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the indignation against the duke universal, on account of the
liberation of the king, he thought the moment propitious for the
execution of his design. He communicated his ideas to some whom he
knew to be similarly inclined, and his arguments ensured their

The great festival of St. John the Baptist being come, when Arismeno,
the new governor sent by the duke, was to enter Genoa, and he being
already arrived, accompanied by Opicino, the former governor, and many
Genoese citizens, Francesco Spinola thought further delay improper;
and, issuing from his house with those acquainted with his design, all
armed, they raised the cry of liberty. It was wonderful to see how
eagerly the citizens and people assembled at the word; so that those
who for any reason might be favorable to Filippo, not only had no time
to arm, but scarcely to consider the means of escape. Arismeno, with
some Genoese, fled to the fortress which was held for the duke,
Opicino, thinking that if he could reach the palace, where two
thousand men were in arms, and at his command, he might be able either
to effect his own safety, or induce his friends to defend themselves,
took that direction; but before he arrived at the piazza he was slain,
his body divided into many pieces and scattered about the city. The
Genoese having placed the government in the hands of free magistrates,
in a few days recovered the castle, and the other strongholds
possessed by the duke, and delivered themselves entirely from his

These transactions, though at first they had alarmed the princes of
Italy with the apprehension that the duke would become too powerful,
now gave them hope, seeing the turn they had taken, of being able to
restrain him; and, notwithstanding the recent league, the Florentines
and Venetians entered into alliance with the Genoese. Rinaldo degli
Albizzi and the other leading Florentine exiles, observing the altered
aspect of affairs, conceived hopes of being able to induce the duke to
make war against Florence, and having arrived at Milan, Rinaldo
addressed him in the following manner: "If we, who were once your
enemies, come now confidently to supplicate your assistance to enable
us to return to our country, neither you, nor anyone, who considers
the course and vicissitudes of human affairs, can be at all surprised;
for of our past conduct toward yourself and our present intentions
toward our country, we can adduce palpable and abundant reasons. No
good man will ever reproach another who endeavors to defend his
country, whatever be his mode of doing so; neither have we had any
design of injuring you, but only to preserve our country from
detriment; and we appeal to yourself, whether, during the greatest
victories of our league, when you were really desirous of peace, we
were not even more anxious for it than yourself; so that we do not
think we have done aught to make us despair altogether of favor from
you. Nor can our country itself complain that we now exhort you to use
those arms against her, from which we have so pertinaciously defended
her; for that state alone merits the love of all her citizens, which
cares with equal affection for all; not one that favors a few, and
casts from her the great mass of her children. Nor are the arms that
men use against their country to be universally condemned; for
communities, although composed of many, resemble individual bodies;
and as in these, many infirmities arise which cannot be cured without
the application of fire or of steel, so in the former, there often
occur such numerous and great evils, that a good and merciful citizen,
when there is a necessity for the sword, would be much more to blame
in leaving her uncured, than by using this remedy for her
preservation. What greater disease can afflict a republic than
slavery? and what remedy is more desirable for adoption than the one
by which alone it can be effectually removed? No wars are just but
those that are necessary; and force is merciful when it presents the
only hope of relief. I know not what necessity can be greater than
ours, or what compassion can exceed that which rescues our country
from slavery. Our cause is therefore just, and our purpose merciful,
as both yourself and we may be easily convinced. The amplest justice
is on your side; for the Florentines have not hesitated, after a peace
concluded with so much solemnity, to enter into league with those who
have rebelled against you; so that if our cause is insufficient to
excite you against them, let your own just indignation do so; and the
more so, seeing the facility of the undertaking. You need be under no
apprehension from the memory of the past, in which you may have
observed the power of that people and their pertinency in self-
defense; though these might reasonably excite fear, if they were still
animated by the valor of former times. But now, all is entirely the
reverse; for what power can be expected in a city that has recently
expelled the greatest part of her wealth and industry? What
indomitable resolution need be apprehended from the people whom so
many and such recent enmities have disunited? The disunion which still
prevails will prevent wealthy citizens advancing money as they used to
do on former occasions; for though men willingly contribute according
to their means, when they see their own credit, glory, and private
advantage dependent upon it, or when there is a hope of regaining in
peace what has been spent in war, but not when equally oppressed under
all circumstances, when in war they suffer the injuries of the enemy,
and in peace, the insolence of those who govern them. Besides this,
the people feel more deeply the avarice of their rulers, than the
rapacity of the enemy; for there is hope of being ultimately relieved
from the latter evil, but none from the former. Thus, in the last war,
you had to contend with the whole city; but now with only a small
portion. You attempted to take the government from many good citizens;
but now you oppose only a few bad ones. You then endeavored to deprive
a city of her liberty, now you come to restore it. As it is
unreasonable to suppose that under such disparity of circumstances,
the result should be the same, you have now every reason to anticipate
an easy victory; and how much it will strengthen your own government,
you may easily judge; having Tuscany friendly, and bound by so
powerful an obligation, in your enterprises, she will be even of more
service to you than Milan. And, although, on former occasions, such an
acquisition might be looked upon as ambitious and unwarrantable, it
will now be considered merciful and just. Then do not let this
opportunity escape, and be assured, that although your attempts
against the city have been attended with difficulty, expense, and
disgrace, this will with facility procure you incalculable advantage
and an honorable renown."

Many words were not requisite to induce the duke to hostilities
against the Florentines, for he was incited to it by hereditary hatred
and blind ambition, and still more, by the fresh injuries which the
league with the Genoese involved; yet his past expenses, the dangerous
measures necessary, the remembrance of his recent losses, and the vain
hopes of the exiles, alarmed him. As soon as he had learned the revolt
of Genoa, he ordered Niccolo Piccinino to proceed thither with all his
cavalry and whatever infantry he could raise, for the purpose of
recovering her, before the citizens had time to become settled and
establish a government; for he trusted greatly in the fortress within
the city, which was held for him. And although Niccolo drove the
Genoese from the mountains, took from them the valley of Pozeveri,
where they had entrenched themselves, and obliged them to seek refuge
within the walls of the city, he still found such an insurmountable
obstacle in the resolute defense of the citizens, that he was
compelled to withdraw. On this, at the suggestion of the Florentine
exiles, he commanded Niccolo to attack them on the eastern side, upon
the confines of Pisa in the Genoese territory, and to push the war
with his utmost vigor, thinking this plan would manifest and develop
the course best to be adopted. Niccolo therefore besieged and took
Serezana, and having committed great ravages, by way of further
alarming the Florentines he proceeded to Lucca, spreading a report
that it was his intention to go to Naples to render assistance to the
king of Aragon. Upon these new events Pope Eugenius left Florence and
proceeded to Bologna, where he endeavored to effect an amicable
arrangement between the league and the duke, intimating to the latter,
that if he would not consent to some treaty, the pontiff must send
Francesco Sforza to assist the league, for the latter was now his
confederate, and served in his pay. Although the pope greatly exerted
himself in this affair, his endeavors were unavailing; for the duke
would not listen to any proposal that did not leave him the possession
of Genoa, and the league had resolved that she should remain free;
and, therefore, each party, having no other resource, prepared to
continue the war.

In the meantime Niccolo Piccinino arrived at Lucca, and the
Florentines, being doubtful what course to adopt, ordered Neri di Gino
to lead their forces into the Pisan territory, induced the pontiff to
allow Count Francesco to join him, and with their forces they halted
at San Gonda. Piccinino then demanded admission into the kingdom of
Naples, and this being refused, he threatened to force a passage. The
armies were equal, both in regard of numbers and the capacity of their
leaders, and unwilling to tempt fortune during the bad weather, it
being the month of December, they remained several days without
attacking each other. The first movement was made by Niccolo
Piccinino, who being informed that if he attacked Vico Pisano by
night, he could easily take possession of the place, made the attempt,
and having failed, ravaged the surrounding country, and then burned
and plundered the town of San Giovanni alla Vena. This enterprise,
though of little consequence, excited him to make further attempts,
the more so from being assured that the count and Neri were yet in
their quarters, and he attacked Santa Maria in Castello and Filetto,
both which places he took. Still the Florentine forces would not stir;
not that the count entertained any fear, but because, out of regard to
the pope, who still labored to effect an accommodation, the government
of Florence had deferred giving their final consent to the war. This
course, which the Florentines adopted from prudence, was considered by
the enemy to be only the result of timidity, and with increased
boldness they led their forces up to Barga, which they resolved to
besiege. This new attack made the Florentines set aside all other
considerations, and resolve not only to relieve Barga, but to invade
the Lucchese territory. Accordingly the count proceeded in pursuit of
Niccolo, and coming up with him before Barga, an engagement took
place, in which Piccinino was overcome, and compelled to raise the

The Venetians considering the duke to have broken the peace, send
Giovan Francesco da Gonzaga, their captain, to Ghiaradadda, who, by
severely wasting the duke's territories, induced him to recall Niccolo
Piccinino from Tuscany. This circumstance, together with the victory
obtained over Niccolo, emboldened the Florentines to attempt the
recovery of Lucca, since the duke, whom alone they feared, was engaged
with the Venetians, and the Lucchese having received the enemy into
their city, and allowed him to attack them, would have no ground of


The Florentines go to war with Lucca--Discourse of a citizen of
Lucca to animate the plebeians against the Florentines--The
Lucchese resolve to defend themselves--They are assisted by the
duke of Milan--Treaty between the Florentines and the Venetians--
Francesco Sforza, captain of the league, refuses to cross the Po
in the service of the Venetians and returns to Tuscany--The bad
faith of the Venetians toward the Florentines--Cosmo de' Medici at
Venice--Peace between the Florentines and the Lucchese--The
Florentines effect a reconciliation between the pope and the Count
di Poppi--The pope consecrates the church of Santa Reparata--
Council of Florence.

The count commenced operations against Lucca in April, 1437, and the
Florentines, desirous of recovering what they had themselves lost
before they attacked others, retook Santa Maria in Castello, and all
the places which Piccinino had occupied. Then, entering the Lucchese
territory, they besieged Camaiore, the inhabitants of which, although
faithful to their rulers, being influenced more by immediate danger
than by attachment to their distant friends, surrendered. In the same
manner, they obtained Massa and Serezana. Toward the end of May they
proceeded in the direction of Lucca, burning the towns, destroying the
growing crops, grain, trees, and vines, driving away the cattle, and
leaving nothing undone to injure the enemy. The Lucchese, finding
themselves abandoned by the duke, and hopeless of defending the open
country, forsook it; entrenched and fortified the city, which they
doubted not, being well garrisoned, they would be able to defend for a
time, and that, in the interim, some event would occur for their
relief, as had been the case during the former wars which the
Florentines had carried on against them. Their only apprehension arose
from the fickle minds of the plebeians, who, becoming weary of the
siege, would have more consideration of their own danger than of
other's liberty, and would thus compel them to submit to some
disgraceful and ruinous capitulation. In order to animate them to
defense, they were assembled in the public piazza, and some of the
eldest and most esteemed of the citizens addressed them in the
following terms: "You are doubtless aware that what is done from
necessity involves neither censure nor applause; therefore, if you
should accuse us of having caused the present war, by receiving the
ducal forces into the city, and allowing them to commit hostilities
against the Florentines, you are greatly mistaken. You are well
acquainted with the ancient enmity of the Florentines against you,
which is not occasioned by any injuries you have done them, or by fear
on their part, but by our weakness and their own ambition; for the one
gives them hope of being able to oppress us, and the other incites
them to attempt it. It is then vain to imagine that any merit of yours
can extinguish that desire in them, or that any offense you can
commit, can provoke them to greater animosity. They endeavor to
deprive you of your liberty; you must resolve to defend it; and
whatever they may undertake against us for that purpose, although we
may lament, we need not wonder. We may well grieve, therefore, that
they attack us, take possession of our towns, burn our houses, and
waste our country. But who is so simple as to be surprised at it? for
were it in our power, we should do just the same to them, or even
worse. They declare war against us now, they say, for having received
Niccolo; but if we had not received him, they would have done the same
and assigned some other ground for it; and if the evil had been
delayed, it would most probably have been greater. Therefore, you must
not imagine it to be occasioned by his arrival, but rather by your own
ill fortune and their ambition; for we could not have refused
admission to the duke's forces, and, being come, we could not prevent
their aggressions. You know, that without the aid of some powerful
ally we are incapable of self-defense, and that none can render us
this service more powerfully or faithfully than the duke. He restored
our liberty; it is reasonable to expect he will defend it. He has
always been the greatest foe of our inveterate enemies; if, therefore,
to avoid incensing the Florentines we had excited his anger, we should
have lost our best friend, and rendered our enemy more powerful and
more disposed to oppress us; so that it is far preferable to have this
war upon our hands, and enjoy the favor of the duke, than to be in
peace without it. Besides, we are justified in expecting that he will
rescue us from the dangers into which we are brought on his account,
if we only do not abandon our own cause. You all know how fiercely the
Florentines have frequently assailed us, and with what glory we have
maintained our defense. We have often been deprived of every hope,
except in God and the casualties which time might produce, and both
have proved our friends. And as they have delivered us formerly, why
should they not continue to do so. Then we were forsaken by the whole
of Italy; now we have the duke in our favor; besides we have a right
to suppose that the Venetians will not hastily attack us; for they
will not willingly see the power of Florence increased. On a former
occasion the Florentines were more at liberty; they had greater hope
of assistance, and were more powerful in themselves, while we were in
every respect weaker; for then a tyrant governed us, now we defend
ourselves; then the glory of our defense was another's, now it is our
own; then they were in harmony, now they are disunited, all Italy
being filled with their banished citizens. But were we without the
hope which these favorable circumstances present, our extreme
necessity should make us firmly resolved on our defense. It is
reasonable to fear every enemy, for all seek their own glory and your
ruin; above all others, you have to dread the Florentines, for they
would not be satisfied by submission and tribute, or the dominion of
our city, but they would possess our entire substance and persons,
that they might satiate their cruelty with our blood, and their
avarice with our property, so that all ranks ought to dread them.
Therefore do not be troubled at seeing our crops destroyed, our towns
burned, our fortresses occupied; for if we preserve the city, the rest
will be saved as a matter of course; if we lose her, all else would be
of no advantage to us; for while retaining our liberty, the enemy can
hold them only with the greatest difficulty, while losing it they
would be preserved in vain. Arm, therefore; and when in the fight,
remember that the reward of victory will be safety, not only to your
country, but to your homes, your wives, and your children." The
speaker's last words were received with the utmost enthusiasm by the
people, who promised one and all to die rather than abandon their
cause, or submit to any terms that could violate their liberty. They
then made arrangements for the defense of the city.

In the meantime, the Florentine forces were not idle; and after
innumerable mischiefs done to the country took Monte Carlo by
capitulation. They then besieged Uzzano, in order that the Lucchese,
being pressed on all sides, might despair of assistance, and be
compelled to submission by famine. The fortress was very strong, and
defended by a numerous garrison, so that its capture would be by no
means an easy undertaking. The Lucchese, as might be expected, seeing
the imminent peril of their situation, had recourse to the duke, and
employed prayers and remonstrances to induce him to render them aid.
They enlarged upon their own merits and the offenses of the
Florentines; and showed how greatly it would attach the duke's friends
to him to find they were defended, and how much disaffection it would
spread among them, if they were left to be overwhelmed by the enemy;
that if they lost their liberties and their lives, he would lose his
honor and his friends, and forfeit the confidence of all who from
affection might be induced to incur dangers in his behalf; and added
tears to entreaties, so that if he were unmoved by gratitude to them,
he might be induced to their defense by motives of compassion. The
duke, influenced by his inveterate hostility against the Florentines,
his new obligation to the Lucchese, and, above all, by his desire to
prevent so great an acquisition from falling into the hands of his
ancient enemies, determined either to send a strong force into
Tuscany, or vigorously to assail the Venetians, so as to compel the
Florentines to give up their enterprise and go to their relief.

It was soon known in Florence that the duke was preparing to send
forces into Tuscany. This made the Florentines apprehensive for the
success of their enterprise; and in order to retain the duke in
Lombardy, they requested the Venetians to press him with their utmost
strength. But they also were alarmed, the marquis of Mantua having
abandoned them and gone over to the duke; and thus, finding themselves
almost defenseless, they replied, "that instead of increasing their
responsibilities, they should be unable to perform their part in the
war, unless the Count Francesco were sent to them to take the command
of the army, and with the special understanding that he should engage
to cross the Po in person. They declined to fulfil their former
engagements unless he were bound to do so; for they could not carry on
the war without a leader, or repose confidence in any except the
count; and he himself would be useless to them, unless he came under
an obligation to carry on the war whenever they might think needful."
The Florentines thought the war ought to be pushed vigorously in
Lombardy; but they saw that if they lost the count their enterprise
against Lucca was ruined; and they knew well that the demand of the
Venetians arose less from any need they had of the count, than from
their desire to frustrate this expedition. The count, on the other
hand, was ready to pass into Lombardy whenever the league might
require him, but would not alter the tenor of his engagement; for he
was unwilling to sacrifice the hope of the alliance promised to him by
the duke.

The Florentines were thus embarrassed by two contrary impulses, the
wish to possess Lucca, and the dread of a war with Milan. As commonly
happens, fear was the most powerful, and they consented, after the
capture of Uzzano, that the count should go into Lombardy. There still
remained another difficulty, which, depending on circumstances beyond
the reach of their influence, created more doubts and uneasiness than
the former; the count would not consent to pass the Po, and the
Venetians refused to accept him on any other condition. Seeing no
other method of arrangement, than that each should make liberal
concessions, the Florentines induced the count to cross the river by a
letter addressed to the Signory of Florence, intimating that this
private promise did not invalidate any public engagement, and that he
might still refrain from crossing; hence it resulted that the
Venetians, having commenced the war, would be compelled to proceed,
and that the evil apprehended by the Florentines would be averted. To
the Venetians, on the other hand, they averred that this private
letter was sufficiently binding, and therefore they ought to be
content; for if they could save the count from breaking with his
father-in-law, it was well to do so, and that it could be of no
advantage either to themselves or the Venetians to publish it without
some manifest necessity. It was thus determined that the count should
pass into Lombardy; and having taken Uzzano, and raised bastions about
Lucca to restrain in her inhabitants, placed the management of the
siege in the hands of the commissaries, crossed the Apennines, and
proceeded to Reggio, when the Venetians, alarmed at his progress, and
in order to discover his intentions, insisted upon his immediately
crossing the Po, and joining the other forces. The count refused
compliance, and many mutual recriminations took place between him and
Andrea Mauroceno, their messenger on this occasion, each charging the
other with arrogance and treachery: after many protestations, the one
of being under no obligation to perform that service, and the other of
not being bound to any payment, they parted, the count to return to
Tuscany, the other to Venice.

The Florentines had sent the count to encamp in the Pisan territory,
and were in hopes of inducing him to renew the war against the
Lucchese, but found him indisposed to do so, for the duke, having been
informed that out of regard to him he had refused to cross the Po,
thought that by this means he might also save the Lucchese, and begged
the count to endeavor to effect an accommodation between the
Florentines and the Lucchese, including himself in it, if he were
able, declaring, at the same time, the promised marriage should be
solemnized whenever he thought proper. The prospect of this connection
had great influence with the count, for, as the duke had no sons, it
gave him hope of becoming sovereign of Milan. For this reason he
gradually abated his exertions in the war, declared he would not
proceed unless the Venetians fulfilled their engagement as to the
payment, and also retained him in the command; that the discharge of
the debt would not alone be sufficient, for desiring to live peaceably
in his own dominions, he needed some alliance other than that of the
Florentines, and that he must regard his own interests, shrewdly
hinting that if abandoned by the Venetians, he would come to terms
with the duke.

These indirect and crafty methods of procedure were highly offensive
to the Florentines, for they found their expedition against Lucca
frustrated, and trembled for the safety of their own territories if
ever the count and the duke should enter into a mutual alliance. To
induce the Venetians to retain the count in the command, Cosmo de'
Medici went to Venice, hoping his influence would prevail with them,
and discussed the subject at great length before the senate, pointing
out the condition of the Italian states, the disposition of their
armies, and the great preponderance possessed by the duke. He
concluded by saying, that if the count and the duke were to unite
their forces, they (the Venetians) might return to the sea, and the
Florentines would have to fight for their liberty. To this the
Venetians replied, that they were acquainted with their own strength
and that of the Italians, and thought themselves able at all events to
provide for their own defense; that it was not their custom to pay
soldiers for serving others; that as the Florentines had used the
count's services, they must pay him themselves; with respect to the
security of their own states, it was rather desirable to check the
count's pride than to pay him, for the ambition of men is boundless,
and if he were now paid without serving, he would soon make some other
demand, still more unreasonable and dangerous. It therefore seemed
necessary to curb his insolence, and not allow it to increase till it
became incorrigible; and that if the Florentines, from fear or any
other motive, wished to preserve his friendship, they must pay him
themselves. Cosmo returned without having effected any part of his

The Florentines used the weightiest arguments they could adopt to
prevent the count from quitting the service of the League, a course he
was himself reluctant to follow, but his desire to conclude the
marriage so embarrassed him, that any trivial accident would have been
sufficient to determine his course, as indeed shortly happened. The
count had left his territories in La Marca to the care of Il Furlano,
one of his principal condottieri, who was so far influenced by the
duke as to take command under him, and quit the count's service. This
circumstance caused the latter to lay aside every idea but that of his
own safety, and to come to agreement with the duke; among the terms of
which compact was one that he should not be expected to interfere in
the affairs of Romagna and Tuscany. The count then urged the
Florentines to come to terms with the Lucchese, and so convinced them
of the necessity of this, that seeing no better course to adopt, they
complied in April, 1438, by which treaty the Lucchese retained their
liberty, and the Florentines Monte Carlo and a few other fortresses.
After this, being full of exasperation, they despatched letters to
every part of Italy, overcharged with complaints, affecting to show
that since God and men were averse to the Lucchese coming under their
dominion, they had made peace with them. And it seldom happens that
any suffer so much for the loss of their own lawful property as they
did because they could not obtain the possessions of others.

Though the Florentines had now so many affairs in hand, they did not
allow the proceedings of their neighbors to pass unnoticed, or neglect
the decoration of their city. As before observed, Niccolo Fortebraccio
was dead. He had married a daughter of the Count di Poppi, who, at the
decease of his son-in-law, held the Borgo San Sepolcro, and other
fortresses of that district, and while Niccolo lived, governed them in
his name. Claiming them as his daughter's portion, he refused to give
them up to the pope, who demanded them as property held of the church,
and who, upon his refusal, sent the patriarch with forces to take
possession of them. The count, finding himself unable to sustain the
attack, offered them to the Florentines, who declined them; but the
pope having returned to Florence, they interceded with him in the
count's behalf. Difficulties arising, the patriarch attacked the
Casentino, took Prato Vecchio, and Romena, and offered them also to
the Florentines, who refused them likewise, unless the pope would
consent they should restore them to the count, to which, after much
hesitation, he acceded, on condition that the Florentines should
prevail with the Count di Poppi to restore the Borgo to him. The pope
was thus satisfied, and the Florentines having so far completed the
building of their cathedral church of Santa Reparata, which had been
commenced long ago, as to enable them to perform divine service in it,
requested his holiness to consecrate it. To this the pontiff willingly
agreed, and the Florentines, to exhibit the wealth of the city and the
splendor of the edifice, and do greater honor to the pope, erected a
platform from Santa Maria Novella, where he resided, to the cathedral
he was about to consecrate, six feet in height and twelve feet wide,
covered with rich drapery, for the accommodation of the pontiff and
his court, upon which they proceeded to the building, accompanied by
those civic magistrates, and other officers who were appointed to take
part in the procession. The usual ceremonies of consecration having
been completed, the pope, to show his affection for the city,
conferred the honor of knighthood upon Giuliano Davanzati, their
Gonfalonier of Justice, and a citizen of the highest reputation; and
the Signory, not to appear less gracious than the pope, granted to the
new created knight the government of Pisa for one year.

There were at that time certain differences between the Roman and the
Greek churches, which prevented perfect conformity in divine service;
and at the last council of Bâle, the prelates of the Western church
having spoken at great length upon the subject, it was resolved that
efforts should be made to bring the emperor and the Greek prelates to
the council at Bâle, to endeavor to reconcile the Greek church with
the Roman. Though this resolution was derogatory to the majesty of the
Greek empire, and offensive to its clergy, yet being then oppressed by
the Turks, and fearing their inability for defense, in order to have a
better ground for requesting assistance, they submitted; and
therefore, the emperor, the patriarch, with other prelates and barons
of Greece, to comply with the resolution of the council, assembled at
Bâle, came to Venice; but being terrified by the plague then
prevailing, it was resolved to terminate their differences at
Florence. The Roman and Greek prelates having held a conference during
several days, in which many long discussions took place, the Greeks
yielded, and agreed to adopt the ritual of the church of Rome.


New wars in Italy--Niccolo Piccinino, in concert with the duke of
Milan, deceives the pope, and takes many places from the church--
Niccolo attacks the Venetians--Fears and precautions of the
Florentines--The Venetians request assistance of the Florentines
and of Sforza--League against the duke of Milan--The Florentines
resolve to send the count to assist the Venetians--Neri di Gino
Capponi at Venice--His discourse to the senate--Extreme joy of the

Peace being restored between the Lucchese and Florentines, and the
duke and the count having become friends, hopes were entertained that
the arms of Italy would be laid aside, although those in the kingdom
of Naples, between René of Anjou and Alfonso of Aragon, could find
repose only by the ruin of one party or the other. And though the pope
was dissatisfied with the loss of so large a portion of his
territories, and the ambition of the duke and the Venetians was
obvious, still it was thought that the pontiff, from necessity, and
the others from weariness, would be advocates of peace. However, a
different state of feeling prevailed, for neither the duke nor the
Venetians were satisfied with their condition; so that hostilities
were resumed, and Lombardy and Tuscany were again harassed by the
horrors of war. The proud mind of the duke could not endure that the
Venetians should possess Bergamo and Brescia, and he was still further
annoyed, by hearing, that they were constantly in arms, and in the
daily practice of annoying some portion of his territories. He
thought, however, that he should not only be able to restrain them,
but to recover the places he had lost, if the pope, the Florentines,
and the count could be induced to forego the Venetian alliance. He
therefore resolved to take Romagna from the pontiff, imagining that
his holiness could not injure him, and that the Florentines, finding
the conflagration so near, either for their own sake would refrain
from interference, or if they did not, could not conveniently attack
him. The duke was also aware of the resentment of the Florentines
against the Venetians, on account of the affair of Lucca, and he
therefore judged they would be the less eager to take arms against him
on their behalf. With regard to the Count Francesco, he trusted that
their new friendship, and the hope of his alliance would keep him
quiet. To give as little color as possible for complaint, and to lull
suspicion, particularly, because in consequence of his treaty with the
count, the latter could not attack Romagna, he ordered Niccolo
Piccinino, as if instigated by his own ambition to do so.

When the agreement between the duke and the count was concluded,
Niccolo was in Romagna, and in pursuance of his instructions from the
duke, affected to be highly incensed, that a connection had been
established between him and the count, his inveterate enemy. He
therefore withdrew himself and his forces to Camurata, a place between
Furli and Ravenna, which he fortified, as if designing to remain there
some time, or till a new enterprise should present itself. The report
of his resentment being diffused, Niccolo gave the pope to understand
how much the duke was under obligation to him, and how ungrateful he
proved; and he was persuaded that, possessing nearly all the arms of
Italy, under the two principal generals, he could render himself sole
ruler: but if his holiness pleased, of the two principal generals whom
he fancied he possessed, one would become his enemy, and the other be
rendered useless; for, if money were provided him, and he were kept in
pay, he would attack the territories held of the church by the count,
who being compelled to look to his own interests, could not subserve
the ambition of Filippo. The pope giving entire credence to this
representation, on account of its apparent reasonableness, sent
Niccolo five thousand ducats and loaded him with promises of states
for himself and his children. And though many informed him of the
deception, he could not give credit to them, nor would he endure the
conversation of any who seemed to doubt the integrity of Niccolo's
professions. The city of Ravenna was held for the church by Ostasio da
Polenta. Niccolo finding further delay would be detrimental, since his
son Francesco had, to the pope's great dishonor, pillaged Spoleto,
determined to attack Ravenna, either because he judged the enterprise
easy, or because he had a secret understanding with Ostasio, for in a
few days after the attack, the place capitulated. He then took
Bologna, Imola, and Furli; and (what is worthy of remark) of twenty
fortresses held in that country for the pope, not one escaped falling
into his hands. Not satisfied with these injuries inflicted on the
pontiff, he resolved to banter him by his words as well as ridicule
him by his deeds, and wrote, that he had only done as his holiness
deserved, for having unblushingly attempted to divide two such
attached friends as the duke and himself, and for having dispersed
over Italy letters intimating that he had quitted the duke to take
part with the Venetians. Having taken possession of Romagna, Niccolo
left it under the charge of his son, Francesco, and with the greater
part of his troops, went into Lombardy, where joining the remainder of
the duke's forces, he attacked the country about Brescia, and having
soon completely conquered it, besieged the city itself.

The duke, who desired the Venetians to be left defenseless, excused
himself to the pope, the Florentines, and the count, saying, that if
the doings of Niccolo were contrary to the terms of the treaty, they
were equally contrary to his wishes, and by secret messengers, assured
them that when an occasion presented itself, he would give them a
convincing proof that they had been performed in disobedience to his
instructions. Neither the count nor the Florentines believed him, but
thought, with reason, that these enterprises had been carried on to
keep them at bay, till he had subdued the Venetians, who, being full
of pride, and thinking themselves able alone to resist the duke, had
not deigned to ask for any assistance, but carried on the war under
their captain, Gattamelata.

Count Francesco would have wished, with the consent of the
Florentines, to go to the assistance of king René, if the events of
Romagna and Lombardy had not hindered him; and the Florentines would
willingly have consented, from their ancient friendship to the French
dynasty, but the duke was entirely in favor of Alfonso. Each being
engaged in wars near home, refrained from distant undertakings. The
Florentines, finding Romagna occupied with the duke's forces, and the
Venetians defeated, as if foreseeing their own ruin in that of others,
entreated the count to come to Tuscany, where they might consider what
should be done to resist Filippo's power, which was now greater than
it had ever before been; assuring him that if his insolence were not
in some way curbed, all the powers of Italy would soon have to submit
to him. The count felt the force of the fears entertained by the
Florentines, but his desire to secure the duke's alliance kept him in
suspense; and the duke, aware of this desire, gave him the greatest
assurance that his hopes would be realized as shortly as possible, if
he abstained from hostilities against him. As the lady was now of
marriageable age, the duke had frequently made all suitable
preparations for the celebration of the ceremony, but on one pretext
or another they had always been wholly set aside. He now, to give the
count greater confidence, added deeds to his words, and sent him
thirty thousand florins, which, by the terms of the marriage contract,
he had engaged to pay.

Still the war in Lombardy proceeded with greater vehemence than ever;
the Venetians constantly suffered fresh losses of territory, and the
fleets they equipped upon the rivers were taken by the duke's forces;
the country around Verona and Brescia was entirely occupied, and the
two cities themselves so pressed, that their speedy fall was generally
anticipated. The marquis of Mantua, who for many years had led the
forces of their republic, quite unexpectedly resigned his command, and
went over to the duke's service. Thus the course which pride prevented
them from adopting at the commencement of the war, fear compelled them
to take during its progress; for knowing there was no help for them
but in the friendship of the Florentines and the count, they began to
make overtures to obtain it, though with shame and apprehension; for
they were afraid of receiving a reply similar to that which they had
given the Florentines, when the latter applied for assistance in the
enterprise against Lucca and the count's affairs. However, they found
the Florentines more easily induced to render aid than they expected,
or their conduct deserved; so much more were the former swayed by
hatred of their ancient enemy, than by resentment of the ingratitude
of their old and habitual friends. Having foreseen the necessity into
which the Venetians must come, they had informed the count that their
ruin must involve his own; that he was deceived if he thought the
duke, while fortune, would esteem him more than if he were in
adversity; that the duke was induced to promise him his daughter by
the fear he entertained of him; that what necessity occasions to be
promised, it also causes to be performed; and it was therefore
desirable to keep the duke in that necessity, which could be done
without supporting the power of the Venetians. Therefore he might
perceive, that if the Venetians were compelled to abandon their inland
territories, he would not only lose the advantages derivable from
them, but also those to be obtained from such as feared them; and that
if he considered well the powers of Italy, he would see that some were
poor, and others hostile; that the Florentines alone were not, as he
had often said, sufficient for his support; so that on every account
it was best to keep the Venetians powerful by land. These arguments,
conjoined with the hatred which the count had conceived against
Filippo, by supposing himself duped with regard to the promised
alliance, induced him to consent to a new treaty; but still he would
not consent to cross the Po. The agreement was concluded in February,
1438; the Venetians agreeing to pay two-thirds of the expense of the
war, the Florentines one-third, and each engaging to defend the states
which the count possessed in La Marca. Nor were these the only forces
of the league, for the lord of Faenza, the sons of Pandolfo Malatesti
da Rimino and Pietro Giampagolo Orsini also joined them. They
endeavored, by very liberal offers, to gain over the marquis of
Mantua, but could not prevail against the friendship and stipend of
the duke; and the lord of Faenza, after having entered into compact
with the league, being tempted by more advantageous terms, went over
to him. This made them despair of being able to effect an early
settlement of the troubles of Romagna.

The affairs of Lombardy were in this condition: Brescia was so closely
besieged by the duke's forces, that constant apprehensions were
entertained of her being compelled by famine to a surrender; while
Verona was so pressed, that a similar fate was expected to await her,
and if one of these cities were lost, all the other preparations for
the war might be considered useless, and the expenses already incurred
as completely wasted. For this there was no remedy, but to send the
count into Lombardy; and to this measure three obstacles presented
themselves. The first was, to induce him to cross the Po, and
prosecute the war in whatever locality might be found most advisable;
the second, that the count being at a distance, the Florentines would
be left almost at the mercy of the duke, who, issuing from any of his
fortresses, might with part of his troops keep the count at bay, and
with the rest introduce into Tuscany the Florentine exiles, whom the
existing government already dreaded; the third was, to determine what
route the count should take to arrive safely in the Paduan territory,
and join the Venetian forces. Of these three difficulties, the second,
which particularly regarded the Florentines, was the most serious;
but, knowing the necessity of the case, and wearied out by the
Venetians, who with unceasing importunity demanded the count,
intimating that without him they should abandon all hope, they
resolved to relieve their allies rather than listen to the suggestions
of their own fears. There still remained the question about the route
to be taken, for the safety of which they determined the Venetians
should provide; and as they had sent Neri Capponi to treat with the
count and induce him to cross the Po, they determined that the same
person should also proceed to Venice, in order to make the benefit the
more acceptable to the Signory, and see that all possible security
were given to the passage of the forces.

Neri embarked at Cesena and went to Venice; nor was any prince ever
received with so much honor as he was; for upon his arrival, and the
matters which his intervention was to decide and determine, the safety
of the republic seemed to depend. Being introduced to the senate, and
in presence of the Doge, he said, "The Signory of Florence, most
serene prince, has always perceived in the duke's greatness the source
of ruin both to this republic and our own, and that the safety of both
states depends upon their separate strength and mutual confidence. If
such had been the opinion of this illustrious Signory, we should
ourselves have been in better condition, and your republic would have
been free from the dangers that now threaten it. But as at the proper
crisis you withheld from us confidence and aid, we could not come to
the relief of your distress, nor could you, being conscious of this,
freely ask us; for neither in your prosperity nor adversity have you
clearly perceived our motives. You have not observed, that those whose
deeds have once incurred our hatred, can never become entitled to our
regard; nor can those who have once merited our affection ever after
absolutely cancel their claim. Our attachment to your most serene
Signory is well known to you all, for you have often seen Lombardy
filled with our forces and our money for your assistance. Our
hereditary enmity to Filippo and his house is universally known, and
it is impossible that love or hatred, strengthened by the growth of
years, can be eradicated from our minds by any recent act either of
kindness or neglect. We have always thought, and are still of the same
opinion, that we might now remain neutral, greatly to the duke's
satisfaction, and with little hazard to ourselves; for if by your ruin
he were to become lord of Lombardy, we should still have sufficient
influence in Italy in free us from any apprehension on our own
account; for every increase of power and territory augments that
animosity and envy, from which arise wars and the dismemberment of
states. We are also aware what heavy expenses and imminent perils we
should avoid, by declining to involve ourselves in these disputes; and
how easily the field of battle may be transferred from Lombardy to
Tuscany, by our interference in your behalf. Yet all these
apprehensions are at once overborne by our ancient affection for the
senate and people of Venice, and we have resolved to come to your
relief with the same zeal with which we should have armed in our own
defense, had we been attacked. Therefore, the senate of Florence,
judging it primarily necessary to relieve Verona and Brescia, and
thinking this impossible without the count, have sent me, in the first
instance, to persuade him to pass into Lombardy, and carry on the war
wherever it may be most needful; for you are aware he is under no
obligation to cross the Po. To induce him to do so, I have advanced
such arguments as are suggested by the circumstances themselves, and
which would prevail with us. He, being invincible in arms, cannot be
surpassed in courtesy, and the liberality he sees the Florentines
exercise toward you, he has resolved to outdo; for he is well aware to
what dangers Tuscany will be exposed after his departure, and since we
have made your affairs our primary consideration, he has also resolved
to make his own subservient to yours. I come, therefore, to tender his
services, with seven thousand cavalry and two thousand infantry, ready
at once to march against the enemy, wherever he may be. And I beg of
you, so do my lords at Florence and the count, that as his forces
exceed the number he has engaged to furnish you, out of your
liberality, would remunerate him, that he may not repent of having
come to your assistance, nor we, who have prevailed with him to do
so." This discourse of Neri to the senate was listened to with that
profound attention which an oracle might be imagined to command; and
his audience were so moved by it, that they could not restrain
themselves, till the prince had replied, as strict decorum on such
occasions required, but rising from their seats, with uplifted hands,
and most of them with tears in their eyes, they thanked the
Florentines for their generous conduct, and the ambassador for his
unusual dispatch; and promised that time should never cancel the
remembrance of such goodness, either in their own hearts, or their
children's; and that their country, thenceforth, should be common to
the Florentines with themselves.


Francesco Sforza marches to assist the Venetians, and relieves
Verona--He attempts to relieve Brescia but fails--The Venetians
routed by Piccinino upon the Lake of Garda--Piccinino routed by
Sforza; the method of his escape--Piccinino surprises Verona--
Description of Verona--Recovered by Sforza--The duke of Milan
makes war against the Florentines--Apprehensions of the
Florentines--Cardinal Vitelleschi their enemy.

When their demonstrations of gratitude had subsided, the Venetian
senate, by the aid of Neri di Gino, began to consider the route the
count ought to take, and how to provide him with necessaries. There
were four several roads; one by Ravenna, along the beach, which on
account of its being in many places interrupted by the sea and by
marshes, was not approved. The next was the most direct, but rendered
inconvenient by a tower called the Uccellino, which being held for the
duke, it would be necessary to capture; and to do this, would occupy
more time than could be spared with safety to Verona and Brescia. The
third was by the brink of the lake; but as the Po had overflowed its
banks, to pass in this direction was impossible. The fourth was by the
way of Bologna to Ponte Puledrano, Cento, and Pieve; then between the
Bondeno and the Finale to Ferrara, and thence they might by land or
water enter the Paduan territory, and join the Venetian forces. This
route, though attended with many difficulties, and in some parts
liable to be disputed by the enemy, was chosen as the least
objectionable. The count having received his instructions, commenced
his march, and by exerting the utmost celerity, reached the Paduan
territory on the twentieth of June. The arrival of this distinguished
commander in Lombardy filled Venice and all her dependencies with
hope; for the Venetians, who only an instant before had been in fear
for their very existence, began to contemplate new conquests.

The count, before he made any other attempt, hastened to the relief of
Verona; and to counteract his design, Niccolo led his forces to Soave,
a castle situated between the Vincentino and the Veronese, and
entrenched himself by a ditch that extended from Soave to the marshes
of the Adige. The count, finding his passage by the plain cut off,
resolved to proceed by the mountains, and thus reach Verona, thinking
Niccolo would imagine this way to be so rugged and elevated as to be
impracticable, or if he thought otherwise, he would not be in time to
prevent him; so, with provisions for eight days, he took the mountain
path, and with his forces, arrived in the plain, below Soave. Niccolo
had, even upon this route, erected some bastions for the purpose of
preventing him, but they were insufficient for the purpose; and
finding the enemy had, contrary to his expectations, effected a
passage, to avoid a disadvantageous engagement he crossed to the
opposite side of the Adige, and the count entered Verona without

Having happily succeeded in his first project, that of relieving
Verona, the count now endeavored to render a similar service to
Brescia. This city is situated so close to the Lake of Garda, that
although besieged by land, provisions may always be sent into it by
water. On this account the duke had assembled a large force in the
immediate vicinity of the lake, and at the commencement of his
victories occupied all the places which by its means might relieve
Brescia. The Venetians also had galleys upon the lake, but they were
unequal to a contest with those of the duke. The count therefore
deemed it advisable to aid the Venetian fleet with his land forces, by
which means he hoped to obtain without much difficulty those places
which kept Brescia in blockade. He therefore encamped before
Bardolino, a fortress situated upon the lake, trusting that after it
was taken the others would surrender. But fortune opposed this design,
for a great part of his troops fell sick; so, giving up the
enterprise, he went to Zevio, a Veronese castle, in a healthy and
plentiful situation. Niccolo, upon the count's retreat, not to let
slip an opportunity of making himself master of the lake, left his
camp at Vegasio, and with a body of picked men took the way thither,
attacked the Venetian fleet with the utmost impetuosity, and took
nearly the whole of it. By this victory almost all the fortresses upon
the lake fell into his hands.

The Venetians, alarmed at this loss, and fearing that in consequence
of it Brescia would surrender, solicited the count, by letters and
messengers, to go to its relief; and he, perceiving that all hope of
rendering assistance from the lake was cut off, and that to attempt an
approach by land, on account of the ditches, bastions, and other
defenses erected by Niccolo, was marching to certain destruction,
determined that as the passage by the mountains had enabled him to
relieve Verona, it should also contribute to the preservation of
Brescia. Having taken this resolution, the count left Zevio, and by
way of the Val d'Acri went to the Lake of St. Andrea, and thence to
Torboli and Peneda, upon the Lake of Garda. He then proceeded to
Tenna, and besieged the fortress, which it was necessary to occupy
before he could reach Brescia.

Niccolo, on being acquainted with the count's design, led his army to
Peschiera. He then, with the marquis of Mantua and a chosen body of
men, went to meet him, and coming to an engagement, was routed, his
people dispersed, and many of them taken, while others fled to the
fleet, and some to the main body of his army. It was now nightfall,
and Niccolo had escaped to Tenna, but he knew that if he were to
remain there till morning, he must inevitably fall into the enemy's
hands; therefore, to avoid a catastrophe which might be regarded as
almost fatal, he resolved to make a dangerous experiment. Of all his
attendants he had only with him a single servant, a Dutchman, of great
personal strength, and who had always been devotedly attached to him.
Niccolo induced this man to take him upon his shoulders in a sack, as
if he had been carrying property of his master's, and to bear him to a
place of security. The enemy's lines surrounded Tenna, but on account
of the previous day's victory, all was in disorder, and no guard was
kept, so that the Dutchman, disguised as a trooper, passed through
them without any opposition, and brought his master in safety to his
own troops.

Had this victory been as carefully improved as it was fortunately
obtained, Brescia would have derived from it greater relief and the
Venetians more permanent advantage; but they, having thoughtlessly let
it slip, the rejoicings were soon over, and Brescia remained in her
former difficulties. Niccolo, having returned to his forces, resolved
by some extraordinary exertion to cancel the impression of his death,
and deprive the Venetians of the change of relieving Brescia. He was
acquainted with the topography of the citadel of Verona, and had
learned from prisoners whom he had taken, that it was badly guarded,
and might be very easily recovered. He perceived at once that fortune
presented him with an opportunity of regaining the laurels he had
lately lost, and of changing the joy of the enemy for their recent
victory into sorrow for a succeeding disaster. The city of Verona is
situated in Lombardy, at the foot of the mountains which divide Italy
from Germany, so that it occupies part both of hill and plain. The
river Adige rises in the valley of Trento, and entering Italy, does
not immediately traverse the country, but winding to the left, along
the base of the hills, enters Verona, and crosses the city, which it
divides unequally, giving much the larger portion to the plain. On the
mountain side of the river are two fortresses, formidable rather from
their situation than from their actual strength, for being very
elevated they command the whole place. One is called San Piero, the
other San Felice. On the opposite side of the Adige, upon the plain,
with their backs against the city walls, are two other fortresses,
about a mile distant from each other, one called the Old the other the
New Citadel, and a wall extends between them that may be compared to a
bowstring, of which the city wall is the arc. The space comprehended
within this segment is very populous, and is called the Borgo of St.
Zeno. Niccolo Piccinino designed to capture these fortresses and the
Borgo, and he hoped to succeed without much difficulty, as well on
account of the ordinary negligence of the guard, which their recent
successes would probably increase, as because in war no enterprise is
more likely to be successful than one which by the enemy is deemed
impossible. With a body of picked men, and accompanied by the marquis
of Mantua, he proceeded by night to Verona, silently scaled the walls,
and took the New Citadel: then entering the place with his troops, he
forced the gate of S. Antonio, and introduced the whole of his
cavalry. The Venetian garrison of the Old Citadel hearing an uproar,
when the guards of the New were slaughtered, and again when the gate
was forced, being now aware of the presence of enemies, raised an
alarm, and called the people to arms. The citizens awaking in the
utmost confusion, some of the boldest armed and hastened to the
rector's piazza. In the meantime, Niccolo's forces had pillaged the
Borgo of San Zeno; and proceeding onward were ascertained by the
people to be the duke's forces, but being defenseless they advised the
Venetian rectors to take refuge in the fortresses, and thus save
themselves and the place; as it was more advisable to preserve their
lives and so rich a city for better fortune, than by endeavoring to
repel the present evil, encounter certain death, and incur universal
pillage. Upon this the rectors and all the Venetian party, fled to the
fortress of San Felice. Some of the first citizens, anxious to avoid
being plundered by the troops, presented themselves before Niccolo and
the marquis of Mantua, and begged they would rather take possession of
a rich city, with honor to themselves, than of a poor one to their own
disgrace; particularly as they had not induced either the favor of its
former possessors, or the animosity of its present masters, by self-
defense. The marquis and Niccolo encouraged them, and protected their
property to the utmost of their power during such a state of military
license. As they felt sure the count would endeavor to recover the
city, they made every possible exertion to gain possession of the
fortresses, and those they could not seize they cut off from the rest
of the place by ditches and barricades, so that the enemy might be
shut out.

The Count Francesco was with his army at Tenna; and when the report
was first brought to him he refused to credit it; but being assured of
the fact by parties whom it would have been ridiculous to doubt, he
resolved, by the exertion of uncommon celerity, to repair the evil
negligence had occasioned; and though all his officers advised the
abandonment of Verona and Brescia, and a march to Vicenza, lest he
might be besieged by the enemy in his present situation, he refused,
but resolved to attempt the recovery of Verona. During the
consultation, he turned to the Venetian commissaries and to Bernardo
de' Medici, who was there as commissary for the Florentines, and
promised them the recovery of the place if one of the fortresses
should hold out. Having collected his forces, he proceeded with the
utmost speed to Verona. Observing his approach, Niccolo thought he
designed, according to the advice he had received, to go to Vicenza,
but finding him continue to draw near, and taking the direction of San
Felice, he prepared for its defense--though too late; for the
barricades were not completed; his men were dispersed in quest of
plunder, or extorting money from the inhabitants by way of ransom; and
he could not collect them in time to prevent the count's troops from
entering the fortress. They then descended into the city, which they
happily recovered, to Niccolo's disgrace, and with the loss of great
numbers of his men. He himself, with the marquis of Mantua, first took
refuge in the citadel, and thence escaping into the country, fled to
Mantua, where, having assembled the relics of their army, they
hastened to join those who were at the siege of Brescia. Thus in four
days Verona was lost and again recovered from the duke. The count,
after this victory, it being now winter and the weather very severe,
having first with considerable difficulty thrown provisions into
Brescia, went into quarters at Verona, and ordered, that during the
cold season, galleys should be provided at Torboli, that upon the
return of spring, they might be in a condition to proceed vigorously
to effect the permanent relief of Brescia.

The duke, finding the war suspended for a time, the hope he had
entertained of occupying Brescia and Verona annihilated, and the money
and counsels of the Florentines the cause of this, and seeing that
neither the injuries they had received from the Venetians could
alienate them, nor all the promises he had made attach them to
himself, he determined, in order to make them feel more closely the
effects of the course they had adopted, to attack Tuscany; to which he
was strenuously advised by the Florentine exiles and Niccolo. The
latter advocated this from his desire to recover the states of
Braccio, and expel the count from La Marca; the former, from their
wish to return home, and each by suitable arguments endeavored to
induce the duke to follow the plan congenial to their own views.
Niccolo argued that he might be sent into Tuscany, and continue the
siege of Brescia; for he was master of the lake, the fortresses were
well provided, and their officers were qualified to oppose the count
should he undertake any fresh enterprise; which it was not likely he
would do without first relieving Brescia, a thing impossible; and thus
the duke might carry on the war in Tuscany, without giving up his
attempts in Lombardy; intimating that the Florentines would be
compelled, as soon as he entered Tuscany, to recall the count to avoid
complete ruin; and whatever course they took, victory to the duke must
be the result. The exiles affirmed, that if Niccolo with his army were
to approach Florence, the people oppressed with taxes, and wearied out
by the insolence of the great, would most assuredly not oppose him,
and pointed out the facility of reaching Florence; for the way by the
Casentino would be open to them, through the friendship of Rinaldo and
the Count di Poppi; and thus the duke, who was previously inclined to
the attempt, was induced by their joint persuasions to make it. The
Venetians, on the other hand, though the winter was severe,
incessantly urged the count to relieve Brescia with all his forces.
The count questioned the possibility of so doing, and advised them to
wait the return of spring, in the meantime strengthening their fleet
as much as possible, and then assist it both by land and water. This
rendered the Venetians dissatisfied; they were dilatory in furnishing
provisions, and consequently many deserted from their army.

The Florentines, being informed of these transactions, became alarmed,
perceiving the war threatening themselves, and the little progress
made in Lombardy. Nor did the suspicion entertained by them of the
troops of the church give them less uneasiness; not that the pope was
their enemy, but because they saw those forces more under the sway of
the patriarch, who was their greatest foe. Giovanni Vitelleschi of
Corneto was at first apostolic notary, then bishop of Recanati, and
afterward patriarch of Alexandria; but at last, becoming a cardinal,
he was called Cardinal of Florence. He was bold and cunning; and,
having obtained great influence, was appointed to command all the
forces of the church, and conduct all the enterprises of the pontiff,
whether in Tuscany, Romagna, the kingdom of Naples, or in Rome. Hence
he acquired so much power over the pontiff, and the papal troops, that
the former was afraid of commanding him, and the latter obeyed no one
else. The cardinal's presence at Rome, when the report came of
Niccolo's design to march into Tuscany, redoubled the fear of the
Florentines; for, since Rinaldo was expelled, he had become an enemy
of the republic, from finding that the arrangements made by his means
were not only disregarded, but converted to Rinaldo's prejudice, and
caused the laying down of arms, which had given his enemies an
opportunity of banishing him. In consequence of this, the government
thought it would be advisable to restore and indemnify Rinaldo, in
case Niccolo came into Tuscany and were joined by him. Their
apprehensions were increased by their being unable to account for
Niccolo's departure from Lombardy, and his leaving one enterprise
almost completed, to undertake another so entirely doubtful; which
they could not reconcile with their ideas of consistency, except by
supposing some new design had been adopted, or some hidden treachery
intended. They communicated their fears to the pope, who was now
sensible of his error in having endowed the cardinal with too much


The pope imprisons the cardinal and assists the Florentines--
Difference of opinion between the count and the Venetians
respecting the management of the war. The Florentines reconcile
them--The count wishes to go into Tuscany to oppose Piccinino, but
is prevented by the Venetians--Niccolo Piccinino in Tuscany--He
takes Marradi, and plunders the neighborhood of Florence--
Description of Marradi--Cowardice of Bartolomeo Orlandini--Brave
resistance of Castel San Niccolo--San Niccolo surrenders--
Piccinino attempts to take Cortona, but fails.

While the Florentines were thus anxious, fortune disclosed the means
of securing themselves against the patriarch's malevolence. The
republic everywhere exercised the very closest espionage over
epistolary communication, in order to discover if any persons were
plotting against the state. It happened that letters were intercepted
at Monte Pulciano, which had been written by the patriarch to Niccolo
without the pope's knowledge; and although they were written in an
unusual character, and the sense so involved that no distinct idea
could be extracted, the obscurity itself, and the whole aspect of the
matter so alarmed the pontiff, that he resolved to seize the person of
the cardinal, a duty he committed to Antonio Rido, of Padua, who had
the command of the castle of St. Angelo, and who, after receiving his
instructions, soon found an opportunity of carrying them into effect.
The patriarch, having determined to go into Tuscany, prepared to leave
Rome on the following day, and ordered the castellan to be upon the
drawbridge of the fortress in the morning, for he wished to speak with
him as he passed. Antonio perceived this to be the favorable moment,
informed his people what they were to do, and awaited the arrival of
the patriarch upon the bridge, which adjoined the building, and might
for the purpose of security be raised or lowered as occasion required.
The appointed time found him punctual; and Antonio, having drawn him,
as if for the convenience of conversation, on to the bridge, gave a
signal to his men, who immediately raised it, and in a moment the
cardinal, from being a commander of armies, found himself a prisoner
of the castellan. The patriarch's followers at first began to use
threats, but being informed of the pope's directions they were
appeased. The castellan comforting him with kind words, he replied,
that "the great do not make each other prisoners to let them go again;
and that those whom it is proper to take, it is not well to set free."
He shortly afterward died in prison. The pope appointed Lodovico,
patriarch of Aquileia, to command his troops; and, though previously
unwilling to interfere in the wars of the league and the duke, he was
now content to take part in them, and engaged to furnish four thousand
horse and two thousand foot for the defense of Tuscany.

The Florentines, freed from this cause for anxiety, were still
apprehensive of Niccolo, and feared confusion in the affairs of
Lombardy, from the differences of opinion that existed between the
count and the Venetians. In order the better to become acquainted with
the intentions of the parties, they sent Neri di Gini Capponi and
Giuliano Davanzati to Venice, with instructions to assist in the
arrangement of the approaching campaign; and ordered that Neri, having
discovered how the Venetians were disposed, should proceed to the
count, learn his designs, and induce him to adopt the course that
would be most advantageous to the League. The ambassadors had only
reached Ferrara, when they were told that Niccolo Piccinino had
crossed the Po with six thousand horse. This made them travel with
increased speed; and, having arrived at Venice, they found the Signory
fully resolved that Brescia should be relieved without waiting for the
return of spring; for they said that "the city would be unable to hold
out so long, the fleet could not be in readiness, and that seeing no
more immediate relief, she would submit to the enemy; which would
render the duke universally victorious, and cause them to lose the
whole of their inland possessions." Neri then proceeded to Verona to
ascertain the count's opinion, who argued, for many reasons, that to
march to Brescia before the return of spring would be quite useless,
or even worse; for the situation of Brescia, being considered in
conjunction with the season, nothing could be expected to result but
disorder and fruitless toil to the troops; so that, when the suitable
period should arrive, he would be compelled to return to Verona with
his army, to recover from the injuries sustained in the winter, and
provide necessaries for the summer; and thus the time available for
the war would be wasted in marching and countermarching. Orsatto
Justiniani and Giovanni Pisani were deputed on the part of Venice to
the count at Verona, having been sent to consider these affairs, and
with them it was agreed that the Venetians should pay the count ninety
thousand ducats for the coming year, and to each of the soldiers forty
ducats; that he should set out immediately with the whole army and
attack the duke, in order to compel him, for his own preservation, to
recall Niccolo into Lombardy. After this agreement the ambassadors
returned to Venice; and the Venetians, having so large an amount of
money to raise, were very remiss with their commissariat.

In the meantime, Niccolo Piccinino pursued his route, and arrived in
Romagna, where he prevailed upon the sons of Pandolfo Malatesti to
desert the Venetians and enter the duke's service. This circumstance
occasioned much uneasiness in Venice, and still more at Florence; for
they thought that with the aid of the Malatesti they might resist
Niccolo; but finding them gone over to the enemy, they were in fear
lest their captain, Piero Giampagolo Orsini, who was in the
territories of the Malatesti, should be disarmed and rendered
powerless. The count also felt alarmed, for, through Niccolo's
presence in Tuscany, he was afraid of losing La Marca; and, urged by a
desire to look after his own affairs, he hastened to Venice, and being
introduced to the Doge, informed him that the interests of the League
required his presence in Tuscany; for the war ought to be carried on
where the leader and forces of the enemy were, and not where his
garrisons and towns were situated; for when the army is vanquished the
war is finished; but to take towns and leave the armament entire,
usually allowed the war to break out again with greater virulence;
that Tuscany and La Marca would be lost if Niccolo were not vigorously
resisted, and that, if lost, there would be no possibility of the
preservation of Lombardy. But supposing the danger to Lombardy not so
imminent, he did not intend to abandon his own subjects and friends,
and that having come into Lombardy as a prince, he did not intend to
return a mere condottiere. To this the Doge replied, it was quite
manifest that, if he left Lombardy, or even recrossed the Po, all
their inland territories would be lost; in that case they were
unwilling to spend any more money in their defense. For it would be
folly to attempt defending a place which must, after all, inevitably
be lost; and that it is less disgraceful and less injurious to lose
dominions only, then to lose both territory and money. That if the
loss of their inland possessions should actually result, it would then
be seen how highly important to the preservation of Romagna and
Tuscany the reputation of the Venetians had been. On these accounts
they were of quite a different opinion from the count; for they saw
that whoever was victor in Lombardy would be so everywhere else, that
conquest would be easily attainable now, when the territories of the
duke were left almost defenseless by the departure of Niccolo, and
that he would be ruined before he could order Niccolo's recall, or
provide himself with any other remedy; that whoever attentively
considered these things would see, that the duke had sent Niccolo into
Tuscany for no other reason than to withdraw the count from his
enterprise, and cause the war, which was now at his own door, to be
removed to a greater distance. That if the count were to follow
Niccolo, unless at the instigation of some very pressing necessity, he
would find his plan successful, and rejoice in the adoption of it; but
if he were to remain in Lombardy, and allow Tuscany to shift for
herself, the duke would, when too late, see the imprudence of his
conduct, and find that he had lost his territories in Lombardy and
gained nothing in Tuscany. Each party having spoken, it was determined
to wait a few days to see what would result from the agreement of the
Malatesti with Niccolo; whether the Florentines could avail themselves
of Piero Giampagolo, and whether the pope intended to join the League
with all the earnestness he had promised. Not many days after these
resolutions were adopted, it was ascertained that the Malatesti had
made the agreement more from fear than any ill-will toward the League;
that Piero Giampagolo had proceeded with his force toward Tuscany, and
that the pope was more disposed than ever to assist them. This
favorable intelligence dissipated the count's fears, and he consented
to remain in Lombardy, and that Neri Capponi should return to Florence
with a thousand of his own horse, and five hundred from the other
parties. It was further agreed, that if the affairs of Tuscany should
require the count's presence, Neri should write to him, and he would
proceed thither to the exclusion of every other consideration. Neri
arrived at Florence with his forces in April, and Giampagolo joined
them the same day.

In the meantime, Niccolo Piccinino, the affairs of Romagna being
settled, purposed making a descent into Tuscany, and designing to go
by the mountain passes of San Benedetto and the valley of Montone,
found them so well guarded by the contrivance of Niccolo da Pisa, that
his utmost exertions would be useless in that direction. As the
Florentines, upon this sudden attack, were unprovided with troops and
officers, they had sent into the defiles of these hills many of their
citizens, with infantry raised upon the emergency to guard them, among
whom was Bartolomeo Orlandini, a cavaliere, to whom was intrusted the
defense of the castle of Marradi and the adjacent passes. Niccolo
Piccinino, finding the route by San Benedetto impracticable, on
account of the bravery of its commander, thought the cowardice of the
officer who defended that of Marradi would render the passage easy.
Marradi is a castle situated at the foot of the mountains which
separate Tuscany from Romagna; and, though destitute of walls, the
river, the mountains, and the inhabitants, make it a place of great
strength; for the peasantry are warlike and faithful, and the rapid
current undermining the banks has left them of such tremendous height
that it is impossible to approach it from the valley if a small bridge
over the stream be defended; while on the mountain side the precipices
are so steep and perpendicular as to render it almost impregnable. In
spite of these advantages, the pusillanimity of Bartolomeo Orlandini
rendered the men cowardly and the fortress untenable; for as soon as
he heard of the enemy's approach he abandoned the place, fled with all
his forces, and did not stop till he reached the town of San Lorenzo.
Niccolo, entering the deserted fortress, wondered it had not been
defended, and, rejoicing over his acquisition, descended into the
valley of the Mugello, where he took some castles, and halted with his
army at Pulicciano. Thence he overran the country as far as the
mountains of Fiesole; and his audacity so increased that he crossed
the Arno, plundering and destroying everything to within three miles
of Florence.

The Florentines, however, were not dismayed. Their first concern was
to give security to the government, for which they had no cause for
apprehension, so universal was the good will of the people toward
Cosmo; and besides this, they had restricted the principal offices to
a few citizens of the highest class, who with their vigilance would
have kept the populace in order, even if they had been discontented or
desirous of change. They also knew by the compact made in Lombardy
what forces Neri would bring with him, and expected the troops of the
pope. These prospects sustained their courage till the arrival of Neri
di Gino, who, on account of the disorders and fears of the city,
determined to set out immediately and check Niccolo. With the cavalry
he possessed, and a body of infantry raised entirely from the people,
he recovered Remole from the hands of the enemy, where having
encamped, he put a stop to all further depredations, and gave the
inhabitants hopes of repelling the enemy from the neighborhood.
Niccolo finding that, although the Florentines were without troops, no
disturbance had arisen, and learning what entire composure prevailed
in the city, thought he was wasting time, and resolved to undertake
some other enterprise to induce them to send forces after him, and
give him a chance of coming to an engagement, by means of which, if
victorious, he trusted everything would succeed to his wishes.

Francesco, Count di Poppi, was in the army of Niccolo, having deserted
the Florentines, with whom he was in league, when the enemy entered
the Mugello; and though with the intention of securing him as soon as
they had an idea of his design, they increased his appointments, and
made him commissary over all the places in his vicinity; still, so
powerful is the attachment to party, that no benefit or fear could
eradicate the affection he bore toward Rinaldo and the late
government; so that as soon as he knew Niccolo was at hand he joined
him, and with the utmost solicitude entreated him to leave the city
and pass into the Casentino, pointing out to him the strength of the
country, and how easily he might thence harass his enemies. Niccolo
followed his advice, and arriving in the Casentino, took Romena and
Bibbiena, and then pitched his camp before Castel San Niccolo. This
fortress is situated at the foot of the mountains which divide the
Casentino from the Val d'Arno; and being in an elevated situation, and
well garrisoned, it was difficult to take, though Niccolo, with
catapults and other engines, assailed it without intermission. The
siege had continued more than twenty days, during which the
Florentines had collected all their forces, having assembled under
several leaders, three thousand horse, at Fegghine, commanded by Piero
Giampagolo Orsini, their captain, and Neri Capponi and Bernardo de'
Medici, commissaries. Four messengers, from Castel San Niccolo, were
sent to them to entreat succor. The commissaries having examined the
site, found it could not be relieved, except from the Alpine regions,
in the direction of the Val d'Arno, the summit of which was more
easily attainable by the enemy than by themselves, on account of their
greater proximity, and because the Florentines could not approach
without observation; so that it would be making a desperate attempt,
and might occasion the destruction of the forces. The commissaries,
therefore, commended their fidelity, and ordered that when they could
hold out no longer, they should surrender. Niccolo took the fortress
after a siege of thirty-two days; and the loss of so much time, for
the attainment of so small an advantage, was the principle cause of
the failure of his expedition; for had he remained with his forces
near Florence, he would have almost deprived the government of all
power to compel the citizens to furnish money: nor would they so
easily have assembled forces and taken other precautions, if the enemy
had been close upon them, as they did while he was at a distance.
Besides this, many would have been disposed to quiet their
apprehensions of Niccolo, by concluding a peace; particularly, as the
contest was likely to be of some duration. The desire of the Count di
Poppi to avenge himself on the inhabitants of San Niccolo, long his
enemies, occasioned his advice to Piccinino, who adopted it for the
purpose of pleasing him; and this caused the ruin of both. It seldom
happens, that the gratification of private feelings, fails to be
injurious to the general convenience.

Niccolo, pursuing his good fortune, took Rassina and Chiusi. The Count
di Poppi advised him to halt in these parts, arguing that he might
divide his people between Chiusi, Caprese, and the Pieve, render
himself master of this branch of the Apennines, and descend at
pleasure into the Casentino, the Val d'Arno, the Val di Chiane, or the
Val di Tavere, as well as be prepared for every movement of the enemy.
But Niccolo, considering the sterility of these places, told him, "his
horses could not eat stones," and went to the Borgo San Sepolcro,
where he was amicably received, but found that the people of Citta di
Castello, who were friendly to the Florentines, could not be induced
to yield to his overtures. Wishing to have Perugia at his disposal, he
proceeded thither with forty horse, and being one of her citizens, met
with a kind reception. But in a few days he became suspected, and
having attempted unsuccessfully to tamper with the legate and people
of Perugia, he took eight thousand ducats from them, and returned to
his army. He then set on foot secret measures, to seduce Cortona from
the Florentines, but the affair being discovered, his attempts were
fruitless. Among the principal citizens was Bartolomeo di Senso, who
being appointed to the evening watch of one of the gates, a
countryman, his friend, told him, that if he went he would be slain.
Bartolomeo, requesting to know what was meant, he became acquainted
with the whole affair, and revealed it to the governor of the place,
who, having secured the leaders of the conspiracy, and doubled the
guards at the gates, waited till the time appointed for the coming of
Niccolo, who finding his purpose discovered, returned to his


Brescia relieved by Sforza--His other victories--Piccinino is
recalled into Lombardy--He endeavors to bring the Florentines to
an engagement--He is routed before Anghiari--Serious disorders in
the camp of the Florentines after the victory--Death of Rinaldo
degli Albizzi--His character--Neri Capponi goes to recover the
Casentino--The Count di Poppi surrenders--His discourse upon
quitting his possessions.

While these events were taking place in Tuscany, so little to the
advantage of the duke, his affairs in Lombardy were in a still worse
condition. The Count Francesco, as soon as the season would permit,
took the field with his army, and the Venetians having again covered
the lake with their galleys, he determined first of all to drive the
duke from the water; judging, that this once effected, his remaining
task would be easy. He therefore, with the Venetian fleet, attacked
that of the duke, and destroyed it. His land forces took the castles
held for Filippo, and the ducal troops who were besieging Brescia,
being informed of these transactions, withdrew; and thus, the city,
after standing a three years' siege, was at length relieved. The count
then went in quest of the enemy, whose forces were encamped before
Soncino, a fortress situated upon the River Oglio; these he dislodged
and compelled to retreat to Cremona, where the duke again collected
his forces, and prepared for his defense. But the count constantly
pressing him more closely, he became apprehensive of losing either the
whole, or the greater part, of his territories; and perceiving the
unfortunate step he had taken, in sending Niccolo into Tuscany, in
order to correct his error, he wrote to acquaint him with what had
transpired, desiring him, with all possible dispatch, to leave Tuscany
and return to Lombardy.

In the meantime, the Florentines, under their commissaries, had drawn
together their forces, and being joined by those of the pope, halted
at Anghiari, a castle placed at the foot of the mountains that divide
the Val di Tavere from the Val di Chiane, distant four miles from the
Borgo San Sepolcro, on a level road, and in a country suitable for the
evolutions of cavalry or a battlefield. As the Signory had heard of
the count's victory and the recall of Niccolo, they imagined that
without again drawing a sword or disturbing the dust under their
horses' feet, the victory was their own, and the war at an end, they
wrote to the commissaries, desiring them to avoid an engagement, as
Niccolo could not remain much longer in Tuscany. These instructions
coming to the knowledge of Piccinino, and perceiving the necessity of
his speedy return, to leave nothing unattempted, he determined to
engage the enemy, expecting to find them unprepared, and not disposed
for battle. In this determination he was confirmed by Rinaldo, the
Count di Poppi, and other Florentine exiles, who saw their inevitable
ruin in the departure of Niccolo, and hoped, that if he engaged the
enemy, they would either be victorious, or vanquished without
dishonor. This resolution being adopted, Niccolo led his army,
unperceived by the enemy, from Citta di Castello to the Borgo, where
he enlisted two thousand men, who, trusting the general's talents and
promises, followed him in hope of plunder. Niccolo then led his forces
in battle array toward Anghiari, and had arrived within two miles of
the place, when Micheletto Attendulo observed great clouds of dust,
and conjecturing at once, that it must be occasioned by the enemy's
approach, immediately called the troops to arms. Great confusion
prevailed in the Florentine camp, for the ordinary negligence and want
of discipline were now increased by their presuming the enemy to be at
a distance, and they were more disposed to fight than to battle; so
that everyone was unarmed, and some wandering from the camp, either
led by their desire to avoid the excessive heat, or in pursuit of
amusement. So great was the diligence of the commissaries and of the
captain, that before the enemy's arrival, the men were mounted and
prepared to resist their attack; and as Micheletto was the first to
observe their approach, he was also first armed and ready to meet
them, and with his troops hastened to the bridge which crosses the
river at a short distance from Anghiari. Pietro Giampagolo having
previous to the surprise, filled up the ditches on either side of the
road, and leveled the ground between the bridge and Anghiari, and
Micheletto having taken his position in front of the former, the
legate and Simoncino, who led the troops of the church, took post on
the right, and the commissaries of the Florentines, with Pietro
Giampagolo, their captain, on the left; the infantry being drawn up
along the banks of the river. Thus, the only course the enemy could
take, was the direct one over the bridge; nor had the Florentines any
other field for their exertions, excepting that their infantry were
ordered, in case their cavalry were attacked in flank by the hostile
infantry, to assail them with their cross bows, and prevent them from
wounding the flanks of the horses crossing the bridge. Micheletto
bravely withstood the enemy's charge upon the bridge; but Astorre and
Francesco Piccinino coming up, with a picked body of men, attacked him
so vigorously, that he was compelled to give way, and was pushed as
far as the foot of the hill which rises toward the Borgo d'Anghiari;
but they were in turn repulsed and driven over the bridge, by the
troops that took them in flank. The battle continued two hours, during
which each side had frequent possession of the bridge, and their
attempts upon it were attended with equal success; but on both sides
of the river, the disadvantage of Niccolo was manifest; for when his
people crossed the bridge, they found the enemy unbroken, and the
ground being leveled, they could manœuvre without difficulty, and the
weary be relieved by such as were fresh. But when the Florentines
crossed, Niccolo could not relieve those that were harassed, on
account of the hindrance interposed by the ditches and embankments on
each side of the road; thus whenever his troops got possession of the
bridge, they were soon repulsed by the fresh forces of the
Florentines; but when the bridge was taken by the Florentines, and
they passed over and proceeded upon the road, Niccolo having no
opportunity to reinforce his troops, being prevented by the
impetuosity of the enemy and the inconvenience of the ground, the rear
guard became mingled with the van, and occasioned the utmost confusion
and disorder; they were forced to flee, and hastened at full speed
toward the Borgo. The Florentine troops fell upon the plunder, which
was very valuable in horses, prisoners, and military stores, for not
more than a thousand of the enemy's cavalry reached the town. The
people of the Borgo, who had followed Niccolo in the hope of plunder,
became booty themselves, all of them being taken, and obliged to pay a
ransom. The colors and carriages were also captured. This victory was
much more advantageous to the Florentines than injurious to the duke;
for, had they been conquered, Tuscany would have been his own; but he,
by his defeat, only lost the horses and accoutrements of his army,
which could be replaced without any very serious expense. Nor was
there ever an instance of wars being carried on in an enemy's country
with less injury to the assailants than at this; for in so great a
defeat, and in a battle which continued four hours, only one man died,
and he, not from wounds inflicted by hostile weapons, or any honorable
means, but, having fallen from his horse, was trampled to death.
Combatants then engaged with little danger; being nearly all mounted,
covered with armor, and preserved from death whenever they chose to
surrender, there was no necessity for risking their lives; while
fighting, their armor defended them, and when they could resist no
longer, they yielded and were safe.

This battle, from the circumstances which attended and followed it,
presents a striking example of the wretched state of military
discipline in those times. The enemy's forces being defeated and
driven into the Borgo, the commissaries desired to pursue them, in
order to make the victory complete, but not a single condottiere or
soldier would obey, alleging, as a sufficient reason for their
refusal, that they must take care of the booty and attend to their
wounded; and, what is still more surprising, the next day, without
permission from the commissaries, or the least regard for their
commanders, they went to Arezzo, and, having secured their plunder,
returned to Anghiari; a thing so contrary to military order and all
subordination, that the merest shadow of a regular army would easily
and most justly have wrested from them the victory they had so
undeservedly obtained. Added to this, the men-at-arms, or heavy-armed
horse, who had been taken prisoners, whom the commissaries wished to
be detained that they might not rejoin the enemy, were set at liberty,
contrary to their orders. It is astonishing, that an army so
constructed should have sufficient energy to obtain the victory, or
that any should be found so imbecile as to allow such a disorderly
rabble to vanquish them. The time occupied by the Florentine forces in
going and returning from Arezzo, gave Niccolo opportunity of escaping
from the Borgo, and proceeding toward Romagna. Along with him also
fled the Florentine exiles, who, finding no hope of their return home,
took up their abodes in various parts of Italy, each according to his
own convenience. Rinaldo made choice of Ancona; and, to gain admission
to the celestial country, having lost the terrestrial, he performed a
pilgrimage to the holy sepulcher; whence having returned, he died
suddenly while at table at the celebration of the marriage of one of
his daughters; an instance of fortune's favor, in removing him from
the troubles of this world upon the least sorrowful day of his exile.
Rinaldo d'Albizzi appeared respectable under every change of
condition; and would have been more so had he lived in a united city,
for many qualities were injurious to him in a factious community,
which in an harmonious one would have done him honor.

When the forces returned from Arezzo, Niccolo being then gone, the
commissaries presented themselves at the Borgo, the people of which
were willing to submit to the Florentines; but their offer was
declined, and while negotiations were pending, the pope's legate
imagined the commissaries designed to take it from the church. Hard
words were exchanged and hostilities might have ensued between the
Florentine and ecclesiastical forces, if the misunderstanding had
continued much longer; but as it was brought to the conclusion desired
by the legate, peace was restored.

While the affair of the Borgo San Sepolcro was in progress, Niccolo
Piccinino was supposed to have marched toward Rome; other accounts
said La Marca, and hence the legate and the count's forces moved
toward Perugia to relieve La Marca or Rome, as the case might be, and
Bernardo de Medici accompanied them. Neri led the Florentine forces to
recover the Casentino, and pitched his camp before Rassina, which he
took, together with Bibbiena, Prato Vecchio, and Romena. From thence
he proceeded to Poppi and invested it on two sides with his forces, in
one direction toward the plain of Certomondo, in the other upon the
hill extending to Fronzole. The count finding himself abandoned to his
fate, had shut himself up in Poppi, not with any hope of assistance,
but with a view to make the best terms he could. Neri pressing him, he
offered to capitulate, and obtained reasonable conditions, namely,
security for himself and family, with leave to take whatever he could
carry away, on condition of ceding his territories and government to
the Florentines. When he perceived the full extent of his misfortune,
standing upon the bridge which crosses the Arno, close to Poppi, he
turned to Neri in great distress, and said, "Had I well considered my
own position and the power of the Florentines, I should now have been
a friend of the republic and congratulating you on your victory, not
an enemy compelled to supplicate some alleviation of my woe. The
recent events which to you bring glory and joy, to me are full of
wretchedness and sorrow. Once I possessed horses, arms, subjects,
grandeur and wealth: can it be surprising that I part with them
reluctantly? But as you possess both the power and the inclination to
command the whole of Tuscany, we must of necessity obey you; and had I
not committed this error, my misfortune would not have occurred, and
your liberality could not have been exercised; so, that if you were to
rescue me from entire ruin, you would give the world a lasting proof
of your clemency. Therefore, let your pity pass by my fault, and allow
me to retain this single house to leave to the descendants of those
from whom your fathers have received innumerable benefits." To this
Neri replied: "That his having expected great results from men who
were capable of doing only very little, had led him to commit so great
a fault against the republic of Florence; that, every circumstance
considered, he must surrender all those places to the Florentines, as
an enemy, which he was unwilling to hold as a friend: that he had set
such an example, as it would be most highly impolitic to encourage;
for, upon a change of fortune, it might injure the republic, and it
was not himself they feared, but his power while lord of the
Casentino. If, however, he could live as a prince in Germany, the
citizens would be very much gratified; and out of love to those
ancestors of whom he had spoken, they would be glad to assist him." To
this, the count, in great anger, replied: "He wished the Florentines
at a much greater distance." Attempting no longer to preserve the
least urbanity of demeanor, he ceded the place and all its
dependencies to the Florentines, and with his treasure, wife, and
children, took his departure, mourning the loss of a territory which
his forefathers had held during four hundred years. When all these
victories were known at Florence, the government and people were
transported with joy. Benedetto de' Medici, finding the report of
Niccolo having proceeded either to Rome or to La Marca, incorrect,
returned with his forces to Neri, and they proceeded together to
Florence, where the highest honors were decreed to them which it was
customary with the city to bestow upon her victorious citizens, and
they were received by the Signory, the Capitani di Parte, and the
whole city, in triumphal pomp.



Reflections on the object of war and the use of victory--Niccolo
reinforces his army--The duke of Milan endeavors to recover the
services of Count Francesco Sforza--Suspicions of the Venetians--
They acquire Ravenna--The Florentines purchase the Borgo San
Sepolcro of the pope--Piccinino makes an excursion during the
winter--The count besieged in his camp before Martinengo--The
insolence of Niccolo Piccinino--The duke in revenge makes peace
with the league--Sforza assisted by the Florentines.

Those who make war have always and very naturally designed to enrich
themselves and impoverish the enemy; neither is victory sought or
conquest desirable, except to strengthen themselves and weaken the
enemy. Hence it follows, that those who are impoverished by victory or
debilitated by conquest, must either have gone beyond, or fallen short
of, the end for which wars are made. A republic or a prince is
enriched by the victories he obtains, when the enemy is crushed and
possession is retained of the plunder and ransom. Victory is injurious
when the foe escapes, or when the soldiers appropriate the booty and
ransom. In such a case, losses are unfortunate, and conquests still
more so; for the vanquished suffers the injuries inflicted by the
enemy, and the victor those occasioned by his friends, which being
less justifiable, must cause the greater pain, particularly from a
consideration of his being thus compelled to oppress his people by an
increased burden of taxation. A ruler possessing any degree of
humanity, cannot rejoice in a victory that afflicts his subjects. The
victories of the ancient and well organized republics, enabled them to
fill their treasuries with gold and silver won from their enemies, to
distribute gratuities to the people, reduce taxation, and by games and
solemn festivals, disseminate universal joy. But the victories
obtained in the times of which we speak, first emptied the treasury,
and then impoverished the people, without giving the victorious party
security from the enemy. This arose entirely from the disorders
inherent in their mode of warfare; for the vanquished soldiery,
divesting themselves of their accoutrements, and being neither slain
nor detained prisoners, only deferred a renewed attack on the
conqueror, till their leader had furnished them with arms and horses.
Besides this, both ransom and booty being appropriated by the troops,
the victorious princes could not make use of them for raising fresh
forces, but were compelled to draw the necessary means from their
subjects' purses, and this was the only result of victory experienced
by the people, except that it diminished the ruler's reluctance to
such a course, and made him less particular about his mode of
oppressing them. To such a state had the practice of war been brought
by the sort of soldiery then on foot, that the victor and the
vanquished, when desirous of their services, alike needed fresh
supplies of money; for the one had to re-equip them, and the other to
bribe them; the vanquished could not fight without being remounted,
and the conquerors would not take the field without a new gratuity.
Hence it followed, that the one derived little advantage from the
victory, and the other was the less injured by defeat; for the routed
party had to be re-equipped, and the victorious could not pursue his

From this disorderly and perverse method of procedure, it arose, that
before Niccolo's defeat became known throughout Italy, he had again
reorganized his forces, and harassed the enemy with greater vigor than
before. Hence, also, it happened, that after his disaster at Tenna, he
so soon occupied Verona: that being deprived of his army at Verona, he
was shortly able to appear with a large force in Tuscany; that being
completely defeated at Anghiari, before he reached Tuscany, he was
more powerful in the field than ever. He was thus enabled to give the
duke of Milan hopes of defending Lombardy, which by his absence
appeared to be lost; for while Niccolo spread consternation throughout
Tuscany, disasters in the former province so alarmed the duke, that he
was afraid his utter ruin would ensue before Niccolo, whom he had
recalled, could come to his relief, and check the impetuous progress
of the count. Under these impressions, the duke, to insure by policy
that success which he could not command by arms, had recourse to
remedies, which on similar occasions had frequently served his turn.
He sent Niccolo da Esti, prince of Ferrara, to the count who was then
at Peschiera, to persuade him, "That this war was not to his
advantage; for if the duke became so ruined as to be unable to
maintain his position among the states of Italy, the count would be
the first to suffer; for he would cease to be of importance either
with the Venetians or the Florentines; and to prove the sincerity of
his wish for peace, he offered to fulfill the engagement he had
entered into with regard to his daughter, and send her to Ferrara; so
that as soon as peace was established, the union might take place."
The count replied, "That if the duke really wished for peace, he might
easily be gratified, as the Florentines and the Venetians were equally
anxious for it. True, it was, he could with difficulty credit him,
knowing that he had never made peace but from necessity, and when this
no longer pressed him, again desired war. Neither could he give
credence to what he had said concerning the marriage, having been so
repeatedly deceived; yet when peace was concluded, he would take the
advice of his friends upon that subject."

The Venetians, who were sometimes needlessly jealous of their
soldiery, became greatly alarmed at these proceedings; and not without
reason. The count was aware of this, and wishing to remove their
apprehensions, pursued the war with unusual vigor; but his mind had
become so unsettled by ambition, and the Venetians' by jealousy, that
little further progress was made during the remainder of the summer,
and upon the return of Niccolo into Lombardy, winter having already
commenced, the armies withdrew into quarters, the count to Verona, the
Florentine forces to Tuscany, the duke's to Cremona, and those of the
pope to Romagna. The latter, after having been victorious at Anghiari,
made an unsuccessful attack upon Furli and Bologna, with a view to
wrest them from Niccolo Piccinino; but they were gallantly defended by
his son Francesco. However, the arrival of the papal forces so alarmed
the people of Ravenna with the fear of becoming subject to the church,
that, by consent of Ostasio di Polenta their lord, they placed
themselves under the power of the Venetians; who, in return for the
territory, and that Ostasio might never retake by force what he had
imprudently given them, sent him and his son to Candia, where they
died. In the course of these affairs, the pope, notwithstanding the
victory at Anghiari, became so in want of money, that he sold the
fortress of Borgo San Sepolcro to the Florentines for 25,000 ducats.

Affairs being thus situated, each party supposed winter would protect
them from the evils of war, and thought no more of peace. This was
particularly the case with the duke, who, being rendered doubly secure
by the season and by the presence of Niccolo, broke off all attempts
to effect a reconciliation with the count, reorganized Niccolo's
forces, and made every requisite preparation for the future struggle.
The count being informed of this, went to Venice to consult with the
senate on the course to be pursued during the next year. Niccolo, on
the other hand, being quite prepared, and seeing the enemy unprovided,
did not await the return of spring, but crossed the Adda during severe
weather, occupied the whole Brescian territory, except Oddula and
Acri, and made prisoners two thousand horse belonging to Francesco's
forces, who had no apprehension of an attack. But the greatest source
of anxiety to the count, and alarm to the Venetians, was the desertion
of his service by Ciarpellone, one of his principal officers.
Francesco, on learning these matters, immediately left Venice, and,
arriving at Brescia, found that Niccolo, after doing all the mischief
he could, had retired to his quarters; and therefore, finding the war
concluded for the present was not disposed to rekindle it, but rather
to use the opportunity afforded by the season and his enemies, of
reorganizing his forces, so as to be able, when spring arrived, to
avenge himself for his former injuries. To this end he induced the
Venetians to recall the forces they had in Tuscany, in the Florentine
service, and to order that to succeed Gattamelata, who was dead,
Micheletto Attendulo should take the command.

On the approach of spring, Niccolo Piccinino was the first to take the
field, and encamped before Cignano, a fortress twelve miles from
Brescia; the count marched to its relief, and the war between them was
conducted in the usual manner. The count, apprehensive for the city of
Bergamo, besieged Martinengo, a castle so situated that the possession
of it would enable him to relieve the former, which was closely
pressed by Niccolo, who, having foreseen that the enemy could impede
him only from the direction of Martinengo, had put the castle into a
complete state of defense, so that the count was obliged to lend his
whole force to the siege. Upon this, Niccolo placed his troops in a
situation calculated to intercept the count's provisions, and
fortified himself with trenches and bastions in such a manner that he
could not be attacked without the most manifest hazard to his
assailant. Hence the besiegers were more distressed than the people of
Martinengo whom they besieged. The count could not hold his position
for want of food, nor quit it without imminent danger; so that the
duke's victory appeared certain, and defeat equally inevitable to the
count and the Venetians.

But fortune, never destitute of means to assist her favorites, or to
injure others, caused the hope of victory to operate so powerfully
upon Niccolo Piccinino, and made him assume such a tone of unbounded
insolence, that, losing all respect for himself and the duke, he sent
him word that, having served under his ensign for so long, without
obtaining sufficient land to serve him for a grave, he wished to know
from himself what was to be the reward of his labors; for it was in
his power to make him master of Lombardy, and place all his enemies in
his power; and, as a certain victory ought to be attended by a sure
remuneration, he desired the duke to concede to him the city of
Piacenza, that when weary with his lengthened services he might at
last betake himself to repose. Nor did he hesitate, in conclusion, to
threaten, if his request were not granted, to abandon the enterprise.
This injurious and most insolent mode of proceeding highly offended
the duke, and, on further consideration, he determined rather to let
the expedition altogether fail, than consent to his general's demand.
Thus, what all the dangers he had incurred, and the threats of his
enemies, could not draw from him, the insolent behavior of his friends
made him willing to propose. He resolved to come to terms with the
count, and sent Antonio Guido Buono, of Tortona, to offer his daughter
and conditions of peace, which were accepted with great pleasure by
the count, and also by the colleagues as far as themselves were
concerned. The terms being secretly arranged, the duke sent to command
Niccolo to make a truce with the count for one year; intimating, that
being exhausted with the expense, he could not forego a certain peace
for a doubtful victory. Niccolo was utterly astonished at this
resolution, and could not imagine what had induced the duke to lose
such a glorious opportunity; nor could he surmise that, to avoid
rewarding his friends, he would save his enemies, and therefore to the
utmost of his power he opposed this resolution; and the duke was
obliged, in order to induce his compliance, to threaten that if he did
not obey he would give him up to his soldiers and his enemies. Niccolo
submitted, with the feelings of one compelled to leave country and
friends, complaining of his hard fate, that fortune and the duke were
robbing him of the victory over his enemies. The truce being arranged,
the marriage of the duke's daughter, Bianca, to the count was
solemnized, the duke giving Cremona for her portion. This being over,
peace was concluded in November, 1441, at which Francesco Barbadico
and Pagolo Trono were present for the Venetians, and for the
Florentines Agnolo Acciajuoli. Peschiera, Asola, and Lonato, castles
in the Mantuan territory, were assigned to the Venetians.

The war in Lombardy was concluded; but the dissensions in the kingdom
of Naples continued, and the inability to compose them occasioned the
resumption of those arms which had been so recently laid aside.
Alfonso, of Aragon, had, during these wars, taken from René the whole
kingdom except Naples; so that, thinking he had the victory in his
power, he resolved during the siege of Naples to take Benevento, and
his other possessions in that neighborhood, from the count; and
thought he might easily accomplish this while the latter was engaged
in the wars of Lombardy. Having heard of the conclusion of peace,
Alfonso feared the count would not only come for the purpose of
recovering his territories, but also to favor René; and René himself
had hope of his assistance for the same reason. The latter, therefore,
sent to the count, begging he would come to the relief of a friend,
and avenge himself of an enemy. On the other hand, Alfonso entreated
Filippo, for the sake of the friendship which subsisted between them,
to find the count some other occupation, that, being engaged in
greater affairs, he might not have an opportunity of interfering
between them. Filippo complied with this request, without seeming to
be aware that he violated the peace recently made, so greatly to his
disadvantage. He therefore signified to pope Eugenius, that the
present was a favorable opportunity for recovering the territories
which the count had taken from the church; and, that he might be in a
condition to use it, offered him the services of Niccolo Piccinino,
and engaged to pay him during the war; who, since the peace of
Lombardy, had remained with his forces in Romagna. Eugenius eagerly
took the advice, induced by his hatred of the count, and his desire to
recover his lost possessions; feeling assured that, although on a
former occasion he had been duped by Niccolo, it would be improper,
now that the duke interfered, to suspect any deceit; and, joining his
forces to those of Niccolo, he assailed La Marca. The count,
astonished at such an unexpected attack, assembled his troops, and
went to meet the enemy. In the meantime, King Alfonso took possession
of Naples, so that the whole kingdom, except Castelnuova, was in his
power. Leaving a strong guard at Castelnuova René set out and came to
Florence, where he was most honorably received; and having remained a
few days, finding he could not continue the war, he withdrew to

In the meantime, Alfonso took Castelnuova, and the count found himself
assailed in the Marca Inferiore, both by the pope and Niccolo. He
applied to the Venetians and the Florentines for assistance, in men
and money, assuring them that if they did not determine to restrain
the pope and king, during his life, they would soon afterward find
their very existence endangered, for both would join Filippo and
divide Italy among them. The Florentines and Venetians hesitated for a
time, both to consider the propriety of drawing upon themselves the
enmity of the pope and the king, and because they were then engaged in
the affairs of the Bolognese. Annibale Bentivoglio had driven
Francesco Piccinino from Bologna, and for defense against the duke,
who favored Francesco, he demanded and received assistance of the
Venetians and Florentines; so that, being occupied with these matters
they could not resolve to assist the count, but Annibale, having
routed Francesco Piccinino, and those affairs seeming to be settled,
they resolved to support him. Designing however to make sure of the
duke, they offered to renew the league with him, to which he was not
averse; for, although he consented that war should be made against the
count, while King René was in arms, yet finding him now conquered, and
deprived of the whole kingdom, he was not willing that the count
should be despoiled of his territories; and therefore, not only
consented that assistance should be given him, but wrote to Alfonso to
be good enough to retire to his kingdom, and discontinue hostilities
against the count; and although reluctantly, yet in acknowledgment of
his obligations to the duke, Alfonso determined to satisfy him, and
withdrew with his forces beyond the Tronto.


Discords of Florence--Jealousy excited against Neri di Gino
Capponi--Baldaccio d'Anghiari murdered--Reform of government in
favor of the Medici--Enterprises of Sforza and Piccinino--Death of
Niccolo Piccinino--End of the war--Disturbances in Bologna--
Annibale Bentivoglio slain by Battista Canneschi, and the latter
by the people--Santi, supposed to be the son of Ercole
Bentivoglio, is called to govern the city of Bologna--Discourse of
Cosmo de' Medici to him--Perfidious designs of the duke of Milan
against Sforza--General war in Italy--Losses of the duke of Milan
--The duke has recourse to the count, who makes peace with him--
Offers of the duke and the Venetians to the count--The Venetians
furtively deprive the count of Cremona.

While the affairs of Romagna proceeded thus, the city of Florence was
not tranquil. Among the citizens of highest reputation in the
government, was Neri di Gino Capponi, of whose influence Cosmo de'
Medici had more apprehension than any other; for to the great
authority which he possessed in the city was added his influence with
the soldiery. Having been often leader of the Florentine forces he had
won their affection by his courage and talents; and the remembrance of
his own and his father's victories (the latter having taken Pisa, and
he himself having overcome Niccolo Piccinino at Anghiari) caused him
to be beloved by many, and feared by those who were averse to having
associates in the government. Among the leaders of the Florentine army
was Baldaccio d'Anghiari, an excellent soldier, for in those times
there was not one in Italy who surpassed him in vigor either of body
or mind; and possessing so much influence with the infantry, whose
leader he had always been, many thought they would follow him wherever
he chose to lead them. Baldaccio was the intimate friend of Neri, who
loved him for his talents, of which he had been a constant witness.
This excited great suspicion in the other citizens, who, thinking it
alike dangerous either to discharge or retain him in their service,
determined to destroy him, and fortune seemed to favor their design.
Bartolommeo Orlandini was Gonfalonier of Justice; the same person who
was sent to the defense of Marradi, when Niccolo Piccinino came into
Tuscany, as we have related above, and so basely abandoned the pass,
which by its nature was almost impregnable. So flagrant an instance of
cowardice was very offensive to Baldaccio, who, on many occasions,
both by words and letters, had contributed to make the disgraceful
fact known to all. The shame and vexation of Bartolommeo were extreme,
so that of all things he wished to avenge himself, thinking, with the
death of his accuser, to efface the stain upon his character.

This feeling of Bartolommeo Orlandini was known to other citizens, so
that they easily persuaded him to put Baldaccio to death, and at one
avenge himself, and deliver his country from a man whom they must
either retain at great peril, or discharge to their greater confusion.
Bartolommeo having therefore resolved to murder him, concealed in his
own apartment at the palace several young men, all armed; and
Baldaccio, entering the piazza, whither it was his daily custom to
come, to confer with the magistrates concerning his command, the
Gonfalonier sent for him, and he, without any suspicion, obeyed.
Meeting him in the corridor, which leads to the chambers of the
Signory, they took a few turns together discoursing of his office,
when being close to the door of the apartments in which the assassins
were concealed, Bartolommeo gave them the signal, upon which they
rushed out, and finding Baldaccio alone and unarmed, they slew him,
and threw the body out of the window which looks from the palace
toward the dogano, or customhouse. It was thence carried into the
piazza, where the head being severed, it remained the whole day
exposed to the gaze of the people. Baldaccio was married, and had only
one child, a boy, who survived him but a short time; and his wife,
Annalena, thus deprived of both husband and offspring, rejected every
proposal for a second union. She converted her house into a monastery,
to which she withdrew, and, being joined by many noble ladies, lived
in holy seclusion to the end of her days. The convent she founded, and
which is named from her, preserves her story in perpetual remembrance.

This circumstance served to weaken Neri's power, and made him lose
both influence and friends. Nor did this satisfy the citizens who held
the reins of government; for it being ten years since their
acquisition of power, and the authority of the Balia expired, many
began to exhibit more boldness, both in words and deeds, than seemed
consistent with their safety; and the leaders of the party judged,
that if they wished to preserve their influence, some means must be
adopted to increase it. To this end, in 1444 the councils created a
new Balia, which reformed the government, gave authority to a limited
number to create the Signory, re-established the Chancery of
Reformations, depriving Filippo Peruzzi of his office of president in
it, and appointing another wholly under their influence. They
prolonged the term of exile to those who were banished; put Giovanni
di Simone Vespucci in prison; deprived the Accoppiatori of their
enemies of the honors of government, and with them the sons of Piero
Baroncelli, the whole of the Seragli, Bartolommeo Fortini, Francesco
Castellani, and many others. By these means they strengthened their
authority and influence, and humbled their enemies, or those whom they
suspected of being so.

Having thus recovered and confirmed their government, they then turned
their attention to external affairs. As observed above, Niccolo
Piccinino was abandoned by King Alfonso, and the count having been
aggrandized by the assistance of the Florentines, attacked and routed
him near Fermo, where, after losing nearly the whole of his troops,
Niccolo fled to Montecchio, which he fortified in such a manner that
in a short time he had again assembled so large an army as enabled him
to make head against the count; particularly as the season was now
come for them to withdraw into quarters. His principal endeavor during
the winter was to collect troops, and in this he was assisted both by
the pope and Alfonso; so that, upon the approach of spring, both
leaders took the field, and Niccolo, being the strongest, reduced the
count to extreme necessity, and would have conquered him if the duke
had not contrived to frustrate his designs. Filippo sent to beg he
would come to him with all speed, for he wished to have a personal
interview, that he might communicate matters of the highest
importance. Niccolo, anxious to hear them, abandoned a certain victory
for a very doubtful advantage; and leaving his son Francesco to
command the army, hastened to Milan. The count being informed of the
circumstance, would not let slip the opportunity of fighting in the
absence of Niccolo; and, coming to an engagement near the castle of
Monte Loro, routed the father's forces and took the son prisoner.
Niccolo having arrived at Milan saw that the duke had duped him, and
learning the defeat of his army and the capture of his son, he died of
grief in 1445, at the age of sixty-four, having been a brave rather
than a fortunate leader. He left two sons, Francesco and Jacopo, who,
possessing less talent than their father, were still more unfortunate;
so that the arms of the family became almost annihilated, while those
of Sforza, being favored by fortune, attained augmented glory. The
pope, seeing Niccolo's army defeated and himself dead, having little
hope of assistance from Aragon, sought peace with the count, and, by
the intervention of the Florentines, succeeded. Of La Marca, the pope
only retained Osimo, Fabriano, and Recanati; all the rest remained in
the count's possession.

Peace being restored to La Marca, the whole of Italy would have
obtained repose had it not been disturbed by the Bolognese. There were
in Bologna two very powerful families, the Canneschi and the
Bentivogli. Of the latter, Annibale was the head; of the former,
Battista, who, as a means of confirming their mutual confidence, had
contracted family alliances; but among men who have the same objects
of ambition in view, it is easy to form connections, but difficult to
establish friendship. The Bolognese were in a league with the
Venetians and Florentines, which had been effected by the influence of
Annibale, after they had driven out Francesco Piccinino; and Battista,
knowing how earnestly the duke desired to have the city favorable to
him, proposed to assassinate Annibale, and put Bologna into his power.
This being agreed upon, on the twenty-fifth of June, 1445, he attacked
Annibale with his men, and slew him: and then, with shouts of "the
duke, the duke," rode through the city. The Venetian and Florentine
commissaries were in Bologna at the time, and at first kept themselves
within doors; but finding that the people, instead of favoring the
murderers, assembled in the piazza, armed in great numbers, mourning
the death of Annibale, they joined them; and, assembling what forces
they could, attacked the Canneschi, soon overpowered them, slew part,
and drove the remainder out of the city. Battista, unable to effect
his escape, or his enemies his capture, took refuge in a vault of his
house, used for storing grain. The friends of the Bentivogli, having
sought him all day, and knowing he had not left the city, so terrified
his servants, that one of them, a groom, disclosed the place of his
concealment, and being drawn forth in complete armor he was slain, his
body dragged about the streets, and afterward burned. Thus the duke's
authority was sufficient to prompt the enterprise, but his force was
not at hand to support it.

The tumults being settled by the death of Battista, and the flight of
the Canneschi, Bologna still remained in the greatest confusion. There
not being one of the house of Bentivogli of age to govern, Annibale
having left but one son whose name was Giovanni, only six years old,
it was apprehended that disunion would ensue among the Bentivogli, and
cause the return of the Cannecshi, and the ruin both of their own
country and party. While in this state of apprehension, Francesco,
sometime Count di Poppi, being at Bologna, informed the rulers of the
city, that if they wished to be governed by one of the blood of
Annibale, he could tell them of one; and related that about twenty
years ago, Ercole, cousin of Annibale, being at Poppi, became
acquainted with a girl of the castle, of whom was born a son named
Santi, whom Ercole, on many occasions acknowledged to be his own, nor
could he deny it, for whoever knew him and saw the boy, could not fail
to observe the strongest resemblance. The citizens gave credit to the

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