Born: July 21, 1414 (Italy)
Died: August 12, 1484
Pope: August 9, 1471 - August 12, 1484 (13 years)
One of the first acts of Sixtus IV after being elected was to encourage the leaders of France, Spain, Germany, Hungary, and Poland to pursue a new crusade against the Turks - but the crusade accomplished little in the end.
Sixtus was probably aware of the plot involving his nephew, Cardinal Rafael Riario, but lead by the Pazzi family to overthrow the Medici and bring Florence under the Riarii. His attempts to quell a popular uprising against the plotters lead to a two-year war with Florence, with the pope encouraging the Venetians to take part on his side. Other Italian states, however, sided with Florence and forced the pope to make peace.
A Franciscan originally, Sixtus was very supportive of the mendicant order in the Catholic Church and he was responsible for the canonization of the Franciscan scholar Bonaventure. Sixtus was also responsible for transforming Rome from a medieval city into a Renaissance city, for example by having the Sistine chapel built and establishing the Vatican archives. Streets were widened and paved, dilapidated buildings were torn down and replaced, hospitals were established, new chapels were built, and a new bridge (now called the Ponte Sisto after him) was put across the Tiber.
Although Sixtus took measures to repress heresy, for example with the Waldenses, he objected to what he perceived to be abuses committed in the name of the Spanish Inquisition (which he created at the request of of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile). Despite this he was not able to do much to counteract the abuses because King Ferdinand threatened to withdraw his military support of Sixtus took action to stop the Inquisition. The most Sixtus could do was issue a brief reprimanding inquisitors for over-zealousness in the treatment of alleged heretics.
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