Pope Paul III

Pope Paul III (Latin: Paulus III; 29 February 1468 – 10 November 1549), born Alessandro Farnese, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 13 October 1534 to his death in 1549.


Paul III
Bishop of Rome
Papacy began13 October 1534
Papacy ended10 November 1549
PredecessorClement VII
SuccessorJulius III
Ordination26 June 1519
Consecration2 July 1519
by Leo X
Created cardinal20 September 1493
by Alexander VI
Personal details
Birth nameAlessandro Farnese
Born29 February 1468
Canino, Lazio, Papal States
Died10 November 1549(1549-11-10) (aged 81)
Rome, Papal States
BuriedSt. Peter's Basilica
PartnerSilvia Ruffini (mistress)
ChildrenPier Luigi II Farnese
Paolo Farnese
Ranuccio Farnese
Costanza Farnese
Lucrezia Farnese
Previous post(s)
Coat of arms
Other popes named Paul
Papal styles of
Pope Paul III
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation. His pontificate initiated the Counter-Reformation with the Council of Trent in 1545, as well as the Wars of religion with Emperor Charles V's military campaigns against the Protestants in Germany. He recognized new Catholic religious orders and societies such as the Jesuits, the Barnabites, and the Congregation of the Oratory. His efforts were distracted by nepotism to advance the power and fortunes of his family, including his illegitimate son Pier Luigi Farnese.

Paul III was a significant patron of artists including Michelangelo, and it is to him that Nicolaus Copernicus dedicated his heliocentric treatise.