Papal conclave, 1534

Papal conclave
October 1534

Coat of arms during the vacancy of the Holy See
Dates and location
11–13 October 1534
Cappella Parva, Apostolic Palace,
Papal States
Key officials
Dean Alessandro Farnese
Sub-Dean Giovanni Piccolomini
Camerlengo Agostino Spinola
Protopriest Francesco Cornaro
Protodeacon Innocenzo Cybo
Ballots 1
Elected Pope
Alessandro Farnese
(Name taken: Paul III)

The Papal conclave of 1534 (October 11 – October 13) was convened after the death of Pope Clement VII, and elected as his successor cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who became Pope Paul III.

List of participants

Pope Clement VII died on September 25, 1534. At the time of his death, there were forty six Cardinals, but only thirty five of them participated in the election of his successor:[1]

Twenty electors were created by Clement VII and thirteen of Leo X. Cardinal Dean Farnese was created by Alexander VI, while Cardinal Lang von Wellenberg by Julius II.


Eleven Cardinals did not participate in this conclave:[1]

Seven absentees were creatures of Clement VII, three of Leo X and one of Julius II.

Divisions among Cardinals

College of Cardinals was divided into three factions:[2]

Cardinals Farnese, Ferreri and Cornaro were considered neutral.[2]

Candidates to the papacy

Although several Cardinals were considered papabili, it was generally thought that Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, dean of the Sacred College, has the best prospects for the election.[3] He had already official support of the king Francis I of France and of Cardinal Medici, leader of Italian party, who realized this way the will of his uncle Clement VII,[4] but, as neutral, he was also acceptable for the Imperial faction. Emperor Charles V declared this time a total disinterest in the result of the papal election, because the last two Popes, Clement VII and Adrian VI, whom he had helped to obtain the tiara, failed his hopes. The great advantage of Cardinal Dean was his relatively advanced age (66) and poor health. It indicated that his pontificate would be very short, so even those cardinals, who themselves had papal ambitions (f.e. Trivulzio), inclined to vote for him, hoping for the next conclave in the near future.[5]

The election of Pope Paul III

Conclave began on October 11, but the first electoral assembly took place on the next day. Cardinal de Lorraine in the name of king of France officially proposed the candidature of Farnese, and this initiative immediately obtained the support of Trivulzio, leader of pro-French Italians, and of Medici, leader of the Italian party. The consent of Imperialists was also quickly achieved, and in the evening it was clear that Alessandro Farnese would be elected unanimously.[6] On October 13 in the morning a formal scrutiny took place, but it was a mere formality: Farnese received all votes except of his own.[7] He accepted his election and took the name of Paul III. On November 3 he was solemnly crowned by Protodeacon Innocenzo Cibo.[8]


  1. 1 2 List of participants of the conclave of 1534 (by Salvador Miranda), with correction offered by L. Pastor, p. 7 concerning the participation of cardinals Gaddi and Cles (S. Miranda lists them as absentees). Informations about titles and offices held by Cardinals according to their biographical entries on Essay of a General List of Cardinals by Salvador Miranda
  2. 1 2 L. Pastor, p. 7-8
  3. L. Pastor, p. 9-10
  4. L. Pastor, p. 9
  5. Valérie Pirie: „The Triple Crown: An Account of the Papal Conclaves”. Contrary to these expectations, the pontificate of Paul III lasted fifteen years and was the longest in the 16th century. He died on November 10, 1549 at the age of 81.
  6. L. Pastor, p.13.
  7. L. Pastor, p.14.
  8. Salvador Miranda: Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (Pope Paul III)


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