Talk:Pope Leo X

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"Sale" of Indulgences[edit]

I think there should be some consideration to the language used here. There was never any "selling" of an indulgence, but rather, the indulgence was tied to almsgiving. Taking the story of St. Peter's Basilica, a citizen would donate the money for the building of the church, much like the way "offering" money is used in churches today. This is where the indulgence comes in, as I understand it. The pope did not scribble "no hell for you" on a piece of paper and collect money from its citizens. That would be selling and was never taught by the Catholic church, not to mention that indulgences have nothing to do with hell. I would be happy to create a section on this within the biography for clarification and leave the word "sale" at the beginning. Thoughts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.220.51.7 (talk) 05:55, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

I worry that there is a bit of semantics here. There was obviously an 'exchange' of some sorts going on - those that gave alms believed they were getting something in return ie a passport out of hell or fast-track through purgatory... In any case this is no place to go into the issue of indulgences so best to leave the detail to that article and stick to the basic biographical stuff here. Contaldo80 (talk) 12:29, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Pagan art[edit]

The essential paganism of the Renaissance art and literature was not then perceived; and even now that is fully understood the prestige which Leo gave the church remains but little impaired. The hostility of the Renaissance to Catholicism has been unanswerably shown by Catholic writers themselves, but the popular imagination only notes that Raphael and Michelangelo wrought in the name of religion, and at the bidding of a pope. However severely then Leo may be judged from the strictly sacerdotal point of view, sacerdotalism itslef cannot deny its obligations to him; while, from the point of view of liberal culture, he appears as near perfect in his ecclesiastical character as that character admits.

I cut out this section, the statements of the author are pretty dubious. Arguements can be made for what the author is stating, but they should certainly not be considered unquestioned facts. -SimonP

The definition, however, and the recall of paganism, are not new. It is mostly connected with the depiction of naked bodies, so a matter of sexual morality. The frequent mythological themes are only (or mainly) evaluated as classical (or neoclassical) inspirations.
About sex, we should note that it is with Giotto that the first genitals appear in a fresco, centuries after classic art. Rinascimento (Renaissance) collected what popularly was changing in moral costumes, with a decreased presence of God, of catholic modesty in everyday life, a more laical life. This is not at all a contraposition of Renaissance artists and the Church. It is only the fact that some artists celebrated the religion this time with naked bodies, nearer to popular as well as to more cultivated comprehension (Michelangelo caused most of this scandal with Sixtine Chapel, in the most important church of Christianity). "Paganism" is therefore only a derogatory expression mainly used for propaganda purposes (and sometimes developed too) by the supporters of Controriforma, the ones who really were hostile to some precise aspects of Renaissance. I am indeed in the perhaps limited point of view of the "popular imagination", having no proofs of what was (correctly, IMHO) removed. I only record that Renaissance was really repeatedly financed by the Church. Also, I am thinking of Beato Angelico...
The article however still should need some revision and perhaps NPOVed a little. Gianfranco

Cryptic cleanup[edit]

I have no idea what this statement means: "[He] was the only pope who has bestowed his own name upon his age." Kent Wang 07:32, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think it refers to Medici, but that is pretty cryptic. Dominick 15:42, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

"The Age of Leo X" a 19th century title-- but the article concerns boys popping out of puddings and doesn't mention humanist writers, urban works in Rome,Raphael etc.Wetman 15:46, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

LorEnzO.... LEO was probably his nickname. During a papacy, it is always "the age of_____", and he used his own name or nickname.

This sentence was translated in Italian page and I made the same question.. I think it should be removed.. By the way the era of Leo was 8 year "only"...--Sailko 17:05, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Source material work[edit]

I added the link to the actual letter from his father replacing the wiki entry to letter since that isn't in support of the article. I know there are other places where the choice of wikification is odd, like indulgences instead of a link to the 95. I am not a good cadidate for Martin Luther NPOV articles, since my personal PoV thinks little of Luther. Dominick 15:42, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Boy in pudding sources[edit]

I cant find a source for the boys jumping out of pudding, or the massive hemmeroid story. I think it is a legend, probably an ancient creation. If someone wants to look too, perhaps we can find SOME factual basis. Dominick 15:02, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Pleasure loving pope?[edit]

I watched a documentary about Martin Luther and Pope Leo X on PBS the other night. It mentioned that Pope Leo X "loved the pleasures of the flesh" and that at his frequent sumptuous feasts there would always be a "large cake, from which naked boys would emerge." Has anyone heard any substantiation on that claim? Granted, whether there is evidence for such a thing or not it would be debated.

The documentary also said that in order to refill the church coffers, that he had emptied in his lavish lifestyle (apparently they were building St. Peter's basilica at that point, so they needed money), he issued "indulgences". An odd thing that this documentary claimed was that "it was said of these indulgences that they would forgive even the sin of having sex with the Virgin Mary, if that were possible."

I guess my question is basically this: are the above issues mentioned by that documentary things that are well known about Pope Leo X, and generally accepted, or was the documentary stating fringe-type poorly accepted accusations as fact? It presented the above statements without any reference to the sources, nor did they give any room for the possibility they are untrue...hence I figure they've either got to be well known, or too obscure to support. If it's the latter, I would question everything they said. If it is the former...then I would be less inclined to be skeptical about the entirety of the program. Thanks for any responses. 18:30, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I don't know enough to say, but I'd have guessed by the period he lived some allegations were likely exaggerated. The Reformation generally wanted the Popes of the Sixteenth century to look way worse than reality. However looking him up I'd say exaggerated doesn't mean without basis. The Catholic Encyclopedia, which usually looks on the positive on Popes, even states things like the following: "Though temperate himself, he loved to give banquets and expensive entertainments, accompanied by revelry and carousing; and notwithstanding his indolence he had a strong passion for the chase, which he conducted every year on the largest scale", "The papal palace became a theatre and the pope did not hesitate to attend such improper plays as the immoral 'Calendra' by Bibbiena and Ariosto's indecent 'Suppositi'", and "Various doubtful and reprehensible methods were resorted to for raising money. He created new offices and dignities, and the most exalted places were put up for sale. Jubilees and indulgences were degraded almost entirely into financial transactions, yet without avail, as the treasury was ruined." Although they indicate his piety was genuine and that he did believe in Christianity.(Some indicate he deemed Christ a myth that benefitted him financially) Still it sounds like it is nicely trying to say he had parties where kinky stuff went on, although likely a more normal adult-concensual homo/hetero way, but that he personally didn't take part.--T. Anthony 02:33, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
He did not inhale. PiCo (talk) 01:23, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
An odd thing that this documentary claimed was that "it was said of these indulgences that they would forgive even the sin of having sex with the Virgin Mary, if that were possible."
The documentary in question is PBS's Martin Luther: The Reluctant Revolutionary. As far as the Virgin Mary thing, they were talking about Leo X's reinstatement of indulgences, slips of paper that supposedly pardoned practically any sin and guaranteed your entry to heaven. Therefore, people would (sardonically) say that they could even pardon sex with the Virgin Mary, if that were possible (insert rimshot here).
The odd thing about this cake story is that it appears to be a recurring theme. Apparently, Pope Alexander VI is also believed to have hosted such a baking extravaganza. A blog called Oddee, which appears to have received various critical acclaim, had a 10 Worst Popes of all time article in '09 that claims the naked boys jumping out of cake routine was one of Alexander's old standbys and not Leo's.
So... who knows... Surely there's a slightly more contemporary source that speaks of such a papal practice... But it appears there's ample evidence that Leo X and others hosted lascivious activities that would even bug out the eyes of members of our modern day liberal society. Enderandpeter (talk) 22:51, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Young cardinals[edit]

Surely this comment belongs on the Cardinals page rather than here - creates an overcomplex sentence. Jackiespeel 16:55, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

What's up with the POV[edit]

"Splendour"? "Dignity"? "Weighty and wise"? 66.95.123.6 17:26, 17 April 2006 (UTC)


Is this vandalism?

"The quote "How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us" is commonly but nonetheless falsely attributed to him. In actuality, the quote is derived from The Pageant of the Popes, a parodical play of the Protestant satirist John Bale.

But then again we do not have any conclusive proof that the quote was falsely attributed to the pope."

If its established that its falsely attributed to him, and there is knowledge of the real author of the quote... how can "we" not have conclusive proof...? Mendez (arturo.mendez@gmail.com)

I have rewritten the above this way:

Knowledge or Speculation?[edit]

Okay, I'm confused. The "Personal relationships" section begins with the statement that "Several historians have suggested the likelihood that Leo may have been homosexual" (emphasis mine). This implies that there is no certain knowledge to this effect. But then, in the next paragraph, it is asserted as an established fact that "Leo fell in love with Marc'Antonio [Flaminio]". This seems to me contradictory. Or am I missing something? -Agur bar Jacé (talk) 15:07, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

I've looked at this again - I think it's consistent. The article says that some historians that have looked at the issue think he may have been homosexual (or at the very least have considered contemporary reports as such). Not all agree nor have all looked at the issue. One of those historians that has - Falconi - has specifically examined the infatuation with Flaminio. Contaldo80 (talk) 16:52, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

I've tweaked the extra detail added under personal relationships. But I'm very concerned about these new sources. Both works were published over 100 years ago! Not sure really what they can usefully tell us. Von Pastor is undoubtedly a papal apologist. Isn't there something more recent. Contaldo80 (talk) 08:50, 13 May 2009 (UTC)


It was not my intention to appreciate which version is more correct. Previously only one version was included, I've added the contrary opinions, maybe actually in too much categorical form. Ludwig von Pastor was undoubtedely a papal apologist, but it cannot be denied that his work is well documentated and referenced. Pastor presented some other contemporary testimonies (e.g. of Matteo Herculano) which explicitly state that Leo X lived in chasity also as a pope. He adds that he found no trace of such allegation in the reports of Venetian and Mantuan ambassadors on the papal court, and that even an envoy of Leo's enemy prince d'Este was unable to find antything to discredit him in this area. He adnotes also that Guicciardini was not a resident of a papal court during Leo's pontificate, that on another occassion he contradicts himself in his statements concerning Leo's moral conduct, and that even anti-papal historian Gregorovius considered this testimony unreliable. Vaughan says that there are many testimonies accusing Leo of sodomy but none of them produced during Leo's lifetime. These later testimonies, according to Vaughan, are based only on obscure and not very numerous allusions (such as that of Guicciardini), and are strongly prejudiced towards Leo, or generally, towards the papacy. Some accounts about homosexual affairs of Leo X contain inaccuracies that seriously undermine their credibility. For example, Nigel Cawthorne in Sex lives of the Popes repeats the story that leader of the plot against Leo in 1517, Alfonso Petrucci, was previously his lover, and that Leo X promoted him to the cardinalate in exchange for this prostitution. But it is well established that Petrucci was elevated to the cardinalate already by Julius II in 1511. I haven't read the book of Falconi, but, basing on the data available to me, I think that there are good reasons to be sceptical towards accounts about the homosexual life of this pope, which of course does not mean that they all must be untrue or unreliable CarlosPn (talk) 11:35, 13 May 2009 (CET)

Strathern is a recent source (2003) CarlosPn (talk) 11:35, 13 May 2009 (CET)

That's helpful - thanks. In which case I might be more comfortable citing the primary sources in favour of Leo's chastity - Herculano; and the caveat that Guiccardini was not resident. I otherwise think referring specifically to these old works. I've nevertheless kept von pastor while ditching the Vaughan and incorporated some of the contrary contemporary evidence. Would be good if we can get some recent works that make the same point to bring it all a bit more up to date. I note also that Stathern argues not that Leo was homosexual, but rather that he was 'active' in his relationships. Contaldo80 (talk) 10:42, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Homosexual inclinations of Leo are rather undeniable. His only contemporary biographer Paolo Giovio mentions that he "flirted" with some of his chamberlains, and the context of this account can hardly be interpretated otherwise (although he seems to suggest that it was nothing more than "flirtation" and looks at this only as a trifle, not serious vice). The question is only: "active or not?". I'm afraid that, as in many similar cases, it is rather unlikely to achieve a final conclusion. CarlosPn (talk) 14:15, 13 May 2009 (CET)

Absolutely - I agree. I think the text as we have looks as close as we can get now. What do you think - any clarifications we might make? Contaldo80 (talk) 15:39, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

I think it's good enough now. Just only a general note. I think that the opinions of the authors who are considered partial, just as L. von Pastor, but also the others, and no matter from which "camp", should not be eliminated authomatically from the discussion on the ground of their partiality. They should be treated with greatest caution, but when their opinions are supported by solid references and evidence, there is no reason to exclude them. Ludwig von Pastor generaly rejected all accusations of immorality against the popes and cardinals except those proven for 200 or even more percent, and his partiality in favour of the papacy is beyond the dispute. He tried to discredit even the charges very well documentated (also in the catholic sources), such as that against Julius III or cardinal Antonio Barberini. But in some cases he made detailed examinations of the charges and cast the doubts on them with serious arguments and evidence. The case of Leo X belonges to that category and that's why I've included his opinion here. Further, "newer" study does not necessarily mean "better" or more reliable, vide the case of Nigel Cawthorne in my previous note CarlosPn (talk) 00:10, 14 May 2009 (CET)

Yes - I understand. Sounds sensible. Thanks. Contaldo80 (talk) 16:17, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Prediction of end times?[edit]

I read that Pope Leo once said in 1514, "I will not see the end of the world, nor will you my brethren, for its time is long in the future, 500 years hence." Can anyone verify this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.144.17.250 (talk) 01:44, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

No mention of burning[edit]

The article downplays the fact that Exsurge Domine permits the burning of heretics. If there is no objection, I intend to be bold and add something about this Eiler7 (talk) 19:35, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

If you can bring references for this, it would be even better. --Kansas Bear (talk) 19:44, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
It means serving a POV if you quote just one condemnation (No. 33 [?]) out of Exsurge Domine, make sure that it is the very one out of over forty that will offend modern ears, neglect the fact that the Pope did not condemn it as "heretical" (or "erroneous") but summarily as "heretical or erroneous or scandalous or offending pius ears or ... or ... or ..." (i. e. without exactly giving a qualification), neglect that the condemned proposition (while, per se, it must be said, not erroneous) has a basis in Lutheranism which is flawed, neglect that Luther after all never meant to stop oppression of dissenting thought, on the contrary greatly encouraged it against the Catholic Church, neglect that the other 41 (?) propositions are very justly condemned, and so on and so on.--93.133.222.245 (talk) 12:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Homosexuality and the interpretation of "unnatural vice"[edit]

Unnatural vice is not necessarily homosexuality, but could also mean masturbation. --93.133.222.245 (talk) 12:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It is undoubtedly a critique of his alleged homosexuality, it should be noted as a perjorative however. He certainly can be defined as one who acted upon same sex attraction, but the concept of homosexuality as a defining structure was alien in the Renaissance. Syxxpackid420 (talk) 10:43, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Masturbation - are you serious? You think someone went to the trouble of recording in their memoirs or whatever that the Pope masturbated? Contaldo80 (talk) 08:33, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm only saying that masturbation, homosexual, and bestial acts were and are altogether grouped under the title "unnatural vice" in moral theology.--93.133.250.204 (talk) 10:09, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Are they - are you sure? In which case it must show how "moral theology" is bonkers! I mean most people masturbate so it can hardly be 'unnatural' can it! Hilarious. Contaldo80 (talk) 12:11, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
It is considered unnatural in Catholic moral theology in that it is a sexual act that cannot lead to procreation.Wkharrisjr (talk) 12:56, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I think you'll agree that in the context of this article this discussion on whether masturbation is "unnatural vice" according to moral theology is rather irrelevant (as indeed it is in the real world too). Contaldo80 (talk) 09:18, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Conflicting information[edit]

How can someone elected cardinal in 1489 (Cardinal section) be the "last non-priest to be elected Pope" in 1513 (Pope section)? Travelpleb (talk) 22:18, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Up to 1917, there was no obligation for cardinals to receive priestly ordination. Cardinal Medici was only deacon when elected to the Papacy CarlosPn (talk) 23:45, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
That's interesting. Should the text clarify the non-preistliness of the cardinal? As it stands now it appears confusing.Travelpleb (talk) 18:15, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Alleged Homosexuality[edit]

Among the sources of the Homosexuality section there are:

  • A former priest who was famous for his hatred against the Church.
  • Anonymous pasquinades.
  • Mr Cesare Falconi. Search him on google, you'll se he is invisible. There's no trace of him.

This shows that the author of this section does not understand the basics of Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Neutral point of view. But then I found out something worse. The book Who's who in Gay and Lesbian history (Aldrich, Wotherspoon) is available online and you can see that the book quotes a lot from the fake Mr. Falconi. The Guicciardini quote also comes from Aldrich, but he does not provide any citation to Guicciardini's work - it could be all made up. If Aldrich's book does not cite sources, how can it be trusted?

In fact, it's wrong to call it "Aldrich's" or "Wotherspoon's" book, since it is a compilation of individual contributions. Leo X's entry was written by Giovanni Dall'Orto, who according to the Spanish Wikipedia, is a LGBT TouTube vlogger. Please re-read WP:SOURCES.

Exceptional claims require exceptional sources: "Any exceptional claim requires multiple high-quality sources" (WP:EXCEPTIONAL). So I'm simply deleting everything until at least two non-partisan sources back this theory. --El Huinca (talk) 22:07, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

In the case of "Cesare" Falconi there was an error in name - it should be Carlo Falconi CarlosPn (talk) 23:20, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
...as correctly given in the reference. The book is not not at all hard to track down. Sparafucil (talk) 00:07, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
The claims above are rather hysterical. The homosexuality of Leo X is relatively well documented (considering the subject and the period). Sources cited include bishops and contemporary historians. Contaldo80 (talk) 08:43, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Then instead of an ex-priest turned journalist(ie.Carlo Falconi), we should rely on academic historians. Why is Pierre Bayle being used? I have found nothing of his education which would lead me to believe he's an historian. Francesco Gucciardini, is closer to a primary source than a secondary source and should probably not be used. Paul Strathern appears to have taught philosophy and mathematics and is not a historian. Joseph McCabe, ex-priest, no formal training or academic standing as an historian. Another primary source, Paolo Giovio. It appears that entire section needs to be re-written using reliable sources! --Kansas Bear (talk) 03:47, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Exceptional claims require exceptional sources ? Just because Leo X was a pope, mentioning his homosexuality would be an "exceptional claim" ??? I don't think so. Frimoussou (talk) 17:14, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Lies[edit]

Next thursday will be a year since I last edited this article. In this timespan the Internet grew a lot: now two of the cited textes are online and can be reviewd. Which I did, and I found that the quotations are a complete lie. When somebody is a liar, one can not trust him anymore. Let's have a look at Gucciardini's Storia D'Italia on the election of Leo X:

Nel conclave fu la prima cura moderare con capitoli molto stretti l'autorità del futuro pontefice, esercitata, come dicevano, dal morto troppo impotentemente: benché non molto poi (come degli uomini alcuni non hanno ardire di opporsi al principe, altri appetiscono di farselo benevolo) gli annullorno da loro medesimi quasi tutti. Elessono il settimo dí, non discrepando alcuno, in pontefice Giovanni cardinale de' Medici, il quale assunse il nome di Leone decimo, di età d'anni trentasette; cosa, secondo la consuetudine passata, maravigliosa, e della quale fu principale cagione la industria de' cardinali giovani, convenutisi molto prima tacitamente insieme di creare il primo pontefice del numero loro. Sentí di questa elezione quasi tutta la cristianità grandissimo piacere, persuadendosi universalmente gli uomini che avesse a essere rarissimo pontefice, per la chiara memoria del valore paterno e per la fama, che risonava per tutto, della sua liberalità e benignità; stimato casto e di integerrimi costumi; e sperandosi che a esempio del padre avesse a essere amatore de' letterati e di tutti gl'ingegni illustri: la quale espettazione accresceva l'essere stata fatta l'elezione candidamente, senza simonia o sospetto di macula alcuna. E pareva già che Iddio cominciasse ad approvare questo pontificato, perché il quarto dí dalla elezione vennono in sua potestà i cardinali privati di Santa Croce e di San Severino. I quali, intesa la morte di Giulio, andavano per mare a Roma, accompagnati da... Solier imbasciadori del re di Francia; ma intesa nel porto di Livorno, ove erano sorti, essere eletto il cardinale de' Medici in nuovo pontefice, confidatisi nella sua benignità, e specialmente Sanseverino nella amicizia stretta che aveva avuto seco e col fratello, impetrato salvocondotto, dal capitano di Livorno, il quale non si stendeva oltre a' limiti della sua giurisdizione, discesono in terra, e dipoi, non ricercata altra sicurezza, spontaneamente andorno a Pisa: nella quale città raccolti onoratamente, e dipoi condotti a Firenze, erano onestamente custoditi, di maniera che non aveano facoltà di partirsi: cosí desiderando il pontefice. Il quale, mandato il vescovo d'Orvieto, gli confortò con parole molto benigne che, per sicurtà loro e per pace della Chiesa, soprasedessino in Firenze insino a tanto si determinasse in che modo avessino a andare a Roma; e che, essendo stati privati giuridicamente e confermata la privazione nel concilio lateranense, non andassino piú in abito di cardinali, perché facendo segni d'umiliarsi, faciliterebbono a lui il ridurre, secondo che aveva in animo di fare, in porto le cose loro.

So the alleged quote is a lie, invented almost out of nowhere. Only the first part appears in the original: "stimato casto e di integerrimi costumi". Which in a literal translation would be: "considered [to be] chaste and of integrity-filled customs". The rest of the alleged quote is invented.

But now let's take look to another false qutoation: Paulus Jovius and his Vita Leonis Decimi:

Non caruit etiam infamia, quod parum honeste nonnullos e cubiculariis (erant enim e tota Italia nobilissimi) adamare, et cum his tenerius atque libere iocari videretur. Sed quis vel optimus atque sanctissimus princeps in hac maledicentissima aula lividorum aculeos vitavit?

This is better than the previous one: at least you have not invented text out of the blue. Instead, you have changed the meaning of a word and conveniently left out the following question. Let us remember highschool Latin: the construct quod + infinitive is a subordinate sentence for referred speech (a quotation) in which the referrer does not hold the point of view of the referred. Also the word infamia in Latin means false accusation. The translation "accusation of infamy" is a flat lie, because the word accusatio is missing and the modern concept of infamy doesn't have a direct correlation in Latin (you need a Latin equivalent like "unhonourable act"). The related verb infero has several meanings including: go forth, attack, and rush into. The correct way to translate the first sentence is "non (not) caruit (escaped-he) etiam (also) infamia (the flase accusation:) that he would have loved not few of the servants..."

The real key to understand it is the question that follows the quoted sentence: "But who, even an excellent and holy prince, can escape (vitavit) in this (in hac) most-maledicting court (maledicentissima aula) the stings (aculeos) of the envious (lividorum)?"

Since lies are bad, I proceed to correct the article.

El Huinca (talk) 14:20, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Citation from Guicciardini is not a lie - it was known also to Ludwig von Pastor. However, this fragment can be found in Guicciardini's "History of Clement VII", not in Storia d'Italia. Pastor dismissed this testimony as unreliable, noting that Guicciardini was not a resident of papal court under Leo X and that on the other place (apparently in Storia d'Italia) he expressed completly different opinion about morality of Leo X. We know that during sede vacante in 1521/22 and 1523 there appeared unprecedent amount of lampoons and pasquinades, that accused Popes and Cardinals of numerous vices of almost all kind. Hadrian VI also did not avoid accusations of immorality. Perhaps remarks of Guicciardini and Giovio are nothing more than an echo of these lampoons. CarlosPn (talk) 20:01, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Please... I'm pasting the actual text, the original, in medieval Italian. You can read it in the Internet Archive and in Google Books. What you are saying is a copy of an internet book written who knows by whom in which the discussion is about the benevolence of Leo X, not about his sexuality. Also, Guicciardini never wrote a "History of Clement VII". He wrote Histories of Florence in two volumes and a History of Italy. No more "histories" written by him. He did write about Clement VII but not a History El Huinca (talk) 01:01, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
"Next thursday will be a year since I last edited this article. In this timespan the Internet grew a lot". Lol. Grew a lot did it. This is all original research. Contaldo80 (talk) 11:21, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Benevolence?? The note in question is to the following fragment: As to the purity of the morals of Leo X., it can only be said that as a Cardinal his reputation in this respect was absolutely spotless ; there is no proof that as Pope * he was in any way different. CarlosPn (talk) 19:28, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Here is the fragment of Guicciardini CarlosPn (talk) 19:48, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
The fact he was a homosexual is proven. It's not because you don't like it that it's not a fact. You are lying.90.3.24.82 (talk) 05:35, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

Leo X was homosexual.[edit]

Leo X was homosexual. It is proven. 90.3.24.82 (talk) 02:17, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Here is what’s proven and sad, the fantasy of forcing historical persons on to the procrustean bed of a tired and artificial construct which never made sense in the first place. The very idea of touting Leo X as “homosexual” or analysing his “sexuality” is vacuous.
El Huinca, CarlosPn, and Kansas Bear want credible sources. To my eye, the evidence set out in multiple sections below stacks up like this:-
Against sexual immorality (the only valid issue to which contemporary sources speak):- Herculano, Roscoe, von Pastor, Gregorovius, and Samuel Edgar, who wroteVariations of Popery (London 1831, 2nd edn. 1838), announcing (Preface, p.xiv):-

. .[The author] intends in the following pages, an unmitigated and unrelenting exposure of antichristian abominations. He would . . examine every ailment, probe every wound, and lay open, without shrinking or hesitation, every festering sore. He would expose the moral disorder, in all its hateful and haggard frightfulness, to the full gaze of a disgusted world.

Not even he credited Giovio’s “infamia” passage discussed below in section 18 - where Andrew Dalby errs, e.g., in taking quod+subjunctive as causal while allowing that Giovio is reporting, not vouching for, the truth of the allegations. Of these five, the article in the section Sexuality currently notices only Roscoe, and then slightingly. Add Strathern to this group if CarlosPn’s Polish edition is correct.
For sexual immorality, but based on material inconclusive, self-contradictory, or reliant on inferences and speculation:- Giovio (see above), Guicciardini (discredited), Bayle (citing Leo’s sorry ulcer which wikipedia metamorphoses into an “anal fistula” but which, even if in the rectum - which is disputed - indicates not a wound sustained in “venerean combat” but rectal ulcer syndrome: “a rare benign disease of unknown etiology” says The Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology, 15(3) July 1989, pp.188-192), and and Falconi, not forgetting the vulgar and slanderous pasquinades which, along with the unmotivated actions of Marcantonio Flaminio’s dad, are Falconi’s main grounds.
For “homosexuality” :- Strathern (possibly - although the grounds are unexpressed by wiki-editors who supply no page reference; a former teacher of philosophy and mathematics, and, as it happens, a popular, not an academic, historian, so it may be just more speculation and inferences from ambiguous or inconclusive material).
Cheers, and good luck with that lot, then. Ridiculus mus (talk)
It's not our fault if Leo's homosexuality is proven and that this fact upset catholic people who use homophobic expressions such as "sexual immorality". They have to face it. Frimoussou (talk) 11:52, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Kindly stay on topic. The issue is credible sources for what is asserted, and no amount of bluster can conceal that. As for what is asserted, quite obviously a Catholic priest, prelate and pope even in the 16th c. was obliged to chastity and sexual continence, so the issue is very much sexual immorality. Trying to shut down argument by spraying meaningless terms like homophobia is a pitiful response. And who do you imagine you are speaking for with this "It's not our fault"? This isn't a game. You might consider taking a break from this page until you can assess arguments on their merits. Ridiculus mus (talk)
It seems you choose to use "sexual immorality" for homosexuality here. The fact is that Leo X was homosexual, the sources are absolutely credible. This isn't a game, but the truth. Catholics don't want to face it. It's not a surprise. Frimoussou (talk) 00:31, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
The term "sexual immorality" is absolutely proper in this context. The alleged sexual activity of Leo X would be very much against the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which he had been a Supreme Pontiff. And homosexual behaviour was viewed as immoral in his time. Furthermore, I wonder your certainity about homosexuality of Leo X. Credible sources are inconclusive; there are good reason both to accept as well as to reject these accusations CarlosPn (talk) 21:17, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Frimoussou and I are farther apart than ever, not just on "homosexuality", sexual immorality, Leo X, and what constitutes "credible sources", but about the very nature of wikipedia, which does not deal in facts ("proven" or otherwise) but with statements made in credible published sources presented without bias so as to give a balanced and proportionate account of the subject of the article (I paraphrase). I choose to look at the cited sources which is where wikipedia begins and ends; evidently you - who seem to have an unfathomable store of animus against Catholics - do not. I also choose to avoid vague terms which would have been incomprehensible to Leo and his contemporaries. In these circumstances, this sterile exchange between us is now closed. When I have considered the statements in the article and weighed them against what the cited references actually say, I shall proceed to make the edits I consider needful : boldly if necessary.
Meanwhile, I note (for the information of those who are ready, willing, and able to use the talk page for the purposes for which it was intended) that it would appear Strathern (whom I have not read, but whose book is not a biography or academic study of Leo) claims Leo was "homosexual" but not active sexually. At a minimum, that puts the most recent writer in the camp of the 19th and 20th c. historians who reject accusations against Leo of immoral sexual congress, and in flat opposition to the coarse rumours peddled by Bayle ("It is thought"), by Guicciardini in Book 16 of Storia d'Italia ("Credetessi per molti"), and by the infantile authors of the pasquinades and satirical epitaphs which have no source value whatever (and are dismissed as unreliable in the article even as it stands). Giovio has very obviously been misunderstood here in talk, but not (as it happens) by Bayle who is well aware that Giovio was a firm proponent of Leo's lifelong chastity. The pretended paraphrase of Giovio in the article (beginning with the weasel word "suggesting") is a figleaf to cover someone's lack of comprehension of the original Latin. My present view is that no credible source exists asserting that Leo was a sodomite or that he ever engaged in sexual activity with anyone. Whether or not he was sexually aroused by beautiful adolescent males or merely admired their beauty (I have no idea yet what Strathern's use of the term "homosexual" might cover) is probably of little interest and less import, but I suspect that the claim in the article that Strathern and Falconi have "concluded" that Leo was "homosexual" is extravagant. Nor am I satisfied that Falconi actually asserts that Leo was "infatuated" with Marcantonio Flaminio. Nous le verrons, ne est-ce pas? Ridiculus mus (talk)
You write "I shall proceed to make the edits I consider needful : boldly if necessary" because "your present view is that no credible source exist asserting that Leo was a sodomite" (what a nice word). Precisely, it's your "present view" and nothing else : a pope, could obviously not have been a homosexual (even if he actually was) because it's the pope and therefore any source mentioning his homosexuality is by definition not credible. The sources are clear anyway : they indicate that Leo X had a reputation of chastity before he became the pope and that his homosexuality became gradually obvious after that ; then at least he had no more "a reputation of chastity", it's logic. "there are good reason both to accept as well as to reject these accusations" wrote CarlosPn. I accept, you reject and it's not surprising, but I don't think "boldly" edits to assert that he was simply not homosexual will be accepted in my view : the assertion that Giucciadini is "discredited" to take an example, is simply a POV, as well as your medicinal interpretations. Anyway, any edit had to be scholarly referenced and not "boldly" if possible. Frimoussou (talk) 00:32, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
The discussion on this talkpage has been copious and valuable, but it remains diffuse and theoretical. It is time, I believe, for the material to be reassessed and applied to a constructive purpose. I therefore invite editors to join me in a sandbox search for consensus on improving this section of the article. Since it is a sandbox on my userpage, I reserve the right to moderate comments in order to maintain a forward-looking and positive momentum.
This section of the article is currently in two parts: a general review of character (overlooked somewhat), and a review of opinions expressed over time as to Leo's sexual morality. I don't plan to preempt a decision on whether this division is apt, but the transition is jarring. Examination in the sandbox of the suitability of what is written under the current sub-section "Sexuality" will not exclude the possibility of folding it back into a more harmonious and balanced treatment of "Character" overall. Ridiculus mus (talk) 16:50, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Ok. Frimoussou (talk) 16:57, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
talk you make me laugh somewhat. You get all worked up under the collar about text that suggests the vicar of Christ was "sexually immoral" despite the fact that we know that just a couple of years previous the supreme pontiff, Alexander VI, ascended the papal throne with a hoard of children and a number of mistresses. You also talk about the absurdity of a pope being homosexual, and yet happily edit articles like the Virgin of Chiquinquirá with genuinely "absurd" and impossible tales around miraculous pictorial images. Why not be honest - you don't like associating the leader of the Catholic church with the charge of homosexuality? Or else aren't you able to keep an open mind. By all means interrogate the sources - but with the objective of finding the most reasonable answer, and not trying simply to discredit "theprocrustean bed of a tired and artificial construct". The absolute certainty you have that Leo was not - and could not have been - homosexual scares me, and really suggests you are not capable of neutrality. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:57, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Can I also make clear Ridiculus mus that I will refuse to engage with your sandbox exercise until you can reassure me that you are capable of taking a neutral approach - and you are not trying to find a solution that meets Catholic sensibilities. Please state clearly here that you fully accept the possibility that Leo X could have had a homosexual sexual orientation. Otherwise you can do what you like with your sandbox, but we're not going to reach agreement. I have several other sources that talk about the homosexuality of the pope - and indeed the suspicion of men such as Martin Luther (which shows the importance of this issue in terms of the Reformation). Contaldo80 (talk) 16:25, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Whether it is your collar or mine which will be the first to combust is an open question, perhaps, and others will make their own assessment about my interventions and whether you are correct in claiming I have fatally compromised my neutrality here. You are welcome to participate in the sandbox if you have anything constructive to contribute. As for my draft article on the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, if you want to exclude articles that treat of allegedly miraculous events, due processes exist for that, but I defy you to find anything there which transgresses neutrality or treats as fact any statement for which a source cannot be provided. Ridiculus mus (talk) 20:06, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Original work[edit]

User:Frimoussou, why do you accuse me of "original work"? Please provide a detailed explanation that any administrator could accept. El Huinca (talk) 15:56, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Also User:Contaldo80, you also accuse me of original research so you can join the discussion. El Huinca (talk) 15:59, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

You insert original research and original translation without any reference in the article. It is not allowed. It's funny how people are concerned about the non-homosexuality of this pope... It seems it's a real crusade for some users.Frimoussou (talk) 16:34, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
If the translation is unaccetable i'll post only the original quotation :) Thanks! El Huinca (talk) 17:10, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Your reference is a book written in 1836 so it is absolutely not the "original quotation" !!! In 1836, texts referring to homosexuality were automatically censured especially if it a about a pope. It is absolutely original research with the POV that Leo X could not have homosexual because he was a pope. Thanks. Frimoussou (talk) 17:18, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
You keep inventing fake reasons to delete my edit. Very well, I'll write to the Administrator Noticeboard so that somebody with more experience can deal with this problem :) El Huinca (talk) 17:24, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it's a rather good idea. As all other users have admitted the previous translations are correct. It seems it's your edits that are fakes.Frimoussou (talk) 17:27, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Content Dispute with Conduct Issues[edit]

The sexuality of Leo X is a content issue, but is being complicated by conduct issues, in particular personal attacks. The allegation of lying is a personal attack, and a very severe one, which can result in being blocked. I suggest that editors who disagree as to whether Leo X was homosexual, which appears to be a view that is supported by many scholars, should take their issue to the dispute resolution noticeboard, where a volunteer moderator will help the editors work out their differences. I will point out that if the personal attacks continue, dispute resolution will fail. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:18, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Hi! The article does not cite any scholar who affirms that Leo X was homosexual. See scholar. Also, a thread has already been opened in Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. El Huinca (talk) 18:35, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
It is true that the view of Leo's homosexuality is supported by many scholars. The opposite view is only supported by a 19th-century biographer : William Roscoe dismissing this as Protestant polemic, failing to take into account two of the leading papal historians of the time who shared a belief that Leo engaged in "unnatural vice". Nobody except El Huinca is denying that these leading papal historians did so, I believe. Frimoussou (talk) 19:02, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
1) I did not introduce anything about Roscoe. The Roscoe thing was already there before I edited the article, and it is still there because you did not delete it.
2) Also, the article does not cite any scholar (someone who actually went to college and studied how to do history) who claims Leo X was homosexual.
3) Please go read Guicciardini and Giovio. If you don't know Italian or Latin, use Google Translate: it supports both languages. The "scholars" claim they both accept his homosexuality, but the actual texts say the opposite. Again: please read the original text. El Huinca (talk) 19:17, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

If it's not you that introduce Roscoe, you didn't introduced anyone claiming that Guicciardini and Giovo made actually the opposite statement everyone stated they did, apparently even Roscoe. The "original texts" are the manuscripts of Guicciardini and Giovio. I don't have to read what you present as the "original text", but you have to produce references claiming that these texts have previously been altered if it the truth. These texts are not new and your claim is very recent... Frimoussou (talk) 20:17, 1 January 2015 (UTC)


1) Roscoe only speaks about Pierre Bayle, not about Guicciardini nor Jovius.
2) The first translation of Guicciardini was added here and the first translation of Giovo was added here.
3) When the first Guicciardini translation (that I claim to be wrong) was added, the source was Gustavo Adolfo Cesareo's book Pasquino e Pasquinate nella Roma di Leone X. The book is in Italian, and the quotation is in English. Who did the translation? A wikipedian! So applying to your logic the Guicciardini citation should be considered original research and should be deleted.
4) But today the alleged source of the translation is not Cesareo anymore. Now the quote has two citations: Joeph Mc Cabe and the original book by Guicciardini, Storia d'Italia.
5) Mc Cabe is not a reliable source because he was a militant anti catholic who wrote mainly out of hate. Changing a few words to reverse the meaning of a quotation is something that lies on the mild side of his actions.
6) But let's put an end to this discussion. The History of Italy is available online in English in Archive.org. This 18th century translation in page 114 of the pdf says: "the reputation of a chaste person and of unblameable manners". Compare with my own translation: "he was believed to be chaste and his customs to be full of intergity".
7) Therefore McCabe's translation unacceptable.
8) And also any other translation coming from McCabe becomes instantly unreliable.
9) At the very least the article should reflect the true opinion of Guicciardini, which is, that Leo was "chaste". No mention of anything else.
10) So Roscoe is not contradicting Guicciardini: he is affirming him.
11) Same goes for Jovius but I can't find an English translation in the open internet.
12) But do you know what? It does not matter! This is Wikipedia Policy:
"Citations to non-English sources are allowed. (...) Translations published by reliable sources are preferred over translations by Wikipedians, but translations by Wikipedians are preferred over machine translations."
13) So translations by wikipedians are ok when there are no other reliable translations available.
14) Since McCabe's translations are not reliable, then I am not breaking any rule if I translate it myself.
El Huinca (talk) 22:31, 1 January 2015 (UTC)


"Mc Cabe is not a reliable source because he was a militant anti catholic who wrote mainly out of hate. Changing a few words to reverse the meaning of a quotation is something that lies on the mild side of his actions." ??? Well, maybe it's not him the lyer but militant catholics with their own translations ? I should add that it's very likely that a "18th century translater" censure a few words too, because the homosexuality of a pope was not a very "proper" subject at that time... (remember the heterosexual forgery of Michelangelo,'s poetry, discovered at the end of the 19th century...) What about the original manuscripts ? All of this is far more complicated. I can't still see here anything but original research. If it is really a "forgery" and that your 18th century's translation was actually and entirely the really good one, it will be easy to find a scholarly reference reestablishing the truth based on what you call the "original text". Frimoussou (talk) 22:40, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Hi, please explain your [ https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pope_Leo_X&diff=640637708&oldid=640637188 lastest censorship]. To me it looks like plain vandalism. What is the exact problem with it? El Huinca (talk) 11:11, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Bayle wrote in 1697 : later or earlier what, it's not important. Paul Strathern is not a « modern novelist » he is « a British writer and academic. Besides five novels, he has also written books on science, philosophy, history, literature, medicine and economics. » Carlo Falconi was not an « ex-priest » he was « an Italian journalist and writer about Roman Catholicism » who happened to have briefly been a priest. Frimoussou (talk) 11:16, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

I suggest you to stop personal attacks. Frimoussou (talk) 11:42, 2 January 2015 (UTC)


For the record: Pierre Bayle in his commetary on Leo X (An historical and Critical Dictionary, volume 2 page 391) he speaks about Guicciardini and Jovius, and says that they were against the claims of either homosexuality or any other break of priestly vows. El Huinca (talk) 12:11, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Here is the record : "Not to conceal any thing, I am obliged to acquaint my reader that Paul Jovius does not place this ulcer in the place where Varillas does, but in the fundament, which would suppose a disgraceful cause : and with the same sincerity I add, that this pope ascended the throne with a great reputation of chastity, if we believe Guicciardini, and was reckoned very continent from his youth, if we credit Paul Jovius. Whence we must conclude that the papal dignity was that which ruined Leo the Tenth's good morals : he grew vicious, when he should have grown virtuous ; and lastly, I observe, that the sense in which I allege Varilla's words, and which Seckendorf gives them, is gathered only from consequences, and such as do not necessarily follow from them."

Here is a part of the article : "these were Leo's governor Francesco Guicciardini, who wrote "At the beginning of his pontificate most people deemed him very chaste; however, he was afterwards discovered to be exceedingly devoted – and every day with less and less shame – to that kind of pleasure that for honour's sake may not be named"

Personally, I don't see any contradiction.

Frimoussou (talk) 13:42, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Not a contradiction, only that McCabe added (invented) the second half: however, he was afterwards discovered to be exceedingly devoted – and every day with less and less shame – to that kind of pleasure that for honour's sake may not be named
Also as you see, Bayle said that Giovo did not believe Pope Medici was wounded in the combat of Venus: I am obliged to acquaint my reader that Paul Jovius does not place this ulcer in the place where Varillas does. El Huinca (talk) 14:11, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Giovio place the ulcer in the fundament (the ass isn't it ?) and it would be a proof the he did not believe Pope Medici was wounded in the combat of Venus ? It sounds weird to me... If the sentence "however, he was afterwards discovered to be exceedingly devoted – and every day with less and less shame – to that kind of pleasure that for honour's sake may not be named" is really an invention of McCabe, then you should cite a reference proving it's the case : a 18th century's document is absolutely not beyond doubt concerning homosexuality. At least we could cite the two versions until we know which one is the true version. Frimoussou (talk) 14:38, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to add my comments:
  • Strathern did not conclude that Leo X was an active homosexual!! Quite opposite!!! I've got Polish translation of his book and in the only passage that refers to the Leo's sexuality he claimed that although there were several laviscious parties at his court, he was not engaged personally in sexual activity.
  • What actually claimed Cesare Falconi is not clear to me and, I suppose, that the author that had added this reference (BTW, without number of the page) also did not have this book in his hand. Actually, the whole passage about the homosexuality is based on what had been written in the entry about Leo X in Who is who in gay end lesbian history?. Its author is a LGBT activist Giovanni dall'Orto. The accuracy of this entry depends on his reliability. However, even dall'Orto's citations from Falconi do not indicate that Falconi came to definitive conclusion about Leo's homosexuality, even if he clearly considered the accusation of sodomy as based on solid grounds. And the book of Cesareo is a source only for the content of some pasquinades, but not for the factual accuracy of these pasquinades
  • On the other hand, it is not true that citation from Guicciardini is an invention of McCabe. Guicciardini in one place praised Leo for his chastity, on the other, made an opposite statement. This self-contradiction led some historians (Gregorovius, von Pastor) to dismiss his accusation. Ludwig von Pastor examined the question of morality of Leo X and concluded that there is no reason to doubt seriously about his chastity. His arguments were following:
    • most of the contemporary reports praised Leo for his chastity; Leo's friend, Matteo Herculano, claimed expressis verbis, that he lived in chastity also as Pope,
    • there is no evidence of immorality of Leo X in the rich collection of diplomatic and espionage reports of the usually well informed emmissaries of Italian courts,
    • Guicciardini was not a resident of the papal court and in the different places made two different opinions about morality of Leo. Moreover, he spoke about his alleged dissolution only in the chapter about Clement VII. Indeed, in the sede vacante after the death of Leo X, the pasquinages were particularly offensive towards the dead Pope and Cardinals, and they were widely distributed also outside Rome (even in Germany). One may suppose that Guicciardini's claims might have been based on the these pasquinades, and not necessarily on the reliable reports
  • In conclusion, I can say that it is not true, that view of Leo's homosexuality is supported by many scholars. Besides, there are also notable authors, that, after having examined the same sources, came to the opposite conclusions (e.g. Gregorovius, von Pastor). The current content of the subsection "Sexuality" misrepresents what the sources actually say and is one-sided, ommiting the existing opposite opinions about the morality of Leo X CarlosPn (talk) 22:16, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for these very interesting comments. They could form the basis of a more balanced paragraph about Leo's homosexuality. It could be useful to know what Strathern and Falconi exactly claimed. It seems everybody agree that Leo X was chaste before he became the pope, but that Guicciardini really claimed it was not the case anymore after his election. A claim refuted by Matteo Herculano (even if he was a friend of the pope) and by Gregorovius and von Pastor, who pointed what they considered the contradictions of Giucciardini's testimony. Frimoussou (talk) 22:47, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
And what about Paolo Giovio ? Have you any comment to make about what he stated ? He is one of the "two leading papal historians" concerned by the controversy. Did his claims differ from Giucciardini's ? And was he a resident of the papal court who could be considered as more reliably documented than Giucciardini ?Frimoussou (talk) 22:50, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
I see you have already discussed that issue with Contaldo80 in 2009 : "Homosexual inclinations of Leo are rather undeniable. His only contemporary biographer Paolo Giovio mentions that he "flirted" with some of his chamberlains, and the context of this account can hardly be interpretated otherwise (although he seems to suggest that it was nothing more than "flirtation" and looks at this only as a trifle, not serious vice). The question is only: "active or not?". I'm afraid that, as in many similar cases, it is rather unlikely to achieve a final conclusion. CarlosPn (talk) 14:15, 13 May 2009 (CET)" It seems therefore that Paolo Giovio admitted Leo had homosexual inclinations, but perhaps platonic. Frimoussou (talk) 23:15, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm not an expert of Latin and the fragment in question is obscure. I understood it in the way I'd written it to Contaldo in 2009 but today I'm not sure of it. Giovio certainly speeks of "slenderous accusations" but it is not clear to me whether these flirtations are mentioned as facts or part of these "slenderous accusations". Certainly he did not confirm explicitly any homosexual activity. However, his declaration that the princes' "secrets of the night" shoould not be examined by historian makes the matter more complicated and prompted some authors such as McCabe to conclude that Giovio had actually belived the accusations to be true but hesitated to declare this openly. But what Giovio had actually in his mind, we may only speculate CarlosPn (talk) 23:33, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
So the paragraph about Leo X's sexuality is actually rather accurate. There is perhaps mainly two sentences to balance : "A academic writer and a modern biographer of Leo [9][10] have concluded that he was homosexual" (his homosexuality, active of platonic, is open to debate or something like that) and "failing to take into account two of the leading papal historians of the time who shared a belief that Leo engaged in "unnatural vice" (failing to take into account two of the leading papal historians of the time who seems to share a belief that Leo engaged in "unnatural vice, according to...); and perhaps add a sentence about the critics on Giuccardini. Frimoussou (talk) 00:01, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
I disagree about the relative accuracy of current text. It is difficult to decide about sexual orientation of Leo X basing on such a scarce and obscure evidence, and without any "personal" evidence (coming from Leo himself). Flirtations with chamberlains, even if true, do not neccessarily mean that he was homosexual - it may be perhaps a matter of specific humours. The academic discussion concern morality of Leo, not his sexual orientation, and can be described generally as inconclusive CarlosPn (talk) 15:49, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
"The academic discussion concern morality of Leo, not his sexual orientation"? Really ? I didn't understand that... So, we have to suppress and not balance (as I suggested) the paragraph about his sexuality, if morality and sexual orientation are totally different things... Frimoussou (talk) 16:33, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm of the opinion of not hiding anything. What I undersand from CarlosPn, is the academic discussion in the renaissance was about what they cared: if the pope was true to his vows or not (morality, what he does not what he is). Because back then nobody cared about the sexual orientation (pulsions), but they cared about engagement in vice, be it natural (fornication and adultery) or unnatural (sodomy and onanism). These modern authors say "since Jovius and Guicciardini accuse him of engaging in unnatural vice, then he was homosexual". My personal judgement is that the logic is faulty (why not bisexual?). But I did not rise that point because a wikipedian can not judge the logic of a source. What I pointed out is a problem with the premise: I still consider that the quotation of Guicciardini is wrong, because a quotation is supposed to be a literal copy of what the author said, with no changes. The exact text can not be found in Guicciardini's original text.

Anyone with internet connection has free and immediate access to the following editions:

Italian (original language):

German:

  • Darmstad, 1849: "Er wurde fur keusch gehalten und fur einen Mann von vollkommenen Sitte." Page 66.

French:

  • London 1738: "la réputation qu'il avoit lui-même d'être liberál, poli, & de moeurs irreprochables", page 317.

Spanish:

  • Spanish Manuscript: "estimado por casto y de perfectas costumbres", page 958. Copied by hand in the period 1691-1697.

English:

  • London edition of 1753: "the reputation of a chaste person and of unblameable manners", page 114.


In the source reliability noticeboard I asked for feedback regarding this issue. They have very good comments that I paste here:

I've only looked at the English translation (page 114 btw, not 144) and didn't find anything resembling the second half. I tried searching the book for various phrases that might have been used but couldn't find anything. I have seen several quotations probably originating from McCabe though, such as the "Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to the Mid-Twentieth Century"[1]. They also claim to quote Guicciardini, but doesn't make it clear what edition was used. Based on what I've seen I'd say that the book should be regarded as unreliable, but given how many other sources there are that uses the quote it should probably be mentioned in the article somewhere. Bjelleklang - talk 23:00, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, this is a strange one. On the one hand, multiple sources don't include that sentence, which points toward the unreliability of the sole dissenting source. But on the other hand, Joseph McCabe appears to be widely cited and quoted, and I find no sources commenting on his faulty quotations, so I'm not sure we could consider him unreliable. I am unable to find any sources speaking to this discrepancy, either, so any explanation we give would be WP:SYNTH. It may be that we state by source: multiple sources say X, and Joseph McCabe says X+Y. I could also see an argument for WP:DUE, where were simply go with the words favored by the most translations, which doesn't include the second sentence. Of course, whether or not Joseph McCabe is reliable is irrelevant at that point. Just my $0.02. Woodroar (talk) 07:01, 3 January 2015 (UTC)


At this point I find it really hard to believe that a heterosexual conspiracy extended from 1691 to 1929 with the purpose of modifying all editions of Guicciardini until McCabe came to save the day. If Wikipedia quotes an author, it must provide a source from that very author. Not from another one.

As for Jovius, you don't speak Latin and I can't expect you to believe my translation. So, first, I have posted a question in the Latin Wikipedia, and this is what somebody replied:

I suggest this: "And scandal was not absent, because he was seen to be quite improperly devoted to some of his personal attendants, who were from the noblest families of all Italy, and to joke with them freely and rather amorously. But in that extremely slanderous court did even the best and holiest of princes escape the stings [i.e. verbal attacks] of the spiteful?"

Which is not much different from what I suggested:

The Pope was not spared from false accusations, according to which he held dishonest love for some of his chamberlains (who came from the most noble families of Italy) and with whom he allegedly played tenderly and freely. But who, even and excellent and holy prince, can avoid the stings of the envious in such a court full of gossip?

I am now going to give the latin wiki user a link to this discussion so that he can provide more feedback.

El Huinca (talk) 18:00, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Addenda: see how the quotation we have now in the article misses something: the nobility of the attendants. But the quotation did not use a "(...)" to denote that it was skipping something. El Huinca (talk) 18:04, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

You "find it very hard to believe that a heterosexual conspiracy extended from 1691 to 1929" ? We have an example with the censure of Michelangelo's poetry : it was exactly what we are entitled to call a "heterosexual conspiracy" of lyers ; and it's only one example of heterosexual censure, as you should know, believe me... Why it wouldn't be the case with this pope ? The editions you cited could very well have been translations of translations... CarlosPn seems to agree that McCabe didn't invented the second part of Giucciardini's allegations and I don't know anyone but you that contest that fact. I don't know who is right. Perhaps CarlosPn could precise how we can establish that it's not an invention ? And if the text has been censured, which is the scholar(s) and/or the editors who published the good version ? If not, sure McCabe, who affirmed to have "literally" translated the original text, would effectively be dubious...Frimoussou (talk) 18:41, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Here is the fragment of Guicciardini (pp. 432-433). ElHuinca is simply talking about another fragment. The discrepancies between these two fragments prompted Ludwig von Pastor to dismiss the second one as unreliable CarlosPn (talk) 19:21, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Aoh, thank you very much. It was not so complicated to admit that McCabe didn't lie on his translation of these fragments finally... Frimoussou (talk) 20:05, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
If that translation of Jovius is the accurate : "And scandal was not absent, because he was seen to be quite improperly devoted to some of his personal attendants, who were from the noblest families of all Italy, and to joke with them freely and rather amorously. But in that extremely slanderous court did even the best and holiest of princes escape the stings [i.e. verbal attacks] of the spiteful?", all we can conclude is that he don't make a conclusion in a sense or in another, so we can't affirm that Jovius stated that he was homosexual, but we can't affirm the opposite, as we could do if the translation of El Huinca was the good one : "The Pope was not spared from false accusations" (it's not exactly the same meaning). Anyway, it would be good to introduce some scholarly references... Frimoussou (talk) 18:41, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
[Edit conflict -- I think in general I'm agreeing with Frimoussou's post!] I was the Vicipaedian who made a suggested translation. Please forgive me for not having read the whole discussion above. It's clear to me that the modern label "homosexual" helps to cause a problem, because in earlier periods labels of that kind were less often applied, so they aren't often found in the sources.
Paulus Jovius says nothing, and implies nothing, and doesn't claim to know anything or that there is anything to know, about what Pope Leo X did in private. He's saying that there was scandal and that it was caused by the fact that the Pope was seen, in the court, to be attracted to some of his attendants, and by his "tender" or "amorous" (we might say "suggestive") speech and jokes with them.
In my view, "infamy", although it happens that this word is used in Latin, is too strong in English for what Paulus Jovius is saying; in my view also, "false accusations" is a mistake because Paulus Jovius is not denying the accusations, he is simply reporting them. I chose "scandal" because scandal can be true or false.
In my view "played" is misleading because in English it tends to imply physical acts of some kind. The Latin "iocari" means to joke, jest or speak playfully. I don't know if any of this helps at all ... Andrew Dalby 18:50, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
I shouldn't be doing this, I've got a book to finish ...
I can help with the Guicciardini quotation. The long quotation, with the extra details, is correct -- everyone above was looking in the wrong place, I think. It's a long book. I found it by looking back at McCabe, who gives a precise citation here (page 409 footnote 2). OK, in book 16 chapter 5, where he sums up Leo's pontificate, Guicciardini really does say what is quoted. On the Italian Wikisource it's book 16 chapter 12, and this is the Italian text:
Credettesi per molti, nel primo tempo del pontificato, che e’ fusse castissimo; ma si scoperse poi dedito eccessivamente, e ogni dí piú senza vergogna, in quegli piaceri che con onestà non si possono nominare.
That says, as close as I can get it, "those pleasures that cannot be named with decency". and Guicciardini doesn't say this was "alleged", he says it was "revealed", so he is treating it as true. Again, hope that helps. Andrew Dalby 20:02, 3 January 2015 (UTC) I see that CarlosPn arrived one hour ahead of me, above, with the same information!
Very much indeed. I'm happy not to have been a "vandal" when I reverted El Huinca's "definitive" edits after all... What a loss of time on these translations.Frimoussou (talk) 20:08, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Andrew Dalby and Frimoussou for your patient work. I'm sorry I came so late to be able to make any useful contribution. It's so sad that in 2015 a number of editors are still motivated by such intense "religious fervor" against articles which deal with the issue of homosexuality. Much better to deal with the issue in a dispassionate and objective way I believe - treating it no differently to any other detail concerning the life of Leo X. Contaldo80 (talk) 14:05, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Search for consensus[edit]

The purpose of a talkpage is to facilitate consensus on disputed topics appertaining to the relative article. Editors are not obliged to abandon their personal convictions in talk when striving for consensus. The article can reflect personal opinions held by editors if they can adduce reliable sources to the same effect ; even then, questions of proper weight, balance and proportion (see WP:BALASPS, WP:UNDUE and the bar on WP:FRINGE) limit scope for editors to parade their preoccupations under cover of edits. Nor is "biased" sufficient to exclude a source (see WP:BIASED).

Note also, as stated in the relevant policy statement:-

Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation in reliable sources on the subject . . We should keep in mind that, in determining proper weight, we consider a viewpoint's prevalence in reliable sources, not its prevalence among Wikipedia editors or the general public.

Disagreement over the title, content, and even existence of the "Sexuality" sub-section is manifest not only from the vigorous interventions here (see topics 5,6,9, and 12-18 above), but in its vexed edit history from its creation in March 2008 by Contaldo80 (blanked on grounds of plagiarism two months later, and restored in a new form by Contaldo80 days after).

The sub-section originally began "Various indications point to Leo's homosexuality" and ended " . . the question of Leo's homosexuality may in future be discussed on the basis of firmer evidence." To my mind, that remains a truer reflection of the sources than the current version, although the dispassionate observer might contest the viability of so flaccid a piece. It might merit space in a gay Who's Who scrabbling for entries; but in an encyclopedia? Hence the strenuous but (as I believe) vain efforts over the years to firm up this speculative and tentative material which still discloses its true nature in (a) the editorial use of words such as "implying", "allegedly", "suggestions", and "suspicions" and (b) the vague and allusive nature of what is adduced from the sources.

In an attempt to move the discussion to a positive and stable outcome I created on my userpage one sandbox to explore the issues, and a another for exploring what a credible draft of the sub-section might look like. All editors are welcome to join in. Ridiculus mus (talk) 11:54, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

@sandbox: Strathern in his history of the Medici family actually does not indicate that Leo was homosexual. He says only that there were laviscious parties at his court, with young boys in puddings, but Leo himself was not engaged in sexual activity. CarlosPn (talk) 19:33, 6 February 2015 (UTC)