SEDE VACANTE 1549-1550

November 10, 1549—February 8, 1550

Reginald Cardinal Pole, candidate for pope 1549
Reginald Cardinal Pole

GUIDO ASCANIO CARDINAL SFORZA (1518-1564) was the son of Bosio Sforza, Conte di Santa Fiora e Cotignola, and Costanza Farnese, the legitimized daughter of Alessandro Farnese (Pope Paul III). He became Cardinal at the age of sixteen on December 18, 1534, in his grandfather's first Consistory. He was named Bishop of Parma (1535-1560), and became Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in 1537 at the age of 19. It was a post he held until his death on October 6, 1564. He served as Legate of Bologna and the Romagna ( from 1537), and was Papal Legate in Hungary in 1540. He presided over the Interregnum of 1549-50, the two interregna of 1555, and that of 1559.


the coat of arms of Cardinal  Giovanni de Cupis

The Dean of the Sacred College was Giovanni Domenico Cardinal de Cupis (1493-1553) He was the son of Pope Julius II's former mistress, Lucrezia, and thus the half-brother of Felice della Rovere Orsini, Julius' daughter. A cardinal since 1517, he had been participating in conclaves since 1521-1522. He became Dean of the Sacred College in 1537. He was a close friend of St. Ignatius Loyola. [ His stemma at right ]


The security of the Conclave was placed by the Sacred College in the hands of Count Niccolò Orsini, with five hundred troops in addition to the Swiss Guard. The city itself, and the defense of the Vatican were placed in the care of Orazio Farnese, nephew of the deceased pope and Prefect of the City of Rome, with four thousand soldiers (Matteo Dandolo says 7,000). These special arrangements were made necessary by the revolt of Ascanio Colonna against the papal government.

The Secretary of the Sacred College of Cardinals was Msgr. Giovanni Francesco Bini.


The Maestro di Ceremonie was Msgr. Giovanni Francesco Firmano. His diary from 1529 to 1565 survives in manuscripts.



Early Maneuvering

The death of Pope Paul III (Farnese) had been anticipated for quite some time, though, at the age of 82, he seemed to be in good health, was active, and was fully engaged in business. That did not, however, prevent the pratticà from beginning.

Who were the French supporting? According to Florentine sources in Rome (Averardo Serristori), Henri II was supporting Salviati, Ridolfi and Trani [de Cupis].  The future Cardinal (1565), Prospero Santacroce, Bishop of Kisamos on Crete (1548-1572) and former Nuncio to France, described Henri II as "princeps etsi ingenii mediocris, summae tamen probitatis ac constantis animi in amandis his, quos sibi praecipue delegerat:  ex quibus rerum omnium ac negotiorum summam ad Annam Montmorantium Galliae connestabilem deferebat.  Amabat autem mirum in modum ex familia Guisiorum sex fratres, quorum consuetudine jam inde a pueritia usus fuerat." [Martene & Durand Veterum scriptorum monumentorum amplissima collectio Tomus V (Paris 1729), 1427]. According to Florentine sources in Paris (Amerigo Benci, who got his information from Queen Catherine), the French wanted Ridolfi and then Ferrara [d'Este]. According to the conclavist of Cardinal Juan Álvarez de Toledo (Buonanni), who was reading the Cardinal's private exchanges with the Emperor Charles V, Cardinal de Guise had been instructed to support the Cardinal de Lorraine, then the Cardinal de Tournon, and any other French cardinals; failing those, he was to work for Salviati, Ridolfi or de Cupis. [Petruccelli II, 25-26; Druffel I, p. 351]. One thing was clear: Henri II did not want Cardinal Reginald Pole to be Pope [Ribier II, 258 (December 3, 1549)]. Another thing is clear, as well, that the insistence on the election of Charles de Guise-Lorraine, Archbishop of Reims and Coadjutor of Metz, who was only twenty-five years old, was one of Henri II's more foolish ideas.  One should take note of the repeated mention of the viability of 'older cardinals' in Cardinal Guise's long apology written to Henri II on the day of the election [Druffel II, no. 386].  One of the arguments in favor of Ciocchi del Monte was that he was 63 years old.

The Imperial Ambassador in Rome was Don Diego [Didacus] de Mendoza.  He is described by Prospero Santacroce  [Martene & Durand Veterum scriptorum monumentorum amplissima collectio Tomus V (Paris 1729), 1431]:

Erat Romae pro Carolo V. imperatore orator Didacus de Mendoza, vir acris ingenii, sed ad malum proni, qui etiam novitatibus vehementer studeret;  neque satis benevolo in Farnesios nomo, quod in amondo nobilissimam ac pulcherrimam mulierem rivales cum extitissent, graves inter illos injuriae intercesserant. Is imperatori significat,

Farbesuis Oarnan nullo pacto retinere posse, quod in ea civitate sola ab omnibus circumvicinis timere deberent; neque tantum facultatem habere ad milites retinendos, quos defensioni necessarios haberent.  Proinde illos necessario cum aliquo principe de illa pacturos. Id si fieret, rebus imperatoris vehementer incommodum futurum, quod inde bellum alis atque agrum Mediolanensem perpetuo vastari posse affirmabat.  Itaque in Italia, cujus magnam jam partem obtinebat, belli excitandi causam omnem exscindendam esse, atque hanc, tamquam viam ad incendium, omnino tollendam.

And of course, the Farnese were driven toward "some other prince"—the King of France, this despite the fact that Ottavio Farnese, Paul III's grandson, was married to the illegitimate daughter of Charles V [cf. Druffel I, no. 322 and 325].  Ottavio's change of sides was a severe blow to his grandfather's plans and policies.


Death of Pope Paul III (Farnese)

On November 3, the Pope was in good health and celebrated the anniversary of his coronation with elaborate ceremonies [d'Urfe to Henri II (November 5, 1549) Ribier II, p. 251]. Severely depressed (it is said) by the treachery of his own family and by the fall of Parma to Emperor Charles V, he had such a heated argument with his nephew Cardinal Farnese that he had grabbed his red beretta and thrown it down on the ground.   His wrath was so great that it injured him—a heart attack probably. Cardinal Farnese took care to close the highways and bridges and secure the Castel S. Angelo. He sent couriers to Naples, Venice, Bologna and Tuscany. This crisis finally took the Pope's life four days later, on November 10, 1549, aged eighty-one.  (The Venetian Ambassador, Matteo Dandolo, who had access to the results of the opening of the body of the dead pope, relates  nel cuore erano tre goccie di sangue agghiacciato, giudicato provenire dal moto della colere  [Matteo Dandalo, in Alberi, 342]).  On Wednesday evening, November 6 Pope Paul III suddenly contracted a fever.  He retreated to the Quirinale hill, where the air was healthier than at the Vatican.   On November 7, the agent of King Ferdinand, Diego Lasso, wrote to his master [Druffel I, no. 344, p. 293]

Miercoles a los seis deste a dos horas de la noche le vino a su S(antid)ad una gran calentura, y dizen que fue la ocasion de unas cartas que tuvo de su nieto el duque Octavio, en que escrevia sobre las cosas de Parma, cosas fuera de su voluntad.  Luego se ha hecho muy gran diligencia en cerrar las puertas, y que non saliesse fuera ningun despacho, y por esto no se a escrito hasta esta tarde.  Dien questa mañana le a crecido la calentura, estase esperando lo que puede ser de un hombre de ochenta años, los suyos encomiençan a proveer lo mejor que pueden; y pareçe que en ningun tiempo peor les pudiera venir esta muerte del papa, de la qual, y de lo que sucediere, avisare a V. M(aiest)ad con todas las ocasiones.

The French Ambassador in Rome, M. d' Urfé, immediately reported to King Henri [November 7, 1549: Ribier II, 252]:

Mercredy au soir sixiesme de ce mois a dix-neuf heures, tomba subitement un catharre au Pape qui le mist en tels termes que pue esperoient de sa gurison, et soudain le Cardinal Farnese, avant que personne en sceust rien, depesche quatre courriers .... pour vous dire que je pense plustost la briefve fin du Pape, qu'autrement, et pour la haste ou je suis, je ne puis vous dire tout ce que je suis deliberé de faire; car advenant le vacant du Papat, je veux bien vous asseurer, Sire, que je n' espargneray ny peine ny hazard pour servir vostre Majesté. Cependant il seroit necessaire que Messieurs les Cardinaux fussent icy: car il ny en a que deux François qui sont Armagnac et Meudon: le Cardinal Farnese s' est impatronise du Chasteau Sainct Ange, auquel il a mis pour luy le sieur Storre Baillon, avec cent hommes, et dit-on de plus qu'il fait son pouvoir pour faire entrer le Duc Octavio dans Parme....


Rome, surprisingly, did not immediately erupt in violence.  This is perhaps in part because Camillo Orsini had been made Governor of Parma and was away from Rome; he was also the husband of Vittoria Colonna, daughter and heiress of Pierfrancesco Colonna, Lord of Zagarolo, Gallicano and Colonna.  The Orsini Conte Niccolò di Pitigliano was Captain of the papal guard, and it was his duty to guard the Papal Palace.  The French Ambassador reported on November 19 [Ribier II, 252-254]:

apres la mort du Pape, qui fut le 10. de ce mois, l'on craignoit un grand trouble en cette ville, et pensoit-on, tant pour la haine que l'on porte au nom de Farnese, comme pour les querelles et divisions particulieres, ou par les Imperiaux, ou Colonnois, il deust avoir émotion fort grade entre ces Seigneurs, mais l' ordre y a esté mis si dextrement, et les gens de guerre de si bonne heure, que vivant le Pape, il n'y avoit point telle tranquillite a Rome, comme celle qui y est de present; et ne se sont monstrez les Colonnois, sinon en quelque petite ville de leur Patrimoine qu'ils ont reprise

Cardinal Du Bellay's residence was entered by soldiers, but without violence. D'Urfé went on the same day to the Congregation of Cardinals, where the influence of the Spanish Ambassador was already in evidence. He nonetheless received a friendly hearing.

The Acta Consistorialia report that Pope Paul III died on Sunday, November 10, 1549 [Eubel III, 20 n. 2]:

1549 Nov. 10 die dominica in aurora Paulus pp. III febre continua et catarrho correptus, diem supremum obiit.

The Pope's body was transported to the Vatican on the same day as his death and placed very briefly in the Consistory Hall. It was then carried on a litter through Trastevere accompanied by 60 torches, 100 horse, and infantry.

In the afternoon of the 10th of November, the Cardinals met in the First Congregation, where they received the French Ambassador, d'Urfé, who promised the full support of the King of France for whatever they might require. The Fisherman's ring and all the seals were broken. The governors of the City (Duke Orazio Farnese), the Borgo, the Campagna, and Viterbo were appointed. The body of the Pope was then carried to St. Peters, amidst heavy rain, and placed on view in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, which continued until the 12th. On the morning of the 13th it was interred.

During the same days the Cardinals, led by the Camerlengo, Cardinal Sforza, inventoried the papal valuables.  In the Castel S. Angelo alone was found  440,000 scudi


The Cardinals

There were fifty-four cardinals at the time of the pope's death. A list of the Cardinals is given by Eubel III, p. 31 n. 1:  forty-eight cardinals entered Conclave on November 29, 1549, and they were later joined by three others. Two cardinals died during the Conclave (Ennio Filonardi and Nicolò Ridolfi), and two others (Marcello Cervini and Philippe de la Chambre) did not participate in the final vote, since illness forced them to leave the Conclave.  A list of all of the cardinals is given by Onuphrio Panvinio (pp. 416-417).

Cardinals attending:

  1. Giovanni Domenico de Cupis (aged 56), Suburbicarian Bishop of Ostia e Velletri (died 1553). Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. "Cardinal of Trani"
  2. Giovanni Salviati (aged 59), son of Jacopo Salviati and Lucrezia di Lorenzo de' Medici, and therefore uncle of Leo X; he was first-cousin twice removed of Catherine de Medicis, wife of Henri II.  Suburbicarian Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina (died 1553). Sub-Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. A cousin of Cardinal Ridolfi.
  3. Philippe de la Chambre, OSB (aged 59?) [Savoy].  Suburbicarian Bishop of Tusculum (Frascati) (1543-1550),  formerly Cardinal Priest of S. Maria Transtiberim (1542-1543), and SS. Silvestri et Martini in montibus (1533-1541).   Abbot of S. Pierre de Corbie.   (died February 21, 1550). "de Bolonia"   He had finally arrived on the afternoon of the 28th of December [Dandalo, in Brown, no. 610, no. 289]
  4. Gian Pietro Carafa (aged 73), Suburbicarian Bishop of Sabina (died 1559). Archbishop of Naples.
  5. Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte Sansovino (aged 62)  [His father was a lawyer from Arezzo, but he himself was Roman, the nephew of Cardinal Antonio Ciocchi del Monte (Eubel III, p. 12); his mother, Cristofara Saraceni, was Sienese],   Suburbicarian Bishop of Palestrina (1543-1550).  Previously (like his uncle) he had been Cardinal Priest of the title of S. Prassede (1542-1543), and before that (like his uncle) Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Vitale (1537-1542).  He studied law at Perugia and Siena.    In 1512, Julius II, impressed by his eloquence at the V Lateran Council, made him Bishop of Manfredonia (1512-1544), the See having been vacated by his uncle for the purpose.  Leo X made him Bishop of Pavia (1521-1530), again in succession to his uncle.  Vice-Legate in Bologna.  Under Clement VII he was twice Governor of Rome.   Legate of Bologna and the Romagna.  As Legate to Parma and Piacenza he led the reduction of Rimini to obedience to the Holy See.  He was one of the three First-Presidents of the Council of Trent.  In 1544 he was again appointed Bishop of Pavia (1544-1550).   He was elected Bishop of Rome (1550-1555).  He had been a pensionary of the Spanish crown since at least 1541.
  6. † Ennio Filonardi (aged 83), Suburbicarian Bishop of Albano (1546-1549). Previously Cardinal Priest of S. Angelo in Pescheria (1537-1546).  Bishop of Veroli (1503-1538).  (died December 19, 1549, during the Conclave). "Sancti Angeli"

  7. Louis de Bourbon de Vendôme (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Sabina (died 1557). Administrator of Laon, Adminstrator of Sens.  He reached Rome on January 14, 1550 [Brown, Calendar no. 627, p. 298].
  8. Francesco Pisani (aged 55), Cardinal Priest of S. Marco (died 1570). Bishop of Padua.
  9. François de Tournon (aged 60), Cardinal Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro (died 1562). Archbishop of Auch  [G. Ribier, Lettres et Memoires d' Estat II, p. 521].
  10. Jean du Bellay (aged 57), Cardinal Priest of S. Crisogono (died 1560). Bishop of Paris (1532-1551), former Bishop of Bayonne (1524-1532). Administrator of Bordeaux (1544-1551).  He was promoted Bishop of Albano shortly after the conclusion of the Conclave, on February 28, 1550.
  11. Rodolfo Pio di Carpi (aged 49), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere.(died 1564). .Administrator of Agrigento.
  12. Juan Álvarez de Toledo, OP (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente (died 1557). Bishop of Burgos (1537-1550), then translated to Compostela (1550-1557)  "Cardinal of Burgos"  One of his conclavists, Don Pedro de Toledo, was in communication with Duke Cosimo of Florence  [Matteo Dandolo, letter of January 18, 1550: Brown, Calendar no. 629].
  13. Robert de Lenoncourt (aged 64?), Cardinal Priest of S. Apollinare (died 1561). Bishop of Châlons sur Marne (1535-1550)
  14. Antoine Sanguin de Meudon (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Portico (died 1559). Bishop of Orléans
  15. *Marcello Cervini degli Spannochi (aged 48), Cardinal Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme (died 1555). Bishop of Reggio Emilia. Protector of the German Nation "Santa Croce"   [left the Conclave due to illness on December 22]
  16. Miguel de Silva (aged 69), Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede (died 1556). Bishop of Massa Marittima.
  17. Giovanni Girolamo Morone (aged 40), Cardinal Priest of S. Stefano al Monte Celio (died 1580). Bishop of Modena.  In 1542 he was Nuncio in Poland. In the Spring of 1544 he was named Legate in Bologna.
  18. Marcello Crescenzi (aged 49), Cardinal Priest of S. Marcello (died 1552). Administrator of Conza.
  19. Cristoforo Madruzzo (aged 37), Cardinal Priest of S. Cesareo in Palatio (died 1578). Bishop of Trent, Bishop of Brixen
  20. Francisco Mendoza de Bobadilla (aged 41), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Ara Coeli (died 1566).  Bishop of Coria (1533-1550), then translated to Burgos (1550-1567).
  21. Bartolomé de la Cueva de Albuquerque (aged 50), son of Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, duke of Alburquerque.  Cardinal Priest of S. Matteo in Merulana (died 1562), at the request of the Emperor [Eubel, p. 28 n. 3]. [He is named as Bishop of Cordoba by Moroni Diz. storico-eccles. 19, 17; but this is not confirmed by Eubel II, p. 28, 178]
  22. Georges d'Armagnac (aged 40), Cardinal Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo (died 1585). He was created Cardinal while French Ambassador to the Holy See, and by the request of the King of France [Eubel III, p. 28 n. 3]. Bishop of Rodez, Administrator of Tours.  He had finally arrived on the afternoon of the 28th of December [Dandalo, in Brown, no. 610, no. 289]
  23. Otto Truchsess von Waldburg (aged 35), Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina (died 1573). He was created Cardinal by the request of Ferdinand, King of the Romans [Eubel III, p. 28 n. 3].  Bishop of Augsburg (1543-1573).
  24. Francesco Sfondrati (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia (died 1550). Bishop of Cremona. Nuncio to Charles V (1544, 1547-1548).
  25. Federico Cesi (aged 49), Cardinal Priest of S. Pancrazio (died 1565). Apostolic Administrator of Caserta.
  26. Durante de Duranti (aged 42) [Brescia], Cardinal Priest of SS Cardinal Priest of Santi XII Apostolorum.  In 1521 he was a Conclavist of Alessandro Farnese (Paul III).    Maestro (Prefetto) di Camera of Pope Paul III.  Benvenuto Cellini (Autobiography ch. 19) claims that Duranti robbed him of 500 gold ducats which had been given him by the Emperor Charles V during his visit to Rome in 1535.  In 1536 he was made a Chamberlain de numero participantium.   Bishop of Alghero in Sardinia (June 25, 1538-1541). Apostolic secretary (1540).  He was presented by Emperor Charles V to the Bishopric of Cassano in Calabria (February 18, 1541-1551). Bishop of Brescia (February 18, 1551-1557).    Named a cardinal by Pope Paul III on December 19, 1544.  Legate in Umbria under Paul III (1544; his term was extended by Julius III in 1550). On May 6, 1551, Julius III granted him the privilege of holding the See of Brescia for life, along with the See of Cassano for as long as he wanted it [Gulik-Eubel III, p. 156 n. 5].  He died in Brescia on  December 24, 1557 [died 1557 Gams; or 1558 Gulik-Eubel].  He was a supporter of the Imperialists.
  27. Pedro Pacheco de Villena (aged 61) [Montalban, Diocese of Toledo], [Montalban, in the diocese of Toledo], of the Condes de la Puebla de Montalban.   Chamberlain of Pope Adrian VI.  Dean of Compostela.  Bishop of Mondonedo (1532-1537), presented by the Emperor Charles V [Enrique Flórez et al., España sagrada: Theatro geographico-historico de la iglesia de España, Volume 18: de las iglesias Britoniense y Dumiense (Madrid 1764), pp. 222-223]. Bishop of Ciudad-Rodrigo (1537-1539). Bishop of Pamplona (1539-1545), by royal appointment [Gregorio Fernández Pérez, Historia De La Iglesia Y Opispos De Pamplona II (Madrid 1820), pp. 250-252]. Bishop of Jaen (1545-1555) [M. de Jimena Jurado, Catalogo de los obispos de... Jaen (Madrid 1654), p. 470-476].  Bishop of Siguenza (1554-1560)   He took part in the Council of Trent (May 1545).  Created a cardinal by Pope Paul III on December 16, 1545, appointed Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina on March 10, 1550.  Promoted Cardinal Bishop of Albano (1557-1560) on September 20, 1557.  He died suddenly and accidentally in his residence in Rome on March 5, 1560.  He was buried in the Franciscan church of S. Maria in Aracoeli on March 13; his body was transferred to his home town where he was buried in the Convent of the Franciscans.
          In 1549 he was a Cardinal Priest without titulus.   He arrived in Rome midday on December 4, 1549, and immediately went to the Vatican and was admitted to the Conclave.    "Cardinal Jaen"   Jahen
  28. Georges d'Amboise (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna (died 1550). Archbishop of Rouen. His sister was Queen of Scotland.
  29. Charles de Lorraine-Guise (aged 25), son of Claude de Lorraine and Antoinette de Bourbon.  Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (died 1574). Archbishop of Reims at the age of 16. Created cardinal ad instantiam Henrici II regis; he arrived in Rome on October 26, 1547, and was granted his red hat the next day [Eubel III, p. 30 nn. 7 & 8].  He was granted the title of S. Cecilia, which Cardinal Jean du Bellay had exchanged on the same day for S. Pietro in vincoli. He had attended the College de Navarre in Paris as a youth from the age of ten, and was introduced to King François I by his uncle, Cardinal Jean de Lorraine. The King made young Charles the preceptor of his son Henri [Guillemin, pp. 4-5].
  30. Girolamo Verallo (aged 52), Cardinal Priest of S. Martino ai Monti (died 1555). Archbishop of Rossano, Bishop of Capaccio.
  31. Giovanni Angelo Medici (aged 50), Cardinal Priest of S. Pudenziana (died 1565). Archbishop of Ragusa. Vice-Legate of Perugia.
  32. Bernardino Maffei (aged 35), Cardinal Priest of S. Ciriaco alle Terme Diocleziane, created on April 8, 1549.  Former secretary of Alessandro Farnese.  Bishop of Massa Maritima (1547-1549), where Farnese had been the Administrator (1538-1547).  Bishop of Caserta (June 7-November 9, 1549).   Archbishop of Chieti, appointed the day before Paul III died; he resigned in 1553, in favor of his brother. (died 1553).

  33. Innocenzo Cibo (aged 58), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica (died April 14, 1550). Archbishop of Genoa. Administrator of Marseille
  34. Niccolò Ridolfi (aged 48) [Florence], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata (1540-1550). Administrator of the Archdiocese of Florence (1513-1524; and again from 1543-1548).  Bishop of Vicenza (1524-1550), on the nomination of Charles V.  Administrator of the diocese of Orvieto (1520-1529); of Forli (1526-1528); of Viterbo (1532-1533); of Imola (1533-1546); of the Archdiocese of Salerno (1533-1548).   [died January 31, 1550, during the Conclave. The French Ambassador, Urfé, believed (letter to Henri II (February 2, 1550) that he had been poisoned: Ribier II, 263; Cardella states that he died of apoplexy].   Nephew of Pope Leo X, cousin of Clement VII, and cousin of Cardinal Salviati.
  35. Jean de Lorraine (aged 51), Cardinal Deacon of S. Onofrio (died May , 1550). Bishop of Metz, Administrator of Narbonne, Albi, Agen, and Nantes
  36. Niccolò Gaddi (aged 50), Cardinal Deacon of SS. Vito e Modesto in Macello Martyrum (died 1552).  A neutral.
  37. Ercole Gonzaga (aged 44), Cardinal Deacon of Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria Nuova (died 1563). Bishop of Mantua.
  38. Girolamo Doria (aged 55), Cardinal Deacon of S. Tommaso in Parione (died 1558). Adminstrator of Tarragona.
  39. Odet de Coligny de Châtillon (aged 32), Cardinal Deacon of SS. Sergio e Bacco (died 1571). Administrator of Beauvais, and Toulouse.  On March 31, 1563, he was declared an heretic and deprived of all his benefices, episcopacy and cardinalate [Eubel III, p. 22 n. 3].
  40. Alessandro Farnese, (aged 29), Cardinal Deacon of S. Lorenzo in Damaso (died 1589). Administrator of Avignon, Tours, Viseu (1547-1552), and Monreale. Vice-Chancellor [Massarelli, 283, 3 aug.]. "Viseo"   He was a grandson of Pope Paul III.  His mother was Gerolama Orsini, daughter of Ludovico Orsini; his brother Duke Ottavio Farnese was married (November 4, 1538) to Margaret of Austria, illegitimate daughter of Emperor Charles V; his brother Orazio married Diana, daughter of Henri II, in 1552.
  41. Guido Ascanio Sforza di Santa Fiora (aged 31), Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio (died 1564). Apostolic Administrator of Parma. Grandson of Paul III. Camerlengo S. R. E. .
  42. Reginald Pole (aged 49), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin (died 1558). Archbishop of Canterbury (1555-1558).
  43. Niccolò Caetani (aged 23), Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere (died 1585). Archbishop of Capua.
  44. Ippolito II d'Este (aged 40), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Aquiro (died 1572). Archbishop of Milan; Administrator of Lyon (1539-1551), Administrator of Autun (1548-1550).
  45. Giacomo Savelli (aged 26), Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano.(died 1587). Apostolic Administrator of Nicastro.
  46. Andrea Cornaro (aged 38), Cardinal Deacon of S. Teodoro (1544-1551). He was created Cardinal by the request of the Signoria of Venice [Eubel III, p. 28 n. 3].  His two uncles had been cardinals.  Bishop of Brescia (1532-1551).
  47. Girolamo (Recanati) Capodiferro (aged 47), Cardinal-Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro (died 1559). Bishop of Saint-Jean de Maurienne
  48. Tiberio Crispo (aged 51), [Romanus], natural brother of Costanza Farnese [Cardella IV, p. 271; Abd-el-Kader Salza, "Pasquiniana,"  Giornale storico della letteratura italiana (ed. Novati and Renier) 43 (Torino: Ermanno Loescher 1904), p. 200].  Canon and Prebend of the Vatican Basilica [F. M. Torrigio, Le sacre grotte Vaticane   terza impressione (Roma 1675), p. 612.].  On April 11, 1543, Pope Paul III granted him the right of making his own will; the Pope calls Tiberio cubicularius noster secretus et familiaris continuus commensalis [Cajetanus Cennius et Antonius Martinetti, Collectionis Bullarum brevium aliorumque diplomatum Sacrosanctae Basilicae Vaticanae Tomus Secundus (Roma 1750), pp. 435-436].   Bishop of Sessa Arunca (1543-1544), resigned in favor of his nephew Bartolommeo Albano [F. Ughelli and N. Colet, Italia sacra VI (Venice 1720), p. 545: Bartholomeus Albanus, Urbevetanus, Crispi Cardinals ex sorore nepos].  Castellan of the Castel S. Angelo (whose apartments he had decorated, June, 1542-April, 1545) [P. Pagliucci, I Castellani del Castel S. Angelo I (Roma 1906), pp. 108-114].  Created cardinal on December 19, 1544 by Pope Paul III; on January 9, 1545 he was granted the Deaconry of S. Agata dei Goti ( S. Agata alla Suburra).   Administrator of the Bishopric of Amalfi (1547-1561).  Legate in Umbria (April, 1545-September, 1548), where he engaged in reconstruction in Perugia; the "vicus juxta Sanctam Mariam de Mercato" was reconstructed as the Via del Popolo and the old Church was rebuilt as Santa Maria del Popolo; the citadel's walls were also rebuilt [Serafino Siepi, Descrizione topologico-istorica della città di Perugia. Pt. topologica, II (Perugia 1822), p. 647-648, 908].  "Il suo governo è stato molto arbitrario e tirannico." ["Ricordi di Bontempi," Archivio storico italiano XVI. 2 (Firenze 1851), p. 395].  Governor of Pieve (November 6, 1546-1548) [G. Bolletti, Notizie istoriche di Città della Pieve (Perugia 1830), pp. 255-256].  In 1559-1560 he was governor of Volseno (Bolsena) in Tuscany, where he had the Church of S. Giovanni built [Vito Procaccini Ricci, Viaggi ai vulcani spenti di Italia nello stato Romano verso il mediterraneo, Viaggio secondo (Firenze: Calasanzio 1821) pp. 45-46].   On May 8, 1562 he was promoted Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere.  Cardinal Bishop of Sabina (since 1565)   He died on October 6, 1566, at Sutri in his diocese, of a long lasting fever.(died 1566)  A friend of the Farnese [Lettere di Caro II, 101, p. 151].
  49. Ranuccio Farnese (aged 19), Cardinal Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria (died 1565). Patriarch of Constantinople, Administrator of Ravenna. Major Penitentiary. Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica. Brother of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Rector of the March of Ancona, then Legatus a latere to the Patrimonio S. Petri. "Sancti Angeli" [Eubel III, p. 30 and n. 5]
  50. Giulio Feltre della Rovere (aged 16), Cardinal Deacon of S. Pietro in Vincoli (died 1578). Administrator of Urbino.
  51. Charles de Bourbon-Vandôme (aged 26), son of Charles de Bourbon, Duc de Vendôme, and Françoise d'Alençon.  Cardinal Deacon of S. Sisto (died 1590). Bishop of Saintes (1545-1550).

Cardinals not attending:

  1. Claude de Longuy de Givry (aged 68), Cardinal Priest of S. Agnese in Agone (died 1561). Administrator of Poitiers, Administrator of Langres.
  2. Jacques d'Annebaut (49?), Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna (died 1557). He was created Cardinal by the request of the King of France [Eubel III, p. 28 n. 3].  Bishop of Lisieux (1539-1558).
  3. Henrique de Portugal (aged 37), Cardinal Priest of SS. Quattro Coronati (died 1580).  fifth son of Manuel I and Maria (daugher of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile).  Cardinal Priest of SS IV Coronati (1547-1580; died 1580).  Archbishop of Evora (1540-1564), Legate in Portugal (1553-1556; deprived by Paul VI for no reason and without a hearing; reinstated 1561), brother of King John III.

The Venetian Ambassador, Matteo Dandolo, proudly notes that twelve of the Cardinals had studied at the University of Padua:  Pio da Carpi, Morone, Madruzzo, Truchsess, Farnese, Verallo, Maffei, Pole, Savelli, Capodiferro, Sfondrato and Ferrerio  [Relazioni, p. 349-350].


Opening of the Conclave

The Novendiales, which should have begun on the second day after the Pope's death, were a long time in beginning. The Acta Consistorialia report [Eubel III, p. 20 n. 2]:

pro quo defuncto exequiae inchoatae sunt 1549 Nov. 19, oratione funebri per Romul. Amaseum habita, et finitae Nov. 28.

The Conclave had been due to begin on November 19, but the three French cardinals in Rome requested additional time for their associates to arrive. The late start of the Novendiales made the delay possible. It also gave plenty of extra time for ambassadors to communicate with their sovereigns and for Cardinals to receive instructions from their patrons. Bernardino della Croce had demanded entrance and a vote, having been named a Cardinal by Paul III in a secret consistory, but his claim was rejected [Cartwright, 129-130; Baronius-Theiner 33, sub anno 1549 no. 15, p. 356].



Novaes says that there were three factions, the Imperialists, the French, and the Farnesiani; and that the most likely soggetti papabili were Cardinals Pole, Sfondrati, Carpi and Ridolfi (who died on the night of January 31).  Concerning Carpi, however, the Imperial Ambassador wrote to Charles V, es tan mal quisto en el universal; y tiene tantos enemigos entre los votos de V. M(ajest)ad y de Fernes, que perderian reputacion de manera que no podria tornar a subir a los otros.  In a private conversation with Cardinal Francisco Mendoza de Bobadilla, the Florentine agent, Averardo Serristori (who was coordinating with Don Diego Mendoza, the Ambassador of Charles V in Rome), said that, although he had no instructions from his Duke, he thought nevertheless that the Bishop of Burgos, Cardinal Juan Álvarez, was the best choice [Legazioni, p. 209 (November 10) and 211 (November 30)] for the Imperialists.  Gonzaga, however, had written to Grenvelle, the Spanish First Minister, with a recommendation in favor of Salviati, and he was also importuning Don Diego Mendoza.  Cardinal Mendoza remarked that the King would rather have the Devil as Pope.

On the 29th, Don Diego Mendoza, the Imperial ambassador was received in audience by the Cardinals during one of their General Congregations.  He announced that Charles V would not accept the removal of the Council of Trent to Bologna.

In a letter of November 30, 1549, however, just as the Conclave was opening, Serristori wrote to the Duke of Florence that, if the Imperialists and the followers of Farnese did not agree on one of the four candidates, Álvarez, Pole, Sfondrati and del Monte, then the Imperialists were going to have to unite with the French and make Salviati pope:

Intenzione del Signor D. Diego, secondo mio giudizio, e stata di far cascare il Papato in persona di Salviati; il che succederebbe ogni volta che una delle due fazioni imperial e farnesana di disunisse, perche qualsivoglia delle due parti disunite non sarebbe bastante, insieme con l' altra ancorche unita, fare il Papa; pure fino a qui, Dio grazia, l' una e l' altra parte sta ferma di modo che le speranze loro vengono in parte diminuite, e tutto il fondamento loro resta che, non si accordando Imperiali e Farnesani a far Papa uno de' quattro, Burgos, Inghilterra, Sfordrato o Monte, di necessita abbia a cadere in Salviati, sendo forzato Farnese a ricorrere alla parte francese per far Papa Santa Croce; nel qual caso D. Diego ha ordinato che gl' Imperiali si uniscano coi Francesi si faccia Papa Salviati.

All of these statements, though, must be taken in context.  They come from diplomats, who were engaged in manipulating fellow diplomats and cardinals into choosing a pope to the liking of their masters.


The Conclave Opens

The Conclave finally opened on Thursday, November 29, 1549  [Ambassador D'Urfé to King Henri II (December 6, 1549): Ribier II, 254; Baronius-Theiner 33, sub anno 1549 no. 18, p. 357].  The Mass of the Holy Spirit was sung in St. Peter's, and the Oration de pontifice eligendo was pronounced by Joannes Beroaldus, Bishop of Telese. During the first week, twenty-eight votes were required for a canonical election [Ribier II, 254], implying an attendance at the time of 40 to 42 cardinals; Diego Mendoza actually says that there were forty-one cardinals on December 5.  Eventually, as more electors arrived, thirty-two votes were needed to elect, 46 to 48 cardinals.  In the final vote, 47 cardinals participated.

It was not until the evening of November 30 that the Conclave was finally enclosed.  During the customary search of the premises, seven unauthorized individuals were found hiding inside the area and were immediately expelled.  The doors were then sealed [Mattheo Dandolo to the Signoria of Venice (November 30, 1549) in Brown, Calendar, no. 595, pp. 279-280].

On December 2, at the General Congregation, it was decided that the votes would be given publicly.  After that decision, Cardinal Carafa lept up with a series of accusations against Cardinal Pole for heresy. Diego Mendoza, the Imperial Ambassador, reported to the Emperor [Druffel I, no. 352, p. 306 (Rome, December 5, 1549)]:

Lo que despues se offresce es que a los II. [December 2, 1549], despues de haverse determinado que los votos se diessen publicos, salto el cardenal Theatino con un processo o capitulos de accusacion contra el cardinal de Ingalaterra de ciertos errores en nuestra religion que turbo todo el collegio; a que el de Ingalaterra respondio mostrando tractarle como a loco, y a vezes ryendo y a vezes con autoridades de la sagrada scriptura le convencio, de manera que huvo VIII votos que fuesse castigado Theatino en la persona, y XVIII en que se apartassen del como de descomulgado.

This caused the cardinals to begin to reexamine the matter of a public vote. A secret ballot might allow them to vote their real feelings and real loyalties.  Twenty of the forty-one cardinals were finding themselves voting for someone else than the person they really wanted (at least according to the Imperial Ambassador).  A similar point was made by Averardo Serristori, in a despatch sent after the election [Legazioni,  p. 241 (February 28, 1550)]:

... molti della banda imperiale, per obbedire a S. M. Cesarea sono andati contro ai propri desideri loro, come hanno acche fatto parte delle Farnesani....

The first several days of the Conclave were taken up with the business of drawing up Electoral Capitulations [Mendoza to Charles V (December 5, 1549); De Leva, "La elezione," p. 27]. The first scrutiny did not take place until Wednesday, December 4.  Reginald Cardinal Pole (Archbishop of Canterbury), the favorite of the Imperial party, was said to have received 26 votes, two short of election (the French Ambassador, d'Urfé, reported that it was 22 votes; the Imperial Ambassador that it was 23). At that point the number of votes needed for a canonical election was 28.  The results of the first scrutiny were [according to Serristori, Legazioni, p. 219]:


Cardinal Votes
Pole       (Inghilterra) 24
Alvarez   (Burgos) 16
Sfondrato 15


The Imperial Ambassador reported that Sfondrato had 23, and Burgos had 17.  One of his inside contacts was Ayala, one of the conclavists of Cardinal Pacheco.   It was reported that Cardinal Pachecco was at Viterbo on December 4, and was being transported in a litter, since he was indisposed. He arrived in Rome around midday, and immediately joined the Conclave.   Cardinal Cueva also had a chance to speak with Serristori, and whispered to him that on the 5th Pole would be Pope [Legazioni, p. 219]. Pole was only three votes short of election.  There were, however, according to Don Diego Mendoza, 16 or 17 votes firmly against Pole, which meant that he was excluded [Legazioni, p. 220; Dandolo, in Brown, no. 596, p. 280].

Card. Cristoforo MadruzzoWhen the French Ambassador heard of the results of the first scrutiny, he immediately presented himself at the Gate of the Conclave. He spoke with the Master of Ceremonies (probably Giovanni Francesco Firmano), who was the outside Guardian of the Gate, and informed him that he had news that the French Cardinals, who had not yet appeared, had embarked at Marseille and had travelled as far as the Island of Corsica, where they were detained by bad weather and by the locals, who wanted to assure themselves as to who the travellers were and where they were going. The Ambassador requested that the Cardinals postpone the next ballot until the end of the week to give the French Cardinals time to join the Conclave. He also threatened that, if the Cardinals insisted on proceeding with the election, he would lodge an official Protest in the name of the King of France and claim that the Election was invalid. His story of the journey of the Cardinals was in fact a lie, and his threat to reject an election nothing but a bluff. The Ambassador, in truth, had not heard of the Cardinals since they had left Moulins. Likewise, he had no present intention to attempt to invalidate the Election, though he had heard that the Cardinal of Trent, Cristoforo Madruzzo [medal at right], had instructions from the Emperor to enter a Protest if the wrong person were elected pope. The Master of Ceremonies summoned the Committee of Cardinals who handled communications with the outside to come to the door. Two hours later, d'Urfé returned and the six Cardinals on the Committee appeared and demanded to see the Ambassador's Instructions, which he handed over to the Dean, Cardinal de Cupis. They listened to him repeat his message and his threat, but the Dean would only agree to transmit the Ambassador's message to the entire College; later they would give him a reply. D'Urfé believed that the Cardinals would not agree or reply, because they were eager to make Cardinal Pole pope. [Ribier II, 234-236]

An attempt was, in fact, made that evening to proclaim Cardinal Pole "by adoration", but the Cardinal himself resisted [Letter of Cardinal Pole to the Bishop of Badajoz,  Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli IV (ed. Quirini) pp. 58-62 (June 17, 1550)]. Matteo Dandolo, the Venetian ambassador, says that Pole stated he did not wish to enter per fenestram sed per ostium  (that is, not by 'adoration', but by a regular scrutiny) [Relazioni, p. 346].



At the second scrutiny on Thursday, December 5, the votes were:

Cardinal Votes
Pole      (Inghilterra) 25
Salviati 21 (or 17)
Álvarez  (Burgos) 8
Cervini   (Santa Croce) 21
Sfondrato 6


Serristori remarks [Legazioni, p. 216 (December 5, 1549)] that Cardinal Gonzaga had cast his vote for Álvarez and Pole. 

Diego Mendoza reported that, at the Third Scrutiny on Friday the 6th, Pole had 24 votes on the scrutiny, and two more at the accessio:


Cardinal Votes
Pole      (Inghilterra) 24 + 2
De Cupis  (Trani) 16
Sfondrato 11
Salviati 8
Carpi 1
Morone 7


On The Fourth Scrutiny, on Saturday the 7th, according to Mendoza [Druffel I, p. 313],  Pole had 22 votes:

Cardinal Votes
Pole         (Inghilterra) 22
Álvarez     (Burgos) 16
De Cupis  (Trani) 16
Cervini      (Santa Croce) 16
Salviati 7
Carpi 2

Mendoza draws the Emperor's attention to the consistent sixteen votes which were deployed against Pole, Alvarez and Sfondrato.  These, he conjectures, were others than from the party of Cardinal Farnese and from the Imperialists.  He characterizes these cardinals as los viejos, ricos y dissolutos, and states that Ferrara (d'Este) was one of them.

On Sunday, in the fifth scrutiny, the vote was:

Cardinal Votes
Álvarez     (Burgos) 25
Pole         (Inglaterra) 9
Veroli 16
De Cupis  (Trani) 16
Cervini      (Santa Croce) 16
Morone 5
Carpi 1


The next scrutiny, the Sixth, on Monday, showed the following results [Druffel I, p. 316]:

Cardinal Votes
Álvarez     (Burgos) 14 + 1
Pole         (Inglaterra) 22 + 2
Veroli 12
De Cupis  (Trani) 7
Cervini      (Santa Croce) 5
Morone 5
Carpi 1
Salviati 1
del Monte 3
Sfondrato 3
Veraldi 5
Cibo 9
Ridolfi 4
Gaddi 3
Portugal 2


Arrival of the French

On Thursday, December 12, five absent French cardinals finally arrived: de Guise, du Bellay, Vendome, Chastillon and Tournon [Ribier II, 257-258].  The number of cardinals in attendance had reached 47 [Matteo Dandolo, in Brown, no. 600, p. 284].  In the scrutiny of December 13, Pole got only one more vote (none of them French), and Alvarez 18. French orders were obviously to exclude Pole by their votes.  Diego Mendoza remarked to Charles V (despatch of December 13, 1549) that Pole would never be pope without the French, and the French would never vote for him [Durffel I, p. 320]. The King of France, Henri II, favored his long-standing personal friend, Cardinal Ippolito d'Este II, but that too was an impossibility. The other French choices were Guise, Ridolfi, Salviati and Cervini. [De Leva, 77-78]. Cardinal Alessandro Farnese was promoting Cardinal Marcello Cervini, but the Imperial forces blocked him. The French were promoting Giovanni Salviati (Bishop of Porto) and Ridolfo Pio de Carpi. It gradually became apparent that one side would continue to exclude the candidates of the others, and so a compromise began to be sought.   Matteo Dandolo remarked that Cardinal Farnese could make a pope out of either Cardinal del Monte or Cardinal Cervini, whenever he chose to desert the Imperialists and join the French [Brown, p. 284].

On Monday, December 16, Cardinal Filonardo left the conclave because of illness; three days later he was dead.   The conclavist Ayala reported to Ambassador Mendoza the results of the thirteenth scrutiny:

Cardinal Votes
Carafa      (Theatinus) 24
Álvarez     (Burgos) 10
Pole         (Inglaterra) ?
De Cupis   (Trani) 6
Cervini      (Santa Croce) 7
Morone 9
Carpi 2
Salviati 3
del Monte 7
Sfondrato 4
Veraldi 2
Ridolfi 2
Portugal 15
Guise 2
Gonzaga    (Mantua) 2


With regard to the surprising number of votes for Carafa, Ayala remarks, "que esto de Teatino es mas por hazer oposito a Polo que por sacarle papa, en que no piensan."    But Carafa's votes were already beginning to redeploy themselves, and in the next scrutiny he lost a quarter of them.   Ayala also reported the news of a letter received by Cardinal Farnese from the Bishop of Fano, Pietro Bertano, the Nuncio to Charles V, which stated that the Emperor was summoning all his bishops to Trent; Fano expressed the fear that, unless they elected a 'good pontiff', the Emperor and his bishops would depose him and have somebody else [Druffel I, p. 325]

At the  Fourteenth Scrutiny, on December 17, Ayala reports [Druffel I, pp. 327-328]:

Cardinal Votes
Carafa      (Theatinus) 18
Pole         (Inglaterra) 23
De Cupis   (Trani) 1
Cervini      (Santa Croce) 6
Morone 10
Carpi 9
Salviati 2
del Monte 4
Sfondrato 7
Veraldi 2
Ridolfi 2
Portugal 15
Guise 18 + 2
Gonzaga     (Mantua) 4
Gaddi 1
Bellay         (Velay) 2
Lorraine 2
d' Este        (Ferrara) 2
Capodiferro 2
Truchsess   (Agusta) 3
Farnese 3
Cibo 1
Crispi 1


Guise was the surprise in this scrutiny, though, of course, this was a demonstration of the power of the French faction; one of his accession votes came from Cardinal Farnese (who apologized to the members of the Imperial party the next day).   This was a major change.  Guise was now in the center of things.  In his report of December 17, Ayala speaks of "Guisa, que es el que tiene todo el manejo de los negocios y que le  propone y dispone"

At the Fifteenth Scrutiny on December 18 the results were [Druffel I, p. 333]:

Cardinal Votes
Carafa      (Theatinus) 19
Álvarez     (Burgos) 13
Pole         (Inglaterra) 23
De Cupis   (Trani) 4
Cervini      (Santa Croce) 6
Morone 16
Salviati 3
Tournon 3
del Monte 6
Sfondrato 10
Veraldi 4
Ridolfi 4
Portugal 15
Gonzaga    (Mantua) 2
Bellay 2
Armagnac 2
Cesi 2
Lorraine 5
Sforza 3
d' Este       (Ferrara) 1


Guise received no votes, Ayala notes, which set everyone to whispering.

On Thursday, December 19, Ambassador Mendoza wrote to the Emperor Charles that the Imperial cardinals and Farnese's faction were still holding with Pole [Druffel I, p. 334].

On Sunday, the 22nd, Cardinal Cervini left the Conclave, suffering from the quartan fever. He was carried to Cardinal Farnese's palace at San Lorenzo.  In the nineteenth scrutiny Pole had 23 votes. Carafa 20.   After the vote, Carafa gave a graceful speech, thanking the Cardinals for their support and requesting them to leave him for some better candidate [Matteo Dandolo (December 23, 1549), in Brown, no. 603, p. 286].  Pole also gave a speech, thanking his supporters, but he made no statement releasing them from their promises to vote for him [Anonymous conclavist, included in a despatch of Dandolo, Brown no. 604 p. 286].

On Saturday, December 28, the number needed to elect stood at 33 [Guise to Henri II (December 28, 1549): Ribier II, p. 260], of a total at the time of 49 or 50 cardinals. Cardinals Georges d'Amboise and Philippe de la Chambre had finally arrived on the afternoon of the 28th [Dandalo, in Brown, no. 610, no. 289], though the Cardinal de Lorraine was still on the road.  In a dispatch on the same day, Dandolo enclosed a memorandum from a conclavist, giving the results of a Scrutiny:  Pole 23; Burgos 20; Trani 21.  This might have referred to the Twenty-fourth Scrutiny on December 27, or perhaps the Twenty-fifth on December 28 [Brown, Calendar no. 609, p. 289].

Writing on December 29, the French ambassador announced that several more French Cardinals had arrived, the Cardinal de Boulogne [Philippe de la Chambre, OSB]  and the Cardinal d'Amboise [D'Urfé to Henri II (January 20, 1150) Ribier II, 258].  In a letter to the King on the night of December 28, "de la prison du Conclave" [Ribier II, p. 260-261],  Guise and d'Este listed, by order and by seniority, the members of the French faction:

Les Cardinaux de la bande Françoise à present au Conclave, Trani [de Cupis], Salviati, Boulogne [Philippe de la Chambre], de Monte, Tournon, Bellay, Lenoncourt, Desis [Carpi], Meudon, Armaignac, Amboise, Guise, Veroli, Ridolphi, Pisani, Chastillon, Sermonetti, Ferrare [d'Este], S. George, Crispo, Vendosme.   Lorraine arrive demain, Bourbon j' espere qu'il sera icy dedans cinq ou six jours, nous avons envoyé le prier de faire toute diligence; de Giuri ou Annebault, nous n'en avons point de nouvelles. Gady a jusques-icy fait le fou autant Imperial que nostre, neantmoins sous nous en servions comme je croy au besoin, et sera bien fait luy faire quelque jour sentir.  Theatin et saincte Croix sont vos serviteurs: mais ils ne monstrent affection qu' a leur conscience. Tous les autres sont Imperiaux et Farnese, exceptè deux secrets que l'Ambassadeur vous mandera, et deux autres, dont à tous les besoins Monsieur le Cardinal de Ferrare nous fait servir.

It is shocking to see that the French King's favorite candidate, the Cardinal de Lorraine, had not yet arrived in Rome eight weeks after the death of the pope.

On January 1, the 23 cardinals who had been voting for Cardinal Pole hit on a plan to cast their ballots for Cardinal Álvarez (Burgos), one of those favored by Charles V and Cosimo II, who had been making a respectable showing since the first scrutiny, with around sixteen votes. They were hoping to attract the cardinals who would never vote for Pole (including Verallo) and then perhaps a few French votes.  They believed that they were within one vote of making him pope, when the plan was discovered, and it fell apart [Serristori, Legazioni, p. 227]. Álvarez reached as high as twenty-six votes [De Leva, 77], but could not break through.

On January 7, Pole got 23 votes, Carafa, 22, de Cupis 21, and Antoine Sanguin de Meudon 1 [Brown no. 618]

On January 8, Cardinal Farnese was informed that a reply to inquiries of the Emperor had been received.  The Emperor was still in favor of Bourgos and Pole, and that he was most definitely not in favor of Marcello Cervini, or for that matter of Salviati or Ridolfi [Brown, Calendar, nos. 616 and 617]. In fact Farnese was warned, or should one say threatened, that if he deviated from Imperial instructions, bad things would begin to happen to him, to the point that he would be ruined.  Pole still got 23 votes in the Scrutiny, and Carafa got 22 [Brown, no. 618].

On January 10 a conclavist sent a letter to Matteo Dandolo, reporting that, at the Scrutiny on that day [the 38th?],  Cardinal Pole had received 21 votes (down two from the previous scrutiny), Carafa 21, and Visco 13 (9 of which were French)  [Brown, Calendar no. 619, p. 294; 620, p. 295;  Brown believes "Visco" was Crispo, but Farnese, who was Bishop of Viseu, is the more likely recipient of thirteen votes].  Dandolo reported on the 11th that there had been a private meeting of the French cardinals, and that Guise had warned them in the name of King Henri not to vote for Pole [Brown, Calendar no. 621, p. 296].

Cardinal Ridolfi was carried out of the Conclave on Monday, January 13, having been seized by fits of vomiting;  he died at his palace on January 31 [Matteo Dandolo, in Brown, Calendar no. 630 (January 22, 1550); De Leva, 89].  The Cardinal de Chastillon wrote to the Constable Anne de Montmorency on January 31 that Ridolfi had been ill for 10-12 days, and that he had died sitting on his commode [Druffel I, no. 383, p. 349].  In a brief note to King Henri II on February 2, Ambassador d'Urfé remarked that, when they opened the body of Cardinal Ridolfi, it was discovered that he had been poisoned [Ribier II, p. 263]:

Cependant je vous diray que depuis le trespas du Cardinal Ridolphi, on l'a fait ouvrir, et trouvé manifestement qu'il estoit empoisonné, vous avez perdu, Sire, un bon et fidele serviteur.

Matteo Dandolo, the Venetian Ambassador, spoke with Master Realdo, former lecturer at Padua, who performed the autopsy on Cardinal Ridolfi.  Dandolo was assured that Ridolfi's heart, liver, bowels and stomach were so injured (guasto) and spotted that, had Realdo given Ridolfi the poison with his own hand, he should not be more sure of the fact [Brown, Calendar no. 640].


The Cardinal de Bourbon finally arrived and entered the Conclave on Tuesday, January 14, 1550, raising the number of cardinals present to 48, and the number needed to elect to 32.  It was remarked that both Cervini and the French Cardinal de Boulogne [Philippe de la Chambre, OSB]  were still ill, but that they intended to return to the Conclave when the serious voting began  [Brown, Calendar, no. 627, p. 298].  Boulogne was said to be ill owing to the siringa. The scrutiny of that day (the 42nd?)  produced 19 votes for the Cardinal de Bourbon, 21 for Pole, Carafa 22.  [Dandolo (January 15, 1550), in Brown, Calendar p. 299]  

On Wednesday January 15, Cardinal Giovanni Morone, the Bishop of Modena, who had been born in Milan and served as Legate in Bologna from 1542-1548, emerged with 24 votes and two accessions. But this was as far as his candidacy got.

Thursday's scrutiny gave Morone 13, Pole 21 and Carafa 22, and 17 to De Cupis (Trani)  [Brown, Calendar no. 628 and 629, p. 299-300].  Cardinal Cornaro declared in a letter that his conscience compelled him to vote for Cardinal Pole.

The Scrutiny [XLV ?]  on Friday, January 17  produced 13 votes for Morone, 21 for Pole and 22 for Carafa [Brown, Calendar no. 629, p. 299].

Cardinal Ridolfi was not the only person leaving the Conclave in mid-January.   Sanitary conditions inside the Conclave area were deteriorating.  On January 10, Matteo Dandolo wrote of the stink and stench of the Conclave (nella puzza et fettore del conclave).  In a letter of January 22, Dandolo adds [Brown, Calendar no. 630] that numbers of people are leaving the Conclave sick and almost dead.  There was a terrific stench, owing to the unsanitary conditions. Also, charcoal fires were being used to keep warm in the dead of winter,  which may account itself for the light-headedness, vomiting, and sickness which is noted. Carbon monoxide poisoning from the charcoal fires produces all of these symptoms.  The three Conclave doctors were apparently not enough to handle the medical problems. Eventually the Cardinals had to send for a whole squad of doctors from the outside to come to the Conclave on a daily basis. On January 30, they admitted three Italians, a German, a Frenchman and a Spaniard   [Marini, Degli archiatri pontefici (Roma 1784) pp. 392-393].

Cardinal Cibo left the Conclave due to illness on Thursday, January 23, but Matteo Dandolo reported in a letter to the Signoria of Venice on January 25 that the Cardinal was better, as was Ridolfi, and they hoped to return during the next week [Brown, Calendar, no. 633, p. 302].

As these events were transpiring in the Conclave, King Henri was writing to the Cardinal de Guise [Ribier II, 261-262 (January 25, 1550)], under pressure from his aunt's husband, Ercole II, the Duke of Ferrara (Cardinal d'Este's brother). Ferrara was using all of his influence through the King of France to have a candidate of his own, "Brusquet", supported for the Papacy. Henri agreed to use his French votes to support this candidate, who was agreed to be a good man for the French cause and was in any event one of the candidates that the French were already promoting—but only if the campaigns for "Fourfoulou" and "Rigolieres" did not succeed.  "Brusquet" was obviously the Duke's brother, the Cardinal d'Este of Ferrara.  The others were Lorraine and Ridolfi [Ribier II, p. 350], and Ridolfi died on January 31. 


On January 29, Matteo Dandolo, the Venetian Ambassador reported to the Signoria [Brown, Calendar no. 635] that every morning there was a scrutiny, each of which produced 21 votes for Carafa, 21 votes for Pole and the rest scattered but not given da seno (heartfelt).


Real Choices

With all of the preferred candidates both of the Emperor Charles and King Henri blocked,  there were really only two possibilities, Cervini (who was firmly in favor of Cardinal Pole, and who was absolutely excluded by the Emperor) and del Monte. Del Monte belonged to the Farnese faction, and was believed to be friendly toward the French; the Imperial party, therefore, found him obnoxious. Cardinal de Guise, too, had a number of negative observations to make about him, including his temper and his scandalous private life, and did his best to oppose the candidacy.

Nonetheless, on February 7, 1550, in the evening, Cardinal Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, aged sixty-three, was elected (in the Roman reckoning it was already Saturday, February 8). In the final vote, forty-six cardinals participated; only Madruzzi, Pacheco, Gonzaga and Cueva refrained from the adoration [Dispatch of Matteo Dandolo, February 8, 1550; de Leva, p. 38].  Two cardinals [Trani and Naples] did not participate due to illness, nor did they participate in the Coronation [Diary of Angelo Massarello, in Gattico I, p. 391]. After the election, Cardinal de Guise was compelled to request the assistance of Cardinal Sforza in making his peace with the new Pope (Leti, Cardinalismo, 177).

The Conclave cost over 300,000 ecus, according to Cardinal de Guise (after February 8, 1550) [Druffel I, p. 356], a figure which is seconded by Matteo Dandolo, as coming directly from the Treasurer of the Apostolic Camera, in a dispatch of January 15, 1550 [Brown, Calendar no. 627 p. 278].



Julius III, was crowned on February 22, 1550, the Feast of St. Peter's Chair, by Cardinal Innocenzo Cibò, the Cardinal Protodeacon [Diary of Angelo Massarello, Master of Ceremonies]. Forty-two cardinals participated; four did not do so. Cristoforo Madruzzo of Trent had already set off for home, while Carpi, da Silva, and Charles de Lorraine-Guise were in Rome but ill. The Pope intended to take part in the possessio ceremonies at the Lateran on March 14, 1550. But after the procession set out from the Vatican, the weather turned worse and rain drove Julius to seek shelter at S. Maria sopra Minerva; when the rain did not let up, he decided to spend the night in the monastery with the monks, and the next morning he celebrated a Pontifical Solemn Mass in the Minerva [Diary of Angelo Massarello, Master of Ceremonies]. Julius III finally took possession of his cathedral, the Lateran Basilica, on June 24.





A copious list of primary sources is given by Anton Pieper, Die päpstlichen Legaten und Nuntien in Deutschland, Frankreich und Spanien  I. Theil (Munster 1897) 1-2.

Matteo Dandolo, A Roman Conclave:  Reported chiefly from Notes Communicated to the Signory of Venice by Matteo Dandolo, their Ambassador at Rome preceding the Election of Pope Julius III, A.D. 1550  (D. Duncan and Sons, "South Wales Daily News" Office, 1877) [non vidi].  Rawdon Brown (editor), Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts Relating, to English Affairs existing in the archives and collections of Venice  Volume V 1534-1554 (London 1873),  pp. 293-294 (dispatch of Dandolo to the Signiory of Venice, January 8, 1550).   Eugenio Alberi (editor), L' Italia nel secolo decimosesto, ossia, Le relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti    III (Firenze 1858), pp. 335-357  [Dandolo's relazione of June 29, 1551, narrating the last days of Paul III and the Sede Vacante of 1549-1550].

Lodovico Frati,   "I ricordi di due Papi," Archivio storico italiano   35 (Firenze 1905), pp. 447-452  [Memorandum of Paul III for Ranuccio Farnese]. 

Joannes Baptista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii. Tomus I (Romae 1753).

Angelo Massarelli, "De Pontificatu Julii III," in J. J. Döllinger, Sammlung von Urkunden zur Geschichte des Concils von Trient I (Nördlingen 1876), 259-326   [Massarelli, Doctor in utroque iure, was secretary of the Council of Trent from 1545-1549, under the direction of Cardinal Cervini, and then papal secretary and chamberlain to Julius III; he was Bishop of Telese from December 15, 1557 to his death on July 17, 1566].

Guillaume Ribier, Lettres et mémoires d' État des Roys, Princes, Ambassadeurs et autres Ministres sous les règnes de François Ier, Henry II et François II   Tome II (Blois 1666).

Eugenio Alberi (editor), Relazioni degli Ambasciatori Veneti al Senato  Serie II–Volume III (Firenze 1846): Relazioni della Corte di Roma nel secolo XVI (edited by Tommaso Gar) Vol. I, pp. 337-348.   Rawdon Brown (editor), Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts relating to English Affairs existing in the Archives and Collections of Venice, Volume V, 1534-1544 (London 1873).

Averardo Serristori:  Giuseppe Canestrini (editor),   Legazioni di Averardo Serristori Ambasciatore di Cosimo I a Carlo quinto in corte di Roma (1537-1568) con un 'appendice di documenti spettanti alle legazioni di messer Giovanni Serristori, ambasciatore della republica fiorentina (1409-1414)  (Firenze: Felice le Monnier, 1853), pp. 207-229.

Prospero Santacroce,  "De civilibus Galliae dissensionibus commentariorum Libri III," in E.Martène & U.Durand Veterum scriptorum monumentorum amplissima collectio Tomus V (Paris 1729), pp. 1427-1480.  G. B. Adriani (editor),  "Sanctacrucii Cardinalis Prosperi de vita atque rebus gestis ab anno MDXIV ad MDLXVII,"  in  Miscellanea di storia italiana  Tomo V (Torino 1868),  pp. 477-992.

August von Druffel (ed. Karl Brandi)  Beiträge zur Reichsgeschichte, 1546-1551 (München 1873) [Briefe  und Akten zur Geschichte des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts, I]

Onuphrio Panvinio, Epitome Pontificum Romanorum a S. Petro usque ad Paulum IIII gestorum (videlicet) electionisque singulorum & Conclavium compendiaria narratio (Venice: Impensis Iacobi Strada, 1557).

Francesco Maria Cardinal Sforza Pallavicino, S. J., Istoria del Concilio di Trento Book XI, chapter vi [Opere edite ed inedite del Cardinale Sforza Pallavicino, ordinata e pubblicata da Ottavio Gigli, Tomo XIII (Roma 1846) pp. 67-72]. [Gregorio Leti], Il Cardinalismo di Santa Chiesa Parte Terza (1668), 170-178.

Giuseppe de Novaes, Elementi della storia de' Sommi Pontefici third edition Volume 7 (Roma 1822) pp. 61-64. Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 15 (Venezia 1842) p. 286; Volume 21 (Venezia 1843), p. 241; Volume 31 (Venezia 1845) p. 164. A. F. Artaud de Montor, Histoire des souverains pontifes Romains Volume IV (Paris 1851), pp. 148-151. L. F. Bungener, History of the Council of Trent (New York: Harper 1855), 203-208. F. Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves Second Volume (Paris 1864) 23-64. For the Imperial viewpoint see: Giuseppe de Leva, "La elezione di Papa Giulio III," Rivista storica italiana 1 (1884) 22-38. Giuseppe de Leva, Storia documentata di Carlo V in correlazione all' Italia Volume V (Bologna 1894) pp. 69-92. G. Constant, "Une rivalité Franco-Allemande en conclave: L' élection de Jules III," Revue hebdomadaire (18 février 1922) 333. F. J. Baumgartner, "Henry II and the Papal Conclave of 1549," Sixteenth Century Journal 16. 3 (1985) 301-314.

L. Dorez, La cour du Pape Paul III (Paris 1932).

Ludovico Beccadelli, "Vita del Cardinale Reginaldo Polo,"  Monumenti di varia letteratura tratti dai manoscritti di Monsignor Lodovico Beccadelli, Arcivescovo di Ragusa  Tomo I parte II  (Bologna 1799), pp. 277-333.  Martin Haile, The Life of Reginald Pole (New York 1910) 356-364. W. C. Cartwright, On the Constitution of Papal Conclaves (Edinburgh 1878).

Gladys Dickinson, Du Bellay in Rome (Leiden: Brill 1960) [Though the book is about Joachim du Bellay, it contains information of interest].

Francois de l' Isle, La legende de Charles, Cardinal de Lorraine, et de ses frères, de la Maison de Guise (Reims: Jacques Martin, 1576).  H. Paris,  Études sur Charles, Cardinal de Lorraine (Reims: L. Jacquet 1845).  J.-J. Guillemin, Le Cardinal de Lorraine, son influence politique et réligeuse au XVI siècle (Paris: Joubert 1847).  Thomas Elkin Taylor,  Charles, Second Cardinal of Lorraine (1525-1574):  A Biography   (dissertation: University of Virgina 1995).


April 25, 2016 11:11 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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