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]:

  • Andrea Matteo Palmieri (November 21, 1527) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Clemente; Administrator of Lucera; Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
  • Ercole Gonzaga (May 3, 1527) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria Nuova; Bishop of Mantua; Governor of Tivoli; Cardinal-protector of Spain

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

Tizian 083b

Cardinal Alessandro Farnese became new Pope Paul III

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

  • Italian party – it grouped ten Italian Cardinals (Pucci, Salviati, Ridolfi, Medici, Cibo, Spinola, Grimaldi, Cupis, Cesi and Doria). Their leader was Vice-Chancellor Ippolito de' Medici, Cardinal-nephew of Clement VII.
  • French party – it included six French Cardinals and five Italians (Trivulzio, Sanseverino, Pisani, Gaddi and Palmieri). The leaders of this party were de Lorraine and Tournon.
  • Imperial faction – included seven Italians (Piccolomini, Cesarini, Vincenzo Carafa, Ercole Gonzaga, Campeggio, Grimani and Accolti) as well as two Spanish and two German Cardinals.

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. 1.0 1.1 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 accordnig to their biographical entries on Essay of a General List of Cardinals by Salvador Miranda
  2. 2.0 2.1 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 XVI 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)


Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.