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Renaissance and Reformation Cardinals
by
Stella Fletcher

Introduction

Deriving from the Latin cardo (hinge), cardinals were originally priests permanently attached to particular churches. Roman cardinals were beneficiaries of the 11th- and 12th-century reforms that sought to diminish secular influence over the church by centralizing power in the person of the pope. They emerged from that process with enhanced individual and corporate powers. The 1059 codification of rules governing papal elections made them the principal electors of popes. This was refined by the Third Lateran Council (1179), which decreed that cardinals were the sole electors of popes, that their votes were of equal value with no distinction between those of cardinal-bishops, cardinal-priests, and cardinal-deacons, and that a two-thirds majority was required to secure an election. Between conclaves, popes and cardinals met together in regular consistories from c. 1130. Cardinals began to hold administrative offices within the Roman curia and to act as legates a latere, sent “from the side” of the pope to exercise his power in specific regions of Christendom. Their authority was further enhanced when they became protectors of newly reformed and centralized religious orders. Cardinals’ red hats were exclusively the gift of the popes who, from the 15th century onward, used them as diplomatic tools in their relations with the secular powers. Between 1350 and 1650 nearly one thousand individuals were made cardinals, even if approximately one tenth of that total have since been identified as “pseudo-cardinals,” the creations of antipopes. In this bibliography, Reference Works precede General Overviews, which deal with groups of cardinals. Collections of Papers include studies of individual cardinals and are therefore particularly useful for comparative purposes. Thereafter, attention focuses on the composition, privileges, and responsibilities of the Sacred College, with subsections devoted to particular features of their life in Rome (and Avignon): Cardinals in Conclaves for their role in papal elections, Cardinal Protectors for some of their functions between conclaves, and Cardinals’ Houses and Households for other aspects of their ecclesiastical and cultural patronage. The vast majority of scholarship relating to cardinals has been biographical in nature, which is why the remainder of the present work divides the subject chronologically, into Cardinals Created before 1471, Cardinals Created between 1471 and 1503, Cardinals Created between 1503 and 1534, Cardinals Created between 1534 and 1549, and Cardinals Created after 1549. In each there is a selection of primary sources and secondary literature, identified as “Sources” and “Studies,” respectively.

Reference Works

The standard reference works used today come with a distinguished literary pedigree, for the lives of cardinals have long been charted and collected by historians. In the 16th century Girolamo Garimberti sought to record the lives of all past cardinals. In the 17th century his example was followed by Alfonso Chacón (Ciacconius), while Pierre Frizon wrote only of French cardinals (Gallia purpurata). The dawn of the Enlightenment saw Georg Josef Eggs confine his collection to learned cardinals (Purpura docta), and the republic of Venice was only decades from extinction when Angelo Maria Querini published his lives of Venetian popes and cardinals. A more encyclopedic approach was taken by Lorenzo Cardella, whose Memorie storiche de’ cardinali della santa romana chiesa was published in nine volumes between 1792 and 1797, and sustained in the 19th century by Charles Berton (Dictionnaire des cardinaux: Contenant des notions general sur le cardinalat, 1857) and Francesco Cristofori (Storia dei cardinali di S. Romana Chiesa, 1888). For most practical purposes scholars now look no further back than Eubel 1913–1935. Sicari 2001 presents Eubel’s material in an alternative format, listing cardinals alphabetically. Dictionaries of national biography should be preferred to alternative reference resources: between them, Prevost 1932–, Ghisalbert 1960–, and Matthew and Harrison 2004 provide biographies for a sizeable proportion of the cardinals of the Renaissance and Reformation periods. For explanations of the specialist terminology relating the papal history, including the role of cardinals, Levillain 2003 is a clear and easy-to-use reference work.

  • Eubel, Conradus, et al. Hierarchia catholica medii aevi. 4 vols. Munich: Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1913–1935.

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    This is an indispensable guide to popes, cardinals, and bishops in communion with the Holy See. The first four volumes of what now runs to a nine-volume series, continued by other authors, cover the years 1198–1431, 1431–1503, 1503–1592, and 1592–1667 respectively. Eubel was assisted by G. van Gulik on Volumes 2–3; Volume 4 was edited by P. Gauchet.

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  • Ghisalbert, Alberto Maria. Dizionario biografico degli Italiani. 71 vols. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1960–.

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    Approximately 55 percent of the cardinals created by Roman pontiffs in the 15th century were of Italian origin; this figure rose to nearly 70 percent in the 16th century. Though still a work in progress, this dictionary is an excellent biographical and bibliographical resource for the study of Renaissance cardinals and includes non-Italians, such as Bessarion, who took up residence in the peninsula.

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  • Levillain, Philippe, ed. Dictionnaire historique de la papauté. Paris: Fayard, 2003.

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    A single-volume reference work covering the entire history of the papacy; a convenient source of generic information on cardinals, including as protectors and papal nephews. There are entries on conclaves and conclavists, on offices held by cardinals (such as that of camerlengo), as well as on individual popes. There are no entries on individual cardinals. Each entry is supported by an ample bibliography.

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  • Matthew, H. C. G., and Brian Harrison, eds. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 40 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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    There are entries for cardinals born in the British Isles, as well as for those who were born elsewhere but who made a contribution to the so-called island story. Adriano Castellesi, Lorenzo Campeggi, and Girolamo Ghinucci come into the latter category. One of the “themes” under which entries can be researched in the online version (available by subscription) is “Cardinals in the Oxford DNB.”

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  • Prevost, M. Dictionnaire de biographie Française. 19 vols. Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1932–.

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    Second only in number to Italians were French-speaking cardinals promoted by French popes in the 14th century or Italian popes keen to placate French kings in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Although the dictionary remains incomplete, it is nevertheless the first port of call for researching the careers of most French cardinals and schismatic claimants to the hat.

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  • Sicari, Giovanni. Cenni biografici su tutti i cardinali (1198–2001): Incarichi precedenti ai cardinali, date di creazione e morte: titoli diaconali, presbiteriali e vescovili. Rome: Giovanni Sicari, 2001.

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    The volume consists of a single list of cardinals, arranged alphabetically, in each case providing name and place of death, location of burial, date of creation as a cardinal and senior benefices held at the time of creation. The information is taken exclusively from Francesco Cristofori and from Eubel 1913–1935. Any errors that have been corrected by intervening scholarship remain unacknowledged.

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General Overviews

Pastor 1891–1953 is the classic history of the papacy in this period, in which cardinals are accorded suitable prominence. Even before Machiavelli wrote about princes and Castiglione about courtiers, an early-16th-century author taught his contemporaries about the lives of cardinals, though Cortesi 1510 emphasizes the ideal over the reality of their lives. As a guide to the subject, its counterpart among works of modern scholarship is Firpo 1991, which provides a brief but nevertheless comprehensive overview of the careers of 15th- and 16th-century cardinals: this is the best introduction to the subject. If a lengthier survey is required, Chambers 2006 spans a considerably wider chronological range but concentrates on worldly preoccupations and warfare in particular. Richardson 2009 is perhaps more predictable, focusing on curial cardinals in the 15th century, with particular reference to their material remains in the form of houses, churches, and tombs. For the study of 16th-century cardinals Hallman 1985 is a modern classic, a prosopographical work that concentrates on the wealth of 102 Italian cardinals but, in the process, reveals much about their sociopolitical milieu. For the later 16th and early 17th centuries, Menniti Ippolito 1999 explores a phenomenon particularly associated with that period: the role of the cardinal nephew. Tittoni and Petrucci 2006 is a study of cardinals’ portraits and thus puts faces to some of the names found throughout the other works in this section.

  • Chambers, D. S.. Popes, Cardinals and War: The Military Church in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2006.

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    War acts as the connecting thread in this accessible alternative to multivolume histories of the papacy. Although the broad sweep of the narrative starts with the medieval centuries and ends with the Risorgimento, the focus is on popes from Pius II to Julius II. Among the most militant cardinals in the story are Gil de Albornoz, Giovanni Vitelleschi, Giovanni della Rovere, Cesare Borgia, and Francesco Alidosi.

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  • Cortesi, Paolo. De cardinalatu libri tres. Castro Cortesio, Italy: Symeon Nicolai Nardi, 1510.

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    It was Cardinal Ascanio Maria Sforza (d. 1505) who persuaded the curialist Paolo Cortesi to devote his treatise to the ideal cardinal, rather than the ideal secular prince. In its three books—“Ethicus et contemplativus,” “Oeconomicus,” and “Politicus”—Cortesi discusses the education of a cardinal, humanistic and otherwise, and the organization of a cardinal’s household and his responsibilities, both political and ecclesiastical.

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  • Firpo, Massimo. “The Cardinal.” In Renaissance Characters. Edited by Eugenio Garin, 46–97. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

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    From the volume originally published as L’uomo del Rinascimento, 1988. Taking Paolo Cortesi’s De cardinalatu (Cortesi 1510) as his point of departure, Firpo drops the names of scores of 15th- and 16th-century cardinals as he surveys these ecclesiastical princes in terms of number, character, political power, wealth and lifestyle and as holders of benefices and heads of households: a minor masterpiece.

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  • Hallman, Barbara McClung. Italian Cardinals, Reform, and the Church as Property, 1492–1563. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

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    An authoritative study of the financial affairs of 102 Italian cardinals from the election of Alexander VI to the close of the Council of Trent. The cardinals are assessed in terms of geographical origin, social class, and education before Hallman turns to their sources of income and the means they employed to alienate ecclesiastical property or place it in the care of kinsmen.

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  • Menniti Ippolito, Antonio. Il tramonto della Curia nepotista: Papi, nipoti e burocrazia curiale tra XVI e XVII secolo. Rome: Viella, 1999.

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    Examines the phenomenon of the cardinal nephew in the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was said that papal elections were contested by “two-man tickets,” the candidate and his nephew. Explores the operation of cardinal nephews in the Roman curia and accounts for the contemporary curial debate about the practice of nepotism.

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  • Pastor, Ludwig von. The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages. 40 vols. London: Kegan Paul, 1891–1953.

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    Originally published as Geschichte der Päpste seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters (Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany: Herder, 1886–1930). The first twenty-three volumes of the English translation of this monumental work cover papal history through to the end of the 16th century. Pastor’s judgmental approach to his subject—including the characters of cardinals—is too well known to obscure the overall significance of his achievement.

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  • Richardson, Carol. M. Reclaiming Rome: Cardinals in the Fifteenth Century. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004171831.i-528Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Three studies in one volume: “Cardinals and Popes” is derived from the considerable body of literature on conciliarism and the post-conciliar balance of power between the papal monarch and his red-hatted princes, together with a chapter on the dress of cardinals; “Cardinals and Rome” accounts for titular churches and cardinals’ urban residences; “Cardinals and Eternity” examines their wills and their tombs, especially those in St. Peter’s in Rome.

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  • Tittoni, Maria Elisa, and Francesco Petrucci. La porpora Romana: Ritrattistica cardinalizia a Roma dal Rinascimento al Novecento. Rome: Gangemi, 2006.

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    The catalogue of an exhibition held in Rome in 2006, it includes an essay by Petrucci on the typology of cardinals’ portraits in the 16th and 17th centuries. The works featured include a posthumous portrait of Bessarion, Alessandro Farnese (the future Paul III) by Raphael, Clemente Grosso della Rovere by Jacopo de’ Barbari, and Carlo Borromeo by Ottavio Leoni.

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Collections of Papers

In this category alone one can discern a recent flourishing of interest in the role of cardinals in the Renaissance period. The earliest volume featured here is Chambers 1997, the collected articles of a scholar who has done more than most to inspire interest in the Renaissance cardinalate. Chambers’s archival research was concentrated in Mantua, but the Jubilee of 2000 turned the attention of scholars to previous holy years, including that of 1500, which fell during the pontificate of Alexander VI (1492–1503). The fifth centenary of that pontificate was marked by a wealth of publications, including Chiabò 2001, which includes a healthy quantity of material on the cardinals of Alexander’s time. Cardinals of different periods were the connecting thread between a series of nineteen lectures delivered in various Roman locations in 2001–2002 and published as Gallo 2001–2002. The papers are concise and accessible but nevertheless authoritative. Signorotto and Visceglia 2002 is somewhat more specialized and should also be explored by readers who wish to avoid the constraints involved if cardinals are labeled as “Renaissance” or “Baroque”: their periodization is more “early modern.” The Roman emphasis in Signorotto and Visceglia 2002 left a gap for a collection of papers with a greater emphasis on non-curial cardinals, a gap duly filled by Lemerle, et al. 2009, which has a Francocentric emphasis and clearly identifies its subject as “Renaissance” cardinals. In a similar fashion, Hollingsworth and Richardson 2010 works outward from an interest in cardinals as cultural patrons but revives the Italian focus of previous collections.

  • Chambers, D. S. Renaissance Cardinals and Their Worldly Problems. Aldershot, UK, and Brookfield, VT: Variorum, 1997.

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    A collection of ten articles originally published between 1966 and 1989, together with a “postscript.” The opening essay, on the “economic predicament” of Renaissance cardinals, is essential reading for understanding the practical reality behind the courtly trappings. Others focus on Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga (d. 1483), members of his household, and his illegitimate son. A further study examines Ferdinando Gonzaga (d. 1626), cardinal and duke of Mantua.

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  • Chiabò, Maria, ed. Roma di fronte all’Europa al tempo di Alessandro VI. 3 vols. Rome: Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, 2001.

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    A collection of forty conference papers originally delivered in 1999 as part of the 500th anniversary of Alexander VI’s pontificate. With reference to the history of cardinals, they include Francesco Somaini on Rodrigo Borgia in the conclave of 1492, Marco Pellegrini on change and continuity in the Sacred College, and Flavia Cantatore on Bernardino Carvajal’s Roman career.

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  • Gallo, Marco, ed. I cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa: Collezionisti e mercenati. 5 vols. Rome: Shakespeare and Co., 2001–2002.

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    A series of slim volumes containing lectures given in Rome in 2001–2002, with emphasis on cardinals’ cultural patronage. For the Renaissance and Reformation periods the contributions include Alessandro Saraco on Domenico Capranica, Claudio Crescentini on Francesco and Giuliano della Rovere, David Frapiccini on Girolamo Basso della Rovere, Bram Kempers on Bandinello Sauli, and Dalma Frascarelli on Carlo Borromeo.

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  • Hollingsworth, Mary, and Carol M. Richardson, eds. The Possessions of a Cardinal: Politics, Piety and Art, 1450–1700. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010.

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    Following D. S. Chambers’s survey of the Renaissance cardinalate “from Paolo Cortesi’s De cardinalatu to the present,” sixteen case studies investigate the careers and cultural patronage of individual cardinals between the 15th and 17th centuries. The subjects include: Guillaume d’Estouteville, Francesco Todeschini-Piccolomini, Gabriele Rangone, Oliviero Carafa, Bernardo Dovizi, Giulio de’ Medici, Ippolito II d’Este, Carlo Borromeo, and Ferdinando de’ Medici.

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  • Lemerle, Frédérique, Yves Pauwels, and Gennaro Toscano, eds. Les Cardinaux de la Renaissance et la Modernité Artistique. Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France: IRHIS/CEGES, 2009.

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    In this volume of eighteen essays the editors ask whether, as cultural patrons and collectors of works of art, cardinals were apostles of the Renaissance. Among the cardinals featured are Thomas Wolsey, Georges d’Amboise, Jean de Lorraine, Georges d’Armagnac, Jean Du Bellay, Antoine de Granvelle, Gil de Albornoz, Guillem Ramon de Vich, and Pedro González de Mendoza, together with Polish and Hungarian prelates.

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  • Signorotto, Gianvittorio, and Maria Antonietta Visceglia, eds. Court and Politics in Papal Rome 1492–1700. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge, University Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511496929Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Of the ten essays in this collection, the most relevant are those of Marco Pellegrini on the respective powers of pope and cardinals at the time of Alexander VI, Elena Fasano Guarini on the correspondence of Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici, Maria Antonietta Visceglia on factions in the Sacred College, and Olivier Poncet on cardinal protectors of France.

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Sacred College

Kuttner 1945 is the classic account of how the Sacred College of Cardinals came into being, uniting the cardinal bishops of Ostia, Albano, Frascati, Palestrina, Porto, and Sabina, the cardinal priests who took their titles from Roman churches and the cardinal deacons who took theirs from the city’s diaconiae. Broderick 1987 is a broad survey of the evolving size of the Sacred College. For the period of the Renaissance and Reformation, salient features include the proposal voiced at the Council of Constance in the early 15th century that there should be a maximum of twenty-four cardinals, and Sixtus V’s decision in 1586 to raise the official maximum from forty-six to seventy. Del Re 1998 looks behind the figures to identify the curial offices habitually held by cardinals and lists the individuals who served in those offices. The other works in this section are more period specific. The independent corporate revenue of the College can be traced back to the late 13th century, but Antonovics 1967 presents a rare insight into its finances in the 15th century. According to DeSilva 2008, it was in the early 16th century that the so-called Senate of the Church dwindled into nothing more than the court of the papal monarch. Its pretentions have been quashed.

  • Antonovics, A. V. “A Late Fifteenth Century Division Register of the College of Cardinals.” Papers of the British School at Rome 35 (1967): 87–101.

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    An analysis of one of the few surviving 15th-century records of the collective income of the Sacred College and its division among curial cardinals. Those cardinals who were absent from Rome, on legations or for any other reason, lost their entitlement to this source of income. The register in questions covers the years 1460–1470.

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  • Broderick, John F. “The Sacred College of Cardinals: Size and Geographical Composition (1099–1986).” Archivium Historiae Pontificiae 25 (1987): 7–71.

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    An excellent introduction to and masterly survey of the subject, including the emergence of the cardinalate, attempts to quantify the number of cardinals, historians of cardinals from Ciacconius in the 17th century to Cristofori in the 19th, statistical analysis of the Sacred College in various periods, and the election capitulations by which cardinals sought to limit the powers of 15th-century pontiffs.

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  • Del Re, Niccolò. La Curia Romana: Lineamenti storico-giuridico. 4th ed. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1998.

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    First published in 1941. A systematic guide to the executive departments of the Roman curia, beginning with the post-1588 congregations and moving on to the more venerable bodies, including the Chancellery, Camera, Penitentiary, Datary, and Rota. In each section there is a list of the most senior office holders, including the cardinals who served as vice-chancellor, camerlengo, and major penitentiary.

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  • DeSilva, Jennifer Maria. “Senators and Courtiers: Negotiating Models for the College of Cardinals under Julius II and Leo X.” Renaissance Studies 22.2 (2008): 154–173.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-4658.2007.00474.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    With evidence from the diary of the papal master of ceremonies Paris de’ Grassi, DeSilva argues that it was during the pontificates of Julius II and Leo X that the Sacred College ceased to be the Senate of the Church—Western Christendom in miniature—and became an assembly of courtiers reflecting the greater glory of the papal monarch.

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  • Kuttner, Stephan. “Cardinalis: The History of a Canonical Concept.” Traditio 3 (1945): 129–214.

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    A highly authoritative exploration of the term “cardinal” in the history of the church. In addition to the etymology, Kuttner traces the emergence of cardinal bishops, priests, and deacons in a Roman context and accounts for the existence of cardinals outside the city of Rome.

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Cardinals in Conclaves

The practice of locking cardinals in an enclosed area, from which they were not released until they had elected a pope, evolved in the 13th century and began with cases of involuntary enclosure. In 1352 the cardinals in conclave at Avignon drew up an election “capitulation” designed to increase the powers and income of the Sacred College at the expense of the pope. Fifteenth-century conclaves drew up elaborate capitulationes, the essence of which limited the number of cardinals to twenty-four: each was promptly disavowed by newly elected papal monarch. The conclaves of 1455 and 1458 were chronicled in Pius II 2003–2007. The Sistine Chapel included in the enclosure from 1484 onward and, as Chambers 1978 explains, even its frescoes contributed to the history of papal elections. The voters in conclaves from 1471 to 1503 are analyzed in Gregoire 1988. Thereafter, the interests of the secular powers, particularly France and Spain, loomed large during the period of the Italian Wars. In the mid-16th century French kings, distracted by the Wars of Religion, ceased to intervene in conclaves; the Habsburgs also became relatively detached. At the same time zelanti, ecclesiastical reformers associated with the Council of Trent and the new religious orders, grew more assertive. Henry IV’s conversion to the Catholicism of his erstwhile enemies led to a revival of France as a major international player from the beginning of the 17th century and the secular powers were once again determined by the outcome of conclaves. In 1621 Gregory XV’s bull on papal elections tightened the voting procedures and insisted that ballots must contain the phrase “I choose as Supreme Pontiff my Lord Cardinal . . ,” which made voting for non-cardinals highly irregular though not actually banned. Baumgartner 2003 relates the evolution of electoral practices, supplemented by suitable anecdotes from all periods of the history of conclaves.

  • Baumgartner, Frederic J. Behind Locked Doors: A History of the Papal Elections. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

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    A complete history of papal elections, with emphasis on the centuries during which cardinals have been the electors and conclaves the fora in which popes have been elected. Chapters 5 and 6 cover the Renaissance and Reformation periods respectively and benefit from Baumgartner’s expertise in the history of the French Church in that era.

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  • Chambers, D. S. “Papal Conclaves and Prophetic Mystery in the Sistine Chapel.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 41 (1978): 322–326.

    DOI: 10.2307/750878Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A brief but influential article on the allocation of wooden cubicles in the Sistine Chapel during the conclaves of the High Renaissance period, when it was thought that cardinals billeted beneath certain frescoes, particularly Perugino’s Donation of the Keys to St. Peter, stood a greater chance of being elected. It certainly worked for Giulio de’ Medici, who was elected in 1523.

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  • Gregoire, Reginald. “Il Sacro Collegio Cardinalizio dall’elezione di Sisto IV all’elezione di Giulio II (1471–1513).” Atti e memorie della Società Savonese di Storia Patria, n.s., 24 (1988): 209–232.

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    An annotated list of the electors who voted in the conclaves of 1471, 1484, 1492, 1503 (twice), and 1513. It links the elections of the two Savonese popes, accounting for its presence in this particular journal.

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  • Pius II, Pope Commentarii rerum memorabilium/Commentaries. 2 vols. Edited by Margaret Meserve and Marcello Simonetta. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003–2007.

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    A Latin/English scholarly edition of Pius II’s famous autobiography, which provides a unique insight into the machinations of Renaissance conclaves. In 1455 the author’s perspective was that of a conclavist, and in 1458 he was elected to the papal office. The Latin text is based on the last manuscript version written during the author’s life and the translation corrects the 1937 edition by Florence Alden Gragg.

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Cardinal Protectors

In 1218 the fledgling Franciscan order acquired a cardinal to protect it from clerical hostility. Thereafter, it became the norm for each religious order to have its own protector in the Sacred College. Forte 1959 lists protectors of the Dominican order but represents only a fraction of a much greater whole, which also included the phenomenon of cardinals as commendatory abbots, protecting individual religious houses. The right of monastic and cathedral chapters to elect abbots and bishops was effectively lost in agreements by which popes merely confirmed the candidates proposed by the secular powers. Cardinals sponsored those candidates through the appointment process and, in consequence, were cultivated as Roman agents of the secular powers. Martin V condemned this practice in 1424, and the formal protectorship of nations was again criticized in 1464 as being incompatible with a cardinal’s curial commitments. The papacy effectively acknowledged defeat in 1492 when Francesco Todeschini-Piccolmini became the first papally recognized protector of any nation, England, with the relation of Henry VII’s candidates to English, Welsh, and Irish bishoprics among his principal responsibilities. Wodka 1938 provides lists of cardinal protectors, arranged state by state. Wilkie 1974 is a detailed study of the emergence of the cardinal protectorship of England and what it meant in practice in the decades prior to Henry VIII’s break with Rome. Walsh 1974 covers the same theme but with regard to cardinals as sponsors of candidates to Irish benefices.

  • Forte, S. L. The Cardinal-Protector of the Dominican Order. Rome: Istituto Storico Domenicano, 1959.

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    A chronological survey of the protectorship, which was created in the second half of the 14th century. The challenges faced by these protectors included Sixtus IV’s favor toward his fellow Franciscans and the Dominican Girolamo Savonarola’s preaching in defiance of Alexander VI’s ban.

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  • Walsh, Katherine. “The Beginnings of a National Protectorate: Curial Cardinals and the Irish Church in the Fifteenth Century.” Archivium Hibernicum 32 (1974): 72–80.

    DOI: 10.2307/25529601Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Surveys the cardinal protectors of England in the 15th and early 16th centuries before highlighting those cardinals who acted as curial sponsors of the king’s candidates to bishoprics in his Irish realm. Among the latter particular attention is devoted to Cardinals Domencio Capranica, Pietro Barbo (the future Paul II) and Prospero Colonna.

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  • Wilkie, William E. The Cardinal Protectors of England: Rome and the Tudors before the Reformation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1974.

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    Wilkie’s study of Anglo–papal relations between 1485 and 1539 covers the creation of a formal protectorship in 1492 and the work of cardinals from Francesco Todeschini- Piccolomini to Francesco Alidosi as protectors of English interests in Rome, but focuses on the relationship between Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey, on the one hand, and the cardinal protectors of England, Giulio de’ Medici and Lorenzo Campeggi, on the other.

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  • Wodka, Josef. Zur Geschichte der nationalen Protektorate der Kardinäle an der römischen Kurie. Innsbruck, Austria, and Leipzig: F. Rauch, 1938.

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    Wodka’s study focuses on the role of cardinal protectors in promoting the candidates of the secular powers to episcopal vacancies within the borders of their states. It includes convenient lists of cardinal protectors, lists that reveal the early dominance of the Florentine Lorenzo Pucci (d. 1531), an associate of the Medici popes Leo X and Clement VII, in this potentially lucrative business.

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Cardinals’ Houses and Households

Just as Paolo Cortesi’s De cardinalatu (see Cortesi 1510, cited under General Overviews) remains the inspiration for modern studies of Renaissance cardinals, so Cortesi 1980 provides a focus for recent studies of one particular aspect of the careers of curial cardinals: their houses and households. This in itself dictates a scholarly emphasis on houses and households in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the period from which Cortesi’s own examples are drawn. D. S. Chambers is among the most prolific writers on the subject of Renaissance cardinals. Among the author’s numerous studies of the Gonzaga cardinals, Chambers 1976 provides his principal focus on the housing of cardinals: although the subject is Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga, the article nevertheless provides information on the Roman residences of Gonzaga’s red-hatted contemporaries. The story of Chambers 1976 is one of “problems,” but Richardson 2003 turns this familiar tale on its head by emphasizing the housing “opportunities” of another cardinal created by Pius II, the papal nephew Francesco Todeschini-Piccolomini. Pope Pius II divided his time between Rome and his Tuscan birthplace, Corsignano, which he effectively ennobled as Pienza, “city of Pius.” His cardinals were also obliged to divide their time between Rome and Pienza, some of them even beginning to build palaces in the latter during Pius’s six-year pontificate, but it is on the curia’s visits to Siena in 1459 and 1460 that Nevola 2006 concentrates, highlighting the “problems” of temporary housing for cardinals and their households. Moving into the 16th century, Byatt 1988 surveys one particular aspect of cardinalitial households: the provision of hospitality. For a wide-ranging survey of cardinals and their households with a strong historiographical emphasis, the best study is Fragnito 1993. The High Renaissance period can be bookended by Zacour 1975, which details 14th-century attempts to curb the size and activities of cardinals’ households and Leone 2004, which explores the architectural patronage of a 17th-century cardinal in a period when the Roman cityscape was substantially altered by the building of extensive palaces by various cardinals.

  • Byatt, Lucinda M. C. “The Concept of Hospitality in a Cardinal’s Household in Renaissance Rome.” Renaissance Studies 2.2 (1988): 312–320.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-4658.1988.tb00159.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    As Byatt explains, cardinals’ hospitality centered on the tinello, the communal dining room for familiares continui commensales, which was regarded by anti-curial writers of the High Renaissance as the most overt expression of courtly vices. The focus of this study is the household of Cardinal Niccolò Ridolfi, who was created a cardinal in 1517 and was patron of 140–180 familiars.

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  • Chambers, D. S. “The Housing Problems of Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 39 (1976): 21–58.

    DOI: 10.2307/751131Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Derived in large measure from correspondence in the Archivio Gonzaga in Mantua, Chambers’s study focuses on the initial quest to house Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga in Rome after he was created a cardinal in 1461 by Pius II, who also expected the Gonzaga to build a palace in rural Pienza. It took the Mantuan cardinal six years to become “well housed” in Rome.

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  • Cortesi, Paolo. The Renaissance Cardinal’s Ideal Palace: A Chapter from Cortesi’s De cardinalatu. Edited by Kathleen Weil-Garris and John F. D’Amico. Rome: Edizioni dell’Elefante, American Academy in Rome, 1980.

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    Originally published in Studies in Italian Art History (1980). The chapter in question is Liber II, capitulum 2, presented in parallel Latin and English texts. It describes how a cardinal should be housed, where best to situate his residence, the layout of the building, and its exterior and interior decoration.

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  • Fragnito, Gigliola. “Cardinals’ Courts in Sixteenth-Century Rome.” Journal of Modern History 65.1 (1993): 26–56.

    DOI: 10.1086/244607Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Fragnito describes the study of cardinals’ households in the early modern period as a neglected subject and then fills that lacuna with a multifaceted survey of the subject, with examples taken from the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of the statistical information is derived from the Roman census of 1526–1527, when members of cardinals’ households made up around 7 percent of the city’s population.

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  • Leone, Stephanie C. “Cardinal Pamphilj Builds a Palace: Self-Representation and Familial Ambition in Seventeenth-Century Rome.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 63.4 (December 2004): 440–471.

    DOI: 10.2307/4128014Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Giovanni Battista Pamphili was created a cardinal in 1630 and elected pope, as Innocent X, in 1644. The doubling in size of his ancestral home on Piazza Navona contributed to the architectural transformation of 17th-century Rome, and Leone’s research revises its building history to reveal that substantial work was undertaken between 1636 and 1638, earlier than previously thought.

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  • Nevola, Fabrizio. “Ritual Geography: Housing the Papal Court of Pius II Piccolomini in Siena (1459–60).” Renaissance Studies 20.2 (2006): 201–224.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-4658.2006.00196.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    As Pius II related in his Commentaries (Pius II 2003–2007, cited under Cardinals in Conclaves), the Sienese pope returned to his native city in 1459 and 1460. On both occasions about a dozen cardinals and their households required separate accommodation in the city. Nevola reconstructs their temporary housing arrangements in private lodgings and monasteries and even locates the stables used for their animals.

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  • Richardson, Carol M. “The Housing Opportunities of a Renaissance Cardinal.” Renaissance Studies 17.4 (December 2003): 607–627.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-4658.2003.00039.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Taking her cue from Chambers 1976, Richardson explores a number of Roman sites, particularly S. Saba, associated with Cardinal Francesco Todeschini-Piccolomini, who was created a cardinal by his uncle Pius II and went on to be the short-lived pontiff Pius III (1503). As a papal nipote his “opportunities” appear to have been more significant than those of other 15th-century cardinals.

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  • Zacour, Norman P. “Papal Regulation of Cardinals’ Households in the Fourteenth Century.” Speculum 50.3 (July 1975): 434–455.

    DOI: 10.2307/2854404Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of two constitutions issued by the Avignonese popes John XXII in 1316 and Innocent VI in 1357. Both responded to the large numbers of clerical familiars in cardinals’ households, but only the former sought to limit the number of familiars. Appendices contain texts of the two constitutions, together with a list of the household of Cardinal Luca Fieschi in 1336.

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Cardinals Created before 1471

The vast majority of cardinals appointed by the 14th-century Avignon-based popes were compatriots of those French pontiffs, though a notable exception was Gil Álvarez de Albornoz, the archbishop of Toledo who was sent by Innocent VI to impose order on the Papal States. From 1378, when Western Christendom became divided between the “obediences” of Rome and Avignon, the majority of cardinals created by the popes in Rome were Italian by birth, while their rivals in Avignon were mostly supported by French and Spanish clerics whose claims to the hat were regarded as dubious once their patrons became identified as antipopes. Between 1410 and 1414 the Pisan antipope “John XXIII” added to the confusion by creating eighteen of his own cardinals. In the wake of the Council of Constance (1414–1418), the Roman pontiffs Martin V (1417–1431), Eugenius IV (1431–1447), Nicholas V (1447–1455), Calixtus III (1455–1458), Pius II (1458–1464), and Paul II (1464–1471) are generally acknowledged to have created seventeen, twenty-seven, eleven, nine, thirteen, and ten cardinals respectively; some of them had previously been named as cardinals by antipopes up to and including “Felix V.”

Sources

Among the most accessible primary sources for this period is Bisticci 1997, which includes pen portraits of a selection of cardinals created between 1408 and 1483. Their selection was determined by the fact that they purchased manuscripts from the bookseller Vespasiano who, in turn, emphasized their wisdom and erudition. As the Sacred College increased in size and acquired men of a relatively worldly stamp, it did not cease to include some of the most notable scholars of the day, men whose published work cannot be adequately reflected here but is nevertheless represented by Izbicki 2008, which addresses some of the most pressing ecclesiastical concerns of the 15th century, the period in which the competing claims of conciliarism and papal monarchy were felt most acutely. That competition was seen in miniature in the life of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who attended the Council of Basel in the 1430s and was elected pope in 1458. His autobiography has been published in numerous editions, of which Pius II 2003–2007 is the most recent. In addition to providing a unique insight into the mind of a Renaissance pope, it is exceptionally valuable for its firsthand accounts of cardinals voting in the conclaves of 1455 and 1458. The correspondence of some Renaissance cardinals was first edited and published within decades of their deaths. The edition of Jacopo Ammannati Piccolomini’s correspondence that appeared in 1506 provides a case in point. Among modern editions, Barbo 1948—in the Vatican’s accessible Studi e Testi series—represents the beginning of what has become a widespread revival of interest in Renaissance cardinals. Its editor, Pio Paschini, effectively kept alive the flame of such studies in the mid-20th century, publishing a number of books and articles on Venetian cardinals such as Marco Barbo. Ammannati Piccolomini 1997 is on an altogether larger and more ambitious scale, following the fortunes of one of 15th-century Rome’s more literate cardinals through six pontificates and is particularly useful for tracing Jacopo Ammannati Piccolomini’s relationships with his fellow cardinals.

  • Ammannati Piccolomini, Iacopo. Lettere (1444–1479). 3 vols. Edited by Paolo Cherubini. Rome: Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, Ufficio Centrale per i Beni Archivistici, 1997.

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    Jacopo Ammannati began his curial career in the service of Cardinal Domenico Capranica but flourished under the patronage of his fellow Tuscan Pius II, who not only made him a cardinal but also granted him the use of his own family name, Piccolomini. His loyalty to Pius is apparent throughout his correspondence, this edition of which contains nearly one thousand items.

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  • Barbo, Marco. Il carteggio fra il Card. Marco Barbo e Giovanni Lorenzi (1481–1490). Edited by Pio Paschini. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1948.

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    The Venetian Marco Barbo was created a cardinal by his kinsman Pope Paul II in 1467. This edition of 119 letters exchanged between Barbo and his secretary Giovanni Lorenzi date from the pontificates of Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII, when Barbo made a series of diplomatic retreats from Rome or escaped from pestilence. It is supplemented by his 1480 report on Adriatic defenses.

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  • Bisticci, Vespasiano da. The Vespasiano Memoirs: Lives of Illustrious Men of the XVth Century. Translated by William George and Emily Waters. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.

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    First published in 1926. This selection of lives by the Florentine bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci contains biographical sketches of sixteen cardinals: Branda Castiglione, Antonio Correr, Niccolò Albergati, Giuliano Cesarini, Domenico Capranica, Bessarion, Bartolomeo Roverella, Jaime of Portugal, Joan Margarit y Pau, Angelo Capranica, Bernardo Eroli, Antonio Casini, Juan de Torquemada, Juan de Mella, Pedro González de Mendoza, and Nicholas of Cusa.

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  • Izbicki, Thomas M., ed. Nicholas of Cusa, Writings on Church and Reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.

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    This collection of orations, letters, and sermons by Nicholas of Cusa has been assembled by one of the foremost authorities on the renowned polymath, who was made a cardinal in 1448 by the humanist pope Nicholas V. The texts address the pressing issues of his time, including the relationship between popes and general councils and the practices of the Bohemian Hussites.

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  • Pius, Pope II. Commentarii rerum memorabilium/Commentaries. 2 vols. Edited by Margaret Meserve and Marcello Simonetta. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003–2007.

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    A Latin/English scholarly edition of Pius II’s famous autobiography, which recounts his own experiences as a cardinal, together with negative comments on his predecessors’ choice of cardinals and defensive ones on his own selections. The Latin text is based on the last manuscript version written during the author’s life and the translation corrects the 1937 edition by Florence Alden Gragg.

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Studies

In 1423 Martin V promoted to the cardinalate Domenico Capranica, bishop of Fermo, whose contribution to the ongoing debate about the governance of the church is discussed in Saraco 2004. In this period it was still unusual for any cardinals to reside outside Rome, but Harriss 1988 is a biography of one of those exceptions: Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester and uncle to Henry VI of England. Although many papal princes resented the restraints imposed on them by conciliarism and its powerful secular proponents, a minority of them nevertheless succeeded in broadening the geographical base of the Sacred College. On 18 December 1439 Pope Eugenius created five Italian and four French/Burgundian cardinals, together with one each from England, the Ukraine, Byzantium, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Hungary, and Spain. The Spaniard was Juan de Torquemada, whose life and works are examined in Izbicki 1981. On other occasions Eugenius chose men who went on to be elected as three of the next four popes. Two of Calixtus’s nine cardinals went on to become pope: the life of Rodrigo Borgia is explored in Mallett 1969. Enea Silvio Piccolomini became his own historian (see Pius II 2003–2007, cited under Cardinals in Conclaves). Pope Pius argued that his own cardinals—men such as Jacopo Ammannati Piccolomini—were despised because they were of non-noble birth; but he was perfectly willing to bestow hats in exchange for political favors, as he did when he raised the teenage Francesco Gonzaga as a sign of his gratitude to the boy’s father, the marquis of Mantua. Chambers 1992 confirms the sheer worldliness of this princeling. Pius’s hostility toward Jean Jouffroy—the subject of Märtl 1996—was profound, but granting him a hat was nevertheless the price of striking a deal with the king of France. The most notable feature of Paul II’s choices for the cardinalate was that three of the ten were his own kinsmen, including Marco Barbo, whose “dilemma” as an inheritor of the Venetian tradition of ecclesiastical reform is presented in Bullard 2000.

  • Bullard, Melissa Meriam. “Renaissance Spirituality and the Ethical Dimensions of Church Reform in the Age of Savonarola: The Dilemma of Cardinal Marco Barbo.” In The World of Savonarola: Italian Elites and Perceptions of Crisis. Edited by Stella Fletcher and Christine Shaw, 65–89. Aldershot, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2000.

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    Bullard’s essay is the most substantial published secondary source based on the correspondence between the Venetian cardinal Marco Barbo and his secretary Giovanni Lorenzi: Barbo 1948 (cited under Cardinals Created before 1471: Sources). It charts his “dilemma” in the 1480s, a decade in which red hats tended to be granted for political reasons. Barbo’s unease with this environment remained in the private sphere of his correspondence.

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  • Chambers, D. S. A Renaissance Cardinal and His Worldly Goods: The Will and Inventory of Francesco Gonzaga (1444–1483). London: Warburg Institute, 1992.

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    The most substantial of Chambers’s numerous studies of this cardinal, this volume consists of four chapters, dealing respectively with Gonzaga’s career, financial problems, cultural profile, death, and posthumous affairs. The first of these includes a useful table of the cardinal’s itineraries. Appendices contain the texts of Gonzaga’s will, postmortem inventory and letters relating to his death and postmortem affairs.

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  • Harriss, G. L. Cardinal Beaufort: A Study of Lancastrian Ascendancy and Decline. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.

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    Harriss’s biography not only charts the career of Henry Beaufort as lord chancellor to Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI and his subsequent involvement in English government, but also traces his contributions to the leadership of the church, first as a leading player at the Council of Constance and in the election of Pope Martin V in 1417, and later as papal legate to Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia.

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  • Izbicki, Thomas M. Protector of the Faith: Cardinal Johannes de Turrecremata and the Defense of the Institutional Church. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1981.

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    The Dominican Juan de Torquemada was among the most prominent papal apologists of the 15th century. He was also an ardent opponent of heresy and the first patron of printing in Italy. Izbecki’s biography seeks to correct politically inspired views of the cardinal and cast him in squarely Christian terms.

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  • Mallett, Michael. The Borgias: The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Dynasty. London: Bodley Head, 1969.

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    Seven of Mallett’s thirteen chapters are devoted to the life of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI), though the cardinalitial career of his uncle Calixtus III is also covered. Alexander bestowed the hat on five of his Borgia/Borja kinsmen including, most notoriously, his son Cesare. Although the Borgia have generated considerable interest, this remains the standard account of their public careers.

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  • Märtl, Claudia. Kardinal Jean Jouffroy (1473): Leben und Werk. Sigmaringen, Germany: Thorbecke, 1996.

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    Jouffroy repeatedly served as Louis XI’s envoy to the Holy See and, in that capacity, negotiated the abrogation of the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. He divided his time between Italy and France, even leading military campaigns in the latter toward the end of his life. His writings—including those against heretics—help to give substance to this scholarly biography.

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  • Saraco, Alessandro. Il cardinal Domenico Capranica (1400–1458) e la riforma della chiesa. Rome: CLV-Edizioni Liturgiche, 2004.

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    The volume consists of a biography of this important early 15th-century cardinal, an account of his foundation of Rome’s Collegio Capranica, an examination of his tract on ecclesiastical reform (which Saraco dates to 1434), and then a discussion of authors, including Nicholas of Cusa, who addressed the same sort of issues as Capranica.

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Cardinals Created between 1471 and 1503

The popes of this period were Sixtus IV (1471–1484), Innocent VIII (1484–1492), and Alexander VI (1492–1503). They created thirty-four, eight, and forty-three cardinals, respectively—figures that confirm the relative weakness of Pope Innocent vis-à-vis the Sacred College, each individual member of which retained a larger share of its collective power. Sixtus systematically bestowed hats on the candidates of the secular powers, whether Italian or non-Italian. As Alexander’s Italian critics were quick to point out, approximately one third of his cardinals were his fellow Spaniards. In 1498 Alexander’s military-minded son Cesare Borgia returned to the lay state after five years as a cardinal.

Sources

Although the Roman careers of late-15th- and early-16th-century cardinals can be traced in various chronicle sources, Burchard 1907–1942 provides the most consistent and detailed portrait of their day-to-day life in the city.

  • Burchard, Johann. Liber notarum: Ab anno MCCCCLXXXIII usque ad annum MDVI. 2 vols. Edited by Enrico Celani. Rerum Italicarum Scriptores 32, pt. 1. Città di Castello, Italy: Tipi della Casa S. Lapi, 1907–1942.

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    Between 1483 and 1506 Burchard served as master of ceremonies for three popes. His diary records details of ceremonies conducted in the papal chapel, including which cardinals attended on which occasions and what roles they performed according to their rank as bishops, priests, and deacons. Some cardinals emerge as sticklers for liturgical correctness; at least one is noted for his poor singing.

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Studies

Even though Sixtus IV’s promotion of half a dozen of his kinsmen to the Sacred College was not disproportionately higher than the practice of his predecessors, who created fewer cardinals, the sheer quantity of the papal relatives who flooded into Rome did not pass without comment from contemporaries. Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere was an exceptionally significant player during the pontificate of his uncle, Sixtus IV, and those of the next three popes: over four decades as a cardinal dwarfed his nine years as supreme pontiff. His story is told by Cloulas 1989. Gatti 2003, a biography of the papal nipote Pietro Riario, conveys the enthusiasm with which artists and men of letters greeted the new papal dynasty. That enthusiasm was short-lived because Sixtus played power politics more fervently than had his predecessors, bestowing red hats on the candidates of many secular princes. These included the Catalan diplomat and scholar Joan Margarit and Ascanio Maria Sforza, a member of the Milanese ruling dynasty. Pellegrini 2002 is a biography of Sforza, who was powerful enough to be a pope-maker in 1492 but too close to secular power ever to be a realistic contender for the papal tiara. Vilallonga, et al. 2008 uses Margarit in a bid to ensure that Catalan history and culture is firmly connected to that of Italy in the 15th century. Innocent’s eight cardinals were all created in 1489, when his most controversial choice for the hat was the thirteen-year-old Giovanni de’ Medici, whose candidacy was forcefully promoted by his father Lorenzo. Picotti 1981 first appeared more than half a century earlier but remains without parallel as a detailed chronicle of the means by which a future pope was promoted to the cardinalate. It was during the pontificate of this Medici pope, Leo X, that Cardinal Luigi d’Aragona took the remarkable step of leaving Rome in order to take a nonpolitical, nondiplomatic tour of Europe beyond the Alps. His journey is the subject of Chastel 1986. Lowe 1993, a life of Cardinal Francesco Soderini, makes a valuable contribution to wider studies of the significant figures in Florentine Renaissance politics. After Luigi d’Aragona and Francesco Soderini, the third of Alexander VI’s cardinals featured in this selection is the Polish prince Fryderyk Jagiellon, the subject of Nowakowska 2007. This reflects the fact that Alexander chose his cardinals from across Catholic Christendom, and not merely from his native Iberia.

  • Chastel, André. Le Cardinal Louis d’Aragon: Un voyageur princier de la Renaissance. Paris: Fayard, 1986.

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    Also published as Luigi d’Aragona: Un cardinale rinascimento in viaggio per l’Europa (Bari, Italy: Editori Laterza, 1995). An illegitimate offspring of the Neapolitan royal dynasty, Luigi d’Aragona became a cleric after the death of his wife. In 1517–1518 he undertook a tour of the German-speaking lands, Low Countries, and France. Chastel’s study is based on the diary of the cardinal’s secretary, Antonio de Beatis.

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  • Cloulas, Ivan. Jules II. Paris: Fayard, 1989.

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    Although Pope Julius II has been the subject of more than one biography in recent decades, this study places particular emphasis his French connections, acquired during more than four decades as a cardinal. He held various French benefices, was legate to France, retreated to Avignon during the pontificate of Alexander VI, and was a keen supporter of Charles VIII’s Italian expedition in 1494–1495.

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  • Gatti, Isidoro Liberale. Pietro Riario da Savona francescano cardinale vescovo di Treviso (1445–1474): Profilo storico. Padua, Italy: Centro Studi Antoniani, 2003

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    When the twenty-eight-year-old papal nipote Pietro Riario died in January 1474 he had been a cardinal for little more than two years. Gatti’s biography therefore chronicles a brief career in considerable detail, emphasizing Riario as a cultural patron and, with his uncle Sixtus IV, rebuilder of Rome. His reputation for luxurious living and connection with the youth Alessandro Cinuzzi receive particular attention.

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  • Lowe, K. J. P. Church and Politics in Renaissance Italy: The Life and Career of Cardinal Francesco Soderini, 1453–1524. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

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    Soderini was born into the heart of the Florentine patriciate: his father guided the young Lorenzo de’ Medici and his brother Piero was gonfaloniere di giustizia while the Medici were exiled from Florence. Lowe’s biography is divided into four parts, examining his Florentine background, his political influence during Piero’s gonfalonierate, his role in anti-Medicean conspiracies, and his “lifestyle” as an ecclesiastical prince.

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  • Nowakowska, Natalia. Church, State and Dynasty in Renaissance Poland: The Career of Cardinal Fryderyk Jagiellon (1468–1503). Aldershot, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007.

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    Fryderyk Jagiellon was the son or brother of three successive kings of Poland. Toward the end of his life he doubled as primate of Poland and governor and co-regent of the realm. Nowakowska supplements her biography with a survey of Renaissance Europe’s dynastic (arch)bishops, dynastic cardinals, and cardinal ministers from Beaufort to Granvelle.

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  • Pellegrini, Marco. Ascanio Maria Sforza: La parabola politica di un cardinale-principe del Rinascimento. 2 vols. Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 2002.

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    The son, uncle, and brother of successive dukes of Milan, Ascanio Maria Sforza enjoyed a smooth ascent of the ecclesiastical ladder, becoming a cardinal in 1484 at the age of twenty-nine. The “parabola” traced by Pellegrini is that of Sforza’s youthful brilliance, descent from pope-maker and vice-chancellor in 1492, French imprisonment in 1500, and triumphant return to Rome in 1503.

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  • Picotti, Giovanni Battista. La giovinezza di Leone X. Rome: Multigrafica, 1981.

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    First published in 1927 (Milan: Hoepli). In more than seven hundred pages Picotti traces the early life of the future pontiff Leo X, whose father, Lorenzo de’ Medici, waged a vigorous campaign to ensure that the youth was bestowed with lucrative benefices in Tuscany and France and was also in possession of the red hat that duly transformed the family from merchants into princes.

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  • Vilallonga, Mariàngela, Eulàlia Miralles, and David Prats, eds. El cardinal Margarit i l’Europa quatrecentista: Actes del simposi internacional, Universitat de Gerona, 14–17 de novembre de 2006. Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 2008.

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    A collection of thirteen papers in honor of R. B. Tate, the 1955 biographer of Cardinal Joan Margarit, whose career was divided between Iberia and Italy. Most of the contributions are by Catalan scholars, but the non-Catalans include Massimo Miglio and J. N. Hillgarth. Margarit’s writings provide material for some of the papers; others rely on placing the man in his cultural and political context.

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Cardinals Created between 1503 and 1534

Pius III created no cardinals during his brief pontificate in 1503. Thereafter, Julius II (1503–1513) created twenty-seven cardinals, Leo X (1513–21) forty-two, Adrian VI (1522–1523) one, and Clement VII (1523–1534) thirty-three.

Sources

Although Paris de Grassis, brother of a cardinal, succeeded Johannes Burchard as papal master of ceremonies in 1506 and the various manuscripts of his diary have long been mined by historians of the period, it is still to Burchard 1907–1942 that scholars turn for a published record of papal ceremonial, including for the earliest years of Julius II’s pontificate. Many of Leo X’s cardinals were prolific authors, though possibly more highly regarded in their own day than by posterity. Nevertheless, Olin 1992 includes some accessible primary sources either by or connected with cardinals of the early 16th century.

  • Burchard, Johann. Liber notarum: Ab anno MCCCCLXXXIII usque ad annum MDVI. Edited by Enrico Celani. 2 vols. Rerum Italicarum Scriptores 32, pt. 1. Città di Castello, Italy: Tipi della Casa S. Lapi, 1907–1942.

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    Between 1483 and 1506 Burchard served as master of ceremonies for three popes. His diary records details of ceremonies conducted in the papal chapel, including which cardinals attended on which occasions and what roles they performed according to their rank as bishops, priests, and deacons.

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  • Olin, John C. The Catholic Reformation: Savonarola to Ignatius Loyola. New York: Fordham University Press, 1992.

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    Each of the fourteen chapters consists of a brief introduction and a key text for the history of the church between 1495 and 1540. Those texts dating from this period and most closely associated with cardinals are Egidio da Viterbo’s address to the Fifth Lateran Council (1512), Gasparo Contarini’s De officio episcopi (1516), and the Rule (1526) of Gian Pietro Carafa’s Theatine Order. Originally published in 1969 (New York: Harper and Row).

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Studies

For the most part Julius II did not follow the practice of his uncle Situs IV in promoting the candidates of Italian princes and republics, although as Chambers 2002 confirms, Sigismondo Gonzaga was an exemption to this rule. Among his non-Italian choices for the hat were a number of the Frenchmen among whom he had spent his years in exile from Rome, but in 1507 he also bestowed the hat on Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, who remained in Castile as a firmly non-curial cardinal. Rummel 1999, a biography of Cisneros, confirms that cardinals from the emerging nation-states enjoyed greater power by not residing in Rome. The other two Julian cardinals featured here were both created in 1511. Chambers 1965 details the relatively brief Roman career of Christopher Bainbridge, and Hyde 2009 highlights the fate of one of Julius’s fellow Ligurians under the rule of the next pontiff, the Florentine Leo X. Leo was reluctant to use the hat as a bargaining chip with non-Italian powers, but in 1515 the pope’s resolve was broken by a need to placate the English king, Henry VIII: Thomas Wolsey was made a cardinal. As the essays in Gunn and Lindley 1991 illustrate, Wolsey made much of the cult of the red hat. In 1517 Leo’s response to what he perceived to be a plot to kill him resulted in the creation of thirty-one new cardinals, including the generals of three religious orders. The Augustinian general was Egidio da Viterbo, the subject of Martin 1992. To confirm the cultural distance that existed between Italy and Germany, it was said that a German cardinal was rarer than a white raven. Martin Luther exploited that division. In 1518 Leo created a German cardinal in the princely person of Albrecht von Brandenburg, archbishop of both Magdeburg and Mainz. As confirmed by Schauerte and Tacke 2006, Wolsey was a relative amateur in promoting the cult of the red hat: Albrecht was the master of that art. In the course of the 16th century, the cardinalate was increasingly regarded as something of a right by the elite families of Italy. The case of Ercole Gonzaga, as chronicled by Murphy 2007, illustrates this. In a move that confirmed the pope’s reliance on the princely families and their willingness to pay for a red hat, he was promoted by Clement VII on the eve of the sack of Rome in 1527.

  • Chambers, D. S. Cardinal Bainbridge in the Court of Rome: 1509–1514. London: Oxford University Press, 1965.

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    The first monograph by a scholar who has since become a leading authority on Renaissance cardinals, this study concentrates on the last five years of the life of Christopher Bainbridge, archbishop of York and England’s first curial cardinal since Adam Easton in the 14th century. Bainbridge was a forceful character who readily participated in the politicking of Julius II’s court.

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  • Chambers, D. S. “The Enigmatic Eminence of Cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga.” Renaissance Studies 16.3 (2002): 330–354.

    DOI: 10.1111/1477-4658.00020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In the wake of his extensive studies of Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga, Chambers turns his attention to the career of Francesco’s nephew Sigismondo, who received the hat in 1505 and was a useful ally in Julius’s military campaigns to impose his authority over the Papal States and drive the “barbarians” out of Italy.

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  • Gunn, S. J., and P. G. Lindley, eds. Cardinal Wolsey: Church, State, and Art. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

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    This collection of eleven essays surveys the powerful English cardinal Thomas Wolsey in various capacities: as Henry VIII’s lord chancellor, as papal legate, as the butt of satire, and as educational and cultural patron. The contributors include John Guy, Simon Thurley, Roger Bowers, Greg Walker, and E. W. Ives.

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  • Hyde, Helen. Cardinal Bendinello Sauli and Church Patronage in Sixteenth-Century Italy. London: Royal Historical Society, 2009.

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    In 1517 Leo X had reason to believe that five cardinals—Raffaele Sansoni Riario, Francesco Soderini, Adriano Castellesi, Bendinello Sauli, and Alfonso Petrucci—had plotted his death. Hyde’s biography of Sauli presents the most recent analysis of this crucial episode, in consequence of which Leo created thirty-one new cardinals in order to reduce the power of each individual member of the Sacred College.

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  • Martin, Francis Xavier. Friar, Reformer, and Renaissance Scholar: Life and Work of Giles of Viterbo, 1469–1532. Villanova, PA: Augustinian Press, 1992.

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    The Augustinian hermit otherwise known as Egidio da Viterbo has attracted considerable scholarly attention in recent decades, not least because of his study of cabalistic literature, but this volume can be distinguished from other studies because it balances the life with the work.

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  • Murphy, Paul V. Ruling Peacefully: Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga and Patrician Reform in Sixteenth-Century Italy. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2007.

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    Ercole Gonzaga was the third of ten Gonzaga cardinals created between 1461 and 1615. Murphy presents him as a Renaissance prince who lived in the era of the Reformation. He fathered numerous illegitimate children but died in Trent as president of the council without having undergone a dramatic change of life. Thus Murphy argues that Gonzaga embodied an era of “uneasy transition.”

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  • Rummel, Erika. Jiménez de Cisneros: On the Threshold of Spain’s Golden Age. Tempe: Arizona State University, 1999.

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    The significance of Cisneros as an ecclesiastical reformer, educational patron, advocate of the forced conversion of Moors, and effective ruler of Castile after the death of Queen Isabella in 1504 makes him a familiar figure to students of the Renaissance period. On its publication this slim biography nevertheless filled the need for an accessible life of this distinguished individual.

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  • Schauerte, Thomas, and Andreas Tacke, eds. Der Kardinal: Albrecht von Brandenburg: Renaissancefürst und Mäzen. 2 vols. Regensberg, Germany: Schnell & Steiner, 2006.

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    The first volume is the catalogue of an exhibition held in Halle in 2006; the second is the accompanying set of twenty-three essays. Both are amply illustrated, not least by means of cardinals’ hats in stone, woodcuts, manuscripts, tapestries, and other media. Albrecht von Brandenburg, a most princely cardinal, was a conspicuous cultural patron who even had himself depicted as St. Jerome.

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Cardinals Created between 1534 and 1549

Paul III created seventy-one cardinals during his fifteen-year pontificate (1534–1549), almost two-thirds of whom were Italians; in turn, four of those Italians were themselves subsequently elected to the papal office. Commitment to ecclesiastical reform, whether or not that included enthusiasm for the general council that opened at Trent in 1545, united many of these distinguished and learned individuals. Paul’s non-curial cardinals included the erudite John Fisher, whose promotion in May 1535 was followed by his execution for treason only a month later, and Charles de Guise (b. 1524–d. 1574), cardinal of Lorraine, a significant player in French political life during the period of the Religious Wars.

Sources

Of all the erudite men to be found in this generation of cardinals, none has been more celebrated as a man of letters than the Venetian Pietro Bembo, whose reputation was established with Gli Asolani (1505) and consolidated with Rime and a history of Venice, and who acquired a pan-European popularity as a speaker in Baldassare Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier. His service to the church is better reflected in the final volume of Bembo 1987–. The epistolary emphasis is retained with Pole 2002–2008, which consists of a calendar and biographical companion. Across these volumes one can build up a picture of the network of contacts around a 16th-century cardinal, Reginald Pole, who gravitated toward the literary elites of Venice and Padua, served the church in Rome and the Papal States, was a leading player at the Council of Trent, and ended his life as archbishop of Canterbury and papal legate to England.

  • Bembo, Pietro. Lettere. 4 vols. Edited by Ernesto Travi. Bologna, Italy: Commissione per i Testi di Lingua, 1987–.

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    Only the fourth volume in this series includes letters written after Bembo was made a cardinal in 1539 at the age of sixty-nine, but the entire range of his correspondence may be employed as a guide to his significance among the political and cultural elites of that era. The four volumes cover the year4s 1492–1507, 1508–1528, 1529–1536, and 1537–1546 respectively.

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  • Pole, Reginald. The Correspondence of Reginald Pole. 4 vols. Edited by Thomas F. Mayer. Aldershot, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002–2008.

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    Edited by Pole’s most recent biographer, the first three volumes in this series consist of a calendar of his correspondence, covering the years 1518–1546, 1547–1554, and 1555–1558, respectively. They emphasize his significance in Italy and as his kinswoman Mary Tudor’s archbishop of Canterbury. The fourth volume, coedited by Mayer and Courtney B. Walters, is a biographical companion limited to his contacts in the British Isles.

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Studies

Many of the recent monographs devoted to the Pauline cardinals concentrate on their contribution to ecclesiastical reform, but Paul III’s first choice for the hat was his own grandson and namesake, Alessandro Farnese, whose significance was as an architectural patron. That is the emphasis adopted in Robertson 1992. In 1535 Paul elevated seven men to the Sacred College. Among them was the distinguished Venetian patrician Gasparo Contarini: the Venetian and Roman phases of his career are given equal attention in Gleason 1993. Another eleven cardinals were created in 1536. They included the future pontiffs Gian Pietro Carafa and Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, and the Englishman who came close to being elected after Paul’s death in 1549. This was Reginald Pole, whose life and literary output are explored in Mayer 2000. The promotion of Pole antagonized his kinsman Henry VIII, who had already declared his break with Rome. England’s Scottish and French neighbors still remained loyal to the papacy and continued to be rewarded with cardinals’ hats. In 1538 the recipients included David Beaton and Ippolito II d’Este, both supported by Francis I. Beaton’s biography, Sanderson 1986, relates the fortunes of a firmly non-curial cardinal of the mid-16th century. Hollingsworth 2004 deals not so much with a cardinal as with the making of one and underlines the fact that noble families such as the Este of Ferrara had come to expect that one of their number should be in the Sacred College at any given time. Marcello Cervini received the hat in 1539 and was so much part of Pope Paul’s reforming initiatives that he was made co-president of the first session of the Council of Trent in 1545. This pivotal figure has received his modern biography in Quaranta 2010. The last of Paul III’s cardinals to be featured here is Gregorio Cortese, who received his hat in 1542. Fragnito 1983 presents an amply documented account of his life and assessment of his significance among the many reforming figures promoted by the Farnese pontiff.

  • Fragnito, Gigliola. Il cardinal Gregorio Cortese nella crisi religiosa del Cinquecento. Rome: Abbazia di S. Paolo, 1983.

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    A relatively modest-sized work, which nevertheless includes an appendix of sixty-four documents. Fragnito does not rank the Benedictine Cortese among the first rank of 16th-century scholarly cardinals (such as Morone, Pole, Contarini, Jacopo Sadoleto, and Gian Matteo Giberti), arguing that his significance lay in continuing the tradition of 15th-century monastic reform in an era more often associated with new religious orders.

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  • Gleason, Elisabeth G. Gasparo Contarini: Venice, Rome, and Reform. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

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    Gasparo Contarini has long attracted attention as an “Erasmian” figure of interest to Catholic and Protestant historians alike. Gleason endeavors to explain his contribution to the cause of ecclesiastical reform with reference to the orderliness characteristic of Venetian government and administration, the world in which he served before Paul III poached him for the church.

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  • Hollingsworth, Mary. The Cardinal’s Hat: Money, Ambition and Housekeeping in a Renaissance Court. London: Profile, 2004.

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    The young nobleman Ippolito II d’Este was resident at the French court when Francis I engineered his elevation to the Sacred College in 1538. Although Ippolito went on to reside in Rome, build the Villa d’Este at Tivoli and participate in six conclaves, Hollingsworth’s study is based on account books relating to his time in France in 1530s.

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  • Mayer, Thomas F. Reginald Pole: Prince and Prophet. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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    A substantial biography that traces the life of Pole from England to Padua, Viterbo, Trent, and back to his homeland as his cousin Mary Tudor’s archbishop of Canterbury. Though it benefits from a wealth of previous studies, Mayer makes no claim for his book being a definitive life. The author is devoid of confessional self-interest, but his coverage of Pole’s friendships has proved to be controversial.

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  • Quaranta, Chiara. Marcello II Cervini (1501–1555): Riforma della Chiesa, concilio, Inquisizione. Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino, 2010.

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    The man behind Palestrina’s Mass. Given that Marcellus II’s pontificate lasted less than a month, this is the life of a cardinal rather than that of a pope. The book’s four sections deal with his education in Siena and Rome, curial service under Paul III, co-presidency of the Council of Trent, and fortunes during the pontificate of Julius III.

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  • Robertson, Clare. “Il Gran Cardinale”: Alessandro Farnese, Patron of the Arts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.

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    This is the first detailed study of a particularly significant cultural patron: Alessandro Farnese was the grandson of Paul III, a cardinal at fourteen and vice-chancellor of the church at fifteen. His wealth was immense and he poured it into architectural projects, including work on the Gesù in Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola.

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  • Sanderson, Margaret H. B. Cardinal of Scotland: David Beaton, c. 1494–1546. Edinburgh: Donald, 1986.

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    Sanderson’s biography relates the story of an astute political operator who never visited Rome: Beaton personified the “auld alliance,” serving his king, James V, at both the Scottish and French courts and holding both Scottish and French benefices. His promotion to the cardinalate in 1538 was advocated by Francis I. His opposition to heresy among the Scottish political elite precipitated his murder in St. Andrews.

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Cardinals Created after 1549

The sixteen popes from Julius III (1550–1555) to Innocent X (1644–1655) created over four hundred cardinals, the vast majority of whom were Italian. Cardinal nephews loomed large in their uncles’ regimes, including those of the Carafa family under Paul IV (1555–1559) and the Aldobrandini under Clement VIII (1592–1605). The enduring bond between church and state was retained not only through the promotion of candidates favored by the Spanish, French, and other monarchs but also through a succession of Este, Gonzaga, and Medici cardinals and kinsmen of the rulers of Ferrara, Mantua, and Florence respectively. One consequence of this close alliance became apparent early in the 17th century, when Ferdinando Gonzaga resigned as a cardinal in order to marry and continue the Gonzaga line. Although the cardinals of the late 16th and early 17th century were predominantly Italian and resided in Rome, the hat was still bestowed as a means of cultivating non-Italian powers, as when Paul V granted it to the duke of Lerma, the erstwhile favorite of Philip III of Spain, and when Gregory XV bestowed it on the man who duly emerged as principal minister of Louis XIII of France. Richelieu was not only the most successful of the cardinal ministers who served early modern monarchs but also cultivated his image as a cardinal as no other prelate had done since Thomas Wolsey and Albrecht von Brandenburg in the early 16th century.

Sources

The cardinals of Renaissance Rome were, on balance, of a more literary bent than their Baroque successors. For an insider’s view of the Sacred College in the later 16th century one must therefore turn to Gonzaga 1987.

  • Gonzaga, Scipione. Autobiografia. Edited by Dante Della Terza. Modena, Italy: Panini, 1987.

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    Scipione was the eighth of ten Gonzaga cardinals created between 1461 and 1615. He was raised to the cardinalate by Sixtus V in 1587. In literary terms he was a lifelong friend of the poet Torquato Tasso. This edition of his Commentarii consists of an introduction by the editor, an Italian translation of the text, and a reproduction of the original edition of 1791.

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Studies

The most notable of Pius IV’s forty-six cardinals was his nephew Carlo Borromeo (created 1560), the great reforming archbishop of Milan, canonized by Paul V in 1610, whose life and posthumous reputation are charted by Zardin 2010. Among the fifty-three cardinals of Clement VIII were five of his Aldobrandini kinsmen, the historian Cesare Baronio, the Jesuit scholar Roberto Bellarmino, and the future pontiff Camillo Borghese. Bellarmino was the most significant theologian among the cardinals of this era and Tutino 2010 is a highly accessible account of the evolution and impact of his thought. Wolfgang Reinhard is a prolific author on the ecclesiastical history of the post-Tridentine period, represented here by Reinhard 2009, a monumental study of the pontificate of Paul V in which the careers of various cardinals can be traced. First among Paul’s cardinals was Scipione Borghese, the archetypal cardinal nephew, whose material fortunes are investigated by Reinhardt 1984. Hildesheimer 2004 represents the tip of the iceberg of Richelieu studies but has the benefit of being able to reflect the work of previous scholars.

  • Hildesheimer, Françoise. Richelieu. Paris: Éditions Flammarion, 2004.

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    Armand-Jean du Plessis, cardinal-duc de Richelieu, has been the subject of numerous biographies, of which this recent example provides a convenient survey. It is divided into four parts: L’ascension (1585–1642), La metamorphose (1624–1630), L’empire de la raison (1631–1635), and L’histoire inachevee (1636–1642). Appendices focus on archival sources, the cardinal’s writings, his posthumous fortunes, and a chronology.

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  • Reinhard, Wolfgang. Paul V. Borghese (1605–1621). Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 2009.

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    An extensive analysis of the networks of Catholic Christendom during the pontificate of Paul V. The networks were based in Rome but extended far beyond the city. Particular emphasis is devoted to cardinals, numerically, geographically, as papal nephews, curial office holders, protectors of nations, and in a host of other capacities. Data relating to the Roman curia is contained on an accompanying CD-ROM.

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  • Reinhardt, Volker. Kardinal Scipione Borghese (1605–1633): Vermögen, Finanzen und sozialer Aufstieg eines Papstnepoten. Tübingen, West Germany: M. Niemeyer, 1984.

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    A detailed study of a papal nephew and his benefices. Scipione Borghese was the nipote of Paul V and that pontiff’s first choice for the hat upon his election in 1605. His benefices included the commendatory abbacies of S. Gregorio al Monte Celio and Subiaco, the archbishopric of Bologna and the suburbicarian see of Sabina.

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  • Tutino, Stefania. Empire of Souls: Robert Bellarmine and the Christian Commonwealth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    The Jesuit Roberto Bellarmino, a cardinal from 1599, was among the most prominent controversialists of the Catholic Reformation. Tutino concentrates on his theory that the pope’s power in temporal matters was merely “indirect,” explores the reception of this theory across Europe, and investigates its impact on practical relations between church and state, such as the Venetian interdict of 1606–1607.

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  • Zardin, Danilo. Carlo Borromeo: Cultura, santità, governo. Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2010.

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    Carlo Borromeo was the first Renaissance cardinal to be canonized and has been the subject of considerable scholarly interest. This volume was published to mark the fourth centenary of his canonization. It traces the spread of his cult outward from Milan, where he was archbishop, and examines the impact of his realization of the Tridentine reforms.

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LAST MODIFIED: 06/26/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195399301-0178

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