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Tour of Italy for the Financially Challenged - logo6.6k

(3 of 3)
Sharon R. Hoover
Ital334, Prof. Barbara Nucci, May 1999

A Chronology of
Events in Italy

60,000 BC - 1300 AD

1300 AD - 1998 AD




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

Eleonora Pimentel
The Parthenopean Republic

The Effect of Mussolini's 
Pronatalist View on Women


     While there had, for some time, been plans to refurbish St. Peterís, Defrasne believes it was Juliusís desire for a suitable place to put his tomb that led to the complete destruction of the old St. Peterís. (166)  Steve Block says that Julius wanted St. Peterís to be rebuilt as a magnificent monument to his power because a rulerís strength was partially judged by the size and splendor of his church. (Block -Internet)  Whether built as a monument to his power or a planned resting place for his tomb (an idea which he apparently later dropped as too arrogant even for himself (Liebert 128), St. Peterís Basilica remains an incredible example of the opulence of the Renaissance.  DeRosa says that Juliusís counselors tried to discourage the project because of the incredible expense and because many mosaics and relics in the old church would be destroyed. (114)  Still, in April 1506, Julius laid the first foundation stone of one of the four great pillars that support the dome, the one now called the Pier of Veronica due to the statue that adorns it. (Francia 62)

     Brusher noted that the Roman people regretted Juliusís death on February 21, 1513 because "if he had not been a good pope, he was a good king." (432)  Certainly, reports of little religious activity during his papacy are found.  Upon being elected pope, and apparently in a direct reference to his hated enemy, the former pope, Alexander VI, Julius affirmed that it was "blasphemy to pray for the soul of the damned." (DeRosa 110)  This, to a thinking mind, should have brought into question the sale of indulgences for the salvation of the dead which Julius, along with many other popes, encouraged for the revenue produced.  It was also during this time that the battle over the Cult of Mary raged most violently. (De Rosa 240)  In 1507, a Dominican friar in Berne, Brother Letser, apparently was the recipient of a vision of Mary at which time she confirmed that she had been conceived in sin but sanctified three hours after conception and provided a letter to be delivered to Julius II.  However, Julius was away at war, and the entire situation was soon proven to be a hoax practiced on the monk who frequently fasted, scourged himself, and fell into ecstasies. (DeRosa 240)  Julius II also called the Fifth Lateran Council, but it was only in response to King Louis XIIís actions.  It was not completed until after Juliusís death, and it accomplished little. (Brusher 432)

     Julius II has been called "the second founder of the papal states," (Brusher 432), "the Warrior Pope" (Viconti), "the greatest of the Renaissance popes" (Lintner 108), "tall, handsome, and syphilitic" (DeRosa 111), and "one of the most remarkable men in history," (DeRosa 111). Certainly without his patronage, many of the artistic hallmarks we admire, that are studied and copied, that relate in such detail the thought and methods of the times, would not exist.  How ironic that a pope, who of all people should have been confident of his immortality through a relationship with the God he served, could only feel secure in the immortality imparted to him in the cold stone, bold colors, and grand designs created by the hands and hearts of others. 


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