(Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini).
Born at Siena, 29 May 1439; elected 22 September 1503; died in Rome, 18 October 1503, after a pontificate of four weeks. Piccolomini was the son of a sister of Pius II. He had passed his boyhood in destitute circumstances when his uncle took him into his household, bestowed upon him his family name and arms, and superintended his training and education. He studied law in Perugia and immediately after receiving the doctorate as canonist was appointed by his uncle Archbishop of Siena, and on 5 March 1460, cardinal-deacon with the title of San Eustachio. The following month he was sent as legate to the March of Ancona, with the experienced Bishop of Marsico as his counsellor. "The only thing objectionable about him", says Voigt, "was his youth; for in the administration of his legation and in his later conduct at the curia he proved to be a man of spotless character and many-sided capacity." He was sent by Pope Paul II as legate to Germany, where he acquitted himself with eminent success, the knowledge of German that he had acquired in his uncle's house being of great advantage to him. During the worldly reigns of Pope Sixtus IV and Pope Alexander VI he kept away from Rome as much as possible. Sigismondo de Conti, who knew him well tells us that "he left no moment unoccupied; his time for study was before daybreak; he spent his mornings in prayer and his midday hours in giving audiences, to which the humblest had easy access. He was so temperate in food and drink that he only allowed himself an evening meal every other day." Yet this is the excellent man to whom Gregorovius in his "Lucrezia Borgia", without a shadow of authority, gives a dozen children - the calumny being repeated by Brosch and Creighton. After the death of Pope Alexander VI, the conclave could not unite on the principal candidates, d'Amboise, Rovere, and Sforza; hence the great majority cast their votes for Piccolomini, who though only sixty-four was, like his uncle, tortured with gout and was prematurely old. He took the name of Pius III in honour of his uncle, was crowned on 8 October after receiving priestly and episcopal orders. The strain of the long ceremony was so great that the pope sank under it. He was buried in Saint Peter's, but his remains were later transferred to San Andrea della Valle where he rests by the side of Pope Pius II.Catholic Encyclopedia