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imprisoned the Florentine governor. This greatly offended the Signory,
for they thought the whole had been concerted with the connivance of
King Ferrando. They complained to the duke of Calabria, who was with
the army at Sienna, of a breach of the truce; and he endeavored to
prove, by letters and embassies, that it had occurred without either
his own or his father's knowledge. The Florentines, however, found
themselves in a very awkward predicament, being destitute of money,
the head of the republic in the power of the king, themselves engaged
in a long-standing war with the latter and the pope, in a new one with
the Genoese, and entirely without friends; for they had no confidence
in the Venetians, and on account of its changeable and unsettled state
they were rather apprehensive of Milan. They had thus only one hope,
and that depended upon Lorenzo's success with the king.

Lorenzo arrived at Naples by sea, and was most honorably received, not
only by Ferrando, but by the whole city, his coming having excited the
greatest expectation; for it being generally understood that the war
was undertaken for the sole purpose of effecting his destruction, the
power of his enemies invested his name with additional lustre. Being
admitted to the king's presence, he spoke with so much propriety upon
the affairs of Italy, the disposition of her princes and people, his
hopes from peace, his fears of the results of war, that Ferrando was
more astonished at the greatness of his mind, the promptitude of his
genius, his gravity and wisdom, than he had previously been at his
power. He consequently treated him with redoubled honor, and began to
feel compelled rather to part with him as a friend, than detain him as
an enemy. However, under various pretexts he kept Lorenzo from
December till March, not only to gain the most perfect knowledge of
his own views, but of those of his city; for he was not without
enemies, who would have wished the king to detain and treat him in the
same manner as Jacopo Piccinino; and, with the ostensible view of
sympathizing for him, pointed out all that would, or rather that they
wished should, result from such a course; at the same time opposing in
the council every proposition at all likely to favor him. By such
means as these the opinion gained ground, that if he were detained at
Naples much longer, the government of Florence would be changed. This
caused the king to postpone their separation more than he would have
otherwise done, to see if any disturbance were likely to arise. But
finding everything go quietly on, Ferrando allowed him to depart on
the sixth of March, 1479, having, with every kind of attention and
token of regard, endeavored to gain his affection, and formed with him
a perpetual alliance for their mutual defense. Lorenzo returned to
Florence, and upon presenting himself before the citizens, the
impressions he had created in the popular mind surrounded him with a
halo of majesty brighter than before. He was received with all the joy
merited by his extraordinary qualities and recent services, in having
exposed his own life to the most imminent peril, in order to restore
peace to his country. Two days after his return, the treaty between
the republic of Florence and the king, by which each party bound
itself to defend the other's territories, was published. The places
taken from the Florentines during the war were to be taken up at the
discretion of the king; the Pazzi confined in the tower of Volterra
were to be set at liberty, and a certain sum of money, for a limited
period, was to be paid to the duke of Calabria.

As soon as this peace was publicly known, the pope and the Venetians
were transported with rage; the pope thought himself neglected by the
king; the Venetians entertained similar ideas with regard to the
Florentines, and complained that, having been companions in the war,
they were not allowed to participate in the peace. Reports of this
description being spread abroad, and received with entire credence at
Florence, caused a general fear that the peace thus made would give
rise to greater wars; and therefore the leading members of the
government determined to confine the consideration of the most
important affairs to a smaller number, and formed a council of seventy
citizens, in whom the principal authority was invested. This new
regulation calmed the minds of those desirous of change, by convincing
them of the futility of their efforts. To establish their authority,
they in the first place ratified the treaty of peace with the king,
and sent as ambassadors to the pope Antonio Ridolfi and Piero Nasi.
But, notwithstanding the peace, Alfonso, duke of Calabria, still
remained at Sienna with his forces, pretending to be detained by
discords among the citizens, which, he said, had risen so high, that
while he resided outside the city they had compelled him to enter and
assume the office of arbitrator between them. He took occasion to draw
large sums of money from the wealthiest citizens by way of fines,
imprisoned many, banished others, and put some to death; he thus
became suspected, not only by the Siennese but by the Florentines, of
a design to usurp the sovereignty of Sienna; nor was any remedy then
available, for the republic had formed a new alliance with the king,
and were at enmity with the pope and the Venetians. This suspicion was
entertained not only by the great body of the Florentine people, who
were subtle interpreters of appearances, but by the principal members
of the government; and it was agreed, on all hands, that the city
never was in so much danger of losing her liberty. But God, who in
similar extremities has always been her preserver, caused an unhoped-
for event to take place, which gave the pope, the king, and the
Venetians other matters to think of than those in Tuscany.

The Turkish emperor, Mahomet II. had gone with a large army to the
siege of Rhodes, and continued it for several months; but though his
forces were numerous, and his courage indomitable, he found them more
than equalled by those of the besieged, who resisted his attack with
such obstinate valor, that he was at last compelled to retire in
disgrace. Having left Rhodes, part of his army, under the Pasha
Achmet, approached Velona, and, either from observing the facility of
the enterprise, or in obedience to his sovereign's commands, coasting
along the Italian shores, he suddenly landed four thousand soldiers,
and attacked the city of Otranto, which he easily took, plundered, and
put all the inhabitants to the sword. He then fortified the city and
port, and having assembled a large body of cavalry, pillaged the
surrounding country. The king, learning this, and aware of the
redoubtable character of his assailant, immediately sent messengers to
all the surrounding powers, to request assistance against the common
enemy, and ordered the immediate return of the duke of Calabria with
the forces at Sienna.

This attack, however it might annoy the duke and the rest of Italy,
occasioned the utmost joy at Florence and Sienna; the latter thinking
it had recovered its liberty, and the former that she had escaped a
storm which threatened her with destruction. These impressions, which
were not unknown to the duke, increased the regret he felt at his
departure from Sienna; and he accused fortune of having, by an
unexpected and unaccountable accident, deprived him of the sovereignty
of Tuscany. The same circumstance changed the disposition of the pope;
for although he had previously refused to receive any ambassador from
Florence, he was now so mollified as to be anxious to listen to any
overtures of peace; and it was intimated to the Florentines, that if
they would condescend to ask the pope's pardon, they would be sure of
obtaining it. Thinking it advisable to seize the opportunity, they
sent twelve ambassadors to the pontiff, who, on their arrival,
detained them under different pretexts before he would admit them to
an audience. However, terms were at length settled, and what should be
contributed by each in peace or war. The messengers were then admitted
to the feet of the pontiff, who, with the utmost pomp, received them
in the midst of his cardinals. They apologized for past occurrences;
first showing they had been compelled by necessity, then blaming the
malignity of others, or the rage of the populace, and their just
indignation, and enlarging on the unfortunate condition of those who
are compelled either to fight or die; saying, that since every
extremity is endured in order to avoid death, they had suffered war,
interdicts, and other inconveniences, brought upon them by recent
events, that their republic might escape slavery, which is the death
of free cities. However, if in their necessities they had committed
any offense, they were desirous to make atonement, and trusted in his
clemency, who, after the example of the blessed Redeemer, would
receive them into his compassionate arms.

The pope's reply was indignant and haughty. After reiterating all the
offenses against the church during the late transactions, he said
that, to comply with the precepts of God, he would grant the pardon
they asked, but would have them understand, that it was their duty to
obey; and that upon the next instance of their disobedience, they
would inevitably forfeit, and that most deservedly, the liberty which
they had just been upon the point of losing; for those merit freedom
who exercise themselves in good works and avoid evil; that liberty,
improperly used, injures itself and others; that to think little of
God, and less of his church, is not the part of a free man, but a
fool, and one disposed to evil rather than good, and to effect whose
correction is the duty not only of princes but of every Christian; so
that in respect of the recent events, they had only themselves to
blame, who, by their evil deeds, had given rise to the war, and
inflamed it by still worse actions, it having been terminated by the
kindness of others rather than by any merit of their own. The formula
of agreement and benediction was then read; and, in addition to what
had already been considered and agreed upon between the parties, the
pope said, that if the Florentines wished to enjoy the fruit of his
forgiveness, they must maintain fifteen galleys, armed, and equipped,
at their own expense, as long as the Turks should make war upon the
kingdom of Naples. The ambassadors complained much of this burden in
addition to the arrangement already made, but were unable to obtain
any alleviation. However, after their return to Florence, the Signory
sent, as ambassador to the pope, Guidantonio Vespucci, who had
recently returned from France, and who by his prudence brought
everything to an amicable conclusion, obtained many favors from the
pontiff, which were considered as presages of a closer reconciliation.

Having settled their affairs with the pope, Sienna being free,
themselves released from the fear of the king, by the departure of the
duke of Calabria from Tuscany, and the war with the Turks still
continuing, the Florentines pressed the king to restore their
fortresses, which the duke of Calabria, upon quitting the country, had
left in the hands of the Siennese. Ferrando, apprehensive that if he
refused, they would withdraw from the alliance with him, and by new
wars with the Siennese deprive him of the assistance he hoped to
obtain from the pope and other Italian powers, consented that they
should be given up, and by new favors endeavored to attach the
Florentines to his interests. It is thus evident, that force and
necessity, not deeds and obligations, induce princes to keep faith.

The castles being restored, and this new alliance established, Lorenzo
de' Medici recovered the reputation which first the war and then the
peace, when the king's designs were doubtful, had deprived him of; for
at this period there was no lack of those who openly slandered him
with having sold his country to save himself, and said, that in war
they had lost their territories, and in peace their liberty. But the
fortresses being recovered, an honorable treaty ratified with the
king, and the city restored to her former influence, the spirit of
public discourse entirely changed in Florence, a place greatly
addicted to gossip, and in which actions are judged by the success
attending them, rather than by the intelligence employed in their
direction; therefore, the citizens praised Lorenzo extravagantly,
declaring that by his prudence he had recovered in peace, what
unfavorable circumstances had taken from them in war, and that by his
discretion and judgment he had done more than the enemy with all the
force of their arms.


New occasions of war in Italy--Differences between the marquis of
Ferrara, and the Venetians--The king of Naples and the Florentines
attack the papal states--The pope's defensive arrangements--The
Neapolitan army routed by the papal forces--Progress of the
Venetians against the marquis of Ferrara--The pope makes peace,
and enters into a league against the Venetians--Operations of the
League against the Venetians--The Venetians routed at Bondeno--
Their losses--Disunion among the League--Lodovico Sforza makes
peace with the Venetians--Ratified by the other parties.

The invasion of the Turks had deferred the war which was about to
break forth from the anger of the pope and the Venetians at the peace
between the Florentines and the king. But as the beginning of that
invasion was unexpected and beneficial, its conclusion was equally
unlooked for and injurious; for Mahomet dying suddenly, dissensions
arose among his sons, and the forces which were in Puglia being
abandoned by their commander, surrendered Otranto to the king. The
fears which restrained the pope and the Venetians being thus removed,
everyone became apprehensive of new troubles. On the one hand, was the
league of the pope and the Venetians, and with them the Genoese,
Siennese, and other minor powers; on the other, the Florentines, the
king, and the duke, with whom were the Bolognese and many princes. The
Venetians wished to become lords of Ferrara, and thought they were
justified by circumstances in making the attempt, and hoping for a
favorable result. Their differences arose thus: the marquis of Ferrara
affirmed he was under no obligation to take salt from the Venetians,
or to admit their governor; the terms of convention between them
declaring, that after seventy years, the city was to be free from both
impositions. The Venetians replied, that so long as he held the
Polesine, he was bound to receive their salt and their governor. The
marquis refusing his consent, the Venetians considered themselves
justified in taking arms, and that the present moment offered a
suitable opportunity; for the pope was indignant against the
Florentines and the king; and to attach the pope still further, the
Count Girolamo, who was then at Venice, was received with all possible
respect; first admitted to the privileges of a citizen, and then
raised to the rank of a senator, the highest distinctions the Venetian
senate can confer. To prepare for the war, they levied new taxes, and
appointed to the command of the forces, Roberto da San Severino, who
being offended with Lodovico, governor of Milan, fled to Tortona,
whence, after occasioning some disturbances, he went to Genoa, and
while there, was sent for by the Venetians, and placed at the head of
their troops.

These circumstances becoming known to the opposite league, induced it
also to provide for war. The duke of Milan appointed as his general,
Federigo d'Urbino; the Florentines engaged Costanzo, lord of Pesaro;
and to sound the disposition of the pope, and know whether the
Venetians made war against Ferrara with his consent or not, King
Ferrando sent Alfonso, duke of Calabria, with his army across the
Tronto, and asked the pontiff's permission to pass into Lombardy to
assist the marquis, which was refused in the most peremptory manner.
The Florentines and the king, no longer doubtful about the pope's
intentions, determined to harass him, and thus either compel him to
take part with them, or throw such obstacles in his way, as would
prevent him from helping the Venetians, who had already taken the
field, attacked the marquis, overran his territory, and encamped
before Figaruolo, a fortress of the greatest importance. In pursuance
of the design of the Florentines and the king, the duke of Calabria,
by the assistance of the Colonna family (the Orsini had joined the
pope), plundered the country about Rome and committed great
devastation; while the Florentines, with Niccolo Vitelli, besieged and
took Citta di Castello, expelling Lorenzo Vitelli, who held it for the
pope, and placing Niccolo in it as prince.

The pope now found himself in very great straits; for the city of Rome
was disturbed by factions and the country covered with enemies. But
acting with courage and resolution, he appointed Roberto da Rimino to
take the command of his forces; and having sent for him to Rome, where
his troops were assembled, told him how great would be the honor, if
he could deliver the church from the king's forces, and the troubles
in which it was involved; how greatly indebted, not only himself, but
all his successors would be, and, that not mankind merely, but God
himself would be under obligations to him. The magnificent Roberto,
having considered the forces and preparations already made, advised
the pope to raise as numerous a body of infantry as possible, which
was done without delay. The duke of Calabria was at hand, and
constantly harassed the country up to the very gates of Rome, which so
roused the indignation of the citizens, that many offered their
assistance to Roberto, and all were thankfully received. The duke,
hearing of these preparations, withdrew a short distance from the
city, that in the belief of finding him gone, the magnificent Roberto
would not pursue him, and also in expectation of his brother Federigo,
whom their father had sent to him with additional forces. But Roberto,
finding himself nearly equal to the duke in cavalry, and superior in
infantry, marched boldly out of Rome and took a position within two
miles of the enemy. The duke, seeing his adversaries close upon him,
found he must either fight or disgracefully retire. To avoid a retreat
unbecoming a king's son, he resolved to face the enemy; and a battle
ensued which continued from morning till midday. In this engagement,
greater valor was exhibited on both sides than had been shown in any
other during the last fifty years, upward of a thousand dead being
left upon the field. The troops of the church were at length
victorious, for her numerous infantry so annoyed the ducal cavalry,
that they were compelled to retreat, and Alfonso himself would have
fallen into the hands of the enemy, had he not been rescued by a body
of Turks, who remained at Otranto, and were at that time in his
service. The lord of Rimino, after this victory, returned triumphantly
to Rome, but did not long enjoy the fruit of his valor; for having,
during the heat of the engagement, taken a copious draught of water,
he was seized with a flux, of which he very shortly afterward died.
The pope caused his funeral to be conducted with great pomp, and in a
few days, sent the Count Girolamo toward Citta di Castello to restore
it to Lorenzo, and also endeavor to gain Rimino, which being by
Roberto's death left to the care of his widow and a son who was quite
a boy, his holiness thought might be easily won; and this certainly
would have been the case, if the lady had not been defended by the
Florentines, who opposed him so effectually, as to prevent his success
against both Castello and Rimino.

While these things were in progress at Rome and in Romagna, the
Venetians took possession of Figaruolo and crossed the Po with their
forces. The camp of the duke of Milan and the marquis was in disorder;
for the count of Urbino having fallen ill, was carried to Bologna for
his recovery, but died. Thus the marquis's affairs were unfortunately
situated, while those of the Venetians gave them increasing hopes of
occupying Ferrara. The Florentines and the king of Naples used their
utmost endeavors to gain the pope to their views; and not having
succeeded by force, they threatened him with the council, which had
already been summoned by the emperor to assemble at Basle; and by
means of the imperial ambassadors, and the co-operation of the leading
cardinals, who were desirous of peace, the pope was compelled to turn
his attention toward effecting the pacification of Italy. With this
view, at the instigation of his fears, and with the conviction that
the aggrandizement of the Venetians would be the ruin of the church
and of Italy, he endeavored to make peace with the League, and sent
his nuncios to Naples, where a treaty was concluded for five years,
between the pope, the king, the duke of Milan, and the Florentines,
with an opening for the Venetians to join them if they thought proper.
When this was accomplished, the pope intimated to the Venetians, that
they must desist from war against Ferrara. They refused to comply, and
made preparations to prosecute their design with greater vigor than
they had hitherto done; and having routed the forces of the duke and
the marquis at Argenta, they approached Ferrara so closely as to pitch
their tents in the marquis's park.

The League found they must no longer delay rendering him efficient
assistance, and ordered the duke of Calabria to march to Ferrara with
his forces and those of the pope, the Florentine troops also moving in
the same direction. In order to direct the operations of the war with
greater efficiency, the League assembled a diet at Cremona, which was
attended by the pope's legate, the Count Girolamo, the duke of
Calabria, the Signor Lodovico Sforza, and Lorenzo de' Medici, with
many other Italian princes; and when the measures to be adopted were
fully discussed, having decided that the best way of relieving Ferrara
would be to effect a division of the enemy's forces, the League
desired Lodovico to attack the Venetians on the side of Milan, but
this he declined, for fear of bringing a war upon the duke's
territories, which it would be difficult to quell. It was therefore
resolved to proceed with the united forces of the League to Ferrara,
and having assembled four thousand cavalry and eight thousand
infantry, they went in pursuit of the Venetians, whose force amounted
to two thousand two hundred men at arms, and six thousand foot. They
first attacked the Venetian flotilla, then lying upon the river Po,
which they routed with the loss of above two hundred vessels, and took
prisoner Antonio Justiniano, the purveyor of the fleet. The Venetians,
finding all Italy united against them, endeavored to support their
reputation by engaging in their service the duke of Lorraine, who
joined them with two hundred men at arms: and having suffered so great
a destruction of their fleet, they sent him, with part of their army,
to keep their enemies at bay, and Roberto da San Severino to cross the
Adda with the remainder, and proceed to Milan, where they were to
raise the cry of "The duke and the Lady Bona," his mother; hoping by
this means to give a new aspect to affairs there, believing that
Lodovico and his government were generally unpopular. This attack at
first created great consternation, and roused the citizens in arms;
but eventually produced consequences unfavorable to the designs of the
Venetians; for Lodovico was now desirous to undertake what he had
refused to do at the entreaty of his allies. Leaving the marquis of
Ferrara to the defense of his own territories, he, with four thousand
horse and two thousand foot, and joined by the duke of Calabria with
twelve thousand horse and five thousand foot, entered the territory of
Bergamo, then Brescia, next that of Verona, and, in defiance of the
Venetians, plundered the whole country; for it was with the greatest
difficulty that Roberto and his forces could save the cities
themselves. In the meantime, the marquis of Ferrara had recovered a
great part of his territories; for the duke of Lorraine, by whom he
was attacked, having only at his command two thousand horse and one
thousand foot, could not withstand him. Hence, during the whole of
1483, the affairs of the League were prosperous.

The winter having passed quietly over, the armies again took the
field. To produce the greater impression upon the enemy, the League
united their whole force, and would easily have deprived the Venetians
of all they possessed in Lombardy, if the war had been conducted in
the same manner as during the preceding year; for by the departure of
the duke of Lorraine, whose term of service had expired, they were
reduced to six thousand horse and five thousand foot, while the allies
had thirteen thousand horse and five thousand foot at their disposal.
But, as is often the case where several of equal authority are joined
in command, their want of unity decided the victory to their enemies.
Federigo, marquis of Mantua, whose influence kept the duke of Calabria
and Lodovico Sforza within bounds, being dead, differences arose
between them which soon became jealousies. Giovan Galeazzo, duke of
Milan, was now of an age to take the government on himself, and had
married the daughter of the duke of Calabria, who wished his son-in-
law to exercise the government and not Lodovico; the latter, being
aware of the duke's design, studied to prevent him from effecting it.
The position of Lodovico being known to the Venetians, they thought
they could make it available for their own interests; and hoped, as
they had often before done, to recover in peace all they had lost by
war; and having secretly entered into treaty with Lodovico, the terms
were concluded in August, 1484. When this became known to the rest of
the allies, they were greatly dissatisfied, principally because they
found that the places won from the Venetians were to be restored; that
they were allowed to keep Rovigo and the Polesine, which they had
taken from the marquis of Ferrara, and besides this retain all the
pre-eminence and authority over Ferrara itself which they had formerly
possessed. Thus it was evident to everyone, they had been engaged in a
war which had cost vast sums of money, during the progress of which
they had acquired honor, and which was concluded with disgrace; for
the places wrested from the enemy were restored without themselves
recovering those they had lost. They were, however, compelled to
ratify the treaty, on account of the unsatisfactory state of their
finances, and because the faults and ambition of others had rendered
them unwilling to put their fortunes to further proof.


Affairs of the pope--He is reconciled to Niccolo Vitelli--Discords
between the Colonnesi and the Orsini--Various events--The war of
Serezana--Genoa occupied by her archbishop--Death of Sixtus IV.--
Innocent VIII. elected--Agostino Fregoso gives Serezana to the
bank of St. Giorgio--Account of the bank of St. Giorgio--War with
the Genoese for Serezana--Stratagem of the Florentines to attack
Pietra Santa--Difficulties and final surrender of Pietra Santa--
The Lucchese lay claim to Pietra Santa--The city of L'Aquila
revolts against the king of Naples--War between him and the pope--
The Florentines take the king's party--Peace between the pope and
the king.

During these events in Lombardy, the pope sent Lorenzo to invest Citta
di Castello, for the purpose of expelling Niccolo Vitelli, the place
having been abandoned to him by the League, for the purpose of
inducing the pontiff to join them. During the siege, Niccolo's troops
were led out against the papal forces and routed them. Upon this the
pope recalled the Count Girolamo from Lombardy with orders first to
recruit his army at Rome, and then proceed against Citta di Castello.
But thinking afterward, that it would be better to obtain Niccolo
Vitello as his friend than to renew hostilities with him, an
arrangement was entered into by which the latter retained Citta di
Castello, and the pope pacified Lorenzo as well as he could. He was
induced to both these measures rather by his apprehension of fresh
troubles than by his love of peace, for he perceived dissensions
arising between the Colonessi and the Orsini.

In the war between the king of Naples and the pope, the former had
taken the district of Tagliacozzo from the Orsini, and given it to the
Colonnesi, who had espoused his cause. Upon the establishment of
peace, the Orsini demanded its restoration by virtue of the treaty.
The pope had frequently intimated to the Colonnesi that it ought to be
restored; but they, instead of complying with the entreaties of the
Orsini, or being influenced by the pope's threats, renewed hostilities
against the former. Upon this the pontiff, unable to endure their
insolence, united his own forces with those of the Orsini, plundered
the houses they possessed in Rome, slew or made prisoners all who
defended them, and seized most of their fortresses. So that when these
troubles were composed, it was rather by the complete subjugation of
one party than from any desire for peace in the other.

Nor were the affairs of Genoa or of Tuscany in repose, for the
Florentines kept the Count Antonio da Marciano on the borders of
Serezana; and while the war continued in Lombardy, annoyed the people
of Serezana by inroads and light skirmishes. Battistino Fregoso, doge
of Genoa, trusting to Pagolo Fregoso, the archbishop, was taken
prisoner, with his wife and children, by the latter, who assumed the
sovereignty of the city. The Venetian fleet had attacked the kingdom
of Naples, taken Gallipoli, and harassed the neighboring places. But
upon the peace of Lombardy, all tumults were hushed except those of
Tuscany and Rome; for the pope died in five days after its
declaration, either in the natural course of things, or because his
grief for peace, to which he was always opposed, occasioned his end.

Upon the decease of the pontiff, Rome was immediately in arms. The
Count Girolamo withdrew his forces into the castle; and the Orsini
feared the Colonnesi would avenge the injuries they had recently
sustained. The Colonnesi demanded the restitution of their houses and
castles, so that in a few days robberies, fires, and murders prevailed
in several parts of the city. The cardinals entreated the count to
give the castle into the hands of the college, withdraw his troops,
and deliver Rome from the fear of his forces, and he, by way of
ingratiating himself with the future pontiff obeyed, and retired to
Imola. The cardinals, being thus divested of their fears, and the
barons hopeless of assistance in their quarrels, proceeded to create a
new pontiff, and after some discussion, Giovanni Batista Cibo, a
Genoese, cardinal of Malfetta, was elected, and took the name of
Innocent VIII. By the mildness of his disposition (for he was
peaceable and humane) he caused a cessation of hostilities, and for
the present restored peace to Rome.

The Florentines, after the pacification of Lombardy, could not remain
quiet; for it appeared disgraceful that a private gentleman should
deprive them of the fortress of Serezana; and as it was allowed by the
conditions of peace, not only to demand lost places, but to make war
upon any who should impede their restoration, they immediately
provided men and money to undertake its recovery. Upon this, Agostino
Fregoso, who had seized Serezana, being unable to defend it, gave the
fortress to the Bank of St. Giorgio. As we shall have frequent
occasion to speak of St. Giorgio and the Genoese, it will not be
improper, since Genoa is one of the principal cities of Italy, to give
some account of the regulations and usages prevailing there. When the
Genoese had made peace with the Venetians, after the great war, many
years ago, the republic, being unable to satisfy the claims of those
who had advanced large sums of money for its use, conceded to them the
revenue of the Dogano or customhouse, so that each creditor should
participate in the receipts in proportion to his claim, until the
whole amount should be liquidated, and as a suitable place for their
assembling, the palace over the Dogano was assigned for their use.
These creditors established a form of government among themselves,
appointing a council of one hundred persons for the direction of their
affairs, and a committee of eight, who, as the executive body, should
carry into effect the determinations of the council. Their credits
were divided into shares, called /Luoghi/, and they took the title of
the Bank, or Company of St. Giorgio. Having thus arranged their
government, the city fell into fresh difficulties, and applied to San
Giorgio for assistance, which, being wealthy and well managed, was
able to afford the required aid. On the other hand, as the city had at
first conceded the customs, she next began to assign towns, castles,
or territories, as security for moneys received; and this practice has
proceeded to such a length, from the necessities of the state, and the
accommodation by the San Giorgio, that the latter now has under its
administration most of the towns and cities in the Genoese dominion.
These the Bank governs and protects, and every year sends its
deputies, appointed by vote, without any interference on the part of
the republic. Hence the affections of the citizens are transferred
from the government to the San Giorgio, on account of the tyranny of
the former, and the excellent regulations adopted by the latter. Hence
also originate the frequent changes of the republic, which is
sometimes under a citizen, and at other times governed by a stranger;
for the magistracy, and not the San Giorgio, changes the government.
So when the Fregosi and the Adorni were in opposition, as the
government of the republic was the prize for which they strove, the
greater part of the citizens withdrew and left it to the victor. The
only interference of the Bank of St. Giorgio is when one party has
obtained a superiority over the other, to bind the victor to the
observance of its laws, which up to this time have not been changed;
for as it possesses arms, money, and influence, they could not be
altered without incurring the imminent risk of a dangerous rebellion.
This establishment presents an instance of what in all the republics,
either described or imagined by philosophers, has never been thought
of; exhibiting within the same community, and among the same citizens,
liberty and tyranny, integrity and corruption, justice and injustice;
for this establishment preserves in the city many ancient and
venerable customs; and should it happen (as in time it easily may)
that the San Giorgio should have possession of the whole city, the
republic will become more distinguished than that of Venice.

Agostino Fregoso conceded Serezana to the San Giorgio, which readily
accepted it, undertook its defense, put a fleet to sea, and sent
forces to Pietra Santa to prevent all attempts of the Florentines,
whose camp was in the immediate vicinity. The Florentines found it
would be essentially necessary to gain possession of Pietra Santa, for
without it the acquisition of Serezana lost much of its value, being
situated between the latter place and Pisa; but they could not,
consistently with the treaty, besiege it, unless the people of Pietra
Santa, or its garrison, were to impede their acquisition of Serezana.
To induce the enemy to do this, the Florentines sent from Pisa to the
camp a quantity of provisions and military stores, accompanied by a
very weak escort; that the people of Pietra Santa might have little
cause for fear, and by the richness of the booty be tempted to the
attack. The plan succeeded according to their expectation; for the
inhabitants of Pietra Santa, attracted by the rich prize took
possession of it.

This gave legitimate occasion to the Florentines to undertake
operations against them; so leaving Serezana they encamped before
Pietra Santa, which was very populous, and made a gallant defense. The
Florentines planted their artillery in the plain, and formed a rampart
upon the hill, that they might also attack the place on that side.
Jacopo Guicciardini was commissary of the army; and while the siege of
Pietra Santa was going on, the Genoese took and burned the fortress of
Vada, and, landing their forces, plundered the surrounding country.
Biongianni Gianfigliazzi was sent against them, with a body of horse
and foot, and checked their audacity, so that they pursued their
depredations less boldly. The fleet continuing its efforts went to
Livorno, and by pontoons and other means approached the new tower,
playing their artillery upon it for several days, but being unable to
make any impression they withdrew.

In the meantime the Florentines proceeded slowly against Pietra Santa,
and the enemy taking courage attacked and took their works upon the
hill. This was effected with so much glory, and struck such a panic
into the Florentines, that they were almost ready to raise the siege,
and actually retreated a distance of four miles; for their generals
thought that they would retire to winter quarters, it being now
October, and make no further attempt till the return of spring.

When the discomfiture was known at Florence, the government was filled
with indignation; and, to impart fresh vigor to the enterprise, and
restore the reputation of their forces, they immediately appointed
Antonio Pucci and Bernardo del Neri commissaries, who, with vast sums
of money, proceeded to the army, and intimated the heavy displeasure
of the Signory, and of the whole city, if they did not return to the
walls; and what a disgrace, if so large an army and so many generals,
having only a small garrison to contend with, could not conquer so
poor and weak a place. They explained the immediate and future
advantages that would result from the acquisition, and spoke so
forcibly upon the subject, that all became anxious to renew the
attack. They resolved, in the first place, to recover the rampart upon
the hill; and here it was evident how greatly humanity, affability,
and condescension influence the minds of soldiers; for Antonio Pucci,
by encouraging one and promising another, shaking hands with this man
and embracing that, induced them to proceed to the charge with such
impetuosity, that they gained possession of the rampart in an instant.
However, the victory was not unattended by misfortune, for Count
Antonio da Marciano was killed by a cannon shot. This success filled
the townspeople with so much terror, that they began to make proposals
for capitulation; and to invest the surrender with imposing solemnity,
Lorenzo de' Medici came to the camp, when, after a few days, the
fortress was given up. It being now winter, the leaders of the
expedition thought it unadvisable to make any further effort until the
return of spring, more particularly because the autumnal air had been
so unhealthy that numbers were affected by it. Antonio Pucci and
Biongianni Gianfigliazzi were taken ill and died, to the great regret
of all, so greatly had Antonio's conduct at Pietra Santa endeared him
to the army.

Upon the taking of Pietra Santa, the Lucchese sent ambassadors to
Florence, to demand its surrender to their republic, on account of its
having previously belonged to them, and because, as they alleged, it
was in the conditions that places taken by either party were to be
restored to their original possessors. The Florentines did not deny
the articles, but replied that they did not know whether, by the
treaty between themselves and the Genoese, which was then under
discussion, it would have to be given up or not, and therefore could
not reply to that point at present; but in case of its restitution, it
would first be necessary for the Lucchese to reimburse them for the
expenses they had incurred and the injury they had suffered, in the
death of so many citizens; and that when this was satisfactorily
arranged, they might entertain hopes of obtaining the place.

The whole winter was consumed in negotiations between the Florentines
and Genoese, which, by the pope's intervention, were carried on at
Rome; but not being concluded upon the return of spring, the
Florentines would have attacked Serezana had they not been prevented
by the illness of Lorenzo de' Medici, and the war between the pope and
King Ferrando; for Lorenzo was afflicted not only by the gout, which
seemed hereditary in his family, but also by violent pains in the
stomach, and was compelled to go the baths for relief.

The more important reason was furnished by the war, of which this was
the origin. The city of L'Aquila, though subject to the kingdom of
Naples, was in a manner free; and the Count di Montorio possessed
great influence over it. The duke of Calabria was upon the banks of
the Tronto with his men-at-arms, under pretense of appeasing some
disturbances among the peasantry; but really with a design of reducing
L'Aquila entirely under the king's authority, and sent for the Count
di Montorio, as if to consult him upon the business he pretended then
to have in hand. The count obeyed without the least suspicion, and on
his arrival was made prisoner by the duke and sent to Naples. When
this circumstance became known at L'Aquila, the anger of the
inhabitants arose to the highest pitch; taking arms they killed
Antonio Cencinello, commissary for the king, and with him some
inhabitants known partisans of his majesty. The L'Aquilani, in order
to have a defender in their rebellion, raised the banner of the
church, and sent envoys to the pope, to submit their city and
themselves to him, beseeching that he would defend them as his own
subjects against the tyranny of the king. The pontiff gladly undertook
their defense, for he had both public and private reasons for hating
that monarch; and Signor Roberto of San Severino, an enemy of the duke
of Milan, being disengaged, was appointed to take the command of his
forces, and sent for with all speed to Rome. He entreated the friends
and relatives of the Count di Montorio to withdraw their allegiance
from the king, and induced the princes of Altimura, Salerno, and
Bisignano to take arms against him. The king, finding himself so
suddenly involved in war, had recourse to the Florentines and the duke
of Milan for assistance. The Florentines hesitated with regard to
their own conduct, for they felt all the inconvenience of neglecting
their own affairs to attend to those of others, and hostilities
against the church seemed likely to involve much risk. However, being
under the obligation of a League, they preferred their honor to
convenience or security, engaged the Orsini, and sent all their own
forces under the Count di Pitigliano toward Rome, to the assistance of
the king. The latter divided his forces into two parts; one, under the
duke of Calabria, he sent toward Rome, which, being joined by the
Florentines, opposed the army of the church; with the other, under his
own command, he attacked the barons, and the war was prosecuted with
various success on both sides. At length, the king, being universally
victorious, peace was concluded by the intervention of the ambassadors
of the king of Spain, in August, 1486, to which the pope consented;
for having found fortune opposed to him he was not disposed to tempt
it further. In this treaty all the powers of Italy were united, except
the Genoese, who were omitted as rebels against the republic of Milan,
and unjust occupiers of territories belonging to the Florentines. Upon
the peace being ratified, Roberto da San Severino, having been during
the war a treacherous ally of the church, and by no means formidable
to her enemies, left Rome; being followed by the forces of the duke
and the Florentines, after passing Cesena, found them near him, and
urging his flight reached Ravenna with less than a hundred horse. Of
his forces, part were received into the duke's service, and part were
plundered by the peasantry. The king, being reconciled with his
barons, put to death Jacopo Coppola and Antonello d'Aversa and their
sons, for having, during the war, betrayed his secrets to the pope.


The pope becomes attached to the Florentines--The Genoese seize
Serezanello--They are routed by the Florentines--Serezana
surrenders--Genoa submits to the duke of Milan--War between the
Venetians and the Dutch--Osimo revolts from the church--Count
Girolamo Riario, lord of Furli, slain by a conspiracy--Galeotto,
lord of Faenza, is murdered by the treachery of his wife--The
government of the city offered to the Florentines--Disturbances in
Sienna--Death of Lorenzo de' Medici--His eulogy--Establishment of
his family--Estates bought by Lorenzo--His anxiety for the defense
of Florence--His taste for arts and literature--The university of
Pisa--The estimation of Lorenzo by other princes.

The pope having observed in the course of the war, how promptly and
earnestly the Florentines adhered to their alliances, although he had
previously been opposed to them from his attachment to the Genoese,
and the assistance they had rendered to the king, now evinced a more
amicable disposition, and received their ambassadors with greater
favor than previously. Lorenzo de' Medici, being made acquainted with
this change of feeling, encouraged it with the utmost solicitude; for
he thought it would be of great advantage, if to the friendship of the
king he could add that of the pontiff. The pope had a son named
Francesco, upon whom designing to bestow states and attach friends who
might be useful to him after his own death, saw no safer connection in
Italy than Lorenzo's, and therefore induced the latter to give him one
of his daughters in marriage. Having formed this alliance, the pope
desired the Genoese to concede Serezana to the Florentines, insisting
that they had no right to detain what Agostino had sold, nor was
Agostino justified in making over to the Bank of San Giorgio what was
not his own. However, his holiness did not succeed with them; for the
Genoese, during these transactions at Rome, armed several vessels,
and, unknown to the Florentines, landed three thousand foot, attacked
Serezanello, situated above Serezana, plundered and burnt the town
near it, and then, directing their artillery against the fortress,
fired upon it with their utmost energy. This assault was new and
unexpected by the Florentines, who immediately assembled their forces
under Virginio Orsino, at Pisa, and complained to the pope, that while
he was endeavoring to establish peace, the Genoese had renewed their
attack upon them. They then sent Piero Corsini to Lucca, that by his
presence he might keep the city faithful; and Pagolantonio Soderini to
Venice, to learn how that republic was disposed. They demanded
assistance of the king and of Signor Lodovico, but obtained it from
neither; for the king expressed apprehensions of the Turkish fleet,
and Lodovico made excuses, but sent no aid. Thus the Florentines in
their own wars are almost always obliged to stand alone, and find no
friends to assist them with the same readiness they practice toward
others. Nor did they, on this desertion of their allies (it being
nothing new to them) give way to despondency; for having assembled a
large army under Jacopo Guicciardini and Pietro Vettori, they sent it
against the enemy, who had encamped upon the river Magra, at the same
time pressing Serezanello with mines and every species of attack. The
commissaries being resolved to relieve the place, an engagement
ensued, when the Genoese were routed, and Lodovico dal Fiesco, with
several other principal men, made prisoners. The Serezanesi were not
so depressed at their defeat as to be willing to surrender, but
obstinately prepared for their defense, while the Florentine
commissaries proceeded with their operations, and instances of valor
occurred on both sides. The siege being protracted by a variety of
fortune, Lorenzo de' Medici resolved to go to the camp, and on his
arrival the troops acquired fresh courage, while that of the enemy
seemed to fail; for perceiving the obstinacy of the Florentines'
attack, and the delay of the Genoese in coming to their relief, they
surrendered to Lorenzo, without asking conditions, and none were
treated with severity except two or three who were leaders of the
rebellion. During the siege, Lodovico had sent troops to Pontremoli,
as if with an intention of assisting the Florentines; but having
secret correspondence in Genoa, a party was raised there, who, by the
aid of these forces, gave the city to the duke of Milan.

At this time the Dutch made war upon the Venetians, and Boccolino of
Osimo, in the Marca, caused that place to revolt from the pope, and
assumed the sovereignty. After a variety of fortune, he was induced to
restore the city to the pontiff and come to Florence, where, under the
protection of Lorenzo de' Medici, by whose advice he had been
prevailed upon to submit, he lived long and respected. He afterward
went to Milan, but did not experience such generous treatment; for
Lodovico caused him to be put to death. The Venetians were routed by
the Dutch, near the city of Trento, and Roberto da S. Severino, their
captain, was slain. After this defeat, the Venetians, with their usual
good fortune, made peace with the Dutch, not as vanquished, but as
conquerors, so honorable were the terms they obtained.

About this time, there arose serious troubles in Romagna. Francesco
d'Orso, of Furli, was a man of great authority in that city, and
became suspected by the count Girolamo, who often threatened him. He
consequently, living under great apprehensions, was advised by his
friends to provide for his own safety, by the immediate adoption of
such a course as would relieve him from all further fear of the count.
Having considered the matter and resolved to attempt it, they fixed
upon the market day, at Furli, as most suitable for their purpose; for
many of their friends being sure to come from the country, they might
make use of their services without having to bring them expressly for
the occasion. It was the month of May, when most Italians take supper
by daylight. The conspirators thought the most convenient hour would
be after the count had finished his repast; for his household being
then at their meal, he would remain in the chamber almost alone.
Having fixed upon the hour, Francesco went to the count's residence,
left his companions in the hall, proceeded to his apartment, and
desired an attendant to say he wished for an interview. He was
admitted, and after a few words of pretended communication, slew him,
and calling to his associates, killed the attendant. The governor of
the place coming by accident to speak with the count, and entering the
apartment with a few of his people, was also slain. After this
slaughter, and in the midst of a great tumult, the count's body was
thrown from the window, and with the cry of "church and liberty," they
roused the people (who hated the avarice and cruelty of the count) to
arms, and having plundered his house, made the Countess Caterina and
her children prisoners. The fortress alone had to be taken to bring
the enterprise to a successful issue; but the Castellan would not
consent to its surrender. They begged the countess would desire him to
comply with their wish, which she promised to do, if they would allow
her to go into the fortress, leaving her children as security for the
performance of her promise. The conspirators trusted her, and
permitted her to enter; but as soon as she was within, she threatened
them with death and every kind of torture in revenge for the murder of
her husband; and upon their menacing her with the death of her
children, she said she had the means of getting more. Finding they
were not supported by the pope, and that Lodovico Sforza, uncle to the
countess, had sent forces to her assistance, the conspirators became
terrified, and taking with them whatever property they could carry
off, they fled to Citta di Castello. The countess recovered the state,
and avenged the death of her husband with the utmost cruelty. The
Florentines hearing of the count's death, took occasion to recover the
fortress of Piancaldoli, of which he had formerly deprived them, and,
on sending some forces, captured it; but Cecco, the famous engineer,
lost his life during the siege.

To this disturbance in Romagna, another in that province, no less
important, has to be added. Galeotto, lord of Faenza, had married the
daughter of Giovanni Bentivogli, prince of Bologna. She, either
through jealousy or ill treatment by her husband, or from the
depravity of her own nature, hated him to such a degree, that she
determined to deprive him of his possessions and his life; and
pretending sickness, she took to her bed, where, having induced
Galeotto to visit her, he was slain by assassins, whom she had
concealed for that purpose in the apartment. She had acquainted her
father with her design, and he hoped, on his son-in-law's death, to
become lord of Faenza. A great tumult arose as soon as the murder was
known, the widow, with an infant son, fled into the fortress, the
people took up arms, Giovanni Bentivogli, with a condottiere of the
duke of Milan, named Bergamino, engaged for the occasion, entered
Faenza with a considerable force, and Antonio Boscoli, the Florentine
commissary, was also there. These leaders being together, and
discoursing of the government of the place, the men of Val di Lamona,
who had risen unanimously upon learning what had occurred, attacked
Giovanni and Bergamino, the latter of whom they slew, made the former
prisoner, and raising the cry of "Astorre and the Florentines,"
offered the city to the commissary. These events being known at
Florence, gave general offense; however, they set Giovanni and his
daughter at liberty, and by the universal desire of the people, took
the city and Astorre under their protection. Besides these, after the
principal differences of the greater powers were composed, during
several years tumults prevailed in Romagna, the Marca, and Sienna,
which, as they are unimportant, it will be needless to recount. When
the duke of Calabria, after the war of 1478, had left the country, the
distractions of Sienna became more frequent, and after many changes,
in which, first the plebeians, and then the nobility, were victorious,
the latter and length maintained the superiority, and among them
Pandolfo and Jacopo Petrucci obtained the greatest influence, so that
the former being distinguished for prudence and the latter for
resolution, they became almost princes in the city.

The Florentines after the war of Serezana, lived in great prosperity
until 1492, when Lorenzo de' Medici died; for he having put a stop to
the internal wars of Italy, and by his wisdom and authority
established peace, turned his thoughts to the advancement of his own
and the city's interests, and married Piero, his eldest son, to
Alfonsina, daughter of the Cavaliere Orsino. He caused Giovanni, his
second son, to be raised to the dignity of cardinal. This was the more
remarkable from its being unprecedented; for he was only fourteen
years of age when admitted to the college; and became the medium by
which his family attained to the highest earthly glory. He was unable
to make any particular provision for Guiliano, his third son, on
account of his tender years, and the shortness of his own life. Of his
daughters, one married Jacopo Salviati; another, Francesco Cibo; the
third, Piero Ridolfi; and the fourth, whom, in order to keep his house
united, he had married to Giovanni de' Medici, died. In his commercial
affairs he was very unfortunate, from the improper conduct of his
agents, who in all their proceedings assumed the deportment of princes
rather than of private persons; so that in many places, much of his
property was wasted, and he had to be relieved by his country with
large sums of money. To avoid similar inconvenience, he withdrew from
mercantile pursuits, and invested his property in land and houses, as
being less liable to vicissitude. In the districts of Prato, Pisa, and
the Val di Pesa, he purchased extensively, and erected buildings,
which for magnificence and utility, were quite of regal character. He
next undertook the improvement of the city, and as many parts were
unoccupied by buildings, he caused new streets to be erected in them,
of great beauty, and thus enlarged the accommodation of the
inhabitants. To enjoy his power in security and repose, and conquer or
resist his enemies at a distance, in the direction of Bologna he
fortified the castle of Firenzuola, situated in the midst of the
Appennines; toward Sienna he commenced the restoration and
fortification of the Poggio Imperiale; and he shut out the enemy in
the direction of Genoa, by the acquisition of Pietra Santa and
Serezana. For the greater safety of the city, he kept in pay the
Baglioni, at Perugia, and the Vitelli, at Citta di Castello, and held
the government of Faenza wholly in his own power; all which greatly
contributed to the repose and prosperity of Florence. In peaceful
times, he frequently entertained the people with feasts, and
exhibitions of various events and triumphs of antiquity; his object
being to keep the city abundantly supplied, the people united, and the
nobility honored. He was a great admirer of excellence in the arts,
and a patron of literary men, of which Agnolo da Montepulciano,
Cristofero Landini, and Demetrius Chalcondylas, a Greek, may afford
sufficient proofs. On this account, Count Giovanni della Mirandola, a
man of almost supernatural genius, after visiting every court of
Europe, induced by the munificence of Lorenzo, established his abode
at Florence. He took great delight in architecture, music, and poetry,
many of his comments and poetical compositions still remaining. To
facilitate the study of literature to the youth of Florence, he opened
a university at Pisa, which was conducted by the most distinguished
men in Italy. For Mariano da Chinazano, a friar of the order of St.
Augustine, and an excellent preacher, he built a monastery in the
neighborhood of Florence. He enjoyed much favor both from fortune and
from the Almighty; all his enterprises were brought to a prosperous
termination, while his enemies were unfortunate; for, besides the
conspiracy of the Pazzi, an attempt was made to murder him in the
Carmine, by Batista Frescobaldi, and a similar one by Baldinetto da
Pistoja, at his villa; but these persons, with their confederates,
came to the end their crimes deserved. His skill, prudence, and
fortune, were acknowledged with admiration, not only by the princes of
Italy, but by those of distant countries; for Matthias, king of
Hungary, gave him many proofs of his regard; the sultan sent
ambassadors to him with valuable presents, and the Turkish emperor
placed in his hands Bernardo Bandini, the murderer of his brother.
These circumstances raised his fame throughout Italy, and his
reputation for prudence constantly increased; for in council he was
eloquent and acute, wise in determination, and prompt and resolute in
execution. Nor can vices be alleged against him to sully so many
virtues; though he was fond of women, pleased with the company of
facetious and satirical men, and amused with the games of the nursery,
more than seemed consistent with so great a character; for he was
frequently seen playing with his children, and partaking of their
infantine sports; so that whoever considers this gravity and
cheerfulness, will find united in him dispositions which seem almost
incompatible with each other. In his later years, he was greatly
afflicted; besides the gout, he was troubled with excruciating pains
in the stomach, of which he died in April, 1492, in the forty-fourth
year of his age; nor was there ever in Florence, or even in Italy, one
so celebrated for wisdom, or for whose loss such universal regret was
felt. As from his death the greatest devastation would shortly ensue,
the heavens gave many evident tokens of its approach; among other
signs, the highest pinnacle of the church of Santa Reparata was struck
with lightning, and great part of it thrown down, to the terror and
amazement of everyone. The citizens and all the princes of Italy
mourned for him, and sent their ambassadors to Florence, to condole
with the city on the occasion; and the justness of their grief was
shortly after apparent; for being deprived of his counsel, his
survivors were unable either to satisfy or restrain the ambition of
Lodovico Sforza, tutor to the duke of Milan; and hence, soon after the
death of Lorenzo, those evil plants began to germinate, which in a
little time ruined Italy, and continue to keep her in desolation.

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