(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Pope Alexander VI and his court: extracts from the Latin diary of Johannes Burchardus;"

POPE ALEXANDER VI 

AND HIS COURT 



HISTORICAL MINIATURES 

A SERIES OF MONOGRAPHS 
Edited by Dr. F. L. Glaser 

VOL. I SCENES FROM THE 

COURT OF PETER 

THE GREAT 

Based on the Latin Diary of John 
G. Korb, a secretary of the Austrian 
Legation at the Court of Peter the 
Great. 

VOL. II POPE ALEXANDER 
VI AND HIS COURT 

Based on the Diary of Johannes 
Burchardus, Master of Ceremonies to 
Pope Alexander VI. 

VOL. Ill LIFE IN PARIS 
UNDER LOUIS XV 

Extracts from the Diary of Simeon 
Prosper Hardy, publisher and book- 
seller. 



POPE ALEXANDER VI 

AND HIS COURT 



EXTRACTS FROM THE LATIN DIAET OF 

JOHANNES BURCHARDUS 

>ti 

BISHOP OF OSTA AND CIVITA CASTELLAN A, 
PONTIFICAL MASTER OF CEREMONIES 



EDITED BY 

DR. F. L. GLASER 





NICHOLAS L. BROWN 
NEW YORK MCMXXI 



717 




ma 



COPYRIGHT, 1921 

BY 

NICHOLAS L. BROWN 



CONTENTS 



CHAPT 


EH 


PAGE 
y 


I 


DEATH AND FUNERAL OF SIXTUS IV 


1 


II 


THE CONCLAVE WHICH CHOSE INNOCENT 
VIII 


11 


III 


FIRST YEARS OF THE REIGN OF INNOCENT 
VIII 


19 


IV 


LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII .... 


35 


V 


ACCESSION OF ALEXANDER VI .... 


53 


VI 


CORONATION OF THE KING OF NAPLES . 


67 


VII 


KING CHARLES VIII IN ROME .... 


77 


VIII 


ALEXANDER AND His FAMILY 


85 


IX 


LIFE IN ROME UNDER THE BORGIAS . 


95 


X 


THE AGGRANDIZEMENT OF THE BORGIAS . 


105 


XI 


THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 


119 


XII 


FEASTS AND FEUDS IN ROME 


143 


XIII 


CLOSING YEARS OF ALEXANDER'S REIGN . 


157 


XIV 


DEATH AND FUNERAL OF ALEXANDER . 


179 



APPENDIX . .189 



INTRODUCTION 

" My dear Son : We have learned that your 
Worthiness, forgetful of the high office with which 
you are invested, was present from the seventeenth 
to the twenty-second hour, four days ago, in the 
Gardens of John de Bichis, where there were several 
women of Siena, women wholly given over to worldly 
vanities. Your companion was one of your col- 
leagues whom his years, if not the dignity of his 
office, ought to have reminded of his duty. We have 
heard that the dance was indulged in, in all wanton- 
ness. None of the allurements of love were lacking, 
and you conducted yourself in a wholly worldly man- 
ner. Shame forbids mention of all that took place, 
for not only the things themselves but their very 
names are unworthy of your rank. In order that 
your lust might be all the more unrestrained, the 
husbands, fathers, brothers and kinsmen of the young 
women and girls were not invited to be present. You 
and a few servants were the leaders and inspirers of 
this orgy. It is said that nothing is now talked of 
in Siena but your vanity which is the subject of 
universal ridicule. Certain it is that here at the 
baths, where churchmen and the laity are very nu- 
merous, your name is on every one's tongue." 



viii INTRODUCTION 

The words are taken from an admonitory letter of 
Pope Pius II to Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia better 
known to the world as Pope Alexander VI written 
in June, 1460, when the young cardinal had not yet 
reached the thirties, and reproving him for having 
arranged a bacchanalian feast in Siena. No words 
could better characterize the personality of Alexan- 
der VI, for they show him as the man of the world 
he was as Cardinal Borgia and remained after he 
had become Pope Alexander. 

The limelight of history has played in a rather 
oblique and unkind way on the Borgias. Pope Alex- 
ander^s personality has been distorted until he 
became a perfect monster; yet his greatest weak- 
ness was an easy freedom from moral scruples, and 
this might not have blurred his personal charm at all 
had he not become the tool of his son Cesare. More 
unjust still were most historians to his daughter Lu- 
cretia, who has been depicted as a kind of Messalina, 
although she was at the best the " indifferente " 
among the great women of her time, and at her 
worst a beauty without any will of her own. If it is 
the historian's task to distribute praise and blame, 
some of the latter may fall on Alexander's favorite 
son Cesare. Even if he was not such a perfect vir- 
tuoso of crime as he has been described, he certainly 
was not much better than some of the worst of his 
more prominent contemporaries. 

Thus in considering the rise and fall of the Borgia 



INTRODUCTION ix 

family one ought to keep in mind that the Borgias 
were after all the creatures of an epoch, rich in ex- 
traordinary personalities as few others in human his- 
tory have been. Before rendering judgment con- 
sideration must be given to the remarkably complex 
personalities of the Renaissance. The men and 
women of that epoch of transformation from the 
middle ages to modern times were so constituted that 
it was easily possible for them to turn from cruelty 
and crime and vice, from corruption and treachery, 
to religion with a fervid and impassioned sincerity. 
The Borgias, as will be seen, did not differ greatly 
from many of their contemporaries. To make them 
the scapegoats of their times shows, perhaps, a just 
indignation at their crimes, but little understanding 
of the conditions under which they lived. 

Bearing in mind these conditions and the remark- 
able rise of the House of Borgia, one will be better 
prepared to understand the personality of Pope 
Alexander who with all his faults was certainly not 
without redeeming features. " Of his ability, of his 
genius even," says Bishop A. H. Mathew, one of his 
recent biographers, " there can be no two opinions ; 
indeed if vigor of body and mind were all that was 
required of a pope, Alexander VI would have been 
among the greatest. He had a remarkable capacity 
for hard mental work, and his buoyant, jovial nature 
enabled him to bear his burden of vice and crime with 
a lightness impossible to a man of a less sanguine 



x INTRODUCTION 

disposition." Such was the complex personality of 
this typical man of the Renaissance. 

A fair estimate of Alexander VI must include in 
addition to his personal gifts and the complexities 
of his character a consideration of the remarkable 
rise of his family. It was from this source that he 
received a further impetus toward that most seduc- 
tive of all human temptations the abuse of power. 
The Borgias like the Bonapartes three centuries later 
in France were neither an old nor a native family. 
They had come from Spain where their ancestors had 
participated in the expulsion of the Moors in the 
thirteenth century, their family name being derived 
from their native place of Borjia on the borders 
of Aragon, Gastile and Navarre. 

But with the election of one of their family, Alonzp 
Borgia, as Pope Calixtus III, in the middle of the 
fifteenth century, they became prbminent in the af- 
fairs of the European world just at the moment 
when Italy, then the most advanced country of that 
continent, had cast off the fetters of mediaeval en- 
velopment and entered upon the most brilliant period 
of its cultural development. Calixtus III had been 
a professor of jurisprudence in Lerida in Spain, 
where he won the reputation of being one of the 
foremost jurists of his time. He had come to Rome 
as a legal adviser to King Alphonso of Naples. 
His knowledge and character and his extreme age 
which made it certain that he would not be long in 



INTRODUCTION xi 

the way of other aspirants to the papal tiara finally 
secured his elevation to the highest place in Christen- 
dom. 

In contrast to the other papal elections of the 
time the nomination of Calixtus III was not accom- 
panied by the sneering remarks which such occa- 
sions usually called forth. Although his reign lasted 
only three years he managed to secure a firm foot- 
ing for the Borgia family in the Roman hierarchy. 
He may indeed be considered as one of the initiators 
of nepotism in the papacy, and the first ruler of 
the Roman church, who founded a kind of family 
dynasty through the promotion of his nephews. 
Two of these, Luis and Rodrigo Borgia (later Pope 
Alexander VI) became cardinals, while a third who 
was not a priest was promoted to the captaincy- 
general of the papal state and created duke of Spo- 
leto. The latter, as prefect of Rome, had also to 
keep in check the old families of the Colonna and 
Orsini, the traditional enemies of the papal rule in 
the Holy City. 

While Calixtus III kept on the defensive against 
his enemies in the city of his residence, he followed 
the papal tradition of crusading against the Turk. 
The latter had just taken possession of Constanti- 
nople and made it his capital. The power of the 
Turkish empire was spreading in South-Eastern 
Europe, and to war against it Calixtus brought 
great sacrifices, selling the jewels of the papal treas- 



xii INTRODUCTION 

ury and other possessions of the Church. For an- 
other and greater phenomenon of his time, the 
Renaissance in Italy, Pope Calixtus had no under- 
standing. The humanists complained that he never 
gave them a helping hand, and that he even sold the 
precious golden bindings of Greek manuscripts in 
order to finance his expeditions against the Turks. 
The successors of Calixtus III held other views. 
Literature and the arts flourished under their pat- 
ronage. Painters and sculptors, writers and sav- 
ants, thronged the papal Court. This intrusion of 
scantily disguised agnosticism into the heart of the 
church frightened the pious and the conservatives 
who heard the first rumblings of the Reformation. 
Paul II restored the pagan monuments of Rome, and, 
after the Medici of Florence, was the greatest col- 
lector of the time. The successor of Paul, Sixtus 
IV, went even further. The principal result of his 
reign was he secularization of the papacy. For 
Sixtus IV was a worldly prince in the full sense of 
the word. The aim of his policy was not even the 
extension of the power of the Holy See, but primarily 
the enrichment of his relatives and favorites. With 
his approval the Medici were murdered by the Pazzi 
family, a design which could not be accomplished 
completely and which finally reacted to the disad- 
vantage of the Pope himself. There was an in- 
creasing demand for a council which should depose 
this ruler of the church " without religion and con- 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

science who was called the Pope " ; a pious poet of 
the time wailed over the fact that everything was at 
sale in Rome : " Temples, priests, altars and even 
prayers, heaven and God." In August, 1484, Sixtus 
died, at the age of seventy, a martyr to gout and 
worn out with rage at the news of the peace which 
had been made between the Duke of Ferrara and the 
Venetians without his consent. 

In the eyes of the critics of the Holy See the reign 
of Innocent VIII (1484-1492) was no improve- 
ment. He was the first Pope who dared to acknowl- 
edge his son in public, and one of his chief aims 
was to procure him wealth and position. If Sixtus 
had secured money through the sale of spiritual 
indulgences and dignities, Innocent and his son ob- 
tained it through a bank of secular pardons where 
amnesty for murder could be had at high fees. A 
hundred and fifty ducats of every fine went to the 
papal treasury, the rest to the Pope's son, Frances- 
chetto Cibo. Special traps were set in Rome to 
catch the criminals who were able to pay the Pope 
for their misdeeds. In the meantime Innocent 
looked on complacently from his well-guarded palace 
at the increasing criminality in Rome. This Fran- 
ceschetto had only one aim in life, and this was to 
get the papal treasure-chests in his hands as soon 
as his father died. When in 1490 a false rumor 
spread that the Pope had died, he attempted in fact 
to carry off all the available cash of the papal 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

Camera. He even tried to take along the Turkish 
Prince Zizim who lived as a prisoner at the papal 
court, hoping to sell him at a high price to one of 
the many foreign rulers who were anxious to get pos- 
session of him. 

Rodrigo Borgia, who succeeded Innocent VIII 
two years after this incident, was born at Xativa, 
Spain, in 1431, and became a priest in 1468. The 
man of the world, who was so admired in his later 
life, was foreshadowed in the boy, for at the age of 
scarcely eight years he was conspicuous in the streets 
of his home town for the grace and gallantry of his 
bearing. After having been educated at Valencia, 
he studied at the University of Bologna, and on his 
return to Spain he practiced successfully as an advo- 
cate. In 1456 Calixtus III bestowed the cardinal's 
purple upon his nephew, and a year later the impor- 
tant office of vice-chancellor of the Church of Rome 
was conferred on him. 

By the historian Gasparino of Verona the young 
Cardinal is thus described : " He is handsome ; of 
a most glad countenance and joyous aspect, gifted 
with honeyed and choice eloquence. The beautiful 
women on whom his eyes are cast he lures to love 
him, and moves them in a wondrous way, more 
powerfully than the magnet influences iron." It 
appears, however, that only three women played a 
prominent role in his life. The first was Vanozza 
dei Catanei, and in his later life the beautiful Giulia 



INTRODUCTION xv 

Farnese is openly mentioned as his mistress. In 
the intervening period his niece, Hadriana Orsini, 
seems to have had relations with him, but she 
patiently effaced herself when any other intimate 
acquaintance of Alexander was concerned. He 
never forgot Vanozza, whom he had met in his earlier 
life; she was born in 1442 and died in 1518, and was 
the mother of his dearest children. She always lived 
in magnificence, and enjoyed the possession of the 
various palaces which her lover had given her. 

At the time when he was still practicing law Rod- 
rigo Borgia made the acquaintance of a widow and 
her two daughters. He entered into intimate rela- 
tions with the mother, and after her death became 
guardian of the girls. One of these he sent to a 
convent; the other he made his mistress. This was 
Vanozza, who is described by contemporaries as a 
combination of voluptuous beauty, amiability, and 
shrewdness. He had five children by her, but he did 
not recognize them openly until after he became 
Pope. The oldest was Pedro Luis, first Duke of 
Gandia, who was born about 1467 ; Giovanni was 
born in 1474 and assassinated 1498 (see p. 89), and 
Cesare in 1476. The other two children were Donna 
Lucretia, born in 1480, and Don Jofre, born in 
1481. About 1480 Cardinal Borgia in order to 
cover up his relations with Vanozza and to lighten 
his own burden found a husband for her. He ob- 
tained a position as apostolic secretary for him from 



xvi INTRODUCTION 

Pope Sixtus IV. This is the only marriage men- 
tioned. 

None of Vanozza's contemporaries have given any 
clue as to the gifts that enabled her to hold the 
pleasure-loving cardinal so securely and to obtain 
for her recognition as the mother of several of his 
acknowledged children. She was of Roman origin 
and came from a middle-class family. " We may 
imagine her," says the historian Gregorovius, " to 
have been a strong and voluptuous woman like those 
still seen about the streets of Rome. They possess 
none of the grace of the ideal woman of the Umbrian 
school, but they have something of the magnificence 
of the imperial city Juno and Venus are united 
in them. They would resemble the ideals of Titian 
and Paolo Veronese but for their black hair and 
dark complexion, blond and red hair have always 
been rare among the Romans. But without doubt 
Vanozza was of great beauty and ardent passions; 
for if not, how could she have maintained her rela- 
tions with the cardinal ? " 

Rodrigo Borgia secured his accession to the Holy 
See by buying the necessary majority through prom- 
ises and bribery. A short while before the meeting 
of the Conclave, for instance, he had sent four mule- 
loads of silver to Cardinal Sforza's house on the pre- 
text that it might be more safely guarded there. 
After his election in 1492 he hurried on the same 
night to St. Peter's for the inaugural ceremonies. A 



INTRODUCTION xvii 

contemporary, Sigismondo de' Conti, said of the hew 
Pope : " Few people understand etiquette so well as 
he did; he knew how to make most of himself, and 
took pains to shine in conversation and to be dignified 
in his manners. In the latter point his majestic 
stature gave him an advantage. Also he was just 
at the age (about sixty) at which Aristotle says that 
men are wisest. Robust in body and vigorous in 
mind, he was admirably well equipped for his new 
position. He was tall and powerfully built, and, 
though his eyes were blinking, they were penetrating 
and lively ; in conversation he was extremely affable ; 
he understood money matters thoroughly." An- 
other contemporary, Hieronymus Portius, describ- 
ing him in 1 493, says : " Alexander is tall and neither 
light nor dark, his eyes are black and his lips some- 
what full. His health is robust, and he is able to 
bear any pain or fatigue. He is wonderfully elo- 
quent and a thorough man of the world." The 
celebrated Jason Mainus of Milan calls attention to 
his elegance of figure, his serene brow, his kingly fore- 
head, his countenance with its expression of generos- 
ity and majesty, his genius, and the heroic beauty 
of his whole presence. 

It was a happy combination of mind and body, 
and its power lay in the perfect balance of all its 
faculties. It was a personality which radiated 
serene brightness, for the picture often drawn of 
this Borgia, as a sinister monster, is not true to life. 



xviii INTRODUCTION 

Quite on the contrary, and unlike his son Cesare, says 
Bishop A. H. Mathew in his biography of Rodrigo 
Borgia, Alexander does not appear to have been 
wantonly inhuman although the prevalent belief that 
he poisoned * his cardinals when his treasury needed 
replenishing can neither be proved nor disproved 
(see p. 178). But he did not revel in cruelty as 
cruelty though he certainly never let any humane 
scruples stand in the way of his own advancement. 
He was not a tyrant in the ordinary sense of the 
word, being preserved from that vice as a rule by his 
natural geniality. 

The advancement of his family became, as the 
years of his reign went on, more and more the domi- 
nant passion of Alexander, but at the same time the 
organization of the Roman Curia was improved and 
the salaries of officials were paid punctually. The 
latter had not always been a custom under former 
Popes. The administration of justice in Rome and 
the Papal State was also made more effective, and in 
time of famine the poor were helped with supplies of 
corn from Sicily. " Nevertheless," admits Mathew, 
" the populace detested their Pope with a deadly 
loathing, and the fact that Rodrigo Borgia was 
permitted to occupy the throne of St. Peter for a 

1 The famous slow and effective white powder used by the 
Borgias was arsenic, and they probably used it more success- 
fully and perhaps more frequently than others of that period. 



INTRODUCTION xix 

space of ten years affords remarkable proof of the 
strength of the later mediaeval Papacy." 

In every day life Alexander VI is described of 
being genial and pleasant and fond of talking, so 
much so that he was almost incapable of keeping a 
secret. He was impetuous, but he rarely bore malice, 
and he had but little sympathy with the vindictive 
spirit constantly displayed by his son Cesare. Nat- 
urally unreserved and expansive, he never hid his 
joy at the success of his schemes. To inferiors he 
showed himself affable, and it is said that he " liked 
to do unpleasant things in a pleasant manner." Al- 
though religious formalities meant nothing to him, 
he was much concerned in ceremonies when they 
served his purpose. But to the rules of Lenten 
abstinence he paid little regard and at the solemn 
mass sung on the arrival in Rome of King Charles 
VIII of France he confused all the ceremonies. 
Nevertheless he cherished a particular devotion for 
the Blessed Virgin and in her honor he revived the 
custom of ringing the bells during the recantation of 
the Angelus thrice a day. One of his greatest de- 
lights was to watch beautiful women dancing. When 
Lucretia and the ladies of her court were engaged 
in this art, he was careful to summon the ambassa- 
dors of Ferrara so that they might watch his daugh- 
ter's grace, for he was anxious to see her married 
to the son of the duke. 



xx INTRODUCTION 

This plan he achieved in the year 1501 when Lu- 
cretia was married to Alphonso d'Este. After this 
marriage and until her death in 1519 Lucretia seems 
to have lived a comparatively quiet and happy life. 
During her earlier life she was much maligned and 
accused of many crimes ; as a matter of fact, she was 
always the tool of her father and brother. In 1493, 
at the age of thirteen years, she had been married to 
Giovanni Sforza, and a gorgeous banquet was given 
to celebrate the event. After spending a happy and 
careless year at her husband's beautiful estate of 
Pesaro, her marriage took a bad turn because the 
house of Sforza was fast losing its former prestige. 
Giovanni's life was threatened if he did not give up 
the Pope's daughter. In 1497 the final divorce was 
pronounced. Lucretia's attitude in the whole affair 
became the subject of much satire and criticism. 
But in the following year she entered into a second 
marriage with Alphonso Bisceglia, a natural son of 
King Alphonso II of Naples. Her husband was con- 
sidered " one of the most beautiful men of Italy," 
and was seven years younger than she. Threatened 
by the open hatred of Cesare Borgia, Alphonso flew 
from Rome during the following year, but returned 
a few months later with Lucretia, who was passion- 
ately enamored of her handsome husband. In the 
summer of 1500 Alphonso was wounded mortally by 
assassins who probably acted under orders of the 
Orsini family. Alphonso considered Cesare as the 



INTRODUCTION xxi 

real instigator of the assault, and shot at him as he 
left his house after calling on him and was cut to 
pieces by Cesare's guards. 

Lucretia was only a tool of the Borgias, father 
and son, but Cesare was the pride and center of 
the family. From 1497 on he was the real ruler 
of the Pontifical State, and Alexander frequently 
seems to have submitted to his will against his own 
better judgment. The crown of Italy was Cesare's 
ambition. The plottings of the Pope with the Kings 
of France and Naples and other Italian rulers had 
their origin in this wish, which burned more violently 
in the breast of this gifted and demonic son of 
Alexander than in that of other Italian tyrants of 
the time. Working toward this end the Borgias 
decided upon the annihilation of the prominent 
Italian families. The Gaetani and the Orsini were 
thus exterminated (see p. 171); the Colonnas and 
others were driven from their possessions. In the 
midst of this slaughter and assassination stood 
Cesare, and Alexander put all the money and influ- 
ence of the church at his disposal. 

Pope Sixtus IV already had favored young Cesare. 
Scarcely seven years old he received from him the 
income of the Cathedral of Valencia, two years later 
he was made provost of Abar; at the age of fifteen 
Innocent VIII created him Bishop of Pamplona. 
After the coronation of his father he became Arch- 
bishop of Valencia and a few years later a cardinal. 



xxii INTRODUCTION 

From the bishopric of Valencia Cesare drew an 
annual income of 16,000 ducats. But even under the 
then existing conditions he found priesthood too 
great an obstacle for his political ambitions, and he 
resigned the cardinalate to devote himself to his 
military and political plans. 

Before his excesses and the disease resulting from 
them disfigured him and forced him occasionally to 
wear a mask, he possessed great beauty and strength. 
He could cut off a bull's head with one stroke, he 
bent an iron bar and broke a horseshoe with his 
hands, and he tore a new rope. His strong body was 
graceful, and he was admired as an accomplished 
dancer and horseman. He loved precious clothes 
and rare weapons which are described at length in 
the diplomatic reports of the time; his sword was 
known as the king of swords. He remained always 
a Spaniard, preferring the Spanish tongue and pre- 
serving the proud senstitiveness of a Spanish grandee 
even in respect to the written word touching his per- 
sonality. The more jovial personality of Alexander 
permitted a remarkable freedom of expression, but 
Cesare persecuted all criticism directed against him 
with savage cruelty. When Alexander remarked 
that Rome was a free city where every one could 
write and say what he pleased, Cesare replied that 
he would make repent those who did so. If he suc- 
ceeded in seizing one who had written a Pasquinade 
against him he had his tongue sliced with a red-hot 



INTRODUCTION xxiii 

dagger and both his hands cut off. He frequently 
indulged in needless cruelty. One day he had six 
men brought in the street before St. Peter's, and 
they were hunted like game with crossbows in the 
closed street. Many murders were ascribed to him 
by his contemporaries ; a few of these have been 
proven to have been the deeds of others. Thus he 
was held responsible for the murder of his brother, 
Cardinal Giovanni Borgia, but it is more likely that 
this mysterious assassination was an act of revenge 
on the part of an offended husband. 

On account of his magnificent physique Cesare at- 
tracted women, but they played a much smaller role 
in his life than many of the sensational biographies 
would have us believe. Only one real love adventure 
is reported, and that was during the winter of 1500 
when he had his Spanish horsemen seize the wife of 
one of the captains of the Republic of Venice. The 
Republic sent a formal protest to Pope Alexander, 
who regretted the incident. But no word of protest 
was heard from Dorotea, the abducted wife, who a 
few years later wrote to the Republic of San Marco 
that she was willing to return to her husband in case 
good treatment would be assured her. There is also 
mentioned a strong and beautiful woman companion 
during one of his campaigns. Women may have been 
a certain distraction in his hours of leisure, but they 
meant little in his life. His marriage with Charlotte 
d'Albret, a sister of the King of Navarre, had lasted 



xxiv INTRODUCTION 

scarcely four months, when Cesare returned to Rome. 
He never saw his wife again nor did he ever see his 
daughter Louise born in 1500. His style of life 
was considered peculiar even in that time for he sel- 
dom rose before three o'clock in the afternoon and 
went to bed at the twilight of the morning. 

After the death of Pope Alexander the star of 
Cesare declined. A few weeks after Cardinal Giuliano 
Rovere had become Pope Julius II, Cesare was ar- 
rested and taken to Rome. He was set at liberty 
soon afterward, however, without the knowledge of 
the Pope and escaped to Naples, where he was seized 
again and sent to Spain. There he was kept under 
strict confinement in various castles, and his only 
recreation was flying his falcons and watching 
them as they seized upon their prey and tore it to 
pieces. In 1506 he again escaped and fell in battle 
the same year as the commander of an army of his 
brother-in-law, the King of Navarre. 

Thus ended the Borgias, father and son. Their 
graves are unknown. Their crimes have been exag- 
gerated, but the works of artists they encouraged and 
patronized are still extant. Raphael, Michelangelo, 
and Pinturicchio worked for the Borgias, and Coper- 
nicus lectured in Rome during the year of the jubilee 
on his new theory of the motion of the heavenly 
bodies. If this Pope has been called the most char- 
actertistic incarnation of the secular spirit in the 
papacy of the fifteenth century, it should be remem- 



INTRODUCTION xxv 

bered that the secularization of the papacy had be- 
gun with Sixtus IV and that it was as conspicuous 
under Innocent VIII as under Alexander VI. 



The minute descriptions in Burchard's Diary help 
us to understand the contradictory elements in the 
many-sided character of Alexander VI, and show it 
in its relations with politics, war, government, love, 
and religion. Of the description of Alexander's 
court in this Diary, Gregorovius, one of the fore- 
most authorities of the period, says : " Never did 
any chronicler describe the things about him so 
clearly and so concisely, so dryly, and with so little 
feeling things that were worthy of the pen of 
Tacitus. That Burchard was not friendly to the 
Borgias is proved by the way his diary is written. 
It is, however, absolutely truthful. This man well 
knew how to conceal his feelings, if the dull routine 
of his office had left him any. He went through 
the daily ceremonies of the Vatican mechanically and 
kept his place there under five popes. Burchard 
must have appeared to the Borgias as a harmless 
pedant ; for if not, would they have permitted him to 
behold and describe their doings and yet live? Even 
the little he did write in his Diary concerning events 
of the day would have cost him his head had it come 
to the knowledge of Alexander or Cesare. It ap- 
pears, however, that the diaries of the masters of 
ceremonies were not subjected to official censorship. 



xxvi INTRODUCTION 

Cesare would have spared him no more than he did 
his father's favorite, Pedro Calderon Perotto, whom 
he stabbed, and Cervillon (se p. 117), whom he killed 
both of whom frequently performed important 
parts in the ceremonies of the Vatican. Nor did 
Cesare spare the private secretary, Francesco 
Troche, whom Alexander VI had often employed in 
diplomatic affairs. There is no doubt that he was 
one of Lucretia's most intimate acquaintances. In 
June, 1503, Cesare had this favorite of his father 
strangled." This fate would have awaited the 
author of the present Diary had its existence ever 
come to the knowledge of the Borgias. Johannes 
Burchardus (or Burchard) was born near Strasburg, 
in Alsace, in the middle of the fifteen century. Des- 
tined for the Church, he was educated from his earli- 
est childhood in an ecclesiastical environment. 
Instead of following a course of theology which then 
required ten years' close study to obtain the Doctor's 
degree, Burchard, practical man that he was, chose 
an easier way, that of the law, where the course of 
study was only four years, and the hope of honor 
and fortune equally sure. Four years after having 
received his Doctor's cap he indeed succeeded with 
the help of friends in reaching Rome. Here advo- 
cates found a lucrative income in the numberless law- 
suits that were incessantly before the ecclesiastical 
courts. The pursuit of benefices, characteristic of 
the time, gave rise to numerous acts of injustice, and 



INTRODUCTION xxvii 

owners turned out of their rightful possessions did 
not give them up without a protest. 

Opportunity soon knocked at the door of the 
young lawyer at the Papal court. Agostino Pa- 
trizzi, assistant master of ceremonies and a friend of 
Burchard, longed to retire. Supported by Patrizzi's 
recommendation it was an easy matter for Burchard 
to secure the appointment, and in December, 1463, 
he was installed as a Clerk of the Ceremonies. As 
soon as he entered upon his office, Burchard resolved 
to note down all details relating to his duties, so as 
to have a guide for precedents of conduct. At first 
he confined himself to entering notes of little general 
interest. Later, seeing how much advantage there 
was in fuller accounts, he expanded his notes. The 
Diary really begins with the death of Sixtus IV, in 
August, 1484, and a striking account is given how 
the Pope was left dead and naked upon a table, while 
the officials and servants of his palace were carrying 
off everything upon which they could lay their hands. 

Innocent VIII, his successor, was at once besieged 
with petitions from the cardinals who had given him 
their votes. He signed everything without question, 
and in the wholesale distribution of grants and 
favors Burchard took care that he was not over- 
looked. Although a sceptic with regard to every- 
thing outside his own office, Burchard showed all the 
passion of a pedant in his observance of the cere- 
monial for which he was responsible. Lapses of eti- 



xxviii INTRODUCTION 

quette caused him acute annoyance. But it is just 
this pedantry which makes his diary especially valu- 
able. It is just the lymphatic, egotistic, unimagina- 
tive qualities in a man like Burchard that give his 
detailed narrative the stamp of truth, and there is 
little doubt that he is one of the most trustworthy 
contemporary witnesses. 

This is especially true of the outside dealing with 
the court of Alexander VI, for during this period 
he devotes increasing attention to political incidents 
and anecdotal sidelights. The part of the Diary cov- 
ering the reign of Innocent VIII has, of course, an 
interest and value for the special student of history, 
but it would scarcely have rescued the author's name 
from obscurity. 

The Diary not only gives an account of many of 
the important political events of the reign of Alex- 
ander, but also glimpses into the intimate daily life. 
There is the story of the supper which Cesare Borgia 
gave to fifty courtesans in his apartments at the 
Vatican in the presence of the Pope himself and his 
sister Lucretia. That this banquet actually took 
place cannot be doubted, for the Florentine orator, 
Capello, wrote a few days after the feast to the 
"Seignory : " The Pope has not been to St. Peter's of 
late, for the feast of All Saints, nor for All Souls, 
nor the chapel. They say that he has taken cold, 
but that fact did not hinder him on Sunday evening, 



INTRODUCTION xxix 

All Saints Eve, from sitting up until midnight with 
the Duke, who had invited courtesans and public 
women to the Vatican. They spent the night in 
dancing and rioting." 

Pius III had made Burchard Bishop of Orta and 
Civita Castellana, and other honors and offices were 
conferred on him under Julius II. But his health 
began to fail and the entries in the Diary became 
more condensed. On November 16th, 1505, he wit- 
nessed the marriage of Laura Orsini, the daughter of 
Giulia Farnese and Pope Alexander, with Nicholas 
della Rovere, nephew to Pope Julius II. " The adul- 
terous wife," says Paris de Grassis, a colleague of 
Burchard, " the mistress of Pope Alexander VI, the 
butt of all the satirists of Rome and Italy, now 
entered the Vatican as the most distinguished woman 
in the Roman aristocracy, for the purpose of uniting 
her daughter with the Pope's nephew. The late 
Pope seemed thereby absolved from all his crimes." 

In March, 1506, Burchard went to Viterbo to take 
the waters, where the famous spring of Bulicame at- 
tracted the fashionable society of the neighborhood 
and the great prelates of the Roman Court. It was, 
moreover the resort of the demimonde of Rome, the 
" honest courtesans," as Burchard calls them in his 
Diary. His office soon called him again and he 
superintended the ceremony of laying the foundation 
stone of the Basilica of St. Peter, and in May, 1506, 



xxx INTRODUCTION 

he died. " His end was melancholy " was the com- 
ment of a friend who added a few lines to the Diary 
whose last entry was made on April 27th, 1506. 

This Diary remains, as Bishop A. H. Mathew 
points out, the most valuable record we possess of the 
history of the Popes at the end of the fifteenth cen- 
tury and the beginning of the sixteenth. The his- 
torians of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries used it as the main source of their informa- 
tion, but up to the second half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury only extracts of the Diary, from manuscripts 
in various libraries, were published. One of these 
extracts was brought out in 1696 by the philosopher 
Leibnitz under the title: Specimen Historiae Ar- 
canae, sive anecdota de vita Alexandra VI Papae. 
In 1854 Achille Gennarelli published in Florence an 
account of the pontificate of Innocent VIII and the 
first two years of that of Alexander VI. But the 
obstacles placed in his way by the government of 
the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the annoyances to 
which he was subjected, forced him to abandon the 
publication of the Diary, which had been copied as 
far as May 15th, 1494. 

In the years 1883-1885 L. Thuasne brought out 
in Paris the first complete Latin edition of Bur- 
chard's Diary in three volumes, based on the manu- 
scripts in the libraries of Paris, Rome and Florence. 
This edition was used in part for the English trans- 
lation of Burchard's Diary by Bishop A. H. Mathew 



INTRODUCTION xxxi 

of which, however, only the first volume, covering the 
years 1483-1492, has appeared (London, 1910). 
But even this translation is not absolutely complete, 
for in order to make the work not too cumbersome, 
minor details, such as long lists of names, or weights 
and sizes of wax candles or repetitions in documents 
and the like, were omitted. 

In the present volume the omissions had to be made 
on a much larger scale, and all unessentials had to be 
eliminated. To give as comprehensive a picture of 
the times as possible some of Burchard's entries dur- 
ing the reigns of Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII have 
been included, and in these use has been made of 
Bishop A. H. Mathew's translation. 

The editor's aim throughout has been to make 
available to a larger public the treasures hidden 
away in the endless details of the diary, and he hopes 
that in the passages selected he has succeeded in con- 
veying to the reader the characteristic features of a 
remarkable period and its complex personalities as 
recorded by a contemporary. 

F. L. GLASER. 

New York, March, 1921. 



POPE ALEXANDER VI 
AND HIS COURT 



THE DEATH AND FUNERAL OF POPE 
SIXTHS IV 

QJEEING that it behooves a Master of the Cere- 
^-J monies to pay heed to individuals, I, John 
Burchard, Clerk of the Ceremonies in the chapel of 
His Holiness our Lord the Pope, will note below the 
things which happened in my time and appeared to 
be connected with ceremonies, together with, at least, 
some external affairs, so that I may the more read- 
ily give account of the office entrusted to me. 

On the fourth Sunday in Advent, on the 21st of 
December, 1483, the feast of St. Thomas the 
Apostle, I was received as Master of the Ceremonies 
by the Reverend Father in Christ, Lord Adriano, 
Bishop of Ardicino della Porta. But I was ad- 
mitted to the conduct of the ceremonies much later, 
that is on the 26th day of the month of January, 
1484, by the authorities of the Apostolic Church, 

1 



2 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

in place of the Reverend Father in Christ, Lord 
Agostino Patrizi Piccolomini, Canon of Siena, who 
was afterwards appointed to the churches of Pienza 
and Montalcino, and who retired from this post and 
office ; and when his resignation was accepted, I was 
prepared for the post by these same authorities, 
through the most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, 
Sixtus IV, Pope by Divine Providence. 

And for this I paid the aforesaid Lord Bishop 
of Pienza, together with the attendant expenses, 
a total of about 450 ducats, in gold of the Camera. 

On Sunday, the 30th of May, 1484, the Lord Giro- 
lamo Riario, Count and Captain-general of the 
Holy Roman Church, and Gentilio Orsini, together 
with their men to the number of 3,000 or there- 
abouts, during the night surrounded the residence 
of the Very Reverend Father and Lord in Christ, 
Lord Giovanni of Santa Maria in Aquiro, com- 
monly known as Cardinal-Deacon Colonna. The 
Cardinal's men who were within, bravely defended it 
for the space of about two hours. At length over- 
come by the count's men, who rushed in from the 
back and sides, they fled from the house. The 
count's men entered and plundered the house com- 
pletely stripping it of all that was in it, even to the 
doors and windows. Finally they set fire to it and 
burned the residence and chambers of the cardinal, 
taking prisoner the Lord Lorenzo Colonna, prothon- 
otary of the Apostolic See, together with several 



THE FUNERAL OF POPE SIXTUS IV 3 

others, whom they brought to the Castle of San 
Angelo, where they kept them until they died. 

On the same evening Pietro Valle and all his peo- 
ple fled from their houses and left them empty. 

On Wednesday, the 1st of June, 1484, the Rever- 
end Father and Lord the Prothonotary de Albergati 
of Bologna, governor of the city, together with 
Giovanni Francesco, the sheriff, and a great com- 
pany of armed men and Lombards, appeared before 
the houses of the de Valle, where by order of the 
governor, the Lombards climbed to the roofs and 
stripped them off one after the other. With the 
exception of two they broke them all in. Some of 
the houses they practically razed to the ground, 
others were less injured, but none remained whole 
after these attacks. 

On Wednesday, the 30th of June, 1484, the Rev- 
erend Father, Lord Lorenzo Colonna, prothonotary 
of the Apostolic See, who was in Holy Orders and 
in about the fortieth year of his age, was beheaded 
in the morning in the court within the first wall of 
the Castle of San Angelo. The Counts Girolamo 
and Gentile Virginio, so they say, stood and watched 
from the balcony of the castle. The corpse was then 
placed into an open wooden chest, in which it was 
to be buried, and the head was placed in position. 
The corpse was borne from the aforesaid castle to 
the Church of Santa Maria in Transpontina, where 
it could be reviewed by all who wished. Afterwards, 



4, POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

during the night, it was brought to the Church of 
the Twelve Apostles, and given over to the Church 
for burial. 

On Friday, the 2nd of July, 1484, in the morning, 
Giromalo, Count and Captain of the Church, to- 
gether with his men, artillery, two large battering- 
engines and several small ones, went forth from the 
city to pitch his camp on the lands of the Colonna 
in order to besiege them, and he inflicted great 
injury upon them. 

At the same time the Lord Domenico de Alber- 
gatis, prothonotary of Bologna, governor of the 
city, died from grief, it was said, at the downfall 
of the house of the Valle. The obsequies were per- 
formed in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. 

On Thursday, the 12th of August, 1484, between 
the fourth and fifth hour of the night, or thereabouts, 
in the Vatican at St. Peter's, in an upper chamber, 
above the court in front of the library, there died 
our Most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, Lord 
Sixtus IV, Pope by Divine Providence. May the 
Almighty of His goodness deign to have mercy on his 
soul. Amen ! 

After his death, all the Most Reverend Lords, the 
Cardinals, who were present in the city, came to the 
palace, and passed through the chamber, wherein 
the deceased was lying on the bed, wearing a vest- 
ment over his cassock, a crucifix on his breast, his 
hands clasped together. 



THE FUNERAL OF POPE SIXTUS IV 5 

They paid profound respects to the deceased, such 
as are due from the cardinals ; then they entered the 
great court near the said chamber, for the purpose 
of discussing what should be done. 

The Bishop of Ceuta was appointed Captain, or 
Governor of the Capitol; the Bishop of Cervica, 
Captain of the Gate of the Palace of St. Peter; to 
each of the City Gates were appointed apostolic 
scriveners, together with solicitors and Roman citi- 
zens, and it was decided that all the princes, coun- 
tries and officials should be informed of the Pope's 
decease. 

Certain cardinals were appointed to guard the 
palace, and to transact any business which might 
present itself. After the fifth hour, Giovanni Maria, 
my colleague, called upon me at my house, and I 
went with him to the aforesaid palace to make 
the necessary arrangements for the burial of the 
deceased. But, prior to this, the Most Reverend 
Lord Vice-Chancellor had arrived at the palace, and 
according to custom he broke the seal used for the 
papal bulls, on which was engraved the name of 
the deceased pope. Then, when the cardinals had 
assembled in the aforesaid place, they stopped up 
the mouth, nostrils, ears and anus of the deceased 
with silk, dipped in balm. And, with the assistance 
of the regular penitentiaries of the Basilica of St. 
Peter, who meanwhile chanted the office for the dead 
in subdued, but distinct tones, standing round the 



6 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

corpse, they bore it away from this chamber to the 
lesser papal chamber, wrapped in the covering of 
the bed and in a certain cloth which formerly hung 
from the bed before the door of the aforesaid cham- 
ber, and there, about the tenth hour, they placed 
it naked in their midst, on a long table. The Abbot 
of San Sebastiano, the sacristan, had arranged a 
bier with torches, although that belonged rather to 
our office. 

All the other rites were performed immediately, so 
to speak, as soon as the deceased had been borne 
away from the chamber; for, from that hour, until 
the 6th, despite all my diligence, I could not obtain 
one towel, linen cloth, or any vessel in which to 
place the wine and water and fragrant herbs for 
cleansing the deceased Pontiff, nor could I find 
drawers or a clean shirt in which to clothe him, 
although I several times besought the Cardinal of 
Parma, Pietro of Mantua, Lord Accorsio, Gregorio 
and Bartolommeo della Rovere, Giorgio his private 
sweeper, and Andrea his barber, who were all his 
private chamberlains, and of his household, and who 
had received the best of treatment at his hands. At 
length the cook furnished me with hot water and a 
cauldron in which he was wont to heat the water for 
washing the dishes, and the aforesaid Andrea, the 
barber, sent for the basin from his shop. 

Thus the pope was washed, and since there was 
no linen cloth wherewith to dry him, I caused him 



THE FUNERAL OF POPE SIXTUS IV 7 

to be dried with the shirt in which he had expired, 
torn in twain. I could not change the drawers in 
which he died, and in which he was washed, for there 
were no others. He was clothed in a doublet without 
a shirt, and a pair of shoes of pink cloth, furnished 
by the Bishop of Cervica, who was also his groom 
of the bed-chamber, and, unless my memory fails 
me, a damask vestment, either red or white. In this 
I erred, for he should have been buried in the habit 
of St. Francis, to whose Order he belonged, worn 
over the holy pontifical vestments. And, since he 
had no rochet, we placed on him the holy vestments 
over the aforementioned things ; the sandals, amice, 
alb, girdle, and the stole crossed over his breast 
(because I could not procure a pectoral cross), the 
tunic, dalmatic, gloves, the precious white chasuble, 
the pallium, the simple mitre, and the signet-ring 
with its valuable sapphire which the sacristan said 
was worth 300 ducats. Thus vested, we laid him on 
the bier which we arranged on the aforementioned 
table, with cushions at his head, and a pall of bro- 
cade, in the midst of the aforesaid chamber. There 
he remained until the hour of burial. 

In the meanwhile, I entreated for wax candles, and 
with great difficulty about the fourteenth hour, these 
were produced to the number of twenty. When 
these had been brought, without any office having 
been said round the corpse, the crucifix and the 
acolytes going first, the penitentiaries and the cham- 



8 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

berlains carried the deceased as far as the first large 
court, that is to say, of the palace. Here were the 
canons and the beneficiaries and the clergy of the 
Basilica of St. Peter; from that place the aforesaid 
canons bore the deceased to the high altar. The 
procession passed over the staircase and through the 
court, the way by which the cardinals are wont to 
descend when they go out through the principal gate 
of the palace to the central court-yard ; thence, turn- 
ing in the direction of the steps of the Basilica, we 
entered the church. 

The deceased was placed before the altar on the 
first step, next his head was placed towards the altar, 
and his feet outside the iron rails, in order that those 
who wished might kiss them, and the gates of the 
rails were closed. 

These were afterwards opened for a short time, 
and the deceased was placed nearer the altar, so 
that all could freely enter and depart, and some 
guardians were stationed there, lest his ring or any 
other possession should be stolen. He remained in 
that place until the first hour of the night, or there- 
abouts, when the shield-bearers bore him away, and 
we walked in front with the aforementioned twenty 
wax candles. Only eight cardinals followed. After 
them came the prelates, and the ambassadors, and a 
great many others. 

After the deceased had been carried, as stated, 



THE FUNERAL OF POPE SIXTUS IV 9 

into the church, the cardinals withdrew; some went 
to the aforementioned palace, while others went to 
their homes. 

When they had partaken of a refection, the car- 
dinals entrusted to me the ordering of a coffin in 
which to bury the pope, and the arrangement for his 
burial in his new chapel of the choir of the canons 
and clergy of the aforesaid Basilica, which the de- 
ceased himself had ordered to be built in the same 
Basilica, about the middle of the same chapel, facing 
the principal altar, in the center, as they declared 
that the deceased had himself chosen this place for 
his burial. I did this as I was ordered. 

About the first hour of the night of Friday, 13th 
August, the body of the deceased was borne from the 
choir of the principal altar by the clergy of the said 
Basilica in a procession to the place of burial, and 
it was buried with all the vestments, precious ring 
and chasuble aforesaid. There, as it lay in the 
tomb, in a long, wide coffin of nut-wood, which I had 
ordered, Lord Achilles, Bishop of Cervica, who was 
the only prelate there, together with a few clergy, 
chanted the Miserere and a prayer. He sprinkled 
the deceased and the tomb with holy water, and we 
immediately covered the corpse with the pall. Then, 
according to the command and express injunction of 
the College of the Most Reverend Lords the Cardinals, 
I forbade the canons and the clergy of the aforesaid 



10 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Basilica, under penalty of being deprived of their 
benefices, to allow any man to touch the deceased, 
or to remove the said signet-ring, or the chasuble, or 
anything else. 



II 

THE CONCLAVE WHICH CHOSE 
INNOCENT VIII 

ON the last days (of August, 1484) the Very 
Reverend Lords, the Cardinals, wishing to ap- 
point four suitable persons as guardians of the 
palace and of the conclave, as is the custom, com- 
manded me through the Very Reverend Lord Vice- 
Chancellor to write down the names of the prelates 
of the Court and the ambassadors of the different 
nations, and to present the list to them, those whom 
they wished to have as guardians. And this I did. 

But we will briefly add how the arrangement of 
the food and drink of the Very Reverend Lords, the 
Cardinals, was managed, together with a description 
of certain other things which were done in the con- 
clave. 

On behalf of the Very Reverend Lords, the Car- 
dinals, before they entered the conclave, places situ- 
ated near the palace, in which the conclave was to 
be held, were chosen and arranged. In these places 
were the masters of the courts and the cooks of the 
cardinals themselves, who prepared each meal. 

Moreover, about the hours of luncheon and supper 

11 



12 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

the magistri domorum, the treasurers, came to the 
above-mentioned places from the houses of the car- 
dinals, bringing wines, and with them came some of 
the chaplains, shield-bearers, and others, who were 
guarding the palaces of the cardinals. Then, when 
the hour had come, the shield-bearers walked in front, 
two by two, and the chaplains followed in their order, 
with stable-boys, one before and the other behind, 
who bore between them on their shbulders wooden 
vessels slung on a stick, containing the food and 
drink and bread of the cardinals. 

When they arrived at the door of the second watch 
of the palace, the shield-bearers and the chaplains 
remained there together with the major-domo, and 
the stable boys with the wooden vessels went up the 
staircase as far as the third or fourth watch, and 
there, outside the door of the conclave, they set down 
the wooden vessels. This kind of wooden vessel has 
a lid with two keys, the one like unto the other; of 
these, the master of the court kept one, and the other 
was in the possession of those in the conclave who 
attended upon each Very Reverend Lord Cardinal. 

The former, when he had placed the food and 
wine in the wooden vessel, having first made a list 
of each thing, closed the wooden vessel with the key, 
and, in the manner above described, despatched it 
to the conclave. There were two of these wooden 
vessels of which one was sent in the manner above 
described, and the other which was in the conclave 



INNOCENT VIII 13 

was returned, and in this all the things taken out 
from the one that remained outside were placed, these 
things having been handed into the conclave through 
the hatch, and then each vessel was replaced in the 
chamber of the cardinal to whom it belonged. 

I, or my colleague, summoned the members of 
the conclave of that cardinal to whom the wooden 
vessel belonged, and, when they approached with his 
empty wooden vessel, I opened the hatch of the 
door from within, and those of the fourth watch 
opened it from without, and the members of the con- 
clave themselves from within, held out the wooden 
vessels to the custodians, who, when they had opened 
each wooden vessel, drew out everything from it and 
placed it upon the small table which stood in readi- 
ness there, near the door of the conclave; and there 
one of the custodians, appointed for this purpose by 
the others, inspected each, turning over the middle 
of the loaves and the soup, cutting open the fowls, 
tearing asunder the joints, the loaves and the tarts, 
whenever it seemed good to them, and looking through 
the glass bottles or decanters of wine. For the 
wine was sent or carried in uncovered glass bottles, 
not in flasks or any other vessel. But the soup was 
sent in as small jars as possible. 

When they had carefully inspected each of the 
vessels the guardians themselves handed them to us 
clerks of the ceremonies through the hatch of the 
door. Moreover, we on receiving them placed them 



14 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

on our great sideboard, where the members of the 
conclave who were waiting received them, each plac- 
ing them in his wooden vessel which he held in readi- 
ness there, wherein each of them carried the victuals 
to his chamber. When the food for supper arrived 
in the evening, the members of the conclave set forth 
vessels of silver and glass which they had taken in 
the morning upon our sideboard in the conclave and 
I returned them empty to the stable-boys who were 
waiting from without. But we clerks of the cere- 
monies placed the bread and the wine and the salt 
meats, and other things that would keep in our ves- 
sels which we had brought to the conclave for this 
purpose. Moreover, I had brought a small bottle 
in which to collect the wine, and a big basket for the 
bread and the like, and this I placed in the chamber 
of the doctors, which led to the privies in the corner 
near the door of the conclave. But the other 
things, that is to say, the soups, joints or fresh fish 
and the like, which were left over, we gave to the 
aforesaid custodians, and I did the same in the morn- 
ing with regard to the vessels received in the eve- 
ning. 

The stable-boys or the other servants of the car- 
dinals waited near the second watch in the morning 
and in the evening, and they were informed by us 
and by the custodians at what hour the food should 
be brought, and when they had been informed they 
brought it, and not before ; for a fixed time could not 



INNOCENT VIII 15 

be assigned to them because the cardinals dispatched 
their business sometimes sooner, sometimes later. 
The aforesaid custodians did not deal with the said 
food in any given order, but he who came first with 
the food was the first to be released, whether he were 
first or last in importance or whether he were the 
familiar of any cardinal whatsoever. The same cus- 
todians appointed between themselves every day, two 
of the fourth watch, one for lunch and the other 
for supper, to examine the food in the fashion de- 
scribed above, whilst the others assisted him. No 
member of the conclave at any time, or for any cause 
whatsoever, was admitted to the hatch, whether this 
were open or closed, even for the purpose of speaking 
to any one from without, except with the express leave 
of the college. If any letters camfc to the college, 
which could not be received through the opening of 
the hatch, we opened the hatch, and having taken ,th^ 
letters we quickly closed it again. But we gave thfi X 
letters, I, or my colleague, to the College of Car- 
dinals, if they were all assembled together, or we told s **V ,^ 
two or three of the senior cardinals that we had, 
letters for the college, and that, if it pleased them, 
we could give them to the Dean of Cardhials. 

But, if any one from outside desired to send infor- '"*. 
mation within, he spoke with the hatch closed, and* 
one of us two, having heard what he^ had to say*/ . *' 
referred it to the Dean of the Cardinals^ and to three 
or four of the other cardinals, he being also notified* 



K 



16 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

of this. When the hatch was opened to take in the 
food and to send forth the vessels, he took great 
care to prevent any member of the conclave, not only 
from approaching the hatch, but also from making 
any sign, which would be received from any one from 
without. When the sacristan celebrated a public 
mass, all the members of the conclave, or those who 
wished, might hear the said mass, but they must 
stand outside the doors of the smaller chapel in 
which mass was celebrated, which doors led into the 
first and second court of the conclave, and, whilst 
mass was being celebrated, no man knocked at the 
door of the conclave. Likewise, whilst the votes were 
being examined, when mass was over, and when the 
stools had been arranged for each of the cardinals 
with a folio of papyrus, paper, and reed-pen, ink 
and two or three small candles, all returned to the 
larger chapel, in which they were all confined by us, 
the clerks of the ceremonies, the cardinals being in 
congregation. I guarded the door of the first court, 
so that, between the third court, in which the con- 
gregations were held, and myself, there was the 
second middle court, and, when they wished to sum- 
mon me, one or other of the cardinals rang the bell; 
some took their meals alone in their cells, others 
with two, three, or four others, or several together. 
When luncheon was over, on the aforesaid Satur- 
day, August 28th, various intrigues were set on foot, 
and at length the votes of about seventeen of the 



INNOCENT VIII 17 

Very Reverend Lords, the Cardinals, were given in 
favor of the Very Reverend Lord Cardinal of Mol- 
fetta, who, the following evening, before the sixth 
hour of the night, began, at the request of certain 
of the cardinals, to sign petitions in his chamber; 
having knelt down on one knee, he signed the petitions 
placed before him on a certain small box; some of the 
cardinals who were asking and waiting for these sig- 
natures stood round; while this was happening, the 
Very Reverend Lord Cardinal of Siena came up, 
and seeing this, he said, with a smile : " This is an 
inversion of the right order of things ; the Pope is 
signing petitions on his knees, and we, the petitioners, 
stand upright." 

On Tuesday, the 29th of August, the day of the 
Decollation of Saint John the Baptist, very early in 
the morning, the Very Reverend Lord Cardinal of 
San Marco, from motives of piety, celebrated a 
public mass "in the small chapel, as indeed he did on 
the two following days ; thereupon, about the tenth 
hour, when all the cardinals were standing in order 
in the aforementioned small chapel in their capes 
and with their croziers as on the day before, our 
sacristan celebrated the mass of the Holy Ghost with 
commemoration of the faithful departed, as on the 
day before, and, when this was over, we prepared a 
small table and stools with their appurtenances, as 
on the day before, and we all went out of the same 
chapel, leaving the cardinals there alone, and all the 



18 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

members of the conclave were confined in the larger 
chapel. And, meanwhile, the latter put their posses- 
sions together, asked for their chambers, and each 
one collected all his things, with the exception of the 
members of the conclave of the Cardinal of Molfetta, 
who left the chamber of their lord with the posses- 
sions of the members of the conclave. The cardinals 
in the small chapel made examination of the votes as 
on the day before, but there was no mention made of 
the accession. 

When the examination of the votes was over, it 
was found that the Very Reverend Lord Giovanni, 
of the title of Santa Cecilia, Cardinal-priest of Mol- 
fetta, had sufficient votes. Therefore, unanimously, 
by all the cardinals, and by the whole college 
of the said cardinals without any protest, he 
was admitted and received as Supreme Pon- 
tiff of the Holy Roman and Catholic Church, and 
as a sign of his admittance, the cardinals laid down 
their croziers before him, and invested him with the 
cape over the rochet. And they placed him in the 
magnificent seat of the chamber between the altar 
and the aforesaid small table, and they placed upon 
his finger the signet-ring of Pope Sixtus IV, of 
blessed memory, which ring the sacristan had in 
readiness for this purpose; and when he had been 
received as Pope, thus seated, he himself chose for 
himself the name of Innocent VIII, Pope. 



m 

THE FIRST YEARS OF THE REIGN OF 
INNOCENT VIII 

ON Sunday, the Fifth of Lent, the 20th of March, 
1485, the Pontiff, who was lying sick in bed 
in the room in which he generally slept, and clothed 
over his shirt in a robe reaching to the arms only, 
was visited by all the cardinals, by the Count of 
Dauphine, the Ambassador to the French King, and 
by Giovanni Maria, my colleague, and by me, and 
the private chamberlains, but by no other. When 
we were stationed in his presence, the Pope, holding 
the Rose 1 in his right hand, gave it to the Count of 
Dauphine aforesaid, who was kneeling by the bed, 
with these words from the book : " Accipe rosam," 
etc., as at the ceremonial. This done, the Count 
kissed the Pope's hand, but not his foot, because the 
Pope's feet were covered. The count then withdrew, 
and with him all the cardinals who further attended 
him as far as his lodging, that is, to the palace of the 
Orsini, in the Campo dei Fiori, he riding behind, as 
usual, between the two chief cardinal-deacons. 

iThe Golden Rose (Rosa Aurea), a rose made of gold and 
consecrated by the Pope, which is presented to such princes 
as have rendered special services to the church. 

19 



20 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

On Thursday, the 17th of November, 1485, the 
Reverend Father in Christ, Achille Marescotto of 
Bononia, Bishop of Cervia, who on the preceding 
Saturday, the 12th of this month, had returned in 
health and spirits to the city, and on the preceding 
Tuesday, the 15th, had fallen ill of the plague, on 
the night of this day breathed his last. On the same 
night he was in the Basilica of St. Peter handed 
over for ecclesiastical burial with no ceremonies. 
May his soul rest in peace. 

On Friday, the 22nd of September, 1486, before 
the hour of the consistory, on the space above the 
steps, before the Basilica of St. Peter, upon a plat- 
form erected for the purpose, were assembled the 
following persons: the Reverend Father Tito, Lord 
Bishop of Castres in the Patrimony, vested in amice, 
alb, girdle, stole, red cope and plain mitre, seated 
on a folding-stool; the Reverend Father Pietro di 
Vicentia, Lord Auditor of the Apostolic Chamber of 
the Court of Causes; N. di Parma, fiscal procurator; 
and several others, with Friar Gabriel di Fontaria of 
Piacenza, a professed religious of the Order of the 
Canons Regular of St. Augustine, one who has re- 
ceived all the orders, up to and including that of 
priest. Wearing his vestments, and standing facing 
the people, the Lord Giacomo, the notary, read the 
summary of the process against the said Gabriel, and 
the sentence pronounced against him, and the com- 
mission for his degradation. When these had been 



FIRST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 21 

read, the said Lord Bishop degraded him, in accord- 
ance with the order given in the Pontifical, upon the 
strength of the commission given. 

After he had been degraded, the apparitor led 
him away to the Castle of Soldano, and on Saturday, 
23rd September, about one o'clock, the said degraded 
person was hanged in the Campo dei Fiori, suffering 
the death penalty with great patience and devotion, 
as the witnesses reported. At the head of the cord 
by which he was hanged was fastened gold foil, as a 
sign that he was a noted robber. 

The same morning, in the Campidolio, was hanged 
for theft a certain Jew, who had become a Christian. 
He refused to have the cross before him, or a Chris- 
tian to comfort him in the faith of Christ, but wished 
to die in Judaism, and thus he was hanged and died. 
His accomplice, another Jew, also in prison, ought 
to have been hanged with him, but he threw himself 
into the sewer, from which he was taken out alive 
on the same day, and then was also hanged. 

On the Second Sunday in Advent, 10th December, 
1486, in the larger chapel the Reverend Father in 
Christ, Lorenzo, Lord Archbishop of Benevento, 
celebrated the solemn mass in cardinal's vestments, 
as was done at the first Sunday. The Pope and the 
cardinals were present. Four prayers were recited: 
the first, of the day; the second, Deus, qui salutis, 
etc. ; the third, against the heathen ; the fourth, for 
the Pope. 



22 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

The Procurator of the Order of Friars Minor 
preached the sermon, concerning which there was a 
great dispute between him and the Master of the 
Palace. For the Master of the Palace had told me 
not to allow him to preach, because he had not shown 
him the sermon first. He excused himself, saying 
that he had only returned to the city in the evening 
of the day before yesterday, and this morning, when 
he sought him at his house, he could not find him. 
The Cardinal of S. Pietro in Vincoli, protector of 
the Order of Minors, said to the Master of the 
Palace that the procurator was an approved man, 
allow the procurator to preach. The master afore- 
said had previously, however, come over to this view, 
and therefore he ought not to trouble. At length I 
asked our Most Holy Lord, who said that I should 
in the opinion of the Most Reverend Lord Cardinal 
aforesaid, although he did not give his consent. All 
the other observances were as usual. 

I think that the procurator did not show his ser- 
mon to the master because of what he intended to 
say; for he said in it that the Blessed Virgin Mary 
was conceived without original sin, which is in ac- 
cordance with the doctrine of the Scotists, but con- 
trary to that of the Thomists, to which latter party 
the Master of the Palace belongs. 

On the Fourth Sunday in Advent, the Vigil of the 
Nativity of Our Savior, 24th December, I486, the 
Pope came to the chapel with only four cardinals, 



FIRST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 23 

the Cardinal of Naples and three deacons. The Car- 
dinal of Naples held the boat for the incense, as there 
was no priest. Then the priests came and there 
were all the usual observances. The cardinals made 
the reverence, and wrongly, for they were to make 
it the same evening, and it ought not to be made 
twice in a day ; it was done, however, inadvertently. 
There was no sermon. The mass ended, because I 
was hindered with the pax, and my colleagues did 
not notice. No indulgence was asked for, nor was 
one granted by the Pope. No one noticed, however, 
and therefore there was no blame nor scandal what- 
ever. 

On Thursday, 24th May, 1487, the Feast of the 
Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Most Rev- 
erend Lord Cardinal of St. Clement performed the 
office in the Basilica of the chief of the Apostles in 
white vestments, the Pope being present. The Duke 
of Ferrara bore the borders of the Pope's cope to 
the steps of the palace, where the Pope ascended his 
chair, and was carried in state to the Basilica afore- 
said in the usual way. 

Before the entrance of the aforesaid Basilica were 
kneeling naked two citizens of Bononia. One of 
these, several months before, when Officer of Justice 
of the State of Bononia, had caused two priests, 
one secular, the other a regular, member of the Order 
of St. Francis, who were condemned to die by his 
sentence, to be taken and hanged for their crimes. 



24 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Because they were not under his jurisdiction our 
Most Holy Lord had deprived him of this and all 
his offices, and had caused his officials to be punished 
with fitting penalties. Of these, four have recently 
done penance, and one was here with his superior 
this morning. Around these two men there stood, 
vested in priestly vestments, all the penitentiaries 
of the aforesaid Basilica, holding rods or staves in 
their hands, and smiting them whilst reciting the 
psalm, Miserere mei Deus, to the end. When it was 
ended one of these penitentiaries admonished them 
in the usual words. Then our Most Holy Lord laid 
upon the aforesaid penitents, as a penance, that of 
their own personal estate they should found in Bo- 
nonia one chapel, and endow it for one benefice, and 
sufficiently for one priest who should celebrate on 
each Sunday and Feast a mass in the chapel; this 
mass the first citizen should hear and be present at 
from beginning to end, kneeling and holding a lighted 
candle in his hand, and should pray and entreat God 
for the souls of the two priests whom, as told above, 
he had had hanged. This penance he accepted. 

On Thursday, the 28th of June-, 1487, the Vigil 
of the Apostles Peter and Paul, there were solemn 
pontifical vespers in the Basilica of the chief of the 
Apostles. The cardinals and all the clergy came 
from the robing-room to the said Basilica in their 
vestments, and wrongly, for they ought to have come 
in their capes, and after the cardinals had made the 



FIRST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 25 

reverence in their capes they and the clergy ought 
then to have taken their vestments. 

But the cardinals desired to come in this way. I 
could not prevent this, but I would not allow them 
to bear the baldacchino over the Pontiff until they 
carried the censer and the candlesticks into the 
Basilica. The cardinals only made the reverence, 
and not the clergy, in the usual way. After the rev- 
erence, the Pope began the vespers. The other ob- 
servances were conducted as usual, except that some 
of the cardinals wished to come in their vestments 
and to escort our lord, so that from the one unfit- 
ting circumstance several others resulted. They 
came outside the Basilica, and there they laid aside 
their vestments and took their capes, and wrongly. 
Though I saw it I could not resist their pleasure 
and passed the matter over in silence. 

On Friday, the 29th of June, 1487, the Feast of 
the Apostles Peter and Paul, our Most Holy Lord 
came to the church in procession under the baldac- 
chino in the morning, escorted by the cardinals and 
clergy in their vestments and by the officials in white. 
This and everything else was carried out this morn- 
ing in the usual way. Water was brought to the 
Pontiff for washing his hands : firstly, by one of the 
ambassadors of the King of England; secondly, by 
a senator; thirdly, by the Count of Tendilla, the 
ambassador of the King of Spain; fourthly, by the 
Emperor of Constantinople. 



26 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

On Monday, the 4?th of February, 1488, there was 
a public consistory in the first and larger hall of the 
Apostolic Palace at which the four ambassadors of 
the Most Serene King Maximilian did homage and 
reverence to our Most Holy Lord in the name of 
the king and his son Philip, for the dukedoms of 
Austria and Burgundy, and other of his principali- 
ties and dominions. 

This done, the two deacon-cardinals came to assist 
our Most Holy Lord while all the other cardinals and 
clergy remained in their places. There then entered 
the consistory and passed on to the second hall about 
a hundred Moors, each with large iron rings on their 
necks, and all bound together with a long chain and 
ropes, and dressed all in the same costume. These 
were followed by an ambassador of the King and 
Queen of Spain, who knelt before our Most Holy 
Lord, kissing his foot only, and presented the letters 
of the aforesaid king and queen, written in the Span- 
ish tongue. The Reverend Father Antoniotto, Lord 
Bishop of Auray, the datary, read these letters 
aloud, to the effect that the King and Queen of Spain 
were sending to His Holiness a hundred Moors, a 
part of the spoils taken in their victory of the pre- 
ceding summer over the King of Granada, which 
Moors they presented as a gift to His Holiness, and 
offered, moreover, to send others should it so please 
His Holiness. 



FIRST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 27 

On Tuesday, the 10th of March, 1489, the Rever- 
end Jean, Lord Bishop of Aubusson, Cardinal of 
Angers, with others brought it about that Zizim, 1 
brother of the great Turk, came to Rome. This 
Zizim, fleeing from the wrath and persecution of 
his brother, came to the Island of Rhodes in the 
year 1480, or thereabouts, under the safe conduct of 
the Grand-Master of the Knights of Jerusalem. 

Hence, for his own greater safety, because his 
brother had sought in many ways and was daily seek- 
ing to take his life, Zizim had been sent into France 
by the Reverend Lord Pierre of Ghent, grand-master 
of the knights aforesaid, first to Bouillon, then to 
Bourgneuf, the castle which he had inherited from 
his father. Thence, under the escort of his nephew, 
Guido de Blanchefort, Prior of Alvernia, the prince 
came to Rome. 

On Friday, the 13th of March, 1489, about eight 
o'clock, Zizim, brother of the Sultan of Turkey, 
entered the city on one of the white horses called 
chinei. By command of the Pope he was met by the 
households of the cardinals without the clergy, that 
is to say, the chaplains and esquires only. In the 
same way the Pope's household came with only the 
chamberlains and esquires. Within the gate they 
all received him in their midst, removing and immedi- 
ately replacing their caps. But the Turkish prince, 
i See Appendix. 



28 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

who had his head covered after the fashion of his 
people with a large white turban, uncovered to no- 
body, but merely bowed slightly. 

The first of the household of each cardinal re- 
ceived him in some such words as these : " The Most 
Reverend My Lord the Cardinal by command of our 
Most Holy Lord the Pope, has sent this his house- 
hold, to meet Your Highness, rejoicing at your 
safe arrival," except the Lord Pietro, Spanish cauda- 
tory to the Most Reverend, the Lord Cardinal of 
San Marco, who welcomed him in some such form of 
words as this : " Most Serene Prince, the Most 
Reverend My Lord the Cardinal of San Marco, was 
filled with joy when he learned that your Highness 
was to come to the city : wherefore, to show the pleas- 
ure which he feels, he has sent his household to honor 
your entry. His Reverend Lordship prays God, the 
all-good, all-great and all-powerful, that Your 
Majesty's coming here may be happy and prosper- 
ous, and may have such result as all good men desire, 
and to this end he congratulates Your Highness upon 
your safe arrival, and at the same time places himself 
and all that he has, at your free disposal." 

After this reception, the Turkish prince afore- 
mentioned, rode between Francesco Cibo, son of our 
Most Holy Lord the Pope, who was on his right 
hand, and the Prior of Alvernia, nephew of the new 
cardinal, on his left ; and although a senator and 
several lay ambassadors, namely the ambassadors of 



FIRST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 29 

King Ferdinand, Venice and others, also kinsmen 
of the Pontiff, received the said Turkish prince, yet 
because the Prior of Alvernia, who claimed to be the 
ambassador of the King of France and to have charge 
of the said prince, would not give place to the senator 
and ambassadors, they all withdrew except the sena- 
tor, who rode before us. In this order we came to 
the Apostolic Palace, where the prince was enter- 
tained in the Apostolic apartments in which the 
emperor and kings and other great princes are re- 
ceived. The route was over the Bridge of Barto- 
lommeo, or the Island by the Ghetto, across the 
Campo dei Fiori straight to the aforesaid palace. A 
great crowd of people stood around and watched his 
entry. 

First rode the households of the cardinals, then 
the households of the knights, and the knights who 
had escorted the Turkish prince from France; the 
household of the prince, about ten in number, exclud- 
ing his other retainers, the chief of whom had at his 
right hand, the ambassador of the Sultan, of whom 
we shall speak below; the esquires of the Pope, the 
senator with certain nobles, the men-at-arms, the 
herald of the French king and of the masters of 
ceremonies. On my left was the interpreter of the 
Turkish prince, and the prince himself, who rode 
between Francesco Cibo and the prior aforesaid, the 
Turchopellerius of Rhodes, four of the nobles 
in the household of the prince, the Pope's cham- 



30 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

berlains, and all the Rhodians after the cham- 
berlain. 

The prince dismounted in the court of the palace, 
where the cardinals pass, and from there he went up 
through the great hall, and was conducted to the 
aforementioned apartments where he was entertained 
and guarded by the troops aforesaid. 

During the past months there came to the city an 
ambassador from the Grand Turk sent to the Pope 
on account of the Turkish prince received to-day. 
When he learned that the prince would make his 
entry into the city to-day, he went on horseback to 
meet him outside the Porta Portese, with his house- 
hold on foot, of whom there were about ten. For 
the Turkish prince was waiting on horseback near 
the city walls and the river outside the said gate for 
the hour appointed for his entry. The prior and 
Turchopellerius aforesaid went to meet this ambas- 
sador, who was waiting outside the said gate to pre- 
vent his approaching the prince; but when Fran- 
cesco Cibo learned that the ambassador wished to 
approach the prince, he gave orders that he should 
be allowed. 

Thereupon the prior and TwrchopeUerius afore- 
said commanded the retainers of the ambassador, who 
were holding their bows taut, though not with arrows 
to them, to lay aside their bows and so to approach 
unarmed, which they did. Then they came up, the 
ambassador on horseback and his men on foot, and 



FIRST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 31 

when he was within sight of the prince and about 
forty paces away, the ambassador got down from 
his horse, and with a very noble carriage, approached 
to within fifteen paces. Then coming forward about 
five paces, he bowed himself to the ground, touching 
it with his head upon the right side; then rising 
and coming forward three or four paces more, he 
knelt upon his right knee, touched the ground with 
his right hand, and then kissed his own hand. Then 
rising again and coming as many paces forward to 
the prince, he knelt before him and embraced his 
horse by the right or left foot, and the prince by his 
right foot, and at the same time he kissed the prince's 
foot. Then rising he kissed his right knee thrice, 
and when the prince stretched out his right hand to 
his neck he kissed his garments in the same way. 
All this the ambassador appeared to do so sincerely 
that he seemed to all to be weeping. But the prince 
made him no sign, but waited for him as a prince 
unmoved, and neither spoke a word to the other, but 
when the ambassador had made his salutations in 
a single word as he stood there before him, the 
prince bade him mount his horse ; his own horse 
was first brought for him to mount, and then he 
retired a whole pace from the prince to mount, and 
returned on horseback before the prince. Mean- 
while there came one of the prince's household, who 
embraced in turn each member of the ambassador's 
household, while they knelt one by one before the 



32 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

prince, touched the ground with the right hand, and 
kissed their right hand ; then kneeling they embraced 
the horse's foot, and the prince's right foot; then 
kissed first his foot and afterward his knee. In the 
fewest possible words, the Turkish prince and the 
ambassador made peace, and thus afterward the 
prince made his entry into the city in the order 
described above. 

On Saturday, the 14th of March, 1489, notice 
was given of a public consistory to be held in the 
first great hall of the Apostolic Palace at one o'clock. 

Escorted by Francesco Cibo' and the Prior of 
Alvernia, preceded by men-at-arms and followed by 
his fourteen servitors and soldiers, the Turkish prince 
came to the consistory into the presence of the 
Pontiff. Now though it was said that the prince 
would do reverence to the Pontiff in the Turkish 
fashion by touching the ground with his hand and 
then kissing his hand, he refused to do so. Indeed 
he merely bowed his covered head very slightly to 
the Pontiff, so slightly that the bow could scarcely 
be seen or recognized as such. He went up to the 
Pontiff and, standing erect, embraced him and kissed 
him lightly upon the right arm, all the time keeping 
his head covered. Then, standing before the Pontiff, 
he said, by means of an interpreter, that he was glad 
to have come into the presence of the Pontiff, and 
asked him to be mindful of the fact and to afford 
him protection; adding that when a time and place 



FIRST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 33 

were appointed, he would tell him of other matters in 
private. The Pontiff replied that he had already 
taken the measures for his safety and welfare where- 
with his Highness had been brought to Rome, and that 
his Highness ought in no wise to mistrust, but to 
dwell in peace, seeing that all things were ordered 
for a wise end. For these words the prince thanked 
His Holiness, stating that he felt full confidence in 
them. 

Then the prince withdrew from before the Pontiff 
and embraced all the cardinals as they stood in their 
places and kissed them on or near the right shoulder. 
Meanwhile the other members of his household came 
into the presence of the Pontiff, and one after the 
other in turn, knelt upon the throne, and touching 
the ground with the right hand kissed it; they then 
embraced the feet of the Pope, as well as his cope 
and vestments, and on bended knee kissed these and 
followed the prince, their patron. He, having em- 
braced all the cardinals except the two who remained 
with the Pontiff to assist him, without bearing him- 
self in any other fashion, or making any other sort 
of salutation to the Pontiff, returned to his apart- 
ments, escorted as before. Then the Pontiff rose 
and returned to his apartment in the usual way. 



IV 

THE LAST YEARS OF THE REIGN OF 
INNOCENT VIII 

ON Wednesday, the 25th of March, 1489, the 
Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Vir- 
gin Mary ; in the morning I had a long conversation 
with the Pontiff. I told him it was not right to wear 
a white cape, but he ought properly to wear a red 
cape with a violet stole, not a red one, also that 
the cardinals should follow, and not precede His 
Holiness. But His Holiness said that Sixtus IV, 
his predecessor, used to ride at this season with a 
white cape, and the Lord Vice-Chancellor, listening 
to no argument, said the cardinals should precede. 
And this was done, although not fittingly. 

On Saturday, the 27th of June, 1489, the Noble 
Lord Nicola Orsino, Count of Pitigliano, Siena, and 
Nola, who was to be Captain-General of the Holy 
Roman Church, and to make his entry into the city 
with his household and intimate friends, but not with 
the households of the cardinals, entered the Apostolic 
Palace by the viridario to see our Most Holy Lord, 
by whom he was graciously received. Then the said 

count who by studying the stars had conceived the 

35 



36 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

idea that he might assume the insignia of his cap- 
taincy under favorable auspices to-day, sought and 
obtained from our Most Holy Lord permission for 
the said insignia to be given to him. 

On the Sunday night, 15th September, 1489, Sig- 
nor Domenico Gentile of Viterbo, apostolic writer, 
Francesco Maldente, canon of Forli and Conrado, 
also Battista of Spell, notary of the Apostolic 
Camera, Lorenzo Signoretto, writer in the Register 
of Bulls, and Bartolommeo Budello, procurator of 
the Penitentiary, were successively taken and de- 
tained in the Castle of San Angelo on a charge of 
forging apostolic letters. The Lord Domenico 
aforesaid confessed that he had forged about fifty 
apostolic letters or bulls, containing various matters, 
in the following way : The Lord Francesco would 
discover matters to be despatched and agree with the 
parties upon the sum which they were to pay after 
the despatch of letters. When the agreement had 
been made and a bank named by the party for paying 
the sum agreed upon to be paid when the letters 
were presented to the bank, then he would despatch 
one that was expected, or some matter that would 
pass easily through all the offices by the royal way. 
When this was done, the Lord Domenico aforemen- 
tioned washed out all the writing of the bull, or that 
part which he did not want, with a certain fluid, 
restored the paper with flour and stiffened it again. 
Afterward he wrote on it the matter concerning 



LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 37 

which Francesco had agreed with the party, leaving 
in the bull the names of the rescribendary, compu- 
tators, and other officials. More often he changed 
the stamp, and put on another, according to the 
nature of the matter. He also used different inks. 
That with which he wrote the first matter to be 
despatched in the proper way was made of gum or 
some other material, but was certainly indelible. 
But the other, which he used to write over the bull 
that had been erased, was ordinary ink. In this way 
they gave forged bulls to the parties. 

Within about two years they had despatched 
divers matters, for example, dispensations to one or 
two benefices for Friars of the Orders of Mendicants, 
unions of many benefices to the incomes of certain 
abbots with permission to rule these in an order 
changeable at pleasure, a dispensation for a certain 
priest of the Diocese of Rouen, who had married a 
wife, to the effect that he might lawfully keep her 
and many others for which they had received some- 
times a hundred, two hundred, two hundred and fifty, 
and two thousand ducats, as is related in the process 
instituted against them. 

The said Francesco also made confession, and on 
Sunday, the 18th of October, at about nine in the 
evening, they both were led from the castle aforemen- 
tioned to the Castle of Soldano, and before they 
reached that place they believed they were condemned 
to death. For the auditor of the Camera, the 



38 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Bishop of Cesena, and the Lord Bartolommeo Deol- 
pito, first apostolic notary and governor of the city, 
who in their official capacity had prosecuted them, 
told the said Francesco that if he named his fellow- 
accomplices our Most Holy Lord would be pleased 
to bestow the office of abbreviator upon him and set 
him at liberty, and he believing that he would do this 
accused the abovenamed and several others. On be- 
half of the Lord Domenico, his father who had at- 
tended our Most Holy Lord in the first illness of his 
pontificate, and his two brothers interceded most 
earnestly with the cardinals and other influential men 
in the city for his life. But no one could prevail 
upon our Most Holy Lord. So, after they had 
been established in the said castle, they were told 
that they were to die on the morrow; and therefore 
were bidden to take heed to the salvation of their 
souls, and priests were sent to them to hear their 
confession and strengthen them in the faith. 

On Monday, the 19th of October, 14*89, there was 
a consistory and the auditor of the Camera aforesaid 
with the governor came to the Castle of Soldano 
where they passed definite sentence against the said 
Domenico and Francesco, degraded them, deprived 
them of office and emoluments, and handed them over 
to the secular court. Then mass was celebrated in 
the said castle, at which the said Domenico and Fran- 
cesco were present, and at the close they received 
the holy communion from the hands of the celebrant ; 



LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 39 

after this they were led to the Piazza di San Pietro, 
where a platform had been erected in a space not far 
from the lowest step, four rods long, three wide, and 
one high, or thereabouts. There the said Francesco 
who was a priest was robed in full vestments in the 
usual way. Then the summary of the case was read 
by the notary, Antonio of Paimpol. After the read- 
ing of it, Francesco was degraded and given over 
to the secular court into the hands of Ambrosino, 
the apparitor. 

After he had been given over, Domenico who had 
only the first tonsure was robed in a surplice and 
degraded from that rank by the Father Pietro Paolo, 
Lord Bishop of Santa Agata, who vested himself in 
stole and cope upon the platform, and put on in 
front a plain alb over the rochet. After his degra- 
dation Domenico was given over to the court and 
the said apparitor. Their heads were not shaved 
otherwise than they had been before, nor were they 
stripped of the clothes in which they came from the 
castle, because of their office and because such was 
the pleasure of the Bishop of Cesena, the auditor. 

After this the aforesaid having been degraded 
were placed upon a chariot which stood ready there, 
Domenico on the right and Francesco on the left. 
In front of them were seated a friar of the Order 
of Minors, their confessor, in accordance with the 
observance in parts of France, and another of the 
society of the Misericordia who held a crucifix and 



40 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

was robed in the garb of that society with his face 
covered. Behind the degraded ones were erected two 
rods, and to the top of them cords were fastened, 
on which were hung four of the bulls despatched 
and forged by them. In this way they were con- 
ducted by the Bridge of San Angelo past the Castle 
of Soldano and hard by the house of the Cardinal of 
Ascanio, past the Hospital of the Germans, close 
to the house of the Lord Falco by the Pario straight 
to another street, thence by the bridge to the Campo 
dei Fiori, where near the corner by the steps and 
the Taberna Vacca, so-called, the place of execution 
had been prepared in the form of a hut, having a 
wooden pillar erected in the center, and surrounded 
by piled-up faggots. To the upper part of the 
column had been fixed two ropes. Below the ropes 
two stools were placed upon the ground for the ac- 
cused and another on the other side of the column 
for the lictor, and around the shed outside many 
piles of logs. 

When the aforementioned degraded persons 
reached the said place of execution, they got down 
from the cart, and entered the hut, where in the 
guise and clothes in which they were brought there, 
they ascended the two stools prepared for them. 
The lictor put ropes upon their neck of which they 
were scarcely conscious, for the confessor and the 
other friar who bore the crucifix were continually 



LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 41 

strengthening them in Christ. When the ropes had 
been placed in position, the lictor's assistants drew 
away the stools from beneath their feet and thus 
they were hanged and gave up the ghost. After they 
were dead they were taken down from the pillar, 
stripped to their shirts and placed in a sitting posi- 
tion upon the said stools, propped against the pillar, 
and bound to the column with the chain beneath their 
arms. Then the fire was kindled and their bodies 
burned. The lictor heaped up the logs many times 
until after the hour of vespers, that the bodies might 
be entirely consumed, and thus the fire lasted until 
the following morning. 

On the following day, about the hour of vespers, 
ashes, in which many of the bones were still found, 
Avere collected by certain of the society of Miseri- 
cordia with a broom, placed in a sack in a new chest, 
and with the cross and the usual procession was 
borne by the said society to the church appointed for 
the purpose and buried. 

On Wednesday, the 19th of May, 1490, the Vigil 
of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, there 
were pontifical vespers in the larger chapel of the 
Apostolic Palace, the Pope being present and per- 
forming the office. When the cardinals had made 
the usual salutation to him there arose a contention 
between the ambassadors of the Kings of Naples and 
of Scotland, and of Venice, Milan and the Kingdom 



42 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

of Florence on the other hand, who said they ought 
not to be divided or separated from the ambassador 
of the Duke of Milan and the ambassadors of Otho, 
Albert, and George, Dukes of Bavaria, who stationed 
themselves above the Venetian ambassadors, whereat 
the Venetian and Florentine ambassadors straight- 
way withdrew in wrath. The ambassadors of Ferdi- 
nand, King of Naples, and of the King of Scotland 
still persisted in the dispute and by special command 
of the Pope I ordered them both to leave the chapel, 
which they did immediately. 

The vespers ended, His Holiness spoke with the 
cardinals, whom he called round him in a circle in 
the said chapel, upon the precedence of the person- 
ages aforesaid. Then he instructed me to notify 
the ambassadors of the Kings of Scotland and Ba- 
varia not to come to the chapel on the morrow, and 
to inform them that on the next Friday His Holi- 
ness would bring this question of precedence before 
the consistory. 

On Friday, the 28th of May, 1490, our Most 
Holy Lord, learning that the ambassador of the King 
of Naples was preparing to come to the vespers on 
the Vigil of Pentecost and take his place by armed 
force, instructed me to report this to the Lord Car- 
dinals of Angers, Lisbon, San Angelo, Siena, and the 
Vice-Chancellor that they might consider what should 
be done in the matter and what course to pursue with 
regard to the ambassadors in this question of pre- 



LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 43 

cedence, and that they should come to deliberate 
with His Holiness on the morrow in his chamber be- 
fore the vespers. This I did. 

Therefore on Saturday, the 29th of May, 1490, 
the Vigil of Pentecost, a private meeting of the car- 
dinals was held in the presence of the Pontiff in 
his chamber from before eight till nine in 
the evening, and finally by the Pope's instructions 
given in the said meeting, the ambassadors of the 
King of Scotland and of the Dukes of Bavaria were 
asked by the Bishop of Tournai to withdraw on that 
evening, and to leave the other ambassadors undis- 
turbed and that on the morrow the Pope would give 
them a place. The ambassadors of Scotland and 
Bavaria, however, refused altogether to accept this 
arrangement unless the other ambassadors withdrew 
with them, which was done; and they all withdrew, 
both citramontanes and ultramontanes, and were all 
bidden to absent themselves from the chapel on the 
morrow, and this they all observed. 

On Tuesday, the 10th of April, 1492, before morn- 
ing, a knight from Florence came to the Cardinal 
de' Medici with letters from Pietro announcing sad 
tidings. They reported that on Sunday, about four 
in the morning, Lorenzo de' Medici, citizen of Flor- 
ence, father of the said cardinal, had breathed his 
last at Careggi, an estate belonging to the said 
Lorenzo, distant about twelve miles from Florence. 
The cardinal had been informed of his father's death 



44 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

by the Lord Falco, treasurer-general of our Most 
Holy Lord the Pope, who, upon learning of the death 
of the said Lorenzo, visited the cardinal in the morn- 
ing. He had all ornaments and all coverings re- 
moved from his walls and couches and ordered black 
caps to be given to all the members of his household. 
The cardinal himself put on a tunic of dark violet 
and had all seats of brocade and velvet removed 
from his apartments, retaining only those covered 
with red leather and the usual stools. He had a 
valise made of dark violet cloth without arms upon 
it, and he kept upon his tables as well as upon the 
buffet and the couches, only coverings of rascia. 
All his servants he had dressed in black. 

Friday, the 4th of May, 1492, there their Most 
Reverend Lordships the Vice-Chancellor, and the 
Cardinals assembled in the papal chamber of the 
Apostolic Palace at St. Peter's. 

The Sultan of Constantinople sent by his ambas- 
sador who had just reached Ancona on his mission, 
the head of the spear with which it was said that 
the side of our Lord Jesus Christ was pierced as He 
hung upon the cross. At the close of the congrega- 
tion aforesaid the cardinals proceeded to consider 
with what ceremonies and observances this spear- 
head should be received, and they agreed that the 
question should be referred to our Most Holy Lord. 

In the congregation various points were brought 
,up and touched upon in relation to this matter. For, 



LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 45 

while some were of the opinion that the gift should 
be received with all solemnity and reverence, and in 
the same manner as the head of St. Andrew the 
Apostle in the time of Pope Pius II of happy mem- 
ory, others asserted on the contrary that they had 
seen the point of the said spear in Nuremberg 1 , where 
it was exposed each year on the day which is the 
Feast of the Spear, and others in other States, as 
in Paris, for example, where it was kept in the king's 
chapel. The latter, therefore, thought that it should 
be received from the hands of the ambassador bring- 
ing it by our Most Holy Lord in his own apartment, 
in presence of all or some of the Most Reverend 
Lord Cardinals, without any solemnity, and that we 
should be sent to Nuremberg, Paris and elsewhere to 
ascertain the truth, and examine the documents at 
Paris, and also at Nuremberg, if they happen to 
have any apostolic letters there, from which the truth 
of the matter may be learned. From some chron- 
icles it appears that the spear-point was given in 
pledge by Baldwin II, then Emperor of Constanti- 
nople, to the Venetians, and with their consent to 
Louis IX, King of France; in others, that, from 
some very old chronicles, it appeared that the spear- 
head was kept at Constantinople, and preserved there 
until this day, public honored and venerated by all, 
and that there are several witnesses, still living, who 
had seen it there before the siege of Constantinople 
and since. They averred that the Venetians sent 



46 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

with all diligence to the house of a certain citizen 
in Constantinople, who had received the spear-head 
during the siege of the town, and offered him fifteen 
thousand ducats for it. Then again they sent to 
the Grand Turk who had received it from the said 
citizen, and offered him seventy thousand ducats for 
it, but still were not able to get it. Others again 
said that in the receiving of this relic, three points 
should be considered, namely, the gift, the recipient, 
and the giver, who is the arch enemy of our faith, 
and that it would be more natural to suppose that 
this was done in a spirit of mockery and derision, 
than from any other motive. 

All these and many other remarks upon the sub- 
ject were duly considered and the majority of the 
cardinal-priests inclined to the opinion that the 
spear-head aforesaid should be received by our Most 
Holy Lord from the Turkish ambassador without any 
solemnity, and that the truth should then be in- 
quired into, at Nuremberg or at Paris, as to whether 
it were the true spear-head or some other. Then, if 
this fact should be satisfactorily settled, it could be 
announced, and the relic conveyed in procession with 
all veneration and solemnity to some church, at the 
pleasure of our Most Holy Lord ; while, on the other 
hand, if perhaps this relic should be received in a 
solemn manner, and it were afterwards discovered 
that the true spear-head was elsewhere, the Apostolic 
See might be involved in contumely or confusion. 



LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 47 

However, our Most Holy Lord determined and or- 
dained that the relic be solemnly received. And for 
this purpose he deputed Lord Nicola Cibo, Arch- 
bishop of Aries, the Bishop of Foligno and his 
domestic clergy to go to Ancona, and there receive 
the relic from the hands of the Turkish ambassador, 
and bring it thence to Rome with a procession drawn 
from the several states and territories lying along 
the route. That this might be the more conveniently 
done, they were given a casket of crystal from the 
Pope's sacristy and a horse, together with a covered 
chest and other trappings in which the Host is borne 
when the Pope rides out in full pontificals, with a 
lantern to carry a light perpetually before it. 

On the 29th of May, 1492, about the hour of 
Vespers, the Count of Pitigliano, captain of the 
Church, Francesco Cibo, the Pope's son, and the 
Roman nobles left the city by the Porta Viridarii 
and hastened by way of the meadows towards the 
Ponte Milvio to meet the Turkish ambassador, but 
he in the meantime had crossed the bridge aforesaid 
and was riding towards the Porta del Popolo. 

When I saw the captain's mistake, I made the 
ambassador wait halfway between the bridge and the 
gate aforesaid, and the captain and Francesco, with 
their nobles, came up from behind and welcomed the 
ambassador, the captain saying, " Welcome. Our 
Lord and the cardinals send their households to do 
you honor. Welcome." 



48 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

The households of the cardinals were scattered in 
both directions, so that the ambassador could not see 
them at the time, but he overtook them and they each 
joined his train but said nothing to him. 

The ambassador had only five retainers, and with 
him was the Lord Giorgio Bucciardo, cousin of the 
Bishop of Aries, also his interpreter with two serv- 
ants. This Giorgio repeated the captain's words to 
the ambassador, and then replied in his name. The 
ambassador rode between the captain on his right, 
and the Pope's son on his left, from the aforesaid 
place to his place of entertainment. There also went 
outside the gate to meet the ambassador the lay 
ambassadors of the King of Poland, of the Seignory 
of Venice, and of the Dukes of Milan, of Florence 
and Siena. 

During these past days I was summoned to the 
Lord Cardinals of Benevento and Santa Anastasia 
to arrange for the reception of the said relic, and 
I found there with them Giovanni Pietro, Lord 
Bishop of Urbino. Many things relative to the cere- 
mony were spoken of, among others that on account 
of the ill health of our Most Holy Lord the spear- 
head should be conveyed by way of the meadows to 
the palace of the Spinelli outside of the Porta Viri- 
darii and should be borne thence in procession by 
way of the aforesaid gate to the castle. This would 
be the most convenient route for the procession in 
the extreme heat of this season or in the case of mud 



LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 49 

if the rain falls o.n that day as it has for many days 
past. 

On Sunday, the third of June, 1492, in the first 
chamber beyond the hall of the Pontiffs above the 
garden a low chair of gold brocade was placed ready 
against the wall with one step leading up to it, and 
above it a golden canopy was spread, and around the 
chair on either side many velvet-covered stools were 
set in preparation for the marriage of the Pope's 
nephew which was to be celebrated there. As the 
hour drew near at about two in the afternoon, the 
Cardinals of Benevento and Santa Anastasia accord- 
ing to the instructions of our Most Holy Lord went 
to the Prince of Capua and escorted him between 
them from his apartments into the presence of the 
Pontiff who was accompanied by his princes and 
barons. When he had come to the Pontiff, the ladies 
were awaited, and after their coming the Pontiff 
came out to the chamber aforesaid and took his 
seat upon the said chair. 

On his right were the Lord Cardinals of San Pietro 
in Vincoli and Santa Anastasia, on his left Benevento, 
and next to him the Prince of Capua. Next to 
Santa Anastasia with a moderate space between upon 
similar stools sat Teodorina, the Pope's daughter, 
and Peretta, her daughter, Battistina, the bride, also 
her daughter Maddalena, the daughter of the late 
Lorenzo de' Medici, wife of the Pope's son, and many 
ladies after her. Next to the Prince of Capua, that 



50 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

is to say, on the left of the Pope, stood Aloysio of 
Aragon, Marquis of Gerace, the bridegroom, the 
Duke of Amalfi, Francesco Cibo, the Pope's son, and 
many other nobles to the number of about forty. 
After silence had been secured, the Reverend Lord 
Giovanni, Archbishop of Ragusa, the Datary, kneel- 
ing before our Most Holy Lord at a proper distance 
of two Cannes or thereabouts made a brief oration in 
which he expounded the institution of the sacrament 
of matrimony and its dignity. 

Thereupon he rose and stood in the same place, 
and turning to the Illustrious Lord Alfonso of 
Aragon, the half-brother of the Prince of Capua, 
spoke these or similar words : " Most Illustrious Lord 
Luigi of Aragon, will you take the most Illustrious 
Lady Battistina Cibo, here present, to be your lawful 
spouse and wife? ". And he straightway replied, " I 
will." Then, turning to Battistina, the archbishop 
said : " Most Illustrious Lady, will you take the Most 
Illustrious Lord Luigi of Aragon, here present, to be 
your lawful spouse and husband? " To these words 
she made no reply, but after the archbishop had re- 
peated the words, she replied, " I will." The bride 
and bridegroom then approached the Pontiff, and 
kneeling before him, the bridegroom placed the wed- 
ding-ring upon the third finger of the bride's left 
hand, and then many rings upon the other fingers of 
that hand, and upon the other, the right hand of the 
bride, which Giovanni Fcatano, the chief secretary 



LAST YEARS OF INNOCENT VIII 51 

of the Most Serene King of Naples, extended to him. 
Next, the bridegroom first and then the bride kissed 
the Pope's foot, and the bridegroom arose and kissed 
the bride. She then returned to her place, and the 
bridegroom sat beside her. The Pontiff then rose and 
returned to his apartment, and all the others separ- 
ated and went their own ways. 

On Thursday, the 14th of June, 1492, at about 
seven in the evening, the Reverend Father in Christ, 
John, Lord Bishop of Durham, ambassador of the 
King of England, entered the city by the Porta Vir- 
idarii. He was received by the household of the 
Pope and those of all the cardinals and by those 
princes who were then in the city, and was escorted 
by them in the usual order to the house of the late 
Giacomo Biqueto which was prepared as his resi- 
dence. There was a dispute between the ambassa- 
dors of the King of Spain, the Bishops of Beja and 
Astorga on the one hand, and the Lord Giovanni 
Gilio of Lucca, formerly ambassador of the king of 
England, on the other, upon the question of prece- 
dence, and I was persuaded by the said bishops to 
give a seat on the right of the Bishop of Durham to 
Giovanni, Archbishop of Ragusa, the first of the 
palace clergy, and that on his left to the aforesaid 
Lord Giovanni Gilio. 

On the following day the Pope fell ill, and through 
fear of his death Prospero Colonna and Giovanni 
Jordano, son of Vergineo Ursine, who were staying 



52 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

with the Cardinal of San Pietro in Vincoli, came 
with many other barons and Roman citizens to the 
palace of the conservators, and stated and made 
known to the said officials and citizens that they, the 
barons, were of one mind with the Roman people 
whom they dearly loved, and forthwith they offered 
themselves and their castles and their goods to the 
Roman people for their welfare and goodwill, and 
asked them, if the death of the Pontiff should chance 
to come, that they would join with them for their 
aid; on their part the conservators and citizens of- 
fered them whatever could be offered. 

On the 25th of July, 1492, St. James' day, about 
six or seven o'clock in the morning, Pope Innocent 
VIII died. May his soul rest in peace! 



THE ACCESSION OF ALEXANDER VI 

IN the year of the Lord 1492, on Saturday, the 
llth of August, at noon, Roderigo Borgia, vice- 
chancellor and the nephew of Calixtus III, was cre- 
ated Pope and named Alexander VI. 

On the 27th of August Alexander was crowned in 
St. Peter's. Then he went in the customary manner 
to the Church of St. John Lateran while the greatest 
honor was done to him throughout the city by the 
Roman people with triumphal arches and with more 
than there was ever done to other Popes. 

And in the first consistory he held, he created the 
Archbishop of Mount Royal, his nephew from a sis- 
ter, a cardinal. 

After his coronation it was brought to his knowl- 
edge that from the day of the last illness of Innocent 
until his coronation more than two hundred and 
twenty men had been assassinated in various places 
and at various times. It was also brought to his 
knowledge who the murderers were and the reasons 
and success they had had. Of all this that had gone 
on in Rome he received full knowledge. 

On the 3d of September of the year 1492 Salva- 
53 



54 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

tor, the son of Tutio del Rosso, insulted Domenico 
Beneacceduto, his enemy, on the Campo dei Fiori, 
with whom he was under a pledge of five hundred 
ducats to keep the peace. He stabbed him twice 
with a dagger, inflicting a mortal wound of which 
he died forthwith. On the 4th the pope dispatched 
his vice-chamberlain with the magistrates who pro- 
ceeded thither attended by a throng to destroy his 
house, which was done. On the same day the 
brother of the aforesaid Salvator, one Hieronymus, 
was hanged on the instigation of Domenico. Thus 
assuredly by the will of God, on a single day justice 
was accomplished. The fine was collected from the 
guarantors by the Pope. 

In the same month Alexander appointed prison 
inspectors in addition to four commissaries to hear 
complaints in Rome. Furthermore he appointed his 
officials for the administration of Vignola, fixed an 
audience for Wednesday for all citizens, men as well 
as women, received the complaints himself and began 
to administer justice in an admirable way. 

On Monday, the 10th of December, 1492, I rode 
at daybreak to Marino to instruct the noble Lord 
Federigo of Aragon, Prince of Altamura, second son 
of King Ferdinand of Sicily and Jerusalem, with re- 
gard to the ceremonies at his reception before his 
arrival in Rome. The royal ambassador in Rome, 
Giacomo Pontano, who declared that he had received 
a special letter about this matter from his master, 



THE ACCESSION OF ALEXANDER VI 55 

had asked for me the evening before at about eleven 
o'clock. I found there the prince whom I instructed 
in detail with reference to the order and arrangement 
of the entry and reception as well as of his own de- 
meanor. 

On Tuesday, the llth of December, 1492, about 
two o'clock in the afternoon the cardinals Carafa 
and Piccolomini went out beyond the second mile- 
stone before Rome in order to meet the prince as 
their special friend. They greeted him with the 
usual honors and he rode then between them until 
they came to the road that leads through the Porta 
Latina, where the cardinals took leave of him. The 
prince continued on his way with his suite until he 
reached the Church of St. John Lateran and its main 
portal, firstly, in order to avoid the mud, and then 
because two cardinals who were to meet him at the 
gate of St. John Lateran had not yet arrived. 

In the meantime the suites of all the cardinals and 
princely ambassadors in Rome came to -meet him; 
further, one after the other, Giulio Orsini, the 
brother of Cardinal Orsini, Gerardo Usodimare, Do- 
menico Doria and other noblemen who dismounted 
from their horses and were for making obeisance to 
the prince. He did not allow it, however, until they 
had remounted their horses. The prince waited 
about an hour before the portal of the aforemen- 
tioned basilica for the arrival of the two cardinals 
who had been despatched and wftq arrived finally 



56 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

after six o'clock, namely Juan Borgia and Ascanio 
Sforza. They received him in the usual way and 
escorted him in their midst. 

After the arrival at the place of San Giovanni in 
Laterano where one sees the bronze statue of a 
horseman there came the prelates of the palace with 
the suite of the Pope which also greeted the prince 
in the usual way, although the major-domo of the 
Apostolic palace, Bartolommeo Marti, had made his 
speech as a prelate. Together with the prince seven 
other ambassadors had been sent to swear the oath 
of loyalty to the Pope. I assigned every one his 
place in due order of precedence and in this order 
we rode straight on passing to the right of the col- 
iseum to Santa Maria Nuova, along by the Hospital 
of the Consolation and the house of the Savelli, 
through the Peschiera, the square of the Jews, the 
dei Fiore meadows to the Apostolic palace near St. 
Peter's. I assume that the reason that the cardinals 
were so late was that the Pope endeavored in this 
way to prevent the prince from continuing on the 
same day to the palace and to divert him to the inn 
Ad Apostolos where he was supposed to take his 
quarters. Behind the barons, nobles and the whole 
retinue of the prince rode the shield-bearers of the 
Pope and our barons with the captain of the palace. 
There were two pages before the armed men of the 
prince and six before those of the Pope: The first 
with cross-bow and quiver of gilded silver in French 



THE ACCESSION OF ALEXANDER VI 57 

dress and on a French horse, the second in Turkish 
dress on a Berber horse, the third clad in Spanish 
fashion with a long lance on a small Spanish hack, 
the fourth with the rain-coat of his master, the fifth 
with a valise of a crimson color, the sixth with a 
sword sheathed in its scabbard with a handle studded 
with pearls and precious stones estimated at six 
thousand ducats in value. There were several rid- 
ers mounted on very magnificent horses, dressed in 
gold brocade and wearing jewels of great value on 
their breasts and in their hats and barrets. The 
prince wore a garment of violet velvet, a chain of 
pearls and jewels, worth six thousand ducats, and 
a belt with a sword of the same value. His bridle 
was studded all over with pearls and precious stones, 
worth three thousand ducats, and the whole harness 
was gilded before and behind. 

The suite was preceded by two hundred sumpters 
all covered with red cloth and the whole suite in- 
cluded seven or eight hundred people as I was told. 
When we passed through a somewhat narrow alley, 
Cardinal Juan Borgia rode first, followed by the 
prince, and after him came Ascanio Sforza, which 
was improper. The other two Cardinals, Carafa 
and Piccolomini, behaved differently, for in the same 
alley they stayed behind him, which was more 
proper. 

Having arrived at the palace they went up to the 
Pope who awaited the prince in the last of the nine 



58 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

chambers besides the secret chamber. Five cardi- 
nals were with him, namely Carafa, Domenico delle 
Rovere, Antoniotto Gentile Pallavicini, the Cham- 
berlain Orsini and Piccolomini. After the prince 
there entered the aforementioned ambassadors and 
all barons and nobles of the suite of the prince. 
After Federigo had been permitted by the Pope to 
kiss his foot, his hand and his mouth, they too kissed 
the foot of the Pope while the prince was kneeling 
on a cushion at the left of the Pope. For the Cardi- 
nal Ascanio Sforza had decided that the prince 
should be allowed to sit down only after all of the 
cardinals had taken their seats, while I more cau- 
tiously preferred that he should wait kneeling there 
instead of taking a seat that was not proper for 
him. For he should have had a seat after the last 
deacon-cardinal if not further to the front and be- 
fore most of the deacons. Sforza, however, wanted 
to place him even behind the cardinals in order to 
favor his own duke of Milan. 

After this reception the prince, accompanied by 
Carafa and Piccolomini, rode to the inn Ad Apos- 
tolos and to the palace of Cardinal Giuliano delle 
Rovere where he was to take up his quarters. After 
him came the prelates of the palace, the ambassa- 
dors, and the other prelates in the same order as 
they had come from the Lateran church to the Apos- 
tolic palace. Before the portal of the palace the 
prince was about to take leave of the cardinals with 



THE ACCESSION OF ALEXANDER VI 59 

thanks but they accompanied him still farther to 
the entrance of the garden where they stopped. 
Only at that point did they part from him and with- 
out being able to thank he could not express his 
thanks to every one in the accustomed manner be- 
cause it was night and because they had accom- 
panied him there contrary to the rules of precedence. 

We Avent from the Vatican to the inn Ad Apos- 
tolos through the Via Del Papa. The numerous 
drivers of the sumpters did not come to the Apos- 
tolic palace first but they went by the aforemen- 
tioned way to the bridge of San Angelo, keeping on 
this side of the river, and turned later to the right 
towards the palace of the Cardinal of Parma, Scla- 
fenata, and thence straight on to Ad Apostolos. 

Before the Pope left his chamber this morning, 
the 21st of December, he called together all the car- 
dinals and sent for us two clerks of the ceremonies, 
Giovanni Maria de Podio and myself, to inquire what 
measures were to be taken to-day for the reception of 
Federigo of Aragon, who was to swear the oath of 
loyalty that day at the consistory and what place 
was to be assigned to him among the cardinals or be- 
hind them. I replied to his Holiness: 

When Francesco of Aragon came to swear al- 
legiance to Pope Innocent VIII of blessed memory 
in the name of his royal father whose fourth son he 
was, two cardinals had been sent as far as the Apos- 
tolic chamber to meet him and they accompanied him 



60 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

from there to the Pope. The same procedure there- 
fore might be followed this time, although not quite 
fittingly because such escort was not customary for 
those who had been sent to swear allegiance but on 
other occasions only for sons of kings and great 
princes. As for the second point the seat before the 
second last deacon-cardinal, namely Francesco Sev- 
erino, was to be assigned to him. 

The Pope added to this that Federigo had indeed, 
as the Governor of Rome had recalled to him, had 
his seat when he was in the city in the times of Paul 
II; before the deceased cardinal of Mantua, who 
then was the last deacon-cardinal. Concerning my 
answer the Pope asked for the opinions of the cardi- 
nals standing around him while we were kneeling 
down before the Pope in their midst. The cardinals 
Michaeli, Pallavicini, Orsini and Sforza declared ex- 
pressly that as far as they could remember Fran- 
cesco, the brother of Federigo, had had his seat 
after all the deacon-cardinals. I considered this an 
error but did not say anything. They objected, 
however, saying that Francisco had been the fourth 
son while Federigo was the second, and that there 
was therefore a great difference between the two. 
Ascanio Sforza asked whether Federigo or the Duke 
of Milan was higher in rank. I answered that ac- 
cording to our ceremonies Federigo was much higher 
in rank than the Duke for as the son of a king he 
had precedence not only over the Duke of Milan but 



THE ACCESSION OF ALEXANDER VI 61 

also over the electors. Cardinal Zeno before giving 
his vote remarked that this ought not to be done in 
our presence. But when the Pope answered that we 
ought to hear it because it concerned our duties, he 
voted that he would accept the decision of Agostino 
Patrizzi, and he sent for him but he could not come 
as the Cardinal Piccolomini had sent him to accom- 
pany Federigo. Nevertheless Zeno did not want to 
forestall him with his vote and declared that he 
would not vote. 

Finally the Pope decided on the basis of a mere 
majority of votes that the two younger deacon- 
cardinals should accompany Federigo to the pres- 
ence of the Pope and that the seat before the last 
deacon-cardinal should be assigned to him, because 
he had had the same seat once before, and also be- 
cause on this day he ought not to sit with the cardi- 
nals on account of swearing allegiance, but ought to 
stand together with those who had been sent with 
him behind the cardinal-presbyters at the usual 
place. 

Now when Federigo came to the palace, in order 
not to lose any time, there went out to meet him as 
far as the staircase of the floor of the Apostolic 
chamber those assigned for his escort, the vice-chan- 
cellor Ascanio Sforza, San Severino and the two last 
deacon-cardinals as well as several assistants of the 
Pope. 

The prince was first permitted to kiss the foot, 



62 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

hand and mouth of the Pope, and after him the eight 
others who had been delegated with him. Then the 
prince submitted the credentials from his father, the 
King of Naples, with the remark that his illustrious 
father was laying himself humbly at the feet of his 
Holiness. Then they took up their places again 
while the two cardinals accompanied the prince to 
the end but not beyond the benches of the cardinals. 
Paulus de Planca made his speech and the Pope an- 
swered. 

Then Cardinal Podocatoro read the royal letter 
which said that he, the king, sent his dearest son, 
the illustrious Duke of Andria, Prince of Altamura 
and Admiral of the Kingdom, together with all his 
other co-ambassadors to swear allegiance. Zeno, 
the bishop of San Marco, delivered the oration. 
The consistory ended, the prince carried the edge of 
the posterior end of the papal pluviale. The cardi- 
nals Piccolomini and Orsini assisted the Pope during 
the entire time. Also they stood up during the 
whole reception taking seats only afterward on their 
bench. 

Laying off his robes the Pope ordered the cardi- 
nals Cibo and Colonna to escort the prince between 
them in the usual way to the inn " Ad Apostolos," 
which was done. Where the way narrowed down, 
they let the prince precede and quite correctly, for 
this was the proper way, even if Ascanio Sforza be- 
haved differently with San Severino and the other 



day with Juan Borgia, gratifying his special mood. 

Lord Fedcrigo came to-day to the palace in great 
magnificence with his whole retinue, three pages in 
German dress, crimson colored and adorned with 
gorgeous pearls and jewels riding before on horses 
that had been bridled in the German way. 

During the previous days the several cardinals 
had made their calls upon Federigo which he an- 
swered to-day and on the following days. It would 
have been more proper, of course, if the calls had 
been made and returned after allegiance had been 
sworn, but since Carafa and Piccolomini as per- 
sonal friends of the prince, as I believe, had called 
on him immediately after his arrival and together 
with them Rovere, Cibo and Colonna, they all suc- 
cumbed to the same mistake. 

On Monday, the 24th of December, the day be- 
fore Christmas, the Pope who had been adorned with 
the usual robes in the third of the new chambers, 
went through the two halls, the new one and the 
large old one, and down the stairs into the court 
where the cardinals usually dismount from theii 
horses. From there he proceeded by way of the 
Basilica to St. Peter, the cardinals going before in 
their usual dress and the suite of prelates also in 
their customary coats. In the Basilica the cardinals 
and prelates after having made their obeisance put 
on their robes in unseemly disorder and without wait- 
ing until all had completed the obeisance, for only 



64. POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

then were they supposed to robe themselves as were 
those of the elder deacons who were to assist them. 

At the request of the Pope our sacristan had hung 
old Greek paintings around below the tribune on 
three sides above the main altar of the Basilica, as 
was the custom in the times of Paul II. Two large 
crystal lamps were also hung at the entrance. 

After the vespers were ended the Pope was borne 
back in the customary way to the palace passing 
through the old halls to the Camera Papagalli, 
where he laid off the blessed garments and assigned 
the new chambers to the prince to retire there for 
the night. The chambers were adorned magnifi- 
cently, the third, fourth and fifth being hung with 
Alexandrine velvet in cerulean blue with curtains of 
gold brocade while in the second chamber stood the 
bed of crimson colored velvet. 

The 27th of December, 1492. About ten days 
ago the news came from Barcelona that King Ferdi- 
nand of Spain had been severely wounded in his neck 
by a peasant on the steps of his palace on the 7th of 
December, so that six stitches had to be applied. 
The criminal had received two wounds from the men 
of the King and had been seized. A few days later 
the additional news arrived that the King was out 
of danger and that the peasant had acted under a 
vision from the devil. The devil had appeared to 
him twenty years ago in the form of an angel and 



THE ACCESSION OF ALEXANDER VI 65 

had commanded him to kill the King in order to be- 
come king himself, but he had forbidden him to tell 
anybody of this. After that he had appeared to 
him again and again urging him on. The peasant 
had been forced to a confession by the promise of 
reward. Then the scales fell from his eyes as it 
were, and he had repented immediately from the 
depth of his heart and considered himself worthy of 
the most cruel death. Whereupon he was con- 
demned to be executed after the following manner, 
namely, that all his limbs or extremities of every limb 
should be cut off one after the other and at inter- 
vals of time but on one and the same day. In order, 
however, that he should not be driven to despair he 
was given at the beginning a heavy blow on the head 
by order of the queen so that he might die more 
quickly and would suffer less while his limbs were be- 
ing cut off by his consciousness. being dimmed. 

All this was made known to the Pope on the 27th 
of December through a royal letter that was brought 
to him by the bishops of Bajadoz and Astorga as 
ambassadors. The Pope decided to have a mass 
said in honor of the glorious Virgin Mary for the 
recovery of the King on Saturday, the 29th of De- 
cember, in the chapel of Maria delle Febbri besides 
the Basilica of St. Peter. Afterwards the face of 
Our Lord and the spear should be shown to the 
people and the day should be celebrated as a feast 



66 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

day by all craftsmen and others. And he ordered 
that all this ought to be proclaimed in public and he 
made known through placards in the various quar- 
ters of the city. 



VI 

THE CORONATION OF THE KING OF 
NAPLES 

FOR the carnival (14*93) nine prizes in the races 
were offered, three as usual on the first Sun- 
day of Lent for Berber horses, steeds and horses, the 
six others for the Jews, the boys, the young men and 
the old men, the donkeys and the buffaloes, as it had 
been done in former years and was customary. 

On Wednesday, the 27th of February, 1493, the 
Pope heard mass in his own chamber and decided 
thereupon that he would go to Santa Maria Mag- 
giore where he would first hold a short consistory 
and then after a prayer at the altar would examine 
how far the construction of the church, that is to 
say of the canopy of the altar, had advanced. He 
asked me whether it was right to pronounce the 
benediction to the people after the prayer. I an- 
swered no, and that it was an extraordinary proced- 
ure because nothing, neither mass nor vespers, 
should precede the benediction. I further explained 
to his Holiness that there was a good and regular 
rule that the Pope should ride without a mitre, the 
cardinals to follow him. Also it would not be quite 

67 



68 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

proper that the Pope should ride during Lent in a 
white cowl and an adorned surplice, but rather in a 
red cowl and a violet surplice. He answered that 
he had decided that the cardinals should ride before 
him and not after him, also that he intended to wear 
a white and not a red cowl and not a violet surplice 
but a gorgeous one adorned with pearls. Accord- 
ing to his decision he was adorned in his private 
chamber and went then to the Camera Papagalli, 
where he held a consistory of one hour's duration. 
Then he mounted a white horse covered with cloth 
and adorned with crimson velvet. Preceded by the 
cross and the cardinals and followed as usual by the 
privy chamberlains, the assistants and prelates, he 
went through the Campo dei Fiori and the Square 
of the Jews and passed the house of Cardinal Sav- 
elli, the church of Santa Maria de Consolazione and 
St. Adrian and went then to Santa Maria Mag- 
giore where he was received at the portal by the 
clergy in procession. 

The arch priest of the Basilica, Cardinal Savelli, 
gave him the cross to kiss and the clergy sang: 
Ecce sacerdos magnus, etc. The Pope pronounced 
a prayer on the folding-chair before the altar and 
then stepped up to the altar and kissed it, deposit- 
ing thereon ten gold ducats as I had reminded him 
to do. Then, turning to the crowd, he blessed the 
people as he had decided to do. During the cere- 
mony the cross was held lower than is the custom in 



St. Peter's. Then he went up to the palace saying 
a prayer before the image of the Virgin Mary and 
the picture of St. Luke. He inspected the work 
that had been done, returning afterward to the Bas- 
ilica. Then he went home on horseback, passing St. 
Basilius and San Marco, through the Via Polliciaria 
near the Casa Massimi and the palace of Cardinal 
Carafa, and thence through the Parione Square to 
the palace. 

An extraordinarily large number of armed men 
took part in this mounted procession which was not 
exactly approved by everybody. For our proces- 
sion, that is to say, the baggage of the cardinals, 
was preceded by several crossbow-bearers and bands 
of soldiers and in the same way several men with 
lances and in full armor followed, the prelates rid- 
ing behind the Pope. The governor of the city with 
the magistrates and a few of the district-wardens 
and the Bargello * and many men on horseback and 
on foot presented themselves to the Pope at various 
corners and places. He ordered therefore that the 
captains of the Church and of the portal of the pal- 
ace should proceed between him and the cardinals, 
and that the Lords of Sermoneta and Corrigia and 
many other leaders of the soldiers should follow him 
after the physicians and before the assisting pre- 
lates, as was done while they passed over the whole 
square of St. Peter as far as about the house of 

i The chief of police. 



70 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Cardinal Soderini. When I noticed the inverted or- 
der, I told the Pope that this would be quite un- 
seemly and tried to persuade him to permit me to as- 
sign them their places. He answered me I should 
arrange them before the captains and after all the 
cardinals. But when he heard that this would be 
most objectionable to the cardinals, he ordered me 
to place them before the cross after the armed men 
on foot who marched along in quite extraordinary 
large numbers with long lances, bare swords, cross- 
bows and other arms. This I did. 

On the 10th of June, 1493, Alexander, the son 
of the Lord of Pesaro, arrived in Rome with a large 
suite of bishops, and on the very day of his arrival 
was bethrothed to the illegitimate daughter of Pope 
Alexander. While still a cardinal, the Pope had 
married her to a Spaniard. As Pope, however, he 
wished to improve the position of his daughter and 
therefore dissolved the marriage, bestowing three 
thousand ducats upon the Spaniard as compensa- 
tion. Now he married her to the aforementioned 
Lord, 1 while her first husband was still living, but the 
latter kept his mouth shut on account of the money 
and yielded. 

On Wednesday, the 7th of May, 1494, a marriage 
was contracted between Gofredo Borgia, son of Alex- 
ander VI, and Sancia of Aragon, the illegitimate 
daughter of King Alphonso II of Sicily, 
i His real name was Giovanni Sforza. 



CORONATION OF KING OF NAPLES 71 

On Thursday, the 8th of May, 1494, the day of 
the Ascension and the feast of the Apparition of the 
Archangel Michael, on which day the coronation of 
King Alphonso was to be held, I went before day- 
break into the cathedral of Naples and made all 
necessary preparations. In the early morning there 
was a violent storm and a heavy fall of rain which 
ceased, however, when the coronation started and 
was succeeded by the most beautiful weather all day 
long and also during the following day. From the 
royal treasure chamber were brought first, the royal 
crown in a vessel of gilded silver. The crown was 
adorned with pearls and precious stones and lined 
with a cap of white damask from which hung down 
two silken ribbons that were brought together be- 
neath the chin with a button, for the King did not 
wear another cap under the crown. Then the sword 
was brought in its scabbard, studded with pearls and 
precious stones from the end to end, then the silver 
scepter with a gilded lily at the upper end, about 
two and a half spans long and somewhat thinner 
than my little finger. Then came the round gilded 
imperial globe at the top of which stood a small 
gilded cross of silver while beneath there was a metal 
ring with a silken cord so that the globe could be 
fastened to the left finger of the king in order that 
it might not fall from his hand. All that I placed 
on the altar, one beside the other. When the legate 
in pontificalibus took his seat upon his folding-chair 



72 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

before the altar in the middle he was approached by 
order of the King by his secretary, Giovanni Pon- 
tano, and another who stated that the kings of 
Aragon did not usually kneel down while they were 
receiving the royal insignia, also that it was not 
the custom that they swore or read personally the 
oath during their coronation and installation, but 
that some one else did this in their name. Only after 
the oath had been read would they swear it them- 
selves on their knees. Although they had heard 
from me that the King had to kneel down during the 
swearing in and had to read personally, Pontano was 
for reading the oath in the presence of the King as 
he was seated, whereupon the King would rise, kneel 
down on a cushion, and with his hand on the Evan- 
giles would swear to keep what had been read. 

The legate called me nearer and I said that the 
procedure ought not to be in any case as suggested 
but that it was customary that the one who kneeled 
down should swear his oath into the hands of the 
legate as the deputy of the Holy Roman Church, the 
Apostolic See and His Holiness, the Pope, and that 
the King had to swear it himself. The legate agreed 
with me. In order not to appear completely unsuc- 
cessful in their endeavors, Pontano and the other 
secretary asked the legate to grant that the King 
should at least kneel down on a cushion and that the 
secretary should read before the King from the book 
and that the King should repeat it. This was per- 



CORONATION OF KING OF NAPLES 73 

mitted by the legate because we explained that it 
would not be in contraction with the usual ceremonies 
and that it only required more time. 

About eleven o'clock, while it was still raining, 
the King appeared in the church with his courtiers 
and barons. He wore over a close-fitting garment 
of black satin a larger one of crimson colored bro- 
cade, lined with flounces of ermine and with this a 
barret with a pendant of three pearls and one pre- 
cious stone worth about ten thousand ducats. He 
kept the barret on his head until he received the 
crown. He proceeded as far as the middle of the 
choir of the canons. There the Archbishop of 
Naples and the Patriarch of Antiochia came forward 
to meet him. They saluted and escorted him, the 
prelates rising to salute him while the King himself 
made a bow and then he took his seat. 

After the bull had been read by Stephanus de 
Narnia the King knelt down on a cushion before 
the legate. At his left knelt his secretary, Giovanni 
Pontano, who held in writing in his hands the oath 
to be sworn by the King and read it. King Alphonso 
repeated it word for word. After he had spoken the 
words, Et haec sancta Dei evangelia, the legate took 
the opened missal and held it so on his knees that he 
had the image of the Crucified at his right before 
him. At the left side I had had laid a chart with 
the beginning words of the four Evangiles. The 
King then laid his right hand on the Evangiles and 



74 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

his left on the Crucified and swore the oath. There- 
upon the legate invested the King by handing him 
over the banner and introduced him into its posses- 
sion with the words : " By virtue, of Apostolic author- 
ity." There had been a long discussion about these 
words the day before. 

After having been invested the King handed the 
banner over to the chancellor of the kingdom, who 
stood prepared to receive it, between his two assist- 
ing prelates. The notary Stephanus de Narnia 
called upon those standing around to be witnesses 
of the investiture, but the treasurer of the King said 
nothing. When the legate, in reading the litany, 
came to the royal blessing, he pronounced twice by 
inattention in the tune of the litany : ut hunc electum 
in regem coranaclum benedicere dignetur. He re- 
peated, therefore, and added at the third time: et 
consecrare. All prayers, and so forth, were read by 
the legate with the proper voice. 

While the legate after the blessing of the King, 
was confessing with his assistants, the deacon and 
subdeacon, the King knelt before his folding-chair 1 
turning with the footstool toward the corner of the 
Evangiles of the altar. He confessed with his two 
chief chaplains and remained on his knees until the 
legate had censed the altar and read near his folding- 
chair the introitus and the epistle and had sat down 
an arrangement I had made in order to be able 
to be of greater assistance to the King. 



CORONATION OF KING OF NAPLES 75 

After having made a bow the King then entered 
the sacristy where the Apostolic Subdeacon Ber- 
nardius Gambara dried his arms and shoulders. 1 
Before this he had laid down the long garment which 
the legate considered as a perquisite that was by cus- 
tom due to him as he had performed the consecra- 
tion. He had told me, therefore, when he sat down 
in his folding-chair after the introitus and the Kyr'ie 
Eleison and before I led the King to the sacristy, 
that I should have it brought to him. 

The King was then dressed with another garment 
of black satin with a long outer garment reaching 
down to the floor of the crimson-colored satin with 
narrow sleeves, then with sandals and shoes over the 
black stockings, and with everything else as it had 
been arranged according to the program. The black 
barret he kept on and advanced thus to the throne. 
There he spoke the introitus and the rest kneeling 
down before the throne together with his chief chap- 
lains. 

In the meantime the legate spoke the Pax vobis 
turning to the altar through the inattention of him- 
self and his associates. Before the King left the 
sacristy, he sent out one of his pages with the afore- 
mentioned garment of brocade in order that I should 
hand it over to the legate who accepted it grate- 
fully. As a matter of fact this garment and the 
small one of black satin which the King had on was 
iThe King has been anointed. 



76 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

due to me as a gift. But out of modesty I did not 
ask for the small one and did not want to resist the 
request of the legate. He also told me to have 
presented to him as a due gift the barret of the 
King with the pendant. I answered that it would 
certainly be modest if I requested it for myself, but 
that if he insisted, I would do as he wished. I did 
not do so, however. 

The King was then crowned in the proper order 
and the royal insignia were handed over to him as 
aforementioned. But neither during this ceremony 
nor before during the anointment could all the pre- 
lates form the prescribed circle behind the King on 
account of the great throng of people composing the 
royal and princely suites, the barons, courtiers, and 
ambassadors, who crowded the prelates by pushing 
forward. 

After the coronation the King stepped up to the 
seat of the throne and sat down while the populace 
cheered repeatedly shouting: Viva re Alphonso! 



VII 
KING CHARLES VIII IN ROME 

ON the 10th of December, 1494, the ambassa- 
dors of the King of France who had repeatedly 
demanded an open letter from the Pope during these 
days in regard to the passage through his territory 
and concerning supplies, again made representations 
to his Holiness on this matter. The Pope replied 
to them after the consistory that in no case would 
he grant free passage and supplies to the King and 
that they could inform the King of this according to 
their pleasure. 

On Thursday, the 18th of December, all the pos- 
sessions of the Pope were packed up for departure 
with the exception of the bed and the ordinary side- 
board. In addition the paraments of the sacristy 
of the Apostolic chapel and the whole furnishings of 
the palace and other papal belongings were sent to 
the castle San Angelo. All the cardinals were pre- 
pared for departure with freshly shod horses and 
mules in readiness. 

In former days as well as at this time, that is, 
on the 19th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd of December, the 
men of the French King organized raids over the 

77 



78 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Monte Mario as far as San Lazaro and the adjoining 
meadow of San Angela. They also decided to fall 
upon the city by stealth on one of these nights, the 
French through one gate and the Coloraiese through 
the other. For aid and assistance a thousand 
Frenchmen were to come up by ship from Ostia. 
But the wind rose 1 so strongly against them that 
they could not complete their program. Otherwise 
they woulcl have carried their evil designs and 
broken into the city through the Porta San Paolo, 
setting fire, pillaging and doing much mischief. 
Some pointed out as the author of this plan the 
Cardinal de Gurck who had come, as the report went, 
in his own person to the vicinity of the city gate 
during that night, but had withdrawn again as the 
result of the adverse wind. 

In any case he was the main cause for the advance 
of the King against Rome. For he had caused the 
inhabitants of Aquapendente and of other lands of 
the Church to admit the King of France by praising 
to the skies the honesty and worth of himself and 
his men with the assurance that they would pay in 
full and in coin for every fowl and every egg or even 
for the smallest trifle. He asserted also the Pope 
himself had promised him access to and passage 
through the lands of the Church. In this way he 
induced the population to let in the King and his 
men against the decided will of the Pope. And in 
order to win over also the curials of German nation- 



KING CHARLES VIII IN ROME 79 

ality he wrote an open letter which he had sent to 
us who were most prominent. 

On Friday, the 26th of December, 1494, on the 
feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, Cardinal Cibo, 
celebrated the solemn mass in the main chapel of the 
palace in the presence of the Pope. After the Pope 
had entered there came also three ambassadors of 
the King of France, who had arrived during the 
night before, namely the grand-marshal of France, 
Jean de Ganay, first president of the Parliament of 
Paris, and a third one, all laymen. To the first I 
assigned a seat on the steps of the throne before and 
above the senator, the two others were assigned to 
the bench of the lay ambassadors, where there were 
seated already two ambassadors of the King of 
Naples. These would not have anything to do with 
the newcomers, explaining that they were not aware 
that they were ambassadors, and they left their 
seats. By special order of the Pope I informed them 
that those were ambassadors of the King of France, 
whereupon they yielded and returned to their seats. 
Many Frenchmen had appeared with the three am- 
bassadors, a large number of whom pushed them- 
selves forward without any consideration near the 
prelates and sat down on their benches. When I 
showed them away and assigned them to their proper 
seats, the Pope summoned me and said angrily that 
I had ruined his intentions, and that I should permit 
the Frenchmen to remain where they wanted to. I 



80 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

replied to his Holiness that for God's sate he should 
not get excited as I now knew his intentions, and 
would not say anything more to them wherever they 
should stand. On Wednesday, the 31st of Decem- 
ber, 1494?, I rode out by order of the Pope quite 
early in the morning to meet the King of France in 
order to explain to him the arrangements of the 
reception according to the ceremonial and to receive 
his decision and carry out his Majesty's orders. 

Near Galera, after two miles' journey, we met the 
Cardinals Giuliano delle Rovere, Gurck and Savelli, 
to whom I made obeisance without dismounting from 
my horse. Soon afterwards came the King, to whom 
we also made our obeisance without dismounting on 
account of the dirt and the rain as well as his fast 
approach. The Bishop of Nepi executed the com- 
mission with which he had been charged by the Pope 
concerning the reception of the King, and I also 
explained to his Majesty what I had been charged 
with by the Pope. The King replied he wished to 
come to Rome without any display whatever. I 
received his answer and after me Hieronymus Porca- 
rius, in the name of the Roman authorities, placed 
the citizens and their possessions at the disposal of 
the King. The King replied in a few words without 
entering into this matter. The Romans withdrew 
and the King called me at his side, and conversed 
with me for about four miles continuously, asking me 
about the ceremonies, the condition of the Pope, the 



KING CHARLES VIII IN ROME 81 

rank and position of Cesare Borgia, and a number 
of other things, so that I found it almost impossible 
to give proper answers to every particular question. 
Near Borghetto two ambassadors of Venice came 
to meet the King. They dismounted and kissed their 
own hands before they offered them to the King. 
They did not kiss the hand of the King, however. 
Behind them came Cardinal Sforza, who greeted the 
King bareheaded without dismounting from his mule. 
The King too bared his head and greeted the car- 
dinal. Then they covered their heads and Sforza, 
riding at the left of the King, escorted him into 
the city over the Ponte Molle as far as the Palace 
San Marco, the usual residence of the Cardinal Cibo. 
The whole way to the palace was one mud and puddle. 
In all the streets from the palace of the Cardinal 
Costa near the Church San Lorenzo in Luzina as 
far as San Marco there was an illumination of fires 
and torches at eleven o'clock in the evening and all 
shouted: Francia! Francia! Colonna! Colonna! Vm- 
cula! Vmcula! When we had arrived before the 
Palace San Marco, Cardinal Sforza did not dis- 
mount from his mule but baring his head took leave 
from the King, with his permission, before he en- 
tered the portal. Nor did delle Rovere nor any 
other of the cardinals accompany the King. To- 
day before the entry of the King into Rome the 
keys to the gates of the Viridarii, of Belvedere, of 
the middle gate and of all other gates of the city 



82 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

were entrusted to the grand-marshal of France, the 
above-mentioned ambassador of the King, upon his 
request and with the consent of the Pope. For the 
Frenchmen said and this was true that the keys 
had been surrendered the other day to the Duke of 
Calabria when he was in Rome and that the King of 
France was not inferior to him. 

On Monday, the 12th of January, 1495, the King 
sights. He was accompanied only by the Cardinal 
of France rode alone through the city to see the 
of St. Denis, Jean de Villiers de la Groslaye, who 
rode with a few nobles at a distance behind the King. 
Between him and the King there rode a captain of 
the body-guard that marched with the King looking 
after the men as they marched along. The cardinal 
followed them with the other nobles. 

On Thursday, the 29th of January, 1495, there 
arrived from France 18,000 ducats in barrels on 
mules for the French King and on the next day 4000 
more were brought for the expenses that the King 
and those with him had every day. 

On Friday, the 30th of January, 1495, it was 
reported to the Pope that Cesare had fled from 
Velletri in the disguise of a royal groom. He had 
left the King already before arriving there and had 
slept during that night in the house of the auditor 
of the Rota, Antonio Flores. When he departed to- 
gether with the King, Cesare had taken along with 



KING CHARLES VIII IN ROME 83 

him from Rome quite openly nineteen sumpters with 
his baggage under precious covers, amongst these 
two which were laden with his vessels of credence. 

These remained behind already on the first day 
while the King and the cardinal were riding to Ma- 
rino, and returned in the evening to Rome. The 
servants of the cardinal pretended at the court that 
the sumpters had been robbed and pillaged. The 
other seventeen went to the court of the King, who 
confiscated them after the flight of the cardinal. 
When he had the bales opened, there was nothing in 
them. This has been told to me, but I think it is a 
lie. 

On Wednesday, the 25th of February, 1495, Djem, 
alias Zizim, 1 brother of the Grand Turk, whom his 
Holiness had surrendered recently by reason of a 
treaty with the King, died in Naples, that is to say, 
in Castro Capuano, through eating or drinking some- 
thing disagreeable to which his stomach was not 
accustomed. His corpse was then sent to the Grand 
Turk at his urgent request together with all the 
household of the deceased. The Grand Turk is said 
to have paid or given a large sum of money on this 
account, and to have received this household with 
favor. 

On the 15th of March, 1495, the Neapolitan Cas- 

tell dell' Ovo surrendered to the King of France. 
i See Appendix. 



84 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Performances were given before him by his men with 
French humor of tragedies and comedies representing 
the Pope, the King of Spain and the Doges of Venice 
as concluding a league and alliance with each other. 



VIII 
ALEXANDER AND HIS FAMILY 

ON Friday, the 20th of May, 1496, at six o'clock 
in the afternoon an entry was made into Rome 
through the Lateran gate by one Gofredo Borgia of 
Aragon, a son of the Pope, about fourteen years old 
and his wife, Sancia of Aragon, with about six ladies 
of her household. There went out to meet them the 
captain of the squadron with his men-at-arms, about 
two hundred of them, the suites of all the cardinals 
and the papal prelates. For every single cardinal 
had been requested that morning by papal runners 
at the instigation of Cesare to send their chaplains 
and men-at-arms to meet his brother Gofredo, upon 
his entry into the city. This they all did and dis- 
patched their men as far as beyond the aforemen- 
tioned gate, and here Lucretia Sf orza, also a daugh- 
ter of the Pope, and wife of Giovanni Sforza, Lord 
of Pesaro and sister of Gofredo met them with twelve 
other women. Two pages preceded her bearing two 
cloaks and riding on two horses one of which was 
covered with precious gold brocade, the other with 
crimson velvet. She greeted her brother and his wife 
with affection. 

85 



86 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

When we had come to the palace, the Pope went 
to the hall of the Pontiffs and sat down on an ele- 
vated seat that had been prepared for him there in 
the center of the left wall with a green carpet before 
it on which was depicted the Savior laying His 
fingers on the side of St. Thomas. Another similar 
carpet was laid over the seat. Eleven cardinals 
were standing around in their coats. We entered 
the hall through the three ordinary halls, the cham- 
ber of paraments, the Camera Papagalli and the 
others. Before the footstool of the Pope there stood 
a small stool on which lay a cushion of brocade, and 
before it four larger cushions of crimson velvet cross- 
wise on the floor. Gofredo made obeisance to the 
Pope in the customary way and kissed his foot and 
hand. The Pope took the head of Gofredo between 
both his hands bowing his head over him but without 
kissing him. There followed Sancia, who in the same 
way kissed the foot and hand of the Pope and whose 
head he took in the same way between his hands. 
Also Lucretia was thus received by the Pope. After 
this Gofredo approached every cardinal beginning 
with Pallavicini and kissed their hands, whereupon 
each of them gave him a kiss upon the mouth. 
Sancia too kissed the hands of the cardinals and 
these took her head between their hands as if they 
wanted to kiss it. During this the daughter of the 
Pope stood before her father. Then Gofredo placed 
himself between the cardinals Sanseverino and Cesare 



ALEXANDER AND HIS FAMILY 87 

Borgia, his brother. Lucretia sat down on a cushion 
on the floor at the right of the Pope, Sancia on 
another one at the left of the Pope, and the other 
ladies approached to kiss the papal foot. The Pope, 
Sancia and Lucretia exchanged together a few hilari- 
ous remarks. 

After this Gofredo, Sancia, and Lucretia and all 
the others went away while the Pope remained in the 
hall, and in the same order as we had come we rode 
to the house of the former Cardinal della Porta, 
where Gofredo and Sancia found quarters and re- 
ception. At the entrance they thanked those who 
had escorted them in the proper way ; then Gofredo, 
Sancia, and Lucretia entered, where they were greeted 
by many Roman ladies who were awaiting them 
there. 

On Whitsunday, the 22nd of May, 1495, the 
Pope went to St. Peter's under the mitre without 
the canopy and there Cardinal Cibo celebrated 
solemn mass in his presence. The sermon was 
preached by a Spaniard, a chaplain of the Bishop 
of Segorbe, who was rather wordy and wearisome, to 
the disgust of the Pope and all the others. He an- 
nounced a full indulgence which the Pope granted 
from the beginning of the mass until he should be 
carried out again from the church. Lucretia and 
Sancia were standing on the marble staircase, on 
which the canonics usually sing the epistle and the 
Evangile, as well as many other ladies, and they 



88 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS .COURT 

occupied the whole stairway and the floor around it 
which aroused great disgust and scandal among us 
and the populace. 

On Wednesday, the 14th of June, 1497, Cesare 
Borgia and Juan Borgia, Duke of Aragon, the Cap- 
tain General of the guards, the favorite sons of the 
Pope, dined at the house of Donna Vanozza, their 
mother, who lived in the neighborhood of the Church 
of Saint Peter in Chains. Their mother and various 
other people were present at the dinner. After the 
meal, when night had fallen, Cesare urged his brother 
to return to the Apostolic palace. And so they both 
mounted the horses or mules with a few attendants, 
as they had not many servants with them, and rode 
together until they approached the neighborhood of 
the palace of the Vice-chancellor Ascanio Sforza, 
which the Pope had erected and usually occupied 
during his tenure of the office of Vice-chancellor. 

At this point the duke declared that he would like 
to find entertainment somewhere and took leave of his 
brother, the Cardinal. He dismissed all his servants 
except one and retained further a masked man who 
had already presented himself before the dinner and 
had visited him in the Apostolic palace almost every 
day for a month. The duke took him up behind 
him on his mule and rode to the Square of the Jews, 
where he dismissed the one groom and sent him back 
to the palace. He instructed him, however, that 
he should wait for him about eight o'clock in the 



ALEXANDER AND HIS FAMILY 89 

square, and if he had not appeared at the end of an 
hour he should return to the palace. Thereupon 
the duke departed from the groom with the masked 
man behind him on the back of the mule and rode 
no one knows whither and was murdered. 

The corpse was thrown into the river at the point 
besides the fountain where the refuse of the streets 
is usually dumped into the water, near or beside the 
Hospital of Saint Hieronymus of the Slavonians on 
the road which runs from th.e Angel's Bridge straight 
to the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. The 
groom who had been dismissed on the Square of the 
Jews was hurt seriously and wounded unto death. 
He was mercifully taken into the house of some one 
unknown to me and cared for. Unconscious as he 
was he could tell nothing about his instructions and 
the expedition of his master. 

When the duke did not return to the palace on the 
next morning, which was Thursday, the 15th of 
June, his trusted servants became uneasy and one 
of them carried to the Pope the news of the late 
expedition of the duke and Cesare and the vain watch 
for the return of the former. The Pope was much 
disturbed at the news, but tried to persuade himself 
that the duke was enjoying himself somewhere with a 
girl and was embarrassed for that reason at leaving 
her house in broad daylight, and he clung to the 
hope that he might return at any rate in the evening. 
When this hope was not fulfilled, the Pope was 



90 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

stricken with deadly terror and set on foot all pos- 
sible inquiries through a few of his trusted men. 

Among those who were questioned was a Slavonian 
dealer in wood by the name of Georgio, who had un- 
loaded his wood on the bank of the Tiber near the 
above-mentioned fountain and who had spent the 
night on his boat guarding his wood to prevent it 
being stolen. The question was put to him whether 
he had seen anything thrown into the river during 
the middle of the night just past, to which he made 
answer that at about two o'clock in the morning two 
men came out of a lane by the hospital on to the 
public road along the river. They looked about 
cautiously to see whether any one was passing and 
vhen they did not see anybody they disappeared again 
in the lane. After a little while two others came 
out of the lane, looked about in the same way and 
made a sign to their companions when they dis- 
covered nobody. Thereupon a rider appeared on 
a white horse who had a corpse behind him with the 
head and arms hanging down on one side and the legs 
on the other and supported on both sides by the two 
men who had first appeared. The procession ad- 
vanced to the place where the refuse is thrown into 
the river. At the bank they came to a halt and 
turned the horse with its tail to the river. Then 
they lifted the corpse, one holding it by its hands and 
arms, the other by the legs and feet, dragged it down 



91 

from the horse and cast it with all their strength into 
the river. 

To the question of the rider if it was safely in, 
they answered, " Yes, Sir ! " Then the rider cast 
another look at the river and, seeing the cloak of the 
corpse floating on the water, asked his companions 
what that black thing was floating there. They 
answered, " the cloak," whereupon he threw stones 
at the garment to make it sink to the bottom. Then 
all five, including the other two who had kept watch 
and now rejoined the rider and his two companions, 
departed and took their way together through an- 
other lane that leads to the Hospital of Saint James. 

The servants of the Pope asked Giorgio why he 
had lodged no information of such a crime with the 
governor of the city, to which he answered : " In 
my day I have seen as many as a hundred corpses 
thrown into the river at that place on different nights 
without anybody troubling himself about it, and so 
I attached no further importance to the circum- 
stance." 

After this fishermen and boatmen were summoned 
from all Rome and ordered to drag the corpse out 
of the river with the assurance of a large reward for 
their pains. 

Three hundred fishmen and boatmen, as I have 
heard, came together and dragged the bed of the 
river, and finally brought up the corpse of a man. 



92 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

It was just before vespers when they found the duke 
still fully clad, with his stockings, shoes, coat, waist- 
coat and cloak, and in his belt there was his purse 
with thirty ducats. He had nine wounds, one in the 
neck through the throat, the other eight in the head, 
body and legs. The duke was laid in a boat and was 
carried into the castle of San Angelo, where his cloth- 
ing was removed. The corpse was then washed and 
clothed in princely raiment. Everything was done 
at the order of my colleague, Bernardino Gutieri, 
cleric in charge of ceremonies. 

On the evening of this day, at nine o'clock the 
corpse of the duke was brought by his noble retain- 
ers, if I remember rightly, from the castle of San 
Angelo to the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, 
preceded by 120 torchbearers and all the prelates of 
the palace, together with the papal servitors and 
pages. With loud lamentations and weeping they 
proceeded without any orderly formation. The 
corpse was borne upon a bier with pomp and cere- 
mony in public view and looked more as if sleeping 
than dead. In the aforementioned church it was 
consigned to the vault, where it reposes up to the 
present day. 

When the Pope was informed that the duke had 
been murdered and thrown into the river like refuse 
and there discovered, violent grief overcame him, and 
in his deep sorrow he locked himself in his chambers 
and wept bitterly. Only after long pleading, per- 



ALEXANDER AND HIS FAMILY 93 

suasion and solicitation before his door did the Car- 
dinal Bartolommeo Marti finally succeed after several 
hours in being admitted with a few attendants. The 
Pope took no food or drink from the evening of 
Wednesday, the 14th of June, until the following 
Saturday, and he let no sleep come to his eyes from 
the morning of Thursday until the next Sunday. 
Upon varied and ceaseless appeals of his trusted 
friends he admitted himself to be won over and 
finally began to conquer his grief as well as he could. 
This he did also out of consideration for the risk and 
danger to his own person. 



IX 
LIFE IN ROME UNDER THE BORGIAS 

ON the evening of the 28th of October, 1497, the 
secretary of the Pope, Bartolommeo Florid o, 
formerly Archbishop of Cosenza, who had recently 
been deprived of all his honors, dignities, rank and 
livings in the Castle of San Angelo, was forced to lay 
off all his vestments. A cowl of coarse white cloth 
which hung down half a span below the knee was put 
on over his shirt instead of his tunic. He received a 
pair of shoes of the roughest leather, a coat of green 
cloth which almost reached the ground and was also 
very coarse and thick, and a coarse white cap. In 
his hands he was given a rather large wooden crucifix. 
In this attire he was brought from the chamber in 
which he had until then been held prisoner to the 
burial vault of the Emperor Hadrian called San 
Marocco, which had been designated as his life-long 
prison. 

There stood for him a common wooden bed with 
a canopy to protect his head from the moisture of 
the stone walls. Upon the bed lay a straw pallet 

and a mattress with two coarse blankets. He was 

95 



86 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

given a breviary, a Bible, and the letters of Saint 
Peter. Furthermore he received a keg of water, 
three loaves of bread, a cup of oil and a lamp for 
lighting. There he was incarcerated for the term 
of his life. 

The Pope, as I was told, has given the order that 
the warden of the castle or his deputy should visit 
the prisoner every day or every three days and 
that bread and water should be portioned out to him 
for his maintenance and oil for his light. May 
Almighty God in all his mercy and loving kindness 
bestow upon this most miserable man the gift of 
patience and grant him grace that he may save his 
soul. 

The report was that before this the Pope had daily 
dispatched to the imprisoned Florido in the castle 
of San Angelo the suffragan bishop of Toul, John 
Marades, the archdeacon de Bacchis, Petrus de Solis, 
and a few others of his trusted servants to play 
dice and chess with him and to lead him through 
proper persuasion to the confession that he had 
drawn up various breves without the order of the 
Pope. For the Pope thought thus to obtain for- 
giveness for other breves that had been drawn upon 
his order and had offended the King and Queen of 
Spain on the plea that they had been issued without 
his foreknowledge. If Florido would admit this, the 
Pope would raise his rank and reward him with 
higher offices. At their repeated instigation he had 



LIFE IN ROME UNDER THE BORGIAS 97 

confessed, and thereafter neither Marades nor the 
others had ever visited him again. 

On Sunday, the 29th of October, at 11 o'clock in 
the morning', the main tower of the castle of San 
Angelo was struck by lightning where the powder 
for the defense of the castle was stored. The ex- 
plosion scattered far and wide the whole upper part 
of the tower together with the walls and the great 
marble angel, part of which fell near the house of 
Cardinal Michaeli beside the church of Saint Celsus 
and the near the house of the merchants Spannocchi. 
About fifteen guards of the castle were injured, but 
none of them mortally. 

On Wednesday, the 14th of February, 1498, there 
was found in the river the papal groom of the cham- 
ber, Petrus Caldes, with the surname Peritto, who 
had fallen involuntarily into the Tiber on Thursday 
last, the 8th of February, during the night, an event 
which aroused much comment in Rome. 

On Wednesday, the 21st of February, the car- 
dinals and Cesare Borgia rode for their pleasure in 
French layman's garments from Rome to Ostia on 
the mouth of the Tiber, and returned to Rome in 
the same garments on the 24th. 

At the carnival of this year no feast or public 
amusement was held in Rome or in Agone or in 
Testaccio, nor did any masked procession take place. 

Last Sunday, the 18th, Giulio Vitelli of Corneto, 
a servant of Cardinal Domenico delle Rovere, was 



98 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

just attending mass in the convent church of the 
Dominicans sopra Minerva, when some one entered 
the church with about ten companions in arms carry- 
ing concealed crossbows and bearing long and short 
swords, lances and round shields. They rushed into 
the Chapel of Crucifixion, toward Giulio and his 
brothers and wounded them, and of these wounds 
Giulio and two of his brothers died within a few 
days. 

After breakfast time on Sunday the governor rode 
with a large suite to the house of the aforesaid. 

On Ash Wednesday, the 28th of February, 1498, 
the Pope pronounced the benediction over the ashes 
in the main chapel of the palace. First the offici- 
ating Cardinal Groslaye strewed ashes upon him, then 
he on the cardinal, and then on the others in the 
accustomed manner. Guglielmo Serra of the order 
of the Minorites in surplice and pluviale without a 
mitre, preached the sermon, and kissed the foot of 
the Pope because he was not yet an ordained bishop. 
The rest of the ceremony proceeded in the usual 
manner. 

Cardinal Cesare Borgia did not attend the mass 
and service. After the mass in response to my re- 
quest the Pope granted to us, the masters of cere- 
mony, to all the singers and to the other members 
of the papal chapel the permission for every one 
of us to choose a confessor to absolve us from all 



LIFE IN ROME UNDER THE BORGIAS 99 

sins, even from those which could be forgiven by the 
Holy See alone. 

Through daily worship at the main altar of Saint 
Peter's we were also to obtain the indulgence of the 
stations in the city. While the Pope was laying off 
the sacred vestments in the Camera Papagalli, he 
ordered the Datarious Giovanni Ferrari, Bishop of 
Modena, that he should inscribe me on the preferen- 
tial list of his confidential men of long standing and 
give me equal rank with my colleague, Bernardino 
Gutteri. 

A few days before, at the beginning of April, 1498, 
a courtesan, that is, an honest prostitute, named 
Cursetta, had been thrown into prison because she 
had a Moor as a friend who went around in women's 
clothing under the name of the Spanish Barbara, 
and had relations with her. Both of them, therefore, 
as a punishment for this outrage, were led around 
together through the city, she clad in a loose black 
velvet dress open from neck to ankle, the Moor in a 
woman's dress which was taken up to the shirt, that 
is to the navel, in order that everybody might see 
his private parts and recognize the fraud he had 
perpetrated. During this his arms were tightly 
bound together above the elbows behind his back. 

After the procession in public Cursetta was let go, 
but the Moor was put in prison, and finally led out 
on Saturday, the 7th of April, from the prison of 



100 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Torre di Nona together with two other brigands with 
a Sbirre riding before them on an ass carrying on 
the point of a stick two testicles, which had been cut 
out from a Jew because he had had intercourse with 
a Christian woman. They were brought to the Flora 
field where the two brigands were hanged. The 
Moor was placed on a pile of wood, and was killed 
on the pole of the gallows, a rope being tied about his 
neck whereby he was strung fast to the pole. Then 
the pile was lighted, but on account of a downpour 
of rain it did not burn well and only his legs were 
charred. 

On the 21st of April, 1498, in the evening or 
during the night the major-domo of the Apostolic 
palace, the Bishop of Calahorra, Petrus de Aranda, 
was locked up in his chamber in the palace and a 
guard was placed before his door until the 26th of 
April, on which day he was conducted before the 
Pope. After a conversation with him he was brought 
into the chambers between the two secret gardens 
of the Pope, not far from the covered walk that 
leads from the palace to the castle of San Angelo. 
There he was guarded carefully by the grooms of the 
Pope and others until about the middle of September. 
The reason for his imprisonment was that the bishop 
was being suspected of heresy, being a marano, and 
similar offenses. 

On Sunday, the 29th of July, 1498, a large and 
spacious platform was erected before two porticos 



of St. Peter's Church. There a hundred-and-eighty 
maranoes 1 were admitted in order to be reconciled 
to the faith. There they were cowering down on 
the floor in their everyday garments and there sat 
also the Archbishop of Reggio and Governor of 
Rome, Pietro Isuagli, the ambassador of the King 
and Queen of Spain, Juan Ruiz de Medina, the 
Bishop Octavius de Monte Marano, referendary of 
the Pope, the auditors Dominicus Jacobatius and 
Jacobus Dragnatius, the professors of theology, Paul 
de Modia of the order of the Predicants, and Jo- 
hannes de Malcone of the order of the Minorites, 
both papal penitentiaries in St. Peter's church for 
the Spanish nation, also in their everyday garments. 
A master of theology of the order of the Predicants 
preached a sermon on the faith in Italian and re- 
proached the maranoes, who were all Spaniards, 
among them a Franciscan monk, for their errors 
in faith, reprimanding and instructing them. After 
the sermon the maranoes asked for a remission of sins 
and absolution. Thereupon Paul de Mondia admon- 
ished them in a Latin address to adhere to the right 
faith and to lead a righteous life, and told them of 
the punishment they all deserved. This admonition 
he explained to them in a few words in Spanish. 
Then while they were all down on their knees, he 

i Maranoes were called those Jews and Moors who, during 
the persecution by the Spanish Inquisition, professed to be 
Catholics while secretly adhering to their own religion. 



102 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

pronounced the punishment upon them, namely, that 
they should walk two and two to the church of St. 
Peter in a garment prescribed and worn for this 
purpose. There they should pray and then go in 
the same order to the church of the convent of Santa 
Maria sopra Minerva, where every one of them might 
lay down the garment and return to his home. The 
magisters Paul and John announced the absolution 
to all, whereupon they started on their way to the 
church. The Pope observed all that was going on 
from the new chambers and gave them the benedic- 
tion. 

The garment in which the maranoes were clad 
looked as follows: over their every day clothes they 
wore coverings of red and peacock-blue cloth which 
were hung down over the shoulders up on the breast 
and down to the legs behind, with a yellow cross four 
fingers in width and of the length of the cloth. Be- 
fore the altar in Santa Maria sopra Minerva every 
one put down his cloth. The monks then hung up 
the cloth in the church in memory of the event. 

In this year, 1499, all the feasts of the Roman 
carnival were celebrated. On Sunday in Lent, the 
3rd of February, the Jews held their race from the 
Campo dei Fiori to the castle San Angelo near the 
Borgo-Gate for the price of a red cloth, which, how- 
ever, was not handed over on that day as the start 
was bad, as has been reported. 



LIFE IN ROME UNDER THE BORGIAS 103 

Therefore they ran another time on Monday, the 
4*th of February, after vespers from the Campo dei 
Fiori, that is to say from the corner between the 
houses of the Vice-chancellor and the Lord Coronato 
de Planca, as far as the place of St. Peter. 

On Tuesday, the 5th of February, the young men 
ran after dinner for a rose-colored cloth from the 
aforementioned corner to the place of St. Peter. 

On Wednesday, the 6th, the old men ran for a red 
cloth from the chapels to the place. 

On Thursday, the 7th, there was a fete on the 
Agone which was well prepared according to Roman 
custom. Even the papal privy Chamberlain, John 
Marades, had masked himself and sat on the back of 
a horse which knocked slightly against some Romans, 
whereupon he came into danger of being wounded, 
unknown as he was, had not those who stood around 
intervened. It was prohibited, thetrefore, on the 
following day to mask oneself, but this was not ob- 
served by any one. 

On the same Thursday or Friday there was also 
a Spanish priest killed by masked men. The same 
priest had killed the brother of one of the masks in 
Spain. This priest resembled me in his clothes per- 
haps or in some other way. Several cardinals, Car- 
afa, San Giorgio, Caravajal, Piccolomini and Farnese 
made inquiries whether the rumor was true, as did 
also many other curials. The rumor about me cir- 



104 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

culated for three days. May Almighty God in His 
eternal kindness preserve me from such and all other 
dangers ! 

On Friday, the 8th of February, 1499, the bulls 
were caught and distributed over the various dis- 
tricts of the city, and on Saturday evening they were 
brought in the usual way to the Capitol. 

On Sunday, the 10th of February, there was held 
a race of the Berber steeds, the Spanish saddle horses 
and the mares after dinner in Testaccio for the usual 
prizes. The first and third Cardinal Sanseverino 
received, and he would also have won the second had 
not a rider fallen down. The second prize was re- 
ceived by John Franciscus Mutus. Then the feast 
of the bulls and pigs was celebrated in the customary 
way and without uproar and scandal. 

On Monday, the llth, after dinner the race of the 
donkeys was held, with a sky blue cloth as a prize, 
from the Campo dei Fiori to the Place of St. Peter, 
and Shrove Tuesday, the 12th, in the same way the 
race of the buffaloes for a red cloth. 



THE AGGRANDIZEMENT OF THE 
BORGIAS 

\7ESTERDAY, the 16th of February, 1499, 
* Donna Lucretia, the daughter of the Pope, 
went for walk in the arbor, fell down in a faint and 
as a result had a miscarriage of a female child with 
which she was pregnant. 

On Saturday, the 20th of April, 1499, the Pope 
received a letter from France advising him that the 
marriage contract had been concluded by the former 
Cardinal Ccsare Borgia and the Lord d'Albret in 
the name of his daughter, by which, as was reported, 
and as it was in fact set down in the contract, the 
Pope was to give a dowry of 200,000 ducats, and 
the marriage was not to be performed until his 
Holiness had nominated the brother of the bride a 
cardinal. 

On the 23rd of May, 1499, a courier arrived from 
France with the report for the Pope that his son 
Cesare, the former cardinal, had contracted the mar- 
riage with the Lady d'Albret, on Sunday, the 12th 
of May, and had performed it and did take her eight 

times, one after the other. Another messenger an- 

105 



106 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

nounced, the King of France had received the duke 
on Pentecost, the 19th of May, into the Fraternity 
of St. Michael which is royal and very glorious. 
Therefore by the order of the Pope numerous fires 
were lighted in the city on the evening of the 23rd 
of May, namely before the houses of the Cardinals 
Orsini and Groslaye, of Lucretia and many Span- 
iards, as a sign of joy, but a great shame and scan- 
dal for the Pope and the Holy See. 

On Saturday, the 20th of July, at eight o'clock in 
the evening, the Pope received a report, that the 
major-domo of Cesare Borgia, Jacobus, who on Fri- 
day, the 12th of July, had walked apparently quite 
unconcerned through the halls of the palace while 
the secret consistory was being held, and who had 
secretly mounted his horse after the consistory was 
over in order to betake himself as fast as possible 
through the gates in the name of the Pope with 
secret messages for his master, had been seized and 
searched by the Duke of Milan and all his secret 
despatches surrendered. The Pope, frightened at 
the news, had the gates of the city closed and 
guarded, and no one was let out without the per- 
mission of the governor. The servants of the Vice- 
chancellor Ascanio Sforza, and the ambassador of 
the Duke of Milan had been informed of this, how- 
ever, through a letter of the duke that had arrived 
in the morning. Therefore all his servants and the 
prelates fled from the house of the Vice-chancellor. 



AGGRANDIZEMENT OF THE BORGIAS 107 

Their belongings they brought out already in the 
morning. The Archbishop of Sutri, Alatri, the 
Prothonotaries Marini and Sforza took refuge in the 
house of Cardinal Colonna. A certain Bartholomeus, 
the chamberlain of the Vice-chancellor, was seized 
and brought into the castle of San Angelo, but he 
was not hurt and was soon set at liberty again. The 
Pope in his excitement sent the Governor of Rome 
to Cardinal Colonna and with him his secretary, the 
Prothonotary Adriano, with the request that the 
cardinal should send the prelates, the Prothonotaries 
Marini and Sforza, to his Holiness, a request which 
the cardinal, however, politely refused. Thereupon 
ensued an exchange of views for many hours between 
the cardinal and the governor, the answer of the car- 
dinal being reported to the Pope and that of the lat- 
ter to the cardinal. Finally, when he saw that there 
was perhaps danger threatening, he left the house 
secretly with the prelates and the others, who had 
fled to him, while the governor and Adriano were 
in his room, and departed from the city for his castle 
at two o'clock in the night. 

When the governor and Adriano had waited for 
some time for the decision of the cardinal, they real- 
ized that they had been deceived and returned to the 
Pope, who became excited and at about or after mid- 
night summoned the chief of the Apostolic Chancery 
and the deputy of the Vice-chancellor, Bishop Aloy- 
sius of Pesaro, and upon his arrival had him placed 



108 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

under detention in the room of the Datary Ferrari, 
Bishop of Modena, and guarded by the datary him- 
self. Finally on Sunday after dinner he set him free 
and sent him back to his house. On the same Sunday 
in the morning the governor went by order of the 
Pope with all his men to the house of the Vice-chan- 
cellor and searched it. After about two hours he 
went away again without having disturbed anything 
there. 

On the same Saturday evening before seven o'clock 
the Bishop of Aquina, Baptista Buffallus, was re- 
turning home on horseback from the house of the 
Cardinal Orsini, when one of his enemies assaulted 
him not far from Monte Giorgdano and wounded 
him with his sword. It was rumored, thereupon, that 
the bishop had been killed. He finally arrived, how- 
ever, only slightly hurt, at his own house. 

On Tuesday, the 23rd of July, 1499, the Vice- 
chancellor, Cardinal Ascanio, boarded at the Colon- 
nese Neptuno Castro a ship of King Federigo of 
Naples, which was lying ready for him there and 
under the escort of three other royal ships set his 
course for Piombino in order to go to Milan. He 
then left the ship in the territory of Siena and wrote 
from there to the Pope and the Holy colleague ask- 
ing for leave and stating the reasons of his de- 
parture. 

On Friday, the 2nd of August, 1499, before day- 
break, Alphonso of Aragon, Duke of Bisceglia, the 



AGGRANDIZEMENT OF THE BORGIAS 109 

husband of Lucretia Borgia, departed secretly from 
Rome in order to reach the Colonnese territory. 
From there he went to the King of Naples, and this 
without the permission, knowledge or consent of the 
Pope. 

On Thursday, the 8th of August, 1499, Lucretia 
Borgia departed from the city through the Porta del 
Popolo, to go to the Castle of Spoleto, of which she 
had been appointed governor by the Pope. She was 
accompanied by Don Gofredo Borgia of Aragon, her 
brother, who rode at her left, and sent many laden 
sumpters in advance which the Pope inspected from 
the loggia. When she and her brother had mounted 
their horses or mules in the place of St. Peter at 
the foot of the steps of the church, they made a very 
reverential obeisance from their horses to the Pope, 
who stood above, and took their last leave of him. 
After the Pope had blessed them from the window 
for the third time they rode away. Before them 
there marched in good order the whole palace guard 
of the Pope and the governor of Rome with his men. 
In the train was also a mule which had been laden 
with a stretcher and mattress, a crimson cover 
strewn with flowers, two pillows of white damask and 
a beautiful canopy so that Donna Lucretia could rest 
there in case she was tired from riding. Another 
mule bore a saddle upon which was erected a silk 
covered and magnificently adorned arm-chair with 
back and footstool, in order that Donna Lucretia 



might sit in it from time to time and travel more com- 
fortably. From the place of St. Peter as far as the 
bridge of San Angelo she was escorted on her right 
by the ambassador of the King of Naples and later 
by the governor of Rome, while there followed after, 
two by two, the prelates and a large crowd in honor 
and praise of the Holy See. 

On the 1st of November, 1499, at six o'clock in the 
morning, Donna Lucretia was .delivered of a boy. 
This was announced by order of the Pope to all the 
cardinals and ambassadors and to his other friends 
even before daybreak in their residences. The mes- 
sengers received for this from every cardinal and 
ambassador two ducats, more or less, according to 
the mood of the giver. 

On the feast of St. Martin, Monday, the llth of 
November, the son of Lucretia, Rodrigo, was chris- 
tened by Cardinal Carafa in the chapel of Pope 
Sixtus IV in St. Peter's. On the day before the 
chapel of the Cardinal Zeno in St. Peter's had been 
put in readiness for the event and adorned with two 
large rugs which covered the wall at the right and 
left as well as the bench and floor before the bench. 
The altar had no decoration, only a plain and rather 
soiled and tattered cover. In this chapel gathered 
all the cardinals present in Rome, sixteen in number. 

The house of Cardinal Zeno, where the lady in 
childbed resided, was also adorned magnificently: the 
two portals were completely gilded, the whole court- 



yard, the lower staircase and the first hall were cov- 
ered with cloth and carpets, the first chamber with 
sky-blue velvet, the bed with crimson. Everywhere 
there were carpets on the floor and benches were 
standing around. In this house there gathered the 
prelates of the palace and the ambassadors. In 
the meantime about sixty Roman ladies called on the 
lady in childbed. Those who were present at the 
christening included the Imperial Ambassador Phili- 
bertus Naturelli, the ambassador of the King of 
England, Silvester, the ambassadors of Naples, 
Venice, Savoy, Florence and Siena. 

When all the cardinals had assembled they pro- 
ceeded from the chapel, where they had met, to the 
Sixtine chapel, the tribune of which was adorned 
with cloth of gold brocade. The monument of Sixtus 
was covered with the same cloth and there were large 
carpets everywhere. The child to be christened, as 
it had not yet been prepared, was brought from the 
house of St. Peter's up to the railing of the Sixtine 
chapel by special permission and dispensation of the 
Pope and in the following order: there marched first 
the papal shield-bearers and behind them all the 
chamberlains in pink garments as on Corpus-Christi 
day. Then there came drummers with pipes and 
other instruments. There followed two papal shield- 
bearers of whom the one at the right carried a golden 
basin with a goblet and in the basin was a golden 
salt cellar with salt and a box with musk soap and 



112 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

a towel ; the other one at the left carried a large 
candle of white wax, weighing about thirteen pounds 
adorned with gold and very magnificent workman- 
ship. These were followed by Juan Cervillon of 
Catalonia, formerly captain of the papal soldiers, 
who carried the child on his right arm. It was 
covered with brocade lined with ermine as one usually 
covers children to be christened. At the right 
walked the governor of Rome and at the left the 
Imperial Ambassador Philibertus all two by two, and 
a numerous crowd closed the procession. At the en- 
trance of the Sixtine chapel Juan Cervillon handed 
over the child to the Archbishop of Cosenza, Fran- 
cesco Borgia, who took him on his right arm that 
is in the silken cloth magnificently interwoven with 
gold which Juan had carried slung around his neck. 
Cardinal Juan Carafa came to the entrance of the 
chapel and catechized the child and then had it 
brought into the chapel to the space between the 
altar and the monument of Sixtus IV. There in the 
center on a stool covered with a rug stood the large 
Sixtine baptismal vessel of silver, partly gilded. On 
this spot the afore-mentioned silk cloth was put 
around the shoulders of the governor of Rome, who 
thereupon took the child to be christened upon his 
right arm from the hands of the Archbishop of 
Cosenza. The cardinal moistened the head of the 
child and baptized it and did everything in the usual 
way while the secretary Podocatoro and the Datary 



AGGRANDIZEMENT OF THE BORGIAS 113 

Ferrari held their hands over the child as god- 
fathers. 

After the child had been baptized and the Cardinal 
Carafa and the godfathers had washed their hands 
as usual, Paolo Orsini put the silk cloth around his 
neck and took over the child from the governor upon his 
right arm and returned with it to the house of Cardinal 
Zeno. Even before he had come to the entrance 
of the chapel the child began to cry miserably, while 
before this, from its mother's bed to the chapel and 
throughout the baptismal ceremonies it had patiently 
submitted to everything without showing displeasure. 
On the returning from the church, however, there 
was such a noise from trumpets and other instru- 
ments that one could not even hear the sound of his 
own voice. 

They returned in the same order as they had come. 
After them the cardinals also left the church, 
mounted their mules at the foot of the stairs of the 
church and returned home. On the way to the 
christening a crowd of Roman women, old men, young 
men and maidens gathered and followed behind the 
prelates who sat down here and there in the Sixtine 
chapel on the seats higher up. 

On Monday, the 18th of November, 1499, Cesare 
Borgia returned secretly through the Porta Caval- 
legieri to Rome with a chamberlain and the brother 
of the deceased John Marades and stayed with the 
Pope in the palace until Thursday, the 21st. On 



the morning of this day he departed and rode away 
secretly with an escort of papal soldiers to the city of 
Imola, which he took over soon afterward by force 
together with the castle. The Lords of the city, the 
sons of the deceased Count Girolamo Riario, nephew 
of Cardinal Riario, were robbed with violence. 

On the same Thursday after dinner the Cardinal 
Riario rode out with his household to hunt. When 
he was near the " castrum Jubilei " he sent his cham- 
berlain Cardilla back to Rome with the greater num- 
ber of his suite, while he himself rode on with a few 
attendants to Monte Rotondo. 

In the evening of the same day a papal musician, 
Thomasius of Forli, was arrested with his accom- 
plices and incarcerated in the castle of San Angelo. 
This Thomasius had come to Rome with a poisoned 
letter which he put into a reed to give it to the Pope, 
pretending that he came from the community of 
Forli which wanted an agreement with the Pope. 
Had the Pope accepted the letter, he would have been 
poisoned and would have fallen down dead within a 
few days or hours. In order to obtain access to 
the Pope, he approached a friend, Thomasius of 
Forli, a musician of Juan Borgia, the prince of 
Squillace, and then bribed a guard of the portal 
of the papal palace, whom he initiated into his under- 
taking. This came to the knowledge of the Pope 
and they were imprisoned by his orders as has been 
told. When questioned they immediately admitted 



AGGRANDIZEMENT OF THE BORGIAS 115 

everything. The leader was especially questioned as 
to whether he had thought that he could ever get 
away with his life after having perpetrated such a 
misdeed. He answered that he had had the firm hope 
that through the death of the Pope, Imola and Forli 
might be freed from the blockade of Cesare and that 
peace and tranquillity might thus be restored to the 
ruler of these cities, the widow of Count Girolamo, 
his patroness, who had aided him from his youth. 
If he could die for her ten times, he would be ready 
to suffer death and would not be afraid. 

On Friday, the 29th of November, 1499, Donna 
Lucretia left the house for the first time after the 
birth of the child and visited the church of St. 
Peter's. The Bishop of Carignola, Petrus Gamboa, 
conducted her by the left arm to and from the church 
and celebrated the mass for her. I have also heard 
that Donna Lucretia spent the previous evening in 
the company of her father, the Pope. 

During the night from Sunday to Monday, the 
23rd of December, 1499, the noble knight, Juan 
Cervillon of Catalona, formerly captain of the papal 
soldiers, who lived with many in hostile relations, 
had ordered a meal in the house of the nobleman 
Elisaeus de Pignatello of Naples, a knight of the 
order of St. John. The house stood opposite the 
residence of Cardinal Ascania Sforza, in an alley 
through which one came straight to the place past 
Ascanio's stable. Cervillon had spent the evening 



116 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

before the meal in the house of Cardinal Carvajal, 
who knew much about his feuds and admonished him 
in a fatherly way that he should not leave more his 
house this evening. Also he ordered his servants 
they should not let out Cervillon. Nevertheless, as 
Pignatello, who was waiting for him, had sent for 
him several times up to twelve o'clock, he left the 
house of Cardinal Carvajal at about that hour, and 
repaired to the house of Pignatello, where he ate. 
In addition to these two, Cervillon and Pignatello, 
there partook of the meal a nephew of Cervillon, one 
of their friends, and a lady of the papal court. 
After the meal Cervillon was for leaving the house 
again but Pignatello objected with all his might. 
When he found that all his arts of persuasion were 
of no avail he besought him that at least his nephew, 
who was armed, and a few of his servants should 
escort him, but Cervillon firmly declined and said 
that he desired no escort. They urged him to per- 
mit at least that some one should go out before him 
to look around and see if there was any suspicious 
person passing or lying in wait. Even this he would 
not permit but he wanted to go out free and un- 
accompanied. So he fared forth from the house 
about one o'clock in the night, armed only with his 
sword and paused not far from the entrance. As he 
stood there, two men approached him and asked: 
" Who goes there ? " He answered " Good friend ! " 
When they asked in a more pressing manner : " What 



AGGRANDIZEMENT OF THE BORGIAS 117 

good friend? " he added, " Juan Cervillon." As soon 
as he had said this they jumped at him and one 
sword while the other severed his head with one blow, 
and both escaped. 

When the nephew and the others within the house 
heard the voice of Cervillon and the clash of swords, 
they ran out to see what had happened. They found 
Juan Cervillon lying on the wall and his head a short 
distance off on the ground but no trace of those who 
had committed the deed. On the following morning 
the incident was reported to the Pope by the gover- 
nor of Rome, who on the very night of the murder 
of Cervillon had displayed the greatest energy upon 
receiving the news and had questioned Pignatello as 
well as all the other inhabitants of the house with 
the greatest care about everything that had hap- 
pened. This he reported to the Pope in my presence 
and added that when the nephew and the others had 
rushed out and had found Cervillon dead and no one 
in the street, they had hurried farther along the 
street and had presently met a boy of whom they 
inquired if he had seen anybody. He answered, no, 
only two men, who had walked through the alley and 
had fled over the large open place before the stable 
of the Vice-chancellor. Thus ended poor Cervillon 
with a bitter death. His body was soon afterward 
brought by his servants to the church of Santa Maria 
Transpontina and there buried without pomp. 



XI 

THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 

T71EBRUARY, 1500. In former days the major- 
A domo of the papal palace, Petrus de Aranda, 
Bishop of Calahorra, had been arrested as suspected 
of heresy, and brought to the castle San Angelo, 
where he was imprisoned. The governor of Rome, 
Cardinal Isuagli, and the Bishop of Cesena, Pietro 
Menzi, as deputy-auditors of the papal camera, had 
been charged with the investigation and procedure. 
To justify himself Aranda brought up, as I was later 
informed, a hundred witnesses who, however, all with- 
out exception gave evidence against him. It was 
ascertained that he asserted and maintained among 
other things that the Mosaic law had only one prin- 
ciple, while the Christian had three, Father, Son and 
Holy Ghost, that Christ had not suffered as a real 
God, and that he had in praying said " Gloria Patri " 
leaving away " Filio " and " Spiritu sancto," that 
he had eaten before celebrating the mass and had 
eaten meat on Good Friday and other forbidden days, 
that he had stated that indulgences were void and 
inefficacious and had been invented by the fathers 

119 



120 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

for their own advantage, and that there was no hell 
or purgatory but only paradise, and many other 
things. 

On the 25th of February, 1500, a papal letter 
was posted at the doors of St. Peter's and the Lat- 
eran Church which stated that the roads and inns for 
the pilgrims to Rome ought to be safeguarded dur- 
ing the year of the jubilee and that the vassals of the 
Church would be held responsible for damage sus- 
tained and that reprisals would be made against 
them. 

On Monday, the 26th of February, 1500, by order 
of the Pope it was urged upon all the cardinals that 
they should send their suites on this day at four 
o'clock in the afternoon out to the Porta Santa 
Maria del Popolo to meet Cesare Borgia as he ap- 
proached the city and furthermore upon all ambassa- 
dors, conservators and officials of Rome as well as 
upon the abbreviators, clerics, etc., of the Roman 
Curia that they should go out personally to meet him. 
On the previous Friday, the 21st, Cardinal Orsini 
had gone to meet the Duke Cesare as far as Castello ; 
and there followed him on Saturday, the 22nd, the 
Cardinal Farnese. On this morning the Cardinal 
Lopez, with my colleague in his suite, went out to 
meet him about three to four miles beyond the Ponte 
Molle. All the ambassadors also rode out beyond 
the bridge as far as the meadows to await the duke 
there. When it had sounded the hour of four Car- 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 121 

dinal Pallavicini went on horseback from the palace 
to the residence of Cardinal Orsini who awaited him 
there outside on his mule. They rode together to the 
church of Santa Maria del Popolo to receive the 
duke there. He entered through the gate between 
seven and eight o'clock and was greeted by all the 
ambassadors, retainers and officials of the said car- 
dinal. When they heard that the duke was outside 
the gate, they mounted their mules and awaited him 
at the said place before the gate, where they saluted 
him with bared heads while he thanked them also in 
the same manner. Then he rode between them to the 
Vatican. 

In the train of the duke there came first in good 
order a hundred sumpters provided with new black 
covers and then about fifty others without any order. 
I could not arrange the escort in proper order as 
there were about a thousand ducal soldiers on foot, 
Swiss and Gascons, who marched in their own order 
in five sections and under five banners with the 
ducal arms, and took no heed of our order. There 
were also papal soldiers marching on foot to meet 
the duke and lansquenets with the flag of St. Andrew. 
The Swiss wanted the lansquenets to roll up their 
banner but they would not consent and a great 
quarrel started among them. But the conflict was 
settled by the duke with little effort. The Swiss 
and Gascons marched first with their banners, be- 
hind them came the lansquenets with theirs, and 



122 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

then about fifty noblemen of the duke. He himself 
had a hundred men around him of whom every one 
bore a new halberd and wore a coat of black velvet 
and shoes of black cloth. 

He had also many trumpeters wearing his arms 
as well as two heralds of his own and one of the King 
of France, who wanted to march under all conditions 
behind the soldiers. The duke, however, when ap- 
pealed to, decided that he ought to precede them, 
which he did only with great reluctance. By order 
of the duke the trumpeters and the other musicians 
did not play. 

Behind them rode the Duke of Bisceglia at the 
right and the Prince of Squillace, the son of the 
Pope, at the left. Then came the duke between the 
aforementioned cardinals, behind them the Arch- 
bishop of Ragusa, de Sachis, at the right and the 
Bishop of Treguier, Robert Guibe, Ambassador of 
the King of France, at the left, the Bishop of Zamora 
at the right and the ambassador of the King of Spain 
at the left, and so on, the others according to their 
rank. Two ambassadors of the King of Navarre got 
into a quarrel with the ambassadors of the Kings of 
Naples and of England, who retorted in a very hot- 
headed manner. The two ambassadors of Navarre 
had to give in and departed. There were also pres- 
ent the ambassadors of Florence, Venice, Savoy, and 
others. Behind them followed a large crowd in such 
confusion that the prelates were not able to take their 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 123 

places and the majority of them therefore departed. 

The Pope stood in the loggia of the chamber above 
the portal of the palace, and with him were the Car- 
dinals Juan Borgia, San Giorgio, Lopez, Cesarini and 
Farnese. When the duke came to the chamber of 
paraments, the Pope entered the Camera Papagalli, 
bringing with him five cushions of gold brocade, 
one of which he had laid on the elevated seat where 
he himself sat, another one under his feet and the 
three others upon the floor before his footstool. The 
door to the Camera Papagalli was opened and there en- 
tered the noblemen of the duke and after them, between 
the cardinals, the duke himself, who knelt down before 
the Pope and made a short speech in Spanish wherein 
he thanked the Pope that he had deigned to do him 
during his absence such a I do not know what. 
The Pope replied to him in the same idiom, which I 
did not understand. Then the duke kissed both feet 
of the Pope as well as his right hand and was al- 
lowed also to kiss his mouth. After the duke the 
noblemen also approached at their pleasure to kiss the 
foot. 

The castle of San Angelo was splendidly decorated 
and I never saw such pomp and triumph as from 
this castle. 

On Thursday, the 27th of February, 1500, there 
was a festive procession in the Agone with the cus- 
tomary gorgeous display, twelve triumphal chariots 
and the victory of Julius Cassar, who sat on the last 



124 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

chariot. All these chariots were taken to the palace 
and back again with the exception of the last one 
with Julius Caesar, which remained there. The duke 
rode from the palace to the Agone where the festivi- 
ties of the Romans were held in the customary way. 

On Thursday, the 5th of March, Cesare Borgia 
began with his calls on the cardinals. He had no 
bishop or prelate with him but was only accompanied 
by one of his retainers. When calling on Cardinal 
Piccolomini he went with him from the chamber down 
to the foot of the stairs walking on his left side, as 
he did not want to take the right one in any case, 
although the cardinal offered it to him with eager 
insistency. As I hear, he did the same with the 
other cardinals but I do not know how far the car- 
dinals went to meet him when he arrived and there- 
fore I could not put it down. 

On the fourth Sunday of Lent the Pope, with the 
intention of making Cesare Borgia Captain-General 
and Gonfaloniere of the Roman Church, decided to 
bestow upon him the Golden Rose. 1 On Sunday 
Laetare, therefore, the fourth of Lent and the 29th 
of March, 1500, the Pope had come into the small 
audience room in the morning at the usual hour with 
the cardinals, who had assembled in the Camera 
Papagalli, and decided with their consent to bestow 
the aforesaid Rose on Cesare Borgia of France, Duke 

of Valentinois, his dearest son, and to nominate him 
i See page 19. 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 125 

Captain-General and Gonfaloniere of the Holy Roman 
Church. From there the Pope went with the car- 
dinals into the chamber, blessed the Rose in the cus- 
tomary way, and went in procession on his portable 
chair with the Rose in his left hand to the church of 
St. Peter. Immediately before him walked a papal 
shield-bearer in a garment of frilled brocade which 
came down to his knees. He walked before the cham- 
berlains and carried over his arm a new garment, 
that is a coat and barret, the insignia of the dignity 
of a Gonfaloniere. The barret was of crimson, two 
spans high, and lined with ermine. In the middle 
there was a small piece of gold brocade with four 
large buttons, that is to say pearls of the size of 
ordinary nuts. At the four corners and inside there 
was a stripe of ermine fur about five fingers broad 
and above there was attached a dove composed of 
pearls, four fingers wide and adorned with many 
pearls. While the Pope was still sitting in his por- 
table chair, Cardinal Cibo appeared, who was offic- 
iating in the church, and dressed himself as usual 
in the sandals and the holy garments. After arriv- 
ing at the main altar the Pope took down the mitre 
and prayed in his folding-chair; then he made the 
confession of faith together with the celebrant. 

In the meantime the duke stepped up to the papal 
throne and placed himself at the right side. After 
the obeisance of the cardinals the duke in his short 
tunic stepped before the Pope and kneeled down 



126 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

before him at the last step above. He was joined 
by the Cardinal delle Rovere as an assistant of the 
Pope, who now with the mitre in his hand rose and 
said : " Our assistance in the name of the Lord who 
made heaven and earth. The Lord be with you and 
with your spirit. Let us pray : ' God, who Thou 
has promised to be an aid to Thy servants assembled 
in Thy name, grant to this Thy servant Cesare, our 
Gonfaloniere, the mercy that has been granted to 
Abraham at the burnt offering, to Moses with his 
legions, to Elia in the desert, to Samuel in the tem- 
ple. Give, O Lord, the unity, that Thou gavest to 
the patriarchs, that Thou hast preached to the 
peoples, that Thou hast handed down to the 
Apostles, that Thou hast ordered to the victors. 
Bless, Lord, we ask Thee, this our Gonfaloniere, 
who has been given to us certainly for the welfare of 
our people. Let him grow rich in years, let him be 
blooming and healthy in vigor of body until a ripe 
old age and let him arrive finally at a blessed end. 
May the trust remain with us that he will receive 
the same compassion in favor of his people that 
Aaron received in the sanctuary, Elisha by the 
stream, Ezekiel on his bed and the old Zachary in 
the temple. May the force and power of dominion 
be granted to him as Joshua possessed it in the 
camp and Gideon in battle, and as Peter received it 
with the keys and Paul used it in doctrine. Thus the 



127 

care of the shepherds may be a blessing to the sheep 
as Isaac prospered in his fruits and Jacob in his 
herds. This grant us mercifully the One who lives 
and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost in 
eternity.' ' 

After these words the Pope put the mitre on his 
head and sat down again. I took the coat from the 
hands of that shield-bearer, and handed it over to 
the assisting Cardinal delle Rovere who took off the 
coat of the duke. I received it and had it sent 
quickly through my servant to my house before any- 
thing further was said about it. For it was worth 
about four hundred ducats. The Pope took the 
coat from the hands of Cardinal delle Rovere and 
hung it around the duke, so that the clasp was lying 
on the right shoulder of the duke, with the following 
words : " May the Lord clothe you with this gar- 
ment of blessing and wrap you in the garb of joy, 
in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy 
Ghost. Amen." 

Then the same cardinal took from my hands the 
aforementioned crimson barret and handed it over to 
the Pope, who put it on the head of the duke with 
these words : " Receive the sign of the dignity of 
the Gonfaloniere that is being put on your head by 
us in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy 
Ghost, and remember that from now on you are 
pledged to defend the faith and the Holy Church. 



128 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

That success may be true to you, may be granted 
to you mercifully by Him that is blessed in all 
eternity." 

A cleric of the Camera brought the Rose from the 
altar, and the Pope took it from the hands of the 
Cardinal delle Rovere and handed it over to the 
duke who knelt before him with the following words : 
" Receive from our hands as we are, although un- 
deservedly God's representative on earth, as a symbol 
of the joy of Jerusalem triumphant as well as of the 
church militant. To all who believe in Christ it 
means the most precious flower as it is the joy and 
crown of all saints. Receive it, my most-beloved 
son, you who are of secular nobi! _y, powerful and 
rich in virtue, in order that you may win furthermore 
the nobility of every virtue in Christ, the Lord, simi- 
lar to the Rose that has been planted on the bank 
of many waters. This favor may grant you in its 
overflowing kindness the One who is the triune in 
eternity. Amen." 

The duke took the Rose in his right hand and 
kissed first the hand then the foot of the Pope. 
Both rose, the duke covered himself with the barret, 
and with the Rose in his right hand, walked, for the 
entire time, before the Pope. The holy handkerchief 
was shown as usual and the cardinals besides the 
duke accompanied the Pope as far as the courtyard, 
where the cardinals usually ride away. From there 
the Pope went up to his palace after he had dis- 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 129 

missed the duke and the cardinals, who then all 
mounted their horses. The older cardinals rode first 
and last between Piccolomini and Cesarini, the duke 
still wearing the barret of the Gonfaloniere on his 
head. The Rose, however, he did not bear in his 
hand all the way, but he had it carried most of the 
way by one of his servants, of whom he had only six 
or eight around himself while the others followed. 

In riding back the usual order was observed, the 
banners were carried by those two armed men on 
horseback, both Spaniards of the lower class. They 
rode behind all the ambassadors, preceded by eight 
trumpeters and before these four drummers. After 
the trumpeters there came three heralds, after these 
the armed men, then all the cardinals and among the 
last of these the cardinal with all his servants. 
There followed the prelates and the men of the duke 
in a crowd as this could not be helped. In this order 
we rode to the residence of Cardinal Sclafenata, 
where the duke intended to have dinner. Before the 
entrance the duke thanked with bared head every one 
of the cardinals, who had stopped here and there. 
Finally he turned around once again before the door 
to the cardinals who then departed. 

On Tuesday, the 12th of May, 1500, a certain 
Baron Rene d'Agrimont, ambassador of the King of 
France, while on his way to Rome with his sumpters 
and about thirteen horses and servants was robbed 
completely by twenty-two highwaymen and brigands 



130 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

in the mountains of Viterbo. One of his noblemen 
together with a servant was wounded severely. 

The ambassador entered Rome on the 13th May 
without pomp and escorted only by his men. The 
Pope, indignant at the incident, sent out the 
Bargello to capture the malefactors, and wrote 
numerous breves to Fabrizio Colonna, from 
whose territory the brigands had come, and to oth- 
ers in order that they should send the highwaymen 
to the city. Fifteen, of themj were apprehended 
and brought to Rome. 

On Wednesday, 27th May, 1500, the day before 
Assumption, eighteen men were hanged at noon while 
the cardinals passed over the bridge of San Angelo, 
nine on each side of the bridge. The hanged men 
fell down with the gallows on the bridge but were 
immediately set up again so that the cardinals when 
they returned from the palace could see all of them 
hanged. 

The first of the eighteen was a doctor of medicine, 
physician and surgeon to the hospital of St. John 
Lateran, who had left the hospital every day early 
in the morning in a short tunic and with a crossbow 
and had shot every one who happened to cross his 
path and pocketed his money. It was also said that 
the confessor of the hospital communicated with 
the physician when a patient confided to him during 
confession that he possessed any money, whereupon 
he gave an efficacious remedy to the patient and they 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 131 

divided the money between them. Thirteen belonged 
to the twenty-two who had robbed Baron d'Agri- 
mont. The four others had committed various mis- 
deeds. 

After vespers, on the 28th of May, 1500, the 
eighteen hanged men were taken down, laid on carts, 
and brought to the chapel by the society of Miseri- 
cordia, where they were buried in the usual way. 

On Wednesday, the 24th of June, 1500, the feast 
of St. John, the place of St. Peter was railed in by 
beams on all sides from the corner of the house of 
the palace-guard to the fountain of Innocence and 
from there to the corner of the house St. Martinelli, 
as well as both approaches of the Via Sancta to- 
wards the church of St. Peter. After dinner a bull- 
fight was held in this enclosure with five or six bulls. 
Cesare on horseback and several others administered 
numerous thrusts to them until they were dead. 

On Wednesday, 15th July, 1500, the Duke Al- 
phonse of Aragon, the husband of Lucretia Borgia, 
was suddenly attacked on the steps of St. Peter be- 
fore the outer entrance about ten o'clock at night 
and severely wounded in the head, the right arm, 
and the leg. The assailants fled down the stairs of 
St. Peter, where about forty men on horseback were 
waiting for them and they rode out with these 
through the Porta Pertusa. 

On Tuesday, 18th August, 1500, Alphonso of 
Aragon, who had been brought after his recent in- 



132 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

juries to the new tower above the papal cellar in the 
main garden of the Vatican, and had been carefully 
guarded, was strangled in his bed at four o'clock in 
the afternoon, as he did not die of his wounds. In 
the evening at ten o'clock the body was carried to 
the church of St. Peter and buried in the chapel of 
Maria delle Febbri. The archbishop of Cosenza, 
Francesco Borgia, the treasurer of the Pope, accom- 
panied the body with their suites. 

The physicians of the deceased and a hunchback 
who had nursed him almost all the time were ar- 
rested and brought to the castle of San Angelo 
where an investigation was started against them. 
They were set free later on as they were found not 
guilty, a fact that was very well known to those 
who had made out ffie'wlirrahts. 

The same day and almost at the same hour Lucas 
de Dulcibus, the chamberlain of Cardinal delle Ro- 
vcre and master of the Register of Papal Decrees, 
was wounded to death on the back of his mule before 
the house of the Roman citizen Domenico de Mas- 
simi, and his membrum virile was cut off by a man 
of Reiti whose wife he had kept as a concubine. He 
was brought into the house of the said Domenico 
where he died after three or four hours. In the 
evening he was carried to the church of Maria 
Transpontina and the next morning, Wednesday, the 
19th, the body was transferred to the church of 
Santa Maria del Popolo with the suite of the Car- 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 133 

dinal delle Rovere and many others in the funeral 
procession. May he rest in peace! 

On Sunday, 23d August, 1500, there arrived in 
Rome, Lord Lucas de Villeneuve, Baron de Trans, 
chamberlain of the King of France and his ambas- 
sador. To the inn of Domcnico Attavanti, where 
the ambassador stayed, near the hospital of St. Laz- 
arus, a masked rider came in great haste, accom- 
panied by a man on foot. He dismounted, embraced 
the ambassador with the mask over his face and had a 
conversation with him. After a short while the mas- 
ked person returned to the city. It has been said 
that it was Ccsarc Borgia. 

The ambassador mounted his horse and rode to 
the city. The suite of the Pope and of all the car- 
dinals present in Rome went to meet him as well as 
the ambassadors of the Kings of Spain and Naples, 
who said to him : Be welcome ! I asked them if 
they wanted to say anything more. They an- 
swered: No. The ambassador who head this, 
added: Who does not want to say anything else 
does not expect an answer. He rode then between 
the Archbishop of Cosenza, the governor of the city, 
and the Archbishop of Ragusa through the Via 
Papae to the inn of the Holy Apostles where he took 
up his quarters. 

On Monday, 31st of August, 1500, Lucretia, once 
of Aragon, the daughter of the Pope, betook herself 
from the city to Nepi accompanied by six hundred 



134 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

on horseback in order to find some consolation and 
rest after the grief and consternation in which she 
had been thrown by the recent death of her husband, 
Alphonse of Aragon. 

On 20th December, 1500, a bull was posted on the 
doors of St. Peter, concerning the prolongation of 
the jubilee year until the coming feast of Epiphany 
in favor of those abroad. The Pope granted to 
Italy the unlimited indulgence until the next feast 
of Pentecost and nominated for this purpose as 
commissaries the Minorities of the strict observance 
through an Apostolic letter. 

After the beginning of the last year of the jubilee 
the penitentiaries of St. Peter saw from cases that 
came before them in confession that the rights of in- 
dulgence granted to them were not broad enough. 
In the course of a conversation I had with one of 
them I asked him to let me hear some of the cases 
that were submitted daily to his colleagues. He 
told me that there were varied and curious cases 
reported to them but that he could not retain all of 
them in his memory. He told me, however, a few he 
remembered. 

Some one had concluded matrimony with a virgin 
and after he had slept with her and had had inter- 
course with her for a certain time, he had deserted 
her in order to contract a marriage with a second 
and a third one. The same he did with a fourth one 
and had thus four wives living at the same time. 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 135 

The same case he told me of a woman who married 
four men one after the other without any one of 
them having died. 

A monk of the order of the Benedictines who had 
been ordained as a priest contracted a marriage 
with a woman and consummated it through cohabi- 
tation. They lived together for about thirty years 
and had six children. After the death of the woman 
he contracted another marriage and lived and slept 
with his second wife for about seven years. Then 
he came to the jubilee and acknowledged his error 
himself. Another one, who had married and had 
consummated the cohabitation, let himself be or- 
dained as a priest and contracted another marriage 
although he had been ordained. 

One had had intercourse with a woman and then 
married her daughter. He came to the jubilee and 
acknowledged his error. 

A priest slept with his niece who became pregnant 
through him and bore him a son. The priest father 
christened him after his birth, then killed him im- 
mediately and buried him in the stable. Neverthe- 
less he had celebrated mass for eighteen years after 
this without dispensation or rehabilitation for his 
deed. 

Another one had taken monastic vows and entered 
the order of the Franciscans of the strict observance. 
Still within the first four months of the year of pro- 
bation he left the convent, threw off the cowl and 



136 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

contracted a marriage with a married woman whom 
he later deserted after intercourse. Now he entered 
another order which he left within the probationary 
year in order to contract a marriage with another 
married woman. When he heard after cohabitation 
with her that she was the wife of some one else he 
left her and married another free woman with whom 
he also cohabited. He ran away from this one too 
and married a fourth one with whom he also co- 
habited. Finally he deserted the fourth one also 
and entered the order of Santa Ma.ria of the Teu- 
tons, of which he confessed to be a member. When 
the fourth one heard of this she went to the convent 
in the belief that he was her husband and demanded 
his surrender. He fled before the imminent danger 
and came to Rome with the request to render him 
appropriate aid. It was said that the case was 
known in Strasburg. 

The two principals of a merchant firm in Provins, 
Pierre and Jean, had both beautiful wives. Pierre, 
acting on information from his servants, told his 
wife, that he would go on a certain day to Bruges 
so that she could make an appointment with Jean. 
On that day Pierre pretended to set forth on a 
journey but went instead to the house of a friend 
and arranged with his servants that they should let 
him know as soon as Jean had shut up himself with 
his wife. This they faithfully did. Pierre then 
went to his house and knocked violently at the door. 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 137 

The frightened wife locked the naked Jean into a 
chest in her room. Pierre was admitted, went to his 
wife's chamber and sent immediately for Jean's wife, 
who appeared soon afterwards. He asked her about 
her husband and she answered she did not know 
where he was. He often left the house early in the 
morning and returned in the late evening. Often he 
would stay away for one or two days. Pierre said: 
" Your husband is locked up in this chest here and 
he has often slept with my wife, although you are 
much more beautiful than she is. I give you the 
choice, either you surrender yourself to me on the 
top of this chest or you will see your husband cruelly 
murdered." The woman asked her husband in the 
chest what she should do. He answered from the 
chest that one could more easily compromise with 
decency than with death. So Pierre took Jean's 
wife on the top of the chest, then he let him out and 
they were the best friends. The incident had been 
kept secret for years. 

A similar case happened in Liibeck. Philip had a 
very beautiful sister, and Anton whom she loved very 
much slept with her. She climbed through the win- 
dow of her chamber over the roof and went to the 
room of her lover. When Philip found out that his 
sister had gone to Anton he sent for the sister of 
Anton who came to his room without any hesitation. 
Philip said to her : "Your brother Anton has often 
slept with my sister and now they are lying together 



138 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

again. I decided to lie with you or your brother 
Avill die an evil death." She consented in order to 
free her brother. After he had lain with her, he 
sent her back to her house through the window over 
the roof the same way by which his sister usually re- 
turned. When Anton heard of it, he came to an 
understanding with Philip that the matter should 
be kept secret. Nevertheless it came finally to our 
knowledge. 

When Angelo went through a church at noon, he 
cast a glance into the chapel of St. Florence situated 
in a corner. There he saw how Grada was lying 
under Paolo and how they amused themselves to- 
gether. For this Angelo later on reproached Paolo 
in public. Paolo denied the incident stubbornly, 
and as Angelo did not cease his pointed remarks, he 
sued him for libel before the magistrate. Proceed- 
ings were started against Angelo and his insults 
were proven while he could not justify his accusa- 
tion. Judgment was rendered therefore against 
Angelo that he had to recant his abuse and libellous 
speeches publicly in the church from the pulpit and 
to restore the good reputation of Paolo. When 
therefore, on a Sunday, the principal of the church 
came down from the pulpit after the sermon, Angelo 
stepped up and told before all the people of his trial 
before the magistrate and of the decision rendered 
and recanted the abuse and libellous speeches by ad- 
mitting his error in appropriate words. Then, how- 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 139 

ever, he added at the end: " But as a matter of fact, 
my dear co-citizens, when I saw that woman lying 
on the floor and Paolo above her and her nakedness 
exposed and what they were doing together just as 
one is acting usually in performing the fleshly act, 
then I was firmly convinced that they had performed 
this act." So this last error proved to be still 
worse for Paolo then the one before. 

On Whitsunday, 30th May, 1500, the Pope ap- 
peared wearing the tiara under the canopy in the 
procession in St. Peter's. Before the rails of the 
main altar all the prelates laid down their vestments 
and put on their coats as did likewise the cardinals 
after the Pope had said the creed together with the 
officiating cardinal. The Pope ascended the throne 
and the cardinals in their coats made the obeisance 
in the usual way. Cardinal Pallavicini celebrated 
the mass. The Pope had ordered the evening before 
that the procession of the clergy should pass before 
the railing. Since, however, the Cardinal Carafa 
had told the Pope this morning that at the election 
of the former master of the order of the Predicants 
and of another of the Minorites during the time of 
Pope Sixtus IV the procession of the order with the 
elected general had come to the main altar, the Pope 
allowed it on this day also. 

After the beginning of the epistle the procession 
of the others who preceded the aforesaid order, had 
passed the railing and had turned on its way to the 



140 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Vatican. The procession of the brethren, however, 
passed through the railing and around the main al- 
tar between the cardinal who was officiating and the 
other bishops and cardinals. Then they passed out 
through the side door towards the Vatican. Many 
of the brethren threw themselves down between the 
altar and the Pope and, turning towards the latter, 
they kissed the floor after the manner of the Turks. 
As I considered this improper, I intervened in order 
to prevent the others from doing so. The Pope 
however disapproved of my intervention and ordered 
that I should let them kiss the floor, which I did. 
The new general of the Predicants together with 
many provincial brethren of his order went up to the 
Pope, and with him Cardinal Carafa, who recom- 
mended his cause to the Pope. All the brethren 
kissed the foot of the Pope and then joined the pro- 
cession again, the remainder of which did not pass 
through the railing after the general but turned to- 
ward the Vatican. 

In the meanwhile Petrus of Vicenza, auditor of 
the Camera and Bishop of Cesena, donned a red 
pluviale and the plain mitre and went up to the altar 
to the Pope and kissed his knees. He asked, with- 
out mentioning the benediction, for the plenary in- 
dulgence which the Pope granted to all those pre- 
ent. After having received the indulgence he 
mounted the pulpit and announced in an oration the 
alliance between the Pope, the King of Hungary and 



THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE 141 

the Signory of Venice against the Turks. He did 
not enter, however, into a specification and an- 
nouncement of the various points. Immediately af- 
ter this oration he announced the indulgence ob- 
tained from the Pope. The latter rose immediately 
from his throne and began without the mitre Te 
Deum laudamus in a clear voice which was continued 
to the end by the choir. 

Then the Pope, still standing, recited the Lord's 
prayer as well as the verses and two prayers that 
have been provided for in the ceremonial at the an- 
nouncement of an alliance against the infidels. 
Then he administered the benediction to the people 
as usual, stepped down and after a prayer before the 
altar took up the tiara and left the railing. He 
looked at the iron of the spear of Christ and then 
at the Lord's image and returned as usual to the 
palace. 

In the evening the main bell of the Capitol was 
rung and bonfires were lighted throughout the city. 
By order of the Pope it was announced publicly in 
the city on the 3rd or 4th of June that all bandits 
and those outlawed on account of murder, theft, or 
other crimes could enter the city free and without 
punishment. 



XII 
FEASTS AND FEUDS IN ROME 

ON Thursday, the 17th of June, 1501, Cardinal 
Borgia entered Rome about one o'clock in the 
night through the Porta del Popolo. His own 
brother, who did not belong to the clergy but was 
captain of the portal of the papal palace, had rid- 
den out about two miles beyond the Milvian bridge 
to meet him. He did not dismount, however, when 
he offered him his hand. Furthermore Cardinal Lo- 
pez went out for a mile to meet him. The letter 
wanted Borgia to ride on the rig*ht side which was 
quite against the wish of Borgia. So Lopez rode on 
the right side and Borgia on the left, which was im- 
proper. Before the steps of the church del Popolo, 
Lopez remained mounted on his mule, took leave from 
Borgia and returned to the palace. 

Borgia went into the church and from there to 
the rooms prepared for him. There I wanted that 
the barber cut his hair that hung two fingers broad 
over his ears and enlarged his tonsure which was 
small and badly done. The cardinal replied that 
his hair and tonsure were in order. I did not want 
to reply anything. As I saw his indignation, I left 

143 



144 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

him as he was and went away before Cardinal Lopez 
came to him. In the meadows we took off from the 
cardinal the cape and the violet cloak of rather 
thick cloth which we appropriated for ourselves as 
usual. 

On the same evening, about twelve o'clock in the 
night, Cesare Borgia came secretly to Rome and 
took up his quarters in the Vatican without being no- 
ticed by anybody. 

On the following Friday, 13th June, 1501, I went 
quite early in the morning to Santa Maria del Po- 
polo, and as the chapel in the convent was too damp 
and close, I decorated the chapter before the chapel 
with a few orange branches as well as I could. For 
the stewards had not sent anything although they 
had been requested to. The cardinals of the palace 
appeared first, and when all had assembled, Carafa 
desired that we should start immediately which was 
done accordingly and we mounted our horses. 
There appeared still the Cardinals Orsini and 
Medici, and when we had reached the hospital of the 
Slavonians, Cardinal Sanseverino. Cardinal Castro 
was with the Pope in the palace. The new cardinal 
had come alone in a coat of crimson-colored camlet 
while all the others were in violet ones. He rode in 
the last rank between Piccolomini at the right and 
Medici at the left. I did not send the two deacons 
in advance to the Pope to dress him because I 
doubted that he had arisen. The new cardinal re- 



FEASTS AND FEUDS IN ROME 145 

mained with Piccolomini and Farnese in the little 
chapel which was decorated with tapestry but had 
no carpets on the floor. When the Pope came from 
his chamber in the Camera Papagalli to don the 
paraments, he reproached me for having come with 
the others in such a hurry from Maria del Popolo. 
I answered truly that it was after nine o'clock. 

The Pope in his robes appeared at the public con- 
sistory which was held in the third hall. Four re- 
ports were given, the first by Justinus, the second 
one by Burgundus. During this I conducted the 
Cardinal Medici to the small chapel and sent Far- 
nese back to the consistory. The latter bowed be- 
fore the Pope and took his seat. Soon afterwards 
appeared the new one with the two old cardinals at 
the session. First Piccolomini, behind him the new 
cardinal, rendered to the Pope the usual obeisance. 
Medici remained below before the throne of the Pope. 
Piccolomini and the new cardinal then stepped down 
again, and the new one was greeted by all the cardi- 
nals with the kiss on the mouth. He took his seat 
behind Farnese. Burgundus continued his report, 
then Alphonsus Ricenas made the third and Fran- 
ciscus Gerona the fourth one. After this the two 
assisting cardinals went up again with the new one 
to the Pope, who received also the retainers of the 
new cardinal in the ceremony of kissing his foot, 
while all the cardinals and prelates were sitting 
around in their seats as before. Then the Pope rose 



146 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

and returned to the Camera Papagalli where he laid 
off the sacred robes. On this occasion the Cardi- 
nal Pallavicini asked me in the circle why the new 
cardinal alone was wearing the red coat and I an- 
swered that he did so in order not to look as if he 
were of a religious order. For Cardinal Borgia is a 
knight of St. John. Carafa and Pallavicini smiled 
as they knew about this. Finally all the cardinals 
accompanied the new cardinal to the room of the 
treasurer prepared for him and took leave of him. 

On the same day after dinner it was announced 
in Rome : that under penalty of a fine of a hundred 
ducats all orders of the twenty-six so-called pro- 
visors appointed by the Pope had to be obeyed. 
Their task was to procure supplies for the French 
soldiers who had come to conquer the kingdom of 
Naples and had been quartered outside the walls. 
Whoever had carts or sumpters or mules must notify 
the governor of Rome in order that they could be 
used to transport these supplies. Under penalty of 
two hundred ducats and forfeiture of the object no 
one should dare to buy anything from the soldiers. 
This was done because the latter during their ad- 
vance had stolen horses, donkeys, corn and grain and 
anything they could lay hands to. 

On the following Saturday, 19th June, 1501, an- 
other proclamation was issued in Rome according to 
which all the men of the King of France, who did not 
receive pay from him or the Pope or from Cesare 



FEASTS AND FEUDS IN ROME 147 

Borgia, and the other soldiers in Rome who were not 
under the leadership of any of the afore-named 
should leave the city during Saturday. Whoever 
should be found afterwards in Rome would be pun- 
ished through judgment of the governor with prison, 
torture, and finally also to permanent servitude at 
the galleys. 

On the same day Monsignore de Allegri entered 
the city but was not received with public honors. 

A place near Aqua Traversa, beyond the Milvian 
Bridge, was designated as a camp for the French. 
There pens were erected and numerous arbors clad 
with foliage, hundred-fifty barrels of wine were put 
up, provision had been made for bread, meat, eggs, 
cheese, fruit and everything necessary as well as for 
sixteen prostitutes for the requirements of the sol- 
diers. Tradesmen and artisans of every description 
were ordered there for work. The governor issued 
the order to the Florentine merchants who dwelt on 
the bridge that they should according to the size of 
their houses prepare quarters for two, three or four 
mounted noblemen of the forces. The merchants 
wanted to get rid of this burden and gave the gov- 
ernor two hundred ducats which he took gladly. 
But when the soldiers entered the city he forced the 
merchants nevertheless to receive the persons desig- 
nated without giving back the two hundred ducats. 

On Tuesday, the 22nd of June, 1501, Cardinal 
Francesco Borgia went from Rome into the terri- 



148 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

tory of the Colonna in order to take possession of 
Rocca di Papa and all the lands and castles of the 
Colonna in the name of the Pope. He had Papal 
commissaries and soldiers with him and took posses- 
sion of everything without any protest or resistance. 

On Wednesday, the 23rd of June, 1501, the Arch 
deacon of Aquila, Franciscus Lucentinus, was at- 
tacked near Pellegrino and mortally wounded by 
four men of Hiernoymus Gaglioffi of Aquila, his mor- 
tal enemy, of whom one had himself warned Fran- 
ciscus a few days before that he would slay him with 
his associates if it had to be even in the house of 
Cardinal Piccolomini. There the dying man was 
brought on the same day and expired after vespers. 
In the evening he was, carried to the church of the 
Saint Maria de Consolazione where he had desired 
to be buried and there he was interred. May he 
rest in peace. Amen! 

On the same day the Knight Berauld Stuart 
d'Aubigny, Captain of the French soldiers made his 
entry into Rome from the direction of the meadows 
and was greeted in the usual way by the suites of 
the Pope and of all the cardinals. He rode between 
the Bishops Valdoes of Zamora and Pistachio of 
Conversano straight to the Vatican where he met 
the Pope in the Camera Papagalli, together with the 
Cardinals Pallavicinia, San Giorgio, Lopez, Fer- 
rari and the referendaries. There he was admitted 
by the Pope to the ceremony of kissing his foot and 



FEASTS AND FEUDS IN ROME 149 

after him ten or twelve of his suite. The Pope 
jes'ted with him for a short while and dismissed him 
then whereupon he, accompanied by Archbishop Sac- 
chis of Ragusa and the Bishop Valdoes and the oth- 
ers who had received him, rode back to the house of 
the Vice-chancellor where quarters had been pro- 
vided for him. There were also present the French 
ambassador, Bishop Gube of Treguier, the English 
ambassador, and the ambassadors of the duke of 
Savoy and of Venice and Florence who kept no or- 
der as the Savoyard who rode at the left of the 
English ambassador was quarreling with the Ve- 
netian who rode at his right. I did not want to in- 
tervene and everything else was as usual. 

On the 25th or 26th of June, 1501, in the early 
morning it was publicly proclaimed in the city by 
order of the Pope or the governor that all those who 
were not in pay of the Pope, the King of France, or 
of Cesare Borgia should leave the city within three 
hours and should not enter again. There was fur- 
thermore a proclamation issued in the name of the 
Lord Captain d'Aubigny, that all soldiers under the 
command of the King of France should stay during 
the whole day in the camp assigned to them near 
Aqua Traversa under penalty. 

On Monday, the 28th of June, 1501, all the sol- 
diers camping near Aqua Traversa marched through 
the meadows into the Borgo Petri by order of the 
Pope. There they met with all the other soldiers of 



150 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

the King of France in Rome and when all were to- 
gether they marched in rank and file over the bridge 
of San Angelo towards Naples in execution of their 
orders. The Pope was in the castle of San Angelo 
in the rooms adjoining the garden or in the loggia 
from which he viewed them with great pleasure while 
they marched past. Those on foot were twelve 
thousand men strong, the cavalry, two thousand. 
After the soldiers there came twenty-six carriages 
with thirty-six bombards. 

On Tuesday, the 6th of July, 1501, a Spanish 
prostitute, Ludovica, who had her quarters near the 
White Fountain, was arrested, brought to the Sa- 
bellian jail where she was immediately subjected to 
torture and strung up within an hour. She had 
robbed her visitors as best she could and had had 
several stabbed to death. She was arrested because 
a Frenchman from whom she had stolen twelve Scudi 
quarreled with her in public on that account just 
as the governor was passing and complained about 
her to the governor. 

On the 26th of July, 1501, about the fifth hour of 
the night the Pope received the news of the capture 
of Capua by the Duke of Valentinois. The capture 
of this city was achieved through treason by a cer- 
tain Fabrizio, a citizen of Capua, who let the men 
of the Duke enter in secret. But Fabrizio himself 
was the first one to be killed by them and after him 
there were about three thousand soldiers on foot and 



FEASTS AND FEUDS IN ROME 151 

two hundred horsemen slain as well as citizens, 
priests, monks and nuns in churches and covents, 
and women as many as there were found of them, 
without any pity. And the girls that were captured 
were given as a prey to the soldiers who treated 
them with great cruelty. The number of all that 
were killed has been estimated at about four thou- 
sand. 

On the morning of the 27th July, 1501, the Pope 
went from Rome to Sermoneta and the places of the 
Colonnas with fifty horsemen and a hundred soldiers 
on foot, in the midst of all his confidential retainers 
and the cardinals who accompanied him. With him 
rode the Cardinals Serra and Borgia, each of them 
with tw'elve servants, who are comprised in the afore- 
said hundred-and-fifty. The Pope took luncheon in 
the castle Gandolfo and afterwards went down to 
the lake where he amused himself during the whole 
day in a gondola while his men shouted continuously 
Borgia! Borgia! firing off their blunderbusses. 

On the following Thursday the Pope rode to 
Rocca di Papa and returned in the evening during a 
heavy rain-storm to the castle Gandolfo. On Fri- 
day, the 30th of July, he went again through tor- 
rents and storm to Genzano. On Saturday, the last 
of July, he proceeded in the same weather from Gen- 
zano to Sermoneta. Before leaving Rome he handed 
over his room, the whole palace, and the current af- 
fairs to his daughter Lucretia, who also occupied the 



152 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

papal rooms during his absence. He charged her 
also to open the letters sent him, and, in case any 
difficulty should arise, to consult Cardinal Costa and 
the other cardinals whom she might call upon for 
that purpose. 

It is said that at one occasion Lucretia sent for 
Costa and explained the order of the Pope and a 
pending case. Costa considered the case as being 
without importance and said to Lucretia that when 
the Pope brought up these affairs before the consis- 
tory there was the Vice-chancellor or another cardi- 
nal who kept the record for him. It would be 
proper therefore if there were some one present who 
would note down the conversation. Lucretia an- 
swered : " I understand quite well how to write ! " 
Costa asked: "Where is your pen?" Lucretia un- 
derstood the meaning and joke of the cardinal. She 
smiled and they brought the conversation to an end 
in good humor. I was not consulted about these 
matters. 

On Friday, the 13th of August, 1501, early in the 
morning a placard was hung upon the statue of 
Master Pasquino at the corner of the house of 
Carafa announcing the death of the Pope if he 
should leave the city. This spread immediately 
throughout Rome and the same morning similar 
posters were hung up in various parts of the city 
containing the following words: 



FEASTS AND FEUDS IN ROME 153 

I said to you before, O Pope, you were an ox; 

I tell you now, you die, if you go out; 

The wheel will follow him who drove the ox. 1 

On Saturday, the 4th of September, 1501, about 
vespers the news came from Ferrara of the conclu- 
sion of the marriage contract between Alphonso, the 
first-born of the Duke of Ferrara and Lucretia Bor- 
gia. Therefore bombards were set off continuously 
from the castle of San Angelo from then until into 
the night. On the following Sunday after break- 
fast Lucretia rode from the palace where she resided 
to the church Santa Maria del Popolo, dressed in a 
robe of golden brocade accompanied by about three 
hundred on horseback. Before her rode four 
bishops, namely Hieronymus de Porcarris, Vincenz 
Pistachio, Petrus Gamboa, and Antonio Flores, two 
by two. Then followed Lucretia alone and after her 
her suite and servants. In the same way she re- 
turned to the palace. 

On the same day the main bell of the Capitol was 
rung from the hour of supper until the third hour in 
the night. Numerous fires were lighted in the castle 
of San Angelo and over the whole city. The tow- 
ers of the castle and the Capitol and others were il- 
luminated in order to excite everybody to joy, 
though shame would have been more fitting. 

1 The ox is an allusion to the Borgia arms, a bull pasant on a 
field, and the wheel to the arms of the Cardinal of Lisbon. 



154 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

On the following Monday two jugglers, to one of 
whom on horseback Donna Lucretia had given her 
new robe of brocade worn only once on the previous 
day and worth three hundred ducats, went through 
all the main streets and alleys of Rome with the loud 
cry : " Long live the noble Duchess of Ferrara, 
long live Pope Alexander ! Long may they live." 
And then the other one on foot to whom Donna Lu- 
cretia had also given a robe went along with the 
same cry. 

On Thursday, the 9th of September, 1501, there 
was hung at the wall of the Torre di Nona a woman 
who had stabbed her husband to death with a knife 
during the previous night. 

On Saturday, the 25th of September, the Pope 
went early in the morning to Nepi, Civita Castellana, 
and to the other places in the neighborhood, and 
with him Cesare Borgia and the Cardinals Serra, 
Francesco and Ludovico Borgia with a small suite. 
Donna Lucretia remained in the chamber of the Pope 
in order to guard it and with the same orders as 
upon the previous absence of the Pope. He re- 
turned to Rome on Saturday, the 23rd of October, 
1501. 

On the evening of the last day of October, 1501, 
Cesare Borgia arranged a banquet in his chambers 
in the Vatican with fifty honest prostitutes, called 
courtesans, who danced after the dinner with the at- 
tendants and the others who were present, at first in 



FEASTS AND FEUDS IN ROME 155 

their garments, then naked. After the dinner the 
candelabra with the burning candles were taken from 
the tables and placed on the floor, and chestnuts 
were strewn around, which the naked courtesans 
picked up, creeping on hands and knees between the 
chandeliers, while the Pope, Cesare, and his sister 
Lucretia looked on. Finally prizes were announced 
for those who could perform the act most often with 
the courtesans, such as tunics of silk, shoes, barrets, 
and other things. 

On Monday, the llth of November, 1501, there 
entered the city through the Porta Viridarii a peas- 
ant leading two mares laden with wood. When these 
arrived in the place of St. Peter the men of the Pope 
ran towards them and cut the saddle-bands and 
ropes, and throwing down the wood they led the 
mares to the small place that is inside the palace 
just behind the portal. There four stallions freed 
from reins and bridles were sent from the palace and 
they ran after the mares and with a great -struggle 
and noise fighting with tooth and hoof jumped upon 
the mares and covered them, tearing and hurting 
them severely. The Pope stood together with 
Donna Lucretia under the window of the chamber 
above the portal of the palace and both looked down 
at what was going on there with loud laughter and 
much pleasure. 



XIII 



ON the evening of the 5th of January, 1502, as I 
have been told, the Pope counted out a hun- 
dred thousand ducats in minted gold in the presence 
of the brothers of the bridegroom, Ferdinand and 
Sigismund, as a dowry for Donna Lucretia, which 
he paid over to them in coined money. While count- 
ing out the money he received a letter from France 
according to which the French King had restored 
full liberty to the cardinal Ascanio Sforza. 

To-day, on the 6th of January, Donna Lucretia 
started on her journey from the Vatican to her hus- 
band in Ferrara. She rode straightway to the 
Bridge of San Angelo, from there to the left past 
the house of the former Cardinal of Parma through 
the Porta del Popolo. In her retinue she had about 
six horses, and she wore no luxurious garments. 
The order of the outriders was the usual one includ- 
ing the armed guards. Behind them rode the Car- 
dinal Francesco Borgia whom the Pope had recently 
named papal legate de latere in order to conduct 
Donna Lucretia through the territory of the 
Church. He rode between Don Ferdinand at the 

157 



158 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

right and Don Sigismund at the left. Then came 
Donna Lucretia between the Cardinal d'Este at the 
right and Cesare Borgia at the left, and behind them 
their men in rank and file. There was no bishop, 
prothonotary or abbot in the train, but instead the 
papal shield-bearers and Roman nobles, who accom- 
panied Lucretia on their own account. They all 
had on new garments of gold and silver brocades 
and divers silken stuffs made for the occasion. Fur- 
thermore the Pope had during these days requested 
the cardinals through my colleague that each of 
them should lend three horses or mules and he had 
also asked many bishops, more than twenty in num- 
ber, that they should each put one stallion or one 
steed at the disposal of the escort of Lucretia to 
Ferrara which they did. A few cardinals, however, 
contributed only a single horse or mule and none of 
the borrowed animals was ever returned. 

The other day, before the Cardinal d'Este came 
to Rome with his suite, the Pope bethought him of 
his own will to honor those who had appeared with 
him in addition to his servants, and were to make 
the journey to Ferrara with Donna Lucretia, and 
distributed the new arrivals with their attendants 
among the houses of those who belonged to the curia. 
To each cleric of the Camera he assigned twelve per- 
sons and twelve horses and the same number to the 
clerics of the collegium, and to the other officials a 
certain number, to each alike. Every one had to 



CLOSING YEARS 159 

bear the whole expense of entertaining the guests 
who were quartered upon him except for the partial 
contribution that the Pope or the Apostolic Camera 
made per man and beast. Furthermore it was said 
that the Pope extended the carnival in Ferrara to 
the eve of Laetare Sunday, so that they could eat 
meat in the meantime without penance, and could 
hold celebrations and make merry in honor of the 
arrival of Donna Lucretia. 

During the night of Friday, the 27th of January, 
1502, the brother of Signor Giovanni Lorenzo of 
Venice was arrested, who is said to have translated 
into Latin and sent to Venice a pamphlet against the 
Pope and Cesare Borgia written in Greek by the said 
Giovanni. During this night his whole goods and 
belongings, including those Giovanni had left behind, 
books and other things were dragged out of his house 
and nothing was left within. This was reported im- 
mediately to the Signoria of Venice, which wrote 
back and instructed its ambassador to make repre- 
sentations to the Pope with a view to his liberation. 
In pursuance of this instruction the ambassador pre- 
sented the letter together with the request for his 
liberation to the Pope on Monday, the 31st of Janu- 
ary. 

The Pope is said to have answered that he had not 
realized that this matter was one of such great inter- 
est to the Signoria and consequently it was a matter 
of regret to him to be unable to grant their request 



160 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

for the reason that he for whom they petitioned had 
already been disposed of. For according to report 
he had been strangled as the Pope came back to 
Rome and thrown into the Tiber. 

On the 1st of March, 1502, the Pope and his son, 
Cesare Borgia, had gone on a pleasure trip, each on 
his own ship with his suite. 

On Sunday, the 5th of March, the two ships con- 
tinued their journey in spite of the stormy sea and 
weather to Corneto in the neighborhood of which 
they put in. The Duke, apprehending greater dan- 
ger, left the ship at the dinner hour, entered a small 
boat and rowed for the shore. There he sent to 
Corneto for horses and rode to the city. The Pope, 
however, was not able to make the harbor with his 
ship, whereupon all on board were stricken with fear, 
and frightened by the stormy sea cast themselves 
down here and there on the floor of the boat. 

The Pope alone remained sitting firm and un- 
afraid in his armchair on the quarterdeck and looked 
on at everything, and when the wild seas dashed 
against the ship, he said : " Jesus ! " and crossed 
himself. He frequently addressed the sailors, order- 
ing them to prepare food for the meal. But they ex- 
cused themselves on the plea that they were unable 
to make any fire on account of the disturbed sea and 
the continuous tempest. When after a time the sea 
had subsided somewhat they fried fishes which the 
Pope ate. On the evening of this Saturday the Pope 



CLOSING YEARS 161 

returned by ship with his whole retinue to Porto 
Ercole and sent the same night to Corneto for riding 
accommodations which arrived on the following Sun- 
day. 

On Thursday, the 9th of June, 1502, there was 
found in the Tiber strangled with a cross-bow around 
his neck the Signer of Faenza, a young man of about 
18 years, and of such handsome figure and appear- 
ance that his like could hardly have been found 
among a thousand young men of his age. There 
were also found two young people bound to each 
other by the arms, the one fifteen years of age and 
the other twenty-five years, and with them a woman 
and many others. 

On Sunday, the 3rd of July, 1502, a strong rope 
was stretched in that court of the Vatican where the 
Cardinals usually dismount from their horses, four 
or five rods above the ground and ten to twelve rods 
long. Upon this rope a man-at-arms of Alphonso 
d'Este, the husband of Lucretia, gave a performance 
carrying a boy on his shoulders and exhibited vari- 
ous other feats of rope-dancing. The Pope looked 
on with many cardinals, prelates and others as spec- 
tators. 

On the same' Sunday at about seven o'clock there 
passed away in the convent of Minerva at the age of 
almost hundred years a friar, George Alemanus of 
Steiermark, of the third order of the Dominicans. 
The monks give numerous examples of his praise- 



162 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

worthy and religious life, asserting that he went 
straight to heaven. They laid him in his cowl on 
a bier before the high altar of the church of the con- 
vent. And there he lay stretched out straight while 
during his lifetime he had gone around bowed over 
and very bent. He lay in this state the following 
Monday and Tuesday until vespers when he was 
lifted up on the bier before the altar. The people 
trooped by in masses and there was a mighty throng. 
Many friars stood near the bier around the altar as 
a guard against the crowd. I also saw him. He 
was well preserved and had no odor of putrefaction. 
Many miracles are said to have been worked on the 
lame and the sick, whom he restored to health, but I 
could not discover anything reliable. When the 
Pope heard of the matter he ordered him to be 
buried during the night of Wednesday, which took 
place in the presence of the bargello of the city. 

On Wednesday, the 6th of July, 1502, at nine 
o'clock in the morning a cleric of the diocese of Basle 
by the name of Hieronymus was placed with the cap 
of infamy on his head on a wooden ladder which was 
propped against the columns of benediction on the 
steps of Saint Peter before the place of audience. 
He had confessed that he had signed and dated 
eleven petitions with the name of the Cardinals 
Pallvicini and San Giorgio and with the inscription 
on the back : " Registrata," and furthermore with 
the book and page of the register of promotions for 



CLOSING YEARS 163 

the holy ordinations. He had also added the name 
of the cleric of the camera as though they had been 
admitted by him to the ordinations. 

Thus the auditor of the Camera told to me and 
many others the same morning. At his feet a peas- 
ant was stationed also with a cap of disgrace for 
having borne false witness. And so they stood until 
the end of the consistorium and the audience which 
lasted about five hours. 

On Tuesday, the 12th of July, the Cardinal 
d'Albret and Fra^ois Troches returned to Rome 
with their mistresses as secretly as they had de- 
parted, without having executed their order to ap- 
prehend the Cardinal Giuliano delle Rovere because 
the Lord protected him from the hands of the im- 
pious. 

On Wednesday, the 20th of July, 1502, at nine 
o'clock Giovanni Battista de Ferrari, Cardinal of 
Modena and Capua, delivered his soul to the guard- 
ian of Orcus in his apartment in the Vatican. He 
was taken sick on Sunday, the 3rd of July, and did 
not allow himself to be bled nor to have an enema 
administered, nor did he take any syrups, pills or 
any other medicine. Instead on the fourth or fifth 
day of his sickness he had a bread soup made with a 
cup of the best Corsican wine. He ate this and 
drank the wine. 

On Wednesday, the 10th of July, 1502, he made 
confession and received the sacrament of the Eucha- 



164 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

rist. On this day a fever resulting from two in- 
termittent fevers which was very violent and which 
he had in addition to his constant fever, stopped and 
only appeared again on Saturday, the 16th. He 
had several capable physicians who visited him con- 
stantly but they could not persuade him to take any 
medicine until Sunday, the 17th, when he took one- 
sixth or eighth of the medicine prescribed which 
only served to hurt more than help him. Nor did 
he want to make any will or choose any burial place 
or make any bequests or gifts to his servants. On 
the morning before his death, perhaps in the de- 
lirium, he complained that somebody with whom he 
had made arrangements for a petition had cheated 
him to the extent of ten ducats. Two monks were 
present who remarked this. They brought him back 
to consciousness, held the crucifix before him and 
said : " Venerable Lord, do not worry about ar- 
rangements, but take your refuge to this, entrust 
yourself to Him who will redeem you from all fraud 
and deception." Thereupon he kissed the crucifix, 
touched his lip and made the sign of contrition. 
Soon afterwards he breathed forth his spirit. May 
he rest in peace! 

The same morning a secret consistorium was held, 
at which the Pope transferred the church of Capua 
which had become vacant through the death of Fer- 
rari to the Cardinal d'Este. As the head of the 
church of Modena he appointed the brother of the 



CLOSING YEARS 165 

deceased, Don Francesco de Ferrari, an uncouth 
man and a layman, who had come to Rome on Mon- 
day, the 18th, at the news of the illness of his 
brother, the Cardinal. In order to receive the 
church of the deceased Cardinal he had spent all his 
own money in bribery for this purpose and had also 
renounced the whole estate of his brother. 

The elected was clothed, immediately after the 
conclusion of the consistorium, in the ecclesiastical 
robes in which he appeared to us like a monster. On 
account of my former acquaintance with him I gave 
him my hand in order to congratulate him. He 
took it and was for kissing it if I had not withdrawn 
my hand. 

The Pope charged my colleague and ordered that 
the same arrangements should be made for his fu- 
neral as had been made upon the death of the Cardi- 
nal of Capua, who had died on the 15th of August of 
the previous year. In his anteroom we prepared a 
bier, on which we laid the dead at six o'clock adorned 
with all the priestly vestments which had been newly 
made for him from violet taffeta. At the right and 
the left six torches were set up. Here he lay until 
nine o'clock. Neither the Cardinals nor their suites 
nor other clerics were invited into the palace. The 
clergy of Saint Peter's awaited him with the cross in 
the outer hall of the church. The beneficiaries of 
Saint Peter's bore the dead from his chamber to the 
place of the burial, preceded by thirty torch-bear- 



166 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

ers. The Responsorium was sung in the customary 
manner in the center of the church. He was then 
carried to the chapel of Santa Maria delle Febbri 
where he was to be interred. 

All torches were taken away and I retained but 
one with difficulty to lighten the funeral. One of 
his confidential men threw himself upon the corpse 
and drew a ring off his hand, which the dead Cardi- 
nal had bought for two carlines. He also took an 
old wallet from him which was worth hardly two 
carlines and which the same confidential man had 
received from the papal sacristy with the promise to 
give it back again. 

The coffin was somewhat too small; therefore a 
carpenter kneeled on the corpse to force it in. He 
was buried barely two spans deep below the floor be- 
sides the wall and the outer pavement between the 
altar of Santa Maria delle Febbri and the altar of 
Pope Calixtus III. For a few days the place of 
burial was without a sign nor were there any torches 
placed on it as was the custom with cardinals. 

Finally this was done by the beneficiaries of Saint 
Peter's, to whom fifty carlines were paid according 
to agreement for carrying the corpse. The tomb 
looked for a few days like the grave of one who had 
been hanged, for some rascals had scratched two 
gallows on it and had engraved above the one from 
which a rope hung down, the words : " The Lord 
will demand the intercessions from your hands and 



CLOSING YEARS 167 

you will have to account for them. If you cannot 
you will be tortured with eternal punishment." 

Because he was severe against the poor and alto- 
gether too cruel and frequently of the utmost hard- 
ness toward all, and sold the livings and offices as 
dearly as he could in order to please the people, he 
had brought upon himself general despite and con- 
tempt. Several people had therefore made epitaphs 
to his inglorious memory, twenty-seven of which 
came into my hands. 1 

I was also told that there had been found one 
morning a placard affixed at the outer door of the 
apartments of the deceased cardinal in the Vatican 
upon which were inscribed the words : Bos bona, 
terra corpus, Styx animam. (" The ox the goods, 
the earth the body, the Styx the soul." ) Further- 
more it was said, that a Frenchman had told the 
following story in the servants' room of the Arch- 
bishop Sacchis de Ragusa. Ferrari appeared be- 
fore the portal of heaven and knocked, petitioning 
to enter the realm of God. Peter asked then: 
*' Who is knocking there ? " He answered : " He 
from Modena." Whereupon Peter replied : " If 
you do not pay a thousand ducats, you cannot en- 

iThe following is a specimen of one of these pasquinades: 

Iron-made was my family called, but golden 

through me, 
And the cause of this was not virtue but 

robbery. 



168 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

ter the realm of God." Modena. answered : " I 
have no money." Thereupon Peter : " Then give 
me five hundred." The answer was : " I have 
neither thousand nor five hundred. Poor I departed 
from life, robbed of all my possessions, livings, 
money, gold and silver vessels, and all my riches have 
been taken by the Pope. Naked I come ; in the name 
of God have pity upon me." Peter went down step 
by step from five hundred to one ducat, which he 
wanted to levy as admission from him. But when 
Ferrari continued to advance the pretext of his 
poverty, Peter told him : " If you cannot even pay 
one ducat, go to the devil and stay poor with him to 
all eternity." 

The Frenchman thus alluded to the life and con- 
duct of Ferrari who extorted money from the poor 
with great cruelty. He had pity for none, but sent 
the poor always to the devil, to enjoy eternal pov- 
erty with him. That is also why Peter above con- 
signed him to the eternal fire of hell. So Ferrari 
comes to hell and knocks there. The doorkeeper 
asks who knocks. He receives the answer : " He 
from Modena." The doorkeeper bargains in .the 
same way about the price. And as Ferrari was not 
ready to pay anything, he drove him away and as- 
signed him a place aside where he should be tor- 
mented with eternal punishment. 

I feel deeply grieved in soul that he had been so 
cruel to the poor and had bethought himself so little 



CLOSING YEARS 169 

of the welfare of his soul, while he showed toward me 
only munificence, generosity and appreciation. 
May Almighty God have mercy upon his soul. He 
is reported to have left thirty thousand double 
ducats in coined money, ten thousand in other coin, 
and gold and silver vessels to the value of ten thou- 
sand ducats. That he left so many ducats, I hardly 
believe. 

On the first day of Christmas, 1502, thirty masked 
men with long thick noses in the form of enormous 
phalli preceded after dinner to the place of Saint 
Peter. Before them a cardinal's chest was borng, 
to which was affixed a shield with three dice. Then 
came the masked fellows and behind them some one 
rode in a long coat and an old cardinal's hat. The 
fellows rode also on donkeys, some of them on such 
small ones that their feet touched the ground and 
that they walked thus astride together with the don- 
keys. They went up to the little place between the 
portal of the palace and the hall of audience, where 
they showed themselves to the Pope who stood at the 
window above the portal in the Loggia Paulina. 
Then they made a procession through the whole city. 

At two o'clock on the night of the 3rd of Janu- 
ary, 1503, the Pope made known to the Cardinal 
Orsini and to Jacobus de Santa Croce that Cesare 
Borgia had now taken the Castle of Sinigaglia. 
Therefore, in order to congratulate the Pope, the 
cardinal rode in the morning to the Vatican, and 



170 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

with. him the governor of the city who made as if 
he accompanied him by accident. After the cardinal 
had alighted in the palace, all his horses and mules 
were brought to the papal stables and he found him- 
self suddenly surrounded by armed men in the 
Camera Papagalli and fainted. He was brought im- 
mediately to the Torre di Nona prison, behind the 
garden or arbor of the Pope into the room of the 
Bishop Gamboa and with him afterwards the Pro- 
tonotary Orsini, Jacobus de Santa Croce, and the 
Abbot Bernardo de Alvino who were all kept there in 
confinement. 

The secretary and treasurer of the Pope, Adriano 
Castelli, who had on the preceding night read the let- 
ter of Cesare to the Pope in which he notified the 
Pope that he should arrest the Cardinal Orsini and 
Jacobus in the morning, did not want to leave the 
papal chamber that night so that if the Cardinal 
Orsini should be warned, the Pope might not suspect 
that he had done it. 

The same Adriano sent for the Archbishop Rin- 
aldo Orsini of Florence on the morning that the 
cardinal rode to the Vatican and had him arrested 
and placed under guard in his room in the Vatican. 
After the arrest of the cardinal the governor rode 
with all his men to his house on the Monte Giordano, 
locked it, placed guards before it and took up his 
residence there himself. While this was happening 



CLOSING YEARS 171 

in Rome, Cesare had apprehended in Sinigaglia, 
Vitelozzo Vitelli, Paolo Orsini, Don Francesco, Duke 
de Gravina . . . and Liberotto . . . de Ferma, 1 
and of these he caused Vitelozzo and Liberotto to be 
strangled within a few hours by Michelotto ; the 
Duke de Gravina, Paolo and Don Francesco he kept 
under strict guard. 

The son of Paolo, Fabio Orsini, prudently fled 
with all possible haste, when he saw the arrest of 
his father and the others. After the apprehension 
of the Cardinal Orsini, the rumor spread in Rome 
that the Pope was dead and that Naples had been 
taken by the Spaniards, but there was nothing in 
it. When the Cardinal Cesarini heard of the arrest 
of the Cardinal Orsini, he had his bell rung as a 
signal for riding away, and without delay he 
mounted his mule and rode in all haste through high- 
ways and byways to the Vatican. He remained 
there a short while but soon wearied of this he re- 
turned to his residence as he had come. 

This day and the following night Carlo Orsini 
was held a prisoner in the chamber of the Torre di 
Nona. The next day he was brought into the rooms 
above the main chapel and kept there under guard 
until vespers of the next Thursday. Then he was 
transferred to the Castle San Angelo where the ma- 
jor-domo received him in his room. The prothono- 
1 The dots indicate gaps in the manuscript. 



172 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

tary and the abbott were brought there soon after the 
arrest. Jacobus de Santa Croce was kept a prisoner 
in the Vatican. 

Cesare Borgia had seized the prisoners mentioned 
above in the following way. When he was lying be- 
fore the Castle of Sinigaglia with Vitelozzo, Paolo 
and the others he pretended that he did not want 
yet to advance against the castle, but preferred 
rather to take a meal first and he invited those men- 
tioned to partake with him. The Duke entered the 
house followed by Paolo, to whom he had extended a 
special invitation. Then came Vitelozzo, whom 
Paolo had caused to be called, and the others came 
behind them. When they were all within the court- 
yard, the Duke went into one of the rooms, where- 
upon Michelotto and many others surrounded Vi- 
telozzo as well as Paolo, with the words : " You 
are under arrest." Thereupon Vitelozzo snatched 
out his dagger and wounded several who had thrown 
themselves upon him. This was in vain, for he and 
others were put into prison and treated as has been 
told. 

On Wednesday, the 4th of January, Jacobus de 
Santa Croce engaged himself to the Pope to report 
at any time and place that he should desire. For 
this he pledged himself and his property as a bond 
for the fines of the papal chamber. Several citizens 
took a guaranty of twenty thousand ducats upon 
themselves and he was set at liberty on the same day 



CLOSING YEARS 173 

and returned to his residence soon after vespers. 
In the evening of the same day the governor stayed in 
the apartment of the Archbishop Orsini of Florence 
and after dinner he had all possessions of the Car- 
dinal Orsini and of the Archbishop brought in their 
carriages and other vehicles to the Vatican or to his 
own house according to his pleasure. Many things 
were also taken by the soldiers and others and car- 
ried away. 

On Thursday, the 5th of January, 1503, the sun 
shone through the clouds early in the morning and 
then retired behind them. It did not rain until ves- 
pers, but then rain fell during the whole night and 
the next day. 

The same morning Jacobus de Santa Croce rode 
with Prince Goffrcdo, the son of the Pope, to Monte 
Rotonca and in the name of the Pope took posses- 
sion of it as well as of all land of the Orsini and also 
of the Abbey of Farfa. 

At the usual hour the papal vespers were said in 
the main chapel. Mass was conducted with the 
Cardinal San Giorgio officiating. The Pope was not 
present. After this the cardinals went to the Pope 
to intercede for the Cardinal Orsini. The Pope told 
them of the conspiracy of Vitelozzo, of the Orsini, 
of Baglioni and Pandolfo and their accomplices for 
the assassination of Cesare Borgia, who wanted to 
take revenge on them. Their intercession was of no 
avail. 



174 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

The same day the city of Perugia surrendered to 
the Pope. Its tyrant Giovanni Paolo had previously 
fled to Pandolfo in Siena. 

On the 6th of January, 1503, after dinner the gov- 
ernor rode to the residence of the auditor of the 
camera, Bishop Petro Menzi of Cesena, summoned 
him to his presence, sick as he was, and brought him 
to the Castle San Angelo where he had him locked 
up and placed under guard. Then he went to the 
Vatican and from there to the residence of Andrea 
Spiriti of Viterbo, prothonotary of the Apostolic 
See and cleric of the papal camera, with whom he 
proceeded as he had done with Menzi. When the 
prothonotary realized that he had been arrested, he 
threw the keys of his library and his money chest 
into the sewer, for what reason I do not know. 

The following Saturday the governor ordered all 
the possessions of the bishop auditor as well as of 
the prothonotary to be carried from his residence to 
the Vatican. It was said that only very little had 
been found in the house of the prothonotary. 

Alarmed by the arrest of the auditor and the 
prothontary, Spiriti, the Bishop of Chiusi, Sinoflo of 
Castle Lotario, cleric of the Apostolic camera and 
papal Secretary, contracted the fever and made his 
will on Saturday, the 4th of January, and as execu- 
tors he designed the Cardinals Pallavicini and Pic- 
colomini. To the Pope he bequeathed a hundred 



CLOSING YEARS 175 

ducats. Soon afterward he gave up the ghost. 
May he rest in peace. Amen. 

When the Pope heard of his demise, he sent my 
colleague, Bernardino Gutterii, and one of the ushers 
of his chamber to the residence of the deceased to 
guard the house and the property within. There 
appeared also the Bishop Petrucci de Soana in the 
name of one of the executors, Piccolomini. All ec- 
clesiastical paraments were of purple cloth newly 
made for the deceased. The governor came also, 
and he alone was admitted by the two emissaries of 
the Pope, but he did not touch anything. 

On Wednesday, January the 18th, 1503, the Duke 
of Gravina, Paolo Orsini, and the Knight Orsini, who 
had been taken prisoner recently in Sinigaglia, were 
strangled by Michelotto and Marco Romano by or- 
der of Cesare Borgia at the Castle della Pieve in the 
territory of Siena. 

On Wednesday, the 23rd of January, 1503, the re- 
port was circulated in Rome that Cesare had 
brought under his rule recently Chiusi and Pienza as 
well as the places of Sarteano, Castle della Pieve and 
Santo Quirico, where only two old men and nine old 
women were found. The men of the Duke hung them 
up by the arms and lighted fires beneath their soles, 
in order to force them through tlu's torture to con- 
fess where property had been hidden. But they 
could or would not confess and perished under the 



176 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

torture. The villainous band tore the roofs from 
the houses, the beams, windows, doors, chests and 
barrels, from which they had let the wine run out, 
and set fire to everything. They took with them 
whatever they could plunder in the places they 
passed through, as well as in Aquapendente, Monte- 
fiascone, Viterbo, and everywhere else. 

In the evening of the 1st of February, 1503, a 
corpse was found in the river near the Ponte Nuovo 
without clothing and with scarlet stockings. Dur- 
ing these days Antonio de Pistorio and his associate 
were forbidden to see the Cardinal Orsini to whom 
they were accustomed to bring every day the food 
and drinks sent by his mother. This was done, as it 
has been said, because the Pope had requested from 
the cardinal two thousand ducats which a relative of 
the cardinal had deposited for the sale of a large 
pearl to him. The pearl had been bought by the 
cardinal himself for the price of two thousand ducats 
from a certain Virgilio Orsini or his heirs. In order 
to come to the assistance of her son, the mother of 
the cardinal, when she heard of it, paid the Pope the 
two thousand ducats, and the mistress of the cardi- 
nal, who had the said pearl, procured admission to 
the Pope in male attire and presented him the pearl. 
Possessed of the pearl and the money, the Pope gave 
the order that the two should be allowed again as be- 
fore to bring the cardinal food and drink. The 
cardinal had, however, in the meantime, as the people 



CLOSING YEARS 177 

said, emptied the cup that had been prepared for him 
by order and direction of the Pope. 

On Thursday, the 2nd of February, 1503, the 
feast of Purification, the Pope blessed and dis- 
tributed the candles in the main chapel without any 
crowding. Nevertheless he had around himself the 
wooden railing. Two conservators held the candles 
for the Pope. Cardinal Castro celebrated the sol- 
emn mass in the chapel. All this was done in the 
usual and customary manner. 

On Monday, the 13th of February, 1503, it was 
said in Rome, that Giangiordano Orsini had sur- 
rendered to the Pope and Cesare without any condi- 
tion, that furthermore, Pandolfo Petrucci of Siena 
and Gian Paolo Baglioni of Perugia had been taken 
prisoners on Florentine territory. 

On Wednesday, the 15th of February, 1503, the 
Cardinal d'Este departed from Rome after the con- 
sistory in which he had taken part, in order to re- 
turn to Ferrara on account of the resentment Cesare 
Borgia bore toward him because he loved the princely 
sister-in-law of Cesare and had had intercourse with 
her as also had had Cesare. 

On Thursday, the 16th of February, the Pope 
sent bombards to Cesare from the Castle San Angelo 
to aid in reducing Bracciano. 

On Monday, the 20th of February, a secret con- 
sistory was held during which the Pope told the 
cardinals that the Orsini were planning to invade 



178 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

Rome by stealth and to pillage the houses of the 
cardinals. He, therefore, warned the cardinals that 
every one of them should lay in a store of provisions 
for himself in his house and protect it with artillery. 
He complained of Cesare that hitherto he had not 
been willing to obey his orders concerning the con- 
quest of Bracciano and the other strongholds of the 
Orsini, but that he preferred to listen to the King of 
France, although he was captain of the church. He 
declared he would insist in any case on the capture 
of Bracciano and the other places. Furthermore, 
Cardinal Orsini had offered him 25,000 ducats for 
his release. He had consoled and admonished him 
to be of good cheer and before all to take good care 
of his health, since everything was of secondary 
importance, and he had ordered all the physicians 
to take the greatest care of the welfare of the car- 
dinal. 

On Wednesday, the 22nd of February, the Car- 
dinal Orsini died in the Castle of San Angelo. May 
his soul rest in peace ! Amen ! 

The Pope commanded my colleague, Bernardino 
Gutterii, to arrange the funeral of the deceased. I 
will not, therefore, attend the ceremony myself nor 
have anything to do with it, as I have no wish to learn 
aught that docs not concern me. 1 

i It is highly probable that the cardinal was poisoned by 
order of the Borgias. 



XIV 

THE DEATH AND FUNERAL OF 
ALEXANDER 

S~\N Saturday, the 12th of August, 1503, the 
^-^ Pope fell ill in the morning. After the hour 
of vespers, between six and seven o'clock a fever 
appeared and remained permanently. 

On the 15th of August thirteen ounces of blood 
were drawn from him and the tertian ague super- 
vened. 

On Thursday, the 17th of August, at nine o'clock 
in the forenoon he took medicine. 

On Friday, the 18th, between nine and ten o'clock 
he confessed to the Bishop Gamboa of Carignola, 
who then read mass to him. After his communion he 
gave the Eucharist to the Pope who was sitting in 
bed. Then he ended the mass at which were present 
five cardinals, Serra, Juan and Francesco Borgia, 
Casanova and Loris. The Pope told them that he 
felt very bad. At the hour of vespers after Gamboa 
had given him extreme unction, he died. 

There were present, in addition, only the datary 
and the papal grooms. Cesare, who was lying sick 
in bed, sent Michelotto with many men, who locked 

179 



180 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

all doors at the entrance to the residence of the 
Pope. One of them drew a dagger and threatened 
Cardinal Casanova, if he did not give him the keys 
and the money of the Pope, he would stab him and 
throw him out of the window, whereupon the fright- 
ened cardinal surrendered the keys to him. One 
after the other they entered the room behind the 
chamber of the Pope and took all the silver they could 
find as well as two chests with 100,000 ducats each. 
At eight o'clock they opened the doors again and 
the death of the Pope became known. In the mean- 
time his servants had appropriated whatever was left 
in the wardrobes and they left nothing but the papal 
armchairs, a few cushions, and the rugs on the 
walls. Cesare did not appear during the whole ill- 
ness of the Pope and not even at his death. Nor 
did the Pope mention him or Lucretia with one word. 

After seven o'clock my colleague arrived at the 
Vatican, and was recognized and admitted. He 
found the Pope dead and had him washed by the 
servant of the sacristy, Balthasar, and a papal serv- 
ant. Then they put on him all his everyday gar- 
ments and a white coat without a train which he 
had never worn -while alive. Over this they put a 
surplice. And thus they laid him on a bier in the 
ante-chamber of the hall, where he had died, with a 
crimson silk and a beautiful carpet over him. 

After eight o'clock my colleague sent for me and 
I came. The cardinals in the city had not yet re- 



THE FUNERAL OF ALEXANDER 181 

ceived any announcement, but during the time that I 
went to the Vatican, it was communicated to them. 
But none of them made any move nor did they meet 
anywhere else. I suggested to Carafa that he ought 
to prepare for imminent dangers and after nine 
o'clock he notified all the cardinals, through his sec- 
retary, that they should deign to appear the next 
morning in Santa Maria Minerva. There, in the 
middle of the sacristy, four benches were placed for 
the cardinals in a quadrangle. When I came to the 
Pope I dressed him in red robes all of brocade, with 
a short fanon, a beautiful chasuble, and with stock- 
ings. And as there was no cross on the shoes, I 
put on instead his daily slippers of crimson velvet 
with the golden cross which I bound with two strings 
to the back of the heels. His ring was missing and 
I could not recover it. Thereupon we carried him 
through the two rooms, the hall of the Pontiffs, 
and the audience room, to the Camera Papagalli, 
where we prepared a beautiful table of one rod in 
length with a crimson cover and a beautiful rug 
over it. We obtained four cushions of brocade and 
one of crimson velvet. The one of old crimson vel- 
vet we did not use, but of the others we laid one 
under the shoulders of the Pope, two besides and one 
beneath the head and over this an old carpet. And 
so he lay throughout the night with two torches, 
quite alone, although the prothonotaries had been 
invited to read the burial service. 



182 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

I returned to the city during the night, after 
twelve o'clock, accompanied by eight palace-guards. 
In the name of the Vice-chancellor I ordered the run- 
ner Carlo, together with his companions, under pen- 
alty of the loss of his office, to inform the whole 
clergy of Rome, both regular and secular, that they 
should be at the Vatican on the morrow at nine 
o'clock in the morning to escort the body from the 
main chapel to St. Peter's. Two hundred torches 
were prepared for the escort of the Pope. 

On the following Monday, the 19th of August, 
1503, I had the coffin brought to the Camera Papa- 
galli and laid the body in it. The subdeacon, in his 
cloak, stood ready to carry the cross, but we could 
not find the papal cross. The shield-bearers and a 
few servants of the chamber were called together to 
bear forty-three torches as well as four penitentiaries, 
namely the Bishop of Milopotamo, Claudius, Cata- 
leni, Andreas Frisner, and Arnold de Bedietto of the 
order of the Minorites. During the night they sung 
the requiem, sitting on the window-bench and laying 
their hands on the bier of the Pope, which was then 
carried by the poor who stood around in order to 
see the Pope. I then put a double mattress into 
the coffin and over it a beautiful new bishop's cloak 
of brocade of pale mauve with two new veils on 
which were embroidered the arms of Pope Alexander. 
I then laid the Pope on this and covered him with 
an old rug and placing an old pillow beneath his 



THE FUNERAL OF ALEXANDER 183 

shoulders and two cushions of brocade beneath his 
head. Two new crimson hats with golden strings I 
took home with me. The body thus wrapped up 
was borne by our servants, but they became appre- 
hensive that they would not be able to carry it out 
of the palace which they were quite well, and they 
left it to the chaplain of the palace, the Bishop of 
Sessa, to guard him. 

We brought the Pope to the main chapel, where 
the regular, clergy of Rome, the clergy of St. Peter's, 
and the canons with the cross assembled. Then he 
was carried from the main chapel to the center of 
St. Peter's. First came the cross, then the monks of 
St. Onofrio, the Paulist Fathers, the Franciscans, 
Augustinians and Carmelites, three brethren only of 
the Order of the Predicants together with the clergy 
of St. Peter's and the chamberlain of the Roman 
clergy in stole and pluviale with a few priests. 
About a hundred-and-forty torches were borne for 
the most part by the "clerics and beneficiaries of St, 
Peter's and by servants and retainers of the Pope. 
Then came the body. The beneficiaries and clerics 
surrounded the coffin without any order, and it was 
carried by the poor who had stood around it in the 
chapel, while four or six canons went beside them with 
their hands on the bier. Only four prelates followed 
the coffin, two by two, namely, the major-domo, 
Bishop Deza of Zamora, his vicar Gamboa, and the 
bishops of Narni and Sessa, 



184 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

When the coffin was deposited in the center of the 
church, the Ncm intres in judicium, etc., should have 
been recited, but there was no book there. While 
we were waiting for it in vain, the clergy intonated 
the responsorium : Libera me, Domine. During the 
singing some soldiers of the palace-guard attempted 
to appropriate several torches. The clergy de- 
fended itself against them and the soldiers turned 
their weapons against the clergy, who left their 
singing and fled to the sacristy. And the Pope was 
left lying there almost alone. I took up the bier 
together with three others and we carried him up 
to the main altar and the papal throne and placed 
him with the head towards the altar, closing the choir 
behind the coffin. The bishop of Sessa feared that if 
the people came near to theidead, there might be a 
scandal, that is, some one whom the dead had injured 
might take revenge upon him. Therefore he had 
the coffin taken away again and had it deposited at 
the entrance of the chapel between the stairs, the feet 
so near to the rails and the door that one could touch 
them easily with the hand through the railing. 
There it remained the whole day through behind the 
well-closed railing. 

In the meantime sixteen cardinals had assembled 
in Sta. Maria Minerva after nine o'clock. They 
appointed Archbishop Sachis of Ragusa as governor 
of Rome and assigned two hundred soldiers to him. 
The office of the chamberlain they handed over to 



THE FUNERAL OF ALEXANDER 185 

Cardinal Vera. And to these two they entrusted 
the supervision of the gates of Rome and of the 
populace and the clergy. The leaden seal of Alex- 
ander VI was broken before them in their presence 
by the plumbators, and they ordered that the papal 
ring should be handed over to the datary, which 
was done by Cardinal Casanova, while Pallavicini 
and Borgia charged themselves with the task of tak- 
ing an inventory of the possessions of the Pope in 
his chamber. The congregation ended about three 
o'clock. 

After dinner the cardinals before named, together 
with the clerics of the Camera, took an inventory of 
the silver and costly furnishings. They found the 
papal crown and two precious tiaras, all the rings 
which the Pope used at the mass, and the whole 
service of vessels used by the Pope when officiating, 
as much as could be packed into eight large chests. 
There were furthermore silver vessels in the first 
chamber behind the papal apartment, which Michel- 
otto Neri had overlooked, and a box of Cyprus wood 
which was covered with a green cloth and had also 
not been discovered. In this box were precious 
stones and rings to the value of about twenty-five 
thousand ducats, many papers, among them the oath 
of the cardinals, the bull of investiture of the king- 
dom of Naples and various other documents. 

The cleric of the chamber, Fernando Ponzetto, 
made arrangements during my absence with the car- 



186 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

penters, Michaele and Buccio, for a catafalque in 
the middle of the church of St. Peter fifteen spans in 
length, twelve spans in width and six spans in height ; 
furthermore, for a railing in the aisle, besides the 
catafalque to hold fifty torches and a hundred-and- 
fifty torchholders, also for benches for the mourners 
and a hundred prelates everything for the price 
of a hundred-and-fifteen ducats, the ducat at ten 
carlines. He also arranged for a credence for the 
celebrant and that they should execute the catafalque 
and everything else during the whole of the follow- 
ing day. 

Meanwhile the Pope, as has been told before, stood 
between the rails of the main altar and beside him 
there burned four torches. The decomposition and 
blackness of his face increased constantly so that 
he looked at eight o'clock, when I saw him, like the 
blackest cloth or the darkest negro, completely 
spotted, the nose swollen, the mouth quite large, the 
tongue swollen up, doubled so that it started out of 
his lips, the mouth open, in short so horrible that 
no one ever saw anything similar or declared to know 
of it. 

In the evening after nine o'clock he was brought 
from there to the chapel of Santa Maria delle Febbri 
and deposited in the corner on the wall at the left of 
the altar by six porters who made jokes and allu- 
sions to the Pope all the while. The two carpenters 
had made the coffin too narrow and too short. They 



THE FUNERAL OF ALEXANDER 187 

laid the mitre by his side, covered him with an old 
carpet and helped with their fists to fit him into the 
coffin. All this without torches or any other illumi- 
nation, without a priest or any person who took 
care of his body ! Thus told me Lord Chrispolit of 
St. Peter. 

Hardness and falseness, madness and hate, rage, lustful 

desire, 
Thirsty for blood and for gold, a sponge that can never 

be filled, 

Alexander the sixth, here I lie; Roma rejoice thee 
Free now at last; for my death was to mean new life 

for you. 

Alexander the sixth has smothered the world in carnage, 
Pius revives it again, worthy in name and in deed, 
Alexander has sold the altars and crosses and Christum: 
What he had gotten before, now he distributes again. 



APPENDIX 

CHARLES VIII. Philip de Comines, a contemporary 
of the French King, describes him as lacking in intelli- 
gence, and as being capricious and easily influenced, 
while Guiccardini, also a contemporary, had a much 
better opinion of him. Charles was short of stature 
and short-necked, with a parrot-like nose of enormous 
dimensions, a fiery birth-mark around his left eye, and 
twelve toes on his feet, hidden in splayed shoes, which 
set the fashion in foot-gear for the end of the fifteenth 
century in Italy. 

INNOCENT VIII. A good description of Innocent is 
contained in a report of the ambassador of Florence 
to his ^government: " He is a man," the ambassador 
writes, " of rather more than medium height, of fair 
culture, pleasant and kindly as a cardinal, more so than 
the dignity of a cardinal requires ; he appears to be a 
man of peaceable disposition, but I doubt whether, in 
time, his office may not change his mind. He has an 
illegitimate son, who is now at Naples, a man of more 
than twenty years of age, and some married daughters, 
who themselves have sons ; he has a brother and nephews 
besides, one of whom is a priest, a canon of St. Peter's, 
Messer Lorenzo by name, and it is thought that he will 
make him a cardinal at his first election of cardinals. 
Filippo di Nerone has a niece of his as his mistress, 
who was the wife of Stoldo Altovite, and when the Pon- 

189 



190 POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS COURT 

tiff was a cardinal he held him in high esteem. He is 
naturally rather stout, fifty-three years of age, very 
prosperous, and an admirer of learned men." 

Another contemporary, the historian Infessura, has 
this of him to say: " The vicar of the Pope in Rome 
and neighborhood, watchful of his flock as befits an 
honorable man, published an edict forbidding clergy as 
well as laics, whatever their position might be, to keep 
mistresses either openly or in secret. The penalty for 
so doing would be excommunication and confiscation of 
their benefices, for it was a practice which redounded 
to the discredit of priestly dignity and divine law. 
When the Pope heard this, he summoned the vicar and 
commanded him to annul the edict, saying that the prac- 
tice was not forbidden. And indeed, such was the life 
led by the clergy that there was hardly one who did not 
keep a mistress. The number of harlots at that time 
living in Rome amounted to 6800, not counting those 
who practiced their nefarious trade under the cloak of 
concubinage and those who exercised their arts in 
secret." 

ZIZIM (or DJEM). He was the younger son of Ma- 
homet II and was defeated by his brother, Bajazet, 
when he attempted to drive him from the throne. He 
then took refuge with the knights at Rhodes. Sultan 
Bajazet used in turn both promises and threats to get 
the fugitive into his power. For greater safety Zizim 
went to France, where the Bishop of Aubusson under- 
took, on consideration of a pension of 45,000 ducats 
of gold, payable on the first of August in each year, to 
defray all the prince's expenses, and prevent his flight 



APPENDIX 191 

to re-open the struggle against his brother. In violation 
of his pledged word, the bishop treated the young prince 
not as his guest but as a prisoner. Several European 
princes insisted that Zizim should be delivered to them, 
especially Matthias of Hungary, who wished to make 
him serve his own designs against Bajazet II. The 
grand-master of the knights at Rhodes refused, and 
excused himself for his inability to deliver up Zizim, 
whom he was detaining in the Pope's name. Upon the 
representations of Innocent VIII, the King of France 
permitted the prince to be taken to Rome. Thereupon 
Turkish ambassadors came to Paris and made the most 
alluring offers to Charles VIII, if he would undertake 
to keep Zizim a prisoner. The king would not go back 
upon his word, and the Turkish ambassadors withdrew. 
Zizim died in 1495 and the general opinion of con- 
temporaries was that the prince had been poisoned. 
Money rewards for his death had indeed been offered 
repeatedly by Sultan Bajazet. It seems more likely, 
however, that the Turkish prince died a victim of the 
very irregular life he led and the five heavy meals he 
used to consume every day. It is very probable, though 
not proven, that Alexander VI received a bribe of 300,000 
ducats for the return of Zizim's dead body, which was 
embalmed and shipped to Constantinople, where Bajazet 
received it with great pomp and a parade of mourning. 
An intercepted letter from the Sultan to the Pope men- 
tioning this offer of money was delivered by Giovanni 
della Rovere to his brother, the Cardinal, who, detesting 
Alexander, promptly laid it before Charles VIII. 



DG 

797 

B97M 



SROBA