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Who's Who in Medieval History and the Renaissance

Pope Julius II


Military Leader



Born Giuliano Della Rovere, Julius was the nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, who built the Sistine Chapel. Although his relationship to Sixtus helped his early career, he was forced to flee Italy to avoid assassination attempts ordered by Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI), and stayed in exile for ten years before Borgia's death made it possible for him to return.

As pope, Julius became one of the most powerful rulers of the Renaissance, and he was more concerned with political matters than theological ones. He became known as "the warrior pope" and il papa terribile, and worked hard to restore and preserve the Papal States and led military efforts to hold off the encroaching forces of France. When defecting cardinals threatened another schism, he called the Fifth Lateran Council, and overturned another military coup with the help of Swiss troops.

Though he was enormously successful in keeping Italy together politically and militarily, Julius is perhaps best known as a patron of the arts. He is particularly remembered for his patronage of Raphael, who painted his private rooms at the Vatican, and Michelangelo, who completed the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel barely a year before the pope's death.

Important Dates

Born: Dec. 5, 1443
Crowned: Nov. 28, 1503
Died: Feb. 21, 1513

From Your Guide

Review: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
A review of Ross King's book about the creation of the masterpiece and the men who made it happen.

On the Web


Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Julius II
Substantial bio by Michael Ott.

Julius II (Pope 1503-1513)
Concise biography at Luminarium.

Pope Julius II
Heavily hyperlinked bio at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Pope Julius II
Poor color choices and font problems detract from an otherwise informative three-page bio by Sharon R. Hoover for her.


Tomb of Pope Julius II
Fine photos of Michelangelo's work at the web gallery of art.

Portrait of Julius II
Informative background accompanies Raphael's portrait at the web gallery of art; be sure to click the thumbnail for a much larger version.

In Print

The links below will take you to a site where you can compare prices at booksellers across the web. More in-depth info about the book may be found by clicking on to the book's page at one of the online merchants.

Julius II: The Warrior Pope
by Christine Shaw

Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to John Paul II
by Richard P. McBrien

Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy over 2000 Years
by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart

Related Resources

The Papacy
Index of sites regarding the Popes and the political entity of the Papal States, their impact on medieval culture, and the schisms they endured and overcame.



Who's Who Directories

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Chronological Index

Index by Profession, Achievement,or Role in Society

Geographical Index


Who's Who in Medieval History is copyright © 2000-2014 Melissa Snell. All rights reserved.




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