Born Ippolito Aldobrandini, Clement VIII was elected in January 1592. The most remarkable event of his reign was the reconciliation to the church of Henry IV of France after long negotiations carried on with great dexterity by Cardinal D'Ossat. Europe is principally indebted to this Pope for the peace of Vervins (1598), which put an end to the long contest between France and Spain. Clement also annexed Ferrara to the Papal States upon the failure of the Este family to produce an heir, the last addition of importance to the Pope's temporal dominions. The execution of Giordano Bruno, February 17, 1600, is a blot upon an otherwise exemplary pontificate.
Clement was an able ruler and a wise statesman, the general object of whose policy was to free the Papacy from its undue dependence upon Spain. The conferences to determine the questions of grace and free will, controverted between the Jesuits and Dominicans, were commenced under him, but he wisely abstained from pronouncing a decision. He died in March 1605, leaving a high character for prudence, munificence, and capacity for business. His reign is especially distinguished by the number and beauty of his medals.
Pope Innocent IX
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Pope Leo XI