Viking invasions, bloody conflicts with Muslims and Magyars, the Photian Schism, the work of Gottschalk of … Continue reading

Posted in 9th Century, Biographical Sketches | Leave a comment

Paschal II, Pope (r. 1099-1118)

The successor of Pope Urban II, Paschal II was, like Urban, a reformer of the Gregorian party (led by Pope Gregory VII). Sometimes described as paradoxically timid and inflexible, Paschal managed to dispose of a series of anti-popes (Theoderic, Albert, … Continue reading

Posted in 11th Century, Biographical Sketches | Leave a comment

Wessel Gansfort (1420-1489)

Called “Light of the World” by his friends and “Master of Contradiction” by his enemies, Wessel Gansfort strides impressively across the landscape of the fifteenth century Church.:”(This entry is based on information found in Edward Waite Miller, Wessel Gansfort: Life … Continue reading

Posted in 15th Century, Biographical Sketches | 1 Comment

Jean Gerson (1363-1429)

Jean Gerson, generally speaking a nominalist and a mystic, served as chancellor of the famed University of Paris after his teacher, Pierre d’Ailly, stepped down from that position to become the Bishop of Puy. Coming into his own as a … Continue reading

Posted in 14th Century, 15th Century, Biographical Sketches | Leave a comment

Pope Calixtus II (r. 1119-1124)

Calixtus II (also spelled Callistus), played an instrumental role in the recovery of the papacy from the concessions made to the Holy Roman Empire by his twice-removed predecessor, Paschal II (r. 1099-1118). Paschal’s solution to the Investiture Contest had apparently … Continue reading

Posted in 12th Century, Biographical Sketches | Leave a comment

Boethius (ca. A.D. 480-525)

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, sometimes colorfully called “the last of the Romans,” was born in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 480 to an old aristocratic family. His father had been a consul under the Arian king Odoacer, the half-Hun … Continue reading

Posted in 5th Century, 6th Century, Biographical Sketches | Leave a comment