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Pier Luigi Farnese
(November 19, 1503 - September 10, 1547) Italy

Pier Luigi Farnese

1st Duke of Parma & Piacenza

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Pier Luigi Farnese was born in Rome, the illegitimate son of Alessandro Farnese, who in 1534 became pope as Paul III. The pope used his office to aggrandize his family and created his son Pier Luigi, Gonfaloniere (military leader) of the Church, Duke of Castro in 1537, marquis of Novara, and finally in 1545 the pope detached lands from the papal dominions, in spite of the cardinals opposition, to create the duchy of Parma and Piacenza for his illegitimate son. Pier Luigi attacked fiscal and judicial abuses; he thereby gained the hatred of the nobility.

Thus the first Farnese duke, Pier Luigi, began to rule Parma and Piacenza, but only to die two years later, in 1547, the victim of a plot of Piacenza's nobilty, with the aid of Gonzaga - they killed him cutting his throat, and threw his body in the moat below. Pier Luigi was a man of infamous habits, quite unfit for the high dignities conferred on him.

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His father, the pope, in 1535 had a letter sent to Pier Luigi about his scandalous behaviour:

"...[the pope], having heard that you kept with you those young men, the same he spoke to you about at his departure for Perugia, was so annoyed that I cannot easily express, and he is grieving for three reasons - one being God's service, as he feels that as long as you persist in such a sin you cannot obtain any good; another being the honor of the [Farnese] Home; and the third, the little care you have about His Holiness' orders, as he several times and in many occasion forbade you to do such things. You will therefore send the young men away from you, also because, going at the court of the Emperor, who hates such kind of vice, it will be more than certain that you cannot take them youths with you without a great infamy and shame, not only in front of His Majesty but also in face of the other greats [of the empire]..."

Notwithstanding his father's worries and orders, in 1537 Pier Luigi Farnese raped, in the town of Fano (central Italy), the 24-year-old bishop Cosimo Gheri. While his servants tied the young prelate and kept him still, menacing and beating him with their daggers, Pier Luigi gave vent to his lust on him. The poor bishop died 40 days later, allegedly for rhe rape he had suffered.

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Source: "Babilonia" #162, January 1998, pp. 26-27 - et alii

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