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.
Cardinal Francesco Barberini was Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. The Secretary of the Sacred College was Msgr. Francesco Pollini.
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.
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 Conclave of 1669-1670 lasted four months and ten days. It began on December 20, 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 34) 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For the Conclave of 1670, see: Conclave de Clemente X, in Conclavi de Pontefice romani Volume III (Cologne-Amsterdam 1691) 185-239.
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 an anonymous conclavist).
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].
© 2009 John Paul Adams, CSUN