Julius died and he left Michelangelo 10,000 ducats (approximately 450,000.00 in toda’s money). The tomb was never built. But the Basilica would continue. Julius was interred in the vault of his uncle, Sixtus IV. The arrangement was meant to be temporary and in a certain way it was. About fifteen years later, during the sack of Rome, the tomb was violated and the graves desecrated. The elegant bronze tomb of Sixtus IV was displaced (it is now in the museum of the Treasury in Saint Peter’s Basilica) and replaced--a cenutry anhd a half later--by stone slab marking the vault as the grave of Clement X who died in 1676. The three popes are jammed in the vault like the poor three to a bed. Sic transit gloria mundi.
Julius died leaving the Church quite secure financially—with the equivalent of about 18,000,000 USD in the treasury—half in gold the other in jewels and ornaments. It wouldn’t go far in the Vatican today but was a lot in those days. Nevertheless, Julius was anxious to provide a steady flow of income for his basilica and so only a few months before he died he approved his banker, Agostino Chigi’s, scheme of selling indulgences. Julius didn’t know it, but it was an unfortunate note to go out on. On the brighter side he also called a Council—Lateran V—for the reform of the Church. It was not totally a noble gesture; it was meant to ward off the threat from calls for Reform coming from papal enemies such as Louis XII of France, but better to do the right thing for the wrong reason than not to do the right thing. We’ll talk more about Lateran V when our blog entries on Reformations catches up to this point. In the meantime stay tuned.