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Scipione Gonzaga

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Cardinal ; b. at Mantua, 11 November, 1542; d. at San Martino, 11 January, 1593. He belonged to the family of the Dukes of Sabbioneta, passed his youth under the care of Cardinal Ercole (Hercules) Gonzaga , and made rapid progress in Greek and Latin studies. At Bologna, and later at Padua, he studied mathematics and philosophy, and, in the latter city, founded the Accademia degli Eterei, or Academy of the Ethereals. Throughout his life he patronized literature and men of letters, among the latter being Tasso, who sought his advice concerning his "Gerusalemme Liberata", and Guarino, who dedicated to him his "Pastor Fido". Having finished his theological studies he went to Rome, became cameriere segreto to Pius IV, and was ordained priest. In the early years of the reign of Gregory XIII Gonzaga had a serious lawsuit with Duke of Mantua over some property, but they were soon reconciled. Through the Guise party, whose cause he had aided, he became Bishop of Mende in France, but, Charles, Duke of Guise, pleaded unsuccessfully with Gregory XIII to have him made cardinal. Sixtus V, immediately on his elevation, appointed him Patriarch of Jerusalem, and in 1587, at the request of the Duke of Mantua, raised him to the cardinalate. Sixtus also made constant use of his services in the execution of his policies, domestic and foreign. Cardinal Gonzaga was a friend of Saint Charles Borromeo and Saint Philip Neri, and his cousin Saint Aloysius Gonzaga owed him eventual consent of his father to his entering the Society of Jesus. For a time Cardinal Gonzaga was governor of the Marquessate of Monferrato in the name of the Marquess Vincenzo. The three books of his "Commentarii", written in polished Latin, are an important source of information for the history of his cardinalate. He was buried in the church of St. Sebastian at Rome. His "Commentarii" were edited at Rome in 1791 by Marotti.

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