ALEANDRO, GIROLAMO, (Lat. Hieronymus Aleandar)

Italian humanist and cardinal; b. at Motta (30 m. n.e. of Venice) Feb. 13, 1480; d. in Rome Jan.31, 1542. He studied in his native town and in Venice, settled in the latter city as a teacher in 1499, and became a contributor to the press of Aldus Manutius. In 1508 he went to Paris and there attained great reputation as a classical scholar, being chosen in 1513 rector of the university. In the following year he went to Liége where the influence of Bishop Erard made him chancellor of the see of Chartres. As Erard's representative he went to Rome in 1516 and won the favor of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, whose private secretary he became. Later, Leo X. appointed him librarian to the Vatican. In 1520 he went as nuncio to the court of Emperor Charles V., charged with the task of combating the heretical teachings of Luther. He procured Luther’s condemnation at the Diet of Worms in 1521, and is supposed to have been the author of the edict issued against the great reformer. He was made arch-bishop of Brindisi in 1524 and was sent as nuncio to the court of Francis I. of France, with whom he was taken prisoner at Pavia.

Till 1531 Aleandro lived without employment, in Venice for the greater part of the time, a refugee from Rome on account of his debts. In 1531 he was sent as papal representative to Charles V., whom he accompanied to the Netherlands and Italy, zealous in inciting the emperor to action against the Protestants. After residing as nuncio in Venice from 1533 to 1535 he was summoned to Rome by Pope Paul III., who, in preparation for a general council, wished to avail himself of Aleandro's historical learning. His services gained him a cardinal's hat in 1538, in which year he went as legate to Venice where the projected council was to be held. Thence he was sent to the court of the German king Ferdinand where he at first exerted himself in favor of a conciliatory policy toward the Protestants, and, when his efforts failed, demanded their ruthless destruction. Of his writings the reports covering his various diplomatic missions are of extreme value for the history of the Reformation, His letters also are of importance, among his correspondents being Aldus Manutius, Erasmus, Ulrich von Hutten, Bembo, Contarini, and Cardinal Pole. His diaries are remarkable for their frank revelation of a life of indulgence in complete contrast with his priestly character.