→Popes and Renaissance Culture
Martin effectively ended the ‘Great Schism’, was the first of the Renaissance Popes and he reestablished the Papacy in Rome.<ref> Duffy, p. 314</ref> The successors of Martin were able to make the Eternal City once more the center of Christendom. The city at this time despite not being a commercial center saw a period of massive economic growth driven by the spending of pilgrims and contributions from churches throughout Europe. The city soon became wealthy and the Pope’s treasury overflowed. The power and the prestige of the Papacy grew during the reigns of the 14 Popes of the Renaissance era. However, this golden era for the Popes ended in 1527, when the mutinous army of the German Emperor Charles V besieged and sacked Rome, killing thousands and leaving much of the city in ruins. The ‘Sack of Rome’ in 1527 is seen as not only the end of the Renaissance Papacy but also the Renaissance.<ref> Tuchman, Barbara W., <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345308239/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0345308239&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=367805e86f54710e5f987143c36e1f3a The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam].</i> Random House Trade Paperbacks, 1985), p. 167</ref>.
==Popes and Renaissance Culture==
[[File: Papacy Three.jpg|thumbnail|left|300px|The Papal army in action in the sixteenth century]]
Rome had fallen into a state of disrepair and near ruin after the Papacy had relocated to Avignon. The Renaissance Popes were determined to restore Rome and to make her once again the capital of a united Christendom. The Church employed many humanists to work in the Curia, the Papal bureaucracy. These humanists also studied the many classical texts that were held in Papal archives and libraries.<ref> Tuchmann, p. 118</ref>. They did much to make the ancient world better known in this period and inspired many to emulate the classical era. The Papacy began to spend its wealth on ways to beautify the city. All the Popes in this period were great patrons of the art and were often real connoisseurs. They were very keen to collect antiquities from the ancient past and indeed helped to rediscover great works of art. Julius II and his agents unearthed such great works of art from the Roman past, such as the Apollo Belvedere.<ref> Duffy, p. 319</ref>
During this period successive Popes rebuilt the city and using Imperial Rome as a model, had great basilicas and plazas built. Pope Sixtus VI was a great builder, he widened the streets and commissioned the Sistine Chapel. The city was transformed during the Renaissance Papacy. The rebuilding of the city at this time was a political statement, it was to show the world the might of the Popes and demonstrate their unique status as leaders of the Church. Popes commissioned great artists to create masterpieces for the Vatican.<ref>Ruggiero, Guido. <i>The Renaissance in Italy: A Social and Cultural History of the Rinascimento</i> (Cambridge University Press, 2015). 648 pp </ref> They also allowed the artists great freedom of expression and their money allowed painters, sculptors and architects to devote themselves to their art. They attracted the greatest talents from all over Italy to the ‘Eternal City’. Pope Julius II paid Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. Leo X is well known for his patronage of Raphael, whose paintings still adorn the Vatican. The Papacy was to commission many more masterpieces at this time and without their generosity, the artistic achievements of the period would have been far less.<ref> Ruggerio, p. 645</ref>
==The Popes and the Politics of Italy==