Alberoni, Giulio, Cardinal and statesman; b. 30 May, 1664, at Firenzuola in the duchy of Parma; d. 26 June. 1752, at Piacenza. He was the son of very poor parents, and laboured as a farm hand or gardener until his fifteenth year. After that he became a bellringer in the cathedral of Piacenza, where he gained the favourable notice of the Bishop, was ordained priest, and appointed a canon. The Duc de Vendôme, in command of the French troops in Italy, became the patron of Alberoni, took him to Paris (1706), and made use of his talents in several important affairs. Having accompanied Vendôme to the court of Spain in 1711, the reputation of Alberoni's talents won for him, after the death of his patron, the position of agent of the Duke of Parma in Madrid. He was very active in furthering the accession of the French candidate for the throne of Spain, Philip V, and afterwards became the royal favourite. Upon the death of the Queen (Maria Luisa of Savoy), Alberoni used his influence to bring about, in 1714, a marriage between the widowed King and Elisabetta Farnese, daughter of the Duke of Parma. In consequence of this diplomatic success he became prime minister, a duke and grandee of Spain, and Bishop of Malaga. He also established more satisfactory relations than had existed between the Roman Curia and the court of Philip V. In 1717 Clement XI, yielding to royal pressure, created him Cardinal Deacon of San Adriano. As prime minister, Alberoni's political economy was decidedly in advance of his times. He strove to make the Spanish a manufacturing nation, and so far anticipated the developments of the nineteenth century as to establish a regular mail service between Spain and her American colonies. He reformed many abuses in the government and instituted a school of navigation for the sons of the nobility. At the same time he did not hesitate to sacrifice the popular liberties of Spain to the interests of the absolute monarchy; while the foreign policy by which he sought to recover Spain's lost Italian possessions, his efforts to obtain for Philip V the crown of France and, generally, to aggrandize the Spanish monarchy at all costs, must have led to a general European war if they had not resulted in his own downfall (5 December, 1719). He is blamed for the unwarrantable invasion of Sardinia and of Sicily by Spain, in spite of formal assurance to the contrary given to the Pope. Another extravagant scheme of Alberoni's was the restoration of the Stuarts to the British throne by the co-operation of the Tsar and the King of Sweden. At last, in 1719, Philip V, to save himself from being treated as the common enemy of Europe, dismissed and exiled the Cardinal, who returned to Italy to face the indignation of Clement XI. His journey was interrupted at Genoa, where he was placed under arrest to await the decision of a special commission of the Sacred College. He escaped, however, and remained in hiding until the death of Clement XI in 1721. Under the next Pope, Innocent XIII, he was cleared, by a commission of cardinals, of the charges brought against him (1723), and for some time he lived in retirement in a Jesuit house, after which he was promoted to be Cardinal Priest of the Title of San Lorenzo in Lucina. Under Clement XII he served the Holy See as Legate at Ravenna, and under Benedict XIV at Bologna. Cardinal Alberoni's declining years were spent in retirement. He is buried in the church of the college of San Lazzaro, which he founded at Piacenza.
Bersani, Storia del Cardinale Giulio Alberoni (Piacenza, 1861, 1872); Von Hefele, in Kirchenlex., I, 410-411.
Albert (Albrecht), Bishop of Riga, Apostle of Livonia, d. 17 January, 1229. After the inhabitants of Livonia had twice lapsed from Christianity into paganism, and heroic measures were necessary to reclaim them, Albert organized a crusade. He sailed up the Duna (April, 1200), with twenty-three ships; conquered the land on both sides; founded the city of Riga (1201), of which he was made bishop; established the famous Order of Knights of the Sword (1202), which served as a standing army; completed the conversion of the country before 1206; and erected the dependent bishoprics of Semgall-Kurland, Dorpat, and Oesel.
Fritz in Kirchenlex.; Heinrici chronicon Livoniæ in Mon. Germ. Script., XXIII, 231–232.
Albert (Albrecht) II, eighteenth Archbishop of Magdeburg in Saxony, date of birth unknown; d. 1232. He was the son of Günther III, Count of Kevernburg, and began his studies at Hildesheim, completing them later at Paris and Bologna. At an early age he was made a prebendary of the Magdeburg cathedral, and in 1200 was appointed Provost of the Cathedral Chapter by Innocent III. Through the influence of the Bishop of Halberstadt, he was nominated as the successor of Ludolph, Archbishop of Magdeburg (d. 1205). After receiving the papal approbation, which was at first withheld, partly on account of those who had taken part in his election and partly on his account of his attitude towards Philip of Suabia, Albert proceeded to Rome, where he was consecrated bishop by the Pope (Dec., 1206) and received the pallium. He entered Magdeburg on Palm Sunday, 15 April, 1207, and five days later a conflagration destroyed many of the buildings in the city, including his own cathedral. One of his first cares was to repair the damage wrought by fire, and in 1208 he laid the corner-stone of the present cathedral, which, though completed 156 years later, serves as his most fitting memorial. He likewise rebuilt a large part of the city, and is regarded as the founder of the Neustadt. Magdeburg was also indebted to him for several valuable privileges which he obtained from Otto IV after the death of Philip of Suabia. Albert did much to further the interest of religion. He established the Dominicans (1224), and the Franciscans (1225) in the city, and also founded a convent for women in honour of St. Mary Magdalen.
But Albert's activity was not confined to his diocese. He also played a prominent part in the great struggle for the imperial crown, which marked the close of the twelfth and the beginning of the thirteenth centuries. Even before his consecration, he had inclined to the side of Philip of Suabia, who sought the crown in spite of his nephew Frederick, the son and heir of Henry VI (d. 28 Sept., 1197). But later, accepting the papal "Deliberation", he gave his support to Otto IV, second son of Henry the Lion, who had been set up as anti-king by a party headed by Adolphus of Cologne and crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle. After the assassination of Philip (July, 1208) Albert did much to have his rival acknowledged as king. Otto proceeded to Rome, accompanied by Albert, where he was crowned by the Pope on 4 Oct., 1209, and soon after seized Ancona and Spoleto—part of the papal territories. Upon attempting to enter Sicily he was excommunicated by Innocent III (Maundy Thursday, 1211), and his subjects released from their allegiance. Albert, after some hesitation, published the bull of excommunication and thenceforth transferred his allegiance to Frederick II, the Hohenstaufen, son of Henry VI. In 1212 Otto returned to Germany and defied the Pope. The struggles that followed, in which Magdeburg and its neighbourhood suffered severely, did not come to an end until Otto's