Giambattista Orsini

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For the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, see Giovanni Battista Orsini.
Coat of arms of Cardinal Giambattista Orsini.

Giambattista Orsini (died February 22, 1503) (also called Giovanni Battista Orsini or Jean-Baptiste des Ursins) was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal.


Giambattista Orsini was born in Rome before 1450, the son of Lorenzo Orsini, signore of Monte Rotondo, and Clarice Orsini, sister of Cardinal Latino Orsini.[1]

Early in his career, he became a cleric of the Apostolic Camera.[1] He was next an Auditor of the Roman Rota.[1] He was a canon of St. Peter's Basilica.[1] Finally, he became a protonotary apostolic.[1]

In the consistory of November 15, 1483, Pope Sixtus IV made him a cardinal deacon and he received the deaconry of Santa Maria in Domnica.[1] He received the red hat on November 19, 1483.[1]

He participated in the papal conclave of 1484 that elected Pope Innocent VIII.[1] The new pope named Cardinal Orsini papal legate to the March of Ancona on September 22, 1484.[1]

In 1486, because of the conflict between the pope and the Orsini family, he traveled to Rome to attempt to effect a reconciliation, but left a short time later.[1]

In 1488 or 1489, he opted for the deaconry of Santa Maria Nova.[1]

On November 5, 1490, he became apostolic administrator of the metropolitan see of Taranto, holding this office until September 24, 1498.[1]

He participated in the papal conclave of 1492 that elected Pope Alexander VI.[1] On August 31, 1492, the new pope named him papal legate to the March of Ancona.[1]

On February 27, 1493, he opted for the order of cardinal priests and received the titular church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.[1]

He was ordained as a priest in his titular church on March 12, 1493.[1]

When Charles VIII of France came to Rome on December 31, 1494 as part of the Italian Wars, Cardinal Orsini went with the pope to the Castel Sant'Angelo.[1] On January 21, 1495, he was elected Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals.[1] On May 27, 1495, with a French army approaching Rome, Cardinal Orsini left with the pope for Orvieto.[1] He became archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in September 1498.[1] On September 23, 1499, he left Rome for Milan as papal legate to the King of France; he returned on November 16.[1] In 1500, he was again papal legate to the March of Ancona, leaving on his legation on July 29, 1500.[1]

On July 12, 1502, he asked the pope for permission to visit the King of France in Milan; the pope did not agree, but he nevertheless left the next day, attending a meeting of the Orsini family at Lake Trasimeno to conspire against the pope's son, Cesare Borgia.[1] Cardinal Orsini was soon thereafter arrested on the pope's orders and flung into the Castel Sant'Angelo.[1] He died there twelve days later, on February 22, 1503, probably poisoned on the orders of the pope or Cesare Borgia.[1]