Document from Pope Julius III, Signed as Cardinal, Dated 1541, with Translation
This document was signed, Cardinal del Monte in 1541. It was written to Cosimo DeMedici and concerns the monthly payment of a pension due to the Cardinal.
We are grateful to John Adams, Ph. D, for his generosity in the translation of this document.
There’s one capital letter and an abbreviation I just can’t work out, which is critical. But the gist of the document is clear. The Cardinal needs help in getting his pension. He turns (of course) to the Medici Bank, and to Duke Cosimo I of Florence for help. Cosimo is making the payments for Emperor Charles V (with whom he is on friendly terms). Del Monte is embarrassed to have to ask for the favor every month, and hopes that the Duke can issue an instruction to his people to pay him every first of the month without him having to go to the trouble of petitioning the Duke.
There is another matter, which Cavaliere Pellegrini knows all about, but del Monte is being discreet about it.
1 Illustrissimo et Reverendissimo Sig(nore) mio Cos()mo (Cosimo I of Florence, 1537-1569),
2 Il Sig(nore) Cavalier(e) Pellegrini m’ ha detto quanto V(ostra) S(ignore) Illustrissima et Reverendissima
3 gl’ ha promesso di far circa alla mia pension(e) di Spagna, di
4 che la ringratio sommamente, et la suplico di nuovo a non mancar
5 et per fuggir il fastidio di far’ ogni volta il mandato ella
6 potra ordinar a quelli che la pagano, che ogni principio di
7 mese la paghino al detto Cav(alier)e il qual fara loro le ricente, et
8 saranno dati benissimo. Dell’ altra cosa poi del mio guardaroba,
9 il medesimo Cavaliere sapera dir’ a punto com’ ella sta, et quan-
10 t’ e passato sin hora con il .______(?). et credo ch’ ella guidichera
11 che questo mio ser(vizia?) merita d’ esser avitato, come ne la prego
12 strettiss(imen)te et insieme le bacio con ogni reveren(cia) le mani. Di .inoli (?)
13 il di viii di febraio del 1541.
14 Di V(ostra) S(ignore) Ill(ustrissi)ma et R(everendissi)ma
15 Humiliss(im)o et Obbligatiss(i)mo
16 S(ervit)ore J(oannes) Car(dinale) d(el) Monti
1 To my Most Illustrious and Reverend Lord Cosimo,
2 Cavaliere Pellegrini has given me what your Most Illustrious and Reverend Sir
3 has promised to give with regard to my Spanish pension, for
4 which the greatest thanks. and a request anew to not forget it
5 and to avoid the necessity of having to ask each time for the requisition
6 he will be able to give to those who pay it, who every first of the
7 month pay it to the aforementioned Cavaliere and who gives them their receipt.
8 and they will be given happily. Of the other thing from my closet,
9 the same Cavaliere will know to say exactly how it stands, and how
10 much has passed ____ ______ ___ _______, and I believe that _________ _____________
11 which this service of mine merits being ________, which I request you for it
12 most energetically, and at the same time I kiss your hands in all reverence. From _inoli
13 the 8th day of February of 1541.
14 Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship’s
15 most humble and obligated
16 servant, Giovanni Cardinal del Monte.
The date is undoubtedly 1541. There is a number bar above the date, just as there is above the month and day. The day is in Roman numerals, and has dots above each “one”.
The date has no dots. It is in arabic numerals. The first two have to be “one” and “five”.
The last is undoubtedly “one”. The third is an open “four”, with the downstroke hurriedly short. The third number cannot be a “three”, since del Monte was a cardinal from December 22, 1536 until his election as Pope in 1550. The number might be misread as “vi” in Roman numerals, but del Monte was a cardinal from December 22, 1536 until his election as Pope in 1550.
Thus, February 8, 1536, is out of the question.
Cardinal del Monte was elected Pope, taking the name Julius III, in 1550, and he reigned for five years.
Here is some biographical information about Pope Julius II
Giovanni del Monte was born in Rome in 1487, the son of a brilliant lawyer. He studied law at Perugia and Siena and became the chamberlain to Pope Julius II (1503 – 1513). In 1511, at the age of twenty-four, he received the archbishopric of Pavia, followed by a bishopric in Siponto in 1520. He served twice under Clement VII (1523 – 1534) as the Governor of Rome. This was during the time of the sack of Rome in 1527 and he nearly lost his life in the process. The next pope, Paul III (1534 – 1549) made him the vice legate of Bologna.
It is significant that as a cardinal and as co-president and senior papal legate, he opened the Council of Trent in 1545. When in 1547, upon the instructions of Paul III, he transferred the Council to Bologna, he enraged Emperor Charles V.
Upon Paul III’s death, a conclave of forty-seven cardinals elected del Monte as their next pontiff amidst political intrigue and little spiritual motivation. Even the conclave could not be called genuine in that contact with the outside world was maintained while a true conclave takes place within locked doors.
Nevertheless, the Romans were overjoyed to have one of their own on the throne after 100 years without a Roman pope. He took the name of Julius III in honor of the pope for whom he had worked as chamberlain. Julius was sixty-two years of age at the time of his election.
His papacy coincided with the start of the Jubilee year of 1550 and this was a pope attracted to the glitter and glamour of the papal court. He loved pleasure, banquets, gambling, masked balls and hunting. Nepotism was again rampant. He even had his brother adopt a street urchin whom many believed was his son, and he raised him to the level of cardinal despite his continuing dissipation. This youth, Innocenzo, died by the time he was forty-six years of age.
It is interesting that Julius’ lifestyle as a pope was so characterized by secular living since he had shown himself to be so rigorous as a student and strident while in service to the popes for whom he worked prior to his own pontificate. Once he assumed the office, however, this marked change in style prevailed much to the discredit of the papal office.
Despite his own questionable conduct not all of his papacy was negative. In the religious sphere, he reconvened the Council of Trent in 1551, moving it from Bologna back to Trent. As always these decisions hinged on the Emperor’s personal preferences. The Emperor was pleased with this decision. He urged the Protestant princes to attend the council hoping to end the schism and bring them back to union with Rome.
At this session of the council doctrines affecting us even to the present time were established. They included doctrines on the Eucharist, confession and Extreme Unction. Then the Protestants arrived and it became clear that these dogmas were impossible for them to accept. All hope for reconciliation was shattered. In the midst of a war over papal landholdings the council was again suspended for two years.
However, Julius continued the work of reform confirming the constitution of the Jesuits in 1550. He founded a German college for the purpose of training German priests to restore Catholicism there.
In 1553, with Mary I, a Catholic and the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII on the throne of England, he welcomed England back into the church. Though short-lived, this was one of the highlights of his papacy.
True to his Renaissance nature, the arts and music flourished during his short pontificate. He fostered the Vatican library by appointing Cervini, the future Pope Marcellus II (1555) to serve as its scholarly librarian. Michaelangelo became the chief architect of St. Peter’s. One of the greatest Renaissance composers, Palistrina, became the choirmaster. Julius built the church of St. Andrea della Via Flaminia to commemorate his escape from death during the sack of Rome in 1527.
His political alliances proved less fruitful. Always ongoing were the dealings between the French king—this time, Henry II– and the Emperor Charles V and the German princes. When Julius tried to take back land from his predecessor, Paul III’s grandson, Octavio Farnese, war broke out resulting in the council’s suspension once again.
An assessment of his papacy can clearly be seen when upon his death in 1555, Julius was buried in a simple tomb in the Vatican grottoes since he was deemed unworthy of a mausoleum.
In spite of a papacy held by a man ill suited to fulfill the spiritual needs of his time, reform continued and missionary work flourished. Not only was there Catholic influence in Germany, but also as he neared death St. Francis Xavier was en route to China after preaching in India and Japan. Franciscans and Dominicans were spreading the Gospel in the Americas. The life of the church was not crushed by his inability to lead it in a manner befitting such a holy office.