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THE NEW yof V 


THE NEW vni 





Photogravure from the original painting by A. i^ollon, exiibited in tbe Pkris 

Salon of 1889. 



J 1916 

Copyright, 1901, 
By the colonial PRESS. 

:• : ••• •- • • 

»• • • • • 


MACHIAVELLrS "History of Florence" is one of 
those books which show how superior genius is to 
learning, and originality to research. At present, 
when the cry is all for the soundest and latest information, 
we seldom open it if we are looking merely for facts. We 
study the Florence of the quattrocento in the writings of 
Gino Capponi and of Villari, of Reumont and of Perrehs, 
of Miss Ewart and of Mr, Armstrong. Yet Machiavelli 
has claims to attention which none of these writers would think 
of putting forward. Nor does he owe his distinction to the 
fact that his narrative is, of itself, an important historical 
source. He stands apart from his contemporaries and frocn 
his predecessors. The annalists of mediaeval Florence, like 
Ricordano Malespiiji j2wd.GiOTanni.VSlapr, are gratefully re- 
membered, but they5*^istlDi5l/exjfe<i.iq1caflk with Machiavelli. 
They belong to a mosi tiiefullcUi^s ofljistorians, and we would 
not on any account be r^itfiiljttthft:. records. On the other 
hand they formed no meW 6dM)«lcJh^*l^ked imagination, and 
they were not pioneers:in5iny:fig!lnj*3&r Seld of historical litera- 
ture. History has many departments, and the man who heads 
the list in but one of them enjoys a secure place. Machiavelli 
may be supplemented, he can never be superseded. Joinville's 
" Life of Louis IX " comes first in modern biography, Frois- 
sart's " Oironicles *' comes first in modem popular history, and 
Machiavelli's "History of Florence" comes first in modem 
critical history. 

Let us say at once that we are dealing with a classic, and 
not with a compilation of historical facts. To what qualities 
IS the " History of Florence " indebted for the eminence of its 
reputation? Partly to its literary style (of which something 



will be said hereafter) and partly to the new ideas which it 
embodies regarding the treatment of historical subjects. Jt 
was the fruit of Machiavelli's later years and of his matu: 
opinions — ^written at a later date than the " Prince " or the 
" Discourses on Livy/' As it represents a well-marked stage 
in the author's career, it can best be approached from the 
side of its biographical setting. 

Bismarck, when an old man, said jestingly, "Two things 
in life have given me special pleasure, politics and wine." 
With Machiavelli one observes a sharp alternation between the 
grosser, more shameful pleasures and a strenuous political 
activity. Or, rather, if we were seeking to compare him with 
a great statesman of recent times, we should more fitly think 
of Mirabeau than of Bismarck. The Italian and the French- 
man are alike in their fondness for political theorizing, and 
also ior practical politics. They differ in that Machiavelli had 
a much longer experience of affairs than Mirabeau, and did 
not suffer dissipation to ruin his health. 

The year 1494 proved as critical a time in the history of 
Italy as 1492 had been in the history of Europe and of America. 
It was then that £J^rle§ yjll of France crossed the Alps 
with the design of ^^ji^Uedng Na^lfesJ: 9HSs project failed, but 
he brought the element.©^ fqrei^'iilAfeiice into Italian poli- 
tics, and thereby caused Cljat tO^i ailthe peninsula which was 
effected in the course^-Ji' tKe;^;^^'#. g^eneration. Machiavelli 
became a clerk in tKf J^'ot^lihi"i(^h^ncery just at the mo- 
ment when the lilies of Franc^^fcegan'fo wave over the plains 
of Italy. He was then twenty-five years old. 

The nature of Machiavelli's early education is reflected in 
several features of his written .work. He was not ignorant, 
neither was he a scholar accordtag to the standards of scholar- 
ship in the later Renaissance. :Whetljer he knew Greek well 
is a question which has been hotly debated, but it seems more 
likely that he did not. This .4)oint, though it may appear 
rather a minor one, is far from beings so. During the Renais- 
sance much native genius exhausted itself upon the minute 
study and slavish imitation of classical texts. Had Machia- 
velli learned Greek thoroughly lie might have giV)wn infatu- 
ated like so many others, and have edited Euripides instead 
of writing the " History of Florence." He had a good grasp 



of Latin literature, and derived a great many of his main ideas 
from his speculations upon the fate of the Roman Republic 
and the Roman Empire. 

Italy, in Machiavelli's day, consisted of five great powers 
and of a larger number of petty States which remained inde- 
pendent without being powerful. The Psqwicy, Naples, Flor- 
ence, Milan, and Venice overtopped the rest and contended 
with each other so unscrupulously that there was no real hope 
of uniting them against a foreign foe, whether it might be 
France or Spain. 

Closely connected with the expedition of Charles VIII is the 
expulsion of Piero de' Medici from Florence — ^an event which 
was followed by serious constitutional changes. For eighteen 
years Florence kept herself free from the Medici (1494-1512) 
and became in fact what she had been before in name — a re- 
public. It was this State which Machiavelli served, and in its 
service he had rare opportunities for studying the interna- 
tional statecraft of Europe. He quickly rose to be Secretary 
of the Republic, and was thenceforth its chief ambassador, un- 
til, after the battle of Ravenna, the rule of the Medici was 
forcibly re-established by §EanishJtroQps. In person he con- 
ducted weighty negotiations with the Papacy, with the Em- 
peror Maximilian, and with Louis XII of France. He was 
the close friend and invaluable assistant of Piero Soderini, 
whom the Florentines chose Gonfalonier for life. He was at 
the side of Caesar Borgia when that ruthless but daring ruffian 
was engaged in building up for himself a principality out of 
territories which belonged to others. No man of his genera- 
tion had better materials out of which to construct a political 
study, and the result was the " Prince," in which force and 
craft are lauded, to the neglect of morals. 

The return of the Medici in 15 12 drove Machiavelli from 
his official post and even cost him physical torture — as he was 
more than once put upon the rack during the trial which fol- 
lowed Boscoli's conspiracy. He would gladly have retained 
his place under the restored Medici, for to him politics had 
assumed the character of a game or of a fine art. But his 
freedom from republican prejudices did not seem a sufficiently 
strong recommendation in the eyes of Leo X, who then held 
the threads of Medicean policy. It was only after nine years 


of retirement or political disgrace that he emerged again into ^ 
public notice, and even then he was not received into full con- 
fidence. Just at the close of his life fortune grew more kind, 
or rather his employers found him more useful to them. He \^ 
died, however, in 1527, without having fully regained the 
influence which he had possessed during the absence of the 
Medici, and to which he was entitled not merely by virtue 
of his experience and capacity, but by his real regard for the 
welfare of Italy. 

At the period when he was the oflicial Secretary of Flor- 
ence, Machiavelli showed his powers of thinking clearly and 
of writing well, in his reports. A great deal of excellent litera- 
ture is buried among state papers, and the Chancery of Flor- 
ence had been celebrated for its notes and despatches ever 
since the days of Salutato. Still, Machiavelli had done noth- 
ing before 15 12, when he lost his post under the State, which 
would have secured him a permanent place among European 
thinkers and men of letters. His leading ideas were doubt- 
less matured before then, but public business had claimed all 
his energies. The leisure afforded by an unwilling retirement 
from politics gave posterity a long and remarkable series of 
works. Like all the great Italians of the Renaissance, Machia- 
velli was versatile, and when he began to divert himself by 
literary composition, his flood of ideas streamed forth in 
numerous channels. At the one extreme we find his most 
famous treatises, the " Prince " and the " Discourses on Livy," 
which deal with the theory of politics. At the other extreme 
stand his plays, like the " Clizia " and the " Mandragola." 
Scattered along at intervals between theoretical politics and 
the realistic drama, there are the " Art of War," the " His- 
tory of Florence," aijd a private correspondence which wal- 
lows in crude and brutal filth. 

The " History of Florence " was the last considerable work 
upon which Machiavelli engaged. Toward the close of his 
life he stood in need of money, and, by Medicean direction, he 
received a fixed stipend, as historiographer, from the public 
funds of Florence. He was expected to give a certain amount 
of praise to the deeds of Cosmo, " Father of his Country," and 
to Lorenzo the Magnificent, but he rose above the dreary flats 
of professional eulogy. Machiavelli's excellent manner of ex- 


pressing whatever he had to say might have redeemed a mere 
abstract of Medicean annals from nothingness. But he turned 
the occasion to much better account than anyone who lacked 
originality of outlook could have done. It was not so much ^ 
that he acctmiulated data and sifted them carefully, for the 
sake of determining the exact proportions of truth and error 
in his sources. Probably he did not subject himself to the- 
labor of much more careful investigation than was thought 
necessary by other historical writers of his age. His excel- 
lence is of another sort. He grasped the conception that his- > 
torical events are to be associated with their particular causes, 
and that the profitable study of the past depends upon the 
discovery of the general laws or universal principles which 
underlie the sequence of facts and episodes. The "History 
of Florence" is not so much a sixteenth-century equivalent 
of Livy or of Tacitus as it is an indirect treatise on his- 
torical method, the prophecy of a new era in the processes of 
historical study. 

Recently Mr. Charles Francis Adams applied the prin- 
ciple of evolution to the writing of history in a striking ad- 
dress which he delivered at Madison. He took as an ex- 
ample the history of Wisconsin, and gave it a place in the 
scheme of political progress. We need not expect to find in 
Machiavelli such a modem idea as this, but he tries after a 
rudimentary fashion to do the same sort of thing for Flor- . 
ence. Thus, before entering upon his main subject — ^the local 
annals — ^he goes back to the German Invasions, the down- 
fall of the Roman Empire, and the reconstruction which fol- 
lowed these events. Even after sketching in his first book 
the general history of Italy from the fifth to the fifteenth cen- 
tury, he must begin his second book with a broad philosoph- 
ical observation before he traces the origin of Florence. 
" What," he asks, " are the conditions under which towns 
are founded?" And before he has finished his reflections 
he brings forward Venice, Pisa, and Genoa to illu3trate the 
principles which he lays down. Among mediaeval historians 
one occasionally meets with a William of Malmesbury, who 
meditates upon the facts of his narrative. But for the first 
time, since the end of classical civilization, one finds in the 
pages of Machiavelli a determined attempt to connect the 
phenomena of political life with their natural causes. 


This last statement does not imply that he produced at one 
a symmetrical scheme of historical philosophy. If one co^ 
trasts the " History of Florence '* with Hegel's " Philosophy 
of History," or even with Buckle's " History of Civilization/' 
he will find a vast difference of treatment and detail. The chief 
fact is that Machiavelli, by expanding the horizon of history 
and uplifting it from the humble plane of annals, transformed 
its character and increased its stature. 

The " History of Florence " consists of eight books, the first 
of which is a general, and the second a special, introduction. 
After sketching the affairs of Italy until the fifteenth century, 
he follows out the course of Florentine affairs in a similar 
way to the point where the Medici become conspicuous. Then 
in the remaining six books (that is, in the body of the work) 
he shows how Florence fared under the controlling influence 
of its leading family, from the moment when Silvestro de' 
Medici came to the front during the Ciompi riots of 1378 to 
the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent, in 1492. Here is mani- 
fest occasion for flattery, but Machiavelli does not step be- 
yond the bounds of decent approbation. It would be by no 
means difiicult to select, from authors who were under no ob- 
ligation to the Medici, passages as glowing as can be found 
in Machiavelli. Take his concluding words, wherein an obit- 
uary comment is passed upon Lorenzo. The old seventeenth- 
century translation runs after this wise : 

" Never was there any Man, not only in Florence, but Italy, 
who departed with more Reputation for his Wisdom, nor more 
Lamentation to his Country. ... All the Inhabitants of 
Florence and the Princes of Italy bewailed him, which was 
particularly manifested by their several Compliments of Con- 
dolency, and whether they had reason or not for what they 
did, the Effects which succeeded a while after did clearly 
demonstrate; for being deprived of his Counsels, Italy could 
not find any one remaining able to satiate or restrain the Am- 
bition of Lodovico, Duke of Milan, for want of which, after 
his death, such Seeds of Dissension brake forth as have per- 
plexed and embroiled Italy ever since." This is surely the 
language of moderation. 

It is no discredit to an intellectual leader that some of his 
particular views should be untenable or even ridiculous. 


pi Francis Bacon, the father of the great " Verulamian philos- 
al ophy " and of applied science, provoked the mirth of Harvey 
tl when he expressed his opinions about physiology. Machia- 
velli, too, took up positions in the "History of Florence" 
which since then have been generally discarded. For instance, 
he held that States must inevitably decline because, like the 
human body, they reach a certain acme of vigor, and then 
grow old. He also held what has been termed the circular 
theory of progress. At the beginning of Book V occurs the 
following passage: 

"Governments, in the variations which most commonly 
happen to them, do proceed from Order to Confusion, and that 
Confusion afterward turns to Order again. For Nature hav- 
ing fixed no sublunary Things, as soon as they arrive at their 
acme and perfection, being capable of no farther ascent, of 
necessity they decline. So, on the other side, when they are 
reduced to the lowest pitch of disorder, having no farther to 
descend, they recoil again to their former perfection; good 
Laws degenerating into bad Customs, and bad Customs en- 
gendering good Laws. For Virtue begets Peace; Peace be- 
gets Idleness; Idleness, Mutiny; and Mutiny, Destruction: 
and then ince versa, that Ruin begets Laws ; those Laws, Vir- 
tue; and Virtue begets Honour and good Success. . . . 
All Governments therefore do, by these means, some time or 
other come to decay ; and when once at the lowest, the Men's 
sufferings have made them wiser, they rebound again, and 
return to their first Order, unless they be supprest and kept 
under by some extraordinary force." * 

Here is an antiquated and rejected view, but if at present 
we lay stress upon a different kind of historical evolution, we 
must none the less acknowledge the value of what Machiavelli 
did by beginning the quest for a higher truth, concealed among 
the dibris of scattered and arbitrary facts. Almost all of his 
reflections are suggestive and many of them are true. 

The charm and strength of Machiavelli's style can hardly 
be brought out by a translation. Living in an age which 
was afflicted by the desire to reproduce classical idioms as 
well as classical ideas, he escaped the danger of feeble imita- 
tion. He thought about Roman subjects constantly, but, unlike 

^TUs qaotation is from the transUtloo pabllthed in 1675 referred to on the previoos 


Cardinal Bembo, he preferred pure Tuscan to the hackneyed 
phrases of Cicero. His contribution to Italian prose is second 
only to that of Boccaccio. The " Decameron " strengthened 
the place which Dante had made for the Tuscan tongue, and 
fixed a standard of clear, vivacious prose. One may say that 
the literary triumph of Florence was assured during the four- 
teenth century. Still there remained grumblers even in the 
early part of the cinquecento. Castiglione asks in the " Cour- 
tier " why he should be expected to write in the Tuscan dia- 
lect, and it is clear that jealousy of Florentine supremacy 
still existed. Machiavelli's works, by enhancing the prestige 
of Italian against Latin, and of Tuscan against other forms 
of Italian speech, are memorable both in the history of litera- 
ture and of language. 

The " History of Florence," while being hardly less typical 
than the " Prince," is much pleasanter reading. Intellectual 
vigor and moral corruption are traits of Machiavelli's age and 
of Machiavelli himself. One need not deny that he had stand- 
ards of personal honesty in his dealings with his political em- 
ployers, or that he felt a sincere interest in the welfare of 
Italy. That he was a patriot may somewhat redeem his repu- 
tation, though it can never make the " Prince " or the " Man- 
dragola " healthy and uplifting books. Machiavelli's view of 
humanity, though unpleasant, must be taken into account. But 
it is not only unpleasant; it is incomplete. The " History of 
Florence " is a political treatise, which, considered in its wide 
relations, must be studied side by side with the " Prince " and 
the " Discourses." It has, likewise, its own value as an iso- 
lated work. It disclosed the realms of critical, philosophical, 
and even of " scientific " history, without obtruding the hope- 
less cynicism of the later Renaissance. 





Irruption of Northern People upon the Roman Territories— Visi- 
goths — ^Vandals — Franks and Burgundians — Huns — Angles in 
England — Attila — Genseric — ^The Lombards 3 


Roman Empire under Zeno— Theodoric — Changes* in the Roman '/ 
Empire — New Languages — New Names — Belisarius — Totila — 
Narses — ^The Lombards Change the Form of Government 8 


The Pontiffs in Italy— Pepin, King of France — Charlemagne— The 
Title of Cardinal — ^The Empire Passes to the Germans — Beren- 
garius 15 


Guelfs and Ghibellines — Kingdom of Naples — Pope Urban II — 
The First Crusade— Frederick Barbarossa— An Anti-Pope— 
Henry, King of England— Orders of St. Dominic and St. 
Francis 21 


The House of Este— Frederick II— Naples— Guelfs and Ghibel- 
lines in Lombardy — Charles of Anjou — Nicholas HI — Institu- 
tion of the Jubilee— The Popes at Avignon 29 


The Emperor Henry in Italy— The Duchy of Milan— The Emperor 
Loui»— John, King of Bohemia— Venice— Venetians 35 


Schism in the Church — ^Boniface IX— Council of Pisa— Of Con- 
stance— Filippo Visconti— Giovanna II of Naples 44 





Advantage of Colonies— Origin of Florence— The FTorentines Take 
Fiesole — First Division in Florence — ^Buondelmonti 53 


Florence in the Power of Naples— Farinata degli Uberti— Establish- 
ment of Trades* Companies— Count Guido Novello 59 


The Signory Created— The Gonfalonier of Justice Created— Ubaldo 
Ruffoli— Giano della Bella 66 


The Ccrchi and the Donati— Origin of Bianca and Nera Factions 
— Charles of Valois Sent by the Pope to Florence 72 


Restless Conduct of Corso Donati— War with Ugoccione della Fag- 
ginola— Count Novdlo— Lando d*Agobbio 80 


War widi Castmccio— The Sqnittini Established— RaynMMid of Car- 
dona— Charles, Dnke of Calabria— The Emperor Loois 86 


The Emperor at Rome— The Bardi and Frescobaldi— Maffeo de 
Marradi— The Dnke of Athens 92 


The Dnke of Athens Requires to be Made Prince of Florence— His 
Tyrannical Proceedings— Conspiracies— He Withdraws from 
aie City 99 


Many Cities and Territories, Subject to the Florentines, RcM — Riot 
of Andrea Strozzi— The Plague of which Boccaccio Speaks,... lii 





Domestic Discords of Republics~-Rome and Florence— The Ricd 
and Albizzi — ^Uguccione — Piero 121 


War against the Pope's Legate— The Capitani di Parte— Salvestro 
de Medici Gonfalonier 13a 


Measures Adopted by the Magistrates to Effect a Pacification — ^Luigi 
Guicciardini — ^The Woollen Art — Speech of a Plebeian 138 


Proceedings of the Plebeians— They Insist that the Signory Leave 
the Palace — Michele di Lando Gonfalonier 146 


New Regulations for Elections of the Signory — Confusion in the 
City — Piero degli Albizzi and Others Condemned — Approach of 
Charles of Durazzo— Giorgio Scali — Benedetto Alberti — Giorgio 
Beheaded I53 


Riots in the City — Reform of Government — Michele di Lando— 
Benedetto Alberti — Coming of Louis of Anjou — The Florentines 
Purchase Arezzo — Benedetto Alberti — His Discourse — Other 
Citizens Banished — ^War with Giovanni Galeazzo, Duke of 
Milan 159 


Maso degli Albizzi— Veri de' Medici — Conspiracy Supported by the 
Duke of Milan — ^Taking of Pisa — ^War with the King of Naples 
— ^Acquisition of Cortona 165 



License and Slavery — Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici — Filippo Vis- 
conti— War Declared— The Florentines Routed I75 



Rinaldo degli Albizzi — Restoration of the Grandi — Niccolo da Uz- 
zano * i8i 

Giovanni de 'Medici Acquires Favor — Bravery of Biaggio del 
Melano—Baseness of Zanobi del Pino — League with the Vene- 
tians—Origin of the Catasto — Peace with the Duke of Milan. . 187 

Death of Giovanni de' Medici — Insurrection of Volterra — Niccolo 
Fortebraccio — War with Lucca — Astorre Gianni and Rinaldo 
degli Albizzi 193 

Seravezza Appeals to the Signory — Filippo Brunelleschi — ^The Duke 
of Milan Sends Francesco Sforza — Pagolo Guinigi 201 

Cosmo de' Medici — His Greatness Excites Jealousy — Niccolo da 
Uzano — Bernardo Guadagni, Gonfalonier — Cosmo Arrested 208 

Cosmo Banished to Padua — New Disturbances Occasioned by 
Rinaldo degli Albizzi — Pope Eugenius in Florence — Cosmo Re- 
called — Rinaldo and his Party Banished — Glorious Return of 
Cosmo 215 



Of Empires— State of Italy— Factions of Sforza and Braccio— The 
Pope 4s. Expelled by the Romans 225 

Death of Giovanna II — ^Rene of Anjou and Alfonso of Arragon — 
Alfonso Obtains the Friendship of the Duke of Milan — Divis- 
ions among the Genoese— League against the Duke of Milan 
— Rinaldo degli Albizzi — Niccolo Piccinino before Barga 232 

The Florentines Go to War with Lucca— Discourse of a Citizen of 
Lucca— Francesco Sforza — Cosmo de' Medici at Venice— Peace 
between the Florentines and the Lucchese — The Pope Conse- 
crates the Church of Santa Reparata— Council of Florence 240 



New Wars in Italy — Niccolo Piccinino Deceives the Pope and Takes 
many Places from the Church — ^Attacks the Venetians — Fears 
of the Florentines-rThe Venetians Request Assistance from the 
Florentines and of Sforza — ^League against the Duke of Milan 
— Neri di Gino Capponi at Venice 249 


Francesco Sforza Marches to Assist the Venetians — The Venetians 
Routed by Piccinino— Piccinino Routed by Sforza — Surprises 
Verona — Recovered by Sforza — ^The Duke of Milan Makes War 
against the Florentines — Cardinal Vitelleschi their Enemy 257 


The Pope Assists the Florentines — Niccolo Piccinino in Tuscany 
— He Takes Marradi — Cowardice of Bartolommeo Orlandini — 
Brave Resistance of Castel San Niccolo 265 


Brescia Relieved by Sforza — Piccinino is Recalled into Lombardy 
— Is Routed before Anghiari — Death of Rinaldo degli Albizzi. . 273 



Niccolo Reinforces his Army — The Venetians Acquire Ravenna — 
The Florentines Purchase the Borgo San Sepolcro of the Pope 
— The Insolence of Niccolo Piccinino — The Duke Makes Peace 
with the League — Sforza Assisted by the Florentines 283 


Baldaccio d' Anghiari Murdered — Sforza and Piccinino — Death of 
Piccinino — End of the War — ^Annibale Bentivoglio Slain by 
Battista — Canneschi — Santi Bentivoglio is Called to Govern the 
City of Bologna — ^Discourse of Cosmo de* Medici to Him — Gen- 
eral War in Italy 291 


Death of Filippo Visconti — Milan Becomes a Republic — ^The Pope 
Endeavors to Restore Peace to Italy — Alfonso Attacks the 
Florentines — Scarcity in the Florentine Camp— Alfonso Sues 
for Peace — Pavia Surrenders — The Venetians Routed by the 
Count 2Q9 



The Count's Successes— League of the Venetians and Milanese— 
The Count Dupes Them — He Applies for Assistance to the 
Florentines — Neri di Gino Capponi — Cosmo de' Medici — ^Thc 
Florentines Send Ambassadors to the Count 507 


Prosecution of the War between the Count and the Milanese — 
League between the new Duke of Milan and the Florentines 
— Venetian and Neapolitan Ambassadors at Florence — ^Answer 
of Cosmo de' Medici to the Venetian Ambassador — Florence 
Prepares for War — The Emperor, Frederick HI, at Florence. .315 


Conspiracy of Stefano Porcari against the Papal Government— Gal- 
lant Conduct of Antonio Gualandi — Ren6 of Anjou is Called 
into Italy by the Florentines — ^The Pope Endeavors to Restore 
Peace — Peace Proclaimed 323 


Christendom Alarmed by the Progress of the Turks— The Turks 
Routed — Remarkable Tempest — Death of Alfonso, King of 
Naples— Eulogy of Pius II 330 



Connection of the other Italian Governments with the History of 
Florence — Cosmo de* Medici and Neri Capponi Become Power- 
ful by Dissimilar Means— Luca Pitti, Gonfalonier of Justice — 
Tyranny and Pride of Lucca Pitti and his Party— Death of 
Cosmo de' Medici 339 


The Duke of Milan Becomes Lord of Genoa— Jacopo Piccinino 
Murdered — Fruitless Endeavors of Pius II to Excite Christen- 
dom against the Turks — Death of Francesco Sforza — Con- 
spiracy of Diotisalvi and Others against Piero 350 


Niccolo Soderini Drawn Gonfalonier of Justice — Reform of Govern- 
ment in Favor of Piero de' Medici — Fall of Lucca Pitti — Letter 
of Agnolo Acciajuoli to Piero de* Medici— Piero's Answer 359 



War between the Venetians and the Florentines— Peace Re-estab- 
lished — ^Death of Niccolo Soderini — Accession of Sixtus IV. — 
Tommaso Soderini Declares Himself in Favor of the Medici.. 367 


Corruption of Florence — The Duke of Milan in Florence — ^The 
Church of Santo Spirito Destroyed by Fire — Rebellion of 
Volterra 374 


Animosity between Sixtus IV and Lorenzo de' Medici — Con- 
spiracy against Galeazzo, Duke of Milan — He is Slain 381 



State of the Family of the Medid at Florence — Enmity of Sixtus 
IV toward Florence 391 


Giuliano de' Medici Slain — Lorenzo Escapes — The Pope and the 
King of Naples Make War upon the Florentines — Florence Ex- 
communicated — Speech of Lorenzo de' Medici 398 ^ 


The Florentines Prepare for War against the Pope— The Floren- 
tines Repulse their Enemies— They Attack the Papal States 407 


The Duke of Calabria Routs the Florentine Army at Poggibonzi — 
Lorenzo de' Medici Goes to Naples to Treat with the King 
— Peace Concluded with the King 413 ^ 


New Occasions of War in Italy— Differences between the Marquis 
of Ferrara and the Venetians— The King of Naples and the 
Florentines Attack the Papal States— Lodovico Sforza 423 


Affairs of the Pope— He is Reconciled to Niccolo Vitelli— The 
Colonnesi and the Orsini— Death of Sixtus IV. — Innocent VIII. 
Elected — ^Bank of St. Giorgio — ^The Lucchese Lay Claim to 
Pietra Santa 429 



The Pope becomes Attached to the Florentines— The Genoese Seize 
Serezanello— Genoa Submits to the Duke of Milan— Osimo Re- 
volts from the Church — Count Girolamo Riario Slain by a 
Conspiracy— Galeotto, Lord of Faenza, is Murdered by the 
Treachery of his Wife— Death of Lorenzo de' Medici— Es- 
tablishment of his Family — The University of Pisa — The 
Estimation of Lorenzo by Other Princes 437 J 


Photogravure from the original painting by Brun{oni. 

J JUT v,-v ^' V'^ 



Casnival Scene Prontupieu 

Photogravure from the origina] painting by A. Vollon 

Niccol' Machiavelli xvii 

Photogravure from the original painting by Brunzoni 

Ubanie: Muse of Astronomy 52 

Photogravure from the original painting by Paul Baudry 

Losenzo De* MEDia 338 

Photogravure from the original painting by Giorgio Vasari 






OF PISA— 379-1423 


Irroptkm of Northerm People upon the Roman Territories— Visigoths 
— Barbarians Called in by Stilicho— Vandals in Africa—Franks and 
Burgtindians Give their Names to France and Burgundy — The 
Huns— Angles Give the Name to England— Attila, King of the 
Huns, in Italy— Genseric Takes Rome— The Lombards. 

THE people who inhabit the northern parts beyond the 
Rhine and the Danube, living in a healthy and prolific 
region, frequently increase to such vast multitudes 
that part of them are compelled to abandon their native soil and 
seek a habitation in other countries. The method adopted, when 
one of these provinces had to be relieved of its superabundant 
population, was to divide into three parts, each containing an 
equal number of nobles and of people, of rich and of poor. The 
third upon whom the lot fell, then went in search of new 
abodes, leaving the remaining two-thirds in possession of their 
native country. 

These migrating masses destroyed the Roman Empire by 
the facilities for settlement which the country offered when 
the emperors abandoned Rome, the ancient seat of their 
dominion, and fixed their residence at Constantinople ; for by 
this step they exposed the Western Empire to the rapine of 
both their ministers and their enemies; the remoteness of 
their position preventing them either from seeing or providing 
for its necessities. To suffer the overthrow of such an ex- 
tensive empire, established by the blood of so many brave and 
virtuous men, showed no less folly in the princes themselves 



than infidelity in their ministers ; for not one irruption alone, 
but many, contributed to its ruin; and these barbarians ex- 
hibited much ability and perseverance in accomplishing their 

The first of these northern nations that invaded the empire 
after the Cimbrians, who were conquered by Caius Marius, 
was the Visigoths — ^which name in our language signifies 
"Western Goths." These, after some battles fought upon 
its confines, long held their seat of dominion upon the 
Danube, with consent of the emperors ; and although, moved 
by various causes, they often attacked the Roman provinces, 
were always kept in subjection by the imperial forces. The 
Emperor Theodosius conquered them with great glory; and, 
being wholly reduced to his power, they no longer elected a 
sovereign of their own, but, satisfied with the terms which he 
granted them, lived and fought under his ensigns and au- 
thority. On the death of Theodosius, his sons Arcadius and 
Honorius succeeded to the empire, but not to the talents and 
fortune, of their father; and the times became changed with 
the princes. Theodosius had appointed a governor to each 
of the three divisions of the empire, Ruffinus to the Eastern, to 
the Western Stilicho, and Gildo to the African. Each of these 
after the death of Theodosius, determined not to be governors 
merely, but to assume sovereign dominion over their respective 
provinces. Gildo and Ruffinus were suppressed at their out- 
set; but Stilicho, concealing his design, ingratiated himself 
with the new emperors, and at the same time so disturbed their 
government as to facilitate his occupation of it afterward. 
To make the Visigoths their enemies, he advised that the ac- 
customed stipend allowed to his people should be withheld; 
and as he thought these enemies would not be sufficient alone 
to disturb the empire, he contrived that the Burgundians, 
Franks, Vandals, and Alans (a northern people in search of 
new habitations), should assail the Roman provinces. 

That they might be better able to avenge themselves for 
the injury they had sustained, the Visigoths, on being de- 
prived of their subsidy, created Alaric their King; and having 
assailed the empire, succeeded, after many reverses, in over- 
running Italy, and finally in pillaging Rome. 

After this victory, Alaric died, and his successor Astolphus 


having married Placidia, sister of the emperors, agreed with 
them to go to the relief of Gaul and Spain, which provinces 
had been assailed by the Vandals, Burgundians, Alans, and 
Franks, from the causes before mentioned. Hence it fol- 
lowed, that the Vandals, who had occupied that part of Spain 
called Betica (now Andalusia), being pressed by the Visigoths, 
and unable to resist them, were invited by Boniface, who 
governed Africa for the empire, to occupy that province ; for, 
being in rebellion, he was afraid his error would become known 
to the Emperor. For these reasons the Vandals gladly under- 
took the enterprise, and under Genseric, their King, became 
lords of Africa. 

At this time, Theodosius, son of Arcadius, succeeded to 
the empire; and, bestowing little attention on the affairs of 
the West, caused those who had taken possession to think of 
securing their acquisitions. Thus the Vandals ruled Africa; 
the Alans and Visigoths, Spain; while the Franks and Bur- 
gundians not only took Gaul, but gave their names to the 
parts they occupied ; hence one is called France, the other Bur- 
gundy. The good-fortune of these brought fresh people to 
the destruction of the empire, one of which, the Huns, oc- 
cupied the province of Pannonia, situated upon the nearer 
shore of the Danube, and which, from their name, is still 
called Hungary. To these disorders it must be added, that 
the emperor, seeing himself attacked on so many sides, to 
lessen the number of his enemies, began to treat first with 
the Vandals, then with the Franks ; a course which diminished 
his own power, and increased that of the barbarians. Nor 
was the island of Britain, which is now called England, se- 
cure from them ; for the Britons, being apprehensive of those 
who had occupied Gaul, called the Angli, a people of Germany, 
to their aid ; and these, under Vortigem, their King, first de- 
fended, and then drove them from the island, of which they 
took possession, and after themselves named the country Eng- 
land. But the inhabitants, being robbed of their homes, be- 
came desperate by necessity, and resolved to take possession 
of some other country, although they had been unable to de- 
fend their own. They therefore crossed the sea with their 
families, and settled in the country nearest to the beach, which 
from themselves is called Brittany. The Huns, who were said 



above to have occupied Pannoaia, joming with other nations, 
as the Zepidi, Eruli, Thuringi, and Ostro (or Eastern) Goths, 
moved in search of new countries, and not being able to enter 
France, which was defended by the forces of the barbarians, 
came into Italy under Attila, their King. He, a short time 
previously, in order to possess the entire monarchy, had mur- 
dered his brother Bleda ; and having thus become very power- 
ful, Andaric, King of the Zepidi, and Velamir, King of llie Os- 
trogoths, became subject to him. Attila, having entered Italy, 
laid siege to Aquileia, where he remained without any obstacle 
for two years, wasting the country round, and dispersing the in- 
habitants. This, as will be related in its place, caused the 
origin of Venice. After the taking and ruin of Aquileia, he 
directed his course toward Rome, from the destruction of which 
he abstained at the entreaty of the pontiff, his respect for whom 
was so great that he left Italy and retired into Austria, where 
he died. After the death of Attila, Velamir, King of the Os- 
trogoths, and the heads of the other nations took arms 
against his sons Henry and Uric, slew the one and compelled 
the other, with his Huns, to repass the Danube and return to 
their country; whilst the Ostrogoths and the Zepidi estab- 
lished themselves in Pannonia, and the Eruli and the Thiiringi 
upon the farther bank of the Danube*. 

Attila having left Italy, Valentinian, Emperor of the 
West, thought of restoring the country; and, that he might 
be more ready to defend it against the barbarians, aban- 
doned Rome, and removed the seat of government to Ra- 
venna. The misfortunes which befell the Western Empire 
caused the Emperor, who resided at Qjnstantinople, on many 
occasions to give up the possession of it to others, as a charge 
full of danger and expense ; and sometimes, without his per- 
mission, the Romans, seeing themselves so abandoned, created 
an emperor for their defence, or suffered someone to usurp 
the dominion. This occurred at the period of which we now 
speak, when Maximus, a Roman, after the death of Valentinian, 
seized the government, and compelled Eudocia, widow of the 
late emperor, to take him for her husband ; but she, being of 
imperial blood, scorned the connection of a private citizen; 
and being anxious to avenge herself for the insult, secretly per- 
suaded Genseric, King of the Vandals and master of Africa, 


to come into Italy, representing to him the advantage he would 
derive from the undertaking, and the facility with which it 
might be accomplished. Tempted by the hope of booty, he 
came immediately, and finding Rome abandoned, plundered 
the city during fourteen days. He also ravaged many other 
places in Italy, and then, loaded with wealth, withdrew to 
Africa. The Romans, having returned to their city, and 
Maximus being dead, elected Avitus, a Roman, as his suc- 

After this, several important events occurred both in Italy 
and in the countries beyond; after the deaths of many em- 
perors the Empire of G)nstantinople devolved upon Zeno, and 
that of Rome upon Orestes and Augustulus his son, who ob- 
tained the sovereignty by fraud. Whilst they were designing 
to hold by force what they had obtained by treachery, the 
Eruli and the Thiiringi^ who, after the death of Attila, as be- 
fore remarked, had established themselves upon the farther 
bank of the Danube, united in a league and invaded Italy 
under Odoacer, their general. Into the districts which they 
left unoccupied, the Longobardi, or Lombards, also a Northern 
people, entered, led by Godogo, their King. Odoacer con- 
quered and slew Orestes near Pavia, but Augustulus escaped. 
After this victory, that Rome might, with her change of power, 
also change her title, Odoacer, instead of using the imperial 
name, caused himself to be declared King of Rome. He was 
the first of those leaders who at this period overran the world 
and thought of settling in Italy; for the others, either from 
fear that they should not be able to hold the country, know- 
ing that it might easily be relieved by the Eastern Emperors, or 
from some unknown cause, after plundering her, sought other 
countries wherein to establish themselves. 


State of the Roman Empire under Zeno— Theodoric, King of the Os- 
trogoths — Character of Theodoric— Changes in the Roman Empire 
— New Languages^New Names— Theodoric Dies— Belisarius in Italy 
— Totila Takes Rome — Narscs Destroys the Goths — New Form of 
Government in Italy— Narses Invites Uie Lombards into Italy— The 
Lombards Change the Form of Government 

AT this time the ancient Roman Empire was governed by 
the following princes : Zeno, reigning in Constantino- 
ple, commanded the whole of the Eastern Empire ; the 
Ostrogoths ruled Mesia and Pannonia; the Visigoths, Suevi, 
and Alans held Gascony and Spain; the Vandals, Africa; 
the Franks and Burgundians, France; and the Eruli and 
Thiiringi, Italy. The kingdom of the Ostrogoths had de- 
scended to Theodoric, nephew of Velamir, who, being on terms 
of friendship with Zeno the Eastern Emperor, wrote to him 
that his Ostrogoths thought it an injustice that they, being 
superior in valor to the people thereabout, should be inferior 
to them in dominion; and that it was impossible for him to 
restrain them within the limits of Pannonia. So, seeing him- 
self under the necessity of allowing them to take arms and go 
in search of new abodes, he wished first to acquaint jCcno 
with it, in order that he might provide for them, by granting 
some country in which they might establish themselves, by his 
good favor, with greater propriety and convenience. Zeno, 
partly from fear and partly from a desire to drive Odoacer out 
of Italy, gave Theodoric permission to lead his people against 
him, and take possession of the country. Leaving his friends 
the Zepidi in Pannonia, Theodoric marched into Italy, slew 
Odoacer and his son, and, moved by the same reasons which 
had induced Valentinian to do so, established his court at 
Ravenna, and like Odoacer took the title of King of Italy. 

Theodoric possessed great talents, both for war and peace ; 
in the former he was always conqueror, and in the latter he 



conferred very great benefits upon the cities and people under 
him. He distributed the Ostrogoths over the country, each 
district under its leader, that he might more conveniently com- 
mand them in war and govern them in peace. He enlarged 
Ravenna, restored Rome, and, with the exception of military 
discipline, conferred upon the Romans every honor. He kept 
within their proper bounds, wholly by the influence of his 
character, all the barbarian kings who occupied the em- 
pire; he built towns and fortresses between the point of the 
Adriatic and the Alps, in order, with the greater facility, to im- 
pede the passage of any new hordes of barbarians who might 
design to assail Italy; and if toward the latter end of his 
life, so many virtues had not been sullied by acts of cruelty, 
caused by various jealousies of his people, such as the deaths 
of Symmachus and Boethius, men of great holiness, every 
point of his character would have deserved the highest praise. 
By his virtue and goodness, not only Rome and Italy, but 
every part of the Western Empire, freed from the continual 
troubles which they had suffered from the frequent influx of 
barbarians, acquired new vigor, and began to live in an orderly 
and civilized manner. For surely if any times were truly 
miserable for Italy and the provinces overrun by the bar- 
barians, they were those which occurred from Arcadius and 
Honorius to Theodoric. If we only consider the evils which 
arise to a republic or a kingdom by a change of prince or of 
government; not by foreign interference, but by civil dis- 
cord (in which we may see how even slight variations sufiice 
to ruin the most powerful kingdoms or States), we may then 
easily imagine how much Italy and the other Roman provinces 
suffered, when they not only changed their forms of gov- 
ernment and their princes, but also their laws, customs, modes 
of living, religion, language, and name. Any one of such 
changes, by itself, without being united with others, might, 
with thinking of it to say nothing of the seeing and suffering, 
infuse terror into the strongest minds. 

From these causes proceeded the ruin as well as the origin 
and extension of many cities. Among those which were 
ruined were Aquileia, Luni, Chiusi, Popolonia, Fiesole, and 
many others. The new cities were Venice, Sienna, Ferrara, 
Aquila, with many towns and castles which for brevity we 


omit. Those which became extended were Florence, Genoa, 
Pisa, Milan, Naples, and Bologna; to all of which may be 
added, the ruin and restoration of Rome, and of many other 
cities not previously mentioned. 

From this devastation and new population arose new lan- 
guages, as we see in the dijff erent dialects of France, Spain, and 
Italy ; which, partaking of the native idiom of the new people 
and of the old Roman, formed a new manner of discourse. 
Besides, not only were the names of provinces changed, but 
also of lakes, rivers, seas, and men; for Fnmce, Spain, and 
Italy are full of fresh names, wholly dijff erent from the ancient ; 
as, omitting many others, we see that the Po, the Garda, the 
Archipelago, are names quite different from those which the 
ancients used ; whilst instead of Caesar, and Pompey, we have 
Peter, Matthew, John, etc. 

Among so many variations, that of religion was not of 
little importance; for while combating the customs of the 
ancient faith with the miracles of the new, very serious 
troubles and discords were created among men. And if 
Christians had been united in one faith, fewer disorders would 
have followed; but the contentions among themselves of the 
churches of Rome, Greece, and Ravenna, joined to those of the 
heretics sects with the Catholic, served in many ways to render 
the world miserable. Africa is a proof of this ; having suf- 
fered more horrors from the Arian sect, whose doctrines were 
believed by the Vandals, than from any avarice or natural 
cruelty of the people themselves. Living amid so many per- 
secutions, the countenances of men bore witness of the ter- 
rible impressions upon their minds; for beside the evils they 
suffered from the disordered state of the world, they scarcely 
could have recourse to the help of God, in whom the unhappy 
hope for relief ; for the greater part of them, being uncertain 
what divinity they ought to address, died miserably, without 
help and widiout hope. 

Having been the first to put a stop to so many evils, Theo- 
dorid deserves the highest praise ; for during the thirty-eight 
years he reigned in Italy he brought the country to such a 
state of greatness that her previous sufferings were no longer 
recognizable. But at his death, the kingdom descending to 
Atalaric, son of Amalasontha his daughter, and the malice of 


fortune not being yet exhausted^ the old evils soon returned ; 
for Atalaric died sdn after his grandfather, and the kingdom /o 
coming into the possession of his mother, she was betrayed 
by Theodatus, whom she had called to assist her in the gov- 
ernment. He put her to death and made himself king; and 
having thus become odious to the Ostrogoths, the Emperor 
Justinian entertained the hope of driving him out of Italy. 
Justinian appointed Belisarius to the command of this expe- 
dition, as he had already conquered Africa, expelled the Van- 
dals, and reduced the country to the imperial rule. 

Belisarius took posession of Sicily, and, from thence pass- 
ing into Italy, occupied Naples and Rome. The Goths, see- 
ing this, slew Theodatus, their King, whom they considered 
the cause of their misfortunes, and elected Vitiges in his 
stead, who after some skirmishes, was besieged and taken by 
Belisarius at Ravenna; but before he had time to secure the 
advantage of his victory Belisarius was recalled by Justin- 
ian, and Jo&nnes and Vitalis were appointed in his place. 
Their principles and practices were so different from those of 
Belisarius, that the Goths took courage and created Ildovadus, 
Governor of Verona, their King. After Ildovadus, who was 
slain, came Totila, who routed the imperial forces, took Tus- 
cany and Naples, and recovered nearly the whole of what 
Belisarius had taken from them. On this account Justinian 
determined to send him into Italy again; but, coming with 
only a small force, he lost the reputation which his former 
victories had won for him, in less time than he had taken 
to acquire it. Totila being at Ostia with his forces, took 
Rome before his eyes ; but being unable to hold or to leave the 
city, he destroyed the greater part of it, drove out the citizens, 
and took the senators away with him. Thinking little of 
Belisarius, he led his people into Calabria, to attack the forces 
which had been sent from Greece. 

Belisarius, seeing the city abandoned, turned his mind to 
the performance of an honorable work. Viewing the ruins 
of Rome, he determined to rebuild her walls and recall her 
inhabitants with as little delay as possible. But fortune was 
opposed to this laudable enterprise; for Justinian, being at 
this time asasiled by the Parthians, recalled him; and his 
duty to his sovereign compelled him to abandon Italy to 


Totila, who again took Rome, but did not treat her with such 
severity as upon the former occasion ; for at the entreaty of 
St. Benedict^ who in those days had great reputation for 
sanctity, he endeavored to restore her. In the meantime, Jus- 
tinian having arranged matters with the Parthians, again 
thought of sending a force to the relief of Italy ; but the Sclavi, 
another Northern people, having crossed the Danube and at- 
tacked lUyria and Thrace, prevented him, so that Totila held 
almost the whole country. Having conquered the Sclavonians, 
Justinian sent Narses, a eunuch, a man of great military talent, 
who, having arrived in Italy, routed and slew Totila. The 
Goths who escaped sought refuge in Pavia, where they created 
Teias their King. On the other hand, Narses after the vic- 
tory took Rome, and coming to an engagement with Teias and 
Nocera, slew him and routed his army. By this victory, the 
power of the Goths in Italy was quite annihilated, after hav- 
ing existed for seventy years from the coming of Theodoric to 
the death of Teias. 

No sooner was. Italy delivered from the Goths than Justin- 
ian died, and was succeeded by Justin^ his son, who, at the 
instigation of Sophia, his wife, recalled Narses, and sent 
Longinus in his stead. Like those who preceded him, he 
made his abode at Ravenna, and beside this, gave a new form 
to the government of Italy ; for he did not appoint governors 
of provinces, as the Goths had done, but in every city and 
town of importance, placed a ruler whom he called a duke. 
Neither in this arrangement did he respect Rome more than 
the other cities; for having set aside the consuls and Senate, 
names which up to this time had been preserved, he placed 
her under a duke, who was sent every year from Ravenna, and 
called her the Duchy of Rome; while to him who remained 
at Ravenna, and governed the whole of Italy for the Emperor, 
was given the name of Exarch. This division of the country 
facilitated the ruin of Italy, and gave the Lombards an early 
occasion of occupying it. Narses was greatly enraged with 
the Emperor for having recalled him from the government of 
the province, which he had won with his own valor and blood ; 
whilst Sophia, not content with the injury done by withdraw- 
ing him, treated him in the most offensive manner, sa)dng she 
wished him to come back that he might spin with the other 


eunuchs. Full of indignation, Narses persuaded Alboin, 
King of the Lombards, who then reigned in Pannonia, to in- 
vade and take possession of Italy. 

The Lombards, as was said before, occupied those places 
upon the Danube which had been vacated by the Eruli and 
Thiiringi, when Odoacer their King led them into Italy ; where, 
having been established for some time, their dominions were 
held by Alboin, a man ferocious and bold, under whom they 
crosed the Danube, and coming to an engagement with Cuni- 
mund. King of the Zepidi, who held Pannonia, conquered and 
slew him. Alboin finding Rosamond, daughter of Cunimund, 
amongst the captives, took her to wife, and made himself 
sovereign of Pannonia; and moved by his savage nature, 
caused the skull of Cunimund to be formed into a cup, from 
which, in memory of the victory, he drank. Being invited into 
Italy by Narses, with whom he had been in friendship dur- 
ing the war with the Goths, he left Pannonia to tiie Huns, 
who after the death of Attila had returned to their country. 
Finding, on his arrival, the province divided into so many 
parts, he presently occupied Pavia, Milan, Verona, Vicenza, 
the whole of Tuscany, and the greater part of Flamminia, 
which is now called Romagna. These great and rapid acquisi- 
tions made him think the conquest of Italy already secured; 
he therefore gave a great feast at Verona, and having become 
elevated with wine, ordered the skull of Cunimund to be filled, 
and caused it to be presented to the queen Rosamond, who 
sat opposite, saying loud enough for her to hear, that upon 
occasion of such great joy she should drink with her father. 

These words were like a dagger to the lady's bosom, and 
she resolved to have revenge. Knowing that Helmichis, a 
noble Lombard, was in love with one of her maids, she ar- 
ranged with the young woman, that Helmichis, without being 
acquainted with the fact, should sleep with her instead of his 
mistress. Having effected her design, Rosamond discovered 
herself to Helmichis, and gave him the choice either of kill- 
ing Alboin,. and taking herself and the kingdom as his reward, 
or of being put to death as the ravisher of the queen. Hel- 
michis consented to destroy Alboin ; but after the murder, find- 
ing they could not occupy the kingdom, and fearful that the 
Lombards would put them to death for the love they bore 


to Alboin, they seized the royal treasure, and fled with it to 
Longinus, at Ravenna, who received them favorably. 

During these troubles the Emperor Justin died, and was 
succeeded by Tiberius, who, occupied in the wars with the 
Parthians, could not attend to the affairs of Italy; and this 
seeming to Longinus to present an opportunity, by means of 
Rosamond and her wealth, of becoming King of the Lombards 
and of the whole of Italy, he communicated his design to her, 
persuaded her to destroy Helmichis, and so take him for her 
husband. To this end, having prepared poisoned wine, she 
with her own hand presented it to Helmichis, who complained 
of thirst as he came from the bath. Having drunk half of it, 
he suspected the truth, from the unusual sensation it occa- 
sioned, and compelled her to drink the remainder; so that in 
a few hours botih came to their end, and Longinus was de- 
prived of the hope of becoming king. 

In the meantime the Lombards, having drawn themselves 
together in Pavia, which was become the principal seat of 
their empire, made Clefis their king. He rebuilt Imola, de- 
stroyed by Narses, and occupied Rimini and almost every place 
up to Rome ; but he died in the course of his victories. Clefis 
was cruel to such a degree, not only toward strangers, but 
to his own Lombards, that these people, sickened of royal power, 
did not create another king, but appointed among themselves 
thirty dukes to govern the rest. This prevented the Lombards 
from occupying the whole of Italy, or of extending their do- 
minion further than Benevento ; for, of the cities of Rome, Ra- 
venna, Cremona, Mantua, Padua, Monselice, Parma, Bologna, 
Faenza, Forli, and Cesena^ some defended themselves for a 
time, and others never fell under their dominion; since, not 
having a king, they became less prompt for war, and when 
they afterward appointed one, they were, by living in freedom, 
become less obedient, and more apt to quarrel amongst them- 
selves; which from the first prevented a fortunate issue of 
their military expeditions, and was the ultimate cause of their 
being driven out of Italy. The affairs of the Lombards be- 
ing in the state just described, the Romans and Longinus came 
to an agreement with them, that each should lay down their 
arms and enjoy what they already possessed. 


Beginning of the Greatness of the Pontiffs in Italy— Abuse of Cen- 
sures and Indulgences— The Pope Applies to Pepin, King of France, 
for Assistance — ^Donation of Pepin to the Pontiff — Charlemagne — 
End of the Kingdom of the Lombards— The Title of Cardinal Be- 
gins to be Used— The Empire Passes to the Germans — Berengarius, 
Duke of Friuli, Created King of Italy — Pisa Becomes Great — Order 
and Division of the States of Italy — ^Electors of the Emperor Created. 

IN these times the popes began to acquire greater temporal 
authority than they had previously possessed; although 
the immediate successors of St. Peter were more rev- 
erenced for the holiness of their lives, and the miracles 
which they performed; and their example so greatly ex- 
tended the Christian religion^ that princes of other States 
embraced it, in order to obviate the confusion which pre- 
vailed at that period. The Emperor having become a 
Christian and returned to Constantinople, it followed, as was 
remarked at the commencement of the book, that the Ro- 
man Empire was the more easily ruined, and the Church 
more rapidly increased her authority. Nevertheless, the 
whole of Italy, being subject either to the emperors or the 
kings till the coming of the Lombards, the popes never ac- 
quired any greater authority than what reverence for their 
habits and doctrine gave them. In other respects they obeyed 
the emperors or kings ; officiated for them in their affairs, as 
ministers or agents; and were even sometimes put to death 
by them. He who caused them to become of more importance 
in the affairs of Italy, was Theodoric, King of the Goths, when 
he established the seat of his empire at Ravenna; for Rome 
being without a prince, the Romans found it necessary, for 
their safety, to yield obedience to the Pope; his authority, 
however, was not greatly increased thereby, the only advantage 
being, that the Church of Rome was allowed to take preced- 
ence of that of Ravenna. But the Lombards having taken 



possession, and Italy being divided into many parts, the Pope 
had an opportunity of greater exertion. Being as it were the 
head of Rome, both the Emperor of Constantinople and the 
Lombards respected him; so that the Romans, by his means, 
entered into league with the Lombards, and with Longinus, 
not as subjects, but as equals. ' Thus the popes, at one time 
friends of the Greeks, and at another of the Lombards, in- 
creased their own power: but upon the ruin of the Eastern 
Empire, which occurred during the time of Heraclius, their 
influence was reduced; for the Sclavi, of whom he spoke be- 
fore, again assailed lUyria, and having occupied the country, 
named it Sclavonia, after themselves; and the other parts 
were attacked by the Persians, then by the Saracens under 
Mohammed, and lastly by the Turks, who took Syria, Africa, 
and Egypt. These causes induced the reigning Pope, in his 
distress to seek new friends, and he applied to the King of 
France. Nearly all the wars which the Northern barbarians 
carried on in Italy, it may be here remarked, were occasioned 
by the pontiffs; and the hordes, with which the country was 
inundated, were generally called in by them. The same mode 
of proceeding still continued, and kept Italy weak and un- 
settled. And, therefore, in relating the events which have 
taken place from those times to the present, the ruin of the 
empire will be no longer illustrated, but only the increase of the 
pontificate and of the other principalities which ruled Italy 
till the coming of Charles VIII. It will be seen how the popes, 
first with censures, and afterward with these and arms, min- 
gled with indulgences, became both terrible and venerable; 
and how, from having abused both, they ceased to possess any 
influence, and were wholly dependent on the will of others 
for assistance in their wars. 

But to return to the order of our narration. Gregory III 
occupied the papacy, and the Kingdom of the Lombards was 
held by Astolphus, who, contrary to the agreement, seized 
Ravenna, and made war upon the Pope. On this account, 
Gregory no longer relying upon the Emperor of Constan- 
tinople, since he, for the reasons above given, was unable to 
assist him, and unwilling to trust the Lombards, for they had 
frequently broken their faith, had recourse to Pepin II, who, 
from being Lord of Austria and Brabant, had become King of 



France ; not so much by his own valor as by that of Charles 
Martel his father, and Pepin his grandfather; for Charles 
Martel being governor of the kingdom, effected the memor- 
able defeat of the Saracens near Tours, upon the Loire, in 
which 200,000 of them are said to have been left dead 
upon the field of battle. Hence, Pepin, by his father's repu- 
tation and his own abilities, became afterward King of 
France. To him Pope Gregory, as we have said, applied for 
assistance against the Lombards, which Pepin promised to 
grant, but desired first to see him and be honored with his 
presence. Gregory accordingly went to France, passing un- 
injured through the country of his enemies, so great was the 
respect they had for religion, and was treated honorably by 
Pepin, who sent an army into Italy, and besieged the Lom- 
bards in Pavia. King Astolphus, compelled by necessity, 
made proposals of peace to the French, who agreed to them 
at the entreaty of the Pope — for he did not desire the death 
of his enemy, but that he should be converted and live. In 
this treaty, Astolphus promised to give to the Church all the 
places he had taken from her; but the King's forces having re- 
turned to France, he did not fulfil the agreement, and the Pope 
again had recourse to Pepin, who sent another army, con- 
quered the Lombards, took Ravenna, and, contrary to the 
wishes of the Greek Emperor, gave it to the Pope, with all 
the places that belonged to the exarchate, and added to them 
Urbino and the Marca. But Astolphus, whilst fulfilling the 
terms of his agreement, died, and Desiderius, a Lombard, who 
was Duke of Tuscany, took arms to occupy the kingdom, and 
demanded assistance of the Pope, promising him his friend- 
ship. The Pope acceding to his request, the other princes as- 
sented. Desiderius kept faith at first, and proceeded to re- 
sign the districts to the Pope, according to the agreement made 
with Pepin, so that an exarch was no longer sent from Con- 
stantinople to Ravenna, but it was governed according to the 
will of the Pope. Pepin soon after died, and was succeeded 
by his son Charles, the same who, on account of the magni- 
tude and success of his enterprises, was called Charlemagne, 
or Charles the Great. Theodore I now succeeded to the 
papacy, and, discord arising between him and Desiderius, the 
latter besieged him in Rome. The Pope requested assistance of 


Charles, who, having crossed the Alps, besieged Desiderius in 
Pavia, where he took both him and his children, and sent them 
prisoners to France. He then went to visit the pontijff at 
Rome, where he declared^ that the pope, being vicar of God, 
cou^ not be judged by men. The Pope and the people of 
Rome made him Emperor ; and thus Rome began to have an 
Emperor of the West. And whereas the popes used to be 
established by the emperors, the latter now began to have 
need of the popes at their elections; the empire continued to 
lose its powers, while the Church acquired them ; and, by these 
means, she constantly extended her authority over temporal 

The Lombards, having now been 232 years in the coun- 
try, were strangers only in name; and Charles, wishing to 
reorganize the States of Italy, consented that they should oc- 
cupy the places in which they had been brought up, and 
call the provinces after their own name, Lombardy. That 
they might be led to respect the Roman name, he ordered 
all that part of Italy adjoining to them, which had been 
under the exarchate of Ravenna, to be called Romagna. 
Besides this, he created his son Pepin, King of Italy, whose 
dominion extended to Benevento ; all the rest being possessed 
by the. Greek Emperor, with whom Charles was in league. 
About this time Pascal I occupied the pontificate, and the 
priests of the churches of Rome, from being near to the Pope, 
and attending the elections of the pontiff, began to dignify 
their power with a title, by calling themselves " Cardinals," and 
arrogated so great authority that having excluded the people 
of Rome from the election of pontiff, the appointment of a 
new pope was scarcely ever made except from one of their 
number; thus on the death of Pascal; the Cardinal of St. 
Sabina was created pope by the title' of Eugenius II. Italy 
having come into the hands of the French, a change of form 
and order took place, the popes acquiring greater temporal 
power, and the new authorities adopting the titles of count 
and marquis, as that of duke had been introduced by Lon- 
g^nus. Exarch of Ravenna. After the deaths of some pontiffs, 
Osporco, a Roman, succeeded to the papacy; but on account 
of his unseemly appellation, he took the name of Sergius, and 
this was the origin of that change of names which the popes 
adopt upon their election to the pontificate. 


In the meantime the Emperor Charles died and was suc- 
ceeded by Louis (the Pious), after whose death so many dis- 
putes arose among his sons that at the time of his grand- 
children the house of France lost the empire, which then came 
to the Germans ; the first German emperor being called Amol- 
fus. Nor did the Carlovingian family lose the empire only; 
their discords also occasioned them the loss of Italy ; for the 
Lombards, gathering strength, ojffended the Pope and the Ro- 
mans; and Amolfo, not knowing where to seek relief, was 
compelled to create Berengarius, Duke of Friuli, King of Italy, 
These events induced the Huns, who occupied Pannonia, to 
assail Italy; but, in an engagement with Berengarius, they 
were compelled to return to Pannonia, which had from them 
been named Hungary. 

Romano was at this time Emperor of Greece, having, while 
prefect of the army, dethroned Constantine; and as Puglia 
and Calabria, which, as before observed, were parts of the 
Greek Empire, had revolted, he gave permission to the Sara- 
cens to occupy them; and they having taken possession of 
these provinces, besieged Rome. The Roman Berengarius be- 
ing then engaged in defending himself against the Huns, ap- 
pointed Alberic, Duke of Tuscany, their leader. By his valor 
Rome was saved from the Saracens, who withdrawing from 
the siege, erected a fortress upon Mount Gargano, by means 
of which they governed Puglia and Calabria, and harassed 
the whole country. Thus Italy was in those times very 
grievously afflicted, being in constant warfare with the Huns 
in the direction of the Alps, and, on the Neapolitan side, sujffer- 
ing from the inroads of the Saracens. This state of things 
continued many years, occupying the reigns of three Beren- 
garii, who succeeded each other; and during this time the 
Pope and the Church were greatly disturbed ; the impotence of 
the Eastern, and the disunion which prevailed amongst the 
Western princes, leaving them without defence. The city of 
Genoa, with all her territory upon the rivers, having been over- 
run by the Saracens, an impulse was thus given to the rising 
greatness of Pisa, in which city multitudes took refuge who 
had been driven out of their own country. These events oc- 
curred in the year 931, when Otho, Duke of Saxony, the son 
of Henry and Matilda, a quen, man of great prudence and repu- 


tation^ being made Emperor, Pope Agapito begged that he 
would come into Italy and relieve him from the tyranny of the 

The States of Italy were governed in this manner: Lom- 
bardy was under Berengarjus III and Alfred his son; Tus- 
cany and Romagna were governed by a deputy of the Western 
Emperor; Puglia and Calabria were partly under the Greek 
Emperor, and partly under the Saracens; in Rome two Con- 
suls were annually chosen from the nobility, who. governed 
her according to ancient custom; to these was added a pre- 
fect, who dispensed justice among the people; and there was 
a council of twelve, who each year appointed rectors for the 
places subject to them. The popes had more or less authority 
in Rome and the rest of Italy, in proportion as there were 
favorites of the Emperor or of the most powerful States. The 
Emperor Otho came into Italy, took the kingdom from the 
Berengarii, in which they had reigned fifty-five years, and re- 
instated the pontiff in his dignity. He had a son and a nephew, 
each named Otho, who, one after the other, succeeded to the 
empire. In the reig^ of Otho III, Pope Gregory V was ex- 
pelled by the Romans ; whereupon the emperor came into Italy 
and replaced him; and the Pope, to revenge himself on the 
Romans, took from them the right to create an emperor, and 
gave it to three princes and three bishops of Germany — ^the 
princes of Brandenburg, Palatine, and Saxony, and the bishops 
of Magonza, Treveri, and Colonia. This occurred in the year 
1002. After the death of Otho III, the electors created 
Henry, Duke of Bavaria, Emperor, who at the end of twelve 
years was crowned by Pope Stephen VIIL Henry and his 
wife Simeonda were persons of very holy life, as is seen by 
the many temples built and endowed by them, of which the 
church of St. Miniato, near Florence, is one. Henry died in 
1024, and was succeeded by Conrad of Squabia, and the latter 
by Henry II, who came to Rome ; and as there was a schism in 
the Church of three popes, he set them all aside, and caused the 
election of Clement II, by whom he was crowned Emperor. 


Nicholas II Commits the Election of the Pope to the Cardinals— First 
Example of a Prince Deprived of his Dominions by the Pope — 
Guelfs and Ghibellines— Establishment of the Kingdom of Naples- 
Pope Urban II Goes to France — ^The First Crusade — New Orders of 
Knighthood — Saladin Takes from the Christians their Possessions in 
the East — Death of the Countess Matilda — Character of Frederick 
Barbarossa — Schism — Frederick Creates an Anti-Pope — Building of 
Alexandria in Puglia — ^Disgraceful Conditions Imposed by the Pope 
upon Henry, King of England— Reconciliation of Frederick with the 
Pope — ^The Kingdom of Naples Passes to the Germans — Orders of 
St Dominic and St Francis. 

ITALY was at this time governed partly by the people, some 
districts by their own princes, and others by the Deputies 
of the Emperor. The highest in authority, and to whom 
the others referred, was called the Chancellor. Of the princes, 
the most powerful were Godfrey and the Countess Matilda 
his wife, who was daughter of Beatrice, the sister of Henry 
II. She and her husband possessed Lucca, Parma, Reggio, 
Mantua, and the whole of what is now called the Patrimony of 
the Church. The ambition of the Roman people caused many 
wars between them and the pontiffs, whose authority had pre- 
viously been used to free them from the emperors ; but when 
they had taken the government of the city to themselves, and 
regulated it according to their own pleasure, they at once be- 
came at enmity with the popes, who received far more injuries 
from them than from any Christian potentate. And whilst the 
popes caused all the West to tremble with their censures, the 
people of Rome were in open rebellion against them ; nor had 
they or the popes any other purpose, but to deprive each other 
of reputation and authority. 

Nicholas II now attained the papacy; and as Gregory V 
had taken from the Romans the right to create an emperor, 
he in the same manner determined to deprive them of their 
share in the election of the pope; and confined the creation 

ai • 


to the cadrinals alone. Nor did this satisfy him ; for, having 
agreed with the princes who governed Calabria and Puglia, 
by methods which we shall presently relate, he compelled the 
officers whom the Romans appointed to their different juris- 
dictions, to render obedience to him ; and some of them he even 
deprived of their offices. After the death of Nicholas, there 
was a schism in the Qiurch ; the clergy of Lombardy refused 
obedience to Alexander II, created at Rome, and elected 
Cadolo of Parma anti-pope ; and Henry, who hated the power 
of the pontiffs, gave Alexander to understand that he must 
renounce the pontificate, and ordered the cardinals to go into 
Germany to appoint a new pope. He was the first who felt 
the importance of spiritual weapons; for the Pope called a 
council at Rome, and deprived Henry of both the empire 
and the kingdom. Some of the people of Italy took the part 
of the Pope, others of Henry; and hence arose the factions 
of the Guelfs and the Ghibellines; that Italy, relieved from 
the inundations of barbarians, might be distracted with in- 
testine strife. Henry, being excommunicated, was compelled 
by his people to come into Italy, and fall barefooted upon his 
knees before the Pope, and ask his pardon. This occurred in 
the year 1082. Nevertheless, there shortly afterward arose 
new discords betwixt the Pope and Henry; upon which the 
Pope again excommunicated him, and the Emperor sent his 
son, also named Henry, with an army to Rome, and he, with 
the assistance of the Romans, who hated the Pope, besieged 
him in the fortress. Robert Guiscard then came from Puglia 
to his relief, but Henry had left before his arrival, and returned 
to Germany. The Romans stood out alone, and the city was 
sacked by Robert, and reduced to ruins. As from this Robert 
sprung the establishment of the Kingdom of Naples it seems 
not superfluous to relate particularly his actions and origin. 

Distmion having arisen among the descendants of Charle- 
magne, occasion was given to another Northern people, called 
Normans, to assail France and occupy that portion of the 
country which is now named Normandy. A part of these 
people came into Italy at the time when the province was 
infested with the Berengarii, the Saracens, and the Huns, 
and occupied some places in Romagna, where, during the 
wars of that period, they conducted themselves valiantly. 


Tancred, one of these Norman princes, had many children; 
amongst the rest were William, sumamed Ferabac, and Robert, 
called Guiscard. When the principality was governed by 
William, the troubles of Italy were in some measure abated; 
but the Saracens still held Sicily, and plundered the coasts 
of Italy daily. On this account William arranged with the 
princes of Capua and Salerno, and with Melorco, a Greek, who 
governed Puglia and Calabria for the Greek Emperor, to attack 
Sicily; and it was agreed that, if they were victorious, each 
should have a fourth part of the booty and the territory. They 
were fortunate in their enterprise, expelled the Saracens, and 
took possession of the island ; but after the victory, Melorco 
secretly caused forces to be brought from Greece, seized Sicily 
in the name of the Emperor, and appropriated the booty to him- 
self and his followers. 

William was much dissatisfied with this, but reserved the 
exhibition of his displeasure for a suitable opportunity, and 
left Sicily with the princes of Salerno and Capua. But when 
they had parted from him to return to their homes, instead of 
proceeding to Romagna he led his people toward Puglia, and 
took Melfi ; and from thence, in a short time, recovered from 
the Greek Emperor almost the whole of Puglia and Calabria, 
over which provinces, in the time of Pope Nicholas II, his 
brother Robert Guiscard was sovereign. Robert having had 
many disputes with his nephews for the inheritance of these 
States, requested the influence of the Pope to settle them; 
which his holiness was very willing to afford, being anxious to 
make a friend of Robert, to defend himself against the Emperor 
of Germany and the insolence of the Roman people, which in- 
deed shortly followed, when, at the instance of Gregory, he 
drove Henry from Rome, and subdued the people. Robert 
was succeeded by his sons Roger and William, to whose do- 
minion not only was Naples added, and all the places Tnter- 
jacent as far as Rome, and afterwards Sicily, of which <Roger 
became sovereign ; but upon William going to Constantinople, 
to marry the daughter of the Emperor, his dominions were 
wrested from him by his brother Roger. Inflated with so 
great an acquisition, Roger first took the title of King of Italy, 
but afterward contented himself with that of King of Puglia 
and Sicily. He was the first who established and gave that 


name to this kingdom, which still retains its ancient boun- 
daries, although its sovereigns have been of many families and 
cotmtries. Upon the failure of the Normans, it came to the 
Germans, after these to the French, then to the Arragonese; 
and it is now held by the Flemish. 

About this time Urban II became Pope, and excited the 
hatred of the Romans. As he did not think himself safe even 
in Italy, on account of the disunion which prevailed, he directed 
his thoughts to a generous enterprise. With his whole clergy 
he went into France, and at Anvers, having drawn together 
a vast multitude of people, delivered an oration against the 
infidels, which so excited the minds of his audience that they 
determined to undertake the conquest of Asia from the 
Saracens ; which enterprise, with all those of a similar nature, 
were afterward called Crusades, because the people who 
joined in them bore upon their armor and apparel the figure 
of a cross. The leaders were Godfrey, Eustace, and Baldwin 
of Bouillon, Counts of Boulogne, and Peter, a hermit celebrated 
for his prudence and sanctity. Many kings and people joined 
them, and contributed money; and many private persons 
fought under them at their own expense ; so great was the in- 
fluence of religion in those days upon the minds of men, ex- 
cited by the example of those who were its principal ministers. 
The proudest successes attended the beginning of this enter- 
prise ; for the whole of Asia Minor, Syria, and part of Egypt fell 
under the power of tiie Christians. To commemorate these 
events the order of the Knights of Jerusalem was created, 
which still continues, and holds the island of Rhodes — ^the 
only obstacle to the power of the Mohammedans. The same 
events gave rise to the order of the Knights Templar, which, 
after a short time, on account of their shameless prac- 
tices, was dissolved. Various fortune attended the crusaders 
in thie course of their enterprises, and many nations and indi- 
viduals became celebrated accordingly. The Kings of France 
and England joined them, and with the Venetians, Pisans, and 
Genoese, acquired great reputation, till the time of Saladin, 
when, by whose talents, and the disagreement of the Christians 
amongst themselves, the crusaders were robbed of all that 
glory which they had at first acquired, and after ninety years 
were driven from those places which they had so honorably and 
happily recovered. 


After the death of Urban, Pascal II became Pope, and the 
empire was under the dominion of Henry IV, who came to 
Rome pretending friendship for the pontiff, but afterward 
put his holiness and all his clergy in prison; nor did he re- 
lease them till it was conceded that he should dispose of the 
churches of Germany according to his own pleasure. About 
this time, the Countess Matilda died, and made the Church heir 
to all her territories. After the deaths of Pascal II and 
Henry IV many popes and emperors followed, till the papacy 
was occupied by Alexander III and the empire by Frederick 
sumamed Barbarossa. The popes during this period had met 
with many difficulties from the people of Rome and the em- 
perors; and in the time of Barbarossa they were much in- 
creased. Frederick possessed military talent, but was so full 
of pride that he would not submit to the pontiff. However, 
at his election to the empire he came to Rome to be crowned, 
and returned peaceably to Germany, where he did not long 
remain in the same mind, but came again into Italy to subdue 
certain places in Lombardy, which did not obey him. It hap- 
pened at this time that the Cardinal St. Clement, of a Roman 
family, separated from Alexander, and was made Pope by some 
of the cardinals. The Emperor Frederick being encamped at 
Crema, Alexander complained to him of the anti-pope, and 
received, for answer that they were both to go to him, and, hav- 
ing heard eacluside, he would determine which was the true 
pope. This reply displeased Alexander; and, as he saw the 
Emperor was inclined to favor the anti-pope, he excommimi- 
cated him, and then fled to Philip, King of France. Frederick, 
in the meantime, carrying on the war in Lombardy, destroyed 
Milan; which caused the union of Verona, Padua, and Vi- 
cenza against him, for their common defence. About the same 
period the anti-pope died, and Frederick set up Guido, of Cre- 
mona, in his stead. 

The Romans, from the absence of the Pope, and from the 
Emperor being in Lombardy, had reacquired some authority 
in Rome, and proceeded to recover the obedience of those places 
which had been subject to them. And as the people of Tus- 
culum refused to submit to their authority, they proceeded 
against them with their whole force ; but these, being assisted 
by Frederick, routed the Roman army with such dreadful 


slaughter that Rome was never after either so populous or so 
rich. Alexander now returned to the city, thinking* he could 
be safe there on account of the enmity subsisting between the 
Romans and the Emperor, and from the enemies which the 
latter had in Lombardy. But Frederick, setting aside every 
other consideration, led his forces and encamped before Rome ; 
and Alexander fled to William, King of Puglia, who had be- 
come heir of that kingdom after the death of Roger. Fred- 
erick, however, withdrew from Rome on account of the plague 
which then prevailed, and returned to Germany. The cities 
of Lombardy in league against him, in order to command 
Pavia and Tortona, which adhered to the imperial party, built 
a city, to be their magazine in time of war, and named it Alex- 
andria, in honor of the Pope and in contempt of Frederick. 

Guido the anti-pope died, and Giovanni, of Fermo, was ap- 
pointed in his stead, who being favored by the imperialists, 
lived at Montefiascone. Pope Alexander being at Tusculum, 
whither he had been called by the inhabitants, that with his 
authority he might defend them from the Romans, ambassa- 
dors came to him from Henry, King of England, to signify 
that he was not blamable for the death of Thomas a Becket, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, although public report had slan- 
dered him with it. On this the Pope sent two cardinals to 
England, to inquire into the truth of the matter ; and although 
they found no actual charge against the King, still, on account 
of the infamy of the crime, and for not having honored the 
archbishop so much as he deserved, the sentence against the 
King of England was, that having called together the barons 
of his empire, he should upon oath before them affirm his in- 
nocence; that he should immediately send 200 soldiers 
to Jerusalem, paid for one year; that, before the end of 
three years, he should himself proceed thither with as large 
an army as he could draw together; that his subjects should 
have the power of appealing to Rome when they thought 
proper; and that he should annul whatever acts had been 
passed in his kingdom unfavorable to ecclesiastical rule. 
These terms were all accepted by Henry; and thus a great 
king submitted to a sentence that in our day a private person 
would have been ashamed of. But while the Pope exercised so 
great authority over distant princes, he could not compel obe- 


dience from the Romans themselves, or obtain their consent 
that he should remain in Rome, even though he promised to 
intermeddle only with ecclesiastical affairs. 

About this time Frederick returned to Italy, and while he 
was {M^paring to carry on new wars against the Pope, his prel- 
ates and barons declared they would abandon him unless he 
reconciled himself with the Church ; so that he was obliged to 
go and submit to the Pope at Venice, where a pacification was 
effected^ but in which the pontiff deprived the Emperor of all 
authority over Rome, and named William, King of Sicily and 
Puglia, a coadjutor with him. Frederick, unable to exist 
without war, joined the crusaders in Asia, that he might exer- 
cise that ambition against Mohammedans which he could not 
gratify against the vicars of Christ. And being near the river 
Cydnus, tempted by the clearness of its waters, bathed there- 
in, took cold, and died. Thus the river did a greater favor 
to the Mohammedans than the Pope's excommunications had 
done to the Christians; for the latter only checked his pride, 
while the former finished his career. Frederick being dead, the 
Pope had now only to suppress the conttunacy of the Romans ; 
and, after many disputes concerning the creation of consuls, 
it was agreed that they should elect them as they had been 
accustomed to do, but that these should not undertake the 
office till they had first sworn to be faithful to the Church. 

This agreement being made, Giovanni, the anti-pope, took 
refuge in Mount Albano, where he shortly afterward died. 
William, King of Naples, died about the same time, and the 
Pope intended to occupy that kingdom on the ground that the 
King had left only a natural son named Tancred. But the 
barons would not consent, and wished that Tancred should be 
king. Celestine III, the then Pope, anxious to snatch the king- 
dom from the hands of Tancred, contrived that Henry, son of 
Frederick, should be elected emperor, and promised him the 
kingdom on the condition that he should restore to the Church 
all the places that had belonged to her. To facilitate this affair, 
he caused Costanza, a daughter of William, who had been 
placed in a monastery and was now old, to be brought from 
her seclusion and become the wife of Henry. Thus the King- 
dom of Naples passed from the Normans, who had been the 
founders of it, to the Germans. As soofi as the affairs of 


Germany were arranged, the Emperor Henry came into Italy 
with Costanza his wife and a son about four years of age 
named Frederick; and as Tancred was now dead, leaving 
only an infant named Roger, he took possession of the king- 
dom without much difficulty. After some years Henry died 
in Sicily, and was succeeded in the kingdom by Frederick, and ' 
in the empire by Otho, Duke of Saxony, who was elected 
through the influence of Innocent III. But as soon as he had 
taken the crown, contrary to the general expectation, he be- 
came an enemy of the Pope, occupied Romagna, and prepared 
to attack the kingdcxn. On this account the Pope excom- 
municated him; he was abandoned by everyone, and the 
Electors appointed Frederick, King of Naples, Emperor in his 
stead. Frederick came to Rome for his coronation; but the 
Pope, being afraid of his power, would not crown him, and en- 
deavored to withdraw him from Italy as he had done Otho. 
Frederick returned to Germany in anger, and, after many bat- 
tles with Otho, at length conquered him. Meanwhile Innocent 
III died, who, besides other excellent works, built the Hos- 
pital of the Holy Ghost at Rome. He was succeeded by Hon- 
orius III, in whose time the religious orders of St. Dominic 
and St. Francis were founded, 1218. Honorius crowned Fred- 
erick, to whom Giovanni, descended from Baldwin King of 
Jerusalem, who commanded the remainder of the Christian 
army in Asia and still held that title, gave a daughter in mar- 
riage ; and, with her portion, conceded to him the title to that 
kingdom : hence it is that every king of Naples is called King 
of Jerusalem. 


The State of Italy— Beginning of the Greatness of the Hoase of Este 
—Guelfs and GhibcUines— Death of the Emperor Frederick II— 
Manfred Takes Possession of the Kingdom of Naples— Movements of 
the Guelfs and Ghibellines in Lombardy — Charles of Anjou Invested 
by the Pope with the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily— Restless Policy 
of the Popes— Ambitious Views of Pope Nicholas III— Nephews of 
the Popes — Sicilian Vespers — The Emperor Rodolph Allows Many 
Cities to Purchase their Independence — Institution of the Jubilee— 
The Popes at Avignon. 

AT this time the States of Italy were governed in the fol- 
lowing manner : the Romans no longer elected consuls, 
but instead of them, and with the same powers, they 
appointed one senator, and sometimes more. The league which 
the cities of Lombardy had formed against Frederick Barbar- 
ossa still continued, and comprehended Milan, Brescia, Mantua, 
and the greater number of the cities of Romagna, together with 
Verona, Vicenza, Padua, and Trevisa. Those which took part 
with the Emperor were Cremona, Bergamo, Parma, Reggio, 
and Trento. The other cities and fortresses of Lombardy, 
Romagna, and the march of Trevisa, favored, according to 
their necessities, sometimes one party, sometimes the other. 

In the time of Otho III there had come into Italy a man 
called Ezelin, who, remaining in the country, had a son, and 
he too had a son named Ezelin. This person, being rich and 
powerful, took part with Frederick, who, as we have said, 
was at enmity with the Pope; Frederick, at the instigation 
and with the assistance of Ezelin, took Verona and Mantua, 
destroyed Vicenza, occupied Padua, routed the army of the 
united cities, and then directed his course towards Tuscany. 
Ezelin, in the meantime, had subdued the whole of the Trevisan 
March, but could not prevail against Ferrara, which was de- 
fended by Azone da Este and the forces which the P(^ had 
in Lombardy; and, as the enemy were compelled to with- 


draw, the Pope gave Ferrara in fee to this Axone, from whom 
are descended those who now govern that city. Frederick 
halted at Pisa, desirous of making himself lord of Tuscany ; 
but, while endeavoring to discover what friends and foes he 
had in that province, he scattered so many seeds of discord 
as occasioned the ruin of Italy ; for the factions of the Guelf s 
and Ghibellines multiplied — ^those who supported the Church 
taking the name of Guelfs, while the followers of the Em- 
peror were called Ghibellines, these names being first heard of 
at Pistoia. Frederick, marching from Pisa, assailed and 
wasted the territories of the Qiurch in a variety of ways ; so 
that the Pope, having no other remedy, unfurled against him 
the banner of the cross, as his predecessors had done against 
the Saracens. Frederick, that he might not be suddenly aband- 
oned by his people, as Frederick Barbarossa and others had 
been, took into his pay a number of Saracens; and to bind 
them to him, and establish in Italy a firm bulwark against the 
Church, without fear of papal maledictions, he gave them 
Nocera in the kingdom of Naples, that, having a refuge of 
their own, they might be placed in greater security. The pon- 
tificate was now occupied by Innocent IV, who, being in fear 
of Frederick, went to Genoa, and thence to France, where he 
appointed a council to be held at Lyons, which it was the in- 
tention of Frederick to attend, but he was prevented by the re- 
bellion of Parma : and, being repulsed, he went into Tuscany, 
and from thence to Sicily, where he died, leaving his schi 
Conrad in Suabia; and in Puglia, Manfred, whom he had 
created Duke of Benevento, bom of a concubine. Conrad came 
to take possession of the kingdom, and having arrived at Naples, 
died, leaving an infant son named Corradino, who was then in 
Germany. On this account Manfred occupied the State, first 
as guardian of Corradino, but afterwards, causing a report to 
be circulated that Corardino had died, made himself King, con- 
trary to the wishes of both the Pope and the Neapolitans, who, 
however, were obliged to submit. 

While these things were occurring in the kingdom of Naples, 
many movements took place in Lombardy between the Guelfs 
and the Ghibellines. The Guelfs were headed by a legate of 
the Pope; and the Ghibelline party by Ezelin, who possessed 
nearly the whole of Lombardy beyond the Po; and, as in 


the course of the war Padua rebelled, he put to death 
12,000 of its citizens. But before its close he was himself slain, 
in the eightieth year of his age, and all the places he had held 
became free. Manfred, King of Naples, continued those en- 
mities against the Church which had been begun by his an- 
cestors, and kept the Pope, Urban IV in continued alarm ; so 
that, in order to subdue him. Urban simimoned the crusaders, 
and went to Perugia to await their arrival. Seeing them few 
and slow in their approach, he found that more able assistance 
was necessary to conquer Manfred. He therefore sought the 
favor of France ; created Louis of Anjou, the King's brother, 
sovereign of Naples and Sicily, and excited him to come into 
Italy to take possession of that kingdom. But before Charles 
came to Rome the Pope died, and was succeeded by Clement 
IV, in whose time he arrived at Ostia, with thirty galleys, and 
ordered that the rest of his forces should come by land. Dur- 
ing his abode at Rome, the citizens, in order to attach him to 
them, made him their Senator, and the Pope invested him with 
the kingdom, on condition that he should pay annually to the 
Church the sum of fifty thousand ducats ; and it was decreed 
that, from thenceforth, neither Charles nor any other person, 
who might be King of Naples, should be Emperor also. Charles 
marched against Manfred, routed his army, and slew him 
near Benevento, and then became sovereign of Sicily and 
Naples. Corradino, to whom, by his father's will, the State be- 
longed, having collected a great force in Germany, marched 
into Italy against Charles, with whom he came to an engage- 
ment at Tagliacozzo, was taken prisoner while endeavoring to 
escape, and being unknown, put to death. 

Italy remained in repose till the pontificate of Adrian V. 
Charles, being at Rome and governing the city by virtue of 
his office of Senator, the Pope, unable to endure his power, 
withdrew to Viterbo, and solicited the Emperor Rodolph to 
come into Italy and assist him. Thus the popes, sometimes 
in zeal for religion, at others moved by their own ambition, 
were continually calling in new parties and exciting new dis- 
turbances. As soon as they had made a prince powerful, they 
viewed him with jealousy and sought his ruin ; and never al- 
lowed another to rule the country, which, from their own 
imbecility, they were themselves unable to govern. Princes 


were in fear of them ; for, fighting or running away, the popes 
always obtained the advantage, unless it happened they were 
entrapped by deceit, as occurred to Boniface VIII, and some 
others, who, under pretence of friendship, were ensnared by the 
Emperors. Rodolph did not come into Italy, being detained by 
the war in which he was engaged with the King of Bohemia. 
At this time Adrian died, and Nicholas III, of the Orsini fam- 
ily, became pontiff. He was a bold, ambitious man ; and be- 
ing resolved at any event to diminish the power of Charles, in- 
duced the Emperor Rodolph to complain that he had a gov- 
ernor in Tuscany favorable to the Guelfic faction, who after 
the death of Manfred had been replaced by him. 

Charles yielded to the Emperor and withdrew his governor, 
and the Pope sent one of his nephews, a cardinal, as governor 
for the Emperor, who, for the honor done him, restored Ro- 
magna to the Church, which had been taken from her by his 
predecessors, and the Pope made Bertoldo Orsino, Duke of 
Homagna. As Nicholas now thought himself powerful enough 
to oppose Charles, he deprived him of the office of Senator, and 
made a decree that no one of royal race should ever be a Senator 
in Rome. It was his intention to deprive Charles of Sicily, 
and to this end he entered into a secret negotiation with Peter, 
King of Arragon, which took effect in the following papacy. 
He also had the design of creating two kings out of his family, 
the one in Lombardy, the other in Tuscany, whose power would 
defend the Church from the Germans who might design to 
come into Italy, and from the French who were in the kingdom 
of Naples and Sicily. But with these thoughts he died. He 
was the first pope who openly exhibited his own ambition ; and, 
under pretence of making the Church great, conferred honors 
and emolument upon his own family. Previously to his time 
no mention is made of the nephews or families of any pontiff, 
but future history is full of them ; nor is there now an3^ing 
left for them to attempt, except the effort to make the papacy 
hereditary. True it is, the princes of their creating have not 
long sustained their honors ; for the pontiffs, being generally 
of very limited existence, did not get their plans properly es- 

To Nicholas succeeded Martin IV, of French origin, and 
consequently favorable to the party of Charles, who sent him 


assistance against the rebellion of Romagna; and while they 
were encamped at Furli, Guido Bonatto, an astrologer, con- 
trived that at an appointed moment the people should assail 
the forces of the King, and the plan succeeding, all the French 
were taken and slain. About this period was also carried into 
effect the plot of Pope Nicholas and Peter, King of Arragon, 
by which the Sicilians murdered all the French that were in 
that island ; and Peter made himself sovereign of it, saying that 
it belonged to him in the right of his wife Costanza, daughter 
of Manfred. But Charles, while making warlike preparations 
for the recovery of Sicily, died, leaving a son, Charles II, who 
was made prisoner in Sicily, and to recover his liberty promised 
to return to his prison, if within three years he did not ob- 
tain the Pope's consent, that the Kings of Arragon should be 
invested with the kingdom of Sicily. 

The Emperor Rodolph, instead of coming into Italy, gave the 
empire the advantage of having done so, by sending an am- 
bassador, with authority to make all those cities free which 
would redeem themselves with money. Many purchased their 
freedom, and with liberty changed their mode of living. Adolf 
of Saxony succeeded to the empire ; and to the papacy Pietro 
del Murrhone, who took the name of Celestine V ; but, being a 
hermit and full of sanctity, after six months renounced the 
pontificate, and Boniface VIII was elected. 

After a time the French and Germans left Italy, and the 
country remained wholly in the hands of the Italians; but 
Providence ordained that the Pope, when these enemies were 
withdrawn, should neither establish nor enjoy his authority, 
and raised two very powerful families in Rome, the Colonnesi 
and the Orsini, who with their arms, and the proximity of 
their abode, kept the pontificate weak. Boniface then deter- 
mined to destroy the Colonnesi, and, besides excommunicating, 
endeavored to direct the weapons of the Church against them. 
This, although it did them some injury, proved more disastrous 
to the Pope ; for those arms which from attachment to the faith 
performed valiantly against its enemies, as soon as they were 
directed against Christians for private ambition, ceased to do 
the will of those who wished to wield them. And thus the too 
eager desire to gratify themselves, caused the pontiffs by de- 
grees to lose their military power. Beside what is just re- 


lated, the Pope deprived two cardinals of the Colonnesi family 
of their offices ; and Sciarra, the head of the house, escaping 
unknown, was taken by corsairs of Catalonia and put to the 
oar; but being afterward recognized at Marseilles, he was 
sent to Philip, King of France, who had been excommunicated 
and deprived of the kingdom. Philip, considering that in a 
war against the pontiff he would either be a loser or run great 
hazards, had recourse to deception, and simulating a wish to 
come to terms, secretly sent Sciarra into Italy, who, having 
arrived at Anagnia, where his holiness then resided, assembled 
a few friends, and in the night took him prisoner. And al- 
though the people of Anagnia set him at liberty shortly after, 
yet from grief at the injury he died mad. Boniface was founder 
of the jubilee in 1300, and fixed that it should be celebrated at 
each revolution of one hundred years. In those times various 
troubles arose between the Guelf and Ghibelline factions ; and 
the Emperors having abandoned Italy, many places became 
free, and many were occupied by tyrants. Pope Benedict re- 
stored the scarlet hat to the cardinals of the Colonnesi family, 
and reblessed Philip, King of France. He was succeeded by 
Qement V, who being a Frenchman, removed the Papal Court 
to Avignon in 1305. 


The Emperor Henry G>mes into Italy — The Florentines Take the Part 
of the Pope— The Visconti Originate the Duchy of Milan— Artifice of 
Maffeo Visconti against the Family of La Torre — Giovanni Galeuzzo 
Visconti, first Duke of Milan— The Emperor Louis in Italy— John, 
King of Bohemia, in Italy — League against the King of Bohemia and 
the Pope's Legate — Origin of Venice — Liberty of the Venetians G)n- 
firmed by Pepin and the Greek Emperor— Greatness of Venice— De- 
cline of Venice — ^Discord between the Pope and the Emperor — Gio- 
vanna, Queen of Naples — Rienzi — The Jubilee Reduced to Fifty Years 
— Succession of the Duke of Milan— Cardinal Egidio, the Pope's Leg- 
ate — ^War between the Genoese and the Venetians. 

AT this time, Charles II of Naples died, and was succeeded 
by his son Robert. Henry of Luxemburg had been 
elected to the empire, and came to Rome for his corona- 
tion, although the Pope was not there. His coming occasioned 
great excitement in Lombardy; for he sent all the banished 
to their homes, whether they were Guelf s or Ghibellines ; and 
in consequence of this, one faction endeavoring to drive out the 
other, the whole province was filled with war; nor could the 
Emperor with all his endeavors abate its fury. Leaving Lom- 
bardy by way of Genoa, he came to Pisa, where he endeavored 
to take Tuscany from King Robert ; but not being successful, 
he went to Rome, where he only remained a few days, being 
driven away by the Orsini with the consent of King Robert, 
and returned to Pisa ; and that he might more securely make 
war upon Tuscany, and wrest the country from the hands of 
the King, he caused it to be assailed by Frederick, monarch of 
Sicily. But when he was in hope of occupying Tuscany and 
robbing the King of Naples of his dominions, he died, and was 
succeeded by Louis of Bavaria. About the same period, John 
XXII attained the papacy, during whose time the Emperor still 
continued to persecute the Guelfs and the Qiurch, but they 
were defended by Robert and the Florentines. Many wars 
took place in Lombardy between the Visconti and the Guelfs, 



and in Tuscany between Castrucdo of Lucca and the Floren- 
tines. As the family of Visconti gave rise to the Duchy of 
Milan, one of the five principalities which afterward governed 
Italy, I shall speak of them from a rather earlier date. 

Milan, upon recovering from the ruin into which she had 
been thrown by Frederick Barbarossa, in revenge for her in- 
juries, joined the league formed by the Lombard cities for 
their common defence; this restrained him, and for a while 
preserved alive the interests of the Church in Lombardy. In 
the course of the wars which followed, the family of La Torre 
became very potent in that city, and their reputation increased 
so long as the Emperor possessed little authority in the province. 
But Frederick II coming into Italy, and the Ghibelline party 
by the influence of Ezelin having grown powerful, seeds of the 
same faction sprang up in all the cities. In Milan were the 
Visconti, who expelled the La Torres ; these, however, did not 
remain out, for by agreement between the Emperor and the 
Pope they were restored to their country. For when the Pope 
and his court removed to France, and the Emperor Henry of 
Luxemburg came into Italy, with the pretext of going to Rome 
for his crown, he was received in Milan by Maffeo Visconti 
and Guido della Torre, who were then the heads of these fami- 
lies. But Maffeo, designing to make use of the Emperor for 
the purpose of expelling Guido, and thinking the enterprise 
not difficult, on account of the La Torres being of the contrary 
faction to the imperial, took occasion, from the remarks which 
the people made of the uncivil behavior of the Germans, to go 
craftily about and excite the populace to arm themselves and 
throw off the yoke of these barbarians. When a suitable mo- 
ment arrived, he caused a person in whom he confided to create 
a tumult, upon which the people took arms against the Germans. 

But no sooner was the mischief well on foot, than Maffeo, 
with his sons and their partisans, ran to Henry, telling him 
that all the disturbance had been occasioned by the La Torre 
family, who, not content to remain peaceably in Milan, had 
taken the opportunity to plunder him, that they might in- 
gratiate themselves with the Guelfs of Italy and become 
princes of the city ; they then bade them be of good cheer, for 
they with their party, whenever he wished it, were ready to 
defend him with their lives. Henry, believing all that Maffeo 


told him, joined his forces to those of the Visconti, and attack- 
ing the La Torre who were in various parts of the city en- 
deavoring to quell the tumult, slew all upon whom they could 
lay hands, and having plundered the others of their property, 
sent them into exile. By this artifice, Maffeo Visconti became 
a prince of Milan. Of him remained Galeazzo and Azzo ; and 
after these, Luchino and Giovanni. Giovanni became Arch- 
bishop of Milan ; and of Luchino, who died before him, were 
left Bernabo and Galeazzo ; Galeazzo, dying soon after, left a 
son called the Count of Virtu, who after the death of the arch- 
bishop, contrived the murder of his uncle Bernabo, became 
Prince of Milan, and was the first who had the title of duke. 
The duke left Filippo and Giovanmaria Angelo, the latter of 
whom being slain by the people of Milan, the state fell to 
Filippo, but he having no male heir, Milan passed from the 
family of Visconti to that of Sforza, in the maner to be re- 
lated hereafter. 

But to return to the point from which we deviated. The 
Emperor Louis, to add to the importance of his party and to 
receive the crown, came into Italy; and being at Milan, as 
as excuse for taking money of the Milanese, he pretended to 
make them free and to put the Visconti in prison ; but shortly 
afterward he released them, and having gone to Rome, in 
order to disturb Italy with less difficulty, he made Piero della 
Corvara anti-pope, by whose influence, and the power of the 
Visconti, he designed to weaken the opposite faction in Tus- 
cany and Lombardy. But Castruccio died, and his death 
caused the failure of the Emperor's purposes; for Pisa and 
Lucca rebelled. The Pisans sent Piero della Corvara a prisoner 
to the Pope in France, and the Emperor, despairing of the 
affairs of Italy, returned to Germany. He had scarcely left, 
before John, King of Bohemia came into the country, at the 
request of the Ghibellines of Brescia, and made himself lord of 
that city and of Bergamo. And as his entry was with the 
consent of the Pope, although he feigned the contrary, the 
legate of Bologna favored him, thinking by this means to pre- 
vent the return of the Emperor. This caused a change in the 
parties of Italy ; for the Florentines and King Robert, finding 
the legate was favorable to the enterprises of the Ghibellines, 
became foes of all those to whom the legate and the King of 


Bohemia were friendly. Without, having regard for either 
faction, whether Guelph or Ghibelline, many princes joined 
them, of whom among others were the Visconti, the Delia 
Scala, Filippo Gonzago of Mantua, the Carrara, and those of 
Este. Upon this the Pope excommunicated them all. The 
King, in fear of the league, went to collect forces in his own 
country, and having returned with a large army, still found 
his undertaking a difficult one; so, seeing his error, he with- 
drew to Bohemia, to the great displeasure of the legate, leav- 
ing only Reggio and Modena guarded, and Parma in the care 
of Marsilio and Piero de'Rossi, who were the most powerful 
men in the city. 

The King of Bohemia being gone, Bologna joined the league ; 
and the leaguers divided among themselves the four cities which 
remained of the Church faction. They agreed that Parma 
should pertain to the Delia Scala; Reggio to the Gonzaga; 
Modena to the family of Este, and Lucca to the Florentines. 
But in taking possession of these cities, many disputes arose 
which were afterwards in a great measure settled by the Vene- 
tians. Some, perhaps, will think it a species of impropriety 
that we have so long deferred speaking of the Venetians, theirs 
being a republic, which, both on account of its power and in- 
ternal regulations, deserves to be celebrated above any prin- 
cipality of Italy. But that this surprise may cease when the 
cause is known, I shall speak of their city from a more remote 
period ; that every one may understand what were their begin- 
nings, and the causes which so long withheld them from inter- 
fering in the affairs of Italy. 

When Attila, King of the Huns, besieged Aquileia, the in- 
habitants, after defending themselves a long time, began to 
despair of effecting their safety, and fled for refuge to several 
uninhabited rocks, situated at the point of the Adriatic Sea, 
now called the Gulf of Venice, carrying with them whatever 
moveable property they possessed. The people of Padua> find- 
ing themselves in equal danger, and knowing that, having be- 
come master of Aquileia, Attila would next attack themselves, 
also removed with their most valuable property to a place on 
the same sea, called Rivo Alto, to which they brought their 
women, children, and aged persons, leaving the youth in Padua 
to assist in her defence. Beside these, the people of Monsdice, 


with the inhabitants of the surrounding hills, driven by similar 
fears, fled to the same rocks. But after Attila had taken 
Aquileia, and destroyed Padua Monselice, Vicenza, and Ve- 
rona, the people of Padua, and others who were powerful, 
continued to inhabit the marshes about Rivo Alto ; and in like 
manner all the people of the province anciently called Venetia, 
driven by the same events, became collected in these marshes. 
Thus, under the pressure of necessity, they left an agreeable 
and fertile country to occupy one sterile and tmwholesome. 
However, in consequence of a great number of people being 
drawn together into a comparatively small space, in a short 
time they made those places not only habitable, but delightful ; 
and having established among themselves laws and useful regu- 
lations, enjoyed themselves in security amid the devastations 
of Italy, and soon increased both in reputation and strength. 
For, beside the inhabitants already mentioned, many fled to 
these places from the cities of Lombardy, principally to escape 
from the cruelties of Clefis King of the Lombards, which 
greatly tended to increase the numbers of the new city ; and in 
the conventions which were made between Pepin, King of 
France, and the Emperor of Greece, when the former, at the 
entreaty of the Pope, came to drive the Lombards out of Italy, 
the Duke of Benevento and the Venetians did not render obe- 
dience to either the one or the other, but alone enjoyed their 
liberty. As necessity had led them to dwell on sterile rocks, 
they were compelled to seek the means of subsistence else- 
where; and voyaging with their ships to every port of the 
ocean, their city became a depository for the various products 
of the world, and was itself filled with men of every nation. 

For many years, the Venetians sought no other dominion 
than that which tended to facilitate their commercial enter- 
prises, and thus acquired many ports in Greece and Syria; 
and as the French had made frequent use of their ships in 
voyages to Asia, the island of Candia was assigned to them, 
in recompense for these services. While they lived in this 
maner, their name spread terror over the seas, and was held 
in veneration throughout Italy. This was so completely the 
case, that they were generally chosen to arbitrate in contro- 
versies arising between the states, as occurred in the difference 
btween the Colleagues, on account of the cities they had divided 


among themselves; which being referred to the Venetians, 
they awarded Brescia and Bergamo to the Visconti. But when, 
in the coarse of time, urged by their eagerness for dominion, 
they had made themselves masters of Padua, Vicenza, Tre- 
visa, and afterward of Verona, Bergamo, and Brescia, with 
many cities in Rcmiagna and the kingdom of Naples, other 
nations were impressed with such an opinion of their power, 
that they were a terror, not only to the princes of Italy, but 
to the ultramontane kings. These states entered into an alli- 
ance against them, and in one day wrested from them the 
provinces they had obtained with so much labor and expense ; 
and although they have in latter times reacquired some portions, 
still, possessing neither power nor reputation, like all the other 
Italian powers, they live at the mercy of others. 

Benedict XII having attained the pontificate and finding 
Italy lost, fearing too that the Emperor would assume the 
sovereignty of the country, determined to make friends of all 
who had usurped the government of those cities which had 
been accustomed to obey the Emperor ; that they might have 
occasion to dread the latter, and unite with himself in the 
defence of Italy. To this end, he issued a decree, confirming 
to all the tyrants of Lombardy the places they had seized. 
After making this concession the Pope died, and was suc- 
ceeded by Qement VI. The Emperor, seeing with what a 
liberal hand the pontiff had bestowed the dominions of the 
empire, in order to be equally bountiful with the property of 
others, gave to all who had assumed sovereignty over the cities 
or territories of the church, the imperial authority to retain pos- 
session of them. By this means Galeotto Malatesti and his 
brothers became Lords of Rimino, Pesaro, and Fano ; Antonio 
da Montefeltro, of the Marca and Urbino; Gentile da Varano, 
of Camerino; Guido di Polenta, of Ravenna; Sinibaldo Or- 
delaffi, of Furli and Cesena; Giovanni Manfredi, of Faenza; 
Lodovico Alidossi, of Imola; and beside these, many others 
in divers places. Thus, of all the cities, towns, or fortresses 
of the Church, few remained without a prince ; for she did not 
recover herself till the times of Alexander VI, who, by the ruin 
of the descendants of these princes, restored the authority of 
the Church. 

The Emperor, when he made the concession before named. 

13471 RIENZI 41 

being at Tarento, signified an intention of going into Italy. In 
consequence of this, many battles were fought in Lombardy, 
and the Visconti became Lords of Parma. Robert, King of 
Naples, now died, leaving only two grandchildren, the issue 
of his son Charles who had died a considerable time before him. 
He ordered that the elder of the two, whose name was Gio- 
vanna or Joan, should be heiress of the kingdom, and take for 
her husband, Andrea, son of the King of Hungary, his grand- 
son. Andrea had not lived with her long, before she caused 
him to be murdered, and married another cousin, Louis, Prince 
of Tarento. But Louis, King of Himgary, and brother of An- 
drea^ in order to avenge his death, brought forces into Italy, 
and drove Queen Joan and her husband out of the kingdom. 

At this period a memorable circumstance tok place at Rome. 
Niccolo di Lorenzo, often called Rienzi or Cola di Rienzi, who 
held the ofl&ce of chancellor at Campidoglio, drove the senators 
from Rc»ne, and, under the title of " Tribune," made himself 
head of the Roman republic ; restoring it to its ancient form, 
and with so great reputation of justice and virtue, that not only 
the places adjacent, but the whole of Italy sent ambassadors to 
him. The ancient provinces, seeing Rome arise to new life, 
again raised their heads, and some induced by hope, others by 
fear, honored him as their sovereign. But Niccola, notwith- 
standing his great reputation, lost all energy in the very begin- 
ning of his enterprise ; and, as if oppressed with the weight of 
so vast an undertaking, without being driven away, secretly fled 
to Charles, King of Bohemia, who, by the influence of the Pope, 
and in contempt of Louis of Bavaria, had been elected Emperor. 
Charles, to ingratiate himself with the pontiflF, sent Niccolo to 
him, a prisoner. After some time, in imitation of Rienzi, 
Francesco Baroncegli seized upon the tribunate of Rome, and 
expelled the Senators; and the Pope, as the most effectual 
means of repressing him, drew Niccolo from his prison, sent 
him to Rome, and restored to him the ofiice of Tribune ; so that 
he re-occupied the state and put Francesco to death ; but the 
Colonnesi becoming his enemies, he too, after a short time, 
shared the same fate, and the senators were again restored to 
their offices. The King of Hungary, having driven out Queen 
Joan, returned to his kingdom ; but the Pope, who chose to have 
the Queen in the neighborhood of Rome rather than the King, 


effected her restoration to the sovereignty, on the condition that 
her husband, contenting himself with the title of Prince of 
Tarento, should not be called King. Being the year 1350, the 
Pope thought that the jubilee, appointed by Boniface VIII to 
take place at the conclusion of each century, might be renewed 
at the end of each fifty years ; and having issued a decree for 
the establishment of it, the Romans, in acknowldgment of 
the benefit, consented that he should send four cardinals to 
reform the government of the city, and appoint senators ac- 
cording to his own pleasure. The pope again declared Louis 
of Tarento, King, and in gratitude for the benefit. Queen Joan 
gave Avignon, her inheritance, to the Church. 

About this time Luchino Visconti died, and his brother the 
Archbishop, remaining Lord of Milan, carried on many wars 
against Tuscany and his neighbors, and became very powerful. 
Bemabo and Galeazzo, his nephews, succeeded him ; but Gale- 
azzo soon after died, leaving Giovan Galeazzo, who shared the 
state with Bemabo. Charles, King of Bohemia, was then Em- 
peror, and the pontificate was occupied by Innocent VI, who 
sent Cardinal Egidio, a Spaniard, into Italy. He restored the 
reputation of the Church, not only in Rome and Romagna, but 
throughout the whole of Italy; he recovered Bologna from 
the Archbishop of Milan, and compelled the Romans to accept 
a foreign senator appointed annually by the Pope. He made 
honorable terms with the Visconti, and routed and took 
prisoner, John Agut, an Englishman, who with 4,000 Eng- 
lish had fought on the side of the Ghibellines in Tuscany. 
Urban V, hearing of so many victories, resolved to visit Italy 
and Rome, whither also the Emperor came ; after remaining a 
few months, he returned to the kingdom of Bohemia, and the 
Pope to Avignon. On the death of Urban, Gregory XI was 
created Pope ; and, as the Cardinal Egidio was dead, Italy again 
recommenced her ancient discords, occasioned by the union of 
the other powers against the Visconti ; and the Pope, having 
first sent a legate with 6,000 Bretons, came in person and 
established the Papal Court at Rome in 1376, after an absence 
of seventy-one years in France. To Gregory XI, succeeded 
Urban VI but shortly afterward Clement VI was elected at 
Fondi by ten cardinals, who declared the appointment of Urban 
irregular. At this time, the Genoese threw off the yoke of 


the Visconti, tinder whom they had lived many years ; and be- 
tween them and the Venetians several important battles were 
fought for the island of Tenedos. Although the Genoese were 
for a time successful, and held Venice in a state of siege during 
many months, the Venetians were at length victorious; and 
by the intervention of the Pope, peace was made in the year 
1381. In these wars, artillery was first used, having been re- 
cently invented by the Dutch. 


Schism in the Church— Ambitious Views of Giovan Galeazzo Visconti 
— The Pope and the Romans Come to an Agreement — Boniface IX 
Introduces the Practice of Annates— Disturbance in Lombardy — ^The 
Venetians Acquire Dominion on Terra Firma — Differences between 
the Pope and the People of Rome — Council of Pisa — Council of Con- 
stance — Filippo Visconti Recovers his Dominion — Giovanna II of 
Naples — Political Condition of Italy. 

A SCHISM having thus arisen in the Church, Queen Joan 
favored the schismatic Pope, upon which Urban caused 
Charles of Durazzo, descended from the Kings of 
Naples, to undertake the conquest of her dominions. Having 
succeeded in this object, she fled to France, and he assumed 
the sovereignty. The King of France, being exasperated, sent 
Louis of Anjou into Italy to recover the kingdom for the 
Queen, to expel Urban from Rome, and establish the anti- 
pope. But in the midst of this enterprise Louis died, and his 
people being routed returned to France. In this conjuncture 
the Pope went to Naples, where he put nine cardinals into 
prison for having taken the part of France and the anti-pope. 
He then became offended with the King, for having refused to 
make his nephew Prince of Capua ; and pretending not to care 
about it, requested he would grant him Nocera for his habita- 
tion, but, having fortified it, he prepared to deprive the King 
of his dominions. Upon this the King pitched his camp before 
the place, and the Pope fled to Naples, where he put to death 
the cardinals whom he had imprisoned. From thence he pro- 
ceeded to Rome, and, to acquire influence, created twenty-nine 
cardinals. At this time Charles, King of Naples, went to 
Hungary, where, having been made King, he was shortly after- 
ward killed in battle, leaving a wife and two children at Naples. 
About the same time, Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti murdered 
Bemabo his uncle and took the entire sovereignty upon him- 
self ; and, not content with being Duke of Milan and sovereign 


of the whole of Lombardy, designed to make himself master of 
Tuscany; but while he was intent upon occupying the prov- 
ince, with the ultimate view of making himself King of Italy, 
he died. Boniface IX succeeded Urban VI. The anti-pope, 
Clement VI, also died, and Benedict XIII was appointed his 

Many English, Germans, and Bretons served at this period 
in the armies of Italy, commanded partly by those leaders 
who had from time to time authority in the country, and 
partly by such as the pontiffs sent, when they were at Avignon. 
With these warriors the princes of Italy long carried on their 
wars, till the coming of Lodovico da Cento, of Romagna, who 
formed a body of Italian soldiery, called the Company of St. 
George, whose valor and discipline soon caused the foreign 
troops to fall into disrepute, and gave reputation to the native 
forces of the country, of which the princes afterwards availed 
themselves in their wars with each other. The Pope, Boniface 
IX, being at enmity with the Romans, went to Scesi, where he 
remained till the jubilee of 1400, when the Romans, to induce 
him to return to the city, consented to receive another foreign 
senator of his appointing, and also allowed himself to fortify 
the castle of Saint Angelo: having returned upon these con- 
ditions, in order to enrich the Church, he ordained that every 
one, upon vacating a benefice, should pay a year's value of it to 
the Apostolic Chamber. 

After the death of Giovan Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, although 
he left two children, Giovanmaria and Filippo, the state was 
divided into many parts, and in the troubles which ensued, 
Giovanmaria was slain. Filippo remained some time in the 
castle of Pavia, from which, through the fidelity and virtue of 
the castellan, he escaped. Among others who occupied cities 
possessed by his father, was Guglielmo della Scala, who, being 
banished fell into the hands of Francesco da Carrera, Lord of 
Padua, by whose means he recovered the State of Verona, in 
which he only remained a short time, for he was poisoned, by 
order of Francesco, and the city taken from him. These things 
occasioned the people of Vicenza, who had lived in security 
under the protection of the Visconti, to dread the greatness of 
the Lord of Padua, and they placed themselves under the Vene- 
tians, who, engaging in arms with him, first took Verona and 
then Padua. 


At this time Pope Boniface died, and was succeeded by 
Innocent VII. The people of Rome supplicated him to restore 
to them their fortresses and their liberty; but as he would 
not consent to their petition, they called to their assistance 
Ladislaus, King of Naples. Becoming reconciled to the 
people, the Pope returned to Rome, and made his nephew 
Lodovico Count of La Marca. Innocent soon after died, and 
Gregory XII was created, upon the understanding to renounce 
the papacy whenever the anti-pope would also renounce it. 
By the advice of the cardinals, in order to attempt the reunion 
of the Church, Benedict, the anti-pope, came to Porto Venere, 
and Gregory to Lucca, where they made many endeavors, but 
effected nothing. Upon this, the cardinals of both the Popes 
abandoned them; Benedict going to Spain, and Gregory to 
Rimini. On the other hand, the cardinals, with the favor of 
Balthazar Cossa, cardinal and legate of Bologna, appointed a 
council at Pisa, where they created Alexander V, who imme- 
diately excommunicated King Ladislaus, and invested Louis 
of Anjou with the kingdom ; this prince, with the Florentines, 
Genoese, and Venetians, attacked Ladislaus and drove him 
from Rome. In the heat of the war Alexander died, and Balt- 
hazar Cossa succeeded him, with the title of John XXIII. 
Leaving Bologna, where he was elected, he went to Rome, and 
found there Louis of Anjou, who had brought the army from 
Provence, and coming to an engagement with Ladislaus, routed 
him. But by the mismanagement of the leaders, they were 
unable to prosecute the victory, so that the King in a short 
time gathered strength and retook Rome. Louis fled to Prov- 
ence, the Pope to Bologna ; where considering how he might 
diminish the power of Ladislaus, he caused Sigismund, King 
of Hungary, to be elected Emperor and advised him to come 
into Italy. Having a personal interview at Mantua, they 
agreed to call a general council, in which the church should be 
united ; and having effected this, the Pope thought he should 
be fully enabled to oppose the forces of his enemies. 

At this time there were three Popes, Gregory, Benedict, 
and Giovanni, whch kept the church weak and in disrepute. 
The city of Constance, in Gehnany, was appointed for the 
holding of the council, contrary to the expectation of Pope 
John. And although the death of Ladislaus had removed 


th cause which induced the Pope to call the council, still, 
having promised to attend, he could not refuse to go there. 
In a few months after his arrival at Constance he discovered 
his error,, but it was too late ; endeavoring to escape, he was 
taken, put into prison, and compelled to renounce the papacy. 
Gregory, one of the anti-popes, sent his renunciation, Benedict, 
the other, refusing to do the same, was condemned as a heretic ; 
but, being abandoned by his cardinals, he complied, and the 
council elected Oddo, of the Colonnesi family, pope, by the 
title of Martin V. Thus the church was united under one head, 
after having been divided by many pontiffs. 

Filippo Visconti was, as we have said, in the fortress of 
Pavia. But Fazino Cane, who in the affairs of Lombardy 
had become Lord of Vercelli, Alessandria, Novra, and Tor- 
tona^ and had amassed great riches, finding his end approach, 
and having no children, left his wife Beatrice heiress of his 
estates, and arranged wth his friends that a marriage should 
be effected between her and Filippo. By this union Filippo 
become powerful, and reacquired Milan and the whole of Lom- 
bardy. By way of being grateful for these numerous favors, 
as princes commonly are, he accused Beatrice of adultery and 
caused her to be put to death. Finding himself now possessed 
of greater power, he began to think of warring with Tuscany 
and of prosecuting the designs of Giovan Galeazzo his father. 

Ladislaus King of Naples, at his death left to his sister 
Giovanna the kingdom and a large army, under the command 
of the princpal leaders of Italy, among the first of whom was 
Sforza of Cotignuola, reputed by the soldiery of that period a 
very valiant man. The Queen, to shun the disgrace of having 
kept about her person a certain Pandolfello, whom she had 
brought up, took her husband Giacopo della Marca, a French- 
man of the royal line, on the condition that he should be con- 
tent to be called Prince of Tarento, and leave to her the title 
and government of the kingdom. But the soldiery, upon his 
arrival in Naples, proclaimed him King; so that between the 
husband and the wife wars ensued; and although they con- 
tended with various success, the Queen at length obtained the 
superiority, and became an enemy of the Pope. Upon this, in 
order to reduce her to necessity, and that she might be com- 
pelled to tjirow herself into his lap, Sforza suddenly withdrew 


form her service without giving her any previous notice of his 
intention to do so. She thus found herself at once unarmed, 
and not having any other resource, sought the assistance of 
Alfonzo, King of Arragon and Sicily, adopted him as her son, 
and engaged Braccio of Montone as her captain, who was of 
equal reputation in arms with Sforza, and inimical to the Pope, 
on account of his having taken possession of Perugia and some 
other places belonging to the Church. 

After this, peace was made between the Queen and the pon- 
tiff ; but King Alfonzo, expecting she would treat him as she 
had done her husband, endeavored secretly to make himself 
master of the strongholds; but, possessing acute observation, 
she was beforehand with him, and fortified herself in the castle 
of Naples. Suspicion increasing between them, they had re- 
course to arms, and the Queen, with the assistance of Sforza, 
who again resumed her service, drove Alfonzo out of Naples, 
deprived him of the succession, and adopted Louis of Anjou 
in his stead. Hence arose new contests between Braccio, who 
took the part of Alfonzo, and Sforza, who defended the cause 
of the Queen. In the course of the war, Sforza was drowned 
in endeavoring to pass the river Pescara ; the Queen was thus 
again unarmed, and would have been driven out of the kingdom, 
but for the assistance of Filippo Visconti, Duke of Milan, who 
compelled Alfonzo to return to Arragon. Braccio, undaunted 
at the departure of Alfonzo, continued the enterprise against 
the Queen, and besieged L'Aquilla ; but the Pope, thinking the 
greatness of Braccio injurious to the Church, received into his 
pay Francesco, the son of Sforza, who went in pursuit of 
Braccio to L'Aquilla, where he routed and slew him. Of 
Braccio remained Oddo his son, from whom the Pope took 
Perugia, and left him the state of Montone alone ; but he was 
shortly afterwards slain in Romagna, in the service of the 
Florentines ; so that of those who had fought under Braccio, 
Niccolo Piccinino remained of greatest reputation. 

Having continued our general narration nearly to the period 
which we at first proposed to reach, what remains is of little 
importance, except the war which the Florentines and Vene- 
tians carried on against Filippo Duke of Milan, of which an 
account will be given when we speak particularly of Florence. 
I shall therefore continue it no further, briefly explaining the 


condition of Italy in respect of her princes and her arms, at 
the period to which we have now come. Joan II held Naples, 
La Marca, the Patrimony, and Romagna ; some of these places 
obeyed the Church, while others were held by vicars or tyrants, 
as Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio, by those of the house of Este ; 
Faenza by the Manf redi ; Imola by the Alidossi ; Furli by the 
OrdelafE; Rimini and Pesaro by the Malatesti; and Camerino 
by those of Varano. Part of Lombardy was subject to the 
Duke Filippo, part to the Venetians; for all those who had 
held single states were set aside, except the house of Gonzaga, 
which ruled in Mantua. The greater part of Tuscany was sub- 
ject to the Florentines. Lucca and Sienna alone were gov- 
erned by their own laws ; Lucca was under the Guinigi ; Sienna 
was free. The Genoese, being sometimes free, at others sub- 
ject to the kings of France or the Visconti, lived unrespected, 
and may be enumerated among the minor powers. 

None of the principal states were armed with their own 
proper forces. Duke Filippo kept himself shut up in his apart- 
ments, and would not allow himself to be seen ; his wars were 
managed by commissaries. The Venetians, when they di- 
rected their attention to terra Urma, threw off those arms which 
had made them terrible upon the seas, and falling into the cus- 
toms of Italy, submited their forces to the direction of others. 
The practice of arms being unsuitable to priests or women, the 
Pope and Queen Joan of Naples were compelled by necessity 
to submit to the same system which others practiced from de- 
fect of judgment The Florentines also adopted the same cus-, 
tom, for, having, by their frequent divisions, destroyed the no- 
bility, and their republic being wholly in the hands of men 
brought up to trade, they followed the usages and example of 

Thus the arms of Italy were either in the hands of the 
lesser princes, or of men who possessed no state; for the 
minor princes did not adopt the practice of arms from any 
desire of glory, but for the acquisition of cither property or 
safety.The others (those who possessed no state,) being bred 
to arms from their infancy, were acquainted with no other art, 
and pursued war for emolument, or to confer honor upon them- 
selves. The most noticed among the latter were, Carmignola, 
Francesco Sforza, Niccolo Piccinino, the pupil of Braccio, An- 


golo ddla Pergola, Lorenzo di Michdetto, Attenduli 3 Tar- 
taglia, Giacopacck), Cecolino da Perugia, Niccolo da Tolentino, 
Guido Torello, Antonio dal Ponte ad Era, and many others. 
With these, were those lords of whom I have before spoken, to 
which may be added the Barons of Rome, the G>lonnesi, and 
the Orsini, with other lords and gentlemen of the kingdom of 
Naples and Lombardy, who, being constantly in arms, had such 
an undertaking among themselves, and so contrived to accom- 
modate things to their own convenience, that of those who were 
at war, most commonly both sides were losers ; and they had 
made the practice of arms so totally ridiculous, that the most 
ordinary leader, possessed of true valor, would have covered 
those men with disgrace, whom, with so little prudence, Italy 

With these idle princes and such contemptible arms, my 
history must therefore be filled ; to which, before I descend, 
it will be necessary, as was at first proposed, to speak of the 
origin of Florence, that it may be clearly understood what was 
the state of the city in those times, and by what means, through 
the labors of a thousand years, she became so imbecile. 





PkotograTure from the original painting hv Paul Baudry^ in the Grand Op/ra 

House at Paris, 





The Custom of Ancient Republics to Plant Colonies, and the Advant- 
age of it— Increased Population Tends to Make Countries more 
Healthy — Origin of Florence — ^Aggrandizement of Florence — Origin 
of the Name of Florence — Destruction of Florence by Totila— The 
Florentines Take Fiesole — ^The first Division in Florence, and the 
Cause of it — Buondelmonti — Buondelmonti Slain — Guelfs and Ghibel- 
lincs in Florence — Guelfic Families—Ghibelline Families— The two 
Factions Come to Terms. 

AMONG the great and wonderful institutions of the re- 
publics and principalities of antiquity that have now 
gone into disuse, was that by means of which towns and 
cities were from time to time established ; and there is nothing 
more worthy the attention of a great prince, or of a well- 
regulated republic, or that confers so many advantages upon 
a province, as the settlement of new places^ where men are 
drawn together for mutual accommodation and defence. 

This may easily be done, by sending people to reside in re- 
cently acquired or uninhabited countries. Besides causing the 
establishment of new cities, these removals render a conquered 
country more secure, and keep the inhabitants of a province 
properly distributed. Thus, deriving the greatest attainable 
comfort, the inhabitants increase rapidly, are more prompt to 
attack others, and defend themselves with greater assurance. 
This custom, by the unwise practice of princes and republics, 
having gone into desuetude, the ruin and weakness of terri- 
tories has followed ; for this ordination is that by which alone 
empires are made secure, and countries become populated. 
Safety is the result of it; because the colony which a prince 
establishes in a newly acquired country, is like a fortress and a 



guard, to keep the inhabitants in fidelity and obedience. Neither 
can a province be wholly occupied and preserve a proper dis- 
tribution of its inhabitants without this regulation; for all 
districts are not equally healthy, and hence some will abound 
to overflowing, while others are void; and if there be no 
method of withdrawing them from places in which they in- 
crease too rapidly, and planting them where they are too few, 
the country would soon be wasted ; for one part would becwne 
a desert, and the other a dense and wretched peculation. And, 
as nature cannot repair this disorder, it is necessary that indus- 
try should effect it ; for unhealthy localities beccxne wholesome 
when a numerous population is brought into them. With cul- 
tivation the earth becomes fruitful, and the air is purified with 
fires — ^remedies which nature cannot provide. 

The city of Venice proves the correctness of these remarks. 
Being placed in a marshy and unwholesome situation, it became 
healthy only by the number of industrious individuals who 
were drawn together. Pisa too, on account of its unwholesome 
air, was never filled with inhabitants, till the Saracens, having 
destroyed Genoa and rendered her rivers unnavigable, caused 
the Genoese to migrate thither in vast numbers, and thus render 
her populous and powerful. Where the use of colonies is not 
adopted, conquered countries are held with great difficulty; 
districts once uninhabited still remain so, and those which pop- 
ulate quickly are not relieved. Hence it is that many places 
in the world, and particularly in Italy, in comparison with an- 
cient times, have become deserts. This has wholly arisen and 
proceeded from the negligence of princes, who have lost all 
appetite for true glory, and of republics, which no longer pos- 
sess institutions that deserve praise. In ancient times, by means 
of colonies, new cities frequently arose, and those already be- 
gun were enlarged, as was the case with Florence, which had 
its beginning from Fiesole, and its increase from colonies. 

It is exceedingly probable, as Dante and Giovanni Villani 
show, that the city of Fiesole, being situated upon the summit 
of the mountain, in order that her markets might be more fre- 
quented, and afford greater accommodations for those who 
brought merchandise, would appoint the place in which to 
hold them, not upon the hill, but in the plain, between the foot 
of the mountain and the River Amo, I imagine these markets 


to have occasiontd the first erections that were made in those 
places, and to have induced merchants to wish for commodious 
warehouses for the reception of their goods, and which, in 
time, became substantial buildings. And afterward, when the 
Romans, having conquered the Carthaginians, rendered Italy 
secure from foreign invasion, these buildings would greatly 
increase; for men never endure inconveniences unless some 
powerful necessity compels them. Thus, although the fear of 
war induces a willingness to occupy places strong and difficult 
of access^ as soon as the cause of alarm is removed, men gladly 
resort to more convenient and easily attainable localities. 
Hence, the security to which the reputation of the Roman re- 
public gave birth, caused the habitations, having begun in the 
manner described, to increase so much as to form a town, this 
was at first called the Villa Amina. After this occurred the 
civil wars between Marius and Sylla ; then those of Qesar and 
Pompey ; and next those of the murderers of Caesar, and the 
parties who undertook to avenge his death. Therefore, first 
by Sylla, and afterward by the three Roman citizens, who, hav- 
ing avenged the death of Caesar, divided the empire among 
themselves, colonies were sent to Fiesole, which, either in part 
or in whole, fixed their habitations in the plain, near to the then 
rising town. By this increase, the place became so filled with 
dwellings, that it might with propriety be enumerated among 
the cities of Italy. 

There are various opinions concerning the derivation of the 
word Florentia. Some suppose it to come from Florinus, one 
of the principal persons of the colony ; others think it was origi- 
nally not Florentia, but Fluentia, and suppose the word derived 
from Huente, or flowing of the Amo ; and in support of their 
opinion, adduce a passage from Pliny, who says, " The Fluen- 
tini are near the flowing of the Amo." This, however, may 
be incorrect, for Pliny speaks of the locality of the Florentini, 
not of the name by which they were known. And it seems as 
if the word Fluentini were a corruption, because Frontinus and 
Cornelius Tacitus, who wrote at nearly the same period as 
Pliny, call them Florentia and Florentini ; for, in the time of 
Tiberius, they were governed like the other cities of Italy. Be- 
sides, Cornelius refers to the coming of ambassadors from the 
FJoreiitines, to beg of the Emperor that the waters of the Chaine 


might not be allowed to overflow their country ; and it is not at 
all reasonable that the city should have two names at the same 
time. Therefore I think that, however derived, the name was 
always Florentia, and that whatever the origin might be, it 
occurred under the Roman Empire, and beg^n to be noticed by 
writers in the times of the first emperors. 

When the Roman Empire was afflicted by the barbarians, 
Florence was destroyed by Totila, King of the Ostrogoths ; and 
after a period of two hundred and fifty years, rebuilt by Charle- 
magne; from whose time, till the year 1215, she participated 
in the fortune of the rest of Italy; and, during this period, 
first the descendants of Charles, then the Berengarii^ and lastly 
the German emperors, governed her, as in our general treatise 
we have shown. Nor could the Florentines, during those ages, 
increase in numbers, or eflFect anything worthy of memory, on 
account of the influence of those to whom they were subject. 
Nevertheless, in the year loio, upon the feast of St. Romolo, 
a solemn day with the Fiesolani, they took and destroyed Fie- 
sole, which must have been performed either with consent of 
the Emperors, or during the interim from the death of one to 
the creation of his successor, when all assumed a larger share 
of liberty. But when the pontiffs acquired greater influence, 
and the authority of the German Emperors was in its wane, all 
the places of Italy governed themselves with less respect for the 
prince ; so that, in the time of Henry III the mind of the coun- 
try was divided between the Emperor and the Church. How- 
ever, the Florentines kept themselves united till the year 12 15, 
rendering obedience to the ruling power, and anxious only to 
preserve their own safety. But, as the diseases which attack 
our bodies are more dangerous and mortal in proportion as 
they are delayed, so Florence, though late to take part in the 
sects of Italy, was afterward the more afflicted by them. The 
cause of her first division is well known, having been recorded 
by Dante and many other writers ; I shall, however, briefly no- 
tice it. 

Among the most powerful families of Florence were the 
Buondelmonti and the Uberti ; next to these were the Amidei 
and the Donati. Of the Donati family there was a rich widow 
who had a daughter of exquisite beauty, for whom, in her own 
mind, she had fixed upon Buondehnonti, a young gentlenuuii 


the head of the Buondelmonti family, as her husband; but 
either from negligence, or because she thought it might be ac- 
complished at any time, she had not made known her intention, 
when it happened that the cavalier betrothed himself to a 
maiden of the Amidei family. This grieved the Donati widow 
exceedingly ; but she hoped, with her daughter's beauty, to dis- 
turb the arrangement before the celebration of the marriage ; 
and from an upper apartment, seeing Buondelmonti approach 
her house alone^ she descended, and as he was passing she said 
to him, " I am glad to learn you have chosen a wife, although 
I had reserved my daughter for you ; " and, pushing the door 
open, presented her to his view. The cavalier, seeing the 
beauty of the girl, which was very uncommon, and consider- 
ing the nobility of her blood, and her portion not being inferior 
to that of the lady whom he had chosen, became inflamed with 
such an ardent desire to possess her, that, not thinking of the 
promise given, or the injury he committed in breaking it, or of 
the evils which his breach of faith might bring upon himself, 
said, " Since you have reserved her for me, I should be very 
ungrateful indeed to refuse her, being yet at liberty to choose ; " 
and without any delay married her. 

As soon as the fact became known, the Amidei and the 
Uberti, whose families were allied, were filled with rage, and 
having assembled with many others, connections of the parties, 
they concluded that the injury could not be tolerated without 
disgrace, and that the only vengeance proportionate to the 
enormity of the offence would be to put Buondelmonti to death. 
And although some took into consideration the evils that might 
ensue upon it, Mosca Lamberti said, that those who talk of 
many things effect nothing, using that trite and common adage, 
" Cosa fatta capo ha," Thereupon, they appointed to the exe- 
cution of the murder Mosca himself, Stiatti Uberti, Lamber- 
tuccio Amidei, and Oderigo Fifanti, who, on the morning of 
Easter day, concealed themselves in a house of the Amidei, sit- 
uate between the old bridge and St. Stephen's, and as Buondel- 
monti was passing upon a white horse, thinking it as easy a 
matter to forget an injury as reject an alliance, he was attacked 
by them at the foot of the bridge, and slain close by a statue of 
Mars. This murder divided the whole city ; one party espous- 
ing the cause of the Buondelmonti, the other that of the Uberti ; 


and as these families possessed men and means of defence, they 
contended with each other for many years, without one being 
able to destroy the other. 

Florence continued in these troubles until Frederick II, 
who, being King of Naples, endeavored to strengthen him- 
self against the Church ; and, to give greater stability to his 
power in Tuscany, favored the Uberti and their followers, who, 
with his assistance, expelled the Buondelmonti ; thus our city, 
as all the rest of Italy had long time been, became divided into 
Guelfs and Ghibellines; and as it will not be superfluous, I 
shall record the names of the families which took part with 
each faction. Those who adopted the cause of the Guelfs were 
the Buondelmonti, Nerli, Rossi, Frescobaldi, Mozzi, Bardi, 
Pulci, Gherardini, Foraboschi, Bagnesi, Guidalotti, Sacchetti, 
Manieri, Lucardesi, Chiaramontesi, Compiobbesi, Cavalcanti, 
Giandonati, Gianfigliazzi, Scali, Gualterotti, Importuni, Bos- 
tichi, Tornaquinci, Vecchietti, Tosinghi, Arrigucci, Agli, Sizi, 
Adimari, Visdomini, Donati, Pazzi, della Bella, Ardinghi, 
Tedaldi, Cerchi. Of the Ghibelline faction were the Uberti, 
Manelli, Ubriachi, Fifanti, Amidei, Infangati, Malespini, Sco- 
lari, Guidi, Galli, Cappiardi, Lamberti, Soldanieri, Cipriani, 
Toschi, Amicri, Palermini, Migliorelli, Pigli, Barucci, Cattani, 
Agolanti, Brunelleschi, Caponsacchi, Elisei, Abati, Tidaldini, 
Giuochi, and Galigai. Beside the noble families on each side 
above enumerated each party was joined by many of the higher 
ranks of the people, so that the whole city was corrupted with 
this division. The Guelfs being expelled, took refuge in the 
Upper Val d'Arno, where part of their castles and strongholds 
were situated, and where they strengthened and fortified them- 
selves against the attacks of their enemies. But, upon the death 
of Frederick, the most unbiassed men, and those who had the 
greatest authority with the people, considered that it would 
be better to effect the reunion of the city, than, by keeping her 
divided, cause her ruin. They therefore induced the Guelfs 
to forget their injuries and return, and the Ghibellines to lay 
aside their jealousies and receive them with cordiality. 


New Form of Government in Florence — Military Establishments — The 
Greatness of Florence — Movements of the Ghibellines — Ghibellines 
Driven out of the City — Guelfs Routed by the Forces of the King 
of Naples — ^Florence in the Power of the King of Naples — Project 
of the Ghibellines to Destroy Florence, Opposed by Farinata degli 
Uberti — Adventures of the Guelfs of Florence — ^The Pope Gives his 
Standard to the Guelfs — Fears of the Ghibellines and their Prepara- 
tions for the Defence of their Power — ^Establishment of Trades' Com- 
panies, and their Authority — Count Guido Novello Expelled— He goes 
to Prato— The Guelfs Restored to the City— The Ghibellmes Quit 
Florence— The Florentines Reform the Government in favor of the 
Guelfs— The Pope Endeavors to Restore the Ghibellines and Ex- 
communicates Florence— Pope Nicholas III Endeavors to Abate the 
Power of Charles, King of Naples. 

BEING united, the Florentines thought the time favorable 
for the ordination of a free government; and that it 
would be desirable to provide their means of defence be- 
fore the new Emperor should acquire strength. They therefore 
divided the city into six parts, and elected twelve citizens, two 
for each sixth, to govern the whole. These were called 
Anziani, and were elected annually. To remove the cause of 
those enmities which had been observed to arise from judicial 
decisions, they provided two judges from some other State, one 
called captain of the people, the other podesta, or provost, 
whose duty it was to decide in cases, whether civil or criminal, 
which occurred among the people. And as order cannot be 
preserved without a sufficient force for the defence of it, they 
appointed twenty banners in the city, and seventy-six in the 
country, upon the rolls of which the names of all the youth 
were entered; and it was ordered that every one should ap- 
pear armed, under his banner, whenever summoned, whether 
by the captain of the people or the anziani. They had en- 
signs according to the kind of arms they used, the bowmen 
being under one ensign, and the swordsmen, or those who car- 



ried a target, under another ; and every year, upon the day of 
Pentecost, ensigns were given with great pomp to the new 
men, and new leaders were appointed for the whole establish- 
ment. To give importance to their armies, and to serve as a 
point of refuge for those who were exhausted in the fight, and 
from which, having become refreshed, they might again make 
head against the enemy, they provided a large car, drawn by two 
oxen, covered with red cloth, upon which was an ensign of 
white and red. When they intended to assemble the army, this 
car was brought into the New Market, and delivered with pomp 
to the heads of the people. To give solemnity to their enter- 
prises, they had a bell called " Martinella," which was rung dur- 
ing a whole month before the forces left the city, in order that 
the enemy might have time to provide for his defence ; so great 
was the virtue then existing among men, and with so much 
generosity of mind were they governed, that as it is now con- 
sidered a brave and prudent act to assail an unprovided enemy, 
in those days it would have been thought disgraceful, and pro- 
ductive of only a fallacious advantage. This bell was also taken 
with the army, and served to regulate the keeping and relief 
of guard, and other matters necessary in the practice of war. 

With these ordinations, civil and military, the Florentines 
established their liberty. Nor is it possible to imagine the 
power and authority Florence in a short time acquired. She 
became not only the head of Tuscany, but was enumerated 
among the first cities of Italy, and would have attained great- 
ness of the most exalted kind, had she not been afflicted with 
the continual divisions of her citizens. They remained under 
this government ten years, during which time they compelled 
the people of Pistoia, Arezzo, and Sienna, to enter into league 
with them; and returning with the army from Sienna, they 
took Volterra, destroyed some castles, and led the inhabitants 
to Florence. All these enterprises were effected by the ad- 
vice of the Guelfs, who were much more powerful than the 
Ghibellines, for the latter were hated by the people as well on 
account of their haughty bearing while in power, during the 
time of Frederick, as because the Church party was in more 
favor than that of the Emperor ; for with the aid of the Oiurch 
they hoped to preserve their liberty, but, with the Emperor, 
they were apprehensive of losing it. 


The GhibellineSy in the meantime, finding themselves di- 
vested of authority, could not rest, but watched for an occa- 
sion of repossessing the government; tod they thought the 
favorable moment come, when they found that Manfred, son of 
Frederick, had made himself sovereign of Naples, and reduced 
the power of the Church. They, therefore, secretly communi- 
cated with him, to resume the management of the State, but 
could not prevent their proceedings from coming to the knowl- 
edge of the ansiani, who immediately summoned the Uberti 
to appear before them ; but instead of obeying, they took arms 
and fortified themselves in their houses. The people, enraged 
at this, armed themselves, and with the assistance of the 
Gudfs, compelled them to quit the city, and, with the whole 
Ghibelline party, withdraw to Sienna. They then asked as- 
sistance of Manfred, King of Naples, and by the able conduct 
of Farinati degli Uberti, the Guelfs were routed by the King's 
forces upon the river Arbia, with so great slaughter, that those 
who escaped, thinking Florence lost, did not return thither, but 
sought refuge at Lucca. 

Manfred sent the Count Giordano, a man of co>nsiderable 
reputation in arms, to command his forces. He, after the vic- 
tory, went with the Ghibellines to Florence, and reduced the 
city entirely to the King's authority, annulling the magistracies 
and every other institution that retained any appearance of 
freedom. This injury, committed with little prudence, ex- 
cited the ardent animosity of the people, and their enmity 
against the Ghibellines, whose ruin it eventually caused, was 
increased to the highest pitch. The necessities of the king- 
dom compelling the Count Giordano to return to Naples, he 
left at Florence as regal vicar the Count Guido Novello, Lord 
of Casentino, who called a council of Ghibellines at EmpoH. 
There it was concluded, with only one dissenting voice, that 
in order to preserve their power in Tuscany, it would be 
necessary to destroy Florence, as the only means of compelling 
the Guelfs to withdraw their support from the party of the 
Church. To this so cruel a sentence, given against such a noble 
city, there was not a citizen who offered any opposition, except 
Farinata degli Uberti, who openly defended her, saying he 
had not encountered so many dangers and difficulties, but in 
the hope of returning to his country; that he still wished 


for what he had so earnestly sought, nor would he refuse the 
blessing which fortune now presented^ even though by using 
it, he were to become as much an enemy of those who thought 
otherwise, as he had been of the Guelfs; and that no one 
need be afraid the city would occasion the ruin of their coun- 
try, for he hoped that the valor which had expelled the Guelfs 
would be sufficient to defend her. Farinata was a man of un- 
daunted resolution, and excelled greatly in military affairs : be- 
ing the head of the Ghibelline party, and in high estimation 
with Manfred, his authority put a stop to the discussion, and 
induced the rest to think of some other means of preserving 
their power. 

The Lucchese being threatened with the anger of the count, 
for affording refuge to the Guelfs after the battle of the 
Arbia, could allow them to remain no longer; so leaving 
Lucca, they went to Bologna, from whence they were called 
by the Guelfs of Parma against the Ghibellines of that city, 
where, having overcome the enemy, the possessions of the lat- 
ter were assigned to them ; so that having increased in honors 
and riches, and learning that Pope Clement had invited Charles 
of Anjou to take the kingdom from Manfred, they sent am- 
bassadors to the Pope to offer him their services. His holiness 
not only received them as friends, but gave them a standard 
upon which his insignia were wrought. It was ever after 
borne by the Guelfs in battle, and is still used at Florence. 
Charles having taken the kingdom from Manfred, and slain 
him, to which success the Guelfs of Florence had contributed, 
their party became more powerful, and that of the Ghibellines 
proportionately weaker. In consequence of this, those who 
with Count Novello governed the city, thought it would be ad- 
visable to attach to themselves, with some concession, the people 
whom they had previously aggravated with every species of 
injury ; but these remedies which, if applied before the neces- 
sity came would have been beneficial, being offered when they 
were no longer considered favors, not only failed of produc- 
ing any beneficial result to the donors, but hastened their ruin. 
Thinking, however, to win them to their interests, they re- 
stored some of the honors of which they had deprived them. 
They elected thirty-six citizens from the higher rank of the 
people, to whom, with two cavalieri, knights or gentlemen, 


brought from Bologna, the reformation of the government of 
the city was confided. As soon as they met, they classed the 
whole of the people according to their arts or trades, and over 
each art appointed a magistrate, whose duty was to distribute 
justice to those placed under him. They gave to each com- 
pany or trade a banner, under which every man was expected 
to appear armed, whenever the city required it. These arts 
were at first twelve, seven major and five minor. The minor 
arts were afterward increased to fourteen, so that the whole 
made, as at present, twenty^ne. The thirty-six reformers 
also effected other changes for the common good. 

Count Guido proposed to lay a tax upon the citizens for 
the support of the soldiery; but during the discussion found 
so much difficulty, that he did not dare to use force to obtain 
it, and thinking he had now lost the government, called to- 
gether the leaders of the Ghibellines, and they determined to 
wrest from the people those powers which they had with so 
little prudence conceded. When they thought they had suffi- 
cient force, the thirty-six being assembled, they caused a tu- 
mult to be raised, which so alarmed them that they retired to 
their houses, when suddenly the banners of the Arts were un- 
furled, and many armed men drawn to them. These, learning 
that Count Guido and his followers were at St. John's, moved 
toward the Holy Trinity, and chose Giovanni Soldanieri for 
their leader. The count, on the other hand, being informed 
where the people were assembled, proceeded in that direction ; 
nor did the people shun the fight, for, meeting their enemies 
where now stands the residence of the Tomaquinci, they put 
the count to flight, with the loss of many of his followers. 
Terrified with this result, he was afraid his enemies would at- 
tack him in the night, and that his own party, finding them- 
selves beaten, would murder him. This impression took such 
hold of his mind that, without attempting any other remedy, 
he sought his safety rather in flight than in combat, and, con- 
trary to the advice of the rectors, went with all his people to 
Prato. But, on finding himself in a place of safety, his fears 
fled ; perceiving his error he wished to correct it, and on the 
following day, as soon as light appeared, he returned with 
his people to Florence, to enter the city by force which he had 
abandoned in cowardice. But his design did not succeed ; for 


the people, who had had difficulty in expelling him, kept him 
out with facility ; so that with grief and shame he went to the 
Casentino, and the Ghibellines withdrew to their villas. 

The people, being victorious, by the advice of those who 
loved the good of the republic, determined to reunite the city, 
and recall all the citizens as well Guelfs as Ghibelline, who yet 
remained without. The Guelfs returned, after having been 
expelled six years ; the recent offences of the Ghibellines were 
forgiven, and themselves restored to their country. They were, 
however, most cordially hated, both by the people and the 
Guelfs, for the latter could not forget their exile, and the 
former but too well remembered their tyranny when they were 
in power; the result was, that the minds of neither party be- 
came settled. 

While affairs were in this state at Florence, a report pre- 
vailed that Corradino, nephew of Manfred, was coming with 
a force from Germany, for the conquest of Naples ; this gave 
the Ghibellines hope of recovering power, and the Guelfs, con- 
sidering how they should provide for their security, requested 
assistance from Qiarles for their defence, in case of the pas- 
sage of Corradino. The coming of the forces of Charles ren- 
dered the Guelfs insolent, and so alarmed the Ghibellines that 
they fled the city, without being driven out, two days before 
the arrival of the troops. 

The Ghibellines having departed, the Florentines reorgan- 
ized the government of the city, and elected twelve men who, 
as the supreme power, were to hold their magistracy two 
months, and were not called ansiani, or " ancients," but buoni 
uomini, or '' good men" They also formed a council of eighty 
citizens, which they called the Credenza, Besides these, from 
■ each sixth, thirty citizens were chosen, who, with the Credenza 
and the twelve buoni uomini, were called the General Council. 
They also appointed another council of 120 citizens, elected 
from the people and the nobility, to which all those things 
were finally referred that had undergone the consideraf.^^c- 
of th-i other councils, and which distributed the office U,„-„ 
the republic. Having formed this government, they strengti 
ened the Guelfic party by appointing its friends to the prin- 
cipal offices of the State, and a variety of othe*- Treasures, 
that they might be enabled to defend themselves against 


the Ghibellines, whose property they divided into three parts^ 
one of which was applied to the public use, another to the 
capitani, and the third was assigned to the Guelfs, in satis^ 
faction of the injuries they had received. The Pope too, 
in order to keep Tuscany in the Guelfic interest, made 
Charles imperial vicar over the province. While the Flor- . 
entines, by virtue of the new government, preserved their 
influence at home by laws, and abroad with arms, the Pope 
died, and after a dispute, which continued two years, Gre- 
gory X was elected, being then in Syria, where he had long 
lived; but not having witnessed the working of parties, he 
did not estimate them in the manner his predecessors had done, 
and passing through Florence on his way to France, he thought 
it would be the oflftce of a good pastor to unite the city, and so 
far succeeded that the Florentines consented to receive the 
Syndics of the Ghibellines in Florence to consider the terms of 
their recall. They effected an agreement, but the Ghibellines 
without were so terrified that they did not venture to return. 
The Pope laid the whole blame upon the city, and being enraged 
excommunicated her, in which state of contumacy she remained 
as long as the pontiff lived, but was reblessed by his successor, 
" Innocent V, 

The pontificate afterward occupied by Nicholas III of 
the Orsini family. It has to be remarked that it was invari- 
ably the custom of the popes to be jealous of those whose power 
in Italy had become great, even when its growth had been oc- 
casioned by the favors of the Church ; and as they always en- 
deavored to destroy it, frequent troubles and changes were the 
result. Their fear of a powerful person caused them to in- 
crease the influence of one previously weak; his becoming 
great caused him also to be feared, and his being feared made 
them seek the means of destroying him. This mode of think- 
ing and operation occasioned the Kingdom of Naples to be 
♦^•^en from Manfred and given to Charles, but as soon as the 
p ^ecame powerful his ruin was resolved upon. Actuated 
^.-1 motives, Nicholas III contrived that, with the influence 
of tae Emperor, the government of Tuscany should be taken 
from Charles, and Latino his legate was therefore sent into the 
province in'ili^ name of the empire. 


Changes in Florence— The Ghibellines Recalled— New Form of Govern- 
ment in Florence— The Signory Created- Victory over the Aretins — 
The Gonfalonier of Justice Created — Ubaldo RuflFoli the first Gon- 
falonier — Giano della Bella — New Reform by His Advice — Giano 
della Bella Becomes a Voluntary Exile — Dissensions between the 
People and the Nobility — ^The Tumults Composed — Reform of Gov- 
ernment — Public Buildings — Prosperous State of the City. 

FLORENCE was at this time in a very unhappy condition ; 
for the great Guelfic families had become insolent, and 
set aside the authority of the magistrates ; so that mur- 
ders and other atrocities were daily committed, and the per- 
petrators escaped unpunished, under the protection of one or 
other of the nobility. The leaders of the people, in order to 
restrain this insolence, determined to recall those who had been 
expelled, and thus give the legate an opportunity of uniting the 
city. The Ghibellines returned, and, instead of twelve gov- 
ernors, fourteen were appointed, seven for each party, who 
held their office one year, and were to be chosen by the Pope. 
The Florentines lived under this government two years, till 
the pontificate of Martin, who restored to Charles all the au- 
thority which had been taken from him by Nicholas, so that 
parties were again active in Tuscany ; for the Florentines took 
arms against the Emperor's governor, and to deprive the Ghib- 
ellines of power, and restrain the nobility, established a new 
form of government. This was in the year 1282, and the 
companies of the Arts, since magistrates had been appointed 
and colors given to them, had acquired so great influence, that 
of their own authority they ordered that, instead of fourteen 
citizens, three should be appointed and called Priors, to hold 
the government of the republic two months, and chosen from 
either the people or the nobility. After the expiration of the 
first magistracy they were augmented to six, that one might 
be chosen from each sixth of the city, and this number was pre- 


1282] THE PRIORS 67 

served till the year 1342, when the city was divided into quar- 
ters, and the priors became eight, although upon some occasions 
during the interim they were twelve. 

This government, as will be seen hereafter, occasioned the 
ruin of the nobility ; for the people by various causes excluded 
them from all participation in it, and then trampled upon them ' 
without respect. The nobles, at first, owing to their divisions 
among themselves, made no opposition; and each being 
anxious to rob the other of influence in the State, they lost it al- 
together. To this government a palace was given, in which 
they were to reside constantly, and all requisite officers were 
appointed; it having been previously the custom of councils 
and magistrates to assemble in churches. At first they were 
only called priors, but to increase their distinction the word 
signori, or " lords," was soon afterward adopted. The Flor- 
entines remained for some time in domestic quiet, during which 
they made war with the Aretins for having expelled the 
Guelfs, and obtained a complete victory over them at Cam- 
paldino. The city being increased in riches and population, 
it was found expedient to extend the walls, the circle of which 
was enlarged to the extent it at present remains, although its 
diameter was previously only the space between the old bridge 
and the church of St. Lorenzo. 

Wars abroad and peace within the city had caused the 
Guelf and Ghibelline factions to become almost extinct; and 
the only party feeling which seemed occasionally to glow, was 
that which naturally exists in all cities between the higher 
classes and the people; for the latter wishing to live in con- 
formity with the laws, and the former to be themselves the 
rulers of the people, it was not possible for them to abide in 
perfect amity together. This ungenial disposition, while their 
fear of the Ghibellines kept them in order, did not discover 
itself, but no sooner were they subdued than it broke forth, 
and not a day passed without some of the populace being in- 
jured, while the laws were insufficient to procure redress, for 
every noble with his relations and friends defended himself 
against the forces of the Priors and the Capitano. To remedy 
this evil the leaders of the Arts' companies ordered that every 
Signory at the time of entering upon the duties of office should 
appoint a Gonfalonier of Justice, chosen from the people and 


place 1,000 armed men at his disposal divided into twenty 
companies of fifty men each, and that he with his gonfalon, 
or banner, and his forces, should be ready to enforce the ex- 
ecution of the laws whenever called upon either by the Signors 
themselves or the Capitano. The first elected to this high 
office was Ubaldo Ruffoli. This man unfurled his gonfalon, 
and destroyed the houses of the Galletti, on account of a mem- 
ber of that family having slain one of the Florentine people 
in France. The violent animosities among the nobility en- 
abled the companies of the Arts to establish this law with facil- 
ity; and the former no sooner saw the provision which had 
been made against them than they felt the acrimonious spirit 
with which it was enforced. At first it impressed them with 
great terror ; but they soon after returned to their accustomed 
insolence, for one or more of their body always making part 
of the Signory, gave them opportunities of impeding the Gon- 
falonier, so that he could not perform the duties of his office. 
Besides this, the accuser always required a witness of the in- 
jury he had received, and no one dared to give evidence against 
the nobility. Thus in a short time Florence again fell into the 
same disorders as before, and the tyranny exercised against the 
people was as great as ever ; for the decisions of justice were 
either prevented or delayed, and sentences were not carried into 

In this unhappy state, the people not knowing what to do, 
Giano della Bella, of a very noble family, and a lover of liberty, 
encouraged the heads of the Arts to reform the constitution of 
the city ; and by his advice it was ordered that the Gonfalonier 
should reside with the Priors, and have 4,000 men at his 
command. They deprived the nobility of the right to sit in 
the Signory. They condemned the associates of a criminal to 
the same penalty as himself, and ordered that public report 
should be taken as evidence. By these laws, which were called 
the ordinations of justice, the people acquired great influence, 
and Giano della Bella not a small share of trouble ; for he was 
thoroughly hated by the great, as the destroyer of their power, 
while the opulent among the people envied him^ for they 
thought he possessed too great authority. This became very 
evident upon the first occasion that presented itself. 

It happened that a man from the class of the people was 


killed during a riot, in which several of the nobility had taken 
a part, and among the rest Corso Donati, to whom, as the most 
forward of the party, the death was attributed. He was there- 
fore taken by the Captain of the People, and whether he was 
really innocent of the crime or the Capitano was afraid of con- 
demning him, he was acquitted. This acquittal displeased the 
people so much, that, seizing their arms, they ran to the house 
of Giano della Bella, to beg that he would compel the execution 
of those laws which he had himself made. GianO; who wished 
Corso to be punished, did not insist upon their laying down 
their arms, as many were of opinion he ought to have done, but 
advised them to go to the Signory, complain of the fact, and 
beg that they would take it into consideration. The people, 
full of wrath, thinking themselves insulted by the Capitano and 
abandoned by Giano della Bella, instead of going to the Signory 
went to the palace of the Capitano, of which they made them- 
selves masters, and plundered it. 

This outrage displeased the whole city, and those who wished 
the ruin of Giano laid the entire blame upon him ; and as in the 
succeeding Signory there was an enemy of his^ he was accused 
to the Capitano as the originator of the riot. While the case 
was being tried, the people took arms and, proceeding to his 
house, offered to defend him against the Signory and his ene- 
mies. Giano, however, did not wish to put this burst of popu- 
lar favor to the proof, or trust his life to the magistrates, for he 
feared the malignity of the latter and the instability of the for- 
mer ; so, in order to remove an occasion for his enemies to in- 
jure him, or his friends to oflfend the laws, he determined to 
withdraw, deliver his countrymen from the fear they had of 
him, and, leaving the city which at his own charge and peril 
he had delivered from the servitude of the great, become a 
voluntary exile. 

After the departure of Giano della Bella the nobility began 
to entertain hopes of recovering their authority, and judging 
their misfortune to have arisen from their divisions, they sent 
two of their body to the Signory, which they thought was favor- 
able to them, to beg they would be pleased to moderate the 
severity of the laws made against them. As soon as their de- 
mand became known, the minds of the people were much ex- 
cited ; for they were afraid the Signors would submit to them ; 



and so, between the desire of the nobility and the jealousy of the 
people, arms were resorted to. The nobility were drawn to- 
gether in three places, near the church of St. John, in the New 
Market, and in the Piazza of the Mozzi, under three leaders, 
Forese Adimari, Vanni de Mozzi, and Geri Spini. The people 
assembled in immense numbers, under their ensigns, before 
the palace of the Signory, which at that time was situated near 
St. Procolo ; and, as they suspected the integrity of the Sig- 
nory, they added six citizens to their number to take part in 
the management of affairs. 

While both parties were preparing for the fight, some in- 
dividuals, as well of the people as of the nobility, accompanied 
by a few priests of respectable character, mingled among them 
for the purpose of effecting a pacification, reminding the no- 
bility that their loss of power, and the laws which were made 
against them, had been occasioned by their haughty conduct, 
and the mischievous tendency of their proceedings; that re- 
sorting to arms to recover by force what they had lost by illib- 
eral measures and disunion, would tend to the destruction of 
their country and increase the difficulties of their own posi- 
tion; that they shall bear in mind, that the people, in riches, 
numbers, and hatred, were far stronger than they; and that 
their nobility, on account of which they assumed to be above 
others, did not contribute to win battles, and would be found, 
when they came to arms, to be but an empty name, and in- 
sufficient to defend them against so many. On the other hand, 
they reminded the people that it is not prudent to wish always 
to have the last blow ; that it is an injudicious step to drive 
men to desperation, for he who is without hope is also with- 
out fear; that they ought not to forget that in the wars the 
nobility had always done honor to the country, and there- 
fore it was neither wise nor just to pursue them with so much 
bitterness; and that although the nobility could bear with 
patience the loss of the supreme magistracy, they could not en- 
dure that, by the existing laws, it should be in the power of 
everyone to drive them from their country; and therefore it 
would be well to qualify these laws, and, in furtherance of so 
good a result, be better to lay down their arms than, trusting 
to numbers, try the fortune of a battle ; for it is often seen that 
the many are overcome by the few. Variety of opinion was 


found among the people; they wished to decide the question 
by arms at once, for they were assured it would have to be done 
some time, and that it would be better to do so then than de- 
lay till the enemy had acquired greater strength ; and that if 
they thought a mitigation of the laws would satisfy them, 
then they would be glad to comply, but that the pride of the 
nobility was so great they would not submit imless they were 
compelled. To many others, who were more peaceable and 
better disposed, it appeared a less evil to qualify the laws a 
little than to come to battle; and their opinion prevailing, it 
was provided that no accusation against the nobility could be 
received unless supported with sufficient testimony. 

Although arms were laid aside, both parties remained full 
of suspicion, and each fortified itself with men and places of 
strength. The people reorganized the government, and less- 
ened the number of its officers, to which measure they were in- 
duced by finding that the Signors appointed from the families, 
of which the following were the heads, had been favorable to 
the nobility, viz., the Mancini, Magalotti, Altoviti, Peruzzi, and 
Cerretani. Having settled the government for the greater 
magnificence and security of the Signory, they laid the foun- 
dation of the palace ; and to make space for the piazza, removed 
the houses that had belonged to the Uberti ; they also at the 
same period commenced the public prisons. These buildings 
were completed in a few years ; nor did our city ever enjoy a 
state of greater prpsperity than in those times ; filled with men 
of great wealth and reputation ; possessing within her walls 
30,000 men capable of bearing arms, and in the country some 
70,000; while the whole of Tuscany, either as subjects or 
friends, owed obedience to Florence. And although there 
might be some indignation and jealousy between the nobility 
and the people, they did not produce any evil effect, but all 
lived together in unity and peace. And if this peace had not 
been disturbed by internal enmities there would have been no 
cause of apprehension whatever, for the city had nothing to 
fear either from the empire or from those citizens, whom 
political reasons kept from their homes, and was in condition 
to meet all the States of Italy with her own forces. The evil, 
however, which external powers could not effect, was brought 
about by those within. 


The Ccrchi and the Donati— Origin of the Bianca and Nera Factions 
in Pistoia — They Come to Florence — Oi)en Enmity of the Donati 
and the Cerchi— Their First Conflict— The Cerchi Head the Bianca 
Faction— The Donati Take Part with the Nera— The Pope's Legate 
at Florence Increases the Confusion with an Interdict— New Af- 
fray between the Cerchi and the Donati— The Donati and Others of 
the Nera Faction Banished by the Advice of Dante Alighieri— 
Charles of Valois Sent by the Pope to Florence— The Florentines 
Suspect Him — Corso Donati and the Rest of the Nera Party Return 
to Florence — ^Veri Cerchi Flies— The Pope's Legate again in Flor- 
ence — The City again Interdicted — New Disturbances— The Bianchi 
Banished — Dante Banished — Corso Donati Excites Fresh Troubles 
— ^The Pope's Legate Endeavors to Restore the Emigrants but Does 
not Succeed— Great Fire in Florence. 

THE Cerchi and the Donati were, for riches, nobility, and 
the number and influence of their followers, perhaps 
the two most distinguished families in Florence. Being 
neighbors, both in the city and the country, there had arisen 
between them some slight displeasure, which however had not 
occasioned an open quarrel, and perhaps never would have pro- 
duced any serious effect if the malignant humors had not been 
increased by new causes. Among the first families of Pistoia 
was the Cancellieri. It happened that Lore, son of Gulielmo, 
and Geri, son of Bertacca, both of this family, playing together, 
and coming to words, Geri was slightly wotmded by Lore. 
This displeased Gulielmo ; and, designing by a suitable apology 
to remove all cause of further animosity, he ordered his son 
to go to the house of the father of the youth whom he had 
wounded, and ask pardon. Lore obeyed his father; but this 
act of virtue failed to soften the cruel mind of Bertacca, and 
having caused Lore to be seized, in order to add the greatest 
indignity to his brutal act, he ordered his servants to chop oflF 
the youth's hand upon a block used for cutting meat upon, and 
then said to him, " Go to thy father, and tell him that sword- 
wounds are cured with iron and not with words/' 



The unfeeling barbarity of this act so greatly exasperated 
Gulielmo that he ordered his people to take arms for his re- 
venge. Bertacca prepared for his defence, and not only that 
family, but the whole city of Pistoia, became divided. And as 
the Cancellieri were descended from a Cancelliere who had had 
two wives, of whom one was called Bianca (white), one party 
was named by those who were descended from her Bianca; 
and the other, by way of greater distinction, was called Nera 
(black). Much and long-continued strife took place between 
the two, attended with the death of many men and the destruc- 
tion of much property; and not being able to effect a union 
among themselves, but weary of the evil, and anxious either 
to bring it to an end or, by engaging others in their quarrel, 
increase it, they came to Florence, where the Neri, on account 
of their familiarity with the Donati, were favored by Corso, 
the head of that family ; and on this account the Bianchi, that 
they might have a powerful head to defend them against the 
Donati, had recourse to Veri de Cerchi, a man in no respect in- 
ferior to Corso. 

This quarrel, and the parties in it, brought from Pistoia, 
increased the old animosity between the Cerchi and the Donati, 
and it was already so manifest, that the Priors and all well- 
disposed men were in hourly apprehension of its breaking out, 
and causing a division of the whole city. They therefore ap- 
plied to the pontiff, praying that he would interpose his author- 
ity between these turbulent parties, and provide the remedy 
which they found themselves unable to furnish. The Pope sent 
for Veri, and charged him to make peace with the Donati, at 
which Veri exhibited great astonishment, saying, that he had 
no enmity against them, and that as pacification presupposes 
war, he did not know, there being no war between them, how 
peace-making could be necessary. Veri having returned from 
Rome without any thing being effected, the rage of the parties 
increased to such a degree, that any trivial accident seemed 
sufficient to make it burst forth, as, indeed, presently happened. 

It was in the month of May, during which, and upon holi- 
days, it is the custom of Florence to hold festivals and public 
rejoicings throughout the city. Some youths of the Donati 
family, with their friends, upon horseback, were standing near 
the church of the Holy Trinity to look at a party of ladies who 


were dancing; thither also came some of the Cerchi, like the 
Donati, accompanied with many of the nobility, and, not know- 
ing that the Donati were before them^ pushed their horses and 
jostled them; thereupon the Donati, thinking themselves in- 
sulted, drew their swords, nor were the Cerchi at all backward 
to do the same, and not till after the interchange of many 
wounds, were they separated. This disturbance was the begin- 
ning of great evils; for the whole city became divided, the 
people as well as the nobility, and the parties took the names of 
the Bianchi and the Neri. The Cerchi were at the head of the 
Bianchi faction, to which adhered the Adimari, the Abati, a 
part of the Tosinghi, of the Bardi, of the Rosi, of the Fresco- 
baldi, of the Nerli, and of the Manelli ; all the Mozzi, the Scali, 
Gherardini, Cavalcanti, Malespini, Bostichi, Giandonati, Vec- 
chietti, and Arrigucci. To these were joined many families 
of the people, and all the Ghibellines then in Florence, so that 
their great numbers gave them almost the entire government 
of the city. 

The Donati, at the head of whom was Corso, joined the 
Nera party, to which also adhered those members of the above- 
named families who did not take part with the Bianchi ; and 
besides these, the whole of the Pazzi, Bisdomini, Manieri, 
Tomaquinci, Spini, Buondelmonti, Gianfigliazzi, and the Bru- 
nelleschi. Nor did the evil confine itself to the city alone, for 
the whole country was divided upon it, so that the Captains of 
the Six Parts, and whoever were attached to the Guelfic party 
or the well-being of the republic, were very much afraid that 
this new division would occasion the destruction of the city, 
and give new life to the Ghibelline faction. They therefore 
sent again to Pope Boniface, desiring that, unless he wished 
that city which had always been the shield of the church should 
either be ruined or become Ghibelline, he would consider of 
some means for her relief. The pontiff thereupon sent to 
Florence, as his legate, Cardinal Matteo d'Acquasparta, a 
Portuguese, who, finding the Bianchi, as the most powerful, 
the least in fear, not quite submissive to him, interdicted the 
city, and left it in anger; so that greater confusion now pre- 
vailed than had done previously to his coming. 

The minds of men being in gjeat excitement, it happened 
that at a funeral which many of the Donati and the CercJii at- 


tended, they first came to words and then to arms, from which 
however nothing but merely tumult resulted at the moment 
However, having each retired to their houses, the Cerchi de- 
termined to attack the Donati, but, by the valor of Corso, they 
were repulsed and great numbers of them wounded. The city 
was in arms. The laws and the Signory were set at naught 
by the rage of the nobility, and the best and wisest citizens were 
full of apprehension. The Donati and their followers, being 
the least powerful, were in the greatest fear, and to provide 
for their safety they called together Corso, the Captains of the 
Parts, and the other leaders of the Neri, and resolved to apply 
to the Pope to appoint some personage of royal blood, that he 
might reform Florence; thinking by this means to overcome 
the Bianchi. Their meeting and determination became known 
to the Priors, and the adverse party represented it as a con- 
spiracy against the liberties of the republic. Both parties be- 
ing in arms, the Signory, one of whom at that time was the 
poet Dante, took courage, and from his advice and prudence, 
caused the people to rise for the preservation of order, and 
being joined by many from the country, they compelled the 
leaders of both parties to lay aside their arms, and banished 
Corso, with many of the Neri. And as an evidence of the 
impartiality of their motives, they also banished many of the 
Bianchi, who, however, soon afterward, under pretence of some 
justifiable cause, returned. 

Corso and his friends, thinking the Pope favorable to their 
party, went to Rome, and laid their grievances before him, hav- 
ing previously forwarded a statement of them in writing. 
Charles of Valois, brother of the King of France, was then at 
the Papal Court, having been called into Italy by the King of 
Naples, to go over into Sicily. The Pope, therefore, at the 
earnest prayers of the banished Florentines, consented to send 
Charles to Florence, till the season suitable for his going to 
Sicily should arrive. He therefore came, and although the 
Bianchi, who then governed, were very apprehensive, still, as 
the head of the Guelfs, and appointed by the Pope, they did 
not dare to oppose him ; and in order to secure his friendship, 
they gave Him authority to dispose of the city as he thought 

Thus authorized, Charles armed all his friends and follow- 


erSy which step gave the people so strong a suspicion that he 
designed to rob them of their liberty, that each took arms, 
and kept at his own house, in order to be ready, if Charles 
should make any such attempt. The Cerchi and the leaders 
of the Bianchi faction had acquired universal hatred by hav- 
ing, while at the head of the republic, conducted themselves 
with unbecoming pride ; and this induced Corso and the ban- 
ished of the Neri party to return to Florence, knowing well 
that Charles and the Captains of the Parts were favorable to 
them. And while the citizens^ for fear of Charles, kept them- 
selves in arms, Corso, with all the banished, and followed by 
many others, entered Florence, without the least impediment. 
And although Veri de Cerchi was advised to oppose him, he 
refused to do so, saying that he wished the people of Florence, 
against whom he came, should punish him. However the con- 
trary happened, for he was welcomed, not punished by them; 
and it behoved Veri to save himself by flight. 

Corso, having forced the Pinti Gate, assembled his party at 
San Pierto Maggiore, near his own house, where, having 
drawn together a great number of friends and people desirous 
of change, he set at liberty all who had been imprisoned for 
offences, whether against the state or against individuals. He 
compelled the existing Signory to withdraw privately to their 
own houses, elected a new one from the people of the Neri 
party, and for five days plundered the leaders of the Bianchi. 
The Cerchi, and the other heads of their faction, finding Charles 
opposed to them, and the greater part of the people their ene- 
mies, withdrew from the city, and retired to their strongholds. 
And although at first they would not listen to the advice of the 
Pope, they were now compelled to turn to him for assistance, 
declaring that instead of uniting the city, Charles had caused 
greater disunion than before. The Pope again sent Matteo 
d'Acquasparta, his legate, who made peace between the Cerchi 
and the Donati, and strengthened it with marriages and new 
betrothals. But wishing that the Binanchi should participate 
in the employments of the government, to which the Neri who 
were then at the head of it would not consent, he withdrew with 
no more satisfaction, nor less enraged, than on the former oc- 
casion, and left the city interdicted for disobedience. 

Both parties remained in Florence, and equally discontented ; 


the Neri from seeing their enemies at hand, and apprehending 
the loss of their power, and the Bianchi from finding them- 
selves without either honor or authority ; and to these natural 
causes of animosity new injuries were added. Niccolo de' 
Cerchi, with many of his friends, went to his estates, and be- 
ing arrived at the bridge of Affrico, was attacked by Simone, 
son of Corso Donati. The contest was obstinate, and on each 
side had a sorrowful conclusion; for Niccolo was slain, and 
Simone was so severely wounded, that he died on the following 

This event again disturbed the entire city; and although 
the Neri were most to blame, they were defended by those who 
were at the head of affairs ; and before sentence was delivered, 
a conspiracy of the Bianchi with Piero Ferrante, one of the 
barons who had accompanied Charles, was discovered, by 
whose assistance they sought to be replaced in the govern- 
ment. The matter became known from letters addressed to 
him by the Cerchi, although some were of opinion that they 
were not genuine, but written and pretended to be found, by the 
Donati, to abate the infamy which their party had acquired 
by the death of Niccola. The whole of the Cerchi were how- 
ever banished, with their followers of the Bianchi party, of 
whom was Dante the poet, their property confiscated, and their 
houses pulled down. They sought refuge, with a great num- 
ber of Ghibellines who had joined them, in many places ; seek- 
ing fresh fortune in new undertakings. Charles, having ef- 
fected the purpose of his coming, left the city, and returned to 
the Pope to pursue his enterprise against Sicily, in which he 
was neither wiser nor more fortunate than he had been at Flor- 
ence ; so that with disgrace and the loss of many of his fol- 
lowers, he withdrew to France. 

After the departure of Charles, Florence remained quiet. 
Corso alone was restless, thinking he did not possess that sort 
of authority in the city which was due to his rank ; for the gov- 
ernment being in the hands of the people, he saw the offices of 
the republic administered by many inferior to himself. Moved 
by passions of this kind, he endeavored, under pretence of an 
honorable design, to justify his own dishonorable purposes, 
and accused many citizens who had the management of the 
public money, of applying it to their private uses, and recom- 


mended that they should be brought to justice and punished. 
This opinion was adopted by many who had the same views 
as himself ; and many in ignorance joined them, thinking Corso 
actuated only by pure patriotism. On the other hand, the ac- 
cused citizens, enjoying the popular favor^ defended them- 
selves, and this difference arose to such a height, that, after 
civil means, they had recourse to arms. Of the one party were 
Corso and Lottieri, Bishop of Florence, with many of the no- 
bility and some of the people ; on the other side were the Sig- 
nory, with the greater part of the people; so that skirmishes 
took place in many parts of the city. Tlie Signory, seeing their 
danger great, sent for aid to the Lucchese, and presently all 
the people of Lucca were in Florence. With their assistance 
the disturbances were settled for the moment, and the people 
retained the government and their liberty, without attempting 
by any other means to punish the movers of the disorder. 

The Pope had heard of the tumults at Florence, and sent 
his legate, Niccolo da Prato, to settle them, who, being in high 
reputation both for his quality, learning, and mode of life, pres- 
ently acquired so much of the people's confidence, that author- 
ity was given him to establish such a government as he should 
think proper. As he was of Ghibelline origin, he determined 
to recall the banished ; but designing first to gain the affections 
of the lower orders, he renewed the ancient companies of the 
people, which increased the popular power and reduced that of 
the nobility. The legate, thinking the multitude on his side, 
now endeavored to recall the banished, and after attempting in 
many ways, none of which succeeded, he fell so cximpletely 
under the suspicion of the government, that he was compelled 
to quit the city, and returned to the Pope in great wrath, leav- 
ing Florence full of confusion and suffering under an interdict. 
Neither was the city disturbed with one division alone, but 
by many ; first, the enmity between the people and the nobility, 
then, that of the Ghibellines and the Guelfs, and lastly, of 
the Bianchi and the Neri. All the citizens were therefore in 
arms, for many were dissatisfied with the departure of the le- 
gate, and wished for the return of the banished. The first 
who set this disturbance on foot were the Medici and the 
Guinigi, who, with the legate, had discovered themselves in 
favor of the rebels ; and thus skirmishes took place in many 
parts of the city. 


In addition to these evils a fire occurred, which first broke 
out at the garden of St Michael, in the houses of the Abati ; it 
thence extended to those of the Capoinsacchi, and consumed 
them, with those of the Macci, Amieri^ Toschi, Cipriani, Lam- 
berti, Cavalcanti, and the whole of the New Market; from 
thence it spread to the gate of St Maria, and burned it to the 
ground ; turning from the old bridge, it destroyed the houses 
of the Gherardini, Pulci, Amidei, and Lucardesi, and with these 
so many others, that the nimiber amounted to 1,700. It was 
the opinion of many that this fire occurred by accident dur- 
ing the heat of the disturbances. Others affirm that it was 
begun wilfully by Neri Abati, Prior of St. Pietro Scarragio, 
a dissolute character, fond of mischief, who, seeing the people 
occupied with the combat, took the opportunity of commit- 
ting a wicked act, for which the citizens, being thus employed, 
could oflfer no remedy. And to ensure his success, he set 
fire to the house of his own brotherhood, where he had the 
best opportunity of doing it This was in the year 1304, Flor- 
ence being afflicted both with fire and the sword. Corso Donati 
alone remained unarmed in so many tumults ; for he thought 
he would more easily become the arbitrator between the con- 
tending parties when, weary of strife, they should be inclined 
to accommodation. They laid down their arms, however, 
rather from satiety of evil than from any desire of union ; and 
the only consequence was, that the banished were not recalled, 
and the party which favored them remained inferior. 


The Exiles Attempt to Re-enter Florence, but are not Allowed to do 
so— The Companies of the People Restored— Restless Conduct of 
Corso Donati— The Ruin of Corso Donati — Corso Donati Accused and 
Condemned — Riot at the House of Corso—Death of Corso— His Char- 
acter—Fruitless Attempt of the Emperor Henry against the Floren- 
tines—The Exiles are Restored to the City— The Citizens Place 
Themselves under the King of Naples for Five Years — ^War with 
Ugucdone della Faggiuola— The Florentines Routed — ^Florence With- 
draws herself from Subjection to King Robert, and Expels the Count 
Novello — ^Lando d'Agobbio — His Tyranny — ^His Departure. 

THE legate being returned to Rome, and hearing of the 
new disturbance which had occurred, persuaded thcf 
Pope that if he wished to unite the Florentines, it would 
be necessary to have twelve of the first citizens appear before 
him, and having thus removed the principal causes of disunion, 
he might easily put a stop to it. The pontiff took this advice, 
and the citizens among whom was Corso Donati, obeyed the 
summons. These having left the city, the legate told the exiles 
that now, when the city was deprived of her leaders, was the 
time for them to return. They therefore, having assembled, 
came to Florence, and entering by a part of the wall not yet 
completed, proceeded to the piazza of St. Giovanni. It is 
worthy of remark that those who a short time previously, when 
they came unarmed and begged to be restored to their country, 
had fought for their return, now, when they saw them in arms 
to oppose them (so much more was the common good es- 
teemed than private friendship), and being joined by the rest 
of the citizens, compelled them to return to the places from 
whence they had come. They failed in their undertaking by 
having left part of their force at Lastra, and by not having 
waited the arrival of Tolosetto Uberti, who had to come from 
Pistoia with 300 horse ; for they thought celerity rather than 
numbers would give them the victory; and it often happens, 
in similar enterprises, that delay robs us of the oocasioo, and 



too great anxiety to be forward prevents us of the power, or 
makes us act before we are properly prepared. 

The banished having retired, Florence again returned to her 
old divisions; and in order to deprive the Cavalcanti of their 
authority, the people took from them the Stinche, a castle situ- 
ated in the Val di Greve, and anciently belonging to the family. 
And as those who were taken in it were the first who were put 
into the new prisons, the latter were, and still continue, named 
after it, the Stinche. The leaders of the republic also re- 
established the companies of the people, and gave them the en- 
signs that were first used by the companies of the Arts ; the 
heads of which were called the Gonfaloniers of the companies 
and colleagues of the Signory; and ordered, that when any 
disturbance arose they should assist the Signory with arms, and 
in peace with counsel. To the two ancient rectors they added 
an executor, or sheriff, who, with the Gonfaloniers, was to aid 
in repressing the insolence of the nobility. 

In the meantime the Pope died. Corso, with the other 
citizens, returned from Rome; and all would have been well 
if his restless mind had not occasioned new troubles. It was 
his common practice to be of a contrary opinion to the most 
powerful men in the city ; and whatever he saw the people in- 
clined to do, he exercised his utmost influence to effect, in order 
to attach them to himself; so that he was a leader in all differ- 
ences, at the head of every new scheme, and whoever wished 
to obtain anything extraordinary had recourse to him. This 
conduct caused him to be hated by many of the highest dis- 
tinction ; and their hatred increased to such a degree that the 
Neri faction to which he belonged, became completely divided ; 
for Corso, to attain his ends, had availed himself of private 
force and authority, and of the enemies of the State. But so 
great was the influence attached to his person, that every one 
feared him. Nevertheless, in order to strip him of the popular 
favor (which by this means may easily be done), a report was 
set on foot that he intended to make himself prince of the city ; 
and to the design his conduct gave great appearance of prob- 
ability, for his way of living quite exceeded all civil bounds ; 
and the opinion gained further strength upon his taking to 
wife a daughter of Uguccione della Faggiuola, head of the 


Ghibellines and Bianchi faction, and one of the most powerful 
men in Tuscany. 

When this marriage became known it gave courage to his 
adversaries, and they took arms against him; for the same 
reason the people ceased to defend him, and the greater part 
of them joined the ranks of his enemies, the leaders of whom 
were Rosso della Tosa, Pazino dei Pazzi, Geri Spini, and Berto 
Brunelleschi. These with their followers, and the greater part 
of the people, assembled before the palace of the Signory, by 
whose command a charge was made before Piero Branca, Cap- 
tain of the People, against Corso, of intending, with the aid of 
Uguccione, to usurp the government. He was then sum- 
moned, and for disobedience, declared a rebel; nor did two 
hours pass over between the accusation and the sentence. The 
judgment being given, the Signory, with the companies of the 
people under their ensigns, went in search of him, who, al- 
though seeing himself abandoned by many of his followers, 
aware of the sentence against him, the power of the Signory, 
and the multitude of his enemies, remained undaunted, and 
fortified his houses, in the hope of defending them till Uguc- 
cione, for whom he had sent, should come to his relief. His 
residences, and the streets approaching them, were barricaded 
and taken possession of by his partisans, who defended them 
so bravely that the enemy, although in great numbers, could 
not force them, and the battle became one of the hottest, with 
wounds and death on all sides. 

But the people, finding they could not drive them from their 
ground, took possession of the adoining houses, and by un- 
observed passages obtained entry. Corso, thus finding him- 
self surrounded by his foes, no longer retaining any hope of 
assistance from Uguccione, and without a chance of victory, 
thought only of effecting his personal safety, and with Ghe- 
rardo Bordoni, and some of his bravest and most trusted 
friends, fought passage through the thickest of their enemies, 
and eflfected their escape from the city by the Gate of the Cross. 
They were, however, pursued by vast numbers, and Gherardo 
was slain upon the bridge of Affrico by Boccaccio Civicdulli. 
Corso was overtaken and made prisoner by a party of Catalan 
horse, in the service of the Signory, at Rovezzano. But when 
approaching Florence, that he might avoid being seen and torn 


to pieces by his victorious enemies, he allowed himself to fall 
from horseback, and being down, one of those who conducted 
him cut his throat. The body was found by the monks of 
San Salvi, and buried without any ceremony suitable to his 
rank. Such was the end of Corso, to whom his country and the 
Neri faction were indebted for much both of good and evil; 
and if he had possessed a cooler spirit he would have left be- 
hind him a more happy memory. Nevertheless, he deserves to 
be enumerated among the most distinguished men our city has 
produced. True it is, that this restless conduct made both his 
country and his party forgetful of their obligation to him. 
The same cause also produced his miserable end, and brought 
many troubles upon both his friends and his country. Uguc- 
cione, coming to the assistance of his relative, learned at Remoli, 
that Corso had been overcome by the people, and finding that 
he could not render him any assistance, in order to avoid bring- 
ing evil upon himself without occasion, he returned home. 

After the death of Corso, which occurred in the year 1308; 
the disturbances were appeased, and the people lived quietly 
till it was reported that the Emperor Henry was coming into 
Italy, and with him all the Florentine exiles ; to whom he had 
promised restoration to their country. The leaders of the gov- 
ernment thought, that in order to lessen the number of their 
enemies, it would be well to recall, of their own will, all who 
had been expelled, excepting such as the law had expressly 
forbidden to return. Of the number not admitted, were the 
grater part of the Ghibellines, and some of those of the Bianchi 
faction among whom were Dante Alighieri, the sons of Veri de* 
Cerchi and of Giano della Bella. Besides" this they sent for aid 
to Robert, King of Naples, and not being able to obtain it of 
him as friends, they gave their city to him for five years, that he 
might defend them as his own people. The Emperor entered 
Italy by way of Pisa, and proceeded by the marshes to Rome, 
where he was crowned in the year 1312. Then, having deter- 
mined to subdue the Florentines, he approached the city by the 
way of Perugia and Arezzo, and halted with his army at the 
monastery of San Salvi, about a mile from Florence, where he 
remained fifty days without effecting anything. Despairing 
of success against Florence, he returned to Pisa, where he en- 
tered into an agreement with FredeFick, King of Sicily, to 


undertake the conquest of Naples, and proceeded with his 
people accordingly ; but while filled with the hope of victory, 
and carr3dng dismay into the heart of King Robert, having 
reached Buonconvento, he died. 

Shortly after this, Uguccione della Faggiuola, having by 
means of the Ghibelline party become Lord of Pisa and of 
Lucca, caused, with the assistance of these cities, very serious 
annoyance to the neighboring places. In order to eflfect their 
relief the Florentines requested King Robert would allow his 
brother Piero to take the command of their armies. On the 
other hand, Uguccione continued to increase his power; and 
either by force or fraud obtained possession of many castles 
in the Val d'Amo and the Val di Nievole ; and having besieged 
Monte Catini, the Florentines found it would be necessary to 
send to its relief, that they might not see him bum and de- 
stroy their whole territory. Having drawn together a large 
army, they entered the Val di Nievole where they came up with 
Uguccione, and wee routed after a severe battle in which Piero 
the king's brother and 2,000 men were slain; but the body 
of the prince was never found. Neither was the victory a joy- 
ful one to Uguccione; for one of his sons, and many of the 
leaders of his army, fell in the strife. 

The Florentines, after this defeat, fortified their territory, 
and King Robert sent them, for the commander of their forces, 
the Count d'Andria, usually called Count Novello, by whose 
deportment, or because it is natural to the Florentines to find 
every condition of life tedious, the city, notwithstanding the 
war with Uguccione, became divided into friends and enemies 
of the king. Simon della Tosa, the Magalotti, and certain 
others of the people who had attained greater influence in the 
government than the rest, were leaders of the party against 
the King. By these means messengers were sent to France, 
and afterward into Germany, to solicit leaders and forces that 
they might drive out the count, whom the king had appointed 
governor; but they failed of obtaining any. Nevertheless they 
did not abandon their undertaking, but still desirous of secur- 
ing a popular leader, after an unavailing search in France 
and Germany, they discovered him at Agobbio, and having ex- 
pelled the Count Novello, caused Lando d^Agobbio to be 
brought into the city as bargello (sheriff), and gave him the 
most unlimited power over the citizens. This man was cruel 


and rapacious; and going through the country accompanied 
with an armed force, he put many to death at the mere in- 
stigation of those who had endowed him with authority. His 
insolence arose to such a height, that he stamped base metal 
with the impression used upon the money of the state, and no 
one had sufficient courage to oppose him, so powerful had he 
become by the discords of Florence. Great, certainly, but un- 
happy city! which neither the memory of past divisions, the 
fear of her enemies, nor a king^s authority, could unite for her 
own advantage ; so that she f otmd herself in a state of the ut- 
most wretchedness, harassed without by Uguccione, and plund- 
ered within by Lando d'Agobbio. 

The friends of the King and those who opposed Lando and 
his followers, were either of noble families or the highest of 
the people, and all of Guelfs; but their adversaries being in 
power they could not discover their minds without incurring 
the greatest danger. Being however determined to deliver 
themselves from such disgraceful tyranny, they secretly wrote 
to King Robert, requesting him to appoint for his vicar in 
Florence Count Guido da BattifoUe. The King complied ; and 
the opposite party, although the Signory were opposed to the 
King, on account of the good quality of the count, did not dare 
to resist him. Still his authority was not great, because the 
Signory and Gonfaloniers of the companies were in favor of 
Lando and his party. 

During these troubles, the daughter of King Albert of Bo- 
hemia passed through Florence, in search of her husband, 
Charles, the son of King Robert, and was received with the 
greatest respect by the friends of the King, who complained 
to her of the unhappy state of the city, and of the tyranny of 
Lando and his partisans ; so that through her influence and the 
exertion of the king's friends, the citizens were again united, 
and before her departure, Lando was stripped of all authority 
and sent back to Agobbio, laden with blood and plunder. In 
reforming the government, the sovereignty of the city was 
continued to the King for another three years ; and as there 
were then in office seven Signors of the party of Lando, six 
more were appointed of the King's friends, and some magis- 
tracies were composed of thirteen Signors ; but not long after- 
ward, the number was reduced to seven, according to ancient 


War with Castruccio — Castruccio Marches against Prato and retires 
without Making any Attempt — ^The Exiles not being Allowed to Re- 
turn, Endeavor to Enter the City by Force, and are Repulsed— 
Change in the Mode of Electing the Great Officers of State— The 
Squittini Established — ^The Florentines under Ramondo of Cardona 
are Routed by Castruccio at Altopascio— Treacherous Designs of 
Ramondo — The Florentines Give the Sovereignty of the City to 
Charles, Duke of Calabria, who Appoints the Duke of Athens for 
his Vicar— The Duke of Calabria Comes to Florence— The Em- 
peror Louis of Bavaria Visits Italy— The Excitement he Produces 
-—Death of Castruccio and of Charles Duke of Calabria— Reform of 

ABOUT the same time, Uguccione lost the sovereignty of 
Lucca and of Pisa, and Castruccio Castracani, a citizen 
of Lucca, became lord of them, who, being a young 
man, bold and fierce, and fortunate in his enterprises, in a short 
time became the head of the Ghibellines in Tuscany. On this 
account the discords among the Florentines were laid aside 
for some years, at first to abate the increasing power of Cas- 
truccio, and afterward to unite their means for mutual defence 
against him. And in order to give increased strength and 
efficacy to their counsels, the Signory appointed twelve citizens 
whom they called Buonomini, or good men, without whose ad- 
vice and consent, nothing of any importance could be carried 
into effect. The conclusion of the sovereignty of King Robert 
being come, the citizens took the government in their own 
hands, reappointed the usual rectors and magistracies, and 
were kept united by the dread of Castruccio, who, after many 
efforts against the Lords of Lunigiano, attacked Prato, to the 
relief of which the Florentines having resolved to go, shut up 
their shops and houses, and proceeded thither in a body, 
amounting to 20,000 foot and 1,500 horse. And in order to 
reduce the number of Castniccio's friends and augment their 
own, the Signory declared that every rebel of the Guelfic party 



who should come to the relief of Prato would be restored to 
his country: they thus increased their army with an addition 
of 4,000 men. This great force being quickly brought to Prato, 
alarmed Castruccio so much that without trying the fortune 
of battle, he retired toward Lucca. Upon this, disturbances 
arose in the Florentine camp between the nobility and the peo- 
ple, the latter of whom wished to pursue the foe and destroy 
him ; the former were for returning home, saying they had done 
enough for Prato in hazarding the safety of Florence on its 
account, which they did not regret under the necessity of the 
circumstances, but now, that necessity no longer existing, the 
propriety of further risk ceased also ; as there was little to be 
gained and much to lose. Not being able to agree, the ques- 
tion was referred to the Signory, among whom the difference 
of opinion was equally great; and as the matter spread 
throughout the city, the people drew together, and used such 
threatening language against the nobility that they, being ap- 
prehensive for their safety, yielded ; but the resolution being 
adopted too late, and by many unwillingly, gave the enemy time 
to withdraw in safety to Lucca. 

This unfortunate circumstance made the people so indignant 
against the great that the Signory refused to perform the 
promise made to the exiles, and the latter, anticipating the fact, 
determined to be beforehand, and were at the gates of Florence 
to gain admittance into the city, before the rest of the forces ; 
but their design did not take effect, for their purpose being 
foreseen, they were repulsed by those who had remained at 
home. Then they endeavored to acquire by entreaty what 
they had failed to obtain by force; and sent eight men as 
ambassadors to the Signory, to remind them of the promise 
given, and of the dangers they had undergone, in hope of 
the reward which had been held out to them. And although 
the nobility, who felt the obligation on account of their hav- 
ing particularly undertaken to fulfil the promise for which 
the Signory had bound themselves, used their utmost exertion 
in favor of the exiles, so great was the anger of the mul- 
titude on account of their only partial success against Castruc- 
cio, that they could not obtain their admission. This occasioned 
cost and dishonor to the city ; for many of the nobility, taking 
offence at this proceeding, endeavored to obtain by arms that 


which had been refused to their prayers, and agreed with the 
exiles that they should come armed to the city, and that those 
within would arm themselves in their defence. But the affair 
was discovered before the appointed day arrived, so that those 
without found the city in arms, and prepared to resist them. 
So completely subdued were those within, that none dared to 
take arms : and thus the undertaking was abandoned, without 
any advantage having been obtained by the party. After the 
departure of the exiles it was determined to punish those who 
had been instrumental in bringing them to the city; but, al- 
though every one knew who were the delinquents, none ven- 
tured to name and still less to accuse them. It was therefore 
resolved that in order to come at the truth, every one should 
write the names of those he believed to be guilty, and present 
the writing secretly to the Capitano. By this means, Amerigo 
Donati, Teghiajo, Frescobaldi, and Lotteringo Gherardini were 
accused ; but the judges being more favorably disposed to them 
than perhaps their misdeeds deserved, each escaped by pa3ring a 

The tumults which arose in Florence from the coming of 
the rebels to the gates, showed that one leader was insufficient 
for the companies of the people; they therefore determined 
that in future each should have three or four; and to every 
Gonfalonier two or three Pennonieri (pennon bearers) were 
added, so that if the whole body were not drawn out, a part 
might operate under one of them. And as happens, in re- 
publics, after any disturbance, some old laws are annulled and 
others renewed, so on this occasion, it had been previously 
customary to appoint the Signory for a time only, the then 
existing Signors and the colleagues, feeling themselves pos- 
sessed of sufficient power, assimied the authority to fix upon 
the Signors that would have to sit during the next forty 
months, by putting their names into a bag or purse, and draw- 
ing them every two months. But, before the expiration of the 
forty months, many citizens were jealous that their names had 
not been deposited among the rest, and a new imborsation was 
made. From this beginning arose the custom of imborsing or 
enclosing the names of all who should take office in any of the 
magistracies for a long time to come, as well those whose offices 
employed them with the city as those abroad, although pre- 


viously, the councils of the retiring magistracies had elected 
those who were to succeed them. The imborsations were after- 
wards called squitHni, or pollings — ^and it was thought that 
they would prevent much trouble to the city, and remove the 
cause of those tumults which every three, or at most five, years, 
took place upon the creation of magistrates, from the number 
of candidates for office. And not being able to adopt a better 
expedient, they made use of this, but did not observe the defects 
which lay concealed under such a trivial accommodation. 

In 1325, Castruccio, having taken possession of Pistoia, be- 
came so powerful that the Florentines, fearing his greatness, 
resolved, before he should get himself firmly seated in his 
new conquest, to attck him and withdraw it from his au- 
thority. Of their citizens and friends they mustered an army 
amounting to 20,000 foot, and 3,000 horse, and with this body 
encamped before Altopascio, with the intention of taking the 
place, and thus preventing it from relieving Pistoia. Being 
successful in the first part of their design, they marched toward 
Lucca, and laid the country waste in their progress ; but from 
the little prudence and less integrity of their leader, Ramondo 
di Cardona, they made but small progress; for he,, having 
observed them upon former occasions very prodigal of their 
liberty, placing it sometimes in the hands of a king, at others 
in those of a legate; or persons of even inferior quality, thought, 
if he could bring them into some difficulty, it might easily hap- 
pen that they would make him their prince. Nor did he fail 
frequently to mention these matters, and required to have 
that authority in the city which had been given him over the 
army, endeavoring to show, that otherwise he could not en- 
force the obedience requisite to a leader. As the Florentines 
did not consent to this he wasted time, and allowed Castruc- 
cio to obtain the assistance which the Visconti and other ty- 
rants of Lombardy had promised him, and thus become very 
strong. Ramondo, having wilfully let the opportunity of vic- 
tory pass away, now found himself unable to escape; for 
Castruccio coming up with him at Altopascio, a great battle 
ensued in which many citizens were slain and taken prisoners, 
and among the former fell Ramondo, who received from for- 
tune that reward of bad faith and mischievous counsels, which 
he had richly deserved from the Florentines. The injury they 


suflFered from Castruccio, after the battle, in plunder, pris- 
oners, destruction, and burning of property, is quite indescrib- 
able; for, without any opposition, during many months, he 
led his predatory forces wherever he thought proper, and it 
seemed sufficient to the Florentines if, after such a terrible 
event, they could have their city. 

Still they were not so absolutely cast down as to prevent 
them from raising great sums of money, hiring troops, and 
sending to their friends for assistance ; but all they could do 
was insufficient to restrain such a powerful enemy; so that 
they were obliged to offer the sovereignty to Charles, Duke of 
Calabria, son of King Robert, if they could induce him to come 
to their defence; for these princes, being accustomed to rule 
Florence, preferred her obedience to her friendship. But 
Charles, being engaged in the wars of Sicily, and therefore 
unable to undertake the sovereignty of the city, sent in his 
stead Walter, by birth a Frenchman, and Duke of Athens. 
He, as viceroy, took possession of the city, and appointed the 
magistracies according to his own pleasure; but his mode of 
proceeding was quite correct, and so completely contrary to 
his real nature, that every one respected him. 

The affairs of Sicily being composed, Charles came to 
Florence with 1,000 horse. He made his entry into the city 
in July, 1326, and his coming, prevented further pillage of 
the Florentine territory by Castruccio. However, the influ- 
ence which they acquired without the city was lost within 
her walls, and the evils which they did not suffer from their 
enemies, were brought upon them by their friends; for the 
Sigfnory could not do anything without the consent of the Duke 
of Calabria, who, in the course of one year, drew from the 
people 400,000 florins, although by the agreement entered into 
with him, the sum was not to exceed 200,000 florins ; so great 
were the burdens with which either himself or his father con- 
stantly oppressed them. 

To these troubles were added new jealousies and new ene- 
mies; for the Ghibellines of Lombardy became so alarmed 
upon the arrival of Charles in Tuscany, that Galeazzo Visconti 
and the other Lombard tyrants, by money and promises, in- 
duced Louis of Bavaria, who had lately been elected emperor 
contrary to the wish of the Pope, to come into Italy. After 


passing through Lombardy he entered Tuscany, and with the 
assistance of Castruccio, made himself master of Pisa, from 
whence, having been pacified with simis of money, he directed 
his course toward Rome. This caused the Duke of Calabria 
to be apprehensive for the safety of Naples ; he therefore left 
Florence, and appointed as his viceroy, Filippo de Saggineto. 

After the departure of the Emperor, Castruccio made him- 
self master of Pisa, but the Florentines, by a treaty with Pis- 
toia, withdrew her from obedience to him. Castruccio then 
besieged Pistoia, and persevered with so much vigor and reso- 
lution, that although the Florentines often attempted to relieve 
her, by attacking first his army and then his country, they were 
unable either by force or policy to remove him; so anxious 
was he to punish the Pistolesi and subdue the Florentines. At 
length the people of Pistoia were compelled to reecive him 
for their sovereign; but this event, although greatly to his 
glory, proved but little to his advantage, for, upon his return 
to Lucca, he died. And as one event either of good or evil 
seldom comes alone, at Naples also died Charles, Duke of 
Calabria and Lord of Florence, so that in a short time, beyond 
the expectation of their most sanguine hopes, the Florentines 
found themselves delivered from the domination of the one 
and the fear of the other. Being again free, they set about 
the reformation of the city, annulled all the old councils, and 
created two new ones, the one composed of 300 citizens from 
the class of the people, and the other of 250 from the nobility 
and the people. 

The first was called the " Council of the People," the other 
was called " Council of the Commune." 


The Emperor at Rome— The Florentines Refuse to Purchase Lucca, 
and Repent of it — Enterprises of the Florentines^— Conspiracy of the 
Bardi and the Frescobaldi — ^The Conspiracy Discovered and Checked 
— Maffeo da Marradi Appeases the Tumult — ^Lucca is purchased by 
the Florentines and Taken by the Pisans— The Duke of Athens at 
Florence— The Nobility Determine to Make him Prince of the City. 

THE Emperor, being arrived at Rome, created an anti- 
pope, did many things in opposition to the Church, and 
attempted many others, but without effect, so that at 
last he retired with disgrace, and went to Pisa, where, either 
because they were not paid, or from disaffection, about 800 
German horse mutinied, and fortified themselves at Monte- 
chiaro upon the Ceruglio ; and when the Emperor had left Pisa 
to go into Lombardy^ they took possession of Lucca and drove 
out Francesco Castracani, whom he had left there. Designing 
to turn their conquest to account, they offered it to the Floren- 
tines for 80,000 florins, which, by the advice of Simone della 
Tosa, was refused. This resolution, if they had remained 
in it, would have been of the greatest utility to the Florentines; 
but as they shortly afterwards changed their minds, it became 
most pernicious; for although at the time they might have 
obtained peaceful possession of her for a small sum and would 
not, they afterwards wished to have her and could not, even 
for a much larger amount ; which caused many and most hurt- 
ful changes to take place in Florence. Lucca being refused by 
the Florentines, was purchased by Gherardino Spinoli, a 
Genoese, for 30,000 florins. And as men are often less 
anxious to take what is in their power than desirous of that 
which they cannot attain, as soon as the purchase of Gheradino 
became known, and for how small a sum it had been bought, 
the people of Florence were seized with an extreme desire to 
have it, blaming themselves and those by whose advice they 
had been induced to reject the offer made to them. And in 



order to obtain by force what they had refused to purchase, 
they sent troops to plunder and overrun the country of the 

About this time the Emperor left Italy. The anti-pope, by 
means of the Pisans, became a prisoner in France; and the 
Florentines, from the death of Castruccio, which occurred in 
1328, remained in domestic peace till 1340, and gave their 
undivided attention to external affairs ; while many wars were 
carried on in Lombardy, occasioned by the coming of John, 
King of Bohemia, and in Tuscany, on account of Lucca. Dur- 
ing this period, Florence was ornamented with many new build- 
ings, and by the advice of Giotto, the most distinguished painter 
of his time, they built the tower of Santa Reparata. Besides 
this, the waters of the Amo having in 1333 risen twelve feet 
above their ordinary level, destroyed some of the^bridges and 
many buildings, all which were restored with great care and 

In the year 1340, new sources of disagreement arose. The 
Great had two ways of increasing or preserving their power ; 
the one, so to restrain the imborsation of magistrates, that 
the lot always fell upon themselves or their friends ; the other, 
that having the election of the rectors, they were always favor- 
able to their party. This second mode tfiey considered of so 
great importance, that the ordinary rectors not being sufficient 
for them, they on some occasions elected a third, and at this 
time they had made an extraordinary appointment, under the 
title of captain of the guard, of Jacopo Gabrielli, of Agobbio, 
and endowed him with unlimited authority over the citizens. 
This man, under the sanction of those who governed, committed 
constant outrages; and among those whom he injured were 
Piero de' Bardi and Bardo Frcscobaldi. These being of the 
nobility, and naturally proud, could not endure that a stranger, 
supported by a few powerful men, should without cause in- 
jure them with impunity, and consequently entered into a con- 
spiracy against him and those by whom he was supported. 
They were joined by many noble families, and some of the 
people, who were offended with the tyranny of those in power. 
Their plan was, that each should bring into his house a num- 
ber of armed men, and on the morning after the day of All 
Saints, when almost all would be in the temples praying for 


their dead, they should take arms, kill the Capitano and those 
who were at the head of affairs, and then, with a new Signory 
and new ordinances, reform the government. 

But, as the more a dangerous business is considered, the 
less willingly it is undertaken, it commonly happens, when 
there is any time allowed between the determining upon a peril- 
ous enterprise and its execution, that the conspiracy by one 
means or other becomes known. Andrea de' Bardi was one 
of the conspirators, and upon re-consideration of the matter, 
the fear of the punishment operated more powerfully upon him 
than the desire of revenge, and he disclosed the affair to Jacopo 
Alberti, his brother-in-law. Jacopo acquainted the Priors, and 
they informed the government. And as the danger was near. 
All Saints' day being just at hand, many citizens met together 
in the palace ; and thinking their peril increased by delay, they 
insisted that the Signory should order the alarm to be rung, and 
call the people together in arms. Taldo Valori was at this time 
Gonfalonier, and Francesco Salviati one of the Signory, who, 
being relatives of the Bardi, were unwilling to summon the 
people with the bell, alleging as a reason that it is by no means 
well to assemble them in arms upon every slight occasion, for 
power put into the hands of an unrestrained multitude was 
never beneficial; that it is an easy matter to excite them to 
violence, but a difficult thing to restrain them ; and that there- 
fore it would be taking a more prudent course if they were to 
inquire into the truth of the affair, and punish the delinquents 
by the civil authority, than to attempt, upon a simple infor- 
mation, to correct it by such a tumultuous means, and thus 
hazard the safety of the city. None would listen to these re- 
marks; the Signory were assailed with insolent behavior and 
indecent expressions, and compelled to sound the alarm, upon 
which the people presently assembled in arms. On the other 
hand, the Bardi and the Frescobaldi, finding themselves dis- 
covered, that they might conquer with glory or die without 
shame, armed themselves, in the hope that they would be able 
to defend that part of the city beyond the river, where the 
houses were situated; and they fortified the bridge in expec- 
tation of assistance, which they expected from the nobles and 
their friends in the country. Their design was frustrated by 
the people who, in common with themselves, occupied this part 


of the city; for these took arms in favor of the Signory, so 
that seeing themselves thus circumstanced, they abandoned the 
bridges, and betook themselves to the street in which the Bardi 
resided, as being a stronger situation than any other ; and this 
they defended with great bravery. 

Jacopo d'Agobbio, knowing the whole conspiracy was di- 
rected against himself, in fear of death, terrified and van- 
quished, kept himself surrounded with his forces near the 
palace of the Signory ; but the other rectors, who were much 
less blameable, discovered greater courage, and especially the 
podesta or provost, whose name was Ma£Eeo da Marradi. He 
presented himself among the combatants without fear, and 
passing the bridge of the Rubaconte amid the swords of the 
Bardi, made a sign that he wished to speak to them. Upon 
this, their reverence for the man, his noble demeanor, and the 
excellent qualities he was known to possess, caused an imme- 
diate cessation of the combat, and induced them to listen to him 
patiently. He very gravely, but without the use of any bitter 
or aggravating expressions, blamed their conspiracy^ showed 
the danger they would incur if they still contended against the 
popular feeling, gave them reason to hope their complaints 
would be heard and mercifully considered, and promised that 
he himself would use his endeavors in their behalf. He then 
returned to the Signory, and implored them to spare the blood 
of the citizens, showing the impropriety of judging them un- 
heard, and at length induced them to consent that the Bardi 
and the Frescobaldi, with their friends, should leave the city, 
and without impediment be allowed to retire to their castles. 
Upon their departure the people being again disarmed, the Sig- 
nory proceeded against those only of the Bardi and Frescobaldi 
families who had taken arms. To lessen their power, they 
bought of the Bardi the castle of Mangona and that of Vemia ; 
and enacted a law which provided, that no citizen should be 
allowed to possess a castle or fortified place, within twenty 
miles of Florence. 

After a few months, Stiatta Frescobaldi was beheaded, and 
many of his family banished. Those who governed, not satis- 
fied with having subdued the Bardi and the Frescobaldi, as 
is most commonly the case, the more authority they possessed 
the worse use they made of it and the more insolent they be- 


came. As they had hitherto had one captain of the guard 
who afflicted the city, they now appointed another for the coun- 
try, with unlimited authority, to the end that those whom they 
suspected might abide neither within nor without. And they 
excited them to such excesses against the whole of the nobil- 
ity, that these were driven to desperation, and ready to sell 
both themselves and the city to obtain revenge. The occasion 
at length came, and they did not fail to use it. 

The troubles of Tuscany and Lombardy had brought the 
city of Lucca under the rule of Mastino delta Scala, Lord of 
Verona, who, though bound by contract to assign her to the 
Florentines, ha4 refused to do so ; for, being Lord of Parma, 
he thought he should be able to retain her, and did not trouble 
himself about his breach of faith. Upon this the Florentines 
joined the Venetians, and with their assistance brought Mas- 
tino to the brink of ruin. They did not, however, derive any 
benefit from this beyond the slight satisfaction of having con- 
quered him ; for the Venetians, like all who enter into league 
with less powerful states than themselves, having acquired 
Trevigi and Vicenza, made peace with Mastino without the 
least regard for the Florentines. Shortly after this, the Vis- 
conti. Lords of Milan, having taken Parma from Mastino, he 
found himself unable to retain Lucca, and therefore determined 
to sell it. The competitors for the purchase were the Floren- 
tines and the Pisans ; and in the course of the treaty the Pisans, 
finding that the Florentines, being the richer people, were about 
to obtain it, had recourse to arms, and with the assistance of 
the Visconti, marched against Lucca. The Florentines did not, 
on that account, withdraw from the purchase, but having 
agreed upon the terms with Mastino, paid part of the money, 
gave security for the remainder, and sent Naddo Rucellai, Gio- 
vanni di Bernardino de' Medici, and Rosso di Ricciardo de' 
Ricci, to take possession, who entered Lucca by force, and 
Mastino's people delivered the city to them. Nevertheless the 
Pisans continued the siege, and the Florentines used their ut- 
most endeavors to relieve her; but after a long war, loss of 
money, and accumulation of disgrace, they were compelled to 
retire, and the Pisans became Lords of Lucca. 

The loss of this city, as in like cases commonly happens, 
exasperated the people of Florence against the members of 

1342] LOSS OF LUCCA 97 

the government; at every street comer and public place they 
were openly censured, and the entire misfortune was laid to 
the charge of their greediness and mismanagement. At the 
beginning of the war, twenty citizens had been appointed to 
undertake the direction of it, who appointed Malatesta da 
Rimini to the command of the forces. He, having exhibited 
little zeal and less prudence, they requested assistance from 
Robert, King of Naples, and he sent them Walter, Duke of 
Athens, who, as Providence would have it, to bring about the 
approaching evils, arrived at Florence just at the moment when 
the undertaking against Lucca had entirely failed. Upon this 
the Twenty, seeing the anger of the people, thought to inspire 
them with fresh hopes by the appointment of a new leader, and 
thus remove, or at least abate the causes of calumny against 
themselves. As there was much to be feared, and that the 
Duke of Athens might have greater authority to defend them, 
they first chose him for their coadjutor, and then appointed him 
to the command of the army. The nobility, who were dis- 
contented from the causes above mentioned, having many of 
them been acquainted with Walter, when upon a former oc- 
casion he had governed Florence for the Duke of Calabria, 
thought they had now an opportunity, though with the ruin 
of the city, of subduing their enemies ; for there was no means 
of prevailing against those who had oppressed them, but of sub- 
mitting to the authority of a prince who, being acquainted with 
the worth of one party and the insolence of the other, would 
restrain the latter and reward the former. To this they added 
a hope of the benefits they might derive from him when he had 
acquired the principality by their means. They therefore took 
several occasions of being with him secretly, and entreated he 
would take the command wholly upon himself, offering him 
the utmost assistance in their power. To their influence and 
entreaty were also added those of some families of the people ; 
these were the Peruzzi, Acciajuoli, Antellesi, and Buonaccorsi, 
who, being overwhelmed with debts, and without means of 
their own, wished for those of others to liquidate them, and, 
by the slavery of their country, to deliver themselves from their 
servitude to their creditors. These demonstrations excited the 
ambitious mind of the duke to greater desire of dominion, and 
in order to gain himself the reputation of strict equity and jus- 


tice, and thus increase his favor with the plebeians, he prose- 
cuted those who had conducted the war against Lucca, con- 
demned many to pay fines, others to exile, and put to death 
Giovanni de' Medici, Naddo Rucellai, and Guglielmo Altoviti. 


The Duke of Athens Requires to be Made Prince of Florence— The 
Signory Address the Duke upon the Subject — ^The Plebeians Pro- 
claim him Prince of Florence for Life — Tyrannical Proceedings of 
the Duke — ^The City Disgusted with him — Conspiracies against the 
Duke — ^The Duke Discovers the Conspiracies, and Becomes Terrified 
— ^The City Rises against him — He is Besieged in the Palace — Meas- 
ures Adopted by the Citizens for Reform of the Government — ^The 
Duke is Compelled to Withdraw from the City — Miserable Deaths 
of Guglielmo da Scesi and his Son — Departure of the Duke of Athens 
— His Character. 

THESE executions greatly terrified the middle class of 
citizens, but gave satisfaction to the great and to the 
plebeians; — to the latter, because it is their nature to 
delight in evil ; and to the former, by thus seeing themselves 
avenged of the many wrongs they had suffered from the people. 
When the duke passed along the streets he was hailed with loud 
cheers, the boldness of his proceedings was praised, and both 
parties joined in open entreaties, that he would search out the 
faults of the citizens, and punish them. 

The ofiice of the Twenty began to fall into disuse, while 
the power of the duke became great, and the influence of 
fear excessive; so that everyone, in order to appear friendly 
to him, caused his arms to be painted over their houses, and 
the name alone was all he needed to be absolutely prince. 
Thinking himself upon such a footing that he might safely 
attempt anything, he gave the Signory to understand that he 
judged it necessary for the good of the city, that the sovereignty 
should be freely given him, and that as the rest of the citizens 
were willing that it should be so, he desired they would also 
consent. The Signory, notwithstanding many had foreseen 
the ruin of their country, were much disturbed at this demand ; 
and although they were aware of the dangerous position in 
which they stood, that they might not be wanting in their duty, 
resolutely refused to comply. The duke had, in order to as- 



siune a greater appearance of religion and humanity, chosen 
for his residence the convent of the Minor Canons of St. Croce, 
and in order to carry his evil designs into eflFect, proclaimed 
that all the people should on the following morning present 
themselves before him in the piazza of the convent This 
command alarmed the Signory much more than his discourse 
to them had done, and they consulted with those citizens whom 
they thought most attached to their country and to liberty ; but 
they could not devise any better plan, knowing the power of 
which the duke was possessed, than to endeavor by entreaty to 
induce him either to forego his design or to make his gov- 
ernment less intolerable. A party of them was therefore ap- 
pointed to wait upon him^ one of whom addressed him in the 
following manner : — 

" We appear before you, my lord, induced first by the de- 
mand which you have made, and then by the orders you have 
given for a meeting of the people; for it appears to us very 
clearly, that it is your intention to eif ect by extraordinary means 
the design from which we have hitherto withheld our consent. 
It is not, however, our intention to oppose you with force, but 
only to show what a heavy charge you take upon yourself, and 
the dangerous course you adopt ; to the end that you may re- 
member our advice and that of those who, not by consideration 
of what is beneficial for you, but for the gratification of their 
own unreasonable wishes, have advised you diflFerently. You 
are endeavoring to reduce to slavery a city that has always 
existed in freedom ; for the authority which we have at times 
conceded to the Kings of Naples was companionship and not 
servitude. Have you considered the mighty things which the 
name of liberty implies to such a city as this, and how delight- 
ful it is to those who hear it? It has a power which nothing 
can subdue, time cannot wear away, nor can any degree of 
merit in a prince countervail the loss of it. Consider, my lord, 
how great the force must be that can keep a city like this in 
subjection ; no foreign aid would enable you to do it ; neither 
can you confide in those at home ; for they who are at present 
your friends, and advise you to adopt the course you now pur- 
sue, as soon as with your assistance they have overcome their 
enemies, will at once turn their thoughts toward effecting your 
destruction, and then take the government upon themselves. 


The plebeians, in whom you confide, will change upon any acci- 
dent, however trivial; so that in a very short time you may 
expect to see the whole city opposed to you, which will produce 
both their ruin and your own. Nor will you be able to find any 
remedy for this ; for princes who have but few enemies may 
make their government very secure by the death or banish- 
ment of those who are opposed to them ; but when the hatred 
is universal, no security whatever can be found, for you cannot 
tell from what direction the evil may commence ; and he who 
has to apprehend every man his enemy cannot make himself 
assured of anyone. And if you should attempt to secure a 
friend or two, you would only increase the dangers of your 
situation; for the hatred of the rest would be increased by 
your success, and they would become more resolutely disposed 
to vengeance. 

" That time can neither destroy nor abate the desire for free- 
dom is most certain; for it has been often observed that 
those have reassumed their liberty who in their own persons 
had never tasted of its charms, and love it only from remem- 
brance of what they have heard their fathers relate; and 
therefore have preserved it, when recovered, with indomitable 
resolution and at every hazard. And even when their fathers 
could not remember it, the public buildings, the halls of the 
magistracy, and the insignia of free institutions, remind them 
of it ; and these things cannot fail to be known and greatly de- 
sired by every class of citizens. 

"What is it you imagine you can do, that would be an 
equivalent for the sweets of liberty, or make men lose the 
desire of their present condition? No; if you were to join 
the whole of Tuscany to the Florentine rule, if you were to 
return to the city daily in triumph over her enemies, what 
could it avail? The glory would not be ours, but yours. We 
should not acquire fellow citizens, but partakers of our bondage, 
who would serve to sink us still deeper in ignominy. And if 
your conduct were in every respect upright, your demeanor 
amiable, and your judgments equitable, all these would be in- 
suflScient to make you beloved. If you imagine otherwise, you 
deceive yourself; for, to one accustomed to the enjoyment of 
liberty, the slightest chains feel heavy, and every tie upon his 
free soul oppresses him. Besides, it is impossible to find a vio- 


lent people associated with a good prince, for of necessity 
they must soon become alike, or their difference produce the 
ruin of one of them. You may therefore be assured, that 
you will either have to hold this city by force, to eflfect which, 
guards, castles, and external aid have oft been found insuflR- 
cient, or be content with the authority we have conferred ; and 
this we would advise, reminding you that no dominion can be 
durable, to which the governed do not consent ; and we have 
no wish to lead you, blinded by ambition, to such a point that, 
unable either to stand or advance, you must, to the gresit in- 
jury of both, of necessity fall." 

This discourse did not in the slightest degree soften the 
obdurate mind of the duke, who replied, that it was not his 
intention to rob the city of her liberty, but to restore it to her ; 
for those cities alone are in slavery that are disunited, while the 
united are free. As Florence, by her factions and ambition, 
had deprived herself of liberty, he should restore, not take it 
from her; and as he had been induced to take this charge 
upon himself, not from his own ambition, but at the entreaty of 
a great number of citizens, they would do well to be satisfied 
with that which produced contentment among the rest. With 
regard to the danger he might incur, he thought nothing of it ; 
for it was not the part of a good man to avoid doing good from 
his apprehension of evil, and it was the part of a coward to 
shun a glorious undertaking because some uncertainty attended 
the success of the attempt ; and he knew he should so conduct 
himsef, that they would soon see they had entertained great 
apprehensions and been in little danger. 

The Signory then agreed, finding they could not do better, 
that on the following morning the people should be assembled 
in their accustomed place of meeting, and with their consent 
the Signory should confer upon the duke the sovereignty of 
the city for one year, on the same conditions as it had been 
intrusted to the Duke of Calabria. It was upon September 
8, 1342, when the duke, accompanied by Giovanni della Tosa 
and all his confederates, with many other citizens, came to 
the piazza or court of the palace, and having with the Sig- 
nory mounted upon the ringhiera, or rostrum, (as the Floren- 
tines call those steps which lead to the palace,) the agree- 
ment which had been entered into between the Signory and 


himself was read. When they had come to the passage which 
gave the govenmient to him for one year, the people shouted 
"FOR LIFE!" Upon this, Francesco Rustichelli, one of 
the Signory, arose to speak, and endeavored to abate the 
tumult and procure a hearing; but the mob, with their hoot- 
ings, prevented him from being heard by anyone ; so that with 
consent of the people the duke was elected, not for one year 
merely, but for life. He was then borne through the piazza 
by the crowd, shouting his name as they proceeded. 

It is the custom that he who is appointed to the guard of 
the palace, shall in the absence of the Signory, remain locked 
within. This office was at that time held by Rinieri di Giotto, 
who, bribed by the friends of the duke, without waiting for any 
force, admitted him immediately. The Signory, terrified and 
dishonored, retired to their own houses; the palace was plun- 
dered by the followers of the duke, the Gonfalon of the people 
torn to pieces, and the arms of the duke placed over the palace. 
All this happened to the indescribable sorrow of good men, 
though to the satisfaction of those who, either from ignorance 
or malignity, were consenting parties. 

The duke, having acquired the sovereignty of the city, in 
order to strip those of all authority who had been defenders 
of her liberty, forbade the Signory to assemble in the palace, 
and appointed a private dwelling for their use. He took their 
colors from the Gonfaloniers of the companies of the people ; 
abolished the ordinances made for the restraint of the Great ; 
set at liberty those who were imprisoned ; recalled the Bardi 
and the Frescobaldi from exile, and forbade every one from 
carrying arms about his person. In order the better to defend 
himself against those within the city, he made friends of all he 
could around it, and therefore conferred great benefits upon the 
Aretini and other subjects of the Florentines. He made peace 
with the Pisans, although raised to power in order that he 
might carry on war against them; ceased pa3ang interest to 
those merchants who, during the war against Lucca, had lent 
money to the republic ; increased the old taxes, levied new ones, 
and took from the Signory all authority. His rectors were 
Baglione da Perugia and Guglielmo da Scesi, who, with Cerret- 
tieri Bisdomini, were the persons with whom he consulted on 
public affairs. He imposed burdensome taxes upon the citi- 


zens; his decisions between contending parties were unjust; 
and that precision and humanity which he had at first assumed, 
became cruelty and pride; so that many of the greatest citizens 
and noblest people were, either by fines, death, or some new 
invention, grievously oppressed. And in completing the same 
bad system, both without the city and within, he appointed six 
rectors for the country, who beat and plundered the inhabitants. 
He suspected the great, although he had been benefited by 
them, and had restored many to their country ; for he felt as- 
sured that the generous minds of the nobility, would not allow 
them, from any motives, to submit contentedly to his author- 
ity. He also began to confer benefits and advantages upon 
the lowest orders, thinking that with their assistance, and the 
arms of foreigners, he would be able to preserve the tyranny. 
The month of May, during which feasts are held, being come, 
he caused many companies to be formed of the plebeians and 
very lowest of the people, and to these, dignified with splendid 
titles, he gave colors and money; and while one party went 
in bacchanalian procession through the city, others were sta- 
tioned in different parts of it, to receive them as guests. As 
the report of the duke's authority spread abroad, many of 
French origin came to him, for all of whom he found offices 
and emoluments, as if they had been the most trustworthy of 
men ; so that in a short time Florence became not only sub- 
ject to French dominion, but adopted their dresses and man- 
ners ; for men and women, without regard to propriety or sense 
of shame, imitated them. But that which disgusted the people 
most completely was the violence which, without any distinction 
of quality or rank, he and his followers committed upon the 

The people were filled with indignation, sedng the majesty 
of the State overturned, its ordinances annihilated, its laws an- 
nulled, and every decent regulation set at naught; for men 
unaccustomed to royal pomp, could not endure to see this man, 
surrounded with his armed satellites on foot and on horseback ; 
and having now a closer view of their disgrace, they were com- 
pelled to honor him whom they in the highest degree hated. 
To this hatred, was added the terror occasioned by the continual 
imposition of new taxes and frequent shedding of blood, with 
which he impoverished and consumed the city. 


The duke was not unaware of these impressions existing 
strongly in the people's minds, nor was he without fear of the 
consequences ; but still pretended to think himself beloved ; and 
when Matteo di Morozzo, either to acquire his favor or to free 
himself from danger, gave information that the family of the 
Medici and some others had entered into a conspiracy against 
him, he not only did not inquire into the matter, but caused the 
informer to be put to a cruel death. This mode of proceeding 
restrained those who were disposed to acquaint him of his dan- 
ger, and gave additional courage to such as sought his ruin. 
Bertone Cini, having ventured to speak against the taxes with 
which the people were loaded^ had his tongue cut out with such 
barbarous cruelty as to cause his death. This shocking act 
increased the people's rage, and their hatred of the duke ; for 
those who were accustomed to discourse and to act upon every 
occasion with the greatest boldness, could not endure to liVe 
with their hands tied and forbidden to speak. 

This oppression increased to such a degree, that not merely 
the Florentines, who though unable to preserve their liberty 
cannot endure slavery, but the most servile people on earth 
would have been roused to attempt the recovery of freedom; 
and consequently many citizens of all ranks resolved either to 
deliver themselves from this odious tyranny or die in the at- 
tempt Three distinct conspiracies were formed; one of the 
great; another of the people, and the third of the working 
classes ; each of which, besides the general causes which oper- 
ated upon the whole, were excited by some other particular 
grievance. The gjeat found themselves deprived of all par- 
ticipation in the government ; the people had lost the power they 
possessed, and the artificers saw themselves deficient in the 
usual remuneration of their labor. 

Agnolo Acciajuoli was at this time Archbishop of Florence, 
and by his discourses had formerly greatly favored the duke, 
and procured him many followers among the higher class of 
the people. But when he found him lord of the city, and be- 
came acquainted with his tyrannical mode of proceeding, it 
appeared to him that he had misled his countrymen; and to 
correct the evil he had done, he saw no other course, but to 
attempt the cure by the means which had caused it. He there- 
fore became the leader of the first and most powerful conspir- 


acy, and was joined by the Bardi, Rossi, Frescobaldi, Scali 
Altoviti, Magalotti, Strozzi, and Mancini. Of the second, the 
principals were Manno and Corso Donati, and with them the 
Pazzi^ Cavicciulli, Cerchi, and Albizzi. Of the third, the first 
was Antonio Adimari, and with him the Medici, Bordini, 
Rucellai, and Aldobrandini. It was the intention of these last, 
to slay him in the house of the Albizzi, whither he was expected , 
to go on St. John's day, to see the horses run, but he not having 
gone, their design did not succeed. They then resolved to at- 
tack him as he rode through the city ; but they found this would 
be very difficult ; for he was always accompanied with a consid- 
erable armed force, and never took the same road twice together, 
so that they had no certainty of where to find him. They had a 
design of slaying him in the council, although they knew that 
if he were dead, they would be at the mercy of his followers. 

While these matters were being considered by the conspir- 
ators, Antonio Adimari, in expectation of getting assistance 
from them, disclosed the affair to some Siennese, his friends, 
naming certain of the conspirators, and assuring them that the 
whole city was ready to rise at once. One of them communi- 
cated the matter to Francesco Brunelleschi, not with a design 
to injure the plot, but in the hope that he would join them. 
Francesco, either from personal fear, or private hatred of some- 
one, revealed the whole to the duke; whereupon, Pagolo del 
Mazecha and Simon da Monterappoli were taken, who ac- 
quainted him with the number and quality of the conspirators. 
This terrified him, and he was advised to request their presence 
rather than to take them prisoners, for if they fled, he might 
without disgrace, secure himself by banishment of the rest. 
He therefore sent for Antonio Adimari, who, confiding in his 
companions, appeared immediately, and was detained. Fran- 
cesco Brunelleschi and Uguccione Buondelmonti advised the 
duke to take as many of the conspirators prisoners as he could, 
and put them to death ; but he, thinking his strength unequal 
to his foes, did not adopt this course, but took another, which, 
had it succeeded, would have freed him from his enemies and 
increased his power. It was the custom of the duke to call the 
citizens together upon some occasions and advise with them. 
He therefore having first sent to collect forces without, made 
a list of 300 citizens, and gave it to his messengers, with orders 


to assemble them under the pretence of public business; and 
having drawn them together, it was his intention either to put 
them to death or imprison them. 

The capture of Antonio Adimari and the sending for forces, 
which could not be kept secret, alarmed the citizens, and more 
particularly those who were in the plot, so that the boldest of 
them refused to attend, and as each had read the list, they 
sought each other, and resolved to rise at once and die like men, 
with arms in their hands, rather than be led like calves to the 
slaughter. In a very short time the chief conspirators became 
known to each other, and resolved that the next day, which was 
the twenty-sixth of July, 1343, they would raise a disturbance 
in the old market-place, then arm themselves and call the people 
to freedom. 

The next morning being come, at nine o'clock, according to 
agreement, they took arms, and at the call of liberty, assembled, 
each party in its own district, under the ensigns and with the 
arms of the people, which had been secretly provided by the 
conspirators. All the heads of families, as well of the nobility 
as of the people, met together, and swore to stand in each 
other's defence, and effect the death of the duke ; except some 
of the Buondelmonti and of the Cavalcanti, with those four 
families of the people which had taken so conspicuous a part 
in making him sovereign, and the butchers, with others, the 
lowest of the plebeians, who met armed in the piazza in his 

The duke immediately fortified the palace, and ordered those 
of his people who were lodged in different parts of the city to 
mount upon horseback and join those in the court ; but, in their 
way thither, many were attacked and slain. However, about 
three hundred horse assembled, and the duke was in doubt 
whether he should come forth and meet the enemy, or defend 
himself within. On the other hand, the Medici, CavicciuUi, 
Rucellai, and other families who had been most injured by him, 
fearful that if he came forth, many of those who had taken arms 
against him would discover themselves his partisans, in order 
to deprive him of the occasion of attacking them and increasing 
the number of his friends, took the lead and assailed the palace. 
Upon this, those families of the people who had declared for 
the duke, seeing themselves boldly attacked, changed their 


minds, and all took part with the citizens, except Ugucdone 
Buondelmonti, who retired into the palace, and Giannozzo 
Cavalcanti, who having withdrawn with some of his followers 
to the New Market, mounted upon a bench, and b^;ged that 
those who were going in arms to the piazza, would take the part 
of the duke. In order to terrify them, he exaggerated the num- 
ber of his people, and threatened all with death who should 
obstinately persevere in their undertaking against their sov- 
ereign. But not finding anyone either to follow him, or to 
chastise his insolence, and seeing his labor fruitless, he with- 
drew to his own house. 

In the meantime, the contest in the piazza between the people 
and the forces of the duke was very great ; but although the 
place served them for defence, they were overcome, some yield- 
ing to the enemy, and others, quitting their horses, fled within 
the walls. While this was going on, Corso and Amerigo Don- 
ati, with a part of the people, broke open the stinche, or prisons ; 
burnt the papers of the provost and of the public chamber ; pil- 
laged the houses of the rectors, and slew all who had held offices 
under the duke whom they could find. The duke, finding the 
piazza in possession of his enemies, the city opposed to him, 
and without any hope of assistance, endeavored by an act of 
clemency to recover the favor of the people. Having caused 
those whom he had made prisoners to be brought before him, 
with amiable and kindly expressions he set them at liberty, and 
made Antonio Adimari a knight, although quite against his 
will. He caused his own arms to be taken down, and those of 
the people to be replaced over the palace ; but these things com- 
ing out of season, and forced by his necessities, did him little 
good. He remained, notwithstanding all he did, besieged in 
the palace, and saw that having aimed at too much he had lost 
all, and would most likely, after a few days, die either of hun- 
ger, or by the weapons of his enemies. The citizens assembled 
in the Church of Santa Reparata, to form the new Government, 
and appointed fourteen citizens, half from the nobility and half 
from the people, who, with the archbishop, were invested with 
full authority to remodel the State of Florence. They also 
elected six others to take upon them the duties of provost, till 
he who should be finally chosen took office, the duties of which 
were usually performed by a subject of some neighboring State. 


Many had come to Florence in defence of the people ; among 
whom were a party from Sienna, with six ambassadors, men 
of high consideration in their own country. These endeavored 
to bring the people and the duke to terms ; but the former re- 
fused to listen to any whatever, unless Guglielmo da Scesi and 
his son, with Cerrettieri Bisdomini, were first g^ven up to them. 
The duke would not consent to this ; but being threatened by 
those who were shut up with him, he was forced to comply. 
The rage of men is certainly always found greater, and their 
revenge more furious upon the recovery of liberty, than when 
it has only been defended. Guglielmo and his son were placed 
among the thousands of their enemies, and the latter was not 
yet eighteen years old; neither his beauty, his innocence, nor 
his youth, could save him from the fury of the multitude ; but 
both were instantly slain. Those who could not wound them 
while alive, wounded them after they were dead ; and not satis- 
fied with tearing them to pieces, they hewed their bodies with 
swords, tore them with their hands, and even with their teeth. 
And that every sense might be satiated with vengeance, having 
first heard their moans, seen their wounds, and touched their 
lacerated bodies, they wished even the stomach to be satisfied, 
that having glutted the external senses, the one within might 
also have its share. This rabid fury, however hurtful to the 
father and son, was favorable to Cerrettieri ; for the multitude, 
wearied with their cruelty toward the former, quite fogot him, 
so that he, not being asked for, remained in the palace, and dur- 
ing the night was conveyed safely away by his friends. 

The rage of the multitude being appeased by their blood, an 
agreement was made that the duke and his people, with what- 
ever belonged to him, should quit the city in safety; that he 
should renounce all claim, of whatever kind, upon Florence, 
and that upon his arrival in the Casentino he should ratify his 
renunciation. On the sixth of August he set out, accompanied 
by many citizens, and having arrived at the Casentino he rati- 
fied the agreement, although unwillingly, and would not have 
kept his word if Count Simon had not threatened to take him 
back to Florence. This duke, as his proceedings testified, was 
cruel and avaricious, difficult to speak with, and haughty in 
reply. He desired the service of men, not the cultivation of 
their better feelings, and strove rather to inspire them with 


fear than love. Nor was his person less despicable than his 
manners ; he was short, his complexion was black, and he had 
a long, thin beard. He was thus in every respect contempti- 
ble ; and at the end of ten months, his misconduct deprived him 
of the sovereignty which the evil counsel of others had given 


Many Cities and Territories, .subject to the Florentines, Rebel— Pru- 
dent Conduct Adopted upon this Occasion— The City is Divided into 
Quarters — Disputes between the Nobility and the People — The Bishop 
Endeavors to Reconcile them, but does not Succeed — The Govern- 
ment Reformed by the People— Riot of Andrea Strozzi — Serious Dis- 
agreements between the Nobility and the People — They Come to Arms, 
and the Nobility are Subdued— The Plague, in Florence of which 
Boccaccio Speaks. 

THESE events taking place in the city, induced all the 
dependencies of the Florentine State to throw oflF their 
yoke; so that Arezzo, Castiglione, Pistoia, Volterra, 
Colle, and San Gemigniano rebelled. Thus Florence found 
herself deprived of both her tyrant and her dominions at the 
same moment, and in recovering her liberty, taught her sub- 
jects how they might become free. The duke being expelled, 
and the territories lost, the fourteen citizens and the bishop 
thought, it would be better to act kindly toward their subjects 
in peace, than to make them enemies by war, and to show a 
desire that their subjects should be free as well as themselves. 
They thereforfe sent ambassadors to the people of Arezzo, to 
renounce all dominion over that city, and to enter into a treaty 
with them; to the end that as they could not retain them as 
subjects, they might make use of them as friends. They also, 
in the best manner they were able, agreed with the other places, 
that they should retain their freedom, and that, being free, 
they might mutually assist each other in the preservation of 
their liberties. This prudent course was attended with a most 
favorable result; for Arezzo, not many years afterward, re- 
turned to the Florentine rule, and the other places in the course 
of a few months, returned to their former obedience. Thus 
it frequently occurs that we sooner attain our ends by a seem- 
ing indiflFerence to them, than by more obstinate pursuit. 
Having settled external affairs, they now turned to the con- 


sideration of those within the city ; and after some altercation 
between the nobility and the people^ it was arranged that the 
nobility should form one-third of the Signory and fill one-half 
of the other offices. The city was, as we have before shown, 
divided into sixths ; and hence there would be six Signors, one 
for each sixth, except when, from some more than ordinary 
cause, there had been twelve or thirteen created : but when this 
had occurred they were again soon reduced to six. It now 
seemed desirable to make an alteration in this respect^ as well 
because the sixths were not properly divided, as that, wishing 
to give their proportion to the great, it became desirable to 
increase the number. They therefore divided the city into 
quarters, and for each created three Signors. They abolished 
the office of Gonfalonier of Justice, and also the Gonfaloniers 
of the companies of the people ; and instead of the twelve Buon- 
uomini, or good men, created eight counsellors, four from each 
party. The Government having been established in this man- 
ner, the city might have been in repose if the great had been 
content to live in that moderation which civil society requires. 
But they produced a contrary result, for those out of office 
would not conduct themselves as citizens, and those who were 
in the Government wished to be lords, so that every day fur- 
nished some new instance of their insolence and pride. These 
things were very grievous to the people, and they began to 
regret that for one tyrant put down, there had sprung up a 
thousand. The arrogance of one party and the anger of the 
other, rose to such a degree that the heads of the people com- 
plained to the bishop of the improper conduct of the nobility, 
and what unfit associates they had become for the people ; and 
begged he would endeavor to induce them to be content with 
their share of administration in the other offices, and leave the 
magistracy of the Signory wholly to themselves. 

The bishop was naturally a well-meaning man, but his want 
of firmness rendered him easily influenced. Hence, at the 
instance of his associates, he at first favored the Duke of 
Athens, and afterward, by the advice of other citizens, con- 
spired against him. At the reformation of the Government 
he had favored the nobility, and now he appeared to incline 
toward the people, moved by the reasons which they had ad- 
vanced. Thinking to find in others the same instability of 


purpose, he endeavored to effect an amicable arrangement. 
With this design he called together the fourteen who were yet 
in oi&ce, and in the best terms he could imagine advised them 
to give up the Signory to the people, in order to secure the 
peace of the city ; and assured them, that if they refused, ruin 
would most probably be the result. 

This discourse excited the anger of the nobility to the high- 
est pitch, and Ridolfo de' Bardi reproved him in unmeasured 
terms as a man of little faith ; reminding him of his friendship 
for the duke, to prove the duplicity of his present conduct, and 
saying, that in driving him away he had acted the part of a 
traitor. He concluded by telling him, that the honors they had 
acquired at their own peril, they would at their own peril de- 
fend. They then left the bishop, and in great wrath, informed 
their associates in the Government, and all the families of the 
nobility, of what had been done. The people also expressed 
their thoughts to each other, and as the nobility made prepara- 
tions for the defence of their Signors, they determined not to 
wait till they had perfected their arrangements ; and therefore, 
being armed, hastened to the palace, shouting, as they went 
along, that the nobility must give up their share in the Gov- 

The uproar and excitement were astonishing. The Signors 
of the nobility found themselves abandoned ; for their friends, 
seeing all the people in arms, did not dare to rise in their de- 
fence, but each kept within his own house. The Signors of 
the people endeavored to abate the excitement of the multitude, 
by affirming their associates to be good and moderate men; 
but, not succeeding in their attempt, to avoid a greater evil, 
sent them home to their houses, whither they were with diffi- 
culty conducted. The nobility having left the palace, the office 
of the four councillors was taken from their party, and con- 
ferred upon twelve of the people. To the eight Signors who 
remained, a Gonfalonier of Justice was added, and sixteen 
Gonfaloniers of the companies of the people ; and the council 
was so reformed, that the government remained wholly in the 
hands of the popular party. 

At the time these events took place there was a great scarcity 
in the city, and discontent prevailed both among the highest 
and lowest classes; in the latter for want of food, and in 


the former from having lost their power in the State. This 
circumstance induced Andrea Strozzi to think of making him- 
self sovereign of the dty. Selling his com at a lower price 
than others did, a great many people flocked to his house ; em- 
boldened by the sight of these, he one morning mounted his 
horse, and, followed by a considerable number, called the peo- 
ple to arms, and in a short time drew together about four 
thousand men, with whom he proceeded to the Signory, and 
demanded that the gates of the palace should be opened. But 
the Signors, by threats and the force which they retained in 
the palace, drove them from the court ; and then by proclama- 
tion so terrified them, that they gradually dropped oflf and 
returned to their homes, and Andrea, finding himself alone, 
with some difficulty escaped falling into the hands of the mag- 

This event, although an act of great temerity, and attended 
with the result that usually follows such attempts, raised a hope 
in the minds of the nobility of overcoming the people, seeing 
that the lowest of the plebeians were at enmity with them. 
And to profit by this circumstance, they resolved to arm them- 
selves, and with justifiable force recover those rights of which 
they had been unjustly deprived. Their minds acquired such 
an assurance of success, that they openly provided themselves 
with arms, fortified their houses, and even sent to their friends 
in Lombardy for assistance. The people and the Signory 
made preparation for their defence, and requested aid from 
Perugia and Sienna, so that the dty was filled with the armed 
followers of either party. The nobility on this side of the 
Amo divided themselves into three parts; the one occupied 
the houses of the CavicciuUi, near the Church of St. John; 
another, the houses of the Pazzi and the Donati, near the great 
Church of St. Peter ; and the third, those of the Cavalcanti in 
the New Market. Those beyond the river fortified the bridges 
and the streets in which their houses stood ; the Nerli defended 
the bridge of the Carraja ; the Frescobaldi and the Manelli, the 
church of the Holy Trinity ; and the Rossi and the Bardi, the 
bridge of the Rubaconte and the old bridge. The people were 
drawn together under the Gonfalon of Justice and the ensigns 
of the companies of the artisans. 

Both sides being thus arranged in order of battle, the people 


thought it imprudent to defer the contest, and the attack was 
commenced by the Medici and the Rondinelli, who assailed the 
Cavicciulli, where the houses of the latter open upon the piazza 
of St. John. Here both parties contended with great obsti- 
nacy, and were mutuallly wounded, from the towers by stones 
and other missiles, and from below by arrows. They fought 
for three hours ; but the forces of the people continuing to in- 
crease, and the CavicciuUi finding themselves overcome by 
numbers, and hopeless of other assistance, submitted them- 
selves to the people, who saved their houses and property ; and 
having disarmed them, ordered them to disperse among their 
relatives and friends, and remain unarmed. Being victorious 
in the first attack, they easily overpowered the Pazzi and the 
Donati, whose numbers were less than those they had subdued ; 
so that there only remained on this side the Amo, the Caval- 
canti, who were strong both in respect of the post they had 
chosen and in their followers. Nevertheless, seeing all the 
Gonfalons against them, and that the others had been over- 
come by three Gonfalons alone, they yielded without offering 
much resistance. Three parts of the city were now in the 
hands of the people, and only one in possession of the nobility ; 
but this was die strongest, as well on account of those who held 
it, as from its situation, being defended by the Amo ; hence it 
was first necessary to force the bridges. The old bridge was 
first assailed and offered a brave resistance; for the towers 
were armed, the streets barricaded, and the barricades de- 
fended by the most resolute men ; so that the people were re- 
pulsed with great loss. Finding their labor at this point fruit- 
less, they endeavored to force the Rubaconte Bridge, but no 
better success resulting, they left four Gonfalons in charge of 
the two bridges, and with the others attacked the bridge of the 
Carraja. Here, although the Nerli defended themselves like 
brave men, they could not resist the fury of the people; for 
this bridge, having no towers, was weaker than the others, and 
was attacked by the Capponi, and many families of the people 
who lived in that vicinity. Being thus assailed on all sides, 
they abandoned the barricades and gave way to the people, 
who then overcame the Rossi and the Frescobaldi; for all 
those beyond the Amo took part with the conquerors. 

There was now no resistance made except by the Bardi, 


who remained undaunted, notwithstanding the failure of their 
friends, the union of the people against them, and the little 
chance of success which they seemed to have. They resolved 
to die fighting, and rather see their houses burnt and plundered, 
than submit to the power of their enemies. They defended 
themselves with such obstinacy, that many fruitless attempts 
were made to overcome them, both at the old bridge and the 
Rubaconte; but their foes were always repulsed with loss. 
There had in former times been a street which led between the 
houses of the Pitti, from the Roman road to the walls upon 
Mount St. George. By this way the people sent six Gonfalons, 
with orders to assail their houses from behind. This attack 
overcame the resolution of the Bardi, and decided the day in 
favor of the people ; for when those who defended the bjuxi- 
cades in the street learned that their houses were being plun- 
dered, they left the principal fight and hastened to their defence. 
This caused the old bridge to be lost ; the Bardi fled in all di- 
rections and were received into the houses of the Quaratesi, 
Panzanesi, and Mozzi. The people, especially the lower classes, 
greedy for spoil, sacked and destroyed their houses, and pulled 
down and burnt their towers and palaces with such outrageous 
fury, that the most cruel enemy of the Florentine name would 
have been ashamed of taking part in such wanton destruction. 

The nobility being thus overcome, the people reformed the 
government ; and as they were of three kinds, the higher, the 
middle, and the lower class, it was ordered that the first should 
appoint two Signors ; the two latter three each, and that the 
Gonfalonier should be chosen alternately from either party. 
Beside this, all the regulations for the restraint of the nobility 
were renewed ; and in order to weaken them still more, many 
were reduced to the grade of the people. The ruin of the no- 
bility was so complete, and depressed them so much, that they 
never afterward ventured to take arms for the recovery of 
their power, but soon became humbled and abject in the ex- 
treme. And thus Florence lost the generosity of her character 
and her distinction in arms. 

After these events the city remained in peace till the year 
1353. In the course of this period occurred the memorable 
plague, described with so much eloquence by Giovanni Boc- 
caccio, and by which Florence lost 96,000 souls. In 1348, 


began the first war with the Visconti, occasioned by the Arch- 
bishop, then Prince of Milan; and when this was concluded, 
dissensions again arose in the city; for although the nobility 
were destroyed, fortune did not &il to cause new divisions and 
new troubles. 





WAR— 1350-1420 


Reflections upon the Domestic Discords of Republics— A Parallel be- 
tween the Discords of Rome and those of Florence— Enmities be- 
tween the Families of the Ricci and the Albizzi— Uguccione de' 
Ricci Causes the Laws against the Ghibellines to be Renewed in Order 
to Injure the Albizzi — Piero degli Albizzi Derives Advantage from 
it— Origin of Admonitions and the Troubles which Result from them 
— ^Ugucdone de' Ricci Moderates their Injustice— Difficulties Increase 
— Meeting of the Citizens— They Address the Signory— The Signory 
Attempt to Remedy the Evils. 

THOSE serious, though natural enmities, which occur be- 
tween the popular classes and the nobility, arising from 
the desire of the latter to command, and the disinclina- 
tion of the former to obey, are the causes of most of the troubles 
which take place in cities ; and from this diversity of purpose, 
all the other evils which disturb republics derive their origin. 
This kept Rome disunited ; and this, if it be allowable to com- 
pare small things with great, held Florence in disunion; al- 
though in each city it produced a different result; for ani- 
mosities were only beginning when the people and nobility of 
RcMne contended, while ours were brought to a conclusion by 
the contentions of our citizens. A new law settled the dis- 
putes of Rome; those of Florence were only terminated by 
the death and banishment of many of her best people. Those 
of Rome increased her military virtue, while that of Florence 
was quite extinguished by her divisions. The quarrels of 
Rome established different ranks of society, those of Florence 
abolished the distinctions which had previously existed. This 
diversity of eflfects must have been occasioned by the diflFerent 



purposes which the two peoples had in view. While the peo- 
ple of Rome endeavored to associate with the nobility in the 
supreme honors, those of Florence strove to exclude the nobil- 
ity from all participation in them : as the desire of the Roman 
people was more reasonable, no particular offence was given 
to the nobility ; they therefore consented to it without having 
recourse to arms ; so that^ after some disputes concerning par- 
ticular points, both parties agreed to the enactment of a law 
which, while it satisfied the people, preserved the nobility in 
the enjoyment of their dignity. 

On the other hand, the demands of the people of Florence 
being insolent and unjust, the nobility, became desperate, pre- 
pared for their defence, with their utmost energy, and thus 
bloodshed and the exile of citizens followed. The laws which 
were afterward made, did not provide for the common good, 
but were framed wholly in favor of the conquerors. This too 
must be observed, that from the acquisition of power made 
by the people of Rome, their minds were very much improved ; 
for all the offices of state being attainable as well by the people 
as the nobility^ the peculiar excellencies of the latter exercised 
a most beneficial influence upon the former ; and as the city in- 
creased in virtue she attained a more exalted greatness. 

But in Florence, the people being conquerors, the nobility 
were deprived of all participation in the government ; and, in 
order to regain a portion of it, it became necessary for them 
not only to seem like the people, but to be like them in be- 
havior, mind, and mode of living. Hence arose those changes 
in armorial bearings, and in the titles of families, which the 
nobility adopted, in order that they might seem to be of the 
people; military virtue and generosity of feeling became ex- 
tinguished in them ; the people not possessing these qualities, 
they could not appreciate them, and Florence became by de- 
grees more and more depressed and humiliated. The virtue 
of the Roman nobility degenerating into pride, the citizens soon 
found that the business of the state could not be carried on 
without a prince. Florence had now come to such a point, 
that with a comprehensive mind at the head of affairs she 
would easily have been made to take any form that he might 
have been disposed to give her; as may be partly observed 
by a perusal of the preceding book. 


Having given an account of the origin of Florence, the 
commencement of her liberty, with the causes of her divisions, 
and shown how the factions of the nobility and the people 
ceased with the tyranny of the Duke of Athens, and the ruin 
of the former, we have now to speak of the animosities between 
the citizens and the plebeians, and the various circumstances 
which they produced. 

The nobility being overcome, and the war with the Arch- 
bishop of Milan concluded, there did not appear any cause of 
dissension in Florence. But the evil fortune of the city, and 
the defective nature of her laws, gave rise to enmities between 
the family of the Albizzi and that of the Ricci, which divided 
the citizens as completely as those of the Buondelmonti and 
the Uberti, or the Donati and the Cerchi had formerly done. 
The pontiffs, who at this time resided in France, and the em- 
perors, who abode in Germany, in order to maintain their 
influence in Italy, sent among us multitudes of soldiers of 
many countries, as English, Dutch, and Bretons. As these, 
upon the conclusion of a war, were thrown out of pay, though 
still in the country, they, under the standard of some soldier 
of fortune, plundered such people as were least prepared to 
defend themselves. In the year 1353 one of these companies 
came into Tuscany under the command of Monsignor Reale, 
of Provenge, and his approach terrified all the cities of Italy. 
The Florentines not only provided themselves forces, but many 
citizens, among whom were the Albizzi and the Ricci, armed 
themselves in their own defence. These families were at the 
time full of hatred against each other^ and each thought to ob- 
tain the sovereignty of the republic by overccxning his enemy. 
They had not yet proceeded to open violence, but only con- 
tended in the magistracies and councils. The city being all in 
arms, a quarrel arose in the old market-place, and, as it fre- 
quently happens in similar cases, a great number of people was 
drawn together. The disturbance spreading, it was told the 
Ricci that the Albizzi had assailed their partisans, and to the 
Albizzi that the Ricci were in quest of them. Upon this the 
whole city arose, and it was all the magistrates could do to re- 
strain these families, and prevent the actual occurrence of a dis- 
aster which, without being the fault of either of them, had been 
wilfully though falsely reported as having already taken place. 


This apparently trifling circumstance served to inflame the 
minds of the parties, and make each the more resolved to in- 
crease the nimiber of their followers. And as the citizens, since 
the ruin of the nobility, were on such an equality that the mag- 
istrates were more respected now than they had previously 
been, they designed to proceed toward the suppression of this 
disorder with civil authority alone. 

We have before related, that after the victory of Charles 
I the government was formed by the Guelfic party, and that 
it thus acquired great authority over the Ghibellines. But 
time, a variety of circumstances, and new divisions had so con- 
tributed to sink this party feeling into oblivion, that many of 
Ghibelline descent now filled the highest offices. Observing 
this, Uguccione, the head of the family of the Ricd, con- 
trived that the law against the Ghibellines should be again 
brought into operation ; many imagining the Albizzi to be of 
that faction, they having arisen in Arezzo, and come long ago 
to Florence. Uguccione by this means hoped to deprive the 
Albizzi of participation in the government, for all of Ghibelline 
blood who were found to hold offices, would be condemned in 
the penalties which this law provided. The design of Uguc- 
cione was discovered to Piero, son of Filippo degli Albizzi, and 
he resolved to favor it ; for he saw that to oppose it would at 
once declare him a Ghibelline ; and thus the law which was re- 
newed by the ambition of the Ricd for his destruction, instead 
of robbing Piero degli Albizzi of reputation, contributed to in- 
crease his influence, although it laid the foundation of many 
evils. Nor is it possible for a republic to enact a law more 
pernicious than one relating to matters which have long tran- 
spired. Piero having favored this law, which had been con- 
trived by his enemies for his stumbling-block, it became the 
stepping-stone to his greatness ; for, making himself the leader 
of this new order of things, his authority went on increasing, 
and he was in greater favor with the Guelfs than any other 

As there could not be found a magistrate willing to search 
out who were Ghibellines, and as this renewed enactment 
against them was therefore of small value, it was provided 
that authority should be given to the Capitani to find who were 
of this faction; and, having discovered, to signify and ad- 


monish them that they were not to take upon themselves any 
office of government ; to which admonitions, if they were dis- 
obedienty they became condemned in the penalties. Hence, all 
those who in Florence are deprived of the power to hold offices 
are called " Ammoniti," or " Admonished." 

The Capitani in time acquiring greater audacity, admonished 
not only those to whom the admonition was applicable, but 
any others at the suggestion of their own avarice or ambition ; 
and from 1356, when this law was made, to 1366, there had 
been admonished above 200 citizens. The Captains of Parts 
and the sect of the Guelfs were thus become powerful; 
for everyone honored them for fear of being admonished; 
and most particularly the leaders, who were Piero degli Al- 
bizzi, Lapo da Castiglionchio, and Carlo Strozzi. This in- 
solent mode of proceeding was offensive to many; but none 
felt so particularly injured with it as the Ricci ; for they knew 
themselves to have occasioned it, they saw it involved the ruin 
of the republic, and their enemies, the Albizzi, contrary to their 
intention, become great in consequence. 

On this account Uguccione de' Ricci, being one of the Sig- 
nory, resolved to put an end to the evil which he and his friends 
had originated, and with a new law provided that to the six 
Captains of Parts an additional three should be appointed, of 
whom two should be chosen from the companies of minor 
artificers, and that before any party could be considered Ghib- 
elline, the declaration of the Capitani must be confirmed by 
twenty-four Guelfic citizens, appointed for the purpose. This 
provision tempered for the time the power of the Capitani, so 
that the admonitions were greatly diminished, if not wholly 
laid aside. Still the parties of the Albizzi and the Ricci were 
continually on the alert to oppose each other's laws, deliber- 
ations, and enterprises, not from a conviction of their inex- 
pediency, but from hatred of their promoters. 

In such distractions the time passed frcwn 1366 to 1371, 
when the Guelfs again regained the ascendant. There was in 
the family of the Buondelmonti a gentleman named Benchi, 
who, as an acknowledgment of his merit in a war against the 
Pisans, though one of the nobility, had been admitted among 
the people, and thus became eligible to office among the Sig- 
nory ; but when about to take his seat with them, a law was 


made that no nobleman who had become of the popular class 
should be allowed to assume that office. This gave great of- 
fence to Benchi, who, in union with Piero degli Albizzi, deter- 
mined to depress the less powerful of the popular party with 
admonitions, and obtain the government for themselves. By 
the interest which Benchi possessed with the ancient nobility, 
and that of Piero with most of the influential citizens, the 
Guelfic party resumed their ascendancy, and by new reforms 
among the Parts, so remodelled the administration aS to be able 
to dispose of the offices of the captains and the twenty-four 
citizens at pleasure. They then returned to the admonitions 
with greater audacity than ever, and the house of the Albizzi 
became powerful as the head of this faction. 

On the other hand, the Ricci made the most strenuot;s exer- 
tions against their designs; so that anxiety universally pre- 
vailed, and ruin was apprehended alike from both parties. In 
consequence of this, a great number of citizens, out of love to 
their country, assembled in the Church of St. Piero Scarraggio, 
and after a long consideration of the existing disorders, pre- 
sented themselves before the Signors, whom one of the principal 
among them addressed in the following terms: — 

" Many of us. Magnificent Signors 1 were afraid of meeting 
even for consideration of public business, without being publicly 
called together, lest we should be noted as presumptuous or 
condemned as ambitious. But seeing that many citizens daily 
assemble in the lodges and halls of the palace, not for any pub- 
lic utility, but only for the gratification of their own ambition, 
we have thought that as those who assemble for the ruin of 
the republic are fearless, so still less ought they to be appre- 
hensive who meet together only for its advantage ; nor ought 
we to be anxious respecting the opinion they may form of our 
assembling, since they are so utterly indifferent to the opinion 
of others. Our affection for our country, Magnificent Sig- 
nors I caused us to assemble first, and now brings us before 
you, to speak of grievances already great and daily increasing 
in our republic, and to offer our assistance for their removal ; 
and we doubt not that, though a difficult undertaking, it will 
still be attended with success, if you will lay aside all private 
regards, and authoritatively use the public force. 

"The common corruption of all the cities of Italy, Mag- 


niiicent Signors ! has infested and still vitiates your own ; for 
When this province had shaken off the imperial yoke, her 
cities not being subject to any powerful influence that might 
restrain them, administered affairs, not as free men do, but as 
a factious populace ; and hence have arisen all the other evils 
and disorders that have appeared. In the first place, there 
cannot be found among the citizens either unity or friend- 
ship, except with those whose conunon guilt, either against 
their country or against private individuals, is a bond of union. 
And as the knowledge of religion and the fear of Grod seem 
to be alike extinct, oaths and promises have lost their validity, 
and are kept as long as it is found expedient ; they are adopted 
only as a means of deception, and he is most applauded and re- 
spected whose cunning is most efficient and secure. On this 
account bad men are received with the approbation due to 
virtue, and good ones are regarded only in the light of fools. 

" And certainly in the cities of Italy all that is corruptible 
and corrupting is assembled. The young are idle, the old 
lascivious, and each sex and every age abounds with debasing 
habits, which the good laws, by misapplication, have lost the 
power to correct. Hence arise the avarice so observable 
among the citizens, and that greediness, not for true glory, 
but for unworthy honors; from which follow hatred, ani- 
mosities, quarrels, and factions; resulting in deaths, banish- 
ments, affliction to all good men, and the advancement of the 
most unprincipled ; for the good, confiding in their innocence, 
seek neither safety nor advancement by illegal methods as the 
wicked do, and thus unhonored and undefended they sink into 

" From proceedings such as these, arise at once the attach- 
ment for and influence of parties; bad men follow them 
through ambition and avarice, and necessity compels the good 
to pursue the same course. And most lamentable is it to ob- 
serve how the leaders and movers of parties sanctify their base 
designs with words that are all piety and virtue ; they have the 
name of liberty constantly in their mouths, though their actions 
prove them her greatest enemies. The reward which they de- 
sire from victory is not the glory of having give liberty to the 
city, but the satisfaction of having vanquished others, and of 
making themselves rulers; and to attain their end, there is 


nothing too unjust, too cruel, too avaricious for them to at- 
tempt Thus laws and ordinances, peace, wars, and treaties 
are adopted and pursued, not for the public good, nor for the 
common glory of the state, but for the convenience or advan- 
tage of a few individuals. 

" And if other cities abound in these disorders, ours is more 
than any infected with them ; for her laws, statutes, and civil 
ordinances are not, nor have they ever been, established for the 
benefit of men in a state of freedom, but according to the wish 
of the faction that has been uppermost at the time. Hence 
it follows, that when one party is expelled, or faction ex- 
tinguished, another immediately arises; for, in a city that is 
governed by parties rather than by laws, as soon as one be- 
comes dominant and unopposed, it must of necessity soon di- 
vide against itself ; for the private methods at first adopted for 
its defence, will now no longer keep it united. The truth of 
this, both the ancient and modem dissensions of our city, prove. 
Everyone thought that when the Ghibellines were destroyed, 
the Guelfs would long continue happy and honored ; yet after 
a short time they divided into Bianchi and Neri, the black fac- 
tion and the white. When the Bianchi were overcome, the 
city was not long free from factions ; for either, in favor of the 
emigrants, or on account of the animosity between the nobility 
and the people, we were still constantly at war. And as if re- 
solved to give up to others, what in mutual harmony we either 
would not or were unable to retain, we confided the care of 
our precious liberty first to King Robert, then to his brother, 
next to his son, and at last to the Duke of Athens. Still we 
have never in any condition found repose, but seem like men 
who can neither agree to live in freedom nor be content with 
slavery. Nor did we hesitate (so greatly does the nature of 
our ordinances dispose us to division), while yet under alle- 
giance to the king, to substitute for his majesty, one of the 
vilest of men bom at Agobbio. 

" For the credit of the city, the name of the Duke of Athens 
ought to be consigned to oblivion. His cruel and tyrannical 
disposition, however, might have taught us wisdom and in- 
structed us how to live ; but no sooner was he expelled than 
we handled our arms, and fought with more hatred, and greater 
fury than we had ever done on any former occasion ; so that 


the ancient nobility were vanquished and the city was left at 
the disposal of the people. It was generally supposed that no 
further occasion of quarrel or of party animosity could arise, 
since those whose pride and insupportable ambitionr had been 
regarded as the causes of them were depressed ; however, ex- 
perience proves how liable human judgment is to error, and 
what false impressions men imbibe, even in regard to the things 
that most intimately concern them ; for we find the pride and 
ambition of the nobility are not extinct, but only transferred 
from them to the people who at this moment, according to the 
usual practice of ambitious men, are endeavoring to render 
themselves masters of the republic; and knowing they have 
no chance of success but what is offered by discord, they have 
again divided the city, and the names of Guelf and GhibeUine, 
which were beginning to be forgotten (and it would have been 
well if they had never been heard among us), are repeated 
anew in our ears. 

'' It seems almost necessarily ordained, in order that in hu- 
man affairs there may be nothing either settled or permanent, 
that in all republics there are what may be called fatal families, 
bom for the ruin of their country. Of this kind of pest our 
city has produced a more copious brood than any other; for 
not one, but many, have disturbed and harassed her : first the 
Buondelmonti and the Uberti ; then the Donati and the Cerchi ; 
and now, oh, ridiculous! oh, disgraceful thought I the Ricci 
and the Albizzi have caused a diversion of her citizens. 

"We have not dwelt upon our corrupt habits or our old 
and continual dissensions to occasion you alarm, but to remind 
you of their causes ; to show that as you, doubtless, are aware 
of them, we also keep them in view, and to remind you that 
their results ought not to make you diffident of your power to 
repress the disorders of the present time. The ancient fami- 
lies possessed so much influence, and were held in such high 
esteem^ that civil force was insufficient to restrain them ; but 
now, when the empire has lost its ascendancy, the Pope is no 
longer formidable, and the whole of Italy is reduced to a state 
of the most complete equality, there can be no difficulty. Our 
republic might, more especidly than any other (although at 
first our former practices seem to present a reason to the ccm- 
trary), not only keep itself united but be improved by good 


laws and civil regulations, if you, the Signory, would once re- 
solve to undertake the matter ; and to this, we, induced by no 
other motive than the love of our country, would most strongly 
urge you: It is true the corruption of the country is great, and 
much discretion will be requisite to correct it ; but do not im- 
pute the past disorders to the nature of the men, but to the 
times, which, being changed, give reasonable ground to hope 
that, with better government, our city will be attended with 
better fortune; for the malignity of the people will be over- 
come by restraining the ambition and annulling the ordinances 
of those who have encouraged faction, and adopting in their 
stead only such principles as are comfortable to true civil lib- 
erty. And be assured, that these desirable ends will be more 
certainly attained by the benign influence of the laws, than by 
a delay which will compel the people to effect them by force 
and arms." 

The Signory, induced by the necessity of the case, of which 
they were previously aware, and further encouraged by the 
advice of those who now addressed them^ gave authority to 
fifty-six citizens to provide for the safety of the republic. It 
is usually found that most men are better adapted to pursue a 
good course already begun, than to discover one applicable to 
immediate circumstances. These citizens thought rather of 
extinguishing existing factions than of preventing the forma- 
tion of new ones, and effected neither of these objects. The 
facilities for the establishment of new parties were not re- 
moved ; and out of those which they guarded against, another 
more powerful, arose, which brought the republic into still 
greater danger. They, however, deprived three of the family 
of the Albizzi, and three of that of the Ricci, of all the 
offices of government, except those of the Guelfic party, for 
three years ; and among the deprived were Piero degli Albizzi 
and Ug^ccione de' Ricci. They forbade the citizens to as- 
semble in the palace, except during the sittings of the Signory. 
They provided that if anyone were beaten, or possession of his 
property detained from him, he might bring his case before 
the council and denounce the offender, even if he were one of 
the nobility; and that if it were proved, the accused should 
be subject to the usual penalties. This provision abated the 
boldness of the Ricci, and increased that of the Albizzi ; since, 


although it applied equally to both, the Ricci suffered from 
it by far the most ; for if Piero was excluded from the palace 
of tiie Signory, the chamber of the Guelfs, in which he pos- 
sessed the greatest authority, remained open to him ; and if he 
and his followers had previously been ready to admonish, they 
became after this injury, doubly so. To this pre-disposition 
for evil, new excitements were added. 


The War of the Florentines against the Pope's Legate, and the Causes 
of it— League against the Pope— The Censures of the Pope Disre- 
garded in Florence — The City is Divided into two Factions, the one 
of the Capitani di Parte, the Other of the Eight Commissioners of the 
War— Measures Adopted by the Guelfic Party against their Ad- 
versaries — The Guelfs Endeavor to Prevent Salvestro de' Medici 
from Being Chosen Gonfalonier — Salvestro de' Medici, Gonfalonier 
— His law against the Nobility, and in favor of the Ammoniti— The 
Collegi Disapprove of the Law — Salvestro Addresses the Council in 
its favor— The Law is Passed— Disturbances in Florence. 

THE papal chair was occupied by Gregory XI. He, like 
his predecessors, residing at Avignon, governed Italy 
by legates, who, proud and avaricious, oppressed many 
of the cities. One of these legates, then at Bologna, taking ad- 
vantage of a great scarcity of food at Florence, endeavored to 
render himself master of Tuscany, and not only withheld pro- 
visions from the Florentines, but in order to frustrate their 
hopes of the future harvest, upon the approach of spring, at- 
tacked them with a large army, trusting that being famished 
and unarmed, he should find them an easy conquest. He might 
perhaps have been successful, had not his forces been mer- 
cenary and faithless, and, therefore, induced to abandon the 
enterprise for the sum of 130,000 florins, which the Florentines 
paid them. People may go to war when they will, but cannot 
always withdraw when they like. This contest commenced 
by the ambition of the legate, was continued by the resentment 
of the Florentines, who, entering into a league with Bemabo 
of Milan, and with the cities hostile to the Church, appointed 
eight citizens for the administration of it, giving them authority 
to act without appeal, and to expend whatever sums they might 
judge expedient without rendering an account of the outlay. 
This war against the pontiflF, although Uguccione was now 
dead, reanimated those who had followed the party of the 



Ricci, who, in opposition to the Albizzi, had always favored 
Bemabo and opposed the Church, and this, the rather, because 
the eight Commissioners of War were all enemies of the Guelfs. 
This occasioned Piero degli Albizzi, Lapo da Castiglionchio, 
Carlo Strozzi, and others, to unite themselves more closely in 
opposition to their adversaries. The Eight carried on the war, 
and the others admonished during three years, when the death 
of the pontiff put an end to the hostilities, which had been car- 
ried on with so much ability, and with such entire satisfaction 
to the people, that at the end of each year, the Eight were con- 
tinued in office, and were called " Santi," or " Holy," although 
they had set ecclesiastical censures at defiance, plundered the 
churches of their property, and compelled the priests to perform 
divine service. So much did citizens at that time prefer the 
good of their country to their ghostly consolations, and thus 
showed the Church, that if, as her friends they had defended, 
they could as enemies depress her ; for the whole of Romagna, 
the Marches, and Perugia were excited to rebellion. 

Yet while this war was carried on against the Pope, they 
were unable to defend themselves against the Captains of the 
Parts and their faction ; for the insolence of the Guelfs against 
the Eight attained such a pitch, that they could not restrain 
themselves from abusive behavior, not merely against some 
of the most distinguished citizens, but even against the Eight 
themselves; and the Captains of the Parts conducted them- 
selves with such arrogance, that they were feared more than 
the Signory. Those who had business with them treated them 
with greater reverence, and their court was held in higher 
estimation; so that no ambasador came to Florence, without 
commission to the Captains. 

Pope Gregory being dead, and the city freed from external 
war, there still prevailed great confusion within; for the au- 
dacity of the Guelfs was insupportable, and as no available 
mode of subduing them presented itself, it was thought that re- 
course must be had to arms, to determine which party was the 
strongest. With the Guelfs were all the ancient nobility, and 
the greater part of the most powerful popular leaders, of 
which number, as already remarked, were Lapo, Piero, and 
Carlo. On the other side, were all the lower orders, the lead- 
ers of whom were the eight Commissioners of War, Giorgio 


Scali, and Tommaso Strozzi, and with them the Ricd, Albert!, 
and Medici. The rest of the multitude, as most commonly hap- 
pens, joined the discontented party. 

It appeared to the heads of the Guelfic faction that their 
enemies would be greatly strengthened, and themselves in con- 
siderable danger in case a hostile Signory should resolve on 
their subjugation. Desirous, therefore, of being prepared 
against this calamity, the leaders of the party asembled to take 
into consideration die state of the city, and that of their own 
friends in particular, and found the ammoniti so numerous and 
so great a difficulty, that the whole city was excited against 
them on this account. They could not devise any other remedy 
than, that as their enemies had deprived them of all the offices 
of honor, they should banish their opponents from the city, 
take possession of the palace of the Signory, and bring over 
the whole state to their own party; in imitation of the Guelfs 
of former times, who found no safety in the city, till they had 
driven all their adversaries out of it They were unanimous 
upon the main point, but did not agree upon the time of carry- 
ing it into execution. It was in the month of April, in the year 
137S, when Lapo, thinking delay unadvisable, expressed his 
opinion, that procrastination was in the highest degree perilous 
to themselves; as in the next Signory, Salvestro de' Medici 
would very probably be elected Gonfalonier, and they all knew 
he was opposed to their party. Piero degli Albizzi, on the 
other hand, thought it better to defer, since they would require 
forces, which could not be assembled without exciting obser- 
vation, and if they were discovered, they would incur great risk. 
He thereupon judged it preferable to wait till the approaching 
feast of St. John, on which, being the most solemn festival of 
the city, vast multitudes would be assembled, among whom 
they might conceal whatever numbers they pleased. To ob- 
viate their fears of Salvastro, he was to be admonished, and if 
this did not appear likely to be effectual, they would "ad- 
monish '' one of the Colleagues of his quarter, and upon re- 
drawing, as the ballot boxes would be nearly empty, chance 
would very likely occasion that either he or some associate of 
his would be drawn, and he thus be rendered incapable of sit- 
ting as Gonfalonier. They therefore came to the conclusion 
proposed by Piero, though Lapo consented reluctantly, consid- 


ering the delay dangerous, and that, as no opportunity can be 
in all respects suitable, he who waits for the concurrence of 
every advantage, either never makes an attempt, or, if induced 
to do so, is most frequently foiled. They " admonished " the 
Colleague, but did not prevent the appointment of Salvestro, 
for the design was discovered by the Eight, who took care to 
render all attempts upon the drawing futile. 

Salvestro Alamanno de' Medici was therefore drawn Gon- 
falonier, and, being of one of the noblest popular families, he 
could not endure that the people should be oppressed by a few 
powerful persons. Having resolved to put an end to their in- 
solence, and perceiving the middle classes favorably disposed, 
and many of the highest of the people on his side, he com- 
municated his design to Benedetto Alberti, Tonmiaso Strozzi, 
and Georgio Scali, who all promised their assistance. They, 
therefore, secretly drew up a law which had for its object to 
revive the restrictions upon the nobility, to retrench the au- 
thority of the Capitani di Parte, and recall the ammoniti to their 
dignity. In order to attempt and obtain their ends, at one and 
the same time, having to consult, first the G>lleagues and then 
the Councils, Salvestro being Provost (which office for the 
time makes its possessor almost prince of the city), he called 
together the Colleagues and the Council on the same morning, 
and the Colleagues being apart, he proposed the law prepared 
by himself and his friends, which, being a novelty, encountered 
in their small number so much opposition^ that he was unable 
to have it passed. 

Salvestro seeing his first attempt likely to fail, pretended 
to leave the room for a private reason, and, without being per- 
ceived, went immediately to the Council, and taking a lofty 
position from which he could be both seen and heard, said : — 
"That considering himself invested with the office of Gon- 
falonier, not so much to preside in private cases (for which 
proper judges were appointed, who have their regular sittings), 
as to guard the state, correct the insolence of the powerful, 
and ameliorate those laws by the influence of which the re- 
public was being ruined, he had carefully attended to both these 
duties, and to his utmost ability provided for them, but found 
the perversity of some so much opposed to his just designs as 
to deprive him of all opportunity of doing good, and them not 


only of the means of assisting him with their counsel, but even 
hearing him. Therefore finding he no longer contributed 
either to the benefit of the republic or of the people generally, 
he could not perceive any reason ior his longer holding the 
magistracy, of which he was either undeserving, or others 
thought him so, and would therefore retire to his house, that 
the people might appoint another in his stead, who would either 
have greater virtue or better fortune than himself." And hav- 
ing said this, he left the room as if to return home. 

Those of the G>tmcil who were in the secret, and others 
desirous of novelty, raised a tumult, at which the Signory 
and the G>lleagues came together, and finding the Gonfalonier 
leaving them, entreatingly and authoritatively detained him, 
and obliged him to return to the council room, which was now 
full of confusion. Many of the noble citizens were threatened 
in opprobrious language ; and an artificer seized Carlo Strozzi 
by the throat, and would undoubtedly have murdered him, but 
was with difficulty prevented by those around. He who made 
the greatest disturbance, and incited the city to violence, was 
Benedetto degli Alberti, who, from a window of the palace, 
loudly called the people to arme ; and presently the courtyards 
were filled with armed men, and the Colleagues granted to 
threats, what they had refused to entreaty. The Capitani di 
Parte had at the same time drawn together a great number of 
citizens to their hall, to consult upon the means of defending 
themselves against the orders of Signors, but when they had 
heard the tumult that was raised, and were informed of the 
course the Councils had adopted, each took refuge in his own 

Let no one, when raising popular commotions, imagine he 
can afterward control them at his pleasure, or restrain them 
from proceeding to the commission of violence. Salvestro in- 
tended to enact his law, and compose the city ; but it happened 
otherwise ; for the feelings of all had become so excited, that 
they shut up the shops ; the citizens fortified themselves in their 
houses; many conveyed their valuable property into the 
churches and monasteries, and every man seemed to apprehend 
something terrible at hand. The companies of the Arts met, 
and each appointed an additional officer or Syndic ; upon which 
the Priors summoned their Colleagues and these Syndics, and 
consulted a whole day how the city might be appeased with 


satisfaction to the different parties; but much difference of 
opinion prevailed, and no conclusion was come to. On the fol- 
lowing day the Arts brought forth their banners, which the 
Signory understanding, and being apprehensive of evil, called 
the Council together to consider what course to adopt. But 
scarcely were they met, when the uproar recommenced, and 
soon the ensigns of the Arts, surrounded by vast numbers of 
armed men, occupied the courts. Upon this, the Council, to 
give the Arts and the people hope of redress, and free them- 
selves as much as possible from the charge of causing the mis- 
chief, gave a general power, which in Florence is called 
" Balia," to the Signors, the Colleagues, the Eight, the Capitani 
di Parte, and to the Syndics of the Arts, to reform the govern- 
ment of the dty, for the common benefit of all. While this was 
being arranged, a few of the ensigns of the Arts and some of 
the mob, desirous of avenging themselves for the recent injuries 
they had received from the Guelfs, separated themselves from 
the rest, and sacked and burnt the house of Lapo da Castiglion- 
chio, who, when he learned the proceedings of the Signory 
against the Guelfs, and saw the people in arms, having no 
other resource but concealment or flight, first took refuge in 
Santa Croce, and afterward, being disguised as a monk, fled 
into the Casentino, where he was often heard to blame himself 
for having consented to wait till St. John's day, before they 
had made themselves sure of the government. Piero degli Al- 
bizzi and Carlo Strozzi hid themselves upon the first outbreak 
of the tumult, trusting that when it was over, by the interest of 
their numerous friends and relations, they might remain in 

The house of Lapo being burnt, as mischief begins with 
diflSculty but easily increases, many other houses, either 
through public hatred or private malice, shared the same fate ; 
and the rioters, that they might have companions more eager 
than themselves to assist them in their work of plunder, broke 
open the public prisons, and then sacked the monastery of 
the AgnoH, and the convent of Santo Spirito, whither many 
citizens had taken their most valuable goods for safety. Nor 
would the public chambers have escaped these destroyers* 
hands, except out of reverence for one of the Signors, who on 
horseback, and followed by many citizens in arms, opposed 
the rage of the mob. 


Contranr Measures Adopted by the Magistrates to Effect a Pacifica- 
tion — Luigi Guicdardini, the Gonfalonier, Entreats the Magistrates of 
the Arts to Endeavor to Pacify the People— Serious Riot Caused by 
the Plebeians— The Woollen Art— The Plebeians Assemble— The 
Speech of a Seditious Plebeian— Their Resolution Thereupon— The 
Signory Discover the Designs of the Plebeians— Measures Adopted 
to Counteract them. 

THIS popular fury being abated by the authority of the 
Signors and the approach of night, on the following 
day, the Balia relieved the admonished, on condition 
that they should not for three years be capable of holding any 
magistracy. They aimuUed the laws made by the Guelfs to 
the prejudice of the citizens; declared Lapo da Castiglionchio 
and his companions, rebels, and with them many others, who 
were the objects of universal detestation. After these reso- 
lutions, the new Signory were drawn for, and Luigi Guicciar- 
dini appointed Gonfalonier, which gave hope that the ttunults 
would soon be appeased; for every one thought them to be 
peaceable men and lovers of order. Still the shops were not 
opened, nor did the citizens lay down their arms, but continued 
to patrol the city in great nttmbers ; so that the Signory did not 
assume the magistracy with the usual pomp, but merely as- 
sembled within the palace, omitting all ceremony. 

This Signory, considering nothing more advisable in the 
beginning of their magistracy than to restore peace, caused a 
relinquishment of arms ; ordered the shops to be opened, and 
the strangers who had been called to their aid, to return to 
their homes. They appointed guards in many parts of the 
city, so that if the admonished would only have remained quiet, 
order would soon have been re-established. But they were 
not satisfied to wait three years for the recovery of their honors ; 
so that to gratify them the Arts again met, and demanded of 
the Signory, that for the benefit and quiet of the city, they 


would ordain no citizens should at any time, whether Signor, 
Colleague, Capitano di Parte, or Consul of any art whatever, 
be admonished as a Ghibelline ; and further, that new ballots 
of the Guelfic party should be made, and the old ones burnt. 
These demands were at once acceded to^ not only by the Sig- 
nors, but by all the Councils ; and thus it was hoped the tu- 
mults newly excited would be settled. 

But since men are not satisfied with recovering what is 
their own, but wish to possess the property of others and to 
revenge themselves, those who were in hopes of benefiting by 
these disorders persuaded the artificers that they would never 
be safe, if sevend of their armies were not expelled from the 
city or destroyed. This terrible doctrine coming to the knowl- 
edge of the Signory, they caused the magistrates of the Arts 
and their Syndics to be brought before them, and Luigi Guic- 
dardini, the Gonfalonier, addressed them in the following 
words: ''If these Signors, and I with them, had not long 
been acquainted with the fate of this city, that as soon as ex- 
ternal wars have ceased the internal commence, we should have 
been more surprised, and our displeasure would have been 
greater. But as evils to which we are accustomed are less an- 
noying, we have endured past disturbances patiently, they hav- 
ing arisen for the most part without our fault; and we hoped 
that, like former troubles, they would soon have an end, after 
the many and great concessions we had made at your sugges- 
tion. But finding that you are yet unsettled, that you contem- 
plate the commission of new crimes against your fellow citi- 
zens, and are desirous of making new exiles, our displeasure 
increases in proportion to your misconduct. And certainly, 
could we have believed that during our magistracy the city was 
to be ruined, whether with or without your concurrence, we 
should certainly, either by flight or exile, have avoided these 
horrors. But trusting that we had to do with those who pos- 
sessed some feelings of humanity and some love of their coun- 
try, we willingly accepted the magistracy, thinking that by our 
gentleness we should overcome your ambition. But we per- 
ceive from experience that the more humble our behavior, the 
more concessions we make, the prouder you become, and the 
more exorbitant are your demands. And though we speak 
thus, it is not in order to offend, but to amend you. Let others 


tell you pleasing tales, our design is to communicate only what 
is for your good. 

"Now we would ask you, and have you answer on your 
honor, what is there yet ungranted that you can, with any ap- 
pearance of propriety, require? You wished to have authority 
taken from the Capitani di Parte ; and it is done. You wished 
that the ballots should be burnt, and a reformation of them take 
place; and we consent. You desired that the admonished 
should be restored to their honors; and it is permitted. At 
your entreaty we have pardoned those who have burnt down 
houses and plundered churches ; many honorable citizens have 
been exiled to please you; and at your suggestion new res- 
traints have been laid upon the great. When will there be an 
end of your demands? And how long will you continue to 
abuse our liberality ? Do you not observe with how much more 
moderation we bear defeat than you your victory? To what 
end will your divisions bring our city? Have you forgotten 
that when disunited, Castruccio, a low citizen of Lucca, sub^ 
dued her, or, that a Duke of Athens, your hired captain, did 
so, too? But when the citizens were united in her defence, an 
Archbishop of Milan and a Pope were unable to subdue it, 
and, after many years of war, were compelled to retire with 

" Then why would you, by your discords, reduce to slaver}' 
in a time of peace, that city, which so many powerful enemies 
have left free, even in war? What can you expect from your 
disunion but subjugation; or from the property of which 
you already have plundered, or may yet plunder us, but pov- 
erty ; for this property is the means by which we furnish oc- 
cupation for the whole city, and if you take it from us, our 
means of finding that occupation is withdrawn. Beside, those 
who take it will have difficulty in preserving what is dishon- 
estly acquired, and thus poverty and destitution are brought 
upon the city. Now, I, and these Signors command, and 
if it were consistent with propriety, we would entreat that 
you allow your minds to be calmed ; be content, rest satisfied 
with the provisions that have been made for you; and if 
you should be found to need anything further, make your 
request with decency and order, and not with tumult; for 
when your demands are reasonable they will always be com- 


plied with, and you will not give occasion to evil designing 
men to ruin your country and cast the blame upon your- 

These words, conveying nothing but the truth, produced a 
suitable effect upon the minds of the citizens, who thanking 
the Gonfalonier for having acted towards them the part of a 
kind Signor, and towards the city that of a good citizen, offered 
their obedience in whatever might be committed to them. And 
the Signors, to prove the sincerity of their intentions, appointed 
two citizens for each of the superior magistracies, who, with 
Syndics of the Arts, were to consider what could be done to 
restore quiet, and report their resolutions to the Signors. 

While these things were in progress, a disturbance arose, 
much more injurious to the republic than anything that had 
hitherto occurred. The greatest part of the fires and rob- 
beries whick took place on the previous days were perpe- 
trated by the very lowest of the people; and those who had 
been the most audacious, were afraid that when the greater 
differences were composed, they would be punished for the 
crimes they had committed ; and that as' usual, they would be 
abandoned by those who had instigated them to the commis- 
sion of crime. To this may be added, the hatred of the lower 
orders toward the rich citizens and the principals of the Arts, 
because they did not think themselves remunerated for their, 
labor in a manner equal to their merits. For in the times 
of Charles I, when the city was divided into Arts, a head 
or governor was appointed to each, and it was provided that 
the individuals of each art, should be judged in civic matters 
by their own superiors. These Arts, as we have before ob- 
served, were at first twelve ; in the course of time they were in- 
creased to twenty-one, and attained so much power, that in a 
few years they gained the entire government of the city; and 
as some were in greater esteem than others, they were divided 
into " major " and " minor " ; seven were called " Major Arts," 
and fourteen, "Minor Arts." From this division, and from 
other causes which we have narrated above, arose the arrogance 
of the Capitani di Parte ; for those citizens who had formerly 
been Guelfs, and had the constant disposal of that magis- 
tracy, favored the followers of the major and persecuted the 
minor Arts and their patrons ; and hence arose the many com- 



motions already mentiooed. When the companies of the Arts 
were first organized, many of those trades, followed by the 
lowest of the people and the plebians, were not incorporated, 
but were ranged under those Arts most nearly allied to them ; 
and, hence, when they were not properly remunerated for their 
labor, or their masters oppressed them, they had no one of 
whom to seek redress, except the magistrate of the Art to 
which their were subject ; and of him they did not think jus- 
tice always attainable. Of the Arts, that which always had, 
and now has, the greatest number of these subordinates, is the 
woollen ; which being both then, and stOl, the most powerful 
body, and first in authority, supports the greater part of the 
plebeians and lowest of the people. 

The lower classes, then, the subordinates not only of the 
woollen, but also of the other Arts, were discontented, from 
the causes just mentioned ; and their apprehension of punish- 
ment for the burning and robberies they had committed, did 
not tend to compose them. Meetings took place in different 
parts during night, to talk over the past, and to communicate 
the danger in which they were, when one of the most daring 
and experienced, in order to animate the rest, spoke thus : — 

''If the question now were, whether we should take up 
arms, rob and bum the houses of the citizens, and plunder 
churches, I am; one of those who would think it worthy of fur- 
ther consideration, and should, perhaps, prefer poverty and 
safety to the dangerous pursuit of an uncertain good. But as 
we have already armed, and many offences have been commit- 
ted, it appears to me that we have to consider how to lay them 
aside, and secure ourselves from the consequences of what is 
already done. I certainly think, that if nothing else could teach 
us, necessity might. You see the whole city full of complaint 
and indignation against us; the citizens are closely united, 
and the Signors are constantly with the magistrates. You may 
be sure they are contriving something against us; they are 
arranging some new plan to subdue us. We ought therefore 
to keep two things in view, and have two points to consider; 
the one is, to escape with impunity for what has been done 
during the last few days, and the otfier, to live in greater com- 
fort and security for the time to come. We must, therefore, 
I think, in order to be pardoned for our old faults, commit new 


ones ; redoubling the mischief, and multiplying fires and rob- 
beries; and in doing this, endeavor to have as many com- 
panions as we can ; for when many are in fault, few are pun- 
ished ; small crimes are chastised, but great and serious ones 
rewarded. When many suflFer, few seek vengeance ; for gen- 
eral evils are endured more patiently than private ones. To 
increase the number of misdeeds will, therefore, make forgive- 
ness more easily attainable, and will open the way to secure 
what we require for our own liberty. And it appears evident 
that the gain is certain ; for our opponents are disunited and 
rich ; their disunion will give us the victory, and their riches, 
when they have become ours, will support us. 

" Be not deceived about the antiquity of blood by which they 
exalt themselves above us ; for all men having had one com- 
mon origin, are all equally ancient, and nature has made us all 
after one fashion. Strip us naked, and we shall all be found 
like. Dress us in their clothing, and they in ours, we shall ap- 
pear noble, they ignoble — for poverty and riches make all the 
difference." It grieves me much to think that some of you are 
sorry inwardly for what is done, and resolve to abstain from 
anytiiing more of the kind. Certainly, if it be so, you are not 
the men I took you for; because neitiier shame nor conscience 
ought to have any influence with you. Conquerors, by what 
means soever, are never considered aught but glorious. We 
have no business to think about conscience ; for when, like us, 
men have to fear hunger, and imprisonment, or death, the fear 
of hell neither can or ought to have any influence upon them. 
If you only notice human proceedings, you may observe that all 
who attain great power and riches, make use of either force or 
fraud ; and what they have acquired either by deceit or vio- 
lence, in order to conceal the disgraceful methods of attain- 
ment, they endeavor to sanctify with the false title of honest 
gains. Those who either from imprudence or want of sagacity 
avoid doing so, are always overwhelmed with servitude and 
poverty ; for faithful servants are always servants, and honest 
men are always poor; nor do any ever escape from servitude 
but the bold and faithless, or from poverty, but the rapacious 
and fraudulent. God and nature have thrown all human fort- 
unes into the midst of mankind; and they are thus attainable 
rather by rapine than by industry, by wicked actions rather 


than by good. Hence it is that men feed npon each other, and 
those who cannot defend themselves must be worried. There- 
fore we must use force when the opportunity offers; and 
fortune cannot present us one more favorable than the present, 
when the citizens are still disunited, the Signory doubtful, and 
the magistrates terrified ; for we may easily conquer them be- 
fore they can come to any settled arrangement 

'' By this means we shall either obtain the entire government 
of the city, or so large a share of it, as to be forgiven past 
errors, and have sufficient authority to threaten the city with 
a renewal of them at some future time. I confess this course 
is bold and dangerous; but when necessity presses, audacity 
beccmies prudence, and in great affairs the brave never think 
of dangers. The enterprises that are b^^un with hazard 
always have a reward at last ; and no one ever escaped from 
embarrassment without some peril. Besides, it is easy to see 
from all their preparations of prisons, racks, and instruments 
of death, that there is more danger in inaction than in endea- 
voring to secure ourselves ; for in the first case the evils are 
certain, in the latter doubtful. How often have I heard you 
complain of the avarice of your superiors and the injustice of 
your magistrates. Now then is the time, not only to liberate 
yourselves from them, but to become so much superior, that 
they will have more causes of grief and fear from you than 
you from them. The opportunity presented by circumstances 
passes away, and when gone, it will be vain to think it can be 
recalled. You see the preparations of our enemies ; let us an- 
ticipate them; and those who are first in arms will certainly 
be victors, to the ruin of their enemies and their own exaltation ; 
and thus honors will accrue to many of us, and security to all." 

These arguments greatly inflamed minds already disposed 
to mischief, so that they determined to take up arms as soon 
as they had acquired a sufficient number of associates, and 
bound themselves by oath to mutual defence, in case any of 
them were subdued by the civil power. . 

While they were arranging to take possession of the repub- 
lic, their design became known to the Signory, who, having 
taken a man named Simone, learned from him the particulars 
of the conspiracy, and that the outbreak was to take place on 
the following day. Finding the danger so pressing, they 


called together the Colleagues and those citizens who with the 
Syndics of the Arts were endeavoring to effect the union of 
the city. It was then evening, and they advised the Signors 
to assemble the counsels of the trades, who proposed that what- 
ever armed force was in Florence should be collected, and 
with the Gonfaloniers of the people and their companies, meet 
under arms in the piazza next morning. It happened that 
while Simone was being tortured, a man named Niccolo da 
San Friano was regulating the palace dock, and becoming 
acquainted with what was going on, returned home and spread 
the report of it in his neighborhood, so that presently the piazza 
of Santo Spirito was occupied by above a thousand men. This 
soon became known to the other conspirators, and St. Pietro 
Maggiore and St. Lorenzo, their places of assembly, were 
presently full of them, all under arms. 


Proceedings of the Plebeians— The Demand they Make of the Signory 
—They Insist that the Signory Leave the Palace— The Signory Leave 
the Palace — Michele di Lando, Gonfalonier— Complaints and Move- 
ment of the Plebeians against Michele di Lando— Michele di Lando 
Proceeds against the Plebeians and Reduces them to Order— Char- 
acter of Michele di Lando. 

AT day-break on the twenty-first of July, there did not 
appear in the piazza above eighty men in arms friendly 
to the Signory, and not one of the Gonfaloniers; for, 
knowing the whole city to be in a state of insurrection, they 
were afraid to leave their homes. The first body of plebeians 
that made its appearance was that which had assembled at San 
Pietro Maggiore ; but the armed force did not venture to attack 
them. Then came the other multitude, and finding no oppo- 
sition, they loudly demanded their prisoners from the Signory ; 
and being resolved to have them by force if they were not 
yielded to their threats, they burnt the house of Luigi Guicciar- 
dini ; and the Signory, for fear of greater mischief, set them 
at liberty. With this addition to their strength they took the 
Gonfalon of Justice from the bearer, and under the shadow 
of authority which it gave them, burnt the houses of many cit- 
izens, selecting those whose owners had publicly or privately 
excited their hatred. Many citizens, to avenge themselves for 
private injuries, conducted them to the houses of their enemies ; 
for it was quite sufiicient to ensure its destruction, if a single 
voice from the mob called out, " To the house of such a one," 
or if he who bore the Gonfalon took the road toward it. All 
the documents belonging to the woollen trade were burnt, and 
after the commission of much violence, by way of associating 
it with something laudable, Salvestro de' Medici and sixty- 
three other citizens were made knights, among whom were 
Benedetto and Antonio degli Alberti, Tommaso Strozzi and 
others similarly their friends ; though many received the honor 



against their wills. It was a remarkable peculiarity of the 
riots, that many who had their houses burnt, were on the same 
day, and by the same party made knights; so close were the 
kindness and the injury together. This circumstance occurred 
to Luigi Guicciardini, Gonfalonier of Justice. 

In this tremendous uproar, the Signory, finding themselves 
abandoned by their armed force, by the leaders of the arts, 
and by the Gonfaloniers, became dismayed ; for none had come 
to their assistance in obedience to orders ; and of the sixteen 
Gonfalons, the ensign of the Golden Lion and of the Vaio, 
under Giovenco della Stufa and Giovanni Cambi, alone ap- 
peared; and these, not being joined by any other, soon with- 
drew. Of the citizens, on the other hand, some, seeing the 
fury of this unreasonable multitude and the palace abandoned, 
remained within doors ; others followed the armed mob, in the 
hope that by being among them, they might more easily protect 
their own houses or those of their friends. The power of the 
plebeians was thus increased and that of the Signory weakened. 
The tumtdt continued all day, and at night the rioters halted 
near the palace of Stefano, behind the Church of St. Barnabas. 
Their number exceeded six thousand, and before day-break 
they obtained by threats the ensigns of the trades, with which 
and the Gonfalon of Justice, when morning came, they pro- 
ceeded to the palace of the Provost, who refusing to surrender 
it to them ,they took possession of it by force. 

The Signory, desirous of a compromise, since they could 
not restrain them by force, appointed four of the Colleagues to 
proceed to the palace of the Provost, and endeavor to learn 
what was their intention. They found that the leaders of the 
plebeians, with the Syndics of the trades and some citizens, 
had resolved to signify their wishes to the Signory. They 
therefore returned with four deputies of the plebeians, who 
demanded that the woollen trade should not be allowed to have 
a foreign judge; that there should be formed three new com- 
panies of the Arts; namely, one for the wool-combers and 
dyers, one for the barbers, doublet-makers, tailors, and such 
idee, and the third for the lowest class of people. They required 
that the three new Arts should furnish two Signors ; the four- 
teen minor Arts, three ; and that the Signory should provide a 
suitable place of assembly for them. They also made it a con- 


dition that no member of these companies should be expected 
during two years to pay any debt that amounted to less than 
fifty ducats; that the bank should take no interest on loans 
already contracted, and that only the principal sum should be 
demanded; that the condemned and the banished should be 
forgiven, and the admonished should be restored to participa- 
tion in the honors of government. Beside these, many other 
articles were stipulated in favor of their friends, and a requisi- 
tion made that many of their enemies should be exiled and 
admonished. These demands, though grievous and dishonora- 
ble to the republic, were for fear of further violence granted, 
by the joint deliberation of the Signors, Colleagues, and Coun- 
cil of the People. But in order to give it full effect, it was 
requisite that the Council of the Commune should also give its 
consent ; and, as they could not assemble two councils during 
the same day, it was necessary to defer it till the morrow. 
However the trades appeared content, the plebeians satisfied; 
and both promised, that these laws being confirmed, every dis- 
turbance should cease. 

On the following morning, while the Council of the Com- 
mune were in consultation, the impatient and volatile multitude 
entered the piazza, under their respective ensigns, with loud 
and fearful shouts, which struck terror into all the Council and 
Signory ; and Guerrente MarignoUi, one of the latter, influenced 
more by fear than anything else, under pretence of guarding 
the lower doors, left the chamber and fled to his house. He 
was unable to conceal himself from the multitude, who, how- 
ever, took no notice, except that, upon seeing him, they insisted 
that all the Signors should quit the palace, and declared that 
if they refused to comply, their houses should be burned and 
their families put to death. 

The law had now been passed; the Signors were in their 
own apartments ; the council had descended from the chamber, 
and without leaving the palace, hopeless of saving the city, 
they remained in the lodges and courts below, overwhelmed 
with grief at seeing such depravity in the multitude, and such 
perversity or fear in those who might either have restrained or 
suppressed them. The Signory, too, were dismayed and fearful 
for the safety of their country, finding themselves abandoned 
by one of their associates, and without any aid or even advice; 


when at this moment of uncertainty as to what was about to 
happen, or what would be best to be done, Tommaso Strozzi 
and Benedetto Alberti, either from motives of ambition (being 
desirous of remaining masters of the palace), or because they 
thought it the most advisable step, persuaded them to give way 
to the popular impulse, and withdraw privately to their own 
homes. This advice, given by those who had been the leaders 
of the tumult, although the others yielded, filled Alamanno 
Acciajuoli and Niccolo del Bene, two of the Signors, with 
anger; and, reassuming a little vigor, they said, that if the 
others would withdraw they could not help it, but they would 
remain as long as they continued in office, if they did not in 
the mean time lose their lives. These dissensions redoubled 
the fears of the Signory and the rage of the people, so that the 
Gonfalonier, disposed rather to conclude his magistracy in dis- 
honor than in danger, recommended himself to the care of 
Tommaso Strozzi, who withdrew him from the palace and 
conducted him to his house. The other Signors were, one after 
another, conveyed in the same manner, so that Alamanno and 
Niccolo, not to appear more valiant than wise, seeing them- 
selves left alone, also retired, and the palace fell into the hands 
of the plebeians and the eight Commissioners of War, who 
had not yet laid down their authority. 

When the plebeians entered the palace, the standard of the 
Gonfalonier of Justice was in the hands of Michele de Lando, 
a wool-comber. This man, barefoot, with scarcely anything 
upon him, and the rabble at his heels, ascended the staircase, 
and, having entered the audience chamber of the Signory, he 
stopped, and turning to the multitude said, " You see this pal- 
ace is now yours, and the city is in your power ; what do you 
think ought to be done? " To which they replied, they would 
have him for their Gonfalonier and lord; and that he should 
govern them and the city as he thought best. Michele accepted 
the command ; and, as he was a cool and sagacious man, more 
favored by nature than by fortune, he resolved to compose the 
tumult, and restore peace to the city. To occupy the minds 
of the people, and g^ve himself time to make some arrangement, 
he ordered that one Nuto, who had been appointed bargello, 
or sheriff, by Lapo da Castiglionchio, should be sought. The 
greater part of his followers went to execute this commission ; 


and, to commence with justice the government he had acquired 
by favor, he commanded that no one should either bum or steal 
anything; while^ to strike terror into all, he caused a gallows 
to be erected in the court of the palace. He began the reform 
of government by deposing the Syndics of the trades, and ap- 
pointing new ones ; he deprived the Signory and the Colleagues 
of their magistracy, and burned the balloting purses containing 
the names of those eligible to office under the former govern- 

In the meantime, Ser Nuto, being brought by the mob into 
the court, was suspended from the gallows by one foot; and 
those around having torn him to pieces, in little more than a 
moment nothing remained of him but the foot by which he 
had been tied. 

The eight Commissioners of War, on the other hand, think- 
ing themselves, after the departure of the Signors, left sole 
masters of the city, had already formed a new Signory; but 
Michele on learning this, sent them an order to quit the palace 
immediately ; for he wished to show that he could govern Flor- 
ence without their assistance. He then assembled the Syndics 
of the trades, and created as a Signory, four from the lowest 
plebeians ; two from the major, and two from the minor trades. 
Beside this, he made a new selection of names for the balloting 
purses, and divided the state into three parts; one composed 
of the new trades, another of the minor, and the third of the 
major trades. He gave to Salvestro de' Medici the revenue of 
the shops upon the old bridge ; for himself he took the provostry 
of Empoli, and conferred benefits upon many other citizens, 
friends of the plebeians; not so much for the purpose of re- 
warding their labors, as that they might serve to screen him 
from envy. 

It seemed to the plebeians that Michele, in his reformation 
of the State, had too much favored the higher ranks of the 
people, and that themselves had not a sufficient share in the 
government to enable them to preserve it ; and hence, prompted 
by their usual audacity, they again took arms, and coming 
tumultuously into the court of the palace, each body under their 
particular ensigns, insisted that the Signory should immediately 
descend and consider new means for advancing their well-being 
and security. Michele, observing their arrogance, was unwill- 


ing to provoke them, but without further yielding to their re- 
quest, blamed the manner in which it was made, advised them 
to lay down their arms, and promised that then would be con- 
ceded to them, what otherwise, for the dignity of the State, 
must of necessity be withheld. The multitude, enraged at this 
reply, withdrew to Santa Maria Novella, where they appointed 
eight leaders for their party, with officers, and other regula- 
tions to ensure influence and respect ; so that the city possessed 
two governments, and was under the direction of two distinct 
powers. These new leaders determined that eight, elected 
from their trades, should constantly reside in the palace with 
the Signory, and that whatever the Signory should determine 
must be confirmed by them before it became law. They took 
from Salvestro de' Medici and Michele di Lando the whole of 
what their former decrees had granted them, and distributed 
to many of their party, offices and emoluments to enable them 
to support their dignity. These resolutions being passed, to 
render them valid, they sent two of their body to the Signory, 
to insist on their being confirmed by the Council, with an inti- 
mation, that if not granted they would be vindicated by force. 
This deputation, with amazing audacity and surpassing pre- 
sumption, explained their commission to the Signory, upbraid- 
ed the Gonfalonier with the dignity they had conferred upon 
him, the honor they had done him, and with the ingratitude and 
want of respect he had shown toward them. Coming to threats 
toward the end of their discourse, Michele could not endure 
their arrogance, and sensible rather of the dignity of the office 
he held than of the meanness of his origin, determined by 
extraordinary means to punish such extraordinary insolence, 
and drawing the sword with which he was girt, seriously 
wounded, and caused them to be seized and imprisoned. 

When the fact became known, the multitude were filled with 
rage, and thinking that by their arms they might ensure what 
without them they had failed to effect, they seized their weapons 
and with the utmost fury resolved to force the Signory to con- 
sent to their wishes. Michele, suspecting what would happen, 
determined to be prepared, for he knew his credit rather re- 
quired him to be first in the attack than to wait the approach 
of the enemy, or, like his predecessors, dishonor both the palace 
and himself by flight. He therefore drew together a good 


number of dtizens (for many b^;an to see their error), 
mounted on horseback, and followed by crowds of armed men, 
proceeded to Santa Maria Novella, to encounter his adversaries. 
The plebeians, who as before observed were influenced by a 
similar desire, had set out about the same time as Michele, and 
it happened that as each took a different route, they did not 
meet in their way, and Michele, upon his return, found the 
piazza in their possession. The contest was now for the palace, 
and joining in the fight, he soon vanquished them, drove part 
of them out of the city, and compelled the rest to throw down 
their arms and escape or conceal themselves, as well as they 
could. Having thus gained the victory, the tumults were com- 
posed, solely by the talents of the Gonfalonier, who in courage, 
prudence, and generosity surpassed every other citizen of his 
time, and deserves to be enumerated among the glorious few 
who have greatly benfited their country ; for had he possessed 
either malice or ambition, the republic would have been com- 
pletely ruined, and the city must have fallen under greater 
tyranny than that of the Duke of Athens. But his goodness 
never allowed a thought to enter his mind opposed to the uni- 
versal welfare : his prudence enabled him to conduct affairs in 
such a manner, that a great majority of his own faction reposed 
the most entire confidence in him ; and he kept the rest in awe 
by the influence of his authority. These qualities subdued the 
plebeians, and opened the eyes of the superior artificers, who 
considered how great must be the folly of those, who having 
overcome the pride of the nobility, could endure to submit to 
the nauseous rule of the rabble. 


New Regulations for the Elections of the Signory— Confusion in the 
City^Piero degli Albizzi and Other Citizens Condemned to Death 
— ^Thc Florentines Alarmed by the Approach of Charles of Dnrazzo 
— ^The Measures Adopted in Consequence Thereof — Insolent Conduct 
of Giorgio Scali — Benedetto Alberti — Giorgio Scali Beheaded. 

BY the time Michele di Lando had subdued the plebeians, 
the new Signory was drawn, and among those who 
composed it, were two persons of such base and mean 
condition, that the desire increased in the minds of the people 
to be freed from the ignominy inta which they had fallen ; and 
when, upon the first of September, the new Signory entered 
office and the retiring members were still in the palace, the 
piazza being full of armed men, a tumultuous cry arose from 
the midst of them, that none of the lowest of the people should 
hold office among the Signory. The obnoxious two were with- 
drawn accordingly. The name of one was II Tira, of the other 
Baroccio, and in their stead were elected Giorgio Scali and 
Francesco di Michele. The company of the lowest trade was 
also dissolved, and its members deprived of office, except 
Michele di Lando, Lorenzo di Puccio and a few others of better 
quality. The honors of government were divided into two 
parts, one of which was assigned to the superior trades, the 
other to the inferior ; except that the latter were to furnish five 
Signors, and the former only four. The Gonfalonier was to 
be chosen alternately from each. 

The Government, thus composed, restored peace to the city 
for the time; but though the republic was rescued from the 
power of the lowest plebeians, the inferior trades were still 
more influential than the nobles of the people, who, however, 
were obliged to submit for the gratification of the trades, of 
whose favor they wished to deprive the plebeians. The new 
establishment was supported by all who wished the continued 
subjugation of those who, under the name of the Guelfic party, 



had practised such excessive violence against the citizens. 
And as among others, thus disposed, were Giorgio Scali, Bene- 
detto Alberti, Salvesto de' Medici, and Tommaso Strozzi, these 
four almost became princes of the city. This state of the pub- 
lic mind strengthened the divisions already commenced between 
the nobles of the people, and the minor artificers, by the am- 
bition of the Ricci and the Albizzi ; from which, as at different 
times many serious effects arose, and as they will hereafter be 
frequently mentioned, we shall call the former the popular 
party, the latter the plebeian. This condition of things con- 
tinued three years, during which many were exiled and put to 
death; for the government lived in constant apprehension, 
knowing that both within and without the city many were dis- 
satisfied with them. Those within, either attempted or were 
dissatisfied with them. Those within, either attempted or were 
suspected of attempting every day some new project against 
them ; and those without, being under no restraint, were con- 
tinually, by means of some prince or republic, spreading reports 
tending to increase the disaffection. 

Gianozzo da Salerno was at this time in Bologna. He held 
a command under Charles of Durazzo, a descendant of the kings 
of Naples, who, designing to undertake the conquest of the do- 
minions of Queen Giovanna, retained his captain in that city, 
with the concurrence of Pope Urban, who was at enmity with 
the Queen. Many Florentine exiles were also at Bologna, in 
close correspondence with him and Charles. This caused the 
rulers in Florence to live in continual alarm, and induced them 
to lend a willing ear to any calumnies against the suspected. 
While in this disturbed state of feeling, it was disclosed to the 
government that Gianozzo da Salerno was about to march to 
Florence with the exiles, and that great numbers of those within 
were to rise in arms, and deliver the city to him. Upon this 
information many were accused, the principal of whom were 
Piero degli Albizzi and Carlo Strozzi; and after these, 
Cipriano Mangione, Jacopo Sacchetti, Donato Barbadori, 
Filippo Strozzi, and Giovanni Anselmi, the whole of whom, 
except Carlo Strozzi, who fled, were made prisoners ; and the 
Signory, to prevent any one from taking arms in their favor, 
appointed Tommaso Strozzi and Benedetto Alberti, with a 
strong armed force, to guard the city. The arrested citizens 


were examined, and although nothing was elicited against them 
sufficient to induce the Capitano to find them guilty, their ene- 
mies excited the minds of the populace to such a degree of out- 
rageous and overwhelming fury against them, that they were 
condemned to death, as it were, by force. Nor was the great- 
ness of his family, or his former reputation, of any service to 
Piero degli Albizzi, who had once been, of all the citizens, the 
man most feared and honored. Some one, either as a friend to 
render him wise in his prosperity, or an enemy to threaten him 
with the fickleness of fortune, had upon the occasion of his 
making a feast for many citizens, sent him a silver bowl full of 
sweet-meats, among which a large nail was found, and being 
seen by many present, was taken for a hint to him to fix the 
wheel of Fortune, which, having conveyed him to the top, must, 
if the rotation continued, also bring him to the bottom. This 
interpretation was verified, first by his ruin, and afterward by 
his death. 

After this execution the city was full of consternation, for 
both victors and vanquished were alike in fear; but the worst 
effects arose from the apprehensions of those possessing the 
management of affairs; for every accident, however trivial, 
caused them to permit fresh outrages, either by condemnations, 
admonitions, or banishment of citizens; to which must be 
added, as scarcely less pernicious, the frequent new laws and 
regulations which were made for defence of the government, 
all of which were put into execution to the injury of those 
opposed to their faction. They appointed forty-six persons, 
who, with the Signory, were to purge the republic of all sus- 
pected by the government. They admonished thirty-nine citi- 
zens, ennobled many of the people, and degraded many nobles 
to the popular rank. To strengthen themselves against ex- 
ternal foes, they took into their pay John Hawkwood, an En- 
glishman of great military reputation, who had long served the 
Pope and others in Italy. Their fears from without were in- 
creased by a report that several bodies of men were being as- 
sembled by Charles of Durazzo for the conquest of Naples, 
and many Florentine exiles were said to have joined him. 
Against these dangers, in addition to the forces which had 
been raised, large sums of money were provided ; and Charles, 
having arrived at Arezzo, obtained from the Florentines 40,000 


ducats, and promised he would not molest thenL His enter- 
prise was immediately prosecuted, and having occupied the 
kingdom of Naples, he sent Queen Giovanna a prisoner into 
Hungary. This victory renewed the fears of those who man- 
aged the aflFairs of Florence, for they could not persuade them- 
selves that their money would have a greater influence on the 
King's mind than the friendship which his house had long re- 
tained for the Guelfs, whom they so grievously oppressed. 

This suspicion increasing, multiplied oppressions; which 
again, instead of diminishing the suspicion, augmented it ; so 
that most men lived in the utmost discontent. To this the 
insolence of Giorgio Scali and Tommaso Strozzi, (who by 
their popular influence overawed the magistrates), also con- 
tributed, for the rulers were apprehensive that by the power 
these men posessed with the plebeians, they could set them 
at defiance ; and hence it is evident that not only to good men, 
but even to the seditious, this government appeared tyrannical 
and violent. To put a period to the outrageous conduct of 
Giorgio, it happened that a servant of his accused Giovanni di 
Cambino of practices against the state, but the Capitano de- 
clared him innocent. Upon this, the judge determined to 
punish the accuser with the same penalties that the accused 
would have incurred had he been guilty, but Giorgio Scali, un- 
able to save him either by his authority or entreaties, obtained 
the assistance of Tommaso Strozzi, and with a multitude of 
armed men, set the informer at liberty and plundered the palace 
of the Capitano, who was obliged to save himself by flight 
This act excited such great and universal animosity against 
him, that his enemies began to hope they would be able to effect 
his ruin, and also to rescue the city from the power of the 
plebeians, who for three years had held her under their arrogant 

To the realization of this design the Capitano greatly con- 
tributed, for the tumult having subsided, he presented him- 
self before the Signors, and said " He had cheerfully under- 
taken the ofiice to which they had appointed him, for he thought 
he should serve upright men who would take arms for the de- 
fence of justice, and not impede its progress. But now that 
he had seen and had experience of the proceedings of the city, 
and the manner in which affairs were conducted, that dignity 


which he had voluntarily assumed with the hope of acquiring 
honor and emolument, he now more willingly resigned, to es- 
cape from the losses and danger to which he found himself ex- 
posed." The complaint of the Capitano was heard with the ut- 
most attention by the Signory, who promising to remunerate 
him for the injury he had suffered and provide for his future 
security, he was satisfied. Some of them then obtained an in- 
terview with certain citizens who were thought to be lovers 
of the common good, and least suspected by the state ; and in 
conjunction with these, it was concluded that the present was a 
favorable opportunity for rescuing the city from Giorgio and 
the plebeians, the last outrage he had committed having com- 
pletely alienated the great body of the people from him. They 
judged it best to profit by the occasion before the excitement 
had abated, for they knew that the favor of the mob is often 
gained or lost by the most trifling circumstance ; and more cer- 
tainly to ensure success, they determined, if posible, to obtain 
the concurrence of Benedetto Alberti, for without it they con- 
sidered their enterprise to be dangerous. 

Benedetto was one of the richest citizens, a man of un- 
asuming manners, an ardent lover of the liberties of his coun- 
try, and one to whom tyrannical measures were in the highest 
degree offensive; so that he was easily induced to concur in 
their views and consent to Giorgio's ruin. His enmity against 
the nobles of the people and the Guelfs, and his friendship 
for the plebeians, were caused by the insolence and tyrannical 
proceedings of the former ; but finding that the plebeians had 
soon become quite as insolent, he quickly separated himself 
from them; and the injuries committed by them against the 
citizens were done wholly without his consent. So that the 
same motives which made him join the plebeians induced him 
to leave them. 

Having gained Benedetto and the leaders of the trades to 
their side, they provided themselves with arms and made 
Giorgio prisoner. Tommaso fled. The next day Giorgio was 
beheaded ; which struck so great a terror into his party, that 
none ventured to express the slightest disapprobation ; but each 
seemed anxious to be foremost in defence of the measure. On 
being led to execution, in the presence of the people who only 
a short time before had idolized him, Giorgio complained of 


his hard fortune, and the malignity of those citizens, who, hav- 
ing done him an undeserved injury, had compelled hm to honor 
and support a mob, possessing neither faith nor gratitude. Ob- 
serving Benedetto Alberti among those who had armed them- 
selves for the preservation of order, he said, " Do you, too, con- 
sent, Benedetto, that this injury diall be done to me? Were 
I in your place and you in mine, I would take care that no one 
should injure you. I tell you, however, this day is the end of 
my troubles and the beginning of yours." He then blamed 
himself for having confided too much in a people who may be 
excited and inflamed by every word, motion, and breath of 
suspicion. With these complaints he died in the midst of his 
armed enemies, delighted at his fall. Some of his most in- 
timate asociates were also put to death, and their bodies dragged 
about by the mob. 


Confusion and Riots in the City— Reform of GoYemment in Opposition 
to the Plebeians—Injuries Done to those who Favored the Plebeians 
— Michele di Lando Banished— Benedetto Alberti Hated by the Sig- 
nory- Fears Excited by the Coming of Louis of Anjou— The Floren- 
tines Purchase Arezzo — Benedetto Alberti Becomes Suspected and is 
Banished — His Discourse upon Leaving the City— Other Citizens Ban- 
ished and Admonished— War with Giovanni Galeazzo, Duke of Milan. 

THE death of Giorgio caused very great excitement ; many 
took arms at the execution in favor of the Signory and 
the Capitano; and many others, either for ambition or 
as a means for their own safety, did the same. The city was 
full of conflicting parties, who each had a particular end in 
view, and wished to carry it into eflfect before they disarmed. 
The ancient nobility, called the " Great," could not bear to be 
deprived of public honors ; for the recovery of which they used 
their utmost exertions, and earnestly desired that authority 
might be restored to the Capitani di Parte. The nobles of the 
people and the major trades were discontented at the share the 
minor trades and lowest of the people possessed in the govern- 
ment ; while the minor trades were desirous of increasing their 
influence, and the lowest people were apprehensive of losing 
the companies of their trades and the authority which these 

Such opposing views occasioned Florence, during a year, to 
be disturbed by many riots. Sometimes the nobles of the people 
took arms; sometimes the major and sometimes the minor 
trades and the lowest of the people; and it often happened 
that, though in diflFerent parts, all were at once in insurrection. 
Hence many conflicts took place between the diflFerent parties 
or with the forces of the palace; for the Signory sometimes 
3rielding, and at other times resisting, adopted such remedies as 
they could for these numerous evils. At length, after two as- 
semblies of the people, and many Balias appointed for the refor- 



mation of the city ; after much toil, labor, and iimnineiit dan- 
ger, a government was appointed, by which all who had been 
banished since Salvestro de' Medici was Gonfalonier were re- 
stored. They who had acquired distinctions or emoluments by 
the Balia of 1378 were deprived of them. The honors of gov- 
ernment were restored to the Guelfic party ; the two new com- 
panies of the trades were dissolved, and all who had been sub- 
ject to them assigned to their former companies. The minor 
trades were not allowed to elect the Gonfalonier of Justice, their 
share of honors was reduced from a half to a third ; and those 
of the highest rank were withdrawn from them altogether. 
Thus the nobles of the people and the Guelfs repossessed them- 
selves of the government, which was lost by the plebeians after 
it had been in their possession from 1378 to 1381, when these 
changes took place. 

The new establishment was not less injurious to the citi- 
zens, or less troublesome at its commencement than that of the 
plebeians had been; for many of the nobles of the people, 
who had distinguished themselves as defenders of the plebeians 
were banished, with a great number of the leaders of the latter, 
among whom was Michele di Lando ; nor could all the benefits 
conferred upon the city by his authority, when in danger from 
the lawless mob, save him from the rabid fury of the party that 
was now in power. His good offices evidently excited little 
gratitude in his countrymen. The neglect of their benefactors 
is an error into which princes and republics frequently fall; 
and hence mankind, alarmed by such examples, as soon as they 
begin to perceive the ingratitude of their rulers, set themselves 
against them. 

As these banishments and executions had always been of* 
fensive to Benedetto Albert!, they continued to disgust him, 
and he censured them both publicly and privately. The lead- 
ers of the government began to fear him, for they considered 
him one of the most earnest friends of the plebeians, and thought 
he had not consented to the death of Giorgio Scali from dis- 
approbation of his proceedings, but that he might be left him- 
self without a rival in the government. His discourse and 
his conduct alike served to increase their suspicions, so that all 
the ruling party had their eyes upon him, and eagerly sought 
an opportunity of crushing him. 

1382] LOUIS OF ANJOU 161 

During this state of things, external affairs were not of 
serious importance, for some which ensued were productive 
of apprehension rather than of injury. At this time Louis of 
Anjou came into Italy, to recover the kingdom of Naples for 
Queen Giovanna, and drive out Charles of Durazzo. His com- 
ing terrified the Florentines; for Charles, according to the 
custom of old friends, demanded their assistance, and Louis, 
like those who seek new alliances, required their neutrality. 
The Florentines, that they might seem to comply with the re- 
quest of Louis, and at the same time assist Charles, discharged 
from their service Sir John Hawkwood, and transferred him 
to that of Pope Urban, who was friendly to Charles ; but this 
deceit was at once detected, and Louis considered himself 
greatly injured by the Florentines. While the war was car- 
ried on between Louis and Charles in Puglia, new forces were 
sent from France in aid of Louis, and on arriving in Tuscany, 
were by the exiles of Arezzo conducted to that city, and took 
it from those who held possession for Charles. And when 
they were about to change the government of Florence, as 
they had already done that of Arezzo, Louis died, and the order 
of things in Puglia and in Tuscany was changed accordingly ; 
for Charles secured the kingdom, which had been all but lost, 
and the Florentines, who were apprehensive for their own city,v 
purchased Arezzo from those who held it for Louis. Charles, 
having secured Puglia, went to take possession of Hungary, 
to which he was heir, leaving, with his wife, his children 
Ladislaus and Giovanna, who were yet infants. He took pos- 
session of Hungary, but was soon after slain there. 

As great rejoicings were made in Florence on account of 
this acquisition as ever took place in any city for a real victory, 
which served to exhibit the public and private wealth of the 
people, many families endeavoring to vie with the state itself 
in displays of magnificence. The Alberti surpassed all others ; 
the tournaments and exhibitions made by them were rather 
suitable for a sovereign prince than for any private individ- 
uals. These things increased the envy with which the fam- 
ily was regarded, and being joined with suspicions which the 
state entertained of Benedetto, were the causes of his ruin. 
The rulers could not endure him, for it appeared as if, at any 
moment, something might occur, which, with the favor of his 


friends, would enable him to recover his authority, and drive 
them out of the city. While in this state of suspicion and 
jealousy, it happened that while he was Gonfalonier of the 
Companies, his son-in-law, Filippo Magalotti, was drawn Gon- 
falonier of Justice ; and this circumstance increased the fears 
of the government, for they thought it would strengthen Bene- 
detto's influence, and place the state in the greater peril. 
Anxious to provide a remedy, without creating much disturba- 
ance, they induced Bese Magalotti, his relative and enemy, to 
signify to the Signory that Filippo, not having attained the age 
required for the exercise of that office, neither could, nor ought 
to hold it. 

The question was examined by the Signors, and part of 
them out of hatred, others in order to avoid distmion among 
themselves, declared Filippo ineligible to the dignity, and in 
his stead was drawn Bardo Mancini, who was quite opposed 
to the plebeian interests, and an inveterate foe of Benedetto. 
This man, having entered upon the duties of his office, created a 
Balia for the reformation of the state, which banished Bene- 
detto Alberti and admonished all the rest of his family except 
Antonio. Before his departure, Benedetto called them to- 
gether, and observing their melancholy demeanor, said : 

" You see, my fathers, and you the elders of our house, how 
Fortune has ruined me and threatened you. I am not sur- 
prised at this, neither ought you to be so, for it always happens 
thus to those who among a multitude of the wicked, wish to 
act rightly, and endeavor to sustain, what the many seek to 
destroy. The love of my country made me take part with Sal- 
vestro de' Medici and afterwards separated me from Giorgio 
Scali. The same cause compelled me to detest those who now 
govern, who having none to punish them, will allow no one 
to reprove their misdeeds. I am content that my banishment 
should deliver them from the fears they entertain, not of me 
only, but of all who they think perceives or is acquainted with 
their tyrannical and wicked proceedings ; and they have aimed 
their first blow at me, in order the more easily to oppress you. I 
do not grieve on my own account; for those honors which 
my country bestowed upon me while free, she cannot in her 
slavery take from me; and the recollection of my past life 
will always give me greater pleasure than the pain imparted 


by the sorrows of exile. I deeply regret that my country is left 
a prey to the greediness and pride of the few who keep her in 
subjection. I grieve for you ; for I fear that the evils which 
this day cease to aflfect me, and commence with you, will pur- 
sue you with even greater malevolence than they have me. 
Comfort, then, each other; resolve to bear up against every 
misfortune, and conduct yourselves in such a manner, that 
when disaster befall you (and there will be many), every one 
may know they have come upon you undeservedly." 

Not to gfive a worse impression of his virtue abroad than he 
had done at home, he made a journey to the sepulchre of Christ, 
and while upon his return, died at Rhodes. His remains were 
brought to Florence, and interred with all possible honors, by 
those who had persecuted him, when alive, with every species 
of calumny and injustice. 

The family of the Alberti was not the only injured party 
during these troubles of the city ; for many others were ban- 
ished and admonished. Of the former were Piero Benini, 
Matteo Alderotti, Giovanni and Francesco del Bene, Giovanni 
Benci, Andrea Adimari, and with them many members of the 
minor trades. Of the admonished were the Covini, Benini, 
Rinucci, Formiconi, Corbizzi, Manelli, and Alderotti. It was 
customary to create the Balia for a limited time ; and when the 
citizens elected had effected the purpose of their appointment, 
they resigned the office from motives of good feeling and de- 
cency, although the time allowed might not have expired. In 
conformity with this laudable practice, the Balia of that period, 
supposing they had accomplished all that was expected of them, 
wished to retire ; but when the multitude were acquainted with 
their intention, they ran armed to the palace, and insisted, that 
before resigning their power, many other persons should be 
banished and admonished. This greatly displeased the Sig- 
nors; but without disclosing the extent of their displeasure, 
they contrived to amuse the multitude with promises, till they 
had assembled a sufficient body of armed men, and then took 
such measures, that fear induced the people to lay aside the 
weapons which madness had led them to take up. Neverthe- 
less, in some degree to gratify the fury of the mob, and to re- 
duce the authority of the plebeian trades, it was provided, that 
as the latter had previously posessed a third of the honors, they 


should in future only have a fourth. That there might always 
be two of the Signors particularly devoted to the government, 
they gave authority to the Gonfalonier of Justice, and four 
others, to form a ballot-purse of select citizens, from which, in 
every Signory, two should be drawn* ( 

This government, from its establishment in 1381, till the al- 
terations now made, had continued six years ; and the internal 
peace of the city remained undisturbed until 1393. During this 
time, Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti, usually called the Count of 
Virtu, imprisoned his uncle Bemabo, and thus became sov- 
ereign of the whole of Lombardy. As he had become Duke of 
Milan by fraud, he designed to make himself King of Italy 
by force. In 1391 he commenced a spirited attack upon the 
Florentines ; but such various changes occurred in the course 
of the war, that he was frequently in greater danger than the 
Florentines themselves, who, though they made a brave and 
admirable defence, for a republic, must have been ruined, if he 
had survived. As it was, the result was attended with infinitely 
less evil than their fears of so powerful an enemy had led them 
to apprehend; for the duke having taken Bologna, Pisa, 
Perugia, and Sienna, and prepared a diadem with which to be 
crowned King of Italy at Florence, died before he had tasted the 
fruit of his victories, or the Florentines b^;an to feel the effect 
of their disasters. 


Idaso defi^i Albizzi— His Violence Excites the Anger of the People— 
They Have Recourse to Veri de' Medici— The Modesty of Veri— He 
Refuses to Assume the Dignity of Prince, and Appeases the People 
— ^Discourse of Veri to the Signory— The Banished Florentines En- 
deavor to Return— They Secretly Enter the City and Raise a Tumult 
— Some of them Slain, others Taken in the Church of St Reparata 
— ^A Conspiracy of Exiles Supported by the Duke of Milan— The Con- 
spiracy Discovered and the Parties Punished— Various Enterprises 
of the Florentines— Taking of Pisa— War with the King of Naples 
— ^Acquisition of Cortona. 

DURING the war with the Duke of Milan, the office of 
Gonfalonier of Justice fell to Maso degli Albizzi, who 
by the death of Piero in 1379, had become the inveter- 
ate enemy of the Alberti; and as party feeling is incapable 
either of repose or abatement, he determined, notwithstanding 
Benedetto had died in exile, that before the expiration of his 
magistracy, he would revenge himself on the remainder of that 
family. He seized the opportunity afforded by a person, who 
on being examined respecting correspondence maintained with 
the rebels, accused Andrea and Alberto degli Alberti of such 
practices. They were immediately arrested, which so greatly 
excited the people, that the Signory, having provided them- 
selves with an armed force, called the citizens to a general as- 
sembly or parliament, and appointed a Balia, by whose author- 
ity many were banished, and a new ballot for the offices of gov- 
ernment was made. Among the banished were nearly all the 
Alberti; many members of the trades were admonished, and 
some put to death. Stung by these numerous injuries, the 
trades and the lowest of the people rose in arms, considering 
themselves despoiled both of honor and life. One body of 
them assembled in the piazza ; another ran to the house of Veri 
de' Medici, who after the death of Salvestro, was head of the 
family. The Signory, in order to appease those who came to 
the piazza or court of the palace, gave them for leaders, with 



the ensigns of the Guelfs and of the people in their hands, Ri- 
naldo Gianfigliazzi and Donato Acdajuoli, both men of the 
popular class, and more attached to the interests of the ple- 
beians than any other. Those who went to the house of Veri 
de' Medici, begged that he would be pleased to undertake the 
government, and free them from the tyranny of those citizens 
who were destroying the peace and safety of the Common- 

It is agreed by all who have written concerning the events of 
this period, that if Veri had had more ambition than integrity he 
might without any impediment have become Prince of the city; 
for the unfeeling treatment which, whether right or wrong, 
had been inflicted upon the trades and their friends, had so ex- 
cited the minds of men to vengeance, that all they required was 
some one to be their leader. Nor were there wanting those 
who could inform him of the state of public feeling; for An- 
tonio de' Medici, with whom he had for some time been upon 
terms of most intimate friendship, endeavored to persuade him 
to undertake the government of the republic. To this Veri re- 
plied: "Thy menaces when thou wert my enemy, never 
alarmed me; nor shall thy counsel, now when thou art my 
friend, do me any harm." Then, turning towards the multi- 
tude, he bade them be of good cheer ; for he would be their 
defender, if they would allow themselves to be advised by him. 
He then went, accompanied by a great number of citizens, to 
the piazza, and proceeded directly to the audience chamber of 
the Signory, whom he addressed to this effect : " That he could 
not regret having lived so as to gain the love of the Floren- 
tines; but he was sorry they had formed an opinion of him 
which his past life had not warranted ; for never having done 
anything that could be construed, as either factious or am- 
bitious, he could not imagine how it had happened, that they 
should think him willing to stir up strife as a discontented per- 
son, or usurp the government of his country like an ambitious 
one. He therefore begged that the infatuation of the multi- 
tude might not injure him in their estimation ; for, to the ut- 
most of his power, their authority should be restored. He then 
recommended them to use good fortune with moderation; for 
it would be much better to enjoy an imperfect victory with 
safety to the city, than a complete one with her ruin. 


The Signory applauded Veri's conduct ; begged he would en- 
deavor to prevent recourse to arms, and promised that what 
he and the other citizens might deem most advisable should 
be done. Veri then returned to the piazza, where the people 
who had followed him were joined by those led by Donato 
and Rinaldo, and informed the united companies that he had 
found the Signory most kindly disposed towards them; that 
many things had been taken into consideration, which the short- 
ness of the time, and the absence of the magistrates, rendered 
incapable of being finished. He therefore begged they would 
lay dojvn their arms and obey the Signory ; assuring them that 
humility would prevail rather than pride, entreaties rather than 
threats ; and if they would take his advice, their privileges and 
security would remain unimpaired. He thus induced them to 
return peaceably to their homes. 

The disturbance having subsided, the Signory armed the 
piazza, enrolled 2,000 of the most trusty citizens, who were 
divided equally by Gonfalons, and ordered to be in readi- 
nesss to g^ve their assistance whenever required ; and they for- 
bade the use of arms to all who were not thus enrolled. Having 
adopted these precautionary measures, they banished and put 
to death many of those members of the trades who had shown 
the greatest audacity in the late riots ; and to invest the office 
of Gonfalonier of Justice with more authoritative majesty, they 
ordered that no one should be eligible to it, under forty-five 
years of age. Many other provisions for the defence of the 
state were made, which appeared intolerable to those against 
whom they were directed, and were odious even to the friends 
of the Signory, themselves, for they could not believe a govern- 
ment to be either good or secure, which needed so much vio- 
lence for its defence, a violence excessively offensive, not only 
to those of the Albert! who remained in the city, and to the 
Medici, who felt themselves injured by these proceedings, but 
also to many others. 

The first who attempted resistance was Donato, son of 
Jacopo AcciajuoH, who though of great authority, and the 
superior rather than the equal of Maso degli Albizzi, (who on 
account of the events which took place while he was Gon- 
falonier of Justice, was almost at the head of the republic), 
could not enjoy repose amid such general discontent, or, like 


many others, convert social evils to his own private advantage, 
and therefore resolved to attempt the restoration of the exiles 
to their country, or at least their offices to the admonished. He 
went from one to another, disseminating his views, showing 
that the people would not be satisfied, or the ferment of parties 
subside, without the changes he proposed; and declared that 
if he were in the Signory, he would soon carry them into effect. 
In human affairs, delay causes tedium, and haste danger. To 
avoid what was tedious, Donato Acciajuoli resolved to attempt 
what involved danger. Michele Acciajuoli his relative, and 
Niccolo Ricoveri his friend, were of the Signory. This seemed 
to Donato a conjuncture of circumstances too favorable to be 
lost, and he requested they would propose a law to the councils, 
which would include the restoration of the citizens. They, 
at his entreaty, spoke about the matter to their asociates, who 
replied, that it was improper to attempt any innovation in which 
the advantage was doubtful and the danger certain. Upon this, 
Donato, having in vain tried all other means he could think 
of, excited with anger^ gave them to understand that since they 
could not allow the city to be governed with peaceful measures, 
he would try what could be done with arms. These words 
gave so great offence, that being communicated to the heads of 
the government. Donato was summoned, and having appeared, 
the truth was proved by those to whom he had entrusted the 
message, and he was banished to Barletta. Alamanno and 
Antonio de' Medici were also banished, and all those of that 
family, who were descended from Alamanno, with many who, 
although of the inferior artificers, possessed influence with the 
plebeians. These events took place two years after the reform 
of government effected by Maso degli Albizzi. 

At this time many discontented citizens were at home, and 
others banished in the adjoining states. Of the latter there 
lived at Bologna, Picchio Cavicciulli, Tommaso de' Ricci, An- 
tonio de' Medici, Benedetto degli Spini, Antonio Girolami, 
Cristofano di Carlone, and two others of the lowest order, all 
bold young men, and resolved upon returning to their country 
at any hazard. These were secretly told by Piggiello and 
Baroccio Cavicciulli, who, being admonished, lived in Florence, 
that if they came to the city they should be concealed in their 
houses from which they might afterwards issue, slay Maso degli 


Albizzi, and call the people to arms, who, full of discontent, 
would willingly arise, particularly as they would be supported 
by the Ricci, Adimari, Medici^ Manelli, and many other families. 
Excited with these hopes, on August 4, 1397, they came to 
Florence, and having entered unobserved according to their 
arrangement, they sent one of their party to watch Maso, de- 
signing with his death to raise the people. Maso was ob- 
served to leave his house and proceed to that of an apothe- 
cary, near the church of San Pietro Maggiore, which he en- 
tered. The man who went to watch him ran to give infor- 
mation to the other conspirators, who took their arms and 
hastened to the house of the apothecary, but found that Maso 
had gone. 

However, undaunted with the failure of their first attempt, 
they proceeded to the old market, where they slew one of the 
adverse party, and with loud cries of " People 1 " " Arms 1 " 
" Liberty ! " and " Death to Tyrants I *' directed their course 
toward the new market, and at the end of the Calimala slew 
another. Pursuing their course with the same cries, and find- 
ing no one join them in arms, they stopped at the Loggia Nig- 
hittosa, where, from an elevated situation, being surrounded 
with a great multitude, assembled to look on rather than assist 
them, they exhorted the men to take arms and deliver them- 
selves from the slavery which weighed so heavily upon them ; 
declaring that the complaints of the discontented in the city, 
rather than their own grievances, had induced them to attempt 
their deliverance. They had heard that many prayed to God 
for an opportunity of avenging themselves, and vowed they 
would use it whenever the found any one to conduct them ; but 
now, when the favorable circumstances occurred, and they 
found those who were ready to lead them, they stared at each 
other like men stupefied, and would wait till those who were 
endeavoring to recover their liberty for them were slain, and 
their own chains more strongly riveted upon them ; they won- 
dered that those who were wont to take arms upon slight occa- 
sions, reamined unmoved under the pressure of so many and 
so g^eat evils ; and that they could willingly suffer such num- 
ber of their fellow citizens to be banished, so many admonished, 
when it was in their power to restore the banished to their 
country, and the admonished to the honors of the state. 


These words, although full of truth, produced no eflFect upon 
those to whom they were addressed ; for they were either re- 
strained by their fears, or, on account of the two murders that 
had been committed, disgusted with the parties. Thus the 
movers of the tumult, finding that neither words or deeds had 
force sufficient to stir any one, saw, when too late, how danger- 
ous a thing it is to attempt to set a people free who are resolved 
to be slaves ; and, despairing of success, they withdrew to the 
temple of Santa Reparata, where, not to save their lives, but 
to defer the moment of their deaths, they shut themselves up. 
Upon the first rumor of the affair, the Signory being in fear, 
armed and secured the palace ; but when the facts of the case 
were understood, the parties known, and whither they had be- 
taken themselves, their fears subsided, and they sent the Capi- 
tano with a sufficient body of armed men to secure them. The 
gates of the temple were forced without much trouble ; part of 
the conspirators were slain defending themselves; the re- 
mainder were made prisoners and examined, but none were 
found implicated in the affair except Baroccio and Piggiello 
Cavicciulli, who were put to death with them. 

Shortly after this event, another occurred of greater im- 
portance. The Florentines were, as we have before remarked, 
at war with the Duke of Milan, who, finding that with merely 
open force he could not overcome them, had recourse to secret 
practices, and with the assistance of the exiles of whom Lom- 
bardy was full, he formed a plot to which many in the city were 
accessary. It was resolved by the conspirators, that most of 
the exiles capable of bearing arms, should set out from the 
places nearest Florence, enter the city by the river Arno, and 
with their friends hasten to the residences of the chiefs of the 
government ; having slain them, reform the republic according 
to their own will. Of the conspirators within the city, was one 
of the Ricci named Samminiato; and as it often happens in 
treacherous practices, few are insufficient to effect the purpose 
of the plot, and among many secrecy cannot be preserved, so 
while Samminiato was in quest of associates, he found an ac- 
cuser. He confided the affair to Salvestro Cavicciulli, whose 
wrongs and those of his friends were tliought sufficient to make 
him faithful ; but he, more influenced by immediate fear than 
the hope of future vengeance, discovered the whole affair to 


the Signory, who, having caused Samminiato to be taken, com- 
pelled him to tell all the particulars of the matter. However, 
none of the conspirators was taken, except Tommaso Davizi, 
who, coming from Bologna, and unaware of what had occurred 
at Florence, was seized immediately upon his arrival. All the 
others had fled immediately upon the apprehension of Sam- 

Samminiato and Tonmiaso having been punished according 
to their deserts, a Balia was formed of many citizens, which 
sought the delinquents, and took measures for the security of 
the state. They declared six of the family of the Ricci rebels ; 
also, six of the Alberti ; two of the Medici ; three of the Scali ; 
two of the Strozzi; Bindo Altoviti, Bernardo Adimari, and 
many others of inferior quality. They admonished all the fam- 
ily of the Alberti, the Ricci, and the Medici for ten years, ex- 
cept a few individuals. Among the Alberti, not admonished, 
was Antonio, who was thought to be quiet and peaceable. It 
happened, however, before all suspicion of the conspiracy had 
ceased, a monk was taken who had been observed during its 
progress to pass frequently between Bologna and Florence. 
He confesesd that he had often carried letters to Antonio, who 
was immediately seized, and, though he denied all knowledge of 
the matter from the first, the monk's accusation prevailed, and 
he was fined in a considerable sum of money, and banished a 
distance of three hundred miles from Florence. That the Al- 
berti might not constantly place the city in jeopardy, every 
member of the family was banished whose age exceeded fifteen 

These events took place in the year 1400, and two years after- 
wards, died Giovanni Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, whose death, 
as we have said above, put an end to the war, which had then 
continued twelve years. At this time, the government having 
gained greater strength, and being without enemies external 
or internal, undertook the conquest of Pisa, and having glori- 
ously completed it, the peace of the city remained undisturbed 
from 1400 to 1433, except that in 1412, the Alberti, having 
crossed the boundary they were forbidden to pass, a Balia was 
formed which with new provisions fortified the state and pun- 
ished the oflFenders with heavy fines. During this period also, 
the Florentines made war with Ladislaus, King of Naples, who 


finding himself in great danger ceded to them the city of Cor- 
tona of which he was master ; but soon afterwards, recovering 
his power, he renewed the war, which became far more disas- 
trous to the Florentines than before; and had it not, in 1414, 
been terminated by his death, as that of Lombardy had been 
by the death of the Duke of Milan, he, like the duke, would 
have brought Florence into great danger of losing her liberty. 
Nor was the war with the King concluded with less good for- 
tune than the former ; for when he had taken Rome, Sienna, the 
whole of La Marca and Romagna, and had only Florence itself 
to vanquish, he died. Thus death has always been more favor- 
able to the Florentines than any other friend, and more po- 
tent to save them than their own valor. From the time of the 
King's decease, peace was preserved both at home and abroad 
for eight years, at thie end of which, with the wars of Filippo, 
Duke of Milan, the spirit of faction again broke out, and was 
only appeased by the ruin of that government which continued 
from 1 38 1 to 1434; had conducted with great glory so many 
enterprises; acquired Arezzo, Pisa, Cortona, Leghorn, and 
Monte Pulciano; and would have accomplished more if the 
citizens had lived in unity, and had not revived former factions ; 
as in the following book will be particularly shown. 






License and Slavery, Peculiar Defects in Republican Govetnments-^Ap- 
plication of this Reflection to the State of Florence — Giovanni di Bicci 
de' Medici Reestablishes the Authority of his Family— Filippo Vis- 
conti, Duke of Milan, Endeavors to Make Amicable Arrangements 
with the Florentines — Their Jealousy of him — Precautionary Measures 
Against him— War Declared— The Florentines are Routed by the 
Ducal Forces. 

REPUBLICAN governments, more especially those im- 
perfectly organized, frequently change their rulers and 
the form of their institutions ; not by the influence of 
liberty or subjection, as many suppose, but by that of slavery 
and license ; for with the nobility or the people, the ministers re- 
spectively of slavery or licentiousness, only the name of liberty 
is in any estimation, neither of them choosing to be subject 
either to magistrates or laws. When, however, a good, wise, 
and powerful citizen appears (which is but seldom), who estab- 
lishes ordinances capable of appeasing or restraining these con- 
tending dispositions, so as to prevent them from doing mischief, 
then the government may be called free, and its institutions firm 
and secure ; for having good laws for its basis, and good regu- 
lations for carrying them into effect, it needs not, like others, 
the virtue of one man for its maintenance. With such excellent 
laws and institutions, many of those ancient republics, which 
were of long duration, were endowed. But these advantages 
are, and always have been, denied to those which frequently 
change from tyranny to license, or the reverse ; because, from 
the powerful enemies which each condition creates itself, they 
neither have, nor can possess any stability ; for tyranny cannot 
please the good, and license is offensive to the wise : the former 



may easily be productive of mischief, while the litter can 
scarcely be beneficial; in the former, the insolent have too 
much authority, and in the latter, the foolish; so that each 
requires for their welfare the virtue and the good fortune of 
some individual who may be removed by death, or become un- 
serviceable by misfortune. 

Hence, it appears, that the government which commenced 
in Florence at the death of Giorgio Scali, in 1381, was first 
sustained by the talents of Maso degli Albizzi, and then by 
those of Niccolo da Uzzano. The city remained tranquil from 
1414 to 1422; for King Ladislaus was dead, and Lombardy 
divided into several parts ; so that there was nothing either in- 
ternal or external to occasion uneasiness. Next to Nicodo da 
Uzzano in authority, were Bartolomeo Valori, Neroni di Nigi, 
Rinaldo degli Albizzi, Neri di Gino, and Lapo Niccolini. The 
factions that arose from the quarrels of the Albizzi and the 
Ricci, and which were afterwards so unhappily revived by Sal- 
vestro de' Medici, were never extinguished; for thou^ the 
party most favored by the rabble only continued three years, 
and in 1381 was put down, still, as it comprehended the great- 
est numerical proportion, it was never entirely extinct, though 
the frequent Balias and persecutions of its leaders from 1381 to 
1400, reduced it almost to nothing. The first families that suf- 
fered in this way were the Alberti, the Ricd, and the Medici, 
which were frequently deprived Ix^ of men and money ; and 
if any of them remained in the city, they were deprived of the 
honors of government. These oft-repeated acts of oppression 
humiliated the faction, and almost annihilated it. Still, many 
retained the remembrance of the injuries they had received, and 
a desire of vengeance remained pent in their bosoms, ungratified 
and unquenched. Those nobles of the people, or new nobil- 
ity, who peaceably governed the city, committed two errors, 
which eventually caused the ruin of Uieir party ; the first was, 
that by long continuance in power they became insolent; the 
second, that the envy they entertained toward each other, and 
their uninterrupted possession of power, destroyed that vigil- 
ance over those who might injure them, which they ought to 
have exercised. Thus daily renewing the hatred of the mass 
of the people by their sinister procedings, and either negligent 
of the threatened dangers, because rendered fearless by pros- 


perity, or encouraging them through mutual envy, they gave 
an opportunity to the family of the Medici to recover their in- 

The first to do so was Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, who 
having become one of the richest men, and being of a humane 
and benevolent disposition, obtained the supreme magistracy by 
consent of those in power. This circumstance gave so much 
gratification to the mass of the people (the multitude thinking 
they had now found a defender), that not without occasion the 
judicious of the party observed it with jealousy, for they per- 
ceived all the former feelings of the city revived. Niccolo da 
Uzzano did not fail to acquaint the other citizens with the mat- 
ter, explaining to them how dangerous it was to aggrandize one 
who possessed so much influence ; that it was easy to remedy 
an evil at its commencement, but exceedingly difficult after 
having allowed it to gather strength ; and that Giovanni pos- 
sessed several qualities far surpassing those of Salvestro. The 
associates of Niccolo were uninfluenced by his remarks; for 
they were jealous of his reputation, and desired to exalt some 
person, by means of whom he might be humbled. 

This was the state of Florence, in which opposing feelings 
began to be observable, when Filippo Visconti, second son 
of Giovanni Galeazzo, having, by the death of his brother, be- 
come master of all Lombardy^ and thinking he might under- 
take almost anything, greatly desired to recover Genoa, which 
enjoyed freedom under the Dogiate of Tommaso da Campo 
Fregoso. He did not think it advisable to attempt this, or any 
other enterprise, till he had renewed amicable relations with the 
Florentines, and made his good understanding with them 
known; but with the aid of their reputation he trusted he 
should attain his wishes. He therefore sent ambassadors to 
Florence to signify his desires. Many citizens were opposed 
to his design, but did not wish to interrupt the peace with 
Milan, which had now continued for many years. They were 
fully aware of the advantages he would derive from a war with 
Genoa, and the little use it would be to Florence. Many others 
were inclined to accede to it, but would set a limit to his pro- 
ceedings, which if he were to exceed, all would perceive his base 
design, and thus they might, when the treaty was broken, more 
justifiably make war against him. The question having been 


strongly debated, an amicable arrangement was at length ef- 
fected, by which Filippo engaged not to interfere with anything^ 
on the Florentine side of the rivers Magra and Panaro. 

Soon after the treaty was concluded, the duke took pos- 
session of Brescia, and shortly afterward of Genoa, contrary 
to the expectation of those who had advocated peace; for 
they thought Brescia would be defended by the Venetians, and 
Genoa would be able to defend herself. And as in the treaty 
which Filippo made with the Doge of Genoa^ he had acquired 
Serezana and other places situated on this side the Magra, upon 
condition that, if he wished to alienate them, they should be 
given to the Genoese, it was quite palpable that he had broken 
the treaty ; and he had beside, entered into another treaty with 
the legate of Bologna, in opposition to his engagement respect- 
ing the Panaro. These things disturbed the minds of the citi- 
zens, and made them, apprehensive of new troubles, consider 
the means to be adopted for their defence. 

The disastisfaction of the Florentines coming to the knowl- 
edge of Filippo, he, either to justify himself, or to become 
acquainted with their prevailing feelings, or to lull them to 
repose, sent ambassadors to the city, to intimate that he was 
greatly surprised at the suspicions they entertained, and offer to 
revoke whatever he had done that could be thought a ground of 
jealousy. This embassy produced no other effect than that 
of dividing the citizens ; one party, that in greatest reputation, 
judged it best to arm, and prepare to frustrate the enemy's de- 
signs ; and if he were to remain quiet, it would not be neces- 
sary to go to war with him, but an endeavor might be made to 
preserve peace. Many others, either envious of those in power, 
or fearing a rupture with the duke, considered it unadvisable 
so lightly to entertain suspicions of an ally, and thought his pro- 
ceedings need not have excited so much distrust ; that appoint- 
ing the Ten and hiring forces was in itself a manifest declara- 
tion of war, which, if undertaken against so great a prince, 
would bring certain ruin upon the city without the hope of any 
advantage ; for possession could never be retained of the con- 
quests that might be made, because Romagna lay between, and 
the vicinity of the Church ought to prevent any attempt against 
Romagna itself. However, the views of those who were in 
favor of war prevailed, the Council of Ten were appointed. 


forces were hired, and new taxes levied, which, as they were 
more burdensome upon the lower than the upper ranks, filled 
the city with complaints, and all condemned the ambition and 
avarice of the great, declaring that, to gratify themselves and 
oppress the people, they would go to war without any justifiable 

They had not yet come to an open rupture with the duke, 
but everything tended to excite suspicion; for Filippo had, 
at the request of the legate of Bologna (who was in fear 
of Antonio Bentivogli, an exile of Bologna at Castel Bo- 
lognese), sent forces to that city, which, being close upon the 
Florentine territory, filled the citizens with apprehension ; but 
what gave every one greater alarm, and oflFered sufficient oc- 
casion for the declaration of war, was the expedition made by 
the duke again Furli. Giorgio Ordelaffi, was Lord of Furli, 
who dying, left Tibaldo, his son, under the guardianship of 
Filippo. The boy's mother, suspicious of his guardian, sent 
him to Ludovico Alidossi, her father, who was Lord of 
Imola, but she was compelled by the people of Furli te obey 
the will of her deceased husband, to withdraw him from his 
natural guardian, and place him in the hands of the duke. 
Upon this Filippo, the better to conceal his purpose, caused 
the Marquis of Ferrara to send Guido Torello as his agent, 
with forces, to seize the government of Furli, and thus the 
territory fell into the duke's hands. When this was known 
at Florence, together with the arrival of forces at Bologna, the 
arguments in favor of war were greatly strengthened, but there 
were still many opposed to it, and among the rest Giovanni de' 
Medici, who publicly endeavored to show, that even if the ill 
designs of the duke were perfectly manifest, it would still be 
better to wait and let him commence the attack, than to assail 
him ; for in the former case they would be justified in the view 
of the princes of Italy as well as in their own ; but if they were 
to strike the first blow at the duke, public opinion would be as 
favorable to him as to themselves ; and besides^ they could not 
so confident!/ demand assistance as assailants, as they might 
do if assailed; and that men always defend themselves more 
vigorously when they attack others. The advocates of war 
considered it improper to await the enemy in their houses, and 
better to go and seek him ; that fortune is always more favor- 


able to assailants than to such as merely act .on the defensive, 
and that it is less injurious, even when attended with greater 
immediate expense, to make war at another's door than at our 
own. These views prevailed, and it was resolved that the Ten 
should provide all the means in their power for rescuing Furli 
from the hands of the duke. 

Filippo, finding the Florentines resolved to occupy the places 
he had undertaken to defend, postponed all personal consider- 
ations against Imola, that Ludovico, having to provide for the 
defence of his own possessions^ might be unable to protect the 
interests of his grandson. Agnolo approached Imola while the 
forces of the Florentines were at Modigliana, and an intense 
frost having rendered the ditches of the city passable, he 
crossed them during the nig^t, captured the place, and sent 
Ludovico a prisoner to Milan. The Florentines finding Imola 
in the hands of the enemy, and the war publicly known, sent 
their forces to Furli and besieged it on all sides. That the 
duke's people might not relieve it, they hired Count Alberigo, 
who from Zangonara, his own domain, overran the country 
daily, up to the gates of Imola. Agnolo della Pergola, finding 
the strong position which the Florentines had taken prevented 
him from relieving Furli, determined to attempt the capture of 
Zazonara, thinking they would not allow that place to be lost, 
and that in the endeavor to relieve it they would be compelled 
to give up their design against Furli, and come to an engage- 
ment under great disadvantage. Thus the duke's people com- 
pelled Alberigo to sue for terms, which he obtained on con- 
dition of giving up Zagonara, if the Florentines did not relieve 
him within fifteen days. This misfortune being known in the 
Florentine camp and in the city, and all being anxious that the 
enemy should not obtain the expected advantage, they enabled 
him to secure a greater; for having abandoned the siege of 
Furli to go to the relief of Zagonara, on encountering the enemy 
they were soon routed, not so much by the bravery of their ad- 
versaries as by the severity of the season ; for, having marched 
many hours through deep mud and heavy rain, they found the 
enemy quite fresh, and were therefore easily vanquished. 
Nevertheless, in this great defeat, famous throughout all Italy, 
no death occurred except those of Ludovico degli Obizi and 
two of his people, who having fallen from their horses were 
drowned in the morass. 


The Florentines Monnur against those who had been Advocates of the 
War— Rinaldo degli Albizzi Encourages the Citizens— Measures for 
the Prosecution of the War— Attempt of the Higher Qasses to De- 
prive the Plebeians of their Share in the Government— Rinaldo degli 
Albizzi Addresses an Assembly of Citizens and Advises the Restora- 
tion of the Crrond»— Niccolo da Uzzano Wishes to Have Giovanni de' 
Medici on their Side— Giovanni Disapproves the Advice of Rinaldo 
degli AlbizzL 

THE defeat of Zagonara spread consternation throughout 
Florence; but none felt it so severely as the nobility, 
who had been in favor of the war ; for they perceived 
their enemies to be inspirited and themselves disarmed, with- 
out friends, and opposed by the people, who at the comers of 
the streets insulted them with sarcastic expressions, complain- 
ing of the heavy taxes, and the unnecessary war, and saying: 
" Oh ! they appointed the Ten to frighten the enemy. Have they 
relieved Furli, and rescued her from the hands of the duke? 
No! but their designs have been discovered; and what had 
they in view ? not the defence of liberty, for they do not love 
her ; but to aggrandize their own power, which Godr has very 
justly abated. This is not the only enterprise by many a one 
with which they have oppressed the city ; for the war against 
King Ladislaus was of a similar kind. To whom will they flee 
for assistance now? To Pope Martin, whom they ridiculed be- 
fore the face of Braccio; or to Queen Giovanni, whom they 
abandoned, and compelled to throw herself under the protec- 
tion of the King of Arragon?" To these reproaches was 
added all that might be expected from an enraged multitude. 

Seeing the discontent so prevalent, the Signory resolved 
to assemble a few citizens, and with soft words endeavor to 
soothe the popular irritation. On this occasion, Rinaldo degli 
Albizzi, the eldest son of Maso, who, by his own talents and the 
respect he derived from the memory of his father, aspired to 



the first offices of the Government, spoke at great length ; show- 
ing that it is not right to judge of actions merely by their ef- 
fects; for it often happens that what has been very maturely 
considered is attended with unfavorable results : that if we are 
to applaud evil counsels because they are sometimes followed 
by fortunate events, we should only encourage men in error 
which would bring great mischief upon the republic ; because 
evil counsel is not always attended with happy consequences. 
In the same way, it would be wrong to blame a wise resolution, 
because of its being attended with an unfavorable issue; for 
by so doing, we should destroy the inclination of citizens to . 
offer advice and speak the truth. He then showed the pro- ' 
priety of undertaking the war ; and that if it had not been com- 
menced by the Florentines in Romagna the duke would have 
assailed them in Tuscany. But since it had pleased God, that 
the Florentine people should be overcome, their loss would be 
still greater if they allowed themselves to be dejected ; but if 
they set a bold front against adversity, and made good use of 
the means within their power, they would not be sensible of 
their loss or the duke of his victory. He assured them they 
ought not to be alarmed by impending expenses and consequent 
taxation ; because the latter might be reduced, and the future 
expense would not be so great as the former had been ; for less 
preparation is necessary for those engaged in self-defence 
than for those who design to attack others. He advised them 
to imitate the conduct of their forefathers, who, by courageous 
conduct in adverse circiunstances, had defended themselves 
against all their enemies. 

Thus encouraged, the citizens engaged Count Oddo the son 
of Braccio, and united with him, for directing the operations 
of the war, Niccolo Piccinino, a pupil of his father's, and one 
of the most celebrated of all who had served under him. To 
these they added other leaders, and remounted some of those 
who had lost their horses in the late defeat. They also ap- 
pointed twenty citizens to levy new taxes, who finding the great 
quite subdued by the recent loss, took courage and drained 
them without mercy. 

These burdens were very grievous to the nobility, who at 
first, in order to conciliate, did not complain of their own par- 
ticular hardships, but censured the tax generally as unjust, and 


advised that something should be done in the way of relief; 
but their advice was rejected in the councils. Therefore, to 
render the law as offensive as possible, and to make all sensible 
of its injustice, they contrived that the taxes should be levied 
with the utmost vigor, and made it lawful to kill any that might 
resist the officers employed to collect them. Hence followed 
many lamentable collisions, attended with the blood and death 
of citizens. It began to be the impression of all, that arms 
would be resorted to, and all prudent persons apprehended 
some approaching evil ; for the higher ranks, accustomed to be 
treated with respect, could not endure to be used like dogs ; and 
the rest were desirous that the taxation should be equalized. 
In consequence of this state of things, many of the first citizens 
met together, and it was resolved that it had become necessary 
for their safety, that some attempt should be made to recover 
the government ; since their want of vigilance had encouraged 
men to censure public actions, and allowed those to interfere 
in affairs who had hitherto been merely the leaders of the rab- 
ble. Having repeatedly discussed the subject, they resolved to 
meet again at an appointed hour, when upward of seventy citi- 
zens assembled in the Church of St. Stephen, with the permis- 
sion of Lorenzo Ridolfi and Francesco Gianfigliazzi, both mem- 
bers of the Signory. Giovanni de' Medici was not among them 
either because being under suspicion he was not invited, or that 
entertaining different views he was unwilling to interfere. 

Rinaldo degli Albizzi addressed the assembly, describing the 
condition of the city, and showing how by their own negligence 
it had again fallen under the power of the plebeians, from 
whom it had been wrested by their fathers in 1381. He re- 
minded them of the iniquity of the government which was in 
power from 1378 to 1381, and that all who were then present 
had to lament, some a father, others a grandfather, put to death 
by its tyranny. He assured them they were now in the same 
danger^ and that the city was sinking under the same disorders. 
The multitude had already imposed a tax of its own authority; 
and would soon, if not restrained by greater force or better reg- 
ulations, appoint the magistrates, who, in this case, would oc- 
cupy their places, and overturn the government which for forty- 
two years had ruled the dty with so much glory; the citizens 
would then be subject to the will of the multitude, and live di?^ 


orderly and dangeroos, or be under the command of some 
individual who might make himself prince. For these reasons 
he was of opinion, that whoever loved his country and his honor 
must arouse himself, and call to mind the virtue of Bardo Man- 
cini, who, by the ruin of the Alberti, rescued the city from the 
dangers then impending; and that the cause of the audacity 
now assumed by the multitude was the extensive squittini or 
pollings, which, by their negligence, were allowed to be made; 
for thus the palace had become filled with low men. He there- 
fore concluded, that the only means of remedying the evil was 
to restore the government to the nobility, and diminish the au- 
thority of the minor trades by reducing the companies from 
fourteen to seven, which would give the plebeians less authority 
in the councils, both by the reduction in their number and by 
increasing the authority of the great; who, on account of 
former enmities, would be disinclined to favor them. He 
added, that it is a good thing to know how to avail themselves 
of men according to the times ; and that as their fathers had 
used the plebeians to reduce the influence of the great, that now, 
the great having been humbled, and the plebeians become inso- 
lent, it was well to restrain the insolence of the latter by the 
assistance of the former. To effect this they might proceed 
either openly or otherwise, for some of them belonging to the 
C>uncil of Ten, forces might be led into the dty without ex- 
citing observation. 

Rinaldo was much applauded, and his advice was approved 
of by the whole assembly. Niccolo da Uzano, who, among 
others, replied to it, said : " All that Rinaldo had advanced was 
correct, and the remedies he proposed good and certain, if they 
could be adopted without an absolute division of the city ; and 
this he had no doubt would be effected if they could induce 
Giovanni de' Medici to join them ; for with him on their side, 
the multitude being deprived of their chief and stay, would 
be unable to oppose them ; but that if he did not concur with 
them they could do nothing without arms, and that with them 
they would incur the risk of being vanquished, or of not being 
able to reap the fruit of victory." He then modestly reminded 
them of what he had said upon a former occasion, and of their 
reluctance to remedy the evil when it might easily have been 
done ; that now the same remedy could not be attempted with- 


out incurring the danger of greater evils, and therefore there 
was nothing left for them to do but to gain him over to their 
side, if practicable. Rinaldo was then commissioned to wait 
upon Giovanni and try if he could induce him to join them. 

He tmdertook this commission, and in the most prevailing 
words he could make use of endeavored to induce him to coin- 
cide with their views ; and begged that he would not, by favor- 
ing an audacious mob, enable them to complete the ruin both 
of the government and the city. To this Giovanni replied, that 
he considered it the duty of a good and wise citizen to avoid 
altering the institutions to which a city is accustomed; there 
being nothing so injurious to the people as such a change ; for 
many are necessarily offended, and where there are several dis- 
contented, some unpropitious event may be constantly appre- 
hended. He said it appeared to him that their resolution would 
have two exceedingly pernicious effects; the one conferring 
honors on those who, having never possessed them, esteemed 
them the less, and therefore had the less occasion to grieve for 
their absence; the other taking them from those who being 
accustomed to their possesion would never be at rest till they 
were restored to them. It would thus be evident that the injury 
done to one party, was greater than the benefit they had con- 
ferred upon the other ; so that whoever was the author of the 
proposition, he would gain few friends and make many enemies, 
and that the latter would be more resolutely bent upon injuring 
him than the former would be zealous for his defence, for man- 
kind are naturally more disposed to revenge than to gratitude, 
as if the latter could only be exercised with some inconvenience 
to themselves, while the former brings alike gratification and 
profit. Then, directing his discourse more particularly to 
Rinaldo, he said : " And you, if you could call to mind past 
events, and knew how craftily affairs are conducted in this city, 
would not be so eager in this pursuit; for he who advises it, 
when by your aid he has wrested the power from the people, 
will, with the people's assistance, who will have become your 
enemies, deprive you of it. And it will happen to you as to 
Benedetto Alberti, who, at the persuasion of those who were 
not his friends, consented to the ruin of Giorgio Scali and 
Tommaso Strozzi; and shortly afterward was himself sent into 
exile by the very same men." He therefore advised Rinaldo 


to think more maturely of these things and endeavor to imitate 
his father, who, to obtain the benevolence of all, reduced the 
price of salt, provided that whoever owed taxes under half a 
florin should be at liberty to pay them or not, as he thought 
proper, and that at the meeting of the councils everyone should 
be free from the importunities of his creditors. He concluded 
by saying, that as regarded himself, he was disposed to let the 
government of the city remain as it was. 


Giovanni de' Medici Acquires the Favor of the People— Bravery of 
Biaggio del Melano— Baseness of Zanobi del Pino— The Florentines 
Obtain the Friendship of the Lord of Faenza— League of the Floren- 
tines with the Venetians — Origin of the Catasto— The Rich Citizens 
Discontented with It— Peace with the Duke of Milan— New Dis- 
turbances on Account of the Catasto. 

THESE events, and the circumstances attending them, be- 
coming known to the people, contributed greatly to 
increase the reputation of Giovanni, and brought odium 
on those who had made the proposals ; but he assumed an ap- 
pearance of indifference, in order to give less encouragement to 
those who by his influence were desirous of change. In his 
discourse he intimated to everyone that it is not advisable to 
promote factions, but rather to extinguish them ; and that what- 
ever might be expected of him, he only sought the union of the 
city. This, however, gave offence to many of his party; for 
they would have rather seen him exhibit greater activity. 
Among others so disposed, was Alamanno de' Medici, who be- 
ing of a restless disposition, never ceased exciting him to perse- 
cute enemies and favor friends ; condemning his coldness and 
slow method of proceeding, which he said was the cause of his 
enemies' practicing against him, and that these practices would 
one day effect the ruin of himself and his friends. He endea- 
vored to excite Cosmo, his son, with similar discourses; but 
Giovanni, for all that was either disclosed or foretold him, re- 
mained unmoved, although parties were now declared, and the 
city in manifest disunion. 

There were at the palace, in the service of the Signory, two 
chancellors, Ser Martino and Ser Pagolo. The latter favored 
the party of Niccolo da Uzano, the former that of Giovanni ; 
and Rinaldi, seeing Giovanni unwilling to join them, thought 
it would be advisable to deprive Ser Martino of his office, that 
he might have the palace more completely under his control. 



The design becoming known to his adversaries^ Ser Martino 
was retained and Ser Pagolo discharged, to the great injury 
and displeasure of Rinaldo and his party. This circumstance 
would soon have produced most mischievous eflFects, but for 
the war with which the city was threatened, and the recent de- 
feat suflFered at Zagonara, which served to check the audacity 
of the people ; for while these events were in progress at Flor- 
ence, Agnolo della Pergola, with the forces of the duke, had 
taken all the towns and cities possessed by the Florentines in 
Romagna, except Castrocaro and Modigliano; partly from the 
weakness of the places themselves, and partly by the miscon- 
duct of those who had the command of them. In the course 
of the campaign, two instances occurred which served to show 
how greatly courage is admired even in enemies, and how much 
cowardice and pusillanimity are despised. 

Biaggio del Melano was castellan in the fortress of Monte 
Petroso. Being surrounded by enemies, and seeing no chance 
of saving the place, which was already in flames, he cast clothes 
and straw from a part which was not yet on fire, and upon these 
he threw his two children, saying to the enemy, " Take to your- 
selves those goods which fortune has bestowed upon me, and of 
which you may deprive me; but those of the mind, in which 
my honor and glory consist, I will not give up, neither can you 
wrest them from me." The besi^;ers ran to save the children, 
and placed for their father ropes and ladders, by which to save 
himself, but he would not use them, and rather chose to die in 
the flames than owe his safety to the enemies of his country: 
an example worthy of that much lauded antiquity, which offers 
nothing to surpass it, and which we admire the more from the 
rarity of any similar occurrence. Whatever could be recovered 
from the ruins, was restored for the use of the children, and 
they were carefully conveyed to their friends ; nor was the re- 
public less grateful ; for as long as they lived, they were sup- 
ported at her charge. 

An example of an opposite character occurred at Galeata, 
where Zanobi del Pino was governor; he, without offering the 
least resistance, gave up the fortress to the enemy ; and besides 
this, advised Agnolo della Pergola to leave the Alps of Ro- 
magna, and come among the smaller hills of Tuscany, where 
he might carry on the war with less danger and greater ad- 


vantage. Agnolo could not endure the mean and base spirit of 
this man, and delivered him to his own attendants, who, after 
many reproaches, gave him nothing to eat but paper painted 
with snaikes, saying, that of a Guelf they would make him a 
Ghibelline ; and thus fasting, he died in a few days. 

At this time Count Oddo and Niccolo Piccinino entered the 
Val di Lamona, with the design of bringing the Lord of Faenza 
over to the Florentines, or at least inducing him to restrain the 
incursions of Agnolo della Pergola into Romagna; but as 
this valley is naturally strong, and its inhabitants war-like, 
Count Oddo was slain there, and Niccolo Piccinino sent a 
prisoner to Faenza. Fortune, however, caused the Florentines 
to obtain by their loss, what, perhaps, they would have failed 
to acquire by victory ; for Niccolo so prevailed with the Lord 
of Faenza and his mother, that they beoune friends of the Flor- 
entines. By this treaty, Niccolo Piccinino was set at liberty, 
but did not take the advice he had given others ; for while in 
treaty with the city, concerning the terms of his engagement, 
either the conditions proposed were insufficient, or he found 
better elsewhere; for quite suddenly he left Arezzo, where he 
had been staying, passed into Lombardy, and entered the ser- 
vice of the duke. 

The Florentines, alarmed by this circumstance, and reduced 
to despondency by their frequent losses, thought themselves 
unable to sustain the war alone, and sent ambassadors to the 
Venetians, to beg they would lend their aid to oppose the great- 
ness of one who, if allowed to aggrandize himself, would soon 
become as dangerous to them as to the Florentines themselves. 
The Venetians were advised to adopt the same course by Fran- 
cesco Carmignuola, one of the most distinguished warriors of 
those times, who had been in the service of the duke, and had 
afterward quitted it ; but they hesitated, hot knowing how far 
to trust him ; for they thought his enmity with the duke was 
only feigned. While in this suspense, it was found that the 
duke, by means of a servant of Carmignuola, had caused poison 
to be given him in his food, which, although it was not fatal, 
reduced him to extremity. The truth being discovered, the 
Venetians laid aside their suspicion ; and as the Florentines still 
solicited their assistance, a treaty was formed between the two 
powers, by which they agreed to carry on the war at the com- 


mon expense of both : the conquests in Lombardy to be assigned 
to the Venetians ; those in Romagna and Tuscany to the Floren- 
tines ; and Carmignuola was appointed Captain-general of the 
League. By this treaty the war was commenced in Lombardy, 
where it was admirably conducted ; for in a few months many 
places were taken from the duke, together with the city of 
Brescia, the capture of which was in those days considered a 
most brilliant exploit. 

The war had continued from 1422 to 1427, and the citizens 
of Florence were so wearied of the taxes that had been imposed 
during that time, that it was resolved to revise them, prepara- 
tory to their amelioration. That they might be equalized ac- 
cording to the means of each citizen, it was proposed that who- 
ever possessed property of the value of one hundred florins 
should pay half a florin of taxes. Individual contribution 
would thus be determined by an invariable rule, and not left 
to the discretion of parties ; and as it was found that the new 
method would press heavily upon the powerful classes, they 
used their utmost endeavors to prevent it from becoming law. 
Giovanni de' Medici alone declared himself in favor of it, and 
by his means it was passed. In order to determine the amount 
each had to pay, it was necessary to consider his property in the 
aggregate, which the Florentines call " Accatastare," and which 
in this application of it would signify " to rate or value," and 
hence this tax received the name of " Catasto." The new 
method of rating formed a powerful check to the tyranny of 
the great, who could no longer oppress the lower classes, or 
silence them with threats in the council as they had formerly 
done, and it therefore gave general satisfaction, though to the 
wealthy classes it was in the highest degree offensive. But as 
it is found men are never satisfied, but that the possession of 
one advantage only makes them desire more, the people, not 
content with the equality of taxation which the new law pro- 
duced, demanded that the same rule should be applied to past 
years ; that an investigation should be made to determine how 
much, according to the catasto, the rich had paid less than their 
share, and that they should now pay up to an equality with 
those who, in order to meet the demand unjustly made, had 
been compelled to sell their possessions. 

This proposal alarmed the great more than the catasto had 

14271 THE CATASTO 191 

done ; and in self-defence they unceasingly decried it, declaring 
it in the highest degree unjust in being laid not only on im- 
movable but movable property, which people possess to-day 
and lose to-morrow; that many persons have hidden wealth 
which the catasto cannot reach ; that those who leave their own 
affairs to manage those of the republic ought to be less bur- 
dened by her, it being enough for them to give their labor, 
and that it was unjust of the city to take both their property 
and their time, while of others she took only money. The ad- 
vocates of the catasto replied, that if movable property varies, 
the taxes would also vary, and frequently rating it would 
remedy the evil to which it was subject; that it was unneces- 
sary to mention those who possessed hidden property; for it 
would be tmreasonable to take taxes for that which produced 
no interest, and that if it paid anything, it could not fail to be 
discovered ; that those who did not like to labor for the republic 
might cease to do so; for no doubt she would find plenty of 
loving citizens who would take pleasure in assisting her with 
both money and counsel : that the advantages and honors of a 
participation in the government are so great, that of themselves 
they are a sufficient remuneration to those who thus employ 
themselves, without wishing to be excused from paying their 
share of taxes. But, they added, the real grievance had not 
been mentioned : for those who were offended with the catasto, 
regretted they could no longer involve the city in all the diffi- 
culties of war without injury to themselves, now that they had 
to contribute like the rest ; and that if this law had then been 
in force they would not have gone to war with King Ladislaus, 
or the Duke Filippo, both which enterprises had been com- 
menced not through necessity, but to impoverish the citizens. 
The excitement was appeased by Giovanni de' Medici, who 
said, " It is not well to go into things so long past, unless to 
learn something for our present guidance; and if in former 
times the taxation has been unjust, we ought to be thankful, 
that we have now discovered a method of making it equitable, 
and hope that this will be the means of uniting the citizens, 
not of dividing them ; which would certainly be the case were 
they to attempt the recovery of taxes for the past, and make 
them equal to the present ; and that he who is content with a 
moderate victory is always most successful; for those who 


would more than conquer, commonly lose." With such words 
as these he calmed the disturbance, and this retrospective equal- 
ization was no longer contemplated* 

The war with the duke still continued; but peace was at 
length restored by means of a legate of the Pope. The duke, 
however, from the first disregarded the conditions, so that the 
league again took arms, and meeting the enemy's forces at 
Maclovio routed them. After this defeat the duke again made 
proposals for peace, to which the Venetians and Florentines 
both agreed ; the former from jealousy of the Venetians, think- 
ing they had spent quite enough money in the aggrandizement 
of others; the latter, because they found Carmignuolo, after 
the defeat of the duke, proceed but coldly in their cause ; so that 
they thought it no longer safe to trust him. A treaty was there- 
fore concluded in 1428, by which the Florentines recovered the 
places they had lost in Romagna ; and the Venetians kept Bres- 
cia, to which the duke added Bergamo and the country around 
it. In this war the Florentines expended 3,500,000 ducats, 
extended the territory and power of the Venetians, and brought 
poverty and disunion upon themselves. 

Being at peace with their neighbors, domestic troubles 
recommenced. The great citizens could not endure the catasto, 
and not knowing how to set it aside, they endeavored to raise 
up more numerous enemies to the measure, and thus provide 
themselves with allies to assist them in annulling it. They 
therefore instructed the officers appointed to levy the tax, that 
the law required them to extend the catasto over the property 
of their nearest neighbors, to see if Florentine wealth was con- 
cealed among it. The dependent states were therefore ordered 
to present a schedule of their property against a certain time. 
This was extremely offensive to the people of Volterra, who 
sent to the Signory to complain of it ; but the officers, in great 
wrath, committed eighteen of the complainants to prison. The 
Volterrani, however, out of a regard for their fellow-country- 
men who were arrested^ did not proceed to any violence. 


Death of Giovanni de' Medici— His Character— Insurrection of Voltem 
— Volterra Returns to her Allegiance— Niccolo Fortebraccio Attacks 
the Lucchese— Diversity of Opinion upon the Lucchese War— War 
with Lucca— Astorre Gianni and Rinaldo degli Albizzi Appointed Com- 
missaries—Violence of Astorre Gianni. 

ABOUT this time Giovanni de' Medici was taken ill, and, 
finding his end approach, called his sons Cosmo and 
Lorenzo to him, to give them his last advice, and said, 
'* I find I have nearly reached the term which God and nature 
appointed at my birth, and I die content, knowing that I leave 
you rich, healthy, and of such standing in society, that if you 
pursue the same course that I have, you will live respected in 
Florence, and in favor with everyone. Nothing cheers me so • 
much at this moment, as the recollection that I have never wil- 
fully oflFended anyone; but have always used my utmost en- 
deavors to confer benefits upon all. I would have you do so 
too. With regard to state aflFairs, if you would live in security, 
take just such a share as the laws and your countrymen think 
proper to bestow, thus you will escape both danger and envy; 
for it is not what is given to any individual, but what he has 
determined to possess, that occasions odium. You will thus 
have a larger share than those who endeavor to engross more 
than belongs to them ; for they thus usually lose their own, and 
before they lose it, live in constant disquiet. By adopting this 
method, although among so many enemies, and surrounded by 
so many conflicting interests, I have not only maintained my 
reputation but increased my influence. If you pursue the same 
course, you will be attended by the same good fortune ; if other- 
wise, you may be assured, your end will resemble that of those 
who in our own times have brought ruin both upon themselves 
and their families.'' 
Soon after this interview with his sons, Giovanni died, re- 
13 193 


gretted by everyone, as his many excellences deserved. He 
was compassionate; not only bestowing alms on those who 
asked them, but very frequently relieved the necessities of the 
poor, without having been solicited so to do. He loved all; 
praised the good, and pitied the infirmities of the widced. He 
never sought the honors of government ; yet enjoyed diem all ; 
and never went to the palace unless by request He loved peace 
and shunned war; relieved mankind in adversity, and assisted 
them in prosperity ; never applied the public money to his own 
uses, but contributed to the public wealth. He was courteous 
in oflSce ; not a man of great eloquence, but possessed of extraor- 
dinary prudence. His demeanor expressed melancholy; but 
after a short time his conversaticni became pleasant and face- 
tious. He died exceedingly rich in money, but still more in 
good fame and the best wishes of mankind; and the wealth 
and respect he left behind him were not only preserved but in- 
creased by his son G>snio. 

The Volterran ambassadors grew weary of lying in prison, 
and to obtain their liberty, promised to comply with the de 
mands of the Florentines. Being set free and returned to their 
city, the time arrived for their new priors to enter upon office, 
and among those who were drawn, was one named Giusto, a 
plebeian, but possessing great influence with his class, and one 
of those who had been imprisoned at Florence. He, being 
inflamed with hatred against the Florentines on account of his 
public as well as personal injuries, was further stimulated by 
Giovanni di' Contugi, a man of noble family, and his colleagues 
in office, to induce the people, by the authority of the priors and 
his own influence, to withdraw their country from the power of 
the Florentines, and make himself prince. Prompted by these 
motives, Giusto took arms, rode through the city, seized the 
Capitano, who resided in it, on behalf of the Florentines, and 
with the consent of the people, became Lord of Volterra. This 
circumstance greatly displeased the Florentines; but having 
just made peace with the duke, and the treaty being yet unin- 
fringed on either side, they thought themselves in a condition 
to recover the place ; and that the opportunity might not be lost, 
they immediately appointed Rinaldo degli Albizzi and Palla 
Strozzi conunissaries, and sent them upon the expedition. In 
the meantime, Giusto, who expected the Florentines would at- 


tack him, requested assistance of Lucca and Sienna. The latter 
refused, alleging her alliance with Florence ; and Pagolo Guin- 
igi, to regain the favor of the Florentines, which he imagined 
he had lost in the war with the duke and by his friendship 
for Filippo, not only refused assistance to Giusto, but sent his 
messenger a prisoner, to Florence. 

The commissaries, to come upon the Volterrani unawares, 
assembled their cavalry, and having raised a good body of in- 
fantry in the Val d'Amo Inferiore, and the country about Pisa, 
proceeded to Volterra. Although attacked by the Florentines 
and abandoned by his neighbors, Giusto did not yield to fear ; 
but, trusting to the strength of the city and the ruggedness of 
the country around it, prepared for his defence. 

There lived at Volterra, one Arcolano, brother of that Gio- 
vanni Contugi who had persuaded Giusto to assume the com- 
mand. He possessed influence among the nobility, and having 
assembled a few of his most confidential friends, he assured 
them that by this event, God had come to the relief of their 
necessities; for if they would only take arms, deprive Giusto 
of the Signory, and give up the city to the Florentines, they 
might be sure of obtaining the principal offices, and the place 
would retain all its ancient privileges. Having gained them 
over, they went to the palace in which Giusto resided ; and while 
part of them remained below, Arcolano, with three others, pro- 
ceeded to the chamber above, where, finding him with some 
citizens, they drew him aside, as if desirous to communicate 
something of importance, and conversing on different subjects, 
led him to the lower apartment, and fell upon him with their 
swords. They, however, were not so quick as to prevent Giusto 
from making use of his own weapon ; for with it he seriously 
wounded two of them ; but being unable to resist so many, he 
was at last slain, and his body thrown into the street. Arcolano 
and his party gave up the city to the Florentine commissaries, 
who, being at hand with their forces, immediately took posses- 
sion ; but the condition of Volterra was worse than before ; for 
among other things which operated to her disadvantage, most 
of the adjoining country was separated from her, and she ¥ras 
reduced to the rank of a vicariate. 

Volterra having been lost and recovered almost at the same 
time, present circumstances afforded nothing of sufficient im« 


portance to occasion a new war, if ambition had not again pro- 
voked one. Niccolo Fortebraccio, the son of a sister of Braccio 
da Perugia, had been in the service of the Florentines during 
most of their wars with the duke. Upon the restoration of 
peace he was discharged ; but when the affair of Volterra took 
place, being encamped with his people at Fucecchio, the com- 
missaries availed themselves both of himself and his forces. 
Some thought that while Rinaldo conducted the expedition 
along with him, he persuaded him, under one pretext or an- 
other, to attack the Lucchese, assuring him, that if he did so» 
the Florentines would consent to tmdertake an expedition 
against them, and would appoint him to the command. When 
Volterra was recovered, and Niccolo returned to his quarters 
at Fucecchio, he, either at the persuasion of Rinaldo, or of his 
own accord, in November, 1429, took possession of Ruoti and 
Compito, castles belonging to the Lucchese, with three hundred 
cavalry and as many infantry, and then descending into the 
plain, plundered the inhabitants to a vast amount. The news 
of this incursion having reached Florence, persons of all classes 
were seen gathered in parties throughout the city discussing 
the matter, and nearly all were in favor of an expedition against 
Lucca. Of the Grandees thus disposed, were the Medici and 
their party, and with them also Rinaldo, either because he 
thought the enterprise beneficial to the republic, or induced 
by his own ambition and the expectation of being appointed 
to the command. Niccolo da Uzano and his party were op- 
posed to the war. 

It seems scarcely credible that such contrary opinions should 
prevail, though at different times, in the same men and the same 
city, upon the subject of war ; for the same citizens and people 
that, during the ten years of peace, had incessantly blamed the 
war undertaken against Duke Filippo, in defence of liberty, 
now, after so much expense and trouble, with their utmost 
energy, insisted on hostilities against Lucca, which, if success- 
ful, would deprive that city of her liberty ; while those who had 
been in favor of a war with the duke, were opposed to the 
present; so much more ready are the multitude to covet the 
possessions of others than to preserve their own, and so much 
more easily are they led by the hope of acquisition than by 
the fear of loss. The suggestions of the latter appear incred- 

14291 WAR PROJECTED 197 

ible till they are verified; and the pleasing anticipations of 
the former are cherished as facts, even while the advantages 
are very problematical, or at best, remote. The people of 
Florence were inspired with hope, by the acquisitions which 
Niccolo Fortebraccio had made, and by letters received from 
their rectors in the vicinity of Lucca; for their deputies at 
Vico and Pescia had written, that if permission were given to 
them to receive the castles that oflfered to surrender, the whole 
country of Lucca would very soon be obtained. It must, how- 
ever, be added, that an ambassador was sent by the Governor 
of Lucca to Florence, to complain of the attack made by Nic- 
colo, and to entreat that the Signory would not make war 
against a neighbor, and a city that had always been friendly 
to them. The ambassador was Jacopo Viviani, who, a short 
time previously had been imprisoned by Pagolo Guinigi, Gov- 
ernor of Lucca, for having conspired against him. Although 
he had been found guilty, his life was spared, and as Pagolo 
thought the forgiveness mutual, he reposed confidence, in him. 
Jacopo, more mindful of the danger he had incurred than of 
the lenity exercised toward him, on his arrival in Florence 
secretly instigated the citizens to hostilities; and these insti- 
gations, added to other hopes, induced the Signory to call the 
Council together, at which 498 citizens assembled, before whom 
the principal men of the city discussed the question. 

Among the first who addressed the assembly in favor of 
the expedition, was Rinaldo. He pointed out the advantage 
that would accrue from the acquisition, and justified the en- 
terprise from its being left open to them by the Venetians and 
the Duke, and that as the Pope was engaged in the affairs oi 
Naples, he could not interfere. He then remarked upon the 
facility of the expedition, showing that Lucca, being now in 
bondage to one of her own citizens, had lost her natural vigor 
and former anxiety for the preservation of her liberty, and 
would either be surrendered to them by the people in order to 
expel the tyant, or by the tyrant for fear of the people. He 
recalled the remembrance of the injuries done to the repub- 
lic by the Governor of Lucca ; his malevolent disposition tow- 
ard them; and their embarrassing situation with regard to 
him, if the Pope or the duke were to make war upon them ; 
and concluded that no enterprise was ever undertaken by the 




people of Florence with such perfect facility, more positive ad- 
vantage, or greater justice in its favor. 

In reply to this, Niccolo da Uzano stated that the city of 
Florence never entered on a more unjust or more dangerous 
project, or one more pregnant with evil, than this. In first 
place they were going to attack a Guelfic city, that had al- 
ways been friendly to the Florentine people, and had fre- 
quently, at great hazard, received the Guelfs into her bosom 
when they were expelled from their own coimtry. That in 
the history of the past there was not an instance, while Lucca 
was free, of her having done an injury to the Florentines ; and 
that if they had been injured by her enslavers, as formerly by 
Castruccio, and now by the present Governor, the fault was 
not in the city, but in her tyrant. That if they could assail the 
latter without detriment to the people, he should have less 
scruple, but as this was impossible, he could not consent that 
a city which had been friendly to Florence should be plundered 
of her wealth. However, as it was usual at present to pay lit- 
tle or no regard either to equity or injustice, he would consider 
the matter solely with reference to the advant^;e of Florence. 
He thought that what could not easily be attended by per- 
nicious consequences might be esteemed useful, but he could 
not imagine how an enterprise should be called advantageous 
in which the evils were certain and the utility doubtful. The 
certain evils were the expenses with which it would be attended ; 
and these, he foresaw, would be sufficiently great to alarm 
even a people that had long been in repose, much more one 
wearied, as they were, by a tedious and expensive war. The 
advantage that might be gained was the acquisition of Lucca, 
which he acknowledged to be great ; but the hazards were so 
enormous and immeasurable, as in his opinion to render the 
conquest quite impossible. He could not induce himself to 
believe that the Venetians, or Filippo, would willingly allow 
them to make the acquisition ; for the former only consented 
in appearance, in order to avoid the semblance of ingratitude, 
having so lately, with Florentine money, acquired such an ex- 
tent of dominion. That as regarded the duke, it would greatly 
gratify him to see them involved in new wars and expenses; 
for, being exhausted and defeated on all sides, he might again 
assail them ; and that if, after having undertaken it, their en- 


terprise against Lucca were to prove successful, and oflFer them 
the fullest hope of victory, the duke would not want an op- 
portunity of frustrating their labors, either by assisting the 
Lucchese secretly with money, or by apparently disbanding 
his own troops, and then sending them, as if they were soldiers 
of fortune, to their relief. 

He therefore advised that they should give up the idea, and 
behave toward the tyrant in such a way as to create him as 
many enemies as possible; for there was no better method 
of reducing Lucca than to let her live under the tyrant, op- 
pressed and exhausted by him; for, if prudently managed, 
that city would soon get into such a condition that he could 
not retain it, and being ignorant or unable to govern itself, it 
must of necessity fall into their power. But he saw that his 
discourse did not please them, and that his words were un- 
heeded; he would, however, predict this to them, that they 
were about to commence a war in which they would expend 
vast sums, incur great domestic dangers, and instead of be- 
coming masters of Lucca, they would deliver her from her 
tyrant, and of a friendly city, feeble and oppressed, they would 
make one free and hostile, and that in time she would become 
an obstacle to the greatness of their own republic. 

The question having been debated on both sides, they pro- 
ceeded to vote, as usual^ and of the citizens present only ninety- 
eight were against the enterprise. Thus determined in favor 
of war, they appointed a Council of Ten for its management, 
and hired forces, both horse and foot. Astorre Gianni and 
Rinaldo degli Albizzi were appointed commissaries, and Nic- 
colo Fortebraccio, on agreeing to give up to the Florentines 
the places he had taken, was engaged to conduct the enterprise 
as their captain. The commissaries having arrived with the 
army in the country of Lucchese, divided their forces; one 
part of which, under Astorre, extended itself along the plain, 
toward Camaiore and Pietrasanta, while Rinaldo, with the 
other division, took the direction of the hills, presuming that 
when the citizens found themselves deprived of the surround- 
ing country, they would easily submit. The proceedings of 
the commissaries were unfortunate, not that they failed to 
occupy many places, but from the complaints made against 
them ot mismanaging the operations of the war; and As- 


torre Giaiiiii had certainly gmn very u i flii inil cause lor the 
diasiges against him. 

There is a fertile and popoloos TaDcy near Hetrasanta, called 
Seravezza, whose inhalritants, on leamii^ the arrival of the 
commissary, presented themselves before him, and b^Qged he 
would receive them as faithful subjects of the Florentine re- 
public Astorre pretended to accept their proposal, but im- 
mediately ordered his forces to take possession of all the passes 
and strong positions of the valley, assembled the men in the 
principal church, took them all prioners, and then caused his 
people to plunder and destroy the whole country, with the 
greatest avarice and cruelty, making no distinction in favor of 
consecrated places, and violating the women, both married and 
single. These things being known in Florence, diq>leased not 
only the magistraqr, but the wfade dty. 


The Inhabitants of Seravezza Appeal to the Signory— Complaints against 
Rinaldo degli Albizzi — ^The Commissaries Changed — Filippo Brunei* 
leschi Proposes to Submerge the Country about Lucca— Pagolo Guinigi 
asks Assistance of the Duke of Milan — ^The Duke sends Francesco 
Sforza — Pagolo Guinigi Expelled— The Florentines Routed by the 
Forces of the Duke — The Acquisitions of the Lucchese after the Vic- 
tory — Conclusion of the War. 

A FEW of the inhabitants of the valley of Seravezza, hav- 
ing escaped, the hands of the commissary, came to 
Florence and acquainted everyone in the streets with 
their miserable situation; and by the advice of those who, 
either through indignation at his wickedness or from being of 
the opposite party, wished to punish the commissary, they went 
to the Council of Ten, and requested an audience. This being 
granted, one of them spoke to the following effect : 

"We feel assured. Magnificent Lords, that we shall find 
credit and compassion from the Signory, when you learn how 
your commissary has taken possession of our country, and 
in what manner he has treated us. Our valley, as the memor- 
ials bf your ancient houses abundantly testify, was always 
Guelfic, and has often proved a secure retreat to your citi- 
zens when persecuted by the Ghibellines. Our forefathers, 
and ourselves too, have always revered the name of this noble 
republic as the leader and head of their party. While the Luc- 
chese were Guelfs we willingly submitted to their govern- 
ment ; but when enslaved by the tyrant, who forsook his old 
friends to join the Ghibelline faction, we have obeyed him 
more through force than goodwill. And God knows how 
often we have prayed, that we might have an opportunity of 
showing our attachment to our ancient party. But how blind 
are mankind in their wishes ! That which we desired for our 
safety has proved our destruction. As soon as we learned that 
your ensigns were approaching, we hastened to meet your 



commissary, not as an enemy, but as the representative of our 
ancient lords ; placed our valley^ our persons, and our fortunes 
in his hands, and commended them to his good faith, believ- 
ing him to possess the soul, if not of a Florentine, at least of 
a man. 

'' Your lordships will forgive us ; for, unable to support his 
cruelties, we are compelled to speak. Your commissary has 
nothing of a man but the shape, nor of a Florentine but the 
name ; a more deadly pest, a more savage beast^ a more horrid 
monster, never was imagined in the human mind; for, hav- 
ing assembled us in our church, under pretence of wishing to 
speak with us, he made us prisoners. He then burnt and de- 
stroyed the whole valley, carried oflf our property, ravaged 
every place, destroyed everything, violated the women, dis- 
honored the virgins, and dragging them from the arms of their 
mothers, gave them up to the brutality of his soldiery. If 
by any injury to the Florentine people we merited such treat- 
ment, or if he had vanquished us armed in our defence, we 
should have less reason for complaint; we should have ac- 
cused ourselves, and thought that either our mismanagement 
or our arrogance had deservedly brought the calamity upon 
us; but after having freely presented ourselves to him un- 
armed, to be robbed and plundered with such unfeeling bar- 
barity, is more than we can bear. And though we might have 
filled Lombardy with complaints and charges against this city, 
and spread the story of our misfortunes over the whole of 
Italy, we did not wish to slander so just and pious a republic, 
with the baseness and perfidy of one wicked citizen, whose 
cruelty and avarice, had we known them before our ruin was 
complete, we should have endeavored to satiate (though in- 
deed they are insatiable and boundless), and with one-half 
of our property have saved the rest. But the opportunity is 
past ; we are compelled to have recourse to you, and beg that 
you will succor the distresses of your subjects, that others 
may not be deterred by our example from submitting them- 
selves to your authority. And if our extreme distress cannot 
prevail with you to assist us, be induced, by your fear of the 
wrath of God, who has seen his temple plundered and burnt, 
and his people betrayed in his bosom." 

Having said this, they threw themselves on the ground, 


crying aloud, and praying that their property and their coun- 
try might be restored to them ; and that if the Signory could 
not give them back their honor, they would, at least, restore 
husbands to their wives, and children to their fathers. The 
atrocity of the affair having already been made known, and 
now by the living words of the sufferers presented before them, 
excited the compassion of the magistracy. They ordered the 
immediate return of Astorre, who being tried, was found 
guilty, and admonished. They sought the goods of the in- 
habitants of Seravezza; all that could be recovered was re- 
stored to them, and as time and circumstances gave opportunity, 
they were compensated for the rest. 

Complaints were made against Rinaldo degli Albizzi, that 
he carried on the war, not for the advantage of the Florentine 
people, but his own private emolument; that as soon as he 
was appointed commissary, he lost all desire to take Lucca, 
for it was sufficient for him to plunder the country, fill his 
estates with cattle, and his house with booty ; and, not content 
with what his own satellites took, he purchased that of the 
soldiery, so that instead of a commissary he had become a 
merchant. These calumnies coming to his ears, disturbed the 
temper of this proud but upright man, more than quite became 
his dignity. He was so exasperated against the citizens and 
magistracy, that without waiting for or asking permission, he 
returned to Florence, and, presenting himself before the Coun- 
cil of Ten, he said, that he well knew how difficult and danger- 
ous a thing it was to serve an unruly people and a divided 
city; for the one listens to every report, the other pursues 
improper measures ; they neglect to reward good conduct, and 
heap censure upon whatever appears doubtful; so that vic- 
tory wins no applause, error is accused by all, and if vanquished, 
universal condemnation is incurred; from one's own party 
through envy, and from enemies through hatred, persecution 
results. He confessed that the baseness of the present calum- 
nies had conquered his patience and changed the temper of 
his mind ; but he would say, he had never, for fear of a false 
accusation, avoided doing what appeared to him beneficial to 
the city. However, he trusted the magistrates would in future 
be more ready to defend their fellow citizens, so that the lat- 
ter might continue anxious to effect the prosperity of their 


country; that as it was not customary at Florence to award 
triumphs for success, they ought at least to be protected from 
calummy ; and that being citizens themselves, and at any mo- 
ment liable to false accusations, they might easily conceive 
how painful it is to an upright mind to be oppressed with 

The Ten endeavored, as well as circumstances would admit, 
to soothe the acerbity of his feelings, and confided the care of 
the expedition to Neri di Gino and Alamanno Salviati, who, 
instead of overrunning the country, advanced near to Lucca. 
As the weather had become extremely cold, the forces estab- 
lished themselves at Campannole, which seemed to the com- 
misaries waste of time ; and wishing to draw nearer the place, 
the soldiery refused to comply, although the Ten had insisted 
they should pitch their camp before the city, and would not 
hear of any excuse. 

At that time there lived at Florence, a very distinguished 
architect, named Filippo di Ser Brunelleschi, of whose works 
our city is full, and whose merit was so extraordinary, that 
after his death, his statue in marble was erected in the prin- 
cipal church, with an inscription underneath, which still bears 
testimony, to those who read it, of his great talents. This 
man pointed out, that in consequence of the relative positions 
of the river Serchio and the city of Lucca, the waters of the 
river might be made to inundate the surrounding country, and 
place the city in a kind of lake. His reasoning on this point 
appeared so clear, and the advantage to the beseigers so ob- 
vious and inevitable, that the Ten were induced to make the 
experiment. The result, however, was quite contrary to their 
: expectation, and produced the utmost disorder in the Floren- 
tine camp ; for the Lucchese raised high embankments in the 
direction of the ditch made by our people to conduct the waters 
of the Serchio, and one night cut through the' embankment of 
the ditch itself, so that having first prevented the water from 
taking the course designed by the architect, they now caused 
it to overflow the plain, and compelled the Florentines, instead 
of approaching the city as they wished, to take a more remote 

This design having failed, the Council of Ten, who had 
been re-elected, sent as commissary, Giovanni Guicciardini, 


who encamped before Lucca, with all possible expedition. 
Pagolo Guinigi finding himself thus closely pressed, by the ad- 
vice of Antonio del Rosso, then representative of the Siennese 
at Lucca, sent Salvestro Trento and Leonardo Bonvisi to Milan, 
to request assistance from the duke; but finding him indis- 
posed to comply, they secretly engaged, on the part of the 
people, to deliver their governor up to him and give him 
possession of the place; at the same time, intimating, that if 
he did not immediately follow this advice, he would not long 
have the opportunity, since it was the intention of Pagolo to 
surrender the city to the Florentines, who were very anxious 
to obtain it. The duke was so much alarmed with this idea, 
that, setting aside all other considerations, he caused Count 
Francesco Sforza, who was engaged in his service, to make 
a public request for permission to go to Naples; and having 
obtained it, he proceeded with his forces directly to Lucca, 
though the Florentines, aware of the deception, and apprehen- 
sive of the consequences, had sent to the count, Boccocino 
Alamanni, his friend, to frustrate this arrangement. Upon the 
arrival of the count at Lucca, the Florentines removed their 
camp to Librafatta, and the count proceeded immediately to 
Pescia, where Pagolo Diacceto was lieutenant-governor, who, 
prompted by fear rather than any better motive, fled to Pistoia, 
and if the place had not been defended by Giovanni Malavolti, 
to whom the command was intrusted, it would have been lost. 
The count failing in his attempt, went to Borgo a Buggiano, 
which he took, and burned the castle of Stigliano, in the same 

The Florentines, being informed of these disasters, found 
they must have recourse to those remedies which upon former 
occasions had often proved useful. Knowing that with mer- 
cenary soldiers, when force is insufiicient, corruption commonly 
prevails, they offered the count a large sum of money on con- 
dition that he should quit the city, and give it up to them. 
The count finding that no more money was to be had from 
Lucca, resolved to take it of those who had it to dispense, and 
agreed with the Florentines, not to give them Lucca, which 
for decency he could not consent to, but to withdraw his troops, 
and abandon it, on condition of receiving 50,000 ducats ; and 
having made its agreement, to induce the Lucchese to excuse 


him to the duke» he consented that they should expel their 

Antonio del Rosso, as we remarked above, was Siennese 
Ambassador at Lucca, and with the authority of the coimt he 
contrived the ruin of Pagolo Guinigi. The heads of the con- 
spiracy were Pierro Cennami and Giovanni da Chivizzano. 
The count resided upon the Serchio, at a short distance from 
the city, and with him was Lanzilao, the son of Pagolo. The 
conspirators, about forty in number, went armed at night in 
search of Pagolo, who, on hearing die noise they made, came 
toward them quite astonished, and demanded the cause of their 
visit ; to which Piero Cennami replied, that they had long been 
governed by him, and led about s^inst the enemy, to die either 
by hunger or the sword, but were resolved to govern them- 
selves for the future, and demanded the keys of the city and 
the treasure. Pagolo said the treasurie was consumed, but the 
keys and himself were in their power; he only begged that 
as his command had begun and continued without bloodshed, 
it might conclude in the same manner. G>unt Francesco con- 
ducted Pagolo and his son to the duke, and they afterward 
died in prison. 

The departure of the count having delivered Lucca from 
her tyrant, and the Florentines from their fear of his soldiery, 
the former prepared fo he defence, and the latte resumed the 
siege. Thy appointd the Count of Urbino to conduct their 
forces, and he pressed the Lucchese so closely, that they were 
again compelled to ask assistance of the duke, who dispatched 
Niccolo Piccinino, under the same pretence as he previously 
sent Count Francesco. The Florentine forces met him on his 
approach to Lucca, and at the passage of the Serchio a battle 
ensued, in which they were routed, the commissary with a few 
of his men escaping to Pisa. This defeat filled the Floren- 
tines with dismay, and as the enterprise had been undertaken 
with the entire approbation of the great body of the people, 
they did not know whom to find fault with, and therefore railed 
against those who had been appointed to the management of 
the war, reviving the charges made against Rinaldo. They 
were, however, more severe against Giovanni Guicciardini than 
any other, declaring that if he had wished, he might have put 
a period to the war at the departure of Count Francesco, but 


that he had been bribed with money, for he had sent home a 
large sum, naming the party who had been intrusted to bring 
it, and the persons to whom it had been delivered. These com- 
plaints and accusations were carried to so great a length that 
the Captain of the People, induced by the public voice, and 
pressed by the party opposed to the war, summoned him to 
trial. Giovanni appeared, though full of indignation. How- 
ever his friends, from regard to their own character, adopted 
such a course with the Capitano as induced him to abandon 
the inquiry. 

After this victory, the Lucchese not only recovered the 
places that had belonged to them, but occupied all the country 
of Pisa except Bientina, Calcinaja, Livomo, and Librafatta; 
and, had not a conspiracy been discovered that was formed in 
Pisa, they would have secured that city also. The Floren- 
tines again prepared for battle, and appointed Micheletto, a 
pupil of Sforza, to be their leader. The duke, on the other 
hand, followed up this victory, and that he might bring a 
greater power against the Florentines, induced the Genoese, 
the Siennese, and the Governor of Piombino, to enter into a 
league for the defence of Lucca, and to engage Niccolo Pic- 
cinino to conduct their forces. Having by this step declared 
his design, the Venetians and Florentines renewed their league, 
and the war was carried on openly in Tuscany and iJombardy, 
in each of which several battles were fought with variety of 
fortune. At length, both sides being wearied out, they came to 
terms for the cessation of hostilities, in May, 1433. By this 
arrangement the Florentines, Lucchese, and Siennese, who had 
each occupied many fortresses belonging to the others, gave 
them all up, and each party resumed its original possessions. 


Cosmo de' Medici, his Character and Mode of Proceeding-— The Great- 
ness of Cosmo Excites the Jealousy of the Citizens — ^The Opinion of 
Niccolo da Uzano— Scandalous Divisions of the Florentines— Death of 
Niccolo da Uzano— Bernardo Guadagni, Gonfalonier, Adopts Measures 
against Cosmo— Cosmo Arrested in the Palace — He is Apprehensive 
of Attempts against his Life. 

DURING the war the malignant humors of the city were 
in constant activity. Cosmo de' Medici, after the 
death of Giovanni, engaged more earnestly in public 
affairs, and conducted himself with more zeal and boldness in 
regard to his friends than his father had done, so that those 
who rejoiced at Giovanni's death, finding what the son was 
likely to become, perceived they had no cause for exultation. 
Cosmo was one of the most prudent of men; of grave and 
courteous demeanor, extremely liberal and humane. He never 
attempted anything against parties, or against rulers, but was 
bountiful to all ; and, by the unwearied generosity of his dis- 
position, made himself partisans of all ranks of the citizens. 
This mode of proceeding increased the difficulties of those who 
were in the government, and Cosmo himself hoped that by its 
pursuit he might be able to live in Florence as much respected 
and as secure as any other citizen ; or if the ambition of his 
adversaries ccwnpelled him to adopt a different course, arms 
and the favor of his friends would enable him to become more 
so. Averardo de' Medici and Puccio Pucci were greatly in- 
strumental in the establishment of his power; the former by 
his boldness, the latter by unusual prudence and sagacity, con- 
tributed to his aggrandizement. Indeed the advice and wis- 
dom of Puccio were so highly esteemed, that Cosmo's party 
was rather distinguished by the name of Puccio than by his 

By this divided city the enterprise against Lucca was un- 
dertaken ; and the bitterness of party spirit, instead of being 




abated, increased. Although the friends of Cosmo had been 
in favor of it, many of the adverse faction were sent to assist 
in the management, as being men of greater influence in the 
state. Averardo de' Medici and the rest being unable to pre- 
vent this, endeavored with all their might to calumniate them ; 
and when any unfavorable circumstance occurred, (and there 
w^ere many), fortune and the exertions of the enemy were never 
supposed to be the causes, but solely the want of capacity in 
the commissary. This disposition aggravated the offences of 
Astorre Gianni ; this excited the indignation of Rinaldo degli 
Albizzi, and made him resign his commission without leave; 
this, too, compelled the Captain of the People to require the ap- 
pearance of Giovanni Guicciardini, and from this arose all the 
other charges which were made against the magistrates and 
the commissaries. Real evils were magnified, unreal ones 
feigned, and the true and the false were equally believed by 
the people, who were almost universally their foes. 

All these events and extraordinary modes of proceeding were 
perfectly known to Niccolo da Uzano and the other leaders of 
the party ; and they had often consulted together for the pur- 
pose of finding a remedy, but without effect ; though they were 
aware of the danger of allowing them to increase, and the 
great difficulty that would attend any attempt to remove or 
abate them. Niccolo da Uzano was the earliest to take offence ; 
and while the war was proceeding without, and these troubles 
within, Niccolo Barbadoro desirous of inducing him to consent 
to the ruin of Cosmo waited upon him at his house ; and find- 
ind him alone in his study, and very pensive, endeavored, with 
the best reasons he could adduce, to persuade him to agree 
with Rinaldo on Cosmo's expulsion. Niccolo da Uzano re- 
plied as; follows : 

" It would be better for thee and thy house, as well as for 
our republic, if thou and those who follow thee in this opin- 
ion had beards of silver instead of gold, as is said of thee ; for 
advice proceeding from the hoary head, of long experience 
would be wiser and of greater service to all. It appears to 
me, that those who talk of driving Cosmo out of Florence would 
do well to consider what is their strength, and what that of 
Cosmo. You have named one party, that of the nobility, the 
other that of the plebeians. If the fact corresponded with 


the name, the victory would still be most uncertain; and the 
example of the ancient nobility of this city, who were destroyed 
by the plebeians, ought rather to impress us with fear than 
with hope. We have, however, still further cause for apprehen- 
sion from the division of our party, and the union of our 
adversaries. In the first place, Neri di Gino and Nerone di 
Nigi, two of our principal citizens, have never so fully de- 
clared their sentiments as to enable us to determine whether 
they are most our friends or those of our opponents* There 
are many families, even many houses, divided; many are op- 
posed to us through envy of brothers or relatives. I will re- 
call to your recollection two or three of the most important; 
you may think of the others at your leisure. Of the sons of 
Maso degli Albizzi, Luca, from envy of Rlnaldo, has thrown 
himself into their hands. In the house of Guicciardini, of the 
sons of Luigi, Piero is the enemy of Giovanni and in favor 
of our adversaries. Tommaso and Niccolo Sodorini openly 
oppose us on account of their hatred of their uncle Francesco. 
So that if we consider well what we are, and what our enemies, 
I cannot see why we should be called " Noble " any more than 
they. If it be because they are followed by the plebeians, we 
are in a worse condition on that account, and they in a better; 
for were it to come either to arms or to votes, we should not 
be able to resist them. 

" True it is, we still preserve our dignity, our precedence, the 
priority of our position ; but this arises from the former repu- 
tation of the government, which has now continued fifty years; 
and whenever we come to the proof, or they discover our weak- 
ness we shall lose it. If you were to say, the justice of our 
cause ought to augment our influence and diminish theirs, I 
answer, that this justice requires to be perceived and believed 
by others as well as by ourselves, but this is not the case; for 
the justice of our cause is wholly founded upon our suspicion 
that Cosmo designs to make himself prince of the city. And 
although we entertain this suspicion, and suppose it to be cor- 
rect, others have it not; but, what is worse, they charge us 
with the very design of which we accuse him. Those actions 
of Cosmo which lead us to suspect him are, that he lends money 
indiscriminately, and not to private persons only, but to the 
public; and not to Florentines only, but to the condottieri, 


the soldiers of fortune. Besides^ he assists any citizen who re- 
quires magisterial aid; and, by the universal interest he pos- 
sesses in the city, raises first one friend and then another to 
higher grades of honor. Therefore, to adduce our reasons for 
expelling him, would be to say that he is kind, generous, lib- 
eral, and beloved by all. 

" Now tell me, what law is there which forbids, disapproves, 
or condemns men for being pious, liberal, and benevolent ? And 
though they are all modes adopted by those who aim at sov- 
ereignty, they are not believed to be such, nor have we sufficient 
power to make them to be so esteemed ; for our conduct has 
robbed us of confidence, and the city, naturally partial, and 
(having always lived in faction), corrupt, cannot lend its at- 
tention to such charges. But even if we were successful in an 
attempt to expel him, which might easily happen under a fav- 
orable Signory, how could we, being surrounded by his in- 
numerable friends, who would constantly reproach us, and ar- 
dently desire to see him again in the city^ prevent his return? 
It would be impossible, for they being so numerous, and hav- 
ing the good will of all upon their side, we should never be 
secure from them. And as many of his first discovered friends 
as you might expel, so many enemies would you make, so that 
in a short time he would return, and the result would be sim- 
ply this, that we had driven him out a good man, and he had 
returned to us a bad one ; for his nature would be corrupted 
by those who recalled him, and he, being under obligation, 
could not oppose them. Or should you design to put him to 
death, you could not attain your purpose with the magistrates, 
for his wealth, and the corruption of your minds, will always 
save him. But let us suppose him put to death, or that, being 
banished, he did not return, I cannot see how the condition 
of our republic would be ameliorated; for if we relieve her 
from Cosmo, we at once make her subject to Rinaldo, and it 
is my most earnest desire that no citizen may ever, in power 
and authority, surpass the rest. But if one of these must pre- 
vail, I know of no reason that should make me prefer Rinaldo 
to Cosmo. I shall only say, may God preserve the city from 
any of her citizens usurping the sovereignty, but if our sins 
have deserved this, in mercy save us from Rinaldo. 

"I pray thee, therefore, do not advise the adoption of a 


course on every account pernicious, nor imagine that, in union 
with a few, you would be able to oppose the will of the many ; 
for the citizens, some from ignorance and others from malice, 
are ready to sell the republic at any time, and fortune has so 
much favored them, that they have found a purchaser. Take 
my advice then; endeavor to live moderately; and with re- 
gard to liberty, you will find as much cause for suspicion in 
our party as in that of our adversaries. And when troubles 
arise, being of neither side, you will be agreeable to both, and 
you will thus provide for your own comfort and do no injury 
to any." 

These words somewhat abated the eagerness of Barbadoro, 
so that tranquillity prevailed during the war with Lucca. But 
this being ended, and Niccolo da Uzano dead, the city being 
at peace and under no restraint, unhealthy humors increased 
with fearful rapidity. Rinaldo, considering himself now the 
leader of the party, constantly entreated and urged every citi- 
zen whom he thought likely to be Gonfalonier, to take up 
arms and deliver the country from him who, from the malevo- 
lence of a few and the ignorance of the multitude, was inevit- 
ably reducing it to slavery. These practices of Rinaldo, and 
those of the contrary side, kept the city full of apprehension, 
so that whenever a magistracy was created, the numbers of 
each party composing it were made publicly known, and upon 
drawing for the Signory the whole city was aroused. Every 
case brought before the magistrates, however trivial, was made 
a subject of contention among them. Secrets were divulged, 
good and evil alike became objects of favor and opposition, 
the benevolent and the wicked were alike assailed, and no mag- 
istrate fulfilled the duties of his office with integrity. 

In this state of confusion, Rinaldo, anxious to abate the 
power of Cosmo, and knowing that Bernardo Guadagni was 
likely to become Gonfalonier, paid his arrears of taxes, that 
he might not, by being indebted to the public, be incapacitated 
for holding the office. The drawing soon after took place, and 
fortune, opposed to our welfare, caused Bernardo to be ap- 
pointed for the months of September and October. Rinaldo 
immediately waited upon him, and intimated how much the 
party of the nobility, and all who wished for repose, rejoiced 
to find he had attained that dignity ; that it now rested with 


him to act in such a manner as to realize their pleasing ex- 
pectations. He then enlarged upon the danger of disunion, 
and endeavored to show that there was no means of attaining 
the blessing of unity but by the destruction of G)smo, for he 
alone, by the popularity acquired with his enormous wealth, 
kept them depressed; that he was already so powerful, that 
if not hindered, he would soon become prince, and that it was 
the part of a good citizen, in order to prevent such a calamity, 
to assemble the people in the piazza, and restore liberty to 
his country. Rinaldo then reminded the new Gonfalonier how 
Salvestro de* Medici was able, though unjustly, to restrain the 
power of the Guelfs, to whom, by the blood of their ances- 
tors shed in its cause, the government rightly belonged ; and 
argued that what he was able unjustly to accomplish against 
so many, might surely be easily performed with justice in 
its favor against one. He encouraged him with the assurance 
that their friends would be ready in arms to support him ; that 
he need not regard the plebeians, who adored Cosmo, since 
their assistance would be of no greater avail than Giorgio Scali 
had found it on a similar occasion; and that with regard to 
his wealth, no apprehension was necessary, for when he was 
under the power of the Signory, his riches would be so too. 
In conclusion, he averred that this course would unite and 
secure the republic, and crown the Gonfalonier with glory. 
Bernardo briefly replied, that he thought it necessary to act 
exactly as Rinaldo had advised, and that as the time was suit- 
able for action, he should provide himself with forces, being 
assured from what Rinaldo had said, he would be supported 
by his colleagues. 

Bernardo entered upon the duties of his office, prepared his 
followers, and having concerted with Rinaldo, summoned Cos- 
mo, who, though many friends dissuaded him from it, obeyed 
the call, trusting more to his own innocence than to the mercy 
of the Signory. As soon as he had entered the palace he was 
arrested. Rinaldo, with a great number of armed men, and 
accompanied by nearly the whole of his party, proceeded to 
the piazza, when the Signory assembled the people, and created 
a balia of 200 persons for the reformation of the city. With 
the least possible delay they entered upon the consideration 
of reform, and of the life or death of Cosmo. Many wished 


him to be banished, others to be put to death, and several were 
silent, either from compassion toward him or for fear of the 
rest, so that these differences prevented them from coming to 
any conclusion. 

There is an apartment in the tower of the palace which 
occupies the whole of one floor, and is called the Alberghet- 
tino, in which G>smo was confined, under the charge of 
Federigo Malavolti. In this place, hearing the assembly of 
the Councils, the noise of arms which proceeded from the pi- 
azza, and the frequent ringing of the bell to assemble the Balia, 
he was greatly apprehensive for his safety, but still more lest 
his private enemies should cause him to be put to death in 
some unusual manner. He scarcely took any food, so that 
in four days he ate only a small quantity of bread. Federigo, 
observing his anxiety, said to him, " Cosmo, you are afraid of 
being poisoned, and are evidently hastening your end with 
hunger. You wrong me if you think I would be a party to 
such an atrocious act. I do not imagine your life to be in 
much danger, since you have so many friends both within 
the palace and without; but if you should eventually lose it, 
be assured they will use some other medium than myself for 
that purpose, for I will never imbue my hands in the blood 
of any, still less in your's, who never injured me; therefore 
cheer up, take some food, and preserve your life for your 
friends and your country. And that you may do so with greater 
assurance, I will partake of your meals with you." These 
words were a great relief to Cosmo, who, with tears in his 
eyes, embraced and kissed Federigo, earnestly thanking him 
for so kind and affectionate conduct, and promising, if ever 
the opportunity were given him, he would not be ung^teful. 


G)smo is Banished to Padua — Rinaldo degli Albizzi Attempts to Restore 
the Nobility— New Disturbances Occasioned by Rinaldo degli Albizzi 
— ^Rinaldo takes Arms against the Signory — His Designs are Discon- 
certed — Pope Eugenius in Florence — He Endeavors to Reconcile the 
Parties — Cosmo is Recalled — Rinaldo and his Party Banished — 
Qorious Return of G>smo. 

COSMO in some degree recovered his spirits, and while 
the citizens were disputing about him, Federigo, by 
way of recreation, brought an acquaintance of the Gon- 
falonier to take supper with him, an amusing and facetious 
person, whose name was II Famagaccio. The repast being 
nearly over, Cosmo, who thought he might turn this visit to 
advantage, for he knew the man very intimately, gave a sign 
to Federigo to leave the apartment, and he, guessing the cause, 
under pretence of going for something that was wanted on the 
table, left them together. Cosmo, after a few friendly expres- 
sions addressed to II Famegaccio, gave him a small slip of 
paper, and desired him to go to the director of the hospital of 
Santa Maria Nuova, for i,ioo ducats; he was to take the 
hundred for himself, and carry the thousand to the Gonfalon- 
ier, and beg that he would take some suitable occasion of com- 
ing to see him. Famagaccio undertook the commission, the 
money was paid, Bernardo became more humane, and Cosmo 
was banished to Padua, contrary to the wish of Rinaldo, who 
earnestly desired his death. Averardo and many others of the 
house of Medici were also banished, and with them Puccio 
and Giovanni Pucci. To silence those who were dissatisfied 
with the banishment of Cosmo, they endowed with the power 
of a Balia, the Eight of War and the Capitano of the People. 
After his sentence, Cosmo, on October 3, 1433, came before the 
Signory, by whom the boundary to which he was restricted 
was specified ; and they advised him to avoid passing it, un- 



less he wished them to proceed with greater severity both 
against himself and his property. Cosmo received his sentence 
with a cheerful look, assuring the Signory that wherever they 
determined to send him, he would willingly remain. He 
earnestly begged, that as they had preserved his life they would 
protect it, for he knew there were many in the piazza who were 
desirous to take it; and assured them, that wherever he might 
be, himself and his means were entirely at the service of the 
, city, the people, and the Signory. He was respectfully attended 
by the Gonfalonier, who retained him in the palace till n^ht, 
then conducted him to his own house to supper, and caused 
him to be escorted by a strong armed force to his place of ban- 
ishment. Wherever the cavalcade passed, Cosmo was honor- 
ably received, and was publicly visited by the Venetians, not 
as an exile, but with all the respect due to one in the highest 

Florence, widowed of so great a citizen, one so generally 
beloved, seemed to be universally sunk in despondency; vic- 
tors and the vanquished were alike in fear. Rinaldo, as if in- 
spired with a presage of his future calamities, in order not 
to appear deficient to himself or his party, assembled many 
citizens, his friends, and informed them that he foresaw their 
approaching ruin for having allowed themselves to be over- 
come by the prayers, the tears, and the money of their enemies 
and that they did not seem aware they would soon themselves 
have to entreat and weep, when their prayers would not be 
listened to, or their tears excite compassion; and that of the 
money received, they would have to restore the principal, and 
pay the interest in tortures, exile, and death; that it would 
have been much better for them to have done nothing than to 
have left Cosmo alive, and his friends in Florence ; for great 
offenders ought either to remain untouched, or be destroyed; 
that there was now no remedy but to strengthen themselves in 
the city, so that upon the renewed attempts of their enemies, 
which would soon take place, they might drive them out with 
arms, since they had not sufficient civil authority to expel them. 
The remedy to be adopted, he said, was one that he had long 
before advocated, which was to regain the friendship of the 
grandees, restoring and conceding to them all the honors of 
the city, and thus make themselves strong with that party, since 


their adversaries had joined the plebeians. That by this means 
they would become the more powerful side, for they would 
possess greater energy, more comprehensive talent, and an 
augmented share of influence; and that if this last and only 
remedy were not adopted, he knew not what other means 
could be made use of to preserve the government among so 
many enemies, or prevent their own ruin and that of the city. 

Mariotto Baldovinetti, one of the assembly, was opposed to 
this plan^ on account of the pride and insupportable nature of 
the nobility; and said, that it would be folly to place them- 
selves again under such inevitable tyranny for the sake of 
avoiding imaginary dangers from the plebeians. Rinaldo, find- 
ing his advice unfavorably received, vexed at his own mis- 
fortune and that of his party, imputed the whole to heaven 
itself, which had resofved upon it, rather than to human ig- 
norance and blunders. In this juncture of affairs, no remedial 
measure being attempted, a letter was found written by Agnolo 
Acciajuoli to Cosmo, acquainting him with the disposition 
of the city in his favor^ and advising him, if possible, to ex- 
cite a war, and gain the friendship of Neri di Gino; for he 
imagined the city to be in want of money, and as she would 
not find anyone to serve her, the remembrance of him would 
be revived in the minds of the citizens, and they would desire 
his return; and that if Neri were detached from Rinaldo, the 
party of the latter would be so weakened, as to be unable to 
defend themselves. This letter coming to the hands of the 
magistrates, Agnolo was taken, put to the torture, and sent 
into exile. This example, however, did not at all deter Cosmo's 

It was now almost a year since Cosmo had been banished, 
and the end of August, 1434, being come, Niccolo di Cocco 
was drawn Gonfalonier for the two succeeding months, and 
with him eight Signors, all partisans of Cosmo. This struck 
terror into Rinaldo and his party ; and as it is usual for three 
days to elapse before the new Signory assume the magistracy 
and the old resign their authority, Rinaldo again called to- 
gether the heads of his party. He endeavored to show them 
their certain and immediate danger, and that their only remedy 
was to take arms, and cause Donato Velluti, who was yet Gon- 
falonier, to assemble the people in the piazza and create a 


BalicL He would then deprive the new Signory of the magis- 
tracy, appomt another, burn the present balloting purses, and 
by means of a new squittini, provide themselves with friends. 
Many thought this course safe and requisite; others, that it 
was too violent, and likely to be attended with great evil. 
Among those who disliked it was Palla Strozzi, a peaceable, 
gentle, and humane person, better adapted for literary pursuits 
than for restraining a party, or opposing civil strife. He said 
that bold and crafty resolutions seem promising at their com- 
mencement, but are afterward found difficult to execute, and 
generally pernicious at their conclusion; that he thought the 
fear of external wars (the duke's forces being upon the con- 
fines of Romagna,) would occupy the minds of the Signory 
more than internal dissensions ; but, still, if any attempt should 
be made, and it could not take place unnoticed, they would 
have sufficient time to take arms, and adopt whatever measures 
might be found necessary for the common good, which being 
done upon necessity, would occasion less excitement among 
the people and less danger to themselves. It was therefore 
concluded, that the new Signory should come in; that their 
proceedings should be watched, and if they were found at- 
tempting anything against the party, each should take arms, 
and meet in the piazza of San Pulinari, situated near the palace, 
and whence they might proceed wherever it was fotmd neces- 
sary. Having come to this conclusion, Rinaldo's friends 

The new Signory entered upon their office, and the Gon- 
falonier, in order to acquire reputation, and deter those who 
might intend to oppose him, sent Donato Velluti, his predeces- 
sor, to prison, upon the charge of having applied the public 
money to his own use. He then endeavored to sound his col- 
leagues with respect to Cosmo: seeing them desirous of his 
return, he communicated with the leaders of the Medici party, 
and, by their advice, siunmoned the hostile chiefs, Rinaldo 
degli Albizzi, Ridolfo Peruzzi, and Niccolo Barbadoro. After 
this citation, Rinaldo thought further delay would be danger- 
ous ; he therefore left his house with a great number of armed 
men and was soon joined by Ridolfo Peruzzi and Niccolo Bar- 
badoro. The force accompanying them was composed of sev- 
eral citizens and a great number of disbanded soldiers then 


in Florence; and all assembled according to appointment in 
the piazza of San Pulinari. Palla Strozzi and Giovanni Guic- 
ciardini, though each had assembled a large number of men, 
kept in their houses ; and therefore Rinaldo sent a messenger 
.to request their attendance and to reprove their delay. Gio- 
vanni replied, that he should lend sufficient aid against their 
enemies, if by remaining at home he could prevent his brother 
Piero from going to the defence of the palace. After many 
messages Palla came to San Pulinari on horseback, accom- 
panied by two of his people on foot, and unarmed. Rinaldo, 
on meeting him, sharply reproved him for his negligence, de- 
claring that his refusal to come with the others arose either 
from defect of principle or want of courage; both which 
charges should be avoided by all who wished to preserve such 
a character as he had hitherto possessed ; and that if he thought 
this abominable conduct to his party would induce their ene- 
mies, when victorious, to spare him from death or exile, he 
deceived himself; but for himself (Rinaldo,) whatever might 
happen, he had the consolation of laiowing, that previously to 
the crisis he had never neglected his duty in council, and that 
when it occurred he had used every possible exertion to repel 
it with arms ; but that Palla and the others would experience 
aggravated remorse when they considered they had upon three 
occasions betrayed their country; first when they saved Cos- 
mo; next when they disregarded his advice; and now the 
third time by not coming armed in her defence according to 
their engagement. To these reproaches Palla made no reply 
audible to those around, but, muttering something as he left 
them, returned to his house. 

The Signory, knowing Rinaldo and his party had taken 
arms, finding themselves abandoned, caused the palace to be 
shut up, and having no one to consult they knew not what course 
to adopt However, Rinaldo, by delaying his coming to the 
piazza^ having waited in expectation of forces which did not 
join him, lost the opportunity of victory, gave them courage 
to provide for their defence, and allowed many others to join 
them, who advised that means should be used to induce their 
adversaries to lay down their arms. Thereupon, some of the 
least suspected, went on the part of the Signory to Rinaldo, 
and said, they did not know what occasion they had given his 


friends for thus assembling in arms ; that they never had any 
intenticm of offending him ; and if they had spoken of Cosmo, 
they had no design of recalling him ; so if their fears were thus 
occasioned they might at once be dispelled^ for that if they 
came to the palace, they would be graciously received, and all 
their complaints attended to. These words produced no 
change in Rinaldo's purpose; he bade them provide for their 
safety by resigning their offices, and said that then the govern- 
ment of the city would be reorganized, for the mutual benefit 
of all. 

It rarely happens, where authorities are equal and opinions 
contrary, that any good resolution is adopted. Ridolfo Peruzzi, 
moved by the discourse of the citizens, said, that all he de- 
sired was to prevent the return of Cosmo, and this being granted 
to them seemed a sufficient victory; nor would he, to obtain 
a greater, fill the city with blood; he would therefore obey 
the Signory; and accordingly went with his people to the 
palace, where he was received with a hearty welcome. Thus 
Rinaldo's delay at San Pulinari, Palla's want of courage, and 
Ridolfo's desertion, deprived their party of all chance of suc- 
cess; while the ardor of the citizens abated, and the Pope's 
authority did not contribute to its revival. 

Pope Eugenius IV was at this time at Florence, having been 
driven from Rome by the people. These disturbances coming 
to his knowledge, he thought it a duty suitable to his pastoral 
office to appease them^ and sent the patriarch Giovanni Vitel- 
leschi, Rinaldo's most intimate friend, to entreat the latter to 
come to an interview with him, as he trusted he had sufficient 
influence with the Signory to insure his safety and satisfac- 
tion, without injury or bloodshed to the citizens. By his 
friend's persuasion, Rinaldo proceeded with all his followers 
to Santa Maria Nuova, where the Pope resided. Eugenius 
gave him to understand, that the Signory had empowered 
him to settle the differences between them, and that all would 
be arranged to his satisfaction if he laid down his arms. Ri- 
naldo, having witnessed Palla's want of zeal, and the fickle- 
ness of Ridolfo Peruzzi, and no better course being open to 
him, placed himself in the Pope's hands, thinking that at all 
events the authority of his holiness would insure his safety. 
Eugenius then sent word to Niccolo Barbadoro, and the rest 


who remained without^ that they were to lay down their arms, 
for Rinaldo was remaining with the pontiff, to arrange terms 
of agreement with the Signors ; upon which they immediately 
dispersed^ and laid aside their weapons. 

The Signory, seeing their adversaries disarmed, continued 
to negotiate an arrangement by means of the Pope; but at 
the same time sent secretly to the mountains of Pistoia for 
infantry, which, with what other forces they could collect, were 
brought into Florence by night. Having taken possession of 
all the strong positions in the city, they assembled the people 
in the piazza and created a new Balia, which, without delay, re- 
stored Cosmo and those who had been exiled with him to their 
country; and banished, of the opposite party, Rinaldo degli 
Albizzi, Ridolfo Peruzzi, Niccolo Barbadoro, and Palla Strozzi, 
with so many other citizens, that there were few places in Italy 
which did not contain some, and many others beyond her 
limits were full of them. By this and similar occurrences, 
Florence was deprived of men of worth, and of much wealth 
and industry. 

The Pope, seeing such misfortunes befall those who by his 
entreaties were induced to lay down their arms, was greatly 
dissatisfied, and condoled with Rinaldo on the injuries he had 
received through his confidence in him, but advised him to be 
patient, and hope for some favorable turn of fortune. Rinaldo 
replied, " The want of confidence in those who ought to have 
trusted me, and the great trust I have reposed in you, have 
ruined both me and my party. But I blame myself principally 
for having thought that you, who were expelled from your own 
country, could preserve me in mine. I have had sufficient ex- 
perience of the freaks of fortune ; and as I have never trusted 
greatly to prosperity, I shall suffer less inconvenience from 
adversity ; and I know that when she pleases she can become 
more favorable. But if she should never change, I shall not 
be very desirous of living in a city in which individuals are 
more powerful than the laws ; for that country alone is desira- 
ble in which property and friends may be safely enjoyed, not 
one where they may easily be taken from us, and where friends, 
from fear of losing their property, are compelled to abandon 
each other in their greatest need. Besides, it has always been 
less painful to good men to hear of the misfortunes of their 


country than to witness them ; and an honorable exile is always 
held in greater esteem than slavery at home/' He then left the 
Pope, and^ full of indignation, blaming himself, his own meas- 
ureSy and the coldness of his friends, went into exile. 

Cosmo, on the other hand, being informed of his recall, re- 
turned to Florence ; and it has seldom occurred that any citizen, 
coming home triumphant from victory, was received by so vast 
a concourse of people, or such unqualified demonstrations of 
regard as he was upon his return from banishment; for by 
universal consent he was hailed as the benefactor of the people, 
and the fathbh of his country. 








The Vicissitudes of Empires— The State of Italy— The Military Fac- 
tions of Sforza and Braccio— The Bracceschi and the Sforzeschi At- 
tack the Pope, who is Expelled by the Romans— War between the 
Pope and the Duke of Milan — ^The Florentines and the Venetians 
Assist the Pope — Peace between the Pope and the Duke of Milan 
— ^Tyranny Practised by the party Favorable to the Medici. 

IT may be observed, that provinces amid the vicissitudes to 
which they are subject, pass from order into confusion, 
and afterward recur to a state of order again; for the 
nature of mundane affairs not allowing them to continue in an 
even course, when they have arrived at their greatest perfection, 
they soon begin to decline. In the same manner, having been 
reduced to disorder, and simk to their utmost state of depres- 
sion, unable to descend lower, they, of necessity, reascend ; and 
thus from good they gradually decline to evil, and from evil 
again return to good. The reason is, that valor produces peace ; 
peace, repose; repose, disorder; disorder, ruin; so from dis- 
order, order springs ; from order, virtue, and from this, glory 
and good-fortune. Hence, wise men have observed, that the 
age of literary excellence is subsequent to that of distinction in 
arms ; and that in cities and provinces, great warriors are pro- 
duced before philosophers. Arms having secured victory, and 
victory peace, the buoyant vigor of the martial mind cannot be 
enfeebled by a more excusable indulgence than that of letters ; 
nor can indolence, with any greater or more dangerous deceit, 
enter a well-regulated community. Cato was aware of this 
when the philosophers, Diogenes and Cameades, were sent am- 
is 225 


bassadors to the Roman Senate, by the Athenians ; for, perceiv- 
ing with what earnest admiration the Roman youth began to 
follow them, and knowing the evils that might result to his 
country from this specious idleness, he enacted that no philoso- 
pher should be allowed to enter Rome. Provinces by this 
means sink to ruin, from which, men's sufferings having made 
them wiser, they again recur to order, if they be not over- 
whelmed by scxne extraordinary force. These causes made 
Italy, first under the ancient Tuscans, and afterward under the 
Romans, by turns happy and unhappy ; and although nothing 
has subsequently arisen from the ruins of Rome at all corre- 
sponding to her ancient greatness (which under a well-organ- 
ized monarchy might have been gloriously effected), still there 
was so much bravery and intelligence in some of the new cities 
and governments that afterward sprang up, that although none 
ever acquired dominion over the rest, they were, nevertheless, 
so balanced and regulated among themselves, as to enable them 
to live in freedom, and defend their country from the barba- 

Among these governments, the Florentines, although they 
possessed a smaller extent of territory, were not inferior to any 
in power and authority; for being situated in the middle of 
Italy, wealthy, and prepared for action, they either defended 
themselves against such as thought proper to assail them, or 
decided victory in favor of those to whom they became allies. 
From the valor, therefore, of these new governments, if no 
seasons occurred of long-continued peace, neither were any 
exposed to the calamities of war ; for that cannot be called peace 
in which states frequently assail each other with arms, nor can 
those be considered wars in which no men are slain, cities plun- 
dered, or sovereignties overthrown; for the practice of arms 
fell into such a state of decay, that wars were commenced 
without fear, continued without danger, and concluded without 
loss. Thus the military energy which is in other countries ex- 
hausted by a long peace, was wasted in Italy by the contempti- 
ble manner in which hostilities were carried on, as will be clearly 
seen in the events to be described from 1434 to 1494, from 
which it will appear how the barbarians were again admitted 
into Italy, and she again sunk under subjection to them. Al- 
though the transactions of our princes at home and abroad will 

1434] THE SFORZESCA 227 

not be viewed with admiration of their virtue and greatness like 
those of the ancients, perhaps they may on other accounts be 
r^;arded with no less interest, seeing what masses of high- 
spirited people were kept in restraint by such weak and dis- 
orderly forces. And if, in detailing the events which took place 
in this wasted world, we shall not have to record the bravery 
of the soldier, the prudence of the general, or the patriotism 
of the citizen, it will be seen with what artifice, deceit, and cun- 
ning, princes, warriors, and leaders of republics conducted 
themselves, to support a reputation they never deserved. This, 
perhaps, will not be less useful than a knowledge of ancient 
history ; for, if the latter excites the liberal mind to imitaticMi, 
the former will show what ought to be avoided and decried. 

Italy was reduced to such a condition by her rulers, that 
when, by consent of her princes, peace was restored, it was soon 
disttu'bed by those who retained their armies, so that glory was 
not gained by war nor repose by peace. Thus when the league 
and the Duke of Milan agreed to lay aside their arms in I433» 
the soldiers, resolved upon war, directed their efforts against 
the Church. There were at this time two factions or armed 
parties in Italy, the Braccesca and the Sforzesca. The leader 
of the former was the Count Francesco, the son of Sforza, and 
of the latter, Niccolo Piccinino and Niccolo Fortebraccio. 
Under the banner of one or other of these parties almost all 
the forces of Italy were assembled. Of the two, the Sforzesca 
was in greatest repute, as well from the bravery of the count 
himself, as from the promise which the Duke of Milan had 
made him of his natural daughter, Madonna Bianca^ the pros- 
pect of which alliance greatly strengthened his influence. After 
the peace of Lombardy, these forces, from various causes, at- 
tacked Pope Eugenius. Niccolo Fortebraccio was instigated 
by the ancient enmity which Braccio had always entertained 
against the Church ; the count was induced by ambition ; so that 
Niccolo assailed Rome, and the count took possession of La 

The Romans, in order to avoid the war, drove Pope Eugenius 
from their city ; and he, having with difficulty escaped, came to 
Florence, where, seeing the imminent danger of his situation, 
being abandoned by the princes (for they were unwilling again 
to take up arms in his cause, after having been so anxious to 


lay them aside), he came to terms with the count, and ceded 
to him the sovereignty of La Marca, although, to the injury 
of having occupied it, he had added insult ; for in signing the 
place, from which he addressed letters to his agents, he said in 
Latin, according to the Italian custom, "Ex Girfalco nostra 
Firmiano, invito Petro et Paulo." Neither was he satisfied with 
this concession, but insisted upon being appointed Gonfalonier 
of the Church, which was also granted ; so much more was Eu- 
genius alarmed at the prospect of a dangerous war than of an 
ignominious peace. The count, having thus been reconciled to 
the pontiff, attacked Niccolo Fortebraccio, and during many 
months various encounters took place between them, from all 
which greater injury resulted to the Pope and his subjects, 
than to either of the belligerents. At length, by the interven- 
tion of the Duke of Milan, an arrangement, by way of a truce, 
was made, by which both became princes in the territories of 
the Church. 

The war thus extinguished at Rome was rekindled in Ro- 
magna by Battista da Canneto, who at Bologna slew some of the 
family of the Grifoni, and expelled from the city the governor 
who resided there for the Pope, along with others who were 
opposed to him. To enable himself to retain the government, 
he applied for assistance to Filippo, and the Pope, to avenge 
himself for the injury, sought the aid of the Venetians and 
Florentines. Both parties obtained assistance, so that very 
soon two large armies were on foot in Romagna. Niccolo Pic- 
cinino commanded for the duke, Gattamelata and Niccolo da 
Tolentino for the Venetians and Florentines. They met near 
Imola, where a battle ensued, in which the Florentines and 
Venetians were routed, and Niccolo da Tolentino was sent 
prisoner to Milan, where, either through grief for his loss, or 
by some unfair means, he died in a few days. 

The duke, on this victory, either being exhausted by the late 
wars, or thinking the league after their defeat would not be in 
haste to resume hostilities, did not pursue his good-fortune, and 
thus gave the Pope and his colleagues time to recover them- 
selves. They therefore appointed the Count Francesco for 
their leader, and undertook to drive Niccolo Fortebraccio from 
the territories of the Church, and thus terminate the war which 
had been commenced in favor of the pontiff. The Romans^ 


finding the Pope supported by so large an army, sought a recon- 
ciliation with him, and being successful, admitted his commis- 
sary into the city. Among the places possessed by Niccolo 
Fortebraccio, were Tivoli, Montefiascone, Citta di Castello, and 
Ascesi, to the last of which, not being able to keep the field, he 
fled, and the count besieged him there. Niccolo's brave defence 
making it probable that the war would be of considerable dura- 
tion, the duke deemed it necessary to prevent the league from 
obtaining the vittory, and said that if this were not effected he 
would very soon have to look to the defence of his own terri- 
tories. Resolving to divert the count from the siege, he com- 
manded Niccolo Piccinino to pass into Tuscany by way of 
Romagna ; and the league, thinking it more important to defend 
Tuscany than to occupy Ascesi, ordered the count to prevent 
the passage of Niccolo, who was already, with his army, at 
Furli. The coimt accordingly moved with his forces, and came 
to Cesena, having left the war of La Marca and the care of 
his own territories to his brother Lione; and while Niccolo 
Piccinino was endeavoring to pass by, and the count to prevent 
him, Fortebraccio attacked Lione with great bravery, made 
him prisoner, routed his forces, and pursuing the advantage 
of his victory, at once possessed himself of many places in La 
Marca. This circumstance greatly perplexed the count, who 
thought he had lost all his territories ; so, leaving part of his 
force to check Piccinino, with the remainder he pursued Forte- 
braccio, whom he attacked and conquered. Fortebraccio was 
taken prisoner in the battle, and soon after died of his wounds. 
This victory restored to the pontiff all the places that had been 
taken from him by Fortebraccio, and compelled the Duke of 
Milan to sue for peace, which was concluded by the intercession 
of Niccolo da Este, Marquis of Ferrara; the duke restoring 
to the Church the places he had taken from her, and his forces 
retiring into Lombardy. Battista da Canneto, as is the case 
with all who retain authority only by the consent and forces 
of another, when the duke's people had quitted Romagna, un- 
able with his own power to keep possession of Bologna, fled, 
and Antonio Bentivogli, the head of the opposite party, returned 
to his country. 

All this took place during the exile of Cosmo, after whose 
return, those who had restored him, and a great number of 


persons injured by the opposite party, resolved at all events to 
make themselves sure of the government; and the Signory 
for the months of November and December, not content with 
what their predecessors had done in favor of their party, ex- 
tended the term and changed the residences of several who were 
banished, and increased the number of exiles. In addition to 
these evils, it was observed that citizens were more annoyed 
on account of their wealth, their family connections or private 
animosities, than for the sake of the party to which they ad- 
hered, so that if these proscriptions Had been accompanied with 
bloodshed, they would have resembled those of Octavius and 
Sylla, though in reality they were not without some stains ; for 
Antonio di Bernardo Guadagni was beheaded, and four other 
citizens, among whom were Zanobi dei Belfratelli and Cosmo 
Barbadori, passing the confines to which they were limited, 
proceeded to Venice, when the Venetians, valuing the friend- 
ship of Cosmo de' Medici more than their own honor, sent them 
prisoners to him, and they were basely put to death. This cir- 
cumstance greatly increased the influence of that party, and 
struck their enemies with terror^ finding that such a powerful 
republic would so humble itself to the Florentines. This, 
however, was supposed to have been done, not so much out of 
kindness to Cosmo, as to excite dissensions in Florence, and by 
means of bloodshed make greater certainty of division among 
the citizens, for the Venetians knew there was no other obstacle 
to their ambition so great as the union of her people. 

The city being cleared of the enemies, or suspected enemies 
of the state, those in possession of the government now began 
to strengthen their party by conferring benefits upon such as 
were in a condition to serve them, and the family of the Alberti, 
with all who had been banished by the former government, were 
recalled. All the nobility, with few exceptions, were reduced 
to the ranks of the people, and the possessions ol the exiles 
were divided among themselves, upon each paying k small ac- 
knowledgment. They then fortified themselves with new laws 
and provisos, made new squittini, withdrawing the tiames of 
their adversaries from the purses, and filling them with those 
of their friends. Taking advice from the ruin of their enemies, 
they considered that to allow the great offices to be filled by 
mere chance of drawing, did not afford the govemmeilit suffi- 


dent security, they therefore resolved that the magistrates pos- 
sessing the power of life and death shotdd always be chosen 
fnxn among the leaders of their own party, and therefore that 
the Accoppiatori, or persons selected for the imborsation of 
the new squittini, wiUi the Signory who had to retire from 
office, should make the new appointments. They gave to eight 
of the guard authority to proceed capitally, and provided that 
the exiles, when their term of banishment was complete, should 
not be allowed to return, unless from the Signory and col- 
leagues, which were thirty-seven in number, the consent of 
thirty-four were obtained. It was made unlawful to write to 
or to receive letters from them ; every word, sign, or action that 
gave offence to the ruling party was punished with the utmost 
rigor; and if there was still in Florence any suspected person 
whom these regulations did not reach, he was oppressed with 
taxes imposed for the occasion. Thus in a short time, having 
expelled or impoverished the whole of the adverse party, they 
established themselves firmly in the government. Not to be 
destitute of external assistance, and to deprive others of it, who 
might use it against themselves, they entered into a league, 
offensive and defensive, with the Pope, the Venetians, and the 
Duke of Milan. 


Death of Giovanna II — Rene of Anjou and Alfonso of Arragon As- 
pire to the Kingdom — Alfonso is Routed and Taken by the Genoese 
—Alfonso Being a Prisoner of the Duke of Milan, Obtains his 
Friendship— The Genoese Disgusted with the Duke of Milan— Di- 
visions among the Genoese— The Genoese, by Means of Francesco 
Spinola, Expel the Ducal Governor— League against the Duke of 
Milan— Rinaldo degli Albizzi Advises him to Make War against the 
Florentines— Albizzi's Discourse— The Duke Adopts Measures In- 
jurious to the Florentines — Niccolo Piccinino Appointed to G6m- 
mand the Ducal Forces— Preparations of the Florentines— Piccinino 
Routed before Barga. 

THE affairs of Florence being in this condition, Giovanna, 
Queen of Naples, died^ and by her will appointed Rene 
of Anjou to be her successor. Alfonso, King of Arra- 
gon, was at this time in Sicily, and having obtained the concur- 
rence of many barons, prepared to take possession of the king- 
dom. The Neapolitans, with whom a great ntimber of barons 
were also associated, favored Rene. The Pope was unwilling 
that either of them should obtain it ; but desired the affairs of 
Naples to be administered by a governor of his own appointing. 
In the meantime Alfonso entered the kingdom, and was re- 
ceived by the Duke of Sessa ; he brought with him some princes, 
whom he had engaged in his service, with the design (already 
possessing Capua, which the Prince of Taranto held in his 
name), of subduing the Neapolitans, and sent his fleet to attack 
Gaeta, which had declared itself in their favor. They therefore 
cfemanded assistance of the Duke of Milan, who persuaded the 
Genoese to undertake their defence ; and they, to satisfy him, 
their sovereign, and protect the merchandise they possessed, 
both at Naples and Gaeta, armed a powerful fleet. Alfonso 
hearing of diis, augmented his own naval force, went in person 
to meet the Genoese, and coming up with them near the island 
of Ponzio, an engagement ensued, in which the Arragonese 
were defeated, and Alfonso, with many of the princes of his 
suit, made prisoner, and sent by the Genoese to Filippo. 



This victory terrified the princes of Italy, who, being jealous 
of the duke's power, thought it would give him a great oppor- 
tunity of becoming sovereign of the whole country. But so 
€X>ntrary are the views of men, that he took a directly opposite 
coiU'se. Alfonso was a man of great sagacity, and as soon as 
an opportunity presented itself of communicating with Filippo, 
he proved to him how completely he contravened his own in- 
terests, by favoring Rene and opposing himself; for it would 
be the business of the former^ on becoming King of Naples, to 
introduce the French into Milan; that in an emergency he 
might have assistance at hand, without the necessity of having 
to solicit a passage for his friends. But he could not possibly 
secure this advantage without effecting the ruin of the duke, 
and making his dominions a French province; and that the 
contrary of all this would result from himself becoming Lord 
of Naples; for having only the French to fear, he would be 
compelled to love and caress, nay even to obey, those who had 
it in their power to open a passage for his enemies. That thus 
the title of King of Naples would be with himself (Alfonso), 
but the power and authority with Filippo ; so that it was much 
more the duke's business than his own to consider the danger 
of one course and the advantage of the other ; unless he rather 
wished to gratify his private prejudices, than to give security 
to his dominions. In the one case he would be a free prince, 
in the other, placed between two powerful sovereigns, he would 
either be robbed of his territories or live in constant fear, and 
have to obey them like a slave. These arguments so greatly 
influenced the duke, that, changing his design, he set Alfonso 
at liberty, sent him honorably to Genoa and then to Naples. 
From thence the King went to Gaeta, which, as soon as his 
liberation had become known, was taken possession of by some 
nobles of his party. 

The Genoese, seeing that the duke, without the least regard 
for them, had liberated the King^ and gained credit to himself 
through the dangers and expense which they had incurred; 
that he enjoyed all the honor of the liberation, and they were 
themselves exposed to the odium of the capture, and the injuries 
consequent upon the King's defeat, were greatly exasperated. 
In the city of Genoa, while in the enjoyment of her liberty, 
a magistrate is created with the consent of the people, whom 


they call the Doge; not that be is absolutely a prince, or that 
be alone has the power of determining matters of go vernm ent ; 
but that, as the head of the State, be proposes those questions 
or subjects which have to be considered and determined by the 
magistrates and the councils. In that dty are many noble 
families so powerful, that they are with great difficulty induced 
to submit to the authority of the law. Of tbese, the most 
powerful are the Fregosa and the Adoma, from whom arise 
the dissensions of the city, and the impotence of her civil regu- 
lations ; for the possession of this high office being contested 
by means inadmissible in well-r^;ulated communities, and most 
commonly with arms in their hands, it always occurs that one 
party is oppressed and the other triumphant; and sometimes 
those who fail in the pursuit have recourse to the arms of 
strangers, and the country they are not allowed to rule they 
subject to foreign authority. Hence it happens, that those who 
govern in Lombardy most commonly command in Genoa, as 
occurred at the time Alfonso of Arragon was made prisoner. 
Among the leading Genoese who had been instrumental in 
subjecting the republic to Filippo, was Francesco Spinola, who, 
soon after he had reduced his country to bondage, as always 
happens in such cases, became suspected by the duke. Indig- 
nant at this, he withdrew to a sort of voluntary exile at Gaeta, 
and being there when the naval expedition was in preparation, 
and having conducted himself with great bravery in the action, 
he thought he had again merited so much of the duke's confi- 
dence as would obtain for him permission to remain undisturbed 
at Genoa. But the duke still retained his suspicions; for he 
could not believe that a vacillating defender of his own coun- 
try's liberty would be faithful to himself; and Francesco Spin- 
ola resolved again to try his fortune, and if possible restore 
freedom to his country, and honorable safety to himself; for he 
saw there was no probability of regaining the forfeited affection 
of his fellow-citizens, but by resolving at his own peril to rem- 
edy the misfortunes which he had been so instrumental in pro- 
ducing. Finding the indignation against the duke universal, 
on account of the liberation of the King, he thought the moment 
propitious for the execution of his design. He communicated 
his ideas to some whom he knew to be similarly inclined, and his 
arguments insured their co-operation. 


The great festival of St John the Baptist being come, when 
Arismeno^ the new governor sent by the duke, was to enter 
Genoa, and he being already arrived, accompanied by Opicino, 
the fonner governor, and many Genoese citizens, Francesco 
Spinola thought further delay improper; and, issuing from his 
house with those acquainted with his design, all armed, they 
raised the cry of liberty. It was wonderful to see how eagerly 
the citizens and people assembled at the word; so that those 
who for any reason might be favorable to Filippo, not only had 
no time to arm, but scarcely to consider the means of escape. 
Arismeno, with some Genoese, fled to the fortress which was 
held for the duke. Opicino, thinking that if he could reach 
the palace, where 2,000 men were in arms, and at his com- 
mand, he might be able either to effect his own safety, or induce 
his friends to defend themselves, took that direction ; but before 
he arrived at the piazza he was slain, his body divided into many 
pieces and scattered about the city. The Genoese having placed 
the government in the hands of free magistrates, in a few days 
recovered the castle, and the other strongholds possessed by 
the duke, and delivered themselves entirely from his yoke. 

These transactions, though at first they had alarmed the 
princes of Italy with the apprehension that the duke would 
become too powerful, now gave them hope, seeing the turn they 
had taken, of being able to restrain him ; and, notwithstanding 
the recent league, the Florentines and Venetians entered into 
alliance with the Genoese. Rinaldo degli Albizzi and the other 
leading Florentine exiles, observing the altered aspect of affairs, 
conceived hopes of being able to induce the duke to make war 
against Florence, and having arrived at Milan, Rinaldo ad- 
dressed him in the following manner : 

" If we, who were once your enemies, come now confidently 
to supplicate your assistance to enable us to return to our coun- 
try, neither you, nor anyone, who considers the course and vicis- 
situdes of human affairs, can be at all surprised; for of our 
past conduct toward yourself and our present intentions toward 
our country, we can adduce palpable and abundant reasons. 
No good man will ever reproach another who endeavors to 
defend his country, whatever be his mode of doing so ; neither 
have we had any design of injuring you, but only to pre- 
serve our country from detriment; and we appeal to yourself, 


whether, during the greatest victories of our league, when you 
were really desirous of peace, we were not even more anxious 
for it than yourself; so that we do not think we have done 
aught to maice us despair altogether of favor from you. Nor 
can our country itself complain, that we now exhort you to use 
those arms against her, from which we have so pertinaciously 
defended her; for that state alone merits the love of all her 
citizens, which cares with equal affection for all ; not one that 
favors a few, and casts from her the great mass of her children. 
Nor are the arms that men use against their country to be uni- 
versally condemned; for communities, although composed of 
many, resemble individual bodies ; and as in these, many infirmi- 
ties arise which cannot be cured without the application of fire 
or of steel, so in the former, there often occur such numerous 
and great evils, that a good and merciful citizen, when there is 
a necessity for the sword, would be much more to blame in 
leaving her uncured, than by using this remedy for her preser- 

" What greater disease can afflict a republic than slavery? 
and what remedy is more desirable for adoption than the one 
by which alone it can be effectually removed? No wars arc 
just but those that are- necessary ; and force is merciful when 
it presents the only hope of relief. I know not what necessity 
can be greater than ours, or what compassion can exceed that 
which rescues our country from slavery. Our cause is there- 
fore just, and our purpose merciful, as both yourself and we 
may be easily convinced. The amplest justice is on your side ; 
for the Florentines have not hesitated, after a peace concluded 
with so much solemnity, to enter into league with those who 
haye rebelled against you ; so that if our cause is insufficient 
to excite you against them, let your own just indignation do 
so; and the more so, seeing the facility of the undertaking. 
You need be under no apprehension from the memory of the 
past, in which you may have observed the power of that people, 
and their pertinacity in self-defence; though these might rea- 
sonably excite fear, if they were still animated by the valor of 
former times. But now, all is entirely the reverse; for what 
power can be expected in a city that has recently expelled the 
greatest part of her wealth and industry? What indomitable 
resolution need be apprehended from the people whom so many 


and such recent enmities have disunited ? The disunion which . 
still prevails will prevent wealthy citizens advancing money as 
they used to do on former occasions ; for though men willingly 
contribute according to their means, when they see their own 
credit, glory, and private advantage dependent upon it, or when 
there is a hope of regaining in peace what has been spent in 
war, but not when equally oppressed under all circtunstances — 
when in war they suffer the injuries of the enemy, and in peace, 
the insolence of those who govern them. Beside this, the 
people feel more deeply the avarice of their rulers, than the 
rapacity of the enemy; for there is hope of being ultimately 
relieved from the latter evil, but none from the former. 

" Thus, in the last war, you had to contend with the whole 
city; but now with only a small portion. You attempted to 
take the government from many good citizens; but now you 
oppose only a few bad ones. You then endeavored to deprive 
a city of her liberty, now you come to restore it. As it is 
unreasonable to suppose that under such disparity of circum- 
stances, the result should be the same, you have now every 
reason to anticipate an easy victory; and how much it will 
strengthen your own government, you may easily judge; hav- 
mg Tuscany friendly, and bound by so powerful an obligation, 
in your enterprises, she will be even of more service to you than 
MUan. And, although on former occasions, such an acquisi- 
tion might be looked upon as ambitious and unwarrantable, it 
will now be considered merciful and just. Then do not let this 
opportunity escape, and be assured, that although your other 
attempts against the city have been attended with difficulty, 
expend, and disgrace, this will with facility procure you incal- 
culable advantage and an honorable renown." 

Many words were not requisite to induce the duke to hos- 
tilities against the Florentines, for he was incited to it by 
hereditary hatred and blind ambition, and still more, by the 
fresh injuries which the league with the Genoese involved; yet 
his past expenses, the dangerous measures necessary, the re- 
membrance of his recent losses, and the vain hopes of the exiles, 
alarmed him. As soon as he had learned of the revolt of 
Genoa, he ordered Niccolo Piccinino to proceed thither with 
all his cavalry and whatever infantry he could raise, for the 
purpose of recovering her, before the citizens had time to be* 


come settled and establish a government ; ior he trusted greatly 
in the fortress within the city, which was held for him. And 
although Niccolo drove the Genoese from the mountains, took 
from them the Valley of Pozeveri, where they had entrenched 
themselves, and obliged them to seek refuge within the walls of 
the city, he still found such an insurmountable obstacle in the 
resolute defence of the citizens, that he was compelled to with- 
draw. On this, at the suggestion of the Florentine exiles, he 
commanded Niccolo to attack them on the eastern side, upon 
the confines of Pisa in the Genoese territory, and to push the 
war with his utmost vigor, thinking this plan would manifest 
and develop the course best to be adopted. Niccolo therefore 
besieged and took Serezana, and having committed great rav- 
ages, by way of further alarming the Florentines, he proceeded 
to Lucca, spreading a report that it was his intention to go to 
Naples to render assistance to the King of Arragon. Upon 
these new events Pope Eugenius left Florence and proceeded 
to Bologna, where he endeavored to effect an amicable arrange- 
ment between the league and the duke, intimating to the latter, 
that if he would not consent to some treaty, the pontiff must 
send Francesco Sforza to assist the league, for the latter was 
now his confederate, and served in his pay. Although the 
Pope greatly exerted himself in this affair, his endeavors were 
unavailing; for the duke would not listen to any proposal that 
did not leave him the possession of Genoa, and the league had 
resolved that she should remain free; therefore, each party, 
having no other resource, prepared to continue the war. 

In the meantime Niccolo Piccinino arrived at Lucca, and 
the Florentines, being doubtful what course to adopt, ordered 
Neri di Gino to lead their forces into the Pisan territory, in- 
duced the pontiff to allow Count Francesco to join him, and 
with their forces they halted at San Gonda. Piccinino then 
demanded admission into the Kingdom of Naples, and this 
being refused, he threatened to force a passage. The armies 
were equal, both in regard of numbers and the capacity of their 
leaders, and unwilling to tempt fortune during the bad weather, 
it being the month of December, they remained several days 
without attacking each other. The first movement was made 
by Niccolo Piccinino, who being informed that if he attacked 
Vico Pisano by night, he could easily take possession of the 


place, made the attempt, and having failed, ravaged the sur- 
romiding country, and then burned and plundered the town of 
San Giovanni sdla Vena. This enterprise, though of little 
ccmsequence, excited him to make further attempts, the more 
so from being assured that the count and Neri were yet in their 
quarters, and he attacked Santa Maria in Castello and Filetto, 
both which places he took. Still the Florentine forces would 
not stir; not that the count entertained any fear^ but because, 
out of regard to the Pope, who still labored to effect an accom- 
modation, the Government of Florence had deferred giving 
their final consent to the war. This course, which the Floren- 
tines adopted from prudence, was considered by the enemy to 
be only the result of timidity, and with increased boldness they 
led their forces up to Barga, which they resolved to besiege. 
This new attack made the Florentines set aside all other con- 
siderations, and resolve not only to relieve Barga, but to invade 
the Lucchese territory. Accordingly the count proceeded in 
pursuit of Niccolo Piccinino, and coming up with him before 
Barga, an engagement took place, in which he was overcome, 
and compelled to raise the siege. 

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


The Florentines go to War with Lucca — ^Discourse of a Citizen of 
Lucca to Animate the Plebeians against the Florentines— The Luc- 
chese Resolve to Defend Themselves— They are Assisted by the 
Duke of Milan — Treaty between the Florentines and Venetians 
— ^Francesco Sforza, Captain of the League. Refuses to Cross the 
Po in the Service of the Venetians and Returns to Tuscany— The 
Bad Faith of the Venetians toward the Florentines— Cosmo de* 
Medici at Venice— Peace between the Florentines and the Lucchesc 
-—The Florentines EfiFect a Reconciliation between the Pope and the 
Count di Poppi— The Pope Consecrates the Church of Santa Re- 
parata — Council of Florence. 

THE cotmt commenced operations against Lucca in April, 
1437, and the Florentines, desirous of recovering what 
they had themselves lost before they attacked others, 
retook Santa Maria in Castello, and all the places which Pic- 
cinino had occupied. Then, entering the Lucchese territory, 
they besieged Camaiore, the inhabitants of which, although 
faithful to their rulers, being influenced more by immediate 
danger than by attachment to their distant friends, surrendered. 
In the same manner, they obtained Massa and Serezana. 
Toward the end of May they proceeded in the direction of 
Lucca, burning the towns, destroying the growing crops, grain, 
trees, and vines, driving away the cattle, and leaving nothing 
undone to injure the enemy. The Lucchese, finding themselves 
abandoned by the duke, and hopeless of defending the open 
country, forsook it; entrenched and fortified the city, which 
they doubted not, being well garrisoned, they would be able to 
defend for a time, and that, in the interim, some event would 
occtu" for their relief, as had been the case during the former 
wars which the Florentines had carried on against them. Their 
only apprehension arose from the fickle minds of the plebeians, 
who, becoming weary of the siege, would have more considera- 
tion of their own danger than of others' liberty, and would thus 



compel them to submit to some disgraceful and ruinous capitu- 
lation. In order to animate them to defence, they were assem- 
bled in the public piazza, and one of the eldest and most es- 
teemed of the citizens addressed them in the following terms : 

" You are doubtless aware that what is done from necessity 
involves neither censure nor applause ; therefore, if you should 
accuse us of having caused the present war, by receiving the 
ducal forces into the city, and allowing them to commit hos- 
tilities against the Florentines, you are greatly mistaken. You 
are well acquainted with the ancient enmity of the Florentines 
against you, which is not occasioned by any injuries you have 
done them, or by fear on their part, but by our weakness and 
their own ambition ; for the one g^ves them hope of being able 
to oppress us, and the other incites them to attempt it. It is 
then vain to imagine that any merit of yours can extinguish 
that desire in them, or that any offence you can commit, can 
provoke them to greater animosity. They endeavor to deprive 
you of your liberty ; you must resolve to defend it ; and what- 
ever they may undertake against us for that purpose, although 
we may lament, we need not wonder. We may well grieve, 
therefore, that they attack us, take possession of our towns, 
bum our houses, and waste our country. 

" But who is so simple as to be surprised at it? for were it 
in our power, we should do just the same to them, or even 
worse. They declare war against us now, they say, for having 
received Niccolo ; but if we had not received him, they would 
have done the same and assigned some other ground for it ; and 
if the evil had been delayed, it would most probably have been 
greater. Therefore, you must not imagine it to be occasioned 
by his arrival, but rather by your own ill- fortune and their am- 
bition ; for we could not have refused admission to the duke's 
forces, and, being come, we could not prevent their aggressions. 
You know, that without the aid of some powerful ally we are 
incapable of self-defence, and that none can render us this ser- 
vice more powerfully or faithfully than the duke. He restored 
our liberty ; it is reasonable to expect he will defend it. He has 
always been the greatest foe of our inveterate enemies ; if, there- 
fore, to avoid incensing the Florentines we had excited his 
anger, we should have lost our best friend, and rendered our 
enemy more powerful and more disposed to oppress us ; so that 


it is far preferable to have this war upon our hands, and enjoy 
the favor of the duke, than to be in peace without it Beside, 
we are justified in expecting that he will rescue us from the 
dangers into which we are brought on his account, if we only 
do not abandon our own cause. You all know how fiercely 
the Florentines have frequently assailed us, and with what glory 
we have maintained our defence. We have often been deprived 
of every hope, except in God and the casualties which time 
might produce, and both have proved our friends. And as 
they have delivered us formerly, why should they not continue 
to do so? Then we were forsaken by the whole of Italy; now 
we have the duke in our favor; beside, we have a right to 
suppose that the Venetians will not hastily attack us ; for they 
will not willingly see the power of Florence increased. 

" On a former occasion, the Florentines were more at liberty ; 
they had greater hope of assistance, and were more powerful 
in themselves, while we were in every respect weaker ; for then 
a tyrant governed us, now we defend ourselves ; then the glory 
of our defence was another's, now it is our own ; then they were 
in harmony, now they are disunited, all Italy being filled with 
their banished citizens. But were we without the hope which 
these favorable circumstances present, our extreme necessity 
should make us firmly resolved on our defence. It is reason- 
able to fear every enemy, for all seek their own glory and your 
ruin ; above all others, you have to dread the Florentines, for 
they would not be satisfied by submission and tribute, or the 
dominion of our city, but they would possess our entire sub- 
stance and persons, that they might satiate their cruelty with 
our blood, and their avarice with our property, so that all ranks 
ought to dread them. Therefore do not be troubled at seeing 
our crops destroyed, our towns burned, our fortresses occupied ; 
for if we preserve the city, the rest will be saved as matter of 
course ; if we lose her, all else would be of no advantage to us ; 
for while retaining our liberty, the enemy can hold them only 
with the greatest difiiculty, while losing it they would be pre- 
served in vain. Arm, therefore ; and when in the fight, remem- 
ber that the reward of victory will be safety, not only to your 
country, but to your homes, your wives, and your children." 

The speaker's last words were received with the utmost 
enthusiasm by the people, who promised one and all to die 


rather than abandon their cause, or submit to any terms that 
could violate their liberty. They then made arrangements for 
the defence of the tity. 

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

It was soon known in Florence that the duke was preparing 
to send forces into Tuscany. This made the Florentines ap- 
prehensive for the success of their enterprise ; and in order to 
retain the duke in Lombardy, they requested the Venetians to 
press him with their utmost strength. But they also were 
alarmed, the Marquis of Mantua having abandoned them and 
gone over to the duke ; and thus, finding themselves almost de- 
fenceless, they replied, "that instead of increasing their re- 
sponsibilities, they should be unable to perform their part in 
the war, unless the Count Francesco were sent to them to take 


the command of the army, and with the special understanding 
that he should engage to cross the Po in person. They declined 
to fulfil their former engagements unless he were bound to do 
so ; for they could not carry on the war without a leader, or re- 
pose confidence in any except the count ; and that he himself 
would be useless to them, unless he came under an obligation 
to carry on the war whenever they might think needful." The 
Florentines thought the war ought to be pushed vigorously in 
Lombardy ; but they saw that if they lost the count their enter- 
prise against Lucca was ruined ; and they knew well that the 
demand of the Venetians arose less from any need they had of 
the count, than from their desire to frustrate this expedition. 
The count, on the other hand, was ready to pass into Lombardy 
whenever the league might require him, but would not alter 
the tenor of his engagement ; for he was unwilling to sacrifice 
the hope of the alliance promised him by the duke. 

The Florentines were thus embarrassed by two contrary im- 
pulses, the wish to possess Lucca, and the dread of a war with 
Milan. As commonly happens, fear was the most powerful, 
and they consented, after the capture of Uzano, that the count 
should go into Lombardy. There still remained another diffi- 
culty, which, depending on circumstances beyond the reach of 
their influence, created more doubts and uneasiness than the 
former ; the count would not consent to pass the Po, and the 
Venetians refused to accept him on any other condition. See- 
mg no other method of arrangement, than that each should 
make liberal concessions, the Florentines induced the count to 
engage to cross the river by a letter addressed to the Signory 
of Florence, intimating that this private promise did not in- 
validate any public engagement, and that he might still refrain 
from crossing; hence it resulted that the Venetians, having 
commenced the war, would be compelled to proceed, and that 
the evil apprehended by the Florentines would be averted. To 
the Venetians, on the other hand, they averred that this private 
letter was sufliciently binding, and therefore they ought to be 
content ; for if they could save the count from breaking with 
his father-in-law, it was well to do so, and that it could be of 
no advantage either to themselves or the Venetians to publish it 
without some manifest necessity. It was thus determined that 
the count should pass into Lombardy ; and having taken Uzano, 

1437] COSMO AT VENICE 245 

and raised bastions about Lucca to restrain her inhabitants, 
placed the management of the siege in the hands of the com- 
missaries, crossed the Apennines, and proceeded to Reggio, 
when the Venetians, alarmed at his progress, and in order to 
discover his intentions, insisted upon his immediately crossing 
the Po, and joining the other forces. The count refused com- 
pliance, and many mutual recriminations took place between 
him and Andrea Mauroceno, their messenger on this occasion, 
each charging the other with arrogance and treachery. After 
many protestations, the one of being under no obligation to per- 
form that service, and the other of not being bound to any pay- 
ment, they parted, the cotmt to return to Tuscany, the otiier to 

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

These indirect and crafty methods of procedure were highly 
offensive to the Florentines, for they found their expedition 
against Lucca frustrated, and trembled for the safety of their 
own territories if ever the count and the duke should enter 
into a mutual alliance. To induce the Venetians to retain the 
count in command, Cosmo de' Medici went to Venice, hoping 


his influence would prevail with them, and discussed the sub- 
ject at great length before the senate, pointing out the condition 
of the Italian states^ the disposition of their armies, and the 
great preponderance possessed by the duke. He concluded by 
saying, that if the count and the duke were to unite their forces, 
they (the Venetians) might return to the sea, and the Floren- 
tines would have to fight for their liberty. To this the Vene- 
tians replied, that they were acquainted with their own strength 
and that of the Italians, and thought themselves able at all 
events to provide for their own defence ; that it was not their 
custom to pay soldiers for serving others ; that as the Floren- 
tines had used the count's service, they must pay him them- 
selves ; with respect to the security of their own states, it was 
rather desirable to check the count's pride, than to pay him, for 
the ambition of men is boundless, and that if he were now paid 
without serving, he would soon make some other demand, still 
more unreasonable and dangerous. It therefore seemed neces- 
sary to curb his insolence, and not allow it to increase till it be- 
came incorrigible ; and that if the Florentines, from fear or any 
other motive, wished to preserve his friendship, they must pay 
him themselves. Cosmo returned without having effected any 
part of his object. 

The Florentines used the weightiest arguments they could 
adopt to prevent the count from quitting the service of the 
league, a course he was himself reluctant to follow, but his 
desire to conclude the marriage so embarrassed him, that any 
trivial accident would have been sufficient to determine his 
course, as indeed shortly happened. The count had left his 
territories in La Marca to the care of II Furlano, one of his 
principal condottieri, who was so far influenced by the duke, 
as to take command under him, and quit the count's service. 
This circumstance caused the latter to lay aside every idea 
but that of his own safety, and to come to agreement with 
the duke; among the terms of which compact was one that 
he should not be expected to interfere in the affairs of Ro- 
magna and Tuscany. The count then urged the Florentines to 
come to terms with the Lucchese, and so convinced them of the 
necessity of this, that seeing no better course to adopt, they 
complied in April, 1438, by which treaty the Lucchese retained 
their liberty, and the Florentines Monte Carlo and a few other 


fortresses. After this, being full of exasperation, they de- 
spatched letters to every part of Italy, overcharged with com- 
plaintSy affecting to show that since God and men were averse 
to the Lucchese coming under their dominion, they had made 
peace with them. And it seldom happens that any suffer so 
much for the loss of their own lawful property as they did be- 
cause they could not obtain the possessions of others. 

Though the Florentines had now so many affairs in hand, 
they did not allow the proceedings of their neighbors to pass 
unnoticed, or neglect the decoration of their city. As before 
observed, Niccolo Fortebraccio was dead. He had married a 
daughter of the Count di Poppi, who, at the decease of his son- 
in-law, held the Borgo San Sepolcro, and other fortresses of 
that district, and while Niccolo lived, governed them in his 
name. Qaiming them as his daughter's portion, he refused to 
give them up to the Pope, who demanded them as property held 
of the church, and who, upon his refusal, sent the patriarch with 
forces to take possession of them. The count, finding himself 
unable to sustain the attack, offered them to the Florentines, 
who declined them ; but the Pope having returned to Florence, 
they interceded with him in the count's behalf. Difficulties 
arising, the patriarch attacked the Casentino, took Prato Vec- 
chio, and Romena, and offered them also to the Florentines, 
who refused them likewise, unless the Pope would consent they 
should restore them to the count, to which, after much hesi- 
tation, he acceded, on condition that the Florentines should pre- 
vail with the Count di Poppi to restore the Borgo to him. The 
Pope was thus satisfied, and the Florentines having so far com- 
pleted the building of their cathedral church of Santa Reparata, 
which had been commenced long ago, as to enable them to per- 
form divine service in it, requested his holiness to consecrate it 
To this the pontiff willingly agreed, and the Florentines, to ex- 
hibit the wealth of the city and the splendor of the edifice, and 
do greater honor to the Pope, erected a platform from Santa 
Maria Novella, where he resided, to the cathedral he was about 
to consecrate, six feet in height and twelve feet wide, covered 
with rich drapery, for the accommodation of the pontiff and 
his court, upon which they proceeded to the building, accom- 
panied by those civic magistrates and other officers who were 
appointed to take part in the procession. The usual ceremonies 


of consecration having been completed, the Pope, to show his 
affection for the city, conferred the honor of knighthood upon 
Giuliano Davanzati, their Gonfalonier of Justice, and a citizen 
of the highest reputation ; and the Signory, not to appear less 
gracious than the Pope, granted to the new created knight the 
government of Pisa for one year. 

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


New Wars in Italy— Niccolo Picdnino, In Concert with the Duke of 
Milan, Deceives the Pope, and takes Many Places from the Church 
— Niccolo Attacks the Venetians— Fears and Precautions of the 
Florentines — ^The Venetians Request Assistance of the Florentines, 
and of Sforza— League against the Duke of Milan— The Floren- 
tines Resolve to Send the Count to Assist the Venetians — Nert di 
Gino Capponi at Venice — His Discourse to the Senate — Extreme Joy 
of the Venetians. 

PEACE being restored between the Lucchese and Floren- 
tines, and the duke and the count having become 
friends, hopes were entertained that the arms of Italy 
would be laid aside, although those in the Kingdom of Naples, 
between Rene of Anjou and Alfonso of Arragon, could find 
repose only by the ruin of one party or the other. And though 
the Pope was dissatisfied with the loss of so large a portion of 
his territories, and the ambition of the duke and the Venetians 
was obvious, still it was thought that the pontiff, from necessity, 
and the others from weariness, would be advocates of peace. 
However, a different state of feeling prevailed, for neither 
the duke nor the Venetians were satisfied with their condition ; 
so that hostilities were resumed, and Lombardy and Tuscany 
were again harassed by the horrors of war. The proud mind 
of the duke could not endure that the Venetians should possess 
Bergamo and Brescia, and he was still further annoyed by 
hearing that they were constantly in arms and in the daily prac- 
tice of annoying some portion of his territories. He thought, 
however, that he should not only be able to restrain them, but 
to recover the places he had lost, if the Pope, the Florentines, 
and the count could be induced to forego the Venetian alliance. 
He therefore resolved to take Romagna from the pontiff, 
imagining that his holiness could not injure him, and that the 
Florentines, finding the conflagration so near, either for their 
own sake would refrain from interference, or, if they did not, 
could not conveniently attack him. The duke was also aware 



of the resentment of the Florentines against the Venetians, on 
account of the affair of Lucca, and he therefore judged they 
would be the less eager to take arms against him on their be- 
half. With regard to the Count Francesco, he trusted that 
their new friendship and the hope of his alliance would keep 
him quiet. To give as little color as possible for complaint, 
and to lull suspicion, particularly, because, in consequence of 
his treaty with the count, the latter could not attack Romagna, 
he ordered Niccolo Piccinino, as if instigated by his own am- 
bition to do so. 

When the agreement between the duke and the count was 
concluded, Niccolo was in Romagna, and, in pursuance of his 
instructions from the duke, affected to be highly incensed, that 
a connection had been established between him and the count, 
his inveterate enemy. He therefore withdrew himself and his 
forces to Camurata, a place between Furli and Ravenna, which 
he fortified, as if designing to remain there some time, or till a 
new enterprise should present itself. The report of his resent- 
ment being diffused, Niccolo gave the Pope to understand how 
much the duke was under obligation to him, and how ungrate- 
ful he proved ; and he was persuaded, that, possessing nearly 
all the arms of Italy, under the two principal generals, he could 
render himself sole ruler ; but if his holiness pleased, of the two 
principal generals whom he fancied he possessed, one would be- 
come his enemy^ and the other be rendered useless; for, if 
money were provided him, and he were kept in pay, he would 
attack the territories held of the Church by the cotmt, who be- 
ing compelled to look to his own interests, could not subserve 
the ambition of Filippo. The Pope giving entire credence to 
this representation, on account of its apparent reasonableness, 
sent Niccolo S,ooo ducats, and loaded him with promises of 
states for himself and his children. And though many in- 
formed him of the deception, he could not give credit to diem, 
nor would he endure the conversation of any who seemed to 
doubt the integrity of Niccolo's professions. 

The city of Ravenna was held for the Church by Ostasio da 
Polenta. Niccolo finding further delay would be detrimental, 
since his son Francesco had, to the Pope's great dishonor, pil- 
laged Spoleto, determined to attack Ravenna, either because 
he judged the enterprise easy, or because he had a secret under- 


standing with Ostasio, for, in a few days after the attack, the 
place capitulated. He then took Bologna, Imoia, and Furli; 
and (what is worthy of remark) of twenty fortresses held in 
that country for the Pope, not one escaped falung into his 
hands. Not satisfied with these injuries inflictea on the pon- 
tiff, he resolved to banter him by his words as wen as ridicule 
him by his deeds, and wrote that he had only done as his holi- 
ness deserved, for having unblushingly attempted 10 divide two 
such attached friends as the duke and himself, and for having 
dispersed over Italy letters intimating that he had quitted the 
duke to take part with the Venetians. Having taken pos- 
session of Romagna, Niccolo left it under the cnarge of his 
son, Francesco, and, with the greater part of his troops, went 
into Lombardy, where, joining the remainder of the duke's 
forces, he attacked the country about Brescia, and, having 
soon completely conquered it, besieged the city itself. 

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

Count Francesco would have wished, with the consent of 
the Florentines, to go to the assistance of King Rene, if the 
events of Romagna and Lombardy had not hindered him ; and 
the Florentines would willingly have consented, from their 
ancient friendship to the French d)masty, but the duke was en- 
tirely in favor of Alfonso. Each being engaged in wars near 
home, refrained from distant undertakings. The Florentines, 
finding Romagna occupied with the duke's forces, and the 
Venetians defeated, as if foreseeing their own ruin in that of 
others, entreated the count to come into Tuscany, where they 
might consider what done to resist Filippo's power, 


which was now greater than it had ever before been ; assuring 
them that, if his insolence were not in some way curbed, all the 
powers of Italy would soon have to submit to him. The count 
felt the force of the fears entertained by the Florentines, but 
his desire to secure the duke's alliance kept him in suspense; 
and the duke, aware of this desire, gave him the greatest as- 
surance that his hopes would be realized as shortly as possible, 
if he abstained from hostilities against him. As the lady was 
now of marriageable age, the duke had frequently made all 
suitable preparations for the celebration of the ceremony, but 
on one pretext or another they had always been wholly set aside. 
He now, to give the cotmt greater confidence, added deeds to 
his words, and sent him 30,000 florins, which, by the terms of 
the marriage contract, he had engaged to pay. 

Still the war in Lombardy proceeded with greater vehe- 
mence than ever ; the Venetians constantly suffered fresh losses 
of territory, and the fleets they equipped upon the rivers were 
taken by the duke's forces; the country around Verona and 
Brescia was entirely occupied, and the two cities themselves so 
pressed that their speedy fall was generally anticipated. The 
Marquis of Mantua, who for many years had led the forces of 
their republic, quite unexpectedly resigned his command, and 
went over to the duke's service. Thus the course which pride 
prevented them from adopting at the commencement of the war, 
fear compelled them to take during its progress ; for knowing 
there was no help for them but in the friendship of the Floren- 
tines and the count, they began to make overtures to obtain it, 
though with shame and apprehension; for they were afraid 
of receiving a reply similar to that which they had given the 
Florentines, when the latter applied for assistance in the enter- 
prise against Lucca and the count's affairs. 

However, they found the Florentines more easily induced to 
render aid than they expected, or their conduct deserved ; so 
much more were the former swayed by hatred of their ancient 
enemy, than by resentment of the ingratitude of their old and 
habitual friends. Having foreseen the necessity into which 
the Venetians must come, they had informed the count that 
their ruin must involve his own; that he was deceived if he 
thought the duke, while fortunate, would esteem him more than 
if he were in adversity ; that the duke was induced to promise 


him his daughter by the fear he entertained of him ; that what 
nece^ity occasions to be promised, it also causes to be per- 
formed; and it was therefore desirable to keep the duke in 
that necessity, which could not be done without supporting 
the power of the Venetians. Therefore he might perceive, 
that if the Venetians were compelled to abandon their inland 
territories, he would not only lose the advantages derivable 
from them, but also those to be obtained from such as feared 
them ; and that if he considered well the powers of Italy, he 
would see that some were poor, and others hostile; that the 
Florentines alone were not, as he had often said, sufficient for 
his support, so that on every account it was best to keep the 
Venetians powerful by land. These arguments, conjoined 
with the hatred which Uie count had conceived against Filippo, 
by supposing himself duped with regard to the promised al- 
liance, induced him to consent to a new treaty; but still he 
would not consent to cross the Po. The agreement was con- 
cluded in February, 1438; the Venetians agreeing to pay two- 
thirds of the expense of the war, the Florentines one-third, and 
each engaging to defend the States which the count possessed 
in La Marca. Nor were these the only forces of the league, 
for the Lord of Faenza, the sons of Pandolfo Malatesti da 
Rimino and Pietro Giampagolo Orsini also joined them. They 
endeavored, by very liberal offers, to gain over the Marquis of 
Mantua, but could not prevail against the friendship and 
stipend of the duke ; and die Lord of Faenza, after having en- 
tered into a compact with the league, being tempted by more ad- 
vantageous terms, went over to him. This made them despair 
of being able to ^ect an early settlement, of the troubles of 

The affairs of Lombardy were in this condition: Brescia 
was so closely besieged by the duke's forces that constant ap- 
prehensions were entertained of her being compelled by famine 
to a surrender; while Verona was so pressed that a similar 
fate was expected to await her, and, if one of these cities were 
lost, all the other preparations for the war might be con- 
sidered useless, and the expenses already incurred as com- 
pletely wasted. For this there was no remedy, but to send 
the count into Lombardy ; and to this measure three obstacles 
presented themselves. The first was, to induce him to cross 


the Po, and prosecute the war in whatever locality might be 
found most advisable ; the second, that, the count being at a 
distance, the Florentines would be left almost at the mercy 
of the duke, who, issuing from any of his fortresses, might 
with part of his troops keep the count at bay, and with the 
rest introduce into Tuscany the Florentine exiles, whom the 
existing government greatly dreaded ; the third was, to deter- 
mine what route the count should take to arrive safely in the 
Paduan territory, and join the Venetian forces. Of these three 
difficulties, the second, which particularly regarded the Floren- 
tines, was the most serious ; but, knowing the necessity of the 
case, and wearied out by the Venetians, who with unceasing 
importunity demanded the count, intimating that without him 
they should abandon all hope, they resolved to relieve their al- 
lies rather than listen to the suggestions of their own fears. 
There still remained the question about the route to be taken, 
for the safety of which they determined the Venetians should 
provide ; and as they had sent Neri Capponi to treat with the 
count, and induce him to cross the Po, they determined that 
the same person should also proceed to Venice, in order to make 
the benefit the more acceptable to the Signory, and see that all 
possible security were given to the passage of the forces. 

Neri embarked at Cesena and went to Venice ; nor was any 
prince ever received with so much honor as he was ; for upon 
his arrival, and the matters which his intervention was to decide 
and determine, the safety of the republic seemed to depend. 
Being introduced to the Senate, and in presence of the Doge, 
he said : 

" The Signory of Florence, Most Serene Prince, has always 
perceived in the duke's greatness the source of ruin both to 
this republic and our own, and that the safety of both States 
depends upon their separate strength and mutual confidence. 
If such had been the opinion of tliis illustrious Signory, we 
should ourselves have been in better condition, and your re- 
public would have been free from the dangers that now threaten 
it. But as at the proper crisis you withheld from us confidence 
and aid, we could not come to the relief of your distress, nor 
could you, being conscious of this, freely ask us ; for neither in 
your prosperity nor adversity have you clearly perceived our 
motives. You have not observed that those whose deeds have 


once incurred our hatred, can never become entitled to our re- 
gard ; nor can those who have once merited our affection ever 
after absolutely cancel their claim. Our attachment to your 
Most Serene Signory is well known to you all, for you have 
often seen Lombardy filled with your forces and our money for 
your assistance. Our hereditary enmity to Filippo and his 
house is universally known, and it is impossible that love or 
hatred, strengthened by the growth of years, can be eradicated 
from our minds by any recent act either of kindness or neglect. 
We have always thought, and are still of the same opinion, that 
we might now remain neutral, greatly to the duke's satisfaction, 
and with little hazard to ourselves ; for if by your ruin he were 
to become Lord of Lombardy, we should still have sufficient 
influence in Italy to free us from any apprehension on our own 
account ; for every increase of power and territory augments 
that animosity and envy, from which arise wars and the dis- 
memberment of states. We are also aware what heavy ex- 
penses and imminent perils we should avoid, by declining to 
involve ourselves in these disputes; and how easily the field 
of battle may be transferred from Lombardy to Tuscany, by 
our interference in your behalf. 

" Yet all these apprehensions are at once overborne by our 
ancient affection for the senate and people of Venice, and we 
have resolved to come to your relief, with the same zeal with 
which we should have armed in our own defence, had we been 
attacked. Therefore, the Senate of Florence, judging it pri- 
marily necessary to relieve Verona and Brescia, and thinking 
this impossible without the count, have sent me, in the first in- 
stance, to persuade him to pass into Lombardy, and carry on 
the war wherever it may be most needful; for you are aware 
he is under no obligation to cross the Po. To induce him to do 
so, I have advanced such arguments as are suggested by the 
circumstances themselves, and which would prevail with us. 
He, being invincible in arms, cannot be surpassed in courtesy, 
and the liberality he sees the Florentines exercise toward you, 
he has resolved to outdo ; for he is well aware to what dangers 
Tuscany will be exposed after his departure, and since we 
have made your affairs our primary consideration, he has also 
resolved to make his own subservient to yours. I come, there- 
fore, to tender his services, with 7,000 cavalry and 2,000 in- 


fantry, ready at once to inarch against the enemy, wherever he 
may be. And I beg of you, so do my lords at Florence and the 
count, that as his forces exceed the number he has engaged to 
furnish, you, out of your liberality, would remunerate him, that 
he may not repent of having come to your assistance, nor we, 
that we have prevailed with him to do so." 

This discourse of Neri to the Senate was listened to with that 
profound attention which the oracle might be imagined to com- 
mand ; and his audience were so moved by it, that they could 
not restrain themselves, till the prince had replied, as strict 
decorum upon such occasions required, but rising from their 
seats, with uplifted hands, and most of them with tears in their 
eyes, they thanked the Florentines for their generous conduct, 
and the ambassador for his unusual despatch; and promised 
that time should never cancel the remembrance of such good- 
ness, either in their own hearts, or their children's; and that 
their coimtry, thenceforth, should be common to the Floren- 
tines with themselves. 


Francesco Sforza Marches to Assist the Venetians, and Relieves Ve- 
rona—He Attempts to Relieve Brescia but Fails— The Venetians 
Routed by Piccinino upon the Lake of Garda — Piccinino Routed by 
Sforza; the Method of his Escape — Piccinino Surprises Verona — 
Description of Verona — ^Recovered by Sforza — ^The Duke of Milan 
Makes War against the Florentines— Apprehensions of the Floren- 
tines — Cardinal Vitelleschi their Enemy. 

WHEN their demonstrations of gratitude had subsided, 
the Venetian Senate, by the aid of Neri di Gino, 
began to consider the route the count ought to take, 
and how to provide him with necessaries. There were four 
several roads ; one by Ravenna, along the beach, which on ac- 
count of its being in many places interrupted by the sea and 
by marshes, was not approved. The next was the most direct, 
but rendered inconvenient, by a tower called the UccelUno, 
which being held for the duke, it would be necessary to capture ; 
and to do this, would occupy more time than could be spared 
with safety to Verona and Brescia. The third was by the brink 
of the lake; but as the Po had overflown its banks, to pass 
in this direction was impossible. The fourth was by the way 
of Bologna to Ponte Puledrano, Cento, and Pieve; then be- 
tween the Bondeno and the Finale to Ferrara, and thence they 
might by land or water enter the Paduan territory, and join 
the Venetian forces. This route, though attended with many 
difficulties, and in some parts liable to be disputed by the enemy, 
was chosen as the least objectionable. The count having re- 
ceived his instructions, commenced his march, and by exerting 
the utmost celerity, reached the Paduan territory on June 20. 
The arrival of this distinguished commander in Lombardy filled 
Venice and all her dependencies with hope ; for the Venetians, 
who only an instant before had been in fear for their very 
existence, began to contemplate new conquests. 
The count, before he made any other attempt, hastened to 
17 257 


the relief of Verona; and to counteract his design, Niccolo 
led his forces to Soave, a castle situated between the Vincen- 
tino and the Veronese, and entrenched himself by a ditch that 
extended from Soave to the marshes of the Adige. The count, 
finding his passage by the plain cut oflf, resolved to proceed by 
the mountains, and thus reach Verona, thinking Niccolo would 
imagine this way to be so rugged and elevated as to be imprac- 
ticable ; or if he thought otherwise, he would not be in time 
to prevent him ; so, with provisions for eight days, he took the 
mountain path, and with his forces, arrived in the plain, below 
Soave. Niccolo had, even upon this route, erected some 
bastions for the purpose of preventing him, but they were in- 
sufficient for the purpose; and finding the enemy had, con- 
trary to his expectations, effected a passage, to avoid a dis- 
advantageous engagement he crossed to the opposite side of 
the Adige, and the count entered Verona without opposition. 

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

The Venetians, alarmed at this loss, and fearing that in 


consequence of it Brescia would surrender, solicited the count, 
by letters and messengers, to go to its relief; and he, per- 
ceiving that all hope of rendering assistance from the lake was 
cut off, and that to attempt an approach by land, on account 
of the ditches, bastions, and other defences erected by Niccolo, 
was marching to certain destruction, determined that as the pas- 
sage by the mountains had enabled him to relieve Verona^ it 
should also contribute to the preservation of Brescia. Having 
taken this resolution, the count left Zevio, and by way of the 
Val d' Acri wene to the Lake of St. Andrea, and thence to 
Torboli and Peneda, upon the Lake of Garda. He then pro- 
ceeded to Tenna, and besieged the fortress, which it was neces- 
sary to occupy before he could reach Brescia. 

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

Had this victory been as carefully improved as it was for- 
tunately obtained, Brescia would have derived from it greater 
relief and the Venetians more permanent advantage ; but they, 
having thoughtlessly let it slip, the rejoicings were soon over, 
and Brescia remained in her former difficulties. Niccolo, hav- 
ing returned his forces, resolved by some extraordinary exer- 
tion to cancel the impression of his defeat, and deprive the 


Venetians of the chance of relieving Brescia. He was ac- 
quainted with the topography of the citadel of Verona, and had 
learned from prisoners whom he had taken that it was badly 
guarded, and might be very easily recovered. He perceived 
at onct that fortune presented him with an opportunity of re- 
gaining the laurels he had lately lost, and of changing the joy 
of the enemy for their recent victory into sorrow for a suc- 
ceeding disaster. 

The city of Verona is situated in Lombardy, at the foot of 
the mountains which divide Italy from Germany, so that it 
occupies part both of hill and plain. The river Adige rises 
in the valley of Trento, and entering Italy, does not imme- 
diately traverse the country, but winding to the left, along the 
base of the hills, enters Verona, and crosses the city, which it 
divides unequally, giving much the larger portion to the plain. 
On the mountain side of the river are two fortresses, formi- 
dable rather from their situation than from their actual strength, 
for being very elevated they command the whole place. One 
is called San Piero, the other San Felice. On the opposite side 
of the Adige, upon the plain, with their backs against the city 
walls, are two other fortresses, about a mile distant from each 
other, one called the Old, the other the New Citadel, and a wall 
extends between them that may be compared to a bow-string, 
of which the city wall is the arc. The space comprehended 
within this segment is very populous, and is called the Borgo 
of St. Zeno. Niccolo Piccinino designed to capture these for- 
tresses and the Borgo, and he hoped to succeed without much 
difficulty, as well on account of the ordinary negligence of the 
guard, which their recent successes would probably increase, 
as because in war no enterprise is more likely to be successful 
than one which by the enemy is deemed impossible. 

With a body of picked men, and accompanied by the Marquis 
of Mantua, Piccinino proceeded by night to Verona, silently 
scaled the walls, and took the New Citadel; then entering the 
place with his troops, he forced the gate of San Antonio, and 
introduced the whole of his cavalry. The Venetian garrison 
of the Old Citadel hearing an uproar, when the guards of the 
New were slaughtered, and again when the gate was forced, 
being now aware of the presence of enemies, raised an alarm, 
and called the people to arms. The citizens awaking in the 


Utmost confusion, some of the boldest armed and hastened to 
the rector's piazza. In the meantime, Niccolo's forces had pil- 
laged the Borgo of San Zeno; and proceeding onward were 
ascertained by the people to be the duke's forces, but being de- 
fenceless they advised the Venetian rectors to take refuge in the 
fortresses, and thus save tliemselves and the place ; as it was 
more advisable to preserve their lives and so rich a city for bet- 
ter fortune, than, by endeavoring to repel the present evil, en- 
counter certain death, and incur universal pillage. Upon this 
the rectors, and all the Venetian party, fled to the fortress of 
San Felice. Some of the first citizens, anxious to avoid being 
plundered by the troops, presented themselves before Niccolo 
and the Marquis of Mantua, and begged they would rather 
take possession of a rich city, with honor to themselves, than 
of a poor one to their own disgrace ; particularly as they had 
not induced either the favor of its former possessors, or the 
animosity of its present masters, by self-defence. The Marquis 
and Niccolo encouraged them, and protected their property to 
the utmost of their power during such a state of military li- 
cense. As they felt sure the count would endeavor to recover 
the city, they made every possible exertion to gain possession of 
the fortresses, and those they could not seize they cut off from 
the rest of the place by ditches and barricades, so that the enemy 
might be shut out. 

The Count Francesco was with his army at Tenna; and 
when the report was first brought to him he refused to credit 
it ; but being assured of the fact by parties whom it would have 
been ridiculous to doubt, he resolved, by the exertion of un- 
common celerity, to repair the evil negligence had occasioned; 
and though all his ofiicers advised the abandonment of Verona 
and Brescia, and a march to Vicenza, lest he might be besieged 
by the enemy in his present situation, he refused but resolved to 
attempt the recovery of Verona. During the consultation, he 
turned to the Venetian commissaries and to Bernardo de' 
Medici, who was there as commissary for the Florentines, and 
promised them the recovery of the place if one of the fortresses 
should hold out. Having collected his forces, he proceeded 
with the utmost speed to Verona. Observing his approach, 
Niccolo thought he designed, according to the advice he had 
received, to go to Vicenza, but finding him continue to draw 


near, and taking the direction of San Felice, he prepared for 
its defence — ^though too late ; for the barricades were not com- 
pleted ; his men were dispersed in quest of plimder, or extort- 
ing money from the inhabitants by way of ransom; and he 
could not collect them in time to prevent the count's troops from 
entering the fortress. They then descended into the city, which 
they happily recovered, to Niccolo's disgrace, and with the loss 
of great numbers of his men. He himself with the Marquis of 
Mantua, first took refuge in the citadel, and thence escaping 
into the country, fled to Mantua, where, having assembled 
the relics of their army, they hastened to join those who were 
at the siege of Brescia. Thus in four days Verona was lost 
and again recovered from the duke. The count, after this vic- 
tory, it being now winter, and the weather very severe, having 
first with considerable difficulty thrown provisions into Brescia, 
went into quarters at Verona, and ordered, that during the cold 
season, galleys should be provided at Torboli that upon the re- 
turn of spring, they might be in a condition to proceed vigor- 
ously to effect the permanent relief of Brescia. 

The duke, finding the war suspended for a time, the hope 
he had entertained of occupying Brescia and Verona annihi- 
lated, and the money and counsels of the Florentines the cause 
of this, and seeing that neither the injuries they had received 
from the Venetians could alienate them, nor all the promises 
be had made attach them to himself, he determined, in order 
to make them feel more closely the eflFects of the course they 
had adopted, to attack Tuscany ; to which he was strenuously 
advised by the Florentine exiles and Niccolo. The latter ad- 
vocated this frcMii his desire to recover the states of Braccio, 
and expel the count from La Marca; the former, from their 
wish to return home, and each by suitable arguments endeavored 
to induce the duke to follow the plan congenial to their own 
views. Niccolo argued that he might be sent into Tuscany, and 
continue the siege of Brescia ; for he was master of the lake, 
the fortresses were well provided, and their officers were quali- 
fied to oppose the count should he undertake any fresh enter- 
prise; which it was not likely he would do without first re- 
lieving Brescia, a thing impossible ; and thus the duke might 
carry on the war in Tuscany, without giving up his attempts in 
Lombardy; intimating that the Florentines would be com* 


pelledy as soon as he entered Tuscany, to recall the count to 
avoid complete ruin ; and whatever course they took, victory to 
the duke must be the result. The exiles affirmed, that if Nic- 
colo with his army were to approach Florence, the people op- 
pressed with taxes, and wearied out by the insolence of the 
great, would most assuredly not oppose him, and pointed out 
the facility of reaching Florence ; for the way by the Casentino 
would be open to them, through the friendship of Rinaldo and 
the Count di Poppi; and thus the duke, who was previously 
inclined to the attempt, was induced by their joint persuasions 
to make it. The Venetians, on the other hand, though the win- 
ter was severe, incessantly urged the count to relieve Brescia, 
with all his forces. The count questioned the possibility of so 
doing, and advised him to vrait the return of spring, in the 
meantime strengthening their fleet as much as possible, and 
then assist it both by land and water. This rendered the Vene- 
tians dissatisfied ; they were dilatory in furnishing provisions, 
and consequently many deserted from their army. 

The Florentines, being informed of th^e transactions, be- 
came alarmed, perceiving the war threatening themselves, and 
the little progress made in Lombardy. Nor did the suspicion 
entertained by them of the troops of the Church give them less 
uneasiness; not that the Pope was their enemy, but because 
they saw those forces more under the sway of the patriarch, 
who was their greatest foe. Giovanni Vitelleschi of Cometo 
was at first apostolic notary, then Bishop of Recanati, and after- 
ward Patriarch of Alexandria ; but at last, becoming a cardinal, 
he was called Cardinal of Florence. He was bold and cunning ; 
and, having obtained great influence, was appointed to com- 
mand the forces of the Church, and conduct all the enterprises 
of the pontiff, whether in Tuscany, Romagna, the Kingdom of 
Naples, or in Rome. Hence he acquired so much power over 
the pontiff and the papal troops that the former was afraid of 
commanding him, and the latter obeyed no one else. The car- 
dinal's presence at Rome, when the report came of Niccolo's 
design to march into Tuscany, redoubled the fear of the Floren- 
tines ; for since Rinaldo was expelled, he had become an enemy 
of the republic, from finding that the arrangements made by 
his means were not only disregarded, but converted to his 
prejudice, and caused the laying down of arms, which had 


given his enemies an opportunity of banishing him. In con- 
sequence of this, the government thought it would be advisable 
to restore and indemnify Rinaldo, in case Niccolo came into 
Tuscany and were joined by him. Their apprehensions were 
increased by their being unable to account for Niccolo's de- 
parture from Lombardy, and his leaving one enterprise almost 
completed, to undertake another so entirely doubtful ; which 
they could not reconcile with their ideas of consistency, except 
by supposing some new design had been adopted, or some hid- 
den treachery intended. They communicated their fears to the 
Pope, who was now sensible of his error in having endowed the 
cardinal with too much authority. 


The Pope Imprisons the Cardinal and Assists the Florentines— Differ- 
ence of Opinion between the G)unt and the Venetians Respecting 
the Management of the War. The Florentines Reconcile them — 
The Count Wishes to Go into Tuscany to Oppose Picdnino, but is 
Prevented by the Venetians — Niccolo Piccinino in Tuscany— He 
Takes Marradi, and Plunders the Neighborhood of Florence— De- 
scription of Marradi — Cowardice of Bartolomeo Orlandini — ^Brave 
Resistance of Castel San Niccolo — San Niccolo Surrenders — Pic- 
cinino Attempts to Take Cortona, but Fails. 

WHILE the Florentines were thus anxious, fortune dis- 
closed the means of securing themselves against the 
patriarch's malevolence. The republic everywhere 
exercised the very closest espionage over epistolary communi- 
cation, in order to discover if any persons were plotting against 
the state. It happened that letters were intercepted at Monte 
Pulciano, which had been written by the patriarch to Niccolo 
without the Pope's knowledge ; and although they were written 
in an unusual character, and the sense so involved that no dis- 
tinct idea could be extracted, the obscurity itself and the whole 
aspect of the matter so alarmed the pontiff that he resolved to 
seize the person of the cardinal, a duty he committed to Antonio 
Rido, of Padua, who had the command of the castle of St. An- 
gelo, and who, after receiving his instructions, soon found an 
opportunity of carrying them into effect. The patriarch, hav- 
ing determined to go into Tuscany, prepared to leave Rome on 
the following day, and ordered the castellan to be upon the 
drawbridge of the fortress in the morning, for he wished to 
speak with him as he passed. Antonio perceived this to be the 
favorable moment, informed his people what they were to do, 
and awaited the arrival of the patriarch upon the bridge, which 
adjoined the building, and might for the purpose of security 
be raised or lowered as occasion required. The appointed time 
found him punctual ; and Antonio, having drawn him, as if for 
convenience of conversation, on to the bridge, gave a signal to 



his men^ who immediately raised it^ and in a moment the car- 
dinal, irom being a commander of armies, found himself a 
prisoner of the castellan. The patriarch's followers at first 
began to use threats, but being informed of the Pope's direc- 
tions they were appeased. The castellan comforting him with 
kind words, he replied : '' The great do not make each other 
prisoners to let them go again ; and those whom it is proper 
to take, it is not well to set free." He shortly afterward died 
in prison. The Pope appointed Lodovico, Patriarch of Acqui- 
leia, to command his troops ; and, though previously tmwilling 
to interfere in the wars of the league and the duke, he was now 
content to take part in them, and engaged to furnish 4,000 horse 
and 2,000 foot for the defence of Tuscany. 

The Florentines, freed from this cause for anxiety, were still 
apprehensive of Niccolo, and feared confusion in the affairs of 
Lombardy, from the diflFercnces of opinion that existed between 
the count and the Venetians. In order the better to become ac- 
quainted with the intentions of the parties, they sent Neri di 
Gino Capponi and Giuliano Davanzati to Venice, with in- 
structions to assist in the arrangement of the approaching cam- 
paign ; and ordered that Neri, having discovered how the Vene- 
tians were disposed, should proceed to the count, learn his de- 
signs, and induce him to adopt the course that would be most 
advantageous to the league. The ambassadors had only 
reached Ferrara, when they were told that Niccolo Piccinino 
had crossed the Po with 6,000 horse. This made them travel 
with increased speed; and, having arrived at Venice, they 
found the Signory fully resolved that Brescia should be re- 
lieved without waiting for the return of spring; for they said 
that " the city would be imable to hold out so long, the fleet 
could not be in readiness, and that seeing no more immediate 
relief, she would submit to the enemy ; which would render the 
duke universally victorious, and cause them to lose the whole of 
their inland possessions." Neri then proceeded to Verona to 
ascertain the coimt's opinon, who argued, for many reasons, 
that to march to Brescia before the return of spring would be 
quite useless, or even worse ; for the situation of Brescia, being 
considered in conjunction with the season, nothing could be 
expected to result but disorder and fruitless toil to the troops ; 
so that, when the suitable period should arrive, he would be 


compelled to return to Verona with his army, to recover from 
the injuries sustained in the winter, and provide necessaries 
for the summer ; and thus the time available for the war would 
be wasted in marching and countermarching. Orsatto Justi- 
niani and Giovanni Pisani were deputed on the part of Venice 
to the count at Verona, having been sent to consider these af- 
fairs, and with them it was agreed that the Venetians should 
pay the count 90,000 ducats for the coming year, and to each 
of the soldiers forty ducats ; that he should set out immediately 
with the whole army and attack the duke, in order to compel 
him, for his own preservation, to recall Niccolo into Lombardy. 
After this agreement the ambassadors returned to Venice ; and 
the Venetians, having so large an amount of money to raise, 
were very remiss with their commissariat. 

In the meantime, Niccolo Piccinino pursued his route, and 
arrived in Romagna, where he prevailed upon the sons of Pan- 
dolfo Malatesti to desert the Venetians and enter the duke's 
service. This circumstance occasioned much uneasiness at 
Venice, and still more at Florence ; for they thought that with 
the aid of the Malatesti they might resist Niccolo ; but finding 
them gone over to the enemy, they were in fear lest their cap- 
tain, Piero Giampagolo Orsini, who was in the territories of 
the Malatesi, should be disarmed and rendered powerless. The 
count also felt alarmed, for, through Niccolo's presence in Tus- 
cany, he was afraid of losing La Marca ; and, urged by a desire 
to look after his own affairs, he hastened to Venice, and, be- 
ing introduced to the Doge, informed him that the interests of 
the league required his presence in Tuscany ; for the war ought 
to be carried on where the leader and forces of the enemy were 
and not where his garrisons and towns were situated ; for when 
the army is vanquished the war is finished ; but to take towns 
and leave the armament entire, usually allowed the war to 
break out again with greater virulence; that Tuscany and 
La Marca would be lost if Niccolo were not vigorously re- 
sisted; and that if lost, there would be no possibility of the 
preservation of Lombardy. But supposing the danger to Lom- 
bardy not so imminent, he did not intend to abandon his own 
subjects and friends, and that, having come into Lombardy as a 
prince, he did intend not to return a mere condottiere. To this 
the Doge replied it was quite manifest that, if he left Lombardy, 


or even recrossed the Po, all their inland territories would be 
lost ; in that case they were unwilling to spend any more money 
in their defence. For it would be folly to attempt defending 
a place which must, after all, inevitably be lost; and that it is 
less disgraceful and less injurious to lose dominions only, than 
to lose both territory and money. That if the loss of their in- 
land possessions should actually result, it would then be seen 
how highly important to the preservation of Romagna and Tus- 
cany the reputation of the Venetians had been. 

On these accounts they were of quite a different opinion from 
the count ; for they saw that whoever was victor in Lombardy 
would be so everywhere else; that conquest would be easily 
attainable now, when the territories of the duke were left almost 
defenceless by the departure of Niccolo, and that he would be 
ruined before he could order Niccolo's recall, or provide him- 
self with any other remedy ; that whoever attentively considered 
these things would see that the duke had sent Niccolo into Tus- 
cany for no other reaon than to withdraw the count from his 
enterprise, and cause the war, which was now at his own door, 
to be removed to a greater distance. That if the count were to 
follow Niccolo, unless at the instigation of some very pressing 
necessity, he would find his plan successful, and rejoice in the 
adoption of it ; but if he were to remain in Lombardy, and allow 
Tuscany to shift for herself, the duke would, when too late,, see 
the imprudence of his conduct, and find that he had lost his ter- 
ritories in Lombardy and gained nothing in Tuscany. Each 
party having spoken, it was determined to wait a few days to 
see what would result from the agreement of the Malatesti with 
Niccolo; whether the Florentines could avail themselves of 
Piero Giampagolo, and whether the Pope intended to jcMn the 
league with all the earnestness he had promised. Not many 
days after these resolutions were adopted, it was ascertained 
that the Malatesti had made the agreement more from fear than 
any ill-will toward the league ; that Piero Giampagolo had pro- 
ceeded with his force toward Tuscany, and that the Pope was 
more disposed than ever to assist them. This favorable intelli- 
gence dissipated the count's fears, and he consented to remain 
in Lombardy, and that Neri Capponi should return to Florence 
with 1,000 of his own horse and 500 from the other parties. 
It was further agreed, that if the affairs of Tuscany should 


require the count's presence, Neri should write to him, and he 
would proceed thither to the exclusion of every other considera- 
tion. Neri arrived at Florence with his forces in April, and 
Giampagolo joined them the same day. 

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

The Florentines, however, were not dismayed. Their first 


concern was to give security to the government, for which they 
had no cause for apprehension, so universal was the good-will 
of the people toward Cosmo; and, besides this, they had re- 
stricted the principal offices to a few citizens of the highest 
class, who with their vigilance would have kept the populace 
in order, even if they had been discontented or desirous of 
change. They also knew by the ccxnpact made in Lxjmbardy 
what forces Neri would bring with him, and expected the 
troops of the Pope. These prospects sustained their courage 
till the arrival of Neri di Gino, who, on account of the dis- 
orders and fears of the city, determined to set out immediately 
and check Niccolo. With the cavalry he possessed, and a body 
of infantry raised entirely from the people, he recovered Re- 
mole from the hands of the enemy, where, having encamped, 
he put a stop to all further depredations, and gave the inhab- 
itants hopes of repelling the enemy from the neighborhood. 
Niccolo finding that, although the Florentines were without 
troops, no disturbance had arisen, and learning what entire 
composure prevailed in the city, thought he was wasting time, 
and resolved to undertake some other enterprise to induce them 
to send forces after him, and give him a chance of coming to 
an engagement, by means of which, il victorious, he trusted 
everything would succeed to his wishes. 

Francesco, G)unt di Poppi, was in the army of Niccolo, hav- 
ing deserted the Florentines, with whom he was in league, 
when the enemy entered the Mugello; and though with the 
intention of securing him as soon as they had an idea of his 
design, they increased his appointments, and made him com- 
missary over all the places in his vicinity ; still, so powerful is 
the attachment to party, that no benefit or fear could eradicate 
the affection he bore toward Rinaldo and the late government ; 
so that as soon as he knew Niccolo was at hand he joined him, 
and with the utmost solicitude entreated him to leave the city 
and pass into the Casentino, pointing out to him the strength 
of the country, and how easily he might thence harass his 
enemies. Niccolo followed his advice, and arriving in the 
Casentino, took Romena and Bibbiena, and then pitched his 
camp before Castel San Niccolo. This fortress is situated at 
the foot of the mountains which divide the Casentino from the 
Val d' Amo ; and being in an elevated situation, and well gar- 


risoned, it was difficult to take, though Niccolo, with catapults 
and other engines, assailed it without intermission. The siege 
had continued more than twenty days, during which the Floren- 
tines had collected all their forces, having assembled under 
several leaders, 3,000 horse, at Fegghine, commanded by Piero 
Giampagolo Orsini, their captain, and Neri Capponi and Ber- 
nardo de' Medici, commissaries. Four messengers, from Cas- 
tel San Niccolo, were sent to them to entreat succor. The com- 
missaries having examined the site, found it could not be re- 
lieved, except from the Alpine regions, in the direction of the 
Val d' Amo, the summit of which was more easily attainable 
by the enemy than by themselves, on account of their greater 
proximity, and because the Florentines could not approach 
without observation; so that it would be making a desperate 
attempt, and might occasion the destruction of the forces. The 
commissaries, therefore, commended their fidelity, and ordered 
that when they could hold out no longer, they should surrender. 
Niccolo took the fortress after a siege of thirty-two days ; and 
the loss of so much time, for the attainment of so small an 
advantage, was the principal cause of the failure of his expedi- 
tion; for had he remained with his forces near Florence, he 
would have almost deprived the government of all power to 
compel the citizens to furnish money : nor would they so easily 
have assembled forces and taken other precautions, if the 
enemy had been close upon them, as they did while he was at 
a distance. Besides this, many would have been disposed to 
quiet their apprehensions of Niccolo, by concluding a peace; 
particularly, as the contest was likely to be of some duration. 
The desire of the Count di Poppi to avenge himself on the 
inhabitants of San Niccolo, long his enemies, occasioned his 
advice to Piccinino, who.adopted it for the purpose of pleasing 
him ; and this caused the ruin of both. It seldom happens, that 
the gratification of private feelings, fails to be injurious to the 
general convenience. 

Niccolo, pursuing his good-fortune, took Rassina and Chiusi. 
The Coimt di Poppi advised him to halt in these parts, arguing 
that he mig^t divide his people between Chiusi, Caprese, and 
the Preve, render himself master of this branch of the Apen- 
nines, and descend at pleasure, into the Casentino, the Val d' 
Amo, the Val di Chiane, or the Val di Tavere, as well as be 


prepared for every movement of the enemy. But Niccolo, con- 
sidering the sterility of these places, told him, " his horses 
could not eat stones/' and went to the Borgo San Sepolcro, 
where he was amicably received, but found that the people of 
Citi di Castello, who were friendly to the Florentines, could 
not be induced to yield to his overtures. Wishing to have 
Perugia at his disposal, he proceeded thither with forty horse, 
and being one of her citizens, met with a kind reception. But 
in a few days he became suspected, and having attempted un- 
successfully to tamper with the legate and people of Perugia, 
he took 8,000 ducats from them, and returned to his army. He 
then set on foot secret measures, to seduce Cortona from the 
Florentines, but the affair being discovered, his attempts were 
fruitless. Among the principal citizens was Bartolomeo di 
Senso, who being appointed to the evening watch of one of the 
gates, a countryman, his friend, told him that if he went he 
would be slain. Bartolomeo, requesting to know what was 
meant, he became acquainted with the whole affair, and revealed 
it to the governor of the place, who, having secured the leaders 
of the conspiracy, and doubled the guards at the gates, waited 
till the time appointed for the coming of Niccolo, who finding 
his purpose discovered, returned to his encampment 


Brescia Relieved by Sforza — His Other Victories — Piccinino is Re- 
called into Lombardy — ^He Endeavors to Bring the Florentines to an 
Engagement — He is Routed before Anghiari — Serious Disorders in 
the Camp of the Florentines after the Victory — Death of Rinaldo 
degli Albizzi — His Character — Neri Capponi Goes to Recover the 
Casentino — ^The Cotmt di Poppi Surrenders — ^His Discourse upon 
Quitting his Possessions. 

WHILE these events were taking place in Tuscany, so 
little to the advantage of the duke, his aflFairs in Lom- 
bardy were in a still worse condition. The Count 
Francesco, as soon as the season would permit, took the field 
with his army, and the Venetians having again covered the lake 
with their galleys, he determined first of all to drive the duke 
from the water ; judging, that this once eflFected, his remaining 
task would be easy. He, therefore, with the Venetian fleet, 
attacked that of the duke, and destroyed it. His land forces 
took the castles held for Filippo, and the ducal troops who were 
besieging Brescia, being informed of these transactions, with- 
drew; and thus, the city, after standing a three-years' siege, 
was at length relieved. The count then went in quest of the 
enemy, whose forces were encamped before Soncino, a fortress 
situated upon the River Oglio; these he dislodged and com- 
pelled to retreat to Cremona, where the duke again collected 
his forces, and prepared for his defence. But the count con- 
stantly pressing him more closely, he became apprehensive of 
losing either the whole, or the greater part, of his territories ; 
and perceiving the unfortunate step he had taken, in sending 
Niccolo into Tuscany, in order to correct his error he wrote 
to acquaint him with what had transpired, desiring him, with 
all possible despatch, to leave Tuscany and return to Lombardy. 
In the meantime, the Florentines, under their commissaries, 
had drawn together their forces, and being joined by those of 
the Pope^ halted at Anghiari, a castle placed at the foot of the 
x8 273 


mountains that divide the Val di Tavcre from the Val di Chianc, 
distant four miles from the Borgo San Sepolcro, on a levd 
road, and in a country suitable for the evolutions of cavalry 
or a battlefield. As the Signory had heard of the count's vic- 
tory and the recall of Niccolo, they imagined that without again 
drawing a sword or disturbing the dust imder their horses' 
feet, the victory was their own and the war at an end, they 
wrote to the commissaries, desiring them to avoid an en- 
gagement, as Niccolo could not remain much longer in Tus- 
cany. These instructions coming to the knowledge of Pic- 
cinino, and perceiving the necessity of his speedy return, 
to leave nothing unattempted, he determined to engage the 
enemy, expecting to find them unprepared, and not disposed 
for battle. In this determination he was confirmed by Rinaldo, 
the Count di Poppi, and other Florentine exiles, who saw their 
inevitable ruin in the departure of Niccolo, and hoped, that if 
he engaged the enemy, they would either be victorious, or van- 
quished without dishonor. This resolution being adopted, 
Niccolo led his army, unperceived by the enemy, from Citta di 
Castello to the Borgo, where he enlisted 2,000 men, who, trust- 
ing in the general's talents and promises, followed him in hope 
of plunder. Niccolo then led his forces in battle array toward 
Anghiari, and had arrived within two miles of the place when 
Micheletto Attendulo observed great clouds of dust, and con- 
jecturing at once, that it must be occasioned by the enemy's 
approach, immediately called the troops to arms. 

Great confusion prevailed in the Florentine camp, for the 
ordinary negligence and want of discipline were now increased 
by their presuming the enemy to be at a distance, and they were 
more disposed to flight than to battle ; so that everyone was un- 
armed, and some wandering from the camp, either led by their 
desire to avoid the excessive heat^ or in pursuit of amusement. 
So great was the diligence of the commissaries and of the cap- 
tain, that before the enemy's arrival, the men were mounted 
and prepared to resist their attack ; and as Micheletto was the 
first to observe their approach, he was also first armed and 
ready to meet them, and with his troops hastened to the bridge 
which crosses the river at a short distance from Anghiari. 
Pietro Giampagolo having, previously to the surprise, filled 
up the ditches on either side of the road, and levelled the 


ground between the bridge and Anghiari, and Micheletto hav- 
ing taken his position in front of the former, the legate and 
Simoncino, who led the troops of the Church, took post on the 
right, and the commissaries of the Florentines, with Pietro 
Giampagolo, their captain, on the left ; the infantry being drawn 
up along the banks of the river. Thus, the only course the 
enemy could take, was the direct one over the bridge ; nor had 
the Florentines any other field for their exertions, excepting 
that their infantry were ordered, in case their cavalry were at- 
tacked in flank by the hostile infantry, to assail them with their 
cross bows, and prevent them from wounding the flanks of the 
horses crossing the bridge. Micheletto bravely withstood the 
enemy's charge upon the bridge; but Astorre and Francesco 
Piccinino coming up with a picked body of men, attacked him 
so vigorously, that he was compelled to give way, and was 
pushed as far as the foot of the hill which rises toward the 
Borgo d' Anghiari ; but they were in turn repulsed and driven 
over the bridge, by the troops that took them in flank. 

The battle continued two hours, during which each side had 
frequent possession of the bridge, and their attempts upon it 
were attended with equal success ; but on both sides of the river, 
the disadvantage of Niccolo was manifest ; for when his people 
crossed the bridge, they found the enemy unbroken, and the 
ground being levelled, they could manoeuvre without difficulty, 
and the weary be relieved by such as were fresh. But when the 
Florentines crossed, Niccolo could not relieve those that were 
harassed, on account of the hinderance interposed by the ditches 
and embankments on each side of the road ; thus whenever his 
troops got possession of the bridge, they were soon repulsed 
by the fresh forces of the Florentines ; but when the bridge was 
taken by the Florentines, and they passed over and proceeded 
upon the road, Niccolo having no opportunity to reinforce his 
troops, being prevented by the impetuosity of the enemy and 
the inconvenience of the ground, the rear-guard became min- 
gled with the van, and occasioned the utmost confusion and 
disorder; they were forced to flee, and hastened at full speed 
toward the Borgo. The Florentine troops fell upon the plun- 
der, which was very valuable in horses, prisoners, and military 
stores, for not more than 1,000 of the enemy's cavalry reached 
the town. The people of the Borgo, who had followed Niccolo 


in the hope of plunder, became booty themselves, all of them 
being taken, and obliged to pay a ransom. The colors and car- 
riages were also captured. 

This victory was much more advantageous to the Florentines 
than injurious to the duke ; for, had they been conquered, Tus- 
cany would have been his own ; but he, by his defeat, only lost 
the horses and accoutrements of his army, which could be re- 
placed without any very serious expense. Nor was there ever 
an instance of wars being carried on in an enemy's country with 
less injury to the assailants than at this ; for in so great a defeat, 
and in a battle which continued four hours, only one man died, 
and he, not from wounds inflicted by hostile weapons, or any 
honorable means, but, having fallen from his horse, was tram- 
pled to death. Combatants then engaged with little danger; 
being nearly all mounted, covered with armor, and preserved 
from death whenever they chose to surrender, there was no 
necessity for risking their lives; while fighting, their armor 
defended them, and when they could resist no longer, they 
yielded and were safe. 

This battle, from the circumstances which attended and fol- 
lowed it, presents a striking example of the wretched state of 
military discipline in those times. The enemy's forces being 
defeated and driven into the Borgo, the commissaries desired 
to pursue them, in order to make the victory complete, but not 
a single condottiere or soldier would obey, alleging, as a suffi- 
cient reason for their refusal, that they must take care of the 
booty and attend to their wounded ; and, what is still more sur- 
prising, the next day, without permission from the commis- 
saries, or the least regard for their commanders, they went to 
Arezzo, and, having secured their plunder, returned to Anghi- 
ari ; a thing so contrary to military order and all subordination, 
that the merest shadow of a regular army would easily and 
most justly have wrested from them the victory they had so 
undeservedly obtained. Added to this, the men-at-arms, or 
heavy-armed horse, who had been taken prisoners, whom the 
commissaries wished to be detained that they might not rejoin 
the enemy, were set at liberty, contrary to their orders. It is 
astonishing that an army so constructed should have sufficient 
energy to obtain the victory, or that any should be found so 
imbecile as to allow such a disorderly rabble to vanquish them. 


The time occupied by the Florentine forces in going and return- 
ing from Arezzo, gave Niccolo opportunity of escaping from 
the Borgo, and proceeding toward Romagna. Along with him 
also fled the Florentine exiles, who, finding no hope of their 
return home, took up their abodes in various parts of Italy, 
each according to his own convenience. Rinaldo made choice 
of Ancona ; and, to gain admission to the celestial country, hav- 
ing lost the terrestrial, he performed a pilgrimage to the Holy 
Sepulchre ; whence having returned, he died suddenly while at 
table at the celebration of the marriage of one of his daughters ; 
an instance of fortune's favor, in removing him from the troub- 
les of this world upon the least sorrowful day of his exile. 
Rinaldo d' Albizzi appeared respectable under every change of 
condition; and would have been more so had he lived in a 
united city, for many qualities were injurious to him in a fac- 
tious community, which in a harmonious one would have done 
him honor. 

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

While the affair of the Borgo San Sepolcro was in progress, 
Niccolo Piccinino was supposed to have marched toward 
Rome ; other accounts said La Marca, and hence the legate and 
the count's forces moved toward Perugia to relieve La Marca 
or Rome, as the case might be, and Bernardo de' Medici ac- 
companied them. Neri led the Florentine forces to recover 
the Casentino, and pitched his camp before Rassina, which he 
took, together with Bibbiena, Prato Vecchio, and Romena. 
From thence he proceeded to Poppi and invested it on two sides 
with his forces, in one direction toward the plain of Certo- 
mondo, in the other upon the hill extending to Fronzole. 

The count finding himself abandoned to his fate, had shut 
himself up in Poppi, not with any hope of assistance, but with 


a view to make the best terms he could. Neri pressing him, 
he offered to capitulate, and obtained reasonable conditions, 
namely, security for himself and family, with leave to take 
whatever he could carry away, on condition of ceding his terri- 
tories and government to the Florentines. When he perceived 
the full extent of his misfortune, standing upon the bridge 
which crosses the Amo, close to Poppi, he turned to Neri in 
great distress, and said : " Had I well considered my own po- 
sition and the power of the Florentines, I should now have 
been a friend of the republic and congratulating you on your 
victory, not an enemy compelled to supplicate some alleviation 
of my woe. The recent events which to you bring glory and 
joy, to me are full of wretchedness and sorrow. Once I pos- 
sessed horses, arms, subjects, grandeur, and wealth : can it be 
surprising that I part with them reluctantly? But as you pos- 
sess both the power and the inclination to command the whole 
of Tuscany, we must of necessity obey you ; and had I not com- 
mitted this error, my misfortune would not have occurred, and 
your liberality could not have been exercised ; so, that if you 
were to rescue me from entire ruin, you would give the world 
a lasting proof of your clemency. Therefore, let your pity pass 
by my fault, and allow me to retain this single house to leave 
to the descendants of those from whom your fathers have re- 
ceived innumerable benefits." To this Neri replied: "That 
his having expected great results from men who were capable 
of doing only very little, had led him to commit so great a fault 
against the Republic of Florence ; that, every circumstance con- 
sidered, he must surrender all those places to the Florentines, 
as an enemy, which he was unwilling to hold as a friend : that 
he had set such an example, as it would be most highly impolitic 
to encourage ; for, upon a change of fortune, it might injure the 
republic, and it was not himself they feared, but his power 
while lord of the Casentino. If, however, he could live as a 
prince in Germany, the citizens would be very much gratified ; 
and out of love to those ancestors of whom he had spoken, they 
would be glad to assist him." To this, the count, in great 
anger, replied : " He wished the Florentines at a much greater 
distance." Attempting no longer to preserve the least urbanity 
of demeanor, he ceded the place and all his dependencies to the 
Florentines, and with his treasure, wife, and children, took his 


departure, mourning the loss of a territory which his fore- 
fathers had held during 400 years. When all these victories 
were known at Florence, the government and people were 
transported with joy. Benedetto de' Medici, finding the re- 
port of Niccolo having proceeded either to Rome or to La 
Marca, incorrect, returned with his forces to Neri, and they 
proceeded together to Florence, where the highest honors were 
decreed to them which it was customary with the city to bestow 
upon her victorious citizens, and they were received by the Sig- 
nory, the Capitani di Parte, and the whole city, in triumphal 





OF THE TURKS— 1439-1463 


Reflections on the Object of War and the Use of Victory— Niccolo 
Reinforces his Army — ^The Duke of Milan Endeavors to Recover 
the Services of Count Francesco Sforza — ^Suspicions of the Vene- 
tians—They Acquire Ravenna- The Florentines Purchase the Borgo 
San Sepolcro of the Pope— Picdnino Makes an Excursion During 
the Winter — ^The Count Besieged in his Camp before Martinengo 
— ^The Insolence of Niccolo Piccinini — ^The Duke in Revenge Makes 
Peace with the League — Sforza Assisted by the Florentines. 

THOSE who make war have always and very naturally de- 
signed to enrich themselves and impoverish the enemy; 
neither is victory sought or conquest desirable, except- 
ing to strengthen themselves and weaken the enemy. Hence 
it follows that those who are impoverished by victory or debili- 
ated by conquest must either have gone beyond or fallen short 
of the end for which wars are made. A republic or a prince is 
enriched by the victories he obtains, when the enemy is crushed 
and possession is retained of the plunder and ransom. Victory 
is injurious when the foe escapes, or when the soldiers appro- 
priate the booty and ransom. In such a case, losses are un- 
fortunate, and conquests still more so ; for the vanquished suf- 
fers the injuries inflicted by the enemy, and the victor those 
occasioned by his friends, which being less justifiable, must 
cause the greater pain, particularly from a consideration of his 
being thus compelled to oppress his people by an increased bur- 
den of taxation. A ruler possessing any degree of humanity, 
cannot rejoice in a victory that afflicts his subjects. The vic- 
tories of die ancient and well-organized republics, enabled them 
to fill their treasuries with gold and silver won from their ene- 



mies, to distribute gratuities to the people, reduce taxation, and 
by games and solemn festivals, disseminate universal joy. But 
the victories obtained in the times of which we speak, first 
emptied the treasury, and then impoverished the people, with- 
out giving the victorious party security from the enemy. This 
arose entirely from the disorders inherent in their mode of 
warfare; for the vanquished soldiery, divesting themselves of 
their accoutrements, and being neither slain nor detained pris- 
oners, only deferred a renewed attack on the conqueror, till 
their leader had furnished them with arms and horses. Be- 
sides this, both ransom and booty being appropriated by the 
troops, the victorious princes could not make use of them for 
raising fresh forces, but were compelled to draw the necessary 
means from their subjects' purses, and this was the only result 
of victory experienced by the people, except that it diminished 
the ruler's reluctance to such a course, and made him less par- 
ticular about his mode of oppressing them. To such a state 
had the practice of war been brought by the sort of soldiery 
then on foot, that the victor and the vanquished, when desirous 
of their services, alike needed fresh supplies of money ; for the 
one had to re-equip them, and the other to bribe them ; the van- 
quished could not fight without being remounted, and the con- 
querors would not take the field without a new gratuity. Hence 
it followed that the one derived little advantage from the vic- 
tory, and the other was the less injured by defeat; for the routed 
party had to be re-equipped, and the victorious could not pur- 
sue his advantage. 

From this disorderly and perverse method of procedure, it 
arose that before Niccolo's defeat became known throughout 
Italy he had again reorganized his forces and harassed the 
enemy with greater vigor than before. Hence, also, it hap- 
pened that after his disaster at Tenna he so soon occupied Ve- 
rona; that being deprived of his enemy at Verona, he was 
shortly able to appear with a large force in Tuscany ; that being 
completely defeated at Anghiari, before he reached Tuscany, 
he was more powerful in the field than ever. He was thus 
enabled to give the Duke of Milan hopes of defending Lom- 
bardy, which by his absence appeared to be lost ; for while Nic- 
colo spread consternation throughout Tuscany, disasters in the 
former province so alarmed the duke that he was afraid his 


utter ruin would ensue before Niccolo, whom he had recalled, 
could come to his relief, and check the impetuous progress of 
the count. Under these impressions, the duke, to insure by 
policy that success which he could not command by arms, had 
recourse to remedies, which on similar occasions had frequently 
served his turn. He sent Niccolo da Esti, Prince of Ferrara, 
to the count who was then at Peschiera, to persuade him 
'' that this war was not to his advantage ; for if the duke be- 
came so ruined as to be unable to maintain his position among 
the states of Italy, the count would be the first to suflFer ; for he 
would cease to be of any importance either with the Venetians 
or the Florentines ; and to prove the sincerity of his wish for 
peace, he oflFered to fulfil the engagement he had entered into 
with regard to his daughter, and send her to Ferrara ; so that 
as soon as peace was established, the union might take place." 
The count replied " that if the duke really wished for peace, 
he might easily be gratified, as the Florentines and the Vene- 
tians were equally anxious for it. True it was he could with 
difiiculty credit him, knowing that he had never made peace 
but from necessity, and, when this no longer pressed him, again 
desired war. Neither could he give credence to what he had 
said concerning the marriage, having been so repeatedly de- 
ceived; yet, when peace was concluded, he would take the 
advice of his friends upon that subject." 

The Venetians, who were sometimes needlessly jealous of 
their soldiery, became greatly alarmed at these proceedings; 
and not without reason. The count was aware of this, and 
wishing to remove their apprehensions, pursued the war with 
unusual vigor ; but his mind had become so unsettled by ambi- 
tion-, and the Venetians' by jealousy, that little further progress 
was made during the remainder of the summer, and upon the 
return of Niccolo into Lombardy, winter having already com- 
menced, the armies withdrew into quarters, the count to Ve- 
rona, the Florentine forces to Tuscany, the duke's to Cremona, 
and those of the Pope to Romagna. The latter, after having 
been victorious at Anghiari, made an unsuccessful attack upon 
Furli and Bologna, with a view to wrest them from Niccolo 
Piccinino ; but they were gallantly defended by his son Fran- 
cesco. However, the arrival of the papal forces so alarmed 
the people of Ravenna with the fear of becoming subject to 


the Church, that, by consent of Ostasio di Polenta, their lord, 
they placed themselves under the power of the Venetians ; who, 
in return for the territory, and that Ostasio might never retake 
by force what he had imprudently given them, sent him and his 
son to Candia^ where they died. In the course of these affairs, 
the Pope, notwithstanding the victory at Anghiari, became so 
in want of money, that he sold the fortress of Borgo San Sepol- 
cro to the Florentines for 25,000 ducats. 

Affairs being thus situated, each party supposed winter 
would protect them from the evils of war, and thought no more 
of peace. This was particularly the case with the duke, who, 
being rendered doubly secure by the season and by the presence 
of Niccolo, broke off all attempts to effect an accommodation 
with the count, reorganized Niccolo's forces, and made every 
requisite preparation for the future struggle. The count being 
informed of this, went to Venice to consult with the Senate on 
the course to be pursued during the next year. Niccolo, on the 
other hand, being quite prepared, and seeing the enemy unpro- 
vided, did not await the return of spring, but crossed the Adda 
during severe weather, occupied the whole Brescian Territory, 
except Oddula and Acri, and made prisoners of 2,000 horse 
belonging to Francesco's forces, who had no apprehension of 
an attack. But the greatest source of anxiety to the count, and 
alarm to the Venetians, was the desertion of his service by Ciar- 
pellone, one of his principal officers. Francesco, on learning 
these matters, immediately left Venice, and arriving at Bres- 
cia, found that Niccolo, after doing all the mischief he could, 
had retired to his quarters; and therefore, finding the war 
concluded for the present, was not disposed to rekindle it, 
but rather to use the opportunity afforded by the season 
and his enemies, of reorganizing his forces, so as to be able, 
when spring arrived, to avenge himself for former injuries. 
To this end he induced the Venetians to recall the forces they 
had in Tuscany, in the Florentine service, and to order that to 
succeed Gattamelata, who was dead, Micheletto Attendulo 
should take the command. 

On the approach of spring, Niccolo Piccinino was the first 
to take the field, and encamped before Cignano, a fortress 
twelve miles from Brescia ; the count marched to its relief, and 
the war between them was conducted in the usual manner. 


The count, apprehensive for the city of Bergamo, besieged 
Martinengo, a castle so situated that the possession of it would 
enable him to relieve the former, which was closely pressed by 
Niccolo, who, having foreseen that the enemy could impede 
him only from the direction of Martinengo, had put the castle 
into a complete state of defence, so that the count was obliged 
to lend his whole force to the siege. Upon this, Niccolo placed 
his troops in a situation calculated to intercept the count's pro- 
visions, and fortified himself with trenches and bastions in such 
a manner that he could not be attacked without the most mani- 
fest hazard to his assailant. Hence the besiegers were more 
distressed than the people of Martinengo whom they besieged. 
The count could not hold his position ^for want of food, nor quit 
it without imminent danger ; so that the duke's victory appeared 
certain, and defeat equally inevitable to the count and the Vene- 

But fortune, never destitute of means to assist her favorites, 
or to injure others, caused the hope of victory to operate so 
powerfully upon Niccolo Piccinino, and made him assume such 
a tone of unbounded insolence, that, losing all respect for him- 
self and the duke, he sent him word that, having served under 
his ensign so long, without obtaining sufficient land to serve 
him for a grave, he wished to know from himself what was to 
be the reward of his labors ; for it was in his power to make him 
master of Lombardy, and place all his enemies in his power; 
and, as a certain victory ought to be attended by a sure remu- 
neration, he desired the duke to concede to him the city of Pia- 
cenza, that when weary with his lengthened services he might 
at last betake himself to repose. Nor did he hesitate, in con- 
clusion, to threaten, if his request were not granted, to abandon 
the enterprise. This injurious and most insolent mode of pro- 
ceeding highly offended the duke, and, on further consideration, 
he determined rather to let the expedition altogether fail, than 
consent to his general's demand. Thus, what all the dangers 
he had incurred, and the threats of his enemies, could not draw 
from him, the insolent behavior of his friends made him willing 
to propose. He resolved to come to terms with the coimt, and 
sent Antonio Guido Buono, of Tortona, to oflFer his daughter 
and conditions of peace, which were accepted with great pleas- 
ure by the count, and also by the colleagues as far as them- 
selves were concerned. 


The terms being secretly arranged, the duke sent to com- 
mand Niccolo to make a truce with the count for one year; 
intimating, that being exhausted with the expense, he could not 
forego a certain peace for a doubtful victory. Niccolo was 
utterly astonished at this resolution, and could not imagine 
what had induced the duke to lose such a glorious opportunity ; 
nor could he surmise that, to avoid rewarding his friends, he 
would save his enemies, and therefore to the utmost of his 
power he opposed this resolution ; and the duke was obliged, 
in order to induce his compliance, to threaten that if he did not 
obey he would give him up to his soldiers and his enemies. 
Niccolo submitted, but with the feelings of one compelled to 
leave country and friends, complaining of his hard fate, that 
fortune and the duke were robbing him of the victory over his 
enemies. The truce being arranged, the marriage of the duke's 
daughter, Bianca, to the count was solemnized, the duke giving 
Cremona for her portion. This being over, peace was con- 
cluded in November, 1441, at which Francesco Barbadico and 
Pagolo Trono were present for the Venetians, and for the Flor- 
entines Agnolo Acciajuoli, Peschiera, Asola, and Lonato, cas- 
tles in the Mantuan territory, were assigned to the Venetians. 

The war in Lombardy was concluded; but the dissensions 
in the Kingdom of Naples continued, and the inability to com- 
pose them occasioned the resumption of those arms which had 
been so recently laid aside. Alfonso of Arragon had during 
these wars taken from Rene the whole kingdom except Naples ; 
so that, thinking he had the victory in his power, he resolved 
during the siege of Naples to take Benevento, and his other 
possessions in that neighborhood, from the count ; and thought 
he might easily accomplish this while the latter was engaged 
in the wars of Lombardy. Having heard of the conclusion 
of peace, Alfonso feared the count would not only come for the 
purpose of recovering his territories, but also to favor Rene; 
and Rene himself had hope of his assistance for the same rea- 
son. The latter, therefore, sent to the count, begging he would 
come to the relief of a friend, and avenge himself on an enemy. 
On the other hand, Alfonso entreated Filippo, for the sake of 
the friendship which subsisted between them, to find the count 
some other occupation, that, being engaged in greater affairs, 
he might not have an opportunity of interfering between them. 


Filippo complied with this request, without seeming to be 
aware that he violated the peace recently made, so greatly to his 
disadvantage. He therefore signified to Pope Eugenius that 
the present was a favorable opportunity for recovering the ter- 
ritories which the count had taken from the Church ; and, that 
he might be in a condition to use it, oflFered him the services of 
Niccolo Piccinino, and engaged to pay him during the war; 
who, since the peace of Lombardy, had remained with his forces 
in Romagna. Eugenius eagerly took the advice, induced by 
his hatred of the count, and his desire to recover his lost posses- 
sions ; feeling assured that, although on a former occasion he 
had been duped by Niccolo, it would be improper, now that 
the duke interfered, to suspect any deceit; and, joining his 
forces to those of Niccolo, he assailed La Marca. The count, 
astonished at such an unexpected attack, assembled his troops, 
and went to meet the enemy. In the meantime. King Alfonso 
took possession of Naples, so that the whole kingdom, except 
Castelnuova, was in his power. Leaving a strong guard at 
Castelnuova, Rene set out and came to Florence, where he was 
most honorably received ; and having remained a few days, find- 
ing he could not continue the war, he withdrew to Marseilles. 

In the meantime, Alfonso took Castelnuova, and the count 
found himself assailed in the Marca Inferiore, both by the Pope 
and Niccolo. He applied to the Venetians and the Florentines 
for assistance, in men and money, assuring them that if they 
did not determine to restrain the Pope and King, during his 
life, they would soon afterward find their very existence en- 
dangered, for both would join Filippo and divide Italy among 
them. The Florentines and Venetians hesitated for a time, 
both to consider the propriety of drawing upon themselves the 
enmity of the Pope and the King, and because they were then 
engaged in the affairs of the Bolognese. Annibale Bentivoglio 
had driven Francesco Piccinino from Bologna, and for defence 
against the duke, who favored Francesco, he demanded and 
received assistance of the Venetians and Florentines ; so that, 
being occupied with these matters, they could not resolve to 
assist the count, but Annibale, having routed Francesco Pic- 
cinino, and those affairs seeming to be settled, they resolved 
to support him. Designing, however, to make sure of the duke, 
they offered to renew the league with him, to which he was not 


averse; for, although he consented that war should be made 
against the count, while King Rene was in arms, yet finding 
him now conquered, and deprived of the whole kingdom, he was 
not willing that the count should be despoiled of his territories; 
and therefore, not only consented that assistance should be 
given him, but wrote to Alfonso to be good enough to retire 
to his kingdom^ and discontinue hostilities against the count; 
and although reluctantly, yet in acknowledgment of his obliga- 
tions to the duke, Alfonso determined to satisfy him, and with- 
drew with his forces beyond the Tronto. 


Discords of Florence— Jealousy Excited against Neri di Gino Cap- 
poni — Baldaccio d' Anghiari Murdered — Reform of Government in 
Favor of the Medici— Enterprises of Sforza and Piccinino — ^Death 
of Niccolo Piccinino — End of the War— Disturbances in Bologna— 
Annibale Bentivoglio Slain by Battista Canneschi, and the Latter by 
the People — Santi, Supposed to be the Son of Ercole Bentivoglio, 
is Called to Govern the City of Bologna— Discourse of Cosmo de' 
Medici to him — Perfidious Designs of the Duke of Milan against 
Sforza— General War in Italy— Losses of the Duke of Milan— The 
Duke has Recourse to the Count, Who Makes Peace with him — 
Offers of the Duke and the Venetians to the Count— The Venetians 
Furtively Deprive the Count of Cremona. 

WHILE the affairs of Romagna proceeded thus, the 
city of Florence was not tranquil. Among the citi- 
zens of highest reputation in the government was 
Neri di Gino Capponi, of whose influence Cosmo de' Medici 
had more apprehension than any other ; for to the great author- 
ity which he possessed in the city was added his influence with 
the soldiery. Having been often leader of the Florentine forces 
he had won their affection by his courage and talents ; and the 
remembrance of his own and his father's victories (the latter 
having taken Pisa, and he himself having overcome Niccolo 
Piccinino at Anghiari) caused him to be beloved by many, and 
feared by those who were averse to having associates in the 
government. Among the leaders of the Florentine army was 
Baldaccio d' Anghiari, an excellent soldier, for in those times 
there was not one in Italy surpassed him in vigor either of body 
or mind ; and possessing so much influence with the infantry, 
whose leader he had always been, many thought they would 
follow him wherever he chose to lead them. Baldaccio was the 
intimate friend of Neri, who loved him for his talents, of which 
he had been a constant witness. This excited great suspicion 
in the other citizens, who, thinking it alike dangerous either 
to discharge or retain him in their service, determined to de- 



stroy him, and fortune seemed to favor their design. Barto- 
lomeo Orlandini was Gonfalonier of Justice; the same person 
who was sent to the defence of Marradi, when Niccolo Pic- 
cinino came into Tuscany, as we have related above, and so 
basely abandoned the pass, which by its nature was almost im- 
pregnable. So flagrant an instance of cowardice was very 
offensive to Baldaccio, who, on many occasions, both by words 
and letters, had contributed to make the disgraceful fact known 
to all. The shame and vexation of Bartolomeo were extreme, 
so that of all things he wished to avenge himself, thinking, 
with the death of his accuser, to efface the stain upon his char- 

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

This circumstance served to weaken Neri's power, and made 


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

Having thus recovered and confirmed their government, they 
then turned their attention to external affairs. As observed 
above, Niccolo Piccinino was abandoned by King Alfonso, and 
the count having been aggrandized by the assistance of the 
Florentines, attacked and routed him near Fermo, where, after 
losing nearly the whole of his troops, Niccolo fled to Montec- 
chio, which he fortified in such a manner that in a short time he 
had again assembled so large an army as enabled him to make 
head against the count; particularly as the season was now 
come for them to withdraw into quarters. His principal en- 
deavor during the winter was to collect troops, and in this he 
was assisted both by the Pope and Alfonso ; so that, upon the 
approach of spring, both leaders took the field, and Niccolo, 
being the stronger, reduced the count to extreme necessity, and 
would have conquered him if the duke had not contrived to 
frustrate his designs. Filippo sent to beg he would come to 
him with all speed, for he wished to have a personal interview, 
that he might communicate matters of the highest importance. 
Niccolo, anxious to hear them, abandoned a certain victory for 
a very doubtful advantage ; and leaving his son Francesco to 


command the army, hastened to Milan. The count being in- 
formed of the circumstance, would not let slip the opportunity 
of fighting in the absence of Niccolo ; and, coming to an engage- 
ment near the castle of Monte Loro, routed the father's forces 
and took the son prisoner. Niccolo having arrived at Milan 
saw that the duke had duped him, and learning the defeat of his 
army and the capture of his son, he died of grief in 1445, 
at the age of sixty-four, having been a brave rather than a 
fortunate leader. He left two sons, Francesco and Jacopo, 
who, possessing less talent than their father, were still more 
unfortunate ; so that the arms of the family became almost anni- 
hilated, while those of Sforza, being favored by fortune, at- 
tained augmented glory. The Pope, seeing Niccolo's army 
defeated and himself dead, having little hope of assistance from 
Arragon, sought peace with the count, and, by the intervention 
of the Florentines, succeeded. Of La Marca, the Pope only 
retained Osimo, Fabriano, and Recanati ; all the rest remained 
in the count's possession. 

Peace being restored to La Marca, the whole of Italy would 
have obtained repose had it not been disturbed by the Bolognese. 
There were in Bologna two very powerful families, the Can- 
neschi and the Bentivogli. Of the latter, Annibale was the 
head; of the former, Battista, who, as a means of confirming 
their mutual confidence, had contracted family alliances; but 
among men who have the same objects of ambition in view, it 
is easy to form connections, but difficult to establish friendship. 
The Bolognese were in a league with the Venetians and Floren- 
tines, which had been eflFected by the influence of Annibale, 
after they had driven out Francesco Piccinino; and Battista, 
knowing how earnestly the duke desired to have the city favor- 
able to him, proposed to assassinate Annibale, and put Bologna 
into his power. This being agreed upon, on June 25, 1445, he 
attacked Annibale with his men, and slew him ; and tihen, with 
shouts of " The duke ! The duke ! " rode through the city. The 
Venetian and Florentine commissaries were in Bologna at the 
time, and at first kept themselves within doors ; but finding that 
the people, instead of favoring the murderers, assembled in the 
piazza, armed and in great numbers, mourning the death of 
Annibale, they joined them ; and, assembling what forces they 
could, attacked the Canneschi, soon overpowered them, slew 


part, and drove the remainder out of the city. Battista, unable 
to effect his escape, or his enemies his capture, took refuge in a 
vault of his house, used for storing grain. The friends of the 
Bentivogli, having sought him all day, and knowing he had 
not left the city, so terrified his servants, that one of them, a 
groom, disclosed the place of his concealment, and being drawn 
forth in complete armor he was slain, his body dragged about 
the streets, and afterward burnt. Thus the duke's authority 
was sufficient to prompt the enterprise, but his force was not 
at hand to support it. 

The tumults being settled by the death of Battista, and the 
flight of the Canneschi, Bologna still remained in the greatest 
confusion. There not being one of the house of Bentivogli of 
age to govern, Annibale having left but one son, whose name 
was Giovanni, only six years old, it was apprehended that dis- 
union would ensue among the Bentivogli, and cause the return 
of the Canneschi, and the ruin both of their country and party. 
While in this state of apprehension, Francesco, sometime Count 
di Poppi, being at Bologna, informed the rulers of the city, that 
if they wished to be governed by one of the blood of Annibale, 
he could tell them of one ; and related that about twenty years 
ago, Ercole, cousin of Annibale, being at Poppi, became ac- 
quainted with a girl of the castle, of whom was bom a son 
named Santi, whom Ercole, on many occasions, acknowledged 
to be his own, nor could he deny it, for whoever knew him and 
saw the boy, could not fail to observe the strongest resemblance. 
The citizens gave credit to the tale, and immediately sent to 
Florence to see the young man, and procure of Cosmo and Neri 
permission to return with him to Bologna. The reputed father 
of Santi was dead, and he lived under the protection of his 
uncle, whose name was Antonio da Cascese. Antonio was rich, 
childless, and a friend of Neri, to whom the matter becoming 
known, he thought it ought neither to be despised nor too 
hastily accepted ; and that it would be best for Santi and those 
who had been sent from Bologna, to confer in the presence of 
Cosmo. They were accordingly introduced, and Santi was not 
merely honored but adored by them, so greatly were they influ- 
enced by the spirit of party. However, nothing was done at 
the time, except that Cosmo, taking Santi apart, spoke to him 


" No one can better advise you in this matter than yourself; 
for you have to take the course to which your own mind 
prompts you. If you be the son of Ercole Bentivoglio, you will 
naturally aspire to those pursuits which are proper to your 
family and worthy of your father; but if you be the son of 
Agnolo da Cascese, you will remain in Florence, and basely 
spend the remainder of your days in some branch of the woollen 

These words greatly influenced the youth, who, though he 
had at first almost refused to adopt such a course, said he would 
submit himself wholly to what Cosmo and Neri should deter- 
mine. They, assenting to the request of the Bolognese, pro- 
vided suitable apparel, horses, and servants ; and in a few days 
he was escorted by a numerous cavalcade to Bologna, where 
the guardianship of Annibale's son and of the city was placed 
in his hands. He conducted himself so prudently that although 
all his ancestors had been slain by their enemies, he lived in 
peace and died respected by everyone. 

After the death of Niccolo Piccinino and the peace of La 
Marca, Filippo wishing to procure a leader of his forces, se- 
cretly negotiated with Ciarpellone, one of the principal captains 
of Count Francesco, and arrangements having been made, 
Ciarpellone asked permission to go to Milan to take posses- 
sion of certain castles which had been given him by Filippo 
during the late wars. The count suspecting what was in prog- 
ress, in order to prevent the duke from accommodating himself 
at his expense, caused Ciarpellone to be arrested, and soon 
afterward put to death ; alleging that he had been detected plot- 
ting against him. Filippo was highly annoyed and indignant, 
which the Venetians and the Florentines were glad to observe, 
for their greatest fear was that the duke and the count should 
become friends. 

The duke's anger caused the renewal of war in La Marca. 
Gismondo Malatesti, Lord of Rimino, being son-in-law of the 
count, expected to obtain Pesaro; but the count, having ob- 
tained possession, gave it to his brother, Alessandro. Gis- 
mondo, offended at this, was still further exasperated by finding 
that Federigo di Montefeltro, his enemy, by the count's assist- 
ance, gained possession of Urbino. He therefore joined the 
duke, and solicited the Pope and the King to make war against 

1445] WAR RENEWED 397 

Uie count, who, to give Gismondo a taste of the war he so much 
desired, resolved to take the initiative, and attacked him imme- 
diately. Thus Romagna and La Marca were again in complete 
confusion, for Filippo, the King, and the Pope sent powerful 
assistance to Gismondo, while the Florentines and Venetians 
supplied the count with money, though not with men. Nor 
was Filippo satisfied with the war in Romagna, but also desired 
to take Cremona and Pontremoli from the count; but Pon- 
tremoli was defended by the Florentines, and Cremona by the 
Venetians. Thus the war was renewed in Lombardy, and after 
several engagements in the Cremonese, Francesco Piccinino, 
the leader of the duke's forces, was routed at Casale, by Michel- 
etto and the Venetian troops. This victory gave the Venetians 
hope of obtaining the duke's dominions. They sent a com- 
missary to Cremona, attacked the Ghiaradadda, and took the 
whole of it, except Crema. Then crossing the Adda, they over- 
ran the country as far as Milan. Upon this the duke had re- 
course to Alfonso, and entreated his assistance, pointing out 
the danger his kingdom would incur if Lombardy were to fall 
into the hands of the Venetians. Alfonso promised to send 
him troops, but apprised him of the difficulties which would 
attend their passage, without the permission of the count. 

Filippo, driven to extremity, then had recourse to Francesco, 
and begged he would not abandon his father-in-law, now that 
he had become old and blind. The count was offended with 
the duke for making war against him ; but he was jealous of 
the increasing greatness of the Venetians, and he himself began 
to be in want of money, for the league supplied him sparingly. 
The Florentines, being no longer in fear of the duke, ceased to 
stand in need of the count, and the Venetians desired his ruin ; 
for they thought Lombardy could not be taken from them, ex- 
cept by his means : yet while Filippo sought to gain him over, 
and offered him the entire command of his forces, on condition 
that he should restore La Marca to the Pope and quit the Vene- 
tian alliance, ambassadors were sent to him by that republic, 
promising him Milan, if they took it, and the perpetual com- 
mand of their forces, if he would push the war in La Marca, 
and prevent Alfonso from sending troops into Lombardy. The 
offers of the Venetians were great, as also were their claims 
upon him, having begun the war in order to save him from 


losing Cremona ; while the injuries received from the duke were 
fresh in his memory, and his promises had lost all influence, still 
the count hesitated; for, on the one hand were to be consid- 
ered, his obligations to the league, his pledged faith, their recent 
services, and his hopes of the future, all which had their influ- 
ence with him ; on the other, were the entreaties of his father- 
in-law, and, above all, the bane which he feared would be 
concealed under the specious ofiFers of the Venetians, for he 
doubted not, that both with regard to Milan and their other 
promises, if they were victorious, he would be at their mercy, 
to which no prudent man would ever submit if he could avoid it 
These difficulties in the way of his forming a determination, 
were obviated by the ambition of the Venetians, who seeing 
a chance of occupying Cremona, from secret intelligence with 
that city, under a difiPerent pretext, sent troops into its neigh- 
borhood; but the affair was discovered by those who com- 
manded Cremona for the count, and measures were adopted 
which prevented its success. Thus without obtaining Cre- 
mona, they lost the count's friendship, who now being free 
from all other considerations, joined the duke. 


Death of Filippo Visconti, Duke of Milan— The Milanese Appoint 
Sforza their Captain — Milan Becomes a Republic— The Pope En- 
deavors to restore Peace to Italy — ^The Venetians Oppose this De- 
sign—Alfonso Attacks the Florentines — ^The Neighborhood of Piom- 
bino Becomes the Principal Theatre of War— Scarcity in the Floren- 
tine Camp — ^Disorders Occur in the Neapolitan and Florentine 
Armies — Alfonso Sues for Peace and is Compelled to Retreat — 
Pavia Surrenders to the Count— Displeasure of the Milanese— The 
Count Besieges Caravaggio— The Venetians Endeavor to Relieve the 
Place— They are Routed by the Count before Caravaggio. 

POPE EUGENIUS, being dead, was succeeded by Nicho- 
las V. The count had his whole army at Cotignola, 
ready to pass into Lombardy, when intelligence was 
brought him of the death of Filippo, which happened on the 
last day of August, 1447. This event greatly afflicted him, for 
he doubted whether his troops were in readiness, on account 
of their arrears of pay ; he feared the Venetians, who were his 
armed enemies, he having recently forsaken them and taken 
part with the duke ; he was in apprehension from Alfonso, his 
inveterate foe ; he had no hope irom the pontiff or the Floren- 
tines ; for the latter were allies of the Venetians, and he had 
seized the territories of the former. However, he resolved to 
face his fortune and be guided by circimistances ; for it often 
happens, that when engaged in business valuable ideas are sug- 
gested, which in a state of inaction would never have occurred. 
He had great hopes, that if the Milanese were disposed to de- 
fend themselves against the ambition of the Venetians, they 
could make use of no other power but his. Therefore, he pro- 
ceeded confidently into the Bolognese territory, thence to Mo- 
dena and Reggio, halted with his forces upon the Lenza, and 
sent to offer his services at Milan. On the death of the duke, 
part of the Milanese were inclined to establish a republic; 
others wished to choose a prince, and of these, one part favored 
the count, and another Alfonso. However, the majority being 



in favor of freedom, they prevailed over the rest, and organized 
a republic, to which many cities of the duchy refused obedience ; 
for they, too, desired to live in the enjoyment of their liberty, 
and even those who did not embrace such views, refused to 
submit to the sovereignty of the Milanese. Lodi and Piacenza 
surrendered themselves to the Venetians; Pavia and Parma 
became free. This confused state of things being known to the 
count, he proceeded to Cremona, where his ambassadors and 
those of the Milanese arranged for him to command the forces 
of the new republic, with the same remuneration he had re- 
ceived from the duke at the time of his decease. To this they 
added the possession of Brescia, until Verona was recovered, 
when he should have that city and restore Brescia to the 

Before the duke's death. Pope Nicholas, after his assumption 
of the pontificate, sought to restore peace among the princes of 
Italy, and with this object, endeavored, in conjunction with the 
ambassadors sent by the Florentines to congratulate him upon 
his accession, to appoint a diet at Ferrara, to attempt either the 
arrangement of a long truce, or the establishment of peace. A 
congress was accordingly held in that city, of the Pope's legate 
and the Venetian, ducal, and Florentine representatives. King 
Alfonso had no envoy there. He was at Tivoli with a great 
body of horse and foot, and favorable to the duke ; both having 
resolved, that having gained the count over to their side, they 
would openly attack the Florentines and Venetians, and, till the 
arrival of the count in Lombardy, take part in the treaty for 
peace at Ferrara, at which, though the King did not appear, 
he engaged to concur in whatever course the duke should adopt. 
The conference lasted several days, and after many debates, 
resolved on either a truce for five years, or a permanent p>eace, 
whichever the duke should approve; and the ducal ambassa- 
dors having returned to Milan to learn his decision, found him 
dead. Notwithstanding this, the Milanese were disposed to 
adopt the resolutions of the assembly, but the Venetians re- 
fused, indulging great hopes of becoming masters of Lom- 
bardy, particularly as Lodi and Piacenza, immediately after the 
duke's death, had submitted to them. They trusted that either 
by force or by treaty they could strip Milan of her power ; and 
then so press her, as to compel her also to surrender before any 


assistance could arrive; and they were the more confident of 
this from seeing the Florentines involved in war with King 

The King being at Tivoli, and designing to pursue his enter- 
prise against Tuscany, as had been arranged between himself 
and Filippo, judging that the war now commenced in Lcon- 
bardy would give him both time and opportunity, and wishing 
to have a footing in the Florentine state before he openly com- 
menced hostilities, opened a secret understanding with the 
fortress of Cennina, in the Val d' Amo Superiore, and took pos- 
session of it. The Florentines, surprised with this unexpected 
event, perceiving the King already in action, and resolved to 
do them all the injury in his power, hired forces, created a 
Council of Ten for management of the war, and prepared for 
the conflict in their usual manner. The King was already in 
the territories of the Siennese, and used his utmost endeavors 
to reduce the city ; but the inhabitants of Sienna were firm in 
their attachment to the Florentines, and refused to receive him 
within their walls or into any of their territories. They fur- 
nished him with provisions, alleging in excuse, the enemy's 
power and their inability to resist. The King, finding he could 
not enter by the Val d* Amo, as he had first intended, both be- 
cause Cennina had been already retaken, and because the Flor- 
entines were now in some measure prepared for their defence, 
turned toward Volterra, and occupied many fortresses in that 
territory. Thence he proceeded toward Pisa, and with the 
assistance of Fazio and Arrigo de' Conti, of the Gherardesca, 
took sc»ne castles, and issuing from them, assailed Campiglia, 
but could not take it, the place being defended by the Floren- 
tines, and it being now in the depth of winter. Upon this the 
King, leaving garrisons in the places he had taken to harass 
the surrounding country, withdrew with the remainder of his 
army to quarters in the Siennese. The Florentines, aided by 
the season, used the most active exertions to provide themselves 
troops, whose captains were Federigo, Lord of Urbino, and 
Gismondo Malatesti da Rimino, who, though mutual foes, were 
kept so united by the prudence of the commissaries, Neri di 
Gino and Bemardetto de' Medici, that they broke up their quar- 
ters while the weather was still very severe, and recovered not 
only the places that had been taken in the territory of Pisa, 


but also the Pomerance in the neighborhood of Volterra, and 
-SO checked the King's troops, who at first had overrun the 
Maremma, that they could scarcely retain the places they had 
been left to garrison. 

Upon the return of the spring, the commissaries halted with 
their whole force, consisting of 5,000 horse and 2,000 foot, at 
the Spedalctto. The King approached with his army, amount- 
ing to 15,000 men, within three miles of Campiglia, but when it 
was expected he would attack the place he fell upon Piombino, 
hoping, as it was insufficiently provided^ to take it with very 
little trouble, and thus acquire a very important position, the 
loss of which would be severely felt by the Florentines; for 
from it he would be able to exhaust them with a long war, ob- 
tain his own provision by sea, and harass the whole territory 
of Pisa. They were greatly alarmed at this attack, and, con- 
sidering what was the most advisable course, concluded that 
if they could remain with their army among the woods of Cam- 
piglia, the King would be compelled to retire cither in defeat 
or disgrace. With this view they equipped four galleys at 
Livomo, and having succeeded in throwing 300 infantry into 
Piombino, took up their own position at the Caldane, a place 
where it would be difficult to attack them ; and they thought it 
would be dangerous to encamp among the thickets of the plain. 

The Florentine army depended for provisions on the sur- 
rounding places, which, being poor and thinly inhabited, had 
difficulty in supplying them. Consequently the troops suffered, 
particularly from want of wine, for none being produced in 
that vicinnity, and unable to procure it from more distant 
places, it was impossible to obtain a sufficient quantity. But 
the King, though closely pressed by the Florentines, was well 
provided except in forage, for he obtained everything else by 
sea. The Florentines, desirous to supply themselves in the 
same manner, loaded four vessels with provisions, but, upon 
their approach, they were attacked by seven' of the King^s gal- 
leys, which took two of them and put the rest to flight. This 
disaster made them despair of procuring provisions, so that 
200 men of a foraging party, principally for want of wine, 
deserted to the King, and the rest complained that they could 
not live without it, in a situation where the heat was so exces- 
sive and the water bad. The commissaries therefore deter- 


mined to quit the place, and endeavor to recover those castles 
which still remained in the enemy's power; who, on his part, 
though not suffering from want of provisions, and greatly 
superior in numbers, found his enterprise a failure, from the 
ravages made in his army by those diseases which the hot sea- 
son produces in marshy localities ; and which prevailed to such 
an extent that many died daily, and nearly all were affected. 
These circumstances occasioned overtures of peace. The King 
demanded 50,000 florins, and the possession of Piombino. 
When the terms were under consideration, many citizens, de- 
sirous of peace, would have accepted them, declaring there was 
no hope of bringing to a favorable conclusion a war which re- 
quired so much money to carry it on. 

But Neri Capponi going to Florence, placed the matter in a 
more correct light, and it was then unanimously. determined to 
reject the proposal, and take the Lord of Piombino under their 
protection, with an alliance offensive and defensive, provided 
he did not abandon them, but assist in their defence as hitherto. 
The King being informed of this resolution, saw that, with his 
reduced army, he could not gain the place, and withdrew in the 
same condition as if completely routed, leaving behind him 
2,000 dead. With the remainder of his sick troops he retired 
to the Siennese territory, and thence to his kingdom, incensed 
against the Florentines, and threatening them with new wars 
upon the return of spring. 

While these events were proceeding in Tuscany the Count 
Sforza, having become leader of the Milanese forces, strenu- 
ously endeavored to secure the friendship of Francesco Pic- 
cinino, who was also in their service, that he might support him 
in his enterprises, or be less disposed to do him injury. He 
then took the field with his army, upon which the people of 
Pavia, conscious of their inability to resist him, and unwilling 
to obey the Milanese, offered to submit themselves to his au- 
thority, on condition that he should not subject them to the 
power of Milan. The count desired the possession of Pavia, 
and considered the circumstance a happy omen, as it would 
enable him to give a color to his designs. He was not re- 
strained from treachery either by fear or shame ; for great men 
consider failure disgraceful — a fraudulent success the contrary. 
But he was apprehensive that his possession of the city would 


excite the animosity of the Milanese, and perhaps induce them 
to throw themselves under the power of the Venetians. If he 
refused to accept the offer, he would have occasion to fear the 
Duke of Savoy, to whom many citizens were inclined to submit 
themselves; and either alternative would deprive him of the 
sovereignty of Lombardy. 

Concluding there was less danger in taking possession of the 
city than in allowing another to have it, he determined to accept 
the proposal of the people of Pavia, trusting he would be able 
to satisfy the Milanese, to whom he pointed out the danger they 
must have incurred had he not complied with it ; for her citizens 
would have surrendered themselves to the Venetians or to the 
Duke of Savoy; so that in either case they would have been 
deprived of the government, and therefore they ought to be 
more willing tp have himself as their neighbor and friend, than 
a hostile power such as either of the others, and their enemy. 
The Milanese were upon this occasion greatly perplexed, imag- 
ining they had discovered the count's ambition, and the end he 
had in view ; but they thought it desirable to conceal their fears, 
for they did not know, if the count were to desert them, to 
whom they could have recourse except the Venetians, whose 
pride and tyranny they naturally dreaded. They therefore re- 
solved not to break with the count, but by his assistance remedy 
the evils with which they were threatened, hoping that, when 
freed from them they might rescue themselves from him also; 
for at that time they were assailed not only by the Venetians 
but by the Genoese and the Duke of Savoy, in the name of 
Charles of Orleans, the son of a sister of Filippo, but 
whom the count easily vanquished. Thus their only remaining 
enemies were the Venetians, who, with a powerful army, de- 
termined to occupy their territories, and had already taken 
possession of Lodi and Piacenza, before which latter place the 
count encamped ; and, after a long siege, took and pillaged the 
city. Winter being set in, he led his forces into quarters, and 
then withdrew to Cremona, where, during the cold season, he 
remained in repose with his wife. 

In the spring, the Venetian and Milanese armies again took 
the field. It was the design of the Milanese, first to recover 
Lodi and then to come to terms with the Venetians ; for the 
expenses of the war had become very great, and they were 


doubtful of their general's sincerity, so that they were anxious 
alike for the repose of peace, and for security against the count. 
They therefore resolved that the army should march to the 
siege of Caravaggio, hoping that Lodi would surrender, on 
that fortress being wrested from the enemy's hands. The 
count obeyed, though he would have preferred crossing the 
Adda and attacking the Brescian territory. Having encamped 
before Caravaggio, he so strongly entrenched himself, that if 
the enemy attempted to relieve the place, they would have to 
attack him at great disadvantage. The Venetian army, led by 
Micheletto, approached within two bow-shots of the count's 
camp, and many skirmishes ensued. The count continued to 
press the fortress, and reduced it to the very last extremity, 
which greatly distressed the Venetians, since they knew the loss 
of it would involve the total failure of their expedition. Very 
different views were entertained by their military officers re- 
specting the best mode of relieving the place, but they saw no 
course open except to attack the enemy in his trenches, in spite 
of all obstacles. The castle was, however, considered of such 
paramount importance, that the Venetian Senate, though nat- 
urally timid, and averse to all hazardous undertakings, chose 
rather to risk ever)rthing than allow it to fall into the hands of 
the enemy. 

They therefore resolved to attack the count at all events, and 
early the next morning commenced their assault upon a point 
which was least defended. At the first charge, as commonly 
happens in a surprise, Francesco's whole army was thrown into 
dismay. Order, however, was soon so completely restored by 
the count, that the enemy, after various efforts to gain the out- 
works, were repulsed and put to flight ; and so entirely routed, 
that of 12,000 horse only 1,000 escaped the hands of the Milan- 
ese, who took possession of all the carriages and military stores ; 
nor had the Venetians ever before suffered such a thorough rout 
and overthrow. Among the plunder and prisoners, crouching 
down, as if to escape observation, was found a Venetian com- 
missary, who, in the course of the war and before the fight, had 
spoken contemptuously of the count, calling him "bastard," 
and "base-bom." Being made prisoner, he remembered his 
faults, and fearing punishment, being taken before the count, 
was agonized with terror; and, as is usual with mean minds 


(in prosperity insolent, in adversity abject and cringing), pros- 
trated himself, weeping and begging pardon for the oflfences 
he had committed. The count, taking him by the arm, raised 
him up, and encouraged him to hope for the best. He then said 
he wondered how a man so prudent and respectable as himself, 
could so far err as to speak disparagingly of those who did not 
merit it ; and as regarded the insinuations which he had made 
against him, he really did not know how Sforza his father, and 
Madonna Lucia his mother, had proceeded together, not having 
been there, and having no opportunity of interfering in the 
matter, so that he was not liable either to blame or praise. 
However, he knew very well, that in regard to his own actions 
he had conducted himself so that no one could blame him ; and 
in proof of it he would refer both the Venetian Senate and him- 
self to what had happened that day. He then advised him in 
future to be more respectful in speaking of others, and more 
cautious in regard to his own proceedings. 




The G>unt's Successes— The Venetians Come to Terms with Him— 
Views of the Venetians — Indignation of the Milanese against tho 
Count — Their Ambassador's Address to him— The Count's Modera- 
tion and Reply — The Count and the Milanese Prepare for War — 
Milanese Ambassadors at Venice — League of the Venetians and 
Milanese — The Count Dupes the Venetians and Milanese — He Applies 
for Assistance to the Florentines — Diversity of Opinions in Florence 
on the Subject — Neri di Gino Capponi Averse to Assisting the Count 
— Cosmo de' Medici Disposed to do so — The Florentines Send Am- 
bassadors to the Count. 

AFTER this victory, the count marched into the Brescian 
territory, occupied the whole country, and then pitched 
his camp within two miles of the city. The Venetians, 
having well-grounded fears that Brescia would be next at- 
tacked, provided the best defence in their power. They then 
collected the relics of their army, and, by virtue of the treaty, 
demanded assistance of the Florentines; who, being relieved 
from the war with Alfonso, sent them i^ooo foot and 2,000 
horse, by whose aid the Venetians were in a condition to treat 
for peace. At one time it seemed the fate of their republic 
to lose by war and win by negotiation ; for what was taken from 
them in battle was frequently restored twofold on the restora- 
tion of peace. They knew the Milanese were jealous of the 
count, and that he wished to be not their captain merely, but 
their sovereign; and as it was in their power to make peace 
with either of the two (the one desiring it from ambition, the 
other from fear), they determined to make choice of the count, 
and offer him assistance to effect his design ; persuading them- 
selves, that as the Milanese would perceive they had been duped 
by him, they would in revenge place themselves in the power 
of anyone rather than in his ; and that, becoming unable either 
to defend themselves or trust the count, they would be com- 
pelled, having no other resource, to fall into their hands. Hav- 
ing taken this resolution, they sounded the count, and found 
him quite disposed for peace, evidently desirous that the honor 



and advantage of the victory at Caravaggio should be his own, 
and not accrue to the Milanese. The parties therefore entered 
into an agreement, in which the Venetians undertook to pay 
the count 13,000 florins per month, till he should obtain Milan, 
and to furnish him, during the continuance of the war, 4,000 
horse and 2,000 foot. The count engaged to restore to the 
Venetians the tovms, prisoners, and whatever else had been 
taken by him during the late campaigns, and content himself 
with those territories which the duke possessed at the time of 
his death. 

When this treaty became known at Milan, it grieved the cit- 
izens more than the victory at Caravaggio had exhilarated 
them. The rulers of the city mourned, the people complained, 
women and children wept, and all exclaimed against the count 
as false and perfidious. Although they could not hope that 
either prayers or promises would divert him from his ungrate- 
ful design, they sent ambassadors to see with what kind of 
color he would invest his unprincipled proceedings, and being 
admitted to his presence, one of them spoke to the following 

" It is customary with those who wish to obtain a favor, to 
make use either of prayers, presents, or threats, that pity, con- 
venience, or fear, may induce a compliance with their requests. 
But as with cruel, avaricious, or, in their own conceit, powerful 
men, these argimients have no weight, it is vain to hope, either 
to soften them by prayers, win them by presents, or alarm them 
by menaces. We, therefore, being now, though late, aware 
of thy pride, cruelty, and ambition, come hither, not to ask 
aught, nor with the hope, even if we were so disposed, of 
obtaining it, but to remind thee of the benefits thou hast re- 
ceived from the people of Milan, and to prove with what heart- 
less ingratitude thou has repaid them, that at least, under the 
many evils oppressing us, we may derive some gratification 
from telling thee how and by whom they have been produced. 
Thou canst not have forgotten thy wretched condition at the 
death of Duke Filippo ; the King and the Pope were both thine 
enemies ; thou hadst abandoned the Florentines and the Vene- 
tians, who, on account of their just indignation, and because 
they stood in no further need of thee, were almost become thy 
declared enemies. Thou wert exhausted by thy wars against 


the Church; with few followers, no friends, or any money; 
hopeless of being able to preserve either thy territories or thy 

" From these circumstances thy ruin must have ensued, but 
for our simplicity ; we received thee to our home, actuated by 
reverence for the happy memory of our duke, with whom, being 
connected by marriage and renewed alliance, we believed thy 
affection would descend to those who had inherited his author- 
ity, and that, if to the benefits he had conferred on thee, our 
own were added, the friendship we sought to establish would 
not only be firm, but inseparable; with this impression, we 
added Verona or Brescia to thy previous appointments. What 
more could we either give or promise thee? What else couldst 
thou, not from us merely, but from any others, have either had 
or expected? Thou receivedst from us an unhoped-for benefit, 
and we, in return, an unmerited wrong. Neither hast thou 
deferred until now the manifestation of thy base designs ; for 
no sooner wert thou appointed to command our armies, than, 
contrary to every dictate of propriety, thou didst accept Pavia, 
which plainly showed what was to be the result of thy friend- 
ship ; but we bore with the injury, in hope that the greatness 
of the advantage would satisfy thy ambition. Alas ! those who 
grasp at all cannot be satisfied with a part. Thou didst 
promise that we should possess the conquests which thou might 
afterward make ; for thou wert well aware that what was given 
at many times might be withdrawn at once, as was the case 
after the victory at Caravaggio, purchased by our money and 
blood, and followed by our ruin. Oh ! unhappy states, which 
have to guard against their oppressor ; but much more wretched 
those who have to trust to mercenary and faithless arms like 
thine! May our example instruct posterity, since that qi 
Thebes and Philip of Macedon, who, after victory over her 
enemies, from being her captain became her foe and her prince, 
could not avail us. 

" The only fault of which we are conscious, is, our over- 
weening confidence in one whom we ought not to have trusted ; 
for thy past life, thy restless mind, incapable of repose, ought 
to have put us on our guard ; neither ought we to have confided 
in one who betrayed the Lord of Lucca, set a fine upon the 
Florentines and the Venetians, defied the duke, despised the 


King, and, besides all this, persecuted the Church of God^ and 
the Divinity himself, with innumerable atrocities. We ought 
not to have fancied that so many potentates possessed less in- 
fluence over the mind of Francesco Sforza, than the Milanese; 
or that he would preserve unblemished that faith toward us 
which he had on so many occasions broken with them. Still 
this want of caution in us does not excuse the perfidy in thee; 
nor can it obliterate the infamy with which our just complaints 
will blacken thy character throughout the world, or prevent 
the remorse of thy conscience, when our arms are used for our 
own destruction ; for thou wilt see the sufferings due to parri- 
cides are fully deserved by thee. And though ambition should 
blind thine eyes, the whole world, witness to thine iniquity, will 
compel thee to open them ; God himself will unclose them, if 
perjuries, if violated faith, if treacheries displease him, and if, 
as ever, he is still the enemy of the wicked. Do not, therefore, 
promise thyself any certainty of victory ; for the just wrath of 
the Almighty will weigh heavily upon thee ; and we are resolved 
to lose our liberty only with our lives ; but if we found we could 
not ultimately defend it, we would submit ourselves to anyone 
rather than to thee. And if our sins be so great, that in spite 
of our utmost resolution, we should still fall into thy hands, be 
quite assured that the sovereignty which is commenced in de- 
ceit and villany, will terminate either in thyself or thy children, 
with ignominy and blood." 

The count, though not insensible to the just reproaches of 
the Milanese, did not exhibit either by words or gesture, any 
unusual excitement, and replied, that " he willingly attributed 
to their angry feelings all the serious charges of their indiscreet 
harangue ; and he would reply to them in detail, were he in the 
presence of anyone who could decide their differences ; for it 
would be evident that he had not injured the Milanese, but only 
taken care that they should not injure him. They well knew 
how they had proceeded after the victory of Caravaggio ; for, 
instead of rewarding him with either Verona or Brescia, they 
sought peace with the Venetians, that all the blame of the quar- 
rel might rest on him, themselves obtaining the fruit of victory, 
the credit of peace, and all the advantages that could be derived 
from the war. It would thus be manifest they had no right to 
complain, when he had effected the arrangements which they 


first attempted to make ; and that if he had deferred to do so a 
little longer, he would have had reason to accuse them of the 
ingratitude with which they were now charging him. Whether 
the charge were true or false, that God whom they had invoked 
to avenge their injuries, would show, at the conclusion of the 
war, and would demonstrate which was most his friend, and 
who had most justice on his side." 

Upon the departure of the ambassadors, the count deter- 
mined to attack the Milanese, who prepared for their defence, 
and appointed Francesco and Jacopo Piccinino (attached to 
their cause, on account of the ancient feud of the families of 
Braccio and Sforza), to conduct their forces in support of lib- 
erty ; at least till they could deprive the count of the aid of the 
Venetians, who they did not think would long be either friendly 
or faithful to him. On the other hand, the count, perfectly 
aware of this, thought it not imprudent, supposing the obliga- 
tion of the treaty insufficient, to bind them by the ties of inter- 
est; and, therefore, in assigning to each their portion of the 
enterprise, he consented that the Venetians should attack 
Crema, and himself, with the other forces, assail the remainder 
of the territory. The advantage of this arrangement kept the 
Venetians so long in alliance with the count, that he was en- 
abled to conquer the whole of the Milanese territory, and to 
press the city so closely, that the inhabitants could not provide 
themselves with necessaries; despairing of success, they sent 
envoys to the Venetians to beg they would compassionate their 
distress, and, as ought to be the case between republics, assist 
them in defence of their liberty against a tyrant, whom, if once 
master of their city, they would be unable to restrain ; neither 
did they think he would be content with the boundaries assigned 
him by the treaty, but would expect all the dependencies of 

The Venetians had not yet taken Crema, and wishing, before 
they changed sides, to effect this point, they publicly answered 
the envoys, that their engagements with the count prevented 
them from defending the Milanese; but secretly, gave them 
every assurance of their wish so to do. 

The count had approached so near Milan with his forces, that 
he was disputing the suburbs with the inhabitants, when the 
Venetians, having taken Crema, thought they need no longer 


hesitate to declare in favor of the Milanese with whom they 
made peace and entered into alliance ; among the terms of which 
was the defence of their liberty unimpaired. Having come 
to this agreement, they ordered their forces to withdraw from 
the count's camp and to return to the Venetian territory. They 
informed him of the peace made with the Milanese, and gave 
him twenty days to consider what course he would adopt. He 
was not surprised at the step taken by the Venetians, for he 
had long foreseen it, and expected its occurrence daily; but 
when it actually took place, he could not help feeling regret 
and displeasure similar to what the Milanese had experienced 
when he abandoned them. He took two days to consider the 
reply he would make to the ambassadors whom the Venetians 
had sent to inform him of the treaty, and during this time he 
determined to dupe the Venetians, and not abandon his enter- 
prise; therefore, appearing openly to accept the proposal for 
peace, he sent his ambassadors to Venice with full credentials 
to effect the ratification, but gave them secret orders not to do 
so, and with pretexts or cavilling put it off. To give the Vene- 
tians greater assurance of his sincerity, he made a truce with 
the Milanese for a month, withdrew from Milan and divided 
his forces among the places he had taken. This course was 
the occasion of his victory and the ruin of the Milanese ; for 
the Venetians, confident of peace, were slow in preparing for 
war, and the Milanese finding the truce concluded, the enemy 
withdrawn, and the Venetians their friends, felt assured that 
the count had determined to abandon his design. This idea 
injured them in two ways ; one, by neglecting to provide for 
their defence; the next, that, being seed time, they sowed a 
large quantity of grain in the country which the enemy had 
evacuated, and thus brought famine upon themselves. On the 
other hand, all that was injurious to his enemies favored the 
count, and the time gave him opportunity to take breath and 
provide himself with assistance. 

The Florentines during the war of Lombardy had not de- 
clared in favor of either party, or assisted the count either in 
defence of the Milanese or since ; for he never having been in 
need had not pressingly requested it ; and they only sent assist- 
ance to the Venetians after the rout at Caravaggio, in pursu- 
ance of the treaty. Count Francesco, standing now alone, and 

1448] COSMO DE' MEDICI 313 

not knowing to whom else he could apply, was compelled to 
request immediate aid of the Florentines, publicly from the 
state, and privately from friends, particulariy from Cosmo de' 
Medici, with whom he had always maintained a steady friend- 
ship, and by whom he had constantly been faithfully advised 
and liberally supported. Nor did Cosmo abandon him in his 
extreme necessity, but supplied him generously from his own 
resources, and encouraged him to prosecute his design. He 
also wished the city publicly to assist him, but there were diffi- 
culties in the way. Neri di Gino Capponi, one of the most 
powerful citizens of Florence, thought it not to the advantage 
of the city, that the count should obtain Milan ; and was of the 
opinion that it would be more to the safety of Italy for him to 
ratify the peace than pursue the war. In the first place, he ap- 
prehended that the Milanese, through their anger against the 
count, would surrender themselves entirely to the Venetians, 
which would occasion the ruin of all. Supposing he should 
occupy Milan, it appeared to him that so great military superi- 
ority, combined with such an extent of territory, would be dan- 
gerous to themselves, and that if as count he was intolerable, he 
would become doubly so as duke. He therefore considered it 
better for the republic of Florence and for Italy, that the count 
should be content with his military reputation, and that Lom- 
bardy should be divided into two republics, which could never 
unite to injure others, and separately are unable to do so. To 
attain this he saw no better means than to refrain from aiding 
the count, and continuing in the former league with the Vene- 
tians. These reasonings were not satisfactory to Cosmo's 
friends, for they imagined that Neri had argued thus, not from 
a conviction of its advantage to the republic, but to prevent the 
count, as a friend of Cosmo, from becoming duke, apprehend- 
ing that Cosmo would, in consequence of this, become too 

Cosmo, in reply, pointed out, that to lend assistance to the 
count would be highly beneficial both to Italy and the republic ; 
for it was unwise to imagine that the Milanese could preserve 
their own liberty ; for the nature of their community, their mode 
of life, and their hereditary feuds were opposed to every kind 
of civil government, so that it was necessary, either that the 
count should become Duke of Milan, or the Venetians her lords. 


And surely under such circumstances, no one could doubt 
which would be most to their advantage, to have for their 
neighbor a powerful friend or a far more powerful foe. 
Neither need it be apprehended that the Milanese, while at war 
with the count, would submit to the Venetians ; for the count 
had a strong party in the city, and the Venetians had not, so 
that whenever they were unable to defend themselves as free- 
men, they would be more inclined to obey the count than the 

These diverse views kept the city long in suspense; but at 
length it was resolved to send ambassadors to the count to settle 
the terms of agreement, with instructions, that if they found 
him in such a condition as to give hopes of his ultimate success, 
they were to close with him, but, if otherwise, they were to 
draw out the time in diplomacy. 


Prosecution of the War between the G>tint and the Milanese-— The 
Milanese Reduced to . Extremity— The People Rise against the 
Magistrates — Milan Surrenders to the Count— League between the 
New Duke of Milan and the Florentines, and between the King 
of Naples and the Venetians — ^Venetian and Neapolitan Ambassa- 
dors at Florence — Answer of Cosmo de' Medici to the Venetian 
Ambassador — Preparations of the Venetians and the iCing of Naples 
for the War— The Venetians Excite Disturbances in Bologna — 
Florence Prepares for War — ^The Emperor, Frederick III, at Flor- 
ence — ^War in Lombardy between the Duke of Milan and the Vene- 
tians — Ferrando, Son of the iCing of Naples, Marches into Tuscany 
against the Florentines. 

THE ambassadors were at Reggio when they heard that 
the count had become Lord of Milan ; for as soon as the 
truce had expired, he approached the city with his 
forces, hoping quickly to get possession of it in spite of the 
Venetians, who could bring no relief except from the side of the 
Adda, which route he could easily obstruct, and therefore had 
no apprehension (being then winter) of their arrival, and he 
trusted that, before the return of spring, he would be victorious, 
particularly, as by the death of Francesco Piccinino, there 
remained only Jacopo, his brother, to command the Milanese. 
The Venetians had sent an ambassador to Milan to confirm the 
citizens in their resolution of defence, promising them power- 
ful and immediate aid. During the winter a few slight 
skirmishes had taken place between the count and the Vene- 
tians ; but on the approach of milder weather, the latter, under 
Pandolfo Malatesti, halted with their army upon the Adda, and 
considering whether, in order to succor the Milanese, they 
ought to risk a battle, Pandolfo, their general, aware of the 
count's abilities, and the courage of his army, said it would be 
unadvisable to do so, and that, under the circumstances, it was 
needless, for the count, being in great want of forage, could 
not keep the field, and must soon retire. He therefore advised 



them to remain encamped, to keep the Milanese in hope, and 
prevent them from surrendering. This advice was approved 
by the Venetians, both as being safe, and because, by keeping 
the Milanese in this necessity, they might be the sooner com- 
pelled to submit to their dominion ; for they felt quite sure that 
the injuries they had received would always prevent their sub- 
mission to the count. 

In the meantime, the Milanese were reduced to the utmost 
misery ; and as the city usually abounded with poor, many died 
of hunger in the streets ; hence arose complaints and disturb- 
ances in several parts, which alarmed the magistrates^ and com- 
pelled them to use their utmost exertions to prevent popular 
meetings. The multitude are always slow to resolve on com- 
motion; but, the resolution once formed, any trivial circum- 
stance excites it to action. Two men in humble life, talking 
together near the Porta Nuova of the calamities of the city, 
their own misery, and the means that might be adopted for their 
relief, others beginning to congregate, there was soon collected 
a large crowd; in consequence of it a report was spread that 
the neighborhood of Porta Nuova had risen against the gov- 
ernment. Upon this, all the lower orders, who only waited for 
an example, assembled in arms, and chose Gasparre da Vicom- 
ercato to be their leader. They then proceeded to the place 
where the magistrates were assembled, and attacked them so 
impetuously that all who did not escape by flight were slain: 
among the number, as being considered a principal cause of the 
famine, and gratified at their distress, fell Lionardo Veniero, 
the Venetian ambassador. Having thus almost become mas- 
ters of the city, they considered what course was next to be 
adopted to escape from the horrors surrounding them, and to 
procure peace. A feeling universally prevailed, that as they 
could not preserve their own liberty, they ought to submit to a 
prince who could defend them. Some proposed King Alfonso, 
some the Duke of Savoy, and others the King of France, but 
none mentioned the count, so great was the general indignation 
against him. However, disagreeing with the rest, Gasparre da 
Vicomercato proposed him, and explained in detail that if they 
desired relief from war, no other plan was open, since the peo- 
ple of Milan required a certain and immediate peace, and not a 
distant hope of succor. He apologized for the count's proceed- 

I450] RIOT AT MILAN 317 

ings, accused the Venetians, and all the powers of Italy, of 
which scHne from ambition and others from avarice were averse 
to their possessing freedom. Having to dispose of their liberty, 
it would be preferable, he said, to obey one who knew and could 
defend them; so that, by their servitude they might obtain 
peace, and not bring upon themselves greater evils and more 
dangerous wars. He was listened to with the most profound 
attention; and, having concluded his harangue, it was unani- 
mously resolved by the assembly, that the count should be called 
in, and Gasparre was appointed to wait upon him and signify 
their desire. By the people's command he conveyed the pleas- 
ing and happy intelligence to the count, who heard it with the 
utmost satisfaction, and entered Milan as prince on the twen- 
ty-sixth of February, 1450, where he was received with the 
greatest possible joy by those who, only a short' time previously, 
had heaped on him all the slanders that hatred could inspire. 

The news of this event reaching Florence, orders were im- 
mediately sent to the envoys who were upon the way to Milan, 
that instead of treating for his alliance with the count, they 
should congratulate the duke upon his victory ; they, arranging 
accordingly, had a most honorable reception, and were treated 
with all possible respect ; for the duke well knew that in all Italy 
he could not find braver or more faithful friends, to defend him 
against the power of the Venetians, than the Florentines, who, 
being no longer in fear of the house of Visconti, found them- 
selves opposed by the Arragonese and Venetians ; for the Arra- 
gonese princes of Naples were jealous of the friendship which 
the Florentines had always evinced for the family of France ; 
and the Venetians seeing the ancient enmity of the Florentines 
against the Visconti transferred to themselves, resolved to in- 
jure them as much as possible; for they knew how pertina- 
ciously and invariably they had persecuted the Lombard 
princes. These considerations caused the new duke willingly 
to join the Florentines, and united the Venetians and King 
Alfonso against their common enemies ; impelling them at the 
same time to hostilities, the King against the Florentines, and 
the Venetians against the duke, who, being fresh in the govern- 
ment, would, they imagined, be unable to resist them, even 
with all the aid he could obtain. 

But as the league between the Florentines and the Venetians 


still continued, and as the King, after the war of Piombino, 
had made peace with the former, it seemed indecent to com- 
mence an open rupture until some plausible reason could be 
assigned in justification of offensive measures. On this ac- 
count each sent ambassadors to Florence, who, on the part of 
their sovereigns, signified that the league formed between them 
was made not for injury to any, but solely for the mutual de- 
fence of their states. The Venetian ambassador then com- 
plained, that the Florentines had allowed Alessandro, the 
duke's brother, to pass into Lombardy with his forces; and 
besides this, had assisted and* advised in the treaty made be- 
tween the Duke and the Marquis of Mantua ; matters which he 
declared to be injurious to the Venetians, and inconsistent with 
the friendship hitherto subsisting between the two govern- 
ments; amicably reminding them, that one who inflicts un- 
merited injury, gives others just ground of hostility, and that 
those who break a peace may expect war. The Signory ap- 
pointed Cosmo de' Medici to reply to what had been said by the 
Venetian ambassador, and in a long and excellent speech he 
recounted the numerous advantages conferred by the city on 
the Venetian republic ; showed what an extent of dominion they 
had acquired by the money, forces, and counsel of the Floren- 
tines, and reminded him that, although the friendship had orig- 
inated with the Florentines, they had never given occasion of 
enmity ; and as they desired peace, they greatly rejoiced that the 
treaty was made, if it had been entered into for the sake of 
peace, and not of war. True it was, he wondered much at the 
remarks which had been made, seeing that such light and trivial 
matters could give offence to so great a republic; but if they 
were worthy of notice he must have it universally understood, 
that the Florentines wished their country to be free and open 
to all ; and that the duke's character was such, that if he desired 
the friendship of the Marquis of Mantua, he had no need of 
anyone's favor or advice. He therefore feared that these cavils 
were produced by some latent motive, which it was not thought 
proper to disclose. Be this as it might, they would freely de- 
clare to all, that in the same proportion as the friendship of the 
Florentines was beneficial their enmity could be destructive. 

The matter was hushed up ; and the ambassadors, on their 
departure, appeared perfectly satisfied. But the league be- 


tween the King and the Venetians made the Florentines and 
the duke rather apprehend war than hope for a long continu- 
ance of peace. They therefore entered into an alliance, and at 
the same time the enmity of the Venetians transpired by a 
treaty with the Siennese, and the expulsion of all Florentine 
subjects from their city and territories. Shortly after this, 
Alfonso did the same, without any consideration of the peace 
made the year previously, and not having even the shadow of 
an excuse. The Venetians attempted to take Bologna, and 
having armed the emigrants, and united to them a considerable 
force, introduced them into the city by night through one of 
the common sewers. No sooner had they entered, than they 
raised a cry, by which Santi Bentivogli, being awakened, was 
told that the whole city was in possession of the rebels. But 
though many advised him to escape, saying that he could not 
save the city by his stay, he determined to confront the danger, 
and taking arms encouraged his followers, assembled a few 
friends, attacked and routed part of the rebels, slew many more, 
and drove the remainder out of the city. By this act of bravery 
all agreed he had fully proved himself a genuine scion of the 
house of the Bentivogli. 

These events and demonstrations gave the Florentines an 
earnest of approaching war; they consequently followed their 
usual practice on similar occasions, and created the Council of 
Ten. They engaged new condottieri, sent ambassadors to 
Rome, Naples, Venice, Milan, and Sienna, to demand assistance 
from their friends, gain information about those they suspected, 
decide such as were wavering, and discover the designs of the 
foe. From the Pope they obtained only general expressions of 
an amicable disposition and admonitions to peace; from the 
King, empty excuses for having expelled the Florentines, and 
offers of safe conduct for whoever should demand it ; and al- 
though he endeavored, as much as possible, to conceal every 
indication of his hostile designs, the ambassadors felt convinced 
of his unfriendly disposition, and observed many preparations 
tending to the injury of the republic. The league with the 
duke was strengthened by mutual obligations, and through his 
means they became friends with the Genoese, the old differ- 
ences with them respecting reprisals, and other small matters 
of dispute, being composed, although the Venetians used every 


possible means to prevent it, and entreated the Emperor of 
Constantinople to expel all Florentines from his dominions; 
so fierce was the animosity with which they entered on this 
war, and so powerful their lust of dominion, that without the 
least hesitation they sought the destruction of those who had 
been the occasion of their own power. 

The Emperor, however, refused to listen to them. The 
Venetian Senate forbade the Florentine ambassadors to enter 
their territories, alleging, that being in league with the King, 
they could not entertain them without his concurrence. The 
Siennese received the ambassadors with fair words, fearing 
their own ruin before the league could assist them, and there- 
fore endeavored to appease the powers whose attack they were 
unable to resist. The Venetians and the King (as was then 
conjectured) were disposed to send ambassadors to Florence 
to justify the war. But the Venetian envoy was not allowed 
to enter the Florentine dominions, and the King's ambassador, 
being unwilling to perform his office alone, the embassy was 
not completed; and thus the Venetians learned, that however 
little they might esteem the Florentines, the latter had still less 
respect for them. 

In the midst of these fears. Emperor Frederick III came into 
Italy to be crowned. On the thirtieth of January, 145 1, he 
entered Florence with 1,500 horse, and was most honorably 
received by the Signory. He remained in the city till the sixth 
of February, and then proceeded to Rome for his coronation, 
where, having been solemnly consecrated, and his marriage cel- 
ebrated with the Empress, who had come to Rome by sea, he 
returned to Germany, and again passed through Florence in 
May, with the same honors as upon his arrival. On his return, 
having derived some benefits from the Marquis of Mantua, he 
conceded to him Modena and Reggio. In the meantime, the 
Florentines did not fail to prepare themselves for immediate 
war ; and to augment their influence, and strike the enemy with 
terror, they, in conjunction with the duke, entered into alliance 
with the King of France for the mutual defence of their states. 
This treaty was published with great pomp throughout all 

The month of May, 1452, having arrived, the Venetians 
thought it not desirable to defer any longer their attack upon 


the duke, and with i6,ocx> horse and 6,ocx> foot assailed his ter- 
ritories in the direction of Lodi, while the Marquis of Mont- 
ferrat, instigated either by his own ambition or the entreaties 
of the Venetians, did the same on the side of Alexandria. The 
duke assembled a force of 18,000 cavalry and 3,000 infantry, 
garrisoned Alexandria and Lodi, and all the other places where 
the enemy might annoy them. He then attacked the Brescian 
territory, and greatly harassed the Venetians; while both 
parties alike plundered the country and ravaged the smaller 
towns. Having defeated the Marquis of Montferrat at Alex- 
andria, the duke was able to unite his whole force against the 
Venetians and invade their territory. 

While the war in Lombardy proceeded thus, giving rise to 
various trifling incidents unworthy of recital. King Alfonso 
and the Florentines carried on hostilities in Tuscany, but in a 
similarly inefficient manner^ evincing no greater talent, and 
incurring no greater danger. Ferrando, the illegitimate son 
of Alfonso, entered the country with 12,000 troops, under the 
command of Federigo, Lord of Urbino, Their first attempt 
was to attack Fojano, in the Val di Chiane; for, having the 
Siennese in their favor, they entered the Florentine territory in 
that direction. The walls of the castle were weak, and it was 
small, and consequently poorly manned, but the garrison were, 
among the soldiers of that period, considered brave and faith- 
ful. Two hundred infantry were also sent by the Signory for 
its defence. Before this castle, thus provided, Ferrando sat 
down, and either from the valor of its defenders or his own 
deficiencies, thirty-six days elapsed before the took it. This 
interval enabled the city to make better provision for places of 
greater importance, to collect forces and conclude more effec- 
tive arrangements than had hitherto been made. The enemy 
next proceeded into the district of Chiane, where they attacked 
two small towns, the property of private citizens, but could not 
capture them. They then encamped before the Castellina, a 
fortress upon the borders of the Chianti, within ten miles of 
Sienna, weak from its defective construction, and still more so 
by its situation ; but, notwithstanding these defects, the assail- 
ants were compelled to retire in disgrace, after having lain be- 
fore it forty-four days. So formidable were those armies, and 


so perilous those wars, that places now abandoned as untenable 
were then defended as impregnable. 

While Ferrando was encamped in the Chianti he made many 
incursions, and took considerable booty from the Florentine 
territories, extending his depredations within six miles of the 
city, to the great alarm and injury of the people, who at this 
time having sent their forces to the number of 8,000 soldiers 
under Astorre da Faenza and Gismondo Malatesti toward Cas- 
tel di Colle, kept them at a distance from the enemy, lest they 
should be compelled to an engagement ; for they considered that 
so long as they were not beaten in a pitched battle, they could 
not be vanquished in the war generally ; for small castles, when 
lost, were recovered at the peace, and larger places were in no 
danger, because the enemy would not venture to attack them. 
The King had also a fleet of about twenty vessels, comprising 
galleys and smaller craft, which lay o£E Pisa, and during the 
siege of Castellina were moored near the Rocca di Vada, which, 
from the negligence of the governor, he took, and then harassed 
the surrounding country. However, this annoyance was easily 
removed by a few soldiers sent by the Florentines to Campiglia, 
and who confined the enemy to ^e coast 


Conspiracy of Stefano Porcari against the Papal Goverament— The 
.Conspirators Discovered and Punished— The Florentines Recover 
the places they had lost — Gherardo Gambacorti, Lord of Val 
di Bagno, Endeavors to Transfer his Territories to the King of 
Naples — Gallant Conduct of Antonio Gualandi, who Counteracts 
the Design of Gambacorti — Rene of Anjou is Called into Italy by 
the Florentines— Ren6 Returns to France— The Pope Endeavors to 
Restore Peace — Peace Proclaimed— Jacopo Piccinino Attacks the 

THE pontiff did not interfere in these affairs further than 
to endeavor to bring the parties to a mutual accommo- 
dation ; but while he refrained from external wars he 
incurred the danger of more serious troubles at home. Stefano 
Porcari was a Roman citizen, equally distinguished for nobility 
of birth and extent of learning, but still more by the excellence 
of his character. Like all who are in pursuit of glory, he re- 
solved either to perform or attempt something worthy of mem- 
ory, and thought he could not do better than deliver his country 
from the hands of the prelates, and restore the ancient form of 
government ; hoping, in the event of success, to be considered 
a new founder or second father of the city. The dissolute man- 
ners of the priesthood, and the discontent of the Roman barons 
and people, encouraged him to look for a happy termination of 
his enterprise ; but he derived his greatest confidence from those 
verses of Petrarch in the canzone which begins, " Spirito gentil 
che quelle membra reggi," where he says : 

" Sopra il Monte Tarpejo canzon vedra 
Un cavalier, ch' Italia tutta onora, 
Pensoso piu d'altrui, che di se stesso." 

Stefano, believing poets are sometimes endowed with a divine 
and prophetic spirit, thought the event must take place which 
Petrarch in this canzone seemed to foretell, and that he was des- 



tined to eflEect the glorious task ; considering himself in learn- 
ing, eloquence, friends, and influence, stiperior to any other cit- 
izen of Rome. Having taken these impressions, he had not 
sufficient prudence to avoid discovering his design by his dis- 
course, demeanor, and mode of living; so that the Pope, becom- 
ing acquainted with it, in order to prevent the commission of 
some rash act, banished him to Bologna, and charged the gov- 
ernor of the city to compel his appearance before him once 
every day. Stefano was not daunted by this first check, but 
with even greater earnestness prosecuted his undertaking, and, 
by such means as were available, more cautiously corresponded 
with his friends, and often went and returned from Rome with 
such celerity as to be in time to present himself before the gov- 
ernor within the limit allowed for his appearance. Having 
acquired a sufficient number of partisans, he determined to 
make the attempt without further delay, and arranged with his 
friends at Rome to provide an evening banquet, to which all the 
conspirators were invited, with orders that each should bring 
with him his most trustworthy friends, and himself promised 
to be with them before the entertainment was served. Every- 
thing was done according to his orders, and Stefano Porcari 
arrived at the place appointed. Supper being brought in^ he 
entered the apartment dressed in cloth of gold, with rich orna- 
ments about his neck, to give him a dignified appearance and 
commanding aspect. Having embraced the company, he deliv- 
ered a long oration to dispose their minds to the glorious under- 
taking. He then arranged the measures to be adopted, order- 
ing that one part of them should, on the following morning, 
take possession of the pontiff's palace, and that the other should 
call the people of Rome to arms. The affair came to the 
knowledge of the Pope the same night, some say by treachery 
among the conspirators, and others that he knew of Porcari's 
presence at Rome. Be this as it may, on the night of the sup- 
per Stefano, and the greater part of his associates, were arrest- 
ed, and afterward expiated their crime by death. Thus ended 
his enterprise; and though some may applaud his intentions, 
he must stand chargeable with deficiency of understanding; for 
such undertakings, though possessing some slight appearance 
of glory, are almost always attended with ruin. 
The war in Tuscany had continued about a year, and in the 


spring of 1453 the armies again took the field. Alessandro 
Sforza, the duke's brother, came with 2,000 horse to the assist- 
ance of the Florentines, who, with this increase of force, at- 
tempted the recovery of the places they had lost, and obtained 
some of them without much trouble. They then besieged Fo- 
jano, which, through the negligence of the commissaries, was 
pillaged, and the inhabitants, being dispersed, could only be 
induced to return, by granting them various exemptions and 
immunities, and even then, with difficulty. The Rocca di Vada 
was also recovered ; for the enemy, finding they could not retain 
possession, first btlrnt, and then abandoned it. While these 
exploits were being effected by the Florentine army, the Arra- 
gonese forces, not having dared to approach the enemy, estab- 
lished themselves near Sienna^ and made many incursions upon 
the Florentine territory, where the tumults and robberies they 
committed, spread great alarm. Nor did the King fail to at- 
tempt in other ways to injure his enemies, divide their forces, 
and weaken them by indirect attacks. 

Gherardo Gambacorti was Lord of Val di Bagno, and his 
ancestors as well as himself had always been in the pay or under 
the protection of the Florentines. Alfonso endeavored to in- 
duce him to exchange his territory for another in the Kingdom 
of Naples. This became known to the Signory, who, in order 
to ascertain his designs, sent an ambassador to Gambacorti, to 
remind him of the obligations of his ancestors and himself to 
their republic, and induce him to continue faithful to them. 
Gherardo affected the greatest astonishment, assured the am- 
bassador with solemn oaths that no such treacherous thought 
had ever entered his mind, and that he would gladly go to Flor- 
ence and pledge himself for the truth of his assertions; but 
being unable, from indisposition, he would send his son as a 
hostage. These assurances, and the proposal with which they 
were accompanied, induced the Florentines to think Gherardo 
had been slandered, and that his accuser must be alike weak and 
treacherous. Gherardo, however, hastened his negotiation with 
redoubled zeal, and having arranged the terms, Alfonso sent 
Frate Puccio, a knight of Jerusalem, with a strong body of 
men to the Val di Bag^o, to take possession of the fortresses 
and towns, the people of which being attached to the Florentine 
Republic, submitted unwillingly. 


Frate Puccio had already taken possession of nearly the 
whole territory, except the fortress of Corzano. Gambacorti 
was accompanied, while transferring his dominions, by a young 
Pisan of great courage and address, named Antonio Gualandi, 
who, considering the whole affair, the strength of the place, the 
well-known bravery of the garrison, their evident reluctance to 
give it up, and the baseness of Gambacorti, at once resolved to 
make an effort to prevent the fulfilment of his design; and 
Gherardo being at the entrance, for the purpose of introducing 
the Arragonese, he pushed him out with both his hands, and 
commanded the guards to shut the gate upon such a scoundrel, 
and hold the fortress for the Florentine Republic When this 
circumstance became known in Bagno and the neighboring 
places, the inhabitants took up arms against the King's forces, 
and, raising the Florentine standard, drove them out. The 
Florentines learning these events, imprisoned Gherardo's son, 
and sent troops to Bagno for the defence of the territory, which 
having hitherto been governed by its own prince, now became 
a vicariate. The traitor Gherardo escaped with difficulty, leav- 
ing his wife, family, and all his property, in the hands of those 
whom he had endeavored to betray. This aflEair was consid- 
ered by the Florentines of great importance ; for had the King 
succeeded in securing the territory, he might have overrun the 
Val di Tavere and the Casentino at his pleasure, and would 
have caused so much annoyance, that they could no longer have 
allowed their whole force to act against the army of the Arra- 
gonese at Sienna. 

In addition to the preparations made by the Florentines in 
Italy to resist the hostile league, they sent as ambassador Ag- 
nolo Acciajuoli, to request the King of France would allow 
Rene of Anjou to enter Italy in favor of the duke and them- 
selves, and also, that by his presence in the country, he might 
defend his friends and attempt the recovery of the Kingdom of 
Naples ; for which purpose they offered him assistance in men 
and money. While the war was proceeding in Lombardy and 
Tuscany, the ambassador effected an arrangement with King 
Rene, who promised to come into Italy during the month of 
June, the league engaging to pay him 30,000 florins upon his 
arrival at Alexandria, and 10,000 per month during the con- 
tinuance of the war. In pursuance of this treaty, King Rene 


commenced his march into Italy, but was stopped by the Duke 
of Savoy and the Marquis of Montf errat, who, being in alliance 
ivith the Venetians, would not allow him to pass. The Flor- 
entine ambassador advised, that in order to uphold the influence 
of his friends, he should return to Provenqe, and conduct part 
of his forces into Italy by sea, and, in the meantime, endeavor, 
by the authority of the King of France, to obtain a passage for 
the remainder through the territories of the duke. This plan 
-was completely successful ; for Rene came into Italy by sea, and 
liis forces, by the mediation of the King of France, were allowed 
a passage through Savoy. King Rene was most honorably re- 
ceived by Duke Francesco, and joining his French with the 
Italian forces, they attacked the Venetians with so much im- 
petuosity, that they shortly recovered all the places which had 
been taken in the Cremonese. Not content with this, they oc- 
cupied nearly the whole Brescian territory; so that the Vene- 
tians, unable to keep the field, withdrew close to the walls of 

Winter coming on, the duke deemed it advisable to retire 
into quarters, and appointed Piacenza for the forces of Rene, 
where, having passed the whole of the cold season of 1453, 
without attempting anything, the duke thought of taking the 
field, on the approach of spring, and stripping the Venetians 
of the remainder of their possessions by land, but was informed 
by the King, that he was obliged of necessity to return to 
France. This determination was quite new and unexpected 
to the duke, and caused him the utmost concern ; but though he 
immediately went to dissuade Rene from carrying it into effect, 
he was unable either by promises or entreaties to divert him 
from this purpose. He engaged, however, to leave part of his 
forces, and send his son for the service of the league. The 
Florentines were not displeased at this ; for having recovered 
their territories and castles, they were no longer in fear of Al- 
fonso, and on the other hand, they did not wish the duke to 
obtain any part of Lombardy but what belonged to him. Rene 
took his departure, and sent his son John into Italy, according 
to his promise, who did not remain in Lombardy, but came 
direct to Florence, where he was received with the highest 
The King's departure made the duke desirous of peace. The 


Venetians, Alfonso, and the Florentines, being all weary of the 
war, were similarly disposed ; and the Pope continued to wish 
it as much as ever; for during this year the great Turk Ma- 
homet, had taken Constantinople and subdued the whole of 
Greece. This conquest alarmed the Christians, more especially 
the Venetians and the Pope, who already began to fancy his 
followers were at their doors. The Pope therefore b^ged 
the Italian potentates to send ambassadors to himself, with au- 
thority to negotiate a general peace, with which all complied; 
but when the particular circumstances of each case came to be 
considered, many difficulties were found in the way of effect- 
ing it. King Alfonso required the Florentines to reimburse 
the expenses he had incurred in the war, and the Florentines 
demanded some compensation from him. The Venetians 
thought themselves entitled to Cremona from the duke ; while 
he insisted upon the restoration of Bergamo, Brescia, and 
Crema ; so that it seemed impossible to reconcile such conflict- 
ing claims. But what could not be effected by a number at 
Rome was easily managed at Milan and Venice by two; for 
while the matter was under discussion at Rome, the duke and 
the Venetians came to an arrangement on the ninth of April, 
1454, by virtue of which, each party resumed what they pos- 
sessed before the war, the duke being allowed to recover from 
the princes of Montferrat and Savoy the places they had taken. 
To the other Italian powers a month was allowed to ratify 
the treaty. The Pope and the Florentines, and with them the 
Siennese and other minor powers acceded to it within the time. 
Besides this, the Florentines, the Venetians, and the duke con- 
cluded a treaty of peace for twenty-five years. King Alfonso 
alone exhibited dissatisfaction at what had taken place, think- 
ing he had not been sufficiently considered, that he stood, not 
on the footing of a principal, but only ranked as an auxiliary, 
and therefore kept aloof, and would not disclose his intentions. 
However, after receiving a legate from the Pope, and many 
solemn embassies from other powers, he allowed himself to be 
persuaded, principally by means of the pontiff, and with his 
son joined the league for thirty years. The duke and the King 
also contracted a twofold relationship and double marriage, 
each giving a daughter to a son of the other. Notwithstanding 
this, that Italy might still retain the seeds of war, Alfonso 


would not consent to the peace, unless the league would allow 
him, without injury to themselves, to make war upon the Ge- 
noese, Gismondo Malatesti, and Astorre, Prince of Faenza. 
This being conceded, his son Ferrando, who was at Sienna, 
returned to the kingdom, haying by his coming into Tuscany 
acquired no dominion and lost a great number of his men. 

Upon the establishment of a general peace, the only appre- 
hension entertained was, that it would be disturbed by the ani- 
mosity of Alfonso against the Genoese ; yet it happened other- 
wise. The King, indeed, did not openly infringe the peace, 
but, it was frequently broken by the ambition of the mercenary 
troops. The Venetians, as usual on the conclusion of a war, 
had discharged Jacopo Piccinino, who, with some other unem- 
ployed condottieri, marched into Romagna, thence into the 
Siennese, and halting in the country, took possession of many 
places. At the commencement of these disturbances, and the 
beginning of the year 1455, Pope Nicholas died, and was suc- 
ceeded by Calixtus III, who, to put a stop to the war newly 
broken out so near home, immediately sent Giovanni Venti- 
miglia, his general, with what forces he could furnish. These 
being joined by the troops of the Florentines and the Duke of 
Milan, both of whom furnished assistance, attacked Jacopo, 
near Bolsena, and though Ventimiglia was taken prisoner, yet 
Jacopo was worsted, and retreated in disorder to Castiglione 
della Pescaia, where, had he not been assisted by Alfonso, his 
force would have been completely annihilated. This made it 
evident that Jacopo's movement had been made by order of 
Alfonso, and the latter, as if palpably detected, to conciliate his 
allies, after having almost alienated them with this unimportant 
war, ordered Jacopo to restore to the Siennese the places he had 
taken, and they gave him 20,000 florins by way of ransom, after 
which he and his forces were received into the Kingdom of 


Qiristendom Alarmed by the Progress of the Turks— The Turks 
Routed before Belgrade — ^Description of a Remarkable Hurricane 
— War against the Genoese and Gismondo Malatesti — Genoa Sub- 
mits to the King of France — Death of Alfonso King of Naples — 
Succeeded by his Son Fcrrando— The Pope Designs to Give the 
Kingdom of Naples to His Nephew Piero Lodovico Borgia — Eulogy 
of Pius II — Disturbances in Genoa between John of Anjou and the 
Fregosi— The Fregosi Subdued— John Attacks the Kingdom of 
Naples — Ferrando King of Naples Routed — Ferrando reinstated — 
The Geneose Cast Off the French Yoke— John of Anjou Routed in 
the Kingdom of Naples. 

THE Pope, though anxious to restrain Jacopo Piccinino, 
did not neglect to make provision for the defence of 
Christendom, which seemed in danger from the Turks. 
He sent ambassadors and preachers into every Christian coun- 
try, to exhort princes and people to arm in defence of their 
religion, and with their persons and property to contribute to 
the enterprise against the common enemy. In Florence, large 
sums were raised, and many citizens bore the mark of a red 
cross upon their dress to intimate their readiness to become 
soldiers of the faith. Solemn processions were made, and 
nothing was neglected either in public or private, to show their 
willingness to be among the most forward to assist the enter- 
prise with money, counsel, or men. But the eagerness for 
this crusade was somewhat abated, by learning that the Turk- 
ish army, being at the siege of Belgrade, a strong city and 
fortress in Hungary, upon the banks of the Danube, had been 
routed and the great Turk wounded ; so that the alarm felt by 
the Pope and all Christendom, on the loss of Constantinople, 
having ceased to operate, they proceeded more deliberately 
with their preparations for war; and in Hungary their zed 
was cooled through the death of Giovanni Corvino the Wai- 
wode, who commanded the Hungarian forces on that memo- 
rable occasion, and fell in the battle. 



To return to the affairs of Itely. In the year 1456, the dis- 
turbances occasioned by Jacopo Piccinino having subsided, 
and human weapons laid aside, the heavens seemed to make 
war against the earth; dreadful tempestuous winds then oc- 
curring, which produced effects unprecedented in Tuscany, 
and which to posterity will appear marvellous and unaccount- 
able. On August 24th, about an hour before daybreak, there 
arose from the Adriatic near Ancona, a whirlwind, which 
crossing Italy from east to west, again reached the sea near 
Pisa, accompanied by thick clouds, and the most intense and 
impenetrable darkness, covering a breadth of about two miles 
in the direction of its course. Under some natural or super- 
natural influence, this vast and overcharged vcdume of con- 
densed vapor burst; its fragments contended with indescrib- 
able fury, and huge bodies sometimes ascending toward heaven, 
and sometimes precipitated upon the earth, struggled, as it 
were, in mutual conflict, whirling in circles with intense veloc- 
ity, and accompanied by winds, impetuous beyond all concep- 
tion ; while flashes of awful brilliancy, and murky, lurid flames 
incessantly broke forth. From these confused clouds, furious 
winds, and momentary fires, sounds issued, of which no earth- 
quake or thunder ever heard could afford the least idea ; strik- 
ing such awe into all, that it was thought the end of the world 
had arrived, that the earth, waters, heavens, and entire uni- 
verse, mingling together, were being resolved into their ancient 

Wherever this awful tempest passed, it produced unprece- 
dented and marvellous effects ; but these were more especially 
experienced near the castle of St. Casciano, about eight miles 
from Florence, upon the hill which separates the valleys of 
Pisa and Grieve. Between this castle and the Borgo St. An- 
drea, upon the same hill, the tempest passed without touching 
the latter, and in the former, only threw down some of the 
battlements and the chimneys of a few houses; but in the 
space between them, it levelled many buildings quite to the 
ground. The roofs of the churches of St. Martin, at Bagnolo, 
and Santa Maria della Pace, were carried more than a mile, 
unbroken as when upon their respective edifices. A muleteer 
and his beasts were driven from the road into the adjoining 
valley, and found dead. All the large oaks and lofty trees 


which could not bend beneath its influence, were not only 
stripped of their branches but borne to a great distance from 
the places where they grew, and when the tempest had passed 
over and daylight made the desolation visible, the inhabitants 
were transfixed with dismay. The country had lost all its 
habitable character; churches and dwellings were laid in 
heaps ; nothing was heard but the lamentations of those whose 
possessions had perished, or whose cattle or friends were 
buried beneath the ruins; and all who witnessed the scene 
were filled with anguish or, compassion. It was doubtless the 
design of the Omnipotent, rather to threaten Tuscany than to 
chastise her ; for had the tempest been directed over the city, 
filled with houses and inhabitants, instead of proceeding among 
oaks and elms, or small and thinly scattered dwellings, it 
would have been such a scourge as the mind, with all its ideas 
of horror, could not have conceived. But the Almighty de- 
sired that this slight example should suffice to recall the minds 
of men to a knowledge of himself and of his power. 

To return to our history. King Alfonso was dissatisfied 
with the peace, and as the war which he had unnecessarily 
caused Jacopo Piccinino to make against the Siennese, had 
produced no important result, he resolved to try what could 
be done against those whom the conditions of the league per- 
mitted him to attack. He therefore, in the year 1456, assailed 
the Genoese, both by sea and by land, designing to deprive 
the Fregosi of the government and restore the Adomi. At 
the same time, he ordered Jacopo Piccinino to cross the Tronto, 
and attack Gismondo Malatesti, who, having fortified his ter- 
ritories, did not concern himself, and this part of the King's 
enterprise produced no effect; but his proceedings against 
Genoa occasioned more wars against himself and his king- 
dom than he could have wished. Piero Fregoso was then Doge 
of Genoa, and doubting his ability to sustain the attack of 
the King, he determined to give what he could not hold, to 
someone who might defend it against his enemies, in hope, 
that at a future period, he should obtain a return for the bene- 
fit conferred. He therefore sent ambassadors to Charles VII, 
of France, and offered him the government of Genoa. Charles 
accepted the offer, and sent John of Anjou, the son of King 
Rene, who had a short time previously left Florence and re- 


turned to France, to take possession, with the idea, that he, 
having learned the manners and customs of Italy, would be 
able to govern the city; and also that this might give him 
an opportunity of undertaking the conquest of Naples, of which 
Rene, John's father, had been deprived by Alfonso. John, 
therefore, proceeded to Genoa, where he was received as 
prince, and the fortresses, both of the city and the government, 
given up to him. This annoyed Alfonso, with the fear that he 
had brought upon himself too powerful an enemy. He was 
not, however, dismayed; but pursued his enterprise vigor- 
ously, and had led his fleet to Porto, below Villamarina, when 
he died after a sudden illness, and thus John and the Genoese 
were relieved from the war. 

Ferrando, who succeeded to the kingdom of his father Al- 
fonso, became alarmed at having so powerful an enemy in 
Italy, and was doubtful of the disposition of many of his 
barons, who being desirous of change, he feared would take 
part with the French, He was also apprehensive of the Pope, 
whose ambition he well knew, and who, seeing him new in the 
government, might design to take it from him. He had no 
hope except from the Duke of Milan, who entertained no less 
anxiety concerning the affairs of the kingdom than Ferrando ; 
for he feared that if the French were to obtain it, they would 
endeavor to annex his own dominions; which he knew they 
considered to be rightfully their own. He, therefore, soon 
after the death of Alfonso, sent letters and forces to Ferrando ; 
the latter to give him aid and influence, the former to encour- 
age him with an intimation, that he would not, under any cir- 
cumstances, forsake him. The pontiff intended, after the death 
of Alfonso, to give the Kingdom of Naples to his nephew Piero 
Lodovico Borgia, and, to furnish a decent pretext for his de- 
sign and obtain the concurrence of the powers of Italy in its 
favor, he signified a wish to restore that realm to the domin- 
ion of the Church of Rome ; and therefore persuaded the duke 
not to assist Ferrando. But in the midst of these views and 
opening enterprises. Pope Calixtus died, and Pius II of Sien- 
nesc origin, of the family of the Piccolomini, and by name 
JEneas, succeeded to the pontificate. This pontiff, free from 
the ties of private interest, having no object but to benefit 
Christendom and honor the Church, at the duke's entreaty 


crowned Ferrando King of Naples; judging it easier to es- 
tablish peace if the kingdom remained in the hands which at 
present held it, than if he were to favor the views of the 
French, or, as Calixtus purposed, take it for himself. Fer- 
rando, in acknowledgment of the benefit, created Antonio, one 
of the Pope's nephews. Prince of Mdlfi, gave him an illegiti- 
mate daughter of his own in marriage, and restored Benevento 
and Terracina to the Church. 

It thus appeared that the internal dissensions of Italy might 
be quelled, and the pontiff prepared to induce the powers of 
Christendom to unite in an enterprise against the Turks, as 
Calixtus had previously designed, when differences arose be- 
tween the Fregosi and John of Anjou, the Lord of Genoa, 
which occasioned greater and more important wars than those 
recently concluded. Pietrino Fregoso was at his castle of 
Riviera, and thought he had not been rewarded by John in 
proportion to his family's merits; for it was by their means 
the latter had become prince of the city. This impression drove 
the parties into open enmity; a circumstance gratifying to 
Ferrando, who saw in it relief from his troubles, and the sole 
means of procuring his safety: he therefore assisted Pietrino 
with money and men, trusting to drive John out of the Gen- 
oese territory. The latter being aware of his design, sent 
for aid to France, and, on obtaining it, attacked Pietrino, who 
through his numerous friends entertained the strongest assur- 
ance of success; so that John was compelled to keep within 
the city, into which Pietrino having entered by night, took pos- 
session of some parts of it; but upon the return of day, his 
people were all either slain or made prisoners by John's troops, 
and he himself was found among the dead. 

This victory gave John hopes of recovering the kingdom; 
and in October, 1459, he sailed thither from Genoa, with a 
powerful fleet, and landed at Baia; whence he proceeded to 
Sessa, by the duke of which place he was favorably received. 
The Prince of Taranto, the Aquilani, with several cities and 
other princes, also joined him; so that a great part of the 
kingdom fell into his hands. On this, Ferrando applied for 
assistance to the Pope and the Duke of Milan ; and, to dimin- 
ish the number of his enemies, made peace with Gismondo 
Malatesti, which gave so much offence to Jacopo Piccinino, the 


hereditary enemy of Gismondo, that he resigned his command 
under Ferrando, and joined his rival. Ferrando also sent 
money to Federigo, Lord of Urbino, and collected with all 
possible speed what was in those times considered a tolerable 
army ; which, meeting the enemy upon the banks of the river 
Sami, an engagement ensued in which Ferrando was routed, 
and many of his principal officers taken. After this defeat the 
city of Naples alone, with a few smaller places and princes 
of inferior note, adhered to Ferrando, the greater part having 
submitted to John. Jacopo Piccinino, after the victory, ad- 
vised an immediate march upon Naples; but John declined 
' this, saying, he would first reduce the remainder of the king- 
dom, and then attack the seat of government. This resolution 
occasioned the failure of his enterprise; for he did not con- 
sider how much more easily the members follow the head than 
the head the members. 

After his defeat, Ferrando took refuge in Naples, whither 
the scattered remnants of his people followed him; and by 
soliciting his friends, he obtained money and a small force. 
He sent again for assistance to the Pope and the duke, by 
both of whom he was supplied more liberally and speedily 
than before ; for they began to entertain most serious appre- 
hensions of his losing the kingdom. His hopes were thus re- 
vived ; and, marching from Naples, he regained his reputation 
in his dominions, and soon obtained the places of which he 
had been deprived. While the war was proceeding in the king- 
dom, a circumstance occurred by which John of Anjou lost 
his influence, and all chance of success in the enterprise. The 
Genoese had become so weary of the haughty and avaricious 
dominion of the French, that they took arms against the vice- 
roy, and compelled him to seek refuge in the castelletto; the 
Fregosi and the Adomi united in the enterprise against him, 
and were assisted with money and troops by the Duke of Milan, 
both for the recovery and preservation of the government At 
the same time. King Rene coming with a fleet to the assistance 
of his son, and hoping to recover Genoa by means of the cas- 
telletto, upon landing his forces was so completely routed, that 
he was compelled to return in disgrace to Provence. When the 
news of his father's defeat reached Naples, John was greatly 
alarmed, but continued the war for a time by the assistance 



of those barons Who, being rebels, knew they would obtain no 
terms from Ferrando. At length, after various trifling occur- 
rences, the two royal armies came to an engagement, in which 
John was routed near Troia, in the year 1463. He was, how- 
ever, less injured by his defeat than by the desertion of Jacopo 
Piccinino, who joined Ferrando; and, being abandoned by his 
troops, he was compelled to take refuge in Istria, and thence 
withdrew to France. This war continued four years. John's 
failure was attributable to negligence; for victory was often 
within his grasp, but he did not take proper means to secure 
it. The Florentines took no decisive part in this war. John, 
King of Arragon, who succeeded upon the death of Alfonso, 
sent ambassadors to request their assistance for his nephew 
Ferrando, in compliance with the terms of the treaty recently 
made with his father Alfonso. The Florentines replied, that 
they were under no obligation ; that they did not think proper 
to assist the son in a war commenced by the father with his 
own forces; and that as it was b^^n without either their 
counsel or knowledge, it must be continued and concluded with- 
out their help. The ambassadors affirmed the engagement to 
be binding on the Florentines, and themselves to be answer- 
able for the event of the war; and then in great anger left 
the city. 

Thus with regard of external affairs, the Florentines con- 
tinued tranquil during this war; but the case was otherwise 
with their domestic concerns^ as will be particularly shown 
in the following book. 





Photogravure from the original painting by Gtorgio l^asaru 

THE K^'v vf.T.].^ 


MILANESE PLOT— 1453-1476 


Connection of the Other Italian Governments with the History of 
Florence— Republics Always Disunited — Some Differences are In- 
jurious; Others not so— The Kind of Dissensions Prevailing at 
Florence — Cosmo de' Medici and Neri Capponi Become Powerful 
by Dissimilar Means— Reform in the Election of Magistrates Favor- 
able to Cosmo— Complaints of the Principal Citizens against the Re- 
form in Elections— Lucca Pitti» Gonfalonier of Justice, Restrains the 
Imborsations by Force — ^Tyranny and Pride of Lucca Pitti and his 
Party— Palace of the Pitti— Death of Cosmo de' Medici— His liber- 
ality and Magnificence— His Modesty— His Prudence — Sayings of 

IT will perhaps appear to the readers of the preceding book 
that, professing only to write of the affairs of Florence, 
I have dilated too much in speaking of those which oc- 
curred in Lombardy and Naples. But as I have not already 
avoided, so it is not my intention in future to forbear similar 
digressions. For although we have not engaged to give an 
account of the affairs of Italy, still it would be improper to 
neglect noticing the most remarkable of them. If they were 
wholly omitted, our history would not be so well understood, 
neither would it be so instructive or agreeable; since, from 
the proceedings of the other princes and states of Italy, have 
most commonly arisen those wars in which the Florentines 
were compelled to take part. Thus, from the war between 
John of Anjou and King Ferrando, originated those serious 
enmities and hatreds which ensued between Ferrando and the 
Florentines, particularly the house of Medici. The King com- 
plained of a want of assistance during the war, and of the aid 
afforded to his enemy; and from his anger originated the 



greatest evils, as will be hereafter seen. Having, in speaking 
of external aflFairs, come down to the year 1463, it will be neces- 
sary, in order to make our narrative of the contemporaneous 
domestic transactions clearly understood, to revert to a period 
several years back. 

But first, according to custom, I would offer a few remarks 
referring to the events about to be narrated, and observe, that 
those who think a republic may be kept in perfect unity of 
purpose are greatly deceived. True it is, that some divisions 
injure republics, while others are beneficial to them. When 
accompanied by factions and parties they are injurious; but 
when maintained without them they contribute to their pros- 
perity. The legislator of a republic, since it is impossible to 
prevent the existence of dissensions, must at least take care 
to prevent the growth of faction. It may therefore be ob- 
served, that citizens acquire reputation and power in two ways; 
the one public, the other private. Influence is acquired pub- 
licly by winning a battle, taking possession of a territory, ful- 
filling the duties of an embassy with care and prudence, or 
by giving wise counsel attended by a happy result Private 
methods are, conferring benefits upon individuals, defending 
them against the magistrates, supporting them with money, 
and raising them to undeserved honors ; or with public games 
and entertainments gaining the affection of the populace. This 
mode of procedure produces parties and cliques; and in pro- 
portion as influence thus acquired is injurious, so is the former 
beneficial, if quite free from party spirit ; because it is founded 
upon the public good, and not upon private advantage. And 
though it is impossible to prevent the existence of inveterate 
feuds, still if they be without partisans to support them for 
their own individual benefit, they do not injure a republic, but 
contribute to its welfare ; since none can attain distinction but 
as he contributes to her good, and each party prevents the 
other from infringing her liberties. 

The dissensions of Florence were always accompanied by 
factions, and were therefore always pernicious ; and the domi- 
nant party only remained united so long as its enemies held 
it in check. As soon as the strength of the opposition was 
annihilated, the government, deprived of the restraining influ- 
ence of its adversaries, and being subject to no law, fell to 

14551 COSMO AND NERI 341 

pieces. The party of Cosmo de' Medici gained the ascendant 
in 1434 ; but the depressed party being very numerous, and 
composed of several very influential persons, fear kept the 
former united, and restrained their proceedings within the 
bounds of moderation, so that no violence was committed by 
them, nor an3rthing done calculated to excite popular dislike. 
Cwisequently, whenever this government required the citizens' 
aid to recover or strengthen its influence, the latter were al- 
ways willing to gratify its wishes; so that from 1434 to 1455, 
during a period of twenty-one years, the authority of a balia 
was granted to it six times. 

There were in Florence, as we have frequently observed, 
two principally powerful citizens, Cosmo de' Medici and Neri 
Capponi. Neri acquired his influence by public services; so 
that he had many friends but few partisans. Cosmo, being 
able to avail himself both of public and private means, had 
many partisans as well as friends. While both lived, having 
always been united, they obtained from the people whatever 
they required ; for in them popularity and power were united. 
But in the year 1455, Neri being dead, and the opposition party 
extinct, the government found a difliculty in resuming its au- 
thority ; and this was occasioned, remarkably enough, by Cos- 
mo's private friends, and the most influential men in the state ; 
for, not fearing the opposite party, they became anxious to 
abate his power. This inconsistency was the beginning of the 
evils which took place in 1456; so that those in power were 
openly advised in the deliberative councils not to renew the 
power of the balia, but to close the balloting-purses, and ap- 
point the magistrates by drawing from the pollings or squitHm 
previously made. 

To restrain this disposition, Cosmo had the choice of two 
alternatives, either forcibly to assume the government, with 
the partisans he possessed, and drive out the others, or to al- 
low the matter to take its course, and let his friends see they 
were not depriving him of power, but rather themselves. He 
chose the latter ; for he well knew that at all events the purses 
being filled with the names of his own friends, he incurred no 
risk, and could take the government into his own hands when- 
ever he found occasion. The chief offices of state being again 
filled by lot, the mass of the people began to think they had 


recovered their liberty, and that the decisions of the magis- 
trates were according to their own judgments, mibiassed by 
the influence of the great. At the same time, the friends of 
different grandees were humbled; and many who had com- 
monly seen their houses filled with suitors and presents, found 
themselves destitute of both. Those who had previously been 
very powerful were reduced to an equality with men whom 
they had been accustomed to consider inferior; and those 
formerly far beneath them were now become their equals. No 
respect or deference was paid to them ; they were often ridi- 
culed and derided; and frequently heard themselves and the 
republic mentioned in the open streets without the least defer- 
ence ; thus they found it was not Cosmo but themselves that 
had lost the government G>smo appeared not to notice these 
matters*; and whenever any subject was proposed in favor of 
the people he was the first to support it. But the greatest 
cause of alarm to the higher classes, and his most favorable 
opportunity of retaliation, was the revival of the catasto, or 
property-tax of 1427, so that individual contributions were de- 
termined by statute, and not by a set of persons appointed for 
its regulation. 

This law being re-established, and a magistracy created to 
carry it into effect, the nobility assembled, and went to Cosmo 
to beg he would rescue them and himself from the power of 
the plebeians, and restore to the government the reputation 
which had made himself powerful and them respected. He 
replied, he was willing to comply with their request, but wished 
the law to be obtained in the regular manner, by consent of 
the people, and not by force, of which he would not hear on 
any account. They then endeavored in the councils to estab- 
lish a new baliaj but did not succeed. On this the grandees 
again came to Cosmo, and most humbly begged he would as- 
semble the people in a general council or parliament ; but this 
he refused, for he wished to make them sensible of their great 
mistake; and when Donato Cocchi, being gonfalonier of jus- 
tice, proposed to assemble them without his consent, the sig- 
nors who were of Cosmo's party ridiculed the idea so un- 
mercifully, that the man's mind actually became deranged, and 
he had to retire from office in consequence. 

However, since it is undesirable to allow matters to proceed 


beyond recovery, the gonfalon of justice being in the hands 
of Luca Pitti, a bold-spirited man, Cosmo determined to let 
him adopt what course he thought proper, that if any trouble 
should arise it might be imputed to Lucca and not to himself. 
Lucca, therefore, in the beginning of his magistracy, several 
times proposed to the people the appointment of a new balia; 
and, not succeeding, he threatened the members of the councils 
with injurious and arrogant expressions, which were shortly 
followed by corresponding conduct ; for in the month of Au- 
gust, 1458, on the eve of Saint Lorenzo, having filled the palace 
with armed men, he assembled the people in the piazza, and ^ 
compelled them to assent to a measure to which he knew them 
to be averse. Having recovered power, created a new balia, 
and filled the principal offices according to the pleasure of a 
few individuals, in order to commence that government with 
terror which they had obtained by force, they banished Giro- 
lamo Machiavelli, with some others, and deprived many of the 
honors of government. Girolamo, having transgressed the con- 
fines to which he was limited, was declared a rebel. Travelling 
about Italy, with the design of exciting the princes against his 
country, he was betrayed while at Lunigiana, and, being 
brought to Florence, was put to death in prison. 

This government, during the eight years it continued was 
violent and insupportable; for Cosmo, being now old, and 
through ill health unable to attend to public affairs as for- 
merly, Florence became a prey to a small number of her own 
citizens. Lucca Pitti, in return for the services he had per- 
formed for the republic, was made a knight, and to be no less 
grateful than those who had conferred the dignity upon him, 
he ordered that the priors, who had hitherto been called priors 
of the trades, should also have a name to which they had no 
kind of claim, and therefore called them priors of liberty. He 
also ordered, that as it had been customary for the gonfalonier 
to sit upon the right hand of the rectors, he should in future 
take his seat in the midst of them. And that the Deity might 
appear to participate in what had been done, public proces- 
sions were made and solemn services performed, to thank Him 
for the recovery of the government. The signory and Cosmo 
made Lucca Pitti rich presents, and all the citizens were emu- 
lous in imitation of them ; so that the money given ^imounted 


to no less a sum than 20,000 ducats. He thus attained such 
influence, that not G>smo but himself now governed the city; 
and his pride so increased, that he commenced two superb 
buildings, one in Florence, the other at Rudano, about a mile 
distant, both in a style of royal magnificence; that in the city, 
being larger than any hitherto built by a private person. To 
complete them, he had recourse to the most extraordinary 
means ; for not only citizens and private individuals made him 
presents and supplied materials, but the mass of people, of 
every grade, also contributed. Besides this, any exiles who 
had committed murders, thefts, or other crimes which made 
them amenable to the laws, found a safe refuge within their 
walls, if they were able to contribute toward their decoration 
or completion. The other citizens, though they did not build 
like him, were no less violent or rapacious, so that if Florence 
were not harassed by external wars, she was ruined by the 
wickedness of her own children. During this period the wars 
of Naples took place. The Pope also commenced hostilities in 
Romagna against the Malatesti, from whom he wished to take 
Rimino and Cesena, held by them. In these designs, and his in- 
tentions of a crusade against the Turks, was passed the pon- 
tificate of Pius II. 

Florence continued in disunion and disturbance. The dis- 
sensions commenced among the party of Cosmo, in 1455, from 
the causes already related, which by his prudence, as we have 
also before remarked, he was enabled to tranquillize; but in 
the year 1464, his illness increased, and he died. Friends and 
enemies alike grieved for his loss ; for his political opponents, 
perceiving the rapacity of the citizens, even during the life of 
him who alone restrained them and made their t3rranny sup- 
portable, were afraid, lest after his decease, nothing but ruin 
would ensue. Nor had they much hope of his son Piero, who 
though a very good man, was of infirm health, and new in 
the government, and they thought he would be compelled to 
give way; so that, being unrestrained, their rapacity would 
pass all bounds. On these accounts, the regret was universal. 

Of all who have left memorials behind them, and who were 
not of the military profession, Cosmo was the most illustrious 
and the most renowned. He not only surpassed all his co- 
temporaries in wealth and authority, but also in generosity and 


prudence ; and among the qualities which contributed to make 
him prince in his own country, was his surpassing all others 
in maginficence and generosity. His liberality became more 
obvious after his death, when Piero, his son, wishing to know 
what he possessed, it appeared there was no citizen of any 
consequence to whom Cosmo had not lent a large sum of 
money ; and often, when informed of some nobleman being in 
distress, he relieved him unasked. His magnificence is evident 
from the number of public edifices he erected ; for in Florence 
are the convents and churches of St. Marco and St. Lorenzo, 
and the monastery of Santa Verdiana; in the mountains of 
Fiesole, the church and abbey of St. Girolamo; and in the 
Mugello, he not only restored, but rebuilt from its foundation, 
a monastery of the Frati Minori, or Minims. Besides these, in 
the church of Santa Croce, the Servi, the Agnoli, and in San 
Miniato, he erected splendid chapels and altars; and besides 
building the churches and chapels we have mentioned, he pro- 
vided them with all the ornaments, furniture, and utensils suit- 
able for the performance of divine service. To these sacred 
edifices are to be added, his private dwellings, one in Florence, 
of extent and elegance adapted to so great a citizen, and four 
others, situate at Careggi, Fiesole, Cafaggiuolo, and Trebbio, 
each, for size and grandeur, equal to royal palaces. And, as 
if it were not sufiicient to be distinguished for magnificence 
of buildings in Italy alone, he erected a hospital at Jerusalem, 
for the reception of poor and infirm pilgrims. 

Although his habitations, like all his other works and ac- 
tions, were quite of a r^;al character, and he alone was prince 
in Florence, still everything was so tempered with his prudence, 
that he never transgressed the decent moderation of civil life; 
in his conversation, his servants, his travelling, his mode of 
living, and the relationships he formed, the modest demeanor 
of the citizen was always evident; for he was aware that a 
constant exhibition of pomp brings more envy upon its posses- 
sor than greater realities borne without ostentation. Thus 
in selecting consorts for his sops, he did not seek the alliance 
of princes, but for Giovanni chose Comeglia degli Alessandri, 
and for Piero, Lucrezia de' Tornabuoni. He gave his grand- 
daughters, the children of Piero, Bianca to Guglielmo de' Pazzi, 
and Nannina to Bernardo Ruccellai. No one of his time pos- 


sessed such an intimate knowledge of government and state 
affairs as himself ; and hence, amid such a variety of fortune, 
in a city so given to change, and among a people of such ex- 
treme inconstancy, he retained possession of die government 
thirty-one years ; for, being endowed with the utmost prudence, 
he foresaw evils at a distance, and therefore had an oppor- 
tunity either of averting them or preventing their injurious 
results. He thus not only vanquished domestic and civil am- 
bition, but humbled the pride of many princes with so much 
fidelity and address that whatever powers were in league with 
himself and his country, either overcame their adversaries or 
remained uninjured by his alliance; and whoever were op- 
posed to him, lost either their time, money, or territory. 

Of this the Venetians afford a sufficient proof, who, while 
in league with him against Duke Filippo were always victori- 
ous, but apart from him were always conquered; first by 
Filippo and then by Francesco. When they joined Alfonso 
against the Florentine Republic, Cosmo, by his commercial 
credit, so drained Naples and Venice of money that they were 
glad to obtain peace upon any terms it was thought proper 
to grant. Whatever difficulties he had to contend with, whether 
within the city or without, he brought to a happy issue, at 
once glorious to himself and destructive to his enemies; so 
that civil discord strengthened his government in Florence, 
and war increased his power and reputation abroad. He added 
to the Florentine dominions the Borgo of St. Sepolcro, Mon- 
tedoglio, the Casentino, and Val di Bagno. His virtue and 
good-fortune overcame all his enemies and exalted his friends. 
He was bom in the year 1389, on the day of the saints Cosmo 
and Damiano. His earlier years were full of trouble, as his 
exile, captivity, and personal danger fully testify ; and having 
gone to the Council of Constance, with Pope John, in order 
to save his life, after the ruin of the latter, he was obliged to 
escape in disguise. But after the age of forty, he enjoyed the 
greatest felicity ; and not only those who assisted him in pub- 
lic business, but his agents who conducted his commercial spec- 
ulations throughout Europe, participated in his prosperity. 
Hence many enormous fortunes took their origin in different 
families of Florence, as in that of the Tomabuoni, the Bend, 
the Portinari, and the Sassetti. 


Besides these, all who depended upon his advice and patron- 
age became rich; and, though he was constantly expending 
money in building churches, and in charitable purposes, he 
sometimes complained to his friends that he had never been 
able to lay out so much in the service of God as to find the 
balance in his own favor, intimating that all he had done or 
could do was still unequal to what the Almighty had done 
for him. He was of middle stature, olive complexion, and 
venerable aspect; not learned but exceedingly eloquent, en* 
dowed with great natural capacity, generous to his friends, 
kind to the poor, comprehensive in discourse, cautious in ad- 
vising, and in his speeches and replies grave and witty. When 
Rinaldo degli Albizzi, at the beginning of his exile, sent to 
him to say, " The hen has laid," he replied, " She did ill to 
lay so far from the nest." Some other of the rebels gave him 
to understand they were " not dreaming." He said, " he be- 
lieved it, for he had robbed them of their sleep." When Pope 
Pius was endeavoring to induce the different governments to 
join in an expedition against the Turks, he said '* he was an 
old man, and had undertaken the enterprise of a young one." 
To the Venetian ambassadors who came to Florence with those 
of King Alfonso, to complain of the republic, he uncovered his 
head, and asked them what color it was ; they said, " White " : 
he replied, '* it is so ; and it will not be long before your Sena- 
tors have heads as white as mine." A few hours before his 
death, his wife asked him why he kept his eyes shut, and he 
said, " To get them in the way of it." Some citizens saying 
to him, after his return from exile, that he injured the city, 
and that it was offensive to God to drive so many religious 
persons out of it, he replied that "it was better to injure 
the city than to ruin it; that two yards of rose-colored cloth 
would make a gentleman, and that it required something more 
to direct a government than to play with a string of beads." 
These words gave occasion to his enemies to slander him, as 
a man who loved himself more than his country, and was more 
attached to this world than to the next. Many others of his 
sayings might be adduced, but we shall omit them as unneces- 

Cosmo was a friend and patron of learned men. He brought 
Argiripolo, a Greek by birth, and one of the most erudite of 


his time, to Florence, to instruct the youth in Hellenic litera- 
ture. He entertained Marsilio Ficino, the reviver of the Pla- 
onic philosophy, in his own house, and, being much attached 
to him, gave him a residence near his palace at Careggi, that 
he might pursue the study of letters with greater convenience, 
and himself have an opportunity of enjoying his company. 
His prudence, his great wealth, the uses to which he applied 
it, and his splendid style of living, caused him to be beloved 
and respected in Florence, and obtained for him the highest 
consideration, not only among the princes and governments of 
Italy, but throughout all Europe. He thus laid a foundation 
for his descendants, which enabled them to equal him in virtue, 
and greatly surpass him in fortune ; while the authority they 
possessed in Florence and throughout Christendom was not 
obtained without being merited. Toward the close of his life 
he suffered great affliction; for, of his two sons, Piero and 
Giovanni, the latter, of whom he entertained his greatest hopes, 
died ; and the former was so sickly as to be unable to attend 
either to public or private business. On being carried from 
one apartment to another, after Giovanni's death, he remarked 
to his attendants, with a sigh, " This is too large a house for 
so small a family.'' His great mind also felt distressed at the 
idea that he had not extended the Florentine dominions by any 
valuable acquisition ; and he regretted it the more, from imag- 
ining he had been deceived by Francesco Sforza, who, while 
count, had promised that if he became Lord of Milan he 
would undertake the conquest of Lucca for the Florentines, a 
design, however, that was never realized ; for the count's ideas 
changed upon his becoming duke; he resolved to enjoy in 
peace the power he had acquired by war, and would not again 
encounter its fatigues and dangers unless the welfare of his 
own dominions required it. 

This was a source of much annoyance to Cosmo, who felt 
he had incurred great expense and trouble for an ung^teful 
and perfidious friend. His bodily infirmities prevented him 
from attending either to public or private affairs, as he had 
been accustomed, and he consequently witnessed both going to 
decay; for Florence was ruined by her own citizens, and his 
fortune by his agents and children. 

Cosmo died, however, at the zenith of his glory, and in the 


enjoyment of the highest renown. The city, and all the Chris- 
tian princes, condoled with his son Piero for his loss. His 
funeral was conducted with the utmost pomp and solemnity, 
the whole city following his corpse to the tomb in the church 
of St. Lorenzo, on which, by public decree, was inscribed, 
" Father of his Country/' If, in speaking of Cosmo's ac- 
tions, I have rather imitated the biographies of princes than 
general history, it need not occasion wonder ; for of so extra- 
ordinary an individual I was compelled to speak with unusual 


The Duke of Mflan Becomes Lord of Genoa— The King of Naples and 
the Duke of Milan Endeavor to Secure their Dominions to their 
Heirs— Jacopo Piccinino Honorably Received at Milan, and Shortly 
afterward Murdered at Naples—Fruitless Endeavors of Pius H to 
Excite Christendom against the Turks — ^Death of Francesco Sforza, 
Duke of Milan — Perfidious G>unsel Given to Piero de' Medici hy 
Diotisalvi Neroni— Conspiracy of Diotisalvi and Others against Piero 
— ^Futile Attempts to Appease the Disorders— Public Spectacles- 
Projects of the Conspirators against Piero de' Medici — Niccolo 
Fedini Discloses to Piero the Plots of his Enemies. 

WHILE Florence and Italy were in this condition, Louis 
XI of France was involved in very serious troubles 
with his barons, who, with the assistance of Francis, 
Duke of Brittany, and Charles, Duke of Burgundy, were in 
arms against him. This attack was so serious that he was un- 
able to render further assistance to John of Anjou in his en- 
terprise against Genoa and Naples, and, standing in need of 
all the forces he could raise, he gave over Savona (which still 
remained in the power of the French) to the Duke of Milan, 
and also intimated that, if he wished, he had his permission to 
undertake the conquest of Genoa. 

Francesco accepted the proposal, and with the influence af- 
forded by the King's friendship, and the assistance of the 
Adomi, he became Lord of Genoa. In acknowledgment of this 
benefit, he sent 1,500 horse into France for the Kingfs service, 
under the command of Galeazzo, his eldest son. Thus Fer- 
rando of Arragon and Francesco Sforza became, the latter 
Duke of Lombardy and Prince of Genoa, and the former sov- 
ereign of the whole Kingdom of Naples. Their families being 
allied by marriage, they thought they might so confirm their 
power as to secure to themselves its enjoyment during life, 
and at their death its unencumbered reversion to their heirs. 
To attain this end they considered it necessary that the King 
should remove all ground of apprehension from those barons 



who had offended him in the war of John of Anjou, and that 
the duke should extirpate the adherents of the Bracceschi, the 
natural enemies of his family, who, under Jacopo Piccinino, 
had attained the highest reputation. The latter was now the 
first general in Italy, and possessing no territory, he naturally 
excited the apprehension of all who had dominions, and espe- 
cially of the duke, who, conscious of what he had himself done, 
thought he could neither enjoy his own estate in safety, nor 
leave them with any degree of security to his son during 
Jacopo's lifetime. The King, therefore, strenuously endeav- 
ored to come to terms with his barons, and using his utmost 
ingenuity to secure them, succeeded in his object; for they 
perceived their ruin to be inevitable if they continued at war 
with their sovereign, though from submission and confidence 
in him they would still have reason for apprehension. Man- 
kind are always most eager to avoid a certain evil ; and hence 
inferior powers are easily deceived by princes. The barons, 
conscious of the danger of continuing the war, trusted the 
King's promises, and having placed themselves in his hands 
they were soon after destroyed in various ways and under a 
variety of pretexts. This alarmed Jacopo Piccinino, who was 
with his forces at Sulmona; and to deprive the King of the 
opportunity of treating him similarly, he endeavored, by the 
mediation of his friends, to be reconciled with the duke, who, 
by the most liberal offers, induced Jacopo to visit him at Milan, 
accompanied by only 100 horse. 

Jacopo had served many years with his father and brother, 
first under Duke Filippo, and afterward under the Milanese 
Republic, so that by frequent intercourse with the citizens he 
had acquired many friends and universal popularity, which 
present circumstances tended to increase; for the prosperity 
and newly acquired power of the Sforzeschi had occasioned 
envy, while Jacopo's misfortunes and long absence had given 
rise to compassion and a great desire to see him. These various 
feelings were displayed upon his arrival; for nearly all the 
nobility went to meet him ; the streets through which he passed 
were filled with citizens, anxious to catch a glimpse of him, 
while shouts of ** The Bracceschi I the Bracceschi I " resounded 
on all sides. These honors accelerated his ruin ; for the duke's 
apprehensions increased his desire of destroying him ; and to 


effect this with the least possible suspicion, Jacopo's marriage 
with Drusiana, the duke's natural daughter, who had been 
promised to him long before, was now celebrated. The duke 
then arranged with Ferrando to take him into pay, with the 
title of captain of his forces, and give him 100,000 florins for 
his maintenance. After this agreement, Jacopo, accompanied 
by a ducal ambassador and his wife Drusiana, proceeded to 
Naples, where he was honorably and joyfully received, and 
for many days entertained with every kind of festivity; but 
having asked permission to go to Sulmona, where his forces 
were, the King invited him to a banquet in the castle, at the 
conclusion of which he and his son Francesco were impris- 
oned, and shortly afterward put to death. It was thus our 
Italian princes, fearing those virtues in others which they them- 
selves did not possess, extirpated them; and hence the coun- 
try became a prey to the efforts of those by whom it was not 
long afterward oppressed and ruined. 

At this time. Pope Pius II having settled the affairs of Ro- 
magna, and witnessing a universal peace, thought it a suitable 
opportunity to lead the Christians against the Turks, and 
adopted measures similar to those which his predecessors had 
used. All the princes promised assistance either in men or 
money ; while Matthias, King of Hungary^ and Charies, Duke 
of Burgundy, intimated their intention of joining the enterprise 
in person, and were by the Pope appointed leaders of the expedi- 
tion. The pontiff was so full of expectation, that he left Rome 
and proceeded to Ancona, where it had been arranged that the 
whole army should be assembled, and the Venetians engaged 
to send ships thither to convey the forces to Sdavonia. Upon 
the arrival of the Pope in that city, there was soon such a 
concourse of people that in a few days all the provisions it con- 
tained, or that could be procured from the neighborhood, were 
consumed, and feunine began to impend. Besides this, there 
was no money to provide those who were in want of it, nor 
arms to furnish such as were without them. Neither Matthias 
nor Charles made their appearance. The Venetians sent a cap- 
tain with some galleys, but rather for ostentation and the sake 
of keeping their word dian for the purpose of conveying troops. 
During this position of affairs, the Pope, being old and infirm, 
died, and the assembled troops returned to thdr homes. The 


death of the pontiflF occurred in 1464, and Paul II, of Vene- 
tian origin, was chosen to succeed him; and that nearly all 
the principalities of Italy might change their rulers about the 
same period, in the following year Francesco Sforza, Duke of 
Milan, also died, having occupied the dukedom sixteen years, 
and Galeazzo, his son, succeeded him. 

The death of this prince infused redoubled energy into the 
Florentine dissensions, and caused them to produce more 
prompt effects than they would otherwise have done. Upon 
the demise of Cosmo, his son Piero, being heir to the wealth 
and government of his father, called to his assistance Dio- 
tisalvi Neroni, a man of great influence and the highest repu- 
tation, in whom Cosmo reposed so much confidence that just 
before his death he recommended Piero to be wholly guided 
by him, both with regard to the government of the city and 
the management of his fortune. Piero acquainted Diotisalvi 
vnth the opinion Cosmo entertained of him, and said that as 
he wished to obey his father, though now no more, as he 
always had while alive, he should consult him concerning both 
his patrimony and the city. Beginning with his private affairs, 
he caused an account of all his property, liabilities, and assets 
to be placed in Diotisalvi's hands, that, with an entire acquaint- 
ance with the state of his affairs, he might be able to afford 
suitable advice, and the latter promised to use the utmost care. 
Upon examination of these accounts the affairs were found to 
be in great disorder, and Diotisalvi, instigated rather by his 
own ambition than by attachment to Piero or gratitude to 
Cosmo, thought he might without difficulty deprive him of 
both the reputation and the splendor which his father had left 
him as his inheritance. In order to realize his views, he waited 
upon Piero, and advised him to adopt a measure which, while 
it appeared quite correct in itself, and suitable to existing cir- 
cumstances, involved a consequence destructive to his author- 
ity. He explained the disorder of his affairs, and the large 
amount of money it would be necessary to provide, if he 
wished to preserve his influence in the state and his reputa- 
tion of wealth, and said there was no other means of remedy- 
ing these disorders so just and available as to call in the sums 
which his father had lent to an infinite number of persons, both 
foreigners and citizens; for Cosmo, to acquire partisans in 



Florence and friends abroad, was extremely liberal of his 
money, and the amount of loans due to him was enormous. 
Piero thought the advice good, because he was only desirous 
to repossess his own property to meet the demands to which 
he was liable; but as soon as he had ordered those amounts 
to be recalled, the citizens, as if he had asked for something 
to which he had no kind of claim, took great offence, loaded 
him with opprobrious expressions, and accused him of being 
avaricious and ungrateful. 

Diotisalvi, noticing the popular excitement against Piero, 
occasioned by his own advice, obtained an interview with Lucca 
Pitti, Agnolo Acciajuoli, and Niccolo Soderini, and they re- 
solved to unite their efforts to deprive him both of the gov- 
ernment and his influence. Each was actuated by a different 
motive; Lucca Pitti wished to take the position Cosmo had 
occupied, for he was now become so great that he disdained 
to submit to Piero; Diotisalvi Neroni, who knew Lucca unfit 
to be at the head of a government, thought that of necessity, 
on Piero's removal, the whole authority of the state would de- 
volve upon himself; Niccolo Soderini desired the city to en- 
joy greater liberty, and for the laws to be equally binding upon 
all. Agnolo Acciajuoli was greatly incensed against the 
Medici, for the following reasons: his son, Raffaello, had 
some time before married Alessandra de' Bardi, and received 
with her a large dowry. She, either by her own fault or the 
misconduct of others, suffered much ill-treatment both from 
her father-in-law and her husband, and in consequence Lo- 
renzo d' Ilarione, her kinsman, out of pity for the girl, being 
accompanied by several armed men, took her away from Ag- 
nolo's house. The Acciajuoli complained of the injury done 
them by the Bardi, and the matter was referred to Cosmo, who 
decided that the Acciajuoli should restore to Alessandra her 
fortune, and then leave it to her choice either to return to her 
husband or not. Agnolo thought Cosmo had not, in this in- 
stance, treated him as a friend; and having been unable to 
avenge himself on the father, he now resolved to do his utmost 
to ruin the son. 

These conspirators, although each was influenced by a dif- 
ferent motive from the rest, affected to have only one object 
in view, which was that the city should be governed by the 


magistrates, and not be subjected to the counsels of a few 
individuals. The odiiun against Piero, and opportunities of 
injuring him, were increased by the number of merchants who 
failed about this time; for it was reported that he, in hav- 
ing, quite unexpectedly to all, resolved to call in his debts, 
had, to the disgrace and ruin of the city, caused them to be- 
come insolvent. To this was added his endeavor to obtain 
Clarice degli Orsini as wife of Lorenzo, his eldest son; and 
hence his enemies took occasion to say it was quite clear that 
as he despised a Florentine alliance, he no longer considered 
himself one of the people, and was preparing to make himself 
prince; for he who refuses his fellow-citizens as relatives 
desires to make them slaves, and therefore cannot expect to 
have them as friends. The leaders of the sedition thought they 
had the victory in their power; for the greater part of the citi- 
zens followed them, deceived by the name of liberty which 
they, to give their purpose a graceful covering, adopted upon 
their ensigns. 

In this agitated state of the city, some, to whom civil dis- 
cord was extremely offensive, thought it would be well to 
endeavor to engage men's minds with some new occupation, 
because when unemployed they are commonly led by whoever 
chooses to excite them. To divert their attention from mat- 
ters of government, it being now a year since the death of 
Cosmo, it was resolved to celebrate two festivals, similar to 
the most solemn observed in the city. At one of them was 
represented the arrival of the three kings from the East, led 
by the star which announced the nativity of Christ; which 
was conducted with such pomp and magnificence that the 
preparations for it kept the whole city occupied many months. 
The other was a tournament (for so they call the exhibition 
of equestrian combats), in which the sons of the first fami- 
lies in the city took part with the most celebrated cavaliers of 
Italy. Among the most distinguished of the Florentine youth 
was Lorenzo, eldest son of Piero, who, not by favor, but by 
his own personal valor, obtained the principal prize. When 
these festivals were over, the citizens reverted to the same 
thoughts which had previously occupied them, and each pur- 
sued his ideas with greater earnestness than ever. 

Serious differences and troubles were the result; and these 


were greatly increased by two circumstances: one of which 
was, that the authority of the balia had expired; the other, 
that upon the death of Duke Francesco, Galeazzo, the new 
duke, sent ambassadors to Florence, to renew the engagements 
of his father with the city, which, among other things, pro- 
vided that every year a certain sum of money should be paid 
to the duke. The principal opponents of the Medici took occa- 
sion, from this demand, to nuike public resistance in the coun- 
cils, on pretence that the alliance was made with Francesco 
and not with Galeazzo; so that Francesco being dead, the 
obligation had ceased ; nor was there any necessity to revive 
it, because Galeazzo did not possess his father's telents, and 
consequently they neither could nor ought to expect the same 
benefits from him; that if they had derived little advantage 
from Francesco, they would obtain still less from Galeazzo; 
and that if any citizen wished to hire him for his own pur- 
poses, it was contrary to civil rule, and inconsistent with the 
public liberty. Piero, on the contrary, argued that it would 
be very impolitic to lose such an alliance from mere avarice, 
and that there was nothing so important to the republic, and to 
the whole of Italy, as their alliance with the duke; that the 
Venetians, while they were united, could not hope either by 
feigned friendship or open war to injure the duchy; but as 
soon as they perceived the Florentines alienated from him they 
would prepare for hostilities, and, finding him young, new in 
the government, and without friends, they would, either by 
force or fraud, compel him to join them; in which case the 
ruin of the republic would be inevitable. 

The arguments of Piero were without effect, and the ani- 
mosity of the parties began to be openly manifested in their 
nocturnal assemblies; the friends of the Medici meeting in 
the Crocetta, and their adversaries in the Pieta. The latter 
being anxious for Piero's ruin, had induced many citizens to 
subscribe their names as favorable to the undertaking. Upon 
one occasion, particularly when considering the course to be 
adopted, although all agreed that the power of the Medici 
ought to be reduced, different opinions were given concerning 
the means by which it should be effected ; one party, the most 
temperate and reasonable, held that as the authority of the 
balia had ceased, they must take care to prevent its renewal; 


it would then be found to be the universal wish that the magis- 
trates and councils should govern the city, and in a short time 
Piero's power would be visibly diminished, and, as a conse- 
quence of his loss of influence in the government, his com- 
mercial credit would also fail ; for his affairs were in such a 
state that if they could prevent him from using the public 
money his ruin must ensue. They would thus be in no further 
danger from him, and would succeed in the recovery of their 
liberty, without the death or exile of any individual; but if 
they attempted violence they would incur great dangers: for 
mankind are willing to allow one who falls of himself to meet 
his fate, but if pushed down they would hasten to his relief; 
so that if they adopted no extraordinary measures against him, 
he will have no reason for defence or aid; and if he were to 
seek them it would be greatly to his own injury, by creating 
such a general suspicion as would accelerate his ruin, and jus- 
tify whatever course they might think proper to adopt. 

Many of the assembly were dissatisfied with this tardy 
method of proceeding ; they thought delay would be favorable 
to him and injurious to themselves ; for if they allowed mat- 
ters to take their ordinary course, Piero would be in no danger 
whatever, while they themselves would incur many; for the 
magistrates who were opposed to him would allow him to rule 
the city, and his friends would make him a prince, and their 
own ruin would be inevitable, as happened in 1458 ; and though 
the advice they had just heard might be most consistent with 
good-feeling, the present would be found to be the safest; 
that it would therefore be best, while the minds of men were 
yet excited against him, to effect his destruction. It must be 
their plan to arm themselves, and engage the assistance of 
the Marquis of Ferrara, that they might not be destitute of 
troops; and if a favorable signory were drawn, they would 
be in condition to make use of them. They therefore de- 
termined to wait the formation of the new signory, and be 
governed by circumstances. 

Among the conspirators was Niccolo Fedini, who had acted 
as president of their assemblies. He, being induced by most 
certain hopes, disclosed the whole affair to Piero, and gave 
him a list of those who had subscribed their names, and also 
of the conspirators. Piero was alarmed on discovering the 


number and quality of those who were opposed to him ; and 
by the advice of his friends he resolved to take the signatures 
of those who were inclined to favor him. Having enq>loyed 
one of his most trusty confidants to carry this design into 
effect, he found so great a disposition to change and instabil- 
ity, that many who had previously set down their names among 
the number of his enemies, now subscribed them in his favor. 


Niccolo Soderini Drawn Gonfalonier of Justice— Great Hopes Excited 
in Consequence— The Two Parties Take Arms— The Fears of the 
Signory— Their Conduct with Regard to Piero— Piero's Reply to the 
Signory — Reform of Government in Favor of Piero de' Medici- 
Dispersion of his Enemies— Fall of Lucca Pitti — Letter of Agnolo 
Acciajuoli to Piero de' Medici-— Piero's Answer— Designs of the 
Florentine Exiles— They Induce the Venetians to Make War on 

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



magistracy of Niccolo expired ; and having commenced many 
things without completing aught, he retired from office with 
much less credit than he had entered upon it 

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

Diotisalvi, the better to conceal his design, frequently vis- 
ited Piero, conversed with him respecting the union of the city, 
and advised him to effect it. The conspirators' designs had 
already been fully disclosed to Piero ; besides this, Domenico 
Martelli had informed hun, that Francesco Neroni, the brother 
of Diotisalvi, had endeavored to induce him to join them, as- 
suring him the victory was certain, and their object all but 
attained. Upon this, Piero resolved to take advantage of his 
enemies' tampering with the Marquis of Ferrara, and be first 
in arms. He therefore intimated that he had received a letter 
from Giovanni Bentivogli, Prince of Bologna, which informed 
him that the Marquis of Ferrara was upon the river Albo, at 
the head of a considerable force, with the avowed intention 
of leading it to Florence ; that upon this advice he had taken 
up arms ; after which, in the midst of a strong force, he came 
to the city, when all who were disposed to support him armed 
themselves also. The adverse party did the same, but not in 
such good order, being unprepared. The residence of Dio- 
tisalvi being near that of Piero, he did not think himself safe 
in it, but first went to the palace and begged the signory would 
endeavor to induce Piero to lay down his arms, and thence 


to Lucca Pittiy to keep him faithful in their cause. Niccolo 
Soderini displayed the most activity; for taking arms, and 
being followed by nearly all the plebeians in his vicinity, he 
proceeded to the house of Lucca, and begged that he would 
mount his horse, and come to the piazza in support of the 
signory, who were, he said, favorable, and that the victory 
would, undoubtedly, be on their side ; that he should not stay 
in the house to be basely slain by their armed enemies, or ig* 
nominiously deceived by those who were unarmed ; for, in that 
case, he would soon repent of having neglected an opportu- 
nity irrecoverably lost ; that if he desired the forcible ruin of 
Pieto, he might easily effect it; and that if he were anxious 
for peace, it would be far better to be in a condition to pro- 
pose terms than to be compelled to accept any that might be 
offered. These words produced no effect upon Lucca, whose 
mind was now quite made up; he had been induced to desert 
his party by new conditions and promises of alliance from 
Piero; for one of his nieces had been married to Giovanni 
Tomabuoni. He, therefore, advised Niccolo to dismiss his 
followers and return home, telling him he ought to be satis- 
fied, if the city were governed by the magistrates, which would 
certainly be the case, and that all ought to lay aside their weap- 
ons ; for the signory, most of whom were friendly, would de- 
cide their differences. Niccolo, finding him impracticable, re- 
turned home ; but before he left, he said : " I can do the city 
no good alone, but I can easily foresee the evils that will be- 
fall her. This resolution of yours will rob our country of her 
liberty; you will lose the government, I shall lose my prop- 
erty, and the rest will be exiled." 

During this disturbance, the signory closed the palace, and 
kept their magistrates about them, without showing favor to 
either party. The citizens, especially those who had followed 
Lucca Pitti, finding Piero fully prepared and his adversaries 
unarmed, began to consider, not how they might injure him, 
but how, with least observation, glide into the ranks of his 
friends. The principal citizens, the leaders of both factions, 
assembled in the palace in the presence of the signory, and 
spoke respecting the state of the city and the reconciliation of 
parties; and as the infirmities of Piero prevented him from 
being present, they, with one exception, unanimously deter- 


mined to wait upon him at his house. Niccolo Soderini having 
first placed his children and his effects under the care of his 
brother Tommaso, withdrew to his villa, there to await the 
event, but apprehended misfortune to himself and ruin to his 
country. The other citizens coming into Piero's presence, one 
of them, who had been appointed spokesman, complained of 
the disturbances that had arisen in the city, and endeavored 
to show that those must be most to blame who had been first 
to take up arms ; and, not knowing what Piero (who was evi- 
dently the first to do so) intended, they had come in order 
to be informed of his design, and, if it had in view the wel- 
fare of the city, they were desirous of supporting it 

Piero replied that not those who first take arms are the most 
to blame, but those who give the first occasion for it, and if 
they would reflect a little on their mode of proceeding toward 
himself, they would cease to wonder at what he had done; 
for they could not fail to perceive that nocturnal assemblies, 
the enrolment of partisans, and attempts to deprive him both 
of his authority and his life, had caused him to take arms; 
and they might further observe that as his forces had not 
quitted his own house, his design was evidently only .to defend 
himself and not to injure others. He neither sought nor de- 
sired an3^hing but safety and repose ; neither had his conduct 
ever manifested a desire for aught else ; for when the author- 
ity of the balia expired, he never made any attempt to renew 
it, and was very glad the magistrates had governed the city 
and been content. They might also remember that Cosmo and 
his sons could live respected in Florence, either with the balia 
or without it, and that in 1458, it was not his family, but them- 
selves, who had renewed it. That if they did not wish for 
it at present, neither did he; but this did not satisfy them; 
for he perceived they thought it impossible to remain in Flor- 
ence while he was there. It was entirely beyond all his an- 
ticipations that his owti or his father's friends should think 
themselves unsafe with him in Florence, having always shown 
himself quiet and peaceable. He then addressed himself to 
Diotisalvi and his brothers, who were present, reminding them 
with grave indignation of the benefits they had received from 
Cosmo, the confidence he had reposed in them and their sub- 
sequent ingratitude ; and his words so strongly excited some 


present, that had he not interfered they would certainly have 
torn the Neroni to pieces on the spot. He concluded by say- 
ing that he should approve of any determination of themselves 
and the signory; and that for his own part, he only desired 
peace and safety. After this, many things were discussed, but 
nothing determined, excepting generally that it was necessary 
to reform the administration of the city and government. 

The gonfalon of justice was then in the hands of Bernardo 
Lotti, a man not in the confidence of Piero, who was there- 
fore disinclined to attempt aught while he was in office ; but 
no inconvenience would result from the delay, as his magis- 
tracy was on the point of expiring. Upon the election of 
sig^ors for the months of September and October, 1466, 
Roberto Lioni was appointed to the supreme magistracy, and 
as soon as he assumed its duties, every requisite arrangement 
having been previously made, the people were called to the 
piazza, and a new balia created, wholly in favor of Piero, who 
soon afterward filled all the offices of government according 
to his own pleasure. 

These transactions alarmed the leaders of the opposite fac- 
tion, and Agnolo Acciajuoli fled to Naples, Diotisalvi Neroni 
and Niccolo Soderini to Venice. Lucca Pitti remained in Flor- 
ence, trusting to his new relationship and the promises of Piero. 
The refugees were declared rebels, and all the family of the 
Neroni were dispersed. Giovanni di Neroni, then Archbishop 
of Florence, to avoid a greater evil, became a voluntary exile 
at Rome ; and to many other citizens who fled, various places 
of banishment were appointed.' Nor was this considered suffi- 
cient ; for it was ordered that the citizens should go in solemn 
procession to thank God for the preservation of the govern- 
ment and the reunion of the city, during the performance of 
which, some were taken and tortured, and part of them after- 
ward put to death and exiled. In this great vicissitude of af- 
fairs, there was not a more remarkable instance of the un- 
certainty of fortune than Lucca Pitti, who soon found the 
difference between victory and defeat, honor and disgrace. His 
house now presented only a vast solitude, where previously 
crowds of citizens had assembled. In the streets, his friends 
and relatives, instead of accompanying, were afraid even to 
salute him. Some of them were deprived of the honors of 


government, others of their property, and all alike threatened 
The superb edifices he had commenced were abandoned by the 
builders ; the; benefits that had been conferred upon him were 
now exchanged for injuries, the honors for disgrace. Hence 
many of those who had presented him with articles of value 
now demanded them back again, as being only lent; and those 
who had been in the habit of extolling him as a man of sur- 
passing excellence, now termed him violent and ungratefuL 
So that, when too late, he regretted not having taken the ad- 
vice of Niccolo Soderini, and preferred an honorable death in 
battle, than to a life of ignominy among his victorious enemies 

The exiles now began to consider various means of recover- 
ing that citizenship which they had not been able to preserve. 
However, Agnolo Acciajuoli being at Naples, before he at- 
tempted anything else, resolved to sound Piero, and try if he 
could effect a reconciliation. For this purpose, he wrote to 
him in the following terms: 

" I cannot help laughing at the freaks of fortune, perceiv- 
ing how, at her pleasure, she converts friends into enemies, 
and enemies into friends. You may remember that during 
your father's exile, regarding more the injury done to him 
than my own misfortunes, I was banished, and in danger of 
death, and never during G>smo's life failed to honor and sup- 
port your family; neither have I since his death ever enter- 
tained a wish to injure you. True, it is, that your own sick- 
ness, and the tender years of your sons, so alarmed me that I 
judged it desirable to give such a form to the government that 
after your death our country might not be ruined ; and hence, 
the proceedings, which not against you, but for the safety of 
the state, have been adopted, which, if mistaken, will surely 
obtain forgiveness, both for the good design in view and on 
account of my former services. Neither can I apprehend that 
your house, having found me so long faithful, should now 
prove unmerciful, or that you could cancel the impression of 
so much merit for so small a fault" 

Piero replied: "Your laughing in your present abode is 
the cause why I do not weep, for were you to laugh in Flor- 
ence, I should have to weep at Naples. I confess you were 
well disposed toward my father, and you ought to confess you 
were well paid for it ; and the obligation is so much the greater 

1466] AGNOLO'S PLOTS 365 

on your part than on ours, as deeds are of greater value thafi 
words. Having been recompensed for your good wishes, it 
ought not to surprise you that you now receive the due reward 
of your bad ones. Neither will a pretence of your patriotism 
excuse you, for none will think the city less beloved or benefited 
by the Medici than by the Acdajuoli. It, therefore, seems 
but just that you should remain in dishonor at Naples, since 
you knew not how to live with honor at home." 

Agnolo, hopeless of obtaming pardon, went to Rome, where, 
joining the archbishop and other refugees, they used every 
available means to injure the commercial credit of the Medici 
in that city. Their attempts greatly annoyed Piero; but by 
his friends' assistance, he was enabled to render them abortive. 
Diotisalvi Neroni and Niccolo Soderini strenuously urged the 
Venetian Senate to make war upon their country, calculating 
that in case of an attack, the government, being new and un- 
popular, would be unable to resist. At this time there resided 
at Ferrara, Giovanni Francesco, son of Palla Strozzi, who, 
with his father, was banished from Florence in the changes of 
1434. He possessed great influence, and was considered one 
of the richest merchants. The newly banished pointed out to 
Giovanni Francesco how easily they might return to their coun* 
try, if the Venetians were to undertake the enterprise, and that 
it was most probable they would do so, if they had pecuniary 
assistance, but that otherwise it would be doubtful. 

Giovanni Francesco, wishing to avenge his own injuries, at 
once fell in with their ideas, and promised to contribute to the 
success of the attempt all the means in his power. On this they 
went to the Doge, and complained of the exile they were com- 
pelled to endure, for no other reason, they said, than for hav- 
ing wished their country should be subject to equal laws, and 
that the magistrates should govern, not a few private indi- 
viduals; that Piero de' Medici with his adherents, who were 
accustomed to act tyrannically, had secretly taken up arms, 
deceitfully induced them to lay their own aside, and thus, by 
fraud, expelled them from their country ; that, not content with 
this, they made the Almighty himself a means of oppression 
to several, who, trusting to their promises, had remained in 
the city and were there betrayed ; for, during public worship 
and solemn supplications, that the Deity might seem to partid- 


pate in their treachery, many citizens had been seized, impris- 
oned, tortured, and put to death; thus affording to the world 
a horrible and impious precedent To avenge themselves for 
these injuries, they knew not where to turn with so much hope 
of success as to the Senate, which, having always enjoyed their 
liberty, ought to compassionate those who had lost it. They 
therefore called upon them as free men to assist them against 
tyrants ; as pious, against the wicked ; and would remind the 
Venetians, that it was the family of the Medici who had robbed 
them of their dominions in Lombardy, contrary to the wish 
of the other citizens, and who, in opposition to the interests of 
the Senate, had favored and supported Francesco, so that if 
the exiles' distresses could not induce them tx> undertake the 
war, the just indignation of the people of Venice and their 
desire of vengeance ought to prevaiL 


War between the Venetians and the Florentines — Peace Reestablished 
— Death of Niccolo Soderini — His Character — Excesses in Florence 
— Various External Events from 1468 to 1471 — Accession of Sixtus 
IV — His Character — Grief of Piero de* Medici for the Violence Com- 
mitted in Florence — His Speech to the Principal Citizens — Plans of 
Piero de' Medici for the Restoration of Order — His Death and 
Character — Tommaso Soderini, a Citizen of Great Reputation, De- 
clares Himself in Favor of the Medici — ^Disturbances at Prato Oc- 
casioned by Bernardo Nardi. 

THE concluding words of the Florentine exiles produced 
the utmost excitement among the Venetian Senators, 
and they resolved to send Bernardo Coglione, their 
general, to attack the Florentine territory. The troops were 
assembled, and joined by Ercole da Esti, who had been sent by 
Borgo, Marquis of Ferrara. At the commencement of hostili- 
ties, the Florentines not being prepared, their enemies burnt 
the Borgo of Dovadola, and plundered the surrounding coun- 
try. But having expelled the enemies of Piero, renewed their 
league with Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, and Ferrando, King of 
Naples, they appointed to the command of their forces Feder- 
igo, Count of Urbino ; atid being thus on good terms with their 
friends, their enemies occasioned them less anxiety. Ferrando 
sent Alfonso, his eldest son, to their aid, and Galeazzo came in 
person, each at the head of a suitable force, and all assembled 
at Castrocaro, a fortress belonging to the Florentines, and sit- 
uated among tjie roots of the Apennines which descend from 
Tuscany to Romagna. In the meantime, the enemy withdrew 
toward Imola. A few slight skirmishes took place between the 
armies ; yet, in accordance with the custom of the times, neither 
of them acted on the offensive, besieged any town, or gave the 
other an opportunity of coming to a general engagement ; but 
each kept within their tents, and conducted themselves with 
most remarkable cowardice. This occasioned general dissat- 
isfaction among the Florentines; for they found themselves 



involved in an expensive war^ from which no advantage could 
be derived. The magistrates complained of these spiritless 
proceedings to those who had been appointed commissaries to 
the expedition ; but they replied, that the entire evil was charge- 
able upon the Duke Galeazzo, who, possessing great authority 
and little experience, was unable to suggest useful measures, 
and unwilling to take the advice of those who were more capa- 
ble; and therefore any demonstration of courage or energy 
would be impracticable so long as he remained with the army. 
Hereupon the Florentines intimated to the duke, that his 
presence with the forces was in many ways advantageous and 
beneficial, and of itself sufficient to alarm the enemy ; but they 
considered his own safety, and that of his dominions, much 
more important than their own immediate convenience ; because 
so long as the former were safe the Florentines had nothing to 
fear, and all would go well ; but if bis dominions were to suffer, 
they might then apprehend all kinds of misfortune. They as- 
sured him they did not think it prudent for him to be absent 
so long from Milan, having recently succeeded to the govern- 
ment, and being surrounded by many powerful enemies and 
suspected neighbors ; while any who were desirous of plotting 
against him, had an opportunity of doing so with impunity. 
They would, therefore, advise him to return to his territories, 
leaving part of his troops with them for the use of the expedi- 
tion. This advice pleased Galeazzo, who, in consequence, im- 
mediately withdrew to Milan. The Florentine generals being 
now left without any hinderance, to show that the cause as- 
signed for their inaction was the true one, pressed the enemy 
more closely, so that they came to a regular engagement, which 
continued half a day, without either party yielding. Some 
horses were wounded, and prisoners taken, but no death oc- 
curred. Winter having arrived, and with it the usual time for 
armies to retire into quarters, Bartolommeo Coglione withdrew 
to Ravenna, the Florentine forces into Tuscany, and those of 
the King and duke each to the territories of their sovereign. 
As this attempt had not occasioned any timiult in Florence, 
contrary to the rebels' expectation, and the troops they had 
hired were in want of pay, terms of peace were proposed, and 
easily arranged. The revolted Florentines, thus deprived of 
hope, dispersed themselves in various places. Diotisalvi Neroni 


withdrew to Ferrara, where he was received and entertained 
by the Marquis Borso. Niccolo Soderini went to Ravenna, 
where, upon a small pension allowed him by the Venetians, he 
grew old and died. He was considered a just and brave man, 
but over-cautious and slow to determine, a circumstance which 
occasioned him, when gonfalonier of justice, to lose the oppor- 
tunity of victory, which he would have gladly recovered when 
too late. 

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

During these transactions in Florence, the rest of Italy, 
though at peace, was filled with apprehension of the power of 
the Turks, who continued to attack the Christians, and had 
taken Negropont, to the great disgrace and injury of the Chris- 
tian name. About this time died Borso, Marquis of Ferrara, 
who was succeeded by his brother Ercole. Gismondo da Rim- 


ini, the inveterate enemy of the Church, also expired, and his 
natural brother Roberto, who was afterward one of the best 
generals of Italy, succeeded him. Pope Paul died in the year 
1471, and was succeeded by Sixtus IV, previously called Fran- 
cesco da Savona, a man of the very lowest origin, who by his 
talents had become general of the order of St Francis, and 
afterward cardinal. He was the first who b^;an to show how 
far a pope might go, and how much that which was previously 
regarded as sinful lost its iniquity when committed by a pontiff. 
Among others of his family were Piero and Girolamo, who, 
according to universal belief, were his sons, though he desig- 
nated them by terms reflecting less scandal on his character. 
Piero, being a priest, was advanced to the dignity of cardinal, 
with the title of St. Sixtus. To Girolamo he gave the dty of 
Furli, taken from Antonio Ordelaffi, whose ancestors had held 
that territory for many generations. This ambitious method 
of procedure made him more regarded by the princes of Italy, 
and all sought to obtain his friendship. The Duke of Milan 
gave his natural daughter Caterina to Girolamo, with the dty 
of Imola, which he had taken from Taddeo degli Alidossi, as 
her portion. New matrimonial alliances were formed between 
the duke and King Ferrando ; Elisabetta, daughter of Alfonso, 
the King's eldest son, being united to Giovan-Galeazzo, the 
eldest son of the duke. 

Italy being at peace, the principal employment of her princes 
was to watch each other, and strengthen their own influence 
by new alliances, leagues, or friendships. But in the midst of 
this repose, Florence endured great oppression from her prind- 
pal citizens, and the infirmities of Piero incapacitated him from 
restraining their ambition. However, to relieve his conscience, 
and, if possible, to make them ashamed of their conduct, he 
sent for them to his house, and addressed them in the following 
words : 

" I never thought a time would come when the behavior of 
my friends would compel me to esteem and desire the society 
of my enemies, and wish that I had been defeated rather than 
victorious ; for I believed myself to be associated with those 
who would set some bounds to their avarice, and who, after 
having avenged themselves on their enemies, and lived in their 
country with security and honor, would be satisfied. But now 


I find myself greatly deceived, unacquainted with the ambition 
of mankind, and least of all with yours ; for, not satisfied with 
being masters of so great a city^ and possessing among your- 
selves those honors, dignities, and emoluments which used to 
be divided among many citizens; not contented with having 
shared among a few the property of your enemies, or with being 
able to oppress all others with public burdens, while you your- 
selves are exempt from them and enjoy all the public offices of 
profit, you must still further load everyone with ill-usage. You 
plunder your neighbors of their wealth ; you sell justice ; you 
evade the law; you oppress the timid and exalt the insolent 
Nor is there, throughout all Italy, so many and such shocking 
examples of violence and avarice as in this city. Has our 
country fostered us only to be her destroyer? Have we been 
victorious only to effect her ruin? Has she honored us that 
we may overwhelm her with disgrace? Now, by that faith 
which is binding upon all good men, I promise you, that if you 
still conduct yourselves so as to make me regret my victory, 
I will adopt such measures as shall cause you bitterly to repent 
of having misused it." 

The reply of the citizens accorded with the time and circum- 
stances, but they did not forego their evil practices ; so that, in 
consequence, Piero sent for Agnolo Acdajuoli to come secretly 
to Cafaggiolo, and discussed with him at great length the con- 
dition of the city ; and doubtless, had he not been prevented by 
death, he would have called home the exiles as a check upon 
the rapine of the opposite party. But these honorable designs 
were frustrated, for, sinking under bodily infirmities and men- 
tal anguish, he expired in the fifty-third year of his age. His 
goodness and virtue were not duly appreciated by his country, 
principally from his having, until almost the close of his life, 
been associated with Cosmo, and the few years he survived be- 
ing spent in civil discord and constant debility. Piero was 
buried in the church of St. Lorenzo, near his father, and his 
obsequies were performed with all the pomp and solemnity due 
to his exalted station. He left two sons, Lorenzo and Giuliano, 
whose extreme youth excited alarm in the minds of thinking 
men, though each gave hopes of future usefulness to the 

Among the principal citizens in the government of Florence, 


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

While profound tranquillity prevailed both at home and 
abroad, no wars disturbing the general repose, there arose an 
unexpected disturbance, which came like a presage of future 
evils. Among the ruined families of the party of Lucca Pitti, 
was that of the Nardi ; for Salvestro and his brothers, the heads 
of the house, were banished, and afterward declared rebels for 
having taken part in the war under Bartolcmameo Coglione. 
Bernardo, the brother of Salvestro, was young, prompt, and 
bold, and on account of his poverty, being unable to alleviate 
the sorrows of exile, while the peace extinguished all hopes 


of his return to the city, he determined to attempt some means 
of rekindling the war; for a trifluig commencement often pro- 
duces great results, and men more readily prosecute what is 
already begun than originate new enterprises. Bernardo had 
many acquaintances at Prato, and still more in the district of 
Pistoia, particularly among the Palandra, a family which, 
though rustic, was very numerous, and, like the rest of the 
Pistolesi, brought up to slaughter and war. These he knew 
to be discontented, on account of the Florentine magistrates 
having endeavored, perhaps too severely, to check their par- 
tiality for inveterate feuds and consequent bloodshed. He was 
also aware that the people of Parto considered themselves in- 
jured by the pride and avarice of their governors, and that 
some were ill-disposed toward Florence; therefore all things 
considered, he hoped to be able to kindle a fire in Tuscany 
(should Prato rebel) which would be fostered by so many, that 
those who might wish to extinguish it would fail in the attempt 
He communicated his ideas to Diotisalvi Neroni, and asked 
him, in case they should succeed in taking possession of Prato, 
what assistance might be expected from the princes of Italy, 
by his means? Diotisalvi considered the enterprise as immi- 
nently dangerous, and almost impracticable; but since it pre- 
sented a fresh chance of attaining his object, at the risk of 
others, he advised him to proceed, and promised certain assist- 
ance from Bologna and Ferrara, if he could retain Prato not 
less than fifteen days. Bernardo, whom this promise inspired 
with a lively hope of success, proceeded secretly to Prato, and 
communicated with those most disposed to favor him, among 
whom were the Palandra; and having arranged the time and 
plan, informed Diotisalvi of what had been done. 


Bernardo Takes Possession of Prato, but Is Not Assisted by the In- 
habitants—He Is Taken, and the Tumult Appeased— Corruption of 
Florence— The Duke of Milan in Florence— The Church of Santo 
Spirito Destroyed by Fire — The Rebellion of Volterra, and the Caase 
of It— Volterra Reduced to Obedience by Force, in Accordance with 
the Advice of Lorenzo de' Medici— Volterra Pfllaged. 

CESARE PETRUCCI held the office of Provost of Prato 
for the Florentine people at this period. It is cus- 
tomary with governors of towns, similarly situated, to 
keep the keys of the gates near their persons ; and whenever, 
in peaceful times, they are required by any of the inhabitants, 
for entrance or exit, they are usually allowed to be taken. 
Bernardo was aware of this custom, and about daybreak pre- 
sented himself at the gate which looks toward Pistoia, accom- 
panied by the Palandra and about loo persons, all armed. 
Their confederates within the town also armed themselves, and 
one of them asked the governor for the keys, alleging, as a 
pretext, that someone from the country wished to enter. The 
governor not entertaining the slightest suspicion, sent a servant 
with them. When at a convenient distance, they were taken 
by the conspirators, who, opening the gates, introduced Ber- 
nardo and his followers. They divided themselves into two 
parties, one of which, led by Salvestro, an inhabitant of Prato, 
took possession of the citadel ; the other, following Bernardo, 
seized the palace, and placed Cesare with all his family in the 
custody of some of their number. They then raised the cry 
of liberty, and proceeded through the town. It was now day, 
and many of the inhabitants, hearing the disturbance, ran to the 
piasza, where, learning that the fortress and the palace were 
taken and the governor with all his people made prisoners, they 
were utterly astonished, and could not imagine how it had oc- 
curred. The eight citizens, possessing the supreme authority, 
assembled in their palace to consider what was best to be done. 
In the meantime, Bernardo and his followers, on going round 



the town, found no encouragement^ and being told that the 
£ight had assembled, went and declared the nature of their 
enterprise, which he said was to deliver the country from 
slavery, reminding them how glorious it would be for those 
who took arms to effect such an honorable object, for they 
would thus obtain perman^t repose and everlasting fame. He 
called to recollection their ancient liberty and present condition, 
and assured them of certain assistance, if they would only, for 
a few days, aid in resisting the forces the Florentines might 
send against them. He said he had friends in Florence who 
would join them as soon as they found the inhabitants resolved 
to support him. His speech did not produce the desired effect 
upon the Eight, who replied that they knew not whether Flor- 
ence was free or enslaved, for that was a matter which they 
were not called upon to decide ; but this they knew very well, 
that for their own part, they desired no other liberty than to 
obey the magistrates who governed Florence, from whom they 
had never received any injury sufficient to make them desire a 
change. They therefore advised him to set the governor at 
liberty, clear the place of his people, and, as quickly as possible, 
withdraw from the danger he had so rashly incurred. 

Bernardo was not daunted by these words, but determined 
to try whether fear could influence the people of Prato since 
entreaties produced so little effect. In order to terrify them, 
he determined to put Cesare to death, and having brought him 
out of prison, ordered him to be hanged at the windows of the 
palace. He was already led to the spot with a halter around 
his neck, when seeing Bernardo giving directions to hasten 
his end, he turned to him, and said : 

" Bernardo, you put me to death, thinking that the people of 
Prato will follow you ; but the direct contrary will result ; for 
the respect they have for the rectors which the Florentine peo- 
ple send here is so great, that as soon as they witness the injury 
inflicted upon me, they will conceive such a disgust against 
you as will inevitably effect your ruin. Therefore, it is not 
by my death, but by the preservation of my life, that you can 
attain the object you have in view ; for if I deliver your com- 
mands, they will be much more readily obeyed, and, following 
your directions, we shall soon attain the completion of your 


Bernardo, whose mind was not fertile in expedients, tfaoogfat 
the advice good, and commanded Cesare, on being conducted 
to a veranda which looked upon the piazza, to order the peo- 
ple to Prato to obey him, and having done which, Cesare was 
led' back to prison. 

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

This disturbance having been raised and quelled almost at 
the same time, the citizens returned to their accustomed mode 
of life, hoping to enjoy, without anxiety, the state they had now 


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

In the midst of this universal peace, a new and unexpected 
disturbance arose in Tuscany. Certain citizens of Volterra 
had discovered an alum mine in their district, and being aware 
of the profit derivable from it, in order to obtain the means of 
working and securing it, they applied to some Florentines, and 
allowed them to share in the profits. This, as is frequently 
the case with new undertakings, at first excited little attention 
from the people of Volterra; but in time, finding the profits 
derived from it had become considerable, they fruitlessly en- 
deavored to effect what at first might have been easily accom- 


plished. They began by agitating the question in their Coun- 
cils, declaring it grossly improper that a source of wealth 
discovered in the public lands should be converted to the emolu- 
ment of private individuals. They next sent advocates to 
Florence, and the question was referred to the consideration of 
certain citizens, who, either through being bribed by the party 
in possession, or from a sincere conviction, declared the aim 
of the people of Volterra to be unjust in desiring to deprive 
their citizens of the fruit of their labor ; and decided that the 
alum pit was the rightful property of those who had hitherto 
wrought it; but, at the same time, recommended them to pay 
an annual sum by way of acknowledgment to the city. This 
answer, instead of abating, served only to increase the animosi- 
ties and tumult in Volterra, and absorbed entire attention both 
in the G^uncils and throughout the city ; the people demanding 
the restitution of what they considered their due, and the pro- 
prietors insisting upon their right to retain what they had origi- 
nally acquired, and what had subsequently been confirmed to 
them by the decision of the Florentines. In the midst of these 
disturbances, a respectable citizen, named II Pecorino, was 
killed, together with several others, who had embraced the 
same side, whose houses were also plundered and burnt; and 
the fury of the mob rose to such a height, that they were with 
difficulty restrained from putting the Florentine rectors to 

After the first outrage, the Volterrani immediately deter- 
mined to send ambassadors to Florence, who intimated, that if 
the signory would allow them their ancient privileges, the city 
would remain subject to them as formerly. Many and various 
were the opinions concerning the reply to be made. Tommaso 
Soderini advised that they should accept the submission of the 
people of Volterra, upon any conditions with which they were 
disposed to make it ; for he considered it unseasonable and un- 
wise to kindle a flame so near home that it might bum their 
own dwelling ; he suspected the Pope's ambition, and was ap- 
prehensive of the power of the King; nor could he confide in 
the friendship either of the duke or the Venetians, having no 
assurance of the sincerity of the latter, or the valor of the 
former. He concluded by quoting that trite proverb, " Meglio 
un magro accordo che una grassa vittoria."* On the other 

* ** A lean peace is better than a <at victory.*' 


handy Lorenzo de' Medici, thinking this an opportunity for 
exhibiting his prudence and wisdom, and being strenuously 
supported by those who envied the influence of Tommaso 
Soderini, resolved to march against them, and punish the 
arrogance of the people of Volterra with arms ; declaring that 
if they were not made a striking example, others would, with- 
out the least fear or respect, upon every slight occasion, adopt 
a similar course. The enterprise being resolved on, the Vol- 
terrani were told that they could not demand the observance 
of conditions which they themselves had broken, and therefore 
must either submit to the discretion of the signory or expect 
war. With this answer they returned to their city, and pre- 
pared for its defence; fortifying the place, and sending to all 
the princes of Italy to request assistance, none of whom listened 
to them, except the Siennese and the Lord of Piombino, who 
gave them some hope of aid. 

The Florentines, on the other hand, thinking success depend- 
ent principally upon celerity^ assembled 10,000 foot and 2,000 
horse, who, under the command of Federigo, Lord of Urbino, 
marched into the country of Volterra, and quickly took entire 
possession of it. They then encamped before the city, which, 
being in a lofty situation, and precipitous on all sides, could 
only be approached by a narrow pass near the Church of St. 
Alessandro. The Volterrani had engaged for their defence 
about 1,000 mercenaries, who, perceiving the great superiority 
of the Florentines, found the place untenable, and were tardy 
in their defensive operations, but indefatigable in the constant 
injuries they committed upon the people of the place. Thus 
these poor citizens were harassed by the enemy without, and by 
their own soldiery within ; so, despairing of their safety, they 
began to think of a capitulation ; and, being unable to obtain 
better terms, submitted to the discretion of the Florentine com- 
missaries, who ordered the gates to be opened, and introduced 
the greater part of their forces. They then proceeded to the 
palace, and commanded the priors to retire to their homes ; and, 
on the way thither, one of them was in derision stripped by the 
soldiers. From this beginning (so much more easily are men 
predisposed to evil than to good) originated the pillage and 
destruction of the city; which for a whole day suffered the 
greatest horrors, neither women nor sacred places being 


spared ; and the soldiery, those engaged for its defence as well 
as its assailants, plundered all that came within their reach. 
The news of this victory was received with great joy at Flor- 
ence, and as the expedition had been undertaken wholly by the 
advice of Lorenzo, he acquired great reputation. Upon which 
one of the intimate friends of Tommaso Soderini, reminding 
him of the advice he had given, asked him what he thought of 
the taking of Volterra ; to which he replied : '* To me the place 
seems rather lost than won ; for had it been received on equita- 
ble terms, advantage and security would have been the result ; 
but having to retain it by force, it will in critical junctures occa- 
sion weakness and anxiety, and, in times of peace, injury and 


Origin of the Animosity between Sixtus IV and Lorenzo de* Medici 
— Carlo di Braccio da Perugia Attacks the Siennese — Carlo Retires 
by Desire of the Florentines— Conspiracy against Galeazzo, Duke 
of Milan— His Vices— He is Slain by the Conspirators— Their 

THE Pope, anxious to retain the territories of the Church 
in obedience, had caused Spoleto to be sacked for hav- 
ing, through internal factions, fallen into rebellion. 
Citta di Castello being in the same state of contumacy, he be- 
sieged that place ; and Niccolo Vitelli, its prince, being on inti- 
mate terms with Lorenzo de' Medici, obtained assistance from 
him, which, though inadequate, was quite enough to originate 
that enmity between Sixtus IV and the Medici afterward pro- 
ductive of such unhappy results. Nor would this have been 
so long in development had not the death of Frate Piero, Car- 
dinal of St. Sixtus, taken place; who, after having travelled 
over Italy and visited Venice and Milan (under the pretence of 
doing honor to the marriage of Ercole, Marquis of Ferrara), 
went about sounding the minds of the princes, to learn how 
they were disposed toward the Florentines. But upon his re- 
turn he died, not without suspicion of having been poisoned by 
the Venetians, who found they would have reason to fear 
Sixtus if he were allowed to avail himself of the talents and 
exertions of Frate Piero. Although of very low extraction, 
and meanly brought up within the walls of a convent, he had 
no sooner attained the distinction of the scarlet hat, than he 
exhibited such inordinate pride and ambition that the pontifi- 
cate seemed too little for him, and he gave a feast in Rome 
which would have seemed extraordinary even for a king, the 
expense exceeding 20,000 florins. Deprived of this minister, 
the designs of Sixtus proceeded with less promptitude. The 
Florentines, the duke, and the Venetians having renewed their 
league, and allowed the Pope and the King to join them if they 



thought proper, the two latter also entered into a league, reserv- 
ing an opening for the others if they were desirous to become 
parties to it. Italy was thus divided in two factions ; for cir- 
cumstances daily arose which occasioned ill-feeling between 
the two leagues ; as occurred with respect to the island of Cy- 
prus, to which Ferrando laid claim, and the Venetians occupied. 
Thus the Pope and the King became more closely united. 

Federigo, Count of Urbino, was at this time one of the first 
generals of Italy; and had long served the Florentines. In 
order, if possible, to deprive the hostile league of their captain, 
the Pope advised, and the King requested him to pay a visit 
to them. To the surprise and displeasure of the Florentines, 
Federigo complied, for they thought the same fate awaited him 
as had befallen Niccolo Piccinino. However, the result was 
quite different ; for he returned from Naples and Rome greatly 
honored, and with the appointment of general to their forces. 
They also endeavored to gain over to their interests the Lords 
of Romagna and the Siennese, that they might more easily in- 
jure the Florentines, who, becoming aware of these things, used 
their utmost endeavors to defend themselves against the ambi- 
tion of their enemies ; and having lost Federigo d' Urbino, they 
engaged Roberto da Rimino in his place, renewed the league 
with the Perugini and formed one with the Prince of Faenza. 
The Pope and the King assigned, as the reasons of their ani- 
mosity against the Florentines, that they wished to withdraw 
them from the Venetian alliance, and associate them with their 
own league ; for the Pope did not think the Church could main- 
tain her reputation, nor the Count Girolamo retain the states 
of Romagna, while the Florentines and the Venetians remained 
united. The Florentines conjectured their design was to set 
them at enmity with the Venetians, not so much for the sake 
of gaining their friendship as to be able the more easily to 
injure them. Two years passed away in these jealousies and 
discontents before any disturbance broke out; but the first 
which occurred, and that but trivial, took place in Tuscany. 

Braccio of Perugia, whom we have frequently mentioned as 
one of the most distinguished warriors of Italy, left two sons, 
Oddo and Carlo; the latter was of tender years; the former, 
as above related, was slain by the people of Val di Lamona ; but 
Carlo, when he came to mature age, was by the Venetians, out 


of respect for the memory of his father, and the hopes they 
entertained from himself, received among the condottieri of 
their republic. The term of his engagement having expired, 
he did not design to renew it immediately, but resolved to try, 
if, by his own influence and his father's reputation, he could 
recover possession of Perugia. To this the Venetians will- 
ingly consented, for they usually extended their dominion by 
any changes that occurred in the neighboring States. Carlo 
consequently came into Tuscany, but found more difficulties in 
his attempt upon Perugia than he had anticipated, on account 
of its being allied with the Florentines ; and desirous of doing 
something worthy of memory, he made war upon the Siennese, 
alleging them to be indebted to him for services performed by 
his father in the affairs of that republic, and attacked them with 
such impetuosity as to threaten the total overthrow of their 
dominion. The Siennese, ever ready to suspect the Floren- 
tines, persuaded themselves that this outrage had been commit- 
ted with their cognizance, and made heavy complaints to the 
Pope and the King against them. They also sent ambassadors 
to Florence, to complain of the injuries they had suffered, and 
adroitly intimated that if Carlo had not been secretly supported 
he could not have made war upon them with such perfect se- 

The Florentines denied all participation in the proceedings 
of Carlo, expressed their most earnest wish to do ever)rthing 
in their power to put a stop to them, and allowed the ambassa- 
dors to use whatever terms they pleased in the name of the 
signory, to command him to desist. Carlo ccxnplained that 
the Florentines, by their unwillingness to support him, had de- 
prived themselves of a most valuable acquisition and him of 
great glory ; for he could have insured them the possession of 
the whole territory in a short time, from the want of courage 
in the people, and the ineffectual provision they had made for 
their defence. He then withdrew to his engagement under the 
Venetians ; but the Siennese, although delivered from such im- 
minent peril by the Florentines, were still very indignant 
against them; considering themselves under no obligation to 
those who had delivered them from an evil to which they had 
first exposed them. 

While the transactions between the King and the Pope were 


in progress^ and those in Tuscany in the manner we have re- 
lated, an event of greater importance occurred in Lombardy. 
Cola Montano, a learned and ambitious man, taught the Latin 
language to the youth of the principal families in Milan. Either 
out of hatred to the character and manners of the duke, or 
from some other cause, he constantly deprecated the condition 
of those who live under a bad prince; calling those glorious 
and happy who had the good-fortune to be bom and live in a 
republic He endeavored to show that the most celebrated men 
had been produced in republics, and not reared under princes ; 
that the former cherish virtue, while the latter destroy it ; the 
one deriving advantage from virtuous men, while the latter 
naturally fear them. The youths with whom he was most inti- 
mate were Giovanni Andrea Lampognano, Carlo Visconti, and 
Girolamo Olgiato. He frequently discussed with them the 
faults of their prince, and the wretched condition of those who 
were subject to him ; and by constantly inculcating his princi- 
ples, acquired such an ascendancy over their minds as to induce 
them to bind themselves by oath to effect the duke's destruction, 
as soon as they became old enough to attempt it Their minds 
being fully occupied with this design, which grew with their 
years, the duke's conduct and their own private injuries served 
to hasten its execution. 

Galfcazzo was licentious and cruel, of both which vices he had 
given such repeated proofs that he became odious to all. Not 
content with corrupting the wives of the nobility, he also lock 
pleasure in making it notorious ; nor was he satisfied with mur- 
dering individuals unless he effected their deaths by some un- 
usual cruelty. He was suspected of having destroyed his own 
mother; for, not considering himself prince while she was 
present, he conducted himself in such a manner as induced her 
to withdraw from his court, and, travelling toward Cremona, 
which she obtained as part of her marriage portion, she was 
seized with a sudden illness, and died upon the road; which 
made many think her son had caused her death. The duke 
had dishonored both Carlo and Girolamo in respect to their 
wives or other female relatives, and had refused to concede to 
Giovanni Andrea possession of the monastery of Miramondo, 
of which he had obtained a grant from the Pope for a near rela- 
tive. These private injuries mcreased the young men's desire 


for vengeance, and the deliverance of their country from so 
many evils ; trusting that whenever they should succeed in de- 
stroying the duke, many of the nobility and all the people would 
rise in their defence. Being resolved upon their tmdertaking, 
they were often together, which, on account of their long inti- 
macy, did not excite any suspicion. They frequently discussed 
the subject; and in order to familiarize their minds with the 
deed itself, they practised striking each other in the breast and 
in the side with the sheathed daggers intended to be used for 
the purpose. On considering the most suitable time and place, 
the castle seemed insecure; during the chase, uncertain and 
dangerous ; while going about the city for his own amusement, 
diiEcult if not impracticable; and, at a banquet, of doubtful 
result. They, therefore, determined to kill him upon the occa- 
sion of some procession or public festivity when there would 
be no doubt of his presence, and where they might under vari- 
ous pretexts, assemble their friends. It was also resolved, that 
if one of their number were prevented from attending, on any 
account whatever, the rest should put him to death in the midst 
of their armed enemies. 

It was now the close of the year 1476, near Christmas, and 
as it was customary for the duke to go upon St. Stephen's day, 
in great solemnity, to the church of that martyr, they consid- 
ered this the most suitable opportunity for the execution of 
their design. Upon the morning of that day they ordered some 
of their most trusty friends and servants to arm, telling them 
they wished to go to the assistance of Giovanni Andrea, who, 
contrary to the wish of some of his neighbors, intended to turn 
a water-course into his estate ; but that before they went they 
wished to take leave of the prince. They also assembled, under 
various pretences, other friends and relatives, trusting that 
when the deed was accomplished, everyone would join them in 
the ccxnpletion of their enterprise. It was their intention, after 
the duke's death, to collect their followers together and proceed 
to those parts of the city where they imagined the plebeians 
would be most disposed to take arms against the duchess and 
the principal ministers of state, and they thought the people, on 
account of the famine which then prevailed, would easily be 
induced to follow them ; for it was their design to give up the 
houses of Cecco Simonetta, Giovanni Botti, and Francesco 


Lucani, all leading men in the government, to be plundered, 
and by this means gain over the populace and restore liberty 
to the community. With these ideas, and with minds re- 
solved upon their execution, Giovanni Andrea and all the 
rest were early at the church, and heard mass together; after 
which, he, turning to a statue of St. Ambrose, said, "O 
patrcm of our city! thou knowest our intention, and the end 
we would attain, by so many dangers ; favor our enterprise, and 
prove, by protecting the oppressed, that tyranny is offensive to 

To the duke, 00 the other hand, when intending to go to the 
church, many omens occurred of his approaching death; for 
in the morning, having put on a cuirass, as was his frequent 
custom, he immediately took it off again, either because it in- 
convenienced him or that he did not like its appearance. He 
then wished to hear mass in the castle, and found that the priest 
who officiated in the chapel had gone to St. Stephen's, and had 
taken with him the sacred utensils. On this he desired the 
service to be performed by the Bishop of Cbmo, who acquainted 
him with preventing circumstances. Thus, almost compelled, 
he determined to go to the church; but before his departure, 
caused his sons, Giovan Galeazzo and Ermes, to be brought 
to him, whom he embraced and kissed several times, seeming 
reluctant to part with them. He then left the castle, and, with 
the ambassadors of Ferrara and Mantua on either hand, pro- 
ceeded to St. Stephen's. The conspirators, to avoid exciting 
suspicion, and to escape the cold, which was very severe, had 
withdrawn to an apartment of the arch-priest, who was a friend 
of theirs ; but hearing the duke's approach, they came into the 
church, Giovanni Andrea and Girolamo placing themselves 
upon the right hand of the entrance, and Carlo on the left. 
Those who led the procession had already entered, and 
were followed by the duke, surrounded by such a multitude 
as is usual on similar occasions. The first attack was made by 
Giovanni Andrea and Girolamo, who, pretending to clear the 
way for the prince, came close to him, and grasping their dag- 
gers, which, being short and sharp, were concealed in the 
sleeves of their vests, struck at him. The first gave him two 
wounds, one in the belly, the other in the throat Girolamo 
struck him in the throat and breast. Carlo Visconti, be- 


ing nearer the door, and the duke having passed, could 
not wound him in front ; but with two strokes, transpierced his 
shoulder and spine. These six wounds were inflicted so in- 
stantaneously that the duke had fallen before anyone was 
aware of what had happened, and he expired, having only once 
ejaculated the name of the Virgin, as if imploring her as- 

A great tumult immediately ensued, several swords were 
drawn, and, as often happens in sudden emergencies, some fled 
from the church, and others ran toward the scene of tumult, 
both without any definite motive or knowledge of what had oc- 
curred. Those, however, who were nearest the duke and had 
seen him slain, recognizing the murderers, pursued them. Gio- 
vanni Andrea, endeavoring to make his way out of the church, 
proceeded among the women, who being numerous, and accord- 
ing to their custom, seated upon the ground, was prevented in 
his progress by their apparel, and being overtaken, he was 
killed by a Moor, one of the duke's footmen. Carlo was slain 
by those who were immediately around him. Girolamo Olgi- 
ato passed through the crowd, and got out of the church ; but 
seeing his companions dead, and not knowing where else to go, 
he proceeded home, where his father and brothers refused to 
receive him ; his mother only, having compassion on her son, 
recommended him to a priest, an old friend of the family, who, 
disguising him in his own apparel, led him to his house. Here 
he remained two days, not without hope that some disturbance 
might arise in Milan which would contribute to his safety. 
This not occurring, and apprehensive that his hiding-place 
would be discovered, he endeavored to escape in disguise, but 
being observed, he was given over to justice, and disclosed all 
the particulars of the conspiracy. Girolamo was twenty-three 
years of age, and exhibited no less composure at his death than 
resolution in his previous conduct, for being stripped of his 
apparel, and in the hands of the executioner, who stood by with 
the sword unsheathed, ready to deprive him of life, he repeated 
the following words, in the Latin tongue, in which he was well 
versed : " Mors acerba, fatna perpetua, stabit veius memoria 

The enterprise of these unfortunate young men was con- 
ducted with secrecy and executed with resolution; and they 


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










State of the Family of the Medici at Florence— Enmity of Sixtna IV 
toward Florence — Differences between the Family of the Pazzi and 
That of the Medici— Beginning of the Conspiracy of the Pazzi — 
Arrangements to Effect the Design of the Conspiracy — Giovan Ba- 
tista da Montesecco is Sent to Florence — The Pope Joins the Con- 
spiracy—The King of Naples Becomes a Party to it— Names of the 
Conspirators — ^The Conspirators Make Many Ineffectual Attempts to 
Kill Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici — Their Final Arrangement- 
Order of the Conspiracy. 

THIS book commencing between two conspiracies, the one 
at Milan already narrated, the other yet to be recorded, 
it would seem appropriate, and in accordance with our 
usual custom, were we to treat of the nature and importance 
of these terrible demonstrations. This we should willingly do 
had we not discussed the matter elsewhere, or could it be com- 
prised in. few words. But requiring much consideration, and 
being already noticed in another place, it will be omitted, and / 
we shall proceed with our narrative. The government of the 
Medici having subdued all its avowed enemies in order to ob- 
tain for that family tmdivided authority, and distinguish them 
from other citizens in their relation to the rest, found it neces- 
sary to subdue those who secretly plotted against them. While 
the Medici contended with other families their equals in author- 
ity and reputation, those who envied their power were able to 
oppose them openly without danger of being suppressed at the 
first demonstration of hostility ; for the magistrates being free, 
neither party had occasion to fear, till one or other of them 
was overcome. But after the victory of 1466, the government 



became so entirely centred in the Medici, and they acquired so 
much authority, that discontented spirits were obliged either 
to suffer in silence, or, if desirous to destroy them, to attempt 
it in secrecy, and by clandestine means ; which plots rarely suc- 
ceed, and most conunonly involve the ruin of those concerned 
in them, while they frequently contribute to the aggrandize- 
ment of those against whom they are directed. Thus the 
prince of a city attacked by a conspiracy, if not slain like the 
Duke of Milan (which seldom happens), almost always attains 
to a greater degree of power, and very often has his good dis- 
position perverted to evil. The proceedings of his enemies 
give him cause for fear ; fear suggests the necessity of provid- 
ing for his own safety, which involves the injury of others ; and 
hence arise animosities, and not unfrequently his ruin. Thus 
these conspiracies quickly occasion the destruction of their con- 
trivers, and, in time, inevitably injure their primary object. 

Italy, as we have seen before, was divided into two factions ; 
the Pope and the King on one side ; on the other, the Venetians, 
the duke, and the Florentines. Although the flames of war 
had not yet broken out, every day gave rise to some new occa- 
sion for rekindling them; and (he Pope, in particular, in all 
his plans endeavored to annoy the Florentine Government 
Thus Filippo de' Medici, Archbishop of Pisa, being dead, Fran- 
cesco Salviati, a declared enemy of the Medici, was appointed 
his successor, contrary to the wish of the Signory of Florence, 
who being unwilling to give him possession, there arose be- 
tween them and the Pope many fresh grounds of offence, be- 
fore the matter was settled. Besides this, he conferred, at 
Rome, many favors upon the family of the Pazzi, and opposed 
that of the Medici, whenever an opportunity offered. The 
Pazzi were at this time, both on account of nobility of birth 
and their great wealth, the most brilliant in Florence. The 
head of this family was Jacopo, whom the people, on account 
of his distinguished pre-eminence, had made a knight. He had 
no children, except one natural daughter, but many nephews, 
sons of his brothers Piero and Antonio, the first of whom were 
Guglielmo, Francesco, Rinato, Giovanni, and then, Andrea, 
Niccolo, and Galeotto. Cosmo de' Medici, noticing the riches 
and rank of this family, had given his granddaughter, Bianca, 
to Guglielmo, hoping by this marriage to unite the houses, and 


obviate those enmities and dissensions so frequently occasioned 
by jealousy. 

However (so uncertain and fallacious are our expectations) » 
very different feelings were thus originated ; for Lorenzo's ad- 
visers pointed out to him how dangerous it was, and how in- 
jurious to his authority, to unite in the same individuals so 
much wealth and power. In consequence, neither Jacopo nor 
his nephews obtained those degrees of honor, which, in the 
opinion of other citizens, were their due. This gave rise to 
anger in the Pazzi, and fear on the part of the Medici ; as the 
former of these increased, so did the latter ; and upon all occa- 
sions, when the Pazzi came in competition with other citizens, 
their claims to distinction, however strong, were set aside by 
the magistracy. Francesco de' Pazzi, being at Rome, the 
Council of Eight, upon some trivial occasion, compelled him 
to return, without treating him with the respect usually ob- 
served toward great citizens, so that the Pazzi everywhere 
bitterly complained of the ill-usage they experienced, and thus 
excited suspicion in others, and brought down greater evils 
upon themselves. Giovanni de' Pazzi had married the daughter 
of Giovanni Buonromei, a very wealthy man, whose riches, on 
his decease, without other children, came to his daughter. His 
nephew, Carlo, however, took possession of part, and the ques- 
tion being litigated, a law was passed, by virtue of which the 
wife of Giovanni de* Pazzi was robbed of her inheritance, and 
it was given to Carlo. In this piece of injustice, the Pazzi at 
once recognized the influence of the Medici. Giuliano de' 
Medici often complained to his brother Lorenzo of the affair, 
saying, he was afraid, that by grasping at too much they would 
lose all. 

Lorenzo, flushed with youth and power, would assume the 
direction of everything, and resolved that all transactions 
should bear an impress of his influence. The Pazzi, with their 
nobility and wealth unable to endure so many affronts, began to 
devise some means of vengeance. The first who spoke of any 
attempt against the Medici, was Francesco, who, being more 
sensitive and resolute than the others, determined either to ob- 
tain what was withheld from him, or lose what he still pos- 
sessed. As the government of Florence gave him great of- 
fence, he resided almost constantly at Rome, where, like other 



Florentine merchants, he conducted extensive commercial op- 
erations ; and being a most intimate friend of Count Girolamo, 
they frequently complained to each other of the conduct of the 
Medici. After a while they began to think that for the count 
to retain his estates, or the Pazzi their rights in the city, it 
would be necessary to change the government of Florence; 
and this they considered could not be done without the death 
of Giuliano and Lorenzo. They imagined the Pope and the 
King would be easily induced to consent, because each could 
be convinced of the facility of the enterprise. Having acquired 
these ideas, they communicated them to Francesco Salviati, 
Archbishop of Pisa, who, being ambitious^ and recently offend- 
ed by the Medici, willingly adopted their views. Considering 
their next step, they resolved, in order to facilitate the design, 
to obtain the consent of Jacopo de' Pazzi, without whose con- 
currence they feared it would be impracticable. 

With this view, it was resolved that Francesco de' Pazzi 
should go to Florence, while the archbishop and the count were 
to remain at Rome, to be ready to communicate with the Pope 
when a suitable opportunity occurred. Francesco found Jacopo 
de' Pazzi more cautious and difficult to persuade than he could 
have wished, and on imparting this to his friends at Rome, ft 
was thought he desired the sanction of some greater authority 
to induce him to adopt their views. Upon this, the archbishop 
and the count communicated the whole affair to Giovanni Ba- 
tista da Montesecco, a leader of the papal forces, possessing 
military reputation, and under obligations to the Pope and the 
count. To him the affair seemed difficult and dangerous, while 
the archbishop endeavored to obviate his objections by showing 
how much assistance the Pope and the King would lend to the 
enterprise; the hatred of the Florentines toward the Medici, 
the numerous friends the Salviati and the Pazzi would bring 
with them, the readiness with which the young men might be 
slain, on account of their going about the city unaccompanied 
and without suspicion, and the facility with which the govern- 
ment might then be changed. These things Giovanni BatisU 
did not in reality believe, for he had heard from many Floren- 
tines quite contrary statements. 

While occupied with these deliberations, Carlo, Lord of 
Faenza, was taken ill, and fears were entertained for his life. 


This circumstance seemed to the archbishop and the count to 
offer an opportunity for sending Giovanni Batista to Florence^ 
and thence to Romagna, under pretence of recovering certain 
territories belonging to the latter, of which the Lord of Faenza 
had taken possession. The count therefore commissioned Gio- 
vanni Batista to have an interview with Lorenzo de' Medici, 
and on his part request his advice how to proceed with respect 
to the affair of Romagna; that he should then see Francesco 
de' Pazzi, and in conjunction with him endeavor to induce his 
Uncle Jacopo to adopt their ideas. To render the Pope's au- 
thority available in their behalf, Giovanni Batista was ordered, 
before his departure, to conmiunicate with the pontiff, who 
offered every means at his disposal in favor of their enterprise. 
Giovanni Batista, having arrived at Florence, obtained an inter- 
view with Lorenzo, by whom he was most graciously received ; 
and with regard to the advice he was commissioned to ask, ob- 
tained a wise and friendly answer ; so that he was astonished at 
finding him quite a different character from what he had been 
represented, and considered him to possess great sagacity, an 
affectionate heart, and most amicably disposed toward the 
count. He found Francesco de' Pazzi had gone to Lucca, and 
spoke to Jacopo, who was at first quite opposed to their de- 
sign, but before they parted the Pope's authority seemed to 
have influenced him; for he told Giovanni Batista that he 
might go to Romagna, and that before his return Francesco 
would be with him, and they would then consult more particu- 
larly upon the subject. Giovanni Batista proceeded to Ro- 
magna, and soon returned to Florence. After a pretended 
consultation with Lorenzo, upon the count's affairs, he ob- 
tained an interview with Francesco and Jacopo de' Pazzi, 
when the latter gave his consent to their enterprise. 

They then discussed the means of carrying it into effect. 
Jacopo de' Pazzi was of opinion that it could not be effected 
while both the brothers remained at Florence ; and therefore it 
would be better to wait till Lorenzo went to Rcwne, whither it 
was reported he had an intention of going ; for then their object 
would be more easily attained. Francesco de' Pazzi had no 
objection to Lorenzo being at Rome, but if he were to forego 
the journey, he thought that both the brothers might be slain, 
either at a marriage, or at a play, or in a church. With regard 


to foreign assistance, he supposed the Pope might assemble 
forces for the conquest of the fortress of Montone» being justi- 
fied in taking it from the G>unt Carlo, who had caused the 
ttunults already spoken of in Sienna and Perugia. Still no 
definite arrangement was made; but it was resolved that Gio- 
vanni Batista and Francesco de' Pazzi should go to Rome and 
settle everything with the pontiff. The matter was again de- 
bated at Rome ; and at length it was concluded, that besides an 
expedition against Montone, Giovan Francesco da Tolentino, a 
leader of the papal troops, should go into Romagna, and Lo- 
renzo da Castello to the Val di Tavere; that each, with the 
forces of their country, should hold himself in readiness to per- 
form the commands of the Archbishop de' Salviati and Fran- 
cesco de' Pazzi, both of whom were to come to Florence, and 
provide for the execution of their design, with the assistance 
of Giovanni Batista da Montesecco. King Ferrando promised, 
by his ambassador, to contribute all in his power to the success 
of their undertaking. Francesco de' Pazzi and the archbishop 
having arrived at Florence, prevailed upon Jacopo di Poggio, a 
well-educated youth, but ambitious and very desirous of 
change, to join them, and two others, each of the name of 
Jacopo Salviati, one a brother, the other a kinsman, of the arch- 
bishop. They also gained over Bernardo Bandini and Napo- 
leone Franzesi, two bold young men, under great obligations 
to the family of the Pazzi. Besides those already mentioned, 
they were joined by Antonio da Volterra and a priest named 
Stefano, who taught Latin to the daughter of Jacopo de' Pazzi. 
Rinato de' Pazzi, a grave and prudent man, being quite aware 
of the evils resulting from such undertakings, refused all par- 
ticipation in the conspiracy ; he held it in abhorrence, and, as 
much as possible, without betraying his kinsmen, endeavored 
to counteract it. 

The Pope had sent Raffaello di Riario, a nephew of Gmnt 
Girolamo, to the College of Pisa, to study canon law, and while 
there, had advanced him to the dignity of a cardinal. The con- 
spirators determined to bring this cardinal to Florence, as they 
would thus be better able to conceal their design, since any per- 
sons requisite to be introduced into the city might easily be 
made to appear as a part of his retinue, and his arrival might 
facilitate the completion of their enterprise. The cardinal 


came, and was received by Jacopo de' Pazzi at his villa of 
Montughi, near Florence. By his means it was also intended 
to bring together Giuliano and Lorenzo, and whenever this hap- 
penedy to put them both to death. They therefore invited them 
to meet the cardinal at their villa of Fiesole; but Giuliano, 
either intentionally or through some preventing cause, did not 
attend; and this design having failed, they thought, that if 
asked to an entertainment at Florence, both brothers would 
certainly be present. With this intention they appointed Sun- 
day, April 26, 1478, to give a great feast; and, resolving to 
assassinate them at table, the conspirators met on the Saturday 
evening^ to arrange all proceedings for the following day. 

In the morning, it was intimated to Francesco, that Giuliano 
would be absent ; on which the conspirators again assembled, 
and finding they could no longer defer the execution of their 
design, since it would be impossible among so many to preserve 
secrecy, they determined to complete it in the cathedral church 
of Santa Reparata, where the cardinal attending, the two broth- 
ers would be present as usual. They wished Giovanni Batista 
da Montesecco to undertake the murder of Lorenzo, while that 
of Giuliano was assigned to Francesco de' Pazzi and Bernardo 
Bandini. Giovanni Batista refused, either because his famil- 
iarity with Lorenzo had created feelings in his favor, or from 
some other reason, saying he should not have resolution suffi- 
cient to commit such a deed in a church, and thus add sacrilege 
to treachery. This caused the failure of their undertaking; 
for time pressing, they were compelled to substitute Antonio da 
Volterra and Stefano, the priest, two men, who, from nature 
and habit, were the most unsuitable of any ; for if firmness and 
resolution joined with experience in bloodshed be necessary 
upon any occasion, it is on such as these ; and it often happens 
that those who are expert in arms, and have faced death in all 
forms on the field of battle, still fail in an affair like this. Hav- 
ing now decided upon the time, they resolved that the signal 
for the attack should be the moment when the priest who cele- 
brated high mass should partake of the sacrament, and that, 
in the meantime, the Archbishop de* Salviati, with his fol- 
lowers, and Jacopo di Poggio, should take possession of the 
palace, in order that the signory, after the young men's death, 
should voluntarily, or by force, contribute to their assistance. 


Giuliano de' Medici Slain — Lorenzo Escapes— The Archbishop de Sal- 
viati Endeavors to Seize the Palace of the Signory — ^He is Taken 
and Hanged — The Enterprise of the Conspirators Entirely Fails — 
Manifestations of the Florentines in Favor of Lorenzo de' Medici 
— ^The G>nspirators Punished — The Funeral of Giuliano— The Pope 
and the King of Naples Make War upon the Florentines — Florence 
Excommunicated — ^Speech of Lorenzo de' Medici to the Citizens of 

THE conspirators proceeded to Santa Reparata, where the 
cardinal and Lorenzo had already arrived. The 
church was crowded, and divine service commenced 
before Giuliano's arrival. Francesco de' Fazzi and Bernardo 
Bandini, who were appointed to be his murderers, went to his 
house, and finding him, they, by earnest entreaties, prevailed 
on him to accompany them. It is surprising that such intense 
hatred, and designs so full of horror as those of Francesco and 
Bernardo, could be so perfectly concealed ; for while conduct- 
ing him to the church, and after they had reached it, they 
amused him with jests and playful discourse. Nor did Fran- 
cesco forget, under pretence of endearment, to press him in his 
arms, so as to ascertain whether under his apparel he wore a 
cuirass or other means of defence. Giuliano and Lorenzo were 
both aware of the animosity of the Pazzi, and their desire to 
deprive them of the government ; but they felt assured that any 
design would be attempted openly, and in conjunction with the 
civil authority. Thus being free from apprehension for their 
personal safety, both affected to be on friendly terms with them. 
The murderers being ready, each in his appointed station, 
which they could retain without any suspicion, on account of 
the vast numbers assembled in the church, the preconcerted 
moment arrived, and Bernardo Bandini, with a short dagger 
provided for the purpose, struck Giuliano in the breast, who, 
after a few steps, fell to the earth. Francesco de Pazzi threw 



himself upon the body and covered him with wounds ; while, as 
if blinded by rage, he inflicted a deep incision upon his own 1^. 
Antonio and Stefano the priest attacked Lorenzo; and after 
dealing many blows, effected only a slight incision in the throat ; 
for either their want of resolution, the activity of Lorenzo, who, 
finding himself attacked, used his arms in his own defence, or 
the assistance of those by whom he was surrounded, rendered 
all attempts futile. They fled and concealed themselves, but 
. being subsequently discovered^ were put to death in the most 
ignominious manner, and their bodies dragged about the city. 
Lorenzo, with the friends he had about him, took refuge in the 
sacristy of the Church. Bernardo Bandini, after Giuliano's 
death, also slew Francesco Nori, a most intimate friend of the 
Medici, either from some previous hatred or for having en- 
deavored to render assistance to Giuliano; and not content with 
these murders, he ran in pursuit of Lorenzo, intending, by his 
own promptitude, to make up for the weakness and inefficiency 
of the others ; but finding he had taken refuge in the vestry, he 
was prevented. 

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

There were at this time in Florence some people of Perugia, 
whom party feuds had compelled to leave their homes ; and the 
Pazzi, by promising to restore them to their country, obtained 
their assistance. The Archbishop de' Salviati going to seize 
the palace, together with Jacopo di Poggio, and the Salviati his 
friends, took these Perugini with him. Having arrived, he 
left' part of his people below, with orders, that when they heard 
a noise they should make themselves masters of the entrance, 
while himself, with the greater part of the Perugini, proceeded 
above, and finding the signory at dinner (for it was now late), 
was admitted after a short delay, by Cesare Petrucci, the gon- 
falonier of justice. He entered with only a few of his fol- 
lowers, the greater part of them being shut up in the cancelleria 
into which they had gone, whose doors were so contrived, that 


upon closing they could not be opened from either side, without 
the key. The archbishop being with the gonfalonier, under 
pretence of having something to communicate on the part of 
the Pope, addressed him in such an incoherent and hesitating 
manner, and with so many changes of countenance, that the 
gonfalonier at once suspected him, and running out of the 
chamber to call assistance, found Jacopo di Poggio, wbcMn he 
seized by the hair of the head, and gave into the custody of his 
attendants. The signory hearing the tumult, snatched such 
arms as they could at the moment obtain, and all who had gone 
up with the archbishc^, part of them being shut up, and part 
overccmie with terror, were immediately slain or thrown aJive 
out of the windows of the palace, at which the archbishop, the 
two Jacopi Salviati, and Jacopo di Poggio^ were hanged. Those 
whom the archbishop left below, having mastered the guard 
and taken possession of the entrance, occupied all the lower 
floors, so that the citizens, who in the uproar hastened to the 
palace, were unable to give either advice or assistance to the 

Francesco de' Pazzi and Bernardo Bandini, perceiving Lo- 
renzo's escape, and the principal agent in the enterprise seri- 
ously wounded, became immediately conscious of the imminent 
peril of their position. Bernardo, using the same energy in his 
own behalf that had served him against the Medici, finding all 
lost, saved himself by flight. Francesco, wounded as he was, 
got to his house, and endeavored to get on horseback, for it 
had been arranged they should ride through the city and call 
the people to arms and liberty ; but he found himself unable, 
from the nature of his wound and the effusion of blood. He 
then took off his clothes, and, throwing himself naked upon his 
bed, begged Jacopo de' Pazzi to perform the part for which 
he was himself incapacitated. Jacopo, though old and unac- 
customed to such business, by way of making a last effort, 
mounted his horse, and, with about lOO armed followers, col- 
lected without previous preparation, hastened to the piasza of 
the palace, and endeavored to assemble adherents by cries of 
" People ! " and " Liberty 1 " but the former, having been ren- 
dered deaf by the fortune and liberality of the Medici, the latter 
was unknown in Florence, and he found no followers. The 
signors, who held the upper part of the palace, saluted him 


with stones and threats. Jacopo» while hesitating, was met by 
Giovanni Seristori, his brother-in-law, who upbraided him with 
the troubles he had occasioned, and then advised him to go 
home, for the people and liberty were as dear to other citizens 
as to himself. Thus deprived of every hope, Lorenzo being 
alive, Francesco seriously wounded, and none disposed to fol- 
low him, not knowing what to do, he resolved, if possible, to 
escape by flight ; and, accompanied by those whom he had led 
into the piazza, left Florence with the intention of going into 

In the meantime, the whole city was roused to arms, and 
Lorenzo de' Medici, accompanied by a numerous escort, re- 
turned to his house. The palace was recovered from its assail- 
ants, all of whom were either slain or made prisoners. The 
name of the Medici echoed everywhere, and portions of dead 
bodies were seen borne on spears and scattered through the 
streets ; while everyone was transported with rage against the 
Pazzi, and pursued them with relentless cruelty. The people 
took possession of their houses, and Francesco, naked as they 
found him, was led to the palace, and hanged beside the arch- 
bishop and the rest. He could not be induced, by any injurious 
words or deeds, either upon the way thither or afterward, to 
utter a syllable, but regarding those around with a steady look, 
he silently sighed. Gugliehno de* Pazzi, brother-in-law to Lo- 
renzo, fled to the latter's house, and by his innocence and the 
intercession of his wife, Bianca, he escaped death. There was 
not a citizen of any rank whatever who did not, upon this occa- 
sion, wait upon Lorenzo with an offer of his services ; so great 
were the popularity and good-fortune which this family had 
acquired by their liberality and prudence. 

Rinato de' Pazzi was at his villa when the event took place, 
and on being informed of it, he endeavored to escape in dis- 
guise, but was arrested upon the road and brought to Florence. 
Jacopo de' Pazzi was taken while crossing the Mountains of 
Romagna, for the inhabitants of these parts having heard what 
had occurred, and seeing him in flight, attacked and brought 
him back to the city; nor could he, though he frequently en- 
deavored, prevail with them to put him to death upon the road. 
Jacopo and Rinato were condemned within four days after the 
murder of Giuliano. And though so many deaths had been 



inflicted that the roads were covered with fragments of human 
bodies, not one excited a feeling of regret except that of Rinato ; 
for he was considered a wise and good man, and possessed ncMie 
of the pride for which the rest of his family were notorious. 
As if to mark the event by some extraordinary circumstance, 
Jacopo de' Pazzi, after having been buried in the tomb of his 
ancestors, was disinterred like an excommtmicated person, and 
thrown into a hole at the outside of the city walls ; from this 
grave he was taken, and with the halter in which he had been 
hanged, his body was dragged naked through the city, and, as 
if unfit for sepulture on earth, thrown by the populace into the 
Arno, whose waters were then very high. 

It was an awful instance of the instability of fortune, to see 
so wealthy a man, possessing the utmost earthly felicity, 
brought down to such a depth of misery, such utter ruin and 
extreme degradation. It is said he had vices, among which 
were gaming and profane swearing, to which he was very much 
addicted ; but these seem more than balanced by his numerous 
charities, for he relieved many in distress, and bestowed much 
money for pious uses. It may also be recorded in his favor, 
that upon the Saturday preceding the death of Giuliano, in 
order that none might su£Fer from his misfortunes, he dis- 
charged all his debts ; and whatever property he possessed be- 
longing to others, either in his own house or his places of busi- 
ness, he was particularly careful to return to its owners. Gio- 
vanni Batista da Montesecco, after a long examination, was be- 
headed; Napoleone Franzesi escaped punishment by flight; 
Giulielmo de' Pazzi was banished, and such of his cousins as 
remained alive were imprisoned in the fortress of Volterra. 
The disturbances being over, and the conspirators punished, 
the funeral obsequies of Giuliano were performed amid univer- 
sal lamentation ; for he possessed all the liberality and humanity 
that could be wished for in one of his high station. He left 
a natural son, bom some months after his death, named Giulio, 
who was endowed with that virtue and felicity with which the 
whole world is now acquainted ; and of which we shall speak 
at length when we come to our own times, if God spare us. 
The people who had assembled in favor of the Pazzi under 
Lorenzo da Castello in the Val di Tavere, and under Giovan 
Francesco da Tolentino in Romagna, approached Florence, but 


having heard of the failure of the conspiracy, they returned 

The changes desired by the Pope and the King, in the gov- 
ernment of Florence, not having taken place, they determined 
to effect by war what they had failed to accomplish by 
treachery ; and both assembled forces with all speed to attack 
the Florentine states ; publicly declaring, that they only wished 
the citizens to remove Lorenzo de' Medici, who alone of all the 
Florentines was their enemy. The King's forces had already 
passed the Tronto, and the Pope's were in Perugia ; and that 
the citizens might feel the effect of spiritual as well as temporal 
weapons, the pontiff excommunicated and anathematized them. 
Finding themselves attacked by so many armies, the Floren* 
tines prepared for their defence with the utmost care. Lorenzo 
de' Medici, as the enemy's operations were said to be directed 
against himself alone, resolved first of all to assemble the sig- 
nory, and the most influential citizens, in the palace, to whom, 
being above 300 in number, he spoke as follows : 

** Most Excellent Signors, and you, Magnificent Citizens, I 
know not whether I have more occasion to weep with you for 
the events which have recently occurred, or to rejoice in the 
circumstances with which they have been attended. Certainly, 
when I think with what virulence of united deceit and hatred 
I have been attacked, and my brother murdered, I cannot but 
mourn and grieve from my heart, from my very soul. Yet 
when I consider with what promptitude, anxiety, love, and 
unanimity of the whole city my brother has been avenged and 
myself defended, I am not only compelled to rejoice, but feel 
myself honored and exalted ; for if experience has shown me 
that I had more enemies than I apprehended, it has also proved 
that I possess more warm and resolute friends than I could ever 
have hoped for. I must therefore grieve with you for the in- 
juries others have suffered, and rejoice in the attachment you 
have exhibited toward myself ; but I feel more aggrieved by the 
injuries committed, since they are so unusual, so unexampled, 
and (as I trust you believe) so undeserved on our part. 

" Think, Magnificent Citizens, to what a dreadful point ill- 
fortune has reduced our family, when among friends, amid our 
own relatives, nay, in God's holy temple, we have found our 
greatest foes. Those who are in danger turn to their friends 


for assistance ; they call upon their relatives for aid ; but we 
found ours armed, and resolved on our destruction. Those 
who are persecuted, either from public or private motives, flee 
for refuge to the altars ; but where others are safe, we are assas- 
sinated ; where parricides and assassins are secure, the Medici 
find their murderers. But God, who has not hitherto aban- 
doned our house, again saved us, and has undertaken the de- 
fence of our just cause. What injury have we done to justify 
so intense desire of our destruction? Certainly those who 
have shown themselves so much our enemies, never received 
any private wrong from us ; for, had we wished to injure them, 
they would not have had an opportunity of injuring us. If 
they attribute public grievances to ourselves (supposing any 
had been done to them), they do the greater injustice to you, 
to this palace, to the majesty of this government, by assuming 
that on our account you would act unfairly to any of your 
citizens ; and such a supposition, as we all know, is contradicted 
by every view of the circumstances ; f<Mr we, had we been able, 
and you, had we wished it, would never have contributed to so 
abominable a design. Whoever inquires into the truth of these 
matters, will find that our family has always been exalted by 
you, and from this sole cause, that we have endeavored by kind- 
ness, liberality, and beneficence to do good to all ; and if we have 
honored strangers, when did we ever injure our relatives? 

" If our enemies' conduct has been adopted to gratify their 
desire of power (as would seem to be the case from their having 
taken possession of the palace and brought an armed force into 
the piazza), the infamous, ambitious, and detestable motive is at 
once disclosed. If they were actuated by envy and hatred of 
our authority, they offend you rather than us ; for from you we 
have derived all the influence we possess. Certainly usurped 
power deserves to be detested; but not distinctions conoeded 
for acts of kindness, generosity, and magnificence. And you 
all know that our family never attained any rank to which this 
palace and your united consent did not raise it. Cosmo, my 
grandfather, did not return from exile with arms and violence, 
but by your unanimous desire and approbation. It was not my 
father, old and infirm, who defended the government against 
so many enemies, but yourselves by your authority and benevo- 
lence defended him ; neither could I, after his death, being then 


a boy, have maintained the position of my house except by your 
favor and advice. Nor should we ever be able to conduct the 
affairs of this republic, if you did not contribute to our support. 
Therefore, I know not the reason of their hatred toward us, or 
what just cause they have of envy. Let them direct their 
enmity against their own ancestors, who, by their pride and 
avarice, lost the reputation which ours, by very opposite con- 
duct, were enabled to acquire. But let it be granted we have 
greatly injured them, and th^t they are justified in seeking our 
ruin; why do they come and take possession of the palace? 
Why enter into league with the Pope and the King, against the 
liberties of this republic ? 

" Why break the long-continued peace of Italy? They have 
no excuse for this; they ought to confine their vengeance to 
those who do them wrong, and not confound private animosi- 
ties with public grievances. Hence it is that since their defeat 
our misfortune is the greater ; for on their account the Pope 
and the King make war upon us, and this war, they say, is 
directed against my family and myself. And would to God 
that this were true ; then the remedy would be sure and unfail* 
ing, for I would not be so base a citizen as to prefer my own 
safety to yours ; I would at once resolve to ipsure your security, 
even though my own destruction were the inmiediate and inev- 
itable consequence. But as the wrongs conmiitted by princes 
are usually concealed under some offensive covering, tiiey have 
adopted this plea to hide their more abominable purpose. If, 
however, you think otherwise, I am in your hands ; it is with 
you to do with me what you please. You are my fathers, my 
protectors, and whatever you command me to do I will perform 
most willingly ; nor will I ever refuse, when you find occasion 
to require it, to close the war with my own blood which was 
commenced with that of my brother." 

While Lorenzo spoke, the citizens were unable to refrain 
from tears, and the sympathy with which he had been heard 
was extended to their reply, delivered by one of them in the 
name of the rest, who said that the city acknowledged many 
advantages derived from the good qualities of himself and his 
family ; and encouraged him to hope that with as much prompt- 
itude as they had used in his defence, and in avenging his 
brother's death, they would secure to him his influence in the 



govemment, which he should never lose while they retained 
possession of the country. And that their deeds might corre- 
spond with their words, they immediately appointed a number 
of armed men» as a guard for the security of his person against 
domestic enemies. 


The Florentines Prepare for War against the Pope— They Appeal to 
a Future Council — Papal and Neapolitan Movements against the 
Florentines— The Venetians Refuse to Assist the Florentines— Dis- 
turbances in Milan — Genoa Revolts from the Duke — Futile En- 
deavors to Effect Peace with the Pope— The Florentines Repulse 
their Enemies from the Territory of Pisa— They Attack the Papal 
States— The Papal Forces Routed upon the Borders of the Lake 
of Perugia. 

THE Florentines now prepared for war, by raising money 
and collecting as large a force as possible. Being in 
league with the Duke of Milan and the Venetians, they 
applied to both for assistance. As the Pope had proved himself 
a wolf rather than a shepherd, to avoid being devoured under 
false accusations, they justified their cause with all available 
arguments, and filled Italy with accounts of the treachery prac- 
ticed against their government, exposing the impiety and in- 
justice of the ponti£F, and assured the world that the pontificate 
which he had wickedly attained, he would as impiously fill ; for 
he had sent those whom he had advanced to the highest order 
of prelacy, in the company of traitors and parricides, to commit 
the most horrid treachery in the Church in the midst of divine 
service and during the celebration of the Holy Sacrament, and 
that then, having failed to murder the citizens, change the gov- 
ernment, and plunder the city, according to his intention, he 
had suspended the performance of all religious offices, and in- 
juriously menaced and injured the republic with pontifical mal- 
edictions. But if God was just, and violence was offensive to 
him, he would be displeased with that of his vicegerent, and 
allow his injured people who were not admitted to communion 
with the latter, to offer up their prayers to himself. The Flor- 
entines, therefore, instead of receiving or obe)ring the interdict, 
compelled the priests to perform divine service, assembled a 
council in Florence of all the Tuscan prelates under their juris- 



diction, and appealed against die injuries suflFered from the 
pontiff to a future general counciL 

The Pope did not neglect to assign reasons in his own justi- 
fication, and maintained it was the duty of a pontiff to suppress 
tyranny, depress the wicked, and exalt the good; and that this 
ought to be done by every available means; but that secular 
princes had no right to detain cardinals, hang bishops, murder, 
mangle, and drag about the bodies of priests, destroying with- 
out distinction the innocent with the guilty. 

Notwithstanding these complaints and accusations, the Flor- 
entines restored to the Pope the cardinal whom they had de- 
tained, in return for which, he immediately assailed them with 
his own forces and those of the King. The two armies, under 
the command of Alfonso, eldest son of Ferrando, and Duke of 
Calabria, who had as his general Federigo, Count of Urbino, 
entered the Chianti, by permission of the Siennese, who sided 
with the enemy, occupied Radda with many other fortresses, 
and having plundered the country, besieged the Castellina. 
The Florentines were greatly alarmed at these attacks, being al- 
most destitute of forces, and finding their friends slow to assist; 
for though the duke sent them aid, the Venetians denied all 
obligation to support the Florentines in their private quarrels, 
since the animosities of individuals were not to be defended 
at the public expense. The Florentines, in order to induce 
the Venetians to take a more correct view of the case, sent 
Tommaso Soderini as their ambassador to the Senate, and, in 
the meantime, engaged forces, and appointed Ercole, Marquis 
of Ferrara, to the command of their army. While these prq)- 
arations were being made, the Castellina was so hard pressed 
by the enemy, that the inhabitants, despairing of relief, surren- 
dered, after having sustained a siege of forty-two days. The 
enemy then directed their course toward Arezzo, and encamped 
before San Savino. The Florentine army being now in order, 
went to meet them, and having approached within three miles, 
caused such annoyance, that Federigo d'Urbino demanded a 
truce for a few days, which was granted, but proved so disad- 
vantageous to the Florentines, that those who had made the 
request were astonished at having obtained it ; for, had it been 
refused, they would have been compelled to retire in disgrace. 
Having gained these few days to recruit themselves, as soon as 

1479] REVOLT OF GENOA 409 

they were expired, they took the castle in the presence of their 
enemies. Winter being now come, the forces of the Pope and 
the King retired for convenient quarters to the Siennese terri- 
tory. The Florentines also withdrew to a more commodious 
situation, and the Marquis of Ferrara, having done little for 
himself and less for others, returned to his own territories. 

At this time, Genoa withdrew from the dominion of Milan, 
under the following circumstances. Galeazzo, at his death, 
left a son, Giovan Galeazzo, who being too young to undertake 
the government, dissensions arose between Sforza, Lodovico, 
Ottaviano^ and Ascanio, his uncles, and the Lady Bona, his 
mother, each of whom desired the guardianship of the young 
duke. By the advice and mediation of Tommaso Soderini, 
who was then Florentine ambassador at the Court of Milan, 
and of Cecco Simonetta, who had been secretary to Galeazzo, 
the Lady Bona prevailed. The uncles fled, Ottaviano was 
drowned in crossing the Adda ; the rest were banished to vari- 
ous places, together with Roberto da San Severino, who in 
these disputes had deserted the duchess and joined the uncles 
of the duke. The troubles in Tuscany, which immediately fol- 
lowed, gave these princes hope that the new state of things 
would present opportunities for their advantage ; they therefore 
quitted the places to which their exile limited them, and each 
endeavored to return home. King Ferrando, finding the Flor- 
entines had obtained assistance from none but the Milanese, 
took occasion to pve the duchess so much occupation in her 
own government, as to render her unable to contribute to their 
assistance. By means of Prospero Adomo, the Signor Ro- 
berto, and the rebellious uncles of the duke, he caused Genoa to 
throw off the Milanese yoke. The Castelletto was the only 
place left; confiding in which, the duchess sent a strong force 
to recover the city, but it was routed by the enemy ; and per- 
ceiving the danger which might arise to her son and herself if 
the war were continued, Tuscany being in confusion, and the 
Florentines, in whom alone she had hope, themselves in trouble, 
she determined, as she could not retain Genoa in subjection, to 
secure it as an ally; and agreed with Battistino Fregoso, the 
enemy of Prospero Adomo, to give him the Castelletto, and 
make him Prince of Genoa, on condition that he should expel 
Prospero, and do nothing in favor of her son's uncles. Upon 


this agreement, Battistino, by the assistance of the Castclletto 
and of his friends, became Prince of Genoa; and according to 
the custom of the city, took the title of Doge. The Sforreschi 
and the Signor Roberto, being thus expelled by the Genoese, 
came with their forces into Lunigiana, and the Pope and the 
King, perceiving the troubles of Lombardy to be composed, 
took occasion with them to annoy Tuscany in the Pisan terri- 
tory, that the Florentines mig^t be weakened by dividing their 
forces. At the close of winter, they ordered Roberto da San 
Severino to leave Lunigiana and march thither, which he did, 
and with great tumult plundered many fortresses, and overran 
the country around Pisa. 

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

The attack of Signor Roberto upon the Pisan territory, being 
unexpected, greatly perplexed the Florentines ; for having to 
resist the foe in the direction of Sienna, they knew not how to 
provide for the places about Pisa. To keep the Lucchese faith- 
ful, and prevent them from furnishing the enemy either with 
money or provisions, they sent as ambassador Piero di Gino 
Capponi, who was received with so much jealousy, on account 

1479] REVOLT OF GENOA 411 

of the hatred which that city always cherishes against the Flor- 
entines from former injuries and constant fear, that he was 
on many occasions in danger of being put to death by the mob ; 
and thus his mission gave fresh cause of animosity rather than 
of union. The Florentines recalled the Marquis of Ferrara, 
and engaged the Marquis of Mantua; they also as earnestly 
requested the Venetians to send them Count Carlo, son of Brac- 
cio, and Deifobo, son of Count Jacopo, and after many delays 
they complied; for having made a truce with the Turks, they 
had no excuse to justify a refusal, and could not break through 
the obligation of the league without the utmost disgrace. The 
counts, Carlo and Deifobo, came with a good force, and being 
joined by all that could be spared from the army, which, under 
the Marquis of Ferrara, held in check the Dtdce of Calabria, 
proceeded toward Pisa, to meet Signor Roberto, who was with 
his troops near the River Serchio, and who, though he had ex- 
pressed his intenticHi of awaiting their arrival, withdrew to the 
camp at Lunigiana, which he had quitted upon coming into the 
Pisan territory, while Count Carlo recovered all the places that 
had been taken by the enemy in that district. 

The Florentines, being thus relieved from the attack in the 
direction of Pisa, assembled the whole force between CoUe and 
Santo Geminiano. But the army, on the arrival of Cotmt Carlo, 
being composed of Sforzeschi and Bracceschi, their hereditary 
feuds soon broke forth, and it was thought that if they re- 
mained long in company, they would turn their arms againist 
each other. It was therefore determined, as the smaller evil, 
to divide them ; to send one party, under Count Carlo, into the 
district of Perugia, and establish the other at Poggibonzi, 
where they formed a strong encampment, in order to prevent 
the enemy from penetrating the Florentine territory. By this 
they also hoped to compel the enemy to divide their forces; 
for Count Carlo was understood to have many partisans in 
Perugia, and it was therefore expected, either that he would 
occupy the place or that the Pope would be compelled to 
send a large body of men for its defence. To reduce the 
pontiff to greater necessity, they ordered Niccolo Vitelli, 
who had been expelled from Citta di Castello, where his 
enemy Lorenzo Vitelli commanded, to lead a force against that 
place, with the view of driving out his adversary and with- 


drawing it from obedience to the Pope. At the beginning of 
the campaign, fortune seemed to favor the Florentines; for 
Count Carlo made rapid advances in the Penigino, and Niccdo 
Vitelli, though unable to enter Castello, was superior in the 
field, and plundered the surrounding country without opposi- 
tion. The forces also, at Poggibonzi, constantly overran the 
country up to the walls of Sienna. These hopes, however, were 
not realized ; for in the first place. Count Carlo died, while in 
the fullest tide of success; though the consequences of this 
would have been less detrimental to the Florentines, had not 
the victory to which it gave occasion, been nullified by the mis- 
conduct of others. 

The death of the count being known, the forces of the 
Church, which had already assembled in Perugia, conceived 
hopes of overcoming the Florentines, and encamped upon the 
lake, within three miles of the enemy. On the other side, 
Jacc^ Guicciardini, commissary to the army, by the advice of 
Roberto da Rimino, who, after the death of Count Carlo, was 
the principal commander, knowing the ground of their san- 
guine expectations, determined to meet them, and coming to an 
engagement near the lake, upon the site of the memorable rout 
of the Romans, by Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, the 
papal forces were vanquished. The news of the victory, whidi 
did great honor to the commanders, diffused universal joy at 
Florence, and would have ensured a favorable termination of 
the campaign, had not the disorders which arose in the army 
at Poggibonzi thrown all into confusion; for the advantage 
obtained by the valor of the one, was more than counterbalanced 
by the disgraceful proceedings of the other. Having made 
considerable booty in the Siennese territory, quarrels arose 
about the division of it between the Marquis of Mantua and 
the Marquis of Ferrara, who, coming to arms, assailed each 
other with the utmost fury; and the Florentines seeing they 
could no longer avail themselves of the services of both, allowed 
the Marquis of Ferrara and his men to return home. 


The Dnke of Calabria Routs the Florentine Army at Poggibonzi— 
Dismay in Florence on Account of the Defeat— Progress of the Duke 
of Calabria— The Florentines Wish for Peace — ^Lorenzo de' Medici 
Determines to Go to Naples to Treat with the King — ^Lodovico 
Sforza, Surnamed the Moor, aAd his Brothers, Recalled to Milan 
— Changes in the Government of that City in Consequence — ^The 
Genoese Take Serezana — Lorenzo de Medici Arrives at Naples — 
Peace G>ncluded with the King— The Pope and the Venetians Con- 
sent to the Peace — The Florentines in Fear of the Duke of Calabria 
—Enterprises of the Turks— They Take Otranto— The Florentines 
Reconciled with the Pope — Their Ambassadors at the Papal Court 
— ^The Pope's Reply to the Ambassadors— The King of Naples Re- 
stores to the Florentines All the Fortresses He Had Taken. 

THE army being thus reduced, without a leader, and dis- 
order prevailing in every department^ the Duke of Ca- 
labria, who was with his forces near Sienna, resolved 
to attack them immediately. The Florentines, finding the 
enemy at hand, were seized with a sudden panic ; neither their 
arms, nor their nimibers, in which they were superior to their 
adversaries, nor their position, which was one of great strength, 
could give them confidence ; but observing the dust occasioned 
by the enemy's approach, without waiting for a sight of them, 
they fled in all directions, leaving their ammunition, carriages, 
and artillery to be taken by the foe. Such cowardice and dis- 
order prevailed in the armies of those times, that the turning 
of a horse's head or tail was sufiicient to decide the fate of an 
expedition. This defeat loaded the King's troops with booty, 
and filled the Florentines with dismay ; for the city, besides the 
war, was afflicted with pestilence, which prevailed so exten- 
sively, that all who possessed villas fled to them to escape death. 
This occasioned the defeat to be attended with greater horror ; 
for these citizens whose possessions lay in the Val di Pesa and 
the Val d'Elsa, having retired to them, l^astened to Florence 
with all speed as soon as they heard of the disaster, taking with 



them not only their children and their property, but even their 
laborers ; so that it seemed as if the enemy were expected every 
moment in the city. 

Those who were appointed to the managament of the war, 
perceiving the tmiversal consternation, commanded the vic- 
torious forces in the Perugino to give up their enterprise in 
that district, and march to oppose the enemy in the Val d'Elsa, 
who, after their victory, plundered the cotmtry without opposi- 
tion ; and although the Florentine army had so closely pressed 
the city of Perugia that it was expected to fall into their hands 
every instant, the people preferred defending their own pos- 
sessions to endeavoring to seize those of others. The troops, 
thus withdrawn from the pursuit of their good-fortune, were 
marched to San Casciano, a castle within eight miles of Flor- 
ence ; the leaders thinking they could take up no other position 
till the relics of the routed army were assembled. On the other 
hand, the enemy being under no further restraint at Perugia, 
and emboldened by the departure of the Florentines, pltmdered 
to a large amount in the districts of Arezzo and Cortona ; while 
those who under Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, had been victori- 
ous near Poggibonzi, took the town itself; sacked Vico and 
Certaldo, and after these conquests and pillagings encamped 
before the fortress of G^lle, which was considered very strong; 
and as the garrison was brave and faithful to the Florentines, 
it was hoped they would hold the enemy at bay till the republic 
was able to collect its forces. The Florentines being at Santo 
Casciano, and the enemy continuing to use their utmost exer- 
tions against CoUe, they determined to draw nearer, that the 
inhabitants might be the more resolute in their defence, and 
the enemy assail them less boldly. With this design they re- 
moved their camp from Santo Casciano to Santo Geminiano, 
about five miles from Colle, and with light cavalry and other 
suitable forces were able every day to annoy the duke's camp. 
All this, however, was insufficient to relieve the people of Colle; 
for, having consumed their provisions, they were compelled to 
surrender on the thirteenth of November, to the gjeat grief of 
the Florentines, and joy of the enemy, more espcially of the 
Siennese, who, besides their habitual hatred of the Florentines, 
had a particular animosity against the pec^le of Colle. 

It was now the depth of winter, and the weather so unsuit- 


able for war, that the Pope and the King, either designing to 
hold out a hope of peace, or more quietly to enjoy the fruit of 
their victories, proposed a truce for three months to the Flor- 
entines, and allowed them ten days to consider the reply. The 
o£Fer was eagerly accepted ; but as wounds are well known to 
be more painful after the blood cools than when they were first 
received, this brief repose awakened the Florentines to a con- 
sciousness of the miseries they had endured ; and the citizens 
openly laid the blame upon each other, pointing out the errors 
committed in the management of the war, the expenses use- 
lessly incurred, and the taxes unjustly imposed. These mat- 
ters were boldly discussed^ not only in private circles, but in 
the public councils ; and one individual even ventured to turn 
to Lorenzo de' Medici, and say, " The city is exhausted, and 
can endure no more war; it is therefore necessary to think of 

Lorenzo was himself aware of the necessity, and assembled 
the friends in whose wisdom and fidelity he had the greatest 
confidence, when it was at once concluded, that as the Venetians 
were lukewarm and unfaithful, and the duke in the power of 
his guardians, and involved in domestic difficulties, it would be 
desirable by some new alliance to give a better turn to their 
affairs. They were in doubt whether to apply to the King or 
to the Pope; but having examined the question on all sides, 
they preferred the friendship of the King as more suitable and 
secure ; for the short reigns of the ponti£Fs, the changes ensuing 
upon each succession, the disregard shown by the Church 
toward temporal princes, and the still greater want of respect 
for them exhibited in her determinations^ render it impossible 
for a secular prince to trust a pontiff, or safely to share his 
fortune ; for an adherent of the Pope will have a companion in 
victory, but in defeat must stand alone, while the pontiff is sus- 
tained by his spiritual power and influence. Having therefore 
decided that the Kingps friendship would be of the greatest 
utility to them, they thought it would be most easily and cer- 
tainly obtained by Lorenzo's presence ; for in proportion to the 
confidence they evinced toward him, the greater they imagined 
would be the probability of removing his impressions of past 
enmities. Lorenzo having resolved to go to Naples, recom- 
mended the city and government to the care of Tommaso So- 


derini, who was at that time Gonfalonier of Justice. He kit 
Florence at the beginning of December, and having arrived at 
Pisa, wrote to the government to acquaint them with the cause 
of his departure. The Signory, to do him honor, and enable 
him the more effectually to treat with the King, appointed him 
ambassador from the Florentine people, and endowed him with 
full authority to make such arrangements as he thought most 
useful for the republic. 

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

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


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

Lorenzo arrived at Naples by sea, and was most honorably 
received, not only by Ferrando, but by the whole city, his com- 
ing having excited the greatest expectation ; for it being gener- 
ally understood that the war was undertaken for the sole pur- 
pose of effecting his destruction, the power of his enemies 
invested his name with additional lustre. Being admitted to the 
King's presence, he spoke with so much propriety upon the 
affairs of Italy, the disposition of her princes and people, his 
hopes from peace, his fears of the results of war, that Ferrando 
was more astonished at the greatness of his mind, the prompti- 
tude of his genius, his gravity and wisdom, than he had previ- 
ously been at his power. He consequently treated him with re- 
doubled honor, and began to feel compelled rather to part with 
him as a friend, than detain him as an enemy. However, under 
various pretexts he kept Lorenzo from December till March, 
not only to gain the most perfect knowledge of his own views, 
but of those of his city; for he was not without enemies, who 
would have wished the King to detain and treat him in the same 
manner as Jacopo Piccinino ; and, with the ostensible view of 
sympathizing for him, pointed out all that would, or rather 
what they wished should, result from such a course; at the 
same time opposing in the council every proposition at all likely 
to favor him. By such means as these the opinion gained 
ground, that if he were detained at Naples much longer, the 
Government of Florence would be changed This caused the 


King to postpone their separation more than he would have 
otherwise done, to see if any disturbance were likely to arise. 
But finding everything go quietly on, Ferrando allowed him to 
depart on March 6, 1479, having, with every kind of attention 
and token of r^;ard, endeavored to gain his affection, and 
formed with him a perpetual alliance for their mutual defence. 
Lorenzo returned to Florence, and upon presenting himself 
before the citizens, the impressions he had created in the popu- 
lar mind surrotmded him with a halo of majesty brighter than 
before. He was received with all the joy merited by his 
extraordinary qualities and recent services, in having exposed 
hisown life to the most imminent peril, in order to restore peace 
to his country. Two days after his return, the treaty between 
the Republic of Florence and the King, by which each party 
bound itself to defend the other's territories, was published. 
The places taken from the Florentines during the war were 
to be given up at the discretion of the King ; the Pazzi confined 
in the tower of Volterra were to be set at liberty, and a certain 
sum of money, for a limited period, was to be paid to the Duke 
of Calabria. 

As soon as this peace was publicly known, the Pope and the 
Venetians were transported with rage ; the Pope thought him- 
self neglected by the King; the Venetians entertained similar 
ideas with regard to the Florentines, and complained that, hav- 
ing been companions in the war, they were not allowed to par- 
ticipate in the peace. Reports of this description being spread 
abroad, and received with entire credence at Florence, caused 
a general fear that the peace thus made would give rise to 
greater wars ; and therefore the leading members of the govern- 
ment determined to confine the consideration of the most im- 
portant affairs to a smaller number, and formed a council of 
seventy citizens, in whom the principal authority was invested. 
This new regulation calmed the minds of those desirous of 
change, by convincing them of the futility of their efforts. To 
establish their authority, they in the first place ratified the 
treaty of peace with the King, and sent as ambassadors to the 
Pope Antonio Ridolfi and Piero Nasi. But, notwithstanding 
the peace, Alfonso, Duke of GJabria, still remained at Sienna 
with his forces, pretending to be detained by discords among 
the citizens, which, he said, had risen so high, that while he re* 


sided outside of the city they had compelled him to enter and 
assume the office of arbitrator between them. He took occa- 
sion to draw large sums of money from the wealthiest citizens 
by way of fines, imprisoned many, banished others, and put 
some to death ; he thus became suspected, not only by the Sien- 
ncse, but by the Florentines, of a design to usurp the sover- 
eignty of Sienna ; nor was any remedy then available, for the 
republic had formed a new alliance with the King, and was 
at enmity with the Pope and the Venetians. This supicion 
was entertained not only by the great body of the Florentine 
people, who are subtle interpreters of appearances, but by the 
principal members of the government; and it was agreed, on 
all hands, that the city never was in so much danger of losing 
her liberty. But God, who in similar extremities has always 
been her preserver, caused an unhoped-for event to take place, 
which gave the Pope, the King, and the Venetians other mat- 
ters to think of than those of Tuscany. 

The Turkish Emperor, Mohammed II, had gone with a large 
army to the siege of Rhodes, and continued it for several 
months ; but though his forces were numerous, and his courage 
indomitable, he found them more than equalled by those of the 
besieged, who resisted his attack with such obstinate valor that 
he was at last compelled to retire in disgrace. Having left 
Rhodes, part of his army, under the Pasha Achmet, approached 
Velona, and, either from observing the facility of the enter- 
prise, or in obedience to his sovereign's commands, coasting 
along the Italian shores, he suddenly landed 4,000 soldiers, and 
attacked the City of Otranto, which he easily took, plundered, 
and put all the inhabitants to the sword. He then fortified 
the city and port, and having assembled a large body of cavalry, 
pillaged the surrounding country. The King, learning this, 
and aware of the redoubtable character of his assailant, imme- 
diately sent messengers to all the surrounding powers, to re- 
quest assistance against the common enemy, and ordered the 
immediate return of the Duke of Calabria with the forces at 

This attack, however it might annoy the Duke and the rest 
of Italy, occasioned the utmost joy at Florence and Sienna, the 
latter thinking it had recovered its liberty, and the former that 
she had escaped a storm which threatened her with destruction. 


These impressions, which were not unknown to the Duke, in- 
creased the regret he felt at his departure from Sienna; and 
he accused fortune of having, by an unexpected and unaccount- 
able accident, deprived him of the sovereignty of Tuscany. 
The same circumstance changed the disposition of the Pope; 
for although he had previously refused to receive any ambas- 
sador from Florence, he was now so mollified as to be anxious 
to listen to any overtures of peace ; and it was intimated to the 
Florentines, that if they would condescend to ask the Pope's 
pardon, they would be sure of obtaining it. Thinking it ad- 
visable to seize the opportunity, they sent twelve ambassadors 
to the pontiff, who, on their arrival, detained them under differ- 
ent pretexts before he would admit them to an audience. How- 
ever, terms were at length settled, and what should be contrib- 
uted by each in peace or war. The messengers were then ad- 
mitted to the feet of the pontiff, who, with the utmost pomp, 
received them in the midst of his cardinals. They apologized 
for past occurrences; first showing they had been compelled 
by necessity, then blaming the malignity of others, or the rage 
of the populace, and their just indignation, and enlarging on 
the unfortunate condition of those who are compelled either 
to fight or die, saying, that since every extremity is endured 
in order to avoid death, they had suffered war, interdicts, and 
other inconveniences, brought upon them by recent events, that 
their republic might escape slavery, which is the death of free 
cities. However, if in their necessities they had committed any 
offence, they were desirous to make atonement, and trusted in 
his clemency, who, after the example of the blessed Redeemer, 
would receive them into his compassionate arms. 

The Pope's reply was indignant and haughty. After reiter- 
ating all the offences against the Church during the late trans- 
actions, he said that, to comply with the precepts of God, he 
would grant the pardon they asked, but would have them 
understand that it was their duty to obey ; and that upon the 
next instance of their disobedience, they would inevitably for- 
feit, and that most deservedly, the liberty which they had just 
been upon the point of losing; for those merit freedom who 
exercise themselves in good works and avoid evil ; that liberty, 
improperly used, injures itself and others ; that to think little 
of God, and less of His Church, is not the part of a free man. 


but of a fool, and one disposed to evil rather than good, and 
to effect whose correction is the duty not only of princes, 
but of every Christian ; so that in respect of the recent events, 
they had only themselves to blame, who, by their evil deeds, had 
given rise to the war, and inflamed it by still worse actions, it 
having been terminated by the kindness of others rather than 
by any merit of their own. The formula of agreement and 
benediction was then read ; and, in addition to what had already 
been considered and agreed upon between the parties, the Pope 
said, that if the Florentines wished to enjoy the fruit of his 
forgiveness, they must maintain fifteen gsdleys, armed and 
equipped, at their own expense, so long as the Turks should 
make war upon the Kingdom of Naples. The ambassadors 
complained much of this burden in addition to the arrangement 
already made, but were unable to obtain any alleviation. How- 
ever, after their return to Florence, the Signory sent, as ambas- 
sador to the Pope, Guid' Antonio Vespucci, who had recently 
returned from France, and who by his prudence brought every- 
thing to an amicable conclusion, obtained many favors from the 
pontiff, which were considered as presages of a closer reconcil- 

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

The castles being restored, and this new alliance established, 
Lorenzo de' Medici recovered the reputation which first the 
war and then the peace, when the King's designs were doubt- 
ful, had deprived him of; for at this period there was no lack 
of those who openly slandered him with having sold his country 
to save himself, and said, that in war they had lost their tern* 



tones, and in peace their liberty. But the fortresses being re- ' 

covered, an honorable treaty ratified with the King, and the 
city restored to her former influence, the spirit of public dis- 
course entirely changed in Florence, a place greatly addicted 
to gossip, and in which actions are judged by the success attend- J 

ing them, rather than by the intelligence employed in their 1 

direction ; therefore, the citizens praised Lorenzo extravagantly, I 

declaring that by his prudence he had recovered in peace what 
unfavorable circumstances had taken from them in war, and 
that by his discretion and judgment he had done more than 
the enemy with all the force of their arms. j 


New Occasions of War in Italy— Differences between the Marquis of 
Ferrara and the Venetians— The King of Naples and the Floren- 
tines Attack the Papal States— The Pope's Defensive Arrangements 
— ^The Neapolitan Army Routed by the Papal Forces — Progress of 
the Venetians against the Marquis of Ferrara— The Pope Makes 
Peace, and Enters into a League against the Venetians— Operations 
of the League against the Venetians— The Venetians Routed at Bon- 
deno— Their Losses — Disunion among the League — Lodovico Sforza 
Makes Peace with the Venetians— Ratified by the Other Parties. 

THE invasion of the Turks had deferred the vrar which 
was about to break forth from the ftnger of the Pope 
and the Venetians at the peace between the Florentines 
and the King. But as the beginning of that invasion was un- 
expected and beneficial, its conclusion was equally unlooked 
for and injurious ; for Mohammed dying suddenly, dissensions 
arose among his sons, and the forces which were in Puglia be- 
ing abandoned by their commander, surrendered Otranto to 
the King. The fears which restrained the Pope and the Vene- 
tians being thus removed, everyone became apprehensive of 
new troubles. On the one hand, was the league of the Pope 
and the Venetians, and with them the Genoese, Siennese, and 
other minor powers; on the other, the Florentines, the King, 
and the duke, with whom were the Bolognese and many princes. 
The Venetians wished to become Lords of Ferrara, and thought 
they were justified by circtmistances in making the attempt, and 
hoping for a favorable result. Their differences arose thus: 
The Marquis of Ferrara affirmed he was under no obligation 
to take salt from the Venetians, or to admit their governor; 
the terms of convention between them declaring, that after 
seventy years, the city was to be free from both impositions. 
The Venetians replied, that so long as he held the Polesine, he 
was bound to receive their salt and their governor. The mar- 
quis refusing his consent, the Venetians considered themselves 



justified in taking arms, and that the present moment offered 
a suitable (^>portunity ; for the Pope was indignant against the 
Florentines and the King; and to attach the Pope still further, 
the Count Girolamo, who was then at Venice, was received with 
all possible respect ; first admitted to the privil^;es of a citizen, 
and then raised to the rank of a Senator, the highest distinc- 
tions the Venetian Senate can confer. To prepare for the war, 
they levied new taxes, and appointed to the command of the 
forces Roberto da San Severino, who being offended with Lo- 
dovico. Governor of Milan, fled to Tortona^ whence, after occa- 
sioning some disturbances, he went to Genoa, and while there 
was sent for by the Venetians, and placed at the head of their 

These circumstances becoming known to the opposite league, 
induced it also to provide for war. The Duke of Milan ap- 
pointed as his general Federigo d'Urbino; the Florentines en- 
gaged Costanzo, Lord of Pesaro ; and to sound the disposition 
of the Pope, and know whether the Venetians made war against 
Ferrara with his consent or not, King Ferrando sent Alfonso, 
Duke of Calabria, with his army, across the Tronto, and asked 
the pontiff's permission to pass into Lombardy to assist the 
marquis, which was refused in the most peremptory manner. 
The Florentines and the King, no longer doubtful concerning 
the Pope's intentions, determined to harass him, and thus either 
compel him to take part with them, or throw such obstacles in 
his way as would prevent him from helping the Venetians, who 
had already taken the field, attacked the marquis, overrun his 
territory, and encamped before Figarulo, a f<Mtress of the 
greatest importance. In pursuance of the design of the Flor- 
entines and the King, the Duke of Calabria, by the assistance 
of the Colonna family (the Orsini had joined the Pope), plun- 
dered the country about Rcxne, and committed great devasta- 
tion ; while the Florentines, with Niccolo Vitelli, besieged and 
took Citta di Castello, expelling Lorenzo Vitelli, who held it 
for the Pope, and placing Niccolo in it as prince. 

The Pope now found himself in very great straits; for the 
city of Rome was disturbed by factions, and the country 
covered with enemies. But acting with courage and resolu- 
tion, he appointed Roberto da Rimino to take the command of 
his forces ; and having sent for him to Rome, where his troops 


were assembled, told him how great would be the honor, if he 
could deliver the Church from the King's forces, and the troub- 
les in which it was involved; how greatly indebted, not only 
himself, but all his successors would be, and that not mankind 
merely, but God himself would be under obligations to him. 
The magnificent Roberto, having considered the forces and 
preparations already made, advised the Pope to raise as numer- 
ous a body of infantry as possible, which was done without 
delay. The Duke of Calabria was at hand, and constantly 
harassed the country up to the very gates of Rome, which so 
roused the indignation of the citizens, that many offered their 
assistance to Roberto, and all were thankfully received. The 
duke, hearing of these preparations, withdrew a short distance 
from the dty, that in the belief of finding him gone, the mag- 
nificent Roberto would not pursue him, and also in expectation 
of his brother Federigo, whom their father had sent to him 
with additional forces. But Roberto, finding himself nearly 
equal to the duke in cavalry, and superior in infantry, marched 
boldly out of Rome, and took a position within two miles of 
the enemy. 

The duke, seeing his adversaries close upon him, found he 
must either fight or disgracefully retire. To avoid a retreat 
unbecoming a king's son, he resolved to face the enemy; and 
a battle ensued which continued from morning till mid-day. 
In this engagement greater valor was exhibited on both sides 
than had been shown in any other during the last fifty years, 
upward of 1,000 dead being left upon the field. The troops 
of the Church were at length victorious, for their numerous 
infantry so annoyed the ducal cavalry that they were compelled 
to retreat, and Alfonso himself would have fallen into the hands 
of the enemy, had he not been rescued by a body of Turks, who 
remained at Otranto, and were at that time in his service. The 
Lord of Rimino, after this victory, returned triumphantly to 
Rome, but did not long enjoy the fruit of his valor ; for having, 
during the heat of the engagement, taken a copious draught of 
water, he was seized with a flux, of which he very shortly after- 
ward died. The Pope caused his funeral to be conducted with 
great pomp, and in a few days, sent the Count Girolamo toward 
Citta di Castello to restore it to Lorenzo, and also endeavor to 
gain Rimino, which being by Roberto's death left to the care 


of his widow and a son who was quite a boy, his holiness 
thought might be easily won; and this would certainly have 
been the case, if the lady had not been defended by the Floren- 
tines, who opposed him so effectually as to prevent his success 
against both Castello and Rimino. 

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

The league found they must no longer delay rendering him 
efficient assistance, and ordered the Duke of Qilabria to march 
to Ferrara with his forces and those of the Pope, the Florentine 
troops also moving in the same direction. In order to direct 
the operations of the war with greater eflSciency, the league 
assembled a diet at Cremona, which was attended by the Pope's 
legate, the Count Girolamo> the Duke of Calabria, the Signor 

1483I WAR RENEWED 427 

Lodovico Sforza, and Lorenzo de' Medici, with many other 
Italian princes; and when the measures to be adopted were 
fully discussed, having decided, that the best way of relieving 
Ferrara would be to effect a division of the enemies' forces, 
the league desired Lodovico to attack the Venetians on the side 
of Milan, but this he declined, for fear of bringing a war upon 
the duke's territories, which it would be difficult to quell. It 
was therefore resolved to proceed with the united forces of the 
league to Ferrara, and having assembled 4,000 cavalry and 
8,000 infantry, they went in pursuit of the Venetians, whose 
force amounted to 2,000 men at arms, and 6,000 foot. They 
first attacked the Venetian flotilla, then lying upon the River 
Po, which they routed with the loss of above 200 vessels, and 
took prisoner Antonio Justiniano, the purveyor of the fleet. 
The Venetians, finding all Italy united against them, endea- 
vored to support their reputation by engaging in their service 
the Duke of Lorraine, who joined them with 200 men at arms ; 
and having suffered so great a destruction of their fleet, they 
sent him, with part of their army, to keep their enemies at bay, 
and Roberto da San Severino to cross the Adda with the re- 
mainder, and proceed to Milan, where they were to raise the 
cry of " The Duke and the Lady Bona I *' his mother, hoping 
by this means to give a new aspect to affairs there, believing 
that Lodovico and his government were generally unpopular. 
This attack at first created great consternation, and roused 
the citizens in arms; but eventually produced consequences 
unfavorable to the designs of the Venetians ; for Lodovico was 
now desirous to undertake what he had refused to do at the 
entreaty of his allies. Leaving the Marquis of Ferrara to the 
defence of his own territories, he, with 4,000 horse and 2,000 
foot, and joined by the Duke of Calabria with 12,000 horse and 
5,000 foot, entered the territory of Bergamo, then Brescia, next 
that of Verona, and, in defiance of the Venetians, plundered 
the whole country ; for it was with the greatest difficulty that 
Roberto and his forces could save the cities themselves. In 
the meantime, the Marquis of Ferrara had recovered a great 
part of his territories ; for the Duke of Lorraine, by whom he 
was attacked, having only at his command 2,000 horse and 
1,000 foot, could not withstand him. Hence, during the whole 
of 1483 the affairs of the league were prosperous. 


The winter having passed quietly over, the armies again 
took the field To produce the greater impression upon the 
enemy, the league united their whole force, and would easily 
have deprived the Venetians of all they possessed in Lombardy, 
if the war had been conducted in the same manner as during 
the preceding year ; for by the departure of the Duke of Lor- 
raine, whose term of service had expired, they were reduced to 
6,000 horse and 5,000 foot, while the allies had 13,000 horse 
and 5,000 foot at their disposal. But, as is often the case ynhcrt 
several of equal authority are joined in command, their want 
of unity decided the victory to their enemies. Federigo, Mar- 
quis of Mantua, whose influence kept the Duke of Calabria and 
Lodovico Sforza within bounds, being dead, differences arose 
between them which soon became jealousies. Giovan Galeazzo, 
Duke of Milan, was now of an age to take the government on 
himself, and had married the daughter of the Duke of Calabria, 
who wished his son-in-law to exercise the government and not 
Ludovico; the latter, being aware of the duke's design, studied 
to prevent him from effecting it. The position of Lodovico 
being known to the Venetians, they thought they could make 
it available for their own interests; and hoped, as they had 
often before done, to recover in peace all they had lost by war; 
and having secretly entered into treaty with Lodovico, the 
terms were concluded in August, 1484. When this became 
known to the rest of the allies, they were greatly dissatisfied, 
principally because they found that the places won from the 
Venetians were to be restored ; that they were allowed to keep 
Rovigo and the Polesine, which they had taken from the Mar- 
quis of Ferrara, and besides this retain all the pre-eminence 
and authority over Ferrara itself which they had formerly pos- 
sessed. Thus it was evident to everyone they had be^ en- 
gaged in a war which had cost vast sums of money, during the 
progress of which they had acquired honor, and which was 
concluded with disgrace; for the places wrested from the 
enemy were restored without themselves recovering those they 
had lost. They were, however, compelled to ratify the treaty, 
on account of the unsatisfactory state of their finances, and be- 
cause the faults and ambitions of others had rendered them un- 
willing to put their fortunes to further proof. 


Affairs of the Pope— He is Reconciled to Niccolo Vitdli— Discords 
between the Colonnesi and the Orsini — ^Various Events — ^The War 
of Serezana— Genoa Occupied by Her Archbishc^H- Death of Sixtus 
IV — Innocent VIII Elected — Agostino Fregoso Gives Serezana to 
the Bank of St Giorgio— Account of the Bank of St Giorgio— War 
with the Genoese for Serezana— Stratagem of the Florentines to At- 
tack Pietra Santa — ^Difficulties and Final Surrender of Pietra Santa 
— ^The Lttcchese Lay Qaim to Pietra Santa— The City of L'Aquila 
Revolts against the King of Naples— War between Him and the Pope 
—The Florentines Take the King's Part— Peace between the Pope 
and the King. 

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

In the war between the King of Naples and the Pope, the 
former had taken the district of Tagliacozzo from the Orsini, 
and given it to the Colonnesi, who had espoused his cause. 
Upon the establishment of peace, the Orsini demanded its res- 
toration, by virtue of the treaty. The Pope had frequently 
intimated to the Colonnesi, that it ought to be restored ; but 
they, instead of complying with the entreaties of the Orsini^ 



or being influenced by the Pope's threats, renewed hostilities 
against the former. Upon this the pontiff, unable to endure 
their insolence, united his own forces with those of the Orsini, 
plundered the houses they possessed in Rome, slew or made 
prisoners all who defended them, and seized most of their for- 
tresses. So that when these troubles were composed, it was 
rather by the complete subjugation of <Mie party than from 
any desire for peace in the other. 

Nor were the affairs of Genoa or of Tuscany in repose, for 
the Florentines kept the Count Antonio da Mardano on the 
borders of Serezana, and, while the war continued in Lorn- 
bardy, annoyed the people of Serezana by inroads and light 
skirmishes. Battistino Fregoso, Doge of Genoa, trusting to 
Pagolo Fregoso, the archbishop, was taken prisoner, with his 
wife and children, by the latter, who assumed the sovereignty 
of the city. The Venetian fleet had attacked the Kingdom of 
Naples, taken Gallipoli, and harassed the neighboring places. 
But upon the peace of Lombardy, all tumults were hushed ex- 
cept those of Tuscany and Rome; for the Pope died in five 
days after its declaration, either in the natural course of things, 
or because his grief for peace, to which he was alwa3r5 op- 
posed, occasioned his end. 

Upon the decease of the pontiff, Rome was immediately in 
arms. The Count Girolamo withdrew his forces into the cas- 
tle ; and the Orsini feared the Colonnesi would avenge the in- 
juries they had recently sustained. The Colonnesi demanded 
the restitution of their houses and castles, so that in a few 
days robberies, fires, and murders prevailed in several parts of 
the city. The cardinals entreated the count to give the castle 
into the hands of the collie, withdraw his troops, and deliver 
Rome from the fear of his forces, and he, by way of ingratiat- 
ing himself with the future pontiff, obeyed, and retired to Imola. 
The cardinals, being thus divested of their fears, and the banms 
hopeless of assistance in their quarrels, proceeded to create a 
new pontiff, and after some discussion, Giovanni Batista Cibo, 
a Genoese, Cardinal of Malfetta, was elected (14S4), and took j 
the name of Innocent VIII. By the mildness of his disposi- ] 
tion (for he was peaceable and humane) he caused a cessation ' 
of hostilities, and for the present restored peace to Rome. 

The Florentines, after the pacification of Lombardy, coulc I 



not remain quiet; for it appeared disgraceful that a private 
gentleman should deprive them of the fortress of Serezana; 
and as it was allowed by the conditions of peace, hot only to de- 
mand lost places, but to make war upon any who should im- 
pede their restoration, they immediately provided men and 
money to undertake its recovery. Upon this, Agostino Fre- 
goso, who had seized Serezana, being unable to defend it, gave 
the fortress to the bank of San Giorgio. As we shall have 
frequent occasion to speak of San Giorgio and the Genoese, 
it will not be improper, since Genoa is one of the principal cities 
of Italy, to give some account of the regulations and usages 
prevailing there. When the Genoese had made peace with 
the Venetians, after the great war, many years ago, the repub- 
lic being unable to satisfy the claims of those who had ad- 
vanced large sums of money for its use, conceded to them the 
revenue of the Dogano or custom-house, so that each creditor 
should participate of the receipts in proportion to his claim, 
until the whole amount should be liquidated, and, as a suit- 
able place for their assembling, the palace over the Dogano 
was assigned for their use. These creditors established a form 
of government among themselves, appointing a council of 100 
persons for the direction of their affairs, and a committee of 
eight, who, as the executive body, should carry into effect the 
determinations of the council. Their credits were divided into 
shares, called Luoghi, and they took the title of the Bank, or 
Company, of San Giorgio. 

Having thus arranged their government, the city fell into 
fresh difficulties, and applied to the San Giorgio for assistance, 
which, being wealthy and well managed, was able to afford 
the required aid. On the other hand, as the city had at first 
conceded the custcxns, she next began to assign towns, castles, 
or territories, as security for moneys received ; and this prac- 
tice has proceeded to such a length, from the necessities of the 
state, and the accommodation by the San Giorgio, that the 
latter now has under its administration most of the towns and 
cities in the Genoese dominion. These the Bank governs and 
protects, and every year sends its deputies, appointed by vote, 
without any interference on the part of the republic. Hence 
the affections of the citizens are transferred from the govern- 
ment to the San Giorgio, on account of the tyranny of the 


former, and the excellent r^^tions adopted by the latter. 
Hence also originate the frequent changes of the republic, 
which is sometimes under a citizen, and at other times gov- 
erned by a stranger; for the magistracy, and not the San 
Giorgio, changes the government. So when the Fregosi and 
the Adomi were in opposition, as the government of the re- 
public was the prize for which they strove, the greater part of 
the citizens withdrew and left it to the victor. The only in- 
terference of the Bank of San Giorgio is when one party has 
obtained a superiority over the other, to bind the victor to the 
observance of its laws, which up to this time have not been 
changed ; for as it possesses arms, money, and influence, they 
could not be altered without incurring the imminent risk of a 
dangerous rebellion. This establishment presents an instance 
of what in all the republics, either described or imagined by 
philosophers, has never been thought of; exhibiting within 
the same community, and among the same citizens, liberty and 
tyranny, integrity and corruption, justice and injustice; for 
this establishment preserves in the city many ancient and ven- 
erable customs; and should it happen (as in time it easily 
may) that the San Giorgio should have possession of the whole 
city, the republic will become more distinguished than that of 

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


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

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

When this discomfiture was known at Florence, the govern- 
ment was filled with indignation; and, to impart fresh vigor 
to the enterprise, and restore the reputation of their forces, 
they immediately appointed Antonio Pucci and Bernardo del 
Neri commissaries, who, with vast sums of money, proceeded 
to the army, and intimated the heavy displeasure of the Sig- 
nory, and of the whole city, if they did not return to the walls ; 
and what a disgrace, if so large an army and so many generals, 
having only a small garrison to contend with, could not con- 
quer so poor and weak a place. They explained the immediate 
and future advantages that would result from the acquisition, 
and spoke so forcibly upon the subject, that all became anxious 
to renew the attack. They resolved, in the first place, to re- 
cover the rampart upon the hill ; and here it was evident how 
greatly humanity, affability, and condescension influence the 
minds of soldiers; for Antonio Pucci, by encouraging one and 


promising another, shaking hands with this man and embrac* 
ing that, induced them to proceed to the charge with such 
impetuosity, that they gained possession of the rampart in an 
instant. However, the victory was not unattended by mis- 
fortune, for Count Antonio da Marciano was killed by a can- 
non shot. This success filled the townspeople with so much 
terror, that they began to make proposals for capitulation ; and 
to invest the surrender with imposing solemnity, Lorenzo de* 
Medici came to the camp, when, after a few days, the fortress 
was given up. It being now winter, the leaders of the expe- 
dition thought it unadvisable to make any further effort until 
the return of spring, more particularly because the autumnal 
air had been so unhealthy that ntmibers were affected by it 
Antonio Pucci and Bongianni Gianfigliazzi were taken ill and 
died, to the great regret of all, so greatly had Antonio's con- 
duct at Pietra Santa endeared him to the army. 

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

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


The more important reason was furnished by the war, of 
which this was the origin. The city of Aquila (Aquila degli 
Abruzzi), though subject to the Kingdom of Naples, was in a 
manner free; and the Count di Montorio possessed great in- 
fluence over it. The Duke of Calabria was upon the banks of 
the Tronto with his men-at-arms, under pretence of appeasing 
some disturbances among the peasantry ; but really with a de- 
sign of reducing Aquila entirely under the King's authority, 
and sent for the Count di Montorio, as if to consult him upon 
the business he pretended then to have in hand. The count 
obeyed without the least suspicion, and on his arrival was made 
prisoner by the duke and sent to Naples. When this circum- 
stance became known at Aquila, the anger of the inhabitants 
arose to the highest pitch; taking arms they killed Antonio 
Cencinello, commissary for the King, and with him some in- 
habitants known partisans of his majesty. The Aquilani, in 
order to have a defender in their rebellion, raised the banner of 
the Church, and sent envoys to the Pope, to submit their city 
and themselves to him, beseeching that he would defend them 
as his own subjects against the tyranny of the King. The 
pontiff gladly undertook their defence, for he had both public 
and private reasons for hating that monarch; and Signor 
Roberto of San Severino, an enemy of the Duke of Milan, 
being disengaged, was appointed to take the command of his 
forces, and sent for with all speed to Rome. He entreated 
the friends and relatives of the Count di Montorio to withdraw 
their allegiance from the King, and induced the Princes of 
Altimura, Salerno, and Bisignano to take arms against him. 

The King, finding himself so suddenly involved in war, had 
recourse to the Florentines and the Duke of Milan for assist- 
ance. The Florentines hesitated with regard to their own con- 
duct, for they felt all the inconvenience of neglecting their own 
affairs to attend to those of others, and hostilities against the 
Church seemed likely to involve much risk. However, being 
under the obligation of a league, they preferred their honor to 
convenience or security, engaged the Orsini, and sent all their 
own forces under the Count di Pitigliano toward Rome, to the 
assistance of the King. The latter divided his forces into two 
parts ; one, under the Duke of Calabria, he sent toward Rome, 
which, being joined by the Florentines, opposed the army of 


the Church ; with the other, under his own command, he at- 
tacked the barons, and the war was prosecuted with varied 
success on both sides. At length, the King, being universally 
victorious, peace was concluded by the intervention of the am- 
bassadors of the King of Spain, in August, i486, to which the 
Pope consented; for having found fortune opposed to him 
he was not disposed to tempt it further. In this treaty all the 
powers of Italy were united, except the Genoese, who were 
omitted as rebels against the republic of Milan, and unjust oc- 
cupiers of territories belonging to the Florentines. Upon the 
peace being ratified, Roberto da San Severino, having been 
during the war a treacherous ally of the Church, and by no 
means formidable to her enemies, left Rome; being followed 
by the forces of the duke and the Florentines, after passing 
Cesena, found them near him, and urging his flight reached 
Ravenna with less than a hundred horse. Of his forces, part 
were received into the duke's service, and part were plundered 
by the peasantry. The King, being reconciled with his barons, 
put to death Jacopo Coppola and Antonello d'A versa and their 
sons, for having, during the war, betrayed his secrets to the 


The Pope Becomes Attached to the Florentines— The Genoese Seize 
Serezanello— They Are Routed by the Florentines — Serezana Sur- 
renders — Genoa Submits to the Duke of Milan — ^War between the 
Venetians and the Dutch — Osimo Revolts from the Churcb— G>unt 
Girolamo Riario, Lord of Furli, Slain by a Conspiracy — Galeotto, 
Lord of Faenza, is Murdered by the Treachery of His Wife — ^The 
Government, of the City Offered to the Florentines— Disturbances in 
Sienna— Death of Lorenzo de' Medici— His Eulogy— Establishment 
of His Family^Estates Bought by Lorenzo— His Anxiety for the 
Defence of Florence— His Taste for Arts and Literature— The Uni- 
versity of Pisa— The Estimation of Lorenzo by Other Princes. 

THE Pope having observed, in the course of the war, how 
promptly and earnestly the Florentines adhered to their 
alliances, although he had previously been opposed to 
them from his attachment to the Genoese, and the assistance 
they had rendered to the King, now evinced a more amicable 
disposition, and received their ambassadors with greater favor 
than previously. Lorenzo de' Medici, being made acquainted 
with this change of feeling, encouraged it with the utmost 
solicitude; for he thought it would be of great advantage, if 
to the friendship of the King he could add that of the pontiff. 
The Pope had a son named Francesco, upon whom he designed 
to bestow states and attach friends who might be useful to 
him after his own death, and for whom he saw no safer connec- 
tion in Italy than Lorenzo's. He therefore induced the latter 
to give Francesco one of his daughters in marriage. Having 
formed this alliance, the Pope desired the Genoese to con- 
cede Serezana to the Florentines, insisting that they had no 
right to detain what Agostino had sold, nor that Agostino was 
justified in making over to the Bank of San Giorgio what was 
not his own. However, his Holiness did not succeed with them ; 
for the Genoese, during these transactioits at Rome, armed 
several vessels, and, unknown to the Florentines, landed 3,000 
foot, attacked Serezanello, situated above Serezana, pltmdered 



and burned the town near it, and then, directing their artillery 
against the fortress, fired upon it with their utmost energy. 
This assault was new and unexpected by the Florentines, who 
immediately assembled their forces under Virginio Orsino, at 
Pisa, and complained to the Pope, that while he was endeavor- 
ing to establish peace, the Genoese had renewed their attack 
upon them. They then sent Piero Corsini to Lucca, that by 
his presence he might keep the city faithful ; and Pagolo An- 
tonio Soderini to Venice, to learn how that republic was 
disposed. They demanded assistance of the King and of Sig- 
nor Lodovico, but obtained it from neither; for the King ex- 
pressed apprehensions of the Turkish fleet, and Lodovico made 
excuses, but sent no aid. 

Thus the Florentines in their own wars are almost always 
obliged to stand alone, and find no friends to assist them with 
the same readiness they practise toward others. Nor did they 
on this desertion of their allies (it being nothing new to them), 
give way to despondency ; for having assembled a large army 
under Jacopo Guicciardini and Piero Vettori, they sent it 
against the enemy, who had encamped upon the River Magra, 
at the same time pressing Serezanello with mines and every 
species of attack. The commissaries being resolved to relieve 
the place, an engagement ensued, when the Genoese were routed, 
and Lodovico dal Fiesco, with several other principal men, 
made prisoners. The Serezanesi were not so depressed at their 
defeat as to be willing to surrender, but obstinately prepared for 
their defence, while the Florentine commissaries proceeded with 
their operations, and instances of valor occurred on both sides. 
The siege being protracted by a variety of fortune, Lorenzo de' 
Medici resolved to go to the camp, and on his arrival the troops 
acquired fresh courage, while that of the enemy seemed to fail ; 
for, perceiving the obstinacy of the Florentines' attack, and the 
delay of the Genoese in coming to their relief, they surrendered 
to Lorenzo, without asking conditions, and none were treated 
with severity except two or three who were leaders of the re- 
bellion. During the siege, Lodovico had sent troops to Pontre- 
moli, as if with an intention of assisting the Florentines ; but 
having secret correspondence in Genoa, a party was raised 
there, who, by the aid of these forces, gave the city to the Duke 
of Milan. 


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

About this time there arose serious troubles in Romagna. 
Francesco d'Orso, of Furli, was a man of great authority in 
that city, and became suspected by the Count Girolamo, who 
often threatened him. He consequently, living under great ap- 
prehensions, was advised by his friends to provide for his own 
safety, by the immediate adoption of such a course as would 
relieve him from all further fear of the count. Having con- 
sidered the matter and resolved to attempt it, they fixed upon 
the market-day, at Furli, as most suitable for their purpose; 
for many of their friends being sure to come from the country, 
they might make use of their services without having to bring 
them expressly for the occasion. It was the month of May, 
when most Itdians take supper by daylight. The conspirators 
thought the most convenient hour would be after the count had 
finished his repast ; for his household being then at their meal, 
he would remain in the chamber almost alone. Having fixed 
upon the hour, Francesco went to the count's residence, left his 
companions in the hall, proceeded to his apartment, and desired 
an attendant to say he wished for an interview. He was admit- 
ted, and after a few words of pretended communication, slew 
him, and calling to his associates, killed the attendant. The 
governor of the palace coming by accident to speak with the 
count, and entering the apartment with a few of his people, was 
also slain. After this slaughter, and in the midst of a great 
tumult, the count's body was thrown from the window, and 
with the cry of " Church and Liberty ! " they roused the people 


(who hated the avarice and cruelty of the count) to arms^ and 
having plundered his house, made the Countess Caterina and 
her children prisoners. The fortress alone had to be taken to 
bring the enterprise to a successful issue; but the Castellan 
would not consent to its surrender. They begged the countess 
would desire him to comply with their wish, which she prom- 
ised to do, if they would allow her to go into the fortress, leav- 
ing her children as security for the performance of her promise. 
The conspirators trusted her, and permitted her to enter ; but 
as soon as she was within, she threatened them with death and 
every* kind of torture in revenge for the murder of her husband ; 
and upon their menacing her with the death of her children, 
she said she had the means of getting more. Finding they 
were not supported by the Pope, and that Lodovico Sforza, 
uncle to the countess, had sent forces to her assistance, the con- 
spirators became terrified, and taking with them whatever 
property they could carry off, they fled to Citta di Castello. 
The countess recovered the state» and avenged the death of her 
husband with the utmost cruelty. The Florentines hearing of 
the count's death, took occasion to recover the fortress of Pian- 
caldoli, of which he had formerly deprived them, and, on send- 
ing some forces, captured it ; but Cecco, the famous engineer, 
lost his life during tfie siege. 

To this disturbance in Romagna, another in that province, 
no less important, has to be added. Galeotto, Lord of Faenza, 
had married the daughter of Giovanni BentivogH, Prince of 
Bologna. She, either through jealousy or ill treatment by her 
husband, or from the depravity of her own nature, hated him 
to such a degree that she determined to deprive him of his pos- 
sessions and his life ; and pretending sickness, she took to her 
bed, where, having induced Galeotto to visit her, he was slain 
by assassins, whom she had concealed for that purpose in the 
apartment. She had acquainted her father with her design, 
and he hoped, on his son-in-law's death, to become Lord of 
Faenza. A great tumult arose as soon as the murder was 
known, the widow, with an infant son^ fled into the fortress, 
the people took up arms, Giovanni Bentivogli, with a con- 
dottiere of the Duke of Milan, named Bergamino, engaged for 
the occasion, entered Faenza with a considerable force, and 



Antonio Boscoli, the Florentine commissary, was also there. 
These leaders being together, and discoursing of the govern- 
ment of the place, the men of Val di Lamona, who had risen 
unanimously upon learning what had occurred, attacked Gio- 
vanni and Bergamino, the latter of whom they slew, made the 
former prisoner, and raising the cry of " Astorre and the Flor- 
entines!" offered the city to the commissary. These events 
being known at Florence, gave general offence ; however, they 
set Giovanni and his daughter at liberty, and by the universal 
desire of the people, took the city and Astorre under their pro- 
tection. Besides these, after the principal differences of the 
greater powers were composed, during several years tumults 
prevailed in Romagna, the Marca, and Sienna, which, as they 
are unimportant, it will be needless to recount. When the 
Duke of Calabria, after the war of 1478, had left the country, 
the distractions of Sienna became more frequent, and after 
many changes, in which, first the plebeians, and then the nobil- 
ity, were victorious, the latter, at length, maintained the supe- 
riority, and among them Pandolfo and Jacopo Petrucci ob- 
tained the greatest influence, so that, the former being distin- 
guished for prudence and the latter for resolution, they became 
almost princes in the city. 

The Florentines after the war of Serezana lived in great 
prosperity until 1492, when Lorenzo de' Medici died; for he 
having put a stop to the internal wars of Italy, and by his wis- 
dom and authority established peace, turned his thoughts to 
the advancement of his own and the city's interests, and mar- 
ried Piero, his eldest son, to Alfonsina, daughter of the Cav- 
aliere Orsino. He caused Giovanni, his second son, to be 
raised to the dignity of cardinal. This was the more remark- 
able from its being unprecedented; for he was only fourteen 
years of age when admitted to the college; and became the 
medium by which his family attained to the highest earthly 
glory. He was unable to make any particular provision for 
Giuliano, his third son, on account of his tender years, and the 
shortness of his own life. Of his daughters, one married 
Jacopo Salviati; another, Francesco Cibo; the third, Piero 
Ridolfi ; and the fourth, whom, in order to keep his house united, 
he had married to Giovanni de' Medici, died. In his commer- 


cial affairs he was very unfortunate, from the improper conduct 
of his agents, who in all their proceedings assumed the deport- 
ment of princes rather than of private persons ; so that in many 
places much of his property was wasted, and he had to be re- 
lieved by his country with large sums of money. 

To avoid similar inconvenience, he withdrew from mercan- 
tile pursuits, and invested his property in land and houses, as 
being less liable to vicissitude. In the districts of Prato, Pisa, 
and the Val di Pesa, he purchased extensively, and erected, 
buildings, which for magnificence and utility were quite of 
regal character. He next undertook the improvement of the 
city, and as many parts were unoccupied by buildings, be 
caused new streets to be erected in them, of great beauty, and 
thus enlarged the accommodation of the inhabitants. To en- 
joy his power in security and repose, and conquer or resist his 
enemies at a distance, in the direction of Bologna he fortified 
the castle of Firenzuola, situated in the midst of the Apen- 
nines ; toward Sienna he commenced the restoration and forti- 
fication of the Poggio Imperiale; and he shut out the enemy 
in the direction of Genoa, by the acquisition of Pietra Santa 
and Serezana. For the greater safety of the city, he kept in 
pay the Baglioni, at Perugia, and the Vitelli, at Citta di Cas- 
tello, and held the Government of Faenza wholly in his own 
power; all which greatly contributed to the repose and pros- 
perity of Florence. In peaceful times, he frequently enter- 
tained the people with feasts, and exhibitions of various events 
and triumphs of antiquity, his object being to keep the city 
abundantly supplied, the people united, and the nobility 
honored. He was a great admirer of excellence in the arts, 
and a patron of literary men, of which Agnolo da Montepul- 
ciano,. Cristofero Landini, and Demetrius Chalcondylas, a 
Greek, may afford sufficient proofs. On this account. Count 
Giovanni della Mirandola, a man of almost supernatural gen- 
ius, after visiting every court of Europe, induced by the 
munificence of Lorenzo, established his abode at Florence. He 
took great delight in architecture, music, and poetry, many of 
his comments and poetical compositions still remaining. To 
facilitate the study of literature to the youth of Florence, he 
opened a university at Pisa, which was conducted by the most 


distinguished men in Italy. For Mariano da Chinazano, a 
friar of the order of St. Augustine, and an excellent preacher, 
he built a monastery in the neighborhood of Florence. He en- 
joyed much favor both from fortune and from the Almighty; 
all his enterprises were brought to a prosperous termination, 
while his enemies were unfortunate; for, besides the conspir- 
acy of the Pazzi, an attempt was made to murder him in the 
Carmine, by Batista Frescobaldi, and a similar one by Baldi- 
netto da Pistoja, at his villa; but these persons, with their con- 
federates, came to the end their crimes deserved. His skill, 
prudence, and fortune, were acknowledged with admiration, 
not only by the princes of Italy, but by those of distant coun- 
tries ; for Matthias, King of Hungary, gave him many proofs 
of his regard ; the sultan sent ambassadors to him with valu- 
able presents, and the great Turk placed in his hands Ber- 
nardo Bandini, the murderer of his brother. These circum- 
stances raised his fame throughout Italy, and his reputation for 
prudence constantly increased ; for in council he was eloquent 
and acute, wise in determination, and prompt and resolute in 
execution. Nor can vices be alleged against him to sully so 
many virtues ; though he was fond of women, pleased with the 
company of facetious and satirical men, and amused with the 
games of the nursery, more than seemed consistent with so 
great a character ; for he was frequently seen playing with his 
children, and partaking of their infantine sports; so that who- 
ever considers this gravity and cheerfulness, will find united 
in him dispositions which seem almost incompatible with each 
other. In his later years, he was greatly afflicted ; besides the 
gout, he was troubled with excruciating pains in the stomach, 
of which he died in April, 1492, in the forty-fourth year of his 
age ; nor was there ever in Florence, or even in Italy, one so 
celebrated for wisdom, or for whose loss such universal regret 
was felt. As from his death the greatest devastation would 
shortly ensue, the heavens gave many evident tokens of its ap- 
proach ; among other signs, the highest pinnacle of the Church 
of Santa Reparata was struck with lightning, and great part of 
it thrown down, to the terror and amazement of everyone. The 
citizens and all the princes of Italy mourned for him, and sent 
their ambassadors to Florence, to condole with the city on the 


occasion ; and the justness of their grief ^as shortly after ap- 
parent ; for being deprived of his counsel, his survivors were 
unable either to satisfy or restrain the ambition of Lodovico 
Sforza, tutor to the Duke of Milan ; and hence, soon after the 
death of Lorenzo, those evil plants began to germinate, which 
in a little time ruined Italy, and continue to keep her in deso- 



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