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Julius II

Julius II, 1443–1513, pope (1503–13), an Italian named Giuliano della Rovere, b. Savona; successor of Pius III. His uncle Sixtus IV gave him many offices and created him cardinal. Innocent VIII, successor to Sixtus IV, was entirely under Cardinal della Rovere's influence, and it was in reaction to the cardinal's power that the rest of the cardinals elected (1492) his bitter enemy, Rodrigo Borgia, as Pope Alexander VI. Giuliano went into voluntary exile and had little to do with ecclesiastical affairs until Alexander's death (1503). Pius III succeeded for less than a month, and Giuliano succeeded him. Pope Julius showed himself first of all a warrior, and he ably completed the work, begun by his enemy Cesare Borgia, of restoring the Papal States to the church. Having joined the League of Cambrai, he was at war with Venice until 1509 and won back Ravenna, Rimini, and Faenza. He then formed (1510) the anti-French Holy League. The resultant struggle was a draw (see Italian Wars). In 1512 he assembled the Fifth Lateran Council, which condemned the Gallicanism of the church in France and abolished simony in the college of cardinals. Julius was a great patron of art, and Raphael (who painted his portrait), Michelangelo, and Bramante enjoyed his favor. He laid the cornerstone of St. Peter's. Worldly as Julius was, he was one of the first to suppress nepotism and to try, albeit feebly, to break the hold of corruption on Rome. He was succeeded by Leo X.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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