Publication Date



Antonio de Fuenmayor's Vida y Hechos de Pío V (1595) is one of the earliest hagiographic texts written about Pius V, the most famous of Counter‐Reformation popes and the victor of the Battle of Lepanto (1571). But, because Fuenmayor wrote in Spanish rather than Italian, his text has never received much attention. This article presents it in its context for the first time and argues that Fuenmayor highlights an important problem in the developing genre of early modern Spanish historiography: how to incorporate the pope in the national histories promoted by Philip II, III, and IV? Contemporary Spaniards praised Fuenmayor's text highly, a fact which may have had as much to do with its highly political role as a critical rebuke of Clement VIII and, later, of Urban VIII as it did with the text's literary qualities. The fact that Fuenmayor's depiction of Pius V is just as carefully constructed as better‐known Italian examples underlines how Italians, though they staffed most of the papacy's offices at this time, held no monopoly over how the pope's image was defined. Other Catholics, in this case the Spanish Monarchy, put forward rival visions which better served their own interests, even when those visions were at odds with those projected from Rome in order to further their own political interests.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.