Cardinal Bendinello Sauli and Church Patronage in Sixteenth-Century Italy

Cardinal Bendinello Sauli and Church Patronage in Sixteenth-Century Italy

Helen Hyde


Royal Historical Society



A detailed examination of the life and career of Cardinal Bendinello Sauli - notorious for his involvement in a plot to murder the Pope.
Cardinal Bendinello Sauli died in disgrace in 1518, implicated, rightly or wrongly, in a conspiracy to assassinate the then Pope, Leo X. This book, based on extensive archival research in Genoa and Rome, traces Sauli's rise and fall, setting one man's life and career against a background of political turmoil and intrigue, and offering new perspectives on the patronal links which bound pope, cardinals and their family and courtiers so closely together. It plots his elevation to ecclesiastical eminence through the efforts of his family who were financiers to the pope; and it examines his apogee as cardinal-patron both of humanists and of some of the leading artists of his day such as Sebastiano del Piombo and Raphael. The plot to murder the pope is also studied in depth; the author examines the surviving evidence relating to the plot and reveals new archival material which supports its existence in the eyes of the law and Sauli's involvement in it. In addition, she explores Sauli's role as a man of the Church and his administration of his benefices.

HELEN HYDE is an independent scholar who studied at the universities of Lancaster and London. Her previous publications include articles on the Sauli family and early sixteenth-century Genoa.


May 2009
5 black and white, 4 line illustrations
223 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series
ISBN: 9780861933013
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Royal Historical Society
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Table of Contents

Politics and money: the career of Cardinal Sauli
Cardinal Sauli: 'gubernator utilis et ydoneus'
The Sauli and early cinquecento reform
'He surpassed all in splendour and pomp'?
Cardinal Sauli and humanist patronage
The contemporary portraits of Cardinal Sauli
The plot to kill Leo X
'Vir bonus et innocens'?


The strength of this book lies in Hyde's uncovering of archive sources which, in future, will provide important points of reference for historians working on a wide range of Renaissance topics including the cardinalate, patronage and humanism. EUROPEAN HISTORY QUARTERLY

An accomplished piece of work, based on very extensive research. (It is) to be welcomed as a contribution to sixteenth-century Italian studies, which will valuably repay consultation over a wide range of subjects. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

Detailed, balanced and judicious. CHURCH HISTORY

Hyde's study gives a clear view of the unstable world of favor and finance, dynastic ambitions and intrigue that swirled around the papal court amidst shifting international alliances and war in the early decades of the sixteenth century. CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW

Offers new perspectives on this controversial cardinal as well as engaging reflections on the patronal links which bound pope, cardinals and their courtiers so closely together. COMITATUS: A JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE STUDIES

Hyde has gleaned a remarkable amount of material from a truly disparate array of sources and woven it into a rich tapestry portraying early sixteenth-century Rome and the churchmen that made Rome the centre of politics and culture that it was. (Her book) will prove highly useful to anyone working on the many topics touched, from the Sauli in Genoa and Rome, to the papal court to artistic and literary patronage in Renaissance Rome. HISTORY

Author Bio

Independent Scholar

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