Born in lowly obscurity, Innocenzo became one of the more infamous beneficiaries of papal nepotism—a word that entered English parlance from the Italian phrase for “Cardinal-Nephews”—when in 1552 he was appointed by his ward, the recently-elected Pope Julius III. The new Cardinal was young, barely literate and widely reviled by his peers. Known for his licentious appetites, rumors swirled that he even shared a bed with the Pope himself. His reputation blackened further after he was convicted later in life of committing both murders and rape.
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