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Pope Julius III

Julius III, pope from February 7, 1550 to 1555, was born at Rome in 1487. He was of good family, his original name being Gian Maria del Monte, or Giovan Maria Giocci. After attaining the dignity of archbishop of Siponto, he was in 1536 created cardinal by Paul III, by whom he was employed on several important legations; he was one of the presidents of the council of Trent during its session at Bologna in April 1547. In 1550 he was unanimously chosen successor of Paul III.

He consented, at the request of the emperor Charles V, to the reopening of the council of Trent (in 1531), and he also entered into a league with him against the duke of Parma and Henry II of France; but soon afterwards he deemed it advisable to make terms with his enemies, and in 1553 he again suspended the meetings of the council.

From this time pope Julius seems to have lost interest both in political and in ecclesiastical affairs; formerly he had acquired a reputation for impetuous energy as well as austerity, but he now exchanged these qualities for a love of luxurious ease, comporting himself at the entertainments given by him in his palace in a manner fitted to shock preconceived ideas of ecclesiastical propriety. He also aroused much scandal by creating as his first cardinal a youth of sixteen years of age, one of his pages, on account of the courage he had displayed when bitten by a monkey. The adornment of his palace and the laying out of its grounds occupied a large share of his attention, and have done more to make him remembered than his strictly pontifical procedure. Julius was a friend of the Jesuits, to whom he granted a fresh confirmation in 1550.

Preceded by:
Pope Paul III
List of popesSucceeded by:
Pope Marcellus II

Original text from the 9th edition (1880) of an unnamed encyclopedia