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  (Paul II) Barbo, Pietro
NamePietro (Paul II) Barbo
Venice, , Italy
Born February 23, 1417
DiedJuly 26, 1471 (54 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedThomas Walker
Dec 01, 2005 02:33pm
InfoPope Paul II, né Pietro Barbo (February 23, 1417 – July 26, 1471), was pope from 1464 to 1471.

He was born at Venice, and was a nephew of Pope Eugenius IV.

His adoption of the spiritual career was prompted by his uncle's election as pope. His promotion was rapid; he became a cardinal in 1440 and was unanimously elected pope on August 30, 1464, to succeed Pope Pius II.

Upon taking office, Pius II was to pledge to abolish the prevalent nepotism in the Curia, to improve the morals there, to engage in war on the Turks, and to convene an ecumenical council within three years. But these terms of subscription were modified by Paul at his own discretion, and this action lost him the confidence of the sacred college.

Consequently, when in 1466, attempting to downsize redundant offices, Paul proceeded to annul the college of abbreviators, whose function it was to formulate papal documents, a storm of indignation arose, inasmuch as rhetoricians and poets had long been accustomed to benefiting from employment in such positions. Platina, who was one of these, wrote a threatening letter to the pope, and was imprisoned but discharged. However, in 1467 Platina was again imprisoned on the charge of having participated in a conspiracy against the pope, and was tortured along with other abbreviators, like Filip Callimachus who flead to Poland in 1478, all of whom had been accused of pagan views. In retaliation, Platina, in his Vitae pontificum, set forth an unfavorable delineation of the character of Paul II.

The chronicler Stefano Infessura's republican and anti-papal temper makes his diary a far from neutral though well-informed witness, but it is certain that though Paul opposed the humanists, he was second to none in providing for popular amusements, and displayed an extravagant love of splendor. He is said to have had such a high opinion of his own appearance that he meant to take the name "Formosus II" ("handsome"), but was persuaded not to.

However, justice requires notice of his strict sense of equity, his reforms in the municipal administration, and his fight against official bribery and traffic in posts of dignity.

In statecraft, Paul lacked eminence and achieved nothing of consequence for Italy. In his own domain, however, he terminated, in 1465, the regime of the counts of Anguillara.

In the matter of war on the Turks, the Pope rejected the one sovereign who might have taken the lead, King George of Podebrady of Bohemia, and the unfortunate Bohemian king prosecuted as a heretic, on the grounds that he upheld the conventions of Basel (see Jan Hus) in favor of the Utraquists. In August, 1465, he summoned Podebrady before his Roman tribunal, and, when the king failed to come, leagued himself with the insurgents in Bohemia, and released the king's subjects from the oath of allegiance. In December, 1466, he pronounced the ban of excommunication and sentence of deposition against Podebrady.

When ultimately the king's good success disposed the pope in favor of reconciliation, Paul II died, on July 26, 1471.

After his death, one of his successors suggested that he should be called Maria Pietissima – Our Lady of Pity, because he was inclined to break into tears at times of crisis.



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  08/30/1464 Pope Won 100.00% (+100.00%)