Pope Julius II; Giuliano della Rovere

[portrait of Pope Julius II] Reigned from 1 November 1503 to 21 February 1513. Born on 5 December 1443 at Albissola, Italy as Giuliano della Rovere; died on 21 February 1513 at Rome, Italy. He became a Franciscan and was made cardinal-priest. He held twelve episcopal sees and one archiepiscopal see; with the income from these and other benefices he patronized art and undertook the firm establishment and extension of the temporal power. Previous to his reign, which opened the 16th century gloriously for the papacy, he was familiar, as either diplomat or soldier, with the most powerful princes in Christendom. His interest centered in the temporal glory of the Church, and to this end he joined the League of Cambrai, 1509, and later formed the Holy League, 1511, to free Italy from French rule. As a result he gained Parma, Bologna, Reggio, and Piacenza for the Papal States. One of the most famous administrative acts of his reign was the promulgation of a Bull condemning and invalidating simoniacal papal elections. He convoked the Fifth Lateran Council, 1512. A famous patron of art, he encouraged Raphael, Bramante, and Michelangelo, and began the Basilica of Saint Peter.

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