Giovanni Cybo (Innocent VIII) elected Pope

Pope Innocent VIII (1432 – July 25, 1492), born Giovanni Battista Cybo (or Cibo), was Pope from 1484 until his death.Giovanni Battista Cybo (or Cibo) was born at Genoa of Greek extraction, the son of Arano Cybo or Cibo (c. 1375-c. 1455) who under Pope Calixtus III (1455–58) had been a senator at Rome, and wife Teodorina de Mari (c. 1380-), and paternal grandson of Maurizio Cybo or Cibo and wife Saeacina Marocelli. His early years were spent at the Neapolitan court, and subsequently he went to Padua and Rome for his education.

In Rome he became a priest in the retinue of cardinal Calandnini, half-brother to Pope Nicholas V (1447–55); the influence of his friends procured for him, from Pope Paul II (1464–71) the bishopric of Savona, and in 1473, with the support of Giuliano Della Rovere, later Pope Julius II, he was made cardinal by Pope Sixtus IV (1471–84), whom he succeeded on August 29, 1484 as Pope Innocent VIII.
The conclave was riven with faction, while gangs rioted in the streets. Cardinal Giuliano did not have sufficient votes at the conclave to be elected, so he turned his energies towards the election of Cybo, whom he was confident that he could control.
Shortly after his coronation Innocent VIII addressed a fruitless summons to Christendom to unite in a crusade against the infidels; the amount of his own zeal may in some degree be estimated from the fact that in 1489, in consideration of a yearly stipend of 40,000 ducats and a gift of the Holy Lance, he consented to favour Bayazid II (1481–1512) by detaining the Sultan's fugitive brother Cem in close confinement in the Vatican.
Innocent VIII, in his papal bull Summis desiderantes (5 December, 1484) instigated severe measures against magicians and witches in Germany. In 1487, he confirmed Tomas de Torquemada as grand inquisitor of Spain; he was a strong supporter of the Spanish Inquisition; he also urged a crusade against the Waldensians, offering plenary indulgence to all who should engage in it. In 1486, he prohibited, on pain of severe ecclesiastical censures, the reading of the nine hundred propositions of Pico Mirandola.
In Rome he built for summer use the Belvedere of the Vatican, on an unarticulated slope above the Vatican Palace, which his successor would turn into the Cortile del Belvedere. In season he hunted at Castello della Magliana, which he enlarged. Invariably short of money, he institutionalized simony at the papal court, creating new titles of offices that were discreetly auctioned.
In 1489, Ferdinand I of Naples having repeatedly refused to pay the tariff for his investiture, and a shaky peace of 1486 having failed, Innocent VIII found reason to excommunicate Ferdinand and invite Charles VIII of France to come to Italy with an army and take possession of the Kingdom of Naples. The conflict was not ended until 1494, after Innocent VIII's death.
An important event that coincided with his pontificate was the fall of Granada in January 1492, which was celebrated in the Vatican with great rejoicings. Innocent granted Ferdinand II of Aragon the epithet "Catholic Majesty."


Minnich (2005) notes that the position of Renaissance popes towards slavery, a common institution in contemporary cultures, varied. Those who allowed the slave trade did so in the hope of gaining converts to Christianity. In the case of Innocent he permitted trade with Barbary merchants in which foodstuffs would be given in exchange for slaves who could then be converted to Christianity.
King Ferdinand of Aragon gave Innocent one-hundred Moorish slaves who shared them out with favoured Cardinals. The slaves of Innocent were called "moro", meaning "dark skinned man", in contrast to negro slaves who were called "moro nero".


Innocent VIII died on July 25, 1492, leaving behind him two illegitimate children, born before he entered clergy. Another source says "sixteen", the remaining fourteen of which were presented as nephews. The title Padre della patria (= Father of the Fatherland) was suggested for him, precisely with reference to these sixteen children of his. In 1487 he married his elder son Franceschetto Cybo (d. 1519) to Maddalena de' Medici (1473-1528, by whom he had issue, the natural daughter of Lorenzo de' Medici, who in return obtained the cardinal's hat for his thirteen-year-old son Giovanni, later Pope Leo X. His daughter Teodorina Cibo married Gerardo Usodimare and had a daughter. Savonarola chastised him for his worldly ambitions. The unsympathetic Roman chronicler Stefano Infessura provides many lively details, among them the apparent attempt to revive Innocent VIII on his deathbed by blood transfusions from three young male children (who died as well in the process).

Born at Genoa, 1432; elected 29 August, 1484; died at Rome, 25 July, 1492. He was the son of the Roman senator, Aran Cibò, and Teodorina de' Mari. After a licentious youth, during which he had two illegitimate children, Franceschetto and Teodorina, he took orders and entered the service of Cardinal Calandrini. He was made Bishop of Savona in 1467, but exchanged this see in 1472 for that of Molfetta in south-eastern Italy and was raised to the cardinalate the following year. At the conclave of 1484, he signed, like all the other cardinals present, the election capitulation which was to bind the future pope. Its primary object was to safeguard the personal interests of the electors. The choice fell on Cibò himself who, in honour of his countryman, Innocent IV, assumed the name of Innocent VIII. His success in the conclave, as well as his promotion to the cardinalate, was largely due to Giuliano della Rovere. The chief concern of the new pope, whose kindliness is universally praised, was the promotion of peace among Christian princes, though he himself became involved in difficulties with King Ferrante of Naples. The protracted conflict with Naples was the principal obstacle to a crusade against the Turks; Innocent VIII earnestly endeavoured to unite Christendom against the common enemy. The circumstances appeared particularly favourable, as Prince Djem, the Sultan's brother and pretender to the Turkish throne, was held prisoner at Rome and promised co-operation in war and withdrawal of the Turks from Europe in case of success. A congress of Christian princes met in 1490 at Rome, but led to no result. On the other hand, the pope had the satisfaction of witnessing the fall of Granada (1491) which crowned the reconquest of Spain from the Moors and earned for the King of Spain the title of "Catholic Majesty". In England he proclaimed the right of King Henry VII and his descendants to the English throne and also agreed to some modifications affecting the privilege of "sanctuary". The only canonization which he proclaimed was that of Margrave Leopold of Austria (6 Jan., 1485). He issued an appeal for a crusade against the Waldenses, actively opposed the Hussite heresy in Bohemia, and forbade (Dec., 1486) under penalty of excommunication the reading of the nine hundred theses which Pico della Mirandola had publicly posted in Rome. On 5 Dec., 1484, he issued his much-abused Bull against witchcraft, and 31 May, 1492, he solemnly received at Rome the Holy Lance which the Sultan surrendered to the Christians. Constantly confronted with a depleted treasury, he resorted to the objectionable expedient of creating new offices and granting them to the highest bidders. Insecurity reigned at Rome during his rule owing to insufficient punishment of crime. However, he dealt mercilessly with a band of unscrupulous officials who forged and sold papal Bulls; capital punishment was meted out to two of the culprits in 1489. Among these forgeries must be relegated the alleged permission granted the Norwegians to celebrate Mass without wine. See "Bullarium Romanum", III, iii (Rome, 1743), 190-225.

Innocent VIII A Genoan born in 1432, Giovanni Battista Cibò was the son of a Roman senator and served in the court of Naples as a youth. Educated at Padua and Rome, he was made a cardinal in 1473 by Sixtus IV. A compromise candidate, Cibò was elected pope in 1484. As Pope Innocent VIII, he created and sold curial offices to end a fiscal crisis begun under Sixtus IV, whom he succeeded. Innocent married his illegitimate children into the princely families, and he was responsible for an increase in the persecution of "witches" in Germany. He agreed in 1489 to hold Sultan Bayezid II's brother prisoner in Rome in exchange for a yearly ransom and the lance of Longinus. Innocent recognized Henry Tudor as Henry VII of England and banned discussion of the works of Pico della Mirandola. In 1492, when the Spanish drove the Moors from Grenada, Innocent proclaimed a jubilee. Innocent died in July of that year.