Religion Past and Present

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(175 words)

[German Version]

(from Lat. nepos, “grandchild, nephew”) refers to efforts to place relatives in influential ecclesiastical or ecclesiastico-political offices, thus benefiting them by exploiting the power of appointment. In the bishoprics of the Holy Roman Empire and particularly in the Papal States, where celibacy prevented the establishment of dynasties, bishops and popes favored their own families in awarding dignities, offices, benefices, and fiefs. In the Curia, the support given weak popes by talented relatives was often benefici…

Cite this page
Schneider, Bernd Christian, “Nepotism”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 10 July 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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