« Archpresbyter Arcimboldi, Giovanni Angelo Areopagus »

Arcimboldi, Giovanni Angelo

ARCIMBOLDI, ɑ̄r´´chîm-bol´dî, GIOVANNI ANGELO: Archbishop of Milan 1550-55; d. at Milan Apr. 6, 1555. He belonged to an old and famous family in Milan, where his father was senator and councilor and his uncle archbishop. Before reaching his thirtieth year, he was apostolic protonotary and referendary to Leo X., who employed him in various financial matters connected with the building of St. Peter’s, and on Dec. 2, 1514, named him commissary-general of the indulgence for a large part of Germany and for Scandinavia, with the rank and powers of a legate a latere. Another document of September, 1516, entrusted him with the functions of a political peacemaker in Sweden. He spent some time in North Germany, especially at Lübeck and Hamburg, and made full use of his powers, which included various means of raising money by the sale of titles and privileges. He then went through the diocese of Ratzeburg to Holstein, and came in 1516 or 1517 to Copenhagen. In return for a payment of 1100 Rhenish florins, King Christian granted him license to proclaim his indulgences in Denmark. He reached Sweden in March, 1518, having promised Christian to work for him and his policy of union between the three Scandinavian kingdoms. Sten Sture the younger, then viceroy, as leader of the national party, was striving for the complete independence of Sweden, and at this time was especially involved in a struggle with the prelates of the union party; he had forced, sword in hand, the resignation of the ambitious and stubborn archbishop Gustav Trolls. At the end of the year, Arcimboldi was in Stockholm and Upsala; and Sten Sture spared no pains to win over the clever and powerful legate, and fully succeeded. At the assembly of Arboga in December, 1518, the appointed peacemaker confirmed the canonically unjust sentence of the Swedish Diet against Gustav Trolle, induced probably by the rich presents he received and by the hope of gaining the metropolitan dignity. Meantime he took in large sums of money from all Sweden and Norway in return for his indulgences. But Christian II. was naturally little pleased with the behavior of the legate; besides complaining to the pope, he seized his treasures, imprisoned his brother Antonio, and threatened to do the same to him. Arcimboldi saved himself by flight to Lund, then in Danish territory, whence he passed through Sweden again and so back to Lübeck, where the difference in big reception showed the approach of the Reformation, and where he found affixed to the church-doors a bull obtained from the pope by Christian, excommunicating Sten Sture and all who had aided him in the deposition of Trolls. He returned to Rome and succeeded in changing the pope’s 276 views, which was the easier as Christian had shown an inclination toward the Reformation, and had also (1520) aroused the horror of Europe by beheading a large number of Swedish nobles in order to strengthen his position. Arcimboldi was not, however, fully restored to favor for some years. In return for the influence of his family, exerted to win Milan for Charles V., he was made bishop of Novara in 1525, and archbishop of Milan in 1550.

(Herman Lundström.)

Bibliography: B. Zimmermann, De J. A. Arcimboldo, Upsala, 1761; J. M. Schröck, Christliche Kirchengeschichte seit der Reformation, ii. 11, Leipsic, 1805: F. L. G. Raumer, Geschichte Europas seit dem Ende des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts, ii 103, Leipsic, 1833; J. Weidling, Schwedische Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation, Gotha, 1882; K. Hamann, Ein Ablassbrief Arcimboldi aus dem Jahre 1516, Hamburg, 1884: and literature on the Reformation in Sweden.

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