September 14, 1523 — November 19, 1523

Giulio de' Medici, Clement VII
Giulio de' Medici (Clement VII)

Coins were issued.
(Berman, 815-819)

Francesco Armellino de' Medici (July 13, 1470- 1527) was born at Perugia (or in Fossato in the Diocese of Nocera) in 1469 or 1470, the son parents who were "peu honorables", or merchants (Cardella, IV, 40). His paternal name may have been Pantalassi, and Armellino his mother's. His father enriched himself by.borrowing large sums from his creditors and then fleeing them. The son moved to Rome and became a solicitor. Julius II made him his secretary, as well as secretary of the College of Cardinals. Because of the son's cleverness along the same lines as his father, Francesco became useful to Leo X, who was perpetually in need of new ways to raise funds. Leo adopted him into his family, and made him a cardinal on July 1, 1517. He was appointed Legate to Umbria and to the Marches, and was made superintendant of finances He was authorized by the Pope to buy the office of Camerlengo from Cardinal Innocenzo Cibò, Pope Innocent VIII's nephew, which he succeded in doing on September 13, 1521, for the sum of 35,000 ducats (Pastor History of the Popes Volume 8, p. 98; Cardella, IV, 42). Under Adrian VI he was attacked in consistory by Cardinal Pompeo Colonna for his avarice and his huge fortune, but was protected by Cardinal Giuliano de' Medici. For this reason, if no other, he was a firm supporter of Medici in the Conclave of 1523 (Sanuto, 223-224). When Medici became Pope Clement VII in 1523, his career prospered; he was preferred to the see of Taranto in 1525 and in 1526 was named pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church. He lost everything in the Sack of Rome in May of 1527, sought refuge with Clement VII in the Castel Sant' Angelo, and died there. Since he left no will, the pope inherited all of his remaining property.


The Dean of the College of Cardinals in 1523 was Cardinal Bernardino López de Carvajal (1455—December 16, 1523) Under Pope Sixtus IV, he was made Chamberlain of Honor. He was given the Bishopric of Cartagena by Pope Innocent VIII (Cibo), and named Nuntius to the Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, who, in their turned named him their Ambassador before the Holy See. On August 21, 1493, he was created Cardinal Priest, with the title of S. Pietro e Marcellino. In 1496, he was named Legatus a latere to the Emperor Maximilian I, with the goal of bringing about a truce with the King of France. He acquired the title of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (1503-1523). In 1511, he convoked and presided over the rebel Council of Pisa, for which he was excommunicated by Pope Julius II. He was therefore ineligible to participate in the Conclave of 1513. The new pope, Leo X, was inclined to mercy, and so after humbling himself and retracting his errors and actions at the V Lateran Council in June, 1513, he was readmitted to the College of Cardinals. He participated in the Conclave of 1521-1522, at which Adrian VI was elected. He died on December 16, 1523. (Moroni, 10, 134-135)

The Magister Cerimoniarum was Biagio Martinelli de Cesena and Hippolito Morbiolo [G. Constant, "Les maîtres de cérémonies du XVI siècle," Mélanges d' Archéologie et d' Histoire 23 (1903), p. 181 n. 4 and 5].  Cardinal Armellino de'Medici suggested to Biagio on September 27 that the Masters of Ceremonies should include the former Master, Paris de Grassis, retired Bishop of Pisauro (1513-1519), among their number;  Biagio flatly refused [Gattico I, 441].  

Death of Pope Adrian VI

Pope Adrian VI (Adrian Florenczoon Dedel van Utrecht) had been ill, with symptoms of a fever, for some time. A report to the Emperor from the Duke of Sessa in Rome on May 23, 1523, mentions that the Pope was ill with a low fever, and the hope was that he would not die. He was suffering from kidney disease [Moroni I, 106]. The Emperor remarks in a letter to Sessa that he had heard from Milan and Genoa on July 30 and 31 that the Pope was ill with a fever [Bergenroth, no. 604].  On August 29, Sessa notifiees the Emperor that the Pope is very ill and suffering from kidney disease [Bergenroth p. 583 no. 595].  A private letter quoted by the Venetian Senator Marino Sanuto [p. 439] likewise attributes the pope's death to kidney disease, as does a letter from John Clerk and Thomas Hannibal to Cardinal Wolsey [September 14, 1523: State Papers, pp. 175-178; DNB 24 (1890), 306].  The two Englishmen give some important details of the last two weeks of Adrian's life:

The second of this [moneth we advertised the] same of the Popis Holynes syknes, who sythens [the ... day of] August hath kep[t contynually his bed chambre, an[d hath given] veray sildom audience, except it were onys or twise [to the Cardinal] of Medices and to the Emperours Orator, for the importanc[e of the] affayres of Lombardy. His Holynes hath ben contynually vexyd doloribus renum, and as it is said cum excoriacione v[       ], wherewith His Holynes, veray sore wekynnyd, and fearyng Hym[self], the 8th day of this present moneth of Septembre had [all] the Cardynalles to gether in his chambre, He beyng in h[is bed], howbeit sittyng up right; and there declaryed unto thaym what thorough his age, and sore vexacion of his disease, whiche styll contynued, He thought He shold depart to the mercy of God; and thereupon desyred thaym to be conte[nted] with the distribution of certayn benefices consistoriall, which He there did distribut to certayn his servauntes, and that [for] the good anf faithfull service which the Datary (Willem Eichenvoirt) had [done] unto Hym, He intendyd to make hym Cardynall; desyryng thaym also to be contentyd therewith.  At the whiche tyme the cardinal of Saynct Cruce (Bernardino de Carvajal, Dean of the Sacred College) and 2 or 3 more answeryd His Hol[ynes] that His Holynes had a nepveu or twayn, vertuous and well lernyd, and that they cowd be right well conten[tyd] that His Holynes wold bestowe that dignitie upon o[ne of] thaym, rather then upon the Datary, quem diceban[t se] expertos inhumanum, durum, rigidum, et de paucissimis mo       bene meritum, so that His Holynes was fayn to putt of [the] matter for that tyme, nothyng to his contentacion. His Holynes spake veray sensibly, but veray fayntly, and lyke a man veray sore fatygatyd and troublyd, and not lyke to contynue many dayes after.

In the first part of the nyght folowyng He dyd swound onys or twyse; howbeit [in the] mornyng it was reportyd that his Holynes had restyd, and that He was somwhat amended.

The 10th day of Septembre His Holynes publissyd the Datary Cardinal, in a new congregacion, wherunto He had callyd all the Cardynales for that purpose, adnd gave a Busshopriche in Cilicia to my Lord of Worcettur, worth as it is reportyd 900 dokettes, and an Abbay to the Cardinal of Campegius brother.

Adrian VI died on September 14, 1523, at the age of 66 [Sanuto, 410].  The Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, noted that the Pope died on Monday, September 14, 1523 at 19:00 hours. Assisting at the bedside were the sacristan, the Bishop of Durazzo (Gabriel Foscus); the Datary Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio,  the new Cardinal Willem Eichenvoirt, Cardinal Niccolò Fieschi, Cardinal de Monte and the Cardinal of S. Croce, Bernardino Carvajal, who was Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals [Gattico I, 440].  An immediate inventory of the Treasury was ordered, to be conducted by Cardinals della Valle, Colonna, and Orsini, along with the Chamberlain Cardinal Armellino.   Cardinal de Monte was assigned to take possession of the Castel S. Angelo. The funeral was presided over by Cardinal Carvajal in St. Peter's basilica on Tuesday, September 22.   He was interred in S. Andrew's Chapel, between the tombs of Pius II and Pius III.  Pope Adrian VI was later buried in the German church in Rome, S. Maria dell' Anima; the placement of his monument and inscription were carried out by Cardinal Willem Eichenvoirt, Adrian's only Cardinal [V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiese di Roma IV, 447 no. 1078]  [see below, at the end].

In a letter of the 16th of September, the Venetian ambassador, Marco Foscari, notes that those cardinals in Rome met at the Minerva, and appointed three cardinals to govern Rome during the vacancy: Santa Croce (Carvajal, the Dean of the Sacred College), Grassis, and Cornero. They named Archbishop Francesco de Pesaro to be Governor of Rome.  They also gave audience to the Duke of Sessa, the Orator of the Emperor, but (according to Biagio da Cesena) nihil conclusum.


The Case of Cardinal Soderini

On the 19th, a Congregation was held at the usual place, the Antechamber of the Pope.  There was a discussion about releasing Cardinal Soderini (Volterra) from the Castel Sant' Angelo. (Sanuto, 430; Gattico I, 441). He had been suspended from his cardinalatial rights by Leo X (illegally), and these were restored before Leo's death; he was guilty of conspiracy a second time under Adrian VI and was sent to the Castel S. Angelo. On the last day of the novendiales he was released by order of the College of Cardinals and given his place in the Conclave (Cartwright, 134-135). The only objections in the College had come from Cardinal de' Medicis and some of his relations. Sessa reconciled Medici and Colonna, the latter even taking an oath, but the peace did not last (Bergenroth, #606, Sessa to the Emperor, October 28).   Looking forward to the conclave, the popular voice favored Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, but there was also talk about Flisco (Fieschi), Farnese, Giacobazzi, Valle and Grassis.

In a letter of the 19th, the Venetian ambassador sends news that, despite the deceased pope's determination to leave the fate of Cardinal Soderini to a general council, the cardinals, led by the supporters of the French, had voted to release him; this was also the position of Medici in consistory (Sanuto, 438). On the 21st, he reports that the novendiales will begin on the next day, and that the Orsini and Colonna factions are in arms in the city; he expects that 36 cardinals will participate, or 40, if the French arrive. (Sanuto, 452). On the 24th Foscari wrote that Cardinal de' Medici appeared to have 18 solid votes, but that 24 would be needed to elect. And Medici had active opponents (Sanuto, 462). At the end of September he wrote that eighteen cardinals had entered into a compact to elect nobody else than one of themselves; Medici was not one of the eighteen (Sanuto, 55).



As in the Conclave of 1521, Thomas Cardinal Wolsey believed that he had an excellent chance of being elected Pope. As in the Conclave of 1521, he believed that he had the support of the Emperor Charles V. He was again mistaken. On October 28, 1523, the Imperial Ambassador in Rome, the Duke of Sessa, wrote to the Emperor [Bergenroth, no. 606 p. 590; Williams, 412-413; Gregorovius, 455]:

I have received letters from England in which the election of the Cardinal of England is warmly recommended to me. The English think that his election is almost sure, as though God would work every day a miracle. They imagine that a person who is absent will be elected pope. In order to satisfy the English I have strongly recommended the election of the Cardinal of England. But the cardinals have sworn not to elect an absent person as pope. Though they are in the habit of breaking their oaths, I think they will fulfil them in this case, as they are afraid of the people, who clamorously demand that the pope shall be elected from those who are present in the Conclave. The English Ambassadors know very well what incalculable calamaties have been the consequence of the last election.

Wolsey was also informed by John Clerk, Bishop of Bath, and Thomas Hannibal, Ambassadors in Rome, to the effect that Cardinals Medici, Carvajal and Campeggio were "substanciall fryends, and by thaym many moo fraynds." (September 14, 1523: State Papers, p.176). But, he continues:

We must shewe your Grace the worst. Many of owr cortyers and also Cardynalles cannot abyde the heryng that any one absent shold be chosyn, for feare of translatyng the See, and other sondry inconvenyentes, whiche ded ensue by the last election; whiche obstakyll we have movyd to your 3 foren[amyd] fryndes, to here there opynyons; who answeryd us quod in [hac] tam recenti plaga suffred by the long absence of the late Elect, your Graces absence semyd to be a great obstakyll: notwithstondyng they sayd that if ther shold be suche discention in the Conclave, so that the cowd not agre upon no man preesent (the lyke wherof was at the last election), then shuld they be fayne to condescend and chose absentem, and wold as lytll regarde the inconvenyentes affore expressyd now, the they dyd at the last election. And fynally, as farre as we can perceyve, the Cardinall of Medices hath a great hope for hymself, and is advised by his fryndes to attempt the fortune for hymself, and so intendith to doo. Next hymself he wyll do for your Grace all that he can, accordyng unto his promes.

And, as in the Conclave of 1521, the Emperor's assurances and promises counted for nothing. Medici was campaigning for himself. Wolsey received no votes [Taunton, 147, citing Bergenroth, # 611 (the Archive of Simancas)]. The actual candidates acceptable to the Imperial party were De' Medici, Valle, Campeggio and Farnese, according to the Duke of Sessa in a report to the Emperor on October 28 [Bergenroth, #606].


Opening of the Conclave

The Conclave opened at the conclusion of the Novendiales, on Thursday, October 1, 1523, with thirty-five cardinals in attendance, out of a total of forty-five [Lope Hurtado to Charles V, October 5, 1523: Bergenroth no. 605, p. 589]. The Mass of the Holy Spirit was sung by Cardinal Francesco Soderini, the Bishop of Palestrina, released from the Castel S. Angelo only two weeks before. The funeral sermon was preached by the Patriarch of Jersualem, Alessandro Farnese [Biagio de Martinelli, Papal Mastero of Ceremonies; Sanuto, 66—a letter from the secretary of the Ambassador in Rome; Gattico I, 441]. Security at the conclave was placed in the hands of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, Philippe de Villiers; he was in Rome treating with Adrian VI because the Knights had been driven out of Rhodes in December of 1522 by the Turks (Cancellieri,19). The Emperor's plan was to establish the Order either at Ragusa, Malta, or Tripoli [Bergenroth #604]. The Conclave, however, was not closed on that day. It was on Friday morning, October 2, that the legitimate Conclavists were assembled and sworn in, and the conclave area was inspected by the Camerlengo and Cardinal del Monte. Then the Conclave was closed. The Duke of Sessa, however, remarked that the Conclave was in daily contact with the city, and that the immuring was only a formality [Bergenroth, no. 606 p. 590].


The Cardinals

Cardinals attending:

  1. Bernardino de Carvajal (aged 67), Suburbicarian Bishop of Ostia and Velletri, Dean of the Sacred College, once Cardinal Priest of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (1495-1507)
  2. Francesco Soderini (aged 70), Volaterranus, Suburbicarian Bishop of Palestrina.  During the reign of Adrian VI he had been imprisoned in the Castel S. Angelo;  on his deathbed Adrian gave orders to the Castellan not to release Volterra under any circumstances.  Immediately on his death, the Cardinals ordered his release, over the objections of Medici and his supporters [Duke of Sessa to Charles V: Bergenroth no. 599, p. 585; 606, p. 589].  Volterra was a supporter of the French Interest.
  3. Alessandro Farnese (aged 55), Suburbicarian Bishop of Frascati, Bishop of Parma
  4. Niccolò Fieschi (aged ca. 67), Suburbicarian Bishop of Sabina
  5. Antonio Ciocchi del Monte (aged ca. 61), Suburbicarian Bishop of Albano, once Cardinal Priest of Santa Prassede

  6. François Guillaume de Castelnau de Clermont (aged 43), Auxitanus, Cardinal Priest of S. Stefano in Monte Celio; "Cardinal of Auch"
  7. Pietro Accolti (aged 68), Cardinal Priest of S. Eusebio, former Professor of Law at Pisa "Cardinal of Ancona"
  8. Achille Grassi (67), Bononiensis, Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere, Bishop of Bologna
  9. Lorenzo Pucci (aged 65), Cardinal Priest of SS. Quattuor Coronati, Professor of Law at Pisa, Datary of Julius II and Leo X, Major Poenitentiarius 1520-1529 (died 1531)
  10. Giulio de' Medici (aged 45), Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, Cardinal Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, Cousin of Leo X (died 1534) His conclavist was Girolamo Aleander, former Vatican Librarian and future Cardinal (Paquier, L' humanisme 297-298). Bishop of Florence (1513-1523), formerly Bishop of Embrun (1510-1513).  The Venetians received news on July 7, 1521 that the Emperor had given Medici the bishopric of Toledo, which Pope Leo X approved [Sanuto 31, p. 10 and p. 13].  Medici received a pension of 10,000 ducats a year from the bishopric of Toledo [Duke of Sessa to Charles V (February 24, 1524): Bergenroth, no. 621, p. 605], and after he became pope he actually asked it to be continued. 
  11. Giovanni Piccolomini (aged 48), Senensis, Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina, Archbishop of Siena (died 1537)
  12. Giovanni Dominico de Cupis (aged 30), Tranensis, Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina, Bishop of Trani (died 1553) Secretary of Leo X
  13. Andrea della Valle (aged 58), Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca
  14. Bonifacio Ferrer(i)o (aged 47), Cardinal Priest of SS. Nereus and Achilles, Bishop of Ivrea (a village between Vercelli and Aosta, the See being a family possession throughout the 16th century) (died 1543) [arrived on November 12; the Simancas Document says November 10: Bergenroth, no. 611, p. 593].
  15. Giovanni Battista Pallavicini (aged 43), Cardinal Priest of S. Apollinaris, Bishop of Cavaillon (died 1524) Doctor of Law, Padua
  16. Scaramuzzia Trivulzio (aged ca. 58), Cardinal Priest of S. Ciriaco in Thermis (died 1524) Comensis  A supporter of the French interest.
  17. Pompeo Colonna (aged 44), Cardinal Priest of SS. XII Apostoli (died 1532)
  18. Dominico Giacobazzi (aged 79), Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente and of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna in commendam (died 1528)
  19. Louis de Bourbon Vendôme (aged 30), Cardinal Priest of S. Martino ai Monti (died 1557) Bishop of Laon
  20. Lorenzo Campeggio (aged 49), Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia (died 1539) Bishop of Feltre, and Count Palatine. Doctor in Canon and in Civil Law, Padua and Bologna. Datary of Adrian VI.
  21. Ferdinando Ponzetti (aged 79), Cardinal Priest of S. Pancrazio (died 1527), Bishop of Grosseto
  22. Francesco Armellini de' Medici (aged 53), Cardinal Priest of S. Callisto (died 1527, in the Castel S. Angelo) Cardinal Camerlengo
  23. Silvio Passerini (aged 53 or 54), Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina (died 1529) Datary of Pope Leo X, Bishop of Cortona
  24. Cristoforo Numai, OFM Obs. (aged ?), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Aracoeli (died 1528)
  25. Egidio (Canisio) of Viterbo, (aged 51), Cardinal Priest of S. Matteo (died 1532)
  26. Guilelmus de Vich (aged 53 or 63), Cardinal Priest of S. Marcello (died 1525), Archbishop of Barcelona
  27. Willem van Enckenvoirt (aged 79?), Dertonense, Cardinal Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, 1519-1534.   Bishop of Tertosa (Dertusensis, Adrian VI's old See) (1523-1534);  Datary of Pope Adrian VI (res administravit libellis dandis, on his tombstone: Forcella, 451 no. 1091); made a cardinal 13 days before Adrian's death.   He began his career as Canon of the Cathedral of Utrecht.  He was praepositus of S. Rumold in Mechlin from 1516;  Dean of the Cathedral Church of Silvaeducensis (Bois-le-duc in Brabant) from 1519 [Gallia Christiana 6, xi, 25, 391, and 407];  canon and Archdeacon of Liege, and canon of S. Maria in Antwerp.   Van Enckenvoirt died July 19, 1534 in Rome [Necrology of the Cathedral of Mechlin, hujus ecclesiae dum vixit praepositus; V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiese di Roma III, p. 451, no. 1091].

  28. Marco Cornaro (aged 45 or 46), Constantinopolitanus, Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata (died 1524) Bishop of Padua
  29. Sigismondo Gonzaga (aged 54), Mantuanus, Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria Nova (died 1525). A supporter of the French interest.
  30. Innocenzo Cibo (aged 32), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica (died 1550) Grandson of Pope Innocent VIII, Nephew of Pope Leo X, Archbishop of Genoa, 1520-1550
  31. Franciotto Orsini (aged 50), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin (died 1534) Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica
  32. Paolo Cesi (aged 42), Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola inter imagines (died 1537)
  33. Alessandro Cesarini (aged ?), Cardinal Deacon of S. Sergio e Bacco, 1517-1523 (died 1542)
  34. Giovanni Salviati (aged 33), Cardinal Deacon of S. Cosma e Damiano (died 1553)
  35. Nicolò Ridolfi (aged 22), Cardinal Deacon of (died 1550)
  36. Ercole Rangoni (aged ca. 32), Cardinal Deacon of S. Agata de' Goti, 1517-1527 (died 1527)
  37. Agostino Trivulzio (aged ca. 38), Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano (died 1548)
  38. Francesco Pisano (aged 29), Cardinal Deacon of S. Teodoro, 1518-1527 (died 1570)
  39. Jean de Lorraine (aged 25), son of René, Duke of Lorraine and pretender to the Kingdom of Sicily. Cardinal Deacon of S. Onofrio, 1519-1550.  Bishop of Metz (1505-1547).  He died on May 10, 1550.

Cardinals not attending:

  1. Tommaso de Vio, OP, Cajetanus (aged 54), Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto (died 1534) Bishop of Gaeta, on an embassy in Hungary.  On June 1, 1523, Adrian VI had appointed him Legatus a latere in Hungary, Bohemia and Poland   [A. Touron, Histoire des hommes illustres de l' Ordre de S. Dominique IV (Paris 1747), 17-19].
  2. Albert of Brandenburg (aged 33) Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli (died 1545) Archbishop of Mainz
  3. Eberhard von der Marck (aged 51), Cardinal Priest of S. Crisogono (died 1538). Bishop of Liège, Bishop of Chartres, Bishop of Valence.. Son of Robert I, Duke de Bouillon and Prince de Sedan
  4. Matthias Lang (aged 54 or 55), Cardinal Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria (1514-1535), Bishop of Gurk (1501-1523).  (Coadjutor-)Archbishop of Salzburg (1512-1540), Bishop of Cartagena (1510-1540).  (died March 30, 1540)
  5. Thomas Wolsey (aged 52), Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (died 1530)  Archbishop of York, (1514-1530), previously Bishop of Lincoln (1514),  Bishop of Bath and Wells in commendam (1518-1521) [Le Neve Fasti ecclesiae anglicanae 1, 143], Bishop of Durham in commendam (1523-1529) [Le Neve, III, p. 298], Bishop of Winchester in commendam (1529).  Chancellor of England (1515-1529)  (died November 29, 1530).
  6. Alfonso of Portugal (aged 14), Cardinal, but promotion not effective until age 18 (died 1540) Archbishop of Lisbon and Evora, fourth son of King Manuel I


Sanuto (cols,. 61-62) provides a list of the cardinals who entered conclave on the first of October: Santa Croce (Carvajal), Volterra (Soderini), Fieschi, Farnese, del Monte, Ancona; De Grassis, Pucci, Medici, Piccolomini, Trani, Della Valle, Cavaillon (Pallavicini), Como (Trivulzi), Colonna, Giacobazzi, Campeggio, Ponzetto, Silvio da Cortona, Armellino. Egidio Canisio, Aracoeli (Numai), Vich, Enckevoirt; Cornaro, Gonzaga, Cibo, Orsini, De Cesis, Caesarino, Salviati, Ridolfi, Rangoni, Trivulzi, and Pisani. Absent, but arriving eventually, were: Auch (Castelnau), Ivrea of Savoy (Bonifacio Ferrero), Lorraine, and Vendôme. Absent were: Crucense (Gurcense: Lang of Salzburg, Archbishop of Gurk), Eboracense (Wolsey), Minerva da Caieta (Cajetan), Magonza (Mainz: Albrecht of Brandenburg), Legre (Liège: Eberhard von der Mark), and Alfonso de Portugal. Again, the Venetian Orator, writing on the 5th, notes that information had reached the Conclave that the three French cardinals (Auch. Vendome and Lorraine) had reached Piombino, and soon a second letter arrived announcing that they were at Civitavecchia and that Cardinal Ivrea was travelling by land and was between Florence and Siena (Sanuto, 66). On the 6th the French arrived and entered conclave (Sanuto, 77). On November 10, Cardinal Ivrea (Ferrero) finally entered the Conclave [ "Simancas Account", Bergenroth, no. 611, p. 593].


Another list of participants is given by Sanuto at cols. 213-216. Yet another, at columns 223-224, gives the names of the voting cardinals and their affiliations (French [13], Imperial [4], Medici [16], Neutral [6]).  The Medici Pope, Leo X, had created 42 cardinals, of whom eight were dead; five were not in attendance, making 29 in total; but Prospero Colonna, Giacobazzi and Vich were of the Imperial faction, leaving 26; and eight were of the French faction (Cupis, Pallavicini, S.Trivulzio, Lorraine, Numai, Ferrero, Orsini and A.Trivulzio). Twenty-six votes were needed to elect.

François I expressed a preference for Cardinal Fieschi, or Cardinal Soderini (Volterra), or Cardinal Trivulzi (Como). Henry VIII supported Cardinal Wolsey, then Cardinal Medici, Cardinal Farnese and Cardinal Campeggio. The Emperor Charles V preferred Cardinal Colonna, who was a personal friend, then Cardinal Medici. In addition there were those who had had support in the Conclave of December-January, 1521-1522, Cardinals Orsini, Pucci and Jacobazzi, who were still considered papabili [Petruccelli, 535-536].



The Cardinals spent some of their time during the early days of the Conclave writing and editing their Electoral Capitulations. In fact, on October 5 they voted not to begin the voting until they had subscribed to the Capitulations [Biagio Martinelli da Cesena, Diary]. Happily, the Capitulations were completed later that day. A letter of Mariano Caracciolo, a Protonotary Apostolic, to the Emperor Charles (November 30, 1523) [Bergenroth, no. 613, p. 595] indicates that one of the provisions was that the Pope would not make war or conclude peace without the consent of the College of Cardinals.   In 1523 a very extensive document was produced [Giornale Storico degli Archivi Toscani Anno 1858 No. 2, 107-117], which was finally signed by the Cardinals on October 7. Among the clauses:

I promise, swear and vow that I will not remove the Roman Curia from the City of Rome, nor will I transfer it from one place to another, whether from one province to another inside Italy, without the consent of a majority of the cardinals; and outside of Italy, without the consent of two-thirds of the cardinals.

I will not create any cardinals, even at the request of some Emperor, King, Duke or Prince or other, for whatever cause, even if the grave necessity of the Universal Church is alleged, unless they are older than their thirtieth year, and have doctorates either in Sacred Scripture or in one or other of the Laws [Canon and Civil], or at least, as far as sons or nepotes of kings are concerned, competent in literature; and by the counsel and consent of two-thirds of the Lord Cardinals given by ballot. I may appoint two of my adherents and relations by blood [parentes and consanguineos] as cardinals, so long as they meet the regulations of this chapter. Likewise, except for these two, the number of twenty-four will never be exceeded....

On October 6, in the late morning before lunch, the French Cardinals (François de Castelnau de Clermont, Louis de Bourbon Vendôme, and Jean de Lorraine) finally arrived.  The King of France had declared himself publicly to be against Cardinal de' Medici ['Simancas Account", Bergenroth, no. 611, p. 593].

The first Scrutiny finally took place on the morning of October 8, after the Cardinals had sworn one by one to observe the Electoral Capitulations. Two Cardinals, Cibo and Numai, were confined to their beds but voted. Afterwards, a scandal was revealed when it was reported that one of the Masters of Ceremonies had shown the ballot of Cardinal Cibo to the others in their rooms; as a result, the Masters of Ceremonies were barred from the chapel during the voting. Biagio Martinelli states that Cardinal Carvajal received ten votes on that first day.

On the first fourteen days, there were only eight scrutinies [Sanuto, 118—a private letter seen by Sanuto].  A scrutiny is reported in which Cardinal del Monte managed sixteen votes, plus three at the accessio. Medici had apparently promised del Monte three votes plus his own, which would have elected him; but Medici did not deliver. He claimed that the deal required Monte to produce eighteen votes for himself, without counting any votes in the accessio ("Simancas Account"). This is confirmed in a report by Ambassador Foscari [Sanuto, 119]. When the knowledge of this aborted transaction got around, the older cardinals, who were opposed to Medici anyway, stated that they would not vote for anybody in Medici's party either. Four cardinals who had promised their votes to Medici retracted their promises: Carvajal, Farnese, Giacobazzi, and Ponzetti ("Simancas Account")

Cardinal Armellino de' Medici had 13 votes on the next day, October 9, but the "Junior Cardinals" (the creature of Leo X) did not vote ("Simancas Account"). This must mean, if true, that they cast blank ballots ("nemini"), not that they were not present at the scrutiny.

Medici had sixteen firm votes, and it was being said that, if he could not get himself elected, he would promote the candidacies of Valle, Ancona, Egidio and Campeggio. In a letter of October 5 to the Emperor, Don Lope Hurtado de Mendoza wrote that Cardinal de' Medici had 18 votes, and would have 24, if not for the French (Bergenroth, #605). In an earlier scrutiny Fieschi and Santa Croce (Carvajal) had each obtained a maximum of 12 votes. On the 19th of October, Medici still has his sixteen votes, but the other side was trying one candidate after another. Four cardinals (Del Monte, Auch, Colonna and Cornaro) went around to each of the cardinals and begged them not to be so obstinate. A letter from Marin de Poso (secretary of Cardinal Pisano), in Rome, to a Venetian relative, indicates that this was a negotiating committee, sent to negotiate with Cardinal de' Medici [Sanuto, 135: 19 October]. Medici, after all, with his sixteen votes, had a practical exclusiva against anyone. The Conservatori of Rome appeared at the entrance to the Conclave and grieved publicly that it was taking so long to make a pope and that it was damaging the Church. [Sanuto, 134-135].

On the 25th the Ambassador wrote that the cardinals were taking votes only pro forma; no one's position had changed.  Cardinal Aracoeli (Numai), a Franciscan, received 22 votes, and could become pope if only the Imperial party approved; but he had been in France—he held a doctorate from the Sorbonne—and was a personal friend and confessor of the Queen-mother, Louise of Savoy. The same information was repeated in a private letter of Marin de Poso; the betting ran: Farnese 15-16, Medici 10, Grassis 9, Valle 7 and others 4 or fewer [Sanuto, 148-150].

On October 31, the French Ambassador, Alberto Pio, Count of Carpi, arrived and was received by the Cardinals. He, of course, exhorted them to elect a Pope. Despite the fact that he was the French representative, he immediately began to show signs of favor to his old friend, Medici . His effectiveness was somewhat impeded because he was compelled to spend his time in bed with the gout. [Duke of Sessa to Charles V, Bergenroth, #606].  Also on October 31 the "Junior Cardinals" had a meeting, and agreed to show each other their voting slips before they cast their ballots.

On the 3rd of November, Cardinal Domenico Giacobazzi, aged 79, Cardinal of S. Clemente, the Vicar General of Rome, managed to acquire ten votes. On this day, or the next, Cardinal Paolo Cesi (1481-1537) exhorted the cardinals to make a good election ("Simancas Account").

On November 6 Foscari wrote, "I cardinali non hanno fatto nulla. Fano scrutinii, ma non pasano ire voti." Marin da Poso wrote that the "group of 22" had proposed to Medici five candidates: Farnese, Aracoeli, Giacobazzi, del Monte, and Santa Croce. Medici's people were proposing: della Valle, Ancona, Santi Quattro, Egidio and Cortona. [Sanuto, 186].

On the 12th the gentlemen of Rome came to the doors of the conclave and spoke with the Dean, Cardinal Carvajal, exhorting the cardinals to observe the canons and elect a pope.  This was a second Roman intervention.



Exasperated with the opposition of Pompeo Colonna, Cardinal de' Medici announced that he was going to put the name of Franciotto Orsini up as a candidate. Orsini was the sworn enemy of Colonna, both personally and in terms of family histories in Roman and Church politics. "Spaventaro Colonna." Rather than see Orsini on the Papal Throne, and seeing that he did not have enough votes to produce an exclusiva, Colonna apparently decided he would actually vote for Medici himself—the last thing that was in his mind as he entered the Conclave  [Conclavi, p.197; Gregorovius, 456].

In the night of the 17th/18th of November, 1523, the deadlock finally broke. Medici's sixteen votes were joined by Giacobazzi and Pompeo Colonna, and then others, including Armellini, up to the number of 23 votes. On the 18th, the Duke of Sessa was able to write to the Emperor that Medici had been elected and Prospero Colonna had made his submission [Bergenroth, #610]. Giulio de' Medici had won his long struggle. [Sanuto, 225-226—letter of Marco Foscari of the 20th of November]. Guicciardini finds the event astonishing, noting that Colonna was an 'inimico acerbissimo del Cardinal dei Medici', and suggesting that there may have been the promise of the office of Vice-Chancellor as well as the gift of Medici's sumptuous palace in Rome, which had been built by the Cardinal of S. Giorgio (Raffaele Riario). Cardinal de Grassis died on the 19th [Sanuto, 235].


Cardinal Giulio de' Medici was crowned Pope Clement VII on November 26 at St. Peter's Basilica by Cardinal Marco Cornaro, the Protodeacon [Sanuto, 241-243].  He never took formal possession of the Lateran Basilica.



Permanent Entombment of Pope Adrian VI

The ceremonial diaries of Biagio Martinelli da Cesena [Gattico I, p. 479] record the transfer of the body of Pope Adrian VI from St. Peter's and its permanent entombment in S. Maria dell' Anima.  The Mass before the final interment was attended by fourteen Cardinals:

Anno 1533. Diebus istis [Augusti] concertatum fuit per Rmum Guglielmum Cardinalem Dertusensem, mecum, et aliquando etiam aliis intervenientibus Magistris de modo et forma transferendi cadaver et ossa fel(icis) rec(ordationis) Hadriani VI, et tandem conclusum pro die 12. Augusti quo ad Missam et Officium; quo vero ad translationem in sero circa horam 24. modo et ordine infrascripto, etiam habita speciali licentia a Papa.

Die Lunae XI. Augusti [Monday, August 12, 1533], fuit translatum corpus seu ossa et cadaver fel. rec. Hadriani VI ad instantiam Rmi. D. Guglielmi Cardinalis [van Enckenvoirt] Dertusensis, qui habuit ad hoc licentiam a SS. D. N. Papa Clemente VII.  illud et illa transferendi per bullam, et intervenientibus seu associantibus et inde visitantibus Ecclesiam Hospitalis S. Mariae de Anima, ad quam translatum est, et ubi insigne sepulcrum miro marmoreo lapide extructum erat per eundem Cardinalem, in die Missae et Officii indulgentia plenaria orando Deum pro anima sua, et tres Pater noster cum totidem Ave Maria dicendo. Ordo igitur talis servatus fuit. Concertavimus nos Magistri Caeremoniarum cum praefato Cardinali et D. Petro Glifotto, Auditore Rotae, illius affine, etiam cum intelligentia Papae, quod de sero extraheretur circa 21. horam;  ponereturque in nova capsa, et super feretrum ante sepulcrum cum 12. intortiis; et hora 23. vel 24. levaretur et transportaretur per presbyteros ad haec electos, praecedentibus religiosis SS. Joannis et Pauli, SS. Trinitatis, SS. Apostolorum et Aracoeli, S. Mariae de Populo, S. Augustini, S. Marcelli, S. Mariae supra Minervam, Camerario Cleri Romani cum xi. presbyteris et clericis dicti Hospitalis ad hoc invitatis, quibus in ecclesia cera distributa et centum intortitia portabantur per 50. clericos coctis indutos. Familia Papae intervenit et familiae multorum Cardinalium invitatae.  Ante elevationem feretri fuit per unum ex presbyteris cantatum Responsorium cum versiculis infrascriptis in fine annotatis; sic elevatum cum psalmis et orationibus silitis in funeralibus transportatum circa horam 24. elapsam. Firmatum in Ecclesia, et per clericos ecclesiae expulsis omnibus aliis cantatum responsorium Libera me Domine cum suis versiculis sequentibus et solitis, ac oratione Dominica per presbyterum dictae ecclesiae indutum pluviali; aspersum aqua benedicta, et incensatum cum oratione appropriata, quae notabitur in fine, et sic remansit capsa super pyramidem ibidem erectam novo tabulato, per me designato, cum panno de brocato desuper omnia cooperiente.

Die sequenti, Martis 12. Augusti, et in festo S. Clarae, fuit Missa in ecclesia praedicta pro defuncto; in qua Cardinales Episcopi Tranensis (de Cupis) et de Valle, sex Presbyteri et quatuor Diaconi. Fuit distributa cera dictis cardinalibus et omnibus praelatis et inde aliis more solito.  Missam celebravit R. D. N. de Nobilibus de Luca Episcopus, et fecit absolutionem, et in fine Missae ipse solus incipientibus cantoribus responsorium Libera me, Domine cum suis versiculis; et inde aspersum aqua et incensatum cum oratione praeordinata in Missa....




Biagio de Martinelli, Papal Master of Ceremonies, Conclave Diary (October 1-November 19, 1523) (Gattico I, 321-325).

Conclavi de' pontefici romani Nuova edizione, riveduta, corretta, ed ampliata Volume I (Colonia: Lorenzo Martini, 1691), 192-205.

Marino Sanuto, I diarii di Marino Sanuto Volume XXXIV (Venezia 1892), col. 410; 430; 438-439; 452; 461-462; and XXXV (Venezia 1892), col. 35; 55; 59-62; 66-67; 77; 88; 118-120; 134-135; 148-150; 186; 198-200; 206-208; 234-235; 241-243. Francesco Guicciardini, Storia d' Italia Book XV, chapter 3.  

J. A. BergenrothCalendar of Letters, Despatches, and State Papers, relating to the Negotiations between England and Spain, preserved in the Archives at Simancas and elsewhere, Vol. II. Henry VIII. 1509-1525 (London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1866) [dispatches of the Duke of Sessa, letters of Emperor Charles V, other materials], accessible on-line from British History Online. In Bergenroth, item #611 is an account of the Conclave, in Latin, copied in the Vatican Archives by Johannes Berzosa at the command of King Philip II of Spain ("Simancas Account"). Electoral Capitulations: "Convenzioni fatto e giurato dei Cardinali nel conclave di papa Clemente VII," Giornale Storico degli Archivi Toscani Anno 1858 No. 2. Aprile-Giugno, pp. 107-117, in Archivio storico italiano nuova serie Tomo settimo (Firenze 1858).

Giuseppe de Leva, Storia documentata di Carlo V in correlazione all' Italia II (Venezia 1863), 192-202. Gaetano Novaes, Elementi della storia de' Sommi Pontefici Volume VI (Roma 1822) 221-223; 225-226. F. Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves Volume I (Paris: 1864), 531-557 (featuring English and Florentine documents).  W. C. Cartwright, On the Constitution of Papal Conclaves (Edinburgh 1878) 134-135. Ferdinand Gregorovius, The History of Rome in the Middle Ages (translated from the fourth German edition by A. Hamilton) Volume 8 part 2 [Book XIV, Chapter 5] (London 1902) 449-458. F. A. Artaud de Montor Histoire des souverains Pontifes Romains Volume IV (Paris 1851) 91-92. Herbert Vaughan, The Medici Popes (Leo X and Clement VII) (New York: Putnam 1908) 287-289.  R. Garnett, "The Alleged Poisoning of Alexander VI," English Historical Review 9 (1899), 335-339.

Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa Tomo Quattro (Roma 1793). Francesco Cancellieri, Notizie istoriche delle stagioni e de' siti in cui sono stati tenuti i conclavi nella città di Roma... (Roma 1823).

On Cardinal Armellino: Charles Berton, Dictionnaiare des cardinaux (Paris 1857) 264 (using Panvinio, Paolo Giovio). G. Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 3 (Venezia 1840) 36-37. On Cardinal Carvajal: Moroni, Volume 10 (Venezia 1841) 134-135. Pastor, Volume 7, p. 202 with notes.

On Cardinal Wolsey, Alfred de Reumont, "Il Cardinale Wolsey e la Santa Sede,"  Archivio storico Italiano  Appendice XI (1853).  Folkstone Williams, Lives of the English Cardinals Volume II (London 1868), 410-414.  Ethelred L. Taunton, Thomas Wolsey: Legate and Reformer (London 1902), 146-148; 190-191; 195-201.   State Papers, Published under the Authority of Her Majesty's Commission Volume VI, King Henry VIII Part V (1849).

On Cardinal Eichenvoirt: Vincenzo Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiese e d' altri edifici di Roma III (Roma 1873), p. 447 (Pope Adrian's tomb) and 451 no. 1091 (Eichenvoirt's tomb). J. Paquier, "Lettres familières de Jérôme Aléandre (1510-1540)," Revue des études historiques 64 (Paris 1908) 259-290, at 259-261. Jules Paquier, L' humanisme et la réforme: Jérôme Aléandre (Paris 1900), 285-286, 296, 344.

On Cardinal Carvajal, Hugo Rossbach, Das Leben und die politisch-kirchliche Wirksamkeit des Bernaldino Lopez de Carvajal (Breslau 1892).

May 25, 2016 7:48 PM
© 2008 John Paul Adams, CSUN

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