Pope Damasus II

Damasus II (died August 9, 1048), born Poppo, Pope from July 17,1048 to August 9, 1048, was the second of the German pontiffs nominated by Emperor Henry III (1039–56). A native of Bavaria, he was the third German to become Pope. His original name was Poppo, and he was bishop of Brixen when the Emperor raised him to the papacy.

The Catholic Encyclopedia is quite scathing in its coverage of the events leading to Damasus II's election, commenting that;

After the death of Pope Clement II (1046–47) in July 1047, the Tusculan faction reasserted its power in Rome, and, with the secret aid of Boniface III of Tuscany, Margrave of Tuscany, restored its wretched creature Pope Benedict IX (1032–44, 1045, 1047–48), who continued in his wonted manner to disgrace the papacy for a further period of eight months before disappearing entirely from history.


On Christmas Day 1047, an embassy sent by the Roman people brought the tidings of Clement II's death to Henry III, at Pölthe in Saxony, and sought the Emperor, in his position as Patricius of the Romans to appoint a worthy successor. The envoys, according to their instructions, suggested as a suitable candidate, Halinard, the Archbishop of Lyon, who was a fluent speaker of Italian, and was well respected in Rome. Henry III appointed however Poppo, Bishop of Brixen, in Tyrol, and directed Margrave Boniface III of Tuscany to conduct the Pope-designate to Rome. Boniface at first refused, alleging the installation of Benedict IX, but Henry III's decisive threat soon reduced him to obedience. After Benedict IX's removal, the Bishop of Brixen entered the city and was enthroned at the Lateran as Pope Damasus II on 17 July, 1048. His pontificate, however, was of short duration. After the brief space of twenty-three days, he died at Palestrina, whither he had gone shortly after the installation to escape the summer heat of Rome. The Pope was buried in San Lorenzo fuori le Mura.

The shortness of Damasus II's reign led to rumors that he had been poisoned, but a more likely scenario is that he died of malaria.

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