March 23, 1555—April 9, 1555

May 1, 1555—May 23, 1555

St Peter, full length, facing forward



St. Peter, full length, standing, facing forward..

Arms of Card. Guastavillani


Arms of Guido Ascanio Card.Sforza, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (1537-1564), surmounted by the Ombrellone, crossed keys.

Berman, p. 102 #1031.


GUIDO ASCANIO CARDINAL SFORZA (1518-1564), the Cardinal di Santa Fiore, 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, 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 Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals was Gian Pietro Cardinal Carafa, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and Velletri.

The Marshal of the Holy Roman Church and Protector of the Conclave was Prince Tullo Ostilio Savelli. Pope Paul III finally made the post of Marshal hereditary in the family of the Savelli by the brief, Sincerae devotionis affectus, of January 12, 1545. (Moroni 42, 282).

The Governor of Rome was Msgr. Ieronimino [Dionigi Atanagi to Bishop Felice Tiranni]

The Governor of the Conclave was Msgr. Ascanio della Corgna [according to Francesco Sforza Pallavicini, Istoria del Concilio di Trento Book XIII, chapter 11 (ed. Zaccaria, III (Roma 1833), p. 69)], or Annibale Bozzuti, who was also Governor of the Borgo (Novaes, 95).



Death of Pope Julius III

The Acta Consistorialia [Baronius-Theiner, sub anno 1555, no. 12, p. 514] record some information about the last days of Julius III. On March 22, when it was clear that the Pope was dying, a Congregation was held in which he gave a number of instructions to the Cardinals concerning the government of the Church.  At the conclusion, after he gave his benediction, a number of cardinals kissed his hand:

Romae die Veneris XXII mensis Martii MDLV, fuit Congregatio generalis coram sanctissimo Domino nostro, quia jam erat de vita sua desperatus, in qua in iis, quae ad regimen et administrationem omnium rerum Ecclesiae spectabant mandavit sacro collegio, ut provideret, quo facto data benedictione multi ex cardinalibus osculati sunt ejus manus.

Die Sabbati XXIII mensis Martii MDLV, inter horam XIX et XX seu circa obiit Julius papa III in palatio Sancti Petri.

Pope Julius III (Ciocchi del Monte) died on Saturday, March 23, 1555, at the age of 68, of stomach troubles (according to Pallavicino, 132). Panvinio (Epitome, p. 412) states, "inter horam decimam nonam & vigesimam P. P. Iulius III qui diu & multum antea Podagra laboraverat, diutina vi morbi oppressus, in Vaticano, in Palatio Apostolico Pontificio, mortuus est."  Dionigi Atanagi places the death at the same time [Descrizione, p. 61]. That evening, the Cardinals assembled in congregation and elected Ascanio della Corgna as Consul of Rome, to which the Barons of Rome objected, claiming that it was their duty to defend the city (Pallavicini, 135-136). That same evening the body of the pope was carried to St. Peter's by the Canons of the Basilica, without ceremony, and placed in the Chapel of Sixtus IV.

On the night of the 25th the body was buried in the Chapel of S. Andrew, next to the tombs of Pius II and Pius III. On March 26, the novendiales began in St. Peter's, with a Requiem Mass sung by Cardinal du Bellay, the Cardinal Bishop of Porto, with thirty-seven cardinals in attendance (Panvinio, 412). The anonymous Conclavist, however, says that Cardinal Saraceno said the Mass (Lettere di principi, 232). Cardinal Crispo arrived on the 29th, and on the 30th Cardinal Savelli. On Monday, April 1 the Cardinal of Trent (Madruzzo) and Cardinal Pisani appeared. The days of official mourning (novendiales) concluded on April 3. (Cancellieri, 37-39, quoting the Anonymous Conclavist, and, in fact, Dionigi Atanagi)


The Cardinals

At the time of the Pope's death there was a total of fifty-seven living cardinals. How many and which of these participated in the Conclave of April 1555, is a matter of controversy. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica III (1923). pp. 23-24, does not even hazard a guess, for either Conclave. Onuphrio Panvinio (pp. 423-425), a contemporary, states that there were thirty-seven cardinals (whom he names) in attendance at the beginning of the novendiales (March 25, 1555), and twenty cardinals absent (The names with an asterisk in the list below are those listed by Panvinio as absent).

The 'Anonymous' Conclavist (Lettere di principi 3, 232) also provides a list, also of thirty-seven cardinals: Napoli, Bellay, Carpi and Santo Giacomo (4 Cardinal Bishops); Santa Croce, Viseo, Trento, Armignath, Cueva, Cesis, Santo Angelo, Verallo, Medici, Crispo, Marsilla, Perugia, Saraceno, Montepulciano, Messina, Puteo, Fano, Mignanello, Poggio, San Clemente, Dandino (21 Cardinal Priests); Pisani, San Giorgio, Mantoa, Monte, Santa Fiore, Cornaro, Sermonetta, Simpucello, Ferrara, Savello, Nobili, Urbino (12 Cardinal Deacons).

There are other reports of thirty-six and thirty-nine cardinals (Oldoino, in Ciacconius [Chacon], Tome III, 304; Moroni, 243).

The Protonotary Apostolic, Augustino Cocciano, noted about the French contingent in a letter of March 27  that, of the ten, a good half would not attend , and that Farnese would come, but by land [Druffel IV, p. 626}:

Di dieci cardinali francesi si tiene, che cinque possano venir in posta: delle cinque altri, che ne possano venir dui a giornate et tre altri si tiene che non verranno per le infirmità o vecchizza loro.  Pure il rè puotrebbe voler che si imbarcassero tutti et fargli venir con l'armata ad ogni pericolo.  Che importa a lui, se morono, ne farà far degli altri.  Farnese si stima sia in Avignone et che verrà in posta per terra.

In fact, only Jean du Bellay and Georges d'Armagnac were present for the first Conclave in April.

Twenty-six votes were needed for a canonical election at the First Conclave; thirty in the Second Conclave.  Petramellari [Ad librum Onuphrii Panvinii de summis Pontif....continuatio (Bononiae 1599), pp. 5-8]   provides a list of the fifty-six cardinals living at the time of the election of Paul IV.


Cardinals attending:

  1. Gian Pietro Carafa (aged 78) [Capriglia (Avellino), Kingdom of Naples], nephew of Cardinal Oliviero Carafa.  Dean of the Sacred College, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and Velletri (1553-1555); Bishop of Porto (1553); Bishop of Tusculum (1550-1553); Bishop of Sabina (1546-1550); Bishop of Albano (1544-1546); Cardinal Priest of S. Maria Transtiberim (1543-1544); of S. Clemente (1541-1543); of  S. Sisto (1537-1541); of S. Pancrazio (1536-1537); ex-Bishop of Brindisi (1518-1524). ex-Bishop of Chieti (1505-1524), "Theatinus"  From 1549-1555 he was Archbishop of Naples, though the Emperor refused to grant him possession of his see.   "Napoli"
          Previous to that, he had spent three years in England as Legate of Leo X, to collect the Peter's pence.  He had been in Spain as a Member of the Council of Ferdinand of Aragon (died 1516). Brought to Rome from Spain by Adrian VI in 1522.  After the Sack of Rome, he went to Verona, then Venice.  
          Protector of Germany, of Hungary, and of the Hermits of S. Jerome. Prefect of the the Inquisition.  Co-Founder of the Theatines [Moroni, Dizionario storico-ecclesiastica 73 (Venezia 1855), 108-135].  The French Ambassador, Jean d'Avanson, had no great expectation of him: quant au Theatin, je ne sçay quelle asseurance y fonder, tant pour la debilité de sa Personne et de son esprit, à cause de son age déja decrepit.  Pope Julius III had recently recognized the claim of Philip II to the throne of Naples and received his oath of fealty [Baronius-Theiner 33, sub anno 1555 no. 6, p. 511].  Carafa was personally hostile to the Emperor [Boralevi,  pp. 1-6]
  2. Jean du Bellay (aged 63), Cardinal Bishop of Porto and Santa Rufina (died 1560)
  3. Juan Alvarez, OP (aged 66) [Toledo], of the family of the Dukes of Alba. Cardinal Bishop of Albano. Made Cardinal at the request of Charles V. Previously Bishop of Compostela (1550-1557),  Earlier Bishop of Burgos (1537-1550), and Bishop of Cordoba (1523-1550).   Inquisitor General.   (died September 15, 1557).  Pietro of Toledo, Marchese de Villafranca, Viceroy of Naples (1532-1552), was his cousin; so too was Ferrante Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, Viceroy of Naples (1556-1558).
  4. Rodolfo Pio di Carpi (aged 55), Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum (Frascati). Administrator of the See of Agrigento (1544-1564).  Totius Ordinis Sancti Francisci Protector [Annales Minorum sub anno 1555, xiii, p. 31]. (died May 2, 1564) "Santo Giacomo"

  5. Marcello Cervini (aged 54) [S. Angelo de la scala, territory of the Hirpini], Cardinal Priest of Santa Croce [elected Pope Marcellus on April 9, and died on May 1, 1555] Former tutor and then secretary of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese.  Bibliothecarius Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae. He enforced the peace between the Emperor and the King of France, by taking charge of the city of Siena, in which the French had been besieged after fomenting a revolution and then seizing it.   He voted with the Imperialists against the candidacy of d'Este  [Druffel IV, p. 652 no. 609 (Manrique Lara to the Emperor Charles, April 11, 1555)].
  6. Miguel de Silva (aged 75), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere (died 1556).  Bishop of Viseu (1526-1547),  longtime Portuguese ambassador in Rome.
  7. Cristoforo Madruzzo (aged 52), Cardinal Priest of S. Cesareo in Palatio (died 1578)  Bishop of Trent (Tridentinus) (1539-1567). He had already left Trent for Rome before March 30, 1555, and he arrived in time to enter the Conclave on April 5 [Druffel IV, p. 630], where he played a decisive role.  After the election of Marcellus II, the Pope sent him to Siena to prevent any outrages on the part of the occupying army; he left Rome around the 19th of April [Atanagi to Tiranni (April 20, 1555)].
  8. Bartolommeo de Cueva (aged 55), Cardinal Priest of S. Bartolommeo all' Isola (died 1562) Created Cardinal at the request of the Emperor [Eubel III, p. 28 col. 2, n. 3]
  9. Georges d' Armagnac (ca. 55), Cardinal Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo (1545-1556).  Bishop of Rodez (1530-1561).  Licentiate in Canon Law.  (died 1585)
  10. Federico Cesi (aged 54), Cardinal Priest of Sta. Prisca (died 1565)
  11. Girolamo Recanati Capodiferro (aged 52), Cardinal Priest of S. Giorgio in Velabro, 1545-1559.  Legate to the Emperor, April-October, 1553 (died 1559)
  12. Tiberio Crispi (aged 57), [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.  Castelan 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.   Governor of Pieve (November 6, 1546-1548) [G. Bolletti, Notizie istoriche di Città della Pieve (Perugia 1830), pp. 255-256]. 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].  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.  A friend of the Farnese [Lettere di Caro II, 101, p. 151]
  13. Girolamo Verallo (aged 57), Cardinal Priest of S. Marcello (died 1555)
  14. Giovanni Angelo de' Medici (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Stefano in Monte Celio (died 1565). Legate of Julius III to Ferdinando Gonzaga, leader of the imperial troops in the War of Parma [Panvinio, "Life of Julius III" in Historia B. Platinae de vitis Pontificum (1568), 417].
  15. Cristoforo Ciocchi del Monte (aged 71) [Arezzo], Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede (died 1564). Archbishop of Marseille (1550-1556) "Massiliensis"  first-cousin of Julius III
  16. Fulvio della Corgna, Perusinus (aged 37), O.Hier.,  Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via (died 1583)  Archpriest of the Cathedral of Perugia, then Bishop of Perugia  (1550-1553)  Legate of the Marches.  A supporter of the Spanish, he was imprisoned by Paul IV [Pallavicino, Istoria del Concilio di Trento  Book 13, chapter 17].  Nephew of Pope Julius III through his sister.
  17. Giovanni Saraceni (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Aracoeli (died 1568)  Archbishop of Matera (Materensis)
  18. Giovanni Ricci (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Vitale (died 1574) recently Bishop of Chiusi (Clusinus) "Montepulciano"
  19. Giovanni Andrea Mercurio (aged 37), Cardinal Priest of S. Ciriaco alla Terme (died 1568) Archbishop of Messina (Messanensis)
  20. Giacomo Puteo (aged 60) [of Alessandria, but born in Nice], Cardinal Priest of S. Simeone (died 1563)   Doctor in utroque iuri, Auditor of Cardinal  Accolti; former Auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota, Archbishop of Bari (1550-1562—which he never visited). [He is occasionally referred to, by mistake, as "Cardinal de Pouzzol"].  Immediately after the election of Paul IV he was transferred to the title of S. Maria in Via.
  21. Pietro Bertani OP (aged 53) [Mutinensis, born in the Commune of Nonantola], son of Francesco Bertani and Bianca Calori. Cardinal Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro (died 1558).    He was patronized by Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, whose theologian he became.  Paul III made him Bishop of Fano (1537-1559).   He brought about the restoration of the Duchy of Camerino to Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino.   Nuncio to the Emperor Charles V (1548-1550), officially to discuss the Council of Trent, but actually to deal with the situation of Parma. He was likewise sent to Vienna by Julius III: from January 1551, until February, 1552 [Pieper, p. 16-18].  His nephew, Costanzo Tasso, was Majordomo of Cardinal Sforza, and later a follower of Filippo Neri.
  22. Fabio Mignanelli, Senensis (aged 68/69), Cardinal Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite (died 1557). Prefect of the Papal State.
  23. Giovanni Poggio (aged 62) {Bologna], Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia (died 1556)   Bishop of Tropea (1541-1556)   "Tropiensis"
  24. Giovanni Battista Cicada (Cicala) (aged 44) [Genoa], Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente (1551-1565)   Bishop of Albenga (1543-1554),  previously Auditor of the Apostolic Chamber, Referendary of the two Signatures    (died  April 8,1570; buried in the Rovere Chapel in S. Maria del Popolo)
  25. Girolamo Dandini (aged 45) [Cesena, but born in Siena, of Roman parentage],  Cardinal Priest of S. Matteo,  recently Bishop of Imola (1546-1552),   Doctor in utroque iure (Bologna).   Secretary of Paul III [relazione of Matteo Dandolo, in Alberi, 340; De Leva III, 398].  Secretary of State of Julius III.   Extraordinary Legate to the Emperor, April, 1551, and again in April-October, 1553, negotiating the reopening of the Council of Trent.  (died December 4, 1559)

  26. Francesco Pisano (aged 61), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Portico S. Marco ? (died 1570) Cardinal Protodeacon
  27. Ercole Gonzaga (aged 49), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria Nuova, Bishop of Mantua (died 1563)
  28. Guido Ascanio Sforza (aged 36), son of  Costanza Farnese, and therefore grandson of Pope Paul III and first-cousin of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Eldest son of Bosio II, Conte di Santa Fiora e Conte di Cotignola, Signore di Varzi e Castell’Arquato. His brother Carlo was General of the Galleys of the Knights of Malta.  Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata (died 1564),  "Santa Fiore"   Camerarius S. R. E.
  29. Ippolito II d'Este (aged 45), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Aquiro (died 1572)   "Ferrara"  Son of Lucretia Borgia, grandson of Alexander VI. Brother of Alfonso I, Duke of Ferrara.  Nephew of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este of S. Lucia in Silice (1493-1520).  He had written to the King of France for money to support his candidacy for the Papacy  [Druffel IV, p. 667 no. 619 (April, 1555)].
          He was neither liked nor respected by his fellow cardinals.   During the second Sede Vacante, on May 10, Cardinal Farnese wrote of him, "li modi che ha tenuti insino a ora in praticar questa dignità, li hanno fatto alienar gli animi di molti cardinali: e con tutto ciò persiste nel medesimo con sua poca riputazione, e con gran pregiudizio di questo negozio ...  la verità è, che vorrebbe da noi più che non possiamo, e confida più di se che non deve, ed usa verso di noi parole, e modi indegni della grandezza sua, o di Ministro del Re;  quali però noi condoniamo alla troppa passione, che per ora lo tiene ottenebrato, purchè per causa sua il servizio di Sua Maestà non venga a patire".   A report of Sir John Masone to the English Council of April 21 [Calendar of State Papers. Foreign Series, of the Reign of Mary (London 1861), p. 163] quotes sources as saying, "Marry, we hear of no quality to set him forward but that he is rich."
  30. Giacomo Savelli (aged 33), Cardinal Deacon of S. Niccolò in Carcere Tulliano (died 1587)
  31. Niccolò Caetani de Sermoneta (aged 29), Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio (died 1585) Bishop of Capua
  32. Ranuccio Farnese (aged 24), Cardinal Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria (1546-1565), then Bishop of Sabina (February to October, 1565).   Major Penitentiary, Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica (from 1547), Grandson of Paul III.  Brother Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, and of Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma, Piacenza and Castro  (died October 29, 1565)
  33. Giulio della Rovere (aged 22), Cardinal Deacon of S. Pietro in vinculis (died 1578) Bishop of Urbino, son of Duke Francesco I of Urbino
  34. Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte (aged 23) [Piacenza], Cardinal Deacon of S. Onofrio (died 1577) [See Massarelli, p. 277: Die ven. 30 Maii.]
  35. Luigi Cornaro (aged 38) [Venice], Cardinal Deacon of S. Teodoro (died 1584)
  36. Girolamo Simoncelli (aged 33) [Orvieto], Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano (died 1605) great-nephew of Julius III
  37. Roberto de' Nobili [Montepulciano]  (aged 13), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica.  Great-nephew of Julius III (died January 18, 1559, at the age of 17).


Cardinals not attending:

  1. Giovanni Morone (aged 46), Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina (died 1580) [Panvinio: absent].  He was Legate to Ferdinand, King of the Romans,  at the Diet in Augsburg, appointed January 7, 1555, departed Rome on February 18, in Augsburg March 24. Hearing of the death of Julius III, he began his return on March 31, in company with Cardinal Truchsess [King Ferdinand to Emperor Charles (Augsburg, March 30, 1555): Druffel Briefe und Akten IV (1896) no. 592 pp. 629-630: Die Gesandten in Rom, der krsl. wie sein eigener, hatten gebeten, fur den Fall, dass der Papst sturbe, die Cle Morone und Truchsess alsbald zur Romreise zu bestimmen: als nun die Todeshachricht kam, hat er sofort mit denselben verhandelt]. The Diet did not meet. [A. Pieper, Die papstliche Legaten (Münster 1897), 69-70; 198 n. 1,, 213].  A letter of April 6, 1555, from Nofri Camaiani to the Duke of Florence, indicates that Morone was not yet in the Conclave [Petruccelli II, p. 75].
  2. *Louis de Bourbon (aged 62), Cardinal Bishop of Palestrina (Cardinal of S. Sabina, 1533-1550) (died 1557)
  3. *Francois de Tournon, Cardinal Bishop of Sabina. After many years of being ignored by François I, he had come into favor with Henri II in 1554 [Ribier II, pp. 520-523].  He received the news of the Election of Marcellus II at La Ferte on April 21, 1155 [letter to the Constable de Montmorency (April 20, 1555)]
  4. Girolamo Doria (aged ca. 60) [Genoa], Cardinal Priest of S. Tommaso in Parione (1529-1555).  After the Second Conclave he was translated to S. Maria in Porticu (1555-1558).  (died 1558)   He attended the second Conclave, of May 1555, arriving in Rome on May 11.
  5. *Otto Truchsess von Waldburg (aged 40), Cardinal Priest of Santa Sabina (1550-1561), prieviously Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina (1545-1550),  Bishop of Augsburg (1543-1573)   He died on April 2, 1573. "Augustanus"  [He was present at the second conclave: Pallavicini, 149.  He left Augsburg for the first Conclave along with Morone, on March 31]. 
  6. *Claudio de Longuy de Givry [Claudius de Giuri] (aged ) Cardinal Priest of S. Agnete in Agone (died 1561)
  7. *Robert de Lenoncourt (between 65 and 70); his homonymous uncle had been Archbishop of Reims.   Cardinal Priest of S. Apollinare (died 1561). He began his career as Abbot of S. Remi de Reims and Treasurer of the diocese of Reims.  Bishop of Châlons (1535-1550), resigning in favor of his nephew Philippe. From 1551-1555 he was Administrator of the diocese of Metz.  From 1556-1559 he was Bishop of Embrun [Eubel III, p. 190].  Bishop of Auxerre (1556-1562).  Archbishop of Arles (1560-1561) [Gallia christiana novissima I (1899), 911-915]. He died on February 2, 1561.
         He was in Baden on May 14, having come from Lyon by way of Zurich [Champollion-Figeac (editors), Nouvelle collection des Memoires,  pp. 233-234].   He arrived in Rome for the Conclave of 1555 on the night of May 22, 1555.
  8. *Odet de Coligny de Châtillon (aged 37) Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano   On March 31, 1563, he was declared an heretic and deprived of all his benefices, episcopacy and cardinalate [Eubel III, p. 22 n. 3].  (d. 1571)
  9. *Durante de Duranti (aged 47) [Brescia], Cardinal Priest of SS XX 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.  He was a supporter of the Imperialists.
  10. *Jacques d ' Annebaut [Denebault] (aged ca. 55), Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna (died 1557)
  11. Alessandro Farnese (aged 34), son of Pierluigi Farnese and Gerolama Orsini, daughter of Lodovico Orsini, Count of Pitigliano (a descendant of Matteo Rosso Orsini). Grandson of Pope Paul III.  Cardinal Deacon of S. Lorenzo in Damaso (died 1589).  Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, Archpriest of S. Maria Maggiore. Administrator of Monreale in Sicily (1536-1573)   Administrator of Cahors (1554-1557).  Farnese had been in France, when on June 6, 1554, he was appointed by Henri II to go to Rome and take charge of French affairs in the absence of Cardinal d'Este in Parma —over the objections of Cardinal du Bellay [Ribier II, 523-524].  Letter of Farnese to Henri II from Rome (August 23, 1544): Ribier II, pp. 532-534. On November 20, 1554, Henri II named the Sieur de Selue as his Ambassador in Rome: Ribier II, pp. 545-547], and Farnese returned to France, to his Legation in Avignon.
          That Farnese did not participate in the First Conclave of 1555 is explicitly stated by Pallavicino, Book XIII, chapter 8: pp. 139-140. He arrived late from Avignon, where he was the Legate and had been living in exile. He was carrying letters from Henri II to the cardinals, recommending Cardinal Pole. Pallavicini derived his information from three letters written by Farnese to his agent in Paris, dated May 11 and 14, 1555.  Farnese arrived in Rome before April 17, according to a letter from Dionigi Atanagi to Bishop Felice Tiranni (April 20, 1555).   He was certainly in Rome on April 21, 1555 [Lettere di Caro II, 111, p. 176; Ribier II, p. 608].  One of Farnese's conclavists in the Second Conclave was Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti, his Auditor, who later became Pope Innocent IX  [Lettere di Caro II, no. 160 p. 258].
  12. Antoine Sanguin de Meudon (aged 62?), Cardinal Priest of S. Crisogono (died 1559) [Cardella IV, 221, marks him as absent from both Conclaves of 1555].
  13. *Reginald Pole (aged 55), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin (died 1558) Legate in England, he was at Richmond, ill with fever and catarrh [Pole, Epistolarum Reginaldis Poli   V (Brixiae 1757), no. 2 (from London, March 10, 1555); nos. 3-4 (to Pope Marcellus II), pp. 7-11 (from Richmond, May 1, 1555); no. 5, pp. 11-13 to Pope Paul IV (Pentecost, June 2, 1555); Martin Haile, Life of Reginald Pole, pp. 460-462, based on his letters and on Venetian dispacci of Giovanni Michiel].  In any case, Pole was under examination by the Inquisition for heresy, and the Cardinal Inquisitors (including Carafa) were in no hurry to clear his name [see Jean d'Avanson to Henry II (May 8, 1555)]. A list of the Inquisition's charges against Pole is contained in their own documents, published by C. Corvisieri [Archivio della Societa romana di storia patria 3 (1880), 283-286];  it is followed by a list of various people caught in the net of the investigation of Cardinal Morone and Cardinal Pole, including the Marchioness of Pescara and the Duchess of Camerino.  Pole did not attend either Conclave in 1555.
  14. Francisco Mendoza de Bobadilla (aged 46), son of Didacus, Marquis of Cannete, and Isabella Bobadilla.  Created Cardinal at the request of the Emperor [Eubel III, p. 28 col. 2, n. 3].  Cardinal Priest of S. Eusebio (1550-1556), previously Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina (1550) and  Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Aracoeli (1544-1550) Bishop of Burgos (1550-1567), previously Bishop of Coria (1533-1550), Archdeacon of Toledo.  (died in Burgos,  December 1, 1566)   He was present at the Second Conclave, arriving in Rome on May 11, 1555 [See Druffel IV, p. 651; Coggiola no. 2, p. 70].
  15. Pedro Pacheco (aged 66) [Montalban, Diocese of Toledo], [Montalban, in the diocese of Toledo], of the Condes de la Puebla de Montalban.  Suburbicarian Bishop of Albano (1557-1560).  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 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.    [attended the second conclave of 1555]
  16. *Henrique de Portugal (aged 43), 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.   He did not attend either Conclave in 1555.
  17. *Charles de Guise de Lorraine (aged 31), son of Claude, Duke of Lorraine, and Antoinette de Bourbon. His niece was Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1567). Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (1547-1555), then Cardinal Priest of S. Apollinaire (1555-1575) Archbishop of Reims (1538-1574)   [A member of the King's Council, he was negotiating with Queen Mary I of England:  Druffel, IV, p. 666 no. 618].  He did not attend the conclaves of 1555.  Cardinal Farnese wrote him a letter informing him of the result of the second Conclave on May 23 [Delle lettere familiari del Commendatore Annibal Caro  6 (1820), no. 7 pp. 20-21].  Cardinal Charles de Lorraine was at Ardres on June 2, 1555 [Champollion-Figeac (editors), Nouvelle collection des Memoires, 234].  He died at Avignon,  December 25, 1575, according to Eubel, p. 30; or on December 26, 1574, according to Eubel p., 285.   "Cardinal de Lorraine"
  18. *Charles de Bourbon de Vendôme (aged 31), son of Charles de Bourbon, Duke de Vendôme, and Françoise d'Alençon.   Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto (died 1590)   Archbishop of Rouen (1550-1590), formerly Bishop of Nantes, Bishop of Saintes and Bishop of Nevers. Lieutenant-General of Paris and the Ile de France (from 1551). He was in attendance on King Henri II [Druffel IV, p. 667 no. 619 (April, 1555)].  King of France, as Charles X, 1589-1590.
  19. Pietro Tagliavia de Aragona (aged ca. 55) [Palermo].  Cardinal Priest of S. Callisto (died 1558).  Archbishop of Palermo (1544-1558),  Bishop of Agrigento (1537-1544).
  20. Louis de Guise de Lorraine (aged 27), brother of Cardinal Charles de Guise de Lorraine.  Cardinal Deacon without Deaconry.  He had been named Cardinal Deacon on December 22, 1553, and been sent his red hat on March 30, 1554, but he had not yet been to Rome.  He was in attendance upon King Henri II, and did not attend the first conclave [Druffel IV, p. 667 no. 619 (April, 1555)].  Henri listened to more sensible advice after the death of Marcellus II, and sent some of his cardinals to Rome.  Guise arrived in Rome on April 21  [Ribier II, p. 608]; he was received by Pope Marcellus on April 28 [to Tiranni from Atanagi (Rome, May 1, 1555)];  on the 15th of May, he had a meeting with Ferrara, French ambassador Msgr. de Avanzon, and the secretary Villandri [Lettere di Caro II, no. 128, p. 201]   Louis de Lorraine received the Deaconry of S. Tommaso in Parione after he attended the second conclave (July 17, 1555). In 1568 he was transferred, in his absence (he was back in France), to the Order of Priests [Eubel III, p. 33 no. 18 and n. 3].  (died 1578)  "Cardinal de Guise"


The First Conclave

On Friday April 5, the first conclave of 1555 opened, with thirty-seven Cardinals in attendance, according to Pavinio, Serristori, and the Anonymous Conclavist — who was actually Dionigi Attangi (Lettere di principi 3, 232; Dionigi Atanagi, p. 63; Petruccelli II, p. 74). The Cardinal Dean, Cardinal Gian Pietro Carafa (the Cardinal of Naples), sang the Mass of the Holy Spirit. That afternoon the Cardinals assembled in the Capella Paolina and discussed matters having to do with sanitation. In charge of arrangements were Cardinals Carafa (the Dean), the Cardinal di Santa Croce (Cervini) as Senior Cardinal Priest, Cardinal Pisani as the Senior Cardinal Deacon, and the Camerlengo, Cardinal Sforza. Late in the evening, led by Cardinal Carafa (senior Bishop), Cardinal Cervini (senior Priest, and Cardinal Pisano (senior Deacon), they closed the doors and the Conclave began.

This beginning was not without protest, considering that Pope Julius III had prepared new instructions for the conduct of a conclave, allowing an extra fifteen days for the French cardinals to arrive, which, however, were not observed [See J. B. Sägmüller, Die Papstwahlbullen, 1-35].  The Imperial ambassador of Cosimo I, Averardo Serristori, writing to the Duke of Florence [Legazioni di Averardo Serristori, p. 347], noted that at a Congregation (on March 27) he intended to see to it that the French get the Cardinals to prolong the opening of the Conclave until the French cardinals could arrive. Sir John Masone, the English Ambassador in Bruxelles, wrote to the English Council [Turnbull, Calendar of State Papers #346, April 21]:

Letters from Italy mention that notwithstanding the broil likely to have grown between certain of the Barons of Rome and the Cardinals for the governing of the city, all things go forward there peaceably. There is still, however, some contention between the Imperial Cardinals and those of the French faction for the hasting or tracting of the election. The Imperials, who are as yet stronger than the others, would according to a bull of the last Pope have the matter to be begun out of hand; the others protest that this bull was never published to the Cardinals in France, who rightly should have such time allowed them, as, the distance of the places considered, might enable them to reach Rome before any conclusion. Of those most like to have the place [Papacy], according to the common voice at Rome, Santa Croce is most spoken of: after him Cheatino, Pole, Fano, Puteo, &c. The Cardinal of Ferrara is also talked of: "Marry, we hear of no quality to set him forward but that he is rich."

The French Ambassador Jean d' Avanson, writing from Rome on April 5, the day of the opening of the Conclave, also remarks that the reforming bull would not take effect [Ribier II, p. 604; the bull had been arranged by Armagnac, Farnese, and Du Bellay: Ribier II, 541-542 (November 14, 1554)].

The conclave began as a nasty struggle between the Emperor Charles V's cardinals and those of the French king, Henri II. The French faction was led by one of the soggetti papabili, Cardinal Ippolito II d' Este [Pallavicino, 136], who had lately (1552-1554) been the ruler of Parma on behalf of Henri II of France, his personal friend and patron from D'Este's many years at the French Court. Parma had been ceded to the French by Paul III as the price of an alliance with the Pope. This gave the French a stronger foothold in northern Italy, where the Emperor was suzerain. Though a cardinal, d' Este was not yet in Holy Orders. His lifestyle did not indicate that he was in any way interested in reform of the Church, and the connections of his family (the ducal family of Ferrara) with France made him unacceptable to the Emperor Charles.  That he was the grandson of Pope Alexander VI was a distinctly mixed blessing. Nonetheless he had high hopes for his own candidacy. In addition to the French, he claimed Italian supporters, such as San Georgio (Capodiferro) and Sermonetta, on the grounds of personal friendship [Conclavi, 239].   On April 28, 1554, in sending Cardinal Georges d'Armagnac as his ambassador to the Pope,  the French King had given instructions as to his preferences for the next pope, should the present pope die suddenly and consultation be impossible [Ribier II, 518]:

Sa Maiesté declare aus dits sieurs Cardinaux, qu' elle desireroit singulierement, que Monsieur le Cardinal de Ferrare le fust, et que l' on fist tout ce que l' on pouroit pour luy en cet endroit.  Mais là où l' on verroit qu' il n' y auroit moyen, il voudroit que l' on tachast d' y faire parvenir le Cardinal de Tournon; et là où il y auroit encores de la difficulté à cettuy-là, que l' on regardast de faire pour Monsieur le Cardinal du Bellay, et le colloquer s' il estoit possible en cette dignité; ou bien où il y auroit de l' empechement, que l' on fist pour ledit sieur Cardinal d' Armagnac

These instructions, which looked only to the King's interests, were quite unrealistic.  None of Henri's cardinals had sufficient prestige or attractiveness to win even a majority of the Sacred College. There were other currents active among the electors besides the favoritism of the Courts [See Paul Herre, Papsttum und Papstwahl im Zeitalter Philipps II (Leipzig 1907), pp. 16-18], and the French faction was at a disadvantage both in numbers and influence. Nonetheless, Henri II wrote a letter on April 4, 1555, to Cardinal d'Este, the Cardinal of Ferrara, reiterating his support of his candidacy, though he did suggest that, if the candidacy failed, he should consider Cardinal Pole and Cardinal Carafa. The Cardinal de Lorraine had already, on March 11, written the same thing to his brother Cardinal Louis de Guise [Champollion-Figeac (editors), Nouvelle collection des Memoires, 233].   It is very strange, however, that King Henri also suggested approaching Gonzaga of Mantua and Madruzzo of Trent to persuade them, with the addition of gifts in the form of benefices to the amount of 25,000 ecus [Ribier II, 604-605].  Did he not realize that Mantua and Trent were working for the Emperor?   Cardinal d'Este, after the scrutiny on April 9, wrote to his brother that Mantua and Trent "nous ont fait défection, quoiqu'ils eussent avoué publiquement que, plus que tout autre sujet, ils abhorraient Santa Croce" [quoted by Petruccelli II, p. 81].

The imperial faction was under the official direction of Cardinal Guido Ascanio Sforza di Santo Fiore, but as he was not at his best in important matters, the Emperor also relied on Cardinals Ercole Gonzaga (Mantova) and Cristoforo Madruzzo (Trent) (Conclavi, 240-241). Santo Fiore decided to work with his cousin, Ranuccio Farnese, Cardinal S. Angelo (Conclavi, 245) to achieve their ends. Cardinal Sforza, on his part, saw two difficulties with the candidacy of Cardinal Cervini (Santa Croce), according to the Conclavist (Conclavi, 246): the first was that Cardinal Madruzzo (Trent) had a personal odium against Cardinal Cervini; the second was that the Emperor had a particular dislike of him. One of the most important considerations, from the point of view of the Emperor Charles, was that the Ecumenical Council, which had been meeting at Trent in his territory and under his protection, should resume its sessions and conclude the business of reform. At the same time, he did not favor the removal of the sessions from territory under his supervision to a more neutral site, such as Bologna, where anti-Imperial interests, both French and Italian, might have greater sway, and where his Protestant subjects (with whom he was trying to work out a living arrangement) would be unable to appear. Cervini had stoutly defended the rights of the Holy See in every respect, especially in convening a council in whatever place it wanted. A pope who was in favor of reform and at the same time agreeable to the Emperor's requirements was needed. The Emperor himself and King Philip preferred Cardinal Reginald Pole [Pieper, 71 n. 3, citing a letter of Philip to the Imperial Ambassador in Rome, Juan Manrique de Lara. On March 29, Cardinal Carpi wrote to the Duke of Florence that he was trying to hold together the Imperial Party, and was working with Baldovino Ciocchi del Monte (the late Pope's brother) to hold together his people. [Petruccelli, 67]

The creature of the late Pope Julius III ought to have carried considerable influence in the Conclave, but they were without a leader. Cardinal Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte (aged 23), the late Pope's "nephew", was, for many reasons, no leader; and the late Pope's brother Baldovino was not a cardinal and could not operate inside the Conclave. As Averardo Serristori, the Florentine ambassador in Rome, wrote to Duke Cosimo (Petruccelli, 66-67), the cardinals of Pope Julius didn't want a leader; they preferred to make themselves agreeable to one person or another by offering their votes. Some were looking to France because of connections they had there: especially Cristoforo Ciocchi del Monte (Marseille) and Simoncelli. The French also had expectations from Dandino, Mignanelli and perhaps Cornaro. Nofri Camaiani, the secretary of Cardinal del Monte wrote to Duke Cosimo on March 31 that the creature of Julius III were going to promote Cardinal Puteo, with Cardinal Bertani (Fano) as an alternative. If neither produced results in the early scrutinies, they might turn to Cervini (Santa Croce), Morone, Carafa (Chieti) or Pole [Petruccelli, 67-68].

On April 6, Mass was said in the Capella Paolina by the Sacristan. All the Cardinals were present but three, who were indisposed (San Giacomo, Vyseo, and Poggio). It had become obvious that there were too many conclavisti present, some of whose credentials were suspicious.  It was decided to limit the number of conclavists to three per cardinal. After Mass, a thorough investigation by the cardinals resulted in the removal of fifteen unauthorized persons [Atanagi, 65; Conclavist, 233].  The politicking (pratticà) became intense, led, on the French side, by Ippolito d'Este, the Cardinal of Ferrara, had become intense. It appeared that the Cardinal of Santa Croce, Cardinal Marcello Cervino, had votes approaching a two-thirds majority [Atangi, 67]. Nearly a year earlier, Henri II had made it clear that he was not in favor of a Cervini papacy, though he might have to stomach it:

et là où aussi l' un de ces deux-là n' y pourroit parvenir, et que Sainte Croix ou le Moron fust pour y frapper coup, de sorte que l' on ne peust empescher que l' un des deux ne fust Pape, Sa Maiesté trouveroit tousjours beaucoup meilleur, que ceux de sa part convinsent à condescendre à faire pour ledit Ste Croix, encores qu' il y ait soupçon sur luy, de l' intelligence qu' il a avec le Duc de Florence.

Nonetheless, the size of Cardinal Cervini's support clearly indicates that the French Faction had no chance whatever of winning the Papacy for one of their candidates.  Atangi states that all the cardinals were prepared to support Cervini, except for the French faction: d'Este, Niccolò Caetani de Sermoneta, Savelli, Girolamo Recanati Capodiferro (San Giorgio), Cristoforo Ciocchi del Monte, Jean du Bellay, Georges d'Armagnac, Giulio della Rovere of Urbino, Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte, and Girolamo Dandini (Imola)—a total of eleven (one name is missing from the ms.).  Ferrara, for his part, claimed that he had the Conclave in his hand—according to Cardinal Farnese [Lettere di Caro II, p. 191]: si reputava nell' altro Conclave aver il Papato nelle mani.  His behavior, however, alienated a number of cardinals: li modi che ha tenuti insino a ora in praticar questa dignita, li hanno fatto alienar gli animi di molti cardinali.

On April 7, which was Palm Sunday, Cardinal Carafa, the Dean, said Mass in the Paoline Chapel and palms were distributed to the cardinals (except Viseo and Poggio, who were absent due to illness).

On April 8, the Mass was sung by the Sacristan, at which all were present except San Giacomo and Poggio. After Mass a Congregation took place at which deliberations were held on Electoral Capitulations. The text was to be worked out by nine Cardinals: du Bellay, Santa Croce, Mantua, Fano, Verallo, Medici, Puteo, Mignanello and San Clemente. Later that day the Cardinals met again and the Committee presented its work. Late in the afternoon the Cardinals met and listened to a reading of the Bull of Pope Julius against simony. They then took the Conclave Oaths.



On April 9, Mass was said again as usual, though without the presence of Viseo and Poggio. The scrutiny was to be by secret ballot. On the first ballot, on April 9, the votes were divided among Cardinals Carafa (12 votes), Cervini (Santa Croce) (8 votes), and D'Este (Ferrara) (6 votes). D'Este's showing in the voting was unacceptable to the Imperial party. It became their duty, therefore, to prevent the election of the Cardinal of Ferrara. Toward that end, Cardinal Carafa and Cardinal Madruzzi (Bishop of Trent) began to conspire in favor of the one candidate who could be elected, Cardinal Cervini, even though Cervini was far from being a pleasing candidate to the Emperor. They did not want to give the French faction time to campaign for their candidate, and Cardinal Cervini already had many friends and admirers. He was also one of the more than twenty creature of Paul III at the Conclave [Conclavi, 244].

D'Este provided his own explanation to his brother the Duke of Ferrara in a letter of April 9 [Petruccelli II, pp. 81-82]:

Nous n' avons pas pu attendre les Français.  Mantova et Trento nous ont fait défection, quoiqu'ils eussent avoué publiquement que, plus que tout autre sujet, ils abhorraient Santa Croce.  Et Trento ajoutait que non-seulement il le haïssait à cause de ses propres intérèts, mais parce qu'on ne pouvait nommer un pape qui eut déplu davantage à l'empereur et au roi d'Angleterre [Philip II of Spain]. D'autre part, Cervini ètant ami de la maison Farnese, et celle-ci ennemie de Mantoue, on pouvait bien le croire lorsqu'il disait qu'on le détestait.  Ils se sont rendus. Mais, comme quelques-uns avaient tâché d' obtenir par l' adoration ce que je croyais fermement qu'ils n'auraient pas obtenu par scrutin, quoique j'eusse cherché à empècher pour le service de Sa Majesté, j'ai dû condescendre à la fin, vu que le nombre des votes était complet.  J'ai montré ensuite que l' élection plaisait à Sa Majesté.  Mantova m'a fait plus de mal maintenant, en se déclarant tout d'abord en ma faveur, qu'il ne m'en fit dans le dernier conclave en m'attaquant.  Cela a occasionné qu'on a nomme pape un homme qui me déplaisait plus qu'aucun autre."

Clearly, d'Este had spent too much time at the French Court, where things were measured in terms of family animosities, personal friendship, and loyalty to the sovereign. He was not sufficiently sensitive to the winds of change that were blowing through the Church as a result of the Reformation and the Council of Trent.   D'Este's values were not the values of reform. Some, at least, of Cervini's support came from those who wanted the Council to resume and the restoration of the Church to accelerate (cardinali di buona mente).  D'Este's anger against what he believed was the betrayal by Cardinal Gonzaga (Mantua) was not justified.  Mantua, who had seen long before d'Este what was going to happen anyway, simply accommodated himself to the action of the Holy Spirit (as he himself said to d'Este).


Election of Cardinal Cervini

Pope marcellus IIBut the reformers, led by Cardinals Ranuccio Farnese, the Grand Penitentiary and Archbishop of Bologna, and the Camerlengo, Guido Ascanio Sforza, were working as well, in the interest of Church reform, and in particular the resumption of the Council of Trent (Panvinio, "Life of Marcellus II", p. 426). They, in company with Ridolfo Carpi, the Bishop of Frascati [according to Serristori, the Duke of Florence's agent [Petruccelli II, 82], managed to put together sufficient votes to elect Cardinal Marcello Cervini (Marcellus II), a papal diplomat who had been one of the three Presidents of the Council of Trent. He had been nuncio successively to the French King, Francis I, and to the Emperor Charles V, and was thus practiced in the management of monarchs and the issues of European politics. In the evening of April 9, he was proclaimed pope by "adoration". The Imperial faction had won, though the successful candidate was not pleasing to the Emperor, and the French had failed.


Very early the next morning, April 10, a formal vote was taken, on the demand of Cardinal Medici [Baronius-Theiner 33, sub anno 1555, no. 13, p. 515], and Cervini received all the votes except his own, which went to Cardinal Carafa, the Dean of the College of Cardinals. His election was immediately proclaimed to the people of Rome. Dionigio Attangi [Lettere di principi 3, 234;  Dionisio Atanagi, p. 70] says:

A 10. di detto, il Mercordi un' hora inanzi giorno il Papa con li Cardinali entrarono con le Croci nella capella secondo gli ordini del conclave, & detta la messa dal Sacrista, tutti portorono i voti suoi aperti, nelli quali eleggevano il detto Cardinale Santa Croce, il voto del quale, per non elegger se medesimo, nominava il Cardinal di Napoli, il che fatto fu da tutti adorato, & il Cardinal Pisani come primo Diacono ando ad una fenestra come è l' ordinario, & disse al Populo, Papam habemus. Il nome suo Marcello secondo, il quale nome egli haveva prima, ne se l' ha voluto mutare. Dopò il Cardinal di Napoli disse la messa, & lo consacro Vescovo, & dapoi usciti della Capella, sen' andorno in Santo Pietro, dove il Papa cantò la Messa, & fu dal Cardinal Pisani come primo Diacono senza troppo ceremonie, coronato. Dopò desinare tutti si riposarono, & Sua Santità continuamente dette audienza a persone, che li venivano à baciar li piedi.

The Papal Master of Ceremonies, Giovanni Francesco Mucanzio recorded in his diary [Gattico I, 391]:

Anno 1555. 10 Aprile.  summo mane praedictus electus pontifex fuit consecratus in Capella Paulina, et facta consecratione voluit coronari absque pompa aliqua, et sine expensis, in pulpito seu lodia benedictionum in platea s. Petri.

Cardinal Madruzzo of Trent found it necessary to write to Ferdinand, King of Rome, on August 10 as well [Wahrmund, Das_Ausschliessungs_recht, p. 257 no. 7]:

... Ubi neque consiliis neque precibus locum esse, imo nostrarum partium moltos animadvertissem in Rev(erendissi)mum Card(ina)lem S(anc)tae Crucis (cui nonnullis cum M(aesta)tis Caesarei obsequio coniunctis rationibus motus, antea totis conatibus obstiteram) inclinare, eoque devenire, ut nullis persuasionibus flecti posse viderentur, consultius fore existimans, si me eorum instituti non modo participem, sed ducem quasi constituerem, quam si temere et obstinate impotens, Pontificis simultatem et indignationem incurrerem, negotium ipsum agressus, ita confeci ut Rmo Stae Crucis Cardli pontificatum in manus dedisse eumquem in Petri sede nostrae factionis ductu collocaverimus....

Marcello Cervini was consecrated bishop in the Capella Paolina immediately after his election, and crowned in the loggia of benedictions at St. Peter's on April 10, the day of his election, by the Cardinal Protodeacon, Cardinal Francesco Pisani, after having been consecrated a bishop earlier in the day by Cardinal Carafa, the Dean of the Sacred College and Bishop of Ostia. It was a simple ceremony considering that it was the Wednesday in Holy Week, (Novaes, 96; Moroni, 243). Panvinio, who was present, records the event [Epitome, p. 423-424; cf. Historia B. Platini, "Vita Marcelli II", p. 426]:

Anno Dominicae Nativitatis MDLV, postridie quam PP Marcellus creatus est, videlicet die Mercurii IIII Idus Aprilis [April 10, 1555], maioris hebdomadae, instantibus magnis solennibus, Coenae Domini, Veneris Sancti, & Paschatis, ne tot solennitates sine Pontifice (qui sacra omnia faceret) transigerentur, quum prius in aurora eius creatio, more Maiorum, per Archidiaconum S.R.E. Franciscum Pisanum Venetum, Diac. Cardinalem S. Marci, in Palatio facta esset, haud multo post ante aram maximam principis Apostolorum suae coronationis & Romani Pontificatus insignia per eundem Archidiaconum suscepit, data benedictione a Ioanne Bellaio Episcopo Cardinale Portuensi & S. Rufinae.


Reign and Death of Pope Marcellus II

The seal of Cardinal Pole as Legate in England

At an early meeting with the Cardinals, he was asked to subscribe as pope to the Electoral Capitulations, in which the pope was obligated to create no more than a specific number of cardinals, Marcellus refused. During a Consistory, Cardinal Gonzaga (Mantuanus) undertook to lecture the Pontiff on papal duties, in a somewhat Macchiavellian vein, to which Marcellus replied that the Cardinal must think him a hypocrite when he recommended that he say one thing and do another. In his first audience with the Ambassadors of France and Spain, he warned the Ambassadors that their monarchs should keep the peace that had been agreed upon, and that if they did not, not only would they be sent Nuncios and Legates, but that the Pope himself would come and admonish them. He sent letters to the Emperor Charles, to King Philip and Queen Mary, and to Cardinal Reginald Pole (in which he renewed the Legateship which Pole held in England) (Friedmann, p. 38. Pole's Legantine Seal at left). When the Spanish Ambassador asked for pardon for having killed a man, the Pope replied that he did not want to start his reign with such auspices as absolution from homicide, and ordered the appropriate tribunals to observe the law. He did not want his relatives descending on Rome, nor did he want them to be enriched beyond the station of a member of the nobility, and he did not allow his two nephews, Riccardo and Herennius (sons of his half-brother Alexander), who lived in Rome under his care, to have formal visits. He instituted immediate economies in Vatican expenditures. When Cardinal Madruzzo, the Bishop of Trent, who had done a great deal to obtain the papacy for him, asked Marcellus II for the Legation of Bologna, which he had long desired, the Pope refused him, lest it appear that he be favoring either the Imperial or the French party [Panvinio, "Life of Marcellus II", p. 426].

During the Holy Week services, the new Pope had caught a fever, which appeared to disappear, but ten days later returned.   Dionigi Atanagi places the onset of the Pope's catarrh on the morning of April 18, and mentions the fact that the Pope was bled on the morning of the 20th:

Dovevansi questa mattina dispensare in cappella, sua Beatitudine non ha potuto esservi, per un poco di catarro, che iersera a doppo cena le sopravenne con alcuna alteration di febre in modo, che questa mattina le hanno aperto alquanto la vena.

In a letter of April 25, from Cardinal Louis de Guise, who had arrived in Rome four days earlier, to his brother the Cardinal de Lorraine in France [Champollion-Figeac (editors), Nouvelle collection des Memoires, 232],  Guise expressed his frustration that he and his fellow French cardinals had not appeared in time to participate in the Election of the new pope.  He urged his brother to have the King send the Cardinals, who should be on the way, as quickly as possible to come and elect a pope.  The candidate would again be d'Este, and Cardinal du Bellay should be told to put aside his personal animosity.   He certainly knew that Pope Marcellus was dying:

... je regrettois fort la peyne que j' avois prise d' estre icy venu seul des cardinaux françois, et tropt tard pour aider à l'effet de la cause qui me faisoit plus courageusement venir, qui estoit le service de Sa Majesté premièrement, et après, celuy de monsieur le cardinal de Ferrare qui a esté aussy prés du but que vous avez pu ententre. Mais je n'e vois en cela poinct de perte sinon que les choses qui se devoient et pouvoient des lors faire ont esté un peu differées, et lesquelles seront dans peu de jours exécutées selon que nous scaurions désirer.  S'il plaist à Sa Majesté comander à messieurs les cardinaux françois qu'en toute diligence ils achèvent le voyage qu'ilz avoient commencé pour venir eslire un Pape, et surtout de ne faillir de donner leurs voix à mon dit sieur le cardinal de Ferrare qui a icy la meilleure part de tous les cardinaux, et encore plus expressément commander à monsieur le cardinal du Belley que, laissant toute affection particulière et injuste, avec tous les moyens qu'il peut avoir, que pour le bien de son service et de ses affaires, que mon dit sieur le cardinal succède au pape présent lequel est en telle extrêmité, que s'estant hyer trouvé en quelque apparence de cognoissance, il est aujourd'huy retombé sy griefvement qu'il a esté desjè cinq ou six heures sans parler, et n'y a espérance qu'il puisse passer demain tout le jour: parquoy il nous a semblé ne devoir aucunement différer à vous en advertir et vous envoyer Niquet, combienque ce matin nous eussons délibéré vous escrire par Montluc.


After twenty-two days in office, Pope Marcellus died of a stroke, in the night between April 30 and May 1, 1555. Panvinio describes his decline [ Historia Platinae "Vita Marcelli", p. 430]:

Quum satis (ut dixi) firmus non esset viribus, & propterea anno superiori diu etiam febre laborasset, corpore quoque tam comitiorum incommodis, quam obeundis publicis muneribus, quae vetere Christiani populi instituto, annuis Dominici Cruciatus [Good Friday] & Resurrectionis [Easter] diebus per Maximum Pontificem fieri consuerunt, fatigato, duodecimo pontificatus die gravius e pituita, & non levi febre decubuit. Postridie sanguine emisso, febris quidem remisior fuit, verum corporis veres imminutae: visus tamen est per aliquot dies convalescere, quibus diebus semper aliquid per familiares egit. IIII Kal. Maii [April 28] cum melius se habere videretur, Urbinatum III. Kal. [April 29] Ferrariensium Duces, item Camerarium, Guisium, Farnesium, et Estensium Cardinales audivit. De Farnesio dixit se operam daturum ut intelligeret familiae suae beneficio Paulum III in se revixisse. Nocte sequenti haud multum quievit. Prid. Kal. [April 30] hora XII apoplexi correptus, omnes paulatim sensus amisit & hora VII noctis sequentis, quae Kal. Maii praecedit [May 1] secundo et vigesimo pontificatus die, vitae anno quinto et quinquagesimo minus sex diebus, maximo sui apud omnes bonos desiderio relicto, rebus humanis exemptus est.

He was buried in the Vatican Basilica on May 6, 1555.  The funeral oration was pronounced by Msgr. Giulio Poggiani of Novara, the first Secretary of the Congregation of the Council, then Secretary of Latin Letters for Paul IV and Pius IV.  The first Mass of the Novendiales was sung by Cardinal du Bellay [Panvinio, Epitome, p. 426]


cardinal Marcello Cervini
Cardinal Marcello Cervini
(after Bronzino)


The Second Sede Vacante

The second Interregnum lasted from May 1 to May 23, 1555.   On Wednesday, May 1, the Cardinals held a Congregation in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Palace, at which it was decided not to begin the novendiales until Monday, May 6  [Ambassador Jean d' Avanson to Henri II (May 4, 1555): Ribier II, 609; Atanagi to Tiranni (Rome, May 1, 1555)].  The Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo della Rovere, was named protector of Rome and of the Conclave.

The French Ambassador pointed out in a letter to King Henri that the Imperial party would block the candidacy of Cardinal d'Este, and that Cardinal Carafa was likely to be elected, as celuy qui semblera plus approchant en merites du Papat.

The cardinals participating were essentially the same as from the April Conclave, with Cervini (Marcellus II) now dead, but the cardinals being joined by Giovanni Morone, Otto Truchsess, Francisco de Mendoza, Pietro Pacheco, Pietro Tagliavia, Alessandro Farnese, Louis de Guise-Lorraine, and (at the very last moment) Lenoncourt  [Salvador Miranda states, for no apparent reason and without documentation, that all fifty-six cardinals participated in the Second Conclave of 1555].  Cardinal Farnese had written to King Henri II before the death of the Pope that Marcellus II was in grave condition, advising the King to send the French cardinals [Lettere di Caro II, no. 114, p. 179]:

La supplico dunque si servita inviare, con la maggior celerita che si puo, i suoi Cardinali, con quella espressa commissione ch si ricerca in un caso simile.

There was therefore ample time for all of the French cardinals to arrive in Rome in time to participate in the pratticà. The blame for the failure of the French party to appear in full strength can therefore be laid directly at the door of the French King.


Favorites and Enemies

Those favorable to the Emperor were (as in the earlier conclave) considering Cardinals Carpi, Pole and Morone.   The Duke of Florence, Cosimo I, wrote to Manrique Lara. the Imperial Ambassador in Rome on May 2 [in the translation of Petruccelli II, 86]:

Les ordres de Sa Majesté Impériale restent les mêmes que pour le conclave passé, jusqu'au moment où ils seront révoques.  Votre Seigneurie s'aidant de San Giacomo, de Santa Fiora et de Carpi, tâchera de faire réussir un homme de bien et tranquille et de le faire élire canoniquement.  Il convient aux nôtres de mettre tout leur soin pour troubler les pratiques de Ferrara et d' Urbino.  En tout cas, don Francesco de Toledo [Cardinal Francisco Mendoza de Bobadilla]  donnera ses ordres plus précis."

Mendoza, it seems, told Carafa, that he should give up all hopes of becoming pope because the Emperor did not wish it [Bromato, Storia di Paolo IV. Lib. VIII, cap. 29; Duruy p. 15 n. 2].

But Cardinal Carpi was particulary disliked by Cardinal D'Este, and there were serious questions about the orthodoxy of Cardinal Morone (Trollope, 227, derived from [Leti], Conclavi, 258). Cardinal Farnese had brought with him from France letters for the cardinals from King Henri II, recommending Cardinal Pole (Pallavicini, 139-140), and he ought to have been zealously promoting his candidacy.  He pointed out, however, in a letter to his agent in the French Court, Cavaliere Tiburzio [Lettere di Caro II,  no. 123, 189-192],  that, although Pole seemed to have the support of the Emperor and the King of France, there were some who were working vigorously to ruin his chances.  These included Carafa, Carpi, and Alvarez, all of whom were Inquisitors who had questions about Pole's orthodoxy (which actually meant questions about his willingness to discuss the theological positions of the Protestants); in fact they were hard-liners who scorned flexibility.  They were also all candidates for the Papacy.  But Pole, who had come close to the Papacy in 1550, was in England, fully occupied with restoring the English Church and building the marriage alliance between Queen Mary and King Philip, which had taken place the previous Fall. Sir John Masone, the English Ambassador in Bruxelles, wrote to the English Council (Turnbull, Calendar of State Papers #365, May 29):

In the banks at Rome are laid on the head of the Cardinal of Naples twenty for the hundred, upon Ferrara sixteen, on Pole, Fano, and Morone twelve. "If our Cardinal were present at Rome he were by the common opinion like to be made Pope."

KIng Philip, who was also King of England, favored Pole as well. The Venetian Ambassador in London, Giovanni Michiel, wrote (Friedmann, p. 44; May 21, 1555):

Forono date dal Serenissimo Re le medesme commissioni et ordeni all' ambassador cesareo in Roma et alli Cardinali confidenti in questa nova creatione del Papa dell'altra volta, proponendosi, come intendo, l'Illustrissimo Legato a tutti, et se bene all' hora non servissero, essendo prima che arrivassero dette commissioni successa la creatione, hora si crede arrivarano et servirano.

This fact is denied by Gregorio Leti (or by his conclavist source) [Conclavi de' pontefice (1667), p. 146; echoed by Pallavicino]: Polo anch' egli essendo in Inghilterra, oltre che una lontananza cosi fatta sbigottiva i proprii amici, per l' incommodo che ne poteva venire alla Chiesa, si aggiungeva, che essendo venuto quel Regno in podesta del Re Filippo, figliuolo dell' Imperatore, non si stimava, che nel segreto dovesse havere grata la grandezza di un huomo, che fosse di sangue Regio di quell' isola.    Cardinal Farnese, however, writing to Cavaliere Tiburzio on May 11, 1555 [Lettere di Caro no. 123 p. 189], says, E sebbene il Cardinal Polo e nominato anco dall' Imperatore, e dal Re d' Inghilterra appresso a quattro altri dalla sua banda con uguali raccomandazioni, che sono Santiago, Morone, Fano, e Carpi.

The Emperor himself was particularly worried that Ferrara (d'Este) might be able to ease himself onto the papal throne by outright bribery, according to reports from Sir John Masone in Bruxelles [Turnbull, Calendar of State Papers, Reign of Mary (1861), p. 166 no. 358 (May 11); p. 168 no. 360 (May 21); p. 169  no. 362 (May 23)].   Cardinal Farnese, too, believed that Ferrara and his brother the Duke were working in their own interests rather than those of the King of France [Lettere di Caro II, 191-192].  The fear soon began to dissipate, at least as far as Ferrara personally was concerned. 

Surprisingly, one of Pole's opponents was the French Cardinal du Bellay.  According to Farnese, his ambition was to become Dean of the Sacred College and Bishop of Ostia. He could not do so as long as Carafa held the post.  But if du Bellay supported Carafa rather than Pole, then his wish could be fulfilled [Lettere di Caro II, no. 123, p. 190; Pallavicino XIII, xi. 8].   On May 9 it became known that Cardinal du Bellay had changed his stance, and that he would not continue in the service of the King of France, following his written directions, but would follow his conscience [Serristori to the Duke of Florence (May 9, 1555), in  Legazioni di Averardo Serristori Ambasciatore di Cosimo I a Carlo quinto (1853), p. 352].  This was a blow to Ferrara.  Without a united French faction behind him, he could not hope to advance his own candidacy.  And yet, he redoubled his efforts in his own behalf.  His brother the Duke remarked to Serristori that he expected that the Duke of Florence would make his votes available to his brother.

Another of the hopefuls was the Cardinal of Fano, Pietro Bertani, OP, a native of Modena.  On May 10, the French Ambassador, d'Avanson, wrote to the Constable Anne de Montmorency [Ribier II, p. 611; Coggiola, pp. 215-220]  that he had been visited by a former employee of the French Embassy in Rome, now an agent of Fano.  He informed the ambassador that Fano was willing to enter into a League with the King of France in exchange for the French votes at the approaching Conclave.  The League would have as its purpose the expulsion of the Emperor from Italy;  the King would recover the Duchy of Milan;  Siena would be liberated;  Parma and Piacenza would be left in the hands of the Farnese, though as feudatories of the Church rather than the Emperor; the King would assist in the recovery of Church territories currently in the hands of the Emperor.  As the Ambassador remarked, these were proposals of great consequence.  In fact, they would have brought war to all of Italy on the scale of 1525-1527, which had resulted in the humiliation of the French king and the Sack of Rome. King Henri had also been approached by the Duke of Ferrara directly, who had vouched for the Cardinal of Fano.  Henri, however, stated to d'Avanson [Ribier II, p. 611 (May 22, 1555)]: Je vous laisse à penser ce que je puis dire d'un Personage de la qualité dudit Fano, et qui s'est tousjours montré si aliené de moy.   Fano's name was certainly being talked up in the pre-conclave pratticà,  but by the Imperialists Sforza, Madruzzo and Gonzaga [Serristori to Cosimo I, May 13 (Coggiola, p. 220 n. 1)].  His name produced a strong negative reaction from the two Farnese, Crispi, Durante, Mercurio, Mignanelli, Puteo, and Ricci.  Naturally, those who supported the candidacy of d'Este (Ferrara) were annoyed as well.

On Saturday, May 11, Cardinals Doria of Genoa, Mendoza of Burgos, and Madruzzi of Trent arrived in Rome [See Druffel IV, p. 651; Coggiola no. 2, p. 70].



On Wednesday, May 15, the Conclave began with forty-four (Pallavicino) or forty-five (Bromato II, p. 206; Panvinio; Novaes, 107) cardinals present, and eleven cardinals absent. These figures probably actually represent the final number of cardinals present at the last scrutiny. The Mass of the Holy Spirit was sung by Cardinal Rodolfo Pio di Carpi, the Bishop of Tusculum (Frascati).  The oration de pontifice eligendo was pronounced by the Referendary Apostolic, Uberto Folietta of Genoa [Panvinio, Epitome p. 426]. . The Imperial Ambassador informed Cardinal Carafa that he should not seek election to the papacy, as the Emperor Charles V was opposed to him and would invoke the Veto (exclusiva). Carafa replied that if God wanted him to be pope, the Emperor had no power to stop it.  The French candidate was again the Cardinal of Ferrara, Ippolito d' Este, who was a personal friend and sometime courtier of François I and Henri II  [Ribier II, 604-605]. 

On the 16th and/or 17th the Cardinals spent a certain amount of time working on the traditional Electoral Capitulations.  In the final document there were only five sections, whose contents were mostly a repetition of earlier documents: a provision against alienation of Church property in favor of secular rulers without the consent of the College of Cardinals; a provision against interference in the benefices or incomes of cardinals; a prohibition against making war or entering into a league against one prince or another, except in extreme emergency and with the consent of the Cardinals; and a provision requiring that provisions and benefices be handled in Consistory, and that bulls should not be issued through papal secretaries, but through the regular processes of the Chancellery and the Apostolic Camera.  There was a new provision, however, which embodied Constitution of Julius III, which forbade the granting of the cardinalate to two brothers at the same time.  The only current cardinals who might have been in that situation were the Farnese brothers.  The Constitution would have limited the power of a pope in the future in the case of pairs of nephews.

The first scrutiny took place on Saturday, May 18.  As in the previous conclave in April, there was no accessio on the first scrutiny. The results were [Onuphrio Camaiani to Averardo Serristori, for Duke Cosimo (May 18, 1555), in  Coggiola, 455 n. 1]:



The votes for Morone and Carpi certainly did not come from the French faction.   Morone also had enemies who were working against any accommodation [Coggiola, pp. 212-214]. Alvarez was a candidate of the Imperial faction, and of serious religionists (later to be called Zelanti); the reason for his good showing is the intense pratticà in his favor organized by Cardinal Ridolfo Pio di Carpi.  But neither he nor Pole lasted beyond the first scrutiny.  What of the votes for Pole?   Were the French and the Imperialists both doing their duty to vote for him?  But where were all the votes for Ferrara (d'Este)?  No votes for Farnese?  Can this be a complete record of the scrutiny?

On the 19th, Camaiani reported that S. Giacomo (Carpi) had more votes in the scrutiny than anyone else (the profit of having organized in favor of the now forgotten Alvarez), though the votes of Morone were more firmly based than any other of the candidates. In other words, the factions were in such a state of flux that all the votes had to be considered "soft", rather than firm committments. Pacecco and Madruzzo were trying to get everyone to agree on Carpi, saying that they were committed to voting for no one who was not a member of their own faction.  But, by not voting outside of their faction, thery were in effect, by voting for one member, giving a veto against the other candidates in the same faction.  So, all of Mendoza's work for Carpi in fact meant the virtual exclusion of Pole and Morone, without necessarily advancing the candidacy of Carpi.  Neither the French nor, apparently, the creature of Julius III were prepared to support Carpi, however, and his candidacy was gradually abandoned.   But as Carpi weakened, the Imperialists. led by Sforza [Histoire des conclaves I, p. 120],  looked with some favor on another alternative, Cardinal Puteo. Camaiani reported from inside the Conclave on May 21: Altro candidato in buonissima posizione era Puteo.  I partigiani di S. Giacomo cercavano secretamente di radunar voti in suo favore: tutto stava a far si che una risoluzione venisse prima dell' arrivo dei cardinali francesi.  A stalemate was in development.

The Cardinal of Fano, Pietro Bertani, OP, was also being promoted—by himself as much as by anyone else—and had some support from the creature of Julius III and the French, but he too could not advance beyond a certain point.  As Camaiani put it, on May 19, Le cose di Fano vanno più presto raffreddando vendendosi in effetto che delli imperiali ce ne sono alcuni non ben disposti vero di lui et delli iuliani il medesimo et il card. Farnese non fa altro che fargli contra ogni offitio.  Another virtual exclusiva.   After the Conclave, on May 24, Camaiani had more to say about the collapse of Fano: desperati di poter far Fano, al qual non volevano acconsentir molti di loro et Montepulciano [Ricci] et molti altri, oltra la guerra che li facea Farnese   [Setton, p. 619 n. 7].

The French faction faced the same situation. It had active candidates in Ferrara (d'Este), Farnese, and du Bellay.  And it had an official preference list from King Herri II.  As the French Ambassador d'Avanson remarked in a letter to the Constable of France on May 25, after the Election of Carafa, "Monseigneur,  c'est chose asseurée que les Cardinaux de Ferrare, Farnése et du Bellay pretendoient tous trois au Papat, et qu'il n y a aucune amitié entr'eux, chacun pratiquant pour soy les Cardinaux qu'il connoist luy estre plus favorables: s'ils estoient tous unis, et que chacun d'eux voulust faire ce qu'il pouroit, pour l'intention et service du Roy, les affaires de sa Majeste en iroient beaucoup mieux."  Ambition and discord made the success of a French candidate impossible.  They excluded each other.  And it would not be until it was clear to everyone that the official candidates all lacked viability that a compromise candidate could begin to gather wide support.

Camaiani reported on the 21st that Cardinal Morone had received 18 votes in the scrutiny (his voters being persistent and loyal), the struggle being again between Morone and Carpi [Coggiola, p. 464 n. 1].  But the constant opposition of Ferrara and the indecisiveness of Carafa impeded any resolution of the conflict. He also remarks that the French cardinals had not yet arrived [Camiano to Serristori (May 21, 1555): Coggiola, pp. 461-462, n. 1]

Cardinal Robert de Lenoncourt arrived at the Conclave at the second hour of the night of May 22, and joined the faction of Carafa [letter of May 23 from the Bishop of Pola to the Duke of Parma: Coggiola, p. 467].

Election of Carafa of Naples

Alessandro Cardinal Farnese (who had played no role in the politics of the first conclave, having arrived in Rome too late) and Cardinal d'Este (Ferrara) proposed Carafa.   This they had done after it became clear that none of the official French candidates would be able to win the two-thirds of the votes necessary for a canonical election.  Farnese's preference—which he was, for a long time, reluctant to abandon— had been for Cardinal Pole.  Ferrara, of course, had been pressing his own candidacy with the vigorous assistance of his brother, the Duke of Ferrara.

What happened next, within a thirty-six hour period on March 22 and March 23, can be reconstructed as follows [based on Setton, pp. 618-620, based on Santosuosso, based on Camaiani]:

On the Feast of the Ascension, May 23, 1555, forty-four cardinals elected one of the leaders of the reform party, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, the Archbishop of Naples, Giampetro Carafa (Paul IV). The method of election was "adoration". The French faction certainly had succeeded in defying the attempted Imperial veto.  Cardinal Farnese immediately sent of to the King of France a report of the outcome of the Conclave and the defeat of the Imperialists, thanks to the efforts of the Cardinal de Guise and Cardinal d'Este.  He also wrote in more detail to his Agent at the French court, Tiburzio, about the failure of the d'Este candidacy. [Annibal Caro,  Delle lettere familiari del commendatore Annibal Caro (ed. Seghezzi)  VI (Bologna 1820), no. 5 and 6, pp. 17-20].

Panvinio ["Life of Paul IV",  p. 433] notes the influence of Farnese on the election:

Mortuo Marcello, apud quem summum gratiae et dignitatis locum obtinuerat, X. Kal. Iunii die Ascensionis Comitiis in Vaticano habitis post non longas quidem, sed acerrimas comitiales contentiones, aliquot ex collegio patribus Caesarianae factionis vehementer repugnantibus, tandem Alexandro Farnesio qui ei studebat praevalente, IIII et XL. patrum suffragiis Romanus Pontifex quum esset sui ordinis princeps, annum natus LXXIX. creatus, Pauli nomine, beneficiorum sibi a Farnesiis collatorum memor, assumpto, proximo die dominico maiorum more ante Basilicam Vaticanam coronatus est, magna et universali hominum, qui eius severitatem timebant, moestitis.


Pope Paul IV was crowned on Sunday, May 26, on the steps of St. Peter's [Acta Consistorialia, in Baronius-Theiner 33, no. 22, p. 520], ubi Benedictio a Pontificibus dari solet, by the Cardinal Protodeacon, Francesco Pisano. 

On Thursday, May 30, the Duke of Ferrara was received in a public Consistory, and he swore his oath of allegiance:

Romae, die Jovis XXX mensis Maii MDLV, fuit Consistorium publicum, in quo illustrissimus dux Ferrariensis [Alfonso d'Este], qui antea pro praestanda obedientia felicis recordationis Marcello ad Urbem advenerat, eodem Marcello mortuo, hujusmodi obedientiam ei non praestitam, et Joanne Petro divina favente clementia episcopo Ostiensi ad summi Apostolatus apicem, cum denominatione Pauli PP. IV assumpto, habita prius pere suum orationem, seu secretarium, eleganti oratione, obedientiam devotam eidem Paulo praestitit, a quo benigne exceptus est.

At his first consistory, on June 7, 1555, Paul IV authorized the promotion of the Cardinal Protodeacon to be Cardinal Bishop of Albano and created one new cardinal, the son of his brother, Carlo Carafa (aged 38), Baliff of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Naples, who, in August, became the Cardinal Deacon of SS. Vito e Modesto.   Already in July, Paul IV notified the resident Ambassadors that he was associating with himself the new cardinal, in the conduct of affairs and negotiations relating to the Church and the Holy See [Ancel, p. 411].

On Monday, October 28, 1555, Paul IV took possession of his cathedral church, the Lateran Basilica (Novaes, 107).


Antonio Caracciolo, O.Theat.  Vita di Paolo IV   Liber IV, cap. 1  [Duruy, xxiii-xxvi]. [ms. 2 vols. Barberini LIV. 47-48].  Duruy states (p. 14 n. 2: "La source principale pour le Conclave de Paul IV est l' histoire de Caracciolo".  

The report of an "anonymous" Conclavist at the first Conclave of 1555: Girolamo Ruscelli (editor),  Lettere di principi, le quali si scrivono, o da principi, o a principi, o ragionano di principi Libro Terzo (Venezia: Giordano Ziletti 1577), 232-235. Francesco Cancellieri, Notizie istoriche delle stagioni e de' siti in cui sono stati tenuti i conclavi nella città di Roma... (Roma 1823), 37-46 (This is, in fact, a letter of Dionigi Atanagi to Felice Tiranni, Bishop of Verona). The letter can be found complete in Descrizione veridica del conclave e delle cerimonie che si praticano in Roma per la elezione del Romano Pontefice (Milano: Angelo Bonfanti 1846), pp. 61-72.    Other important letters can be found in Girolamo Ruscelli (editor), Lettere di Principi, le quali o si scrivono da principi, o a principi, o a ragionan di principi   Libro Primo  (Venetia, Giordano Ziletti 1562)

Historia B. Platinae de vitis pontificum Romanorum ... ad Paulum II...annotationum Onuphrii Panvinii ... cui, eiusdem Onuphrii ... Pontificum vitae usque ad Pium V (Colonia: apud: Maternum Cholinum MDLXVIII) [Panvinio, "Life of Marcellus II", pp. 423-430].   Onuphrio Panvinio, Epitome Pontificum Romanorum a S. Petro usque ad Paulum IIII. Gestorum (videlicet) electionisque singulorum & Conclavium compendiaria narratio (Venice: Jacob Strada 1557). Giovanni Antonio Petramellari, Ad librum Onuphrii Panvinii de summis Pontif. et S.R.E. Cardinalibus a Paulo Quarto ad Clementis Octavi annum pontificatus octavum Continuatio (Bononiae: Heredes Joahnnis Rosij 1599), 1-53. Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa Tomo Quarto (Roma: Pagliarini 1793). 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].  Carlo Bromato [Bartolomeo Cararra], Storia di Paolo IV. Pontefice massimo  2 vols.  (Ravenna: Antonmaria Landi 1748, 1753), Vol. 2, pp. 196-217.

Guillaume Ribier (ed.), Lettres et Memoires d' Estat, des roys, princes, ambassadeurs et autres Ministres, sous les Regnes de Francois premier, Henry II. et François II  Tome second (Paris 1666).  Champollion-Figeac, father and son (editors), Nouvelle collection des Memoires a l' histoire de France.... Tome sixieme: Francois de Lorraine, le Prince de Conde, Antoine du Puget (Paris: Firman Didot 1839) [Michaud et Poujoulat].

Alessandro Farnese,  Delle Lettere del Commendatore Annibal Caro, scritte a nome del Cardinale Alessandro Farnese  Volume II (Padova: Giuseppe Comino, 1765) [Lettere di Caro II]

Sebastiano Massarelli, Diarium Septimum, in Sebastian Merkle (editor), Concilium Tridentinum (1911) [Massarelli was the Secretary of the Council of Trent, and worked with Cervini, Morone, Pole, and Carafa].  Francesco Maria Sforza Cardinal Pallavicino, S.J. (1607-1667), Istoria del Concilio di Trento [1656; 1664] Tomo VII (Roma 1846), 131-150.

Eugenio Alberi, 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].

For details of the conclaves of 1555, see Giuseppe de Novaes, Elementi della storia de' sommi pontefici da San Pietro sino al ... Pio Papa VII   third edition, Volume 7 (Roma 1822) 94-96 and 105-106. L. Ranke, The Ecclesiastical and Political History of the Popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Volume I (tr. S. Austin) (Philadelphia 1841); Alexis François Artaud de Montor, Histoire de pontifes IV (Paris 1851), pp. 163-164; 171-172.   Antonio Caracciolo, De vita Pauli Quarti Pont. Max. collectanea historica (Coloniae Ubiorum: ex officina Joannis Kinckii 1612).   George Duruy, Le Cardinal Carlo Carafa (1519-1561): Étude sur le Pontificat de Paul IV (Paris 1882) 11-16.  Gustavo Boralevi,  I primi mesi del pontificato di Paolo IV (Livorno: Raffaele Giusti 1888).

For the first conclave: [Gregorio Leti], Conclavi de' Pontifici Romani Volume I (Cologne 1692), 238-255. G. Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Vol. 42 (Venezia 1847) p. 243. W C. Cartwright, On the Constitution of Papal Conclaves (Edinburgh 1878) 73-75. Ferdinando Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves Volume II (Paris: 1864) 65-103. Ludwig Wahrmund, Das Ausschliessungs-recht (jus exclusivae) der katholischen Staaten Österreich, Frankreich und Spanien bei den Papstwahlen (Wien: Holder 1888), 73-74.  J. B. Sägmüller, Die Papstwahlen und die Staaten von 1447 bis 1555 (Tübingen: H. Laupp 1890), 200-210. J. B. Sägmüller, Die Papstwahlbullen und das staatliche Recht der Exklusive (Tuebingen: H. Laupp 1892), 1-35, especially 35. Anton Pieper, Die päpstlichen Legaten und Nuntien in Deutschland, Frankreich und Spanien I. Theil. Die Legaten und Nuntien Julius' III, Marcellus' II, und Paul's IV (1550-1559) und ihre Instruktionen (Münster 1897), 71-74.  August von Druffel (ed. Karl Brandi)  Beiträge zur Reichsgeschichte, 1553-1555 (München 1896) [Briefe  und Akten zur Geschichte des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts, IV]

For the second,  [Gregorio Leti], Conclavi de' Pontefici Romani (1667).   [Gregorio Leti] Conclavi de' Pontifici Romani Volume (Cologne 1692), 256-277. Histoire des conclaves I (Cologne, 1703), 118-127   T. Adolphus Trollope, The Papal Conclaves, as the were and as they are (London 1876), 224-230. Ludwig.Wahrmund, Das Ausschliessungs-recht (jus exclusivae) der katholischen Staaten Österreich, Frankreich und Spanien bei den Papstwahlen (Wien: Holder 1888) 74-76. J. B. Sägmüller, Die Papstwahlen, 210-219. J. B. Sägmüller, Die Papstwahlbullen, 36-42.  G. Coggiola, "I Farnesi e il conclave di Paolo IV con documenti inediti," Studi Storici 9 (1900) 61-91, 203-227, 449-479.   F. Segmüller, "Die Wahl des Papstes Paul IV. und die Obedienzgesandtschaft der Eidgenossen," Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Kirchengeschichte 3 (1909) 1-29, 131-150.  Kenneth Setton, The Papacy and the Levant (1204-1571). Volume IV: The Sixteenth Century, from Juolius III to Pius V (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society 1984).

A. Santosuosso, "An Account of the Election of Paul IV to the Pontificate," Renaissance Quarterly 31 (1978), 486-498.  G.M. Monti, Ricerche su papa Paolo IV Carafa (Benevento 1925). P. Paschini, San Gaetano Thiene, Gian Pietro Carafa e le origini dei chierici regolari teatini  (Roma 1926).  Rene Ancel, OSB, "La sécrétairerie pontificale sous Paul IV,"   Revue des questions historiques   n.s. 35 (1906) 408-470.

Pietro Polidori, De vita gestis et moribus Marcelli II P M Commentarius (Roma 1744).

On Cardinal Pole's illness and absence: Paul Friedmann (editor), Les dépêches de Giovanni Michiel, Ambassadeur de Vinise en Angleterre pendent les années 1554-1557 (Venice 1869), p. 31-32 (April 15, 1555), 35 (April 25, 1555), 38 (May 6: the Cardinal has received a renewal of his Legateship from Pope Marcellus). William B. Turnbull (editor), Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, of the Reign of Mary, 1553-1558 (London 1861), p. 164 #348 (Sir John Masone, in Bruxelles, to the Council, April 26, 1555, announcing that letters had been received from Pope Marcellus to the Emperor, Cardinal Pole, and others. "The man is much commended for his wisdom and all other good parts fit for the place. Void of corruption, and not wont to be led by any partial affection")

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. 343-354.

Antonio Tabo, La Obedienza data alla santita Paulo IV. dalli Oratori del Re d' Inghilterra, in nome del suo Re e di tutto quel Regno (1555) [non vidi].

Antonius Maria Gratianus (Bishop of Amelia, 1592-1611), Vita Joannis Moroni  [Codex Vallicellanus L.4; Laemmer Meletematum p. 147 n. 1: vitam praecipuam quatuor distinctam libris elegantissime scripsit]  [non vidi].

F. Russo, "Il cardinale Durante Duranti di Brescia,"  Brixia sacra n.s. 13 (1978), 93-111.

October 23, 2015 3:11 PM

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