INNOCENT the Third before he was raised to the Pontifical Dignity, went by the name of Lotharius. He was born at Anagni, being the Son of Thrasimond of the Family the Earls of Signi, and of Claricia a Roman Lady. He studied at Rome, Paris, and Bologn; and being upon his return to Rome, was ordained Sub-deacon by Gregory the 8th, and when he was but 29 years old, was made Chief Deacon by the Title of S. Sergius and S. Bacchius, by Clement the 3rd .
His Learning and Merit made him be unanimously chosen by the Cardinals on the very day of Celestin’s the 3rd’s Death, which happened on the 8th of January 1198; although he was then but very young, and no more than Deacon. He was consecrated Priest the 21st of February the same year, and raised to the Pontifical Throne on the Sunday next after the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch.
After having satisfied the People by the ordinary Largesses, and received an Oath of Allegiance from them, he made an Order, forbidding all Officers in the Court of Rome to take any Fee or Gratuity for what should be done at Rome, except the Rights that were due to those who drew up and writ the Bulls, on which he laid a very moderate Impost. Having remedied this Abuse, he applied himself wholly to decide in cases that should be brought before him. Thrice a week he had a public Consistory, where he in person gave Judgment in all principal Causes, leaving the meaner ones to his Commissaries.
This quick dispatch brought him a multitude of Causes from all parts of the world, so that an Author that lived in his time remarks, that he in his Popedom decided more and more weighty Affairs than had ever been decided in thrice the time in the Church of Rome. This was the occasion of his writing such a vast number of Letters, of which there is a Collection divided into nineteen Books according to the years of his Pontificate.