Pope Clement VII

SEE ALSO Borgias Home | Renaissance Popes | History of the Vatican | Borgias Historical Profiles



Holy See Flourish
POPE CLEMENT VII
Characters - The   Borgias Fan Wiki


Holy See Flourish
POPE CLEMENT VII STATS
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki

Name: Guilio de Medici
Born: 26 May 1479
Home town: Florence
Died: 25 September 1534
Position: Held Papacy from 19 November 1523 until 25 September 1534
House of: Medici
Nickname:
Personality type:
Hobbies: The Arts
Strength(s): Cultivated, experienced, and hardworking.
Weakness(es): Indecisive and easily discouraged.
Quirks: --



"the greatest match in the world"
Pope Clement VII
on Catherine de Medici and Henry II of France


Holy See Flourish
POPE CLEMENT VII BIO
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki

The fifty day conclave following Adrian VI's death resulted in the election of the cardinal favoured by Emperor Charles V (1519 - 1556), Giulio de Medici. Illegitimate son of Giuliano de Medici by his mistress Fioretta Gorini, he was born in Florence on 26 May 1479 shortly after his father's murder (in the Pazzi conspiracy) and was brought up by his uncle, Lorenzo the Magnificent. In 1513 his cousin Leo X, brushing aside the impediment of illegitimacy, made him archbishop of Florence and cardinal, and as vice-chancellor from March 1517 he was largely responsible for Leo's policies, including his measures against the German reformer Martin Luther (1483 - 1546). From May 1519 he governed Florence, and in 1521 took the lead in arranging an alliance between the pope and Charles V. Under Adrian VI he again became powerful in the Curia, contributing to the defensive alliance between the Holy See and the empire. His election was widely acclaimed, but it soon became evident that, excellent as second-in-command, he lacked the character and capacity for supreme office at a time of crisis. Cultivated, experienced, and hardworking, but also indecisive and easily discouraged, he was narrow in outlook and interests. Failing to comprehend the spiritual revolution going on in the church, he acted mainly as an Italian prince and a Medici, and even in secular affairs was too timid and vacillating to pursue consistent policies.

Caught in the struggle between Charles V and Francis I of France (1515 - 1547) to dominate Italy, Clement worked for peace among Christian powers, ostensibly to meet the Turkish threat but also to secure Florence and the papal state. Firstly, he disappointed Charles by declining to renew Adrian VI's defensive alliance. Then, impressed by Francis's success in reconquering Milan October 1524), he made an alliance with him and Venice (December - 1524 and January 1525) which infuriated Charles. Next year, however, the defeat of the French at Pavia and the capture of Francis forced him again to seek the emperor's protection. In May 1526 he changed sides again, joining the League of Cognac with France, Milan, Florence and Venice to check Charles's growing power. The inevitable result was the Sack of Rome. Clement took refuge in Castel Sant'Angelo but had to surrender, and for six months was a prisoner of Charles's troops. By agreeing to the occupation of important cities in the papal state, promising neutrality, and paying a huge indemnity, he procured his release on 6 December 1527, but until October 1528 lived away from the devastated city at Orvieto and then Viterbo. By now he saw that his interest lay with the emperor, and in June 1529 he and Charles agreed to common action against heresy in Germany and against the Turks, then advancing on Vienna; their reconciliation was sealed by Charles's coronation at Bologna (24 February 1530: the last imperial coronation by a pope) and by the restoration of Medici rule in Florence. Clement had most of his temporal power restored, but had to remain subservient to the emperor. Even so, moved by family interests and fear of Charles's predominance in Italy, he made a fresh approach to France in 1531, travelling personally to Marseilles to marry his grand-niece (Catherine de Medici) to Francis I's second son (future Henry II of France) in October 1533, and carrying out lengthy discussions with the king there.

This precarious relationship between pope and emperor prevented an effective rejoinder to Turkish successes in Hungary in 1526 and assisted the spread of the Reformation in Germany. In January 1524 Clement sent Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio (1472-1539) to the Diet of Nuremburg assure Charles of support for the Edict of Worms (1521) outlawing Luther, but the fact that Charles was at war with the pope enabled the Diet of Speyer (June 1526) to reject the edict and give the reformers a valuable breathing space. Clement's obliviousness to the needs of the times came out particularly in his refusal, despite pressure put on him by Charles and his own conditional promises, to summon the general council which, even at this stage, might have taken constructive action. In his handling ofHenry VII's divorce fromCatherine of Aragon he displayed the same wavering and procrastination at first appearing ready to accommodate the king, then under pressure from Catherine's nephew, Charles V, transferring the case to Rome (July 1529), and only on 11 July 1533 pronouncing Henry excommunicate (a deferred sentence) and his divorce and remarriage (to Anne Boleyn) void. The English church now inevitably moved into schism. His efforts to prevent the adoption of Lutheranism in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, and to check Zwinglianism in Switzerland, proved unavailing; and he had no time for the movements of reform and renewal already at work within the church. It was small consolation that, while these losses were taking place in Europe, he was able to preside over the erection of new bishoprics in Mexico and the spread of Catholicism in South America.

A true Medici, Clement was a patron of men of letters, like the historian Francesco Guicciardini and the political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli, and of artists like Cellini, Raphael and Michelangelo. From the last he commissioned the monuments to members of his family in the Sagrestia Nuova of San Lorenzo, Florence, and just before his death 'The Last Judgement' in the Sistine Chapel. Towards the end of his life Clement VII once more gave indications of a leaning towards a French alliance, which was averted by his death on 25 September 1534 in Rome after consuming the "Death Cap" mushroom. He was buried in Santa Maria sopra Minerva.


Holy See Flourish
CONTEMPORARY VOICES
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki
FROM NAME TO NAME:--



FROM NAME TO NAME:--


Holy See Flourish
POPE CLEMENT VII QUOTES
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki
  • "the greatest match in the world" Pope Clement VII on Catherine de Medici and Henry II of France
  • --
  • --
  • --
  • --


Holy See Flourish
POPE CLEMENT TRIVIA
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki
  • During his half-year imprisonment in 1527, Clement VII grew a full beard as a sign of mourning for the sack of Rome. This was a violation of Catholic canon law, which required priests to be clean-shaven; however, it had the precedent of the beard which Pope Julius II had worn for nine months in 1511–12 as a similar sign of mourning for the loss of the Papal city of Bologna.
  • Unlike Julius II, however, Clement VII kept his beard until his death in 1534. His example in wearing a beard was followed by his successor, Pope Paul III, and indeed by twenty-four popes who followed him, down to Pope Innocent XII, who died in 1700. Clement VII was thus the unintentional originator of a fashion that lasted well over a century.

Holy See Flourish
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND MATERIALS
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki
BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS WEBSITES & MEDIA
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Popes by JND Kelly
  • The Popes by John Julius Norwich
  • --
  • --
  • --
  • --
  • --
  • --
  • --
  • --

More pages