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POPE JULIUS II
(1 of 3)
by
Sharon R. Hoover
Ital334, Prof. Barbara Nucci, May 1999

A Chronology of
Events in Italy

60,000 BC - 1300 AD

1300 AD - 1998 AD

 

Academic
Articles

Amalfi


Baths of Baiae;
Observations and Inferences
The Casamari Abbey
Christianity-
The First 400 Years
Agriculture in the
Roman Empire
Pope Julius II

Eleonora Pimentel
Fonseca
The Parthenopean Republic


The Effect of Mussolini's 
Pronatalist View on Women

 







     Giuliano de la Rovere was born in Liguria. (Brusher 432)  Prior to becoming Pope Julius II, he was a member of the Franciscans (DeRosa 111), the order based on St. Francisís belief in service and poverty (Gascoigne 98).  These were obviously beliefs which he was able to overcome.  Pope Sixtus IV, Giulianoís uncle,  made him a cardinal, (Brusher 432) apparently skipping the step of serving as a bishop.  As a cardinal, Giuliano was appointed to the court of Louis XII of France. (Brusher 430)  That was an ironic post when one considers that, later, his overdriving ambition was to rid Italy of the French influence. (Liebert 123)  Itís even reported that Julius grew his beard, in defiance of western canonical law and tradition, in 1510 after a battle was lost to the French, as a constant reminder that the hated French still inhabited papal territories. (Liebert 123)

     Upon Sixtus IVís death, Giuliano "eagerly competed" for the papacy but lost to Innocent VIII. (Brusher 432)  Later, a second attempt was lost to his chief rival, Rodrigo Borgia, who took the papal name Alexander VI. (DeRosa 104)  After Borgia became pope, de la Rovere fled to France in fear for his life (DeRosa 105). Upon Borgiaís death, Giuliano lost his third effort to attain the papacy.  He did, however, finally become the pope when Pius III died less than a month after his coronation. (Brusher 430)  DeRosa says that Julius spent "hundreds of thousands of ducats" to bribe his way 
to the papacy, and then, almost immediately, decreed that anyone who bribed a conclave in the future should be deposed. (111)

     Along with a slight discrepancy in spelling (Brusher spells the name "Della Rovere"; DeRosa spells it "de la Rovere"), these two sources also disagree on Giulianoís age when elected as pope.  Brusher says he was fifty (432) and DeRosa says he was sixty (112).  The only reference to his birth that I could find (Julius) states he was born in 1443, which means he would have been sixty when he entered the papacy in 1503.  Though he was known as a womanizer prior to becoming pope, fathering three daughters while cardinal (DeRosa 112), he channeled his energies into war, architecture, and art after he assumed the papal tiara. (Brusher 432)  Whatever his age or illness, he was described as "boundless in energy, tempestuous in his outbursts, and fearless in leading his own troops." (Liebert 125)

     Julius became pope during a time of great turmoil.  Raging wars between competing European powers, including the French and Spanish, had devastated much of Italy, especially in the South. (Cheetham 189)  Italy had been divided into many small, conflicting city states, (Lintner 105) and the papal properties had become almost the exclusive property of the Borgias. (Cheetham 190)  Perhaps the most romantic image of Julius is that of a warrior.  DeRosa reports that as Julius entered a battle against the French, he said, "Letís see who has the bigger balls, the King of France or the pope." It was obvious that Julius was referring to the male anatomy. (DeRosa 112) Erasmus, the 16th Century philosopher, found Juliusís penchant for war disgusting in a pope and compared him to Caeser (Erasmus).  DeRosa, however, calls him a "great military strategist" and said that the figure of the pope on horseback, wearing all his armor, charging in front of his men, typifies the Renaissance. (112)  Apparently Julius believed that he was operating under Godís divine grace and that anything he wanted badly enough would be given to him. (Liebert 125)


 

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