Federico di Sanseverino

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Federico di Sanseverino (died 1516) was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal of the 16th century.


Federico di Sanseverino was born in Naples in 1475 or 1477. He was the son of Roberto Sanseverino d'Aragona, a general of the papal army, and his second wife Elisabetta da Montefeltro.[1]

Early in his career, he was a cleric in Milan before becoming a protonotary apostolic.[1] On November 5, 1481, he became the apostolic administrator of the see of Maillezais and occupied that post until 1508.[1] Around 1492, he became provost of the church of Santa Maria in Crescenzago.[1] He was the apostolic administrator of the see of Novara from May 30, 1505 until October 24, 1511.[1]

In the consistory of March 9, 1489, Pope Innocent VIII made him a cardinal deacon in pectore.[1] Because of his youth, his creation was not published during the lifetime of Innocent VIII.[1] During the sede vacante following the death of Innocent VIII, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza convinced the College of Cardinals to publish Sanseverino's creation on July 26, 1492, and he received the deaconry of San Teodoro.[1] He was therefore able to participate in the papal conclave of 1492 that elected Pope Alexander VI.[1]

In November 1494, the new pope sent Cardinal Sanseverino as papal legate to Charles VIII of France in Siena.[1] He returned quickly to Rome, where his loyalty was suspected by the pope.[1] In order to frighten the rebels of Ostia, Cardinal Sanseverino and Cardinal Bernardino Lunati were arrested following the consistory of December 10, 1494, and held in the Apostolic Palace until December 19, 1494.[1] He was then sent again as legate to Charles VIII; he subsequently accompanied the French king on his entrance to Rome on December 31, 1494.[1] He traveled with the pope to Orvieto on May 27, 1495 and returned to Rome with the pontiff on June 27.[1]

On February 8, 1496, he became apostolic administrator of the see of Thérouanne, occupying this post until November 12, 1498.[1] On July 1, 1497, he became apostolic administrator of the see of Vienne and held this office until January 26, 1515.[1] On August 3, 1499, he left, with the pope's permission, for Milan to join Cardinal Ascanio Sforza.[1]

He participated in the papal conclave of September 1503 that elected Pope Pius III.[1] He also participated in the papal conclave of October 1503 that elected Pope Julius II.[1]

On May 24, 1504, Pope Julius II named him papal legate to the Patrimonium Sancti Petri. He became apostolic administrator of the see of Novara on May 30, 1505.[1] On May 1, 1510, he opted for the deaconry of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria, while continuing to hold the deaconry of San Teodoro in commendam.[1]

After the pope threatened to imprison Cardinal Sanseverino in the Castel Sant'Angelo in June 1510, the cardinal joined the pope's enemies.[1] In October 1510, he sought refuge, with another four cardinals, in the camp of the French army and went to Milan.[1] There, on May 16, 1511, he was one of the signatories of a document calling a council in Pisa for September 1, 1511.[1] He did not attend this council after the pope threatened him with excommunication.[1] He was present with the French forces at the Battle of Ravenna (1512); Louis XII of France planned to make Cardinal Sanseverino governor of the Papal States after deposing the pope, but this never came to pass.[1]

Following the death of Pope Julius II, Cardinal Sanseverino did not participate in the papal conclave of 1513 that elected Pope Leo X.[1] Shortly thereafter the cardinal was arrested in Florence on the pope's orders, with a promise he would be released if he repented.[1] On June 17, 1513, he denounced the schismatical council of Pisa and submitted to the pope's authority in a letter later read at a session of the Fifth Council of the Lateran.[1] He and Cardinal Bernardino López de Carvajal arrived in Rome on June 27, 1513 and personally repented in a secret consistory held in Rome.[1] He was absolved by the pope, ordered to fast for a month, and restored to the College of Cardinals.[1]

From June 1513, he was the cardinal protodeacon.[1] Shortly later, he was named cardinal protector of the Kingdom of France.[1] On June 25, 1515, he was arrested on the pope's orders because it looked like one of his servants had killed a papal guard, but he proved his innocence the next day.[1] In November 1515, he was sent as a papal legate to Francis I of France, who met him outside the gates of Bologna.[1]

He died in Rome on August 7, 1516.[1] He is buried in Santa Maria in Aracoeli.[1]