Pope Julius IIPope Julius II (; ) (5 December 1443 – 21 February 1513), born Giuliano della Rovere, was head of the Roman Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 1503 to 1513. Nicknamed the ''Warrior Pope'' or the ''Fearsome Pope'', he chose his papal name not in honor of Pope Julius I but in emulation of Julius Caesar. One of the most powerful and influential popes, Julius II was a central figure of the High Renaissance and left a significant mark in world history.
Julius II was elected in the shortest conclave in history with a unanimous vote of the cardinals. He became Pope in the context of the Italian Wars, a period in which the major powers of Europe fought for primacy in the Italian peninsula. Louis XII of France controlled the Duchy of Milan, previously held by the Sforza, and French influence had replaced that of the Medici in the Republic of Florence. The Kingdom of Naples was under Spanish rule, and the Borja family from Spain was a major political faction in the Papal States following the reign of Alexander VI. The Archduke of Austria Maximilian I was hostile to France and Venice, and desired to descend in Italy in order to obtain the Papal coronation as Holy Roman Emperor. The capitulation preceding his election included several terms, such as the opening of an ecumenical council and the organization of a crusade against the Ottoman Turks. Once crowned, Julius II proclaimed instead his goal to centralize the Papal States (in large part a patchwork of communes and ''signorie'') and "free Italy from the barbarians". In his early years as Pope, Julius II removed the Borjas from power and exiled them to Spain. Cesare Borgia, Duke of Romagna, shared the same fate and lost his possessions.
In 1506, Julius II initiated the rebuilding of the St. Peter's Basilica and commanded a successful campaign in Romagna against the lords of Bologna and Perugia, having established the Swiss Guards for his personal protection. He ratified the Treaty of Tordesillas between Castile and Portugal, establishing the first bishoprics in the Americas and beginning the catholicization of Latin America. In 1508, Julius II commissioned the Raphael Rooms and Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel. He also joined an anti-Venetian league formed in Cambrai between France, Spain and Austria, with the goal of capturing the coast of Romagna, including Rimini and Faenza, from the Venetian Republic. Having achieved this goal, he formed an anti-French "Holy League" with Venice following the defeat of the latter at the Battle of Agnadello. His main goal was now again to "kick the barbarians out" (''Fuori i Barbari!''). Julius II brought Spain in the alliance, declaring Naples a papal fief and promising the catholic Ferdinand of Spain a formal investiture. Having previously recognized Maximilian as Holy Roman Emperor, by declaring that Imperial election was sufficient to use the title of Emperor without Papal coronation, he later obtained Habsburg support against France as well. Julius II personally led the Papal armed forces at the Battle of Mirandola and, despite subsequent defeats and great losses at the Battle of Ravenna, he ultimately forced the French troops of Louis XII to retreat behind the Alps after the arrival of Swiss mercenaries from the Holy Roman Empire.
At the ''Congress of Mantua'' in 1512, Julius II presented himself as the "liberator of Italy". At Julius' orders, Italian families were restored to power in the vacuum of French power : the Imperial Swiss led by Massimiliano Sforza restored Sforza rule in Milan, and a Spanish army led by Giovanni de Medici restored Medici rule in Florence. The Kingdom of Naples was recognized as a papal fief. The Venetians regained their territories lost to France, and the Papal States annexed Parma and Piacenza. The conciliarist movement promoted by foreign monarchs was crushed, and Julius II affirmed ultramontanism at the Fifth Lateran Council. This is often presented in traditional historiography as the moment in which early modern Italy came the closest to unification, apart from the Italic League of the 15th century and the successful Risorgimento movement of the 19th century. However, Julius II was far away from the possibility to form a single Italian kingdom, if that was his goal at all, since foreign armies from the Empire and Spain were largely involved in his wars and the French were preparing new campaigns against the Swiss for Milan. Furthermore, the fief of Naples was still in Spanish hands and in fact Julius II confessed to a Venetian ambassador his plan to give the kingdom to Luigi d'Aragona instead of Ferdinand of Spain. Nevertheless, by 1513, his objective to make the Papacy the main force in the Italian Wars was achieved.
Julius II planned to call for a crusade against the Ottoman Empire in order to retake Constantinople, but died before making official announcements. His successor Pope Leo X, along with Emperor Maximilian, will re-establish the status quo ante bellum by ratifying the treaties of Brussels and Noyon (1516): France will again control Milan after the victory of Francis I at the Battle of Marignano, and Spain will be recognized as the direct ruler of Naples. However, the Papal States remained independent and centralized as a result of Julius' policies and the office of the Papacy will remain crucial, diplomatically and politically, during the entire 16th century in Italy and Europe. Julius II was described as the ideal Prince by Machiavelli in his works. Martin Luther's visit to Rome occured in 1510, and Julius' practise of selling the indulenges was condemned by the Protestants after his death. In his ''Julius Excluded from Heaven'', the scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam described a Pope Julius II in the after-life planning to capture the Paradise. Provided by Wikipedia
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