Julius II. (Giuliano Rovere—he was not connected with the highly aristocratic Della Rovere family): Pope 1503-13. He was born at Albizzola, near Savona (25 m. s.w. of Genoa), 1443. When his uncle Francesco (later Pope Sixtus IV.), became cardinal, he turned to the spiritual career, likewise becoming cardinal by 1471; and in 1480-1481, he was legate to the French King Louis XI. He exerted only a moderate influence over his uncle, Sixtus IV. (d. 1484), who stood under the sway of another nephew, Cardinal Riario; but he determined the policy of his successor, Innocent VIII. (q.v.). However, when Borgia (Alexander VI.) ascended the papal throne, Julius was compelled to secure his life by flight to France (1494). It was not until 1498, when the growing power of the pope drew the second successor of Louis XI. to his side, that Julius became ostensibly reconciled with Alexander, and now wrought for the conclusion of a compact between the two rulers which occasioned fresh war over Italy. He did not venture back to Rome till after the death of Alexander VI. (Aug. 18, 1503). On Oct. 31, 1503, after the sudden end of the pontificate of Pius III., lasting less than a month, he was chosen pope. He had gained the Spanish cardinals by the degrading promise not to contest the Romagna against Borgia's son Cesare. Nevertheless, in the first year of his pontificate, he demanded the delivery of the fortresses in that region and made Cesare captive. Then the Venetians interposed, and occupied the Romagna; but, owing to a league of the pope with France and Germany in 1504, they were compelled to surrender all the occupied points except Rimini and Faenza. Julius then at the head of an army wrested these cities from the Venetians and united the entire district with the Papal States. The enmity toward Venice continued, and in 1508 Julius again contrived, in the League of Cambrai, to combine the mightiest sovereigns of the West—Spain, France, and Germany—against the republic. The Curia now began a system of deceitful and opportunist seesaw statecraft whereby it maintained its position among the nations. Hardly were the districts that had been occupied by Venice won back by the help of France, when Julius arrayed himself against France on the side of Venice. The French king's resentment went so far that in 1510 he assembled a national synod against the pope at Tours, and sought an alliance with Emperor Maximilian, with a view to depose the pope from his dignity. Maximilian actually thought of crowning his own head with the tiara. Meanwhile, Julius in person waged war on the duke of Ferrara, who had remained on the side of France, hoping to unite his city and territory with the States of the Church; and he succeeded, in the winter of 1511; but France retaliated by occupying Bologna, and an antipapal council was convened at Pisa. In Opposition, Julius convened the Fifth Lateran Council in 1512, and, by founding the "Holy League," he secured the retreat of the French across the Alps in the same year. He still managed to add Parma and Piacenza to the States of the Church; but all the results of his war-lust and of his statecraft continued insecure, since the States of the Church, being subject to a policy of constant vacillation, lacked the conditions of independent existence. He died Feb. 21, 1513.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: For sources consult his bulls in A. M. Cherubini, Magnum bullarium Romanum, i. 477 sqq., Lyons, 1655, and in Turin ed., v. 399 sqq.; R. Brown,


Calendar of State Papers, vols. i.-ii., London, 1864 sqq.; Pauli Jovii Historia sui temporisa, Basel, 1517; O. Raynaldus, Annales ecclesiastici, Cologne, 1694-1727. Consult further: A. von Reumont, Geschichte der Stadt Rom, iii. 10 sqq., Berlin, 1870; G. Balbi, Julius II., Berlin, 1877; J. Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien, i. 112, 231 sqq., Leipsic, 1877; idem, Geschichte der Renaissance in Italien, pp. 11 sqq., ib. 1877; M. Brosch, Papst Julius II. und die Gründung des Kirchenstaates, Gotha, 1878; F. Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Rom, vol. viii., Stuttgart, 1881; Creighton, Papacy, v. 68-202; Ranks, Popes, i. 39 sqq., iii. 11-14; Bower, Popes, iii. 283-290; KL, vi. 1998-2002.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely