These local princes were also dueling with the popes

These local princes were also dueling with the popes -...

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These local princes were also dueling with the popes; for during these years the popes  served not only as the spiritual heads of the Roman Catholic Church, but also as  secular rulers, dominating large swathes of territory in central Italy, and playing politics  as well as any Italian prince or duke. The Renaissance Popes were a colorful group who  acted as great patrons of the flourishing artistic culture, but whose holiness left  something to be desired. The reign of the notorious Alexander VI (1492-1503) had  marked the Church's moral low-point: Alexander kept a number of mistresses and  schemed, unsuccessfully, to make his illegitimate son ruler of all Italy.  By Galileo's youth, the Church was well on its way to ridding itself of the excesses of  Alexander and his fellows, but their efforts came too late–a reaction had already broken  out in northern Europe, led by a former monk named Martin Luther. This movement, 
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These local princes were also dueling with the popes -...

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