|Papacy began||1 November 1503|
|Papacy ended||21 February 1513|
by Sixtus IV
15 December 1471
by Sixtus IV
|Birth name||Giuliano della Rovere|
5 December 1443|
Albisola, Republic of Genoa
21 February 1513
Rome, Papal States
|Parents||Rafaello della Rovere and Theodora Manerola|
|Spouse||Lucrezia Normanni (mother of Felice)|
|Children||Felice della Rovere|
Archbishop of Avignon (1474–1503)
Cardinal-bishop of Sabina (1479–1483)
Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals (1479)
Cardinal-bishop of Ostia (1483–1503)
|Other popes named Julius|
Papal styles of
Pope Julius II
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Julius II (Latin: Iulius II; 5 December 1443 – 21 February 1513), nicknamed "The Fearsome Pope" and "The Warrior Pope", born Giuliano della Rovere, was Pope from 1 November 1503 to his death in 1513. His papacy was marked by an active foreign policy, ambitious building projects, and patronage for the arts—he commissioned the destruction and rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica, plus Michelangelo's decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
There is disagreement about Julius's year of birth. Some sources put it as late as 1453. Giuliano della Rovere was the son of Rafaello della Rovere nephew of Pope Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere) and of Theodora Manerola, a lady of Greek ancestry. He served as altar boy to the Pope. He was educated among the Franciscans by his uncle, who took him under his special charge and later sent him to a Franciscan friary in Perugia with the purpose of obtaining knowledge of the sciences. However, he does not appear to have joined the order of St Francis, but rather remained a member of the secular clergy until his elevation to bishop of Carpentras, in France, in 1471; very shortly after his uncle succeeded to the papal chair.
Della Rovere was promoted to cardinal, taking the same title formerly held by his uncle, Cardinal of San Pietro in Vincoli. With his uncle as Pope, he obtained great influence, and he held no fewer than eight bishoprics, including Lausanne from 1472, and Coutances from 1476, along with the archbishopric of Avignon.
In the capacity of papal legate, della Rovere was sent to France in 1480, where he remained four years, and acquitted himself with such ability that he soon acquired a paramount influence in the College of Cardinals, an influence which increased rather than diminished during the pontificate of Pope Innocent VIII. Shortly after, in 1483, an illegitimate daughter was born, Felice della Rovere.
Accompanying the young King on his campaign, he entered Rome along with him, and endeavoured to instigate the convocation of a council to inquire into the conduct of the pontiff with a view to his deposition; but Pope Alexander, having gained a friend in Charles VIII's minister Guillaume Briçonnet by offering him the position of cardinal, succeeded in defeating the machinations of his enemy.
Della Rovere then succeeded by dexterous diplomacy in tricking the weakened Cesare Borgia into supporting him by offering him money and continued papal backing for Borgia policies in the Romagna, promises which he disregarded upon election. He was elected as Pope Julius II to the papal dignity by the near-unanimous vote of the cardinals, almost certainly by means of bribery, both with money and promises. Indeed, his election only took a few hours, and the only two votes he did not receive were his own and the one of French monarchy.
Giuliano Della Rovere thenceforth took the name of his fourth century predecessor, 
Julius II then used his influence to reconcile the two powerful Roman families of Orsini and Colonna, and, by decrees made in their interest, he also attached to himself the remainder of the Roman nobility.
Being thus secure in Rome and the surrounding country, he next set himself to oust the Republic of Venice from Faenza, Rimini, and the other towns and fortresses of Italy which it occupied after the death of Pope Alexander. In 1504, finding it impossible to succeed with the Doge of Venice by remonstrance, he brought about a union of the conflicting interests of France and the Holy Roman Empire, and sacrificed temporarily to some extent the independence of Italy to conclude with them an offensive and defensive alliance against Venice. The combination was, however, at first little more than nominal, and was not immediately effective in compelling the Venetians to deliver up more than a few unimportant places in the Romagna. With a campaign in 1506, Julius succeeded in freeing Perugia and Bologna from their despots (Giampolo Baglioni and Giovanni II Bentivoglio, respectively).
In December 1503, Julius issued a dispensation allowing Henry VIII of England to marry Catherine of Aragon. Catherine had previously been briefly married to Henry's brother Prince Arthur, who had died, but maintained that she had remained a virgin for the six months of the marriage. Some twenty years later, when Henry was in love with Anne Boleyn, he sought to have his marriage annulled, claiming that the dispensation should never have been issued. The refusal of Pope Clement VII to grant the annulment led to the English Reformation.
His Ea quae pro bono pacis of January 24, 1506, confirmed papal approval of the mare clausum policy being pursued by Spain and Portugal amid their explorations and approved the changes of the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas to previous papal bulls. The same year, he founded the Swiss Guard to provide a constant corps of soldiers to protect the Pope.
As part of the Renaissance programme of reestablishing the glory of antiquity for the Christian capital, Rome, Julius II took considerable effort to present himself as a sort of emperor-pope, capable of leading a Latin-Christian empire. On Palm Sunday, 1507, "Julius II entered Rome . . . both as a second Julius Caesar, heir to the majesty of Rome's imperial glory, and in the likeness of Christ, whose vicar the pope was, and who in that capacity governed the universal Roman Church." Julius, who modelled himself after his namesake Caesar, would personally lead his army across the Italian peninsula under the imperial war-cry, "Drive out the barbarians." Despite the imperial rhetoric, the campaigns of Julius were highly local.
In 1508, events so favoured the plans of Julius that he was able to conclude the League of Cambrai with Louis XII, King of France, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Ferdinand II, King of Aragon. The League fought against the Republic of Venice during the "War of the Holy League" (also known as the "War of the League of Cambrai"). Among other things, Julius wanted the Venetian possession of Romagna; Emperor Maximilian I wanted Friuli and Veneto; Louis XII wanted Cremona; and Ferdinand II wanted the Apulian ports. This war was a conflict in what was collectively known as the "Italian Wars".
In the spring of 1509, the Republic of Venice was placed under an interdict by Julius. During the "War of the Holy League" and the "Italian Wars", alliances and participants changed dramatically. For example, in 1510 Venice and France switched places. By 1513, Venice had joined France.
The achievements of the League soon outstripped the primary intention of Julius. By one single battle, the Battle of Agnadello on 14 May 1509, the dominion of Venice in Italy was practically lost. But, as neither the King of France nor the Holy Roman Emperor were satisfied with merely effecting the purposes of the Pope, the latter found it necessary to enter into an arrangement with the Venetians to defend himself from those who immediately before had been his allies. The Venetians, on making humble submission, were absolved at the beginning of 1510, and shortly afterward France was placed under papal interdict. Attempts to cause a rupture between France and England proved unsuccessful. On the other hand, at a synod convened by Louis at Tours in September 1510, the French bishops withdrew from papal obedience, and resolved, with Emperor Maximilian's co-operation, to seek the deposition of the pope. In November 1511, a council met for this objective at Pisa.
Julius thereupon entered into the "Holy League of 1511". He allied with Ferdinand II of Aragon and the Venetians against France. In short time, both Henry VIII, King of England (1509–47), and Maximilian I also joined the "Holy League of 1511." During his last months of life, he engaged in negotiations with Ferdinand's diplomats, who obtained from him the ideological back-up necessary for Ferdinand II of Aragon's invasion of Navarre in the form of papal bulls.
Julius convened a general council (that afterward was known as the Fifth Council of the Lateran) to be held at Rome in 1512, which, according to an oath taken on his election, he had bound himself to summon, but which had been delayed, he affirmed, because of the occupation of Italy by his enemies.
In 1512 the French were driven across the Alps, but it was at the cost of the occupation of Italy by the other powers, and Julius, though he had securely established the papal authority in the states immediately around Rome, was practically as far as ever from realizing his dream of an independent Italian kingdom when he died of fever in February 1513.
It is a common error that many associate the burial place of Julius as being in San Pietro in Vincoli as the location for the so-called "Tomb of Julius" by Michelangelo. However, this tomb was not completed until 1545 and represents a much abbreviated version of the planned original, which was initially intended for the new St. Peter's Basilica. Instead, as was always intended, Julius was buried in St. Peter's in the Vatican.
His remains, along with those of his uncle, Pope Sixtus IV, were later desecrated during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Today, the remains of both lie in St. Peter's in the floor in front of the monument to Pope Clement X. A simple marble tombstone marks the site.
He was succeeded by Pope Leo X.
Patronage of the arts
Despite Julius II's political and bellicose achievements, his chief title to honour is to be found in his patronage of art and literature. He did much to improve and beautify the city. In 1506 he laid the foundation stone of the new St. Peter's Basilica. However, he also demolished the old St. Peter's Basilica, which had stood for more than 1,100 years. He was a friend and patron of Bramante and Raphael, and a patron of Michelangelo. Several of Michelangelo's greatest works (including the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel) were commissioned by Julius.
Julius II is usually depicted with a beard, after his appearance in the celebrated portrait by Raphael. However, the pope only wore his beard from 27 June 1511 to March 1512, as a sign of mourning at the loss of the city of Bologna by the Papal States. He was nevertheless the first pope since antiquity to wear a beard, a practice otherwise forbidden by canon law since the 13th century. Julius shaved his beard again before his death, and his immediate successors were clean-shaven; however, Pope Clement VII again adopted the beard as a sign of mourning after the 1527 sack of Rome. Thenceforward, all popes were bearded until the death of Pope Innocent XII in 1700.
Julius was not the first pope to have fathered children before being elevated to the Chair of St Peter. His only known daughter to survive to adulthood, Felice della Rovere, was born in 1483. Pompeo Litta mistakenly ascribed Felice's two daughters, Giulia and Clarice, to Julius. Felice's mother was Lucrezia Normanni, the daughter of an old Roman family. Shortly after Felice was born, Julius II arranged for Lucrezia to marry Bernardino de Cupis. Bernardino was the chamberlain of Julius's cousin, Cardinal Girolamo Basso della Rovere.
Despite an illegitimate daughter, rumors also suggested Julius was homosexual. The role of warrior for the Church inevitably created enemies for Julius - many of whom accused him of being a sodomite. Venetians — who were opposed to the pope's new military policy — were among the most vocal, most notably the diarist Girolamo Priuli, and the historian Marino Sanudo. Criticism was made of the sinister influence exerted by Francesco Alidosi - adviser and perhaps lover - who Julius had made a cardinal in 1505. The reputation survived Julius, and the accusation was used without reservation by Protestant opponents in their polemics against "papism" and Catholic decadence. Philippe de Mornay, even though he accused all Italians of being sodomites, added specifically: "This horror is ascribed to good Julius." These Protestant accusations have not been proven, just as do the Catholic accusations which discussed John Calvin's purported conviction for sodomy.
- Julius features prominently in Cesare Borgia, and as an example of an ecclesiastical prince who consolidates authority and wisely follows Fortuna.
- Barbara Tuchman, in her book The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, offers a vivid narrative of Julius II's career. Her overall assessment of Julius is strongly negative, and she attributes the Protestant Reformation to his and other Renaissance popes' abuses.
- In the film The Agony and the Ecstasy about the life of Michelangelo, Julius is vividly portrayed as a soldier-pope by Rex Harrison. The film is a dramatization based upon the book of the same name by Irving Stone.
- Della Rovere was portrayed by Borgia.
- Blech, Benjamin; Doliner, Roy. (2008). The Sistene Secrets. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 106.
- Jokinen, Anniina (15 Mar 2003). "Pope Julius II". Luminarium. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Cheney, David M. "Pope Julius II (Giuliano della Rovere)". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- Ott, Michael (1910). "Pope Julius II". The Catholic Encyclopedia 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 7 Oct 2013.
Kühner, Hans (2013). "Julius II". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
Giuliano was the son of the impoverished Rafaello della Rovere, Pope Sixtus IV's only brother.
- Taylor, Robert Emmett (1980). No royal road: Luca Pacioli and his times. Ayer Publishing. p. 105.
- Cronin, Vincent (1969). The flowering of the Renaissance. Dutton. p. 33.
- Roterodamus, Erasmus (1986). Collected works of Erasmus. University of Toronto Press. p. 496.
- Symonds, John Addington (1925). The life of Michelangelo Buonarroti: based on studies in the archives of the Buonarroti family at Florence. Macmillan. p. 383.
- Fusero, Clemente (1965). Giulio II. Dall'Oglio. p. 53.
- Paul F. Grendler, ed., Encyclopedia of the Renaissance: Galen-Lyon (Renaissance Society of America, 1999), p. 361
- Sabatini, Raphael (1912). The Life of Cesare Borgia. London: Stanley Paul & Company. p. 426.
- "Cesare Borgia". Encyclopedia.com. Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Retrieved 7 Oct 2013.
- Greeley, Andrew M. (2005). The Making of the Pope 2005. New York: Little, Brown. p. 22.
- Ullmann, Walter (1972). "Julius and the Schismatic Cardinals". In Baker, Derek. Schism, Heresy and Religious Protest: Papers Read at the Tenth Summer Meeting and the Eleventh Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society. Cambridge, England: Ecclesiastical History Society by Cambridge University Press. pp. 177–178.
- Hughes, Philip (1979). "Chapter V: 'Facilis Descensus ...' 1471–1517: A Papacy of Princes". History of the Church: Volume 3: The Revolt Against the Church: Aquinas to Luther (revised ed.). London: Sheed & Ward. p. 415.
- To ensure his success he made great promises to the cardinals, and did not hesitate to employ bribery.
- Adams, John P. (16 December 2012). "SEDE VACANTE 1503, II". Csun.edu. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- Cawthorne, Nigel (1996). Sex Lives of the Popes. Prion. p. 219.
- Stinger, Charles M. The Renaissance in Rome (Indiana University Press, 1985).
- Adams, Robert M., "Introduction," The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli (Norton, 1992), 72, n3.
- Cavendish, Richard (2009). "Venice Excommunicated". History Today (History Today Ltd.) 59 (4). (subscription required)
- Baldwin, Robert (2010). "Papal Politics and Raphael's Stanza Della Segnatura as Papal Golden Age". Social History of Art, by Robert Baldwin.
- Litta, "Famiglie Celebri Italiane" (Celebrated Italian Families), 1833
- A definitive life of Felice della Rovere is in Caroline P. Murphy's The Pope’s Daughter: The Extraordinary Life of Felice della Rovere. (Oxford University Press, 2005)
- G. Priuli, Diarii, in Rerum italicarum scriptores, Vol 24, Bologna, 1938.
- M. Sanudo, I diarii, Venice 1879–1902
- Anthony Majanlahti, The families who made Rome
- P. De Morney, Le Mystere d'iniquite, c'est a dire, l'histoire de la papaute, 1612.
- Tuchman, Barbara W. (1984). The March of Folly. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
- Text from the 9th edition (1880) of an unnamed encyclopedia (Two 127 year-old bibliographic references omitted).
- P. De Morney, Le Mystere d'iniquite, c'est a dire, l'histoire de la papaute, 1612.
- G. Priuli, Diarii, in Rerum italicarum scriptores, Vol 24, Bologna, 1938.
- M. Sanudo, I diarii, Venice 1879–1902.
- R. Aldrich & G. Wotherspoon (Eds.), Who's who in Gay and Lesbian History, London 2001.
- Luminarium: Pope Julius II
- Pope Julius II at Find-A-Grave
- "Julius Excluded from Heaven" (1514) Satire attributed to Desiderius Erasmus.