Raised in the splendid court of Mantua, wealthy even by the standards of Renaissance cardinals, the patron of artists and scholars, the father of numerous children, an active participant in Italian and European politics as regent of the Duchy of Mantua, Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga (1505-1563) was in many respects a typical Renaissance prelate from a noble family. Nevertheless, in the course of his life he also exhibited a real commitment to reform of the Church and gave serious attention to the religious debates of his day. He reformed the diocese of Mantua, befriended reformers both Catholic and Protestant, and served as papal legate to the Council of Trent. Ruling Peacefully provides the first in-depth study of this influential and paradoxical figure.
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