The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Paul III (1534-1549)
Consistory of December 18, 1534 (I)


(1) 1. FARNESE, iuniore, Alessandro (1520-1589)

Birth. October 7, 1520, Castello Valentano, Viterbo. He was the eldest son of Pier Luigi Farnese, first duke of Parma, son of Pope Paul III; and Girolama Orsini, of the counts of Pitigliano. Brother of Cardinal Ranuccio Farnese, O.S.Io.Hieros. (1545). Great-uncle of Cardinal Odoardo Farnese (1591).

Education. Studied at the University of Bologna.

Early life. Created a cardinal when he was 14 years old.

Sacred orders. (No information found).

Episcopate. Named administrator of the see of Parma, November 1, 1534; resigned, August 13, 1535.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of December 18, 1534; received the red hat and the deaconry of S. Angelo in Pescheria, December 18, 1534. Abbot in commendam of the monastery of S. Lorenzo fuori le mura, Rome, 1535. Governor of Tivoli, 1535-1538. Administrator of the see of Jaén, Spain, July 30, 1535 until July 6, 1537. Vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, August 13, 1535 until his death. Opted for the title of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, proper of the office of vice-chancellor, August 13, 1535. Governor of Tivoli. Archpriest of the patriarchal Liberian basilica. Archpriest of the patriarchal Vatican basilica with total jurisdiction in the civil and criminal causes of the persons attached to that basilica. Administrator of the see of Avignon, August 13, 1535; resigned in 1551. Administrator of the see of Monreale, May 15, 1536; obtained the title, January 14, 1568; resigned before December 9, 1573. Abbot in commendam of the Cistercian monastery of S. Anastasio alle Tre Fontane, August 11, 1536 until May 2, 1544. Administrator of the see of Bitonto, June 17, 1537 until January 8, 1538; named again for a few months in 1544. Administrator of the see of Massa marittima, November 15, 1538 until April 22, 1547. Constituted administrator of the titular patriarchate of Jerusalem, until he reached the canonical age, August 27, 1539. In 1539 he was named legate a latere before Emperor Charles V to reestablish the peace between him and King Francis I of France; to finish the alliance with England; and to plan for a general council. Administrator of the see of Cavaillon, July 16, 1540; resigned, July 20, 1541. Legate perpetuus of Avignon, March 13, 1541 until April 13, 1565. On November 21, 1543 he returned to the imperial court as legate a latere and later to the French court and participated in the meeting of the two sovereigns in Paris, later returning with Charles V to Flanders.

During the war that erupted between Pope Julius III and the cardinal's brother, Duke Ottavio of Parma, he remained distant from both and retired first to Florence and later to Avignon where he stayed until the end of that pontificate. In 1545 he went again as legate a latere before the emperor in reference to the council. On January 26, 1546, he was named legate a latere before Charles V and went with the papal troops sent to help the emperor against the League of Smalkald; his brother Ottavio was captain general of the troops. Administrator of the see of Viseu, April 22, 1547 until June 27, 1552. Abbot commendatario of S. Paolo fuori le mura, 1548. Participated in the conclave of 1549-1550, which elected Pope Julius III. Administrator of the see of Tours, April 28, 1553 to June 25, 1554; exchanged this see for that of Cahors. Administrator of the see of Viviers, June 25, 1554 to November 12, 1554. Administrator of the see of Cahors, November 12, 1554; resigned before May 7, 1557. Participated in the first conclave of 1555, which elected Pope Marcellus II. Participated in the second conclave of 1555, which elected Pope Paul IV. Administrator of the see of Spoleto, 1555; resigned, December 16, 1562. Administrator of the see of Benevento, November 22, 1556; resigned, January 14, 1558 (1). He had an illegitimate daughter, Clelia, in 1556. Participated in the conclave of 1559, which elected Pope Pius IV. Abbot commendatario of Farfa, 1563. Opted for the order of cardinal priests and became protoprete, April 14, 1564. Opted for the order of cardinal bishops and the suburbicarian see of Sabina, May 12, 1564; retained in commendam the title of S. Lorenzo in Damaso until his death. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Frascati, February 7, 1565. Apostolic legate in the province of the Patrimony, 1565. Participated in the conclave of 1565-1566, which elected Pope Pius V. Participated in the conclave of 1572, which elected Pope Gregory XIII (2). Opted for the suburbicarian see of Porto e Santa Rufina, July 9, 1578. Vice-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Ostia e Velletri, proper of the dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, December 5, 1580. Participated in the conclave of 1585, which elected Pope Sixtus V. Throughout his life, he was very zealous in favor of the poor and the orphans. He was a decided supporter of the reforms of the Council of Trent, in which he participated. He was a patron of literature, science, and art, especially ecclesiastical (3). He patronized the architect Vignola and charged him with the construction of the Gesù Church in Rome (4) and of the Farnese Palace in Caprarola. Through the years he was protector of the Kingdoms of Sicily, Aragón, Portugal, Poland and Germany, and of the republics of Genoa and Ragusa, as well as of the orders of the Benedictines and the Servites.

Death. March 2 (5), 1589, at 9 p.m., of an apoplectic attack that he had suffered the previous Tuesday. Buried in the tomb he had built in front of the main altar of the Jesuit church of Gesù, Rome (6). Forty-two cardinals attended the funeral.

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, IV, 136-140; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1630, II, cols. 1500-1502; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1935; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, III, 23, 56, 57, 59, 64, 72, 127, 132, 138, 160, 161, 203, 210, 237, 270 303, 321 and 336; Gams, Pius Bonifatius. Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae. 3 v. in 1. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1957, p. 673; Rosini, Patrizia. Clelia Farnese : la figlia del Gran Cardinale. Viterbo : Sette città, 2010, (Biblioteca Mayor ; 3; Variation: Biblioteca Mayor ; 3); Weber, Christoph and Becker, Michael. Genealogien zur Papstgeschichte. 6 v. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 1999-2002. (Päpste und Papsttum, Bd. 29, 1-6), III, 527.

Webgraphy. Biography, in English; biography, in Italian; biography, in Italian; Viaggio nel Rinascimento tra i Farnese ed i Cetani by Patrizia Rosini (Banca Dati "Nuovo Rinascimento", immesso in rete il 1º marzo 2007); La malattia del cardinale Alessandro Farnese (Caprarola, luglio-agosto 1588) by Patrizia Rosini (Banca Dati "Nuovo Rinascimento", immesso in rete il 2 maggio 2008); Genealogia della famiglia Farnese by Patrizia Rosini (Banca Dati "Nuovo Rinascimento", immesso in rete in 2012); his portrait by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy; his portrait by Pietro Bonaccorsi, called Pierino del Vaga, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome; portrait with Pope Paul III and Ottavio Farnese, by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy; same portrait enlarged; his portrait, at an older age, by Scipione Pulzone, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome; his portrait, archdiocese of Monreale, Italy; his genealogy, A2 B1; and his effigy on a medal with the façade of Gesù Church, Rome; Caprarola Palazzo Farnese, You Tube.

(1) This is according to Eubel, III, 132; Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae, p. 673, indicates that he resigned on January 16, 1560.
(2) His biography in English linked above says that he was named bishop of Montefiascone in 1571 but none of the other sources consulted mention that he ever occupied that see. Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, seniore, future Pope Paul III, occupied the see from 1499 to 1534.
(3) According to his biography in English, linked above, the cardinal used to say that "there is nothing more despicable than a cowardly soldier, or an ignorant priest".
(4) This is the text of an inscription placed on the left side of the church taken from Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 1502: ALEXANDER. FARNESIUS. CARDINALIS. S. R. E. VICECANCELLARIVS. PAVLI. III. PONT. MAX. NEPOS. CVIVS. AVCTORITATE. SICXETAS. IESV. RECEPTA. PRIMVM. FVIT. ET. DECRETIS. AMPLISSIMIS. ORNATA. TEMPLVM. HOC. SVÆ. MONUMENTVM. ET. RELIGIONIS. ET. PERPETVÆ. IN EVM. ORDINEM. VOLVNTATIS. A FVNDAMENTIS. EXTRVXIT. ANNO. IVBILÆI. MDLXXV.
(5) This is according to Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, III, 23; and Rosini, Viaggio nel Rinascimento tra i Farnese ed i Cetani, p. 67, linked above; his biography in English, linked above, says that he died in February 1589; several printed sources indicate that he died on March 5, 1589.
(6) This is the inscription on his tomb taken from Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 1501: ALEXANDRI. FARNESII. CARDINALIS. S. R. E. VICECANCELLARII. EPISCOPI. OSTIENSIS. HVIVS. ECCLESIÆ. FVNDATORIS.

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(2) 2. SFORZA DI SANTA FIORA, Guido Ascanio (1518-1564)

Birth. November 26, 1518, Rome. Son of Bosio II Sforza, 4th count of Santa Fiora e Cotignola, and Costanza Farnese, natural and legitimized daughter of Pope Paul III (1534-1549). Known with the appellative of Cardinal of Santa Fiora. Brother of Cardinal Alessandro Sforza (1565). Uncle of Cardinal Francesco Sforza (1583) and great-uncle of Cardinal Federico Sforza (1645).

Education. (No information found).

Early life. Created a cardinal when he was 16 years old.

Sacred orders. (No information found).

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Montefiascone e Corneto, November 12, 1528; resigned, June 4, 1548. Consecrated (no information found).

Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of December 18, 1534; received the red hat and the deaconry of Ss. Vito e Modesto, December 18, 1534. Administrator of the see of Parma, August 13, 1535; resigned, April 26, 1560. Legate in Bologna and Romagna, 1536-1540. Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, October 22, 1537 to October 6, 1564. Legate a latere in Hungary, 1540. Together with three other cardinals, charged with raising funds for the fight against the Turks, February 10, 1540. Opted for the deaconry of S. Maria in Cosmedin, May 31, 1540. Opted for the deaconry of S. Eustachio, December 10, 1540. Administrator of the titular patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt, April 6, 1541; resigned, May 20, 1541. Administrator of the see of Anglona e Tursi, November 24, 1542; resigned, December 20, 1542. Protector of Armenia and of Spain. Legate in Marche. Participated in the conclave of 1549-1550, which elected Pope Julius III. Opted for the deaconry of S. Maria in Via Lata, March 9, 1552. Cardinal protodeacon. Participated in the Participated in the first conclave of 1555, which elected Pope Marcellus II. Participated in the second conclave of 1555, which elected Pope Paul IV. He was briefly incarcerated in 1555, accused of conspiring in favor of the Spaniards. Participated in the conclave of 1559, which elected Pope Pius IV.

Death. Friday, October 6, 1564, of vehementi fever, Villa Canedo (or Canneto), Mantua, where he had gone to rest during his travel to Rome from Venice; news of his death reached Rome on October 9, 1564. Transferred to Rome, he was buried in his family's chapel in the patriarchal Liberian basilica (1).

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, IV, 140-143; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1630, II, cols. 1502-1503; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1935; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, III, 23, 73, 74, 75, 76, 81, 102, 110, 248-249 and 270.

Webgraphy. His genealogy, A2 B4 C1 D2 E1 F1 G1; brief biographical data, in English; and medal with his arms issued during the sede vacante, 1559.

(1) This is the text of his epitaph from Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 1502: D. O. M. GVIDONI. ASCANIO. SFORTIÆ. CARD. PAVLI. III. PONTIFICIS. MAXIMI. NEPOTI. BONONIÆ. ET. FLAMINIÆ. LEGATO. ATQVE. HVIVSCE. BASILICÆ. ARCHIPRESBYTERO. ALEXANDER. CARDINALIS. SFORTIA. FRATRI. DESIDERATISSIMO. VIXIT. ANNOS. XLV. MENSES. X. DIES. XII. OBIIT. ANNO. SALVTIS. MDLXIV. NONIS. OCTOBRIS.

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