Death of Pope Sixtus IV

Death of Pope Sixtus IV

Pope Sixtus IV
Source: Wikipedia

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Pope Sixtus IV dies. Born Francesco della Rovere, he made popular improvements to the city of Rome that benefited everyone: streets have been widened and paved, dilapidated buildings were torn down and replaced, hospitals have been established, new chapels were built, and a new bridge (later called the Ponte Sisto after him) has been put across the Tiber.

As important as all that may be, Pope Sixtus IV will become most famous for artistic developments: he had the Sistine Chapel created, he brought together a large number of artists in Rome which helped establish the early Renaissance, and he created the Vatican Archives.

One of the first acts of Pope Sixtus IV after being elected in 1471 was far less admirable: he encouraged the leaders of France, Spain, Germany, Hungary, and Poland to pursue a new Crusade against the Turks. This was a continuation fo the policies of his predecessors, Pope Pius II and Pope Paul II, but little was accomplished.

Closer to home, Pope Sixtus IV expanded the Inquisition and repressed heresy, though he did at times object to the many 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).

Pope Sixtus IV did not, however, do much to counteract any of these abuses because King Ferdinand threatened to withdraw his military support if Sixtus interfered. The most Sixtus was able to do was to write a letter reprimanding Inquisitors for overzealousness in the treatment of alleged heretics.

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