Giuliano della Rovere (Julius II) elected Pope

Pope Julius II (c. 5 December 1443 – 21 February 1513), nicknamed "The Terrible Pope" (Il Papa Terribile) and "The Warrior Pope" (Il Papa Guerriero), was born Giuliano della Rovere.

He was Pope from 1503 to 1513. His reign was marked by an aggressive foreign policy, ambitious building projects, and patronage for the arts.

There is disagreement about Julius' date of birth. Some sources put his birth as late as 1453. Giuliano della Rovere was the son of Rafaello della Rovere brother of Pope Sixtus IV and of Theodora Manerola, a lady of Greek extraction. Giuliano was an altar boy of his uncle Pope Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere). He was educated among the Franciscans by his uncle, who took him under his special charge and later sent him to a convent in La Pérouse 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, France, in 1471; very shortly after his uncle succeeded to the papal chair.
He was promoted to cardinal, taking the same title formerly held by his uncle, Cardinal of San Pietro in Vincula. 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, in addition to the archbishopric of Avignon.
In the capacity of papal legate he 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.

Rivalry grew over time between him and Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, and on the death of Innocent VIII in 1492 Borgia was elected Pope Alexander VI. Della Rovere, jealous and angry, accused Borgia of being elected over him by means of simony and a secret agreement with Ascanio Sforza. He at once determined to take refuge from Borgia's wrath at Ostia, and a few months afterwards went to Paris, where he incited Charles VIII of France to undertake a conquest of Naples.
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 Briçonnet by offering him the position of cardinal, succeeded in defeating the machinations of his enemy.
Pope Alexander died in 1503, and his son, Cesare fell ill at the same time. Della Rovere did not support the candidature of Cardinal Piccolomini of Siena, who was (on 8 October 1503) consecrated under the name of Pope Pius III, but who died twenty six days afterwards. Della Rovere then succeeded by dexterous diplomacy in tricking the weakened Cesare Borgia into supporting him. He was elected as Pope Julius II to the papal dignity by the near-unanimous vote of the cardinals (indeed, the only 3 votes he did not receive were those of Georges D'Amboise, supposedly his main opponent and the favourite of the French monarchy, and the votes of Cardinals Carafa and Casanova) almost certainly by means of bribery. His election only took a few hours.

Giuliano Della Rovere thenceforth took the name of his fourth century predecessor, Julius I. From the beginning, Julius II set himself with a courage and determination rarely equaled, to rid himself of the various powers under which his temporal authority was almost overwhelmed. By a series of complicated stratagems he first succeeded in rendering it impossible for the Borgia to retain their power over the Papal States. He 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 in order 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. But, by a brilliant campaign in 1506, Julius succeeded in freeing Perugia and Bologna from their despots (Giampolo Baglioni and Giovanni II Bentivoglio, respectively), and raised himself to such a height of influence as to render his friendship of prime importance both to the Louis XII of France and the Holy Roman Emperor.
In 1506 he officially founded the Swiss Guard, in order to provide a constant corps of soldiers to protect the Pope.

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 course of the "War of the Holy League" and the "Italian Wars" in general, alliances and participants changed dramatically. For example, in 1510 Venice and France switched places. By 1513, Venice had joined France.

Sisto Gara della Rovere, the fifth and final cardinal-nephew of Julius II was the Prior in Rome of the Knights Hospitaller of Malta.
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 against them. The Venetians on making humble submission were absolved at the beginning of 1510, and shortly afterwards France was placed under papal interdict. Attempts to bring about 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 cooperation, 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 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."
Julius also convened a general council (that afterwards 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, on account 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

Patron of the arts
Main article: Art Patronage of Julius II
While Julius II's political and warlike achievements would alone entitle him to rank amongst the most remarkable of the occupants of the papal chair, 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, and he was a friend and patron of Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for Julius.

Julius II is usually depicted with a beard, after his appearance in his celebrated portrait by Raphael. In fact, 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, making him 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, and 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 maestro di casa of Julius' cousin, Cardinal Girolamo Basso della Rovere.
Despite an illegitimate daughter, rumors also surrounded Julius about his sexuality. Casting himself in the role of a warrior, inevitably created enemies for Julius - many of whom accused him of being a sodomite. This was almost certainly done in order to discredit him but perhaps, in doing so, accusers were attacking a perceived weak point in their adversary's character. Venetians - who were opposed to the pope's new militarstic policy - were amongst the most vocal. Most notably the diarist Giralomo Priuli, and the historian Marino Sanudo The reputation survived him, and the accusation was used without reservation by Protestant opponents in their polemics against "papism" and Catholic decadence. Philippe de Mornay while he accused all Italians of being sodomites, added specifically: "This horror is ascribed to good Julius.". These Protestant libels certainly lack credibility, just as do the Catholic libels which discussed Calvin's purported conviction for sodomy.

Born on 5 December, 1443, at Albissola near Savona; crowned on 28 November, 1503; died at Rome, in the night of 20-21 February, 1513. He was born of a probably noble but impoverished family, his father being Raffaelo della Rovere and his mother Theodora Manerola, a lady of Greek extraction. He followed his uncle Francesco della Rovere into the Franciscan Order, and was educated under his tutelage at Perugia. With the elevation of his uncle to the papacy as Sixtus IV on 9 August, 1471, begins the public career of Giuliano. On 15 December, 1471, he was created Cardinal Priest of San Pietro in Vincoli, and thereafter literally overwhelmed with benefices, although during the lifetime of Sixtus IV he never took a prominent part in ecclesiastical diplomacy. He held the episcopal sees of Carpentras (1471-2), Lausanne (1472-6), Catania (1473-4), Coutances (1476-7), Mende (1478-83), Viviers (1477-9), Sabina (1479-83), Bologna (1483-1502), Ostia (1483-1503), Lodève (1488-9), Savona (1499-1502), Vercelli (1502-3), and the Archiepiscopal See of Avignon (1474-1503). In addition he was commendatory Abbot of Nonantola, Grottaferrata, and Gorze, and drew the revenues of various other ecclesiastical benefices. These large incomes, however, he did not spend in vain pomp and dissipation, as was the custom of many ecclesiastics of those times. Giuliano was a patron of the fine arts, and spent most of his superfluous money in the erection of magnificent palaces and fortresses. Still his early private life was far from stainless, as is sufficiently testified by the fact that before he became pope he was the father of three daughters, the best known of whom, Felice, he gave in marriage to Giovanni Giordano Orsini in 1506.
In June, 1474, Giuliano was sent at the head of an army to restore the papal authority in Umbria. He succeeded in reducing Todi and Spoleto, but for the subjugation of Città di Castello he needed the assistance of Duke Federigo of Urbino. In February, 1476, he was sent as legate to France to regulate the affairs of his Archdiocese of Avignon, and probably to oppose the council which Louis XI intended to convene at Lyons. In 1480 he was sent as legate to the Netherlands and France to accomplish three things, viz. to settle the quarrel concerning the Burgundian inheritance between Louis XI and Maximilian of Austria, to obtain the help of France against the Turks, and to effect the liberation of Cardinal Balue whom Louis XI had held in strict custody since 1469 on account of treasonable acts. After successfully completing his mission he returned to Rome in the beginning of 1482, accompanied by the liberated Cardinal Balue. At that time a war was just breaking out between the pope and Venice on one side and Ferrara on the other. Giuliano made various attempts to restore peace, and was probably instrumental in the dissolution of the Veneto-Papal alliance on 12 December, 1482. He also protected the Colonna family against the cruel persecutions of Cardinal Girolamo Riario in 1484. After the death of Sixtus IV on 12 August, 1484, Giuliano played a disreputable role in the election of Innocent VIII. Seeing that his own chances for the papacy were extremely meagre, he turned all his efforts to securing the election of a pope who was likely to be a puppet in his hands. Such a person he saw in the weak and irresolute Cardinal Cibo, who owed his cardinalate to Giuliano. To effect the election of his candidate he did not scruple to resort to bribery. Cibo ascended the papal throne as Innocent VIII on 29 August, 1484, and was greatly influenced during the eight years of his pontificate by the strong and energetic Giuliano. The war that broke out between the pope and King Ferrante of Naples must be attributed chiefly to Giuliano, and it was also due to him that it did not come to an earlier conclusion.

After the death of Innocent VIII on 25 July, 1492, Giuliano again aspired to the papacy, but his great influence during Innocent's pontificate and his pronounced sympathy for France had made him hateful to the cardinals. He was shrewd enough to understand the situation. He was, however, loath to see the tiara go to Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, not because the latter was an unworthy candidate, but on account of his personal aversion towards the Borgia. Despite Giuliano's efforts to the contrary, Rodrigo Borgia was the successful candidate, and ascended the papal throne as Alexander VI on 11 August, 1492. Fearing for his safety in Rome, Giuliano withdrew to his strongly fortified castle at Ostia towards the end of 1492. An apparent reconciliation between Alexander VI and Giuliano was effected in July, 1493, but Giuliano did not trust in the sincerity of the pope and fled by way of Genoa to the court of Charles VIII of France, whom he induced to make an expedition into Italy with the purpose of dethroning Alexander VI. Giuliano accompanied the king on his expedition, but by liberal concessions Alexander gained Charles to his side. In the treaty effected between them, it was stipulated that Giuliano should remain in possession of all his dignities and benefices, and should be guaranteed secure and undisturbed residence in Rome. Giuliano, however, still feared the secret machinations of Alexander and returned to France. Another apparent reconciliation took place in June, 1497, when Giuliano assisted the pope in the matrimonial affairs of Cesare Borgia. But Giuliano's distrust of Alexander remained. He evaded Rome, spending most of his time in France and Northern Italy.
After the death of Alexander on 18 August, 1503, he returned to Rome on 3 September to take part in the election of the new pope. He was again a strong candidate for the papacy, but his great ambition was not yet to be realized. The sick and aged Francesco Piccolomini ascended the papal throne as Pius III, but died on 18 October, 1503, after a reign of only twenty-six days. Giuliano's chance of being elected was now better than at any previous election. To ensure his success he made great promises to the cardinals, and did not hesitate to employ bribery. The conclave began on 31 October, and after a few hours the cardinals united their votes on Giuliano, who as pope took the name of Julius II. It was the shortest conclave in the history of the papacy. In the capitulation preceding the election, the following terms were secured by the cardinals: (1) the continuation of the war against the Turks; (2) the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline and the convocation of a general council for that purpose within two years; (3) that no war was to be undertaken with another nation without the consent of two-thirds of the cardinals, who were to be consulted on all important matters, especially concerning the creation of new members for the Sacred College; (4) that the pope with two-thirds of the cardinals were to determine upon the place of the next general council. Such an unlawful restriction of papal rights no pope could tolerate, much less the impatient, irascible, ambitious, and warlike Julius II, whose fearless and awe-inspiring presence gained for him the epithet of pontefice terribile. The chief task of his pontificate he saw in the firm establishment and the extension of the temporal power. For the accomplishment of this task no pope was ever better suited than Julius, whom nature and circumstances had hewn out for a soldier.

Venice was the first to feel the strong hand of Julius II. Under pretence of humiliating Cesare Borgia, whom Alexander VI had made Duke of the Romagna, the Venetians had reduced various places in the Romagna under their own authority. The Romagna was ecclesiastical territory, and every one of its cities added to the Venetian republic was lost to the papacy. Julius, therefore, ordered Cesare Borgia to surrender the fortified places of the Romagna into his own hands. Cesare Borgia refused and was arrested by the pope's order. Venice, however, stubbornly refused to give back the cities which it had previously taken. A temporary settlement was reached in March, 1505, when Venice restored most of its conquests in the Romagna. Meanwhile trouble was brewing at Perugia and Bologna, two cities that belonged to the Papal States. At Perugia the Baglioni and at Bologna the Bentivogli were acting as independent despots. The warlike Julius II personally directed the campaign against both, setting out at the head of his army on 26 August, 1506. Perugia surrendered without any bloodshed on 13 September, and the pope proceeded towards Bologna. On 7 October he issued a Bull deposing and excommunicating Giovanni Bentivoglio and placing the city under interdict. Bentivoglio fled, and Julius II entered Bologna triumphantly on 10 November. He did not leave the city until 22 February, 1507, arriving again at Rome on 27 March.

The Venetians meanwhile continued to hold Rimini and Faenza, two important places in the Romagna: they moreover encroached upon the papal rights by filling the vacant episcopal sees in their territory independently of the pope, and they subjected the clergy to the secular tribunal and in many other ways disrespected the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Julius II. Unable to cope alone with the powerful Republic of Venice, he reluctantly joined the League of Cambrai on 23 March, 1509. This League had been formed by Emperor Maximilian I and Louis XII of France chiefly with the purpose of forcing Venice to restore its recent continental conquests to their original owners. On 27 April, 1509, Julius II placed Venice under interdict and dispatched his troops into the Romagna. Venice was too weak to contend against the combined forces of the League, and suffered a complete defeat at the battle of Agnadello on 14 May, 1509. The Venetians were now ready to enter negotiations with Julius II, who withdrew from the League and freed the Venetians from the ban on 24 February, 1510, after they agreed upon the following terms. (1) to restore the disputed towns in the Romagna; (2) to renounce their claims to fill vacant benefices; (3) to acknowledge the ecclesiastical tribunal for ecclesiastics and exempt them from taxes; (4) to revoke all treaties made with papal cities; (5) to permit papal subjects free navigation on the Adriatic.

Julius II was now again supreme temporal master over the entire Pontifical States, but his national pride extended beyond the Patrimony of St. Peter. His ambition was to free the whole of Italy from its subjection to foreign powers, and especially to deliver it from the galling yoke of France. His efforts to gain the assistance of Emperor Maximilian, Henry VIII of England, and Ferdinand of Spain, proved futile for the moment, but the Swiss and the Venetians were ready to take the field against the French. Julius II inaugurated the hostilities by deposing and excommunicating his vassal, Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, who supported France. Louis XII retaliated by convoking a synod of French bishops at Tours in September, 1510, where it was decreed that the pope had no right to make war upon a foreign prince, and, in case he should undertake such a war, the foreign prince had the right to invade the Ecclesiastical States and to withdraw his subjects from their obedience to the pope. The synod also threatened the pope with a general council. Taking no notice of this synod, Julius again assumed personal command of his army and set out for Northern Italy. At Bologna he fell severely sick, and would probably have been captured by the French had it not been for the timely appearance of the Venetians. He had scarcely recovered, when, braving the inclemency of the weather, he marched against Mirandola which he took on 20 January, 1511. On 23 May, 1511, the French made a descent upon Bologna which Julius II had left nine days previously, drove out the papal troops and reinstated the Bentivogli.

Some of the cardinals were displeased with the pope's anti-French policy, and five of them went so far as to convoke a schismatic council at Pisa on 1 September. They were supported in their schism by the King of France and for some time also by Emperor Maximilian. The pope now looked for aid to Spain, Venice, and England, but before completing negotiations with these powers he fell dangerously sick. From 25 to 27 August, 1511, his life was despaired of. It was during this sickness of Julius II that Emperor Maximilian conceived the fantastic plan of uniting the tiara with the imperial crown on his own head (see Schulte, "Kaiser Maximilian als Kandidat für den papstlichen Stuhl", Leipzig, 1906; and Naegle, "Hat Kaiser Maximilian I in Jahre 1507 Papst werden wollen" in "Historisches Jahrbuch", XXVIII, Munich, 1907, pp. 44-60, 278-305). But Julius II recovered on 28 August, and on 4 October the so-called Holy League was formed for the purpose of delivering Italy from French rule. In the beginning the League included only the pope, the Venetians, and Spain, but England joined it on 17 November, and was soon followed by the emperor and by Switzerland. Under the leadership of the brilliant Gaston de Foix the French were at first successful, but after his death they had to yield to the superior forces of the League, and, being defeated in the bloody battle of Ravenna on 11 April, 1512, they were driven beyond the Alps. Bologna again submitted to Julius II and the cities of Parma, Reggio, and Piacenza were added to the Ecclesiastical States.

Julius II was chiefly a soldier, and the fame attached to his name is greatly due to his re-establishment of the Pontifical States and the deliverance of Italy from its subjection to France. Still he did not forget his duties as the spiritual head of the Church. He was free from nepotism; heard Mass almost daily and often celebrated it himself; issued a strict Bull against simony at papal elections and another against duels; erected dioceses in the recently discovered American colonies of Haiti (Espanola), San Domingo, and Porto Rico; condemned the heresy of Piero de Lucca concerning the Incarnation on 7 September, 1511; made various ordinances for monastic reforms; instituted the still existing Capella Julia, a school for ecclesiastical chant which was to serve as a feeder for the Capella Palatina; and finally convoked the Fifth Lateran Council to eradicate abuses from the Church and especially from the Roman Curia, and to frustrate the designs of the schismatic cardinals who had convened their unsuccessful council first at Pisa, then at Milan (see LATERAN COUNCILS). Julius II has also gained an enviable reputation as a patron of arts. Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo gave to the world some of their greatest masterpieces while in his service. He laid the cornerstone of the gigantic Basilica of St. Peter on 18 April, 1506, and conceived the idea of uniting the Vatican with the Belvedere, engaging Bramante to accomplish the project. The famous frescoes of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel and of Raphael in the Stanze, the Court of St. Damasus with its loggias, the Via Giulia and Via della Lungara, the colossal statue of Moses which graces the mausoleum of Julius II in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, and many other magnificent works in and out of Rome are lasting witnesses of his great love of art.

Original name Giuliano Della Rovere (b.1443, Albisola, d. 1513, Rome), greatest art patron of the papal line (reigned 1503-13) and one of the most powerful rulers of his age. Although he led military efforts to prevent French domination of Italy, Julius is most important for his close friendship with Michelangelo and for his patronage of other artists, including Bramante and Raphael. He commissioned Michelangelo's "Moses" and paintings in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's frescoes in the Vatican.

Giuliano was the son of the impoverished Rafaello della Rovere, Pope Sixtus IV's only brother. In 1468 he became a Franciscan, and in 1471 Sixtus IV made him a cardinal. In this office Giuliano displayed all of the attributes of cupidity and corruption of an unscrupulous Renaissance prince. The Pope lavished on him six bishoprics in France and three in Italy along with an abundance of wealthy abbeys and benefices. The Cardinal, who lacked any interest in spiritual pursuits, became an outstanding patron of the arts. He is shown with his protégés in Melozzo da Forlì's superb fresco of Sixtus IV in the Vatican Museum.

After the death of Sixtus IV, for whom Giuliano commissioned a bronze sepulchre by Antonio Pollaiuolo, now in the Vatican Grotto of St. Peter's, the Cardinal's candidate, the weak Innocent VIII, was elected through bribery. When Rodrigo Borgia, elected pope as Alexander VI in 1492, plotted Giuliano's assassination, Giuliano fled in 1494 to the court of Charles VIII of France. He accompanied the French king on his expedition against Naples in the hope that Charles would also depose Alexander VI. After accompanying Charles on his forced return to France, Giuliano took part in Louis XII's invasion of Italy in 1502. Alexander VI twice attempted to seize him.

Following the death of the Borgia pope in 1503, Giuliano returned to Rome, having been 10 years in exile, and, after Pius III's brief pontificate, was, with the liberal help of simony, elected Pope Julius II in October 1503. Immediately after his election he decreed that all future simoniacal papal elections would be invalid and subject to penalty.

Julius II viewed as the main task of his pontificate the restoration of the Papal States, which had been reduced to ruin by the Borgias. Large portions of it had been appropriated by Venice after Alexander VI's death. As a first step as pope, Julius subjugated Perugia and Bologna in the autumn of 1508. Then, in March 1509, he joined the League of Cambrai, an anti-Venetian alliance formed in December 1508 between Louis XII, who then ruled Milan, Emperor Maximilian I, and Ferdinand II of Spain, who had been king of Naples since 1503. The league troops defeated Venice in May 1509 near Cremona, and the Papal States were restored.

Having become an exponent of Italian national consciousness, Julius II proposed to drive the French from Italy, but his second war, which lasted from September 1510 to May 1511, was unsuccessful. Several cardinals defected to Louis XII and called a schismatic council, to which Julius responded by summoning the fifth Lateran Council. After concluding an alliance with Venice and Ferdinand II of Spain and Naples in October 1511, he opened the council in May 1512 at the Lateran Palace. Louis XII had defeated the troops of the alliance at Ravenna in April 1512, but the situation changed when Swiss troops were sent to the Pope's aid. The territories in northern Italy occupied by the French revolted, the French left the country, and the Papal States were augmented by the acquisition of Parma and Piacenza. Toward the end of his life, he viewed with concern the replacement of French by Spanish efforts to attain supremacy in Italy. Julius II was Italy's saviour.