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Urban VIII

Pope from 1623. This politically minded pope, classical scholar, and embellisher of the city of Rome was born into the wealthy Florentine Barberini family, and given the Christian name “Maffeo.” Educated by the Jesuits in Florence, he later studied at their Roman college and eventually took a doctorate of laws at Pisa (1589). He returned to Rome and held several offices in the church and Curia. He was legate and later nuncio to France (1601, 1604), was created cardinal (1606), made bishop of Spoleto (1608), legate of Bologna and prefect of Segnatura di Guistizia (1617), and finally was elected pope. Politically and militarily active, he spent great sums to establish an arms factory in Tivoli and various fortifications (including the Castel St. Angelo and Fort Urban), and even made the Vatican Library into an arsenal. He was jealous of the papal temporal power and pursued a balance-of-power policy consonant with that end. He reversed the pro-Hapsburg policy of his successor by fighting