Clement XII. (Lorenzo Corsini), pope from 1730 to 1740, succeeded Benedict XIII. on the 12th of July 1730, at the age of seventy-eight. The rascally Cardinal Coscia, who had deluded Benedict, was at once brought to justice and forced to disgorge his dishonest gains. Politically the papacy had sunk to the level of pitiful helplessness, unable to resist the aggressions of the Powers, who ignored or coerced it at will. Yet Clement entertained high hopes for Catholicism; he laboured for a union with the Greek Church, and was ready to facilitate the return of the Protestants of Saxony. He deserves well of posterity for his services to learning and art; the restoration of the Arch of Constantine; the enrichment of the Capitoline museum with antique marbles and inscriptions, and of the Vatican library With oriental manuscripts (see Assemani); and the embellishment of the city with many buildings. He died on the 6th of February 1740, and was succeeded by Benedict XIV.
See Guarnacci, Vitae et res gestae Pontiff. Rom. (Rome, 1751); Sandini, Vitae Pontiff. Rom. (Padua, 1739); Fabroni, De Vita et Reb. Gest. Clementis XII. (Rome, 1760); Ranke, Popes (Eng. trans. Austin), iii. 191 seq.; v. Reumont, Gesch. der Stadt Rom, iii. 2, 653 seq. (T. F. C.)