(July 8, 1623—August 6, 1623)

Gregory XV and Card. Ludovisi
from Bonnini
cf. Berman, p. 133, 1683

Ippolito Aldobrandini (aged 27) [Romanus], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria Nuova (1621-1626). great-nephew of Pope Clement VIII, nephew of Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini; his sister Margherita was Duchess of Parma.  He was created cardinal by Gregory XV (Ludovisi) on April 19, 1621.   Camerlengo (June 7, 1623-July 19, 1638)  [See Ranier Zeno, in Relazioni, p. 461: the office was Ludovisi's (who had been Chamberlain from 1621-1623), but he passed it on to his follower Aldobrandini, and took the Vice-Chancellorship in preference. Zeno noted a tendency to corpulence in Aldobrandini 'beyond measure', and predicted a short life for him].  Cardinal Aldobrandini died at the age of 42, on July 19, 1638, and was interred in the Minerva [Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 16 n. 10 (from the Acta Consistorialia)].


The Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals was Cardinal Antonio Maria Sauli, Bishop of Ostia and Velletri.   Originally from Genoa, Sauli was educated in the Universities of Florence, Bologna, Pisa and Padua. He began his career as a diplomat in the service of Genoa, but was brought to Rome by Pius IV and made a Referendary in the Signatures of Justice. Gregory XIII appointed him Nuntius to Naples, where he served for five years, and managed to preserve the rights of the Church in that kingdom. He was then dispatched as Internuncio to Portugal, to convince Cardinal Henry, the King of Portugal since August of 1578, to name a successor to the disputed throne. He failed in his task, and the result on the death of Cardinal Henry in January of 1580 was a war in which Philip II of Spain, one of the claimants through his mother, Isabella of Portugal. Philip conquered the country and incorporated the Crown of Portugal into his collection of titles and territories. Pope Gregory gave Sauli no further assignments. In 1585 Sauli was appointed by Sixtus V as coadjutor to the Archbishop of Genoa, and in 1586 he succeed to the Archbishopric, a post he held until 1591. In December of 1587 he was named Cardinal by Sixtus V and given the titulus of S. Vitale (1588-1591). In 1591 he opted for the titulus of S. Stefano al Monte Celio, and in 1603 for that of S. Maria in Trastevere. In 1607 he was appointed Cardinal Bishop of Albano by Pope Paul V, which he exchanged for that of Sabina in 1611. He was promoted to Cardinal Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina in 1615, and finally to Cardinal Bishop of Ostia e Velletri and Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1620. He died on September 24, 1624. [Ciaconius-Olduin IV, 177; Cardella V, 276-278]

The Cardinal Chamberlain was Ippolito Aldobrandini (aged 27), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria Nuova (1621-1626). (died July 19, 1638). Camerlengo (June 7, 1623-July 19, 1638)


The Governor of the Conclave was Msgr. Alessandro Cesarini  [Novaes 9, p. 194 n.], a Cleric in the Camera Apostolica. He was made Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica in 1627.

The Secretary of the Sacred College of Cardinals and Secretary of the Conclave was Msgr. Muzio Riccieri  [Gattico I, 352].

The Maestri di ceremonie were Paolo Alaleone, Giovanni Battista Alaleone, Carlo Antonio Vaccario, and Pietro Ciammaricone [L. Cherubini et al., Magnum Bullarium Romanum editio novissima Tomus Quartus (Lugduni 1712), p. 4]



The Holy Roman Emperor, Matthias (Hapsburg), who had no heir, had attempted to arrange the succession to the Empire in view of his approaching death.   In 1617, he arranged for his cousin, Ferdinand of Styria, to be elected to the thrones of Bohemia and Hungary. Ferdinand was a Catholic, which caused the Protestant leaders of Bohemia to fear for their religious security. They had proposed an alternative in Frederick V, the Palatine Elector. But when Ferdinand was elected, and sent commissioners to assume the government of Bohemia, the Protestant leaders defenestrated them (May 23, 1618) and began the Bohemian Revolt. When Matthias finally died in 1618, the revolting Bohemians appealed for support from their protestant coreligionists, and a regional conflict became a European war. The Bohemians were assisted for a time by Carlo Emmanuele I of Savoy (who saw the conflict as an opprotunity to weaken Imperial Austria). The loss of the Battle of Sablat (June 10, 1619) changed that. The Spanish sent an army from the Netherlands under the command of Marquis Ambrosio Spinola, to assist the Emperor Ferdinand II. Frederick V, the head of the Protestant Union, was defeated by the forces of the Empire at the White Mountain, on November 8, 1620. Frederick went into permanent exile, the Protestant Union dissolved, Bohemia became firmly Catholic (with many of its nobility dispossessed), and the Spanish seized Frederick's territory in the Rhenish Palatinate, a move which seriously disturbed the French, who felt themselves increasingly surrounded by Hapsburgs and threatened by internal revolts of the protestant Huguenots.

In sending forces to the aid of the Austrian Hapsburgs, the Spanish faced serious difficulties, the more so when they took possession of the Palatinate. To send troops and supplies by sea to the Netherlands and then up the Rhine involved immense logistical problems, complicated by the hostility of Catholic France and Protestant England. As it was, their grip on the Netherlands was constantly and expensively threatened by the Dutch, the Flemish and the French. An obvious alternate route for logistics was by way of Genoa and the (Spanish) Duchy of Milan into Upper Austria. It was desirable for Spain to seize the Valtelline (valley of the Adda River), which would complete the route, but this would involve conflict with France, Savoy, Venice, and others. The only other route was through Venetian territory, which would have a similar result. The Valtelline was Catholic, while its overlords, the League of Grisons, was Protestant.

In 1602, Henri IV had negotiated with the Grisons, at a considerable cost, the right of passage through the four major alpine passes that led down into the Valtelline. The Venetians did the same thing in 1603. The Spanish governor of Milan, Fuentes, then closed the lower Adda, which seriously interrupted Lombard trading. In 1617, the Spanish attempted to starve out the Grisons unless they opened the alpine passes to the Spanish troops. On July 20, 1620, some 400 Protestants in the Valtelline were massacred by Catholics who had been armed by the Spanish in Milan. Immediately Spanish troops moved in and occupied the valley. A treaty was negotiated at Madrid in April of 1621, which restored the Valtelline to the Grisons, who were assured freedom of Protestant worship.

The Venetians were highly disturbed by the succession of events. In May, 1621, the extraordinary ambassadors sent to the new Pope Gregory XV made their report to the Doge and Senate of Venice. Geronomo Soranzo explained [Ranke, History of the Popes. Their Church and State revised edition III (1901), pp. 329-330]:

The Spaniards submitted to the consideration of His Holiness the favorable opportunity now presenting itself for reviving the claims of the Church in the Gulf [of Venice]. The ambassador labored to show the just, ancient, and indubitable possession of the gulf; adding that the Republic would have recourse to foreign aid to defend it, and would avail itself of the English and Dutch—nay even of the Turks themselves; and that if His Holiness fomented the unjust and unfair pretensions of the Spaniards, he would throw all Christendom into the utmost confusion. One day His Holiness said to me: 'We consider innovations that have taken place there have displeased us greatly; we have said this to whomsoever hath spoken to us of the matter.' ... In the election of Gregory XV the operation of the Holy Spirit was made manifest. Borghese, who had the command of six votes more than were required to make the pope at his own pleasure, had resolved to have Campori elected; but three of his creatures dissenting, and other obstacles afterward arising, he was induced to nominate his creature Ludovisio: but more by the instigation of others than by his own inclination. This cardinal possessed the good-will of Aldobrandino; he was believed by the Spaniards to entertain pacific dispositions, and the French considered him to be their friend.

Pope Paul V (Borghese) died on January 28, 1621, in the midst of the crisis, and was succeeded on February 9 by Gregory XV (Ludovisi). Gregory knew the problems intimately, since he had negotiated the peace between Carlo Emmanuele I of Savoy and Philip III of Spain in 1616, for which he received the red hat of a Cardinal. As soon as he became Pope he sent Bishop Carlo Carafa as Nuncio to the Emperor, with the mission of restoring Catholicism in Bohemia [His Instructions are summarized by Ranke, History of the Popes. Their Church and State revised edition III (1901), pp. 332-334]. He also supported the transfer of the Electorship which had belonged to Frederick V (a Protestant) to Maximilian of Bavaria (a Catholic). He also encouraged King Philip III to break the truce which kept the Spanish Netherlands quiet. All this in the interests of a Catholicism victorious at the White Mountain. The Church of S. Paolo near the Terme di Diocleziano was renamed S. Maria della Vittoria, and the image of the Virgin Mary which had led the Catholics to victory at the White Mountain was enshrined there.

King Philip III of Spain died on March 31, 1621, leaving his son to honor the terms of the treaty which were being finalized (Arezio, p. 1). France negotiated a treaty with Savoy and Venice in February, 1623, to work for the surrender of the Spanish forts in the Valtelline, and the Spanish Minister, the Count-Duke of Olivares, agreed to hand the forts over to Papal troops and to guarantee free passage for all. Pope Gregory sent his brother, the Duke of Fiano, with several companies of soldiers, to the Grisons. During the four months of the Papal occupation, the forts were to be dismantled. The treaty was not observed, however, by the French or the Venetians, who attacked the Papal garrisons in the area [Ranke III, p. 342-343]. Gregory died on July 9, just as the four-month term was expiring. It would be up to the new Pope to decide what his next move would be in the Valtelline. He would also have to shoulder the burden of the Thirty Years' War.


Death of Pope Gregory XV

Gregory XV and Card. LudovisiGregory XV (Alessandro Ludovisi) was sixty-seven years old when he was elected Pope on February 9, 1621, and he was in frail health. He was supported in his office by his nephew, the twenty-something Ludovico Ludovisi, who was made a Cardinal and loaded with every sort of office and privilege. It was he who conducted most papal business in the two and a half year reign. Of him, the Venetian Ambassador, Renier Zeno, wrote [Relazioni, p. 460]:

È d' ingenio vivacissimo, l' ha dimostrato nel suo governo per l'abbondanza dei partiti che in ogni grave trattatione li suggerivano li suoi spiriti nati per comandare, i quali se bene in molte parti abusavano dello scopo della buona politica, nondimeno l' intrepidezza con la quale si mostrava pronto ad abbracciare ogni ripiego appreso da lui per buono, poco curandosi dei consigli di chi gli haveria potuto esser maestro, davano a vedere, che con la sua natura sdegnava una privata conditione, et è credibile che s' egli non fosse stato raffrenato dal timore in che era tenuto per la mancante vita del zio, nessuno humano rispetto haverebbe ritardato, ciò che nella mente gli fosse potuto nascere anche contro Cardinali, due dei quali che si tenevano offesi da lui, coiè Savoja ed Este, et che conseguentemente gli havevano molta avversione, non han saputo negare che egli non sia gran negotiatore, ma troppo artificioso.

The affairs of the city of Rome, spiritual and temporal, were in the hands of the Vicar, Cardinal Mellini, an administrator of great intelligence and ability.  Renier Zeno says of him [Relazioni, p. 461]:

Gode al presente meritamente di questa dignità il Cardinale Mellino, soggetto che d' intelligenza ha pochi pari nel collegio, versatissimo in ogni material ecclesiastica e negli affair del mondo. Non ho trovato Cardinale che capisca meglio l' interessi dei Principi di questo, e parmi che s' egli fosse stato assunto al Pontificato, da che rispetti piccoli l' han solamente tenuto addietro.... poiche gli Spagnuoli lo tengono per ltutto suo, a lui in questo stato torna bene essere tenuto tale, ma arrivato a poter comandare, i concetti che ho scoperti in lui, mi rendono probabile congettura che gl' Italiani n' haverebbero havuto la meglio.

Pope Gregory suffered from kidney stones [Novaes, Elementi 9, p. 188]. On Saturday, July 1, 1623, Abbate Scaglia, an official of the Chancellery, wrote to the Duke of Savoy, "The Pope has been in bed for fifteen days. His illness began with diarrhoea, then a stomach disorder and a loss of appetite."   On Tuesday, July 4, "More concern over the life of the Pope. Since Saturday tertian fever has been added to his malady, which has fatigued him and is leading toward the tomb at a moment when no one is paying attention to it." [Petruccelli III, p. 40]. On Wednesday, July 5, the Pope received the Viaticum, and on July 6 Extreme Unction. That evening his fever returned, and the consensus was that he had not long to live.

Pope Gregory XV died on Saturday, July 8, 1623, at the age of 70, in the Quirinal Palace.  He was eventually buried in the Church of S. Ignazio, which would be built by his nephew, Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, in 1626.

The first Congregation of Cardinals took place on Sunday, July 9. At that meeting the Ring of the Fisherman was broken as well as the papal seals.


The Cardinals

A list of the participants is to be found in the Bull of Urban VIII which grants privileges and graces to the Conclavists who participated [Cherubini et al., Magnum Bullarium Romanum editio novissima Tomus Quartus (Lugduni 1712), pp. 4-5]. See also Ciaconius-Olduin IV, columns 496-497. Gauchat, Hierarchia Catholica IV (Monasterii 1935), p. 17, n. 1.

The Conclave would be conducted according to a new set of Regulations promulgated by Gregory XV in the Bull, Decet Romanum Pontificem [Bullarium Romanum (Turin edition) 12, LII, pp. 662-673 (March 12, 1622)].  The members of the drafting committee had been Cardinals Sauli (Ostia), Sforza (Tusculum), Bandini (Palestrina), Millini (SS IV Coronatorum), Ubaldini (SS. Bonifacio ed Alessio), Cobelluzzi (S. Susanna), Ludovisi (Camerlengo), and Sacrati (S. Maria in Merulana); Paolo Alaleone (Magister Caerimoniarum) and Francesco Ingoli.


Cardinals attending:

  1. Antonio Maria Sauli (aged 82), Bishop of Ostia e Velletri (1620-1623), Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. (died August 24, 1623) Protector of the entire order of S. Augustine. Doctorate in law (Padua)
  2. Francesco Maria Bourbon del Monte Santa Maria (aged 74), [Picenum, born in Venice], son of Raynerio del Monte and Minerva Pianosa of Pesaro.  Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina (1621-1623).   He had been Auditor of Cardinal Alessandro Sforza (1565-1581), a nephew of Paul III.  Referendary of the Two Signatures. He was created Cardinal in 1588 by Sixtus V, with the Deaconry of S. Maria in Domnica; he was promoted Cardinal Priest of S. Quirico e Giulitta in 1591. From 1592-1611 he was Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Aracoeli, and then of S. Maria in Trastevere (1611-1612).  He then opted for S. Lorenzo in Lucina (1612-1615.  In 1615 he entered the Order of Cardinal Bishops with the See of Palestrina (1615-1621).  (died August 27, 1627).  [è un cadavero spirante, non molto grato ai Spagnuoli troppo intrinseco dei Fiorentine et come tale di gelosia negli emuli della grandezza dei Medici—Raniero Zeno, p. 162]
  3. Francesco Sforza di Santa Fiora [Parma, Romanus] (aged 60), Bishop of Tusculum (Frascati) (1620-1623). (died September 9, 1624). Grand-nephew of Pope Paul III.  [The ambassadors extraordinary of 1621 believed that, even though he was Spanish in outlook, nonetheless the treatment he had received during the Conclave of 1621 from the Spanish representatives made him resentful (Relazioni, 121).  But, according to Rainero Zeno in 1623, È gran praticone... ma è ristretto indissolubilmente con gli Spagnuoli.]
  4. Odoardo Farnese (aged 49), brother of the Duke of Parma.  Bishop of Sabina (1621-1623) (died February 21, 1626)
  5. Ottavio Bandini (aged 65) [Florentinus], Bishop of Palestrina (1621-1624).  Cardinal Priest of S. Sabina (1596–1615).  He was born in Florence (October 25, 1558), and educated at Florence, Paris, Salamanca and Pisa (where he obtained a law degree, Doctor in utroque iure). He served as a lawyer and administrator in the Papal States from 1572. Gregory XIII made him a Protonotary Apostolic. Sixtus V made him governor of Fermo in 1586, and in 1590 he was Presidente delle Marche. At the Conclave of 1590 he was Governor of the Conclave and Prefect of the Borgo. Gregory XIV wanted to appoint him Datary in 1590, but the Olivares objected.  Clement VIII made him Governor of Bologna in 1592.   He became Archbishop of Fermo in 1595  (1595–1606). Bandini was named Cardinal on June 5, 1596, and assigned the titulus of S. Sabina on June 21, 1596. In 1598 the Cardinal was sent to Picenum as legate to restore order in the face of brigands.   In 1621 he was promoted to be Cardinal Bishop of Palestrina, which he exchanged for Porto and Santa Rufina in 1624. He became Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and Bishop of Ostia on September 7, 1626. He died in Rome on August 1, 1629 at the age of 72.  His funeral took place at S. Agostino, and he was buried in S. Silvestro al Quirinale.  He participated in the two Conclaves of 1605, and those of 1621 and 1623.  He had two enemies, the Borghese and the Medici. A Bandino had been one of the principal conspirators in the assassination of Giuliano de' Medici [Histoire des conclaves I, 372].
  6. Giovanni Battista Deti (aged 47), Bishop of Albano (1623-1626) (died July 13, 1630).

  7. Federico Borromeo (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli (1593-1631) Archbishop of Milan (1595-1631) (died September 21, 1631).  Protector of France. [Cardella V, 289-296]. Doctorate in Law (Pavia)
  8. Andrea Baroni (Peretti Montalto) (aged 50), Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina (1621-1624) (died August 3, 1629). Cousin of Sixtus V, from whose family he assumed the names Peretti and Montalto [left the Conclave on August 3] [Cardella VI, pp. 44-45: non era questo cardinale di molte lettere]. He restored the Deaconry of S. Angelo in Pescheria, which he held from 1600-1617 [Gauchat, p. 51].
  9. Bonifazio Bevilacqua Aldobrandini (aged 52) [Ferrara], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere (1621-1623) (died April 7, 1627) Bishop of Cervia (1601-1627). ["val poco nel negozio, seguita Francia e professa portare S. Marco nel cuore"—Ranier Zeno].  Prefect of the Congregation of the Index.  Doctor of laws (Padua) [Cardella VI, p. 47; Gauchat, p. 146]
  10. Domenico Ginnasi (aged 73), Cardinal Priest of SS. XII Apostolorum (1606-1624) (died March 12, 1639).
  11. Carlo Gaudenzio Madruzzo (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of S. Cesareo in Palatio (1616-1626) (died August 14, 1629) Bishop of Trent (1600-1629).
  12. Scipione Caffarelli Borghese (aged 47) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Crisogono (1605-1633). (died October 2, 1633). Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica. Major Poenitentiarius. Protector of the Order of Preachers. Nephew of Pope Paul V.
  13. Maffeo Barberini (aged 55) [Florentinus], Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio (1610-1623) (died July 29, 1644). Pope Urban VIII. Nuncio Extraordinary and then Ordinary in France (1604-1606). Archbishop of Nazareth (1604-1608). Made a cardinal at the request of King Henri IV, whose son he baptized. Bishop of Spoleto (1608-1617), though he never visited his diocese [Novaes]. His conclavists in 1623 were Francesco Adriano Ceva and Antonio Grisolino [Chrysolinus] [Carini, Spicilegio p. 347, 356].      During the twenty-nine months of the Pontificate of Gregory XV (Ludovisi), Barberini had been very careful not to offend either the French or the Spanish [Carini' s Conclavist, 356]:
              Intanto Barberino in quei due anni, e mezzo del Pontificato di Gregorio ando sempre con infinita destrezza coltivando la neutralita con le
              Corone, e stringendosi ogni giorno piu nell' amicizia con il Cardinale di Savoja, che era Protettore di Francia con ogni maggior segretezza
              possibile. in modo che ne dal Sacro Collegio ne dalle Corone istesse fu penetrata, e coltivata ancora la buona corrispondenza con li Cardinali
              che erano in Roma, e si ajutava anche con varj mezzi di enersi amorevoli li lontani.
  14. Giovanni Millini (aged 61) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of SS. Quattro Coronati (1608-1627) (died October 2, 1629). Vicar General of Rome. Archpriest of the Liberian Basilica (1622-1629).
  15. Marcello Lante della Rovere (aged 62), Cardinal Priest of SS. Quirico e Giulitta (1606-1628). Bishop of Todi (1606-1625).
  16. Fabrizio Veralli (aged 63) [Romanus], a relative of Urban VII, Nephew of Cardinal Hieronymus Veralli . Cardinal Priest of S. Agostino (1608-1624).  Doctorate (Perugia). Canon of the Vatican Basilica. Appointed Inquisitor of Malta by Innocent VIII.  Appointed Bishop of San Severo (1606-1615) by Paul V in 1606, and Nuncio in Switzerland. Vice-Protector of Ireland (1616). Abbot Commendatory of the Monastery of S. Agnete fuori le mura.  He died on November 17, 1624, and was buried in his titulus  [V. Forcella  Inscrizione delle chiese di Roma 5, p. 89, no. 267].
  17. Giovanni Battista Leni (aged 50) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (1618-1627). (died November 3, 1627). Bishop of Ferrara (1611-1627). Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica [Cancellieri, p. 201, from Paolo Alaleone]
  18. Luigi Capponi (aged 41) [Florentinus], Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli (1622-1629). (died April 6, 1659). Archbishop of Ravenna (1621-1645).
  19. Decio Carafa (aged 67) [Neapolitanus], Cardinal Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo (1612-1626) (died January 23, 1626). Archbishop of Naples (1613-1626).
  20. Domenico Rivarola (aged 48) [Genoa], Cardinal Priest of S. Martino ai Monti (1611-1627) (died January 3, 1627). Bishop of Aleria (1608-1609);  Bishop of Nazareth (1609-1627). Was in Paris as a papal diplomat at the time of the assassination of Henri IV. Solved a border dispute between Rieti and Naples [Gauchat, p. 64 and n. 4; Cardella VI, pp. 155-159].  Legate in the Romagna (1612 ff.)
  21. Pier Paolo Crescenzi (aged 51) [Romanus], son of Virginio Crescenzi and Constanza del Drago; Cardinal Priest of SS. Nereo ed Achilleo (1611-1629) (died February 19, 1645) Bishop of Orvieto (1621-1629).
  22. Giacomo Serra (aged 53) [Genoa], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria della Pace (1615-1623) (died August 19, 1623)..
  23. Agostino [Simone] Galamini, OP (aged 70) [Brisighella, in the Romagna], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Ara Coeli (1612-1639).  He taught philosophy at the Dominican convent at Bologna, theology at Faenza (his home convent), and at Mantua. In 1592 he became Inquisitor at Brescia, and in December, 1592, he became Master of Theology. From 1597-1600 he was Inquisitor at Genoa, and then from 1600-1604 at Milan.  He then was called to Rome, where he was named Commissary General of the Holy Office.   Master of the Sacred Palace (1607-1608).  53rd Master General of the Order of Preachers (1608-1612) [Mortier, Histoire des Maîtres Généraux de l' Ordre des Frères Prêcheurs VI (Paris 1913) 122-141].  Bishop of Recanati-Loreto (1612-1620). Bishop of Osimo (1620-1639). (died September 6, 1639) "Ara Coeli"
  24. Gaspar Borja y Velasco (aged 43) [Spanish], son of Francisco, Duke of Gandia; Cardinal Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme (1616-1630) (died December 28, 1645). Made a cardinal at the request of the King of Spain.
  25. Felice Centini, OFM Conv. (aged 61) [Asculum], Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia (1621-1633) (died January 24, 1641) Bishop of Macerta e Tolentino (1613-1633). A thorough monk and theologian, he did not enjoy the favor of most of the other cardinals. He was also a plebeian, and the cardinals were very sensitive about aristocratic rank and breeding. "Asculanus"
  26. Roberto Ubaldini (aged 42) [Florentinus], Cardinal Priest of Ss. Bonifacio ed Alessio (1621-1629). (died April 22, 1635). Legate in Bologna. Grand-nephew of Pope Leo XI.
  27. Tiberio Muti (aged 49) [Romanus], son of Duke Carlo. Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca (1616-1636). (died April 14, 1636). Bishop of Viterbo (1611-1636). A relative of Pope Paul V.
  28. Gabriel Trejo [Tressius] y Paniagua (aged 61) [Spanish], Cardinal Priest of S. Bartolomeo all’Isola (1621-1630). Made a cardinal on December 2, 1615, at the request of the King of Spain.  He received the red hat on June 10, 1617, and the titulus of S. Pancrazio on June 27. He had been Archdeacon of Calatrava in the Diocese of Toledo.  He was named Archbishop of Salerno (June 9, 1625).   He was transferred to Malaga on April 28, 1627.  He died in Malaga on February 2, 1630.
  29. Giulio Savelli (aged 49) [Romanus], son of Bernardino, Prince of Albano; Cardinal Priest of S. Sabina (1616-1636). (died July 9, 1644).
  30. Melchior Klesl (aged 71) [Austria], Cardinal Priest without titulus (1616-1623). (died September 18, 1630). Bishop of Vienna (1613-1630)
  31. Pietro Campori (aged 70) [Modena], Cardinal Priest of S. Tommaso in Parione (1616-1643) Former personal secretary, then Majordomo of Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Former Grand Master of the Ospedalieri (canons regular) di S. Spirto (in Sassia). Protector of the Camaldolese. Bishop of Cremona (1621-1643).  (died February 4, 1643).
  32. Matteo Priuli (aged 46) [Venetus], son of Doge Marco Antonio Priuli.  Cardinal Priest of S. Marco (1621-1624). (died March 13, 1624, and was buried in his titular church [V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiesa di Roma IV, p. 356, no. 844]).  He arrived late for the Conclave of 1623, entering on July 24.
  33. Scipione Cobelluzzi (aged 59) [Viterbo], Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna (1616-1626), (died June 29, 1626). Bibliothecarius of the Holy Roman Church (1618-1626). "Santa Susanna"
  34. Francesco Cennini de' Salamandri (aged 56) [Siena], Cardinal Priest of S. Marcello (1621-1641). Former nuncio in Spain. A subject of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, but disliked by him.Bishop of Amelia (1612-1623). Doctor in utroque iure.    (died October 2, 1645).
  35. Guido Bentivoglio (aged 43) [Ferrara], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria del Popolo (1622-1635) (died September 7, 1644). Bishop of Riez (1622-1625). Vice-Protector of France, and a pensioner of the French Crown. [L'Eggs, Purpura Docta VI, 277-279].
  36. Pietro Valier (aged 49) [Venetus], nephew of Cardinal Agostino Valier.  Cardinal Priest of S. Salvatore in Lauro (1621-1624).. Archbishop of Candia (Gandia, Crete) (1620-1623). Bishop of Padua (1625-1629 [Ughelli-Colet Italia sacra V, 461].  He died at Padua on April 5, 1629 [Gauchat, p. 275 n. 3].  His memorial is in S. Marco  [V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiesa di Roma IV, p. 354, no. 838].
  37. Eitel Friedrich von Zollern (aged 40) [Germanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna (1621-1625) (died September 19, 1625). Imperial procurator in Rome.
  38. Giulio Roma (aged 39) [Mediolanensis], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria sopra Minerva (1621-1639). (died September 16, 1652). Bishop of Recanati e Loreto (1621-1634).
  39. Cesare Gherardi (aged 46) [Perusinus], Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Montorio (1621-1623) (died September 23, 1623). Bishop of Camerino (1622-1623).  A very good friend of Cardinal Barberini  [Carini's conclavist, p. 348].
  40. Desiderio Scaglia, OP (aged 56) ["Cremonensis": really from Brescia, but unwilling to seem a subject of Venice], Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente (1621-1626). (died August 21, 1639). "Cardinal of Cremona"
  41. Stefano Pignatelli (aged 45) [Perusinus], a follower of Cardinal Scipione Borghese.  Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via (1621-1623). He left the Conclave after the Election of Cardinal Barberini, and died a week later, on August 12, 1623; he was buried in the Minerva.
  42. Ludovico Ludovisi (aged 27) [Bononiensis], son of Orazio, Duca di Fiano, and Lavinia Albergati.  Nephew of Pope Gregory XV.   Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Damaso (1623-1632). Archbishop of Bologna (1621-1632). He was Abbot Commendatory of the Abbey of Nonantola (1621-1632).  Legate in Avignon (1621-1632).  Protector of Savoy and of Ireland. Vice-Chancellor, from June 3, 1623.   He died on November 18, 1632, and was buried in S. Ignazio, the church which he built [V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiese di Roma X, p. 102, nos. 180-181].
  43. Antonio Caetani (aged 57) [Romanus], son of Onorato VI Caetani, Duke of Sermoneta, and Augustina Colonna; brother of Cardinal Bonifazio Caetani.  Cardinal Priest of S. Pudenziana (1621-1624).  Appointed Archbishop of Capua (1605-1624) by Paul V, in succession to Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino. (died March 17, 1624). Former Nuncio in Austria and in Spain.   Entirely Spanish in sympathies.
  44. Francesco Sacrati (aged 56) [Ferrara], Cardinal Priest of S. Matteo in Merulana (1621-1623). A personal friend of Gregory XV.  He had been Paul V's Datary [Relazioni of the Ambassadors Extraordinary of Venice in 1621 to congratulate Gregory XV, 122].   Bishop of Cesena (1622-1623).     (died September 6, 1623)
  45. Lucio Sanseverino (aged 58) [Neapolitanus], of the family of the Princes of Bisignano.  Cardinal Priest of S. Stefano al Monte Celio (1621-1623). Former chaplain of the King of Spain. Archbishop of Rossano (1592-1612), on the nomination of King Philip III of Spain. Archbishop of Salerno (1612-1623).  Nuncio in the Netherlands.   He died in Salerno on December 25, 1623, and was buried in his Cathedral.
  46. Marco Antonio Gozzadini (aged 49) [Bononiensis], cousin of Gregory XV.  Doctor of Laws (Bologna).  Secret chamberlain of Gregory XV.  Canon of the Vatican Basilica. Cardinal Priest of S. Eusebio (1621-1623). Bishop of Tivoli (1621-1623).  Bishop of Faenza (1623).  (died September 1, 1623; buried in S. Andrea della Valle [Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiese di Roma 8, p. 265, no. 667]).
  47. Cosmo de Torres (aged 39) [Romanus], nephew of Cardinal Lodovico de Torres.  Cardinal Priest of S. Pancrazio (1623-1641), on the request of the King of Poland. He had been Archbishop of Adrianople and Nuncio in Poland (1621-1622).  As Cardinal he was named Prefect of the SC of the Council.  Bishop of Perugia (1624-1634). Archbishop of Monreale in Sicily (1634-1642).    Doctor in utroque iure. Protector of Poland.   He died on May 1, 1642, and was buried in S. Pancrazio [V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiese di Roma 11, p. 377, no. 580].
  48. Ottavio Rodolfi (aged 41) [Florentinus], Cardinal Priest of S. Agnese in Agone (1622-1623) (died July 6, 1624) Bishop of Ariano (1612-1623). Doctor in utroque iure.

  49. Alessandro d'Este (aged 55) [Ferrara], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata (1621-1623)  Prior Diaconorum Cardinalium [Gattico I, 352].  (died May 13, 1624) Bishop of Reggio Emilia (1621-1624).
  50. Giovanni Doria (aged 50) [Genoa], Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano al Foro (1605-1623). (died November 19, 1642). Archbishop of Palermo (1608-1642).
  51. Carlo Emmanuele Pio di Savoia (aged 45) [Ferrara], Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere (1604-1623). (died June 1, 1641). Legate of the Marches [Gauchat IV, p. 8, n. 6, from the Acta Consistorialia].
  52. Maurizio Emmanuele di Savoia (aged 30), son of Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy; Nephew of the King of Spain; his sister Marguerita was the widow of Francesco IV Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua and Monferrat.  Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio (1621-1626). He was educated in Spain.  Spain's seizure of the Valtelline, however, caused him to be totally alienated from the Spanish. "Cardinal of Savoy"   Protector of France.  He did not attend the Conclave of 1621, having arrived in Rome two days after the Coronation of Gregory XV   [Cardella VI, pp. 143-145; Gauchat, Hierarchia Catholica IV, p. 10].  (died October 4, 1657).  Cardinal Maurizio's Aiutante di Camera, Francesco Anna, was made barber of the Conclave [Adriani, 200], and was a conduit for information passing into and from the Conclave.
  53. Carlo de' Medici (aged 28) [Florentinus], son of Duke Ferdinando I and Christine, daughter of Charles III Duke of Lorraine, and brother of Ferdinando II, Grand Duke of Tuscany; Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica (1616-1623). (died.June 17, 1666). One of his conclavists was Ottaviano Lotto [Cherubini Magnum Bullarium Romanum IV, 5], the author of conclave dispatches to Ferdinando II (but in reality to the Regents Christina and Maria Maddalena).
  54. Francesco Boncompagni (aged 31) [Neapolitanus], son of Giacomo, Duke of Soria, Cardinal Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria (1621-1626). (died December 9, 1641). Legate in Perugia and Umbria. Bishop of Fano (1622-1626). Nephew of Pope Gregory XV.
  55. Ippolito Aldobrandini (aged 27) [Romanus], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria Nuova (1621-1626). great-nephew of Pope Clement VIII, nephew of Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini.   Camerlengo (June 7, 1623-July 19, 1638) [See Ranier Zeno, in Relazioni, p. 461: the office was to go to Ludovisi, but he passed it on to his follower Aldobrandini, and took the Vice-Chancellorship in preference. Zeno noted a tendency to corpulence in Aldobrandini 'beyond measure', and predicted a short life for him. He died at the age of 42, on July 19, 1638.]


Cardinals not attending:

  1. Franz von Dietrichstein (aged 52) [Moravia], Cardinal Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite (1599-1623). (died November 23, 1633). Bishop of Olomouc (1599-1636). He was born in Madrid where his father was Imperial Ambassador. Studied in Rome; he was a protege of Filippo Neri. His cardinalate came on the nomination of Philip III of Spain. [Cardella VI, pp. 62-64] Protector of Austria before the Holy See.
  2. François de Sourdis d'Escobleau (aged 48 [French], Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede (1621-1628) (died February 8, 1628) Archbishop of Bordeaux (1599-1628).  Arrived in Rome on August 23 [Adriani, 214:  letter of Vibo to Duke of Savoy (August 23, 1623)]
  3. Antonio Zapata y Cisneros (aged 73) [Spanish], Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina (1616-1635) (died April 27, 1635). [Petruccelli III, p. 55 n. 1]
  4. François de la Rochefoucald (aged 64) [Auvergne, France], Cardinal Priest of S. Callisto (1610-1645). (died February 14, 1645).
  5. Baltasar Moscoso y Sandoval (aged 32) [Spanish], Cardinal Priest without titulus (1615-1630). Bishop of Jaén (1619-1646)
  6. Alessandro Orsini (aged 31) [Romanus], son of Virginio, Duke of Bracciano; Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin (1616-1626) (died August 22, 1626). [He was on an embassy in Germany]
  7. Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas (aged 70) [Spanish], son of Duke Francisco and Isabella Borgia. Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto (1621-1625). (died May 17, 1625). Duke of Lerma. He never saw Rome.
  8. Fernando de Austria (aged 14), son of Philip III of Spain and Marguerite of Austria; Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Portico (1619-1641). (died November 9, 1641). Infante of Spain. Archbishop-elect of Toledo
  9. Louis de Nogaret d'Épernon de La Valette (aged 30) [France], Cardinal Deacon without Deaconry (1621-1623). Archbishop of Toulouse (from 1613). Arrived in Rome on August 23 [Adriani, 214:  letter of Vibo to Duke of Savoy (August 23, 1623)]
  10. Agostino Spinola Basadone (aged 26) [Genoa], Cardinal Deacon without Deaconry (1621-1623). (died February 12, 1649). Bishop of Tortosa (1623-1626).
  11. Armand-Jean Duplessis de Richelieu (aged 37) [France], Cardinal Priest without titulus. Minister of State of King Louis XIII (1626-1642). Duc de Richelieu, Pair de France.   King Louis XIII decided to nominate Richelieu for a cardinal's hat on December 31, 1620, according to the Nuncio in France, Archbishop Guido Bentivoglio [Egidio Ghezzi (editor), Raccolta di lettere scritte dal Cardinal Bentivoglio in tempo delle sue Nuntiature di Fiandra e di Francia (Roma: Mascardi 1647)   pp. 248]. Richelieu was created cardinal by Gregory XV on September 5, 1622.  He died on December 4, 1642.
  12. Alfonso de la Cueva-Benavides y Mendoza-Carrillo (aged 51) [Spanish], Marquis de Medinar;  Cardinal Priest without titulus (1622-1633)  Former Spanish Ambassador to Venice (1606-1614). Governor and Captain-General of King of Spain in the Spanish Netherlands. (died August 10, 1655).



The conclave was universally expected to be a long and difficult one. The Conclave would be conducted according to a new set of Regulations promulgated by Gregory XV in the Bull, Decet Romanum Pontificem [Bullarium Romanum (Turin edition) 12, LII, pp. 662-673 (March 12, 1622)]. In addition, the Bull, Aeterni Patris, of November 15, 1621, required a secret ballot in the scrutinies [Bullarium Romanum (Turin edition) 12, XLI, pp. 619-627], which would make agreement on a candidate more difficult, since pressure from the Crowns and from other cardinals and the factions would be reduced. These opinions were expressed in his Relazione to the Venetian Senate by Ambassador Zeno in 1623 [Relazioni, 147]:

Era concetto universale, che la nuova bolla fatta da Gregorio XV intorno all' electione del Pontefice, nell'atto pratico, havesse da incontrare grandissime difficoltà, da essere cagionate parte per l' ostinatione dei capi delle fattioni Borghesi et Ludovisio, tanto avversi d' animo et di genio, et così inaspiriti l' uno contro l' altro per le reciproche offese fatte et ricevute, quanto mai fussero due cardinali potenti, che a quella grande attione intervenissero; ma l' opinione in che i più sensati concordemente concorrevano, era che forse ciò che si volesse intorno all' intoppi, che questo nuovo modo di creare il Papa poteva seco recare, non si potesse fallare, facendosi giudizio che l' elletione caderebbe in un Cardinale dei più attempati che fossero nel collegio, per l' esclusione sicura che stava in mano dei venti soggetti d' età cadente, che per non seppellirsi totalmente le loro speranze, non sarebbero giammai concorsi in persona che per la robustezza di complessione o per freschezza d' eta, si potesse probabilmente giudicare havessero a rinnovare il sacro collegio, e il recente esempio di Paolo quinto.

Card. Scipione BorgheseThe heads of the two principal factions were Cardinal Borghese and Cardinal Ludovisi, who thoroughly disliked each other. Borghese [ left ] might have had control of as many as twenty six-votes, if he could manage them, according to one inside informant [Carini, Spicilegio, p. 357]. Borghese was joined by d'Este, who disliked Ludovisi, and by Maurizio di Savoia [Cardinal Savelli to Emperor Fredinand II, July 22: Wahrmund, p. 271].   Ludovisi might have as many as eight votes (including Farnese, Borromeo, Bandini, Deti, Ginnasio, Madruzzi and Pio), but he allied himself with Aldobrandini, which might give him an additional five [Histoire des Conclaves I, 383]. Ludovisi's faction also attracted support from Zollern, Capponi and Ubaldini.

There was no obvious candidate around whom a quick election could be built, and there was a considerable number of cardinals who had (or believed that they had) good prospects of becoming pope. Of the creature of Sixtus V, the papabili were: Sauli, Monti, and Borromeo. Of the creature of Clement VIII, the papabili were: Bandino, Ginnasi, and Madruzzi. The papabili in the Borghese faction were: Ascoli (Centini), Barberini, Campora, Carafa, Cennino, Cobelluzzi, Galamini, Lanti, Mellino, Scaglia, and Verallo [Histoire des Conclaves I, 370, 372, 373]. Cardinal Galamini was particularly disliked by the Spanish, however, due to his rigorous conduct in monastic visitations in Spain when he was the General of the Ordo Praedicatorum, and due to the uncomplimentary reports about him submitted by Don Francisco de Castro, Spanish Ambassador to Paul V. Ludovisi's candidates might include Caetani, Sacrati and Sanseverino. But Caetani was under suspicion of the Borghese faction because of his performance as Nuncio to Spain, where he had allegedly taken better care of the Caetani interests than of the Borghese interests. Sacrati, too, was suspicious to Borghese, since he was only fifty, and his family owed its start to Clement VIII (Aldobrandini) and his red hat to Gregory XIV. All of Sanseverino's connections were hostile to Spain.

The Ambassadors of the King of Spain, Felipe IV, the Duque de Albuquerque (Francisco III Fernández de la Cueva) and Duque de Pastrana (Ruy III Gómez de Silva y Mendoza de la Cerda), were under orders to work for the exclusion of Cardinals Borromeo and Aracoeli [Wahrmund, p. 271, no. 59; a letter of Cardinal Savelli to the Emperor Ferdinand II (Rome, July 22, 1623); Petruccellii III, p. 55]. They did not, however, directly support either of the two faction leaders, seeing them to be equally powerful and equally antagonistic toward each other [Histoire des Conclaves I, 384-385]. The 'secret' of Spain, however, was in the hands of Cardinal Gaspar Borja, and he had no orders to promote Barberini's candidacy, nor any orders to attempt to exclude him [Carini's Conclavist, Spicilegio p. 363]. The Histoire des Conclaves reports that Barberini's work in France which helped to prevent a rupture between the Kings of France and Spain was reported in dispatches to Madrid by Don Baltazar de Zuniga, the Spanish Ambassador to the French Court, and remembered to Barbarini's benefit [Histoire des Conclaves I, p. 396]. Though a native of Florence, one of Barbarini's worst enemies was a fellow Florentine, Cardinal Ottavio Bandini [Histoire des Conclaves I, p. 397].  France was represented by Ambassador Sillery, and inside the Conclave by Cardinal d'Este, but the Cardinal de Savoia was the Protector of France before the Holy See, and it was he who played the key role in the selection of the next pope. Throughout the Novendiales he and Cardinal Barberini engaged in frequent consultations, as Barberini tried his best to cultivate his friendship [Canini, Spicilegio, p. 356]. The French were cooperating with Savoy, Venice, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany.


Opening of the Conclave

On Tuesday, July 18, the last of the Novendiales Requiem Masses was sung, and after the Mass the funeral oration was pronounced by Fr. Famiano Strada, SJ.   At a Consistory of the Cardinals, it was decided to use the Capella Sistina for the purposes of voting, and not the traditional Capella Paolina [Gattico I, 352].  Nine altars were prepared in the Capella Paolina for the use of the cardinals for their daily Masses. They also decided, due to the heat, to locate 26 of the cells for the cardinals in the Loggia of Benediction [Paolo Alaleone, Maestro di ceremonie].

The Mass of the Holy Spirit was sung in St. Peter's Basilica on the morning of July 19 by Cardinal Del Monte, Bishop of Porto, and the oration on the election of a pope was given by Giovanni Ciampoli, the Secretary of Briefs to Princes [B. Odescalchi, Memorie istorico critiche dell' Accademia de' Lincei (Roma 1806), p. 286]. After these ceremonies the Cardinals moved in procession to the Conclave area of the Vatican Palace. The rest of the day was given over to the reception of visits from various Ambassadors. The gates of the Conclave were finally sealed at the 5th hour of the night (ca. 9:00 p.m.). There were fifty-two cardinals present. Three others arrived late [Histoire des Conclaves I, 388]. The number needed to produce a canonical election was thirty-five, later rising at the end to thirty-six.


Trial and Error

On July 20, after the Mass of the Holy Spirit said by the Cardinal Dean, the Cardinals swore their oaths to observe the conclave bulls, especially those recent enactments of Gregory XV of 1621 [Wahrmund, 201 ff.]. They, of course, had no intention of doing so, particularly not the reenactment (the Constitution Decet) of the regulation of Pius IV which forbade communications with the outside world:

Clauso conclavi, servari debent omnia, quae de colloquiis, litteris et cibis, et quae de non ingredientibus cardinalibus aut iisdem, aut eorum familiaribus, postquam ingressisunt, exeuntibus, in Constitutione Pii IV sancita sunt.

The Bull of Pius IV, In Eligendis of 1562 [in Bullarium Romanum (Turin edition) 7 (1862), no. lxxv, pp. 230-236 §19-20], states that even Cardinals are subjected to immediate and automatic excommunication for sending or receiving letters:

Clauso conclavi, nulli ad colloquium, etiam extra portam conclavis, etiam principum oratores, nisi ex magna et urgenti causa a maiori parte collegii approbanda, admittantur. Et si quis forte quod absit, clam ipsum conclave et aliunde quam per ostium ingrediatur, omni honore, gradu ac officio et beneficio ipso facto privatus existat et tradatur curiae saeculari acerrimis poenis puniendus. Literas vero aut cuivis generis scripta ad eos, qui in conclavi erunt, seu nuncium vel notam aut signum mittere seu recipere, aut contra e conclavi ad eos qui foris erunt, ullo modo liceat; qui contrafecerint, quacumque dignitate, etiam si cardinalatus honore praefulgeant, poenae excommunicationis latae sententiae subiaceant, absolvendi facultate, praeterquam in mortis articulo, soli Pontifici Maximo reservata, a quo nihilominus pro qualitate delicti, ultra dictam excommunicationis poenam, puniendi erunt.

In a letter of July 22, 1623, however, Manfredo S. Martino d' Aglie, brother of Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy's conclavist, revealed that he was constantly at the main entrance of the Conclave, where he was able to speak with and exchange mail with Cardinal Maurizio, with the courteous and generous cooperation of Prince Savelli, the Marshal of the Conclave [Adriani, p. 201 (July 22, 1623)]:

li Sig.ri prelati che atendono alla Rota usano gran differenza et cortesia a S. A. di quello fano a tutti li altri Cardinali.  Et il S.r Prencipe Savelli Gover.r del Conclave mi mando a dire a due hore di notte che quando aprirà il Conclave per li Cardinali che devono ancor venire mi aviserà acio io possi andar seco a parlar con S. A. et dimani spero di vederlo nel ingresso del S.r Cardinal Priuli.


The Cardinals then proceeded to the first scrutiny. Fifty-one cardinals were present [Gauchat, p. 17, n.1; from the Diary of Paolo Alaleone].  No cardinal received more than ten votes, and the Florentine Bandini, the Bishop of Palestrina, was the only one who reached the number of ten [Histoire des Conclaves I, 388].  Petruccelli [III, p. 59], however, credits Bandini with 13 votes, and four at the accessio.  Abate Scaglia reported to the Duke of Savoy on July 20 that the largest vote for a person was twelve;  he expressed the opinion that the Conclave could last months, but also wrote that others thought that it would be over in twelve days.  He noted however that there were twenty-three hopefuls, none of whom would give his vote to a real candidate. How any one of them could reach the canonical total of thirty-six he did not know [Adriani, 198-199].   Later that day Cardinal Serra arrived.

On July 21, in the morning before Mass, Cardinals Borromeo and de Cremona (Campori) entered Conclave, had the bulls read to them, and swore their oaths. While they were being received in Conclave by the other Cardinals, Cardinal Ludovisi decided to attempt a strategem in the next scrutiny to determine whether the supporters of Cardinal Borghese were as reliable as he claimed. Ludovisi planned to add a few votes to Bandini's supporters and see whether Borghese's men would break ranks. He did not, of course, notify the supporters of Bandini, which included Farnese and Borromeo. When the accessio followed the scrutiny, Bandini's votes totalled twenty-one—which was far beyond what Ludovisi had planned. Borghese and his supporters were more than a little alarmed, and Borghese, who took the vote as a personal affront, decided to work openly for the exclusion of Bandini. But when he tried to find someone to take responsibility for leading the effort, he was unable to find the support he needed. He then decided to play the same trick on Ludovisi as Ludovisi had played on him. He proposed to his supporters to support Cardinal Millini, the Vicar General of Rome, in the next scrutiny. Millini received twenty-six votes in the scrutiny, and eleven more (?) in the accessio (at least according to the author of the Histore des Conclaves, who, however, makes mistakes). This was beyond what anyone had expected. Sforza actually suggested to Borghese that he should spend the evening trying to round up the few votes that were needed to make Millini pope—though that had not been the original intention. But Borghese knew that the "support" for Millini was more a vote against Ludovisi's antics, and that his own supporters did not really want Millini to be pope. Indeed Millini had enemies; Cardinal Sauli the Dean, Cardinal Aldobrandini, and the French [Petruccelli III, p. 47]. That night there were numerous comings and goings as various Cardinals consulted with their leaders. Borghese visited Medici, and Mellini sought counsel with Bandini, Sforza consulted Borromeo, and so on. Ludovisi consulted with Ubaldini, Capponi, Pio, Aldobrandini, and others among his adherents. As for Ludovisi's clever trick, several mediators made it clear to him that there was danger of scandal if the hostility between him and Borghese continued to be evidenced so publicly. He was induced to make a public gesture of apology, which he did in the Sistine Chapel on July 23, as the Cardinals were assembling for the scrutiny. His insincerity was apparent, and he made the same gesture of speaking to Cardinal Borghese again on July 29 [Histoire des Conclaves I, 392-393].

Also on July 29, the Abbe Scaglia wrote to the Duke of Savoy [Petruccelli, p. 67] of a remarkable occurrence, news of which was circulating around the Conclave. Cardinal Ludivisi had proposed to Borghese that he name a creatura of Paul V as a candidate for the Papacy. Borghese agreed, and Ludovisi stated that Aracoeli (the Dominican Galamini), Santa Susanna (Corbelluzzi), Scaglia and Conti [? Monte?] were acceptable to him. Borghese demanded in return that Ludovisi give all his votes to one of these choices, and Borghese would supply all of his votes on the accessio, and they would have a pope. Ludovisi refused to agree to such a vague plan, and returned to discussing Bandini, while Borghese threw Mellini in his face one more time. The irony is that it was a plan something like that one that was finally adopted in the case of Cardinal Barberini.

The author of the Histoire des Conclaves (p. 396) indicates that it was on July 29 that the Holy Spirit began its work in the Conclave that led to six days of serious negotiations. Ludovisi was examining his strength in the Sacred College, assisted by Caetani, and they apparently discussed the case of Barberini, if only they could detach him from Borghese—a discussion which was continued on the next day, July 30 . They decided that they could count on twenty-three votes. Ludovisi seems to have had nothing negative to say about Barberini at all. Ludovisi is said to have communicated his intention to make Barberini pope to Farnese, Medici and Aldobrandini, who supported his plan vigorously [Histoire des Conclaves I, p. 398-399]. At about the same, Barberini was passing a cell in which seven or eight of Ludovisi's supporters were having a meeting, and they all remarked about what a good pope Barberini would make; this was reported to Farnese, and it strengthened his resolve. On the same day Ludovisi held a general meeting of his supporters and friends in his cell, and proposed Barberini; his choice was supported by most of the Cardinals present. On Ludovisi's instructions, Caetani went to tell Barberini the good news, but Barberini warned him that the business would require much circumspection. This story seems highly unlikely. Barberini was in the Borghese camp, and none of Ludovisi's supporters, least of all the leader, would have jumped to support Barberini. Caetani, in addition, was a suspect person in the Borghese camp; it is not clear why Barberini would welcome him, even with the news he is supposed to have brought. It requires six days, moreover, according to this tale, for Ludovisi to succeed in the plan he has adopted, which seems to have so much immediate support; and it is contradicted by the story which is related by one of Barberini's associates in the Conclave, who puts Ludovisi's final and hesitant decision on the evening of August 5. The tale put out by the author of the Histoire des Conclaves appears to be a face-saving narrative intended to give the credit for launching and carrying out the election of Urban VIII to Cardinal Ludovisi.


Bad Food and Fevers

At the end of July, according to Carini's Conclavist [Carini, Spicilegio, p. 359], disease broke out in the Conclave, caused by the food, which sickened a number of the Cardinals, who requested permission to leave. For a while it seemed that the number of those unable to participate might bring the Conclave to a halt:

Ma Iddio, che prevede, e dispone il tutto, fece mediante un mezzo contaggio nato in Conclave si venisse all'elezione, mentre essendo quasi al fine di Luglio si spargeva per il Conclave quantità di gelsomini [jasminum polyanthum], questo fiore porta un gratissimo ordore, quando di fresco e colto dalla sua pianta, ed altrimenti puzzore quando e marcito; introducevano anche dentro gran quantita di meloni, sicchè fù stimato che le scorze di quelli unitamente con li gelsomini avessero causato l'imperfezione, e corrotto l'aria, che giornalmente si vedevano amalare i Cardinali, e morire, e molti domandar licenza d' uscir fuori, che si trovavano indisposti; arrivoronò però a conoscere la vera origine del male dopo fatto il Papa, perchè la principal cagione furono i facchini, che servivano in Conclave, quali riponendo in certe stanze di tavole tutti gli avanzi de Cardinali, ed essendo quelli in grandissima quantita non potevano abbastanza conservarli, e benchè crescessero ogni giorno piu trascuravano di buttar via quelli, che si andavano corrompendo onde s' avvidero, che quel fetore de' comestibili unitamente con quello de' gelsomini et meloni erano causa del male sparso in Conclave, sicchè ciascuieduno intimoritosi della propria salute comincio a stufarsi di continuare piu quella Clausura, e nacque un giorno un sussuro in Conclave di far Papa a viva voce il Card. d'Aquino persona vecchia, e bonissimo soggetto, che mandato à visitare in nome di tutto il Sagro Collegio, ed intanto amalastosi di febre Borghese Capo di Fazione, e Pignatelli suo intrinseco, medesimamente risolve Borghese di far domandar licenza in Capella d'uscir di Conclave, che subito l'ottenne.

But the others returned after their stomachs recovered from the food poisoning. Cardinal Borghese had taken to his bed in the Conclave, not, however, with food poisioning but with one of the many fevers (malaria?) which constantly plagued Rome in the summer. In fact, on the day on which Barberini was elected, Borghese was voting from his bed, and did not come to the Chapel until after the Accessio [Carini's Conclavist, p. 370]. The whole affair was blamed on the workmen (facchini) who served table in the Conclave, for allowing the food to go bad, though in fact poor sanitary conditions in general must have played a part in some of the illnesses.

On July 31, late in the afternoon, Cardinal Priuli arrived and swore the oath required by the bulls [Gauchat, Hierarchia Catholica IV, p. 17 n. 1; from the Diary of Paolo Alaleone]. On August 3, after the scrutiny, around 23:00 hours, Cardinal Peretti and Cardinal Gherardi (who were ill) and their conclavists left the Conclave [Diary of Paolo Alaleone].


The Way Out

The impetus toward a solution appears to have begun on the same evening [August 4] that Cardinal Borghese requested and received permission to leave the Conclave because of illness [Petruccelli, p. 75], which he intended to do on August 5.   As the Anonymous Conclavist of Carini reports, the impetus to move in favor of Cardinal Barberini came from Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy, the nephew of the King of Spain, who perceived that Borghese's departure might bring a lasting deadlock to the Conclave. The key role of Savoy is confirmed by Barberini himself after the election, in a letter to the King of France [Petruccelli, p. 80 n. 1]:

Nous devons à Votre Majesté une entière obligation pour ce que Savoia a fait dans notre exaltation: aidé par Bentivoglio et l' ambassadeur de Votre Majesté. C' est Votre Majesté qui a ditillé dans l' âme de Savoia l' amour qu' il nous porte.

Additional confirmation comes from a letter of August 10, written by Abate Scaglia, the Savoyard agent in Rome, to the Duke of Savoy [Adriani, 210-212], though Cardinal Maurizio was far more modest as to his own importance in a letter to his brother of August 11 [Adriani, 212-213]..

Borghese summoned all of his followers to his cell, informed them that he had to leave the Conclave for the sake of his health, and requested that they all stick together in the scrutinies, under the leadership of Cardinal Maurizio di Savoia who would act in Borghese's place.  Though he would leave, he would be close by, awaiting the culminating moment to reenter for the last scrutiny.  When Cardinal Borgia heard that Borghese was leaving the Conclave, he went to him privately and pointed out that without his presence the Conclave could make no progress in finding a pope.  All their various efforts, night and day for a month, would be negated.  Since they agreed in possible candidates (except for Cobeluzzi of Santa Susanna), they might work together for Maffeo Barberini of Florence. Borgia then went to Maurizio of Savoy and told him everything that he had discussed with Borghese.

Savoy therefore went to Cardinal Barberini and advised him that the moment had come to begin the prattica to procure his election to the Papacy. He asked Barberini to select some six or eight of his friends who had no expectation of being elected pope and summon a meeting of them that night, so that discussions could begin as to the best way to proceed. The meeting decided that their efforts should begin with Cardinal Ludovisi, since he had enough firm votes at hand to exclude anyone he wished. Without Ludovisi's consent and cooperation, the exercise would be pointless. They decided that they had to find a Cardinal who was a friend of Ludovisi's, who had no pretensions toward the Papacy himself, to act as a go-between. They decided on Cardinal Domenico Rivarola, who had thus far been working with Savelli and Serra in favor of Cardinal Ginnasi, an intimate friend of Aldobrandini (who was a person of considerable distaste to Borghese) [Histoire des Conclaves I, 394]. They sent one of themselves who had friendly relations with Rivarola to find him. He was in bed, but when he got up and came to their meeting, they explained their plan, and he agreed to be Cardinal Barberini's agent the next morning [August 5] after the Scrutiny [Carini's Conclavist, p. 360-361].

Next day Rivarola came upon Ludovisi in one of the corridors after the Scrutiny, and remarked to him that it seemed likely that Borghese would leave the Conclave the next day because of his fever, and that he intended to turn over the management of his faction to two other cardinals, who were his confidants, while he was absent. Rivarola also wondered whether it might not be possible to find a Cardinal who was a creatura of Borghese, but who was not particularly attached to him (amorevole), whom they might support as a candidate for the Papacy. Borghese's incapacity might make this task easier. Ludovisi wondered whether such a person could be found. Rivarola immediately offered to undertake such an inquiry along with Ludovisi, if he might accompany Ludovisi to his cell (Barberini's Conclavist, Francesco Ceva [who became a Cardinal in 1643], was hidden and observed the meeting).

They sat down at a table and went over the printed list of cardinals who took part in the scrutinies. Rivarola picked out each member of Borghese's faction and remarked on their qualities, during which he dexterously denigrated each cardinal until he arrived at Barberini's name. The two cardinals discussed Barberini's career in such a way that it seemed that all of his preferment came from others than the Borghese family, despite the fact that Paul V (Borghese) had made Barberini a Cardinal. But the red hat had come, Rivarola pointed out, at the special request of Henri IV of France, and Barberini owed no special obligation to the Borghese. Ludovisi (who had stated previously that Barberini was too young to be Pope) was unwilling to give a definitive answer just at the moment, but wanted a couple of hours to talk with Cardinals who were his friends and supporters, and see what their reactions were. As soon as he had finished his dinner, Ludovisi set off on his round of consultations. Rivarola went to his own cell and (in his own name) assured Barberini's agent that twenty-two votes would be forthcoming. When the Cardinal de Savoia heard of this, he decided to consult Cardinal Borja, who was the Spanish spokesman in the Conclave. Borja informed Savoia that Barberini's name was not on his list of Cardinals to support, nor on his list of Cardinals to exclude. But he asked Savoia to keep that knowledge quiet for the present, and when Savoia informed Carini's Conclavist, he required the same of him. Next, the Conclavist suggested that it was desirable to find out where Cardinal Medici stood. The number of obligations under which Barberini was thought to stand toward the Medici was recalled, and Medici too agreed to support Barberini. Rivarola was sent to work on Cardinal Pignatelli [Carini's Conclavist, p. 363-364].

Finally there was a meeting of all of the heads-of-faction in Borghese's cell: Savoia, Farnese, Medici, Este, Borgia, Ludovisi, Bentivoglio and Aldobrandino.  It was agreed that on Sunday's scrutiny, Ludovisi and his entire faction would cast their votes for Barberini, a total of twenty-three; and then at the Accessio, the Borghese faction would also cast their votes, sixteen in number, for Barberini [Scaglia, in Adriani, 212].

When Cardinal Pignatelli, who had been in bed, heard that Ludovisi was offering his twenty-two votes to Barberini, he leapt up immediately and headed off to tell the good news to Cardinal Borghese, who was still abed with fever: "Good news, Lord Cardinal, Sunday we will have a Pope." "A creatura of mine?" Borghese asked. After some discussion, he gave his consent, and Pignatelli hurried off to tell Cardinal Barberini. He did this, in accordance with Borghese's instructions, by going to the cell of Cardinal Crescenzio, which was next to Barberini's, and telling Crescenzio in a loud voice what Borghese's views were. Barberini was in a state of nervous excitement, but began to worry as to whether he actually had the two-thirds that he needed. He made another count, and found that (in his own view) he did not have the requisite number. Pignatelli called on Barberini, and advised him that it would be a good thing to call on Cardinal Borghese and thank him for his support. Though unwilling a first, Barberini finally did so, in a cloak-and-dagger trip through the halls of the Conclave, as Ceva distracted people who might discover and reveal the secret [Carini's Conclavist, p. 366-368].



On the Feast of the Transfiguration, Sunday, August 6, 1623, Cardinal Gherardi had returned to the Conclave, making the total number of electors fifty-four.  Borghese informed all of his faction what was to happen and what they were expected to do in the Scrutiny. When the Cardinals assembled in the Sistine Chapel for the morning's scrutiny, the three Scrutators, selected by lot, were Eitel Friedrich von Zollern, Desiderio Scaglia and Francesco Boncompagni.

During the accessio, one of the ballots was found to be missing, and it seemed for a moment that the Election would be nullified. But Barberini himself pointed out that he had already received two-thirds of the ballots on the scrutiny, at which point he had been elected Pope; the accessio did not matter, though he agreed that they might re-do the accessio. In fact, he had won fifty of the fifty-four votes. Trollope (p. 311) maintains that these three dissenters (Barberini's vote was the fourth, of course) were "three of the oldest cardinals, who, remaining in their cells, had been unaware of what was being done." The cardinals who remained in their cells when votes were taken were Sanseverino (aged 58), Pignatelli (aged 45), Gherardi (aged 46), and Borghese (aged 47) [Petruccelli, 78]. They were certainly not "three of the oldest cardinals." Trollope's statement is evidently derived from the author of the Conclavi de' pontefici Romani (1661), p. 443 and 449, where he states:

... Fra tanto havendo udito Farnese, che alcuni Cardinali Vecchi, non consentivano all' elettione d' un sogetto tanto di loro piu giovane, per dibio, che dichiarandosi alcuno loro Capo. non si facosse qualche turbatione, giudico, esser cosa necessaria il guadagnate Sforza.... mancandono solo 4. di tutto il numero de' Cardinali che erano nel Conclave, de' quali uno era il suo proprio e gli altri si stimava, che fossero d' alcuni vecchi, à cui avanti non fu data parte di ciò che si negotiava.

"... of which one was his own vote, and the others, it was reckoned, those of some old cardinals, who were not privy to the deal ahead of time ". But those three old cardinals were present in the Sistine Chapel and could see what was being done. And, as the author of the Conclavi admits, the remark was a guess. Trollope's carelessness conflates two entirely different things.

According to the account of the author of the Conclavi de' pontefici Romani, Barberini received 24 votes on the scrutiny, and twenty six more on the accessio, making a total of fifty. This is confirmed by the report sent to the King of Spain on the day of the Election by Cardinal Borja  [translated by Petruccelli, pp. 78-81]. The twenty-four votes came from Ludovisi's people and from the Spanish. It was alleged at the time, according to the author of the Conclavi de' pontefici Romani (p. 449) that one of the Cardinal Scrutators, namely Scaglia, deliberately secreted one of the ballots to invalidate the accessio and gain time for the opposition. When the discrepancy was revealed, Barberini (according to the author of the Conclavi) remarked that Gergory XV's bull needed to be followed, and that the accessio was invalid. This required a repetition of the accessio, which produced the fifty votes.

In the account of Carini's Conclavist, the Cardinals, led by Pignatelli, agreed that the missing ballot did not matter, and ignored the accessio. Barberini was acclaimed Pope, vested in the Pontificals, and presented for the first adoration. After the ceremonies, he was escorted to Cardinal Borghese's cell, where he took some rest. The Cardinals too returned to their cells to eat and get some rest. Presently the new Pope, crowned with the corona (Tiara sacra), was taken to St. Peter's Basilica for the second and public adoration.

Barberini chose the throne name of Urban VIII, though he was compelled to postpone his Coronation until Friday, September 29, 1623, the Feast of S. Michael the Archangel, due to his own illness brought on by the rigors of the Conclave [Paolo Alaleone, Master of Ceremonies].   He was crowned inside St. Peter's Basilica, contrary to custom, by Cardinal Alessandro d'Este, the Cardinal Protodeacon [Diary of Paolo Alaleone; Gauchat IV, p. 17 n. 2]. He took up residence at the Quirinal Palace. The ceremony of the possessio of the Lateran Basilica took place on November 19. Cardinal Leni, the Archpriest, received the Pope. Gold medals to mark the occasion were distributed to the Cardinals on order of the Pope. Silver medals were distributed to the Canons of the Lateran Basilica [Cancellieri, Storia de' solenni possessi, pp. 199-207].


While the Pope himself was recovering from illness, on August 12/13 Cardinal Stefano Pignatelli died at the age of 43. On August 19, Cardinal Giacomo Serra of Genoa died at the age of 53; on August 23, Cardinal Sauli, the Cardinal Dean, died at the age of 82; on September 1, Cardinal Gozzadini of Bologna died at the age of 49; on September 23, Cardinal Cesare Gherardi died, aged 46. The summer Conclave had taken its toll.




Documents relating to the Sede Vacante of 1623.

"Discorso politico fatto nella sede vacante di Papa Gregorio XV (A.D. 1623),"  ms. in Trinity College Cambridge Library:  Montague Rhodes James, The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. A Descriptive Catalogue Volume II (Cambridge 1901), no. 654, p. 153. [Non vidi]. Other mss., in Roman libraries, are listed by F. Cerroti, Bibliografia di Roma medievale e moderna Volume I (Roma 1893), 509, 513  [non vidi].

Isidoro Carini, "Il Conclave di Urbano VIII," Specilegio Vaticano di Documenti inediti e rari estratti dagli Archivi e dalla Biblioteca della Sede Apostolica Volume I (Roma: Ermanno Loescher 1890), 333-375. [Gregorio Leti], Conclavi de' pontefici romani  nuova edizione Volume II (Colonia: Lorenzo Martini 1691), pp. 202-355. Histoire des conclaves   troisième édition  Tome premier (Cologne 1703), 369-425.  Agostino Cameroni, Gregorio Leti. Un scrittore avventuriero del secolo XVII (Milano 1893).

N. Barozzi and G. Berchet (editors), Relazioni degli stati europei, lette al Senato dagli Ambasciatori Veneti nel secolo decimosettimo Serie III. Italia. Relazioni di Roma. Volume I (Venezia 1877).

Alphonsus Ciaconius [thoroughly revised and corrected by Augustinus Oldoin, and others], Vitae et Res Gestae Pontificum Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalium Tomus quartus (Romae 1677). Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Annali d' Italia Tomo 26 (Firenze; Marchini 1827). Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' Cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa Tomo settimo (Roma: Pagliarini 1793).

Giovambatista AdrianiDella vita e dei tempi di Monsignor Referendario Giansecondo Ferrero-Ponziglione (Torino: Ribotta 1856).  Ferdinando Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves Volume III (Paris 1865) 41-94 [largely following the dispatches of the Florentine conclavist, Ottaviano Lotto].   T. A. Trollope The Papal Conclaves, as they were and as they are (London 1876), pp. 298- [mostly a paraphrase of Histoire des conclaves, leaving out the detail; and from Cancellieri, Notizie storiche]. G. Novaes, Elementi della storia de' sommi pontefici terza edizione Tomo nono (Roma 1822) 161-163 . Ludwig Wahrmund, Das Ausschliessungs-recht (jus exclusivae) der katholischen Staaten Österreich, Frankreich und Spanien bei den Papstwahlen (Wien: Holder 1888).121-123. R. Quazza, "L' elezione di Urbano VIII," Archivio della R. Società romana di storia patria 46 (1922), 5-47. C. Wood, Gregory XV (1621-1623) (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 1990). F. Baumgarten, A History of the Papal Elections (New York 2003) 143-144.

Joannes Baptista Gattico,   Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii.   Tomus I (Romae 1753).  Josephus Catalano, Sacrarum Caeremoniarum sive Rituum Ecclesiasticorum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Libri Tres (Romae 1750).   Francesco Cancellieri, Storia de' solenni Possessioni de' Sommi Pontefici, detti anticamente Processi o Processioni dopo la loro Coronazione dalla Basilica Vaticana alla Lateranense (Roma: Luigi Lazzarini 1802).

Domenico Carutti, Storia della diplomazia della Corte di Savoia Volume secondo (Torino 1876), pp. 208-266.  Giovambatista AdrianiDella vita e dei tempi di Monsignor Referendario Giansecondo Ferrero-Ponziglione (Torino: Ribotta 1856) [correspondence of Cardinal Maurizio Emmanuele di Savoia with his father the Duke and his brother Prince Vittorio Amadeo, pp. 186 ff.].  Ferdinando Gregorovius, Urbano VIII e la sua opposizione alla Spagna e all' Imperatore (Roma: Fratelli Bocca 1879). Luigi Arezio, La politica della Santa Sede rispetto alla Valtellina, dal Concordato d' Avignone alla morte di Gregorio XV (12 nov. 1622—9 luglio 1623) (Cagliari 1899).

Memorie del Cardinal Bentivoglio... divise in duo libri (Milano 1807) [Opere storiche del Cardinal Bentivoglio, Volume Quinto] [L'Eggs, Purpura Docta VI, 277].  Francesco Rivola, Vita di Federico Borromeo, Cardinale del titolo di Santa Maria degli Angeli ed Arcivescovo di Milano (Milano: Giuseppe Gariboldi 1656).

Ludwig Wahrmund, "Die Bulle «Aeterni Patris Filius» und der staatliche Einfluss auf der Papstwahlen," Archiv für katholisches Kirchenrecht 72 (Mainz 1894), 201-334.

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