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(HISTORY OF EUROPE. 1494-1514)



More than eighty-four years have passed since Leopold von Ranke published, in October, 1824, his earliest work, “The Latin and Teutonic Nations”. He was then not quite twenty-nine; when he died, on May 23, 1886, he was in his ninety-first year, but was still at work on his unfinished “World History”. Between the first book and the last there is a close connection. It may, indeed, be said that his “Latin and Teutonic Nations”, his histories of the Popes, of the Spanish and Ottoman Empires, of the Reformation, of the Wars of Religion in France, of the Seventeenth Century in England, and other works, were all exploratory voyages for the discovery of the world, which was from early years his goal. “You know”, he wrote in 1826, “my old aim, the discovery of the sea of World History”; and again in 1828, “the discovery of the unknown World History would be my greatest fortune”. It is in this sense that Lord Acton has called him the most prompt and fortunate of European pathfinders. Thus, a quite peculiar interest is inherent in the first essay of the great historian’s ceaseless historical activity, an essay which decided, or rather indicated, the direction which his intellect was to take.

A revised translation of a juvenile work published not far from a century ago is a lot which has fallen to few modern historians. As such has been Ranke’s fortune, it may be instructive to form some estimate of the causes. These must be sought in the qualities of the writer, in the choice of his subject, and in some degree in the changing fashions of historical reading. The two former causes will receive consideration here; publication can alone test the latter.

Ranke did not possess the high literary distinction of a Gibbon or a Froude. In point of style he can scarcely compare with Gregorovius, whose Teutonism was modified by Italian influence, as was that of Heine by French. Nevertheless there is a certain graceful simplicity which few German historians can claim, and a conscientious striving after clearness, not only of thought but of expression. Ranke, from the first, was not content to write for the learned few; he exacted no special knowledge, but appealed to the intelligent reading public. The existence of such a public in England explains the early appreciation which his works found here. He himself was not satisfied with his initial measure of success in respect of style and lucidity. He wrote to his brother that his “Latin and Teutonic Nations” was a hard book, but not, he hoped, obscure. Yet when Raumer praised its matter but criticized its language and form, he confessed that the criticism was just, and elsewhere he writes of the obscurities and unevennesses of his own work. In the full sunshine of his fame the prayer of Ranke was still for light, for clearness, for in clearness lies the truth.

Naturally enough, this deliberate simplicity, this absence of grandiose periods, dissatisfied some of the contemporaries of his earlier works. It was a pompous age, and the ambling paces of Ranke’s narrative fell short of its ideal of a high-flying Pegasus. The very softness and sweetness of his style drew merriment from Heine, who compared it to well-cooked mutton with plenty of carrots. If Ranke’s style was as transparent as water, it was said, it was also as tasteless. This characteristic undoubtedly increases the difficulty of translation, for the picturesque simplicity, natural in the German, if faithfully rendered into English, gives at times the impression of affectation.

Apart from his lucidity, the artistic element in Ranke, which is chiefly to be noticed, is his power of rapid portraiture. He rarely attempts an elaborate picture, and he is not always successful when he does. But the quick and true line-drawing enables the reader to seize the essential features of his characters without any interruption of the narrative. This art is less noticeable in “The Latin and Teutonic Nations” than, for instance, in “The History of the Popes”, but an exception may be found in his portrait of the Emperor Maximilian, though this is, indeed, somewhat more detailed than is his wont. Ranke probably never aimed at being a colourist; his natural gift was that of an artist in black and white, or at most in tinted line. Nevertheless, when he takes up the palette, he shows a fine and delicate sense for atmosphere and texture, the result less of technical skill than of imaginative indwelling in his subject.

Literary merit alone could not have raised Ranke to his seat among the Immortals. The wings which bore him upward were an almost religious zeal for history, humanity, impartiality, and thought. His enemies called him a book-maker and a fraud, but in truth history was for Ranke a religion; it was the manifestation of God’s work upon mankind. In 1825 he told his brother, after his first success, that he meant to spend his whole life in the fear of God and in history, and his intention never faltered. Yet in this religion there was little that was abstract or doctrinal; it was eminently human. Personality was what Ranke loved to study; the personality of individuals, and then the personality of nations. Only through these could he attain to the personality of mankind at large. Abstract history had little charm for him; he would have nothing to do with types. “One must enjoy an individual”, he wrote, “in all his aspects, just as one enjoys flowers without thought of the species to which they are to be referred”. His very art of portraiture was probably unconscious, and is scarcely to be ascribed to style; it was the necessary outcome of his insight. History was for him a Muse who lived and breathed and moved; thus it is that his books are instinct with her life.

Impartiality must have been all the more difficult for an historian who felt so keenly as did Ranke. Yet when he describes such momentous conflicts as the French Wars of Religion or the English Great Rebellion, he is not a partisan. Even in his “History of the Reformation”, where the cause of his own religion and nation is involved, he is scrupulously just. In quite modern times impartiality is regarded as being almost a matter of course in a true historian, but to a Prussian writer in the nineteenth century it was well-nigh an impossibility, especially if he were in State pay. Ranke, though born a Saxon, became a loyal subject of the Hohenzollern; he enjoyed the intimate confidence of his Emperor and of Bismarck, yet he cannot be fairly classed with the professional champions of Prussian policy; he preserved to the end the splendid isolation of his intellect. “He decided”, wrote Lord Acton, “to repress the poet, the patriot, the religious or political partisan, to sustain no cause, to banish himself from his books, to write nothing that could gratify his own feelings, or disclose his own private convictions”.

The range of knowledge and interest enjoyed by Ranke is now becoming rare. Modern research has the defects of its qualities; it is almost necessarily microscopic, and every new mass of materials that is unearthed must make it more so. The sphere of the more thorough modern historian is always narrowing, whereas that of Ranke was ever widening. He was by nature what he was still striving to be to the day of his death, a universal historian. He early had the impudence to criticize the antiquarianism of Niebuhr; he good-humouredly laughed at those who took the more trouble in proportion to the insignificance of their subject. As a teacher he may be said to have belonged to the Pre-Seminarist school. He had much belief in the educational power of lectures covering a long period of history, and though he had a weak and indistinct utterance he never yielded to the temptation of preferring the laboratory to the chair. Pupils were made to work out their subject for themselves. His method seems greatly to have resembled that of the Oxford or Cambridge tutor; pupils brought their youthful essays on somewhat general topics, and the Professor criticized as they read, or discussed the subject afterwards to the accompaniment of sausages and beer. Research for its own sake was actually discouraged; it must be the means, and not the end. Buildings, he would say, must always have sure foundations, but the highest aim of the student should not be the construction of cellar vaults. In Ranke's own practice archivial research was the last rather than the first stage. He thoroughly mastered his subject, and learned what to look for, he then resorted to archives for confirmation or illustration. Thus he appeared to know his way about collections before he had ever seen them. This was the despair of custodians who had to ply him with bundle on bundle of documents, and complained that he read with his hand, just as a recent Oxford professor was accused of judging books and examination papers by smell rather than by sight.

It was natural that Ranke’s work should from time to time be depreciated by the growing school of archivist and researcher, or by those who worked on older methods. Leo Gervinus, Bergenroth, and Gindely all made him the butt of fierce attacks. Researchers complained that he neglected the most weighty stores of knowledge for the more showy, that he merely skimmed the documents which he professed to study and peppered his pages with quotations, to give a show of erudition. One professor refused to place his books on the shelves of the University library; another pronounced that nothing was to be learnt from his “Reformation”. Doubtless in some of the strictures there was an element of truth. Ranke’s researches were indeed considerable, but they were necessarily not so close and minute as those of workers who confined their studies to the history of a score of years. It is well to remember that so sound a researcher as Arneth declared before a Congress of historians that Ranke alone among writers of prose had furnished a masterpiece to every nation:  to Germany, that is, and France, to England, Italy, and Spain, to the Ottoman Empire, even to Servia. Sufficient allowance was not made for his previous preparation, nor yet for the power of speed, which is a distinguishing mark of genius in archivial research as in all else. At any rate, Ranke had the good fortune to outlive most of his critics and their criticism. That he formed such pupils as Giesebrecht, Waitz, Sybel, Lorenz, and our own Lord Acton, is a proof of the educational value of his methods.

Lord Acton dwells upon this side of Ranke’s work. He regards a prize essay on Henry I, set in 1834, and in which Waitz beat Giesebrecht, as the foundation of what has been for so long incomparably the first school of history in the world, not for ideas or eloquence, but for solid and methodical work. “Ranke has not only written”, he elsewhere says, “a larger number of mostly good books than any other man that ever lived, but has taken pains from the first to explain how the thing is done”. And again, “Ranke taught the modern historian to be critical, to be colourless, to be new. We meet him at every step. There are stronger books than any one of his, and some may have surpassed him in political, religious, philosophic insight, in vividness of the creative imagination, in originality, elevation, and depth of thought, but by the extent of important work well executed, by his influence on able men, and by the amount of knowledge which mankind received and employs with the stamp of his mind upon it, he stands unrivalled”. Any one who has had any experience of a school of history will realize how well-nigh impossible it is to be at once a prolific writer and a fruitful teacher. Yet this was Ranke’s feat.

The strength of Ranke consisted, perhaps, above all, in his power of thought. Whenever he wrote he thought. This is by no means a platitude. It is possible to write a very tolerable and useful history without any thought at all. History is frequently a mere matter of repetition, not of verbal iteration, but of idea and arrangement. Want of thought is, in fact, the danger to which the narrative, and especially the universal historian, is exposed. Ranke escaped this owing to his insight, his vitality, his power of co-ordination, his strategic mastery of his facts. A very appreciative critic, Dr. A. Guilland, has said that Ranke was intelligent rather than original. It is difficult now to judge equitably of the originality of an historian who wrote more than three-quarters of a century ago, because many of the thoughts and methods which were then original have become commonplace. The general lines of any given period have from much reading and much writing become fairly fixed, and the historian cannot stray far from them without becoming bizarre or paradoxical. But originality can always find its vent in the treatment of detail and illustration, and of this art Ranke gave convincing proof from his very earliest book.

This earliest book has a special interest for several reasons. It was accompanied by a subsidiary volume, which has not been translated, containing an elaborate critique of the authorities upon whom Ranke had mainly to rely. Their importance was at once recognized, and, what was better still, they provoked discussion as to the originality of his method. “A new art of employing authorities”, wrote Lord Acton, “came in with Ranke in 1824”. The result was the author’s promotion from a school at Frankfurt on the Oder to the post of Extraordinary Professor in the University of Berlin. This was the making of Ranke’s career; he could now both learn and teach in one of the world’s chief intellectual capitals. The provincial schoolmaster was to become, in Dollinger’s words, a Praeceptor Gerviatdae. Looking backwards from the close of this long career the reader will find that “The Latin and Teutonic Nations” contains the protoplasm from which Ranke’s historical principles were gradually evolved, and in particular the blending of wide philosophical conceptions with illustrative detail. “What a wealth”, writes Lorenz, “of ideas fermenting and in part obscure, set forth in a form which, while it makes reading difficult, nevertheless enchains the fancy”. Ranke in after years had little parental affection for his firstborn, and wished first to exclude it from the edition of his collected works, and then to give it a new form. Lorenz himself saved it for posterity by insisting that he would spoil one of his most original and instructive contributions to history.

Ranke chose a magnificent subject, and this he himself admitted to the end. Until the close of the eighteenth century it would be hard to find two decades so rich in interest and importance as those whose history he tells. That this is now a commonplace is due mainly to the influence of this very book. It is true that the author owes something to accident, for his scheme comprised a larger period with 1535 as its concluding date. This would have led him into a fresh range of ideas, personalities, and aims. His final date, moreover, was singularly inconclusive; no halt could have been possible until the year 1559. Even as it is, the date with which he closes is not, as will be seen, a scientific finale. The Preface sets forth that the author’s intention is to confine himself in the main to the interaction of those nations of Latin and Teutonic origin, whose history is the kernel of all modern history. Internal or constitutional events he would only treat in so far as they were necessary to the understanding of external enterprises. For example, the growth of absolutism in Spain was a necessary condition of the success of the Spanish Crown in Italy; the strength or weakness of Maximilian at his several Diets is reflected in the flux or reflux of his international influence. The common movements of a certain group of European nations is, therefore, the subject of this volume.

To prove how old the idea of this unity of European nations is, the Introduction opens with the dream of a Visigothic kingdom fusing the Germanic tribes with the old Roman world. At its close Ranke calls the three general movements of these nations, that is, the migrations, the crusades, and the colonization, the three deep breaths. It would almost seem as if he regarded the move of the Western powers upon Italy at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as a fourth deep breath. In a measure this does partake of the character of the other three. The southernly or easternly march of Germans, French, Spaniards, and particularly Swiss, was almost a migration. Then, again, to more than one mind Italy was the stepping-stone for a crusade against the infidel; the threatened French advance from Naples upon Constantinople was to be the rival or the complement of the conquest of Granada. Charles VIII was too weak of purpose to abandon the pleasures of Naples for the sterner task of a crusade, but there is no reason to rate his high-flown expressions as mere bombast. And, finally, the colonizing enterprises of the European nations, especially those of the Portuguese, directly affected the fortunes of the Italian wars. Had the source of her commerce with the East not been tapped by Portugal, Venice might have made a better fight with Europe. The fourth great breath, in fact, began to be drawn in before the third was quite exhausted.

The offensive movement against Italy was begun by France, but Charles VIII's invasion in 1494 was rather the occasion than the cause for the enterprise of the other nations. These were prompted by no mere jealousy of France, or by a desire to preserve the balance of power. Maximilian had already begun his intrigues with Milan; it was always certain that as soon as an Emperor was strong enough, he would revive his imperial pretensions. It was unlikely that the legitimate line of Aragon, which now wielded the forces of Castile, and which already possessed the ports of Sicily, would long acquiesce in its exclusion from Naples by the bastard branch. Julius II, as Cardinal, had long ago brought down the Swiss hordes, all too willing, upon the fat Lombard plains; it was no mere raid that they now intended, but substantial occupation.

Upon Charles VIII’s apparently futile expedition followed the partition wars, which form the bulk of the present volume. Louis XII doubted if he could realize the Orleanist claims on Milan without the co-operation of Venice, the most subtle antagonist of Charles VIII. Hence arose the Milanese partition war. The French king was then certain that the pretensions of his Crown to Naples were valueless unless he could offer a quid pro quo to Spain; the outcome was the Neapolitan partition war.

The thieves quarrelled, to the disadvantage of the less clever but more enterprising thief, and Naples passed in its integrity to Spain. Alexander VI, after stealing oddments in the general confusion, was at the moment of his death balancing the prospects of a partition of Central Italy by an alliance with either France or Spain. Finally, Julius II, most fatal of all Italians to Italian freedom, engineered the most criminal of all partition wars. In the League of Cambray, France, Spain, and Germany were all to have their share of Venetian territory. It was of small advantage to Italy that the Pope himself, Mantua, Ferrara, and Savoy were to have such share of the spoils as fall to camp-followers. Julius recognized too late his own mistake, and bragged of the expulsion of all foreigners. The only result was a fresh partition, the temporary exclusion of France, the most humane and least persistent of partitioning powers, the permanent settlement of Spain, the introduction of the migrating Swiss, while, if he had had his will, the Austrian occupation of the Venetian mainland would have been anticipated by three centuries. Italy had become the Thieves’ Kitchen of Europe, and Julius II had made himself responsible for the fixtures.

Such a theme as this gave full scope for Ranke’s interest in personality, his range of knowledge, and his constructive power. Italy throughout occupies the centre of his canvas, but in the distance, and, it may be added, in the corners there are bits of landscape and seascape, which might well form separate pictures, but which, nevertheless, have their fitting place in the general composition. Beyond the Alps the fortunes of the Italian wars, and of Maximilian’s shifting relations with France, are seen to affect not only the raids of the Duke of Guelders on the northernmost Netherlands, but the most technical details of constitutional reform in Germany. In a few lines something is learnt of the domestic peculiarities of Württemberg, a second-rate German state, which is in the process of conversion from a county into a duchy. At first sight this appears to be an otiose, if not inartistic, detail, but all of a sudden it is made to account for Maximilian’s triumphant appearance before the Diet of Freiburg, and that leads to his enhanced reputation with the European powers. The quarrels of Swiss and Grisons with Swabians and Tyrolese contributed largely to Louis XII’s occupation of Milan, their pacification led to Ludovico Moro’s return, while an internal Swiss squabble determined the fate of Lombardy.

Ranke touches but lightly and allusively on American exploration; but he levies heavy contributions on the shores of North Africa, on the Red Sea, and on the Indian Ocean, from Mombasa to Malacca. Here it is that he proves, in his most effective manner, the unity of the history of the Western nations. The Portuguese, after fighting the Moors on the shores of the Atlantic, found the same enemies at Mozambique, and strove with them for the spice trade of Calicut. The battles of Spaniards or Portuguese at Bugia, Tripoli, Diu have active connection with the clash of Latin and Teutonic nations in Italy. Until the French occupation of the hinterland of Algiers, there was, perhaps, only one statesman who comprehended the essential factors of the North African problem, and that was Ximenes.

Ranke perpetually brings the Western and Eastern incidents of his period into mutual relation. The Venetians, after Almeida’s victories in 1507, sent metal and gun-founders and shipwrights to the Soldan, whose fleet was manned in part by Venetian and Dalmatian sailors. “His victory and his loss was their victory and their loss. Their maritime life and command of the seas were alike dependent upon the issue that was to be fought out in India in the year 1508”. Again, while February 3, 1509, crushed the trade of Venice, the battle of May 14 destroyed her mainland power; Italy, in the phrase of Ascanio Sforza, ceased to be the inner court of the world. Not only, indeed, were the profits of the Eastern trade withdrawn from Venice, but went to swell the resources of her enemies. The profit of one hundred and seventy-five per cent., which the house of Fugger derived from the despatch of three ships to Calicut, enabled them to finance Maximilian in his attack on Padua. And as with Portuguese so it is with Spaniards. In 1511 Ximenes had apparently persuaded Ferdinand to undertake in person the conquest of North Africa. Ferdinand, on his way to Malaga, was stopped by news from Romagna, and thus it was that the Spanish force, intended for the permanent occupation of North Africa, from Algiers to Tripoli, was shipped to Italy to be beaten at Ravenna.

It seems ungrateful to complain that one who has given so much should have denied a little more; and yet it must be confessed that the close of this volume leaves the subject incomplete. Ranke was, in this case, too much influenced by the chronology of reigns. He made the death of Louis XII his dividing line. This was natural, as the personality of his successor was so striking that it immediately calls up a fresh slide in the magic-lantern. Then, again, Francis I at once suggests the name of his rival, Charles V. Nevertheless, the scientific frontier line is not 1514, but 1516, for it was then that the Italian partition wars closed. Not until 1521 did the conflict between Charles V and Francis I for the domination of Italy begin; their relations were particularly friendly until at least the close of 1516.

Ranke himself admits, in the Conclusion added in his second edition, that his work breaks off at the very moment of the crisis. The death of Louis XII left the situation in Italy indeterminate. It was as impossible that France should submit to defeat by the Swiss Cantons as it was that England should recognize Majuba or Magersfontein as a final verdict. It was not chivalry, nor mere love of fight, but political necessity that drove the French king and nation into the campaign of Marignano. The victory of Marignano connects itself with the defeat of Novara rather than with that of Pavia. In 1514 Spanish troops were still prowling about Italy, seeking whom they should devour. While Spaniards occupied Brescia, Imperialists still held Verona, and these were the two chief cities of the Venetian mainland. The Swiss nominally in the service of the new Duke of Milan, Maximilian Sforza, were in reality absorbing Lombardy. The Holy League still stood in arms against France and Venice. Thus if Ranke must needs choose the end of a reign as his conclusion, it should have been that of Ferdinand, for the Spanish king had become of more weight in European politics than the French. Ferdinand’s death occasioned the formation of the huge aggregate of Habsburg power which was to be the dominating factor in the succeeding period. It was closely followed by four treaties, three of which have been of abiding validity. The treaty of Noyon, the most important for the moment, regulated the relations between France, Spain, and the Netherlands on the most amicable terms. The Eternal Peace of Freiburg bound the Swiss to French service down to the Revolution; it determined the curious, curly frontier which still twists in and out on the shores of Lakes Maggiore and Lugano. Their defeat at Marignano had decided that the Swiss should not be a substantial Italian power, a buffer state dividing the Habsburg and the Valois. Equally strange and equally permanent was the line drawn on the east between Venetian and Austrian territory by the treaty of December, 1516.

This line gave to Maximilian the uppermost slice of the Lago di Garda, and the town of Roveredo on the Adige; instead of accepting the rapid Isonzo as the natural boundary, racial and geographical, between Slav and Italian, it created a highly artificial frontier which to the present day gives a breadth of the Friulian plain with its Italian population to Austria, and leaves to Italy, heiress of Venice, a Slavonia irredenta in the sub-Alpine hills. Finally, the victory of Marignano determined the Concordat of Bologna, which may be said to have guided the relations between Church and State in France until almost yesterday.

It would be dishonest to pretend, that even within its limits “The Latin and Teutonic Nations” is a perfect book. Ranke well knew that it was not. He was still struggling to attain his ideal of style: simple, smooth, and clear. The volume has been criticized on the ground that it was based solely on printed authorities; but Ranke replies, in the Preface to his second edition, that these authorities were very numerous and very good, that only on reaching the succeeding period he felt obliged to go behind the printing-press. It may be regretted that this second edition was not more thoroughly revised in the light of later learning. This appeared in October, 1874, to celebrate the jubilee of Ranke’s literary activity. He revised the pages on a holiday in the country, away from books; he confesses that the work is essentially the same. Yet some of the small mistakes might well have been corrected, and they are probably responsible for errors in later text-books. In 1824 Ranke had not as yet visited Italy, and his geography is occasionally at fault. He writes of Louis XII's operations on the Adda as taking place among heights and valleys, whereas the only excrescence on the plain was the dyke of a canalized streamlet. It is elaborately argued that the French attacked the Venetian vanguard, whereas authorities printed by 1874 prove conclusively that it was the rear. The battle of Ravenna is a hotch-potch of bright anecdotes, without a feeling for tactics. Treviso is, by implication, placed in the Friuli, while Gian Galeazzo Visconti's widow is wrongly represented as giving Verona to Venice to obtain her alliance against Carrara. Caesar Borgia has enough crimes for which to answer, but it was not men, but bulls that he shot from horseback, as they charged across the piazza of St. Peters. A more serious mistake, often repeated by others, occurs in the very second paragraph of the book. Here René of Provence is made to disinherit his grandson, René of Lorraine, and leave Anjou to his nephew, the Count of Maine, who in turn bequeathed it to the Crown. But Anjou was an apanage which could not descend in either the female or the collateral line, and it lapsed to the Crown upon old René’s death. But a Pharisee could doubtless have found motes in all the eyes of Argus. In spite of blemishes, "The Latin and Teutonic Nations" will remain an inspiring example of what can be done by a young writer who will both read and think. Most honest historians would be thankful if their last book were as good as Leopold von Ranke’s first.





From the first ten years of the fifteenth century to the beginning of the thirty years’ war, the constitution and political condition of Germany were determined by the periodical diets and the measures there resolved on. The time was long past in which the public affairs of the country were determined by one supreme will; but its political life had not yet (as at a later period) retreated within the several boundaries of the constituent members of the empire. The imperial assemblies exercised rights and powers which, though not accurately defined, were yet the comprehensive and absolute powers of sovereignty. They made war and peace; levied taxes; exercised a supreme supervision, and were even invested with executive power. Together with the deputies from the cities, and the representatives of the counts and lords, appeared the emperor and the sovereign princes in person. It is true they discussed the most important affairs of their respective countries in their several colleges, or in committees chosen from the whole body, and the questions were decided by the majority of voices. The unity of the nation was represented by these assemblies. Within the wide borders of the empire nothing of importance could occur which did not here come under deliberation; nothing new arise, which must not await its final decision and execution here. Spite of all these considerations, the history of the diets of the empire has not yet received the attention it deserves. The Recesses of the diets are sufficiently well known; but who would judge a deliberative assembly by the final results of its deliberations? Projects of a systematic collection of its transactions have occasionally been entertained, and the work has even been taken in hand; but all that has hitherto been done has remained in a fragmentary and incomplete state.

As it is the natural ambition of every man to leave behind him some useful record of his existence, I have long cherished the project of devoting my industry and my powers to this most important work. Not that I flattered myself that I was competent to supply so large a deficiency; to exhaust the mass of materials in its manifold juridical bearings; my idea was only to trace with accuracy the rise and development of the constitution of the empire, through a series (if possible unbroken) of the Acts of the Diets. Fortune was so propitious to my wishes that, in the autumn of 1836, I found in the Archives of the city of Frankfurt a collection of the very kind I wanted, and was allowed access to these precious documents with all the facility I could desire. The collection consists of ninety-six folio volumes, which contain the Acts of the Imperial Diets from 1414 to 1613. In the earlier part it is very imperfect, but step by step, in proportion as the constitution of the empire acquires form and development, the documents rise in interest. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, from which time the practice of reducing public proceedings to writing was introduced, it becomes so rich in new and important materials, that it lays the strongest hold on the attention. There are not only the Acts, but the reports of the deputies from the cities—the Rathsfreunde,—which generally charm by their frankness and simplicity, and often surprise by their sagacity. I profited by the opportunity to make myself master of the contents of the first sixty-four of these volumes, extending down to the year 1551. A collection of Imperial Rescripts occasionally afforded me valuable contributions. But I could not stop here. A single town was not in a condition to know all that passed. It is evident that the labours of the electoral and princely colleges were not to be sought for in the records of a city. In the beginning of the year 1837, I received permission to explore the Royal Archives of the kingdom of Prussia at Berlin, and, in the April of the same year, the State Archives of the kingdom of Saxony at Dresden, for the affairs of the empire during the times of Maximilian I and Charles V. They were of great value to me; the former as containing the records of an electorate; the latter, down to the end of that epoch, those of a sovereign principality. It is true that I came upon many documents which I had already seen at Frankfurt; but, at the same time, I found a great number of new ones, which gave me an insight into parts of the subject hitherto obscure. None of these collections is, indeed, complete, and many a question which suggests itself remains unanswered; yet they are in a high degree instructive. They throw a completely new light on the character and conduct of such influential princes as Joachim II of Brandenburg, and still more, Maurice of Saxony.

Let no one pity a man who devotes himself to studies apparently so dry, and neglects for them the delights of many a joyous day. It is true the companions of his solitary hours are but lifeless paper, but they are the remnants of the life of past ages, which gradually assume form and substance to the eye occupied in the study of them. For me (in a preface an author is bound to speak of himself—a subject he elsewhere gladly avoids) they had a peculiar interest. When I wrote the first part of my History of the Popes, I designedly treated the origin and progress of the Reformation with as much brevity as the subject permitted. I cherished the hope of dedicating more extensive and profound research to this most important event of the history of my country. This hope was now abundantly satisfied. Of the new matter which I found, the greater part related, directly or indirectly, to the epoch of the Reformation. At every step I acquired new information as to the circumstances which prepared the politico-religious movement of that time; the phases of our national life, by which it was accelerated; the origin and working of the resistance it encountered. It is impossible to approach a matter originating in such intense mental energy, and exercising so vast an influence on the destinies of the world, without being profoundly interested and absorbed by it. I was fully sensible that if I executed the work I proposed to myself, the Reformation would be the centre on which all other incidents and circumstances would turn.

But to accomplish this, more accurate information was necessary as to the progress of opinion in the evangelical party (especially in a political point of view), antecedent to the crisis of the Reformation, than any that could be gathered from printed sources. The Archives common to the whole Ernestine line of Saxony, deposited at Weimar, which I visited in August, 1837, afforded me what I desired. Nor can any spot be more full of information on the marked epochs at which this house played so important a part, than the vault in which its archives are preserved. The walls and the whole interior space are covered with the rolls of documents relating to the deeds and events of that period. Every note, every draft of an answer, is here preserved. The correspondence between the Elector John Frederic and the Landgrave Philip of Hessen would alone fill a long series of printed volumes. I endeavoured, above all, to make myself master of the two registers, which include the affairs of the empire and the Schmalkaldic League. As to the former, I found, as was to be expected from the nature of the subject, many valuable details; as to the latter, I hence first drew information which is, I hope, in some degree calculated to satisfy the curiosity of the public.

I feel bound here publicly to express my thanks to the authorities to whom the guardianship of these various archives is entrusted, for the liberal aid —often not unattended with personal trouble— which I received from them all.

At length, I conceived the project of undertaking a more extensive research into the Archives of Germany. I repaired to the Communal Archives of the house of Anhalt at Dessau, which at the epoch in question shared the opinions and followed the example of that of Saxony; but I soon saw that I should here be in danger of encumbering myself with too much matter of a purely local character. I remembered how many other documents relating to this period had been explored and employed by the industry of German inquirers. The work of Bucholz on Ferdinand I contains a most copious treasure of important matter from those of Austria, of which too little use is made in that state. The instructive writings of Stumpf and Winter are founded on those of Bavaria. The Archives of Wurtemberg were formerly explored by Sattler; those of Hessen, recently, by Rommel and Neudecker. For the more exclusively ecclesiastical view of the period, the public is in possession of a rich mass of authentic documents in the collections of Walch, and the recent editions of Luther’s Letters by De Wette; and still more in those of Melanchthon by Bretschneider. The letters of the deputies from Strasbourg and Nuremberg, which have been published, throw light on the history of particular diets. It is hardly necessary for me to mention how much has lately been brought together by Forstemann respecting the Diet of Augsburg of 1530, so long the subject of earnest research and labour.

Recent publications, especially in Italy and England, lead us to hope for the possibility of a thorough and satisfactory explanation of the foreign relations of the empire. I see the time approach in which we shall no longer have to found modern history on the reports even of contemporaneous historians, except in so far as they were in possession of personal and immediate knowledge of facts; still less, on works yet more remote from the source; but on the narratives of eye-witnesses, and the genuine and original documents. For the epoch treated in the following work, this prospect is no distant one. I myself have made use of a number of records which I had found when in the pursuit of another subject, in the Archives of Vienna, Venice, Rome, and especially Florence. Had I gone into further detail, I should have run the risk of losing sight of the subject as a whole; or in the necessary lapse of time, of breaking the unity of the conception which had arisen before my mind in the course of my past researches.

And thus I proceeded boldly to the completion of this work; persuaded that when an inquirer has made researches of some extent in authentic records, with an earnest spirit and a genuine ardour for truth, though later discoveries may throw clearer and more certain light on details, they can only strengthen his fundamental conceptions of the subject:—for truth can be but one.




BOOK I . 1494-1501






    BOOK II . 1502-1514

INTRODUCTION Summary of the Position of the Latin and Teutonic Nations







For purposes of discussion or of instruction, it may be possible to sever ecclesiastical from political history; in actual life, they are indissolubly connected, or rather fused into one indivisible whole. As indeed there is nothing of real importance in the moral and intellectual business of human life, the source of which does not lie in a profound and more or less conscious relation of man and his concerns to God and divine things, it is impossible to conceive a nation worthy of the name, or entitled to be called, in any sense, great, whose political existence is not constantly elevated and guided by religious ideas. To cultivate, purify and exalt these, to give them an expression intelligible to all and profitable to all, to embody them in outward forms and public acts, is its necessary as well as its noblest task. It is not to be denied that this process inevitably brings into action two great principles which seem to place a nation at variance with itself. Nationality (i.e. the sum of the peculiar qualities, habits, and sentiments of a nation) is necessarily restricted within the bounds marked out by neighbouring nationalities; whereas religion, ever since it was revealed to the world in a form which claims and deserves universality, constantly strives after sole and absolute supremacy.

In the foundation or constitution of a State, some particular moral or intellectual principle predominates; a principle prescribed by an inherent necessity, expressed in determinate forms and giving birth to a peculiar condition of society, or character of civilisation. But no sooner has a Church, with its forms of wider application, embracing different nations, arisen, than it grasps at the project of absorbing the State, and of reducing the principle on which civil society is founded to complete subjection: the original underived authority of that principle is, indeed, rarely acknowledged by the Church. At length the universal religion appears, and, after it has incorporated itself with the consciousness of mankind, assumes the character of a great and growing tradition, handed down from people to people, and communicated in rigid dogmas. But nations cannot suffer themselves to be debarred from exercising the understanding bestowed on them by nature, or the knowledge acquired by study, on an investigation of its truth. In every age, therefore, we see diversities in the views of religion arise in different nations, and these again react in various ways on the character and condition of the State. It is evident, from the nature of this struggle, how mighty is the crisis which it involves for the destinies of the human race. Religious truth must have an outward and visible representation, in order that the State may be perpetually reminded of the origin and the end of our earthly existence; of the rights of our neighbours, and the kindred of all the nations of the earth; it would otherwise be in danger of degenerating into tyranny, or of hardening into inveterate prejudice, into intolerant conceit of self, and hatred of all that is foreign. On the other hand, a free development of the national character and culture is necessary to the interests of religion. Without this, its doctrines can never be truly understood nor profoundly accepted: without incessant alternations of doubt and conviction, of assent and dissent, of seeking and finding, no error could be removed, no deeper understanding of truth attained. Thus, then, independence of thought and political freedom are indispensable to the Church herself; she needs them to remind her of the varying intellectual wants of men, of the changing nature of her own forms; she needs them to preserve her from the lifeless iteration of misunderstood doctrines and rites, which kill the soul.

It has been said, the State is itself the Church, but the Church has thought herself authorised to usurp the place of the State. The truth is, that the spiritual or intellectual life of man, in its intensest depth and energy unquestionably one, yet manifests itself in these two institutions, which come into contact under the most varied forms; which are continually striving to pervade each other, yet never entirely coincide; to exclude each other, yet neither has ever been permanently victor or vanquished. In the nations of the West, at least, such a result has never been obtained. The Caliphate may unite ecclesiastical and political power in one hand; but the whole life and character of western Christendom consists of the incessant action and counteraction of Church and State; hence arises the freer, more comprehensive, more profound activity of mind, which must, on the whole, be admitted to characterise that portion of the globe. The aspect of the public life of Europe is always determined by the mutual relations of these two great principles. Hence it happens that ecclesiastical history is not to be understood without political, nor the latter without the former. The combination of both is necessary to present either in its true light; and if ever we are able to fathom the depths of that profounder life where both have their common source and origin, it must be by a complete knowledge of this combination. But if this is the case with all nations, it is most pre-eminently so with the German, which has bestowed more persevering and original thought on ecclesiastical and religious subjects than any other. The events of ten centuries turn upon the struggles between the Empire and the Papacy, between Catholicism and Protestantism. We, in our days, stand midway between them.

My design is to relate the history of an epoch in which the politico-religious energy of the German nation was most conspicuous for its growth and most prolific in its results. I do not conceal from myself the great difficulty of this undertaking; but, with God’s help, I will endeavour to accomplish it. I shall first attempt to trace my way through a retrospect of earlier times.


One of the most important epochs in the history of the world was the commencement of the eighth century; when, on the one side Mohammedanism threatened to overspread Italy and Gaul, and on the other, the ancient idolatry of Saxony and Friesland once more forced its way across the Rhine. In this peril of Christian institutions a youthful prince of Germanic race, Carl Martel, arose as their champion; maintained them with all the energy which the necessity for self-defence calls forth, and finally extended them into new regions. For, as the possessor of the sole power which still remained erect in the nations of Roman origin —the Pope of Rome— allied himself with this prince and his successors; as he received assistance from them, and bestowed in return the favour and protection of the spiritual authority, the compound of military and sacerdotal government which forms the basis of all European civilisation from that moment arose into being. From that time conquest and conversion went hand in hand. “As soon,” says the author of the life of St. Boniface, “as the authority of the glorious Prince Charles over the Frisians was confirmed, the trumpet of the sacred word was heard.” It would be difficult to say whether the Frankish domination contributed more to the conversion of the Hessians and Thuringians, or Christianity to the incorporation of those races with the Frankish Empire. The war of Charlemagne against the Saxons was a war not only of conquest but of religion. Charlemagne opened it with an attack on the Old Saxon sanctuary, the Irminsul; the Saxons retorted by the destruction of the church at Fritzlar. Charlemagne marched to battle bearing the relics of saints; missionaries accompanied the divisions of his army; his victories were celebrated by the establishment of bishoprics; baptism was the seal of subjection and allegiance; relapse into heathenism was also a crime against the state. The consummation of all these incidents is to be found in the investiture of the aged conqueror with the imperial crown. A German, in the natural course of events and in the exercise of regular legitimate power, occupied the place of the Caesars as chief of a great part of the Roman world; he also assumed a lofty station at the side of the Roman pontiff in spiritual affairs; a Frankish synod saluted him, as “Regent of the true religion.” The entire state of which he was the chief now assumed a colour and form wherein the spiritual and temporal elements were completely blended. The union between emperor and pope served as a model for that between count and bishop. The archdeaconries into which the bishoprics were divided, generally, if not universally, coincided with the Gauen, or political divisions of the country. As the counties were divided into hundreds, so were the archdeaconries into deaneries. The seat of them was different; but, in respect of the territory over which their jurisdiction extended, there was a striking correspondence. According to the view of the lord and ruler, not only was the secular power to lend its arm to the spiritual, but the spiritual to aid the temporal by its excommunications. The great empire reminds us of a vast neutral ground in the midst of a world filled with carnage and devastation; where an iron will imposes peace on forces generally in a state of mutual hostility and destruction, and fosters and shelters the germ of civilisation; so guarded was it on all sides by impregnable marches. But every age could not produce a man so formed to subdue and to command; and for the development of the world which Charlemagne founded, it remained to be seen what would be the mutual bearing of the different elements of which it was composed; whether they would blend with or repel each other, agree or conflict: for there can be no true and enduring vitality without the free motion of natural and innate powers and propensities. It was inevitable that the clergy would first feel its own strength. This body formed a corporation independent even of the emperor: originating and developed in the Roman nations, whose most remarkable product it had been in the preceding century, it now extended over those of Germanic race; in which, through the medium of a common language, it continually made new proselytes and gained strength and consistency. Even under Charlemagne the spiritual element was already bestirring itself with activity and vigour. One of the most remarkable of his capitularies is that wherein he expresses his astonishment that his spiritual and temporal officers so often thwart, instead of supporting each other, as it is their duty to do. He does not disguise that it was the clergy more especially who exceeded their powers: to them he addresses the question, fraught with reproach and displeasure, which has been so often repeated by succeeding ages, how far they are justified in interfering in purely secular affairs? He tells them they must explain what is meant by renouncing the world; whether that is consistent with large and costly retinues, with attempts to persuade the ignorant to make donations of their goods and to disinherit their children; whether it were not better to foster good morals than to build churches, and the like. But the clergy soon evinced a much stronger propensity to ambitious encroachment.

We need not here inquire whether the pseudo-Isidorian decretals were invented as early as the reign of Charlemagne, or somewhat later; in the Frankish church, or in Italy: at all events, they belong to that period, are connected with a most extensive project, and form a great epoch in our history. The project was to overthrow the existing constitution of the church, which, in every country, still essentially rested on the authority of the metropolitan; to place the whole church in immediate subjection to the pope of Rome, and to establish a unity of the spiritual power, by means of which it must necessarily emancipate itself from the temporal. Such was the plan which the clergy had even then the boldness to avow. A series of names of the earlier popes were pressed into the service, in order to append to them forged documents, to which a colour of legality was thus given. And what was it not possible to effect in those times of profound historical ignorance, in which past ages were only beheld through the twilight of falsehood and fantastic error? and under princes like the successors of Charlemagne, whose minds, instead of being elevated or purified, were crushed by religious influences, so that they lost the power of distinguishing the spiritual from the temporal province of the clerical office?

It is indisputable that the order of succession to the throne which Louis the Pious, in utter disregard of the warnings of his faithful adherents, and in opposition to all German modes of thinking, established in the year 817, was principally brought about by the influence of the clergy. “The empire,” says Agobardus, “must not be divided into three; it must remain one and undivided.” The division of the empire seemed to endanger the unity of the church: and, as the emperor was chiefly determined by spiritual motives, the regulations adopted were enforced with all the pomp of religious ceremonies,—by masses, fasts, and distributions of alms; every one swore to them; they were held to be inspired by God himself. After this, no one, not even the emperor, could venture to depart from them. Great, at least, were the evils which he brought upon himself by his attempt to do so, out of love to a son born at a later period of his life. The irritated clergy made common cause with his elder sons, who were already dissatisfied with the administration of the empire. The supreme pontiff came in person from Rome and declared in their favour; and a universal revolt was the consequence. Nor did this first manifestation of their power satisfy the clergy. In order to make sure of their advantage, they formed the daring scheme of depriving the born and anointed emperor, on whom they could now no longer place reliance, of his consecrated dignity —a dignity which, at any rate, he owed not to them,— and of bestowing it immediately on the successor to the throne who had been nominated in 817, and who was the natural representative of the unity of the empire. If, on the one hand, it is indisputable that, in the eighth century, the spiritual authority contributed greatly to the establishment of the principle of obedience to the temporal government, it is equally certain that, in the ninth, it made rapid strides towards the acquisition of power into its own hands. In the collection of capitularies of Benedictus Levita, it is treated as one of the leading principles, that no constitution in the world has any force or validity against the decisions of the popes of Rome; in more than one canon, kings who act in opposition to this principle are threatened with divine punishment. The monarchy of Charlemagne seemed to be about to be transformed into an ecclesiastical state.

I do not hesitate to affirm that it was mainly the people of Germany who resisted this tendency; indeed, that it was precisely this resistance which first awakened Germany to a consciousness of its own importance as a nation. For it would be impossible to speak of a German nation, in the proper sense of the word, during the preceding ages. In the more remote, the several tribes had not even a common name by which they recognised each other: during the period of their migration, they fought with as much hostility among themselves as against the stranger, and allied themselves as readily with the latter as with those of common race. Under the Merovingian kings they were further divided by religious enmities; the Saxons, in presence of Frankish Christianity, held the more pertinaciously to their forms of government and to their ancient gods. It was not till Charlemagne had united all the Germanic tribes, with the exception of those in England and Scandinavia, in one and the same temporal and spiritual allegiance, that the nation began to acquire form and consistency; it was not till the beginning of the ninth century, that the German name appeared as contra-distinguished from the Roman portion of the empire. It is worthy of eternal remembrance, that the first act in which the Germans appear as one people, is the resistance to the attempt of the clergy to depose their emperor and lord. The ideas of legitimacy which they had inherited from their past political life and history, as members of tribes, would never have led them to derive it from the pretended grace of God, that is to say, from the declaration of the spiritual authorities. They were attached to Louis the Pious, who had rendered peculiar services to the Saxon chiefs; their aversion to his deposition was easily fanned into a flame: at the call of Louis the Germanic, who kept his court in Bavaria, the other tribes, Saxons, Swabians, and Franks, on this side the Carbonaria, gathered around his banner; for the first time they were united in one great object. As they were aided by an analogous, though much feebler, movement in the south of France, the bishops soon found themselves compelled to absolve the emperor from the penance they had imposed, and to acknowledge him again as their lord. The first historical act of the united nation is this rising in favour of their born prince against the spiritual power. Nor were they any longer inclined to consent to such a deviation from their own law of succession, as was involved in the acknowledgement of a single heir to the whole monarchy. When, after the death of Louis the Pious, Lothair, in spite of all that had passed, made an attempt to seize the reins of the whole empire, he found in the Germans a resistance, at first doubtful, but every moment increasing, and finally victorious. From them his troops received their first important defeat on the Riess, which laid the foundation of the severance of Germany from the great monarchy.

Lothair relied on his claims recognised by the clergy; the Germans, combined with the southern French, challenged him to submit them to the judgement of heaven by battle. Then it was that the great array of the Frankish Empire split into two hostile masses; the one containing a preponderance of Roman, the other of Germanic elements. The former defended the unity of the Empire; the latter demanded, according to their German ideas, its separation. There is a ballad extant on the battle of Fontenay, in which one of the combatants expresses his grief at this bloody war of fellow-citizens and brethren; “on that bitter night in which the brave fell, the skilful in fight.” For the destiny of the West it was decisive. The judgement of heaven was triumphantly pronounced against the claims of the clergy; three kingdoms were now actually established instead of one. The secular Germanic principles which, from the time of the great migration of tribes, had extended widely into the Roman world remained in possession of the field: they were steadfastly maintained in the subsequent troubles.

On the extinction of one of the three lines in which the unity of the empire should have rested, dissensions broke out between the two others, a main feature of which was the conflict between the spiritual and secular principles.

The king of the French, Charles the Bald, had allied himself with the clergy; his armies were led to the field by bishops, and he abandoned the administration of his kingdom in a great measure to Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims. Hence, when the throne of Lotharingia became vacant in the year 869, he experienced the warmest support from the bishops of that country. “After,” say they, “they had called on God, who bestows kingdoms on whom he will, to point out to them a king after his own heart; after they had then, with God’s help, perceived that the crown was of right his to whom they meant to confide it”, they elected Charles the Bald to be their lord. But the Germans were as far now as before from being convinced by this sort of public law. The elder brother thought his claims at least as valid as those of the younger; by force of arms he compelled Charles to consent to the treaty of Marsna, by which he first united transrhenane Germany with that on the right bank of the Rhine. This same course of events was repeated in the year 875, when the thrones of Italy and the Empire became vacant. At first, Charles the Bald, aided now by the pope, as heretofore by the bishops, took possession of the crown without difficulty. But Carlmann, son of Louis the Germanic, resting his claim on the right of the elder line, and also on his nomination as heir by the last emperor, hastened with his Bavarians and high Germans to Italy; and in spite of the opposition of the pope, took possession of it as his unquestionable inheritance. If this were the case in Italy, still less could Charles the Bald succeed in his attempts on the German frontiers. He was defeated in both countries; the superiority of the Germans in arms was so decisive that, at length, they became masters of the whole Lotharingian territory. Even under the Carolingian sovereigns, they marked the boundaries of the mighty empire; the crown of Charlemagne, and two thirds of his dominions, fell into their hands: they maintained the independence of the secular power with dauntless energy and brilliant success.


The question which next presents itself is what course was to be pursued if the ruling house either became extinct, or proved itself incapable of conducting the government of so vast an empire, attacked on every side from without, and fermenting within. In the years from 879 to 887, the several nations determined, one after another, to abandon the cause of Charles the Fat. The characteristic differences of the mode in which they accomplished this, are well worthy of remark. In the Roman part of Europe the clergy had a universal ascendancy. In Cisjurane Burgundy it was “the holy fathers assembled at Mantala, the holy synod, together with the nobles,” who “under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit”, elected Count Boso king. We find from the decretal for the election of Guido of Spoleto, that “the humble bishops assembled together from various parts at Pavia chose him to be their lord and king, principally because he had promised to exalt the holy Roman church, and to maintain the ecclesiastical rights and privileges.” The conditions to which Odo of Paris gave his assent at his coronation are chiefly in favour of the clergy: he promises not only to defend the rights of the church, but to extend them to the utmost of his information and ability. Totally different was the state of things in Germany. Here it was more especially the temporal lords, Saxons, Franks and Bavarians, who, under the guidance of a disaffected minister of the emperor, assembled around Arnulf and transferred the crown to him. The bishops (even the bishop of Mainz) were rather opposed to the measure; nor was it till some years afterwards that they entered into a formal negotiation with the new ruler: they had not elected him; they submitted to his authority. The rights and privileges which were on every occasion claimed by the clergy, were as constantly and as resolutely ignored by the Germans. They held as close to the legitimate succession as possible; even after the complete extinction of the Carolingian race, the degree of kindred with it was one of the most important considerations which determined the choice of the people, first to Conrad, and then to Henry I of Saxony.

Conrad had, indeed, at one time, the idea of attaching himself to the clergy, who, even in Germany, were a very powerful body: Henry, on the contrary, was always opposed to them. They took no share in his election; the consecration by the holy oil, upon which Pepin and Charlemagne had set so high a value, he declined; as matters stood in Germany, it could be of no importance to him. On the contrary, we find that as in his own land of Saxony he kept his clergy within the strict bounds of obedience, so in other parts of his dominions he placed them in subjection to the dukes; so that their dependence on the civil power was more complete than ever. His only solicitude was to stand well with these great feudatories, whose power was almost equal to his own, and to fulfil other duties imperatively demanded by the moment. As he succeeded in these objects, as he obtained a decisive victory over his most dangerous enemies, re-established the Marches, which had been broken at all points, and suffered nothing on the other side the Rhine that bore the German name to be wrested from him,—the clergy were compelled by necessity to adhere to him: he bequeathed an undisputed sceptre to his house. It was by an agreement of the court and the secular nobles that Otho was selected from among Henry’s sons as his successor to the throne. The ceremony of election was attended only by the dukes, princes, great officers of state, and warriors; the elected monarch then received the assembled body of the clergy. Otho could receive the unction without scruple; the clergy could no longer imagine that they conferred a right upon him by that ceremony. Whether anointed or not, Otho would have been king, as his father had been before him. And so firmly was this sovereignty established that Otho was now in a position to revive and carry through the claims founded by his Carolingian predecessors. He first completely realised the idea of a Germanic empire, which they had only conceived and prepared. He governed Lotharingia and administered Burgundy; a short campaign sufficed to re-establish the rights of his Carolingian predecessors to the supreme power in Lombardy. Like Charlemagne, he was called to aid by a pope oppressed by the factions of Rome; like him, he received in return for his succour the crown of the western empire (2d February, 962). The principle of the temporal government, the autocracy, which from the earliest times had held in check the usurpations of ecclesiastical ambition, thus attained its culminating point, and was triumphantly asserted and recognised in Europe. At the first glance it would seem as if the relation in which Otho now stood to the pope was the same as that occupied by Charlemagne; on a closer inspection, however, we find a wide difference.

Charlemagne’s connexion with the see of Rome was produced by mutual need; it was the result of long epochs of a political combination embracing the development of various nations; their mutual understanding rested on an internal necessity, before which all opposing views and interests gave way. The sovereignty of Otho the Great, on the contrary, rested on a principle fundamentally opposed to the encroachment of spiritual influences. The alliance was momentary; the disruption of it inevitable. But when, soon after, the same pope who had invoked his aid, John XII, placed himself at the head of a rebellious faction, Otho was compelled to cause him to be formally deposed, and to crush the faction that supported him by repeated exertions of force, before he could obtain perfect obedience; he was obliged to raise to the papal chair a pope on whose co-operation he could rely. The popes have often asserted that they transferred the empire to the Germans; and if they confined this assertion to the Carolingian race, they are not entirely wrong. The coronation of Charlemagne was the result of their free determination. But if they allude to the German emperors, properly so called, the contrary of their statement is just as true; not only Carlmann and Otho the Great, but their successors, constantly had to conquer the imperial throne, and to defend it, when conquered, sword in hand.

It has been said that the Germans would have done more wisely if they had not meddled with the empire; or at least, if they had first worked out their own internal political institutions, and then, with matured minds, taken part in the general affairs of Europe. But the things of this world are not wont to develop themselves so methodically. A nation is often compelled by circumstances to increase its territorial extent, before its internal growth is completed. For was it of slight importance to its inward progress, that Germany thus remained in unbroken connexion with Italy—the depository of all that remained of ancient civilisation, the source whence all the forms of Christianity had been derived. The mind of Germany has always unfolded itself by contact with the spirit of antiquity, and of the nations of Roman origin. It was from the contrasts which so continually presented themselves during this uninterrupted connexion that Germany learned to distinguish ecclesiastical domination from Christianity. For however signal had been the ascendancy of the secular power, the German people did not depart a hair’s breadth either from the doctrines of Christianity, the ideas upon which a Christian church is founded, or even from the forms in which they had first received those doctrines and ideas. In them the nation had first risen to a consciousness of its existence as a united body its whole intellectual and moral life was bound up with them. The German imperial government revived the civilising and Christianising tendencies which had distinguished the reigns of Charles Martel and Charlemagne. Otho the Great, in following the course marked out by his illustrious predecessors, gave it a fresh national importance by planting German colonies in Slavonian countries, simultaneously with the diffusion of Christianity. He germanised as well as converted the population he had subdued. He confirmed his father’s conquests on the Saale and the Elbe, by the establishment of the bishoprics of Meissen and Osterland. After having conquered the tribes on the other side the Elbe in those long and perilous campaigns where he commanded in person, he established there, too, three bishoprics, which for a time gave an extraordinary impulse to the progress of conversion. In the midst of all his difficulties and perplexities in Italy he never lost sight of this grand object; it was indeed while in that country that he founded the archbishopric of Magdeburg, whose jurisdiction extended over all those other foundations. And even where the project of Germanising the population was out of the question, the supremacy of the German name was firmly and actively maintained. In Bohemia and Poland bishoprics were erected under German metropolitans; from Hamburg Christianity found its way into the north; missionaries from Passau traversed Hungary, nor is it improbable that the influence of these vast and sublime efforts extended even to Russia. The German empire was the centre of the conquering religion; as itself advanced, it extended the ecclesiastico-military State of which the Church was an integral part; it was the chief representative of the unity of western Christendom, and hence arose the necessity under which it lay of acquiring a decided ascendancy over the papacy.

This secular and Germanic principle long retained the predominancy it had triumphantly acquired. Otho the Second offered the papal chair to the abbot of Cluny; and Otho the Third bestowed it first on one of his kinsmen, and then on his instructor Gerbert. All the factions which threatened to deprive the emperor of this right were overthrown; under the patronage of Henry III, a German pope defeated three Roman candidates for the tiara. In the year 1048, when the see of Rome became vacant, ambassadors from the Romans, says a contemporaneous chronicler, proceeded to Saxony, found the emperor there, and entreated him to give them a new pope. He chose the Bishop of Toul, (afterwards Leo IX), of the house of Egisheim, from which he himself was descended on the maternal side. What took place with regard to the head of the church was of course still more certain to befall the rest of the clergy. Since Otho the Great, in all the troubles of the early years of his reign, succeeded in breaking down the resistance which the duchies were enabled by their clan-like composition to offer him, the ecclesiastical appointments remained without dispute in the hand of the emperor.

 How magnificent was the position now occupied by the German nation, represented in the persons of the mightiest princes of Europe and united under their sceptre; at the head of an advancing civilisation, and of the whole of western Christendom; in the fullness of youthful, aspiring strength! We must here however remark and confess, that Germany did not wholly understand her position, nor fulfil her mission. Above all, she did not succeed in giving complete reality to the idea of a western empire, such as appeared about to be established under Otho I. Independent and often hostile, though Christian powers arose through all the borders of Germany; in Hungary, and in Poland, in the northern as well as in the southern possessions of the Normans; England and France were snatched again from German influence. Spain laughed at the German claims to a universal supremacy; her kings thought themselves emperors; even the enterprises nearest home —those across the Elbe— were for a time stationary or retrograde.

If we seek for the causes of these unfavourable results, we need only turn our eyes on the internal condition of the empire, where we find an incessant and tempestuous struggle of all the forces of the nation. Unfortunately the establishment of a fixed rule of succession to the imperial crown was continually prevented by events. The son and grandson of Otho the Great died in the bloom of youth, and the nation was thus compelled to elect a chief. The very first election threw Germany and Italy into a universal ferment; and this was shortly succeeded by a second still more stormy, since it was necessary to resort to a new line—the Franconian. How was it possible to expect implicit obedience from the powerful and refractory nobles, out of whose ranks, and by whose will, the emperor was raised to the throne? Was it likely that the Saxon race, which had hitherto held the reins of government, would readily and quietly submit to a foreign family? It followed that two factions arose, the one obedient, the other opposed, to the Franconian emperor, and filled the empire with their strife. The severe character of Henry III excited universal discontent. A vision, related to us by his own chancellor, affords a lively picture of the state of things. He saw the emperor, seated on his throne, draw his sword, exclaiming aloud, that he trusted he should still avenge himself on all his enemies. How could the emperors, thus occupied during their whole lives with intestine dissensions, place themselves at the head of Europe in the important work of social improvement, or really merit the title of supreme Lords of the West?

It is remarkable that the social element on which they propped their power was again principally the clergy. Even Otho the Great owed his triumph over intestine revolt and discord, in great measure to the support of the bishops; for example, of his brother Bruno, whom he had created Archbishop of Cologne, and who, in return, held Lotharingia in allegiance to him: it was only by the aid of the clergy that Otho conquered the Pope. The emperors found it expedient to govern by means of the bishops; to make them the instruments of their will. The bishops were at once their chancellors and their counsellors; the monasteries, imperial farms. The uncontrollable tendency, at that time, of all power and office to become hereditary would naturally render the heads of the church desirous of combining secular rights, which they could dispose of at pleasure, with their bishoprics. Hence it happened, that just at the time when the subjection of the clergy to the imperial authority was the most complete, their power acquired the greatest extension and solidity. Otho I already began to unite the temporal powers of the count with the proper spiritual authority of the bishop. We see from the registers of Henry II that he bestowed on many churches two and three countships; on that of Gandersheim, the countship in seven Gauen or districts. As early as the eleventh century the bishops of Wurzburg succeeded in totally supplanting the secular counts in their diocese, and in uniting the spiritual and temporal power; a state of things which the other bishops now strove to emulate.

It is evident that the station of an emperor of Germany was no less perilous than august. The magnates by whom he was surrounded, the possessors of the secular power out of whose ranks he himself had arisen, he could hold in check only by an unceasing struggle, and not without force. He must find a prop in another quarter, and seek support from the very body who were in principle opposed to him. This rendered it impossible for him ever to attain to that predominant influence in the general affairs of Europe which the imperial dignity would naturally have given him. How strongly does this everlasting ebb and flow of contending parties, this continual upstarting of refractory powers, contrast with the tranquillity and self-sufficiency of the empire swayed by Charlemagne! It required matchless vigour and fortitude in an emperor even to hold his seat.

In this posture of affairs, the prince who possessed the requisite vigour and fortitude, Henry III, died young (A.D. 1056), and a child, six years old, in whose name the government was carried on by a tottering regency, filled his place: one of those incidents which turn the fortunes of a world.


The ideas which had been repressed in the ninth century now began to revive; and with redoubled strength, since the clergy, from the highest to the lowest, were become so much more powerful. Generally speaking, this was the age in which the various modifications of spiritual power throughout the world began to assume form and stability; in which mankind found repose and satisfaction in these conditions of existence. In the eleventh century Buddhism was re-established in Tibet; and the hierarchy which, down to the present day, prevails over so large a portion of Eastern Asia, was founded by the Lama Dschu-Adhischa. The Caliphate of Baghdad, heretofore a vast empire, then took the character of a spiritual authority, and was greatly indebted to that change for the ready reception it met with. At the same period, in Africa and Syria arose the Fatimite Caliphate, founded on a doctrine of which its adherents said, that it was to the Koran what the kernel is to its shell.

In the West the idea of the unity of the Christian faith was the pervading one, and had taken strong hold on all minds (for the various conversions which awakened this or that more susceptible nation to fresh enthusiasm belong to a later period). This idea manifested itself in the general efforts to crush Mohammedanism: inadequately represented by the imperial authority, which commanded but a limited obedience, it now came in powerful aid of the projects and efforts of the hierarchy. For to whom could such an idea attach itself but to the bishop of the Roman Church, to which, as to a common source, all other churches traced back their foundation; which all western Europeans regarded with a singular reverence? Hitherto the Bishop of Rome had been thrown into the shade by the rise and development of the imperial power. But favouring circumstances and the main course of events now united to impel the papacy to claim universal and supreme dominion.

The minority of the infant emperor decided the result. At the court of Rome, the man who most loudly proclaimed the necessity of reform—the great champion of the independent existence of the church—the man ordained by destiny to make his opinion the law of ages,—Hildebrand, the son of a carpenter in Tuscany, acquired supreme influence over all affairs. He was the author and instigator of decrees, in virtue of which the papal elections were no longer to depend on the emperor, but on the clergy of the Church of Rome and the cardinals. He delayed not a moment to put them in force; the very next election was conducted in accordance with them.

In Germany, on the contrary, people were at this time entirely occupied with the conflicts of the factions about the court; the opposition which was spread over Italy and Germany (and to which Hildebrand also belonged) at length got a firm footing in the court itself: the adherents of the old Saxon and Salic principles, (for example, Chancellor Guibert) were defeated; the court actually sanctioned an election which had taken place against its own most urgent interest; the German rulers, plunged in the dissensions of the moment, abandoned to his fate an antipope who maintained himself with considerable success and who was the representative of the ancient maxims. Affairs, however, changed their aspect when the youthful Salian, with all his spirit and talents, took the reins of government into his own hand. He knew his rights, and was determined to assert them at any price. But things had gone so far that he fell into the most perilous situation at the very outset of his career. The accession to the throne of a young monarch, by nature despotic and violent, and hurried along by vehement passions, quickly brought the long-fermenting internal discords of Germany to an open breach. The German nobles aspired after the sort of independence which those of France had just acquired. In the year 1073 the Saxon princes revolted; the whole of Saxony, says a contemporary, deserted the king like one man. Meanwhile at Rome the leader of the hostile party had himself gained possession of the tiara, and now advanced without delay to the great work of emancipating not only the papacy but the clergy from the control of the emperor. In the year 1074 he caused a law to be proclaimed by his synod, the purpose and effect of which was to wrest the nomination to spiritual offices from the laity; that is, in the first place, from the emperor. Scarcely was Henry IV seated on his throne when he saw its best prerogatives, the crown and consummation of his power, attacked and threatened with annihilation. He seemed doomed to succumb without a contest. The discord between the Saxons and Upper Germans, which for a time had been of advantage to him, was allayed, and their swords, yet wet with each other’s blood, were turned in concert against the emperor; he was compelled to propitiate the pope who had excommunicated him, to travel in the depth of winter to do that penance at Canossa by which he so profoundly degraded the imperial name. Yet from that very moment we may date his most strenuous resistance.

We should fall into a complete error were we to represent him to ourselves as crossing the Alps in remorse and contrition, or as convinced of the rightfulness of the claims advanced by the pope. His only object was to wrest from his adversaries the support of the spiritual authority, the pretext under which they threatened his highest dignity. As he did not succeed in this,—as the absolution he received from Gregory was not so complete as to restrain the German princes from all further hostilities,—as, on the contrary, they elected another sovereign in spite of it,—he plunged into the most determined struggle against the assumptions of his spiritual as well as of his temporal foes. Opposition and injury roused the man within him. Across those Alps which he had traversed in penitential lowliness, he hurried back burning with warlike ardour; in Carinthia an invincible band of devoted followers gathered around him. It is interesting to follow him with our eye, subduing the spiritual power in Bavaria, the hostile aristocratic clans in Swabia; to see him next marching upon Franconia and driving his rival before him; then into Thuringia and the Meissen colonies, and at length forcing him to a battle on the banks of the Elster, in which he fell. Henry gained no great victories; even on the Elster he did not so much as keep the field; but he was continually advancing; his party was continually gaining strength; he held the banner of the empire aloft with a steady and vigorous grasp. After a few years he was able to return to Italy (A.D. 1081). The empire had been so long and so intimately allied with the episcopal power that its chief could not be without adherents among the higher clergy: synods were held in the emperor’s behalf, in which it was resolved to maintain the old order of things. The excommunications of the pope were met by counter-excommunications. Chancellor Guibert, who had suffered for his adherence to Salic principles, was nominated pope under the auspices of the emperor; and after various alternations of success in war, was at length conducted in triumph to Rome. Henry, like so many of his predecessors, was crowned by a pope of his own creation. The second rival king whom the Saxons opposed to him could gain no substantial power, and held it expedient voluntarily to withdraw his pretensions.

We see that the emperor had attained to all that is attainable by war and policy, yet his triumph was far from being as complete and conclusive as we might thence infer; for the result of a contest is not always decided on a field of battle. The ideas of which Gregory was the champion were intimately blended with the most powerful impulses of the general development of society; while he was a fugitive from Rome, they gained possession of the world. No later than ten years after his death his second successor was able to take the initiative in the general affairs of the West—a power which was conclusive as to results. One of the greatest social movements recorded in history—the Crusades—was mainly the result of his policy; and from that time he appeared, as the natural head of the Romano-Germanic sacerdotal and military community of the West. To such weapons the emperor had nothing to oppose.

The life of Henry, from this time till its close, has something in it which reminds us of the antique tragedy, in which the hero sinks, in all the glory of manhood and the fullness of his powers, under an inevitable doom. For what can be more like an overwhelming fate than the power of opinion, which extends its invisible grasp on every side, takes complete possession of the minds of men, and suddenly appears in the field with a force beyond all control? Henry saw the world go over, before his eyes, from the empire to the papacy. An army brought together by one of the blind popular impulses which led to the crusades, drove out of Rome the pope he had placed on the throne: nay, even in his own house he was encountered by hostile opinions. His elder son was infected with the zeal of the bigots by whom he was incited to revolt against his father; the younger was swayed by the influence of the German aristocracy, and, by a union of cunning and violence, compelled his own father to abdicate. The aged warrior went broken-hearted to his grave.

I do not think it necessary to trace all the various alternations of the conflict respecting the rights of the church. Even in Rome it was sometimes deemed impossible to force the emperor to renounce his claims. Pope Paschal at one time entertained the bold idea of giving back all that the emperors had ever granted to the church, in order to effect the radical separation of the latter from the state. As this proved to be impracticable, the affairs of the church were again administered for a time by the imperial court under Henry V, as they had been under Henry IV. But this too was soon found to be intolerable; new disputes arose, and after long contention, both parties agreed to the concordat of Worms, according to which the preponderant influence was yielded to the emperor in Germany, and to the pope in Italy; an agreement, however, which was not expressed with precision, and which contained the germ of new disputes. But though these results were little calculated to determine the rights of the contending powers, the advantages which gradually accrued to the papacy from the course of events were incalculable. From a state of total dependence, it had now attained to a no less complete emancipation; or rather to a preponderance, not indeed as yet absolute, or defined, but unquestionable, and every moment acquiring strength and consistency from favouring circumstances.


The most important assistance which the papacy received in this work of self-emancipation and aggrandisement arose from the natural and tacit league subsisting between it and the princes of the Germanic empire. The secular aristocracy of Germany had, at one time, made the strongest opposition, on behalf of their head, to the encroachments of the Church; they had erected the imperial throne, and had invested it with all its power: but this power had at length become oppressive to them; the supremacy of the imperial government over the clergy, which was employed to keep themselves in subjection, became their most intolerable grievance. It followed that they at length beheld their own advantage in the emancipation of the papacy. It is to be observed that the power of the German princes and that of the popes rose in parallel steps.

Under Henry III, and during the minority of his successor, both had laid the foundation of their independence: they began their active career together. Scarcely had Gregory VII established the first principles of his new system, when the princes also proclaimed theirs;—the principle, that the empire should no longer be hereditary. Henry IV maintained his power chiefly by admitting in detail the claims which he denied in the aggregate: his victories had as little effect in arresting the progress of the independence of the great nobles, as of the hierarchy. Even as early as the reign of Henry V these sentiments had gained such force that the unity of the empire was regarded as residing rather in the collective body of the princes than in the person of the emperor. For what else are we to understand from the declaration of that prince—that it was less dangerous to insult the head of the empire than to give offence to the princes?—an opinion which they themselves sometimes expressed. In Wurzburg they agreed to adhere to their decrees, even if the king refused his assent to them. They took into their own hands the arrangement of the disputes with the pope which Henry found it impossible to terminate: they were the real authors of the concordat of Worms. In the succeeding collisions of the papacy with the empire everything depended on the degree of support the emperor could, on each occasion, calculate on receiving from the princes.

I shall not here attempt to give a complete view of the times of the Welfs and the Hohenstaufen; it would not be possible, without entering into a more elaborate examination of particulars than is consistent with the object of this short survey: let us only direct our attention for a moment to the grandest and most imposing figure with which that epoch presents us: Frederic I.

So long as Frederic I stood well with his princes he might reasonably entertain the project of reviving the prerogatives of the empire, such as they were conceived and laid down by the emperors and jurists of ancient Rome. He held himself entitled, like Justinian and Theodosius, to summon ecclesiastical assemblies; he reminded the popes that their possessions were derived from the favour and bounty of the emperor, and admonished them to attend to their ecclesiastical duties. A disputed election furnished him with a favourable occasion of acquiring fresh influence in the choice of a pope. His position was, however, very different after the fresh rupture with his powerful vassal, Henry the Lion. The claims of that prince to a little town in the north of Germany,—Gosslar in the Harz,—which the emperor refused to admit, decided the affairs of Italy, and hence of the whole of western Christendom. In consequence of this, the emperor was first stripped of his wonted support; he was beaten in the field; and, lastly, he was compelled to violate his oath, and to recognise the pope he had rejected. It is true that, having turned his arms against his rebellious vassal, he succeeded in breaking up Henry’s collective power: but this very success again was advantageous to the princes of the second rank, by whose assistance he obtained it, and whom, in return, he enriched with the spoils of his rival; while the advantage which the papacy thus gained was never afterwards to be counter-balanced.

The meeting of Frederic I and Alexander III at Venice is, in my opinion, far more important than the scene at Canossa. At Canossa, a young and passionate prince sought only to hurry through the penance enjoined upon him: at Venice, it was a mature man who renounced the ideas which he had earnestly and strenuously maintained for a quarter of a century; he was compelled to acknowledge that his conduct towards the church had been dictated rather by love of power than of justice. Canossa was the spot on which the combat began; Venice beheld the triumph of the church fully established. For whatever might be the indirect share which the Germans had in bringing about this result, both the glory and the chief profit of the victory fell entirely to the share of the papacy. From this moment its domination began. This became apparent on the first important incident that occurred; viz., when, at the end of the twelfth century, a contest for the crown arose in Germany. The papacy, represented by one of the most able, ambitious, and daring priests that ever lived, who regarded himself as the natural master of the world,— Innocent III, did not hesitate an instant to claim the right of deciding the question. The German princes were not so blinded as not to understand what this claim meant. They reminded Innocent that the empire, out of reverence for the see of Rome, had waived the right which it incontestably possessed to interfere in the election of the pope; that it would be an unheard-of return for this moderation, for the pope to assume an influence over the election of the emperor, to which he had no right whatever. Unfortunately, however, they were in a position in which they could take no serious steps to prevent the encroachment they deprecated. They must first have placed on the throne an emperor equally strong by nature and by external circumstances, have rallied round him, and have fought the papacy under his banners. For such a course they had neither the inclination, nor, in the actual state of things, was it practicable. They had no love for the papacy, for its own sake; they hated the domination of the clergy; but they had not courage to brave it. Innocent’s resolute spirit was again victorious. In the struggle between the two rivals, the one a Welf, the other a Hohenstaufen, he at first supported the Welf, because that family was well inclined to the church; but when, after the accession of this prince to power, and his appearance in Italy, he manifested the usual antipathy of the empire to the papacy, Innocent did not hesitate to set up a Hohenstaufen in opposition to him. He had contended against the Hohenstaufen with the resources of the Welfic party: he now attacked the Welfs with those of the Hohenstaufen. It was a struggle in which the agitations of the rest of Europe were mingled. Events, both near and remote, took a turn so favourable, that Innocent’s candidate again remained master of the field. From that time the papacy exercised a leading influence over all German elections.

When after the lapse of many years Frederic II (the Hohenstaufen whom he had raised to power) attempted in some particulars to restore the independence of the empire, the pope thought himself justified in again deposing him. Home now openly avowed her claim to hold the reins of secular as well as spiritual authority.

“We command you,” writes Innocent IV to the German princes in 1246, “since our beloved son, the Landgrave of Thuringia, is ready to take upon himself the office of emperor, that you proceed to elect him unanimously without delay.”

He formally signifies his approbation of those who took part in the election of William of Holland; he admonishes the cities to be faithful to the newly-elected emperor, that so they may merit the apostolical as well as the royal favour.

In a very short time no trace of any other order of things remained in Germany. Even at the ceremony of homage, Richard of Cornwall was compelled to dispense with the allegiance of the cities, until it should be seen whether or not the pope might choose to prefer another aspirant to the throne. After Richard’s death Gregory X called upon the German princes to prepare for a new election: he threatened that if they delayed, he and his cardinals would nominate an emperor. The election being terminated, it was again the pope who induced the pretender, Alfonso of Castile, to abandon his claim and to give up the insignia of the empire; and who caused the chosen candidate, Rudolf of Habsburg, to be universally acknowledged. What trace of independence can a nation retain after submitting to receive its head from the hands of a foreign power? It is manifest that the same influence which determines the elections, must be resistless in every other department of the state. The power of the princes of Germany had, it is true, been meanwhile on the increase. In the thirteenth century, during the struggles between the several pretenders to the throne, and between the papacy and the empire, they had got possession of almost all the prerogatives of sovereignty; they likewise took the most provident measures to prevent the imperial power from regaining its vast preponderance. At the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth century the emperors were chosen almost systematically out of different houses. Consciously or unconsciously, the princes acted on the maxim, that when power began to be consolidated in one quarter it must be counterbalanced by an increase of authority in another; as, for example, they curbed the already considerable power of Bohemia by means of the house of Hapsburg, and this again, by those of Nassau, Luxembourg, or Bavaria. None of these could attain to more than transient superiority, and in consequence of this policy, no princely race rose to independence: the spiritual princes, who conducted the larger portion of the public business, were almost of more weight than the temporal. This state of things tended greatly to increase the power of the papacy, on which the spiritual princes depended; and to which the temporal became very subordinate and submissive. In the thirteenth century they even made the abject declaration that they were planted in Germany by the Church of Rome, and had been fostered and exalted by her favour. The pope was, at least, as much indebted to the German princes as they were to him; but he took good care not to allude to his obligations, and nobody ventured to remind him of them. His successive victories over the empire had been gained by the assistance of many of the temporal powers. He now possessed, uncontested, the supreme sovereignty of Europe. Those plans of papal aggrandisement which were first avowed in the ninth century, and afterwards revived in the eleventh, were, in the thirteenth, crowned with complete success.

During that long period a state of things had been evolved, the outlines of which may, I think, be traced in a few words. The pretensions of the clergy to govern Europe according to their hierarchical views —pretensions which arose directly out of the ecclesiastical institutions of Charlemagne— were encountered and resisted by the united body of the German people, still thoroughly imbued with the national ideas of ancient Germania. On this combined resistance the imperial throne was founded. Unfortunately, however, it failed to acquire perfect security and stability; and the divisions which soon broke out between the domineering chief and his refractory vassals, had the effect of making both parties contribute to the aggrandisement of that spiritual power which they had previously sought to depress. At first the emperors beheld in a powerful clergy a means of holding their great vassals in check, and endowed the church with liberal grants of lands and lordships; but afterwards, when ideas of emancipation began to prevail, not only in the papacy but in all spiritual corporations, the temporal aristocracy thought it not inexpedient that the emperor should be stripped of the resource and assistance such a body afforded him: the enfeebling of the imperial authority was of great advantage, not only to the church, but to them. Thus it came to pass that the ecclesiastical element, strengthened by the divisions of its opponents, at length obtained a decided preponderance. Unquestionably the result was far different in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries from what it would have been in the ninth. The secular power might be humbled, but could not be annihilated; a purely hierarchical government, such as might have been established at the earlier period, was now no longer within the region of possibility. The national development of Germany had been too deep and extensive to be stifled by the ecclesiastical spirit; while, on the other hand, the influence of ecclesiastical ideas and institutions unquestionably contributed largely to its extension. The period in question displayed a fullness of life and intelligence, an activity in every branch of human industry, a creative vigour, which we can hardly imagine to have arisen under any other course of events. Nevertheless, this was not a state which ought to satisfy a great nation. There could be no true political freedom so long as the most powerful impulse to all public activity emanated I from a foreign head. The domain of mind, too, was enclosed within rigid and narrow boundaries. The immediate relation in which every intellectual being stands to the Divine Intelligence was veiled from the people in deep and abiding obscurity. Those mighty developments of the human mind which extend over whole generations, must, of necessity, be accomplished slowly; nor is it always easy to follow them in their progress. Circumstances at length occurred which awakened in the German nation a consciousness of the position for which nature designed it.


The first important circumstance was, that the papacy, forgetting its high vocation in the pleasures of Avignon, displayed all the qualities of a prodigal and rapacious court, centralising its power for the sake of immediate profit. Pope John XXII enforced his pecuniary claims with the coarsest avidity, and interfered in an unheard-of manner with the presentation to German benefices: he took care to express himself in very ambiguous terms as to the rights of the electoral princes; while, on the contrary, he seriously claimed the privilege of examining into the merits of the emperor they had elected, and of rejecting him if he thought fit; nay, in case of a disputed election, such as then occurred, of administering the government himself till the contest should be decided: lastly, he actually entered into negotiations, the object of which was to raise a French prince to the imperial throne.

The German princes at length saw what they had to expect from such a course of policy. On this occasion they rallied round their emperor, and rendered him real and energetic assistance. In the year 1338 they unanimously came to the celebrated resolution, that whoever should be elected by the majority of the prince-electors should be regarded as the true and legitimate emperor. When Louis the Bavarian, wearied by the long conflict, wavered for a moment, they kept him firm; they reproached him at the imperial diet in 1334 with having shown a disposition to accede to humiliating conditions. A change easily accounted for; the pope having now encroached, not only on the rights of the emperor, but on the prescriptive rights of their own body —on the rights of the whole nation.

Nor were these sentiments confined to the princes. In the fourteenth century a plebeian power had grown up in Germany, as in the rest of Europe, by the side of the aristocratic families which had hitherto exercised almost despotic power: not only were the cities summoned to the imperial diets, but, in a great proportion of them, the guilds, or trades, had got the municipal government into their own hands. These plebeians embraced the cause of their emperor with even more ardour than most of the princes. The priests who asserted the power of the pope to excommunicate the emperor were frequently driven out of the cities; these were then, in their turn, laid under excommunication; but they never would acknowledge its validity; they refused to accept absolution when it was offered them. Thus it happened that in the present instance the pope could not carry the election of his candidate, Charles of Luxembourg; nobles and commons adhered almost unanimously to Louis of Bavaria: nor was it till after his death, and then only after repeated election and coronation, that Charles IV was gradually recognised. Whatever he might previously have promised the pope, that sovereign could not make concessions injurious to the interests of his princes: on the contrary, he solemnly and firmly established the rights of the electors, even to the long-disputed vicariate (at least in all German states). A germ of resistance was thus formed. This was fostered and developed by the disorders of the great schism, and by the dispositions evinced by the general councils. It was now, for the first time, evident that the actual church no longer corresponded with the ideal that existed in men’s minds. Nations assumed the attitude of independent members of it; popes were brought to trial and deposed; the aristocratico-republican spirit, which played so great a part in the temporal states of Europe, extended even to the papacy (the nature of which is so completely monarchical), and threatened to change its form and character.

The ecclesiastical assembly of Basel entertained the project of establishing at once the freedom of nations and the authority of councils; a project hailed with peculiar approbation by Germany. Its decretals of reformation were solemnly adopted by the assembly of the imperial diet: the Germans determined to remain neutral during its controversies with Eugenius IV; the immediate consequence of which was, that they were for a time emancipated from the court of Rome. By threatening to go over to his adversary, they forced the pope, who had ventured to depose two spiritual electors, to revoke the sentence of deposition. Had this course been persevered in with union and constancy, the German Catholic church, established in so many great principalities, and splendidly provided with the most munificent endowments in the world, would have acquired a perfectly independent position, in which she might have resisted the subsequent polemical storms with as much firmness as that of England. Various circumstances conspired to prevent so desirable a result.

In the first place, it appears to me that the disputes between France and Burgundy reacted on this matter. France was in favour of the ideas of the council, which, indeed, she embodied in the pragmatic sanction; Burgundy was for the pope. Among the German princes, some were in the most intimate alliance with the king, others with the duke. The pope employed by far the most dexterous and able negotiator. If we consider the character of the representative and organ of the German opposition, Gregory of Heimburg, who thought himself secure of victory, and, when sent to Rome, burst forth at the very foot of the Vatican into a thousand execrations on the Curia;—if we follow him there, as he went about with neglected garb, bare neck, and uncovered head, bidding defiance to the court,—and then compare him with the polished and supple Aeneas Sylvius, full of profound quiet ambition and gifted with the happiest talents for rising in the world; the servant of so many masters, and the dexterous confidant of them all; we shall be at no loss to divine which must be the successful party. Heimburg died a living death in exile, and dependent on foreign bounty; Aeneas Sylvius ended his career, wearing the triple crown he had so ably served. At the very time we are treating of, Aeneas had found means to gain over some councillors, and through them their sovereigns, and thus to secure their defection from the great scheme of national emancipation. He relates this himself with great satisfaction and self-complacency; nor did he disdain to employ bribery. The main thing, however, was, that the head of the empire, King Frederic III, adhered to the papal cause. The union of the princes, which, while it served as a barrier against the encroachments of the church, might have proved no less perilous to himself, was as hateful to him as to the pope. Aeneas Sylvius conducted the negotiation in a manner no less agreeable to the interests and wishes of the emperor than to those of the pope: the imperial coffers furnished him with the means of corruption. Hence it happened that on this occasion also the nation failed to attain its object. At the first moment, indeed, the Basel decretals were accepted at Rome, but under the condition that the Holy See should receive compensation for its losses. This compensation, however, was not forthcoming; and Frederic III, who treated on the part of the empire, at length conceded anew to Rome all her old privileges, which the nation had been endeavouring to wrest from her. It would have been impossible to carry such a measure at the diet; the expedient of obtaining the separate consent of the princes to this agreement was therefore resorted to. The old state of things was thus perpetuated. Ordinances which the papal see had published in 1335, and which it had repeated in 1418, once more formed, in the year 1448, the basis of the German concordat. It is hardly necessary to say that the opposition was not crushed. It no longer appeared on the surface of events; but deep below it, it only struck root faster and acquired greater strength. The nation was exasperated by a constant sense of wrong and injustice.


The most remarkable fact now was that the imperial throne was no longer able to afford support and protection. The empire had assumed a position analogous to that of the papacy, but extremely subordinate in power and authority. It is important to remark, that for more than a century after Charles IV had fixed his seat in Bohemia, no emperor appeared, endowed with the vigour necessary to uphold and govern the empire. The bare fact that Charles’s successor, Wenceslas, was a prisoner in the hands of the Bohemians, remained for a long time unknown in Germany: a simple decree of the electors sufficed to dethrone him. Rupert the Palatine only escaped a similar fate by death. When Sigismund of Luxembourg, (who, after many disputed elections, kept possession of the field), four years after his election, entered the territory of the empire of which he was to be crowned sovereign, he found so little sympathy that he was for a moment inclined to return to Hungary without accomplishing the object of his journey. The active part he took in the affairs of Bohemia, and of Europe generally, has given him a name; but in and for the empire, he did nothing worthy of note. Between the years 1422 and 1430 he never made his appearance beyond Vienna; from the autumn of 1431 to that of 1433 he was occupied with his coronation journey to Rome; and during the three years from 1434 to his death he never got beyond Bohemia and Moravia: nor did Albert II, who has been the subject of such lavish eulogy, ever visit the dominions of the empire. Frederic III, however, far outdid all his predecessors. During seven-and-twenty years, from 1444 to 1471, he was never seen within the boundaries of the empire. Hence it happened that the central action and the visible manifestation of sovereignty, insofar as any such existed in the empire, fell to the share of the princes, and more especially of the prince-electors. In the reign of Sigismund we find them convoking the diets, and leading the armies into the field against the Hussites: the operations against the Bohemians were attributed entirely to them. In this manner the empire became, like the papacy, a power which acted from a distance, and rested chiefly upon opinion. The throne, founded on conquest and arms, had now a pacific character and a conservative tendency. Nothing is so transient as the notions which are handed down with a name, or associated with a title; and yet, especially in times when unwritten law has so much force, the whole influence of rank or station depends on the nature of these notions. Let us turn our attention for a moment to the ideas of Empire and Papacy entertained in the fifteenth century.

The emperor was regarded, in the first place, as the supreme feudal lord, who conferred on property its highest and most sacred sanction; as the supreme fountain of justice, from whom, as the expression was, all the compulsory force of law emanated. It is very curious to observe how the choice that had fallen upon him was announced to Frederic III,—by no means the mightiest prince in the empire; how immediately thereupon the natural relations of things are reversed, and “his royal high mightiness” promises confirmation in their rights and dignities to the very men who had just raised him to the throne. All hastened to obtain his recognition of their privileges and possessions; nor did the cities perform their act of homage till that had taken place. Upon his supreme guarantee rested that feeling of legitimacy, security and permanence, which is necessary to all men, and more especially dear to Germans. “Take away from us the rights of the emperor,” says a law-book of that time, “and who can say, this house is mine, this village belongs to me?” A remark of profound truth; but it followed thence that the emperor could not arbitrarily exercise rights of which he was deemed the source. He might give them up; but he himself must enforce them only within the narrow limits prescribed by traditional usage, and by the superior control of his subjects. Although he was regarded as the head and source of all temporal jurisdiction, yet no tribunal found more doubtful obedience than his own.

The fact that royalty existed in Germany had almost been suffered to fall into oblivion; even the title had been lost. Henry VII thought it an affront to be called King of Germany, and not, as he had a right to be called before any ceremony of coronation, King of the Romans. In the fifteenth century the emperor was regarded pre-eminently as the successor of the ancient Roman Caesars, whose rights and dignities had been transferred, first to the Greeks, and then to the Germans in the persons of Charlemagne and Otho the Great; as the true secular head of Christendom. Emperor Sigismund commanded that his corpse should be exposed to view for some days; in order that every one might see that “the Lord of all the world was dead and departed.”

“We have chosen your royal grace,” say the electors to Frederic III (A. D. 1440), “to be the head, protector, and governor of all Christendom.” They go on to express the hope that this choice may be profitable to the Roman church, to the whole of Christendom, to the holy empire, and the community of Christian people. Even a foreign monarch, Wladislas of Poland, extols the felicity of the newly-elected emperor, in that he was about to receive the diadem of the monarchy of the world. The opinion was confidently entertained in Germany that the other sovereigns of Christendom, especially those of England, Spain, and France, were legally subject to the crown of the empire: the only controversy was, whether their disobedience was venial, or ought to be regarded as sinful. The English endeavoured to show that from the time of the introduction of Christianity they had never been subject to the empire. The Germans, on the contrary, not only did what the other nations of the West were bound to do—they not only acknowledged the holy empire, but they had secured to themselves the faculty of giving it a head; and the strange notion was current that the electoral princes had succeeded to the rights and dignities of the Roman senate and people. They themselves expressed this opinion in the thirteenth century. “We,” say they, “who occupy the place of the Roman senate, who are the fathers and the lights of the empire.” In the fifteenth century they repeated the same opinion. “The Germans,” says the author of a scheme for diminishing the burdens of the empire, “who have possessed themselves of the dignities of the Roman Empire, and thence of the sovereignty over all lands.” When the prince-electors proceeded to the vote, they swore that “according to the best of their understanding, they would choose the temporal head of all Christian people, i.e. a Roman king and future emperor.” Thereupon the elected sovereign was anointed and crowned by the Archbishop of Cologne, who enjoyed that right on this side the Alps. Even when seated on the coronation chair at Rheims, the King of France took an oath of fealty to the Roman Empire. It is obvious in what a totally different relation the Germans stood to the emperor, who was elevated to this high dignity from amidst themselves, and by their own choice, from that of even the most puissant nobles of other countries to their natural hereditary lord and master. The imperial dignity, stripped of all direct executive power, had indeed no other significance than that which results from opinion. It gave to law and order their living sanction; to justice its highest authority; to the sovereignties of Germany their position in the world. It had properties which, for that period, were indispensable and sacred. It had a manifest analogy with the papacy, and was bound to it by the most intimate connection. The main difference between the two powers was, that the papal enjoyed that universal recognition of the Romano-Germanic world which the imperial had not been able to obtain: but the holy Roman church and the holy Roman empire were indissolubly united in idea; and the Germans thought they stood in a peculiarly intimate relation to the church as well as to the empire. There is extant a treaty of alliance of the Rhenish princes, the assigned object of which was to maintain their endowments, dioceses, chapters, and principalities, in dignity and honour with the holy Roman empire and the holy Roman church. The electors lay claim to a peculiar privilege in ecclesiastical affairs. In the year 1424, and again in 1446, they declare that the Almighty has appointed and authorised them, that they should endeavour, together with the Roman king, the princes, lords, knights, and cities of the empire, and with all faithful Christian people, to abate all crimes that arise in the holy church and Christian community, and in the holy empire. Hence we see that the German people thought themselves bound in allegiance to the papal, no less than to the imperial authority; but as the former had, in all the long struggles of successive ages, invariably come off victorious, while the latter had so often succumbed, the pope exercised a far stronger and more wide-spread influence, even in temporal things, than the emperor. An act of arbitrary power, which no emperor could ever have so much as contemplated—the deposition of an electoral prince of the empire—was repeatedly attempted, and occasionally even accomplished, by the popes. They bestowed on Italian prelates bishoprics as remote as that of Camin. By their annates, pallia, and all the manifold dues exacted by the curia, they drew a far larger (Maximilian I said, a hundred times larger) revenue from the empire, than the emperor: their vendors of indulgences incessantly traversed the several provinces of the empire. Spiritual and temporal principalities and jurisdictions were so closely interwoven as to afford them continual opportunities of interfering in the civil affairs of Germany. The dispute between Cleves and Cologne about Soest, that between Utrecht and East Friesland about Groningen, and a vast number of others, were evoked by the pope before his tribunal. In 1472 he confirmed atoll, levied in the electorate of Treves: like the emperor, he granted privilegia de non evocando.

Gregory VII’s comparison of the papacy to the sun and the empire to the moon was now verified. The Germans regarded the papal power as in every respect the higher. When, for example, the town of Basel founded its high school, it was debated whether, after the receipt of the brief containing the pope’s approbation, the confirmation of the emperor was still necessary; and at length decided that it was not so, since the inferior power could not confirm the decisions of the superior, and the papal see was the well-head of Christendom. The pretender to the Palatinate, Frederic the Victorious, whose electoral rank the emperor refused to acknowledge, held it sufficient to obtain the pope’s sanction, and received no further molestation in the exercise of his privileges as member of the empire. The judge of the king’s court having on some occasion pronounced the ban of the empire on the council of Lübeck, the council obtained a cassation of this sentence from the pope. It was assuredly to be expected that the emperor would feel the humiliation of his position, and would resist the pope as often and as strenuously as possible. However great was the devotion of the princes to the see of Rome, they felt the oppressiveness of its pecuniary exactions; and more than once the spirit of the Basel decrees, or the recollections of the proceedings at Constance, manifested themselves anew. We find draughts of a league to prevent the constitution of Constance, according to which a council should be held every ten years, from falling into utter desuetude. After the death of Nicholas V the princes urged the emperor to seize the favourable moment for asserting the freedom of the nation, and at least to take measures for the complete execution of the agreement entered into with Eugenius; but Frederic III was deaf to their entreaties. Aeneas Sylvius persuaded him that it was necessary for him to keep well with the pope. He brought forward a few common-places concerning the instability of the multitude, and their natural hatred of their chief;—just as if the princes of the empire were a sort of democracy: the emperor, said he, stands in need of the pope, and the pope of the emperor; it would be ridiculous to offend the man from whom we want assistance. He himself was sent in 1456 to tender unconditional obedience to Pope Calixtus. This immediately revived the old spirit of resistance. An outline was drawn of a pragmatic sanction, in which not only all the charges against the papal see were recapitulated in detail, and redress of grievances proposed, but it was also determined what was to be done in case of a refusal; what appeal was to be made, and how the desired end was to be attained. But what result could be anticipated while the emperor, far from taking part in this plan, did everything he could to thwart it? He sincerely regarded himself as the natural ally of the papacy.

The inevitable effect of this conduct on his part was that the discontent of the electors, already excited by the inactivity and the absence of the emperor, occasionally burst out violently against him. As early as the year 1456 they required him to repair on a given day to Nurnberg, for that it was his office and duty to bear the burden of the empire in an honourable manner: if he did not appear, they would, at any rate, meet, and do what was incumbent on them. As he neither appeared then nor afterwards, in 1460 they sent him word that it was no longer consistent with their dignity and honour to remain without a head. They repeated their summons that he would appear on the Tuesday after Epiphany, and accompanied it with still more vehement threats. They began seriously to take measures for setting up a king of the Romans in opposition to him. From the fact that George Podiebrad, king of Bohemia, was the man on whom they cast their eyes, it is evident that the opposition was directed against both emperor and pope jointly. What must have been the consequence of placing a Utraquist at the head of the empire? This increased the zeal and activity of Pope Pius II (whom we have hitherto known as Aeneas Sylvius), in consolidating the alliance of the see of Rome with the emperor, who, on his side, was scarcely less deeply interested in it. The independence of the prince-electors was odious to both. As one of the claims of the emperor had always been, that no electoral diet should be held without his consent, so Pius II, in like manner, now wanted to bind Diether, Elector of Mainz, to summon no such assembly without the approbation of the papal see. Diether’s refusal to enter into any such engagement was the main cause of their quarrel. Pius did not conceal from the emperor that he thought his own power endangered by the agitations which prevailed in the empire. It was chiefly owing to his influence, and to the valour of Markgrave Albert Achilles of Brandenburg, that they ended in nothing. From this time we find the imperial and the papal powers, which had come to a sense of their common interest and reciprocal utility, more closely united than ever. The diets of the empire were held under their joint authority; they were called royal and papal, papal and royal diets. In the reign of Frederic, as formerly in that of Sigismund, we find the papal legates present at the meetings of the empire, which were not opened till they appeared. The spiritual princes took their seats on the right, the temporal on the left, of the legates: it was not till a later period that the imperial commissioners were introduced, and proposed measures in concert with the papal functionaries. It remains for us to inquire how far this very singular form of government was fitted to satisfy the wants of the empire.


We have seen what a mighty influence had, from the remotest times, been exercised by the princes of Germany. First, the imperial power and dignity had arisen out of their body, and by their aid; then, they had supported the emancipation of the papacy, which involved their own: now, they stood opposed to both. Although strongly attached to, and deeply imbued with, the ideas of Empire and Papacy, they were resolved to repel the encroachments of either: their power was already so independent, that the emperor and the pope deemed it necessary to combine against them. If we proceed to inquire who were these magnates, and upon what their power rested, we shall find that the temporal hereditary sovereignty, the germ of which had long existed in secret and grown unperceived, shot up in full vigour in the fifteenth century; and (if we may be allowed to continue the metaphor), after it had long struck its roots deep into the earth, it now began to rear its head into the free air, and to tower above all the surrounding plants. All the puissant houses which have since held sovereign sway date their establishment from this epoch.

In the eastern part of North Germany appeared the race of Hohenzollern; and though the land its princes had to govern and to defend was in the last stage of distraction and ruin, they acted with such sedate vigour and cautious determination, that they soon succeeded in driving back their neighbours within their ancient bounds, pacifying and restoring the marches, and re-establishing the very peculiar bases of sovereign power which already existed in the country.

Near this remarkable family arose that of Wettin, and, by the acquisition of the electorate of Saxony, soon attained to the highest rank among the princes of the empire, and to the zenith of its power. It possessed the most extensive and at the same time the most flourishing of German principalities, as long as the brothers, Ernest and Albert, held their united court at Dresden and shared the government; and even when they separated, both lines remained sufficiently considerable to play a part in the affairs of Germany, and indeed of Europe.

In the Palatinate we find Frederic the Victorious. It is necessary to read the long list of castles, jurisdictions, and lands which he won from all his neighbours, partly by conquest, partly by purchase or treaty, but which his superiority in arms rendered emphatically his own, to form a conception what a German prince could in that age achieve, and how widely he could extend his sway.

The conquests of Hessen were of a more peaceful nature. By the inheritance of Ziegenhain and Nidda, but more especially of Katzenelnbogen, a fertile, highly cultivated district, from which the old counts had never suffered a village or a farm to be taken, whether by force or purchase, it acquired an addition nearly equal to its original territory.

A similar spirit of extension and fusion was also at work in many other places. Juliers and Berg formed a junction. Bavaria-Landshut was strengthened by its union with Ingolstadt; in Bavaria-Munich, Albert the Wise maintained the unity of the land under the most difficult circumstances; not without violence, but, at least in this case, with beneficial results. In Wurtemberg, too, a multitude of separate estates were gradually incorporated into one district, and assumed the form of a German principality.

New territorial powers also arose. In East Friesland a chieftain at length appeared, before whom all the rest bowed; Junker Ulrich Cirksena, who, by his own conquests, extended and consolidated the power founded on those of his brother and his father. He also conciliated the adherents of the old Fokko Uken, who were opposed to him, by a marriage with Theta, the granddaughter of that chief. Hereupon he was solemnly proclaimed count at Emden, in the year 1463. But it was to Theta, who was left to rule the country alone during twenty-eight years, that the new sovereignty chiefly owed its strength and stability. This illustrious woman, whose pale, beautiful countenance, brilliant eyes and raven hair survive in her portrait, was endowed with a vast understanding and a singular capacity for governing, as all her conduct and actions prove.

Already had several German princes raised themselves to foreign thrones. In the year 1448, Christian I, Count of Oldenburg, signed the declaration or contract which made him king of Denmark: in 1450, he was invested with the crown of St. Olaf, at Drontheim; in 1457, the Swedes acknowledged him as their sovereign; in 1460, Holstein did homage to him, and was raised on his account to the rank of a German duchy. These acquisitions were not, it is true, of so stable and secure a character as they at first appeared; but, at all events, they conferred upon a German princely house a completely new position both in Germany and in Europe.

The rise of the princely power and sovereignty was, as we see, not the mere result of the steady course of events; the noiseless and progressive development of political institutions; it was brought about mainly by adroit policy, successful war and the might of personal character.

Yet the secular princes by no means possessed absolute sovereignty; they were still involved in an incessant struggle with the other powers of the empire.

These were, in the first place, the spiritual principalities (whose privileges and internal organisation wore the same as those of the secular, but whose rank in the hierarchy of the empire was higher), in which nobles of the high or even the inferior aristocracy composed the chapter and tilled the principal places. In the fifteenth century, indeed, the bishoprics began to be commonly conferred on the younger sons of sovereign princes: the court of Rome favoured this practice, from the conviction that the chapters could only be kept in order by the strong hand and the authority of sovereign power; but it was neither universal, nor was the fundamental principle of the spiritual principalities by any means abandoned in consequence of its adoption.

There was also a numerous body of nobles who received their investiture with the banner, like the princes, and had a right to sit in the same tribunal with them; nay, there were even families or clans, which, from all time, claimed exemption from those general feudal relations that formed the bond of the state, and held their lands in fee from God and his blessed Son. They were overshadowed by the princely order; but they enjoyed perfect independence notwithstanding.

Next to this class came the powerful body of knights of the Empire, whose castles crowned the hills on the Rhine, in Swabia and Franconia; they lived in haughty loneliness amidst the wildest scenes; girt round by an impregnable circle of deep fosses, and within walls four-and-twenty feet thick, where they could set all authority at defiance: the bond of fellowship among them was but the stricter for their isolation. Another portion of the nobility, especially in the eastern and colonised principalities in Pomerania and Mecklenburg, Meissen and the Marches, were, however, brought into undisputed subjection; though this, as we see in the example of the Priegnitz, was not brought about without toil and combat.

There was also a third class that constantly refused to acknowledge any feudal lord. The Craichgauer and the Mortenauer would not acknowledge the sovereignty of the Palatine, nor the Bokler and Lowenritter, that of Bavaria. We find that the Electors of Mainz and Treves, on occasion of some decision by arbitration, feared that their nobles would refuse to abide by it, and knew not what measure to resort to in this contingency, except to rid themselves of these refractory vassals and withdraw their protection from them. It seems, in some cases, as if the relation of subject and ruler had become nothing more than a sort of alliance.

Still more completely independent was the attitude assumed by the cities. Opposed to all these different classes of nobles, which they regarded as but one body, they were founded on a totally different principle, and had struggled into importance in the midst of incessant hostility. A curious spectacle is afforded by this old enmity constantly pervading all the provinces of Germany, yet in each one taking a different form. In Prussia, the opposition of the cities gave rise to the great national league against the supreme power, which was here in the hands of the Teutonic Order. On the Wendish coasts was then the centre of the Hanse, by which the Scandinavian kings, and still more the surrounding German princes, were overpowered. The Duke of Pomerania himself was struck with terror, when, on coming to succour Henry the Elder of Brunswick, he perceived by what powerful and closely allied cities his friend was encompassed and enchained on every side. On the Rhine, we find an unceasing struggle for municipal independence, which the chief cities of the ecclesiastical principalities claimed, and the Electors refused to grant. In Franconia, Nurnberg set itself in opposition to the rising power of Brandenburg, which it rivalled in successful schemes of aggrandisement. Then followed in Swabia and the Upper Danube (the true arena of the struggles and the leagues of imperial free cities), the same groups of knights, lords, prelates and princes, who here approached most nearly to each other. Among the Alps, the confederacy formed against

Austria had already grown into a regular constitutional government, and attained to almost complete independence. On every side we find different relations, different claims and disputes, different means of carrying on the conflict; but on all, men felt themselves surrounded by hostile passions which any moment might blow into a flame, and held themselves ready for battle. It seemed not impossible that the municipal principle might eventually get the upper hand in all these conflicts, and prove as destructive to the aristocratical, as that had been to the imperial, power.

In this universal shock of efforts and powers,—with a distant and feeble chief, and inevitable divisions even among those naturally connected and allied, a state of things arose which presents a somewhat chaotic aspect; it was the age of universal private warfare. The Fehde is a middle term between duel and war. Every affront or injury led, after certain formalities, to the declaration, addressed to the offending party, that the aggrieved party would be his foe, and that of his helpers and helpers’ helpers. The imperial authorities felt themselves so little able to arrest this torrent, that they endeavoured only to direct its course; and, while imposing limitations, or forbidding particular acts, they confirmed the general permission of the established practice.

The right which the supreme, independent power had hitherto reserved to itself, of resorting to arms when no means of conciliation remained, had descended in Germany to the inferior classes, and was claimed by nobles and cities against each other; by subjects against their lords, nay, by private persons, as far as their means and connections permitted, against each other.

In the middle of the fifteenth century this universal tempest of contending powers was arrested by a conflict of a higher and more important nature—the opposition of the princes to the emperor and the pope; and it remained to be decided from whose hands the world could hope for any restoration to order.

Two princes appeared on the stage, each of them the hero of his nation, each at the head of a numerous party; each possessed of personal qualities strikingly characteristic of the epoch—Frederic of the Palatinate, and Albert of Brandenburg. They took opposite courses. Frederic the Victorious, distinguished rather for address and agility of body than for size and strength, owed his fame and his success to the forethought and caution with which he prepared his battles and sieges. In time of peace he busied himself with the study of antiquity, or the mysteries of alchemy; poets and minstrels found ready access to him, as in the springtime of poetry; he lived under the same roof with his friend and songstress, Clara Dettin of Augsburg, whose sweetness and sense not only captivated the prince, but were the charm and delight of all around him. He had expressly renounced the comforts of equal marriage and legitimate heirs; all that he accomplished or acquired was for the advantage of his nephew Philip.

The towering and athletic frame of Markgrave Albert of Brandenburg (surnamed Achilles), on the contrary, announced, at the first glance, his gigantic strength: he had been victor in countless tournaments, and stories of his courage and warlike prowess, bordering on the fabulous, were current among the people;—how, for example, at some siege he had mounted the walls alone, and leaped down into the midst of the terrified garrison; how, hurried on by a slight success over an advanced party of the enemy, he had rushed almost unattended into their main body of 800 horsemen, had forced his way up to their standard, snatched it from its bearer, and after a momentary feeling of the desperateness of his position, rallied his courage and defended it, till his people could come up and complete the victory. Aeneas Sylvius declares that the Markgrave himself assured him of the fact. His letters breathe a passion for war. Even after a defeat he had experienced, he relates to his friends with evident pleasure, how long he and four others held out on the field of battle; how he then cut his way through with great labour and severe fighting, and how he was determined to re-appear as soon as possible in the field. In time of peace he busied himself with the affairs of the empire, in which he took a more lively and efficient part than the emperor himself. We find him sharing in all the proceedings of the diets; or holding a magnificent and hospitable court in his Franconian territories; or directing his attention to his possessions in the Mark, which were governed by his son with all the vigilance dictated by the awe of a grave and austere father. Albert is the worthy progenitor of the warlike house of Brandenburg. He bequeathed to it not only wise maxims, but, what is of more value, a great example.

About the year 1461 these two princes embraced, as we have said, different parties. Frederic, who as yet possessed no distinctly recognised power, and in all things obeyed his personal impulses, put himself at the head of the opposition. Albert, who always followed the trodden path of existing relations, undertook the defence of the emperor and the pope: fortune wavered for a time between them. But at last the Jorsika, as George Podiebrad was called, abandoned his daring plans. Diether of Isenburg was succeeded by his antagonist, Adolf of Nassau; and Frederic the Palatine consented to give up his prisoners: victory leaned, in the main, to the side of Brandenburg. The ancient authorities of the Empire and the Church were once more upheld.

These authorities, too, now seemed seriously bent on introducing a better order of things. By the aid of the victorious party, the emperor found himself, for the first time, in a position to exercise a certain influence in the empire; Pope Paul II wished to fit out an expedition against the Turks: with united strength they proceeded to the work at the diet of Nurnberg (A.D. 1466).

It was an assembly which distinctly betrayed the state of parties under which it had been convoked. Frederic the Palatine appeared neither in person nor by deputy; the ambassadors of Podiebrad who had fallen into fresh disputes with the papal see were not admitted: nevertheless, the resolutions passed there were of great importance. It was determined for the next five years to regard every breach of the Public Peace f as a crime against the majesty of the empire, and to punish it with the ban. It was found that the spiritual tribunals must come in aid of the temporal sword; and accordingly the pope denounced the heaviest spiritual penalties against violators of the Public Peace. The emperor formally adopted these resolutions at an assembly at Neustadt, in the year 1467, and for the first time revoked the articles of the Golden Bull and the Reformation of 1442, in which private wars were, under certain conditions, permitted. A peace was proclaimed, “enjoined by our most gracious lord the king of the Romans, and confirmed by our holy father the pope,” as the electors express themselves.

Sometime afterwards—at Regensburg, in the year 1471—the allied powers ventured on a second yet more important step, for the furtherance of the war against the Turks, which they declared themselves at length about to undertake: they attempted to impose a sort of property tax on the whole empire, called the Common Penny, and actually obtained an edict in its favour. They named in concert the officers charged with the collection of it in the archiepiscopal and episcopal sees; and the papal legate threatened the refractory with the sum of all spiritual punishments, exclusion from the community of the church.

These measures undoubtedly embraced what was most immediately necessary to the internal and external interests of the empire. But how was it possible to imagine that they would be executed? The combined powers were by no means strong enough to carry through such extensive and radical innovations. The diets had not been attended by nearly sufficient numbers, and people did not hold themselves bound by the resolutions of a party. The opposition to the emperor and the pope had not attained its object, but it still subsisted: Frederic the Victorious still lived, and had now an influence over the very cities which had formerly opposed him. The collection of the Common Penny was, in a short time, not even talked of; it was treated as a project of Paul II, to whom it was not deemed expedient to grant such extensive powers.

The proclamation of the Public Peace had also produced little or no effect. After some time the cities declared that it had occasioned them more annoyance and damage than they had endured before. It was contrary to their wishes that, in the year 1474, it was renewed with all its actual provisions. The private wars went on as before. Soon afterwards one of the most powerful imperial cities, Regensburg, the very place where the Public Peace was proclaimed, fell into the hands of the Bavarians. The combined powers gradually lost all their consideration. In the year 1479 the propositions of the emperor and the pope were rejected in a mass by the estates of the empire, and were answered with a number of complaints. And yet never could stringent measures be more imperiously demanded.

I shall not go into an elaborate description of the evils attendant on the right of diffidation or private warfare (Fehderecht): they were probably not as great as is commonly imagined. Even in the century we are treating of, there were Italians to whom the situation of Germany appeared happy and secure in comparison with that of their own country, where, in all parts, one faction drove out another. It was only the level country and the high roads which were exposed to robbery and devastation. But even so, the state of things was disgraceful and insupportable to a great nation. It exhibited the strongest contrast to the ideas of law and of religion upon which the Empire was so peculiarly founded.

One consequence of it was, that as every man was exclusively occupied with the care of his own security and defence, or could at best not extend his view beyond the horizon immediately surrounding him, no one had any attention to bestow on the common weal; not only were no more great enterprises achieved, but even the frontiers were hardly defended. In the East, the old conflict between the Germans and the Lettish and Slavonian tribes was decided in favour of the latter. As the King of Poland found allies in Prussia itself, he obtained an easy victory over the Order, and compelled the knights to conclude the peace of Thorn (A. D. 1466), by which the greater part of the territories of the Order were ceded to him, and the rest were held of him in fee. Neither emperor nor empire stirred to avert this incalculable loss. In the West, the idea of obtaining the Rhine as a boundary first awoke in the minds of the French, and the attacks of the Dauphin and the Armagnacs were only foiled by local resistance. But what the one line of the house of Valois failed in, the other, that of Burgundy, accomplished with brilliant success. As the wars between France and England were gradually terminated, and nothing more was to be gained in that field, this house, with all its ambition and all its good fortune, threw itself on the territory of Lower Germany. In direct defiance of the imperial authority, it took possession of Brabant and Holland; then Philip the Good took Luxembourg, placed his natural son in Utrecht, and his nephew on the episcopal throne of Liege; after which an unfortunate quarrel between father and son gave Charles the Bold an opportunity to seize upon Guelders. A power was formed such as had not arisen since the time of the great duchies, and the interests and tendencies of which were naturally opposed to those of the empire. This state the restless Charles resolved to extend, on the one side, towards Friesland, on the other, along the Upper Rhine. When at length he fell upon the archbishopric of Cologne and besieged Neuss, some opposition was made to him, but not in consequence of any concerted scheme or regular armament, but of a sudden levy in the presence of imminent danger. The favourable moment for driving him back within his own frontiers had been neglected. Shortly after, on his attacking Lotharingia, Alsatia, and Switzerland, those countries were left to defend themselves. Meanwhile, Italy had in fact completely emancipated herself. If the emperor desired to be crowned there, he must go unarmed like a mere traveller; his ideal power could only be manifested in acts of grace and favour. The King of Bohemia, who also possessed the two Lusatias and Silesia, and an extensive feudal dominion within the empire, insisted loudly on his rights, and would hear nothing of the corresponding obligations.

The life of the nation must have been already extinct, had it not, even in the midst of all these calamities, and with the prospect of further imminent peril before it, taken measures to establish its internal order and to restore its external power;—objects, however, not to be attained without a revolution in both its spiritual and temporal affairs.

The tendency to development and progress in Europe is sometimes more active and powerful in one direction, sometimes in another. At this moment temporal interests were most prominent; and these, therefore, must first claim our attention.

AT the beginning of his success, not long after the migration of nations had commenced, Athaulf, King of the Visigoths, conceived the idea of gothicising the Roman world, and making himself the Caesar of all; he would maintain the Roman laws. If we understand him aright, he first intended to combine the Romans of the West (who, though sprung of many and diverse tribes, had, after a union that had lasted for centuries, at length become one realm and one people) in a new unity with the Teutonic races. He afterwards despaired of being able to effect this; but the collective Teutonic nations at last brought it about, and in a still wider sense than he had dreamed of. It was not long before Lugdunensian Gaul became not, it is true, a Gothland, but a Lugdunensian Germania.

Eventually the purple of a Caesar passed to the Teutonic races in the person of Charlemagne. At length these likewise adopted the Roman law. In this combination six great nations were formed three in which the Latin element predominated, viz. the French, the Spanish, and the Italian; and three in which the Teutonic element was conspicuous, viz. the German, the English, and the Scandinavian.

Each of these six nationalities was again broken up into separate parts; they never formed one nation, and they were almost always at war among themselves. Wherein, then, is their unity displayed? Wherein is it to be perceived? They are all sprung from the same or a closely allied stock; are alike in manners, and similar in many of their institutions: their internal histories precisely coincide, and certain great enterprises are common to all. The following work, which is based upon this conception, would be unintelligible, were not the latter explained by a short survey of those external enterprises which, arising as they do from the same spirit, form a progressive development of the Latin and Teutonic life from the first beginning until now.

These are the migration of nations, the Crusades, and the colonization of foreign countries.

The migration of nations founded the unity of which we speak. The actual event, the movement itself, proceeded from the Germans; but the Latin countries were not merely passive. In exchange for the arms and the new public life which they received, they communicated to the victors their religion and their language. Reccared had, indeed, to become a Catholic before mutual intermarriage between the Visigoths and the Latin peoples could be legally permitted in Spain. But, after this, the races and their languages became completely blended. In Italy the communities of Lombard and Roman extraction, in spite of their original separation, became so closely intertwined that it is almost impossible to distinguish the component elements of each. It is clear what great influence the bishops exercised upon the founding of France; and yet they were at first purely of Latin origin. It is not until the year 556 A.D. that we meet with a Prankish bishop in Paris. Now, although in these nations we find that both elements in a short time became welded and blended together, the case was very different with the Anglo-Saxons, the implacable foes of the Britons, from whom they adopted neither religion nor language, as well as with the other Teutons in their German and Scandinavian homes. Yet even these were not finally able to resist Latin Christianity and a great part of Latin culture. Between both divisions of this conglomeration of peoples there was formed a close community of kindred blood, kindred religion, institutions, manners, and modes of thought. They successfully resisted the influence of foreign races. Among those nations which besides them had taken part in the migration of peoples, it was chiefly the Arabs, Hungarians, and Slavs who threatened to disturb, if not to destroy them. But the Arabs were averted by the complete incompatibility of their religion; the Hungarians were beaten back within their own borders; and the neighbouring Slavs were at last annihilated or subjected.

What can knit together individuals or nations into closer relationship than a participation in the same destiny, and a common history? Among the internal and external occurrences of these earlier times, the unity of one particular event can almost be perceived. The Germanic nations, possessors from time immemorial of a great country, take the field, conquer the Roman empire of the West, and, more than this, keep what they have got. About the year 530 we find them in possession of all the countries extending from the cataracts of the Danube to the mouth of the Rhine and across to the Tweed, and all the land from Hallin Halogaland to that Baetica, from which the Vandals take their name, and across the sea to where the Atlas range sinks down into the desert. As long as they were united, no one was able to wrest these territories from them; but their isolation, and the opposition between Arian and Catholic doctrines, led first to the destruction of the Vandals. The loss that was caused by the fall of the Ostrogothic empire was to a certain extent retrieved by the Lombards when they occupied Italy not entirely, for never at any time were they complete masters of Italy, to say nothing of Sicily or Illyria, as the Goths were; but it was owing to these Lombards, who first destroyed the Heruli and Gepidae, but thereupon left their hereditary and their conquered settlements to a Sarmatian people, that the Danube was lost almost up to its sources. A fresh loss was the destruction of the Thuringian kingdom. The irruption of the Slavs far into the country lying to the west of the Elbe is probably not unconnected with this. But the greatest danger was threatened by the Arabs. They took Spain at a dash; invaded France and Italy; and, had they won a single battle more, the Latin portion at least of our nations might have been doomed. What could be expected when Franks and Lombards, Franks and Saxons, Angles and Danes lived in deadly enmity? Let us not forget that the founding of the Papacy and the Empire warded off this danger.

If I may be allowed to state my own convictions, the real power of the Papacy - that which has really endured was not established before the seventh century. It was not until then that the Anglo-Saxons recognized in the Pope, from whom their conversion immediately proceeded, their true patriarch, took to them a primate of his appointment, and paid him tribute. It was from England, that Boniface, the apostle of the Germans, went forth. Not only on being made Archbishop of Mainz, did he swear allegiance, sincere devotion, and assistance to St. Peter and his successors, but the other bishops also swore to remain until death subject to the Roman Church, and to keep the ordinances of Peter's successors. He did yet more. For a hundred years before his day not a single letter can be found from the Pope of Rome, addressed to the Prankish clergy, so independent were the latter. Boniface, on Pipin's incentive, brought them also into subjection; and the metropolitan bishops whom he instituted received the pallium from Rome. These were the three nations of which, with the Lombards, Christendom consisted in the West after the Spanish disaster. Charlemagne also freed the Pope from the enmity of the Lombards; he made him the Frankish Patrician, so that he ceased dating his bulls by the years of the reigns of the Greek emperors, and drew him completely into the sphere of the newly founded world. Thus did the Pope become the ecclesiastical head of the Latin and Teutonic nations. He became so at the very time when the Arabs became powerful and gained ground; his new dignity assuaged the enmity of the hostile races, and effected a material reconciliation between them. But they were only able to cope with the enemy, when relying on the power of the Pipins and the empire of Charlemagne.

Merit is due to Charlemagne for having united all the Latino-Germanic nations of the Continent, in so far as they were Christians, or were becoming so. Egbert, moreover, who made the heptarchy of the Angles a monarchy, was his disciple for having given them a constitution suited alike for war and peace, and for having taught them to advance again against their enemies along the Danube, to the east of the Saale and Elbe, and across the Pyrenees. But all had not yet been done. There appeared on one side, on every frontier, the Hungarians, in irresistible numbers, on horseback, and armed with bows and arrows; and simultaneously on the other, on every coast, the Normans, both Vikings and Askemans, alike daring by sea and land. But at this very time the empire of Charlemagne perished through the mistakes made by his successors, whose nicknames almost invariably record their follies, so that the danger was renewed. It may be said that the migration of nations did not cease before these movements had been repressed. The Hungarians were driven back, and became Christians; and at the same time the contiguous Slavonic nations became Christian also. All of them long vacillated between the Roman and the Greek form of worship before -and this was doubtless due to the influence of the Teutonic emperors- they decided for the former. It cannot be said that these peoples belong also to the unity of our nations; their manners and their constitution have ever severed them from it. At that time they never exercised any independent influence, they only appear either subservient or antagonistic; they receive, so to speak, only the ebb of the tide of the general movements. But the Normans, of Germanic origin, were drawn into the circle of the other nations, and established themselves in France and England. They retaliated by carrying Germanic life in the eleventh century to Naples and Sicily. Their kindred at home had also meantime become Christians, and, except for an insignificant remnant, completely entered into the circle to which they naturally belonged.

Here, then, in the middle of the eleventh century, the movements of the migration of nations ended. The future development of the European languages, an intellectual fruit of these stormy centuries, had now been started in all its unity and diversity. If we glance at the French form of oath prescribed at Strasbourg, we seem to find therein traces of the Italian, French, and Spanish dialects all at once. As this points to the unity of the Latin dialects, so does the fact that they have been recently combined in a single grammar bear still greater testimony to the unity of the Germanic dialects. The foundations of all modern kingdoms and their constitutions had been laid. Empire and Papacy were held in universal regard; the former represented the Teutonic, the latter the Latin principle of the great union of nations; the one supported the other.

After this, the original migratory impulse took a different turn, owing to the fact that it coincided with a complete devotion to Christianity. The Crusades may almost be regarded as a continuation of the migration of nations. The same people who had concluded the latter, viz. the Normans, took, in the same century, the most vigorous part in the first Crusade. Not only were they led by three eminent princes, namely, Robert of Normandy, whom the old chroniclers place above the supreme commander in point of nobility, wealth, and even intellectual excellence, Bohemond of Tarentum, whose participation contemporaries rightly connected with his operations against the Greeks, and Tancred; but so many individual Normans took part in them, that a war which was then in progress had to be brought to a close, owing to the dearth of warriors. It may perhaps have been a Norwegian, St. Olaf, who was the first to adopt the cross in war, both for himself and his army.

The great armed pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the eleventh century appear to have originated with the Normans; the successful issue of them is at all events ascribed to them before all others by Roger de Hoveden. All the Latin and Teutonic nations shared in this new enthusiasm. In the first expedition we find Spaniards, the counts of Cerdan and Canet. Lope de Vega has left us a grand poem, immortalizing the meritorious services of the Castilians in the Holy Land. As early as the year 1121, Sigurd of Norway earned the name of Jorsalafar (pilgrim to Jerusalem); of the other nations it is known that they also took part in it. Never did a foreign nation, and only on one occasion did a foreign prince, Andrew of Hungary, participate therein, and he only did so as the leader of an Upper German expedition, and he was, moreover, the son of a French mother. The Crusades were in the main the unaided undertakings of the whole body of the Latin and Teutonic nations.

Now let us observe how the Crusades caused these nations to extend on all sides and in all directions. Their goal was, it is true, the Holy Land, yet they went to the coast of the Mediterranean besides, and not to that land alone. The Latin Empire at Constantinople would, had it longer existed, have turned the whole Greek Empire into a Latino-German one. Had it not been for St. Louis' ill-luck, Egypt would have become a colony of France; and there appeared at this time a sensible, and certainly most instructive book upon the relations between the East and the West, written with the express intention of inciting to renewed operations against Egypt. In the year 1150 King Roger of Sicily, known as Jarl Roger the Rich among his old countrymen, had possession of the coast of Africa from Tunis to Tripoli, and occupied Mahadia.

But the most important and permanent achievements in the southern world were, without doubt, due to the Spaniards. Their Campeador, the Cid, lived to see the Crusades. In the same period they first succeeded in holding Toledo and the valley of the Tagus, which Alfonso the Emperor had just conquered, against the violent attack of the Almoravides, and then advanced under Alonso Ramon and took the valley of the Guadiana  (Alonso died under an oak-tree on Mount Muradal, at the extreme limit of his actual conquests, for all the rest were again lost). In the same period also they gained under Alonso the Noble the great battle of Navas de Tolosa, and set foot on the Guadalquivir. And finally, at that very time, shortly before the first Crusade of St. Louis, St. Ferdinand subdued Jaen, Cordova, and Seville, and as Granada paid him tribute, the whole of Andalusia also, whilst, shortly before the second Crusade, Alonso the Sage subjected Murcia. In these days Portugal was founded and established as a kingdom. The union of Aragon and Catalonia, the conquest of Valencia, and the exploits of the Conquistador Jayme fall also into this period.

All this is closely connected with the expeditions to the Holy Land. The Archbishop Richard of Toledo, who came to Rome with a host of Crusaders, was sent back again by the Pope, because he and they were more needed at home; and instead of leading them against Jerusalem he now led them against Alcalá. We know that it was chiefly Low Germans, English, and Flemish, who, proceeding on a Crusade, conquered his capital for the prince, who first called himself King of Portugal; and that seventy years later Alfonso II's most brilliant conquest was only effected by the same assistance. In short, the conquest of the peninsula was only achieved by the co-operation of kindred races. Out of the plunder of Almeria, Alonso Ramon gave a splendid jewel to the Genoese as a thank-offering for their services. In the battle of Navas de Tolosa many thousands from beyond the Pyrenees fought in the army of Alonso the Noble.

Concurrently with these operations and progressive advances of our nations on the coasts of the Mediterranean and in the South generally, there were others being carried on in the North which were prompted by the same spirit. Sigurd Jorsalafar, whom we have referred to, made it his first business, after his return, to land at Calmar and to coerce the Smalandic heathen, man by man, to embrace Christianity. With the same object in view St. Eric led the Swedes against the Finns. He shed tears on seeing the battle, but did not stay his hand until he had baptized the Finns in the spring of Lupisala. On the occasion of the second Crusade, on the receipt of a bull from Pope Eugenius III, the Danes, Saxons, and Westphalians leagued together to make a common expedition against the neighbouring Slavs, resolved either to convert them to Christianity, or else to exterminate them. Not long after this, Bishop Meinhard came with traders and artisans from Wisby to Esthonia to preach there. These three undertakings led, if not immediately, at all events by degrees, to a brilliant success. On the west of the Oder the Slavs were, by the times of the Crusades, practically exterminated. German nobility, German citizens and peasants were the real stock of the new inhabitants of Mecklenburg, Pomerania, Brandenburg and Silesia. Since that time the Eastern Pomeranians have always called the Western by the name of Saxons.

In the year 1248, after long struggles, Finland at length became entirely Christian and Swedish. Since that date Swedes have dwelt along the whole coast, and in the strongholds there. Proceeding from the unpretentious colony of Yxkull (Oesel), German rule extended over all Esthonia, Livonia, and Courland; nay, when the Knights of the Sword, who had been established there, despaired of being able to defend a certain fortress against the Prussians, in spite of a great display of bravery, they were instrumental in bringing to their assistance the Teutonic Knights, who then made the land of the Letts a German country. Ashort time longer, and the joint possessions of both orders extended from Danzig to Narva. Here they met the Pomeranians, who were now either entirely germanized or partially so, owing to their subjection to the Emperor and Empire. Here, on the Gulf of Finland, they became neighbours of the Swedes. The German name embraced the whole of the Baltic.

To the same circle of events belong the operations of Henry Plantagenet in Ireland. He brought it to pass that thenceforth two nations have lived together in Ireland: the native Irish, the subjected, and the Anglo-Germanic, the dominant. The English, if not first brought over, were certainly established there by him. At that time Venice taught the Dalmatians to speak Italian. This event must also be comprehended in our survey, for it is a new extension of our nations; and the Pope likewise instigated the attack upon Ireland, because that land would never obey him. Yet, in order not to depart from the principle we have laid down, those two undertakings, in the North and the South, must principally be kept in view, which sprang from the same tendency, and were carried out by the same arms, under the same symbols, and often with the assistance of the same men. They show the unity of our nations in idea, in action, and in development.

But this principle is most clearly visible in the Crusades of the South and the North. This stirring energy, the result of an intellectual impulse, expanding in all directions, found a fitting expression in noble institutions and creations which belong to it, and belong to it exclusively. We will dwell on two alone. War may arouse every brutal passion in our nature, but it is the province of chivalry to save the true man, to soften force by manners and the elevating influence of women, and to refine strength by pointing it to what is divine. Its origin, in this sense, is coeval with the formation of the first two ecclesiastical orders of knighthood, and the zenith of its bloom coincides beyond doubt with the foundation of the third. After the Crusades it did not die out, but took another development which was different in different lands. It never spread to other nations; even the Hospitallers and Templars never owned a province in any other country, or more than a few possessions. The Teutonic Knights stood in constant contrast to the Letts and the Slavs. One noble blossom of chivalry is the poetry of these times. If it is true, as seems to be the case, that the story of Bechadas, by Godfrey of Bouillon, was the first novel, and if the cycle of tales of Charlemagne and Arthur are, as appears very probable, immediately connected therewith, it is evident what a great share the Crusades have had in the foundation of modern poetry. This poetry, at any rate, binds all our nations exclusively together. The prefaces to the Wilkinasaga, and the Niflungasaga, confess that they were composed in Iceland after German models. No other people had any share in it.

But war was not waged by knights alone; the freedom of the towns was also founded in war, and, in the case of all our nations, dates from this time. The first consuls of the Italian communities, chosen by themselves, and upon the selection of whom their whole freedom rests, appear contemporaneously with the first Crusade, in the year 1100. We certainly meet with them first in Genoa on the occasion of an expedition to the Holy Land. In the course of our period they procured for themselves the full powers of the old royal counts. As early as the year 1112, we meet with the same institutions in France, free communes under magistrates and elders of their own election. As the king marches under the oriflamme, the standard of St. Denis -a device which appears to be the true origin of this imperial banner- so all the communes take the field with him, each under the standard of its local saint. The cities in Castile, because of their martial ardour, were, in the year 1169, given a seat in the Cortes; and at the battle of Navas their assistance appears to have been not inconsiderable. The German cities, in the course of the same period, by freeing themselves from the “Vogt”, developed to independent unions. During the reign of Henry III the English towns were represented in Parliament. It was in Gothland, upon Swedish soil, that Wisby flourished. Thus, hand in hand with chivalry and the crusades, the cities developed both in freedom and importance throughout the Latin and Teutonic nations from north to south. In the same way as the peculiarities of our poetry are due to chivalry, so our characteristic architecture appears to be due to the cities. In this same period it developed from the flat roof and the semi-circle to those beautiful Gothic proportions we admire in the façade of the cathedral at Strasbourg, in the choir at Cologne, in the spire of Freiburg, and in the whole edifice at Marburg of the year 1235 as well as in the cathedrals of Siena, Rouen, and Burgos.

Neither in chivalry nor yet in the development of the cities have other nations had a share. As late as the year 1501, the Russians of Moscow begged that a knight, an iron man, as they expressed it, should be sent them, and marvelled at him as a wonder. The gates of the cathedral at Novgorod are the work of Magdeburg craftsmen.

Let us dwell yet upon another phenomenon. As the migration of nations was accompanied by the establishment of the Empire and the Papacy, so did the struggle between these two forces arise out of the Crusades. It is not merely a struggle between the Emperor and the Pope; it evidently affects all those confessing the Roman faith. The quarrel between Henry II of England and Thomas Becket is quite analogous to it, both in respect of the interests the combatants had at stake, as well as in the kind of weapons they employed; the two princes and the two ecclesiastics were allied. This quarrel concerns moreover all our nations. Frederick I had Swedes in the army with which he invaded Italy in 1158; it was mainly English gold which supported the popes in their struggles at Naples. The internal affairs of Castile act and react upon the history of Conradin. Charles of Anjou, who brought these wars to a close, was the brother of the French king. Foreign quarrels could not fail to be influenced by internal dissensions. It was natural that in the midst of his Italian wars Frederick should sigh for Asia, where the strength and energy he lavished upon them would have guaranteed him more genuine glory and more perfect happiness. But the internal forces also destroyed themselves. The Papacy was wrong in believing that it had gained in strength by the fall of the Hohenstaufen. Before Conradin had been dead forty years, it fell into the captivity of the French kings. Since that time it has never again been the old Papacy. Which of our nations could say that it has been unaffected by this?

We may distinguish two periods, in respect of these external enterprises; the first, that of their beginning, when they govern the thoughts and hearts of all; the second, that of their continuation, their effects and results. If this strikes the historian at the first glance in the migration of nations, it is almost even more striking in the case of the Crusades.

After the decay and fall of the two great powers, and when the universal interest in external operations had, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, gradually cooled down, there arose in the heart of our nations, so to speak, a universal war of all against all. It was those who belonged most closely together that quarrelled most violently. The Provensals and Catalans are of one stock; but, owing to the claims of their princes, the houses of Anjou and Barcelona, to Naples, they at that time fell into an enmity that lasted for centuries. It was in this struggle that Naples and Sicily became sundered. Portugal was originally a fief of the crown of Castile. After this feudal bond had become severed, the pride of both nations caused a deadly hatred to take root in them. Moreover, the factions of the Nunez and Gamboa pervaded the whole of Spain. Civil wars were only now and again interrupted by a campaign against the Moors, at other times it was the reverse. In Italy Guelphs and Ghibellines, whose names scarcely existed before the commencement of the thirteenth century, nursed and fostered a feud that divided the whole land, town from town, and almost house from house. Owing to the strife between their royal houses, not, as was formerly the case, for a few fiefs, but for the crown itself, France and England became locked in deadly wars. At first it was France that was convulsed by English arms and a great English party; and then England itself was torn by the wars of the white and the red rose. In Germany, races and families fought together no less; Swabians and Swiss are both Alemanni, but they now fell into deadly feud. Austrians and Bavarians are the same race; the battle of Mühldorf shows how little they regarded it. Franconia became split up into the opposing factors of knightly and ecclesiastical domains. Wars of succession, wars of children against their fathers, and wars between brothers, laid waste Thuringia and Meissen. Brandenburg and Pomerania were both peopled by Saxon colonists; but the claims of the Brandenburg princes to the country of the Pomeranians became a great offence between them, and in Pomeranian chronicles the people of the Mark are always mentioned with dislike. Besides this, we have the rising of princes against the sovereign power, and of freeholders against the princes; and, in cases where they were immediate subjects of the Empire, a rising of the knights against the cities; whilst in the cities the guilds rose against the families. Frequently, also, the crown was the object of contention. And it is not alone nations and races, states and cabinets, that regulate public affairs, but families, corporations, and individuals, every one in each matter for himself as best as he may.

In this state of things it might be thought scarcely possible that the unity of an empire, let alone that of the collective body of our nations, could have been preserved. Party feeling divides, but it also unites. It is mainly the Anglo-French wars that act and re-act upon the rest of the European complications, and bind them all together. What could appear to be wider apart than the rebellion of oppressed Scots against the English, and the struggle of Albert and Adolf for the crown of Germany? The battle of Cambuskenneth, in which the English were defeated, and that of Hasenbuhel, in which Adolf fell, both in the year 1298, are all the same intimately connected. Albert was allied with the French, and through them with the Scots, Adolf with the English. The English party in Europe was defeated in both battles. The quarrel between Louis of Bavaria and Charles of Luxembourg for the same crown of Germany was decided not so much in Germany, as by the battle of Crecy. Shortly before, Charles had been raised with all pomp to the throne by four Electors; immediately after the battle his party, the French, had lost we see him hurrying back to Bohemia reft of dignity and power; but Louis sends and solemnly receives English embassies.

In the interest of these two parties, and mainly with their assistance, Peter the Cruel and Henry of Trastamara waged their war for the crown of Castile. Since Peter’s avarice drove the Black Prince, who had assisted him, to the hearth-tax, and this tax goaded the latter's vassals to discontent, which resulted in the decay of the English power in France, while Henry, on the other hand, conquered with the French in Spain, it may be said that the wane of English power in Spain was the result. Other threads connect these events with affairs in Holland and Gelderland, in Aragon and Sardinia, and in Venice and Genoa; hence, not much credence can be placed in the assertion, so often made, that the nations in the Middle Ages were isolated from each other.

Even great intellectual movements pass through them all, and testify to their internal unity. About the year 1350 we find, almost as at the present time, a general tendency to make new constitutions. It was then (1347) that Cola di Rienzi, the Italian zealot, actually restored the good old state of things, as he called it that is, a kind of republican form of government at Rome; further, at that time (1356)plebeians and doge of Venice leagued together against the nobles, in order, in one murderous night, to restore their old rights; and in France (1355), a first assembly of estates of the realm promised both to live and to die with the king, but curtailed his rights not a little; a second demanded reforms and presented a list of twenty-two high personages who were to be deposed from office ; whilst a third finally ushered in a complete revolution, and forced the dauphin to don its red and green cap. These movements were lawless and transitory. Others, at the self-same time, confined themselves within narrower limits and had more durable results. In Aragon, in 1348, in the place of the violent power of the union, the lawful influence of a Justicia was established. For the first time in their history (under Edward III) the Commons of England insisted upon the responsibility of the King's council ; and, perhaps in Germany also, it was similar intellectual movements which, in 1356, caused Charles IV to grant the Golden Bull, that fundamental law of the Empire for centuries to come. At all events, the first union of the provinces into estates of the realm in Brunswick, in Saxony (1350) and elsewhere, took place at the same time. Is it possible that this coincidence was accidental? The common development of our nations, it would seem, necessarily produced the same ideas in all.

In the midst of these movements, whenever, from time to time, the old feud between Emperor and Pope made itself felt, the minds of men turned invariably towards the East and a common expedition against the Infidels. The Pope frequently encouraged the enterprise. In novels, tales, and popular books, the general tendency was at once ventilated and nourished. In the fourteenth century the pastoureaux in France and in England believed that the conquest of the Holy Land was to be the work of the shepherds and peasants, and set out with this end in view. As late as the end of the fifteenth century, in the year 1480, many of the citizens of Parma fastened a red cross upon their shoulder, and pledged themselves to fight against the Infidels. It was chiefly in Spain and Portugal, where the Moorish war was continued at intervals, and finally led to an attack upon Africa, that the crusading spirit was kept alive.

It was this crusading spirit that gave birth to colonization. The following book will show us how the first discoveries and colonies are in a twofold manner connected with the Moorish war; first, through expeditions against Africa, whence proceeded the scheme for the conquest of India, and secondly, through the idea of defending and extending Christendom. The intentions of the Portuguese were concerned directly with the centre of the Arabian faith. They desired to avenge Jerusalem upon Mecca. Their victories were once again fought and won in the enthusiasm of Crusaders. The Spanish operations, on the other hand, being directed, as they were, against heathen, and not against Mohammedans, renewed rather the idea of the Northern Crusades. A grant from the Pope, a proclamation that “the enemy must be converted to Christianity or utterly destroyed”, was all the justification that was necessary. The peasants too, whom Bartolomeo de Las Casas intended to lead upon a more peaceful expedition to Cumana, wore each a red cross.

As a fact, in both Spain and Portugal, migration of peoples, crusades, and colonization form only one single and connected event. The colonies, which moved from the Asturian hills to the coasts of Andalusia and Africa, and which were established as early as 1507 in Almeria, and in 1512 in Oran, now begin on the other shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The Spaniards pride themselves on nothing so much as that they planted there, instead of barbarian peoples, as they say, the sons and descendants of illustrious Castilian families. The five million white men, who are to be found there, are real Spaniards. A million Portuguese dwell in Brazil. An almost equal number, although degenerated, may be distinguished on the coasts of Africa, and in the East Indies. Settlements on such a great scale may be regarded as migrations. Another idea that animates colonizations, and which they have in common with the Crusades, is the propagation of Christianity. A third that is peculiar to and characteristic of them, is the idea of the discovery of the world, of itself one of the greatest conceptions, embracing the human race and the whole earth. It was promoted and fostered by greed for the spices of India, for the gold of America, and for the pearls of the unknown seas, as well as by the interests of trade.

It is not necessary to describe the general participation of our peoples in these events (the Italians at any rate shared in the discoveries); and it is unnecessary to prove at length that they are exclusively peculiar to them. Other nations now and again took part in these movements, but in reality pursued other aims. The unity of a people cannot be better seen than in a common undertaking; and wherein could the unity and the cohesion of several nations, like ours, be better demonstrated? The undertakings to which we have here referred, although continued through many centuries, are common to them all. They connect both the times and the peoples. They are, if I may so say, like three great respirations of this unique confederation



BOOK I . 1494-1501






Twice during the Middle Ages did the Capets conquer France. They went forth from their dukedom, France, encountered the Eudons of Blois and the Plantagenets of Anjou, and were once cut off on all sides from the sea-coast. But Philip Augustus possessed himself of the provinces of North France, and St. Louis of Provence, whilst Philip the Fair subjected the Pope to his crown. This is the first conquest: by the direct line of Hugo Capet. After his line had become extinct, the kingdom was the bone of contention between his male descendants, the Valois, and the female line, the kings of England. King Edward III of England once held half France; on another occasion, one of his successors, Henry V, was in possession of Paris, and even of the crown. It may be described as a second conquest, when Charles VII of Valois again got the upper hand of the English. It was the Maid of Orleans who opened him the gate to victory. She restored to him Champagne; but he owed the recovery of his capital, as well as Normandy and Guienne, and the complete mastery over the country, to the Dukes of Burgundy and Brittany.

Yet the assistance rendered by the great vassals entailed the consequence that the king was after all not completely sovereign. Louis XI, who was made to feel this (he had one day to come and implore peace of the armed barons), determined to put himself into full possession of the sovereign power. He was very suspicious, very shrewd, and discerning enough besides. Yet these qualities would not have enabled him to attain his object, had not the Dukes of Berry, Burgundy, Anjou, and Brittany, as though by a providential intervention, all died without leaving sons. The first-named, his brother, he succeeded without any opposition. In the case of the heiress of the second, her husband, Maximilian of Austria, failed to uphold her claim to Burgundy and the cities on the Somme; in order to have peace, he was besides obliged to consent to the marriage of his daughter, Margaret, with the Dauphin, and to assign to the French Artois and Franche-Comté as her dowry. The third, however, René of Anjou, who styled himself king of three kingdoms, duke of three duchies, and count of three counties, might have made over the countries that he actually possessed, and his rights to the rest, to his grandson, René of Lorraine; but he himself was not in favour of such a course. He had once hoped to join Lorraine to Anjou; and only because he had been taken prisoner had he acquiesced in the marriage of his daughter, of which his grandson was the issue. Should he, then, now go so far as to allow his hereditary lands to pass to Lorraine? The young prince would not even agree to exchange his arms of Lorraine for those of Anjou. Ill-pleased at this, René appointed his nephew Charles, bearing the name and the arms of Anjou, as his heir. But the latter, who was also not blessed with issue, seven years later, as the document says, for the sake of God and the love which he bears King Louis, the son of his father’s sister, assigned to him the inheritance of all his kingdoms, possessions, and rights, thus the territories of Provence and Anjou came directly to the Crown.

Historically, the important point is that the great feudatory lands in the South and East, in contrast to the neighbouring princes who belonged to the Empire, were limited with the French Crown. Brittany alone remained; but Louis had already purchased for his family the rights of the Penthièvre in the country, rights that had already once partly caused a great English war.

But, in order to defend this last bulwark of the vassal-power, Louis of Orleans, the nearest relative of King Charles, who was still a minor, leagued himself with the Bretons and all the King’s domestic and external foes. At St. Aubin, however, he lost the day, and was now in captivity at Bourges. Things were now in this position: the rebellion was checked, but not suppressed; Brittany was, it is true, conquered, but ready to appeal again to arms, and was besides allied with the three most powerful neighbours of the French, England, the Netherlands, and Spain; when Charles attained the age of nineteen years (1491), and began to take heart, and to be desirous of becoming his own master. He signalized his assumption of the reins of government by a noble and unexpected action. One evening he rode off from Plessis to the Tower of Bourges. He went to release the imprisoned duke, regardless of the fact that the latter had borne arms against him. He took him away with him. They conversed and laughed together at table, and slept the night in the same bed. He had well considered this: “Thus he would be called a good prince, and thus he would have faithful servants”. And by this act he put an end to the old feud between the barons and the Crown. Immediately thereafter, Orleans, the Constable, and many notables combined together, no longer, as was formerly the case, for the public good, that is, the well-being of the vassals, but to obey and serve the King.

This opened the way for Charles to effect the conquest of Brittany. Dunois and other friends of the released Louis went to Orleans, and addressed themselves to Anne, the heiress of Brittany, who was betrothed to Maximilian, and already called herself Queen of the Romans. They represented to her that “Since Maximilian’s first marriage with Mary of Burgundy her country had not enjoyed a single day’s peace; that its wealth had become the prey of the Germans; and that a still greater disaster was in store for Brittany, because of the distance at which it lay”. They brought it about, that Anne came to Charles's court at Langeais, and signed the document by which, for the preservation of an eternal alliance and peace between Crown and Duchy, she assigned to him all her rights in the latter, and he all his to her.

By her marriage with the King she became Queen of France. The day on which this took place, and before it was known abroad, it is told how Margaret, hitherto Charles's affianced bride, was seen walking sadly in the garden at Amboise. She told her attendant maidens she had dreamt she had lost a very brilliant and large jewel; and it was certainly a great misfortune for her, when it turned out that the jewel signified the crown of France. But what cared the Council of France for this, when it found that it was upon Charles’s marriage, not with her, but with Anne, that the domestic peace of the realm depended? Personal obligations retired when the consolidation of the French realm and its unity was at stake. Nor did the injured neighbours offer any opposition to the marriage. The renewed idea of the unity of France was even in a certain way favourable to them. Maximilian concluded peace at Senlis, recovering Artois and Franche-Comté, together with his daughter. Henry VII, appeased by a sum of money, returned to England. When, too, King Ferdinand of Spain had received back Roussillon out of pledge for Charles, mindful, probably, of St. Louis, would not be burdened with foreign possessions and had thereupon promised neither to ally his house with Henry, nor with Maximilian, nor yet with Naples, and in nowise, reserving the rights of the Church, to lend the latter his support; when the old alliance between Castile and France had been renewed, king with king, country with country, and man with man; then, and then only did the French again enjoy perfect peace. It may be said that only now had the second conquest of the whole land by the Valois been accomplished.

Then did Charles journey in joy through the villages, which rose out of desolated places, to the towns, which now once more dared to extend beyond their walls. During the next thirty years after Louis XI, almost a third of the houses in the realm were rebuilt, arrangements being made at the same time for internal traffic. The poor peasant, who in the midst of such great fertility could not obtain high prices for his produce, could scarcely, it is true, when the tax-gatherer came, find the money at which he was assessed; yet he needed no longer, as formerly, in fear either of the English or of armed Frenchmen, to hurry his goods and chattels into the church, and to leave his village. The King vouchsafed to him law and right. He himself lived with the nobles in his service, the heads of the great houses, who had been brought up at court. With them frequently were associated the second sons of the lower nobility, such as had neither inherited property nor had wished to enter the Church, and who had learnt in a more illustrious house than their own, perhaps with a trusty knight whom they had themselves chosen, or with a captain, to whom they had been assigned by the King, not the sciences, which they did not esteem, but how to run, wrestle, throw, ride, and shoot with the bow, in one word, the use of arms. In them this free chivalry became developed into a regular, quasi-military service. We find them mainly in the frontier towns, in corps of thirty, fifty, and a hundred men, under a prince or lord who could afford the expense, and who, although he received some pay, devoted as a rule his whole fortune to the service. Each had two archers, a young lad, who was trained up under him, and a servant. They all went together on the campaign. They were called Hommes d'Armes. In times of peace one of them, in honour of his lady, would often institute a prize and invite all his neighbours to a tournament. Here they preferred to engage in masses rather than singly. Umpires were chosen, and after dancing in the evening, and mass the next morning, the prize was awarded. Others wandered through Spain and Portugal, through England and Scotland, to try the prowess of their neighbours. They imagined themselves Lancelots or Tristrams with whom they were well acquainted; their king was to them an Arthur, or the Charlemagne of legend. This intellectual and vigorous movement gave new life to the French nobility. With them their King rode from tournament to tournament. To humour them he called his son Roland; and since they all had inclination for fresh enterprises and he with them, an expedition to Naples began to be talked of.

Now Charles had from his youth up both heard and believed that Naples, which through the adoption of both Joannas had become an hereditary portion of the House of Anjou, had devolved legally upon him with Provence. At the time of which we speak, all doubt upon this point was removed by the will of the younger Joanna, which a Genoese of the name of Calvo, a servant of the Queen, brought to his court, having found it, as he alleged, among the papers of his deceased father. Several members of the Parliament and several doctors of laws appeared before a full assembly of the princes of the blood royal and notables of the realm, and confirmed its validity. The bastard of the conqueror of Aragon, who occupied the throne of Naples, was declared an usurper. Prince Antonello of Salerno, a fugitive from Naples, had for a long time been the mouth-piece of many other fugitives at the court of France; were he now to tell the truth, how cruel and detested the Aragonese was, that would surely move the young King to pity and rouse his hopes. For some time past, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, who had fled from the Pope and the Aragonese, and who had still fortresses and adherents in the States of the Church, had also resided at the court. He likewise urged the young King to undertake an expedition against Naples. The messengers and letters of Ludovico il Moro, ruler of Milan, decided the matter. “How long wilt thou” he wrote, “leave the inheritance of thy crown a booty in a foreign land, and the name of France in contempt? Thy people at Naples are oppressed and appeal to thee; I will assist thee with money and arms, with man and horse. Half Italy is with thee, and God himself. Gird thyself, delay is ever hurtful. And thinkest thou never, Charles, on thy great forefather, who advised that a war against the Turks should be begun from this kingdom? Sail from Brindisi to Avlona; and thou wilt crush the Turks, who are at present engaging in battle against the Hungarians, before they are aware of thy coming. Thou wilt conquer the Holy lands, where thy forefathers were once triumphant, and restore Jerusalem itself to Christendom and thy realm. Thou wilt fill the earth and the sea, yea, and heaven also with thy name.”

What Charles of Anjou had, in the thirteenth century, undertaken with no small prospects of success, appeared capable of being carried out by his successor, who had at his disposal the martial forces of France, and was animated by the like chivalrous spirit. The crown of Naples, to which the title and right of Jerusalem belonged, once taken, Charles VIII would by the course of these events and the stirring of men's minds, as well as by right and power, become the chosen champion of Christianity against the common foe. André de la Vigne wrote a poem; in it Christianity came flying across Mont Cenis into the garden of honour, where she found Charles and his nobles, complained to him of her sufferings, and renewed the prophecy of a young Charles, who had been crowned in his thirteenth year, and who would crown her again with everlasting praise. To the same effect were the visions of the monk Spagnuoli and the physician Jean Michel. Master Guilloche, of Bordeaux, went still further: in his twenty-fourth year, Charles would have subjected Naples, and, in his thirty-third, the whole of Italy; he would then cross the sea, be called King of Greece, and at last enter Jerusalem, and ascend the Mount of Olives. The old dreams of Christianity, of an Eastern and a Western potentate, who should make all the world believers, had not yet been forgotten, those dreams which the Germans interpreted as applying to the last King of the Romans: after his victory over the enemies of the faith, he would lay down his crown on Golgotha before the crucifix there appearing to him, and would die ; whereupon, with the advent of the Antichrist and Enoch and Elijah, the end of all things would be accomplished. The Italians referred the prophecy to the King of France; in Jerusalem he would lay down his crown, and dying, ascend up to Heaven.

Charles was susceptible by nature to such ideas. In quite early years, when he was received in Troyes with the mystery of Goliath and David, he saw therein typified his war against the Turks; he adopted the title of King of Naples and Jerusalem, the latter especially appeared to him the fairest omen; and as though he meant to establish the Latin kingdom in the East, he had all the rights of the Paleologi to Constantinople and Trebizond ceded to him. Tidings of the approaching expedition, for which all France was preparing, reached the Italian courts and cities. The army which Charles VIII equipped did not consist of his French troops and the Italian refugees alone, but many comrades from other countries also joined the expedition. Robert d'Aubigny, the brother of Matthew Stuart, who had shortly before taken part in the war against James IV of Scotland, arrived with some Scotch archers. The Hoeks from the Netherlands, Philip of Ravenstein, who had just lost Sluys, and Engilbert of Cleves, who had lost Utrecht to Maximilian brought Flemish gunners and German infantry. The Bailiff of Dijon brought Rudolph Schwend of Zurich and several thousand Swiss with him. At the foot of the Pyrenees the Gascons collected in their numbers, whilst horses came from the coasts of Brittany and from Portugal. Ships were turned out of the dockyards of Marseilles and Genoa, and mounted guns, which, as was said of the Charlotte, “sung harmonies out of hell”. The King meantime amused himself in Lyons. Good and generous towards every one; pious to the extent that only in trivial matters would he take an oath upon himself, he lived entirely in youthful dreams of great exploits, and of eternal fame won in the battlefield. Whenever he busied himself with these plans, his forehead appeared high, his eye large and fiery, and his brows prominent. But since he showed himself ignorant of the complications of the world, many attributed what he resolved and achieved to his servants. In personal appearance he was thin and malformed, but was at the same time very keen for all sorts of knightly games and military duties. Sometimes he hunted with his sparrow-hawk; and then it might happen that he saw a youth exercising himself in a meadow, who was thereupon brought into his service. He made presents to the knights, who then again were generous on their side, and took part in the martial games which were held in the streets; whilst at the corners the women sat upon benches and stages, exactly like what is told in the knightly tales of King Arthur at Caerleon.

In Italy, meanwhile, many made vows and said prayers for his coming; they loved to call him the most Christian King, and said, “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord!”




For about the last fifty years, two houses, which, owing to intermarriage, were almost one, had ruled over the greater part of Italy, to wit, that of Sforza at Milan and that of Aragon at Naples. Alfonso of Aragon and Francesco Sforza had both simultaneously risen to fame in Italy. The first-named had not been long in possession of Naples when the latter seized Milan. Since that event their families had become allied, and spread in manifold affinities throughout Italy. The Este at Ferrara, the Gonzaga at Mantua, the brothers Bentivoglio, the princes of Urbino, Pesaro, Forh, almost all the heads of the States of the Church, and even some Neapolitan barons, were among their connections. The power of the House of Aragon, which had been founded by Alfonso I, was shrewdly and rigorously maintained by his natural son, Ferrante. Once, when the great barons called in John of Anjou, and delivered to him the whole country, save the capital, the House of Aragon seemed to be lost. At that time the Queen once found herself compelled to sit with her little children at the convent of San Piero at Naples with an alms-box before her, and to beg the labourers to do voluntary work for her, and implore of other citizens a loan. The dynasty and throne were only saved by the great barons again returning to their allegiance. The most distinguished of them was Ferrante’s brother-in-law. Count Marsico of Sanseverino, whom the King in his compact styled the illustrious, the most powerful, who had saved him from the deepest misery; he made over to him Salerno, with all the rights of the exchequer and coinage. Sanseverino’s example was followed by the others, but they did not succeed in gaining the King’s favour. Of some of his confidantes, who were instrumental in beginning the rebellion, as, for instance, his brother-in-law, Balzo of Taranto, he ridded himself by force.

King Ferrante, once more firmly on his throne, thought to secure it mainly by foreign alliances. His son Alfonso he married to the daughter of Francesco Sforza; Popes Pius and Sixtus he gained over to him by investing the nephew of the one with Amalfi, and of the other with Sora. Two men, who were invaluable to him, were entrusted with the conduct of home affairs, viz. Antonello Petrucci, and Francesco Coppola. The former was his most intimate counsellor, to whom he was wont to refer everyone. This man was often obliged to come out to him when on the chase and then return in dust and dirt to the council in the city; sometimes he had hardly crossed his threshold, when fresh messengers would summon him back, although it was night. In return for his services, two of his sons were made counts and another an archbishop. Petrucci himself, though originally quite poor, was finally able to build churches and castles.

With the other, Francesco Coppola, a merchant, the King entered into partnership. By allowing no one to buy, unless Francesco had already done so, and by permitting no trading ship to come into port, unless it had previously sold its cargo, as well as by treating the oil and wine market almost as a monopoly, he increased his gains to an extraordinary extent. Francesco in a short time was made a count, and had a private dockyard for his ships. By their advice and his own perseverance, the King became completely master of the country. The barons were obliged to maintain his stables. To his falconer he gave an abbey, and to the son of a Jew, in return for a sum of money, a bishopric. The land was quite subject to him. He waged the wars of Italy. His power was steadily on the increase.

Brought up in the atmosphere of Ferrante's shrewd cunning, his son Alfonso developed into a totally different character, and one quite peculiar to the Italian princes of those times. They considered cruelty and licentiousness lawful things. To appear always in pomp to hunt with hawks and falcons, which bore their arms in velvet and gold aloft into the air; at home to be seen in gorgeous apartments, surrounded by savants, musicians, and artists of all kinds; in public among the people to wear an imperious mien, and to be decorated with jewels; to be witty and eloquent; to command a goodly troop of soldiery, to foresee danger and to avert it : this appeared to them to be glorious and worth living for. There was no trace in them of the good qualities of human nature. They were unrighteous, and of true princely dignity they knew nothing; justice they considered bondage.

  This ideal, which instead of the strength and power that it intends, seizes only their shadow and their semblance, Alfonso followed; and whilst the others wished to be thought generous, he was nothing less than niggardly. He showed that he considered the wealth of Petrucci and Coppola to belong to the royal house. Petrucci only shrugged his shoulders when he heard of it, and tried to pacify the King by making him New Year's gifts. But Coppola was differently minded. He leagued himself with the most powerful of the barons, Sanseverino of Salerno, who also felt himself in danger. Alfonso had been heard to say that Sanseverino looked almost like Balzo of Taranto. They met together by night in solitary places, devised plans for their protection, and gained over others also. For all the barons began to fear Alfonso, as he threatened all who .had not been zealous enough in assisting him in his military expeditions.

They therefore allied themselves with Pope Innocent VIII, who would rather have been possessor of Naples than its feudal lord, and again arrayed themselves in open war against the House of Aragon. Two princes and a count of the house of Sanseverino, and two counts and a prince of that of Balzo, were the leaders. Many others, among them Caracciolo of Melfi, gradually joined them. They promised one another, with solemn vows, the Sacrament in their hands, to hold out together. But they were weak and undecided. After the first unfavourable issue they showed themselves inclined to come to terms; when fortune favoured them, they again took up arms. Their achievements were insignificant. When Alfonso had defeated the Pope and had laid siege to the city of Aquila, which adhered to the baronial party and was their chief hope, and was at the same time advancing in the kingdom, they forgot their vows, promised one after the other what was demanded of them, and surrendered.

The Aragonese had now asserted their superiority in a still more decisive manner than heretofore, and with their own forces. They next, father and son, resolved to wreak vengeance on their enemies.

Coppola and Petrucci had only taken a very doubtful, and at the most a very insignificant, part in the war; but they were the first victims of the peace. Ferrante promised to marry one of his nieces to one of Coppola’s sons, and to celebrate the marriage in the new castle. Coppola and Petrucci rode up thither, each on a perfumed mule, and in all gala pomp; but as soon as they arrived both they and their sons were seized. They were all put to death. The rest of the barons would have had time to escape on two barks, and the Princess of Bisignano advised this course; but one was hindered in this way and another in that, and so remaining they were all taken on a single day, the six leaders above mentioned and Caracciolo. The people saw their food taken to them every day into the prison; but when the executioner was seen with the chain of the Prince of Bisignano, it was believed to have been all deception. In the church of S. Leonardo, the patron saint of captives, the Duke persuaded his father to commit the murder, and the executioner, or a slave, a Moor, did the deed. Ferrante would scarcely listen to the expostulations of the Papal Nuncio on this matter. “Did not Pope Sixtus do with his rebels what he pleased? I shall also do the same with mine.” This was the whole of his answer. Having delivered himself of it, he ordered the horns to be sounded, and rode to the chase. But what he had devised for his security threatened to become his ruin. Many had fled to Rome, and now sent messages to Spain and to France to implore help. In France, Prince Antonello of Salerno, who had escaped from his clutches, aroused his real enemy. Those who still remained in the country only waited for the day when they could again take up arms against him. His first care was to provide that they never should find an opportunity of doing so. Such was the position of the House of Aragon in Naples. Ludovico il Moro, at Milan, also owed to them his present position.

After the eldest son of Francesco Sforza, Galeazzo Maria, Duke of Milan and Lord of Genoa, had been murdered, his widow, the Duchess Bona, took quiet possession of his lands and cities in the name of her son, Gian Galeazzo, who was still a minor. This was very displeasing to Ludovico, Galeazzo's brother, who, when sitting in the Corte dell' Arengha with the Municipal Council, had to take his orders from the Castle and the Council of State, and none the less so to the third brother, Ascanio. But as soon as they agitated against it they were driven out. It was only the war which Ferrante began at that time with Florence, with which city Bona was allied, that enabled the fugitives, with Ferrante's assistance, to show themselves on the frontier, and to stir up valley after valley in revolt, until they came to Tortona; whereupon, in a single day, forty-seven castles belonging to the discontents went over to them. The Borromei, Pusterli, Marliani, and all the Ghibellines, rose in their favour. The disaftection spread even to Bona's court. Whilst this confusion was at its height, Ludovico returned, and took upon himself the conduct of affairs. But the attitude which he now adopted was quite unexpected. Although supported by the Ghibellines and in good understanding with the Guelphs, he would neither be dependent upon the one nor the other, nor consent to see the heads of these families, his rivals, in power. The Ghibellines, owing to whom the power of the Visconti had been established in all the cities which Corio without hesitation styles "ducal", he deprived of their weapons and of their head, his brother Ascanio; he did not even spare those who had supported him in his flight; nay, he surrounded himself with Biragi, Terzagi, and Trivulzi, who had retained their Guelph proclivities through centuries, and to their party he granted his favour and his castles. Yet this was not done exclusively enough to gain to his side the whole party: its most distinguished leader, Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, was forced to seek safety in flight. With the House of Aragon he entered into the closest dynastic alliance. Of this house came the wife of his nephew, in whose name he governed. Moreover, he attached Pope Sixtus to his house by giving to his nephew, Girolamo, Caterina Sforza to wife. He procured the peace of Bagnolo for the republic of Venice, when all Italy was against her, by which event he increased her power and made her well disposed towards him. Upon this alliance he relied: for his power had originated outside the State. Under this protection he seized step by step the supreme power within. At first, Bona's favourite merely came into the Council of State in order to carry some point or other and would say, "Her Serene Highness the Duchess so and so." On Ludovico's initiative the twelve-year-old Duke went one day into the castle, had the drawbridge pulled up, and the favourite made a prisoner. “I will rule myself”, he said, “and my mother may cultivate her widowhood.”

After this, Ludovico shared the sovereign power for a time with Eustachio, the commander of the castle. After the Venetian war, the young Duke helped his uncle, into whose power he had entirely given himself, to get rid of him also. Having thus acquired sole authority, Ludovico showed himself kind and affable towards everyone, and perhaps the use he made of his power caused the way in which it had been obtained to be forgotten. He provided for the building of hospitals, the digging of canals, the foundation of churches and monasteries, and the protection of the country from brigandage and famine.

In accordance with the taste of the time, he fostered art and science. He summoned Leonardo da Vinci to Milan to be the instructor of the young nobles, and gave him a salary. He was the first to have music publicly taught. Jasone de Maino, in Alciati’s opinion one of the five first jurists of the Middle Ages, lectured in Pavia upon law to 3900 students. Ludovico also honoured the grammarians. Demetrius Chalkondylas, who saw his auditorium in Pisa grow empty owing to Politian’s more brilliant lectures, repaired with his Florentine wife and his favourite pupil, Johann Reuchlin, the teacher of the teacher of Germany, to his court. It cannot be said that the Prince laid out badly the 650,000 ducats which the country gave him. Bellincioni's pastoral plays and farces, in which the people fancied they perceived the hand of the Prince himself, enlivened his court, as did also Gaspare Visconti, who was considered equal to Petrarch. His farm at Vigevene was a masterpiece of rural economy. Here once had grown not even provender enough for the cattle, and no plant would flourish; only wild animals made their lairs in the low brushwood. Ludovico, who was first carried thither in the chase, cut dykes, and thus made meadows for the cattle, and then, by putting manure upon it, produced tillage land that vied with any other. This done, he planted mulberry trees in long avenues, and lastly built spacious and clean stables with columns to hold 1,800 head of cattle and 14,000 sheep, and others for the stallions and mares. In this castle a son was born to him; here woods were preserved for the chase and hawking. The bounteousness of peace rested on the land. Every day saw new fashions and amusements, jousts and balls. It was of the utmost importance for him, so long as his rule was tolerated, to maintain the peace and the status quo in Italy, seeing that, were it disturbed, his ruin might easily ensue.

But the present conditions depended, before all else, upon Lorenzo de' Medici, the ruler of Florence, living on friendly terms with the King of Naples and the Duke of Milan.

Francesco Sforza, principally owing to the assistance of Cosimo de' Medici, had become lord of Milan, and, to the vexation of Venice, the Medici and Sforza had since then been the best of friends. When, after Galeazzo’s death, the above-mentioned difference in the Sforza family arose, Lorenzo made cause with Bona; but the Sforza brothers and Ferrante attacked him, and succeeded so well that he made his resolve, went forth, came to Naples, and entered into friendship with them. Since then, the King was his nearest ally, and Ludovico his second; in conjunction with both he sustained a very dangerous conflict with Ferrara, and eventually aided the King in the second Neapolitan war, which we have noticed. After it was over, Ferrante said, “I saved him, and he has now done the same for me”.

Pope Innocent VIII, who had espoused the cause of the barons and had been defeated, was at first highly dissatisfied with this arrangement. He even protested in his private garden at the palace, saying, “He did not recognize Ferrante as king, even though he called him such”. He exclaimed, “I will put him under ban. If the Italians will not then assist me, I will cross the mountains, like the Popes did in the days of old, and appeal to those dwelling on the other side, and I know I shall stop their feuds and that they will help me.” Lorenzo undertook to pacify him, and was able to effect this by giving his daughter to the Pope's son, Franceschetto Cibo, to wife. Hereupon a thorough change supervened. His old friends, Giuliano della Rovere and the Colonna, fell into disfavour with Innocent, who inclined to the Orsini, Lorenzo’s relations and his old enemies. At last the Neapolitan complications were settled, and the King confessed that in everything he perceived Lorenzo's faithfulness and goodness. We see how it is that Lorenzo, owing to his position, became the mediator of Italy; upon this was founded the subsequent greatness of his house, for, owing to the co-operation of the three, his son Giovanni was made abbot of Miramondo in the province of Milan, of Monte Casino in the kingdom of Naples, and a cardinal of the church. And thus they all lived in peace together; all of them, except the Pope, in usurped dominions, each menaced by his subjects, and only careful that the latter did not anywhere find assistance in any neighbour: but each supporting the other. They were neither nations nor races; neither cities nor kingdoms; they were the first States in the world, and their origin was as follows.

The appellation of “State” was originally given to the friends most nearly devoted to a single family; and we find Foligno de' Medici complaining that their "State" had decreased, only numbering fifty men instead of a hundred, and these ill provided with children. The most illustrious members of the State, who came to Lorenzo with the deputies of the city, in order, as he says, to entrust to his care the public duties, were not from the country - for this is called “Dominio” and has not the slightest influence - but they were the friends, the old State, without which Lorenzo declared it difficult to live in Florence.

Now, as the party united with these “nearest friends”, and party was master of the city, and the city of the land, the name of the original unit became applied to the whole. Nowhere did real liberty exist. Whence, then, sprang the lively attraction towards the beautiful, through which this people at this time became the stimulus and the model for all later peoples; whence came the semblance, yes, the effect of liberty? It grew mainly from the antagonism of parties, ever covertly or openly existing, from the vigilance of all human forces engaged in conflict, from the universal enthusiasm which was devoted to art, active work, science, and antiquity, and from the reverence in which the savants were therefore held.

Since the era of the migration of nations, Italy now for the first time stood independent, and formed an ideal unity, combined with the greatest variety. These States, though based upon violence and faction, entertained notwithstanding the most universal relations. Venice was dependent upon commerce, Florence upon artistic industry and manufactures, the kingdom of Naples upon the great European balance of power, which had now found a moment of rest, the duchy of Milan upon the trade of war as it was followed by the Condottieri, and the State of the Church upon the idea of the supreme hierarchy. The nation was at the zenith of its culture. Would it not have been possible for it to have progressed and developed further in the same way, and so in later times have itself exercised influence, instead of being subjected to that of other nations?

But this retired and singular world was convulsed by a great and violent movement. The sea is calm, and reflects the sky; then comes a storm: when it is past and gone, the sea is the same as before. If a movement and a storm comes into the hearts of men, there will also return a day of calm: but meanwhile the world has altered.

In the year 1480 Ferrante had two grand-daughters at his court, who, it might be, often quarrelled when playing at his feet: Isabella, ten years of age, the child of his son Alfonso, and Beatrice, aged seven years, his daughter Leonora’s child by her marriage with Ercole d'Este. At the beginning of his rule Ludovico betrothed the elder of these two to his nephew, Gian Galeazzo, who would one day be duke, and himself to the younger. After some time Isabella was taken to Milan: and while there she was forced to see how the uncle ruled her husband like a boy, and neither allowed him nor herself the least power; she endured this, nevertheless. But the time came for Beatrice also to go as a bride to Milan, and as Ludovico was actually prince, Beatrice and not Isabella was honoured as princess. Here, then, we see the younger girl in the joy of her youth, with every wish gratified, full of hopes, sometimes sitting as mistress at the games and tournaments in Milan, and anon at Genoa, whither she has come secretly to enjoy herself, so soon as discovered, the recipient of princely honours amid the gorgeous pomp of the merchants anon driving to her father at Ferrara with her attendant ladies, with many coaches and mules, the streets covered with carpets and green boughs, whilst the populace shouts her husband’s name. The elder, meanwhile, the lawful duchess, has the pain of being bound to a man who is a mere nobody, and who even repeats to his uncle what she confides to him; moreover, she has little prospect either for her own future or that of her children. For Ludovico now declared, that the sovereignty belonged to him, who was born whilst his father was reigning duke, rather than to the son of one who was born before, and entered into negotiations to procure his investiture. A heart perceiving danger threatening its whole house and enduring in silence, were nothing less than divine. Isabella acted like a mortal in not tolerating this treatment; at first she complained in Milan, then threatened, and finally appealed for assistance to her father in Naples. She wrote, "Whilst his newly-born infant is designed to be Count of Pavla, we and ours are ever held in contempt, and are even in peril of our lives; and I am like a widow, a helpless woman. We have courage and understanding, and the people are favourable and pitying. If thou hast the heart of a father, and love and generosity, and art touched by tears, then save us”.

“We ought to help them”, said Alfonso, “even if they were strangers to us.” He consulted with his old father, and with his grown-up son. He then called upon Ludovico to crown his noble actions by the most noble of all, and to retire from the government in favour of his nephew. He received no answer. But in this silence lay the breach of friendship and peace between them; nay, of the peace of Italy itself. Alfonso's friends said Ludovico must be content to be podestà in Milan; they wagered that he would not exist one month longer. But he, on his side, thought that he possessed the means of securing his rule, and at the same time of endangering the existence of his enemy.

Now, Lorenzo de' Medici and Innocent VIII at this time died in quick succession, and Alfonso as well as Ludovico had to cast about to gain the favour of their successors. Lorenzo's son, Piero, was heart and soul devoted to the House of Aragon, from whom, in the great hall at a splendid festival, he had received his wife, Alfonsina Orsini. But the successor of Pope Innocent was of entirely opposite feelings.

Amidst the universal corruption, it was a universal misfortune, and redounded little to the credit of the human race in general, that, in the retired cells of the Conclave assembled to elect a Pope, amid high and holy ceremonies, and among men who had no further wants and no one to provide for, it was not the weal of Christendom, so sorely in need, that determined the election, nor that of a nation, no, nor even genuine affections and emotions. The highest dignity in the Church was regarded as the inheritance of all cardinals; given, because alas! it was indivisible, to the one who promised the others most. Brother Albus of Venice, ninety-five years of age, who could scarcely talk any longer, and always nodded his head, still took 5,000 ducats. He received them from Rodrigo Borgia (Borja) of Xativa in Valencia, and the others took similar presents. The revenues he received from three cathedrals and several monasteries, whose head he was; the income derived from the vice-chancellorship that he held, as well as numerous connections with foreign princes, furnished him with the means of making these bribes. Ascanio Sforza and Giuliano della Rovere still resisted him; but the former gave up his opposition when Borgia sent to his house four mules laden with silver, and promised him the vice-chancellorship. The latter would not receive anything, and kept complaining that the Italians were excluded, but at last he too gave way. Calamity was expected to result from the election. Sinibaldo de Sinibaldi died of grief occasioned by it. It is said that a tear was seen in the eye of the old Ferrante, whose rule, established by so many misdeeds, was threatened with utter ruin by this election. The great Popes of early days provided, after their lights, for the Church; the later ones had nephews to provide for; and in these days even sons. Borgia, who called himself Alexander VI, had three, Juan, and Gioffredo of temporal, and Caesar of spiritual rank, as well as one married daughter, Lucrezia. Men said, “This man, who when Cardinal, made his son Duke of Gandia, what will he do now he is Pope?”. The Sforza gained him over to them by giving Giovanni Sforza, lord of Pesaro, to his daughter for a husband; he dissolved the marriage with her former husband, whom he satisfied with money. In the presence of one hundred and fifty Roman ladies, whom these clerics in frivolous play pelted with sweetmeats served up in more than a hundred silver dishes, the new betrothal was celebrated. Hereupon the Pope nominated three Cardinals in the interest of the Sforza. After that, he endeavoured to divorce King Wladislav of Hungary from Ferrant’'s daughter, in order that he might wed a Sforza; and, as Ludovico was allied with all his relations at Ferrara, Mantua, Forh, Pesaro, and Bologna, and had even gained over Venice, and despatched his envoys and his letter to Charles VIII, Alexander now entered into a league with him also. Their plan was to put an army into the field under a joint commander. The Pope approved Ludovico's proposals that he should invest Charles, and thereupon invited him to come.

That the adherents of the Aragon dynasty did not despair in the face of such dangers, was owing to their reliance upon the tried shrewdness of their old king, Ferrante. But he now appeared to have lost all pleasure in life. He cared neither for the chase nor for amusements, and would even scarcely take food. No one could please him in rendering the small services of everyday life. He was bowed down by the weight of years and the dread of this third war, by far the most dangerous of all, as the King of France was taking part in it; and he was moreover harassed by his barons. It was said that an ancient book had been found in Taranto, addressed to the King alone and his most intimate adherents. The people believed that therein was prophesied the destruction of Ferrante's race and dynasty.

Yet he did not abandon the cause as lost. He thought of paying tribute to Charles as his vassal, but his envoys returned with the presents he had sent. He next thought of securing Alfonso by a Spanish marriage, but King Ferdinand evaded it. His sole safety he now saw in going to Milan, and taking Isabella back home with him. But grief and fear, as well as the recollection of what he had done, broke his heart. In crowded assemblies he was heard to give vent to frequent and deep sighs; in the midst of a conversation he would utter meaningless words, which, however, had reference to his danger. In this state he died, two days after his return to the city, on the 25th January, 1494.

When Alfonso mounted at once his black steed, and, riding through the streets with a bold air, received the ovations of the people, there were still some who hoped. But the tradition goes that many were obliged to join in the acclamations under the point of drawn swords; and meanwhile the old Queen sat with her sixteen-year-old daughter Joanna in a dark room. They lamented: “Wisdom is dead, and light is extinguished. In what plight has he left us behind, and to whom? All power is gone: the realm is helpless and lost!”. Alfonso came to them, and said: “I shall uphold the kingdom as well as did my father.” But they were afraid of his cruelty, and only implored him to spare the people.

Alfonso’s first care was to gain over Pope Alexander, in which endeavour he was so far supported by the King of Spain, that he married Maria Enriquez, his uncle’s daughter, to Juan Borgia. Alfonso promised the latter an estate of 12,000, the younger son Gioffredo one of 10,000 ducats, in addition to his daughter Sancia; so that the Borgia were thus received into relationship with the genuine as well as with the spurious House of Aragon. For the sake of these great advantages, Alexander forgot his former engagements, paid no heed to the protestations of the Consistory, and allied himself with Alfonso. This connection first caused alarm to Cardinal Giuliano. On a former occasion he had once invited the Pope to Maghano. The Pope came; but on hearing a chance shot fired, he feared it was a signal meant for him, and returned without tasting food. Since then Giuliano had banded himself with the discontents in Ostia. Now, when the Orsini also were reconciled with the Pope, he sailed with two caravels through the pirate ships of Villamarino across to France, came into his legation at Avignon, and leagued himself with Charles. Whereupon the Colonna, under their own standards, as well as those of Rovere and France, occupied Ostia, closed the Tiber, cared not that their houses were destroyed, and awaited the coming of the King.

Alfonso was crowned on the 8th May. His coronation apparel was valued at more than a million and a half ducats; yet, amidst all the pomp and splendour, he looked sad and brooding. On this very day he heard certain tidings of the approaching French expedition. His silver shield could not gladden his hearty for he needed an iron one. Yet he did not think of awaiting the attack, as his father had advised. “Shall I hide”, he said, “like a stag in the wood?” He received the coronation presents and exacted payment of a whole year's income from landowners and his tithes; the foals from his studs were trained for military service, and his ships equipped with newly-invented bombards; he then had an interview with Alexander at Vicovaro. In accord with the latter, he resolved to attack Ludovico on two sides, with his fleet in Genoa, and by land in the territory belonging to Milan. In view of the operations against Genoa, two exiles. Cardinal Fregoso and Obietto Fiesco, offered their services. They had been expelled in order that the city might obey Ludovico, and they now placed their hopes in the King of Naples. He hoped to effect an entrance into Milan through the instrumentality of the Papal vassals, who were pledged to obey their suzerain ; the upper hand he hoped to gain through the Guelphs, whose head, Trivulzio, marched with him ; whilst the complete victory should be his through the devotion of the people to their own prince, Gian Galeazzo. In August, 1494, thirty-eight squadrons of horse started from the Abruzzi; they were to take their way through the Romagna, in order to set free the young Duke of Milan. Infantry they had none; but they had officers with them to recruit them. The land army was led by Ferrantino, the son of Alfonso; whilst the fleet, which put to sea at the same time, was commanded by Federigo, Alfonso's brother. Thus did the war in Italy break out.

Ludovico awaited the coming of his enemies, already not without French help; he was to be aided against the landing of troops, which the Neapolitan fleet had on board, by Duke Louis of Orleans, who had come to Genoa with a few companies of Swiss.

At last the beacon-fires flashed from cape to cape; the enemy was approaching. The Aragonese then effected a landing on the Riviera, and occupied Rapallo with their troops. But what availed these troops, which were neither picked nor disciplined, today recruited, and tomorrow dismissed, troops whose highest aim it was to run about and shout the name of the leader, who had hired them; what availed they against the Swiss battle array? They could not hold their position; Aubigny and one of the brothers Sanseverino from the borders of Ferrara offered resistance to the troops advancing by land. Ferrantino, at all events, was driven back.



Whilst the Italian League, as now constituted, was attacking Milan and Genoa by land and sea, King Charles was ordering processions to be held, and prayers offered up in all churches, for the success of his crusade against the Saracens. After the old custom of French kings, he had the bodies of St. Denis and his companions brought up into the church from the vaults. On the 29th of August, 1494, he attended mass at Grenoble, took leave of the Queen, and started for Italy. He had arranged who, in his absence, should govern the kingdom, and who rule each duchy. He had borrowed 100,000 ducats from the house of Sauli in Genoa; the chamberlains had arranged his journey, and so, with high expectations, he proceeded from Briançon over Mont Genevre, down the valley of Cesanne, and through the valleys of the Waldenses to Turin; mules brought up the baggage in the rear. At the gates of Turin they were received by Blanche, the lady of Savoy, seated on her palfrey, and by the young Duke, who, though still a child, had been taught to express himself in graceful language; for close relationships and frequent appeals for their decision in disputes touching wardships, had procured for the French kings the dignity of real suzerains in Piedmont. To the music of clarions and trumpets, the cavalcade passed through the streets, where Charlemagne's wondrous exploits were represented in devices. The Princess gave her ornaments in pledge for a small loan. Philippe de Bresse, the uncle of the Duke, joined the expedition; with a light heart they marched upon Asti, on the borders of Milan.

Here Ludovico met the King. “In Italy”, said he, “we have three great powers. One, Milan, you have on your side; another, Venice, sits quiet. How should Naples single-handed oppose him, whose forefathers have conquered us all together? Only follow me, and I will make you greater than Charlemagne was. We will drive these Turks out of Constantinople ere we finish. “

But before they had come up with the enemy, Ludovico took complete possession of Milan. Gian Galeazzo was sick unto death; but Ludovico had received the investiture of the dukedom from the Emperor, who had a few months previously wedded his niece. Now if Galeazzo were to die whilst the French army was in the country, who should then stand in his way? At Pavia Charles saw the sick man, whose mother had been his own mother's sister, and who apologized even then for not having come to meet him, for he was too ill; but he offered him homage on behalf of himself and his children. A Pavian physician, who accompanied the King, assured Rucellai that it was evident he had been poisoned. However, Charles bade him be of good heart, and taking his chain from his neck, hung it on him. He had scarcely reached Piacenza, when he heard of the young man's death. Sympathy with the innocent victim was universal, as was the horror felt of him who was considered to be the murderer. The King invited the citizens to the funeral and gave presents to the poor, while Ludovico hurried to Milan, assembled the Council of State, and proposed the son of the deceased as his successor. “We need a man, not a child”, the Treasurer Marliano replied. All the members were of one opinion, that Ludovico must be their duke; they handed him the sceptre, a garment of cloth of gold was brought and put on him; he then rode, accompanied by the notables of the city, to Sant Ambrogio, and was there proclaimed duke by popular acclamation. If Isabella had felt that her letter had caused her father a most perilous war, and her husband his death, what must her feelings have been now, when she heard that Ludovico was duke, and her children were without hope and robbed! The first she had endured, but this crushed her to the earth.

The King stood on the borders of the Florentine and Papal territory. At Piacenza two of the Medici had come to him, Piero's cousins of the younger branch, who, though more generous, more affable, more endeared to the people, and not less rich than he, were exiles, because, when at play with Piero, they had quarrelled with him and evinced French sentiments. They told the King he need only advance into Tuscany, for he had friends in Florence. Among the old adherents of the Medici, there were many who were discontented with Piero. His father had once written to him, “Though thou art my son, thou art all the same no more than a citizen of Florence, like myself.” But the son of an Orsini, whose brother was Cardinal, whose father had been the mediator of Italy, and who felt himself even superior to the latter in point of physical strength, good looks, and graceful deportment, and, it might be, his superior in classical education, for he expounded Virgil to his brother, and could improvise cleverly, might easily forget this warning. Like many others, he forgot, over external show, what was really deserving of praise. He had no liking for agriculture and commerce, as his fathers had, but only taste for hunting, hawking, and Tuscan games with hand and foot, brilliant cavalcades by day, and nightly carouses. He had himself painted in his armour. In civic business, on the other hand, he approved what his counsellor, Bibbiena, proposed. It was not until Charles had crossed the high mountains and had arrived at Pontremoli, that Piero perceived how little the Florentines were inclined to support him against the King. “I never dreamt I should come into these straits”, he wrote; “never have I mistrusted such great friends of this city, but I am forsaken by all, and have neither money, credit, nor authority, so as to be able to sustain the war.” This he wrote when already on the road to Pisa to meet Charles, to deliver himself unconditionally into his hands. Only with the King’s help was it possible for him to maintain himself in the city. The course he pursued was not so ill-advised as has been asserted, namely, to grant the King all he wished, the fortresses of Sarzana, Sarzanella, Pietrasanta, Pisa, and Leghorn, which command the mountain-road and the coast from the Magra to the mouth of the Arno. He meant by this means to estrange him from his friends, and to gain him for himself. But he was far from being sure of this when he learnt that his action was condemned at home. He hurried back to Florence. In order to maintain his authority, he massed his troops under Paolo Orsini, and proceeded; it was on the 9th of November, 1494, a Sunday evening, with an armed retinue to the palace. The assembled Signori were not in accord. One of them, of the name of Lorini, ushered in Piero, and refused to give up the key to the bell, with which the others proposed to call the people together. But the latter had the upper hand. A Nerli and a Gualterotti, both sprung of families formerly Medicean to the core, stepped towards Piero, as he entered, exclaiming, “Alone and unarmed, otherwise he does not enter here.” Others opened the bell-tower. With Piero had returned Francesco Valori, who had hitherto been envoy to King Charles, and Avas convinced that he would not support Piero de' Medici. This man mounted his horse, summoned the people to liberty, and increased their confidence.

Girolamo Savonarola had for the last four years preached to the same people: “A king will come over the mountains, a great king, sent by God to punish evil-doers, and to regenerate the Church.” This king seemed now to have come. As Piero went across the square, he saw stones flying about him, and the people at the sound of the bell running together towards the palace and disarming his myrmidons. He saw these weapons of slavery, the few that had escaped his control, brandished for emancipation from his own yoke. Giovanni, his brother, shouted in the street, “Palle!” (Their watchword was “Bullets”). They endeavoured to rouse their partisans in the suburb of San Gallo; but no one stirred, and Paolo's troops were afraid. Thus the Medici, Lorenzo's sons, left Florence without saving anything; their treasures, their jewels, the cups of sardonyx, the most precious antiquities, the 3,000 medallions, the manuscripts and books, which it was their pride to show strangers, the gardens, in which Torrigiano and Michael Angelo were brought up, all were left to the people to pillage. They yielded up the power which their fathers had possessed for sixty years, and fled; they durst not turn their steps to Charles, but crossed the Apennines to Bologna.

The advent of him, in whom the prophets foretold a Saviour, and whom people loved to address as “Holy Crown”, set Pisa free also on the same Sunday. How that came about is not without uncertainty. One historian has much to say of Simone Orlando, who exercised great influence upon both people and prince”. On the way back from mass, or on the way thither, the people of Pisa, young and old, prostrated themselves before the King, complained to him of the great oppression which they had suffered for the last eighty-seven years at the hands of the Florentines, and said that they wished to be free and under his rule. Hereupon the monarch, who had a tender heart and hated all injustice, at once threw an inquiring glance at one of his councillors, who accompanied him, his master of petitions, Jean Rabot, and when the latter had judged that they were right, and when all his knights showed their sympathy, he nodded to them and promised to maintain them in good freedom. Hereupon the people shouting “Franza!” “Libertá!” and “Gioia!” threw the Florentine lion into the Arno, and expelled the Florentine commander. The chroniclers add that two strangers had a share in this; a Milanese, on account of certain claims of the Sforza, called Galeazzo Sanseverino, and a Sienese, for the sake of Tuscan liberty, named Bartolomeo Sozzini, a teacher of law at Pisa, who had once for a long time been a prisoner in Florence.

So much for the story told by the Florentines and French. Since the day of its enslavement there have been no Pisan annals. Charles intended to wrest this city from Piero; but as yet he could not know how the latter stood with the Florentines.

These, against whom he now advanced, were partly his enemies, for their ruler had waged war against him, and partly his friends, in that they had expelled this their ruler. Upon the hills before Signa, with the unprotected plain of the city before him, negotiations were opened. Since Lucca, which was in nowise under an obligation to him, had received him with offerings in its best palace, he now demanded the same of Florence, viz., perfect confidence and unconditional surrender to his good-will. The Florentines appeared ready to accede to his terms, and brought him (on the 17th of November) the keys of the gates. Youths in French garments bore a baldachin over his head and conducted him, fully armed, just as he was, past the mystery of the Annunciation to their cathedral, and to the palaces of the Medici. But the subsequent negotiations did not proceed so smoothly. Can it be true, as is said, that Piero Capponi seriously challenged the French inside the city to fight a battle which his party had not dared to accept outside? Certain it is, at any rate, that the citizens and the French did not agree well together, that the King feared treachery, and the town pillage. At last an understanding was arrived at. The principal point of dispute concerned the House of Medici, whom the King wished to have restored. However, he only so far attained his point, that the most rigorous edicts that had been launched against the Medici, their lives and their house were withdrawn. All else was left for the future. Pisa, Leghorn, and the fortresses ceded by Piero were to remain in French hands until the conclusion of the expedition against Naples. The French reserved to themselves great influence, in respect both of policy and arms. After this had been ratified, the bells were rung, and “feux de joie” were kindled in the streets and squares. The king caused messages of peace, favourable to the renewal of liberty, to be affixed to the walls; he then prepared to continue his expedition to Rome and Naples. Savonarola came and warned him to lose no time; God had sent him, of this he was assured, but he conjured him not to allow the insolence of his soldiery to bring to nought the accomplishment of his object. Charles VIII, in a kind of manifesto, announced that he had left his wife, his Dauphin and only son, and his realm; that he was not come to injure anyone, but to take possession of Naples, which had been assured both to his forefathers and to himself by twenty-four investitures of Roman Popes and holy councils, and whose harbours and seaboard afforded him the best base of operations for attacking the Infidels. He demanded a free passage, otherwise he would proceed by force.

Florence having been metamorphosed by his advent, he next advanced against his second foe. Pope Alexander was thrown into perplexity rather than into fear. He said to Rudolf of Anhalt, who was at that time in Rome: “This King will demand the name of emperor, as he does the sovereign power. But assure Maximilian that I would rather have a sword at my throat than agree to it.” Ferrantino was moving on the one side towards Rome; he had been long since forsaken by the Florentines and by the princes of Urbino and Pesaro, and by Caterina Sforza also, now that he had showed himself incapable of resisting Aubigny. The people declared they did not desire war with the French; they even showed themselves hostile to him and barred his way. Without divesting himself of his armour, he took the Roman road through the Romagna. The Pope seriously believed that, with the assistance of the Neapolitans, he would be able to withstand the King of France advancing from Tuscany. He did not listen to the assurances of the Sforza and their adherents. Charles VIII entered Siena through garlanded gates; he there proclaimed his ban against those who had been expelled, and left some soldiers behind him. At Casciano he received the youth of Pisa, who brought him an offering of roes, hares, and other fruits of the chase. Thus did Charles VIII arrive within the territory of the Church. Cardinal Perrault persuaded the inhabitants of Montefiascone to receive the King peacefully; for such had been the old and real promise of the Pope. As early as the 10th December he was praying before the relics of Santa Rosa at Viterbo; and there even an Orsini, whose family was closely allied with Piero and Alfonso, surrendered to him all his castles and supplies. On all sides, even on the Tiber, the enemy appeared; Comines narrates, as an undoubted fact that a portion of the city wall had fallen. Ferrantino, on the other hand, had left Rome on hearing of the King's superior force. Then the Pope sent his master of the ceremonies, to escort the King into the city. On the 31st December, 1494, he made his entrance by torchlight through illuminated streets, amid the ovations of the people. It could not be Charles's intention to bring about a reformation of the Church by force, or to seize the imperial power; purposing, as he did, to attack the enemies of Christianity, he dared not stir up the whole of Christendom against himself. But if he had Caesar, Alexander's son, as a hostage in his train, he was assured of the Pope. If he occupied Terracina and Cività Vecchia, the chief harbours from the French to the Neapolitan coast would be in his hand.

There was at this time in Alexander's keeping a certain Djem, the brother of Bajazet, who had fled from the latter to the Christians, but yet had many adherents among the Turks; a man of resolute principles, who would only kiss the Pope's arm, and not his feet. Charles, by taking this man with him, considered himself as good as assured of success against the Turks. Having obtained these advantages, which were moderate, though important, he said, standing on the steps of the papal throne, “Holy Father, I have come to make my obeisance, as my forefathers did.” He was present at the ceremony of the universal Indulgence, received the blessing, and left Rome on the 28th of January, 1495.

Now only Alfonso was left to deal with. Whilst in Rome he had entered into negotiations with the King through the Pope. He had offered him large sums of money; a million ducats down and 100,000 ducats annually as a kind of tribute. The Venetian Republic and the King of Spain were to guarantee the payment. But, certain of his hereditary right, and filled with his plans against the Turks, Charles VIII rejected all his overtures. Even then Alfonso did not abandon all hope. Charles would not, he conceived, be able to advance upon Naples before the spring; meanwhile he would fortify his frontiers, and succour would arrive. He expected such aid from the King of Spain, who, on a proposal being made him for his youngest daughter for Ferrantino, had shown himself inclined to accede to the request. He had offered, through Ram Escriva, 500 lances, and even a large army under a grandee, under certain conditions. It was known of Bajazet, against whom the French expedition was so publicly proclaimed, that he was fitting out a great number of galleys for sea in Constantinople, and had others on the stocks, and further that the Anatolian army had received orders to cross the strait by the first of March, and the Greek army orders to get ready without delay. His envoy accompanied Alfonso from the army to the capital.

But this winter was just like spring; no rain fell, and even in Lombardy there was no snow; the French expedition suffered no hardships, and met with no resistance anywhere. Aquila surrendered as soon as the French showed themselves. The Neapolitans began to inquire of one another whence all this success came. Many said, “It is a secret of God”; others, “Their Latin and Greek made them cowards.”

Alfonso himself was at length startled at the universal despondency. And when the people rose up in tumult - no one knew why - and only Ferrantino’s presence calmed them, Alfonso perceived that he could not stand his ground, and remembered the prophecies which had been made about him. He hid himself for three whole days; the consciousness of his wickedness paralyzed his energies. But when the people again rose with the cry, “The King is dead, for who has seen him alive?” and he saw that all was lost as regards himself; feeling that he was loathed and hated with just cause, but that his son, innocent, uncontaminated, young, and brave, the darling of the people, would assert himself, Alfonso renounced the realm. They all wept when Jovianus Pontanus drew up the document. Alfonso bade his son mount a horse and ride through the city in company with his uncle Federigo. Even then, the horror did not leave him; the spectres of his innocent victims visited him by night; upon his conscience lay the warning of his father, after whose death people believed all was going to destruction: “crime entices thee as with an alluring face, before thou hast committed it; afterwards, when it is done and a calamity has happened, it still retains its features; but they are now a hideous picture; for hairs it has snakes; it is a veritable Medusa’s head.” “We will away from here”, said Alfonso to his stepmother, and when she desired to wait a little longer, exclaimed, “I will throw myself from the window. Dost thou not hear how they all shout the name of the French?”. He tarried no longer, but fled to Mazzara into a monastery of the Olivetans.

With the intention not to yield, Ferrantino meanwhile joined his army at the pass of San Germane. With the same intent, Alfonso Davalos held in front of him Monte San Giovanni, which was considered impregnable. If they could only hold out for a while on the frontier, the people might be gained over, they thought, and succour arrive. But they could not hold their ground. One day, after the midday meal, Charles arrived from Bauco before San Giovanni and ordered it to be stormed. He did not require to repeat his order, for one and all were determined to gain honour in his eyes. On renewing their onslaught for the third time - for they met with staunch opposition - they gained the fortress, and spared no one; they showed great cruelty. But Charles was on the Garigliano. The rapidity and fury of this conquest inspired terror into Ferrantino's friends and roused the courage of his enemies.

The citizens of San Germano would resist no more. At Teano one night Messer Renaudo came to Ferrantino: “Sire”, he cried, “away hence, else you will be delivered over to the enemy by your own camp.” No hope remained, save in the citizens of Capua and Naples. On the 16th of February, Ferrantino felt himself sure of the Capuans; he thereupon hurried to the Neapolitans to gain these over also; he called a gathering of them in Santa Chiara. “Ye Sirs, my fathers and brethren”, he said, “do ye know me? Among you I grew up and was reared. Now that all forsake me, and I have no one I can trust, will ye also forsake me? Not yet! Only not for fourteen days. If I have then received no help, do as ye list.” He stood before them in tears; they were silent, for many loved him. “Our lord”, said a nobleman, “we have neither provisions nor guns.” Ferrantino replied, “There are the keys of the Castel Nuovo, go and take what you need; there are a year's supplies for the whole of Naples there.” He was still speaking, when a messenger came with the tidings that the enemy was attacking Capua; in despair he rushed away and took the road thither. On his arrival at Aversa, he learnt that of his three chief captains, Trivulzio had gone over to Charles with his whole army, which had been kept so long in pay for him. This he did on the very first day that he had an opportunity of reciprocating this outlay with his service. The other two had fled, and the citizens, on the 16th, and early on the 17th, had sent envoys to Charles, who begged for mercy with folded hands. All the same, it is said, he ventured up to the walls of Capua; but here he was met by the Germans, who had alone remained faithful to him, Caspar’s and Gottfried’s companies; they had made a sortie against the enemy on the other side, but had been deserted by the Italians. They had hardly been permitted to withdraw through the town in parties of ten men each. It was now evident that all was lost. Perhaps Ferrantino when he turned round to go back to Naples, still hoped, for had not his grandfather here resisted all his enemies? But he found that the nobles, instead of equipping themselves for battle, were plundering the Jews, and that the populace, when he went into the stables to give horses to his servants, ran after him and stole them. Now all was over; he felt that the hatred cherished towards his father and grandfather was now turned against himself. Full of despair, he drew his sword and turned about with the words, “What have I done unto your children?” But a faithful servant led him away to his castle out of the throng, for he would otherwise have been murdered.

Whilst, then, Alfonso Davalos held the castle with 400 Germans, whilst the houses round about, the arsenal and some ships were burning, and whilst the old Queen lamented, “O fate, no lance has been broken, and thou destroyest this kingdom!” and all were on shipboard, she, her daughter and the young King, intending to escape to Ischia, Giacomo Caracciolo, without asking leave, opened the gate to the French herald, and shouted “Franza!”

Hereupon, twenty deputies of the Neapolitans advanced to meet Charles, with the words, “Holy Crown, thou hast been awaited these hundred years in Naples. Now thou art come. Enter as our King and Lord!”. But Charles, whose success had been so brilliant, and who now saw this kingdom, like the French duchies, united to his crown, entered as though into his rightful inheritance. Yet in Capua he had fancied himself wonderfully reminded of his expedition against the Turks; Djem still lived. It was said that the prestige of the French had prevented the Bassa of Avlona from crossing, and had scared away the Turks from many islands; even from Negropont they were flying to Constantinople. When Grimani with Venetians passed by Lepanto, they thought it was the French, and retired from the castle and the shore. The peninsula and the mainland gathered fresh hope."







AT this time Spain was first heard and spoken of; this country had a short time previously become consolidated into a united and powerful kingdom out of two disunited and feeble principalities, Castile and Aragon. With regard to Castile, the manuscript of Alonso de Palenzia records that there existed a law of Henry of Trastamara to the effect that, “without permission of the King of France, no Englishman should go to Castile, nor a Castilian to England.” Such a disgraceful compact was actually kept by these weak monarchs. John I relied in battle even more upon the French than upon his Castilians; John II appeared to many to be almost bewitched by his favourite Alvaro de Luna; the Portuguese, Pacheco and Giron, after overthrowing Alvaro, obtained control over Henry IV. Henry, though a huntsman, and an enemy of baths and wine, but deprived of noble indignation and manly strength by early profligacy, had scarcely turned away from them not to be his own master, but to take another favourite when they revolted, and with them all the nobles. They declared his daughter Juana to be illegitimate, and favoured his brother’s succession, and, when the latter died, that of his sister Isabella; but she did not desire to be called queen, and was content that the succession should be assured to her issue. 

Near kinsmen of this family ruled in Aragon, yet with no better fortune, in spite of their having inherited from Ferdinand I a crown adjudged him by the three counties of which Aragon consisted, great estates in Castile, and valid claims to Naples. These claims Alfonso took over from his son, and succeeded in establishing them; yet he afterwards gave Naples to his illegitimate son, and separated it from Aragon. The estates in Castile devolved upon Henry; but at Olmedo, where he fought against John II, and was defeated, they were lost to the house, and came into the hands of those Portuguese favourites. Even the crown was in danger, when John of Aragon, to whom it had passed, was attacked by his eldest son, and by all the Catalans.

Let us now picture to ourselves how the union and the consolidation of these kingdoms was brought about. The same men who had seized the Aragonese estates had procured for Isabella the succession in Castile. Now, when John’s enemies were dead and he triumphant, and they began to feel alarmed, Isabella betrothed herself with the man whom they dreaded most, namely, Ferdinand, the youngest son of John, and his heir. Seated on a mule, in disguise, Ferdinand came to Valladolid to celebrate the nuptials; then they did not hesitate to swear allegiance to Juana, and to offer her hand and realm to the King of Portugal. This was the origin of the war, a war that was waged on all points between Fuenterrabia and Gibraltar at the same time: a war in which Juan Ulloa fought against Rodrigo Ulloa, his brother, Pedro Zuniga against his father, and the Count of Salinas against his sister; while the cities, which sided with Aragon, fought against their castles, which favoured Portugal. But at last Ferdinand and Isabella were victorious at Toro, and succeeded in ridding the country of the enemy. They founded the convent of St. Francis at Toledo, and proceeded in two directions to pacify the country the Queen to the Andalusian cities, and the King to the castles on the Duero. Against the castles for, as a fact, the country had been pillaged, and all robbers had sheltered themselves in them he was assisted by the cities and their Hermandad, who, in order to punish robberies and murders in the streets, squares, and houses, maintained 2000 horsemen and a proportionate strength of infantry. They lent their assistance, as though their sole aim was the general peace, yet their object was also a political one in the interest of Ferdinand. He wrested the castles from his enemies. Isabella, meanwhile, presided at tribunals of justice at Seville every Friday, surrounded by bishops and lawyers, and with clerks before her. But here, where the Duke of Medina Sidonia and Juan de Cordova were of her party, and the Marquis of Cadiz and Alfonso de Aguilar against her, and where the enmity of the old Christians, the new converts, the Jews, and the neighbouring Moors, divided streets and families, her rigour was ineffectual. She resolved to pardon all offences, save and except heresy. The latter, with which the judgment hall of the Hermandad was as incompetent to deal as the Dominican Inquisition, which had been long since abolished, was reserved for another tribunal.

In September, 1478, she quitted Seville; on the 1st of November, Sixtus IV, who at the same time revoked the dispensation granted to the King of Portugal to marry Juana, gave the Kings (under which title Ferdinand and Isabella were now known) the right to appoint inquisitors against heretics, apostates, and their patrons. Unexceptionable accounts testify to the fact, that it was the representations of Tomas de Torquemada, a prior of the Holy Cross, who declared that “those who had been converted, went by night into the synagogue, kept the sabbath and the Jewish Easter, and celebrated, barefooted, the day of Remembrance”, which primarily caused the institution of this tribunal; a lamentable fatality, if, as Pulgar states, the Torquemadas were also originally Jews, and it was thus a quarrel between the converted and the unconverted Jews which brought the Inquisition upon the people of Castile and Aragon. But if we remember that the influence of the Jews over the grandees, due to their farming their revenues, their affluence, and their relationship to them, conflicted secretly and at all points with the Kings’ interests, that the first order of the Inquisitors threatened the Marquis of Cadiz, an opponent of the monarchs, in case he sheltered the fugitive Jews, and that it was a Jewish book against the Government that brought matters to a crisis, the general connection of events becomes clear. The Inquisition harmonized with the Hermandad in form for they each had originally two judges and a fiscal as also mainly in aim; viz. the termination of this war and the consolidation of the royal power, under the cover of a far wider plan; yet the ecclesiastical power of the one was far more arbitrary than the civil power of the other. After some hesitation, Isabella had the Quemadero erected on the plain before Seville, between the four prophets; the convent of the Dominicans in the city was soon too small to hold the accused, and 5000 houses in Andalusia were empty. But the people began to obey. As soon as Pacheco consented to resign a great part of his estates, and the King of Portugal to renounce his claims, and when everybody surrendered, the civil war came to a close, and the royal power was at the same time re-established. For these institutions still continued under the pretence of general policy, and others were added to them. When the grand masters of two of the Spanish orders of knighthood had died, and the third was inclined to retire, Ferdinand undertook to manage all three. In truth a goodly power; for the order of Santiago alone could put 1000 heavy cavalry into the field; and a schedule of the fifteenth century ranks its grand masters among the princes and independent heads of Europe. Further, since the Pope had given way in the matter of some disputes touching the sees of Saragossa, Cuenca, and Tarragona, the rule was established that no one could be raised to the rank of bishop upon whom the King had not previously declared his willingness to confer this dignity. 

Let us now observe: the Hermandad was modelled on a former independent coalition of the citizens against the nobles, and it now committed the civic power into the hands of the King. The grandmasterships, through the Encomiendas, bound the knights who had received them, as well as all noble families, out of gratefulness or expectation of future favours, to the King. The latter, by his Inquisition and the election of bishops, became almost the head of the clergy. We perceive that it was not so much that Ferdinand and Isabella extended the royal power handed down to them from their ancestors, as that they gave it a new basis; they placed themselves at the head of the Estates who might have resisted them, and who resisted their forefathers, and, concentrating their powers in their own persons, became their real chiefs. In all this the Church, by handing over to them the Inquisition and Mayorazgos, and by conceding to them by degrees even the Tercias of the ecclesiastical tithes in perpetuity, rendered them the greatest service, and they had no more dangerous foes than the enemies and apostates of the Church of Rome. The traditional liberties still continued; even in Castile the noble might surrender his fief back into the King's hand, and retract his allegiance, whilst the citizen might shut his house against the royal officer; but obedience to duty became established. The rigorous Isabella, who rode in person after the son of the Admiral Fadrique Enriquez who had broken her safe-conduct and fled; who had the alcalde, who had killed a royal servant, hanged on the very spot where he had committed the deed; and who ordered the hand of the grand alcalde Villenas, to be cut off merely for not preventing it, soon brought it about that travellers from Spain spoke of it as one of the wonders of that land, that there no one dared do wrong, not even the authorities themselves, since it was immediately punished. And thus Isabella sat amongst the images of the saints in her chapel, with her escutcheon quartered with a castle, a staff, a lion, and an eagle, behind her; Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, and Orators, on the one side, and the Constable, Admiral, Dukes, Marquises, and Counts, on the other, the priests in full canonicals before her, all awaiting her sign. Her policy aimed at absolute power over an orthodox kingdom.

Now that the internal disorders had ceased, and the government had been reorganized, the Kings turned their eyes unceasingly towards the outer world, Christian as well as infidel, and first towards the latter. According to the example of their forefathers, Ferdinand the Great and the Saint, the four Alonsos, the Emperor, Ramon, the Noble, and the Eleventh, who ventured not to wage war with the Moors until they had first been victorious in a civil war, but who engaged in the former as soon as they had succeeded in the latter, thus did they, under the standard of the Cross, each division under a crucifix, as the song goes, invade the plain of Granada. They swore not to leave it until they had taken the city; they centred the attention and the obedience of the whole nation upon this point, and at last conquered it. But as the different kingdoms had always been in the habit of dividing beforehand what they intended to conquer, and were hardly less jealous of what they coveted than of what they had already taken, so at the present time they claimed the African kingdoms of Oran and Tlemcen for the crown of Aragon, and for Sicily, Tunis and the eastern slope of the Atlas. These claims were also confirmed by the Pope, and they hoped to push on in an easterly direction to Egypt, and to come as far as Jerusalem. In the West, Castile claimed all that had formerly been Mauritania and Tingitana. This led to a war with Portugal. At last they agreed together, that, with the exception of Melita and Cagaga, Portugal should be at liberty to conquer the whole of Fez. But this was of minor importance. For, when Pope Alexander promised the conquest of the whole of Africa to the united crowns, those maritime expeditions were endangered, in which the Portuguese, planting their standard ever further and further afield, had learnt of an Eastern and Christian monarch, the King of Abyssinia, and by which they hoped to find this potentate for already a Portuguese had been in Goa and had discovered the Cape and by his help, proceeding along the coast, to reach the real India and the land of spices. But, finally, the old treaties remained valid; the right of navigating to Guinea and the coast downwards was assigned to the Portuguese, and they were entitled to prevent anyone else from sailing on this route. But Providence willed that something unexpected should result from these differences; and what actually happened far surpassed human calculations.

At Lisbon there lived two brothers from Genoa, Bartholomew Columbus, who drew maps for the use of sailors, and Christopher, the elder, who had navigated with varying fortune the Mediterranean and the Atlantic from the Canaries to Iceland. These two often discussed together what everyone knew, and became convinced that the safest plan to discover that land of precious stones, pearls, and spices, that Sypango of which Marco Polo had written, a land into which Christianity could be introduced, would be, not by voyaging along the coast of Africa, but by sailing ever westward, and thus circumnavigating the globe. But no King, no Duke, and no Signoria, would believe the brothers. At length the two Kings, in their joy over the victory of Granada, being at Santa three months later, took the advice of the same Alonso Quintanilla who had first projected the new Hermandad, and hazarded this venture. They put three caravels at the disposal of the elder Columbus, and had them manned for the most part by sailors from the vicinity of Palos. Tradition goes, that these coast-seamen, after spending week by week between heaven and water, only gazing upon seaweed and seeing no land, threatened to murder their captain. The captain the while, working by day with the lead, and by night keeping his eye intent upon the fixed stars, and even in his dreams full of visions of success, remained firm of purpose and managed to curb all opposition; until at last looming clouds inspired hopes, and in the night a sailor shouted, “light and land”; when day broke, hills, high trees, and green land were discovered; he shed tears, and falling on his knees, said the “Te Deum Laudamus.” They erected on the coast an enormous cross, heard the notes of the first nightingale, saw the timid good people, and returned to tell their king of the country they had taken possession of in his name. 

The immediate result of this divine favour and the discovery of Columbus was to continue the quarrel between Portugal and Castile. The wind drove the returning party to Lisbon. As soon as the King of Portugal saw that the natives, who had been brought back, looked like the Indians, as they had been described to him, and heard from Columbus, that he had there been told of a land called Sybang, he began to be afraid that he had been forestalled. He requested the Kings to send expeditions, not southwards, but northwards, according to the old compact. They also believed, as he did, that they had come to the point where east and west touched; they little knew the size of the world; they bargained long together, and finally fixed a mark, 370 leagues from the Canary Islands, to the east of which Portugal should conduct discoveries, and to the west, Spain.  This was quite a different matter from their quarrel about Fez and Tingitana; but they still went on in the old fashion.

Such were the operations of the united kingdoms against the Infidels, and, if the conquest of Granada was celebrated in all Christian lands with feasting and games, much more did the report of a new earth and a new race of men ring throughout Europe. These kingdoms now turned their eyes again towards the interior of Christendom. The grandees had delivered up those crown estates to which they could show no legal title, and which were, at the lowest estimate, computed to be worth nearly thirty million maravedis. Cadiz and the Isla were recovered from the family of Ponce de Leon, and Roussillon was restored by France. The time had come, in which the idea of a United Spain for the first time asserted itself. The Pope initiated the title “Serene Kings of the Spains”, seeing that Northern and Central Spain, Baetica, and a portion of Lusitania had become united, in the sense in which the title “Catholic King” is said to have been originally framed.

The renewed unity of the French kingdom impelled Charles VIII to look towards Naples, and in the same way the unity of Spain, asserting itself now for the first time, induced Ferdinand and Isabella to turn their attention thither also. The rights of the former clashed here with those of the latter.



The two Sicilies had from time immemorial been the source of strife between the Spanish and French houses, a strife which began with the death of the last Hohenstaufen, and had not yet been fought out. It was on the point of being taken up on both sides by third houses. At first it had been carried on between the Angevins, who had been called in by the Pope, and the Barcelonese House of Aragon, the heirs of Conradin, that is, between the Provençals and the Catalans, who are in reality one race, of the same origin, and speaking the same language. The former took Naples, the latter Sicily, and ever since they had been in feud with each other.

Secondly, this long-standing dispute devolved upon Alfonso I, of the House of Aragon, and the younger branch of the Angevins. Alfonso with the Catalans was victorious, and gained possession of Naples. Although before the people he took his stand upon the new right conferred by his adoption, although this had been revoked, yet he confessed after the victory that his greatest joy was, that he had regained what had belonged to his ancestors. Connected with this is the war of Ferrante with John of Anjou.

Thirdly, when the rights of the Angevins had at length passed to the crown of France, the united kingdoms, in opposition to them, felt themselves pledged to protect the interests of the Catalans. Ferdinand had often been urged by the barons to make war on Ferrante, but had always answered, “He is my brother-in-law.” But now if Charles was victorious, he would lose one prospect, viz., the establishment of his rights, and saw even Sicily threatened. The Kings of Spain were bound by the treaty of Roussillon, but had never approved the enterprises of Charles VIII.

While Charles was making his preparations, they proposed to him an expedition against Africa with their rights to support him when he was already in the Alps, they equipped a fleet in Biscay; when he turned against Tuscany, they endeavoured to rouse Ludovico's ambition by offering him an alliance with their house and the royal title. Charles arrived at Florence; they then despatched Lorenzo Figueroa to Venice, in order to arrange an alliance, perhaps without any formal proclamation. But when the French King was in arms in Rome, and had already occupied the cities of the Church, they laid hold of a clause in their treaty, “reserving the rights of the Church” a clause which Charles agreed to, so long as Alexander was a friend to the Sforza and belonged to his party. Ferdinand was the first to make it important by helping to win over the Pope. If the Catholic Kings displayed any care for Christendom as a whole, it was agreeably to their own interests. Relying on this clause, their envoys, one for Aragon and one for Castile, betook themselves to the States of the Church, met Charles near Rome, and, on his refusal to accede to their demand that he should restore the cities and uphold the treaty, tore up the document embodying it. This cannot be exactly called faithlessness, but a faithful observance of treaties it certainly was not. Ferdinand and Isabella then took under their protection Alexander, whose son had long since fled from the French King, and Ferrantino, who had betrothed himself with their niece Juana, and had fled with her from Naples, and promised them certain Neapolitan castles as security for their war expenses. They were now in a position to form a new league against Charles.

Now after Charles had left Ludovico il Moro, differences arose between them on account of some transactions in Tuscany, Rome, and Naples. Sarzana and Sarzanella, which had been objects of contention between the Genoese and Florentines until Charles's arrival, Ludovico had vainly hoped to obtain from the latter for his city. He found fault with the peace concluded with Alexander, because he himself was not sufficiently benefited by it. He was vexed on seeing his rebels, the Milanese Trivulzio, and the Genoese Fregoso and Fiesco taken into Charles's service at Naples, and in consequence refused to allow French ships to anchor at Genoa. Meanwhile a danger threatened him nearer home. Duke Louis of Orleans, upon whom there had devolved, through a legitimate daughter of the House of Visconti, better claims to Milan than were those which the Sforza deduced from an illegitimate offspring, was at Asti, as though only waiting for a favourable opportunity to assert these claims. His servants openly declared that he would soon be Duke of Milan; and as he was collecting troops, and had at least no resistance to fear from Charles, Ludovico began to tremble for his own power. He addressed himself first of all to Maximilian, who had only a short time previously solemnly conferred upon him the investiture, and who, among all princes, was almost his nearest relative. Maximilian, too, had received Alexander's message, and might well be anxious for the imperial dignity. His envoys throughout Italy also complained when they saw the lilies displayed instead of the eagle, for the suzerainty belonged to the Emperor. Yet most of all was he moved by this, and was ever repeating it to the princes of the Empire: that Charles was threatening Genoa, and Louis Milan, so that urgent help against them was necessary. But the need of the Venetians was more urgent than Maximilian’s, and quite as sore as Ludovico’s. They feared for their own existence, now that Aubigny had penetrated as far as Forli. They raised money when Charles was in Florence; directly he reached Rome, without meeting with resistance, they gathered a force of several thousand light Albanian cavalry, their Stradioti; and now that he had Naples, and the castles had fallen into his hands, and they had heard of Louis' plans, they were seized with the utmost fear. One morning they were sitting together, as was their wont, sixty or seventy in number, in the Doge’s chamber, when the French ambassador entered. They sat, with their eyes fixed on the ground, and their heads resting on their hands. No one broke silence, no one looked at him. The Doge then spoke: “Your master has the castles of Naples; will he remain our friend?”. The envoy assured them that such would be the case.  What troubled them was not the destruction of the unity of Italy only, but their own danger. For we must remember that the claims of Louis of Orleans to Milan might also be extended to a great part of the Venetian possessions, which had once been in the power of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, his ancestor, and which had afterwards been conquered by the Republic. If the one were taken, there was certainly reason to fear for the rest.

We see that Maximilian, Ludovico, and Venice were natural allies. It was to Ferdinand’s advantage to join this league, not by himself, but with his allies Ferrantino and the Pope. But could Ludovico trust Alexander, who had only shortly before this broken faith with him? Suarez insisted that it was not his power, but his name that was wanted. And further, could they receive into the league Ferrantino, who no longer possessed anything or could afford any assistance? Yet, all the same, his ambassadors went to Worms and appeared before the Emperor, praying to be included in the league. At length, on the 20th March, 1495, after frequent negotiations had been carried in secret, even by night, an understanding was arrived at. Suarez exclaimed, “Charles made the wound, and we have found its cure.” The Venetians now invited the French ambassador again. “We have concluded an alliance”, said the Doge, “against the Turks for the peace of Italy and the security of our possessions.” A hundred nobili were there, holding their heads high, bold and joyous, for they knew that an army of more than 50,000 men would take the field against Charles. The ambassador departed, it is said, surprised and perplexed. On the stairs Spinello, the Neapolitan envoy, met him with a beaming face and in a fine new dress. Coming down, he begged the secretary who accompanied him to repeat to him what the Doge had said. It is Comines of whom this is related; he himself will not confess to it; he asserts that he knew everything. In the afternoon the envoys of the allies, to the number of fifty, were conveyed in pleasure barks, decorated with the arms and ensigns of their respective masters, to the strains of music and song, through the Grand Canal, between the marble halls on either side. They passed under the windows of Comines, and the Milanese envoy, at all events, pretended not to know him. In the evening, torches, cannon and illuminations proclaimed the new League. Ten days later, Venice had 21,000 men in the field; on Palm Sunday the League was proclaimed in the countries of the respective allies. Comines and Louis of Orleans wrote six times within six days to France that fresh troops were needed. King Charles was informed of the danger that was approaching.



It is both the life and the fortune of the Germano-Latin nations that they never become united. These negotiations and these preparations, with which the real struggle of the Spaniards and French began, were the beginning of a far-reaching and long-lasting division, which completely altered the face and form of Europe. In the first instance, if Charles’s expedition threatened danger to the Turks, they were certainly advantageous to the latter.

Djem was now dead. An instruction of Alexander to his Turkish ambassador and letters of Bajazet to the Pope are extant, of perfectly horrible contents. The Pope is asked to “raise Djem from the troubles of this world into another, where he might enjoy greater repose; in return for which he, Sultan Bajazet Chan, would pay him 300,000 ducats.” And it is well that we have reason to doubt the genuineness of the documents. Djem, however, actually died suddenly; and whilst the Christian writers speak of poison, the Turkish annals contain this passage: “Mustapha Bey killed Djem with the help of the Pope.” Little blame is due to Charles for not having actually embarked on the expedition he had intended to make, and on which he had already despatched the Archbishop of Durazzo and the Despots of the Morea. He would gladly have concluded a treaty with Ferrantino. Federigo, too, before the League was formed, came once more, found the King sitting under an olive tree near the new castle, and begged a territory for Ferrantino, and the title of King; but Charles cautiously answered, “Not here, but in France”; and thereupon they separated. He contented himself with bringing nobles, citizens and people of Naples into peace and harmony. All the barons came to pay allegiance to him, and received back their estates, which they had lost through the Aragonese kings. With the exception of a few, who still held out, all cities sent their syndics with the keys, and received marks of favour: Taranto, for instance, permission to select its syndic from among the middle class of citizens, the Onorati, and the Neapolitans a like permission to choose an Eletto with a council of twelve from their midst. He remitted to the propertied classes 200,000 ducats of their annual dues, and to those who had nothing he promised 12,000 ducats as an annual present. He fed the poorest on Maundy Thursday, and when he visited the wonders of the land the grotto of Posilippo, which he was told had been artificially made by Virgil, the wondrous springs, the chasms in the earth, full of hot wind and gazed on the fatness of the land in spring : when he sat at the tournament, and saw how French and Italians tilted in the ring together, and how the Princess of Melfi rode as straight as a knight on her horse, the red and white feathers waving from her hat, her hair floating in dainty tresses about her ruff and her knightly tunic of green brocade; amid such amusements and occupations he undoubtedly felt contented and happy. With satisfaction he noted in his letters the restoration of good order and justice in the land hitherto so oppressed, and the homage paid him on all sides in consequence. They evinced the feeling that he had happily accomplished a great undertaking. In the midst of these pleasures, the news of the League and its preparations reached him. The restoration of Roussillon and Artois had, after all, been in vain. How could the powerful foes in his rear at Milan, Venice, and Rome have permitted a Turkish campaign? In order not to be cut off from France, he must of necessity return thither. Once more he entered the city, with a crown on his head and an orb in his hand, to make and to receive the vow. The citizens lifted up their sons of five, ten, and twelve years of age to him, in order that he should dub them knights. He appointed Bourbon, Duke of Montpensier, viceroy, lord, and commander of the kingdom, took one half of his troops with him, and returned on the road by which he had come. He hurried, in order not to be overtaken by the heat.

The Pope fled before him from Rome to a fortress; those who are well-informed assert that Charles would otherwise have taken further steps against him. At Siena he heard the complaints of the Riformatori against the Nove these were the factions of the city and took the part of the complainers, who called him their king and lord. He left a garrison behind him there. On the first day of his arrival at Pisa, the children greeted him, all dressed in white silk, embroidered with lilies; and, on the next day, the men they desired to be his subjects; on the third, the ladies and citizens' wives, but these barefooted and in mourning, praying that he would see fit to take them under his protection. These good people had scarcely a piece of fine cloth left in their shops that they did not give to the commanders of the army. Particularly they gained over the Swiss, who appeared before the King at the play with their axes over their shoulders, and begged him to guarantee the freedom of the city. Charles so far agreed as to say that he would act so that everyone should be contented. And there he stood again at the foot of the Apennines, where the Bardonian Alp from the Magra across to the Taro a pass which even the Longobards thought it worthwhile to fortify with castles and strongholds separates Tuscany from Lombardy. In Naples the League had been ridiculed in a comedy; and as yet Charles had seen no enemy, nor feared any. But Savonarola had told him that the God who had brought him in would surely lead him out; nevertheless, because he had not ameliorated the condition of his Church, he would be scourged.

The League had actually already occupied Naples, which he had only just quitted, as well as the territory of Milan which lay before him. In Naples there appeared under Gonzalvo de Aguilar, Ferdinand's Biscayans, Galicians, and horsemen. Gaeta revolted, and Ferrantino pushed forward into Calabria. This first attack was repulsed by the French, who took Gaeta, not even sparing those who clutched the crucifix for their protection, and drove Ferrantino back. Only one Neapolitan, Juan de Altavilla, comported himself bravely. Seeing the King fall with his horse, he dismounted, gave him up his own, and by a soldier's death gained the eternal glory of fidelity. All the rest fled. But now Otranto, of its own accord, raised the Aragonese cry of “Fierro”: and in Naples, when two persons met in the street, they asked, “Brother, when comes the Sponsor?”, meaning Ferrantino. The decisive issue was expected in a short time. On the 4th of July the beacons of Capri announced that he was really coming. Lombardy was in great commotion on both sides. The Duke of Orleans, immediately on the outbreak of hostilities, took the field forthwith with his lances, Gascons, and Swiss, which were sent to the King's assistance. He was invited to go to Milan and Pavla, for the new taxes that Ludovico had imposed for the purposes of the war had excited the populace. Following the two Opizi, he had been received in Novara and proclaimed Duke. Immediately on the receipt of this news, Ludovico betook himself to the Venetian envoy, to entreat his good services with the Republic, he pressed a valuable emerald into his hand. He himself collected all his energies to rid himself of the enemy. Venice bestirred herself in real earnest. In spite of her strong army in the field, she issued orders throughout the province that one man of every family should equip himself for active service. The allies at once invested Novara, and intercepted Charles's retreat. It was improbable that he would advance by way of Bologna; yet there also they prepared to meet him. He must either take the road from Parma or from Genoa. Early in June, a strong force was in position in the Parmese Mountains; and Ludovico wrote to Genoa, “We are ready; get ready also.” On receipt of this message, Conradin Stanga made every preparation for resistance. If Charles took the road by the Riviera, Louis of Orleans would be isolated; but, on the other hand, did he take his old road across the mountains, he would be obliged to forego all hopes of conquering Genoa, his fief, which Ludovico had now forfeited. He chose the more difficult of the two; he chose to march across the mountains, whilst Fregoso, Giuliano, and Philippe de Bresse made an attack upon Genoa. On his road he was continually reminded that he had Swiss with him. These troops had always caused him much trouble. At the very outset, on the expedition to Naples, their sack of Rapallo roused almost the whole of Genoa to arms against them. At Siena their bad discipline again made itself felt. At Rome it was within an ace that an open battle took place between them and the Spaniards; and in Naples, on one occasion, the shops had to be closed in consequence of their tumultuous behaviour. And now, on the retreat, they fell upon the city of Pontremoli with pillage and murder, in spite of the assurances of the commanders to the contrary, because they thought that they had something still to avenge from their previous march through. Their exuberance of health and physical strength incited them to take disproportionate vengeance for every little insult. The same exuberance of health and vigour, however, rendered them amenable to every good impression. In the same way as they had formerly offered to forego the pay for which they had undertaken to serve, on condition that Charles would promise to guarantee the liberty of Pisa, so now they soon regretted having destroyed supplies that were urgently needed, and presented themselves before the King saying, that if he would forgive them they would harness themselves to the cannon which he was at a loss how to transport across the mountains. A brave knight of the King's retinue, of the name of La Tremouille, undertook to lead them. He once, while still a boy, when Louis XI was fighting with the barons, had, in childish earnestness, taken the side of the King, and in his early youth he had ridden away from his parents to serve King Charles. He now threw off his upper garments; and when the Swiss, in gangs of one hundred to two hundred men, attached themselves to a cannon, and, pulling all together, dragged it forward a distance, then to be relieved by a fresh relay, he would himself lend a hand, and address them with words of encouragement. He had trumpets and clarions sounded until they were over the summit and down at the bottom of the precipitous incline, where men and horses rested. He then appeared, black from the intense heat of the sun, before the King, who said, “You have done as Hannibal did; I will so reward you that others also shall gladly serve me.” 

With difficulty they made their way from the source of the Magra, which flows to the one sea, to hard by the springs of the Taro, which flows to the other. At length the last summit was gained. There they saw before them Lombardy, covered with ripe waving corn and fruit and vines, dotted with smiling villages, and intersected with streams. But in the foreground, not far from the foot of the range, they descried countless tents and the standards of Venice and Milan an army of nearly 40,000 men. Nevertheless, unmolested they pursued their way down, and on the 5th July the King took his repast at Fornovo. 

He was resolved not to make terms, but to accept battle. On both sides of the Taro the valley of Vergerra broadens out down towards the Po, surrounded by hills. On the right bank, the Lombards had taken up their position. What can have been the reason that they did not occupy both banks, and so directly face the enemy? Their main desire was to protect the Milanese territory and Parma, which was always in a state of sedition, against attack; Ludovico himself was strongly opposed to a battle. They were drawn up in nine divisions and 140 squadrons; for their custom in battle, as in more serious tournaments, was as follows: the greater number remained in camp and looked on, whilst the divisions one after another successively attacked, fought, and relieved each other. Although under arms, they allowed Charles’s army to occupy the left bank of the shallow river. Forthwith the 3,000 Swiss kissed the earth, placed themselves with Engilbert’s Germans and the King’s gigantic arquebusiers in the vanguard, and advanced against the enemy. The rearguard and the “Bataille”, with the great standard surrounding the King, consisted of the hommes d'armes. The latter made the sign of the cross on their foreheads and thirsted for the fray. The King sat on his one-eyed black charger, Savoye, a magnificent animal; the colours of France and Brittany waved in the plume of his helmet; the crosses of Jerusalem adorned his coat of mail; his forehead, his eyes, and his whole visage wore a martial aspect. He spoke: “What say ye, sirs? Will ye live and die with me? Be not afraid, though they are ten times our numbers. God has led us hither, and he will lead us home.” Whilst he was creating new knights, some shots were fired, and three divisions of the enemy, in a storm of rain, dashed across the river; the Milanese against the vanguard. When the Milanese saw the lowered spears of the Germans and Swiss, they hesitated to attack. The Venetians under Gonzaga, mounted upon great horses clad in mail, even better harnessed than the French, were in splendid array. The Stradioti, who were appointed to fall upon the flank of the royal army, shouted “Marco Victoria!”. An actual collision took place only between the regular cavalry of the Venetians and that of the French. When the first advanced to the charge, the French sentinels cried, “Voilà l'ennemi!”, and the King was urged to hasten into battle. He drew the centre and the rearguard together, faced about, came close to the enemy, and met his first onslaught. The attack was directed against his right wing, and was dangerous so long as lances were being used, for those of the Italians were longer. As soon as swords were resorted to, the left wing of the King’s army, the twenty shields under the standard of Aymar de Prie, the noblemen of his house, and some valiant Germans, fell upon Gonzaga's flank, which tapered off to a thin end, and afforded no broad front, as was their habit. When at length the Milanese, who had lost courage, were broken and hurried down the banks with drawn swords, Gonzaga himself retired towards the river. A hand-to-hand scuffle took place, in which even the French baggage boys surrounded the cuirassiers, four or five round each, and with their mattocks drove holes through their armour. But an Italian troop charged once again, and penetrated as far as the King, who, however, escaped through his own gallantry, and by the aid of his horse. The advantage undoubtedly remained with the royal army; but it was not decisive. Pitigliano, who escaped from French captivity, and rode back into the Italian camp, kept shouting, “You have conquered”, until they halted; and, as the French saw many lances held aloft, they did not venture to follow up their victory. The Taro flowed with blood. Trivulzio had a bottle of water fetched from it for his little son, who was thirsty, as though it were red wine. The boy said, “How salt this wine is!” “My son”, answered his father, “there is no other in this country.”

The French had repulsed an attack that was never very seriously meant. They had not gained any real victory, but they were enabled to continue their march. The battle took place on the 6th July ; on the 7th, before daybreak, when mass had been said and while the watch-fires were still burning, the King arose, without sound of trumpet or war-cry, and took a road, along which all the fortresses were occupied and their gates shut against him, so that his knights often came with a handful of hay for they had not more wherewith to feed their horses and the army marched from early morn until late at night, ofttimes so thirsty, that wherever there was a pond or a pool they jumped in up to their waists. Along the whole line of march they left fresh graves behind them. During the same days two other decisive events took place.

On the 6th July, Giuliano advanced towards the French into the plain of Santo Spirito, to attack Genoa. The Spinola and Adorni made a sortie, which was repulsed; but on the 7th the Genoese assaulted Rapallo, which was in the occupation of the French, and made a simultaneous attack upon their ships in the bay both with good success, so that Giuliano lost courage, drew off from Genoa, and took the road upon which the King had proceeded. The most important event of all took place at Naples. On the 6th July, Ferrantino appeared with sixty-nine sail in the Gulf of Naples; though he showed himself neither resolute nor quick. But, on the morning of the 7th, as he was sailing past Naples from Torre, as if bound for Pozzuoli, he suddenly heard from within tumultuous cries, stopped, and approached. He saw the flag of Aragon flying upon the bell-tower of Carmelo; and then heard the loud pealing of bells. Then a bark shot towards him, whence came shouts of “Lord King, the city is yours.” A certain Merculiano, so Jovius narrates, the previous day crept stealthily in from the fleet and assembled his friends. When they were about to lay hands on him, the tumult burst forth someone having produced an Aragonese flag from under his coat; hereupon general shouting, waving of flags, and ringing of bells. Some ran to the Maddalena, where the King had alighted, fell at his feet, and brought him a horse. He rode to the gates between Alonso Pescara and his private secretary Chariteo, who was making Provencal poems the while. The whole populace came out of their houses. They caught hold of his sword, and did not heed being wounded so long as they could kiss his hand or his coat; and ever and anon they shouted “Fierro” so loudly, that he turned to Chariteo and quoted from Juvenal, “It is iron, that they love.” So they came into the city, whence the French were fleeing and were being robbed or slain. Gaetans were seen with a Frenchman’s heart between their teeth. Jean Rabot, who lived in luxury and opulence, scarcely saved the most indispensable clothing of his household. But the people kissed the King's feet, the ladies wiped the sweat from his brow, and maidens threw garlands in his way; all cried, “Long live our true sovereign”. At the same time the Venetians fell upon Monopoli and took it, and Federigo captured the city, court, and castle of Trani, and threw its captain, who defended himself with only eight others, into the hold of his galley. In the whole kingdom the Aragonese party was astir and doing. After these events, having at last arrived at Asti across the dyke of Tortona, Charles could no longer dream of conquering he must confine himself to rescuing the Duke of Orleans, who had meantime been shut in Novara, and was in great distress.

By permission of Maximilian, Friedrich Cappeler von Pfirt and Georg von Wolkenstein had brought 10,000 Germans, probably Tyrolese and Swabians, across the Alps; and these, after having been reviewed by Ludovico and his wife, lay with the Venetians in one camp, living in tents full of abundance (there being before the door of almost each one a spring of water), well paid and contented. In order to procure suitable troops for the French, wherewith to oppose this force, the Bailiff of Dijon repaired to Switzerland. On the 24th of August he was seen with large ships, with music, drums, and joyous cries, sailing up the lake towards Lucerne from the Forest cantons, where he had been well received. In Lucerne he feasted daily with his friends, was lavish with his money, and was regarded as a prince. The latest decrees prohibiting foreign expeditions were not heeded. Where the magistracy insisted on their observance, the young men climbed over the walls. Where it was permitted, flags were flown from the gates and the fountains. Even old men, who had seen Duke Charles at Nancy, joined the bands. And so they marched, troop by troop, from Martinach, across the mountains, and down to Ivrea. On the 7th of September, the first detachment, all grand, martial fellows, appeared before the King in Moncagliere. And none too soon; for Duke Louis in Novara, who, although suffering from intermittent fever, was yet obliged to visit the guard every day, and his brave companion-in-arms, ill from bread made of hand-ground coarse meal from unripe corn, signalled their great distress by lowering and raising their torches three times every night on the highest towers. Even this flour was exhausted, and in the streets there were dead and dying to be seen. Charles now despatched some Swiss to Provence, to cross thence to Naples; but the greater part of them he kept in his camp at Vercelli. Their numbers increased daily, and made the enemy fear for the result of a battle, and therefore more inclined to make terms. An arrangement between Charles VIII and Ludovico had been already mooted. The first opportunity for the opening of overtures was made by the death of the Marchioness of Montferrat, when Charles, on the occasion of settling her inheritance, sent a message to Gonzaga, expressing his sympathy. This led to the envoys of both parties incidentally talking of peace. At first, heralds went over, and concluded a truce, by virtue of which the Duke of Orleans was permitted to leave Novara, and received food for his troops. Hereupon negotiations were opened as to the peace itself. There sat in Ludovico’s chamber, himself, his wife, and the envoys of the League, on one side of the table, and on the other the French; at the end were two secretaries for the two parties and the two languages, and the negotiations were carried on between them. Frequently, when one, two, or three Frenchmen all began talking at once, Ludovico interrupted them with “Ho, ho! one at a time”; and thereupon himself carried on the conversation. He brought it about, that at the expiration of fourteen days, on the 6th of October, all parties were agreed. He promised to support the French from Genoa, as a fief of Charles, against Naples, as soon as his country belonged entirely to him again. Upon these conditions peace was concluded. Early on the morning of the loth, the Venetians burnt their camp, and marched away. How could it, as Bembo says was the case, have been so disagreeable to them, when the danger that they had dreaded was removed, and the expense that they so unwillingly bore was at an end? The treaty moreover was concluded under their very eyes. The Duke of Orleans, a part of the French nobility the numbers of his adherents are reckoned at about 800 lances and the Swiss, who had joined the expedition in order to enrich themselves, submitted but unwillingly to the arrangement. But Charles VIII kept saying, “I have sworn to it, and I will keep it.” His attention was to pacify Upper Italy, in order to save Naples for himself.

He now came to Lyons, and paid his vow in St. Denis; he found France just as he had left it; but in Italy the effect of the impulse he had given continued to be felt. Scarcely ever has a military expedition been undertaken, which, after such a brilliant beginning, resulted in fewer immediate consequences, and which was yet indirectly of the greatest influence upon the world. The expedition of Charles VIII may be regarded as the last enterprise undertaken in the chivalrous spirit of the Crusades. This spirit now disappeared. But from this expedition sprang that great rivalry between the Spanish and French monarchies which from this time forth filled the world, whilst Italy was at the same time torn to pieces. The ideal unity of the peninsula, which we have traced above, has never been re-established. Italy became the battlefield of neighbouring nations, and the sovereignty over it the prize for which they continuously strove. Even among the Germans the Imperial journeys to Rome, which appeared to have been almost forgotten, were again discussed.


WAR IN NAPLES, 1495-1496

In Naples the war still continued. Its object was the possession of the city. This was gained by the favour of the populace, who drove the enemy into their castles, paid 500 men for their King, each placing as much as he could give into a collection box, and even marched against the Swiss at Sarno, and repulsed them. It succeeded further, because the enemy in their castles despaired of all help. After the peace of Novara, two Genoese ships arrived, and the French hoped that Ludovico had sent them to their assistance. But Ludovico had never intended any such thing. When the Venetians called out to the Genoese sailors, “Chi vive?”, the latter replied, “San Giorgio e Fierro! Fierro!”. Hereupon in the city, trumpets, flying flags, and congratulations on the part of the officers of the galleys; in the castles, sheer despair. The castles surrendered. Capua, Nola, and the greater part of the west coast, followed their example; and the Colonna going over, Aquila and a part of the Abruzzi did the same.

Gonzalvo had also advanced from Reggio. The whole southern tableland of Calabria, La Sila (which was conquered by the ambushes, stratagems, and surprises his soldiers had learnt in the similar country of the Alpujarras) in a northerly direction as far as the foot of the mountain range, where a steep road, in winter quite impracticable, hewn in the solid rock, leads from Rotigliano to the Cosentine villages all this, together with the places lying on both sides, he had taken either by force or faction. Here he stopped. It was now December. In spite of their sudden change of feeling, it is not quite correct to complain of the inconstancy of this people. Whenever a party which has inherited its allegiance, and which has seen itself the victim of sudden oppression, becomes roused at the first opportunity, this must be called obstinacy rather than inconstancy. We will suppose two almost equal parties, united not only by disposition, but also by property; for the one has often lost its goods to the other, or wrested them from it in return. In their case, a successful campaign and battle won, or favourable tidings, may help up the one, whilst a chance accident, and the crime of an individual, may oppress and dishearten the other; so that, in order not to subject itself, but to await another opportunity, it hastens to secure itself on this occasion as far as possible by making terms. No one will accuse the English of natural cowardice, but in those days they acted in the same manner, and for the same identical reasons. Where relationships are sundered by disunion, by an enmity which only aims at the recognition of a privilege, or a superiority of the one and not the complete destruction of the other, in proportion as hatred is weakened, martial ardour is diminished. Often, when they had already taken the field in order to fight, the Aragonese thought of the losses of their Angevin relatives, would not engage, and were considered cowardly. Under such circumstances, the war could not be brought to a close in a moment.

From the west he turned eastwards across the hills. Here there stretches away the plain of Apulia, arid in spite of a few rivers, on which, at all events in those days, not a single tree grew, and where fennel stalks served as fuel. Upon this plain there was no village, but at harvest time the respective owners of the soil came from their towns and castles with waggons and oxen, remained all night in the open, and only returned when they had finished their work. At times, there grazed upon the royal meads of Tavoliera, eighty miles in extent, a strange herd of cattle. For towards the winter there came down from the Abruzzian mountains, passing by Serra Capriola, several hundred thousand sheep, goats, and oxen, which remained there until the early spring, when they returned to the fresh herbage of their hills. In those days they paid considerable duties to the revenue authorities in Foggia the King's best source of revenue, as they once were of the Roman Republic, bringing in 100,000 ducats. In order to collect this revenue both Ferrantino and Montpensier hurried across the plain in February, 1496, the former towards Foggia, the latter towards San Severo. In the little guerilla warfare which they began there a marvellous deed is recorded. About 700 of Ferrantino’s Germans, who had taken the road from Troja to Foggia, were suddenly surrounded and attacked by several thousand French. At once forming a ring, they beat off the enemy with their muskets; and then, for they wished to proceed on their way, they opened their ranks, and 200 of them dashed ahead to clear the road. But their captain, Hederlin, fell; they bound his corpse on a horse, took it in their midst, and pushed forward. They would then have remained unharmed, had they not had to cross a river. In so doing they divided their forces, which made it easy for the enemy to attack them. Over the whole plain of Massaria, and along the road, lay the bodies, just as life and blood had left them. They all died. Italians and Spaniards have sung their praises once or twice since then; but never a German. This deed is remarkable not for its success, but for the prowess displayed. Yet Ferrantino immediately after had the advantage again. He had pledged five places in Apulia, the best situated in the country, to the Signoria of Venice for their war expenses, and pledging was almost tantamount to selling. The Stradioti, who in return for this transaction joined him, even took the cattle away from the French, which were being driven for them to San Severo. Here, there, and everywhere, always attacking and never awaiting the enemy's attack, they made the King master of the plain, so that both Ludovico in the west and Venice in the east aided Ferrantino to victory; yet the Republic afforded by far the greatest assistance. In the south, Gonzalvo, as early as February, had mounted up to the Cosentine villages on the hills, had subjected Cosenza, except its castle, and all the fortresses of the valley of the Crati, whether they would or no, as well as the whole mountain chain as far as the second passes, where it slopes down from Castrovillari to Campo Tenese, and had instituted everywhere Aragonese judges.  

The Colonna had possession of the Abruzzi in the north, the western and eastern slope of the hills were Aragonese; and so the French were obliged to pass through their midst into the province of Molise, although they were disunited, without money, and ignorant of hill-warfare. Ferrantino immediately went in search of them there. At Morcone they both again faced each other; at Frangete only a ditch parted them. A collision appeared to be inevitable. At Naples, processions were held for two days, because the King would have to fight at Benevento. In Calabria, too, he was not quite safe. At Laino were gathered the barons who had fled before Gonzalvo, and who now cherished the plan of joining Aubigny, who was still at Tropea, in order with united forces to relieve Cosenza. Before they could make up their minds, Gonzalvo sallied forth at night, seized the passes, occupied the bridge between the town and castle of Laino, possessed himself of both, and took fourteen barons and many knights prisoners. Whilst he was coming up from the south, Ferrantino drove the enemy before him from the north, by way of Ariano and Gesualdo, from place to place, until he caught them up at Atella. Here he occupied the hills, covered with woods and vineyards, which surround the valley on three sides. He only left the road from Venosa open. This road Gonzalvo blocked. When now the French made an attempt to break through, Ferrantino was the first to break his lance upon them; and when his knights said to him, “Sir, how dare you expose yourself so much?”:he replied, “It is my affair also.” In this way he fired the zeal of his troops, and soon drove the enemy back. The latter hoped against hope in their King, but he was too far away, and they were perishing from hunger. They accordingly begged for a thirty days’ truce; if at the expiration of it they were then unable to take the field, they pledged themselves to leave the kingdom and surrender their strongholds. The days passed; succour did not arrive, and at length they were all for Aubigny had also surrendered conducted to the coast. Here, heat, hunger, and dire diseases left only 1,500 men out of 6,000, and these took ship in such an exhausted condition that they had almost to be lifted on shore, if they were ever to breathe the air of the land again. Others came into captivity, sat behind wooden and iron gratings in dark cells, where they saw no living creature, except perhaps the Moor who brought them their food. At last they were set free. These fugitives might be seen, with the iron chains of their captivity still about their necks, betaking themselves to holy places and to the court of the King. They were contented to see his face once more; they took his presents, and wished him long life. 

After this great victory over the French, Ferrantino returned, on the 5th October, 1496, with his young wife to Naples. The people, whom he had allowed to choose a fuller as their Eletto, who was permitted to carry the Mappa on Corpus Christi day, which had been a privilege of the nobles and who, if he lived, might hope for many other favours at his hand loved him from the bottom of their hearts. Many of them imitated him, how he raised and bowed his head, and they believed they had a hero in him. And now he came back to them; but he was sick to death. The people spent the whole night before the saints on their knees. Early in the morning, they carried a wonder-working image of Mary through the streets, and brought it to him; in the evening there followed in grand procession, clerics and laymen, men and women, and even the nobles, behind the head and blood of St. Januarius, which their Archbishop carried before them through the streets, until they were come to the gate of the palace. Here the old Queen knelt down, and the people cried, "Misericordia." He spoke to them, and said, “Finish your prayers; God will do as seemeth him best”, and then died. “O our master”, they said, “wherefore hast thou left us so soon? Thy prowess, thy prowess in battle, equalled by no hero of old, where is it now? By thy death it is gone.” Another said, “How shall I now live, O my master, I that have borne so many hardships to earn thy favour?”. Some remembered that he had often been in danger of poison; but he had escaped such a death, and now he had passed away gently at the goal of his victories. Federigo, his uncle, succeeded to the throne in his stead.

And now it almost appeared as though Charles's expedition, which certainly never vanquished the Turks or took Jerusalem, was not even productive of any lasting effects upon Italy Ludovico and Federigo were even reconciled. Yet it was not so in reality. The Florentine Popolari, the Orsini, who now opposed the Pope instead of the Colonna, as well as the unconquered cities in the kingdom of Naples, Taranto, Bitonto, Sora, Rocca Guglielma, formed a strong party, and every day Charles, their suzerain, thought of returning to them again. These were confronted by the League. The Italian members of it would have been quite contented with a victory over their enemies in Italy. The foreign members desired more. Ferdinand was thinking of his claims to Naples, and made inquiries of the Pope in respect thereof. Maximilian hoped, with the assistance of this League, to strike a blow at France itself.





THE real objects of Maximilian were to aid the League to conquer in Italy, and then to place himself at its head and attack France.

He was lord of Austria and the Netherlands. It might have been about 600 years previously that, in the valley of the Danube, between the Alps and the Bohemian mountains, the mark of Austria was first founded round and about the castles of Krems and Melk. Since then it had grown, first in the valleys towards Bavaria and Hungary, and afterwards through the House of Hapsburg, across the whole of the northern slope of the Alps to the point of separation of the Slavonic, Italian, and German tongues, and down to Alsace; from a mark it had become an archduchy. On all sides the Archdukes had claims; on the German side to Switzerland, on the Italian to Venetian possessions, and on the Slavonic to Bohemia and Hungary.

To such a pitch of greatness had Maximilian by his marriage with Mary of Burgundy brought the heritage received from Charles the Bold. True to the Netherlander’s greeting, in the inscription over their gates, “Thou art our Duke, fight our battle for us”, war was from the first his handicraft. He adopted Charles the Bold's hostile attitude towards France; he saved the greatest part of his inheritance from the schemes of Louis XI. He thought day and night how he might conquer it entirely.

But after Mary of Burgundy’s premature death, revolution followed revolution, and his father Frederick being too old to protect himself, it came about that in the year 1488 he was ousted from Austria by the Hungarians, whilst his son was kept a prisoner in Bruges by the citizens, and they had even to fear the estrangement of the Tyrol. Yet they did not lose courage. At this very time the father denoted with the vowels A. E. I. O. U. (Alles Erdreich ist Oesterreich unterthan all the earth is subject to Austria), the extent of his hopes. In the same year, the son negotiated for a Spanish alliance. Their real strength lay in the imperial dignity of Frederick, and in the royal dignity of Maximilian, which they had from the Empire of the Germans. As soon as it began to bestir itself, Maximilian was set at liberty; as soon as it supported him in the persons of only a few princes of the Empire, he became supreme in the Netherlands. The standard of the Kennemer, with its device of bread and cheese, floated before Leyden for the last time, and the last Hoek, Philip of Ravenstein, surrendered Sluys to him. It was the same help which secured him the Tyrol, and enabled him to reconquer Austria.

Since then, his plans were directed against Hungary and Burgundy. In Hungary he could gain nothing beyond securing the succession to his house. But never, frequently as he concluded peace, did he give up his intentions upon Burgundy. He might have hoped to compass them if Anne of Brittany had become his wife. On the day that he learned that she was not to become so, he threw himself in a fit of bitter disappointment into the saddle, and took part again and again in the tournaments. On this occasion, however, the Empire did not come to the assistance of his anger. But now that he had allied himself with a Sforza, and had joined the League, now that his father was dead, and the Empire was pledged to follow him across the mountains, and now, too, that the Italian complications were threatening Charles, he took fresh hope, and in this hope he summoned a Diet at Worms.

Maximilian was a prince of whom, although many portraits have been drawn, yet there is scarcely one that resembles another, so easily and so entirely did he suit himself to circumstances, so little was he controlled by one occupation or one inclination, a prince of whom his contemporaries have left behind them detailed descriptions of manners and habits, yet not a single satisfactory history. His soul is full of motion, of joy in things, and of plans. There is scarcely anything that he is not capable of doing. In his mines he is a good screener, in his armoury the best plater, capable of instructing others in new inventions. With musket in hand, he defeats his best marksman, Georg Purkhard; with heavy cannon, which he has shown how to cast, and has placed on wheels, he comes as a rule nearest the mark. He commands seven captains in their seven several tongues; he himself chooses and mixes his food and medicines. In the open country, he feels himself happiest. He rides by copses listening for the nightingale, it may be to the forests of Brabant, to hunt the boar, to the Tyrol mountains, where he has forbidden the shooting of the chamois because firearms have left so few remaining. Here he leaves his horse behind, and in pursuit of them climbs the steep rocks where, if he makes a false step, he may fall four hundred to five hundred feet, where sometimes, when the climbing iron has given way, a bush or projecting stone alone saves him from destruction, and where, on one occasion, in the Hallthal, he hears the avalanche thunder at his back. The common people tell stories of how he was once let down by strong ropes from the heights into the valley beneath, and on another occasion, when this was impracticable, and a crucifix was already raised towards him from the valley as though to receive his dying prayer, an angel rescued him from the Martinswand. On his return from such an expedition, his fowler brings him all manner of singing birds into his chamber, so that he can hardly hear himself speak. Or, again, he goes to the wedding of one of his servants, or listens confidentially to the prayers of his subjects, or it may be relates a story to his councillors and secretaries. Sometimes he dictates a piece from his enigmatical and almost unfathomable works, a note for his diary, as, for instance, how priest Lasla is to compile the Chronicles, or one of his very exact instructions as, for instance, how, at Beutelstein, with a makeshift musket one might shoot obliquely into the kitchen, or perhaps a letter. Such is his character. But this has little to do with history. What really distinguishes his public life is that presentiment of the future greatness of his dynasty which he has inherited from his father, and the restless striving to obtain all that passed to him from the House of Burgundy. All his policy and all his schemes were concentrated, not upon the Empire, for the real needs of which he evinced little real care, and not directly upon the welfare of his hereditary lands, but upon the realization of that sole idea. Of it all his letters and speeches are full. Yet each individual plan he keeps extremely secret. There are projects that he communicates to none of his councillors; at such times he places the foreign embassies in positions where they learn nothing, and from which they cannot escape; then he sends his cook on ahead only an hour before he himself sets out. Whenever he fancies his plans are discerned, the veins in his neck swell, and he becomes wrath. It will sometimes happen that the matter upon which he is bent, after he has undertaken it, presents difficulties for which he is not prepared; but, as he has always other schemes, which lead to the same end, he soon forgets his failures. Thus, in such matters, he behaves like a huntsman, who is bent upon climbing a very steep hill, first by this path and then by that, and if he fails, attempts another and yet another way without losing patience; for it is still early in the day, and he gradually mounts higher and higher, his sole care being to hide himself from the wild animal he pursues.

In March, 1495, Maximilian came to the Diet at Worms. He showed to the full his knightly prowess, when he himself entered the lists with a Frenchman, who had come to challenge all the Germans, and conquered him. He appeared in the full glory of his regal dignity, when he sat in public between the archbishops and his chancellors. On such occasions, the Count Palatine sat on his right and held his orb, on his left stood the Duke of Saxony and held his sword; before him stood the envoy of Brandenburg with the sceptre, and behind him, instead of Bohemia, the hereditary cupbearer of Limburg, with the crown; and grouped round him were the rest of the forty princes, sixty-seven counts and lords, as many as had come, and the ambassadors of the cities, and others, all in their order. Then a prince would come before him, lower his colours before the royal throne, and receive his investiture. There was then no perception of the fact that this mode of investiture denoted a certain compulsion upon the King, or that the insignia of royal power resided in the hands of the princes.

At this Diet the King made two important arrangements, which opened up to him great prospects of advantage. In Württemberg there had sprung of two lines two counts of quite opposite characters, both named Eberhard. The elder was kind-hearted, tender, always resolute, and dared “sleep in the lap of any one of his subjects”; the younger, volatile, unsteady, violent, and always repentant of what he had done; but the elder, by special favour of the Imperial court, also managed the land of the younger. In return for this, he furnished 400 horse for the Hungarian war, and despatched aid against Flanders. With the elder, Maximilian now entered into a compact. Württemberg was to be raised to a dukedom an elevation which excluded the female line from the succession and, in the event of the stock failing, was to be a “widow’s portion” of the realm for the benefit of the Imperial treasury. Now, as the sole hopes of this family centred in a single weakly boy, this arrangement held out to Maximilian or his successors the prospect of acquiring a splendid country. Yet this was the smaller of his two successes. The greater was the espousal of his children, Philip and Margaret, to the two children of Ferdinand the Catholic, Juana and Juan, which was here settled. This opened to his house still greater expectations, it brought him at once into the most intimate alliance with the Kings of Spain.

These matters might possibly, however, have been arranged elsewhere. What Maximilian really wanted at the Diet of Worms was the assistance of the Empire against the French, with its soldiery who were already world-renowned and much sought after.

For at that time in all the wars of Europe, German auxiliaries were decisive. The troops upon which Wasiljewitsch depended when he led his Muscovites against the Poles, and those who subjected Sweden to the Union, were German, as were also those which died in England for the cause of York on the very spot where they had awaited the battle. Those who made the possession of Brittany by the crown of France uncertain, as well as those who conquered it, were also Germans; the defenders as well as the conquerors of Naples; the subduers of Hungary, as long as it suited them, as also those who saved it by going home with their booty, all were Germans. But these were the quarrelsome, wandering portion of the nation, those hirelings whom the peace proclamations inveighed against. In Germany there still lived peasants, like the Ditmarschers, who awaited a victorious army, under a king of three realms, behind their walls, and defeated it, and who hung up the Danebrog in a village church. In the cities there dwelt behind their impregnable walls and their cannon, citizens versed in the use of arms, who practised their good arts and games until irritated by an enemy, when they met him, as the Strassburgers did Charles the Bold before Nancy. Less secure perhaps were princes and lords, yet these had castles to protect them against the first attack, and feudal tenants and faithful subjects ever about them. If Maximilian had united the whole of this power in his hand, neither Europe nor Asia would have been able to withstand him. But God disposed that it should rather be employed in the cause of freedom than for oppression. What an Empire was that, which in spite of its vast strength allowed its Emperor to be expelled from his heritage, and did not for a long time take steps to bring him back again?

If we examine the constitution of the Empire, not as we should picture it to ourselves in Henry III’s time, but as it had at length become the imperial dignity devoid of any material possessions, the several estates legally independent, and with the power of election of a sovereign, who afterwards always maintained certain rights over the electors, we are led to inquire not so much into the causes of its disintegration, for this concerns us little, as into the way in which it was held together.

What welded it together, and preserved it (leaving tradition and the Pope out of the question), would appear to have been chiefly the rights of individuals, the unions of neighbours, and the social gradations which universally obtained. Such were those rights and privileges which not only protected the citizen, his guild and his quarter of the town against his neighbours and more powerful men than himself, but which also endowed him with an inner independence; those rights and privileges which secured his rightful possessions to the greatest, and his existence to the least; a legacy left by each generation to the succeeding, unalterable either by emperor or empire who had confirmed them, but which were without them a mere nothing. Next, the unions of neighbours. These were not only leagues of cities and communities of peasants, expanded from ancient fraternities for who can tell the origin of the Hansa, or the earliest treaty between Uri and Schwyz into large associations; or of knights, who strengthened a really insignificant power by confederations of neighbours; but also of the princes, who were bound together by joint inheritances, mutual expectancies and the ties of blood, which in some cases were very close. This ramification, dependent upon a supreme power and confirmed by it, bound neighbour to neighbour; and, whilst securing to each his privilege and his liberty, blended together all countries of Germany in legal bonds of union. But it is only in the social order that the unity is really manifest. Only so long as the Empire was an actual reality, could the supreme power of the Electors, each with his own special rights, be maintained; only so long could dukes and princes, bishops and abbots maintain their authority in the eyes of their neighbours, and through court offices or hereditary services, through fiefs and membership of the Diet give their vassals a distinctive position to the whole. Only so long could the immediate cities of the Empire, carefully divided into free and imperial cities, be not merely protected, but also assured of a general participation in the government. Under this sanctified and traditional system of suzerainty and vassalage all were happy and contented, and bore a love to it such as is cherished towards a native town or a father’s house.

In this system, the House of Austria had for some time past enjoyed the foremost position. It also had a union, and, moreover, a great division on its side. The union was the Swabian League. Old Swabia was divided into three leagues the league of the Forest Cantons (the origin of Switzerland); the league of the knights in the Black Forest, on the Kocher, the Neckar, and the Danube; and the league of the cities. The cantons were from the first hostile to Austria. The Emperor Frederick brought it to pass that the cities and knights that had from time out of mind lived in feud, bound themselves together with several princes, and formed, under his protection, the league of the land of Swabia. But the division was scattered throughout the whole Empire.

Almost every German house was divided into an elder and a younger line; and, as through some fate, it happened that one, generally the younger, attached itself to the Emperor. Of the Bavarian House, it was at this time that of Munich; of the Palatinate, that of Veldenz; of the Württemberg House, the Urach line; of the Saxon, that of Dresden; of the Hessian, that of Marburg; and of the Guelph, that of Brunswick. The most friendly to the Imperial House were the Houses of Brandenburg and Baden, which was for a long time undivided; the most hostile, since Frederick the Victorious, was the Palatinate. Anyone who steeps himself in these dry studies, and has access to all the historical documents, especially the electoral rolls of the ecclesiastical princes, will be able to discover, from Frederick II’s time, a new history, unlike Haberlin's, founded upon persons and living actions.

But it is not this upon which the Emperor's hallowed position in the nation reposed. This was based before all else upon his dignity, the sublimest in Christendom, the keystone of the social order, and upon the custody of traditional rights a custody, so to speak, of times past for times to come which lay in his hand, and which was bound up with the distribution of new rights through the medium of privileges and fiefs. His position was based, moreover, upon the universal judicial office he filled, as well as upon the great influence he exercised upon public matters by his motions, proposals, and party in the Diet. “His name is great”, says a papal deputy; “in a land of factions he can do much. Everyone looks to him; and without him nothing can be done. “In this respect there were, however, great deficiencies. Privileges were often bestowed out of mere personal considerations, and to the prejudice of others; judicial business was frequently kept in arrear, if the parties did not come to court with sufficient money; domestic matters were often made affairs of general policy, and real needs neglected. The princes complained that the Emperor did not consult them, but his councillors. We can see that there was much arbitrariness and determination to take all that could be got, on the one side, and lack of complaisance and goodwill and the rendering of as little service as possible on the other. Maximilian had first intended to remain a fortnight at Worms; and then, before Charles had returned from Naples, with the help of the vassals of the realm, to undertake an expedition against him. Yet his proposal did not express this intention. It was as follows: “Whereas the Turk twice each year assailed Christendom; and whereas the King of France threatened to transfer to himself the prerogatives of the Empire and the Church, a speedy and, more than this for they had equipped themselves for a long campaign, a continuous aid for ten to twelve years was needed.” 

But here lay the chief difficulty, to induce a government only framed for peace, or at most fitted to carry on a short war, to undertake a protracted campaign at a distance. To this end either the dormant military power of the vassals, princes, knights, citizens, and peasants could be utilized, or else the landsknechts, who were always ready to serve for pay. But the feudal system had fallen into decay, owing no less to the Emperor, who left the individual unaided, than to the individuals who did not, on their part, support him. It still lived on only in respect of meum and fuum, and not with any view to war; it existed more in claims and in parchments than in actual fact. It was impossible to unite the vassals in military obedience for any length of time, so as to undertake a real campaign. Maximilian’s intention, therefore, was to raise money through his claims upon them, and with this money to form an army of landsknechts. This was the tenor of his proposal.

This proposal was received by the Estates at Worms in full assembly at the Rathaus. Hereupon they withdrew the Electors into one chamber, the princes into a second, and the representatives of the cities into a third, and began to examine article after article. The printed records do not quite disclose the relations of the princes to the electors; but of the cities thus much we know, that their commission was, to agree in the main to what the electors and princes resolved, and otherwise only to protect the interests of each city. They would not, even when asked, make known their opinion until the princes had declared theirs. Often they learnt from the Elector of Mainz what had been proposed to them, and what they had determined upon. In case they had any scruples they sent, after lunch perhaps, to him direct. The King, when confronted by the full assembly, appeared at a great disadvantage. In a case when he desired a rapid decision, he was even obliged to go out whilst they were deliberating, and await the result outside.  

These Estates, then, that have in their hereditary independence as little in common with the representative estates of a military monarchy, as the Empire of those days with a political state, answered the King, that, before all else, order in the Empire must be secured. When, in 1486, Frederick pressed them for assistance against the Hungarians, they cast in his teeth complaints as to his administration of justice; and when, in 1492, he proposed a French campaign, they replied, led by Berthold of Mainz: “It was an evil innovation to ask for assistance in money. Many were excused the contribution; many paid only half; many, again, too late; those that paid it were ruined; and, finally, it was spent for different objects than it had been granted for.” All the same, they did not declare themselves against pecuniary assistance, but they wished to counteract those two evils by the aid of the tribunals, and by assisting in the appropriation of the moneys voted. At the present moment, both parties, they and the King, pursued their own ends. On three occasions, Maximilian was particularly pressing. The first occasion was in April, when the preparations of the Duke of Orleans threatened Milan, and Charles's retreat menaced the Pope and Genoa, and he could still hope to find him in the field, far away from his country. But the princes took upon themselves to propose to him a Council of Regency which should consist of a president appointed by the King, and sixteen members chosen by the Electors, the four archbishoprics, the four territories and the cities, and which should, in reality, exercise all internal power. In this first dispute Maximilian gained the day. Berthold of Mainz said: “They did not wish to mortgage the King’s person for this assistance they voted him; they would acquiesce in his wishes and trust him.” Acting upon this sentiment, they promised him that, although he rejected their Council of Regency, they would, within six weeks, raise 100,000 guilders from the Estates; 50,000 he should raise himself, and both sums should be covered by a general tax levied on the country; only he should not leave the land before peace, right, and a tolerable state of order was established. This was the first time.

 The peace was not established, the money was not paid, and the six weeks had long passed by.

    On the second occasion, when Charles was in Florentine territory, and messengers announced that Milan was in danger, he declared as follows: “For two days, from eight o'clock in the morning until eight at night, he had busied himself with the peace project; in two days he hoped to have settled it; in the meanwhile they should be good enough to vote him the money.” Many were opposed to this, especially the cities. But he prevailed upon some princes to grant him the money; and Berthold induced the representatives of the cities, at all events, to write home about it. He was successful on this occasion also. It was in July.

  After this, at the beginning of August, when Novara was being besieged, and a victory of the Swiss was apprehended, in case the landsknechts, who had been sent thither, were not regularly paid, he made fresh demands. But on this occasion he could prevail upon nobody. On the afternoon of the 4th of August he adopted the proposals provisionally, and on the 7th definitely, and received on the 8th a fresh vote of 150,000 guilders. 

 What can it then have been that the King was unwilling to face? Certainly not the public peace, that had been so often proclaimed, but the Cameral Tribunal (Kammergericht), a Court constituted with the advice and consent of the Diet, and which, moreover, as was plainly evidenced by later references to the events of this day, was composed in the way in which it was intended to compose the Council of Regency, so that hereby a great part of his absolute judicial power was taken from him. Yet in the matter nearest his heart still greater difficulties presented themselves. It was resolved to raise the Common Penny, no small tax, as it would amount to the thousandth part of the property of the public, and in many districts taxes and assessments were at this time unknown. The object was to bring every individual in all Germany immediately under the Imperial government, and always to keep a good sum in reserve for public matters.

  This tax was for the King, but it was not proposed to leave it to his absolute control. Seven Imperial treasurers were to raise it, and an annual diet was to keep watch over its application. On the evening before the Feast of the Purification in each year, the King, the princes, and all the Estates should assemble, and remain a whole month together to deal with the public peace and justice. This assembly could not but diminish the King's independence and his whole prestige. What availed him the money, when another could determine how it should be employed? But on this occasion it could not be avoided. With but few knights, without any reception, Maximilian arrived at Frankfurt. On the Grossbraunfels there, he delivered the simple red judge’s staff with its black handle to the first justiciary, Eitel Friedrich von Zollern, and then, in disgust that his chief object had been defeated, betook himself to the Tyrol. Charles was home again; in Milan peace prevailed, and all his plans had been thwarted. 



   In the Tyrol, Maximilian was visited by the ambassadors of Italy; they represented to him that “the King of France was every day threatening to return. The Popolari at Florence, his keenest partisans, had been bold enough to attack Pisa. Against the former, as also against these latter, they prayed him to come and wage war, and not, when they had so great need of him, to be again detained by a Diet.” Maximilian turned his attention entirely to Italian affairs, and inclined to the hope that he would be able, even without material assistance from Germany, to carry out one of his plans. The condition of things in Pisa and Florence was now as follows. When King Charles took Pisa under his protection, he forgot that it had ever been Ghibelline, against the House of Anjou and against his rights, and that its last action had been to hoist the Burgundian colours. Later, he came to terms with Florence, and insisted only upon an amnesty for Pisa. Relying upon this, the Florentines commenced the war. The castles upon the heights of the Era and Elsa, originally belonging to Pisa, and not far from the coast, were soon taken. Leghorn was ceded to them, and Charles gave orders to his captain in the citadel of Pisa to surrender this also. But the captain acted contrary to expectations. Whether or not it was compassion, bribe, or, as is said, a lady of Pisa, who pleased him too well, he disregarded his sovereign’s commands. When the Florentines, upon his invitation, rushed through suburbs, fortifications, and across the Arno, in order to take the city and to receive the citadel from him, he fired point-blank amongst them and drove them back. He was the first to make the people of Pisa perfectly free, by surrendering to them their citadel. But what sort of liberty is that, which from the first outset hesitates to protect itself? It was enough for the people of Pisa not to be subjected to their old enemies. And he who protected them against their foes was also acceptable to them as their lord and master. When, then, on the occasion of the renewed attacks made upon it by Florence, Ludovico and the Venetians took the part of Pisa, they may, perhaps, have intended to injure the French party; certain it is that Ludovico reflected, that the city formerly belonged to the Visconti, and that it was favourably situated for both Genoa and Milan; and certain it is that the Venetians considered what an excellent acquisition Pisa would be to add to the Apulian cities which were already theirs, and to Taranto, which had just raised the cry of “San Marco!” and how it would enable them to plant their flag on the Tyrrhenian sea. At first, as though no one knew the others’ thoughts, they held together; but every day Ludovico became more jealous. He retired. His general on one occasion, on being invited to advance, answered that he must first take his breakfast. But matters did not progress much in this way, and it was a clever idea of his to help to transfer this war to the Emperor, his nearest relative, who was an enemy of the Popolari, and no friend of Venice. When, in May, 1496, Trivulzio came over the mountains, fortified Asti, and spread the report that close behind him were coming the Duke of Orleans, and after him the King, with 2,000 hommes d'armes, and 10,000 Gascons and Swiss, the Venetians were induced for Charles threatened to avenge their attack at Fornovo to agree to Ludovico's proposal. 

 Accordingly, in July, 1496, Ludovico set out with his court and journeyed through the Valtelline, and by way of Bormio across the Umbrail to Munster, there to await Maximilian. The next morning, before daybreak, the Emperor arrived attired in a black hunting costume, with his golden bugle-horn at his side, and accompanied by 200 huntsmen with the long poles, with which they clamber from rock to rock, and by many nobles all decorated with the Burgundian Cross of St. Andrew. After the meeting was over, he might have been seen following the chase on the highest peaks of the Piz Umbrail merely to gaze up at which made the spectator dizzy his feet shod with climbing irons, where the cleft rocks ran sheer down into the abyss beneath. Meanwhile, the Duchess sat in a small hut, and chamois were driven down from the ravines and round the jagged rocks, and the sport went on before her eyes. In this way they amused themselves. The most important event, however, was, that Maximilian entertained the proposals of the Italian envoys: “they should pay him 40,000 ducats every three months, and he would then come and wage their war for them.” But first he must return to Germany. In his ill-humour he had abandoned all the decrees of the Diet. At all events, he ought, by his presence in the first assembly, to have inaugurated the new constitution; but when the Feast of the Purification arrived, he said that in Worms he had been treated as no city treated its burgo-master, and remained away. A few plenipotentiaries came, but in a short time everyone went home. In the meanwhile, the Common Penny had been raised; abbots and ecclesiastics paid it, and the cities also paid it into the hand of their priests. But as the assembly, which should determine how the contribution should be expended, had broken up, how was it likely that any should show great enthusiasm, especially as all were unaccustomed to these proceedings, and annoyed at their property being investigated. Maximilian, accordingly, at Whitsuntide, 1496, wrote: “Each one must appear at Lindau with his soldiers all ready equipped, and with the money that had been raised by tax to pay them.” Immediately afterwards, just as if nothing had been pre-arranged and determined, he demanded that, “eight days after St. John’s Day, the summer solstice, the strength of the nation should accompany him across the mountains, for King Charles was already on the march”; and in August he declared that he was full of great hopes for the success of his Roman campaign; the country should support him at once with loans and the Common Penny. But how was the war to be begun, without the decree of the Empire ? That no such decree was issued in no way disheartened him. The princes of his party afforded him some assistance, namely, those princes who at that time were living at his court at Innsbruck. The deputies of a few Swiss cities accompanied him. Yet his real army was to be provided by Italy. At Linz he took counsel with his son Philip. Philip, who now ruled the Netherlands, had come gladly, sometimes taking part in the bird-shooting of respectable burghers, and sometimes joining in the patrician dances. At Augsburg, where they made a pile of maypoles and garlands forty-five feet high for the St. John's Day bonfire, the fairest damsel with a wax taper in her hand kindled it with him in the dance, whilst the trumpets, cornets, and kettledrums all brayed to the fire and the dance. At Linz his father disclosed to him his bold plans. He hoped to keep the French back from Italy and Leghorn; Florence would then league itself with him; nay more, aid him to cross over in René's interest from Tuscany into Provence. This done, Philip should invade France from the Netherlands and Ferdinand from Roussillon. At Lyons, they might all three meet, and then Burgundy would be won. With these hopes, in August, he took the 200 horse that he had equipped, and arranged that Albrecht of Saxony should follow him with some infantry; and in the hamlet of Meda, beyond the Valtelline and Morbegno, among houses and gardens, he met the envoy of the Pope and Ludovico. In Vigevano they took counsel together. A few days later, the Venetian envoys arrived. The first danger, the arrival of the French, was past. In France, Louis of Orleans, when his baggage was already on the road and he was about to start between evening and morning, suddenly changed his mind, and Charles did not wish to compel him. It would have been all the easier to have attacked Asti, but the Venetians would not give it up to the man who had refused them Pisa. An immediate attack upon Florence was concerted. In a short time Maximilian, full of his schemes, stood before the towers of Leghorn, in order first to wrest this city from Florence. The Florentines at that time owned sway over 800 walled towns, consisting partly of such as were closed in the evening and opened in the morning the half at least with a market as well as over 12,000 open hamlets. One hundred and thirty towns brought them every St. John's Day a taper or a piece of cloth, and owned the city as their protectress. Such was the power they exercised over Pistoia and Volterra by party influence; by their commerce and money over Arezzo, which they had purchased from Coucy d'Enguerrand; over Cortona, which had surrendered to King Ladislas and had been bartered by him to them; over Pisa, which had on one occasion been betrayed and sold to them by Gabriele Visconti, and on another by the head of the exiles, then the head of the city for the city had resisted and had called back its exiles into it and, finally, over Leghorn, which Tommaso Fregoso had made over to them for 100,000 ducats. Now we must remember that not all the 10,000 fathers of families at that time in Florence belonged to the ruling classes, for the most of them were citizens without the rights of citizens. The benefit of the city, as it was called, was shared in by only 576 houses of the greater, and by 220 of the lesser trades, and probably never by more than 2,000 citizens. They had also private property; and the 800 palaces and 32,000 estates in the vicinity of the city were for the most part in their hands. It was these 2,000 against whom Maximilian waged war.

In spite of their great affluence and power, they had not as yet forsaken their original employment, trade, nor abated their innate severity of life. They had 270 woollen factories which imported wool from France, Catalonia, and the best from England, and exported cloth to South Italy, to Constantinople, and by way of Brusa to the whole of the East. They had eighty-three manufactories for silk fabrics, brocade, and damask, for which their own ships fetched the silk from the East, and which found their chief markets in Lyons, Barcelona, Seville, London, and Antwerp. The East sent them silk, and the Western world wool; they manufactured both, and exported their silk stuffs to the West and their woollens to the East, and thus ministered to the wants of the world. Hence it came that their first Signori were cloth and silk merchants, and the third a banker. For their thirty-three banks, having agencies in all parts, did perhaps the best business of all; they founded the fortune of the Medici. The first business of such a Florentine was to go to early Mass. This done, in summer clothed in black Lucco, frilled round the neck, and a black silken cap with a long point, and in winter in black mantle and sober cowl, he walked through the streets to his business in the market or in the palace. At midday, after dinner, he saw his children and related to them a new or an old story. He then arranged his papers, or went to the Loggie which the patricians had at their houses. They always addressed each other as “thou”; and only a knight, a doctor, or an uncle was called “you” and “Messere”. Almost every one bore the nickname that had been given him by his play-fellows in his youth. The beautiful language that the whole of Italy learnt from them was formed in their society. At the hour of the Ave Maria they were all at home. In winter, they stood with wife and child for a while around the fire; and whilst the lower orders, and those that lived by the sweat of their brow, made good cheer in the inns, they themselves partook of a frugal meal at home at the third hour of the night. Many stayed up half the night at their looms and their spindles. Among these rich, influential, educated, and austere people, a Dominican friar of Ferrara, one Girolamo Savonarola, had succeeded in making himself universally esteemed. He was, it is true, strict with himself and others, a solitary walker, a friar by inclination, and a man who also knew how to control his rough voice. He admonished his brother friars to give up all their property. He spared no one, neither his fellow-citizens, the Brescians or the Florentines, nor his liege lords, the Pope and Lorenzo de' Medici, and all this helped to secure him a certain influence. But what made him really powerful were, before all else, his teaching and his prophetic gifts. His teaching is indeed worth examining: “Like a piece of iron between two magnets, so does the human soul waver between divine and earthly things, and between belief and feeling. Its purity consists solely in withdrawing itself from the love of things earthly, and in voluntary flight to God. Sacrament and prayer lead to Him; His nature it is that draws it heavenwards to participate in His goodness. But the soul has a domestic enemy, an adversary in the form of a friend, the flesh, that rebels against it, and oppresses it to sin. With its help the devil lies in wait for it, like the vulture after the heart of its prey. Since the world began he has deceived and devoured it a thousand thousand times, yea, a number without end and count, and is not yet satiated, but still lurks and waits like a hungry wolf. The world accordingly is divided between two banners, of Christ and the devil, a black and a white one.”

    “Now the sinner is like a dead man, reft of life. His face is dark, he durst not open his eyes. God hates him. A man may pour bad wine from his golden vessel and keep the vessel; but God breaks both sin and the vessel of sin. And no one begs for mercy of God, as in Florence no one dares to entreat for an exile.”

   “The faithful man, on the other hand, when he bows his knee, when he follows the commands of Love, when he disregards all things earthly, and only aims at being merged into God, feels God and is illuminated by him. In this way, a simple man and a maiden of low estate come further than Plato and Pythagoras came. But he who is by nature inclined thereto, and who is quite free of earthly care, by constant habit and watchful carefulness attains in his old age the greatest bliss, he sees God. Such a man communes with angels and saints; and the devil has no power over him, but he over the devil.” 

 “When the wicked man's day is done, where is then his pomp? His journeying and his riding? His hurrying and scurrying, and his golden ornaments? Down, down, where his body is food for worms. But the soul is free, and begins to think of itself and to lament: 'O woe! who hath soiled my vesture, which by baptism was made whiter than snow, and made it now more filthy than pitch?' Satan then comes to it and says: 'My playmate, stand up, I have done it. For thou hast followed my advice and worked faithfully with me. Come, follow me into my kingdom. There is hunger without meat, thirst without drink, there is an unquenchable, dull, violent, smoking fire, and by the side of it, cold without measure and remedy. Come with me. The devils are coming to meet thee with their song of lamentation'.”

 “But on the other side, the joy of the elect cannot be described in language. It will be splendid and clear, like the sheen of the sun, quick like the ray of light that in one moment gleams from east to west. Being with God he will know all things, present, past, and future; he will wish for nothing that he cannot obtain; there will be a life and existence in constant admiration, in sweet delight, in ecstatic love, in the ceaseless singing of praises, in bliss and triumph, without ending for evermore.”

 When Savonarola delivered this teaching, with an eloquence which is often nothing but rapture, a shout of joy and triumph, and especially when he corroborated it out of the Holy Writ, the Florentines, as he himself has said, stood and gazed at him like marble pillars, with their faces turned to his. It was all the more impressive because it distinguished good and evil, as in their city Ghibellines and Guelphs, Bianchi and Neri, had often been contrasted. Besides, they considered him a prophet. He had foretold the advent and the victory of Charles, and had prophesied in unmistakable language the expulsion of the Medici. The majority believed him entirely. He was master of their minds, and in the new order of things in Florence he attained the greatest influence.

 It was Piero’s nearest relatives and friends who had summoned his enemy to Tuscany, had expelled him from the Signoria, and overthrown him. It was not that they were minded to share their government with the populace - when would this ever occur to the ruling party in any city? - but, because Piero intended to be prince, they hated him. They hoped under Lorenzino and the junior line of this house to attain to greater influence. With this idea, immediately after Piero's flight, they summoned a parliament. They called it a parliament, when they collected the people together in the square by the sound of a bell, placed armed youths at all the entrances, who thrust back every one who was displeasing to them, and then, finally, allowed the collected throng to vote by acclamation. Such a parliament, on this occasion, with loud shouts of consent, entrusted to twenty men among them the business of a Balla, that is, the supreme government.

 Savonarola, whose theory based the right of government purely upon agreement, opposed them, and preached his principle that all true citizens ought to participate in the sovereign power. He even convinced some of the leading men. Antonio Soderini publicly professed his views; others visited him at night. Owing to this, differences and general dissensions gradually arose, which were followed at last by a peaceable and complete dissolution of the Balla. 

 The new order of things was framed in accordance with Savonarola's principles. All those who enjoyed the benefit of the city, that is all whose fathers and grandfathers had, since the political government of the Medici, been drawn for the three dignities of Signori, Gonfalonieri, and Buonuomini, that is to say had been elected or at least declared eligible, entered into the government under the name of the Consiglio Grande. Such an arrangement is far from being a declaration of the rights of man; for Savonarola conceived of social distinctions and grades to have been original and given by God: to many it will appear to have been nothing more nor less than an enlarged aristocracy. Only inside the Council no privilege should be tolerated. It received a thoroughly democratic constitution. Just as in Venice there were Doge, Consiglieri, and Pregadi above the Grand Council, so here also the Gonfaloniere had the administration of justice, and the eight Priori and the Council of Eighty the essential attributes of government. In Venice the greater part of the dignities were conferred for life, but in Florence for two months and not by a regular election. Only after certain names in each quarter of the city had been proposed by chance, by lot, did voting take place upon them. The elections were rather committees and commissions, than official elections in our sense of the term. "A city is well governed," says Savonarola, “when the magistracy have short notice given them of the day when their stewardship shall be inquired into. What otherwise is the meaning of free election? for every one will only be obedient to the best.” For this assembly a hall was at once built. It was the largest in Italy, and yet was finished in a marvellously short time. It was approached by broad steps. The middle was occupied lengthways and crossways by benches for the citizens, on each side upon a raised dais three yards high and broad were seats for the Eighty. At the east end, the Gonfaloniere and Priori had their places, and here two doors led into the chambers set apart for secret deliberation, and for the registry of taxes; at the west end there stood a tribune and an altar with a picture by Fra Bartolommeo, at which mass was said. The hall had also an ecclesiastical appearance, and Savonarola said: “the angels have assisted in the work.”

  This constitution was in full operation when Maximilian was investing Leghorn. It is true there was no demand now for brocade or cloth; the Stradioti laid waste the country estates; there was no importation either by sea or land, for Siena also was hostile; but that made little impression upon the citizens. They came in such numbers to hear Savonarola’s sermons, that in the Cathedral of Sta Maria del Fiore, in spite of its great size, galleries had to be built at the entrance, opposite the pulpit, as in a theatre. The fasts were most strictly observed. The games that the friar condemned were abandoned; and, in view of the approaching war, they awaited the arrival of the fleet which Charles was fitting out in Marseilles. But soon they had to learn that this fleet had been wrecked in a storm. Weiskunig narrates that Maximilian saw the French fleet arriving; and hereupon, as soon as he had weighed anchor and spread his sails, there came first a cloud, and from it wind, and then more clouds, and thereout there arose such a storm, that the enemy’s ships were driven with him into the harbour, and part in battle and part in storm were wrecked and lost. Where was now their hope and the promise of God’s immediate help that the Dominican had made them? Yet they retained sufficient courage, even at this critical moment, to receive within their walls a host of fugitives, who had been beggared by the war. They could not do aught else but carry the image of the Virgin through the streets, followed by all men and women, clerics and children, with psalm - singing, prayers and lamentations. They had just arrived with their tabernacle at the Porta Sta Maria, when they perceived a messenger on a mare careering across the Ponte Sta Trinità, and waving an olive-branch from afar. They stopped and listened; some ships fitted out by their merchants, which had long struggled with the same storm, had at last, owing to the wind having unexpectedly shifted, been driven right past Maximilian into the harbour, and so to Leghorn. The news was true. They seized the horse's reins; everyone wanted to hear it for himself from the mouth of the messenger. We may imagine, though the historians do not record it, how fervently they thanked God, the God who had heard their prayers, for these tidings. What saved them, thwarted Maximilian's plans. The Florentines would now no longer entertain the idea of being separated from Charles VIII, of whose return Savonarola had always reminded them. Leghorn was held for them by Swiss legions. Moreover, the south-west wind levelled their enemy's tents on land, and scattered his ships on the sea. Maximilian, meanwhile, saw the months, within which the money was promised him, draw to a close; the Venetian and Sforza parties were already at variance as to which should hold the harbour when they took it; and he heard of letters from Venice itself, written with the object of inciting the army against him. Overcome by the feeling of the impossibility of being able to achieve anything under such circumstances, he said, “No! against the will of God and men, he would not wage this war.” He turned towards Pisa, arrived at Vico, appeared as if he still intended to do something, but did nothing, and, though invited to the chase, hurried away to Pavla and home to Germany. After this the Florentines cherished no doubt of Savonarola’s prophetic mission. At Christmas, 1496, 1,300 children under eighteen years for only with their eighteenth year were they wont to adopt the long cloak, and to rank as young men partook of the Sacrament with the priest. On the following Shrove Tuesday the children of every quarter went to the houses and begged for the “Anathema”, that is “the accursed thing.” Their distribution into companies, their processions, and songs at vespers under Correttori were familiar. The men gave them cards, dice, and dice-boards, the women false hair, paint, and perfumed waters. Many produced their Morgante, Boccaccio, and indelicate pictures; some sacrificed their harps, remembering perhaps for what purposes they had used them. Bartolommeo Baccio took the naked figures for they should not be where young maidens congregated from his workshop and offered them. In the market-place a stage was erected in the form of a pyramid with many steps mounting up to it, and upon this all these things were piled. On the day of the Carnival, the whole people came together, and the Signori took their seats. Then came the children from the mass, dressed in white, with olive-branches round their heads and red crosses in their hands, and sang Italian hymns of praise. Four advanced to the Signori, received from them burning torches and lighted the pyramid, which blazed up amid the blare of trumpets. Meanwhile alms were collected for the poor who were ashamed to beg. 

The severe religious tendency of this city forms a material link in the struggle between the League and the French party. By declaring against the Pope, who regarded himself as the head of the League, it gave the quarrel a new phase.

In Ferrara, Savonarola's native place, we remark a similar condition of things. Frequent fasting was observed, blasphemy was punished, and swearing was prohibited. Beadles were sent through the streets to report on everything. There is no doubt what was the object of all this. The inhabitants of Ferrara, who had but little sympathy with the League, because it united both their natural enemies, Venice and the Pope being, as they were, of French sympathies, even to wearing French dresses and shoes endeavoured to counteract the Pope's influence by still deeper piety. In spite of the great perils surrounding them, they made processions every third day. In the King of France, Charles VIII, we remark a kindred tendency. He asked his doctors whether or not the Pope was not bound to hold a Council every ten years; whether, in case he neglected to do so, the princes were not entitled to summon it; and further, in case all the others neglected this duty, whether the King of France alone could not summon a Council. He made known his intention of restoring the order of St. Benedict to its original form, and of permitting no bishop to absent himself from his diocese. Savonarola was the head of all enemies of the League and the Pope. He condemned the wealth and the pomp of the clergy, for thereby the barrier was broken which separated Church and world. By this means the children of the world had entered into God's vineyard. But God's Word still endured, and they were in no way bound to trust a prelate as much as it. Nay, no one ought to teach God's Word except so long as his works were not prejudicial to the operation of the doctrine. Acting in accordance with these principles, he invited Charles orally, and the Emperor and the Spanish King in writing, to undertake the reformation of the Church. But it was inevitable that he should arouse hierarchical antipathy against himself. A man named Mariano de Genazzano, who had once preached at his side in Florence to the admiration of the classical scholars, hurried to Rome to the Pope, and there began one of his sermons with, "Cut this monster off from the Church, holy Father!". Whilst Pope Alexander was at that very time giving dispensation from oaths, in order that his enemies might die in prison, he resolved at the same time to use his ecclesiastical weapons against Savonarola and his adherents, as being heretics. But before this, he had another battle to fight out with the partisans of the League in his own land, the Orsini. The Orsini were no despicable foes. They killed his son, the Duke of Gandia, to whom he had committed the staff of the Church to war against them, and he was obliged to call Gonzalvo to his aid. Gonzalvo had just taken Taranto, which had in vain flown the Venetian colours for the League would not allow Venice to take its side and had subjected Sora to Federigo. He now vanquished a pirate, who had taken Ostia and threatened to starve out Rome, and compelled the Orsini to make peace. At this time the Neapolitan, Papal, and Spanish flags were all flying in conjunction on the ships of Villamarino, which were now victorious everywhere. Even Cardinal Giuliano was obliged to come to terms. After this, when the Pope had leisure to turn his attention to Savonarola, it happened that a factious rising in Florence aided him, and he it. The leading Florentines could not forget the power they had enjoyed under the Medici in former days, and their sons would not submit to the rigorous discipline of the friar. Probably under the impression that Piero would now have learnt to know them better, they allied themselves with his professed adherents, the Bigi (they themselves were called the Arrabbiati), in order to effect his recall. They were not successful. Benivieni, whom the Signoria in their alarm sent to Savonarola, often related how he found the friar reading in a book from which he looked up and said : “O ye of little faith, God is with you! Mark ye, Piero will come as far as the gates and will then turn back.” Nardi adds: “And so it really happened. One of those who had already been seized by the Medici, escaped and came before daybreak to the gate in order to close it, whereupon Piero found it closed and all quiet, and went back again.” But how fierce and violent must this party feeling in the city have been, to bring such an excellent and pious man, as the friar was, from his path. To him especially is due the law that where any one is accused of a political crime, he shall not be judged by the Signoria, or a Commission as a court of last instance, but shall be allowed to appeal to the Council. This law mitigated the Italian usage, that every victor should, as of right and under certain legal formulas, be able to decide the question of life and death in the case of his adversaries. But in August, 1497, when it was believed to have been discovered who had taken Piero's part, Savonarola allowed his good law to be infringed, and the accused were denied the right of appeal. His opponents became, in consequence, only more violent and secret. 

The Pope now sided with them. The Tuscan Dominicans, whom Savonarola had separated from the Lombards, the Pope joined with them again, interdicted him from preaching, summoned him to Rome, and appointed the Lombard Vicar of the order as his judge. But Savonarola continued preaching, received more brothers into his convents daily, and refused to recognize his judge, saying “he could not come to Rome on account of his enemies.” It availed him nothing that in Florence signatures were collected attesting the fact that his teaching was sound and productive of good fruit. In spite of all he was placed under ban. After that his life depended upon the fact that his party never allowed its enemies to become strong, for, by the then existing law, he could be at once put to death. The Pope only required the secular arm.

In Florence, however, towards the close of the year 1497, open dissensions burst out. Some of the clergy condemned the processions of others, some the Mass that others celebrated, and some again, as in an heretical city, desired not to perform divine service any longer. The Franciscans, the old opponents of the Dominicans, joined the party of the Arrabbiati and the Pope. Sometimes the friar found his pulpit soiled. On one occasion some young men lifted a heavy money-box during his sermon, let it fall and fled. He was escorted to church by armed men, and whilst he was preaching one stood by him with a halbert. But sometimes, when some of the Arrabbiati joined the Signoria, and the others were timid, he remained in his convent altogether. Yet he did not lose courage. The moral of his teaching was that a pious and learned man must not give way to a wicked and ignorant Pope. He comforted himself in his convent with his successes. “Every day a greater number, out of yearning for a more perfect life, forsake parents, friends, and goods, and betake themselves where each must do or not do as his superior wills; where no one has anything except what he absolutely needs, and where he can for a time be deprived by his superior even of that. But here every one becomes daily calmer, and confesses that Christ is his only joy. Only he who prays without ceasing attains to a holiness, from whose rays his face beams with rapture.”  He found himself in the midst of the struggle between Popolari and Arrabbiati, the League and its enemies, the true and the Roman Church, between heaven and hell. He openly interpreted those two flags, the black and the white, in this sense. He felt certain of victory. At Christmas he published his treatise, “Triumphus Crucis.” Therein he represented Christ upon a triumphal car, above his head the gleaming ball of the Trinity, in his left hand the Cross, in his right the Old and the New Testaments; further below, the Virgin Mary; before the car, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and preachers; on either side the martyrs and the doctors with opened books; behind him, all the converts; at a further distance the innumerable crowd of enemies, emperors, powerful rulers, philosophers, and heretics, all vanquished, their idols destroyed, and their books burnt.

But the longer it lasted, the more furious waxed the conflict. At Shrovetide, 1498, his children desired to repeat the celebration of the previous year; but the torches were torn out of their hands. At first, the children, and then even the men, stoned each other. A significant instance of the extent of the feud was afforded by the action of the painters, Baccio and Albertinelli. They had always worked together, and had had all things in common. They now left their workshop. The former went into a convent, the other became an innkeeper. How was it possible that these differences could be settled but by force? When, at last, a Franciscan friar presumed to declare that he would prove in the fire that certain doctrines of the Dominicans were erroneous, it appeared also to the latter that they had found another and the true decision the ordeal. The Franciscans argued thus: if Savonarola would allow their friar to perish in the fire, he was no saint; and upon this they built. The others, who were half mad, who indulged sometimes in the market places in round dances to the accompaniment of a spiritual song, and who had chosen for their war cry “Viva Cristo!” hoped to conquer by the truth of their faith. During the sermon, hundreds cried, “Look! Look! I will go for thy doctrine, O Lord, into the fire.” Accordingly two piles of oak logs and brushwood, well saturated with pitch and oil, were built up side by side, 40 feet in length, leaving a very narrow passage between them, and on the 7th of April the Signoria, on this occasion only Arrabbiati, sat awaiting the trial.

 The Franciscans came quietly, the Dominicans with burning torches, red crosses, and loud singing, led by Savonarola. The monks approached the pyre; the Dominican seized the Host. At this moment the crisis arrived. The Franciscans would not permit him to have the Host, as this would be a test of the whole Christian faith, but he would not be prevented. Hereupon ensued a quarrel, confusion, a shower of rain, and a general stampede. Some rushed into the convent, others resorted to arms. Scenes of violence followed, and the Arrabbiati would not allow the favour of the Signoria and the propitious moment to pass by without taking advantage of it. They attacked the Popolari in the streets and in the convent; and, although they did not take the convent by storm, they remained masters of the situation. Savonarola took no part in these proceedings. At first he exhorted his followers from the pulpit, afterwards he prostrated himself in the choir of the church and prayed. When all was quiet, he went out, and delivered himself up to his enemies. 

There was now no doubt that the League was victorious in Italy : the Arrabbiati were as devoted to it as the Popolari were to the French. On the 7th of April the Arrabbiati asserted their supremacy in Florence; on the 8th, Charles died, and the League was victorious even in France. Charles was at the last occupied with the internal affairs of his realm. Of his Grand Council he formed an ordinary Court of Justice, consisting of seventeen members, something similar to the later Reichshofrath of the Germans; in all commanderies he had a general book of customs compiled; he intended to live on his demesnes, and twice every week he sat to hear the complaints even of the poorest. Having made all these arrangements, and equipped with better alliances, he was again about to attempt to assert his right to Naples. Savonarola, too, had always referred to his return. But on the 8th of April, whilst passing through a gallery on his way to look at a game of tennis, he suddenly fell down, and, though a moment before in perfect health, died in a few minutes. 

Many are of opinion that this event first determined Savonarola's fate. Many accusations had been brought up against him; and as often as torture was applied, he confessed all that was wanted. But as soon as he came to himself again, he denied everything, saying that “on the rack he would certainly confess to it again.”

Meanwhile his soul communed with itself. His pride was broken; if he ever had thought himself holy, he thought so no longer. It often seemed to him as if Despair, with a strong army with lances and swords, the standard of Justice before it, and surrounded by instruments of torture, appeared in the town, called him from afar, and, coming nearer, whispered into his ear all his sins; and then again Hope, shining with the light of heaven, would comfort him. He spoke to himself thus: “Thou hast loved the Lord many years, and hast wrought out of love to Him; then didst thou exalt thy heart; then didst thou follow thine own thoughts, and live in the vanity of thy mind; then did the Lord take His hand from thee, and thou art like a sinner plunged into the depths of the sea.” He had arrived at this holy self-enlightenment, when he was doomed to die; his body was consigned to the fire. 

   With his death the essence of his teaching and his influence was not destroyed. Simone Cronaca, a good artist, honoured him whilst he was alive, and spoke of him when he was dead. Even after thirty years, the accomplishment of his most famous prophecies was expected to take place. But at that time, as we have said, the Arrabbiati attained the principal offices. They did not now consider the recall of Piero necessary for their safety. They were so devoted to the League, that all its members, except the Venetians, considered it better to restore Pisa to them. 



    Thus the object of the League was attained, and Italy subjected to its views. But the extension and ascendency of the League is fraught with other consequences for the whole of Europe, and for later times. The alliance of the Houses of Hapsburg and Aragon is one result of the conditions which obtained during these years. Ferdinand knew how to draw the maritime princes into the sphere of his alliances, and among them first Dom Manuel of Portugal. He had protected him whilst he was still Duke, and had made military preparations in his favour when he inherited the throne after John's death. But Dom Jorge, John's natural son, of whom all were afraid, was led by Jacobo Almeida before the King to kiss hands, and war was averted. Ferdinand promised his daughter Isabella to this Manuel. Isabella, who considered a second marriage a bad thing, demanded that Manuel should at all events expel from Portugal the Jews and all those whom the Inquisition had condemned. She would not consent to be his wife until he had promised her this. After that day, peace and union existed between Portugal and Spain for a century and a half. At the same period, in August, 1497, and ever since the treaty with Brittany, Ferdinand was negotiating with Henry VII of England. If Spain and France quarrel, England must take part in it. In June, 1496, Henry joined the League; he received hat and sword from the Pope, and received the envoys of all the allies. His councillors, indeed, asserted that this was tantamount to bringing the war to England; but this monarch, who never cared about taking the field, except it might be against a rebel, well knew what he was about, and that he was working at the iron wall, with which, as he said, he intended to gird his realm. But, at present, great dangers threatened him from without: in Flanders, from Margaret of York, widow of Charles the Bold, who, if she did not actually incite his first rebel, Lambert Simnel, who declared himself to be Edward of Warwick, at all events raised him to some importance by means of 2,000 Germans, whom she found means to send to his assistance. No one doubted that the second rebel, Perkin Warbeck, who called himself Richard, Duke of York, was also really her creature. The latter found his most reliable support in Scotland, where King and nation united in their eagerness to cross the Tweed. James IV allied Perkin with his house, brought him to Scotland, ravaged the country, and was alternately in his palace and on the border; whilst the people, whenever a truce was made, broke it on their own responsibility. In both countries, Flanders and Scotland, the effect of the marriage arranged between Katherine of Spain and Arthur, Prince of Wales, was felt. Ferdinand was enabled by it to render the King of England secure on either side. At first, through the Austrian alliance, the treaty of general intercourse between England and Flanders was renewed; “rebels were to be extradited, including Margaret’s territory.” The English merchants came in triumph to Antwerp, and Maximilian, though hesitatingly, promised to ignore the so-called York. In Scotland, Pedro de Ayala was playing his negotiations with sly circumspection, in order to draw the King into the great political league. He understood how to persuade Perkin and this appears to have escaped the notice of the English historians that the Kings of England and Scotland had already come to an agreement, and that there was therefore nothing left to him but to flee; and when Perkin, on the ship of a Spaniard of San Sebastian, had joined the rebels of Cornwall, he persuaded King James not to undertake the invasion of England just at that moment, whereupon Perkin fell into Henry's power. King James then married Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, whence resulted a long peace between the Scots and the English, and finally the union of both kingdoms. The close relationship in which James stood to John of Denmark, who possessed Norway and claimed Sweden, cemented the peace which the Danes and English had, after a long war, recently concluded. The chief members of the League were Ferdinand, Henry, and Maximilian, the old allies of Brittany, yet now united, not merely by their advantage, but by the blood of their children.  All that now remained was that, if not Henry, at all events Ferdinand and Maximilian should, as they had agreed, invade France. But this scheme was confronted by the consideration that Ferdinand had something to lose by it, whilst Maximilian would gain. Between Aragon and France there lay certain frontiers, where ravaging was so regular, that whenever anyone went on a pilgrimage, or took to him a wife, he had to submit to pillage at the hands of both parties. Thus in this war also, Enrique Enriquez crossed the frontier, and pillaged for three days and three nights; then well-armed Gascons, Swiss, and French appeared on the other side, and the French succeeded in surprising the Castle of Salsas. Thereupon, out of apprehension for Roussillon, Ferdinand concluded a truce. Maximilian was discontented with these doings. Not only the death of Charles, but a new phase of German politics aroused him to fresh hopes.

 After his return from Italy, his prestige in the Empire was at first at a low ebb. The Elector Palatine was on good terms with Charles, sent knights into his service, entreated a good reception for his merchants, and delegates of both sides held meetings.

The total setting aside of the decrees of Worms made the Elector of Mainz extremely disaffected. He openly complained of Maximilian: “From top to bottom there was little trace of earnestness; contrary to their resolutions Milan and Savoy had been regranted; he was ill pleased to find that ordinances were made and sealed, and yet not adhered to; in this way the Empire could not possibly maintain its position.” Maximilian also perceived that he could not undertake anything, until he had gained over both Electors and the Chancellor of Mainz, Doctor Sturzler. He never attended any meeting of the Diet. However, in consequence of the death of the elder Eberhard of Württemberg, he effected a change. For Eberhard had appointed for his cousin and heir a council of twelve men, four from each estate, without whom he could do nothing, but who without him could discharge the daily business of the State, and perform even the most important functions, if he did not accept their invitation to appear; and had entrusted to this Government his principles, and his devotion to the Emperor. But was it likely that the younger Eberhard would follow his cousin after his death, seeing that he never cared to follow him in his lifetime? Immediately after his arrival, he dismissed the old councillors, took a prisoner, Doctor Holzinger, out of gaol, and made him Chancellor. Thereupon Hug von Werdenberg refused to be Chamberlain any longer; the Twelve complained that Eberhard intended to surrender the country to the Count Palatine; but the Estates were not minded to agree to that. They took his servant prisoner, and seized his cities. He escaped with silver and jewels to Ulm. The Estates, the new Chamberlain, the Councillors, the Chancery, the officials and the courtiers turned against him, and renounced their allegiance. Maximilian, alarmed for the estrangement of the country, hurried thither, and heard both sides. But for what purpose? It seems that he had previously decided upon his verdict, “that the Estates and Councillors had done right; the young Ulrich should be Duke under the guardianship of the Twelve, and later should receive Sabina, the King’s niece, to wife; but that the country should not, if his race died out, pass to the Empire, as was formerly determined, but to Austria.” 

Eberhard renounced his duchy, repented of his action, fled to the Count Palatine, assigned to him his silver plate and all right and title to his land, repented of that also, and was imprisoned at Lindenfels until his death. But Württemberg was completely loyal to the King. 

In the new prestige which the compact with Wurttemberg had gained for him, Maximilian appeared in June, I498, at the Diet of Freiburg, which had opened eight months previously. On this occasion he received from the Estates 70,000 guilders, without reckoning what had been received by the Common Penny tax in his hereditary lands. It appeared now possible for him to acquire Burgundy, if not Brittany. With this hope he ordered his army to advance to the borders of Burgundy. The bold landsknechts boasted that if they were victorious this time, France and Switzerland also would be in their power.






The situation was now as follows. The attacks of the French upon Naples and Milan had leagued the King of Spain and the Pope with Ferrantino, and Venice and Maximilian with Ludovico. Ferrantino had mainly been saved by Ferdinand, whilst Ludovico owed his safety principally to Venice. In the midst of the dissensions that Charles' advent had produced in Central Italy, a Spanish general from the one side and Maximilian himself from the other had taken the field against the French party. This party had been completely defeated. Round France itself there had become formed, in the interest of the League, an alliance of all the sovereigns.

Relying upon this, Maximilian, in the summer of 1498, undertook a three-fold attack upon France. He sent one corps against Langres, a second against Châlons, and a third, under the command of his Marshal of Franche-Comté, Guillaume de Vergy, against Dijon and Burgundy. Three thousand Swiss were in his pay. He expected the help of the League, and considered himself assured of success. But the first corps was in July weakened and lamed in its movements by the heat, which suffocated the horsemen in armour, and also by a want of provisions, which was increased by the soldiers, who, impatient to see fire, preferred to burn down the rich villages to plundering them. The second was driven back by the rains. The third saw the enemy approach and retire, but concluded a treaty. This campaign was crowned with so little success, that it has been overlooked by all later historians.

These failures were due to the fact that the League at this precise moment ceased to exist. Ferrantino was now dead, and his successor was hated by the King of Spain. Venice was in feud and almost in open war with Ludovico on account of Pisa. But the new King of France succeeded in winning over to himself the defenders of Milan, and the defender of Naples. He drew the Pope to his side, and repulsed the attacks of Maximilian. He made matters look at the moment as though there never had been a League. It is our acquaintance, the Duke of Orleans, now King Louis XII.

He was standing, the story goes, at his window, without knowing that Charles was dead or even ill, when the royal bodyguard drew up before him, and shouted “Vivat!” to their new Lord and King. On this he spoke, as well as he knew how, in terms of laudation of Charles VIII, sprinkled his body with holy water, and received the fealty of the grandees.

Louis was a perfectly developed man, more in the apogee than in the perigee of life, and already a little afflicted with the gout. That wildness of his early youth, when his chamberlains dared not chastise him unless disguised - for fear he should revenge himself - that impetuousness of later days, disclosed at revelries, tournaments, and in domestic wars, were passed and gone. But he was still beyond all others a prince, and a true knight. The first thing he conceived he ought to guard was his honour. Whoever attacked him, or accused him of the smallest breach of faith, would be refuted by the sword. After that, his lands and his rights were nearest to his heart. “I will endure everything”, said he, “save where my honour and my lands are concerned.” He had not such bold plans as had Charles, and had not Maximilian's love of conquest. Only his rights he was resolved to assert, and therefore did not select a “Plus Ultra”, but a porcupine for a symbol. It was he who finely said, “The King does not avenge what has been done to the Duke.” He preferred to sell his demesnes for the purpose of carrying on his wars, rather than to exhaust his poor subjects with taxes. The same feeling made him forbearing and kind towards others. Moreover, increasing years made him more economical every day. His first action was to defray the expense of his predecessor's interment at Blois out of the savings of his own private exchequer.

The internal government he committed from the first into the hands of the Archbishop of Rouen, Georges d'Amboise. When at the Court of Louis XI, Georges had taken the side of the present King, even in opposition to his own brother. For his sake he had suffered imprisonment, for endeavouring to advantage him at the expense of Charles VIII. They were only three years apart in respect of age, and were entirely devoted one to the other; and, especially after the death of Dunois, Georges had the full and undivided confidence of his master.

The first duty of the King and his Archbishop was to provide that internal peace was perfectly assured. Charles's sister, Anne of Bourbon, demanded, at the least, a compensation for the increment her grandfather, her father, and brother, had acquired for the Crown. She was content when her daughter Suzanne was guaranteed an almost relinquished right of succession to all the possessions of her house. The Prince of Orange regained his sovereignty. All who were afraid of Louis, because they had oft ended him whilst Duke, perhaps in his feud with the Queen Regent,  were comforted, when he showed a mark of favour to the brave La Tremouille, who had formerly taken him prisoner, and marked the names of the others with the red cross of pardon. Only he would not brook any limitation of the rights of the Crown. A new tribunal decided against René's claims to Provence. The weightiest question that he had to determine concerned Brittany, which by Charles's marriage with Anne had become attached to the Crown, but which, owing to his death, had now become separated from it again. Louis XII did not scruple to divorce his wife Jeanne, in order to re-marry with his predecessor's heiress, Anne. Jeanne was certainly not beautiful, nor had she borne him children. She now betook herself to Bourges, where, with some sisters in connection of the order of the Annunciation, she dispensed alms with true benevolence, and was reverenced as a saint by the people, who always remained attached to her.

Anne made it a condition that Brittany should neither pay taxes, nor have officials appointed in it, nor be called upon to make war, without her consent. Louis united on his coins the arms of Brittany and France.

Upon other coins, as soon as he had entered Paris, he styled himself King of Naples and Milan. He was certain of his rights to these countries; he had fought for both; and now he wished to enforce them. It was a great advantage to him that the League collapsed, and that half of the allies even took his side. After Enrique Enriquez had been killed in a riot at Perpignan, and Roussillon was threatened by the French and was not minded to defend itself, Ferdinand concluded a treaty with Louis, securing his own interests and the possessions of the House of Burgundy; yet it did not include Federigo. The Pope hoped to obtain from Louis so many advantages for his house, that he was quite ready to pronounce the divorce from Jeanne. The Venetians sent him sixty falcons from Candia and two hundred valuable furs, as a coronation present.

The successive enterprises of Louis with the Venetians, with the Pope, and with Ferdinand, are distinguished more by unity of event than by unity of action. Never more than one of his allies was engaged at a time; they appear as so many distinct and different enterprises.

The first was the expedition against Milan. It was supported by the feud between Venice and Ludovico.

After the death of Savonarola, when the Florentines again attacked Pisa, Ludovico took the side of the assailants, “for it belongs to them”; Venice sided with the attacked, “for a promise must be kept”. Hereupon, the Venetians won over Pitigliano, and Ludovico the Marquis of Mantua. The former threatened a French alliance; the latter replied that such would be to their own damage. In the Council of the Pregadi conflicting opinions were expressed; some old fathers could not conceal their apprehensions; others were for combating Ludovico unaided. Others again, those who hated him most cordially – “for if ever they had a secret plan did he not at once adopt public measures to thwart it? and a neighbour, served by their traitors, was the most intolerable of all -: this third party proposed an alliance with France. How could Ludovico believe that they, who had waged a great war against a man, because they would not have him for a neighbour when Duke, would call him in, after he had become King? He did not fear this.” He continued his hostile operations against Pisa, without paying any attention to the Venetians, who supplied it with both money and men.

In this quarrel he really retained the upper hand. Through his influence Paolo Vitelli was entrusted with the command of the Florentines, and, with his assistance, he succeeded, between June and October, 1498, in taking castle after castle round about Pisa, as well as Vico and Librafatta, and in reducing the city to extremities. Against him the Venetians tried first of all their own resources. They knew that they were deceived by the lords in the Romagna, and nevertheless they took them into their service. Thus they were enabled to place a large body of cavalry in the field, though not without the heaviest expense; 16,600 horse in all. They then, now by Bologna and now by Perugia and now again by Siena, attempted to threaten Florence itself which lay on the other side of the Apennines. On one occasion Alviano succeeded in crossing over, and opposed Paolo Vitelli. But though their men hurried by day and night to his succour through the Ferrarese territory, Ludovico's cavalry, under the brothers Sanseverino, with no less despatch, spurred their horses, and rode day and night to come to Vitelli's aid at Forli, Imola, and Faenza. At last great detachments, as many as 300 men at once, deserted from the Venetian camp, which by these means had been surrounded in the hills, “for they had neither straw, nor money, nor bread”. Others dashed after them to take from them the recruiting-money, until the whole army became disbanded; so that this undertaking resulted in failure for Venice. In their indignation at this ill-fortune, “for which Ludovico was alone to blame”, they resolved on a campaign against him himself. They left Ercole of Ferrara, who was not particularly friendly to them, to settle the Pisan affair. Meanwhile, they made a proposal to King Louis: they offered to assist him with 6,000 horse in an expedition against Milan, on condition that he would guarantee them a portion of the territory of Cremona and the Ghiara d'Adda. The King no sooner heard the conditions than he acceded. On the 10th of February the agreement was arrived at, and the man who had attacked Ludovico, and the city which had mainly defended him, were now both leagued together against him.

Ludovico was not dismayed. He considered himself the cleverest man in Italy. On one occasion, when the papal master of the ceremonies wished to explain to him how he must address a cardinal, he answered, “Have you ever seen a Duke of Milan who has done what I have done? I shall know also how to act on this occasion”. In Milan there might often be seen a painting of a rose branch, with the motto, "With time”, or a painter's brush with the motto, “With merit and time”. The mulberry tree, “which does not shoot forth its leaves until spring is at hand, and then quicker than all other trees”, he may perhaps have regarded as the emblem of his cleverness. He said, “In one hand he had peace, and in the other war; but even in war the pen could do more than the sword.”

Time was the only thing his shrewdness took into calculation; in other respects it employed the boldest schemes and the most dangerous means. Alfonso of Calabria was made to assist him against Venice, and Venice against Alfonso. His country was on one occasion defended for him by the Duke of Orleans, notwithstanding he desired it for himself, and on another by Maximilian, to whom it belonged of right. His cavalry had emblazoned on their standard a Moor with his right hand holding back an eagle's wing, and with the left strangling a dragon. Ludovico was a gambler, who staked the whole of his existence upon a throw of the dice; for he knew the dice obeyed him. He only accepted advice from the stars. He never concluded a truce, even for three days, without consulting his astrologer.

I cannot say what his astrologer may have told him on this occasion; but, as things were, he needed not to be much alarmed. His brother Ascanio - a man ever full of schemes and secrets, and untiring - was with him, and kept the Ghibellines, as he himself kept the Guelphs, on his side; under these circumstances, he was justified in feeling assured of his country. Should he then fear an attack on the part of Venice? In the Turks he could arouse an enemy to that city, who would keep it sufficiently employed. Or should the lances of the French strike terror into his breast? He had other and stronger fortresses to throw in their way. It would be more dangerous if Louis enlisted Swiss; for no Italian infantry could stand against them. But Ludovico also was firmly allied with Schwyz and Unterwalden, and with Bern and Lucerne; and in case these could not prevent an enlistment being made by the French, they could, at all events, easily provide him with an equal number of their men, whom he could lead against the King. In this way he was on an equal footing with his enemies. Through his alliance with Maximilian, and through the landsknechts who, in consequence, were at his disposal, he was even superior to them. Besides, it did not so much depend upon the collective strength of the States, as upon how much money each could employ. Ludovico was thus of good heart. Three years previously he had had coins struck, one of which bore a device of a snake, his emblem, guarding a lily, and another that of a snake bending down the cup of a lily, a sign of his power over France: at this time he had a picture in his hall representing Italy full of cocks, hens, and chickens - intended for Gauls, Frenchmen - and in the midst of them a Moor sweeping them out with a broom. 



Maximilian was as much interested in this struggle as Ludovico.

Valentina, Louis' grandmother, had a hundred years previously helped to kindle the deadly enmity between Burgundy and Orleans. An Orleans was now reigning in France, and even possessed Burgundy; and the head of the House of Burgundy was King of the Germans, and demanded Burgundy back. The Sforza, whom the former attacked for his grandmother's sake, the latter was bound to defend for the sake of his wife. The Duke of Gelderland, who was related to Louis, Maximilian wished to destroy as a rebel to him; so that they were enemies on three accounts.

Although Maximilian's son, Philip, had been obliged to promise never to attempt to take Burgundy by force of arms, and moreover to serve King Louis against every soul without any exception, yet he was never inclined for peace: “peace was like corn that had been harvested while yet unripe  by peace he would never conquer his land.” In vain René and Frederick the Wise endeavoured to mediate. Forthwith in the country of the Duke of Gelderland, who had received French aid, the war was continued which had been already waged at Leghorn and on the Saone.

It is evident how closely Ludovico and Maximilian were allied. Ludovico desired no treaty with France, if the German King had none, for he would not sever himself from the fortunes of his ally. Maximilian repeated : “the Duke would be able to defend himself without foreign aid; but, in case he could not do so, he would in person come to his assistance with the whole strength of the Holy Empire, and protect Milan as well as the Tyrol.” 

Since, then, Ludovico's superiority was due to this alliance it was important for the French King to try to occupy the German King in another way. He could cause him trouble in Germany, and there are letters extant, wherein he reminds the Count Palatine of the century-long alliance of their House, and promises one of his sons a pension at his Court, and to another high ecclesiastical dignities. But how if he found ways and means of attaching the Swiss to himself, so as to be enabled to avail himself of their infantry; to ally them so closely with himself that Ludovico would receive no assistance from them, and at the same time to involve them in war with Maximilian, so that he would have to fear for himself, and would not dare to come to the assistance of another?

Without any action on his part, the desired opportunity arose. The accident that in the year 1498, Georg Gossenbrod of Augsburg, Royal Councillor in the Tyrol, journeyed with his wife to the watering-place of Pfaffers, and there met an enemy, Count Jorg of Sargans, and that the latter tried to take him prisoner, was ordained to determine the course of public affairs, and bring this great struggle to a head.

Count Jorg had once schemed to bring the Tyrol to the crown of Bavaria, and on that account had been outlawed by the King. Unconcerned thereat, he lived with one cook in the castle of Ortenstein by selling his estates, and slept in the tower, where his bed may still be seen; for he was on terms of friendship with the monks of Chur, and made common cause with them. The Abbot of Pfaffers, to whom Gossenbrod owed his preservation and who was also a friend of Maximilian - the latter confided to him his schemes and successes - was forced by Jorg to leave his monastery. Now between Chur and the Tyrol there had existed, since time out of mind, differences, which had lately been revived. These differences affected the Engadine as far as Pont'alto, where their frontiers touched, the administratorship of the Minster in the Münsterthal, to which both laid claim, as also the hereditary office of cup-bearer, which Maximilian declined to receive, as former Counts had done, as a fief from Chur. Gossenbrod availed himself of this feud to take revenge. He mocked the people of the bishopric of Chur, and encouraged the Tyrolese, until the latter, who had been posted by him in strong detachments on the border, invaded and occupied the Münsterthal; the others at once sallied out and recovered it. Upon this, both appealed to their allies; the people of Chur summoned to their aid the Upper League and the Ten Jurisdictions, with which they formed the Grisons Confederation, and the people of Uri, with six other Swiss cantons, with whom they had allied themselves in 1497, “until the end of all things”; and these called in the others who were members of the Confederation. The Tyrol called to its assistance the princes, lords, and cities of the Swabian League. In a trice the whole frontier was in arms; on the one side the Swiss, and on the other the landsknechts; each waited to see what the other would do.

This was not a plot of the King of France, yet the event relieved him of perplexity. It was still doubtful whether there would be war or not; for Maximilian could not be anxious for it, and, moreover, on the 5th February, 1499, the recess of Lucerne declared that terms had been arrived at, and that it was doubtful whether the cantons which favoured Milan would join the others. It came to pass quite spontaneously. In German countries it frequently happens that among neighbours, questions of cattle and landmarks, and especially boundaries of properties, aided by boasting, scoffing, and diverse claims, create hatred such as that which exists between two brothers who have quarrelled - the more intense as its origin becomes more and more obscure. The least stimulus arouses it. So here, when the Swiss, thinking peace was assured, retired from their frontier and passed through Gutenberg, the German landsknechts crept on all fours over the walls and lowed at one another like cows. Where the Rhine separated the two peoples, the Germans dressed up a cow, danced with it and cried that they had the bride, and the others should send them the bridegroom. In Bendre they christened a calf “Amman Reding”; and amused themselves at Constance, Diessenhofen, and elsewhere with variations of the same joke. Enraged thereat, some troops from Zurich and Zug crossed the Rhine on the 6th of February, routed the enemy, and ran across hedge and ditch away to the Lake of Constance, where they again attacked the landsknechts, whose leaders had become despondent and wished to return, with such onslaught, that they drove some of them into the ditches, where they were drowned, others into the morasses, where they died of cold, while others fled before them to Ulm and Augsburg, where they told their tale of terror.

This event made war a certainty and united the Swiss. Schwyz and Unterwalden, Lucerne and Bern had previously joined the League; and Glarus wanted to make a fifth. They had joined in Maximilian's interest, who, owing to this, had Swiss envoys with him on his Leghorn expedition, and Swiss soldiers in his war with Burgundy. The same cantons were allies of Ludovico. But now it was a case of another alliance, directed, if not expressly against Ludovico, at any rate against Maximilian, by whose councillors the feud had been caused, and whose landsknechts had made it burst forth. The Confederation held better together than the League; all the cantons united for war. Louis saw it, and as he had come to terms with Venice and the Pope, and as in the interior of Germany the Houses of the Palatinate and Bavaria-Landshut, both opposed to the House of Austria, entered into a close alliance, he offered the Swiss his alliance. Although Ludovico let it be known that he “had never supported the Swabians, and he desired to be mediator between them and the Swiss”, for he too saw the danger, and although there were many among the Swiss who were opposed to a war with Austria, yet the contrary opinion was the prevailing one : “for what had the House of Austria ever done for them, save abuse in words and war in deed; but that was the way to bring its plans to nought.” On the 21st March, 1499, they all concluded a treaty in these terms: “The King promises to assist them in their wars with men and money, and to give in peace, besides, to every canton 2,000 Rhenish guilders annually, in return for which they concede to him free enlistment, and to no one else in opposition to him”; and appended their ten seals to the document. They then emblazoned the Crucifixion on their standards and guarded their frontiers.

High among the mountains, where spring the sources of the Inn and the Adige, along the Rhine valley lying between Sennwald in Appenzell and the red wall of the Vorarlberg, on both shores of the Lake of Constance, down to where the Rhine finishes its upper course and leaps downwards to the plain, they stood; men from the Orisons against the Tyrolese and troops from Appenzell and St. Gall against the King's landsknechts and countrymen, the nine districts in Thurgau against Constance and the cities of the Swabian League, Zurich and Solothurn, against the nobles of Sundgau and Hegau. Between them flowed the Rhine, both its banks adorned with the gorgeous mantle of spring. But among them many a Swabian might have been heard to boast, how he would fire and burn in the enemy's country, so that St. Peter would not for the very smoke be able to find the gate of heaven; and, should he die, his comrades were conjured to crush his bones to make powder wherewith to exterminate the foe. The Swiss, on their side, swore by the saints that they would take no prisoners, but slay all their enemies, as their fathers had done before them. The former only wished to vent their hatred, the latter to protect their freedom that was threatened j and thus they waged their war.

At the same time, the Confederates on one occasion crossed the Rhine to attack the men of Wallgau, whilst the Leaguers crossed the bridge of Constance and marched towards the Schwaderloch. Hereupon the landsturm was called out; on the Swabian side by the firing of shots, and on the Swiss side by smoke, and the people ran to their places of rendezvous. The men of Thurgau, Bischofzell, and St. Gall assembled at the Schwaderloch to the assistance of the whole Confederation, and sallied forth to find the landsknechts. These were already on their way home, their waggons full of corn, and their muskets and field-pieces hung with pans, kettles, and all manner of pillage. But their enemies, by taking shorter roads through the woods, caught them up and engaged them in bloody encounters; and when the leader of the infantry, Burkard von Randeck, who was considered the bitterest foe of the Swiss, had fallen, and the leader of the horse, Wolf von Fürstenberg, had taken flight after a chivalrous struggle, the landsknechts left both their muskets and booty behind, and fled towards the city-bridge, and to the ships in the lake. This was the battle of Schwaderloch.

Meanwhile Swabians, with men from Algau and Etschland, collected at Frastenz. The miners came out of their pits, arrayed themselves in steel, vaunted themselves greatly, and came to the battle. They did not dare to follow up their enemy, but entrenched themselves behind ramparts, and so awaited their onslaught. Above, on the top of the Lanzengast were posted 300 arquebusiers, and at its foot the miners. The Swiss advanced against them in two divisions; the main body against the rampart in the valley, whilst a detachment of 2,000 scaled the Lanzengast. At the first pause Heini Wolleb rode in front of the 2,000; he then dismounted, ordered them to kneel, and said the Lord's prayer : he cried, “in God's name follow me.” He led them through the ravines, where each one had to draw up his fellow by his lance, first into the fire of the arquebusiers, and then into close quarters with them, until they were routed; this done, they attacked the miners, and drove their first and second line behind their entrenchments; and here, already victorious, he met with the main body. With united forces, they scaled the great barricade, and saw the enemy drawn up in three bodies, in act of preparing their guns for action. For one moment they threw themselves flat on the ground, until the shots had passed over their heads: they then wanted to rise up. “Not yet, confederates!” cried Heini, 2wait for another shot, and then at them.” They all knelt down except himself. He, a tall, powerful man, stood up in the midst of all to maintain discipline; careful for all, but fearless for himself. The bullets flew again, but all missed save one, and this laid him low. “Lay me by and attack them”, he cried. Within two hours the Swabians had been driven from their camp. The corpses with their red crosses floated down to Feldkirch. The men of Wallgau came even upon the battlefield to the victors with the sacrament, priests, women, and children, and begged for mercy. The Swabians took comfort and said, “Where is now your Wolleb?”. The Swiss replied, “He is playing dice with Randeck.”

The Swiss were everywhere in advantage. From Thiengen the landsknechts retired before them in their shirts, a white staff and a piece of bread in their hands. The lady of Blumeneck carried her husband away from the castle as the dearest treasure that she was allowed to take. On the Malserheide the three bands of the Tyrolese fled before the men of the Orisons when the horn of Uri echoed from afar. The King's troops, on the other hand, climbed the topmost hills commanding the Engadine, and pursued the enemy down the side. But when they had reached the valley, they found the bridges, across which they had to go, on fire, villages, in which they intended to pass the night, in flames, and stores that they wanted to eat, all destroyed. They, the plunderers, had to pluck grass to satisfy the cravings of hunger, and were half mad from want; the fresh waters of these mountains were their sole comfort.

Such was the character of this war: there was no question on either side of conquest or attack. No! it was merely defence and revenge. They entrench themselves, sally forth, pillage, plunder, burn, and return home again. The neighbouring cities might easily, at that time, have joined the league of the Confederates; but these were as cruel as their enemies, and throughout the whole of Swabia, on every Wednesday evening and every Saturday, after the sermon, they prayed for the League, the widows and orphans, and the general peace. Conquest was not the intention of the Swiss either; their war served no one save the King of France.

For in this way it came about that Maximilian became involved in an arduous war. Ludovico had to forego all assistance from him, and found himself, as his ally, even deprived of Swiss aid. Danger threatened him, if the French succeeded at the same time in leading Swiss against Milan. To effect an arrangement with the Swiss, Ludovico sent Galeazzo Visconti with thirty horses across Valais to Bern. Schwyz, at all events, declared for him, but all to no purpose: he could not bring about any arrangement. There was only one way of escape, viz. if Maximilian were to engage the Swiss in such a conflict, that they would forget to lend their aid to others.

In June, 1499, Maximilian came upon the scene. The daily invitations addressed to him by his people had at last induced him to leave those enemies in Gelderland whom he was for ever pursuing, and never catching. In an open letter to the Estates of the empire he enumerated the crimes the Confederates had committed against the Empire and Austria; and he succeeded in raising a considerable number to assist him. In a short time, a strong army of the Empire and the League was assembled at Constance. The soldiers of Gelderland and Burgundy were at Dorneck under the command of Count Furstenberg. He felt sure of success. If the Swiss ever really offered him, as is related, that they would serve the Empire, and wage his wars against the Turks, it must have been on this occasion.

He threw them into great alarm and trepidation, but did not succeed in preventing them from joining the French. Yet when Louis XII made them a proposal in these terms, “He was taking the field, in order to take his hereditary land of Milan; how if his allies showed themselves on the hills with only three thousand men?” the cantons refused him this request; but a few thousand individuals were induced by his pay - for their country had nothing to give them - to forget their country, and, in spite of all, to join the King's hommes d'armes, who were collecting at Asti.

The decision on both sides now depended on arms and open war alone. If only Maximilian was victorious over the Swiss, Ludovico could join the Swabian League, and this might come to protect Milan.

On the 13th July, 1499, with his artillery, and accompanied by his knights in coats of mail and waving plumes, Maximilian advanced over the bridge of Constance towards the Schwaderloch. Scarcely recognizable in his old green tunic and his great hat, he rode about and gave his commands. The Eagle of the Empire waved in the hand of the Cupbearer of Limburg. The astrologers prophesied success. He waited for the enemy to come down from the mountains; but they did not come. He therefore resolved to hunt them out in their native hills; and many of his followers expected, as he himself did, to strike a grand blow. But his nobles remembered Sempach and Charles the Bold. Should they risk their noble blood against peasants? The captains of his Württembergers declared that, “they were tired out with marching, and must wait for the strength of the whole League to come up.” They would not follow him. The King threw away his glove, and rode off; they returned hastily to the city.

After this Count Fürstenberg, at all events, resolved to make a raid from Dorneck. One day a provost of the Cathedral at Basel had a banquet prepared in the Cathedral tower, in order, with his friends, to look out upon Dorneck in flames. The same day, Nicholas Conrad, bailiff of Solothurn, sat at table at Liestal, when he learnt that the castle was threatened. He did not wait for other confederates, but with his own followers mounted the heights above the enemy's camp. The horsemen were scattered about the villages; the landsknechts were drinking and dancing, or else shouting and quarrelling; their captains made themselves comfortable in undress. Upon this camp Conrad fell, and the Bern and Zurich soldiers followed him. At first it looked as if they must succeed. But when the experienced landsknechts had drawn themselves up in line, and were supported by their cavalry, it was doubtful, and some Swiss fled into the woods near the Scharfenflue. All at once horns and shouts and the sound of feet. Both sides looked up to see who was coming, and which party's lot was to be victory and life, and whose defeat and death. There appeared a flag, folded like a banner; it was the flag of Lucerne. The brave fellows, from Lucerne and Zug, had been informed of the battle that was raging and had seen the fugitives in the wood; they forthwith hung up their knapsacks on a great pear tree, came, and fell upon the enemy. The confederates, thereupon, took courage, and the landsknechts lost heart. Count Heinrich fell, and four thousand men with him. Maximilian's hopes were over. At first he shut himself up in his castle at Lindau, and would not admit any of the princes; but soon he composed himself. In the evening he opened his door, and dined in public; he then gazed from his window at the stars, and spoke of their nature. He was inclined for peace; he accepted Galeazzo's mediation, and agreed to a conference at Schaffhausen.

But before any terms were arrived at - nay, even before any regular meetings had taken place, even whilst fighting was going on in the Hegau, and Laufenburg was being threatened -, the French threw themselves upon Ludovico.

Ludovico saw his fate approaching. Against him was arrayed, on the one side, the same Trivulzio of whom only three years previously he had publicly announced that “a halter awaited him as soon as caught”; against whom he had roused warrior upon warrior to prove to him his treachery and cowardice; of whom, finally, he had had a picture exhibited in all his cities, representing him as hanging by the legs. Now, however, Trivulzio had 1,500 lances and 15,000 men on foot under his command. On the other side, the Venetians were arming against him. He had hoped for assistance from the Swiss, but they were leagued with his enemies; from the Germans, but they were fighting against the Swiss; even a little from the Arrabbiati at Florence, but they were engaged on a campaign against Pisa. Finally, he had relied upon Bajazet; but how could Bajazet help him? for Venice was fitting out two armies, one against the Turks, and one against him. At this critical moment, all his foreign alliances, which had made him what he was, failed. The pen availed him nothing; the sword could alone decide. He still relied upon his castles, and those favourites in them, whom he had from the first honoured more than his party; he still trusted to his two armies on his two frontiers, who were not to engage the enemy in open battle, but to come to the assistance of the menaced castles; he relied, finally, upon the fidelity of his Milanese, whose beneficent lord he had ever been.

But even this calculation proved false. For castle after castle surrendered as soon as Trivulzio showed himself. Those favourites of Ludovico were Guelphs, and their head, Trivulzio, was more to them than he was. The garrison of Valenza had just prepared itself to give the enemy battle outside the walls, and awaited their attack, when the commander, Donato, let them in through the castle, and they saw themselves taken in the rear. At one stroke, Tortona, Voghera, and the whole country across the Po was lost. It was said that Trivulzio had brought with him 300,000 ecus for the commanders; that Donato received 5,000; and that there was no castellan, and no official in any castle in Milanese territory, who had not been bribed.

Everything now depended upon the preservation of Alessandria, and into it Galeazzo Sanseverino threw himself with one of the two armies. Ludovico meant to exert all his strength to keep it. He summoned Francesco Sanseverino, who was in command of the other army, to come to the aid of his brother. Many warned him, and this commander's name was mentioned among fifteen others suspected of treason. "Whom shall I trust if not Francesco?" he exclaimed. He had loaded him with favours, and had treated him as a son. Yet, when Francesco had arrived at the Ticino he refused to cross and come to his brother's assistance. Ludovico, indeed, persuaded himself that he was unable to do so without risking a battle, and this must, under all circumstances, be avoided; but everybody else said that Francesco's treachery was patent.

In this strait, Galeazzo thought also on self-preservation. He saw his walls crumbling under the enemy's fire and his foes making ready to storm the city. He would not surrender, and neither would he defend himself to the last push. He arranged with Constantin de Montferrat, one of the leaders of the enemy, for permission to march off privily: and, accordingly, on the 28th August, 1499, between the third and fourth hour of the night, Galeazzo and his hommes d'armes took to flight. They took different roads; some the direction of the Po, in order to gain the main road, others the road to Montferrat, to reach Milan by way of Genoa. They were four hours gone, when the reveille sounded in the French camp, and the pursuit of the fugitives began. Galeazzo, two of the Sforza, the Count of Melzo, and Luzio Malvezzi escaped across the Po. But in Montferrat, Constantin could not keep his plighted word; the hommes d'armes were deprived of their horses and weapons.

The city had fallen; the country was defenceless; and Galeazzo's army was annihilated. “Haste”, wrote Ludovico to Visconti: “haste to his Imperial Majesty; announce to him this calamity. Kneel before him and implore him not to allow us to perish, but to come at once to our aid with as great an army as he can muster. In this citadel we will shut ourselves up and wait until his Majesty comes to deliver us.” That was Ludovico's first resolve, and he still relied upon the Milanese, whom he considered faithful to him, and whom he had already organized into companies. But their feelings towards him proved unreliable; they were willing to remain faithful to their lord, but it should, if possible, be to their advantage, and certainly not to their harm. To risk life for him, life that was to them the greatest of all goods, never entered into their calculations. When the Venetians were come across the Oglio and would entertain no new proposals, Guelphs and French sympathizers showed themselves even in the capital. On the 30th August, the Treasurer, Landriano, was attacked on his way to the palace by an insolent fellow who had twelve horsemen in his pay, and was thrown wounded under his horse. This occurrence showed Ludovico plainly that he could not count upon the Milanese, and could not trust himself and his family to them. On the following day he lifted up his sons, Massimiliano, aged nine, and Francesco, aged seven, kissed them, gave them into his brother's keeping, and sent them with his treasure to Germany. This done, on the 1st September he chose four men; these again co-opted eight others from the first families, all Ghibellines. He granted each of them an estate, and committed the government into their hands. He too intended to cross the mountains. After having committed his castle and his jewels to the keeping of Bernardino da Corte, whom he had brought up and raised from the dust, and had received the kiss of fealty from him, all was arranged, and he said to his companions, “God be with you.” He then went forth alone to the Church of the Madonna delle Grazie. His wife, Beatrice, the companion of his prosperity, with whom his good fortune had died, lay here entombed. Here Leonardo da Vinci had painted them both, him with the elder child on his lap, and her with the younger. The beams of the setting sun slanted through the windows. He stood at the foot of her grave. The monks of the convent escorted him out of the church. He looked once more around. What a fabric, closely woven of coloured threads, which can never be altered, happiness and fortune, guilt and calamity, is this mortal life! He burst into a flood of tears. Thrice he turned, and then stood long, lost in thought and motionless, with his head bowed to the earth. In the castle yard, meanwhile, the bustle of horses and men, who were to escort him on his way, was heard. The next morning, at break of day, they all took the road to Como. Of all other cities the people of Como were the most Ghibelline and ducal in their sympathies. Once again they welcomed their Prince, and gave him quarters in the episcopal palace. The following morning they came together at his command in the garden by the lake. He stood amongst them on a rising knoll and addressed them. “Citizens, my most faithful subjects! My fortune stood high, but now it has changed. I have spared neither energy, nor friends, nor strength. Yet all in vain; no one can resist treachery. I will now give way a little to fate, and will not struggle against God, will not destroy so many peoples, and still save my own. I go to my nephew, the august King of the Romans, and I hope, with his assistance, in a short time to return as conqueror. Follow, then, my advice. When the French come, do not oppose them, but obey them. But preserve your allegiance to me, so that when I come I may not be received as an enemy, but as your true and first lord and master. If I can do you any favour, tell it me, for I am still among you.” Codito, a citizen, answered him in these words. “With thy departure, O Prince, we pass from day to night. If thou wilt still do us a favour, relieve us of toll for ten years, so that we may each day praise thy generosity, and deliver the citadel into our keeping.” He did not hesitate to grant the first request, but at the second he showed some hesitation. They shouted loud: “Go not away from us. Prince! we will have no other lord but thee. But if thou wilt go, give into our hands the castle, wherein is our safety and our destruction.” As he granted this petition, a cry was raised that the enemy were already in the Borgo. He instantly embarked, sailed down the lake and journeyed up the Valtelline. Having arrived at the baths of Bormio, at the foot of the Umbrail, on the frontier of his land, he rested once more, and then crossed over into Germany.

Thus Venice had avenged and, at the same time, compensated itself for the loss of Pisa: for Cremona surrendered and in the cathedral there an altar was raised to S. Marco. And Louis XII had acquired the inheritance of Valentina. Bernardino da Corte in the castle quieted his scruples, on the King making him rich presents and a yearly allowance, and assigning to him the treasures and the artillery of the fugitives. He kindled no torch and waved no flag, as he had promised his lord to do, to announce good or bad tidings. Unattacked by the enemy, he surrendered to them the impregnable fortress, the sole refuge of his benefactors. By this treachery he drew down upon himself the contempt of the one side and the curses of the other. But he could not endure it long; he went forth and hanged himself. The King now came into his new country. Attired in a white mantle and cap, he rode through the white draped streets of the city: and some were heard to call him the Great King, their deliverer. In order to win the most influential classes over to him, he allowed the nobles to hunt big game, gave the professors greater incomes, and made the appointments of officials permanent. He then caused it to be publicly announced in the open squares and streets of Milan, that tolls upon wine, wheat, maize, millet and nuts, should from thenceforth be no more levied in the town and suburbs, or within the ecclesiastical district of Milan, whilst other burdens should be removed in the whole dukedom. He lowered the taxes, moreover, to 622,000 livres; he thought thus to satisfy everybody. Genoa, too, recognized his suzerainty. After Corradin Stanga had been recalled, and the Adorni showed themselves more and more violent, many became alienated from Ludovico. Now that he had fled away, the Adorni were also obliged to abandon their castles, and to flee. When the King arrived, the city sent twenty-four men to him, who arranged a capitulation, and thereupon received the oath of the new governor, Philip of Ravenstein, to it. He now ruled as far as Lesbos, where the Genoese had formerly held sway. The less powerful princes joined him. The Marquis of Mantua entered into his service, and Ercole of Ferrara, whose falcons and leopards he had had brought to him at Milan, put himself under his protection and claimed his friendship. The Popolari at Florence approached him by sending an embassy. When it came to war, the young Arrabbiati chose them a leader, whom they called “Duke”, and the Popolari another, whom they called “King”, and they both performed plays in the market-place, displaying their respective tendencies. The party of the Popolari, owing to Ludovico’s fall, gained the upper hand, and came to renew their old relations with France. Venice is Leonardo’s lion, whose breast opens and is full of lilies. As the Pope also was dependent upon the assistance which the French rendered him against the Sforza of the Romagna, and as the Angevins in Naples longed for the arrival of the King, he, hitherto only lord of Asti, had suddenly become by far the most powerful potentate in Italy. Having happily accomplished all those things, he returned to France.

The quarrel at Milan had not, however, as yet been finally disposed of.

Ludovico, far from giving up his cause for lost, thought of Ferrantino; how he once had fled away and had returned to his own, chiefly owing to the people of Naples and the favour of the Milanese. As late as November, the King heard in Milan the cry of “Duke and Moor!” and, in December, a coin was seen bearing the device of a Moor and a Turk, with the motto: “In winter we will fiddle; in summer we will dance.” Here also public opinion was manifested in play; when the boys, representing the two parties of the King and the Duke respectively, played together, the Duke's adherents were always the conquerors, and brought the leader of the royalists, who played King, back to the city dishonoured, tied to the tail of an ass. Ludovico considered himself sure of Milan. In Switzerland, Galeazzo Visconti negotiated, to his advantage, a peace with the neighbouring Germans. Ludovico himself was obliged to pay the fine levied upon Wallgau and the Bregenzerwald, and to undertake to pay the 20,000 ducats, without which Constance would not cede the jurisdiction in the Thurgau to the Seven Cantons, which demanded it. It was only after this was arranged, that the other differences were on the 22nd of September submitted to arbitrators at Basel; where a thanksgiving service was held in the cathedral and the peace ratified.

On the conclusion of peace, the Swiss Cantons again evinced their old tendencies and dissensions. Ludovico had here also a faction favourable to his cause, and, as he could again avail himself of the landsknechts, he determined to venture on a second struggle.

On either side of the St. Gotthard are the green Alpine valleys of Urseren and Leventina; the inhabitants of the latter formed eight Italian communes, originally connected with the cathedral and the leading houses of Milan, while those of the former were a German settlement, ruled by the people of Uri. The valleys were frequently in feud, usually about the pasturage, and each called its patron to its aid. But, sometimes, when the people of Uri drove their oxen through the Val Leventina to the market of Varese, they themselves were insulted, and became thus the more enraged. On such an occasion, in 1402, the Val Leventina was forced to acknowledge the protection of Uri. That was no sufficient advantage for the people of Uri. The pass near Bellinzona is so narrow that the town, with its three gates, could entirely close it. They acquired Bellinzona also, partly by force and partly by purchase. Since then they had had, on this account, many a quarrel with Milan. There was a time when they had given up both. Francesco Sforza had restored the Val Leventina to them (“in gratitude for this they had to bring every August four falcons and a new crossbow to Milan”), but not Bellinzona. They conceived that they had an established right to this place also, and followed the Duke of Orleans to Novara : they were always on his side, because he had promised it them. But now that the Duke no longer thought himself bound by his promise, which was made under other circumstances, Ludovico, who had changed sides with them, was inclined to promise them something. Like the oxen of Uri, the horses of the Valais had also their market in Milan; thence the inhabitants of the Orisons procured a definite quantity of corn and wine. They could not live without the Dukedom, and enjoyed old privileges from the Sforza. Ludovico knew how to turn all these conditions to his account.

First of all, it appears, he availed himself of the state of affairs in Uri. For at the self-same time, in October, 1499, he promised Bellinzona and Val Bregna to the people of Uri, and Galeazzo collected some troops for an incursion into the Valtelline. But on this occasion - for the Bailiff was also at this moment enlisting troops, the cantons were calling back their sons who had gone away, and the King was promising the people of Uri various possessions - the troops were disbanded as soon as collected. But one advantage accrued to Ludovico therefrom. The Bailiff dismissed many in the midst of winter without pay, and some were frozen to death on the tops of the mountains. By these doings he made himself and the King enemies enough.

Galeazzo availed himself of these enemies, the universal dissatisfaction, and the relations existing between the Grisons and the Valais, to make a second attempt. The Valais declared that the King was an intolerable neighbour; 2,000 men of the Grisons enrolled themselves at Chur under his standard. All whom the Bailiff had wronged or rejected he welcomed to it. In January, 1500, he was enabled to venture over the mountains between the Engadine and the Valtelline. His advent was victory. At the first cry, Chiavenna opened its gates; the Ghibellines of Lugano and Locarno rose; the people of Bellinzona reconquered their castle for the Duke. The French fled from Como, in dread of Ascanio's arrival. Giovanni Orelli marched into Pavia, and, as there was a lack of corn, provisioned it with chestnuts. All depended upon whether the Duke's party in Milan would be able to hold that city.

In Milan, the Ghibelline families, the Landriani, Marliani, Visconti, Cribelli, and especially some ecclesiastics amongst them, would never obey Trivulzio. On one occasion, even, they made common cause with the French prefect against him. Between the Ghibellines and Guelphs there existed an open feud. Sometimes no one dared to speak of terms; sometimes the leaders had a conference and concluded a formal peace. Trivulzio, who behaved himself as these party leaders were wont to do when they were victorious, ever kept alive the arrogance of the rest. When then, on the 1st February, 1500, the tidings arrived that the Sforza were there, both rushed at once to arms. Trivulzio, with his Guelphs, was the first to occupy the square between the cathedral and the palace. The Ghibellines showed courage, and surrounded him and his men. The two parties kept up a contest of words. As long as Trivulzio spoke them fair, saying that “he desired no better fortune than to share Milan's fate; he was willing to die for his country, but they must be faithful, and then they would obtain great liberties”, his opponents only replied with mockery; “was he not the same person, who had always sought his own advantage in his country's calamities? Was he not the old fox that had ever deceived them? He was only now making them promises which he would never be able to keep.” But when he began to command them to lay down their arms, threatening that the King would destroy the city, they also became violent. “If Guelphs could carry arms, Ghibellines could do the same; instead of giving orders, he would now have to receive them; but why was he still allowed to live? If his life was the ruin, his death would be the saving, of his country.” One Ghibelline or other was for ever shouting these words; every hour, as the Sforza drew nearer, their courage waxed stronger. The next morning, Trivulzio retired to the park and the castle. In the city nothing was heard but “Duke and Moor, and death to the Guelphs!”. All the shops were closed, and the streets barricaded; Trivulzio saw that the city was lost, provided for the castle and fled to the Ticino.

These tidings, with the invitations from his party, reached Ludovico in Innsbruck. He was not yet ready, he had not landsknechts enough, and Maximilian did not approve of his starting at that moment; but Ludovico could not be restrained. He took Claude de Vaudrei's Burgundian horse, and as many landsknechts as he had, and crossed the Alps. They came from the villages and towns to meet him, saying, “All hail, Ludovico, our prince!” The people of Como brought him in triumph into the Duomo. All the nobles in a body met him before the gates of Milan. As a sign of his mercy, he carried a green ensign, displaying a Moor, dressed in gold, touching the shoulders of four barons kneeling before him. Thus did he enter the city. After this, the people of Cremona only waited for an occasion to revolt from Venice, and in Genoa the rulers did not dare to commit the watch to any Italian, for the city was full of the report that, "Giovanni Adorno had written and was on the march with succour from Naples”. In Ferrara itself three hundred boys followed the drum of a Servite monk; they thundered at the door of the Venetian Visdomino, and shouted “Moor!”. The whole country would at one stroke have come into Ludovico's hand, had not the traitors given their castles over to the enemy; these must be retaken, were he to assert his supremacy. He raised his army, in spite of their small pay, to 12,000 men and 2,500 horses; his brother Tommaso followed him with the guns that he had just had cast in Germany. He said to the people, “I will be your prince and your brother; but you must help me with money.” And although many thought that they had made sacrifices enough for him, and others did not believe that they could rely upon his good fortune, most of them perceived that his need was their need, and assisted him. Hereupon Ascanio besieged the castle of Milan, and Ludovico the castle of Novara.

Trivulzio, in the face of this movement, had retired along roads which the peasants endeavoured to render impassable by trees and stones, in return for which he left their villages desolated in his track, and proceeded despondently - for his own party upbraided him - past Pavia to Mortara and Vercelli. Thither the King despatched La Tremouille to take the supreme command; thither also came a few Swiss, who had been in the pay of Caesar Borgia. But to withstand an army as great as that which Ludovico had with him, fresh recruiting must be resorted to. For this the Florentines and Venetians gave money, and the Archbishop of Sens and the Bailiff started at once for Switzerland.

The Swiss of those days were bold in the face of steel, but weak in the presence of money. They were united as soon as they had an enemy before them; but before that disunited, as also in negotiations. As they had no great general interests to consult, they blindly followed each special and momentary advantage. If those who joined Ludovico's colours remained faithful to his cause, whilst others were allowed to give their oath of allegiance to the Bailiff representing the opposite side, the murder of relatives by relatives, and a domestic war, terminating with the break-up of the Confederation, might ensue. It was, perhaps, owing to these apprehensions that they did not agree to the first offer of the Bailiff on the 21st February: “The King”, they said, “should first of all pay up all arrears and confirm the terms”; and so, grumbling to himself: “it will be a matter of crowns, and so I suppose I shall have to open the purse”, he left the assembly, and went through all the cantons. On the 11th March they again assembled. Maximilian represented to them that: "in their terms with the French King, the Empire was excepted from those countries against which they were to lend assistance; but Milan was now a crown land, and Ludovico a subject, a vassal, of the Empire”. That was at that time no unfounded assertion, as Ludovico had completely allied himself to the German King of the Romans; but now that they had received their money, they would not listen to any counter reasons. The Zürichers chose a captain and Venner for their companies; the Freiburgers sent their councillors with them. Although the enlistment was at once prohibited in Bern, the people, in spite of the prohibition, followed the drum. They marched, some up the Saone and across the St. Bernard, others over the St. Gotthard, and came to Vercelli. They did not know what they were doing. Many a one had a brother, a brother-in-law, or a father opposed to him in Novara.

Either the oath would have to be broken, or the Confederation was at an end.

Ludovico still considered his camp to be blessed by good fortune; he still hoped to draw all those who had crossed over the hills to his standard, He thought to take advantage of the wishes of the people of Uri, and sent a message to the Swiss to this effect: “Bellinzona, Mendrisio, Lugano, Locarno, and Val Maggia he would cede to them, give them 40,000 ducats at once, and pay a yearly sum of 24,000, if they would only rid him of the King.” Thereupon, the common people of Bern, in town and country, having, as they probably had, relations on both sides, implored their councillor, their Bailiff, to see that peace was made. This councillor proposed to the confederates to dissuade both princes and both lords from using the sword, else great damage and great strife was unavoidable in this direction the German envoys likewise exerted their influence. As a matter of fact, a decision was arrived at on the 31st March, such as Ludovico desired: “On the 8th of April two deputies from each canton should meet in the inn at Uri, and thence haste, in God's name, to bring the two princes to an understanding.” 

But before the decision was known, the French sallied out. Ludovico was bold enough to oppose himself outside the walls to an army three times as strong as his, and to draw up Swiss to face Swiss. But both stopped; they refused to fight each other. He retired to Novara, his enemies after him. He awaited, it appears to me, the decree, from which he hoped everything, and the reinforcements, which on the 9th of April had arrived at Como. At length the decree arrived; but it was not so unequivocal that the French could not make use of it. People in Lucerne were not quite at one in the matter; the ducal party had gained something, but not everything, and the essence of the decree was quite contradictory in terms: “The soldiers should be warned by both sides to return home, or, at all events, to go over to one side.” It is evident that this determined matter. The French could rely upon faithful men; Ludovico had to deal with captains who defrauded him of 500 guilders in a single levy. These latter went over into the enemy's camp, and let the enemy into theirs. The two became almost one. It was soon resolved to interpret the decree in favour of the French. The cry was raised, “It is all over with the Duke.”  The French then came so close to him that they might almost have taken him prisoner in a room. When he complained of the conduct of his captains, they asked: “When did they ever promise to fight against confederates?”. If he only wanted advice, they told him that he should apply to his wise councillors; but if he would take their counsel, he would mount a good horse, and ride off to Bellinzona or the Eschenthal. In this state of embarrassment, he entered into negotiations with the leaders of the French, and Ligny was for allowing him to escape; but the others opposed this, and Trivulzio said: “He is as good as ours.”

The enemy without, treachery within; for his Italians also became slack and drew back. There was only one way of escape, namely, that which Aemilius Paulus advised to Perseus, and of which Cato gave an example to the great Romans - the last expedient in the struggle with fate, before one succumbs. But Ludovico was not the man to perceive it or seize it.

On Friday morning, the 10th April, 1500, Ludovico Maria Sforza, called the Moor, sat in his room at Novara, read, and appeared to pray. Galeazzo Sanseverino entered and said: “he had only looked for two hundred Swiss to give him an armed escort, but had not found a single one”. Then came certain Swiss captains and said: “they were obliged to go. If he would venture to escape in their midst, he must disguise himself and come”. He hardly heard them, but went on reading. They came again to him, “All is ready”, they said. They found him still hesitating. So throwing a Swiss blouse over his scarlet skirts, they sat him, partly by force and partly with his will, upon a horse, put a halberd in his hand, concealed him in their thickest company, and rode out of the gate. The French stood on both sides with lowered spears, and with guns ready pointed, so as to find him and not allow him to escape. Some of them fell upon the landsknechts, and upon the Burgundians, and took Jacob von Ems prisoner. Others rode up to the Swiss: "they had him, and for dear life they should surrender him; they must point him out, or they would be destroyed. The cavalcade stopped. The Duke, now as a Minorite, and now as a Swiss trooper with a halberd, once taken, but again let go, as he was not recognized, was here, there, and everywhere, and few knew him. At last the Bailiff rode up and offered 500 ducats to him who would point him out. Thereupon a man of Uri, named Turmann, who was standing behind him - a man of whom nothing evil had ever been known before - was allured by the proffered reward, and lifting up his hand, said in a low tone, “There!”. No one resisted. The Bailiff seized and recognized the Duke, and struck him with the flat of his sword across the shoulders. Trivulzio stept up to him and said, “Sforza, you have your reward.” 

At the first report, the Milanese rushed terrified from their houses to the palace. Ascanio went out to them and said, “The Moor is a prisoner”. He said nothing more. He had forgotten his eloquence. He thought only of his own escape. Francesco Sforza had had five sons, all excellently endowed by nature and well brought up by their wise mother; but the first was murdered by conspirators; the second fled away from his sister-in-law and was drowned; the third died in exile. The fourth was Ludovico, and Ascanio, too, the fifth, did not avoid his destiny. He fell into the hands of Venice. No city was able to defend itself. They came out everywhere to meet the victors with olive branches. But the victors treated them as great criminals. The Vogheresi also waited for Ligny, their lord, but he rode by them, as though he did not see them. They began to entreat him, but he would not hear until Louis d'Ars interceded for them. They brought him silver plate, and he gave it at once to Bayard. The latter said: "God forbid that the gifts of such wicked people should come into my hand”, and distributed it among others. In this way they took possession of the country. In Milan the heads of the leading Ghibellines were fixed on the palace gates, the rest were spared. But the two Sforza were sent to France. Bourges and Loches lie not far apart on the left bank of the Loire, Bourges with its high round tower, commanding the country for miles round; thither came Ascanio; Loches with its towers and bastions built on a steep rock, and surrounded by such deep moats that the English declared it to be impregnable. Here Ludovico was imprisoned. Here he often spoke with his servant from Pontremoli of his sins and his fate. “That is the star of Francesco Sforza”, said the astrologers in Italy; it means fortune for one man, but disaster for his descendants.” 

As Maximilian was engaged in this war, he was also affected by this disaster. On that same momentous 10th of April on which Ludovico was taken prisoner, he opened a Diet at Augsburg. His prestige in his Empire did not depend only upon internal development; it depended almost still more upon his war and peace, and upon his foreign successes. Now that, since the diet of Freiburg, the four military enterprises in which he had been engaged had failed, viz., in Burgundy, in Gelderland, in Switzerland, and Milan, he was forced to acquiesce in a Council of Regency, such as had already been proposed at Worms. It consisted of twenty members, one elector, one spiritual and one temporal prince, one count, one prelate, and fifteen deputies. These twenty had the right of summoning the princes in small numbers or collectively, of deciding upon war, of recruiting infantry and horse for the Common Penny, which they were to administer, even of disposing of any conquered territory, and finally, of making peace again. What then remained of the royal dignity? “They would have liked to depose us”, said Maximilian, “but a certain person required time and leisure.” On the 2nd of July, 1500, this Council of Regency was resolved upon. On the 21st, Louis XII went to meet an embassy sent by it; he had to expect more assistance from it than resistance to his plans. He had gained a complete victory over Maximilian.




Had the star of Francesco Sforza really possessed the significance assigned to it, its pernicious effect would have extended to the whole House of Sforza-Aragon. To his ruin it was disclosed for what purpose the Pope had entered into a league with Louis XII. But, in order to understand how the Pope was situated, it is necessary to begin with a general sketch.

Laws and customs, representing the unity of society in each individual member, do not merely exist for the purpose of protecting others against you, or you against others, but also for the purpose of protecting you against yourself. Moderation and self-restraint, the neglect of which entails self-destruction, and which, nevertheless, natural inclination and pride will never tolerate, become by means of them a habit, and lead him, who submits to them, unharmed and peacefully through all the days of his life. Yet, as the human race ever needs new laws, someone must be raised up to originate and to guard them, and over such a one their restrictive force cannot have power.

A great danger this, and yet one which high and low ever vie with each other in arrogating to themselves, and which the German-Christian nations, while yet united, reposed in a single individual, an old man chosen by old men; a man who, with the exception of his name, had given up all connection with the world, and whom they believed God’s Spirit did not allow to go astray. But inclinations are exceedingly deep-rooted and obstinate, even in old men; and who is there that could be dead to the world and yet rule it? It was fortunate that the Popes were not entirely without fear, either when they fought with the Emperors, or when the Ghibelline party was at its height, or when they were at Avignon in the power of the French kings. After this, they were held in check by the schism, the fear of a fresh schism, or by the proximity of the Turks.

It was only when they had become accustomed to this constant fear, and when, in the whole of the Western world, there was none who could withstand the coalition even of the few whom the Pope could always command, that he became quite fearless. Two things tended to make this a particular misfortune; corrupt election, and the prevailing infidelity. If a strong man, whose mind in the course of a long life had become impure by sensuality, greed, and all the vices of the world, attained this position, and suddenly found himself honoured as semi-divine, would he use his power to a good or an evil end? A fear of Him, of whose very existence he was uncertain, could not restrain him. Alexander every Maundy Thursday imitated the Author of the faith by washing the feet of twelve poor men; but the feet had first to stand in a golden basin full of perfumed herbs, and a Cardinal had first to pour water over them out of a golden vessel, and not until then did he touch them. Diaries, the truth of which it is impossible to doubt, accuse him of a sensuality which found its gratification even in that of others, of a cruelty which employed murderers by day and night, and of such premeditated villainy, that he would by means of promises induce a man, good in other respects, to confess to something that he had not committed, and then punish him as if he had been guilty of it. A man who had once spoken ill of his son, he punished by cutting off his hand and the tip of the tongue, and causing the latter to be exhibited stuck on the tip of the little finger.

Through his son Don Juan, to whom Federigo had promised a principality in return for his investiture, Alexander had become closely connected both with Federigo and with all the House of Sforza and Aragon. But, in consequence of Juan's sudden death - his body was found in the Tiber - this connection began to be severed. Juan, as a German chronicle relates, was Alexander's joy, and his soul was wrapped up in him. He now sat from Thursday to Sunday shut up in his chamber, without food, without sleep, and always in tears; he thought of abdicating, for his wickedness was the cause of his son's death. On Sunday he came forth, went on foot to St. Peter's, ordered five cardinals to make new arrangements for his court, and bade his children leave it. But his children controlled him. All his passions were in still greater intensity found in his son Caesar: sensuality, thirst for power, bloody revenge, also the power of concentrating all his mental forces upon a single object, his princely generosity and his apparent magnanimity. Caesar was an active, well-grown man, skilled at throwing, riding, and at slaying the bull when running with a single blow; his dark-red face was full of pimples, which readily festered and gave to his eye keenness and brilliancy and a snake-like movement, which he only restrained a little in the presence of women. After his brother's death, which was attributed to himself, his tastes were all for arms and princely honours. Instead of removing from the court, he proposed to his father to relieve him from the office and dignity of Cardinal, and to endow him with a principality. The Church is built up upon the inextinguishable character of the priestly state, and it was quite without precedent that the highest rank in it should be given up. But the Pope cared little for this, and he, in fact, proposed to Federigo that he should give his eldest daughter and Don Juan's possessions to Caesar. Now Gioffredo Borgia and Lucrezia Borgia, the latter of whom had been torn away from the side of Giovanni Sforza, lord of Pesaro, and married to Alfonso, Duke of Biseglia, were already allied to the house of Aragon by marriage. But Federigo knew Caesar. A quiet, moral, noble gentleman as he was, and a father who loved his daughter so tenderly, could not sanction this. The Sforza plied him with entreaties upon entreaties, representing to him that the Pope would otherwise take other steps for the destruction of Italy. But his reply was that: “nothing in the world should induce him; rather would he die a poor nobleman, and endure all the ills of the world, than do this. Let them not speak of it anymore.” From that time Alexander began to enter into serious negotiations with France. After Louis XII had promised Valentinois to Caesar, the latter came into the Consistory of Cardinals: “in spite of always having been addicted to the world, he had yet always been raised to spiritual dignities and benefices. His propensities would not be curbed. He now gave back his benefices, and begged to be relieved of his office”. How could he be refused what had long since been determined? In short, in October, 1498, he made his public entrance as Prince into Chinon, where Louis was holding his court. Sixty-six laden mules preceded him; he himself rode in, covered with jewels from his hat, in which gleamed ten rubies, down to his boots. His horse was shod with silver shoes; and behind him there came twenty-four mules caparisoned in red velvet. The Pope was soon heard to say that, “he would give a fourth part of his papacy if only Caesar would not return”; and again -for he believed himself offended –“If only Caesar were there, he would act differently”; and hence we can perceive how completely he was in Caesar's power. In France, Caesar received Valentinois, the bishop of which styled himself Count, as a Dukedom, and in May, 1499, Charlotte, Alain d'Albret's daughter, to wife. Through this marriage he became related to the Kings of Navarre and of France. He next schemed to attain a larger lordship. If Louis attacked the Sforza in Milan, he, on his part, would destroy the despots of the Romagna, and all the vassals of the Church.

In September, 1499, Ludovico fled for the first time; in November, the Pope declared his great-nephews to have forfeited Imola and Forli. Caesar did not recollect that their father, Girolamo Riario, after having risen to power, lived as he himself did, and what his end was. With French and Swiss assistance, Caesar made war upon Caterina, Ludovico's niece and Girolamo's widow. The lady had no support. Florence and Milan had formerly been her allies: the former, because her court was full of Florentines;  besides, her third husband, Giovanni di Pier Francesco de' Medici, had come from Florence, and her son had at times been in the service of the city. Milan was so devoted to her that, for a time, Giovanni da Casale, Ludovico's agent, had the whole government in his hands, and was present at her most secret audiences. Aided by both, she had in the previous year resisted the Venetians, and in this year had supported both, especially Ludovico, with troops. But now Ludovico was an exile, and her enemy was master of Milan. Now, too, in Florence, instead of the notables, who were her friends, and the friends of her late husband, Giovanni de' Medici, and of her child, the Popolari were supreme; and although she went thither saying that “her feast was the eve of that of the Florentines”, they still considered it dangerous to resist the French and Caesar. In consequence of this state of things, Imola, both city and citadel, was soon lost, and the nobles welcomed the enemy into the city of Forli. The citadel of Forli, which had been so strongly fortified by Pino Ordelaffi as to appear impregnable, still held out. Caterina, who, since her husband's death, had withstood all her enemies, herself commanded it, went about on the walls, and was nothing daunted. In order to compass her rescue, a musician took a poisoned letter to Rome, and desired an audience of the Pope. His chamberlain was a native of Forli, and with this chamberlain’s help he thought he would be able to succeed. Yet he betrayed him. “Didst thou think to escape, in the event of succeeding?” “At all events”, was the answer, “I should have saved my Princess; she reared me up, and I would suffer a thousand deaths for her”. Caesar had promised 10,000 ducats to the man who would bring her to him alive; but amongst such faithful adherents he could not hope to find a traitor. She took no notice of the Pope's promise to grant her an annual allowance; she met Caesar's attack with energy. At last the wall was pierced by 400 shot, and was scaled. She defended herself to the last; but at last she was taken, and brought before Caesar. The French captain demanded the 10,000 ducats; Caesar then spoke of 2,000. “Wilt thou break thy word?” answered the former, and was on the point of killing her. After this she lived many years at Florence, and enjoyed much honour.

The return of Ludovico delayed this undertaking, for, on account of it, French and Swiss had to turn towards Milan.

After a while a messenger brought the tidings of Ludovico's captivity. The Pope gave him 100 ducats. The Romans shouted “Orso e Franzia” in the streets. Caesar, who had since received the mantle, hat, and staff of Gonfaloniere of the Church, advanced against Giovanni Sforza at Pesaro. Giovanni relied upon his people, upon Venice, and Urbino. In his hall, the nobles and citizens at his request had promised him allegiance and assistance; immediately afterwards he discovered a conspiracy. He hurried to Venice, which had always protected him; but on this occasion he was reminded of how he had received Turkish ambassadors. The Duke of Urbino gave him poor encouragement, saying he ought to keep himself for a better opportunity. When Caesar approached, he fled, and abandoned to him both city and country. Pandolfo Malatesta also would not await him at Rimini. Before that year, Venice had sent a Proveditor to protect him, so that Caesar had retired, whilst he hurried to the feet of the Signoria, to express his gratitude. But now Venice had declared for the Pope, who had granted to her ecclesiastical revenues wherewith to fight the Turks; his people hated him, and so he also fled. Hereupon, since everything appeared to succeed, in November, 1500, Caesar advanced against Faenza.

The Faentines were distinguished among all the Romagnols for their unanimity and their industrial cleverness; their linen was the whitest; their potteries had acquired a special reputation; and they had, moreover, been renowned for their loyalty, ever since they had defended the Bolgherelli against Frederick II's superior force, and had saved them from harm. At the time of which we speak, there lived two youths, descendants of their, old princes, the Manfredi, of whom the elder, Astorre, aged fifteen years, was an angel in cleverness and beauty. Their sole ally was the winter; but they made such good use of it that Caesar retired on the tenth day. In April, 1501, he came again. They killed 1,000 of his men to sixty citizens on their side; 1,400 they blew up in a bastion; and the Pope sometimes was so angry that he did not go to chapel. But Caesar was not weakened by his losses, as the charitable offerings of piety were at his disposal, and the Faentines were ruined by their success. At last, utterly exhausted by three successive attacks, they surrendered, after Caesar had guaranteed them safety, and liberty to their princes. After this Caesar was called Duke of the Romagna, and up to this point Louis acquiesced in his undertakings. But when he threatened Bologna, Giovanni Bentivoglio, under French protection, resisted him, and escaped with a few fines. When after this he made an irruption into the Florentine territory, as though intending to restore the Medici, the King and the Pope warned him to depart; and he was obliged to content himself with money and a condotta. When he made a descent upon Appiano of Piombino, the King would not have been displeased, had Genoa previously acquired the fine fresh-water harbour by purchase. But Caesar was too quick; and as soon as he had Elba and Pianosa, its Prince was obliged to relinquish to him Piombino, and take refuge in the valley of the Scrivia, on the estate of a Spinola. Even Alfonso of Ferrara was not strong enough to resist him, and was obliged to make terms, by marriage with this family.

Caesar is like a wolf in the fold that has made friends with the shepherd. His soldiers wore a belt from the right shoulder to the left thigh, representing a scaly snake, picked out in gold and colours, darting downwards with its seven heads. But what symbol could express the damnation of a man who, during these struggles, came once to Rome, caused the Via S. Pietro to be closed, and six human beings brought into it, and hunted with arrows, whilst he stood by and shot them until they died like hunted game; who promised Astorre his liberty, and then outraged this innocent boy, this noble blood, in an unnatural manner; and, still fearing him, at last caused him to be thrown with his brother into the Tiber with a stone round his neck.

God's judgement was over Italy. Destruction was abroad, and stalked from one palace to the other. Only the true Aragonese, Federigo and his house, still survived; but destruction was in their wake. At the first attack upon the Sforza, Alfonso di Biseglia, Alexander's Aragonese son-in-law, fled from Rome. If he had only never returned! But now, when crossing the Piazza di S. Pietro in broad daylight, he was attacked by murderous bands, and carried to his house wounded in three places; but, as he did not succumb at once to his wounds, Caesar employed his executioner, Michelotto, to despatch him in bed. Beatrice, daughter of Ferrante the elder, and wife of King Wladislav, was far away in Hungary. After losing a better husband, she had brought the crown to this one. But Wladislav was long since tired of her. Alexander, who had always hitherto been prevented by some consideration or other, now pronounced his divorce from her. Anne de Candale, of the royal house of France, took her place. In Federigo himself, the life of this dynasty was threatened. When Milan was first conquered, the French levies boasted, they were now in the midst of a hundred years' war without a day's peace; they had still to war against the Turks, and to cross the Alps, but first of all to Naples. Federigo had sometimes attempted to negotiate, but he only found himself dallied with. In April, 1501, the preparations were no longer a secret; and, in May, Louis communicated his intention to the German Imperial Council, which had concluded a truce with him until the 1st of July, and had tied Maximilian's hands. In June, the army advanced into the Florentine territory; and in Rome shelters were erected for the men, and stables for the horses, whilst a residence was prepared for the King.

Many thought then how closely Ferdinand was related to Federigo, and how the former, even in breach of his treaty, had come to the aid of Ferrantino, and saved him; now Gonzalvo was in Messina ready for action. A long war -possibly a reversal of the whole of the French successes -might be expected. Federigo had asked Gonzalvo if he could depend upon him, and he answered: “my master is your friend.”

Yet it was not so. Ferrantino would scarcely have been so energetically supported had he not been married to Juana, Ferdinand's niece. For the old kinship, from the time of the first Alfonso, was hateful to Ferdinand, since it had ousted his line from Naples, and it went for nothing with him. Federigo, also, had looked for a new alliance and had begged for Ferdinand's youngest daughter, or his niece Juana, for his son; but he refused the first proposal and for the second demanded an exorbitant dowry. He now began to think of his own claims. He had already negotiated with Charles VIII upon the matter of compensation for his claims to Naples, in case Charles should again invade it, to take the form either of Calabria, which should be detached from the kingdom, or of a partition of the whole of Italy between the French, the German, and himself the Spanish King. Charles died, and therefore, at the beginning of Louis XII’s reign, he concluded a treaty with him, without regard for Federigo.

When then this King was making ready for his campaign, Mosen Gralla, Ferdinand's ambassador, visited Cardinal d'Amboise, and said to him, as though only expressing his own ideas: “How if you were to come to some arrangement with us respecting Naples, as you did with Venice regarding Milan?”. Amboise had always feared the Spanish claims, and so replied, “We two shall have to keep up the friendship between our kingdoms”. But Gralla had long since received his instructions from his master. On the 22nd September, 1500, a real treaty was arrived at, in these terms: “The territory of Naples to be divided into two halves; one half, comprising the Abruzzi and Lavoro with the title of kingdom, to belong to Louis; the other, consisting of Apulia and Calabria, as a dukedom, to Ferdinand.” A further arrangement especially respecting the Dogana to be made after the conquest. This treaty was still unknown when the French entered the Florentine territory. But on St. Peter’s day, 1501, both envoys submitted it to the Pope, who at once invested both princes. These were the first tidings that Federigo received of what was proceeding against him. Thereupon Gonzalvo sent him a message to the effect that: “he renounced his fief in Naples, for he was obliged to renounce the oath he had taken in respect of it”. And the Pope rejoiced when he saw the French army, 2,000 horse and 12,000 infantry, with 42 guns, file past in the garden of the Castle of St. Angelo on its way to the Neapolitan frontier.

When Federigo looked about him, he found nothing upon which he could rely. The east coast was in the hands of Venice, and the fortresses, by virtue of old treaties, in those of Spain. Should he trust in his barons, who would not even all be present at his coronation, who outlawed in their respective territories all who adhered to him, and whom he could only possibly have subjected with Gonzalvo's assistance? The Colonna alone were faithful, but they alone were of no account, entrusting, as they did, their possessions in the States of the Church to the cardinals. Their stewards were compelled to swear allegiance to the Pope, and an assembly of Roman citizens resolved to destroy their city of Marino. Federigo's sole hope lay in the cities, and he had their walls repaired and hand-mills provided, whilst the peasants were driven in and located in barns.

There is no spectacle more depressing than a country which allows itself to be conquered without drawing the sword. Gonzalvo was master of fifteen towns, without transporting a single horse thither. After Capua had held out for a moment, thanks to German mercenaries, the Count of Polenta rode out, as though he wished to see how things stood with the enemy, and, whilst doing so, surrendered a gate. The city fell. Now Federigo lost all hope of being able to resist. The two great kings were his enemies, and on the march against him; the Pope was leagued with them, and his vassals were in revolt. He now only thought of how he could save himself and his family, and prevent his country being given up to the ravages of war. Before the gate of the arsenal in Naples, the King assembled his citizens and nobles and addressed them: “since fate was driving him away, he released them from their oath”. He himself came to the following arrangement with the French: “if within six months he could not appear at the head of an army, he would retire to France upon estates which should be assigned him, and thither would bring also his treasures, his acquaintances and friends”.  Hereupon he betook himself to Ischia. Thither came also Beatrice of Hungary, and Isabella of Milan, his whole family and the few who remained faithful to him. He was never again able to show himself at the head of an army, and so passed the remainder of his life in France. How different were his expectations and all anticipations thirty years before, when, in the flower of youth and hoping for the hand of the daughter of Charles the Bold, he passed through Rome! He was neither king nor heir to the throne, but the cardinals strove together as to which should be the first to welcome him. In him the Aragon dynasty was extinguished, as was the House of Sforza; both of which a short time previously had flourished above all others in Italy. If we inquire what they achieved, the answer is that it was owing to them that, almost for the first time in their history, the Italians remained for a while free from the influence of foreign nations. If Francesco Sforza had not become lord of Lombardy, the French would have been: had Alfonso not given Naples to a spurious son, a Spanish viceroy would have been even at that time established there. It was due to this assertion of their independence that the Italians, untrammelled by foreign influence, and in progressive movement and rivalry within, were enabled within a somewhat limited sphere to develop their intellectual energies to a degree that the Germanic-Latin nations have always regarded as the highest perfection of culture to which they ever attained. They acknowledge the fact that every new science and art traces its birth to this era. These two families had to separate, chiefly on account of two women; the one called in the French, the other the Spaniards: after they had weakened each other, union availed them nothing. The two invoked forces joined hands, and destroyed both. They both sprang up together, flourished together, and perished together.

After this event, it was possible to journey under French safe-conduct from the Pyrenees to Naples. The Spaniards made further progress in the south of Italy. In order not to be completely ruined by this powerful enemy, Maximilian was obliged at Trent to promise the King of France the investiture of Milan. Three independent and pre-eminently active members of Christendom were now annihilated, and only three large States still existed in Italy. That was the result of Charles VIII's movements. To us, however, it is a matter of regret; for we must always feel sad when a particular existence, one of God's own creations, perishes. But one consideration may tend to calm our feelings.

If we remember that Otranto was once in the hand of the Turks, and that a certain Boccalino, on another occasion, ceded to them Osimo, that at Naples sometimes the kings and at other times the barons summoned them to their aid; that at Pesaro in the States of the Church, their agents were well received, and that, on Ludovico Sforza's invitation, they made an incursion into Friuli; if we remember how unanimous and powerful they always were or soon became, and how disunited and weak the Italians showed themselves, we cannot deny that Rome might just as readily have fallen into their hands as Constantinople, and that the same fate which befell the Hungarians might easily have overwhelmed all Italy, and primarily Naples, to which the Turks already laid claim. But now more powerful neighbours occupied the frontiers, and offered them resistance.

The Turks themselves, and almost the whole of the Mohammedan world, were involved in this war.

Abuayazid, whom we know as Bajazet, induced by the messages of Ludovico the Moor, considered that Louis XII after conquering Italy would probably carry out the other plans of his ancestors; that Venice forced the Turkish ships to salute hers, which was an insult to him; and that he had remained five years quietly in Stamboul, and the day had at last arrived when he could take Inebecht, that is Lepanto. Entertaining this idea, he gave Andrea Zancani, who entreated peace of him, only an Italian letter of compact, which he did not consider binding, and not a Turkish one. Whilst Andrea went joyfully on his way home, thinking that "the Othman of the Othmanis, the Grand Turk, had assured him of all good will” the latter equipped 270 ships for sea in the Hellespont, collected 250,000 horses in Adrianople, and despatched them in June, 1499, to pillage Zara. But in August they set out, he by land, and his fleet by sea, both bound for Lepanto. Antonio Grimani awaited the fleet near Sapienza. Antonio, from being a prosperous merchant, in whose hands earth appeared to turn into gold, had become supreme commander of the Venetian forces, and they believed they had in him an Alexander or a Caesar. He had kept back in harbour a ship of pilgrims about to sail for Jerusalem for this holiest deed, namely, to do battle against the Infidel; he had already issued his orders to the effect that "he would, with God's assistance, attack the enemy”; but when the Turks sailed out from Portolungo, and the Christians from Sapienza, both sides showed themselves but little inclined for the combat, and, after manoeuvring about, turned back. At length both became more resolute. The largest Turkish ship put out for action. Two other Christian ships had just made ready to engage her, when there came from Corfu that valiant hero Andrea Loredano and joined the fleet. The crew shouted their acclamations, and after having asked the general whither he wished him to go, he embarked on one of the two ships. They put out and grappled the Turk. All three caught fire. Whilst the Turks hastened to rescue their men in boats, the Christians stood thunderstruck. Loredano made no attempt to escape; he said: "Under this flag I was born, and under this flag will I die," and threw himself into the flames. The rest jumped into the water, and were taken prisoners. Thus was this battle lost. Grimani retreated; the Turks attacked Lepanto both by land and sea, and took it. Two thousand others pillaged in Friuli, so that in Treviso, and even in Mestre, the inhabitants dared not to open their gates. Zancani who was sent against them dared not venture out of Gradisca.

Zancani was banished; Grimani was also banished. In the following year, Melchior Trevisano, Grimani's most bitter enemy, went against the Turks, but he was neither able to capture Cephalonia, nor to relieve Modon, but Abuayazid took Coron, Modon, and Navarino.

It must be recorded that at the same time the Moors of Granada rose against the Kings of Spain. Ximenes, Archbishop of Toledo, had won over some Alfaquins by gifts of silk dresses and red hats, and one Zegri by imprisonment and presents, and then baptized them, as well as a large number of others from the Albaycin. But when he had burnt upon a pile nearly five thousand of their books, all beautifully wrought in gold and silver and artistically decorated, the people revolted, killed his servants, and scarcely spared him. The King came sorrowfully to the Queen: "their monk had undone all their conquest”. Three days later, the Moors living in the city recollected themselves; in order to escape punishment they allowed pictures to be hung in their mosques and submitted to baptism. But the Moors of the mountains, who dwelt upon the impenetrable peaks of the Alpujarras of the red, white, and snow-bound Sierra, could not be pacified.

Two brothers, Aguilar by name, took the field against Moors and Turks; the elder, Alfonso, against the Moors, and he was slain. Since a great number would on no account become Christians, they were sent to Africa, and every day galleys went backwards and forwards to transport them thither. Troops were left to hold the remainder in check. The younger brother, Gonzalvo, the Great Captain, went to the assistance of the Venetians, and his advent brought them good fortune. Abuayazid, who was lamed by gout, had returned to his palace to study Averroes, and Trevisano had just returned from his pursuit, full of pride that within sight of Europe and Asia he had succeeded in hanging some of his enemies on the gallows. Gonzalvo combined forces with him in order to capture the castle of Cephalonia; he sent in word to the Turkish commander Gisdar: "that it was the conquerors of Granada who were attacking him". The Turk answered, "Has not each of us seven bows and seven thousand arrows? Moreover, the day of our death is from the first written on our brow," and in this conviction he defended himself with his accustomed weapons. The Biscayans withstood all his arrows, scaled his castle, and killed him. This done, Gonzalvo turned towards Sicily and Naples. But afterwards Portuguese ships and even papal troops came and took part in the Turkish war, and the French troops stormed Mitylene eighteen times. The Christians did not succeed further than to surprise Santa Maura, and even this they were obliged to restore as the price of the peace. What Venice lost remained lost; she gained but little advantage from Cremona; and Ludovico comforted himself in his prison with the reflection that, at all events, one ally had not broken faith with him.



BOOK II . 1502-1514


The position of the Latin and Teutonic nations at this time may be briefly summarized as follows:

Italy had been visited by a great disaster; it was not political unity, which the country had really never possessed, that was imperilled, but that internal accord and independence in dealing with foreign countries, which might have stood in its stead. These were lost and gone, and this result had been effected, not so much by the expedition of Charles VIII and its immediate consequences, as by the feuds between Venice and Milan, and between the Pope and Naples. The papal authority, which was paramount in Naples, was mainly instrumental to this end. Alexander VI cannot aptly be compared with the Popes of the thirteenth century, who, when hard pressed by the enmity of the Hohenstaufen, appealed to the French for aid to rid themselves of them; in his case, the marriage of his infamous son, an alliance supported by the one and opposed by the other side, was the motive for delivering Naples at once into the hands of the French and Spaniards. The after-consequences of this step swayed the destinies of Italy in the ensuing centuries.

Of all princes of that time, Louis XII was the most powerful. Among the ordinances by which he guaranteed the French an appropriate constitution, and gained for himself in their esteem a place between St. Louis and Henry IV, the following is, perchance, the most characteristic:

“A tribunal should never be venal: in the event of his commanding such a thing, the Chancellor should not seal it; and, in the event of his having sealed it, neither Bailiff nor Seneschal should obey”. Such was the ordinance which by the King's unbiassed judgement placed law above caprice. In this way he kept his people well inclined towards him. From Italy not merely his own subjects flocked to his court, but the deputies of the independent States in almost still greater numbers. Every day there arrived mounted couriers bearing letters, instructions, and money; every one was desirous of currying favour with a member of the King's Council. No prince or city in Italy felt themselves secure without being first assured of French protection. Florence was itself powerful, yet was not in a better position than the rest. In addition to politics, the daily occupations of Louis were hunting and hawking. With the month of May, the huntsmen made their appearance at the court all in green, and each with his horn and his hound. In September, when the stag-hunting was over, the falconers appeared in their cocked hats, and took the place of the others. Louis followed them both, through field and through wood.

His principal allies were Alexander VI, the kings of Denmark and Scotland, and certain German princes.

Alexander had assigned the legation at the court of France, the most important office the Pope had to bestow, to Cardinal Georges d'Amboise for life; and this was considered such an extraordinary act of favour, that the University of Paris opposed it. The neighbours and vassals who enjoyed Louis' protection, were taken likewise by the Pope under his. The Duke of Urbino allowed exiles and refugees free asylum and social intercourse at his court; Alexander had guaranteed him his nephew's succession. Giovanni Bentivogli, relying upon his new treaty with Caesar, founded ironworks in the mountains near Bologna, and cut canals in the plain; he believed he was acting for his children.

The Baglioni, Vitelli, and Orsini, were in Caesar's pay. Pandolfo Petrucci, the head of the Nove, and, through the three privy councillors, chief of the whole municipality of Siena, became also, in the persons of these his friends, allied with the Pope. Ercole of Ferrara proceeded to build palaces, to ride in processions, and to enjoy the pleasures of the theatre, without anxiety; his son was married in the Lent of 1502 to Lucrezia Borgia. Alexander remained the devoted friend of the King.

James IV of Scotland, who, since his marriage with the daughter of Henry VII, had forgotten his English wars, was building in Falkirk, celebrating tournaments at Stirling, and receiving constant visits from French knights. Both expeditions of the King of Denmark were unsuccessful; that against the Ditmarschers, whom he, in league with France, had attacked against Maximilian's wish, at the time of the Milanese War, failed, by reason of the enemy's bravery; that against Sweden was completely foiled by Sten Sture, and in 1502 he was forced to rest. Several German princes maintained an open understanding with France; since the treaty of Trent, they paused in their opposition to Maximilian.

This combination was confronted by another, formed by the house of the Catholic Kings, and cemented not only by league, but by blood-relationship, a genuine family union. In the year 1497, all the children of Ferdinand the Catholic were together, with the exception of Juana. Juan, with his consort, Margaret, was destined for the Spanish throne; Isabella for the Portuguese; Katherine for the English; and Mary for some other throne, which was at present the object of negotiation. At the court all was still; all who desired to gain favour, went about with downcast eyes and modest pace; the royal pair had prescribed the strictest ceremonial, extending even to the interchange of kisses on hand and mouth, between the ladies of the court. But here changes now took place, which were of great importance for the State, and had still greater influence over its future.

Just as every one was hoping to see the unity of Spain established for ever under a native sovereign, by a son of Juan, Juan himself died. He had been the hope of the realm. A native prince of good disposition is a great blessing. But now black flags floated over the walls of the city, and for forty days all business ceased. All the inhabitants were dressed in black. If a grandee rode out, it was only his horses' eyes that were undraped. The child, too, of which Margaret was delivered after Juan's decease, died as soon as born.

Hereupon, Isabella who had since become Queen of Portugal, returned with her husband, and after receiving at Toledo the allegiance of the Castilians, as successor to the throne, she came to Saragossa, in order to obtain it likewise from the refractory Aragonese. The whole peninsula would in course of time have thus become united; but whilst at Saragossa Isabella also died, and her son Miguel shortly after her.

Thus the succession devolved upon Juana, the consort of the Archduke Philip, and passed to the house of Hapsburg with all the greater certainty, since on St. Matthew's day, 1500, she gave birth at Ghent to a son, Charles. "The lot fell upon Matthew”, said the old Queen of Castile, and rightly, for round the life of this child was centred the greatest combination our nations have for centuries known. In the year 1502, Philip and Juana were in Spain; now received by the Commanders of Orders, so gorgeously attired that even their stirrups were of gold, and anon welcomed by the Biscayan nobility, who begged for a bounty in order to be able to celebrate high festival. The succession was then assured them; in Toledo by the prelates, grandees, and procurators of the cities of Castile; in Saragossa, by the bishops, by the thirty-two Ricos hombres, and the deputies of the Caballeros and Infanzones; in Aragon by the Jurados of the cities.

Meanwhile, Katherine had gone to marry Arthur, Prince of Wales; Mary to marry Manuel of Portugal, and Margaret, Juan's widow, to marry the Duke of Savoy. All these houses formed a natural union.

The French League and the family of the Spanish Kings, confronted each other. Philip, at once vassal of France and heir to the throne of Spain, made a compact with Louis to the effect that their children, Charles and Claude, who were both as yet in the cradle, should one day marry; and thus he became the mediator between both parties. This induced Maximilian to abandon completely the interests of the Sforza, and, in October, 1501, to promise the King of France the investiture of Milan. Philip journeyed through France on his way to Spain, sat among the peers in the hall of justice, came before the King, and readily comported himself as a vassal. Juana, on her part, gave Claude a large diamond, in testimony of the new alliance. Philip also prepared to return through France.

At this time our nations ruled over hardly a single foreigner, and were subjected to none. We find even the Grandmaster of Prussia now refusing allegiance to the King of Poland, and this action of his gained the support of many German princes. Ivan Wasiljewitsch's attack upon Livonia in the year 1501 was repulsed by the general, Walter von Plettenberg, in two great battles; peace for fifty years being thus secured.

Certainly, at this juncture a general campaign against the Turks, who were now engaged in war with Venice, would have been a feasible undertaking. Immediately after the treaty with Maximilian, and when Christendom was enjoying universal peace, Louis proclaimed this crusade. For this, both France and Italy, and Upper and Lower Germany, but especially the latter, had been prepared by a marvellous apparition of certain coloured crosses, which were said to have suddenly made their appearance everywhere, upon linen and wool, and upon dresses and all manner of cloths. Maximilian, in anticipation of this war, founded a special order of knighthood. But, as yet, Italian affairs, as well as those of the usurping powers, were not so firmly established as not to give occasion for a fresh quarrel, a quarrel destined to spread even more widely than the former.





In Naples a fresh war broke out between the Spaniards and the French. The immediate cause was the treaty of partition, which they had concluded together. In this partition Lavoro and the Abruzzi were guaranteed to the French, and Apulia and Calabria to the Spaniards, whilst four smaller provinces, the two Principati, Basilicata and Capitanata, had not been expressly divided. Now, seeing that, according to the fundamental institutions of the countries, institutions inaugurated by the Emperor Frederick II, the Principati shared their court of justice with Lavoro, whilst the other two had their court in common with Apulia, a little good-will, after the Dogana question had been settled, would have sufficed to settle this dispute also, had not there been other motives for quarrelling, notably, the internal factions of the country. The Colonna, whose possessions lay in the French portion, placed themselves under the protection of Spain, whilst several towns in Apulia raised the French banner. The Angevins summoned the French to Calabria, whilst the Aragonese called Gonzalvo to the Abruzzi. The same factions were already engaged in fighting for Manfredonia and Altamura. It turned out, that, live in whatever division they might, the one party would only obey the French and the other only the Spaniards, whilst these powers were always ready to help them to gain the ascendency. The attitude of their respective armies was decisive for the issue. When, on one occasion, the Spaniards had made an incursion as far as the springs of Troia, and a skirmish was the result, Ives d'Allègre sent a message to Mendoza, inquiring: "Whether this meant an open breach, and was intended to rouse them from their tranquillity; if so, he was ready to give satisfaction”. Mendoza replied: "We came to Italy, I and my army, not for peace, but for war. We would gladly engage, even without orders”. And this was the feeling of the majority. At this time the two commanders, Gonzalvo and Nemours, who had advanced close to each other, the first to Atella, and the latter to Melfi, often met at the high altar of a chapel dedicated to St. Antony, situated on the ridge of the Apennine chain which lay between them. But, in spite of all their orders to the contrary, the struggle broke out quite spontaneously.

On the 12th June, 1502, when the Spaniards forcibly entered Tripalda -alleging it was a widow's portion, belonging to Juana, the sister of their King- and when Aubigny set forth from Naples to recover it holding that it belonged to the French portion- open war could no longer be avoided.

Gonzalvo, who had under his command but few of his 5000 men -for he had brought so many with him- was at once obliged to fall back. In Apulia lay one of the four castles, which were considered the strongest in the whole of Italy, viz. Barletta, and thither he proceeded. The French pursued him. They forced Pedro Navarra to retire from Canosa, though with honours. In August they took Quadrata and Biseglia; and by September they had on their side all the Sanseverino of Bisignano, Bitonto, Melito, Capurso and Acquaviva di Conversano. Of the whole of Apulia they left the Spaniards nothing but Bari, Barletta, and some surrounding places. These districts also were attacked by the French, and first and foremost Barletta, "for the honour of their chivalry”; for Bari was being defended by a woman, Isabella, the widow of Gian Galeazzo.

"We are still six leagues away”, wrote Nemours on the 19th November, "and keep the enemy shut in; the King shall see that we defend his rights staunchly, and that everything is going from good to better”. In December, Aubigny advanced to Calabria. He fell upon the Spaniards -for here also they were much too weak- at the very moment when they were in the act of retreating across the Aspromonte and through the passes to the Retromarina. They managed, however, to make good their escape; but the whole of Calabria, with the exception of a few castles on the sea-board, was lost to them. They held their ground in Gerace and in the Mottas.

The rest of the Spanish possessions (like the plank of a ship fought for by drowning men) were the object of a chivalrous war, waged with good weapons. Here were the heroes whom Ariosto had seen when he began to sing of his Rogeros and Rinaldos. In Calabria we meet with that Imbercourt to whom, whenever there was a battle to fight, the heat of an Italian noontide seemed like the cool of morning, and with that Aubigny who, in order to ransom him, although he had been chosen before himself, sacrificed his silver plate. Before Barletta were the discreet La Palice, to whom the enemy first gave the title of "Marshal”, and Montoison, who, though bowed down by weight of years, was still, when on horseback, the falcon of the fray; there, too, was Fontrailles, called the "Fearless”, as well as many others of those who, if there was a battle to fight and they happened to be on shipboard, contending with contrary winds, would land and march one hundred leagues in three days. Among them also was that Bayard who, from the very hour when his mother came down from the tower to give him her small purse at parting and to commend to him four virtues -the fear of God, truth, kindliness and generosity- had never neglected a single day to practise them. He always prayed, before leaving his chamber, and no one ever heard him praise himself. Once when he had captured 15,000 ducats, and another, though he had no claim, demanded them of him, he first of all established his legal right ; this done, as soon as the money had been paid down, and his adversary remarked, "I should be happy for all the rest of my life if I only had the half of it”, he replied, "Then I will give you just half”; and thereupon gave him the one half and his followers the other. "O, my lord, my friend”, cried the other, upon his knees, "no Alexander was ever so generous”. Bayard's life was as clear as crystal, his heart ready in every danger, and his soul mild and gentle. The Spaniards resemble the French; but the resemblance is that between the Moorish and Christian knights of Ariosto. Among them was the small, thin Pedro Navarra, who had raised himself from a common soldier to the dignity of Count; no rock was so hard that he could not mine it; his mouth tightly closed, his nose pointed and severe; a thick and pointed beard fell from his chin. There, too, was Pedro de la Paz, who, when mounted, could scarcely be seen above the head of his horse; a squinting, withered and deformed dwarf, yet the boldest heart in the world. He, accompanied only by his Moor, each with a torch, he himself with a naked sword in hand, ventured into the ill-famed grottoes of the Gaurus, in order to dig out hidden treasure; for he feared ghosts as little as he did the enemy in battle. Their leader was Gonzalvo Fernandez Aguilar de Cordova, whose plumed crest had, in his first battle, been seen thick in the midst of the fray, now a true captain. He never interfered when Spaniards, who made disgraceful conditions, were slain by their fellows for degenerate conduct; but that an enemy retiring under treaty should be robbed of a gold chain, this he would not tolerate, and himself pursued the robber into the sea. He said, "I would rather tame lions than these Asturians”; but yet he tamed them. His infantry consisted of those whom the Spanish soil would no longer tolerate, on account of their crimes; but he made them all loyal to his King, eager for honour, untiring in besieging and defending, and dauntless in the battle. He was the first to combine in a single corps Spanish, Italian, and German soldiers, an organization which proved irresistible for a century and a half. At the head of men like Leyva, Pescara, Alva, Farnese, and many other famous leaders, who for one hundred and fifty years hardly ever quitted the field with that army whose nucleus he had first formed, he may fairly be called the Great Captain. These, now, and their comrades, fought, not merely for victory, but for the prize of strength, dexterity, and chivalrous bearing. Sometimes individuals would engage in a single-handed combat; they first knelt down and prayed to God, threw themselves flat upon the ground, and kissed it, and then appealed to the sword. It might happen that the French would announce that on the morrow they would prove that their hommes d'armes were superior to the Spanish; whereupon the Spaniards would come in like numbers to the appointed place, in order, as they said, to fight for their King's, their country's and their own honour. Or both sides, the one coming from Ruvo, and the other from Barletta, charged each other on horses with iron masks about their heads and plates on their breasts and shoulders, and struggled together until one side was exhausted and gave way. Or they would have recourse to stratagem in order to gain the advantage; the French, for instance, would fly, but only to the ambush which they had laid, whereupon the Spaniards on their part would retire also, but only behind their ambush, so that the French were again compelled to fall back, yet not unwillingly, for they had still a third ambush in reserve, and this was their last, enabling them to remain the victors. In this rivalry of the knights the Italians also joined. In Barletta, which Gonzalvo defended against the besiegers with his Spaniards and Italians, a French prisoner once observed to a Spaniard, that the Italians were cowards by nature, and their allegiance but empty air. "Were ye not there, we should extinguish them as water extinguishes fire”. This roused the Italians to challenge the French to a combat of thirteen against thirteen on the plain lying between Andria and Barletta. This encounter took place on the 13th February. The Italian historians and poets have graphically described it; how both sides confronted each other like two tall forests, between which flowed a small brook, and how the French attacked in vain -for Ferramosca restrained the ardour of his Italians- and how the latter at length made their onslaught, like a subterranean mine, that seethes internally until at length it bursts its bonds and sends rock and castle into the air, and conquered, driving twelve as prisoners before them (the thirteenth was slain); whereupon they were received with the ringing of bells and salvos of artillery, and with the cry of "Italia" and "Hispania." 

Thus was the war protracted from June, 1502, until February, 1503. The Spanish were at a disadvantage, but they held their ground. During precisely the same months, Alexander also warred in the Romagna in the same cause, yet in how different a manner and in what a different spirit! He well knew that the King required, if not his help, at all events his sanction, and he knew how to extort from him both sanction and help.

Caesar renewed his campaign in the Romagna with insatiable greed, duplicity, and violence. In June, 1502, he planned an expedition against the Varani of Camerino, and borrowed for this purpose Guidobaldo of Urbino's artillery. Guidobaldo had, besides, made him a present of a few thousand men and a horse splendidly caparisoned. Caesar, in return, saluted him as the best brother he had in Italy; yet he did not long rejoice in this name, for this expedition was primarily directed against him. On the 20th of June he was sitting at supper in the shady vale of Zoccolanti, when at sunset a messenger appeared and announced that "Caesar's cavalry was advancing upon his city Fossombrone”. He struck the table and sprang up; he felt he was deceived. At that instant other messengers arrived with the news that: "the enemy had been seen in the vicinity of Marino and San Leo, and that Caesar himself was advancing upon Cagli”. Guidobaldo saw that he was defenceless, and caught in a net. He assembled the citizens of Urbino and addressed them. "A year has 365 days, and a day twenty-four hours. Of these days one, and of these hours one will surely at some time be auspicious for my return”. Thereupon he took flight. On the mountain roads on which he sped, hired peasants shouted after him the murderers' war-cry of "Carne Ammazza!". Soon he heard bells ringing, the firing of shots, and the crackling of fire all around, intended to rouse the whole country to find him. On one occasion he was only saved by a girl, who was coming from market and gave him some information; but he succeeded in eluding the enemy. His country, his city, and his library, in which he frequently studied with his tutor Odasio, fell into the hands of Caesar.

In July Caesar also took Camerino. Old Giulio Varano, who has been compared to Priam, because he only saved one son in a foreign country, he allured to his side with all his other sons by specious promises, and then caused them all to be strangled. In August he allied himself afresh with Louis XII; which done, in order both to make Bologna the capital of his duchy, and also to give his father the glory of having in his day conquered a city which no former Pope had been able to conquer, he turned against the Bentivogli.

For these ends he made use of the Baglioni of Perugia, the Vitelli in Città, di Castello, of Oliverotto of Fermo, and of all the Orsini. All these were warriors by inclination and profession. Of the first named, it was said that they were born with the sword at their side; the second had been the first to introduce Swiss arms into Italy. They pursued each their own aims and ends, as, for instance, Oliverotto, who, by murdering seven leading citizens of Fermo, who were related to him and had brought him up, made himself master of the city. Thus acted the others also, who were desirous of restoring the Medici to Florence. Caesar indulged them in this. But now that he had allied himself with the King, and had begun to oppose their enterprises and to attack the Bentivogli, whose case was almost like theirs, they were filled with apprehension that, "the ruin of all the lords in the States of the Church had been resolved on”. They thereupon sent envoys and assembled. They entered into a close alliance with Petrucci and Bentivoglio, and at last at Magione decided to make war upon Caesar.

They resolved on war; the people of Urbino began it. The signal for its outbreak was given on the 5th October by a carpenter, who let a beam, which he was instructed to convey to the castle of San Leo, fall upon the drawbridge there. Thereupon, in an instant, armed men rushed across the bridge and took the castle. Thence the cry of "Feltre e Duca" spread through the whole duchy, and roused it in revolt. In the city the peasants, who had come to market, first seized the cannon, and then gained the castle. Guidobaldo returned, and even those who only saw him lying on his bed -for he was at that time suffering from his malady, the gout- went away satisfied. Camerino summoned the last of the Varani.

But what could have been the reason that the allies of Magione, menaced as they were and warlike as they were by nature, did not attack Caesar, who was all defenceless at Imola? They did not wish to destroy him; they wanted only to show him how indispensable they were to him. Caesar knew that full well. "They wished to secure themselves, nothing more”, said he. He sent and asked them why they had deserted him, urging that only the title belonged to him, and that the possession of all his past and future conquests belonged to them: "he sent them a blank sheet of paper with his signature, and only waited for their conditions”. And now that Alexander had remarked to Cardinal Orsini that he would resign the papacy in his favour, they believed that they had attained what they wished. The Cardinal smiled and said: "The Pope needs me, we are always good friends”. On the 25th October, Paolo Orsini came to Caesar about the matter of the treaty. Caesar now said: "They are ogling me; I will abide my time." 

At Imola he received not only the assurances of King Louis, the proposals of the Florentine Popolari, and money from his father, but in June he gathered round him 230 French lances, 2,500 soldiers, half French and half German, 2,500 Italians, a Bolognese refugee with mounted arquebusiers, and some Albanians; all in his pay. Meanwhile, Paolo journeyed with the draft of the peace proposals from Imola to Perugia, and thence to Magione and the camps of his friends; no trouble deterred him, and he persuaded them one after another to sign it, and although Vitellozzo Vitelli remained a long time obdurate, he too at last followed suit.

On the 2nd December the following treaty was agreed to : "Caesar to receive back Camerino and Urbino, but to give a pledge to the Bentivogli by arranging a matrimonial alliance between their house and that of Borgia, and to use the old weapons again”. Hereupon Caesar ordered the barons to take the field against the revolted districts and against Sinigaglia; he himself remained with his army at Imola. He only gave audience to very few, from whom he expected to hear important news; he only admitted three or four servants to his presence, and never left a certain chamber before nightfall. It was never possible to learn from him what his purposes were; but his confidantes said, "We have been wounded with daggers and we are now to be healed with words: even children would laugh at such terms”.

The treaty with the Orsini restored forthwith to Caesar both Camerino and Urbino, the only condition being that the people and Guidobaldo's private possessions should be protected. Sinigaglia was next prevailed upon by four heads of the Orsini, namely, Paolo, Vitellozzo, Oliverotto, and the Duke of Gravina, to promise to surrender its castle, but only to Caesar himself.

The time he had longed for had at length arrived. On the 31st December, 1502, he advanced with his army upon Sinigaglia. Vitellozzo did not wish to await his coming: but as the others trusted Caesar, and Paolo coaxed him to remain, he did not care to break the league. Unarmed, and attired in his citizen's cap with its green lining, he mounted his mule and rode forth to meet him. Their troops were quartered in the outlying villages, with the exception of Oliverotto's companies; and these latter dispersed at Caesar's request, "for they might otherwise quarrel with his troops about their quarters”. The four chiefs escorted him to the lodging prepared for his reception. He would not part from them, “as he had something to say to them”. Full of apprehension -but they could no longer refuse- they entered his apartments with him. Now he had them in his power. His principle was: "He who does not avenge himself, deserves to be always insulted”. He said, it is right to deceive those who are experts in all treachery and treason. Moreover he had always sought after territories, but never only after the land but against the head of its lord as well. When the door was closed behind them, Michelotto, the trusted executor of all Caesar's murders, stepped forward with a few armed men. Each of them was addressed with, "Sir, you are a prisoner”, and forthwith they were thrown into prison. Their troops were surprised and slain. Caesar, talkative and vivacious once more, rode through the streets.

The work begun by the son was continued by the father. He invited Cardinal Orsini to him, as if to narrate to him the story of the fall of Sinigaglia; but on the Cardinal looking down into the courtyard from the room into which he had been shown, he saw his mule being unsaddled and led off into the papal stables. He and all his friends with him were captives also.

And now for murder and conquest, and the final accomplishment of these undertakings. Oliverotto and Vitellozzo, bound back to back, the former accusing the latter -it was the anniversary of the death of the Seven of Ferrao-,  and the latter praying for the spiritual blessing of the same Pope who had condemned him to die, were, on the first night of their captivity, strangled with one rope; the other two suffered shortly after. The Cardinal's mistress, in male attire, brought the Pope a valuable pearl, his mother sent a sum of money, and the Cardinal promised a still more considerable sum. But all these endeavours could only attain a momentary alleviation of his lot. His life could not be saved. When he died, all the world was convinced that he had been poisoned by order of the Pope. The houses of the Orsini in Rome were pulled down; and an old lady of the family, eighty years of age, was compelled to seek shelter under a public archway. Almost all their castles, the cities of Perugia and Città, di Castello, as well as many villages, fell into the hands of the Pope. Caesar compelled the Sienese to expel Petrucci. Never in history had a Pope been so powerful in the States of the Church as Alexander. Both factions of barons had been expelled, if not annihilated; there was now not a lord in the land, save his son and his son's family -for the Bentivogli and the Este had been received into it- Siena was conquered, Florence friendly, all successfully accomplished.

It was primarily the name and assistance of France that achieved this result. When Caesar was in peril, Louis said : "Whoever helped Caesar he would love the more the quicker he did it; he would give the Pope and his son the whole of the States of the Church”. As the Orsini were in negotiation with the Spaniards, their destruction was also to the advantage of Louis. It was expected that the troops of Caesar would come to the aid of the French in Naples.




In February, 1503, Gonzalvo, now shut up in Barletta, appeared to be in a sorry plight. Neither the German nor yet the Spanish troops, for which he had written, made their appearance. The transport of supplies was impossible so long as the French galleys under Préjean held the sea; and yet troops and supplies were both urgently needed.

A change for the better began when, under the very eyes of the Venetians, some Spanish sloops and galleys succeeded in gaining possession of the coast so completely that Préjean hurriedly threw his guns overboard, set free his slaves, forsook his ships, and escaped by land. Six days later, Gonzalvo ventured once more to leave Barletta. Whilst Nemours had gone to subdue a revolted town, he himself succeeded in reducing Ruvo, after a siege of seven hours, and taking many brave men prisoners, among them La Palice. His spirits rose, but as yet he was much too weak to make an attack in full force. But lack of provisions impelled him to risk it, and he was preparing to try his luck in a sortie on the following day, when a Venetian ship laden with wheat, and immediately afterwards a Sicilian corn ship, put into harbour. Three others brought 7,000 tumbanos of corn with them. He was thus enabled to wait for reinforcements. On the 8th March, the Spaniards arrived at Reggio with 3.000 Catalan, Galician, and Asturian infantry, and 300 heavy and 400 light cavalry. On the 10th April, the 2,500 Germans -the contingent Maximilian had promised, and Juan Manuel had raised- at length arrived at Manfredonia, under the command of Hans von Ravenstein. The Spaniards were now equal, if not superior, to the French in numbers. They were in a position again to carry on the war in earnest. Serious encounters had already taken place in Calabria. Near Terranova, the Spaniards from Gerace and Reggio were collected under the joint command of Andrada Caravajal, Benavides, and Antonio Leyva. In the plain below, but across the river which intersects it, Aubigny showed himself, and sent his herald Ferracut up into the Spanish camp: "They should come down into the valley where he had once vanquished the most gallant king”. The Spaniards gave the herald a silver dish and a golden goblet, replying: "They would come". They then came down, and the infantry, covered by the cavalry, crossed the stream in the plain. At this moment Aubigny attacked Benavides”. In Ubeda and Baeza the lion of the Benavides and the black standard of the Carvajals had often met in conflict. But now Carvajal forgot the old feud, and with his Ginetes made an onslaught upon Aubigny's rear. The French were defeated. Aubigny, surrounded by his body guard of Scots, escaped to Gioia.

This took place on the 20th April. On the 27th of the same month Gonzalvo marched out of Barletta with all his forces also to do battle. The French, stationed at Canosa, saw him depart and likewise set out, but neither side very willingly. Gonzalvo had received provisions, but no money; he scarcely succeeded in quieting his Spaniards with promises of rich booty and with the small sum of six carlins for nine months' pay. The French had received express orders from their king to finish the business forthwith, otherwise he would summon them home again to their wives, and send other hommes d'armes in their stead.

Here stretches away the treeless plain of Apulia, where the month of April is always very hot. Of Gonzalvo it is told how his Germans in early morning licked the dew-drops from the high fennel stalks, and fell down at noon exhausted from thirst; how he refreshed them with the last drain of Ofanto water the bottles contained; and how at last he let the most weary mount behind the horsemen. Nemours must have had to contend with scarcely less considerable difficulties on his march. Yet, after ten months of weary waiting, the satisfaction of at length finding themselves in the field enabled them to endure their hardships, and, on the 28th April towards evening, both arrived in extreme exhaustion before Cerignola. The Spaniards, who were the first to arrive, threw up light entrenchments in a vineyard. But as soon as the French came up, and both armies saw each other, they forgot exhaustion and thirst -the soul conceals within it secret wells of ever new refreshment- and the armies prepared for battle. On either side, the infantry was in the centre, and the cavalry on the flanks. Nemours would not for a long time consent to attack; but he was compelled to undertake it by the pressure of Ives d'Allègre, and the other captains. In order to show, as he said, who he was, he dashed at the trench behind which the Germans were posted. He came up to it, wheeled about, came up to it again and cried, "We must get over this rampart”. As he dashed at it, a German gun laid him low, and his comrades, who met with an equally hot reception, began to retire. Further to the left, the Swiss attacked, though somewhat later; but as soon as they perceived their commander, recognizable by his white plume, and at the same moment many others also, laid low by the Galician bullets and javelins, they likewise turned and fled. Allègre, who led the left wing and was furthest in the rear, did not venture then to attempt anything more. The Spaniards were left victors on the field, and passed the night in the French bivouac. Nothing further was now needed to give the Spaniards the upper hand in this kingdom, rent and torn as it was by factions. The understandings which Gonzalvo had maintained from the Abruzzi as far as Castel a Mar awoke to life and energy. On a single day he took thirty castles, and on the 13th May with the cry of "Spagna, Spagna”, the Count of Tramontano opened to him the gates of Naples. Inigo Davalos brought the keys of the castle of Ischia. Rocca Guglielma, which since Charles VIII's expedition had held for the French, fell in June. Meanwhile, Andrada took stronghold after stronghold in Calabria, and at length Aubigny himself surrendered to him. With the exception of Gaeta, whither the French army had fled, almost the whole kingdom was now in the hands of the Spaniards. At the end of July Navarra went to that stronghold, in order to try the same means as had opened to him the fortress of Naples.

We shall consider immediately the great change which was brought about by the death of Alexander VI, which took place in August of this year. During the agitation for the election of his successor, French and Spaniards fought together. In Rome, even the troops were on one occasion arrayed against each other. This event, however, exercised no immediate influence upon the war in Naples. The decision there depended solely upon the superiority of arms.

In October, 1503, a fresh French army, under the Marquis Gonzaga, made its appearance on the Garigliano, in order to invade the lost territory. The Spaniards were resolved to prevent their crossing the river. Accordingly, both armies marched backwards and forwards for a while, intently observing each other, until Gonzalvo threw a bridge across at Sessa, and, under cover of his guns, which mounted on barks swept the river, actually succeeded in gaining the opposite bank. As soon as he had crossed, a battle began, in which Gonzalvo fought on foot, and a Spanish ensign who had lost his right arm exclaimed: "Have I not still the left?", and again seized the standard. In this encounter the French held the bridge and the head of the bridge, but they never advanced a step further.

But the opposing armies were not kept apart so much by the river, although it actually separated their camps, as by the swampy ground on either bank - for the season was very wet, and the country as far as Mondragone almost one great morass. Some of the Spaniards kept the outer lines of the trench they had dug; the rest were encamped under huts made from oak trees. The French endeavoured to find shelter in the neighbouring villages, at all events for their horses; the Swiss companies lay alternately in the camp and in the same villages. Both armies were in need of provisions, money, and clothes. This depressing state of things resulted in the very reverse of the merry war before Barletta. Words of abuse were heard more than the ring of arms. The Spaniards were abused for their stealing and hanging proclivities; the French were called drunkards; the Swiss were called cattle-vultures, and the Germans "Schmocher”; whilst the Italians were called "Bougres”.

The question was which of the two would hold out the longer. Gonzaga, hearing himself called "Bougre" by the French, and all disaster attributed to him, would no longer tolerate this want of discipline, and so drew up an account of his operations, and after having it signed by his captains, left the army. Gonzalvo, on the other hand, who was beset by his bravest officers, stating that they could not and would not endure this state of affairs any longer, replied : "Rather a step forwards to death, than one backwards to victory”, and so held out.

At length the enemy crossed over and attacked. On the 29th December, 1503, Gonzalvo made an onslaught upon the French bridge, and a simultaneous attack upon their camp with his main army, which, with Alviano's assistance, he had been enabled to bring across the river. This battle decided the fate of the kingdom. Bayard fought like a hero, but all in vain; the French disorganization was too great, and the onslaught of the Spaniards overwhelming. Gonzalvo was victorious on both banks. In Gaeta, too, whither French had at first fled, the Spanish standard was flying by the 3rd January, 1504. The French were obliged to retreat homewards; many by sea -the ships set sail as soon as they were filled, none waited for the other- the rest by land; the latter said to Gonzalvo: "Give us strong horses to bring us back again”.

Yet this favour was not to be their's so readily. The superiority of the Spaniards was due to their greater proximity, owing to the possession of Sicily, between which and Naples existed an old natural alliance, as well as to the prudent and cautious treatment of the factions opposing one another in the south of Italy; for this was Gonzalvo's peculiar merit, that he controlled different factions and nations by the deep respect in which he was held, as might be seen in the manner in which he succeeded in uniting Colonna and Orsini in one and the same camp. He did not spare his enemy. The remainder of the Angevin army in the Abruzzi and Otranto was vanquished by Morgan and Pedro de la Paz; the Marquisates of Bitonto and Salerno were seized, and many barons dispossessed. Gonzalvo rewarded his captains, including those of the Orsini family, with the estates of those thus expelled, and ruled the kingdom entirely in the spirit of the Aragonese party.

At the same time, the French and Spanish forces were opposing each other, not only on the Neapolitan frontier, but also on the borders of Roussillon. Here Ferdinand, in person, protected those garrisons, which wrote to him saying; "they were ready to die, but he ought to see that he did not lose many brave men”, as well as the frontiers of his own empire. On showing himself on French soil with 20,000 infantry and 8,000 lances, he obtained in November a truce for Roussillon.

In the February following their reverse, this truce was also extended to Naples, where the French still entertained the greatest hopes.




The former good understanding between the French and the Pope did not long endure. The French complained that he had appropriated the purchases of supplies made by their commissioners in the States of the Church, and consequently, that their troops had been compelled to fight at an inconvenient season; that he had despatched troops to Aquila, but only for the purpose of seizing it for himself; and, finally, that he had taken good care that Caesar's army should not support the French. If we inquire what it was that could have estranged him from the French alliance, to which he owed all his successes, we find the reason in the state of affairs in Tuscany. Caesar had twice threatened to attack Florence, and on each occasion Louis XII had dissuaded him. Louis had granted all that he was capable of granting. His most faithful allies, the Popolari at Florence, could not possibly be sacrificed to the Borgia. But this very city of Florence, on the other hand, Ferdinand the Catholic was ready to hand over to the Pope. He had long since proposed to the German King to make Caesar King of Tuscany. Here we can perceive how great the prestige of this Pope was. The King of France was desirous of making his son lord of the Marches and of the Romagna, whilst the King of Spain even wished to make him King of Tuscany. In the struggle between the two princes it was of vital moment to which side the Pope would incline. Hitherto he had been regarded as a supporter of the French. But now, when a French envoy could be attacked and almost slain in the streets of Rome, when envoys from Pisa (the enemies of the Florentines), who had long since offered their city to Caesar, had the entrée of the court, and when the Pope most energetically opposed the union of Florence and Siena, which Louis XII exerted himself to compass by the restoration of Petrucci, it was palpable that the Pope was abandoning the French cause, in order primarily to subdue Pisa, Siena, and Florence. When Francesco Trocces, the favourite of the Pope and his privy chamberlain, attempted flight, and was seized and put to death the same night, this act was ascribed to the suspicion that Trocces communicated to the French the plot that was being hatched against them. We have it from the most unimpeachable source, that in or about March, 1503, Alexander proposed to the Catholic King to enter into a league with Venice in order to expel the French from Italy.

Thus the whole success of the campaign in the Romagna would have been turned against Louis, and a league might easily have been formed against him, as against Charles VIII. In the same way as, when in league with the French, Alexander had conquered the States of the Church, he would now, deserting his former allies, have conquered Tuscany in league with the Spaniards. He would have become master of central Italy, and a powerful arbiter between the great powers.

Everything bearing on these undertakings had been well considered, except one thing, and this occurred. Alexander died, and Caesar at the same time fell dangerously ill.

Alexander also had been ill for a few days previously to his death, but little more was known in the palace than that he was ill of a fever. But, after his death, which took place on the 18th August, the sight of his corpse, with the face black as coal, and the tongue so swollen that the mouth would not close, a sight more ghastly than had ever been observed in a dead body, gave rise to sinister reports. It was said that the Pope one evening went to a banquet in the vineyard belonging to Cardinal Adrian of Corneto, at which he intended to poison several rich cardinals; being thirsty, he called for wine to drink and by mistake drank of the wine which Caesar had told his servant was the best, but which had really been poisoned for the purpose of murdering the guests. Caesar also partook of the wine, and both he and his father were carried off half dead. Caesar was sewn up in the still reeking hide of a mule, and escaped death, but Alexander died. At any rate the Cardinal of Corneto told the historian, Giovio, that the poison, which carried off the Pope, was intended for him among others, and that he narrowly escaped. Others added that Alexander had forgotten the sacred Host which he was in the habit of carrying about with him for protection; others, again, that the compact had expired which he had made with the devil, who had come in the form of a courier to fetch him away.

At all events, in the midst of his greatest expectations, his career was cut short.

It has been said, that the Pope had sometimes been warned, as though by God, in the midst of his crimes : for instance, by a flash of lightning that once struck the ground before him, just as he had persuaded the Archbishop of Cosenza to accuse himself guiltlessly, by a popular tumult, from which he barely escaped with his life into a church, immediately after he had caused Alfonso di Biseglia to be put to death, and he likewise received the express warning of the astrologers that he would die for his son's sake. There never was a Pope, who so completely subordinated all ecclesiastical considerations to secular interests, and still less was there ever one, who strove to compass his ends by such terrible means. No acquisition of land has ever been stained with so much blood and cruelty, as was the establishment of his direct sovereignty over the Papal States by stamping out all their small potentates. But this appropriation was not after all intended for the papacy; a single despot was to unite it all in his hand, and this despot none other than the Pope's own son. What a check would not such a principality have exercised upon future popes!

After Alexander's decease, Rome and the Romagna became involved in the greatest confusion. In Rome Caesar was master of the Castle of St. Angelo; he had a large body of men under his command and, moreover, his father's treasure stored in two large chests, which he had removed from the palace. But since he lay sick, the cardinals were not prevented from enlisting troops; the Orsini too now ventured again to make their appearance. It is related of Fabio Orsini that he slew one of Caesar's attendants and washed his mouth and hands in the blood. The citizens often closed the streets and shops because of the tumult of the fighting parties.

In the Romagna, the authorities, Caesar's adherents, fled, and the lords of the land returned. When Guidobaldo came back to Urbino, even the patrician ladies under captains followed the drum through the streets in the evening, to show that they also were ready to fight for him. In Città di Castello a golden calf was carried through the streets as a device of the Vitelli. Sinigaglia, headed by the Rovere, flew to arms at the bidding of Cardinal Giuliano. Giampaolo Baglione returned to Perugia under French protection. The others likewise returned from their several asylums.

But how matters would develop depended entirely upon the election of the new pope.

The cardinals hastened to meet. Ascanio Sforza was once more released from his tower at Bourges, in order that he might give his vote for the French candidate. Giovanni Colonna came from Sicily, where he had been living upon an annual allowance from the Catholic King. He was entirely Spanish in his leanings. As soon as the French forces occupied Nepi, the Spanish advanced under Mendoza to Marino, both places being in close proximity to the city. Under the protection of the French party, both in the conclave and in the field, Georges d'Amboise publicly aspired to the highest dignity in Christendom. Gonzalvo was not less open in his counter-declaration: "If the Holy Ghost chose another than Carvajal, the Spanish party would not oppose the choice”. Neither Amboise nor Carvajal was elected. But in Piccolomini, of Siena, Pope Pius III, whose election was finally agreed to, the Spaniards believed they had gained a friend on the papal throne, while the French saw in him an enemy, as Pius II, also a Piccolomini, had been. The Spaniards appeared as the victors. But Pius had scarcely taken possession of the Vatican, and had not even entered St. John Lateran, when he died, and the struggle between the rival parties began afresh. Baglione and Alviano once more entered Rome with their troops; the former with his French on the right bank of the Tiber, and the latter with his Spanish on the left. When the cardinals entered into the Conclave, both sides retired.

Now at this time, the man who enjoyed the greatest esteem of all the cardinals was Giuliano della Rovere, who had opposed three popes, and always with the utmost courage, a man whom even Alexander admitted was a man of his word, the same man, who had just directed the capture of the castle of Sinigaglia. He was a native of Savona, and might be considered a French subject. He had always favoured the party of the Colonna, and was not altogether unacceptable to the Spaniards. Now that Amboise despaired of becoming pope himself, and Ferdinand of placing a Spaniard on the throne, both parties decided in favour of Giuliano. He had always been well disposed towards the Venetians, and he now promised security for Caesar. And so it came to pass that, within an hour after the close of the Conclave, he was sitting at a separate table as pope, signing the capitulation of the cardinals, and placing on his finger the papal ring that had already been engraved with his monogram. He styled himself, slightly changing his baptismal name, Julius II. In this choice the French believed they had gained a victory such as the Spaniards had vaunted in the case of Pius. At all events, Amboise, who, in addition to the French legation, received that of Avignon, and whose nephew was the first cardinal, lived harmoniously together with him in the palace and assisted at his most private councils.

The first difficulty to be encountered was the state of things in the Romagna, which became more and more complicated. On the part of Tuscany, the Aretins and Pisans, with Pandolfo Petrucci and Giuliano de' Medici, offered their services to Gonzalvo; on the part of Genoa, both the French and the Adorni; and on the part of Lombardy, 600 nobles and Ascanio Sforza with them.

For, precisely at the time that Julius became pope, the Venetians invaded the Romagna. They occupied the country round about Imola, purchased Rimini from the Malatesta, and threatened Faenza. But as this country owned Caesar as its lord, and since Julius, though promising to let him remain so, had not undertaken to defend him, this invasion, consequently, resolved itself into a war between the Venetians and Caesar.

Therefore, when the Pope upbraided them for their conduct, asking, "whether he had done them so few services, that they had resolved to rob the Church during his pontificate”, they replied: "it was a robber, and not the Church that they were attacking : and that they too were ready to pay their tribute”. Whereupon the Pope replied: that "though he wanted lords over his cities, he only wished for such as he could control”, and held frequent councils. Although Caesar was not exactly an acceptable personage -for how could he possibly trust him? -the Venetians were even less desirable.

Since his father's death, Caesar appeared to have lost all confidence, boldness, and decision. He even vacillated in the papal election; today making a compact with Amboise and on the morrow with the Colonna; today promising to join one army, and then on the morrow betaking himself to the other. But, as soon as the first intelligence of the Venetian operations reached him, he completely lost his senses. Men said of him: "The strokes of adverse fortune have stunned him, and he no longer knows what he wants”. "Where we see men displaying energy as soon as disaster befalls them, we shall always find them at the bottom to be good and noble natures; those, on the contrary, who are not such appear strong only so long as they are in good fortune and no longer.

In order to invalidate the excuse advanced by the Venetians, Caesar expressed his readiness to surrender for a time all his castles and towns to Pope Julius. But the latter, apprehensive lest it might be difficult for him to restore them again, refused the offer. He considered it to be best for Caesar to proceed by sea to Spezzia, and thence to go by way of Ferrara, whilst the army advanced against Imola through the Tuscan and Perugian territories. Caesar was neither supported by Florence, nor yet by Baglione; but he made the venture. On the 19th November, 1503, he despatched his army through Tuscany, whilst he himself went to Ostia, to take ship. He still hoped that the star of his fortune would return; but all the world mocked at him: "Whither," said they, "will the wind waft him, where will he meet with his troops again?" Everything depended upon his relations to the new Pope, and upon the latter's good-will towards him.

He was but two days gone, when Julius received tidings that Faenza was in the greatest danger of being taken by the Venetians, and that it was open to doubt whether Caesar would arrive quickly enough, and with sufficient forces, to be able to take effective measures against them. These tidings deprived the Pope of sleep, and in the night of the 22nd November he resolved to take the risk and to accept Caesar's castles for the time being. In the morning be summoned Cardinal Soderini to him; but he still kept his own counsel, for he wished not to do wrong, and did not confide to him his resolve. Towards evening he again sent for him, told him, and sent him after Caesar. But now the latter refused. On the 29th, he was brought to Rome by the papal guards; when there, he was sometimes to be found in Magliana, and sometimes in the treasurer's apartments, or in Amboise's lodging. He there heard how Baglione had surprised and annihilated his army; and so, at length, he consented to surrender the signs of power, by which the governors of his castles were pledged to him. But they delayed and made fresh difficulties. It was not until April, 1504, that the castles were delivered to the Pope, and Caesar again enjoyed full liberty at Ostia.

Thus it came to pass that Julius II interfered against Venice on behalf of Cesena, Imola, and Forli, as their immediate lord, and defended these cities against attack. But, meanwhile, Faenza was lost. We shall see what important events resulted from its fall.

At Ostia, Caesar was again seized by his old vacillation. His father had first of all been French in his sympathies, and then Spanish, and then again French, and again Spanish. Lescun, and the Marquis of Finale, both set out at the same time to Caesar, the latter offering French aid, and the former a Spanish safe-conduct. What should he do? Louis was his kinsman, and always kept his promise. Ferdinand had the reputation of being faithless, and the Aragonese safeconducts were well known, as was also the fact that, a short time previously, Federigo's son had been allured to avail himself of them, and had been made prisoner, and carried off to Spain. But was he still capable at that time of making a choice? It might be said that his fate was upon him. Lescun was the first to come, and Caesar followed him. In the same way as Michelotto stepped up to his prisoners, so at last did Runno de Ocampo address Caesar with the words: "Sir, you are a prisoner." Caesar drew a deep sigh, surrendered himself, and was imprisoned in a castle in Spain. This firebrand, the Spaniards said, was safe in no other hands but in theirs.

Later, Caesar escaped from the castle and reached Navarre once more, but was slain, shortly after his flight, in a skirmish.




These Neapolitan affairs are intimately connected with a quarrel between Spain and Austria, which broke out even before their negotiations had been concluded.

When Philip, in the early part of the year 1503, set out on his return journey to the Netherlands through France, the Spanish cause at Naples was in a sorry plight, and Philip believed himself commissioned to conclude a treaty with Louis. He arrived at his court at Lyons, and, on the 5th of April, had just agreed upon a peace with the King, a peace, of course, most advantageous to him and to this effect: "That Naples should be governed in the name of Charles and Claude, but with his co-operation, and should at a future day devolve upon them”, when the prospects of the Spaniards at Naples improved. They now entertained hopes of victory, and Ferdinand ordered his commander-in-chief to disregard any orders he might receive from Philip. In vain his heralds came and departed; instead of the peace, the battle of Cerignola took place. Philip had long been on bad terms with his father-in-law; the latter had refused him the revenues of a prince, had, in Roussillon, prohibited his attendants being provided with horses, and had given orders to have all the cannon at Salsas ready for action whenever he visited that fortress. Both foresaw Isabella's death, and that they would then have to fight for the succession in Castile. This Neapolitan affair further fanned this bad feeling. The quarrel with Ferdinand's envoys, who denied that Philip had been commissioned to conclude a peace, at first deprived this young and noble prince -who was ill at the time- of consciousness. But he soon recovered, and in his own name he now concluded an alliance with Louis, which was proclaimed at Lyons in August. It was aimed immediately at Ferdinand. Louis promised the Archduke 1000 lances for the conquest of Castile, as he knew that he would need them. Philip then induced his father, who was always in accord with his son, to join this alliance and to reiterate his promise concerning the investiture of Milan, which had not yet been bestowed; and to this step Maximilian was also persuaded by the state of affairs in Germany.




It is worthy of remark how intimately German domestic affairs are connected with French war and peace.

The Council of Regency, which had been constituted after Louis' victory over the Sforza and Maximilian, passed, as early as September, 1501, independent resolutions of its own. But owing to Maximilian having, on the 3rd of October following, entered with Louis into the treaty of Trent, not one of its resolutions was put into force; nay, from that hour it entirely fell to pieces. For a whole six months neither Kammergericht nor Hofgericht was held throughout the Empire, the Estates lost prestige, there was no prospect of a Diet, and public peace was not to be dreamt of. In spite of this, the Neapolitan war of Ferdinand and, as we have seen, of Maximilian also, against Louis was allowed to break out in June, 1502, before any steps were taken. In July, the Electors assembled at Gelnhausen, and agreed to hold yearly meetings, to which they proposed to summon all the Estates, each bringing his neighbours, in case the King himself did not summon a Diet.

The intention was the same as that with which certain meetings had been agreed upon at Worms, and a committee of the realm appointed at Augsburg; namely, to deliberate upon such subjects as war with the Turks, the public peace, the Cameral Tribunal, and all internal matters. Such meetings were actually held. To these the Electors referred everything which Maximilian demanded of them individually; and when he summoned any of their number before his Court they flatly opposed him. All the judicial power now left to the King was the right of reversing appeals, and the bestowal of expectancies. During the months in which the French were victorious in Italy, the breach was most strongly marked. Maximilian loudly complained of Berthold of Mainz, stating that: "he was most vexed with him, because he had not followed his suggestions in the Diets; and had, moreover, always hindered him in his endeavours for the prosperity of the realm and of Christendom”. In February, 1503, he would gladly have made common cause with the Swiss, who crossed the St. Gotthard to defend Bellinzona, and would with them have entered Milan, in order to settle the Neapolitan question, had it not been that the situation at home tied his hands. To enable him to engage in the slightest enterprise, he needed a certain tranquillity on the part of the German princes, and for this, peace with France.

Thus it was that, in concluding this treaty, his son's advantage coincided well with his own.

It can scarcely have been by corruption that Louis contrived to keep the princes on his side; it was to their advantage also when the French gave the German King plenty of trouble; they need not then fear him for themselves. However that might be, after the reconciliation between Louis and the House of Austria, in November, 1503, the Electors excused themselves apologetically for their previous conduct, and resolved only to meet once every two years. These meetings never took place again. This opposition was now virtually at an end. But at that very time Maximilian found an opportunity of destroying another older and more deeply rooted combination, which even foreigners class among the great factions of Europe, viz., the opposition of the Palatinate.

Forty years previously, Friedrich, Arrogator of the Palatinate, in league with Bavaria-Landshut, victoriously resisted the grand attack of the Emperor and his whole party. We have seen the correspondence in which the Elector Palatine engaged with Charles VIII and Louis XII. In the days when Louis concluded the Swiss treaty against Maximilian, the Elector married his son Ruprecht to the only daughter of Georg of Landshut. Those who forty years before had fought together were now dead; but the old hate and the old leanings still survived and lived on in their children.

It happened that Duke Georg of Landshut, when about to proceed in his carriage, accompanied by four physicians, to Wildbad, at Michaelmas, 1503, was suddenly taken so ill on the road that he could only reach his castle at Ingolstadt; so sick was he. Should he allow his country to pass to Duke Albrecht of Munich, his old enemy and Maximilian's brother-in-law, who was, nevertheless, his rightful heir according to the feudal law of descent? In order to pass it to Ruprecht, his sister's son and his son-in-law, he committed to him his fortresses and his treasure, and called together the Estates for the 10th December. But he died before they met; and this last scion of the house of Bavaria-Landshut was borne to the grave by foreign knights, save one only, whom he had summoned to protect his son-in-law.

The young Ruprecht was the first to appear before the Estates, with his knights and yeomen. "How”, he exclaimed, “could any one wish to defraud the grandchildren of Duke Georg, who were males, and of his own flesh and blood? The whole succession of the House of Burgundy had descended through a woman; Bavarian blood also coursed through his veins”. Then appeared Albrecht's envoys: "The land was a male fief, and, further, Albrecht was in the fourth, whilst Ruprecht was only in the eighth degree from Georg”. The Estates did not seem able to arrive at a solution, and so declared their readiness to submit to Maximilian's arbitration; yet this was also a decision, for the King had long since taken a side.

Maximilian considered his own advantage, and had three aims in view. The first was for Albrecht, his sister's husband, in whose company he entered Augsburg, on the 30th of January, 1504, to assist at the Diet. His second aim was for himself, to obtain certain districts of Landshut; and the third was the humiliation of the Palatinate, which, besides, he wished to deprive of the Landgraviate of Hagenau. His proposal "that that part of Bavaria lying across the Danube should be assigned to Ruprecht, and all the rest should belong to Albrecht," as well as others of a like nature, was rejected now by one party and now by the other. At last, on Easter Day, after the Dukes of Munich had held two hours' private conversation with him, he announced the same evening to the Estates of Landshut, in a garden at Augsburg, that "the war must unfortunately take its course”. His final decision gave the whole country to the Munich line. On the 24th of April, Ruprecht's consort took possession of the city and of a large portion of the Landshut territory. Forthwith all the old enemies of 1461 rose up in arms, Württemberg, Veldenz, and Hesse against the Palatinate; the Munich House, with the assistance of Brandenburg, Saxony, Swabia, and the city of Nuremberg against Landshut. The war began.

But how about the French alliance of the old Count Palatine? His followers wore white crosses like the French; he sent his son repeatedly to Louis. But all to no purpose; the new alliance with Maximilian prevented the French King from listening to him. The Count Palatine resolved to keep only the fortresses garrisoned, and to maintain two armies in the field, one at Heidelberg, and another at Landshut, with the view either to prevent or to requite pillage and plunder. The enemy, he reflected, was not so rich as he was, and would be first exhausted.

The Palatinate itself was assailed on three sides. On the east of the Rhine, Ulrich of Württemberg made the attack. He took Maulbronn, and 2000 balls discharged from the Niederberg forced the people of Besigheim, Walheim, and Weinsberg to accept him in their churches as their lord and master. Bretten alone was defended by the good pieces of ordnance that Georg Schwarzerd had cast, and by a company of Swiss from Thurgau.

West of the Rhine, Alexander the Black of Veldenz drove off herds of oxen and swine, levied contributions, and allowed his soldiers to cut up silk altar-hangings to make jerkins, or to send them home to their wives. In Sonwald we find him lying in wait for the cattle to be driven out of a castle, so as to surprise the open gate. But now and again Johann Landschad would march against him from Kreuznach with better men, and deal with him likewise. Wilhelm of Hesse ravaged first the Bergstrasse lying to the right of the Rhine, and then the Alzheimer Gau, on the left; and it was only the peasantry of Ingelheim in their monastery, and the garrison of Kaub, that offered him any formidable resistance.

Whilst all this robbing, murdering, and pillaging was taking place -for we cannot call it regular warfare- the archives were ransacked for evidence of the King's claim to this territory, and this, with Hagenau and Ortenau, passed into his hand. Overjoyed at his success, which had been achieved without heeding the solicitation of any of the Electors, by merely confirming the enemies of the Palatinate in the possession of what they had conquered, he proceeded to Bavaria, where some of his councillors kept a vigilant watch over Kufstein, and others over Weissenhorn, to both of which he laid claim. He arrived just in time. Here also the war was being waged more with fire than with sword. Now it was the country about Munich itself, and anon the neighbourhood of Landshut, that was ravaged. Municipal guards and patrols came into collision. One or the other fled. There was nothing done and no results. Just as some Swabians and Brandenburgers on the Munich side had retired, and the Landshut troops appeared to have gained the upper hand by the aid of their 2500 Bohemians, Maximilian arrived on the scene. Three miles from the city of Regensburg, whence peals of bells, inviting to processions and prayers, accompanied him into the field, he fell upon the Bohemians who were entrenched behind a triple barricade of waggons, and behind long stockades made with iron spikes driven into the ground and bound together with chains; surrounded by his knights he fought on, and although once unhorsed by a pike -his life was only saved by the devotion of Erich of Brunswick- at last succeeded in mastering them. Thereupon he marched into Regensburg, with music playing and drums beating, the standards and the prisoners he had taken preceding him. He had now gained the upper hand, and took for himself Weissenhorn, Mauerstatten, and Kufstein. Now when the old Count Palatine looked about him, and saw both countries ravaged, and partly in the enemy's hand; when he found himself bereft of his son Ruprecht, as well as of his daughter-in-law, both of whom had died during the war; when he saw too the Union of Electors broken up, France leagued with Maximilian, his enemies unbroken, and no hope left, his courage sank, and he had recourse to entreaties. Maximilian, at length in possession of what he had coveted, able to boast that he had it in his power to crush the Palatinate utterly, and mindful that Munich also had not always favoured Austria, was prudent and forbearing enough not to desire its destruction, and so, in September, commanded a truce. He then, in accordance with his original proposal, founded the so-called "Junge Pfalz”, on the other side the Danube, for the children of Ruprecht and the grand- children of Georg. After this great victory, who was there in Germany whom he should still fear? Berthold of Mainz, the life and soul of all the opposition he had hitherto met with, died in December, 1504, and the King had long since taken into his service his chancellor, Stürzler. In May, 1505, he again held a Diet at Cologne, where he had always wished it to meet, but the princes would never consent. We must especially lament that there was no one in those days who had either the opportunity to study, or the inclination and skill to chronicle, the active participation of the princes and their councillors in public business. Such a one would tell us how the great ideas of a universal participation of the Estates in internal government, of the contribution of all Germans towards the common burdens, and of a real unity of the nation in opposition to the imperial power, were all born of the three attempts of the Estates to frame a constitution, namely, the yearly Assembly, the Council of Regency, and the Union of the Electors, and how, after attaining a certain development, they all perished at Cologne.

To live on in the memory of posterity is one half of life; but these attempts have almost been forgotten. At Cologne those ideas were relinquished, and the constitution began to return to its old groove. The Emperor was guaranteed for a year a force larger than ever before. This force was raised by the Estates according to their resources, which were no longer computed according to parishes and population, but by a matricula; it was fixed at 1000 horse and 3000 foot soldiers, the pay of the former being reckoned at ten, and that of the latter at four guilders a month, amounting to 264.000 guilders in all; this force was, moreover, to be equipped by the Estates. No Council of Regency cared how it was to be employed. The Cameral Tribunal, the payment of which was transferred to him, passed in consequence into his hands. He was powerful enough to carry out his plans.





These successes were entirely due to the French alliance, and the same alliance was the basis of all new projects.

Negotiations were in progress in France during the whole of the Bavarian war; Ferdinand at first appeared willing to consent to assign Naples to the joint names of Charles and Claude, but had ended in August by flatly refusing; at last on the 22nd September, ten days after the battle of Regensburg, Maximilian, Philip, and Louis united in a most intimate alliance: "they would be one soul in three bodies, each be the friend of the other's friends, and the enemy of their enemies, and would intermarry their children. Louis would pledge his governors in Milan, Genoa, Asti, Brittany, Blois, and Burgundy, all of which provinces had been detached from the Crown, to deliver them all over into the hand of Charles and Claude, in the event of his dying without male heirs of his body". We do not find any having references to Naples; but Ferdinand complained that it had been dealt with at Blois, as if it had been the Tyrol.

Hereupon, in April, 1505, in Hagenau, which had just been taken, Amboise received not only for Louis but for Charles and Claude as well, the investiture of Milan, Pavia, and Anghiera, whilst Philip received Gelderland for himself and his son. In July, 1505, the Duke of Gelderland, stripped of all French assistance, and forsaken by his barons, Wisch, Bronkhorst, and Batenburg, actually threw himself at Philip's feet at Rosendaal, gave up the greatest part of his country, and entered into his suite.

After this, greater enterprises were undertaken. In November, 1504, Isabella, Queen of Castile, and Philip's mother-in-law, died. Philip, without delay, took the royal sword and the royal title instead of the ducal hat, and was bent upon becoming her heir. But old Ferdinand was no less determined to remain the real King of the Castilian kingdoms, under the title of a Gobernador. Hence the schism in the Austro-Spanish house, and Philip made preparations to drive his father-in-law out of Castile.

Maximilian turned his eyes towards Hungary, with a view of securing the succession, which was disputed; and for this purpose the Empire had voted him supplies.

If both these objects were attained, attention could be turned to Italy. The treaty of Blois pointed to a general war upon Venice. Naples was demanded because it belonged to Castile. If we survey the whole state of things, and reflect that, after Ferdinand's death, all the Aragonese possessions, and, after Louis' death, all the rest of Italy together with a third of France would fall to the same heir, these plans must be regarded as jeopardizing European liberty. But Maximilian dreamed of an universal monarchy over all the Latin and Teutonic nations. In the year 1505 he proposed to the King of France to repeal the Salic law, in order that Charles and Claude might succeed him on the throne of France. In the year 1506, he placed Schwente Nielsen, Erik Johannsen, and other leaders in Sweden, who would not recognize the union nor the King of Denmark, under the ban of the Empire with the words: "their possessions belong to the first comer”. He declared that through his mother he had as good a claim to the kingdom of Portugal as King Manuel. He had the pretensions of a fugitive member of the House of York to the crown of England transferred to himself.

But God willed it that this should not happen. The development of the Latin and Teutonic nations that had just begun would have been interrupted and hindered thereby. When Louis XII, in the spring of 1505, fell dangerously sick, all patriots who desired to see the kingdom in a state of union, as well as all friends of the royal power, which had been established with so much bloodshed, began to dread that in a short time the realm would become divided and the old civil war revive. It was primarily the partisans of Louise of Savoy, the mother of the heir presumptive to the throne, Francis of Angouleme, who opposed it. The King himself repented his alliance of Blois. Did he not swear at his coronation at Rheims never to suffer the realm to be diminished? It was Queen Anne who specially favoured the betrothal of Claude and Charles, seeing, as she did, that the latter was destined to attain the highest dignity in our nations. On one occasion she had not spared a considerable sum of money, in order to degrade and dismiss from court Marshal Gie, who, during a former weakness of the King, had dared to counteract her schemes. She was heart and soul in favour of the alliance. But the King being so sorely sick, the wife was fain to concede to the husband, what as Queen, she refused to the King, and Anne at length gave way, forgot her difference with Louise, and consented that, Claude should be betrothed to Francis of Angouleme, instead of to Charles. Amboise and the high dignitaries at court swore to further this scheme. It was as yet kept a secret. But the treaty of Blois had been broken, and the plans of the Austrian house thwarted in the chief point upon which they were based. Louis gradually recovered from his illness.

Not long afterwards, the Inquisitor of Catalonia, Brother Juan de Enguera, repaired to the French court, in order to investigate the ground. He was despatched thither by Ferdinand the Catholic, who was primarily threatened by Maximilian's plans, and wished for an alliance with France.

Should he cease to be King of Castile and the head of the European political world, and return to the insignificant position enjoyed by his ancestors? Isabella, by her last will, left him a few estates and rights in Castile. The succession she devised to her daughter Juana, decreeing at the same time that, "previous to her arrival, all Cortes should be prohibited, and afterwards, only if it should be proved that she was either incapable or unwilling to conduct the government, should a peaceful administration be provided”.  But Ferdinand was not content with this, but assumed the title of a Gobernador, and summoned the Cortes without delay. The grandees, whose independence he had broken, were against him; notably Pacheco of Villena, who, at the beginning of Ferdinand's reign had lost his estates, his share of the Aragon plunder; and Manrique of Najara, who saw his nephew prejudiced by Aguilar; their complaint was that, "he tempted the notables in the cities, and the alcaydes in the castles, with presents, and was even bent upon reviving the long-forgotten affair of Juana, Henry IV's daughter; thinking to marry her, only Manuel of Portugal would not give her to him; he was illegally striving to become lord of Castile”. They did not appear in the Cortes. The procurators of the seventeen cities, on the other hand -for Ferdinand had once, aided by the Hermandad of the cities, overcome the nobles, and the cities favoured him- appeared, declared themselves the representatives of the united kingdoms of Castile, recognized him as administrator in the room of his daughter, and received from him the oath.

In spite of all this, Ferdinand could not possibly hold his ground, were Philip, strengthened by the alliance of Blois, to arrive in Castile, and the grandees there to declare for him. Nothing but a reconciliation with Louis promised him security.

Now that Isabella was dead, Ferdinand also could adopt Louis's maxim, a maxim which he used against every proposal advocating terras respecting Naples, and from which proceeded the intention to marry Charles and Claude together, namely, that, “it was incompatible with his honour and conscience alike to sell his good rights to strangers”. In October, 1505, Louis assigned his Neapolitan rights to his niece, Germaine de Foix. Ferdinand promised to marry her, to pay a million gold ducats within ten years, and to restore all the Angevins to their estates. In addition to this, the two Kings promised each other mutual help against all enemies. Almazan, Ferdinand's other self, confided to some, that nothing would come of the marriage between Charles and Claude.

The schemes of Maximilian and Philip, who after meeting in Brabant, in December, 1505, separated, the father to look after his Hungarian, and the son after his Castilian affairs, were thwarted by the alliance Louis had contracted, not with them, as he had promised, but with their enemies. But they gained another in its place. When Aragon and Castile were at variance, it had frequently happened that England had allied itself with the one and France with the other. This natural state of things combined with chance to procure an English alliance for the Austrian house.

In January, 1506, Philip had provided the expenses of his voyage by the sale of his crown-lands, and the enforced impost of the sixteenth pfennig. Four hundred nobles, with several thousand landsknechts, Flemings and Swiss, embarked on board his fleet of about fifty sail, and Philip himself on the ship of two brothers Huybert. The squadron steered through the Bay of Biscay, making for a Spanish port, not far from Cordova, when the wind suddenly changed, and a storm arose. In the stress of weather, the Huyberts, though Philip vainly bade them "Watch”, could devise no other means of safety than running for the English coast. At length, escaping through the race off Portland's chalk cliffs, they landed on the quay of Weymouth. Here Philip was received as a most welcome guest, not like a shipwrecked man, and was escorted with all pomp and ceremony to Windsor, a castle of King Henry VII. Yet not for nought. Here in his most private chamber, Henry placed his hand upon his guest's shoulder, and said, "You have been saved on my coasts, and should I then suffer shipwreck on yours? I mean Suffolk, give him up to me”. Philip had still a Yorkist, Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, in his keeping, and much as he resisted: "for he would appear to be acting under compulsion”, he was obliged at last to surrender him. This done, Henry swore upon a portion of the true Cross, to come to the aid of his guest, in defence of his kingdoms, either such as he now possessed or should possess, against every one who should attack him in them. And thus strengthened, almost against his will, with a new ally, in April, 1506, Philip embarked for Corunna.

He arrived. "Now that he was come, the Galician and Castilian nobles should prove their promised allegiance”. The Duke of Najara was already equipped: should he not receive the new prince in the same manner as the old? Not only Villena, but Benavente, who through the House of Aragon had lost his market of Medina del Campo, Giron, of the oppressed house of Portugal, Garcilasso de la Vega, who hoped to be able to revive with Philip the influence he had enjoyed with Isabella, the Duke of Bejar, the Marquises of Astorga and Priego, and many others accompanied him. They complained that "old Ferdinand wished to merge Castile into Aragon; the Jurado of Saragossa in his scarlet dress, and with his mace, had already entered into Valladolid and was now preparing for resistance; Philip should not trust in his assurances”;  every noble who placed himself on his side was denaturalized, and forfeited the protection of his rightful suzerain.

On the other side, Ferdinand urged upon his party to ally itself with him, giving as his reason that its lady and true Queen was kept prisoner by her husband, so that none could serve her, and none address her. Philip was treating her as no yeoman ever treated his wife; they should, therefore, aid in liberating the Queen. In this endeavour he would risk his person and his whole power. He retained on his side the cities, a few grandees and prelates, and the governors, who owed their positions to him, and whom, as he said, Philip wished to displace. But, in a short time, all the grandees and prelates, and even his relatives, including the Condestable and the Almirante, had forsaken him, and only a single man, the Duke of Alva, who never wavered, remained faithful to him. In the cities the relatives of those imprisoned by the Inquisition looked towards the young King, and these were all the more numerous since Luzero bad recently, by the use of false witnesses incarcerated knights and dames, and monastic and secular clergy. After this, a recourse to force was impossible; only in an interview could Ferdinand hope to assert his personal ascendency over his son-in-law. Fray Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros arranged this meeting for him.

Upon a hill, in the midst of the mountain range of Gamoneda between Puebla de Sanabria and Rionegro, hard by the farm of Remessal, and close to a grove of oak trees, stands a chapel. Hither, on the 20th June, 1506, came Ferdinand from the one side with 200 light-armed troops seated on mules, all in cloaks and red caps, with a sword hanging loosely from their belts, whilst from the other there approached 1000 Germans with muskets and spears, the finest and most stalwart men who could be found, and behind them, surrounded by his grandees, all wearing armour under their tunics, came Philip. The old monarch, distinguished by his bald head and severe nose, rich in exploits; the youth, of red and while complexion and full of hope; the latter on this occasion more serious than his wont; the former more cheerful. In the chapel, while Ximenes waited on the grassy slope before the door, they conferred with each other. Ximenes had already had negotiations with Philip, endeavouring to induce him to agree to a joint administration -urging that the shrewdness of age and the vigour of youth would then combine- and trying to persuade him, at all events, to leave Granada, which needed a practised eye, to the more experienced monarch. And this is, probably, what Ferdinand also attempted on this occasion. In any case he pointed out to him the intentions and the character of his grandees. But all to no purpose. They departed as they came; yet, whilst journeying up the Duero, several miles apart, they continued their negotiations. Finally, Ferdinand was obliged to content himself with half the Indian revenue, and a limited control of the grandmasterships. He renounced all other share in the government. But here his dissimulation manifested itself. Whilst conceding this, after much resistance, he declared to the people, that "he had had no other intention from the first but this; if he had formerly taken the government upon himself, yet he had only done this in order that his goodwill towards his children might be made the more clear”.

He went yet further. On the 28th June, after declaring with Philip, that, "it was to be known that the gracious Queen must in no case interfere with the Government in any respect; otherwise, the complete ruin of these realms would be the result”, he protested secretly to Almazan, that "he made this confession only out of fear; in reality he was resolved to liberate his daughter”. On his way home he found the gates of several cities closed against him by the grandees; yet he comforted himself with the reflection that he had once been still more powerless, and yet had ruled them many long years. Full of fresh cares and anxieties, he hurried back into Aragon.

After this all the cities opened their gates to the young King, and swore allegiance to him. If there was any governor of a castle, who at first was not inclined to yield, he did so, as soon as a few companies of troops showed themselves. The grandees and prelates were besides in Philip's retinue. The House of Austria had succeeded in taking possession of Castile.

During this time Maximilian was in Hungary; fifteen years previously, the prelates, barons, and cities of this country had been obliged to swear to him that: "should Wladislav die without male heirs, Maximilian, or, in case he was not alive, one of his sons should succeed; failing these, one of the heirs male of their body, begotten in direct descent, should succeed as lawful heir to the crown”. Now Wladislav, a monarch who never said anything but "Dober" to the Bohemians, and "Bene" to the Hungarians, was old and weak, and had only one daughter. Some said he would marry her to a grandson of Maximilian; others, that he was willing to give up his kingdom to the latter. The Hungarians, however, and the Saxons, who dwelt amongst them, did not desire a German sovereign. The magnates assembled, and resolved that whoever advocated the election of a foreign king should die; and Count John, of the house of Zapolya, aspired to the crown for himself. Maximilian reminded them of their oath, and that "their welfare, as well as successful resistance against the Turks, depended upon an alliance with Austria”. But they gave a defiant answer; as he himself expressed it, "they summoned their power by the bloody sword”. He determined to attack this power, and, without ravaging the country -for otherwise it might become hostile to him- only to proceed against the magnates. On the right bank of the Danube he first compelled Oedenburg and the Count of Bozin, whose dominions extended a whole day's journey wide on these borders, to accept his terms. Next, during an eight days' truce, he passed over to the left bank and reduced Pressburg. Having taken the island of Schütt, he thought he had conquered: for "it was the heart of Hungary”. But a message from Wladislav to the effect that "he must go to his wife, who was expecting her confinement”, was followed shortly by another that, "on the 1st July she had been delivered of a child, who though very weakly, was yet a boy”. The magnates then gave his people 3000 pieces of cloth, and 2000 head of oxen, and recognized his rights. How was it likely that a boy, who had had to be placed in the warm skins of freshly slain beasts, in order to be kept alive, would eventually survive?  Maximilian left the country, but his prospects were saved.

Now that Castile had been taken, and the succession in Hungary assured, he turned his eyes towards Italy, in order to receive the Imperial Crown in Rome.

It was just about this time that he first heard for certain, that the betrothal between Charles and Claude had been revoked by Louis XII. This was not publicly announced until May, 1506. The deputies of the cities, who, in the official account of this affair were, almost like the Cortes of Toro, simply styled Estates, appeared at Tours before the King, sitting with his prelates on his right and his grandees on his left, and entreated him to agree to the betrothal of Claude to Francis of Angouleme. This was ratified in their presence. Under their hands and seals, each and all, the councillors of Brittany with them, vowed to see that a marriage resulted therefrom.

Maximilian then learned that the road through his fief of Milan had been closed to him, whilst Philip received the tidings that Charles of Gelderland, who had escaped from his escort, had, by means of French and Aragonese money, renewed the war in the Netherlands, Both were extremely indignant. Maximilian complained that "Louis had never really cared about the treaty; it was only the fiefs that he had coveted. He revoked the fiefs he had already granted in favour of his grandson Charles”. Philip was determined upon a general war. "My heart is not so cowardly, nor my relatives, and my worldly goods so insignificant”, he wrote, "as that I could allow myself to be prejudiced in my good right. I would rather appeal to my whole party throughout Christendom, for, as I believe, it is stronger than that of my opponents." And first, Maximilian was resolved to invade Italy as best he could. His envoys, who with their attendants were fully armed, went first to Venice, in order to entreat a peaceful passage. But the Venetians would not allow a passage to the man who had so often and so publicly laid claim to their territory. Whilst his landsknechts were wandering about, they had time to occupy all their passes with infantry and cavalry. Maximilian therefore hurried to the Carniolan ports, whither Gonzalvo had promised to send him ships; but the latter was dissuaded by the grand promises made by Ferdinand. Resolved upon daring the utmost, he went to the Karst in the Windish Mark, whence in four days the coast of the Romagna could be reached, in confidence that the Pope would receive him with joy and would crown him. But the most unexpected calamity befell him here. On the 16th September, his son Philip died at Burgos, of the Mazucco, an infectious fever. He had never felt eager for this journey, nor looked forward to his Crown. He came not to live as king, but to die. This death, which threw the affairs of Castile and the Netherlands into the greatest confusion, put an end to all Maximilian's further schemes and projects.




When Ferdinand saw that Castile was lost to him, he had been seized with anxious apprehensions regarding Naples. Here, where the kings had always ruled only for short periods by their armies and their factions, and where a paternal, ecclesiastical, and hereditary monarchy was unknown, Gonzalvo, who had installed the captains of his army in rich possessions, and levied taxes as he thought right, enjoyed as much popularity as ever a king did. He was dissatisfied with Ferdinand, who had refused to ratify his grants, and who in Spain had appointed a Neapolitan council, which forced him to dismiss his Germans. Now the Castilians maintained that Naples belonged to them, for it had been conquered by their money and their blood. Ferdinand rejoined that his were the rightful claims, and that the land was his. As a matter of fact, all depended upon whom the General would make lord of the country. Gonzalvo inclined to the side of Philip and the Castilians; he refused to retain Philip's envoy to Julius, who was believed to be animated with the like feelings towards Austria. Maximilian sent a message to him to the effect that, "he should behave like a good knight of Castile, and then he should be assured of protection in Naples; he could then receive for himself Pisa and Piombino, which he was at that time supporting”. At this time Gonzalvo, as we are aware, sent his ships to the Carniolan ports. 

These circumstances filled Ferdinand the Catholic with apprehension. At first he was for taking Gonzalvo prisoner; but reflected how disastrous such a step would be, were it to fail. The day following his interview with Philip, on the 21st June, 1506, he took a different view of the state of things, and drew up a document stating that, "he swore by his royal word, by God, the Cross, and the Gospels, to transfer to Gonzalvo the Grandmastership of Santiago as soon as he should return to Spain”. Ferdinand's ambassador needed no more than ten days. On the 2nd July Gonzalvo sent his reply to the King. "No one”, he wrote, "was more anxious to live and die in his service than he was. For the rest of his life he desired to recognize no other King and master but him alone. This he swore by God, being a Christian, guaranteed it as a knight, confirmed it with his name, and set his seal thereunder”. He had now pledged himself, and Ferdinand took courage, and, on the 4th September, set sail for Naples. But Maximilian arrived in vain at the Carniolan ports.

On his way, Ferdinand received the tidings of Philip's death, yet this event did not induce him to abandon the enterprise upon which he had embarked. On the 1st November, in company with his consort Germaine, he rode through the five Saggi of Naples, The nobles and ladies came out of their houses to kiss his hand, Gonzalvo giving him their names. He who gave the names was none other than the man whom he had come to take away with him, whilst those who kissed his hand, were in great measure those whose old enemies, the Angevin barons, he was about to recall. Bent upon accomplishing his purpose, his time was so busily occupied, that he did not even allow himself to pay one visit to the castle garden.

When, in the previous year, the first news of his treaty had been brought hither, every one lamented that such a shrewd King was intent upon restoring those who had always proved so disloyal. Could his object perhaps be to make almost independent lords of the Sanseverino from Salerno to Reggio, of the Caracciolo in Apulia, of Bitonto in the Abruzzi, and of Traetto on the Garigliano? His own party would thus become powerless, and the royal power sink into insignificance. But all the same he adhered to his intention. All that had belonged to Don Caesar in Aragon, to the Borgias of Gandia, Squillace and Don Juan, and the portion of the dowager queens, all this he acquired, either by purchase or as feudal lord, and divided it among the injured parties. The knights who had conquered the country had now to retire from their new possessions and content themselves with compensation in money. Dignities and incomes were not even spared. Difficult though the task was, he succeeded in carrying it through, thus satisfying among others also the plenipotentiary of France, who took part in the transaction. He restored all the exiles, princes, counts, and barons to their own, and reinstated among them Sannazzaro, Federigo's most faithful follower, in his country seat of Margolina, whose beauties, hill and slope, brook and dale, he had so often sung.

This settlement assured him the possession of Naples more securely than many victories would have done. The real object of contention between the rival parties was property, from which each was ever being ousted by the other: of this he made an end. He contrived to keep the Colonna in obedience and to win over the Orsini to his side again. It was, perchance, owing to the marriages which, as we have seen, were constantly taking place between Angevin and Spanish families, Sanseverino and Villahermosa, Bisignano and Richesenza, that from this year forth the nobles of Naples remained loyal to a distant King. Henceforward the chronicles of Naples teem with accounts of the wonders done by a picture, to which pilgrimages were made barefooted and which was often presented with golden chains, with stories of murders and marriages, or it may be of an insurrection which broke out against a royal official, a new law, or a despotic landlord.

With respect to Gonzalvo, Ferdinand issued a letter addressed to all princes and barons, and all men now and hereafter: "Through glorious deeds of bravery and generosity, Gonzalvo had regained for his crown the kingdom this side of the Faro; he had governed it with unwavering loyalty, and he, the King, was his great debtor”.  He then demanded of the Pope his sanction of the transfer of the Grandmastership, but, "it must”, he urged, "be kept secret, so that the thirteen electors do not oppose it”. To please him, he took from the faithful and reliable Spinello, who was an enemy of Gonzalvo, the office of accountant of the realm. He gladly allowed Gonzalvo's retinue to outshine his own following. But, as soon as he had attained his object, when on the 4th June, 1507, he saw him take leave of all the nobles and ladies, who had accompanied him to the shore, and embark on one of his ships, he then felt himself recompensed for all his duplicity and sacrifice, and he gradually laid aside the mask. Spinello received a letter with the superscription: "To the Count of Cariati”, and with it a fuller share of administrative power that he had ever enjoyed. The Grandmastership was never mentioned again. Whenever Gonzalvo's friends said, "The great ship is running aground”," he would reply, "The tide will raise it again”. On one occasion afterwards he had hope for it, but it never came to pass. The life of man is a long growth, a short bloom, a long decay; the first is full of hope, the last full of regrets. Gonzalvo had to content himself in Loja with thinking of his daughter's marriage, and in keeping up communication with the world by letter. Then he often thought how he had once conducted Federigo's son and Caesar to Spain, and how he at last had returned home in the same manner. Both these actions he regretted, and a third that he did not mention. 

At length King of Naples in reality, with Gonzalvo safe on his ships, Ferdinand hurried to Castile, which Philip's death had plunged into great confusion.

Before this occurrence, the old hereditary factions of the Nunez and Gamboa, whose heads were Najara and the Condestable, had already again showed themselves among the grandees. What took place after Philip's death, was closely connected with the Queen's state of health. The malady from which she was suffering first declared itself on Philip's journey to Lyons, that is in the year 1503. At that time, after taking leave of him with many tears, she never more raised her eyes, or said a word, save that she wished to follow him. When she learnt that he had obtained a safe conduct for her also, she would not wait for her mother any longer, but ordered her carriages to proceed to Bayonne; then -for horses were refused her- she attempted to set out herself on foot; and, when the gate was closed, she remained, in spite of the entreaties of her attendant ladies and her father confessor, in her light attire sitting upon the barrier until late into the November night; it was only her mother who at length contrived to persuade her to seek her chamber. At last she found her husband. She found him devoted to a beautiful girl with fair hair. In an outburst of jealous passion, she had the girl's hair cut off. Philip did not conceal his vexation. Here - who can fathom the unexplored depths of the soul, see where it unconsciously works, and where it unconsciously suffers, who can discover where the root of its health or sickness lies? -her mind became overshadowed. In Spain her love for Philip, and in the Netherlands her reverence for her father were her guiding passions: these two feelings possessed her whole being, alternately influenced her, and excluded the rest of the world. Since then, she still knew the affairs of ordinary life, and could portray vividly and accurately to her mind distant things; but she knew not how to suit herself to the varying circumstances of life.

Whilst still in the Netherlands, she expressed the wish that her father should retain the government in his hands. On her return to Spain, she entered her capital in a black velvet tunic and with veiled face; she would frequently sit in a dark room, her cap drawn half over her face, wishing to be able only to speak for once with her father. But it was not until after her husband's death that her disease became fully developed. She caused his corpse to be brought into a hall, attired in half Flemish, half Spanish dress, and the obsequies celebrated over it. She never, the while, gave vent to a sob. She did not shed tears, but only sat and laid her hand to her chin. The plague drove her away from Burgos, but not away from her loved corpse. A monk had once told her that he knew of a king who awoke to life after being fourteen years dead. She took the corpse about with her. Four Frisian stallions drew the coffin, which was conveyed at night, surrounded by torches. Sometimes it halted, and the singers sang mournful songs. Having thus come to Furnillos, a small place of fourteen or fifteen houses, she perceived there a pretty house with a fine view, and remained there: "for it was not fitting for a widow to live in a populous city”. There she retained the members of the Government which had been established, the grandees of her court dwelling with her. Round the coffin she gave her audiences.

After Philip's decease there existed as good as no sovereign power in Castile. At first the grandees of both factions entered into an agreement under Ximenes, at all events for three months. But as the Condestable and his party were desirous of inviting the King of Aragon, whilst Najara and his partisans were for appealing to the Emperor to undertake the administration of the kingdom in the name of the young Charles, and seeing that the Cortes could not be constitutionally convened for deliberative purposes without the royal sanction, the result was that the whole country resolved itself into factions. One party actually did invite Ferdinand, and the other Maximilian. The first boasted that "the Catholic King would come and punish all his enemies”; the others, that "the father would be received like the son, and given a contingent of 2000 lances”." Pimentel said: "I have two suits of armour, but I will use up both before I will tolerate the King of Aragon in Castile”. Thereupon, throughout the whole country, the old feuds burst out afresh between the Ayalas and Silvas at Toledo, the Arias and Lassos at Madrid, and the Benavides and Carvajals at Ubeda. Some seized strongholds, and exclaimed, "Castile, Castile for Queen Juana”. These were Ferdinand's partisans. Galicia and the Asturias both adhered to their prince, and hoped for Maximilian's coming. At court the heads of both these parties, the Condestable and Najara, were armed; their troops were constantly arrayed against each other.

In this crisis the nation might well congratulate itself that it still possessed one powerful man, belonging to no party, Archbishop Ximenes of Toledo. His position he had won for himself; and he, accordingly, deserves a short notice. Ximenes, the son of an advocate, well versed in both theological and juristic knowledge, and somewhile resident at Rome, had already received appointments from two of Isabella's adherents - Mendoza, who made him vicar of his diocese, and Cifuentes, who entrusted him with the management of his estates - when he bade adieu to his brilliant career, and retired into a Franciscan convent not far from Toledo. Here he went about barefooted, dressed in sackcloth, slept on a scanty layer of straw, and scourged himself frequently. In his happier hours he might be seen lying under some broad-spreading chestnut trees, in order to shield himself from the rays of the sun, which in those climes blazed so fiercely. He often reclined in the grass, the Bible in hand, or else knelt and prayed. Here he experienced all the anguish and ecstasy of a solitary soul seeking God. But this was the way to his advancement. The Queen chose him for her father confessor; and then this man, tall of stature, pale and thin, with deep-set, piercing eyes, an aquiline nose, and a forehead which even in his old age remained free from wrinkles, appeared now and again at court in his cowl, heard the Queen's confessions, and then returned again to his convent. On one occasion, in the year 1495, he had just finished conducting the spiritual exercises of the Queen during Lent, and had bidden his companion, Francisco Ruyz, to cook some vegetables, and saddle the asses to return, for they intended to spend Good Friday in the monastery at Ocaña, when he was a second time summoned to the Queen's presence, and received from her hands a letter with the Papal seal and the superscription : "To our brother Francisco, Archbishop Elect of Toledo”. Isabella, who sought for an archbishop who had no illustrious relations, who would not entail property, nor spend his revenues in any cause other than that for which they were originally intended, viz., in the defence of Granada and the coasts, and in every Moorish war, had chosen him. He exclaimed, "This is not intended for me”, and rode away unperturbed to his convent. A second command of the Pope at length forced him to accept the dignity, while a third admonished him to comport himself accordingly. After that, he began to wear a silken outer dress, whilst his friar's frock remained underneath; to wear valuable fur, but of ashen grey colour, in order that it should remind him of his observances; to use soft and luxurious beds, and to keep a considerable staff of servants and a jester - a sort of clever dwarf. But he himself often slept as he formerly did; and in the palace itself he maintained certain monks, to whom he spoke of nothing but of God and strict discipline, and for whose observance he drew up a table, teaching them how to abstain from worldly things.

In this union of spiritual and temporal affairs he lived his life. He spoke very little, and scarcely ever laughed. His life was action and accomplishment: it forms a forcible contrast to the sufferings of the Queen. We read how, on one occasion, he came from the synod of his diocese, where he had said the daily mass and conducted ecclesiastical business, to the Aragonese Cortes, and induced them to take the oath, how he then proceeded without delay to lay the foundation of the University of Alcala, which was all his doing, a work the King envied him; how from here he hurried to Granada to convert the Moors, returned, and received (1502) the new Prince at Toledo; how, then, instead of sitting at tournaments, he searched the manuscripts in his library, renewed the Mozarabic liturgy, discussed with seven scholars the plan of the Complutensian Polyglot, and also helped to found a society which every night searched the streets to see if any deserving poor were in need of shelter. Today he would draw up a plan for a campaign in Africa, and on the morrow one for founding a convent, and would carry both into execution. His letters, dealing with the affairs of State, were sealed with the image of St. Francis.

This man, who, it is generally believed, induced Isabella to order in her will a mitigation of the alcabala for the cities, and who was yet the first of all prelates and grandees, stood midway between the conflicting parties. He was not, as we have seen, successful in reconciling Philip and Ferdinand. But now, at least, he contrived to prevent an open civil war. He had also a guard, which was equipped in the Swiss style; his horsemen might be seen riding out daily to exercise. New weapons continually arrived from the Asturian forges; and at last he brought it to pass that all other troops, save his own, quitted the court.

Now it was a matter of great import that Ximenes declared himself for Ferdinand. The Catholic King, probably, wished rather to reward him than gain him over by the dignity of Cardinal, which he had procured for him. Maximilian's advent would beyond all doubt have resulted in the complete disorganization of Castile, a war on all sides, and the most violent domestic strife. And when could or should Maximilian come, tied as he was by a Diet, weakened by revolt in the Netherlands, and his presence required in an Italian campaign? Ximenes decided for Ferdinand. The most powerful men in the land listened to his advice. Villena, who almost from the first had been on the side of Philip, came to him: "Is it right what the King demands? Swear to me that it is so”. The Archbishop swore to him that it was right; thereupon whilst still clasping his hand, he vowed to serve King Ferdinand in his government. The rest of the opposition of the grandees Ferdinand contrived, in almost every case, to overcome by the grant of favours, so much so indeed, that his loyal supporters became quite jealous. Pimentel also gave in on receiving an encomienda and an annual stipend of 12,000 maravedi. Accordingly, in August, 1507, after having been absent a year, Ferdinand entered Castile without encountering any resistance, with Alcaldes and Alguazils, his maces and heralds; the grandees hastened to kiss his hand. In the North there were still left several, whom neither he nor Ximenes had been able to gain over. They fled or lost their castles; Najara lost all save one. "And now”, said Ferdinand, "we will open a new account together”. In Andalusia, Priego and Giron were in open revolt. He deprived them also of their castles. The Inquisition abated its rigour somewhat, and Ximenes, whom the King had appointed Grand Inquisitor, set free all those whom Luzero had denounced.

At Tortoles the King met his daughter. As soon as they set eyes on each other, the father took off his hat, and the daughter her mourning veil. When she prostrated herself to kiss his feet, and he sank on one knee in recognition of her royal dignity, they embraced and opened their hearts to each other. He shed tears. Tears she had none, but she granted his desire; only she would not consent to bury the corpse. "Why so soon?" she inquired. Nor would she go to Burgos where she had lost her husband. He took her to Tordesillas. Here the Queen of such vast realms lived for forty-seven years. She educated her youngest daughter, gazed from the window upon the grave of her husband, and prayed for his eternal happiness. From henceforth she was dead to the world.

These are the struggles engendered of the Neapolitan war through the claims of the house of Austria. Maximilian, owing chiefly to the opposition of Louis, who declared that he would consider everyone who recognized him his enemy, and, if he were a subject of his own, guilty of high treason, could at first not even obtain the guardianship over his grandchildren in the Netherlands. At last, however, in 1507, he obtained it, when new dangers threatened from Gelderland and from the French coast, and made his assistance desirable. But in Spain and Italy Ferdinand was triumphant. He at once turned his newly consolidated power against the outer world and foreign nations.




Prior to the commencement of the Neapolitan war of 1501, the Xeque of Gelves had offered allegiance to the Spaniards, together with the whole coast line lying between Tripoli and Tunis. Isabella had often repented that Naples had at that time been preferred. As soon as the first period of quiet set in, between Ferdinand's reconciliation with France, in 1505, and the arrival of Philip, Ximenes urged the renewal of the Moorish war, and himself subscribed the fourth part of the expense of fitting out a fleet, which attacked and took the great port of Mers-el-Kebir, an important station of the African trade. His attention had first been drawn to this place by a Venetian; Lopez el Zagal was the first to spring on land. The great domestic disturbances, at all events in Andalusia, had not been completely suppressed, when the Moorish pirates were driven away from Velez and the rock lying before it. But as soon as tranquillity had been restored at home, and Ferdinand was no longer occupied by his Italian enmities, he again commenced greater operations in the interest of universal Christendom. To these belongs also the colonization of America. Hitherto the Spaniards had been content to explore the islands and bays of the West Indies, to look for gold, to fish for pearls, and to preach Christianity peacefully. All these operations had been conducted by an admiral from a colony in San Domingo. In the year 1509, Ferdinand having heard of the barbarous habits of the wild cannibals there, appointed two governors, Hoieda for the coast of Carthagena, and Niquesa for Veragua. Their duties were: "to make the Indians his vassals and good Christians, but, should this be impossible, to reduce them to slavery or exterminate them”. The governors themselves were not fortunate; but some of their companions founded a colony upon Darien, to which, in honour of the picture of Maria Antigua at Seville, they gave the name of Antigua. Nuñez Balboa, a man who was reserved for great discoveries, became its head.

But at the time of which we speak, the operations in Africa appeared to be of greater moment both for Spain and Europe: yet the other was greater both in respect of the exertion expended upon it, and of its results. On the eve of Ascension-day, 1509, Ximenes and Pedro Navarra set sail with their fleet and landed on the day following at Oran, before which city they found 12,000 Moorish knights gathered ready to defend it. "Shall we attack today?" asked Navarra. "Immediately”, returned Ximenes. Before him the Cross was borne, and his monks, with swords over their habits, also advanced in line. The Galicians first stormed the heights, and maintained themselves there; then, strengthened by the other troops, they drove the enemy back upon the water reservoirs of the city. Here they awaited their artillery. They fought with this at a distance, and with their swords at close quarters. The enemy at length turned and fled. Whilst they were being driven past their own city, other troops landed from the ships and took it. Thereupon the Spanish ensigns floated from the walls of Oran, and the troops shouted, "Africa! Africa for our lord, the King of Spain!". Ximenes, to whose prayers the victory was attributed ("owing to them the sun had stood still and had shone brightly over them, whilst gloom was spread over the Moors"), consecrated the Grand Mosque as a Church of Sta Maria de la Vitoria.

Again, on the 1st January, 1510, in honour, as the Spaniards said, of the Saviour and His Mother, and of the Apostle St. James, and the blessed knight, St, George, Pedro Navarra set sail from Iviza. On this occasion he was very successful. Bugia, a great and wealthy city, full of mosques, schools, hospitals, inns, and every sign of prosperity, was taken by him at the first assault. Xeque, Almoxarife, Alcadi, Musti, and all the Alfaquirs of Algiers surrendered their city under the condition that Ferdinand should not demand a single farthing more in contributions than the Moorish king had received, and would leave them their laws. Tedelitz surrendered. Muley Yahya, King of Tenez, promised to come as Ferdinand's vassal, as often as he should be summoned to the Cortes, or to the wars. At last Navarra, with brigantines, sloops, and barks, succeeded one evening in forcing his way into the harbour of Tripoli, and on the following day, between nine and one, in taking this great city.

But before all else it was now imperative to conquer Tlemcen, Tunis, and the island of Gelves; then the African coast would be assured to the Spaniards. The King of Tlemcen, a great potentate, swore with his Mezvar and Cadi to pay an annual tribute of 13,000 doblas in good gold. In Sicily, preparations were going on against Tunis. Garcia, Alva's eldest son, attacked Gelves. Garcia had to pay for his daring with his life on the burning sands. But Ferdinand was for setting out in person to take over the command of the army. Only when the interior of the country was his, could he be certain of securing the harbours and coasts. This accomplished, his intention was to continue his holy campaign as far as Alexandria, the next city to Tripoli, and thence to the holy temple of Jerusalem. For this object, the Cortes of Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia voted an aid of 500,000 pounds, which, considering their liberties, was a very considerable sum. A thousand English musketeers also joined in the expedition. The rupture between the Moors and Arabs along the whole coast gave prospects of a great success, and they bethought themselves of an old prophecy, that ancient Carthage with its harbour would now fall into the hands of the Christians. With these hopes in his breast, Ferdinand set out for Malaga, in the year 1511, in order to begin the campaign. But on the way thither he was overtaken by ambassadors from Italy, who brought him such tidings from the Romagna that his plans were turned into other channels.






The development of affairs in the Romagna resulted in a general war. Once more Venice showed herself in the fullness of her might: independent, vigorous, and with comprehensive and grand ideas and aspirations. A general consideration of her position is accordingly indispensable.




The lagoons were originally covered with low mud hovels, having scarcely an aperture to admit of light and air, and full of poor fugitives. About the year 1500, there were to be seen there about seventy-two churches, built of stone, and glittering with gold, whilst three broad canals were flanked by palace on palace, all faced with variegated and white marble. Even humble people slept on beds of walnut wood, behind green silk curtains, ate from silver, and wore golden chains and rings. The West and East paid tribute here on their wares, before they were bartered and exchanged. Many large islands and splendid cities received hence their governors.

This pitch of prosperity has been reached through conquest and commerce; but commerce was the original source of its greatness. Just as those fishermen themselves originally belonged to the Greek, that is the Eastern Empire, whilst the first territory they acquired for their sustenance belonged to the Lombard, i.e. the Western Empire, and they were thus vassals to both, so now did the essence of their present trade lie in the connection of the distant East with the distant West. It was carried on in the following manner.

As soon as the public galleys were ready for sea, and delivered over to those of the Nobili, who, summoned by the cry of the heralds, had offered the best prices, some, according to primeval custom, sailed to Alexandria and the Black Sea, and others to Africa and the West. The first were laden with copper and mercury from Hungary, with German steel, with alum from Italy, and velvet, camelot, cloth, mirrors, beads, and glass from their own city, each cargo worth about 100,000 ducats. In Alexandria, the watchmen on the tower looked out for their arrival, and signalled it to the toll-gatherer. The chief business was done in Cairo, in the Khan el Halili, the Persian merchants' hall. Thither, the caravans from Mecca brought fine spices from the Moluccas, silk from Bengal, cinnamon from Ceylon, pepper from Malabar, precious stones and dyewood from the Deccan, and pearls from the Bahrein Islands. In case the Indians preferred consigning their goods to the caravans through Kabul and Persia, to Derbend, the gate of gates, and to Azov, rather than to the sea, or if the dwellers on the coast of Asia Minor produced anything rare or useful, like the goat's hair of Angora, this they fetched from Ajas or Azov. They conveyed all to the halls on the Rialto.

The Western galleys were not laden with such wares; these they left to the Western nations to fetch for themselves. Their cargoes were cloth and metal, gold chains for France, wax candles for the Spanish churches, fiddle-strings from Pacasto, and glass from Wurano. In Gelves they owned a great house close to the castle, in Tunis they shared with Genoese and Catalans a whole suburb of the town; in Oran and Tlemcen they did a great trade. Hence their goods found their way to the interior of the Sudan, to Timbuctoo, where the women wore veils of Venetian manufacture, and to Gago, where their most inferior cloth fetched one, and their scarlet forty ducats the yard, and hither came the gold in return, which they sent back to the East. In Malaga they loaded silk and grain, and wool also, though this they principally fetched from England. They penetrated as far as Flanders and Denmark. It is computed that, besides these public vessels, nearly 3,000 private ships were engaged in trading on the same coasts, but chiefly with other ports. Their trading capital, some considerable time previously, had amounted to 28,800,000 ducats.

All this commerce was controlled by the most rigorous laws. Save in the Fondaco, where the German cities had each their separate vaults, which they let to separate business houses, no one was allowed to trade with Germans, and only here such as were, as they expressed it, internal and external citizens. No subject city was allowed to sell for export, or to buy goods from abroad except in Venice. No galley might stay away longer than a definitely specified time. A law obtained that an emigrating manufacturer should at first be induced to return by persuasion; in case he did not obey, by the arrest of his relations; and, if he did not then return, he should be put to death. By such measures their city was preserved as the source of trade and commerce.

It was necessity that prompted their first conquests. In these they were not always fortunate, and the war in 1379 left them little more than Negropont, Coron, Modon, and Candia. But, after that time, fortune and shrewdness opened to them a new way.

After the death of Charles de la Pace, when one faction in Corfu did not desire to be reigned over by his son Ladislas, the people bethought themselves how frequently they had seen the victorious standard of Venice in their waters, and raised the ensign of the lion and founded a church to St. Michael, as an everlasting memorial. The same Ladislas, in the midst of the contention between the Horvaths and the Hungarian Queens, sold to them Zara, where he had been crowned. For fear of the despot of Servia, Cattaro sent its Chancellor and begged for a Venetian magistrate who should judge according to the old laws. Filled with like apprehensions, Spalato and Trau were delivered over to them by the citizens; Argos, Napoli di Romania, Patras, and Lepanto, under certain conditions; and many other cities by their princes and for money. Athens received a garrison from Venice; and, in consequence of a quarrel with his father, a prince of Constantinople delivered Salonika into their keeping.

And so it went on. Veglia refused to obey a Frangipani, whether Nicolo or Giovanni, and preferred their rule. During a feud between Queens Carlotta and Caterina, they gained Cyprus. Their policy was as follows: whenever their neighbours became involved in differences or were in peril, they appeared on the scene, and offered the one protection and the other money; thus effecting their subjugation.

The same process they followed in Italy. To begin with, when the quarrel between Cividale d'Austria and Udine had convulsed the whole of Friuli, and the neighbouring states became likewise involved, it happened one day that the citizens of Treviso, and all the peasants who had come into the city to defend it, shouted "San Marco!" and delivered themselves into the hand of the Venetian captain.

This incident brought about the subjection of the whole of Friuli. This enterprise was not without sufficient motive, for they needed a market in the vicinity for their daily supplies of food. But should they then, when the Visconti, in feud with the Carrara, offered them their cities of Verona, Feltre, and Belluno, implicate themselves in the general Italian movements, so full of storm, insecurity, and danger as they were? All who stood in any relation to the Carrara, must first be excluded from the Pregadi, before the Doge and Francesco Foscari, the head of the Forty, could carry the day by the preponderating voice of a single ballot. Vicenza raised the standard of Venice. On the 12th July, 1405, there appeared in the square of St. Mark before the Doge and Signoria twenty-two envoys from Verona on horseback, all dressed in white, bearing the seal of the State, the three keys of the city for the three Estates, the white staff (the symbol of sovereignty), and two ensigns; and having delivered these insignia over, they took the oath of allegiance. The Doge answered them, "You are come from darkness into light," and gave them a gold embroidered standard of St. Mark. They shouted "San Marco!" and rode back home. The Paduans, in sore distress, being permitted by Francesco Carrara to do what they wished, stipulated for the maintenance of their liberties, and surrendered to Venice.

In Venice there was not entire satisfaction at this policy. Upon the mosaic floor of the Church of St. Mark, two lions may be seen depicted; one in the sea, great, strong, and courageous, the other on land, thin and weak; a picture which corresponded with widespread opinions. The Doge Mocenigo especially was opposed to every new enterprise. "For whoever made conquests," as he expressed himself, "sought evil and found it too. He, for his part, would not maintain people with great billhooks in order to ravage this beautiful garden of Milan, which brought them in some millions every year. Did the conquests they had already made, recoup the expenditure? He prayed God, our Lady, and St. Mark for peace”. So long as he lived, but no longer, his opinion was considered wise. A man of opposite views and ideas, a man of whom he had warned his countrymen, Foscari, was chosen to succeed him. He made use of the misunderstanding between Filippo Maria of Milan and Carmagnola, in order with the latter's help to acquire Brescia and Bergamo; he availed himself of the disturbances following on Filippo Maria's death to gain Crema, and utilized the tumults which had broken out between the nobles and the commons to gain possession of Ravenna, and subsequently of Cervia also. The revenue Venice derived from the mainland, as a result of this policy, rose to 800,000 ducats, and that accruing from the islands to 400,000 ducats. Men said: "They have no rival on the seas, and are not minded to tolerate one on land." 

How the internal machinery of this marvellous power worked, can easily be told if we look at the peculiar traditional forms of its constitution, but can only be explained with the greatest difficulty, if we consider the real moving and living principle animating the whole. If we reflect that the Doge could not say "Yes" or "No" to anybody without first taking counsel with his Consiglieri, but that, on the other side, the three Inquisitori without the interference of the Avogatori, and laying aside all formality, had the right to condemn to death clergy and laity, nobles and commons, to make use of the public treasury, and to command the governors and generals, we shall perceive that the counterpoise of Doge, Consiglieri, Pregadi, and the Consiglio was not worth much, but that the supreme power, which in other cities reposed in the hands of a Balia, here resided in the Inquisitori. It is certainly not at all clear from what families these were chosen, how the others tolerated it, and why there was here no trace of party feeling. Some remarks of Maximilian, that he was coming to liberate the old fathers from the violent oppression of the new aristocracy, cast no real light but only a glimmer upon this matter. Within this hall, no personalities and no differences appear, only sometimes hatred against secret renegades manifests itself, otherwise there is always a common exertion and a common will.

“They are very clever”, says Comines, "they meet daily and hold council; their neighbours will feel the effect”." 

The disturbances which had taken place in Italy since Charles VIII's advent there, came very opportunely for their plans and policy. On every available occasion the Venetians extended their power round about them. In the struggle between Charles and Ferrantino they acquired five fine cities in Apulia, excellently situated for their requirements, which they peopled by the reception of fugitive Jews from Spain. Moreover, in the kingdom of Naples, one party had declared for them; we have seen, too, how Taranto raised their standard. During the Florentine disorders, they were within an ace of becoming masters of Pisa. In the Milanese feuds they acquired Cremona and the Ghiara d'Adda. Their power was all the more terrible, as they had never been known to lose again anything which they had once obtained. No one doubted that their aim was complete sovereignty over the whole of Italy. Their historians always talked as if Venice was the ancient Rome once more; therefore it was that the bones of Titus Livius were honoured at Padua, like those of a saint: "they should learn of him to avoid the faults of Rome." 

Since the Turkish war, which had kept them a while employed, was now at an end, they next tried their fortune in the Romagna, and endeavoured, availing themselves of the quarrels between the returning princes and Caesar, to become, if not the sole, at all events the most powerful, vassals of the papal throne. Those princes who were often compelled to fly, and were accustomed to fly to them, were all, even including Guidobaldo, their head, so much bound to Venice, that "San Marco!" had even been shouted in Guidobaldo's castles, with his approval and consent. The Venetians prepared to espouse the cause of those whom Caesar had overpowered. The cities reflected how genuine and substantial was that peace which the lion of Venice spread over all its dependencies. Having appeared in the Romagna at the end of October, 1503, and having first promised the Malatesta other possessions in their own territory, they took Rimini, with the concurrence of the prince and citizens. Without ado they attacked Faenza. That city had recalled a natural scion of the Manfredi, and for a good omen had called him Astorre; but the good omen proved an ill-starred one, when the governor of the castle surrendered. They were then also themselves obliged to surrender. Men said: "Faenza is for the Venetians either a gate into Italy, or their ruin”. They continued their conquests, and, in the territories of Imola, Cesena, and Forh, took stronghold after stronghold. Cesena itself had already previously announced through Guidobaldo its subjection, and it was only the fear of Caesar's castles above their head that kept the cities still loyal. Then it was that the first minister of France stated his belief that, "had they only the Romagna, they would forthwith attack Florence, on account of a debt of 180,000 guilders owing them”. If they were to make an inroad into Tuscany, Pisa would fall immediately on their arrival. Their object in calling the French into the Milanese territory was, that they considered them more fitted to make a conquest than to keep it; and, in the year 1504, they were already negotiating how they might wrest Milan again from them. Could they only succeed in this, nothing in Italy would be able to withstand them any longer. "They want to make the Pope their chaplain”, said Machiavelli.




But they met with the staunchest resistance in Julius, as in him they could discover no weak point to attack. As pointedly as he could express himself, he declared to them, on the 9th November, 1503, that, "though hitherto their friend, he would now do his utmost against them, and would besides incite all the princes of Christendom against them”; and once more, on the 10th January, he declared that : "he was, and always had been, firm and constant in his intention to regain the temporalities of the Church; and, further, that no terrorism, no treaty, nor conditions would prevent his carrying it out, for it was his duty”. But as no warning availed aught, "for their right was clear and plain, and they would satisfy his claims with their newly-coined gold”, in September, 1504, he entered into the league with Louis, Maximilian, and Philip, which was directed not only against Ferdinand, but against Venice as well. We have seen how this league became dissolved. The Venetians then retreated a step. They restored all parts of the territories of Imola, Cesena, and Forli which they had occupied; until they had done so, Julius would not accept their obedience." Yet he did not on this account abandon his project of conquering the rest also.

Julius was of a very impatient and violent character. When Michael Angelo painted the Sixtine chapel, and at last unveiled it, he could not wait until even the dust from the scaffolding had cleared away. Any thought that had once occurred to him possessed his mind unceasingly; it was visible in his features, he murmured it ever between his teeth; "he must die”, he confessed, "did he not speak it out”. But this did not make him stubborn and inconsiderate. He once threatened Michael Angelo, requiring him to make haste and finish some work, and then on the following day sent him 500 scudi to pacify him. In the same way, as he had always abided by his opinion in opposition to his uncle Sixtus, to Innocent and Alexander, even when a fugitive and in peril, so when he became Pope, he unswervingly adhered to what he had once decided upon, mindful of Nicholas and Gregory among his predecessors. His temperament can be gathered from his portrait by Raphael - the strongly-marked features, the closed mouth and long flowing beard, as he sits in an arm-chair in deep thought. All his actions gave evidence of his firmness. He aptly bore the oak on his coat-of-arms.

Now, as we have seen, Julius was resolved to tolerate princes in the Papal States, but only such as he could control. But it was not only the Venetians who were capable of offering him resistance, but others also. Giovanni Bentivoglio, of Bologna, in particular, was almost independent. He ruled his city by a council of twenty, of whom ten conducted the Imborsazioni, the elections, and all public business for the first half of the year; and the other ten for the remaining half, yet both under his personal presidency. He was styled Prince, Governor, and permanent Gonfaloniere of justice; he could himself levy a tax. He dwelt in a splendid palace, containing 370 rooms, among gardens, fountains, and fish ponds. His sons, one of whom was designated to succeed him, built other palaces. He found a bell indispensable for calling his friends together; and a tower bears an inscription to the effect that, "he had built it, he, to whom virtue and fortune had granted all his wishes and abundance of wealth”. On his shield were emblazoned a lily and an eagle; yet he trusted most in the lily and in French protection.

In the year 1506, when Louis XII and Ferdinand the Catholic needed the papal sanction to their Neapolitan compact, Julius considered it practicable to compel the Bolognese to recognize their dependence. The latter appealed to tradition and to the old treaties made with the papal see. He, on his part, maintained the rights of a prince to alter a constitution even in the face of tradition; he announced that he would come and see their mode of life for himself; if it pleased him, he would confirm it, otherwise he would alter it: the old treaties, he averred, were obtained by coercion, and now an amelioration was possible. The Venetians offered him their assistance in this enterprise, provided he would only ratify their possession of Faenza and Rimini. But he paid them no heed. With a guard of only twenty-five lances, a grey-haired man among grey-haired cardinals, on the 20th August, 1506, he took the field in order to conquer Bologna. On the march thither he thought of reducing Perugia at the same time.

For Giampaolo Baglione, who after Alexander's death ruled Perugia again in the customary manner by a Balia, the Dieci dell' Arbitrio, had always refused obedience. He was now to be compelled to obey. What was there victorious in his mere advent? In Orvieto, Giampaolo, whom Duke Guidobaldo had persuaded to subject himself, met him and promised to deliver his fortresses and gates into the Pope's power, and his troops into his pay. Before the capitulation had even been signed, before his troops, who had begun to collect, were on the scene, and in order to show that he trusted the honour of his enemy, the Pope entered Perugia, reinstated in their possessions those who had fled the city, left to Giampaolo his legal rights, and restored peace.

In the case of Bentivoglio, the pride of his wife, Ginevra Sforza, and his old confidential standing with Julius, with whom he had eaten and drunk, prevented a similar subjection. Were his four sons, to whom he had committed the defence of the four quarters of the city, too weak to resist a Pope? He replied to Julius' demand that he should furnish quarters for him, his army, and 500 French lances, that "only the Swiss guard could be admitted with the Pope's person”, and further asked to be informed how long he intended to remain. "So," exclaimed Julius indignantly, "he prescribes laws for us, and will not receive us. Shall he dictate to us?" Hereupon the Pope declared Bentivoglio and his adherents rebels against the Church, gathered to him his army and the troops Louis had promised him, and winding through the ravines and passes of the highest part of the Apennine range, carefully avoiding the positions occupied by the Venetians, and passing frequently by kneeling peasants, marched to Imola. At this juncture, the French, whose arrival Bentivoglio had never expected, actually advanced against him - for Julius and Louis were still friends - and, at the same time, his old adversaries in the city, who had so long kept silence, rose up in revolt, and with them many new opponents, embittered by the cruelties perpetrated on the Marescotti (of whom shortly before nearly two hundred had been ruined on the accusation of Caesar Borgia), and detesting him, too, for the arrogance of his sons. Then he likewise perceived that no one can be accounted happy before his death, and that he had falsely boasted that no one would ever expel him; accordingly, he entered into a compact with the French, which secured to him his private possessions, and then, after an uninterrupted prosperity of forty years' duration, quitted his palace, the pillar of his fortune, and his city. Julius, on the other hand, obeying the invitation of the now free people, was borne in on the 11th of November, 1506, through the gates of Bologna, on an ivory chair, clad in his papal robes. He only deposed three members of the Twenty, whilst adding twenty-three to their body. To these Forty he committed a far more independent jurisdiction than that which they had enjoyed under the Bentivoglio, and released the people from all burdens. He desired to establish a truly free city, and one devoted to him for his protection and favour.

Now whilst entertaining other projects, as to which he was not reticent, and having delivered to the Marquis of Mantua the standard of the Church, bidding him under it wage just and victorious wars, and well pleasing to God, it happened that affairs in Genoa were so far prejudicial to his objects as to divert his intentions into another channel.

In the years 1506 and 1507, Genoa passed through all the phases of a revolution. The first impetus was given by the leading plebeian families, who, for a long time past, had been wont to see one of them, Fregoso or Adorno, at the head of affairs, and the old aristocracy doing service to them. Since the French occupation, however, both these leading families were in exile, and the supreme power resided in the nobles, and especially in the family of Fiesco. The Popolari, having for a long time vainly demanded that two-thirds of the public offices should be again entrusted to them, were at length aided in their demands by the indignation of the proletariat at the conduct of some aristocratic youths, who, instead of paying, drew swords, showing on the hilts the inscription : "Chastise the peasant”. Accordingly, one day some of them placed themselves at the head of the people, and, with the cry of "People and King”, organized an insurrection, and succeeded in wresting to themselves two-thirds of the offices. The effect of this was to show the lower orders that the public peace only depended upon their good will. Rapidly following up their success, these latter next opposed the magistrates of the upper classes by appointing eight tribunes from their own midst; they went further, and committed the supreme power to four men, and were still not content. At last, the Cappetti - people whose sole wealth consisted in an old cap and a pair of woollen stockings - obtained the upper hand, and gathering together daily in their societies of "Peace”, "Concord," or whatever they were called, waxed more and more enthusiastic, chose a dyer for their chief, and made him an absolute Doge.

The course of such revolutions often proceeds in the same way; from an ascendency of the middle classes to the opposite extreme, next to the ascendency of the proletariat, and, finally, to a monarchy from the artisans. These Genoese paid no heed to the King of France, until, in April, 1507, he advanced against them with his hommes d'armes and Swiss Guards. They then fortified a hill lying immediately before their walls, and occupied it with two masses of troops, the one posted on the summit, and the other on a lower point of vantage. But they lacked courage and discipline; and when Bayard, with 126 hommes d'armes, stormed the hill from the one side, and the Obwalden arquebusiers and Bernese volunteers from the other, both divisions turned and fled, without even thinking of combining. They had no other weapons left, but for all, aristocratic Anziani and plebeians, women and maidens, to cry "Misericordia”, Louis gave to all, with the exception of seventy-nine, their lives and property; but he burnt before their eyes the book of their compacts with him, and the letters of their imperial liberties, took their arms away, and built with their money a castle to hold them in awe. And so they went about, with shrugged shoulders and bowed heads; on their new coins they saw no longer the device of the griffin, but only that of the lily.

But how could it be that the degradation of his country should not affect Julius II, who was proud to call himself, in his inscriptions, "Ligurian"? It might be that he had found the French not so well disposed as he could have wished, even before Bologna, upon which, on Bentivoglio's flight, they had advanced, under an understanding with the nobles, and which they were only prevented by the people from occupying. But Genoa was almost nearer to his heart. He was related to the house of Fregoso, and perceived in their exclusion by the French a slight offered to himself. It was generally believed that he had had a hand in the insurrection of the Popolari; and that it was with intention that Louis had brought three cardinals and thirty high prelates with him, planning, perhaps, to dispossess the Pope. As a matter of fact, Louis had been in negotiation with Ferdinand to make Amboise Pope, and certain overtures made to England appear to point to the same thing. But Julius, instead of awaiting the King's arrival in Bologna, as he had originally intended, returned in haste to Rome.

The result of this was, that the Pope's original plan, that of uniting the States of the Church, was supplemented by another - to free Italy from the French. With respect to the first, he quarrelled with Venice; in carrying out the second, he might have assured himself of its support. Had both only been at one, and united with the greater part of the nation, which felt itself oppressed, they might, perhaps, together have achieved some result. But, just as in the whole nation itself, the feeling of faction entertained by certain communities against each other was doubtless far stronger than the feeling of the unity of the whole - the first hereditary and deeply rooted, and the latter only existing in theory and in writings - so also did Julius and Venice prefer to fight out their own particular quarrel, rather than to think of their common country. Both wished to possess Rimini and Faenza, and otherwise would entertain no alliance. So they stand opposed to one another, both having the same object in view, but their present attitude being one of mutual hostility.




Now it had come about that Venice had incurred -and was still incurring- great danger on both sides of her existence; in her conquests and her commerce. To begin with, Venetian trade had suffered injury in the true basis of its prosperity, the East, at the hands of those who had quite other aims in view, and were really engaged on a mission of great importance in the world's history.

In the year 1497, the trade on the coasts of Arabia, East Africa, and the Indian peninsula was in the hands of the Moors; naturally on the Arabian coast, at Aden, where the favourable monsoons were eagerly awaited, and at Hormuz, "the house of safety”. But scarcely less theirs was the fertile expanse of plain upon the other two coasts, which lay opposite each other, up to where the tableland begins. On the African coast, the Moors penetrated as far as Zanzibar, whence they fetched gold and amber, and Cape S. Sebastian. The King of Quiloa, who was computed to receive annually 2,666,666 ducats of gold from Sofala, and the sheikhs at Malindi and Mozambique were Moors. On the Indian coast, lay the three kingdoms of Guzarat, Deccan,and Malabar. Over the two first-named Moorish princes held sway, whilst in all their ports were Mongolian or Arabian governors. If a Banyan wished to engage here in trade, he did not venture to embark without an Arabian convoy. The third, Malabar, had still an Indian, the Zamorin of Calicut, for its chief; but he also was kept in no little dependence by 4,000 Mohammedans, who dwelt in his city and often supplied him with money. Whoever was not minded to obey him, went into the mosque. One of his vassals, the Prince of Cranganore, even wore a beard, and entrusted the government to an Arabian.

Besides the three coasts, Malacca in further India was the most important emporium for the whole Eastern trade; thither China sent its silk yarn, Bengal cotton fabrics, and the Thousand Isles real spices : this place was the counter-part to Venice, sending to the latter the light, perfumed and shining wares of the East, to receive in return the thick, heavy, martial or more artificial products of the West. Malacca likewise belonged to a Moorish king.

It is worthy of remark, that like Aden, lying as it does upon a promontory and severed by high mountains from the rest of the world, or like Hormuz, itself an island, Malacca, and most of the other centres of this trade, have an insular position in common with Venice. Their wealth depended upon the Venetian traffic between West and East, which I have previously described, whilst the wealth of Venice depended upon the position of India and its connection with Europe.

It appeared quite impossible that this trade could ever be intercepted and ruined. The Indians were much too weak to rid themselves of the Moors, and no other nation had any access to these shores. But, even while it appeared so firmly established, it was in fact already seriously undermined. We must observe that many Europeans had by this time visited India, that a description by Edrisi of the African coast as far as Sofala already existed, and that, since Bartolomeo Diaz had circumnavigated the Cape, there was only the small strip from its last promontory, near Santa Cruz, to Cape S. Sebastian which remained unexplored, unnavigated, and not drawn within the sphere of the world's intercourse. As soon as this small strip of coast was navigated, the Portuguese found themselves again face to face with their old enemies, the Moors, whom they had left in North Africa. Then, naturally, India became attached to Europe by a route other than that of the Moors and Venetians, and a direct connection was set up. The Venetian trade then necessarily fell into decay.

We have already seen how Dom Manuel became King of Portugal, a prince, who, whilst still a youth, had taken an orb for a device, and one whom a bold and brave nobility were ready at any time to serve ; a nobility bold not against him - for Manuel's forefathers had clipped their wings, and it was now their ambition to serve the King in the palace, and accept a small remuneration from him - but bold against the Moors, and fearless on the sea. With a view to explore that unknown coast, and to discover India, Manuel, in July, 1497, fitted out three baloniere, and a ravetta, with a crew of 180 men. He gave them pillars, on which were inscribed a cross and his arms, ten condemned prisoners who were to explore the countries of barbarous nations, and letters for Prester John and the Zamorin of Calicut; he then had his flag hoisted on the mast of the admiral's ship, and committed the whole expedition to the care of Vasco da Gama.

Vasco, a man of a proud and great heart, as his poet describes him, and one who gladly offered his services in great enterprises, and was always favoured by fortune, prayed, the previous night, with the monks of a church of Our Lady, and, on the morning of the 9th July, embarked on his cruise. The friends of the sailors, on seeing their sails disappear, mourned for them, saying that they would never see any one of them again. The voyagers themselves lost heart in the violent currents off the Cape, and would certainly have mutinied had it not been for Vasco's brother. Even when they had already passed it, and were cruising along the east coast of Africa, they considered themselves lost men, and their sole solace and common comfort was to pray. For many days, they saw nothing on the coast but Kaffirs, and could not comfort themselves by obtaining any intelligence. At last, beyond Cape S. Sebastian, they descried coloured men, and five days later, on the 1st of March, 1498, they were received with shouts of joy and music by other coloured men, wearing turbans, shields, and swords, in whom they recognized Moors, and who on their part considered them also Moors. From these they learnt that the island before them was Mozambique, and belonged to the Saracens, that voyages thence were made to India and Arabia, and that Calicut was no great distance away. On hearing this, they raised their hands to heaven and thanked God; the greater part of their work seemed now to have been accomplished. The actual discovery of the really unknown had been effected. They were again amidst their well-known enemies; but it was now for them to escape from these Moors and reach their destination.

Now their subsequent adventures, how they were threatened with death at Mozambique and Mombasa, how the good Prince of Malindi refreshed them with his sweet oranges and gave them a pilot, how they again caught sight of Orion, which had not shone upon them for a long period, are known to everyone from his early years. On the 29th of May, 1498, they, a remnant of about one hundred men, the first Christians of the Latino-Teutonic stock, lifted up their hands on the coast of Malabar, and poured out their thanks to the true God; they then liberated their prisoners, loaded their pilot with gifts, and cast anchor not far from Calicut.

The Moors instantly perceived the danger that threatened them, and resisted the intruders to their utmost. With great difficulty, and more as a proof that they had really been there, than as a commercial transaction, the Portuguese took some spices and precious stones away with them : they themselves were now reduced to two ships and sixty men; Vasco lost his brother Paul just before the goal; but fortune must always be dearly bought, and, as a result, the unknown coast had been explored, India had been discovered, and, on their return, their fame was noised abroad in Lisbon, and thence through Portugal, Spain and the whole of Europe, and lives on even at this present day.

After this exploit, Lisbon spoke of nothing else but of the wealth of Calicut; how a load of cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and cloves, which in Venice cost more than one hundred ducats, was to be had there for ten to twenty; how dyewood grew there in bushes, and lac cost almost nothing; how pearls were fished for on an island near, and how the Arabians, who were enjoying all this wealth, were only badly equipped, and their ships easy to take. Nation and King were thus fired to energy. On the spot where Da Gama prayed previous to his departure, Dom Manuel built a far finer church, dedicated to Our Lady, and called Belem, a monastery of the Hieronymites, and a mausoleum for the kings. He styled himself lord of the commerce, navigation, and future conquests in Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and India. He fitted out new ships without delay.

These ships were not built only for trade, but for war. For since Pedro Alvarez Cabral, of whose crew forty-five men had been killed at Calicut, and Vasco da Gama, on his second voyage, had both been so much aggravated by the Moors and the Zamorin, that they were obliged to fire on the city, it was evident that nothing would be able to be effected here without war to the knife. It depended upon the issue of these wars, whether the old international intercourse should or should not exist longer. Even Manuel's counsellors sometimes doubted whether Portugal would be able to continue them, and the Venetians never conceived it possible; but those who undertook them were quite the men for the task, their valour being guaranteed by their standing as knights, by their detestation of the Moors, and by their religion; and their achievements are truly marvellous.   The most wonderful is, perhaps, the first war undertaken by Pacheco Pereira, in the year 1503, in defence of the King of Cochin, against the whole power of the Zamorin; the former, although a vassal of the Zamorin, had allowed the Portuguese to land and take in cargo, and had, in consequence, already once been driven from his throne, and with difficulty restored to it again. With four kings and the heir to the Crown, and with 75,000 infantry, and 160 ships, all furnished with good guns cast by Christian refugees, the Zamorin advanced to battle. He was opposed by three ships, bound together by ropes, which blocked the ford by which he had to cross, and seventy-one Portuguese. He lashed twenty prows together with chains, in order to board one of the vessels; he made a simultaneous attack upon the ford and the city; he planted artillery on the bank to bombard the enemy from a distance, and built towers on his ships to destroy them from above. He himself showed dauntless courage, even when some standing at his side were laid low by the enemy's bullets; he caused the laggards to be driven forward at the point of the sword; he made vows to his gods, and selected his days. But Pacheco broke his chains with his guns, and contrived to surprise his cannon at the right moment and to spike them, whilst he kept off his towers with bowsprits and booms. Sometimes he would remain quiet, until the enemy had come to close quarters; he would then give the signal and fire his cannon; the result was the defeat of the enemy, and the ford red with blood. He also planted sharp stakes in the mud, on which the enemy impaled themselves. The struggle lasted five months. The enemy is said to have lost 19.000 men, whilst Pacheco's warriors scarcely lost a single one. It appeared to them a miracle. "God had fought for them : they had escaped unscathed from bullets, which rebounding from them even broke stones in pieces; when Pacheco's ship was stranded in the morass, and the enemy had already seized his rudder, had not the flood risen at his prayer and floated the ship again? Nay more, when they were in peril of the enemy's floating towers, their guns were ineffectual, until Pacheco had prayed to God not to punish their sins on that one day, as the honour of the whole of Christendom was at stake." 

What was here conquered, however, was, although incited by the Moors, only an Indian power. From this time on both sides a greater war began. On the Soldan of Egypt declaring that, "If they did not cease warring, he would destroy the grave of Christ”, the Indian Moors made preparations for a vigorous resistance. Dom Manuel, on the other hand, in whose name Duarte Meneses was waging a rapid and glorious war against the Moors in Morocco, and who was also himself, on one occasion, on the point of joining personally in the campaign (for this war was none other than that which the forefathers of the nation had begun many centuries previously upon the Asturian mountains), replied to the Soldan's threat thus : "If he had hitherto injured him, he intended to inflict even more injury upon him in the future”. He hoped one day to seize Mahomet's house at Mecca. Da Gama once said, "Moors and Christians have, since the foundation of the world, been in arms against each other”. Such were the feelings which animated King and nation; their war appeared to them a veritable crusade.

On the 25th of May, 1505, Manuel despatched twenty-two sail under Don Francisco d'Almeida; his object was to hold the Indian seas by a fleet permanently stationed there, and to secure the coasts by forts, such as had first been built in Cochin for the defence of the prince.

Beginning with the African coast, Francisco stormed and took Quiloa and Mombasa, both by nearly the same tactics. And when another, following in his footsteps, defying the hostility of the Sheikh and the unhealthy climate, had established himself at Sofala, at the source of the gold trade, and when at Mozambique a fort had been built without opposition, the coast throughout its whole length was in their hands. The Prince of Malindi was devoted to their cause. The arrival of Almeida brought joy and consternation in India; joy to the enemies of the Moors, and not only to the Prince of Cochin, who received a golden crown from Almeida's hands, but also especially to the great King of Narsinga, whose realm on the highlands of the Malabar peninsula extended as far as Coromandel, and from Comorin far northwards, who once had caused 10,000 Moors to be put to death on the same day, and who now offered one of his daughters as a wife to Manuel's son;  consternation to Calicut and the Moors themselves.

The first to bring the tidings were two Persian merchants. "Bad news" they said; "with our own eyes we have seen twelve ships, all full of Christians armed with glittering weapons”. Hereupon the Moslems were summoned from their minarets to prayer; after having prayed, they fitted out eighty-four large vessels and 104 prows. Lourenço, Francisco's son, was stationed with eleven sail not far from Cranganore, when they advanced to attack him; their masts were like a thick wood, their garments red, and they were armed with bows, swords, muskets, and cannon. Lourenço addressed his men saying, "Sirs, brothers, today is a day on which our Lord will receive some of us into His holy glory”. He let them eat, until the Moors were on them. He then said, "Now, my brethren, let us prove ourselves good knights”. Thereupon he attacked the enemy's leading ship, grappled it, and sprang on board. His example was followed by others. Simon Martin sprang single-handed amongst fifteen Moors, and shouted, "Now, Christ, defend Thy faith”; he slew seven, and drove the remainder overboard. As soon as their two leading ships were taken, the Moors fled as one man, Lourenço, seeing the great spoils that were his and his ships undamaged, exclaimed, "Praised be Jesus Christ”; and built a chapel on the shore in honour of Our Lady of Victories.

Thus did the Portuguese fight, and thus their enemies. The Moors now, full of shame, hatred, and dismay, went about in great bands; they shaved their heads and chins, and bound themselves together under terrible oaths. "They would now either conquer or die”. They awaited their enemy in the harbour of Panian, under the cover of their batteries. One morning, two hours before daybreak, the Christians under Francisco and Lourenço were, before their very eyes, gathered, one and all, around the admiral's ship; a priest raised a great cross on high, and pronounced absolution and blessing upon all assembled. Many prayed to be permitted that day to enter into the glory of God. This scene lasted but a moment; the next, they separated and made for the shore. The first who reached it were thrust back. Then came Lourenço, a youth who would rather burn his booty than give it away under the price he demanded, but who, in spite of this obstinacy, was quite obedient to his father; tall, and splendid of stature, he was the first to spring on land. A Moor wounded him in the arm; but Lourenço replied by cleaving him asunder at one stroke, from the head to the breast. His father then, the royal ensign in his hand, came to his assistance. The victory was theirs. Francisco did not accede to the wishes of his soldiery to sack the city, for he knew that a strong enemy was in the vicinity, only waiting for them to begin the pillage. He himself threw the torches into the city to fire it.

By this second battle of the Portuguese in India, the Moors also were vanquished. The forts in Cranganore, Cochin, and for the present, at all events, upon the Angedives, as well as a victorious fleet cruising off the shore, kept the greater part of the coast of the Indian Peninsula in subjection to them.

The Arabian coast northwards and Eastern India still remained; they next turned their attention to both of these. In 1507, they took the Arabian fortress of Sokotra, lying at the entrance of the Gulf of Aden; and Albuquerque succeeded in building a fort at Hormuz, and in compelling the prince to pay 15,000 ducats tribute. The King of Colombo in Ceylon was forced to pay them 15,000 pounds of cinnamon, as an annual tribute. The terror spread by their deeds paralyzed the people. Before Cannanore the inhabitants saw a Portuguese slay sixteen to eighteen of the enemy each day. They said, "Is it a Frank? Is it a god of the Franks? It is the god of the Franks, and he is stronger than our gods." 

Now, although these events had quite another object than the advantage or detriment of Venice, yet it is certain that their effect upon the community of our nations was principally made important by the change in trade.

It was not until 1503 that Portuguese merchants came to Antwerp, and offered their wares to German houses. Nicholas Rechtergem is said to have been the first to enter into an arrangement with them, and, after him, the houses of Fugger, Welser, and Osterett. The South Germans were much surprised when the wares they were otherwise in the habit of sending to the Netherlands were now brought to them from there; for they were soon convinced that they were genuine. As a result, we find Augsburg now taking the lead among German cities, and of German commercial houses, that of Fugger, which in the year 1506, owing to Maximilian's good offices, sent three ships of its own to India, rose to pre-eminence, whilst in the Netherlands Bruges was displaced by Antwerp. The German trade with Venice decreased. In Italy itself, the Florentine houses, such as the Marchioni, participated directly in the new shipping trade. In Venice, the effect of this was at once felt.

Many other things also combined at this time. The Turkish war and the new ordinances of the Soldan of Egypt had already seriously damaged their commerce. In the year 1499, many houses on the Rialto went bankrupt at the same time, whilst others suffered in credit. A load of pepper, which in Calicut cost about ten ducats and was sold in Venice for forty, rose to one hundred and ten. How great was the panic then, when, in the year 1502, the news came that four barks had arrived at Lisbon bringing spices direct from Calicut. In a moment, the price of spices fell, to the great detriment of the Venetians. They had comforted themselves for a long time with the hope that King Manuel would not be able to bear the expenses of his campaigns, and would at last succumb to his numerous foes. Whenever a bark was lost, the news was announced to them from Cairo as though a victory had been won.

In 1507, after Almeida's brilliant victories, the Zamorin, the Zabai of Goa, and the Prince of Cambay, all sent to the Soldan Khan Hassan of Egypt, imploring help; and the latter, in order to save the intermediate trade between Asia and Europe, in which his whole wealth consisted, determined to assist them. Then there broke out immediately a great war of the Indians, and the Indian and Egyptian Moors against the Portuguese, and the Venetians hoped once more that the power of Portugal would be destroyed. Their own fortune, or misfortune, depended upon the issue of this undertaking, which would either destroy the Portuguese shipping trade, or prevent both Moors and Indians from ever again molesting them. The Venetians themselves engaged in it. They sent metal and gun-founders, as well as shipwrights, to the Soldan of Egypt, to whom in any case they paid tribute. The fleet which the Soldan fitted out at Suez, and despatched under Mir Hossein, was manned in part by Venetians and Dalmatians. His victory and his loss was their victory and loss also. Their maritime life and their command of the seas were alike dependent upon the issue that was to be fought out in India in the year 1508




In a description of Italy dating from these times, the Venetian possessions are never referred to, save under the name of the prince from whom they had been taken: "the city acknowledges no superior; all her possessions she has robbed from her neighbours."

This was the sentiment animating Louis XII and Maximilian, on the occasion of their first league at Trent, and on that of their second with Julius at Blois, when they resolved to conquer what belonged to them of the Venetian territory. And just now, when the existence or destruction of the Venetian trade in India was at stake, a third league was concluded with the same object in view, a league which in truth imperilled all their acquisitions.

In the summer of 1507, Maximilian held a Diet at Constance. His object was to obtain aid against Louis, and resources sufficient to enable him to invade Italy. "Seeing that Louis had broken all compacts, his investiture of Milan was void; moreover, as he intended to depose the Pope and to endanger the imperial dignity of the German nation, the Empire was bound to attack him”. After the King of France had allowed his party to fall to pieces through sheer negligence, he was unable to form another immediately, and, besides this, his envoy at Constance had been made prisoner. Maximilian made these concessions: that the Cameral Tribunal should be paid by the Estates -the origin of the sole permanent imperial tax that has ever existed- and that a deputation of the Empire should control the forces, money, and conquests of the Empire; in return for these concessions, he obtained an aid of 12,000 men and 120,000 guilders for six months.

Moreover, on this occasion he might expect from the Swiss not merely no resistance, but even support. Their envoys walked about at Constance in the mantles he had given them, were sometimes guests at his table, and received presents of silver goblets from him. The council of Zurich voted him 6,000 men, and at once arranged what contingent each canton should furnish. Towards the beginning of the year 1508, Maximilian came to Trent. At the first report of his arrival, the Ghibellines in Italy became so active, that it was deemed wise to send many of them to France. The Florentines, who were at a distance, and were besides not weak in themselves, were under French protection; yet they sent in advance to conclude a compact with him.

Fate willed it that Maximilian, whilst intending a Milanese war, embarked upon one with Venice.

The negotiations with the Venetian envoys at Constance led to no result. Was it likely that they would be willing to allow a man who had so often intended to rob them, and who had shortly before wrested Gorz from them -the last count, their vassal, at whose decease it would have devolved upon them, had, in his old age, bartered it away to Maximilian- was it probable that they would be willing to permit him and his great army to march through their passes? Accordingly, now that Venice was leagued with France against him, he resolved to attack that enemy which was less capable of resistance, and less dangerous to himself, in the event of his being attacked. On the 4th February, 1508, at Trent, his heralds leading the way, and he himself following sword in hand, Maximilian held a great procession, and, with the concurrence of the Papal envoy, adopted the new title of Roman Emperor Elect, a title until then unknown.

This he did, doubtless, in order to be able, as was actually done the same day, to arraign and condemn the Venetians, with all the greater show of right. That very day, bread was baked for the army, and provisions were sent down the Adige. In the evening, the soldiers were ordered to hold themselves in readiness. The next morning early, at three o'clock, the trumpets sounded, and the march began. The Emperor advanced with 4,000 infantry, and 1,500 horses, up the mountains of Asiago, in the direction of Vicenza. He had with him a Vicentine emigrant, Leonardo Trissino. He took the intrenchments of the Sette Communi, and received the allegiance, at any rate to some extent and sufficiently to allow his passage, of half the mountain chain, where it sinks down to the Adriatic from the chalk hills between Monte Matajur and S. Pellegrino. On his right, Friedrich of Brandenburg marched down the Adige with 2,500 men, and besieged Roveredo. On his left, the army of Erich of Brunswick-Calenberg, with climbing-irons on their feet, descended from the hills, took Cadore, and advanced forty miles. All betokened a splendid result, and Loredano, Doge of Venice, no longer peremptorily prohibited the imperial envoys from passing through. Yet, in the midst of his success, the Emperor suddenly stopped, before he had even reached Vicenza, and carefully closing the seven passes into his own country from the Isonzo to the Adige, returned to Innsbruck and Ulm.

The reason was this: the French party in Switzerland had contrived, through the mediation of two envoys from Louis, after many contradictory resolutions, to gain entirely the upper hand. As to the means which the French envoys adopted to attain their ends, we learn that one of them, Rocquebertin, once defrayed the expenses of all the strangers in Baden, and, besides this, kept open house daily; the other, the Bishop of Roeux, once paid in Lucerne the reckonings of all the peasants who had come to market. In the very midst of his operations against Venice, Maximilian heard the resolution of the Swiss, of the 25th January, which ran as follows: "if he injured the French king, he would force them to be mindful of their obligations to him," these words being a direct threat levelled at himself. For how easily Louis could interpret an attack directed against his allies as one against himself, and how easily again kindle a war against the Emperor, as he did in the year 1500! In March, the six months, for which period the Empire had voted the supplies, expired. With these thoughts he turned round and addressed himself first to the Swabian League: "They had to fear an attack upon the Tyrol, a member of their League, the perpetual estrangement of Allgau and Wallgau from the German nation, and after that the revolt of Flanders and Gelderland, of Liège and Utrecht; the assistance of the League, if it would support the German confederates against the French with money and arms, might save everything”.

If danger threatened here, his advent averted it. The deputies of the Empire, at all events, voted him assistance for six months longer, and although the aid was but irregularly paid, for the matricula, which in much later times was still incorrectly made and contained the names of mediate states as though they were immediate, must have been inaccurate at that time also, it was still considerable. With the Swiss he entered into fresh negotiations. Meanwhile another danger threatened. As he had intended a French war, and undertaken one against Venice, so now the danger threatening him did not come from France and Switzerland, as he had feared, but from Venice, which he did not fear.

The first move was made on Cadore by Bartolommeo d'Alviano, Captain of the Signoria, against Sixt Trautson, the commander there. The Emperor had bidden him pull down the houses in the valley, and barricade himself.

Trautson thought that mountains and snow were sufficient to protect him. But Alviano sought him out through snow and defiles, surrounded him above with peasants, who pelted him with stones, and below with soldiers who attacked him with fire-arms, overcame his gallant band who preferred death to surrender, and captured Cadore. Then Alviano looked further afield. All the passes, except that of Gorz, were strongly defended. Then Hans Aursperg wrote to the Princes of Brandenburg and Brunswick, who were in the Pusterthal and at Trent, that, with his Carniolans he was much too weak to hold this great broad road; but that they, on the other hand, were almost too well furnished with troopers and cannon for their narrow passes: they should come to his assistance. 

The Princes, though warned, paid no attention to the summons. Alviano knew how to take advantage of his opportunity. He had 10,000 Venetians, French, and Spaniards, took guns and scaling ladders with him, and on the 9th April, 1508, fell upon the Gorz road, and first upon Kramaun, and stormed it. The country was unprotected, the inhabitants servile and discouraged, accustomed to look upon the Signoria of Venice as their suzerain. The danger was imminent. Letters were hurriedly sent to all their neighbours: "Help, speed, haste, only haste! How can the poor walls of Gorz withstand their cannon? Trieste, the Karst, and the whole of Austria will soon be lost. Let us not be destroyed by these Italians”. Forthwith a summons was sent through Carinthia, Styria and Carniola : "every man must be ready with armour and weapons, as soon as he heard the bells ring and shots fired, otherwise not only the houses but the churches would be in danger”, the lonely churches which these people love. But the Carinthians replied: “the 700 men in their passes, with the horses of the country, were their hope and defence, and these could not be dispensed with”. The Styrians replied: “they were threatened by the Hungarians”. The Carniolans, whose nobles were equipped with 200 horses, said that, “they required the help of more experienced soldiers to save them; if the nobles meant to compel them, without bringing such troops into the field, they would rather strike them dead." Only Erich came with 1,400 men, but even he did not venture into the open field, "for he was much too weak for that."

Thus it happened that, on Easter Eve, after Andreas Lichtenstein had held out in the crumbling walls of Gorz a day longer than he had promised, and had repulsed an assault, he was obliged to surrender. Immediately after, Wippach and Duino fell. When the people of Trieste saw for the third time a ship of the Venetian fleet approach before their eyes with a white flag, and their garrison again open fire, they murmured together, "that was a bad business; for 100 years past they had lived under the protection of Austria, and would still continue so to live; but they must have assistance." While they were being bombarded from the sea, they saw Bartolommeo approach from the land, and no help being visible they surrendered, and bought themselves free from pillage. Hans Thur still held out for a while upon the almost inaccessible rocks of Mitterburg, and Hans Rauber in S. Veit am Pflaum; but they also called in vain for men and weapons and they too surrendered. Portenau had long since fallen, and the garrison was seen flying to Laibach. In this general disaster, only Bernhardt Reiniger on the Adelsberg showed real German courage. He scattered the first horsemen who approached looking for plunder. He took Savorgnano prisoner, shortly before the end of his victories. His castle fired and in ruins, he accepted safe conduct, and marched away. What Aursperg had said, was fulfilled to the letter. The Germans had lost forty-seven good towns. Maximilian, meanwhile, was journeying dejectedly up and down the Rhine. Not only had the attack upon Venice proved so disastrous for him, but also on the Lower Rhine Charles of Gelderland, since the breach with France, was waging a successful campaign against him. At one time he was encamped in the strong Castle of Pouderoyen, at the confluence of the Waal and the Maas, whence he had levied toll upon seventy-two villages and upon all the ships in the rivers; at another time he would ride through a rainy night upon bad roads, appear the next morning before a distant town, and fire it. In this way Weesp was burnt. The prophecy of their mermaid, "Muiden shall remain Muiden”, availed the inhabitants of that city nought on this occasion, and it too was taken. In short, the Duke of Gelderland kept the whole of the Netherlands in terror. And, in addition to all this, Maximilian was filled with the greatest fear of all the fear of an insurrection in the Empire.

For one moment he must take breath. Whilst then the Prince of Anhalt succeeded at this crisis in seizing Pouderoyen, he directed his military operations against Gelderland alone, and ordered the Bishop of Trent to conclude a truce with Venice.

Some of the elders of the Venetian Senate had frequently, but vainly, warned their fellows that it was sufficient to act on the defensive; to attack would only arouse new enemies. Not therein alone did the difficulty of their position consist, but in the entanglement of their relations with the Great Powers. Louis XII, who regarded the war in the Alps and in the Netherlands as one single affair, both parts being connected through his influence in Switzerland, demanded that Venice should include Gelderland in the truce. Friends who were advantageously situated should protect him who was at a disadvantage. But to this the Venetians refused to agree. It is perhaps the grandest moment in their policy, that, after having overcome the Emperor, they refused to listen to the demands of France. They could not be prevailed upon to do more than restore Adelsberg to the Emperor: for the rest a truce was granted them for three years. Maximilian, of course, felt himself terribly aggrieved, but Louis almost equally so, as the Venetians had refused him that consideration to which the services rendered them would appear to entitle him. And thus it came about, that Maximilian and Louis, between whom the struggle that had just burst forth principally lay, drew closer together. In July, 1508, Maximilian went to Hertogenbosch, and then to his daughter and grandchildren. Negotiations were entered into between Cardinal d'Amboise and Maximilian's daughter, Margaret; they were, however, rendered difficult owing to Maximilian's refusal to desist from attacking Gelderland, while Louis, on the other hand, would not be restrained from an attack on Navarre. Margaret said her head ached from the business.' But at last an understanding was arrived at. Muiden and Weesp were restored to the Emperor, whilst the King was guaranteed the renewal of his Milanese investiture. Maximilian desisted from his schemes upon Gelderland, and Louis from his against Navarre. But the main outcome was this; they resolved upon a joint attack upon Venice, by which they considered themselves aggrieved. Thus arose, the League of Cambray, concluded on the loth December, 1508. It was an alliance of the two powerful princes against a city, which had the audacity to take up an independent position between them. All princes who had any claims upon Venice, or rather upon its lands and possessions, were to be invited to join in the operations. The frontiers of Milan and Naples were to be readjusted in favour of Louis and Ferdinand, those of the Empire and Austria in favour of Maximilian, and those of the States of the Church in favour of the Pope. In this arrangement, the erroneous, but, as appears from the above-quoted description of Italy, popular idea was followed, that Padua, Vicenza, and Verona primarily belonged to the Empire, to which they were consequently assigned.

True, Maximilian could not possibly change his loss into gain on the one side, and attain a victory on the other, more easily than by entering into this League. He was the first to swear the compact of Cambray. Then Louis affixed his seal to it in the palace of Bourges, after sermon and mass; he showed himself very much delighted. An old plan had now ripened to accomplishment. Ferdinand delayed until March, 1509; he then laid his hand on the altar, and swore it by the Holy Eucharist. The Pope unwillingly resorted to this extreme measure, often as he had threatened to do so, and although he had always incited Emperor and King to it. He went once more with the Venetian ambassador, Giorgio Pisani, to Cività Vecchia. The sea was tranquil, only a light breeze filled the sails; he was lively and kindly disposed. He thought if only vassals were placed in his cities, like the Malatesta, he could endure this, and spare Italy this war. He proposed this course to the ambassador. Pisani coldly and proudly replied: "It is not our habit to make kings", and did not even announce the proposal to Venice. Thereupon Julius also ratified the League, pronounced his ban upon Doge, senate, and subjects of Venice; ordered his nephew, Francesco Maria, the young Duke of Urbino -for Guidobaldo was dead- into the field, and prepared for the struggle.




Thus the very existence of Venice was in extreme jeopardy. Her trade depended upon the relations between Asia and Europe, and now, in India, Portuguese and Moors were engaged in a deadly struggle as to whether these should last longer or not. The acquisitions of Venice were due to the feuds of her neighbours, and now her neighbours had leagued together more powerfully than ever before to wrest her conquests from her. The first struggle was, for the most part, in foreign lands, the second in their own, and to this latter they devoted their whole strength, and were self-confident enough not to fear the issue.

As a matter of fact, the League was not as powerful as it appeared. Maximilian and Julius had both misgivings as to Louis, the first on account of Gelderland, and the latter on account of Amboise's old schemes. Louis and Ferdinand, on the other hand, were afraid of Maximilian; the former for Milan, the latter for Naples. They were negotiating, and had concluded alliances against each other, even before their common League was carried into effect.

Should it not, then, have been possible for the Venetians to detach one or other from such an alliance? It must be confessed that, had they succeeded, they would have profited but little; besides which, Ferdinand never moved a finger until all was settled. At the beginning of April, Maximilian was at Xanten, instead of at Trent. The Venetians were not frightened by the Papal preparations: the only enemy they really feared was Louis - that Louis whom they themselves had invited to Italy. To gain him over, appeared to them perhaps unfeasible, and, it might be, not even to their advantage.

If we inquire what had really incited Louis against Venice, we shall at once perceive that it was not the election of Julius to the Papal chair in the stead of Amboise; for the share Amboise himself had in this election is much more certain than that of Venice. He must have had other reasons which indeed had already been evident on several occasions. In the year 1501, he was impelled, as it appears, by nothing but his right, which he had from the Visconti; in 1504, by the open assistance the Venetians afforded the Spaniards; and, at present, the irritating factor was the truce they had concluded with Maximilian, without regard being paid to his demands. The hatred ever cherished by the prince and the nobles against the powerful communes was also a very powerful factor. "These fishermen," they said, "must be driven back again into their lagoons to catch fish." And thus Montjoye, the first French king-at-arms, appeared in his cotte, embroidered with golden lilies, on the threshold of the great hall in Venice, and there proclaimed war upon the Republic; war for life and death, with fire and sword, on land and sea, until the lands, which they had torn from others, were completely restored."

"Sir herald”, replied Loredano to Montjoye, "God, whom no one can deceive, will decide between us”. Their envoy in France said: "the world will see whether brute force or intellect will be triumphant”. It was sure to come to a struggle between them one day, and it was probably in anticipation thereof, that they had summoned the French to Italy. Many entertained the hope that a glorious victory would be theirs, and Italy at last ridded of them.

With this thought they equipped and prepared for action. All the most tried knights of Italy - for the last glory of their country was at stake -entered into their service and formed their heavy cavalry. From Apulia and the Romagna came their infantry, the best being that formed by Dionigi di Naldi, a party-leader in the Val di Lamone, from the inhabitants of this valley, and so well disciplined, that other companies also were organized after their pattern, dressed in red and green, and called Brisignels. For the peasants and citizens, a kind of militia had been already organized. The coasts of Illyria, the Peloponnese, the Aegean Sea, and the Hellespont sent light Greek horse. Half savage archers, the Sagdars, came from Crete.

The supreme commander of this force was Pitigliano, a man who had never yet made a resolve, much less carried out any action, unless the stars were propitious, and whom years -he was already over sixty - had made still more circumspect. His lieutenant, Alviano, commanded the infantry. Of constellations the latter knew this much, that Mars was in the highest heaven when he was cut from his mother's body. He was small of stature and weakly in appearance, but yet had slain bears; his troops sometimes mocked at his figure, but he held them so firmly in control, that not even a baggage boy would dare to desert the standard. His decisions sometimes looked like violence of temper, and his punishments seemed cruel; but afterwards, when he had cooled down, he was gentle and generous, and master of himself. By nature he was boldest of the bold. Many ascribed to him Gonzalvo's victory on the Garigliano, and as he had conquered Istria and Gorz, his renown was fresher, and his fame greater than that of Pitigliano. Only in one thing did both agree, that Pitigliano was justly proud of having never served a foreign prince, and that Alviano conceived that he would now be able to defend Italy from the barbarians.

He of the two had the bolder hopes. "If he might give reins to his horse and outrun the train and transport of his army, he would have Milan within three days. Had he not driven the French out of Naples? Now the King was coming; but he would bring him back a prisoner to Venice”. He had with him an ensign, upon which was emblazoned a winged lion tearing an eagle. His cry was "Italy, freedom." 

But we must remember that all were not as sanguine as he was. Many thought that they ought to be satisfied, if, perhaps, Cesena and Imola were captured from the Pope, and Genoa was roused by the Fregosi to revolt. The Signoria ordered that the attack be awaited behind intrenchments, and the campaign restricted to sending assistance to places attacked. Amongst the people there was a presentiment that some disaster was approaching, A great conflagration, which at that time burnt down the arsenal, was regarded as a heaven-sent sign. But more still was said to have happened. The Virgin Mary was said to have been seen in the sea sitting on a log and saying, "Weep, country, weep." 

In April, 1509, the war commenced. The French soon crossed the Adda crying "France", and then came the Venetians with their cry of "Libertà." Then the French attacked Treviglio, the Mantuans, who as well as the Ferrarese had joined the league, Casalmaggiore, and the Papal troops, Brisighella, and all three places fell. But, as they pushed on further, the first two were repulsed, and only the Papal troops succeeded in taking Russi. But the Venetians did not trouble themselves about the Papal army; they attacked the French with great fury. In Rivolta they drove out all who appeared to them to be suspicious, boys of fifteen and old men of seventy; they then marched upon Treviglio, eager for pillage, though it was in their own country. King Louis was at Milan, and intended remaining there two days, when, late in the night, Trivulzio came to him from the Adda with the tidings that Treviglio was being bombarded, and torches were being incessantly waved from the walls, as a sign that it could barely hold out; but he felt himself too weak to save it. The King assembled his hommes d'armes in the morning, rode in full armour and with joyful looks through their lines, and set out. On the way thither he learned that the White Knight, his commander in Treviglio, had been made prisoner, and that the city was lost; the citizens who, having been plundered and expelled by the Venetians, who spared neither nuns nor the Holy Sacrament, were seeking for shelter in Milan, came to meet him. He pressed on; on the 6th of May he transported his soldiers across the Adda, on two bridges of boats, the one for the infantry and the other for the horse, and confronted the enemy; he in the valley, they on the high ground. He could thus either attack the foe in their camp or force them to come down into the valley. The camp, however, was too strong to be taken by assault, and for four days he tried to induce them to come down by skirmishes; on the fifth day, the King went to attack the towns in the rear of the enemy. He took Rivolta, and on Monday, the 14th of May, advanced upon Pandino. The roll of his army showed a strength of 28,232 men; the first division was commanded by Chaumont, the second by the King in person, and the third by Longueville. Thus had come about the situation which the Venetian Signoria had arranged beforehand, and Alviano's thirst for battle could no longer be restrained. "What use is a soldier to a country if he allows it to be pillaged?" Therefore, whilst the French slowly advanced along the valley of the Adda, the Venetians, 33,000 men strong, hurried along the shorter road over the high ground, in order to anticipate them by arriving first at Pandino. It cannot be denied that arms rule the world, and the result of centuries of wisdom depends upon the issue of a single battle. Just where their two roads met, Alviano and the first French division caught sight of each other, and the French began the attack. Alviano, eager for the fray as soon as the first shots had been fired, being under the impression that the first division formed the King's whole army, and wishing to protect his rear and flank from the attacking enemy, planted his thirty-six guns in the brushwood, and summoning Pitigliano to his assistance, hurled himself with his infantry through the vineyards and over the ditches at the enemy. The French gave way. Chaumont sent to the King, saying: "Sire, you must fight." Louis immediately sent Bourbon and La Tremouille to his aid; behind them, sword in hand, and surrounded by princes and pensioners, came the King himself; then the standards waved and the rest of the army came up. It was in the midst of a thunderstorm, and the rain falling like hail appears to have concealed the arrival of the King from the Venetians. But as soon as they saw him - I can imagine that the lightning every now and then burst through the gloom and shone on the steel armour, illuminating the field of battle - when they realized that the enemy was receiving assistance, their courage sank. Yet, for a while, the Brisignels gallantly withstood the charge of the King's Swiss and Gascons. With them lay the issue. It was upon peasants and shepherds from the high valleys of the Alps, the Apennines and the Pyrenees, that the fate of Venice depended. What did it matter to them? They were only bent on plunder. Now the Italians had their booty with them from Treviglio, and their sole care was to secure it, if not by victory, then by flight at the right time. The French and Germans had gained no booty, and were, therefore, all the more eager to obtain it; so it happened that the Brisignels were driven back. Alviano, in the thick of the fray, was wounded just as he was about to exchange his tired steed for a fresh one, and was immediately taken prisoner. All his troops fled, and communicating their terror to Pitigliano's men, to whom they had not been able to communicate their lust of battle, turned them also to flight. The day was completely lost. The King gazed on the great number of fallen and vowed a chapel to Our Lady of Victories for the repose of their souls. According to most accounts, Alviano commanded the last of four columns, and the others were too far ahead to come to his assistance. Others say that the first and attacking column was under Alviano's command, but that Pitigliano, who had quarrelled with him in Treviglio, looked on at the battle from the hills, and would not stir to help him. That Pitigliano was in the rear, seems to be confirmed by the retreat, which took the road to Caravaggio; had he been in front towards Crema, he would not have fled back, that is, upon the very swords of the victorious enemy. Pitigliano alone now endeavoured, though in vain, to rally his soldiers round the standard. They had lost their fame; but they would not lose their lives and booty as well. Some would not place their names again upon the rolls; some did so, received fresh pay, and then fled. The citizens of Brescia refused to be burdened with an army such as this; they would only receive such of their men as were amongst them. In Peschiera, the army despaired of holding together; it found the gates of Verona closed against it, and, having for a while bivouacked upon the plain, took its way to Mestre, on the coast.

Louis pursued the fugitives. The castle of Caravaggio held out three days; all other places surrendered at the first blast of the trumpet. In Brescia, the King rode up the steps into the upper court of the palace without meeting with resistance, and it was only Peschiera that needed to be stormed. The inhabitants of Ferrara rang their bells, drove out the Visdomino, and retook the Polesina. The Pope proclaimed the victory in an Italian sermon, and occupied Rimini and Faenza. The Germans appeared on the Lago di Garda, in Friuli and beyond Vicenza. Many advised King Louis to press on to the coast, and crown his triumph by utterly destroying Venice.

In Venice itself, when, after Alviano's many letters, all promising victory, the news of this great disaster arrived, the Senate speedily assembled, the merchants closed their shops, the monks, mindful of the Pope's ban, fled, and the people, crying aloud, surrounded the palace. The remnant of the army, 6,000 strong, had no inclination to fight more. Thereupon the Doge invited Pietro Barbo, an old, sick man, to the council; he had not attended the sittings of the Senate for a long time past, but he now put on his official dress, and was carried in a litter into the hall; yet he could give no other advice, but to trust in God's protection. Matteo Priuli was the first to propose that they should give up the subject towns. This proposal was adopted: "Thus does a skipper throw cargo overboard to save his ship". Twelve men now examined the coast, to see where precautions against an attack were insufficient; orders were despatched to Cyprus to open all the reserve stores, and all salt ships were commanded to load corn only; the mills at Treviso were grinding day and night, and preparations were being made to utilize other islands and the sea; and strangers who had no business connections were expelled. Meanwhile envoys were sent to Maximilian, assuring him that "the Venetians would retire from Verona, Vicenza, and Padua"; others were on their way to Naples, saying that "the harbours and cities of Apulia were open to the King of Spain"; others again repaired to the Pope, inviting him to occupy Rimini and Cervia. These resolutions may perhaps be called heroic. The republic wished to get rid of all its conquests on the mainland, in order to be able to maintain itself, and perhaps compel its enemies to make peace. The surrendered towns were ordered to subject themselves; how, otherwise, could the Paduan nobles have been enabled to boast that the Emperor, thanks to them, was lord of Padua? Their former surrender to Venice had had the semblance of liberty, and so now, Venice being unable to protect them, they received back from her, if not their oath of allegiance, at all events the liberty to choose their lord. As the Venetians later speak of criminal faithlessness, they must have expected that these towns would still hold out for them. But the towns too were dismayed, and so surrendered themselves, each to one whose claims the League had recognized.

Thus perished the power of Venice, and the hope of the Italian patriots. Only one small consolation remained; all Italians engaged in the battle who were wounded had been wounded in the head and breast, and not in the back.

During these months of preparation and decision, tidings reached Venice of the issue of the struggle in India. It was perhaps not less unexpected. For at first the operations of Mir Hossein and the Egyptian fleet were successful. Mir Hossein discovered Don Lourenço in the harbour of Schaul, where the shallow water never allowed the Portuguese to come to close quarters and board. As Lourenço was attempting to gain the open sea, his ship stuck fast between fishing poles, in which predicament Mir Hossein attacked him. The hero, covered with wounds, had himself carried to the foot of the mast, where he kept encouraging his men to the onslaught, until he was at last slain by a bullet in the breast.

But the Mamelukes and Moors did not long rejoice over their triumph. Francisco, on hearing of the death of his only son, exclaimed, "Whoever loved him, let him not lament, but help me to avenge him"; and in December, 1508, four days after the League of Cambray had been concluded, he sailed out to find Hossein. He burnt Dabul, a city of the Zabai, who had summoned Hossein to his assistance, and spared not a soul therein. On the 3rd February, 1509, he sailed against his enemy into the harbour of Diu; each of his ships singled out one of the enemy's, attacked, and boarded it. Whilst the struggle was going on on the ships, the prows of Calicut, and the princes of Diu, anticipating what the issue would be, slipped away.

Neither Dalmatians nor Venetians helped the Egyptians: they sank, or surrendered. Mir Hossein sprang on shore, mounted a horse, and escaped. Lourenço was at length avenged. The coast towns of the Soldan thereafter could not pay him any more tribute. The last hope of the Venetians was broken; and the Portuguese, without whose safe conduct no ship dared after this to enter the Indian Ocean, were completely masters of the situation. That was the time, Queen Helena of Abyssinia wrote, which Christ foretold to his blessed Mother: "In the land of the Franks a king shall arise, who shall destroy the whole race of the Moors and barbarians." 

From that time, Italy ceased to be the "inner court in the house of the world", as Ascanio Sforza expressed himself, and the centre of the European trade. The 3rd February, 1509, crushed the trade, and the 14th May, 1509, the power of Venice.

What is it that exalts nations, and brings them low? Is it their natural development, their growth and decline, as is the case with human beings? But external circumstances often work together in a wonderful manner. Or is it a divinely pre-ordained destiny which drives them on either to destruction or prosperity? The growing and flourishing state is girt round by other living forces, which prevent its expanding beyond measure. Venice had sprung up when her neighbours were weak; she now came into collision with stronger powers, and whilst developing herself widely and occupying an independent position in their midst, she was attacked by them and overcome. And simultaneously a new maritime power, which sought and found another centre, sapped those resources which had enabled her to rise so high. Venice could not become more than she now was; but she might still maintain her present position.




After these great blows had fallen upon her, and Venice was stripped of all save herself, and what she had once acquired in the oriental expeditions against the Turks, Julius and Ferdinand resolved to spare the remainder; the former, because the city was an eye of Italy; the latter, because he was involved at that moment in his Moorish campaigns, and was mindful of his Catalonian claims to Neopatri and Athens: "Had he only 3,000 landsknechts, in addition to 20,000 Spaniards, he would even take Constantinople itself". Louis and Maximilian, on the other hand, were for utterly annihilating Venice; and to this intent they joined hands, through the intervention of Amboise. It was not until after the battle, that Louis received the Duke of Savoy into his camp, who demanded Cyprus. It was not until the 29th of May, that Maximilian, through many princes, counts, knights, and servants of the realm, proclaimed hostilities against Venice. He was most urgent in the matter; he declared to the princes of the realm that the territory of Venice had been already won, and that he was now minded to take to the sea, and annihilate also the rest of her power. His plan was, with Papal and Spanish fleets, to attack the city from the sea, whilst German and French armies, advancing down the Brenta, invested the city on the land side, and reduced it. It could be divided up into four districts, and each prince could have a castle there. 

With these schemes in view, he made his preparations. Shortly before this, the three ships which the Fuggers had despatched to Calicut returned, and the instant gain of 175 per cent, made this house wealthy enough to pay him the money which Julius, Ferdinand, and Louis, each for different reasons, had promised him; namely, 300,000 ducats, so that the profits of the Eastern trade were not merely withdrawn from Venice, but were even employed against her. But before he had finished his preparations, the undertaking began to wear a different aspect.

On the return of Louis to Milan, he was received with a triumphal arch, upon which were represented his achievements, his councillors, his march and his battle, the nobili of Venice finding also a place thereon. In their flowing robes, with hand on breast and faces serious and thoughtful, they looked as though their sole purpose was not only to defend themselves, but also to repair the damage and to punish the faithless. The facts are these. In the Venetian territories, both parties, rulers and subjects, appear at first to have believed that they could dispense each with the other. When the rulers saw that their enemies would not be satisfied with the possessions which they had renounced in their favour, but intended to subject even them themselves, and became aware that they needed a bulwark for their defence, and when at the same time their subjects were reminded, by the rigour of the new government, of the clemency of the old, they both perceived that communities of men are not so easily dissolved as formed, but grow into a natural cohesion, to rend which asunder is to endanger the life of the whole.

This truth was first realized at Treviso, which lay amidst the estates of the Venetian nobles, and at Padua, for whose daily traffic with Venice eighty boats were scarcely sufficient, and which yearly sold to Venice corn and the produce of its orchards and vineyards, to the value of 40,000 ducats. When Leonardo Trissino appeared at Treviso, to occupy that city in the name of the Emperor, it only required a shoemaker to raise the standard and the cry of "San Marco!" for the whole of the people to join him. Had it not, 175 years previously, in similar straits, of its own accord thrown its fate in with that of Venice? It again received a Venetian garrison within its walls. The Imperialists were already in possession of Padua. Yet when, in the early morning of the 27th of July, 1509, Andrea Gritti had surprised one of the gates masked sharpshooters behind hay waggons picked out each his man among the guard, and 2,000 were in reserve in a neighbouring thicket and dashing through the streets raised the national cry, the people here also declared for Venice, and the landsknechts were forced to retire. The chiefs of the nobles were punished for having surrendered their city.

But the war, hereupon, began to wear a changed aspect. Towards the autumn, Maximilian arrived on the scene with twenty-six princes and 12,000 horse - La Palice, Bayard, and French and Spanish auxiliaries were with him with more than one hundred cannon and so many landsknechts that his army was 50,000 men strong; he came like a true emperor, in the hope of a battle such as Louis had fought and won. The peasants in the mountains surrendered, those living near the plain fled with wife and child, with cattle and chattels, to the lagoons, behind banks and dykes (they drove 10,000 head of cattle to Cavarzere, 20,000 to Montalban, and thus we can see how the lagoons may have been peopled in bygone days); but no army appeared. Only Padua opposed its triangular fortifications, with walls sixty feet in height, and five-fold escarpments, to the enemy's advance. Loredano, now convinced that the fortune of Venice depended upon preservation of the towns on the mainland, set the Venetians a new example, and, though no noble had ever before served on land, now offered both his sons for the defence of Padua. They were joined by 174 other young nobili, each accompanied by ten men, bound to them for life and death. Thus they came, in all 10,000 men, to Padua. One day they were all assembled on the Prato della Valle, before the church of Sta Giustina, Padua's patron saint. Here an altar was raised, on which was placed a copy of the Holy Gospels; after mass they one and all advanced to the table, and laying their hand on the Gospels swore to defend the city with true allegiance, and with their lives. 

Against this city Maximilian now advanced. His letters, which flew into the city attached to the points of arrows, were not heeded. The balls from his great mortars, the "Strauss," the "Scharfe Metze," and others, which were placed on special carriages, and could only be fired off four times a day, terrified them not. Unconcerned, Coelius Rhodiginus worked on at his book "Lectiones antiquae". Some Spanish companies, trained under the great Gonzalvo, stormed a bastion, which they scaled; but the attack ended in their own destruction, when the powder, concealed under dry faggots, caught fire and exploded. The landsknechts were ready to storm once more, if some heavy-armed troops were associated with them; and Maximilian actually commanded the French hommes d'armes, who were with him, to help them; but this did not suit their temper. Bayard was wrath and said: "Shall we rush into danger at the side of mere tailors and cobblers? Let him send his German nobles with us." But these latter, on being appealed to, replied, "They were come to fight on horseback, and not to storm." Maximilian, in the vexation of spirit which is aroused in every energetic man by the impediments of prejudice, gave orders to break up the camp, and throwing garrisons into the other fortresses, left Italy.

After this, the fortunes of the Venetians increased mainly through the attachment of all the peasants to them. It would often happen, when the Germans were marching through the valleys between the vineyards, that, where the defile was narrow, peasants would come out from behind the vines crying: "now they were going to avenge their fathers, children, and wives", and attack them; often they would conceal themselves behind the bushes, until a weak detachment came by, and then they would call the Venetians, who were also concealed hard by, to the slaughter. The Marquis of Mantua escaped from some soldiers who suddenly attacked him; but four peasants found him crouching in some maize, and, in spite of his great promises, they consigned him to the tower of St. Mark's. The Bishop of Trent, whom the Emperor had left behind in Verona, arrested a certain man who said he was a Venetian. The bishop hanged him; but he remained firm to the last. Every day the situation grew worse. The Venetians then succeeded in placing even Verona in danger, and actually in taking Vicenza, Monselice, Montagnana, and many other towns. Immediately they took a place, they erected a statue of Saint Mark there, but no longer, as formerly, with a book, but with a sword. 

Maximilian once again, on the 7th April, 1510, commissioned his general, Rudolf of Anhalt, a man called by the neighbours at home "high crown of the lineage of Anhalt", he was famed for his loyalty, and his army called him Anhalt the Loyal (Anhalt das treue Blut) to make incursions and ravage the land with fire and sword, with pillage and murder. The most horrible deeds were then done. In the Grotto of Masono, two thousand men, women, and children of good family had taken refuge; some of the French auxiliaries came to the grotto, and, as the wind was blowing into it, they made a fire at the entrance, so that all the unfortunates were suffocated by the smoke. In Udine two angels with bloody swords were believed to have been seen above the church. In this war, in which sieges, stratagems, victories, counter-stratagems, defeats, and retreats interchanged in rapid succession, they appear to have fulfilled their omen throughout the whole of Friuli. In Austria, some confessed that they had been hired by the Venetians to set fire to the country.

Venice no longer waged this war in order to conquer or to liberate Italy these plans were past and gone; her aim now was to avail herself of the almost unexpected devotion of her people, and of the general state of affairs, to regain her territory, at all events in part. Therefore, now that her Indian trade was ruined, she busied herself with a new organization of commerce in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile fresh events took place.




"Your Holiness knows", the Venetians wrote, after their first disaster, to the Pope, "how we are situated: your Holiness will pity us. Blessed Father and Lord, our gracious master! If we have obeyed your precepts, as we have done, may the hand that inflicted the wound deign to heal it." 

The Pope thought that the League of Cambray was now satisfied; "if the Emperor was not in possession of his cities, it was due to his own dilatoriness"; and, on the 20th February, 1510, in St. Peter's hall, he released Venice from the ban of excommunication, and, stretching out his hand, pronounced his blessing on the envoys of the republic. His noble soul was full of grand plans, urgently needed for the whole of Italy.

Amboise had supported the Emperor's expedition against Venice with French forces, in order that he should make him Pope; and in the manuscripts of Bethune is contained a whole list of favours, which Amboise would confer upon the Emperor, as soon as he had attained his aim. His own danger, accordingly, confirmed Julius in his old intention of liberating his native land, Genoa, whence his kinsmen, the Fregosi, had been exiled, so that he might thus drive the French from Italian soil. Formerly this had been the intention of the Venetians as well as his own; they had, however, first of all to fight out their quarrel together. This had now been done, and the power of Venice was broken. Julius now resolved to save the rest of the Venetian power, and to commence his work in league with the republic. The resolve was all the bolder, as it would certainly kindle the war against him, which his enemies at present hesitated to begin. Although his scheme was so dangerous that the galleys were kept at Ostia ready for sea, in order, if necessary, to enable him to escape, he yet adhered to it: "It suited Louis to make the other princes his vassals, and himself his chaplain; but he would not tolerate this tyranny any longer, he would drive the French from Italy, and if his sins were so grievous as to prevent his accomplishing his purpose, he would live no longer. He would shed his blood for the liberation of Italy."

Without delay hesitation was foreign to him he proceeded to action, and first of all in Ferrara and Genoa.

Now in Ferrara, Alfonso d'Este held sway, as did his fathers, uncontrolled alike by his subjects, his relations, and his superiors. His subjects he ruled by tribunal and sword; he proclaimed his laws by sound of the trumpet, without asking anyone, and punished the rebels with rack or sword. He kept his brothers, Giulio and Ferrante, who had conspired against his life, in close confinement. As a result of the battle of Agnadello, he had ridded himself of the Venetian Visdomino, who with his processions and his drums and fifes had not even spared his court; instead of cleaving to his suzerain, the pope, he adhered to emperor and king.

The Pope now demanded of this Alfonso that he should make peace with Venice. To make an attempt upon Genoa, in July, 1510, he despatched Marc Antonio Colonna and the party of the Fregosi, who, in anticipation of his achievements, called him Julius Caesar, and with the shout of "Libertà e Italia", came to the Riviera.

But Alfonso, who, with cannon that he himself had cast, had shortly before, from his tower Pepos and the embankments on the river, annihilated a considerable Venetian fleet, which had advanced up the Po against him, would not assent to this peace. Julius, wrath that he should still have vassals whom he could not control, demanded yet more: "Alfonso should not impose any fresh burdens upon his subjects, should moreover set free his brother Ferrante, who was the Pope's godson, and should not, in defiance of his suzerain, manufacture salt at Comacchio for Agostino Ghisi, who had rented the saltworks in the newly acquired Cervia, was already complaining of this which he had never dared to do as long as Cervia was Venetian. But the only answer Alfonso returned was either a flat refusal or a subterfuge: he would not obey him.

The Fregosi in Genoa succeeded no better. They hoped that their partisans would rise, as soon as they appeared. But the French had, on this occasion, a well-disciplined body of men both inside and outside the city, and kept everyone in terror. It is recorded that the peasants, when the heads of executed rebels were sent through their villages and stuck on stakes to strike terror into them, did not dare to touch them when they saw them blown down by the wind. Thus, while the Fregosi were expecting a movement on the part of their adherents, the latter, on their side, were waiting until the Fregosi achieved some success.

This first misadventure aroused the Pope to fresh exertions. He put Alfonso under ban and fitted out a fleet against Genoa. But he conceived still greater schemes; with one stroke he would overcome Ferrara, rouse Genoa, drive the French from Milan, and help the Venetians to triumph over the Emperor. And in this he looked to the Swiss for assistance. The epoch arrived in which the Swiss attained the zenith of their renown, both in war and politics. Let us sketch in outline their position at this time.

In February, 1509, Louis had abandoned his alliance with them, and it is patent for what reason. In spite of his annual subsidies, he had on two occasions, in 1501 and 1503, almost come to open war with them, had at last been obliged to confirm the rights of the people of Uri to Bellinzona, and had never been able to satisfy the claims of certain mercenaries to payments long due. And as often as a campaign was in prospect, the factions asserted themselves after his alliance, just as before. The negotiations of the year 1507 against Maximilian cost him the very considerable sum of 230,000 guilders. He thought he was bargaining for obedient mercenaries, but found them very refractory allies. Now Louis, who never underestimated the value of money, no doubt thought that, even without annual subsidies, he would secure his true partisans by secret pensions, and an army by guaranteeing pay. Directly he had renounced the alliance, this supposition was confirmed. Without any annual subsidies, 6,000 Swiss joined him in his war with Venice and decided his victory on the very day that an alliance with Venice, which held out an even greater prospect of success, was proposed to them at home. After the battle, nothing of course came of this. 

Whilst then the Swiss were now released from all obligations to any prince, the patriots among them hoped that, in the future, every Swiss would be restrained from accepting foreign pay, and would hereafter live in true liberty, without serving in the field and accepting money for such service.

It must be confessed that this hope was not likely to be realized. To forego the money might not, perhaps, have been such a hardship either for the judges, who still sat in judgment beneath the fir-tree at Lastorf, or for the people of quality, who thought it too great an expense to warm a separate room for their servants, or for the respectable householders, who were content with windows of cloth or, if of glass, with roughly glazed panes, costing four pfennigs each, or even for the simple cowherds and peasants. But they could not live without war. As soon as they were old enough, the boys dangled a sword over their left knee, stuck an ostrich feather in their caps, followed the drum, and practised musket shooting. No fair, no church festival, not even the swearing-in of a new magistrate took place without a review and a musket-practice. Even the lame must have coats of mail, and the priest in the pulpit was girded with a sword. A wedding party was honoured when many uninvited guests followed, so long as they had halberts and swords and marched three and three. Whenever these martial fellows were gathered together, families and guilds in separate rooms they all called each other "thou" there would appear in their midst, perhaps, one who had just returned home from active service, and would clink the guilders that he had got as pay or booty, and fire the others with the wish that they also would be one day thought of in their homes in fine helmets and with halberts. Amman Reding rightly remarked: "Their youth must spend itself somewhere." 

In the conviction that this people would, of all allies, be the least dangerous for Italy, Julius, who was the first among the popes to surround his person with a Swiss guard, concluded with the Swiss, through the mediation of Matthaus Schinner, Bishop of the Valais, on the 26th February, 1510, an alliance for five years, in return for an annual subvention of 12,000 guilders; in return, they were to furnish 6,000 men against every enemy that should cause trouble to the Church of Rome. With this alliance, Julius thought that he would infallibly carry out his designs. In July, he sent 36,000 guilders to Martinach, and demanded the promised contingent. At the end of August, 1510, his comprehensive military scheme was developed. The Papal army occupied Modena and threatened Ferrara; and the Venetians (the Germans having departed) rose up against Verona. The fleet, to which the Pope had entrusted the ensign, the key and the triple crown, had already put to sea for the purpose of attacking Genoa, and the Swiss, 8,000 men strong, appeared simultaneously on the Tresa, with the intention of marching through the Milanese, and falling upon the other side of Ferrara as Chaumont had done upon Bologna and thus deciding the day. "The papal party was already in great strength at Ferrara, and Lucrezia wished to fly. The city would be forced to surrender as Bologna did. And then had not understandings with Brescia and Parma been arrived at, and was not the Ghibelline party in the whole of Milan on their side?" The Pope now himself left Rome and went to Bologna. The cardinals of French sympathies forsook him; but he had no doubt of success. In Loreto, he dedicated a great silver cross to the Virgin, and the superscription: "In hoc signo vinces".

It often happened, in Switzerland, that the negotiations which led to no result before the army took the field, were immediately successful as soon as it had done so, and when those who were most eager for the war had marched out with it. If we investigate, we find that this evil was often the real cause of much mischief, and finally occasioned the fall of the independent Confederation. On this occasion, the army had scarcely crossed the St. Gotthard, when the imperial and French partisans began to bestir themselves. Maximilian's warning, that the Pope intended with their soldiers to attack Milan and not Ferrara, and that, in the event of the army not returning, he would invade their territory with the collective might of the Empire, had some effect upon them. Although the three old Forest cantons which were always against Milan, opposed it, the majority resolved to guarantee safe conduct to the French embassy; and, although Matthaus Schinner reminded them, that the intention was to send troops to the Pope, and that, "if the King of France opposed the Pope, he became the Pope's enemy, and that they then by virtue of their compact with the Pope would be sworn foes of the King also", the majority nevertheless resolved to detain, until further orders, the army they had raised for the Pope. Such an order would at any time have thrown into confusion troops who were already in the field, and who never attributed it to a single party, but believed it to be the outcome of an unanimous resolution. On this occasion, they had already left Varese and reached Chiasso on the lake of Como, but had become extremely discouraged through want of provisions for they found nothing but chestnuts, grapes, and nuts, the mills having been stripped of their iron-work; moreover, their road was blocked by rivers without bridges, and they were surrounded on all sides by French horse, who did not actually attack them for they were afraid of rousing their vengeance but kept harassing and threatening them. In this plight, the order of the assembly found them; in addition, some of their captains had been bribed; thus their general distress, confusion, and ignorance of the state of affairs determined them to retreat. On the 12th September, the first ships conveying the returning troops came across the lake to Lucerne, and, on the same day, the French ambassador appeared before the assembly. The deputies of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden indignantly quitted the meeting; the rest drew up a letter to the Pope, praying that "the father of peace would deal with the Christians peaceably and without guile."

Instead of the promised aid, the Pope, on arriving at Bologna, received this letter. The Venetians had already besieged Verona; but they were compelled to retreat by the French, who, now freed from all fear of the Swiss, hastened to the assistance of the city. Moreover, the papal army had not been able to take Reggio, to say nothing of attacking Ferrara. The fleet despatched against Genoa showed itself in the harbour off Vado, and attempted to land, but it found itself confronted by another equally strong; and nowhere a friend. It exchanged a few stone shot from its mortars with the enemy, and returned. All had failed. Here, where everything depended upon the ascendency of the moment, and where the conviction of superiority must precede victory, the failure was without doubt due to the retreat of the Swiss.

And now, like the picador in a bull-fight, when he has missed the deadly stroke, or like the hunter in the mountains, when the chamois that he has missed threatens to drag him into the abyss, Julius perceived that instead of himself attacking and threatening, he had become the attacked and was in extreme danger.

Louis hesitated long before meeting him. "The Pope intended devilish things against his honour and his possessions, none of which he was minded to lose; but, unfortunately, war with his Holiness would rouse the whole of Christendom against him". In the year 1510, Amboise died; and, as he left no one to inherit his position, as the King, in making his great plans, was in the habit of disregarding small ones, though these were the stepping-stones to his greater achievements, the government appeared less enterprising than formerly. "O my patron," cried Robertet, when a portrait of Amboise was brought to him, "wert thou alive, we should now be with our army in Rome". At last, after Louis, through the intervention of the Florentines, had vainly attempted negotiations, and when blow was followed by blow, and attack by attack, he also, at last, decided on war. On the 16th of September, the clergy of the kingdom assembled at Tours, more for counsel than for action, and chiefly in order to obtain the opinion of the nation, and there decided thus: "A prince might certainly return an attack made upon him by the Pope, provided it were only to weaken the Pope, and were not to his total destruction". But this is exactly what the King proposed to do. In the same month, the imperial ambassador, Matthaus Lang, Bishop of Gurk, came down the Loire. The heir to the throne invited him to a banquet. The Queen sent him wine from Beaune and victuals from her table. The King promised a small contingent for a winter campaign, but, for the summer, a force of 1,200 lances, 10,000 men, and his own person to boot. He boasted that "he would create a new heaven and a new earth in Italy; the Pope should be deposed and the Emperor be as great as Charles the Great was". His looks showed how seriously he intended it. Day and night he pondered how to revenge himself. In November, he sent his Milanese army into the field under Chaumont. The papal forces lay between Modena and Bologna, in order to protect both places. Chaumont marched up the Reno as if to threaten Modena. The papal troops at once retired thither, but thus cut themselves off from Bologna, and upon this city Chaumont threw himself without delay. Julius himself was in the city.

Julius was cut off from his army, still without the assistance Ferdinand had promised him on account of the Neapolitan fiefs, without the stipulated help from Venice, and, withal, ill of a fever. And in Bologna, he himself was in peril. As the Bentivogli had sided with his enemy, the city was full of the mutterings of their friends and partisans, the Rinucceneti, the Fantuzzi, and the Caprara. Nothing but captivity seemed in store for him. In this sore distress, he found aid in his own resources. He first of all promised the leading Bolognese, whom he had summoned to his bed-side, that he would give them a Cardinal from among them. This was repeated to the people assembled in the market-place; many other favours were also promised, so that they were quite won over to the Pope. And what influence has not the holy and august presence of a living pope always exercised upon the people! They all came together before his palace, 5,000 on horseback and 15,000 on foot, led by two Cardinals. He rose from his bed, showed himself upon the balcony, and spread out his hands to bless them: then, as though he would show them that, in his sore need, he committed himself into their hands, he drew back his arms and laid them crossways on his breast. This sign, which showed the people that their prince and the father of Christendom entrusted his person to their keeping and allegiance, moved their hearts more than any promises could do. They shouted for very joy. The Pope retired and said: "now we have triumphed". And in truth so it was. The parties in the city were at length silenced, and immediately afterwards the Spanish and Venetian horse rode into the city, and the English and Spanish envoys intervened with threats on the Pope's behalf. Thereupon the French retired; with joy Julius heard at an ever-increasing distance their din and firing. Whilst still lying in bed, he raised his arm and cried: "Away, ye French, away from Italy". Gladness of heart made him well in a short time. He collected his army, and, in the month of December, despatched three generals against Mirandola and Ferrara.

By these three he was not, as it would seem, very excellently served. The first, the Marquis of Mantua, halted at a cross way, and said: "There is Mirandola and the enemy's country; here is Mantua and friendly country. Go ye thither, whilst I remain here; if ye need me, fire your arms until I hear". This man had been liberated from the tower of San Marco, principally owing to Julius' intervention. The two others, the Cardinal of Pavia and the young Duke of Urbino, near relatives of Julius, were every day at feud together, and the Cardinal, at all events, was a man of such a notorious character that one day, on seeing a man who had been hanged, someone exclaimed: "well for thee, that thou hast not to do with a Cardinal of Pavia." 

Alfonso of Ferrara, whom they attacked, was a totally different man. He converted all his silver-plate into money, and pledged his wife's jewels to the usurers. The earthen-ware plates and dishes which were used at court, were, after this, remarkable as having been manufactured by the Prince's own hands. He always paid everybody at the appointed day. To this circumstance, he said, was due the obedience paid to him. The three hundred pieces of cannon, many of them cast from the metal which the citizens had delivered over to him, according to streets and guilds, ensured him the respect of friends and foes. The fortifications flanking his city were a model for many in the future. The French whom Louis had sent to his assistance, were under ban, as he was, but were kept in allegiance and obedience by nature and the laws of chivalry.

In this situation, the operations of the Pope did not seem likely to be crowned with success. Mirandola would scarcely have been wrested from its lady defender, the widow of Galeotto Pico, were it not that Julius, though a pope and very old, had proceeded to besiege it in the coldest winter season. It did not affect him at all, that, on one occasion, he only escaped from Bayard owing to a snowstorm, and that at the last minute he had to spring out of his litter, in order that a drawbridge should be pulled up behind him, or that a cannon-ball fell into his tent before the city. The ball, as large as a child's head, he sent to Loreto, to be treasured as a keepsake and thank-offering. At last he succeeded in reducing the town, marched into it over the frozen ditch and through the breach in its walls, and restored the rightful lord. But he alone of all his party showed this determined courage. If Bastia del Genivolo was taken, Ferrara, according to Alfonso's own opinion, would be lost to to him. But the papal generals neglected to occupy a ford that might have been held by twenty men; through this Alfonso came, and saved his castle. Julius sent him word that "if he would dismiss the French he should not be again attacked"; but the man who brought this news was not trustworthy. Alfonso replied, "Julius will soon be in his grave; but a princely race rewards good services for ever". The man his name was Agostino Gerlo answered: "within six days he offered himself to kill the Pope, who received all his food from his hand". The Duke told it to Bayard as a fact. Bayard replied: "Sire, did I but know it for certain, I would communicate it to the Pope before nightfall". Alfonso shrugged his shoulders, and expectorated: "for Bayard's sake he would not do it"; thus the enemies of the Pope and those whom he had placed under ban did him better service than those he trusted. When Julius, after the trifling war in the winter, in which the French and Papal troops only strove to keep open their connections, the former with Ferrara and the latter with the Venetians, as well as to cut their enemies' communications, at length found himself, in April, again in the field with 9,000 foot and 1,500 horse, he no longer found Chaumont at the head of the enemy, but a man whom the disorganized state of the French army required. This man was none other than Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, a captain who often hanged or drowned his refractory soldiers; a man who deducted from the pay of his Spaniards what they had stolen from a peasant; a man cursed by his soldiers "this old man with the bald head had no strength nor life in him, and was yet so stern"; but he taught them again how to take fortresses.

Thus did two septuagenarians, both grown grey in the turmoils of Italy, both brave and stern, oppose each other, and each desired battle. How could Julius be anxious to fight, he who was plainly so much weaker than his opponent? But he said: "Christ helps his warriors, and will find means to destroy the house of Este and the schismatical king". Trivulzio desired to make the way smooth for the King, for Louis was already on his way to Grenoble, in order to cross the hills, and fight out his cause himself. The crisis was at hand, and the sword drawn.

At this moment, Matthaus Lang appeared between the parties, and again an attempt was made to ratify a peace, which should include both Venice and Ferrara. All the ambassadors hurriedly met. The Scottish envoy, Murray, was especially energetic in his endeavours to bring about an understanding. The cardinals held frequent consultations. But how was any arrangement with Venice possible, when Lang demanded Padua, Treviso, and 700,000 ducats besides from Venice? He rejected all remonstrances and all promises whatsoever. His boast was that he always went straight like a candle. As to Ferrara, Louis would not even agree to a formal truce. "Such a truce would break the heart of his people. He was now at an advantage, and might expect victory. First victory, then peace. He would recruit in the Grisons, would then take the field, and not return until he had both victory and peace, otherwise he would remain away altogether. He was all fire and flame, when one of the Fregosi, who was taken in Ventimiglia, confessed that he had been sent by the Pope to stir up a revolution. Lang left the Pope. Trivulzio crossed the Panaro, and drove back the Papal army, which did not need on this occasion to defend Modena for Julius had shrewdly delivered it into the hand of an imperial plenipotentiary under the walls of Bologna. Here, on the 22nd May, 1511, Georg Frundsberg joined him with 2,500 Germans. 

The cause of the Pope, who had gone to Ravenna, lay in the hands of the Cardinal of Pavia, who commanded in Bologna, and of the Duke of Urbino, who had charge of the army lying before that city. Now the Cardinal, among his twenty constables, to whom he had entrusted the keeping of the city, had also committed one of the gates into the hands of the partisans of the Bentivogli, and, as often as he was warned of it, only replied: "It is all well, all precautions have been taken". But in the night of that 22nd of May, it came to pass, that the Bentivogli on the outside passed by the gates, whilst the Fantuzzi and Ariosti on the inside mounted the Torre degli Asinelli, and waved to them with a torch, and, thereupon, those on the outside and those within both hurried to the Porta San Felice, the latter to open it and the others to rush in. Some of the more loyal troops were already assembling to fall upon the Ariosti from behind, when the gate burst open, and with the shout of "Sega Popolo", the Bentivogli rushed into the city. The cry was taken up on all sides, and the Cardinal instantly fled with 100 horsemen. The city was in the power of the Bentivogli. 

The noise and tumult, the shouts and the waving of torches were also observed by the Duke, who was lying before the gates. "What are they shouting?" he asked of an attendant, and they believed at first that it was "Chiesa" that they heard. But in a short time they could distinguish quite clearly the cry "Sega," and immediately afterwards heard from the sentinels all that had taken place. The Duke perceived that he could not possibly hold his ground. Forthwith then, in the depth of night, abandoning his tents and baggage, but without further loss he himself was with the rearguard he withdrew with his army. Only the Venetians who were with him were overtaken by the daylight and by the enemy in effecting their retreat. The French attacked them in the rear, and the peasants from the hills assailed their flank, whilst the Bentivogli threw themselves across their line of march. The last-named were cut through by some knights, to whom the urgency of their need gave courage. The peasants plundered the baggage; the French took three prisoners one of them with a wooden leg and great booty. The same morning, the Bentivogli took the statue of the Pope, a work of Michael Angelo, from its niche, and after dragging it through the city, broke off its head, and resolved to melt down the rest to make a cannon.

Julius was still at Ravenna. Contradictory news reached him every hour. Sometimes hoping, and sometimes lamenting that "he was betrayed by those whom he loved best", the tidings of the disaster at last reached him. The cup was not yet full. After a short time, the Cardinal of Pavia made his appearance with his horsemen. He threw all the blame upon the Duke, and effected that the command should be at once taken from him and entrusted to Altavilla of Capua. The Duke himself soon made his appearance, and found little attention given to his excuses. In bitter rage, defeated and calumniated, slandered to his uncle and before the whole of Italy, and, being an Italian, determined on revenge, the young man walked through the streets until his deadly enemy, seated on a mule, met him, and smiled a friendly greeting. In his wrath he threw himself upon him. Grasping the saddle with his left hand, and with the words, "Art thou guilty or I?" before he could even answer, with his right he plunged his sword into his side. The Cardinal's dying words were, "Punishment follows sin." The Duke rode away to Urbino. 

Now the Pope neither saw Ferrara conquered nor Italy liberated; what he did see was Bologna lost, his statue broken in pieces by a people whom he had loaded with favours, and a hostile army in his territory. Yet the heaviest stroke of all was the murder of his trusted friend by his nephew, whom he had brought up, and the consequent loss of them both. On the 28th May, he was brought in a litter from Ravenna to Rimini. He smote his breast, and wept bitterly, and, that no one might see him, he was brought to Rimini by night. 

After this disaster, the Venetians could make no further resistance. On the 1st of August, Maximilian declared to them that he would set free the good old fathers and the people from the thraldom of the new and tyrannical nobility now reigning; he would give the city the freedom of the cities of the empire. On the 2nd of August, his troops marched out from Verona. The Venetians were driven out of all Lombardy and Friuli back upon a few strongholds; but even these, Laniago and Soave, Kofel and Beitelstein, with many others, were taken, some under the personal superintendence of the Emperor. Not till then did he turn his attention to Treviso and Padua, but Treviso was besieged with good prospects of success before the end of August. Whilst the Germans scoured the country as far as Lido Maggiore and the lagoons, the Venetians, on their side, having no general worthy the name, were obliged again to avail themselves of the services of Luzio Malvezzi, with whom they were dissatisfied, and whom they had dismissed. They could not pay their troops, and these would have deserted in one body to the Emperor, could they have expected pay from him. But, worst of all, the good will of their subjects did not continue. We see with astonishment how the ruling body were ever and again obliged to order their nobili to pay the imposts that were due. They adjured them by all that was holy, by their country and their children; they did not merely threaten to eject the delinquents from the Pregadi, and to confiscate their estates, but they began carrying out their threats. Yet all their adjurations, threats, and penalties were of none effect. It suffices to say that Venice was in no less peril than Julius was.

How could they ever have conceived the idea of liberating Italy from its enemies? No pulse at that time beat for the idea of the unity and freedom of Italy. Only those States which had become formed in the course of the few preceding centuries, and the Papacy boasted of life. Their union only lay in a common understanding, by means of which the attacks of foreign nations might have been repelled. But whilst each asserted and endeavoured to advance its own cause, they became involved in feud with each other, appealed to foreign aid, and yet there was not one among all strong enough to place itself at their head and remove the invaders, who had also on their side justifiable claims and a strong body of adherents. Nothing remained for the determined Pope but to summon to his assistance, against the French and the King of France, the Spaniards and the Swiss. But the result of this was to be something other than the liberation of Italy.




Such being the position of affairs, it cannot be said that it was impossible, but it must be confessed that it was exceedingly difficult, for Italy to become once more independent of foreign nations. Far be it from me to pass judgment upon the temperament of a great nation, which in those days was a source of intellectual stimulus to the whole of Europe. No one can say that it was incurably sick; but it is certain that it suffered from serious diseases. Pederasty, which extended even to the young soldiers in the army, and was regarded as venial because practised by the Greeks and Romans, whom all delighted to imitate, sapped all vital energy. Native and classical writers ascribe the misfortune of the nation to this evil practice. A terrible rival of pederasty was syphilis, which spread through all classes like the plague. How often did it not happen that generals were by it rendered incapable of service! The sons of Ercole d'Este were once all suffering from it at the same time. Whole villages in the Venetian territory were affected by it and exterminated; we read of ships, if not of a whole fleet, that required to be remained in Corfu, because the whole crew had been rendered unserviceable by this disease. Precautions such as we might perhaps take here in Germany appear to be nothing but child's play, in the face of so wide-spread an evil.

It is, however, difficult not to identify this depravation, everywhere and always existent, although ever afresh denounced by preachers of morality, with the peculiar character of an epoch or a nation. We shall not be able to maintain without fear of contradiction that aspiration to fine language rather than to noble deeds, the imitation of antiquity in what it has achieved in the shade, rather than in what it has performed in the sun, as Machiavelli says, is mere luxury, and not healthy for a nation as such; for instance, the training of boys not merely in drawing and in composing prose and verse, but also in "fine hypocrisy", as their teachers expressed it, which consisted in making speeches in public, raising and lowering the voice by turns, now affecting the tone of complaint, now that of triumph, simulating an unreal passion on an unreal theme, a practice which they continued in a strange manner when grown up in fact, this whole formal training, to which women, whom we find improvising Latin verses to the lyre, also aspired. But no one can doubt that it is a weakness, when those who affect to be masters of life, recommend in the place of manliness, chastity, and strict self-control, nought but acuteness and the semblance of such virtues. Besides this, there were youths who preferred to sit upon a mule rather than a horse, men who curled their hair, plucked out their eyebrows, and spoke to their superiors as softly as if they were at their last breath; men who were afraid to move their heads lest they should disarrange their hair, men who carried a looking-glass in their hat and a comb in their sleeve. Many considered it the highest praise to be able to sing well in ladies' society, accompanying themselves on the viol. 

The motive for imitation is always to be found in weakness; foreign manners and customs forced their adoption upon the nation. And the misfortune was, that two nations strove for the mastery, and that whoever loathed French customs fell a victim to Spanish. He who did not speak French, learnt Spanish: he who disliked the loose dress of the French, chose the tighter-fitting garb of the Spanish and Germans. There were many who, in order to imitate the French, did nothing but shake their heads, or made bows and plied their feet so vigorously in the street, that their servants could not overtake them. There were others, who took for their pattern the short and witty replies of the Spaniards, and their discreet and unpretentious appearance in every company and in every court, where they became each day more indispensable; these excellent chess players, who never appeared to take any trouble in the matter. In any case they were captivated by one or the other custom.