Raffaello, giuliano de' medici

Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici by Raphael

The Captain General of the Church (Italian: Capitano generale) was the de facto commander-in-chief of the papal armed forces during the Middle Ages. The post was usually conferred on an Italian noble with a professional military reputation or (later) a relative of the pope. The parallel office of Gonfaloniere (literally: "banner-bearer") of the Church, was more a formal and ceremonial honor than the responsibility of a tactical military leader.[1]

It was traditional for the Captain General to carry a baton of command, blessed by the pope.[2]

List of Captains General

Captain General Portrait Appointing Pope Notes
Charlemagne* Charlemagne-by-Durer Leo III
"It is safest to conclude that the pope desired that the royal patrician should regard himself as captain-general of the church, and that he should in that capacity be entitled to the military services of its subjects, when called on by the church to interfere for the protection of her temporary rights."[3]
Guillaume Durand Guillaume Durand Martin IV (1281-1285) [4]
James II of Aragon Jaume II Boniface VIII
Gonfaloniere, Admiral, and Captain General of the Church; compelled to wage war against his own brother (c.f. Sicilian Vespers)[5][6]
Philip VI of France Robert-Fleury - Philip VI of France Benedict XII (1334-1342) Circa August 1336[7]
Juan Fernández de Heredia Juan Fernández de Heredia Innocent VI (1352-1362) [8]
Daniele del Carretto Gregory XI (1370-1378) [9]
Carlo I Malatesta Carlo Malatesta Boniface IX
"temporary vicar and captain-general of the church"[10]
Braccio da Montone Braccio da Montone Gregory XII (1406-1415) Appointed in 1414; "Used the army nominally belonging to the Pope to conquer Perugia for himself"[11]
Ranuccio Farnese il Vecchio Ranuccio Farnese il Vecchio Eugene IV
Appointed 1435; grandfather of Pope Paul III[12]
Niccolò Piccinino Niccolò Piccinino Appointed June 6, 1442; Condottiero; also the commander of the Duke of Milan's forces and thus "one of the first concrete indications" of the alliance between the pope and Milan[13]
Jacques Cœur 70px Nicholas V (1447-1455) Died as Captain General[14]
Lodovico Trevisan 70px Callixtus III (1455-1458) Trevisan played an important role in organizing the naval campaign against the Ottomans in December 1455, both responsible for the construction of the papal navy and appointed "apostolic legate, governor general, captain and general condottiere" in charge of it.[15]
Pedro Luis de Borja Also Prefect of Rome[16] Not to be confused with Pedro Luis de Borja Lanzol de Romaní
Antonio Piccolomini Pius II
Son of the sister of Pius II; lay relative; salary of 2000 ducats a year and castellan of Castel Sant'Angelo; hereditary principate as Duke of Amalfi, conferred through King Ferrante, an office held by later papal relatives as well[17]
Girolamo Riario 70px Sixtus IV
Pazzi conspirator; brother of cardinal-nephew Pietro Riario;[18] title later removed[19]
Franceschetto Cybo Innocent VIII (1484-1492) Illegitimate son of Innocent VIII[20]
Roberto Eustachio Former condottiero for Milan; led the campaign against Alfonso of Calabria; later returned to the service of the Republic of Venice[21]
Niccolò di Pitigliano (Orsini) Niccolò di Pitigliano Appointed June 27, 1489, in the midst of a conflict with Ferrante[22]
Giovanni Borgia Buch2-318 Alexander VI
Son; also Duke of Gandia; assassinated, perhaps by his brother Cesare[23]
Cesare Borgia Cesareborgia Son; former cardinal-nephew; often accused of Giovanni's assassination,[24] either directly or indirectly.[25] Julius II, the "Warrior Pope", refused to confirm Cesare upon his election.[26]
Francesco Maria I della Rovere Tizian 062 Julius II
Son of Julius II's brother, Giovanni, and the adopted heir of Guidobaldo, Duke of Urbino;[27] retained for one year after Julius II's death, paid 13,844 ducats plus a 30,000 ducat allowance for his company of 200 men-at-arms and 100 light cavalry[28]
Giovanni Rucellai Leo X
Cousin of Leo X[29]
Giuliano di Lorenzo de' Medici Raffaello, giuliano de' medici Giuliono's son Giulio (future Pope Clement VII) was papal legate to the army[30]
Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino Duke-Lorenzo Appointed after the death of Giuliano in 1516; initially commanded the papal army in the War of Urbino (1517)
Bernardo Dovizi Bernardo Dovizi Appointed after the wounding of Lorenzo; commanded the papal army in the War of Urbino (1517)
Federico II, Duke of Mantua Tizian 063 Son of Isabella d'Este; did not intervene in the Sack of Rome (1527)[31]
Adrian VI (1522-1523)
Francesco Maria I della Rovere Clement VII
Reappointed by Clement VII after his Dukedom had been stripped by Leo X and then reinstated by Adrian IV[32]
Pier Luigi Farnese 70px Paul III
Appinted February 2, 1537l; son of Paul III and former Gonfaloniere (appointed January 1535); held both titles simultaneously[33]
Giambattista del Monte Julius III
Nephew of Julius III[34]
Guidobaldo II della Rovere Angelo Bronzino - Portrait of Guidobaldo della Rovere [35]
Giovanni Carafa Paul IV (1555-1559) Appointed after the resignation of Guidobaldo; nephew of Paul IV; allegedly "affable and incompetent"[35]
Marcantonio Colonna 70px Gregory XIII (1572-1585) Lead the papal fleet during the Battle of Lepanto (1571)[36]
Taddeo Barberini TaddeoBarberini Urban VIII
Brother of cardinal-nephew Antonio Barberini[37]
Antonio Ottoboni AntonioOttoboni Alexander VIII (1689-1691) [38]

See also


  1. Chambers, 2006, p. 28.
  2. Chambers, 2006, p. 142.
  3. The Historians' History of the World. 1909. p. 662.
  4. Ronny O. Bodine and Thomas W. Spalding. 1995. The Ancestry of Dorothea Poyntz, Wife of Reverend John Owsley: Generations 1-12. R.O. Bodine & T.W. Spalding, Jr. p. 140.
  5. Wikisource-logo "Pope Boniface VIII" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
  6. Michele Amari, Francis Egerton Ellesmere. 1850. History of the War of the Sicilian Vespers. R. Bentley. p. 64.
  7. Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith, Jonathan Riley-Smith. 2005. The Crusades: A History. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0826472702. p. 267.
  8. H. J. A. Sire. 1994. The Knights of Malta. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300068859. p. 42.
  9. Paul R. Thibault. 1987. Pope Gregory XI: The Failure of Tradition. University Press of America. ISBN 0819154628. p. 64.
  10. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1911. "Rome". p. 681.
  11. June Osborne, Joe Cornish. 2002. Urbino: The Story of a Renaissance City. Frances Lincoln Ltd. ISBN 0711220867. p. 45.
  12. Chambers, 2006, p. 162.
  13. Joachim W. Stieber. 1978. Pope Eugenius IV, the Council of Basel and the Secular and Ecclesiastical Authorities in the Empire. BRILL. ISBN 9004052402. p. 195.
  14. MacMillan's Magazine. "A King's Treasurer". p. 320.
  15. Chambers, 2006, p. 49.
  16. Maria Bellonci. 1939. The Life and Times of Lucrezia Borgia. Harcourt, Brace. p. 15.
  17. Chambers, 2006, p. 59.
  18. New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia. 1911. Funk and Wagnalls Company. p. 446.
  19. Levillain, Philippe. 2002. The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. p. 799.
  20. John William Bradley. 1888. A Dictionary of Miniaturists, Illuminators, Calligraphers, and Copyists. B. Quaritch. p. 291.
  21. Julia Mary Cartwright Ady. 1920. Beatrice D'Este, Duchess of Milan, 1475-1497: A Study of the Renaissance. E. P. Dutton & co. p. 43.
  22. Pastor, Ludwig. 1902. The History of the Popes. K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd. p. 276.
  23. Spinosa, La saga dei Borgia.
  24. Eliakim Littell, Making of America Project, Robert S. Littell. 1888. The Living Age. Living Age Co. p. 70.
  25. Chambers's Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge. "Borgia". 1901. J.B. Lippincott Company. p. 329.
  26. The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1983. p. 42.
  27. Chambers, 2006, pp. 14-15.
  28. James Dennistoun. 1851. Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino. Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. p. 340.
  29. Alexander Chalmers. 1816. The General Biographical Dictionary. Nichols. p. 443.
  30. Chambers, 2006, p. 137.
  31. Christopher Hare, Marian Andrews, Baldassarre Castiglione. 1908. Courts & camps of the Italian renaissance. C. Scribner's Sons. p. 131.
  32. Chambers, 2006, p. 148.
  33. Chambers, 2006, p. 153.
  34. Chambers, 2006, p. 163.
  35. 35.0 35.1 Setton, Kenneth M. 1984. The Papacy and the Levant: 1204 - 1571. DIANE Publishing. ISBN 0871691620. p. 643.
  36. Hugh Bicheno. 2004. Crescent and Cross: The Battle of Lepanto 1571. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 1842127535. p. 159.
  37. Chambers, 2006, p. 176.
  38. Edward J. Olszewski. 2004. Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (1667-1740) and the Vatican Tomb of Pope Alexander VIII. DIANE Publishing. ISBN 087169252X. p. 111.


pt:Capitão-geral da Igreja

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