Gonzaga cardinals

This is a part of an article to the Tarot de Paris


Gonzaga Cardinals

1. GONZAGA, Francesco (ca. 1444-1483)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesco_ ... 44-1483%29
Son of Ludovico III "il Turco", Marchese di Mantova from 1444-78, and Barbara von Hohenzollern (*1423 +1481)

He was made cardinal deacon 1461, when he was about 17 years old. It's stated, that he suggested Mantova as the location for the congress of Mantova in 1459 (likely he just became cardinal so early, cause Mantova had organized the congress). He became famous, cause the frescoes of Mantegna in Mantova in the Camera degli Sogli celebrated, that he became cardinal. When he came to Rome he impressed with a lot of money and possessions. He died early, with 39 years.



2. GONZAGA, Sigismondo (1469 - 1525)
nephew of cardinal Francesco Gonzaga (first Gonzaga cardinal). Son of Federico il Gobbo (Marchese of Mantova 1478-1484), brother of Francesco Gonzaga, also Marchese of Mantova (1484 - 1519), who had become husband to Isabella d'Este in 1489.
He was made cardinal in December 1505 ... this date is "very suspicious"

Pope Julius had become pope in 1503. For Ferrara it was suspected, that duke Ercole 'Este would die soon. Pope Julius wasn't happy, that Alfonso, oldest son, should become the new duke and attempted other political solutions, which favored Ferrante, Alfonso's brother. This didn't work out, Ercole died and Alfonso became duke of Ferrara with the minor result, that he produced Tarochi decks in June 1505 (that's the objerct, what's here interesting). But there was trouble between the sons of Ercole.
In November 1505 cardinal Ippolito made a bloody attack on the eyes of Giulio, illegitimate son of Ercole, and so his half brother. Giulio became at last half blind. Ercole didn't rule this case really, and in the course of the development Giulio and Ferrante made a stupid attempt to kill Alfonso (if this happened with involvement of Julius, isn't known). Both were captured and sentenced to death, but Alfonso changed this to prison. The both brothers lived in the Ferrarese castle, right below the kitchen, Ferrante died 1540 (after 24 years below the kitchen) and Giulio was released in 1559 (53 years below the kitchen), just again this 1559 (this had a logical reason, cause in this year Ercole II d'Este died, duke of Ferrara, son of Alfonso, who made Tarochi cards 1505; 3 October 1559, so 3 months later than the tournament of Paris). This happened in September 1506. 2 months later Pope Julius conquered Bologna (surely already a longer secret objective of him) and the distance between Bologna and Ferrara are only 40 km.

So what means it, that Pope Julius just in the month December 1505 declared Sigismondo Gonzaga in hasty steps to a cardinal?
Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of December 1, 1505; published, December 12, 1505; received the red hat, December 17, 1505
And - accident or not - just in this time, there's a "Taraux" document in Avignon at 6th of December 1505 and a further Tarochi document in Ferrara at 26th of December.
The Ferrarese document might be well relate simply to "Christmas" and the general custom to play games in this time, the Avignon document is in Latin and speaks of "quatuor duodenis quartarum vulgo appelatarum taraux" and in its center is great paper manager Jean Fort. who is also active with playing cards. The item 48 (4x12) taraux cards is only one between many others, which are noted at a greater list.

For the Avignon production ... there's the condition, that Pope Julius very long time was the most important man in this papal state and that Rovere heraldic appears at still extant Tarocchi cards (Leber Tarocchi and six Cicognara cards).

If this "somehow" relates to the Taraux cards from Avignon is not clear, it's just as suspicious as this very quick career of Sigismondo Gonzaga just in this same month of December 1505.
Sigismondo had experience in military actions and that seems to be a quality, which Julius needed. And Julius rather commonly bought friendship with cardinal titles, that wasn't unusual (he made this also with cardinal Gurk).
I talked about all this already here ...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=610&p=9028&hilit=+ ... gnon#p9028
... but I didn't note this aspect of the cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga then, as far I remember.


3. GONZAGA, Ercole (1505-1563)

A nephew to cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga. Different to the long pause between the first Gonzaga cardinal and the second (22 years), it took only two years to replace the Mantova cardinal (1527 position), likely due to the stll rather dominant influence of Isabelle d'Este (his mother), and possibly also due to the Sacco di Roma, which took place in the same year.
The disasters of the Holy League imposed on Pope Clement VII the need to raise money for the defense of Rome. On May 3, 1527, the pope offered for sale five cardinal's hats. Each of the hats brought 40 gold ducats to the papal treasury. Isabella d'Este, who was in Rome at the time, bought from the pope, in the Palazzo Colonna, a cardinal's hat which later was imposed by Marquis Federico I on Ercole in Governolo.
I don't know this story from elsewhere ... http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios1527.htm#Gonzaga . Possibly nobody wished to become cardinal in this dangerous situation.

The oldest son, Federico Gonzaga II, of Isabella d'Este and Francesco Gonzaga (who in 1495 became the hero of all Italy at the battle at the Taro river), became duke of Mantova 1530, after he became Marchese of Mantova in 1519 (19 years old).


The second, Ercole, became cardinal (22 years old) ...


... and the third, Ferrante Gonzaga, became a famous condottiero. A classical high-family-model, one for the throne, one for the church and the 3rd for the fights.


The oldest son married "twice" and the both were sisters ...
Maria, Mgvne of Montferrato (1533-60), a nun in Casale, *Casale 19.9.1508/09, +Casale/Mantua 15.9.1530; m.1517 OR (only proposed) to Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantova (*Mantua 17.5.1500, +Mantua 28.6.1540)

Margherita, Mgvne of Montferrato (1533-66), heiress of Montferrat, *Casale 11.8.1510, +Mantova 28.12.1566; m.Mantova 3.10.1531 Federico II Gonzaga, Duca di Mantova (*17.5.1500 +28.6.1540)
... says euweb, but contradicts itself with "(1533-1560)" and "+Casale/Mantua 15.9.1530" in the case of the older Maria.

The true story is found in the life of the mother of the two girls, Anne d'Alencon.


Anne d'Alençon (Italian: Anna d'Alençon) (30 October 1492 – 18 October 1562), Lady of La Guerche, was a French noblewoman and a Marquise of Montferrat as the wife of William IX, Marquis of Montferrat. She acted as Regent of the Marquisate of Montferrat for her son, Boniface from 1518 to his death in 1530.
Anne was the third child of René, Duke of Alençon and his second wife Margaret of Lorraine, daughter of Frederick, Count of Vaudémont and Yolande of Anjou. Her father died two days after her birth.

She was betrothed to William IX, Marquis of Montferrat of the Palaiologos family in 1501 and married him on 31 October 1508, the day after her sixteenth birthday, in the church of St. Sauveur in Blois. She bore her husband three children: Maria (1509–1530), Margherita, (1510–1566), and Boniface (1512–1530), William's heir who became Boniface IV of Montferrat.

In 1517, her eldest daughter, Maria, was betrothed to Federico II Gonzaga, son of Isabella d'Este, who later became Marquis and Duke of Mantua. The marriage contract was annulled, however, after Federico accused Maria of attempting to poison his mistress Isabella Boschetti, wife of the Count of Calvisano.

On the death of William in 1518, the infant Boniface inherited the Marquisate. Anne, however, acted as regent until his unexpected death in June 1530 and she remained involved in the government of Montferrat when Boniface was succeeded as Marquis by her brother-in-law John George, previously commendatory abbot of Lucedio and (unconsecrated) Bishop of Casale.

Boniface's death also rekindled Federico II Gonzaga's interest in marrying Maria. On the latter's unexpected death in September 1530 his attentions turned to the second daughter, Margherita. Having weighed up the various proposals for Margherita's hand, Anne opted for the link with the House of Gonzaga and the marriage was concluded in October 1531.

In 1533 the Marquis John George died, leaving one natural son, but no heir. A dispute over the succession to the Marquisate, an imperial fiefdom, ensued, the contenders being the Gonzaga, the Marquis of Saluzzo and the House of Savoy, all of whom were able to make plausible claims. Meanwhile the Montferrat was effectively under Spanish domination. In 1536 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor assigned the fiefdom to Margherita Paleologa and her husband, Federico II, Duke of Mantua. Anne, however, returned as de facto ruler. In 1540 Federico II died at Marmirolo and was succeeded by his seven year old son Francesco as Marquis of Montferrat and Duke of Mantua. Margherita Paleologo Gonzaga became regent, together with her brother-in-law Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga.

On retiring from public life Anne d'Alençon entered the convent of Dominican Sisters of Catherine of Siena which adjoined her palazzo in Casale Monferrato. She died on 18 October 1562, shortly before her seventieth birthday.
In 1525, following the Battle of Pavia, Anne's brother Charles IV, Duke of Alençon died leaving his personal property to Anne and to her sister Françoise d'Alençon. (This inheritance was disputed unsuccessfully by Charles's widow, Marguerite d'Angoulême, sister of Francis I, King of France.) Anne in turn assigned these assets to Isabella Gonzaga, the eldest daughter of Federico and Margherita. Isabella having renounced the inheritance, Margherita succeeded in having them transferred to her third son Ludovico, later Duke of Nevers and founder of the Gonzaga Nevers branch of the House of Gonzaga.
From ...
http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/lud ... di-nevers/
... we get the following information:
Ludovico Gonzaga duca di Nevers. - Figlio (n. 1539 - m. Nesle, Péronne, 1595) di Federico II duca di Mantova e di Margherita Paleologo, fu nominato dalla nonna materna Anna d'Alençon erede dei beni che ella aveva in Francia, e fu inviato (1549) alla corte del re Enrico II. Divenuto ben presto influentissimo consigliere di Caterina de' Medici, sembra sia stato fra i fautori della strage di s. Bartolomeo. Luogotenente del re Enrico III in Italia, si oppose vanamente alla promessa restituzione delle basi francesi in Piemonte a Emanuele Filiberto. Sposo di Enrichetta di Clèves, che gli portò in dote i proprî beni, duca di Nevers, del Maine e di altri feudi, pari di Francia, L. fu uno dei più potenti principi del reame.
... so it's said, that Ludovico was invited to the French court by Henry Ii, king of France, in 1549 (I remember dark to have read that he was first send to Monferrat). Lodovico (* 1439) was then just 10 years old.
In other lists Alencon was considered "crown domain" since 1550, not property of Ludovico. It was given in 1566 to the youngest son of Henry II and Catherina de Medici, Francis.
Lodovico was one year, when his father died. The reign in Mantova/Monferrat was then taken by the cardinal-uncle Ercole Gonzaga and Ludovico's mother and both kept on it till 1566, when the second son of the former duke of Gonzaga had reached the age of 22 (the oldest duke's son had died with 17 years, short after he had married an Austrian princess).
B1. Francesco III, Duca di Mantova, Marchese del Monferrato (1540-50), *Mantova 10.3.1533, +Mantova 22.2.1550; m.27.10.1549 Katharina von Habsburg (*15.9.1533 +28.2.1572)
B2. Guglielmo I, Duca di Mantova (1550-87), Marchese del Monferrato (1550-74), 1st Duca del Monferrato (1574-87), *Mantova 24.4.1538, +Goito/Bozzolo 14.8.1587; m.Mantova 26.4.1561 Eleonora von Habsburg (*2.11.1534 +5.8.1594)
Both Mantova dukes married princesses from the house of Habsburg ... this in a time, when Habsburg had a series of wars with France, and in France was the young Ludovico, their brother, quasi as an hostage of the Gonzaga family.
I've no information, how Lodovico felt in this time (it's difficult to get anything about it). The first notice of him (for the moment) is, that he fought at the battlefield of St. Quentin in 1557 and became a prisoner in the lost battle for the French. At the other side a leading commander had been his other uncle, Ferrante Gonzaga, the condottiero. There's a story, which relates, that Ferrante offered to the prisoner an nephew Lodovico freedom, if he would change the sides, but young Lodovico (18 years old) refused. Lodovico preferred, that a ransom was was paid and that he was released to the French side again.
Actually Ferrante dropped from the horse and died. Or he was tired from all this fighting and died anyway. There are difficulties to decide, which of the legends is true.

After all this in 1559 the current pope died, two months later than the French king Henry II had his deadly accident. Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, Lodovico's uncle, is said to have had the best chances ... (here the Conclave report)
... indeed. But another one was finally taken.
The Conclave needed a considerable time with a finished election at 25 December 1559. In this period Lodovico might have been considered as a future "pope nephew" and the past had shown, what might become out of pope nephews: Pope Paul II, Girolamo Riario, Giuliano Rovere alias Pope Julius, then also Cesare Borgia not as a nephew but a son. Anyway, this didn't happen.

Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga died in 1563, and with this Ludovico's hopes to become pope nephew were finished. He married.

There are some further Gonzaga cardinals, they do not relate very much to the story "before the Tarot de Paris":

4. GONZAGA, Pirro (1505-1529)
created cardinal 1527 after the sacco di Roma, from a sideline of the Gonzaga family

5. GONZAGA, Francesco (1538-1566)
created cardinal 1561 as a nephew of cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, and son of Ferrante Gonzaga, the condottiero; died during the conclave 1565/66

6. GONZAGA, O.S.Io.Hier., Giovanni Vincenzo (1540-1591)
created cardinal in 1578 as brother Francesco Gonzaga, son of the condottiero Ferrante Gonzaga and as nephew of cardinal Ercole Gonzaga. Member of the Maltese knight order, assisted before the current duke of Mantova.

7. GONZAGA, Scipione (1542-1593)
"He spent his youth in the household of Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga"; created cardinal 1587 from a Gonzaga side line

8. GONZAGA, Ferdinando (1587-1626), duke of Mantova (1613-1626)
created cardinal in 1607 as son of the duke of Mantova, finished his state as cardinal and became duke of Mantova himself in 1613. In 1626 he was followed by his younger brother, who lived only one year as duke till 1627. Then Charles, duke of Nevers-Rethel, was called from France to take the dukedom of Mantova and Montferrat - this caused the succession war of Mantova 1627-31.

9. GONZAGA, Vincenzo (1594-1627), Duke of Mantua (1626-27)
created cardinal in 1615, but didn't behave like a cardinal; he lost the position in 1616

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