12: Renaissance Rome and the Curia

In Rome: The Renaissance Curia

(Mostly) outside Rome: the Wars of Italy

The Curia: Renaissance Europe’s biggest bureaucracy (from Martin V to Clement VII)

Late  Avignon   era  ca 500-600

1520: over 2k (including vacabilia)

Source: John D’Amico, Renaissance Humanism in Papal Rome


 Chancery (Palazzo della Cancelleria)

central church (Rome) more involved in decision-making across Europe (public and private)

Another set of re-organization moves: mid 16th c

Our example: Datary (Dataria)

Established under Martin V

One of cardinals: appointed as Datarius

Annates: annual taxes from region of Europe

  • Competition with taxation by territorial leaders
  • New needs: urban, commercial world

Benefice-supported positions

Established in perpetuity

  • Some: inadequate over time: combine (“plural”)
  • Others: original position no longer exists: re-allocate

European interest in dispensations: for a fee

  • marriages within forbidden degrees
  • substitutes for going on a pilgrimage
  • overlooking illegitimacy
  • Indulgences:  (“butter letters”)
   butter lamb
Indulgence issued by Leo X

Naming new appointees to church positions

  •    Papal provision:   cardinal advanced a name in Consistory   (propina for services)
  •    Papal reservation
    •   “papal months”  (Martin V+)
    •      Allowances for “exceptional” situations:  plural appointments, non-resident appointments, “incompatible” benefices
    •     “Expectative favor” gratia expectativa —promise of a benefice not yet vacant

Ways to resign an office

  •      Reserving revenue as a pension
  •      Right to resume
  •      Resign in favor of a designated person (nephew)

“composition”     (fee)

venal offices: all curial offices now venal

vacabilia (Sixtus IV+) annual payment @ 11% original payment

1525: annual cost ca 140,000 ducats/year, or 32 % of total papal income

banker “Depositor General” (often Medici bank)

Tension: need for funding/spiritual nature of tasks

Italian peninsula: “Wars of Italy”

Stability: Lodi 1454

Destabilization: deaths of Lorenzo de’ Medici (1492),

Ferrante of Naples (1494)

instability in Milan

Milanese faction reminds Charles VIII (Fr): claims to Naples

French army crosses Alps Sept. 1494

Did not stay but warfare continues

Pope Alexander VI:  “Holy League”

  • Papacy, Venice, Milan, Emperor Maximilian, K of Aragon
  • Supposedly against Turks; really against Charles VIII

Louis XII of France (1498-1515) Milan  1499

1508 League formed at Cambrai against Venice (Agnadello 1509)

1511 New Holy League against French

1512 Medici return to Florence: Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici 1513: Leo X


Last main phase: Francis I and Charles V

Francis I 1515 retakes Milan

1516 Charles inherits Spanish crown (HRE 1519: Charles V)

— French lose to HRE 1525

Sack of Rome 1527

Final phases of War:

  • 1529 treaties (Barcelona and Cambrai):
  • Spanish win title to Naples; end of French claims to Milan
  • 1559 Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, 1559
  • Spanish Habsburgs in much of Italy

Euratlas: Italy 1500

Euratlas: Europe 1600