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Federigo Fregoso

Cardinal; b. at Genoa, about 1480; d. July 22, 1541

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Fregoso, FEDERIGO, cardinal; b. at Genoa, about 1480; d. July 22, 1541; belonged to the Fregosi, one of the four great burgess families who from the end of the fourteenth century gave many doges to the republic. Federigo was the son of Agostino Fregoso, governor of Genoa in 1488 for Ludovic Moro, and of Gentilla de Montefeltre, niece of Guidobaldo, Duke of Urbino. His brother, Ottaviano, was Doge of Genoa. Having spent his youth at the court of his uncle, the Duke of Urbino, he took Holy orders, and in 1507 received from Julius II the Archbishopric of Salerno. But the King of Spain having refused to recognize him because of his sympathies with France, the Pope promised him the See of Gubbio. At the court of Urbino, Federigo had received a good classical education, and had allied himself with such humanists as Bembo and Baldassare Castiglione. Every day he withdrew himself from his occupations in order to devote several hours to the study of the ancients. Nevertheless, circumstances were to make him a man of action.

In 1510, after the troubles in Genoa and the victory of the Adorni, Federigo was exiled and compelled to seek refuge at Rome. Three years later, the Fregosi returned to Genoa, Ottaviano was elected Doge, and Federigo, having become his chief counsellor, was-placed at the head of the army, and defended the republic against internal dangers (revolts of the Adorni and the Fieschi) and external dangers (suppression of the Barbary piracy). Cortogoh, a corsair from Tunis, blockaded the coast with a squadron, and within a few days had captured eighteen merchantmen. Being given the command of the Genoese fleet, in which Andrea Doria was serving, Federigo surprised Cortogoli before Bizerta, effected a descent on the island of Djerba and returned to Genoa with great booty. The Fregosi had recognized Francis I, King of France, as Lord of Genoa. In 1522, Charles V besieged the city. Federigo directed the defense and was wounded. The Spaniards having taken the city by assault, he was compelled to seek safety on a French vessel. Francis I accorded him a warm reception and gave him the Abbey of St. Benignus at Dijon. Here he devoted himself to the study of Greek and Hebrew, but he had quarrels with the monks, who could not endure his severity, and he returned to Italy. In 1529 he resigned the See of Salerno and was named titular Bishop of Gubbio. In 1539 Paul III made him a cardinal-priest, with the title of St. John and St. Paul. He died at Gubbio, in 1541, mourned by the people of his diocese, who had named him, “the father of the poor”. He wrote several edifying works, and some of his letters are in the collections of Bembo and Baldassare Castiglione.



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