1198 - Lothario dei Conti becomes Pope Innocent III

         This brilliant and ambitions 37 year-old un-ordained monk rose to power in world where no secular leader could challenge his power.  Kings and crowned princes became his liege-men.  A mere deacon when he was elected, Conti de Segni had to be rushed through ordination into priesthood before he could be consecrated as pope.  Like Joseph Stalin, he ascended to power not because he was known for his brilliance as a politicians, but because he was a natural administrator with a keen eye for detail.

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         Innocent III would launch the most ambitious and devastating crusade of the era - the fourth.  He was a man who burned with an ambition to bring Jerusalem under the control of the papacy.  Toward the end of his life he became ruthless and was willing to destroy anyone who did not bend to his demands.