Giovanni Battista Rinuccini was born in Rome on the 15th of September 1592, being the son of a senator. He studied at several Italian universities, became chamberlain to Pope Gregory XV, and in 1625 was made Archbishop of Fermo.
His participation in Irish politics, which is his chief title to fame, began during the later stages of the Civil War when Ireland was the scene of universal disorder. In 1645 Pope Innocent X despatched him to that country as papal nuncio; he landed at Kenmare with arms and money in October 1645, and took up his residence at Kilkenny. Before this time the Roman Catholics had banded themselves together for defence. Called the Confederate Catholics, they had set up a provisional government, and when the nuncio reached Kilkenny they were engaged in negotiating for peace with the Lord Lieutenant, the marquess, afterwards Duke of Ormonde. Rinuccini took part in the proceedings, but as his demands were ignored he refused to recognize the peace which was concluded in March 1646, and gaining the support of the Irish general, Owen Roe O'Neill, he used all his influence, both ecclesiastical and political, to prevent its acceptance by others. To a large extent he succeeded. Meeting at Waterford, the clergy condemned the treaty and several towns took up the same attitude.
The nuncio's most pliant helper was now Edward Somerset, Earl of Glamorgan, afterwards Marquess of Worcester, who had been sent to Ireland by Charles I, and who had entered into communication with Rinuccini when. the latter first arrived in that country. Glamorgan. bound himself to carry out all the wishes of the nuncio, who intended that he should supplant Ormonde. In September 1646 Rinuccini took over the conduct of affairs. He imprisoned his opponents on the council and tried to arrange for an attack on Dublin. But there was no harmony among his subordinates, his military plans failed and soon all parties were tacitly ignoring him. Leaving Kilkenny he stayed for some time in Galway, and in February 1649 he left Ireland. After visiting Rome he returned to Fermno in 1650 and died on the 5th of December 1653.
See G. Aiazzi, La Nunziatura in Irlanda (Florence 1844), English translation as The Embassy in Ireland, by A. Hutton (Dublin, 1873); and S. R. Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War, vols. iii. and iv.(1905).
Being the entry for RINUCCINI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.