Parents: Arano Cybo and Teodorina de Mari
Date of Birth: 1432
Predecessor: Sixtus IV
Reign: 1484 – 1492
Summary: A Genoan of Greek ancestry, he was born to a Roman senatorial family and raised in the Neapolitan court. He studied at Padua and in Rome, pursuing a clerical life. While in Rome, he fell into the retinue of Cardinal Calandnini, the half-brother of the recently-deceased Pope Nicholas V. By the late 1460s, Giovanni was the bishop of Savona. Giuliano della Rovere supported his bid to become a cardinal in 1473 by Pope Sixtus IV. Giovanni's early life was dominated by the courts of Rome and papal intrigues, and so naturally, when he was elected to the papal seat on 29 August 1484 as Pope Innocent VIII, the drama of his earlier years followed him into his papacy. The papal conclave that elected him was split between factions, and gangs rioted in the streets in the disorder. Cardinal della Roverre sought the coveted seat but not enough cardinals would elect him, so he decided to support Giovanni, a pliable leader that he felt he could control.
Almost immediately after his election, Innocent VIII declared a crusade against the infidels. Little came of this call for crusade, and by the end of his reign, he was openly supporting Ottoman Sultan Bayazid II by detaining his brother and rival, Cem. Starvation, famine, and drought in Germany convinced Innocent that witchcraft was occurring in the Holy Roman Empire. In effect, the witches were causing the later-known weather period known as the Little Ice Age. He began a massive campaign to rid Germany of witches and installed Heinrich Kramer and Jacobus Sprenger to lead the persecution. In 1487, fears of Muslim and Jewish uprisings in Spain led to Innocent naming Tomas de Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor of Spain. Innocent also called a crusade against the Waldensian sect, offering indulgences to any would join in the fight. In 1486, Innocent excommunicated King Ferran I of Naples and offered the throne to King Charles VIII of France, thereby starting a war which would not end until two years into the reign of his successor, Alexander VI. One of his few victories occured during the last months of his life. Due in part from his encouragement, the Kingdom of Grenada, the last Muslim stronghold in Western Europe, fell in January 1492. In appreciation for the victory, Innocent named Ferdinand II of Arágon and Isabella I of Castile "Catholic Majesties", a title many still grand them today. Giovanni Battista Cybo died on 25 July 1492 after an attempted blood transfusion from three young male children who all died in the process. He was succeeded after a short but contentious interregnum by Roderic Llançol i de Borja, who took the name Alexander VI. Innocent left behind two illegitimate children who were born prior to him taking his vows. His eldest son was married to Maddalena de Medici in exchange for a cardinal's hat to Giovanni de Medici, who would one day become Pope Leo X. The heretical preacher Savonarola chastised Innocent for his greed and ambition.
Date of Death: 25 July 1492
Successor: Alexander VI
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