Gattinara, Mercurino Arborio di
GATTINARA, MERCURINO ARBORIO DI
Grand chancellor of Emperor charles v, cardinal; b. Castello di Arborio, Vercelli (Piedmont), Italy, June 10, 1465; d. Innsbruck, Austria, June 5, 1530. Gattinara, orphaned at 14, was raised at Vercelli in the household of his uncle Pietro di Gattinara. His studies in jurisprudence began under the distinguished lawyer Bartolomeo Ranzo and were completed at the University of Turin. He became a successful advocate, then a professor of law at the University of Dôle and a jurisconsult for Philibert II, Duke of Savoy. After the Duke's death in 1504, he served the Duke's widow, Margaret of Austria (1480–1530). When Margaret was chosen by Emperor Maximilian I to be regent of the Netherlands and guardian of his grandson Charles, Gattinara remained in her court. There he oriented the political interests of the future Charles V away from the narrow dynastic traditions of the Burgundian court and toward the principles of universal monarchy, which he had himself learned from Dante's De Monarchia. In 1513 Gattinara was named president of the Council of the Netherlands; he was later accused of treason, and after defending himself he retired to a Carthusian monastery. Maximilian, needing his services, returned him to power and sent him on diplomatic missions to France, Italy, and Spain. Charles, after his accession to the throne of Spain (1516), made Gattinara his grand chancellor to succeed Jean de Sauvage, who died June 7,1518. In this office, which he kept until his death, Gattinara influenced Charles's statecraft concerning the need of a general council as a political and religious move, and an Italian policy that would oust French control from northern Italy. He was created a cardinal and bishop of Ostia by Clement VII in 1529.
Gattinara's concept of imperial power is expressed in a memorandum sent to Charles after his election on June 28, 1519. It reminded the new Emperor that he now had power hitherto possessed only by Charlemagne, and that he "was on the way to world sovereignty and the gathering of all Christendom under one shepherd." He left a large correspondence, essays on political subjects, and an autobiography edited by C. Bornate, "Historia vitae et gestorum per dominum magnum cancellarium …," Miscellanea di storia italiana, 3d ser. 17 (Turin 1915) 231–585.
Bibliography: k. brandi, The Emperor Charles V: The Growth and Destiny of a Man and a World-Empire, tr. c. v. wedgwood (New York 1939). Jedin Trent 1. c. bornate, Enciclopedia Italiana di scienzi, littere ed arti 16:451. p. mikat, Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche 4:530. p. sannazzaro, Enciclopedia cattolica 5:1960–61.
[e. d. mcshane]