Pope Paul III

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Pope Paul III as played by Peter O'Toole

born February 29, 1468 - died November 10, 1549
Pope from 1534 - 1549

Character's back story:born Alessandro Farnese & descended through his mother from the Caetani family which also produced Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303). He was elected as Pope Paul III after the death of Pope Clement VII (the Medici Pope) in 1534 who had denied Henry the divorce.
Alessandro's sister, Giulia, was the mistress of Pope Alexander VI, and through her influence was able to award her brother the title of cardinal. He was later given the position of Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and dean of the college of cardinals under Pope Clement VII.
Though he was not successful in his life time of fighting off the increasing growth of the Protestant Reformation, his greatest accomplishment was convening the Council of Trent in 1545, and with this Council he started the basis of the Counter-Reformation.
Council of Trent
( Council of Trent)

He was also noted to have founded the Order of the Jesuits in 1540.
In 1542 he established The Congregation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, or the Roman Inquisition. This permanent congregation was staffed by Cardinals and other officials and charged with the tasks of maintaining and defending the integrity of the faith. In 1535 he asked Michelangelo to paint "The Last Judgement" on the alter of the Sistine Chapel which took five years to complete.

Gentility: member of the great Farnese family who were highly influential in Early Modern Italy

Position: Pope of the Catholic Church

Personality type:

Signature look: papal robes

Endearing trait(s): love and loyalty to family (he could have had his bastard children sent away or unacknowledged in order to advance his career in the church but he didn't), vocally opposed to the enslavement of the indigenous peoples of the Americas

Annoying trait(s): his enemies would view him as hypocritical and prone to nepotism, after his election as Pope he gave his illegitimate offspring titles and property that had once been under papal rule

Peter O' Toole: Pope Paul III

Coat of Arms: Farnese

" ...Paul III ... devoted much of his fifteen years as Pope to scandalous promotion of the interests of his unattractively omnivorous children and family... However, Paul was also a perceptive and intelligent Renaissance prince anxious to capitalize on all his assets."
~ Diarmid MacCulloch's Reformation

See also
Images of the Historic Pope Paul III

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Family members: one of the TWO illegitimate sons Pier Luigi Farnese for whom he built the Palazzo Farnese and detached lands
from the papal dominion to create the duchy of Parma and Piacenza for Pier Luigi.
Father: Pier Luigi Farnese
Mother: Giovannella Caettani
Sister: Giulia Farnese ("Giulia la bella", mistress to Pope Alexander VI)
Brother: Angelo Farnese
Sister: Girolama Farnese Pucci
Son: Ranuccio Farnese (1509 - 1529)
Daughter: Costanza Farnese
Daughter: Paolo Farnese
Son: Pier Luigi Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (1503 - 1547)
Grandson: Alessandro Farnese, Cardinal and bishop of Parma
Granddaughter: Vittoria Farnese, duchess of Urbino
Grandson: Orazio Farnese, Duke of Castro
Grandson: Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma
Grandson: Ranuccio Farnese, "the little cardinal", Cardinal of Santa Lucia

Romance(s): Silvia Ruffini, the mother of both his sons.

Tutor: Pomponio Leto
Any blood relative
The Medici family
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (despite his involvement in the plot to kill his son Pier Luigi, they still remained key allies)

All Reformists


  • (about Anne Boleyn) "What about this putain, the King's *****?...Why doesn't somebody just get rid of her?"

  • "The Kings of Europe have power, but no morality... and I must act as their conscience."
  • about Michelangelo "We forgive him because he is a genius...whatever that means!" episode 2.5
  • about his grandson Alessandro "He'll make a fine Cardinal. Don't you agree?" episode 2.7


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Pope Paul III - The Tudors Wiki
Pope Paul III

Pope Paul III - The Tudors Wiki

Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III with two of his grandsons
left, Alessandro and Octavio
Pope Paul III as played by Peter O'ToolePope Paul III as played by Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole as Pope Paul IIIPeter O'Toole as Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III - The Tudors Wiki
Pope Paul III - The Tudors Wiki
Pope Paul III peers out at the Sistine Chapel's altar

Pope Paul III - The Tudors Wiki

Pope Paul III
embracing Alessandro his grandson

Pope Paul
Pier Lugi Farnese
Pier Lugi Farnese
Duke of Parma and Piacenza
(previously papal states before his father's election)
Pope Paul III's second illegitimate son was known for his cruelty, decadence, and homosexual acts of violence against men. He was assassinated in 1547 by a faction of nobles supported by Charles V who wanted to unite Parma and
Piacenza into the Duchy of Milan

Ranuccio Farnese
Ranuccio Farnese, "the little cardinal"
Pope Paul III's grandson by his illegitimate son, Pier Luigi.
Portrait by Titan, c. 1540's

pañazzo Farnesse
Palazzo Farnese