Pope Clement IX

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Pope Clement IX (28 January 1600 – 9 December 1669), born Giulio Rospigliosi, was Pope from 1667 to 1669.

Contents

Early life

Born Giulio Rospigliosi to a noble family of Pistoia, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, he was a pupil of the Jesuits. After receiving his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Pisa, he taught theology there. Later Rospigliosi worked closely with Pope Urban VIII (1623–1644), a Barberini Pope, where he worked in the Papal diplomacy as nuncio to Spain, among other posts. He was also made vicar of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

Rospigliosi was an accomplished man of letters, who wrote poetry, dramas and libretti, as well as what may be the first comic opera.

During the reign of Pope Innocent X (1644–55), who was hostile to the Barberini and their adherents, Rospigliosi continued his appointment as papal nuncio to the court of Spain. After the accession of Pope Alexander VII (1655–67), he once again enjoyed papal favour. In 1657 he was named Cardinal-Priest of San Sisto and Secretary of State. After Alexander VII's death in 1667, an 18-day papal conclave concluded with Rospigliosi's election as Pope. Upon his succession, he took the name Clement IX.

Pontificate

Nothing remarkable occurred under Clement IX's short administration beyond the temporary adjustment of the disputes between the Holy See and those prelates of the Gallican Church who had refused to join in condemning the writings of Jansen. He was mediator during the 1668 peace of Aachen, in the wars of succession between France, Spain, England and the Netherlands.

As Pope, Clement IX continued his interest in the arts. He embellished the city of Rome with famous works commissioned to Gian Lorenzo Bernini, including the angels of Ponte Sant'Angelo and the colonnade of Saint Peter's Basilica. Somewhat unusually for Popes of the era, Clement IX did not have his name displayed on monuments he built. He also opened the first public opera house in Rome, and for the Carnival celebrations of 1668, commissioned Antonio Maria Abbatini of the Sistine Chapel Choir to set to music his free Italian translation of a Spanish religious drama La Baltasara. The production had sets designed by Bernini.

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