Pope Clement IX

Last updated

Clement IX
Bishop of Rome
Giovanni Battista Gaulli Papa Clemente IX.jpg
Papacy began20 June 1667
Papacy ended9 December 1669
Predecessor Alexander VII
Successor Clement X
Consecration29 March 1644
by  Antonio Marcello Barberini
Created cardinal9 April 1657
by Pope Alexander VII
Personal details
Birth nameGiulio Rospigliosi
Born(1600-01-28)28 January 1600
Pistoia, Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Died9 December 1669(1669-12-09) (aged 69)
Rome, Papal States
Previous post
MottoAliis non sibi Clemens ("Clement to others, not to himself")
Coat of arms Coat of arms of Pope Clement IX.svg
Other popes named Clement

Pope Clement IX (Latin : Clemens IX; 28 January 1600 – 9 December 1669), born Giulio Rospigliosi, was Pope from 20 June 1667 to his death in 1669.



Early life and education

Giulio Rospigliosi was born in 1600 to the Rospigliosi family, a noble family of Pistoia in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to Giacomo and Caterina Rospigliosi. He studied at the Seminario Romano and later at the University of Pisa as a pupil of the Jesuits. He would receive doctorates in theology, philosophy and both canon and civil law in 1623. After receiving his doctorates, he taught theology there as a professor from 1623 to 1625.

Episcopate and cardinalate

Later Rospigliosi worked closely with Pope Urban VIII (1623–1644) where he worked in the diplomatic corps as the Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura. He was appointed as the Titular Archbishop of Tarsus in 1644 and later received episcopal consecration in the Vatican. Rospigliosi also served as the Apostolic Nuncio to Spain from 1644 until 1653 when he decided to retire from that post. He lived in retirement throughout the pontificate of Pope Innocent X who disliked and distanced himself from those associated with his predecessor. [1] 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, namely his 1637 libretto Chi soffre, speri . [2] [3] He was also a patron of Nicolas Poussin, commissioning A Dance to the Music of Time from him and dictating its iconography.

Pope Alexander VII appointed him to the cardinalate in 1657 as the Cardinal-Priest of San Sisto Vecchio and was also appointed as the Cardinal Secretary of State in 1655 which he held until 1667. [1]


Papal election

Papal styles of
Pope Clement IX
Coat of arms of Pope Clement IX.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

Pope Alexander VII died in 1667 and a conclave to choose his successor was called. King Louis XIV of France instructed the French faction to turn their support to Rospigliosi and believed also that he would appease the Spanish faction of Charles II due to the fact that he had once been the Apostolic Nuncio to Spain. On 20 June 1667, he was elected as pontiff and took the pontifical name of "Clement IX".

The new pope was crowned on 26 June 1667 by the protodeacon, Cardinal Rinaldo d'Este. He later took possession of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran on 3 July 1667.


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.

He was popular with the people of Rome, not so much for his erudition and application to business, as for his extreme charity and his affability towards great and small. He increased the goodwill of his subjects by buying off the monopolist who had secured the "macinato", or privilege of selling grain, and as his predecessor had collected the money for the purpose, Clement IX had the decree published in the name of Alexander VII. Two days each week he occupied a confessional in St. Peter's church and heard any one who wished to confess to him. He frequently visited the hospitals, and was lavish in his alms to the poor. In an age of nepotism, he did little or nothing to advance or enrich his family. In his aversion to notoriety, he refused to permit his name to be placed on the buildings erected during his reign. [1]

Statue of Clement IX Angelo de' rossi, papa clemente IX.JPG
Statue of Clement IX

Other actions

Clement IX confirmed the cultus of Margaret of Savoy on 9 October 1669. He also beatified Rose of Lima on 15 April 1668. On 28 April 1668, he canonized Magdalena de Pazzi and Peter of Alcantara.

He elevated 12 new cardinals in three consistories; this included Emilio Bonaventura Altieri who would succeed him as Pope Clement X.

Art reforms

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[ citation needed ], 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.

The tomb of Clement IX Carlo rainaldi, monum. a clemente IX (1671), con papa di domenico guidi, fede di cosimo fancelli e carita ercole ferrata 2.JPG
The tomb of Clement IX

Defence against the Turks

Clement IX worked to strengthen Venetian defences against the Turks on the island of Crete. However, he was unable to get wider support for this cause. At the end of October 1669, Clement IX fell ill after receiving news that the Venetian fortress of Candia in Crete had surrendered to the Turks.

Death and burial

Clement IX died in Rome, allegedly of a broken heart, on 9 December 1669. His successor, Pope Clement X (r. 1670–1676), built him an ornate tomb in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Artistic works


See also


  1. 1 2 3 Loughlin, James. "Pope Clement IX". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 9 Sept. 2014
  2. Roger Parker (ed.): The Oxford illustrated history of opera. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1994, p. 18 f.
  3. Wolfgang Witzenmann: Article “Mazzocchi, Virgilio.” In: Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed July 6, 2016.

Related Research Articles

Pope Clement X 17th-century Catholic pope

Pope Clement X, born Emilio Bonaventura Altieri, was Pope from 29 April 1670 to his death in 1676.

Cardinal Secretary of State Head of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See

The Secretary of State of His Holiness The Pope, commonly known as the Cardinal Secretary of State, presides over the Holy See Secretariat of State, which is the oldest and most important dicastery of the Roman Curia. The Secretariat of State performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See and the Vatican City. The Secretary of State is sometimes described as the prime minister of the Holy See, even though the nominal head of government of Vatican City is the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.

The year 1639 in music involved some significant events.

Virgilio Mazzocchi was an Italian baroque composer.

Antonio Barberini Italian cardinal (1607-1671), nephew of Pope Urban VIII

Antonio Barberini was an Italian Catholic cardinal, Archbishop of Reims, military leader, patron of the arts and a prominent member of the House of Barberini. As one of the cardinal-nephews of Pope Urban VIII and a supporter of France, he played a significant role at a number of the papal conclaves of the 17th century. With his brothers Cardinal Francesco Barberini and Taddeo Barberini he helped to shape politics, religion, art and music of 17th century Italy. He is sometimes referred to as Antonio the Younger or Antonio Barberini iuniore to distinguish him from his uncle Antonio Marcello Barberini.

Decio Azzolino Catholic cardinal

Decio Azzolino was an Italian Catholic Cardinal, code-breaker, investigator and leader of the Squadrone Volante.

Marco Marazzoli Italian composer

Marco Marazzoli was an Italian priest and Baroque music composer.

Chi soffre, speri or L'Egisto is an opera in a prologue and three acts by the Italian composer Virgilio Mazzocchi, performed with an intermedio titled La fiera di Farfa with music by Marco Marazzoli.

Alessandro Melani was an Italian composer and the brother of composer Jacopo Melani, and castrato singer Atto Melani. Along with Bernardo Pasquini and Alessandro Scarlatti, he was one of the leading composers active in Rome during the 17th century. He is also ranked among the second school of Roman opera composers which began with his brother's 1668 opera Il Girello. He is chiefly remembered today for his large output of liturgical music that he wrote while serving in various musical posts in Rome. Of particular interest is the large number of polychoral motets that he produced and his eight ascribed oratorios. Three published collections of his liturgical music survive today along with numerous solitary motets from other published volumes. A number of original manuscripts also survive.

Cardinals created by Clement IX Wikimedia list article

Pope Clement IX created 12 cardinals in three consistories:

Carlo Rossetti Catholic cardinal

Carlo Rossetti (Roscetti) was an Italian Catholic Cardinal, born of the noble Rossetti family in Ferrara. Earlier in his career he went to London as a secret nuncio on behalf of Pope Urban VIII. While in London, he was addressed as Lord Charles Rossetti and was referred to as Prince Rossetti, using his title as Italian nobility for his cover, rather than as a representative of the Roman Catholic Church to avoid persecution.

Giulio Gabrielli Catholic cardinal

Giulio Gabrielli was an Italian Catholic cardinal. He is sometimes referred to as Giulio Gabrielli the Elder to distinguish him from Giulio Gabrielli the Younger.

Flavio Chigi (1631–1693) Italian cardinal and librarian (1631-1693)

Flavio Chigi was an Italian Catholic Cardinal and Duke of Ariccia. He was Cardinal-Nephew to Pope Alexander VII and became a powerful political force inside the Roman Catholic Church during the latter half of the 17th century.

Loreto Vittori was an Italian castrato and composer. From 1622 until his death, he was a mezzo-soprano singer in the papal chapel in Rome.

Giovanni Stefano Donghi Italian cardinal

Giovanni Stefano Donghi was an Italian Catholic cardinal.

Lorenzo Imperiali Italian cardinal

Lorenzo Imperiali was an Italian Catholic cardinal.

Lorenzo Raggi was an Italian Catholic Cardinal.

Rospigliosi family

The Rospigliosi family is an ancient noble Italian family from Pistoia. Attested since the Middle Ages, it became wealthy through agriculture, trade and industry, reaching the apogee of its power and the high nobility status in Rome thanks to Giulio Rospigliosi, elected pope in 1667 with the name of Clement IX.

Giacomo Rospigliosi Italian cardinal

Giacomo or Jacopo Rospigliosi was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal.

Felice Rospigliosi was an Italian cardinal.


Political offices
Preceded by
Fabio Chigi
Cardinal Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Decio Azzolini
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alexander VII
20 June 1667 – 9 December 1669
Succeeded by
Clement X