What Made a Renaissance Cardinal Respectable? The Case of Cardinal Costa of Portugal
Jorge Costa (?–1508), archbishop of Lisbon in 1464 and appointed cardinal by Sixtus IV in 1476, followed a rags-to-riches life. Spending his later life at the papal court, he was protector of Portuguese ecclesiastical interests and pilgrims in Rome, and also represented Portugal's commitment against the Infidel and expansion of Christian power and commerce. As such, he exercised great political influence; was a trusted conciliator; and had many of the attributes felt to be necessary for a cardinal, including a lavish lifestyle, theological learning and possession of a library. He was twice close to becoming pope, in 1492 and again in 1503. It was said of him that he was ‘huomo tutto allegro, tutto schietto… che no sappi fingere… procede realmente nelle cose et damna le molte cerimonie et parole et modi di noi altri Italiani’.