SEDE VACANTE 1669-1670

December 9, 1669—April 29, 1670

Bust of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Camerlengo
Antonio Cardinal Barberini

engraving of Cardinal Vidoni   Cardinal Fabio Chigi, an engravingengraving of Cardinal Leopoldo Medici
           Pietro Cardinal Vidoni                         Flavio Cardinal Chigi                    Leopoldo Cardinal de Medici

ANTONIO CARDINAL BARBERINI, iuniore (1607-1671), the Cardinal Camerlengo, was the son of Carlo Barberini and Costanza Magalotti. He was the nephew of Pope Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini, 1623-1644), of the Capuchin Antonio Card. Barberini, seniore, (1624), and of Lorenzo Card. Magalotti. His brother Francesco became Cardinal on the election of their uncle to the papacy, and his brother Taddeo became Prince of Palestrina and Prefect of Rome. He was the cousin of Francesco Maria Card. Machiavelli (who became cardinal in 1641), and uncle of Carlo Card. Barberini (1653), who deputized as Camerlengo for his uncle, who was present but ill (Antonio left the conclave on February 3 and only returned on March 17), at the conclave of 1669-7. Antonio Barberini was Grand Prior in Rome of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

The accession of his uncle brought Antonio Barberini and his brothers many positions of power, wealth and influence. He became Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Aquiro in 1627, and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on July 28, 1638, a position which he held until his death on August 3, 1671. In that capacity he presided over the Conclaves of 1644, 1655, 1667 and 1669-1670. The authoritarianism, arrogance and greed of the family ("Quod non fecerunt Barbari, fecerunt Barberini.") brought a strong reaction on the death of Urban VIII. In 1645 Antonio and Taddeo fled to Paris (where Urban VIII had once been ambassador), and remained in exile at the Court of Louis XIV (under the patronage of the Sicilian Giulio Card. Mazzarini) until 1653; he became Grand Almoner of France and a member of the Order of the Holy Spirit. In 1657 he was nominated Archbishop of Rheims, a choice which was approved by Pope Alexander VII. He became Cardinal Bishop of Palestrina in 1661. He died in Rome on August 3, 1671.

Cardinal Barberini was Cardinal Camerlengo during the conclaves of 1644, 1655, 1667 and 1670.


SS Peter and Paul




The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, with tongues of fire.. "He has illuminated; may he illuminate again."

Arms of Card. Guastavillani


Arms of Antonio Cardinal Barberini, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (1638-1671), surmounted by the Ombrellone, crossed keys.

Berman, p. 147 #1989.


Cardinal Francesco Barberini was Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals.

The Governor of the Conclave was Msgr. Camillo Massimi (1620-1677), the titular Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. He had been Nuncio in Spain from 1654 to 1656, but had caused a diplomatic uproar which required his recall. He was unemployed thereafter. The College of Cardinals elected him Governor of the Conclave of 1670. He was immediately named Maestro di Camera by the new pope, and on December 21, 1670 he was named cardinal, with the title of Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Dominica, which he exchanged for S. Eusebio in 1673, and S. Anastasia in 1676. He took part in the conclave of 1676 (Novaes, p. 212).

The Marshal of the Conclave was Prince Giulio Savelli (1626-1712), the second son of Prince Bernardino Savelli, Prince of Albano (1606-1658) and Felice Peretti, the heiress of Pope Sixtus V. He married Caterina Aldobrandini, daughter of Pietro Aldobrandini, Duke of Carpentino, and then Caterina Giustiniani. The family were perpetually in financial difficulties: in 1596 they sold Castel Gandolfo to the pope, and in 1650 the duchy of Albano. He succeeded his father as Marshal of the Holy Roman Church in 1658. He had one son, who predeceased him. On his death in 1712, the office of Hereditary Marshal of the Roman Church was conferred on the Chigi Family. Prince Giulio Savellio left a manuscript Conclave Diary; it is in the Chigi archives.

The Secretary of the Sacred College of Cardinals was Abbas Franciscus Polinus, basilicae Lateranensis canonicus.

The Ceremoniere were
            Franciscus Pheobeus, Archbishop of Tarsus, primus ceremoniarum magister
            Carlo Vincenzio Carcarasio, Canon of St. Peter's
            Fulvio Servantio, Canon of S. Maria in Via lata.
            Petrus Antonius della Pedacchia, perpetuus beneficiatus of St. Peter's
            Christophorus, presbyter Romanus.


Death of Clement IX

Pope Clement IX (Rospigliosi) was ill throughout the autumn of 1669 with hernia and kidney stones. On November 29, ten days before he died, he named seven new cardinals and announced the name of one who had been held in pectore. This was his last public act; he had no strength to hold the public consistory to award the red hats or assign the names of the cardinalatial titles. He finally died of a stroke, perhaps brought on by the stress of hearing of the defeat and expulsion of the Venetians from the island of Crete. He died at the Quirinal on December 9. (Novaes, 172-173; de Bildt, 14-15). It is worth noting that, three days before his death, the Spanish ambassador, Astorga, wrote to the Viceroy of Spain, Don Pedro de Aragona, that the factions might coalesce around Cardinal Altieri (de Bildt, 57).


The Cardinals

There were seventy living cardinals at the death of Clement XI. A list of the participants in the Conclave is given by the Motu Proprio of the new pope, Clement X, on May 27, 1670, which granted various privileges and favors to the Conclavists of each Cardinal [Bullarium Romanum  Turin edition 18 (Augusta Taurinorum 1869), iii, pp. 22-34]. It contains the names of sixty-seven cardinals

Cardinals attending:

  1. Francesco Barberini (aged 72), Suburbicarian Bishop of Ostia and Velletri, Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. (died 1679)
  2. Marzio Ginetti (aged 84), Suburbicarian Bishop of Porto and Santa Rufina, Sub-Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals (died 1671).
  3. Antonio Barberini (aged 62), Suburbicarian Bishop of Palestrina (died August 3, 1667). Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
  4. Francesco Brancaccio (aged 78), Suburbicarian Bishop of Frascati (Tusculum) (died 1675).
  5. Ulderico Carpegna (aged 74), Suburbicarian Bishop of Albano (died 1675).
  6. Giulio Gabrielli (aged 66), Suburbiocarian Bishop of Sabina;  formerly Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca (died 1677). Bishop of Ascoli

  7. Virginio Orsini (aged 55) [Romanus], son of Don Ferdinando, fourth Duca di Bracciano, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Signore di Trevignano, etc., Prince Assistant at the Papal Throne, Grande di Spagna di prima classe, Nobile Romano, Patrizio Napoletano, Patrizio Veneto; third Duca di San Gemini, second Principe di Scandriggia e Conte di Nerola, first Duca di Nerola; and Donna Giustiniana Orsini,daughter and heiress of Don Giovanni Antonio Orsini, first Principe di Scandriglia, second Duca di San Gemini e Conte di Nerola and Donna Costanza Savelli dei Duchi di Castel Gandolfo.  Formerly Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio (1653-1656), Prince Virginio was currently Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede, and later Cardinal Bishop of Albano, then Cardinal Bishop of Frascati (died 1676). Protector of the Armenians and of the Kingdom of Poland.
  8. Rinaldo d'Este (aged 52) [Modena], son of Elizabeth of Savoy. Cardinal Priest of S. Pudenziana.  Formerly Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere  (died 1672). Brother of the Duke of Modena. An enemy of the Barberini since their war over Parma.  But when the Spanish offended him by not sharing their councils, he went over to the French, and became their Cardinal Protector and a defender of the Barberini.  In its turn, this offended Pope Innocent, and d'Este had to withdraw from Rome for a time.
  9. Cesare Facchinetti (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of Ss. Quattro Coronati (died 1683). Bishop of Spoleto.
  10. Carlo Rosetti (aged 55), Cardinal Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite (1654-1672). Previously Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via (1643-1644), and of C. Cesareo (1644-1653). Titular Archbishop of Tarsus (1641-1643), Bishop of Faenza (1643-1676). Cardinal Bishop of Frascati in 1676, then Porto e Santa Rufina (1680-1681).   (died 1681).  He had been papal Nunzio in England in the 1630s-1640s.
  11. Niccolò Albergati-Ludovisi (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere (died 1687). Major Penitentiary.
  12. Federico Sforza (aged 56), son of Don Alessandro Sforza 1572-1631), Conte di Segni, Signore di Valmontone e Lugnano, first Duca di Segni, second Marchese di Proceno, Signore di Onano, twelfth Conte di Santa Fiora, Marchese di Varzi e Castell’Arquato e Conte di Cotignola; and Donna Eleonora Orsini, daughter of Don Paolo Giordano, first Duca di Bracciano and of Isabella de’ Medici Principessa di Toscana.  Federico Sforza was Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli, formerly Cardinal Deacon of SS. Vito, Modesto e Crescenzia (1646-1656). Legate in Avignon. He succeeded Cardinal Antonio Barberini as Vice-Chamberlain S.R.E.   He was Bishop of Rimini from 1646-1656 [Gauchat, p. 95].   In 1675 he became Bishop of Tivoli.    (died 1700)
  13. Alderano Cibo (aged 67), Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede  (died 1676)
  14. Benedetto Odescalchi (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio.(died 1689)
  15. Lorenzo Raggi (aged 55), Cardinal Priest of SS. Quirico e Giulitta (died 1687). Vice-Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church.
  16. Jean-François-Paul de Gondi de Retz (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria sopra Minerva (died 1679).
  17. Luigi Omodei (aged 63), Cardinal Priest of Ss. Bonifacio ed Alessio (died 1685).
  18. Pietro Vito Ottoboni (aged 60), Cardinal Priest of S. Marco (died 1691).
  19. Lorenzo Imperiali (aged 58), Cardinal Priest of S. Crisogono (died 1673).
  20. Giberto Borromeo (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo (died 1672).
  21. Marcello Santacroce (aged 50), Cardinal Priest of S. Stefano al Monte Celio (died 1674). Bishop of Tivoli.
  22. Giovanni Battista Spada (aged 72), Cardinal Priest of S. Marcello (died 1675) .
  23. Francesco Albizzi (aged 76), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via (died 1684) .
  24. Ottavio Acquaviva d'Aragona (aged 60), Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (died 1674).
  25. Carlo Pio di Savoia (aged 47) [Ferrara],  Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca    Once Treasurer General of the Apostolic Camera, then Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica  (died 1689, as Cardinal Bishop of Sabina).
  26. Carlo Gualterio (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Eusebio,  formerly Cardinal Deacon of S. Pancrazio. Bishop of Fermo
  27. Flavio Chigi.(aged 39), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria del Popolo (died 1693). Bibliothecarius Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae. Archivist of the Vatican Archives. Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica. Nephew of Pope Alexander VII.
  28. Girolamo Buonvisi (aged 63), Cardinal Priest of S. Girolamo dei Schiavoni/Croati (died 1677). Bishop of Lucca, Legate in Ferrara.
  29. Scipione Pannocchieschi d'Elci (aged 70), Cardinal Priest of S. Sabina (died 1670, during the Conclave, on April 13, 1670). Archbishop of Pisa.
  30. Antonio Bichi, Bishop of Osimo (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Agostino (died 1691. Bishop of Osimo.
  31. Pietro Vidoni (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of S. Callisto (died 1681). Bishop of Lodi.
  32. Gregorio Barbarigo (aged 44), Cardinal Priest of S. Tommaso in Parione (died 1697). Bishop of Padua.
  33. Girolamo Boncompagni (aged 48), Cardinal Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro (died 1684). Archbishop of Bologna.
  34. Alfonso Litta (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme (died 1679). Archbishop of Milan.
  35. Neri Corsini (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of Ss. Nereo ed Achilleo (died 1678).
  36. Carlo Bonelli (aged 58), Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia (died 1676).
  37. Celio Piccolomini (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Montorio (died 1681).
  38. Carlo Carafa (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna (died 1680).
  39. Paluzzo Paluzzi degli Albertoni (aged 47), Cardinal Priest of Ss. XII Apostoli (died 1698). Bishop of Montefisacone e Corneto.
  40. Cesare Maria Antonio Rasponi (aged 55), Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina (died 1675). Legate in Urbino.
  41. Giannicolò Conti di Poli (aged 53), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Traspontina (died 1698). Bishop of Ancona and Numana.
  42. Giacomo Filippo Nini (aged 41), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria della Pace (died 1680).
  43. Carlo Roberti (aged 65), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Ara Coeli (died 1673).
  44. Vitalianus Visconti, Cardinal Priest of S. Agnese fuori le mura   (died 1671).
  45. Giulio Spinola (aged 58), Cardinal Priest of S. Martino ai Monti (died 1691) .
  46. Innico Caracciolo (aged 63), Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente   (died 1685). Archbishop of Naples (1667-1685)..
  47. Giovanni Delfino (aged 53), Cardinal Priest S. Salvatore in Lauro   . Patriarch of Aquileia (1657-1699)   (died 1699).
  48. Giacomo Rospigliosi (aged 39), Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto (1668-1672), and later of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo (1672-1684)   Archpriest of the Liberian Basilica.  Prefect of the Segnatura. Previously member of his uncle's Spanish legation, Major Domo to Cardinal Chigi (nephew of Alexander VII). (died 1684).   Nephew of Pope Clement IX
  49. Emmanuel Théodose de la Tour d'Auvergne de Bouillon (aged 26), Cardinal Priest without title.  Received the titulus of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna on May 19 from the new pope.  (died 1715)
  50. Ludovicus (Luis) Manuel Fernández de Portocarrero (aged 35), Cardinal Priest without title.  Received the titulus of S. Sabina on May 19 from the new pope.  Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain (1677-1709)  (died 1709).
  51. Francesco Nerli  (aged 75), Cardinal Priest without title.  Received the titulus of S. Bartolomeo all’Isola  on May 19 from the new pope. (died November 6, 1670)
  52. Emilio Altieri (aged 79), Cardinal Priest without titulus  Bishop of Camerino (1627-1670)   (died 1676, as Pope Clement X).
  53. Giovanni Bona, O.Cist. (aged 60), Cardinal Priest without title.  Received the titulus of S. Bernardo alle Terme  on May 19 from the new pope. (died 1674)

  54. Francesco Maidalchini (aged 49), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata    (died 1700).
  55. Friedrich von Hessen-Darmstadt, O.S.Io.Hieros (aged 54), Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere    (died 1682) .
  56. Carlo Barberini (aged 40). Cardinal Deacon of S. Cesareo in Palatio   (died 1704).
  57. Decio Azzolino (aged 47), Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio, formerly of S. Adriano al Foro (died 1689).
  58. Giacomo Franzoni (aged 57), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin, formerly of S. Maria in Aquiro (died 1697). Bishop of Camerino.
  59. Francesco Maria Mancini (aged 64), Cardinal Deacon ofSS. Vito, Modesto e Crescenzia    (died 1672).
  60. Angelo Celsi (aged 70), Cardinal Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria , formerly of  S. Giorgio in Velabro  (died 1671). Prefect of the SC of the Council.
  61. Paolo Savelli (aged 48), Cardinal Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro, formerly of S. Maria della Scala   (died 1685).
  62. Leopoldo de' Medici (aged 42), Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano (1668-1670), and then of S. Maria in Cosmedin  (died 1675). .
  63. Sigismondo Chigi (21), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica (1670)  and then of S. Giorgio in Velabro (1670-1678) (died 1678, at the age of 28).
  64. Carlo Cerri (aged 59),  Cardinal Deacon without Deaconry.  Granted the Deaconry of S. Adriano al Foro on May 19 by the new pope
  65. Lazaro Pallavicino (aged 66), Cardinal Deacon without Deaconry.  Granted the Deaconry of S. Adriano al Foro on May 19 by the new pope, Clement X. He became Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina in 1677. (died 1680)
  66. Niccolò Acciaioli (aged 39),  Cardinal Deacon without Deaconry.  Granted the Deaconry of Ss. Cosma e Damiano  (1670-1689) on May 19 by the new pope. (died 1719).
  67. Bonaccorso Bonaccorsi (49), Cardinal Deacon without Deaconry.  Granted the Deaconry of S. Maria della Scala  on May 19 by the new pope.  (died 1678)

Cardinals absent:

  1. Girolamo Grimaldi (aged 74), Cardinal Priest of Sma. Trinità al Monte Pincio (died 1685) Archbishop of Aix, France.
  2. Pascual de Aragón-Córdoba-Cardona y Fernández de Córdoba (aged 44), Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina (died 1677). Archbishop of Toledo.
  3. Luis Guillermo de Moncada de Aragón Luna de Peralta y de la Cerda (aged 56), Cardinal Deacon without Deaconry (died 1673). Duke of Bivona.


Opening of the Conclave.  'Soggetti'

The Conclave of 1669-1670 lasted four months and ten days. It began on December 20, 1669. The Oratio de eligendo Summo Pontifice was preached by Antonio Malagonelli (detto Amadori) [Romae 1669].  The College of Cardinals was at full strength, seventy members. Fifty-seven cardinals entered conclave on opening day, joined on the next day by Cardinal Frederick of Hesse-Darmstadt, and on the day after that Cardinal Cacciolo. The Cardinal Camerlengo was present but ill, as was Cardinal Federico Sforza. On the day after Christmas Cardinal Borromeo entered conclave. Porto Carrero finally arrived in April. There were complicated comings and goings of cardinals who were ill, the especially severe winter no doubt playing its part, though the lowered quality of sanitary arrangements for a small army of men surely contributed. Four cardinals did not appear in Rome at all, and Cardinal Ludovisi was unwilling to enter conclave at all, despite canonical penalties.

According to the account of a conclavist-eyewitness, there were as many as twenty-one soggetti papabili, but this is ridiculous. One person on the list, for example, Cardinal Ginetti (bishop of Velletri), was eighty-five years old. The Dean, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, was only 73, but known throughout Europe for his stubbornness and anger. On the other hand Cardinal Brancacci of Naples, though not in any faction, had many qualities to recommend him in a deadlock. Cardinal Facchinetti of Bologna, a gregarious friendly personality, was a candidate of Cardinal Barberini's group. Giovanni Battista Cardinal Spada of Lucca was the candidate of the 'Squadrone volante', (the survivors of the cardinals created by Innocent X and Alexander VII) and Barberini's second choice. Cardinal Decio Azzolino, one of Innocent X's creations, was also working on his squadron to promote the candidacy of Cardinal Vidoni (de Bildt, 19) Azzolino intended to use Christine of Sweden as an intermediary to negotiate with the ambassadors of the important states, Spain, France, Venice and the Emperor.  Flavio Chigi, who led a group of perhaps twenty-four, had several candidates: d'Elci (who died on April 13), Celsi, Bonvisi, and Vidoni, all non-starters. Nineteenth on the Conclavist's list came the 79 year-old Emilio Altieri, a Roman, a former diplomat, the late pope's Maestro di camera.   Benedetto Odescalchi and Pietro Ottoboni, both future popes, were also under consideration, though both were too young in the opinion of many. And so it went.


There were a total of six factions (in the reckoning of de Bildt, 29) The French faction had eight members: d'Este, Antonio Barberini, Orsini, Grimaldi, de Retz, Maidlachini, Mancini, and de Bouillon. The Spanish faction had ten members (de Bildt, 34): Medici, Hesse, Sforza, Raggi, Acquaviva, Pio, Visconti, Aragon, Moncada, and Porto Carrero. Cardinal Francesco Barberini commanded eight votes: Carlo Barberini, Ginetti, Brancaccio, Carpegna, Gabrielli, Fachinetti, and Rosetti (de Bildt, 39) The 'Squadrone volante' had twelve members: Azzolino, Ottoboni, Imperiali, Borromeo, Omodei, Gualtieri, Ludovisi, Cibò, Odescalchi, Santa Croce, Spada, and Albizzi (de Bildt, 40-41). Only the first six were a solid group, the latter six were less reliable. Flavio Chigi (cardinal-nephew at 20, and now only 39) led a faction of the adherents of Alexander VII, twenty-four in number: Sigismondo Chigi, d'Elci, Bonelli, Spinola, Vidoni, Carafa, Corsini, Piccolomini, Rasponi, Roberti, Bichi, Litta, Caracciolo, Boncompagni, Delfini, Barbadigo, Bonvisi, Franzoni, Conti, Paluzzi, Celsi, Nini, and Savelli (de Bildt. 43-45). The Rospigliosi party had eight votes: Nerli, Bona, Cerri, Acciaioli, Pallavicini, Bonaccorsi, and Altieri (de Bildt, 46-47).

Early Balloting

In the first ballot, on December 23, Barberini received 17 votes, Odescalchi 10, Cibo 8, Bona 6, d'Elci 2, and Celsi 1; no one else had more than four (De Bildt, 269). From then on, Barberini almost always came in first, but with 12 or 13 votes; he reached his maximum of twenty-five on January 15, but immediately fell back to 14. Cardinal Odescalchi, though some thought he might actually be elected, reached his maximum on February 25; he could only martial 15 votes. Rospigliosi, the deceased pope's nephew, was awarded a maximum of 33 votes, on March 10. But, as De Bildt explains, both cases demonstrated not real support but rather the ability of the minority to martial enough strength to stop anyone. Only twenty-three votes were needed for a virtual Veto.

Manipulations of 'the Crowns'

On the morning of February 10, the French Ambassador Chaulnes wrote to Cardinal de Retz that the election of Cardinal d' Elci could not be agreeable to King Louis XIV. Though a formal veto was never cast, this was enough to cause Cardinal de Medici and Cardinal Chigi to abandon the candidate (de Bildt, 134-136). Then Antonio Grimani, the Venetian Ambassador, suggested to Astorga, the Spanish Ambassador, and then to Chaulnes, the French Ambassador, that they should all approach the Sacred College and suggest the name of Cardinal Bonvisi, bishop of Lucca.   Astorga advised him of the outrage that this would produce, and indicated that it had to be done discreetly; rumors of the plotting did reach the Sacred College, and there was the predicted outrage.  On March 3, Cardinal Chigi proposed the name of Cardinal Bonvisi; when the scrutiny took place, Bonvisi received three votes. Chigi was humiliated, his faction was angry with him, and he vowed that the conclave would not end except with one of his faction being elected. Chigi and Medici made a demonstration in the scrutiny of March 10 by voting as a group for Cardinal Rospigliosi, who received a total of thirty-three votes out of the fifty-eight which were cast, a majority, but not the two-thirds majority needed for a canonical election.

Cardinal Odescalchi

Next it was Odescalchi. On March 10, in the evening, after the dramatic vote, a meeting was held in Cardinal Sforza's room. Several names were proposed—Carpegna, Nerli, Odescalchi—though hostility to Vidoni was the only certainty. Next day, however, Chigi and Medici decided to try Odescalchi. The fact that Azzolino was puitting it about that he was hostile to Odescalchi—it was only a ruse—made Odescalchi the more attractive. The two faction leaders began to canvass for votes.By the 17th of March it was all over Rome that a pope was about to be elected. Christine of Sweden tried to convince the French ambassador, on instructions from Azzolini, that the Squadrone Volante would not vote for Odescalchi. The truth of the subterfuges was revelaed when Azzolini left a message for Odescalchi with the latter's conclavist, who assumed (since Azzolini and Odescalchi had no friendly relations) that the message was intended for the French Cardinal de Bouillon next door, to whom he delivered the revealing note. At the voting of March 20, Odescalchi received only seven votes. The French Ambassador announced that no soggetto could ever be elected who did not have at least some obligation to His Majesty (King Louis XIV). That ended Odescalchi's candidacy.

Letters from Louis XIV and from de Lionne, dated March 16 and March 20, ordered the French ambassador, de Chaulnes, and the French party to try again to elect Bonvisi.

In April, after Easter, it was the turn of Brancaccio, who had been vetoed by Spain in the Conclave of 1667. The Venetian ambassador assured him that Spain was not hostile now, and so he consulted with Chigi (who did not encourage him) and Azzolini (who decided to consult with Christina, who agreed to work on his behalf, since Vidoni's chances were gone). But Medici as well was against him Cardinal Porto Carrero finally reached Civitavecchia on April 18, where he was met by the Spanish ambassador and members of the Spanish party in Italy; he visited Queen Christina on the 22nd, but all she obtained from him was an expression of good will toward Azzolino and the Squadrone; finally on the 23rd he entered conclave.

New Spanish Instructions alienate Cardinal Chigi

In Spain, the Council of State met on March 29 to consider dispatches from Rome and to draw up new instructions for its agents at the Conclave. It had supported Cardinal Vidoni, and was annoyed that he had been dropped. It blamed Ambassador Astorga for having brought the Spanish faction together with the Chigi faction, giving Chigi in effect the power of an exclusiva. Orders were signed by the Queen-regent to Astorga to repair the damage (de Bildt, 210-211), which quickly turned Chigi against the Spanish.

Election of Cardinal Altieri

On the evening of the 27th of April, the French Ambassador Chaulnes, Cardinal Chigi and Cardinal Rospigliosi had a conference. IIt was agreed that a member of Rospigliosi's faction would be put forward. The heads of the two most influential factions, having come to the realization that neither would have either his first or his second choice, agreed that Cardianl Altieri, the man who had fewest enemies and the least negative baggage, would indeed be elected. Cardinals were individually approached in greatest secrecy, and told what would happen. On the evening of April 28, the ambassadors of the great powers were informed of their intention.

On the twenty-ninth of April, Emilio Cardinal Altieri, Cardinal Priest without red hat and without titular church, Bishop of Camerino, aged seventy-nine, was elected, with only two dissenting votes (De Bildt, 222). Altieri was crowned Clement X on May 11 in the Vatican Basilica, by Francesco Cardinal Maidalchini, the Cardinal Protodeacon; and on June 8, he took formal possession of S. Giovanni Laterano, his cathedral church [Cancellieri, 286-295].



For the Conclave of 1670, see:  "Conclave nel 1670, fatto dal Cardinal Rinaldo d'Este" (ms. Libreria Capponi, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana).  Amelot de la Houssaie, Relation du Conclave de M.DC.LXX. (Paris: Frederic Leonard, 1676) [same text as in Gregorio Leti's Histoire des conclaves 3rd edition (1703)], 89 pp. duodecimo.   [Gregorio Leti], Conclavi de' Pontefici Romani nuova edizione, riveduta, corretta, ed ampliata Volume III (Cologne: Lorenzo Martini 1691) 185-239.  [The works of Gregory Leti are highly tendentious; once a Catholic and well-acquainted with Rome, he converted to Protestantism, and made it his literary business to entertain Europe with highly colored stories of the doings of Papal Rome. His facts come from conclavist sources, but his interpretations and personal characterizations should be looked on with suspicion]   There is a list of contemporary accounts of the Conclave and other ceremonies in Cancellieri, p. 286 n. 4.


Giuseppe de Novaes, Elementi della storia de' sommi pontefici da San Pietro sino al ... Pio Papa VII   third edition, Volume 10 (Roma 1822) 208-209. Gaetano Moroni Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 14 (Venezia 1842) 57 (thoroughly ridiculous); and F. Artaud de Montor, Histoire des souverains pontifes Romains Tome VI (Paris 1851) 90-91.   F. Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves Troisième volume (Paris 1865), 224-271.   T. A. Trollope, The Papal Conclaves as They Were and as They Are (London 1876), 346-376 (relying on the account of Gregorio Leti).


Louis XIV's instructions to his Ambassador Extraordinary, the Duc de Chaulnes: Gabriel Hanotaux (editor), Recueil des instructions donnees aux ambassadeurs et ministres de France: Rome. Tome Premier (1648-1687) (Paris 1888) 228-244.  A. Bozon, Le cardinal de Retz à Rome (Paris: Plon 1878)) 99-122. Charles Gérin, Louis XIV et le Saint Siège Volume II (Paris 1894), 390-407. Baron Carl Nils Daniel de Bildt, Christine de Suède et le Conclave de Clément X (1669-1670) (Paris: Plon 1906) [based on Cardinal Azzolini's correspondence with Queen Christina and with Cardinal Vidoni, and on state papers in The Vatican, Paris, Simancas and Venice, as well as other valuable sources].


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

March 29, 2014 5:23 PM

© 2009 John Paul Adams, CSUN

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