Born: c. 1460
Birthplace: Corneto, Italy
Died: c. 1521
Cause of death: unspecified
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Secretary to Pope Alexander VI
Adriano Castellesi, known also as Corneto from his birthplace, Italian cardinal and writer, was sent by Pope Innocent VIII to reconcile James III of Scotland with his subjects. While in England he was appointed (1503), by King Henry VII, to the see of Hereford, and in the following year to the more lucrative diocese of Bath and Wells, but he never resided in either. Returning to Rome, he became secretary to Pope Alexander VI and was made by him cardinal (May 31, 1503). A man of doubtful reputation, Alexander's confidant and favorite, he paid the pope a large sum for his elevation. He bought a vigna in the Borgo near the Vatican, and thereon erected a sumptuous palace after designs by Donato Bramante; and it was here, in the summer of 1503, that he entertained the pope and Cesare Borgia at a banquet that went on until nightfall despite the unhealthy season of the year, when ague in its most malignant form was rife. Of the three, Cardinal Adrian was the first to fall ill, the pope succumbing a week after. The story of the poisoning of the pope is to be relegated to the realm of fiction. Soon after the election of Pope Leo X the cardinal was implicated in the conspiracy of Cardinal Petrucci against the pope, and confessed his guilt; but, pardon being offered only on condition of the payment of 25,000 ducats, he fled from Rome and was subsequently deposed from the cardinalate. As early as 1504 he had presented his palace (now the Palazzo Giraud-Torlonia) to Henry VII as a residence for the English ambassador to the Holy See; and on his flight King Henry VIII, who had quarrelled with him, gave it to Cardinal Campeggio. Adrian first fled to Venice. Of his subsequent history nothing is known for certain. It is said that he was murdered by a servant when on his way to the conclave that elected Adrian VI. As a writer, he was one of the first to restore the Latin tongue to its pristine purity; and among his works are De Vera Philosophia ex quatuor doctoribus ecclesiae (Bologna, 1507), De Sermone Latino (Basel, 1513), and a poem, De Venatione (Venice, 1534).
Roman Catholic Cardinal 31-May-1503
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