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Pius II

Pope from 1458. Born Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini near Siena, he was the most famous papal representative of Renaissance humanism. After studying at the University of Siena and at Florence, he became secretary to Domenico Capranica and accompanied him to the [[Council of Basle]]* (1431-35). Rising rapidly in the council’s service due to his oratorical skill, he went on diplomatic missions to England and Scotland and became secretary to the conciliar pope, Felix V. Sensing the growing futility of the council, he entered the service of [[Frederick III]]* of Germany (1442). Personal suffering and his conviction that action must be taken against the Turks led him to adopt a more serious lifestyle. He submitted to Pope [[Eugenius IV]] (1445) and was ordained (1446) and made bishop (1447). After negotiating the Concordat of Aschaffenburg he was created a cardinal (1456).