Pope Victor II, born Gebhard, Count of Calw, Tollenstein, and Hirschberg, was Pope from 13 April 1055 until his death in 1057. He was one of a series of German reform popes.
After the death of Pope Leo IX, a Roman delegation headed by Hildebrand, later Pope Gregory VII, travelled to Mainz and asked the Emperor to nominate Gebhard as successor. At a court Diet held at Ratisbon in March, 1055, Gebhard accepted the papacy, provided that the emperor restore to the Apostolic See all the possessions that had been taken from it. When the emperor agreed, Gebhard, taking the name Victor II, moved to Rome and was enthroned in St. Peter's Basilica on 13 April 1055.
In June 1055, Victor met the Emperor at Florence and held a council, which reinforced Pope Leo IX's condemnation of clerical marriage, simony, and the loss of the church's properties. In the following year, he was summoned to the Emperor's side, and was with Henry III when he died at Bodfeld in the Harz on 5 October 1056. As guardian of Henry III's infant son Henry and adviser of the Empress Agnes, Henry IV's mother, Victor II now wielded enormous power, which he used to maintain peace throughout the empire and to strengthen the papacy against the aggressions of the barons. During, the rivalry between Archbishop Anno II of Cologne and other senior clergymen and the Dowager Empress, Victor II backed Agnes and her supporters. Many of the Dowager Empress's close followers would be promoted, men like Bishop Henry II of Augsburg, who would later become Emperor Henry's nominal regent, and several German Princes were given high court and church offices. He died shortly after his return to Italy, at Arezzo, on 28 July 1057. His death would mostly mark an end to the close relationship shared between the Salian dynasty and the Papacy.