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certain sum of money should be paid to the duke. The principal
opponents of the Medici took occasion, from this demand, to make
public resistance in the councils, on pretense that the alliance was
made with Francesco and not Galeazzo; so that Francesco being dead,
the obligation had ceased; nor was there any necessity to revive it,
because Galeazzo did not possess his father's talents, and
consequently they neither could nor ought to expect the same benefits
from him; that if they had derived little advantage from Francesco,
they would obtain still less from Galeazzo; and that if any citizen
wished to hire him for his own purposes, it was contrary to civil
rule, and inconsistent with the public liberty. Piero, on the
contrary, argued that it would be very impolitic to lose such an
alliance from mere avarice, and that there was nothing so important to
the republic, and to the whole of Italy, as their alliance with the
duke; that the Venetians, while they were united, could not hope
either by feigned friendship or open war to injure the duchy; but as
soon as they perceived the Florentines alienated from him they would
prepare for hostilities, and, finding him young, new in the
government, and without friends, they would, either by force or fraud,
compel him to join them; in which case ruin of the republic would be

The arguments of Piero were without effect, and the animosity of the
parties began to be openly manifested in their nocturnal assemblies;
the friends of the Medici meeting in the Crocetta, and their
adversaries in the Pieta. The latter being anxious for Piero's ruin,
had induced many citizens to subscribe their names as favorable to the
undertaking. Upon one occasion, particularly when considering the
course to be adopted, although all agreed that the power of the Medici
ought to be reduced, different opinions were given concerning the
means by which it should be effected; one party, the most temperate
and reasonable, held that as the authority of the balia had ceased,
they must take care to prevent its renewal; it would then be found to
be the universal wish that the magistrates and councils should govern
the city, and in a short time Piero's power would be visibly
diminished, and, as a consequence of his loss of influence in the
government, his commercial credit would also fail; for his affairs
were in such a state, that if they could prevent him from using the
public money his ruin must ensue. They would thus be in no further
danger from him, and would succeed in the recovery of their liberty,
without the death or exile of any individual; but if they attempted
violence they would incur great dangers; for mankind are willing to
allow one who falls of himself to meet his fate, but if pushed down
they would hasten to his relief; so that if they adopted no
extraordinary measures against him, he will have no reason for defense
or aid; and if he were to seek them it would be greatly to his own
injury, by creating such a general suspicion as would accelerate his
ruin, and justify whatever course they might think proper to adopt.
Many of the assembly were dissatisfied with this tardy method of
proceeding; they thought delay would be favorable to him and injurious
to themselves; for if they allowed matters to take their ordinary
course, Piero would be in no danger whatever, while they themselves
would incur many; for the magistrates who were opposed to him would
allow him to rule the city, and his friends would make him a prince,
and their own ruin would be inevitable, as happened in 1458; and
though the advice they had just heard might be most consistent with
good feeling, the present would be found to be the safest. That it
would therefore be best, while the minds of men were yet excited
against him, to effect his destruction. It must be their plan to arm
themselves, and engage the assistance of the marquis of Ferrara, that
they might not be destitute of troops; and if a favorable Signory were
drawn, they would be in condition to make use of them. They therefore
determined to wait the formation of the new Signory, and be governed
by circumstances.

Among the conspirators was Niccolo Fedini, who had acted as president
of their assemblies. He, being induced by most certain hopes,
disclosed the whole affair to Piero, and gave him a list of those who
had subscribed their names, and also of the conspirators. Piero was
alarmed on discovering the number and quality of those who were
opposed to him; and by the advice of his friends he resolved to take
the signatures of those who were inclined to favor him. Having
employed one of his most trusty confidants to carry his design into
effect, he found so great a disposition to change and instability,
that many who had previously set down their names among the number of
his enemies, now subscribed them in his favor.


Niccolo Soderini drawn Gonfalonier of Justice--Great hopes excited
in consequence--The two parties take arms--The fears of the
Signory--Their conduct with regard to Piero--Piero's reply to the
Signory--Reform of government in favor of Piero de' Medici--
Dispersion of his enemies--Fall of Lucca Pitti--Letter of Agnolo
Acciajuoli to Piero de' Medici--Piero's answer--Designs of the
Florentine exiles--They induce the Venetians to make war on

In the midst of these events, the time arrived for the renewal of the
supreme magistracy; and Niccolo Soderini was drawn Gonfalonier of
Justice. It was surprising to see by what a concourse, not only of
distinguished citizens, but also of the populace, he was accompanied
to the palace; and while on the way thither an olive wreath was placed
upon his head, to signify that upon him depended the safety and
liberty of the city. This, among many similar instances, serves to
prove how undesirable it is to enter upon office or power exciting
inordinate expectations; for, being unable to fulfil them (many
looking for more than it is possible to perform), shame and
disappointment are the ordinary results. Tommaso and Niccolo Soderini
were brothers. Niccolo was the more ardent and spirited, Tommaso the
wiser man; who, being very much the friend of Piero, and knowing that
his brother desired nothing but the liberty of the city, and the
stability of the republic, without injury to any, advised him to make
new Squittini, by which means the election purses might be filled with
the names of those favorable to his design. Niccolo took his brother's
advice, and thus wasted the period of his magistracy in vain hopes,
which his friends, the leading conspirators, allowed him to do from
motives of envy; for they were unwilling that the government should be
reformed by the authority of Niccolo, and thought they would be in
time enough to effect their purpose under another gonfalonier. Thus
the magistracy of Niccolo expired; and having commenced many things
without completing aught, he retired from office with much less credit
than when he had entered upon it.

This circumstance caused the aggrandizement of Piero's party, whose
friends entertained stronger hopes, while those who had been neutral
or wavering became his adherents; so that both sides being balanced,
many months elapsed without any open demonstration of their particular
designs. Piero's party continuing to gather strength, his enemies'
indignation increased in proportion; and they now determined to effect
by force what they either could not accomplish, or were unwilling to
attempt by the medium of the magistrates, which was assassination of
Piero, who lay sick at Careggi, and to this end order the marquis of
Ferrara nearer to the city with his forces, that after Piero's death
he might lead them into the piazza, and thus compel the Signory to
form a government according to their own wishes; for though all might
not be friendly, they trusted they would be able to induce those to
submit by fear who might be opposed to them from principle.

Diotisalvi, the better to conceal his design, frequently visited
Piero, conversed with him respecting the union of the city, and
advised him to effect it. The conspirators' designs had already been
fully disclosed to Piero; besides this, Domenico Martelli had informed
him, that Francesco Neroni, the brother of Diotisalvi, had endeavored
to induce him to join them, assuring him the victory was certain, and
their object all but attained. Upon this, Piero resolved to take
advantage of his enemies' tampering with the marquis of Ferrara, and
be first in arms. He therefore intimated that he had received a letter
from Giovanni Bentivogli, prince of Bologna, which informed him that
the marquis of Ferrara was upon the river Albo, at the head of a
considerable force, with the avowed intention of leading it to
Florence; that upon this advice he had taken up arms; after which, in
the midst of a strong force, he came to the city, when all who were
disposed to support him, armed themselves also. The adverse party did
the same, but not in such good order, being unprepared. The residence
of Diotisalvi being near that of Piero, he did not think himself safe
in it, but first went to the palace and begged the Signory would
endeavor to induce Piero to lay down his arms, and thence to Luca
Pitti, to keep him faithful in their cause. Niccolo Soderini displayed
the most activity; for taking arms, and being followed by nearly all
the plebeians in his vicinity, he proceeded to the house of Luca, and
begged that he would mount his horse, and come to the piazza in
support of the Signory, who were, he said, favorable, and that the
victory would, undoubtedly, be on their side; that he should not stay
in the house to be basely slain by their armed enemies, or
ignominiously deceived by those who were unarmed; for, in that case,
he would soon repent of having neglected an opportunity irrecoverably
lost; that if he desired the forcible ruin of Piero, he might easily
effect it; and that if he were anxious for peace, it would be far
better to be in a condition to propose terms than to be compelled to
accept any that might be offered. These words produced no effect upon
Luca, whose mind was now quite made up; he had been induced to desert
his party by new conditions and promises of alliance from Piero; for
one of his nieces had been married to Giovanni Tornabuoni. He,
therefore, advised Niccolo to dismiss his followers and return home,
telling him he ought to be satisfied, if the city were governed by the
magistrates, which would certainly be the case, and that all ought to
lay aside their weapons; for the Signory, most of whom were friendly,
would decide their differences. Niccolo, finding him impracticable,
returned home; but before he left, he said, "I can do the city no good
alone, but I can easily foresee the evils that will befall her. This
resolution of yours will rob our country of her liberty; you will lose
the government, I shall lose my property, and the rest will be

During this disturbance the Signory closed the palace and kept their
magistrates about them, without showing favor to either party. The
citizens, especially those who had followed Luca Pitti, finding Piero
fully prepared and his adversaries unarmed, began to consider, not how
they might injure him, but how, with least observation, glide into the
ranks of his friends. The principal citizens, the leaders of both
factions, assembled in the palace in the presence of the Signory, and
spoke respecting the state of the city and the reconciliation of
parties; and as the infirmities of Piero prevented him from being
present, they, with one exception, unanimously determined to wait upon
him at his house. Niccolo Soderini having first placed his children
and his effects under the care of his brother Tommaso, withdrew to his
villa, there to await the event, but apprehended misfortune to himself
and ruin to his country. The other citizens coming into Piero's
presence, one of them who had been appointed spokesman, complained of
the disturbances that had arisen in the city, and endeavored to show,
that those must be most to blame who had been first to take up arms;
and not knowing what Piero (who was evidently the first to do so)
intended, they had come in order to be informed of his design, and if
it had in view the welfare of the city, they were desirous of
supporting it. Piero replied, that not those who first take arms are
the most to blame, but those who give the first occasion for it, and
if they would reflect a little on their mode of proceeding toward
himself, they would cease to wonder at what he had done; for they
could not fail to perceive, that nocturnal assemblies, the enrollment
of partisans, and attempts to deprive him both of his authority and
his life, had caused him to take arms; and they might further observe,
that as his forces had not quitted his own house, his design was
evidently only to defend himself and not to injure others. He neither
sought nor desired anything but safety and repose; neither had his
conduct ever manifested a desire for ought else; for when the
authority of the Balia expired, he never made any attempt to renew it,
and was very glad the magistrates had governed the city and had been
content. They might also remember that Cosmo and his sons could live
respected in Florence, either with the Balia or without it, and that
in 1458, it was not his family, but themselves, who had renewed it.
That if they did not wish for it at present, neither did he; but this
did not satisfy them; for he perceived that they thought it impossible
to remain in Florence while he was there. It was entirely beyond all
his anticipations that his own or his father's friends should think
themselves unsafe with him in Florence, having always shown himself
quiet and peaceable. He then addressed himself to Diotisalvi and his
brothers, who were present, reminding them with grave indignation, of
the benefits they had received from Cosmo, the confidence he had
reposed in them and their subsequent ingratitude; and his words so
strongly excited some present, that had he not interfered, they would
certainly have torn the Neroni to pieces on the spot. He concluded by
saying, that he should approve of any determination of themselves and
the Signory; and that for his own part, he only desired peace and
safety. After this, many things were discussed, but nothing
determined, excepting generally, that it was necessary to reform the
administration of the city and government.

The Gonfalon of Justice was then in the hands of Bernardo Lotti, a man
not in the confidence of Piero, who was therefore disinclined to
attempt aught while he was in office; but no inconvenience would
result from the delay, as his magistracy was on the point of expiring.
Upon the election of Signors for the months of September and October,
1466, Roberto Lioni was appointed to the supreme magistracy, and as
soon as he assumed its duties, every requisite arrangement having been
previously made, the people were called to the piazza, and a new Balia
created, wholly in favor of Piero, who soon afterward filled all the
offices of government according to his own pleasure. These
transactions alarmed the leaders of the opposite faction, and Agnolo
Acciajuoli fled to Naples, Diotisalvi Neroni and Niccolo Soderini to
Venice. Luca Pitti remained in Florence, trusting to his new
relationship and the promises of Piero. The refugees were declared
rebels, and all the family of the Neroni were dispersed. Giovanni di
Neroni, then archbishop of Florence, to avoid a greater evil, became a
voluntary exile at Rome, and to many other citizens who fled, various
places of banishment were appointed. Nor was this considered
sufficient; for it was ordered that the citizens should go in solemn
procession to thank God for the preservation of the government and the
reunion of the city, during the performance of which, some were taken
and tortured, and part of them afterward put to death and exiled. In
this great vicissitude of affairs, there was not a more remarkable
instance of the uncertainty of fortune than Luca Pitti, who soon found
the difference between victory and defeat, honor and disgrace. His
house now presented only a vast solitude, where previously crowds of
citizens had assembled. In the streets, his friends and relatives,
instead of accompanying, were afraid even to salute him. Some of them
were deprived of the honors of government, others of their property,
and all alike threatened. The superb edifices he had commenced were
abandoned by the builders; the benefits that had been conferred upon
him, where now exchanged for injuries, the honors for disgrace. Hence
many of those who had presented him with articles of value now
demanded them back again, as being only lent; and those who had been
in the habit of extolling him as a man of surpassing excellence, now
termed him violent and ungrateful. So that, when too late, he
regretted not having taken the advice of Niccolo Soderini, and
preferred an honorable death in battle, than to a life of ignominy
among his victorious enemies.

The exiles now began to consider various means of recovering that
citizenship which they had not been able to preserve. However, Agnolo
Acciajuoli being at Naples, before he attempted anything else,
resolved to sound Piero, and try if he could effect a reconciliation.
For this purpose, he wrote to him in the following terms: "I cannot
help laughing at the freaks of fortune, perceiving how, at her
pleasure, she converts friends into enemies, and enemies into friends.
You may remember that during your father's exile, regarding more the
injury done to him than my own misfortunes, I was banished, and in
danger of death, and never during Cosmo's life failed to honor and
support your family; neither have I since his death ever entertained a
wish to injure you. True, it is, that your own sickness, and the
tender years of your sons, so alarmed me, that I judged it desirable
to give such a form to the government, that after your death our
country might not be ruined; and hence, the proceedings, which not
against you, but for the safety of the state, have been adopted,
which, if mistaken, will surely obtain forgiveness, both for the good
design in view, and on account of my former services. Neither can I
apprehend, that your house, having found me so long faithful, should
now prove unmerciful, or that you could cancel the impression of so
much merit for so small a fault." Piero replied: "Your laughing in
your present abode is the cause why I do not weep, for were you to
laugh in Florence, I should have to weep at Naples. I confess you were
well disposed toward my father, and you ought to confess you were well
paid for it; and the obligation is so much the greater on your part
than on ours, as deeds are of greater value than words. Having been
recompensed for your good wishes, it ought not to surprise you that
you now receive the due reward of your bad ones. Neither will a
pretense of your patriotism excuse you, for none will think the city
less beloved or benefited by the Medici, than by the Acciajuoli. It,
therefore, seems but just, that you should remain in dishonor at
Naples, since you knew not how to live with honor at home."

Agnolo, hopeless of obtaining pardon, went to Rome, where, joining the
archbishop and other refugees, they used every available means to
injure the commercial credit of the Medici in that city. Their
attempts greatly annoyed Piero; but by his friends' assistance, he was
enabled to render them abortive. Diotisalvi Neroni and Niccolo
Soderini strenuously urged the Venetian senate to make war upon their
country, calculating, that in case of an attack, the government being
new and unpopular, would be unable to resist. At this time there
resided at Ferrara, Giovanni Francesco, son of Palla Strozzi, who,
with his father, was banished from Florence in the changes of 1434. He
possessed great influence, and was considered one of the richest
merchants. The newly banished pointed out to Giovanni Francesco how
easily they might return to their country, if the Venetians were to
undertake the enterprise, and that it was most probable they would do
so, if they had pecuniary assistance, but that otherwise it would be
doubtful. Giovanni Francesco, wishing to avenge his own injuries, at
once fell in with their ideas, and promised to contribute to the
success of the attempt all the means in his power. On this they went
to the Doge, and complained of the exile they were compelled to
endure, for no other reason, they said, than for having wished their
country should be subject to equal laws, and that the magistrates
should govern, not a few private individuals; that Piero de' Medici,
with his adherents, who were accustomed to act tyrannically, had
secretly taken up arms, deceitfully induced them to lay their own
aside, and thus, by fraud, expelled them from their country; that, not
content with this, they made the Almighty himself a means of
oppression to several, who, trusting to their promises, had remained
in the city and were there betrayed; for, during public worship and
solemn supplications, that the Deity might seem to participate in
their treachery, many citizens had been seized, imprisoned, tortured,
and put to death; thus affording to the world a horrible and impious
precedent. To avenge themselves for these injuries, they knew not
where to turn with so much hope of success as to the senate, which,
having always enjoyed their liberty, ought to compassionate those who
had lost it. They therefore called upon them as free men to assist
them against tyrants; as pious, against the wicked; and would remind
the Venetians, that it was the family of the Medici who had robbed
them of their dominions in Lombardy, contrary to the wish of the other
citizens, and who, in opposition to the interests of the senate, had
favored and supported Francesco, so, that if the exiles' distresses
could not induce them to undertake the war, the just indignation of
the people of Venice, and their desire of vengeance ought to prevail.


War between the Venetians and the Florentines--Peace
re-established--Death of Niccolo Soderini--His character--Excesses
in Florence--Various external events from 1468 to 1471--Accession
of Sixtus IV.--His character--Grief of Piero de' Medici for the
violence committed in Florence--His speech to the principal
citizens--Plans of Piero de' Medici for the restoration of order--
His death and character--Tommaso Soderini, a citizen of great
reputation, declares himself in favor of the Medici--Disturbances
at Prato occasioned by Bernardo Nardi.

The concluding words of the Florentine exiles produced the utmost
excitement among the Venetian senators, and they resolved to send
Bernardo Coglione, their general, to attack the Florentine territory.
The troops were assembled, and joined by Ercole da Esti, who had been
sent by Borgo, marquis of Ferrara. At the commencement of hostilities,
the Florentines not being prepared, their enemies burned the Borgo of
Dovadola, and plundered the surrounding country. But having expelled
the enemies of Piero, renewed their league with Galeazzo, duke of
Milan, and Ferrando, king of Naples, they appointed to the command of
their forces Federigo, count of Urbino; and being thus on good terms
with their friends, their enemies occasioned them less anxiety.
Ferrando sent Alfonso, his eldest son, to their aid, and Galeazzo came
in person, each at the head of a suitable force, and all assembled at
Castrocaro, a fortress belonging to the Florentines, and situated
among the roots of the Appennines which descend from Tuscany to
Romagna. In the meantime, the enemy withdrew toward Imola. A few
slight skirmishes took place between the armies; yet, in accordance
with the custom of the times, neither of them acted on the offensive,
besieged any town, or gave the other an opportunity of coming to a
general engagement; but each kept within their tents, and conducted
themselves with most remarkable cowardice. This occasioned general
dissatisfaction among the Florentines; for they found themselves
involved in an expensive war, from which no advantage could be
derived. The magistrates complained of these spiritless proceedings to
those who had been appointed commissaries to the expedition; but they
replied, that the entire evil was chargeable upon the Duke Galeazzo,
who possessing great authority and little experience, was unable to
suggest useful measures, and unwilling to take the advice of those who
were more capable; and therefore any demonstration of courage or
energy would be impracticable so long as he remained with the army.
Hereupon the Florentines intimated to the duke, that his presence with
the force was in many ways advantageous and beneficial, and of itself
sufficient to alarm the enemy; but they considered his own safety and
that of his dominions, much more important than their own immediate
convenience; because so long as the former were safe, the Florentines
had nothing to fear, and all would go well; but if his dominions were
to suffer, they might then apprehend all kinds of misfortune. They
assured him they did not think it prudent for him to be absent so long
from Milan, having recently succeeded to the government, and being
surrounded by many powerful enemies and suspected neighbors; while any
who were desirous of plotting against him, had an opportunity of doing
so with impunity. They would, therefore, advise him to return to his
territories, leaving part of his troops with them for the use of the
expedition. This advice pleased Galeazzo, who, in consequence,
immediately withdrew to Milan. The Florentine generals being now left
without any hindrance, to show that the cause assigned for their
inaction was the true one, pressed the enemy more closely, so that
they came to a regular engagement, which continued half a day, without
either party yielding. Some horses were wounded and prisoners taken,
but no death occurred. Winter having arrived, and with it the usual
time for armies to retire into quarters, Bartolommeo Coglione withdrew
to Ravenna, the Florentine forces into Tuscany, and those of the king
and duke, each to the territories of their sovereign. As this attempt
had not occasioned any tumult in Florence, contrary to the rebels'
expectation, and the troops they had hired were in want of pay, terms
of peace were proposed, and easily arranged. The revolted Florentines,
thus deprived of hope, dispersed themselves in various places.
Diotisalvi Neroni withdrew to Ferrara, where he was received and
entertained by the Marquis Borso. Niccolo Soderini went to Ravenna,
where, upon a small pension allowed by the Venetians, he grew old and
died. He was considered a just and brave man, but over-cautious and
slow to determine, a circumstance which occasioned him, when
Gonfalonier of Justice, to lose the opportunity of victory which he
would have gladly recovered when too late.

Upon the restoration of peace, those who remained victorious in
Florence, as if unable to convince themselves they had conquered,
unless they oppressed not merely their enemies, but all whom they
suspected, prevailed upon Bardo Altoviti, then Gonfalonier of Justice,
to deprive many of the honors of government, and to banish several
more. They exercised their power so inconsiderately, and conducted
themselves in such an arbitrary manner, that it seemed as if fortune
and the Almighty had given the city up to them for a prey. Piero knew
little of these things, and was unable to remedy even the little he
knew, on account of his infirmities; his body being so contracted that
he could use no faculty but that of speech. All he could do was to
admonish the leading men, and beg they would conduct themselves with
greater moderation, and not by their violence effect their country's
ruin. In order to divert the city, he resolved to celebrate the
marriage of his son Lorenzo with Clarice degli Orsini with great
splendor; and it was accordingly solemnized with all the display
suitable to the exalted rank of the parties. Feasts, dancing, and
antique representations occupied many days; at the conclusion of
which, to exhibit the grandeur of the house of Medici and of the
government, two military spectacles were presented, one performed by
men on horseback, who went through the evolutions of a field
engagement, and the other representing the storming of a town;
everything being conducted with admirable order and the greatest
imaginable brilliancy.

During these transactions in Florence, the rest of Italy, though at
peace, was filled with apprehension of the power of the Turks, who
continued to attack the Christians, and had taken Negropont, to the
great disgrace and injury of the Christian name. About this time died
Borso, marquis of Ferrara, who was succeeded by his brother Ercole.
Gismondo da Rimini, the inveterate enemy of the church also expired,
and his natural brother Roberto, who was afterward one of the best
generals of Italy, succeeded him. Pope Paul died, and was succeeded by
Sixtus IV. previously called Francesco da Savona, a man of the very
lowest origin, who by his talents had become general of the order of
St. Francis, and afterward cardinal. He was the first who began to
show how far a pope might go, and how much that which was previously
regarded as sinful lost its iniquity when committed by a pontiff.
Among others of his family were Piero and Girolamo, who, according to
universal belief, were his sons, though he designated them by terms
reflecting less scandal on his character. Piero being a priest, was
advanced to the dignity of a cardinal, with the title of St. Sixtus.
To Girolamo he gave the city of Furli, taken from Antonio Ordelaffi,
whose ancestors had held that territory for many generations. This
ambitious method of procedure made him more regarded by the princes of
Italy, and all sought to obtain his friendship. The duke of Milan gave
his natural daughter Caterina to Girolamo, with the city of Imola,
which he had taken from Taddeo degli Alidossi, as her portion. New
matrimonial alliances were formed between the duke and king Ferrando;
Elisabetta, daughter of Alfonso, the king's eldest son, being united
to Giovan Galeazzo, the eldest son of the duke.

Italy being at peace, the principal employment of her princes was to
watch each other, and strengthen their own influence by new alliances,
leagues, or friendships. But in the midst of this repose, Florence
endured great oppression from her principal citizens, and the
infirmities of Piero incapacitated him from restraining their
ambition. However, to relieve his conscience, and, if possible, to
make them ashamed of their conduct, he sent for them to his house, and
addressed them in the following words: "I never thought a time would
come when the behavior of my friends would compel me to esteem and
desire the society of my enemies, and wish that I had been defeated
rather than victorious; for I believed myself to be associated with
those who would set some bounds to their avarice, and who, after
having avenged themselves on their enemies, and lived in their country
with security and honor, would be satisfied. But now I find myself
greatly deceived, unacquainted with the ambition of mankind, and least
of all with yours; for, not satisfied with being masters of so great a
city, and possessing among yourselves those honors, dignities, and
emoluments which used to be divided among many citizens; not contented
with having shared among a few the property of your enemies, or with
being able to oppress all others with public burdens, while you
yourselves are exempt from them, and enjoy all the public offices of
profit you must still further load everyone with ill usage. You
plunder your neighbors of their wealth; you sell justice; you evade
the law; you oppress the timid and exalt the insolent. Nor is there,
throughout all Italy, so many and such shocking examples of violence
and avarice as in this city. Has our country fostered us only to be
her destroyer? Have we been victorious only to effect her ruin? Has
she honored us that we may overwhelm her with disgrace? Now, by that
faith which is binding upon all good men, I promise you, that if you
still conduct yourselves so as to make me regret my victory, I will
adopt such measures as shall cause you bitterly to repent of having
misused it." The reply of the citizens accorded with the time and
circumstances, but they did not forego their evil practices; so that,
in consequence, Piero sent for Agnolo Acciajuoli to come secretly to
Cafaggiolo, and discussed with him at great length the condition of
the city; and doubtless, had he not been prevented by death, he would
have called home the exiles as a check upon the rapine of the opposite
party. But these honorable designs were frustrated; for, sinking under
bodily infirmities and mental anguish, he expired in the fifty-third
year of his age. His goodness and virtue were not duly appreciated by
his country, principally from his having, until almost the close of
his life, been associated with Cosmo, and the few years he survived
being spent in civil discord and constant debility. Piero was buried
in the church of St. Lorenzo, near his father, and his obsequies were
performed with all the pomp and solemnity due to his exalted station.
He left two sons, Lorenzo and Guiliano, whose extreme youth excited
alarm in the minds of thinking men, though each gave hopes of future
usefulness to the republic.

Among the principal citizens in the government of Florence, and very
superior to the rest, was Tommaso Soderini, whose prudence and
authority were well known not only at home, but throughout Italy.
After Piero's death, the whole city looked up to him; many citizens
waited upon him at his own house, as the head of the government, and
several princes addressed him by letter; but he, impartially
estimating his own fortune and that of the house of Medici, made no
reply to the princes' communications, and told the citizens, it was
not his house, but that of the Medici they ought to visit. To
demonstrate by his actions the sincerity and integrity of his advice
he assembled all the heads of noble families in the convent of St.
Antonio, whither he also brought Lorenzo and Guiliano de' Medici, and
in a long and serious speech upon the state of the city, the condition
of Italy, and the views of her princes, he assured them, that if they
wished to live in peace and unity in Florence, free both from internal
dissensions and foreign wars, it would be necessary to respect the
sons of Piero and support the reputation of their house; for men never
regret their continuance in a course sanctioned by custom while new
methods are soon adopted and as speedily set aside; and it has always
been found easier to maintain a power which by its continuance has
outlived envy, than to raise a new one, which innumerable unforeseen
causes may overthrow. When Tommaso had concluded, Lorenzo spoke, and,
though young, with such modesty and discretion that all present felt a
presentiment of his becoming what he afterward proved to be; and
before the citizens departed they swore to regard the youths as their
sons, and the brothers promised to look upon them as their parents.
After this, Lorenzo and Guiliano were honored as princes, and resolved
to be guided by the advice of Tommaso Soderini.

While profound tranquillity prevailed both at home and abroad, no wars
disturbing the general repose, there arose an unexpected disturbance,
which came like a presage of future evils. Among the ruined families
of the party of Luca Pitti, was that of the Nardi; for Salvestro and
his brothers, the heads of the house, were banished and afterward
declared rebels for having taken part in the war under Bartolommeo
Coglione. Bernardo, the brother of Salvestro, was young, prompt, and
bold, and on account of his poverty being unable to alleviate the
sorrows of exile, while the peace extinguished all hopes of his return
to the city, he determined to attempt some means of rekindling the
war; for a trifling commencement often produces great results, and men
more readily prosecute what is already begun than originate new
enterprises. Bernardo had many acquaintances at Prato, and still more
in the district of Pistoia, particularly among the Palandra, a family
which, though rustic, was very numerous, and, like the rest of the
Pistolesi, brought up to slaughter and war. These he knew to be
discontented, on account of the Florentine magistrates having
endeavored, perhaps too severely, to check their partiality for
inveterate feuds and consequence bloodshed. He was also aware that the
people of Prato considered themselves injured by the pride and avarice
of their governors, and that some were ill disposed toward Florence;
therefore all things considered, he hoped to be able to kindle a fire
in Tuscany (should Prato rebel) which would be fostered by so many,
that those who might wish to extinguish it would fail in the attempt.
He communicated his ideas to Diotisalvi Neroni, and asked him, in case
they should succeed in taking possession of Prato, what assistance
might be expected from the princes of Italy, by his means? Diotisalvi
considered the enterprise as imminently dangerous, and almost
impracticable; but since it presented a fresh chance of attaining his
object, at the risk of others, he advised him to proceed, and promised
certain assistance from Bologna and Ferrara, if he could retain Prato
not less than fifteen days. Bernardo, whom this promise inspired with
a lively hope of success, proceeded secretly to Prato, and
communicated with those most disposed to favor him, among whom were
the Palandra; and having arranged the time and plan, informed
Diotisalvi of what had been done.


Bernardo takes possession of Prato, but is not assisted by the
inhabitants--He is taken, and the tumult appeased--Corruption of
Florence--The duke of Milan in Florence--The church of Santo
Spirito destroyed by fire--The rebellion of Volterra, and the
cause of it--Volterra reduced to obedience by force, in accordance
with the advice of Lorenzo de' Medici--Volterra pillaged.

Cesare Petrucci held the office of Provost of Prato for the Florentine
people, at this period. It is customary with governors of towns,
similarly situated, to keep the keys of the gates near their persons;
and whenever, in peaceful times, they are required by any of the
inhabitants, for entrance or exit, they are usually allowed to be
taken. Bernardo was aware of this custom, and about daybreak,
presented himself at the gate which looks toward Pistoia, accompanied
by the Palandra and about one hundred persons, all armed. Their
confederates within the town also armed themselves, and one of them
asked the governor for the keys, alleging, as a pretext, that some one
from the country wished to enter. The governor not entertaining the
slightest suspicion, sent a servant with them. When at a convenient
distance, they were taken by the conspirators, who, opening the gates,
introduced Bernardo and his followers. They divided themselves into
two parties, one of which, led by Salvestro, an inhabitant of Prato,
took possession of the citadel; the other following Bernardo, seized
the palace, and placed Cesare with all his family in the custody of
some of their number. They then raised the cry of liberty, and
proceeded through the town. It was now day, and many of the
inhabitants hearing the disturbance, ran to the piazza where, learning
that the fortress and the palace were taken and the governor with all
his people made prisoners, they were utterly astonished, and could not
imagine how it had occurred. The eight citizens, possessing the
supreme authority, assembled in their palace to consider what was best
to be done. In the meantime, Bernardo and his followers, on going
round the town, found no encouragement, and being told that the Eight
had assembled, went and declared the nature of their enterprise, which
he said was to deliver the country from slavery, reminding them how
glorious it would be for those who took arms to effect such an
honorable object, for they would thus obtain permanent repose and
everlasting fame. He called to recollection their ancient liberty and
present condition, and assured them of certain assistance, if they
would only, for a few days, aid in resisting the forces the
Florentines might send against them. He said he had friends in
Florence who would join them as soon as they found the inhabitants
resolved to support him. His speech did not produce the desired effect
upon the Eight, who replied that they knew not whether Florence was
free or enslaved, for that was a matter which they were not called
upon to decide; but this they knew very well, that for their own part,
they desired no other liberty than to obey the magistrates who
governed Florence, from whom they had never received any injury
sufficient to make them desire a change. They therefore advised him to
set the governor at liberty, clear the place of his people, and, as
quickly as possible, withdraw from the danger he had so rashly
incurred. Bernardo was not daunted by these words, but determined to
try whether fear could influence the people of Prato, since entreaties
produced so little effect. In order to terrify them, he determined to
put Cesare to death, and having brought him out of prison, ordered him
to be hanged at the windows of the palace. He was already led to the
spot with a halter around his neck, when seeing Bernardo giving
directions to hasten his end, he turned to him, and said: "Bernardo,
you put me to death, thinking that the people of Prato will follow
you; but the direct contrary will result; for the respect they have
for the rectors which the Florentine people send here is so great,
that as soon as they witness the injury inflicted upon me, they will
conceive such a disgust against you as will inevitably effect your
ruin. Therefore, it is not by my death, but by the preservation of my
life, that you can attain the object you have in view; for if I
deliver your commands, they will be much more readily obeyed, and
following your directions, we shall soon attain the completion of your
design." Bernardo, whose mind was not fertile in expedients, thought
the advice good, and commanded Cesare, on being conducted to a veranda
which looked upon the piazza, to order the people of Prato to obey
him, and having done which, Cesare was led back to prison.

The weakness of the conspirators was obvious; and many Florentines
residing in the town, assembled together, among whom, Giorgio Ginori,
a knight of Rhodes, took arms first against them, and attacked
Bernardo, who traversed the piazza, alternately entreating and
threatening those who refused to obey him, and being surrounded by
Giorgio's followers, he was wounded and made prisoner. This being
done, it was easy to set the governor at liberty and subdue the rest,
who being few, and divided into several parties, were nearly all
either secured or slain. An exaggerated report of these transactions
reached Florence, it being told there that Prato was taken, the
governor and his friends put to death, and the place filled with the
enemy; and that Pistoia was also in arms, and most of the citizens in
the conspiracy. In consequence of this alarming account, the palace as
quickly filled with citizens, who consulted with the Signory what
course ought to be adopted. At this time, Roberto da San Severino, one
of the most distinguished generals of this period, was at Florence,
and it was therefore determined to send him, with what forces could be
collected, to Prato, with orders that he should approach the place,
particularly observe what was going on, and provide such remedies as
the necessity of the case and his own prudence should suggest. Roberto
had scarcely passed the fortress of Campi, when he was met by a
messenger from the governor, who informed him that Bernardo was taken,
his followers either dispersed or slain, and everything restored to
order. He consequently returned to Florence, whither Bernardo was
shortly after conveyed, and when questioned by the magistracy
concerning the real motives of such a weak conspiracy, he said, he had
undertaken it, because, having resolved to die in Florence rather than
live in exile, he wished his death to be accompanied by some memorable

This disturbance having been raised and quelled almost at the same
time, the citizens returned to their accustomed mode of life, hoping
to enjoy, without anxiety, the state they had now established and
confirmed. Hence arose many of those evils which usually result from
peace; for the youth having become more dissolute than before, more
extravagant in dress, feasting, and other licentiousness, and being
without employment, wasted their time and means on gaming and women;
their principal study being how to appear splendid in apparel, and
attain a crafty shrewdness in discourse; he who could make the most
poignant remark being considered the wisest, and being most respected.
These manners derived additional encouragement from the followers of
the duke of Milan, who, with his duchess and the whole ducal court, as
it was said, to fulfill a vow, came to Florence, where he was received
with all the pomp and respect due to so great a prince, and one so
intimately connected with the Florentine people. Upon this occasion
the city witnessed an unprecedented exhibition; for, during Lent, when
the church commands us to abstain from animal food, the Milanese,
without respect for either God or his church, ate of it daily. Many
spectacles were exhibited in honor of the duke, and among others, in
the temple of Santo Spirito, was represented the descent of the Holy
Ghost among the apostles; and in consequence of the numerous fires
used upon the occasion, some of the woodwork became ignited, and the
church was completely destroyed by the flames. Many thought that the
Almighty being offended at our misconduct, took this method of
signifying his displeasure. If, therefore, the duke found the city
full of courtly delicacies, and customs unsuitable to well-regulated
conduct, he left it in a much worse state. Hence the good citizens
thought it necessary to restrain these improprieties, and made a law
to put a stop to extravagance in dress, feasts, and funerals.

In the midst of this universal peace, a new and unexpected disturbance
arose in Tuscany. Certain citizens of Volterra had discovered an alum-
mine in their district, and being aware of the profit derivable from
it, in order to obtain the means of working and securing it, they
applied to some Florentines, and allowed them to share in the profits.
This, as is frequently the case with new undertakings, at first
excited little attention from the people of Volterra; but in time,
finding the profits derived from it had become considerable, they
fruitlessly endeavored to effect what at first might have been easily
accomplished. They began by agitating the question in their councils,
declaring it grossly improper that a source of wealth discovered in
the public lands should be converted to the emolument of private
individuals. They next sent advocates to Florence, and the question
was referred to the consideration of certain citizens, who, either
through being bribed by the party in possession, or from a sincere
conviction, declared the aim of the people of Volterra to be unjust in
desiring to deprive their citizens of the fruit of their labor; and
decided that the alum-pit was the rightful property of those who had
hitherto wrought it; but, at the same time, recommended them to pay an
annual sum by way of acknowledgment to the city. This answer instead
of abating, served only to increase the animosities and tumult in
Volterra, and absorbed entire attention both in the councils and
throughout the city; the people demanding the restitution of what they
considered their due, and the proprietors insisting upon their right
to retain what they had originally acquired, and what had been
subsequently been confirmed to them by the decision of the
Florentines. In the midst of these disturbances, a respectable
citizen, named Il Pecorino, was killed, together with several others,
who had embraced the same side, whose houses were also plundered and
burned; and the fury of the mob rose to such a height, that they were
with difficulty restrained from putting the Florentine rectors to

After the first outrage, the Volterrani immediately determined to send
ambassadors to Florence, who intimated, that if the Signory would
allow them their ancient privileges, the city would remain subject to
them as formerly. Many and various were the opinions concerning the
reply to be made. Tommaso Soderini advised that they should accept the
submission of the people of Volterra, upon any conditions with which
they were disposed to make it; for he considered it unreasonable and
unwise to kindle a flame so near home that it might burn their own
dwelling; he suspected the pope's ambition, and was apprehensive of
the power of the king; nor could he confide in the friendship either
of the duke or the Venetians, having no assurance of the sincerity of
the latter, or the valor of the former. He concluded by quoting that
trite proverb, "Meglio un magro accordo che una grassa vittoria."[*]
On the other hand, Lorenzo de' Medici, thinking this an opportunity
for exhibiting his prudence and wisdom, and being strenuously
supported by those who envied the influence of Tommaso Soderini,
resolved to march against them, and punish the arrogance of the people
of Volterra with arms; declaring that if they were not made a striking
example, others would, without the least fear or respect, upon every
slight occasion, adopt a similar course. The enterprise being resolved
on, the Volterrani were told that they could not demand the observance
of conditions which they themselves had broken, and therefore must
either submit to the direction of the Signory or expect war. With this
answer they returned to their city, and prepared for its defense;
fortifying the place, and sending to all the princes of Italy to
request assistance, none of whom listened to them, except the Siennese
and the lord of Piombino, who gave them some hope of aid. The
Florentines on the other hand, thinking success dependent principally
upon celerity, assembled ten thousand foot and two thousand horse,
who, under the command of Federigo, lord of Urbino, marched into the
country of Volterra and quickly took entire possession of it. They
then encamped before the city, which, being in a lofty situation, and
precipitous on all sides, could only be approached by a narrow pass
near the church of St. Alessandro. The Volterrani had engaged for
their defense about one thousand mercenaries, who, perceiving the
great superiority of the Florentines, found the place untenable, and
were tardy in their defensive operations, but indefatigable in the
constant injuries they committed upon the people of the place. Thus
these poor citizens were harassed by the enemy without, and by their
own soldiery within; so, despairing of their safety, they began to
think of a capitulation; and, being unable to obtain better terms,
submitted to the discretion of the Florentine commissaries, who
ordered the gates to be opened, and introduced the greater part of
their forces. They then proceeded to the palace, and commanded the
priors to retire to their homes; and, on the way thither, one of them
was in derision stripped by the soldiers. From this beginning (so much
more easily are men predisposed to evil than to good) originated the
pillage and destruction of the city; which for a whole day suffered
the greatest horrors, neither women nor sacred places being spared;
and the soldiery, those engaged for its defense as well as its
assailants, plundered all that came within their reach. The news of
this victory was received with great joy at Florence, and as the
expedition had been undertaken wholly by the advice of Lorenzo, he
acquired great reputation. Upon which one of the intimate friends of
Tommaso Soderini, reminding him of the advice he had given, asked him
what he thought of the taking of Volterra; to which he replied, "To me
the place seems rather lost than won; for had it been received on
equitable terms, advantage and security would have been the result;
but having to retain it by force it will in critical junctures,
occasion weakness and anxiety, and in times of peace, injury and

[*] A lean peace is better than a fat victory.


Origin of the animosity between Sixtus IV. and Lorenzo de' Medici
--Carlo di Braccio da Perugia attacks the Siennese--Carlo retires
by desire of the Florentines--Conspiracy against Galeazzo, duke of
Milan--His vices--He is slain by the conspirators--Their deaths.

The pope, anxious to retain the territories of the church in
obedience, had caused Spoleto to be sacked for having, through
internal factions, fallen into rebellion. Citta di Castello being in
the same state of contumacy, he besieged that place; and Niccolo
Vitelli its prince, being on intimate terms with Lorenzo de' Medici,
obtained assistance from him, which, though inadequate, was quite
enough to originate that enmity between Sixtus IV. and the Medici
afterward productive of such unhappy results. Nor would this have been
so long in development had not the death of Frate Piero, cardinal of
St. Sixtus, taken place; who, after having traveled over Italy and
visited Venice and Milan (under the pretense of doing honor to the
marriage of Ercole, marquis of Ferrara), went about sounding the minds
of the princes, to learn how they were disposed toward the
Florentines. But upon his return he died, not without suspicion of
having been poisoned by the Venetians, who found they would have
reason to fear Sixtus if he were allowed to avail himself of the
talents and exertions of Frate Piero. Although of very low extraction,
and meanly brought up within the walls of a convent, he had no sooner
attained the distinction of the scarlet hat, than he exhibited such
inordinate pride and ambition, that the pontificate seemed too little
for him, and he gave a feast in Rome which would have seemed
extraordinary even for a king, the expense exceeding twenty thousand
florins. Deprived of this minister, the designs of Sixtus proceeded
with less promptitude. The Florentines, the duke, and the Venetians
having renewed their league, and allowed the pope and the king to join
them if they thought proper, the two latter also entered into a
league, reserving an opening for the others if they were desirous to
become parties to it. Italy was thus divided in two factions; for
circumstances daily arose which occasioned ill feeling between the two
leagues; as occurred with respect to the island of Cyprus, to which
Ferrando laid claim, and the Venetians occupied. Thus the pope and the
king became more closely united. Federigo, prince of Urbino, was at
this time one of the first generals of Italy; and had long served the
Florentines. In order, if possible, to deprive the hostile league of
their captain, the pope advised, and the king requested him to pay a
visit to them. To the surprise and displeasure of the Florentines,
Federigo complied; for they thought the same fate awaited him as had
befallen Niccolo Piccinino. However, the result was quite different;
for he returned from Naples and Rome greatly honored, and with the
appointment of general to their forces. They also endeavored to gain
over to their interest the lords of Romagna and the Siennese, that
they might more easily injure the Florentines, who, becoming aware of
these things, used their utmost endeavors to defend themselves against
the ambition of their enemies; and having lost Federigo d'Urbino, they
engaged Roberto da Rimino in his place, renewed the league with the
Perugini and formed one with the prince of Faenza. The pope and the
king assigned, as the reasons of their animosity against the
Florentines, that they wished to withdraw them from the Venetian
alliance, and associate them with their own league; for the pope did
not think the church could maintain her reputation, nor the Count
Girolamo retain the states of Romagna, while the Florentines and the
Venetians remained united. The Florentines conjectured their design
was to set them at enmity with the Venetians, not so much for the sake
of gaining their friendship as to be able the more easily to injure
them. Two years passed away in these jealousies and discontents before
any disturbance broke out; but the first which occurred, and that but
trivial, took place in Tuscany.

Braccio of Perugia, whom we have frequently mentioned as one of the
most distinguished warriors of Italy, left two sons, Oddo and Carlo;
the latter was of tender years; the former, as above related, was
slain by the people of Val di Lamona; but Carlo, when he came to
mature age, was by the Venetians, out of respect for the memory of his
father, and the hopes they entertained from himself, received among
the condottieri of their republic. The term of his engagement having
expired, he did not design to renew it immediately, but resolved to
try if, by his own influence and his father's reputation, he could
recover possession of Perugia. To this the Venetians willingly
consented, for they usually extended their dominion by any changes
that occurred in the neighboring states. Carlo consequently came into
Tuscany, but found more difficulties in his attempt upon Perugia than
he had anticipated, on account of its being allied with the
Florentines; and desirous of doing something worthy of memory, he made
war upon the Siennese, alleging them to be indebted to him for
services performed by his father in the affairs of that republic, and
attacked them with such impetuosity as to threaten the total overthrow
of their dominion. The Siennese, ever ready to suspect the
Florentines, persuaded themselves that this outrage had been committed
with their cognizance, and made heavy complaints to the pope and the
king against them. They also sent ambassadors to Florence to complain
of the injuries they had suffered, and adroitly intimated, that if
Carlo had not been secretly supported he could not have made war upon
them with such perfect security. The Florentines denied all
participation in the proceedings of Carlo, expressed their most
earnest wish to do everything in their power to put a stop to them,
and allowed the ambassadors to use whatever terms they pleased in the
name of the Signory, to command him to desist. Carlo complained that
the Florentines, by their unwillingness to support him, had deprived
themselves of a most valuable acquisition and him of great glory; for
he could have insured them the possession of the whole territory in a
short time, from the want of courage in the people and the ineffectual
provision they had made for their defense. He then withdrew to his
engagement under the Venetians; but the Siennese, although delivered
from such imminent peril by the Florentines, were still very indignant
against them; considering themselves under no obligation to those who
had delivered them from an evil to which they had first exposed them.

While the transactions between the king and the pope were in progress,
and those in Tuscany in the manner we have related, an event of
greater importance occurred in Lombardy. Cola Montano, a learned and
ambitious man, taught the Latin language to the youth of the principal
families in Milan. Either out of hatred to the character and manners
of the duke, or from some other cause, he constantly deprecated the
condition of those who live under a bad prince; calling those glorious
and happy who had the good fortune to be born and live in a republic.
He endeavored to show that the most celebrated men had been produced
in republics, and not reared under princes; that the former cherish
virtue, while the latter destroy it; the one deriving advantage from
virtuous men, while the latter naturally fear them. The youths with
whom he was most intimate were Giovanni Andrea Lampognano, Carlo
Visconti, and Girolamo Ogliato. He frequently discussed with them the
faults of their prince, and the wretched condition of those who were
subject to him; and by constantly inculcating his principles, acquired
such an ascendancy over their minds as to induce them to bind
themselves by oath to effect the duke's destruction, as soon as they
became old enough to attempt it. Their minds being fully occupied with
this design, which grew with their years, the duke's conduct and their
own private injuries served to hasten its execution. Galeazzo was
licentious and cruel, of both which vices he had given such repeated
proofs, that he became odious to all. Not content with corrupting the
wives of the nobility, he also took pleasure in making it notorious;
nor was he satisfied with murdering individuals unless he effected
their deaths by some unusual cruelty. He was suspected of having
destroyed his own mother; for, not considering himself prince while
she was present, he conducted himself in such a manner as induced her
to withdraw from his court, and, travelling toward Cremona, which she
obtained as part of her marriage portion, she was seized with a sudden
illness, and died upon the road; which made many think her son had
caused her death. The duke had dishonored both Carlo and Girolamo in
respect to their wives or other female relatives, and had refused to
concede to Giovanandrea possession of the monastery of Miramondo, of
which he had obtained a grant from the pope for a near relative. These
private injuries increased the young men's desire for vengeance, and
the deliverance of their country from so many evils; trusting that
whenever they should succeed in destroying the duke, many of the
nobility and all the people would rise in their defense. Being
resolved upon their undertaking, they were often together, which, on
account of their long intimacy, did not excite any suspicion. They
frequently discussed the subject; and in order to familiarize their
minds with the deed itself, they practiced striking each other in the
breast and in the side with the sheathed daggers intended to be used
for the purpose. On considering the most suitable time and place, the
castle seemed insecure; during the chase, uncertain and dangerous;
while going about the city for his own amusement, difficult if not
impracticable; and, at a banquet, of doubtful result. They, therefore,
determined to kill him upon the occasion of some procession or public
festivity when there would be no doubt of his presence, and where they
might, under various pretexts, assemble their friends. It was also
resolved that if one of their number were prevented from attending, on
any account whatever, the rest should put him to death in the midst of
their armed enemies.

It was now the close of the year 1476, near Christmas, and as it was
customary for the duke to go upon St. Stephen's day, in great
solemnity, to the church of that martyr, they considered this the most
suitable opportunity for the execution of their design. Upon the
morning of that day they ordered some of their most trusty friends and
servants to arm, telling them they wished to go to the assistance of
Giovanandrea, who, contrary to the wish of some of his neighbors,
intended to turn a watercourse into his estate; but that before they
went they wished to take leave of the prince. They also assembled,
under various pretenses, other friends and relatives, trusting that
when the deed was accomplished, everyone would join them in the
completion of their enterprise. It was their intention, after the
duke's death, to collect their followers together and proceed to those
parts of the city where they imagined the plebeians would be most
disposed to take arms against the duchess and the principal ministers
of state, and they thought the people, on account of the famine which
then prevailed, would easily be induced to follow them; for it was
their design to give up the houses of Cecco Simonetta, Giovanni Botti,
and Francesco Lucani, all leading men in the government, to be
plundered, and by this means gain over the populace and restore
liberty to the community. With these ideas, and with minds resolved
upon their execution, Giovanandrea, together with the rest, were early
at the church, and heard mass together; after which, Giovanandrea,
turning to a statue of St. Ambrose, said, "O patron of our city! thou
knowest our intention, and the end we would attain, by so many
dangers; favor our enterprise, and prove, by protecting the oppressed,
that tyranny is offensive to thee." To the duke, on the other hand,
when intending to go to the church, many omens occurred of his
approaching death; for in the morning, having put on a cuirass, as was
his frequent custom, he immediately took it off again, either because
it inconvenienced him, or that he did not like its appearance. He then
wished to hear mass in the castle, and found that the priest who
officiated in the chapel had gone to St. Stephen's, and had taken with
him the sacred utensils. On this he desired the service to be
performed by the bishop of Como, who acquainted him with preventing
circumstances. Thus, almost compelled, he determined to go to the
church; but before his departure, caused his sons, Giovan Galeazzo and
Ermes, to be brought to him, whom he embraced and kissed several
times, seeming reluctant to part with them. He then left the castle,
and, with the ambassadors of Ferrara and Mantua on either hand,
proceeded to St. Stephen's. The conspirators, to avoid exciting
suspicion, and to escape the cold, which was very severe, had
withdrawn to an apartment of the archpriest, who was a friend of
theirs, but hearing the duke's approach, they came into the church,
Giovanandrea and Girolamo placing themselves upon the right hand of
the entrance, and Carlo on the left. Those who led the procession had
already entered, and were followed by the duke, surrounded by such a
multitude as is usual on similar occasions. The first attack was made
by Lampognano and Girolamo, who, pretending to clear the way for the
prince, came close to him, and grasping their daggers, which, being
short and sharp, were concealed in the sleeves of their vests, struck
at him. Lampognano gave him two wounds, one in the belly, the other in
the throat. Girolamo struck him in the throat and breast. Carlo
Visconti, being nearer the door, and the duke having passed, could not
wound him in front: but with two strokes, transpierced his shoulder
and spine. These six wounds were inflicted so instantaneously, that
the duke had fallen before anyone was aware of what had happened, and
he expired, having only once ejaculated the name of the Virgin, as if
imploring her assistance. A great tumult immediately ensued, several
swords were drawn, and as often happens in sudden emergencies, some
fled from the church, and others ran toward the scene of tumult, both
without any definite motive or knowledge of what had occurred. Those,
however, who were nearest the duke and had seen him slain, recognizing
the murderers, pursued them. Giovanandrea, endeavoring to make his way
out of the church, proceeded among the women, who being numerous, and
according to their custom, seated upon the ground, was prevented in
his progress by their apparel, and being overtaken, he was killed by a
Moor, one of the duke's footmen. Carlo was slain by those immediately
around him. Girolamo Olgiato passed through the crowd, and got out of
the church; but seeing his companions dead, and not knowing where else
to go, he proceeded home, where his father and brothers refused to
receive him; his mother only, having compassion on her son recommended
him to a priest, an old friend of the family, who, disguising him in
his own apparel, led him to his house. Here he remained two days, not
without hope that some disturbance might arise in Milan which would
contribute to his safety. This not occurring, and apprehensive that
his hiding place would be discovered, he endeavored to escape in
disguise, but being observed, he was given over to justice, and
disclosed all the particulars of the conspiracy. Girolamo was twenty-
three years of age, and exhibited no less composure at his death than
resolution in his previous conduct, for being stripped of his apparel,
and in the hands of the executioner, who stood by with the sword
unsheathed, ready to deprive him of life, he repeated the following
words, in the Latin tongue, in which he was well versed: "Mors acerba,
fama perpetua, stabit vetus memoria facti."

The enterprise of these unfortunate young men was conducted with
secrecy and executed with resolution; and they failed for want of the
support of those whom they expected would rise in their defense. Let
princes therefore learn to live, so as to render themselves beloved
and respected by their subjects, that none may have hope of safety
after having destroyed them; and let others see how vain is the
expectation which induces them to trust so much to the multitude, as
to believe, that even when discontented, they will either embrace or
ward off their dangers. This event spread consternation all over
Italy; but those which shortly afterward occurred in Florence caused
much more alarm, and terminated a peace of twelve years' continuance,
as will be shown in the following book; which, having commenced with
blood and horror, will have a melancholy and tearful conclusion.



State of the family of the Medici at Florence--Enmity of Sixtus
IV. toward Florence--Differences between the family of the Pazzi
and that of the Medici--Beginning of the conspiracy of the Pazzi--
Arrangements to effect the design of the conspiracy--Giovanni
Batista da Montesecco is sent to Florence--The pope joins the
conspiracy--The king of Naples becomes a party to it--Names of the
conspirators--The conspirators make many ineffectual attempts to
kill Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici--The final arrangement--Order
of the conspiracy.

This book, commencing between two conspiracies, the one at Milan
already narrated, the other yet to be recorded, it would seem
appropriate, and in accordance with our usual custom, were we to treat
of the nature and importance of these terrible demonstrations. This we
should willingly do had we not discussed the matter elsewhere, or
could it be comprised in few words. But requiring much consideration,
and being already noticed in another place, it will be omitted, and we
shall proceed with our narrative. The government of the Medici having
subdued all its avowed enemies in order to obtain for that family
undivided authority, and distinguish them from other citizens in their
relation to the rest, found it necessary to subdue those who secretly
plotted against them. While Medici contended with other families,
their equals in authority and reputation, those who envied their power
were able to oppose them openly without danger of being suppressed at
the first demonstration of hostility; for the magistrates being free,
neither party had occasion to fear, till one or other of them was
overcome. But after the victory of 1466, the government became so
entirely centred in the Medici, and they acquired so much authority,
that discontented spirits were obliged either to suffer in silence,
or, if desirous to destroy them, to attempt it in secrecy, and by
clandestine means; which plots rarely succeed and most commonly
involve the ruin of those concerned in them, while they frequently
contribute to the aggrandizement of those against whom they are
directed. Thus the prince of a city attacked by a conspiracy, if not
slain like the duke of Milan (which seldom happens), almost always
attains to a greater degree of power, and very often has his good
disposition perverted to evil. The proceedings of his enemies give him
cause for fear; fear suggests the necessity of providing for his own
safety, which involves the injury of others; and hence arise
animosities, and not unfrequently his ruin. Thus these conspiracies
quickly occasion the destruction of their contrivers, and, in time,
inevitably injure their primary object.

Italy, as we have seen above, was divided into two factions; the pope
and the king on one side; on the other, the Venetians, the duke, and
the Florentines. Although the flames of war had not yet broken out,
every day gave rise to some new occasion for rekindling them; and the
pope, in particular, in all his plans endeavored to annoy the
Florentine government. Thus Filippo de' Medici, archbishop of Pisa,
being dead, Francesco Salviati, a declared enemy of the Medici, was
appointed his successor, contrary to the wish of the Signory of
Florence, who being unwilling to give him possession, there arose
between them and the pope many fresh grounds of offense, before the
matter was settled. Besides this, he conferred, at Rome, many favors
upon the family of the Pazzi, and opposed that of the Medici, whenever
an opportunity offered. The Pazzi were at this time, both on account
of nobility of birth and their great wealth, the most brilliant in
France. The head of this family was Jacopo, whom the people, on
account of his distinguished pre-eminence, had made a knight. He had
no children, except one natural daughter, but many nephews, sons of
his brothers Piero and Antonio, the first of whom were Guglielmo,
Francesco, Rinato, Giovanni, and then, Andrea, Niccolo, and Galeotto.
Cosmo de' Medici, noticing the riches and rank of this family, had
given his granddaughter, Bianca, to Guglielmo, hoping by this marriage
to unite the houses, and obviate those enmities and dissensions so
frequently occasioned by jealousy. However (so uncertain and
fallacious are our expectations), very different feelings were thus
originated; for Lorenzo's advisers pointed out to him how dangerous it
was, and how injurious to his authority, to unite in the same
individuals so much wealth and power. In consequence, neither Jacopo
nor his nephews obtained those degrees of honor, which in the opinion
of other citizens were their due. This gave rise to anger in the
Pazzi, and fear on the part of the Medici; as the former of these
increased, so did the latter; and upon all occasions, when the Pazzi
came in competition with other citizens, their claims to distinction,
however strong, were set aside by the magistracy. Francesco de' Pazzi,
being at Rome, the Council of Eight, upon some trivial occasion,
compelled him to return, without treating him with the respect usually
observed toward great citizens, so that the Pazzi everywhere bitterly
complained of the ill usage they experienced, and thus excited
suspicion in others, and brought down greater evils upon themselves.
Giovanni de' Pazzi had married the daughter of Giovanni Buonromei, a
very wealthy man, whose riches on his decease, without other children,
came to his daughter. His nephew, Carlo, however, took possession of
part, and the question being litigated, a law was passed, by virtue of
which the wife of Giovanni de' Pazzi was robbed of her inheritance,
and it was given to Carlo. In this piece of injustice the Pazzi at
once recognized the influence of the Medici. Giuliano de' Medici often
complained to his brother Lorenzo of the affair, saying he was afraid
that by grasping at too much they would lose all.

Lorenzo, flushed with youth and power, would assume the direction of
everything, and resolved that all transactions should bear an impress
of his influence. The Pazzi, with their nobility and wealth unable to
endure so many affronts, began to devise some means of vengeance. The
first who spoke of any attempt against the Medici, was Francesco, who,
being more sensitive and resolute than the others, determined either
to obtain what was withheld from him, or lose what he still possessed.
As the government of Florence gave him great offense, he resided
almost constantly at Rome, where, like other Florentine merchants, he
conducted extensive commercial operations; and being a most intimate
friend of Count Girolamo, they frequently complained to each other of
the conduct of the Medici. After a while they began to think that for
the count to retain his estates, or the Pazzi their rights in the
city, it would be necessary to change the government of Florence; and
this they considered could not be done without the death of Giuliano
and Lorenzo. They imagined the pope and the king would be easily
induced to consent, because each could be convinced of the facility of
the enterprise. Having acquired these ideas, they communicated them to
Francesco Salviati, archbishop of Pisa, who, being ambitious and
recently offended by the Medici, willingly adopted their views.
Considering their next step, they resolved, in order to facilitate the
design, to obtain the consent of Jacopo de' Pazzi, without whose
concurrence they feared it would be impracticable. With this view, it
was resolved that Francesco de' Pazzi should go to Florence, while the
archbishop and the count were to remain at Rome, to be ready to
communicate with the pope when a suitable opportunity occurred.
Francesco found Jacopo de' Pazzi more cautious and difficult to
persuade than he could have wished, and on imparting this to his
friends at Rome, it was thought he desired the sanction of some
greater authority to induce him to adopt their views. Upon this, the
archbishop and the count communicated the whole affair to Giovanni
Batista da Montesecco, a leader of the papal forces, possessing
military reputation, and under obligations to the pope and the count.
To him the affair seemed difficult and dangerous, while the archbishop
endeavored to obviate his objections by showing how much assistance
the pope and the king would lend to the enterprise; the hatred of the
Florentines toward the Medici, the numerous friends the Salviati and
the Pazzi would bring with them, the readiness with which the young
men might be slain, on account of their going about the city
unaccompanied and without suspicion, and the facility with which the
government might then be changed. These things Giovanni Batista did
not in reality believe, for he had heard from many Florentines quite
contrary statements.

While occupied with these deliberations, Carlo, lord of Faenza, was
taken ill, and tears were entertained for his life. This circumstance
seemed to the archbishop and the count to offer an opportunity for
sending Giovanni Batista to Florence, and thence to Romagna, under
pretence of recovering certain territories belonging to the latter, of
which the lord of Faenza had taken possession. The count therefore
commissioned Giovanni Batista to have an interview with Lorenzo de'
Medici, and on his part request his advice how to proceed with respect
to the affair of Romagna; that he should then see Francesco de' Pazzi,
and in conjunction with him endeavor to induce his uncle Jacopo to
adopt their ideas. To render the pope's authority available in their
behalf, Giovanni Batista was ordered, before his departure, to
communicate with the pontiff, who offered every means at his disposal
in favor of their enterprise. Giovanni Batista, having arrived at
Florence, obtained an interview with Lorenzo, by whom he was most
graciously received; and with regard to the advice he was commissioned
to ask, obtained a wise and friendly answer; so that he was astonished
at finding him quite a different character from what he had been
represented, and considered him to possess great sagacity, an
affectionate heart, and most amicably disposed toward the count. He
found Francesco de' Pazzi had gone to Lucca, and spoke to Jacopo, who
was at first quite opposed to their design, but before they parted the
pope's authority seemed to have influenced him; for he told Giovanni
Batista, that he might go to Romagna, and that before his return
Francesco would be with him, and they would then consult more
particularly upon the subject. Giovanni Batista proceeded to Romagna,
and soon returned to Florence. After a pretended consultation with
Lorenzo, upon the count's affairs, he obtained an interview with
Francesco and Jacopo de' Pazzi, when the latter gave his consent to
their enterprise. They then discussed the means of carrying it into
effect. Jacopo de' Pazzi was of opinion that it could not be effected
while both the brothers remained at Florence; and therefore it would
be better to wait till Lorenzo went to Rome, whither it was reported
he had an intention of going; for then their object would be more
easily attained. Francesco de' Pazzi had no objection to Lorenzo being
at Rome, but if he were to forego the journey, he thought that both
the brothers might be slain, either at a marriage, or at a play, or in
a church. With regard to foreign assistance, he supposed the pope
might assemble forces for the conquest of the fortress of Montone,
being justified in taking it from Count Carlo, who had caused the
tumults already spoken of in Sienna and Perugia.

Still no definite arrangement was made; but it was resolved that
Giovanni Batista and Francesco de' Pazzi should go to Rome and settle
everything with the pontiff. The matter was again debated at Rome; and
at length it was concluded that besides an expedition against Montone,
Giovan Francesco da Tolentino, a leader of the papal troops, should go
into Romagna, and Lorenzo da Castello to the Val di Tavere; that each,
with the forces of the country, should hold himself in readiness to
perform the commands of the archbishop de' Salviati and Francesco de
Pazzi, both of whom were to come to Florence, and provide for the
execution of their design, with the assistance of Giovanni Batista da
Montesecco. King Ferrando promised, by his ambassador, to contribute
all in his power to the success of their undertaking. Francesco de'
Pazzi and the archbishop having arrived at Florence, prevailed upon
Jacopo di Poggio, a well educated youth, but ambitious and very
desirous of change, to join them, and two others, each of the name of
Jacopo Salviati, one a brother, the other a kinsman, of the
archbishop. They also gained over Bernardo Bandini and Napoleone
Franzeni, two bold young men, under great obligations to the family of
the Pazzi. Besides those already mentioned, they were joined by
Antonio da Volterra and a priest named Stefano, who taught Latin to
the daughter of Jacopo de' Pazzi. Rinato de' Pazzi, a grave and
prudent man, being quite aware of the evils resulting from such
undertakings, refused all participation in the conspiracy; he held it
in abhorrence, and as much as possible, without betraying his kinsmen,
endeavored to counteract it.

The pope had sent Raffaello di Riario, a nephew of Count Girolamo, to
the college of Pisa, to study canon law, and while there, had advanced
him to the dignity of a cardinal. The conspirators determined to bring
this cardinal to Florence, as they would thus be better able to
conceal their design, since any persons requisite to be introduced
into the city might easily be made to appear as a part of his retinue,
and his arrival might facilitate the completion of their enterprise.
The cardinal came, and was received by Jacopo de' Pazzi at his villa
of Montughi, near Florence. By his means it was also intended to bring
together Giuliano and Lorenzo, and whenever this happened, to put them
both to death. They therefore invited them to meet the cardinal at
their villa of Fiesole; but Giuliano, either intentionally or through
some preventing cause, did not attend; and this design having failed,
they thought that if asked to an entertainment at Florence, both
brothers would certainly be present. With this intention they
appointed Sunday, the twenty-sixth of April, 1478, to give a great
feast; and, resolving to assassinate them at table, the conspirators
met on the Saturday evening to arrange all proceedings for the
following day. In the morning it was intimated to Francesco that
Giuliano would be absent; on which the conspirators again assembled
and finding they could no longer defer the execution of their design,
since it would be impossible among so many to preserve secrecy, they
determined to complete it in the cathedral church of Santa Reparata,
where the cardinal attending, the two brothers would be present as
usual. They wished Giovanni Batista da Montesecco to undertake the
murder of Lorenzo, while that of Giuliano was assigned to Francesco
de' Pazzi and Bernardo Bandini. Giovanni Batista refused, either
because his familiarity with Lorenzo had created feelings in his
favor, or from some other reason, saying he should not have resolution
sufficient to commit such a deed in a church, and thus add sacrilege
to treachery. This caused the failure of their undertaking; for time
pressing, they were compelled to substitute Antonio da Volterra and
Stefano, the priest, two men, who, from nature and habit, were the
most unsuitable of any; for if firmness and resolution joined with
experience in bloodshed be necessary upon any occasion, it is on such
as these; and it often happens that those who are expert in arms, and
have faced death in all forms on the field of battle, still fail in an
affair like this. Having now decided upon the time, they resolved that
the signal for the attack should be the moment when the priest who
celebrated high mass should partake of the sacrament, and that, in the
meantime, the Archbishop de' Salviati, with his followers, and Jacopo
di Poggio, should take possession of the palace, in order that the
Signory, after the young men's death, should voluntarily, or by force,
contribute to their assistance.


Giuliano de' Medici slain--Lorenzo escapes--The archbishop
Salviati endeavors to seize the palace of the Signory--He is taken
and hanged--The enterprise of the conspirators entirely fails--
Manifestations of the Florentines in favor of Lorenzo de' Medici--
The conspirators punished--The funeral of Giuliano--The pope and
the king of Naples make war upon the Florentines--Florence
excommunicated--Speech of Lorenzo de' Medici to the citizens of

The conspirators proceeded to Santa Reparata, where the cardinal and
Lorenzo had already arrived. The church was crowded, and divine
service commenced before Giuliano's arrival. Francesco de' Pazzi and
Bernardo Bandini, who were appointed to be his murderers, went to his
house, and finding him, they, by earnest entreaties, prevailed upon
him to accompany them. It is surprising that such intense hatred, and
designs so full of horror as those of Francesco and Bernardo, could be
so perfectly concealed; for while conducting him to the church, and
after they had reached it, they amused him with jests and playful
discourse. Nor did Francesco forget, under pretense of endearment, to
press him in his arms, so as to ascertain whether under his apparel he
wore a cuirass or other means of defense. Giuliano and Lorenzo were
both aware of the animosity of the Pazzi, and their desire to deprive
them of the government; but they felt assured that any design would be
attempted openly, and in conjunction with the civil authority. Thus
being free from apprehension for their personal safety both affected
to be on friendly terms with them. The murderers being ready, each in
his appointed station, which they could retain without suspicion, on
account of the vast numbers assembled in the church, the preconcerted
moment arrived, and Bernardo Bandini, with a short dagger provided for
the purpose, struck Giuliano in the breast, who, after a few steps,
fell to the earth. Francesco de' Pazzi threw himself upon the body and
covered him with wounds; while, as if blinded by rage, he inflicted a
deep incision upon his own leg. Antonio and Stefano, the priest,
attacked Lorenzo, and after dealing many blows, effected only a slight
incision in the throat; for either their want of resolution, the
activity of Lorenzo, who, finding himself attacked, used his arms in
his own defense, or the assistance of those by whom he was surrounded,
rendered all attempts futile. They fled and concealed themselves, but
being subsequently discovered, were put to death in the most
ignominious manner, and their bodies dragged about the city. Lorenzo,
with the friends he had about him, took refuge in the sacristy of the
church. Bernardo Bandini, after Giuliano's death, also slew Francesco
Nori, a most intimate friend of the Medici, either from some previous
hatred or for having endeavored to render assistance to Giuliano; and
not content with these murders, he ran in pursuit of Lorenzo,
intending, by his own promptitude, to make up for the weakness and
inefficiency of the others; but finding he had taken refuge in the
vestry, he was prevented.

In the midst of these violent and fearful deeds, during which the
uproar was so terrible, that it seemed almost sufficient to bring the
church down upon its inmates, the cardinal Riario remained close to
the altar, where he was with difficulty kept in safety by the priests,
until the Signory, upon the abatement of the disturbance, could
conduct him to their palace, where he remained in the utmost terror
till he was set at liberty.

There were at this time in Florence some people of Perugia, whom party
feuds had compelled to leave their homes; and the Pazzi, by promising
to restore them to their country, obtained their assistance. The
Archbishop de' Salviati, going to seize the palace, together with
Jacopo di Poggio, and the Salviati, his friends, took these Perugini
with him. Having arrived, he left part of his people below, with
orders that when they heard a noise they should make themselves
masters of the entrance, while himself, with the greater part of the
Perugini, proceeded above, and finding the Signory at dinner (for it
was now late), was admitted after a short delay, by Cesare Petrucci,
the Gonfalonier of Justice. He entered with only a few of his
followers, the greater part of them being shut up in the cancelleria
into which they had gone, whose doors were so contrived, that upon
closing they could not be opened from either side, without the key.
The archbishop being with the gonfalonier, under pretense of having
something to communicate on the part of the pope, addressed him in
such an incoherent and hesitating manner, that the gonfalonier at once
suspected him, and rushing out of the chamber to call assistance,
found Jacopo di Poggio, whom he seized by the hair of the head, and
gave into the custody of his attendants. The Signory hearing the
tumult, snatched such arms as they could at the moment obtain, and all
who had gone up with the archbishop, part of them being shut up, and
part overcome with terror, were immediately slain or thrown alive out
of the windows of the palace, at which the archbishop, the two Jacopi
Salviati, and Jacopodi Poggio were hanged. Those whom the archbishop
left below, having mastered the guard and taken possession of the
entrance occupied all the lower floors, so that the citizens, who in
the uproar, hastened to the palace, were unable to give either advice
or assistance to the Signory.

Francesco de' Pazzi and Bernardo Bandini, perceiving Lorenzo's escape,
and the principal agent in the enterprise seriously wounded, became
immediately conscious of the imminent peril of their position.
Bernardo, using the same energy in his own behalf that had served him
against the Medici, finding all lost, saved himself by flight.
Francesco, wounded as he was, got to his house, and endeavored to get
on horseback, for it had been arranged they should ride through the
city and call the people to arms and liberty; but he found himself
unable, from the nature of his wound, and, throwing himself naked upon
his bed, begged Jacopo de' Pazzi to perform the part for which he was
himself incapacitated. Jacopo, though old and unaccustomed to such
business, by way of making a last effort, mounted his horse, and, with
about a hundred armed followers, collected without previous
preparation, hastened to the piazza of the palace, and endeavored to
assemble adherents by cries of "people," and "liberty"; but the
former, having been rendered deaf by the fortune and liberty of the
Medici, the latter was unknown in Florence, and he found no followers.
The signors, who held the upper part of the palace, saluted him with
stones and threats. Jacopo, while hesitating, was met by Giovanni
Seristori, his brother-in-law, who upbraided him with the troubles he
had occasioned, and then advised him to go home, for the people and
liberty were as dear to other citizens as to himself. Thus deprived of
every hope, Lorenzo being alive, Francesco seriously wounded, and none
disposed to follow him, not knowing what to do, he resolved, if
possible, to escape by flight; and, accompanied by those whom he had
led into the piazza, left Florence with the intention of going into

In the meantime the whole city was roused to arms, and Lorenzo de'
Medici, accompanied by a numerous escort, returned to his house. The
palace was recovered from its assailants, all of whom were either
slain or made prisoners. The name of the Medici echoed everywhere, and
portions of dead bodies were seen borne on spears and scattered
through the streets; while everyone was transported with rage against
the Pazzi, and pursued them with relentless cruelty. The people took
possession of their houses, and Francesco, naked as they found him,
was led to the palace, and hanged beside the archbishop and the rest.
He could not be induced, by any injurious words or deeds, to utter a
syllable, but regarding those around with a steady look, he silently
sighed. Guglielmo de' Pazzi, brother-in-law to Lorenzo, fled to the
latter's house, and by his innocence and the intercession of his wife,
Bianca, he escaped death. There was not a citizen of any rank whatever
who did not, upon this occasion, wait upon Lorenzo with an offer of
his services; so great were the popularity and good fortune which this
family had acquired by their liberality and prudence. Rinato de' Pazzi
was at his villa when the event took place, and on being informed of
it, he endeavored to escape in disguise, but was arrested upon the
road and brought to Florence. Jacopo de' Pazzi was taken while
crossing the mountains of Romagna, for the inhabitants of these parts
having heard what had occurred, and seeing him in flight, attacked and
brought him back to the city; nor could he, though he frequently
endeavored, prevail with them to put him to death upon the road.
Jacopo and Rinato were condemned within four days after the murder of
Giuliano. And though so many deaths had been inflicted that the roads
were covered with fragments of human bodies, not one excited a feeling
of regret, except that of Rinato; for he was considered a wise and
good man, and possessed none of the pride for which the rest of his
family were notorious. As if to mark the event by some extraordinary
circumstance, Jacopo de' Pazzi, after having been buried in the tomb
of his ancestors, was disinterred like an excommunicated person, and
thrown into a hole at the outside of the city walls; from this grave
he was taken, and with the halter in which he had been hanged, his
body was dragged naked through the city, and, as if unfit for
sepulture on earth, thrown by the populace into the Arno, whose waters
were then very high. It was an awful instance of the instability of
fortune, to see so wealthy a man, possessing the utmost earthly
felicity, brought down to such a depth of misery, such utter ruin and
extreme degradation. It is said he had vices, among which were gaming
and profane swearing, to which he was very much addicted; but these
seem more than balanced by his numerous charities, for he relieved
many in distress, and bestowed much money for pious uses. It may also
be recorded in his favor, that upon the Saturday preceding the death
of Giuliano, in order that none might suffer from his misfortunes, he
discharged all his debts; and whatever property he possessed belonging
to others, either in his own house or his place of business, he was
particularly careful to return to its owners. Giovanni Batista da
Montesecco, after a long examination, was beheaded; Napoleone Franzesi
escaped punishment by flight; Giulielmo de' Pazzi was banished, and
such of his cousins as remained alive were imprisoned in the fortress
of Volterra. The disturbances being over, and the conspirators
punished, the funeral obsequies of Giuliano were performed amid
universal lamentation; for he possessed all the liberality and
humanity that could be wished for in one of his high station. He left
a natural son, born some months after his death, named Giulio, who was
endowed with that virtue and felicity with which the whole world is
now acquainted; and of which we shall speak at length when we come to
our own times, if God spare us. The people who had assembled in favor
of the Pazzi under Lorenzo da Castello in the Val di Tavere, and under
Giovan Francesco da Tolentino in Romagna, approached Florence, but
having heard of the failure of the conspiracy, they returned home.

The changes desired by the pope and the king in the government of
Florence, not having taken place, they determined to effect by war
what they had failed to accomplish by treachery; and both assembled
forces with all speed to attack the Florentine states; publicly
declaring that they only wished the citizens to remove Lorenzo de'
Medici, who alone of all the Florentines was their enemy. The king's
forces had already passed the Tronto, and the pope's were in Perugia;
and that the citizens might feel the effect of spiritual as well as
temporal weapons, the pontiff excommunicated and anathematized them.
Finding themselves attacked by so many armies, the Florentines
prepared for their defense with the utmost care. Lorenzo de' Medici,
as the enemy's operations were said to be directed against himself
alone, resolved first of all to assemble the Signory, and the most
influential citizens, in the palace, to whom, being above three
hundred in number, he spoke as follows:--"Most excellent signors, and
you, magnificent citizens, I know not whether I have more occasion to
weep with you for the events which have recently occurred, or to
rejoice in the circumstances with which they have been attended.
Certainly, when I think with what virulence of united deceit and
hatred I have been attacked, and my brother murdered, I cannot but
mourn and grieve from my heart, from my very soul. Yet when I consider
with what promptitude, anxiety, love, and unanimity of the whole city
my brother has been avenged and myself defended, I am not only
compelled to rejoice, but feel myself honored and exalted; for if
experience has shown me that I had more enemies than I apprehended, it
has also proved that I possess more warm and resolute friends than I
could ever have hoped for. I must therefore grieve with you for the
injuries others have suffered, and rejoice in the attachment you have
exhibited toward myself; but I feel more aggrieved by the injuries
committed, since they are so unusual, so unexampled, and (as I trust
you believe) so undeserved on our part. Think, magnificent citizens,
to what a dreadful point ill fortune has reduced our family, when
among friends, amidst our own relatives, nay, in God's holy temple, we
have found our greatest foes. Those who are in danger turn to their
friends for assistance; they call upon their relatives for aid; but we
found ours armed, and resolved on our destruction. Those who are
persecuted, either from public or private motives, flee for refuge to
the altars; but where others are safe, we are assassinated; where
parricides and assassins are secure, the Medici find their murderers.
But God, who has not hitherto abandoned our house, again saved us, and
has undertaken the defense of our just cause. What injury have we done
to justify so intense desire of our destruction? Certainly those who
have shown themselves so much our enemies, never received any private
wrong from us; for, had we wished to injure them, they would not have
had an opportunity of injuring us. If they attribute public grievances
to ourselves (supposing any had been done to them), they do the
greater injustices to you, to this palace, to the majesty of this
government, by assuming that on our account you would act unfairly to
any of your citizens; and such a supposition, as we all know, is
contradicted by every view of the circumstances; for we, had we been
able, and you, had we wished it, would never have contributed to so
abominable a design. Whoever inquires into the truth of these matters,
will find that our family has always been exalted by you, and from
this sole cause, that we have endeavored by kindness, liberality, and
beneficence, to do good to all; and if we have honored strangers, when
did we ever injure our relatives? If our enemies' conduct has been
adopted, to gratify their desire for power (as would seem to be the
case from their having taken possession of the palace and brought an
armed force into the piazza), the infamous, ambitious, and detestable
motive is at once disclosed. If they were actuated by envy and hatred
of our authority, they offend you rather than us; for from you we have
derived all the influence we possess. Certainly usurped power deserves
to be detested; but not distinctions conceded for acts of kindness,
generosity, and magnificence. And you all know that our family never
attained any rank to which this palace and your united consent did not
raise it. Cosmo, my grandfather, did not return from exile with arms
and violence, but by your unanimous desire and approbation. It was not
my father, old and inform, who defended the government against so many
enemies, but yourselves by your authority and benevolence defended
him; neither could I, after his death, being then a boy, have
maintained the position of my house except by your favor and advice.
Nor should we ever be able to conduct the affairs of this republic, if
you did not contribute to our support. Therefore, I know not the
reason of their hatred toward us, or what just cause they have of
envy. Let them direct their enmity against their own ancestors, who,
by their pride and avarice, lost the reputation which ours, by very
opposite conduct, were enabled to acquire. But let it be granted we
have greatly injured them, and that they are justified in seeking our
ruin; why do they come and take possession of the palace? Why enter
into league with the pope and the king, against the liberties of this
republic? Why break the long-continued peace of Italy? They have no
excuse for this; they ought to confine their vengeance to those who do
them wrong, and not confound private animosities with public
grievances. Hence it is that since their defeat our misfortune is the
greater; for on their account the pope and the king make war upon us,
and this war, they say, is directed against my family and myself. And
would to God that this were true; then the remedy would be sure and
unfailing, for I would not be so base a citizen as to prefer my own
safety to yours; I would at once resolve to ensure your security, even
though my own destruction were the immediate and inevitable
consequence. But as the wrongs committed by princes are usually
concealed under some less offensive covering, they have adopted this
plea to hide their more abominable purpose. If, however, you think
otherwise, I am in your hands; it is with you to do with me what you
please. You are my fathers, my protectors, and whatever you command me
to do I will perform most willingly; nor will I ever refuse, when you
find occasion to require it, to close the war with my own blood which
was commenced with that of my brother." While Lorenzo spoke, the
citizens were unable to refrain from tears, and the sympathy with
which he had been heard was extended to their reply, delivered by one
of them in the name of the rest, who said that the city acknowledged
many advantages derived from the good qualities of himself and his
family; and encouraged them to hope that with as much promptitude as
they had used in his defense, and in avenging his brother's death,
they would secure to him his influence in the government, which he
should never lose while they retained possession of the country. And
that their deeds might correspond with their words, they immediately
appointed a number of armed men, as a guard for the security of his
person against domestic enemies.


The Florentines prepare for war against the pope--They appeal to a
future council--Papal and Neapolitan movements against the
Florentines--The Venetians refuse to assist the Florentines--
Disturbances in Milan--Genoa revolts from the duke--Futile
endeavors to effect peace with the pope--The Florentines repulse
their enemies from the territory of Pisa--They attack the papal
states--The papal forces routed upon the borders of the Lake of

The Florentines now prepared for war, by raising money and collecting
as large a force as possible. Being in league with the duke of Milan
and the Venetians, they applied to both for assistance. As the pope
had proved himself a wolf rather than a shepherd, to avoid being
devoured under false accusations, they justified their cause with all
available arguments, and filled Italy with accounts of the treachery
practiced against their government, exposing the impiety and injustice
of the pontiff, and assured the world that the pontificate which he
had wickedly attained, he would as impiously fill; for he had sent
those whom he had advanced to the highest order of prelacy, in the
company of traitors and parricides, to commit the most horrid
treachery in the church in the midst of divine service and during the
celebration of the holy sacrament, and that then, having failed to
murder the citizens, change the government, and plunder the city,
according to his intention, he had suspended the performance of all
religious offices, and injuriously menaced and injured the republic
with pontifical maledictions. But if God was just, and violence was
offensive to him, he would be displeased with that of his viceregent,
and allow his injured people who were not admitted to communion with
the latter, to offer up their prayers to himself. The Florentines,
therefore, instead of receiving or obeying the interdict, compelled
the priests to perform divine service, assembled a council in Florence
of all the Tuscan prelates under their jurisdiction, and appealed
against the injuries suffered from the pontiff to a future general

The pope did not neglect to assign reasons in his own justification,
and maintained it was the duty of a pontiff to suppress tyranny,
depress the wicked, and exalt the good; and that this ought to be done
by every available means; but that secular princes had no right to
detain cardinals, hang bishops, murder, mangle, and drag about the
bodies of priests, destroying without distinction the innocent with
the guilty.

Notwithstanding these complaints and accusations, the Florentines
restored to the pope the cardinal whom they had detained, in return
for which he immediately assailed them with his own forces and those
of the king. The two armies, under the command of Alfonso, eldest son
of Ferrando, and duke of Calabria, who had as his general, Federigo,
count of Urbino, entered the Chianti, by permission of the Siennese,
who sided with the enemy, occupied Radda with many other fortresses,
and having plundered the country, besieged the Castellina. The
Florentines were greatly alarmed at these attacks, being almost
destitute of forces, and finding their friends slow to assist; for
though the duke sent them aid, the Venetians denied all obligation to
support the Florentines in their private quarrels, since the
animosities of individuals were not to be defended at the public
expense. The Florentines, in order to induce the Venetians to take a
more correct view of the case, sent Tommaso Soderini as their
ambassador to the senate, and, in the meantime, engaged forces, and
appointed Ercole, marquis of Ferrara, to the command of their army.
While these preparations were being made, the Castellina was so hard
pressed by the enemy, that the inhabitants, despairing of relief,
surrendered, after having sustained a siege of forty-two days. The
enemy then directed their course toward Arezzo, and encamped before
San Savino. The Florentine army being now in order, went to meet them,
and having approached within three miles, caused such annoyance, that
Federigo d'Urbino demanded a truce for a few days, which was granted,
but proved so disadvantageous to the Florentines, that those who had
made the request were astonished at having obtained it; for, had it
been refused, they would have been compelled to retire in disgrace.
Having gained these few days to recruit themselves, as soon as they
were expired, they took the castle in the presence of their enemies.
Winter being now come, the forces of the pope and king retired for
convenient quarters to the Siennese territory. The Florentines also
withdrew to a more commodious situation, and the marquis of Ferrara,
having done little for himself and less for others, returned to his
own territories.

At this time, Genoa withdrew from the dominion of Milan, under the
following circumstances. Galeazzo, at his death, left a son, Giovan
Galeazzo, who being too young to undertake the government, dissensions
arose between Sforza, Lodovico, Ottaviano, and Ascanio, his uncles,
and the lady Bona, his mother, each of whom desired the guardianship
of the young duke. By the advice and mediation of Tommaso Soderini,
who was then Florentine ambassador at the court of Milan, and of Cecco
Simonetta, who had been secretary to Galeazzo, the lady Bona
prevailed. The uncles fled, Ottaviano was drowned in crossing the
Adda; the rest were banished to various places, together with Roberto
da San Severino, who in these disputes had deserted the duchess and
joined the uncles of the duke. The troubles in Tuscany, which
immediately followed, gave these princes hope that the new state of
things would present opportunities for their advantage; they therefore
quitted the places to which their exile limited them, and each
endeavored to return home. King Ferrando, finding the Florentines had
obtained assistance from none but the Milanese, took occasion to give
the duchess so much occupation in her own government, as to render her
unable to contribute to their assistance. By means of Prospero Adorno,
the Signor Roberto, and the rebellious uncles of the duke, he caused
Genoa to throw off the Milanese yoke. The Castelletto was the only
place left; confiding in which, the duchess sent a strong force to
recover the city, but it was routed by the enemy; and perceiving the
danger which might arise to her son and herself if the war were
continued, Tuscany being in confusion, and the Florentines, in whom
alone she had hope, themselves in trouble, she determined, as she
could not retain Genoa in subjection, to secure it as an ally; and
agreed with Battistino Fregoso, the enemy of Prospero Adorno, to give
him the Castelletto, and make him prince of Genoa, on condition that
he should expel Prospero, and do nothing in favor of her son's uncles.
Upon this agreement, Battistino, by the assistance of the Castelletto
and of his friends, became lord of Genoa; and according to the custom
of the city, took the title of Doge. The Sforzeschi and the Signor
Roberto, being thus expelled by the Genoese, came with their forces
into Lunigiana, and the pope and the king, perceiving the troubles of
Lombardy to be composed, took occasion with them to annoy Tuscany in
the Pisan territory, that the Florentines might be weakened by
dividing their forces. At the close of winter they ordered Roberto da
San Severino to leave Lunigiana and march thither, which he did, and
with great tumult plundered many fortresses, and overran the country
around Pisa.

At this time, ambassadors came to Florence from the emperor, the king
of France, and the king of Hungary, who were sent by their princes to
the pontiff. They solicited the Florentines also to send ambassadors
to the pope, and promised to use their utmost exertion to obtain for
them an advantageous peace. The Florentines did not refuse to make
trial, both for the sake of publicly justifying their proceedings, and
because they were really desirous of peace. Accordingly, the
ambassadors were sent, but returned without coming to any conclusion
of their differences. The Florentines, to avail themselves of the
influence of the king of France, since they were attacked by one part
of the Italians and abandoned by the other, sent to him as their
ambassador, Donato Acciajuoli, a distinguished Latin and Greek
scholar, whose ancestors had always ranked high in the city, but while
on his journey he died at Milan. To relieve his surviving family and
pay a deserved tribute to his memory, he was honorably buried at the
public expense, provision was made for his sons, and suitable marriage
portions given to his daughters, and Guid' Antonio Vespucci, a man
well acquainted with pontifical and imperial affairs, was sent as
ambassador to the king in his stead.

The attack of Signor Roberto upon the Pisan territory, being
unexpected, greatly perplexed the Florentines; for having to resist
the foe in the direction of Sienna, they knew not how to provide for
the places about Pisa. To keep the Lucchese faithful, and prevent them
from furnishing the enemy either with money or provisions, they sent
as ambassador Piero di Gino Capponi, who was received with so much
jealousy, on account of the hatred which that city always cherishes
against the Florentines from former injuries and constant fear, that
he was on many occasions in danger of being put to death by the mob;
and thus his mission gave fresh cause of animosity rather than of
union. The Florentines recalled the marquis of Ferrara, and engaged
the marquis of Mantua; they also as earnestly requested the Venetians
to send them Count Carlo, son of Braccio, and Deifobo, son of Count
Jacopo, and after many delays, they complied; for having made a truce
with the Turks, they had no excuse to justify a refusal, and could not
break through the obligation of the League without the utmost
disgrace. The counts, Carlo and Deifobo, came with a good force, and
being joined by all that could be spared from the army, which, under
the marquis of Ferrara, held in check the duke of Calabria, proceeded
toward Pisa, to meet Signor Roberto, who was with his troops near the
river Serchio, and who, though he had expressed his intention of
awaiting their arrival, withdrew to the camp at Lunigiana, which he
had quitted upon coming into the Pisan territory, while Count Carlo
recovered all the places that had been taken by the enemy in that

The Florentines, being thus relieved from the attack in the direction
of Pisa, assembled the whole force between Colle and Santo Geminiano.
But the army, on the arrival of Count Carlo, being composed of
Sforzeschi and Bracceschi, their hereditary feuds soon broke forth,
and it was thought that if they remained long in company, they would
turn their arms against each other. It was therefore determined, as
the smaller evil, to divide them; to send one party, under Count
Carlo, into the district of Perugia, and establish the other at
Poggibonzi, where they formed a strong encampment in order to prevent
the enemy from penetrating the Florentine territory. By this they also
hoped to compel the enemy to divide their forces; for Count Carlo was
understood to have many partisans in Perugia, and it was therefore
expected, either that he would occupy the place, or that the pope
would be compelled to send a large body of men for its defense. To
reduce the pontiff to greater necessity, they ordered Niccolo Vitelli,
who had been expelled from Citta di Castello, where his enemy Lorenzo
Vitelli commanded, to lead a force against that place, with the view
of driving out his adversary and withdrawing it from obedience to the
pope. At the beginning of the campaign, fortune seemed to favor the
Florentines; for Count Carlo made rapid advances in the Perugino, and
Niccolo Vitelli, though unable to enter Castello, was superior in the
field, and plundered the surrounding country without opposition. The
forces also, at Poggibonzi, constantly overran the country up to the
walls of Sienna. These hopes, however, were not realized; for in the
first place, Count Carlo died, while in the fullest tide of success;
though the consequences of this would have been less detrimental to
the Florentines, had not the victory to which it gave occasion, been
nullified by the misconduct of others. The death of the count being
known, the forces of the church, which had already assembled in
Perugia, conceived hopes of overcoming the Florentines, and encamped
upon the lake, within three miles of the enemy. On the other side,
Jacopo Guicciardini, commissary to the army, by the advice of Roberto
da Rimino, who, after the death of Count Carlo, was the principal
commander, knowing the ground of their sanguine expectations,
determined to meet them, and coming to an engagement near the lake,
upon the site of the memorable rout of the Romans, by Hannibal, the
Carthaginian general, the papal forces were vanquished. The news of
the victory, which did great honor to the commanders, diffused
universal joy at Florence, and would have ensured a favorable
termination of the campaign, had not the disorders which arose in the
army at Poggibonzi thrown all into confusion; for the advantage
obtained by the valor of the one, was more than counterbalanced by the
disgraceful proceedings of the other. Having made considerable booty
in the Siennese territory, quarrels arose about the division of it
between the marquis of Mantua and the marquis of Ferrara, who, coming
to arms, assailed each other with the utmost fury; and the Florentines
seeing they could no longer avail themselves of the services of both,
allowed the marquis of Ferrara and his men to return home.


The duke of Calabria routs the Florentine army at Poggibonzi--
Dismay in Florence on account of the defeat--Progress of the duke
of Calabria--The Florentines wish for peace--Lorenzo de' Medici
determines to go to Naples to treat with the king--Lodovico
Sforza, surnamed the Moor, and his brothers, recalled to Milan--
Changes in the government of that city in consequence--The Genoese
take Serezana--Lorenzo de' Medici arrives at Naples--Peace
concluded with the king--The pope and the Venetians consent to the
peace--The Florentines in fear of the duke of Calabria--
Enterprises of the Turks--They take Otranto--The Florentines
reconciled with the pope--Their ambassadors at the papal court--
The pope's reply to the ambassadors--The king of Naples restores
to the Florentines all the fortresses he had taken.

The army being thus reduced, without a leader, and disorder prevailing
in every department, the duke of Calabria, who was with his forces
near Sienna, resolved to attack them immediately. The Florentines,
finding the enemy at hand, were seized with a sudden panic; neither
their arms, nor their numbers, in which they were superior to their
adversaries, nor their position, which was one of great strength,
could give them confidence; but observing the dust occasioned by the
enemy's approach, without waiting for a sight of them, they fled in
all directions, leaving their ammunition, carriages, and artillery to
be taken by the foe. Such cowardice and disorder prevailed in the
armies of those times, that the turning of a horse's head or tail was
sufficient to decide the fate of an expedition. This defeat loaded the
king's troops with booty, and filled the Florentines with dismay; for
the city, besides the war, was afflicted with pestilence, which
prevailed so extensively, that all who possessed villas fled to them
to escape death. This occasioned the defeat to be attended with
greater horror; for those citizens whose possessions lay in the Val di
Pesa and the Val d'Elsa, having retired to them, hastened to Florence
with all speed as soon as they heard of the disaster, taking with them
not only their children and their property, but even their laborers;
so that it seemed as if the enemy were expected every moment in the
city. Those who were appointed to the management of the war,
perceiving the universal consternation, commanded the victorious
forces in the Perugino to give up their enterprise in that direction,
and march to oppose the enemy in the Val d'Elsa, who, after their
victory, plundered the country without opposition; and although the
Florentine army had so closely pressed the city of Perugia that it was
expected to fall into their hands every instant, the people preferred
defending their own possessions to endeavoring to seize those of
others. The troops, thus withdrawn from the pursuit of their good
fortune, were marched to San Casciano, a castle within eight miles of
Florence; the leaders thinking they could take up no other position
till the relics of the routed army were assembled. On the other hand,
the enemy being under no further restraint at Perugia, and emboldened
by the departure of the Florentines, plundered to a large amount in
the districts of Arezzo and Cortona; while those who under Alfonso,
duke of Calabria, had been victorious near Poggibonzi, took the town
itself; sacked Vico and Certaldo, and after these conquests and
pillagings encamped before the fortress of Colle, which was considered
very strong; and as the garrison was brave and faithful to the
Florentines, it was hoped they would hold the enemy at bay till the
republic was able to collect its forces. The Florentines being at
Santo Casciano, and the enemy continuing to use their utmost exertions
against Colle, they determined to draw nearer, that the inhabitants
might be more resolute in their defense, and the enemy assail them
less boldly. With this design they removed their camp from Santo
Casciano to Santo Geminiano, about five miles from Colle, and with
light cavalry and other suitable forces were able every day to annoy
the duke's camp. All this, however, was insufficient to relieve the
people of Colle; for, having consumed their provisions, they were
compelled to surrender on the thirteenth of November, to the great
grief of the Florentines, and joy of the enemy, more especially of the
Siennese, who, besides their habitual hatred of the Florentines, had a
particular animosity against the people of Colle.

It was now the depth of winter, and the weather so unsuitable for war,
that the pope and the king, either designing to hold out a hope of
peace, or more quietly to enjoy the fruit of their victories, proposed
a truce for three months to the Florentines, and allowed them ten days
to consider the reply. The offer was eagerly accepted; but as wounds
are well known to be more painful after the blood cools than when they
were first received, this brief repose awakened the Florentines to a
consciousness of the miseries they had endured; and the citizens
openly laid the blame upon each other, pointing out the errors
committed in the management of the war, the expenses uselessly
incurred, and the taxes unjustly imposed. These matters were boldly
discussed, not only in private circles, but in the public councils;
and one individual even ventured to turn to Lorenzo de' Medici, and
say, "The city is exhausted, and can endure no more war; it is
therefore necessary to think of peace." Lorenzo was himself aware of
the necessity, and assembled the friends in whose wisdom and fidelity
he had the greatest confidence, when it was at once concluded, that as
the Venetians were lukewarm and unfaithful, and the duke in the power
of his guardians, and involved in domestic difficulties, it would be
desirable by some new alliance to give a better turn to their affairs.
They were in doubt whether to apply to the king or to the pope; but
having examined the question in all sides, they preferred the
friendship of the king as more suitable and secure; for the short
reigns of the pontiffs, the changes ensuing upon each succession, the
disregard shown by their church toward temporal princes, and the still
greater want of respect for them exhibited in her determinations,
render it impossible for a secular prince to trust a pontiff, or
safely to share his fortune; for an adherent of the pope will have a
companion in victory, but in defeat must stand alone, while the
pontiff is sustained by his spiritual power and influence. Having
therefore decided that the king's friendship would be of the greatest
utility to them, they thought it would be most easily and certainly
obtained by Lorenzo's presence; for in proportion to the confidence
they evinced toward him, the greater they imagined would be the
probability of removing his impressions of past enmities. Lorenzo
having resolved to go to Naples, recommended the city and government
to the care of Tommaso Soderini, who was at that time Gonfalonier of
Justice. He left Florence at the beginning of December, and having
arrived at Pisa, wrote to the government to acquaint them with the
cause of his departure. The Signory, to do him honor, and enable him
the more effectually to treat with the king, appointed him ambassador
from the Florentine people, and endowed him with full authority to
make such arrangements as he thought most useful for the republic.

At this time Roberto da San Severino, with Lodovico and Ascanio
(Sforza their elder brother being dead) again attacked Milan, in order
to recover the government. Having taken Tortona, and the city and the
whole state being in arms, the duchess Bona was advised to restore the
Sforzeschi, and to put a stop to civil contentions by admitting them
to the government. The person who gave this advice was Antonio
Tassino, of Ferrara, a man of low origin, who, coming to Milan, fell
into the hands of the duke Galeazzo, and was given by him to his
duchess for her valet. He, either from his personal attractions, or
some secret influence, after the duke's death attained such influence
over the duchess, that he governed the state almost at his will. This
greatly displeased the minister Cecco, whom prudence and long
experience had rendered invaluable; and who, to the utmost of his
power, endeavored to diminish the authority of Tassino with the
duchess and other members of the government. The latter, aware of
this, to avenge himself for the injury, and secure defenders against
Cecco, advised the duchess to recall the Sforzeschi, which she did,
without communicating her design to the minister, who, when it was
done, said to her, "You have taken a step which will deprive me of my
life, and you of the government." This shortly afterward took place;
for Cecco was put to death by Lodovico, and Tassino, being expelled
from the dukedom, the duchess was so enraged that she left Milan, and
gave up the care of her son to Lodovico, who, becoming sole governor
of the dukedom, caused, as will be hereafter seen, the ruin of Italy.

Lorenzo de' Medici had set out for Naples, and the truce between the
parties was in force, when, quite unexpectedly, Lodovico Fregoso,
being in correspondence with some persons of Serezana, entered the
place by stealth, took possession of it with an armed force, and

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