File:Card Cybo.jpg
Cardinal Medici Leo X Cardinal Cybo

Innocenzo Cybo (right), together with Giulio de' Medici (left), and Pope Leo X (center).

Innocenzo Cybo (1491 - 1550) was an Italian cardinal and archbishop.

Family and education

From the Genoese family Cibo or Cybo,[1] in 1488 the Cybo family purchased Florentine citizenship for a considerable sum of money [2]   Innocenzo was born in Florence on August 25, 1491[3] to Franceschetto Cybo and Maddalena di Lorenzo de' Medici. His father, Francesco (Franceschetto) Cibo, was the illegitimate son of Giovanni Battista Cibo, who became Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492)[4], and had five additional children: Lorenzo, Caterina, Ippolita, Giovanni Battista and Pietro.[5] Francesco’s sister, Theodorina, married Gerardo Usumari, a rich Genoese.[6]   Innocenzo’s mother was Maddalena de’ Medici, the daughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent and sister of Piero de’ Medici, Giovanni de’ Medici, who became Pope Leo X (1513-1520), Giulio de’ Medici, and three other sisters. Her first-cousin, Giulio de’ Medici, became Pope Clement VII (1523-1534).

He was presumably educated at the Medici court.[7] When his uncle Giovanni de' Medici was elected pope in March of 1513, benefits flowed even more abundantly to the Cybo.

Cardinal and archbishop

On the day on which he was consecrated a bishop, March 17, Leo X made Innocenzo a Protonotary Apostolic [8] In Pope Leo’s first consistory, September 23, 1513, he was made cardinal deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano. He exchanged this deaconry for Santa Maria in Dominica on June 26, 1517. On May 11, 1520, he was made archbishop of Genoa by the favor of his uncle Pope Leo X. For a brief three months in 1521 he was Cardinal Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, but was ‘allowed’ to sell the office for the sum of 35,000 ducats to another of Leo’s favorites, Cardinal Francesco Armellino de’ Medici [9]

He participated in the Conclave of December 1520-January 9, 1521, and, even though (or perhaps because) he was ill and had to cast his vote from his sickbed, he came close to being elected pope. Once his name was suggested he managed about twenty votes, apparently from the younger cardinals, those desirous of continuing the habits of the court of Leo X.[10]

King Francis I of France appointed him Abbot of Saint-Victor of Lerins in 1522, hoping, no doubt, to strengthen the French interest in the College of Cardinals after the disastrous election of the minister of the Emperor Charles V to the papal throne as Adrian VI. He was also granted the Abbey of St Ouen in Rouen.

In 1524 he was made Legate of Bologna and the Romagna. In 1529 and 1530, he was the host of both Emperor Charles V and Pope Clement VII in Bologna, and he participated in the coronation of the Emperor on February 24 as Archdeacon. At the conclusion of the ceremonies, he and Cardinal Ippolito de’ Medici accompanied the Emperor on his homeward journey as far as Mantua.[11]

He accumulated the rights of administration over episcopal sees, e.g. St Andrews, Marseille, Aleria in Corsica (June 19, 1518-December 19, 1520), Ventimiglia (July 27, 1519- August 8, 1519) and numerous others, most for very brief periods of time.

Just before the Sack of Rome of 1527, he took refuge in Massa Carrara, host of his sister-in-law and mistress Ricciarda Malaspina, by whom he had four children, who were later naturalized.

A report to the Venetian Senate, written by Antonio Sorano, its ambassador at Rome, on July 18, 1531, provides an analysis of Cardinal Cibo, as his assignment required. He stated that Cibo was not a person of grand affairs nor of deep thought, but too immediately given over to worldly pleasures and to some lasciviousness. Pope Clement did not seek his counsel on matters of state.[12]

In 1532 and 1533 he was sent by his first-cousin Clement VII, to govern Florence during the absence of Duke Alessandro de' Medici. He was one of the four Cardinals appointed executors of Pope Clement's Will[13]At the conclave following Clement's death, he had hopes of the papacy, but was eclipsed by Paul III,[14] and subsequently he decided to return to Florence.[15] But here his relationships with the Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici deteriorated, and he moved again to Massa Carrara in 1540. Two years later his loyalty to the Imperial cause was rewarded with the title of Cardinal Protector of Germany.

In Rome he had his residence in Palazzo Altemps. He returned to that city in 1549 [16] to take part in the Conclave following the death of Pope Paul III (Farnese). The favored candidate was Reginald Pole, but Giovanni Maria Ciocci del Monte, Julius III, was elected. [17]. As senior Cardinal Deacon Innocenzo Cibo crowned Pope Julius III on February 22, 1550. On February 28, 1550 he exchanged the Deaconry of Santa Maria in Dominica for that of Santa Maria in Via Lata. He died on April 13, 1550, according to his tombstone, at the age of 59 and having been a cardinal for 37 years. He was buried in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, in the center of the Choir, behind the High Altar, between the monuments of his uncle Leo X and his cousin Clement VII.


  1. See Giuseppe Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 13 (1842) pp. 121-125.
  2. Luigi Staffetti, Il cardinale Innocenzo Cybo (Firenze 1894) 14 n. 2.
  3. Staffetti, 12.
  4. Illegitimate son: Johannis Burchardi Diarium (ed. L. Thuasne) Volume I (Paris 1883) 321 n.1. Mandell Creighton, A History of the Papacy Volume III (London 1887) 120.
  5. A manuscript written in 1548, now in Florence in the Magliabech collection (XXVI no. 16) gives the series genealogica familiae Cibo. See Achille Gennarelli (editor), Johannis Burchardi Argentinensis ... Diarium ... (Firenze 1854) p. 196.
  6. Burchard 422. The ms. cited by Gennarelli lists the five children of Theodorina: Giovanni Battista, Francesco, Batistina, Aranino and Peretta.
  7. Needs a citation. The Medici were in exile from 1494-1500.
  8. Marino Sanuto Diario Volume 16, col. 57.
  9. Luigi Gradenigo, the Venetian Ambassador, in Relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti al Senato Series II Volume III (edited by Tommaso Gar), Roma (Firenze 1846) p. 71; Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Ecclesia Volume IV (Roma 1793) p. 8, pp. 40-41.
  10. F. Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves Volume I (Paris: 1864), 520-521. The story derives from a letter written by Giovanni Maria Galiani from Rome on January 10, 1522, the day after the Conclave ended. It is quoted in Staffetti, 35-36 n. 1, who uses it and the Memorie della famiglia Cybo, a family history written by order of Prince Alberico Cybo, to advance the notion that Cardinal Innocenzo was an active candidate. This is highly unlikely, since Cardinal Giulio de' Medici was an active candidate, already supported by the Florentines.
  11. Gaetano Giordani, Della venuta e dimora in Bologna del Sommo Pontefice Clemente VII. per la coronazione di Carlo V. Imperatore (Bologna 1842) p. 179
  12. Eugenio Alberi (editor), Relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti al senato Volume VII (Serie IIa, Volume IIIo) (Firenze 1846), 279: Questo cardinal Cibo non è persona di grande affare nè di alto spirito, ma più presto e dedito ai piaceri mondani e a qualche lascivia. È ricco di forse ventiduemila ducati d' entrata, e il papa non si serve di lui in consiglio, quanto a cose di stato; ma solo da molti anni nella legazione di Bologna. È stato popo alla corte in tempo mio; nè posso perciò molto estendermi in parlare di lui. Questo non voglio tacere obe nello andare alla mia legazione in Fiorenza [1527], lo visitai passando in Bologna, e da quel poco di maneggio che ho avuto con lui, l' ho ritrovato, col fratello Giovanni Bartolomeo, molto amorevole di Vostra Serenità.
  13. The executors of his Last Will and Testament were Cardinals Innocenzo Cibo, Ippolito de' Medici, Nicolo Ridolfi, and Giovanni Salviati (F. A. Artaud de Montor, Histoire des souverains Pontifes Romains Volume IV (Paris 1851) 114).
  14. Notes on Conclave of 1534, Dr. J. P. Adams.
  15. Staffetti, 127-130, attempts to make a case, based on the observations of Feliciangeli, that Cybo was a candidate, but the documentation is very weak, and the story is not in agreement with the other known facts of the election. Cardinal Farnese, who had a prior understanding with Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, Innocenzo's relative, for Florentine support, was named pope by acclamation.
  16. Needs citation
  17. Notes on Conclave of 1549-1550, Dr. J. P. Adams.

Further reading

  • Dowden, John, The Bishops of Scotland, ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)
Religious titles
Preceded by
Alexander Stewart
Archbishop of St Andrews
Opposed by John Hepburn

provided 1513
Succeeded by
Andrew Forman

Template:Bishops of St Andrews

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