Pius ii

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Pinturicchio : Pope Pius II.

Pius II (civil Enea Silvio Piccolomini , Latin Aeneas Silvius P. , also Eneas Sylvius ; * October 18, 1405 in Corsignano, named after him Pienza , near Siena ; † August 14, 1464 in Ancona ) was Pope from 1458 to 1464 . He was an important humanist , writer , historian , poet and scholar and admirer of Boccaccio .

Church career

Before his ecclesiastical career, Enea Silvio Piccolomini led a life as a poet and bon vivant and was just as contradictory in his work as he was later as Pope.

The lawyer and poet humanist formed took as a companion of Cardinal in 1432 Domenico Capranica at the Council of Basel in part. There he had the function of a defender and belonged to the party of the conciliarists . In September 1432 he traveled as secretary to Prince-Bishop Nicodemus della Scala von Freising to the Frankfurt Princely Congress and remained in his service until January 1433. In 1440 Piccolomini became secretary to the antipope Felix V and from 1442 was envoy of the council to the Frankfurt Reichstag . At the beginning of 1443 he entered the service of King Friedrich III. , who continued to support Pope Eugene IV . Piccolomini now took a neutral position. The period up to 1445 he spent primarily at the court of the future emperor in Wiener Neustadt and Graz , among other things as royal secretary. Friedrich III. appreciated his services as well as his loose verses and declared him with the poet's crown as the "poeta laureatus". During this time, Piccolomini held lectures on the poets of antiquity at the University of Vienna , thereby exerting a significant influence on German humanism .

From 1444 to 1447 he was pastor in the dean's office in Aspach , which he received from Passau Bishop Leonhard von Laiming .

Bust of Pope Pius II at the Cathedral of Trieste

In 1447 Piccolomini became Bishop of Trieste and in 1448 he was able to participate in the negotiations that led to the Vienna Concordat . In 1449 he became bishop of Siena and papal legate in Germany. After 10 years in the service of Emperor Friedrich III. Piccolomini finally left the Viennese court in 1455 to serve the Curia . On December 17, 1456 he was by Pope Kalixt III. elevated to cardinal priest of Santa Sabina and prince-bishop of Warmia in 1457 ; as such he now emphasized the primacy of the pope . In the same year he also became archdeacon of Xanten .


In his main works Asia and Europe , which he equipped with a comprehensive cosmography , he demonstrated his extensive knowledge. He completed his writing Asia as Pope, while his second major work, Europe, was only missing a final review. In both works he dealt with the geography, the customs of the peoples, the secular and ecclesiastical history as well as the economic and social characteristics. He also included the Byzantine Empire in his Europe. Enea was the first to describe the continent of Europe with detailed descriptions. Columbus used the classic cosmographically supported works when planning his travels. His works were soon printed and distributed in many editions.

In addition, he also produced humanistic writings, such as his book Pentalogus de rebus ecclesiae et imperii (for example: A conversation with five people about the things of church and state). In 1443 he called on the king to take decisive action to restore the unity of the church and called for a new council.

Dealing with the Turkish threat

Even before he became Pope, Piccolomini saw the growing strength of the Turks as the danger of Islamic expansion and called for a defense against the Turks , who conquered Constantinople on May 29, 1453 and had occupied Greece . At the Frankfurt Reichstag , which he headed as Imperial Commissioner, he conjured in a three-hour speech on October 15, 1454, to build up a kind of European army and for the first time since the Carolingian period he reintroduced the term " Europe " The terms Christianity and " Fatherland " were used.

“If we are to confess the truth, Christianity has not experienced greater shame for many centuries than it does now; because in earlier times we were only beaten in Asia and Africa, that is, in foreign countries, but now we have been severely hit in Europe, that is, in our fatherland, in our own house, at our own residence. "


Pope Pius II under a canopy adorned with his coat of arms; Fresco by Pinturicchio
Grave monument for Pope Pius II in the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle

On August 19, 1458, Enea Silvio Piccolomini was elected Pope in a three-day conclave in Rome and enthroned on September 3 . In his memoirs, Pius II recalled the game in the conclave with disgust. The choice of his Pope's name is an allusion to the pio Enea , the “pious Aeneas”, by Virgil .

As Pope Piccolomini was now a staunch advocate of papalism and fought for the decision-making power of the Pope in all ecclesiastical and secular matters. So on January 18, 1460 he issued the Bull Execrabilis , which proved an appeal to a general council against the Pope with excommunication . This took an important instrument out of the hand of conciliarism .

Up until now, the focus was only on the power of Christianity in Europe, but now secularization was on the way, which Piccolomini was aware of long before his papacy. This worried him very much because he wanted to restore the old papal power. The dispute with Georg von Podiebrad , King of Bohemia , was also about power . The proposed state union plan and the refusal of obedienzeide brought him a big argument.

Pius II converted his native town of Corsignano into an ideal Renaissance town, which is named after him Pienza . He was also the founder of the University of Basel, which was founded in 1460 . Because of his involvement in the “Brixner Streit” of the philosopher and cardinal Nikolaus von Kues , he alienated himself from the public in Germany.


Pius II died in Ancona on August 15, 1464 . There he had tried to raise an army against the Turks. His remains were first buried in St. Peter's Basilica, then transferred to the Roman church of Sant'Andrea della Valle in 1614 . The frescoes by Pinturicchio in the Piccolomini library in the Duomo of Siena show important stages in the life of Pius II.



For decades the three-volume biography of Pius II by Georg Voigt was the only comprehensive one. Only in 2013 did Volker Reinhardt publish a new biography on this Pope, although there had been extensive special research on him.


In the German-Canadian historical film The Conclave , the circumstances that led to the election of Pius II are presented from the perspective of the then still young Rodrigo Borgia, who later became Pope Alexander VI. , tells.


  • De duobus amantibus. Johann Schilling (Solidi), Basel around 1473–1474 ( digitized version )
  • Epistolae familiares. Johannes de Westfalia, Louvain 1483 ( digitized version )
  • Commentarii rerum memorabilium que temporibus suis contigerunt (German: Memories from his life ) (biography, memoirs)
  • Commentarii rerum memorabilium. [Rome 1584]. Edited by Margret Meserve. London undated
  • Historia Friderici III. sive Historia Austrialis
  • Commentarii de gestis Concilii Basiliensis
  • Historia Bohemica
  • De ritu, situ, moribus et conditione Germaniae ( digitized version )
  • Historia de duobus amantibus (De Euryalo et Lucretia) (love story of Euryalus and Lucretia; novella)
  • Chrysis (comedy in the style of Plautus)
  • Epistula ad Mahumetem . Ulrich Zell, Cologne around 1469–72 ( digitized version )
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Cosmographia
  • Numerous letters to important personalities

Text editions and translations

  • Ibolya Bellus, Iván Boronkai (eds.): Pii Secundi pontificis maximi commentarii. 2 volumes. Balassi Kaidó, Budapest 1993–1994, ISBN 963-7873-53-8 (critical edition)
  • Frédéric Duval (ed.): Eneas Silvius Piccolomini: Œuvres érotiques. Cinthia, Historia de duobus amantibus avec L'ystoire de Eurialus et Lucresse d'Octovien de Saint-Gelais (avant 1489), De remedio amoris. Brepols, Turnhout 2003, ISBN 2-503-51309-3 (edition with French translation)
  • Jean-Louis Charlet (Ed.): Enea Silvio Piccolomini: Chrysis. Champion, Paris 2006, ISBN 2-7453-1343-6 (Latin text, French translation and commentary)
  • Reinhold F. Glei , Markus Köhler (ed.): Pius II. Papa: Epistola ad Mahumetem. Introduction, critical edition, translation. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, Trier 2001, ISBN 3-88476-444-6
  • Klaus Wolf, Jonas Göhler (ed.): Pope Pius II. To Sultan Mehmet II. The translation of the Epistola ad Mahumetem by Michael Christan. De Gruyter, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-11-035768-4 (critical edition of an early New High German translation of the letter from the 15th century)
  • Adrian van Heck (ed.): Enee Silvii Piccolominei epistolarium seculare complectens De duobus amantibus, De naturis equorum, De curialium miseriis. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 2007, ISBN 978-88-210-0824-5 (critical edition, contains 203 letters)
  • Denys Hay, Wilfrid Kirk Smith (eds.): Aeneas Sylvius Piccolominus (Pius II): De gestis concilii Basiliensis commentariorum libri II. 2nd, improved edition. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1992, ISBN 0-19-822201-7 (edition with English translation)
  • Domingo F. Sanz (ed.): Eneas Silvio Piccolomini (papa Pío II): Descripción de Asia (= Nueva Roma , Volume 34). Consejo superior de investigaciones científicas, Madrid 2010, ISBN 978-84-00-09243-6 (critical edition with Spanish translation)
  • Raimund Senoner, Wilhelm Baum (Hrsg.): Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pius II): Description of Asia. Kitab, Klagenfurt / Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-902005-55-6 (German translation)
  • Günter Frank, Paul Metzger, Albrecht Hartmann (eds.): Enea Silvio Piccolomini: Europe. Verlag Regionalkultur, Heidelberg et al. 2005, ISBN 3-89735-426-8 (German translation)
  • Adrian van Heck (Ed.): Enee Silvii Piccolominei postea Pii pp. II De Europa. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 2001, ISBN 88-210-0707-3
  • Adrian van Heck (Ed.): Enee Silvii Piccolominei postea Pii pp. II De viris illustribus. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1991, ISBN 88-210-0631-X (critical edition)
  • Adrian van Heck (Ed.): Enee Silvii Piccolominei postea Pii pp. II carmina. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1994, ISBN 88-210-0570-4 (critical edition)
  • Duane R. Henderson (ed.): Eneas Silvius Piccolomini: Dialogus (= Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Sources for the intellectual history of the Middle Ages , Volume 27). Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hannover 2011, ISBN 978-3-7752-1027-0 (critical edition)
  • Joseph Hejnic, Hans Rothe (ed.): Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini: Historia Bohemica. Böhlau, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-412-15404-0 (critical edition)
    • Volume 1: Joseph Hejnic (Ed.): Historical-critical edition of the Latin text (with German translation by Eugen Udolph)
    • Volume 2: Václav Bok (Ed.): The early New High German translation (1463) by the Breslau town clerk Peter Eschenloër
    • Volume 3: Jaroslav Kolár (Ed.): The first Old Czech translation (1487) by the Catholic priest Jan Húska
  • Herbert Rädle (Ed.): Enea Silvio Piccolomini: Euryalus and Lucretia. Reclam, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-15-008869-0 (Latin text of the Historia de duobus amantibus with German translation)
  • Joel Stanislaus Nelson (Ed.): Aeneae Silvii De liberorum educatione. The Catholic University of America Press, Washington (DC) 1940 (edition with introduction and English translation)
  • Jürgen Sarnowsky (ed.): Aeneas Silvius de Piccolomini: Austrian history. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 3-534-14148-2 (edition with translation)
  • Christoph Schingnitz (Ed.): Eneas Silvius Piccolomini: Pentalogus (= Monumenta Germaniae Historica. State writings of the later Middle Ages , Volume 8). Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hannover 2009, ISBN 978-3-7752-0308-1 (critical edition with translation)
  • Maria Giovanna Fadiga (Ed.): Enea Silvio Piccolomini: Germania. SISMEL, Firenze 2009, ISBN 978-88-8450-354-1 (critical edition)
  • Adolf Schmidt (Ed.): Aeneas Silvius: Germania, and Jakob Wimpfeling: “Responsa et replicae ad Eneam Silvium”. Böhlau, Cologne 1962
  • Adolf Schmidt (translator): Enea Silvio Piccolomini: Germany. The letter tract to Martin Mayer and Jakob Wimpfeling's “Answers and Objections to Enea Silvio”. Böhlau, Cologne 1962
  • Luigi Totaro (Ed.): Enea Silvio Piccolomini Papa Pio II: I commentarii. 2nd, expanded edition. 2 volumes. Adelphi, Milano 2008, ISBN 978-88-459-2337-1 (edition with Italian translation and commentary)
  • Martin Wagendorfer , Julia Knödler (eds.): Eneas Silvius Piccolomini: Historia Austrialis (= Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum. Nova Series 24). 2 parts. Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hanover 2009, ISBN 978-3-7752-0224-4 ( review sehepunkte)


Overview representations

Overall presentations and investigations

  • Christopher B. Krebs: Negotiatio Germaniae. Tacitus' Germania and Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Giannantonio Campano, Conrad Celtis and Heinrich Bebel. In hypomnemata . Vol. 158, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-525-25257-9 .
  • Volker Reinhardt : Pius II. Piccolomini. The Pope with whom the Renaissance began. A biography. Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-65562-3 .
  • Adolf Schmidt: Enea Silvio Piccolomini: Germany. The letter tract to Martin Meyer. Böhlau, Cologne / Graz 1962.
  • M. Sodi, A. Antoniutti: Enea Silvio Piccolomini. Pius Secundus Poeta Laureatus Pontifex Maximus. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 2007, ISBN 978-88-209-7936-2 .
  • Maria Antonietta Terzoli: Enea Silvio Piccolomini. Uomo di lettere e mediatore di culture. Scholar and mediator of cultures. Schwabe, Basel 2006, ISBN 978-3-7965-2258-1 .
  • Martin Wagendorfer: The writing of Eneas Silvius Piccolomini. Città del Vaticano 2008, ISBN 978-88-210-0862-7 . ( Review sehepunkte ) / ( Review H-Soz-u-Kult ).
  • Arnold Esch : Enea Silvio Piccolomini as Pope Pius II: rule practice and self-expression. In: Hartmut Boockmann, Bernd Moeller , Karl Stackmann (eds.): Life lessons and world designs in the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern age. Politics - Education - Natural History - Theology. Report on colloquia of the commission to research the culture of the late Middle Ages 1983 to 1987 (= treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen: philological-historical class. Volume III, No. 179). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1989, ISBN 3-525-82463-7 , pp. 112-140.
  • Berthe Widmer : Enea Silvio Piccolomini in the moral and political decision (= Basel contributions to historical science. Vol. 88). Helbing & Lichtenhahn, Basel / Stuttgart 1963.
  • Georg Voigt : Enea Silvio de'Piccolomini as Pope Pius II and his time , 3 vols., Berlin 1856–1863.

Web links

Commons : Pius II  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Eduard Preiswerk: A second description of Basel by Enea Silvio. Basel Journal of History and Archeology, accessed on May 23, 2020 .
  2. ^ Thea von der Lieck-Buyken: Enea Silvio Piccolomini. His life and becoming to the episcopate. Bonn u. a. 1931, p. 22.
  3. Upper Austrian Provincial Library: Aspach once a. now . On: digi.landesbibliothek.at , last accessed on March 5, 2014.
  4. ^ RH Foerster : Europe - history of a political idea. Munich 1967, pp. 86-87.
  5. ^ RH Foerster: Europe - history of a political idea. Munich 1967, pp. 88-108.
  6. ^ RH Foerster: Europe - history of a political idea. Munich 1967, p. 108.
  7. imdb link
  8. ^ Enea Silvio Piccolomini: Commentarii rerum memorabilium que temporibus suis contigerunt. Geschichtsquellen.de, accessed on September 1, 2013 .
  9. ^ F. Meier: Memoirs of a Pope - Germania is not barbaric. Süddeutsche , May 17, 2010, accessed September 1, 2013 .
  10. ^ In Pius II: Aeneae Sylvii Piccolomini postea Pii II. Papae Opera geographica et historica. impensis Joh. Melch. Sustermann, Helmstedt 1609, pp. 3–217, excerpts from google-books .
predecessor Office successor
Kalixt III. Pope
Paul II
Franz cow lard Bishop of Warmia
Paul Stange from Legendorf
Niccolo II. Aldegardi Bishop of Trieste
Ludwig II of Thurn