Pope Paul III

Pope Paul III (Latin: Paulus III; 29 February 1468 – 10 November 1549), born Alessandro Farnese, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 13 October 1534 to his death in 1549.

He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation. During his pontificate, and in the spirit of the Counter-Reformation, new Catholic religious orders and societies, such as the Jesuits, the Barnabites, and the Congregation of the Oratory, attracted a popular following.

He convened the Council of Trent in 1545. He was a significant patron of the arts and employed nepotism to advance the power and fortunes of his family. It is to Pope Paul III that Nicolaus Copernicus dedicated De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres).


Paul III
Bishop of Rome
Titian - Pope Paul III - WGA22962
Papacy began13 October 1534
Papacy ended10 November 1549
PredecessorClement VII
SuccessorJulius III
Ordination26 June 1519
Consecration2 July 1519
by Leo X
Created cardinal20 September 1493
by Alexander VI
Personal details
Birth nameAlessandro Farnese
Born29 February 1468
Canino, Lazio, Papal States
Died10 November 1549 (aged 81)
Rome, Papal States
PartnerSilvia Ruffini (Mistress)
ChildrenPier Luigi II Farnese
Paolo Farnese
Ranuccio Farnese
Costanza Farnese
Lucrezia Farnese
Previous post
Coat of armsPaul III's coat of arms
Other popes named Paul
Papal styles of
Pope Paul III
Coat of arms of Pope Paul III
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone


Early life and career

Born in 1468 at Canino, Latium (then part of the Papal States), Alessandro Farnese was the oldest son of Pier Luigi I Farnese, Signore di Montalto (1435–1487) and his wife Giovanna Caetani,[1] a member of the Caetani family which had also produced Pope Boniface VIII. The Farnese family had prospered over the centuries but it was Alessandro’s ascendency to the papacy and his dedication to family interests which brought about the most significant increase in the family’s wealth and power.

Alessandro’s humanist education was at the University of Pisa and the court of Lorenzo de' Medici.[2] Initially trained as an apostolic notary, he joined the Roman Curia in 1491 and in 1493 Pope Alexander VI appointed him Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Cosma e Damiano. Farnese’s sister, Giulia was reputedly a mistress of Alexander VI and might have been instrumental in securing this appointment for her brother. For this reason, he was sometimes mockingly referred to as the "Borgia brother-in-law," just as Giulia was mocked as "the Bride of Christ." More disparagingly he was referred to as "Cardinal Fregnese" (translated as Cardinal Cunt).[3] As Bishop of Parma, he came under the influence of his vicar-general, Bartolomeo Guidiccioni. This led to the future pope breaking off the relationship with his mistress and committing himself to reform in his Parma diocese.[4] Under Pope Clement VII (1523–34) he became Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and Dean of the College of Cardinals, and on the death of Clement VII in 1534, was elected as Pope Paul III.


Ascanio Maria Sforza Visconti
Cardinal Ascanio Sforza

As a young cleric, Alessandro lived a notably dissolute life, taking for himself a mistress and having three sons and two daughters with her.[4] By Silvia Ruffini, he fathered Pier Luigi Farnese, whom he created Duke of Parma; others included Ranuccio Farnese and Costanza Farnese. The elevation to the cardinalate of his grandsons, Alessandro Farnese, aged fourteen, and Guido Ascanio Sforza, aged sixteen, displeased the reform party and drew a protest from the emperor, but this was forgiven when, shortly after, he introduced into the Sacred College Reginald Pole, Gasparo Contarini, Jacopo Sadoleto, and Giovanni Pietro Caraffa,[1] who became Pope Paul IV.

Tizian 068
Pope Paul III and his Grandsons Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (left), and Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma (right), II Duke of Parma since 1547. A triple portrait by Titian, 1546

Politics and religion

The fourth pope during the period of the Protestant Reformation, Paul III became the first to take active reform measures in response to Protestantism.[4] Soon after his elevation, 2 June 1536, Paul III summoned a general council to meet at Mantua in the following May; but the opposition of the Protestant princes and the refusal of the Duke of Mantua to assume the responsibility of maintaining order frustrated the project.[1] Paul III first deferred for a year and then discarded the whole project.

In 1536, Paul III invited nine eminent prelates, distinguished by learning and piety alike, to act in committee and to report on the reformation and rebuilding of the Church. In 1537 they turned in their celebrated Consilium de emendenda ecclesia,[5] exposing gross abuses in the Curia, in the church administration and public worship; and proffering many a bold and earnest word on behalf of abolishing such abuses. This report was printed not only at Rome, but at Strasbourg and elsewhere.

But to the Protestants it seemed far from thorough; Martin Luther had his edition (1538) prefaced with a vignette showing the cardinals cleaning the Augean stable of the Roman Church with foxtails instead of brooms. Yet the Pope was in earnest when he took up the problem of reform. He clearly perceived that Emperor Charles V would not rest until the problems were grappled with in earnest, and a council was an unequivocal procedure that should leave no room for doubt of his own readiness to make changes. Yet it is clear that the Concilium bore no fruit in the actual situation, and that in Rome no results followed from the committee's recommendations. As a consequence of the extensive campaign against "idolatry" in England, culminating with the dismantling of the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury, the Pope excommunicated Henry VIII on 17 December 1538 and issued an interdict.

On the other hand, serious political complications resulted. In order to vest his grandson Ottavio Farnese with the dukedom of Camerino, Paul forcibly wrested the same from the duke of Urbino (1540). He also incurred virtual war with his own subjects and vassals by the imposition of burdensome taxes. Perugia, renouncing its obedience, was besieged by Paul's son, Pier Luigi, and forfeited its freedom entirely on its surrender. The burghers of Colonna were duly vanquished, and Ascanio was banished (1541). After this the time seemed ripe for annihilating heresy.

In 1540, the Church officially recognized the new society forming about Ignatius of Loyola, which became the Society of Jesus.[6]

The second visible stage in the process becomes marked by the institution, or reorganization, in 1542, of the Congregation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

On another side, the Emperor was insisting that Rome should forward his designs towards a peaceable recovery of the German Protestants. Accordingly, the Pope despatched Giovanni Morone (not yet a cardinal) as nuncio to Hagenau and Worms, in 1540; while, in 1541, Cardinal Gasparo Contarini took part in the adjustment proceedings at the Conference of Regensburg. It was Contarini who led to the stating of a definition in connection with the article of justification in which occurs the famous formula "by faith alone are we justified," with which was combined, however, the Roman Catholic doctrine of good works. At Rome, this definition was rejected in the consistory of 27 May, and Luther declared that he could accept it only provided the opposers would admit that hitherto they had taught differently from what was meant in the present instance.

Titian - Ranuccio Farnese - Google Art Project
Ranuccio Farnese was made cardinal by Paul III at the age of 15.

Yet, even now, and particularly after the Regensburg Conference had proved in vain, the Emperor did not cease to insist on convening the council, the final result of his insistence being the Council of Trent, which, after several postponements, was finally convoked by the bull Laetare Hierusalem, on 15 March 1545.

Meanwhile, after the peace of Crespy (September 1544), the situation had so shaped itself that Emperor Charles V (1519–56) began to put down Protestantism by force. Pending the Diet of Worms in 1545, the Emperor concluded a covenant of joint action with the papal legate, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Paul III was to aid in the projected war against the German Protestant princes and estates. The prompt acquiescence of Paul III in the war project was probably grounded on personal motives. The moment now seemed opportune for him, since the Emperor was sufficiently preoccupied in the German realm, to acquire for his son Pier Luigi the duchies of Parma and Piacenza. Although these belonged to the Papal States, Paul III thought to overcome the reluctance of the Cardinals by exchanging the duchies for the less valuable domains of Camerino and Nepi. The Emperor agreed, because of his prospective compensation to the extent of 12,000 infantry, 500 cavalry, and considerable sums of money for the German war.

In Germany the campaign began in the west, where Archbishop of Cologne Hermann of Wied had converted to Protestantism in 1542. Emperor Charles began open warfare against the Protestant princes, estates, and cities allied in the Schmalkaldic League (see Philip of Hesse). Hermann was excommunicated on 16 April 1546, and was compelled by the Emperor to abdicate in February 1547. By the close of 1546, Charles V had subjugated South Germany. The victory at the Battle of Mühlberg, on 24 April 1547, established his imperial sovereignty everywhere in Germany, and the two leaders of the league were captured.

Farnese detail
The Farnese coat of arms or stemma on the facade of the Farnese Palace in Rome
S. Peter, Rome, Italy. (2830835909)
Rome, Italy. St. Peter's, tomb of Paul III. Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection

But while north of the Alps, in virtue of his preparations for the Augsburg Interim and its enforcement, the Emperor was widely instrumental in recovering Germany to Roman Catholicism, the Pope now held aloof from him because Charles V himself had stood aloof in the matter of endowing Pier Luigi with Parma and Piacenza, and the situation came to a total rupture when the imperial vice-regent, Ferrante Gonzaga, proceeded forcibly to expel Pier Luigi.

In 1547 the Pope's son was assassinated at Piacenza, and Paul III believed that this had not come to pass without the emperor's foreknowledge. In the same year, however, and after the death of Francis I of France (1515–47), with whom the Pope had once again sought an alliance, the stress of circumstances compelled him to do the Emperor's will and accept the ecclesiastical measures adopted during the Interim.

With reference to the assassinated prince's inheritance, the restitution of which Paul III demanded ostensibly in the name and for the sake of the Church, the Pope's design was thwarted by the Emperor, who refused to surrender Piacenza, and by Pier Luigi's heir in Parma, Ottavio Farnese.

In consequence of a violent altercation on this account with Cardinal Farnese, Paul III, at the age of eighty-one years, became so overwrought that an attack of sickness ensued from which he died, 10 November 1549.

Paul III proved unable to suppress the Protestant Reformation, although it was during his pontificate that the foundation was laid for the Counter-Reformation. He decreed the second and final excommunication of King Henry VIII of England in December 1538. His efforts in Parma led to the War of Parma two years after his death.


In May–June 1537 Paul issued three documents: the bulls Sublimus Dei (also known as Unigenitus and Veritas ipsa); Altituda divini consolii; and Pastorale officium, the brief for the execution of Sublimus Dei.

"Altituda divini consolii" was essentially a bull to settle a difference between the Franciscans and Dominicans over baptism, but "Sublimus Dei" is described by Prein (2008) as the "Magna Carta" for the human rights of the indigenous peoples of the Americas in its declaration that "the Indians were human beings and they were not to be robbed of their freedom or possessions".

"Pastorale officium" declared automatic excommunication for anyone who failed to abide by the new ruling.[7] Stogre (1992) notes that "Sublimus Dei" is not present in Denzinger, the authoritative compendium of official teachings of the Catholic Church, and that the executing brief for it ("Pastorale officium") was annulled the following year in "Non Indecens Videtur".[8] Davis (1988) asserts it was annulled due to a dispute with the Spanish crown.[9] The Council of The West Indies and the Crown concluded that the documents broke their patronato rights and the Pope withdrew them, though they continued to circulate and be quoted by las Casas and others who supported Indian rights.[10]

According to Falkowski (2002) "Sublimus Dei" had the effect of revoking the bull of Alexander VI, Inter caetera, but still leaving the colonizers the duty of converting the native people.[11] Prein (2008) observes the difficulty in reconciling these decrees with "Inter Caetera".[7]

Father Gustavo Gutierrez describes "Sublimus Dei" as "the most important papal document relating to the condition of native Indians and that it was addressed to all Christians".[12] Maxwell (1975) notes that the bull did not change the traditional teaching that the enslavement of Indians was permissible if they were considered "enemies of Christendom" as this would be considered by the Church as a "just war". He further argues that the Indian nations had every right to self-defence.[13] Stark (2003) describes the bull as "magnificent" and believes the reason that, in his opinion, it has belatedly come to light is due to the neglect of Protestant historians.[14] Falola notes that the bull related to the native populations of the New World and did not condemn the transatlantic slave trade stimulated by the Spanish monarchy and the Holy Roman Emperor.[15]

In 1537, he also issued In nomine Sancte, a bull in which he talks about evangelism and conversion tasks.

In 1545 Paul repealed an ancient law that allowed slaves to claim their freedom under the Emperor's statue on Capitoline Hill, in view of the number of homeless people and tramps in the city of Rome.[16] The decree included those who had become Christians after their enslavement and those born to Christian slaves. The right of inhabitants of Rome to publicly buy and sell slaves of both sexes was affirmed.[17] Stogre (1992) asserts that the lifting of restrictions was due to a shortage of slaves in Rome.[18] In 1548 Paul authorized the purchase and possession of Muslim slaves in the Papal states.[19]

Patron of the arts

Arguably the most significant artistic work produced during Paul's reign was Last Judgement by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican Palace. Although the work was commissioned by Paul III’s predecessor, Pope Clement VII, following the latter's death in 1534 Paul renewed the commission and oversaw the project's completion in 1541.[20]

As a cardinal, Alessandro had begun construction of a palace, the Palazzo Farnese, in central Rome. On his election to the papacy, the size and magnificence of this building programme was increased to reflect his change in status. The palace was initially designed by the architect Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, received further architectural refinement from Michelangelo, and was completed by Giacomo della Porta. Like other Farnese family buildings, the palace imposes its presence on its surroundings in an expression of the family’s power and wealth. Alessandro's Villa Farnese at Caprarola has a similar presence. In 1546, after the death of Sangallo, Paul appointed the elderly Michelangelo to take over the supervision of the building of St. Peter's Basilica. Michelangelo was also commissioned by Paul to paint the 'Crucifixion of St. Peter' and the 'Conversion of St. Paul' (1542–50), Michelangelo's last frescoes, in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican.

Paul III's artistic and architectural commissions were numerous and varied. The Venetian artist Titian painted a portrait of the Pope in 1543, and in 1546, the well-known portrait of Paul III with his grandsons Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma. Both are now in the Capodimonte Museum, Naples. The military fortifications in Rome and the Papal States were strengthened during his reign.[21] He had Michelangelo relocate the ancient bronze of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius to the Capitoline Hill, where it became the centerpiece to the Piazza del Campidoglio.

Paul III’s bronze tomb, executed by Guglielmo della Porta, is in St. Peter's.

Fictional portrayals

Stendhal's novel La Chartreuse de Parme was inspired by an inauthentic Italian account of the dissolute youth of Alessandro Farnese.[22] The character of Pope Paul III, played by Peter O'Toole in the Showtime series The Tudors, is loosely inspired by him. The young Alessandro Farnese is played by Diarmuid Noyes in the StudioCanal serial Borgia, and Cyron Melville in Showtime's The Borgias.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Pope Paul III". www.newadvent.org.
  2. ^ Verellen Till R. Pope Paul III (Alessandro Farnese) Oxford Art Online
  3. ^ Martin Gayford, Michelangelo: His epic life, p. 71
  4. ^ a b c "Pope Paul III", Reformation 500 Concordia University Archived 2014-09-11 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ le Plat, J. (1782). Monumenta ad historiam Concilii Tridentini (in Latin). Leuven. pp. ii. 596–597.
  6. ^ "POPE PAUL III'S APPROVAL OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS (1540)". personal.ashland.edu.
  7. ^ a b "The Encyclopedia Of Christianity", p. 212
  8. ^ Stogre, p. 115, fn. 133
  9. ^ Davis, p. 170, fn. 9
  10. ^ Lampe, p. 17
  11. ^ Thornberry 2002, p. 65, fn. 21
  12. ^ Panzer, 2008
  13. ^ Stogre, p. 115-116
  14. ^ Stark 2003
  15. ^ Falola, p. 107; see also Maxwell , p. 73
  16. ^ Davis, p. 56"
  17. ^ Noonan, p. 79, Stogre, p. 116
  18. ^ Stogre, p. 116
  19. ^ Clarence-Smith
  20. ^ http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/monumenti/musei-vaticani/cappella-sistina.paginate.5.html
  21. ^ Verellen Till R. , ibid.
  22. ^ M. R. B. Shaw, introduction to Penguin Classics 1958 translation of The Charterhouse of Parma


  • Clarence-Smith, William G., "Religions and the abolition of slavery — a comparative approach", at Global Economic History Network (GEHN) conference entitled 'Culture and economic performance', Washington DC, 7–10 September 2006."
  • Davis, David Brion, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture, Oxford University Press U.S., 1988, ISBN 0-19-505639-6
  • The Encyclopedia Of Christianity, Volume 5, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008, ISBN 0-8028-2417-X
  • Falola, Toyin, and Amanda Warnock, Encyclopedia of the Middle Passage, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, ISBN 0-313-33480-3
  • Lampe, Armando, Christianity in the Caribbean: Essays on Church History, 2001, University of the West Indies Press, ISBN 976-640-029-6
  • Maxwell, John Francis, Slavery and the Catholic Church: The History of Catholic Teaching Concerning the Moral Legitimacy of the Institution of Slavery, 1975, Chichester Barry-Rose, ISBN 0-85992-015-1
  • Panzer, Father Joel S, The Popes and Slavery, The Church In History Centre, 22 April 2008, retrieved 9 August 2009
  • Stark, Rodney, "The truth about the Catholic Church and slavery", Christianity Today, 7 January 2003
  • Stogre, Michael, S.J, That the World May Believe: The Development of Papal Social Thought on Aboriginal Rights, Médiaspaul, 1992, ISBN 2-89039-549-9
  • Thornberry, Patrick, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights, Manchester University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-7190-3794-8

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Philippe de Luxembourg
Cardinal-bishop of Frascati
Succeeded by
François Guillaume de Castelnau-Clermont-Ludève
Preceded by
Francesco Soderini
Cardinal-bishop of Palestrina
Succeeded by
Antonio Maria Ciocchi del Monte
Preceded by
Niccolò Fieschi
Cardinal-bishop of Sabina
Succeeded by
Pietro Accolti
Preceded by
Domenico Grimani
Cardinal-bishop of Porto
Succeeded by
Antonio Maria Ciocchi del Monte
Preceded by
Niccolò Fieschi
Cardinal-bishop of Ostia
Succeeded by
Giovanni Piccolomini
Preceded by
Niccolo Fieschi
Dean of the College of Cardinals
Succeeded by
Giovanni Piccolomini
Preceded by
Clement VII
13 October 1534 – 10 November 1549
Succeeded by
Julius III
1534 papal conclave

The papal conclave of 1534 (October 11 – October 13) was convened after the death of Pope Clement VII, and elected as his successor cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who became Pope Paul III.

Arlena di Castro

Arlena di Castro is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Viterbo in the Italian region Latium, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Rome and about 15 kilometres (9 mi) west of Viterbo.

Arlena di Castro borders the following municipalities: Cellere, Piansano, Tessennano, Tuscania.

The town was founded in the early 16th century by Alessandro Farnese, the future Pope Paul III, to house refugees from Allerona.

Council of Trent

The Council of Trent (Latin: Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent (or Trento, in northern Italy), was the 19th ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.The Council issued condemnations of what it defined to be heresies committed by proponents of Protestantism, and also issued key statements and clarifications of the Church's doctrine and teachings, including scripture, the Biblical canon, sacred tradition, original sin, justification, salvation, the sacraments, the Mass, and the veneration of saints. The Council met for twenty-five sessions between 13 December 1545 and 4 December 1563. Pope Paul III, who convoked the Council, oversaw the first eight sessions (1545–47), while the twelfth to sixteenth sessions (1551–52) were overseen by Pope Julius III and the seventeenth to twenty-fifth sessions (1562–63) by Pope Pius IV.

The consequences of the Council were also significant in regards to the Church's liturgy and practices. During its deliberations, the Council made the Vulgate the official example of the Biblical canon and commissioned the creation of a standard version, although this was not achieved until the 1590s. In 1565, a year after the Council finished its work, Pius IV issued the Tridentine Creed (after Tridentum, Trent's Latin name) and his successor Pius V then issued the Roman Catechism and revisions of the Breviary and Missal in, respectively, 1566, 1568 and 1570. These, in turn, led to the codification of the Tridentine Mass, which remained the Church's primary form of the Mass for the next four hundred years.

More than three hundred years passed until the next ecumenical council, the First Vatican Council, was convened in 1869.

De revolutionibus orbium coelestium

De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (listen ; English translation: On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) is the seminal work on the heliocentric theory of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) of the Polish Renaissance. The book, first printed in 1543 in Nuremberg, Holy Roman Empire, offered an alternative model of the universe to Ptolemy's geocentric system, which had been widely accepted since ancient times.

Dominic Tirrey

Dominic Tirrey, a Chaplain to Henry VIII was Bishop of Cork and Cloyne from 1536 to1557 despite the appointment being opposed by Pope Paul III.

Francisco Marroquín

Francisco Marroquín (1499 – April 18, 1563) was the first bishop of Guatemala, translator of Central American languages and provisional Governor of Guatemala.


Gradoli (Central Italian: Gradele) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Viterbo in the Italian region Latium, located about 100 kilometres (62 mi) northwest of Rome and about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northwest of Viterbo.

Gradoli sits on a tuff hill in the Monti Volsini area, a few kilometers from the Lake Bolsena. It is home to a palace which was owned by the Farnese family; it was commissioned by Pope Paul III to (allegedly) Antonio da Sangallo the Younger on the site of the medieval castle. Of the castle, only few traces remains, including a defensive tower, the entrance arch and few parts of the walls; its ditch has been now transformed into roads and squares. Sangallo also designed the nearby church of Santa Maria Maddalena.

Gradoli borders the following Comuni: Bolsena, Capodimonte, Grotte di Castro, Latera, Montefiascone, Onano, San Lorenzo Nuovo, Valentano.

Guido Ascanio Sforza di Santa Fiora

Guido Ascanio Sforza di Santa Fiora (26 November 1518 — 6 October 1564) was an Italian cardinal, known also as The cardinal of Santa Fiora.

Born in Rome, he was the son of Costanza Farnese and therefore grandson of Pope Paul III, brother of Cardinal Alessandro Sforza (1565), uncle of Cardinal Francesco Sforza and great-uncle of Cardinal Federico Sforza (1645). During his time as a cardinal he served as legate as well as administrator of different towns and episcopal sees.

His ecclesiastical career started very early with his selection as Bishop of Montefiascone e Corneto, nowadays Diocese of Viterbo, Acquapendente, Bagnoregio, Montefiascone, Tuscania e San Martino al Monte Cimino on 12 November 1528 when he was not quite ten years of age. He resigned on 4 June 1548.

He was created a cardinal deacon in the consistory of 18 December 1534 by Pope Paul III with the Deaconry of Santi Vito, Modesto e Crescenzia. Later he was appointed Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on 22 October 1537, a position he held until his death. He was opted for the Deaconry of Santa Maria in Cosmedin on 31 May 1540, for the Deaconry of Sant'Eustachio on 10 December 1540 and finally for the Deaconry of Santa Maria in Via Lata on 9 March 1552. He participated in the two papal conclaves of 1555 (the one in April which elected Marcellus II and that in May which chose Paul IV) as well as the conclave held in December 1559, which resulted in the election of Pius IV who re-convoked the Council of Trent.

Guido Ascanio Sforza died on 6 October 1564 of fever in Mantua. His body was transferred to Rome and buried in his family's chapel in the patriarchal Liberian basilica.

House of Farnese

For the town in Italy with the same name, see Farnese, Lazio.The Farnese family was an influential family in Renaissance Italy. The titles of Duke of Parma and Piacenza and Duke of Castro were held by various members of the family.

Its most important members included Pope Paul III, Alessandro Farnese (a cardinal), Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (a military commander and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands), and Elisabeth Farnese, who became Queen of Spain and whose legacy was brought to her Bourbon descendants.

A number of important architectural works and antiquities are associated with the Farnese family, either through construction or acquisition. Buildings include the Palazzo Farnese in Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola, and ancient artifacts include the Farnese Marbles.

Juan de los Barrios

Juan de los Barrios y Toledo, OFM (1498 – April 16, 1563) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the first Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada, (1564–1569),Bishop of Santa Marta (1552–1564),

and the first Bishop of Paraguay (1547–1552).

Ottaviano Maria Sforza

Ottaviano Maria Sforza (1475–1545) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Titular Patriarch of Alexandria (1541–1545), Bishop of Terracina, Priverno e Sezze (1541–1545), Bishop of Arezzo (1519–1525), and Bishop of Lodi (1497–1499, 1512–1519 and 1527–1530).

Pope Paul III and His Grandsons

Pope Paul III and His Grandsons (Italian: Paolo III e i nipoti Alessandro e Ottavio Farnese) is a painting in oil on canvas by Titian, housed in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. It was commissioned by the Farnese family and painted during Titian's visit to Rome between autumn 1545 and June 1546. It depicts the scabrous relationship between Pope Paul III and his grandsons, Ottavio and Alessandro Farnese. Ottavio is shown in the act of kneeling, to his left; Alessandro, wearing a cardinal's dress, stands behind him to his right. The painting explores the effects of ageing and the manoeuvring behind succession; Paul was at the time in his late seventies and ruling in an uncertain political climate as Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor came into ascendancy.

Paul was not a religious man; he viewed the papacy as a means to consolidate his family's position. He appointed Alessandro as cardinal against accusations of nepotism, fathered a number of illegitimate children, and spent large sums of church money collecting art and antiquities. Around 1545 Charles took the political and military advantage, weakening Paul's hold on the papacy. Aware of the changing tides of influence, Titian abandoned the commission before completion, and for the next 100 years the painting languished unframed in a Farnese cellar.

Pope Paul III and His Grandsons ranks as one of Titian's finest and most penetrating works. Although unfinished and less technically accomplished than his Portrait of Pope Paul III of a few years earlier, it is renowned for its rich colouring; the deep reds of the tablecloth and the almost spectral whites of Paul's gown. The panel contains subtle indications of the contradictions in the character of the Pope, and captures the complex psychological dynamic between the three men.

Portrait of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese

The Portrait of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese is a portrait of cardinal Alessandro Farnese (the future Pope Paul III) by Raphael, produced in 1509-11.

The cardinal posed near a window with a bright foreground, leading into a dark hall. His delicate right hand holds a letter.The painting resides at the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples.

Portrait of Pier Luigi Farnese

Portrait of Pier Luigi Farnese is a heavily-damaged 1546 oil on canvas painting of Pier Luigi Farnese, Duke of Parma by Titian, now in Room 2 of the National Museum of Capodimonte.It was produced on the artist's return to Venice from Rome in 1546. Its subject was a son of Pope Paul III, dressed in the armour and accoutrements of a papal gonfaloniere. He was stabbed to death in 1547 in a plot instigated by the Landi and Anguissola families on the advice of the duke of Milan Ferrante I Gonzaga.

Portrait of Pope Paul III (Titian)

Portrait of Pope Paul III (or Portrait of Pope Paul III Without Cap) is a 1543 portrait by Titian of Pope Paul III, produced during the pope's visit to Northern Italy. It is in the collection of the Capodimonte Museum, Naples, southern Italy.

Province of Macerata

The province of Macerata (Italian: provincia di Macerata) is a province in the Marche region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Macerata. The province includes 55 comunes (Italian: comuni) in the province, see Comunes of the Province of Macerata. Located between the rivers Potenza (Flosis) and Chienti, both of which originate in the province, the city of Macerata is located on a hill.The province contains, among the numerous historical sites, the Roman settlement of Helvia Recina, destroyed by orders of Alaric I, King of the Visigoths, in 408. The province was part of the Papal States from 1445 (with an interruption during the French invasion during the Napoleonic Wars), until the unification of Italy in 1860. The University of Macerata was formed in the province in 1260 and was known as the University of the Piceno from 1540, when Pope Paul III issued a bull naming it this. The town of Camerino, home to another historical university, is also located in the region.Cingoli was founded in the province as Cingulum, also known as "The Balcony of the Marche" due to its views of the surroundings. Tolentino was founded by the Romans as Tolentinum, while Recanati is widely known as the birthplace of poet Giacomo Leopardi. Massimo Girotti, an actor, was born in Mogliano in the province of Macerata.1,459.61 square kilometres (563.56 sq mi) of the province is agricultural land, and 124.95 square kilometres (48.24 sq mi) is urbanised. The two largest comuni are Macerata and Civitanova Marche, both with c. 40,000 inhabitants.

Regimini militantis Ecclesiae

Regimini militantis Ecclesiae (Latin for To the Government of the Church Militant) was the papal bull promulgated by Pope Paul III on September 27, 1540, which gave a first approval to the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, but limited the number of its members to sixty.

Supreme Head of the Church of England

Supreme Head of the Church of England was a title created in 1531 for King Henry VIII of England when he first began to separate the Church of England from the authority of the Holy See and allegiance to the Pope. The Act of Supremacy of 1534 confirmed the King's status as having supremacy over the church and required the nobility to swear an oath recognising Henry's supremacy. By 1536, Henry had broken with Rome, seized the church's assets in England and declared the Church of England as the established church with himself as its head. Pope Paul III excommunicated Henry in 1538 over his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

Henry's daughter, Queen Mary I, a staunch Catholic, attempted to restore the English church's allegiance to the Pope and repealed the Act of Supremacy in 1555. Her half-sister, Elizabeth I, took the throne in 1558 and the next year Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy of 1559 that restored the original act. The new Oath of Supremacy that nobles were required to swear gave the Queen's title as Supreme Governor of the church rather than Supreme Head, to avoid the charge that the monarchy was claiming divinity or usurping Christ, whom the Bible explicitly identifies as Head of the Church.

The Conversion of Saul (Michelangelo)

The Conversion of Saul is a fresco by painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti (c. 1542-1545). It is housed in the Capella Paolina, Vatican Palace, in Vatican City. This piece depicts the moment in which Saul is converted to Christianity while on the road to Damascus.

The work was commissioned by Pope Paul III for the chapel of his namesake. This chapel was built by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger in 1537 to 1538 with the patronage of Pope Paul III Farnese to serve as both storage for the consecrated Host and as the location in which cardinals would gather to cast their votes to elect a new Pope.

1st–4th centuries
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including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
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Crescentii era (974–1012)
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13th–16th centuries
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Perugia (1228–1304)
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17th–20th centuries
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21st century
History of the papacy
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