Pope Clement XII
See Corsini
Corsini is the name of a Florentine princely family.-History:The founder is said to be Neri Corsini, who came to prominence circa 1170. The family are likely to have originated from Corsica, during the time when the Republic of Pisa was ruling the island. Initially the family was known as Corso ...

 for other uses of that name

Pope Clement XII (7 April 1652 – 6 February 1740), born Lorenzo Corsini, was Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 from 12 July 1730 to 6 February 1740.

Born in Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, the son of Bartolomeo Corsini
Corsini is the name of a Florentine princely family.-History:The founder is said to be Neri Corsini, who came to prominence circa 1170. The family are likely to have originated from Corsica, during the time when the Republic of Pisa was ruling the island. Initially the family was known as Corso ...

, Marquis of Casigliano and his wife Isabella Strozzi, sister of the Duke of Bagnuolo, Corsini had been an aristocratic lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 and financial manager under preceding pontiffs. He is known for building the new façade of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, beginning construction of the Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi rione in Rome, Italy. Standing 26 metres high and 20 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world....

, and the purchase of Cardinal Alessandro Albani's collection of antiquities for the papal gallery. He was created Cardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna
Santa Susanna
The Church of Saint Susanna at the baths of Diocletian is a Roman Catholic parish church on the Quirinal Hill in Rome, with a titulus associated to its site that dates back to about 280...

in 1706.


Under Pope Benedict XIII
Pope Benedict XIII

 (1724–30), the finances of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 had been delivered into the hands of Cardinal Niccolò Coscia
Niccolò Coscia
Niccolò Coscia was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal.He was born at Pietradefusi, near Avellino. In 1725 he was appointed as Cardinal of Santa Maria in Domnica by Pope Benedict XIII, whose secretary he had been when the future pope was Archbishop of Benevento.Coscia held the effective government...

 and other members of the curia, who had drained the financial resources of the see. After deliberating for four months, the College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church.A function of the college is to advise the pope about church matters when he summons them to an ordinary consistory. It also convenes on the death or abdication of a pope as a papal conclave to elect a successor...

 selected Corsini, 78 years old and with failing eyesight, who had held all the important offices of the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

. Clement XII was one of the oldest men to be elected Pope.

As a Corsini
Corsini is the name of a Florentine princely family.-History:The founder is said to be Neri Corsini, who came to prominence circa 1170. The family are likely to have originated from Corsica, during the time when the Republic of Pisa was ruling the island. Initially the family was known as Corso ...

, with his mother a Strozzi
Strozzi is the name of an ancient and noble Florentine family. Palla Strozzi played an important part in the public life of Florence, and founded the first public library in Florence in the monastery of Santa Trinita...

, the new pope represented a family in the highest level of Florentine society, with a cardinal in every generation for the previous hundred years.


Corsini was a lawyer, with a degree from the University of Pisa
University of Pisa
The University of Pisa , located in Pisa, Tuscany, is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was formally founded on September 3, 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI, although there had been lectures on law in Pisa since the 11th century...

, who had practiced law under the able direction of his uncle, Cardinal Neri Corsini
Neri Corsini (1614-1678)
Neri Corsini, Nerio Corsini or Neri Corsini the Elder was an Italian cardinal from the noble Corsini family. He was the son of Filippo Corsini and Maddalena Machiavelli...

. After the death of his uncle and his father, in 1685, Lorenzo, now thirty-three, would have become head of the Corsini. Instead he resigned his right of primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

 and from Pope Innocent XI
Pope Innocent XI
Blessed Pope Innocent XI , born Benedetto Odescalchi, was Pope from 1676 to 1689.-Early life:Benedetto Odescalchi was born at Como in 1611 , the son of a Como nobleman, Livio Odescalchi, and Paola Castelli Giovanelli from Gandino...

 (1676–89) he purchased, according to the custom of the time, for 30,000 scudi
Italian scudo
The scudo was the name for a number of coins used in Italy until the 19th century. The name, like that of the French écu and the Spanish and Portuguese escudo, was derived from the Latin scutum . From the 16th century, the name was used in Italy for large silver coins...

, a position of prelatial rank and devoted his wealth and leisure to the enlargement of the library bequeathed to him by his uncle.


In 1696 Corsini was appointed treasurer-general and governor of the Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant'Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family...

. His good fortune increased during the pontificate of Pope Clement XI
Pope Clement XI
Pope Clement XI , born Giovanni Francesco Albani, was Pope from 1700 until his death in 1721.-Early life:...

 (1700–21), who employed his talents as a courtier and rewarded him with a cardinal's hat, on 17 May 1706, retaining his services as papal treasurer.


He advanced still further under Pope Benedict XIII
Pope Benedict XIII

, who made him prefect of the judicial tribunal known as the Segnatura di Giustizia
Apostolic Signatura
The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church...

. He was successively Cardinal-Priest of San Pietro in Vincoli
San Pietro in Vincoli
San Pietro in Vincoli is a Roman Catholic titular church and minor basilica in Rome, Italy, best known for being the home of Michelangelo's statue of Moses, part of the tomb of Pope Julius II.-History:...

 and Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati
Frascati is a town and comune in the province of Rome in the Lazio region of central Italy. It is located south-east of Rome, on the Alban Hills close to the ancient city of Tusculum. Frascati is closely associated with science, being the location of several international scientific...


Purchase of palace

Though he was blind and compelled to keep to his bed, from which he gave audiences and transacted affairs of state, he surrounded himself with capable officials, many of them his Corsini relatives, but he did little for his family except to purchase and enlarge the palace built in Trastevere
Trastevere is rione XIII of Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin trans Tiberim, meaning literally "beyond the Tiber". The correct pronunciation is "tras-TEH-ve-ray", with the accent on the second syllable. Its logo is a golden head of a lion on a...

 for the Riarii, and now known as the Palazzo Corsini (the seat of the Regia Accademia dei Lincei). In 1754, his nephew, Cardinal Neri Corsini, founded there the famous Corsini Library.

Restoration of the Papal finances

His first moves as Pope Clement XII were to restore the papal finances. He demanded restitution from the ministers who had abused the confidence of his predecessor. The chief culprit, Cardinal Coscia, was heavily fined and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. Papal finances were also improved through reviving the public lottery, which had been suppressed by the severe morality of Benedict XIII. Soon it poured into Clement XII's treasury an annual sum amounting to nearly a half million scudi, enabling him to undertake the extensive building programs for which he is chiefly remembered, but which he was never able to see.

Architecture and buildings

A competition for the majestic façade of the San Giovanni in Laterano was won by architect Alessandro Galilei. The façade he designed is perhaps more palatial than ecclesiastic, and was finished by 1735. Clement XII erected in that ancient basilica a magnificent chapel dedicated to his 14th century kinsman, St. Andrew Corsini
Andrew Corsini
Andrew Corsini was an Italian Carmelite, and bishop of Fiesole.-Biography:He was born in Florence, November 30, 1302, as member of the illustrious Corsini family...

. He restored the Arch of Constantine
Arch of Constantine
The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome, situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312...

 and built the governmental palace of the Consulta on the Quirinal
Quirinal Hill
The Quirinal Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Rome, at the north-east of the city center. It is the location of the official residence of the Italian Head of State, who resides in the Quirinal Palace; by metonymy "the Quirinal" has come to stand for the Italian President.- History :It was...

. He purchased from Cardinal Albani for 60,000 scudi a famous collection of statues, inscriptions, etc., and added it to the gallery of the Capitol
Capitoline Hill
The Capitoline Hill , between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel of the earliest Romans. By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, with the alternative Campidoglio stemming from Capitolium. The English word capitol...

. He paved the streets of Rome and the roads leading from the city, and widened the Corso. He began the triumphant Baroque Fontana di Trevi, one of the noted ornaments of Rome. Under his reign a port was built at Ancona
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 101,909 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region....

, with a highway that gave easy access to the interior. He drained the malarial marshes of the Chiana near Lake Trasimeno
Lake Trasimeno
Lake Trasimeno , also referred to as Trasimene or Thrasimene in English, is the largest lake on the Italian peninsula south of the Po River with a surface area of 128 km2, slightly less than Lake Como...


Political failures

Politically, however, this was not a successful papacy among the secular powers of Europe. When the attempt of papal forces to take over the ancient independent Republic of San Marino
San Marino
San Marino, officially the Republic of San Marino , is a state situated on the Italian Peninsula on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains. It is an enclave surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over with an estimated population of over 30,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino...

 failed, Clement XII disavowed the arbitrary action of his legate, Cardinal Alberoni
Alberoni as a surname is an uncommon family name. It has been found in fewer than 200 families most with heritage in the province of Piacenza .-People with the surname Alberoni:*Francesco Alberoni , Italian sociologist and journalist...

, in seizing San Marino
San Marino
San Marino, officially the Republic of San Marino , is a state situated on the Italian Peninsula on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains. It is an enclave surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over with an estimated population of over 30,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino...

, and restored its independence. He was also rebuffed in Papal claims over the Duchies of Parma
Duchy of Parma
The Duchy of Parma was created in 1545 from that part of the Duchy of Milan south of the Po River, as a fief for Pope Paul III's illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese, centered on the city of Parma....

 and Piacenza
Piacenza is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza...


In August 1730 he gave permission for Victor Amadeus II of Savoy to carry out a morganatic marriage
Morganatic marriage
In the context of European royalty, a morganatic marriage is a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage...

 to Anna Canalis di Cumiana
Anna Canalis di Cumiana
Anna Carlotta Teresa Canalis di Cumiana was the morganantic spouse of Victor Amadeus II, King of Sardinia. She was created Marchioness of Spigno.-Lady of the court:...

. Victor Amadeus II subsequently abdicated his throne causing great unrest in Savoy.

Ecclesiastical works

In ecclesiastic affairs he issued the first papal decree against the Freemasons
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 on 28 April 1738, it was titled In eminenti
Eminenti Apostolatus Specula
In eminenti apostolatus specula was a Papal Bull issued by Pope Clement XII on 28 April 1738, banning Catholics from becoming Freemasons.He noted that membership of Masonic Lodges, "spreading far and wide and daily growing in strength" was open to men of any religion or sect, who were sworn to...

. He canonized Saint Vincent de Paul and proceeded with vigour against the French Jansenists
Jansenism was a Christian theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace, and predestination. The movement originated from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Otto Jansen, who died in 1638...

. He campaigned for the reunion of the Roman and Orthodox churches, received the Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 of the Coptic Church and persuaded the Armenian Patriarch
Catholicos of Armenia
The Catholicos of All Armenians is the chief bishop of Armenia's national church, the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is one of the Oriental Orthodox churches that do not accept the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon. The first Catholicos of All Armenians was Saint Gregory the Illuminator...

 to remove the anathema
Anathema originally meant something lifted up as an offering to the gods; it later evolved to mean:...

 against the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

 and Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I was pope from September 29, 440 to his death.He was an Italian aristocrat, and is the first pope of the Catholic Church to have been called "the Great". He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452, persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy...

 (440–461). He dispatched Joseph Simeon Assemani to the East for the twofold purpose of continuing his search for manuscripts and presiding as legate over a national council of Maronites. He created the youngest Cardinal ever when on 19 December 1735, he named Luis Antonio Jaime de Borbón y Farnesio, Royal Infant of Spain, age 8, to the Sacred College. He did much to develop schooling in Ottoman Albania as well, as his mother was from Albanian origins and his forefathers were soldiers under the command of Scanderbeg's army.


Pope Clement XII's tomb is in the Capella Corsini of the Basilica of St. John Lateran
Basilica of St. John Lateran
The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran , commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope...

 and was completed by the sculptors Maini
Giovanni Battista Maini
Giovanni Battista Maini was an Italian sculptor of the Late-Baroque period, active mainly in Rome.He was born in Cassano Magnago in Lombardy, and died in Rome. He may have had contacts with Foggini in Florence. By 1708, he had moved to Rome where he joined the large studio of Camillo Rusconi,...

 and Monaldi. His bust was completed by Filippo della Valle
Filippo della Valle
Filippo della Valle was an Italian late-Baroque or early Neoclassic sculptor, active mostly in Rome.-Biography:Della Valle was born in Florence....

(see terracota bust.).
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