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August 19 , 2018

Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino, Volume II (of 3) (Illustrated)

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THE principal object of the new combination having been attained by the submission of Urbino, followed by that of Camerino, Borgia hastened to anticipate the suspicions of his allies by sending the French succours back to Milan. He however retained a body of troops, and proposed that the chiefs should co-operate with him in reducing Sinigaglia, which was held by the late Prefect's widow. Accordingly, Paolo Orsini, his relation the Duke of Gravina, Vitellozzo, and Liverotto advanced upon that town, the garrison of which was commanded by the celebrated Andrea Doria. This remarkable man, finding himself excluded by the state of parties at Genoa from all prospect of preferment, had in youth adopted the career of a condottiere. He took service with Giovanni della Rovere, distinguishing himself greatly in the campaign of Charles VIII. at Naples; after which he continued attached to the Prefect and his widow, with a hundred light horse. Seeing the case of Sinigaglia desperate, and dreading Liverotto's bitter hatred of the Rovere race, he retired, having first-4- sent off the Prefectess on horseback to Florence, disguised as a friar. On the 28th of December, the assailants took undisputed possession of the city, and sacked it. His prey now in his toils, Valentino, who had lulled their suspicion by keeping aloof with his troops in Romagna, flew to the spot on the pretext of reducing the citadel, and on the 31st arrived at the town with a handful of cavalry.

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He was met three miles outside of the gate by the chiefs, and immediately requested their attendance in the house of one Bernardino di Parma, to receive his congratulations and thanks on their success. At the same time he desired quarters to be provided for their respective followings outside of the city, in order to admit his own army, amounting to two thousand cavalry and ten thousand infantry. Startled at the appearance of a force so disproportioned to the service in hand, they would gladly have demurred to this distribution of the troops, but Cesare had contrived that there should be no opportunity for remonstrance, and resistance would have obviously been too late. Affecting a confidence they were far from feeling, the leaders accepted the invitation, and were received with cordiality and distinction. After an interchange of compliments, Borgia withdrew upon some pretext, when there immediately entered his chosen agent of iniquity, Don Michelotto, with several armed followers, who, after some resistance, arrested the Duke of Gravina, Paolo Orsini, Vitellozzo, and Liverotto, with some ten others. Before morning the two last were strangled with a Pisan cord, or violin-string, and a wrench-pin, by the hands of that monster, in his master's presence. Their death, according to Machiavelli, was cowardly, especially that of the blood-stained Liverotto; and their bodies, after being dragged round the piazza, were exposed for three days before burial.

That night Valentino, at the head of his Gascons, attacked six thousand of these captains' troops, which-5- had not dispersed on hearing the capture of their leaders, slaughtering and plundering them with the same barbarity they had themselves used towards the citizens. The greater portion were cut to pieces, and those who escaped reached their homes naked, having only straw tied round their legs. Fabio Orsini was saved by his accidental absence from Borgia's levee; Petrucci and Baglioni, suspicious of treachery, had avoided their fate by previously retiring home. Against the last of these, Borgia marched in a few days, carrying with him the remaining chiefs, of whom he reserved the Orsini until he should hear his father's intentions; but each night after supper he is said to have had one of the others brought out, and put to a cruel death before him. Thus did he, by a dexterous stroke of the most refined duplicity, turn the tools of his ambition into victims of his vengeance, and at the same time ridded himself of faithless adherents, whom any change in his fortune would have again converted into overt and implacable foes.[1]

Vermiglioli, in his life of Malatesta Baglioni, has printed, from the archives of Perugia, a letter from Borgia to the magistrates of that city, which, in consideration of the comparative obscurity of that interesting volume, we shall here translate. It is, perhaps, the only known document fully stating the case of the writer, and so may be regarded as his defence from the charges we have brought against him: the style and orthography are remarkably rude; and the matter abounds in that common expedient,-6- whereby bold and bad men seek to evade merited accusations, by throwing them upon those they have outraged.[2]

"Magnificent and potent Lords, my special Friends and Brothers;

"Superfluous were it to narrate from their outset the perfidious rebellion and atrocious treason, so known to yourselves and to all the world, and so detestable, which your [lords, the Baglioni,] and their accomplices have committed against his Holiness the Pope and ourselves. And although all were our vassals, and most of them in our pay, received and caressed by us as sons or brothers, and favoured with high promotion, they nevertheless, regardless of the kindness of his Holiness and our own, as of their individual honour, banded in schemes of overweening ambition, and blinded by greed of tyranny, have failed us at the moment of our utmost need, turning his Holiness' arms and ours against him and ourselves, for the overthrow of our sovereignty and person. They commenced their aggressions upon us by raising our states of Urbino, Camerino, and Montefeltro, throwing all Romagna into confusion by force and by seditious plots, and proceeding under the mask of reconciliation to fresh offences, until our new levies were brought up in irresistible force. And so atrocious was their baseness, that neither the beneficent clemency of his [Holiness] aforesaid, nor our renewed indulgence to them, weaned them from the slough of their first vile designs, in which they still persisted. And as soon as they learned the departure of the French troops on their return towards Lombardy, whereby they deemed us weakened and left with no effective force, they, feigning an urgent desire to aid in our attack upon Sinigaglia, mustered a third only of their infantry, and concealed the-7- remainder in the houses about, with instructions to draw together at nightfall, and unite with the men-at-arms, whom they had posted in the neighbourhood, meaning, at a given moment, to throw the infantry, through the garrison (with whom they had an understanding), upon the new town, in the narrow space whereof they calculated upon our being lodged with few attendants, and so to complete their long-nourished plans by crushing us at unawares. But we, distinctly forewarned of all, so effectively and quickly anticipated them, that we at once made prisoners of the Duke of Gravina, Paolo Orsini, Vitellozzo of Castello, and Liverotto of Fermo, and discovered, sacked, and overthrew their foot and horse, whether concealed or not; whereupon the castellan, seeing the plot defeated, quickly surrendered the fortress at discretion. And this we have done, under pressure of necessity imposed by the measures of these persons aforesaid, and in order to make an end of the unmeasured perfidy and villanies of them and their coadjutors, thereby restraining their boundless ambition and insensate cupidity, which were truly a public nuisance to the nations of Italy. Thus your highnesses have good cause for great rejoicing at your deliverance from these dangers. And on your highnesses' account, I am now, by his Holiness's commands, to march with my army, for the purpose of rescuing you from the rapacious and sanguinary oppression whereby you have been vexed, and to restore you to free and salutary obedience to his Holiness and the Apostolic See, with the maintenance of your wonted privileges. For the which causes, We, as Gonfaloniere and Captain of his Holiness and the aforesaid See, exhort, recommend, and command you, on receipt hereof, to free yourselves from all other yoke, and to send ambassadors to lay before his Holiness your dutiful and unreserved obedience: which failing, we are commanded to reduce you by force to that duty,—an event that would distress us on account of the serious-8- injuries which must thereby result to your people, for whom we have, from our boyhood, borne and still bear singular favour. From Corinaldo, the 2d of January, 1503.

"Cesare Borgia of France,
Duke of Romagna and Valentino,
Prince of Adria and Venafra,
Lord of Piombino,
Gonfaloniere and Captain-General
of the Holy Roman Church."

News of the Sinigaglia tragedy reached the Pope late in the evening, and he instantly communicated to Cardinal Orsini that Cesare had taken that city, assured that an early visit of congratulation from his Eminence would follow. The Cardinal was perhaps the richest and most influential of his house. He chiefly had organised the league of La Magione, but having always contrived to keep on good terms with Alexander, he believed in the professions of regard with which his Holiness subsequently seduced him from that policy, and thence reposed in him a fatal confidence. Next morning he rode in state to pay his respects at the Vatican, where his own person and those of his principal relations were instantly seized, whilst his magnificent palace at Monte Giordano was pillaged by orders and for the benefit of the Pontiff. After an imprisonment of some weeks, he was cut off by slow poison, prescribed from the same quarter, and died on the 22d of February. Thus did the Pope set his seal of approval on his son's atrocities, which he justified by a poor and pointless jest, avowing that as the confederates of La Magione, after stipulating that they should not be required to re-enter the service of Valentino unless singly, had thought fit to place themselves within his power en masse, they merited their fate as forsworn.



The massacre of Sinigaglia has been condemned by every writer except Machiavelli, and posterity has in severe retribution suspected him of abetting it. This charge-10- possesses a twofold interest, as inculpating the character of the historian, and as affecting the morality of the age.[*3] In the latter view alone does it fall under our consideration: yet however horrible these wholesale murders, they are more remarkable in Italian history as the crowning crime of an ambitious career, and as widely influencing the political aspect of Romagna and La Marca, than from their relative enormity. The fates of the young Astorre Manfredi of Faenza, of Fogliano of Fermo, of the Lord of Camerino and his three sons, have all been mentioned in these pages as occurring within a year or two of this event. It would be easy to swell the catalogue of slaughter; and we find Baglioni and Vitellozzo both classed with Cesare himself in the category of murder, by a chronicler of Alexander VI., who also quotes from the mouth of Giovanni Bentivoglio, at the diet of La Magione, this bravado, "I shall assassinate Duke Valentino should I be so lucky as to have opportunity."[4] The spirit of the age is further illustrated by its unnumbered poisonings: and the fact that Machiavelli should neither have used his influence with Valentino to avert the massacre of the confederates, nor his pen to brand the treachery of that foul deed, is but another link in the evidence from which we may deduce the total extinction of moral feeling, which, anticipating the worst doctrines of Loyola, carried them out with a selfishness, falsehood, and cruelty unparalleled in the annals of human civilisation.[*5]





Gianpaolo Baglioni having fled to Siena, Valentino followed him in that direction, after taking possession of Perugia, and learning that Città di Castello, abandoned by the adherents of the Vitelli, had been plundered by his own partizans. On the 18th of January, hearing at Città della Pieve of the blow struck by his father against the Orsini, and that Fabio, who escaped the snare at Sinigaglia, was ravaging the Campagna, he handed over Paolo and the Duke of Gravina to the tender mercies of Michelotto, whose noose quickly encircled their necks. Invading the Sienese, he carried fire and sword by Chiusi as far as Pienza and San Quirico, massacring even the aged and infirm with horrible tortures. His real object, besides revenging himself upon Petrucci and Baglioni, was to add Siena to his territory, but his position being then a delicate one with France, he accepted the proposal of that republic to purchase safety, by exiling Petrucci their seigneur, and dismissing Baglioni their guest.[*6]

This series of rapid successes is ascribed by Machiavelli to the policy of Valentino in ridding himself of his French auxiliaries and his mercenary confederates, and so being enabled, during the brief remainder of his career, to give his talents and energy full scope in the conduct of an army entirely devoted to his views. His conquests had now extended along the eastern fall of the Apennines, from Imola to Camerino, and included the upper vale of the Tiber and the principality of Piombino. He had but to add to them Siena, and the best part of Central Italy from sea to sea would be his own. The eyes of Louis, at length opened to a danger which he had so long fostered, were not blinded by Cesare's affected moderation in claiming his recent acquisitions rather for the Church-12- than for himself, and that monarch hastened to caution him from further hostilities against Tuscany. The successes of Fabio Orsini around Rome at the same time called for his presence, so he changed his route to make a foray upon the holdings of that family about the Lake of Bracciano, with whom the Colonna and Savelli had united against their common enemies the Borgia. This opportunity was greedily seized by the Pontiff to carry out his long cherished policy of breaking the power of the great barons, and the castles of the Orsini having one after another been reduced, their influence ceased for the future to be formidable either to their sovereign or their neighbours.

But it is time we should return to Urbino, where we left the citizens bewailing the departure of their Duke. As soon as he was gone, Antonio di S. Savino took possession of the place in name of Valentino, and issued a proclamation enjoining the townsfolk to disarm, the peasantry to return home, and all to surrender whatever they had stolen the day before from the palace. In the afternoon, after a conciliatory harangue to the people, he took his lodging in the palace. Next morning, after mass, the Bishop published a general amnesty, and oaths of allegiance to the new sovereign were administered. Towards evening the bells were rung, and a bonfire was lit in the piazza; but these were heartless and forced rejoicings, and no bribes could induce even the children to raise the cry of "Valenza." Nor was this sadness without cause, for the soldiery of Orsini and Vitellozzo, who still quartered in the town, treated all with such outrage, that many of the inhabitants prayed for death to close their sufferings, envying those who were summoned from such scenes of misery. But when the troops were withdrawn, the mild character and popular manners of Antonio the governor, skilfully seconding the conciliatory policy which Borgia-13- had resolved upon, gave matters another aspect, and occasioned surprise to those who knew the cruel perfidy of their new master. Various notorious abuses were put down under severe penalties, especially the acceptance of presents by judges, and the following up of private vengeance. The deputy governor, Giovanni da Forlì, was however a man of quite opposite temperament, whose harshness soon counteracted these gentler influences, and occasioned general disgust. But the people heard with satisfaction the tragedy of Sinigaglia; for to the perfidy of the chiefs and the brutality of their army, the loss of their independence and the whole of their late misfortunes were unanimously ascribed; and a permission to ravage the territory of the Vitelli, now publicly proclaimed throughout the duchy, was by many greedily seized.

Borgia, having secured fourteen distinguished inhabitants of Urbino as hostages, ordered that the fortresses left by agreement in the hands of Guidobaldo should be attempted: that of Maiuolo was accordingly surprised about the beginning of May, and easily reduced. S. Leo being better provided, as well as considered impregnable, its siege was more methodically undertaken, and levies were ordered to reinforce the assailants. The amount of public sympathy with the cause may be estimated from Baldi's assertion that, in the city of Urbino, the utmost difficulty was experienced in raising eight foot soldiers with one month's pay. Eight hundred Gascons in the French service were obtained from De la Tremouille; but these, having turned the siege into a sort of blockade, were dispersed among the neighbouring villages, where, on the 5th of June, their revels were suddenly interrupted by unknown assailants, who disappeared as mysteriously as they had issued from the mountain defiles, leaving many of the besiegers slain or wounded. The surrounding peasantry, catching the enthusiasm, rushed to arms, and, but for extraordinary exertions, the whole duchy would have once more been-14- out for their legitimate lord. News of this movement having reached the Duke early in July, he obtained from Florence free passage through her territory, and from the Venetians a promise of passive support, and thereupon put himself into communication with his principal adherents, by means of letters carried by persons of low condition, many of which were unfortunately intercepted by the lieutenant-governor of Urbino. His people were thus kept in a fever of expectation; but, finally, this plan of an invasion was abandoned, whereupon he repaired to Mantua, to his brother-in-law the Marquis, who had been taken into the French service under De la Tremouille, and engaged him to represent to Louis the hardships of his case, and the danger of Borgia's excessive ambition.

Disgusted with their ignominious overthrow at S. Leo, the Gascons assumed the habitual licence of such mercenaries, by soon taking their departure from

"The tentless rest beneath the humid sky,
The stubborn wall that mocks the leaguer's art,
And palls the patience of his baffled heart."

The siege was nevertheless maintained by the commandant of Romagna; but the place was ably and spiritedly defended by Ottaviano Fregoso, who will soon attract our notice in other scenes. Marini has recorded another act of romantic daring by the same Brizio who, in the preceding year, had surprised the place. Fregoso's tiny garrison being greatly exhausted by the long blockade, he, with one Marzio, made his way, during a violent storm of rain, over the rocks, and through the beleaguering force, and reached a castle near Mantua where Guidobaldo then was. In vain these emissaries besought him for a reinforcement of two hundred men; for, thinking it would only waste their gallantry by prolonging a hopeless struggle, he thankfully declined their proposal. At length their urgency obtained twenty-five men who happened-15- to be at hand, and with these they returned to the leaguer. Marzio, boldly presenting himself to the commandant, volunteered to join the besiegers with his little party, which being accepted, he advanced them under the walls, whence, having been recognised by the garrison, they made a rush to the upper gate, and were received into the fortress ere the trick was discovered. By this timely succour, S. Leo was enabled to hold out until the restoration of its rightful sovereign; and its brave defenders did not even falter at the threat of summary vengeance upon their wives and families, who had been brought to the palace of Urbino to answer for their obstinacy.

Christendom was now to be appalled by a fearful catastrophe, which fitly closed the career of the Borgias, diverting their wonted weapons to their own destruction, for—

"'Tis sure a law of retribution just
That turns the plotters' arts against themselves."[7]

Alexander and his son perceiving that they could no longer turn to good account the co-operation of Louis for their grasping schemes, began to look round for new combinations: having squeezed the orange they were ready to throw aside the rind. But to such projects their exhausted treasury offered serious obstacles. To supply it they had recourse, on an extended scale, to an expedient which they had invented, and already occasionally employed,—that of poisoning the richest cardinals, seizing on their treasures, and selling their vacant hats to the highest bidders. Among the most recent and wealthy of the sacred college was Adrian of Corneto, and he was therefore selected as next victim. On the 12th of August, the Pope and Cesare invited him to sup in the Belvidere casino of the Vatican, and the latter sent forward a supply-16- of poisoned wine, in charge of his butler, with strict injunctions not to serve it until specially desired by himself. Several other cardinals were to partake of the banquet, and, probably, were intended to share the drugged potion. Alexander had been assured by an astrologer that, so long as he had about him the sacramental wafer, he should not die; and, accordingly, he constantly carried it in a little golden box; but, having on that evening forgotten it upon his toilet, he sent Monsignor Caraffa, afterwards Paul IV., to fetch it. Meanwhile, overcome by the dog-day heat, he called for wine. The butler was gone to fetch a salver of peaches, which had been presented to his Holiness, and his deputy, having received no instructions as to the medicated bottles, offered a draught from them to the Pope. He greedily swallowed it, and his example was more moderately followed by Cesare; thus,

"Even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of the poisoned chalice
To their own lips."

Scarcely had they taken their seats at the table, when the two victims successively fell down insensible, from the virulence of the poison, and were carried to bed. The Pontiff rallied so far as to recover consciousness, and to linger for about a week, but at length sank under the shock and the fever which supervened, his age being seventy-one, and his constitution enervated by long debauchery. The last sacraments were duly administered, and it was remarked that, during his illness, he never alluded to his children Cesare and Lucrezia, through life the objects of an overweening, if not criminal fondness, in whose behalf most of his outrages upon the peace and the rights of mankind had been committed. His death occurred on the 18th of August.[*8]-17-

Such is the account of this awful retribution given by Tommasi, from which most other narratives but slightly deviate as to dates or immaterial details. Another version, however, occurs in Sanuto's Diaries, which, being contemporary, and probably supplied from the diplomatic correspondence of the Signory, merits notice, and has not been hitherto published. The Cardinal of Corneto, who figures prominently in this narrative, was made collector for Peter's pence in England, and Bishop of Hereford, from whence he was translated to Bath and Wells. We shall find him compromised in Petrucci's conspiracy against Leo X., but the following charge of pope-poisoning is new.

"The Lord Adrian Castillense of Corneto, Cardinal Datary, having been desired by the Pope to receive him and Duke Valentino at supper in his vineyard, his Holiness supplying the eatables, this Cardinal presumed the invitation to be planned for his death by poison, so that the Duke might obtain his money and benefices, which were considerable. In order to save himself there seemed but one course, so, watching his opportunity, he summoned the Pontiff's steward, whom he knew intimately, and on his arrival received him alone in a private chamber, where 10,000 ducats were laid out: these he desired him to accept for love of him, offering him also more of his property, which he declared he could continue to enjoy only through his assistance, and adding, 'You certainly are aware of the Pope's disposition, and I know that he and the Duke have designed my death by poison through you; wherefore I pray you have pity on me and spare my life.' The steward, moved with compassion on hearing this, at length avowed the plan concerted for administering the poison; that, after the supper, he was to serve three boxes of-18- confections, one for the Pope, another for the Duke, and a third for the Cardinal, the last being poisoned; so they arranged that the service of the table should be contrived in such a way that the Pontiff might eat of the Cardinal's poisoned box, and die. On the appointed day, the Pope having arrived at the vineyard with the Duke, the Cardinal threw himself at his Holiness' feet and kissed them, saying he had a boon to request, and would not rise until it were granted. The Pope assuring him of his consent, he continued, 'Holy Father! on the lord's coming to his servant's house, it is not meet that the servant should sit with his lord; and the just and proper favour I ask is permission for the servant to wait at the table of your Holiness.' The supper being thus served, and the moment arrived for giving the confections, the box having been poisoned by the steward as directed by the Pope, the Cardinal placed it before his Holiness, who, relying on his steward, and convinced of the Cardinal's sincerity by his service, ate joyfully of this box, as did the Cardinal of the other, which the Pontiff believed the poisoned one. Thereafter, at the hour when from its nature the poison took effect, his Holiness began to feel it, and thus he died: the Cardinal being still alarmed, took medicine and an emetic, and was easily cured."

The death of Alexander by poison is generally credited, although Raynaldus and Muratori, willing to mitigate so heinous a scandal, incline to the few and obscure authorities who attribute it to tertian fever. It was natural that the truth should be glossed over, especially in despatches addressed to the court of his daughter Lucrezia, to which the latter annalist probably had access. But though the earliest intelligence of the event forwarded by the Venetian envoy alludes to the Pope's seizure as fever, his subsequent letters, quoted by Sanuto, thus loathsomely confirm the current suspicion of poison having been administered. "On this day [19th] I saw the Pontiff's corpse, whose-19- apparel was not worth two ducats. He was swollen beyond the size of one of our large wine-skins. Never since the Christian era was a more horrible and terrible sight witnessed. The blood flowed from ears, mouth, and nose faster than it could be wiped away; his lips were larger than a man's fist, and in his open mouth the blood boiled as in a caldron on the fire, and kept incessantly flowing as from a spout; all which I report from observation."[9]

The character of Alexander VI. as a man and as a sovereign admits of no question, and is thus forcibly summed up by Sismondi. "He was the most notoriously immoral man in Christendom; one whose debauchery no shame restrained, whose treaties no good faith sanctioned, whose policy was never guarded by justice, to whose vengeance pity was unknown."[*10] As a pontiff he must be tried-20- by a different test, and those ecclesiastical writers, who attempt not to defend his morals or example, assert the orthodoxy of his faith and doctrine, and commend the wisdom of his provisions for maintenance of that religion which regarded him as its head. He was the first to establish the censorship of books,[*11] an important bulwark of the Roman Church; and among the orders which he instituted or protected was that of S. Francesco di Paolo. Nor can it be doubted that his ambitious nepotism eventually aggrandised the temporal possessions of the papacy, by quelling the mutinous barons of the Campagna, and by so crushing the more distant seigneurs as to render their states a speedy and easy prey to Julius II. On the other hand, the openly simoniacal practices which prevailed during his reign, the strong measures adopted to raise money for his private ends by a lavish scale of indulgences, and, generally, the unscrupulous employment of the power of the keys and the treasures of the Church for unworthy purposes, all tended to alienate men's minds, and to stir those doubts which the different, but not less injudicious, policy of his immediate successors ripened into schism.

Favoured by youth, constitution, and energy of mind, Cesare Borgia wrestled successfully with the deadly ingredients which he had inadvertently swallowed. He is said to have been saved by being frequently placed in the carcass of a newly-killed bullock or mule, and, whether in consequence of this treatment, or of the inflammatory nature of the potion, to have lost the whole skin of his body. He had flattered himself that, foreseeing every possible contingency which his father's death could develop, he had so planned his measures as to secure, in any event, his own safety, and the maintenance of his authority. But, never having anticipated being disabled from action at that very-21- juncture, his well-laid schemes fell to the ground, a signal illustration of the proverb, "Man proposes, God disposes." By means of Don Michelotto, he was, however, able to draw round the Vatican a body of twelve thousand devoted troops, and that unscrupulous agent executed his instructions by seizing about 500,000 ducats in money, jewels, and valuables, from the Pope's apartment, before his death was published.

The Diaries of Sanuto give a lively description of the immediate effects of Alexander's death on Lower Italy,—the exultations of the people, the prompt movements of the Campagna barons, the hesitation of Valentino, the intrigues of the cardinals. As soon as the good news transpired, Rome rose in arms against the Spaniards; and the Colonna and the Orsini, entering at the head of their troops, willingly aided in spoiling and slaughtering these countrymen of the Borgia, who "could nowhere find holes to hide in." Even their cardinals narrowly escaped a general massacre; and on the 8th of September, a proclamation by the College cleared the city of these foreigners on pain of the gibbet. Duke Valentino, although prostrated in strength, and "seeming as if burnt from the middle downwards," was not without formidable resources. His hope was, that in the distracted state of Rome, the cardinals would provide for their personal safety by holding the conclave in St. Angelo, where the election would be in his own hands. This calculation was, however, defeated by their assembling at the Minerva convent, guarded by the barons of Bracciano and Palestrina, with the bravest of the citizens, and protected by barricades which withstood an assault by the redoubted Michelotto. Still his troops were staunch, the Vatican and St. Angelo were his, and he had secured the treasure of the Holy See. But his nerve gave way, and after turning the castle guns against the Orsini palace on Monte Giordano, he fled in a litter to the French camp without the gates, on the 1st of-22- September, and thence made his way to the stronghold of Nepi. This vacillation brought its fitting recompense, and lost him the advantages of his position. Hesitating betwixt the Colonna and Orsini factions, wavering between Spanish and French interests, his friends dropped off, his forces melted away, and he lost the favourable moment for swaying the papal election.

The rival parties in the conclave, having had no time to mature their plans, in consequence of the late Pontiff's sudden decease, trusted to strengthen their respective interests by delay, and so were unanimous in choosing, on the 22nd of September, the most feeble of their body, the respected Piccolomini, who survived his exaltation as Pius III. but twenty-six days. The state of matters at Naples added to the general embarrassment. The ceaseless struggles for that crown had of late taken a new turn, the contest being now between Louis of France and Ferdinand of Spain. The Borgia, long adherents of the former, had recently inclined to the Spanish side; but their influence was now irretrievably gone.

*Note.—The following is a list of the chief conquests of Cesare:—

City. Family. Date. Campaign.
Imola Riarii Nov. 27, 1499 First.
Forlì Riarii Jan. 12, 1500 First.
Rimini Malatesta Oct. 10, 1500 Second.
Pesaro Sforza Oct. 21, 1500 Second.
Faenza Manfredi April 25, 1501 Second.
Piombino Appiani Sept. 3, 1501 Second.
Urbino Montefeltri June 21, 1502 Third.
Camerino Varani July 29, 1502 Third.
Sinigaglia Roveri Dec. 28, 1502 Third.
Città di Castello Vitelli Jan. 2, 1503 Third.
Perugia Baglioni Jan. 6, 1503 Third.
Siena Petrucci Jan. (end), 1503 Third.

Cf. Burd, ed. Il Principe (Oxford, 1891), p. 218, note 15.


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