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Pius II(pī`əs), 1405–64, pope (1458–64), an Italian named Enea Silvio de' Piccolomini (often in Latin, Aeneas Silvius), renamed Pienza after him, b. Corsigniano; successor of Calixtus III. He attended the Council of Basel (1432; see Basel, Council ofBasel, Council of,
1431–49, first part of the 17th ecumenical council in the Roman Catholic Church. It is generally considered to have been ecumenical until it fell into heresy in 1437; after that it is regarded as an anticouncil.
..... Click the link for more information. ) as a layman and joined its secretariat. He was an opponent of Pope Eugene IV and in 1439 became secretary to Antipope Felix V (Amadeus VIIIAmadeus VIII
, 1383–1451, count (1391–1416) and duke (from 1416) of Savoy, antipope (1439–49) with the name Felix V. In 1434 he appointed his son regent of Savoy and retired to the hermitage of Ripaille, on Lake Geneva, which he had founded.
..... Click the link for more information. of Savoy). Meanwhile he gained a European reputation as a humanist scholar. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick IIIFrederick III,
1415–93, Holy Roman emperor (1452–93) and German king (1440–93). With his brother Albert VI he inherited the duchies of Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola.
..... Click the link for more information. made him court poet and in 1442 secretary to the chancery in Vienna. In 1445, Piccolomini abandoned his rather dissipated way of life and began a new career. He went to Rome to submit to the pope and became (1446) a priest. He was made bishop of Trieste (1447), bishop of Siena (1449), and a cardinal (1456). As pope, Pius issued (1460) a bull condemning as heretical the conciliar theory (the doctrine that ultimate authority in the church rested in the general council rather than the pope). He was in continual dispute with Louis XI of France, who repeatedly attempted to control ecclesiastical affairs. He also quarreled with the Bohemian king George of PodebradGeorge of Podebrad
, 1420–71, king of Bohemia (1458–71). A Bohemian nobleman, he became leader of the Utraquists, or the moderate Hussites, in the wars between Hussites and Catholics.
..... Click the link for more information. , rejecting (1462) the latter's petition that he confirm the Compactata (see HussitesHussites
, followers of John Huss. After the burning of Huss (1415) and Jerome of Prague (1416), the Hussites continued as a powerful group in Bohemia and Moravia. They drew up (1420) the Four Articles of Prague, demanding freedom of preaching, communion in both kinds (i.e.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Such quarrels hampered him in achieving his aim of uniting the Christian rulers in a crusade against the Turks. He was about to set out on a crusade himself when he died. He was succeeded by Paul II. Pius did not patronize art or literature, despite his own literary interests and considerable literary talents. Of his works the most useful is his autobiography, the only one written by a pope.
See L. C. Gabel, ed., Pius II: Memoirs of a Renaissance Pope (1959, repr. 1962); R. J. Mitchell, The Laurels and the Tiara (1962).
pen name Aeneas Silvius, original name Enea Silvio de' Piccolomini. 1405--64, Italian ecclesiastic, humanist, poet, and historian; pope (1458--64)