1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Clement/Clement VIII (Pope)

6104271911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 6 — - Clement Clement VIII (Pope)Theodore Freylinghuysen Collier

Clement VIII. (Ippolito Aldobrandini), pope from 1592 to 1605, was born at Fano, in 1535. He became a jurist and filled several important offices. In 1585 he was made a cardinal, and subsequently discharged a delicate mission to Poland with skill. His moderation and experience commended him to his fellow cardinals, and on the 30th of January 1592 he was elected pope, to succeed Innocent IX. While not hostile to Philip II., Clement desired to emancipate the papacy from undue Spanish influence, and to that end cultivated closer relations with France. In 1595 he granted absolution to Henry IV., and so removed the last objection to the acknowledgment of his legitimacy. The peace of Vervins (1598), which marked the end of Philip’s opposition to Henry, was mainly the work of the pope. Clement also entertained hopes of recovering England. He corresponded with James I. and with his queen, Anne of Denmark, a convert to Catholicism. But James was only half in earnest, and, besides, dared not risk a breach with his subjects. Upon the failure of the line of Este, Clement claimed the reversion of Ferrara and reincorporated it into the States of the Church (1598). He remonstrated against the exclusion of the Jesuits from France, and obtained their readmission. But in their doctrinal controversy with the Dominicans (see Molina, Luis) he refrained from a decision, being unwilling to offend either party. Under Clement the publication of the revised edition of the Vulgate, begun by Sixtus V., was finished; the Breviary, Missal and Pontifical received certain corrections; the Index was expanded; the Vatican library enlarged; and the Collegium Clementinum founded. Clement was an unblushing nepotist; three of his nephews he made cardinals, and to one of them gradually surrendered the control of affairs. But on the other hand among those whom he promoted to the cardinalate were such men as Baronius, Bellarmine and Toledo. During this pontificate occurred the burning of Giordano Bruno for heresy; and the tragedy of the Cenci (see the respective articles). Clement died on the 5th of March 1605, and was succeeded by Leo XI.

See the contemporary life by Ciaconius, Vitae et res gestae summorum Pontiff. Rom. (Rome, 1601–1602); Francolini, Ippolito Aldobrandini, che fu Clemente VIII. (Perugia, 1867); Ranke’s excellent sketch, Popes (Eng. trans. Austin), ii. 234 seq.; v. Reumont, Gesch. der Stadt Rom, iii. 2, 599 seq.; Brosch, Gesch. des Kirchenstaates (1880), i. 301 seq.  (T. F. C.)