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Pope Paul II

AKA Pietro Barbo

Born: 23-Feb-1417
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: 26-Jul-1471
Location of death: Rome, Italy
Cause of death: Stroke

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: Italy
Executive summary: Roman Catholic Pope, 1464-71

Paul II, given name Pietro Barbo, Roman Catholic Pope from the 30th of August 1464 to the 26th of July 1471, was born at Venice in 1417. Intended for a business career, he took orders during the pontificate of his uncle, Eugenius IV, and was appointed successively archdeacon of Bologna, bishop of Cervia, bishop of Piacenza, protonotary of the Roman Church, and in 1440 cardinal-deacon of Sta. Maria Nuova. He was made cardinal-priest of Sta. Cecilia, then of St. Marco by Nicholas V, was a favourite of Calixtus III and was unanimously and unexpectedly elected the successor of Pope Pius II. He immediately declared that election "capitulations", which cardinals had long been in the habit of affirming as rules of conduct for future popes, could affect a new pope only as counsels, not as binding obligations. He opposed with some success the domineering policy of the Venetian government in Italian affairs. His repeated condemnations of the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges resulted in strained relations with Louis XI of France. He pronounced excommunication, and deposition against King George Podiebrad on the 23rd of December 1466 for refusal to enforce the Basel agreement against the Utraquists, and prevailed on Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, to declare war against him on the 31st of March 1468. Matthias was not particularly successful, but George Podiebrad died on the 22nd of March 1471. The pope carried on fruitless negotiations (1469) with the emperor Frederick III for a crusade against the Turks. Paul endeavored to make drastic reforms in the curia, and abolished the college of abbreviators (1466), but this called forth violent protests from the historian Platina, one of their number and subsequently librarian under Pope Sixtus IV, who is responsible for the fiction that Paul was an illiterate persecutor of learning. It is true that the pope suppressed the Roman academy, but on religious grounds. On the other hand he was friendly to Christian scholars; he restored many ancient monuments; made a magnificent collection of antiquities and works of art; built the Palazzo di St. Marco, now the Palazzo di Venezia; and probably first introduced printing into Rome. Paul embellished the costume of the cardinals, collected jewels for his own adornment, provided games and food for the Roman people and practically instituted the carnival. He began in 1469 a revision of the Roman statutes of 1363 -- a work which was not completed until 1490. Paul established the special tax called the quindennium in 1470, and by bull of the same year (April 19) announced the jubilee for every twenty-five years. He began negotiations with Tsar Ivan III for the union of the Russian Church with the Roman see. Paul was undoubtedly not a man of quick parts or unusual views, but he was handsome, attractive, strong-willed, and has never been accused of promoting nephews or favorites. He died very suddenly, probably of apoplexy, on the 26th of July, 1471, and was succeeded by Sixtus IV.

    Roman Catholic Pope 30-Aug-1464 to 26-Jul-1471
    Roman Catholic Bishop Cervia
    Roman Catholic Bishop Piacenza
    Roman Catholic Cardinal 1440
    Assassination Attempt
    Papal Inquisition

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