Giuliano della Rovere, a nephew of Pope Sixtus 4th (r. 1471-84), became pope himself and took the name Julius 2nd (1503). Head of the Latin Church, he ironically displayed great devotion to Jupiter, false god of politics, by participating in a bewildering and shifting series of alliances. He expressed his love for Mars, false god of war, by personally leading military campaigns against political enemies in Latium and Noricum. He did all this to free himself and his territories from interference by the French king.
Julius also generously supported the arts. He started construction of a gigantic new building to honor the apostle Peter in 1506. He hired Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, named in honor of his uncle Sixtus, which Michelangelo did from 1508 to 1511. Michelangelo also completed a larger-than-life statue of Moses for the tomb of Julius (1515). Julius also hired Raphael to create The School of Athens (1509-11) and three other large paintings on the walls of the Vatican papal palace.
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