Alexander III, pope
d. 1181, pope (1159–81), a Sienese named Rolandus [Bandinelli?], successor of Adrian IV. He was a canonist who had studied law under Gratian and had taught at Bologna. He came to Rome under Eugene III, was made a cardinal, and became a trusted adviser of Adrian IV. Alexander's election to the papacy was opposed by a few cardinals, who elected an antipope, Victor IV. Although the antipope was supported only by Germany and some Lombards, the schism thus begun continued until 1178 with antipopes Paschal III and Calixtus III. Alexander was forced (1162) by Emperor Frederick I
into exile in France. In the long struggle with the emperor, the pope was aided by the Lombard League
, which named the town of Alessandria for him. After the battle of Legnano (1176), the emperor was forced to submit. Alexander had already (1174) received the penance of Henry II of England for the murder of St. Thomas Becket, whom Alexander had canonized in 1173. He convened and presided at the Third Lateran Council
. One of the great medieval popes, he issued many decretals, established the procedure for canonizing saints, inaugurated the two-thirds rule for papal elections, protected the universities, and was one of the most distinguished champions of ecclesiastical independence in the Middle Ages. He was succeeded by Lucius III.
See biography by Cardinal Boso (tr. 1973) and R. Somerville and K. Pennington, Law, Church, and Society, (1977).
Alexander III, czar of Russia
1845–94, czar of Russia (1881–94), son and successor of Alexander II
. Factors that contributed to Alexander's reactionary policies included his father's assassination, his limited intelligence and education, his military background, and the influence of such advisers as Konstantin P. Pobyedonostzev
and Mikhail N. Katkov. On his accession he discarded the modest proposals for reform made by Count Loris-Melikov
. Alexander increased the repressive powers of the police and tightened censorship and control of education. He limited the power of the zemstvos
[local assemblies] and the judiciary, increased controls over the peasantry, subjected the national minorities to forcible Russification, and persecuted all religious minorities, especially the Jews. Perhaps the only enlightened policy of Alexander's reign was pursued by his energetic minister of finance, Count Witte
, who used governmental pressure and investments to stimulate industrial development and to begin construction of the Trans-Siberian RR
. The czar and his foreign minister, Nikolai K. Giers
, worked for peace in Europe, although Russian expansion in Central Asia almost led to conflict with Great Britain. In the Balkans, Russia's attempts to make Bulgaria a satellite proved unsuccessful and led to a final break with Austria–Hungary, which also had interests there. The Three Emperors' League of Russia, Austria–Hungary, and Germany was replaced (1887) with a Russo-German alliance. This was not renewed in 1890, and a Franco-Russian entente grew after 1891 (see Triple Alliance and Triple Entente
). Alexander was succeeded by his son Nicholas II
See studies by C. Lowe (1972) and H. W. Whelan (1982).
Alexander III, king of Scotland
1241–86, king of Scotland (1249–86), son and successor of Alexander II
. He married a daughter of Henry III
of England and quarreled with Henry, and later Henry's son Edward I
, over the old English claims to overlordship in Scotland. The great achievement of Alexander was his final acquisition for Scotland of the Hebrides and of the Isle of Man, which his father had already claimed from Norway. King Haakon IV of Norway attempted to drive the Scots from the islands, but a storm battered his ships, and he was defeated in the battle of Largs in the Clyde river. In 1266, Alexander signed a treaty with Magnus VI, assigning the islands to Scotland. Alexander survived his children, and when he died his only near relative was his little granddaughter Margaret Maid of Norway
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
Born Feb. 26 (Mar. 10), 1845; died Oct. 20 (Nov. 1), 1894. From Mar. 1, 1881, emperor of Russia. Second son of Alexander II. After the death of his older brother Nicholas (1865), heir to the throne. Married in 1866 to the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark, Louise Sofia Frederika Dagmar, who took the name of Maria Fedorovna (Nov. 14 , 1847–Oct. 13, 1928).
Narrow-minded, crude, and ignorant, Alexander III had political views that were extremely reactionary and chauvinistic. In domestic policy he represented the interest of the most conservative circles of the nobility. In economic policy, however, he was obliged to acknowledge the growth of capitalist elements in the country. His closest mentor and counselor in the early years of his reign was K. P. Pobedonostsev, an advocate of unlimited autocracy and an enemy of Western European forms of social life.
Ascending the throne after his father was killed by the People’s Will, Alexander III feared new assassination attempts and took refuge mainly at the Gatchina Palace (for which he was known as the Prisoner of Gatchina). In the first months of his reign, his policy was one of vacillation between liberalism and reaction, setting up an intragovern-mental struggle with M. T. Loris-Melikov, A. A. Abaza, and D. A. Miliutin on one side and Pobedonostsev on the other. On Apr. 29, 1881, after the weakness of the revolutionary forces had become apparent, Alexander III issued a manifesto affirming the principle of autocracy. This marked the transition to a reactionary course in domestic politics. However, economic developments and political circumstances in the first half of the 1880’s obliged his government to introduce a series of reforms—such as the abolition of the poll tax, compulsory redemption, and the lowering of redemption payments. With the dismissal of Minister of the Interior N. P. Ignat’ev (1882) and his replacement by D. A. Tolstoi, a period of undisguised reaction began. At the end of the 1880’s and the beginning of the 1890’s, the so-called counterreforms were carried out—including the introduction of the institution of land captains and the revision of the zemstvo (district assembly) and municipal statutes. During his reign Alexander III significantly increased administrative arbitrariness. In the 1880’s there was a gradual worsening of Russian-German relations and a rapprochement with France, culminating in the conclusion of the French-Russian Alliance (1891–93).
REFERENCESDnevnik gosudarstvennogo sekretaria A. A. Polovtsova, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1966.
Zaionchkovskii, P. A. “Aleksandr III i ego blizhaishee ok-ruzhenie.” Vopr. istorii, 1966, no. 8.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
1. 1241--86, king of Scotland (1249--86), son of Alexander II
2. original name Orlando Bandinelli. died 1181, pope (1159--81), who excommunicated Barbarossa
3. 1845--94, tsar of Russia (1881--94), son of Alexander II
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