Paul II

Paul II

pope of Rome, was a Venetian by birth. His original name was Pietro Barbo, and he was the nephew of pope Eugenius III, through the sister of the latter. Barbo had been successively archdeacon at Bologna and bishop of Cervia. He entered upon the pontificate in 1464. Paul II began by correcting abuses, and checking the exactions of the officers and secretaries of the papal court, who levied contributions at pleasure from those who had occasion to apply to Rome for licenses, rescripts, and other official papers. He endeavored also to form a league of the Christian princes against the Turks. But while he resumed the design of his predecessor for a general crusade against the Mohammedans, Paul adopted a course of policy which perpetuated disunion in Christendom. He aided Ferdinand in expelling the partisans of Anjou from Naples (q.v.), and consequently quarreled with that monarch respecting certain fiefs and arrears of tribute claimed by the Holy See; he attacked Podiebrad, king of Bohemia, on the ground that he favored the Hussite movement, and sent a legate to Louis XI to claim the definite revocation of the Pragmatic Sanction. And so, while Paul opposed the king of France, excited a civil war in Bohemia (q.v.; SEE HUSSITES; SEE POLAND ), and fomented the discords of Italy, the common interests of Christendom were forgotten, and the Turks continued to acquire new territory. When, by their taking of Negropont, the establishment of the naval power of the Turks in Europe seemed a certainty, and they threatened Italy, he proclaimed (in 1468) a general peace among the Italian governments, threatening with excommunication those who did not observe it. But the decision had been reached too late, and ere the final preparations for a united attack of the Turks had been perfected, pope Paul II died suddenly, July 25, 1471. He was the first pontiff who openly declared himself a foe to the progress of knowledge. An academy had been formed at Rome for the cultivation of Greek and Roman antiquities and philology, of which Pomponius, Laetus, Platina, and other learned men were members. Paul, who, unlike his predecessor Pius II, had no taste for profane learning, became suspicious of the academicians and their meetings. Some one probably excited his suspicions by accusing them of infidelity and of treasonable designs. The academy was proscribed, some of its members ran away, others were seized and tortured, and among them Platina, who after a year's imprisonment was released through the intercession of several cardinals. It may easily be supposed that Platina, in his Lives of the Popes, which he wrote afterwards under Sixtus IV, did not spare the memory of Paul II. But besides Platina, other contemporary writes, such as Corio Ammirato, an anonymous chronicler of Bologna, and the monk Jacopo Filippo of Bergamo, all speak unfavorably of this pope. Cardinal Querini has undertaken the defense of Paul II in his Vindiciae adrersus Platinam aliosque Obtrectatores, and Romanists claim that Paul II is maligned by Protestants because he proved the persecutor of the Hussites. There is however no justice in this accusation, for many Romanists themselves confess that Paul II was envious, malicious, and hypocritical. His vacillating policy speaks for itself. He was ambitious for the extension of papal power, and resolved to maintain the privileges of ecclesiastics, and their exemption from the jurisdiction of temporal courts, as is most clearly proven in his conduct towards Louis XI, and the treacherous cardinal Balluc, who deserved to be executed for the betrayal of his sovereign to Charles of Burgundy at Perronne. See Muratori, Script. Rer. Ital. vol. iii, pt. ii, p. 993; Bower, Gesch. der Romischen Papste, 9:312; Artaud, Hist. des Souverains Pontifs Romans (Paris, 1847), 3:341 sq.; Hist. of Popery (Lond. 1838, 8vo), ch. xvi; Reichel, Hist. of the Roman See in the Middle Ages, p. 235 sq.; Wetzer u. Welte (R. C.), Kirchen-Lexikon, s.v.; Aschbach, Kirchen-Lexikon, s.v.

Bible concordance for PAUL.

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