|Ximenez De Cisneros, Francisco (1436-1517)
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Cardinal Ximenez, had three 'passions:
God, Spain, and his King...72
|Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo.
In 1492, a new epoch in his life began when he reluctantly accepted the office of confessor to Queen Isabella, to whom he had been recommended by Mendoza. His advice was soon sought on affairs of state as well as on strictly spiritual matters. In 1494, he was appointed under the Queen's influence Provincial of the Franciscans in Castile and in the face of formidable opposition carried through drastic reforms esp. among the Conventuals. On the death of Mendoza (1495), he succeeded, again with great reluctance, to the Archbishopric of Toledo, the most influential 'see' in Spain, and an office which carried with it the High Chancellorship of Castile. Behind the outward splendor of his position, Ximenez continued to live a severely ascetic life. In 1499, he followed the court to Granada, where he was active in promoting measures to convert the Moors. On the death of Isabella (24 Nov. 1504), Ferdinand resigned his title of King of Castile, and Ximenez was faced with the delicate political task of establishing concord between Ferdinand and his son-in-law, the Archduke Philip of Burgundy, who succeeded to the throne. Ferdinand eventually agreed to retire from Castile. On the sudden death of Philip in 1506, Ximenez found himself the virtual ruler of Castile, until Ferdinand returned from Naples in Aug. 1507, bringing for the Archbishop a cardinal's hat. In 1509, he led a Spanish force to Oran in Morocco (see Fas) for purposes partly religious and partly territorial. On the death of Ferdinand (23 Jan. 1516), Ximenez became regent of Castile during the 'minority' of the later Charles V. Intrigues at home and in Flanders, where Charles was then living, made his position extremely difficult, but his vigorous measures enabled him to maintain his authority. On his way to meet Charles, who had landed in Asturias and virtually dismissed him from his office, he died at Roa on 8 Nov. 1517, not without a suspicion of poison.43
|In addition to his services to the Church, Ximenez was a zealous patron of learning. In 1500 he founded on a lavish scale out of his private income the university of Alcala (opened 1508), to which he brought distinguished scholars from Paris, Bologna, and Salamanca.43