Pope Pius III, born Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 22 September 1503 to his death. He had one of the shortest pontificates in papal history.
Pope Alexander VI died in 1503 and amid the disturbances consequent upon his death, it took the combined pressures of all the ambassadors to induce Cesare Borgia to withdraw from Rome so that an unpressured conclave might take place. Cardinal Piccolomini was elected on 22 September 1503 and he named himself "Pius III" after his uncle Pius II. This selection can be seen as a compromise between factions, Borgia and della Rovere, picking a frail cardinal with long experience in the Roman Curia over the kin of either Sixtus IV or Alexander VI.
Piccolomini had not been ordained nor consecrated so on 30 September 1503 he received ordination. Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere consecrated him on 1 October 1503 in the Vatican and his coronation took place on 8 October 1503. Cardinal Protodeacon Raffaello Sansoni Riario performed the coronation and several of the features of the celebration had to be omitted due to his frail health.
On 13 October he was on his deathbed with gout and after a brief pontificate of 26 days he died on 18 October 1503. He died after celebrating a consistory (he didn't create new cardinals) of an ulcer in the leg or, as some have alleged, of poison administered at the instigation of Pandolfo Petrucci, the ruler of Siena.