Octavian, the count of Tusculum, was barely 18 when he was consecrated pope on December 16, 955. His reign as Pope John XII was one of the worst in history.
Few were less suited to the office. As described by contemporary chronicles, John’s major preoccupations were fighting (he donned armor and led an unsuccessful expedition against rival princes), mutilating enemies, arson, hunting, and gambling. He also frequently indulged in affairs with married women, and rewarded his many mistresses with gifts plundered from St. Peter’s.
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