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Consalvi, Ercole

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


(1757–1824), Italian cardinal and diplomat who succeeded in restoring papal influence at the end of the napoleonic wars . Born into the aristocracy, Consalvi trained for the priesthood and studied law. In 1783 he entered the service of Pius VI, and held a series of prominent offices within the Curia. When France invaded the papal states in 1798, he was imprisoned and deported to Sicily. He managed, however, to oversee the conclave entrusted with electing a new pontiff in 1800. pius vii then appointed him cardinal and secretary of state, and in 1801 sent him to negotiate the concordat with Napoleon Bonaparte (see napoleon i ). Never trusting Consalvi, the latter secured his resignation as the pope's first minister in 1806. Three years later the cardinal was forced into exile following his refusal to attend Napoleon's second wedding. At the vienna congress of 1814–15 Consalvi ably deflected Austrian designs on central Italy and convinced the great powers to resurrect the Papal States, though he was forced to relinquish the Avignon enclave. Given the poor health of Pius VII, Consalvi was now effectively in charge of the papal territories, where he promoted moderate reforms until ousted by conservatives on the election of Leo XII in 1823. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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