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He was born at Pescia,now in the Province of Pistoia, Italy. He was related to the Piccolomini of Siena. He acquired his literary and theological education in Florence. Under Pope Nicholas V he went to Rome, where, for a while, he lived in extreme penury.
In 1450, he became private secretary to Cardinal Domenico Capranica; later Pope Callixtus III appointed him Secretary of Briefs. He was retained in this office by Pope Pius II, who also made him a member of the pontifical household, on which occasion he assumed the family name of Piccolomini. In 1460 he was made Bishop of Pavia by Pius II, and was Pius's most trusted confidant and adviser throughout his pontificate. Ammannati exhibited paternal solicitude in the government of his diocese, and during his prolonged absences entrusted its affairs to able vicars, with whom he remained in constant touch.
On 18 December 1461, Ammannati was made a cardinal, and was commonly known as the Cardinal of Pavia. He accompanied Pius II to Ancona and attended him in his last illness. In the subsequent conclave he favored the election of Pope Paul II, whose displeasure he afterward incurred by insisting on the full observance of the ante-election capitulations that the pope had signed. The imprisonment of his private secretary by Paul II on a charge of complicity in the Conspiracy of the Roman Academy offended Ammannati still more, and his open defense of the secretary aggravated the pope's ill-will. The disfavor in which he was held by Paul II did not exempt his episcopal revenues from sequestration by the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria. It was due to his insistence that Paul II took energetic measures against King George Podiebrad of Bohemia. Pope Sixtus IV was scarcely more favorable towards Ammannati than was Paul II.
Ammannati was the friend of students and scholars, and protected Jacopo de Volterra. Ammannati is considered to be one of the most sympathetic personalities of the Italian Renaissance. He enjoyed the friendship of noted prelates and humanists, such as Cardinal Carvajal and Cardinal Bartolomeo Roverella. Cardinal Bessarion. Pastor (Geschichte der Päpste, II, 731), praises his executive ability and readiness, charity and zeal.
He wrote a continuation in seven books of Pius II's Commentarii. His style is elegant, but he is not always impartial, especially apropos of Pope Paul II or Pope Sixtus IV. His Commentaries, nevertheless, remain an important source for contemporary history; and his valuable letters have been collected and published.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Jacopo Piccolomini-Ammannati". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 
|Catholic Church titles|
|Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals