Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Two Hundred Seventeenth Pope: Leo X - 0 comments

Leo X spent the first part of his pontificate concerned with European wars. As a part of the Medici family, his first priority was to protect Italy. He warily eyed the Ottomans, who seemed ready to attack Europe - but Leo was ultimately distracted by someone inside the Empire.

Leo's is mostly known for failing to squash Martin Luther's Reformation. Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517, four years into Leo's reign. He excommunicated the reformer in 1521, and despite the willing help of European monarchs (Henry VIII wrote a book against him, the Emperor banned him from the Empire), Luther successfully turned much of Germany and Scandinavia against Rome.

Leo is known for some really good quotes that show his mercenary, Medici nature. He told his brother, "Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it." - they then proceeded to parade around Rome with a menagerie of elephants and panthers. He's also quoted as saying, "It has served us well, this myth of Christ."

He died suddenly of malaria in 1521.


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