Agostino Spinola (ca. 1482-1537) was born at Savona in Liguria of a Genoese family, the nephew of Cardinal Pietro Riario and grand-nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. He became secretary to Pope Julius II (also a native of Savona and his cousin) in 1509. He was made Bishop of Perugia in the same year, and conducted a number of reforms in the Cathedral clergy. After twenty years as bishop, he resigned the see to the care of his brother Carlo in 1529; unfortunately Carlo predeceased him, in 1535. Agostino was the first of his family to become a cardinal, on May 3, 1527, with the title of S. Ciriaco. He became Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in 1528, a position he held until his death in 1537. His work as Chamberlain was much admired by the people of Rome, for whom he saw to the abundand supply of grain and foodstuffs. He was also granted administration rights over the Church of Savona, to which Paul III (in 1535) added Alatri. He died in 1537 and his body was transferred to Savona for burial.
The Dean of the College of Cardinals in 1534 was Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (February 29, 1468—November 10, 1549). He was born at Canino in Tuscany (or perhaps in Rome) of Pierluigi Rainuccio Farnese and Giovanella Caetani, a relative of the Dukes of Sermonetta. The Farnese were a propertied family in the neighborhood of Lake Bolsena and Viterbo, though they resided in Rome (Panvinio 398; Cardella, III 265; Novaes VII 3). Alessandro Farnese studied at Rome under Pomponio Leto, and in Florence and Pisa. His career began in 1491, when he was made a secretary (scrittore) and Protonotary Apostolic by Pope Innocent VIII. In the next year he was given the office of Treasurer of the Chamber by Pope Alexander VI, whose mistress was Alessandro's sister Giulia.. He was made Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano in 1493. In 1499 Alexander appointed him Bishop of Montefiascone, Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica, and Legate in Viterbo and the Marches (Cardella III, 265). Julius II made him Bishop of Parma in 1509. He participated in the Conclave of 1513, which elected Giovanni de' Medici as Pope Leo X. In the absence of the Cardinal Protodeacon Sanseverino, who was excommunicated, he crowned Pope Leo X on March 13, 1513. In 1516 he became Cardinal Protodeacon.
He was ordained a priest on June 26, 1519 and consecrated a bishop on July 2, 1519. He was forty-one years of age. He opted for promotion to the rank of Cardinal Bishop as Suburbicarian Bishop of Frascati on July 15, 1519. He participated in the Conclave of 1519-1520, in which Adrian Florencz Dedel was elected Pope Adrian VI, and the Conclave of 1523, which elected Giulio de' Medici Pope Clement VII. In 1523 he was translated to the episcopal see of Palestrina, and in December of the same year to Santa Sabina. The following May he moved to Porto and Santa Rufina, and finally six months later he became Bishop of Ostia and Velletri and Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. He had four illegitimate children, Costanza, Pierluigi, Paolo and Ranuccio. His daughter Costanza married Bosio Sforza, Duke of S. Fiora; their son was Guido Ascanio Sforza, whom Alessandro made a cardinal at the age of sixteen..
In September of 1533, Pope Clement VII (Giulio de' Medici) had travelled to Marseilles by sea, for the purpose of arranging the marriage of his niece, Catherine, to Henri, the future King Henri II of France, which was solemnized on October 28. On November 7, in Marseilles, he created four new cardinals, all four of them French. He also engaged in serious discussions with King François I and with the Emperor Charles V. Before his departure, he issued instructions that, should he die before his return to Rome, the Conclave should be held in whatever city he and the Curia happened to be when he died. After his return to Rome on December 10, Clement began to suffer with stomach problems resulting in fever. Others (Olduino) attributed his illness to treatments provided to the pope by his doctor, Matteo Corti, to prolong his life (Novaes, 258). Benvenuto Cellini visited the Pope on September 22, to present several medals that the pope had commissioned, including the famous "Moses striking the rock". But the Pope was unable to see the design clearly even after he had called for his spectacles. On the 23rd, he wrote a long farewell letter to Emperor Charles V (Gregorovius, 697-699). He died on the 25th of September, 1534, having lived 56 years and four months, and having reigned for 10 years, 10 months, and 7 days.
The Bolognese Ambassador in Rome, Antonio Maria Papazzoni, described the death in a report to the Senate of Bologna on September 26 (Staffetti, 126):
Il catarro soppravvenuto a Sua Santità... gli incomentiò soprabondare molto forte alle xvii hore et meggio, di sorte che non poteva dir altro se non cosi pian piano: Aitami, aitamil io muoio; et cosi seguitò tri ottavi de hora et spirò in presentia del Reverendissimo Santiquattro et de penitentieri che gli raccomandar l' anima, et vi erano li Rmi Cibo et Medici con tutta la famiglia di Su Santità. Passato che fu Sua Santita, li medici spararo il corpo et non trovaro altro di maculato che il pulmone, che era assai guasto.
His temporary tomb in the Vatican Basilica was repeatedly desecrated with excrement, requiring the posting of a guard by his nephew, Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici. Eventually, the body was buried in a monument in the south wall of the Choir of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The executors of his Last Will and Testament were Cardinals Innocenzo Cibo, Ippolito de' Medici, Nicolo Ridolfi, and Giovanni Salviati (Montor, 114).
There were forty-six cardinals at the time of the pope's death. A list of the cardinals is given by Onuphrio Panvinio (pp. 398-417). He states (twice) that thirty-seven cardinals participated in the Conclave (He includes François de Clermont, Albrecht von Brandenburg, Claude de Longuy de Givry, and Bernhard von Claes). Gregorio Leti (p. 163) says that thirty-five cardinals entered conclave on the 11th of October, 1534. Giovanni Firmano, the Master of Ceremonies, states that Cardinal Grimani did not join in the opening ceremonies, being confined to bed. A list of thirty-six Cardinals who participated in the Conclave and Coronation of Paul III are given by the Master of Ceremonies Biagio da Cesena (Gattico I, 389), but without the name of Louis de Bourbon, and with the name of Niccolò Gaddi. Eubel III, p. 20 n. 1 (listing fifteen cardinals as absent, including: François de Clermont-Ludève; Bernhard von Cles; Claude de Longuy de Givry; and the Chamberlain Spinola—with whom Biagio da Cesena spoke on the day of the election in the presence of the new Pope: cf. Gattola I, p. 386). Eubel's lists for this Conclave are not accurate.
There were a total of forty-six cardinals at the time of Clement's death. They were divided into two camps, the French and the Imperialists, but inside the camps there were several leaders, each with his followers, his preferences and his demands.. The most powerful factio was led by Cardinal Farnese, the Dean of the Sacred College, who was supported by Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici and the Florentine cardinals created by Leo X and Clement VII. King Henry VIII of England had chosen Farnese as his candidate as early as 1529, over the objections of Wolsey and Campeggio (Petruccelli, 5: Gregory Casale to Thomas Cromwell), though Henry's influence at this conclave was nil. He constituted a serious problem that needed to be addressed, not someone whose views needed to be considered.
On October 10, the Bishop of Aosta, Pietro Gazino, wrote to the Duke of Savoy that the French factio, led by the Cardinal Jean de Lorraine, numbered between ten and twelve, and that they intended to vote for the Legate of France, François de Tournon (who had negotiated the marriage of Catherine de' Medicis: Cardella, IV 114-117), or, failing him, for Cardinal Antonio Sanseverino (Bishop of Tarento and Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem). The leader of the Italians who favored the French interest was Cardinal Agostino Trivulzio of Milan, the Protector of France before the Holy See, whose uncles were marshals of France (Cardella IV, 66). Though Trivulzio had his own ambitions to be pope, he knew that he had no chance in this conclave. But the election of Farnese would put on the papal throne the oldest of the cardinals, who would soon be gone, in time for Trivulzio to succeed in the next conclave (or so Petruccelli has it, 6). So Trivulzio, too, supported Farnese. Those who had been closest to Trivulzio in the Conclave of 1523, Cardinals Colonna, Cesi, della Valle, Orsini and Trani (de Cupis), had actually voted for Farnese at that time, on the motion of Cardinal Cesarini, and they would likely do so again (according to Petruccelli, 6). Pompeo Colonna had died, however, in 1532, and Franciotto Orsini in January, 1534, easing the situation somewhat, considering their mutual hatred.
Matthew Lang (Salzburg) and Bernhard von Cles (Trent) arrived on October 8 (Petruccelli, 4 quoting from a dispatch of the Bishop of Aosta), but without specific voting instructions from Charles V. The absence of an indication of an imperial candidate increased the confusion and weakness in the Imperial faction.
The Conclave opened on October 11, 1534, with between thirty-three and thirty-seven cardinals in attendance, out of a total of forty-six (Panvinio, 398; Leti 163). Biagio de Martinelli da Cesena, one of the Masters of Ceremonies, however, states in his Diary that there were thirty-two cardinals present at the opening ceremonies. Giovanni Firmano notes that Cardinal Grimani was not present due to illness.
Next day, October 12, before he knew of what was happening inside the Conclave, Sanchez wrote to Ferdinand, King of the Romans (Wahrmund, 255):
fieri etiam potest, ut is quem minime cogitamus fieret papa, circa quod nihil est a nobis praetermissum, quod aut utilitatem aut honorem et extimationem Cardinalis Tridentini attineret, licet ipse clare ostenderit, se non habere ambitionem. Oratori Cesareo ac nobis aliisque fidis visum est, oportere valde, ut dictus orator deputaret et nominaret aliquot cardinales, qui ex parte Majestatum Vestrarum loquerentur ceteris ea quae secundum occurrentias conclavi necessaria forent ad dirigendum bonum et evitandum malum reipublicae Christianae, et ita fuerunt ad hoc nominati quinque isti: Tridentinus (Bernhard von Cles), Salzburgensis (Matthew Lang), Barrensis, Cesarinus, Mantua (Ercole Gonzaga).
The Prince-Bishop of Trent was to be the candidate, and four others were to work in his interest. Whether this was a plan, or a last-moment improvisation, is unclear. But In either case it was too late for such maneuvers.
On the first day of balloting, October 12, Cardinal Farnese was "acclaimed" by the Cardinals meeting in conclave. The Bishop of Aosta wrote immediately to the Duke of Savoy (Petruccelli, 7)::
Today, the 12th of October, at this hour, two in the evening, Farnese was elected and immediately confirmed by all of the cardinals. I asked Ivrea to tell him that he had the order from your Excellency to give him his vote. I don't know if he did so, for the cardinals are remaining in conclave tonight. The pope was made without a ballot, by the Holy Spirit.
Gregory Casale, writing to Thomas Cromwell (Petruccelli, 8) says that the acclamation did not include Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio. It was led by Cardinal de' Medici, followed by Jean de Lorraine. Even two Germans, Trent and Salzburg, joined in. On the next morning, the election was formalized by a scrutiny. The result was, of course, unanimous.
On October 13, 1534, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese was elected. He was 67 years old. The Bolognese ambassador, Papazzoni wrote immediately to the Senate (Staffetti 130 n.2):
Hiersera s' era pubblicato alla porta del conclave dove si mettevano entro la vivande, che il Reverendissimo di Farnese era fatto papa et che i Reverendissimi Cibo e Cesarini l' havevano detto di lore bocca, ... questa mattina sono concorsse tutte le religgioni e tutta Roma a palazzo et si è posto fuori la croce et pubblicato per il Reverendissimo Cibo esso Reverendissimo Farnese esser Papa et haver nome Paulo terzo.
On October 22, the Masters of Ceremonies were told by the Master of the Pontifical Household (Ascanius Parisanus, the Bishop of Rimini) that the new Pope had not yet decided on the date of his coronation. Eventually they heard a rumor that the Pope would be crowned on November 3, and that he intended to participate in the religious ceremonies of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. This caused a strong reaction among the ceremoniere, who pointed out to the Pope that it was contrary to custom for the Pope to carry out pontifical acts before his Coronation. It might bring into question whether the Cornonation was a necessary act, or merely an expensive ceremony. The Pope consulted Cardinal Piccolomini, whose judgment was that the Pope could participate in ceremonies before his Coronation. Cardinal Cibo thought otherwise (He was, of course, protecting his own interests as Cardinal Protodeacon, the person who crowned the Pope). Cardinal Ferrario supported the Pope, while Cardinal Cesi thought that he should not participate. The Pope finally decided not to participate. He was crowned Pope Paul III on November 3, 1534 in the Vatican Basilica by Cardinal Innocenzo Cibò, the Protodeacon. He took formal possession of the Lateran Basilica on April 11, 1535 (Diary of Biagio Martinelli da Cesena, in Gattico I, 386-389).
Joannes Franciscus Firmanus, Diarium, in Joannes Baptista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii. Tomus I (Romae 1753), pages 330-331.
Blasius de Martinelli da Cesena, Diarium, in Joannes Baptista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii. Tomus I (Romae 1753), pages 325-329
Onuphrio Panvinio, Epitome Pontificum Romanorum a S. Petro usque ad Paulum IIII. Gestorum (videlicet) electionisque singulorum & Conclavium compendiaria narratio (Venice: Jacob Strada 1557). Gregorio Leti, Il cardinalismo di Santa Chiesa Parte Terza (1668), 162-165. Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa Tomo Terzo (Roma 1793) 265 ff (Farnese); Tomo Quarto (Roma: Pagliarini 1793) 83-84 (Spinola). D. Orano, "Il diario di Marcello Alberini," Archivio della R. Società romana di storia patria 18 (1895) 51-98; 319-416, especially 382-388.
Francesco Cancellieri, Storia de' solenni Possessioni de' Sommi Pontefici, detti anticamente Processi o Processioni dopo la loro Coronazione dalla Basilica Vaticana alla Lateranense (Roma: Luigi Lazzarini 1802). Gaetano Novaes, Elementi della storia de' Sommi Pontefici Volume VI (Roma 1822) 258-259; Vol VII 3-7. F. Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves Volume II (Paris: 1864). 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) 695-702. F. A. Artaud de Montor Histoire des souverains Pontifes Romains Volume IV (Paris 1851) 91-92. Georges Jauret, Les coulisses des conclaves. Détails intimes et indiscrétions (Paris: Garnier 1878), 66-74. Carlo Capasso, La politica di Papa Paolo III e l' Italia Volume I (Camerino: Savini 1901), 1-12.
On Cardinal Cibo: Luigi Staffetti, Il cardinale Innocenzo Cybo (Firenze: Le Monnier 1894).
G. Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 51 (Venezia 1851) 124-125.