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The history of the popes, from the close of the middle ages. Drawn from the secret archives of the Vatican and other original sources (Volume v.8) online

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§ A fresh and excellent copy of this by Andrea del Sarto is in the
Museum at Naples. A copy by Bugiardini is in the Corsini Gallery in
Rome. Cf. A. NiCCOLlNl, Sul ritratto di Leone X., dipinto da Raffaello
e sulla copia di A. del Sarto, Napoli, 1841 ; (R. Betti) Sul ritratto di
Leone X., etc., Napoli, 1842 ; C. Pancaldi, Sulla vertenza intorno al
ritratto di Leone X., Milano, 1842 ; G. MaSSELLI, Sul ritratto di Leone
X., dipinto da Raffaello e sulla copia fatta da A. del Sarto, Firenze,
1842; H. DE Garriod, De la legitimite du portrait de Leon X.,
Reponse k A. Niccolini, Florence, 1842 ; E. Rocco, Intorno al ritratto
di Leone X., s.l.^ 1842 ; C. Guerra, Sul Leone X., del R. Museo
Borbonico, Napoli, 1843 ; C. d'Arco ed. U. Braghirolli in the Arch,
stor. Ital., 3rd Series, VII., 2, 175 seq.\ Reumont in the Jahrb. fiir
Kunstwiss., 1868, 211 seq.\ SPRINGER, Raphael, 114 seq. ; Gruyer,
Raphael peintre d. portraits, 333 seqq.^ 360 seqq. ; StrzyGOWSKI, 47


its being embellished and ennobled,* reproduces the
originality and personality of the Pope far more correctly
than does the above-mentioned sketch or the highly-
realistic commemorative statue in the Capitol.f

Raphael has represented the Pope in his simple morning
dress with the full red cape (mozetta), and the cap on his
head which is known as the camauro. He is sitting at ease
in an elbow-chair before a table, on the red damask cover
of which there stands a richly-chased bell, with an open
manuscript illuminated with miniatures. In his left hand,

seq. Against an unjust criticism of the picture, see Kunstchronik, 1899
-1900, No. 22. Most later portraits are based on the one in the Pitti ;
see Kenner, 144. Other portraits are taken from the fresco of
Attila (9^. Crowe, Raffael, IL, 153), and the above-mentioned (p. 72)
drawing by Sebastiano del Piombo, and the miniature from it in the
collection of Prosper- Valton (reproduced in MUNTZ, Tapiss., 5), and
the sketch of 15 13 in the Hofmuseum in Vienna (3rd room, No. 460,
291). A beautiful marble bust, rather more than life size, made for
Giannozzo Pandolfini, in the palace of that name, is not yet made public.
Family tradition calls it the work of Michael Angelo, which is manifestly
incorrect. Alfonso Lombardi's colossal marble statue of Leo X. (in
which the Pope is represented as giving his blessing), in the Palazzo
Vecchio, is a commonplace work. Still more may this be said of the bust
in the same Palazzo in the Sala di Leone X. Caradosso and Sangallo
designed medals of Leo X. ; cf. Arm and, I., iii, 159 ; II., ir3, 114 ;
III., 27, 31, 45, 46, 62, 143, 201-202. As to coins, see Cinagli, Monete
de' papi, Fermo, 1848 ; Schulte, I., 218 seqq. Fine cameos with the
head of Leo X. are in the Uffizi at Florence (Nos. 500, 501, 3202, 3203) ;
cf. WiCKHOFF in Kunstgeschichtl. Anzeigen, 1906, S. 54.

* Grimm (Leben Raphaels, 439) declares that in this picture the
painter of Urbino has " done more for his patron's memory than could
have been done by the most brilliant historian. . . . It is the master-
piece of Raphael in this direction, and comes second to no historical
portrait of any age. Vasari's praise was quite justified." Many, e.g.
B. SCHUBLING, Florenz (Stuttgart, 1902), 132, place it above that of
Julius II.

t Cf.., about thisj infra., 283 seqq.., 352.


the intellectual friend of literature and art holds a magnify-
ing glass, through which he has been examining the
paintings, and seems anxious to have the opinion of
Cardinals Medici and Rossi, who are standing beside him.
By just these few touches — the glass, the illuminated book,
and the beautiful bell — the Pope's characteristics as a lover
of beauty and patron of art are placed on the canvas. The
head, large out of proportion, the heavy expression, the
flabby, beardless face, the furrowed forehead and the
double-chin, are all truthfully reproduced.* The expression
of the countenance is pre-eminently that of gentleness and
kindliness, united to the quiet dignity of a self-conscious
ruler and shrewd, calculating diplomatist. The expression
of the persuasive mouth, round v/hich there plays a smile,
is inimitable, and illustrates to a marvellous degree what
Giovio says about the refined and pleasant way of speaking
peculiar to Leo X., and which could be quite as serious
in important matters as it was full of a delightful ease, a
gay humour, and the greatest courtesy imaginable in the
ordinary affairs of life.f

Leo's cheerfulness of temper, which never failed him,
even when suffering from his constitutional ailments, and
especially the fistula trouble, is extolled by all contem-
porary writers;! though, added to his infirmities, it no

* WOLFFLIN, Klass. Kunst., ii6.

t Jovius, Vita, lib. 4 ; and the Vita Anon, in Roscoe-Henke, III.,

X As to Leo's generally weak health, and especially his fistula
troubles, which brought on a severe illness in the summer of 15 16, c/.,
as well as the Vita Anon, in Roscoe-Henke, III., 619, Sanuto, XXII.,
372, 412, 443, 456, 475; XXIII., 268; XXV., 204, 438, 611 segg.;
XXVI., 7, 51, 216 ; XXIX., 164 segg. ; cf. Vol. VII. of this work, p.
156, and stipra, p. 58, and Marini, I., 318 segq. In the same (I., 303
segg.) are valuable accounts of Leo's physicians and surgeons. The
" Archangiolo " mentioned on p. 282 received eight ducats a month ;


doubt increased the dilatoriness and slowness of action
which were such characteristic features of the Medici
Pope.* The discomforts suffered by Leo, especially during
long ecclesiastical functions, by reason of his corpulence,
have been testified by his Master of Ceremonies, who
describes how, on such occasions, he saw him keep wiping
the perspiration from his face and hands.f

The observant Venetian Ambassador, Marino Giorgi, has
drawn Leo's character most admirably with a few strokes
of the pen. " The Pope," he says in his final report of
March, 15 17, "is a very good-tempered and generous man,
who shrinks from severe exertion and desires peace. He
would never be drawn into war unless entangled in it by
his adherents. He loves the sciences and is well versed in

see *Serapica, Spese private di Leone X., L (State Archives, Rome).
See also Mem, di ill. Pisani, IV., 291 seqq. ; Heimbucher, L, 206.
Among the physicians was the celebrated Jew, Bonet de Lattes, to
whom Reuchlin turned {cf. Maulde, Juifs dans les Etats du St. Siege,
Paris, 1886, 17, and Vogelstein, IL, 35, 81, 83). It was not at all
unusual to have Jews as physicians {cf. J. MuNZ, Ueber die jiidischen
Aerzte, im Mittelalter, Berlin, 1887 ; Landau, Gesch. der jiidischen
Aerzte, Berlin, 1895). Even before his election Leo X. had a Jew
(perhaps as a physician ?) in his service. This man wished to settle
in Ferrara, and Medici recommended him to Duke Alfonso of
Ferrara : *Cum I sac Hebreus de Phano in nos dum in minoribus
essemus familiamque nostram plurima obsequia impenderit diuque
fideliter inservierit. *Brief dated from Rome, May 2, 15 13 (State
Archives, Modena). In Nos. 102 and 105 of the Borgo Nuovo in Rome
we can still admire the beautiful palace of Leo's court physician, Giacomo
di Bartolomeo da Brescia {cf. Adinolfi, Portica di San Pietro, 109),
the plan of which is ascribed to Raphael or Peruzzi. The inscrip-
tion over it : Leonis X. Pont. Max. liberalitate || Jacobus Brixianus
Chirugus || Aedificavit || no longer exists. 'About this physician who
was attending Leo during the Conclave,*^, besides Marini, I., 317,
the *Uffiziali camerali, 1515-1521, f. 8, State Archives, Rome.

* Cf. Paris de Grassis in Hoffmann, 428, and Gnoli, Cacce, 15.

t Paris de Grassis in Hoffmann, 416 ; cf. 420.


literature and canon law; but above all else he is an
excellent musician." * " He is learned and the friend of
literature," is Marco Minio's account, written some three
years later ; " he fulfils his religious duties conscientiously,
but he will live and enjoy life. He takes especial pleasure
in the chase.* f

Marino Giorgi's narrative also contains the report of Leo
having said to his brother GiuHano, soon after his election,
" Let us enjoy the Papacy, since God has given it to us."
These words have been too readily repeated and accepted
by authors who aspire after what is sensational ; but they
rest on no authentic tradition. The Ambassador who
records them did not take up his post in Rome till two
years after the election ; therefore he is not a contemporary
witness : furthermore, as a Venetian, he was by no means
likely to speak impartially of Leo X. Evidently Giorgi
is merely repeating an anecdote of the ante-chamber. |
Other writers, who could speak with even less authority,
give a different version of the words ; § on the other hand,
Giovio and also Guicciardini scorn to take up or spread the
reported words. || However questionable it may be whether
Leo X. ever did say those words, there is no doubt that
they are descriptive of his desire for pleasure, and of the
aspect in which he regarded his great position. Without
suspecting the dangers which menaced the Papacy from

* Sanuto, XXIV., 90, 93 ; Albert, 2nd Series, III., 51, 56.

t Sanuto, XXVIII., 517 ; Albert, loc. cit., 64.

X Cf. Mast, Studi, I., 132, 158. Masi tries also to prove that the
words as uttered with their original context have a dififerent sense, and
that by them Leo only wished to curb the covetous proclivities of his

§ Cf. Prato, 405. According to J. Ziegler, Leo X. is made to say :
" Nunc triumphabimus, amici." Ranke, Deutsche Gesch., VI., 132.

il On the other hand, the author of the Vita Anonyma in Cod. Vatic,
3920, adopted them ; see Janus, 381.


within, he regarded himself only as the fortunate heir of
the achievements of his powerful predecessor and as secure
in his inheritance. He was zealously determined to main-
tain the strong position of the Holy See as he found it ;
but, for the rest, he gave himself without reserve to the
intellectual enjoyments which the newly-opened world of
the ancients, and the highly-developed culture of his own
age, offered to him with such bountiful fulness.

The masterpieces of antiquity and the marvellous
creations of contemporary artists interested him no less
than did the thrilling accounts which reached him from the
newly-discovered countries,* the elegant discourses and
poems of the humanists, the frivolous comedies of a
Bibbiena or an Ariosto, the bewitching compositions of
distinguished musicians, the witty sallies of his improvisatori
and the coarse jests of the buffoons, who were at that time
the welcome entertainment of almost every court. Every-
thing unpleasant j- was removed as far as possible from him,
for an insatiable search for pleasure was a leading principle
in his existence. This was a family characteristic, and
with him it took shape from the surroundings in which he
found himself.

Music and the drama, art and poetry, the intellectual,
witty, and often coarse conversation of the courtiers, were
enjoyed by the Pope with the unembarrassed light-hearted-
ness of a spoilt child of the world. In all this he was a
true son of that age of ferment, in which good and evil were
mingled in the most extracrdinary manner. His character

* He used to read these records of an evening, tisque ad nauseam,
to his sister, Petri Mart., Epist., 562. The great interest taken by the
Pope in a work entitled Origine de' Turchi, is related by A. Gabbioneta
in his *Report of Nov. 25, 1520. Gonzaga Archives, Mantua.

+ We find in the ambassadorial reports such words as these : " Non
vol fastidi." Sanuto, XXVI., 509. , ,


reveals a peculiar combination of glorious and inglorious
qualities, but what was light, gay, and infinitely versatile
was far from being balanced by earnestness, depth, and
originality. The rays of the Renaissance were focussed on
him, and from them he borrowed glory, and by them
irresistibly attracted to himself men of the most diverse
nationalities and characters.*

The range of the finer qualities of Leo X. is so evident that
no one can doubt them. To these belong his high culture,
his receptivity of all that was beautiful, his great gift of
eloquence,-]- the ease and gracefulness of his epistolary style,
Latin as well as Italian, his happy memory, his good
judgment, J and, finally, the dignity, majesty, and piety
which were conspicuous on all occasions in which he took
part in the public worship of God.

That Leo X., in spite of the cheerful worldliness which
seemed to be part of him, was conscientious in the fulfil-
ment of all his religious duties — such as saying his Office,
attending at divine worship, and observing the fasts —
and that he manifested his piety on many occasions, is
testified especially by his Master of Ceremonies,§ and

* See GREGOROVIUS, VIII., 267 seq.\ Reumont, III., i, 142;
WOLZOGEN, Raffael, 98 ; Masi, I., 135.

t Cf. Vol. VII. of this work, pp. 73 and 137 ; see also Sanuto, XV.,
225, and Paris de Grassis in Hoffmann, 450.

\ With Jovius, Vita, cf. the Vita Anonyma, loc. cit., and Matth.
Herculanus in Fabronius, 205.

§ Cf. Paris de Grassis, 15 13, March 24 (Roscoe-Henke, II., 62).
About the Corpus Christi procession of 15 13, Paris de Grassis reports
as follows : *Cumque alii dicerent ipsum cum mitra pretiosa ire oportere
et non cum simplici propter solemnitatem actus et ego dicerem, me
lulium iussisse sine mitra retento solo bireto albo propter aerem
matutinum, ipse hoc audito devote auscultans iussit ambas mitras
aufferri a se et etiam voluit per totam viam usque ad ultimum actus
esse nudo capite, et sic fuit reverentissime, quod a multis fuit tamquam


also by others who by no means shrank from reporting
things which were unfavourable to their master. Even the
Venetian Ambassadors, who were but little inclined to be
partial towards Leo, while often relating instances of his
love of pleasure, are emphatic on the subject of his un-
doubted piety. It was this piety which led the busy Pope
to hear Mass daily in the Chapel of S. Lorenzo, painted by
Fra Angelico, and made him rigidly exact in reciting his
daily office * Whenever the Pope said Mass, he went first
to confession.-f- The reproach made against Leo X., that
he took no interest in the more serious sciences, especially
in theology, is as unfounded as the accusation that he gave

devotissimus commendatus, licet nonnuUi damnaverint non decere
pontificem esse nudo capita, ad quos ego respondi imnio decere portans
sacramentum non procedens suis pedibus prout est sic faciendum.
On Dec. 19, 15 13, after the sitting of the Council {cf. Delicati-
Armellini, 10) : *Quia pluviae instabant papa recta recessit ad aedes
suas omissa basilica. Notavi autem devotionem eius qui cum scalas
sanctas, quae Pilati vulgo dicuntur et a mulieribus non nisi genuflexis
ascenduntur, non nisi discoperto capite ac semper orando ascendit et
in summo quasi veniam a Deo petiit quod non genuflexus ascendent.
Haec dixi quia non possem eius in omnibus et universis actionibus
pietatem referre, sed haec alibi. About the Corpus Christi procession
in 1516 : *Papa semper fuit nudo capite licet a me pluries incitatus, ut,
si non mitram saltem birretum assumeret propter sanitatem, sed non
voluit. On the vigil of the Epiphany, 15 19: In spite of "frigus
intensum" the Pope took part in the divine worship. *Diarium (Secret
Archives of the Vatican and Rossiana Library in Vienna). Cf. Vol. VI L
of this work, pp. 34 and 233, and Hoffmann, 443. See also Sanuto,
XXVII., 297. Leo X. was more severe with his fasts than is com-
manded by the Church ; see infra., p. 143.

* Cf. Albert, 2nd Series, III., 64 ; Sanuto, XXIX., 164, 474, and
supra, p. 59. On August 15, 15 17, Paris de Grassis mentions the
capella parva superior, in qua papa quotidie parvam missam audit
quaeque dicata est S. Laurentio et Stephano. *Diarium (Secret
Archives of the Vatican).

t Sanuto, XXI II., 395.


Utterance to infidel and free-thinking opinions.* Leo X.
was but too often very worldly, but most certainly he was
no unbeliever, even though he was not a man of deep
interior religion. If he was not so ready as most of his
contemporaries to consider extraordinary occurrences as
miraculous, in the strict sense of the term, such sobriety
of judgment on his part is only worthy of commendation.f

As to the purity of the morals of Leo X., it can only be
said that as a Cardinal his reputation in this respect was

* The words " Quantum nobis nostrisque ea de Christo fabula pro-
fuerit, satis est omnibus saeculis notum," which Leo is reported to have
said in connection with Bembo, were attributed to him in a violent
satire by an apostate Carmehte in the time of Queen Elizabeth (J. Bale,
Pageant of Popes, 179, ed. 1 574). Although the satire is full of the most
senseless statements (such as that Bembo was made Cardinal, and that
Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici were bastard sons of the Pope, etc.),
this anecdote has been accepted by many writers on the mere word of
this anti-Papal partisan who was not even a contemporary. Bayle
(Diet, art., Leon X.) expresses his surprise at this, and, like ROSCOE-
BOSSI, XIL, 83-84, rejects the utterance as totally unworthy of belief.
The ^Diarium of the Master of Ceremonies, Paris de Grassis, retails
many of Leo's confidential utterances, but not one which savours of
infidelity. Moreover, in the thousands of ambassadorial reports in the
Archives of Mantua, Modena, and Florence, which the Marchese
Ferrajoli and I looked through between us, there is not the slightest
trace of anything said by Leo X. which could be interpreted in an
infidel sense. Nor are there any words from trustworthy sources of
Luther {cf. Wrampelmayer, Tagebuch Luthers, 68) or other enemies
of the Papacy, even though their testimony in such a matter might be
open to suspicion (such is the judgment of ROSCOE-BOSSI, XIL, 85),
which attribute any opinions to Leo contrary to the immortality of the
soul. Even that most acrimonious critic of Leo X., D. Gnoli, says of
the Medici Pope that he was not a viiscredente (Secolo di Leone X., IL,
647). About J. Bale, cf. Bellesheim, Geschichte der kat. Kirche in
Irland, IL, 92, 98 seq.., Mainz, 1890.

t Cf. his sober opinion as against that of Paris de Grassis in the case
of certain signa or prodigia ; see Rayn ALDUS, 1518, n. i. Cf DelicaTI-
Armellini, 62, and Not. des Ms. du Roi, 1 1., 598 seq.


absolutely spotless ; there is no proof that as Pope * he
was in any way different.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the character of
Leo X. is his great benevolence. There was scarcely a
work of Christian charity to which he did not give his
support. Monasteries and hospitals, not only in Rome
but further afield, were the objects of his especial care.j-
Disabled soldiers, poor students, pilgrims, exiles, the
blind, cripples and unfortunates of every description were

* Whereas JOVIUS (Vita, lib. 4) passes over the whole subject of the
truth of the accusations brought against the moral conduct of Leo X.,
and declares that the secrets of the private lives of princes are beyond
the sphere of historians, Guicciardini brings strong, though general,
accusations against him, wi-thout, however, citing one witness. This
passage, which has hitherto passed unnoticed, is, curiously enough, to
be found in his History of Clement VII., lib. XVI. ^., 5. However,
Guicciardini is in this an untrustworthy witness. Apart from the fact
that he was not at that time living in Rome, he contradicts himself in
a most remarkable manner, especially in what concerns Leo X. Thus
(XIV., i), starting with the thoroughly wrong notion that Cardinal
Medici conducted all business on his own account, and that Leo was
quite passive (alieno sopra modo dalle faccende), the contrary of which
is testified by all the Ambassadors {iftfra, p. 89), he soon after remarks
most justly that much was attributed to Cardinal Medici which in reality
emanated from the Pope. Matth. Herculanus (FabroniuS, 296)
praises chastity as one of Leo's principal virtues, and says explicitly
that he preserved it as Pope. On the strength of this Roscoe-Henke
(III., 510 seq.) and Reumont (III., 2, 125) have rejected the whole of
Guicciardini's accusation as without foundation. The reports of the
Venetian and Mantuan Ambassadors contain nothing which could
warrant the above - named accusations ; even Ferrajoli, in an Este
despatch, could find nothing beyond an insinuation which proved
nothing. Roscoe-Henke (II., 55) have refuted the assertion that the
Pope's fistula trouble was a consequence of his immoral life. It may
be remarked that even Gregorovius (VIII., 224) casts no doubt on
the purity of Leo's life.

t JOVIUS, Vita, lib. 4. Cf. Regest. Leonis X., n. 2708, 3444, 3844
5176, 5503, 6565, 16,535 ; Bembi, Epist., I., 24.



generously helped by him,* No less than 6000 ducats
were set aside annually to be spent on alms.-j- No wonder
that, whenever the Pope went out, the poor from all
quarters pressed round him to receive of his bounty.|
These unfortunates often placed themselves in the corridor
leading to the Belvedere ; § but it was especially when he
made excursions into the country that the poor thronged
his steps. II He was as active in redeeming poor Christian
slaves 1[ as he was in maintaining those whom the Turks
in their lust of conquest had driven from their homes.
The books of accounts kept during his Pontificate are
full of notes of his expenditure in cases of this kind.
Among those who received regular pensions, we find
alongside the entries of quite simple people many
names of well-known and proudly titled persons. For
instance, together with the members of the unfortunate

* Numerous instances are given in the *Spese di Serapica, I., II.,
Ill, State Archives, Rome.

t See *Divers. cam., LXIII. seq.^ 126^, Secret Archives of the

% On August 19, 1 5 16, the Pope gave thirty ducats in alms on his
way to S. Maria Maggiore. *Spese di Serapica, I., State Archives,

§ On May 19, 15 19, there is a note in the *Spese di Serapica, II.:
due. 10 a una donna nel corridoro andando N. S. a Belvedere.

II There are numerous instances in the *Spese di Serapica. I take
from Vol. II. the list of gifts on one single day in Corneto, Nov. 18,
1520 : due. 8 per amor di Dio a due povere donne in Corneto ; due.
2 a un povero homo, al qual fu rubato due sachi di mele ; due. 25
a una donna, che li fu bruciata la easa in Corneto ; due. 10 a un
giovane di Corneto per andar a studiare ; due. 4 a le monache di
S. Agostino; due. 7 a septe pescatori ; finally, a 21 donne povere
un giulio per una, and an alms for Fra Nieolo di Padua. State
Archives, Rome.

IT Cf. Regest Leonis. X., n. 3471, 4559, 5056, 5261, 5500, 5585. See
also *Spese di Serapica, III., State Archives, Rome.


house of Aragon,* we find a Catacuzeno, a Tocco di
Arta, a Duke of Achaia and prince of Macedonia, and
" two sons of the King of Cyprus." f

In his intercourse with others nothing could surpass
Leo's tact and amiability. He knew how to adapt the
tone of his voice, the expression of his countenance, and
even his attitude to the circumstances of the interview.
Even when compelled to refuse a request, which he disliked
doing above all things, he knew how to soften the hardness
of the blow by gentle excuses and by holding out a hope
that some other opportunity of meeting might arise to
efface any unfavourable impression. He was indeed always
too apt to promise a great deal more than he could do ;
and one of his biographers attributes to this the revulsion
of feeling against him which took place after his death.
But whatever he had he gave away joyfully and freely,
and he often said that he would gladly do more if it were
in his power to do so.|

And yet this same man could be very hard, especially
in political matters. As in other respects, so in this, the

* *Leo X. assignat Isabellae senior! relictae Federici regis Siciliae et
Isabellae iuniori et luliae de Aragonia pensiones, July 5, 1521. Cod.
Barb., lat. 2428, f. 14, Vatican Library.

t See Amati, 215, 217, 219, 220, 224, 225, 228, 229, 230, 233, 234,
235, 236. Cf. also Regest. Leonis X., n. 1990, 6216, 6505, 7409, 7417 ;
Sanuto, XXVL, 510, and Rev. d. Bibl., V., 326 seq. About the "sons
of the King of Cyprus," cf. Reumont in the Suppl. to Allg. Ztg., 1879,
No. 72, and Cesareo in the Nuova Rassegna, 1894, L, i seqq. Cos-

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