1592 papal conclave

The 1592 papal conclave (January 10–30) elected Pope Clement VIII in succession to Pope Innocent IX.

Papal conclave
January 1592
Dates and location
10–30 January 1592
Apostolic Palace, Papal States
Key officials
DeanAlfonso Gesualdo
Sub-deanInnico d'Avalos d'Aragona
CamerlengoEnrico Caetani
ProtopriestMarkus Sitticus von Hohenems
ProtodeaconAndreas von Österreich
Elected pope
Ippolito Aldobrandini
Name taken: Clement VIII
Papst Clemens VIII Italian 17th century.jpg
← 1591

Death of Innocent IXEdit

Pope Innocent IX died on December 30, 1591, only two months into his pontificate. This created the fourth sede vacante in the one and half years since the death of Pope Sixtus V, who had died on August 27, 1590. He was then succeeded by Pope Urban VII (September 15 – September 27, 1590), Pope Gregory XIV (December 5, 1590 – October 16, 1591) and Innocent IX (October 29 – December 30, 1591), so the papal conclave of January 1592 was the fourth in only seventeen months. No similar situation had occurred since 1276–1277.

List of participantsEdit

Fifty four of the sixty four cardinals participated in this conclave:[1]

Twenty three electors were created by Sixtus V, thirteen by Gregory XIII, seven by Pius IV, five by Gregory XIV, four by Pius V, one by Innocent IX and one by Pope Julius III.


Ten cardinals were absent:[1]

Five of these were created by Gregory XIII, four by Sixtus V and one by Innocent IX.

Divisions in the Sacred College and the main candidatesEdit

The Sacred College of Cardinals was divided into several factions. The strongest of them was the Spanish faction with Madruzzo as unofficial leader. They supported the interests of king Philip II of Spain. Their candidate was Giulio Antonio Santori, head of the Roman Inquisition, called Cardinal S. Severina. His candidature was supported also by the "Sixtine" party, which included the old favourites and circle of Pope Sixtus V; their leader was Sixtus's cardinal-nephew, Alessandro Peretti de Montalto, Vice-Chancellor of the Church. Montalto supported Santori as a tactical manoeuvre and his real candidate was Aldobrandini. There was also a numerous group of cardinals that openly opposed Santori. Most of them were the old circles of Gregory XIII and Pius IV and their leaders were Sforza, Hohenems and Marcantonio Colonna.[2]

Since in the previous two conclaves the candidates supported by Spain had won, it was generally thought that also this time only pro-Spanish papabile had any prospects of winning the election. Besides Santori, only Madruzzo, Tolomeo Gallio, Paleotti, Marco Antonio Colonna and Aldobrandini were acceptable to Spain and it seemed clear that the new Pope would be one of these. Aldobrandini's candidacy was secretly engineered by the French ally Ferdinand I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Philip II of Spain remained unaware of it.[3][4]

The conclaveEdit

The conclave began on January 10, 1592. The next morning Madruzzo and Montalto together with their adherents tried to elect Santori by acclamation, but their plan failed due to strong opposition from Hohenems and his party. Afterwards the normal voting procedures were followed. Every day a vote took place, with the following results:[3]

Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini was elected Pope Clement VIII.

January 11 – Santori – 28, Aldobrandini - 11

January 12 – Santori – 23, Aldobrandini - 18

January 13 – Santori – 23, Aldobrandini - 18

January 14 – Santori – 24, Aldobrandini - 9

January 15 – Santori – 21, Aldobrandini - 13

January 16 – Santori – 22, Aldobrandini - 13

January 17 – Santori – 23, Aldobrandini - 13

January 18 – ?

January 19 – Santori – 23, Aldobrandini - 12

January 20 – Santori – 22, Aldobrandini - 15

January 21 – Santori – 23, Aldobrandini - 17

January 22 – Santori – 23, Aldobrandini - 12

January 23 – Madruzzo – 21, Santori – 18

January 24 – Santori – 18, Aldobrandini and Madruzzo – 16 each

January 25 – Santori and Aldobrandini – 19 each

January 26 – Santori – 18, Madruzzo - 16

January 27 – Santori – 21, Madruzzo – 16

January 28 – Aldobrandini – 17, Santori and Madruzzo – 15 each

January 29 – Santori – 17, Aldobrandini – 16

Santori received the greatest number of votes in almost every ballot, but was not able to secure the required majority of two-thirds and support for him gradually diminished. Eventually on January 29, Cardinal Montalto decided to switch to support the candidature of Ippolito Aldobrandini and was able to secure significant votes for him. Madruzzo then accepted that the opposition against him was too strong and he also switched to Aldobrandini as being more acceptable than Santori. This was the decisive moment of this conclave.[2]

Election of Clement VIIIEdit

On January 30, 1592, Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini was unanimously elected to the papacy and took the name of Clement VIII.[3] On February 2 he was consecrated to the episcopate by Cardinal Alfonso Gesualdo, bishop of Ostia and Velletri and Dean of the College of Cardinals. Seven days later he was solemnly crowned by Francesco Sforza di Santa Fiora, deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata.[5]


  1. ^ a b Salvador Miranda: list of participants of the papal conclave of 1592
  2. ^ a b "Pope Clement VIII: Proceedings of the Conclave that led to his election". www.pickle-publishing.com. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  3. ^ a b c Vatican History Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Clemente VIII, Enciclopedia dei Papi, Agostino Borromeo, Treccani, 2000
  5. ^ Salvadro Miranda: Cardinal Ippolio Aldobrandini (Pope Clement VIII)