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THE HISTORY OF THE POPES. Translated from 

the dermaii of Dr. Lumvir, PASTOR, and edited by the Rev. 
FREDERICK IGNATIUS AxTRonrs of the London Oratory. 

Yds. I. and II. A.n. 1305-1458. Demy Svo. 1899 (2nd ed.) 

Yols. III. and IY. A.D. 1458-1483. ,, 1894. 

Yoi.s. Y. and YI. A.I). 1484-1513. ,, 1898. 

24s. net per 2 vo!s. 




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L O N D O N : 




St. Michael s College 
Scholastic s Library 

JUN -1 1956 



Table of Contents ... ... ... ... ... vii-xxx 

List of Documents in Appendix ... ... xxxi-xxxii 

Election of Nicholas V. (1447) ... ... ... 3.26 

First Years of his Reign ... ... ... ... 27-7" 

Ihe Juhik-e of 1450. Cardinal Cusa in Germany 74-137 

The Last Imperial Coronation in Rome... ... 138-16.3 

Nicholas V. as Patron of the Renaissance ... 165-214 

Conspiracy of Stefano Porcaro ... ... ... 215-239 

Advance of the Turks and Fall of Constantinople 240-286 

Death of Nicholas V. ... ... ... 287-31- 

Election of Calixtus III. ... ... 3I7-34 1 

The Holy See and the Eastern Question ... 344-387 

1 he Victory of the Crusaders at Belgrade ... 389-428 
Skanderbeg. Deaths of Calixtus III. and Cardinal 

Capranica ... 429-495 

Appendix of Unpublished Documents 496-566 

Index of Names ... ... ... ... ... 567-580 




A. P. 

1447 Condition of Italy and the Church, on the death of 

Kugenius IV. . . . . . 3 

Apprehension excited by the movements of the King 

of Naples ... 3 

Threatening attitude of the populace and Republican 

party in Rome ... . 4 

Anxiety felt in legard to the election to the Papal 

Throne ..... 
The Cardinals assemble to elect a successor to 

Kugenius IV. ...... 6 

Composition of the Sacred College character of its 

most eminent members .... 7 

Grandeur and depth of character of Cardinal Carvajal 7 
Cardinal de Torquemada, champion of the rights of the 

Church and Holy See .... 
His position as a theologian founds the confraternity 

of the Annunciation ...... 9 

Cardinal d Estouteville princely splendour in which he 

lived .10 

I low different nations were represented in the Sacred 

College ... . .11 

The voting in the Conclave first results indecisive . 1 1 
1447 At the third scrutiny Cardinal Parentucelii is unani 
mously elected .... 1 1 
The election causes great rejoicings in Rome and in 

the States of the Church 13 

Parentage and early life of Cardinal Parentucelii . 14 
His difficulties on the death of his father enters the 

service of Cardinal Albergati . . . .15 
His relations with the representatives of the Christian 

and heathen Renaissance . . . . .16 


A.n. PAGE 

1447 His rapid ecclesiastical advancement becomes Bishop 

of Bologna . . . . . . .17 

Breaks up the League of the Electors in Germany 

and is created Cardinal . . . . . 18 
Important position attained by him in the Sacred 

College . . . . . . . .18 

His personal appearance, disposition, and character . ig 
His temperate habits, love of peace, and benevolence . 20 
His intellectual attainments and his love of books and 

buildings . . . . . . . .21 

The literary treasures acquired by him in his travels . 22 
His efforts to collect the writings of the Fathers, 

especially those of St. Augustine . . .23 
His ardent desire to restore order, and to use no other 

weapon than the Cross . . . . .25 
In promoting art and science his first object was the 

welfare of the Church ..... 26 



State of political and ecclesiastical affairs on the 

accession of Nicholas V. . . . .27 

Misery and devastation in the States of the Church . 28 

Revival of the hopes of the adherents of the anti- 
Pope (Felix V.) . .28 

Effect produced by the prudent and conciliatory action 

of the Pope . . . . . . .29 

King Alfonso and Frederick III. send ambassadors to 

the coronation ....... 30 

Ceremony of the coronation the Pope renews his 

promises to Frederick III. . . . . .31 

Submission of Poland to the Holy See concessions 

made to King Casimir . . . . -32 

Embassy of the Florentine Republic their reception 

by Nicholas V 33 

Agreement with the King of Naples he sends ambas 
sadors to Rome ....... 34 

Difficulties which reunion encountered in Germany and 

France . . . . . . . -35 

The Schismatic Councils of Bourges and Lyons decide 

that Felix should resign . . . . -35 

Nicholas V. recognized by the King and Princes of 

Germany Council of Basle to be dissolved . 36 

Opposition and eventual submission of the University 

of Vienna. . . . . . . -37 


A.n. PAGE 

1448 Concordat concluded at Vienna between Frederick III. 

and the Pope ....... 38 

Causes which prevented the Concordat from producing 

its expected results ...... 39 

The Concordat ultimately accepted throughout Europe 40 
Dissolution of the Basle Synod submission of the 

King of France. . . . . . .41 

1449 Concfssions made to the Schismatics and to the anti- 

Pope ......... 42 

Honours conferred upon Felix V. his retirement and 

death ... .... 43 

The effect of the Basle Schism was to postpone 

reform ........ 44 

Jacob von Jiiterbogk appeals to the Pope to remedy 

the abuses in the Church ..... 45 
New laws are not required, but the enforcement of 

those that exist ....... 46 

lie enumerates the abuses in the Church extent and 

limitation of the Pope s authority ... 47 
The Italians themselves the chief obstacle to reform . 48 
Kayserberg s opinion of the efficacy of Councils for 

purposes of reform ...... 49 

Sterility of the Council of Basle it served but to revive 

the Schism ....... 49 

Decline of the belief in the power of ecclesiastical 

parliaments. ....... 50 

Influence of ecclesiastical literature in promoting 

adherence to the Papal system . . . .51 
Cardinal de Torquemada s defence of the spiritual and 

temporal powers . . . . . .51 

Exposes the aims and methods of the enemies of the 

Holy See . . . . . . . 52 

The work of Rodericus Sancius against the Basle 

Schismatics ....... 53 

lie attacks the Council theory arid stigmatises the so- 

called neutrals ....... 54 

He lays it down as a principle that the Church will 

always need reform ..... -55 
If Councils were the proper agents they would need to 

be permanent . . . . . . 55 

How reforms should be carried out and the evils of the 

Church remedied ...... 55 

St. John Capistran and Piero del Monte combat the 

Council theories ...... 56 

Stringent measures taken by Nicholas V. for the 

eradication of heresy . . . . 57 



1449 Reaction in favour of the Papacy consequent on the 

Basle Schism . 

Opposition which the movement for reunion en 
countered in Germany . 59 
In spite of the religious awakening in that country the 

anti-Papal spirit not entirely subdued. 
Peace restored to the Papal States self-government 

conceded to the people . 61 

The feudatories of the Holy See and several cities re 
gain their ancient privileges 62 
The measures adopted for the restoration of peace to 

the States of the Church . . 63 

Policy pursued by the Pope for the maintenance of 

peace in his own dominions . . . 63 

Death of the last of the Visconti the claimants for the 

Duchy of Milan . .64 

The Duchy in abeyance for three years the ancient 

republic of Milan revived . 
Francesco Sforza becomes Duke of Milan and restores 

peace to Italy ... .66 

Submission of Bologna privileges conceded to the 

city by the Pope . -67 

Cardinal Bessarion appointed Papal Legate for Bologna 69 
Success of his administration Bologna s famous 

university restored 
He re-establishes law and justice, and issues an edict 

against luxury 7 1 

Results of the Pope s zeal in the cause of ecclesiastical 

and political order 
His success in the cause of peace the admiration of 

his contemporaries 



The Pope determines to celebrate the termination of the 

Schism by a Universal Jubilee . . 74 

1449 The Jubilee proclaimed conditions for gaining the 

Indulgence . 
Joy throughout Christendom pilgrimage of the nations 

to Rome 

The great influx of strangers preparations in Rome 

for their reception . 77 

The number and composition of the multitudes which 

daily arrived in the city 7^ 



1449 The canonization of St. Bernardine of Siena occurs in 

the Jubilee year ....... 79 

His process begun by Eugenius IV. is taken up by 

Nicholas V. ... 80 

The ceremony of the canonization the Pope pro 
nounces the Saint s panegyric . . . .81 

The outburst of joy which the canonization of St. 

Bernardine elicited ...... 82 

Description of the Jubilee by dello Mastro, an eye 
witness . . . . -83 

The plague reaches Rome appalling mortality among 

the pilgrims ..... 84 

The people are seized with panic and flee in all direc 
tions from the city ...... 86 

The Pope and the Papal Court quit the Eternal City . 87 

1450 Cessation of the pestilence the pilgrimages resumed . 88 
The crowds are so great that the streets become im 
passable .....-. 89 

Van der Weyden s visit to Rome its influence on his 

work 90 

Some of the important personages who joined in the 

jubilee 9 1 

The literature to which the Jubilee year gave birth . 93 
Different treatises written on the subject of Indulgences 94 
Provost Hammerlin denounces ecclesiastical abuses . 95 
A lady of rank is seized at Verona and carried off by 

the soldiers ....... 96 

Fearful accident to the pilgrims on the bridge of St. 

Angelo 97 

In the confusion some two hundred persons are 

crushed to death ...... 98 

The heart-rending scenes in the Church of St. Celso 

where the dead were conveyed . . . 99 
The Pope s distress at the terrible event identification 

of the dead 100 

Steps taken to prevent the recurrence of a similar 

accident ..... 101 
France and Germany demand the convention of a 

General Council ...... 101 

The Jubilee gifts enable the Pope to advance his 

schemes of art and learning . . . 102 

Spiritual effects of the Jubilee triumph of ecclesias 
tical restoration ...... 103 

To reform ecclesiastical abuses the Pope sends legates 

to various countries ... .104 

1451 Cardinal d Estouteville endeavours to effect peace 

between France and England . . .105 



1451 Cardinal Cusa undertakes the work of moral reform in 

Germany ........ 105 

Is opposed by those who favoured the principles of the 

Council of Basle ...... 106 

How to set about the work of ecclesiastical reform . 107 
Wherever he went his first visit was to the Church to 

implore blessings on his work . . . .108 
His endeavours to reunite Germany to Rome, and to 

reform the religious orders ..... 109 
His labours in the diocese of Salzburg effect the closest 

union with the Holy See . . . . .no 
He appoints apostolic visitors to enforce observance of 

the religious vows . . . . . . 1 1 1 

Their labours in Germany and the reforms effected by 

them . . . . . . . .112 

Cardinal Cusa reconciles the differences between the 

mendicant friars and regular clergy at Bamberg . 113 
He presides at the Provincial Chapter of the Benedic 
tines at Wiirzburg 114 

He commands the strict observance of the Rule of St. 

Benedict . . . . . . . .115 

He proceeds to Erfurt, where he undertakes the reform 

of the religious houses . . . . .116 
His reception at Erfurt great multitudes come to hear 

him preach . . . . . 117 

Visits the religious houses and monasteries and confers 

with Johannes Busch . . . . . .118 

He enters Magdeburg takes part in the procession of 

the Holy Sacrament . . . . . .119 

The measures adopted by him for the reform of religi 
ous houses . . . . . . .120 

He appoints deputies to carry out the reform of the 

Augustinian Order . . . . . .120 

Extensive powers of the deputies severe measures 

adopted towards grave offenders . . . .121 
An edict published against concubinage Convents 

visited and reformed 122 

Cardinal Cusa makes the religious instruction of the 

people his special care . . . . .123 
His visitation of Minden measures adopted for the 

better celebration of divine worship . . . 124 
Religious means employed for the extirpation of con 
cubinage among the clergy . . . .124 
St. John Capistran undertakes the reform of the 

Minorite Order in South Germany . . .125 
The veneration with which he was received the 

multitudes who came to hear him . 126 



1451 The rule of life which he observed is Accused of vain 

ambition . . . . . . . .127 

By his preaching he wins thousands to a better life, 

and reconciles heretics to the Church . . .128 

He founds and reforms Convents, and fills them with 
young men won by his preaching from the 
Universities . . . . . . .129 

As a result of one sermon nearly 120 students seek ad 
mission to the religious orders . . . .130 

Cardinal Cusa continues his labours of monastic reform 

in Northern Germany . . . . -130 

While he admonished and punished ecclesiastics, he 

did not fail to instruct the laity . . . 131 

lie establishes and endows a religious foundation for 

33 poor persons . . . . . .132 

Concludes his labours in Germany decrees of the 

Council of Mayence . . . . . 133 

The Pope entrusts him with a mission to Burgundy 

and England . . . . . . .134 

He fails in his mission, returns to Germany, and pre 
sides at the Council of Cologne . . . .135 

lie addresses the Synod on the measures to be adopted 

for reform . . . . . . . .136 

The unity of the Church and the authority of the Pope 

re-established in Germany . . . . .137 



1452 Frederick III. s desire to be crowned Emperor in Rome 138 
Preparations for the coronation and the King s mar 
riage with Leonora of Portugal . . . .139 

Commands the chief cities of the Empire to furnish 

his escort to Rome . . . . . .140 

Opposition to his project symptoms of agitation in 

Austria . . . . . . . .141 

Magnificent reception accorded to him by the Republic 

of Venice . . . . . . . .142 

The Duke of Milan, whom he refused to recognize, 

sends an embassy to meet him . . . .143 
The manifestations of welcome with which he was 

received at Bologna . . . . . .144 

Royally received by the Florentines reverence still 

felt for the Roman Empire . . . . .145 
The King is more concerned about buying jewels than 

in receiving ambassadors . . . . .146 


A - D - PAGE 

1452 The Papal legates join the King he meets his bride 

at Siena . . . . . . . .146 

The festivities at Siena description of the future Em 
press I47 

Alarm of the Pope at the King s approach military 

precautions . . . . . . .147 

The Pope s distrust of the Republican party the cause 

of his apprehension ...... 148 

The King approaches Rome is met by the nobility 

and their retainers . . . . . .149 

Rapture of the King and the German knights on 

beholding the Eternal City 150 

The King and the royal escort enter Rome under the 

Imperial standard 151 

The royal procession the King received with great 

pomp by clergy and people . . . .152 

The King s visit to St. Peter s does homage to the 

p ope I53 

His interview with the Pope desires to receive the 

iron crown of Lorn bardy . . . . 153 

Is crowned King of Loinbardy the Imperial corona 



Description of the ceremony at St. Peter s . . -155 

Conclusion of the ceremonies Frederick holds the 

Pope s stirrup . . . . . . .156 

The Emperor quits Rome his journey to Naples . i=;8 

Attempted escape of King Ladislas the Emperor 

returns to Rome 159 

Armed revolt in Austria threatened the Emperor de 
parts for Germany . . . . 160 

The insignificance of the Empire Frederick s treat 
ment by the Doge of Venice . . . .161 

St. Antoninus judgment of Frederick he is compelled 

to release King Ladislas 162 





The Pope places himself at the head of the movement 

for the revival of learning and art . . .165 

Rome to be the focus of literature and art, possessing 

imperishable memorials of the Church s greatness 166 



/I452 The fortifications designed to protect Rome against her 

enemies 167 

His buildings and libraries intended to manifest the 

exaltation of the Holy See . . . . .168 
His great architectural undertakings extent of his 

design 169 

He commences the restoration of the churches,basilicas, 

and palaces of Rome . . . . . .170 

His solicitude for the public health and for the embellish 
ment of the city . . . . . .171 

Bridges are repaired, fortified or rebuilt, and the city 

walls restored . . . . . . .172 

The Pope s design for rebuilding the Vatican, St. 

Peter s, and the Leonine City . . . . 173 
Details of the plan for the construction of the Vatican 

and St. Peter s . . . . . . .174 

The Papal city to be so fortified as to be practically im 
pregnable . . . . , . . .175 

Magnitude of the design for the defence and adornment 

of the Eternal City . . . . . .176 

Conception and details of the scheme ascribable to 

Nicholas V. alone . . . . . .177 

His first design was to restore, and not rebuild St. 

Peter s I7 8 

The design abandoned on the advice of Albert! . .178 
Reluctance to pull down St. Peter s dangerous condi 
tion of the basilica . . . . . .170 

The monuments of Pagan Rome despoiled in the work 

of Christian restoration . . . . .180 
Architectural alterations commenced in the Vatican 

palace. . . . . . . . . i8r 

The additions made by Nicholas V. and subsequent 

Topes T 8 2 

Artists are attracted to Rome from all parts of the world 183 
Remuneration of some of the most celebrated in the 

Pope s service . . . . . . .183 

The different systems under which the work was 

carried out . . . . . . .184 

Decoration of St. Peter s and the Vatican the labours 

of Fra Angelico . . . . . .185 

The almost unapproachable perfection to which he 

carried his art . . . . . . jg6 

Relations between him and the Pope the works he 

executed for Nicholas V .187 

His paintings of St. Stephen his mastery of his art 

unimpaired by old age .... 188 



1452 In his works the classical ideal is always subordinate to 

the Christian spirit . . . . . . .189 

Other painters who received employment and patronage 

from Nicholas V. . . . . . .190 

He encouraged all those arts which lend magnificence 

to public worship . . . . . .191 

He beautified and fortified the towns, and restored the 

public buildings in the Papal States . . .192 
His passion for the revival of literature his accession 

hailed by the humanists . . . . .193 
He seeks to identify the Holy See with the revival of 

classical learning . . . . .194 

Encouragement and support which literary men re 
ceived from him. . . . . . .194 

Rome becomes the centre of art and intellectual activity 195 
In his enthusiasm for learning the Pope gives support 

to the heathen humanists . . . . .196 
Poggio, Filelfo, and Valla among the recipients of his 

patronage . . . . . . . .197 

The literature of Greece becomes accessible to Western 

Evjrope . 198 

The host of translators employed, and the recompense 

awarded them . . . . . . .199 

Importance of Greek literature Rome filled with 

books and parchments ..... 200 
The diffusion of Greek, a counterpoise to what was inlhe Renaissance . .... 201 
The scandals which arose through the rivalry of the 

humanists ........ 202 

Preferment granted to them to the exclusion of the 

clergy 203 

The hostility excited by the votaries of the false Renais 
sance. ........ 204 

Maffei insists on the importance of classical knowledge 

to the clergy ....... 205 

The Pope encourages the advancement of ecclesiastical 

literature ........ 206 

The labours undertaken to publish more worthy Lives 

of the Saints ....... 207 

The VaLU-uj.*l3rbrary intended to preserve the intel 
lectual treasures of Greece and Rome . . . 208 
The quest for literary treasures throughout Christendom 208 
Armies of translators and transcribers employed by the 

Pope 209 

The Vatieanv-Library was meant to be accessible to the 

whole learned world 210 



1452 The private Papal libraries number of volumes con 

tained in them . . . . .211 

Number of MS. volumes in the famous private libraries 

of Italy .... . .212 

Contents of the manuscript volumes included in Nicholas 

V. s collections . . . . . .213 

The importance of the Vatican library even to our own 

times 214 



1453 Porcaro conspires against the temporal sovereignty and 

life of the Pope 215 

The false humanism revives the ancient estimate of the 

murder of tyrants . . .216 

Porcaro s antecedents he devotes himself to classical 

studies .... . .218 

His desire to establish in Rome a Republic after the 

Florentine pattern . . .219 

Conceals his opinions appointments conferred on him 

by Eugenius IV. ... . . 220 

Endeavours to provoke an insurrection on the death of 

that Pope .221 

Nicholas V. forgave him, but he still continued to con 
spire .222 

He is exiled to Bologna, but is granted a pension by the 

Pope 222 

Escapes from Bologna in disguise and returns to Rome 223 
Meets his co-conspirators and confers with them in the 

city .... . .224 

Plunder one of their inducements their plan of opera 
tions 225 

Porcaro delays the Pope is apprised of his design . 226 
The conspirators surprised, but many, including 

Porcaro, escape 227 

His place of concealment discovered, and he is taken 

prisoner . . . . .228 
He details the objects of the conspiracy, and the means 

of carrying it out 229 

The Pope and Cardinals to be captured, and put to 

death if they resisted 229 

He is sentenced to death and hanged with a number of 

his associates ....... 230 

The calamities which would have befallen the Papacy 

if he had succeeded 231 




AD " . PAGE 

1453 Excitement caused by the conspiracy divergence of 

opinion regarding it .... 232 

Alarm of the humanists their condemnation of 

Porcaro .... 2 -\-\ 

Polemical works written against Porcaro and in defence 

of the temporal power ... 234 

The Papal rule contrasted with that of the municipal 

governors of Italy 23- 

Friendly powers congratulate the Pope on the failure of 

the conspiracy .... 2 6 

Effect on the Pope of the danger to his life and his 

magnificent undertakings 238 

He becomes suspicious and distrustful on seeing the old 

disloyalty revived , . . . . .239 



1439 Instability of the Greek and Latin Union arranged at 

Florence 240 

Schismatical writers labour to excite hostility towards 

Rome 241 

Ineffectual attempt to bring about a union with the 

Russian Church ..... 242 

1448 Advance of the Turks defeat of the Christian army at 

Kossowo > , *, 

* & -J- 

Inactivity of the Greek Court the Pope alarmed at 

the Turkish success . . . . . 24^ 

The Hungarians granted the Jubilee indulgence without 

coming to Rome 244 

Measures of the Pope for the revival of faith and sup 
pression of heresy in Bosnia . . . .245 
1451 His action against the Turks material assistance 

given to Cyprus 4? 6 

His support of the Greeks conditional on their ob 
serving the Union 247 

His Brief to the Greeks on the necessity of the 

unity of the Church 248 

Points out the dangers of schism and the decadence of 

the countries where it prevailed .... 249 

He reminds them of their acceptance of the Union, and 

their attempts to evade it 250 

The conditions on which he will give his assistance 

against the Turks 251 

I45 1 The Turks who had menaced Cyprus turn their arms 

against a Mahometan Prince . . . .251 



1451 The Greeks deeming themselves safe send an insulting 

embassy to Mahomet . . .252 

He makes peace with his enemy, and turns his power 

against Constantinople . .252 

1452 He proceeds to fortify the Bosphorus, and declares war 

against the Greeks .... . 253 

Preparations for the decisive struggle hopes of Union 

with Rome abandoned . . . . . 254 
Discussion in Rome on the question of assistance to 

the Greeks .... 255 

It is urged that in spite of the schism Constantinople 

should be saved ...... 256 

Dangers to be apprehended if the city fell into the 

hands of the Turks . . . . . 257 

The Greek Emperor accepts the conditions laid down 

by the Pope . . . . .258 

1452 Cardinal Isidore goes to Constantinople with aid for the 

Greeks ........ 258 

Solemn function held to celebrate the Union of the 

churches . . . . . . . 259 

The populace and schismatical clergy resist and 

denounce the Union ...... 259 

Antagonism to Rome general throughout Byzantine 

society ...... . 260 

Consequence of this hostility in the then condition of 

Greece ........ 260 

Genoa aids the Greeks, but help from Venice comes 

too late ........ 261 

Venetian support half-hearted assistance afforded by 

the Pope ........ 262 

Nicholas V. describes the amount of support he 

rendered to the Greeks . . . . . 263 
14:3 The Papal fleet proceeds to Constantinople strength 

of the opposing forces "^"i** . . . 264 
Commencement of the siege the credit due to Italian 

ships and foreign troops . . . . .265 
Cowardice of the Greeks their reliance on prayers 

and predictions . . . . . .266 

The troops inadequate to the defence courage dis 

played by the Emperor ..... 266 

1453 (May 291!)) Capture of the city atrocities committed 
nil fry the Turkish troops ..... 267 

Outrage to the Christian Faith last traces of the 

Union obliterated ...... 268 

Degradation of the Greek Church flight of the 

Christians from the East ..... 269 




1453 Terror of Christendom at the downfall of the Byzan 
tine Empire 

Consequences of that event on the political system of 

Consternation in Rome on receipt of the news of the 

fall of Constantinople . 
Further advance of the Turks apprehended measures 

adopted by the Pope . 

He equips a fleet and issues a Bull of Crusade to 

Christendom . 
A great portion of the revenues of the Church devoted 

to advance the crusade . 2 ^ 

The enthusiasm which inspired the crusades extinct 277 
1454 Hungary alone undertakes the war against the infidel 278 
I he commercial interests of the Venetian Republic 

prevail over its patriotism . . 2 _ 

It enters into negotiations with the Sultan and con- 
eludes a treaty with the Porte . 2 o 

Its mercenary action-shameful conditions accepted 

by the Republic ... q 

Helplessness of Genoa surrender of its Black Sea 

possessions . . q 

Vacillation of the King of Naples in regard to the 

crusade .... q 

The Duchy of Milan and Florentine Republic give no 

support .... 2g 

Inaction of the Western Powers-the Pope s summons 

unheeded in France ... o_ 

Portugal and Hungary make serious preparations for 

the war .... ^ 

Discord among the European nations prevented their 

union against the Turks . . . . 2 gg 



Cyprus and Rhodes implore aid against the Turks- 
escape of Cardinal Isidore . . 2 g 

His account of the cruelties of the Turks and extent of 

their resources .... qo 

1453 The Pope summons the Italian Powers to a peace 

congress .... q 

Irreconcilable differences among the States represented 

at the congress . . .201 



1453 The King of Naples adverse to the re-establishment of 

peace . . . _ 2 9 2 
The excessive influence he is supposed to have exercised 

over the Pope . . . . 2 93 

The Pope becomes seriously ill during the negotiations 294 
The peace congress breaks up amid mutual dissatis 
faction ..... - 295 
Mission of Fra Simonetto of Camerino to the Duke of 

Milan 2 95 

1454 He brings about the peace which the congress failed 

to accomplish . . . . . .296 
The King of Naples indignant at the conditions of the 

peace of Lodi .... 2 97 

Acceptance of the conditions of peace by the whole of 

Italy 2 9 S 

14^5 The Pope ratifies the league which is proclaimed 

amid general rejoicing ... . 299 

Frederick III. summons a Diet to concert measures 

against the Turks .... . 300 

The Diet badly attended no definite result arrived at . 301 
Disunion in the Holy Roman Empire the Diet re 
assembles at Frankfort . ... 302 

It is decided to send an army and fleet to aid the 

Hungarians ... 3 r 3 

The Diet "next meets at Vienna it evades the Turkish 

question ..... . 34 

Illness of Nicholas V. continued anxieties of his 

reign ... ... 305 

Unable to give audiences or take part in the great 

feasts of the Church 307 

Revolutionary agitation throughout the States of the 

Church 3 s 

Intervention of the Pope between Spoleto and the 

Count of Anguillara 309 

Commands his sut.jects to obey the Cardinals pending 

the election of a new Pope .... 309 

His illness becomes dangerous his preparation for 

death 3 

He justifies on his death-bed before the Cardinals the 

acts of his pontificate . . . 3 11 

Contrasts the state of the Church on his accession 

with that in which he is leaving it . . 3 i 2 
His death tribute of Vespasiano da Bisticci to his 

memory .... 3 T 2 

1455 He is buried in St. Peter s his monument and epitaph 313 




TURKS, 1455-1458. 

1455 Apprehended disturbance in Rome renewed activity 

of the Republicans ... , z >, 

Preparations made for the election of a new Pope . 318 
The Cardinals assemble in conclave composition of 

the Sacred College . . . . . , x 

The proportion in which Italy and other nations were 


Speculation as to the future Pope chances of Cardinals 

Colonna and Orsini , 2r 

Division among the Cardinals three scrutinies fail to 

give the requisite majority . -,, 

/"* j 1 T i J J < Z 

Cardinal Bessanpn s prospects his elevation con 
sidered certain , 

The decision remains uncertain impatience of the 


Cardinal Alonso Borja elected takes the name of 

Calixtus III 

Prediction of St. Vincent Ferrer concerning him 

The ancestry and early life of Calixtus III. . \ 2J 

His ecclesiastical and diplomatic career services 

rendered to Alfonso of Naples . . . , 2 g 

His moral and intellectual qualification dissatisfaction 

at his election .... , 2Q 

The Pope s character described by his contemporaries vo 
Fear of the Italians that he will unduly favour his own 

countrymen , 

Simplicity of his demeanour contrast between him" 

and Nicholas V. ,, 2 

His attitude of indifference towards the Renaissance* 

movement ,, 

The humanists accuse him of having dispersed the 

Vatican library . . : . . _ ,, 

Reasons which prove that the accusation is a calumny 335 
Why Calixtus III. gave such little attention to the 

Renaissance .... ,,< 

Ceremony of the Pope s coronation at st. Peter s* 
Disturbances in Rome the Colonna and the Orsini 

again in conflict ,_g 

A truce is established between the contending parties . 339 



14^5 The Christian powers send ambassadors to pay homage 

to the Pope ... 34O 

His determination to reconquer Constantinople- 
Antoninus urges on the crusade . 34i 

Doubtful intentions of the Venetians concerning the 

Turkish war ... 34 1 

Profession of obedience to the Pope of the German 

nation . . . . 343 

The Pope commends the Emperor Frederick for his in 
tention of joining in the war ... 343 



Consequences of the fall of Constantinople perilous 

position of the adjacent countries . . -344 
Indifference shown by the European Powers to the 

welfare of Christendom . . 345 

Danger to Western civilization the Pope gives a 

powerful impulse to the crusade . . -345 

He binds himself by a solemn vow to sacrifice every 
thing to repel Islamism ..... 346 
Enthusiasm with which he enters on the contest his 

deadly hatred of the Turks . . . 347 

His threefold purpose, to unite Christendom, succour 

Hungary, and equip a fleet . 34 

1455 He renews the indulgence of Nicholas V., and fixes a 

day for the departure of the expedition . 349 

He despatches legates to various countries to restore 

the unity of Christian princes . . 349 

The ceremony of conferring the Cross performed at 

St. Peter s ... 35 

He sends bishops, prelates, or monks to collect material 

aid for the expedition. . . . 35 1 

Preachers of the crusade and tithe collectors appointed 

for the various nations . . 352 

Some of the Religious Orders devote themselves to 

preaching the crusade . . . -353 

Precautions taken to prevent the funds subscribed 

being diverted from their purpose . . 354 
The Pope devotes all his resources to the crusade, even 

Papal jewels and Church property . . . 355 
Suspension of the literary and architectural works 

undertaken by Nicholas V. . . . 356 
All his energy and attention are absorbed in prepara 
tions for the war 357 



1455 His plan for the recovery of Constantinople his re 

liance on Philip of Burgundy .... 358 
Endeavours to induce the King of Naples to join in the 

expedition. . . . . . . 359 

1456 The peace of Central Italy disturbed Piccinino ad 

vances towards Siena ...... 360 

lie is attacked by the Papal and Milanese forces and 

obliged to retreat . . . . . .361 

Duplicity of the King of Naples his stipulations in 

favour of Piccinino . . . . . .362 

Piccinino harasses the Sienese, \vho seek the interven 
tion of King Alfonso ...... 363 

Terms of peace arranged between the Sienese and the 

brigand Piccinino ...... 364 

The Papal fleet destined to harass the Turks attacks 

the ships of Christian nations . . . . 365 

Deep indignation of the Pope Cardinal Scarampo ap 
pointed admiral 366 

Construction and equipment of a Papal fleet in pro 
gress on the Tiber 367 

Festivities held in honour of Scarampo s appointment 

extent of his authority ..... 368 

Administrative arrangements connected with the con 
struction of the fleet 369 

1456 The new Papal fleet sets sail with five thousand troops 

on board . 371 

The admiral goes to Naples to take over the ships pro 
mised by Alfonso 372 

The King s treachery the Pope appeals to the admiral 

to start without delay . . . . -3/3 
The Cardinal s indecision the Pope urges him to pro 
ceed to the /Egean Sea 374 

1457 New ships built in Rome the Papal fleet in Greek 

waters . . 375 

Indifference shown by the Western Powers to the 

critical condition of the East .... 376 

Apathy of Frederick III. Charles VII. s opposition to 

the crusade 377 

The Pope urgently appeals to his legate to obtain assist 
ance from France ...... 379 

Charles VII. s agreement with the Pope and its viola 
tion .... ... 380 

The Universities of Paris and Toulouse beg the King 

to resist the collection of the tithes . . -381 

The Duke of Burgundy retains the money collected for 

the crusade 382 



1457 Inaction of the Kings of Denmark and Norway the 

King of Portugal fails to keep his promise . . 383 
The Papal Nuncio recalled from Portugal desertion of 

the Pope by the European Powers . . . 384 
The Duke of Milan and the Republic of Venice dis 

regard the entreaties of the Pope . . -385 

Florence refuses to co-operate overwhelming difficul 

ties of the Pope ...... 386 

He sends ambassadors throughout Europe to collect 

money and troops for the war .... 3^7 
His indomitable resolution artistic treasures and jewels 

converted into money . . . . 387 



The measures of the Sultan extends his dominions in 

Servia, and prepares to attack Hungary . . 389 
1456 His military preparations he proceeds with 150,000 

men to attack Belgrade . . . . -39 
Belgrade invested I lunyjuij and St. TohnCapistran 

bring succour to tile city . . ~*7 lft * -,- ^ ^i 
Carvajal encourages the Hungarians treachery of 

King Ladislas and his barons . . . .392 
Hunyadi raises an army at his own expense composi 

tion of the crusading army .... 393 

Important documents connected with the relief of Bel 

grade still undiscovered ..... #394 
1456 Measures of Hunyadi he breaks the Turkish line and 

gains a complete victory . . . . -395 
The rival forces concentrated for a decisive battle 

progress of the engagement . . . 39^ 
1456 Critical condition of the crusaders heroism of Hunyadi 

total defeat of the Turks .... 397 

Importance of the victory the chief merit due to 

Calixtus III ........ 398 

His readiness to sacrifice himself and all he had in the 

defence of Christendom ..... 399 
Commands prayers to be said throughout the world to 

avert the invasion ...... 400 

Joy of the Christian world over the triumph at Bel 

grade ........ 401 

Great rejoicings in Rome, Italy, and Venice . . 402 
How the aged Pontiff received the tidings of the 

victory ........ 403 



1456 Condemns the inaction of his admiral hopes Christen 
dom will now assist him ..... 404 

St. John Capistran and Hunyadi on the defeat of the 

Turks ........ 405 

They appeal for more troops to complete the discom 
fiture; of the infidel ...... 405 

Constantinople to be recaptured and the Holy Land 

freed from Islamism 406 

Pestilence among the Christian army death of Hun 
yadi and St. John Capistran .... 406 

The Pope appeals to the Powers to follow up the 

victory ........ 407 

The Western Powers deaf to his entreaties he appeals 

to the princes of the East ... . 408 

The Papal exhortation warmly received by the common 

people ........ 409 

Enthusiastic support of the war in Upper Germany 

the Nuremberg crusaders . . . . .410 

Their equipment and departure to join the army at 

Belgrade . . . . . . . .411 

They are joined by contingents from England, France, 

and other countries . . . . . .412 

Altercation between Ladislas, Hunyadi, and Count 

Ulrich before Belgrade 412 

Disastrous consequences thereof the crusading army 

returns home . . . . . . -413 

The German prelates complain of the Holy See and 

demand reform . . . . . . .413 

1456 Anti-papal movement in Germany Synods of Frank- 

fort-on-Main . . . . . . .414 

Resistance to the collection of tithes an anti-papal 

league established . . . . . .415 

Hostility to the Emperor the Pope again appeals to 

him to assist the crusade . . . . .416 

1457 The Diet of Frankfort reassembles statement of griev 

ances against Rome . . . . . .417 

The Pope rejects the overtures for a treaty with the 

Archbishop of Mayence . . . . .418 

He replies to the accusations of the agitators, and con 
demns their disloyalty . . . . . .419 

Censures the Archbishop the leader of the anti-papal 

movement ........ 420 

The Pope and Cardinal Piccolomini refute the charges 

against the Holy See . . . . . .421 

1458 Collapse of the movement duplicity of the King of 

Naples 422 



1458 Requests the Pope to hand over to him certain terri 
tories of the Church 423 

His attempts to frustrate the Pope s efforts for carrying 

on the crusade ....... 424 

His policy helps to prevent the union of Christendom 

against the Turks . . . . . .425 

Splendour of the reception accorded in Rome to 

Lucrezia di Algano ...... 426 

The Pope s threat to prevent Alfonso s illegitimate son 

from succeeding to the throne . . . .427 

The right of succession according to the law of Lom- 

bardy _ 428 



Skanderbeg s military renown the romantic fictions 

connected with his life . . . . .429 
1455 His achievements against the Turks the Albanians 

revolt against him ...... 430 

Is defeated by the Moslems, and compelled to retreat 

to the mountains . . . . . .431 

His appeal for help the Pope grants him pecuniary 

assistance . . . . . . . .4^1 

He defeats the Turks, and enters his capital in triumph 432 
His nephew goes over to the Turks \viih a large force 

of the Albanian army . . . . . .432 

1457 Skanderbeg overthrows the Turkish army at Tomornitza 433 
The papal fleet ordered to assist him his appeal to the 

Western Powers . 


Skanderbeg promoted Captain-General for the Turkish 

war by the Pope . . . . . .435 

The Pope s solicitude for the protection of the Oriental 

Christians ........ 435 

Tries to save the Genoese Colonies on the Black Sea 

from the Turks ....... 436 

His efforts on behalf of the Genoese the favours con 
ferred upon them . . . . . .437 

1457 Defeat of the Turks by the papal fleet capture of 25 of 

their ships ........ 438 

The Pope s energy in re-enforcing his fleet his deter 
mination to maintain it ..... 439 

Indifference shown by Portugal and Burgundy in the 

defence of Christendom ..... 439 

Owing to dissensions among the Powers the victories 

over the Turks are not followed up ... 440 



1458 Death of the King of Hungary George Pocliebrad 

elected King- of Bohemia 44 ! 

King George renounces the Hussite heresy promises 

to support the war against the Turks . . .442 

Swears fidelity to the Roman Church, and undertakes 

to oppose heretical doctrines .... 443 

The Pope hopeful that the Bohemian heretics will return 

to the Church ..... 444 

Opposition encountered by Calixtus III. in his prosecu 
tion of the crusade . . . . . .445 

To ensure united action he summons a congress of the 

Powers to Rome ...... 446 

1458 The congress assembles its deliberation s end without 

result 44 *, 

The nepotism of Calixtus III. how he enriched his 

Spanish relations ...... 447 

Characteristics of the Borgias evil consequences of 

their elevation ..... 44 8 

Great abilities of Rodrigo Borgia favours conferred 

upon him 449 

Luis Juan and Rodrigo, the Pope s nephews, created 

Cardinals ...... 4 - o 

Rodvigo s immoral character not manifested in the life 
time of Calixtus 4 -j 

Futile attempts by recent writers to rehabilitate his 

character ...... 4 - 2 

The Portuguese Infante James made Cardinal his ex 
emplary life ..... 4-4 

The Pope s further creation of Cardinals opposition 

of the Sacred College .... 4 -- 

Six Cardinals, including ^Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini, 

are created ..... 4-3 

Cardinals Luis and Rodrigo Borgia appointed to lucra 
tive offices 

A. ~\ (J 

Rodrigo becomes Vice-Chancellor advancement of 

Don Pedro Luis 4 6 O 

Protest of Capranica intimacy between the Borgia 

and the Colonna .f )I 

Don Pedro Luis becomes Prefect of the Eternal City . 462 
Insolent manners of the Pope s nephews influx of 

Spaniards to Rome . . . . . 4 6, 

Many quit the papal service in consequence of the 

favour shown to the Catalans . . . . 4 6 4 
The fortress of St. Angelo surrendered to the Borgia 

fears of disturbance in Rome . . . .465 



1458 Lawlessness in Rome under the Borgia the plague re 
visits the city ....... 466 

Death of King Alfonso of Naples rival claimants to 

the throne 467 

The Pope bestows rich benefices on his nephews his 

intentions regarding Don Pedro .... 468 

He issues a Bull claiming Sicily as a lapsed fief of the 

Holy See 469 

lie ignores Don Ferrante, and orders a hostile demon 
stration against Naples 470 

Claims advanced by Calixius III. as to the disposal of 

Naples . -471 

Don Ferrante appeals against the Bull the Duke of 

Milan declares in his favour . . . .472 

The Pope becomes seriously ill maltreatment of the 

Catalans in Rome ...... 473 

On his death-bed the Pope confers new favours on 

Don Pedro . . . . . . . .474 

His intention to create new Cardinals opposition of 

the Sacred College . .... 474 

Excitement in Rome and the Papal States precau 
tionary measures ...... 475 

Don Pedro afraid surrenders the fortresses in his posses 
sion to the Cardinals ...... 476 

Account of his flight his military e-cort refuses to 

accompany him ....... 477 

Cardinal Rodrigo returns to Rome his palace plun 
dered by the populace . ..... 478 

1458 (6 August) Death of Calixtus III. his character, apart 

from his nepotism, worthy of praise . . .479 

Hostility to the Borgia and their sympathizers flight 

of the Catalans 480 

Piccinino re-enters the Papal States alleged conni 
vance of King Alfonso 481 

Negotiations regarding the election of a successor to 

Calixtus III 481 

Determination to elect an Italian Capranica in favour 

with all parties ....... 482 

Capranica s early life his relations with Cesarini . 483 

His remarkable learning and virtue his elevation to 

the purple 484 

His exclusion from the Conclave which assembled on 

the death of Martin V 485 

Plunder of his palace and dispersion of his library by 

the Orsini 486 


A - D - PACK 

1458 He is denied the dignity of Cardinal appeals to the 

Council of Basle 486 

Becomes reconciled with Eugenius IV. his labours for 

reform and Union with the Greeks . . .487 
The offices conferred on him by Nicholas V. his 

interest in the Turkish question .... 488 
Courage displayed by him during the plague opposes 

the promotion of Don Pedro .... 
His life the ideal of what that of a Cardinal ought to be 
The administration of his household his practice of 

mortification . . . . . . .491 

How he reconciled enemies he founds a college for 

poor students 492 

(19 August) Capranica s death the Milanese ambas 
sador s last interview with him .... 41^4 
Is buried amid general mourning near the grave of St. 

Catherine of Siena . . . . . .495 

Election of Cardinal yEneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius 

II.) as successor to Calixtus III 495 



I. Nicholas V. to Cardinal Bessarion ... ... 4(14 

II. ,, to the Knights of St. John ... 474 

III. Three Bulls on behalf of the Knights of St. John 484 

IV. V. Amidano to Duke of Milan ... ... ... 500 

V. Giov. Inghirami to Giov. de Medici ... ... 500 

VI. Nicholas V. to Cardinal Cusa ... ... ... 502 

"VII. and Cyprus... ... ... ... 503 

VIII. to Cardinal Cusa ... ... ... 505 

IX. to Cardinal d Estoutcville ... ... 505 

X. to Cardinal Cusa ... ... ... 506 

XI. ,, ... ... 506 

XII. Speeches of Stefano Porcaro ... ... ... 507 

XIII. G. de Rapallo to P. de Campofregoso ... ... 508 

XIV. Depositions of Stefano Porcaro ... ... ... 510 

XV. B. de Lagazara to Siena... ... ... ... 517 

XVI. Cardinal Calandrini to Lucca ... ... ... 518 

XVII. Nicholas V. to Thomas of Lesina ... ... 520 

XVIII. N. Soderinus to Florence ... ... ... 521 

XIX. L. de Benvoglienti to Siena ... ... ... 521 

XX. A. da Pistoja to Duke of Milan 522 

XXI. Cardinal d Estouteville to Duke of Milan ... 523 

XXII. Nicholas V. and the Minorites ... ... ... 524 

XXIII. A. de Aliprandis to Duke of Milan 525 

XXIV. F. Contarini to Venice 526 

XXV. /Eneas Sylvius to Nicholas V ... 528 

XXVI. N. of Pontremoli to Duke of Milan 529 

XXVII. F. Contarini to Venice ... ... ... ... ^ 2 

xxvm. ... 533 


XXIX. 13. Visconti and N. Pontremoli to Duke of Milan 

XXX. N. Pontremoli to Duke of Milan 

XXXI. 13. Visconti and N. Pontremoli to Duke of Milan 
XXXII. Calixtus III. to Bologna... 

XXXIII. J. Calcaterra to Duke of Milan ... 

XXXIV. Calixtus III. to Cologne 

XXXV. G. of Castiglione to Duke of Milan 

XXXVI. Cardinal Scarampo to L. de Gonzaga ... 
XXXVII. Calixtus III. creates Rodrigo Borgia Cardinal ... 
XXXVIII. and Archbishop of Tarragona 

XXXIX. to General of Augustinians 

XL. to Jacopo Perpinya 

XLI. Doge of Venice to Duke of Milan 
XLII. N. Severinus to Siena ... 
XLI1I. J. Calcaterra to Duke of Milan ... 
XLIV. Calixtus III. to Cardinal Alain ... ... 55 

XLV. Cardinal Scarampo to O. Gaetani 
XLVI. B. Ghilinus to Duke of Milan ... ... 552 

XLVII. Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia to L. de Gonzaga ... 553 

XLVIII. Calixtus III. to Berne ... 554 

XL1X. gifts to Cardinals de Borgia ... 555 

L. J. A. della Torre to Duke of Milan 556 

LI. A. da Pistoja 557 

LII. 559 

LIII. O. de Carretto ... 561 

LIV. A. da Pistoja 5 6 3 

LV. O. de Carrelto -..564 

LVI. 565 





EUGENICS IV. had devoted the energies of his life to the 
restoration of the Papal power, but the great work was 
but in its beginning, and far from completion. The remnant 
of the Council of Basle was still in existence, and the anti- 
Pope was living in Switzerland. The efforts of the 
partisans of the Council to alter the manner of Papal 
(flections were still fresh in the minds of many, and the 
political condition of Italy, especially that of the States of 
the Church, was one of uncertainty and confusion. In 
view of this threatening position of affairs, Eugenius IV. 
had, shortly before his death, renewed the Decrees of the 
General Councils of Lvons and Yienne regard iiu r Papal 

O O i 

elections, and appointed Cardinal Scarampo commander of 
all fortresses in the Roman dominions.* The attitude 
adopted by King Alfonso of Naples was the principal cause 
of the latter measure. 

The Kinghaving, in concert with Eugenius IV., determined 
on an expedition against Florence, had been, ever since the 
beginning of the year, encamped at Tivoli, in the imme 
diate neighbourhood of Rome, with a. force of four 
thousand men, a. circumstance which seemed seriously 
to endanger the liberty of the approaching Conclave. f 
Alfonso had indeed given an assurance to several of the 
Cardinals that, in the event of the Pope s death, he would 
observe absolute neutrality, and had also promised to 

* Raynaulus, ad an. 1447, N. 12. 

t *Lettera cli Roma, d. d. 1446 [st. fl.], Marzo, 3. Carte 
Strozziane, 242, p. 247, State Archives of Florence. 


afford protection against any attempted pressure.* But 
his lengthened sojourn at Tivoli, the arrival of constant 
reinforcements for his army, and the impenetrable 
obscurity in \vhich his plans were shrouded, were little 
calculated to allay the apprehensions of the Sacred College 
and of the members of the Court. 

The Republican party was again astir in Rome. Its 
leader, Stefano Porcaro, publicly attacked " priestly 
authority/ and was with difficulty silenced by the Vice- 
Camerlengo.f Suspicious-looking persons appeared in the 
streets, and the Camerlengo brought in troops to maintain 
orcler.J Many of the dangerous individuals were required 
to leave the City, but the attitude of the populace was so 
threatening that the merchants hid their goods in secure 

* *Dcspatches of the Abbot of San Galgano to Siena, dated 
Rome, 1 6 and 20 Fcbr., Chigi Library, Rome, Cod. E., vi., 187, pp. 
156 and 157. See the first Despatch in Appendix N. 27, vol. i. 
In the "letter of February 2Oth is the following passage : "Da poi 
ch io scripsi non ho sentito altro da referire a la S.V., se non che 
la M ta de Re di Ragona avendo notitia che per la maggior parte di 
qui si dubitava de facti suoi uncle esso a facto uno salvo condocto a 
tucti e cardenali e a tucti cortigiani e gieneralmente a tucto el 
popolo di Roma e promesso non solamente di non offendere, ma 
offertosi di difendeiii da ogni opressione che li fusse facta ; pure el 
sospecto non si puo armare " (sic in original ; one would expect 
calmare or disarmare). 

t Infessura, 1131. Seew/ra, Chapter VI., relative to Porcaro s 

I *Despatch of the Abbot of S. Galgano to Siena, on the i6th 
February, 1447 : " In Roma a richiesta del camarlengho sono 
venuti molti fanti et con balestre et con spingardelle e anco la 
compagnia del castellano." Cod. E., vi., 187, p. 151, Chigi Library 
in Rome. 

St. Antoninus (xxii., c. xi., 17), an eye witness, mentions 
this fact. The prudent Florentines had, as early as February nth, 


The reports of the ambassadors in Rome testify to the 
fear which possessed men s minds. On the 2oth February, 
1447, when the condition of Eugenius had become hope 
less, the ambassador of the Republic of Siena writes : 
" May God give us a good new Pastor, and may the 
election take place without strife. The state of affairs 
here gives us cause to fear the worst. May the Almighty 
be with us and take care of His Holy Church."* After the 
death of Eugenius IV., the ambassador urged his fellow- 
countrymen to have public prayers offered for the Election 
of a good Pope.f 

The new election, however, was happily accomplished 
without disturbance, and in a most regular manner. 
Seldom, in fact, in any election, have all the prescribed 
formalities been carried out with such scrupulous exactness 
as in the Conclave in the Dominican Convent of Santa 
Maria sopra Minerva after the death of Eugenius IV. + 
This was principally due to the wise precautions taken by 
the Cardinals, who were thoroughly convinced of the 

1447, commended their merchants to the Roman authorities. 
*Letler of this date in the State Archives, Florence. Cl. x., dist. 
i, N. 40, f. 229. 

* *" Le cose di qua non si disponghcno bene et se dio non ci 
provede per la sua misericordia aranno mal fine. Adiuvet nos 
deus et provideat ecclesiai suoe sancuu." Cod., loc. cit., p. 156. 
Chigi Library. 

t *Despatch of the Abbot of S. Galgano to Siena, dated Rome, 
23rd February : " Le cose di qua stanno con grande sospecto." 
Chigi Library. Cod., loc. cit., p. 158. According to Graziani 
(590), a procession was made in Perugia to beseech God that a 
good election might be made. 

% Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 400. Eugenius IV. was also elected 
in the Sacristy of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. In memory of 
these two Conclaves, the following inscription was put up over the 
inner door of the Sacristy : " Memoriae creationis hie habiiaj 
Summ. Pontif. Eugenii IV. et Nicolai V." Cancellieri, Notizie, 14. 


necessity, under the existing circumstances, of avoiding 
any flaw, or even the semblance of any flaw, in the election. * 
Opinions regarding the different candidates for the Papacy 
were greatly divided in Rome ; but the desire for a speedy 
election was general, f This desire, in effect, was not 

In the evening of the 4th March the Cardinals then 
present in Rome went into Conclave. ^Eneas Sylvius 
Piccolomini, who, with the Bohemian, Procopius of Rab- 
stein, and the ambassadors of Aragon and of Cyprus, had 
the honour of guarding the Conclave for two nights, has 
given us a full account of the proceedings.! 

* Despatch of the Abbot of San Galgano to Siena, dated Rome, 
1446 [st. fl.], March i. Concision), Lettere ad an. State Archives 
of Siena. 

t *Dcspatch of Marcolino Barbavaria to Fr. Sforza, d. d. Ex 
Roma, iv., Marzo, 1447 : " Per altre le mie ho advisala la S.V. de 
la morle del papa e de quanto me accadeva circa cio ne da poy e 
innovate altro, accepto che li cardinali questa sera sono intrati in 
conclave e sperasse che assay tosto elegeranno un altro papa et 
niolto sono le opinion! diverse al chi debbia tochare la electione." 
Carteggio generale ad an. State Archives at Milan. 

J Ambassador s Report to the Emperor Frederick III., in Muratori, 

iii., 2, 892 d scq. See JEu. Silv. Comment., ed. Fea, 106-108, and 
Frid. iii., p. 136. Among more recent writers see especially 
Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 400-401 ; Lorenz, Papstwahl, 346-347, and 
Christophe, i., 360 et seq. The hour of entrance into Conclave is 
variously given. Paolo di Benedetto di Cola (Cronache Rom. 16) 
and Niccola della Tuccia (206) mention the twenty-second hour ; 
Bartolommeo Roverclla, Archbishop of Ravenna, on the other hand, 
writes, in a *Despatch to the Republic of Siena, dated ex urbe vi! 
Martii, hora xvi. : " Hi rev 1 " 1 cardinales die iv. intrarunt conclave 
hora xxi v. Tandem sepius reiterate scrutinio et votis omnium 
scruptatis eligerunt in summum pontificem rev raum dominum 
dominum cardinalem Bononiensem." Concistoro, Lettere ad an. 
State Archives at Siena. These statements in regard to the 
beginning of the Conclave (24th hour) and the election of Nicholas 


The Sacred College at this time numbered twenty-four 
members. Two of these, Prospero Colonna and the noble 
Domenico Capranica, were the sole survivors of the 
Cardinals created by Martin V., and it was generally 
believed that the latter of the two would be the future 

The composition of the Sacred College at the death of 
Eugenius IV. bears witness to the care which he hail 
taken to gather around him men of the greatest virtue, 

o o 

piety, and learning. t The Spanish Cardinal, Juan cle 
Carvajal, who, with Tommaso Parentucelli, had been 
created in December, 1446, was generally looked upon as 
the most eminent of the body. 

The singular grandeur and depth of Carvajal s character 
have won the esteem and even the admiration of writers 
whose judgment is habitually severe. He was indeed an 
ornament to the Sacred College, to the Church, and to 
humanity itself. lie was absolutely free from the restless 
ambition and self-glorification, so common amongst the able 
men of the Renaissance. It was his nature, on the con 
trary, to withdraw and wait to be sought. To Pope 
Kugenius IV. belongs the credit of having placed this man, 
who seemed born for ecclesiastical diplomacy, in his proper 
sphere of action. + As a Cardinal, Carvajal continued to 

V. (i6th hour) arc confirmed by the testimony of Stcfano Caffari 
in the Arch, de Sue. Rom., viii., 572, which has just been pub 

* *Despatch of Marcolino Barbavaria to Francesco Sforzi, 
dated Rome, 1447, February 27 (Cardinal N. Acciapacci was also 
mentioned as likely to be the future Pontiff). Fonds Ital. 1584, f. 
49-50, in the National Library, Paris. 

t See the praise which Vespasiano da Bisticci bestows on the 
Cardinals. Mai, Spicil., i., 40. 

J In the year 1440, when Carvajal was first entrusted by 
Eugenius IV. with a mission to Geimany, he was " decanus 


live modestly without pomp or splendour. "No one," savs 
the biographer of /Eneas Sylvius, "saw the coarse 
garments which he wore beneath the purple, nor witnessed 
his fasts and his penanees. The solid foundation on which 
his moral purity rested, was a stern sense of duty and 
obedience. His only idea was the consecration of his life 
to the Church, and especially to the promotion of the glory 
and power of Christ s Vicar." * 

After the " incorruptible and indefatigable " Carvajal we 
must mention his distinguished fellow-countryman, Juan de 
Torquemada,f who belonged to a family of note ; he had 
entered the Dominican order, was appointed Master of the 
Sacred Palace in 1431, and was employed in various 
embassies. At Basle he defended the rights of the Pope 
and of the Holy See against the supporters of the false 
conciliary ideas with such undaunted courage, that Euo-cnius 
IV. bestowed on him the glorious title of " Defender of the 
Faith." In the Council assembled at Ferrara and trans 
ferred to Florence, he again served the cause of the Pope 
with ardent zeal and keen dialectic skill, and in 1439 the 
grateful Eugenius raised him to the purple. Torquemada 

Astoricen" (Astorga) and " causarum s. palatii apost" auditor." 
See * Letter of Eugenius IV. to Frankfort-on-Maine, dated 
Florence, 1440, Nov. 7. The original is in the City Archives at 
Frankfort. Untergewolb A., N. 78, Urk. 6. 

* Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 261; see iii., 512-514. Bibl. Ilisp. 
vet. (1788), ii., 296, and A. Weiss, Vor der Reformation, 100. The 
Monograph of Lopez, De reb. gestis S.R.F. card. Carvajalis com- 
mentarius (i75-0, here cited, is very rare. Carvajal acted twenty 
times in the capacity of a Papal Envoy. 

t See Catalanus, De magistro, 87 et seq.\ Eggs, iii.-iv., 125*7 
seq.f Bibl. Hisp. vet. ii., 286-292; Bull, ord proedic., iii., 208; 
Echard, i., 837 et seq. ; ii., 823 ; Fabricius-Mansi, iv., 443 e t se,/., 
and among modern writers Budinsky (213) and Lederer s Mono 
graph (Freiburg, 1879). 


in his high position continued to wear the habit a"id 
punctually to follow the rule of his Order, and insisted on 
similar strictness on the part of his brethren in religion. 

In reo-ard to theology, Torquemada was undoubtedly the 
most learned member of the sacred College ; a modern 
Protestant historian indeed considers him the greatest 
theologian of his age.* This great Dominican used to say 
that the only abiding treasure in this life is science, which 
alone compensates man for the shortness of life by tin- 
prospect of immortality. 

As a writer, Torquemada dealt with almost all the 
questions which in his day agitated the Church ; he was tin- 
leader of the literary re-action in favour ol the Papacy. t 
His memory still lives in the Eternal City, in the foundation 
of the confraternity of the Annunciation established in 
1460 for the purpose of providing dowries for poor girls. 
The picture of the Cardinal commending three poor 
maidens to the- Blessed Virgin is preserved in the Chapel of 
the Confraternity, which he helped to build, at Sta Maria 
sopra Minerva.]: The Humanists, Tommaso Parentucelli 
and Bessarion, were noted for their learning and their devo 
tion to the Church, while Cardinal Enrico de Allosio was 
known as the father of the poor. 

There were, however, among the Cardinals many in 
whom the worldly element predominated ; of this class 

* Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 208. See V. de la Fuente, 435-461. 

f Gierke, 132. Werner, iii., 711. 

+ This picture has been erroneously ascribed to Fra Angelico or 
Benozzo Gozzoli. The foundation of the Annunciation still exists. 
Previous to the seizure of Rome by the Italian Government, the 
Pope himself went every year on the 251!) March, the feast of the 
Annunciation, to the church of the Minerva, where the poor girls 
who were to receive dowries, dressed in white, occupied the place 
of honour. Gsell-Fels, Rom., 436. 

Ciaconius, ii., 924. 


were Barbo, Scarampo, and Guillaumc d Estoute\ Ille.* 
Among non-Italian Cardinals few have in recent times 
attained such distinction as this wealthy Frenchman. He- 
was connected with the Royal House of France, possessed 
many benefices, and lived in a style of princely splendour, 
but was by no means devoid of refined taste and culture. 
In his palace, worthy of a king, which Gregory XIII. after 
wards assigned to the German College, and at Sta Maria 
Maggiore, of which he was archpriest, the best of music was 
to be heard. It is very doubtful whether any foundation 
existed for the charges brought against his morals. The 
many churches which he built both in France and in Rome 
bear witness to a certain ecclesiastical feeling on his part, 
and he bestowed much care on the church of Sta Maria 
Maggiore, over whose high altar he erected a richly carved 
baldacchino with four porphyry columns. f The most 
splendid proof of his munificence to the Eternal City is to 
be seen in the church of St. Agostino, whose fafade, with its 
Corinthian columns, is a characteristic specimen of the 
early Renaissance architecture of Rome.J 

We must now consider the manner in which different 
nations were represented in the Sacred College, six of 

See Ciaconins, ii., 913 et seq ; Voigt, Enca Silvio, ill., 504 
et scq ; Reumont, Ncue Rom. Bride, ii., 15 et seq. ; and Gesch. iii., 
r, 255 et seq., and 495. In this work and Chevalier s (662) further 
authorities are given. Eggs, Suppl., 189 et scq. ; Ratti, Genzano, 
3 i et seq. ; Casiiniro, 458 et scq. 

t A representation of this baldacchino is given by Paolo de 
Angelis, Basilicas S ta Marias Maj. de urbe descriptio (Roma?, 1621), 
93. * A " History of the picture of Our Lady venerated in S ta Maria 
Maggiore," dedicated to Cardinal d Estouteville and written in 1464 
by a Canon of the Basilica, is in Cod. Vatic. 3921. Vatican 

I Gsell-Fels, Rom., 461. See Burckhardt, Cicerone, ii., 4 th 
ed., 98, who speaks of the Florentine architect, Baccio Pintelli. 


whose twenty-four members were, at this time, absent from 
Rome. Eleven of the Cardinals were Italians; four, 
Spaniards; two, Frenchmen ; and two, Greeks ; while Eng 
land, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Portugal each con 
tributed one. 

Notwithstanding the varied composition of the Sacred 
College, the old Roman factions of the Colonna and Orsini 
soon assumed antagonistic positions in the Conclave. The 
former of these parties was the strongest, and its candidate, 
Cardinal Prospero Colonna, had at the first scrutiny no less 
than ten votes, but he failed to obtain the two more which 
would have constituted the required majority of two-thirds. 
Next to Colonna came Domenico Capranica and Tommaso 
Parentucelli. The second scrutiny gave a like result, but the 
votes which had been given to Capranica and Parentucelli 
were more divided, and votes were given outside the Sacred 
College, as, for example, to St. Antoninus, the Archbishop 
of Florence, and to Nicholas of Cusa. The final decision 
of the election was in great measure due to Cardinal 
Tagliacozzo, Archbishop of Tarento, who proposed Paren 
tucelli, Cardinal of Bologna, as one; fitted by his love of 
peace, his learning, and his freedom from party spirit to 
occupy the highest position in Christendom. On the 
occasion of the third scrutiny Parentucelli, who had re 
ceived the red hat but two and a half months previously, 
and who, of all the Cardinals, appeared to have the least 
chance, received the required twelve votes. The sudden 

agreement of the Sacred College in his regard caused such 
*T> - 

surprise that Cardinal Capranica could not credit the fact 
until he had airain looked through the votes.* When the 

O ^> 

majority of two-thirds had been established beyond the 
possibility of doubt, the remaining Cardinals gave their 
assent, and accordingly in the morning of the 6th March 

* CutuLmus, Caprar.ica, 84-85. 



the election was announced by Cardinal Colonna to the 
expectant multitude as unanimous.* 

Everyone marvelled at Parentucclli s election. As tin- 
Cardinal of Portugal was leaving the Conclave he was 
asked whether the Cardinals had chosen a Pope. "No; 
the Pope has been chosen by God, not by the Cardinals," 
was his reply. The Sienese Ambassador, after exhorting 
his countrymen to render thanks to Almighty God that so 
distinguished and holy a Pontiff had been given to the 
Church, continued in the following words : "Truly in this 
election God has manifested His power, which surpasses 
all human prudence and wisdom. "f 

* The 6th March is established as the date of the election. See 
Papebroch, 461 ; Galticus, 281-282 ; Georgius, 7-8; Falconi, 482 ; 
Sigonius, 509, and the above cited *Documents. Nevertheless \ve 
meet with erroneous statements even in contemporary authors (e.., 
Cronica di Bologna, 682 ; Lstoria Bresc., 839), and these have been 
repeated in recent works (Reumont, no; Rohrbacher-Knopfler, 
191; Hergeiuother, ii., i, 120; Perlbach, 7). The hour of the 
election is given with scarcely any variation in the Chronicles 
(NiccoladellaTuccia, 206 ; Cronache Rom., 16 ; see Gatticus, 281), 
and the ambassadors Despatches written almost immediately after 
it had taken place : (i) Despatch of the Archbishop of Ravenna to 
Siena (see supra p. 6, note J), Ex urbe, vi., Martii hora, xvi., 
State Archives at Siena. (2) Despatch of Marcolino Barbavaria 
to Fr. Sforza : " In questa hora 1 7 o circha e publicato el papa 
Monsignore da Bologna ..." Romae, vi. Martii, 1447. State 
Archives at Milan. Carteggio generale ad. an. As the sixteenth 
hour by the Italian reckoning answers to 10 o clock in the morning 
by our time this information coincides with that of *lhe Act a 
consistorialia : " Hora nona vel quasi " (Secret Archives of the 

t *Despatch from the Abbot of San Galgano to Siena, dated 
Rome, 1447, March 10 : "Credo die dapoi habbiate sentito fu 
intronezato papa Nicolao quanto la cui vita et santimonia quale 
essa sia stata e nota a ciascheduno et apresso quanto la S. Sta. s ia 
affecta et benivola ala cipta vestra nisuno ne dubita per la quale 


The choice of a Cardinal who had kept aloof from all 
party strife caused the greatest rejoicing in Rome. 
" Although many," according to /Eneas Sylvius, " might 
have preferred a Pope of their own party, no one was 
hostile to him." It was a blessing to the Eternal City and 
to the Church at large to have a fresh outbreak of party 
animosity averted, and to see a man, whose worth had won 
the esteem of all, raised to the highest position.* Paren- 
tucelli s election had, however, a far wider importance ; it 
marks one of the chief turning points in the History of the 
Papacy, for with him the Christian Renaissance ascended 
the Pontifical Throne. 

Throughout the States of the Church, as well as in Rome 
itself, the Cardinal of Bologna s elevation was the occasion 
of public festivities. As soon as the tidings reached 
Perugia the bells of the Palazzo Pubblico and of the 
Cathedral of San. Lorenzo were rung, and bonfires were 
lighted in the open squares. t In Bologna the Palace of 
the Podesta was decorated with banners, and processions 
were made by command of the Senate for three days, in 

+ J 

order to return thanks to God for the election of so 
excellent a Pastor. J Brescia, Genoa, Siena, and other 
places beyond the limits of the States of the Church, 

cosa tucta la cbristianita et maxima la cipta vestra si debba 
soinmamcnte ralegrare et altra a questo rendere debite grazie a 
1 omnipotente chc di tale pastore abbia proveduto alle sue pecorelle 
et certaincnte a dimostrato in questa creatione parte della sua 
potentia la quale suprabonda ongni astutia et actione humana," etc 
Concistoro. Lettere ad. an., State Archives, Siena. 

* Voigt, Enea. Silvio, i., 402. 

f Graziani, Cronaca di Perugia, 590. 

+ * Se ne fece grandissima allegrezzn, e per commandamento 
del senato tre giorui continui si fecero le procession! rendendo 
grazia a Dio che loro avesse dato si buon pastore, e si posero 
alle finestre del palazzo li confaloni." Ch. Ghirardacci, Storia di 
Bologna, iii., lib. 30, Cod. 768, University Library at Bologna. 


shared the general feeling.* How fully it was justified 
will be evident, if we glance at his character and previous 
life. In grateful remembrance of his former master and 
benefactor, the saintly Cardinal Niccolo Albergati, he 
took the name of Nicholas V. 

Tommaso Parentucelli first saw the light on the I5th 
November, 1397. It seems most probable that he was born 
at Sarzana, a small place on the coast of Liguria.f His 
father, an upright and skilful physician, was by no means 
wealthy, and died when Tommaso was very young. The 
gifted and promising boy was early acquainted with hard 
ship ; poverty made it impossible for him to pursue his 
studies at the University of Bologna, where he had alreadv 
won success. His mother, who was in very straitened 
circumstances, had in the meantime married again, J and 

* Istoria JBresciana, 839. *Congratulatory letter of the Doge of 
Genoa to Nicholas V., dated 1447, March nth, in the State 
Archives at Genoa, Lilt., Vol. xiii. *Despatch from the Abbot of 
San Galgano to Siena, dated Rome, 1447, March I4th (he had 
informed the Pope of the festivities proposed in Siena, and found 
the Pope most favourably disposed towards that City). Concistoro, 
Lett. ad. an. State Archives at Siena. 

f Great differences of opinion have existed regarding the family 
and the birthplace of Nicholas V. Frediani (207 et stq., 253 et sey.*) 
endeavoured with all the ardour of provincial patriotism to prove 
him a born Pisan, in opposition to de Rossi (267 et .^7.), who 
asserted the just claims of Sarzana. The investigations of Sforza, 
who produced the Archivio Notarile di Sarzana, proved beyond all 
doubt that his family belonged to Sarzana, and established a strong 
presumption that he was born there (Sforza, 21, 48, 68-87, 22 4)- 
Sanudo describes Tommaso s father as Mastro Bartolommeo Cirusico 
(1124), a term which appeared most extraordinary to Voigt (Knea 
Silvio, i., 403), but may, I think, be explained as a clerical error in 
the place of chirurgico. 

\ Tommaso Parentucelli s step-father was Tommaso Calandrini, 
who also belonged to Sarzana ; further particulars are given by 
Sforza, 90 et si~y., with a pedigree of the family. 


havino- several children by her second husband, was unable 


to afford him any assistance, so that he was entirely depen 
dent on his own exertions. Happily he obtained the situa 
tion of tutor, first in the family of Rinaldo degli Albizzi, of 
Florence, and afterwards in that of Palla de Strozzi, the 
" Nestor of the learned Florentine aristocracy."* The two 
years spent in the City, which was at that time the centre 
of Humanistic studies, were of great importance in the 
development of Tommaso Parentucelli s powers, and 
especially in the foi mation of his literary taste; they 
imparted the germ of that enthusiasm for learning and for 
art which afterwards bore such abundant fruit, and brought 
him into contact with all tin- most celebrated scholars of the 
day. At the end of these two years Parentucelli had saved 
enough money to enable him to return to Bologna, where 
he took a Master s Degree in Theology. He continued in 
friendly relations with both the noble families, who had 
treated him with much distinction while in their employ 
ment as tutor. Years afterwards, when he had reached 
the summit of power, and his former pupils were in exile, 
he had the happiness of being able to be of use to them.t 

It says much for the disposition and for the virtues of 
the young scholar, that the Saintly Bishop of the City, 
Xiccolo Albergati, took him into his service. Three yeais 
later he was ordained priest, and for more than twenty 
vears, in fact, until the death of the distinguished prelate, 
Tommaso was his constant companion, his confidential 
servant, and the Major Domo of his household and of his 
ecclesiastical establishment. The Historian of Humanism 

* Regarding Palla de Strozzi and his \vealth, see Fabronius, 
Cosmus, i., 50; ii., 104 et scq. Villari, i., 93. Miintz, Pn-cur- 
seurs, 238. Reumont, Lorenzo, i., 2nd ed., 3^3 et sej. ; who also 
speaks of Rinaldo degli Albizzi. 

t Reumont, iii., i, in. 


justly observes* that "no higher testimony to the piety 
of Albergati s life can be given than the fact that a man so 
honourable and so free from all hypocrisy as was Parentu- 
celli for years enjoyed his entire confidence. While, 
on the other hand, the modest and entire devotion of the 
future Pope to the service of his master, the filial care with 
which he tended his old age, and the pious gratitude which 
induced him, when called to fill the Papal Throne, to adopt 
the name of his departed benefactor, speak for him more 
eloquently than words could do." 

After Albergati s elevation to the purple, f Parentucelli 
accompanied him to Rome, and thence to Florence, when 
the Papal Court migrated to that City. He was thus again 
brought into contact with the representatives of the Christian, 
as well as of the heathen Renaissance. Vespasiano da 
Bisticci has left us a pleasant picture of their social gather 
ings in Florence. " Every morning and evening," he says, 
" Lionardo and Carlo of Arezzo, Giannozzo Manetti, 
Giovanni Aurispa, Gaspare of Bologna, Poggio, and many 
other learned men, used to assemble in the open air, in the 
vicinity of the Papal Palace, for friendly and literary con 
versation. Tommaso Parentucelli always joined them. 
After leaving his Cardinal at home, he used to come, riding 
rapidly on a mule and accompanied by two servants, to 
take his part eagerly in their disputations." Parentucelli 
also often visited the Academy of Santo Spirito, in order 
to discuss philosophical and theological questions with the 
pious Master of Theology, Vangelista of Pisa; and he was 
even more frequently to be seen with the booksellers in 
Florence, into whose hands any money that he could spend 
found its way.J 

* Voigt, Wieclerbelebung, ii., 55. 
f See Vol. i., p. 262. 

J Vespasiano da Bisticci, Niccola V. Papa, 5. Ser. Filippo di 
Ser. Ugolino, 4. See Voigt, Wiederbelebung, ii., 2nd ed., 55-56. 


Parcntucelli appears to have first attracted the attention 
of the Court at the period of the negotiations with the 
Greeks, when his knowledge of Holy Scripture and of 
the Fathers, as well as his skill in argument, came 
into play. Eugcnius IV. rewarded the services which 
he rendered to the Church on this occasion by appoint 
ing him Apostolic Subdeacon, with a yearly income of 
three hundred ducats. - In 1443 he lost his friend and 
patron, Albergati, but he soon found a new and more 
powerful protector in the Pope, who made him Vice- 
CamerlengOjt and on the 271!! November, 1444, con 
ferred upon him the Bishopric of Bologna. + The City 
was at the time in a state of revolt, and Parent ucelli was 
unable to take possession of his See, as the steps taken 

Parentucelli s love of books is mentioned in a notice which has 
hitherto been overlooked in *Cod. D. 30 of the Hospital Library at 
Cues, printed in the Scrapeum, xxvi., 27. 

* Vespasiano da Bisticci, Niccola V., 6, c. 10. 

f According to Marocco (Serie de prefetti secolari di Roma, 
etc., 1846), in the year 1443. rarcntucelli distinguished himself 
in this position also. *" hide apostolicus vice-camerarius in quo 
oi licio ac dignitate quid diligcntia) atque soliciliulinis prcestiteris 
quisque Rom an us civis magno mihi testimonio esse potest." Ad 
beat. I.). X. Nicolaum V.P..M. .Michael Cancnsis de Viterbio. Cod. 
lat., Vatic., 3<uj7, f. 6., in the Vatican Library, and AJdit. MS. 
14794 in the British Museum, London. 

J Not Archbishopric, as Geiger (121), ZupfTel in Ilerzog s 
Realencykl. (x., 2nd ed., 572), and Gregorovius (vii., 3rd ed., 102) 
say, for Bologna only became an Archiepiscopal See in 1582. 
Voigt is also mistaken (VViederbelebung, ii., 2nd ed., 56) in con 
necting Parentucelli s nomination to the Bishopric of Bologna 
with the success of his mission to Germany. See the Brief of 
Eugenius IV. to Parentucelli in Sigonius, 507 et stq., and 
Ciaconius, ii., 962 ; and that to Bologna from Cod. 3, Lat. 121, p. 
119, of the Court Library at Vienna, given in Appendix, Vol. i., 
No. 22. 


Michael s College 



by Eugcnius in January, 1445, proved fruitless.* To so 
poor a man the matter was serious, yet in the end it was 
the occasion of his further advancement, for the Pope, 
having had sufficient proof of his skill in diplomatic affairs, 
both during his connection with Albergati and when he 
acted independently at Florence and Naples, twice entrusted 
him with important missions to Germany. On the latter of 
these occasions he was successful in breaking up the League 
of the Electors which constituted a serious danger to Rome, 
and was rewarded by a Cardinal s Hat (16 and 23 Decem 
ber, 1446). t 

The important position which the Cardinal of Bologna, 
as Parentucelli was now called, soon attained in the Sacred 
Colleo-e is evident from the remarkable fact that the 

t? * 

Sienese Ambassadors, in one of their despatches, speak of 
him as a second Pope.J Pope Eugenius IV. is said to 
have foretold his elevation to the Papal throne; and his 
biographers mention many other similar predictions, to 
which, however, we must not give too much weight. 

* I found the ** Original Brief of Eugenius IV., dated Rome, 
1445, January 31, in the State Archives of Bologna. 

f The above authentic dates disprove the assertion that Parentu 
celli became in one year Bishop, Cardinal, and Pope. This state 
ment was first made by Niccola della Tuccia (206), Annal. L. 
Bonincontri (153), Sanudo (1,124), Facius (238), and other con 
temporaries, and subsequently repeated by many later writers, even 
by a student as conscientious as Voigt (Enea Silvio, i., 405). 
Georgius (23-24) has long since shown that the story of the Pope 
sending the Red Hat to Parentucelli at Viterbo, which most 
modern writers relate, is incorrect. 

+ " Un altro papa," L. Banchi, Legazioni Senesi (2nd ediz., 

Siena, 1864), 29. 

See Vespasiano da Bisticci, Eugenic IV., 21 ; Nicola V., i 
and 17, and Manetti, 910, 917. The Prophecy of Eugenius IV. is 
particularly adduced by jEgidius of Viterbo in his * Hist, viginti 
sceculor (Cod. C., 8, 19, of the Angelica Library, Rome). Nic. 


The outward appearance of the man who had thus 
rapidly risen from poverty and obscurity to the highest 
dignity in Christendom who had, in the course of three 
short years, become Bishop, Cardinal, and Pope was any 
thing but distinguished. Contemporaries describe him as 
small and weakly, with sharply-cut features, and keen black 
eyes, a pale complexion, and a powerful voice. The plain 
but intellectual countenance of Nicholas V. may still be 
recognized in his modest effigy in the crvpt of the 
Vatican.* His disposition was lively, impatient, and 
hasty ; he was extremely exact in all he did, and 
expected to be understood at a glance. In these and in 
other respects he was a complete contrast to his prede 
cessor, who was grave;, dignified, and silent. He was wont 
to speak much and rapidly, and dispensed with all irksome 
ceremony. Dissimulation and hypocrisy were hateful to 
his open-hearted nature. t He was affable, obliging, and 
cheerful ; he showed himself to the people more frequently 
than Eugenius had done, and gave audiences at all hours of 
the day. His servants were all Germans or Frenchmen ; 
the Italians, he thought, had their minds always set upon 
higher things, while Frenchmen and Germans contented 

dclla Tuccia (206), in a most interesting report, attributes the 
rapid rise of Farentucelli to the protection afforded him by Cardinal 

* Hiihner (i., 47) finds something of the Doctor in the features 
of Nicholas V., and speaks of his appearance as " the perfect type 
of a professor." For some accounts of medals of this Pope, see 
Friedliinder, Schaumiinzen, in the Jahrb. der Preuss. KunsUiainin- 
lungen, i., 98. 

t Vespasiano da Bisticci, 8. The despatches of the ambas 
sadors bear witness that the Pope loved to express himself freely ; 
see, e.g., the * Despatches of Nicodemus to Francesco Sforza on 
the nomination to the Bishopric of Como, dated 1451, June 29. 
Pot. Est. Roma, Corrisp. dipl. Cart., i ; State Archives at Milan. 


themselves with the employments entrusted to them, did 
not trouble themselves about other matters, and were satis- 
lied and faithful in the lowest service. His table was 
simple, and he was very temperate ; he drank wine largely 
mixed with water ; choice wines were only served for the 
prelates and great personages from France, Germany, and 
Fmdand, with whom he had become acquainted in his 
travels, and to whom he delighted to show hospitality 
when they came to Rome.* Alike as Bishop, Cardinal, and 
Pope, he was so kind and affable to all comers that no one 
went away unsatisfied.! He loved peace; probably no 
prince of the time had so profound a horror of war. A 
signal proof of his benevolence was furnished by the 
foundation of the great Papal Almshouse near the Church 
of the German Campo Santo, where on Mondays and 
Fridays about two thousand poor people received bread 
and wine, and every day a dinner was given to thirteen. + 

* Vespasiano da Bisticci, Nicola V., 513. Reumont, iii., I, 


| *Michael Canensis de Viterbo ad. beat. D. N. Nicolaum V. 
Pont. Max. cannot sufficiently praise the Pope s " benignitas in 
respondent et gratiludo." " Nemo inauditus, nemo abs te non 
quietus abit." Cod. lat. Vatic., 3697, f. 8b, Vatican Library (and 
British Museum, see supra, p. 17 note f)- 

% Torrigio, Sagre Grotte Vaticane, 293. In the year 1629 
Urban VIII. transferred this dole to the Vatican Palace; the 
present Hospice at the Campo Santo partly occupies the place of 
the former Papal Almshouse; see De Waal, Das Priester- 
Collegium, 3. With regard to Nicholas V. s benevolence, see 
/En. Sylvius, Europa, c. 58, and *Anonymi oratio in funere 
Nicolai V. Cod. C. 145. Inf., f. 284, of the Ambrosian Library 
at Milan. The mother of Nicholas V. was also remarkable for 
her benevolence to the poor. See the * Consolatio facta pape super 
obitu matris sue," probably written by the Dominican Heinrich 
Kalteisen, preserved in Cod. 326, f. i2O-i2ob, of the University 
Library at Bonn. Nicholas treatment of the Jews was m keeping 


The remembrance of past hardships was no doubt one 
of the sources of these virtues which long made the name 
of Nicholas V. to be blessed. Nothing in Florence struck 
him as so noble as the splendour with which science and 
art were clothed ; it seemed to him a disgrace that learned 
men and artists should starve. He used, even in those 
days, to say that if ever he had wealth, he would spend 
it on two things books and buildings.* His defects were 
irritability and impetuosity. f His contemporaries greatly 
over-estimated his intellectual powers. He was well- 
versed in theology, in the Holy Scriptures, and in the 
Fathers ; he was gifted with a good memory, great quick 
ness of apprehension, and singular eloquence ; but his 
mind was one essentially receptive in its character, and 
although capable of keen enjoyment in literary pursuits, it 
was devoid of productive power. He had, however, con 
siderable talent for collecting, arranging, and editing.} 
When a young man, he spent his money almost entirely on 
books, and, like a genuine collector, would have them well 
written and tastefully bound ; he did not look to the price, 

with the kindness of his disposition ; he never forgot the duty of 
endeavouring, by all lawlul means, to win them to the Christian 
faith, but at the same time always advocated their toleration. Sec 
the Essay of F. Kayser in the Archiv t iir Kirchenrechl (1885), 
liii., 210 ft se</., which is valuable on account of its extracts truii) 
the Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

* "Usava dire die due cose farebbe s egli potesse mai spcn- 
dere, ch era in libri e nuirare." Vespas.iano, 7. See YoiRt, loc. 

/., 56. 

t Raph. Volaterranus (f. 234) mentions as the only fault of the 
Tope : " quod nimio bibendi studio teneretur pcrquisitis undique 
vinorum generibus." In opposition to this, see Vespasiano, 15 ; 
Georgius, 130 d stq., 154 ^ seq. i Aschbach, Kirchenlexikon. iv., 
314, and Reumont, iii., i, 114. 

; Voigt, op. ?., 58 e! scq. 


and often gave more for them than he could well afford. 
He enriched his books with marginal notes, and his hand- 


writing, which was a transition between the ancient and 
modern style, was greatly admired by good judges. He 
was most keen in the search for new works, ransacking the 
libraries wherever he W ent, looking for fresh treasures. 
Both in Germany and in France he made valuable dis 
coveries, and, from every journey which he took with 
Cardinal Albergati, brought back literary spoils. The 
future founder of the Vatican Library gradually became one 
of the first connoisseurs of his day in books, and was looked 
upon as a great authority among bibliographers and book 
collectors; but not so great among scholars and literary men. 
No one so well knew how to prepare and arrange a library. 
The plan of a monastic library which he drew up for 
Cosmo de Medici is still preserved,* and was often made 
use of, especially, according to the Pope s well-informed 
biographer, Vespasiano da Bisticci, in the Libraries of St. 
Mark at Florence and the Abbey at Fiesole, and in those 
of the Duke of Urbino and of Alessandro Sforza of 
Pesaro.f Nicholas V. is not, however, to be looked upon 
as a literary specialist: he had no favourite line of study, 
but was a well-informed dilettante, wandering at will 


wherever his fancy led him.J The laudatory words of 
/Eneas Sylvius are to be understood in this sense when he 

* Cod. Magliabech, i., vii., 30, printed at Florence, in the Arch. 
stor. Ital.. Serie iii., xxi, 103-106 ; and in Sforza, 359-381. 

f Vespasiano da Bisticci, 7. Enea Piccolomini in the 
Arch. stor. Ital. (Serie iii., xix., 114, N. 3), observes that the 
Convent Library of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, whose inventory used 
to be preserved in the State Archives of Siena (on the occasion of 
my last visit, in 1884, it was, unfortunately, not to be found), was 
arranged after Parentucelli s system. 

J Voigt, Wiederbelebung, ii. (2nd ed.), 72. 


writes,* "from his youth he has been initiated into all 
liberal arts, he is acquainted with all philosophers, his 
torians, poets, cosmographers, and theologians ; and is no 
stranger to civil and canon law, or even to medicine." 


A man whose intellectual sympathies were so many- 
sided was well fitted to be the patron of scholars. 
Nicholas V. a great part of whose life had been spent 
in close companionship with a saint f was also sincerely 
pious. He was equally devoted to ecclesiastical and 
profane literature. No sooner had he found in Germany a 
copy of Tertullian s complete works, than he at once sent 
the precious treasure to Niccolo de Niccoli at Florence. 
According to Vespasiano da Bisticci, he was the first to 
bring into Italy the sermons of St. Leo the Great, and St. 
Thomas commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew. But 
his special favourite was the great St. Augustine, whose 
influence on his own and subsequent ages has surpassed 
that of any other doctor of the East or West. In his days 
of poverty the works of St. Augustine, in twelve costly 
volumes, adorned his bookshelves, and he was unwearied 
in his efforts to collect from various manuscripts the letters 
of the Saint. 

* In his ambassador s Report of 1447- Muratori, iii., 2, 895. 

f Cardinal Albergati ; see Vol. i., p. 268. Nicholas V. was strict 
in his observance of all the precepts of the Church ; even before 
his elevation to the Pontificate, he did not allow his journeys to 
interfere with the observance of fasting days. Vespasiano da 
Bisticci, Nicola V., 13. 

J See Voigt, Wiedeibelebung, i., 2ml ed., 263 ; ii., 2nd ed., 59. 
There is no proof that Parentucel i ever became a physician, or 
studied medicine in Siena, as R. Volaterranus (Anthropol. i., xxii., 
f. 234), Schivenoglia (122), and Frecliani (284) have stated. J. 
B. Bomba in the rare work " De Pontificibus medicis et medicorum 
filiis" (Romce, 1821), 21 et seg., endeavours, in opposition to 
Georgius (12-14)10 show that Parentucelli practised medicine, 


This fact seems worthy of note, and is a proof amongst 
many that Parcntucelli was a Christian Humanist. Almost 
all the representatives of the Christian Renaissance move 
ment had a special veneration for this Father, who, after 
working his way through the contradictions of heathen 
culture, gathered up in his immortal works all the philo 
sophical and theological truths acquired and prepared for 
future ages by Christian antiquity.* This reverence for 
St. Augustine had a special fitness at the period of which 
we are speaking, for the patristic learning which reached 
its climax in the works of the great Bishop of Hippo had 
grown up in the midst of the ancient literature, in living 
contact with it, and was the fruit of controversy and 
criticism. f It was therefore especially adapted to meet 
and combat the false heathen Renaissance. 

Nicholas V. had the genuine humility which became a 
representative of the Christian Renaissance. All his con 
temporaries bear witness that modesty, the chief orna 
ment of the scholar, was one of the virtues which 
distinguished this most affable Pope. A German chronicler 
of the Popes, writing in the fifteenth century, savs, 
" Nicholas V. was a good, peaceful man, of whom I never 

but his grounds are very weak. The words of yneas Sylvius, 
quoted above, exclude, as Sforza justly remarks, the idea of his 
having- been a physician. A physician who was the Pope s friend 
from his youth is introduced to us in the *Brief of Nicholas V. to 
Bologna, dated Spoleto, 1449, June 12: " Adeo virtutibus suis et 
humanitate ad se diligendum nos dudnm allexit dilectus filius 
Bernardus de Garzonibus artium et medicine doctor Bononiensis 
fuimusque sic iuvicem nostris iuvenilibus annis devincti ut hoc 
teinpore dilectionem nostram minuere non intendamus." The 
original is in the Arm. Q. lib. 3, f. 7, of the State Archives at 

* Haffner, Gmndlinien, 280, ^\2 ct seq. 

t Haffner, loc. cit. 281. 


heard any harm said, and in many things he showed him 
self gentle and lowly, and did not much exalt himself, how 
ever wise, and learned, and mighty he became."* 

The manner in which Nicholas V. looked upon his high 
position was in perfect keeping with his noble and 
Christian sentiments. His old friend, Yespasiano da 
Bisticci, the Florentine bookseller, has handed down to us 
a conversation which he had with the Pope, and which may 
here find a fitting place. " Not long after the elevation of 
Nicholas Y.," writes Yespasiano, " I attended on the day 
appointed for public audiences in the Papal Palace. I had 
hardly entered the audience chamber when the Pope 
observed me, and said aloud that I was to wait, as he would 
speak with me alone. lie soon concluded the audience, 
and I was led to him. When we were alone, he said, with 
a smile: Yespasiano, have not certain proud lords been 
greatly surprised, have the people of Florence been able to 
believe that a priest who formerly rang the bells has 
become Pope? I re-plied that the people will brlieve that 
it was on account of the virtues of His Holiness and in 
order that Italy may again be at peace. Thereupon the 
Pope said: I pray God to give me grace that I may 
accomplish that which fills my soul : that is to say, that I 
may restore peace, and throughout my Pontificate use no 
other weapon save that one which Christ has given me for 
my defence, namely, His Holy Cross. " f 

* Chronicle of the Popes from the foundation of the Dominican 
Order, written by Johannes Meyer (fuS^, as Father Confessor of 
the Monastery of Adelhausen ; see Freiburg Diocesan-Archiv, 
xiii., 128 et sff.), f. 65!)., MS. of the Monastery of Adelhausen, 
now in the town library in the Rathhatis at Freiburg, i., B. 

t Vespasiano da Bisticci, Nicola V., 18. The conversation 
must have excited attention at the time, for X. dclla Tuccia also 
mentions it in his Chronicle of Yiterbo, 207. 


In his great schemes for the promotion of art and science, 
Nicholas V. always had the welfare of the Church, whose 
head he was, before him as his first object. To exalt the 
mystical Bride of Christ by these means was the chief aim 
of his Pontificate. All the magnificent works which he 
undertook were for her adornment, but this pious and 
cultivated Pope was not spared to see them completed.* 

* See Rio, ii., 20-21. See infra, Chapter IV. 



POLITICAL and ecclesiastical affairs were alike in a state of 
extreme confusion at the time when Nicholas V. ascended 
the Pontifical throne. France and England were at war ; 
in Germany the authority of King Frederick III., on whose 
fidelity he could rely, was thoroughly shaken, and a great 
part of Bohemia was severed from the Church. The con 
dition in the East was yet more deplorable. The national 
antipathies of the Greeks and the craftiness of their 
Theologians had stifled the Union proclaimed at Florence, 
and ever since the disastrous day of Varna (1444) the 
advance of Islam had been unceasing. f In Italy there was 
disquiet, and perils threatened the Papacy. The temper 
of the most powerful of Italian Princes, King Alfonso of 
Naples, may be gathered from his favourite saying, which 
had special reference to the Head of the Church. " Blows," 

* The *Regesta of Nicholas V. in the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican occupy fifty-one volumes (N. 385-435). Raynaldus, 1). 
Georgius, and more recently Dr. Kayser, have thoroughly 
examined these volumes. There are also a few letters in the Arm., 
xxxix., T. 7. See Kaltenbrunner in the Mittheilungen, 1884, p. 
82. The great gaps in the Secret Archives of the Vatican are 
partly filled up by letters found in other Archives, especially in the 
State Archives of Bologna. 

| Christophe, i., 371-372. Zinkeisen, i., 704 d scq. 


lie said, "have a better effect on priests than prayers."* 
Milan was governed by Filippo Maria Visconti, whose 
"cruel egotism "f stopped at nothing. The States of the 
Church were in unspeakable misery, the country was 
devastated by war, the cities were desolate, the streets 
beset by bands of robbers, more than fifty villages had been 
razed to the ground or completely pillaged by the soldiery; 
and a number of the free inhabitants had been sold as 
bondsmen, or had died of starvation in dungeons.]; Added 
to all this, the Papal vassals were openly or secretly 
endeavouring to make themselves independent ; Rome was 
impoverished, and the Papal Treasury empty. 

In ecclesiastical matters, the prospect, if not equally 
hopeless, was gloomy enough. In Savoy, Switzerland, the 
Tyrol, and Germany, especially in the free cities, the party 
of the Council still numbered many adherents. The death 
of Eugenius IV. had re-awakened their hopes, and they 
thought the moment had come when the anti-Pope, Felix 
V., whom they had raised up to oppose him, might be put 
in his place, and the triumph of their principles be thus 
secured. || The anti-Pope himself went so far as to write a 
querulous letter, requiring "a. certain Tommaso of Sarzana, 
who has presumed to mount the Apostolic Chair, and call 
himself Nicholas V.," at once to renounce his usurped 
position, and to appear before the Tribunal.^]" 

* " Li preti sonno homini da bastonate et non da preghiere." 
Despatch of Marcolino Barbavaria to F. Sforza, of March 8, 1447, 
in Osio, Hi., 486 (not unpublished, as Baser, 356, supposes). 

f Burckhardt, Cultur, i., 3rd ed., 38. 

J Romische Briefe, i., 372. 

" Imperium difficile suscepit (Nicholaus V.), multis in rebus 
conturbatum et quod est difficilius egenum, writes Poggio on the 
6th May, 1447. Epist., ix., 17 (Tonelli, ii., 340). 

|| Chmel, ii., 415, 421. 

% r Mansi, xxxi., 189. 


The conciliatory and prudent dispositions wilh which the 
new Pope prepared to meet all these difficulties, are 
evidenced by his own words, which we have already cited.* 
On his election, he at once appeared in the character of a 
Prince of Peace, after the example of Him by whom the 
kevs were given to St. Peter; these keys, Nicholas V., who 
had no family coat of arms, adopted as his armorial bear- 
in o-s addin<>- to them the beautiful motto, " My heart is 

J^ J i~> 

ready, O Lord."t His predecessor had waged a stern and 
deadly warfare with the foes of the Church. Nicholas V. 
deemed that the work, which had been begun by 
force, could be best completed by gentle measures. 
Euc-enius IV. had made the Papacy dreaded. Nicholas 
V. wished to manifest its power of healing and recon 

The pacific disposition of the Pope-, which the ambassa 
dors at once made known in terms of praise, contributed 
more than anything to lessen existing troubles and to 
hasten his general recognition. Opposition was to be 
apprehended from King Alfonso ami from the German 
princes. Nicholas V. succeeded in winning them all. On 
the very day after his election Cardinals Condulmaro and 
Scarampo went, at his desire, to the Neapolitan monarch, 
who, by their means, was induced to send four ambassadors 
to Rome on the 1 8th March, for the purpose of coming to 
an agreement with the Holy See and of taking part in the 

* Sitfra, p. 25 ct set] . 

t Remuont, iii., i, ufi, and Georgia?, 10. The keys of St. 
Peter still appear as Nicholas V. s arms on many buildings in Rome, 
and also on coins. See Mulinet, 7 5 Bonanni, 49-5 i Veuiui, 10; 
Cancellieri, De secret, 1,222; and Cinagli, 49-5- 

J Christophe, i., 372. 

See the reports of Marcolino Barbavaria and Roberto Martclli, 
in Usio, iii., 486-487. 


ceremonies of the Pope s coronation.* When the German 
ambassadors congratulated him on his elevation, the Pope 
gave them assurances calculated to set all misgivings com 
pletely at rest. " I will," he said, " not only approve and 
confirm whatever my predecessor agreed upon with the 
German nation, but will also hold to it and carry it out. 
7 he Roman Pontiffs have stretched their arms out too far, 
and have left scarcely any power to the other bishops. 
And the Basle people have crippled the hands of the 
Apostolic See too much. But these things had to be. 
Whoever does what is unworthy must also make up his 
mind to suffer injustice ; he who seeks to straighten a tree 
that is leaning to one side easily bends it to the other. It 
is my firm purpose not to impair the rights of the bishops 
who are called to share my cares, for I hope the better to 
uphold my own jurisdiction by not assuming that which is 
foreign to me." f 

The German ambassadors, by the Pope s particular 
request, took part in the ceremony of his Coronation, which 
was performed with great pomp, on the igth March, 1447, 
by Cardinal Prospero Colonna in front of the Vatican 
Basilica. yEneas Sylvius Piccolomini, as deacon, carried the 
cross before the Pope in the procession. J On the Corona- 

* *Despatch of the Abbot of San Galgano to Siena, dated Rome, 
1447, March 19. The ambassadors, according to his account, 
arrived " con piii di dugento cavalli." Concistoro, Lettere ad. 
an., State Archives at Siena. 

t These remarkable words are handed down by tineas Svlvius 
in his report of his embassy to Frederick III. ; see Muratori, iii 

J Besides ^Eneas Sylvius account in Muratori (iii., 2, 896) see 
the *Despatch of the Abbot of San Galgano to Siena on the igih 
March, 1447. State Archives at Siena, Concistoro, Lettere ad an., 
and the *Cronica di Forli by Giovanni de Pedrino, Cod. 234, p. 
2355. of the private library of Prince Bald. Boncompagni at Rome. 


tion day Nicholas V. promised King Frederick III. that he 
would observe the treaty concluded between him and his 
predecessor, and declared his intention of carrying on the 
work which Eugenius had begun, while he expected the 
King on his part to continue to protect the Apostolic See, 
and engaged to send him the confirmation of the public 
convention by special legates.* Immediately after his 
Coronation, according to ancient usage, the Pope solemnly 
took possession of the Lateran. Piccolomini has given a 
brief and graphic account of the procession. " It was 
headed," he says, " by the Blessed Sacrament, surrounded 
by numerous lighted torches. The Pope was preceded by 
three banners and an umbrella; he rode on a white horse, 
bore the golden Rose in his left hand, and blessed the 
people with his right. The ambassadors of Aragon and 
the Barons alternately led the Pope s horse. At Monte 
Giordano the Jews delivered to him their law, and he con 
demned their interpretation. After the conclusion of the 
ecclesiastical function in the Lateran, gold and silver 
medals were given to the cardinals, prelates, and 
ambassadors. The banquet next took place ; the Pope was 
served in the Palace, and all the others in the House of the 
Canons. We," continues /Eneas Sylvius, who, together 
with Procopius of Rabstein, was acting as ambassador of 
Frederick III., "were the guests of Cardinal Carvajal."f 

* Chmel, Materialien, i., 2, 235. On the 28th March, 1447, 
Nicholas V. declared that the concessions made by his predecessor 
to the German nation were not to be affected by the new regula 
tions of the chancery, and were to be strictly observed by each and 
all, loc. at., 236. Regarding J. Friedrich s strange interpretation 
of this Bull, see Scheeben, Das Oekumenische Concil (Regensburg, 
1870), ii., 397 etscq. 

t Muratori, iii., 2, 866. See Cancellieri, 41-42, who (87-88) 
gives a learned dissertation on the custom of carrying the Blessed 
Sacrament before the Pope. 


it was long since Rome had seen such festal days as 
those by which the Coronation of Nicholas V. was cele 
brated. Ambassadors came from all parts of Italy, and 
afterwards from Hungary, England, France, and Burgundy 
to promise obedience to the Holy See.* 

Poland also, which up to this time had continued neutral, 
sent ambassadors to profess submission. As early as July, 

1447, King Casimir had entrusted Wysota of Gorka, the 
Provost of Posen, and Peter of Szamotol the Castellan 
of Kalisz with this mission, charging them, however, to 
demand for him the collation to all benefices not in the gift 
of the Ordinaries, the grant, for a period of six years, of a 
tenth of all tithes in the country, and finally the revenue of 
Peter s pence for several years. t The Pope conceded to 
the King the right of collation to ninety benefices, and, 

* Even small towns, such as Assisi, sent embassies to congratu 
late the Pope and profess their obedience; see Christofani, 305- 
306. The Burgundian embassy passed through Florence in the 
middle of February, 1448. " * De qui sono passati duy arcivcscovi 
e duy signori per ambassatori del duca cli Eergogna cum cavalli 170 
[the Cronica di Rimini, 962, says 150] quali secundo se dicevano 
al papa per clargli la obedientia." Despatch of Vincemius de 
Scalona to the Marchioness Barbara of Mantua, dated Florence, 

1448, February 17, xxiv., N. 3., Napoli, Lettere. Gonzaga 
Archives at Mantua. 

f See Caro, iv., 387 / seq. The address of the ambassadors is, 
according to Caro, contained in a codex on paper of the fifteenth 
century (MS., vii., 15) of S. Peter s Library at Salzburg. The 
catalogue of the MSS. in this Library gives Cod. A. vi., 53, as the 
only reference to anything concerning Nicholas V., but it does not 
contain the address. The investigations kindly made in 1882 by 
P. Hauthaler among the MSS. of this celebrated Benedictine monas 
tery were equally unsuccessful. The*"Oratio ambasiatorum 
Casimiri regis Polonice ad Nicolaum papam quintum," in Cod. 
28of., 167, of the Court Library at Munich is not, as I at first sup 
posed, identical with that used by Caro. 


instead of the tenth of the tithes for six years and the 
Peter s pence for several years, granted to Poland the 
sum of ten thousand ducats charged on the ecclesiastical 

Of all these embassies none was received with greater 


distinction than that of the Florentines, for Nicholas V. 
wished to manifest the value which he attached to the 
continuance of his personally friendly relations with the 
Republic and with Cosmo de Medici. Yespasiano da 
liisticci tells us with patriotic pride ho\v the ambassadors 
of his native city made their solemn entrance into Rome 
with a hundred and twenty horse, and were received by 
the Pope in a public consistory. Die hall was crowded, 
and Gianozzo Mam-lti made an address, which lasted for 
an hour and a quarter. The Pope listened, with closed 
eyes, in perfect stillness, so that one of the attendant 
chamberlains thought it well to touch him many times 
gently on the arm, believing him to have fallen asleep. 
Put, as soon as Manetti had finished, Nicholas V. at once 
arose, and, to the astonishment of all, answered cverv 
point of the long discourse. t The circumstance made a 
great impression, and tended materially to extend the fame 
of Nicholas Y. In order to understand this, we must 
remember how the idea of the Roman Senate and the 
speeches made there had at this time taken possession 
of men s minds. In the Renaissance Age a speech might 
be an event ; it is said, indeed, that the discourse which 

* Theiner, Mon. Pol., ii., 54. Cam, iv., 392 ; ilnd., 395, on the 
submission of the University of Cracow. See on this subject 
Bressler, 71-79, and Malccki in the Abhandl. d. histor.-phil. Kl. 
der Krakauer Akad., vol. ii. 

t Yespasiano da Bisticci, Comment, della vita di M. G. Manetti 
(Torino, 1862), 37-41, speaks as an eye-witness of the circum 
stance. Yoigt, ii., 2nd ed., Si ct seq. 



Tommaso Parcntucelli pronounced at the obsequies of 
Eugenius IV. decided the Cardinals to elect him Pope.* 

The able manner in which Nicholas V. answered the 
addresses of the different ambassadors who came to pay 
him homage produced the greatest effect. "A report soon 
went forth through the various countries, that Rome had as 


Pope a man of incomparable intellect, learning, amiability, 
and liberality, and these were truly the qualities which 
won for Nicholas V. the appreciation of the world. "f 

The happy results of the new Pontiff s policy of peace 
and reconciliation were soon visible. An agreement was 
made with King Alfonso of Naples, who might have been 
a most dangerous enemy to the Papacy, and, on the 24th 
March, 1447, his ambassadors, in a public consistory, 
promised true and perfect obedience to the Pope.J 

The German Empire was not to be so quickly won. 
King Frederick III. and a few of the Princes had pro- 

* Vespasiano da Bisticci, Nicola V., 16. See /Eneas Sylvius 
in Muratori, iii., 2, 891. Regarding the importance attached to 
speeches in the Renaissance Age, see Burckhardt, Cultur, i., 3td 
ed., 275 et seq. 

\ Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 104. 

J See Giannone,iii., 284,^1x1 *Alessandro Sforza s Report, to Fran 
cesco Sforza, dated ex urbe die veneris, xxiv. Martii, 1447. This 
icport says : " Questa matina a 24 del presente per bona conclusione 
facta fra la Sanctita de Nostro Signore et la Maesta del Re essa 
Maesta ha per suoi ambasciatori in concistoro publico in conspecto 
de Nostro Signore data et prornessa vera ed Integra obedientia a la 
Sanctita Soa dove personalmente me so (n) ritrovato primo per 
intendere bene et anche per vedere tamo solempne acto como e 
stato facto; che certamente e stata cosa notabile et singulare che 
ultra lo coliegio de cardinali a intendere el sennone exposito per li 
ambassatori de la Maesta del Re et poi la reposta de la Sanctita de 
Nostro Signore e stato judicato per ogni valenle homo acto lauda- 
bihssimo et multo excellente." Carteggio generale ad an. Slate 
Archives at Milan. 


vlsionally recognized the Pope, and by their ambassadors 
promised obedience, but the general acknowledgment of 
the Electors and the other Princes had still to be obtained, 
and it was not improbable that they might be tempted to 
take the opportunity of again bringing ecclesiastical 
affairs into question and favouring the adherents of the 
Synod of Basle, who, with Duke Louis of Savoy, son of 
the anti-Pope, were making all possible efforts to find 
powerful patrons and protectors. They hoped much from 
King Charles VII. of France, whom Nicholas was also 
endeavouring to win.* The Basle party so far succeeded 
that the king summoned a new congress, at which the 
envoys of the Synod and those of the Duke of Savoy were 
to appear. f The electors of Cologne, Treves, the Palati 
nate, and Saxony, who had not yet acknowledged the 
Pope, joined France. It was not anxiety for the reform of 
the church, but private interests of various kinds, which 
induced these electors to take part with a foreign power in 
opposition to their own King and to the German Princes, 
who had already declared themselves for Eugenius IV. and 
Nicholas V4 In union with these Electors, and the ambassa 
dors of Savoy and of England, and a few members of the 
Synod of Basle, Charles VII., in June 1447, opened a. 
numerous assembly at Bourges, which was subsequently 
transferred to Lyons. It was then decided that Felix 
should resign, and that Nicholas should make many con 
cessions to the Basle Schismatics and summon a general 

* See the Bull of December i2th, 1447, in Leibniz, Cod. jur. 
gent., i., 378, and in Mailer s Reichstagstheatrum, 358. Nicholas 
V., in this Bull, gives the Duchy of Savoy to the King of France, 
and calls upon the Dauphin to take possession of it. France, 
however, did not take the matter up. 

f Chmel, ii., 422, 423. 

f ikkert, 305 et siq. 


Council as soon as possible to meet in a French city. 
Neither Nicholas nor Felix, however, assented to this 

Almost at the same time King Frederick convened those 
German Princes, who had broken up the anti-Roman League 
of Electors, to meet at Aschaffenburg. ^Eneas Sylvius 
Piccolomini, on whom Nicholas V. had recently conferred 
the Bishopric of Trieste, and the Royal Counsellor Hartung 
von Cappell, represented the King. Nicholas of Cusa 
appeared on behalf of the Pope, though without instruc 
tions. The assembled princes decided that Nicholas V. 
should be proclaimed throughout Germany as the lawful 
Pope, and that on his part he should confirm the Concordat 
entered into by his predecessor. For the perfect adjust 
ment of all differences a fresh Diet was shortly to 
be held at Nuremberg, and, unless the matter were in 
the meantime settled with the Pope s Legate, it was to 
decide the long standing question of compensation to be 
given to the Pope for diminution of income, in accordance 
with a promise already made by the Basle party. t King 
Frederick III. now proceeded to take decided measures in 
favour of Nicholas V. He required the Schismatics of 
Basle to dissolve their assembly, and withdrew the Royal 
safe conduct previously granted ; on the 2ist August, 1447, 
he issued an edict commanding everyone in the empire to 
acknowledge Nicholas V. as the true Pope and to reject 
all other orders. J Frederick solemnly repeated his 
declaration of obedience to the Pope, in his own name and 
that of his country, in St. Stephen s Cathedral at Vienna. 

* Hefele, vii., 837-838. 
f Hefele, vii., 438. 

J See Wurstiseu, Bassler-Chronik, 408 ; Cochlceus, Hist. 
Hussit., lib. 9 ; Chmel, Materialen, L, 2, 245-246, and Fiala, 422. 
Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 414. Bressler, 74 et seq. 


But on this very occasion the want of real unity was mani 
fested. The King desired to give all possible importance 
to this public recognition of Nicholas V. by the presence 
and assent of the University of Vienna, but the opposition 
which he encountered was so violent that he was obliged 
to enforce his commands by threats of deprivation of 
benefices and emoluments and other penalties. The jurists 
and physicians then yielded, and finally the faculties of 
theology and arts made up their minds, under com 
pulsion and by constraint, to accede to the Royal desire. 
Some time afterwards, when Cardinal Carvajal came to 
Vienna as Legate from Nicholas V., the adhesion of the 
University to the Council, to which both King and Pope 
were adverse, showed itself anew.* Many in Germany 
shared the sentiments of the University, and if Rome 
ultimately gained the victory it was in no small degree due 
to the skill with which her envoys conducted the difficult 
negotiations, which at last resulted in the submission of 
the Count Palatine Louis, the Dukes Otho and Stephen 
of Bavaria, the Count of Wiirtemberg, the Bishops of 
Worms and Spires, and the Electors of Cologne, Troves, 
and Saxony. t 

These separate agreements prepared the way for the 
Concordat, concluded at Vienna on the iyth February, 144^, 
between the Holy See and the King of the; Romans, and 
confirmed by Nicholas V. on the Kjth March in the same 

* MitlerJorffer, i., 161. Aschbach, i., 279 d seq. A. \Vapplcr, 
Gesch. der theolog. Facultut cler k. k. Universiut zu Wien. 
(Wien, 1884), 13-14. Bressler, 75 et seq. 

t Raynaldus, ad. an. 1447, N. 17. I iickert, 311-315. 

J Koch, Sanctio prag., 201 et seq., 235. Chmd, ii., 436. Here 
and in Voigt (Enea Silvio, i., 418), a good list is given of the 
printed editions of the Vienna Concordat, to which we may now 


The Concordat of Vienna begins with the words : " In 
the name of God, Amen. In the year 1448, on the iyth 
February, the following Concordat was concluded and 
accepted between our Holy Father and Lord, Pope 
Nicholas V., the Apostolic See, and the German nation, by 
the Cardinal Legate Juan Carvajal * and King Frederick, 
with the assent of most of the electors and other spiritual 
and temporal princes of the nation." Then follow the 
several decisions by which the rights of the Apostolic See 
were considerably extended. The Concordat of Constance 
between Martin V. and the German nation serves as a foun 
dation for that of Vienna, which literally embodies a great 
many of the conditions established on the former occasion. 
The Vienna Concordat recognizes the reservations of 
ecclesiastical benefices contained in the Canon law as well 
as those introduced by John XXII. and Benedict XII. ; the 
appointment to bishoprics by free election, subject to the 
Pope s right of confirmation, and also, in case of manifest 
reasons, the nomination of more worthy and fitting persons 
to such posts with the advice of the Cardinals; the arrano-e- 
ment in virtue of which all canonries and other benefices 
becoming vacant in the alternate months were to be filled 
up by the Pope, and finally the Annates, which were to 

add those of Walter, Fontes juris, eccles. (Bonn, 1862), and Nussi, 
Convent, de reb. eccles. (Mogunt., 1870), 15-19. Regarding the 
character of the Concordat as a real contract binding both parties, 
see Ph. Hergenrother s excellent article in the Freiburger Kirchen- 
lexikon, ii., 2nd ed., 817 et seq. 

* The first trace of Carvnjai s presence at the Royal Court is to 
be found on the i Qth January, 1448. He had been appointed 
Legate for Germany on the 26th March, 1447 (Georgius, 28), 
but was still in Italy on the 2ist October. See Piickert, 316. 
Bayer, 71. The day of his departure from Rome I5th September, 
1447 is settled by the *Acta consistoiialia, 20. Secret Archives 
of the Vatican. 


be discharged in moderate amounts and in instalments 
payable every two years.* 

This Concordat, no doubt, temporarily guarded the Holy 
See from being suddenly, and without any adequate com 
pensation, despoiled of a great part of its necessary 
revenues, and yet the great evil from which the Church 
suffered in Germany was by no means checked. f If the 
exercise of patronage from so great a distance and with in 
sufficient knowledge of persons and of local circumstances 
had its drawbacks, yet in view of the pride of birth and the 
distinctions of caste which became more and more 
dominant in the German chapters during the fifteenth 
century, its tendency was beneficial. Nevertheless, the 
good that might have resulted was greatly marred by the 
imperfect education of a portion of the German clergy, and 
the want of discipline which prevailed, and also by the 
recklessness with which many succeeding Popes exercised 
their right. Thus seventy years later, when the storm of the 
new doctrines burst over the country, hundreds of incum 
bents who held their preferments from Rome fell away like 
the withered leaves from a tree in autumn. + 

* Ph. Ilergenmihcr, loc. cit. Ilefcle, vii., 840-^, gives a very 
ample account of the Vienna agreement with special regard to its 
relation to the Constance Concordat. See GebharJt, 2, yS et *y. 

t This is the opinion of Phillip?, iii., 329. 

J Do.lingcr (ii., I, 348) and Ilergenroihcr (ii., T, 122) concur 
almost literally in expressing the view I have given in the text. 
Regarding the manner in which the German nobility had in many 
dioceses assumed exclusive possession of the canonries of the 
Episcopal and Archiepiscopal Churches, see llufler, Fricdrich von 
Hohenlohe s, Bischofs von Bambcrg, Rechtsbuch (Itomberg, 1852), 
Ixxiv. et sey., and the excellent article " Der Deutsche Adel in den 
hohen Erz-und Domcapiteln " in the histor.-polit. 131., xliii., 653- 
6 7 6, 745-768, and 837-858. The noble author at the conclusion 
of this treatise (858) justly observes that the exclusive right of the 
higher and lower nobility to canonries was not merely, incompatible 


The next thing to be accomplished was the recognition 
and promulgation of the Vienna Concordat throughout the 
several parts of the empire. The Pope brought this about 
very gradually by means of separate negotiations with the 
individual German Princes, the most powerful of whom 
had to be won over by important concessions.* The 
Archbishop of Salzburg was the first f to assent to the 
Vienna agreement (22nd April, 1448) ; the Elector of 
Mayence followed his example in July, 1449, and the 
Elector of Treves in 1450. Cologne held out for some 
time, and the Concordat was not accepted by Strasburg, its 
last opponent, until 1476.! 

with the ecclesiastical purpose of the chapter, but prejudicial to 
themselves. J. Friedrich (Joh. Wessel [Regensburg, 1862], p. 9), 
who derived his information fromyEn. Sylvius, Hist. Frid., iii., 352, 
tells us that the Canons of Passau refused to obey Nicholas V. on 
the ground that he was not of the noble birth required as a condi 
tion of admission to their chapter. Bayer (169) justly considers 
the arrogant words of these Canons as " possibly exaggerated." 

* Hinschius, iii., 139, note 2. 

t Not the Archbishop of Mayence, as stated by all the Canonists 
and Voigt (Enea Silvio, i., 425). Jn Cod. S. i., i, of the Angelica 
Library, Rome, in a collection of papers left by Cardinal Francesco 
Todeschini Piccolomini (afterwards Pope Pius III.), is a copy of 
the manifesto of Archbishop Friedrich of Salzburg, dated Salezburge, 
mensis Aprilis die xxii., anno domini 1448. The Archives of Salz- 
"burg, according to Kleinmayer, contain nothing regarding the Arch 
bishop s recognition of the Concordat, but in them is preserved a 
Bull of Nicholas V., dated 1448, November i, declaring that the 
Concordat does not in any way prejudice the right of the Arch 
bishop of Salzburg or his successors to nominate to the bishoprics 
of Seckau, Lavant, and Chiemsee. The document, whose date is 
wrongly quoted in Kleinmayer, is published by J. Mezger, Hist. 
Salisb. (Salisb., 1692), 999-1002 ; Hansiz, ii., 481-483, and Liiign, 
Deutsches Reichs-archiv, xvi., 101=;. 

J Koch, Sanctio pragmatica Germanorum, 42-44, 244-245, 


The Vienna Concordat not only established a new order 
of ecclesiastical affairs in Germany, but also virtually 
annihilated the Synod of Basle, which had latterly become a 
real scourge to the Church.* We may say that the death- 
knell of this assembly was sounded on the iyth February, 

1448. The fact that the city of Basle still continued for 
some time to defy the authority of the King of the Romans 
is characteristic of the position of the empire. In 144^ 
Frederick III. was compelled to threaten it with an inter 
dict, and at last the Senators felt it necessary to reijuire the 
members of the Phantom Council to depart. On the 251)1 
June they determined to transfer themselves to Lausanne, 
and on the 4th July, accompanied by troops, left for that 
place. The Bishop of Basle, the city, and the whole diocese- 
then made their submission to the Pope, who, in a Bull 
dated I3th July, 1448, restored them to favour. f 

The anti-Pope and his adherents now felt that all further 
opposition to the authority of Nicholas V. would be fruit 
less, and that a seemly retreat was the only thing to be 
thought of. By the intervention ot France this course was 
made easy. 

In the summer of 144$, Charles Ml. sent a brilliant 
embassy to Rome to make solemn profession of obedience 
to the Pope, and to propose measures for the termination 
of the Schism. Nicholas V. entered into negotiations with 
the Archbishop of Rheims, the chief of the French ambassa 
dors, and shortly afterwards Felix V. expressed his willing 
ness to renounce the papal dignity. On the iSth January, 

1449, the Pope issued a Bull revoking all confiscations, 
suspensions, excommunications, and penalties affecting 
Felix V., the Synod of Basle and its adherents, their 

* Alzog-Kraus, ii., 49. 

f Raynaklus, ad. an. 144^, N. I. Chmcl, ii., 442. Fiala, 460, 
\Vurstisen, 409, and Ochs, Geschichte vou Basel, iii., 492. 


possessions and dignities.* In the further course of the 
negotiations for union the pacific Nicholas V. carried con 
cession to its utmost possible limits ;f with his approval, 
the anti-Pope, before his abdication, issued three documents 
confirming all disciplinary decrees promulgated during his 
pontificate, removing all censures pronounced against 
Rome and its adherents, and again ratifying all privileges 
and favours which he had granted. J Finally, the Pope 
consented that Felix V. should resign his usurped dignity 
into the hands of the Council of Lausanne (yth April, 
1449). After the dismissal of its Pope, the moribund 
Council was also induced, in its third session, April loth, 
1449, to revoke its former censures, and in the fourth, on the 
1 9th April, acting on the fiction of a vacancy of the Holy 
See, it elected as Pope, Tommaso of Sarzana, known in his 
obedience as Nicholas V. In the next session, on the 25th 
April, the assembly formally dissolved itself. |] 

Though appearances were thus saved, the triumph of the 
true Pope was complete, and he could now hope that the 

* d Achery, iii., 774. For the date see Hefele, vii., 848, note 4. 

| The conditions for the retreat of the anti-Pope and his 
partisans were, as Chmel (ii., 446) justly observes, more favourable 
than any yet granted by Rome to antagonists of the Holy See. The 
explanation of this fact may be found in the tone of feeling then 
prevalent in Germany and Switzerland, which was such as to 
threaten a further terrible outbreak of Schism. 

J d Achery, iii., 782 et scq. 

Raynaklus, ad. an. 1449, N. 3 and 4. Georgius, 65. On 
the 2Oth June, 1449, the Envoys of Felix V. made their profession 
of obedience to the lawful Pope at Spoleto. The only information 
regarding this Consistory is to be found in Capranica s notes on the 
Council of Basle, in Catalanus, 237. 

|| Raynaldus, ad. an. 1449, N. 6. See Fiala, 410 et s>y., where 
the dates are somewhat different. The Lausanne Assembly, as 
this document testifies, to the last held to the fiction that it was 
gathered together in the power of the Holy Ghost, and represented 
the Universal Church. 


jubilee to he celebrated in the following year would be 
attended with peeuliar splendour. The tidings of the final 
suppression of the Schism awakened the greatest joy 
amongst the Roman clergy and people. At nightfall horse 
men secured the streets, bearing torches in their hands and 
loudly cheering Nicholas V. Processions in token of 
thanksgiving were made through the Borgo by his order. * 
In fulfilment of the promise made by his ambassadors, 
the Pope published three Bulls at Spoleto, in June, 1449, 
revoking, by the first, all censures pronounced against the 
partisans of the Synod of Basle, by the second, confirming 
all nominations to benefices made by it and the anti-Pope, 
and by the third, restoring all who had been deprived of 
their positions during the time of the Schism. He bestowed 
on the late anti-Pope the dignity of Cardinal of Sta Sabina, 
made him Papal Legate and Vicar for life of Savoy and the 
territory belonging to Berne, in the Diocese of Lausanne, 
and conferred on him a. pension from the Apostolic 
Chamber. f Felix retired to the solitude of Ripaille, on tin- 
Lake of Geneva, and died there on the /th January, 1451.+ 

* Plutinri, 712; Infessura, 1 132, and Xiccola della Tticcia, 212. 
See Gcorgius, (if). According to the Crouica di Rimini (964), these 
rejoicings lasted for three days in Rome. 

f MartiMie Durand, viii., 999 el se>/. d Achery, iii., 784 el sefj. 
Mansi, xxix., 228 el seq. Labhc, xiii., 1347-1349. Georgius, 68. 
Chmel (ii., 449, and Regcst., 262), cast needless doubts on Spoleto 
as the place whence the Bulls were promulgated, but the Pope was 
certainly there at the time, and all possible uncertainty on the sub 
ject is set at rest by the Regesta in the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican. (See Georgius, loc. fit.} 

J Papehroch, 4^0. " When the Bernese had taken possession 
of this country in 153$, and were even turning the churches (at 
Ripaille) to other purposes, a leaden coffin was found under the 
ground containing a body clothed in the robes of a cardinal. It 
\vas supposed to be tint of Amadeus, and on exposure to the air 
crumbled away." \Yurstisen (416). 


Since his clays no anti-Pope has arisen, and his case is a 
further proof of the old truth that the evil of a Schism in 
the Church is greater than any evil which that Schism pro 
fesses to correct. From the time that the assembly at Basle 
became schismatical all hope of the long desired Church 
Reform grew dim, and the way was opened for a reaction 
calculated to bury in oblivion not only the false and 
revolutionary projects of the Synods of Constance and 
Basle, but even those which were just and moderate. The 
Council of Reform, which was a condition of the Frankfort 
Concordat of the Princes, and which was again promised in 
the Vienna Concordat, never took place.* The period ot 
Councils was past and was succeeded by one of Con 
cordats, a season of restoration and of reaction. It became 
more and more evident that the deplorable issue of the 
Synod of Basle had dealt a severe blow to the theory 
which it represented. f 

The Spanish theologian, Rodericus de Arevalo, in a 
work dedicated to Cardinal Bessarion in the time of Paul 
II. ,t observes, " Men have now none of that respect and 
love for Councils which some suppose. We know that the 
nations of Christendom were put to great trouble and 
immense expense in maintaining their ambassadors and 
prelates at Basle and all to no purpose. What did that 
assembly procure for the Chiistian world save strife and 
schism ? No one who looks back to its results can desire 
that the unity which the Church now enjoys should be 

* Hefele concludes his great work with these words (vii., 

t A firm adherent of the Council theory, about the year 1451, 
writes : " Pro nunc non intelligo aliud, nisi quod auctoritas 
sacrorum conciliorum hat ghufft." Fez, Anecd., vi., 3,327. 

J *De remediis afflictae ecclesise. We shall speak at more 
length of this work heieafter. 


again, to the detriment of Princes and people, disturbed 
by a similar assembly."* 

The name of "Council," which had wrought such con 
fusion, began gradually to lose its magic power. But ideas 
which have taken a deep hold upon the human mind are 
not quickly dispelled, and worthy men who were bent on 
reform, even after the sad failure of the Basle Synod, clung 
to the hope that the Parliamentary principle would yet 
assert itself in the Church ; among those who cherished 
aspirations of this nature, we must mention the celebrated 
Carthusian, Jakob von Juterbogk.f 

After peace had been restored to the Church, when the 
Schism was at an end, and Nicholas Y. was universally 
acknowledged to be the lawful Pope, this ardent reformer 
addressed a memorial on the subject to him. The multitude 
of abuses, Jakob von JiHerbogk declares, had impelled him, 
unworthy though he was, to raise his voice and cry for 
reform, and to proclaim its urgent necessity. The Synods 
of Siena, of Constance, and of Basle having failed to ac- 

* *Xec habent homines ad concilia illam devocionem ct 
afTectum, quern aliqui arbitranlur ; videmus qualiter omnes naciones 
fulelitim apud Inisileam infinites labores habuerunt ac innumera- 
bilcs suniptus et cxpcnsas inutiliter et infructuose feccrunt in 
n.iuendo et tenendo ibi oratores et prelatos et alios ecclesiasticos 
viros per nni ta tempora, ex quorum congregacione quorundam 
hominum perfulia non nisi clisulia ct scismata orbi provcnerunt, ex 
quibus utiliorcs frucius cxpectabant, que iam conspicientes nollcnt, 
ut unitas, qua mine ecclesia auctore deo gamlet, per talem con- 
oregacionem perturbetur cum gravamine nacionum et principum." 
Cod. Z., L. xc., f. 27, of St. Mark s Library, Venice. 

f See Ullmann i., 230 et s>q. ; Kampschulte, Universitat Erfurt, 
i., 15 et scq., and especially the excellent treatise of II. Kellner in 
the Tubing, thcol. Quartalschrift Jahrg., 48 (1866), p. 315-348. 
Regarding Jakob s numerous works see Kellner (Joe. at. 320-323), 
Fabricius-Mansi, iii., 300 et scq. ; Lorenz, ii., 2nd ed., 188, 332, and 
L. F. Hesse in the Serapeum, xix., i et seq. 


complish that which the faithful expected, and the Schism 
being now at an end, the cry must, he says, again be raised, 
and to whom can it better be addressed than to him " who 
sits in the chair of Peter, who is possessed of the highest 
Apostolic dignity, and is the one vicar of Christ ? " Thanks 
to the vigilance of former Pastors, decisions, decrees, and 
canons abound ; new laws are not required, but the old 
ones ought to be obeyed. It is the duty of the Pope to 
feed the sheep of the Lord, and to see that the precepts of 
the Church are observed. 

The author proceeds to animadvert with much freedom 
on many abuses in the government of the Church, and to 
remind the Pope of his duties. His observations allude 
rather to the period from 1434-1447 than to Nicholas V. 
himself, for whom he had a great esteem, and by whom 
several of his works were approved.* " If Christ were 

* Evidence of the Papal authorization of treatises by Jakob von 
Jiiterbogk may be found in many MSS. in the Library at Wolfen- 
biittel ; see Heinemann, Die Handschr. der herzogl. Bibliothek zu 
Wolfe nbiittel, i. (Wolfenbiittel, 1884), 123-124, 203, 253 ; also in 
the " Sermones dominicales" (see Main, N. 9331 et seq.}, and 
the still unpublished* " Tractatus de bono morali et remediis contra 
peccata " (Cod. 4225, f. I7 a -3i a of the Court Library, Vienna, 
and Cod. 252 of the University Library, at Freiburg, i. B.). At 
the conclusion of the last named IMS. (f. lyb) is the following 
observation : " Hec a me scripta sunt salvo iudicio cuiuslibet 
rr.elius sencientis anno domini MCCCCLII. auctorisante SS. 
domino nostro Nicolao papa quinto. Gloria uni Deo. Explicit 
tractus de bono morali reverendi patris domini Jacobi Carthusien. 
Sacre theologie magistri." Among the MSS. of the City Library 
at Treves, I found the following works by Jacob marked " auctori 
sante domino Nicolao pap.x quinto ": (i.) De apparitionibus 
animarum, etc. Cod. 270 (olim in domo S. Albani iuxta Trev.) 
and Cod. 662* (olim S. Marias ad martyres). (2.) *De duabus 
civitatibus Jerusalem et Babilonia et civibus earundem. Cod. 
579 (olim in domo S. Albani iuxtaTrev.), and Cod. 662*. (3.) *De 


again on earth," he asks, "and occupied the Apostolic 
See, would He approve the present practice of that See 
in regard to benefices and to the Sacraments of the Church ; 
the many reservations, collations, annates, provisions, 
expectancies, and benefices which are given for money ; 
the revocations, annullations, nonobstantia, especially 
in regard to the power of election and appointment by 
which those, who have a canonical right, are excluded." 
The Pope s authority is conferred upon him that he may 
build up, not that he may destroy, and he must exercise it 
according to the will of God. Jakob then proceeds to con 
sider the office of the Pope, whom he views as the head of 
the many members of the Church. He is the ruler of the 
Church, but he is himself bound to take the will of God and 
the decisions of Councils for his rule. Further on he com 
plains of the simony then dominant, and brings forward 
the instance of the recent simoniacal practices of two 
bishops in Germany. Finally, he calls on the Pope to re 
move abuses by means of a General Council lawfully sum 

triplici genere prcclatorum activorum et contemplativorum. Cod. 
579. (4.) *De erroribus et moribus Christianorum. Cod. 579. 
The above approbation is also at the end of Jakob s treatise : 
Quodlibetum statuum humanorum (Hain, No. 9.335). Cod. 46 
folio of the City Library at Cologne, and at the end of the work : 
*De statu securion incedemli in hac vita. Cod. V., 372, f. 19 
(from the Grande Chartreuse), in the Library at Grenoble. 

* " Avisimentum ad papam pro reformatione ecclesice," ed. K. 
Kliipfcl (Veins bibliotheca eccles., i., i, 134-145)- See Kellner, 
loc. cit., 337, 338. The last-named author observes (338), that 
Jakob s " AvLsainentum," from its contents and form, appears 1C 
have been a memorial addressed to Nicholas V. on his accession, 
but this idea is opposed by the fact that the termination of the 
schism is mentioned in the work, and that it bears at its conclusion 
the date 1449. 


Jakob of Jiiterbogk lived at Erfurt, and was connected 
with its university, the only one in Germany which main 
tained the false conciliar theories.* 

It cannot be a matter of surprise that the German 
Carthusian s commendation of Parliamentary Church 
government found little favour with the Pope; but it must 
be regretted that the reforming zeal of the early days of 
his Pontificate gradually cooled down.f The fault lay not 
so much with the learned and virtuous Pope as with the 
Italians surrounding him, whcse incomes, in great part, 
depended on abuses, and who, accordingly, like a leaden 
weight, impeded every movement in the direction of re 
form. Jakob von Jiiterbogk complains bitterly in his trea 
tise on the seven stages of the Church, that " no nation in 
Christendom offers such opposition to reform as Italy, and 
this from love of gain and worldly profit, and fear of losing 
its privileges. ^ The passionate pessimism of this work 
contrasts unfavourably with the tone of his memorial, 
while his exaggerated exaltation of the authority of Councils, 
and his assertion of their right to depose the Pope, were 
little calculated to promote the cause of reform, and tended 
rather to reawaken the schism that had so lately been set 

at rest. 

It was well that these sentiments were not shared by the 
majority of Jakob s contemporaries. The violence of his 
language in this treatise is probably due to his vexation at 

* SeeBressler, 85. 

t See G. Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 408, 409. J- Voigt, Stimmen, 
115 ct seq., 117, 127, and Sauer, 127. 

* " De septem ecclesic statibus in apocalypsi descriptis." This 
work has been repeatedly printed : by Wolf. Wissenburgius in the 
Antolo-ia Papx (Basil., 1555), Brown, in the Fasciculus, ii., 102- 
112, and Walch, Mon., ii., 2, 43. Kellner (323) and Gieseler (ii., 
4, 218) ascribe its production to the year 1449, while Janus (364) 
believes it to have been written - about 145 " 


the collapse of the Council, and its proved inability single- 
handed to accomplish the work of reformation. Geilervon 
Kaysersberg, a distinguished man, whose zeal for reform 
was in no way second to that of Jakob, at a somewhat later 
period, expressed his firm conviction of the impossibility of 
carrying out a general reformation in Christendom by 
means of parliamentary assemblies alone. The whole 
Council of Basle/ he says, "was not sufficiently powerful 
to reform a convent of nuns when the city took their 
part. I low then can a Council reform the whole of Christen 
dom ? And if it is so hard to reform a convent of women, 
what would it be to reform one of men, especially if it con 
tains none that are single-minded, and they have many parti- 
This is why the reformation of all Christendom, or of 
any class of men therein, is so difficult. Therefore, let each 
one hide his head in his own corner, and see that he keep. 
God s law and does what is right, that he may save his soul."* 
Xo Council ever pursued so suicidal a course as did that 
of Basle. The suppression of the schism by the Council 
of Constance did more than anything to win men s minds 
to the conciliar views, whereas at Basle squabbles about the 
limitations of its powers took the place of the urgently- 
needed work of reform, and ended by reviving the dreaded 
schism. f The aversion to Councils increased, as it be 
came more evident that, in spite of all the great hopes and 
expectations it had called forth, the Basle Synod had 
brought schism and revolution into the Church instead o f 
reform. The old constitution was now more firmly estab 
lished than before. J 

* Geiler von Kayersberg, Die Emeis (Stras^hnrq-, i^r,). Bl 
xxi\ This passage seems to have escaped the noiice of Uacueux 
the excellent biographer of Geiler (Paris, 1876). 

t See Hofler, Roman. Welt, 209. 

+ Wattenbach, Papstgeschichte, 281. 




The change in the tide of opinion, which in some cases 
had been very sudden, is strikingly manifested in the 
speech of /Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini, the former champion 
of the supremacy of Councils, at the coronation of Frederick 
III. by the Pope in the year 1452. Speaking in the name 
and in the presence of the newly-crowned Emperor, he 
observes that another Emperor would have demanded a 
Council, but that Frederick holds the Pope with his Car 
dinals to be the best Council.* 

The buabear of a General Council was indeed repeatedly 


brought forward by the party opposed to the Papacy, but it 
proved to be a mere empty threat, f The utter hopeless 
ness of the cause was fully manifested in the next genera 
tion, when an adventurous prelate, whose person and fate 
are veiled in obscurity, but who is known by the name of 
Archbishop of Carniola, made attempt to resuscitate the 
Council of Basle. Even the support afforded by Lorenzo 
the Magnificent was powerless to do anything towards the 
realization of what a modern historian^ has well called a 
delirious dream, so thoroughly had the Holy See in the 
meantime regained its ancient authority. 

Many circumstances tended to favour the re-establish 
ment of Papal power. The fruitlessness of all the efforts 
made on behalf of ecclesiastical parliaments had naturally 
produced weariness and exhaustion. The reigning Pontiff 
was, moreover, peculiarly fitted to bring about a reconcilia 
tion between the Papacy and its opponents. The first 

* /Enccc Silvii hist. Frid., iii., 317* 

| See infra. 

J Kraus, 478. 

See J. Burclchardt, Andreas, Erzbischof von Krain (Easel, 
1852). Reumont, Lorenzo, ii., 2nd ed., 185-187, and Frantz, 
Sixtus, iv., 376 et seq., 434 et seq., 443, 45 6 - A future volume of 
this work will give further details. 


measures of his reign tended towards this result, to which, 
besides, the influence of the theological literature of the 
day, with its brilliant vindication of the Papal system, 
materially contributed.* 

In the foremost rank of the champions who took up their 
pens on behalf of the Holy See we must name the great 
Spanish canonist, Cardinal Juan de Torquemada. The 
Summa against the enemies of the Church," which he 
wrote in 1450, is the most important work of the later 
mediaeval period on the question of the extent of the Papal 
power. f In his preface he gives the following explanation 
of the aim of his book: "If ever it was incumbent on 
Catholic doctors, as soldiers of Christ, to protect the Church 
with powerful weapons, lest many, led astray by simplicity, 
or error, or craft and deception, should forsake her fold, 
that duty devolves upon them now. For, in these troublous 
times, some pestilent men, puffed up with ambition, have 
arisen, and, with diabolical craft and deceit, have striven to 
disseminate false doctrines regarding the spiritual as well 
as the temporal power. With these they have assailed the 
whole Church, inflicting grievous wounds upon her, and 
proceeding to rend her unity, to tarnish the splendour of 
her glory, to destroy the order established by God, and 
shamefully to obscure her beauty ; they have undertaken to 
crush the Primacy of the Apostolic See and maim the 
supreme authority conferred on it by God ; they have so 
poisoned the whole body of the Church that hardly any part 
of her seems to be free from stains and wounds. The 

* Maurenbrccher, Studien, 334. 

t So characterized by Dullinger, Die Papstfabcln dcs Miltcl- 
alters, 2nd ed. (.Miinchen, 1863), 144. Dtillinger s view regarding 
the date of this work (ca. 1450) is shared by Pichler, i., 253, and 
Scmvane, Dogmengesch., 567 et uq. Lederer (174), however, is 
of opinion that it was concluded in 1449 or 1448. 


sacrilegious accusations of these godless men against the 
Church and the Holy See are shamelessly published every 
where. Thus not only is evangelical truth attacked, but 
the way is prepared for divisions and errors, dangers to 
souls, dissensions between princes and nations, and it is 
evident to all that the assaults of these persons are aimed 
not only at a portion of the Church, but at the very founda 
tions of the Christian religion. Catholic scholars should 
hasten to oppose these antagonists with the invincible 
weapons of the faith. Therefore, incited by zeal for it and 
for the honour of Christ s Bride, I have written a book, with 
the title of Summa against the enemies of the Church and 
the Primacy. I have here, as it seems to me, by passages 
from Holy Scripture and by the irrefragable decisions of 
the Fathers, sufficiently refuted the assertions of these un 
principled men, and shown that they are to be eschewed by 
all faithful Christians." These introductory words mani 
fest the polemical character of the work, in which the 
Cardinal, who was firmly attached to the Thomistic tradi 
tion, strongly upholds the Papal power against the ten 
dencies of the Synod of Basle.* 

The importance of Torquemada s work, which is dis 
tinguished by its learning and by the keen logic of its 
arguments, became more and more appreciated as time 
went on, and even in the eighteenth century it was looked 
upon as a literary arsenal by the defenders of the Holy 

* The view put forward by Lederer (190 et scq., 219, 249) and 
Schwane (Dogmengesch, 573 et ?.) that Torquemada went too 
far in regard to the relative positions of the Bishops and the Pope 
is untenable ; see A. Langhorst, Der Card. Torquemada und das 
Vaticanum iiber die Jurisdictionsgewalt der Bischofe, in the 
Laacher Stimmen, 1879, ii., 447-462. See also Hergenrother, 
Kirche und Staal, 800, and Grisar, in the Zeitschrift fur Kath. 
Theologie, viii., 729 et sey. 



Another Spaniard, the Canonist Rodericus Sancius de 
Arevalo,* at this time dedicated to Nicholas V. a book 
whuh, like that of Torquemada, combated the eccle 
siastical parliamentarianism of the schismatics of Rasle.f 

Rodericus Sancius, while serving as ambassador from the 
King of Castile at the Court of Frederick III.,+ did his best 
to put an end to the neutrality of Germany, which consti 
tuted a serious danger to Rome. In a discourse which he 
pronounced in Frederick s presence, he urged him to pro 
mote the restoration of ecclesiastical unity by a simple 
adhesion to the lawful Pope. The " Dialogue regarding 
remedies for the schism," dedicated by Rodericus to Garcia 
Enrique/, Royal Councillor and Archbishop of Seville, be 
longs to this period. j| The first part of this treatise, which 

* For some account of this indefatigable writer, see Oiulin, iii., 
2661-2664; Bibl. pontif., f. 433 ^ stq-\ Bibl. I lisp, vet., ii., 297- 
304; Sclmlte, 316, 317, and V. de la Fucnte, 462. Further parti 
culars will be given in a future volume of this work. 

f *Kodericus dc Arevalo, Contra Risilienses et de scdando schis- 
mate, Cod. lat. Vatic., 4167, f. 121- 174, and Cod. lat. Vatic., 4154. 
Vatican Library. 

I Not about 14.40, as stated in the Bibl. Ilisp. vet., ii., 298, but 
1442. At this time Nicholas of Cusa addressed to Rodericus 
Sancius the letter whose meaning has been so differently understood 
by modern writers. See Scharpff, Cusa als Reformator, 79 et scq. ; 
C. F. Brockhaus, Nicolai Cus. de concilii univ. potentate sententia 
(Lips., 1667); Stumpf, Politische Ideen des Nic. von Cusa 
(Kiiln, 1865), and Schwab, in the Theol. Lit.-El., 1867, p. 627 
tt seq. 

*Oratio Roderici etc. ex parte regis Hispanice ad sercniss. 
Fridcricum Imperatorem (sic. /) cxhortatoria ad unitatem ct pacem 
ccclesicc, et quod deceat impcratores agere pro unionc ac defensione 
ecclesire, inducens eundem Imperatorem ad puram adhcesionern 
dom. Eugenii et dctestationem Jiasiliensium. Cod. lat. Vatic., 
4881, f. 202 et seq. Vatican Library. 

|| *Dialogi de remediis scismatis. Cod. lat. Vatic., 4002. Vatican 
Library. A beautiful MS. of seventy pages, adorned with initial 



has never yet been printed, deals with the authority of the 
Holy See in general. In the four chapters which compose 
the second part, Roclericus shows that the so-called neutrality 
and withdrawal of obedience are in all cases forbidden, that 
they lead to heresy and schism, and that the ecclesiastical 
dignitaries who adopt such dangerous measures lose the 
powers conferred upon them, because they sever themselves 
from the centre of unity. Rodericus de Arevalo was one of 
the most distinguished opponents of the Council theory. 
Subsequently, under Paul II., in a work dedicated to 
Cardinal Bessarion, he controverted the errors of those who 
were never weary of exalting Councils as a panacea even 
for the threatened Turkish peril. The beautifully-written 
original manuscript of this treatise, ornamented with 
exquisite miniatures, once in Cardinal Dcssarion s posses 
sion, is now preserved in the library of St. Mark s at 

letters and with the armorial bearings of Archbishop Garcia 
Enriquez of Seville (fi448, see Gams, 73). A passage of the 
above-mentioned preface of Rodericus de Arevalo archidiaconus 
de Treviiio regime M Iis secretarius is given in the Bibl., ii., 
301. The second part of the Dialogus, which is specially directed 
against neutrality, consists of four chapters, under the following 
h eac | s: (^ Quod neulralitas aut subtractio obediencie a sede 
ap ca ex quibuscunque causis facta aucloritative est omni jure 
damnata (et prohibita). (2) Quod inducere subtractionem 
obediencie aut neutralitatem a sede ap 1 sit laedere articulum fidei 
et hccresim inducere. (3) Quod inducere prefatam neutralitatem 
sit scisma facere et inducere, eciam prout scisma est speciale 
crimen. (4) Quod prcelati et alii viri ecclesiastici illam (indu- 
centes) aut ea scienter utentes non habent claves ecclesie nee 
habent ordinem nee consecrationem aut alia pontificalia. *Sermo 
in passione domini factus Romce coram Nicolao V., per Rod. S. de 
Arevalo, 1449, in Cod. 134, N. I, of the Gymnasium Library at 


Venice. 45 " The author begins by attacking exaggerated 
views of the importance of Councils, and justly observes 
that in the primitive Church their occurrence was not so 
frequent as some people supposed. Reforms, he says, will 
always be needed in the Church ; if they can only be ac 
complished by Councils, it follows that they must sit per 
petually. t Here, in fact, we have the real question at 
issue. If the fanatics of the party could have had their 
way, there can be no doubt that the Council, considering 
itself equal in authority to the Pope, would, under pretext 
of reform, have gradually assumed the whole government 
of the Church, and the Holy See would have been no longer 
necessary. How, then, are reforms in ecclesiastical affairs 
to be carried out? Rodericus answers the question in the 
second part of his work. In the first place, he says, let 
due obedience be rendered to the Apostolic See; then let 
good and loyal bishops be elected, prelates and clergy filled 
with the spirit of Christ appointed everywhere, and, above 
all, let visitations be extensively made, for the discovery 
and remedy of existing evils. J 

* *Roderici Calaguritani dc rcmediis afflictce ccclcsicc militantis 
advcrsus cxlrinsccas Turchorum persccutioncs ac intestinas eius 
pressuias et angustias. Cod. Z-L-XC. of St. Mark s Library at 
Venice. The dedication is printed by Valentinelli, ii., 1 16. There 
is a copy of the work at Florence among the Magliabech. MSS. 
Cl. xxxvii., Cod. 202. See Bandinius, Bibl. Leop. Laurent., ii., 78 
et scq.t and in the Chapter Library at Tadua ; Fabricius-Mansi, v., 


t *Cod. cit., f. 31 et scq. ; f. 47 et seq. (I. cap. 9,and 15). 

\ *Cod. cit., f. 54!), 108. Secunda pars in qua adducuntur 
necessaria et expcdicntia rcmedia ad relevandam ecclesiam. See 
especially f. 72 and f. 88. The great Geiler von Kayscrsberg also 
saw that the only hope for the German Church was in the appoint 
ment of good bishops; see Kerker, in the IJistor.-Polit., Bl. xlviii., 


The celebrated preacher, St. John Capistran, who had 
^written a great volume against the Fathers of Basle in 
the reign of Eugenius IV., now produced a treatise " on 
the authority of the Church," in opposition to the false 
Council theories, and dedicated it to Pope Nicholas.* 

Although we cannot enumerate all the champions who at 
this time came forward to defend the rights of the Holy 
See, the name of the Venetian, Piero del Monte, pupil of 
Guarino, and Bishop of Brescia from the year 1442, must 
not be passed over.f This remarkable man continued, in 

* Wadding, Script, ord. Min. (Romoc, 1650), 196. 
| See Fabricius-Mansi, v., 254, 255; Ruggerius, in et seq.\ 
Chevalier, 1594; Voigt, Wiederbelebung, ii., 2nd ed., 39, 340; and 
Schulte, 317-319. The last author is mistaken in calling him 
Bishop of Brixen. In *Cocl. 224 of the Chapter Library of St. 
Martino at Lucca, at the conclusion of the treatise, attributed to 
Piero del Monte, "De summi pontificis et generalis concilii necnon 
de imp. M tis origine et potestate," f. 3O5 h> are the following obser 
vations in a handwriting of the fifteenth century : " Dixit mihi 
Pauliane Tube celebratissimus representator frater Robertus, quod 
Petrus de Monte fuit auctor huius tractatus. Fuit vir doctus et 
reputatus in curia et episcopus Brixiensis, compilator famosi reper- 
torii et approximate semel lempore quo papa Eugenius 4 US erat 
facturus promotionem cardinalium iste habuit firmissimas promis- 
siones et a papa et a collegio cardinalium quod crearetur cardinalis, 
et tantorum virorum fide fretus gerebat se intrinsecus pro cardinali 
nee nspiam verebatur, imo paraverat in secreto omnia necessaria 
biis qui promoventur. Sed quoniam in collegio cardinalium erat 
lunc D. Petrus Barbus Venetus [qui postea fuit Paulus 2 11S P. P. 
(marginal note)}, vir imbutus moribus curioe et in agilibus saga- 
cissimus, qui sub umbra Eugenii patrui sui in cardinalem promotus 
rivalem non patiebatur et praesertim istum Petrum compatriotam 
et qui ob eius scientiam facile honore prsecessisset, unde verebatur 
quod ipso creato cardinali deficeret Petro favor Venetorum et 
faverent isti Petro idcirca disturbata pontificis et cardinalium 
voluntate adeo operatus est quod iste non obtinuit et facta pro- 
motione aliorum cardinalium remansit delusus quo faclum fuit ut 


the days of Nicholas V., to display the same zeal which had 
characterized him under that Pontiff s predecessor. The 
work which he dedicated to Nicholas V. is divided into 
three books;* it does not, as its title might seem to imply, 
attempt to meet all the errors then prevalent in regard to 
ecclesiastical matters, but only those which prevailed in 
certain countries under the semblance of measures of 
reform. f The fact that Piero del Monte is one of the feu- 
Humanists who took part in the contest between the 
adherents of the Council and the defenders of the Holy See, 
gives a special interest to his work, which, unfortunatelv, 
has never been printed. 

The renewed vigour of the Papal power was manifested 
during this Pontificate by stringent measures for the 
eradication of heresy. Nicholas V. made special use of 
the Minorite friars in this matter, and his zealous care was 
extended to l>osnia and to Greece, in which countries 
respectively the Patarines and the; Fraticclli were leading 
many astray. His efforts to repress the latter sect in Italy 

subito istc I). Pctrus prcc nimio dolore cordis incideret in passio- 
nem mortalem et delusionem tantam impatienti corde corrodens 
vixit qualriduo et dolore mortuus est. [Impossible, for, according 
to Gams, 780, Piero del Monte did not die till 1457.] In eius 
funcrc oravit frater Robertas." 

*Potrus de Monte cpiscopus Brixiensis contra impugnantes 
sedis apostolicce auctoritatem ad Nicolaum papam V., Cod. lat. 
Vat., 2694, f. 297 ef set]., and Cod. Vat., 4145. Vatican Library. 

t In his preface the author says: " *Xon est autem nobis contra 
omnes errores qui hac nostra etate ab impugnantibus sedis 
apostolice dignitatem prodierunt hoc in libro disputandum. Majus 
enim volumen res ilia exposceret : sed contra illos tantum qui cum 
umbram quandam ac speciem reformacionis prce se ferant in 
quibusdam regnis atque provinciis tanquam sacie leges recipiuntur, 
custodiuntur atque observantur. Adversus hos nobis est pugna." 
Cod. lat. Vatic., 2694, f. 299. Vatican Library. 

Georgius, 61, 62, 84, 91, 143. Klaic, 380. 


were continued for most of his remaining life; but they 
were not crowned with complete success.* 

The restoration of the Papal authority was materially 
promoted by Nicholas V. s perfect freedom from nepotism, 
and by the care which he generally exercised in the creation 
of Cardinals ; amongst other excellent appointments we 
may mention that of the gifted Nicholas of Cusa, who united 
moral worth with intellectual qualities of the highest order.f 

From the middle of the fifteenth century the position 
of Papacy manifestly regained solid strength. The 
attempts of the Basle party to revive the disastrous schism 
had produced a reaction throughout the whole Church. 
Multitudes turned with horror from the anti-Papal theories, 
which had become predominant at Constance and Basle, 

* See, as well as Wadding and Raynaldus, Bernino, iv., 161 el 
seq.; Niccola della Tuccia, 213; Graziani, 622, 624; St. 
Antoninus, Chronic, tit. xxii., c. xii., 3 ; Acta Sanct. Octob., v., 
324 el seq.; Baldassini, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154. An account 
of a heretic in Bologna is given in Annal. Bonon., 886 el seq.; 
Cronica di Bologna, 699; Echard, i., 815. Regarding French 
heretics sec ibid., i., 847, 848 (about 1450). Haupt, 43 et seq., gives 
particulars of the spread of heresy in Germany. In Burgundy 
Nicholas V. had to deal with errors affecting indulgences and 
the confessional ; see his ** Brief addressed to " Joh. Cabilonensi 
(Chalon-sur-Saune) et Antonio Sidonensi episcopis," dated Rome, 
1448, June i, in the Secret Archives of the Vatican, Reg. 387, 
L 73*. 

t Holler in Munch. Gel. Anz., 1848, p. 494. Regarding Cusa, 
see Janssen, i, 3 el seq., and infra, chapter iii. ; different notices 
of him are mentioned in Chevalier, Rep., 1631 et seq. Vespasiano 
da Bisticci, Nicola V., 23, speaks of the seven Cardinals created 
by this Pope (Antonio de la Cerda, A. Agnesi, Latino Orsini, 
Alain, Jean Rolin, Filippo Calandrini, and Cusa). See also 
Ciaconius, ii., 969 et seq. ; Eggs, iii., iv., 139 et seq. ; suppl., 193 
etseq.; Georgius, 59 el seq. ; Reumont, iii., i, 2^6 et seq. Sforza, 
228 et seq., treats at length of the Pope s conduct towards his 


to the ancient doctrines regarding the monarchical con 
stitution of the Church and the inalienable rights of the 
Holy See. Respect for the Papacy rose as the hopes 
founded on the action of Councils sank lower and lower, 
destroyed by the excesses of the Synod of Basle. The 
movement had begun in the time of Eugenius IV., and it 
continued under his successor, Nicholas V., who was able to 
do away with the remains of the schism, and the revolu 
tionary tone, which had prevailed in the fourteenth and the 
early part of the fifteenth century, gave place, as time went 
on, to a very different feeling. 

In Germany, however, we cannot say that reunion with 
the Holy See at once produced general contentment, or 
laid the agitation for reform to rest. The billows of a 
troubled sea are not so easily calmed, but the efforts for 
reform became less and less radical in their character, and 
the Holy See regained much of the influence which had 
been lost in the time of Eugenius IV.* It was well, too, 
for Germany that in the following years men filled with the 
Spirit of God arose in her midst, and sought to remove the 
many existing evils and to impart new life to ancient 
ecclesiastical institutions and individual souls, by the use of 
the means of grace and salvation which Christ has 
entrusted to 1 1 is Church. f Passionate opponents of the 
Papacy have falsely represented the course of events as 
one of increasing alienation from the ancient Church, until 
the severance became complete ; J but the attentive observer 
cannot fail to discern the presence of the earnest and 
deeply religious feeling which finds expression in the well- 
known " Imitation of Christ." The immense impulse 

* Chmel, Kirchliche Zustiinde, 21 et scy., 24 d sey., gives docu 
mentary evidence of this fact. 
f Dittrich, 319-320. 
J Wattenbach, Papstgeschichte, 282. 

Pf Tr- i _. v ... 


given to the life of the German people at this period made 
itself felt in the ecclesiastical sphere. Large and hand 
some churches were built, and adorned with lovino- care. 


The foundations for altars and masses were numerous, and, 
although a vast number of religious houses already existed, 
new ones arose. The richly ornamented prayer-books, the 
countless pictures and other works of art, and the wood 
cuts destined for the uneducated, all bear witness to the 
existence of the same pious spirit. The coarse satire of 
former clays is hushed, or vents itself only on the mendicant 
friars and subordinate objects. "Our holy Father, the 
Pope/ is everywhere spoken of with reverence, and is 
represented in all his glory in pictures.* 

And yet the anti-Papal spirit in Germany was not 
thoroughly subdued ; it appeared, indeed, less often at the 
surface, but its hidden influence was not the less rcal.f In 
a letter of the 25th November, 1448, /Eneas Sylvius, with 
his keen insight into affairs, writes the following words to 
the Pope: "A time of peril is before us; storms are 
threatening on every side, and the skill of the mariners 
will be proved in the bad weather. The Basle waves are not 
yet calmed, the winds are still struggling beneath the 
waters and rushing through secret channels. That con 
summate actor, the devil, sometimes transforms himself 
into an angel of light. I know not what attempts will be 

* I borrow this description from the work of Wattenbach (282- 
283) all the more willingly, inasmuch as lie cannot be suspected of 
looking on anything connected with the Church in too favourable 
a light. See Mainzer " Katholik," 1877, > 506 ct scq. For 
details, I may refer to the first volume of Janssen s " Gesch. des 
Deutschen Volkes" and the essay of P. A.Weiss: Vor der Reforma 
tion (Hist.-pol. Bl., Ixxix.), to which I have often alluded. See 
also Maurenbrecher, Kath. Ref., i., 58 et seq. 

t Ranke, Deutsche Geschichte, i. (2nd ed.), 49. See Dux, 
i- 397- 


made in France, but the Council still has adherents. We 
have a truce, not a peace. We have yielded to force/ say 
our opponents, not to conviction ; what we have once 
taken into our heads we still hold fast. So we must look 
forward to another battlefield and a fresh struggle for the 

The efforts made by Nicholas V. to restore and maintain 
peace in Rome and in the States of the Church were 
crowned \\ith the same success which had attended his 
great measures of ecclesiastical policy. The revolutionary 
aspirations of the Romans were appeased by the concession 
of a privilege which secured to them the right of self- 
government. All magisterial and municipal appointments 
were given into the hands of four Roman citizens, together 

<? > o 

with the entire control of the taxes. f At the same time, 
the Pope endeavoured to guard against any possible 
revolt, as well as against attacks from without, by rebuilding 
the city walls and erecting fortifications. We shall speak 
of these works later on. lie conciliated the Roman Barons, 
and restored Lorenzo Colonna, the Savelli, Orso Orsini, and 
the Count of Anguillara, to favour. Lorenzo and Stefanello 
Colonna received permission to rebuild Palestrina, which 
had been destroyed by Vitelleschi, on condition that the 
town should not again be fortified. This condition, sug 
gested by the strategical importance of the position, was 
subsequently restricted to the castle (May 13, 1452), and 
by degrees the present town arose, where walls dating from 
the fifteenth century are still to be seen, and fortifications, 

* This remarkable letter, the first part of which is given by 
Pray (Hi., 70), is published in amended form by Voigt in the 
Archiv (xvi., 392-394). 

t Theiner, Cod. dipl., iii., 367-368. *Cod. C., 7, 9, of the 
Angelica Library, Rome, gives a list, Officiates altnoe urbis, 
A 1447- 


especially on the southern side, of all styles and periods, 
beginning with the ancient Cyclopean polygon.* 

Other feudatories of the Holy See were appointed to or 
confirmed in the vice-regencies of Urbino, Pesaro, Forli, 
Camerino, Spello, Rimini, and the territories belonging to 
them, and thus peace was restored, although, of course, 
the Papacy was not absolutely secured from possible hos 
tility on their part. The ancient Constitutions of the 
March of Ancona, the City of Fermo, and other places, 
were confirmed, and new privileges granted. t The City 
of Jesi, the only one in the March of Ancona under the 
dominion of Francesca Sforza, was surrendered by him in 
consideration of the sum of 35,000 florins, j In July, 1447, 
Nicholas V. recovered the Castle of Spoleto, and three 
years later Bolscna. The frequent visits of the Pope to 
Umbria and the Marches contributed in no small degree to 
the maintenance of a good understanding with those 

The bloodless restoration of peace and order to the 
States of the Church must ever be viewed as one of the 
chief glories of the Pontificate of Nicholas V. In order 
fully to appreciate his success, we must recall to mind the 

* Papencordt, 482. L Epinois, 425. Petrini, Mem. Prenest., 
181, 183, 457-461. 

t Reumont, iii., i, 116-117. Details from the Regesta of the 
Secret Archives of the Vatican are given by Georgius, 38-39, 62. 
See also Ugolini, i., 356 et seq. ; Tonini, 206, and L. Siena, Storia 
della citta di Sinigaglia (ibid., 1746), 135. 

J Simonetta, 395. Ealdassini, xc-xci. For an account of 
the negotiations regarding the restitution of Jesi, which Nicholas 
urgently claimed, see, besides those which Osio has published (in, 
559 el seq., 567, 569), a set of *Despatches and letters from Marco- 
lino Barbavaria and Alessandro Sforza in April and May, 1447. 
Cod. 1584 of Fonds Ital. National Library, Paris. 

Graziani, 593. Niccola della Tuccia, 215. 


condition of the country at the time of his accession. 
After ten years of incessant warfare, it was almost com 
pletely in the power of wild, mercenary troops. Nicholas 
V., who was no mere pedant, happily accomplished the 
work of pacification, and completely healed the wounds 
inflicted on the States of the Church during the troubled 
reign of Eugenius IV. Against the leaders of revolt, as, 
for example, Ascanio Conti, he proceeded with severity, 
fearing that the turbulent Barons might again be roused by 
evil example.* In general it was his principle, where his 
spiritual authority proved insufficient, rather to repress the 
lust of conquest and plunder by the erection of fortresses, 
than by the introduction of undisciplined mercenary bands, 
and he left no means unemployed to obviate the recurrence 
of disturbances. 1 1 is conciliatory disposition is strikingly 
displayed in his treatment of Stefano Porcaro, who had 
endeavoured, while the Conclave; was sitting, to revolutionize 
Rome. Instead of inllicting condign punishment he sought 
to win him by promotion. f 

The satisfactory condition of the Apostolic Treasury 
tended materially to promote respect for Nicholas V. He 
had always a certain number of troops in readiness, and 
they punctually received their pay, so that they had no 
need to depend on plunder and booty. J It must be re 
gretted that the Pope s anxiety for the peace of his own 
dominions led him to pursue a policy towards his neigh 
bours which cannot be justified. In order to divert all 
disturbances from the States of the Church, he, as we shall 
see, secretly favoured complications in the other Italian 
provinces. By such means alone was he successful in 

* Niccola della Tuccia, 215, expressly says this, 
t L. Bapt. Albert! in Muratori, Script, xxv., 309 ; further details 
infra, Chap. VI. 

J Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 408. 

St. Michael s College 
Scholastic s Library 


maintaining that tranquillity at home, which was an indis 
pensable preliminary to his grand efforts for the promotion 
of learning and art. 

More than once, indeed, did a great conflict seem to be 
imminent, as, for instance, in the first year of his Pontificate, 
when King Alfonso, of Naples, made hostile advances 
against Tuscany,* and again in the August of 1447, when 
Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, died without le<nti- 


mate male issue.f Besides the grasping Republic of 
Venice, four claimants to the Duchy of Milan came for 
ward, viz., King Alfonso, who, in virtue of a very doubtful 
will, maintained that he had been constituted heir to Filippo 
Maria; the Duke of Savoy; the Duke of Orleans, who was 
the son of a Visconti; and, finally, Francesco Sforza, the 
husband of Bianca Maria, who, although illegitimate, was 
the last scion of the house of Visconti. The complication 
seemed to be of the most threatening character, and we 

The Abbot of San Galgano, writing from Rome to Siena on 
the iQth January, 1447 (see Appendix 23, Vol. i.), and on many 
subsequent occasions, mentions Alfonso s designs upon Tuscany. 
*Despatch d.d. ex urbe xxii. Martii, 1446 (st. fl.) : " Di certo la 
j\I ta Sua intende in questa primavera essare con buono esercito et 
grande nelle parti di Toscani." (Chigi Library, Rome, Cod. E., 
vi., 187, f. 160). Preparations were diligently carried on by the 
Neapolitan King during the whole of the summer. On the 5th 
August, 1447, Stefano Trenta wrote to the Ancients of Lucca that 
Alfonso had made ready a great many war machines. " Quo 
iturus, ignorantur, sed vulgo dicitur quod in Tusciam." See 
*Further despatches from Stefano Trenta to the same Ancients, d.d. 
Romos, iii. August!, 1447: " Palam dicitur quod in Tusciam 
tendit." Lettere orig. No. 442 [1430-1447]. State Archives at 

t According to a *Despatch from Nic. Guarna to Fr. Sforza, 
dated Milan, 1447, Aug. 14, Filippo Maria died in the night 
between the i3th and nth of August. Fonds Ital., 1584, f. 239 
of the National Library at Paris. 


cannot wonder at the extreme consternation of the Pope 
when, on the morning of the 2Oth of August, a letter from 
his friend and banker, Cosmo de Medici, announced the 
death of the last of the Visconti,* for King Alfonso, who, 
according to the report of an ambassador, f had let his horse 
graze at the very gates of Rome, had even, since the con 
clusion of peace, been a cause of anxiety to the Pope. 
Untold dangers threatened the Papacy if the will of Filippo 
Maria should take effect, and the ambitious and war-like 
king should become ruler of the northern as well as of the 
southern portion of the Italian peninsula. Nicholas V. 
sought by every means in his power to counteract a 
combination which would have pressed him hard on both 

For a time no one of the four claimants was successful. 
The ancient republic of Milan was revived, but at the end 
of three years the Milanese found themselves compelled to 
yield to the successful general whom they had called to 
their aid. 

Francesco Sforza, the son of a peasant of Cotognola, 

* *Despatch from the Sicnese ambassadors (the Abbot of San 
Galgano and Franciscus Patricius) to their native city, d.d. ex urbe 
xx. August!, 1447 (they had arrived in Rome on the iSth of 
August, and been admitted to an audience by the Pope on the 
2Oth). " Principalmente gli piaque et laudo grandemente il pro- 
posito et dispositione de la S.V. del volere vicinare et conservare la 
pace et stare veramente di mezo." The Pope believed that 
Alfonso would go to Tuscany. " Questa mattina mentre ch 
aspectavamo udientia vennero lettare da Cosmo de Medici a la 
S ta di N. S re continent! la morte dello 111 1110 principe duca di Milano, 
la quale novella per quanto potemo comprendare altero assai la 
S ta del papa." Cod. E., vi., 187, f. 162-164. Chigi Library, 

f Nicodemus de Pontremoli in a despatch dated Florence, 1447, 
April 22, to be found in Osio, iii., 537. 



made his solemn entry into the famine-pressed city as her 
Duke, on the 25th March, 1450* 

Milan had, however, no cause to complain, for the period 
of Francesco Sforza s rule was among the happiest in her 
history, and this martial duke restored peace to Italy which 
had been kept by his unwarlike predecessor for thirty years 
in a state of conflict. t The Pope, too, had reason to be 
satisfied, for the re-establishment of the Duchy of Milan 
restored the balance of power in Northern Italy, and 
formed a barrier against the rapacity of the Republic of 


The submission of Bologna after its protracted resistance 
was a great triumph for Nicholas, who had a special 
affection for the city in which a great part of his life had 
been spent, and where he had found generous patrons in 
his time of need. He not only loved the Bolognese, but 
thoroughly understood their temper and circumstances, and 
was convinced that violent measures would be fruitless in 
overcoming their opposition to the Papacy. Accordingly, 
from the beginning of his reign, the city was treated with 
the utmost leniency and consideration, and, on the 23rd 
March, 1447, one of its citizens, the canonist, Giovanni di 
Battista del Poggio, was appointed bishop. This nomina 
tion was so acceptable that the Ancients ordered a general 

* See Cipolla, 439, and Th.Sickel, Beitrage und Berichtigungen 
zur Geschichte der Eroberung Mailands durch Fr. Sforza, in the 
Archiv fur Oesterreichische Geschichte, xiv., 189-258. 

t This is the opinion of Reumont (Hi., I, 118). The tidings of 
the death of the last of the Visconti were received with great 
rejoicings in Brescia. People said: Oramai Lombardia et etiam 
Italia sara sanata ; perche b morte quello che teneva tutto il mondo 
inguerra." Istorie Bresc., 483- See Cronica di Bologna, 684. 

+ Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 109. 

Brief to the Chapter of Bologna, published in Sigonius, 510. 


holiday in token of rejoicing. All the church bells were 
rung and public processions celebrated the event.* 

This was shortly followed, on the nth April, by the 
despatch of an embassy to Rome to treat for a reconcilia 
tion with the Holy See. The Pope was, as Francesco 
Siorza s ambassadors declared, f much disposed for peace, 
but in consequence of the excessive demands of the 
Bolognese it was not finally concluded until the 24th 
August, 1447. The conditions were most favourable to 
the city, for Nicholas carried concession to its utmost 
possible limits. Bologna continued to be a Republic in 
reality, if not in name. The Papal Legate took part with 
the Municipal Council and the Magistrates in the Govern 
ment. The city retained its right to elect the latter, the 
control of its militia and its revenues, while it was to be 
defended from foreign foes by the Papal troops. The 
Holy See only claimed the recognition of its suxeraintv, 
the right of its Legate to a certain share in the patronage 
of public offices, and a tribute similar to that paid by the 
other Republics in the States of the Church and by the 
feudatories^ of the Pope. 

* Cronica cli Bologna, 683. See Fuleoni, 483. 

t See Oslo, iii., 560. 

I Sugenheim, 332; Reumont, Lorenzo, ii., 2nd eel., 182, and 
C. Malugola, L Archivio di Stato di Bologna, 40. *Codex B. 19 
of the Vallicellana Library in Rome (Collectio literarum simimorum 
pontificum, rcgum, principum et aliorum publicorum monutnen- 
torum historicoruin et notabilium spectantiurn XV. Jcsu Christi 
sajculum) has, f. 139 d seq. : " Capitula, postulationes et supplica- 
tiones ad sanctissim. in Christo patrem et dominum dominum 
Nicolaum divina favente dementia papam quintum pro parte 
dominorum oratorum Bononiensium nomine communitatis civitatis 
Bononiensis quibus quidem capitulis, postulationibus et supplica- 
lionibus prelibatis S. D. N. mandavit, voluit et decalravit infra- 
scriptas responsiones et signaturas fieri in omnibus istis capitulis et 


It cannot be denied that the relations now established 
between Bologna and the Church were such as might easily 
have given rise to complications. Thanks to Sante Benti- 
voglio, who was at the time all-powerful in Bologna, and, 
011 the other hand, to the Pope, nothing of the kind oc 
curred. Nicholas V. prudently continued to treat the 
Bolognese with great indulgence and to increase theobliga- 
tions which already bound them to him by bestowing many 
fresh favours, more especially by the restitution of sundry 
castles and possessions which had formerly belonged to the 
city, but had, during the troubles of the preceding half- 
century, been annexed by Papal officials or others .* In 
the same year which witnessed the restoration of peace 
between Bologna and the Church, the Pope conferred a 
fresh token of favour on the city by elevating its bishop to 
the dignity of Governor of Rome,t and appointing his own 
half-brother, Filippo Calandrini bishop in his stead. In the 
following year both the bishop and Astorgio Agnesi, the 
Governor of Bologna, were promoted to the Sacred College. 
The historian of the city, Ghirardacci, gives a full account 

quolibet eorum prout in fine infrascriptorum capitulorum et 
cuiuslibet eorum continetur" (see Cronica di Bologna, 685 et seq.}. 
At the conclusion, f. 142", " Acta fuerunt hec Rome apud S. 
Petrum in palatio apostolico die xxiv. August!, 1447 anno primo." 
The ambassadors charged with the conclusion of the peace left 
Bologna on the 3 rd of August, see Cronica di Bologna, 684. On 
the 5th August they were hourly expected in Rome. Despatch o 

Stephanus Trenta to Lucca, dated Rome, I 4 47> Augusb 5, Lett. 

orip-., No. 442. State Archives at Lucca. 

* Fantuzzi, Scrilt. Bolog., iv., 76. Sugenheim, 332, 333. Other 

Papal favours are mentioned by Georgius, 40, 41, 5-5 > on the 

authority of the Papal Regesta. 

t Giovanni Poggio died in Rome on the isth December, 1447, 

report said, by the hand of an assassin. See Fantuzzi, vii., 64 ; 

Falconi, 487; Sigonius, 510, 511 ; and Schulte, 311, 3 12 - 


of the splendid feast which took place on the 6th January, 
1449, when Agnesi received the hat* sent by Nicholas V. 
Nevertheless, in that very year threatenings of disturbances 
amongst its excitable population induced the Pope to ap 
point Cardinal Bessarion Legate for Bologna, Romagna, 
arid the March of Ancona (1450, February 26). In his 
Brief, addressed to the Bolognese, the Pope says that he 
sends this distinguished man to them as an angel of peace, 
and confidently hopes that he will succeed in governing 
Bologna well and happily. f The great Humanist did 
not disappoint these expectations, the troubled city was 
calmed, and in a short time he had won the affections of 
its people. 

On the 1 6th March, 1450, Bessarion entered Bologna, 

* *Ch. Ghirardacci, Storia di Bologna, vol. iii., lib. 30. Cod. 
768 of the University Library at Bologna. The brief nominating 
Calandrini bishop is given in the Cronica di Bologna (688, 689). 
Regarding the Cardinal s creation, see Ciaconius, ii., 970 ct scq. 

f *" Nicolaus papa quintus dilectis filiis Antianis et sedecim 
reformatoribus status civitatis nostre Bononie : Dilecti filii etc. 
Mittentes istuc Bononiam venerabilem fratrem nostrum Bissarionem 
episcopum Tusculanum sancte Romane ecclesie cardinalem nos 
trum et apostolice sedis legatum tanquam angelum pacis cuius ex- 
perientia comprobata virtutibus atque prudentia civitatem illam 
bene et feliciter gubernari confulimus. Fraternitati sue nonnulla 
commisimus devotionibus vestris nostri parte referenda cui velitis 
tanquam persone nostre plene credere. Datum Rome apud sanc 
tum Fctrum sub anulo piscatoris die iii. Martii, 1450. Pont, nostri 
anno tertio. Pe. tie Noxeto." Original in the State Archives at 
Bologna, Arm. 2, lib. 3, f. 8. Hence the often-repeated statement 
(Hase, in Ersch-Gruber, ix., 298, and in the second edition of the 
Freiburg-Kirchenlexikon, ii., 531) that Bessarion entered on his 
Legation in 1451 is evidently mistaken. His appointment as 
Legate for Bologna took place on the 27th February, 1450. See in 
Appendix, N. i., the *Brief from the Regesta in the Secret Archives 
of the Vatican. 

7 o 


where lie was received with the greatest honour,* and con 
tinued to o-overn it for the remainder of this pontificate. 


During the five years of his rule the Greek Cardinal 
managed, by his prudence and moderation, to avoid con 
flicts and greatly to improve the general condition of the 
city. As a Humanist, he naturally devoted special atten 
tion to the once-famous university, which had fallen into 
decay during the troubles of the first half of the fifteenth 
century. He provided for the restoration of its buildings 
and for the appointment and fitting remuneration of excel 
lent professors. A little intellectual court gradually 
gathered around the learned Cardinal, who had now become 
the hopef of the Humanists. 

Bessarion s impartiality was in great measure the cause 
of his success at Bologna. A Greek by nationality, he kept 
aloof from Italian complications, and could be perfectly just 
towards all. The authority of law and equity was re 
asserted. He did everything in his power to calm popular 
passions, and to repress the occasional attempts to shake off 
the Papal rule.J He punished the originators of revolt, and 
prosecuted the malefactors who had long been masters of 
the unhappy city. His diligence, his fidelity to duty, and 

* Crcnica di Bologna, 695, and *Ghirardacci, loc at. 
| Voigt, Wiederbelebung, ii., 2nd ed., 129. Heeren, ii., 101. 
See Georgius, 55, and Malagola, Archivio, 56. The famous 
canonist, Andrea de Barbatia, dedicated his work, De proestantia 
Cardinalium (Bologna, 1457), to Bessarion, see Hain, N. 2428 ; 
it is probable, indeed, that it was written on purpose to welcome 
him. Schulte, 310. 

+ In a *Brief of Nicholas V. to the Bolognese, d.d. Romse, 
1451, Octob. 1 6, the Pope exhorts them to enter into no alliance 
with any other power. The city, he says, must remain neutral like 
its lord, the Pope. Original in Arm. 2, lib. 3, f. 15", of the State 
Archives at Bologna. 


his moral purity were most exemplary.* His singular 
prudence enabled him always to preserve the most amicable 
relations with Sante Bentivoglio, who was, however, the 
chief power in Bologna, and whose position there may 
be estimated by the regal splendour with which his mar 
riage to Alessandro Sforza s daughter was celebrated in 

May, 1454-t 

The results of Bessarion s labours were very soon visible, 
for tranquillity and order were restored to the city, and its 
inhabitants again turned their attention to the arts of peace. 
Their confidence in him was such that he was often chosen 
as umpire in their disputes. From the very first he made 
it his aim by all possible means to re-establish la\v and 
justice, and at any personal sacrifice to defend the cause of 
the oppressed. Even stern critics, like llieronymus de 
Bursellis, extol his remarkable love of justice,]: which was 
combined with extreme affability ; his door was ever open 
to the poorest people. He issued a severe edict against 
tlu luxury which had at that period assumed terrible pro 
portions in Bologna, as well as throughout Italy, and he also 
reformed the statutes of the city.|| The celebrated pilgrim- 

* Vast, i So- 1 8 1. 

f See Cronica di Bologna, 706 et seq. *Ghirardacci (MS. in 
the University Library at Bologna ; see supra, p. 69, note *), ad 
an. 1454. 

+ Annal. Bonon., 887, 888. 

Vast, 1 8 1. 

|| Malagola, L Archivio di Bologna, gives, p. 43, a list of 
statutes preserved in the Bolognese State Archives, amongst which 
are those of the years 1453 and 1454- The edict of 1451 against 
luxury is published in the Miscellanea di vane operette, viii., 
(Venezia, 1744), which also contains a number of edicts of Bessarion, 
belonging to the time of his mission at Bologna, taken from a MS. 
of the Theatines in Ferrara (probably the Codex marked No. 14, 
NA. i, now preserved in the Biblioteca Communale at Ferrara;. 


age church of the Madonna di San Luca was restored by 
him, and he caused other churches, as, for example, that of 
the Madonna della Mezzarata, to be adorned with beautiful 
frescoes. The Bolognese honoured Bessarion s memory by 
an inscription in which he is praised as the benefactor of 
their city. This grateful affection is the best proof of 
the wisdom displayed by Nicholas V. in entrusting to him 
the government of the city.* 

In looking back upon the earlier years of Nicholas V. s 
Pontificate we cannot fail to be struck by his great zeal 
in the cause of political and ecclesiastical order. In Ger 
many, Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, Bosnia, Croatia, and 
even in Cyprus, he endeavoured to promote the peace of 

Evidently, however, these constitute but a small portion of the 
decrees which he must have issued, and which are to be found in 
their completeness in the State Archives at Bologna. See Malagola, 
L Archivio di Bologna, etc., and Antonio Urceo, 36 et scq. Unfor 
tunately, when I visited Bologna in the autumn of 1883, the Director 
of the Archives and the learned Signor Malagola were absent, and 
accordingly the documents in question were not to be found. 
According to " Bart. Podesta, I primi oriuoli publ. in Bologna" 
(Atti e mem. di storia della Romagna, viii., 154, N. i), the 
Registers of the time of Bessarion s Legation are preserved in the 
State Archives at Bologna. Some extracts from them are given 
(16$ et set].} in that work. In Rome I have vainly searched for 
original records of Bessarion s Mission in Bologna. The MSS. 
which, according to the catalogues, ought to have contained them, 
completely disappointed me. In Cod. iv., 195, in the Borghese 
Library there are, indeed, documents regarding Bessarion s time at 
Bologna, but they are mere copies of the collection published at 
Venice in 1744. Cod. G. 63, N. 9, of the Vallicella Library (De 
Legatione Bononiensi) refers to the sixteenth century. H. Vast 
(184), the latest biographer of Bessarion, is only acquainted with 
Migne s reprint of the above-named Venetian collections (Patr. Gr. 
clxi., pag. cxvii. et seq.~). 
* Vast, 185-188. 


the Church.* In Bohemia, indeed, he was completely un 
successful, although the indefatigable Carvajal spared no 
effort to bring affairs to a happy conclusion. But Nicholas 
V. had the consolation of seeing great results soon follow 
from his policy of peace. The pacification of the States 
of the Church, the recovery of the City of Bologna, which 
had for centuries been deemed, after Rome, the brightest, 
jewel in the temporal crown of the Popes, and, above 
all, the termination of the disastrous schism, were 
successes which won the just admiration of his contem 
poraries, t 

* Reumont, iii., I, 119. Concerning the feverish activity of the 
Pope, Poggio writes on the 6th May, 1447: " Di>trahitur tanto 
rerum turbine ac varietate ut neque sibi neque amicis vacate 
queat." Ep. ix., 17 (Tonelli, ii., 340). 

t * " Bononiensis enim civitas magna atque magnifica, rerum 
omnium opulentissima, (pie longa temporuin intervalla ecclesia; 
infula extitit et advcrsa, per te unuin nobis restituta est. Bella ilia 
ac scditiones multiplices quibus iain in dies magis oppressa vide- 
batur ecclesia solus ullo absque certain ine effugasti. Postremo, 
beatissime pater, quod sine eximia animi laetilia nequeo effari, 
quis illud nefarium at(jue ominiosum (sic) in eccle.-ia sancta Dei 
heresis dedecus, quis illud tantorum summum perditionis dis- 
crimen, quis illud nutantium ex utraque religionis ac fidei parte 
hominum patentissimum in geennam iter nisi tu unus prae- 
clusit ? Unani omnes fidem, unum per te pontificem maximum, 
unum veri Dei vicarium et indubitandum in terris servamus coli- 
musque. Regnat elucidissima sponsa Christi ecclesia, nullain vim, 
nullum inter carissimos eius filios divortium per te unum nuperrime 
conspicit." Michael Canensis de Viterbio ad beat. D. N. Nicolaum 
V. Pont. Max. Cod. lat. Vatic., 3697, f. 7 b -8. Vatican Library. 
This Codex, which is beautifully written, and ornamented with 
initial letters and with the arms ot Nicholas V., is evidently the 
copy presented to the Pope. For some account of its author see 
Fabricius, v., 72. A transcript is preserved in the British Museum, 
see supi d) p. 1 7, note f. 


NETHERLANDS, 1451-1452- 

THE restoration of peace to the Church, after so protracted 
a period of conflict and confusion, was deemed by Nicholas 
V. a fitting occasion for the proclamation of a Universal 
Jubilee. A pilgrimage of the faithful of every country to 
the centre of ecclesiastical unity seemed to be the most 
splendid and appropriate celebration of the termination of 
the Schism and of the victory gained over the party of 
the Council, while it was also well calculated to give fresh 
vigour to the conservative element throughout Christendom. 
The obstacles presented by the war in Italy and the 
pestilence which followed,* were not sufficient to deter the 
Pope from his project, and, on the igth January, 1449, in 

* As early as the summer of 1447 the plague had broken out in 
Venice (Sanudo, 1125 ; Cronica di Bologna, 684), and before long 
it had spread over a great part of Italy. In October it reached 
Perugia, where it raged for several years (see Graziani, 594, 600 el 
^y., 604, 606-607, 611,614, 618, and Massari, 41 et scy., i79- l8 )- 
During the hot season of 1448 the ravages of the malady (called 
Beulenpest (Plague-sore) by Hirsch, Handbuch der histor-geogr. 
Tathologie, 2nd ed. [Stuttgart, 1881], i., 352), in Forli (Annal. Forl., 
223), in Florence and Bologna (St. Antoninus, Chron. xxii., c. xn., 
3, and *Ghirardacci [MS. in the University Library at Bologna, 
see supra p. 69, note *]), were terrible, and before the end of the 
year, it had visited Rome. In 1449. the cr > of " the P la S ue ! " < U 
morbo) again arose from city after city. France and Germany 
also suffered severely (see Palmcrius, 239 ; Cristofani, 306; and 


presence of the assembled Cardinals, he solemnly imparted 
his benediction, after which a French Archbishop read 
aloud the list of all the Jubilees ever celebrated in the 
Church, and then proclaimed the new one.* All who, during 
a given time, should daily visit the four principal churches 
of Rome St. Peter s, St. Paul s, the Lateran Basilica, and 
Sta. Maria Maggiore and confess their sins with contri 
tion, were to gain a plenary indulgence, that is to say, 
remission of the temporal punishments due for those sins 
from whose guilt and eternal punishment they had been 
absolved. f 

Ilaeser, iii., 185). But throughout the whole of the fifteenth 
century the destroying angel nowhere found a richer harvest than 
on the blood-stained soil of Italy. For an account of the great 
epidemics in Italy during the Renaissance age, see Ilaeser, loc. cit., 
and E. v. Horschelmann s article in the Allgem. Zeitg., 1884, 
Supplement, X. 177 ct scq. 

* Graziani, 613-614, and *Despatch of Nellius civis Senensis to 
his native city, dated Rome, 1449, January 19 : " Questi di XVI1II 
;lcl presente la Sua S ta cantata la messa dello spirito sancto nella 
chiesa di San Pietro, publico per bolla dal principio di San Pietro et 
di tucti y sommi por.tefici clie furno principi clelle inclulgentie del 
giubileo scquendo di uno in uno ; la dicta indulgentia pronuntio e 
ordino doverse principiare nello proximo advenir 1450, incomiciando 
a nativitate domini nostri Jesu Chrisli." Concistoro, Lettere ad 
an. State Archives at Siena. 

t The Jubilee Bull is published in part by Raynaldus, ad an. 
1449, ^- T 5- ^ s a so frequently to be met with among the 
MSS. in German libraries see Cod. 278 of the City Library at 
Mayence, Cod. 296 (monasterii S. Mathie ap. sanctique 
Eucharii) of the City Library at Troves. For a notice of Jubilee 
indulgences in general, see Maurel, Die AbHisse (Paderborn, 1860), 
and J. Fessler, Vermischte Schriften (Freiburg, 1869), 3 et sj. 
Special faculties were granted to Confessors during Jubilee years, 
and the Grand Penitentiary was constantly occupied on these 
occasions; Capranica filled the office in 1450. See Mai, Spicib, 
i., 186. 


Throughout the whole of Christendom the Pope s procla- 
mationwas received with rejoicing,and the joy was intensified 
by the fact that the discord which had for so lone weighed 

^ o o 

heavily on the hearts of all who loved the Church was at 
an end, and that Nicholas V. was universally acknowledged 
as the true Vicar of Christ. The feelings of the faithful were 
eloquently expressed by Dr. Felix Hemmerlin, Provost of 
the Ursus Monastery at Soleure, who, at the conclusion of 
his work on the approaching holy year, adopts the words 
of Simeon, and says : " Now dost Thou dismiss Thy ser 
vant, O Lord, -according to Thy word, in peace, because my 
eyes have seen the glorious advent of salvation. Now I 
know in truth that this is the desired time, this is the day 
of salvation : for the glorious days of Thy Jubilee surpass 
all earthly beauty and salvation. O, the depth of the riches, 
of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God ! How in 
comprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable 
His ways ! O Lord, whose mercy is unbounded, perfect 
Thy grace in us that, as Thou didst fulfil the expectation of 
Simeon, and he did not see death until it had been granted 
to him to see Christ the Lord, so we may not taste death 
until we have enjoyed the benefits of Thy salutary and 
most happy year of Jubilee ! " * 

The " golden year" opened on the Christmas Day of 1449. 
The concourse was immense. Then began a pilgrimage of 
the nations to the Eternal City, like that which had taken 
place a century before. All the miseries of recent years, 
the bereavements which war and plague had wrought, the 
manifest tokens of Divine wrath, were a call to serious 
reflection and self-examination. Some deemed a pilgrimage 
to be the best means of averting further chastisements and 
obtaining future benefits. Others undertook it in order to 
shew forth their gratitude for preservation from dangers, 

* Hemmerlin, Opuscul., f. 90 ; Fiala, 495-496. 


and to implore a continuance of the favours they had 
enjoyed. All hailed it as an opportunity of becoming- 
partakers of the rich spiritual treasures opened by the 
Church to those who should visit the tombs of the 

The pilgrims flocked from every country in Europe ; 
there were Italians and " Ultramontanes," men and 
women, rich and poor, young and old, healthy and sick. As 
Auoustinus Dathus savs in his history of Siena, " Countless 

o J 

multitudes of Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, Portuguese, 
Greeks, Armenians, Dalmatians, and Italians were to be 
seen hastening to Rome as to the refuge of all the nations 
of the earth, full of devotion, and chanting hymns in their 
different languages. "f The terrible calamities through 
which they had just passed had touched the hearts of many, 
and turned them from earthly to heavenly things, and 
awakened a spirit of devotion. Moreover, the personal 
affability of the Pope may have induced many to undertake 
the long and difficult journey. % 

An eye-witness likens the thronging multitudes of 
pilgrims to a flight of starlings or a swarm of ants. The 
Pope did everything in his power to render their passage 
through Italy casv and safe ; in Rome itself he made the 

o J ^ 

most extensive preparations, and especially sought to 

* Rcumont, ii., 882-883. See *the Letter of the Cardinal 
Archbishop of Benevento, Astorgio Agnesi, to Lodovico de Gon- 
zaga, " Mantue Marchioni," d.d. Romx, xviii. Mail, 1450, 
raptim : " Addimus quod in hoc anno sancto qui supervivunt plures 
cratias ao;ere deo debent." Gonzaga Archives at Mantua. 

O O *-* 

| Dathi, Opp., f. clxxxvi. The German pilgrims were extremely 
numerous. From Damzig alone about two thousand went to 
Rome in 1450. See J. Voigt, Gesch. Preussens (Konigsberg, 
1838), viii., 230. 

J Manetti, 924. 

Manelti, loc. cit Vespasiano da Bisticci in Mai, i., 47. 


secure an adequate supply of provisions.* But the pilgrims 
arrived in such overwhelming masses that all his efforts 
proved insufficient, tineas Sylvius Piccolominif estimates 
at forty thousand the number of strangers who daily 
arrived in the city. Even allowing for considerable ex 
aggeration in this estimate, there can be no doubt that the 
crowds were enormous. The chroniclers and historians of 
the period seem to be at a loss for words to describe the 
concourse. Cristoforo a Soldo, chronicler of the city of 
Brescia, says, " A greater crowd of Christians was never 
known to hasten to any Jubilee ; kings, dukes, marquesses, 
counts, and knights, in short, people of all ranks in 
Christendom, daily arrived in such multitudes in Rome that 
there were millions in the city. And this continued for the 
whole year, excepting in the summer, on account of the 
plague, which carried off innumerable victims. But almost 
as soon as it abated at the beginning of the cold season the 
influx again commenced. "J 

* Platina, 714, and Tuccia, 56, note. In many places in the 
States of the Church, as for example in Perugia, officials were 
appointed for the purpose of shewing pilgrims the way. Graziani, 
624, N. i. 

t ^En. Sylvius, Hist. Frid., iii., 172. 

J 1st. Bresc., 867. Cristoforo a Soldo here also mentions the 
presence of the Emperor; the Diario Ferrarese (196) likewise 
says that Frederick III. came with the King of Hungary to Rome 
for the Jubilee, and that they were not recognized. A substitution 
of the year 1452 for 1450 is the foundation of both accounts. 
Regarding the immense concourse of pilgrims for the Jubilee, see 
Cronica di Bologna, 696; Annal. Bonincontrii, 155; Sanudo 
1137; Palmerius, 239; Blondus, Ital. 111., 320; A. Dathus, loc. 
cit.-, Jac. Phil. Bergomas, 298"; Manetti, 924 ; St. Antoninus, tit. 
xxii., c. xii.,3; Sabellicus, Opp., 944 ; Platina, 713; Chronic. 
Elwacense in the Mon. Germ., x., 47, and Catalanus, 91. This list 
of published accounts might easily be prolonged; for an un 
published testimony let me refer to the above-mentioned *Lelter 


One of the special attractions of this Jubilee was the 
Canonization of St. Bernarcline of Siena, the most popular 
saint who had for centuries appeared in the Italian 
Peninsula, and the founder of a religious order which had 
increased so rapidly that it sent more than three thousand 
delegates to the General Chapter held at this time in the 
convent of Araceli.* 

The process for his canonization had been introduced in 
the time of Eugenius IV., at the instance of the Sienese, of 
the inhabitants of Aquila, amongst whom St. Bernardine 
had found his last resting-place, and of King Alfonso of 
Naples. St. John Capistran, who afterwards became so 
celebrated as a preacher, laboured most energetically in 
the matter, and the Pope entrusted the examination into 
the life, death, and miracles of the holy man to Cardinals 
Niccolo Acciapacci, Guillaume d Estouteville, Alberto de 
Albertis,and on his death to Pietro Barbo.f I hese cardinals 
in their turn employed two bishops, who, having made care 
ful inquiries, presented a detailed report, which was con- 

from the Cardinal of Benevento to the Marquess Lodovico Gonznga 
of Mantua, dated Rome, 1450, May 18, in which he says, " Multi 
mortales concurrunt Romam, id quod accidit illis ad salutem 
animce eorum." Gonzaga Archives at Mantua. 

* Rio, ii., 38 ; see Vittorelli, 292, and Chroniche de frati minor! 
del s.p. S. Francesco (Venezia, 1597), p. iii., 106 et sc<], 

j- Acta Sanct. Mali, iv., 719, 745, 774. In the State Archives 
at Siena (Concistoro, Lettere ad an.), I found a *Letter from 
Cardinal Nicco!6 Acciapacci (Card. Capuanus) to the Sienese, 
dated Rome, 1445, February 15, in which he promises that he will 
continue his efforts in the matter of the canonization of Bernardine 
and will do everything in his power to justify the confidence they 
have reposed in him. In the same Archives there is a *Letter 
from Cardinal Tagliacozzo (Johannes episcopus BrxMiestinus, 
Card. Tarentinus) to Siena, dated Rome, 1446, September 25, also 
promising his aid in regard to the canonization. 


sidercd in Consistory; but the illness and death of the Pope, 
at this point, brought the proceedings to a standstill.* The 
delay, however, was not of long duration, for immediately 
after his accession Nicholas V. took the matter in hand. 
On the lyth June he charged Cardinals Tagliacozzo, Guil- 
laume d Estoutcville, and Pietro Barbo to examine St. 
Bernardine s miracles. The bishops, to whom they dele 
gated the task, found more miracles than had been men 
tioned in the first Process. On the death of the Cardinal 
Tagliacozzo, Bessarion was nominated in his stead, and 
Angelo Capranica, Bishop of Rieti, was sent to Aquila, 
Siena, and many cities in which St. Bernardine had 
laboured. t The slow and cautious procedure of Rome 
was little to the taste of the cities which cherished the great 
preacher s memory and eagerly longed for his canonization. 
Notwithstanding supplications and importunities from 
various quarters, Rome refused to be unduly hurried,! and 
it was not till the 26th February, 1450, that sufficient pro 
cess had been made to enable the Pope to promise the 


* See the *LeUers from the Abbot of San Galgano (Chigi and 
State^Archives at Siena) of the I 9 th and 230! January, U47, in 
Appendix, N. 23 and 24, Vol. I. In another letter in the same 
Archives, bearing date Rome, i 4 47, March ^ th the Abbot informs 
the Sienese that he has most urgently recommended the matter of 
St. Bernardine s canonization to the new Pope. 

t Acta Sanct., loc. cit. 719, 720. See Wadding, ad an. 1447, 
N. 7, and Georgius, 61. 

+ See the letter from the city of Lucca of i5th October, 1448, 
to the Pope, now published from the draft in the State Archives at 
Lucca, by Sforza, 331, 332- Siena was the most urgent, and a 
special mission went from this city to inquire into the miracles at 
St. Bernardine s grave at Aquila; see Acta Sanct., loc. at. 734. 1 
found in the State Archives at Siena (Concistoro, lettere ad an.) 
se\eral *Letters from the Sienese ambassador, Petrus de Michaelibus, 
of October, 1447. exclusively regarding the promotion of the 


Sicncse ambassadors that the canonization should take 
place at Whitsuntide.* A substitute for Cardinal Bes- 
sarion, who was about to proceed to Bologna, had been 
appointed in the person of the Vice-Chancellor.t There 
was, therefore, nothing further to delay the ceremony, and 
the Pope, whose family subsequently entertained a special 
devotion to St. Bernardine,+ had preparations made on a 
magnificent scale. 

St. Peter s was beautifully decorated on Whit-Sunday, 
the 2 4 th of May; a lofty throne was erected in the middle 
of the church for the Pope, who was surrounded by all the 
cardinals then in Rome, as well as by many bishops and 
archbishops. Every detail of the rite of canonization was 
carried out with the greatest exactness, solemnity, and 
splendour, the Pope himself pronouncing the panegyric. 
Two hundred wax-lights burned in the church ; the cost of 
the vestments worn by the Pope and the cardinals, and of 
other things used on this occasion, was estimated at seven 
thousand ducats, and was borne by the inhabitants of Siena 
and Aquila. 

Despatch from Petrus !c Beriguciis to Siena, dated Rome 
1449 (st. fl.), February 2fuh, on \vhichday he had had an audience 
of the Pope, an,l had spoken with him of the canonization : AH 
fatti del beato Bernardino mi disse cssere disposto canonizarlo in 
qiiesta pentecosta futura a piu sua gloria perche facendosi qui el 
capitolo generale di quello online ricorrianc de frati 3000 o piu " 
State Archives at Siena, Concistoro, lettere ad an. 
^ t *Despatch of Petrus de Beriguciis of 22n j March, 1453. 
State Archives at Siena, !oc. cit. 

I De Rossi, Vita di Niccolo V., 94. Sforza, 331. See \Vaddin~ 
H49 N - 9- 

Niccola della Tuccia, 214; Dathus, Opp., be. cit., and 
Georgius, 205 (according to *Cod. Vatic., 470, Lib. crerem S 
Rom. eccles.). According to the Cronica di Bologna (696) there 
were present at the function fourteen cardinals, twenty-four bishoos 
"cH 2000 frati dell ordine dell osservanza i quali stettero 



During these days of festal solemnity crowds of pilgrims 
went up to the Convent of Araccli, now transformed into a 
hospital, where eight hundred monks devoted themselves 
to the service of the sick of their own and other lands. 
The sight was one well calculated to awaken in the 
dullest soul some zeal for self-sacrifice and prayer. The 
Spaniard, Didacus, who was afterwards canonized, here 
distinguished himself by his heroic charity in tending 

the sick.* 

Throughout all Italy an outburst of joy and of devotion 
was elicited by the canonization of St. Bernardino ; churches 
sprang up under his invocation, preachers everywhere 
praised his holy life ; solemn functions in his honour 
took place even in the smallest towns ; those which took 
place in Perugia, Bologna, Ferrara, Aquila, and Siena 
were particularly magnificent, and in the last-named 
city his canonization was represented in a series of 
pictures. f 

While the Pope remained in Rome he frequently took 
part in the solemnities of the Jubilee, and was seen to walk 

alle spese del papa/ The Bull concerning St. Bernardino s canoni 
zation was, we are informed by St. John Capistran, drawn up by 
Nicholas V. himself. It is in the Bullar, v., 101-105, and in 
Wadding, xii., 51-55- 

* Rio., ii., 38. Manni, 66. 

f See Acta Sanct., loc. cit. 734; Graziani, 626; Annal. Bono- 
nien, 885; Diario Ferrar, 196; Chronicon Estense, in Muratori, 
xv., 540; Allegretti, 767; and Dathus, loc. cit. A church was 
built in Aquila, see Acta Sanct., loc. cit., 734, 7/8 et seq. In 145 1 
St. John Capistran exposed a biretta of St. Bernardino at Brescia 
(1st. Bresc., 865 et seq.}. On the izth June, 1450, Nicholas V. 
gave the Sienese permission to erect a chapel dedicated to St. Ber- 
nardine in their cathedral, and at the same time an indulgence was 
granted for it. "Original Bull of this date in the State Archives at 
Siena, Cassa Leone, N. 158. 


barefoot to visit the stations.* The Roman chronicler 
Paolo di Benedetto di Cola dello Mastro has left us a de 
scription of the Jubilee, written with little literary skill, but 
full of life and fidelity. " I recollect, "f he says, " that even 
in the beginning of the Christmas month a great many 
people came to Rome for the Jubilee. The pilgrims had to 
visit the four principal churches, the Romans for a whole 
month, the Italians for fourteen days, and the Ultramon- 
tanes for eight. Such a crowd of pilgrims came all at 
once to Rome that the mills and bakeries were; quite insuffi 
cient to provide bread for them. And the number of pil 
grims daily increased, wherefore the Pope ordered the 
handkerchief of St. Veronica to be exposed every Sunday, 
and the heads of the Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul 
every Saturday ; the other relics in all the Roman churches 
were always exposed. The Pope solemnly gave his bene 
diction at St. Peter s every Sunday. As the unceasing 
influx of the faithful made the want of the most necessary 

* Vittorelli, 300; Manni, 01 ; and *bespatch of Petrus de Bcri- 
guciis, d.d. ex urbe, viiii. Marcii, 449 (*t. fl-) : Xostro Signore 
va quasi el piu de di ali stazioni et e tauto male ngevolc ad essere 
colla Sua S t:l che e uno graiule fatto, pcrche quello poco del tempo 
che gli avanza e cardenali el vogliono loro." State Archives at 
Siena, Concistoro, Lett, ad an. A * Letter from Cardinal Scarampo 
to Onorato Gaetani, dated Rome, 1450, March 10, also refers to 
the Pope s visit to the stations. Original in the Gaetani Archives, 

t Cronache Romane, 16-20. See Venuti, 12-15, anc ^ ^Linni, 
63-66. The celebrated Roberto di Lecce, who, during the plague 
of 1448, had, by his powerful preaching, brought about many re 
conciliations in Rome, was appointed by Nicholas to preach the 
Lent; see Infcssura, 1132. Casimiro, 419 et seq. Arch. Napol., 
vii., 141 cl scq. The Pope also named Lenten preachers, chiefly of 
the Order of Minorites, for the other cities of Italy ; see Wadding, 
1450, N. 8. 


means of subsistence to be more and more pressing, the 
Pope granted a plenary indulgence to each pilgrim on con 
dition of contrite confession and of visits to the churches 
on three days. This great concourse of pilgrims continued 
from Christmas through the whole month of January, and 
then diminished so considerably that the innkeepers were 
discontented, and everyone thought it was at an end, when, 
in the middle of Lent, such a great multitude of pilgrims 
again appeared, that in the fine weather all the vine 
yards were fdled with them, and they could not find 
sleeping-place elsewhere. In Holy Week the throngs 
coming from St. Peter s, or going there, were so enormous 
that they were crossing the bridge over the Tiber until the 
second and third hour of the night. The crowd was here 
so great that the soldiers of St. Angelo, together with other 
vounff men I was often there myself, had often to hasten 
to the spot and separate the masses with sticks in order to 
prevent serious accidents. At night many of the poor 
pilgrims were to be seen sleeping beneath the porticos, while 
others wandered about in search of missing fathers, sons, 
or companions ; it was pitiful to see them. And this went 
on until the Feast of the Ascension, when the multitude of 
pilgrims again diminished because the plague came to 
Rome. Many people then died, especially many of these 
pilgrims ; all the hospitals and churches were full of the 
sick and dying, and they were to be seen in the infected 
streets falling down like dogs. Of those who with great 
difficulty, scorched with heat and covered with dust, de 
parted from Rome, a countless number fell a sacrifice to 
the terrible pestilence, and graves were to be seen all along 
the roads even in Tuscany and Lombardy." 

* So says also Niccola della Tuccia, 214. See Blondi Opp., 
320, Schivenoglia, 124, and a passage from a letter of Alessandro 
Slro zzi, in Reumont, Kl. Schriften, 70, Vittorelli, 294. Those who 


The chronicler, as he pursues his narration, vainlv en 
deavours to find language sufficiently forcible to depict the 
horrors of the plague and the terror which had seized upon 
him and all who were in Rome. The general panic sur 
passed any which had been experienced on previous occa 
sions.* " The Court of Rome," writes the envoy of the 

fell sick in the streets were conveyed to the hospital of Sta Maria 
Xuova in Florence, and taken excellent care of; see Manni, 74. 
About sixty thousand died in Milan in 1450 ; see Jac. Phil. Bjrgo- 
mas, 299 . The plague visited a great part of Europe this year, 
even reaching Sweden. Geiger, Geschichte Schweden*?, i., 217. 
J. A. F. Ozanam, Ilistoiredes maladies epid. (Pans, 1823), v.,io. 
* In 1447 Rome seems to have been free from the plague, at 
least I find no record of its existence in that year. In 1448 it 
appeared in the city, at first in a mild form (see a **letter of much 
literary interest from Galeazzo Cattaneo to the Marchioness Bar 
bara of Mantua; Gonziga Archives, Mantua), and afterwards more 
severely. In the middle of November, according to the *rcport 
of Galeazzo Cattaneo to the Marchioness (d.d. ex Roma, 1448, 
Novemb. xiv.,Gonzaga Archives, Mantua) , two or three persons were 
dying every day. See Infessura, 1132. In this year Job. GoKk-rer, 
of Nuremberg, the German Confessor at St. Peter s, formed his 
fellow-countrymen into a Confraternity, under the patronage of our 
Lady of Dolours, and thus restored the celebrated old Schola Fran- 
corum in a form suited to the needs of the age (see *IIistoria 
Campi Sanii, MSS. in the Archives of the Confraternity). The 
Pope at that time permitted the said Joh. Golderer daily to preach 
penance "in campo sancto (see the *Brief of Paul II., in the 
Archives of the Campo Santo al Vaticano, cited Vol. i., p. 333, 
notef). Regarding the plague of 1449, see .w/>m, P- 84. The 
numerous deaths recorded in the Liber belief. Animce (229 <l scq.} 
are connected with this visitation. The epidemic of 1450, which 
raged throughout Italy, sparing only Venice, is mentioned in many 
chronicles, e.g., Annal. Forl., 223 ; Annal Bononien, 885 ; Samulo, 
1138. An anonymous *chronicle (Cod. Vatic., 9453) lias the fol- 
lo .ving entry for the year 1450 : " Pestis ingens in Tuscia et fere 
per totam Italiam in qua multa milia hominum periere." Vatican 
Library. See also Cod. epist., Si, 312, 313. 


Teutonic Order, "is sadly scattered and put to flight ; in 
fact, there is no Court left. One man embarks for Cata 
lonia, another for Spain, everyone is looking for a place 
where he may take refuge. Cardinals, bishops, abbots, 
monks, and all sorts of people, without exception, flee from 
Rome as the apostles fled from our Lord on Good Friday. 
Our Holy Father also left Rome on the isth July, retreating 
from the pestilence, which, alas ! God have mercy !- 
great and terrible that no one knows where to dwell and 
preserve himself. His Holiness goes from one castle to 
another, with a little court and very few attendants, trying 
if he can find a healthy place anywhere. He has now- 
moved to a castle called Fabriano, in which he spent some 
time last year, and has, it is said, forbidden, under pain of 
excommunication, loss of preferment and of Papal favour, 
that anyone who has been in Rome, whatever his rank, 
should come within seven miles of him,* save only the 
cardinals, a few of whom, with four servants, have gone to 
the said castle and are living there."t 

Even in the previous year the Pope had, on the outbreak 
of the plague, fled from Rome with some few members of 
the Court and gone first to the neighbourhood of Rieti, and 
then to the castle of Spoleto, whence he was driven by the 

* Not under pain of death, as stated by Voigt, Stimmen, 70 ; 
see ibid 160. In the previous year Nicholas V. had on a similar 
occasion proposed the same penalty. See *Letter of 
Nannis, legum doctor " to Siena, d.d. Spoleti, 1449. Jum, iv., 
Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives at Siena 

t Voigt! Stimmen, 7, 7 i see W 6 - The lengthened 
sojourn of the Pope in Fabriano promoted the erection of buildings 
in the quiet little town. See Reumont, Kl. Schriften, 70. For the 
movements of the Pope in the year 1450 see the Cronica di Rimini, 
066, and regarding the longing of the Romans for Ins speedy re 
turn, *Michael Canensis de Viterbio, ad b. d. n. Nicolaum \ ., 
P. M., Cod. Vatic., 3697, i. 9"- Valic Library. 


malady. In August he was at Fabriano, where the air 
seemed to be particularly pure. No one was admitted 
\vithin the city without necessity ; the aged Aurispa was 
the only one of the secretaries whom the Pope retained 
about him ; business was mostly suspended, so that there 
was but little to be done ; many members of the Court suc 
cumbed to the pestilence. Poggio mockingly declared that 
the Pope wandered about after the manner of the Scythians.* 
The same thing happened when the plague revisited the 
Eternal City in the summer months of 1451 and 1452. f 
It has been suggested that Nicholas V. s extreme fear of 
death was due to an excessive love of life, ! Dl t another ex 
planation seems more probable. In the year 1399, when 

* See the somewhat contradictory accounts of Graziani (616 el 
seg.} and the Cronica di Rimini (964). Poggio s letters of the 91)1 
and i 2th August, 1449, are in Tonelli s edition, iii., 6, 1 1. Cardinal 
Colonna, in a letter to the Marquess Lodovico Gonzaga, written 
from Montefalco, June 14, 1449, says that he will inform him 
where he is, because they are continually moving about on account 
of the epidemic : " Noi vcnimo pur hieri qui partiti di Spoleto per 
la morte di un cortisano et lessere cascato amalato un altro. Simile 
se parti el rev. Msgr. di Messina. Doman si partira Msgr. delli 
Ursini. N r " S re festa in lo cassaro (Castle). Hoggi sonno 
intrati in Spoleto li ambaxatori di Francia." Gonzaga, Archives 
at Mantua. 

t Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 408. In the Milan State Archives 
(Pot. Kst.) I found a letter, unfortunately partly destroyed by damp, 
written by the well-known Nicodemus de Pontrernoli to Francesco 
Sforza, d.d. ex urbe, 29 Julii, 1451, and speaking of the Roman 
plague of that year. After informing him that the plague was 
again claiming victims, he observes : " Poi etiandio qui sono caldi 
exterminatissimi piu che mai se recordi homo vivo ; el medesimo 
se dice de Napoli. Ma in omne modo omne nactione fuge volentire 
Roma ali tempi mo, et meritamente perche in vero e sepulchro de 
valenti huomini et e horribile stancia se non per chi ha el modo a 
viverci cum picola fatica e delicamento. 

J Voigt, loc. at. 


the plague was raging in Lucca and the physicians had for 
saken the city, the Pope s father was appointed physician 
by the remaining citizens. He accepted the perilous post, 
but soon afterwards died, most likely stricken down by the 
terrible malady in the exercise of his calling.* May not 
this circumstance account for the apprehensions of Nicholas, 
who was timid by nature, and at the time in indifferent 
health? It must also be observed that at this period the 
idea of contagion was gaining ground among the doctors. 

<T> O O O *_> 

The black death and subsequent epidemics had afforded 
but too ample opportunities for the study of the subject, 
and the plague was much better understood than it had 
been. Natural science had made considerable progress, 
and enlightened physicians in the fifteenth century f ook 
little account of the influence of the stars, and directed 
their chief attention to the laws of contagion. Isolation 
consequently came to be regarded as the most essential of 
preventive measures, and it is impossible to estimate the 
number of human lives that may have been thus preserved 
during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, even though 
it was very imperfectly carried out.t 

When the pestilence ceased with the first cold of winter 
the Pope returned to Rome. Pilgrims again began to pour 
in, their journeys being facilitated by the peaceful condi 
tion of Italy. " So many people came to Rome," accord- 
incr to an eye-witness,J " that the city could not contain 
the strangers, although every house became an inn. 
Pilorims begged, for the love of God, to be taken in on 
payment of a good price, but it was not possible. They 

* Sforza, 90. 

t Haeser, iii., 186-187. Martin V. also favoured this theory, and 
went from place to place to escape the plague. Voigt, Stimmen, 
74. See also Massari, 39, and Vol. i., p. 229. 

J Paolo dello Mastro, Cronache Rom., 18. 


had to spend the nights out of doors. Many perished from 
cold ; it was dreadful to see. Still such multitudes thronged 


together that the city was actually famished. Every Sun 
day numerous pilgrims left Rome, but by the following 
Saturday all the houses were again fully occupied. If you 
wanted to go to St. Peter s it was impossible, on account 
of the masses of men that filled the streets. St. Paul s, St. 
John Latcran, and Sta. Maria Maggiore were filled with 
worshippers. All Rome was filled, so that one could not 
go through the streets. \Yhen the Pope gave his solemn 
blessing, all spaces in the neighbourhood of St. Peter s, 
even the surrounding vineyards, from which the Loggia 
of the benediction could be seen, were thick with 
pilgrims, but those who could not see him were more 
numerous than those who could, and this continued until 

Among the strangers of note who visited Rome during 
the Jubilee of 1450 we must give the first place to an artist 
the celebrated painter. Roger van der \Yevden, or Ru< r - 

to - o 

giero da Bruggia, as the Italians call him.* Many of his 
works had already been purchased by Italian princes and 
patrons of art, and were greatly esteemed. f It was pro 
bably as he passed through Florence on his way to Rome 
this great master received from the Medici the commission 
to paint the picture of the Madonna with the Holy Apostles, 
St. Peter and St. Paul, and the physicians, Saints Cosmas 
and Damian, which is now one of the treasures of the Sladel 

* Sec Alpli. Wau crs, Roger van dcr Weyden, etc. [Gand, 
1846] (Extr. du Mcssager dcs sciences hist, de Belgique), 15-16. 

t In the year 1449 Ciriaco of Ancona saw one of Roger s paint 
ings, which belonged to the Marquess of Ferrara (Antichita Picene, 
xv., 143). Facius mentions several in the possession of King 
Alfonso, as well as a genre picture in Genoa. Schnaase, viii., 163 
ct scq., 190, note I. 


Gallery of Frankfort-on-Maine.* The influence of Italy is 
evident in this beautiful work, and in others from the hand of 
the same master, especially in a charming picture represent 
ing St. Luke taking the portrait of the Blessed Virgin while 
she suckles the Divine Infant (formerly in the Boisseree 
Collection, and now in the Munich Pinakothek), and again 
in the Middelburg Tryptick, now at Berlin. f A modern 
writer on art is probably correct in his idea that the journey 
of 1450, although undertaken solely from motives of devo 
tion, was an artistic revelation to the Flemish painter, who, 
by a comparison with foreign schools, learned to form a 
more correct estimate of his own talents and needs, and of 
those of his country. From this time he gave up painting 
life-sized figures and violent effects and gold back-grounds. 
He still chose striking and dramatic subjects, but the sur 
roundings of his figures are now real, and they stand forth 
from an architectural perspective or a sunlit landscape full 
of graceful details. This was an approach to the manner 
of his predecessor, Van Eyck, and, moreover, a return to 
that of his own earlier days and to the mild harmonious 
tone most congenial to the piety and artistic sense common 
to himself and his fellow-countrymen. His best works 
were produced at this period, and he initiated a school, 
which, as compared with that of Van Eyck, manifests 
marked progress^ It would be impossible to say how 
many of the other painters, artists, and scholars, who went 

* N. 100. See Passavant in the Kunstblatt, 1841, p. IQ. A 
small copy is given in the Messager de Gand, 1838, p. 113 ; and 
the Blessed Virgin alone, without the attendant figures, in v. Quast- 
Otte, Zeitschr. fur christl. Archiiologie und Kunst (Leipzig, 1858), 

ii., Plate, i. 

f See Messager de Gand, 1836, p. 333, and Schnaase, via., 


+ Schnaase, viii., 2nd ed., 195. 


as pilgrims to the capital of Christendom in 1450, were 
touched by the like influence.* 

Jakob von Sirk, Archbishop of Troves, once the most 
ardent partisan of the Council, was amongst the princes cf 
the Church who were seen at Rome in the Jubilee year. 
He came, accompanied by a hundred and forty knights, to 
make his peace with the Holy See. Cardinal Peter von 
Schaumburg, Bishop of Augsburg, and the Bishops of 
Metz and Strasburg were also there, with other German 
prelates. Many saintly personages, too, were pilgrims, 
as, for example, St. Jacopo dclla Marca, St. Didacus, 
and the celebrated St. John Capistran.f It was, more- 

* G. L. Kriegk, Deutsches Biirgerthum im Mittelalter (Frank 
furt, 1868), 350, justly observes that the numerous pilgrims of 
these times exercised an important influence on the progress of 
civilization, by multiplying subjects of information and materials 
for reflection, and bringing about, between the inhabitants of 
different countries, an intercourse which hail its effect on the 
manners and ideas of each, the more so as the majority of the 
pilgrims belonged to the less wealthy classes of society, and made 
the journey on foot. Abbot George von Michaelbeuern, who rode 
to Rome in 1450, " causa devocionis," spent one-and-twenty days 
on his journey there, and as many more on his way back, and his 
expenses amounted to fifty-two golden florins; see Filz. Gesch, 
des Salzburg. Benedictinerstifts Michaelbeuern (Salzburg, 1833), 
) 37 37 l - The description of the Abbot s pilgrimage mentioned 
in this work is no longer to be found in the Archives of the 
Monastery at Michaelbeuern, where, however, in a Monastic Record 
of the fifteenth century (A., new signature V.A. a. i), seventeen 
lines, f. 66 b , *relate iiis journey. This short notice contains the 
characteristically German observation regarding Nicholas V., 
" Qui fuit natus de simplici progenie." Certainly in Germany the 
Pope s lowly origin would have rendered it almost impossible for 
him to become an Archbishop ; see Plofler, ii., 2, 362. 

f See Manni, 60. Chmel., ii., 453. Ciaconius, ii., 912. A 
document, *Cod., 1608, of the City Library at Troves, omitted by 


over, at this time that Jacopo Ammannati Piccolomini, 
afterwards the famous Cardinal, turned his steps to the 
Eternal City, where he subsequently entered the ser 
vice of Cardinal Capranica, the friend of all learned 

Numerous princes made the pilgrimage in 1450; the 
Pope welcomed the Duke Albert of Austria, gave him at 
Christmas a blessed sword, and granted him many spiritual 
favours in token of his affection for the House of Austria. 
It is probable that many Austrian nobles accompanied the 
Puke ; the aged Count Frederick of Cilli was certainly in 
Rome this year.f We must also mention the Margravine 
Catherine of Baden, Landgrave Louis of Hesse, and 
Duke John of Cloves, who visited the seven principal 
churches on foot, and was received with great honour by 

Honthelm, refers to the Archbishop s absence from Troves in the 
year 1450 : " Charta de anno 1450 concernens custodian reliquia- 
rum in ecclesia cathed, depositarum in absentia archiepiscopi." 
Tor the favours which the Aichbishop received from the Pope, see 
Gorz, Regesten, 191. In the City Archives at Cologne, I found 
among the Imperial papers of Frederick III. a *Letter from 
Ruprecht, Bishop of Strasburg, to Cologne, dat. Dachstein, 1450, 
Mai 22 (sexta post dominicam Exaudi), which says: "As we 
have been a good while away from our chapter on holy pilgrimage 
to Rome, and now by the grace of Almighty God have lately re 
turned to our country and chapter," etc. 

* See Aretin, Ikitrage, ii., QI, and the very rare work of Seb. 
Pauli, Disquisiz. istorica della patria e compendio della vita di G. 
Ammanati Piccolomini (Lucca, 1712), 39, 41. 

f Chmel., ii., 452. Recent investigations have proved that the 
Pope s mother did not visit Rome in 1450 (as even Rio, ii., 39, 
amongst others, had asserted). See Sforza, 258, 260. The mis 
take regarding Frederick III. s presence in Rome, mentioned 
supra, p. 78, note J, is to be found even in St. Antoninus, tit. xxii., 
c. xii., 3. 


the Pope,* Johannes Dlugoss, "the first Polish historian 
who wrote in the grand style," and Nicodemus de Pontre- 
moli, the trusted Ambassador of the Duke of Milan. f 

This would seem the fitting place to remark that the 
Jubilee year gave birth to a little literature of its own, a 
portion of which has since been printed, while a good deal 
more exists only in manuscript.^ \Vc have the two editions 

* See Liber bencfact. Aniin;r, 34. Chmel, ii., 629. Ik-foic his 
journey to Rome the Duke of Cleves had made a pilgrimage to the 
Holy Land; lie went from Rome to Naples in the end of November, 
1450 (Arch. Napol., vi., 258). For an account of his journey and 
his sojourn in Rome sec Teschcmnacher, Annal. Clivi.c-. (Franc., 
1721), 303, and Clevische Chronik., puljlished by Dr. R. Scholtcn 
(Cieve, 1884), from the original MS. of Gert van dor Schurcn. 

t Regarding Dlugoss, see Caro, iv., 425. Zeissberg, I olnische 
Geschichtschrcibung des M.-A. (Leip/.ig, 1873), 2I 3 c ^ SCl l-i 2I 5~ 
217. Nicodemus mentions his presence at Rome in 1450, in the 
Despatch of the 4th April, 1455, given in the Appendix (State 
Archives at Milan). Another ambassador of Fr. Sforxa s, 
Francesco Butigella, also proposed to go to Rome for the Jubilee ; 
see his ^Despatch to Fr. S!or/;a, dated Florence, 1449, Dec. 7. 
Fonds. Ital., 1585, f. 102, of the National Library, Paris. 

\ Of such *" Tractatus dc anno jubilee- " I have noted the 
following : (<?) Treves : Town Library, a manuscript treatise on 
the Jubilee of the year 1449, bound up with the Incunabula, N. 
1613 ( Iste liber est St. Albani juxta Trcv. ord. Carth."). 
(/ ) \Volienbiittel : Ducal Library, Cod. 264, Ilelmst, f. 62, 65 : 
" Tractatus brevis et compendiosus de anno jubileo a quodam 
Carthus. s. theol. prof, editus" (perhaps identical with the treatise 
by Jakob von Juterbogk ?). (c) Cod. 32 of the Dcncdictine 
Abbey of Zwiefalten, according to Scrapeum (Intelligen/.blatt, 1859, 
jx 99), contains a Tractatulus de anno jubileo, written in 1449. 
(d) In Cod. 278 of the Town Library at Maycnce there are a 
number of treatises by Jakob von Tutcrbogk, after which appears 
the indication, " De anno jubileo. Time did not permit me to 
investigate them. Cod. 562 of this library, not now in its place, 
also contained a work regarding the Jubilee year. 


of a treatise by the Canonist, Giovanni d Anagni, a man 
distinguished by the love of God and of his neighbour. 
Jakob von Jiiterbogk and the Dominican, Ileinrich Kaltei- 
sen, dealt with the subject of indulgences from the eccle 
siastical point of view, and Johann von Wesel wrote 
against them.* St. Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence, 
wrote concerning the pardon of the " golden year, at a 
date later than 1450.! Provost Felix Hemmerlin, of 
Soleure, in Switzerland, composed a dialogue between the 
Jubilee year and the Cantor Felix, in which the former suc 
cessfully answers all doubts and prejudices regarding the 
validity of the Jubilee indulgence, and explains the con 
ditions on which it may be gained by sinners of every 
position and degree. Hemmerlin s tone is grave and 
devout, and the dialogue contains many interesting pass 
ages which throw a vivid light on evils existing in the 
ecclesiastical life of Switzerland. He is unsparing in his 

* For some account of Giovanni d Anagni, see Cronica di 
Bologna, 724; Annal. Bonon., 890 ; Aless. de Magistris, Istoria 
della citta e S. Basilica catt. d Anagni (Roma, 1749), 44, and 
Schulte, 320, 3:2. Hain, 943 et seq., alludes to his work. The 
treatise on Jakob von Juterbogk, in Walch, Mon., ii., 2, 163 et seq. 
See Kellner, loc. cit., 327-329, and Ullmann, i., 278-282 ; the latter 
also (i., 255, 259 etseq., 282 etseq. ,2^ et seq., *\i} notices that of 
Joh. v. Wesel. According to the Serapeum (Intelligenzblatt, 1859, 
p. 153), three leaves of Kaltersen s " De indulgentiis " were pre 
served in the Library of the Abbey of Zwiefalten, which has been 
transferred to Stuttgart. Notwithstanding the kind ^ exertions of 
Heyd, these three leaves were not to be found, either in the Royal 
Public Library or the Royal Court Library. Manni, 66-67, speaks 
of Jubilee medals. 

f Decisio consiliaris supra dubio producto de indulgences, 
etc Besides the edition mentioned by Fischer (Typograph. 
Seltenheiten [Nurnberg, 1804], v., 89 et seq.}, I found in the 
Frankfort Town Library (Prcedic., 1356) another " imprcssum per 
Fredericum Creussner civem Nurnibergen." 


denunciation of the Beguines, of mendicant friars who 
hunt after benefices and money, and of ecclesiastics 
neglectful of their duty. " Canons," he says, " who are not 
present in choir and yet receive remuneration for fulfilling 
this duty, are no better than thieves and robbers, and must, 
even if they be prelates, make restitution of their revenues, 
or they will not be partakers of the graces of the Jubilee 
year." Hemmerlin also speaks at length, and with great 
force, against concubinage.* 

Cj O 

A description of Rome, written by Giovanni Rucellai, a 
Florentine merchant, who made the pilgrimage in 1450, has 
lately been published, and is full of interesting matter. 
Amongst other things, he speaks of the catacomb beneath 
the church of St. Sebastian as always open, and constantly 
visited by the pilgrims. f 

" Perhaps," says the chronicle of Forli, " it may have 
been in order to moderate the Pope s joy at the unwonted 
and extraordinary concourse of pilgrims, and to preserve 
him from pride, that an event was fated to occur which 
caused him the deepest sorrow. "J A very beautiful German 
lady of rank, who had undertaken the pilgrimage to Rome, 

* See Fiak, 493-494. At a later period, under the influence of 
passion, Hemmerlin unfortunately endeavoured to counteract the 
effect of his words by writing the " Recapitulatio de anno iubileo ; " 
see loc. tit., 507 et scq. An extract from the " Dyalogus " and 
from the " Recapitulatio" may be found in Reber, 328-333. 

f See Arch, della Soc. Rom., iv., 575. See N. Muff el s 
Beschreibung der Stadt Rom. (\V. Vogt, Stuttgart, 1876), 37. 

J *" Volse la fortuna forse per mettere qualche passione per 
freno al diletto del piaxere chel papa forse piglava clela grandissima 
intrada e magnificentianon piu di sue di vedudaper la qual allegreia 
portava perigolo de tal superbia die forse bisognio per suo meglio 
achadesse alcuna cosa a dare afanno chel piacere alquanto deni- 
grasse." Giovanni de Peclrino, Cronica di Forli, f. 242. Cod. 234 
of the private library of Prince Bald. Boncompagni, in Rome. 


was, in the district of Verona, set upon and carried away 
by soldiers. Sigismondo Malatesta of Rimini was 
generally looked upon as the instigator of this crime, 
which caused great excitement in Italy, but notwithstanding 
the careful inquiries at once set on foot by the Venetians, 
the mystery was never cleared up * The disaster was all the 
more distressing to the Pope, inasmuch as it was calculated 
to deter many rich and distinguished personages from 
setting forth on a journey which was already deemed in itself 

most perilous. t 

Nicholas V. was yet more deeply affected by a terrible 
calamity in the Holy City itself. On the igth December]: 

* See Sanuclo, 113?; Giornali Napol. 1130, and /En. Sylvius, 
Hist. Fricl., iii., 172. The aforesaid *Cronica di Forli also ascribes 
the deed to Sigismondo Malatesta. Among more modern writers, 
Tonini (203 et seq.) endeavours to exculpate him. 

t The pilgrims accordingly made their wills before starting. 
Grotcfcnd, i 394, mentions the will made by a citizen of Frank 
fort who meant to go to Rome. 

J This date is certain ; Paolo di Benedetto di Cola clello Mastro 
in the Cronache Rom. (18) gives the iSth December as the day; 
a clerical error, which Manni (62) might have avoided. In the 
MS cony of Paolo s Chronicle, preserved in the Chigi Library at 
Rome (Cod. N. ii. t 32, f. 16 </ ?). September is substituted for 
December, an alteration easily explained by a misapprehension of 
the abbreviated name of the month (Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed.,np, 
has not noticed this error). N. della Tuccia (214) stands alone m 
awning the catastrophe to the 2 4 th December. The accident at 
the "bridge of S. Angelo struck all Italy with horror, and is men- 
ioned by almost every contemporary Italian chronicler, and even 
by those of other nations. See Mon. Germanic, Deutsche 
Chroniken, ii, 381 ; Deutsche Sludtechroniken (Augsburg), n, 
1 06. Among the accounts of the event which are at present 
known, only three are by eye-witnesses viz that of Paolo d 
Benedetto di Cola dello Mastro (Chronache Rom 18-20) and the 
short notices in Tuccia (215), and in the Annal. L. Bonincontrii 
(i 5 0- I have been fortunate enough to discover two new accounts, 


a greater crowd than ever had assembled in St. Peter s to 
venerate the holy handkerchief and receive the Papal 
benediction. At about four o clock in the afternoon* the 
Pope sent word that, in consequence of the lateness of the 
hour, the benediction would not be given that day, and all 
the people hurried home by the bridge of St. Angelo, 
which was encumbered with shopkeepers booths. On the 
bridge the crowd unfortunately came in contact with some 
horses and mules, which had taken fright, and a block 
ensued. t A great many of the pilgrims were in a moment 
thrown down and trodden under foot by the advancing 
masses, or else pushed into the Tiber. Meanwhile, the 
multitudes, who tilled all the streets leading from St. 
Peter s, pressed onward in utter ignorance of what had 
taken place, and, but for the presence of mind of the 
Castellan of St. Angelo, the catastrophe might have been 
yet more appalling in its extent. He caused the bridge to 

namely, (i), in the State Archives at Florence, a long *Lctter from 
Giovanni Inghirami to Giovanni de Medici. Inghirami was not 
himself present at the dreadful scene, but derived his information 
from eye-\vitnesses. (2) In the State Archives at Milan, a * Despatch 
from the Milanese Ambassador, Vincenzo Amidano, dated Koine, 
1450, Dec. 2 1 st. Both documents are given in the Appendix, X. 4 
and 5. 

* " Circha a ore, 23," according to *G. Inghirami and Paolo. 
The copy of Paolo s Chronicle in theCorsini Library at Rome and 
Tuccia (214) both speak of the twenty-fourth hour. 

j- Infessura (1132) mentions a report that the mule which first 
took fright belonged to Cardinal Barbo, and Platina (713), and a 
notice in the *Cod. Regin., 2076, f. 535 (Vatican Library) 
assert this positively ("cujus rei causa fuit nuila Car 1 8 Barbi "). 
Further details are given in theCronica di Bologna, 696. See also 
Sanudo, 1137. The Chronic. Eugub, in Muratori, xxi., 988, has a 
very different version oi the story. Shopkeepers booths on the 
bridge of St. Angelo, such as are now to be seen on the Ponte 
Vecchio at Florence, are mentioned by Raph. Volaterran., 234. 



be closed, and brave citizens held back the advancing 
throng, but the fatal crush on the bridge continued for a 
whole hour. Then the citizens began to carry the dead 
into the neighbouring Church of San. Celso. " I myself 
carried twelve dead bodies," writes the chronicler, Paolo 
dello Mastro. More than a hundred and seventy corpses 
were laid out in the church, and this number, of course, 
does not include such as had fallen into the river. * Accord 
ing to most of the contemporary accounts the victims 
exceeded two hundred, and this estimate cannot be far 
from the truth. t Some horses and a mule also perished. 

* Tuccia (215) says that the bodies of seventeen of these un 
fortunate people were taken out of the Tiber at Ostia, and that they 
held one another fast by the clothes. 

f Paolo dello Mastro (19) says that a hundred and seventy-two 
dead were brought to San Celso from the bridge ; *Inghirami 
mentions a hundred and seventy-six (and this number appears in 
the fourth Bavarian continuation of the Slichsischen Weltchronik, 
Mon. Germanise, Deutsche Chroniken, ii., 381). Tuccia (2 15) has a 
hundred and seventy-seven. It is impossible to ascertain how many 
perished in the Tiber; Tuccia (215) expressly says that com 
paratively few of the bodies were recovered. Sanudo (1137), how 
ever, reckons those who were drowned at a hundred and thirty-six, 
and those who were trodden clown on the bridge at two hundred. 
The following quotations will show how widely authors vary in their 
estimate of the number of victims. Jac. Phil. Bergomas, 298 b : 
" More than a hundred slain on the bridge, many thrown into the 
liver." Annal. L. Bonincontrii, 155 : "Centum viginti hominum 
fuerunt attriti et quidam in Tiberim prsecipitati. Hoc ego certius 
affirmare ausim, quod mortuos paullo post defcrri in sedem sacram 
ibi propinquam vidi." Sabellicus, Enead., 10, lib. 5 (Opp., 944) : 
"A hundred and thirty dead buried in San. Celso." Infessura, 1132 ; 
yE. Sylvius, Europa, c. 58; Palmerius, 239-240; Manetti, 924; 
Cronica di Bologna, 696; Platina, 713; Vespasiano da Bisticci, 
24; *Despatch of V. Amidano and *Cod. Regin., 2076 : "ad 
2Oof" (others cast into the river). Cronica di Rimini, 966: 
"27of." Tuccia, 215 : "3oof." Chronicle of B. Zink (Sliidte- 



People who escaped with their lives had their clothes torn 
to pieces in the crowd. " Some were to be seen," says an 
eye-witness, "running about in their doublets, some in 
shirts, and others almost naked. In the terrible confusion 
all had lost their companions, and the cries of those who 
sought missing friends were mingled with the wailing of 
those who mourned for the dead. As night came on, the 
most heartrending scenes were witnessed in the Church of 
San. Celso, which was full of people up to n o clock; one 
found a father, another a mother, one a brother, and another 
a son among the dead. An eye-witness says that men who 
had gone through the Turkish war had seen no more 
ghastly sight."* "Truly," writes the worthy Paolo dello 

chroniken, v., 198) : More than 300 were drowned." A. Dathus, 
Opp., clxxxvii. : "Supra, 35 ot." F. Mariano Florentine, in his 
MS. Chronicle of the Franciscan Order in Vitorelli (292), and F. 
Hemmerlin (see Reber, 333): 4 oot." St. Antoninus, xxii., c. xil, 
3 : " Quadringenti et multo plures suffocati et aliqui in Tiberim 
lapsi." 1st. Brescian, 867 : " More than five hundred dead." 
Schivenoglia, 124: " 4 ,ooof." Giornali Napol., 1131.- Gente 
infmitat." A narrative (*Caso occorso in Roma lagrimevole 
1 anno del giubileo, 1450), in the Cod. Urbin., 1639, f - 329-333, 
giving the 1 6th May as the date of the accident, and stating that 
three hundred and fifty-six persons, who had been trodden to death, 
were buried in San. Celso and the Campo Santo, and that sixty 
corpses were found in the Tiber, is quite unworthy of credit. This 
fabulous account further asserts that " the Emperor, who was at the 
time in the city, immediately caused the castle of St. Angelo to 
be occupied by two hundred men, lest the people should revolt ! " 

*Letterof G. Inghirami on Dec. 2 7 th, 1450, State Archives 
at Florence; see Appendix, N. 5, and the passage in B. Zink s 
Chronicle (Stadtechroniken, v., 196). Zink conversed with two 
Germans who had been present at the catastrophe ; he concludes 
his narrative with the prayer, " O Lord Jesus Christ, have pity on 
them all, and be merciful to us through Thy divine grace. 



Mast-o " it was misery to sec the poor people with candles 
in their hands looking through the rows of corpses, and as 
they recognized their dear ones their sorrow and weeping 
were redoubled." The dead were for the most part 
Italians from the neighbourhood of Rome, chiefly strong 
youths and women ; there were but few old people or 
children among them, and scarcely any persons of high 
rank * At midnight, by command of the Pope, a hundrec 
and twenty-eight were carried to the Campo Santo, near 
St Peter s, where they were left all the Sunday 
identification. The rest of the bodies were either brough 
to Sta Maria dclla Minerva or buried in San. Celso. 
garments were laid together in one part of the church. 
My father," says Paolo dello Mastro, < was appointed 1 
take charge of them : many persons, who did not know if 
they had to mourn for one belonging to them, hastened 
there, and were assured of their loss." 

" This terrible event inflicted a deep wound on the 
paternal heart of the Pope. He could not, indeed, 
attribute any blame to himself, for he had done all that 
was possible to maintain order in Rome, and had caused 
its narrow streets to be widencd-yet the tragedy took 
such hold upon him that he fell into a kind of melancholy.t 

* *Inghirami in the above-mentioned letter, and Paolo dello 

Mastro, 19. 

t II papa se ne ammal6 cli melancolia." Istone Bresc, 8< 
Kiccola della Tuccia, who was at the time in Rome, says (215) : 
Di questo successo il papa n ebbe gran manenconia e ne pianse. 
See A Dathus, loc. tit., and Vespasiano da Bisticci, Nicola, v., 24. 
Infessura, a violent enemy of the Papal rule, bears witness (1132) 
that in the Jubilee year Pope Nicholas V., with the greate 
diligence and zeal, and without any assistance, made the best 
preparations for the thousands of pilgrims. He then mentions the 
misfortune of the i 9 th December, and it would seem as if the pre 
ceding observation was intended to guard against the possibility of 

St, Michael s College 
Scholastic s Library 


In order to guard against the possible recurrence of such 
an accident, Nicholas V. had a row of houses in front of 
the bridge cleared away, so as to form an open space 
before the Church of San. Celso. In the following year two 
chapels, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen and the Holy 
Innocents, were erected at the entrance of the bridge, and 


mass was daily offered for the souls of the victims. These 
chapels remained until the time of Clement VII., \vho 
replaced them by the statues of the Apostles/" which now 
stand there. 

The Pope s rejoicing in the glories of the Jubilee year 
was marred by yet another circumstance; the French 
ambassador demanded that a General Council should be 
summoned to meet in France; /Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini, 
who was at the time in Rome to obtain the Pope s per 
mission for the coronation of Frederick III., soon after 
wards, in a solemn consistory, made request in the name of 
his King that it should be held in Germany, inasmuch as 
Frederick did not mean to consent to its meeting in any 
other country. This silenced the French and delivered 
Nicholas V. from a serious difficulty. f 

any blame being attached to the Pope. Adinolfi, II Canalc di 
Ponte, 6, records the improvements made by Nicholas V. in the 
streets of Rome. In the face of such facts, Kokle, M. Luther 
(Gotha, 1884) permits himself to say: " It seemed prudent to 
provide the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims with some few 
worldly pleasures, besides spiritual gifts. The Pope instituted 
Jubilee games (!), an 1 it mattered little that on this occasion 
hundreds perished by the breaking down (!) of one of the Tiber 
bridges, for their souls were certainly saved " (p. 4). 

* Manetti, 924. Palmerius, 240. Sanudo, 1137. Jac. Phil. 
Bergomas, f., 298 . Adinolfi, loc. cit., 6. For further particulars 
regarding the construction of the two chapels see Gori, Archivio, 
iv., 294-295 ; Miintz, i., 151 et seq., and Bertolotti, Artisti Lom- 
bardi, i., 17. 

f Voigt, ii., 19 et seq. 


Immense sums of money poured into Rome during the 
Jubilee Year, especially at its beginning and at its close, 
when the concourse of pilgrims was greatest. A chronicler 
mentions four classes as chiefly benefited : First, the money 
changers ; secondly, the apothecaries ; thirdly, the artists, 
who painted copies of the holy handkerchief; and fourthly, 
the innkeepers, particularly those in the large streets and 
in the neighbourhood of St. Peter s and of the Latcran * 

On this occasion, as in previous Jubilees, the pilgrims 
brought an immense number of offerings. Manetti, the 


Pope s biographer, says that an exceedingly large quantity 
of silver and gold found its way into the treasury of the 
Church, and Vespasiano da Bisticci tells us that Nicholas 
V. was able to deposit a hundred thousand golden florins 
in the bank of the Medici alone. From the Chronicle of 
Peruo-ia we learn that money was dear at this time, and 


could only with difficulty be obtained, because " it all flowed 
into Rome for the Jubilee."t 

The Pope thus became possessed of the resources neces 
sary for his great schemes, the promotion of art and learn- 
ino- ; the poor also had a share of the wealth. J 

The moral effect of the Jubilee, in its bearing on the 

* Cronache Rom., 20. According to Giovanni Rucellai, in 
1450 there were a thousand and twenty-two inns with sign-boards 
in Rome, besides a great many without them. Arch, della Soc. 
Rom., iv., 579. In the fifteenth century there was great devotion 
to pictures copied from the handkerchief of St. Veronica. See the 
notices from the Inventory of the Bohemian Hospice in Rome in 
the Mittheilungen fur Geschichte der Deutschen in Buhmen (1874), 
xii., 210 et stq. 

t Manetti, 924 et seq. Vespasiano da Bisticci, and Graziani, 
624. Nicholas V. caused gold coins to be struck in remembrance 
of the Jubilee. See Venuti, 12 et scq. ; Bonanni, 49> and Manni, 

J Manni, 70-72. 


Papacy, was even more important than its material advan 

The experience of all Christian ages has shown that 
pilgrimages of clergy and laity to the tombs of the Apostles 
at Rome are a most effectual means of elevating and 
strengthening the Catholic life of nations, and of uniting 
them more closely to the Holy See; and, moreover, that 
every movement of the kind is in many ways fraught with 
blessings. The great pilgrimage to Rome, the perennial 
fountain of truth, had a peculiar value in an age still suffer 
ing from the consequences of the schism. Faith seemed 
to gain new life, and the world saw that the Vatican, whose 
authority had been so violently assailed, was still the centre 
of Christendom, and the Pope its common Head.* 

It was striking," says Augustinus Dathus, "to see 
pilgrims come joyfully from all lands, most of them with 
bundles on their backs, despising the comforts of their 
own country and fearing neither heat nor cold, that they 
might gain the treasures of grace. The remembrance of 
those days still rejoices my heart, for they made manifest 
the magnificence and glory of the Christian religion. 
From the most distant places many journeyed to Rome 
in the year 1450 to visit the Head of the Catholic Church 
and the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles. Truly this 
Jubilee year is worthy to be remembered throughout all 

The Jubilee was the first great triumph of the ecclesias 
tical restoration^ and it was the Pope s desire that its 
renovating influence should be felt in every part of Chris 
tendom. The idea was in itself a fresh evidence of the 


Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., no. See Droyscn, ii., i, 139. 
f A. Dathus, Op., f. clxxvii. See also the words of Cardinal 
Nicholas of Cusa in Dux, ii., 5, note. 
I Droysen, ii., i, 138. 


right understanding and goodwill of Nicholas V.,* and in 
order to carry it into effect he decided to send special 
Legates to the nations which had been most affected by 


the troubles of the last decade. These Legates were to 
labour for the establishment of a closer union with Rome, 
and for the removal of ecclesiastical abuses, and to open 
the spiritual treasures of the Jubilee to the faithful who 
were unable to visit the Eternal City. The Jubilee Indul 
gence was also extended by the Pope to those countries 
for which no Legate was appointed. A visit to the 
Cathedral of their Diocese, and an alms to be offered there, 
were generally the conditions substituted for the pilgrimage, 
which to many was an impossibility. f 

" In all countries and in every direction," as one of 
Cusa s biographers justly observes, "men had been for a 
long time sinning much and grievously. It was fitting 
then that the reconciliation should be general. The 
awakening of a sense of sin was to be for all classes for 


clergy as well as laity for high and low, a solemn recall 
to duty, and a means of moral restoration ; and when 
hearts were thus changed, there was room to hope that the 
reformation of ecclesiastical life, which had been so long 
desired and so solemnly guaranteed, might at last become 
a reality." J 

In August, 1451, the Pope sent Cardinal d Estouteville 
to France, with a special mission to undertake the reform 

* Rohrbacher-Knopfler, 200. 

t Hungary, Poland, the Spanish Kingdoms, and Naples were 
among the countries on which these favours were conferred. See 
Raynaldus, ad an., 1450, N. 6, Manni, 67, and Caro, iv., 45 6 > 481. 
Regarding Naples, see Arch. Napol., vi., 412. The Pope also 
authorized many Bishops to grant the Jubilee indulgence to their 
flocks. See Geissel, Der Kaiserdom zu Spcyer, 2nd ed. (Koln, 
1876), 165. 

J Scharpff, 153. 


of the Cathedral Chapters, and of the Schools and Univer 
sities. The edicts issued by him on this occasion for the 
University of Paris manifest the skill and zeal with which 
he fulfilled his trust* 

D Estouteville remained in France until the end of 1452, 
without, however, accomplishing the principal end of his 
mission, which was the restoration of peace with England ; 
to his honour it must be recorded, that he initiated the pro 
ceedings by which justice was done to the memory of the 
Maid of Orleans. f 

Before the end of December, 1450, Nicholas V. had 
sent, as Legate to Germany, Cardinal Xich-jlas of Cusa, 
a prelate renowned for learning and purity of life, who 
had already done much to promote the general peace of the 
Church, and the; reconciliation cf Germany with the Holy 
See. He was now commissioned to publish the; Indulgence 
of the Jubilee, and to labour for the pacification of the 
kingdom, especially for the conclusion of the contest 
between tin; Archbishop of Cologne and the Duke of 
Cleves, and for the reunion of the Bohemians. The chief 
object of his mission, however, was to raise the tone of 
ecclesiastical liie and thoroughly to reform moral abuses in 
Germany, where the Council of Bask: had found so many 
partisans, and where the years of neutrality had produced 
great confusion in the affairs of the Church, and allowed 

* Re format io Universitatis Parisiensis facta a card. Tutavilleo, 
in Bulaeus, v., 562-577. See Crcvicr, Hist, de I Universito de 
Paris, iv., 168 et sey. ; Ullmann, ii., 322, 325; and Daniel, Etud. 
Class., 1 60 tt s? /., 402 tt seq. Regarding the nomination of 
d Estouteville, see the *Document from the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican, in Appendix, N. 9. 

t Reumont, iii., i, 255. Raynaldus, ad an., 1451, N. 8. G. 
GOITCS, Jungfrau von Orleans (Regensburg, 1834), 343. D Estoute 
ville returned to Rome on the 3rd January, 1453. See *Acta con 
sist, in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


religious indifferentism to assume serious proportions.* 
The Pope granted the most ample powers to the German 
Cardinal, and even authorized him to hold Provincial 

Councils. t 

Little attention has been paid to the remarkable fact, 
that Cusa s appointment encountered violent opposition 
from certain parties in Germany, who, untaught by the 
events of the previous ten years, still adhered to the un- 
Catholic principles of the Council of Basle. Although the 
assembly had given convincing proofs of its absolute in 
capacity to correct ecclesiastical abuses, there were still 
pedants who would accept reform only from a Council, and 
to whom any measure of the kind, proceeding from the 
Pope, appeared utterly obnoxious, even if carried out by so 
eminent and distinguished a man as Cusa.J Others were 
anti-Roman to such a degree, that the dignity enjoyed by 
the Legate as a member of the Sacred College created a 
feeling of distrust in their minds. Yet all might have 
been proud to welcome the zealous and sagacious Cardinal 

* Jakob von Juterbogk, in his *" Tractates de malis," gives a 
very gloomy picture of the state of Germany, see especially cap. 
20: "De penis ac plagis mundi," and cap. 23: " De statu 
religiosorum," Cod. 34 of the Cathedral Library, Treves. 

f Regarding the significance of Cusa s appointment, see Jager, 
i., 25-26, 29, and Chmel, Kirchliche Zustunde, 28. A separate 
Bull was issued for each one of the affairs entrusted to the 
Cardinal. That concerning Bohemia is in Raynaldus, ad an., 
1450, N. 12, and that for the conclusion of the dispute between 
Cologne and Cleves is published in the Tub. theol. Quartalschrift, 
1830, p. 171 et scq. The authorization to proclaim the Jubilee is 
wanting. The long-sought Bull for the reform of the German 
Church is given in the Appendix, N. 6, from the Regesta of the 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

\ As, for example, the well-known Felix Hemmerlin ; see Fiala, 


See the letters of the Carthusian Prior, \ uicenz von Axpach, in 

Fez, Thes. nov., vi., 3, 327 et scq. 


who came speaking their own tongue, and was thoroughly 
acquainted with all the concerns and the needs of the 
Fatherland; and, as time went on, it became evident that 
Cusa discharged the duties of his important office in the 
spirit of a genuine reformer, and for the good of his 

He looked on the work of ecclesiastical reform as one 
" of purification and renovation, not of ruin and destruc 
tion, and believed that man must not deform what is holy, 
but rather be himself transformed thereby." And, there 
fore, first of all and above all, he was a reformer in his 
own person. His life was a mirror of every Christian and 
sacerdotal virtue. Justly persuaded that it is the duty of 
those, who hold the chief places in the Church, to exercise 
the office of preachers, he everywhere proclaimed the Word 
of God to both clergy and laity, and his practice accorded 
with his preaching. His example was even more powerful 
than his sermons. f Detesting all vanity, he journeyed 
modestly on his mule, accompanied only by a few Romans, 

* Fiala, 514, note i. 

f Janssen, i., 9th ed., 3. Scharpff, Cusa als Reformator, 262 
et seq. There is no complete account of all Cusa s journeys as 
Legate. In regard to his labours in Northern Germany, K. Grube s 
work, which \\e have repeatedly cited, holds the first place, but, 
unfortunately, this author was not acquainted with Sauer s article in 
the Zeitschrift ties \Vestfiil. Gesch.-Ver., 1873, to which is added 
(172 et 5;vy.) an " Itinerar des Cardinals Nic. von Cues wilhrend 
seiner Legation von 1451-1452." Cusa was, as Scharpff (loc. 
cit. 263) justly observes, one of the best and most zealous preachers 
of the fifteenth century. He esteemed the office very highly, and 
considered that the successors of the apostles were bound by the 
most sacred obligations to exercise it. His own conscientious care 
in this matter is testified by an entry in the copy of his collected 
works, preserved in the Franciscans Library at Trent, where the 
hand of a contemporary has noted the times and places of a 
hundred and thirty sermons delivered by the Cardinal. 


and scarcely to be recognized, save by the silver cross 
which the Pope had given him, and which was mounted on 
a staff and carried before him. On arriving in any town 
his first visit was to the church, where he fervently 
implored the blessing of heaven on the work he had taken 
in hand. Many princes and rich men brought him splendid 
presents, but he kept his hands pure from all gifts. 
Amongst his companions was the holy and learned 
Carthusian, Dionysius van Leewis, a man filled with the 
most ardent zeal for the renovation of monastic life."* 

the places are Mayence, Erfurt, Magdeburg, Ilildesheim, Coblence, 
Troves, Maastricht, Minden, Aix, Nymwegen, Louvain, Cologne, 
and Haarlem. He preached twice at Neustift ; eighty times (not 
fifty, as Scharpff [263] and Jiiger [142] have stated) at Brixen ; 
thrice at Wilten ; thrice at Bruneck ; once at Innsbruck; also at 
Taurn, at Siiben, and elsewhere ; see *Karpe, Tirol. Literaturgesch. 
Bibl. Tirol., 1261, vi., f. I2 b , in the Ferdinandeum at Innsbruck. 
MSS. of Cusa s sermons are in: (i) Cues, Hospital Library, Cod. 
F., 53; see Serapeum, xxvi., 55. (2) Mayence, Town Library 
Cod. 392. (3) Munich, Court Library, Cocl. lat., 7008 (Furst, 
108) ; 18711 (Teg., 711); 18712 (Teg., 712) [regarding both 
of these see Scharpff, 263]; 21067 (Thierh., 67). (4) Rome, 
Vatican Library, Cod. Vat., 1244. (5) Vienna, Library of the 
Dominican Monastery, S. 18, Ser. iii., f. 191-204 : Sermo Moguntie 
factus sub themate : " Confide filia, fides tua te salvum fecit." 

* Sinnacher, vi., 357. The Carthusian, Dionysius, (fi470 at 
this time wrote a work, " De muncre et regimine Legati," and a 
treatise on the reform of monks. The support which he rendered 
to the Cardinal in the fulfilment of his difficult task may be esti 
mated by his stern and free-spoken rebuke, addressed to the Bishop 
of Liege, for conduct unbecoming an ecclesiastic. Scharpff, 177 
et scq. For further particulars concerning Dionysius, who was a 
prolific author, see Acta SS., ad. d., xii., Martii, 245 ct seq. ; 
Fabricius, i., 448 et seq. ; Freib. Kirchen-Lexikon, iii., 2nd ed., 
\oietseq.; Allgem. Biogr., v., 246-248; Theologische Studien 
und Kritiken, 1881, and the Monographs of J. Houghton (Col. 
1532, see Barbier, Diet, des ouvr. anon., iv.), and J. Cassani 
(Madrid, 1738). 


Nicholas of Cusa, who left Rome on the last day of the 
year 1450,* began his arduous labours, in February 1451, 
by holding a Provincial Synod at Salzburg. We have, 
unfortunately, but scanty details regarding this assembly; 
it is, however, evident that a renewal and strengthening of 
communion with Rome and a restoration of the relaxed 
discipline of religious houses were, together with the 
proclamation of the Jubilee Indulgence, its principal 
objects. The Cardinal thoroughly understood the root of 
the malady with which the Church in Germany was 
afflicted. A real change for the better could only be 
accomplished by a strengthening of the slackened bonds 
which bound Northern and Southern Germany to Pope 
Nicholas V., whose general recognition was but of recent 
date, and by a thorough reform of the relaxed religious 
orders. The decrees of the Synod over which Cusa pre 
sided are framed with these purposes. " Every Sunday 
henceforth," it was ordained, " all priests are at Holy Mass 
to use a prayer for the Pope, the Bishop of the Diocese, 
and the Church." By this rule, not only each bishop, but 
each individual priest, was obliged weekly to renew his 
solemn profession of communion with the Pope, and the con 
sciousness of ecclesiastical unity was thus rendered more 
vivid. The decree was, within a month, to be published in 
every Diocese of the Province of Salzburg, and thenceforth 
to be binding on all priests. An indulgence of fifty days 
was granted for its exact observance. f 

* This date, which Jiiger (i., 33) gives as uncertain, is estab 
lished by the Acta consist., f. 22, Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

j- Jiiger, i., 30-31, who had already recognized the significance of 
this decree. The same collect was also prescribed by -the Legate 
at the Synods of Eamberg, Magdeburg (see infra, p. 122), Mayence 
(Binterim, vii., 277), Cologne (Hartzheim, v., 418), and Erixen 
(Bickell, 34). With regard to the Salzburg Synod, see Hartzheim, 
v., 923-927, and Dalham, 221-224. The decree " Quoniam Sane- 


It is hardly necessary to dwell on the great importance 
of this opening act of Cusa s career as Legate in Germany. 
It bound the clergy of this vast ecclesiastical province by 
the closest ties to the Holy See, and formed a powerful 
check against any schismatical movement. The need which 
existed in Southern Germany for measures of this character 
was amply proved by the opposition of the Brixen Chapter, 
when the Pope appointed Cusa bishop of that Diocese.* 

The subject of monastic reform, which next engaged the 
attention of the Synod of Salzburg, was equally urgent. 

tissimus " for the reform of monasteries, given by Dalham, was 
promulgated by Cusa for his Diocese of Brixen, on the 2nd May, 
1452. In the document on this subject, preserved in the Govern 
ment Archives at Innsbruck, the Salzburg decree is inserted. A 
comparison with Hartzheim and Dalham shows a number of slight 
variations from the text, and another date, viz., Dat. Salzburgae die 
mercurii 10 mensis Febr., 1451. For the proclamation of the 
Jubilee Indulgence, see Archiv liir Oesterr. Gesch. iv., 300; and for 
the opposition to the Pope at Minister, and the consequent inter 
dict, Sauer, Miinst., 105 et seq., in et seq. 

f The Chapter of Brixen had elected Leonhard Wiesmayer 
bishop ; Nicholas V., however, in virtue of his right of provision, 
nominated Cardinal Cusa to the vacant See. The Chapter, to 
wbom the appointment was communicated by the Pope on the 25th 
March, 1450, considered it an infringement of their right of elec 
tion, and Duke Sigismund looked on it as a breach of the Con 
cordat. The *original draft of the Chapter s appeal to the Pope, 
when more fully informed, and to a General Council, dated 1451, 
January 27th, is preserved in the Government Archives at Innsbruck 
(Brixener Archiv. Urk., 51), there is a German epitome in Sin- 
nacher, vi., 352-354; see also Jager, i., 6-28. The letters of the 
Carthusian Prior, Vincenz von Axpach in Pez. Thes. nov., vi., 
3327 et seq., give us an idea of the fanatical anti-Roman feeling of 
many of the Southern Germans; and Chmel, Kirchliche Zustande, 
20, bears witness to the diminution of the influence of the Holy 
See in the Diocese of Passau, from the time of the discord 
engendered by the Council. 


The spring-time of monastic institutions was past. In many 
convents the spirit of strict observance and the cultivation 
of learning had sunk very low.* At Salzburg the cardinal 
had only time to sketch out the plan of his future work in 
this field, for he was anxious to proceed on his journey so 
as to meet the King of the Romans at Vienna. Frederick 
III. granted him the official investiture of the See of 
Brixen, with all the customary formalities, and confirmed, 
by a special diploma, his episcopal privileges and immu 
nities in the beginning of March, f at Wiener-Xeustadt. 

On the 3rd March Cusa issued a circular letter from 
Vienna to all Benedictine abbots and abbesses of the 
province of Salzburg, informing them, that, in virtue of the 
Papal commission, he had appointed Martin, abbot of the 
Scotch Foundation in Vienna; Lorenz, abbot of Maria-Zell ; 
and Stephan, prior of Melk, apostolic visitors of their 
order. Having God before their eyes, and without regard 
to any other consideration, they were carefully and exactly 
to investigate and report upon the condition of the 
convents. In the event of resistance they were to invoke 
the aid of the secular arm, and to apprise the Legate, so 
that he might take all proper proceedings. They were, 
above all things, to insist on the strict observance of the 
three essential vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. 
Dispensations accorded in former visitations were, without 
exception, revoked as contrary to the rule. A plenarv 
indulgence, on condition of the performance of an ap 
pointed penance, was to be granted to those religious who, 

* Chmel (Kirchl. Zust., 43 et sey.) has collected a mass of 
information regarding the Austrian religious houses. 

t See Sinnacher, vi., 355. Jdger, i., 33. I have seen the 
original document, dated 1451, March ist (not 3rd, as Sauer, 172, 
has it), with a very well-preserved seal in the Government Archives 
at Innsbruck, Brix. Archiv. Urk., 21. 


by their lives, showed themselves worthy of it. The 
document concludes by exhorting all concerned to receive 
the visitors with honour, and unreservedly to make known 
everything to them. All, without distinction of rank, were 
to be regarded as excommunicate, and their monasteries 
as under an interdict, in cases of disobedience, after the 
lapse of the three days following the service of the 
monition, required by the canons* The apostolic visitors 
at once set about their difficult, and in many cases thank 
less, task. Stephan von Spangberg, the Prior of Melk, 
being shortly promoted to a bishopric, was replaced by 
Johann Slitpacher, a monk from the same house, and King 
Frederick III. granted letters of safe-conduct to the visitors, 
each of whom was accompanied by a chaplain and a 
servant. Abbot Martin generally made the opening 
address; Abbot Lorenz questioned the religious indivi 
dually, examined churches, abbeys, cells, farm buildings, 
etc., and drew up the instrument of reform ; and Slitpacher 
acquainted the monastic chapter with its several clauses.f 
The Archduchy of Austria, Styria, Carinthia, the Province 
of Salzburg, and a part of Bavaria were visited, and about 
fifty houses of both sexes reformed. J 

* Dalham, 224-225. Hartzheim, 925-927. Scharpff, 161 et seq. 

t Wiclmer, iii., 184. 

J For the history of the visitation, see the Diary of Abbot Martin 
in Fez, Script, rer. Austr., ii., 623 et scq. The documents regarding 
this matter are still, for the most part, unpublished, and accordingly 
a conclusive judgment as to the success of the reform is impossible. 
Braunmuller, in the Studien aus dem Benedict.-Orden, iii., i 3 n 
et seq., treats of the *" Recessus visitationis monasterii S. Emeranni " 
dated 1452, February iSth, in Cod. Lat. 14, 196, f. 154-162 of the 
Court Library at Munich. See also Binterim, vii., 245 ; Keiblino-er 
573-574 5 Wichner, iii., 184 et seq., 469 et scq. ; Filz, Gesch. von 
Michaelbeuern, ii., 374 etseq., and A. Weiss, Vor der Reformation, 
23 et scq., on the importance of the monastic reform of this period 
in general. 


Much about the same time the Cardinal turned his atten 
tion to the reform of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, 
entrusting the visitation of their houses to Provost Nicholas 


of St. Dorothy s, in Vienna, Peter zu Ror, and Wolfgang 

The negotiations with the Chapter of Brixcn in regard to 
Cusa s appointment having been, by the mediation of Arch 
bishop Frederick of Salzburg, brought to a satisfactory con 
clusion,! the Legate proceeded by way of Munich, Freising, 
Ratisbon, and Nuremberg to Bamberg, where he held a Dio 
cesan Synod in the Cathedral. His labours were directed in 
the first place to the reform of the religious orders. A 
deplorable contest prevailed at this time in the Diocese of 
Bambenr between the Mendicant Friars and the Secular 


Clergy, and, with the full consent of the Synod, he decided 
to bring the discord to an end by the publication of a 
canon of the Lateran Council of 1215. Everyone, whether 
exempt or non-exempt, who failed to worship in his parish 
church on Sundays and festivals, was to be deprived of 
communion and refused admission to the church. And, on 
the other hand, inasmuch as Mendicant Friars, lawfully 
admitted by the Bishop to the cure of souls, could give 
valid absolution, even in cases reserved to the Pope, 
similar punishments were to be inflicted on those who dis 
puted their powers. Furthermore, the Bishop of Bamberg 
was required to publish in the principal places in his 
diocese, on the first Sunday in Lent, for the information of 

* Keiblinger, 572. Topographic des Erzherzogthums Oesterreich 
(Wien, 1836), xv., 49 et seq., 55 ct seq. Chinel, Regesten, N. 
2701. Archiv fur Oesterr. Gesch., xvii., 393. J. Sliilz, Gesch. von. 
St. Florian (Linz, 1835), 58. The Cistercian Monastery of Wilher- 
ing was visited by the Abbot of Morimond in May, 1451. See J. 
Sliilz., Gesch. von Wilhering (Linz., 1840), 66, 601-602. 

f Particulars are given by Jiiger, i., 36 et scq. 



the people, the names of the Friars entrusted with the cure 
of souls, and a list of the cases reserved to the Bishop or 
the Pope. All controversy on the subject was to be dis 
continued, and any differences were to be referred to the 
decision of competent judges.* 

Regulations for the reform of houses and various 
ordinances concerning processions, confraternities, and 
the Jews, were also promulgated by the Bamberg Synod, 
and the Salzburg decree, prescribing the prayer for the 
Pope and for the Bishop of the Diocese at mass, was 

reiterated. t 

In the latter part of the month of May, Nicholas of 
Cusa, together with four abbots, presided at the fourteenth 
Provincial Chapter of the Benedictines, which was held in 
the convent of St. Stephen at Wiirzburg. On this occasion 

* Scharpff, 163-164. The decree is published by Hartzheim, v., 
440-441, and L. Cl. Schmitt, Die Bamberger Sync-den (Bamberg, 
1851), 86, 88. 

f Nothing was hitherto known of the Bamberg Synod save the 
decree regarding the Mendicant Orders. Binterim (vii., 247) con 
sidered it improbable that other statutes had been framed at Bam 
berg. *Cod. 17, 1 8, Aug. 4*"., of the Ducal Library at Wolfen- 
biiltel, however, contains, as Dr. O. v. Heinemann, the librarian, 
has kindly informed me : *Nicolai Cusani decreta qucedam, qua? 
fecit in Synodo Bambergensi a 1451, namely: (i) Ut religiosi 
infra annum regularem observantiam incipiant, f. 11-12 . (2) De 
pensionibus, f. 13-14. (3) De Jiuteis, f. 22-24 b . (This decree 
was extended by Cusa on the 2Oth May, 1451, to the Diocese of 
Wiirzburg ; see Stumpf, Denkwiirdigk. d. Teutsch., besonders d. 
Friinkisch. Gesch. [Erfurt, 1802], i., 151-154. Kayser im Archiv 
fur Kirchenrecht [1885], liii., 211, 217 f., shows that Nicholas V. 
was inclined to treat the Jews with more leniency than Cusa would 
have shown.) (4) De processionibus et fraternitatibus, f. 24-25. 

(5) Decree on the contest between the Mendicant Orders and 
Secular Clergy (published by Hartzheim and Schmitt), f. 25-26*. 

(6) De oratione pro papa et antislite, f. 26 b -27 b . 


he commanded that the rule of St. Benedict should be 
observed in all its original strictness, approved the Burs- 
feld reform, and strongly recommended it to all the 
abbots. This Chapter was very numerously attended ; 
seventy abbots from the Dioceses of Mayence, Bamberg, 
Wurzburg, Halberstadt, Hildesheim, Eichstiidt, Spire, Con 
stance, Strasburg, and Augsburg were present, and amongst 
them Abbot Johann Ilagen, the worthy founder of the 
celebrated congregation of Bursfeld.* The Cardinal himself 
celebrated solemn High Mass, and each abbot individually 
came up to the altar and bound himself by vow to carry 
out the reform within the space of a year. To ensure the 
success of the good work, the disused custom of annual 
Provincial Chapters was re-established, and Abbot Ila^cn 


was appointed visitor, together with the Abbot of St. 
Stephen at \Yurxburg.t Thus was the good seed widely 
sown by the Cardinal Legate, for the seventy abbots bore 
back to their several houses the impulse received at 

* Regarding the origin of this congregation, \vhich did for the 
Benedictines what the congregation of Wiiuleshehn did for the 
Augustinians, see Evelt, 121 et scq., 136 et scy. A complete history 
of the Bursfeld congregation is a desideratum, and MSS. authorities 
are by no means wanting. In the Cathedral Library at Treves I 
noted in Cod. 31, *De reformacionis principacione ordinis b. 
Lenedicti et de conversione et vita hominis dei Ilenrici abbatis 
(beginning with the year 1446). Diekamp, in the Zeitschr. fiir 
Geschichtc Westfalens, No. 41 (1883), P- 141-142, speaks in 
detail of this MS. Other MSS. on the subject are preserved in the 
town library at Tieves : Cod. 68, 1144, and others. See also *Coci. 
344 of the MS. theolog. in the Town Archives at Cologne. F. X. 
Kraus, in the Serapeum, xxiv., 367, draws attention to the Parisian 
MSS. concerning the history of the Windesheim congregation. 

t Grube, Legationsreise, 396. The names of the abbots are in 
the Mayence Monats-schrift fiir geistl. Sachen (1791, p. 213) i n 
Binterim, vii., 249-250. See Bussceus, Trithemii opera pia (Mo^unt. 
1605), 1048. 


Wiiizburg; no mere passing emotion, such as is wont to 
touch the heart for a moment, and then leave it unchanged, 
but a steadfast, earnest purpose of reform. It is possible, 
indeed, that, through human weakness, or on account of 
insurmountable obstacles, some of the abbots may have 
failed to fulfil their promise within the appointed time, but 
there can be no doubt that the Wiirzburg Synod brought 
forth excellent fruit* 

From Wiirzburg the Cardinal-Legate, riding on a mule, 
proceeded through Thuringia to Erfurt, which, on account 
of its numerous churches, chapels, and convents, was called 
Little Rome. Of the eleven religious houses in this city, 
three only were reformed, and in one of these, the Benedic 
tine Abbey of St. Peter, Cusa took up his abode. St. 
Peter s was at the time one of the most important 
monasteries of the Bursfeld congregation, and subsequently 
became its chief centre.f On the very day after his arrival 
(3oth May), the Legate began to preach. Hartung Kam- 
mermeister, in his Annals, gives the following description 
of his labours as a preacher, and of his sojourn at Erfurt: 
" On the Saturday after Cant ate (4th Sunday after Easter), 

* Such is Grube s opinion, J. Busch, 130-131. During his stay at 
\Viirzburg, Cusa published other decrees of reform. In *Cod. Palat., 
362, f. 89, we find a letter addressed by him to Bishop Gottfried, of 
Wiirzburg, d. d. Herbipoli, 1451, Maii, 22, concerning abuses in 
the collection of tithes ; and at f. 9O ab are protocols and resolu 
tions sent to four rural deaneries with reference to the above letter. 
Vatican Library. 

t The Chronicle of Nicholas of Siegen, published by "Wegele, in 
the Thiiringischen Geschichts-quellen, Vol. ii. (seep. 6), is, as this 
scholar remarks, an immediate result of the distinction conferred 
on St. Peter s, and of the share taken by that abbey in the move 
ment of monastic reform, whose spirit inspires and guides its 


anno Dom. 1451, Nicholas of Cusa, the Cardinal sent by 
Pope Nicholas, came to Erfurt, when the Council decided 
that its chief man, Count Henry of Glichen, with some of 
its servants, friends, and citizens, should ride to meet him 
and receive him. They had also arranged that the monks 
Irom the monastery, and also the university, with the 
students, in procession, should await his arrival at the outer 
gate towards Tabirstete, there receive him and escort him 
to the toll bridge. On the aforesaid bridge the Canons of 
both Chapters met him, and the Cardinal dismounted from 
his horse and followed them on foot, in procession, to the 
Church of Our Lady, and both there and at St. Severin 
there \vas grand music in the choir and on the organ. 
Aiterwards the Cardinal again mounted his horse- and rode 
to the Petersberg, where the Canons met him with their 
relics, and he got off his horse at the steps, and gave the 
kiss of peace, and followed them on foot, in procession, 
to the monastery, and those who had ridden forth to 
meet him followed him on their horses, and afterwards 
everyone rode home again. 

" Now at mid-day of Voccin j ucunditatis (5th Sunday after 
Easter), the same Cardinal made a good and beautiful sermon 
from the pulpit of St. Peter s, where a great multitude came 
together,and he informed thepeople whyand in what manner 
our Holy Father the Pope had sent him, and he did the 
same in presence of all. Again on the Day of the Ascen 
sion of our Lord, the Cardinal preached from the stone 
pulpit at the Kaffate, and a great crowd came, for the 
people heard him gladly. 

"Furthermore, on Exaudi Sunday the Cardinal preached 
from the pulpit of St. Peter s, and very many came from 
the country into the town, wishing to hear his discourse, 
and the throng was so great that some men were crushed 


and many fainted, and it was supposed that more than two 
thousand persons were present."* 

Nicholas of Cusa also visited all the religious houses of 
Erfurt, and appointed a special commission, with ample 
powers of reform. Among its members was the excellent 
Provost of the Augustinians, Johannes Busch, whose labours 
have been brought to light by recent researches. f Cusa s 
solicitude also extended to many Benedictine monasteries 
in Thuringia, and not being able to visit them all personally, 
he deputed Abbot Christian of St. Peter to act as his 
substitute, and the Abbot, in his turn, sought the aid of 
Provost Busch. J 

In the beginning of June the Cardinal went to Magde 
burg, where monastic reform as well as renovation of life 
among clergy and laity were making the happiest progress 
under the auspices of the admirable Archbishop Frederick. 
It is worthy of note that Cusa deviated from the direct road 
to Magdeburg, in order to pass through Halle and make 
acquaintance with Johannes Busch, the principal promoter 
of monastic reform in Northern Germany, with whom he 
desired to confer regarding the great work in hand. 

He entered Magdeburg on Whit-Sunday (June 13) in the 
morning, and remained there until the twenty-eighth of 

* Mencken, Script., iii., 1214. According to Ullmann, Ref., i., 
257, the celebrated John of Wesel was one of the Cardinal s 

f Grube, J. Busch, 132 et seq., a most valuable monograph. See 
also Grube, Legationsreise, 398-399. In the Bull which Cusa 
issued for the reformation of the Augustinian convents, he says 
that Pope Nicholas V. had, in the first place, charged him with the 
reform of the religious houses of Germany. Busch, De reformat., 
in Leibniz, Script., ii., 960. See also Kolde, Augustiner congre 
gation, 88. 

J Thiiring, Gesch-Quellen, ii., 433, and Grube, Legationsreise, 



June, devoting the first week of his stay to preaching and 
the visitation of religious houses, and the second to holding 
a Provincial Synod.* "This same Cardinal," to quote the 
Municipal Chronicle of Magdeburg, "granted to all people 
in our Lord of Magdeburg s Cathedral, in that year of 
graces, or golden year, the same Indulgences that were 
granted in Rome in the fiftieth year. The Canons had 
caused a new pulpit to be made, and when he wished to 
preach, the pulpit was ornamented with golden hangings. 
Many came to the sermon. There, on the Sunday after 
Corpus Christi, the Cardinal went with our Lord of Magde 
burg in the procession, which every year is wont to be 
made with the Holy Sacrament, and the Cardinal himself 
bore It. It never before had been heard that a Cardinal 
from Rome had gone in procession here. Tv\\> Counts of 
Anhalt accompanied the Cardinal, and the canopy over the 
Sacrament was borne by the two Counts and other dis 
tinguished persons. Our Lord of Magdeburg bore the Holy 
Cross, and the Abbot of Berge and the Provost of Our Lady s 
Church also carried relics. At this time so many people- 
came to Magdeburg that all the streets were thronged. In 
the afternoon, when it is customary every year to show the 
relics, the Cardinal and our Lord of Magdeburg went up 
the aisle and stood beside the priest who showed them, as 
long as this was going on. Then the Cardinal gave the 
Benediction to the people. "t 

The Provincial Synod, in which the Bishops of Branden 
burg and Merseburg, as well as the zealous Archbishop 
Frederick, took part, was held by the Cardinal in the choir 
of the magnificent Cathedral of Magdeburg. The Jubilee 
Indulgence and the reform of the religious orders were the 


* Grube, Legationsreise, 401. See Breest, in the Murk Fors- 
clmngen, xvi., 237 ct seq. 

t Chroniken der Dcutschen Studte, vii., 401. 


principal subjects which occupied its attention,* and Cusa 
appointed for the several towns and monasteries special 
confessors, who were empowered to absolve from all sins 
and ecclesiastical censures, even in cases reserved to the 
Bishops or to the Pope. The measures resolved upon for 
the reform of the monasteries were stringent. On the 25th 
June he issued a Bull, requiring, under pain of deprivation 
of all privileges and of the right of electing superiors, that, 
within the space of a year, all religious houses in the whole 
ecclesiastical province should be reformed, and charging 
all Bishops to publish these decisions as soon as possible, 
and to aid in their execution. Special attention was next 
devoted to the reform of the Augustinians, and, in this re 
spect, the Magdeburg Synod was the counterpart to that of 
Wiirzburg, which dealt in like manner with the Benedic 
tines. The excellent Provost Busch was honoured as he 
deserved to be. The Cardinal declared that Pope Nicholas 
V. had, in his solicitude for the Order of St. Augustine, 
given him a commission to visit all its convents within the 
limits of his Legation. Being unable to accomplish this in 
person, he intended to nominate deputies, who, in their 
character of visitors and Legates of the Holy See, were to 
enjoy all the dignities and rights of an Apostolic Legate, 
and whose commands were in all particulars to be obeyed 
by the houses. Provost Johann Busch was appointed 
in the first place as visitor by Cusa, and with him was 
associated Provost Doctor Paulus Busse, and all Augus- 
* Cusa s teaching regarding the Indulgence has been misrepre 
sented, not only by the Protestant Swalue, but also by the Catholic 
Scharpff. They have been refuted in von Knoop s article in 
Dieringers Zeitschr. fur Wissensch. und Kunst, ii., 44 et seq., and 
Grube, Legationsreise, 403. Regarding Archbishop Frederick of 
Magdeburg, who deserves a special monograph, see Eveit, 141 
et scq. ; Janicke, in the Allg. Biogr., vii., 548 et scq. ; and Breest, in 
the Mark. Forschungen, xvi., 202 et s^., 236. 


tinian convents of the province of Magdeburg, and of the 
dioceses of Halberstadt, Hildesheim, and Verdun, its suffra 
gans, were to be subject to their jurisdiction. Cusa charged 
the visitors to begin with the superior of each house, and 
to go through all its members to the very lowest, and then 
to give an accurate account in writing of the result of their 

o o 

inquiries. "They were to correct everything found to be 
at variance with the rule of the Order and the Hildesheim 
Statutes, approved by Pope Martin V. at the Council of 
Constance. In case of grave transgressions, and towards 

O O 

incorrigible offenders, they were to use strong measures, 
and even to invoke the aid of the secular arm fur the eradi 
cation of crimes and scandals." Finally, all houses that 
accepted the reform were to participate in the benefit of 
the Indulgence. Both the visitors were fully empowered 
to give absolution in reserved cases and from ecclesiastical 
censures, and to grant dispensations for all irregularities. 
They were, moreover, authorized to remove the interdict, 
and in cases where they were worthy, to confirm provosts 
and priors who had obtained their prelacies by simony, 
and to set them free from the obligation of restitution in 
regard to revenues which they had unjustly enjoyed. Any 
convent refusing to admit the visitors incurred interdict, 
and its inmates fell under the greater excommunication, 
both of which censures were reserved to the Cardinal 
Legate and the Apostolic See. By the grant of these 
powers the work of reformation, which had hitherto de 
pended only on the goodwill of the religious houses and the 
efforts of the bishops, received Papal authorization."* 

The labours of the Provincial Synod of Magdeburg were 

* Grube, J. Busch, 135-136, and Legationsreise, 404. Leibniz, 
Script., ii., 956-958. See also, regarding Busch s reforms, Finke 
in the Zeitschr. fur Schleswig-Hoistein-Lauenburg. Gesch. (Kiel, 
1883), xiii., 148 d s<.y. 


not yet at an end ; * a long list of resolutions for the 
reform of ecclesiastical affairs was drawn up ; regulations 
were made regarding the carrying of the Blessed Sacra 
ment, the office in choir, and the Jews, and finally a 
severe edict against concubinage was published.! The 
decree requiring prayers for the Pope and for the Bishop 
of the Diocese to be said during Holy Mass, issued for the 
Province of Salzburg at the beginning of Cusa s Legation, 
was now enacted at Magdeburg, and is a fresh example of 
the great Cardinal s care for the promotion of ecclesiastical 
unity. J 

A cheering token of the revival of piety in Northern 
Germany appears in the zeal, with which the Bishop and 
the secular authorities promulgated and carried out the 
decisions of the Magdeburg Synod. The visitors of the 
religious houses spared no trouble in the accomplishment 
of their difficult task, and the fact that they devoted nearly 
seven weeks to Erfurt bears witness to the thorough 
ness of their labours in the cause of monastic reform. 
The convents of St. Thomas at Leipzig and St. John 

* As Grube (Joe. a f.~), whose excellent description we may in all 
other particulars adopt, would seem to infer. 

t *Acta concilii provincialis Magdeburgensis. Cod. Vatic. 
3934, f. 1 66 d seq. (Vatican Library). See Erdmannsdorffer in the 
Nachrichten der historichen Commission der Bayerischen 
Akademie, ii., 2, 98. The ** Decree against those who had con 
cubines is dated, Magdeburg, 1451, June 25. 

J Cusa s Decree " De oracione pro papa et episcopo facienda " 
is, according to Erdmannsdorffer (loc. at.}, to be found in Cod. C. 
iii., 24, f. 140 of the Casanate Library in Rome. I failed, 
however, to find it there; there is a decree against forgers of 
Papal Bulls. Probably the reference given by Erdmannsdorffer is 
not correct ; there is a mistake in the subsequent notice by this 
scholar (Cod. Vatic, instead of Palat. 362). 


at Halberstadt were also visited and reformed this 

To this period belongs the Cardinal s well-known pro 
hibition of the veneration of bleeding Hosts, a matter 
regarding which the result of recent investigations is by no 
means unanimous. t From Halberstadt, whence this order 
was issued, the Cardinal went to Wolfenbiittel and Bruns 
wick, and then turned his steps towards Hildesheim. In 
this town he at once deposed the Abbot of St. Michael s, 
who had obtained his dignity by means of simony and was 
averse to the reform, putting in his place a monk from 
Bursfeld, and thus ensuring the strict observance of the 
rule. J Here, as elsewhere, Cusa made the religious instruc 
tion of the people his care. An interesting memorial of 
his solicitude is preserved in the Hildesheim Museum in the 
form of a wooden tablet, bearing the paternoster and the 
ten commandments, which he caused to be hung up in St. 
Lambert s, the parish church of Neustadt, as an aid to 
catechetical inst ruction. 

* Interesting details are given by Grube, J. Busch, 139 et seq. ; 
and at p. 146 et seq. the opposition subsequently encountered bv 
the reformer is described. 

f ScharpfT (164), Dux (ii., 19) and Rohrbacher-Knopfler (203) 
justify the decision, while Grube (Legationsreise 406-407) regards 
it as most unfortunate, and as prejudicial to the work of reform. 
The document is published in Wurdtwein, Nov. Subsid., xi., 382- 
^84. See also Zeitschr. f. WestfiUische Gesch., Third Series, i., 236 ; 
Fiala, 518 et seq., and the detailed account given by Breest in the 
JMiirk. Forsclmngen (Berlin, iSSi), xvi., 240 et seq. 

J Leibniz, Script., ii., 402, 412, 801. Grube, Legationsreise, 
409-410. In opposition to the idea that Cusa s monastic reform 
was merely external, Grube justly observes that most of the 
reformed convents stood firm during the storms of the sixteenth 
century. See A. Weiss, Vor der Reformation, 23. 

Grube loc. cit. From the time of his sojourn at Hildesheim, 
the Cardinal Legate began to exercise an influence on the troubles 


The Cardinal left Hildeshcim about the 20th July,* pro 
bably spent some days in the ancient and celebrated con 
vent of Corbie, and then remained in Minden uninter 
ruptedly from the 3oth July until the gth August, labouring 
with great zeal at the arrangement of ecclesiastical affairs. f 
His activity is shown by the list of rules by which he sought 

* > 

to amend the deplorable condition of the diocese. The 
convents of the city of Minden were subjected to a search 
ing visitation, especially the Benedictine Abbey of St. 
Simon, where discipline had become very relaxed. Here 
as in other places, he preached and said Mass in the 
Cathedral. He also inquired minutely into the condition 
of the Secular Clergy and the laity, and published 
ordinances for the better celebration of Divine Service 
and a severe edict against concubinage among the clergy. 
As this edict did not at once produce the desired effect, he 
caused a decree to be affixed to the church doors, threaten 
ing any beneficed ecclesiastic, who took back his concubine 
or kept her elsewhere, with the loss of his income and 
exclusion from public worship. Should the priest of any 

in Miinster. See Sauer, Miinst. Stiftsfehde, 129 ei seg. Sauer s 
work, which is founded in great measure on unpublished docu 
ments, is of special value, inasmuch as previous accounts had 
merely dealt with the ecclesiastical aspect of Cusa s mission. 

* On the i Qth July, 1451, Cusa issued at Hildesheim a *Bull of 
Indulgence in favour of the visitors and benefactors of the 
"ecclesia monasterii beate Marie virginis in Richenberga ordin. 
canonicor. regul. S. Augustini Hildeshemen. dioc." The original, 
according to the information kindly furnished me by Prof. 
Wilmanns, is in the App. dipl., n. 262, of the University Library at 

f Sauer loc. cit. 153, 173-174. The details regarding his stay 
at Corbie in Manegold s article " Athanasia," in the Wiirzburo-er 
Zeitsch. (iii., 2, 251), are defective and in some degree incorrect. 
For an account of the subsequent progress of the reform in Corbie 
see Evelt, 169 et scq. 


church permit an ecclesiastic, reasonably suspected of this 
sin, to enter his church or take part in the worship of God, 
the whole city of Minden was to incur an interdict which 
could only be removed by the Cardinal himself, or by the 
Apostolic See. The erection of new confraternities or 
congregations was prohibited, lest the laity should be 
encouraged to trust in a fallacious piety, consisting solely 
in externals and nominal membership in many brother 

While Nicholas of Cusa was thus labouring in Northern 
Germany to reform the Church from within, the celebrated 
Minorite, St. John Capistran, was energetically prosecuting 
the same work in the southern and eastern parts of the 
kingdom. King Frederick III. had, through the interven 
tion of /Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini, induced the Pope to 
send this great preacher to Germany, charged with the 
double duty of reforming his own order, and of combating 
the religious indifference, the sensuality and the spirit of 
insubordination, which had long prevailed among the 

people. t 

The Papal mandate, desiring St. John Capistran to pro 
ceed to the north, found him at Venice, where he was 
preaching the Lent. 

* Grubc, J. Busch, 153-154- See the Minden Decrees in 
\Viirdt\vein, Nov. Subsid., xi., 3 s 5-399- Kvelt > : 5 et se< l" 
describes the fate of the reform in the Abbey of St. Simon. 

f /En. Sylvius, Hist. Friderici III., 175- Wadding, 1451, n - *> 
Chmel, ii., 629. St. John Capistran was also to counteract the 
Hussite heresy; see Sybel s histor. Zeitschr., x., 60. Just at this 
time the Duke of Milan had invited him to his dominions, and, 
when the invitation was declined, had replied that he would esteem 
a visit from the Saint as the greatest happiness. *Letter from the 
Duke to St. John Capistran, dated Piacenza, 145^ October 231x1. 
Regest. in Cod. i6i2d., Fonds Ital. of the National Library in 


He immediately started on his journey to Wiener- 
Neustadt, passing through Carinthia and Styria, where the 
mountaineers welcomed him with the greatest enthusiasm. 
" Wherever he arrived," says yneas Sylvius Piccolomini 
in his History of Frederick III.* " priests and people met 
him with the holy relics, received him as ambassador of the 
Pope and preacher of truth, as a great prophet and 
messenger from heaven. The people flocked down from 
the mountains as if St. Peter or St. Paul, or some other of 
the Apostles were passing by, desiring to touch even the 
hem of his garment, and bearing their sick, many of whom 
are said to have returned healed. He was about sixty-five 
years old, small of stature, thin, withered and worn, mere 
skin and bone, but always cheerful, powerful in intellect, 
unwearied in work, very learned and eloquent. He preached 
every day, treating of high and important matters to the 
joy and delight of learned and unlearned; to all he gave 
satisfaction, and persuaded them as he would. From 
twenty to thirty thousand people came every day to his 
sermons, and although they did not understand what he 
said, listened to him with more attention than to the 
interpreter, for it was his custom first to pronounce his 
whole discourse in Latin, and afterwards he let the 
interpreter repeat it.f It was long before he could reach 
Vienna, and when at the prayer of the Viennese he at last 
came to their city, they thronged to him in such crowds 
that the streets were too narrow to hold them. Men and 

* Hist. Frid. TIL, 177 tt seq. ; Palacky, iv., i, 281 et seq. 

f In Magdeburg, as the Municipal Chronicle informs us, St. 
John Capistran s Latin sermons lasted from two to three hours. 
The like time was then occupied in their interpretation, so that the 
audience had to remain from four to five hours. Chroniken der 
Deutschen StiHtes, vii., 392. He also often, as for example in 
Frankfurt, said Mass after the sermon. See Grotefend, i., 191. 


women pressed one upon another, and when they saw "him 
they shed tears of joy, raised up their hands to heaven and 
praised him, and those who could come near him kissed his 
garments, and greeted him as a messenger from heaven. 
He took up his abode with the Minorites, his brethren in 
religion, and was supported at the expense of the city. The 
rule of life which, together with his brethren, he observed 
was the following: he slept in his habit, rose at daybreak, 
and after much prayer said holy Mass. lie then preached 
publicly to the people in Latin, from a high platform 
erected for him near the Carmelite Church on the Square, 
because elsewhere there was not room. A few hours later, 
when the interpreter also had finished, he returned to his 
convent, and after spending some time in prayer, went to 
visit the sick, laying hands on some, and touching others 
with the biretta of St. Bernardine, and the blood which 
had flowed from his nose after death. These visits occupied 
a long time, inasmuch as the sick were seldom fewer than 
five hundred, and the Saint prayed devoutly for them all. 
Towards evening he took food, gave audiences, said 
vespers, and re-turned to the sick and engaged in 
devotional exercises with them until after night had set 
in. After more prayer he at last allowed his body some 
repose, but his sleep was very short, for he stole from it 
time for the study of Holy Scripture. Thus did this man 
lead on earth what may be called a heavenly life, spotless, 
blameless, and sinless ; I boldly say sinless although people 
were not wanting who accused him of vain ambition. " * 

* As for example the Saxon Chronicler, Mathias During, " the 
enemy of the Emperor and of his ally the Papacy," who represents 
St. John Capistran as a vain boaster and deceiver (in Mencken, iii., 
19-20). The judgment of /Eneas Sylvius was also at a sub 
sequent period less favourable, and when Pope, he would not hear of 
the saint s canonization. The fanatical Doring Csee Uiimann, i., 


Preaching penance wherever he went, St. John Capistran 
proceeded from Vienna through a great part of Germany. 
At Ratisbon, Augsburg, Nuremberg, Weimar, Jena, Leipzig, 
Dresden, Halle, Magdeburg, Erfurt, Breslau and ^ many 
other places, he was unwearied in proclaiming the Word of 
God, and won thousands to a better life*. In Moravia he 
battled with the Hussite heresy and reconciled many to the 
Church, but the hostility of Podiebrad closed Bohemia 
251), in his chronicle, writes of things sacred to all devout men in 
such language that we can hardly believe our eyes as we read 
it He condemns, not merely abuses, but also here and there 
the very substance of the Catholic faith. When he deals with 
Indulgences and the Jubilee he betrays his real sentiments : " Tus 
stille, lat over gan," and scoffs at both. F. W. Woker, Gesch. der 
Norddeutschen Franciscaner-Missionen (Freiburg, 1880), 19. I 
also in reference to During, Mark. Forschungen, xvi., 198 et seq. 
am indebted to the kindness of my deceased master, Prof. Floss, 
for my knowledge of an unpublished * Letter of St. John Capistran s, 
dated, Vienna "prox. die post octavas Apost. Petri et Pauli A , 
,451 " and preserved in Cod. 510 of the University Library 01 


* Almost all the chronicles of these cities speak more or less 
fully of the visits of the great preacher. Regarding his efforts 
against the Jews, see Stobbe, Die Juden in Deutschland wahrend 
des Mittelalters (Braunschweig, 1866), 192 et seq., 291 ; the reports 
of the Striegauer Stadtbuch in the Zeitschr. fur Gesch. Schlesiens, 
1865, vi., 378 etseq. ; Mon-Polonios hist., iii. 785, et stq., iv., i et 
seq., and Griinhagen Gesch. Schlesiens (Gotha, 1884), i., 280 
et seq. Also see Veith, De reb. Capist. in Silesia gestis (Glogau, 
1831). F. C. G. Miiller, Des Franciscaners J. v. Capistrano 
Mission unter den Husiten, I45I-U53 (Leipzig, 1867). Zeitschr. 
fur Gesch. der Stadt. Dresden (1883) : Capistrano in Dresden. 
Markische Forschungen, xvi., 255 */ seq. ; Capistrano s Beziehungen 
zum Wilsnacker Wunderblut. See also Frind, iv., 37 et stq. 
may here mention in passing that, according to information kindly 
furnished me by Prof. A. Jager, a letter of affiliation from St. John 
Capistran to the Abbot and religious of the Convent of \ 
dated Wratislavise, i453 A P ril I2th > was to be found m the 


to him. The Cardinal of Cracow and King Casimir invited 
him to Poland, where he continued his labours.* 

His own order derived great benefits from his untiring 
energy. He knew how to arouse the zeal of the German 
Princes and cities. In most of the places where he preached 
he either founded a new convent, or obtained for his Obser- 
vantiries possession of one which required reform. It 
was his special care to fill these houses with learned novices 
who had been won, by his preaching, from among the 
undergraduates and students in the university towns. t He 
strove earnestly in his innumerable discourses to awaken 
among the people a spirit of true penance and moral 
reformation. Success crowned his efforts, and in many 
places men and women brought their dice, cards, false hair, 
paint, and such like to the public market place and there 
burned them. " In the year 1454," says an Augsburg 
chronicle, " Brother John Capistran, of the bare-footed 
Order, preached here in the church of our Lady, after 
Mass in the morning about the sixth hour, from the 
pulpit which had been erected for him, and he did this for 
eight days together. The men all had to sit on one side 
and the women on the other, and after dinner, towards 
evening, he touched all sick people in the court with the 
Relic of St. Bernardine. Many tresses of false hair and a 

Provincial Archives of the Tyrol ese Franciscans at Schwaz ; it 
subsequently passed into the Archives of Hall and Innsbruck ; the 
kind exertions of Fr. A. Troger have been unsuccessful in dis 
covering the present place of this valuable document. 

* Caro, iv., 455 ft seg., and Palacky, iv., i, 285 d seg., 292 tt 
seq., 360. 

t Voigt in Sybel s histor. Zeitschr., x., 56. See Chmel, Kirchl. 
Zustiinde, 75. * Fratri Joh. de Capistrano conceditur facultas 
Ecdificandi conventus orcl. min. in Bohemia, Moravia et Austria dat. 
iv. non Maii a 1453, P. A. vii. Reg. 400, f. 690., Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. 



pile of gambling tables and cards were burnt in the market 


In many places St. John s preaching produce- 
which, though supported by ample testimony, appear almost 
incredible. In Leipzig, for example, after he had preached 
on death with a skull in his hand, nearly a hundred and 
twenty students sought admission into different Religious 
Orders, about half the number being clothed by the 
preacher himself with the habit of St. Francis. Fifty 
young men were won for his Order in Vienna, and a hundred 
and thirty in Cracow, and many of these were students 
The Pope showed his esteem for this marvellous preacher 
by bestowing on him special faculties and granting 
indulgences to all who should attend his sermons. 
popularly known as the "holy man" or "ghostly father." 

Meanwhile the zealous Nicholas of Cusa had in the brief 
space of six months traversed the most important districts 
of his native land, leaving everywhere traces of his presence 
in beneficent regulations which encouraged the good and 
were a terror to the evil. He now turned his steps to the 
spot whence monastic reform in Northern Germany had, 
in the first instance, proceeded, and where many of the 
happy days of his youth had been spent.]] Amid general 
rejoicings he entered Deventer on the i2th August, and 

* Chronikcn der Deutschen Suidte, iv., 325 5 see vii " 39 I -39 2 - 
The painter Steinle has represented these effects of the sermons m 
a picture in the Cathedral at Frankfort, which city the saint visited 
in October 14.54- (See G. L. Kriegk, Deutsch Burgerthum im 
Mittelalter [Frankfurt, 1868], 23, 342, 526, 566, and Grot tend, 

* ^SeelLT Grate in Illgens Zeitschr. fur histor. Thcol. (1839;, 
is., 69, and Voigt in Sybel s histor. Zeitschr., x., 56. 

J Grotefend, i., 191. 

Hartzheim, Vita, 82. 

|1 Scharpff, 167-168. 


took up his abode with his beloved brethren in religion. It 
was his delight to share the common life of those virtuous 
religious; he ate with them, though occupying a special 
seat in conformity with his dignity, and observed the 
monastic rule in every particular. In the afternoon, when 
the brethren were assembled in choir, he delighted them 
with an edifying discourse. While here the Cardinal also 
visited Windesheim, where he iirst delivered a strikino- 
sermon, and then proceeded to the church, solemnly 
celebrated Pontifical High Mass, and imparted to all 
present the Indulgences of the Jubilee.* Cusa spent more 
than two months in the Low Countries, visiting Deventer, 
Zwolle, Utrecht, Haarlem, Levden, Arnheim, Xvinwe^en 

*" J t> 

Ruremonde, Mastricht, Liege, Brussels, and most other 
places of importance. f His attention was everywhere 
devoted not only to monastic reform, but also to that of 
the people. Van Heilo, his contemporary and assistant, 
writes : " He not only everywhere admonished and punished 
ecclesiastics, and required them to amend, but also in his 
sermons instructed the other members of Christian society 
in all things necessary, so that many, of high as well as of 
low estate, laity as well as clergy, were greatly moved in 
spirit by his words. "| 

* Binlerim, vii., 264-266. The prosperity of the Windesheim 
Congregation is evidenced by the fact that, according to Grube ([. 
Busch, 283 et se i."), up to the year 1464, it numbered sixty-four 
convents of men and thirteen of women. 

f Scharpff, 183, and more particularly Saner, 174 et scq. In 
dealing with Cusa s journeys through the Low Countries, we feel the 
want of a work similar to that in which Grube lias so thoroughly 
informed us of the particulars of his progress through Northern 
Germany. Kampen (i., 214-216) gives but scanty details, and 
Wenzelburger, Gesch. der Niederl. (Gotha, 1879), i., hardly 
mentions Cusa. 

Swalue, 59-60, in Scharpff, 179. When in Holland, the 
Cardinal did not forget his own native land. From Ueventer lie 


Cusa then passed through Luxembourg to enjoy, at his 
own beautiful home, and among his own people, a short 
period of well-earned repose. It is related that when his 
sister Clara came to welcome him at Treves, at the end of 
October, in festal array, he would not receive her until she 
had resumed her simple ordinary dress.* 

A foundation, whose origin dates from the Cardinal s 
sojourn with his family, still keeps alive the memory of his 
charity and of his affection for his home. He entered into 
an agreement with his brother John, the parish priest of 
Bernkastel, and his sister Clara for the establishment at 
Cues of a hospital where, in honour of the thirty-three 
years of our Lord s life, thirty-three poor people were to 
be provided for. The means required for the foundation 
were to be derived from the property of the family and 
from the Cardinal s revenues. " Perhaps," says one of 
Cusa s biographers, " this was the noblest of the fruits 
brought forth by the Church s summons to penance and 
satisfaction. The offering of this Christian family at Cues, 
with the preacher of the Jubilee in its midst, is in the 
genuine spirit of Christianity, and has been richly blessed 
by God."f 

promulgated a salutary decree for the reform of the clergy of the 
dioceses of Minden and Osnaburgh (Wiirdtwein, Nov. Subsid., 
xi., 399-400). 

* Hartzheim, Vita, 133. The monument of Cusa s sister is still 
to be seen in the Hospital Church at Cues. 

f Scharpff, 184. See Dux, ii., 42, 233 et seg., Martini, Das 
Hospital zu Cues und dessen Stifter (Trier, 1841). The date of 
the hospital s erection is uncertain, but its existence is mentioned in 
a Bull of Indulgence granted by Nicholas V. on the ist May, 1453. 
Scharpff, 382. By his will, Cusa, after some few other bequests, left 
to the hospital all his gold and silver plate, as well as the valuable 
collection of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin MSS., which he had 
collected during his repeated residences in, and visits to Italy and 



The conclusion of Cusa s labours in Germany is marked 
by the great Provincial Councils of Mavence and Cologne, 

J O * O 

which brought the blessings of reform within the immediate 
reach of his own home.* 

The Provincial Council of Mayence was opened in the 
middle of November, 1451, and lasted for several weeks. t 
The resolutions which it framed may be summed up as 
follows: The edict of the Council of Basle regarding the 
holding of Provincial and Diocesan Synods was adopted. 
In these Synods the treatise of St. Thomas Aquinas, on 
the Articles of Faith and the Holy Sacraments" was to 
be explained to those entrusted with the cure of souls and 
to be recommended as a useful handbook. A decree was 
passed dealing with the usurious practices of the Jews, and 
another regarding concubinage amongst the clergy, who 
were to be made subject to the penal laws passed at Basle. 

Greece (Martini, loc. cit. 15 el sey.). Some idea of the importance 
of Cusa s library may be gathered from the fact that, although many 
of its treasures have been lost, it still contains three hundred and 
seven M3S. ; see Klein, Ueber eine Handschrift des Nic. v. Cusa 
(Berlin, 1866), 5, and the excellent Catalogue by Kraus in the 
Serapeum, xxv., 353-365, 369-383; xxvi., 24-51, 33-42, 49-59, 
65-76, 81-89, 97-100. Codices from Cues are to be found in the 
Bibliotheque de Bourgogne at Brussels (as, for example, 3819, 
8873-8877, 9799-9809, 10615-10729; Serapeum, xxiv., 52, and 
A.rchiv, viii., 46, 517 tt seq., 531); in the British Museum, 
London (a special work treating of these will appear) ; also in Paris 
and in Vienna; see Serapeum, iv., 108 ; xxiv., 52, and Klein loc. cit. 

* The reasons why the Cardinal issued no reforming Decrees 
for the Diocese of Troves is given by Binterim (vii., 282), who 
refers to the reforms which Archbishop Jakob had already accom 
plished there. See J. J. Blattau, Statuta Synod. Trev., i., 309, and 
Evelt, 146. 

t Binterim, 276 el seq. During the sitting of this Council a 
libellous tract on the Indulgence, alms, and other matters was found 
before Cusa s door. Gorz, Trier. Regest., i., a. a. See Gebhardt, 
3 et seq. 


The holding of markets on Sundays and festivals and the 
abuse of Indulgences were forbidden, as also the erection 
of fresh confraternities to the prejudice of the public 
worship in the parish churches. The sentence of interdict 
was limited by a very wise resolution. In order to keep 
up respect for the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, 
It was to be exposed only on the festival of Corpus Christ! 
and during its octave. Other decrees had reference to 
abuses in nomination to posts in cathedrals and collegiate 
churches, and others again prescribed monastic reforms.* 

An important mission now removed Cusa for a time from 
the scene of his labour. Bulls from Rome commanded 
him in August, 1451 to proceed to England, and also to 
visit the territories of the Duke of Burgundy, and there, 
as well as in the adjacent countries, to endeavour to 
establish that peace which the ever-increasing clanger of 
Turkish invasion rendered so necessary to Christendom. t 
* Dux, ii., 43-44; see Fiala, 516 et seq. The text of the 
decrees is given in Hartzheim, v., 398-412, and Martene, Coll., 
viii., 1005 ft seq., and in *Cod. Palat. (not Vatic., as Erdmanns- 
dorffer states in the Nachrichten der histor. Commission, ii., 2, 98, 
for this Codex contains Epistoke S. Hieronymi), 362, f. I26a-i5oa, 
Vatican Library. I found in a contemporary copy in Cod. ii., 219, 
of the town library at Mayence, a number of decrees by which 
" Hermanns Rosenberg decret. doctor, scolasticus ecclesie S. Marie 
ad gradus Mogunl., rev " 1 in Christo patris et domini domini 
Theodorici archiepisc. Mogunt. in spiritualib. vicarius generalis ac 
commissarius et executor ad infrascripla ab eodem domino 
archiepiscopo spec, deputatus " charges the clergy to observe the 
decrees of the Provincial Council confirmed by Cusa ; I shall 
speak more fully of these documents in their proper place. 

t d Estouleville was sent at the same time to France ; see supra, 
p. 104. Also Georgius, 89, 92. Tubing. Quartalschr., 1830, p. 
792-795 (Bull to Cusa of i 5 th Aug., MS 1 )- Four * Bulls dated 
Rome, 1451, Sept. 23, giving Cusa a list of faculties for his mission to 
England, are in the original in the Municipal Archives at Innsbruck. 
(Brixen Archives, n. 311-314). See also App., No. 8a. 


In one of these Bulls, Nicholas V. expresses his confidence 
that Cusa will, by the exercise of that circumspection and 
prudence which God has bestowed on him, bring about the 
much desired peace and become worthy to receive the 
palm of glory by which God rewards peacemakers. But 
national animosity was too powerful, and a truce was the 
utmost that could be obtained.* Having returned to 
Germany he resumed his work by summoning a Provincial 
Svnod to meet at Cologne. This assembly sat fiom the 
24th February until the 8th March. Its decisions were 
substantially the same with those of the Synod of 
Mavencc, t and Cusa joined to their publication the 
following beautiful words, " By the influence of Divine 
love and the power of the Apostolic Spirit, which, 
according to the testimony of St. Jerome, never 
* ScharpfT, n/>. Cusa docs not seem to have reached England; 
see Binterim, vii., 267 et sc/j. 

f Saner, 166; Binterim, vii., 280-281 et seq., there are some 
very good remarks on the effects of the Cologne Decrees. Alter 
the conclusion of his embassy in Germany Cusa, in Apiil, I45 2 > 
resumed the government of his diocese, and devoted special care 
to monastic reform, which brought him into conflict with Duke 
Sigismund. I shall speak of these differences in connection with 
Pius II. In lane, 1452, the Cardinal took part in the Diet of 
Rati.bon (see Palacky, iv., i, 294 it sc<;.). On the n/.h August his 
mission to Bohemia was extended to the adjoining countries 
(*Reg. 399, f- 2cSi)., Secret Archives of the Vatican). In the end 
of October the Pope sent him to Emperor Frederick III., to 
reconcile him with the young King Ladislas. See Appendix, No. 
10 and ii. Jager s conjecture (i., 42) that Cusa arrived in Brixen 
on the i6th April, 1452, is a mistake, for a "Letter from the Cardinal 
to the Prior monasterii b* c Marie Virginis in Richcnberge ordinis 
S 11 Augustini canon, rcgul. prope Goslariam Ilildesemcn dioec," 
about monastic reforms is dated " in civitate nostra Brixinen. sub 
nostro sigillo die clecima quinta mensis Aprilis A I45 2 -" The 
original with a well preserved seal attached is in the University 
Library at Gb uingen. Appar. dipl. n. 263. 


forsakes the chair of St. Peter, and at the present time 
devotes itself with special solicitude to feeding the flock 
of Christ, it has come to pass that our Holy Father, Pope 
Nicholas V., has cast his eyes on this great province of 
Cologne, and has sent us, although the least of all the 
Cardinals of the Sacred College, here, to see how you, 
brethren, his beloved sons, advance in the way of the Lord. 
Let us, therefore, thank God, who has collected us together 
for the promotion of holiness, and in order that by mutual 
consultation things may take a better direction. And as 
you are here assembled, most worthy Archbishop Dietrich,* 
together with the honourable chapter and the representa 
tives of the Suffragans, the worthy Abbots, Provosts, 
Deans, Canons, and other religious learned Priests and 
Masters in great number, it appears to me that the moment 
has come when from deliberate, ample, and common con 
sultation a profitable result may ensue. For the sake of a 
better understanding, I think it well to premise that by 
these resolutions we do not in any way prejudice any 
apostolic ordinances published by ourselves or other 
Legates, nor repeal any provincial or diocesan decrees 
and laudable customs whatever they may be (in so far as 
they shall not be amended or limited by the decisions we 
are now about to publish) nor allow the authority of the 
Holy See or its Legate, or of the Metropolitan and his 
Suffragans, or any rights, liberties, privileges, and immunities 
to be in any way impaired. We shall study to maintain 
the proved right of each one. Moreover, for the sake of 
carrying some measure of reform into the affairs of the 
Church, until God grants us more fitting time for more 
careful consultation, we, Nicholas, Cardinal and Legate, 
etc., in virtue of our ample power presiding over this Holy 

* Dietrich II., Archbishop of Cologne, from 1414 to 1463 ; see 
Corbanus in the Allgem. Biogr., 179-182. 


Provincial Council, according to the express consent of the 
worthy Lord and Father in Christ, Lord Dietrich, Arch 
bishop o[ Cologne, presiding conjointly with us, of his 
reverend Chapter and his Suffragans, and the unanimous 
approval of the whole Synod conclude and ordain as 
follows,"* etc. 

The work clone by Cardinal Cusa as Legate in Germany 
and the Low Countries may be looked upon as the mobt 
glorious of his well-spent life, and all honour is due to the 
Holy Sue for the selection of an instrument so well-fitted 
to accomplish a task of rare difficulty. f Truly to use the 
words of Abbot Trithemius,]: " Nicholas of Cusa appeared 
in Germany as an angel of light and peace, amidst dark 
ness and confusion, restored the unity of the Church, 
strengthened the authority of her Supreme Head, and 
sowed a precious seed of new life. Some of this, on 
account of the hardheartedness of men, has not grown up, 
some has brought forth blossoms which from sloth and 
negligence have quickly disappeared, but a good part has 
borne fruit in which we still rejoice. Cusa was a man of 
faith and of love, an apostle of devotion and knowledge. 
His mind embraced all provinces of human knowledge, but 
all his knowledge was from God, and its sole object was 
the glory of God and the edification and amendment of 

* Ilartzheim, v., 413. ScharpfT, 196 et sfj. 

t Rohrbacher-Knopfler, 204. " From the time when the ardour 
of Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa inaugurated a new epoch," says 
Janssen (i, gih ed., 591), "a fresh impulse of life and reform was 
given to the German Church." See Droysen, ii., 1139. 

J Trithemius, De vera studiorum ratione, f. 2, in Janssen (i,9th 
ed.), 4- 



i45 2 - 

THE same pontificate which witnessed the abdication of 
the last anti-Pope, and the healing of the Schism of Basle, 
witnessed also the last coronation of an Emperor in Rome. 
Ever since the conclusion of the Concordat at Vienna, 
Frederick III. had set his heart on a visit to Rome. He 
desired that the reconciliation thus effected between him 
self and the Pope should be sealed by his solemn coronation 
as Emperor in the Holy City. In spite of the almost 
universal contempt for authority of every sort which had 
prevailed for the last ten years and more perhaps, indeed 
for that very reason, a reaction in favour of the Empire 
seemed setting in amongst a certain portion of 
the nations.* Thus, the less Frederick felt him 
self personally strong enough to assert his rights and 
bring his surroundings into subjection, the more eagerly 
did he seek compensation in the prestige that the corona 
tion would confer on him. It was towards the close of the 
year 1449 that the thought of his journey to Rome began 
first to be seriously entertained at the Royal Court ;f but 
nothing was done. Frederick s position was such as to 
render his absence from Germany inexpedient, and the 
disturbed condition of northern Italy, consequent on the 
death of the last of the Visconti, was not inviting. The 
* Chmcl, ii., 622, t Keussen, Reichsstiidte, 50. 


execution of the plan was therefore deferred, but it was 
not relinquished. 

Later on the project of a marriage between the king of 
the Romans and Donna Leonora, daughter of the King 
of Portugal, was added to that of the coronation. In 
September. 1450, /Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini was des 
patched to Italy to enter into negotiations with King 
Alfonso, Leonora s maternal uncle, for this alliance, and 
with the Pope for the coronation. With his accustomed 
dexterity, /Eneas Sylvius successfully accomplished both 
commissions, and then Frederick began in good earnest 
and with unwonted energy to make his preparations both 
for the journey and for the reception of his bride. He 
issued an invitation and requisition to the Princes of the 
Empire, the Imperial cities, and all the nobles and loyal 
subjects in his hereditary dominions, in compliance with 
ancient usage, to attend him on his journey to Rome. 
The place of meeting was to be Austria fc , the Austrians 
and Bohemians, Carinthia for the Hungarians and Bavarians, 
Ferrara for the Suabians, the inhabitants of the Rhenish 
province s, and the Saxons. - Accordingly in his invitation 
to the Imperial cities, Cologne, Frankfort, and Strasburg, 
Frederick says that it is his will " to proceed to Rome/ in 
order there to receive the Imperial Crown, and requests the 
above-named cities to provide him with an escort such as 
their laudable ancient customs bind them to supply to the 
King of the Romans." lie will himself set forth" so as 

* Chmel, ii., 634. See Bayer, 96 ; and 91 et stq., for proof that 
the statements of Pecci (322) and Voigt (ii., 17) in regard to the 
nomination of yEneas Sylvius to the bishopric of Siena are false ; 
Bayer has not noticed that the Papal Brief of Sept. 2311!, 1450, 
relating to this has been printed in Theiner (Mon. Slav., i., 406- 
407). On Donna Leonora see Birk s interesting paper in the 
Almanach der K. Akad. der Wissenschaft. Wien (1859), ^ x -> 


to be at Ferrara by St. Catherine s day (November 25th), 
from which city he " purposes to start on his progress to 
Rome." He therefore requests, and " in virtue of his 
authority as King of the Romans, solemnly enjoins and 
commands," that the said escort shall be sent by that day 
to Ferrara, " thoroughly equipped and well provided," as 
is fitting "in order to accompany him on the said journey, 
for the honour of the Holy Roman Empire and his own."* 

In March, 1451, Frederick sent two of his court chap 
lains, Jacob Motz and Nicholas Lanckmann, to Lisbon, to 
effect the formal ratification of his marriage contract. 
They were also commissioned to conduct the future 
Empress as far as the Tuscan part of Telamone, where a 
royal envoy w^ould meet and receive her.f 

But, when it became evident that Frederick was 
seriously intending to proceed to Italy, the obstacles to 
the realization of his purpose multiplied daily. Not only 
were there symptoms in Austria of a dangerous agitation 
against his wardship of the young King Ladislas Posthumus, 
but the commotion stirred up in Italy also by the news of 

* *Fred. III. to Cologne, dated Neustadt, 1451, Sept. 10. Im 
perial Documents in City Archives, Cologne. See Keussen, 50 et seq. 
The corresponding letter to Frankfort is to be found in abstract in 
Janssen, Reichscorrespondenz, ii., 114. The Emperor s letter to 
Strasburg is, according to Ebrard (3), dated Sept. nth; that to 
George von Herberstein, Sept. 23. See Chmel, Reg. No. 2721. 

t See Lanckmann de Falkenstein, Historia desponsationis et 
coronationis Frid. III. et conjugis ipsius Eleonorae, in Fez, Script, 
rer. Austr., ii., 591-606. This highly interesting narrative beginning 
with the words " O sacrum imperium," shows that the insigni 
ficance of the Empire in the later middle ages has been much 
exaggerated. " Nothing is a greater proof," says Lorenz, ii., 2nd 
ed., 282, " of the immense consideration still enjoyed by the 
Empire even in the remotest parts of Europe, than the account of 
the reception of the ambassadors in Portugal, and the whole history 
of the marriage." 


his impending arrival was amazing. So great was the 
alarm of the timid Pope Nicholas V. that he entreated 
Heinrich Senftleben, then on his way to Germany, to do 
his utmost to persuade Frederick to desist from his purpose. 
But the King now displayed that singular stubbornness in his 
nature which made him blind to all dangers until they were 
actually upon him.* Regardless of the embarrassments 
he might be leaving to his counsellors, and of anything that 
might happen when his back was turned, t he set his face 
Romewards more resolutely than ever, and all attempts 
to dissuade him were still further frustrated by the changed 
attitude of the Pope, who, reassured by the representations 
of /Eneas Sylvius, and perhaps also influenced by other 
considerations, now favoured his project. He sent him a 
safe conduct and a cordial letter, warmly expressing the 
pleasure he felt at the prospect of soon greeting the King 
in Rome. Meanwhile the worst news continued to arrive 
from Austria. /Eneas Sylvius in his narrative emphasizes 
the fact that several of those who accompanied Frederick 
urgently besought him to put off his journey and return at 
once to Vienna to nip the impending insurrection in the 
bud. But the King was determined to " cross the Alps." J 
It was at Canale, ist January, 1452, that his foot first 
pressed the soil of Italy. The young King Ladislas rode 
by his side, and the Bohemians, the Hungarians, and his 

* Voigt, Enea Silvio, ii., 32. 

t Ebrard, ii. On Oct. 2 */Eneas Sylvius wrote from Vienna 
to Jacobo de Tholomeis de Senis, " Quia ser mus dominus noster 
Rex Romanorum intendit in brevi Ytaliam venire ac Romam ire 
pro corona, volui id tibi significare : " he was to inform the 
Marquess of Ferrara of this. Cl. x., dist. 4, n. 22, f. 76, State 
Archives, Florence. 

J /En. Sylvius, Hist. Frid., iii., p. 193 et sey. ; see Bayer., 103 et 
seq., 108 d seq., 118 et seq. The Pope s safe conduct, dated Dec. 
17, 1451, is to be found in Chmel, Reg. App. No. 92. 


brother, Duke Albert, with his Suabians, had already joined 
the Royal party at Villach. 

Frederick s suite was neither numerous nor brilliant. In 
all he had not more than two thousand two hundred men, 
and of these only Albert, Ladislas, and the Bishops of 
Ratisbon, Gurk, and Trent were of princely rank. Never 
theless, to avoid all possible occasion of umbrage, even 
this insignificant force was divided, and advanced in 
separate bands ! The alarmists in Italy, who had hitherto 
expressed so much consternation at the prospect of his 
royal progress, were silenced perforce, and in fact the 
reception accorded to the harmless pilgrim was everywhere 
both friendly and splendid. The republic of Venice, 
through whose territory Frederick first entered Italy, spared 
no pains to welcome the future Emperor with befitting 
honours. Gaspard Enenkel, the imperial councillor, says 
that " the King crossed all the canals from Tervis to Padua 
on new bridges erected by the republic expressly for the 
occasion. There was the King right worshipfully enter 
tained by all the people, clergy and laity, rich and poor, 
men, women, and children, all falling on their knees, 
praising him and doing him homage; truly if God Himself 
had come down from heaven they could hardly have done 
Him more honour, and all the King s costs were defrayed 
by the Venetians, till he came to the country of the 
Marquess of Verona."* 

His reception in Ferrara by the Marquess Borso d Este 
was exceptionally magnificent. This wealthy prince hoped 
that Frederick would make him a duke, and to display 
his liberality he not only defrayed all the King s own 
expenses during his stay in Ferrara, but also those 
of the Suabians, Franconians, and Germans from the 
Rhenish Provinces, who had preceded him there. The 

* Enenkel, I34-I35- 


entertainment of the envoys from the city of Strasburg 
gives a specimen of the splendour of his hospitality. 
He sent sixteen different kinds of wine, as much bread 
as two servants could carry, ten chests of confectionery, 
three of wax lights, thirty capons, two live calves, 
and provender enough to load ten men. The chiefs of the 
party, Burkhardt von Miilnheim and his son, received each 
a splendid gold ring set with gems, and a costly rosary. * 
From the moment of Frederick s arrival on the lyth January 
a succession of various entertainments, pageants, balls, 
tournaments, etc., began, and were uninterruptedly con 

In the midst of these festivities a less agreeable event 
occurred in the unexpected arrival of Galeazzo Maria 
Sforza, eldest son of the Duke of Milan, whose title 
Frederick had refused to recognize. This was on January 
23rd. lie was accompanied by his uncle Alessandro 
Sforxa, and a brilliant retinue of Lombard nobles. lie 
brought rich presents from his father of horses and 
weapons for the future Emperor, and saluted him in a 
speech "as long as two chapters of St. John s Gospel." 
T .ie Duke of Milan had instructed Filelfo, a man in high 
repute for his skill in such compositions, to prepare this 
address, and gave him minute directions as to its length, 
matter, and arrangement. t Galeazzo s audience took place 
on the 24th. The Duke s little son delivered his oration so 
admirably that not only the Germans, but the Italians also 
were amazed. " One would have thought," wrote Ales- 

* *Lcttcr of the Secretary John to the Council of Strasburg, 
dated Florence on St. Stephen s Day (December 26th), 1451, in 
the Strasburg City Archives (a. a. n. 202). See Fhrard, 9-10. On 
the festivities at Ferrara, see Joh. Ferrariensis in Muratori, xx., 463, 
and Diario Ferrar., 198. 

f I3user, 55. On Fred. III. at Ferrara, see also Frizzi, Memo., 
14-15, and Magenta, i., 450. 


sandro Sforza to his brother, "that one was listening to a 
practised orator of thirty, and he is but eight years old. 
Everybody wondered at the child, and the King himself 
expressed his satisfaction."* Alessandro assured Frederick 
of his brother s loyal devotion, and besought him to visit 
Milan on his homeward journey. The King declined the 
invitation, but courteously, for he knew only too well that 
he had no power to enforce his imperial rights against 

Sforza s usurpation, t 

"After this" (24th January), says Enenkel, "the King 
proceeded to Bologna, which is a great and strong city 
belonging to the Pope, who has a legate there who is a 
cardinal, and resides in the palace with many retainers. 
There is also a bishop there, and an old university having 
many students, and a broad and handsome square with 
great gates. The cardinal with all his retinue, and the 
bishop, with his clergy, and the university, and the burghers 
and all the people rode forth to meet the King, and received 
him with the greatest honour, and placed his throne under 
a canopy in the bishop s court. Also they supplied him 
with more than enough of everything that he could want, 
and he had free quarters at all the inns."J 

From Bologna Frederick crossed the Apennines to 
Florence. /Eneas Sylvius draws a vivid picture of the 

* Alessandro Sforza to the Duke of Milan. Ferrara, Jan. 25, 
1452. Original in Cod. 1586, p. 30-31, Fonds Ital. National 
Library, Paris. 

t Besides the letter already quoted, see *Despatches of Gabriele 
da Narni to Fr. Sforza, Ferrara, January 24th, 1452, loc. at., p. 29, 
in the National Library, Paris. This narrator says that the whole 
Court was amazed at the presents from Milan, which were valued 
at 4,000 ducats. Many other papers relating to the mission of 
Galeazzo Maria are also preserved in this collection, which is taken 
from the Milanese Archives. 

f Enenkel, 135. 


rapture of the Germans at the enchanting loveliness of the 
landscape on which they gazed from these heights, and 
especially of their appreciation of the stately beauty of 
the city. The reception here was even more magnificent 
than at Ferrara and Bologna. " The Florentines received 
him right royally. There were upwards of a thousand 
horsemen splendidly attired in silk and gold, velvet and 
scarlet ; and all knelt before him and gave him the keys of 
their gates, humbly declaring themselves and all their goods 
to be the King s, and that he might do, and ordain, and 
command there as he willed, being their rightful and 
natural lord, since they belonged to him and to the Holy 
Roman Empire. The clergy came to meet him outside 
the city, bearing the Host, and all knelt, and with them 
noble ladies and maidens, all decked out and adorned in 
the best that they had, and all received the King on their 
knees, and with them a multitude of the common folk, men, 
women, and children. " * 

We see how great was the reverence still felt for the 
Roman Empire; but Frederick was, neither in power nor 
character, a fitting representative of the highest temporal 
dignity in Christendom. This fact did not escape the 
notice of the Italian envoys who accompanied him. On 
this point we have most interesting testimony, drawn from 
this very sojourn in Florence. Sceva de Curte, Sforza s. 
ambassador, who was commissioned to invite the King to 

* Enenkel, loc. elf. 135. Bayer (129) had already noticed 
/Eneas Sylvius s error in making FreJerick enter Florence on the 
2 1 st January. Tlie true date is the soth, given by Niccola della 
Tuccia (215). Muratori (Annali, 1452) also names this day, with 
a reference to St. Antoninus, in whom, however, I cannot find the 
passage. Frederick left Florence on the 6th March. See dis 
patches of Sceva de Curte to Fr. Sforza, dat. Florence, February 
7th, 1452. Fonds Ital., 1586, p. 41, in the National Library, 



Milan, there to receive the crown of Lombardy, found it 
extremely difficult to obtain an audience ; it seemed more 
important to Frederick to choose presents for his bride 
than to attend to public affairs. He spent all his time in look 
ing at pearls and jewels, gold and velvet dresses, silken 
and woollen stuffs, " as if he had been a pedlar." " He 
buys little or nothing," says this ambassador, " and mean 
while he keeps the Signoria of this noble city, the Lord 
Carlo di Arezzo, many burghers, the ambassadors from 
Siena, and the Marquess of Ferrara waiting from morning 
till night, so that all Florence laughs at him, which I much 


It was in Florence, also, that the Papal Legates, charged 
with the Holy Father s greetings, joined the King ; one was 
Calandrini, step-brother to the Pope, the other Frederick s 
old acquaintance, Carvajal.f 

Siena was the next stage in the journey, and it was there 
that the future Emperor and his bride met for the first 
time. After a long and perilous voyage she had arrived at 

* *Despatches from Sceva de Curte to Fr. Sforza, Florence, 
February 4 th, 1452. See Buser, 56, and *Despatches from Nic- 
colo Arcemboldi, Sceva de Curte, and Jacopo Trivulzio to the 
same, of the same date. Fonds Ital., 1586, p. 35 and 36, in the 
National Library, Paris. 

t In the *Acta Consistorialia (Secret Arch, of the Vatican), the 
despatch of the Legates is not mentioned ; on the other hand, in a 
*Despatch from Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, dat. Rome, January 18, 
1452 (Cod. Z., 219 Sup. in the Ambrosian Library at Milan), I 
found that both had been chosen on the i;th January. On the 27th 
January the Pope announced their coming to Frederick ; see Chmel, 
Reg- App., No. 93. According to Columbanus (523), they left 
Rome on the 3Oth January and arrived at Florence on the 4th 
February. This latter statement is corroborated by the despatch 
from the three Milanese Ambassadors of February 4th (Joe. cit. 
National Library, Paris). 


Leghorn on February 2nd. In front of the Porta Camullia 
a marble pillar, bearing the arms of the Roman Empire and 
of Portugal, still marks the spot where the scene took place, 
which, later, was immortalized by Pinturicchio s pencil. 
/Eneas Sylvius witnessed, and thus describes it : " When 
the Emperor first caught sight of his bride in the distance, 
he turned pale, for her stature appeared to him too low. 
But when she drew near, and he beheld her beautiful 
countenance and dignified bearing, his colour returned and 
he smiled, for he saw that he had not been deceived, and 
that his bride was even more lovely than report had made 
her. She was sixteen years of age, of middle height, with 
an open brow, black and sparkling eyes, a very white neck, 
and a faint colour in her cheeks. Her form was perfect, but 
her beauty was eclipsed by the gifts of her mind." 

All the resources of that festive art in which the Italy of 
the Renaissance so excelled were displayed for the enter 
tainment of the noble pair during their stay in Siena.* 

At first sight the alarm displayed by Nicholas at the 
approach of so pacific a guest seems incomprehensible. 
By his command all the defences of the city were set in 
order, the guards were doubled at the gates, the Capitol, and 
the Castle of St. Angclo, and in addition to this, the Pope 
had sent for two thousand mercenaries and appointed 
thirteen district marshals to keep watch over all parts of 

* ALn. Sylvius, Hist. Frid. III., p. 269-270. See L incontro di 
Federigo III. con Elconora di Portogallo sua novella sposa ed il 
loro soggiorno in Siena. Narrazione per Luigi Fumi e Aless. 
Lisini (Siena, 1868). The statement that the Florentines had 
hoped that they might have entertained Frederick and Leonora 
together in their city, for which /Eneas Sylvius is the only authority 
(see Bayer, 130), is confirmed by the *Despatches of the three 
Milanese Ambassadors of February 41!), 1452 (Joe. tit,, National 
Library, Paris). 


the city.* Why all these precautions? Was the Pope 
really afraid of Frederick ? It seems more probable that 
what Nicholas feared was not Frederick, but certain 
dangerous elements in Rome itself, where the republican 
party was again beginning to stir. An Emperor who 
would be almost always absent was a more acceptable 
master to these people than a Pope whose rule, however 
mild, was an ever present restraint. Thus it appears likely 
that the motive, which induced the Pope to desire his 
Legates to obtain from Frederick at Siena a sworn promise 
that he would respect the Papal rights, was rather mistrust 
of the loyalty of the Romans than any doubt of the Em 
peror s good faith. Nicholas knew the weakness of his 
character, and hoped thus to guard against the danger of 
the pressure which might be put upon him from certain 
quarters to induce him to assume the government of the 
city _ t We s hall still better understand the Pope s anxiety 

* Infessura, 1133; Nic. della Tuccia, 216, *Despatches from 
Donatus de Donatis to Florence, d.d. ex urbe Romae, xviii. Jan., 
14-1 (st. fl.) ; Braccio di Baglioni el quale estato qui circa un mese, 
mi disse ogg i havere havuto incomandamente dal Papa andare a 
mettere in ordine la sua compagnia per poter fare quello gli sara 
comandato et che questo medesimo e suto mandato dire aglaltri 
condottieri. Stimasi gli fara venire tutti con le loro compagn.e 
presso a Roma. Cl. x., dist. 2, n. 22, f. 8. Florentine State 


f Chmel, ii., 704, 705- ^Eneas Sylvius is the only authority for 
this demand of the Pope s and Frederick s reluctance at first to 
comply with it. See Gengler, Ueber A. Silvius (Erlangen, 1860), 
22 As to the formula of the oath, see Bayer, 131, note i. That 
many in Rome expected the King to arrive there earlier is plain 
from a *letter of Cardinal Scarampo to Onorato Gaetani, Rome, 
February 7th 1452 : "El Re de Romani sera infra pochi di a 
Roma per pigliar la corona et mi pare che a questo singolare acto 
si degia retrovare el nostro m Filiano vostra figliolo, el quale 
pora pigliar la militia de la S. M* honorevolmente." Original in 
the Gaetani Archives at Rome, ii., 33. 


if we consider that the idea of the old Roman Empire was 
far from being extinct. It was but quite lately that Valla, 
in his refutation of the gift of Constantino, had declared 
that it was absurd to crown as Emperor a prince who had 
abandoned Rome; that in truth the crown belonged to the 


Roman people.* 

The reception of the future Emperor was as splendid as 
the Pope could make it; he told the Milanese; Ambassadors 
that he wished to show extraordinary honour to Frederick, 
and was prepared to spend from forty to sixty thousand 
ducats for the purpose. t 

Frederick travelled from Siena by Acquapendente, Viterbo 
(in which city he was scared by an unseemly brawl in the 
streets) and Sutri. It was during this journey that, as they 
were gazing together on the "billowy Campagna with its 
girdle of shimmering heights," the King prophesied to 
/Eneas Sylvius his elevation to the Papacy. J 

On the evening of March Sth he drew near to the Eternal 
City, and was met by the deputation sent out to welcome 
him. First appeared the greater portion of the nobility, 
the Colonna and Orsini, with a host of retainers, then the 
Pope s treasurer with the militia of the city, finally the 
Papal Vice-Chamberlain, with the Roman senators and the 
most eminent of the citizens. From Monte Mario he 
beheld that marvellous panorama of the valley of the Tiber, 
and Rome spread out before him, looking like a sea of 
houses, which Dante describes as " overpowering." There 

* Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 117. See Vallce Opp., 790. 

t *Despatches from Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, Rome, January 
iSth, 1452 : "N. S re come gia avisay V. Gels, dice voler honorar 
questo imperatore excessivamente et fa mentione spendervi da le 
xl m fin in lx m ducati se ce restara tamo." CoJ. Z., 219 Sup. in 
the Ambrosian Library at Milan. 

J Pius II, Comment., 20. 


he lingered awhile, asking questions, and hardly able to 
tear himself away from the enchanting spectacle of the 
seven-hilled city, with all her monuments and towers, 
lighted up by the evening sun. The German knights were 
equally delighted; this view of the true capital of the 
whole world was enough in itself, they declared, to repay 
them for all the toils of the journey. At the foot of the 
hill Frederick found the Cardinals assembled to greet him. 
The Kino- was given to understand that this honour had not 
been accorded to former Emperors; whereat those who, 
like yEneas Sylvius, had read history, could not help 
remembering that there had been a time when the Pope 
himself came out as far as Sutri to meet the Emperor. 
" But," he adds, "all earthly power is subject to change; 
in former days the majesty of the Empire eclipsed all lesser 
dignities, now the Pope is the greater." 

An ancient custom forbade Frederick to enter the city on 
the night of his arrival, and he passed it outside the walls 
in the villa of a Florentine merchant. Donna Leonora was 
lodged in another villa. The royal suite encamped in the 
meadows of Nero, where the Pope had provided gorgeous 
silken tents, blue, red, and white. Many, however, with 
the King s permission, entered the city. Among these was 

* JEn. Sylvius, Hist. Frid. III., p. 275-276. The story told with 
" republican glee," according to Gregorovius, by Infessura (1133) of 
Frederick s having, hardly noticed the Cardinals while he treated the 
Senators with the greatest distinction, seems very improbable, and 
nothing of the kind is to be found in any of the numerous other 
narratives. The ambassadors of all the Italian powers also went to 
meet the King, those of Milan and Florence four or five miles out of 
Rome in order to snatch the precedence from the Venetians ; they 
placed themselves as near as possible to Frederick. See the 
Despatches from the Milanese ambassadors to Fr. Sforza dated 
Rome, March nth, 1452. Fonds Ital., 1586, p. 47> 48, in the 
National Library, Paris. 


/Eneas Sylvius, who at once hastened to the Pope, again 
to repeat in the most solemn manner his assurances of the 
loyalty of Frederick s intentions. Nicholas, however, still 
thought it wisest to be on his guard. 

On the following day, March gth, all the bands composing 
the royal escort were summoned for a grand review in the 
meadow opposite the Porta di Castello. But when the counts 
and knights and also the mercenaries of the free cities 
appeared each with their own banner, on a sudden came 
an order from the King that these should be " put away," 
and all march under the royal standard alone. "At 
which," says the Strasburg narrative, " there was great 
demur on the part of all the soldiers and burghers, but 
more especially from the captain of the Company of St- 
George, who said that it was an unheard of tiling that the 

O O 

flag of St. George should be thus slighted, and that though 
he were under the very walls of Rome he would return 
home with all his men, unless the banner of this honourable 
and illustrious Company were permitted publicly to enter 
the city ; and that in the memory of man no Emperor or 
King had ever refused this." However, all opposition was 
in vain ; "there was much murmuring amongst the knights 
and men-at-arms and burghers, but in the end all had to 
submit, and march into Rome under the Imperial standard 
alone. "* This ensign, " a single-headed eagle on a banner 

* Ebrard i 2. Cf. Wencker, Dissert, de Ffalburgeris, Usburgeris, 
et Glevenburgeris (Argentor., 1698), iii., 19. Accounts of the dis 
putes in regard to precedence between the Italian ambassadors 
before the procession are to be found in the Despatches of the 
Milanese ambassadors, dated Rome, nth and i6th March, 1452. 
Fonds Ital., 1586, f. 47, 48, and 53-55, National Library, Paris. 
For the procession itself, see specially /En. Sylvius, Hist. Frid. III., 
p. 277 et jiy., and a plan of it drawn from a Benedictine source 
(Ordinatio ingressus Frid. III. in urbem, in Fez, Script, rer. Austr., 
ii., 561 tt tt?.), which Lorenz (ii., 140) aptly designates any kind 


of cloth of gold hung on a gilt staff," was borne by the 
Burgrave Michael of Magdeburg, and the naked sword of 
the King was carried by the Marshal von Pappenheim. 

The bride followed at some distance behind the King; 
" her horse was covered with a golden cloth, and she wore a 
beautiful mantle of gold and blue, and a costly gold neck 
lace." The Papal horsemen, three thousand strong, in 
gorgeous armour, with bright helmets adorned with plumes, 
closed the procession, followed by a rear guard of two 
hundred Roman mercenaries on foot. Each division was 
accompanied by a band of trumpeters, to the intense delight 
of the populace, which had flocked in from all quarters to 
witness the pageant, and money was scattered amongst 

At the Porta di Castello the King was received with 
great pomp by all the " clergy and prelates, and numbers 
of bishops, abbots, provosts, and other religious men with 
their holy symbols and ornaments, under canopies hung 
with gold and silk. Truly it was a glorious sight, and if 
God Himself, made Man, had come down upon earth they 
could not have reverenced Him more, for they had a cross 
and censers, and they sang with joyous voices: Ecce e%o 
mitto Angelum meum -vobis qui praeparabit viam ante me. 
The chamberlains who went before him threw much money 
among the people, and the mayor of the city carried a 
splendid sword behind him, and all the burghers and noble 
Romans, and a great number of noble ladies and damsels, 
knelt down before the King and welcomed him, as did also 
the common folk, of whom there was so vast a multitude 

of "ordre de bataille." See also Bayer, 140, n. 5, and a *Des- 
patch from the Sienese envoys : Cristoforus miles, Georgius doctor, 
and Franciscus Patricius, dated Rome, March gth, 1452. Con- 
cistoro, Lettere ad an. 1451- Sienese State Archives. 
* Chmel, ii., 715. See Columbanus, 526. 


that it was a wonder to see; and all kept holiday on that 
day and on the two following ones as though it had been 
Easter Day or Christmas." "The King and Queen rode 
under two canopies to the minster of the Prince of the 
Apostles, St. Peter; there the King alighted 3t the foot of 
the steps, and some of the cardinals went clown to meet 
him, and led him up to where the Holy Father sat on his 
throne, surrounded by his clergy and officers. Then the 
King kissed his foot and offered him gold, whereupon the 
Pope stood up and gave the King his hand, who kissed it, 
and at the third time the Pope embraced the Kin<>- and <^ave 

* o o 

him the kiss of peace on one cheek; then the King knelt 
down before him and the Pope bent over him for a space, 
and after that he made the King sit down by his side." * 

On the following clay Nicholas fixed the igih March for 
Frederick s coronation, that being the anniversary of his 
own coronation. The intervening time was spent by 
Frederick in visiting the objects of interest in the city, and 
in frequent interviews with the Pope. In these the Kind s 
Austrian difficulties, in which he desired the support of 
Nicholas, were discussed, and also the affair of the crown of 
Lombardy, which he wished to receive from the hands of 
the Holy Father, his relations with Sforza in Milan beino- 


such as to make it impossible to accept it from him. The 
Milanese ambassadors did their utmost to dissuade the 
Pope from granting the iron crown, but in vain; they had 
to content themselves with a protest. f 

This coronation and the celebration of the royal 

* Enenkel, 137. 

t See Arch. St. Lomb. (1878), v., i 3 8*/ seq. See report of the 
Milanese ambassadors of the i;th March, 1452, given by Chmel 
in the Notizblatt (1856), vi., 30-32, and the other despatches of the 
same ambassadors (specially that of March 7th). Fonds Ital. 
(1586), p. 45-46. National Library, Paris. 



marriage were arranged to take place together. On the 
1 6th of March, after hearing a solemn Mass, the royal pair 
kneeling before the high altar in St. Peter s, received their 
costly wedding rings from the hands of the Pope, and the 
nuptial benediction from his lips. Then, after a second 
Mass, Frederick knelt again at the feet of Nicholas, and 
was crowned King of Lombardy with the iron crown which 
he had brought to Rome for the purpose.* 

On the following Sunday (Las tare, March igthf) the 
imperial coronation took place, with the insignia brought 
from Nuremberg. The Pope was seated on his throne in 
front of the high altar in St. Peter s, on his right the 
college of cardinals, on his left the bishops and prelates. 
* Voigt, ii., 45. /Eneas Sylvius incorrectly gives March 15; 
Muratori in his annals, Chmel (Reg.), and Lichnowsky (vi., iii.), 
follow him. But that his coronation as King of Lombardy 
actually took place on the i6th March is set beyond doubt by the 
documents cited by Bayer (145). and also h > the Despatches of 
the Sienese ambassadors, dated Rome, March 16, 1452 (" Hora 
avisamo la V. S. come questa mattina la M u del Imperatore piglia 
la corona dell argento, la quale secondo la consuetudine soleva 
pigliare a Milano"), and March i;th. (" ler mattina seguito la 
coronatione dell argento.") Concistoro, Lettere ad an. 1451. 
State Archives, Siena. 

t In regard to this important day also is much chronological 
confusion. yEneas gives the i6th March, Infessura (1134) the 
1 8th. Though Infessura s dates are very untrustworthy (he gives 
March 10, 1133, as the day of the wedding), yet many later 
writers have followed him, e.g., Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 121. It 
is, however, certain that March iQth was the date. Besides other 
authorities, this date is given by the Liber benef., 16, by Mussel, 
who was an eye witness (Stiidtechroniken, xi., 743). also b 7 the 
*Despatches of the Sienese Ambassadors, Rome, March iQth, 
1542 ("Questa mattina si fa la coronatione dell imperatore,") 
March 20 (" Heri segui la coronatione dell imperatore et dell 
imperadrice con gran triumph!"), Concistoro, Lettere ad an. 1451, 
State Archives, Siena. 


Outside the sanctuary two tribunes were erected for the 
King of the Romans and his consort. First of all Frederick 
had to take the oath which Louis the Pious was supposed 
to have sworn, and was then admitted into the college of 
the Canons of St. Peter s and clad in the imperial robes. 
Then, before the altar of St. Maurice, first the King and 
then the Queen were anointed on the shoulder and right 
arm with the holy oil. From thence they returned to their 
tribunes to hear the solemn coronation Mass. "Then they 
began to sing the Mass," says Enenkel, "and after the 
gloria, the Pope read the collects, first that for the day, 
and then the collect for the Emperor, who sat close by on 
his chair clad in the sacred robes of the Emperor Charles, 
a tiling which had not for many hundred years happened 
to any Emperor, and which was accounted a very great 
honour and singular grace of God. After the gospel the 
Emperor and Empress were led by the Pope before St. 
Peter s altar, there the Emperor knelt down and the Pope 
rrad for some while over him, and put the holy crown of 
the Emperor Charles upon his head ; and he said all to him 
in Latin. Then he put the holy sword of Charles, bare, 
into his hand, and thus made the Emperor a knight of St. 
Peter; he girded on the sword, drew it and waved it, and 
put it back into its scabbard. 

" After that the Pope put the holy sceptre into his right 
hand, and the royal orb into his left hand, all with goodly 

"When all this was ended, he kissed the Pope s foot and 
seated himself again in his chair; then his brother, Duke 
Albert, and other princes, lords, knights, and men, also 
those of the imperial cities, knelt before him and wished 
him joy and all happiness. 

"After this the noble King Ladislas and the Duke of 
Teschen led forward the fair young Queen ; she was richly 


attired, her head was bare and her hair very lovely to 
behold, falling in waving tresses over her neck behind . 
thus she was brought before St. Peter s altar and anointed, 
and many collects were said over her. Then the costly 
crown which had been specially prepared for her was put 
upon her head, and she was led back to her chair."* 

When all the ceremonies were done, the Emperor and 
Empress received Holy Communion from the hands of the 
Pope.f At the conclusion of the service the Empress 
returned to her palace, while the Emperor remained to 
perform the duty of holding the Pope s stirrup and leading 
his horse from the church door. This done, he mounted 
his own, and both rode together to the Church of Sta. 
Maria Traspontina, where, after giving him the Golden 
Rose, the Pope took leave of the Emperor.! Then Frede 
rick rode to the bridge of St. Angelo, where he bestowed 

* Enenkel, 138. 

t No Imperial coronation at Rome has been so minutely de 
scribed as was this last one. See JEn. Sylvius, Hist. Frid. III., p. 
290 et seq.; Enenkel loc. cit.\ Columbanus, 530 et seq.; 
mann 597 et seq.; an anonymous account in Janssen, Reichs- 
corresp., ii., 117-121; Hodoeporicon Frid. III., in Wiirdtwein 
Subs, dipl., xii., 29 et seq. (on Enenkel s connection with this 
account, see Bayer, 123) ; and finally the narrative of the Papal 
singer, Goswinus Mandoctes, in Chmel, Op., No. 98. There are 
also several unprinted documents. In the Archiv fur altere 
Gescht., i., 421, a MS. on the subject from Munich is specified. 
Among the *Despatches from the Sienese Ambassadors, that of 
March 2Oth is specially interesting, because it confirms the story 
of the fall of the Pope s mitre, for which hitherto ^Eneas Sylvius 
had been the only authority (Bayer, 146). It says: " Fatto tutto 
1 atto de la coronazione al papa cadde la mitria die fu tenuto malo 
augurio." Loc. cit., State Archives, Siena. 

J This is correctly stated by Columbanus (533), other accounts 
agreeing with his, e.g., that in Janssen, Reichscorrespondenz, ii., 
119. ^Eneas Sylvius (Hist. Frid. III., p. 293) gives Sta. Maria 
in Cosmedin erroneously, as is obvious to anyone with the slightest 


the honour of knighthood on his brother Albert, and more 
than two hundred nobles, many of whom, however, were 
not soldiers, and had never drawn a sword.* When these 
ceremonies, which occupied about two hours, were con 
cluded, the Emperor rode to the Lateran, where the 
solemnities of the day were closed by the great coronation 


On the following day several of the Ambassadors pre 
sented congratulatory addresses, in high-sounding words 
which but little corresponded with the truth, for in tin- 
political world the Imperial coronation passed almost 
unnoticed, though to Frederick personally it was the most 
brilliant moment in his life.f 

knowledge of the topography of Rome, nevertheless he has been 
followed by many authors, including Voigt, ii. f 4^; Bayer also 
(146) does not question it. Reumont, too, is in error (in., i, 21) 
in saving that the Golden Rose was given on the following day. 

* This ceremony was performed, according to Enenkel (138), 
in the middle of the bridge of St. Angelo (" Castle of St. Angelo," 
in Reumont, loc. at., is evidently a misprint). The number of 
knights is very variously stated. According to /Eneas Sylvius, 
Mandoctes and Enenkel, there were three hundred ; Zantf. 
(Chronic, in Martene, Ampl. Coll., v., 4/3) says two hundred and 
eVhtv-one; Columbanus (534) more than two hundred; Paolo 
dcllo Mastro (21), two hundred and fifty-six Ultramontanes and 
only three Italians; Niccola della Tuccia (220), two hundred and 
seventy-five, among whom nine were Italians ; according to the 
account in Janssen (ii., 120), there were two hundred and three 
accordin- to the Annal. L. Bonincontrii (156) two hundred, of 
whom seven were Italian ; finally, the Despatches of the Sienese 
Ambassadors of March 2Oth give two hundred and sixty-three. In 
the Gaetani Archives at Rome (ii., 33), I found the "letter of 
Card Scarampo to Onorato Gaetani, clat. Rome, Feb. 7, 1452, 
mentioned above (p. 148, note t), in which there is a ref. 

thiS. rr, 

+ Voi-t, in the Allgem. Deutsch. Biographic, vii., 45- J 
Pope published the Coronation on the same day ; see Chmcl, 
Regesten, App., No. 96, and Bull., v., 108 et seq. 



The newly-crowned Emperor remained in Rome until 
the 24th March, on which day he started for Naples to visit 
his relative King Alfonso.* During this interval the two 
heads of Christendom again met frequently. These inter 
views resulted in a series of bulls in Frederick s favour; he 
received numerous indulgences and privileges, and a bull 
of excommunication was launched against the Austrian 
rebels. f 

The journey of the Imperial pair to Naples was like a 
triumphal procession. In all the places through which 
Frederick was to pass, the pageant-loving Alfonso had 
given orders for the most magnificent receptions, and pro 
vided with lavish prodigality for every want. Naples itself 
was like a fairy city, drowned in a giddy whirl of theatrical 
performances, tournaments, sports, dances, and festivities 
of all descriptions. J 

* *Despatches of the Milanese Ambassadors, dated Rome, 
March 27, 1452. Fonds Ital., 1586, p. 65 b . National Library, 
Paris. Muratori, in his Annali, and Gregorovius (vii., 3rd ed., 
122), incorrectly give the 23rd. The Emperor went first to 
Velletri (see Borgia, Velletri, 366), the Vicecamerlengo and Card. 
Colonna accompanying him to the frontier of the Papal States. 
See the *Despatches of the Milanese Ambassadors, Rome, April 
3rd, 1452. Loc. at. p. 67, National Library, Paris. 

t Cf. Bayer, 144 and 147, and Chmel s exhaustive enumeration 
of all these tokens of the Papal favour in the Sitzungsberichten 
der Wiener Akacl. Phil. Histor. Kl., viii., 60-112, and ix., 273 
el seq. 

J Birk, Donna Leonor, loc. ctt., 175. On the Neapolitan 
Festivities, see Facius in Grcevius, 158; and A. Panormita, 
Speculum boni principis, lib. iv., c. 4. On the " Mistero della 
Passione" represented in Sta. Chiara, see F. Torraca, Sacre Rap- 
presentaz. del Neapolit. in Arch. Napolit., iv., IIQ et seq, (1879). 
These festivities are also mentioned in the *Despatches of the 
Milanese Ambassadors, N. Arcemboldi, and Nicodemus, Rome, 
April 18 and 24, 1452. Fonds. Ital., 1516, p. 94, 95, and 104-105, 


From these festive scenes the Emperor was suddenly 
torn by the news of the attempted flight of his ward 
Ladislas, whom he had left behind at Rome. In conse 
quence he started at once for that city and arrived there on 
April 22nd ; the same evening he had a long interview 
with the Pope.* In an open consistory he again thanked 
the Holy Father and the cardinals for the honourable 
reception they had given him. It was in this assembly 
that /Eneas Sylvius made that fiery speech against the 
Turks, in which those remarkable words about the council, 
which have already been quoted, f occur. Then Frederick 
set out on his homeward journey, now become urgent 

National Library, Paris. That the apprehensions expressed by 
these Ambassadors in regard to the visit to Naples (Buser, 57) 
were well-grounded, is proved by the document brought to light by 
Chmel (Mat., ii., No. 8), in which Alfonso promises the Emperor 
to assist him in obtaining Milan. The Florentine Ambassador at 
Milan, Dietisalvi, also speaks with anxiety of this journey. Cf. his 
Despatches of the soth March, 1452. Cl. x., dist. 4, n. 22, f. 125. 
State Archives, Florence. 

* Not on the i6th, as Liclmowsky (vi., 113), nor yet on the 
23rd, as Gregorovius (vii., 3rd ed., 122), following Infessura 
(1134), states. The true date is given in the *Despatches of the 
Milanese ambassadors of April iSth and 24th (the latter also 
mentions that the Pope had a careful watch kept over Ladislas) 
and in a *Despatch from Nello to Siena, Rome, April 23rd, 1452. 
"Yesterday the Emperor arrived and was received with great 
honour." " Ileri sera di nocte la S. Sua stette con la S ta di N. S re fino 
a hora tre di nocte." Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives, 
Siena. Eccard s copy of Infessura s Diarium (ii., 1886) rightly 
gives April 22 as the date of the Emperor s return. 

\ Supra p. 50. For the violent quarrel for precedence in the 
papal chapel between the Milanese and Venetian envoys in the 
presence of the Pope and the Emperor on April 2 5th, see the 
*Despatches from N. Arcemboldi and Nicodemus de Pontremoli, 
Rome, April 25, 1452. Fonds Ital., 1586, p. 106, National Library, 


owing to the state of things in Austria, where a resort to 
arms to contest his wardship of Ladislas was imminent. 
" Yesterday morning," says one of the Sienese envoys on 
April 27th, "the Emperor left the Eternal City. Both he 
and his suite were loud in their expressions of satisfaction 
at the noble reception .given them by the Pope.* Nicholas 
V., who through his representatives Cardinals Calandrini 
and Carvajal conducted his guest as far as the frontier, was 
no less pleased that the coronation had passed off peace 
fully and without disorder, f 

The Emperor did not venture to return through Milan, 
rightly judging that Francesco Sforza was not to be trusted ; 
and in fact the Duke of Milan, already allied with France, 
had also come to an understanding with Frederick s 
enemies in Hungary and Vienna.^ He, therefore, chose 
the route by Floienre and Ferrara, in which latter place, 
with great pomp, he bestowed on Borso d Este the title of 
Duke of Modena and Reggio. This was the only imperial 
act of any importance that Frederick performed during 
this expedition to Rome, The negotiations begun in 
Ferrara, for the restoration of peace in Italy, never got 

* Nello to Siena, Rome, April 27th, 1452 : "La M ta dello 
imperadore si parlelte da N. S ro tamo ben contento quanto e 
possibile e tutta la sua brigata et chiamansi molto ben contenti tutti 
del grande honore (che) la sua S ta li ha facto." Concistoro, 
Lettere ad an. State Archives, Siena. 

t Infessura, 1134, 

J This was one of the causes of Frederick s hurried return. 
One effect of Sforza s intrigues was to make the Emperor more 
pliant in the negotiations relating to the investiture. Buser, 60, 65. 

Bayer, 158. For the festivities at Ferrara see Muratori, 
Script., xviii., 1091, and Frizzi, 1 5 et seq. Borso gave the Emperor 
a present which was valued by the Milanese ambassador Antonio 
da Trezzo at 30,000 ducats. See the *Despatches from the same 
ambassador to Sforza, Ferrara, June i3th, 1452. Fonds Ital., 1586, 
f. 131 in the National Library, Paris. 


beyond the first preliminaries; the ambassadors of Aragon 
held aloof, and the Emperor was too much taken up with 
the troubles in Germany to pursue them any farther.* 
From May 2ist to June ist Frederick remained at Venice, 
where, as before, a series of entertainments were offered 
to him.t But all this pageantry could not conceal the 
political insignificance of the empire. When the Emperor 
attempted to speak to the Doge of Venice about the 
pacification of Italy, the Doge replied that the Venetians 
had just declared war against Sfor/a with good hopes of 
success; consequently, under present circumstances the 
honour of the republic forbade any such negotiations. 
" We are sensible," said the Doge, " of the respect due to 
the most exalted of earthly dignities, and that the Emperor 
should not be put off with words ; therefore, we have at 
once announced our decision, which is irrevocable." Thus 
Frederick had not long to wait for an opportunity of test 
ing the value of his new dignity. Before he left he again 
visited the shops, (but in disguise, that he might not be 
called upon to pay imperial prices), and made more pur 
chases. J 

Under the circumstances we cannot be surprised at the 
severe judgment passed upon Frederick s expedition to 
Rome by the usually indulgent Archbishop, St. Antoninus 
of Florence. " Nothing appeared in him of the majesty of 
an Emperor, neither liberality nor understanding, for he 
almost always spoke by the mouth of another. But every 
one could see how greedy he was, how he loved gifts 

* Despatches from Nic. Arcemboldi to Fr. Sforza, Florence, 
May 6th, 1452, and Ferrara, May i 9 th, Fonds. Ital., 1586, f. m- 
112 and 119-120, National Library, Paris. 

t Sanudo, 1143-1144- See P. G. Molmenti, La Dogaressa di 
Venezia (Torino, 1884), 233 et seg. 

I Voigt, ii., 60-6 1. 




and sought for them. At last he went home, leaving 
behind him a sorry impression of his rapacity." 
Frederick had traversed the Italian peninsula not as 
Emperor and lord, but merely as a tolerated guest, under 
the safe conduct of the Princes and cities. Of outward 
show there had been enough and to spare, and his recep 
tion everywhere had been respectful, but all this thinly 
veiled the mistrust with which he was regarded by more 
than one of the Italian States.f Without any increase of 
power the newly-crowned Emperor returned to his hered 
tary dominions, where the insurrection broke out imme 
diately In vain did Nicholas threaten the insurgents 
with the severest penalties of the Church ; they answered 
by an appeal to a future Council.* They compelled the 
helpless Emperor, whose Empire did nothing for him, to 
release King Ladislas. But the details of these occ 
rences belong to the history of the Empire. 

Frederick III. was the first Emperor of the illustrious 
house of Hapsburg who was consecrated and crowned , 
Rome. He was also the last King and Emperor t 
this honour was vouchsafed. 

* Chronicon, iii., tit. xxii, 3. How Poggio mocked at 
Frederick is well-known (Epist., x., 21; Tonelli). 
flung at his heels by one of the Milanese envoys mentioned by 
Buser, 61, is not without interest. 

t Bayer, 162. _ 

t The writ of appeal is in Pray, Annales, in, II2 -"*. 
JEn. Sylvius, Hist. Frid. III., p. 357 </ *<S; ^ Ba > er l68 " "* 





FOR the history of the world, the true significance of the 
reign of Pope Nicholas V. is not to be found in the political 
and ecclesiastical events that we have hitherto been record 
ing. Full of confidence in the vitality and force of the 
Christian idea, this highly cultured Pontiff ventured to 
place himself at the head of the Renaissance both in art 
and in literature; and it is in this that the real importance 
of his Pontificate consists. In thus lending the resources 
and authority of the Holy See for the promotion of learn 
ing and art, he inaugurated a new era both in the history 
of the Papacy and in that of culture. 

In the learned and literary world the elevation of the 
poor professor of Sarzana was greeted with exultation. 
All who had ever come in contact with the new Pope were 
aware of his ardent love for learning and for the ideal in 
all its forms. " He would wish," he once said, " to spend 
all he possessed on books and buildings." Francesco 
Barbaro, like Nicholas, a votary of the Christian Renais 
sance, in his graceful congratulatory letter, quoting Plato, 
counts the world happy, since now the wise are becoming 
its rulers, or its rulers are becoming wise. All eyes turned 
hopefully towards Nicholas, expecting the dawn of a new 
era, and these hopes were not disappointed. Hitherto he 
had had nothing but his health and his time to offer to the 
cause of learning; now it soon became evident that the 


Pope was resolved to devote all his means and his influence 
to its service.* 

Nicholas s plan was to make Rome, the centre of the 
Church, a focus of literature and art, a city of splendid 
monuments, possessing the finest library in the world, 
and in so doing to secure in the Eternal City an abiding 
home for the Papacy. 

It is of essential importance that the Pope s motives in 
this undertaking should be rightly appreciated. He has 
himself declared them in the Latin speech which, on his 
death-bed, he addressed to the assembled Cardinals. This 
speech, preserved by his biographer Manetti, is the expres 
sion of his last wishes, and explains the guiding principle 
of all his actions and the end at which he aimed. f 

" Only the learned," says the Pope, " who have studied 
the origin and development of the authority of the 
Roman Church, can really understand its greatness. Thus, 
to create solid and stable convictions in the minds of 
the uncultured masses, there must be something that 
appeals to the eye; a popular faith, sustained only on 
doctrines, will never be anything but feeble and vacillating. 
But if the authority of the Holy See were visibly displayed 
in majestic buildings, imperishable memorials and wit 
nesses seemingly planted by the hand of God Himself, 
belief would grow and strengthen like a tradition from 
one generation to another, and all the world would accept 
and revere it. Noble edifices combining taste and beauty 

* Geiger, Renaissance, 121. See Rohrbacher-Knopfler, note i, 
(in answer to Voigt.) 

t Manetti, 947-957. That this speech has been very consider 
ably touched up and embellished by the biographer is highly pro 
bable, but there is no reason to doubt its essential accuracy. See 
Tommasetti, in Arch, de Soc. Rom., iii., 115 ; De Rossi in Studii 
e Doc., A. ii. (1881), fasc. 2, p. 87, and Kayser, 222. 


I6 7 

with imposing proportions would immensely conduce to 
the exaltation of the chair of St. Peter." The learned Pope 
fully realized what an important influence the visible 
presence and past memories of the Capitol had exercised 
on the history of the Roman people.* 

The fortifications erected in Rome and in the Papal 
States were intended, the Pope explains, to serve as 
defences against both external and internal enemies. If 
his predecessors had protected themselves in a similar 
manner, against the Romans more especially, they would 
have been spared much tribulation. " If," said Nicholas, 
" We had been able to accomplish all that \Ve wished, 
our successors would find themselves more respected 
by all Christian nations, and would be able to dwell 
in Rome with greater security both from external and 
internal foes. Thus it is not out of ostentation, or 
ambition, or a vain-glorious desire of immortalizing Our 
name, that \Ve have conceived and commenced all these 
great works, but for the exaltation of the power of the 
Holy Sec throughout Christendom, and in order that 
future Popes should no longer be in danger of being 
driven away, taken prisoners, besieged, and otherwise 

It has been asserted f that love of fame was the ruling 

* See Rio., ii., 25. 

t Voigt, Wiederbelebung, ii., 2nd cd., 62. In support of this 
Voigt gives a reference to a passage in Manetti (925) ; this, how 
ever, by no means affirms that love of fame was the predominant 
motive of the actions of Nicholas. After speaking of the large 
sums of money which flowed into the Papal treasury during the 
Jubilee, Manetti goes on to say : Ex nova tamen et inopinata 
prxdictarum pecuniarum acquisitione, non modo ad crcptorum 
operum prosecutionem, sed amplificationem etiam et aliorum hujus 
modi innovationem mirum in modum animum applicuit ut ob 
perpetuam magnorum acdificiorum constructionein Romanes 


motive which guided Nicholas in all his actions, and that 
this is the true explanation of the splendour of his court, 
his buildings, his libraries, his liberality towards learned 
men and artists. It is evident from these words, spoken 
on the brink of eternity, that this assertion is false. A 
man, to whose detestation of all untruthfulness and 
hypocrisy both friends and foes alike bear witness,* 
would not have lied thus upon his death-bed. No doubt 
Nicholas may not have been wholly insensible at all times 
to the seductions of fame, but a selfish desire for his own 
glory was never with him the first motive. This has been 
admitted even by some who heartily detest the Papacy. 
"All that Nicholas undertook," writes one, "was directed 
towards the exaltation of the Holy See; the one object 
of his ambition was to increase its dignity and authority by 
the visible splendour of its monuments, and the intellectual 

ecclesia honor et Apostolicce sedis gloria simul cum singular! et 
prsecipua Christianorum Popidorum omnium devotione abundantiits 
ac latins amplificaretnr et ob assiduum insuper novorum prceclar- 
orumque operum cum traductionem turn compilationem prasenti- 
bus et postcris studiosis hominibus plurimum adiumenti pr&beret. 
. . . Atque huius suee mentalis tam magnos ac tam vehementis 
cum ad aedificandum turn ad traducendum et compilandum et 
libros congregandum applicationis, etsi ducis commemoratas causas 
in primis fuisse intellixerimus, tertiam nihilominus proprios gloriae 
cuius suapte natura avidissimus erat, adeptionem ac sui nominis 
propagationem non immerito accessisse existimamus et credimus 
etc. Burckhardt is more discreet than Voigt (Geschichte der 
Renaissance, n), and contents himself with simply quoting both 
Manetti s statements and the Pope s speech. See also Miintz, i. . 
72 et seq. 

* Vespasiano da Bisticci, who knew the Pope intimately, is 
emphatic on this point. ( 8) " Era un uomo aperto, largo, sanza 
sapere fingere o simulare, e nemico di tutti quegli che simulavano 
o fingevano." 


influence it would exert, by making it the centre of the 
learning of the world."* 

The great architectural undertakings which the Pope 
thus justified partly on practical and partly on ideal 
grounds consisted of new buildings and of restorations. 
In the latter he only continued the works begun by his two 
immediate predecessors, to repair the neglect which had 
wrought such havoc in the city during the absence of the 
Popes at Avignon, and the disastrous period of the schism. 
But in the former he struck out wholly new paths. 

Manetti, enumerating all the Pope s undertakings with 
the minuteness of a loving biographer, zealous for the 
honour of his hero, classes them under three heads, accord 
ing as they were intended for defence, for sanitation or 
embellishment, and finally for piety. " The Pope had five 
things at heart, all great and important works, to rebuild 
the city walls and restore the aqueducts and bridges; to 
repair the forty churches of the stations ; to rebuild the 
Vatican Borgo, the Papal Palace, and the Church of St. 
Peter s. "f It has been justly remarked that the three last 
named projects are closely connected together and differ 
essentially from the two first. They are, in fact, the off 
spring of the new era, conceived in the genuine spirit of 
the Renaissance, while the others do not depart from the 
traditional lines of the medieval Popes. J 

The restorations of Nicholas are very extensive and 
embraced an enormous number of buildings, both religious 

* Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 137. Zupflel writes also, in 
Herzog s Realencyklopiidie (x., 2nd ed., 527): "It was neither 
ostentation nor the love of fame that impelled him in all this, but 
his desire to exalt the dignity of the Holy See in the eyes of all 

f Manetti, 930. 

J Dehio, Bauprojecte, 242. 


and secular. His first care was for the forty churches in 
which, during Lent, the stations were held. The little 
church of San. Teodoro, at the foot of the Palatine hill, 
was twice in the hands of his workmen. The interesting 
church of San. Stefano Rotondo, which had been seen by 
Flavio Biondo, in 1446, roofless, with its mosaics in ruins, 
and its marble slabs cracked and peeling from the walls, 
underwent a thorough renovation. By order of the Pope 
restorations of various kinds were executed in the churches 
of the Holy Apostles, San. Celso, Sta. Prassede, Sta. 
Maria in Trastevere, Sant. Euscbio, Sta. Maria Rotonda 
(the Pantheon). At the same time those already com 
menced in the great Basilicas were continued, and new 
works begun. The restoration in the Churches of Sta. 
Maria Ma^siore, San. Paolo, and San. Lorenzo fuori le 

o O 

mura were especially extensive and important. On the 
Capitol Nicholas rebuilt the palace of the Senators, and 
erected a new and beautiful ediiice for the conservators.* 
The papal palaces, adjoining the churches of Sta. Maria 
Maggiore and the Holy Apostles, were also restored. f 

One of this Pope s greatest merits was the attention he 
bestowed on the water supply of the city. Nothing perhaps 
shows more plainly the state of decay in which Nicholas 

* Muntz, i., 139-150. Reumont, Hi., i, 379 et seq. Bertolotti, 
Artisti Lombard!, i., 15 et seq. Adinolfi, ii., 16, 173. The works 
in Sta. Maria in Trastevere are mentioned in the *Oratio episcopi 
Atrebaten. Rome in funeralibus Nicolai, P.P. v., Cod. Vatic., 
5675, Vatic. Library. The necessity of restoring San. Paolo is 
noted in a *Despatch of Donatus de Donatis and Florence, 
November 30th, 1451. See x., dist. 2, n. 22, State Archives, 

f Miintz, i., 144, 146 el seq. Perlbach, 20. Adinolfi, ii., 214. 
Cugnoni, 98. In spite of the indefatigable energy of Nicholas an 
immense number of ruined buildings still remained in Rome in 
1453. See Perlbach, 18. 


found it, than the fact that the majority of its inhabitants 
were dependent for water on the Tiber and the various 
wells and cisterns ; the only aqueduct which, though out of 
repair, still remained serviceable was that of the Acqua 
Vergine.* Nicholas restored this, and thus made habitable 
that part of the city which was more distant from the river. 
An ornamental fountain, to which the name of Trevi was 
given, was erected at the mouth of this aqueduct in 1453; 
it was probably designed by the famous Alberti.f 

Rome also owed to Nicholas much clearing away of 
ruins and masses of rubbish, which in many places had 
made the streets impassable, and he began to pave them 
and make them more regular But his plans for im 
proving and embellishing the city went much further than 
this. By his command Albert! had prepared designs J for 
pavilions and colonnades, which were to be erected for 
protection from the sun on the bridge of St. Angelo and 
other exposed places in Rome. The reopening of the 
abandoned parts of the city also occupied his attention. 
Very soon after his election, on May 23rd, 1447, in order 
to check the growing desertion of the extensive district 
called de Monti, lie issued an edict granting special 
privileges to all who should build houses in that region. 
This enactment, which was confirmed a year later, was, 
however, not more successful in producing the desired 
effect than the earlier efforts of the magistrates, or those 

* " Such was the penury," says the author of the Romibchcn 
Briefe, " to which the once wealthy city had been reduced." 

j" Vasari, Alberti, iv., 55. Miintz, i., 156-157. 

J Miintz, i., 70, 157. 

*Privileges granted by Nich. V. " Pro felici directione status 
urbis, d.d. Roma), 1447, x. Cal. Jun. (= May 23rd) Pont, 
nostri anno primo " (Poggius). Lateran Archives, F.F., i., 65. I 
owe these, and other contributions from these still uncalalogued 
Archives, to the kindness of the late Prof. C. Vincenzi. 


of Sixtus V., in later times. The district "de Monti" 
is to this day, in proportion to its size, the most thinly 
peopled part of Rome.* 

With a just appreciation of the needs of the times, the 
indefatigable Pope also turned his attention to the improve- 
ment and protection of the approaches to the city. The 
wooden central arch of the Milvian Bridge (Ponte Molle) 
was replaced by a stone one ; and at its entrance, on the 
right bank of the river, a strong tower was begun, which 
was finished by Calixtus III., whose arms, the ox of the 
Borgia, it bears. The other bridges in the neighbourhood 
of Rome, such as Ponte Nomentano, Ponte Salaro, Ponte 
Lucano, were repaired and fortified. The bed of the Anio 
was cleared and made navigable, so that it could be utilized 
for the transport of the large stones from the Travertine 

quarries. | 

In 1451 the Pope s apprehensions on the occasion of the 
visit of Frederick III. hastened the restoration of the city 
walls, which in many places were in ruins. Along the 
whole boundary of the city proper, from the Flaminian 
gate by the river as far as the Ostian gate, we still trace 
the handiwork of Nicholas, whose name appears on the 
mural tablets more frequently than that of any other 

* Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 721. "Confirmation of Privileges, 
dd Romae, 1448, xii. Cal. Sept. (= August 2ist), in the 
Lateran Archives, F.F., i., 68. Sixtus V. refers to these privileges 
in his *Bull " Quemadmodum," d.d. Romae, 1589, 22 Martii, 
which was issued for a similar purpose. Archives of the Secre 
tariate of Briefs. 

f Manetti, 937. Papencordt, 501. Reumont, in., 1378. 

t Reumont, loc. tit. Muntz, i., 158 et seq. Perlbach, 20. For 
the medal which Nicholas caused to be struck, representing the 
city surrounded by a wall, with the old legend, " Roma Felix," see 
Bonanni, 51, and Venuti, 11-12. 


But all this shrinks into utter insignificance when 
compared with his colossal designs for the rebuilding 
of the Leonine city, the Vatican, and the Church of St. 

Peter s. 

No part of Rome had suffered more than the Leonine 
city, which had always formed a separate town in itself. 
Eugcnius IV. had opened a road through the ruins and 
rubbish to the bridge, and had endeavoured to attract in 
habitants to it by remitting all taxes within its precincts for 
a period of twenty-live years. Nicholas proposed, in close 
connection with the plans for the new Vatican Palace and 
Church of St. Peter s, to rebuild it altogether in the style of 
the Renaissance, and thus create a monumental residence 
for the Holy See. 

Manetti s minute description of this vast project trans 
ports the imagination of the reader to Eastern lands, where 
buch vast palaces and temples are reared for the habitations 
of gods and kings.* 

The tomb of St. Peter, actually situated at the one 
extremity, was to be the ideal centre of this grandiose 
plan.t The opposite extremity was to be formed by 
a large square in front of the Castle and Bridge of St. 
Angelo. From this square three straight and broad 
avenues were to start, and terminate in another vast 
open space at the foot of the Vatican hill ; the central 
avenue was to lead to the Basilica, the one on the right to 
the Vatican Palace, that on the left to the buildings facing 
it. These streets were to be flanked with spacious 
colonnades to serve as a protection against sun and ram, 
and the lower stories of the houses were to be shops, the 

* Rio, ii., 22. Manetti s description, 931-939* is best S iven in 
Reumont (iii., 1380 tt seq.) and Dehio (Bauprojecte, etc.). I 
have drawn the account given above from both these authorities. 

f- Dehio, Bauprojecte, 247 


whole street being divided into sections, each section 
assigned to a separate craft or trade. The upper stories 
were to serve as dwelling-houses for the members of the 
Papal Court; architectural effect and salubrity were to be 
equally considered in their construction. 

The principal square, into which these three streets were 
to run, and of which the right side was to be formed by the 
entrance to the Papal palace, and the left by the houses of 
the clergy, was to measure five hundred and fifty feet in 
length and two hundred and seventy-five in breadth. In 
its centre there was to be a group of colossal figures repre 
senting the four Evangelists, which was to support the 
obelisk of Nero ; and this again was to be surmounted by 
a bronze statue of the Saviour, holding a golden cross in 
His right hand. " At the end of this square," continues 
Manetti, " where the ground begins to rise, broad steps 
ascend to a high platform, with handsome belfry, adorned 
with splendid marbles, on the right hand and on the left. 
Between and behind these is a double portico having five 
portals, of which the three central ones correspond with 
the principal avenue coming from the bridge of St. Angelo, 
and the two side ones with the two other streets. This 
quasi-triumphal arch leads into a court surrounded with 
pillars and having a fountain in the centre, and finally 
through this into the church itself." 

All that the progress of art and science had achieved, 
in the way of beauty and magnificence, was to be displayed 
in the new St. Peter s. The plan of the church was that of 
a Basilica with nave and double aisles, divided by pillars, 
and having a row of chapels along each of the outermost 
aisles. Its length was to be 640 feet, the breadth of the 
nave 320, the height of the dome inside 220 ; this was to 
be richly decorated, and the upper part of the wall was 
to be pierced with large circular windows, freely admitting 


the light.* The high altar was to be placed at the inter 
section of the nave and transepts, and the Papal throne 
and the stalls for the Cardinals and the Court within the 
apse. The roof was to DQ of lead, the pavement of coloured 
marbles, and behind the church was to be a Campo Santo, 
where the Popes and prelates should be interred, " in order 
that a temple, so glorious and beautiful that it seemed 
rather a Divine than a human creation, should not be 
polluted by the presence of the dead."f An immense pile 
of buildings at the side was destined for the accommoda 
tion of the clergy. 

The Papal city, which, by its natural site, was detached 
from the rest of Rome, was to be fortified in such a 
manner, says Manetti, that no living thing but a bird could 
get into it. The new Vatican was to be a citadel, but at the 
same time to contain all the elegance and splendour of a 
palace of the Renaissance. A magnificent triumphal arch 
was to adorn the entrance. The ground floor, with spacious 
halls, corridors, and pavilions, surrounding a garden tra 
versed by cool rivulets and filled with fruit trees and 
flowers of all sorts, was to be the summer habitation. The 
first floor was to be furnished with all that was required to 
make winter agreeable ; while the airy upper story was to 
serve as a spring and autumn residence. The Papal 
palace was also to include quarters for the College of 
Cardinals, accommodation for all the various offices and 

* Manetti, 934 et seq. See Reumont, iii., 1380. Dehio, Baupro- 
jecte, 249. Jovanovits, Forschungen iiber den Bau der Peterskirche 
zu Rom. (Wien, 1877). Grundriss, p. 29. For the history of 
the building of St. Peter s I shall recommend the reader to refer to 
the studies and critical papers on this subject by R. Redtenbacher 
in the Zeitschr. fur bildende Kunst, Jahrg., g et seq., and the more 
recent work by the same author, Architectur der Ital. Renaissance, 
(Frankfurt, 1886), 392. 

t Manetti, 936. Dehio, Bauprojecte, 250. 


requirements of the Papal Court, a sumptuous hall for the 
coronations of the Popes and the reception of Emperors, 
Princes, and Ambassadors, suitable apartments for the 
Conclave, and for keeping the treasures of the Church, 
several chapels, and a magnificent library.* 

Some modern writers have looked upon this project as 
chimerical ; it would, they say, have required the lifetime 
of twenty Popes and the treasures of a Rameses to carry 
it into execution. f The contemporaries of Nicholas judged 
otherwise, and justly, for the Pope, at the time of his 
election, was only forty-nine ; and with all the resources 
that he could have accumulated during his peaceful Ponti 
ficate, what might he not have accomplished if, instead of 
only lasting eight years, it had continued for fifteen or 
twenty ! What he actually achieved during the short period 
granted him is amazing. Almost all the absolutely neces 
sary restorations and an immense number of new buildings 
had already been completed when death overtook him, just 
at the moment when he would have been free to concen 
trate all his powers on the creation of the Papal city. At 
fifty-seven, life was not too far advanced to make the build 
ing of a new palace, or a church, even on a magnificent 
scale, or the rebuilding of a quarter of a city impossible 
tasks for a man who had talent, materials, and money at his 
disposal in lavish profusion. J 

A modern writer of considerable acumen in regard to all 
that relates to the history of art has taken great pains to 
ascertain to whom the intellectual proprietorship of this 

* Manetti, 934. Dehio, Bauprojecte, 246. 

f Gregorovius, vii. (3rd ed.), 621. Rohrbacher-Knopfler. 
400, and Springer, Rafael und Michelangelo (Leipzig, 1878), 99. 

J Miintz, i., 71 et stq. Kinkel, 2972. Creighton, ii., 330. We 
must not forget what an enormous amount of building Sixtus V. 
accomplished during the five years of his reign. 


I 77 

vast architectural scheme, thus minutely described by 
Manetti, should be assigned. After a careful comparison 
between Manetti s description and the doctrines laid down 
in Alberti s work on architecture, he has come to the con 
clusion that the whole plan, not only in its general concep 
tion, but also in all its details, can be ascribed to no other 

Matteo Palmieri, in his brief chronicles of the year 1452, 
says : " The Pope, wishing to build a more beautiful church 
in honour of St. Peter, had laid the foundations, and 
already carried the walls, (in the apse of the choir only), to 
a height of 52 feet; but this great work, in no wise in 
ferior to that of olden times, was first interrupted by the 
advice of Leon Battista, and finally stopped altogether by 
the untimely death of the Pope. Leon Battista Alberti, a 
man of a most sagacious spirit, and well versed in all the 
arts and sciences, laid before the Pope his learned works 
on architecture." t 

The above-named writer drew from these words an 
extremely probable conclusion. Nicholas had at first no 
intention of pulling down the venerable Cathedral of St. 
Peter s. The works mentioned in his account books, such 
as the restoration of the portico, the repaying of the floor, 
renewing the mosaics, doors, and roof, and filling the 

* Dehio, Eauprojecte, 250. Springer had already remarked, in 
the work quoted above (p. 176, n. f), that the description of 
Nicholas s architectural plans read like a chapter of L. 13. Alberti s 
work on architecture. " That Alberti was head architect, and had 
the control of all Nicholas s undertakings in this line, seems to me 
beyond doubt," writes Janitschek, 1879 (? IJ 7)- The reason 
that neither M. E. Miintz nor I have hitherto succeeded in finding 
his name in the " Libri d entrata et spesa," in the Roman State 
Archives, probably is that he received his remuneration in benefices. 
This hypothesis has been confirmed ; see Mancini, 3 1 2. 

f Palmerius, 241. 



windows with stained glass, manifest, on the contrary, that 
his object was to repair and secure the ancient sanctuary and 
preserve it as long as possible. It was only the choir that 
he purposed actually to rebuild. Then the great Alberti, 
the humanistic architect, appeared before the humanistic 
Pope, and presented to Nicholas his ten books on archi 
tecture, the compendium of all his science and all his 
aspirations. The impression produced was instantaneous, 
profound, convincing. A comparison between Palmieri s 
statement, the testimony of the earlier account books, and 
Manetti s description places the matter beyond doubt. 
Clearly the perusal of this book, further supported by the 
eloquence of its gifted author, was the turning point with 
Nicholas in his building plans. The earlier conservative 
designs were discarded "by Leon Battista s advice," and 
the new colossal scheme adopted.* 

The unsafe condition of the old Basilica, of which we 
shall speak presently, may have had an important influence 
on this decision. But before a single step had been taken 
towards the rebuilding of St. Peter s, all was stopped by 
the premature death of the Pope.f Later on, the project 

* Dehio, Bauprojecte, 253. For the projected works of restora 
tion in St. Peter s, cf. Muntz, i., 109, 113-115, 120, 121-124, and 
Gaz. des Beaux Arts (Paris, 1879), v l- x x - Les .Architectes de St. 
Pierre de Rome, 353 et seq. I hold with Dehio, (Bauprojecte, 252) 
that the Pope, before he adopted Alberti s project, had intended to 
preserve and restore the aisles of the old Basilica ; only the Choir, 
which, apparently, was in the worst condition, was to have been 
rebuilt. Herr Janitschek is preparing a -monograph on Alberti. 
Meanwhile he has published a valuable preliminary paper in the 
Repert. f. Kunstwissenschaft, vi., 38 et seq. See Springer, Bilder 
aus der neuern Kunstgeschichte (Bonn, 1867), 69-103 ; Yriarte, 
182 et seq.; and Miintz, Precurseurs, 83 et seq. See Muntz, 
also, for the " heathen tendencies " of this great art theorizer and 
architect of the Renaissance. 

f So Dehio thinks. Bauprojecte, 254, 255. 


was resumed by Julius II., immediately upon his accession 
to the Papal throne, but on different designs.* 

To many the thought of pulling down this venerable 
temple, which had witnessed the rise and growth of the 
Papacy, and the first grasp of Christianity on the ancient 
world, was painful. j- In later times, also, the same senti 
ments have provoked some severe judgments on Nicholas 
for his action in this matter. But in the opinion of one 
who has carefully gone into its whole history, the rebuilding 
of St. Peter s had become an absolute necessity. "It was," 
he affirms, " only a question of sooner or later. Before 
fifty years were out this most interesting building must 
either have fallen of itself or else have been pulled down. 
From an architectural point of view the plan of the 
ancient Christian basilica is perhaps the most daring that 
exists. Its three upper walls, pierced with windows, rest on 
slender columns unsustained by buttresses or supports of any 
kind, and when once they have in any notable degree fallen 
out of the perpendicular, the case of the building is hope 
less, it must be pulled down. This can easily be understood 
by anyone, and needs no special knowledge of the rules of 
architecture. Two unexceptional witnesses testify that this 
was the case with the old St. Peter s. Leon Battista Alberti 
states that the southern wall leant outwards to the extent 
of three braccia (4 ft. 9 in.), and he adds, " I am convinced 
that very soon some slight shock or movement will cause it 
to fall. The rafters of the roof had dragged the north 
wall inwards to a corresponding degree." The testimony 
of the archivist, Jacopo Grimaldi, is perhaps still more 
telling, because unintentional. He says that the paintings 

* Geymiiller. Entwiirfe fur St. Peter, Si. 

t Cf. the words of Maffeo Veyio in his most valuable descrip 
tion of the Church of St. Peter s compiled between 1455 an< ^ 
in Piper, 671 et scq. Acta Sancton Jun., vii., So. 


on the south side are practically invisible, from the dust 
which gathers upon them on account of its slant, while 
those on the north wall can be seen ; he estimates the de 
flection at five palms (sft. iin.).* 

If, however, we may acquit Nicholas of having needlessly 

laid hands on the venerable basilica of Constantine, we 

cannot hold him guiltless in regard to the other ancient 

buildings from which he ruthlessly purloined the materials 

for his own. In doing so he only followed in the footsteps 

of his contemporaries and predecessors. Nevertheless it 

seems strange that a Pope, who so highly appreciated 

the literature of the ancients, should have shown 

so little regard for their other creations. The account 

books of his reign are full of notices of payments 

for the transport of blocks of marble and travertine from 

the great Circus, the Aventine, Sta. Maria Nuova, the 

Forum, and, most of all, the Coliseum. More than two 

thousand five hundred cart loads were earned away from 

this amphitheatre in one year alone.f Similar reckle 

* GeymiUler, Entwurfe fur St. Peter, 135-136- The passage 
from Albert!, is in his work, De arte xdif.," lib i, ex. ; that from 
Grimaldi, in Muntz, i, 118. Burckhardt also(Gescht. der Renais 
sance, 13), thinks that the next earthquake would have shaken 
down the old St. Peter s. See also the testimony of Nicholas V. 
himself (Bullar. Vatic., ii., 138), which Geymiiller has overlooked : 
"Cum videamus basilicam principis apostolorum . . . 11 
collabi ac ita deficientum, ut ruinam minetur," etc., d.d. R 

n,-ius yii, 3 rd ed., p. 547, note; 
6,8 note; Bertolotti, Artisti Lombardi, i., 32 et se g and Adinolfi, 
" ,! 7 6 In the twelfth century foreigners also looked upon Rome 
i a stone quarry. See the instance cited by Burckhardt Cultur, 
, 2 6 For the destruction of the monuments, see Vol. i., p. 
" * sea Eugenius IV. took stone from the ancient buildings 
See Arch st Ital., Third Series, Vol. iii., pt. i, P- "3 J as dld 
VUeileschi. See N. della Tuccia, 168. Out of Rome too, 


ness was, unfortunately, displayed in the destruction of a 
precious memorial of Christian antiquity, the mortuary 
chapel of the Anician family, built against the apse of St. 
Peter. Had not the humanist Maffeo Vegio, as he says, by 
accident, found his way into the abandoned and forgotten 
" Templum Probi," popularly called the house of St. 
Peter, before it was demolished, we should have known 
nothing of the interior of this most interesting mortuary 
chapel, or of the epitaphs of Anicius Probus and Faltonia 
Proba.* In justice, however, it must be said that on other 
occasions Nicholas showed great reverence for the relics of 
the old basilica, and was really careful to preserve the 
work of his predecessors. Thus he replaced the tomb of 
Innocent VII., and had the slabs of porphyry, which 
formed the ancient pavement, kept together and laid by. 
When the workmen employed in building the choir of St. 
Peter s found some Christian graves, he was so delighted 
that he presented them with ten ducats apiece. He caused 
a chalice to be made out of the gold ornaments found in 
these tombs. t 

Notable alterations were made by Nicholas in the Vatican 
Palace. The account books show that these were com 
menced in the first year of his reign, and a special 
"architect of the Palace " appointed. The Pope began by 
causing one set of rooms to be restored and decorated, and 
then proceeded to the execution of the plan described by 

e.g., in Rimini, the old monuments were mercilessly destroyed. See 
Yriarte, 194 et seq. The exportation of antique statues from 
Rome also began very early. King Alfonso carried off two in Oct., 
1440. See Arch. st. Napol., vi., 254. 

* See Vegio, Acta Sanctor. Jun., vii., 78 et stq. 

t Miintz, i., 119. The sarcophagus of Probus, remarkable for 
its sculptures, stands now in St. Peter s in the small recess by the 
Cappella della Pieta. 


Manetti. Thus, by his command, the new library, the 
hall for the equerries, the Belvidere, and the new chapel 
of St. Laurence were successively built. According to 
Panvinius Nicholas also built a new chapel dedicated 
to his own patron Saint. Walls and towers rose rapidly 
around the restored papal citadel ; one of the latter is 
still in existence.* The building, which was being thus 
transformed, dated from the time of Nicholas III. If we 
ascend the great staircase of Pius IX., says one who knows 
Rome thoroughly, and thus enter the court of Damasus, the 
old building will be on our left, the greater part of its front 
concealed by the loggie of Bramante, and its longer side 
touching the great court of Julius II. In its present state 
the ground-floor dates from Alexander VI., the first-floor 
belongs to Nicholas V. The famous " stanze," whose 
walls were covered a little later with Raphael s paintings, 
together with those adjoining them and the so-called chapel 
of St. Laurence, remain, for the most part, architecturally 
unaltered, but, with the exception of the chapel, have 
been entirely repainted. The chapel of the Blessed 
Sacrament, on the other hand, built by Eugenius IV., and 
decorated by Nicholas V., was destroyed in the course 
of the alterations made by Paul III. The proportions of 
these " stanze " are singularly noble and harmonious, while 
the expanse of unbroken surface which their walls present 
and the semi-circular spaces above them corresponding 
with the intersecting arches of the ceilings make them 
peculiarly adapted for the reception of large compositions.! 

* Miintz, i., 115 et seg. 

t Reumont iii., i, 383. Platina says that the alterations made 
by Nicholas V. were so sweeping that hardly any trace remained of 
the old edifice of Nicholas III. As early as 1450 Rucellai praises 
the beauty of the renovated Vatican, and also of the Papal gardens, 
"con una peschiera et fontana d acqua" (Cf. supra Manetti s 
description). Arch, della Soc. Rom., iv., 572. 


In his choice of artists and architects Nicholas fully main 
tained the cosmopolitan traditions of the Papal Court. 
Martin V. had bought the little portable altar, now in 
Berlin, painted by Roger van der Weyden ; Eugenius IV. 
had sat for his portrait to Jean Fouquet ; Nicholas, whose 
ambition it was to make Rome the capital of the world, 
drew artists of all sorts thither from every part of Italy, and 
from Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Spain.* The 
exuberant artistic life of Florence, and Nicholas s former 
relations with that city easily account for the preference 
accorded in general to Florentine masters. Alberti has 
been already mentioned. Associated with him we find the 
celebrated Bernardo Gamberelli, surnamed Rossellino. 
Before them another Florentine, Antonio di Francesco, had 
already entered the service of Nicholas. From the year 
1447, his name appears in the account books as architect 
of the Palace, and he retained this post until the death of 
the Pope. His salary was liberal, ten gold florins a month ; 
Rossellino received fifteen ; Fioravante, also an architect, 
only from six to seven ducats. The fact that this Fioravante 
degli Alberti, a Bolognese, who, for his versatility, was 
nicknamed Aristotle, was employed by the Pope, has only 
been discovered quite recently. It was he who, in 1452, 
transported four gigantic monolith pillars from an old 

* Miintz, i., 95-96, 179 et seq. ; Kinkel, 3002; Gregorovius, 
vii., 3rd ed., 664; Bode, Ital. Portraitsculpturen (Berlin, 1883), 
1 8. In regard to the Italian artists see Bertolotti s numerous 
publications, giving the results of his study of Archives, especially 
Artisti Lombardi, i., and Artisti Modenesi, Parmensi e della 
Lunigiana in Roma nei secoli, xv., xvi., and xvii. (Modena, 1882); 
Artisti Supalpini in Roma (Mantova, 1885) and Artisti Veneti 
in Roma (Venezia, 1885). This great scholar has also collected 
together the names of the Swiss artists who had worked in 
Rome since the fifteenth century in a paper in Bollet. Stor. della 
Suizzera Ital. (1885), vii. 


edifice behind the Pantheon, and placed them in the choir 
of St. Peter s. And there is no doubt that he was the 
person selected to put into execution the Pope s design of 
placing the obelisk on the four colossal figures of the 

The architects appointed by the Pope had a number of 
clerks of the works under them, whose business it was to test 
the materials supplied, and measure the work done, under 
contract. Amongst those employed in this subordinate 
capacity, we find the names of artists of considerable merit. 
For the execution of the works three different systems were 
employed. Under one, the architects and workmen were 
paid fixed salaries monthly or daily, and had all materials 
found for them. Under a second, the work was paid by 
the piece. Finally, under the third, the whole building was 
put into the hands of a contractor, who provided both 
labour and material, and must consequently have been a man 
of considerable means. The most notable of these was a 
Lombard from Varese, Beltramo di Martino, to whom was 
entrusted the choir of St. Peter s, a portion of the new city 
walls, and the fortress of Orvieto. In some years the reim 
bursements received by him from the Pope on account of 
these works amounted to from twenty-five to thirty 
thousand ducats. "It is easy to see," says a modern 
writer, " what a population of workmen all these new 
buildings and their accompaniments must have drawn into 
Rome, and how rapidly an artisan class of citizens must 
have sprung up in the midst of the medieval herdsmen."f 
The capacity displayed by Nicholas in harmonizing the 

* Muntz, i., 79- 8 3- For th e transport of the four monoliths 
see Mussel, Beschreibung Roms, 48. See Anz. fur Kunde Deutscher 
Vorzeit, 1877, p. 302. 

t Kinkel, 2972. Muntz, i., 104. The wood carvers were mostly 
from Florence, the stonemasons from Lombard/ ; Bertolotti, 
Artisti Lombard!, i., 13 et seq. 


various branches of art, and assigning to each its propor 
tionate place, was even more admirable than his largeness 
of conception and refinement of taste. With true insight, 
he made architecture the queen to whom all the rest were 
subordinate. If sculpture seems less favoured by this art- 
loving Pope, the cause is to be found in the circumstances 
which interrupted his work and left it unfinished ; in the 
completed designs an ample part was assigned to it.* 
Nicholas did much to promote and encourage the art of 
marquetry (Infarsin}. The chapel of the Madonna della 
Febbre and his own study were richly ornamented with 
inlaid woods.j- Finally, painting was extensively employed 
in the decoration both of St. Peter s and the Vatican, 
and, amongst the many painters of whose services 
Nicholas availed himself, the foremost place must un 
doubtedly be given to the unique genius of Fra Giovanni 
Angclico da Ficsole (1387-1455). 

This " charming master of inspired simplicity" brought 
religious painting to a height of perfection that it had 
never hitherto attained, possibly to the greatest which it is 
capable of attaining.* " In his work the medieval ideal 

* Miintz, i., 74, 87 et seq. 

t Ibid., 76. For the position of marquetry (the art of pro 
ducing designs in inlaid woods of various colours) in the arts of 
the Renaissance, see Burckhardt, Gesch. der Renaissance, 253 et seq. 

| Weiss, iii., 883. See Lermolieff, Die Werke der Ital. Meister 
(Germ, trans., Leipzig, 1880), 80, and Burckhardt, Cicerone, iii. 
4th ed., 531. The latter rightly sees in Fra Angelico a genius of 
the very first order, who has no counterpart in the whole history of 
painting. Liibke agrees with him, Grundriss, 3rd ed., p. 438. 
" In that which constitutes the highest perfection of Christian art," 
says Weiss, "the animation of the outward form with the true spirit 
of Christianity, Angelico can never be surpassed." According to 
Crowe-Cavalcaselle (ii., 171), Fra Angelico also stands on a level 
with Raphael and Michaelangelo in power of expression and 
mastery of the technical resources of his art. 


in response to the new life infused into it by the bracing 
air of the Renaissance, bursts forth into gorgeous blossoms; 
through him we see exactly how the kingdom of heaven, 
the angels, the saints, and the blessed were represented in 
the devout thoughts of his time, and thus his paintings are 
of the highest value as documents in the history of 

" If," says the biographer of Fra Bartolommeo della 
Porta, " Giotto, at times, in his force and depth resembles 
the prophets of the Old Testament or the Psalmist pouring 
forth his soul-stirring lays, or the face of Moses resplendent 
with the reflection of the Deity, Fra Angelico is the image 
of the Disciple of love. He is the painter of eternal love, 
as Giotto and Orcagna are the painters of the faith. For 
him, as for St. Francis of Assisi, the whole universe is a 
hymn, and in all things he sees the reflection of the un 
created love of their Divine Maker. The world lies bathed 
in those golden beams which diffuse light and warmth 
throughout all creation. Like St. Francis he dwells in a 
region so far removed from all the discords of this world 
that with him some rays of light reflected from the sun of 
spirits fall even on the bad. Through all the heavenly 
circles his gentle spirit yearns upwards to the throne of 
infinite pity, from thence he looks down upon the world; 
he is the herald, the prophet, the witness of the Divine 
mercy." f Thus the pictures of the lowly Dominician 
impress us almost like a vision. 

No one more truly appreciated Fra Angelico than 
Nicholas V. The relations between the Pope and the 

* Burckhardt, Cicerone, 4th ed. , 530-531. 

f Frantz, Fra Bartolommeo della Porta. Studie iiber die 
Renaissance (Regensburg, 1879), 23-24. See also Card. Wiseman, 
Misc. Writings, p. 400, n. i ; Forster, Gesch. der Ital. Kiinst, iii., 
191 ct seq. } and Gorres, Mystik, ii., 155 tt seq. 


devout artist, who never took up his pencil without prayer, 
soon ripened into friendship ; * their acquaintance had 
probably begun in Florence. Those wonderful paintings 
in the cloister of St. Mark s, which to this day are the 
delight of all lovers of true art, belong to the time when 
Nicholas was a student in that city. The frescoes begun 
by Fra Angelico in the Vatican for Eugenius IV., and, alas ! 
destroyed under Paul III., were its most precious ornament 
at the time that Nicholas ascended the Papal throne. While 
still occupied with these he had other work also to do for 
the Pope. The account books of 1449 make mention of a 
study built for Nicholas in the Vatican, decorated with 
Intarsia work and gilt friezes and cornices, and in one it 
is positively stated that some paintings were executed in 
this chamber by Fra Giovanni da Firenze (Fiesole) and his 
pupils. We gather further from these accounts that Fra 
Giovanni di Roma who was a painter on glass, furnished two 
windows for this room, one representing the Blessed Virgin 
and the other Sts. Stephen and Lawrence. But to this 
day we find paintings by Fra Angelico of the lives of these 
saints, in good preservation, on the walls of the chapel of 
St. Laurence. Hence the inference almost amounts to a 
certainty tnat this celebrated chapel and the study men 
tioned in these books are identical, the latter having after 
wards been converted into a private oratory for the Pope.f 
The three walls of this chamber are covered with a double 
row of paintings, depicting the principal scenes in the lives 
of St. Stephen and St. Laurence. Fra Angelico thus gives 
visible expression to the popular custom of uniting the 
names of these two heroes of the Christian faith in a common 
invocation, which had prevailed ever since the time when 
their venerated remains had been deposited together in the 

* Marchese, Memorie, i., 4th ed., 370 el seq,, 375 et seq. 
t Miintz, i., 126, 127-128. Kinkel agrees with him (2987). 


same tomb, in the old basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le 

The charm of these pictures is indescribable and unfailing, 
however often they may be visited. Though past sixty 
when he painted them, as in Orvieto, Fra Angelico s fresh 
ness of conception and mastery of art show no traces of failure 
or decay. f The ordination of St. Stephen, the distribution 
of alms, and, above all, the picture of St. Stephen preaching, 
are three paintings which are as perfect in their way as the 
best examples of the greatest masters. It would be difficult 
to imagine a group more admirable in its composition, or 
more graceful in contour, than that of the seated and 
listening women in the last named picture. In that of the 
stoning there is, no doubt, some weakness in the delineation 
of the fanatical rage of the executioners, but this defect 
was inseparable from those qualities which are the painter s 
chief glory. His imagination, habitually dwelling in a 
region of love and devout ecstasy, was out of its element in 
such scenes of hatred and fury.J: 

But, beyond this, the paintings in this room possess 
also a special interest, because they show, besides an 
increase in perfection and power in his own line, how far 
Fra Angelico was from turning away from the progress of 
his time, as one might, perhaps, have expected him to do. 
In many of these compositions the influence of the antique is 
unmistakably evident. The beautiful basilica in which St. 

* Rio, ii., 35, 36. That Nicholas V. adorned the walls of his 
study with representations of the lives of the Saints is a further 
proof that he belonged to the Christian humanists. 

t Burckhardt, Cicerone, ii., 4th ed., 533. 

J Rio, ii., 36; Burckhardt loc. cit.; Forster, Fiesole (Regens- 
burg, 1859), 10, and Marchese, i., 4th ed., 373 et seq. 

Burckhardt, Cicerone, ii., 4th ed., 534. In these pictures, 
which have been admirably photographed by Braun, Sixtus II. is 
represented with the features of Nicholas V. 


Laurence stands while distributing alms shows how quickly 
Fra Angelico had grasped the principles of the new architec 
ture : its proportions are as chaste as they are noble. The 
picture of the same saint before the judgment seat of the 
Emperor Decius is an archaeological restoration. Above 
the hall the Roman eagle is represented, surrounded by a 
laurel wreath. The only reminiscence of the Gothic is 
seen in the Daldacchini over the Fathers of the Church, 
everywhere else the classical style is supreme. But like 
his patron and friend, Pope Nicholas, Angelico joined to 
his appreciation of the antique an intense love for Chris 
tianity. Hence in all these compositions the influence of 
the classical ideal is never permitted to interfere with the 
Christian spirit which pervades them.* Me has thus 
proved that even in the domain of art, the Renaissance, 
rightly understood, was capable of leading to a higher 

Many other eminent painters were also attracted to 
Rome by Nicholas. From Perugia came Benedetto 
Buonfiglio, one of the most distinguished of Perugino s 
predecessors, from Foligno Bartolommeo da Foligno, the 

* Miintz, Precurseurs, 101 et scq. See Hcttner, 141. During 
his stay in Rome Fra Angelico was also commissioned by Nicholas 
V. to paint a chapel in St. Peter s and illustrate various books. Sec 
Marchese, Memorie, i., 4th ed., 383. He died at Rome, March 18, 
1455- His tombstone in Sta. Maria sopra Minerva is still in good 
preservation (engraved in Tosi, pi. 75), with its beautiful epitaph : 

" Hie jacet. ven. Pictor 
Fr. Joh. de Flor. Old. P. 


Non mihi sit laudi, quod eram velut alter Apellcs, 
Sed quod lucra tuis omnia, Christe, dabam. 
Altera nam terris opera exstant, altera ccelo, 
Urbe me Johannem flos tulit Etrurice." 

See Marchese, i., 4th ed., 367; Jr orcdu, i., 416. 


master of Niccolo Alunno. The latter, according to the 
account books, painted a hall in the Vatican between 1451- 
I 453- His salary was high, seven ducats a month, with 
board. In 1454 we find Andrea del Castagno in the Pope s 
service,* and, according to Vasari, Piero della Francesca 
and Bramantino were also employed by Nicholas. f Their 
names do not appear in the books, but there is a long list 
of others from Rome and its neighbourhood. Of these the 
most eminent, judging by his pay (eight ducats a month), 
would seem to have been Simone da Roma; he was at 
work in the Vatican during almost the whole reign of 
Nicholas. A German and a Spaniard also appear amono- s t 
those who received commissions from the Pope.J 

Nicholas followed his own judgment in the distribution 
of their tasks, as freely as he did in the choice of the artists 
he employed. Thus, from Piero della Francesca he only 
required historical pictures ; not a single altar-piece or 
religious painting of any kind was entrusted to him. His 
pictures contained portraits of Charles VII., the Prince of 
Salerno, and Cardinal Bessarion, and were placed in the hall in 
which we now see the miracle of Bolsena and the liberation 
of St. Peter. Nicholas V. seems to have had a special 
partiality for stained glass. Not only St. Peter s, but also 
all the chief rooms in the Vatican, had painted \vindows. 
The humanist Maffeo Vegio is loud in his praises of their 
beauty and brilliancy. 

* Miintz, i., 93^ seq. For the painters mentioned in the text, 
see especially Crowe and Cavalcaselle, iii., 33 et seq., 291 et seq. ; 
iv., 126, 137, i^ el seq.; and Woltmann-Wormann, ii., 214. 

f Vasari, ed. Milanesi, ii., 492 ; iv., 17; xi., 277 et seq. 

J See Vol. i., p. 219, note f, and Miintz, i., 94-96. This 
otherwise unknown German painter, Lucas, must have been a dis 
tinguished artist, since, in 1451, we find his salary was the same as 
that of Benozzo Gozzoli namely, seven gold florins a month. 

See Acta Sanctor. Jun., vii., 78. Miintz, i. ; 134. 


The minor arts were equally encouraged by this Pope 
"For many hundred years," says a contemporary writer, 
"so much silken apparel and so many jewels and precious 
stones had not been seen in Rome."* To this large- 
minded Pope also belongs the honour of having founded 
the first manufacture of tapestry in Rome. lie brought 
Renaud cle Maincourt from Paris, and gave him four 
assistants and a fixed salary to weave tapestry. j- The 
goldsmiths and gold embroiderers were unable to fulfil 
all the commissions of the Pope; the resources of Rome 
and Florence were soon exhausted, and the workshops of 
Siena, Venice, and Paris were called into requisition. The 
account books are full of orders for tiaras, copes, and other 
vestments, censers, reliquaries, crosses, chalices, and orna 
mental vessels of all sorts for the services of the Church.* 
In this, according to Manetti and Platina, the purpose of 
the Pope was the same as in his architectural undertakings. 
The pomp and magnificence displayed in the celebration 
of the Holy mysteries were equally a means for exalting 
the dignity and authority of the Holy See. Even in all 
the lesser details of its accessories and ornaments, the 
Church was to reflect the splendour of the Heavenly 

But the indefatigable energy of Nicholas, which 

* Kinkcl, 3002. Ferlbach, 20. 

t Kinkel, 3003. Miintz, i., 179 et seq. 

% Miintz, i., 77 et scq., 166 ct scq. All the appointments of the 
Vatican were magnificent. The silver vessels for the table were 
gilt, and some of them enamelled. The MSS. in the library were 
gorgeously bound, see infra, p. 209. For this Pope s solicitude in 
regard to the solemnity and splendour of the services of the Church, 
see Raynaldus, ad an. 1447, n. 24 ; 1449, n. 14, Infessura 
(Eccard, ii., 1883 et scg.) and Manetti, 923. 

Manetti, 923. Platina, Nic. V. in fine. See Rio, ii. 21, 
Miintz, in the Gaz. des Beaux Arts (1877), xv., 418. 



astomsned his contemporaries,* did not exhaust itself in 
his plans for Rome ; the whole Papal States were to be 
equally efficiently protected and embellished. With a just 
sense of the dignity of the head of Christendom, this great 
Pope was determined that the heritage of St. Peter should 
no longer be at the mercy of the insults and attacks of 
turbulent vassals. What had been done for Rome by the 
restoration of the walls and the forts of St. Angelo \vas to 
be done also for all the principal places throughout the 
Papal States. Everywhere ruined walls were rebuilt, 
hurches restored, public squares enlarged and beautified. 
Assisi, Civita Vecchia, Gualdo, Narni, Civita Castellana, 
Castelnuovo, Vicarello were fortified and embellished by 
Nicholas. In Spoleto the magnificent castle of Cardinal 
Albornoz was completed ; in Orvieto the Episcopal Palace, 
the aqueduct, and the walls were restored. At Viterbo the 
Pope built baths for the sick on a princely scale. In Fab- 
riano, which was famous for its pure air, and where the 
Pope resided for some time on account of the plague which 
had broken out in Rome, he rebuilt the Franciscan Church 
and enlarged the principal square, which he surrounded with 
a wall, f 

* See /En. Sylvius, Hist. Frid. III., p. Si; *Despatches of Nico- 
demus de Pontremoli to Fr. Sforza, d.d. ex urbe, 1452, Jan. 18, 
Cod. Z, 219, Sup. Ambrosian Library, Milan, and the Letter of 
"Nello fameglio de N. S re ." (doubtless the same as Nellus de 
Bononia, see Arch, della Soc. Rom., vi., 9) to Siena, Rome, May 
10, 1451. Concistoro, Lettere ad an., State Arch., Siena. 

f On these buildings see Pius II., Comment., 41, in ; Niccola 
della Tuccia, 56, 59, 215, 235 ; Bussi, 249, 251 ; Fumi, 712-713 ; 
Miintz, i., 70, 160-164 > Rumohr, Ital. Forsch., 194 et seq. ; Berto- 
lotti, i., 17-19, 29 ; Cristofani, 319. Nicholas V. also gave assist 
ance to the new building in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo at 
Perugia, and to the restoration of various monasteries (see 
Graziani, 623). See Theiner. Mon. Slav., i., 401. 


In fact, since the Carlovingians, no Pope had built so 
much as Nicholas ; the fresh eager enthusiasm of the early 
Renaissance is personified in him.* " The works of 
Nicholas," said /Eneas Sylvius, " are as far superior to 
anything that the modern world has produced as are the 
castle of St. Angelo and the buildings of the old empire ; 
they now lie scattered around us like gigantic ruins, but 
had they been completed the new Rome would have had 
nothing to fear from a comparison with the old."f From 
his earliest youth Nicholas had loved and delighted in 
letters ; it was but natural now that he had the powers 
that, much as he did for art, he should do still more for 
them. Under him Rome had seemed transformed into a 
huge building yard, an immense workshop and studio ; it 
became also a vast literary laboratory. For, if architecture 
was the Pope s hobby, writing and translating and collect 
ing books and translations in libraries was his passion. J 
The humanists had good reason to rejoice at the election 
of Tommaso Parentucelli. Insignificant and poor as he 
seemed, and comparatively young for a Pope, for he was 
only forty-nine, they knew well, most of them from personal 
acquaintance, how fully bent he was upon throwing the 
whole weight of his influence and position as head of the 
Church into the scales on the side of learning. 

Poggio, the humanist, who was in a certain sense the 
Nestor of the republic of letters at that time, in his letter of 
congratulation to the new Pope, gives eloquent expression 
to the hopes and wishes of Ins party. " I beseech you, 
Holy Father," he says, " not to forget your old friends, or 
suffer your care for them to grow slack because you have 
many other cares. Take measures to increase the number of 

* Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 624; Springer, RafTacl, 99. 
f See Voigt, Wiederbelebung, ii., 2nd ed., 64-65. 
Geiger, Renaissance, 123. 


those who resemble yourself, so that the liberal arts, which 
in these bad days seem almost extinct, may revive and 
flourish again. From you alone we hope for what has so 
long been neglected by others. To you is entrusted the 
glorious mission of restoring philosophical studies to their 
former honour and pre-eminence, and resuscitating the 
nobler arts." These words found a glad response in the 
breast of Nicholas ; they reflected his own sentiments * 

All the scholars in the world," says Vespasiano da 
Bisticci " came to Rome in the time of Pope Nicholas, 
partly of their own accord, and partly at his request, be 
cause he desired to have them there." f This, of course, is 
not literally true, but in point of fact it was the Pope s wish 
to bind the revival of classical literature as closely as pos 
sible to Rome and the Holy Sec, and with this object, from 
the very beginning of his reign, he did his utmost to attract 
all the learned and literary men of his day to his Court. 
Risin- talent was sought out and encouraged, and there was 
hardly a single literary man of any note who did not receive 
some recompense or favour from Nicholas. When Maecenas 
heard that there were still some distinguished writers in 
Rome, who lived in retirement, and for whom he had as 
yet done nothing, he exclaimed, "If they are worth any- 
thin- why do they not come to me, who am willing t 
encourage and reward even mediocrity." Had it been 
possible Nicholas would have been glad to have trans 
ported the whole of Florence to the banks of the 
The golden age of the humanists now 

Poggii Opp, (Basil, 1538), P- 29 */ Rohrbacher- 
Knopfler, p. 314- 

ir *** * 5- - in ^ if mt in blood " f 

:^ -Id), "Parentuceffiwas the first Medici of 
See 3 He to Rome .brt Cosmo was to Florence. 


satisfied with those whose services had already been 
secured by his predecessors, Nicholas summoned a host of 
new literary celebrities to the Eternal City. In a very short 
time he had instituted there a veritable court of the muses, 
composed of all the most distinguished scholars of the day 
-Poggio, Valla, Manetti, Alberti, Aurispa, Tortello, 
Decembrio, and many others.* 

The first thing that strikes the eye in glancing over the 
names of this brilliant company is that, like the artists 
employed by Nicholas, they are almost all strangers. There 
is but one Roman amongst them. The Eternal City seems 
strangely barren. Here and there we hear of a. scholarly 
cardinal or prelate, but there is no mention of any improve 
ment in the education of the people, or of intellectual 
tastes, with one or two exceptions, amongst the nobility, 
no literary activity in the convents, and no found, ttions 
except for theological studies. t To appreciate the full 
merit of this Pope we must take this state of things into 
consideration. It was he who, single-handed, turned the 
capital of Christendom into that brilliant centre of art and 
learning that it became. How much less difficult was the 
task of Cosmo de Medici, who was not obliged to begin 
creating an intellectual atmosphere.! 

Amidst the crowd of learned and literary men who 
quickly gathered around the Pope the Florentines naturally 
were admitted to the closest personal intimacy. Here 
again the noble figure of Alberti is the first to catch the 
eye; but unfortunately just as in Florence his personality 
is obscured by the throng of humanists who surround him, 
so also in Rome no details concerning him are extant. 
Giannozzo Manetti was the most intimate of all with 

* See Tiraboschi, vi., 57, and Zanelli, 17 et scq., 83. 
t Reumont, iii., i, 318. 
J Cipolla, 484-485. 


Nicholas. As a Christian humanist he was truly " the man 
after the Pope s own heart," and in 1451 Nicholas made 
him Apostolic Secretary, and gave him a magnificent 
establishment when in 1453 he came to reside in Rome.* 
Manetti s admirable biography of his generous patron 
attests his gratitude. 

The bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci was on very 
intimate terms with Nicholas. His excellent memoirs and 
sketches of character, which are invaluable to the student 
of the culture of his time, proclaim him to have been a man 
of warm heart, vigorous intellect, and sound judgment. 
The good Giovanni Tortello, the first librarian of the 
Vatican, also enjoyed a large share of the Pope s con 
fidence. f 

Unfortunately in his selection of the men who seemed to 
him to be necessary for his work Nicholas displayed a 
readiness to overlook much that was seriously objection 
able, which can hardly be justified. Personally the Pope 
was undoubtedly loyal to the Christian Renaissance, but he 
was so far carried away by the enthusiasm of the time as to 
be almost wholly blind to the dangers that were to be 
apprehended from the opposite side. Thus he accepted 
from the unprincipled Poggio the dedication of a pamphlet 
in which Eugenius IV. was almost openly accused of 
hypocrisy, J and did not scruple at raising his salary so as 
* Marini, Archiatri, i., 146. Voigr, ii., 82, 2nd ed. On Manetti 
as an adherent of the Christian Renaissance, see Vol. i., p. 40 et seq. 
f See infra. In regard to Vespasiano de Bisticci, see Reumont, 
Lorenzo, i., 417, 2nd ed. et seq. The Pope s especial favourite was 
Piero da Noceto, nat. 1 397, ob. 1 467- See C. Minutoli in the Atti 
della R. Accad. Lucchese (Lucca, 1882), xxi., et seq. The way in 
which Flavio Biondo was passed over by Nicholas is strange, and 
has not hitherto been explained (Cf. Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 86, Masius 
2 I et seq.}. 

% Poggius, Hist, de varietate fortunae, ed. a D. Giorgio (Lutet- 
I aiis, 1723), 88. 


to enable him to live entirely by his muse. When the 
cynical sceptic was called away to Florence to become a 
member of the Chancery there, Nicholas took leave of him 
with regret, and allowed him to retain a nominal secretary 
ship as a token of regard.* Filelfo, a perfect master in 
the art of scurrilous vituperation, was invited to Rome, and 
loaded with favours when he got there. The early death 
of the semi-pagan Marsuppini alone prevented his being 
brought thither, and provided for in such a manner as to 
enable him to give his undivided attention to the translation 
of Homer. f 

Nothing affords a more striking proof of the indulgence 
with which the humanistic movement had come to be 
regarded in Rome than the attitude assumed by the dis 
solute satirist Valla, to whom nothing was sacred. In 
common with the majority of the adherents of the false 
Renaissance, Valla was far from being a fanatical sceptic. 
Even under Eugenius IV. he had written an obsequious 
letter retracting his former publications, and praying for an 
appointment. I>ut the Pope very justly refused to be pro 
pitiated. Even Nicholas did not go so far as formally to 
invite to Rome and heap preferments on the author of the 
book " De voluptate," the declared enemy of the temporal 
power, the bitter satirist of the religious orders. But 
he tolerated the presence of such a man at the Papal 
Court, and even made him apostolic notary. J The task 

* Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 78, 79. 

t Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 96 et seq., 196 et scq. Cf. Vol. i., p. 27. 

% Registers of the Secret Archives of the Vatican of Nov. 14, 
1448 ; Marini, Archiatri, i., 241. This honour was the only 
dignity conferred upon him by Nicholas. Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 89 
ft seq.] Cf. i., 2nd eJ., 478 et scq. There is another side to 
be considered in judging of these appointments, Nicholas sought 
at any rate to win over, if not to convert, dangerous opponents. In 
the case of Valla he seems to have been successful ; not so in that 
of Porcaro. Cf. infra, chap 6. 


of translating Thucydides into Latin was entrusted to 

Most of the learned men thus summoned to Rome were 
employed in translating Greek authors into Latin. This 
was the Pope s especial delight He read these transla 
tions himself with the greatest interest, liberally rewarded 
the translators, and honoured them with autograph letters.* 
Vespasiano da Bisticci gives a long list of translations 
which owed their existence to this " noble passion of 
Nicholas V." By this means Herodotus, Thucydides, 
Zenophon, Polybius, Diodorus, Appian, Philo, Theophrastus, 
and Ptolemy became now for the first time accessible 
to students. The delights of drinking in the wisdom 

o o 

of Greece from the source itself was inexpressible. j- 
: Greece," writes Filefo, referring to these translators and 
to Nicholas s collection of manuscripts, " has not perished, 
but has migrated to Italy, the land that in former days was 
called the greater Greece." I 

At a time when the knowledge of Greeks was confined 
to such a small number of students, these translations were 
most valuable ; they were regarded as a branch of literature 
to which the most distinguished men did not disdain to 
devote their energies. Nothing can be more unjust than 
to speak slightingly of this band of eager workers, whose 
activity was perpetually kept at fever heat by the admoni 
tions and rewards of the Pope, and call them mere opera 
tives in a great translation-factory. The most eminent 

* See the letters . to Perotti, the translator of Polybius, given by 
Georgius, 206, 207. 

t Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed. 509, 510. It is notorious that the 
Pope had much to put up with in regard to many of these transla 
tions. Those of George of Trebizond especially were almost 
worthless. See Ersch-Gruber, i, Vol. lx., 222. 

J Philelfi Epist., xiii., I. 

Geiger, Renaissance, 124. 


humanists of the clay Poggio, Guarino, Dccembrio, Filelfo, 
Valla laboured at these tasks. Their productions were 
much admired by their contemporaries, and royally re 
warded by Nicholas, who was determined, as far as it was 
possible, to render all the treasures of Greek literature 
accessible to Latin scholars. Valla received for his trans 
lation of Thucydides, of which the original manuscript is 
preserved in the Vatican Library,* live hundred gold scudi. 
When Perotti presented his translation of Polybius to the 
Pope, Nicholas at once handed him live hundred newly- 
minted Papal ducats, saying that he deserved more, and 
should receive an ampler reward later. lie gave a thou 
sand scudi for the ten first books of Strabo, and offered 
ten thousand gold pieces for a translation of Homer s 

When we compare these sums with the payments made 
to artists, \ve begin to realize how enormous they were. 
At that period the latter were held in far less esteem than 
scholars and professors. The same Pope who thought 
nothing of making a present of five hundred gold florins to 
two humanists, and bestowed on Giannozzo Manetti an 
official salary of six hundred ducats, paid Fra Angelico at 
the rate of fifteen ducats a month only, and gave Gozzoli 
but seven. f 

Learned and literary men were the Pope s real favourites ; 
to them he gave with both hands. Vespasiano da Bisticci 
says that he always carried a leathern purse containing 
some hundreds of florins, and drew from it liberally on all 

* Cod. Vat., iSoi (richly adorned with miniatures). SL-C 
Vahlen, 359, 360. 

t See supra, p. 183. According to Miintz (Renaissance, 55) no 
one towards the close of the fifteenth century could exist in Florence 
on less than fifty ducats a year. A man could live fairly well on 
from a hundred to a hundred and fifty, and luxuriously on from 
t\\o hundred and fifty to three hundred. 


occasions. And his manner of giving made the gift itself 
more efficacious. When he insisted on the acceptance of 
a present he would represent it as a token of regard rather 
than a recompense of merit. He would overcome the 
scruples of modest worth by saying with playful ostenta 
tion, " Don t refuse ; you may not find another Nicholas." 
Often he actually forced his rewards on learned men. 
When Filelfo, conscious of some disrespectful expressions, 
was afraid to ask for an audience, Nicholas sent for him, 
and in the most gracious manner reproached him for 
having been so long in Rome without coming to see him. 
When he took leave he presented him with five hundred 
ducats, saying, " This, Messer Filelfo, is for the expenses 
of your journey." Vespasiano da Bisticci, who relates 
the story, exclaims enthusiastically, " This is liberality 

In fact Nicholas was the most generous man of a lavish 
age. " In the eight years of his Pontificate," says the 
historian of the Eternal City in the Middle Ages, "he filled 
Rome with books and parchments ; he was another Ptolemy 
Philadelphus. This noble Pope might have been well repre 
sented with a cornucopia in his hand, showering gold on 
scholars and artists. Few men have had ampler experience 
of the happiness of giving towards worthy cnds."f 

If Nicholas had been permitted to accomplish his design 
of familiarizing the Italians with the literature of Greece, 
the consequences would have been in the highest degree 
beneficial. The main evil of the early Renaissance was its 

* " Questi si chiamano liberal!," Nicola V., 27. Filelfo, 3. 

" Sub quo enim pontifice," asks D. Birago in his * Strategicon 
adversus Turcos, " fuit unquam sedes ista magnificentior aut 
splendidior ; quis opem tuam frustra imploravit, quis vir dignus 
clausam sensit in se benignitatem tuam ? " Cod. Rcgin., 835, f. 19. 
Vatican Library. 

f Gregorovius, vii., 31- J ed., 524. 


ignorance of Greek. The efforts of Nicholas to correct 
this deserves the highest praise. Had the culture of the 
humanists been derived directly from Greek sources rather 
than from the degenerate Roman civilization, the whole 
later development of the movement would have been 
different.* This, as we know, he was unable to achieve. 
But much was done by the band of scholars whom Nicholas 
assembled in Rome to promote and diffuse the knowledge 
of the Greek language and literature, the value and impor 
tance of which in the history of culture he so fully 
appreciated. The writings of Aristotle, disencumbered 
of the veil thrown over them by the Arabs and schoolmen, 
were now for the first time really understood. Greek 
history, hitherto only learnt from compendiums, was now 
studied in the original writings of its own historians. 
Herodotus, Thucydides, and many others were by the 
middle of the century either wholly or partially trans 
lated. These translations often left much to be desired 
both in regard to accuracy and latinity ; nevertheless, such 
as they were, they formed a notable accession to the 
materials of learning, and were an enormous intellectual 
gain, especially in stimulating the desire for further 
conquests. f 

But, while fully admitting the value of the literary 
activity thus fostered by the Pope s liberality, we must 
not shut our eyes to the dark side. We have already 
pointed out how little discrimination he exercised in the 
selection of the scholars whom he invited. It stood to 
reason that scandals must arise. Like Florence in Niccoli s 
time, only to a still greater degree, Rome became an arena 

* See Korting, i. f 154, 316, 401, 413 efsey.; ii., 414. 
t Opinion of Reumont (iii., I, 328-329). See Papencorclt, 
502. See also Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 159. 



for literary squabbles and scandalous stones of authors. 
Hitter feuds were carried on for years together between 
the Latins and the Greeks, and between indiv.d ,1s, e 
within both parties.* 

The air was thick with the interchange of 
and abusive epithets. Sometimes they even came to 1 
One day in the Papal Chancellery George of Trcbuond, ,n 
a fit ol jealousy, hit the old 1 oggio two sounding boxes 
the ear ; then the two flew at each other, and were, 
with the greatest difficulty, separated by their colleagues. 
The Pope himself was obliged to interfere, and George, 
whose translations had proved worthless, was banished. 

Equally disgraceful was the quarrel between Pogg.o and 
Valla "They abused each other," says the historian of 
the humanists, "like a couple of brawling urchins in the 
streets. Poggio raged and stormed, as ,n former days 
was wont to do against Filelfo, accusing his adversary of 
treachery, larceny, forgery, heresy, drunkenness, an 
immoral^, and seasoning his accusations with scurn.ou 
anecdotes and coarse epithets. Valla, whose motto was 
. It may be a shame to fight, but to give m ,s a great, 
shame, twitted Poggio with his ignorance of Lat.n and 
the rules of composition, quoting faulty passages, and 
altogether affecting to look upon him as already , 

u apart from these scandals the position of the 

humanists in the Court under this Pope cannot but appc 
anomalous. Nicholas embraced every opportunity 

* Voit, ii., 2nd ed., 149- , c 

t Georg of Trebizond is the most nnpteaang of the Greeks of 

that day Conceited, boastful, and spiteful, he as un.verally 

"t Volgt, ii., 2nd ed., ,50 rf t. Cf. ViUari, i, .o. d ,. 
Invernizzi, 138 et seq. 


introducing learned men,* v\ho, as Platina remarked, 
occupied themselves much more with the library than 
with the Church, seriously compromising that ecclesiastical 
character which the Court of the head of the Church 
should display. Under Eugenius, the highest dignities 
had always been bestowed on monks, now none but 
scholars or translators were promoted. Not only lucra 
tive, but also responsible posts weie conferred upon 
them ; thus Giuseppe Prippi, a poet, was placed at the 
head of the Papal Archives ; and another humanist, 
Decembrio, was made chief of the abbreviators.f This 
state of things made it possible for Filelfo, whose ambition 
after the death of his wile turned towards ecclesiastical 
preferments, to solicit the necessary dispensation from the 
Pope in hexameters! In this production, to which the 
Pope of course returned no answer, Filelfo declares that 
from early youth he had cherished a desire of devoting him 
self wholly to Christ, "the ruler of Olympus." J It does 

* Poggio, in his letters, sneers at the hosts, or rather legions of 
secretaries appointed by the Pope, numerous enough to make a 
good stand against the Turks. Epist., xiii., 8 (Tonelli, iii., 194). 

f See Voigt, ii. (2nd ed.), 94-95. L rippi is distinctly named by 
Valla (Anticlot., in Pog. iv.), "papalis regesti praises." Consider 
ing the losses sustained by the Secret Archives of the Vatican, it is 
not surprising that no mention of his appointment should be 
found. In regard to Brippi, see Vol. i., p. 212, note *; also Vahlen, 
Valloe Opusc., Ixi., 27 el sey., and YVesselofsky, ii., 40. A series of 
religious poems by Brippi are to be found in the MS. of the Court 
Library at Vienna. See Endiicher, Cat. Codd. phil. Bibl. Vind., 
269. His Carmina de laudibus S. Alexii. are in Cod. 2837 in the 
Library of the University at Bologna. 

+ For further details, see Voigt, ii. (2nd ed.), 97; cf. 479 et 
s(y., where similar expressions of Filelfo s are quoted. Amongst 
the extraordinary anomalies of that epoch must be reckoned several 
of the choir books in the Papal chapel, whose illuminations contain 


not appear that this epithet shocked anyone ; it was re 
garded as a Latin turn of expression or a harmless piece 
of pedantry. 

The fact was that the votaries of the false Renaissance 
had not as yet openly broken with the Church. Doubtless 
many propositions are to be found in their writings which 
it would be hard to reconcile with Christian dogma, or the 
Christian point of view. But these were only obiter dicta, 
which those who uttered them would have been ready to 
explain away or retract as lightly as they were spoken.* 
This alone can account for the fact that truly pious men 
like Nicholas he was the first Pope who carried the 
Blessed Sacrament in procession on foot could regard 
these things as mere harmless play. 

It is evident that the encouragement given to the 
humanists was a cause of scandal to many at this time, 
as was also the money spent by Nicolas on his buildings, 
which it was thought would have been better employed 
against the Turks, f These foes of the Renaissance \vere 


very numerous in the religious houses. At the same time 

most unseemly pictures. Cod. 14, in the Archives of the Sistine 
Chapel (drawn up in the latter end of the I5th century), is, as 
Domkapellmeister F. X. Haberl kindly informed me, of special 
importance in this connection ; it was not copied till 1482 (Haberl). 
Bausteine, i., 72). In regard to the care bestowed on music by 
Nicholas, see Atti e memorie di storia della Romagna, vi., 24-25. 
and Mtintz, Renaissance, 59-90. 

* Schnaase, viii., 532-533- See Vol. i., p. 39. 

t The Pope s last address to the Cardinals, in which he defends 
his architectural undertakings, proves the number of these critics 
to have been considerable. L. Birago also, in his *Strategicon. 
mentioned supra, p. 200, n. *, notices these accusations. Besides 
the MS. just mentioned, I saw copies of this Strategicon in Cod. 
Vatic., 3423 (see Georgius, 214 et scq.\ and in Cod. G., vi., 14, oi 
the University Library in Turin. 


a treatise* composed by Timoteo Maffei, the pious prior of 
the regular Canons of Fiesole, is interesting as evidence of 
the revolution in opinion which the labours of this large- 
minded Pope was gradually effecting. He denies the 
assertion that "saintly ignorance" is becoming in those 
who are called to the religious life, and that humanistic 
studies are the ruin of piety. On the contrary, he shows 
bv many quotations, from both sacred and profane authors, 
how much profit monks, as well as other men, may derive 
from classic. 1 .! knowledge, and ends with a reference to the 
Pope, to whom he says nothing could be more agreeable 
than the pursuit of such studies. f 

Ecclesiastical literature was no less dear to Nicholas, 
who had taken a lively interest in it long before he could 
have anticipated that he should ever be called to occupy 
the Papal chair. + 

Here, then, were many deficiencies, and some of them very 
important. The open-handed Nicholas followed the example 
of Alexander when he set forth to conquer Asia. He pro 
mised a reward of live thousand ducats to any one who 
would bring him the Gospel of St. Matthew in the original 
tongue. This, of all possible discoveries, was the one he- 
prized most. Gianozzo Manetti was commanded to translate 

* *Cod. Vat., 5096, f. i, " Timothei Veronensis canonici regu- 
laris in sanclam rusticitatem lilteras impugnantem dialogorum liber 
primus incipit feliciter ; dicatus ad Nicolaum V. summum 
maximumque Pontificem." Prologus (printed in Maffei, Verona 
illustr., ii., 88). Liber primus ends, p. 37; Liber secunclus, p. 38- 
87. Besides the MS. in the Vatican Library, of which I possess a 
complete copy, there is another in the Library of St. Mark s, at 
Venice. See Valentinelli, ii., -12. I hope at a future period to 
speak again of this MS. 

t See Cod., loc. fit., p. 36. 

J Cf. supra, p. 23. 

Muratori, xx., 593. See Rio, ii., 24. Historical documents 
also were copied by the Pope s orders. The Vatican Library con- 


the " Preparation for the Gospel " of Eusebius, together 
with various writings by Sts. Gregory Nazianzen, Cyril, Basil, 
and Gregory of Nyssa. The translation of the eighty 
homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Gospel of St. 
Matthew appeared to the Pope especially desirable. This 
work was entrusted to George of Trebizond, who here again 
proved utterly incapable.* Original works in this depart 
ment were also desired by the Pope. Gianozzo Manetti 
was commissioned to write an apologetic treatise against 
jews and heathens, and also to translate the whole Bible 
from the original Greek and Hebrew texts. Unfortunately 
Nicholas died before this great work was completed, so that 
he was unable to reward it as he would have wished, and 
the plan was never carried out in the manner originally 
intended. f The famous Dominican Cardinal Torquemada 
dedicated to him two treatises on canon law.J Antonio 
degl Agli, a Florentine, afterwards Bishop of Fiesole and 
Volterra, wrote a book for him on the lives and acts of the 
Saints. In the preface to this interesting work the author 
declares that, having laid it aside, he resumed it at the 

tains many works of this description. Tims I found in Cod. Vatic., 
4167, the minutes of the Council held in Rome under Martin I. 
See the description of this MS. in the Arch. dell. Soc. Rom., 
iii., 69. 

* Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 199 ct scq. See Zanelli (96) on Perotti and 
Nicholas V. 

\ Loc. tit., 82. See Burckhardt, Cultur, i., 3rd ed., 242, 333. 

J See Georgius, 197, 211-214; Cf. Lederer, Torquemada, 264. 
(There is here a curious error. The author attributes the found 
ing of the Barberina to P. Barbo). 

In regard to this pious Bishop see Mai. Spicil., i., 273 et seq. ; 
Ughelli, i., 399; iii., 336. The dedication of this book begins 
thus: "Antonius Allius presbiter sanctissimo d. n. Nicolao P. V. 
Sanctorum vitas gestaque scribere ac juxta temporum aliquam 
rationem ordinare digerereque adorsus et desperatione inveniendi 
quoe ccrta atque irreprehensibili fide rcponere possem perlerrilus 


express desire of the Pope. He also explains its object. 
Unfortunately, he says, most of the legends of the Saints 
were full of fables, and written in an uncouth or affected 
style, which disgusted the humanists and made them 
despise Christianity. This he hopes to remedy. He has 
drawn from the best patristic sources, and especially the 
old Latin Manuscripts, which are more trustworthy than the 
(jreek, as the Popes had early taken pains to verify the 
acts of the martyrs. The learned Ambrogio Traversari 
had already perceived the need of such a work, and begun 
to supply it. For himself he has done his best to make 
his book worthy of a place in tin: Papal library; to others 
he leaves the task of praising Rome s worldly heroes; his 
only ambition is to celebrate the heroes of the Church.* 
To conclude, the labours of Nicholas V. as a collector of 
books were indefatigable and most productive. In his 
penurious days he had spent every farthing he could spare 
on the purchase of manuscripts, and even been drawn into 
debt by his literary voracity; it is easy to imagine witli 
what energy he would proceed now that he found himself 
in possession of such ample resources. 

A noble library was to form the crowning glory of the 

cum aliquaiam scripsissem, opus sic inchohatus (sic/) relinquere 
statui. Et nisi piuiu tua; sanctitatis, beatissime pater, studium 
atque hortatus iterum ad scribendum me animasset, cccpta pcnitus 
omisissem. Cum igitur tuce sanctitati pcrgratum fuUirum esse 
opus, ips jinii mihi assereres pium vera atque utili posteritati fore 
viderctur, clenuo receptis aniinis me ad scribendum convert!." 
Cod. Vatic., 3942. Vatican Library. 

* *"IIunc primum librum." The dedication proceeds to say : 
"His contractioribus a me noctibus lucubratum tine sanctitati 
videndum examinandumque transmitto ; quern si tua auctoritate 
probaveris, maioribus ad eos, qui sequuntur, aniinis deinceps 
expediencies accingas." Observations on the arrangement of the 
vork follow. Cod. cit. from the Vatican Library. 


new Vatican. The idea of this library, by means of which 
Nicholas hoped to make Rome the centre of learning for 
all the ages to come, was perhaps the grandest thought of 
this great Pope, who was as admirable for his genuine 
piety and virtue as for his many-sided culture. He wished 
to place all the glorious monuments of Greek and Roman 
intellect under the immediate protection of the Holy See, 
and thus to hand them down intact to future generations. 

The zeal displayed by the Pope in the prosecution of this 
undertaking was unexampled. Not satisfied with collecting 
and copying the manuscripts that were to be found in Italy, 
he had agents at work in almost every country in Europe. 
He sent emissaries to Greece, to England, and to the grand 
master of the Teutonic Order in Prussia, to discover and 
buy, or copy all the hidden literary treasures that could be 
found in these countries.* The influence which the Holy 
See possessed throughout all Christendom was exerted by 
Nicholas far more for the organization of books than of 
power. No expense was to be spared ; the more spoil his 
agents brought back the better pleased was the Pope. A 
rumour reached him of the existence of an exceptionally 
periect copy of Livy in Denmark or Norway, and he at 
once sent the well-known Alberto Enoche of Ascoli, with 
ample commendatory letters, to procure it. Apparently he 
was not successful in bringing back anything of much 
value.f The private agents who were in his service in 

* See Philelfi, Epist., xiii., I, and the *Oratio funebris pro 
nounced by Nicholas Palmerius, O.S.A., Bishop of Catanzaro, and 
afterwards of Orte and Civita Castellana during the first days of the 
obsequies of Nicholas V., Cod. Vatic., 5815, f. 10, Vatican 

f In regard to Enoche see Reumont, in Arch. Stor. Ital., Third 
Series, pt. xx., 188-190. Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 201-203. (See 
Keisserscheid in Deutsch Literat.-Zeit, 1883, p. 234). Intelligenz- 


Greece and Turkey, both before and after the fall of 
Constantinople, were more fortunate* in procuring new 
manuscripts, which were immediately copied and corrected 
in Rome. Armies of transcribers, many of whom were 
Germans and Frenchmen, j- were perpetually employed in 
this work. When in 1450 the plague in Rome obliged the 
Pope to retire to Fabriano, where at that time the best 
paper was made, he took his translators and copyists with 
him for fear of losing them. J 

Nicholas V., himself a calligraphist, required all manu 
scripts to be well executed. The few specimens still 
existing in the Vatican library are bound with exquisite 
taste, even when not illuminated. The material was 

blatt, Scrapeum, 1867, p. n. Deutsche Stiidtechroniken, iii., 
note 5 ; iv., 281, note, and Mancini, 329. Voigt gives the brief of 
Nicholas V., in which he recommends Enoche to the Grand 
master, Ludwig von Erlichshausen, taken from the Konigsberg 
Archives. In this brief, among other things, the following occurs : 
" Nolumus enim ut aliquis liber surripiatur, sed tantum modo ut 
fiat copia transscribendi." But there is nothing to be found in this 
brief of any command of the Pope to the monks to show their 
books under pain of excommunication (as stated by Vespasiano). 
Leo X. was the first to do this, as I shall show in a future 
volume from a document in the Wolfenbiittel Library. 

* Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 203 et scq. No doubt many MSS. were 
destroyed at the fall of Constantinople, but a great many were 
saved. The Genoese, in a paper *dated February 13, 1461, 
addressed to Pius II., give an account of a number of books, relics, 
chalices, etc., which had been safely transported from Pera to Chios 
(Litt., Vol. xxii., Genoese State Archives. See also in Appendix 
No. 22 the instruction of Nicholas V., d.d. viii., Id, Oct., 1453, 
taken from the Secret Archives of the Vatican). 

t See Gaye, Carteggio d Artisti (Firenze, 1839), i., 164. 

\ Manetti, 928. 



almost always parchment, and the covers mostly of crimson 
velvet with silver clasps.* 

By means of these strenuous exertions the Pope suc 
ceeded, in a comparatively very short space of time, in 
bringing together a really unique collection of books. 
"Had Nicholas V. been able to carry out his intentions," 
says Vespasiano da Bisticci, "the library founded by him at 
St. Peter s for the whole Court would have been a really 
marvellous creation/ f It was to have been a public 
institution, accessible to the whole learned world. J Besides 
this Nicholas collected a private library of his own, the 
inventory of which is still to be found in the Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. This mostly consists of profane 

The care of this library was confided by the Pope to 
Giovanni Tortello, a quiet and unassuming scholar, ab 
sorbed in his books, and as well versed in theology as in 

* See Burckhardt, i., 3rd ed. et seq., and Miintz in the Gaz. 
des Beaux Arts (1877), xv -> 419- On the dealers in MSS. in 
Rome, see Serapeum, xiii., 294. Nicholas applied to Cosmo de 
Medici repeatedly for Greek codex, see Fabronius, i., 135 ; ii., 

f Mai, Spicil., i., 49. 

I "Pro communi doctorum virorum commodo." So runs the 
commendatory brief with which Enoche was provided (already 
mentioned, p. 208, note f). For previous Papal libraries, see 
Reumont, iii., i, 131; G. B. de Rossi, La Biblioteca della Sede 
Apostolica, in Studi e docum., A v. (1884), 317 et seq., and Fr. 
Ehrle s admirable paper, " Zur Gesch. des Schatzes, der Bibliothek, 
und des Archives der Papste im xiv. Jahrhundert," in the Archiv 
fiir Lit. und Kirchengesch. des M. A. (Berlin, 1885), i-j I e * SC< J- , 
288 et seq. 

In the last volume of the Diversor. Nicholai V., published by 
Amati in the Arch. Stor. Ital., Third Series, P. III., 207-212, and 
in Sforza, 385-391. 


classics.* Few librarians have had so free a hand in 
regard to expense; his purchases were always sure of a 
welcome, and the more books he procured the better 
pleased was his patron. It has been estimated that 
Nicholas spent more than forty thousand scudi altogether 
on books. f 

The numbers of the volumes in the Papal libraries have 
been very variously stated, and the discrepancies between 
writers who had the means of knowing accurately are 
extraordinary. Tortello, who had drawn up a catalogue, 
now unfortunately lost, reckoned, according to Vespasiano 
da Bisticci, nine thousand volumes. Pope Pius II. 
estimated it at three thousand ; the Archbishop St. 
Antoninus of Florence, only one thousand. On the other 
hand, Manetti and Vespasiano da Bisticci, in the bio 
graphies of Nicholas V., distinctly state that at the time of 
the Pope s death the catalogue numbered five thousand 
volumes. This estimate is considered by the latest writers 
to come nearest the truth. J 

Possibly, however, even this may still be too high. In 
the Vatican Library there is an inventory of the Latin 
manuscripts belonging to Nicholas V., which was taken 

* Tortello was one of the Pope s most intimate friends. See 
Cortesius in Galletti, Villani, 227. See Zanelli, 39 ; Voigt, ii., 2nd 
ed., 90, 94, and Anecdot. lit., iv., 374 et seq. 

t Assemani, Proof, ad Vol. i. Cat. Cod. MS., Bibl. Vafric., p. 21. 
On the literature of the fifteenth century, see Reumont, Lorenzo, i. 
2nd ed., 382 ct seq., 419 et seq., and Wattenbach, Schriftvvesen 
des M. A. (Leipzig, 1871, 2nded., 1875). On the price of books, 
see Savigny, iii., 593 et seq.\ Schulte, Quellen, ii., 457 ; Miintz, 
Renaiss., 57. 

\ Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 208. Geiger, Renaissance, 125. Ac 
cording to a statement in Muratori (xviii., 10.95), which seems 
hitherto to have been overlooked, Nicholas V. left six hundred 
volumes when he died. 


before the coronation of his successor, Calixtus III., on the 
1 6th of April, 1455.* That this inventory is complete 
seems evident, since it includes the private library of the 
deceased Pope. The Greek manuscripts are not men 
tioned, but the Latin are numbered up to eight hundred 
and seven. t This was a large collection for those days ; 
the most famous libraries were hardly more numerous. 
That of Niccoli, the largest and best in Florence, only con 
tained eight hundred volumes (valued at four thousand 
sequins) ; that of Visconti, in his castle at Pavia, nine 
hundred and eighty-eight. Cardinal Bessarion, in spite of 
his influential connections and lavish expenditure, could 
only succeed in bringing six hundred manuscripts together. 
Duke Frederick of Urbino s library, which consisted of 
seven hundred and seventy-two manuscripts, was said to 
have cost him thirty thousand ducats. The other Italian 
collections are all under three hundred volumes. Even 
the Medici in 1456 possessed only one hundred and fifty- 
eight, and in 1494 about a thousand manuscripts. + 

According to this inventory the Latin manuscripts in the 

* *" Inventarium librorum latinorum bibliotece d. n. pape Callisti 
tercii repertorum tempore obitus bo. me. d ni Nicolai predecessoris 
immediati et per me Cosmam de Monteserrato (see Marini, ii., 146) 
e. s. d. n. datarium et confessorem factum, scriptum et ordinatum, 
quod inceptum fuit xvi. Aprilis pont. sui anno p." Cod. Vatic. 

. f Miintz (L heritage de Nicholas V., p. 420), following an old 

note, f. 3a of the Cod. Vatic., erroneously counts eight hundred 
and twenty-four numbers ; in his most recent work (La Renais 
sance, 119) in one place he writes eight hundred and twenty-four, 
and in another eight hundred and twenty-seven. The number 
given in the text is that in the notes made by me in the spring of 
1884. Fr. Ehrle, S. J., has lately been kind enough to verify its 

J Miintz, La Renaissance, 119-120. 


library of Nicholas V. were contained in eight large chests. 
The contents of the first chest were mostly biblical, those 
of the second consisted of the works of the Fathers of the 
Church. The Pope s favourite author, St. Augustine, had 
sixty volumes, St. Jerome seventeen, St. Gregory six, St. 
Ambrose fifteen. The third chest contained forty-nine 
volumes by St. Thomas Aquinas, and six by Albert the 
Great. In the fourth were twelve books by Alexander of 
Hales, the same number by St. Bonaventure, twenty-seven 
by Duns Scotus. In the fifth, amidst many theological and 
historical works, we first encounter some of the heathen 
classics, amongst these the gorgeously-bound translation of 
Thucidydes, presented to the Pope by Valla. The interest 
ing treatise by Timoteo Maffei mentioned above is also to 
be found here.* The eighty-five volumes which filled the 
sixth chest consisted almost exclusively of works of theo 
logy and canon law. The seventh was devoted mostly to 
heathen classical authors, Florus, Livy, Cicero, Juvenal, 
Quintilian, Virgil, Claudian, Statius, Catullus, Terence, 
Ptolemy, Seneca, Apulian, Vegetius, Frontinus, Macrobius, 
Sallust, Valerius Maximus, Zenophon, Silvius Italicus, 
Pliny, Horace, Ovid, Homer in a translation, Justin, Colu- 
mella, Euclid, etc. The eighth chest contained a miscel 
laneous collection of profane and ecclesiastical writers. f 

No other Pope was ever such a genuine book-lover as the 
former professor of Sarzana. " It was his greatest joy," 
says the historian of humanism, "to walk about his library 

* * i( Item unum volumen, nuncupatum tractatus Thimothei 
contra rusticitatem sanctam." f. 236 of the above-named M.S. 
in the Vatican Library. 

t I abstain from giving details because M. Miintz and Fr. Ehrle 
intend to publish this catalogue, the oldest in the Vatican Library. 

J Voigt, ii., 2nd ed., 208. For the picture in the Vatican 
Library, belonging to the time of Paul V., see Beschreibung der 
Stadt Rom, ii., 2, 334. 


arranging the books and glancing through their pages, 
admiring the handsome bindings, and taking pleasure in 
contemplating his own arms stamped on those that had 
been dedicated to him, and dwelling in thought on the 
gratitude that future generations of scholars would entertain 
towards their benefactor. Thus he is to be seen depicted, 
in one of the halls of the Vatican Library, employed in 
settling his books," and this, indeed, is his place by right, 
for he it was who founded that noble collection of manu 
scripts which still maintains its European reputation. 

As the founder of the Vatican Library the influence of 
Nicholas V. is still felt in our own times in the learned 
world to a greater extent perhaps than that of any other 
Pope; this library alone is enough to immortalize his 


STRANGELY contrasting with the glories of the Jubilee and 
of the Imperial coronations comes the conspiracy which 
at the very outset of the year 1453, threatened, not only 
the temporal sovereignty, but even the life of Nicholas V., 
and there is something peculiarly tragic in the fact that the 
would-be murderer of the very Pope who had striven to 
render Rome the centre of the literary and artistic 
Renaissance was one of the false humanists. The great 
patron of humanism was himself to taste the fruit pro 
duced by that one-sided study of classical literature which, 
while it annihilated the Christian idea, filled men s minds 
* The history of this attempted revolt has lately been treated 
by O. Tommasini in the Arch, dclla Soc. Rom., iii., 63-133, and 
by the celebrated Archaeologist, G. B. de Rossi, Gli Statuti del 
comune di Anticoli in Campagna con un atto inedito di St. 
Porcari (in the Studi e Document! A ii. [1881], fasc. 2, p. 
71-103). Both these writers have made use of documents 
hitherto unpublished. See also Henri de 1 Epinois, Nicholas V., et 
la conjuration d Etienne Porcari (in the Revue des quest, hist., 
livr. 6 1 [Janv., 1882], 160-192), and Prof. Aug. Persichetti, Stef. 
Porcari e la lapide erettagli a nome del popolo Romano (in La 
Rassegna Italiana, A ii. Roma, 1882], fasc. i, p. 45-69). I 
was able to supplement these accounts by further information from 
the State Archives at Milan, Florence, Siena and Lucca, and by the 
important ^Confession of Porcaro, which I discovered in a MS. in 
the Town Library at Troves. The last-named document in some 
degree makes up for the missing record of the trial which de Rossi 
has vainly sought for in the Roman Archives. 



with notions of freedom and with a longing for the 
restoration of the political conditions of ancient times.* 

It would be a mistake to look on the attempted revolt of 
Stefano Porcaro as an isolated event. In Italy the period 
of the Renaissance was the classic age of conspiracies 
and tyrannicide. Such assassinations were for the most 
part closely connected with the one-sided Renaissance 
which revived the heathen ideal. Even Boccaccio openly 
asks : " Shall I call a tyrant King, or Prince, and keep faith 
with him as my Lord ? No ! for he is our common enemy. 
To destroy him is a holy and necessary work in which all 
weapons, the dagger, conspiracies, treachery, are lawful. 
There is no more acceptable sacrifice than the blood of a 
tyrant." In Boccaccio s mouth, indeed, this is little more 
than a rhetorical phrase, like the pathetic declamations 
against tyrants often borrowed, especially in the early days 
of the Renaissance, from Latin authors, and used without 
any serious conviction or any practical effect. f But as 
time went on, Brutus and Cassius, the heroes of the 
humanists, found living imitators in many places. 

Pietro Paolo Boscoli, whose conspiracy against Giuliano, 
Giovanni and Giulio de Medici (1513) was unsuccessful, had 
been a most enthusiastic admirer of Brutus, and had pro 
tested that he would copy him if he could find a Cassius, 
whereupon Agostino Capponi associated himself with him 
in this character. We are told that the unfortunate Pietro, 
the night before his execution, exclaimed: "Take Brutus 
from my mind, that I may die as a Christian.";}: In the case 
of Olgiati, Lampugnani and Visconti, the murderers of 
Galeazzo Sforza of Milan, we have remarkable evidence 

* Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 125. 

t Korting, ii., 197, 404. The passage is in the work, " De 
casibus virorum illustrium," 1. ii., c. 15. 

J Burckhardt, Cultur, i., 3rd ed., 59. See Cipolla, 482. 


of the manner in which the ancient estimate of the 
murder of tyrants had been adopted. These misguided 
students of the past held fast to an ideal Republic, and 
defended the opinion that it was no crime, but rather a 
noble deed to remove a tyrant, and by his death to restore 
freedom to an oppressed people. Cola de Montani, a 
humanist teacher of rhetoric, incited them to commit the 
crime. About ten days before it was accomplished, the 
three conspirators solemnly bound themselves by oath in 
the Convent of St. Ambrose : " then," says Olgiati, "in a 
remote chamber, before a picture of St. Ambrose, I raised 
my eyes and besought his aid for ourselves and all his 
people." So terribly was the moral sense of these men 
perverted that they believed the holy patron of their city 
and also St. Stephen, in whose church the crime was per 
petrated, would favour the deed of blood. After the Duke 
of Milan had been slain (1476), Visconti repented, but 
Olgiati, even in the midst of torture, maintained that they 
had offered a sacrifice well-pleasing to God. A little before 
his death he composed Latin epigrams, and was pleased 
when they turned out well. While the executioner cut his 
breast open he cried out, " Courage ! Girolamo ! You will 
long be remembered ! Death is bitter, but glory is 
eternal ! " * \Ve learn from the annals of Siena that the 
conspirators had studied Sallust, and Olgiati s own words 
furnish indirect evidence ot the fact. A close observation 
of his character shows that it bore much resemblance to 
that of Catiline, " that basest of conspirators, who cared 
nothing for freedom. "t 

* Burckhardt, Cultur, i. (3rd ed.\ 57-58. Geiger, Renaissance, 
162. Frantz, Sixtus IV., 180. Villari, i., 32 et seq. Cola Mon- 
tano, Studio storico di Girolamo Lorenzi (Milano, 1875). See 
Arch. st. Ital., Series iii., t. xxii., 291 et scq. 

t Burckhardt, i. (3rd ed.), 58. 

;, Michael s College 
sholastic s Library 


The man, who sought the life of the noble Pope Nichola. 
V., had a nature akin to that of Catiline; he had been trained 
in the heathen school, and was filled with the spirit of the 
false Renaissance. 

Stefano Porcaro belonged to an ancient family, which is 
mentioned as early as the first half of the eleventh 
century,* and was probably of Tuscan origin. The 
ancestral mansion, with its punning crest a hog in a net 
is still to be seen near the Piazza, of Sta. Maria sopra 
Minerva, in the Vicolo delle Ceste. The day and year of 
Stefano s birth are unknown, and it would be difficult to 
obtain certain information on the subject. f There is no 
doubt that he devoted himself at an early age, and with 
enthusiasm, to classical studies. His intellectual capacity 
and humanistic culture won for him, in 1427, the honour 
able position of captain of the people in Florence, and the 
Republic was so pleased with him that, on the recom- 

* In the year 1037. See de Rossi, !oc. cit. 99, who adds many 
particulars to Tommasini s account of Porcaro s family (124-133). 
Another notice is to be found in Pachi, 87. See Adinolfi, i., 43, 
98, 104. Infessura speaks of a certain Matteo Porcaro, who was 
in the service of the Colonna, 1137. I also found the following, in 
the *Divers. Pii II., 1458-1460,1. 45: " Saluato de Porcariis de 
Roma olim castellano mentis alti flor. auri de camera viginti pro 
complemento omnium pecuniarum per eum habendarum racione 
custodie dicte arcis." State Archives, Rome. The inscription 
placed on Porcaro s house by the Common Council of Rome in 
1871, says that " pitying the servitude of his country in the time Oi 
oppression, he raised the cry for freedom, and was put to death on 
the 9th January, 1453, by order of Nicholas V." ! In contradiction 
of this unhistorical assertion, see de Rossi and Persichetti, loc. cit. 

t The Roman Parish Registers only begin with the sixteenth 
century. When I was last in Rome (in the spring of 1884), I was, 
like Tommasini (126), unable to find any relevant documents in 
the Doria-Pamfili Archives ; perhaps the new arrangement of these 
records may have brought something to light. 


mendation of Martin V., his appointment was renewed the 
following year. His sojourn at Florence exercised an 
important influence on his mental development, for he was 
there admitted into a circle of celebrated humanistic 
scholars, and became intimate with Poggio, Manetti, 
Niccoli, Ciriaco of Ancona, and especially with the 
Camaldolese monk, Traversari, who had a high opinion of 
him, and was apparently quite ignorant of the change 
which had come over his spirit. The classical studies of 
the Roman knight had filled him with the utmost admiration 


for the ancient power and glory of the Roman Republic 
and the virtues of her citizens, and his head had been 
turned with the idea of her former freedom. Florence then 
produced a deep impression on his soul, as is witnessed by 
the eloquent Italian speech which he made as captain of 
the people, and which was, like the popular discourses of 
Bruni and Manetti, so widely circulated that copies of it 
are to be found in almost all the libraries of Italy. * In this 
speech he declared that Florence seemed to him the ideal 
of perfect civil and political life, and that the grandeur, the 
beauty, and the glory of the Florentine Republic dazzled 
and bewildered him.f The establishment of a similar 
Republic in Rome became the dream of his ambition. The 
temper of his mind is shown in his ostentatiously changing 
the family name from Porcari to Porci, giving out that it 
sprang from an old republican race, doubtless with the 
object of suggesting a reminiscence of Cato.J 

* See Voigt, Wiederbelebung, ii. (2nd ed.), 68. B. Fontius in 
Galletti characterizes Porcaro as " disertissimus." In Appendix 
No. 12, 1 have given a list of copies of Porcaro s discourses existing; 
in most of the great Libraries of Italy. 

f See the passages given by Tommasini (75 N.), from *Cod. 
Ottob., 3316. 

J Papencordt, 484. De Rossi, 100 et sej. See Burckhardt, i. 
3rd ed., 229. 


Like most of the humanists, Porcaro loved travelling* 
he visited France and Germany, and in 1431 returned to 
his native city, in company with his brother, Mariano."* 
He must at this time have carefully concealed his republican 
leanings, for in 1433 Pope Eugenius IV. appointed him 
Podesta in the turbulent city of Bologna, where he mani 
fested considerable ability in restoring order and quiet. 
Traversari wrote of him, "All men admire him, and praise 
his zeal to an incredible degree ; the pacification of the 
factious city is mainly due to him. Both parties trust 
him, and rejoice in the calm which has succeeded the 
tempest." f 

It is uncertain whether Porcaro had any part in the 
Roman Revolution of 1434; we know him in that year to 
have voluntarily undertaken the task of mediation between 
the Romans and the Pope, and to have gone to Florence 
for the purpose (September, 1434). His efforts failed, for 
Eugenius IV. absolutely, and, as events soon showed, 
wisely rejected his proposal that the Castle of St. Angelo 
should be confided to a Roman. Sick and disheartened, 
Porcaro turned his back upon Florence. As yet, however, 
he made no attempt to form a party, but managed to keep 
the Pope in ignorance of his discontent. This is evident 
from the recently ascertained fact that Eugenius IV. in this 
very year appointed him Rector and Podesta of Orvieto. 
Here, again, he left a very favourable impression ; even the 
stern Cardinal Vitelleschi highly commended his govern- 

* See Traversarius, Hodoeporicon (Florentine, 1680), ii. 

t Ambrosii Camald. epist. 1. xix., ep. 20, in Martene, Thes., iii., 
623. Perlbach, 3. 

J Perlbach, 5. De Rossi (86) is also of opinion that the abor 
tive negotiations disturbed the good understanding which had 
existed between Porcaro and the Papal Court. 


merit, and the citizens acknowledged his services by a 
present to the value of sixty ducats.* 

The next ten years of Porcaro s life are still veiled in 
obscurity. It seems scarcely possible that he should have 
lived in Rome under the severe rule of Vitelleschi and 
Scarampo; perhaps during this period he became poor and 
embarrassed in his circumstances, and joined himself to 
companions of doubtful character. f His aversion to 
" priestcraft " may naturally have been intensified by the 
ridicule which the humanists heaped upon the clergy and 
monks, and Valla s pamphlet against the temporal power 
of the Pope probably had a decided influence on the pro 
gress of his opinions,^: for during the vacancy of the Holy 
See after the death of Eugenius IV. he reappears on the 
scene in a new character. 

Such periods were apt to be a time of trouble in Rome, 
and Stefano meant to turn the favourable opportunity to 
account. He assembled in Araceli a band of men ready 
for any enterprise, made an inflammatory speech declaring 
that it was a shame that the descendants of ancient Romans 
had sunk to be the slaves of priests, and that the time had 
come to cast off the yoke and recover freedom. The fear 
of King Alfonso, who, with his army, was encamped at 
Tivoli, alone prevented the outbreak of a revolution. 

There can be no doubt that Porcaro had actually 
rendered himself guilty of high treason. The new Pope, 

* See L. Fumi, II governo di St. Porcaro in Orvieto con appen- 
dice di molli document! inediti (from the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican and the City Archives of Orvieto), in the Studi e Docu- 
menti, A iv. (Roma, 1883), p. 33-93. 

f Voigt, Wiederbelebung, ii. (2nd ed.), 69. 

J Gregorovius (vii., 3rd ed., 127 and 535) also deems this likely. 
See also Cipolla, 482. Regarding Valla s anti-Papal pamphlet, see 
Vol. i., p. 19. 

Voigt, loc. cit. and supra, p. 4, 


however, magnanimously forgave him, and appointed him 
governor-general of the sea coast and the Campagna, with 
Ferentino for his head-quarters,* hoping by this means to 
win a gifted and dangerous adversary, and reconcile him 
with the existing state of things. The hope proved delu 
sive, for, having returned to Rome, Porcaro renewed his 
revolutionary agitation, and, with characteristic audacity, 
went so far as to say : " When the Emperor arrives we 
shall regain our liberty/ A tumult which occurred in the 
Piazza Navona, on the occasion of the Carnival, gave the 
ambitious man an opportunity of inciting the populace 
openly to resist the Papal authority.f 

Nicholas V. was now compelled to take action, but he 
did it in the mildest manner. Porcaro was sent away from 
Rome to Germany on pretext of an Embassy, and, as fresh 
tumults broke out on his return, he was afterwards honour 
ably exiled to Bologna. Cardinal Bessarion, the friend of 
his literary associates, was here appointed to take charge 
of him, and Porcaro was required to appear in his pre 
sence every day. The generous Pope granted the exile a 
yearly pension of three hundred ducats, and Bessarion 
added, from his own private resources, a hundred more 
no inconsiderable sum for those days.J 

Porcaro repaid these benefits by plotting from Bologna 
against the Pope. Any determined man could always find 

* The knowledge of this fact is due to a fortunate discovery of 
de Rossi (loc. tit., 74, 78 et seq.}. 

f Niccola della Tuccia, 226. De Rossi, 88 et seq. 

\ Sabellici Hist. Venet. Dec. iii., lib. vii., Opp. (ed. Basil, 
1560), ii., 1447. Caccia in Cugnoni, 95. Niccola della Tuccia 
loc. tit. The Venetian Chronicle of Zorzi Dolfin says : " Sotto 
specie di officio fu mandato dal papa in Alemagna." See Sitzungs- 
berichte der Munch. Akad. 1868, ii., 2. As to the amount of the 
pension seeTommasini, 69, 70. 


instruments ready to his hand in Rome. The Eternal City 
contained a multitude of needy nobles and so-called 
knights, of partisans of the Colonna and Orsini in their 
feuds, of bandits, robbers, and adventurers of all sorts ; 
and genuine political enthusiasts might also be found in 
the motley crowd. The cowardly rabble could be counted 
on wherever plunder was to be had.* 

When Porcaro had completed the necessary preparationt 
for action he eluded the daily supervision of Cardinal 
Bessarion by a feigned illness, and then stole away from 
Bologna in disguise. f Accompanied by but one servant, 
he rode in hot haste towards Rome, hardly ever dismount 
ing. In Forli, however, he was unwillingly delayed, as the 
custom house officials would not allow him to proceed, 
though he declared that he would rather lose his baggage 
than spend the night in the city. By the aid of an acquaint 
ance he managed to come to terms with them, and hastened 
on his way at nightfall, regardless of all warnings of danger 
from the bad condition of the roads. This incident induced 
him to avoid towns for the future, and in four days he had 
accomplished the long journey to Rome which at that 
period generally occupied twelve. On the 2nd of January 

* Quoted from Voigt, ii., 2nded., 69, 70. 

t The following account is founded chiefly on the letters pub 
lished by Tommasini (105-110) from the MSS. in the National 
Library of Florence, and on Porcaro s own words which I dis 
covered in Cod. 1324 of the Town Library at Troves; see Appendix 
No. 14. 

When Cardinal Gonzaga hastened to the Conclave in 1471 he 
spent thirteen days and a half on the way from Bologna to Rome. 
Schivenoglia, 163. Four days was the shortest time in which a 
courier on extraordinary business could possibly travel the distance. 
See the particulars I have given in my chapter on the Fall of Con 
stantinople. I found the account of Porcaro s delay at Forli in 
*Giovanni de Pedrino, Cronica di Forli. Cod. 234 of the Private 
Library of Prince B. Boncompagni in Rome. 


he dismounted at the Porta del Popolo, went to the Church 
of Sta. Maria del Popolo, and then hid himself, until the 
first hour of the night, in a vineyard belonging to the 
church. The servant gave notice of Porcaro s safe arrival 
to his nephew, Niccolo Gallo, a Canon of St. Peter s, who 
came and took him from his place of concealment, and 
they then went together to the family mansion of the 
conspirator, where another of his nephews, Battista Sciarra, 
awaited them. The three then repaired to the dwelling of 
Angelo di Maso, Porcaro s brother-in-law. 

Porcaro, his brother-in-law and his two nephews were 
the heads of this conspiracy, and from their connections in 
the City were able without difficulty to make their prepara 
tions. On pretence of taking military service, Battista 
Sciarra engaged mercenaries, while the wealthy Maso 
collected stores of weapons, and kept in his house a number 
of men on whom he could rely; they were well entertained* 
but knew nothing of the business in hand. One evening, 
when all were seated at a splendid banquet in Maso s house, 
Porcaro appeared amongst them in a rich, gold-embroidered 
garment, "like an Emperor." "Welcome, brothers," he 
said ; " I have determined to free you from servitude, and 
make you all rich lords," and he drew forth a purse con 
taining a thousand golden ducats, and distributed a share 
to those present. All were greatly astonished, but as yet 
learned nothing further of the plot.* 

It is impossible now to ascertain the exact number of 
those won over by the conspirators. Porcaro afterwards 
declared that he had hoped to muster more than four 
hundred armed men ; he counted also on the aid of the 

* Such is the account given in the Florentine Letter, loc. cit. 
106, 107. The distribution of money is also mentioned in the 
*Despatch of Gabriel de Rapallo of 5-6 of January, taken from 
the State Archives at Milan, and printed in the Appendix, No. 13. 


greedy populace, for after the downfall of " Priestcraft " 
the " Liberators " were to be allowed to plunder freely. 
It was expected that the Papal Treasury, the Palaces of 
the Cardinals and of the officials of the Court and the vaults 
of the Genoese and Florentine merchants, would, when 
thus brought under contribution, yield more than seventy 
thousand gold florins.* 

I he plan of the conspirators was to cause general con 
fusion by setting the Palace of the Vatican on fire on the 
1 east of the Epiphany, to surprise the Pope and the Car 
dinals during High Mass, and, if necessary, to put them to 
death, then to take possession of the Castle of St. Angelo 

* Despatch of P.artolomeo cle L:i_;a/ara of the i.}th January. 
State Archives at Siena (see Appendix, Xo. 15), and L. 15. Alberti, 
de 1 orcaria conjuralione, in Muratori, Script, xxv., 312. This 
report, published by Muratori under the high-sounding title of 
Commentarius," is really nothing inoie than a letter, written 
soon alter the suppression of the attempted insurrection. I am 
acquainted with two MS. copies of it, which, curiously enough, are 
both found in (iennan Libraries : (i) *Cod. 1324 of the To\vn 
Library at Treves. Here the letter, which is Without superscrip 
tion, is dated: Rome anno a nativ. doniini 1453 sexto Idus 
Januar. ( = 8 January). (2) *Cod. lat. 4495 f. iSo- -rp 1 (CJesta 
Steffani de Porcariis Komani militis) of the Court Library at 
Vienna. Here the date is: Koine xix. Cal. Februar. (14 January), 
1453. In the Vienna MS. these verses follow : 

"Impie sacrilega sceleris patrator iniqui 
Suscipe pro culpa meritos scelerate dolores." 

Aliud : " Impie Porcari scelus atque infamia gcntis 

Subvertendo urbem populumque clerumquc sacrumque 
Kt Christum dominiet templum violare volebas 
Accipe iam dignis pro factis pnemia tantis." 

The text of the Vienna MS. varies somewhat from that given by 

\OL. II. O 


and the Capitol, and to proclaim the freedom of Rome with 
Porcaro for tribune.* 

Porcaro s scheme was by no means an impracticable 
one, for in the tranquil city there were hardly any troops 
save the scanty guards of the Palace and the police. 
Pierode Godi, a contemporary, reckons them altogether at 
fifty, and the disparity of forces would have been yet more 
extreme if the hopes of external aid probably entertained 
by the insurgent party had been realized. f 

Had the conspirators acted at once, it is not at all un 
likely that they would have succeeded in carrying out their 
purpose, but the delay occasioned by Porcaro s extreme 
fatigue after his hurried journey proved the salvation of the 

The accounts of the event differ in some particulars. It 
is certain that Cardinal Bessarion immediately informed the 
Pope of Porcaro s suspicious disappearance, and Godi says 
that some Romans who had been invited to take part in the 

* Porcaro s declarations in *Cod. 1324 of the Town Library at 
Troves and other authorities. See de Rossi, 94 et seq. Caccia 
(Cugnoni, 96), Godi (Perlbach, 15), and the *Despatch of Gabriel 
de Rapallo of 5-6 Jan. (Appendix No. 13) expressly say that 
Porcaro wished to make himself lord of Rome. It is worthy of 
notice that Infessura, his enthusiastic admirer, says not a word to 
clear him from the charges brought against him. 

t Papencordt, 485. The passage about the fewness of the troops 
of Rome in Perlbach, 18. In the *Mandata Eugenii IV., 1443- 
1447, f. 255 b (in the State Archives at Rome) are mentioned as 
belonging, amongst others, to the Papal household " 2 portinarii 
prime porte, 2 servientes armorum " (probably predecessors of the 
Swiss guard), dat. sede vacante 4 Martii. 1447. Ibid. *Mandata 
Nicolai V., 1447-1452, f. 19, in an account dated ultimo Martii, 
1447, " 6 portinarii ad portam ferream " and "2 portinarii ad 
primam portam," are mentioned. These " 6 portinarii," therefore, 
occur for the first time under Nicholas V. 

J Reumont, iii., i, 124. 


treason revealed the plot to Cardinal Capranica and to 
Niccolo degli Amigdani, Bishop of Piacenza, who was at 
the time Papal Vice-Camerlengo. An anonymous Floren 
tine writer asserts that the Senator Niccolo de Porcinari 
himself warned Nicholas V. of the impending danger.* 
According to others, the Camerlengo Scarampo was the 
first to apprise the Pope of its existence,t and went at 
once to the Papal Palace, which was a scene of confusion 
and consternation, to persuade Nicholas V. of the necessity 
of immediate and decisive measures, inasmuch as every 
moment was a gain to the conspirators. A portion of the 
Palace Guard and of the garrison of St. Angelo, accom 
panied by the Vice-Camerlengo, who was also governor of 
the city, proceeded without delay to the house of Angelo di 
Maso, and encircled it. Most of the besieged made a 
brave resistance, but, being cut off from the rest of their 
adherents, they were compelled to yield to superior force. 
Battista Sciarra, however, who, during the conflict, fre 
quently raised the cry of " People and Freedom ! " fought 
his way out with a few followers, and got away from 
Rome.J Porcaro, with less courage, had managed tt> 
escape in the confusion, and to hide himself in the house 
of his brother-in-law, Giacomo di Lellicecchi. A price 
being set upon his head, it was impossible for him to 
remain here, and his friend Francesco Gabadeo offered to 

* Many authorities mention the messenger sent by 
sec particularly the Chronica di Bologna, 700, and Sanudo, 1146. 
The passage from GoJi is in Perlbach, 1 5 ; and the Florentine 
letter in Tommasini, 107. Stefano Caccia s letter (Cugnoni, 96) 
says that the plot was divulged to Scarampo as \vcll as to Capranica. 

t Letter from a relation of Cardinal Scarampo in the Ximes 
Library, published by A. C. Germain, Lettre ou est narrde la con- 
spiration de Ste. Porcaro centre le pape Nicholas V. (Bordeaux, 
1843), and also by Christophe, i., 495-498. 

Infessura, 1134. Albert!, loc. tit., 312. 


help him in his extremity. They both went in haste to 
Cardinal Orsini, in the hope that he would afford them 
refuge in his palace, the House of Orsini being apparently 
at this time at variance with the Pope. But the Cardinal 
was by no means disposed to assist the conspirator. He 
caused Gabadeo, who had entered his presence, to be at 
once arrested and taken to Nicholas. Stefano, who was 
waiting downstairs, became suspicious at Gabadeo s non- 
appearance, and fled to his other brother-in-law, Angelo di 
Maso, who lived in the quarter of the Regola. Meanwhile 
Gabadeo, in his prison, had betrayed Porcaro s probable 
place of shelter. About midnight, between the 5th and 6th 
of January, armed men entered Angelo s house ; at their 
approach, Porcaro sprang from the bed where he was lying 
in his clothes, and got into a chest, on which his sister and 
another woman seated themselves, but the hero s hiding- 
place was discovered. As he was being led to the Vatican 
he kept exclaiming, " People ! will you let your deliverer 
die ? " * But the people did not respond. 

After offences so manifest and repeated, Pope Nicholas 
showed no further mercy. He regretted the fate of the 
gifted man, but decided to let justice take its course. 
Stefano Porcaro was taken bound to the Castle of St. 
Angelo, and on the yth of January made a tolerably ample 
confession. | He related his flight from Bologna and his 
meeting with the conspirators in the house of Angelo di 
Maso, as we have described them, and further declared that 

* Perlbach, Godi, 10 and 17. Letter of Caccia (Cugnoni, 98). 
Infessura, 1134. Albert!,/^, tit., 312. Florentine Letter in Tom- 
masini, IOQ. ^Despatch of Gabriel de Rapallo of 5/6 January. 
State Archives at Milan. See Appendix, No. 43. There is a 
notice of. Fr. Gabadeo in the Arch, di Soc. Rom., viii., 569. 

t *Depositiones Stefani Forcarii, in Cod. 1324. City Library, 
Troves ; see Appendix, No. 14. 


he had personally summoned his friends to assemble the 
night before the Feast of the Epiphany, and had intended, 
with them, and the armed men collected by them, to the 
number, as he hoped, of four hundred, to pass through the 
Trastevere to St. Peter s. Here they were to conceal 
themselves in the small uninhabited houses near the church, 
and to divide into four separate bands. As soon as the 
Pope s arrival in St. Peter s was announced, three of these 
bands were to take possession of the different entrances, 
while the fourth was to occupy the open space in front of 
the church. He had commanded these armed men to put 
to death anyone, in the church or out of it, who should offer 
resistance, and to make the Pope; and the- Cardinals prisoners. 
If they resisted, they also were to be slain. Porcaro further 
said that he had entertained no doubt of being able, after 
the imprisonment of the Pope, the Cardinals, and other 
lords, to seize the castle of St. Angelo, in which case 
the Roman citizens would have joined him. He would 
then have proceeded to make himself master of the stroll- 
holds in the neighbourhood of Rome, to demolish the Castle 
of St. Angelo, and adopt whatever other measures might 
appear necessary. 

Porcaro s statement is corroborated by the evidence of 
well-informed contemporaries,* and there is no doubt that 

See the accounts collected by de Rossi, 94 ct sey., and Tom- 
masini, 79. i orcaro s intention of killing the Pope is also men- 
tioned by Niccola della Tuccia (226}, the Chronicle of Zorzi 
Dolfin (loc.cit., 2), L. Boninc. Annal. (157), the letter from Nimes 
(loc. tit.), Caccia (loc. <-//.), the Florentine Letter (in Tommasini, 
no), Giov. Cambi (Deliz. erud. Tosc., ix., 306), and the Signoria 
of Florence in a *Letter to their Ambassador at Milan: " Domino 
Bernardo de Giugnis et Dietisalvio Xeronis," Florentie, xiii. 
Jan., 1452 (st. fl.), hora iii. noctis : "Qui sono novelle che a Roma 
se scoperto un tractato del quale si dice era capo mess. Stefano 
Porcari e dovevano amazar il papa. E stato preso mess. Stefano et 


the sentence of death pronounced by the Senator Giacomo 
dei Lavagnoli was a just one. He was hanged on the gth 
January on the battlements of St. Angelo. He was dressed 
entirely in black, and his bearing was resolutely firm and 
dignified. His last words were: " O, my people, your 
deliverer dies to-day ! " A number of his associates 
suffered the same penalty, but they were executed at the 
Capitol. A reward of a thousand ducats was offered for 
the apprehension of Battista Sciarra, or five hundred for 
his head."^ 

The question naturally arises as to what Porcaro in 
tended to do with the Papacy in the event of a successful 
issue to his enterprise. The conspirator s confession 
furnishes no definite answer, but most writers of the day 

alcuno altro di bassa mano. Non si sa anchora se ha maggior 
fondamento. Quando haremo piu particularita vene darcmo 
notitia. (I have sought in vain for the further account.) Cl. x., 
dist. i., No. 46, f. 24-b. State Archives at Florence. 

* Florentine Letter in Tommasini, no. Here, as in Infessura 
(1134), Platina (719), and Sabellicus (946), the 9th January is 
mentioned as the day of the execution. The 5th, however, is given 
as the date in L. Bonincontrii Annal. (157), the 1310, in the Letter 
from Nimes, the iSth by Niccola della Tuccia, and the 2Oth by 
the Annal. Forlivien. (224). Of these different dates, that of the 
Letter from Nimes alone deserves consideration, as opposed to the 
evidence of the three contemporaries, who say that the sentence 
was executed on the 9th. The Despatch of Bartolomeo de 
Lagazara, dated Rome, 1453, Jan. 14, which I found in the State 
Archives at Siena, says nothing of Porcaro s execution, but men 
tions that of two of his companions on the nth. It can hardly, 
however, be supposed that these accomplices suffered before the 
author of the conspiracy. This consideration, in conjunction with 
the evidence of the three contemporary witnesses, has induced me 
to adhere to the 9th January. Caccia s statement (Cugnoni, 99) 
that the corpses were seen hanging on the gallows on the Thurs 
day (=9 January) accords with this date, and Godi s account 
(Perlbach, 18) is not incompatible with it. 


affirm that he meant to remove the Holy See from Rome.* 
Had the plot been carried out, Christendom would again 
have fallen a prey to the calamities from which she had so 
recently been delivered, and the papacy would have been 
exiled from Italy. An interesting passage in relation to 
this subject is to be found in 1 iero de Godi s Dialogue. 
To the objection that, after the assassination of Nicholas V. 
a new Pope would have been elected, and Rome would 
have again been conquered, the partisan of Porcaro replies : 
"Perhaps an Ultramontane would have been elected Pope, 
and would have gone to the other side of the. mountains 
with the Court and left Porcaro in peace at Rome."f The 
consternation caused at the Papal Court by the conspiracy 
was so great that Albert! and others expressed their desire 
to quit the unquiet City. But after all, if the attempted 
revolution had been accomplished, and the Papacy again 
transferred to France, would not the Romans have very 
soon begun to pray for its return, as in the Avignon 
days? In the beginning of the Pontificate of Kugenius IV., 
when the revolution had triumphed in Rome, a few 
months of a liberty which brought nothing but anarchy 
had sufficed for the citizens, and they had besought the 
Pope to come back. A similar result would now have 
ensued, and all the more surely, because many of Porcaro s 
associates were men of the worst character. If his con 
temporaries compared him to Catiline, we cannot ascribe 
their words to vindictiveness and party prejudices, for his 
* See De Rossi, 96 ct scq., from \vhose admirable work I borrow 
the following observations. 

t Perlbach, 21. The fear of a return to Avignon continued for 
a long time ; even in the Conclave of 1464 an article to the effect 
that the Court should not be transported beyond the Alps without 
the consent of the whole of the Sacred College was added to those 
which the Cardinals swore to observe. Quirini, Vindic. 1 auli II., 
p. xxiii. 


blood-thirsty and covetous followers were but too like the 
companions of the ancient tyrant.* 

Porcaro s conspiracy caused great excitement through 
out Italy ; it is mentioned by most of the contemporary 
chroniclers but not always condemned. f The judgment 
of history is adverse to its author, J but Roman opinion 
seems to have been greatly divided on the subject. 
"When I hear such people talk," writes the gifted Leon 
Battista Albcrti, referring to those who found fault with 
the Pope, "their arguments do not touch me in the least. 
I see but too clearly how Italian affairs arc going. I know 
by whom all has been cast into confusion. I remember 
the days of Eugenius, I have heard of Pope Boniface and 

* DC Rossi, 95. Alfred v. Reumont, the first among German 
students of Italian history, is at one with the great Roman archaeo 
logist on this subject (Histor. Jahrbuch, v., 626). " Porcaro," 
says Voigt (ii., 2nd ed., 371), "was a Catiline in crime and 
depravity, hut not in courage and energy." In face of Porcaro s 
modem apologists, it may be well to put together some authentic 
testimony regarding his companions. Caccia (Cugncni, 97) says: 
Omnes fere pauperes et abiecti," the writer of the letter preserved 
at Nimes calls them " latrunculos," and Paolo dello Mastro 
(Cronache Rom., 23), who was so favourably disposed towards 
Porcaro, says he has had with him " molti mal garzoni." See also 
in Appendix No. 15 the *Despatch of Bartolommeo de Lagazara of 
the 1 4th January, 1453. State Archives of Siena. 

t The Annal. Forlivien. (224) for example call Porcaro "vir 
magnanimus " (Godi [ed. Perlbach, 18] disputes this opinion.) 
Sanudo(ii46) says that he deserved death. See Niccola della 
Tuccia, 226. 

: See Cipolla, 482. Gregorovius (vii., 3rd ed., 125) speaks of 
Porcaro s schemes as " ill-timed : " " for no Pope has been less to 
blame or done more for Rome than Nicholas V., the patron of all 
talent, the most liberal of the Popes." In another passage (vii., 
3rd ed., 177) this author plainly says that Porcaro had sought to 
take advantage of the democratic movement to compass the aims 
of a Catiline. 


read of the disasters of many Popes. On the one side I 
have seen this demagogue surrounded by grunting swine 
and on the other side the Majesty of the Holy Father. 
That cannot surely have been right which compelled the 
most pacific of Popes to take up arms."* 

There were some in Rome who looked on Porcaro as a 
martyr for the ancient freedom of the city. Infessura, the 
Secretary to the Senate, makes the following entry in his 
diary: "Thus died this worthy man, the friend of Roman 
liberty and prosperity. He had been exiled from Rome 
unjustly ; his purpose was, as the event proved, to risk his 
o\vn life for the deliverance of his country from slavery." t 

1 he attitude- of the humanists in the Court of Nicholas V. 
is a matter of some interest. The conspiracy was to them 
a most painful event, for it was not impossible that the 
Pope might look on them with suspicion. A connection 
might be traced between the ridicule and scorn which 
Valla, Pcggio, and Filelfo had heaped upon the clergy and 
monks, and Porcaro s enmity to the temporal power. The 
clanger, however, was averted by their almost unanimous 
condemnation of Porcaro s attempt, and it did not occur to 
the Pope to hold the study of antiquity responsible lor the 
immoderate lust of liberty. Yet there can be no doubt 
that the conspiracy was the outcome of the republican 
spirit which that study fostered, and which now rose 

* Muratori, xxv., 314. Reumont, iii., i, 125. 

t Infessura, 1134. The above expression of feeling sufficiently 
shows how we are to view the same author s odious details regard 
ing those executed on the Capitol and the history of Battista di 
Persona. Georgius (130 et scq.} has adduced overwhelming argu 
ments against the latter relation. In a future volume we shall have 
to deal at more length with Infessura s untrustworthiness. See, 
meanwhile, Reumont, iii., 1 367, and Frantz, Sixtus IV. (Regensburg, 
1880), p. v. et seq. Paolo dello Mastro also manifests sympathy for 
the criminal, Cronache Romane, 24. 


against everything that it deemed to be tutelage or 

Other writers living in the Pope s vicinity, but not 
belonging to the humanistic ranks, also produced polemical 
works in both prose and verse against Porcaro. Piero de 
Godi, whom we have often mentioned, wrote at Vicenza a 
history of the conspiracy, which has but lately become 
known in its entirety.f It is in the form of a dialogue 


between a Doctor Bernardinus, of Siena, and Fabius, a 
scholar. The latter relates the event, speaking as an eye 
witness, while the doctor, who had arrived in Rome subse 
quently, makes reflections on the Providence of God and 
the excellent government of Nicholas V., adducing a 
multitude of passages from Holy Scripture. The little 
work is in many ways worthy of notice ; it is valuable as 
an authority, and, notwithstanding its manifestly Papal and 
party character, is perfectly trustworthy. The author 
vigorously asserts that Rome alone can be the seat of the 
Pope, and warmly upholds the temporal power of the Holy 
See. Considering that many among the Romans desired 
its removal from Rome, and that others shared the views 
regarding the annihilation of the Pope s temporal power 
lately expressed by Lorenzo Valla, it seems possible that 
Godi s Dialogue was an official production, intended 

* Voigt, ii. ( 2 nd ed.), 71. Geiger, Renaissance, 122. See 
Persicheui, he. fit., 54. The Dialogue of 1453, in which yEneas 
Sylvius Piccolomini defends the Pope s right to temporal power, is 
directed against both Valla and Porcaro; see Cugnoni, 258 et seq. 

t By means of Perlbach, 1879, who found a copy of the Dialogue 
in a IMS. of the Wallenrodt Library at Konigsberg, in Prussia. This 
MS. is indeed very defective, and it is to be regretted that Perlbach 
did not compare it with Cod. Vatic., lat. 3619 and 4167. Cod. 
3619 is probably the copy presented by the author to the Pope. 


by its popular form to counteract these widespread 


A similar tone of feeling pervades the long Lamentation 
of Giuseppe Brippi, who bitterly reproaches the Romans 
with their unpardonable ingratitude, and reminds them of 
the benefits which the Popes in general, and Nicholas V. in 
particular, had conferred upon the city. Notwithstanding 
the bombastic style of the poet if, indeed, Brippi is worthy 
of such a name, some of his remarks are extremely just, 
as, for example, when he points out to the Romans that the 
Papal rule has always been much milder than that of the 
other municipal governors in Italy. Brippi merely makes 
some general observations on the conspiracy, but he gives 
the Pope some good advice, recommending him to complete 
the fortification of his Palace, to be attended by three 
hundred armed men when he goes to St. Peter s, and to 
allow no other armed men to enter the church ; further 
more, to seek to gain the affection of the Romans, to 
support the poor, and especially impoverished nobles, 
because the love of the citizens is the best defence of a 

ruler. t 

* Geiger, in Sybcl s histor. Zeilschr. N. F., vi., 179. Geigcr 
is, however, mistaken in believing Manzi to have discovered the 
Vatican MS., for the credit is due neither to him nor to Gregorovius, 
but to D. Gcorgius, who, in his careful biography of Nicholas V., 
was the first to point out this document. Regarding Godi s trust 
worthiness, see also Tommasini, 69 d scy., and de Rossi, 93. Godi 
is mentioned by Miintz (i., 213). 

f " Ad s.d. nostrum pontificem maximum Nicolaum V. Con- 
formatio Curie Romane loquenlis edita per E. S. Oratorem Joseph 
B(ripium)," etc. Cod. Vatic., 3618. Gcorgius (129-130) first 
drew attention to the poem, and published the beginning. Ranke 
then published some passages (Piipste, iii., 6th eel., 3*- 4* 5 his in 
formation is not quite correct). Gregorovius (vii., 3rd ed., 132), 
and Miintz (i., 73); Tommasini (loc. at., 111-123) finally pub- 


Friendly powers hastened to congratulate the Pope on 
the failure of the conspiracy; the Sienese Ambassador was 
the first to arrive. He had an audience on the 6th of 
January and again on the i-|th, when he offered the Pope 
all the forces of the Republic in case of need, and also 
mentioned that the city contemplated the erection of a 
palace for the Pope.* The idea that the Pope would leave 
his unquiet capital was evidently general, and Siena wished 
to make sure of the honour and advantage of a Papal 
residence ; a. similar effort was subsequently made in the 
time of Pius II. The Republic of Lucca likewise sent 
letters to the Pope and his brother Cardinal Calandrini, ex 
pressing the deepest horror of Porcaro s crime. f The 
Cardinal s answer to the authorities of Lucca, dated 4th 
February, 1453, is worthy of note.J lie declares that there 
was no question of plunder or of the freedom of the city, 
but that the object of the conspiracy was to drive the 
Christian religion out of Italy. These words probably 
refer to Porcaro s intention of banishing the Pope from the 

It is extremely difficult to estimate the proportions 
attained by Porcaro s conspiracy. On this occasion, as on 

lished it completely. The Roman poet Orazio s " Porcaria has 
not yet been published. See Zeno, Diss. Voss., i., 212; Vossius, 
De hist, lat., i., iii., p. 584 ; Fabricius-AIan&i, iii., 261 ; Zanelli, 35, 
andVahlen, Valloe opusc., Ixi., 378. 

* *Despatches of Bartolommeo deLagazara to Siena, dated Rome, 
!453> January 7 and 15. Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives, 
Siena. In the despatch of the I5th January there is an account of 
an attempt on the life of King Alfonso of Naples, made in the 
beginning of January. 

f Sforza, 383-384. 

J See Appendix No. 16, where I have given the *Letter which 
had escaped Sforza s notice, from the original in the State Archives 
of Lucca. 


others of a similar nature, there was no lack of conflicting 
accusations. Suspicions existed that Milan and Florence 
were implicated, and the Florentines endeavoured to cast 
blame on King Alfonso and the Venetians. Some of the 
conspirators certainly fled to Venice and Naples, but after 
the failure of the plot those powers handed them over to 
the Pope, and they were executed.* Other accounts speak 
of members of the Colonna family as taking part in the 
affair. t It is impossible to arrive at any absolute certainty 
on the subject, because much information must naturally 
have been suppressed. Too much importance accordingly 
is not to be attached to the statement of the Sienese 

* Papencordt, 486. Sec Rosmini, Filelfo, ii., 303 ; iii., J/>S. The 
assertion here made that Porcaro had entered into an agreement 
with Alfonso is not confirmed by the *Depositiones St. Porcarii. 
The charge against Florence is in the Cronica di Bologna, 700. 
Al!>erti (314) speaks in a general way of " extrinsecos impulsores." 
Regarding the arrest of Porcaro s associates in Venice, see *the 
Despatch of Leonardo <h> r>envo,L:lienti of September I, 1453. 
State Archives at Siena; see Appendix No. 19. "The severity of 
Nicholas V. was quite intelligible," says Gregorovius (vii., 3rd ed., 
i~c). The complaints of P. Emiliani-Giudici (Storia clei comuni 
Italiani [Firenze, 1866], ii., 299 d sey.), Mancini (Alberti, 404), 
O. Raggi (La congiura di St. Porcara), and others are quite un 
founded ; for the Pope took no measures save such as were abso 
lutely necessary, and must have been taken by any other govern 

t Dlugoss, Hist. Polon., 1. xiii., p. 109, and a letter from Mar 
grave John of Brandenburg to the Grand Master of the Teutonic 
Order in the Private Archives at Konigsberg, dated Beierstorff, 
Friday before " Oculi " (3rd Sunday in Lent), 1453, cited by Voigt 
(Enea Silvio, iii., 116), who gives the fact as certain. Burckhardt 
(Cultur, i , 3rd ed., 99) thinks that Porcaro must have had accom 
plices among the Italian Governments. Interesting particulars may 
perhaps be concealed in the cypher of the *Despatch of Nicodemus 
toFr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1453, January 13, but unfortunately the 
State Archives of Milan afford no clue to its meaning. 

: n n ,? P ! 


Ambassador, who, in a despatch of the i/jlb January, 1453, 
declared, as the result of his inquiries, that neither the 
Roman barons nor any foreign powers were concerned.* 

The terrible event exercised a most injurious influence 
on the excitable and impressionable nature of the Pope. 
Immediately after the discovery of the plot, Nicholas V. 
displayed considerable courage by going to St. Peter s, of 
course with a strong escort, and celebrating High Mass on 
the Feast of the Epiphany. f But from the moment that 
the phantom of the ancient Republic arose, threatening 
destruction to his life, his authority, and all his magnificent 
undertakings on behalf of art and learning, his peace of 
mind was gone. He became melancholy, reserved, and in 
accessible. It is said that he brought a great force of 
troops to Rome, and was always henceforth attended by an 
armed escort when he went out.J His agitation and dis- 

* *Dcspatch of Bartolommeo de Lagazara. State Archives, 
Siena; see Appendix No. 15. 

f *Despatch of Gabriel de Rapallo, January 56, 1-153- State 
Archives at Milan; see Appendix No. 13. 

+ Manetti, 921 ; Platina, 719; N. della Tuccia, 227, and *a 
Despatch from Nicodemus to Francesco Sforza, dated Rome, 1453, 
January 21 : "Non ho potuto ancora ad longurn rasonare cum 
N ro S re de questa practica de pace, perche sta perplexo per questa 
soa novita de Roma in modo che non pensa ad altro et continua- 
mente fa venire gente darme nel borgo de Sarnpiero e fale scorere 
per Roma, maxime la nocte, mostrando non havere paura e volere 
ben purgarc questa coniura." In a Postscript to his *Despatch of 
the 1 4th February, 1453, Bartolommeo de Lagazara complains that 
there was no money to be had in Rome, because since the 
attempted revolution the merchants were constantly employed in 
gathering in their money. Concistoro, Lettere ad an., State 
Archives at Siena. I take this opportunity of observing that the 
"Breve narrazione della congiura di St. Porcari," in Cod. xxxiii., 
1171, 136-137, of the Barberini Library, Rome, is identical with 
Platina s account. Tommasini (71) has not observed this fact. 
. Li 


quietude were increased by the knowledge that although 
the city continued tranquil, there were many Romans who, 
like Infessura, admired Porcaro. All the benefits conferred 
by the Pope, his just and excellent government, his promo 
tion of Romans to many ecclesiastical posts, the advantages 
derived from the presence of the Papal Court, and the 
freedom and prosperity enjoyed by Rome above all other 
cities of Italy, had not sufficed to banish the old dis 
loyalty.* Naturally, suspicion and distrust became more 
and more deeply rooted in his soul, casting a gloom over 
his once cheerful temper and undermining his health, 
which had already been shaken by serious illness. t 

Nicholas V. had hardly recovered from the shock occa 
sioned by Porcaro s conspiracy when another terrible blow 
fell upon him in the tidings that Constantinople had been 
taken by the Turks. 

* Papencordt, 486. 

f On the 2 ist January, 1453, Xicodemus writes from Rome, in 
a *Despatch to Fr. Sforza concerning the Pope : " Poy ancora 
questa soa gotta gli e calata in un zenochio e falo piu stranio." 
Cart, gen., State Archives, Milan. On the I4th Februarv, 1452 
(= 1453), Bartolommeo de Lagazara, writing to Siena, says that 
the Pope was again ill with gout. In a *Despatch of the i7th 
February, lie adds : "Lo papa e stato gravato de la gotte clapoi 
tanto che non a data udientia ad alcuno," and in one of the 3rd 
March : " Lo papa e stato gia sono piu di 25 giorni in letto molto 
gravato de le gotte si che non da udientia ne segna ne fa alcuiu 
cosa." Concistoro, Lctlere ad an., State Archives, Siern. 



THE dogmatic differences between the Greek and Latin 
Churches had been removed by the Council of Florence, 
where Eastern and Western theologians had measured 
their strength, and the re-establishment of actual com 
munion with Rome seemed to be the only means of healing 
the grievous wounds from which the Oriental Church, like 
every other severed from the common centre of Christen 
dom, was suffering, and of imparting new life and vigour 
to the Byzantine Empire.* 

But when the Greeks returned home from Florence they 
found it very hard to carry into effect that which had been 
agreed upon at the Council, and the Union met with violent 
opposition. Marcus Eugcnicus soon produced his polemical 
letters, and Sylvester Syropulus his "True History of the 
False Union," a work which still constitutes the chie 
polemical arsenal of the Oriental schismatics.t Gennadius 

* In order," writes Dollinger (Kirche und Kirchen, 156), "to 
be convinced that everything stands or falls with the Papal See and 
that it is most inseparably united with the very essence of the 
Church we need only cast a glance at those bodies which have 
renounced Rome, or arranged their constitution so as tc 
place for a primacy." 

t Hist-polit- Bl. xxxvi., 787- See Hefele, Die temporare 
Wiedervereinigung der Griechischen mil der Lateinischen Kirche 
(in theTubinger theol. Quartalschr., 1848, xxx., 179 et sea.} 


and numerous other writers followed in the same line, and 
as they fostered the national enmity of the Greeks against 
the Latins, their works produced more effect than those 
of the friends of the Union, many of whom, however, 
were distinguished and worthy men. The celebrated 
Cardinal Bessarion, for example, laboured indefatigably in 
the cause to the end of his days, and the Protosyncellus 
Gregory, Archbishop Andrew of Rhodes, and Bishop 
Joseph of Methone * are also worthy of honourable 

On this occasion, however, as it generally happens, the 
defensive party was at a disadvantage. The excellent men 
whom we have mentioned were unable to silence the 
calumnies of the schismatics, whose champion, Marcus 
Eugenicus, combined great talent and learning with 
extreme vehemence of character. He did everything in 
his power to stir up monks, clergy, and laity against the 
peace which had been concluded between Rome and 
Constantinople. The friends of the Union were treated 
with contempt and scorn, and called azymites, traitors, 
apostates, and heretics. The opposition of the majority of 
the clergy and of the populace to any tokens of fellowship 
with those who acknowledge the authority of Rome daily 
increased, while the Emperor hesitated to express his will 
in such decided terms as might have given a firm basis to 
the Union.f Carried away by the prevailing tone of feeling, 
many even of those prelates who had taken part in the 
negotiations at Florence now repented of their co-operation, 
and openly proclaimed their regret that they had allowed 
themselves to be persuaded into signing the act of Union. 
Antagonism to the West was so deeply rooted that it was 


* See Hefele, loc. cit., 197-200. For an account of Bessarion s 
labours, see Vast, 138 el seq. 
f Frommann, 195 et seq. 


absolutely impossible for the Union to gain any ground. 
When Metrophanes, the new Patriarch of Constantinople, 
took decided measures against the violent opponents of 
ecclesiastical unity, the three patriarchs of Alexandria, 
Antioch, and Jerusalem issued a strong protest, com 
manded the clergy appointed by Metrophanes, under pain 
of excommunication, to resign their posts, and threatened 
the Emperor that unless he abandoned the dogmas imposed 
at Florence his name should be omitted from their prayers.* 

In Russia also the attempt at Union had proved in 
effectual. The metropolitan of Kiew, Isidore, on his return 
to his country as cardinal and legate for the North had 
been cast into prison. In 1443 he managed to escape, and 
afterwards attained important ecclesiastical offices in Rome. 
It had been hoped that the whole of the Russo-Greek 
Church would by his means have been brought back to 
unity, but only the metropolitan province of Kiew, with 
its suffragan dioceses of Brjansk, Smolensk, Peremyschl, 
Turow, Luzk, Wladimir, Polotsk, Chelm and Halitsch, was 
reconciled to the Holy See, and Russia proper, with its 
metropolitan see of Moscow, continued in schism, f 

Under these circumstances the tidings of the terrible 
defeat of the Christian army at Varna (loth November, 
1444) had a disastrous effect on public feeling at Constanti 
nople by destroying the hope that the alliance with Rome 
might bring about deliverance from the Turks. A few years 
after the battle Sultan Mahomet, in a deadly conflict of 
three days duration on the plain of the Amsel (Kossowo, 
1448), wrested from the noble Hunyadi of Hungary most 
of the laurels he had won. 

The Turkish forces were now directed towards the 

* Frommann, 199 et scq. 

\ Hefele, loc. cit. 201. See Karamsin, Gesch. Russlands (Riga, 
1823), v., 236 et scq., 241. 


Peloponesus in the South and Albania in the West, and 
Hungary also was seriously threatened. It was natural 
therefore that these countries should engross the principal 
attention of Europe, while the Greeks were comparatively 
neglected. Moreover the attitude of the Court during the 
recent calamities had been one of shameful inaction, a 
circumstance which was calculated to increase the in 
difference of the West and to confirm the growing impres 
sion that Hungary, rather than the Greek Empire, was the 
" shield against the Turks."* 

This view was shared by Nicholas V., who, from 
the beginning of his pontificate, had taken a lively 
interest in Eastern affairs and endeavoured directly 
and indirectly to support the operations against the 
Turks, f 

The defeat of Kossowo greatly alarmed the timid Pope, 
and, by means of his Legate, he made known to the 
Hungarians his opinion that, for the future, they would do 
well to confine themselves within the limits of their own 
kingdom. Hunyadi and his people, however, would not 
hear of such a course, and only reiterated their petitions 

* Kayser, 209. 

f Evidence from documents, some of them unpublished, in 
Kavscr, 210 et seq. For supplementary information regarding the 
prohibition to furnish the infidels with arms and provisions, sec a 
*Papal Letter to " Dominic, tit. S. Crucis in Jerusalem presb." 
(Capranica), d.d. 1447, iii. Non. Mai, which says: " Tibi omnes 
personas . . . usque ad numerum 25, que ad Alexandrie, Egipti 
et alias transmarinas partes, quas Soldanus Babilonis ct alii inimici 
crucis detinent, merces et alia per ecclesiam prohibita portaverunt 
seu portari consenserunt, ab omnibus et singulis excommunica- 
tionis etc. censuris ... si hoc humiliter petierint auctoritate 
apostolica . . . plenam et liberam tenore presentium concedimus 
facultatem absolvendi." Reg. 406?, 28. Secret Archives of the 


for the co-operation of the Holy See. These were not in 
vain, for on occasion of the Jubilee, the Pope issued a Bull, 
by which, in view of the impending danger from the Turks, 
he dispensed all prelates, barons, knights, and commoners 
of the kingdom of Hungary, who should take part in the 
war against the infidels, from personal appearance in Rome, 
and in order that they might not be deprived of the benefit 
of the plenary indulgence, he, in the fulness of his apostolic 
power, decreed that it should be extended to them on con 
dition that on three consecutive days they should visit the 
Cathedral of Wardein and certain other churches in the 
kingdom appointed for the purpose, and should there 
deposit half of the money that would have been spent in 
their journey to and from Rome and in a sojourn of fifteen 
days in that city. The fulfilment of these conditions was 
to be deemed equivalent to fifteen days visits to St. 
Peter s, St. Paul s, St. John Lateran, and Sta. Maria 
Maggiore in Rome, provided that the persons in question 
should not during the year leave Hungary save to make 
war on the infidels. Chests, furnished with triple locks, 
were to be placed in the churches referred to to receive the 
offerings, and extensive faculties, even in regard to reserved 
cases, were granted to all priests.*" 

Nicholas V. also rendered important service to the cause 

* *Bull " Romanus pontifex," d.d. Rome ap. S. Petr., 1450, 
prid. Id. April. Font, anno iv. (Gratis de mandate d. n. papce), 
only partly given in Raynaldus, ad an. 1450, n. 6, Regest., 391, f. 
252 b -254. Secret Archives of the Vatican. Ibid, f. 249, a docu 
ment of the same date : " Dil. fil. Johanni de Hunyad, gubernatori 
general! totius regni Hungarie," by which he and his family, if 
"vere poenitentes et confessi cathedralem ecclesiam Waradien. 
per tres dies continues dicti presentis anni devote et reverenter 
visitaverint, omnium peccatorum suorum remissio plenaria." 
The bearer of this letter is made known to us *" Litterae passus 
pro Jacobo Andree deBestrez," dat. Idib., April, 1450, loc. at., 284. 


by endeavouring to compose the strife which had broken 
out between Hunyadi and Gislira, the captain of the king 
dom, and by absolving Hunyadi, on the I2th April, 1450, 
from an oath not to pass through Servia, which had been 
extorted from him by fear and violence. His glorious 
victory at Belgrade was thus rendered possible, and the 
defeats at Varna and Kossowo were amply avenged.* 

While the Pope thus favoured the Hungarians, he also 
supported the Albanians in their resistance to the Turkish 
power, and sought to induce them to make common cause 
with adjacent countries ; of these, the most important was 
Bosnia, whose King, Stephen, had, as we have already 
related, returned to the Catholic Church in the time of 
Eugenius IV. Nicholas V. at once took a warm interest in 
him, and in June, 1447, he placed him and the reconciled 
magnates under the protection of the Holy See, and ap 
pointed Thomas, the Bishop of Lesina, his Legate. t More 
over, he did everything to promote the erection of Catholic 
churches in this devastated country, and took vigorous 
measures against the widespread sect of the Paterines. 
Being informed by the Bishop of Lesina that their errors 
were, nevertheless, gaining ground, Nicholas gave him full 
power to grant an indulgence and spiritual favours to those 
who should light against these "unbelievers."^ Further 
more, in June, 1451, he sent a new Nuncio to Bosnia, with 

* Kayser, 213. The Bull " Quamquam ex debita," dat. pricL 
Id. April, 1450 (Gratis de mandate d. n. papa?), given in part in 
Raynaldus, 1450, n. 7, is complete in Regest., 391, f. 251-252 . 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

t See, besides Klaic, 373, 378, the documents in Theiner, Mon. 
Ung., ii., 235-237; Mon. Slav., i., 402 et seq. ; and Ealan, Slavi, 

J *" Venerab. fratri Thome episc. Farense in regno Bosne . . . 
nostro et apost. sedis legato," d.d. 1448, iii., Non. Febr., Regest., 
408, f. 96**. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


the authority of a Legate, to labour for the pacification of 
the country.* The action of the Pope was not due solely 
to considerations of a spiritual nature, for the Paterines 
were secretly and even openly in league with the Turks, 
and thus, as Rome perceived, constituted a terrible danger 
to the country. Even members of the secular and regular 
clergy, among the latter some few unworthy Benedictine 
monks, were implicated in their treachery, and, counting on 
the Sultan s favour, endeavoured to lay hands on the pro 
perty of the Church. The Pope commanded his Nuncio 
first to admonish these offenders in a friendly manner, 
but afterwards to proceed to ecclesiastical penalties, 
and eventually to invoke the assistance of the civil 
authorities. f 

The names of Hunyadi and Skanderbeg are generally 
coupled together on the roll of heroes who in the fifteenth 
century made a valiant warfare against the ancestral foes 
of Christendom. We shall speak of Skanderbeg later on, 
when we come to deal with the history of Calixtus III., 
and must only here observe that Nicholas V. gave every 
support in his power to "this champion and buckler of 
Christendom against the Turks," who defeated them in an 
important engagement in the year 1449.+ 

The action of the Pope against the Turks was not 
limited to the cases we have mentioned. He carefully 
watched each phase of the struggle for Rhodes, and in 
various ways assisted the Knights of St. John in their 

* Theiner, Mon. Ung-., ii., 254-256. A list of faculties for this 
Legate is in the *Regest., 412, f. 56 et seq. Secret Archives of the 

t Kayser, 214. See the document of the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican in Appendix No. 17. 

J Kayser, 215-216, establishes this fact from documents in the 
Vatican. See Cugnoni, 100. 


gallant resistance.* In 1451, when the Island of Cyprus 
was seriously menaced by the infidel power, he showed the 
utmost solicitude for its defence, and addressed an urgent 
appeal for assistance, coupled with the grant of an indul 
gence of three years not only to the Emperor but to the 
whole of Christendom ; to France, Poland, Sweden, Den 
mark, Norway, England, Scotland, Castile and Leon, 
Aragon, Portugal, and Navarre, as well as to the different 
Italian States. At a later period Nicholas gave half of the 
offerings received from France to the King of Cyprus to 
enable him to rebuild the citadel of Nicosia.f 

The facts which we have adduced sufficiently prove with 
what injustice the Pope has been charged with neglecting 
the war against the infidels. J The statement that he did 
as little as possible for the deliverance of the Greeks is 
equally false. It is perfectly true that Nicholas made the 
fulfilment of the terms of the Union agreed upon at Florence 
a condition of his assistance, and this was evidently his 


Kayser (216-217), Bull. Vat. (ii., 137), Cugnoni (ico), and 
the documents from the Secret Archi ves of the Vatican in Appendix 
Nos. 2 and 3. See also Regest., 400, f. 327 : " Universis Christi- 
fidelibus pnesentes literas inspecturis," d.d. Rome, 1453, viii. Id. 


f See Raynaldus, ad an. 1452, N. 15, and the extracts from 
the Secret Archives of the Vatican in Appendix No. 7. Regard 
ing the printed " Literos indulgentiarum Nicolai V. pro regno 
Cypri," which have a special interest in connection with the 
history of the discovery and advance of printing, see Sotzmann s 
article in Serapeum, iv., 273-285, 289-299, 386-387; xv., 60-62; 
and Schelhorn, Ergotzlichkeiten (Ulm, 1763), ", 37& et seq. 
Pertz, Abhandl. der Berliner Akad., 1856. Zeitschr. fur Kirchen- 
gesch, v., 634 et seq. Zeitschr. fur wissenschaftl. Theol., 1884, 
p. 349 et seq. 

J Kayser, 219. 

Voigt, Enea Silvio, ii., 146. 


duty as Pope, for it was incumbent on him to resist the 
encroachments of the schismatical Greek propaganda.* 

The prospects of the Union were most gloomy in the 
Byzantine Empire. The new Emperor, Constantine, the 
last of the Palaeologi, was unable to withstand the fanaticism 
of the people, and sent a special ambassador to Rome in 
the year 1451 in order to appease the Pope for the non- 
fulfilment of the agreement. f Nicholas replied in a long 
and incisive brief dated October nth, 145 i.J 

" The matter in question," Nicholas V. declares, " is the 
unity of the Church, a fundamental article of the Christian 
confession of faith. A united Church is an impossibility 
unless there is one visible head to take the place of that 
Eternal High Priest whose throne is in heaven, and unless 
all members obey this one head. Where two rulers com 
mand there can be no united empire. Outside the Church s 
unity there is no salvation ; he who was not in Noe s ark 
perished in the deluge. Schism has always been punished 

* See Raynaldus, ad an. 1449, N. 10; Bull., v., 100-101, and 
Kayser, 220 (the Bull cited here, note 2, is not unpublished, and 
Kayser is mistaken in supposing that the point had never before 
been raised ; Frommann had already drawn attention to it). In the 
year 145*} Nicholas V. made efforts, in great measure for the sake 
of the Crusade, to restore peace between France and England ; see 
supra, p. 105, and Desjardins, i., 62, note. 

f In this same year an embassy from the Duke of Burgundy 
came to Rome on the Turkish question. See *Despatch of Donatus 
de Donatis, dated Rome, 1451, July 9lh, Cl. x., dist. 2, n. 22, f. 
30, State Archives, Florence. The Burgundian Embassy also 
brought forward the question of the restoration of peace between 
France and England. See in Appendix, No. 8b, the Document 
from the Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

J Raynaldus, ad an. 1451, N. i and 2, from an older printed 
copy; the date here given is v. Id. Octob. (= nth October). 
Frommann (226, note 3), and Kayser (220) do not assign any 
reason for their date of October i=uh. 


more severely than other crimes. Core, Dathan and Abiron, 
who sought to divide the people of God, were punished 
more terribly than those who had defiled themselves by 

" The Greek Empire itself is a living witness to this truth. 
This glorious nation, once so rich in learned and holy men, 
has now become the most miserable of all nations ; almost the 
whole of Greece is given into the hands of the enemies of 
the cross. What is the reason of this heavy judgment 
of God ? The once chosen people of God were sorely 
chastened by Him for two crimes. They were led into 
captivity in Babylon for idolatry; and for their putting to 
death our Redeemer Jesus Christ they were wholly given 
over into the power of the Romans, the city of Jerusalem 
was destroyed, and until this very hour the whole nation is 
scattered in exile throughout the world. Now we know that 
since the Greeks received the Catholic Faith they have 
never committed either of the above-mentioned crimes, on 
account of which the wrath of God might have given them 
into Turkish bondage. Some other sin must have provoked 
the Divine Justice, and this sin is the schism which was 
begun under Photius, and has since lasted for five hundred 
years. Full of sorrow and with a heavy heart do we make 
this complaint, and \ve would willingly have buried it in 
everlasting silence, but if a remedy is to be applied the 
wound must be laid bare. For almost five hundred years 
Satan, the author of all evil, and especially of division, has 
seduced the Church of Constantinople into disobedience to 
the Roman Bishop, the successor of St. Peter and repre 
sentative of our Lord Jesus Christ. Innumerable negotia 
tions have meanwhile been undertaken, a great many 
Councils have been held, countless embassies have been 
sent to and fro, until at last Emperor John and the Patriarch 
Joseph of Constantinople, accompanied by numerous 


prelates and great men, met Pope Eugenius IV., the 
Cardinals of the Roman Church, and a considerable body 
of Western Prelates at Florence in order, with the blessing 
of God, to put an end to the schism and establish unity. 

"These negotiations were carried on before the eyes of 
the whole world, and the decree of Union drawn up 
in Greek and Latin and signed by all present has been 
made known to the whole world. Spain, with its four 
Christian kingdoms, Castile, Aragon, Portugal, and 
Navarre ; Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland, the great 
islands lying beyond the continent; Germany, inhabited by 
numerous nations, and extending over far countries ; the 
kingdom of the Danes, Norway, and Sweden, situated 
towards the extremest north ; Poland, Hungary, and Pan- 
nonia; Gaul, which stretches between Spain and Germany 
from the western ocean to the Mediterranean, are its 
witnesses. All these countries possess copies of the decree 
of Union by which that ancient schism is at last removed, 
according to the testimony of the Greek Emperor, John 
Palaeologus, of the Patriarch Joseph, and of all the others 
who came from Greece to the Council of Florence, and by 
their signatures sanctioned the Union. 


"And now so many years have already passed during 
which the decree of the Union has been disregarded by the 
Greeks, and there appears no hope of any readiness to 
accept it, the matter is put off from one day to another, 
and the same excuses are always brought forward. The 
Greeks cannot really believe the Pope and the whole 
Western Church to have lost their senses so as not to 
perceive the meaning of these constant excuses and 
delays. They understand it perfectly, but bear with it 
after the example of the Eternal Chief Pastor, who gave 
the barren fig tree two years more to bring forth fruit. 

"Be it known to your Imperial Highness," continues the 


Pope, " that we also will wait until this letter of ours has 
received your consideration, and if you, with your great 
men and your people, think better of it, and accept the 
decree of the Union, you will find us, the Cardinals and the 
whole Western Church always ready for you and well dis 
posed towards you. But should you and your people 
refuse this, you compel us to do that which is demanded by 
your welfare and our honour." The Pope then lays down 
as conditions of peace that the Emperor should recall the 
Patriarch Gregory and reinstate him in all his dignities, that 
the name of the Pope should be inserted in the Diptychs, 
and that prayers should be offered for him in all the Greek 
Churches. Should any persons be in doubt regarding the 
decree of the Union the Emperor was to send them to 
Rome, where they would be honourably treated and every 
care taken to remove their doubts.* 

The Papal letter of the nth October, 1451, is also 
interesting, inasmuch as it implies that Rome had recog 
nized the utter fruitlessness of the often repeated public 
disputations at Constantinople, where the excited populace 
not only supported the speakers opposed to the Union, but 
from the beginning rendered any concession to the Latins 
impossible. t 

Meanwhile, the danger which, during more than a 
generation, had been threatening Constantinople and the 
whole of the East,:}; seemed to be averted. Sultan 
Mahomet, instead of attacking Cyprus, as had been appre 
hended, directed his forces against the ancient enemy 
of his kingdom, the Mahometan Prince of Karamania. 

* Rohrbacher-Knopfler, 123-124. 

f Frommann, 226. 

J As early as 1416 Ailly said that immediate assistance was 
needed, else the " Empire of Constantinople " would perish utterly. 
Hardt, i., 414, 415. Tschakert, 261. 


The Greeks, seeing their most dangerous adversary thus 
occupied in Asia, were deluded enough to adopt a tone of 
menace towards him, and sent an embassy to his camp to 
inform him that unless the pension, paid for Urchan, the 
Sultan s nephew, who was being brought up at Constan 
tinople, were doubled, they would put him forward 
as claimant to the throne. Mahomet answered this 
preposterous demand in a furious speech, hastily made 
peace with the Prince of Karamania, and satisfied the 
Janissaries with money, so as to be able, without annoyance 
from internal or external foes, to turn his whole power 
against Constantinople. As soon as he reached Adrianople 
he refused to pay to the Emperor the revenue of the region 
on the Strymon, which was destined for Urchan s mainten 
ance, and then began to take measures for the subjuga 
tion of the capital.* Early in the winter of 1451-1452 he 
sent orders throughout the different provinces of his 
kingdom, requiring that a thousand builders, with a 
corresponding number of hodmen and bricklayers, should 
be sent, and the necessary materials prepared for the 
erection of a fortress on the Bosphorus above Constanti 
nople. The tidings caused the greatest consternation among 
the Christian population in that city, in Thrace, and in the 
Archipelago. " The end of the City has come ! " they 
exclaimed, " these things are the forerunners of the down 
fall of our race ; the days of anti-Christ are upon us. 
What will become of us ? Rather let our lives be taken 
from us, O Lord, than that the eyes of Thy servants 
should see the destruction of the City, and let not Thine 
enemies say Where are the saints who watch over it ? "f 
The Emperor Constantine despatched ambassadors to 
Adrianople to remonstrate against the building of the pro- 

* Mordtmann, 9-10. f Hertzberg, Griechenland, ii., 530. 


posed fortress. The Sultan s answer was a declaration that 
he would have anyone, who again came to him about this 
business, flayed. The fortress was begun in the spring of 
1452, the Sultan himself having made the plan and selected 
the site at the narrowest part of the Bosphorus, where a 
strone current drives vessels from the Asiatic to the 


European side, on the promontory of Hermaeum. 

Here, then, a fortress rapidly arose, with walls from two- 
and-twenty to five-and-twenty feet thick, and towers with 
leaden roofs, sixty feet high. The Turks gave it the name 
of Bogaz Kessen, which means cutter off of the Straits and 


also cutter-off of the neck."* As master of this castle and 
one opposite to it, named Anatoli Hissar, which had been 
built by Bajazet, the Sultan had it in his power to cut off all 
communication between the republics of Genoa and Venice 
and their colonies on the Black Sea, and also to deprive 
the city of Constantinople of the access to that Sea which 
was absolutely necessary to its inhabitants. f 

During the progress of the work disputes arose with 
some of the inhabitants of Constantinople .who had corn 
fields in the neighbourhood, and bloodshed ensued. The 
Greek Emperor then addressed a grave and dignified letter 
to the Sultan, who vouchsafed no other reply than a 
declaration of war (June, 1452), and caused the messengers 
who brought it to be beheaded. Mahomet was, however, 
too wise immediately to begin hostilities ; for the time 

* Mordtmann, 13, 17. In this fortress, which now bears the 
name of Rumili Hissar, the Sultan placed four hundred men, 
giving orders to their commander to require all ships to stop, and 
only to allow them to pass on payment of a toll. Vessels which 
refused to pay were to be sunk (loc. at., 18). 

f Heyd, ii., 303, 382. The great danger which threatened 
mercantile nations from the erection of this fortress was laid before 
the Council of Genoa on the i3th March by Gabriele Doria. Atli 
della soc. Lig., xiii., 222. See Vigna, i. (atti 6), 20, 33. 


being, he merely reconnoitred the walls, trenches, and 
gates of Constantinople, and on the ist September retired 
to Adrianople. 

The following winter passed by in quietness, but pre 
parations were vigorously carried on on both sides for the 
decisive struggle.* The Emperor again showed himself 
disposed for Union with the Latins, no doubt with the view 
of obtaining their assistance against the Turks. Whether 
in this matter he acted in perfect good faith may be left an 
open question ; but even granting that his purpose was 
sincere, it would have been impossible for him to carry it 
into effect in face of the fanatical opposition of his people. 
This must have become evident at Rome, where the long- 
cherished hope that the whole Greek Church would accept 
the Union effected at Florence had now died out.f It was 
necessary, however,! in order not to make too light of the 
Pope s dignity, that appearances should be kept up, and 
that his rights, which had been acknowledged at Florence, 
should be officially recognized at Constantinople, for on no 
other grounds could he be held bound to afford material 
assistance to the Greeks. 

The question of helping the Greeks w r as warmly discussed 
in Rome, where great differences of opinion prevailed on 
the subject. An anonymous treatise written there in the 

* Mordtmann, 18-19, 29. 

t This appears from the treatise of which we are about to speak, 
*Cod. D-I-20 of the Casanatense Library, Rome. See From- 
mann, 226 et scq. 

% Frommann, 227 et seq. 

To be found in Cod. D-I-2O, f. 5 et scq. of the Casanatense 
Library, Rome, which is entitled: " Collectio plurium opusculorum 
spectantium auctoritatem papce, concilii et cardinalium." The 
treatise itself has no superscription, but in the contemporary index 
of MSS. the following title is given : * Sitne Graecis pro conser- 
vanda urbe Constantinopolitana aliisque de causis ac prsecipue pro 


December of 1452, gives us some interesting details, and 
endeavours, with the learning and rhetoric peculiar to the 
humanists, to show that the preservation of Constantinople 
was a necessity for Christendom.* Conflicting opinions 
prevailed in Rome as to the line of conduct pursued towards 
the Greeks. Starting from the principle that no communi 
cation is to be held with heretics, schismatics and excom 
municated persons, one party was absolutely opposed to 
the idea of giving them any assistance, and held that the 
impious schismatics would but meet with due punishment. f 
This view is strongly condemned by the author of the 
treatise who adduces passages from the fathers of the 

ineunda sive servanda unione subvcnicndum per Latinos ac in primis 
per pontificem summum ? " The date of the JMS. appears from 
the opening words, which are ornamented with beautiful initial 
letters : *" Ad laudem et honorem domini nostri Jesu Christi anno 
eiusdem millesimo quadringentesimo quinquagesimo secundo 
mense decembris." The author proposes to answer three ques 
tions : " (i) *Utrum christiani teneantur ex dcbito caritatis 
imminente hac necessitate petentibus Grecis subvenire. 
(2) *Utrum Grecis negligentibus salutem suam et spiritualem 
et temporalem posito quod ita sit quod huiusmodi necessitas 
immineat teneantur christiani illis opem afFerre. (3) *Utrum 
summus pontifex pre ceteris regibus et principibus christianis 
teneatur et obligetur ad premiss a." 

* Frommann, 226-227, who was the first to draw attention to 
this important treatise. 

t *" Videtur quod Grecis non sit auxilium aliquod prestandum ; 
hereticis et scismaticis et excommunicatis non est communi- 
candum et multo minus auxilium prestandum, penis potius 
tormentis carcere coercendi sunt prout utriusque Juris leges et 
canones satis decent. Sed Greci sunt eiusmodi, ergo eis non est 
prestandum auxilium. . . . Ingratis et pestilentibus viris non sunt 
prestanda beneficia. . . . Damnationis sententia non est relaxanda 
volenti in sua perfidia permanere ut ait beatus Leo. ... Ad 
virtutem pertinet sumere vindictam de malis ut deducit S. 
Thomas," etc. 


Chiirch, and from Aristotle, Sallust, Valerius Maximus, 
Seneca, and other classical writers.* He then appeals to 
the principle of Christian charity, and to the love of sinners 
inculcated by our Saviour, and maintains that, notwith 
standing their schism and their ingratitude, the Greeks 
ought to be helped. f Should assistance be refused, there 
is, he continues, reason to fear that the conquest of Con 
stantinople may be followed by a general massacre of the 
Christians. J If it be said that the Greeks will persist in 
their schism, this is indeed true with regard to many of 
them, but not to all, for amongst them are distinguished 
and religious men. No one knows what course these will 
take ; we need not trouble ourselves about the future ; for 
the present the first thing to be done is to grant the prayer 
of those who are so hardly beset by the enemies of the 
Christian name. He then urges the glorious past of the 
City of Constantinople. Men remarkable for their learn 
ing, their piety, and purity of life have dwelt within her 
vvalls, which contain countless relics of the Saints and 

* *Cod. cit., f. 8 : Seneca qui in epistola Ixxxii., ad Lucilium 
putat " etiam ingratis beneficium dandum." 

f *" Non obstante Grecorum scismate et ingratitudine eosdem 
iuvare tenemur." Cod. cit., f. 6. 

J Cod. cit., f. 9 : *"Ergo debemus Grecos servare, iuvare et 
tollerare ne in servitutem Teucrorum redigantur. Timendum enim 
valde est . . . quod capta Constantinopoli in finitimis regionibus 
magnum exsequeretur excidium christianorum et fidei. Ideoque 
melius est Grecos tollerare sicut meretrices ecclesia tollerat propter 
maiora mala vitanda," etc. 

Cod. cit., f. 9: *"Ad quartum cum dicitur quod Greci 
videntur velle semper in sua perfidia permanere, dicendum, quod 
licet multi videantur esse tales, scimus tamen et cognovimus quod 
non omnes fuerunt .nee sunt perfidi, sed sunl multi insignes et 
religiosi viri ut cardinales, episcopi, abbates aliique inferioris 
gradus. Quid autem acturi sint, nescimus nee iudicare de futuris 


richly adorned churches; moreover for the sake of the 
great Emperor Constantino to whom the Christian people 
and the Roman Church are so deeply indebted, it is, he 
declares, a duty to preserve his city from falling into the 
hands of the unbelievers.* 

He then proceeds to point out the motives which render 
it incumbent on the Pope to take measures for the pre 
servation of Constantinople, making honourable mention 
of the exertions of Eugenius IV. against the Turks ;t he 
gives a lively picture of the threatening peril, enumerates 
the horrible cruelties practised by the infidels, and insists 
on the necessity of re-establishing peace, if only in a 
temporary manner, in Italy. In view of the dangers 
which threaten Constantinople, Cyprus, and the shores of 
the Mediterranean, Christian kings and princes, and 
especially all prelates and ecclesiastics, are bound, he 

* Cod. cit., f. 10: * Prcterca aJ civitatem dcbcmus habere 
rcspcctum. Civitas quippe aliquando sancta vel non sancta dicitur 
propter homines, scd hoc dupliciter q [uidem] aut propicr presentes 
aut propter preterites. Et dato quod proptcr presentes non esset 
eis subveniendum, tamen propter preterites esset id illis beneficium 
conferendum, qui doctrina religione et summa integritate clarucrunt. 
Secundo propter multa corpora sanctorum, que ibi recondita sunt. 
Terlio propter ecclesias et vasa sacra, que ibidem sunt. Quarto 
propter fundatons memoriam et reverentiam." F. 1 1 : " Et ni 
fallor plurimum obligatur populus christianus et precipue ecclesia 
Romana prefato Constantino maximeque propter eius memoriam 
omnibus viribus est laborandum, ne civitas sua . . . cedat in 
habitationem gcntis infidelis." At a later period St. Antoninus 
also recalled the merits of Constantino in his speech against the 
Turks in the presence of Calixtus III. See Chronicon, tit. xxii., 
c. 1 6. 

t Cod. cit., f. 15 : *"Et sancte memorie Eujjenius quantum in 
hac re laboravit notum est," etc. 



concludes, to arm themselves for the defence of Christen 

Warnings of this nature, as a modern historian has 
observed, t coupled with the well-grounded apprehension 
that the Turks might, after the conquest of the Greek 
Empire, attack Italy, produced their effect in Rome, and 
greatly promoted the favourable consideration of the 
ceaseless petitions for aid, especially as the Emperor 
accepted the conditions proposed by the Pope. In May, 
1452, Cardinal Isidore, an enthusiastic Greek patriot, 
was sent as Legate to Constantinople. J lie was accom 
panied by about two hundred auxiliary troops, and by 
Archbishop Leonard of Mytilene, who has left us an 
account of the siege of Constantinople. The selection of 

* Cod. cit., f. 17: * Verurn ad huius necessarie pacis opus 
perficiendum remedia possibilia temptanda sunt, ut perpetua vel 
saltern temporalis pax aliqua in Italia sequeretur, ut civitas ilia 
Constantinopolitana, in oriente fidei christianorum arx et monn- 
mentum, salubri celerique remedio imminent! periculo proxima, 
liberari et conservari possit. Preterea quod regnum Cypri, quod 
superioribus temporibus propugnaculum fidei catholice erat, maxi- 
mis subiaceat periculis manifestum est et quod sub tributo sit et 
quandam ignominiosam et miserabilem servitutern paciatur iam 
omnibus nofum est. . . . Exhortandi ergo videntur reges et prin- 
cipes christiani et precipue prelati et persone ecclesiastice, ut 
prompto animo pro dei laude, pro fide catholica, pro Christiana 
religione ad hanc necessariam christianorum defensionem, pro viri- 
bus se paratos disponant." The treatise concludes with a petition 
to the Pope for the pardon of any errors it may contain. 

f Frommann, 227. 

J Raynaldus ad an. 1453, N. 2. Isidore arrived at Constanti 
nople in November, 1452. Ducas, c. xxxvi., 253. The date of 
his departure from Rome, 1452, May 22, which was hitherto un 
certain, is fixed by *Acta consistorialia, f. 23. Secret Archives of 
the Vatican. (Hefele [Wiedervereinigung, 216] says that he went 
in summer or autumn), Frommann [228] gives no exact time. 


Isidore as Legate was a most excellent one, and if the 
reconciliation was not effected, he certainly cannot be held 
responsible for its failure.* The great majority of the 
Greeks were not even now in earnest in the matter, and 
the solemn function in honour of the Union celebrated on 
the 1 2th December, 1452, in the church of St. Sophia, with 
prayers for the Pope and the exiled Patriarch Gregorius, 
was a mere farce. f 

Many Greeks did not shrink from openly expressing 
their sentiments. " Once we are rid of the Turkish 
dragon," they said, " you shall see whether we will hold 
with the Azymites or not." Both laity and clergy con 
spired to frustrate the Union, and a wild outburst of 
fanaticism ensued while the Turks were actually approach 
ing the very walls of Constantinople. The schismatic 
clergy, incensed by the Emperor s open adhesion to the 
decrees of the Council of Florence, solemnly anathematized 
all its partisans, refused absolution to those who had been 
present at the function held in honour of the Union, and 
exhorted the sick rather to die without the sacraments 
than receive them from a Uniatc priest. The populace 
cursed the Uniates, the sailors in the harbour drank to 
the destruction of the Pope and his slaves, and emptied 
their cups to the honour of the Blessed Virgin, shouting 
"What need have we of the help of the Latins?" The 
friends of the Union were naturally too weak to hold their 
ground against the violence of popular feeling, and suc 
cumbed in their unequal conflict with the national will, 
which, impotent in all besides, proved itself obstinate and 
unbending on the one point of opposition to Rome. The 

: Mordtmann, 21. Frommann, 228, is of the same opinion, 
t The sincerity of this function was doubted even by contem 
poraries. See Ducas, loc. tit., and Cribellus, 51. Mordtmann 
(27) calls it a comedy. 


Union was again rent asunder, and St. Sophia, which the 
schismatics called a cave of demons and synagogue of 
Jews, became a mosque.* This furious antagonism to 
Rome extended to the highest classes of Byzantine society. 
The Grand Duke Lukas Notaras, the most powerful man 
in the powerless empire, was not afraid to say that he 
would rather see the Turkish turban in the city than the 
Tiara of Rome.f 

It is not surprising that the Latins showed but little zeal 
on behalf of a nation so hopelessly deluded, and that both 
in Rome and elsewhere some were found to maintain that 
no help ought to be given to the schismatics. I The 
violently anti-Latin temper of the Greeks explains, and in 
some degree excuses, the fact that the Western Powers 
did not render the speedy assistance which might have 
saved the glorious capital of the East. 

Besides the Pope and the King of Naples, the Republics 
of Venice and Genoa were the only Christian Powers who 
helped the Greek Emperor, and their help was given from 
mercenary motives. The Venetians and Genoese were 
well aware that their own interests would be seriously 
affected by a Turkish occupation of the Greek capital. 
Constantinople and its suburbs had become a second home 
to many of their citizens. Within its walls the two 
republics possessed much valuable property, both public 
and private, and its fall would involve the severance of 
their connection with their colonies on the Black Sea, 
and their consequent loss. 

* Dollinger, Kirche und Kirchen, 9. 

f The day after the fall of the city Notaras was horribly 
murdered by the Sultan s executioner. Hefele, loc. /., 218-219. 
Hertzberg, Griechenland, ii., 537-5S 8 - 

+ See the Treatise in Cod. D-L, 20, of the Casatenese Library, 
Rome, cited supra, p. 254) notef. 

Heyd, ii., 303- 


Genoa and its colony of Chios accordingly sent war 
material and a considerable body of soldiers, and, unlike 
their vacillating fellow-countrymen in Pera, devoted them 
selves heart and soul to the cause.* 

The powerful Republic of Venice displayed far less 
zeal.f Twice in the year 1452 did the Ambassadors of the 
Greek Emperor repair to the city, earnestly imploring 
counsel and aid against the threatened attack of the Turks; 
but no decided promise was made to them, for the interest 
of the principal personages was at this time concentrated 
almost exclusively on the war against the Duke of Milan. + 
Material considerations alone induced the Signoria to send 
some few ships to Constantinople, but the despatch of a 
fleet was postponed until the 7 th May, 1453, because it was 
feared that it would have to act in concert with the ships 
promised by the Pope and King Alfonso. The ten vessels 
commanded by Jacopo Loredano, whose arrival had been 
so eagerly desired by the besieged, naturally came too 
late. || Indeed, the following instructions, given to Jacopo 

* Loc. tit. 306-307. For an account of the heroic Giovanni 
Guglielmo Longo of the kindred of the Giustiniani in Chios, see 
Ilopf in Ersch-Gruber, Section i, Ixviii, 321. 

t The Greek Emperor therefore endeavoured, by pliancy and 
concession, to keep the Venetians in good humour. He granted 
them the privilege of the free export of wine, and removed the tax 
hitherto imposed on Venetian brokers and slave dealers. Romanin 
iv., 245, X. 3. Heyd.ii., 303. 

% Sanudo, 1141, and State Archives at Venice: *Sccreta Senaliis 
xix., f. 169 - 1 70. See Vast, 196. 

This opinion is repeated in the *letter of Venice to Nicholas V 
written on the 4 ih February, 1453. State Archives, Venice : Secreta 
Senatus, xix., 184 . 

II See Hcycl, ii., 316, and Romanin, iv, 254, 527. Regardin- 
the hopes placed in Venice, see Barbaro, 34, and the account 

the Florentine Tebaldi in the Appendix to Vallet de Virivelle s 
edition of CLartier, Chronique de Charles VII., Vol. iii., " O . Jj , r . 


Loredano, are calculated to awaken some misgivings as to 
the real intentions of the Venetian Republic. " On the 
way to Constantinople you are not in any way to cause any 
injury to the cities, troops, or vessels of the Turks, inas 
much as we are at peace with them. For although we have 
prepared this fleet for the honour of God and the defence 
of the City of Constantinople, we will not if it can possibly 
be avoided involve ourselves in war with the Turks."" 

Regarding the assistance afforded by Pope Nicholas V., 
the accounts which have reached us are unfortunately very 
defective, and in some cases contradictory. The diary of 
Infessura, the Secretary to the Senate, a somewhat un 
trustworthy document, informs us that the Emperor s 
ambassadors were detained in Rome, and were unable to 
obtain a decided answer. St. Antoninus of Florence says 
in his Chronicle, that Nicholas V. directly refused them a 

baro, 66 ; Sanudo, 1148 ; and Romanin, iv., 248, N. 2 a , 254, 260, 
N. i, speak of the Venetian fleet. 

* Loredano was again expressly directed to take no hostile 
measures against the Turkish ships unless in the event of an attack 
on his forces. The passage quoted above from the *Instructions 
for " Jacobo Lauredano ituro capitaneo generali maris," dated 
1453, May 7, runs as follows: *"In via autem tua usque 
Constantinopolim volumus, quod nullo modo offendas neque 
damnum aliquod vel novitatem inferas locis, gentibus et navigiis 
Turchorum per observationem pacis quam cum Teucro habemus 
[Mahomet II. had, at the request of the Venetian Ambassador, on 
September 10, 1451, renewed the treaty made with Venice by his 
predecessor; see Romanin. iv., 245; Sanudo, 1154-1156] quia 
licet hanc classem pro honore dei et conservatione civitatis Con- 
stantinopl. paraverimus, attamen si possibile fuerit ad aliquam 
novitatem vel guerram cum Teucro devenire nollemus." Secreta 
Senatus, xix., 194. State Archives, Venice. Venice commanded 
Bartolomeo Marcello, on the 8th May, as much as possible to 
keep up a good understanding with Mahomet II., and to bring 
about a permanent peace ! Hopf, Griechenland, 115. 


grant of pecuniary assistance. As, however, the fact that 
this Pope sent money in the year 1452 for the purpose of 
fortifying the walls of Galata, is proved by an inscription, 
these accounts cannot be correct.* We have, moreover, 
the testimony given by the Pope himself when on the very 
brink of eternity. 

Nicholas V. informed the Cardinals assembled around his 
death-bed that, on receiving the tidings of the siege of 
Constantinople, he had at once determined to help the 
Greeks to the best of his power. He was, however, well 
aware that his own unassisted resources were insufficient 
to oppose an adequate resistance to the immense armies of 
the Turks. He had, therefore, "openly and plainly," 
declared to the Greek ambassadors that his money, his 
ships, and his troops were at the disposal of the Emperor, 
but that, inasmuch as this help was inadequate, his Majesty 
ought without delay to seek the assistance of other princes; 
assuring them of the support of the Papal forces. The 
Ambassadors had departed, well pleased with his answer, 
but, after making unsuccessful application to many princes, 
had returned to Rome, whereupon he had given them his 
help, such as it was.f 

* The inscription is in Gugliclmotti, ii., i So, and the pass ag-e 
from Infessura in the edition published by Muratori, p. 1136. The 
statement of St. Antoninus is in the Chronicon, 1. 22, c. 13, 14. 
In February, 1452, a Greek Embassy was in Venice to ask for 
assistance, and was to proceed thence to Florence and Rome ; see 
Vast, 196. A new Greek Embassy arrived in Venice in the middle 
of November (Vast, loc. tit.), and on the 28th of the month reached 
Bologna (Cronica di Bologna, 700), on its way to Rome to petition 
for help. See, regarding this Embassy, Romanin, iv., 247, and 
Barbaro, Giornale dell Assedio, App. n. 5. 

t Manetti, 953. Kayser, 223. The last-named writer justly 
observes that the tidings of the siege of Constantinople must have 
taken the Pope as much by surprise as they did the Greeks. 


Accordingly, on the 28th April, Nicholas V. commanded 
the Archbishop of Ragusa, Jacopo Veniero of Rccanati, to 
proceed as Legate to Constantinople, with the ten Papal 
galleys and a number of ships, furnished by Naples, Genoa, 
and Venice.* The united Italian fleet did not, however, 
come into action, for on. the 2gth of May the fate of the 
city was decided. 

On the 23rd March, 1453, Mahomet II. left Adrianople, 
and on the 6th April took up his position within a mile of 
Constantinople. According to the lowest, and therefore 
most probable estimate, his army numbered a hundred and 
sixty thousand men. To meet this powerful, rapacious, 
and fanatical host, the Emperor had, in all, four thousand 
nine hundred and seventy-three Greeks, and about two 
thousand foreigners, Genoese, Venetians, Cretans, Romans, 
and Spaniards. f 

The siege, of which we have details from a number of 

No one in the West had believed in the greatness of the danger ; 
see ^En. Sylv., Epist., clxii. Had the Pope, says the *" Tractatus 
sen exhortatio ad seren. dom. Fiidericum imperat. domini Joannis 
de Caslilione episc. Fapien. et apost. Icgati ad defens. fidei contra 
Thurcos," known the necessity of Constantinople, " clare et in 
tempore, quo subsidium parari potuisset," lie would certainly have 
granted all imaginable assistance. Cod. kit., 4143, f. 102, of the 
Court Library at Munich. 

* See N. dclla Tuccia, 227. Gugliel-.notti, ii., 170-171. 
Kayscr, 223 et seq. Kayser and Zinkeisen (i., 825) give a wrong 
date for the decree nominating Veniero Legate. It is given at 
length in Thciner (Mon. Slav., i., 409-410). According to /En. 
Sylvius (Epist., 155), the Fapal and Genoese ships were subse 
quently captured by the Turks. 

t Mordtmann, 30, 41. Hertzberg, Griechenland, ii., 538. Vast, 
Bessarion, 199, gives a much higher estimate of the numbers on 
both sides, but in this he is mistaken. 


eye-witnesses, began immediately.* Besides fourteen 
batteries, which were planted opposite to the walls of the 
city, the Sultan had twelve large pieces of artillery destined 
for special positions, and discharging stone cannon-balls of 
from two hundred to five hundred pounds weight. One 
giant cannon, made by a Hungarian, is perhaps the largest 
mentioned in history, and its stone balls weighed from 
eight hundred to twelve hundred pounds. t 

It was evident that the city, with its slender garrison, 
would ultimately be compelled to yield to such a force. 
The catastrophe was delayed by the position of Constanti 
nople, which rendered it very difficult of assault,]: and by 
the personal courage of the Emperor and of some few 
oilier Greeks. But the chief credit of the defence is due 
to the skilful tactics of the Italian ships, and to the foreign 
troops and the Venetian Catalan, and other colonists, 
together with the Genoese, who had secretly come from 
Pera. They ceaselessly repaired the breaches made by the 
enemy s artillery, and brilliantly repelled many Turkish 
attacks. Moreover, under the direction of a German 
engineer, countermining was carried on with such success 

* Sec Vast, Bessarion, 187 et scq., and IMordtmann s excellent 
monograph, which, however, docs not notice nearly all the contem 
porary documents. See the important article by Ilopf in Ersch- 
Gruber., section i, l.x.xxvi, 116. Of more recent histories, we must 
mention besides Zinkeisen (i., 832 tt sey.) and Finlay (History of 
the Byzantine ami Greek Empires, ii., 620 et seg.~) ; Guglielmolti, 
ii., 174 ctseq. ; Voigt, in Sybel s Zeitschrift, iii., 76 el saj. ; Krause, 
Die Eroberungen von Konstantinopel im dreizehnlen und fiinf- 
zehnlen Jahrhundert (1870), 127 et jvy. ; IleyJ, ii., 303 ctscq. Vast, 
Bessarion, 197 et sey., and a paper by the last-named author in the 
Revue hist. (1880), xiii., 1-40. 

"j" Morcltmann, 36, 50. 

I See v. Moltke, Briefe iiber Zustiindc und Begebenheiten in 
der Tiirkei (2nded.), p. 55. 


that the Turks finally abandoned their mines. A dangerous 
bastion constructed by the infidels was destroyed in a single 
night, and the astonished Sultan exclaimed, " Never could 
I have believed the Giaours capable of such great deeds, 
not even if all the Prophets had assured me of the 
fact ! " 

The greater number of the Greeks, however, played a 
pitiful part during the siege. Instead of fighting, they 
consoled themselves with the foolish predictions of their 
monks, wept and prayed in the churches, called upon Our 
Lady to deliver them, never considering that God is wont 
to help those who exert themselves, and at the same time 
humbly place their confidence in Him. A historian justly 
observes, " They loudly confessed their sins, but no one 
confessed his cowardice, the unpardonable sin of a nation 
devoid of patriotism."* The Emperor alone distinguished 
himself by his courage, but one man could not save a nation, 
many of whose members, from their bigoted hatred of 
the Latins, preferred quiet and toleration under the Turkish 

The cowardice of the Greeks was equalled by their 
avarice, which kept them from employing the number of 
troops required for the defence of the widely extended 
walls of their city. The unreasoning covetousness which 
had been the proximate occasion of this terrible siege now 
contributed in great measure to bring about the final 
catastrophe. The small force of defenders could no longer 
hold the long chain of fortifications, partly ruined as they 

* J. B. Weiss, iii. (2nd ed.), 1490. See Vast, Bessarion, 202. 
" No one would do his duty. We were forsaken by Providence, 
because we ourselves had abandoned Him," says Critobulus. The 
same writer gives many examples of the faint-hearted selfishness of 
the Greeks. 

f Voigt, in thehistor. Zeitschr., iii., 32. 


were by the enemy s artillery, and on the 2gth of May* the 
Janissaries made another desperate attack. The Emperor, 
with a great many of his faithful followers, fell. Cardinal 
Isidore, who was not recognized, was sold as a slave. 
Thousands of the Greeks who escaped death shared his 
fate, especially all those who had taken refuge in the church 
of St. Sophia. An ancient prophecy had foretold that the 
Turks would advance as far as the Pillar of Constantine, 
but would then be driven by an angel from heaven not only 
out of the city but back to the Persian frontier. As soon 
accordingly as they had entered the city, crowds pressed 
into the great church, which, with all its vestibules, 
corridors, and galleries, was densely thronged, multitudes 
who, ever since the feast held in honour of the Union had 
scorned the spiritual graces which they might there have 
found, now seeking within its walls to save their lives. "Had 
an angel really descended from heaven at this moment," 
says the Greek historian Dukas, "and brought them word 
to accept the Union, they would not have acknowledged it, 
and would rather have given themselves up to the Turks 
than to the Roman Church. "t 

The infidels, meanwhile, had become masters of the city, 
and had slain some thousands of its inhabitants before the 
idea of making gain out of them as slaves arrested the 
work of bloodshed. | On reaching the church of St. Sophia 
they burst open the doors and dragged the helpless fugi- 

* On this very day the Florentine Ambassador at Genoa 
announced evil tidings regarding Constantinople. See Makuscev, 


t Hammer, 5., 549. 

J Ilefele, Wiedervereinigung, 225. " Natural avarice and desire 
for slaves and prey had more effect than any command," says 
Mordtmann, 92, "and the Turks henceforth only thought of making 
as many prisoners as possible." 


tives off to slavery. The beautiful church was desecrated 
by all sorts of horrors, and then turned into a mosque. A 
crucifix was borne through the streets, with a Janissary s 
cap on its head, while the miscreants shouted, " Behold the 
God of the Christians."* 

The Sultan did not compel the Greeks to conform to 
Islam, but rather sought to win their priesthood to his side 
by espousing the cause of the enemies of the Union. He 
brought about the election to the Patriarchate of Gcnnadius, 
a zealous member of the orthodox party and a violent op 
ponent of the Latins. The ceremony of installation took 
place on the ist of June, and the procession passed through 
streets still stained with blood. The Sultan, adopting the 
ancient custom of the Byzantine Emperors, delivered a 
golden staff to the newly-elected Patriarch, in token of in 
vestiture, f The last traces of the Union were thus 
obliterated in the great Turkish Empire. Henceforth it 
survived only in Lithuania and Poland, in some Mediter 
ranean Islands subject to the Latin rule, and in the isolated 
Greek communities in Italy, Hungary, and Sclavonia.J 
The Sultan jealously claimed for himself all privileges 
enjoyed by the Emperors, especially the power of granting 

* Sanndo, 1150. Regarding the horrors which took place in 
the church, see Hammer, i., 550. A note in Barbaro s diary gives 
the number of prisoners as sixty thousand ; the spoil taken was 
worth three hundred thousand ducats, and for a long time after 
wards the Turks used to say, when speaking of a very rich man, he 
was at the sack of Constantinople. Mordtmann, 95-96. 

f Pichler, i., 423. Frommann, 232 et scq. From the time of 
the Patriarch Parthenius III., who was hanged by order of the city 
prefect (1657), the ruler of the infidels has considered it beneath 
his dignity personally to grant investiture to the Patriarch, and the 
office has devolved upon the Grand Vizier. Pitzipios, L Eglise 
Orientale (Rome, 1855), iii., 83. 

j Hefele, Wiedervereinigung, 228-229. 


confirmation and investiture to the Patriarchs, and it soon 
became the custom for each Patriarch to pay a considerable 
sum of money for his investiture, and thus to purchase his 
high dignity from the infidel ruler. As time went on, other 
Turkish magnates also received tribute from the Patriarch ; 
money was the only means of obtaining anything at the 
Porte, and yet its magic power was not always a certain 
defence from bitter humiliations, from ill-treatment and 
plunder. Turkish despotism and Greek corruption 
brought the Patriarchate to the lowest depths of de 
gradation to which the head of a Church with such a 
history could fall.* 

The tidings of the great victory of the Turks over the 
"Christian dogs" were borne on the wings of the wind 
throughout the East. Success was now on the side of 
Mahomet II., and the consequences were more immediately 
disastrous there than in the West. The Oriental Christians 
at once felt the shock of the great blow which had fallen 
on their cause in the Bosphorus. In their first panic the 
whole population of these districts thought of nothing but 
speedy flight, and flocked to the seaside in order to embark 
for the West, on the first appearance of the Turkish flag.f 
Slowly but surely was the way prepared for the complete 
closing up and barbarizing of the glorious lands bordering 
on the Mediterranean Sea. No pause in the victorious 
advance of the Turks was to be expected, although for a 
time the Sultan retired with his army to Adrianople, and 
sent his fleet to the harbours of the Asiatic shore. 

Soon indeed it became clear that, not content with 
victory on land, the Porte aspired to supremacy in the 

* Dollinger, Kirche und Kirchen, 158-161. Pichler, i., 423 et 
seq. Ersch-Gruber, section I, Ixxxiv., 193. 

f Zinkeisen, ii., 16-17. See the letter of Fr. Giustiniani from 
Chios, 1453, Sept. 2;th, in Yigna, i., 19-21. 


Archipelago and the Black Sea. Mahomet II. spared no 
pains to create a formidable fleet, and Constantinople and 
Gallipoli afforded him every facility for his operations. No 
resource remained to the terrified Christians on these shores 
but to purchase the permission to exist by the payment 
of a heavy tribute.* The Sultan was not slow to take 
advantage of their distress. On his return to Adrianople he 
announced to the ambassadors, who came to congratulate 
him, that for the future Chios must pay six thousand instead 
of four thousand ducats, and Lesbos three thousand as a 
tribute.f Thomas and Demetrius, the cowardly Byzantine 
despots of the Peloponesus, who had meditated flight to 
Italy, laid a present of a thousand gold pieces at his feet, 
and received in return empty promises of peace and friend 
ship. The Emperor of Trebizond was required by the 
Porte to pay the annual tribute of two thousand gold pieces 
for himself and the neighbouring shores of the Black Sea, 
and also to appear at an appointed time every year in the 
Sultan s Court. The despot of Servia had to purchase 
Mahomet s good will by a tribute of twelve thousand ducats 

a year.J 

It would be difficult to describe the terror of Western 
Christendom on learning that " the centre of the old world 
and the bulwark which protected European civilization 
from Asiatic barbarism " had fallen into the hands of the 
infidels. Men felt the event to be a turning point in the 
history of the world. In the downfall of the Byzantine 

* Heyd, ii., 318. Atti dellasoc. Lig., vi., 20 ft scq. 

\ Heyd, ii., 313. 

% Zinkeisen, ii., 17-18. The King of Bosnia also sent 
messengers without delay to the victorious Sultan to do homage 
and commend himself to his favour. 

Mordtmann (2) justly observes that the extraordinary impres 
sion made by the fall of Constantinople is a proof that the city 
outweighed in importance whole countries and provinces. 


Empire, which united Eastern Europe with Asia, and which 
had been so instrumental in the civilization of the Slavonic 
races, the ruin of all that the first great medieval period 
had accomplished was begun. The Christian conquest of 
Jerusalem in 1099 was tardily avenged by the foundation of 
a I urkish Empire on European soil, which had the effect of 
paralyzing the whole political system of Europe. All 
common action on the part of Christian nations was 
crippled, and Stamboul became that smouldering centre 
of discord which it still continues to be in the Eastern 
question of the present day. In face of the constant 
danger from the Turks the reforms, social as well as 
ecclesiastical, so urgently needed by Christendom, were 
neglected, and the Holy Roman Empire, second only in 
prestige to that of Byzantium, was drawn into the vortex 
of revolution.* 

"The Kingdom of Mahomet II.," according to a modern 
historian jT "was for the first time thoroughly consolidated 
by the conquest of that magnificent central position uniting 
the great lines of communication between the Adriatic and 
Mesopotamia, and Belgrade and Alexandria, and carrying 
with it the sovereignty of the Empire of the Cajsars and 
the Constantines. The magnitude and danger of the 
Eastern question dates from this event." 

The Republic of Venice was the first among the Western 
powers to learn that Constantinople had fallen, and that 
the bravest of the Pala_>ologi had died a hero s death. 1 he 

* Such is the observation with which IIGflcr, in his "Lehrbuch 
der allgem. Gesch.," prefaces his picture of modern times (ii i 
V.). See also Sitzungsberichle der Wiener Akad. Phil -histor 
KI. xv. 588. Kraus, in the second edition of his " Kirchen-es 
chichte," also makes the year 1453 the boundary between the 
Middle Ages and modern times (see iii., 529). 

t Ileilzber-, Griechcnland, ii., 530 /see 542. 


tidings came on the 29th June, when the great Council was 
sitting; Luigi Bevazan, the Secretary of the Council of 
Ten, read the letters in which the Castellan of Modone 
and the Bailo of Negroponte announced the calamity. The 
consternation and grief which overpowered all present 
were so great that no one ventured to ask for a copy of 
the terrible news.* 

From Venice it soon spread in all directions. On the 
3oth June the Signoria sent word to the Pope, adding that 
they deemed it likely that His Holiness would have already 
heard of the disaster by some other means. f 

On the 8th July it was known in Rome.J The celebrated 
preacher, Fra Roberto of Lecce, told the populace, who 

* See Zorzi Dolfin, Chronik. (Sitzungsber. d. Munch. Akad., 
1868, ii., 36 et seq.}, and the interesting letter from Battista 
cle Franchi and Piero Stella to the Doge Pietro de Campofregoso at 
Genoa, dated Venice, 1453, June 29th, in the State Archives at 
Florence, in a contemporary copy (Cl. x., dist. 2, No. 22). See 
Makuscev, 545-546. Regarding the consternation of the Venetians 
see also *the Despatch of Antonio da Trezzo to Fr. Sforza, dated 
Reggio, 1453, July 4th. Fonds Hal., 1586, f. 217, National 
Library, Paris. 

f *Venice to Nicholas V., die ultimo Junii : " Quamqtiam existi- 
niemus, beatissime pater, tarn litteris R di patris domini archie- 
piscopi Ragusien. legati apostolici hie existentis quam aliter, S teir 
vestram ante has forsitan intelligere potuisse horrendum et infelicis- 
simum casum urbium Constantinop. et Pere," etc. Scnatus Secreta, 
xix., 202, State Archives, Venice. I found a copy, though not a 
perfectly correct one, of this letter in the National Library, 
Florence. Cod. Magliabech., viii.-i282, f. 4ob. 

+ Infessura, 1136. (In the Latin copy of the Diarium in 
*Cod. xxxv., 37, f. i Si of the Barberini Library, Rome, the date 
is wrongly given as the iSth July, but correctly as the 8th, in Cod. 
Vatic., 5522, f. 48.) Infessura s dates are not generally very trust- 
worthy, but on this occasion he must be right. We know from the 
Cronica di Bologna (701) that the news reached that city on the 


broke out into loud lamentations. As it was a long time 
before any other accounts arrived to confirm those received 
from Venice, and as Constantinople was known to be well- 
provisioned, many persons both in Rome and Genoa con 
sidered them to be false. * Later on some maintained that 
the city had been reconquered in a marvellous manner. 
"This," wrote Cardinal d Estouteville, on the igth July, 
" is possible but not probable." f The consternation at 
Rome was increased by a report that the Papal ships had 
been captured by the infidels, and that the Turks were pre 
paring, with a fleet of three hundred vessels, to follow up 
the conquest of New Rome by that of the ancient city.J 

All writers agree in stating that the Pope and the 
Cardinals were overwhelmed at the tidings of the fate of 

4th of July, and as we learn from *Ghirardacci, Storia di Bologna, 
iii. (Cod. 768 of the University Library at Bologna), a courier at 
that time took four days to reach Rome from Bologna. Accord 
ingly the tidings could not be at Rome till the 8th July. This 
accords with the following *note from Cardinal Scarampo to 
Honorato Gaetani : " Magn. domine, compater noster car me post 
salutem. Manclamo el vilano nostro famiglio alia M.V. con la 
presente al quale havimo comesso vi dicha alchune cose da parte 
nostra. Donateli fede come a noy. Insuper e gionte altre lettere 
per le quale havimo certa la infelicita di Constantinopoli. LI Sig. 
Si^ismondo Malatesta ha corso el terreno Fiorentino come loro 


inimico. Altro non ecc. In S. Paulo apud Albanum die x. Julii, 
1453." Original in the Gaetani Archives, Rome. 

* See Appendix, no. 18, and *letter from Nicolaus Soderinus, 
cl.d. Janue, 1453, Jul. n. Cl. x., dist. 2, n. 22, f. 259. State 
Archives at Florence. */Eneas Sylvius also wrote from Graz to 
Stephanas de Novaria on the i2th July, 1453= "Hie habentur 
nova horribilia de perditione Constantinopolis qua3 utinam falsa 
sint." Original draft in Cod. lat. 3389, f. 1230, of the Court 
Library at Vienna. 

f *Cardinal d Estouteville to Francesco Sforza, Rome, 1453, 
July 19. Original in State Archives at Milan. 

J Cribellus, 56. 


St. Michael s College 



Constantinople.* The dominant feeling, however, in the 
mind of Nicholas V. and throughout the West was rather 
apprehension of further advances of the infidels than pity for 
the Greeks, who, by their dishonesty in regard of the Union 
and by the hatred which they never failed to manifest for the 
Latins had alienated the sympathy of the rest of Christen- 
dom.t Moreover, the rich Greeks had been as unwilling to 
make material sacrifices for the defence of their metropolis as 
they were to put aside their animosity. The well-informed 
chronicle of Bologna expressly attributes the fall of 
Constantinople to their avarice in not furnishing money for 
the payment of the troops, and St. Antoninus of Florence 
declares that in the year 1453, the Pope was extremely 
indignant at their again beseeching the impoverished 
Italians to give them pecuniary aid, although themselves 
possessed of hoards of wealth which would have amply 
sufficed to pay for troops. J 

The Pope s first measure on hearing of the calamity was 
to despatch legates to the different Italian powers in order 
* Infessura, 1136. Niccola della Tuccia, 230. Cribellus, 56. 
Simonetta, 645. Platina, 7 i9- "Da Rome ce e che N ro Sig" et 
li cardinal! stano molto smariti e vergognosi del caso de Constanti- 
nopoli et che perho dicono volere mandare ambax rl a tuti li Signori 
e potentie d Ytalia ad confortargli a pace e presto dio mostrara 
miraculi se questo fano." Original despatch from Nicodemus to 
Francesco Sforza, dated Florence, 1453, Juty 13- Pot.Est. State 
Archives at Milan, 
f Kayser, 227. 

t According to this author (Chronicon, 1. 22.. c. 13, 14), when 
the Turks conquered Constantinople they found an immense 
amount of treasure, which, if it had been spent in the defence of 
the city would have sufficed to avert its destruction. The passage 
n the Cronica di Bologna is at p. 701. See also B. Poggio in 
Baluze, Miscell., iii., 278. Phrantzes (Migne, clvi.) also says 
fi\\ c Q ) that the Greeks concealed their treasures. See Hefele, 
Wie dervereinigung, 219; Frommann, 229, and Kayser, 219, 222. 



to put an end to the internecine wars which ra^ed amongst 
them. The excellent Cardinal Capranica accordingly left 
Rome for Naples on the iSth of July, and two days 
later Cardinal Carvajal started on his mission to Florence, 
Venice, and the camp of the Duke of Milan.* Nicholas 
V. also ordered five triremes to be equipped at Venice at 
his expense (the cost amounted to seventeen thousand three 
hundred and fifty-two Venetian gold ducats); and the 
Genoese, Angelo Ambrogini was sent with three galleys to 
the Greek waters. He found the Mediterranean already 
swarming with Turkish ships, and had great difficulty in 
making his escape, f 

On the 30th September the Pope addressed a Bull of 
Crusade to Christendom in general. In it he declared 
Sultan Mahomet to be a forerunner of anti-Christ, 
and to restrain his diabolical arrogance called upon all 

* Simonetta, 645; 1st. Ercsc., 882 et scq., and **Lctter from 
Cardinal d Estouteville to Francesco Sforza, dated Rome, 1453 
July i 9 th. State Archives at Milan. Regarding Capranica s 
journey to Naples see Catalans, 98-99; Arch. st. NeapoL, vi., 
420-422, and a "Letter from Cardinal Scarampo to Ilonorato 
Gaetani, d.d. in S. Paulo apud Albanum, 1453, J u i. jS, hora 18 : 
" \i notificamo como qucsta mattina passate le tredeci hore Mons 
di Fermo prefato se partito da Roma accompagniato fino alia porta 
da tutti li cardinal! secondo lusanza de li legati et esscrne venuto a 
Marino et serebbe questa sera venuto con noy ad Albano ma lora 
tarda lo ha revocato. Noy a questora siamo gionti passate le xvii 
hore. Domane al mattino cpso Mons. venira a Sermonetta ad 
allogiare con la S ria V- perce qucsta notte dormira a Marino" 
Original in the Gaetani Archives, Rome. 

t Niccola della Tuccia, 230. Sanudo, ii 5 r. Zorzi Dolfin 
Chronik. (see supra, p. 272, note *) ,,. 38. Guglielmotti, ii., I QQ 
i<or the cost of the five triremes see Kayser, 228, who estimates the 
amount spent by the Pope at more than sixty thousand ducats, in 
Inch case he contributed more liberally than any other power 


Christian princes to defend the faith with their lives and 
their money, reminding them of their Coronation Oath. A 
plenary Indulgence was granted to everyone who should 
for six months, from the ist February of the following year 
(1454), personally take part in the holy war, or send a 
substitute. Every warrior was, as in former times, to wear 
the cross on his shoulder. The Church aided the cause by 
contributing money. The Apostolic exchequer devoted 
to the Crusade all the revenues which it received from 
greater or smaller benefices, from archbishoprics, bishoprics, 
convents, and abbeys. The cardinals and all the officials of 
the Roman Court were to give the tenth part of their whole 
income, and anyone who should be guilty of fraud or fail to 
pay this tenth was to be excommunicated and deprived of 
his post. A tithe was also imposed on Christendom at 
large under pain of excommunication, and anyone who 
should treacherously provide the infidels with arms, pro 
visions, or materials of war was to be severely punished. 
Furthermore, that the undertaking might not in any way be 
hindered, the Pope, acting under the authority of Almighty 
God, determined and commanded that there should be peace 
throughout the Christian world. Prelates and dignitaries 
of the Church were authorized to mediate between con 
tending parties, and, if possible, effect a reconciliation. In 
any case a truce was to be concluded. The refractory were 
to be punished by excommunication, or, in the case of whole 
communities proving obstinate, by interdict* "Western 

* See Raynaldus ad an. 1453, N. 9-11 ; Zinkeisen, ii., 42, and 
Georgius, 139. See *Despatch of Antonio da Pistoja to Fr. 
Sforza of the loth September, 1453. in Appendix No. 20 from the 
original in the Ambrosian Library. For an account of the preachers 
of the Crusade sent forth by the Pope, see Wadding ad an. 1453, 
and Georgius, 141 et seq. The correspondence between Nicholas 
V. and the Sultan (see Quirini, Diatriba,p. DIV-DVI ; Tosti, Volga- 


Europe," to quote the words of the historian of Bohemia, 
"now witnessed a renewal of the scenes which had taken 
place at the beginning of the Hussite war. Missioners 
were preaching, distributing crosses and indulgences, 
collecting tithes, holding popular assemblies, and pro- 
motinf warlike preparations, but the indifference was 
greater, and the results smaller than they had previously 
been, for the institutions and symbols which had once been 
able to inflame the world with ardent zeal in the cause of 
the Holy Sepulchre and the Promised Land had now but 
little power over men s minds."* The states of Europe 
were too much divided and too much occupied with their 
own internal affairs to rise up and unite in resisting 
the Turk. The great political unity of the Middle 
Ao-es was broken, Christendom as a corporate body 
had ceased to exist. Clear-sighted contemporaries were 
fully alive to the melancholy fact. /Eneas Sylvius Piccolo- 
mini bitterly complained that Christendom had no longer 
a head who could command general obedience. " People," 
he says, " neither give to the Pope what is the Pope s, nor 
to the Emperor what is the Emperor s. Respect and 
obedience are nowhere to be found. Pope and Emperor 
are considered as nothing but proud titles and splendid 
figure-heads. Each State has its particular Prince, and 
each Prince his particular interest. What eloquence could 
avail to unite so many discordant and hostile powers under 
one banner ? And if they were assembled in arms, who 

rizzamento di maestro Donato da Casentino dell opera di m. Boc 
caccio, De Claris mulierib. (Alilano, 1841), and Christophe, i., 491- 
495, is not, in my opinion, genuine. I hope to revert to this 
subject on another occasion, and meanwhile will only observe that 
my researches have failed to discover originals (resp. drafts) of these 
letters in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. 
* Palacky, iv., i, 374. 


would venture to assume the general command? What 
tactics are to be followed? What discipline is to prevail? 
How is obedience to be secured ? Who is to be the shep 
herd of this flock of nations ? Who understands the many 
utterly different languages, and is able to control and guide 
the varying manners and characters ? What mortal could 
reconcile the English with the French, the Genoese with 


the men of Aragon ? If a small number go to the Holy 
War they will be overpowered by the infidel, and if great 
hosts proceed together, their own hatred and confusions 
will be their ruin. There is difficulty everywhere. Only 
look at the state of Christendom."* Under these circum 
stances Hungary, whose danger was the most imminent, 
had to undertake alone the war with the terrible enemy. 

The decision arrived at by the Parliament assembled at 
Buda in January, 1454, corresponded to the urgency of the 
case. The celebrated Hunyadi was chosen General for a 
vear, and a summons was issued declaring that not merely 
the landed proprietors, great and small, but also the Prelates 
were bound to perform military service. Nobles who, with 
out adequate cause, should leave the camp were to be 
punished by the confiscation of their property, and com 
moners by death. Nevertheless, Hunyadi could not but 
see that his army was far too weak to gain complete 

success. t 

After Hungary the Republic of Venice was undoubtedly 
the power exposed to greatest danger. The Sultan had 
offered her a direct insult by causing the Venetian Bailo 
at Constantinople to be executed, and imprisoning upwards 
of five hundred Venetian subjects. Added to this was the 
serious loss of merchandise, estimated by Sanudo at two 

* /Eneas Sylv., Ep. 127. See Zinkeisen, ii., 49 et seq. 
t Fessler-Klein, ii., 546; Szalay, iii., i, 154; Zinkeisen, ii., 


hundred thousand ducats. Immediately on receiving tidings 
of the fall of Constantinople, Cardinal Bessanon hat 
addressed an urgent letter to Francesco Foscari, the ] 
callincr upon him to defend the cause of Christendom. 
we may credit Filclfo the appeal was not in vain. 
that the Doge made an impressive speech, declaring t 
no time was to be lost, but that hostilities with the lurks 
ought at once to be commenced in order to avenge 
affronts offered to the Republic at Constantinople.! 

Durincrthe consultations at Venice, however, the opmio 
that every effort should be made to arrive at some kind < 
understanding with the Sultan prevailed. The threatening 
attitude of Milan, solicitude for the live hundred captives 
the increasing financial difficulties of the Republic am 
the mercantile interests which overruled everything, all 
tended to confirm this decision. The merchants well knew 
what the fall of Constantinople implied; they were per 
fectly aware that their rich possessions in the East were in 
the most serious danger, and that the Italian Peninsula 
itself might next be imperilled.^ Yet, with their usual 

* Bessarion s letter, dated Bologna, 1453. J^7 13. is published 
by Muratori, Script., xxv., 35-38- It is strange that Vast (B- 
sarion, 194) should nevertheless write : Enfm il nest question nulle 
part de la lettre manuscrite de Bessarion a Fr. Foscari (Bibl. nat. 
MSS lat 3127) ; and 211 : "La lettre de Bessarion n a jamais 
publik" Nevertheless Vast prints it (454-45*) ^m the afores 


* t This account is to be found in a letter of Filelfo s of the ist 
August 1 453, addressed to a relation of the Doge s. See Zinkeisen, 
i; \g The words fertur consuluisse " are used. Venetian 
authorities, as far as I have seen, are ignorant of this discourse. 
+ *Letter of the Republic of Venice, of July Sth, U53> tc 
Archbishop of Ragusa(archiepiscopo Ragusien., legato apostolico, 
quiadnosse contulit) : Consideramus etiam, quod civitates et 
loca nostra Gretie et illarum partium nostrarum, que ab annis C C 


short-sighted egotism, their first thought was to save any 
thing that might at this critical moment be saved, to gain 
an undue advantage over all other naval powers by secur 
ing the favour of the Porte, and to maintain their mercantile 
importance at the high point which it had reached before 
the catastrophe at Constantinople.* 

We cannot, therefore, be surprised to find that the words 
of the Papal Legate fell upon deaf ears. Instead of begin 
ning the holy war, the Signoria recognized the peace which 
formally existed with the Sultan, and employed Barto- 
lomeo Marcello to open negotiations for the release of the 
captive Venetians and the renewal of friendly relations 
with the Porte, and also to prepare the way for the con 
clusion of a commercial treaty. Jacopo Loredano was in 
the meantime sent with twelve galleys to protect Negro- 

Marcello was successful in his mission, and on the i8th 
April, 1454, concluded a treaty with the ruler of the infidels, 
which served as a basis for all subsequent relations between 
Venice and the Porte. J The first paragraph of this shame- 

citra ut ita dixerimus in pace vixerunt, nee fortificate nee munite 
sunt per modum quod in magno et evident! periculo constitute 
sunt. Et si quod absit amitterentur, non est dubium quod valde 
habiliter ac commodissime absque alia contradictione hostis iste 
crucis cum potentiasua in Apuliam se transfretare posset." Senatus 
Secreta, xix., f. 205. State Archives in Venice. 

* Zinkeisen, ii., 21. 

t Hertzberg (Griechenland, ii., 554) observes that Venice lacked 
alike the power and the inclination to strike a great blow. Her 
action was confined to the occupation of the islands belonging to 
the ruined Empire of the Palceologi, with the exception of Lemnos; 
see Hopf, loc. cit. 

J The words of the treaty are given in Romanin, iv., ^2%etseq. 
See Hopf, Griechenland, 116 ; Sanudo, 1154-1158, and Marin,vii., 
283-287. A faulty translation is printed by Dam (ii., 394 et sey.), 
a much better one, which is further corrected by Heyd (ii., 317), 


ful compact runs as follows : " Between Sultan Mahomet 
and the Signoria of Venice, including all its present and 
future possessions, as far as the banner of St. Mark floats, 
henceforth, as formerly, there is peace and friendship." 
Another article expressly lays down that Venice shall not 
in any way, by ships, weapons, provisions, or money, 
support the Sultan s enemies in their undertakings against 
the Turkish kingdom. " And thus," indignantly exclaims 
the historian of Turkey, "the Republic of Venice was the 
first Christian power which, after the fall of Constantinople, 
neglected all other considerations, and, simply for its own 
advantage, entered into a treaty of peace with the Sultan, 
and secured for itself freedom of commerce throughout the 


whole Turkish Empire and the right of employing its own 
representatives to look after the interests of its subjects 
settled there.* 

It cannot be said that the Signoria was unconscious of 
the shameful nature of this proceeding, for, before the 
conclusion of peace with the Sultan, it addressed a some 
what confused letter of apology to Nicholas V.f 

The Republic of Genoa, which, next to Venice, was the 

by Zinkeisen (ii., 33-37). Regarding Marcello s mission, see also 
Vast, Bessarion, 217, note 5. Romanin, iv., 260 et s?q. Barbaro, 
Giornale dell assedio, ed. Cornet., Appendix 74 et seq. Kayser, 

* Zinkeisen, ii., 37. The perilous charge of Bailo of the 
Republic of Venice at Constantinople was entrusted to Barto- 
lomeo Marcello. On the i6th August, 1454, Venice sent him his 
credentials to the Sultan. *Commissio Barthol. Marcello ituro 
Baiulo Constantinopol., Sen. Seer., xx., f. 29-300. State Archives 
at Venice. 

| Venice to the Pope, 1453, December 15111. Senatus Secreta, 
xix., f. 228b. State Archives at Venice. (According to Kayser, 
227, this is printed in Cornet s publication, to which I am unable 
at this moment to refer.) 


naval power of Italy most interested in Eastern affairs, 
also endeavoured to enter into friendly alliance with the 
Sultan. The tidings of the fall of Constantinople had 
caused unexampled alarm and discouragement amongst 
her inhabitants, and here, as elsewhere, many had clung to 
the hope that they were false.* It was at once decided in 
Council that all available ships should be made ready, that 
ambassadors should immediately go to King Alfonso, and 
that if the terrible report were confirmed, an envoy should 
be sent to all States of Christendom to bring about a 
general peace, inasmuch as the loss of the whole of the 
Levant and of the Archipelago appeared in such a case to 

be imminent. t 

But these good resolutions ended the matter, and the 
Genoese, weakened by internal dissensions and by the war 
with Naples, took no decisive step ; indeed, in their utter 
helplessness and despondency they would have nothing 
more to do with their possessions on the Black Sea, and on 
the 1 5th November, 1453, made them over by a formal 
contract to the Bank of St. George.J This great financial 

* *Despatch of Nicholas Soderinus to Florence, d.d. Janue, 
M53, J ul - ll - A post messenger from Venice, who met a courier 
from Naples at Sestri, brought news of the " perdita di Constanti- 
nopoli et Pera et navi et altre cose. Mandovene la copia perche 
possiate meglio giudicare quello che possi esser seguitato che 
variando queste novelle quanto ellanno variato et essendo tanto 
tempo et non avendo altro aviso che per la via di Vinegia et 
essende quelle terre benissime proviste pare impossibile a molti 
qua chelle terre possino essene perdute ; pure se ne sta qua con 
grande passione. Idio aiuti la christianita." Cl. x., dist. 2, N. 
22, f. 259. State Archives at Florence. 

t *Despatch of Nicholas Soderinus to Florence, dated Genoa, 
1453. J ul 7 8th - State Archives at Florence ; see Appendix No. 18. 
J The contract is to be found in Vigna, i., 3 2 -43- The instruc 
tions to her Ambassadors at the Porte, March, 1454, see Atti della 
Soc. Lig., xiii., 261 et scg., Heyd., ii., 314 et seq., bear witness to 


company, which by its immense pecuniary resources, the 
well-known rectitude and solidity of its administration, its 
considerable landed possessions, and its widely extended 
foreign connections, had acquired the position of a State 
within the State, seemed alone able to accomplish that 
which the exhausted Republic could no longer undertake."* 
But even the Bank of St. George was unable to prevent 
Caffa, the chief emporium on the Black Sea, from becoming 
tributary to the Porte. f 

The cause of the crusade found no better support from 
King Alfonso of Naples than from the Republics of Venice 
and Genoa. This crafty politician was, indeed, lavish of 
fair words, and in the spring of 1454 he seemed ready to 
come forward as the champion of Italy and the avenger of 
the terrible disgrace which the conquest of Constantinople 
had brought upon Christendom. By his example, he wrote 
to the Cardinals, he hoped to incite the other Christian 
princes to an expedition which should drive the Turks com 
pletely out of Europe. But his professions were not fol 
lowed by action. He cared for nothing but his own 

the complete helplessness of Genoa, as does the literature regarding 
the Bank of St. George, which Leo (Gesch. Ital., iii., 530) has 
compared to the English East India Company. The Bank was 
founded in 1407, and continued till the time of the French 
(1797). Its former seat, at the southern en .1 of the Harbour 
Road at Genoa, now serves as the Custom House. The old 
hall and court of the building still contain statues of men who 
rendered valuable service to the Bank. In the autumn of 1883, 
when I visited this venerable memorial of Genoese greatness, it was 
in a very neglected condition. 

* The Republic was not at this time in a condition to afford 
from its own resources the eight thousand pounds which seemed 
required for the conciliatory Embassy to be sent to the Sultan. 
Vigna, i., 6, 21-23 (Heyd, ii., 383). 

t As early as 1454. See Heyd, ii., 389.. 


exaltation and that of his dynasty, and never struck a 
single blow for the defence of Christendom.* 


The conduct of the Duke of Milan was equally unworthy. 
Delighted to see his enemies, the Venetians, fully occupied 
by Eastern affairs he caused his troops to advance into the 
territory of Brescia. This circumstance must be taken into 
account in extenuation of the attitude of the Venetian 
Republic. f 

The Republic of Florence, allied as it was with the Duke 
of Milan in opposition to Venice and Naples, shared his 
sentiments. From reliable sources we learn the almost 
incredible fact that in the blind hatred of Venice the 
Florentines viewed the terrible blow dealt to the Christian 
cause in the East with satisfaction. Nicodemus of 
Pontremoli, Francesco Sforza s Ambassador to Florence, 
when announcing the disaster, wrote: " I also wish that it 
may go ill with the Venetians, but not in this manner to 
the detriment of the Christian faith. I doubt not that your 
feeling is the same. Would to God that Pope Nicholas had 
built less and had believed me ! How often have I told 
him that, besides its other innumerable advantages, the 
pacification of Italy would greatly tend to the honour of 
His Holiness." J 

While the Italians, to quote the words of a contemporary 
chronicler, were thus tearing each other to pieces like 
dogs, most of the other Western States held aloof from 

* Voigt in Sybel s histor. Zeitschr., iii., 34-35- Zinkeisen, ii. 
46, note. Even in October, 1453, Alfonso had, of course only in 
words, offered himself to the Pope for the complete expulsion of 
the Turks. See * Despatch of Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, dated 
Florence, 1453, October 9. State Archives at Milan, Cart. gen. 

t Regarding Sforza, see Simonetta, 645. 

J *Despatch of Nicodemus of Pontremoli to Fr. Sforza, dated 
1453, July 7- State Archives at Milan, Cart. gen. 

Niccola della Tuccia, 222. 


the proposed crusade. None of them, indeed, openly 
refused assistance ; on the contrary, all the princes formally 
professed themselves ready to take part in the expulsion of 
the Turks from Europe,* but when it came to the point not 
one was prepared to act. /Eneas Sylvius openly admits 
that nothing was to be expected from the northern 
kingdoms. England was a prey to perpetual civil wars, 
and Nicholas V. vainly endeavoured to restore her to 
peace and unity. f We shall have to relate the utter failure 
of the crusading projects of the powerful Duke Philip of 
Burgundy, J and all through the great kingdom of France 
the Pope s summons was almost unheeded. The French 
King, Charles VII., had not even deigned to answer Filelfo, 
who, before the fall of Constantinople, submitted to him the 
plan of an expedition. The Emperor Frederick III., who, 

* Christian, King of Denmark and Norway, declared the Turk to 
be the beast rising out of the sea, spoken of in the Apocalypse, and 
called God to witness that he would willingly join in the war. 
Histor, Zeitschr., iii., 35. 

f Zinkeisen, ii., 46, 50-51. 

J For an account of the remarkable festival at Lille, in 1454, 
when Philip made a vow to take the cross, see N. Arenst, 
Beschreibung der Festfeier, etc. (Trier, 1868). The *Pope s 
letters to the Duke, e.g., that dated v. Id. Jan., 1454, P. A 8 
[Regest., 402, f. 196!). Secret Archives of the Vatican], show 
that he hoped much from Philip, whom he styles in the * Bull 
" Nuper cum," d.d. Rome, 1454, vi., Id. Mart. P. A 8 " fidci 
ferocissimus athleta et intrepidus pugil contra turpissimi hostis 
huiusmodi conatus." Cod. cit., f. 43. 

Zinkeisen, ii., 45. Bishop Zanon of Bayeux appealed to the 
King as well as to the Emperor Frederick on the subject of the 
war with the Turks. In the National Library, Paris, Cod. lat. 3127, 
f. 194^199, I found this: * " Epistola Zanoni episcopi Baiocen. 
ad sereniss. Francorum regem exhortatoria ad christianitatem 
tutandam." In this letter, which as far as I know is still unpub 
lished, the necessity of counter-preparations is urgently insisted on. 


according to the medieval view, was above all other princes 
bound to defend the Christian cause, was not, as the follow 
ing pages will show, the man to make up his mind to such 
an undertaking. Portugal was perhaps the only power, 
with the exception of Hungary, which made serious pre 
parations for war against the infidels. Its King, Alfonso, 
promised to maintain twelve thousand soldiers at his own 
expense for a year, and at a considerable cost and amid 
many complaints from his people made ready for action, 
but obstacles of various kinds made it impossible for him 
to accomplish his purpose.* 

The words which /Eneas Sylvius had written to the Pope 
were but too true ; discord was rampant in Europe, and the 
different nations hardly ventured to move against the com 
mon foe of Christendom. Moreover, the tranquillity of the 
past months had persuaded them that the danger which 
threatened from the East was not so imminent as it had 
seemed in the first shock of the catastrophe. f The Papal 
summons to the Holy War failed to evoke a sympathetic 
response throughout Europe, and it became evident that the 
bond which in the great medieval ages held princes and 
peoples together had grown slack. 

" Ne hec nostra Christiana religio tuis temporibus et te superstate 
tola labatur et pereat." The Bishop, in moving words, seeks to 
stir up the King, " ad repellendam et expugnandam sacrilegam 
feritatem huius atrocissimi tiranni et cruentissimi carnificis." 

* Schafer, Gesch. Portugals, ii., 477-479. On the relations of 
Nicholas V. with Alfonso of Portugal, see Georgius, 145, and 
Markgraf, Sklaverei, 187. 

f Zinkeisen, ii., 45 



WHILE consultations were beinsr held throughout Western 

o o 

Christendom as to the means of repelling Turkish aggres 
sion, a cause for which no one was ready to make any real 
sacrifice, envoys arrived from Cyprus and Rhodes. They 
implored assistance,* bearing witness to the magnitude of 
the peril which threatened Europe, and unanimously assert 
ing that no cessation of Turkish hostilities was to be 
expected. f These envoys were accompanied by Cardinal 
Isidore of Russia, some Franciscans of Bologna, and a few 
other Italians, who had escaped from the massacre at Con 
stantinople or from bondage among the infidels. The 
Cardinal, more fortunate than Cesarini, had escaped the 
terrible massacre which followed the victory of the Turks, 
by dressing a corpse in his own clothes and taking 
those of the dead man. Unrecognized in this disguise, 
he had been captured and sold as a slave, but at length 

They arrived in Rome in November, 1453. Details are given 
by Niccola della Tuccia, 229 et seq. Regarding the Embassy from 
Cyprus to Florence, see the Florentines Letter to Nicholas V. of 
the igth September, 1453, in L . de Mas. Latrie, Plist. de Chvpre 
(Paris, 1855), iii., 72-73. 

t In the summer of 1454 a Turkish fleet of fifty-six vessels pro 
ceeded to the Black Sea, took Moncastro, surprised Sebastopolis, 
reconnoitred Caffa, and laid waste the defenceless district of Gothia. 
Heyd., ii., 382-383. 



succeeded in making his escape, at first at the Peloponesus, 
and thence to Venice, where he arrived in the end of 
November, 1453, as one returned from the dead.* He 
and the Franciscans were the first to make known the full 
details of the catastrophe of the 2gth May, 1453. 

Cardinal Isidore gave a terrible account of the cruelties 
practised by the Turks, and declared that they were deter 
mined to conquer Italy. The danger was, he believed, 
imminent, and the necessity for the union of Christians 
imperative. He thought the forces at the Sultan s com 
mand more numerous than those of Caesar, Alexander, or 
any other conqueror, and the pecuniary resources at his 
disposal to be equally enormous. The Turkish fleet 
already consisted of two hundred and thirty ships, the 
cavalry was thirty thousand strong, and there seemed to be 
no limit to the numbers by which the infantry might be 
increased. Calabria would probably be the spot selected 
for the first incursion of the infidels, and it was possible 
that Venice might also be attacked. According to the 
report of the Sienese ambassador in Venice, the Cardinal 
was firmly persuaded that unless within six months peace 
\vas restored another year and half would see the Turks in 

* Cronica di Bologna, 701, and * Despatch of Leonardo de 
Benvoglienli, Sienese Ambassador to Venice, dated November 22, 
1453- Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives at Siena. Re 
garding the Franciscans who were taken captive at Constantinople, 
and for whose liberation the Pope exerted himself, see * Nicholaus 
V. universis Christifidelibus "Ad ea libenter," d.d. Romce, 1453, 
viii. ; Id. Oct. Pont, anno vii. ; Regest., 401, f. 470. Secret 
Archives of the Vatican, Appendix No. 22. 

t The principal portions of this *Despatch of Leonardo de 
Benvoglienti regarding the " Cardinale di Rossia " are as follows : 
" Et molto piu potente essere li pare (the Sultan) che Cesare, 
Alexandro o alcuno altro principe mai quale abbia haspirato al 


It was evident that serious measures against the Turks 
could not be contemplated until concord had been re 
established in the Italian peninsula, and accordingly 
Nicholas summoned the ambassadors of all the Italian 
powers to a Peace Congress in Rome. The matter was 
pressing, and the Pope s messengers were despatched in all 
haste towards the close of September.* About a month 
later the ambassadors began to appear in the Eternal City. 
On the 24th of October, 1453, envoys from the Republic 
of Florence and Venice arrived ; the latter were specially 

dominio del mondo. Et infra laltre cose questo cardinale dice 
chel Turcho atanto tesoro che forse di nissun altro principe lesse 
mai avere tanto oro coniato quanto costui. Dugento trenta legni 
dice avere in acqua, ma poterne fare facilmente quella quantita 
che vuole ; xxx m cavalli a al presente in exercito et molti a pie, 
ma potere congregare et cosi intende quella quantita che vorra, si 
che lexercito suo ara potentissimo per mare et per terra et che 
intende presto venire in Italia." ..." Xarra etiando questo 
rev mo gjgrc c h e p er tutti li -luoghi principal! e per tutte citta in ne 
piu alti e eminenti luoghi sette volte fra di et notte si fa preghi a 
dio che metta ghuerra, divisione et discordia infra christiani in 
nela quale el Turcho molto si confida. The same Despatch says 
that the Cardinal intended to go to Rome to incite the Pope to the 
Holy War. State Archives at Siena, loc. cit. Cardinal Isidore 
lamented over the misfortunes of Constantinople in an " Epistola 
lugubris," which is still preserved; Raynaldus ad an. 1453, N. 5, 
gives it in part, and Reusner has published it among the Epist. 
Turcic., 1. iv. (Francof., 1598). 

* *Letter from Cardinal d Estouteville to Fr. Sforza, dated 
Rome, 1453, Sept. 17. State Archives at Milan, Pot. Est. ; see 
Appendix, No. 21. See Despatch of " Bernardus de Juniis " and 
"Johannotius de Pictis " (for the sake of brevity I henceforth 
designate them the Florentine ambassadors), dated Rome, 1453, 
Nov. 23. Cl. x., dist. 2, No. 20, f. 2390. State Archives at 

VOL. ii. w 


charged to excuse the Signoria for their negotiations with 
the Turks.* 

The Duke of Milan, who believed that the Venetians 
were merely endeavouring to gain time for fresh warlike 
preparations, reluctantly resolved to take part in the 
Congress. The delay of his ambassadors created a most 
unfavourable impression in Rome, and the Pope and his 
cardinals bitterly complained of Francesco Sforza. On 
the loth November the long-expected envoys at length 
arrived,f and business accordingly could begin. The 
despatches which have come down to us regarding this 
Congress are unfortunately of a very fragmentary character, 
and those of the Venetian and Neapolitan envoys are 
altogether wanting. It is, therefore, impossible to give a 
clear account of these complicated proceedings^ but there 

* *Despatch of the Florentine ambassadors, dated Rome, 1453, 
Oct. 27. Loc. cit., f. 234. Slate Archives at Florence. The 
**Instruction to the Venetian ambassadors is in Senatus Secreta, 
xix., f. 2i7b-2i9. State Archives at Venice. 

t *Despatches of the Florentine ambassadors, dated Rome, 
1453, Nov. 5, 6, and 10. State Archives at Florence, loc. cit., f. 
236 et scq, 

% Christopher Moro and Orsato Giustiniani (Simonetta, 665 ; 
Sanudo, 1151 ; see Christoforo a Soldo, 886) were sent by Venice ; 
Bernardo Giugni and Giannozzo Pitti by Florence (see Neri 
Capponi, 1214), Marino Caracciolo and Michele Riccio by Naples 
(Facius in Graevius, ix., 3, 177), Giacomo Trivulzio and Sceva 
de Curte, and afterwards Nicodemus, by Milan. See Fonds Ital., 
1586, f. 240 et seq. National Library, Paris. The reports of the 
Florentine ambassadors [State Archives at Florence. Cl. x., 
dist. 2, N. 20. This reference applies to the quotations which 
follow] are the most ample which have reached us. The instruc 
tions given to the Milanese ambassadors are published in Arch. st. 
Lomb., 1882, p. 129. Canetta s article, La pace di Lodi (Riv. st. 
Ital., ii., 516 et so?.} is incomplete, as its author was acquainted 


can be no doubt that the greatest difficulties arose in the 
way of a satisfactory settlement. All parties, indeed, were 
profuse in professions, but when their proposals were 
brought forward it became evident that the pretensions of 
each Power were so extravagant as to render the restora 
tion of peace almost hopeless. 

King Alfonso of Naples demanded from the Florentines 
the repayment of the sums which the war had cost him ; 
the latter, far from being disposed to pay anything, called 
upon the King to deliver up to them Castiglione della 
Pescaja in the Maremma. The Venetians insisted that Sforza, 
for whose assassination they had, on the I4th September, 
1453, promised a hundred thousand ducats, should restore 
all his conquests in the territories of Brescia and Bergamo, 
evacuate Cremona, and consider the banks of the Po ami 
the Adda as the boundary of his States. Sforza, however, 
instead of making any concession to the Republic of St. 
Mark, asked that Crema, Bergamo, and Brescia should be 
restored to him.* He had not the least intention of con 
cluding peace so quickly, and his ambassadors complained 
of the pretensions of Naples and Venice to rule over 
Tuscany and Lombardy. Each one of the hostile powers 
brought violent accusations against his adversary before 
the Pope. The envoy of the Marquess of Mantua assured 
Nicholas that Venice, if victorious, would strive to make 

only with the documents in the State Archives of Milan, and not 
with those in the Ambrosian Library and the National Library of 

* See Simonetta, 665-666, who had access to the Milan Archives, 
and the *Despatches of the Florentine Embassy, loc. at. See 
Machiavelli, 1. 6, and Sismondi, ix., 449, and regarding the 
Venetian plan of murdering Sforza, Buser, 71. The Florentine 
ambassadors Despatch of the 23rd November, 1453, speaks of the 
complaints of the Milanese. State Archives at Florence, loc. /., 


the Pope her chaplain, adding that his master would rather 
fall into the hands of the Turks than into those of the 
Venetians ! * 

If anything had been wanting to render a favourable 
result of the Congress impossible, the deficiency was 
supplied by Nicholas. He had already endeavoured 
secretly to foment the dissensions of the other Italian 
powers, with the object of diverting hostilities from his own 
dominions and securing for them alone the blessing of 
peace, f and to this line of policy he continued to adhere. 
Impossible as it is to justify the Pope s conduct, we never 
theless take into account the circumstances which partially 
excuse it. Had the States of the Church been involved in 
the conflicts of the period, all that he had accomplished at 
immense cost, and by the labour of years, in the hope of 
making Rome the centre of art and of learning, would have 
been undone. This idea took such possession of his mind 
that all other considerations had to give way. Moreover, 
the relations which existed between him and King Alfonso 
of Naples were of a character unfavourable to the success 
of the Congress. The King did everything in his power 
to complicate the negotiations and hinder Nicholas from 
taking any step which might have tended to peace. If we 
may credit the ambassador of Francesco Sforza, Alfonso, 
even in the month of July, had threatened to ally himself 

* *Despatch of Zacaria Saggio di Pisa to the Marquess Lodovico 
concerning his audience of Nicholas V., dated Rome, 1454, January 
29th: "Et qui gli dissi quanto per me si puote de la dispositione 
de Venetian! verso santa chiesa, gli quali se vincessero vorriano 
farsi el papa loro nel consiglio de Venetia nel vorriano per altro che 
per suo capellano." Gonzaga Archives at Mantua. 

f See Simonetta, 666 ; yn. Sylvius, Europa, c. 56 ; Manetti, 
who is above all suspicion, 942-943, and the *Despatch of Nico- 
demus, d.d. ex urbe, 1452, Nov. i. Ambrosian Library, Milan. 
Cod. Z., 219, Sup. 


with the revolutionary party in Rome in the event of the 
Pope adopting a policy at variance with his wishes.* The 
monarch had supporters in the Court, his influence over the 
timid Pontiff had for years been excessive,f and Nicholas 
yielded unduly, carrying on the negotiations, as even his 
eulogist Manetti admits, in a lukewarm and indifferent 
manner.]: The state of his health no doubt had much to 
do with his timidity ; at the end of August he was ill, and 
in December he was confined to his bed with so severe an 

* **Despatch of Antonio da Trezzo to Fr. Sforza, d.d. Regii, 
1453, Jul. 9, and *Copia litterar. missar. Romam ex Venetiis dc 
die xxiv. Aug., 1453 : " De novis da Napoli havemo el Re venire 
al tutto ; stimo pero piutosto chel venira ad invernare a Tiboli per 
fare paura a N.S. azo non segui la pace." Both letters are in the 
State Archives at Milan, Pot. Est. 

t *Despatch of Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1450, 
Nov. 4. State Archives at Milan, loc. cit. On the 6th June, 1451, 
Nicodemus, writing to his master from Rome, says, " II Card, (di) 
Bologna, Morinens., Fermo et Orsini concludono che N. S re stia 
pur troppo volentiere neutrale et e si timido de non despiacere a 
persona che lassera correre laqua ala valle, max e per non despiacere 
al Re." Ambrosian Library, Milan. Cod. Z., 219, Sup. Regard 
ing the concessions made to King Alfonso and the favour shown 
him by Nicholas V., see Giannone, iii., 284. Georgius, 82-83, 9- 

\ Manetti, 943. See the Despatch of the Florentine ambassa 
dors, written from Rome, Dec. 4, 1453 (" Parei che la S t: cli N. S. 
et questi rev ml Sig. cardinal! vadano molto freddi in su questo fatto 
del Turcho et intendiamo che tucto procede per non vedere la con- 
clusione di questa pace." State Archives at Florence, loc. cit., f. 
24 i b ), and *Despatch from Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, d.d. ex Areiio, 
26 Mart., 1454 : " El papa col qual foy longamente da solo a 
solo . . . me par in fermo proposito de non sententiare pace che 
habia a dispiacer al Re. Et al Re non po piacer pace de Lom- 
bardia o de Toscano perche dubita non gli result! in guerra." 
Ambrosian Library at Milan. Cod. Z., 219, Sup. Concerning 
Alfonso s partisans in the Court, see Poggii, Epist., 1. xi., ep. 26 
(Tonelli, ii : ., 93). 


attack of gout that for a long time even the Cardinals were 
not admitted to his presence. After a short period of im 
provement, the malady returned at the end of January with 
fresh intensity, and for fully a fortnight Nicholas V. was 
again unable to grant any audiences.* A secret Con 
sistory, which had been fixed for the 2gth January, 1454, 
had, on account of the Pope s condition, to be held in his 
bedroom. The reports of the Florentine ambassadors 
enable us accurately to follow the history of Nicholas s ill 
ness. After announcing on the 6th of February that the 
Pope was again holding receptions, they had, five days 
later, to say that the gout had returned. In the beginning 
of March they speak of a fresh attack, and so it went on, 
for he never again rose from his sick bed.f 

* See infra, and *Despatches of the Florentine ambassadors 
from Rome, 1453, Oct. 27:"Et per essere el s co padre colle 
gotte non se potuto havere audientia prima che quesla mattina ;" 
December 12, " La S ta del papa e forte strelto dalle gotte et non 
da audientia ne a cardinali ne ad altri ;" December 15, the suffer 
ings of the Pope have ceased ; 1454, January 27, on the 24th the 
Pope fell sick, " in modo non ha data audienza a persona ;" 
January 3ist, the Pope still in bed ; February 3, audiences are 
not granted. State Archives at Florence, loc. tit. See *Despatch 
of Zacaria Saggio to Duke Lodovico de Gonzaga, dated Rome, 
1454, January 29. Gonzaga Archives at Mantua. 

t Despatch from Sceva de Curte and Giacomo Trivulzio to Fr. 
Sforza, dated Rome, 1454, Jan. 30. State Archives at Milan, 
Cart, gen.; published in Canetta loc. tit., 527-528. *Florentine 
Despatches from Rome of the 7th February (" Yesterday was the 
first audience given for a fortnight ") ; nth February (" Le gotte 
di nuovo impediscono assai el s. padre") ; 2nd March, 1454 (" La 
S u sua da due di in qua e molto stretta dalle gotte et non da 
audientia.") State Archives at Florence, loc. tit. Despatch of 
Gregorius Nicholai orator to Siena, dated Rome, 1454, April nth : 
" S. S ta non sta in molto buona dispositione." Concistoro, Lettere 
ad an. State Archives at Siena. 


Can we wonder that in the midst of such suffering, and 
oppressed by ceaseless anxieties, he had not sufficient 
energy for vigorous and determined action ? 

The Congress finally arrived at the end which had been 
foreseen. On the igth March, 1454, the Sienese am 
bassadors announced to their Republic the utter failure of 
the negotiations, and on the 24th the Florentine envoys 
left Rome; the assembly effected nothing, and its members 
parted in mutual dissatisfaction.* 

A simple Augustinian friar, Fra Simonetto of Camerino, 
accomplished that which the Congress had been unable to 
effect. The Venetians, whose finances were exhausted, 
and who were in need of peace, sent him as a secret 
messenger to Francesco Sforza to treat with him personally 
and lay fair proposals before him. The unquiet state of 
Sforza s own camp made him willing to accede to these, 
and Cosmo de Medici, who alone was in the secret, 
favoured the negotiations. He knew that the intolerable 
burden of taxation was causing increasing discontent 
among the Florentines, and that there was a general long 
ing for peace throughout the city. Francesco Contarini, 
the Venetian ambassador to Siena during the years 1454 
and 1455, repeatedly informs the Signoria of the general 
feeling which prevailed at Florence. " The citizens," he 
writes in April, 1454, "had raised a great outcry against 
the new taxes, and used strong language against Cosmo 
and the others who desired war."t 

* *Despatch of Franciscus Aringherius orator, dated Rome, 
1454, March 1 9th : " La pratica de la pace sccondo m hanno detto 
i prefati ambabciatori (of Florence) pare sia in tutto rotta." State 
Archives at Siena. Concistoro, Lettere ad an. For the departure 
of the Florentine ambassadors see Cipolla, 483. Canetta, toe. tit., 


f Buser, 73. Contarini s Despatch of the gth April, 1454, in 
the *Registro delle lettere di M. Francesco Contarini eld. ambrasc. 


Fra Simonetto s negotiations were brought to a con 
clusion at Lodi on the Qth April, 1454, when Sforza agreed 
to restore to the Venetians all his conquests in the terri 
tories of Bergamo and Brescia, with the exception of a few 
castles, only laying down the condition that those who had 
espoused his cause should remain unpunished. The Duke 
of Savoy and the Marquess of Montferrat were, if they 
desired to share in the benefits of peace, to deliver up the 
places which they had taken in Novara, Pavia and Alessan 
dria; in the event of their refusal the Duke of Milan held 
himself free to recover them by force. The Lords of 
Corregio and the Venetians were to give back to the 
Marquess of Mantua the part of his territory which they 
had annexed, and he was to restore to his brother Carlo his 
inheritance ; finally the Castle of Castiglione della Pescaja 
in Tuscany, which King Alfonso had conquered, was to be 
retained by him on condition that he should withdraw his 
army from the rest of the Florentine States. All the 
Italian powers were called upon to give in their adhesion 
to the peace within an appointed time if they desired to 
partake of its benefits.* 

a Siena. Cod. It. viL-mcxcvi. of St. Mark s Library at Venice (not 
mxcvi., as Buser, 388, has it. In Cod. vii.-mcxcvii. is a fine copy 
of the preceding Codex, which, however, somewhat alters and 
modernizes the document). The Codex, which we shall often 
have to cite, is Contarini s original draft. The despatches here 
collected are apparently all that remain of the rich treasures which 
the Venetian Archives once contained regarding the period treated 
of in the present work. The consecutive series of despatches in 
these Archives begins with the middle of the sixteenth century, 
those of a previous date having perished by fire. Their destruc 
tion is all the more deplorable, inasmuch as Venice was in those 
days a political centre second only to Rome, and was peculiarly 
conversant with all Eastern affairs. 

* The treaty is given from the original in the Milan Archives 
by Dumont, Hi., i, 202 et seq. Sanuda (1152) is mistaken in 


The peace of Lodi did not at once produce the effects 
expected by the States, which were longing for tranquillity. 
Venice and Milan had kept the matter so secret that, with 
the exception of Florence, no power had been aware of 
what was going on. Accordingly the announcement that 
a treaty had been concluded on the gth April was a surprise 
to all, and especially to King Alfonso of Naples. He had 
hitherto imagined that, as the most important of Italian 
princes, he could at his will impose peace, and now found 
himself treated as a secondary power, and invited to sub 
scribe to an agreement framed without his knowledge. He 
expressed his indignation in no measured terms to the 
Venetian Ambassador, Giovanni Moro, and endeavoured, 
as it proved, in vain, to hinder his allies, the Sienese, from 
becoming parties to it.*" 

On the 3Oth August Venice, Milan, and Florence entered 
into a League for five-and-twcnty years for the defence of 
their States against every attack, t but Alfonso, in his anger, 
held aloof for nearly a year, and tedious negotiations, pro 
longed by dread of France, ensued. The Pope, who had 

assigning the qth of April as the day of its conclusion. Leonardo 
do Benvoglienti, writing from Venice on the iSth April, 1454, says: 
" La pace fu conclusa in Lodi a di 8 d Aprile a tre hore di notte." 
Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives, Siena. See also 1st. 
Bresc., 887, and Romanin, iv., 225. The document itself bears 
date the Qth April. 

* Facius in Graevius, 178. Arch. stor. Ital., Serie iv., Vol. iii., 
184. See *Despatch of NicoJemus to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1454, May 25. State Archives at Milan, Cart. gen. 

t The treaty concluded at Venice is in Dumont, iii., t, 221 ct 
seq. The peace of Lodi was published in Florence (see Misc. 
storica e letteraria edit. c. note per cura di P. B[igazzi], Firenze, 
1849, n - 3 P- 3 2 )> as well as in Venice on the 1 4th April, 1454. 
See *Despatch of Leonardo de Benvoglienti to Siena, dated Venice, 
1454, April 1 8. Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives, Siena. 


at first resented his exclusion from the compact of Lodi, 
brought these to a happy conclusion by sending Cardinal 
Capranica, the most distinguished among the members of 
the Sacred College, to Naples as his legate, with the special 
mission of persuading Alfonso to join the League.* The 
Cardinal was successful, and, on the 3oth December, 1454, 
Sforza was informed by his ambassadors at Naples that the 
King had determined publicly to proclaim peace, and to 
enter into the alliance on the approaching Feast of the 
Epiphany. " On the Feast of the Epiphany, when the 
solemnity of the Three Kings takes place, Alfonso, after 
the example of those Three Kings who offered Gold, 
Frankincense, and Myrrh, will bring as an offering to God 
first, peace for all Italy ; secondly, the League for greater 
quiet and security ; and thirdly, the League against the 
enemy of Jesus Christ for the defence of our holy Faith. 
On that day the Papal Legate will celebrate Mass, and this 
holy Peace, the League and Alliance will be proclaimed, it 
God permit and your Highness consent. "f The peace was, 
however, actually confirmed by the Neapolitan Monarch on 
the 26th January, 1455, but with the condition that the 
Genoese, whose ancient offences Alfonso could not pardon, 
and Sigismondo Malatesta, who had deceived him, should 

* Regarding Capranica s mission, see Niccola della Tuccia, 237 ; 
Catalanus, 102 et seq., 230-233; Raynaldus ad an. 1455, N. 5 ; 
Georgius, 147, 157. For an account of the negotiations between 
the Italian powers and Naples, see Buser, 74 et seq., and Guasti, 
Legazioni, 36-37. In a *Despatch addressed to Venice, and dated 
Siena, 1454, May 21, Francesco Contarini writes as follows of the 
Pope s dispositions : " Subinde pur da di marcadanti se ha come 
esso summo pontefice summamente se ha maravigliato e doluto 
che fatta le pace per i ambassador! della Cels. V ra el non sia stato 
richiesto ni a liga ni ad intendimento alguno." Cod. It. vii.- 
nicxcvi., St. Mark s Library, Venice. 

t Buser, 77. 


be excluded from it.* By a further compact the Pope, 
Naples, Florence, Venice, and Milan bound themselves by 
an offensive and defensive alliance for five-and-twenty 
years. The Pope ratified this great Italian League on the 
25th February, 1455, and it was solemnly published in 
Rome on the 2nd March. The happy event was celebrated 
with splendid festivities by the command of Nicholas V. in 
that City and throughout the States of the Church.t 

There was good cause for these rejoicings, for now Italy 
might be considered as at peace, and the peace seemed 
likely to prove permanent. In Upper Italy, Milan and 
Venice, and in Lower Italy the Pope and the King of 
Naples counterbalanced each other. Florence was deter 
mined to maintain the political equilibrium, and never to 
join those who evidently desired to impair it. The eyes of 
all were anxiously turned towards the East. Many of the 
lesser princes were ardently devoted to the interests of art 
and learning, and the rest, if not exempt from the vices of 
tyrants, were at least capable of appreciating the general 
intellectual revival which distinguished the age. Venice, 

* Dumont, iii., i, 234 et stq.\ Sismondi, ix., 454 et seq.\ 
Romanin, iv., 226. Regarding the adherence of the several Italian 
States to the Peace of Lodi, see Cipolla, 445 ct SC 1- 

t **Despatches of the Milanese ambassadors to Fr. Sforza, 
dated Rome, 1455, March 2 and 7. State Archives at Milan, Pot. 
Est. Infessura s date in Muratori (1156) is accordingly incorrect 
(the Latin version of his Diarium, which I found in a seventeenth 
century transcript in Cod. xxxv., 37, f. 183 of the Barberini 
Library, Rome, *Cod. Vat. 5522 [Infessura], and the version in 
Eccard [ii., 1889] give "die 2 Martii," the real date). The 
proclamation took place on the 8th March at Viterbo ; see Niccola 
dellaTuccia, 237-238 (where the form used is given). The Papal 
ratification, dated Rome, 1455, February 25th, is in Theiner, 
Cod. dipl., iii., 378 et seq. (Raynaldus ad an. 1455, N. 5, has a 
wrong date). 


Genoa, and Florence, with their rich commerce, were 
naturally averse to the continuance of war. Accordingly 
with Fra Simonetto s peace begins the most flourishing 
period of the Italian Renaissance. King Alfonso, Duke 
Francesco Sforza, Cosmo de Medici and the Republic of 
Venice, together with Pope Nicholas V., constituted the 
intellectual aristocracy of Italy, and the lesser princes 
followed them.* 

While the negotiations for the pacification of Italy were 
thus successful, the deliberations which took place in the 
Holy Roman Empire in 1454 and 1455 regarding the means 
of defending Europe from the Turk came to little good. 
It soon became sadly evident that the solidarity of Chris 
tendom as opposed to Islam had ceased to exist. 

Frederick III. had summoned a great diet to meet at 
Ratisbon on St. George s Day (23rd April), 1454, "to 
deliberate concerning the defensive and offensive measures 


to be taken against the enemies of Christ in order that these 
should be punished, the sufferings of the martyrs avenged, 
the friends of God and Christian men consoled, and the 
faith upheld in an honourable and suitable manner, since 
all those who help this cause become partakers of the grace 
of God in the Papal indulgence for the health of their souls 
and obtain everlasting life. 1 

Frederick III. promised himself to be present unless 
prevented by some special hindrance. t The imperial 
letter of invitation was addressed, not merely to the 
German States, but to all princes and republics of Christian 
Europe, so that it was generally supposed that a Congress 
of Christendom, like the Council of Constance, was about 

* Leo, Hi., 162. After the peace of Locli Italy enjoyed three 
years of perfect tranquillity, broken only by Piccinino s enterprise. 

t See the royal letter of invitation to Frankfort of the i2th 
January, 1454, in Janssen, Reichscorrespondenz, ii., 123-124. 


to assemble.* But when the time drew near the disappoint 
ment was immense. The Emperor did not come in person, 
but only sent a representative. The Pope sent Bishop 
John of Pavia as his legate, and an embassy came from 
Savoy, but otherwise the Italian powers were unrepresented. 
The only foreign prince who came to Ratisbon was the 
Duke of Burgundy, and of all the many princes of Germany 
none but the Margrave Albert Achilles of Brandenburg 
and Duke Louis of Bavaria appeared. Stranger still, no 
one came on behalf of the young King of Bohemia, for 
whom the help of Christendom had been in a special 
manner invoked. In February there was a prospect of his 
presence at the Diet, but intrigues among those about him 
probably kept him away. In Buda a plan was made for the 
removal of Hunyadi from the government, in view of his 
appointment as General of the whole Christian forces 
against the Turks ; but there is no doubt that the real 
object of this scheme was to keep him at a distance. f 

The empire never appeared to less advantage than at this 
Diet, and the result of the Emperor s appeal was all the 
more deplorable at a moment when the nation was in a 
state of anxious and alarmed expectation. The intestine 

* Palacky, iv., i, 374. Voigt, Enea Silvio, ii., 108. 

f Voigt, loc. tit., ii., no. See the *Letter from /Eneas Sylvius 
to the Cardinal of St. Angelo, d.d. ex nova civitate die 14 Febr., 
1454. Plut. liv., Cod. iQf, 9$b of the Laurentian Library at 
Florence. Nicholas of Cusa also appeared in Ratisbon. The day 
of his arrival there is given in an autograph *Letter from /Eneas 
Sylvius to Siena, d.d. ex Ratispona, 1454, Maii 3 (" Heri autem 
advenerunt plures legati principum et Card"" S. Petri ad vincula. 
Conventus dietim augetur ") which I discovered in the State 
Archives at Siena (Concistoro, Lettere ad an). In Cod. Z., 219, 
SuppL, of the Ambrosian Library at Milan I found the autograph of 
a * Letter from /Eneas to " Sceva de Curte s. palatii Lateran 


divisions of Germany, and the weakness of its ruler, were 
patent to all,* and we cannot wonder that even the 
fiery eloquence of tineas Sylvius Piccolomini failed to 
bring the Diet to any important decision. It was merely 
resolved that peace should be maintained in all countries, 
and that about Michaelmas another, and, if it pleased God, 
a more numerous and effective assembly should be held. 
In the event of the Emperor appearing in person, Nurem 
berg was selected as the place of meeting, otherwise it was 
to be Frankfort. The blustering Duke of Burgundy 
declared that if the other princes would likewise take part 
in the expedition he would proceed against the Turks with 
a force of sixty thousand men.f The Diet assembled at 
Frankfort-on-Maine in October, 1454, was somewhat more 

* Bachmann, Romische Konigswahl, 286. 

f For an account of this Diet, see the detailed and interesting 
work of yneas Sylvius, u De Ratisponensi dieta," published by 
Mansi, Orat. Pii II., Appendix, p. 1-85. Lucca, 1759, and the 
more modern history of Voigt, ii., 105-118, 330. Also K. Menzel, 
8 et say. ; Keussen, 53-56 ; and Cod. epist., 150 et seq., 152 et seq. 
In a *Letter to Siena, d.d. ex nova civitate, 1454, Junii 21, ^neas 
Sylvius writes of this Diet : " Summa est quod alia dieta indicta 
est ad festum S. Michaelis. Si Cesar personaliter venerit, erit con- 
ventio Norimberge, si minus Francfordie. . . . Dux Burgundie, 
qui Ratispone fuit, cum sexaginta milibus pugnatorum ex terra 
sua contra Turchos iturum se pollicetur si concurrentes habeat." 
Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives at Siena. Notwith 
standing the support afforded by Nicholas V., the Duke of Bur 
gundy did nothing to help the Crusade (see Kayser, 230). And 
yet it was he who had, in 1451, promoted the agitation regarding 
the Turkish question, not only at Rome, but also at the Court of 
Frederick III. See * " Tractatus seu propositio domini Petri 
Visques militis et fratris Nicolai Laqueri ord. praed. inquisit. hseret. 
pravit. ambasiatorum ill. princ. Philippi ducis Burgundionum ad 
seren. Romanorum regem Fredericum pro subsidio fidei catholicae 
contra Thurcum a d 1 1451. Cod. lat. 4143, f. 49^-5 2b, in the 
Court Library at Munich. 


numerously attended than that of Ratisbon. Albert of 
Brandenburg, together with the Margrave of Baden, repre 
sented the Emperor; ./Eneas Sylvius and the Bishop of 
Gurk appeared as his ambassadors ; the Bishop of Pavia, 
who was engaged in the collection of the ecclesiastical 
tithes in Germany, was commissioned to act as the Pope s 
plenipotentiary ; Jakob of Treves and Dietrich of Mayence 
alone of the German electors were present; Archduke 
Albert, who arrived after the proceedings had com 
menced, was the only one of the temporal princes to 
answer the summons.* A tone of drowsy indifference 
characterized the Diet. Many of its members openly 
expressed their aversion to a crusade, and their contempt 
for Emperor and Pope. Both of these lords, they said, 
merely want to extort money from us, but they will find 
themselves mistaken, and learn that we are not so simple 
as they imagine. The discourses of Capistran and of 
v^Eneas Sylvius, and the urgent prayers of the Hungarian 
envoys, were powerless to evoke any zeal for the common 
cause of the West.f " The lords had no good will in the 
matter," says a chronicler. The energy and exertions of 
the Margrave of Brandenburg alone saved the deliberations 
of the Diet from complete failure, and at least kept up a 
" respectable appearance." A German force of thirty thou 
sand infantry and ten thousand cavalry was to be sent iu 
the following year to assist the Hungarians, but it was 
necessary that a fleet should at the same time proceed 
against the Turks from the Italian ports. The fleet was to 


* Bachman, Romische Konigswahl, 296 ; Voigt, ii., 120. 

f While the Turkish question was the ostensible subject of con 
sideration, the anti-Imperial opposition in Frankfort was occupied 
with matters of a widely different character, for from this time forth 
an active agitation, which aimed at nothing less than the destruc 
tion of the Monarchy, was set on foot. See Voigt, ii., 120 et seq. 


be provided by the Pope, the King of Naples, and the 
Republics of Venice and Genoa, while the Emperor was to 
come to an agreement with the German princes at Vienna 
to furnish the land forces. The Diet of Vienna accordingly 
was the consequence of that of Frankfort, which in its turn 
had been the result of one held at Ratisbon.* The witty 
saying of /Eneas Sylvius, in the year 1444, that the German 
Diets could not be accused of sterility, since each was the 
parent of a new one, was thus again verified. 

The Vienna Diet was even more pitiful than its prede 
cessors. " The Empire " was so scantily represented that 
practically it consisted only of the Emperor himself and the 
Electoral College. Its leader and ruler was the crafty 
Jakob of Treves ; he personally represented four electors, 
and the others were his puppets. They came, commis 
sioned to evade the Turkish question, and to urge on the 
Emperor their projects of reform ;f and, notwithstanding 
the speeches made by /Eneas Sylvius, Capistran and 
Johannes Vitez of Zredna,^ the proxy for King Ladislas, 
adhered to their purpose. Vexatious explanations ensued, 

* Bachmann, Romische Konigswahl, 297. For further parti 
culars of the Frankfort Diet, see Palacky, iv., i, 376; Voigt, 119- 
132 ; Droysen, ii., i, 174 et scq.; Menzel, 10 et seq.; Keussen, 56 
et seq; and Cugnoni, 102 et seq. (The above-mentioned MS. of 
the Laurentian Library was apparently not collated by the Editor.) 
The account of the Diet of 1454 in the Mitlheilungen des Frank 
furter Geschichts und Alterthumsvereins (v., 529 et seq.) is worth 

f Voigt, ii., 134-135- See Menzel, 14 et seq; Keussen, 62 et 
seq.; and Stockheim, i., 1-32. The *Letter of /Eneas Sylvius to 
Nicholas V. of the zist February from the afore-mentioned Cod. 
of the Laurentian Library at Florence is given in the Appendix 
No. 25. 

J See Joannis Vitez de Zredna episcopi Varadiensis in Ilungaria 
Orationes in causa expeditionis contra Turcas, ed. Fraknoi (Buda- 
pestini, 1878), 13 et seq. 


and the Turkish question remained unsettled. On the i2th 
April the tidings of the death of Nicholas V. arrived, and 
were far from unwelcome to this miserable assembly, 
furnishing, as they did, a decent pretext for the departure 
of its members, who agreed to put off to the following year 
further consultations regarding the crusade. 

The health of Nicholas V. had always been indifferent. 
Even as a boy he had dangerous illnesses, and there can be 
no doubt that the fatigues and privations of his youth, as 
well as the wearing labours of his maturer years, had told 
on his weakly constitution. His nervous anxiety about his 
health is thus easily accounted for. The pressure of work 
and of care had been greatly increased from the time that 
he wore the tiara, yet, during the earlier years of his 
pontificate, he seems to have enjoyed a fair amount of health 
and to have displayed immense energy.* 

In the year 1450 we hear that a sudden and severe illness 
attacked Nicholas V. at Tolentino, and that his physician, 
the celebrated Baverio Bonetti of Imola, had no hopes of 
his life-t Nevertheless, the Pope very soon recovered, 
but in December of the same year he again fell ill,J and 

See supra, p. 72, and regarding his illness when a boy, 
Manetti, 910. 

t Vespasiano da Bisticci in Mai, i., 52. Regarding the nature 
of the malady see Corradini, Annali delle epidemic occorse in 
Italia, i., 290, and Sforza, 245-246. The aforesaid Baverio Bonetti 
was a Professor in Bologna in 1480; Haescr (i., 752) considers 
his "Consilia" (Bonon., 1489, etc.) worthy of note. Marini. 
Archiatri, i., 145-160, treats at considerable length of the various 
physicians of this Pope. 

I The Florentine Ambassador, " Donatus de Donatis doctor" 
gives details regarding this sickness in his ^Despatches from Rome 
On January 4 th, 1451, he writes that he had not yet seen the Pope 
" per rispecto alia sua infermita . . . et universalmente da xx di 
in qua ambasciadori non a data audientia;" 7th January This 

VOL. ii. 



from this time forth he never seems to have been really 
well. A great change was remarked in his disposition ; his 
former expansiveness gave place to excessive reserve. 
Francesco Sforza s ambassador, Nicodemus, whom we have 
often mentioned, wrote, on the 7 th January, 1453, to the 
Duke, that during the previous year an extraordinary 
change had taken place in the Pope, and that one of its 
causes was his sickness.* 

The year 1453 was in every way a disastrous one to 
Nicholas V. It opened with Porcaro s conspiracy, and the 
tidings of the fall of Constantinople arrived when its ^ 

evenin^ Donatus was with the Pope, which was difficult "attento 
non e ancora in buona valetudine ; " in a Despatch of the 2 8th 
August 145 1, Donatus again says that he had had no audience, 
because the Pope " da mezzanocte in qua " is suffering from violent 
pain in the side, and on the 3 oth August : " al papa e continuata 
la do-la del fianco in modo non a dato audientia a cardmah ne ad 
alcun altra persona." Cl. x, dist. 2, n. 22 ; Lettere esterne alia 
signoria dal 1451 * 453- State Archives at Florence. See 
*Letter of the underwriter Johannes to Strasburg, "written at 
Acquapendente on Thursday after the Christmas Day" (Dec. 30), 
1 4- 1 : and there it was told us that the Pope had been ill quite a 
month ; " even at present no one is admitted. City Archives at 
Strasburg, AA, N. 202. 

* *Despatch of Nicodemus, ex urbe i453> J an - 7- 
ve adverto ancora S re chel papa da uno anno o 8 mesi in qua e 
facto solitario fora de modo universalmente cum ognuno, etiam 
cum li cardinal!, etiam cum li piu de li soy, et e tanto mutato de 
omne costume quanto e dal bianco al roso. La molotia ne e 
casone, ma molte altre casone ancora de quibus alias. 
State Archives at Milan. Regarding the Pope s illness in the year 
14-2 see *Despatch of Nicodemus, dated Rome, 1452, January 18 
( Et per non ce essere accaduta cosa de importantia et perche N, 
S e stato strecto e agravato da queste soe doglie in modo die non 
volia se rasonasse se non del male suo, non ho moho frequentato el 
scrivere da parecchi cli in qua.") Cod. Z. 219, Suppl., c 
Ambrosian Library at Milan. 


course was half run. The account, which says that grief 
for this event killed Nicholas V., may be an exaggeration,* 
yet there can be no doubt that the agitation and anxieties, 
Avhich were its inevitable consequence, must have had a 
most injurious effect. The Pope had a bad attack of gout 
soon after Porcaro s conspiracy, and another before the 
year was over. From the end of August, 1453, until June, 
1454, he was, with short intervals, confined to his bed, 
hardly ever able to give audiences and altogether incapable 
of taking part in the great feasts of the Church. f In 
August, 1454, he was again suffering acutely from the gout, 
and the baths of Yiterbo failed to give him any relief. In 
the early part of November he was afflicted with gout, 
fever, and other maladies, and the ambassadors con 
templated the possibility of his decease. J The sickness 

* Yoigt, ii., 146. 

f See supra, p. 293. ^Despatches of "G. Burghesius juris utriusq. 
doctor" to Siena, dated Rome, 1453, Sept. 6 and 9 (The Pope for 
the last twelve day.s so ill, that the ambassadors of the King of 
Aragon cannot speak to him), Concistoro, Lettere ad an., Slate 
Archives at Siena, and *Despatch of Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, 
dated Rome, 1454, June 15. State Archives at Milan, Pot. Est. 

*Despatches of the Sienese ambassadors (one of which is 
signed "A. Clusinus " = Alexius de Cesari, Bishop of Chiusi) 
from Rome, 1454, Sept. ist (the Pope is suffering from gout) ; 
Sept. 1 2th (the Pope still in bed). State Archives at Siena. 
Concistoro, Lettere ad an. See in Appendix No. 23, the Despatch 
of Ambrosius de Aliprandis of the 5th of September, 1454. For an 
account of the Pope s journey to the baths see Niccola della 
Tuccia, 235. A *Despatch from the Bishop of Chiusi to Siena, 
dated Rome, 1454, Nov. 8th, says: Al papa e ritornato la gotta 
nella spalla con fcbre non piccola . . . sarebbe per noi pessima 
novella se morisse ora." The same ambassador, speaking on the 
i 5th November of an audience given by the Pope, says that being 
suddenly seized by " il mal di fianco," he was obliged to break it 
off. State Archives at Siena, loc cil. Regarding the Pope s 
sojourn in Tivoli (1454), see Viola, iii, Si. 


which was consuming the Pope s life manifested itself in 
his countenance, for his brilliantly clear complexion had 
become yellow and dark brown.* 

His physical sufferings were aggravated by disappoint 
ment and anxiety. From the beginning of his reign he 
had attached the greatest importance to the maintenance of 
peace in the States of the Church, and had been successful 
in re-establishing it. But from the time of Porcaro s con 
spiracy serious changes took place. Not only did the 
revolutionary party gain strength in Rome, but a dangerous 
agitation prevailed throughout the States of the Church. 
"The whole of the States of the Church are in commo 
tion," writes Contarini, the Venetian ambassador in Siena, 
on the 1 4th May, 1454, "and messengers are sent from all 
sides, especially from the Marches to Rome." Troops of 
disbanded soldiers, who had taken part in the war of 
Lombary, overran the defenceless country. The Pope 
was soon convinced that many, even among his own 
people, were unworthy of confidence. The auditor of the 
governor of the patrimony of St. Peter was imprisoned as 
a suspicious character.f 

Towards the end of the reign of Nicholas V. great 

* Manetti, 918-919. 

t *Despatch of Francesco Contarini, Venetian ambassador to 
Siena, dated 1454, May uth : " Circa le terre e stato del summo 
pontefice ho per via certissima che ttitte sono in trepidacione, e 
molte hanno mandati suoi messi a Romo et precipue le terre della 
Marca. ... In Perosa veramente molti banditi e fuorusciti hanno 
pur cercato per quello intendo, non che ex certa scientia il sappi, 
de far novita in quel stato." May 2ist : Del stato della chiesa el 
par che tutto tremi per algune compagnie se dice farse delle gente 
superflue de Lombardia per Lorenzo da Montalto, el qual fo di 
occisori de M. Prencivale di Gateschi per el qual Viterbo se Iev6 a 
rumore, e ne seguite molte occisioni, e stato preso e mandato in la 
rocca di Suriano. Item g stato preso per nome del summo ponte 
fice per algune suspicion! 1 auditor del rettor del patrimonio nome 


troubles broke out in the patrimony and the adjacent 
portion of Umbria. They originated in a quarrel between 
the cities of Spoleto and Xorcia, in which Count Kverso of 
Anguillara espoused the cause of Spoleto. The Pope, 
hoping to bring about a reconciliation between the hostile 
cities, forbade the Count to take part in the contest, and 
a so endeavoured to hinder Spoleto from entering into an 
alliance with Everso. Neither party, however, heeded the 
Papal behest, and accordingly Nicholas was constrained to 
intervene with an armed force. Spoleto submitted, but the 
Count, aided by the treachery of Angelo Roncone, managed 
to escape. The Pope punished the traitor with death.*" 
Fresh tumults also occurred in Bologna. 

The following spring brought no alleviation to the Pope s 
sufferings. From the beginning of March he grew daily 
worse; he was perfectly aware of his state, and, as we 
learn from the Milanese ambassador in a letter of the yth 
March, spoke of the place where he wished to be buried, 
and seriously prepared for death. On the I5th of the 
month he received the sacrament of extreme unction ; on 
the previous day he had ordered that briefs should be sent 
to the chief cities of the States of the Church, requiring 
them in all things to obey the Cardinals until God should 
give the Church a new Pope.f 

M. Matteo da Camerino." Regarding the troubles in Viterbo see 
Bussi, 251 el seg., and Contarini s Despatches of the 3<Dth April and 
5th June, 1454. Cod. It. vii.-mcxcvi. of St. Mark s Library, 


* See the *Letter of Francesco Contarinito Venice, dated Siena, 
1454, October ijth (St. Mark s Library at Venice), and the *Des- 
patch of Nicodemus to Sforza, dated Florence, 1454, October 2Oth, 
in Appendix No. 24. Regarding Everso see C. Massimo, Torre 
Anguillara (Roma, 1847), 13 et seq. 

t See the briefs of the uth March to Orvieto in Fumi, 713, and 
to Bologna, whose original is in the State Archives at Bologna, 
Arm. Q-, 1. 3- 


With a view of making a good preparation for death 
Nicholas V. summoned to his presence Niccolo of Tortona 
and Lorenzo of Mantua, two Carthusians renowned for 
their learning and sanctity; these holy men were to assist 
him in his last hours, and accordingly were to remain con 
stantly with him. Vespasiano da Bisticci has given us a 
minute description of the last days of the Pope.* He tells 
us that Nicholas was never heard to complain of his acute 
physical sufferings. Instead of bewailing himself he recited 
Psalms and besought God to grant him patience and the 
pardon of his sins. In general his resignation and calm 
\vere remarkable. The dying man comforted his friends 
instead of needing to be comforted by them. Seeing 
Bishop John of Arras in tears at the foot of his bed he said 
to him, " My dear John, turn your tears to the Almighty 
God, whom we serve, and pray to Him humbly and devoutly 
that He will forgive me my sins ; but remember that to-day 
in Pope Nicholas you see die a true and good friend." But 
the Pope also passed through moments of deep dejection, 
in which his terrible bodily sufferings and his anxieties 
regarding the disturbances in the States of the Church 
almost overwhelmed him. At such times he would assure 
the two Carthusian monks that he was the most unhappy 
man in the world. " Never," he said, " do I see a man 
cross my threshold who has spoken a true word to me. I 
am so perplexed with the deceptions of all those who 
surround me, that were it not for fear of failing in my 
duty I should long ago have renounced the Papal dignity. 
Thomas of Sarzana saw more friends in a day than I do in 
a whole year." And then this Pope, whose reign was 

* Mai, Spicil., i., 56-61. See in Appendix Nos. 26 and 27 the 
accounts gathered from the Archives of Milan and Siena, and from 
the Library of St, Mark at Venice. 


apparently so happy and so glorious, was moved even to 


As Nicholas felt that his last hour was close at hand, 
his vigorous mind roused itself once more. When the 
Cardinals had assembled around his dying bed he made 
the celebrated speech designated by himself as his will.f 
He began by giving thanks to God for the many benefits 
conferred upon him, and then, in the manner which has 
already been related, justified his action in regard to the 
great amount of building which he had undertaken, adding 
the request that his work might be completed. He then 
spoke of his measures for the deliverance of Constantinople, 
because " complaints had been raised against him by a 
oreat many superficial men unacquainted with the circum 
stances." After a retrospect of his early life and of the 
principal events of his Pontificate, Nicholas continued : " I 
have so reformed and so confirmed the Holy Roman Church, 

* Mai, loc. cit. Janus (201) has turned these words of the Pope s, 
Nvhich may be connected with the impression made by Porcaro s 
conspiracy, to account in his usual one-sided manner (Zeller, Italic 
et Renaissance. Nouv. edit., Paris, 1883, i., 26). It is evident from 
their bearing, that when his condition had become hopeless, Nicholas 
V. had reason to be dissatisfied with those around him. In a 
Despatch, d.d. ex urbe, 1455, 2 4 Martii hora circa 20, Nico- 
demus of Pontremoli writes as follows : " El papa heri sera pegioro 
in modo che tuta nocte e stato e sta in [trans] ito, desparato et 
abandonato in tutto da li soy. Mess. Pietro da Noxeto heri sera 
entro in castello Sanctangelo e li sta et stara fmche se inzegnara 
salvarsi cum la fameglia et robba soa. L altri de casa del papa 
hanno preso et pigliano hora per hora quel partito per lo quale si 
credono potersi salvare meglio. A la guardiaet cura de N. S no sono 
restati solamente quatro soy cubicularii." Pot. Est. State Archives 
at Milan. 

t Manetti, 947 et seq. Regarding the authenticity of this dis 
course, which is also mentioned by Niccola della Tuccia (238), see 
supra, p. i 66. 


which I found devastated by war and oppressed by debts, 
that I have eradicated schism and won back her cities and 
castles. I have not only freed her from her debts, but 
erected magnificent fortresses for her defence, as, for 
instance, at Gualdo, Assisi, Fabriano, Civita Castellana, at 
Narni, Orvieto, Spoleto, and Vitcrbo; I have adorned her 
with glorious buildings and decked her with pearls and 
precious stones. I have provided her with costly books 
and tapestry, with gold and silver vessels, and splendid 
vestments. And I did not collect all these treasures by 
grasping avarice and simony. In all things I was liberal, 
in building, in the purchase of books, in the constant 
transcription of Latin and Greek manuscripts, and in the 
remuneration of learned men. All this has been bestowed 
upon me by the Divine grace, owing to the continued peace 
of the Church during my Pontificate." 34 The Pope con 
cluded by exhorting all his hearers to labour for the welfare 
of the Church, the Bark of St. Peter. 

Then Nicholas raised his hands to heaven and said : 
"Almighty God, give the Holy Church a pastor who will 
uphold her and make her to increase. I also beseech you 
and admonish you as urgently as I can to be mindful of me 
in your prayers to the Most High." Then, w T ith dignity, he 
raised his right hand and said, in a clear, distinct voice, 
" Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et 
Spiritus Sanctus." Soon after this Nicholas, whose eyes 
were to the last fixed on a crucifix, gave back his noble 
soul to Him whose place he had filled on earth. 

" It was long," says Vespasiano da Bisticci, " since any 
Pope had passed in such manner into eternity. It was 
wonderful how he retained his perfect senses to the last. 

* Manetti, 955-956. Translation of Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 


So died Pope Nicholas, the light and the ornament of 
God s Church and of his age."* 

Nicholas V. was laid in St. Peter s, near the grave of his 
predecessor. The costly monument erected in his honour by 
Cardinal Calandrini was transferred in the time of St. Pius 
V. to the Vatican grotto, where some parts of it are still to 
be seen. Here is also the modest effigy of the great Pope, 
with the four-cornered white marble urn which contains his 
mortal remains. His epitaph, composed by ./Eneas Sylvius 
Piccolomini, is the last by which any Pope was com 
memorated in verse. 

Hie sita sunt Quinti Nicolai antistitis ossa, 

Aurea qui dederat scecula, Roma, tibi. 
Consilio illustris, virtute illustrior omni, 

Excoluit doctos, doctior ipse, viros. 

* Vespasiano da Bisticci in Mai loc. cit. 61. Niccola della 
Tuccia (238) says that the death of Nicholas V. caused great 
mourning through all the States of the Church, for the Pope had 
been : " savio, giusto, benevolo, grazioso, pacifico, caritatevole, 
elemosiniero, umile, domestico e dotato di tutte le virtu." The 
Protestant Weber (Weltgeschichte, ix., 722) calls Nicholas V. 
"one of the noblest among the wearers of the Tiara;" see 
Burckhardt, i., 3rd ed., 90. His death took place in the night 
between the 24th and 25th of March (see the passages collected by 
Sforza [291-292] and the *Despatch of F. Contariui of the 2 7th 
March in the Library of St. Mark s at Venice in Appendix No. 28). 
This will explain the fact that some writers give the 24th and 
others the 25th March as the day of the Pope s death. Cardinal 
Nicholas Cusa, in an autograph *notice at the end of Cod. C. 5 
(S. Ambrosii epist., etc.) of the Hospital Library at Cues, observes 
that Nicholas V. died on the Feast of the Annunciation of Our 

t This has often been printed, but in some cases incorrectly, as 
in Vittorelli, 268-269; Du Chesne, ii., 329-330; Platina, 722; 
Georgius, 164-165; Faleoni, 492-493; Palatius, 547; Bonanni, 


Abstulit errorem quo schisma infecerat orbem, 

Restituit mores, mcenia, templa, domos. 
Turn Bernardino statuit sua sacra Senensi, 

Sancta Jubilei tempora dum celebrat. 
Cinxit honore caput Friderici et conjugis aureo, 

Res Italas icto focdere composuit. 
Attica Romance complura volumina linguce 

Prodidit. Heu ! tumulo fundite thura sacro. 

55; Bibl. pontif., 167-168; Bzovius, xvii., 135; Ciaconius, ii., 
Abbild. 965 and 967 (where tirbcm is wrongly inserted) ; 
Raynaldus ad an. 1455, N. 16 ; Manni, 73; Reumont, iii., i, 
528, etc. Correctly in Forcella, vi., 37, and Sforza, 254. 
Gregorovius (Grabmiiler, 93-94) is wrong in believing Maft eo 
Vegio to be the author of the epitaph. He composed another 
epitaph, which, however, was not used for the Pope s monument. 
For the text of the inscription see Ciaconius, 966, and Sforza, 254- 
255; here and in Cancellieri (De secret.) are further particulars 
regarding Nicholas s monument. 


AGAINST ISLAM, 1455-1458. 



FkOM the beginning of March, 1455, by which time the 
death of Nicholas V. was looked upon as imminent, the 
question of the Papal election engaged the attention of all 
parties in the Eternal City. On the I3th March we iind 
that the Cardinals assembled in the greatest haste to take 
counsel regarding the situation. " God grant," wrote the 
Bishop of Chiusi to Siena, " that the election of the Supreme 
Pastor of the Church may take place in peace and without 
obstacle, a matter on which grave doubts here prevail."* 

These apprehensions were not groundless. Considerable 
agitation again prevailed in Rome ; the republican anti- 
papal party was astir, and it was fortunate that its gifted 
and eloquent leader, Porcaro, was no longer among the 
living. The masses became daily more and more turbulent, 
and the Cardinals prudently brought troops into the City. 
On the 24th March Nicodemus of Pontremoli, the Duke of 
Milan s ambassador, wrote as follows: "The whole city 


*" E rev 711 cardinal! a furia tutti si ragunano a palazzo. A 
dio placet si facci el suo vicario el pastore della chiesa con pace e 
sanza scandalo, la qual cosa molto se ne dubita." Despatch of 
Alessio de Cesari, Bishop of Chiusi, to Siena, dated Rome, 1454 
(st. fl.), March 13. Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives 
at Siena. 


is in an uproar, and the population arc ripe for revolt.""* 
Another element of danger was added by the disturbances 
in Bologna and Romagna, stirred up by the Venetian Con- 
dottiere Jacopo Piccinino and other leaders, like himself 
thrown out of employment by the peace of Lodi.t 

After the death of Nicholas V., which took place in the 
Vatican in the night between the 24th and 25th of March, 
the ceremonies usual on such occasions were carried out,* 
and meanwhile the Sacred College laboured unremittingly. 
Letters were despatched to the rulers of all the cities in the 
States of the Church, exhorting them as " quiet, peaceable, 
good and devoted sons of the Church" to persevere in 
their wonted obedience, and at the same time the necessary 
preparations were made for the election of a new Pope. 
Everything was duly accomplished, so that on Thursday, 
April 3rd, the solemn Mass of the Holy Ghost was sung. 
The preliminaries had been hastened, because the next 
day was Good Friday. According to custom, a Prelate 
then delivered a Latin discourse to the Cardinals, exhorting 
them to give Christendom a worthy Supreme Pastor. || 

* *" Tutta questa citta bolle. Questo populo faria volentiere 
novita contra le chieriche." *Despatch of Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, 
d.d. ex urbe 24 Martii, 1455, hora circa 20. State Archives at 
Milan, Pot. Est. 

t *Qua molto si dubita che el m conte Jac Piccinino non 
facci grande scandalo alle terre della chiesa o nella marcha o nel 
ilucato o a Bologna." Despatch of the Bishop of Chiusi of I3th 
March, State Archives at Siena, See the **Instruction from the 
Florentine ambassadors in Venice, Luigi de Guicciardini. State 
Archives at Florence, Cl. x., dist. i, N. 44, f- 128. 

+ The funeral discourses are in *Cod. Vatic., 3675 and 5815. 
See Georgius, 164, and supra, p. 208, note *. 

The letter of the Cardinals to Viterbo, dated 25th March, has 
been incorporated by Niccola della Tuccia (239) in his Chronicle. 

j| See Novaes, Introduz., i., 252 et seq. ; Phillips, v., 2, 858. 


On the morning of the 4th April all the Cardinals present 
in Rome, preceded by the Papal Cross, went, while the 
Vcni Creator Spiritus was sung, " peacefully and with great 
reverence and piety,"* from St. Peter s to the Chapel of the 
Vatican, in which the conclave was to be held. The adora 
tion of the Cross customary on Good Friday and the expo 
sition of the Holy Handkerchief had already taken place, 
and the conclave began that day.f The custody of the 
place of election was entrusted to six Bishops, of which 
four were foreigners, and six laymen ; pre-eminent among 
the latter were Pandulfo Savello, Marshal of the Church, 
and Xicodcmus of Pontremoli, Francis Sforza s ambassador, 
a portion of whose admirable account of the proceedings 
of the conclave is still preserved in the State Archives at 
Milan. + 

At the death of Nicholas V., the Sacred College was 
composed of twenty members, of whom six were absent, 
namely, two Germans, Peter von Schaumburg, Bishop of 
Augsburg, and Nicholas of Cusa, the Hungarian, Dionysius 
Szechy, the Greek, Bessarion, Jean Rolin, Bishop of Autun, 
and Guillaume d Estoutcville, both of whom were French ; 
the last mentioned had been for nearly a year acting as 
Legate in France, and did not return to Rome till the I2th 

* Despatch of the Bishop of Chiusi to Siena, in the Arch. stor. 
Ital., Series iv., t. iii., 192. 

\ *Despatch of Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1455, 
April 4, from the original in the State Archives at Milan, in 
Appendix No. 30. See the report in the *Acta consistorialia. 
State Archives of the Vatican. 

J The despatches of the Genoese ambassador, " Gotardus de 
Seresana," seem unfortunately to be lost. The series " Roma " of 
the " Carteggio diplomatico " in the State Archives of Genoa only 
begins with the year 1512, and even from this period the corres 
pondence is very imperfect. 


of September, 1455.* Of these six Cardinals, Bessarion 
alone was able to arrive in Rome in time for the election. f 
The Sacred College accordingly assembled in Conclave to 
the number of fifteen members. Two of these, the noble 
Capfanica, and the aged Prospero Colonna, had been 
created by Martin V. ; while five, namely, the learned and 
open-hearted Antonio de la Cerda, Latino Orsini, Alain, 
the former Bishop of Sitten, Guillaume d Estaing, and 
Filippo Calandrini owed their elevation to Nicholas V. 
The remaining eight had been nominated by Eugenius IV. 
on different occasions. Scarampo and Pietro Barbo, 
t\vo men of diametrically opposite characters and pur 
poses, occupied the most prominent position among the 

Italy furnished but seven of the fifteen electors ; these 
were Fieschi, Scarampo, Barbo, Orsini, Colonna, Capranica, 
and Calandrini ; of the eight foreigners, two, Bessarion and 
Isidore, were Greeks; two, Alain and d Estaing, French, 
and the remaining four, Torquemada, Antonio de la Cerda, 
Carvajal and Alfonso Borgia, Spaniards. But in the 
election of 1455, as in the previous one, nationality was of 

* The duration of d Estoutevi lie s absence from Rome (14^4, 
May 1 6, until 1455? Sept. 12) is to be gathered from the *Acta 
consistorialia in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

t *" Avendo aviso alii 23 marzo la domenica il Card. Bessarione 
che il pontefice era infermo a morte si parti da Bologna a ore 12^ 
(according to the Cronica di Bologna [715] his departure did not 
take place till the 24th), per passare a Roma e con lui andavano 
Achille Malvezzi cavaliere di nostra donna del Tempio, Pier 
Antonio Paselli dottore e cavaliere e Jacomo Ingrati." On his 
arrival in Rome he found the Pope dead. Ch. Ghirardacci, Storia 
di Bologna, Vol. iii., lib. xxxiv. Cod. 768 of the University Library 
at Bologna. The ist April is named as the day of Bessarion s 
arrival in Rome by the *Acta Consistorialia in the Secret Archives 
of the Vatican, mentioned in Appendix No. 16 of Vol. i. 


comparatively little account. The opposing factions of 
the Colonna and Orsini formed the centres of the different 

"The majority of the Cardinals were," Xicodernus of 
Pontremoli informs us, "at first inclined to favour the 
election of the Colonna Cardinal, who would no doubt 
have become Pope had Nicholas V. died at the commence 
ment of his illness. But its long continuance gave 
Cardinal Orsini time to counteract this feeling, and to 
enter into negotiations with the ambassadors of Kin<>- 


Alfonso and of the Republic of Venice. Consequently 
unless God should order otherwise either Barbo or 
Scarampo will obtain the Papacy. The Orsini party, with 
the assistance of King Alfonso, is able to dispose of live 
votes, one of which would be absolutely required by the 
Colonna candidate to give him the necessary majority of 
two- thirds. " According to another despatch from the 
same ambassador, the wealthy, business-like Cardinal 
Orsini originally himself aspired to the tiara, and won 
over the Venetian ambassadors who lodged in his palace 
to his side; but in case his own hopes should be dis 
appointed, he brought forward Cardinal Pietro Barbo, who 
subsequently became Paul II. f 

The two opposing parties adopted different modes of 
action. The Colonna sought to gain adherents by prudence 
and affability, while the Orsini strengthened their material 

* *Dcspatches of Bartol. Visconti, Bishop of Novara, and of 
Nicodemus, dated Rome, 1455, April i. State Archives at Milan. 
See Appendix Xo. 29 (the passages in cypher are here indicated 
by more open type.) 

f ^ Despatch of Xicodemus to Fr. Sforza. d.d. ex urbe 24 
Martii, 1455, hora 20, Postscript. : " Orsino fa gran ponto al papato 
etiam col favore de li ambax ri Ven 1 che alogiano in casa soa e, 
mostra nol potendo haver luy farlo cader nel car 1 de San Marcho." 
State Archives at Milan, Pot. Est. 



power.* The prospects of Cardinal Orsini seem to have 
been rapidly clouded, for on the 2oth March, Nicodemus 
writes that Pietro Barbo is as likely as any other candidate 
to fill the Papal Throne. 

An old Roman proverb declares that " he who enter? 
the Conclave a Pope leaves it a Cardinal," and the truth of 
the saying was exemplified in the case of Pietro Barbo. 

Regarding the proceedings in the Conclave, our informa 
tion is derived from the report of /Eneas Sylvius, some 
scanty particulars in isolated despatches of ambassadors, 
and a notice in Vespasiano da Bisticci s work.f From 
these authorities it appears that the Cardinals were greatly 
divided, and that three scrutinies failed to give any decided 
result. For a time it seemed as if Domenico Capranica, 
after Carvajal the most worthy among the members of the 
Sacred College, would be Pope. Christendom might, 
indeed, have been congratulated had the majority of votes 
been given to a Prince of the Church so distinguished for 
piety, learning, decision of character, and political ability. 
But Capranica was a Roman, and favourably disposed to 
the Colonna. and therefore unacceptable to many. The 

* Despatch of Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, I455> 
March 16. State Archives at Milan ; see Appendix No. 26. 

f Vespasiano da Bisiicci, Capranica, 6 (Mai, Spicil., i, 190). 
Comment. Pii II., 24. The Parisian MS. (Nat. Library, No. 
51:3) Tins II. : "Conclave Calixti III.," cited by Verdiere (Essai 
sur^neas Sylvius Piccolomini [Paris, 1843], p. 48, 113-114) and 
Vast (219) is nothing more than the unaltered draft of the passage 
in the Commentary of Pius II. Voigt (ii., 158, 340) has already 
recognized this fact. Regarding the despatches of ambassadors, 
see Petrucelli della Gattina, i., 263^^7., and the Appendix to 
this volume, No. 29, 30, and 31. 

+ This is expressly said by B. Visconti, and also by Nicodemus 
in his *Despatch of April 8th, 1455, given in Appendix 31. See 
State Archives at Milan. 


Colonna desired the election of an Italian, the Orsini that 
of a French Pontiff, and as neither party was able to carry 
the day, a neutral candidate was sought. In this capacity 
the learned Cardinal Bessarion had much to recommend 
him; as a born Greek, he had held aloof from Italian 
complications, he had no enemies, and was justly and 
generally esteemed for his learning and for his bene 
ficent labours as Legate to Bologna. No one/ more 
over, seemed more likely to give a fresh impulse to the 
crusade than this distinguished representative of Greece. 
Eight Cardinals declared themselves in his favour, and 
on the Easter Sunday and Monday there was reason 
to think that he would be unanimously elected, and at once 
acclaimed Pope. Favours were asked of him as if the 
matter were already settled. Roberto Sanseverino, in a 
letter to the Duke of Milan, expressed his conviction that 
"if the Greek Cardinal had exerted himself more the 
tiara would have been his." * According to the account 
given by /Eneas Sylvius it was Alain, the Cardinal of 
Avignon, who prevented the election of the great humanist, 
who would undoubtedly have carried on the work of 
Nicholas V. 1 lie French Cardinal represented to his 
colleagues that it was not becoming to place at the head of 
the Roman Church a neophyte, a Greek, who still wore his 
beard in Oriental fashion, and had but lately ceased to 
be a schismatic. f These words seem scarcely credible, 

* Petrucelli della Gattina, i., 269. 

t According to the original draft of the Commentary of Pius II. 
the words of Alain were even more severe ; see Cugnoni, 182. The 
mutilation of the Commentaries of Pius II. was noticed by Victo- 
rellus amongst others (see Ciaconius, ii., 991. ami Voigt, ii., 340). 
The celebrated J. Garampi seems to have meditated the publica 
tion of the omission. In the Biblioteca Gambalunga at Rimini I 
found *Cod. D., iv.-2i4, a complete collection of these omissions. 
The title of the manuscript is : " Supplenda in Commentariis Pii 



and the truth probably is, that the pride of some Italian 
Cardinals was wounded by the prospect of an Eastern, a 
member of the hated Greek nation, occupying the chair of 
St. Peter, while the worldly-minded amongst them, like 
Scarampo, dreaded Bessarion s austerity. 

When this name had ceased to figure in the list of 
candidates, the former perplexity again returned. The 
crowds assembled in front of the Vatican grew impatient, 
and the ambassadors who kept watch over the Conclave 
were urgent for a decision, representing to the Cardinals 
the unsettled condition of Rome, and the danger threatened 
by Piccinino.* 

In this difficulty, each party being strong enough to 
hinder the election of the opposing candidate, and yet too 
weak to secure that of its own, the electors cast their eyes 
upon a man who was not a member of the sacred college, 
the Minorite Antonio de Montefalcone,t but he also failed 
II., rent. Max." "Tutte le cose da supplirsi," Garampi observes 
in a prefatory note, " hanno la pagina e linea nolle quali ande- 
rebbcro inserite ncll edizione di Francfort dell anno 1614, stam- 
peria Auberiana. Se sono incdite" (as they were till lately) 
" sono preziosissime. Siano cose soppressc o dall autore o dalP 
editore, e quest ultimo siasi servito di un codice diverse ; sono 
sempre frainrnenti rispettabili che possono scrvire a una nuova 
edizione." In Rome I found the missing passages in the Com 
mentary of Pius II. in Cod. L., vii., 253, of the Chigi Library, and 
in Cod. cclxii. of the Library of Sta. Croce in Gerusalemme (now 
Cod. 179 of the Victor Emmanuel Library). Cugnoni s publica 
tion of 1883 is founded entirely on the Chigi MS. It is much to 
be regretted that the worthy head of the Chigi Library has not 
taken into account the many Vatican MSS. of the Commentaries 
of Pius II. Among these, I believe, I have discovered the original 
of the Commentaries of Pius II., written in part by his own hand. 
Further details will be given in a later volume of this work. 

* *Despatches of Bart. Visconti and Nicodemus, dated Rome, 
14^5, April 8. State Archives at Milan ; see Appendix No. 31. 
t Wadding, Ann. Min., xii., 2nd ed., 245 


to obtain the requisite majority of votes. Finally as it 
were to postpone the contest all agreed in electing an old 
man, whose life was almost at an end."* Accordingly, 
mainly through the exertions of Scarampo and Alain, on 
the morning of the 8th April a Spanish Cardinal, the aged 
Alonso (Alfonso) de Borja (Borgia) was elected by acces 
sion, and took the name of Calixtus IH.f Those who had 
even before the beginning of the Conclave foretold that the 
discord of the Italians would result in the election of an 
" Ultramontane," now saw their predictions verified. 

* See Vespasiano da Bisticci, Cnpranica, loc. ci/., and the supple 
ment in Appendix No. 31 of the *Despatch of April 8, cited above. 
A certain amount of astonishment at the election of one so aged 
appears in the words of Nicholas of Cusa : " quamvis octoge- 
narius . . . elcctus est." Autograph notice by this Cardinal in 
Cod. C., 5, of the Hospital Library at Cues. 

t See the Despatches of R. Sanseverino in Petrucelli del la 
Gattina, i., 269, and of Cribellus, 57, as well as the *Acta consis- 
torialia in the Secret Archives of the Vatican (Appendix No. i^>, 
Vol. i.) Here and in a *I,ettcr of the Republic of Florence to its 
ambassadors in Venice (" Oratori Yenetiis," d d. Florent., 1455, 
April 10: In questa mattina havemmo lettere da Ruberto 
Martelli da Roma, per le quali avisa, come a di 8, di qucsto a bore 
xv. fu creato miovo papa." Cl. x., dist. i, No. 44, f. 131, State 
Archives at Florence), the election is said to have taken place 
about the fifteenth hour (10 in the forenoon). Other authorities 
(*Despatch of the 3rd April [see Appendix No. 31], and the 
Cronica di Bologna [716]) name the thirteenth hour. Niccola 
clella Tuccia (239) says : " La mattina a 14 bore dissero aver 
fatto nuovo papa ecc. With this agrees the **note of Cardinal 
Scarampo to Lodovico de Gonzaga of the 8th April, 1455. Gonzaga 
Archives at Mantua. In some documents the new Pope was 
styled " Calixtus quartus," because the name Calixtus III. had 
already been borne by Johannes, Abbot of Struma, anti-Pope in 
the time of Alexander III. (see Freiburger Kirchenlexikon, ii., 2nd 
ed., 1710-1711). It is remarkable that this designation also occurs 
in *Acta consistorialia of the Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


^ "* 

Instead of Bessarion, the Greek humanist and philoso 
pher, a Spanish canonist mounted the Papal throne.* 

Xo one had hitherto contemplated the elevation of 
Alfonso Borgia as a possibility, but when once it became 
known, a prophecy of St. Vincent Ferrer was called to 
mind. It was said that this Spanish Dominican, while 
preaching at Valencia, remarked a priest among the crowds 
who commended themselves to his prayers, and addressed 
him in the following words : "My son, I congratulate you; 
remember that you are called to be one day the ornament 
of your country and of your family. You will be invested 
with the highest dignity that can fall to the lot of man. I 
myself, after my death, shall be the object of your special 
honour. Endeavour to persevere in your virtuous course 
of life."f The priest to whom the saint spoke was no 
other than Alfonso Borgia. From that moment, with the 
tenacity which belonged to his character, he had firmly 
believed in the prediction and frequently repeated it to his 
friends. Now that it had been accomplished, one of the 
first acts of his pontificate was to raise St. Vincent Ferrer 
to the altars, and his solemn canonization took place at 
Rome on the 2Qth June, 1455. 

* Alfonso Borgia was looked upon as one of the first canonists 
of his day; see /En. Sylvius, Europa, c. 58, Niccola della Tuccia, 
239 ; Raph. Volalerr., f. 234, and Brippi s poem in Cod. 361 of the 
Riccardi Library in Florence, which we shall cite in Chapter II. of 

this book. 

f Vita S. Vincentii Ferrer, by Petrus Ranzanus Panormitanus in 

Bzovius, Annal., i4iQ> ^ T - 2 +- 

J As for example, in 1449, to the celebrated St. John Capistran ; 

see Wadding, xii., 246. 

The 23rd May was the day originally intended for the 
canonization (Echard, i., Sn); it was deferred because the 
" relatione del processo suo " appeared too long ; see "Despatches 
of Bart. Visconti and of Nicodcmus, dated Rome, 1455* Ma 7 22 


The old Catalan race of the Horja, or Borgia, as the 
Italians pronounced the name, had brought forth many 
remarkable men. Xaturc had been lavish in her gifts, and 
endowed them with beauty and strength, with intellect, 
skill, and that energy of will which compels fortune.* 
Alfonso, who was no less gifted than the other members 
of h s family, was born, at Xativa, in Valencia, on the last 
day of 1378, the year which witnessed the outbreak of the 
great schism. t At a very early age he studied jurisprudence 
at the University of Lerida, and became a doctor of civil 

and 24. State Archives at Milan, Cart. gen. The Bull of Canoniza 
tion is not entered in the Register of the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican, a circumstance which gave rise to doubts, which induced 
Tins II. to issue a fresh Bull (Bzovius ad an, 1419)- 1 foaiKl lhe 
Bull itself, dated Rome, 145?, tercioCal. Jul. pout, a I , in Cod. 
Lit., 18930 (Teg-, 93o)r f - 86-89, of the Court Library at Munich. 
The Dominican II. Kalteisen gave his vote for the canonization ; 
sec Cod. 326 of the University Library at Bonn. 

* Gregorovius, L, Borgia, 3. The origin of the race of the 
Dorgia is veiled in obscurity. The statement that the family was 
of royal blood is unfounded ; see Matagne in the Revue des quest, 
hist., ix. (1870), 467 et sey.; xi. (1872), 197. The father of 
Alfonso is called by Platina "John," and by Xurita (35) 
"Domingo;" and the family name of his mother, " Francisca," 
is unknown. Zurita (36) and Kscolano (Hist, de Valencia [Val., 
1610], ii., 200) say that she was from Valencia. Alfonso was born 
in Xativa, and baptised in the Collegiate Church of Sta. Maria in 
that town. We have his own testimony for this fact in two Balis 
of 1457, published by Villanucva (i., 18 et scq., 181 et *</.). 

t Calixtus III. was accordingly at the time of his election in the 
77th year of his age. Some chronicles make him even older ; the 
1st. Brcsc. (891) says that Calixtus was 85, and Xiccola della 
Tuccia (239) that he was 86 (the " Ricordi di casa Sacchi " give 
his age correctly as 77). L. Bonincontr. (158) and Nicholas of 
Cusa in an autograph *uotice at the conclusion of the MS. in the 
Hospital at Cues, to which we have already (p. 325, note*) 
referred, generally speak of the Pope as an octogenarian. 


and canon law. Subsequently he successfully taught these 
subjects at Lcrida, and was nominated to a canonry in the 
Cathedral of that city by Pedro cle Luna, afterwards known 
as Benedict XIII. His relations with King Alfonso were 
the means of diverting Borgia from the career of learning 
on which he had entered. The monarch recognized hit 
diplomatic capabilities and drew him into his service, 
where, as private secretary and confidential counsellor, he 
amply justified the trust reposed in him, clisplaying the 
greatest skill and activity in the conduct of ecclesiastical 
and political negotiations. Borgia also rendered important 
service to the Papacy in the time of Martin V., and the 
abdication of the anti-Pope Clement VIII. was in great 
measure due to his exertions. The lawful Pope, Martin V., 
rewarded him in that very year by conferring on him the 
Bishopric of Valencia (1429).* 

As Bishop, Alfonso took part in the most important 
affairs of Church and State. In the reorganization of the 
kingdom of Naples, which had long been distracted by war 
and tumult, he rendered special services to King Alfonso, 
and the institution of the celebrated tribunal of Sta. Chiara 
was his work.f His prudence and his spirit of perfect 
loyalty to Rome were manifested in the fact that he refused 
to act as Alfonso s ambassador to the Council of Basle, 
which was antagonistic to Pope Eugenius. He afterwards 
laboured most zealously to bring about a reconciliation 
between the King and the Pope, and, after it had been 
accomplished, was raised to the purple, and took his title 
from the picturesque old Basilica of the Quattro IncoronatiJ 

* Raynaldus ad an; 1429, Nos. 3 and 3. Villanueva, i., 51 ; xx., 
54 et sey. See Vol. i., p. 227, note *. 

t Giannone, iii., 284-289. Alfonso Borgia also superintended 
the education of Ferrante, the natural son of King Alfonso (Zurita 
iv., 52b). 

+ See Vol. i., p. 333. 


which stands on a spur of the northern Caelian hill. Alfonso 
could not but accede to the Pope s desire that he should 
remain at his Court, and he there gained the reputation of 
being incapable of flattery or party feeling. There was 
but one opinion in Rome regarding the moral purity, the 
integrity, the capacity for business, and the knowledge of 
canon law which distinguished the Cardinal of Valencia, as 
Alfonso was no\v commonly styled.* 

His health, unfortunately, was weak ; severe study and 
unceasing activity had told upon his strength, and this 
circumstance, together with the familiar relations existing 
between him and King Alfonso, awakened considerable 
anxiety in Italy. The Republics of Venice, Florence, and 
Genoa were, as we learn from many contemporary letters, t 
dissatisfied with the election, although their official docu 
ments expressed sentiments of a very different character. J 

The choice of a foreigner for the Papal dignity was a 
severe blow to the national feeling in Italy. It was by 

* Platina, 727. Jac. Phil. Bergom. Chronic., f. 30.4. See 
Giornali Napolit., 1131. 

t See **Dcspatchcs of Antonio Guidobono from Venice, 1455, 
April 12, and Giovanni de la Guardia from Genoa, 1453, April 14.. 
Slate Archives at Milan, Cart. gen. 

J The Florentine letters of congratulation have been published 
ny Guasti (Legazioni, 34-35). See the **Letters of the Genoese 
to the Pope and the Cardinals, dated I5th and zSth April (State 
Archives at Genoa, Litt., Vol. xviii., f. 128, 132). The following 
words occur in a *Letter of April 20, 145 s, from the Republic of 
Venice to Cardinals Scarampo and Barbo : "Hec siquidem 
electio cum potius celestis quam hum ana existimamla sit : 
fatemur non satis litteris explicare posse, quantum gaudii et 
immense letitie mens nostra perceperit." Sen. Secret., xx., f. 5Sb. 
State Archives at Venice. 

See the Despatch of R. Sanseverino in Petrucelli della Gattina, 
i., 268. *Letter from Lionardo Vernacci to Piero di Cosimo de 
Medici, d.d. Roma a di x. Aprile, 1455: "Per lettere de Ruberto " 


some even deemed probable that a great schism would 
break out, and that a number of Cardinals would leave the 
Papal Court, where, in the days immediately succeeding 
the election, Scararnpo and Alain exercised an excessive 
influence."* Fears were entertained, especially by the 
Republics, that the already too great influence of King 
Alfonso would be still further increased, and that the hated 
Catalans would be unduly promoted. The latter of these 
apprehensions was, as we shall see, but too well justified. 
But the idea that King Alfonso would now, through his 
former Secretary, rule the Holy See, happily proved un 

Calixtus III. was certainly regarded in Rome as a right- 
minded and just man. The new Pope," wrote the Pro 
curator of the Teutonic Order on the 3rd May, 1455, to the 
Grand Master, " is an old man of honourable and virtuous 
life and of excellent reputation. "f His previous life had 
been blameless. Austere towards himself, he was amiable 
and indulgent to others. As Bishop and as Cardinal he 
had declined all other preferment. The poor and needy 
never sought comfort and help from him in vain.J The 

[Martelli ; see supra, p. 325, notef] " a Cosimo avete inteso della 
creazion del nuovo papa lo char le de Valenza ; vedete per la esitanza 
de nostri Taliani ove ci troviamo tucti. Regnano Chatalani e sa 
dio come la loro natura ci si confa. Bisogna per questa volta aver 
pazienza duna cosa, mi chonforto die dovera durar pocho di tempo 
sichondo leta," etc. Carteggio inanzi il principato. Filza, xvii., 
No. 131. State Archives at Florence. 

* See Petrucelli della Gattina, i., 269. See the *Despatch of 
Fr. Contarini, dated Siena, 1455, April 25. Cod. It., vii.-mcxcvi. 
of the Library of St. Mark s, Venice. 

f Voigt, Enea Silvio, ii., 158. 

+ Jac. Phil. Bergom., f. 304, and Raph. Volaterr., xxii., f. 234. 
The care of Calixtus III. for the hospital of Sto. Spirito is mentioned 
by Brockhaus in Janitschek. Repertor., viii., 283. See the notice, 
Vol. i., p. 354, from the Archives of Sto. Spirito. The Pope, in his 


Sienese, Bartolommeo Michele, who had been previously 
acquainted with him, praised him in the highest terms. On 
the day after the election he wrote to his native city: " He 
is a man of great sanctity and learning, a friend and adherent 
of King Alfonso, in whose service he has been. He has 
alwavs shown himself well disposed towards our city. His 
nature is peaceable and kindly. Michele, in this letter, 
exhorts the Siencse to send the most splendid embassy 
possible to Rome, and to select for it eminent and worthy 
men, inasmuch as the Pope was very clear-sighted and 

A letter addressed by St. Antoninus, the great Arch 
bishop of Florence, to Giovanni, the son of Messer 
Domenico of Orvieto, in Pisa, gives a good idea of the 
fears awakened by the; election of Calixtus, and of the 
favourable change in public opinion which soon took place 
in his regard. The election of Calixtus III.," says St. 
Antoninus, "at first gave little satisfaction to the Italians, 
and this for two reasons. First, inasmuch as he was a 
Yalencian or Catalan, they felt some apprehension lest he 
might seek to transfer the Papal Court to another country. 
Secondly, they feared that he might confide the strongholds 
of the Church to Catalans, and that it might eventually be 
difficult to recover possession of them. P>ut now the minds 
of men have been reassured by more mature reflection, 
and the reputation which he bears for goodness, penetra 
tion, and impartiality. Moreover, he lias bound himself by 
a solemn promise a copy of which I have seen to devote 
all his powers, with the advice of the Cardinals, to the war 

will, assigned five thousand ducats to a hospital to be established in 
the residence lie had occupied when a Cardinal. *Letter of Anto 
nio Catabene to Fr. Sforza, dated 1458, August 7. Gor.zaga, 
Archives at Mantua. 

* Arch. stor. Ital., Sena iv., t. iii., 192. 


against the Turks, and the conquest of Constantinople. It 
is not believed or said that he is more attached to one 
nation than to another, but rather that as a prudent and 
just man he will give to everyone his due. The Lord alone, 
whose providence rules the world, and especially the Church, 
and who in His infinite mercy brings good for her out of 
evil, knows what will happen. Meanwhile we must always 
think well of the Holy Father, and judge his actions favour 
ably, even more so than those of any other living being, 
and not be frightened by every little shock. Christ guides 
the bark of Peter, which, therefore, can never sink. Some 
times He seems to slumber in the storm : then must we 
wake Him with prayers and good works, of which there is 
much need."* 

The whole demeanour of Calixtus III. was marked by 
great simplicity ; splendour and pomp were most distaste 
ful to him. ^Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini bears witness that 
he greatly surpassed his predecessor in the patience with 
which he gave audiences. He himself dictated the letters 
sent to Kings and to friends, and countersigned petitions 
with pleasure. He loved to converse upon legal matters, 
and was as familiar with laws and canons as if he had but 
just left the University. f Nicholas V. had delighted in 
conversation, but Calixtus was chary of his words. Nowhere, 
however, was the contrast between the Spanish Pontiff and 
the great patron of the Renaissance so striking as in the 
domain of literature and art. 

* Translated by Reumont, Briefe, 143-144. The original of the 
letter, dated 24th April, 1455, is published by V. Marchese, Cenni 
storici del B. Lorenzo da Ripafratta (Firenze, 1851), 53, and in 
the Lettere di S. Antonino, 189-191. The dread of a removal of 
the Holy See from Rome is also expressed in the above-mentioned 
**Instruction for the Florentine ambassadors in Venice. State 
Archives, Florence. 

Sylvius, Europa, c. 58. 


But in order to correctly estimate Calixtus III. in this 
matter we must begin by discarding the passionate and 
exaggerated denunciations of the humanists of his day, one 
of whom went so far as to declare that " Calixtus III. was 
a useless Pope."* Their golden age certainly closed with 
the life of Nicholas V. Indeed, if we consider the pro 
minent position occupied in his days by men either in 
different or actually antagonistic to the Church, we must 
admit that a reaction was inevitable.t The violence of 
this reaction which, from the ecclesiastical point of view, 
was a salutary one was greatly exaggerated by the 
humanists. Calixtus III., the quiet, dry, legal student, was 
not directly inimical, but simply indifferent, to the Renais 
sance movement. In his reign its victorious course was 
checked for a time, but it was not violently arrested. 

The extraordinary favour shown by the Pope to the 
humanist Valla has never been sufficiently explained. He 
was appointed Papal Secretary, and canonries were freely 
bestowed upon him, but he died on the ist August, 
1457. His monument in the Lateran, rescued from destruc 
tion by a great German historian, || was removed to another 
place in the most recent restoration of the Church. 

It is interesting to note the manner in which the 

* Geiger, Renaissance, 139. A letter written by Fi elfo to 
Bessarion after the death of Calixtus III. gives a specimen of the 
hatred of the humanists. Philclfi Epist., f. 102. 

t Voigt also is of this opinion, ii., 2nd ed., 235. 

+ The School of Tapestry founded in tiie Vatican by Nicholas 
V. continued to exist under Calixtus III. 

6 Amongst others, one at the Lateran ; see Marini, Archiatri, i.. 


241. See *Reg. 439, f. 640-66, and 145, f. 29-30. Secret Archives 
of the Vatican. 

|| Niebuhr, Vortr. iiber Romische Alterth., published by Isler 
(Berlin, 1858), ii. Regarding the tomb, tec Beschreibung Roms., 
iii., i, 684, and Adinolfi, i., 204. 


humanists conformed themselves to altered circumstances. 
In the Vatican Library there is still preserved a petition 
for a pension, addressed to Calixtus III. by a learned man, 
who endeavours to recommend himself to the Pontiff by an 
allusion to the Eastern question, in which the latter took so 
deep an interest* When they saw that it was in vain to 
hope for anything from this Pope they avenged themselves 
by calumnies. 

One of the chief of these was that propagated by Filelfo 
and Vespasiano da Bisticci, which accused Calixtus of dis 
persing the Vatican Library. The account of Vespasiano 
runs as follows : " When Pope Calixtus beean his rei<m 

O o t 

and beheld so many excellent books, five hundred of them 
resplendent in bindings of crimson velvet with clasps of 
silver, he wondered greatly, for the old canonist was used 
only to books written on linen and stitched together. 
Instead of commending the wisdom of his predecessor, he 
cried out as he entered the Library: See, now, where the 
treasure of God s Church has gone ! Then he began to 
disperse the Greek books. He gave several hundred to 
the Ruthenian Cardinal, Isidore. As this latter had become 
half childish from age the volumes fell into the hands of the 
servants. That which had cost golden florins was sold for 
a few pence. Many Latin books came to Barcelona, some 
by means of the Bishop of Vich, the powerful Datary of 
the Pope, and some as presents to Catalan nobles. "f There 

* *Cod. Vatic., 4137, f. 2i6-22ob. In f. 22o-22ob we find: 
" Rogo itaque . . . ut priusquam ex hoc seculo migres, tua ope 
et interventione vindicatum videas nobilissimum Christianorum 
sanguinem, quern in ilia inclita Constantinopolitana urbe a sevis- 
simo illo Teuchrorum duce tarn crudeliter effusum audivimus." 

| Vespasiano da Bisticci, Vescovo Vicense (Mai, Spicil., i., 283- 
284, 286). Cardinal Angelo Mai (loc. cit. 284, note i), and Reu- 
mont (iii., i, 333) have already declared against the credibility of 
this intrinsically improbable story of Vespasiano, notwithstanding 


are serious grounds for disbelieving this narrative. If the 
dispersion of the books had been so complete, how could 
Platina, the Vatican Librarian under Sixtus IV., have 
admired their splendour? Isolated volumes may, as often 
happens after the death of a Pope, have found their way 
into other hands, but this cannot have been at all a general 
case, for a large portion of the collection of Nicholas V. is 
at the present moment in the Vatican.* 

The next testimony \vhich we shall adduce is of itself 
almost sufficient to decide the question. t On the i6th 
April, 1455, even before his coronation, the Pope caused 
his confessor, Cosirno da Monserralo, to undertake the com 
pilation of a catalogue of the valuable; library left by his 
predecessor.^ This very fact indicates an interest in the 

llie support of the Bishop of Yich. (Had not Alfonso Borgia, we 
may ask, when at Naples with King Alfonso, enjoyed ample oppor 
tunities of seeing splendid MSS. ?). Voigt (Knea Silvio, iii., 607) 
adopted this story, but later came to suspect it. See Weiderlele- 
bung, 2nd ed., 209, note i. Laemmer (Analecta, 20) also doubts it. 

* See Platinn, Vita Nicolai V., Reumont loc. at. Assemani s 
assertion (Bibliothecce apost. Vaticano; Codd. MSS. catalogus 
[Roma;, 1756], i., i, p. xxi.), that Calixtus himself spent forty 
thousand golden pieces on the purchase of MSS. from abroad rests 
on a misapprehension. See Miintz, L hcritage de Nicholas V., p. 
421. Leonetti (i., 85-86) nevertheless repeats the tale. 

\ Miintz, L heritage, 423. In his article (354) on the Library 
of the Holy See, cited siifra, p. 210, note J, de Rossi coincides 
with Miintz. 

\ *Cod. Vatic., 3939 (see si/fra, p. 212, note*), Vatican Library. 
A copy of the catalogue exists in the Library of the Cathedral of 
Vich (see Villanueva, vi., So; Serapeum, 1847, p. 93), and must 
evidently have been brought to Vich by Cosimo de Monserrato, 
who was Bishop of that Diocese from 1460-1473. This circum 
stance may perhaps have given rise to the report that Calixtus had 
sent books to Vich. Regarding Cosimo, see Moroni, xix., 130, de 
la Fuente, 475, and the Annales ord. eremit. St. August., in Cod. 
S. 3, 13, of the Angelica Library, Rome. 


preservation of the books, and it is not likely that a Pope 
who thus acted would give them away to the first comer.* 
In this most ancient inventory of the Vatican Library we 
find a number of marginal notes, by means of which the 
humanistic statements regarding the dispersion of manu 
scripts may be reduced to their proper dimensions. Here 
it appears that Calixtus certainly gave away some manu 
scripts, five volumes in all, and these of no great value. 
Two went to the King of Naples. f The fact that the 
catalogue was undertaken on the iGlh April, 1455, does 
not exclude the possibility of subsequent presents having 
been made by the Pope, but even if this were the case the 
number of manuscripts so disposed of must have been very 
small. If he bestowed only two on King Alfonso, his 
intimate friend, we may rest assured that he cannot have 
given hundreds to Cardinal Isidore or to the Catalan nobles. 
The only thing that may be granted as probable is that 
Calixtus, who was ready to pledge even his mitre to pro 
vide funds for the Turkish war, may have sacrificed some 
of the gold and silver bindings for this purpose. J Thus this 
oft-repeated tale proves for the most part legendary. 

The attitude of the new Pope towards the Renaissance 
and its promoters doubtless formed a striking contrast to 
that of its enthusiastic patron, Nicholas V. It is to be 
accounted for, not only by his own want of taste for polite 
literature, but by the peril which threatened Christendom 

* Miintz, L heritage de Nicolas V., p. 423. 

f *Cod. Vat., 3959 (Vatican Library), f. 3 : " Glossa Nicolai 
de Lira ; S. D. N. declit hunc domino regi Arrag." " Glossa 
Nicolai de Lira," with the same note, f. 9 and 14 (Letters of St. 
Augustine, and " Liber de veritate cath. fidei"); " fuit traditum 
bancho de Pappis de man. S. D. N.," f. 23b. " Florus : Hunc 
dedit S. D. N. capitaneo." Miintz (L heritage, 423) wrongly 
gives the number of volumes removed as eight. 

J Gabriel Veronens in Wadding, xii., 290. 


from the East. He justly deemed it to be his first duty to 
defend Europe from the Turk, and this care occupied his 
mind so completely that little room was left for more peace 
ful labours in the realm of literature and art. 

The pontificate of Calixtus III. opened ominously on the 
very day of his accession with a violent outbreak of the old 
Roman family broils. He was crowned on the 2olh April. 55 " 
In the morning he repaired to St. Peter s, where, according 
to the old custom, one of the Canons of the Church re 
minded him of the transitory nature of all earthly greatness 
by burning a bundle of tow before his eyes, and saying, 
" Holy Father, so perishes the glory of the world ! The 
Pope himself celebrated Mass, Cardinal Barbo singing the 
Epistle and Cardinal Colonna the Gospel. The coronation 
afterwards took place in front of the Basilica ; Prospero 
Colonna, as the senior Cardinal Deacon, placed the triple 
crown upon the pontiff s head with the words : " Receive 
the triple crown and know that thou art the father of all 
Princes and Kings, the guide of the world, the Vicar on 
earth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom is honour and 
glory for ever and ever. Amen."f 

Immediately after this solemnity Calixtus took posses 
sion of the Lateran, the Cathedral Church of the Popes. 
He was accompanied by all the Cardinals and about eighty 
Bishops clad in white, together with many Roman barons 
and the magistrates of the city. He rode " a white horse " 
through the streets, adorned with tapestry, to the "golden 
Basilica, the mother and head of all the churches in the 
city and in the world." In pursuance of an ancient custom 

* Description given (240) by Niccola della Tuccia, who was an 
eye-witness. Cancellieri (Possess!, 43) has nothing new ; Tuccia s 
account (which was unpublished when he wrote) was unknowa to 
him. Regarding the ceremonies see Meuschen, 169 tt scq. 

t Meuschen, 178. See the rare work of Gatticus, 177, 205, etc. 



the representatives of the Jews met the Pope on his 
triumphal procession in the Piazza, known as Monte 
Giordano ; they presented him with the roll of the law. He 
read some words from it, and said : " We ratify the law, 
but we condemn your interpretation, for He of whom ye 
say that He will come our Lord Jesus Christ has come, 
as the Church teaches us and preaches." This ceremony 
was the occasion of a riot, by which the Pope s life was 
endangered. The populace endeavoured to seize the richly 
ornamented book of the Jewish law, and even laid hands 
on the Papal baldacchino. 

Disturbances of a yet more serious character occurred 
on the Campo de Fiori. Napoleone Orsini, who had a 
dispute with Count Everso of Anguillara regarding the 
lordship of Tagliacozzo, determined to avenge the death of 
one of his men slain by an adherent of Everso. Leaving 
the procession he hastened to the Campo de Fiori, where 
the Count lodged, and pillaged his quarters.t So great 
was the power of the Orsini that three thousand armed men 
* See Cancellieri, 49; Meuschen, 182-183; Novaes, Introduz., 
ii.f 35- The homage of the Jews was a very ancient custom, 
dating perhaps as far back as the time of the Roman Emperors 
(see Menus, Jac. Angeli de Scarperia epist. ad Em. Chrysoloram. 
Florentiae, 1743). The appearance of the Jews is definitely men 
tioned for the first time at the " Possessio " of Calixtus II., in the 
year 1119 (Cancellieri, Possessi, 9). The place varied. See Moroni, 
xxi., 29 etseq. In 1447 the ceremony was performed on Monte 
Giordano ; but in 1484, on account of Roman acts of violence, the 
Jews were permitted to appear in the interior of St. Angelo. 
Popular tumults occurred also during the processions of Pius II. 
and of Innocent VIII. See Cancellieri, 48-49- 

f The most ancient of the great inns of Rome were situated on 
the " Campo de Fiori " (see Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 686). There 
were the taverns of the Cow, the Angel, the Bell, the Crown, and 
the Sun. Of these the Albergo del Sole, Via del Biscione, Nos. 
70-76, still exists. 


assembled on Monte Giordano in answer to the cry, 
" Orsini ! to the rescue ! " The Colonna sided with the 
Count, and a fierce encounter between the two factions 
under the very eyes of the Pope was barely prevented, and 
peace for the moment restored by the strenuous exertions 
of his messengers and of Cardinal Orsini and the Prefect, 
Francesco Orsini.* 

The Pope was greatly angered by these disturbances. f 
He afterwards charged Cardinal Pietro Barbo, who had 
recently established peace in the patrimony, to bring about 
a cessation of hostilities for a few months. This truce was 
subsequently prolonged by the Pope, who endeavoured also 
to restore peace among the other baronial families of 
Rome.]: Happily tin; rest of the reign of Calixtus III. 
was not of a piece with this ill-omened beginning, for 
although the feuds among the barons were not completely 
extinguished, the city was less affected by them. 

* See Niccola della Tuccia, loc. cit. ; Platina, 728 et seq. ; 
Infcssura, 1136- 1137 ; Mich. Cannesius, Vita Pauli II. in Muratori, 
Script., iii., 2, 1002, and the detailed account by the Bishop of 
Chiusi, on the 2ist April, in the Arch. stor. Ital., Serie iv., T. iii., 
194, No. i, as well as **the Despatches of the Bishop of Novara, 
dated Rome, 1455, April 20 (State Archives at Milan), and of Luca 
Nicholai of Siena, dated Rome, 1455, April 21 (State Archives at 
Siena). Concistoro, Lettere ad an. Calixtus III. mentions these 
" excessus" enormes on the nomination of "Jo. de Buesa " to the 
" barissellus generalis aline urbis," dec. Cal.Jul. (1455). Reg- 43^- 
f. 264. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

t *Despatch of Fr. Contarini, dated Siena, 1455, April 25. 
Cod. It. vii.-mcxcvi. of St. Mark s Library, Venice. 

J See Carinci, Lettere di Onorato Gaetani, 128, and Niccola 
della Tuccia, 254. One of the reasons for the exclusion of the 
turbulent Everso, mentioned in these letters, was that he constantly 
molested the cities in the States of the Church. Corneto had cause 
to complain of Everso, even in 1456 ; see the *Letter of August i v 
1456, lib. brev. vii., f. 46, in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

Reumont, loc. cit. 


The Pope s coronation was followed by the homage of 
the Christian powers, and from the latter part of April 
Rome witnessed the arrival of a succession of splendid 
embassies.* That of Lucca was the first to appear, and 
was followed at longer or shorter intervals by those of the 
other cities. f That of King Alfonso was exceptionally 
magnificent, but his attempt to begin by making terms 
with the Pope regarding the obedience to be promised 
was little calculated to maintain the good understanding 
which had previously existed between him and Calixtus, 
who met his pretensions and a similar attempt on the part 
of the envoys of Frederick III. with a decided refusal. J 

The Republic of Florence which had sent humanists to 
do homage to Nicholas V. now selected as the chief of its 
embassy their Archbishop, St. Antoninus, a man remark 
able alike for the purity of his life and his theological 
learning. With him were associated Giannozzo Pandolfini, 
Antonio di Lorenzo Ridolfi, Giovanni di Cosimo de 
Medici, and the lawyer Oddone Nicolini. The ambas- 

* Despatch of Bishop Alessio de Cesari of Chiusi to Siena, 
dated Rome, 1455, April 25. Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State 
Archives, Siena. 

t See the *Despatch of Fr. Contarini in the Library of St. 
Mark, Venice, cited supra, p. 339, notef. 

\ See the Report of /Eneas Sylvius and Job. Kinderbach 
addressed to Frederick III., dated Rome, 1455, ^P 1 - S - Lauren- 
tian Library at Florence. For a further account of Alfonso s 
embassy see Guasti, 22 ; and regarding that from Siena, Arch, 
stor Ital., Serie iv., T. iii., 192 et seq. The names of the envoys 
from Bologna are given in the Annal. Bonon. (888) ; they started 
for Rome on the 23rd April. See Ch. Ghirardacci, Storia di 
Bologna, p. iii., lib. xxxiv. Cod. 768 of the University Library at 

The instructions given to the ambassadors and their report 
are published by Guasti (3-31). The discourse of St. Antoninus 
is given in his Chronicon, tit. 22, c. 16; but his modesty has 
suppressed the name of its author. 


sadors were desired without the archbishop s knowledge to 
request Pope Calixtus to promote him to the purple.* On 
the 24th of May, the day of their audience, Calixtus spoke 
of his determination to combat the foes of the Christian 
faith and to reconquer New Rome, not sparing even his 
own life in the cause, although he deemed himself unworthy 
to win the martyr s crown. In conclusion, he expre^sed 
his hope that Florence, as a true daughter of the Church, 
would render every possible assistance in this holy under 
taking. On the 28th May the Archbishop delivered in 
open consistory his celebrated discourse on the war against 
the Turks, and the Pope replied by an eulogy of Florence. 
Two days later in a private audience Calixtus dwelt on his 
earnest desire for the complete restoration of peace in Italy, 
and the distress caused him by the disturbances which 
Piccinino was again stirring up in his unfortunate country. 
In the end of July, 1455, the Venetian embassy reached 
Rome. The message which it l>ore re<jardincr the burning 

o o o <t> 

question of the day was not of a very satisfactory nature. 
The ambassadors were the same who had already presented 
to Nicholas V. the congratulations of the Signoria. They 
were instructed to reassure the Pope as to the intentions of 
the Republic concerning the Turkish war. They were to 
inform him that if the other Christian powers would pro 
ceed seriously against the Turks they would manifest the 
same good will as their forefathers had shown. t The 

* Unfortunately the desire of the city was not granted. But at 
a later period Adrian VI., a Pontiff who resembled St. Antoninus in 
his zeal for reform and in the simplicity of his life, raised him to 
the dignity of the altars. Reumont, Briefe, 139. 

| * Commissio oratoribus ituris ad S. P. Calixtum III.," 1455, 
Jun. 6 (the election of the ambassadors: Pasqualis Maripetro pro 
curator, Triadanus Griti, Jacobus Loredano, Ludovicus Foscarino 
doctor, had already taken place on the 3Oth April. *Senatus 
Secret., xx., f. 59): "Si per id tempus, quo stabitis Rome, 
summus pontifex, qui ut intelligere potuistis, multum inclinatus 


import of this answer was clear, and the Signoria subse 
quently inculcated on the envoys the necessity of adhering 
to it.* A similar evasive reply was given to tineas Sylvius 
Piccolomini, when, on his passage through Venice to offer 
the Emperor Frederick s homage to the Pope, he, in his 
master s name, inquired into the intentions of the Republic 
regarding the Turkish question. f 

Their stay in Venice delayed the arrival in Rome of 
/Eneas Sylvius and his companion, the lawyer, Johann 
Hinderbach, until the loth August. Their reception was 
honourable, but their attempt to treat with Calixtus regard- 
in^ the Emperor s claims in the matter of reservations, 
tithes, nominations, and first requests, before making the 
profession of obedience, was frustrated, as the Pope 
absolutely refused to make any promise for the sake of 
gaining that which was his due. " We were placed in no 

esse videtur ad exterminium Theucrorum, requireret sen diceret 
vobis [quicquam de his rebus Theucrorum vellet que intelligere 
riostram intentionem, si et nos cum aliis potentiis favores nostros 
huic impresie prestaturi sumus : content! sumus et volumus, quod 
Sue B. respondeatis in ea modestia et pertinent! forma verborum, 
quam magis utilem iudicabitis, quod quando videbimus alias 
potentias Christianas contra Teucros potenter se movere, nos 
quoque imitantes vestigia maiorum nostrorum reperiemur illius 
bone dispositionis, cuius per elapsum fuimus." Senatus Secret., 
xx., f. 62. State Archives, Venice. 

* *Venice to the ambassadors in Rome, 1455, July 7 "Dicetis 
quoque S 11 Sue, quod grato et iucundo animo intelliximus optiman 
dispositionem ardensque desiderium clementie sue ad occurrendum 
perfidie Teucrorum pro honore creatoris nostri, communi commodo 
et salute totius Christiane religionio. Nos autem, sicut etiam 
habuistis in mandatis a nobis referendum B. Sue, perseveramus 
in consueto bono proposito nostro, et quando videbimus alios 
principes et potentias Christianas se movere ad hoc sanctum opus, 
reperiemur illius optima mentis." Senatus Secret., xx., f. 66. 
State Archives, Venice. 

f The answer, dated loth July, 1455, is to be found in the Senatus 
Secret., xx., f. 66. State Archives, Venice. 


small perplexity," /Eneas Sylvius wrote to the Emperor * 
but as we saw that nothing else could be done, and that it 
would cause scandal if we were to depart without making 
profession of obedience, we decided on doing this, and then 
proceeding with your petition." Two days later the pro 
fession of obedience of the German nation took place in 
open consistory. ^Encas Sylvius made a long speech on 
the occasion, and congratulated the aged Pope on the fact 
that he was the first Pontiff since Gregory XL, that is to 
say, for a period of about eighty years, who had no anti- 
Pope to fear. He then proceeded to advocate the Turkish 
war, a matter very near the heart of the Pope, and one in 
regard to which the speaker s former exertions and present 
zeal gave weight to his words. Calixtus praised the 
Emperor and commended his good intention of devoting 
himself to the war; and, for his own part, declared that he 
would not shrink from any sacrifice to achieve the extermi 
nation of the infidels.t During the following days the 
ambassadors presented the Emperor s petition in writing, 
and had repeated conferences concerning it with the Pope, 
but, as might have been foreseen, gained nothing. Hinder- 
bach then returned to Germany, while /Eneas Sylvius 
remained in Rome, endeavouring to make himself of use, 
and eagerly seeking promotion to the purple, for which, 
however, he had long to wait.} 

* "His ita dictis fuimus admodum anxii, sed cum videremus 
aliter fieri non posse, et quod scandalum esset hinc recedere 
obedientia non r prestita, deliberavimus obedientiam ipsam prestare 
ac delude petitiones prosequi, cum secus fieri non posset." /Eneas 
Sylvius and Joh. ilinderbach to Frederick III., dated Rome, 1455, 
Sept. 8. Plut., liv., Cod. 19, f. 6 4 1>67. Laurentian Library at 
Florence, now published by Cugnoni (121 et scy.~), from a manu 
script in the Chigi Library. 

t Voigt, Enea Silvio, ii., 161. See Gebhardt, n et seq. 

I Details will be found in Voigt, loc. fit., 1 63 et seq. Regarding the 
English embassy to Calixtus III., see Vahien, Value opusc., 6 1, 402. 



THE dangers to the Church and to civilization which 
troubled the latter days of Nicholas V. had assumed yet 
more alarming proportions at the accession of Calixtus III. 
Torn by conflicting interests and internecine feuds, the 
West was ill-fitted to withstand the united and fanatical 
advance of Islam. The disastrous consequences of the fall 
of Constantinople had at once been felt, not only in the 
stagnation of trade with the East, but in the threatened 
hindrance by the Turks of free navigation in the Mediter 
ranean.* Servia and Hungary, Greece, the Christian 
Islands, especially Rhodes, and the Empire of the Comneni 
at Trebizond, were in imminent danger, and the colonies 

* See the letter of Nicholas V. to Ancona, dated Cal. Aug., 
1454, in the Anecd. litt., iv., 254-255 N. " La captivita Constanti- 
nopolitana che fo la ruina quasi de tutti mercanti si cristiani come 
pagani " are the words used in the Cronich. Anconit. di Lazzaro 
Bernabei ed. Ciavarini, i., 178. Ancona suffered so much that 
Calixtus III. repeatedly granted financial help to the city. See 
the *Letter to Ancona, dated 1455, July 13, and *that to the 
" thesaurarius provinc. nostre marchie Anconit.," dated 1456, 
June 12, both of which are in Lib. croc, parv., f. $b and 6b. 
Archives at Ancona. 



in the Black Sea were almost lost. Mahomet II. was him 
self unremitting in his efforts to extend his dominion. 

Nevertheless, the leading Princes and States of Europe, 
with scarcely an exception, displayed the most deplorable 
indifference to the welfare of Christendom. So o-rievous 


were their dissensions, and such the decay of zeal and 
heroism, that not one could rise above individual interests 
and animosities to gather round the banner of the Cross. 
The Holy See alone truly apprehended the importance of 
the situation, and while all others were swayed by selfish 
considerations, again showed itself to be the most universal 
and most conservative power on earth. 

"With her traditional wisdom, Rome appreciated the 
magnitude of the danger which menaced the Western 
world and its civilization. She also perceived that this 
victory of the infidel, like the loss in former days of the 
Holy Sepulchre, might be a means of reviving the zeal and 
loyalty of the faithful, and thus lead to further progress in 
the work of restoration already begun.* The greater the 
spirit of dissension in the political and ecclesiastical sphere 
the more did it behove the Holy See to devote itself to the 
common interest. 

Calixtus III. was the man of all others to give a new and 
powerful impulse to the crusade. His duty and his inclina 
tion were in this matter identical. From the beginning to 
the end of his Pontificate, in public and in private, in his 
letters to Christian princes and prelates, and in his solemn 
Bulls addressed to all Christian people, he declared that he 
looked upon the defence of Christendom as the main object 
of his life. The crusade against the hereditary foe of the 
Christian name was the point upon which all his powers 
and efforts were concentrated. 

Ihe new Pope resolved to inaugurate his reign by a 
* See Droysen, ii., i, 154. 


solemn vow which bound him to sacrifice everything the 
treasures of the Church and, if necessary, his own life in 
order to repel Islam and recover Constantinople. The 
words of this vow, copies of which were circulated in almost 
all countries to the joy and edification of the good, have 
been handed down to us. They are as follows : " I, Pope 
Calixtus III., promise and vow to the Holy Trinity, Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, to the Ever-Virgin Mother of God, to 
the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the heavenly 
host, that I will do everything in my power, even, if need 
be, with the sacrifice of my life, aided by the counsel of my 
worthy brethren, to reconquer Constantinople, which in 
punishment for the sin of man has been taken and ruined 
by Mahomet II., the son of the devil and the enemy of 
our Crucified Redeemer. Further, I vow to deliver the 
Christians languishing in slavery, to exalt the true Faith 
and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and 
faithless Mahomet in the East. For there the light of Faith 
is almost completely extinguished. If I forget thee, O 
Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. Let my tongue 
cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee. If I make 
not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy, God and His holy 
Gospel help me. Amen."* 

* The vow has been often printed, in Cochlaeus, Hist. Hussit., i, 
xi. ; d Achery, Spicil., iii., 797 ; Raynaldus ad an. 1455, N. 18 ; 
Ezovius, xvii., 137; Wadding, xii., 245; Leibniz, Cod. jur. gent., 
i., 411, and others. It also occurs in Chronicles ; see L. Boninc. 
Annal., 158. According to Platina (727) and others, Calixtus even 
before his election made this vow, using his Papal name by antici. 
pation ; but this is very] improbable. St. Antoninus would surely 
have mentioned it in his discourse, instead of which he says : 
" Quia vero ad hoc efficiendum beatitudo tua a principio suae 
creationis voto solemni se Deo dicavit," and the Pope himself, in 
his letter to the King of Ethiopia, says : " Antequam de conclave 
recederemus, votum emisimus." Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 45 


With the resolute tenacity of a Spaniard, the aged Calix- 
tus laboured unremittingly to accomplish his vow. 

Seven centuries of warfare with the Moors had left an 
indelible impress on the Spanish national character. The 
crusades form an episode in the history of other nations, 
but the very existence of the Spanish race was a perpetual 
crusade; and one consequence of this state of things was 
the development of a high-souled enthusiasm, which led each 
individual to look on himself as one of a chosen race, and 
especially called to be a champion of Christendom.* That 
spirit of religious chivalry which in other European coun 
tries had long since given place to more material views, or 
else degenerated into lawless feuds still flourished in Spain. 
Like thousands of his fellow-countrymen, Calixtus III. had 
from his earliest days imbibed sentiments of deadly hatred 
for the mortal enemy of the Christian name, and after his 
elevation to the highest dignity in Christendom he deemed 
it his first duty to combat that foe. The repeated declara 
tions in his writings that, next to the attainment of ever 
lasting life, he desired nothing so ardently as the accom 
plishment of his vow regarding the deliverance of Constan 
tinople, were no mere figure of speech. f He wished to make 
the most ample reparation for the shortcomings of his un- 

(similar expressions occur in other letters, see Ibid., ad an. 1455, 
X. 24-25), and on the 2Oth April, 1455, the *Signoria of Venice 
wrote to Cardinal Barbo : " Post hec alias litteras R " c V. P. 
accepimus die x. prajsentis cum copia illis inscrta voti per S. 
Pontificem novissime faeti. Ea omnia nobis profecto fuere gratis- 
sima." Senatus Secret., xx., 59. State Archives at Venice. 

* Dollinger, Academical discourse on the political and religious 
development of Spain, published in the " Allgem. Zeitung " (1884), 
App. No. 210. See Macaulay, 19. 

\ Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 8; 1457, N. 7, 12, 50; 1458, N. 
35. See the *Erief to the Doge P. Campofregoso, dated 1457, 
May 10, Lib. brev. 7, f. 89-90. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


v:arlike predecessors, and as we read his fervent words we 
feel that years had done nothing to quell his ardent Spanish 
leuv.erament. The union of Western Christendom against 
the power of Islam, the succour of imperilled Hungary, and 
thf. construction and equipment of a Papal fleet were the 
objects to be accomplished within the shortest possible 
hpace of time. With an energy which seemed to defy the 
advance of age, the Pope at once began to deal with the 
matter in all its aspects.* 

The history of the Papal power was materially affected 
by the action of Calixtus. The Papacy under Eugenius 
IV. had been engrossed by Italian politics and contests 
with the Councils, and under Nicholas V. it had been 
absorbed in literary and artistic interests. Now under 
Calixtus III. it seemed to be roused to remorse by the fall 
of Constantinople, and, as in the days of Urban II., to 
realize the magnitude of the Eastern problem, whose solu 
tion might be the means of endowing it with fresh vigour. t 
The warlike zeal and indomitable resolution displayed by 
Calixtus III., notwithstanding his age and infirmities, J is 
justly characterized by ecclesiastical annalists as marvel 
lous^ "The Pope," writes Gabriel of Verona, "speaks 
and thinks of nothing but the crusade." For whole hours 
he used to converse with the Minorites on the subject, 
which seemed to him to surpass all others in importance. 

* Voigt, Enea Silvio, i., 174- 

f Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 144. 

+ Even on the 2nd October, 1456, Nicodemus informed Fr. 
Sforza that the condition of the Pope was such that he might die 
any day. *Despatch from Florence of this date. Secret Archives 
at Milan, Pot. Est. ; Firenze, i. 

Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. i. See also regarding the feeble 
state of the Pope, Vespasiano da Bisticci, Card. Capranica, 6 
(Mai, Spicil., i., 191). 


" Other affairs/ says the historian, " he despatches with a 
word, but he treats and speaks of the crusade continually."* 

On the 1 5th May, 1455, Calixtus published a solemn 
Bull, by which all the graces and indulgences granted by 
Nicholas V. on the 3oth September 1454, to those who 
should take part in the crusade, were confirmed, and all 
other indulgences published since the Council of Constance 
repealed. New regulations were made concerning the 
tithes to be devoted to the war, and the ist March of the 
following year was appointed as the day for the departure 
of the expedition against the common foe- of Christendom. f 

In order to restore unity among the Christian princes, 
and to incite them to hostilities against the Turks, the 
Pope determined to send special legates to the principal 
countries of Christendom. The Cardinal Archbishop of 
Gran, Dionysius S/.echy, was appointed to Hungary; the 
indefatigable Cardinal Carvajal to Germany, Hungary, and 
Poland ;l Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa to England and 
Germany ; and Cardinal Alain to France. On the Sih 
September Calixtus III. personally conferred the cross on 

* "Wadding, xii., 2 go. 

f The Bull, " Ad summi apostolatus apiccm," is given in part in 
Raynaldus ad. an. 1455, ^- I ^> aml fu!I y in the *Regesten dcs 
papstl. Gehcim. Archivs, 436, f. 163-165 (in the margin, Biondus). 

J The Brief nominating D. Szt-chy is in Raynaldus ad an. 1455, 
N. 25, and Theiner, ]\Ion. Ung., ii., 277-278. The latter passage 
also gives (278-279) Carvajal s appointment as legate to Germany 
and Hungary. Regarding the extension of his legation to Poland, 
see Raynaldus ad an. 1455, N. 26, and Theiner, Mon. Pol., ii., 
103. See in *Regest., 442, f. 245 et seq., the numerous faculties 
for Carvajal, d.d. 1455, xviii. et xvii., Cal. Octob., and 1456, iii., 
Non. Mai. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

Raynaldus ad an. 1455, N. 27; 1435, viii., Id. Sept.: 
"Nicolao tit. S. Petri in vine, conceditur coiamissio super decima 
colligcnda in partibus Germanic." Regest., 438, f. 217. Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. 



Cardinals Alain and Carvajal, and on the Archbishop Urrea 
of Tarragona, who was to hasten with a naval force to the 
relief of the hard-pressed Christian islands in the /Egean 
and Ionian waters.* This solemn ceremony was performed 
at St. Peter s. This was indeed fitting, as the place 
hallowed by the remains of him whom our Lord had made 
the rock and foundation of His Church. It was the scene 
of all the most important actions of the Popes, and as such 
it was also to witness a deed whose effects were destined 
to embrace the whole of Christendom.t The Pope, as we 
learn from the Bishop of Pavia, manifested the greatest 
devotion on this occasion, and shed many tears. Calixtus 
III., he adds, is most eager to combat the Turks ; anyone, 
who places obstacles in his way, is guilty of a great sin.+ 
As early as September iyth Alain entered on his office as 
leo-ate,<S and a week later Carvajal left the Eternal City on 

& 5 

his way to the North. || Nicholas of Cusa apparently did 
not undertake the journey to England, for the negotiations 
with the Duke of Tyrol prove that he spent the whole of 
the year 1455 in his diocese of Brixen. 

The deplorable issue of the Diet summoned in the time 
of Nicholas V. to deal with the Turkish question determined 

* Raynaldus an an. 1455, N. 28. 

t Hiirter, Innocenz III., i., 3rd ed., 95. 

\ *Letter from the Bishop of Pavia to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome 
1455, September 9 (Appendix No. 35). State Archives, Milan. 

Raynaldus (ad an. 1456, N. i) erroneously gives the year 
1456 as that of the commencement of Alain s mission. Regard 
ing the Cardinal s departure, see the *Despatch of Nicodemus 
to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 145 5. September 17. State 
Archives, Milan, Cart, gen, and *Acta consistorialia. See the 
Letter to Cologne from the Archives of that City in Appendix 

|j *Acta consistorialia (see Vol. i., Appendix No. 16) in the 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


Calixtus III. to renounce the idea of any assembly of the 
kind, and to endeavour to deal directly with the individual 
potentates. He accordingly sent to the lesser European 
Princes and States, bishops, prelates, or monks who were 
to treat with the chief persons of the country regarding 
tithes, to call upon the people to contribute, to take part 
in the expedition, and to pray earnestly for the success of 
the Christian arms. lie granted at the same time ample 
indulgences to those who should thus assist in the holy 
work. Anyone who has had the opportunity of looking 
through the thirty-eight thick volumes in the Secret 
Archives of the Vatican which contain the acts of Calixtus 
III. s short Pontificate* must be amazed at the immense 
energy manifested by the aged and sickly Pontiff. 

* Regest. De curia, Vol. 436-453. Secret., Vol. 454-464. 
Officior, 465-467. The Secret Archives of the Vatican of the 
time of Calixtus III. also contain in the Arm. xxix. a yellow 
leather book, bearing on its back the inscription: " Calixt. III., 
Divers. Cam., 1455, a ^ J 45S> T. 2 $" ( m tne volume are these 
words: " Calixti III., Diversor. ann. 1455, a ^ i45S>" lib. i., n. 
2008) ; in Arm. xxxi., T. S : " Diversor. Calixti III., I ii II., et 
Pauli II.," a thick volume of copies from the Regesta, and T. 59, 
a small volume of 83 pages, also containing copies, but only of 
Calixtus III.; in Arm. xxxix. two most important " Registra 
Brevium," T. 7 and 8 (cited by me as lib. brev., 7 and S ; see the 
detailed description of these volumes by F. Kaltenbrunner in the 
" Mittheil " [1884], p. 83) ; finally, a folio volume containing a 
transcript of Briefs and Bulls on the Oriental question from the 
time of Innocent III. to that of Leo X., which has no determined 
position. This volume bears the number 104, followed by the 
inscription " Pontif. bullx pro subsidio Terroe sanctoe et de bello 
Turcis inferendo," and below, the number 12. To these 38 volumes 
of the Secret Archives of the Vatican we must add two now preserved 
in the Roman State Archives (Tesoro Pontificio, Mandati), the first 
of which is entitled "Diversor. Calixti III., 1455, ad 1456, Sec. 
Carm.," and begins with the words : " In nomine domini. Amen." 


Special envoys were despatched, not merely to the larger 
Italian States, such as Naples, Florence, and Venice, but 
also to the smaller Republics and cities, and to the islands 
of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. In the Regesta of 
Calixtus III. we, moreover, find records of the appointment 
of preachers of the crusade and of tithe collectors for the 
several provinces of Spain and Germany, for Portugal, 
Poland, Dalmatia, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, and an 
ambassador was sent even to Ireland and to the distant 
shores of Scotland.* 

Most of these envoys were chosen from among the 
Observantine Friars, who, as mendicants and as brethren 
of St. John Capistran, enjoyed the confidence of the people 
to a remarkable degree. The names of San Jacopo della 
Marca, of Roberto da Lecce, and of Antonio de Monte- 
falcone, on whom the cardinals in conclave had for a 

The second of these volumes has the superscription : " Bulletar. 
Calixti de anno 2" (179 written pages, with some blank places). 
These 40 volumes belonging to the brief reign of Calixtus III. are, 
however, far from containing all the acts of the Pontiff. It is 
evident from the description of Amati in the Arch. Stor. Ital., 
Series 3, iii., 181, that other volumes formerly existed in the Papal 
Archives. According to private accounts a number of volumes of 
the acts of Calixtus III. were lately discovered in the Archives of 
the Lateran, which for some time have been in course of rearrange 

* See for example *Regest. 43 8 > f - 2 5 J : "Mag. Birgerius con- 
stituitur nuntius et collector decimarum in regno Suetie, 1455, 
s. d." He received Faculties, 1455, duodec. Cal. Octob., 442, 
f. 43. Two Collectors " in regno Scocie ac ducat. Cleven. et 
Geldrie necnon comit. Holandie et Zelandie" are nominated 1456, 
duodec. Cal. Mai. A 2, 447> f- 335 Faculties for "Marino de 
Fregeno subdiac. Parmen. dioc. jur. can. perito in Norvegie, Dacie 
et Suecie regnis cum suis adherentiis, etc., nuntio et collector! 
nostro." See also Theiner, Mon. Hib. et Scot. (Romse, 1864), 
402-404, 405-406. 


moment fixed their attention, are worthy of special 
mention.* But other Orders were also called upon by the 
Pope to assist in the work he had at heart. Heinrich 
Kalteisen, a Dominican from the Rhenish province, who had 
already given proof of his zeal at the Council of Basle, and 
whom Nicholas V. had appointed Archbishop of Drontheim,t 
laboured in Germany, preaching in Vienna, Ratisbon, 
Augsburg, Eichstadt, Nuremberg, and finally in his own 
Rhenish home, and had the honour of receiving a BriefJ of 
special commendation from the Pope. 

Another instance of the extent to which the; Pope claimed 
the assistance of the religious orders in the matter of the 
crusade against the infidels is to be found in the command 
addressed on the 4th May, 1456, to the General and 
Provincials of the Augustinians, whereby he required them, 
under pain of excommunication, to immediately detain all 
the preachers of the Order, to give up all other undertakings, 
and to devote themselves entirely to preaching the crusade. 

* See Wadding-, xii., 324, N. 329; xiii., 14. Cf. Arch. stor. 
Nap., vii., fasc. i. *Amhomus tie Montefalco ord. min. con- 
stittiitur collector decline in episcop. Perus., civil. Castelke, etc. 
D. Pi id. Gal. Oclob. A i, Re-est. 438, f. 193. Secret Archives 
of the Vatican. 

f In reference to Kalteisen, see Kchard, i., 828 ct scq. Bull ord. 
prccd., iii., 122, 2-joetsf,]., 239^ *?./., 336. J. Wegeler, Beriihmte 
Coblenzer (Gobi., 1865), 73. L. Daae, Kong Christian den Forstes 
Norske Historic (Christiania, 1879), 98 et se<j. Interesting notes 
left by Kalteisen are preserved in the Library of the Gymnasium at 
Coblenz (see Dronke s Progr. Coblenz, 1832;, and in the University 
Library at Bonn, God. 326 and 327. See sujra, p. 20, note . 

J See Speyerische Chronik, i., 406, 412. Gemeiner, Regensb. 
Chronik, iii., 246 et scq. Deutsche Sliidtechron., iii., 4^8 ; x., 
215. Voigt, ii., 200. The *Brief s. d. in lib. brev. 7, f. 57. 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

See in Appendix No. 39 the Papal Decree from lib. brev. 7, 
f. 9 b -io. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

VOL. n. A A 


The chronicler of Viterbo enables us to form a clear idea 
of the manner in which it was published. " On the 8th 
September," he says, "a Franciscan monk began preaching 
the crusade in the chief square near the fountain. First 
of all he caused drums and fifes to be sounded, and then a 
silver gilt cross with a figure of the Redeemer to be set up ; 
afterwards he brought forth the Pope s Bull and thoroughly 
explained it."* 

Calixtus III. guarded against the abuses which had fre 
quently occurred on former occasions by the most exact 
directions respecting the collection and keeping of the 
tithes to be levied on all ecclesiastics for the Turkish War. 
In the march of Ancona, for example, it was decreed that, 
subject to the advice of the Bishop, one or two collectors 
and treasurers should be appointed for each city, and should 
keep duplicate accounts of the names of the contributors 
and the sums paid. The Papal envoys were empowered to 
inflict the severest ecclesiastical penalties on the refractory, 
and, if necessary, to invoke the secular arm. They were, 
moreover, carefully to examine the preachers and to insist 
upon their explaining the conte-nte and the import of the 
Bull of the crusade. A chest with four locks was to be 
placed in the sacristy of the cathedral to receive the alms ; 
one of the keys of this chest w r as to be kept by the Bishop, 
the second by the Papal Commissioner, the third by the 
two collectors, and the fourth by two notable citizens to be 
chosen by the congregation. A notary was to write down 
the names of the contributors and the amount paid, so that 
everyone might be sure that the funds were devoted 
exclusively to the object of the crusade. f 

* Niccola della Tuctia, 243. See the account of the preaching 
at Bologna in the Cronica di Bologna, 718. 

t See the ** Brief of Calixtus III. to the Dominican Giovanni 
de Curte, dated 1455, Sept. i. Reg. 438, f. 59-61. Secret 


Nevertheless, as nothing human is perfect, serious abuses 
occurred. Some of the collectors retained the funds 
entrusted to them ; false collectors arose, as they had done 
in the time of Nicholas V., and cheated the people out of their 
money. Calixtus III., when informed of these malpractices, 
lost no time in proceeding against the offenders, yet it was 
impossible for him entirely to avert the discredit brought 
upon the whole enterprise in many cases by their mis 

Not content, however, with causing collections to be 
made in every country for the expenses of the Holy \Yar, 
the Pope, like a true Spaniard, determined to devote all 
the pecuniary and military resources at his disposal to the 
same object. 

He accordingly did not hesitate to alienate jewels from 
the Papal treasure and even Church property in order to 
provide the means required for warlike preparations.! The 

Archives of the Vatican. I saw in the Archives of Ferrara in lib. 
delib. II., f. 252!), the * Decree of the 6th October, 1455, by which 
two keepers of the alms for the crusade were nominated. 

* A * Brief to the Bishop of Arezzo deals with the misappropria 
tion of the alms for the crusade by a priest of that city. Lib. brev. 
7, f. 54. See Jbid., f. 73-74!), the Brief to Pontius Fenollet, dated 
1457, March 26, and f. 132^133!;) to Cardinal Scarampo, dated 
1457, Dec. 4, in which similar defalcations are mentioned. See 
also Vigna, vi., 698 et scq., 738-740. On the ijth July, 1457, the 
Bishop of Feltre received orders to proceed against an impostor 
who was going through Austria as a preacher of the cru.sade. 
Lib. brev., 8, f. 76-78. 

f Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 49. The Pope repeatedly speaks 
of the alienation of Church property which he had made. See 
*Briefs to Cardinal Alain, dated 1456, Nov. 8; to Philip of 
Burgundy, s.d. ; to Charles VII. of France, dated 1456, Nov. 6, and 
to the Archbishop of Milan, dated 1457, Feb. 15. Lib. brev., 7, f. 
40, 42!), 52, 63. Secret Archives of the Vatican. See also the 
account of the sale of the castles of Giulianello, Vallerano, 


long list of gold and silver plate bought by the art-loving 
King Alfonso of Naples from the Pope in the year 1456 is 
still extant, and mentions gilt amphorae and cups, a silver 
wine cooler, a table service for confectionery, and also a 
tabernacle with figures of the Saviour and of St. Thomas, 
chalices and instruments of the pax.* It is easy to under 
stand that such a Pontiff lost little time in dismissing the 
needy men of letters and most of the artists and craftsmen 
who had been constantly employed by his predecessor. 
Those whom he still retained in his service were required to 
labour in the cause of the crusade. The painters and 
embroiderers had to devote their skill exclusively to the 
fabrication of banners, and the sculptors to that of stone 

We can hardly wonder that the records of this Pontificate 
do not speak of any new buildings of importance. In 
Rome, however, the erection of fortifications was not alto 
gether discontinued, and the works commenced by Nicholas 
V. at the Ponte Molle, the Castle of St. Angelo, and on the 
walls of the city were continued. f A medal of this period 
represents the Eternal City surrounded with great fortifica 
tions. But the ramparts of the Vatican seem to have been 
left as they were, and the Tribune of St. Peter s to have 
remained a ruin rising scarcely twenty feet above the 
ground. In vain did the Poet Giuseppe Brippi conjure 

Carbognano, etc. (Morichini, 121), for twelve thousand golden 
florins in Cod. Vatic., 9835, f. ^etscq. of the Vatican Library, 
which may be supplemented by Acts in the Archives of S to Spirito. 

* Miintz, i., 208-209. Kinkel, N. 209. See *Calixti diversor. 
T. 28, f. 175. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

f " Scientius Jacobi Vannutii constituitur suprastans et revisor 
murorum urbis " D. 1455, Octov. Cal. Jan. A i. Reg. 465, f. 
138. Secret Archives of the Vatican. Sec Guglielmotti, Fortifi- 
cazioni, 23 et seq. 


the Pope to continue the building of St. Peter s.* 
He merely placed a new organ in the church, restored 
the windows, and repaired the circular chapel of St. 

The architects who always found a welcome from 
Calixtus III. were military engineers and ship-builders, and 
he willingly expended the treasure of the Church in 
remunerating their labours. Although the great projects of 
his predecessor remained in abeyance, the Pope caused 
some works to be undertaken in those churches of the 
Eternal City for which he felt some special attraction. f He 
was not in reality indifferent to the state of the public 
buildings, but the war against the infidel absorbed his 
attention almost to the exclusion of every other subject, j 
A Bull is still extant in which severe penalties are pro 
nounced against the robbers who were in the habit of 

* Jos. Bripius, "Ad sanctissimum dom. nostr. papam Caiixtum 
tertium," etc., f. 12; " Exhortatio ad complendum mirabilcm 
capellam ecclesia? S. Petri." CoJ. 361 of the Riccardi Library at 
Florence. This MS. (of fourteen pages) -a beautiful renaissance 
codex with miniatures and the arms of the Borgia family is pro 
bably the very copy presented to the Pope. 

f Mfmtz, i., 192-210. Kinkel, N. 209. See also Rasponus, 
93, and Bertolotti, Artisti Lomb., i., 18 et seg. Two *Orders 
issued by Cardinal Scarampo, dated 1455, June 16, and 1456, May 
24, deal with the cleansing and improvement of the Roman streets. 
*Calixti divers., T. 28, f. 31 and 155. Secret Archives of the 
Vatican. We may further add that Calixtus III. also interested 
himself in the restoration of the church of San Lorenzo fuori ie 
mura; sec *Reg. 453, f. 360, and *Cod. Vat., 7871, f. 55 b. 
Vatican Library. 

I In granting an Indulgence to those who should assist in the 
restoration of St. Mark s, the Pope plainly declared that warlike 
preparations against the Turks rendered it impossible for him to 
spend money on bull Jin-. *Reg. 452, f. 40. Secret Archives of 
the Vatican. 


removing stones and ornaments from the churches of 

Calixtus III., however, took no interest in an antiquarian 
discovery made in July, 1458. In preparing the grave 
of a Penitentiary in the Church of St. Petronilla, adjoining 
St. Peter s, a great marble sarcophagus was brought to 
light, which contained a large coffin and one for a child, 
both made of cypress wood and lined with silver. These 
coffins were so heavy that six men could with difficulty 
carry them. The bodies, which had been wrapped in rich, 
gold-embroidered, silken fabrics, crumbled away when ex 
posed to the air. As no inscription was found, many con 
jectures were made ; some believed the remains to be those 
of the Emperor Constantine or of his son. Calixtus III. had 
the coffins removed, and the gold of the embroidery, worth 
about a thousand ducats, was, by his desire, sent to the Mint 
to be made available for the Turkish war. Contemporary 
writers mention the circumstance witnout a word of dis 
approval ;t a century later the destruction of such a treasure 
would have elicited expressions of indignant protest. 

It was the intention of the Pope to attack the Turks at 
once, both by land and sea, and by this combined assault 
he expected to recover possession of Constantinople. He 
mainly relied for the land forces on Duke Philip of Bur 
gundy, who ruled the richest and most important countries 
of Western Europe. He had received the Cross from the 
hands of a Papal envoy, and accordingly had been favoured, 
as in the time of Nicholas V., with the grant of a plenary 
indulgence for his companions in arms, a tax on all reserved 

* Bull, "Quoniam multiplicata est." Regest., 447, f. 36. 
Published in Bull. Vatic., ii., 156-157. 

t See, in Appendix No. 51, the report of the discovery, dated 24 
June, 1458, taken from the original in the Ambrosian Library at 
Milan, and Niccola della Tuccia, 256. 


benefices, a tiihe of the ecclesiastical revenues in his 
territory, and other privileges.* Moreover, in order 
that he might devote himself without distraction to 
the crusade, the Pope, in July, 1455, confirmed the 
peace which had been concluded between Burgundy and 

France. t 

As no dependence could be placed on Venice, King 
Alfonso of Naples^ seemed pointed out as the leader of the 
attack by sea. His sway extended over Naples, Sicily, 
Sardinia, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic 
Isles ; in fact, with the exception of Corsica which be 
longed to the Genoese, he commanded all the western 
portion of the Mediterranean, and could have done more 
than any other Western Prince to stay the advance of the 
Turks. Accordingly the Pope spared no effort to induce 
him to take part in the expedition, and the intimate rela 
tions, which had subsisted between them, gave good grounds 
for expecting his hearty co-operation. The monarch was 
lavish of fair promises and begged the Pope to allow him 
to be invested with the Cross. Calixtus III. gladly con 
sented, and the ceremony was performed with great solem 
nity on All Saints Day, 1455. Many of his nobles and 

* Voigt, ii., 176. Raynaklus ad an. 145 5 x - 3 r - The * Buli 
containing the " Confirmatio super litteris fe. re. Nicolai pap. v. 
concerncntibus cruciatiam in favorem ducis Burgundie concessis" 
begins with the words " In sacra," and is dated Romx>, I455> ni - 
Cal Jan. (30 Dec.), A i, Regest., 45 6 > f - l i c * st l- Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. 

f *" Calixtus III., archiepiscopis Bisuntinen, et Cameracen, et 
Lausannen necnon Basil, episcopis," d.d. 1455, prid. Non. J-ul. (6 
July), A i. Regest., 454, f. 172^175. Secret Archives of the 

J See Sanudo, 1159, and the **Answers of the Republic to Car 
dinal Carvajal of the i2th Sept. and i2th Oct., 1455. Scnatus 
Secreta, xx., 70-71. State Archives at Venice. 


barons also took the Cross on this occasion,* and the hopes 
of the Pontiff rose high, soon however to be blighted by the 
troubles which Jacopo Piccinino excited in Central Italy. 

Deprived of his livelihood by the peace of Lodi in 1455, 
this Condottiere had threatened Bologna and the Romagna. 
The Duke of Milan, however, by sending an army of four 
thousand men into the field, had made it evident that in 
surrection in these quarters would not be tolerated, and 
Piccinino crossed the Appenines and directed his course 
towards Siena. This Republic had in the last war been 
hostile to Florence and Venice, and had also offended King 
Alfonso of Naples. f These circumstances emboldened 
Piccinino to advance against the Sienese, who at once 
appealed to all the powers who had joined the league, and 
more especially to the Pope, imploring assistance. Calixtus 
granted their request all the more willingly because the 
renewal of hostilities in Central Italy would necessarily have 
hindered his preparations for the crusade. In June, 1456, 
he informed the Venetian ambassadors that he would offer 
the same resistance to Piccinino as to the Turks, and would 
make an example of him, deeming the maintenance of peace 
in Italy to be a matter equal in importance to the defence 
of the Christian faith, and, indeed, inseparable from it. J In 

* See Raynaldus ad an. 1455, N. 30, and the autograph *letter 
of /Eneas Sylvius to Siena, dated Rome, 1455, Nov. 5 : " Allata 
sunt certissima scripta, qua} referunt seren. regem Aragonum cum 
grand! solemnitate in die omnium sanctorum cruccm accepisse 
idemque multi et barones ct nobiles factitarunt, ob quam rem papa 
boni animi est." Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives, 

t E. Rubieri, Fr. Sforza, ii., 305. See L. Banchi s valuable 
treatise, II Piccinino nello stato di Siena, 44 et stq., 47 d seq. 

J **Despatch of Barlolomeo Visconti to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1455, J une 2 9- State Archives, Milan (erroneously given in Pot. 
Est. as Roma, 1461). 


order to protect Siena, he despatched the Papal forces 
\vhich were in readiness to make war upon the Turks. 
Napoleone Orsini, Stefano Colonna, and Deifobo and 
Ascanio, sons of Count Everso of Anguillara, accompanied 
these troops, and their commander was the Sicilian, Giovanni 
Ventimiirlia.* Venice and Florence also declared against 

O O 

Piccinino, and Francesco Sforza desired his generals, 
Roberto di Sanseverino and Corrado Folliano, to start in his 
pursuit. King Alfonso alone remained passive, from which 
it was soon surmised that there was a secret understanding 
between him and the Condottiere. 

The troops of the Duke; of Milan joined those of the 
Pope near the Lake of Thrasymene. Piccinino boldly 
advanced and made an unexpected attack, which at first 
promised to be successful, but Roberto di Sanseverino soon 
rallied his forces and repulsed the enemy, who then fell 
back upon Castiglione clella 1 escaja. This fortress was 
situated between a marshy lake and the sea, and was 
almost impregnable. It belonged to King Alfonso, who 
caused his fleet to convey provisions to Piccinino. t In con 
sequence of this assistance afforded to the Condottiere by 

* *Johanncs comes de Vigintimiliis constituitur capitaneas 
generalis gentium armorum S. D. N. I apc," 1455, xv. Cal. Ju!. 
(17 June), A i. Rcgest., 465, f. 61. On the I4th April, 1455, 
Calixtus III. had given orders " vicariis in temporalibus Rom. 
ecclesie subiectis, ut non permittant transire Jac. Piccininum in 
terras ecclesie." Regest., 436, f. i. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 
See the **Pope s Brief of the nth May, 1455,10 Bologna. The 
original is in the State Archives at Bologna, Q. lib. 3. 

t Bdnchi, II Piccinino, 48 ct seq. In a letter from " Jacobus 
archiepiscopus Ragusanus, exercitus S. D. N. commissarius et 
gubernator," to Fr. Sforza, d.d. ex castris, S. D. N. apucl Borianum, 
1455, Aug. 1*3, Castiglione della Pescaja is described as " inex- 
pugnabile." The support given by Alfonso is also mentioned in 
this letter. Cart. gen. State Archives at P.iilan. 


the King, and of the incapacity and indecision of Giovanni 
Ventimiglia* the war was protracted to a disastrous length. 
This was exactly what the King of Naples desired, for it 
gave him time to place fresh obstacles in the way of the 
projected campaign against the Turks, and involved 
Calixtus III. and his allies in great expense. f Yet the 
Pope seems to have hoped that the influence of their 
ancient friendship would have enabled him to persuade 
Alfonso to second his efforts for the defence of Christendom. 
The King s pretensions on behalf of Piccinino were, how 
ever, little calculated to encourage such hopes. He 
required that the Italian league, into which he had entered, 
should consent to support a common army, and that Picci 
nino should be its general, and be always in readiness to 
resist the Turks. The Italian powers were called upon to 
promise a yearly payment of a hundred thousand florins to 
the army, and quarters for the soldiers. Francesco Sforza 
and Calixtus III. indignantly rejected the proposal that 
Italy should be made tributary to one whom they justly 
regarded as a brigand. J The attempt made by Piccinino 

* See the **Letter of reproof addressed by Calixtus III. to 
Giovanni Ventimiglia, dated Rome, 1455, July 9 (State Archives, 
Milan ; in Pot. Est. the date is erroneously given as Roma, 1461), 
in consequence of which he asked to be dismissed from his post. 
See the *letter already cited from the Archbishop of Ragusa on 
Aug. 13, in which he defends Ventimiglia. " Al prelibato capitaneo 
io non cognosco che in questa impresa di quanto ce e stato facto li 
se possa imponere mancamento alcuno," etc. State Archives, 

t By the end of June, 1456, the war had cost the Pope seventy 
thousand ducats; see the **Despatch of Bartolomeo Visconti, on 
the 2gth June, 1455, which we have already cited. State Archives, 

I Sismondi, x., 36. Banchi, II Piccinino, 52, 56, 58. *Copia 
brevis Calixti III., ad ep. Novarien., d.d. 1455, Julii 26; " latrun- 
culus Jacobus, Dei et hominum inimicus," and *Despatch of 
Jacopo Calcaterra, dat. Rom., 1455, Oc!. 9- State Archives, Milan. 


to burn the papal crusading fleet at Civita Vecchia may 
enable us to estimate his fitness for the command of the 
army destined to make war upon the Turks.* 

Unspeakable mischief was done to the Sienese by the 
petty warfare which Piccinino waged against them,f and 
their hardships were increased when, in the October oi 
M55> h e to k possession of their port of Orbitello, and 
from its plunder derived means to maintain himself for a 
season. J In despair they determined on sending an 
ambassador to the Court of King Alfonso, Ih source of 
all their troubles. But no agreement was arrived at, and 
early in April, 1456, a fresh embassy, consisting of Galgano 
Borghese, Leonardo Benvoglienti, and /Eneas Sylvius, pro 
ceeded to Naples. Just at this time an open breach between 
Alfonso and the Pope seemed imminent. The King had 
been informed that Calixtus had on Maundy Thursday pro 
nounced a sentence of excommunication against Piccinino, 
his partisans and protectors, and, enraged by these tidings, 
Alfonso had declared that he would have all the Pope s 
relations banished from his dominions. He also sent sub 
sidies to Piccinino s adherents. He was satisfied, however, 
when it was pointed out to him that those who took arms 
against the Church had been excommunicated by previous 


Popes since the days of Martin V, and that the action of 
Calixtus in this matter was nothing new. 

* Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 6. The Genoese ships were also 
attacked by Piccinino ; see Vigna, vi., 628-629. 

f Banchi, II Piccinino, 233. See the *Despatch of Nicodemus 
of Pontremoli to Lucca, dated Siena, 1456, March iSth, in which, 
however, the opinion is expressed that Piccinino would come off 
worst in the end. State Archives at Lucca (Lettere orig., N. 444). 

J Niccola della Tuccia, 244. Banchi, II Piccinino, 235 et seq. 

See *Despatches of Ant. de Trczzo to Fr. Sforza, dated 
Naples, 1456, April 2 and 7. Fonds, 1587, f. 115-116 of the 
National Library, Paris. The *" Excommunicate lata in die Jovis 


This cause of discord having been set at rest n 
tions were resumed, and on the 3ist May were at last 
concluded. The following were the conditions of peace: 
Piccinino was to give up the places he had conquered, to 
evacuate Tuscany and retire into the domains of his patron 
Alfonso; the States of the League were to pay fifty 
thousand florins for the maintenance of his army, Alfonso 
undertaking to furnish a fifth part of this sum. The 
arrangement of details was confided to the Pope;" who 
desired that twenty thousand florins should be paid out of 
the apostolic treasury; and Siena was to contribute a like 
amount. The admonitory briefs of Calixtus IH.f preserved 
in its State Archives, bear witness to the dilatory dis 
charge of this obligation by the exhausted city. Piccinino 
did not leave Orbitello until constrained to do so by Kino- 

J 5 

Alfonso in September, 1456, fifteen months after his dis 
graceful inroad into the territory of the unfortunate 
Sienese,J who now sent Bishop Alessio de Cesari of 
Chiusi as their ambassador to Rome to thank the Pope 

for the great services which he had rendered them durino- 


the continuance of the war. 

sancta," 1456, viii. Cal. April, in Regest., 441, f. 202. Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. 

* Banchi, II Piccinino, 244. 

t *Calixlus III. to Siena, dated Rome, 1456, Oct. 18, Nov. 17 
and 23. State Archives, Siena. See Banchi, loc. at. 245. 

% In the Regest., 458, f. 3, Secret Archives of the Vatican, I 
found the " Littera passus " for Piccinino, d.d. 1456, v. Non. Jul. 
Nicodemus of Pontre-moli in a Despatch to Lucca, dated Siena, 
1456, Sept. 19, also says that Piccinino most reluctantly withdrew 
into Alfonso s kingdom. Lett, orig., N. 444, in the State Archives 
at Lucca. 

Banchi, loc. cit.\ ibid., 225, with regard to the picture of 
Sano di Pietro, preserved in the collection of the Istituto di Belle 
Arti in Siena, which has reference to the liberality of Calixtus III. 
towards Siena. 


Another circumstance which occurred in the first year of 
his Pontificate caused the Pope even greater distress than 
that occasioned by this war in Central Italy. In September, 
1455, nc h a d entrusted to Archbishop Pietro Urrea of 
Tarragona, Antonio Olzina, and Antonio de Frescobaldis 
the command of the vessels destined for the relief of the 
Christian islands in the /Egean Sea, which were at this time 
harassed by the Turkish fleet.* The traitors, however, 
instead of employing the vessels which had been procured 
with money collected for the crusade in operations against 
the Turks, combined with King Alfonso s fleet, commanded 
by Villamarina, attacked the Genoese, devastated their 
coast, t and waged war with the ships of other Christian 
powers. * As soon as the first faint rumour of these events 
reached the ears of the Pope he at once despatched letters 
of urgent remonstrance to King Alfonso. " If onlv a feu- 
Christian galleys had shown themselves in the neighbour 
hood of Ragusa," wrote the justly incensed Pontiff to his 

* See supra, p. 350. *Rcgcst., 43^, f. 104: "Antonio Olzina, 
duarum galearum patrono, militi S. Jacobi de Spata contra 
Turchos destinato conceditur littera passim," M55. x- Cal. Jan. 
(23rd May) ; ibid., f. $Sb : " Antonio de FicscobaKlis, priori Pisar., 
assignantur pecunix camera? ap riu debitce pro rebus nccessariis ad 
r.rmandum 4 galeas ct unani navim in portu Pisano," 1455, - 
Non. Mai (4th May). Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

j Raynaldus is mistaken in asserting that these troubles broke 
out in the year 1455- The **Letter of Pietro de Campofregoso to 
Fr. Sforza, dated Genoa, 1456, July ijth, proves that they took 
place in the latter year. State Archives, Milan. Poi. Est., 

J As, for example, the Venetians. Sec the *Lctter of the 
Signoria to Barbono Morosini, their ambassador at Rome, dated 
1456, May 25th. Senatus Secreta, xx., f. gzb. State Archives, 

See **the Brief of Calixtus III. to Genoa, dated Rome, 1456, 
s.d., Lib. brev., 7, f. 24b. State Archives, Venice. 


ambassadors at Naples, " the Hungarians would have taken 
fresh courage. As it is they hear nothing of our fleet, and 
break forth into bitter complaints. Oh, traitors ! your 
ships might have discomfited the Turks, raised up the 
Christians of the East, and delivered Hungary from the 
clanger which threatens her. Instead of this, you have 
shamefully betrayed us with the help of our own money. 
The vengeance of God and of the Holy See will surely 
overtake you ! Alfonso, King of Aragon, help Pope 
Calixtus ! If you refuse, you will incur the wrath of 
heaven ! "* The Pope then issued orders removing Urrea 
and his accomplices from their posts, and entrusted the 
execution of the sentence to Cardinal Scarampo, who was 
nominated Admiral of the Fleet. f 

* Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 12. The letter from which the 
above extract is taken is addressed to Jacopo Perpinya, and unfor 
tunately bears no date. Lib. brev., 7, f. 6-6b. Secret Archives of 
the Vatican. 

f For the *Bull of deposition preserved in duplicate in the 
Regesta, see Appendix No. 38. In an undated *Letter to Cardinal 
Scarampo the Pope gives him permission to remove Urrea and 
Olzina : "a te vocandi et ut personaliter veniant cogendi et pre- 
fatos archiepiscopum et Antonium ac ceteros patrones vel sub 
stitutes ab eis si videris expedire a regiminis administratione et 
officiis per nos sibi commissis privandi et amovendi, sicuti nos 
harum serie et alias per nostras patentes litteras ab eisdem officiis, 
capitaneatu, admiratu, patronatu, regimine et administratione 
galearum et aliorum navigiorum amovemus et privamus." At the 
same time authority was given to Scarampo to appoint others to 
the vacant posts. Lib. brev., 7, f. 2ib. In the Regest., 458, f. 
68b-69, the document empowering him to remove the offenders is 
dated 1456, vii. Id. Jul. (gth July), A 2. It is difficult to under 
stand the subsequent leniency of the Pope towards these traitors. 
On the 1 8th August, 1456, Calixtus III. wrote to Scarampo that 
he had certainly issued the above Bull against Urrea and his com 
panions : " Considerata tamen impraesenciarum temporum et 


These disastrous occurrences, however, could not damp 
the courage of the Pope, on the contrary, difficulties only 
increased his zeal for the holy cause. The construc 
tion and equipment of a fleet in Rome was the object of 
his efforts, and it is the special glory of this Pope that he 
successfully carried into execution a project which had 
hitherto been scoffed at as hopelessly chimerical.* The 
astonished Romans, who were soon to behold the baptism 
of a Turkish prince (March, 1456)^ suddenly witnessed 
the development of an unwonted activity on the banks of 

ncgociorum qualitate non alienum a nobis videtur, si minus quam 
eorum demerita postulcnt agimus cum eisdem. Volumus igitur 
harumque scric facultatem tibi damns, nt satisfacto per dictum 
archiepiscopum et alios prefatos illis Venetianis, Januensibus ac 
aliis de eisdem querelantibus de pecuniis rebus et bonis, quibus se 
spoliates asserunt, si pro militate classis nostre tibi faciendum 
videbitur, possis cidem archiepiscopo et ceteris salvum conductum 
dare et eos assecurare, ut bene serviendo et operando mala com- 
missa et detestabilia bonis et gratis serviciis compensando ad 
gratiam nostram reduci valeant." Lib. brev., 7, f. 3ib. Olzina 
did not amend, as we learn from a *Brief of Calixtus III. to 
Scarampo, dated 1458, March 15, in which he says: " Antonium 
autem Olzina quid in nos . . . temerarie temptaverit volendo 
pecunias et alia que classi nostre per prefatum Mich, de Borga 
mittebamus auferre, credimus te ex eodem Michaele intellexisse et 
ita cum et ei similes, si venerint in manus tuas, inerita pena 
castiges." Lib. brev., 7, f. 1536. All these letters are in the Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. 

* Voigt, ii., 177. 

t In the *Reichstagsacten, Ansbacher Scric, Vol. v. (also num 
bered as i., embracing the period from 1414-1493), is, f. 6ib, the 
following contemporary notice: * Receptus est unus Turcus de 
stirpe regia cum aliis tribus Turcis secunda post Letare (8th March) 
in ecclesia S. Laurencii in Damaso ad fontem baptismatis, cum 
quibus nepos pape facit solempnitatem ducendo eos de ecclesia ad 
ecclesiam." Formerly in the Royal Archives at Munich, now in the 
Kreisarchiv at Bamberrr. 


the Tiber : docks were constructed at Ripa Grande, and a 
wall for the mooring of the galleys erected at Sto. Spirito. 
In order to hasten as much as possible the completion of 
the naval preparations, the Pope caused carpenters and 
seamen to be brought from Spoleto* and other places. 

Cardinal Lodovico Scarampo was appointed Captain- 
General and Admiral of the Fleet. This warlike and 
wealthy prince of the Church, whose character had much 
in common with that of Vitelleschi. had already ;iven 

J J O 

proof of his military capacity in the time of Eugenius IV. 
Of all the Cardinals, he was perhaps the one best fitted for 
the conduct of this arduous enterprise, but he would have 
preferred remaining in Rome, where he occupied a most 
influential position at Court. This very circumstance, 
however, made the jealous members of the Borgia family 
anxious for his removal, and the Cardinal was finally com 
pelled to depart. f 

Scarampo s appointment as Legate and Admiral of the 
Papal Fleet took place on the lyth December, 1455, and 
was the occasion of magnificent festivities in Rome. A 
further decree then extended his authority as Legate over 
Sicily, Dalmatia, Macedonia, the whole of Greece, the 
Islands of the /Egean Sea, Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, and the 
Asiatic Provinces, and declared that all places which he 
should conquer from the enemy were to be subject to his 

* /En. Sylvius, Europa, c. 58. Guglielmotti, 221-222. 

f Cribellus (57) asserts that the Cardinal declined to leave 
Rome, alleging as his reason the fewness of the ships, and that 
Calixtus III. threatened to proceed against him. I have not found 
any confirmation of this statement in the numerous Despatches of 
Ambassadors of the period. 

J Ra.ynaldus ad an. 1456, X. 13, where, however, the second 
decree is not given. The date of the appointment, which is omitted 
in the Regesta of the Secret Archives of the Vatican, is supplied by 


The arrangements for the construction of the ships of 
war were henceforth chiefly in Scarampo s hands; but a 
commission which had been formed by Nicholas V., and 
consisted of Cardinals Bessarion, d Estouteville, Capranica, 
Orsini, and Barbo, shared his labours.* The Pope s 
anxiety was increased by the frequent arrival of evil 
tidings from the East, and he unceasingly strove to push 
forward the works, and, in addition to the general tithe, 
required from the Cardinals a special contribution towards 
the cost of the fleet. f 

A Register marked with a red cross is preserved in the 
Roman State Archives, and furnishes us with an account 
of the arrangements concerning the sums expended on the 
construction of the fleet in 1455-1456. The insight 
afforded us into the warlike preparations so zealously 
carried on by the Pope is most valuable. The adminis 
trative labours were directed by the Surveyor-General, 
Ambrogio Spannochi, under the control of Cardinal 
Scarampo. From this Register we learn that the work 
was begun in the autumn of 1455, and carried on during 
the whole of the following wintcr.J The cost of the iron, 

Niccola della Tuccia (187) and by the Cardinal s letter winch I 
found in the Gonzaga Archives at Mantua, and have inserted in 
Appendix No. 36. Poggio congratulated Scarampo on his appoint 
ment (lib. iii., ep. 20 [eel. Tonelli]), and so did Genoa (Vigna, vi., 
517), and Venice on the 291)1 December, 1455 (the latter speaks 
of the selection of Scarampo as "facia per Pont. Max. unanimi 
voto et consensu sacri collegii R-*- dominor. cardinaliurn "). 
Senalus Secreta, xx., f. 76. State Archives, Venice. 

* This is evident from a letter addressed by the above-named 
Cardinal to Lodovico de Gonzaga, dated Rome, 1456, Febr. 15. 
Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. 

t Makuscev, i., i, 307. 

} *Mandatapro classe conficienda. Diversor. Calisti III., 1455 
ad. 1456, Sec. Cam., f. 183 et seq. Previously in the Archivio. 

VOL. II. Ba 


pitch, and timber required for ship building is accurately 
entered, as well as the amount spent in the purchase of 
stone and leaden cannon-balls, cross-bows, arrows, morions, 
coats of mail, lances, swords, pick-axes, chains, ropes, and 
anchors. We are made acquainted with the smallest 
details of the equipment of the expedition, including even 
the flags and banners, the tents, and the ship-biscuits. The 
very bill for live reams of paper, (sent from Rome to Ostia), 
for the future correspondence of the Papal fleet is before 

The eager Pontiff desired that the expedition should start 
on the ist April, 1456,! but the month of May had drawn to 

Camerale del Cancellieri della R.C.A., now in the Roman State 
Archives. Guglielmotti (252) also cites as existing in the Secret 
Archives of the Vatican *" Liber domini Thesaurarii introituum 
et exituum pro galeis 1455 et 1456, quatlro codici segnati I549> 
1550, 1551, 1552?" an d gives some particulars from them. Amati 
(181) also mentions these documents, but says there are only two 
volumes. Unfortunately these Registers were not forthcoming, 
either in 1879 or on the occasion of my last sojourn in Rome in 
the spring of 1884. Guglielmotti s extracts are by no means so 
complete as might be desired, and do not suffice, in the absence 
of these volumes, to give us a complete idea of the expenditure of 
Calixtus III. 

* *Mandata of the Roman State Archives (see Gtiglielmotti, 
226, et seq., whose statements are in part incorrect. His omission 
of the exact dates is misleading, and so is his neglect to make any 
distinction between Scarampo s decrees and those issued by his 
successor.) The "MandataLudovici Card. Aquilej. " begin, f. 193, 
with the 22nd October, 1455, and end, f. 2o8b, with the 2yth May, 
1456. Then follow decrees of Georgius episcopus Lausan. tof. 217, 
but at f. 2i3b is another decree of Scarampo s of ist May, 1456. 
The chronological order is by no means accurately preserved in the 
entries in this Register, for at f. 194 \\Q find a decree of the 7th 
October, 1455- 

t See the above-mentioned letters of the six Cardinals to 
Lodovico of the i5th February, 1456, in the Gonzaga 


its close before the preparations were so far advanced as 
to render its departure possible. On the Feast of St. 
Petronilla (May 31) the Pope himself affixed the cross to 
the shoulder of the Cardinal Legate, who at once proceeded 
to Ostia with the ships which had been built in Rome.* 
Three weeks more passed before they stood out to sea, for 
in an Italian Archive there are letters written by Scarampo 
on the 1 3th and 2oth June, and dated from the mouth of 
the Tiber.f According to the commonly received account, 
the forces under the Legate s command consisted of sixteen 
galleys; a recent historian, however, asserts that the fleet 
numbered twenty-seven sail, was manned by a thousand 
seamen, and conveyed five thousand soldiers with three 
hundred pieces of cannon. J 

The troops were gathered partly from Rome, Civita- 

Archives at Mantua. See Makuscev, i., i, 307, and the Papal 
**Letter to Fr. Sforza of the 2/th April, 1556. Slate Archives, 

* Raynaklus ad an. 1456, N. 12. See the *Brief to Joh. 
Solerius : " llodie [June i ; see *Acta consist.] vero idem noster 
legatus suscepta per nos omnipotentis Dei benedictione cum ea 
qua decuit tantum negocium ceremonia triremes ascendit, ut recta 
via ad Reg. Maiestatem proficiscatur et acceptis xv. galeis per 
eundem regeni oblatis felici auspicio impii Turci terras petat 
casque inimiciter invadat. Da!)is igitur opcram, ut dicte xv. 
triremes armate reperiantur." Romas s. d. Lib. brev. 7 f. ?^b 

/ %) J * 

Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

t Tlie *Letters of Scarampo to Lodovico Marchese di Mantova, 
d.d. ex ostio Tiberis super classem, 1456, June 13 and 20, in the 
Gonzaga Archives at Mantua. The statement of the Papal Letters 
that the fleet was sent forth " ab ultimo die Mali " is, therefore, 
only correct in a general sense; the expression occurs in the 
*Letter to Cardinal Szechy, and in that to St. John Capistran, 
d.d. 1456, viii., Cal. Sept. (25 Aug.), Lib. brev. 7, f. 22 and 39!). 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

J Guglielmotti, 267-268. 


vecchia, Ancona, and Perugia, and partly from Fermo and 
Bologna. Among them were the Counts of Anguillara 
and other leaders of the mercenary bands which had been 
engaged against Piccinino. Velasco Farigna, a Portuguese, 
was appointed by the Pope vice-admiral. Judicial functions 
were confided to Alfonso de Calatambio, of Aragon.* 
By the month of August the cost of the fleet had amounted 
to one hundred and fifty thousand ducats. f 

The object of the expedition was twofold firstly, to pro 
tect the harassed Christian populations of the islands in the 
/Egean Sea from the Turks ; and, secondly, to divide the 
armed forces of the infidels by means of a sea attack. For 
the latter purpose the fleet was evidently inadequate, and 
accordingly the Pope s first care was to provide reinforce 
ments. Scarampo, furnished with ample powers, directed 
his course at once to Naples, in order to take possession of 
fifteen galleys which had been promised the year before by 

* Guglielmotti, 237-239, 235-236. See *Regest., 467, f. 169 : 
" AO 1456 die xxiv. mensis Mail spect. dominus Valiscus de 
Farinha de Portugallo iuravit officium viceadmiratus classts apos- 
tolica; contra Turcos," etc. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

t *Calixtus III. to Cardinal Dionys. Szechy (s.d., but after 
the arrival of the tidings of the victory at Belgrade) : " in qua 
(classe) paranda et armanda Deo teste iam supra cl. ducatorum 
millia expendimus." Lib. brev. 7, f. 22. Secret Archives of the 

I See Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 10. *Calixtus III. to Bishop 
John of Pavia (s-.d.) : " Nos vero ad eorum vires distrahendas, scis 
quanta cum celeritate emisimus classem nostram iainque legatus 
Neapoli est, qui receptis triremibus regiis intra paucos dies Con- 
stantinopolim feliciter ad hostium terras invade[ndas] navigabit. 
Lib. brev. 7, f. 50-6. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

*Regest., 433, ^ I22 et se( l- Faculties f r " Ludovicus tit. 
S. Laurentii in Damaso in partibus orient, legato," d.d. 1456, ix. 
Cal. Jun., v. Cal. Jun., x. Cal. Jun., viii. Cal. Jun., vii. CaL Jun. 
etc. (=24, 28, 23, 25, 26 May). Secret Archives of the Vatican 



King Alfonso. But the faithless monarch now made diffi 
culties of every kind. As long as he could extort money 
from the churches and clergy of his realm he had been 
lavish of promises, but the money had been spent in the 
payment of his debts, squandered in splendid feasts, or 
employed in the prosecution of the war against the unfor 
tunate Genoese.* The departure of Scarampo was thus 
delayed so long that the Pope became extremely impatient. 
He sent a special messenger to Naples, requiring the legate 
to put to sea immediately, even if the King s galleys 
were not in readiness. Letters from Cardinal Carvajalhad 
reached Rome with tidings that the Turks might be ex 
pected to attack Hungary unless their forces were shortlv 
weakened by the operations of the fleet, f Calixtus III. 
shortly afterwards desired his ambassador to " constrain " 
the legate to depart, saying that in Sicily he would find 
money and the ships which had been commanded by the 
Archbishop of Tarragona. + The Pope also wrote himself 
imploring him to start without delay, and finally laid him 
under an obedience to do so. In one of the Papal Briefs 
he thus addresses him: "Gird yourself with the sword, 
beloved son ; leave Naples and fulfil your promise. Then 

* J- J- Fontanus, De liberalilate (Opp. Basil., 1538), t. i. c. 9. 
Voigt., ii., 175; Vigna, vi., 697. Regarding Alfonso s promises, see 
a *Dcspatch from /Eneas Sylvius, dated Rome, 1455, December 
17, in the P.S. of which he says : " Rex Aragonum promittet pape 
pro nunc contra Turchos galeas xv. et sperat de meliori sibi sub- 
venire summa." Concistoro, Lettere ad an. State Archives, Siena. 

t *Calixtus III. tojacopo Perpinya (s.d.) : " Quare te hortamur 
ut, illico cum Neapolim applicueris, omni cura instes, ut legal us 
noster etiam cum solis galeis nostris, si iliac regis non sunt paratae, 
recedat." Lib. brev. 7, f. 6. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

J See Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 13, and *Lib. brev. 7, f. 7, 
3ob, 34. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


will God be with you, and neither money nor anything else 
that is necessary will be wanting."* 

Scarampo entered on the expedition with great and 
manifest reluctance, and endeavoured as much as possible 
to defer its departure. The Pope was greatly incensed, 
and bitterly complained of the Cardinal, who only quitted 
Naples with a few of the King s galleys on the 6th of 
August. t The persistent entreaties of the Pope, who had 
in an autograph letter urgently implored Alfonso to furnish 
the promised galleys, were at least effectual in bringing 
about a change in the mind of the King.J 

Almost as soon as the Pope heard that Scarampo had 

* Calixtus III., Camerario Legato (s.d.) : " Accingc[re], dilecte 
fili, gladio potentissime et recede de Neapoli, adimple promissa et 
Deus erit tecum, nam pecunie non deficient nee alia necessaria. 
Victoria etiam cum paucis ab alto promissa est contra perfidum 
Turcum, nisi per te steterit. Et considera iam esse prope finem 
estus, et si nunc non navigas, quod tempus expectas ? " Lib. brev. 
7, f. 34b. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

f The Despatch of the 24th August, 1456, given in the Appendix 
No. 43, bears witness to the indignation of Calixtus III. against 
Scarampo. A *Despatch from yEneas Sylvius, Galgano Borghese, 
and Bernardo Benvoglienti, dated Naples, 1456, August 6, and con 
taining the following words : " El rev. patriarcha questa sera si 
parti," has furnished me with the hitherto unknown date of 
Scarampo s departure. Cod. A., iii., 16. City Library, Siena. 

J Calixtus III., Joh. Solerio, 1456, August 6: "Alfonso regi 
Aragonum et utriusque Siciliae illustri, cui etiam manu propria ut 
in copia hie inclusa, scripsimus, ut intelligat in quanto (the follow 
ing words to classe are identical in Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 
13), non enim parum utilitatis, ut dictus legatus scribit, facient 
galee nostre licet non sint in multo numero," etc. Lib. brev. 7, 
f. 22^23. Secret Archives of the Vatican. It cannot be doubted 
that Alfonso finally gave some ships. Whether they were, as the 
Despatch in Appendix No. 43 asserts, the fifteen which had been 
promised, I am, in the absence of further evidence, unable to say. 


quitted Sicily he urged him to proceed to the Greek waters.* 
His anxiety for immediate action was due to the continu 
ance of disquieting reports from Hungary regarding Turkish 
preparations. He hoped that the appearance of his naval 
forces in the /Egean Sea would ultimately divert the atten 
tion of the Turks from that Kingdom, and meanwhile 
diminish their power of attacking it. Accordingly his first 
care was for the flect.f New ships for its reinforcement 
were built in Rome. Odoardo Gaetani, Count of Fondi, 
presented Calixtus with a vessel which, in company with 
one of these, was to proceed to the relief of Rhodes early 
in the year 1457. The command of these two ships was 
entrusted to two Knights of St. John.J 

The ardent desires of the Pope were at last fulfilled ; 
the flag of St. Peter appeared in the Greek waters, and the 
Christian islands were in some degree defended against the 
advances of the Turks. 

The Papal force under Scarampo first touched at Rhodes 
to supply the distressed Knights with money, weapons, and 
corn, and then proceeded to Chios and Lesbos. In vain 
did the Cardinal endeavour to incite the inhabitants of these 
two islands to refuse payment of the tribute imposed by the 

* Calixtus III. to Jacopo Perpinya, Appendix No. 40. See his 
other undated *Brief to J. Solerius : " Et ita si aliquid opcrari 
potes ; ut (sc. legatus) brevissime a Sicilia recedat, facias quod 
poteris." Lib. brev. 7, f. lob. 

t *Brief to Scarampo (s.d.(. Lib. brcv. 7, f. 27. Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. 

J See Guglielmotti, ii., 275-276. In the Brief nominating Giov. 
Rolla he has omitted, after " fabricate," the words : " quair. ad 
classem nostram et paries orientales tradendam ibi legato nostro 
mittimus patronum auctoritate apost. tenore praesentium facimus." 
*Regest., 465, f. 256b. For particulars regarding O. Gaetani s 
vessel, see Vigna, vi., 719-720, and Lib. brev. 7, f. 630, 68, 69, 6gb, 
71. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


infidel. Dread of Turkish vengeance deterred them from 
joining the Christian cause. He was more successful in 
Lemnos, whence, as well as in Samothrace and Thasos, he 
spelled the Turkish garrison and left Papal troops in their 
place. He then established his head-quarters at Rhodes, 
where a large arsenal was at his disposal.* 

The hopes and expectations of Calixtus III. were, no 
doubt, out of proportion with the strength of the fleet at his 
command.t Yet he also clearly perceived that no decisive 
success was possible without the co-operation of some of 
the most powerful of the western princes. But the dano- er 
which threatened to annihilate all the great results & of 
centuries of Christianity elicited from these princes nothing 
but fair words. In vain did the aged Pontiff raise his voice 
m favour of the Holy War; his fiery eloquence produced 
little or no effect. 

It became more and more evident that the age of 
crusades was past, and that the ideas which for centuries 
had ruled the minds of men had now lost their power. 
Internal dissensions had destroyed the sentiment of the 
solidarity of Christendom and its interests as opposed to 
the infidel. The great cause of Eastern Christianity touched 
no chord in the heart of Europe. J 

Fruitless deliberations took place in Germany, where a 
portion of the clergy sought to veil their selfish dislike to 
the levy of tithes for the crusade under a show of zeal for 
* See Ducas, Hist. Byz. (Bonn edition), 338. Chalcocondyl 
469. Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 10. See the *Brief to P 
Fenollet (s.d.). Lib. brev. 7, f. 5Q b. Secret Archives of the 
Vatican. Sanudo, 1159. Pius II., Comment., 205. J. Phil 
Bergom., 306. Hammer, ii., 26. Zinkeisen, ii., 235. Heyd, ii 
319- Guglielmotti, ii., 216, 217 et seq. Vigna, vi., 792. The 
last two writers over-estimate the success of the fleet, 
t See Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 50. 
% Kampschulte, Zur Gesch., 20. 


the liberties of the German Church.* The peace-loving 
Emperor Frederick III. was by no means the man to rouse 
the empire to united and vigorous effort. Indeed its 
distracted condition would have made it an easy prey to 
any invader who once gained a footing in the realm. He 
would have found only isolated forces to resist him, each 
one of which could have been separately overcome. 

The conduct of France was utterly unworthy of a 
Christian power. Repeatedly and in eloquent terms did 
the Pope appeal to the French King, particularly at the 
time of the departure of the fleet, f but the weak and help 
less Charles VII. was indifferent to the exhortations by 
which he was reminded of his predecessors, and especially 
of St. Louis. J He excused his failure to comply with the 
Papal demands on the ground of the uncertain state of his 
relations with England, and of the necessity of being on his 
guard against that State. In the first instance he had for 
bidden the: passage of troops through France, the promulga 
tion of the Bull of the Crusade, and the collection of the 
tithes for the war. These proceedings called forth just and 
serious complaints from the Pope, who used every effort to 
bring about peace with England, and so remove the King s 
pretext. His attempts were unsuccessful in this matter, as 
were also those which he made to reconcile Charles VII. 

* Dollinger, Lehrbuch, ii., i, 349. Further particulars in the 
next chapter. Nicholas V. had already been constrained to reproach 
the German clergy with their lack of zeal for the crusade ; see 
Kayser, 229. 

| **Calixtus III. cariss. in Christo filio Carolo Francorum regi 
illustri, d.d. 1456 (ca. Mai). Lib. brev. 7, f. ib. Secret Archives 
of the Vatican. 

J *Despatch to the same (s.d. [1456, October ?]). Lib. brev. 
7, f. 48. Secret Archives of the Vatican. See Raynaldus ad an. 
1456, N. 3 and 43, and Wadding xii., 380 et scq. 

Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 3. 


with his son.* The Pope was much distressed by the 
manner in which Cardinal Alain neglected his duties as 
legate in France. f There are a number of unpublished 
letters on this subject. In the first of these, which was 
written in September, 1456, Calixtus expresses his surprise 
at the conduct of the French King, who, notwithstanding 
the goodwill recently manifested towards him by the 
Pontiff, would not permit the collection of the tithes for 
the crusade or even the publication of the Bull concerning 
it. This unfriendly conduct at such a time was, Calixtus 
declared, most painful to him. In conclusion, Alain is 
urgently exhorted to show himself zealous in the fulfilment 
of the duties entrusted to him, so as to falsify the sneering 
remarks which were current in regard to the failure of his 

* Raynaldus ad an. 1436, N. 5. *Calixtus III. domino 
Delphino (s.d.). "... Vince te ipsum, ut alios vincere valeas ; 
cum pater tuus dicat se omnia erga te velle facere, quoe plus et 
bonus pater debet . . . dum ad prassentiam suam veneris ; age 
igitur, ut de te speramus, quonlam non modica pars victoriae 
contra perfidum Turcum stat in concordia tua. Super his dil. fil. 
Ludovicus Cescases dicet tibi magis ample et extense verbis et 
consilio," etc., Lib. brev. 7, f. 13. Secret Archives of the 

t Raynaldus (ad an. 1456, N. i) is mistaken in assigning 1456 
as the year of Alain s appointment as legate for France. The 
document which he gives is not the Brief of appointment. *This 
is to be found, d.d. 1455, prid Id. Sept., inRegest., 455, f. 5, of the 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. See also in Appendix, No. 35, the 
*Despatch of the Bishop of Pavia of the g\.h Sept., 1455, and a 
*letter from ^Eneas Sylvius, dated Rome, 1455, Nov. 27, from the 
original in the State Archives at Milan. From these documents it 
appears that Alain was received in a very friendly manner, 
especially by the Dauphin, and that accordingly joyful anticipations 
of the co-operation of France were entertained. State Archives, 


mission to France.* In October of the same year the Pope 
again felt it necessary to write to him in a similar strain. 
" The Christian who does not now render assistance in fol 
lowing up the victory God has granted," he says, alluding 
to the battle at Belgrade, " proves himself unworthy of 
divine favours." To this exhortation was added a com 
mand to urge upon the King the repeal of the Pragmatic 
Sanction. f The Knights of St. John at Rhodes were at 
this time endeavouring to secure a very large portion of 
the French tithes. In a long letter to Charles VII. the 
Pope objected to this arrangement, inasmuch as a great 
deal had already been done for Rhodes, and the support of 
the fleet was now the first consideration.^ 

In February, 1457, Alain was again urged in the strongest 
manner to forward the money for the crusade. That which 
had been collected in Italy was far from sufficient for the 

**Calixtus III. to Cardinal Alain (s.d. [probably Sept., 1456, 
as the appointment of Blaise de Greelle to the Archbishopric of 
Bordeaux is mentioned]). Lib. brev. 7, f. 43!). Secret Archives 
oi the Vatican. See Ibid., f. 47^48, a Brief also undated, but be 
longing to the same period, addressed to Charles VII., and in 
Appendix No. 44 the *Brief of i7th December to Alain. Colonna 
Archives, Rome. 

t Calixtus III. to Card. Alain, dated 1456, Oct. 8 (two short 
passages in Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 43 and 51). " Quis 
igitur, qui catholicus sit et a deo potentiam accepit, negliget pro- 
sequi victoriam a deo pro salute nostra incohatam ? Certe non 
nisi ingratus beneficiorum dei, qui de eis, quicunque fuerint, 
vindictam accipiet, Dabis igitur operam omni cura, studio et dili 
gent ia, ut, quod plerique ridiculose aiunt, frustra pro ecclesia 
missus esse non videaris." The Pope had acceded to the King s 
wish in regard to the appointment to the See of Bordeaux : 
" Utinam quo ei facimus facial nobis." Lib. brev. 7, f. 49. Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. 

\ Ibid., f. 52-525. Here is also a similar *Letter to Card. 


support and reinforcement of the fleet, and he was to take 
measures for the collection of the tribute, not merely in 
France, but also in England. " Woe, woe to those, who 
ever they may be," exclaimed the Pope, " who hinder the 
cause of the crusade!"* At the end of March, 1457, 
Calixtus had not yet received a penny towards the war 
from the wide dominions of France. While he deplored 
this strange fact, he expressly blamed Alain for writing so 
little regarding the crusade. In the same brief he regrets 
the sluggishness of the Catholic princes ;f and in hopes of 
stirring up the French King to greater zeal, he this year 
sent him the Golden Rose.J Afterwards when an agree 
ment had been entered into between Charles VII. and the 
Pope for the construction of a fleet of thirty sail from the 
proceeds of the tithe, fresh difficulties arose. The King 
expressly prohibited the export of the money collected for 
the crusade, and even detained the ships which he had en 
gaged to send, and employed them, not against the Turks, 

* *Brief to Card. Alain, dated 1457, Feb. 16 : "Des operam, ut 
pecunie ex ista tua legatione decima ac cruciata ad nos trans- 
mittantur, non enim sufliciunt facultates nostre nee pecunie, quas 
in Italia colligimus, ad sustentationem classis emisse et munitionem 
alterius emittende. . . . Et ve ve adversantibus, judicium enim 
portabit, qui nos conturbat quicunque sit ille." Lib. brev 7 f 

f *Brief to Card. Alain, dated 1457, March 26. Lib. brev. 7, f. 
74b. See Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 51. In another *letter 
(s.d.), probably also addressed to Alain, are the following words : 
" Adhuc nihil nisi verba habuimus." Loc. at., f. 95. 
. + Brief to Charles VII., dated 1457, May 24. Loc. cit., f. 93 b- 
94. The conclusion, asking a favourable reception for J. Perpinya, 
the bearer of the Golden Rose, is wanting in Raynaldus (ad an! 
1457. N. 52). See the *Brief to L. Cescases. Loc. cit., f. 99. 

Besides the passages adduced by Voigt (ii., 176, note 4), see 
also Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 33 and 54. 


but partly against the English and partly against Naples.* 
This amounted to actual treason against the Christian 

Under these circumstances it can hardly be deemed sur 
prising that a considerable proportion of the French clergy 
assumed an attitude of absolute opposition to the Papal 

As early as the year 1456 the University of Paris had 
ventured to appeal from the Pope to a council in regard to 
the tithe for the war imposed by Calixtus. f The University 
of Toulouse and several ecclesiastical corporations in 
different dioceses of the kingdom joined in this appeal. 
Alain lost courage, and failed to act with the energy re 
quired. The appellants then presented a very violent 
memorial to the King, strongly urging him to resist the 
" presumption of the Pope in levying a tax on the Gallican 
Church without her consent," and to do this all the more 
zealously in view of the audacity with which the Pope had 
opposed the newest fundamental law of the French State, 

* St. Antoninus, iii., tit. xxii., c. 16, i. The serious accusa 
tions in the Commentary of Pius II. (f. 94, the whole passage is 
given in Cugnoni, 198), to the effect that Alain had embezzled 
money collected for the crusade, had never given the Pope a penny, 
and had not returned to Rome until after the death of Calixtus, 
cannot be maintained, for the *Acta consist. (Secret Archives of the 
Vatican) bear witness that the cardinal came back to Rome on the 
4th May, 1458. From other Archives we learn that Alain was in 
Rome during the life of Calixtus III., see Chap. IV. 

f Bulaeus, v., 609,613, 617. Planckh, Gesch. des Papstthums, 
iii., 512. 

J Calixtus III. expressed his surprise at the cardinal s conduct 
in a *Brief to Ludov. de Narnia. Lib. brev. 7, f. 104. Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. See Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 54, and 
Basin, Hist, de Charles VII. et de Louis XL, published by 
Quicherat (Paris, 1855), i. ; 321. 


the Pragmatic Sanction of 1438. In August, 1457, the 
King answered by a declaration that "the levy of the tithe 
prescribed by the Pope was to take place, but that the 
rights of the French were in no way to be impaired."* 

In June, 1457, the University of Paris had even sent a 
special envoy to Rome to protest before the Pope and 
cardinals against the collection of the tithes, and at the 
same time to present eighteen anti-Papal articles and 
demand a general council.f The reply of Calixtus was by 
no means wanting in decision. Alain was reproved for his 
negligence, and commanded to compel the University of 
Paris to withdraw the appeal, which was declared invalid on 
the score of " rashness and impiety," while the appellants 
were visited with ecclesiastical penalties. + 

Notwithstanding all the grand promises made by the 
Duke of Burgundy, he did no more than Charles VII. to 
.assist in the Holy War. None of the money collected in 
his dominions appears to have been transmitted to Rome, 
for, in the Register of Briefs of Calixtus III., we find one 
addressed to Philip regarding the large sums obtained in 
Burgundy for the crusade. The Pope here begs that, if not 
the whole, at least a portion of the amount may be sent to 
him. In December, 1457, when alarming accounts of the 
immense warlike preparations of the Turks reached Rome, 

* Lett. pat. du Roi, Aout. 3, 1457, in the Preuv. des libert de 
lEglise Gallic., ii., 861-862. 

t *Despatch of the Abbot of St. Ambrogio, dated 1457, June 23 

in Appendix No. 46,. from the original in the Ambrosian Library 

**Bulle, "Illius qui," d.d. 1457, iy. Cal. Jul., Reg. 460, f 

i34-i3;b. Secret Archives of the Vatican. The Brief to Alain 

is in Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 56-57. 

Brief to Philip of Burgundy s.d. Lib. brev. 7, f. 42 b- see 
ibid., 4 8- 4 8b. *Calixtus III. duci Burgundie (Britanie). Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. Regarding Philip s power, see Kanpen 
Geschichte der Niederlunde, i., 212, f. In the year 14=55 the 
income of the Duke of Burgundy was nine hundred thousand 


the Pope wrote a fresh letter of remonstrance to the Duke, 
but it proved equally fruitless.* 

King Christian of Denmark and Norway, and King 
Alfonso of Portugal, had also been lavish in promises of 
assistance against the Turks. But on the 2nd June, 1455, 
we find the former of these two monarchs providing him 
self with money by abstracting from the sacristy of the 
cathedral at Roskilde the pious offerings which had been 
collected for the expenses of the war and for the relief of 
the King of Cyprus ! t 

The solemn promises made by the King of Portugal in 
the autumn of 1456 both by letters and by his envoys to 
Rome had filled the Cardinals, the whole Court, and the 
Pope himself with the brightest hopes, and Calixtus had 
felt no hesitation in leaving in his hands the tithe collected 
in his dominions in the years 1456 and 1457.+ 

ducats, that of Milan five hundred thousand, the Pope s four 
hundred thousand, that of Naples three hundred and ten thousand, 
and of Florence two hundred thousand ducats. Miintz, La Renais 
sance, 50. 

* **Brief to Philip of Burgundy. Dat. u.s. (1457, Dec. 21), 
lib. brev. 7, f. 144. Regarding the Turkish preparations the Pope 
wrote as follows to Cardinal Alain on the 2Oth December, 1457 : 
" Perfidus Turchus opera et studio nostro et dei auxilio jam pridcm 
apud Hungaros turpiter profligatus et multis calamitatibus a classe 
nostra et alias affectus incredibili studio, ut certiores sumus effecti, 
et terra et mari magnam parat potentiam, ut tanquam canis rabidus 
in Christianos irruat et hoc hac estate proxime futura." Loc. cit., 
f. 135-136. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

t Danske, Magazin, i., 352. Jahn, Damn. Hist., 259. L. Daae, 
Kong Christian (Christiania, 1879), 112. 

*Episc. Silvensi nuncio in regno Portugallie, d.d. 1456, Oct. 
28. Lib. brev. 7, f. 49. For an account of the powers granted by 
Nicholas V. to the Poituguese King in regard to the heathen and 
Mahometans in Africa, and confirmed by Calixtus III., see Her- 
genrother, Staat und Kirche, 344 et stg., and Margraf, Kirche und 
Sklaverei, 187 et seq. 


Alfonso certainly kept possession of the money, but was as 
far as his Neapolitan namesake from taking part in the 
crusade. Calixtus did not spare his exhortations,* and 
continued to hope against hope for the ultimate fulfilment 
of the royal promise. A letter addressed to Cardinal 
Carvajal on the 23rd May, 1457, shows that he at that time 
expected the immediate appearance of vessels of war from 
Portugal and from Genoa.t The nuncio to Portugal received 
repeated instructions to do everything in his power to hasten 
the King s arrival, J but all was in vain. Towards the end 
of the year 1457 tne Pope s patience was at length 
exhausted. He commanded his nuncio to return to Rome, 
bringing all the money for the crusade with him unless 
Alfonso should set sail in the following April. When the 
month of April was near its close, and the Portuguese 
fleet had not started, Calixtus was constrained to carry his 
threat into execution. By this means he at least saved 
the money collected in Portugal, which was greatly needed 
for the reinforcement of the fleet. 

Forsaken in this manner by all the European powers, the 
Pope could look for assistance to the Italian states alone. 
Here, however, he found the same indifference, the same 
treachery, in regard to the Christian cause. None of the 
Italian statesmen of the day could rise to the idea of a 

* See Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 8, 10. 

f *Letter to Carvajal. Lib. brev. 7, f. 75. Secret Archives of 
the Vatican. 

t *Episc. Silvensi, d.d. 1457, Apr. 10; in Raynaldus ad an. 
1457, N. 2, the commencement and the conclusion are wanting : 
" Qua propter incumbe, venerabilis frater, totis viribus et omni 
ratione adventum praefati regis accelera." Lib. brev. 7, f. 82^83. 
Ibid, (f. 96), similar letters to the same, and also to the King of 
Portugal himself, dated 1457, May 25. 

**Episc. Silvensi, d.d. 1457, Dec. 26, and 1458, Apr. 28 
Loc. tit., f. 136-160. 


crusade. Their views were directed exclusively to their 
own immediate interests.* 

We have already spoken of the great difficulty which the 
faithless King Alfonso of Naples had, like "the most 
Christian Monarch," placed in the way of the crusade. 
Next to Alfonso, Duke Francesco Sforza of Milan was the 
most powerful of Italian potentates. The Pope s constant 
requests for the favourable reception of his envoys and for 
material help against the Turks were met by the fairest 
promises. f In reality, however, the great general had no 
intention of heeding the Papal behests, J nor of placing 
himself in the cause of the crusade at the head of an army 
against the Turks. The strengthening of his own rule in 
Lombardy was his constant and principal care, and all other 
interests were secondary to this object. 

The Republic of Venice, which was beyond all oilier 
States bound to take a decisive part in this struggle, turned 
a. deaf ear to all the Pope s exhortations. The Signoria 
would not on any account compromise its commercial 

* Regarding the absence of any wrong- general feeling in Italy 
against the Turks, see Eurckhardt, i., 3rd edition. 89. 

f Fr. Sforza to Calixtus III., dated Milan, 1455. Nov. 12, and 
1457, Dec. 22. Draft in the State Archives at Milan, Pot. Kst. 
Roma. See Ersch-Griiber, Sect, i., Vol. 86, p. 126. 

+ See the "Original Briefs of Calixtus III. to Fr. Sforza, dated 
1456, Jan. 29, March 1 6, and Nov. 4. In the last of these are the fol 
lowing words : " Die certe nocluque nihil aliud cogitamus, quam ut 
pessimum Turcum et ceteros infideles penitus perdamus,in quo cum 
nonparvo tua nobilitas possit esse auxilio, eandem hortamur, utpro 
viribus suis id faciat, quod tuam decet facere excellentiam, prout in 
ea confidimus et speramus." State Archives, Milan. 

See Sforza s answer, dated Milan, 1456, June i, to the request 
of King Ladislas for assistance. Regest. in Cod. 1613, Fonds 
ItaL, of the National Library, Paris. 

VOL. ii. c c 


interests, and accordingly kept up constant and amicable 
relations with the Sultan.* 

Florence also used every effort to avoid any open 
espousal of the Christian cause. The envoy who in the 
autumn of 1445 went to Porto Pisano to meet the Cardinal 
Legate Alain on his way to France, was strictly admonished 
on no account to make any definite promise in regard to 
co-operation in the Turkish war.f Love for the "cursed 
flower," as Dante called the Florentine golden florin, out 
weighed all else. A few of the smaller powers, like 
Mantua,! supported Calixtus, but the words of .Eneas 
Sylvius Piccolomini, "The Pope calls for help and no one 
listens to him ; he threatens, and no one is afraid," may be 
taken as of a most universal application. 

The courage of Calixtus III., in presence of such over 
whelming difficulties, was marvellous. He continued to 
adjure the Christian princes and potentates to makepeace 

* See D. Malipiero, Annal. Veneti, 5. **The answer given to 
the Papal ambassador on the 8th March, I45 6 ( Sen - Secret, xx., f. 
85!)), shows the indifference of the Venetians, who at this time were 
endeavouring to assume arbitrary power over Ancona, and were, 
therefore, threatened by the Pope with excommunication. See 
*Bull "Romanus pontifex," dated 1456, iv. Cal. Mai. A 2 Lib. 
croc. magn. f. xxiii. Ancona Archives. 

f *Commissio Joannis Cosmi de Medicis deliberata cum collegiis 
sub die xx. Sept., i 4 55> ad rev - carcl Avinionen. legal. D. N. P., 
Cl. x., dist. i., No. 44, f. i5Sb. State Archives, Florence. 

I *Scarampo to Lodovico de Gonzaga, d.d. Ex hostio tiberino, 

1456, Jun. 20: "Venerunt nuper ad nos missi per ill. D. V. 
pedites et ballistarii," etc. Original in the Gonzaga Archives at 
Mantua. In contrast to Lodovico de Gonzaga we find that the 
Duke of Urbino at once forbade the collection of money for the 
crusades in ids dominions, for which the Pope, on the 26th July, 

1457, threatened him with excommunication. Lib. brev. 7, f. 113. 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

Epist., 239. Opp., 780. 


among themselves, and take arms against the enemies of 
God. He still sent a number of ambassadors, chiefly 
selected from the Minorite friars, to collect money and troops 
for the holy war from every country in Europe. He himself 
gave the example of sacrifice by turning the treasures and 
jewels collected by Nicholas V. into money, and finally 
giving up the silver plate used at his table. Brother 
Gabriel of Verona informed his friend, St. John Capistran, 
that one day when gilt salt-cellars and other valuable 
articles were placed on his table, the Pope exclaimed : 
"Away, away with these things! take them for the Turks! 
Earthenware will do quite as well for me ! "* In one of his 
briefs Calixtus expresses his willingness to have only a linen 
mitre for the sake of the defence of the Holy Gospel and 
of the true faith. f 

No danger or difficulty had power to subdue the fiery 
enthusiasm of the aged man. Only cowards," he used to 
say, " fear danger ; the palm of glory grows nowhere but 
on the battle-field."]: The epithet of " high-souled old 
man" has been well bestowed on Calixtus III. by Palmieri, 

* Wadding, xii., 290. The Pope speaks in many of his letters 
of his great outlay for the war. See also the *Letters of Cardinal 
Scarampo to Lodovico de Gonzaga, dated Rome, 1455, Nov. 18, 
and 1456, Jan. 2. Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. 

f *Nec non tedeat dicere : ad gloriam immortalem in prosequi- 
cione defensionis sacri Evangelii et fidei orthodoxe, quam prose- 
quimur eciam noctes transeundo insopnes, sola mitralinea remaneat 
nobis." Brief, without address or date, in lib. brev. 745. See ibid. 
(f. 23), the *Brief to Todi, dated [1457], Aug. 7 : *- pro quo" (the 
war against the Turks) " nos aurum, argentum et iocalia nostra 
etiam usque ad mitras et exposuimus hactenus et exponere decer- 
nimus," and (f. 40), the *Brief to Cardinal Alain, dated 1456, 
Nov. 8. 

t Raynaldus ad an. 1458, N. 41. 


but the reproach uttered by Petrarch in the days of Urban 
V. was still applicable to the European potentates. 

Ye lords of Christendom ! eternal shame 

For ever will pursue each royal name, 

And tell your wolfish rage for kindred blood, 

While Paynim hounds profane the seat of God !* 

* Trionfo della Fama, c. 2. Translation by Boyd. 



THE failure of the efforts made by the Holy See to unite 
all the nations of Europe in a defensive alliance against 
the ceaseless encroachments of Islam strengthened Maho 
met II. s determination to adopt aggressive measures and 
attack Ilunyadi, whom he justly considered as, after 
Skanderbeg, the only enemy able to meet him on equal 
terms. Hungary was the power most dreaded by the 
Sultan, and accordingly his chief aim \vas to cripple or 
to annihilate it. In order to give a firmer basis to the 
political and military operations undertaken for this pur 
pose he had even in the year 1454 begun to extend his 
dominion in Servia. Ilunyadi was not in a position to 
prevent this, and in July, 1455, the important and strongly 
fortified city of Novoberdo, with all the treasures, which 
had in the course of years been amassed within its walls, 
fell into the hands of the infidels.* 

In the following year Mahomet resolved to deal Hungary 
a decisive blow. He had no reason to apprehend hostile 
attacks by sea from the west, for the Republic of Genoa 

* Hertzberg, Byzantiner und Osmanen, 607. Zinkeisen, ii., 68 
et seq., 77 et seq. 


was helpless, and Venice was friendly, while the little 
Papal fleet, unsupported by any Christian naval power, was 
not likely to give him much trouble. 

During the winter of 1455-1456 the Turks were actively 
engaged in getting ready for war. Troops were assembled 
from all parts of the kingdom, and an immense number of 
men worked day and night in a cannon-foundry, which 
was established at Kruschewatz on the Morava. Exten 
sive preparations were made for the provisioning of 
the army which was to besiege Belgrade. War materials 
of all descriptions were carried to the spot. Weapons, 
especially bows and arrows, and a great part of 
the provisions, were procured in the adjacent province 
of Bosnia and stored up in magazines. Mills for grind 
ing corn and a number of bakeries were constructed. 
With a care and foresight almost unknown in the West, 
everything was provided that could be needed for a pro 
tracted siege, or serve, in the event of success, to render 
Belgrade available as the Sultan s headquarters for future 
operations against Hungary and more northern lands.* 

In June, 1456, the ruler of the infidels led an army of 
more than a hundred and fifty thousand menf with three 
hundred cannons towards the Danube, on his way to 
Belgrade, the bulwark of Vienna. His progress was abso 
lutely unopposed, and by the beginning of July the city, 
which was the key to Hungary, was completely invested by 
land. A terrible fire was opened and kept up night and 

* Zinkeisen, ii., 80-8 1. See the letter of the Minorite Friar, 
Giovanni da Tagliacozzo, in Wadding, xii., 344 el seq. 

t This estimate is the lowest, but the one nearest to the truth. 
See Voigt, in Sybel s Zeitschr., x., 77 et sey., and Zinkeisen, ii., So. 
Others affirmed " that the Turkish Emperor, with more than four 
hundred thousand men, horse and foot, lay before Belgrade." 
Anz. fur Kunde Deutscher Vorzeit, x. (1863), 253. Speyerische 
Chronik., 406. 


day. The thunder of the artillery was heard at Szcgedin, 
more than twenty-four Hungarian miles distant. Mahomet, 
after his victory at Constantinople, looked on the siege of 
Belgrade as mere child s play, and is said to have boasted 
that he would in a fortnight subdue the fortress which his 
father had vainly besieged for half a year, and within three 
months later would sup in Buda.* The besieged had 
completely lost heart, when unexpected succour arrived in 
the persons of John Hunyadi and St. John Capistran. 
These two great men were powerfully supported by the 
Papal legate Cardinal Juan Carvajal, a fellow-countryman 
of the Pope s, and one of the noblest characters of the age. 
In November, 1455, he had arrived at Wiener-Neustadt, 
whence he proceeded to Vienna and to Buda. " lie 
brought," writes the biographer of .Eneas Sylvius, "nothing 
with him but a plenary indulgence for all who should take 
up arms against the Turks, and promises, which had proved 
often delusive. But he brought himself, and his own 
inspiriting example. ! " Such a legate truly corresponds to 
the greatness of our need," said the King of Hungary when 
he thanked the Pope for sending this distinguished man, 
who spent the next six years on the banks of the Danube, 
sharing all the sufferings and privations of the crusaders, 
and ready to close by a martyr s death a life of complete 
devotion to the service of God and His Church.]: 

* Hammer, ii., 22. 

f Voigt, ii., 80. Carvajal vainly endeavoured to bring about a 
reconciliation between Frederick III. and L .idislas. As Carvajal 
was then completely employed in Hungary, the Pope appointed the 
Bishop of Pavia nuncio to the Imperial Court ; see Raynaldus ad 
an. 1456, N. 17 (the first of the letters here published is given 
incompletely). The Pope begins by saying that he had received 
from Carvajal very disquieting news regarding the warlike prepara 
tions of the Turks. I have given another passage which Raynaldus 
has also omitted from the same letter ; see suj>ra, p. 372, note J. 

J Vast, Bessarion, 226-227, 


The summons issued on the i4th January, 1456, to the 
Hungarian Diet to meet at Buda, and the arrival of King 
Laclislas himself in Hungary towards the end of the 
month, were alike due in great measure to Carvajal s 
energy. When the Diet opened in February he did his 
utmost to encourage the Hungarians, by holding out the 
prospect of assistance from the Papal fleet, and from the 
King of Naples and the Duke of Burgundy, who were both 
engaged in warlike preparations. On behalf of the Pope 
he granted a plenary indulgence to every soldier who 
should take the field. The States levied a contribution of 
a golden florin on every farmhouse, made arrangements to 
provide shelter and food for the crusaders, who were 
expected to arrive in great numbers from other countries, 
and begged the Pope soon to send the promised fleet to 
the Hellespont. At the same time they declared that in 
consequence of the bad harvest of the previous year the 
expedition could not set out until August* They had 
barely time to draw up their reports before messengers 
from the Lower Danube arrived bringing the alarming 
news of the advance of the Sultan with an immense army, 
and the imminent danger which threatened Belgrade, the 
bulwark of Hungary. At this critical moment the eyes of 
the nation naturally turned to King Ladislas, who, with 
his Privy Counsellor, the Count of Cilli, was still at Buda. 
But the King, having absented himself from his capital on 
pretext of a hunting party, made his escape to Vienna. 
His flight was a signal to the cowardly barons, who had 
taken no measures for the defence of their country, and 
they also at once left Buda and concealed themselves. 

In this terrible extremity, Hungary was saved from the 
advancing tide of Islam by the three great men whom we 

* Fessler-Klein, ii., 556. 


have mentioned, each of whom bore the name of John.* 
Hunyadi raised a force of seven thousand men at his own 
CDst ; Carvajal, who, at the earnest desire of its Governor, 
remained in Buda, laboured unremittingly to procure means 
of transport, provisions, and assistance ; while St. John 
Capistran collected the Crusaders who had been won to the 
cause by his own burning words and those of the missioncrs, 
Giovanni da Tagliacozzo, Niccolo da Fara, and Ambroise of 

As the Hungarian nobles, like those of Germany, re 
mained, with few exceptions, inactive, the crusading army 
assembled by the Saint and Carvajal constituted the only aid 
afforded to the heroic Ilunyadi.f The force was made up 
for the most part of poor citizens and peasants, monks, 
hermits and students, armed with axes, pikes, fl;iils, pitch 
forks, and such other weapons as they could collect. Some 
greedy adventurers were certainly to be found among 
the motley crew, but the majority of the crusaders were 
determined to light and die for their faith. They wore a 
red cross on the left breast, and their banners bore on one 
side a cross and on the other the figure of Sts. Anthony, 
Francis, Louis, or Bernardine. A number of German foot 
soldiers and three hundred Polish warriors gave some sup 
port to the untrained and ill-armed masses ; the generalship 

* /Eneas Sylvius draws attention to this coincidence (Europa, c, 
viii.). See Raph. Volaterranus, xxii., f. 234. 

t For an account of Carvajal s labours, see Pray, iii., 170 ; Katonn, 
1678 ; Wadding, xii, 332 el seq , and the *Orders of Carvajal, dated 
Buda, 1456, July 8, 9 and 18, in Cod. Palat., 368, f. 283, of the 
Vatican Library Many crusaders assembled in Germany in con 
sequence of the preaching of H. Kalteisen ; see Janssen, Reichs- 
correspondenz, ii., 130. Regarding the " Tiirkenraizz " of the 
Viennese, see Schlager, Wiener Skizzen (Wien, 1846). Neue 
Folge, iii., 85 el S(q., 156 et scq. 


of Hunyadi, seconded by the zeal of St. John Capistran, did 
the rest* 

* Hertzberg, Byzantiner und Osmanen, 608. Zinkeisen, ii., 84. 
The relief of Belgrade is, as Zinkeisen, loc. /., justly observes, one 
of those historical events regarding which it is extremely difficult to 
form an exact and complete idea, although we are in possession of 
a large amount of valuable information on the subject. From the 
first," the various reports of the eye-witnesses were made party 
matters, and, moreover, the first despatch of Hunyadi to King 
Ladislas, the second exhaustive letter of St. John Capistran, and 
the narrative sent by Carvajal to the Pope, are still undiscovered. 
I vainly endeavoured to supply the deficiencies when in Rome ; 
found nothing relating to Belgrade in the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican, and in the Vatican Library only a letter, " Pro domino 
Francisco Schlick, canon. Ratispon," of which I shall speak here- 
after. As, however, we learn from Theiner (Mon. Ung., ii., 282), 
Raynaldus (ad an. 1456, N. 41), and *Lib. brev. 7 ( 25^26 
[Brief to the King of Portugal]), that the Pope sent the reports he 
received from Hungary to his legates and ambassadors to be 
communicated to the princes of Christendom, there is still hope 
that the missing documents may be found in some Archives ; 
other accounts of the battle were also sent from Hungary ; see in 
Appendix No. 41 the *Letter of the Doge, Fr. Foscari, written 
7th August, 1456. Hunyadi s second despatch is published by 
Pray, iii., 180; and St. John Capistran s first and third letters are 
given by Wadding, xii., 371-374- We have also a detailed account, 
though, unfortunately, the end is wanting, from the Minorite, 
Giovanni da Tagliacozzo (Wadding, xii., 340-362). This is 
valuable as proceeding from the pen of an eye-witness, but is 
throughout one-sided. For Voigt s exhaustive criticism of the 
relation between this narrative and the letter of the Minorite, 
Niccolb da Fara (also in Wadding, xii., 362-368), as well as the 
other authorities, including ^neas Sylvius, see Sybel s Historische 
Zeitschrift, x., 75 et se?., from which I have almost literally borrowed 
the excellent description of the relief of Belgrade. The report 
published by Birk in the " Quellen und Forschungen " (230 et seq., 
251-252), shows that Hunyadi s account of the victory is not 
absolutely correct. 


Belgrade is situated on a rocky hill, in the corner of the 
promontory formed by the union of the Save with the 
Danube. At the summit of this steep hill stands the castle, 
which, at the time we are speaking of, was strongly fortified. 
The declivity along the banks of the river was occupied by 
the lower town, which was then surrounded by walls and 
also on the land side defended by a double wall and moat. 
Mahomet II. had not only shut in the fortress completely 
on the land side, but also sent a flotilla to cut off communi 
cation by the Danube and the Save.* To make a breach in 
this iron circle was the first object of Hunyadi and St. John 
Capistran. The former, with the assistance of the legate, 
collected about two hundred boats at Salankemen, laden 
with munitions of war and provisions. lie embarked his 
followers and the crusaders who joined them, and on the 
1 4th of July, taking advantage of the current, bore down 
upon the Turkish ships, which were chained together. After 
live hours fighting, during which the waters of the Danube 
ran red with blood, the Christians succeeded in breaking 
through the Turkish line, and gained a complete victory. 
While the combat was going on, St. John Capistran stood 
on the shore and encouraged the Christian warriors by 
holdin"" up the crucifix, which the Pope had sent him by 
Cardinal Carvajal,f and calling out the Holy Name of 
Jesus ! 

The moral effects of this great victory were most Impor 
tant, for it broke the charm of supposed invincibility which 
had grown up around the Crescent. Moreover, it afforded 
breathing-time to the besieged, who had been under fire for 
a fortnight in the burning heat of summer. The Danube 
too was free, and the fortress was replenished with corn, 
wine, and troops. Hunyadi was prudent enough not to 
lose time in the pursuit of the Turkish vessels, but seizing 

Fessler-Klein, ii., 558. f Wadding, xii., 323, 341-342. 


on the favourable moment, at once occupied the fortress 
which had been so hardly won. St. John Capistran accom 
panied him, and with his heart-stirring eloquence stimulated 
the courage of the besieged for the decisive day* which was 

Mahomet, infuriated by defeat, determined to avenge t 
disgrace of the i 4 th July by the complete destruction c 
the* place. Night and day the city was subjected to an 
unceasing fire, and meanwhile he gathered together the 
flower of his army for a general assault which was to deal 
the final blow. In the evening of the 2ist July, the seventh 
day after the engagement on the Danube, at the head of 
his janissaries, he gave the signal for attack. The battle 
lasted throughout the whole of that night and the following 
day. From a tower in the fortress, Hunyadi and the Saint 
watched its vicissitudes, the former giving orders for the 
despatch of succour where it was required, and for the 
relief of the wearied and wounded. If he saw his forces 
anywhere giving way he flew to the spot, reanimating the 
courage of his men by fighting among them as a common 
soldier. St. John Capistran from the tower held up the 
crucifix which the Pope had blessed, and poured forth 
unceasing supplication to the Almighty for aid.t The 
besieged fought like lions, all the Turkish assaults were 

* Zinkeisen, ii., 87. 

t Voi-t ii 182. See the Letter "Pro domino Francisco 
Schlick, canon. Ratispon." d.d. 1456, Aug. , In this which 
is translated by the compiler of the Speirische Chronik (408) 
the following passage occurs: "Pater iste devotus Capistranus m 
pinnaculo in loco eminent! castri stans, crucifixum in ahum 
erigens clamabat ejulato flebili; O Deus meus, O Jesu, ubi sunt 
misericordie tue antique ? O veni, veni, in adjutorium veni ! noli 
tardare, veni, libera nos, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti, veni, 
noli tardare, ne dicatur: ubi est Deus eorum ? Cod. 1 alatm. 368, 
f. 283. Vatican Library. 


repelled, and those who had taken up their position in the 
trenches were dislodged by means of bundles of brushwood 
soaked in oil, pitch, and sulphur, and set on lire. 

Various accounts are given of the final crisis of the 
battle. The following is probably the true one. The 
crusaders, whose enthusiasm had by this time reached its 
climax, ventured in opposition to Hunyadi s commands, 
and without any order from St. John Capistran, on a strong 
sortie against a portion of the fortified camp of the Turkx 
The voice of the Saint, who not only called out from the 
walls, but hastened down amongst them, was powerless to 
restrain their ardour. Suddenly the Turkish cavalry 
charged the rash Christian warriors, who, eager for plunder, 
were pressing forward into the encampment of a pasha, 
and drove them, exhausted as they were, into a narrow- 
place. At this critical moment Hunyadi came to the rescue, 
making a fresh sally from the city, spiking some of the 
enemy s artillery and turning some against the Turks them 
selves.* The Sultan, wounded by an arrow and mad with 
rage, was compelled as night came: on to give the signal for 
retreat. The whole of the Turkish camp with all the arms 
and a portion of the artillery fell into the hands of the 
Christians.f And thus, to use the words of Nicholas Cusa, 
on the day of St. Mary Magdalen the Cross of Christ 
triumphed over its enemy.]: Belgrade, Hungary, and, in 
some sense, Christendom and European civilization were 
saved ; their deliverance was due in great measure to the 
fiery eloquence of the indefatigable St. John Capistran, 
who, in conjunction with Hunyadi, had been the soul of 
this terrible battle, and who had the chief share in its happy 

* Voigt, in Sybel s Zeitschr., x., 82. 

f See the Letter cited above from Cod. Palat. 368. Vatican 

J With regard to the sermon of Cusa, see Scharpff, 275-277, 


result.* Calixtus III. and his legate, the noble Cardinal 
Carvajal, must also be mentioned as having contributed to 
this memorable victory. " Whatever was achieved against 
the Turks," says a Protestant historian, "was entirely the 
Pope s doings, and the great deliverance wrought at 
Belgrade is to be ascribed most properly to him."f 

It would be hard to describe the agitation of the Pope 
when the first tidings of the advance of the Turks towards 

* Such is the wvie of Zinkeisen, ii., 84. See Krones, Gesch. 
Oesterreichs, ii., 371. In regard to the jealousy existing between 
Hunyadi and St. John Capistran, see JEn. Sylvius, Hist. Boh., c. 
ixv., and Europa, c. viii. The latter passage is : " Verum neque 
Capistranus Huniadis neque idem Capistrani Huniades mentionem 
fecere in eis literis, quas de obtenta victoria sive ad Romanum 
pontificem, sive ad amicos scripsere ; per suum quisquam 
ministerium Deum dedisse Christianis victoriam affirmavit. Avaris. 
sima honoris humana mens, facilius regnum et opes quam gloriam 
partitur. Potuit Capistranus patrimonium contemnere, voluptates 
calcare, libidinem subigere, gloriam vero spernere non potuit." 
On the other side, see Pagi on Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 26, and 
Wadding, xii., 370-371. Voigt (in Sybel s Zeitschr., x., 84) justly 
observes that a conclusive judgment regarding this matter cannot 
be arrived at, until all the war despatches of Hunyadi and St. 
John Capistran are before us. Voigt has overlooked the Saint s 
report of the 28th July, which Herschel publishes from a Dresden 
Codex in the Serapeum (xiv., 163-166). This document is very 
short, is addressed to the public, and is of the nature of an official 
Bulletin. No weight is to be attached to its complete omission of 
any allusion to the above-mentioned differences. There is more 
significance, I think, in the fact that the Pope in his Letter ascribes 
the victory equally to Hunyadi and St. John Capistran ; see 
Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 41 and 51. I must also observe that 
the Leiter to Fr. Schlick, dated Vienna, 1456, Aug. 2, contains 
these words : " Hec gesta de Capistrano non comprehenduntur in 
litera gubernatoris, sed qui ascendunt ita referunt ut etiam affirmat 
Michael Paldauff, qui heri sero venit de domino legato." Cod. 
Palat. 368, f. 283. Vatican Library, 
f K. A. Menzel, vii., 242. 



Belgrade reached Rome. The report of the Milanese 
ambassador, Jacopo Calcaterra, who had a long conversa 
tion with Calixtus III. on the 2yth July, 1456, gives a vivid 
picture of the distress of the aged Pontiff, who, in his 
noble efforts for the defence of Christendom, found himself 
abandoned by all the Western Princes.* While oroanino- 

t> & 

under the heavy burden laid upon him, the brave man was 
ready to sacrifice himself for the common cause. " I 
acknowledge and firmly believe, O Almighty God," he 
said, in the course of this memorable interview, "that it is 
Thy will that I alone should wear myself out and die for 
the general good. So be it ! I am ready, even if I must 
myself go into bondage and alienate all the possessions of 
the Church." And, alluding to the plague which was at 
this time raging in Rome,t he added, " Nothing will induce- 
me to leave Rome, not even if, like so many others, lam to 
fall a victim to the plague. Mahomet, the enemy of our 

* See the **Despatch of this ambassador, written at Castel 
Giubileo, on the aSih July, 1456. State Archives, Milan. Cart. 

t *" Ogni homo e partito o parte ... El papa pur sta fermo," 
says Antonio Bicardo to Lodovico de Gonzaga in a *Despatch, 
dated Florence, 1456, July 24. Gonzaga Archives, Mantua, xxix., 
N. 3, Firenze. See Jnfessura, 1137, and *Despatch of Jacopo 
Calcaterra to Fr. Sforza, d.d. Ex castro Jubileo, 1456, Aug. 6 ("El 
morbo non solamente persevera a modo uxato, ma augmenta . . . 
La B ne del papa pur he in proposito fermo et stabile de non volerse 
partire"). State Archives, Milan. Many fell victims to the pesti 
lence, not only in Rome, but in the other cities of Italy, and 
especially in those of the States of the Church ; see Massari, 42-43. 
Borgia, Velletri, 368. The confusion was increased by the appear 
ance of a comet and by earthquakes which caused destruction 
chiefly in the kingdom of Naples (see Arch. st. Napol., x., fasc. 2). 
but also in Rome. Almost all chroniclers mention the comet; see 
Celoria, Sull appariz. della Cometa di Halley avvenuta nell anno 
1456, in theRendic. del R. 1st. Lomb., Series ii., Vol. xviii. 



faith, compels me to remain. He does not relax his efforts, 
although thousands in his immense army have been carried 
off." The ambassador was greatly touched by the Pope s 
words, and on the day following the audience wrote thus to 
his master : " No man on earth can have so hard and stony 
a heart as not to be moved with the greatest compassion 
for His Holiness." 

A month before this, Calixtus, bereft of all human aid, 
had solemnly sought Divine assistance. On the Feast of 
St. Peter and St. Paul (2gth June), 1456, he addressed a 
Bull to all the Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, and Abbots 
of Christendom, exhorting them by prayers, fasting and 
penance to " return to the Lord, that He may again return 
to us," and also to direct their attention to the reformation 
of the flocks committed to their charge. The following 
special directions were added: "On the first Sunday of 
each month processions were to be made in every diocese 
in order to pray that the threatened Turkish invasion might 
be averted ; the Missa contra Paganos was to be said, and a 
suitable discourse delivered to the assembled people. More 
over, every priest, without exception, was required to use the 
following prayer in every Mass he said : " Almighty, ever 
lasting God, to whom all power belongs, and in whose 
hand are the rights of all nations, protect Thy Christian 
people and crush by Thy power the pagans who trust in 
their fierceness." Indulgences were attached to the per 
formance of these devotions, and to enable the people to 
share in these prayers and indulgences it was further 
enacted that in every church, between noon and vespers, 
one or more bells should be rung as for the angelus, and 
three "Our Fathers," and" Hail Marys" recited. In 
dulgences were granted for these prayers.* The Pope 

* Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 19-24. The remarks made by 
Gibr, in the Freiburger Kirchenlexikon (i, 2nd ed., 847), may be 


considered the splendid victory on the Danube primarily 
due to these supplications.* 

The Christian world breathed more freely after hearing 
of the triumph of Hunyadi and St. John Capistran. If the 
fear of Turkish invasion had been extreme, the joy of 

corrected by a reference to the above summary of the contents of 
the Lull. The Papal commands were carried out in the States of 
the Church (see Cronica di Bologna, 721, Annal. Bonon., 889), and 
in the other countries of Christendom (in the Diocese of Brixen, 
by Cusa, see Bickell, 54), and the Pope himself took special care as 
to their accomplishment ; see his *Letter " ven. frat. Petro episc. 
Alban. card, de Fuxo, ap. sedis legato," dated 1456, Oct. 13, and 
the undated *Brief " duel Burgundie (Britanie)," both of which are 
in Lib. brev. 7, f. 47 and 48-4Sb ; from the latter \ve quote the 
following : " Ceterum quoniam vires humane sine Deo inanes sunt, 
quod videri potuit in cxercitu Turcorum, minimus ad nobilitatem 
tuani hullam orationum, quam fccimus et per universam christi- 
anitatem publicari et observari mandamus, prout iam per totam 
Italiam, Alamanniam, Ilungariam et Hispaniam et, ut credimus, 
Franciam publicata exsistit et observatur, ut earn in tuo toto 
dominio et publicari facias et observari, ita ut continuato perorbem 
christianum orationum studio ipse Deus noster dot successum 
laboribus nostris contra hos perfidos sue religionis hostes." Secret 
Archives of the Vatican, loc. til. See also Theiner, Mon. Ung., ii., 
280, 282. I copied from Cod. lat. 4143, f. 11313-114 of the Court 
Library at Munich an ** Oratio devota tempore huius cruciatae 
singulis die-bus iussu Calixti papae a Cliristifidelibus recitanda," the 
authenticity of which must, however, remain doubtful. The foolish 
story repeated by Draper and Arago, that Calixtus caused the bells 
to be rung against the comet which appeared at this time and 
excommunicated it, is not worthy of refutation. See Clement, 8-9. 

* SeeRaynaldus ad an. 1456, X. 24; Wadding, xii., 380; Theiner, 
Mon. Ung., ii., 280, 282, and the *Hrief to Ragusa (s.d. [August, 
1456]): "Compertum enim est, quid divina ilia maiestas nunc 
pro suasacrosancta religione operata sit nostris et aliorum Christi- 
iidelium precibus inclinata, quas cum sum ma devotione per 
universum orbem christianum fieri mandamus." Lib. brev. 7 f. 
2/b-2S. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 




Christendom at the happy tidings of unlooked-for victory 
knew no bounds. Every heart that beat true to the good 
cause received the news as a favour from God. " We can 
hardly find a chronicler, however distant from the scene of 
action, or however obscure, who fails to mention this 
wonderful victory of the poor crusaders." Even in Venice, 
though she had done her best to remain neutral, the victory 
was the occasion of the greatest rejoicings.t Splendid 
festivities took place in the cities of the States of the 
Church, which learned the good news from special 
messengers sent by the Pope. Processions, in which the 
Madonna of St. Luke, the heads of St. Petronius and St. 
Dominic, the hand of St. Cecilia, and other precious relics 
were borne, were made in Bologna for three days.J 

No one throughout all Christendom was more delighted 
than the Pope at the defeat of the infidels. In one of his 
Briefs he speaks of the victory at Belgrade as the happiest 
event of his life. The Emperor and other potentates in 
formed the Pope of it by special messengers. || In Rome, by 

* Voigt, ii., 184. Regarding the rejoicings in Florence, see the 
Letter o? this Republic to Calixtus III. on September isth, 1456, in 

Miiller, 183-184. 

f Sanudo, 1163. Zinkeisen, ii., 96. On the i2th August, 1456, 
Venice congratulated Cardinal Carvajal and Hunyadi. Sen. Secret., 
xx., f. 98b and Qgb. State Archives, Venice. 

+ The Papal Brief addressed to Viterbo on the occasion of the 
victory is mentioned by Niccola della Tuccia (248). For an 
account of the rejoicings in Bologna, see Cronica di Bologna, 721, 
and *Ch. Ghirardacci, Storia di Bologna, Vol. iii., lib. xxxiv., 
f. 320. Cod. 768, University Library, Bologna. 
8 Theiner, Mon. Ung., ii., 281 et seq. 

\\ See in Appendix No. 42 the *Despatch of Nicolaus Sevcnnus 
to Siena, dated Rome, 1456, Aug. 13. State Archives, Siena 
From an undated *Brief of Calixtus III. to the Republic of 
Rvmsa we learn that the Pope had sent thither a tabellarius " to 
announce the victory. Lib. brev. 7, f. 2 7 b. Secret Archives of 
the Vatican. 


his desire, the ringing of all the church bells, processions 
of thanksgiving and bonfires * announced the good news. 

The Milanese ambassador, Jacopo Calcaterra, writing on 
the 24th August, 1456, gives a detailed and highly interest 
ing description of the impression made on the aged Pope 
by the tidings of the relief of Belgrade. f In an audience 
lasting three hours and a half Calixtus poured forth his 
feelings with the utmost expansiveness and freedom. 
" The Pope," writes the ambassador, " was so full of the 
great victory that he constantly reverted to it. He praised 
Hunyadi to the skies, calling him the greatest man that the 
world had seen tor three hundred years. But with equal 
energy did he lament the torpor of the Hungarians who 

* The first news of the victory reached Rome on the 6th 
August, premature reports of success having been circulated in 
Naples in the beginning of July. See the *Despatches of /Eneas 
Sylvius, Galgano Borghesc and Leonardo de Benvoglienti, to 
Siena, (l.d. Xapoli, 1456, Luglio, 3: "Qua sono venute novelle a 
la M t:i del Re dalo Scandarbeg, signore in Albania, come Janni a 
dato una rotta a Turchi che eranoachampatia Belgrade." See the 
*Despatchcs of the two last-named ambassadors of the 131!! July. 

1 did not see the originals of these Despatches in the State 
Archives at Siena, but I found copies in Cod. A., hi., 16, of the 
Biblioteca Comunale in that city. Calixtus III. did not receive 
Cardinal Carvajal s report, now unfortunately lost, until the 2 2nd 
August (Infessura, 1137). It is strange that this letter should 
have reached Rome so late, and it is possible that Infessura s date, 
which does not appear in the Latin version (Cod. xxxv ., 37, f. 187, 
Barberini Library, Rome), is incorrect. Other accounts of the 
victory were sent forth by the Pope as early as the roth August ; 
see Wadding, xii., 380. Letters regarding the victory reached 
Venice by the 7th August; see Appendix No. 41. *Letter from 
the Doge to Fr. Sforza. State Archives, Milan. 

t I found the original of this document in the State Archives at 
Milan ; see Appendix No. 43. This account m.w be compared 
with the Pope s Brief to his legate in Theiner, Mon. Ung., ii., 

2 S et seq. 


had not supported Hunyadi and the crusaders." More 
over, Calixtus ascribed the victory to the grace of God 
more than to human courage. " God," he said, " has 
granted this victory especially to bring shame and con 
fusion on those who opposed my efforts for the crusade, 
who said that no one could understand what I wanted, and 
that in pursuit of my vain dreams the treasures of the 
Church, which other Popes had amassed, were being 
thrown to the winds." "His Holiness," here observes 
Jacopo Calcaterra, " plainly told me that it was King 
Alfonso of Naples who had thus reproached him." Even 
more strongly did the Pope express himself regarding 
Scarampo ; and it is evident that this Cardinal s influence 
at the Papal Court was entirely gone, and that the Borgias 
had succeeded in prejudicing the mind of the Pope against 
him. This estrangement was no doubt also caused by the 
delay of Scarampo in leading the Papal fleet against the 

The victory at Belgrade had, as the letter of the Milanese 
ambassador shows us, raised the Pope s spirits wonder 
fully. Calixtus fully expected that the Christian Princes 
would look with very different eyes on the crusade, and 
\vould be more willing to make sacrifices for the common 
cause of Christendom now that his predictions, a thousand 
times repeated in the course of the past year, had been 
accomplished by the defeat and destruction of the Turks. 

There can be no doubt that in the first joyful enthusiasm 
elicited by the success of the Christian arms he cherished 
far too brilliant anticipations regarding the consequences 
of the victory. The accounts which reached him from 
Hungary were well calculated to strengthen these hopes. 
In the joy of their triumph, Hunyadi and St. John Capistran 
were so persuaded of the approaching annihilation of the 
Sultan s power that they did not hesitate to represent it to 


the Pope as an accomplished fact, only now requiring from 
him the support of an insignificant force to secure its 
fruits.* " Most Holy Father," wrote St. John Capistran, a 
few days after the relief of Belgrade, " the right time has 
come. The day of the salvation of Christendom has 
dawned ! Now is the moment when the long cherished 
desire of your Holiness will be fulfilled, not only by the 
recovery of the Greek empire and Europe, but also by the 
conquest of the Holy Land and Jerusalem. Almighty God 
will surely help us if only your Holiness persevere in your 
pious purposes. But one thing do your legates ask from 
your piety and zeal for the faith, namely, that you will send 
some ten or twelve thousand well-armed horsemen from 
Italy. If these remain with us for at least six months, 
together with the crusaders, who are devoted to you as 
obedient sons, and the noble princes, prelates, and barons 
of the kingdom of Hungary, we hope to acquire enough of 
the goods of the infidels to cover all expenses for three 
years and richly to reward the whole army. For at this 
moment we can do more with ten thousand men for the 
spread of the Christian faith and the destruction of these 
heathens than could be accomplished in other times by 
thirty thousand." Hunyadi wrote in a similar strain: " Be 
it known to your Holiness, that at the present time the 
Emperor of the Turks is so completely crushed that if the 
Christians, as is proposed, would only rise against him they 
might very easily, with the help of God, become masters of 
the whole Turkish kingdom." 

No wonder that the lively imagination of the Spanish 
Pope rose to gigantic schemes on the reception of such 
letters. The victory granted by God must now be followed 
up, and immediately after the tidings arrived he urged his 
legates and the Christian princes to proceed with united 
* Zinkeiscn, Oriental. Frage, 557. 


forces against the Turks. In the following March a great 
expedition was to set forth. Constantinople was to be re 
conquered, and Europe set free, the Holy Land and all 
Asia to be purged of infidels, the whole race of unbelievers 
extirpated.* In almost all the Briefs of the period these 
exaggerated schemes appear again and again, showing 
what complete possession the subject had taken of the 
Pope s mSnd.f 

These hopes were no doubt illusory ; and yet it was a 
misfortune for Europe j that the heroes who had given them 
birth, and had fostered them in the mind of the Pope, closed 
their earthly career soon after the glorious day at Belgrade. 

A fearful pestilence, generated most probably by the heat 
of the burning sun brooding on the heaps of unburied 
corpses, broke out and carried off the brave Hunyadi on 
the nth August. " When he felt his last hour draw near," 
said ^Eneas Sylvius, " he would not permit them to bring 
the body of the Lord to his sick bed. Dying as he was, he 
had himself carried into the Church, and there, after having 
received the Holy Sacrament, breathed forth his soul beneath 
the hands of the clergy." On the 23rd October the aged 
St. John Capistran followed his companion in arms.|| 

* Theiner, Mon. Ung., ii., 282 ; Voigt, ii., 284. 

f See Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 38; Wadding, xii., 380; 
Notizenblatt zum Archiv fur Oesterreichische Geschichtsquellen, 
1856, p. 34-35 ; Theiner, Mon. Ung., loc. at., and the *Briefs to 
Fr. Foscari and lo Florence (both of August, 1456), to King 
Alfonso of Portugal, to Jayme Girad, Bishop of Barcelona (s.d.), 
to Ragusa (s.d.), to Cardinal Scarampo (s.d.), to Charles VII. of 
France (s.d.) Lib. brev. 7, f. i9b, 20, 25^26, 26, 27b, 28b, 4/b- 
48. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

J So says Zinkeisen, Oriental. Fr., 559. 

Hist. Frederic! III., 460. Voigt, ii., 183. 

1| Voigt, in Sybel s Zeitschr., x., 84 et seq., subjects the account 
of St. John Capistran s death to a searching criticism. He died 
and \vas buried at Illok. His body was subsequently lost. The 


By the death of these two great men the operations 
against the Turks were deprived of their most powerful 
promoters.* The hope that the unexpected victory at 
Belgrade would give a fresh impulse to the Holy War 
melted away through the indifference of the Western 
Powers, which manifested itself in a disgraceful manner at 
the very time when its fruits might have been secured. 
Again was the Pope the only one who took the interests of 
Christendom seriously and honestly to heart. Me wrote in 
strong terms to the Emperor, the Kings of France and of 
Naples, to the more powerful German princes, and to the 
s-jveral States of Italy, f entreating them to give God thanks 

story of its being cast into the Danube, or into a well, dates only 
from the seventeenth century, and is unworthy of credit ; see the 
article of Fr. Eusebius Fermendzin in the periodical " Djakovacki 
Glasnik," Vol. for 1874. Probably the corpse of the celebrated 
preacher was stolen by the Turks in 1526; it seems afterwards to 
have been purchased from the unbelievers by the Bann Barbul, a 
Roumanian, and presented to the Convent of the Basilian monks of 
Bistritz. The reasons for this opinion are given in a *treatise by 
Blasius Kleiner, which I saw in 1884 in the Convent of Araceli at 
Rome, through the kindness of the Bosnian Franciscan, Father 
Eusebius Fermedzin, who has undertaken a history of the Church 
of his country, founded on Acts of the Propaganda and the Vatican 
Archives. The MS. in question bears the title: " Archivium in- 
clytoe provincial Bulgaria; sub titulo immacul. conceptionis b. vir- 
ginis Marix fratrum min. regularis observantiaj s. palris nostri. 
Francisci, 1761." 

* Yet Calixtus III. did not lose courage. See the *Brief to 
Petrus episcop. Alban. Card 1 8 de Fuxo," dated Rome, 1456, 
October 13, of which Raynaldus (ad an. 1456, N. 52) gives but a 
portion. Lib. brev. 7, f. 47, and Ibid., f. 49. *Brief to Cardinal 
Alain, dated 1456, October 8. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

t See the many similar Briefs to Charles VII. (dated 1456, 
August 10; Wadding, xii., 380-381) and to Fr. Sforza (August 
23),Notizenblatt zum Archiv furOesterreichische Geschichtsquellen, 
ioc. cit., as well as the *Letters to Fr. Foscari, containing the words: 


for the victory, and to turn it to account ; but his words 
were all in vain. Because the danger was for the moment 
averted, and this victory had been gained by the Hungarians 
and the undisciplined Crusaders, the Christian potentates 
seemed to think themselves justified in leaving all further 
defensive operations entirely to them. All through the 
upper ranks of society, which ought to have given an 
impulse to the rest, slothfulness, selfishness, and petty 
interests again outweighed all better feelings, and deadened 
all energy for good.* 

Almost all the other powers followed the example of 
Venice. In vain did the eloquent Carvajal unite his prayers 
and exhortations with those of the Pope ; all that could be 
said as to the necessity of following up the victory fell on 
deaf ears. The ambassador of the King of Hungary about 
this time failed to obtain any answer from Venice, "for, on 
account of the plague, no deliberations could take place ; " 
and when he again, on his way from Rome, visited the city 
he received an evasive answer. f 

The tepidity of the Western Powers, although unable to 
deter Calixtus from his efforts against the Turks, caused 
him for a time to seek for aid in other quarters. In Decem 
ber, 1456, he made an appeal to the Christian King of 
Ethiopia ; in the following year he applied to the Christians 
in Syria, Georgia, and Persia, and finally to Usunhassan, 
Prince of the Turcomans, the only one of the Eastern 

("Jamtempus est a sompno surgere "), and to Florence (s.d.), 
Lib. brev., f. 19, 2ob ; ibid., f. 28 ; a second *Brief to Fr. Foscari, 
dated August 24. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

* Zinkeisen, ii., 97. Regarding the Pope s firm purpose of 
doing all that was possible to follow up the victory, see *Calcaterra s 
Despatch of the 24th August, 1456. State Archives, Milan. 

f **Answer of the 23rd October, 1456. Senatus Secreta, xx., f. 
1 06. State Archives, Venice. 


princes whose power could compare with that of the 

As a lasting memorial of the victory at Belgrade, and in 
thanksgiving for the unlooked-for success of the Christian 
arms, the Pope in the following year decreed that hence 
forth the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord should 
be solemnly observed throughout Christendom. f A number 
of briefs attest the importance attached by Calixtus to the 
due observance of this decree, by which he hoped to 
revive the enthusiasm for the holy war. As far as the 
princes were concerned, however, these expectations were 

A pleasing contrast to the indifference is furnished by the 
zeal with which the lower orders received the Papal exhor 
tations regarding the crusade. In many places the excite 
ment and ardour manifested were most remarkable. A 

* Raynaldus (ad an. 1456, N. 44, 45, and 1457, N. 68) gives 
the Pope s Letters from the Registers of the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican. See Wadding, xii., 420-423. Regarding Usunhassan, 
see Heyd, ii., 326 et seq. 

f Bull of August 6, 1459, printed in Raynaldus ad an. 1457, n. 
73-80 (see Mansi, and remarks on the earlier celebrations of the F. 
of the Transfiguration), and in Bull, v., 133 d seq. On the 
" Oflicium festis transfig. d.n. JesuChristi, see Bibl. Hisp. vet., ii.. 
293; Eckard, i., 831. The institution of this feast has been the 
cause, as Hammer (ii., 846) has already observed, of the mistake of 
Bonfinius and Bernino, who suppose the victory to have been won 
on that day. It is no doubt for the same reason that Gregorovius, 
in the three editions of his History of Rome (vii., ist ed., 145), 
puts off the battle of Belgrade to the gih August, a date which is 
contradicted by all the best authorities (see Wadding, xii., 378). 
Droysen (ii., i, 185) makes it take place on July 13. 

J Besides the Brief to Carvajal (Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N-. 
80), see *those to P. Fenollet in Aragon, dated 1457, Sept. 24, and 
to L. Roverella in Germany, dated 1457, Nov. 30. Lib. brev. /f., 
124, 132. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


contemporary tells of peasants abandoning ploughs -and of 
bridegrooms leaving their brides in order " to fight for the 
Catholic Faith for the love of God." Supernatural signs 
induced others to join the expedition.* Throughout Upper 
Germany especially fresh hosts of crusaders assembled after 
the relief of Belgrade. These bands were incomparably 
superior in discipline to those that had flocked together before 
that decisive victory.f Another contemporary description 
of the departure of the Nuremberg crusaders for Hungary J 
says, "Anno 1456, when our Holy Father, Pope Calixtus 
III., sent a Danish legate and Bishop named Heinricus 
Kaldeysen to preach the crusade against the Turks, and to 
confer the cross, in September (more correctly August), 
many people came to the church here to take the cross, and 
set forth against the Turks. And as they were without a 
leader, and needed one to maintain order and authority for 
the glory of God and the honour of the city, the Council 
gave them for their help and comfort Heinrich Slosser, of 
Berne, who was the captain of the Swiss, and Otto Hcrde- 
gen, who knew the Hungarian language, with eight horses 
and a red and white pennon (the colours of Nuremberg). 
These captains appointed chiefs over tens and over hun 
dreds, and the chiefs and their men respectively took an 
oath of mutual fealty. This oath is written in the little book 
which is kept in the Court, and the men are inscribed by 
name in the same register. About fourteen baggage 

* See the *record of Brother Grys in Cod. Palat. 368, f. 2835. 
Vatican Library. I intend elsewhere to publish this document, 
which refers particularly to the crusaders from Nuremberg. 

t See Oesterreich. Chronik in Senckenberg, Sel. jur., v. 13 et seq. 
(again published by Rauch in Vienna, 1794). Quellen und For- 
schungen, 57, 61, 251. Gemeiner, Regensb. Chronik, iii., 247- 
248. Speyerische Chronik 409. Chronikender Deutschen Stiidte, 
iii., 407 et seq. ; iv., 326; x., 217. 

J Chroniken der Deutschen Siiidte, iii., 409 et seq. 


were also borrowed from the city to take their 
armour to Ratisbon. They bought three great ships for 
two hundred and twenty Rhenish florins, in which from one 
thousand three hundred to one thousand four hundred* well- 
armed men were to be embarked, six hundred carrying 
muskets, and the rest spears, cross-bows, and battle-axes. 
And they went forth in goodly array on the Friday after 
St. Bartholomew s day (2yth August), shriven, and fortified 
with the Blessed Sacrament. They marched under the 
banner of the Holy Cross, whereon were also painted St. 
Sebaldus, St. Lawrence, and the Holy Lance, and under the 
Hag of Nuremberg, which tin: chief leader, Heinrich Slosser, 
bore, as the Council had commanded through Niclas Muffel, 
Paulus Grunther, and Lrhart Schiirstab, who admonished 
him in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost to keep faith with the city, and to be a true leader of 
the people. By the Council they were provided with 
pots, kettles, pans, plates, spoons, and other vessels for 
cooking, two tents, a cask of powder and priming, lead, 
arrows, live bushels of oatmeal fried in dripping in little- 
barrels, and six bushels of millet and peas, and fifty hand 
guns. Item, in Hungary they were immediately to receive 
four hundred pounds weight of copper coins for the general 
benefit, and in Vienna the house of Baumgartncr gave two 
hundred pounds of the same, also to be spent for the general 
good. All this was done by the Council. Item, on the day 
when they departed hence each one of them was touched 
with the holy lance and with the holy cross at the hospital 
in the church of the Holy Ghost." 

* This number, according to the account of the chiefs to the 
Council on the I5th September (Auz. fur Kuncle Deutscher Vorzeit, 
1863, p. 253), represents the strength of the united armies of 
Nuremberg, Passau, and Salzburg. See Chroniken der Deutschen 
Stiidte, iii., 410. 


The German crusaders were joined, the chronicle of 
Spire informs us, by crusaders from England, France, and 
other countries, among whom were " priests and monks, and 
they were mostly poor working people. "* Cardinal Car- 
vajal welcomed them all with real joy, and in every way 
that he could, showed them the greatest goodwill. f 

The army of King Ladislas was now increased to forty- 
four thousand men, and, accompanied by Count Ulrich of 
Cilli, he landed with his force at Belgrade on the 8th 
November, 1456. The King and the Count were received 
with all due respect, but as soon as they and their servants 
had entered the fortress the gates were shut behind them, 
and admittance was refused to the armed Germans and 
Bohemians. On the following morning Cilli was invited to 
take part in the Council of the Hungarian nobles. When he 
appeared Ladislas Hunyadi upbraided him in violent terms 
with his ambition and his hatred of the Corvinus family. 
Ulrich, overmastered with rage, drew his sword and wounded 
Hunyadi and three Hungarian nobles, but finally himself 
fell beneath the blows of his enemies.^ When this be 
came known in the army of the King and among the 
crusaders, " everyone put on his armour, and the leaders 
went forth with their men intending to storm the castle." 
Young King Ladislas, however, dissembling his grief and 
indignation, sent word to the soldiers "that they were to 
take no notice of this matter, which did not concern the 

* Speyerische Chronik, 409. Eight hundred well-armed 
crusaders came from Silesia. Griinhagen, Gesch. Schlesiens, i., 

| See the testimony of the above-named leaders in their letters 
to the Council of Nuremberg in the Anz. fur Kunde Deutscher 
Vorzeit, 1863, p 287, 290. 

J See Quellen and Forschungen, 229 etsey., 251. Palacky, iv., 
i, 401 et seq. Krones, ii., 373 et seq. 


crusaders, and were to take off their armour." Soon after 
wards the crusading army, which was " as in a sack " 
between fortress and town in double danger from Turks 
and Hungarians, was permitted by mutual agreement be 
tween the King and Cardinal Carvajal to "go home again." 
" And so ended the expedition against the Turks on account 
of the perfidy of the Hungarians, of which we complain to 

At the very time when the people of Germany were thus 
loyally supporting the crusaders their prelates were 
occupied in evading any real participation in the common 
cause by again coming forward with "complaints" against 
the Holy See. Now, as on former occasions, reform was 
the pretext, and pressure the means used to accomplish 
their end, which was to evade their obligations. t As leader 
of the opposition, the aged Elector Dietrich, Count of 
Erbach, filled the place of Jakob of Treves, who had died 
in the end of May, 1456. The Elector s Chancellor, 
Doctor Martin Mayr, accompanied him and concentrated 
all his diplomatic and intriguing skill on the cauee in 


In June, 1455, at a Provincial Synod at Aschaffenburg, 
the Archbishop of Mayence had caused a whole list of 
complaints against the Court of Rome to be drawn up. 

* Quellcn und Forschungen, 521-252. 

f Such is the opinion of Voigt, ii., 198. How little any real 
purpose of reform was cherished by these exalted personages may 
be gathered by the "Abschied zwischen geistlichen Kurfiirsten," 
probably to be assigned to the year 1452 (in Ranke, Deutsche 
Gesch., vi., 10 et seq.}. See Gebhardt, 9 ; Bachmann, Kunigswahl, 
282 et seq. 

+ Gebhardt, 12. Regarding M. Mayr (fuSi), this "worthless 
intriguer, without conscience or heart for the master whom he 
served," see Voigt in the Hist. Zeitschrift, v., 453 et seq.) f. 54, and 
Riezler in the Allg. Deutschen Biogr., xx., 113 d seq. 


These complaints, which referred caietty to violations of the 
Concordat, were contained in an instruction for the 
embassy to be sent to Rome, and are important as being 
the foundation of many similar documents of a subsequent 
date.* After the close of this Synod, Dietrich and the 
Archbishops of Cologne and Treves entered into an under 
standing for the summoning of a great German national 
Council. The object of this Council was to confirm the 
decrees of Basle and to "take precautions against the 
burdens laid upon Germany, which strangely permits its 
eyes to be again torn out after having them restored by 
those salutary decrees. -j- 

The anti-papal sentiments of the Elector of Mayence, the 
ally of the Count Palatine Frederick, were manifested in a 
most decided manner at a Synod which he held at Frank- 
fort-on-Main in February and March, 1456. It was here 
determined that the Archbishop and his suffragans should 
unite in resisting the violition of the Constance and Basle 
decrees by the Court of Rome and the oppression of the 
German nation by tithes and indulgences.^; 

On the Feast of St. Peter ad vincula (ist August), 1456, 
the representatives of the five Electors, together with the 
Bishops of Salzburg and Bremen, again met at Frankfort- 
on-Main ; the Elector of Treves held back, as he had not 
yet been confirmed by Rome. The fact that the Cathedral 
Chapters of Mayence, Treves, Cologne, and Bremen sent 
messengers to this assembly gave it a great importance. 
All were unanimous in refusing the tithe which Cardinal 
Carvajal was about to demand from the clergy for the 

* See Gebhardt, 12 et seq. 

f Letter of Rudolf of Riidesheim (see the monograph of J. Zaun, 
Frankfurt, 1881) to the Archbishop of Treves on the 23rd June, 
1455, in Voigt, ii., 199, note 3. 

See Menzel, Friedrich der Siegreiche von der Pfalz, 22. 


crusade. In order to furnish a plausible excuse for this 
refusal the old disputes which the Concordat had set at rest 
were again revived. The war against the Turks was used 
by the Pope, they declared, as a pretext to fleece Germany. 
This was the object of the tithe, and the reason why the 
Indulgence granted to the defenders of Cyprus by Pope 
Nicholas had been withdrawn and declared invalid. They 
were resolved to appeal against the tithes ; they would 
send the dealers in Indulgences back over the Alps with 
empty purses ; they would not give money to support the 
spendthrift Catalan nephews at the Papal Court. The 
assembly then proceeded to draw up a report. This began 
with the usual complaints of the burdens imposed on the 
German nation; the tithes claimed by Rome for the Turkish 
war closing the list. A series of resolutions were passed 
for the redress of these grievances and the relief of the 
German Church. An appeal against the exactions of the 
Roman officials was drawn up and recommended. A 
league was formed, of which the members exchanged 
promises of mutual support in case anyone of them were 
threatened with excommunication, outlawry, war, or 
ecclesiastical or judicial proceedings, and also bound them 
selves not to enter into any " negotiation or under 
standing" without the consent of all.* "This," says a 
recent historian, " was an attempt at a German Pragmatic 
Sanction, which the ambassadors in the old fashion were to 
" bring after them." Practically but little result was to be 
apprehended from all this bluster. The assembly was to 
meet again at Nuremberg to consider whether it might not 
be better simply to accept the decrees of Constance and 
Basle. In reality their resolutions were nothing but a 
compilation of these with some slight modifications, which 
* K. A. Menzel, vii., 237. Voigt, ii., 204 tt seq. Gebhardt, 17 

it SCq. 


essentially altered nothing."* The Frankfort assembly 
also resolved to apply to the Emperor and see if he would 
not make common cause with the Princes in endeavouring 
to find a remedy for the grievances of the nation, either by 
concluding a Pragmatic Sanction with the Holy See or by 
some other means. Moreover, they strongly urged him to 
come into the Empire, and to take upon himself the charge 
of it. Could he really suppose that the infidels were to be 
vanquished by letters and messengers? The document 
closes with a threat that if the Emperor should fail to 
appear at the Diet to be held in Nuremberg at the end of 
November, " we, with the help of God, will meet there to 
take counsel and to determine on all that it behoves us to 
do as Electors of the Holy Roman Empire and all that may 
be necessary for the furtherance of the Christian expedi- 


The Emperor met these demands with a blunt refusal, 
and the Pope in a brief to his nuncio expressed his just dis 
pleasure. He strongly condemned the appeal of the Elector 
of Mayence, but did not excuse the dilatory Emperor. " O, 
hearts of stone which are not moved by this ! " exclaims 
Calixtus, after speaking of the victory won at Belgrade, 
" without King and without Emperor. Our fleet with the 
legate has sailed for Constantinople, and the Emperor 
sleeps. Arise, O Lord, and support our holy enterprise. ^ 

At the Diet held at Nuremberg in the end of the year 
1456, anti-Imperial feeling for a moment effaced the oppo 
sition to the Pope. There is no doubt that the revolu 
tionary party contemplated setting the Emperor aside by 
the election of a King of the Romans; the candidate they 

* Gebhardt, 25. 

t Ranke, Deutsche Gesch., vi., 21. See Speyerische Chronik, 
413.415, and Janssen, Reichscorrespondenz, ii., 131. 
J Raynaldus ad an. 1456, N. 40. 


had in view was the young and powerful Frederick I. of 
the Palatinate, but as the anti-Imperial party was still too 
weak for action, it was merely determined that another 
Diet should meet at Frankfort-on-Main on Rcminisccre 
Sunday (i3th March) ; counsel was there to be taken as to 
the manner " in which the Pope was to be entreated re 
garding the Holy Roman Empire and the German nation.""* 
No energetic measures against the Emperor were adopted 
at this Diet (March, 1457), which assembled in spite of his 
formal prohibition. The attitude of the anti-Papal party 
seemed more threatening. Its grievances were fully set 
forth in an intemperate letter addressed by Doctor Martin 
Mayr to /Eneas Sylvius Piecolomini, who had meanwhile 
been promoted to the purple. The Pope, says this letter, 
does not observe the decrees of the Councils of Constance 
and Basle, he does not consider himself bound by the 
treaties which his predecessors have entered into; he 
appears to despise the German nation and to extort all he 
can from it. The election of prelates is frequently post 
poned without cause ; and benefices and dignities of all 
kinds are reserved for the cardinals and Papal secretaries. 
Cardinal Piecolomini himself has been granted a general 
reservation in an unusual and unheard-of form on three 
German provinces. Expectancies without number are con 
ferred, annates and other taxes collected harshly and no 
delay granted ; and it is also known that more has been 
exacted than the sums due. Bishoprics have been bestowed, 
not on the most worthy, but on the highest bidder. For 
the sake of amassing money, new indulgences have daily 
been published and war-tithes imposed without consulting 
the German prelates. Lawsuits, which ought to have been 
dealt with and decided at home, have been hastily trans- 

* duller, Reichstagstheater, 553. See Gebhardt, 26, and Bach- 
mann, Konigswahl, 318 et seq. Keussen, 71 et seq. 



ferred to the Apostolic Tribunal. The Germans have been 
treated as if they were rich and stupid barbarians, and 
drained of their money by a thousand cunning devices. 
And therefore this nation, once so glorious, which, with her 
courage and her blood had won the Holy Roman Empire, 
and was the mistress and queen of the world, is now needy, 
tributary, and a servant. For many years she has lain in 
the dust, bemoaning her poverty and her sad fate. But 
now her nobles have awakened as from sleep ; now they 
have resolved to shake off the yoke and to win back their 
ancient freedom.* 

The real weight to be attached to this document was 
soon made manifest, for hardly three weeks had passed 
away before the same Doctor Martin Mayr made private 
overtures to Cardinal Piccolomini for a treaty to be con 
cluded between his master, the Archbishop of Mayence 
and the Pope. This proposal elicited the humiliating reply 
that it was not for subjects to make alliances with their 
lords, and that an Archbishop of Mayence should be con 
tent with the position which his predecessors had occupied 
and not seek to rise above it.f 

All this anti-Papal agitation was well known, and caused 
grave solicitude in Rome. The apprehension that Germany 
might follow the footsteps of the French, who adhered to 
the Pragmatic Sanction, caused much anxiety, and the chief 

* Voigt, ii., 232-233. Mayr s Letter (dated Aschaffenburg, 1457, 
Aug. 31) has very often been printed ; to the editions named in the 
Archiv fur Oesterreichische Geschichte (xvi., 416), \ve may add 
Goldast, Polit. Imp. (Frankf., 1614), p. xxiii., p. 1039 et seq. ; 
Freher, Script., ii., 381 et seq., and Geschichte der Papst. Nuntien, ii., 

I Letter of the 2Oth Sept., 1457. ^En. Sylv., Opp., 822 et seq. 
"Mayr and his master," justly remarks Voigt (Hist. Zeitschr., v. f 
454), "only wished to frighten the Roman Court so as to sell 
themselves to it on good terms." 


object of the Pope was to prevent the Emperor from being 
drawn into the party of the anti-Roman princes. The Brief 
which Calixtus addressed to Frederick III. was drawn up 
by Cardinal Piccolomini. In this document the Pope 
denies the charge of disregarding the Concordats and of 
neglecting to appoint bishops. In regard to reservations 
and other exercises of patronage, if, in the multiplicity of 
affairs, anything has been amiss, this, he says, has been 
through inadvertence. Although the authority of the Holy 
See is absolutely independent and cannot be limited by the 
bonds of a contract, yet, in token of his ardent desire for 
peace and his goodwill towards the Emperor, he will allow 
the Concordat to continue, aad will never, as long as he is 
at the helm, permit its violation. If, however, the nation 
has other complaints regarding the proceedings of his 
Court, and amendment is deemed necessary (for even he 
may fail and err as a man, especially in matters of fact), it 
does not become bishops or others to follow the example of 
those who, to the injury of ecclesiastical government, the 
destruction of the mystical P.ody of Christ and the ruin of 
their own souls, maintain principles which would authorize 
them to despise the commands of the Apostolic See and 
direct the affairs of the Church after their own will. He 
who ventures to act thus cannot call God his father, inas 
much as he does not acknowledge the Church for his mother. 
No one may oppose himself to the Roman Church ; should 
anyone think himself wronged he must bring his grievances 
before her. The Pope dwells in forcible terms on the un 
reasonableness of the complaints regarding the money col 
lected in Germany for the Turkish war, inasmuch as the 
great expenses which he incurred on behalf of Christendom 
in general, by the equipment of a fleet in the East, by sup 
porting Skanderbeg in Albania, by paying so many ambas 
sadors in all parts of the world, and by assisting multitudes 


who needed help in Greece and Asia, were evident to all. 
"We venture," Calixtus says, "to glory in the Lord, for 
while the Christian princes have almost all been sunk in 
slothfulness, He, through His own servants, who alone carry 
on the holy work, has broken the proud ranks of the Turks 
in Hungary, and discomfited the great and mighty army 
which had threatened to ravage not only Hungary, but also 
the whole of Germany, France, and Italy, and to overthrow 
the kingdom of Christ."* 

Copies of this Brief were sent from Rome to various 
persons, amongst whom were the King of Hungary and 
Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa; and, at the same time, Cardinal 
Carvajal and the Minorite, San Jacopo della Marca were 
exhorted to resist the anti-Papal agitation in Germany. f A 
very severe letter was addressed by the Pope to the Arch 
bishop of Mayence, the chief promoter of the movement. 
Calixtus declared that he could not believe so prudent a 
prelate to be capable of undertaking anything against the 
Papal authority, by which he would incur ecclesiastical and 
civil penalties and be guilty of the sin of heresy. As 
Elector, the Archbishop was, beyond all others, bound to 
maintain and extend that authority; if devils in humaji 

* Brief of 3ist August, 1457, given in part by Raynaldus ad an. 
1457, N. 40, and completely in /En. Sylv., Opp., 840 tt seq., and 
in the Gesch. der Nuntien, ii., 640 ei scq. " Considering the 
immense expense," says the very anti-Papal author of this work 
(3^3)> "of the naval war in which the Pope had engaged, it is easy 
to believe that in this Brief to the Emperor he speaks the simple 
truth ; and that instead of gaining anything he himself was obliged 
to contribute." In explanation of the expression regarding the 
fallibility of the Pope, see Hergenrother, Staat und Kirche, 934. 

f Raynaldus, ad an. 1457, N. 42. The date of the Brief to 
Carvajal, " penultim. Novemb., i457>" which is wanting in 
Raynaldus, is supplied in the Lib. brev. 7, f. 1310. Secret Archives 
of the Vatican. 


form taught otherwise, lie ought not to give ear to them. 
To the Archbishops of Cologne and Troves* he wrote in a 
similar strain, and also sent despatches to several States of 
the Empire, to Berne and other cities, exculpating himself 
from the charges made against him.f As Carvajal had 
more than enough to do in Hungary, it was determined that 
another legate should be nominated for Germany, and 
Lorenzo Roverella, a distinguished theologian and diplo 
matist, was selected. Cardinal Piccolomini gave him 
detailed instructions as to the manner in which he was to 
proceed against the anti-Roman party in Germany. J 

The Cardinal himself personally took part in all these 
measures, and wrote a number of letters, among which 
those to Martin Mayr have attained a certain celebrity. 
This is the case more especially in regard to one of them, 
subsequently known as " Some account of the state of 
Germany," a title which, in strictness, is applicable only to 
a small portion of it. In it he defends the action of the 
Holy See, and appeals to the prosperity of the country as a 
refutation of Mayr s complaints of Roman extortion. This 
graphic picture of German life in the middle of the fifteenth 
century is still read with pleasure by patriotic Germans. 

* Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 49 (the beginning is omitted ; 
the date is also wanting in Lib. brev. 7 ; probably this document, 
like the one which precedes it in the AIS., is of the 23rd Decem 
ber, 1457) and 50 (Lib. brev., " D. u. s."=i457, Dec. 12). 
Rossmann, 429. 

t See Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 39 ; and in the Appendix No. 
48, the *Brief to Berne. State Archives of the Vatican. 

J Letter of December ist, 1457. ^En. Sy .v., Opp., 821. For 
the date, see Archiv. fur Oesterr. Gesch., xvi., 420. I have sought 
in vain in the Secret Archives of the Vatican for the special instruc 
tions to Roverella. 

Bohmer was much interested in this " charming picture of 
medieval civic prosperity," and translated it; see Janssen, Bohmer s 
Leben, i., 66, 122 ; ii., 85. 


"The apology of vEneas Sylvius," to use the words of a 
French historian, " perhaps too closely resembles that of the 
ancient Roman who replied to a charge of malversation c 
public money by proposing that his accusers should go 
the Capitol and thank the gods for the victories which he had 
won. It must be confessed that there is much truth in the 
plea of the Pope s champion, and history will not fail to 
praise the zeal with which the common Father of Christians 
laboured to stem the further progress of the Turks and 
wrest their victims from them.* 

At the beginning of the year 1458 alarming reports of 
the excited state of Germany again reached Rome ; t no 
decided step, however, was taken, and ultimately the oppo 
sition died a natural death. J 

The conduct of Alfonso, the powerful King of Naples, 
was calculated to cause the Pope even greater anxiety than 
that occasioned by German discontent. From the very 
beginning of the Pontificate of Calixtus III. the personal 
relations between him and this monarch, which had formerly 
been most friendly, had totally changed. 

The Kino- who could boast of having in great measure 
brought about the elevation of Calixtus III., expected 
his old friend to show his gratitude by acceding to all 
his requests. The first of these was certainly not a 

Michaud, Histoire des Croisades (Bruxelles, 1841), Vol. ix., 

17 There is certainly much exaggeration and sophistry in 

these apologetic writings; see Dux, i, 3*4, 3 6, 33 <* ?. 376, 

and Voigt, ii, 240 et ?., on this subject and the erroneous date 

of the letters to Mayr. Finally, see the opinion of K. A. Menzel, 

vii., 244 et seg., 254- 

t See the *Cipher Despatch of Otto de Caretto (who had seen 
letters from the Cardinal of Augsburg to the Tope) to Fr. Sforza, 
dated Rome, 1458, Jan. 27- State Archives, Milan 

t Voigt, ii., 247- Droysen, ii., i, 194 et scq. Gebhardt, 28 



modest one, for he asked the Pope to hand over to him tin- 
March of Ancona and other territories of the Church.* 
Calixtus, however, was not prepared to sacrifice his duty to 
his affection for his former patron, and refused the investi 
ture, f Further misunderstandings arose when the King 
proposed for several bishoprics in his dominions persons 
whose youth and ignorance rendered it impossible for the 
Pope to accede to his request. It must have been with 
reference to these differences that the Pope exclaimed : 
" Let the King of Aragon rule his own Kingdom, and leave 
to Us the administration of the supreme Apostolate."| 
The tension between Calixtus III. and the King was con 
siderably intensified by the arrogance of Alfonso, who went 
so far as to insult the Pope personally. This we learn 
from a letter shown by a Papal Secretary to the Milanese 
ambassador, in July, 1455, in which Alfonso, calling upon 
the Pope to proceed against the infidels, says that " he 
appears to be asleep ! " The document is full of other un 
becoming expressions. 

Calixtus greatly disliked the alliance between Alfonso 
and the Duke of Milan, which the former announced to 

* Pius II., Comment., 35. See also supra, p. 340 et stq. 

\ Calixtus III. also refused to grant the King the renewal of in 
vestiture of Naples. The Neapolitan ambassador openly attri 
buted this refusal chiefly to the ambition of the Borgias. Zurita, 

iv., 44b. 

+ /"En. Sylvius, Europa, c. 58. With regard to the matter of the 
bishoprics, see Platina, 736 ; Zurita, Anales, xvi., c. 39, and a 
*Despatch from Fr. Contarini, the Venetian ambassador in Siena, 
to the Signoria, dated 1455, Aug. 29 (Contest as to the appoint 
ment to the Bishopric of Valencia : "el qual el summo pontefice 
voleva per uno suo nepote et la real maiesta elvoleva etiam per uno 
suo parente"). Cod. Ital., vii.-mcxcvi. of St. Mark s Library, 

*Despatch of J. Calcaterra of the 22nd July, I455I see A P~ 
pendix No. 33. State Archives, Milan. 


him on the 4th October, 1455. Francesco Sforza betrothed 
his daughter, Hippolyta, to Don Alfonso, grandson of the 
Neapolitan monarch, and son of Ferrante of Calabria, 
while the daughter of Ferrante was actually married in 
1456 to Sforza Maria, a son of the Duke of Milan. Venice, 
Florence, and Siena shared the apprehensions which these 
unions between the most powerful among the Italian 
princes awakened in the mind of the Pope.* 

The disgraceful conduct of King Alfonso on the occasion 
of Piccinino s war with Siena must have still more em 
bittered the relations between him and Calixtus. A fresh 
outbreak of hostilities in Italy was the greatest possible 
obstacle to the crusade on which his heart was set, never 
theless the monarch, who had solemnly promised to take 
part in this, persisted in fomenting the war in the Sienese 
territory. t 

These matters being at length settled, the question of the 
crusade again became prominent. The success of the war 
against the infidels depended in great measure on the King 
of Naples, who had large naval and military forces at his 
disposal, and whose example might be expected to have 
great influence in winning the co-operation of other states. 
Alfonso formally made the most magnificent promises,^ 
but he really had no intention of performing his vow of 
joining the crusade. Instead of proceeding against the 
enemies of Christendom, and without a declaration of war, 

* See Baser, 83, 85, 87. 

t See supra, p. 359 et seq., and the *Despatch of Fr. Contarini of 
ZQth August, 1455, cited supra, p. 339, note f, St. Mark s Library, 
Venice. * La M ta del Re," says Bernardus de f Medici to Fr. 
Sforza, under date Naples, 1455 ( st - fl -)- Jan- 4, "non si loda de 
papa et il papa biasima la M ta Sua et sdegno cresce." Pot. Est., 
Firenze, i. State Archives, Milan. 

J See Voigt, yneas Sylvius, ii., 189. 


he commenced hostilities against Genoa, which had always 
been the object of his hatred, and employed the fleet 
equipped by the Archbishop of Tarragona for the Holy 
War in devastating the territory of his enemies. At the 
same time he never ceased to oppress Sigismondo Mala- 
testa, the Lord of Rimini.* This policy, which not onlv 
stirred up fresh troubles in the Romagna, but also revived 
the designs of Anjou, and became the occasion of repeated 
interference on the part of the French, naturally had a most 
disastrous effect on the Pope s endeavours to unite Chris 
tendom against the Turks. f All his exhortations and 
attempts to re-establish peace were in vain,J and Alfonso s 
aggression finally compelled the Genoese to turn to France 
for assistance. 

Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the 
relations between Calixtus and Alfonso became more and 
more embittered. The King was convinced that the Pope 
was determined to thwart him in every way.|| In the 
summer of 1457 there was much excitement about a pre- 
* See supra, p. 365 Lalan, v., 172 et scq. ; Vigna, vi., 463 et 
seq. ; Tonini, 251 et seq., 256 ft scq. Fanodid not venture to take 
part in the crusade, fearing an attack from Alfonso. Amiani, Mem. 
di Fano, i., 421. 

t Reumont, iii., i, 128. 

^ See Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 63 ; Vigna, vi., 697 et seq., 
727. *Despatch of Antonio da Trezzo to Fr. Sforza, dated Naples, 
1457, April 20. State Archives, Milan, Pot. Est., Napoli I. See 
also the *Bnefs to Genoa (s.d.) and to the Doge P. Campofregoso, 
dated 1457, Febr. 5, and May 10. Lib. brev. 7, f. 71, 64 and 89- 
90. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

See Sismondi, x., 83 ; Cipolla, 452; Buser, 88 et seq. ; Vigna, 
vi., 787 et seq. 

|| Alfonso openly expressed this opinion to the Milanese ambas 
sador. See *Despatch of Antonio da Trezzo to Fr. Sforza, dated 
Naples, 1456, April 29. Fonds. Ital. 1587, f. 120. National 
Library, Paris. 


sentation to a bishopric. The Pope having refused to 
accede to the King s desire, the Neapolitan ambassador 
appealed to a future council, and thus incurred excom 
munication. If we may trust the report of an ambas 
sador then in Rome, the dispute became so violent that 
Calixtus concluded a Brief addressed to Alfonso with the 
words: " His Majesty should be aware that the Pope can 
depose kings," and Alfonso rejoined, "Let his Holiness 
know that the King, if he wishes, can find a way to depose 
the Pope."* 

The almost regal reception therefore accorded to the 
beautiful Lucrezia di Algano, who was generally supposed, 
though he denied it, to be King Alfonso s mistress, when 
she came to Rome with a great suite in October, 1457, can 
only have been due to political considerations. f Whether 
any improvement in the state of feeling between Alfonso 
and Calixtus ensued it is impossible to say. If, as an 
ambassador has asserted, Lucrezia asked the Pope for a 
dispensation to become Alfonso s second wife, it is evident 

* *Despatch of the Abbot of St. Ambrogio of the 23rd June, 
1457; see Appendix No. 46. Ambrosian Library, Milan. See 
also the ^Despatch of Nicodemus to Fr. Storza, dated Florence, 
1457, May 19, and preserved in the same library (Firenze, i.). 

f See Niccola della Tuccia, 253-254; Pius II., Comment. 27, 
and Cugnoni, 184. The statement of Paolo della Mastro (Cron. 
Rom., 25), that Lucrezia arrived in Rome on the gth October is 
confirmed by a *Despatch of Leonardus Benevolentus to Siena, 
dated Rome, 1457, Oct. 10 : " Mad. Lucretia ieri entro in Roma 
con gran solemnita e grandissima compagnia . . . Oggi ando a 
visitare il papa essendo insieme con li cardinal! convocati ; venne 
con grandissima et ornatissima compagnia, fu ornato el palazzo 
con molti panni d arazo e ornatissimi e richi paramenti e in tutte 
parti ricevuta con grandissima pompa e honore, se fusse stata la 
propria regina, non so se si fusse fatto piu." Cod. A., iii., 16, 
Siena Library. 


that the contrary must have been the case, as the 
Pope neither could nor would have granted such a 

In March, 1458, we learn that the Pope s nephews, more 
especially Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, made efforts to bring 
about a reconciliation between him and Alfonso, and there 
was some talk of sending the Cardinal to Naples. f It was 
expected that the great affection of the Pope for his rela 
tions would have ensured the success of these endeavours, 
but the King repelled all pacific overtures. In June, 
1458, Calixtus wrote of the Neapolitan monarch: "Since 
Alfonso has come into possession of Naples the Church 
has had no peace ; he has been a constant torment to Pope 
Martin, Eugenius, and myself. Therefore, when he dies, I 
will do my utmost to deliver my successor from such 
bondage by preventing the succession of Don Ferrante, the 
King s illegitimate son." The feudal law of Lombardy 

* *Despatch in cipher from Otto de Caretto to Fr. Sforza, 
dated Rome.. 1457, Oct. 29. State Archives, Milan. 

f Cipher Despatch from Otto de Carretto to Fr. Sforza, dated 
Rome, 1458, March 28. State Archives, Milan (erroneously given 
in Pot. Est., Roma, 1461). According to a *Despatch from the 
same ambassador, dated Rome, 1438, Jan. 17, Cardinal Barbo also 
offered his services in bringing about a reconciliation with King 
Alfonso. Loc. cit. 

% Cipher *Despatch from the same to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1458, March 21. Loc. cit. 

*Despatch of the Bishop of Modena of the nth June, 1458 ; 
see Appendix No. 50. Ambrosian Library, Milan. It is evident 
that Alfonso was by no means a good and trustworthy neighbour to 
the States of the Church. See Voigt, iii., 22. On the 31*1 May, 
1458, Otto de Carretto was able to inform Fr. Sforza by a 
* Despatch in cipher (Ambrosian Library) that Calixtus intended 
on the death of Alfonso to take possession of Naples as an escheated 


was on the Pope s side and of this he was no doubt aware.* 
According to it legitimization does not of itself carry the 
right of succession to a fief, and no special provision had 
been made to secure this for Ferrante.f 

* See the *Letter of Otto de Carretto and Gio. de Caymis to 

Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1458, July 24. Cod. Z, 219, Sup., of 
the Ambrosian Library, Milan. We shall speak of this letter 
later on. 

f /En. Sylvius (Europa, c. 65) certainly asserts the existence of 
a recognition of his right of succession, but the document has 
never come to light. In this matter my statement, Vol. I. p. 331, 
needs rectification. According to Zurita (iv., 44!:)) Alfonso expressly 
requested the Pope to grant Investiture to Ferrante. Eugenius IV. 
had clearly acknowledged Ferrante s capability of succession. I 
am indebted to the kindness of Fr. Ehrle, S.J., for my knowledge 
of the *Document concerning this matter (d.d. Rome, etc., 1444, 
Id. Jul. A xiii") ; Reg. 380, f. 2 Sab ; Secret Archives of the 
Vatican. Calixtus III. seems to have proceeded on the conviction 
that he was not bound by this act of his predecessor s. 



AFTER the death of the threat Hunyadi, the Turks had but 
one adversary, able to cope with them, left on the western 
battlefields, and this was George Kastriota, Prince ot 
Albania, generally known by the name of Skanderbeg.* 
The history of this hero, on whom Calixtus III. bestowed 
the name, " Soldier of Christ," has been rescued by recent 
investigations from the romantic fictions which had obscured 

It is now an established fact that Kastriota was not, as 
had been supposed, a seion of an ancient Albanian family, 
but was of Slavonian origin. Original documents have 
also refuted the story that he distinguished himself when a 
hostage among the Turks, gained favour with the Sultan, 
and, after the battle of Kunovica, escaped and returned 
home to incite his countrymen to take arms against the 
infidel. The truth is that Skanderbeg s youth was passed 
in his native mountains, t and his warfare with the Turks 

* See Hopf, 122 ; Makuscev, Slaven in Albanien (Warschau, 
1871) Kap. 4, and C. J. Jirecek, Gesch. der Bulgaren (Frag, 
1876) 368-369. 

f Hertzberg, Byzantiner und Osmanen, 609. 


began with the victory gained over them in the Dibra in 
1444. This victory filled western Christendom with joyful 
hopes, inaugurated the independence of Albania, which 
Skanderbeg maintained for more than twenty years, and 
ushered in the heroic age of its brave people. He was himself 
the hero of heroes. Contemporary testimony is unanimous in 
representing him as one of the noblest figures of the age. 
While yet a boy, his handsome features and commanding 
gestures presaged a glorious future. A companion in arms 
tells us that he used to turn up his sleeves in battle, that 
he might better wield the sword or the club. His warlike 
spirit was such that a battle from time to time seemed to be 
a necessity for him. He was at once a soldier and a 
general. His physical strength was almost inexhaustible, 
and in their rapidity his military movements resembled 
those of Caesar.* 

All the efforts of the infidels failed to vanquish this 
mighty foe, and after a while they attempted by cunning to 
accomplish that for which their power had proved unequal. 
They succeeded in inducing some Albanian chiefs, who 
found the rule of the energetic Skanderbeg too burdensome, 
to revolt, and among these were the Princes Nicholas and 
Paul Ducagnini. A bloody civil war then broke out, and 
there was reason to believe that the Signoria of Venice 
were no strangers to these disturbances. The hatred of 
the Venetians to Skanderbeg was due to his connec 
tion with King Alfonso of Naples. f Pope Nicholas, 
who in every way supported him, at length brought 
about a peace.J The Turks now stirred up Moses 
Golem Komnenos against him. In 1455, Isabeg, one 

* See Fallmerayer, Albanes. Element, 5, 7. 
t Hopf, 133. See C. Padiglione, Di G. C. Scanderbech 
(Napoli, 1879). 
} Theiner, Mon. Slav., i., 413-414. See supra, p. 246. 


of the most experienced of the Turkish leaders, attempted 
a fresh attack on Albania. In order to make sure of the 
support of the King of Naples, Skanderbeg did homage to 
him as heir of the House of Anjou for his capital of Kroja, 
and Alfonso sent a thousand foot soldiers and five hundred 
musketeers to assist him. In the end of June, 1455, when 
with fourteen thousand men he attempted an attack on 
Berat, he was beaten by the superior Turkish forces, but 
his mountain home, with its raging rivers and torrents, easily 
placed him beyond the reach of his enemies. At the 
approach of winter the Turks retired and left the traitor 
Moses Golem in possession, promising him that if he 
brought them Skanderbeg s head he should receive a 
hundred thousand ducats, and be put in possession of 
Albania* without having to pay tribute. 

For some time after the defeat at Berat Skanderbeg s 
fate was a matter of uncertainty in Western Europe, but in 
the spring of 1456 he reappeared upon the scene. In April 
he wrote to Cardinal Capranica, whose zeal for the cause of 
the crusades was well known, describing the warlike pre 
parations of the Turks, and begging for his good offices 
with the Popc.f An envoy from the Albanian hero reached 
Milan* in June, and in October he again sent another 
messenger to Francesco Sforza and to Calixtus III. The 
Pope received his envoy with the greatest cordiality, but 

* See Hertzberg, Byzantiner und Osmanen, 610. Ilopf, 134. 
Regarding the stronghold of Kroja, see Halm (Alban. Studien, 
Wien, 1853), i., 57, and Fallmerayer, 21. A *letter of the Doge 
Fr. Foscari to Fr. Sforza, dated Venice, 1455, Aug. 14, speaks of 
the Turkish invasion of Albania. State Archives, Milan, Pot. Est., 
Venez, i. 

t *Skanderbeg to Card. Capranica, dated Alessio, 1456, April 
8. Register in Cod. 1613, Fonds Ital., National Library, Paris. 

J. *Fr. Sforza to Jacopo Calcaterra, his ambassador in Rome, 
dated Milan, 1456, June 20. Loc. tit. 


unfortunately was not able to assist the Albanians with 
ships or troops. He, however, encouraged and sanctioned 
their enterprise and afforded pecuniary help to the best of 
his power.* 

On the 5th April Skandcrbeg made his triumphal entry 
into his capital, Kroja, laden with rich spoils, after having 
a few days previously defeated the traitor Moses and his 
Turks in the Lower Dibra. Moses returned home a des 
pised and vanquished man. Full of repentance for his 
treachery he fled to Albania and begged forgiveness from 
Skanderbeg. The hero pardoned him and generously 
restored his confiscated possessions; it was henceforth 
Moses aim to atone for his treachery by loyal service 
against the common foe.f 

A sorrow far deeper than that which the apostasy ot 
Moses can have caused him fell upon Skanderbeg in the 
defection of his nephew Hamsa, who, beguiled by Mahomet 
II., proved false to his blood, his country, and his faith. In 
1457 he joined the Turkish General Isabeg with a con 
siderable force, and advanced against his uncle, who had 
scarcely ten thousand men at his command. The latter, 
therefore, determined to avoid an engagement with an 
enemy so superior in number, and to entice him into the 
interior of the devastated country. The crops which were 
nearly ripe were hastily gathered into the fortresses, where 

* Zinkeisen, ii., 119. Hopf., 134. See /En. Sylvius, Europa, c. 
15. Early in July, 1456, King Alfonso heard of a victory gained 
by Skanderbeg ; see the *Letter of the Sienese ambassadors 
(/Eneas Sylvius, Galg. Borghese and L. Benevolentus) to Siena 
dated Naples, 1456, July 3. Cod. A. iii., 16, of the Siena Library. 
In a *Brief to Brother Lud. Constanz, dated [1456] Dec. 15, 
Calixtus III. speaks of the impossibility of immediately sending 
assistance to Skanderbeg. Lib. brev. 7, f. 53. Secret Archives of 
the Vatican. 

f Zinkeisen, ii., 131. Hopf. loc. cit. 


most of the country people with their goods also took 
refuge. As soon as the enemy began his march through 
the upper Dibra Skanderbeg with his troops retired towards 
Alessio. The Turks occupied a great part of the country, 
and extended their lines as far as this place, which belonged 
to the Venetians."* Venice complained bitterly of the 
violation of her neutral territory, but did not support the 
oppressed Albanians. Xo\v, as before, the Signoria, in 
their desire to prevent any foreign interference in Albania, 
viewed with displeasure the assistance rendered by Alfonso 
of Naples to Skanderbeg, who in his necessity had also 
written to the Pope, entreating aid. The state of the Papal 
Treasury was unfortunately at this time far from pros 
perous. I he maintenance of the crusading fleet was a 
great and constant expense, claims were made from all 
sides on the Supreme Head of Christendom, and meanwhile 
the war tithe came in very sparingly. The Pope did all that 
was in his power by transmitting a sum of money to Skan- 
derbcg, and promising, as soon as possible, to send a well- 
equipped galley, which was to be followed by otiier ships. t 
The most splendid and most bloody of Skanderbeg s 
victories was that which he gained in the Tomorniza in 
July, 1457. Isabeg s army was surprised, and those who 
did not escape were cut to pieces. Thirty thousand 
Turks are said to have perished. Fifteen hundred prisoners, 
four-and-twenty horse-tails, and the whole camp of the 
enemy, with all its treasures, were taken by the conqueror. 
Ilamsa, the traitor, was among the captives. Skanderbeg 
magnanimously spared his life, but sent him to Naples to 
be kept in safe custody by the King.J 

* Hammer, ii., 48. Zinkeisen, ii., 132. Fallmerayer, 68 et seg, 
j- Kaynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 21 ; see 41 (from this passage it 
appears that the Papal succour arrived most opportunely). 
J See Hopf, 135 ; Hammer, ii., 49 ; Fallmerayer, 69 et sfq. 


Albania was now delivered from the Turkish invasion, as 
Hungary had been by the victory of Belgrade in the 
previous year. The only powers who had afforded Skan- 
derbeg any real assistance at this critical period were King 
Alfonso and the Pope. On the iyth September, 1457, the 
latter wrote to him in the following terms : " Beloved son ! 
continue to defend the Catholic Faith ; God, for whom you 
fight, will not abandon His cause. He will, I am confident, 
grant success against the Turks and the other unbelievers 
to you and the rest of the Christians with great glory and 

The Pope had previously, on the roth September, deter 
mined that a third part of the tithes from Dalmatia should 
be placed at the disposal of the brave Albanian chief. He 
also commanded his legate to come to Skanderbeg s assis 
tance with at least a part of the fleet then in the ^Egean 
Sea.t A special nuncio, Juan Navar, was sent to Dalmatia 
and Macedonia to collect the tithes ; he was to oblige the 
people of Ragusa to fulfil their promises. J Navar does 
not, however, appear to have been very successful, for in 
December, 1457, the Pope threatened them with excom 

After his victory Skanderbeg had informed the Western 
Princes that he was not in a position to bring the war to a 
happy conclusion without further assistance. The time 
had come, he said, for them to awaken from their lethargy, 

* Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 26. 

f Theiner, Mon. Slav., i., 426-428, and Mon. Ung., ii., 303- 
304. Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 23. 

J Raynaldus, he. cit. See *Brief to Ragusa, dated [1457] 
Sept. 1 8. Lib. brev. 7, f. 122. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

*Brief to Ragusa, dated 1457, Dec. 3. Lib. brev. 7, f. 134. 
Ibid. 135, a Brief to J. Navar on this matter; f. 139, reiteration of 
the threat to Ragusa, dated 1458, Feb. 6. Secret Archives of the 


to lay aside their dissensions, and to unite with him in 
exerting all their powers to obtain the liberation of the 
Christian world and to secure the future.* But this appeal 
was as ineffectual as those which the Pope had previously 
made. Naples alone sent some troops to Albania. Calixtus 
III. energetically expressed his satisfaction at the victory, 
and, on the 23rd December, 1457, appointed Skanderbeg 
his Captain-General for the Turkish war.f He also 
repeatedly sent him pecuniary aid.J Skanderbeg 
appointed as his lieutenant the despot of Roumania, 
Leonardo III., Tocco, ex-Prince of Arta, whose name was 
expected to rouse Southern Epirus to a general insurrec 
tion against the Turks. Unfortunately, Venice now came 
forward with various pretensions, the result of which was a 
new civil war, which was not terminated until February, 

In his zeal for the defence of Europe against Turkisli 
aggression, and for the protection of the Oriental 
Christians, Calixtus III. never forgot the more distant out 
posts of Christendom in those regions. He interested 
himself more especially in the Genoese possessions in the 
Black Sea, which had already engaged the attention of 
NicholasV.|| On the second day after his coronation he 
issued a Brief urgently exhorting the inhabitants of the 
Genoese territory on the mainland, and some few specified 
provinces in the neighbourhood, to support the Bank of 
St. George with money and gifts, so that Caffa might 

* Zinkeisen, ii., 136. 

t Theiner, Mon. Slav., i., 431-433. 

J Raynaldus ad an. 1458, N. 14-15, 16. Kaprinai, ii., 133 
ei scq. See *Brief to J. Navar, dated 1458, Feb. 6. Lib. brev. 7, 
f. I39b. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

Details are given by Ilopf, 135. 

|j See Raynaldus ad an. 1455, and Vigna, vi., 269. 



not fall into the hands of the unbelievers. In order to give 
the more weight to this appeal, new and ample indulgences 
were granted to those who should in any way support this 
establishment in its opposition to the Turks.* On the 
22nd November, in the same year, Calixtus, who had in the 
meantime personally afforded considerable assistance to 
the Bank, expressly declared that the Bull issued in favour 
of Caffa was not to be considered as suspended by that cf 
the crusade of the I5th May.t 

These favours occasioned great satisfaction in Genoa, 
and honest collectors were sent without delay to the 
territories indicated by the Pope. Calixtus continued to 
manifest his goodwill to the undertaking. On the 3rd 
March, 1456, the directors of the Bank of St. George 
wrote to Caffa in the following terms : " The Pope shows 
himself in every way so well disposed towards the Genoese 
colonies that their welfare appears to be even nearer to his 
heart than it is to ours."J The reason of this was that 
Calixtus s motives were nobler than those of the directors 
of the Bank ; they only cared for the preservation of their 
colonies on account of the income they derived from them, 
while the Pope undertook their protection from zeal for 
the maintenance of the Catholic faith and the defence of 
Christian civilization against the inroads of Islam. 

* See the Pope s Letter to the Bank of St. George, given in part 
by Raynaldus ad an. 1455, N. 32, and completely by Vigna, vi., 
403-407; see ibid., 305, 390, 396 el seq., 407 et Sfq. 

f Vigna, vi., 412-414. In the beginning of November, 1455, 
the Bank of St. George had sent a special envoy (ven. sacr. litt. 
profess. Deodatus) to Rome, to represent to the Pope the necessities 
of the colonies in the Black Sea. C/. on this subject a letter to 
Calixtus III., dated Genoa, 1455, Nov. 5, which 1 found in Cod. 
D. 4.4. i, f- 20-3, of the City Library at Genoa, and which is, to 
the best of my belief, unpublished. 

J Vigna, vii., 431, 540^^.; see 550 and 603-604. 

Loc. at. 446. 


The Pope s correspondence with Genoa, which has 
recently been brought to light, enables us to appreciate his 
marvellous energy in his care for the Eastern colonies at 
the very time when Hungary and the fleet were so urgently 
claiming his attention. On the loth March, 1456, he 
extended to the dioceses of Albenga, Savona, and Vcnti- 
miglia the Bull by which Lodisio Ficschi and Giovanni 
Gatti had been appointed collectors of the ecclesiastical 
tithes in the Genoese territory.* Other Briefs called upon 
the Bishops of Tortona, Luni, Alba, Acqui, and Asti to 
assist the collectors in every possible manner, and to give 
a good example to their subjects by their zeal for the 
common cause of Christendom. t Others, again, confirmed 
the plenary powers given to these commissioners, and com 
manded them severely to punish those who, under the 
cloak of piety, deceived the simple people by falsely repre 
senting themselves as collectors.]; The Pope strictly 
charged Yalerio Calderina, Bishop of Savona, and Adminis 
trator of the Diocese of Genoa, not to damp the zeal of the 
people by the suggestion of doubts and scruples. He also 
addressed a special Brief to Paolo Campofregoso, Arch 
bishop Elect of Genoa, urging him to set a good example 
by the complete and speedy payment of the tithes of his 
benefice. || In his indefatigable zeal he also exhorted the 
Duke of Milan and the Marquess of Montferrat, the neigh 
bours of Genoa, to support Caffa.^f We cannot give a 
full account of all the favours which the Genoese received 
from Calixtus III., but we can undoubtedly assert that he 
did everything in his power on their behalf.** 

* Loc. cit. 458-559 ; see 561-562. Loc. cit. 570-571. 

t Loc. cit. 563-564. || Loc. cit. 571-572. 

% Loc. cit. 569-570. ^[ Loc. cit. 567-568. 

** See Vigna, loc. a /., 599 et seq., 615 et sey., 625 et seq., 630 

., 636-637,638-639, 712-719, 738-740. 


With regard to the fleet, the Pope was sedulous in pro 
viding it with reinforcements,""" and in encouraging the 
legate and exhorting him to keep his forces together in 
readiness for any emergency. f 

A splendid victory gained at Mitylene over the Turks in 
August, 1457, when no fewer than five-and-twenty of their 
ships were taken by the Papal fleet, gave much consolation 
to Calixtus/l He commemorated the happy event by 
causing a medal to be struck with the inscription : " I have 
been chosen for the destruction of the enemies of the Faith. " 

This fresh success encouraged the Pope to do everything 
in his power for the support and assistance of Scarampo 
and his forces. || As time went on, he continued to urge 

* See the *I3riefs to the Archbishop of Milan, dated 1457, Feb. 
15; to Scarampo, dated 1457, Feb. 28 and March 29; to Carvajal, 
dated 1457, March 23; to Pontius Fenollet, dated 1457, March 26 ; 
all of which are in Lib. brev. 7, f. 65b, 72, 76, 75, 74. Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. Also the Brief to Fr. Sforza, dated 1457, 
Feb. 15 (Ambrosian Library ; incorrectly given by Christophe, ii., 
584-585). Scarampo himself urgently implored assistance. See 
his * Letter to Onorato Gaetani, dated Rhodes, 145 7, May 19. 
Gaetani Archives ; see Appendix No. 45. 

t See the *Brief to Scarampo of loth March, 1457: "Super 
omnia autem, dilecte fill, te hortamur, ut nullam galeam aut navi- 
gium recedere a te permittas, sed omnes ttia solita prudentia 
retinere studeas, ne classis ipsa ulla ex parte imminuatur, sed 
potius corroboretur. 5 Lib. brev. 7, f. 69b; see ibid., f. 72, a 
* Brief sent to the said Cardinal on the 28th February, 1457, and 
Theiner, Cod. iii., 399. 

% See Kaynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 31 and 32 ; St. Antoninus, 
xxii., c. 14, i ; Pius II., Comment., 245 ; Cugnoni, 132. 

Molinet, 9; Bonannus, i., 57 ; Vcnuti, 16; Guglielmotti, ii. 
289 et seq. ; Atti della Soc. Lig., iv. and xc. ; Vigna, vi., 793. 

|| See *Brief to Scarampo, dated 1457, August 29 (" Fcce ad 
te inpresentiarum mittimus tres galeas "), and August 32 (Michael 
de Borgia will bring money with the ships). Lib. brev. 7, f. 116- 
1 1 8. Secret Archives of the Vatican, 


on the Cardinal Legate the necessity of keeping the fleet 
together, and remaining with it during the winter,* so that 
the expedition might be carried on with renewed vigour in 
the following year.f Further reinforcements were sent for 
this purpose early in 1458, and, in announcing their arrival 
to the Cardinal Legate, Calixtus III. solemnly assured him 
that he would never give up the fleet, and would support it 
as long as he lived. He bid Scarampo not lose courage, 
and expressed his confident hope that God would grant 
victory, and would bring great things to pass by its means. 
The energy of the Pope never flagged until In: was struck 
down by mortal sickness ; and alas ! it was not granted to 
him to witness another victory for the cause so near his 

Save for these successes, won by the arms of Scarampo 
and Skanderbcg, the year 1457 was fraught with disappoint 
ments to Calixtus. The King of Portugal, like the rulers 
of France and of Burgundy, constantly buoyed up his mind 
with vain hopes and empty expectations. Xo one in Italy 
made any exertion for the defence of Christendom. Venice 
remained, as before, deaf and cold to all Apostolic appeals ; 
her traders cared only for their selfish interests, and accord- 

* Besides the *Brief of 3ist August, 1457. which we have men 
tioned, see *one to Scarampo, dated 1457, December 4, of which 
Raynaldus (ad an. 1457, X. 38) gives but a fragment. Lib. brev. 
7, f. I32b-i33b. 

f *Brief to B. Vila, dated 1457, December 4- Lib. brev. 7, f. 


+ *Brief to Scarampo, dated 1458, March 14. Lib. brev. 7, f. 
i = 2b-i54. See Raynaldus ad an. 1458, X. 18. 

*On the 2 cjth May, 1458, he announced to Scarampo the early 
arrival of Juan Xavar with succour, and the approaching despatch 
of four galleys built in Rome. Lib. brev. 7, f. 172 ; see ibiJ., f. 
174, the *Biief to Michael " de Borga," dated 1458, June 3. 


ingly maintained peace with the Sultan, who invited the 
Doge in March, 1457, to the marriage of his son.* 

The Duke of Milan endeavoured to obtain investiture 
from the Emperor by holding out hopes that he would send 
troops for the war. These tedious negotiations came to 
nothing, although the Pope took the Duke s part, and all 
expectations of succour from this quarter vanished. f Like 
the great victory on the Danube in 1456, the successes of 
Skanderbeg and Scarampo in 1457 were attended by no 
adequate results. All who wished to remain in peace, and 
attend without interruption to their own private interests, 
easily persuaded themselves that the power of the Turks 
was sufficiently subdued. Time was thus given to the 
enemy to recover from defeat, and to prepare for further 
aggressions, and an opportunity which never returned was 
lost by the short-sighted and egotistical policy of the 
European Powers. 

The strength of Hungary was crippled ; discord prevailed 
among her magnates and at the Court; Frederick III. was 
at variance with the young King Ladislas regarding the 
inheritance of the Count of Cilli. The Pope most earnestly 
adjured these two princes to lay aside this petty private 
matter for the sake of Christendom in general and of their 
own dominions. " How," he asks, " can the French, the 
Spaniards, and the English think of sending armies against 
the Turks when you, who are near at hand, and whose 

* Sathas (Documents ined., relat. a 1 hist. de la Grece, Premiere 
serie [Paris, 1880], i., 36) has published the Sultan s letter. On the 
2Oth October, 1457, Venice declared to the Sultan her firm purpose 
of maintaining peace with him. *" Imperatori Turcorum." 
Senatus Secreta, xx., 135. State Archives, Venice. 

f See Buser, 86. *As early as the ist November, 1456, the 
Pope had begged the German Electors to promote the grant of the 
Investiture to Sforza. Regest., in Cod. 1613, National Library, 


interests are at stake, seem to take no heed of the danger 
which threatens you from the infidels ? "* In the beginning 

J O O 

of November, 1457, an agreement was at last arrived at 
between Frederick III. and Ladislas, but on the 23rd of 
the same month Ladislas died, and in consequence of his 
death affairs in the East took a new and unexpected turn. 
Matthias Hunyadi Corvinus, who was very young, ascended 
the Hungarian throne, and the Utraquist Governor, George 
Podiebrad, was elected King of Bohemia (2nd March, 1458). 

In the election of George no regard was paid to the here 
ditary pretensions of Saxony, Poland, and the House of 
Hapsburg ; the adjoining countries were not consulted, and 
the proceedings were altogether of an exceptional kind. 
Accordingly the new King was not without opponents, who 
had legitimate grounds for calling his election in question. 
Under these circumstances the congratulations of an 
eminent and generally esteemed Prince of the Church 
were peculiarly welcome. Cardinal Carvajal wrote from 
Buda on the 2oth March to express his good wishes, and 
at the same time took the opportunity of urging upon the 
new Monarch the cause of ecclesiastical unity, and of the 
defence of Christendom against the Turks. t 

Even before his elevation the crafty Podiebrad had been 
working to gain the favour of Rome. The Pope, who 
had already expressed his desire for the reconciliation of 
the Bohemians, J was all the more easily won because he 
was assured, not only of Podiebrad s Catholic sentiments 

* Calixtus III. to La-lislas. jEn. Sylv., Opp., 819-820. See 
Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 8 <.t se//., and Theiner, Mon. Ung., ii., 

t Palacky, Urkundl. Beitriige, 140. Bachmann (Podiebrads 
Wahl., 109) seems under the impression that Carvajal s letier is 

J See Palacky, iv., i, 409 


but also of his intention of taking part in the war against 
the Turks. The Premonstratentian Canon, Lukas Hlaclek, 
and Heinrich Roraw, the Procurator of the Bohemian 
Hospice in Rome, exerted themselves in his cause, and were 
so successful that the confiding Pontiff declared his deter 
mination in every way to defend the honour of the 
Bohemian King. Calixtus had letters of safe-conduct 
issued for the Bohemian ambassadors, and his confessor, 
Cosimo di Monserrato, shewed Lukas Hladek presents 
destined for King George.* The Pope s anticipations 
were raised still higher when he received tidings of what 
Kino- George and his consort had, before their coronation. 

o 5 

done and bound themselves by oath to do. 

According to the decision of the States the coronation 
of George was to take place according to the ancient 
Catholic rite. Prague was at this time without an 
Archbishop ; the Archbishop of Olmiitz had not yet been 
enthroned, and the Archbishop of Breslau was hostile to 
the King. Consequently King Mathias and the Cardinal 
Legate Carvajal were requested to send a Hungarian 
Bishop to perform the ceremony. t The Bishops of Raab 
and Waitzen declared themselves willing to undertake the 
office. Carvajal would not allow them to start until they 
had promised to insist upon George s abjuration of the 
Hussite heresy previously to his coronation. The King, 
who well understood his obligations to the Utraquists, 
beo-an by refusing to do this ; the Bishops, however, stood 
lirm, and at length he agreed to abjure his errors and take 


Report of the Roman parish priest Lichtenfelser, Rome 1458, 
April 3, in Palacky, Urk. Beitriige, 145. Regarding II. Roraw 
(Rohrau) see Voigt, iii., 426 and Vol. I. p. 254, and regarding 
Cosimo de Monserrato see supra, p. 335. 

t See Palacky, iv., 2, 33. Bachmann, Podiebrads Wahl, no 
et seq. 


n Catholic coronation oath, providing only tnat the matter 
was kept secret. Fresh difficulties arose when the Bishops 
required that the abjuration of heresy should be inserted 
with the other {joints in the formal record of his oath. 
George could not be induced to consent, and the Bishops 
contented themselves with his verbal abjuration.* In the 
coronation oath taken on the 6th May, 1458, in presence 
of only eight witnesses, who were bound to secrecy, t 
George swore fidelity and obedience to the Roman 
Catholic Church, her head, Pope Cahxtus I IF., and his law 
ful successors," and promised " to preserve his subjects 
from all errors, divisions and heretical doctrines, and 
especially from everything opposed to the Catholic Church 
ami the true Faith, and to bring them back to obedience, 
and to perfect external and internal unity and union with 
the Roman Church in worship and ceremonials." Every 
difference of cverv kind was to be given up, and notably 
the administration of the Sacrament of the Altar in both 
kinds, and other things contained in the compacts which 
had never been confirmed by Rome.J 

* See the important letter of Carvajal to Calixtus III., 14-8, 
Aug. 9, in Script, rer. Siles. (Breslau, 1873), 7-8, Markgraf, 7, 36f, 
and Bachmann, Podiebrads Wahl, 125 el st-y., 132 et scg 

t Raynaldus ad an. 1458, X. 24, 25. Kaprinai, Hun?, dipl., 
ii., 163-166. Theiner, Men. Ung., ii., 405. Bachmann, Podie 
brads Wahl, 134, 135. Frind, 465, 466. 

J Bachmann, Podiebrads Wahl, 137. Frind, 4 . The former 
co-religionists of the King had no suspicion of his change or of the 
oath he had taken ; George gained them over by his solemn con 
firmation of the privileges of the kingdom amongst which the com 
pacts were reckoned, at least by the Utraquists, though these dd 
not seem to have been expressly mentioned. The t\vo oaths were, 
as George well knew, contradictory. As to tli3 Pope s refusal to 
confirm the compacts, see Voigt (against Palacky) in the Histor. 
Zeitschrift, v., 413 tt ^y. 


These solemn promises on the part of the King led 
Calixtus III. to cherish confident hopes that in time the 
majority of the Utraquists would follow the example of 
their monarch and return to the Catholic Church. Soon 
after his coronation George further encouraged these 
anticipations by accrediting Doctor Fantino de Valle as his 
Procurator in Rome, sending the Pope a copy of his oath, 
and adding ample promises regarding an expedition against 
the Turks to be undertaken when he had arranged the 
affairs of his kingdom.* According to Cardinal Jacopo 
Ammannati Piccolomini,t the aged Pontiff now resolved 
on addressing a Brief to King George with the superscrip 
tion : "To my beloved son George, King of Bohemia," 
after the formula generally employed in the case of 
Catholic Princes. This Brief, however, has not come to 
light, and neither the King nor the Court ever alluded 

to it.J 

The coronation of King George by two Catholic prelates 

* Voigt, iii., 431. Markgraf, 8. From his letter of the 131!! 
May, 1458, in Raynaldus ad an. 1458, N. 20, it would appear that 
Calixtus III. was at first somewhat hurt at not being consulted 
with regard to the election of the new Kings of Hungary and 

t Pius II., Comment., ed. Gobelinus, 430, 431. Here it is also 
said that the Pope s eyes were opened by the Minorite, Gabriel of 
Verona, and that before he died he realized that he had been 
deceived. Bachmann (Bohmen unter Georg v. Podiebrad [Prag, 
1878] 75) justly rejects this story. 

+ Markgraf, 8, and Histor. Zeitschrift, N. F., ii., 131. Voigt 
(iii., 431) and Bachmann (Podiebrads Wahl, 145) consider the 
Brief to be genuine. In the Secret Archives of the Vatican I found 
no trace of it, but the Briefs of Calixtus III. are very imperfectly 
preserved. Against the authenticity of the document we have the 
fact that in the latter part of Calixtus III. s life, and especially 
during his illness, several Papal documents were forged ; See 
Cugnoni, 201. 


according to the rite of the Roman Church, together with 
the friendly relations established between him and the 
Pope, produced an immense impression, and the tide of 
feeling became much more favourable to the new monarch. 
He had now a fair hope of inducing the neighbouring 
States to acknowledge him, and of depriving the efforts of 
the Duke of Saxony and the Hapsburgs of any prospect of 

To the end of his life Calixtus III. continued heartily 
devoted to the cause of the crusade. In order to estimate 
the immense difficulties in his way, we must bear in mind 
that he had to encounter the obstinate opposition of almost 
all the European princes and of a great portion of the 
cler^v. This opposition was displayed not only in France 
and Germany, but also in Italy and Spain, and the: Papal 
registe-rs contain a serie-s of condemnatory briefs bearing on 
the subject. t The Pope laments this sad state of things in 
language which shews how deeply it affected him. The 
harvest is great but the labourers are few," he writes, in 
December, 1456, to Cardinal Alain. The sense of his isola- 

Bachmann, Podiebrads Wahl, 145, 174. 

f See *Lib. brev. 7, f. 17 : **" Archiepiscopo Mediolan " (s.d.). 
See f. 52b : " Fr. Coppino," dated 1456, Dec. 2, and f. 65b : 
" Archiepisc. Mediol.," dated 1457, Febr. i 5 ; f . 6ob : "Omnibus 
praelatis SabaudiaV dated 1457, Jan. 30; f. 831:1-84 : " G. P. 
Fenolleto," dated 1457, April 13 (concerning the appeal of the 
Chapter of Gerona) ; f. 92 : " Kpisc., capit. et clero Urbinat.," 
dated 1457, May 20 ; f. 124 : " Fpisc. Pensauri " (Pesaro), dated 

1457, Sept. 24; f. 128^129: to the clergy of the Province of 
Tarragona (d.u.s. [1457, Nov. 17]), see f. 160 ; f. 138 : " Ant. de 
Veneriis nunt. in regnis Castelle et Leg.," dated 1458, Jan. 23; 
**to the Bishop of Trivento (with severe condemnation), dated 

1458, Febr. 26, Regest., 459, f. 199 : ** Declaratio contra prse- 
latos et alios non solventes decimam in ducatu Sabaudise." Secret 
Archives of the Vatican. See also Vigna, vi., 680 et scq. 


tion became at times so overwhelming that the burden of 
his office seemed almost intolerable.* 

In Italy the restless spirit of Piccinino and the crafty 
policy of Alfonso of Naples caused him constant and serious 
anxiety. On account of these troubles, and also with the 
view of making yet another effort to avert the danger of 
Turkish aggression, Calixtus, in the autumn of 1457, con - 
ceived the idea of holding a congress in Rome. His invita 
tion was addressed to all the princes of Christendom ; and 
it was his last attempt. In order to facilitate the delibera 
tions, the envoys were summoned for different dates. 
Naples, Milan, Genoa, Florence, and Venice were to send 
their deputies to Rome by December, 1457; France, Bur 
gundy, and Savoy by the end of the following January, and 
the other European princes, with the Emperor, by the end 
of February.! The Pope placed great hopes on this con 
gress,! but the appointed periods passed by without the 

* See Raynaldus (ad an. 1456, N. 52; 1457, N. 35 and 50), 
the pathetic *Lelter to the Archbishop of Florence, dated 1457, 
June 10, and the *J3riefs to Job. de Grolea, and the Archbishop of 
Granada, both of 2oth Dec., 1457. Lib. brev. 7, f. 98, 1455, 145!)- 
146. Secret Archives of the Vatican. The *Letter to Alain is in 
Appendix No. 44, from the Colonna Archives. 

t See Raynaldus ad an. 1457, N. 36, 38. Sanudo, 1166. Thciner, 
Mon. Ung., ii., 305-306. See the *I3riefs to Cardinal Carvajal, 
dated 1457, Nov. 29, and to the Duke of Burgundy, dated 1457, 
Dec. 21, Lib. brev. 7, f. 130-1315, and 144. That the case of 
Piccinino was to be one of the matters of deliberation appears from 
the *Despatches of Otto de Carretto to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1457, Nov. 24, and 1458, March 21. State Archives, Milan (the 
last named despatch is in cipher; it is in Pot. Est., wrongly dated 
Roma, 1461), and from a *Brief to Bologna, dated 1457, Dec. 16, 
the original of which is in the State Archives, Bologna. See Appen 
dix No. 50. 

J See the *Briefs to B. Vila, dated 1457, Dec. 4, and to L. 
Cescases, dated 1458, Fcbr. 17. Lib. brev. 7, f. 134, 148. 


arrival of any of those invited. Otto de Carretto wrote on 
the 4th February, 1458, to the Duke of Milan, " No one of 
the envoys convened to discuss the Turkish business has 
yet arrived."* In February several at last appeared, so 
that the deliberations could be commenced in March. They 
continued into the; month of June,f but there is no record of 
any result. 

The excessive nepotism of Calixtus III. is the only blot 
on his otherwise blameless character. The lavish prodiga 
lity with which he enriched his unworthy relations can only 
be, in some measure, excused as an effort to secure in them 
a counterpoise to the influence of the untrustworthy and 
olten dangerous barons. + 

The relations of the Spanish Pope were very numerous, 
and some of them had come to Rome while he was still a 
cardinal. They belonged chiefly to the three allied Yalen- 
cian families of Borgia, Mila, and Lanzol. Caterina Borgia, 
one of the Pope s sisters, was married to Juan Mila, Baron 
of Mazalanes, and was mother of young Luis Juan ; another 
sister, Isabella, was the wife of Jofre Lanzol, a nobleman 
possessed of property at Xativa, and had two sons, Pedro 
Luis and Rodrigo. Calixtus gave both these nephews his 
larnily name by adoption. 

* The *Despatch is in cipher, and is to be found in the State 
Archives, Milan, where see also *Despatches from the same ambas 
sador of the 4th and 8th Jan., 1458. Regarding the refusal of 
Venice to send ambassadors, see Banchi, Relaz., 441 et sty. 

f Sec the *Briefs to Cardinal Scarampo, dated 1458, March 15 
and May 29, and to Michael " de Borga," dated 1458, June 3, 
Lib. brcv. 7, f. 153, 172, 174. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

J See Papencordt, Ilofler, 487, note 2. Ilergenrother, ii., i, 
123. Dollinger, Kircheund Kirchen, 520. Hotter, Roman. Welt. 

Gregorovius, L. Borgia, 4. See the partly-incorrect article 
by L. N. Cittadella, Saggio di Albero genealogico e di memorie 
sulla famiglia Borgia (Torino, 1872), and Rcumont in the Arch. St. 


The promotion of his relations was in itself objectionable, 
and was rendered still more so by the vicious character of 
some among them. A recent historian draws a striking 
comparison between the family of Borgia and that of 
Claudius in ancient Rome ; the Borgias were in general 
distinguished by physical strength and beauty; they were 
sensual and haughty in disposition, and had for their armorial 
bearings a bull.* Calixtus III. was the founder of their 
fortunes, but derived little satisfaction from them.J Could 
lie have foreseen the evil which his nephews would 
do to Italy and to the Church, he would certainly, instead 
of elevating them, have banished them to the deepest 
dungeons of Spain. J 

Amongst the Pope s nephews, Rodrigo Lanzol, or, as 
the Italians called him, Lenzuoli, has attained the saddest 
celebrity. The remarkable abilities of this man, who was 
born at Xativa, near Valencia, in 1430 or 1431, have been 

Ital., Serie iii., xvii, 320 et seq. These writers know of but two 
sisters of Calixtus III., but from a Codex preserved in the Roman 
State Archives, *" Libre de Rebudes del an. 1452" (Household 
Book of Cardinal Alfonso Borgia) , it would appear that he had two 
other sisters, named Juana and Francesca (see Arch, della Soc. 
Rom., iv., 113). The former is referred to on other occasions. 
*Regest., 455, T - IJ 5 : " Nobili mulieri Isabelle de Boria ( ger 
mane nostre vidue ) conceditur altare portatile," etc., 1455, Sept., 
Cal. Nov. A i, " Item aluid simile fuit expedit. p. Joanna de 
Borja, germ, prefati dom. nostri " (d.u.s.). Item ... p. 
" Chaterina de B.," etc. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

* Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 148. 

f " Camerarius legatus Orientis," writes /Eneas Sylvius on the 
4th July, 1457, " duos papoe nepotes in vincula coniecit, qui Cyprum 
populati fuerant " (Opp. 792). See Guglielmotti, ii., 279. Another 
of the Pope s relations, Gregorio Prima by name, by his dis 
tinguished virtues, forms a contrast to these offenders; see Wadding, 
xii., 481. 

J Gregorovius loc, cit. Rohrbacher-Knopfler, 214. 


acknowledged even by his bitterest adversaries. Guicciar- 
dini says that " in him were combined rare prudence and 
vigilance, mature reflection, marvellous power of persua 
sion, skill and capacity for the conduct of the most difficult 

Even while yet a Cardinal, Calixtus III. had a partiality 
for his gifted nephew ;f and, after his elevation to the 
Papal Throne, he loaded him with dignities and favours of 
all kinds. As early as the roth May, 1455, Rodrigo was 
Notary of the Apostolic See; on the 3rd June he was 
made Dean of the Church of Our Lady at Xativa, and other 
benefices in Valencia were conferred on him,;}: and in the 
same month he was sent by the Pope to Bologna to study 
jurisprudence. lie accompanied Luis Juan Alila, Bishop 

* See Reumont, Theol. Lit. -15!., v., 6SS. Clement, 13, and 
L Epinois, Rev. d. quest, hist. (iSSi), xxix., 363 ct seq. 

t Villanueva, iv., 270-271. 

J Regest., 465, f. 58: " Rodericus de Boria, sacrista eccl. 
Valent., recipitur in notarium sedis ap ce ," d.d. 1455, sext Id. Mai, 
A i ("Cum itaque tu nobilitate generis, litterar. scientia et clari- 
tate virtutem decoraris " etc.), 436, f. 23<;b-24i : " Rod. de Boria 
conceditur dccanatus eccl. b. Maria; de Xativa Valent. dioc." d.d., 
1455 tercio Non. Jim. A i ("Grat. p. nepote d. n. p."), 441, f. 
38: " Dil. fil. mag. Rodcrico de Borgia confertur paroch. 
ecclesia de Quart Valent.." d.d. 1455 [=1456], s.d. [probably like 
the preceding document, prid. Cal. Mart.] (" Grat. de mand. d. n. 
p."). These hitherto unknown documents from the Secret Archives 
of the Vatican fill up the gap which Matagne lamented (469). On 
the 2 ist Angust, 1456, the " rectoria hospitalis S. Andree Verccll. 
was bestowed upon Rodrigo. Ibid., 444, f. 230. 

See in Appendix No. 32 the *Brief of the iSth June, 1455, 
from the original in the State Archives at Bologna. This brief 
disposes of the fantastic ideas of the Abbe Clement (73), who sup 
poses Rodrigo to have come to Italy for the first time in the autumn 
of 1456. Gliirardacci, who had access to good sources of informa 
tion, says : " *Venne anche con il d governatore per studiare in 



of Segorbe, who was nominated Governor of Bologna on 
the 1 3th June, 1455. On the 2gth June the two cousins 
reached their destination, where they were honourably 
received. Luis Juan, however, had to be on his guard with 
the Bolognese in the exercise of his new dignity: and his 
abilities do not appear to have been considerable.* 
Nevertheless, Calixtus III. determined to raise him, as well 
as the young Rodrigo, to the purple. In November, 1455, 
the Archbishop of Pisa, Filippo de Medici, was made 
aware of this intention, and it was expected that it would 
be carried out in the following month. t Some obstacle, 
however, must have arisen, for it was not till the 2Oth of 
February, 1456, that the Pope s nephews were secretly 
created Cardinals. 

The records of this creation are preserved, and it 
appears that it took place in a Secret Consistory, in the 
presence and with the consent of all the Cardinals then in 

Bologna Roderigo Borgia . . . il quale era assai bel giovine et 
allogio nel palazzo Gregoriano." Cod. 768, University Library, 
Bologna. I found in Cod. Z., 219, Sup., of the Ambrosian Library, 
Milan, an original letter of Rodrigo s to Fr. Sforza, d.d. ex 
Bononia, Qth Oct., 1455, signed " Rodoricus de Boria pton. 
S.D.N. nepos." 

* *Regest., 465, f. 56 : " Ludov. Joh. Segobricen. [episc.] con- 
stituitur vicarius generalis et gubernator in civitate Bononioe et eius 
comitatu cum potest. leg. de lat.," d.d. 1455, ^- J un - A l - 
Secret Archives of the Vatican (also in the State Archives at 
Bologna, Q. 22, f. 23). On the same day Calixtus III. confirmed 
the " capitula " agreed upon between the Bolognese and Nicholas 
V., see *Bull in Cod. B. 19, f. 143, Vallicella Library, Rome. 
Regarding the arrival and the position of the Pope s nephews in 
Bologna, see Cronica di Bologna, 717 ; Annal. Bonon., 888 ; ALn. 
Sylvius, Europa, c. 53; Muratori, iii., 2, 1036. 

t Letter from the Archbishop of Pisa to Florence, dated Rome 
[1455], Nov. 19. Cart, innanzi il princip., F. xvi., No. 356. State 
Archives, Florence. 


Rome. Contrary to the usual custom, the Church of San. 
Niccolo in Carcere was on the same day assigned to 
Rodrigo as his title, and it was decreed that in the event 
of the Pope s death before his publication, the other 
Cardinals were at once, under pain of excommunication, 
to regard his creation as published, and to admit him to 
take part in the Conclave for the election of a new Pope.* 

The new Cardinals had not as yet done anything to 
merit the dignity conferred on them, they were both very 
young Rodrigo only five-and-twenty their elevation was 
in itself an unjustifiable action, and the evil was aggravated 
by the fact that Rodrigo was an immoral and vicious 

Such is the judgment of a German Cardinal of the 
nineteenth century, and though it may seem severe, it is 
perfectly just. Rodrigo was handsome, of an ardent 
temperament, and extremely attractive to women. In the 
time of Pius II. the historian, Gasparo di Verona, sketched 
his portrait in the following terms : " He is handsome, of a 
pleasant and cheerful countenance, with a sweet and per 
suasive manner. With a single glance he can fascinate 
women, and attract them to himself more strongly than a 
magnet draws iron."J Xo unfavourable testimony regard 
ing the conduct of Rodrigo during the lifetime; of Calixtus 
III. has come to light ; but the same cannot be said as to 
his subsequent course. 

Repeated efforts have nevertheless been made in recent 

* Rodrigo was, as Capranica had been, " creatus seel non pub- 
licatus," see Catalanus, 275, and Vol. i., p. 264. See the hitherto 
unknown *Decree of Nomination in Appendix No. 37, from the 
Registers of the Secret Archives of the Vatican ; ibid., 459, f. ng t 
the similar *Decree in favour of Luis Juan de Mila. 

f Hergenrother, ii., i, 130. 

J Muratori, iii., 2, 1036. Gregorovius, L. Borgia, 8. 


days to rehabilitate the moral character of this man. In 
the face of such a perversion of the truth, it is the duty of 
the historian to show that the evidence against Rodrigo is 
so strong as to render it impossible to restore his reputa 
tion. We shall have to speak at a future period of his 
scandalous relations with a Roman lady, Vannozza de 1 
Catanei, which form part of this evidence * 

The first light thrown upon Rodrigo s immorality occurs 
in an admonitory letter of the year 1460, in which Pius II. 
reproaches the Cardinal, who probably was not at the time 
a priest,t with his unbecoming behaviour at an entertain 
ment given at Siena, in the garden of Giovanni de Bichis. 
"Our displeasure," says Pius II., "is unspeakable, for 
such conduct disgraces the ecclesiastical state and office. 
It will be said to us that we have been made rich and great, 
not in order that we should lead blameless lives, but to give 

* In a future volume I shall also revert to the recent apologies 
for Alexander VI. Regarding the work of the Dominican, P. 
Ollivier, Le pape Alex. VI. et les Borgia ; P. I : Le card, de 
Llancol y Borgia (Paris, 1870), it is sufficient to refer to the de 
structive criticisms of Reumont, Theol. Lit.-Bl., v, 685-692, and 
Mata-ne, 466 d scq. Leonetti s Apology is also a failure; see the 
article of L Epinois in the Rev. des quest, hist. (1881), xxix., 357 
et scq. Any further attempt to rehabilitate Alexander VI. is 
rendered for ever impossible by the documents from the Archives 
of the Duke of Osuna in Madrid recently published by Thuasne 
(Job. Burchardi Diarium [Paris, 1885], iii., Sup., p. 11 et seq.\ 

t Clement has very justly brought this forward. After careful 
investigation of the *Registers of Calixtus III. and Pius II., I have 
found no evidence that Rodrigo was at this time a priest. Nothing 
is proved by the only document relating to the matter (Regest., 
f-303 b- 3 o4: "Roderico etc. conceditur facultas concedendi 
pro se vel al. familiarib. suis semel tamen in mortis articulo remis- 
sionem omnium peccatorum"), for remissio peccatorum here 
means the indulgence at the hour of death, and any priest can 
absolve a dying person. 


us the means of self-indulgence. This is the reason why 
princes and powers despise us and the laity daily deride 
us. They reproach us with our own conduct when we 
would blame that of others. Contempt falls even upon the 
Vicar of Christ, because he seems to tolerate such things. 
You, beloved son ! govern the Bishopric of Valencia, the 
first in Spain ; you are also Chancellor of the Church, and 
which makes your conduct more reprehensible you sit 
with the Pope among the Cardinals, the Counsellors of the 
Holy See. \Ve leave it to your own judgment whether it 
is becoming to your dignity to pay court to ladies, to send 
fruit and wine to the one you love, and all day long to 
think of nothing but pleasure. We are blamed on your 
account ; the memory of your blessed uncle, Calixtus, is 
blamed ; many consider that he did wrong in heaping so 
many honours on you. You cannot plead your vouth, for 
you are not now so young as to be unaware of the duties 
which your dignity imposes on you. A Cardinal must be 
blameless and an example of moral life before the eyes of 
all men. What right have we to be angry if temporal 
princes call us by names that are little honourable, if they 
grudge us our possessions and constrain us to submit to 
their commands? Truly we inflict these wounds upon our 
selves and invite these evils when by our own deeds we 
daily lessen the authority of the Church. Our chastisement 
for these things is shame in this world, and the ways of sin 
in the next. We trust in your prudence to remember your 
dignity, and not suffer yourself to be called a gallant by 
women and youths. For should such things occur again we 
shall be constrained to show that we do not consent to 
them, and our censure will not fail to bring confusion on 
you. We have constantly loved you, and we held you 
worthy of our protection as a grave and discreet person. 
Let your conduct be such that we may retain this opinion 


to which nothing can more conduce than the adoption of a 
regular life. Your years favour the hope that you will 
amend, and permit us to exhort you in a fatherly manner. 
Petriolo, the nth June, 1460."* Cardinal Rodrigo hastened 
to write a letter of apology to the Pope and endeavoured to 
place the affair in a more favourable light. The reply of 
Pius II. was grave and dignified. The conduct of Rodrigo, 
he maintains, is inexcusable, although, perhaps, there may 
have been some exaggeration in the account of it. In any 
case the Cardinal must for the future keep aloof from all 
such things and be more careful of his reputation. If he 
will do this and live discreetly the Papal favour will not be 
withdrawn from him.f 

* Raynaldus ad an. 1460, N. 31. See Gregorovius, L. Borgia, 
7-8. Ollivier (162) had already gently insinuated a doubt as to the 
authenticity of this brief of Pius II. Leonetti (i., 165) then 
affirmed that he had not found a trace of it either in the papers of 
Raynaldus or in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. Considering 
that if Leonetti had only looked through the volume cited by the 
Annalist of the Church he would have found the brief in question, 
we are at a loss how to characterize his mode of proceeding. 
1 Epinois has, however, done this ; see Rev. des. quest, hist. 
(iSSi), xxix., 367 et scq. The brief is in the Secret Archives of 
the Vatican (Lib. brev. 9, f. 161) ; it is, with the exception of two 
printer s errata, correctly given by Raynaldus, and there is 
absolutely no ground for doubting its authenticity. Leonetti 
answered 1 Epinois, but was signally defeated in this contest ; see 
Rev. des quest. (iSSi), xxx., 526-548. All this has not deterred 
the Abbe Clement (Les Borgia, see p. 86 et seq.} from breaking a 
lance on behalf of Cardinal Rodrigo. As, however, he adduces no 
fresh evidence, I think it unnecessary to take any further notice of 
his work. The fact of Cardinal Rodrigo s sojourn at Siena in the 
summer of 1460 is confirmed by a *Letter from him to Fr. Sforza, 
dated ex Senis viii. Jul., 1460. State Archives, Milan, Aut. pont., 

Vol. iii. 

f " Pius P. II. vicecancellario. Dilecto fill, etc. Accepimus 
literas tue cir cls et intelleximus excusationem quam affers facti 


The hopes of Pius II. were not realized. Cardinal 
Rodrigo would not change his mode of life. In the year 
1464 Pius II., with his mortal sickness upon him, undertook 
his celebrated expedition to Ancona to place himself at the 
head of the crusaders. Rodrigo accompanied him, but 
even at so serious a time this " essentially low-minded 
man"* could not bring himself to give up his evil 
pleasures. f 

It cannot surprise us to find that among the better dis 
posed Cardinals great opposition was made to the promo 
tion of such a man. This was probably manifested even in 
the Secret Consistory of the 2o:h February, 1456. If the 
Cardinals then gave him their votes, it was in the hope that 
the old Pontiff would die before Rodrigo s publication. 
This hope, however, was soon disappointed. In September, 

(MS. factum). Factum tuum, dilccte fill, non potest non culpabile 
esse, licet minus fortassesit, quam fuerit nobisrelatum. Hortamur, 
ut a talibus deinceps abstineas honorique tuo prudentius consulas. 
Ignoscimus tibi veniam a nobis petenti, nee si te non dilexissemus 
lit nostrum pecu .iarem filium, non ita amanter monuissemus; 
scriptum est enim : ego quos amo arguo et castigo. Quod si (MS. 
ni or ne) benc feceris et modeste vixeris, non deerit pater 
protectorquc bonus tibi ac tuis vitamque avunculi tui predecessoris 
nostri Pio vivo non multum desiderare habebis." Dat., etc., xiiii. 
jun., Lib. brev. 9, f. i63b-i64. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

* Guidantonio Vespucci and Piero Capponi speak of him in 
these words in a despatch of June 6, 1494 ; in Desjardins, i., 399. 

t A *Despatch from Jacobus de Arretio to Lodovico Gonzaga, 
dated Ancona, 1464, Aug. 10, bears witness to the truth of this 
statement. In this document, which, unfortunately, is partly 
destroyed by damp, the following passage occurs : " Anchora 
aviso V. 111. S. come lo vicecancelliere e amalato de morbo et 
questo e vero ; ha la doglia nella urechia et sotto el braccio da 
quello canto. ... El medico che priino lo vidde dice haverne 
picc[ola] speranza, maxime quia paulo ante non solus in lecto 


1456, when all the Cardinals had left Rome on account of 
the insupportable heat and of a pestilential sickness, 
Calixtus III. actually proceeded to the publication (iyth 
September).* A month later the Pope s nephews made 
their solemn entry into Rome; on the iyth November the 
red hat was conferred upon them, and on the 26th the 
ceremony of opening their mouths took place. f 

Together with his nephews the Pope had raised to the 

* See Pius II., Comment., 26, and Cugnoni, 182 (Gregorovius 
[vii., 3rd ed., 148] gives the 2ist; Zurita [iv., 44b], the 22nd Sept., 
as the day of the publication, both these dates are wrong). The 
1 7th September is proved to have been the real day by the following 
documents : (a) *Brief of Calixtus III. to Bologna, d.d. Romas ap. 
S. Mariam maj., xvii. Sept., 1456, A 2 : "Cum non ignoremus 
nobilitates vestras duobus nepotibus nostris, quos istic apud vos 
habemus, esse afTectas turn pro vestra erga nos devocione et rever- 
entia turn quia iidem istius nostre civitatis alumni eidemque plu- 
rimum affecti existunt,vobis nunciamus, quod hodieeosdem nepotes 
ncstros, quos antea de venerab. fratrum nostrorum s. Romane 
ecclesie cardinalium consilio in cardinales assumpseramus, ut tales 
publicavimus." Original in the State Archives, Bologna, 2, lib. 3(b). 
*Brief to Cardinal Rodrigo of the same day. Copy in Cod. Z., 
219, Sup., of the Ambrosian Library, Milan (c). *Brief to Fr. 
Sforza of the same day. Regest. in Cod. 1613, Fonds Ital. 
National Library, Paris (d). *Acta concist. Secret Archives of 
the Vatican. Rodrigo announced his elevation to the Duke of 
Milan on the ist October, 1456 (*Letter ex Castrofrancho, original 
in the State Archives, Milan, Aut. pont., Vol. iii.) ; the Duke con 
gratulated him from Milan on the 7th October, and on the loth 
Cardinal Rodrigo replied (ex Castrofrancho) offering his services 
in Rome. Register of these *Letters in Cod. 1613, Fonds Ital. 
National Library, Paris. 

t See *Acta consist, in the Secret Archives of the Vatican, and 
a **Letter from Cardinal Rodrigo to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1456, 
Nov. 20. Original in the State Archives, Milan. Rodrigo and his 
cousin had left Bologna on the iSth October; see Gbirardacci, 
Storia di Bologna. Cod. 768, University Library, Bologna. 


purple the Portuguese Infante, James, a young man noted 
for his modesty and purity of life. This Cardinal, who was 
in every way a contrast to Rodrigo Borgia, unhappily died 
on the 2yth August, I459 ; on his journey to Florence as 
legate. His monument, by Antonio Rossellino, is in the 
Church of San Miniato al Monte. The beautiful form of 
the young Cardinal, wearing on his countenance an expres 
sion of profound peace, rests on a bed of state standing in 
a niche raised on a lofty architectural pedestal. Two 
nude figures hold the ends of the pall. Above, on either 
side, two angels kneel on brackets fastened to the wall, 
holding a crown and a palm. In the vault over the niche 
is a medallion in relief of the Blessed Virgin, borne by two 
angels in the air."* 

On the lyth December, 1456, Calixtus III. made another 
promotion of Cardinals, and on this occasion also the Sacred 
College offered opposition. " Never," wrote one of those 
nominated, " had Cardinals more difficulty in entering the 
Sacred College. The hinges (cardines] had become so 

o o \ / 

rusty that they would not turn. Mhe Pope had to use 
battering-rams and all kinds of engines to burst open 
the door."t Calixtus was again unsuccessful with some 

* See Mai, Spicil., i., 203, 209. Ciaconius, ii., 990. The 
description of the monument is from Burckhardt, Cicerone, ii.. 
ed. 4, 366, where, however, the Cardinal s name is wrongly given as 
John. According to Gregorovius (vii., 3rd ed., 654) this is the finest 
of the tombs of the Renaissance period. From the *Acta consist, 
in the Secret Archives of the Vatican, we learn that the Cardinal 
arrived in Rome on the ist December, 1456 ; received the red hat 
on the 2nd, and had his mouth opened on the loth. He, like the 
two nephews of the Pope, had been created on the 2Oth February, 
1456, in Secret Consistory ; see the *Decree in the Register, 459, 
p. 120. 

t Voigt, Enea Sylvio, ii., 191. To the authorities here cited 
we may add Cugnoni, 138. 


of the candidates ; for instance, he had to give up 
the Bishop of Novara, on whose behalf the Duke of 
Milan had repeatedly interested himself.* Of the six 
actually nominated, /Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini was un 
doubtedly the most worthy and distinguished. f The others 
were Juan de Mella, Bishop of Zamora, a man noted for 
his stately manners and his knowledge of canon law;J 
Jacopo Tebaldo, Bishop of Montefeltre ; Rinaldo de 
Piscicelli, Archbishop of Naples ; Giovanni da Castiglione, 
Bishop of Pavia;|| and lastly, Richard Ollivier de Longueil, 

f *Brief of Calixtus III. to Fr. Sforza, dated 1456, Dec. 23 (he 
made three unsuccessful efforts to carry the election of the Bishop 
of Novara). Original in the State Archives at Milan, where is also 
an instruction, dated Cremona, 1455, June 18, for the ambassadors 
going to Rome, who were charged to work for the elevation of the 
said Bishop. 

t Voigt, ii., 192 ; he speaks (148 et seq., 164 et seq.} of ^Eneas 
ambition to attain the dignity (from 1452), and the rejoicing in 
Siena when he was at length nominated ; see Banchi, Relaz., 
430-431. The nomination did not take place on the iSth December 
(Voigt), or the igth (Banchi), but on the i/th ; see *Acta consist, 
in the Secret Archives of the Vatican, and the *Brief which will be 
cited from the Colonna Archives. Cardinal Piccolomini was poor, 
and in consequence, like Cardinal Rodrigo, unbecomingly eager in 
the pursuit of benefices. See Voigt, ii., 145 et seq. 

\ Regarding this celebrated canonist, see Fuente, 461, 479. 

Concerning his promotion, see Voigt, ii., 191. The date of 
Piscicelli s death here given is as incorrect as that in Ciaconius- 
Oldoinus, ii., 993. Piscicelli died 4th July, 1457. See *Acta 
consist, in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

|| Voigt s supposition (ii., 192) that the Duke of Milan had 
used his influence on behalf of the Bishop of Pavia is confirmed by 
the *Brief of Calixtus III. of 23rd Dec., 1456, to which we have 
referred in note *. The Cardinal of Pavia came to Rome on the 
25th February, 1457, and received the red hat on the 26th; on the 
Qth March his mouth was opened, and San Clemente was assigned 
to him as his titular church; see *Acta consist., Secret Archives 


Bishop of Coutances, who, like d Estouteville, belonged to 
a distinguished family in Normandy. Charles VII. had 

O > * 

zealously exerted himself for the promotion of the last 
named prelate ; and Calixtus hoped, as it proved, in vain, 
that by conferring on him the purple he would win the 
French monarch to the cause of the crusade.* 

As time went on fresh favours were constantly heaped 
upon the Borgias. Young Cardinal Rodrigo was appointed 
legate in the March of Ancona in December, 1456, and 
went there on the igtli January in the following year.f 
Cardinal Luis was made legate of Bologna, \ and both 
were richly endowed with benefices. 

The most important and lucrative office of the Papal 
Court was that of Vice-Chancellor; one of the ambassadors 
speaks of it as the highest dignity after that of the Pope. 
Since the death of Cardinal Condulmaro (3Oth October, 

of the Vatican, and a *Letter from the said Cardinal to Fr. Sforza, 
dated Rome, 1457, March 10. Cod. Z., 219, Sup., of the Ambro- 
sian Library, Milan. The " Card. Papicns.," in a *Letter to 
Lodovico Gonzaga, dated Rome, 1457, April 2, speaks of the 
honours which attended his arrival in Rome. Gonzaga Archives, 

* See in Appendix No. 44 the *Biief to Card. Alain. Colonna 

t Regist. 445, f. 295 : " Rodericus tit. S. Nicol. in carcere con- 
stituitur vicarius in temporal, generalis in prov. Marchie Anconit., 
etc. (with the consent of the Cardinals), d.d. 1456, prid. Cal. Jan. 
A 2. For the day of his departure, see *Acta consist, in the 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

J Regist. 445, f. 239: " Ludovicus tit. SS. quatuor coronat. 
constituitur legatus Bononne," d.d. prid. Cal. Jan. [A 2"]. *Ghir- 
ardacci, loc. cit. (see supra, p. 450, note *), speaks of the honourable 
reception of Card. Luis at Bologna (end of January, 1456). 
University Library, Bologna. 

See in Appendix No. 49 the list from the *Registers in the 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


1453) no one had been appointed to fill this high position, 
and it was but natural that those Cardinals who held no 
great office at the Court should aspire to it. We are 
expressly informed that such was the case in regard to 
d Kstouteville*. Since the year 1455 he had been labour 
ing to obtain it, but in 1457 ^ was bestowed on Rodrigo, 
who was also made Commander-in-Chief of the Papal 
troops in Italy in December of the same year.f Don Pedro 
Luis, his brother, a layman, and a year younger than himself, 
was loaded with offices and honours in a manner equally 
scandalous. In the spring of 1456 he was appointed 
Captain-General of the Church^ and Commander of St. 
Ano-elo,^ and, in the autumn of the same year, Governor of 

t> ^ J 

Terni, Narni, Todi, Rieti, Orvieto, Spoleto, Foligno, 
Noccra, Assisi, Amelia, Civita Caste-liana, and Xepi ; soon 
afterwards the patrimony of St. Peter in Tuscany was 
added to these. || 

* See Despatches of Jacopo Calcatcrra to Sforza, dat. Rome, 
1455, Sept. 15, and 1457, August 30. State Archives, Milan. 
Pot. Est. 

f *Regest. 466, f. 8-9. " Rodericus tit. S. Nichol. etc. consti- 
tuitur vicecancellarius S.R.E.," d.d. 1457, Cal. Mai. A 3; 461, 
f. 95-96 : " Rodericus etc. constituitur dux et generalis commis- 
sarius omnium gencium armigerar. eccl. in Italia," d.d. 1457, iii., 
Id. Dec. A 3. Secret Archives of the Vatican. Regarding the 
publication, see the *Original Letter of Card. Rodrigo to Lodovico 
de Gonzaga in Appendix No. 47, and the note upon it. 

J Regest. 465, f. 153 (d.d. 1455 [st. fl], iv., Non. Feb. A i). 
Secret Archives of the Vatican. 

S I have not seen the document in which the appointment was 


made ; but in the State Archives of Siena I found an *Original 
Letter of Don Pedro s, d.d. Romae in pal. apost. xxii. April, 1456, 
in which he speaks of himself as " S. Angeli and S.R.E. 
capit. gen." 

|j *Regest. 465, f. 203b et seq.\ "Petrus Ludovicus de Borga, 
gentium armigerar. capitaneus generalis Sed. Ap., constituitur 


Such a career was unheard of. Cardinal Capranica, who, 
as Grand Penitentiary under Nicholas V., had enjoyed 
the esteem of all classes, made a courageous protest, and 
his opposition could not be overcome either by prayers or 
threats. His noble conduct drew upon him the hatred of 
the Borgias, who vainly sought to have him sent as legate 
to a distance from Rome. Finally they went so far as to 
try to put him in prison, but this the Pope would not 

The Borgias kept up the closest intimacy with the 
Colonna family in the summer of 1457 it was even said 
that Don Pedro Borgia was to marry a Colonnaf and 
accordingly their relations with the Orsini were un 
friendly. In 1457, when the Pope sent Don Pedro against 
the Orsini to recover from them some fortresses which he 
considered to be the property of the Church, open war 

irubernator Intcramnrn., Narnicn., Tudertin., Reatin., Urbis 
vcteris et nonnullar. aliar. civil.," d.d. M5^ x > - Cal. Sept. A 2; 
f. 205 : " I ctru.s Liulov. etc. conslituitur gubernalor in civil, et 
temtorio Spolelan. et in nonnullis caslris et locis " (d.u.s.) ; 
f. 205!): " Pelrus etc. constituitur Fulgin., Nucerice et nonnullar. 
aliar. civil., terrar. et locor " (d.u.s.), f. 2oSb : "Pelrus etc. con 
stituitur gubernator civitatum Assisii, Amerince, Castellance, 
Nepesince," etc., d.d. 1456, iv. Id. Sept. A 2 ; f. 236 : " Petnis 
etc. constituitur gubernator patrimonii b. Petri in Tuscia," d.d. 
1456 [st.fl.],v. Non. Febr. A 2. 

* Catalanus, 113, 115. 

f The earliest information I have found on this subject is in the 
*Despatch of the Abbot of St. Ambrogio, which is given in the 
Appendix No. 46, Ami rosian Library, Milan. The union is again 
spoken of in a letter from Otto de Caretto, dated Rome, 1457, 
Aug. 20. This ambassador wrote to Fr. St orza in cipher on the 
loth Sept., 1457: "II parent ado qual se doveva fare da Colonesi 
al capit Borges pare sia rafredato," etc. Both *Lelters are in the 
State Archives, Milan. 


broke out. Cardinal Orsini now left Rome (July, 14(57).* 
Scarampo, Carvajal, and Nicholas of Cusa were absent ; 
and as d Estouteville, Barbo, and Piccolomini held to the 
Borgias, they had the preponderance in the Sacred College. 
It is, moreover, not improbable that most of the Cardinals 
had assented to the appointment of Don Pedro Luis as 
Prefect of the City, which took place on the death of the 
City Prefect, Gian Antonio Orsini, on the iQth August, 
1457. f O n the evening of the same day the Conservators 
and the principal citizens of Rome came to the Papal 
Palace to thank Calixtus for the selection he had made. 
The Pope took the opportunity of assuring them that Don 
Pedro was, in feeling and manners, an Italian, and that it 
was his desire to live and die a Roman citizen. One 
of the Conservators went so far as to observe that he hoped 
soon to see the new City Prefect King of Rome; all 
united in requesting the Pope to make over to Don Pedro 
the fortresses which had always constituted the Prefect s 
fief. Don Pedro himself, in receiving the deputations 
which came to congratulate him, expressed his inten- 

* See Nic. della Tuccia, 253 ; Banchi, Relaz., 435, and a 
*Despatch of Nicodemus, dated Florence, 1457, July 17. State 
Archives, Milan. 

f *Regest. 465, f. 288-289: " Petrus Ludovicus de Borgia, 
recipitur in praefect. alme urbis," d.d. 1457 (s.d.) A 3 (" ven 
fratr. nostror. S.R.E. cardinalium consilio ") : ibid., f. 22ib: 
" Joannes Anton de Ursinis constituitur et creatur praefectus alme 
urbis Romae, d.d. 1456 (s.d.). Secret Archives of the Vatican. 
The satirical *Despatch of Leonardo de Benvoglienti to Siena, 
dated Rome, 1457, Oct. 5, refers to this elevation of Don Pedro s 
and to Rodrigo s appointment as Vice-Chancellor. Copy in Cod. 
A., iii., 1 6, of the Library at Siena. Fr. Sforza congratulated the 
Pope on Don Pedro s nomination in a * Letter dated Milan, 1457, 
Aug. 31. The Draft is in the State Archives, Milan. 


tion of becoming an Italian and his wish to live in 

These empty speeches were made because everyone 
knew how dearly the Pope loved his nephews. f In reality 
there was no love lost between the new Prefect and the 
Italians. The manners of almost all the Pope s nephews 
were over-bearing and insolent towards the Romans, who 
retaliated by bitterly hating the foreigners. J Their resent 
ment was aggravated when the good fortune of the Borgias 
attracted a host of relations and other Spaniards to Rome, 
who brawled in the streets and overran the provinces. 
Adventurers of all kinds gathered round the wild and hand- 


some Don Pedro Luis ; || the general name of " Catalans 
was given to all these strangers, among whom were 
Neapolitans as well as Spaniards, and, similarly, all 
the Pope s nephews were called " Borgia/ whatever 

* *Despatch of Otto de Carretto, dated Rome, 1457, Aug. 20. 
From this document, which is preserved in the State Archives at 
Milan, it appears that the appointment of Don Pedro was announced 
in the Consistory on the igth August. The fortresses in question 
were del YJ red up to him on the 3151 July, 1458 ; see Borgia, 
Benev., iii., 386. 

t In October, 1457, when Don Pedro fell ill, Calixtus III. was 
beside himself with grief. *Despatch of L. de Benvoglienti to 
Siena, dated Rome, 1457, Oct. 22, Cod. A. iii., 16, Siena Library. 
The sickness of Don Pedro lasted until the January following ; see 
Tetter of Ant. Catalenus, dated Rome, 1458, Jan. 18. Gonzaga 
Archives, Mantua. 

J See especially the dismal picture drawn by Roberto Martelli 
after his return to Rome in a *Despatch of Nicodemus to Fr. 
Sforza, dated Florence, 1457, July 17111. State Archives, Milan. 

Voigt, ii., 193. 

|| See Muratori, iii., 2, 1035; Niccola della Tuccia, 65, 251, 
and Cron. Rom., 25. 


might be their patronymic; Calixtus, indeed, conferred 
on most of them the honour of bearing his family 

From the very beginning of his pontificate the Pope 
shewed a marked preference for his numerous fellow- 
countrymen equally with his nearer and more distant rela 
tions. Only a few days after his election \ve find evidence 
of this.f The feeling against the "Catalans" was already 
so strong that many Germans and Frenchmen voluntarily 
resigned their positions at the Papal Court. j; The posts thus 
vacated were filled by Spaniards, who soon formed the 
largest portion of the Pope s circle ; they were also to be 
found in the Papal Chapel and among the artists attached 
to the court. No large orders, however, were given to 

* Voigt, iii., 117 et s^. In the ^Register of the Secret Archives 
of the Vatican I find the. following Borgias (two of whom were 
hitherto unknown) mentioned as recipients of benefices and like 
favours: i. " Alfonsus de Borgia can. Vicen." Regist. 447, L. 
I5ob ; 300; 461, f. 118 (here the name is given " de Boria.") 2. 
"Michael de Borga." Regist. 448, f. 77 (see supra, p. 439-) 3- 
" Joh. de Borga cler. Valentin, dioc. ; " becomes Canonicus 
"eccl. Gerunden." Regist. 447, f. 88; see 450, f. 183. Probably 
this Johannes de Borgia is the one repeatedly mentioned in the 
Bulletar. Calisti de a 2 (State Archives, Rome) as " castellanus 
arcis Hoslie" (f. 4b, nb, iSb, 25!), 32b, 41, 47, 52, 58, 640, 70, 
76!), 83b, 96, I03b, 107, 109, H4b.) 

t *Letter of Lionardo Vernacci to Piero de Cosimo de Medici, 
dated Rome, 1455, April 10. Cart, innanzi il princip. F. xvii., 
No. 131. State Archives, Florence. 

+ . Mold scrittori apostolici todeschi e franzesi sono partiti et 
dicono non voler esser sotto Catelani." *Despatch of the 
Venetian ambassador, Fr. Contarini, dated Siena, 1455, April 25. 
Cod. It., vii.-mcxcvi., St. Mark s Library, Venice. 

See *Div. Calisti, iii., 1455-1456, Sec. Cam., f. 108, etc. 
*Bulletar. Calisti de A" 2, f. i;b, etc. State Archives, Rome. 


these latter, for, where he could, Calixtus economized for 
the sake of the Turkish war.* 

The power of the Borgias and Catalans became almost 
intolerable after the important fortress of St. Angelo had 
been given up to them. This was done on the I5th March, 
1456, at a late hour in the evening and after the Pope had 
threatened the Castellan with the severest penalties. 
Great excitement prevailed in the city, and it was thought 
that nothing short of the; summoning of a general council 
could avail to restore tranquillity. f 

* Miintz, i., 196, 207 ; ii., 320. A list of the Spanish officials 
whom Calixtus III. gathered around him is given by Marini, ii., 146. 
Papal favours to the churches of Valencia and Xativa are 
mentioned by Villanueva, i., 9, 18-20, 51, 181-182; ii., 230 et seq., 
253 et seq. (the dates accord with the *Regest. 461, f. 305, 462, f. 

f All this information is given in the * c Xovitates curiae 
Romanae of March or April, 1456, MS. in Vol. v. of the Reichs- 
tagsacten, Ansbacher Serie, f. 6ib; formerly in the Royal 
Archives at Munich, and now in the Kreis Archiv at Bamberg. 
This document, which has already been made use of by Voigt (iii., 
118 et se<].*) is so faded by time that some passages cannot be 
deciphered with any certainty ; the following is an extract : 
*" Castrum S. Angeli, quod datum fuit a papa et collegio cardi- 
nalium episcopo Lusinensi " [must be Lausannen. ; see *Regest 
465, f. 16: " Georgius episc. Lausannen. constituitur castellanus 
castri Crescenlii alias dicti S. Angeli de urbe," dated 1455, April 
21 ; this notice from the Secret Archives of the Vatican shows 
Voigt s supposition to be incorrect, he. cit. \ ; " a quo papa sepe 
peciit, castrum ille autem dicit sibi clecustodiendum assignatum 
tarn per papam quarn per collegium, absque cuius auctoritate et 
scientia non deceret sibi dimittere castrum, tandem dominica 
Judica [March 14] hora tarda et suspecta videlicet post xxiiii. 
horam diei papa misit pro dicto L[a]usan [ne]nsi, cui cum com- 
paruis.?et coram eo mandat sub excommunicationis, privationis et 
irregularitatis penis, ut ad statum sibi castrum ad manus suas 
resignaret ; qui metu penarum castrum resignavit et liberum 



As the military and police were in the hands of the 
Catalans they had unlimited power, and administered 
justice as they chose. "Every day," says a chronicler, 
"there were assassinations and encounters in the streets; 
nothing but Catalans could be seen."* The aged and 
sickly Pope had, we are expressly informed, no idea of 
what was going on.f His attention was constantly 
engrossed by the war against the Turks ; and he thought 
that he might safely leave the affairs of Rome to the care 
of his beloved nephews. J 

The confusion in Rome was yet further increased by 
repeated visitations of pestilential epidemics. In the 
beginning of June, 1458, the plague raged so violently that 
everyone who could do so sought safety in flight. Most of 
the Cardinals left the city, amongst them the Portuguese 
Cardinal, the Infant James, Giovanni da Castiglione, Filippo 
Calandrini, and Piccolomini. The last-named betook him 
self to the Baths of Viterbo, to continue his former life of 
peaceful leisure. || The aged Pontiff, however, remained 
in Rome, and his attention was fully occupied by the illness 

promisit dimittere illi quern deputaret; tune et qutim res suas 
deportasset et ita feria secunda post Judica [March 15] dimisit 
castrum, quod commendatum est cuidam Cathalano. Res hec 
muitos terret," etc. 

* Cronache, Rom., 25; Gregorovius, vii., 3rd ed., 150. 

f Raph. Volaterr., xxii., f. 234. 

+ " Love for the Borgias," says Nicodemus, " makes the Pope 
blind." *Despatch to Fr. Sforza, dated Florence, 1458, July n. 
Cod. 1588, f. 93 etseq., Fonds ital. National Library, Paris. 

*Despatches of Otto de Carretto to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1458, June 3 and August i. State Archives, Milan. 

|] Voigt, ii., 331 ; iii., i ; Bayer, 35. In the State Archives at 
Siena I saw two *Letters from Card. Piccolomini, dated " ex 
balneis Viterb.," 1458, June n and 18. Concistoro, Lettere 
ad an. 


of his bitterest opponent, Alfonso of Naples, which termi 
nated fatally on the 2yth June.* 

On the same day the Kind s illegitimate son, Don Fer- 

r O O 

rante, to whom he had bequeathed Naples, rode with royal 
pomp through the city, while the people (Tied " Long live 
King Ferdinand ! "f P>ut this was not sufficient to over 
come the opposition to his accession which arose on all 
sides. The aged Rene of Anjou-Provence, who bore the 
title of King of Naples, and his son John, who styled him 
self Duke of Calabria, accepted the proposals of the former 
and recent antagonists of the Aragonese, all the more 
readily because Calixtus III., the lord paramount, was 
also hostile to that party.]; 

Almost as soon as the Pope had heard what must to him 
have been the welcome tidings of Alfonso s death, he sent 
to the Neapolitan ambassador s house to have him arrested 
and taken to St. Angelo. But the ambassador, who had 

* The date of Alfonso s death is variously stated ; see Cipolla, 
487. The above, however, may be considered certain. See the 
*Despatch of Antonio de Trexxo to Fr. Sforxa, dated Naples, 1438, 
June 27. Cod. 1588, f. 89, Funds, ital. National Library, Paris. 
The Sienese Despitch in Banclii, Relax., 443 ; a * Letter of Angelas 
Acciaiolus to Fr. Siorza, dated Florence, 1458, July 2 ( Qui e per 
molte vie ch il Re inori marteili a hore tie di nocte "_), and a 
*I)espatch from Nicodemus, dated Siena, 1458, July i. State 
Archives, Milan, Cart. gen. 

t Banchi, Relax., 443. See the above-mentioned *Despatch of 
Antonio da Trexxo in the National Library, Paris. 

J Reumout, Kl. Schriften, 94, and Carafa da Maddaloni (Berlin, 
1851), i., 14. 

Tliis, as well as the whole of the following narration, is taken 
from the *Letter of Antonio da Pistoja of July 4th, 1458, given in 
Appendix No. 52. The statements of this ambassador are con 
firmed by a *Despatch from Nicodemus to Fr. Sforxa, dated 
Florence, 1458, July 15. Cod. 1588, f. 94, Fonda iul. National 
Library, Paris. 


been warned of the Pope s intentions, and had received 
early intelligence of the death of his King, had fled. The 
property, which he left behind him, was seized. On the 
following day Calixtus held a Consistory, in which he con 
ferred on Cardinal Rodrigo the Bishopric of Valencia, with 
its revenue of eighteen thousand ducats, and on his Datary* 
the Bishopric of Gerona. The same morning Cardinal 
Luis Juan and other relations of the Pope received various 
benefices, the right of appointment to which, in common 
with the above-named Bishoprics, had been in dispute 
between Calixtus and Alfonso. After dinner the Pope had 
an interview with Cardinals d Estouteville and Alain, last- 
ino- nearly till evening, in which he declared his determina 
tion of making every effort to recover Naples for the 
Church from Don Ferrante, who had no right to it. The 
Pope added, were this to take place, and it were proved to 
belong to King Rene, he would give it to him, otherwise 
he would grant it as a fief to whomsoever he deemed fit. 
It was surmised that he intended to bestow it on Don 
Pedro. The ambassador, from whom we learn this, says 
that the Pope looked on Don Pedro as a second Caesar, 
and the reports of others are to the same effect.f Many 
contemporaries even assert that after the conquest of Con 
stantinople Don Pedro was to have been made its Emperor 

* Cosimo de Monserrato ; see Mai, Spicil., i., 283-286. Cosimo 
is identical with the Catalan mentioned by Voigt (iii., 426) and 
Palacky (iv., i, 41 3) as aspiring to the Archbishopric of Prague. 
(Frind [iv., 43] turns Catalan into a family name!) 

f In a *Despatch to Fr. Sforza, dated Florence, 1458, July 4 
(State Archives, Milan, Cart, gen.) Nicodemus says the Pope will 
make "el suo Cesare novello M. Borges " Governor of Naples. 
See the "Despatch of J. Calcaterra, dated Castel Giubileo, 1456, 
August 24, ibid. 


or King of Cyprus.* There is more intrinsic probability, 
however, in the statement concerning Naples, and it is 
certain that although Ferrante made every possible effort 
to bring about a reconciliation, the Pope resolutely refused 
to acknowledge his right of succession. f On the i_|th 
July a Bull was published in Rome, by which Calixtus 
claimed the kingdom of Sicily on this side of the Faro as 
a lapsed fief. At the same time its subjects were forbidden 
to swear fealty to any one of the pretenders to the Crown ; 
such as had taken an oath were loosed from their obliga 
tions, and the claimants were invited to come to Rome to 
establish their rights. J Provision was immediately made 
for the publication of this document throughout the king- 

* besides the passages collected by Yoigt (iii., 1 19, note), see 
also Niccola della Tuccia, 70, and a *Despatch from Antonio da 
Trezzo to Fr. Sforza, dated Venosa, 1458, February 14 : "Credo 
clie per la via di Ro ma la S. V., sia avisata come el papa hacreato 
Mess. Borges suo nepote imperatore de Constantinopoli del ch el 
Re ne ha avuto aviso certo e se ne e riso," etc. State Archives, 
Milan, Pot. Est., Napoli II. 

t See in particular the ample *Despatches of Nicodemus, dated 
Siena, 1458, July i ; of Otto de Carretto, dated Rome, 1458, July 
12 and 14 ; and of Antonio da Pistoja, dated Rome, 1458, July iz. 
The last says: *" El papa sta pure in oppinione di volere el Reame 
in le mane et per niente monstra voler consentire che Don Fernando 
sia Re. Dio voglia ch el papalista non si verifichi, cioe che questo 
papa se habia a la fine a trovare nudo, come e descripto." All these 
despatches to Fr. Sforza are in the State Archives at Milan. 

J The Bull, dated 1458, July 12, in Regest., 453, f. 138; (in 
Raynaldus [ad an. 1458, N. 32] and Liinig [ii., 1255 d sey.] 
the conclusion is wanting). The day of its publication in Rome 
appears in a *Letter from Antonio de Strozzi to Lodovico Gonzaga, 
dated Rome, 1458, July 14 (Gonzaga Archives, Mantua), and a 
**Despatch from Antonio de Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1458, 
July 15, from which we also learn that the document was originally 
sharper in tone. I found this despatch in Cod. Z., 219, Sup. 
Ambrosian Library, Milan. 



dom of Naples,* and it was moreover reported that the 
Pope had required from Don Ferrante, under pain of the 
most severe punishments, the payment of the sixty thou 
sand ducats which Alfonso had bequeathed for the 
crusade. f 

Great excitement was caused in both Naples and Rome 
by this action on the part of the Pope. On the publication 
of the Bull the price of corn at once rose in Rome. One 
of the Conservators, moreover, is reported to have ex 
pressed himself to the effect that in the event of the Pope 
making war upon Naples, the Romans would be compelled 
to choose the lesser evil.J The threat did not deter 
Calixtus from his purpose, and, in order to give greater 
effect to his Bull, he commanded Don Pedro to levy troops 
for a hostile demonstration against Naples. 

Contemporary despatches from ambassadors show how 
strong was the Pope s feeling against Don Ferrante. 
Calixtus had been greatly incensed by his letter announcing 
to the Pope and the Cardinals the death of his father, in 
which he already styled himself King. In a conversation 
with the Milanese ambassador, he called Ferrante a little 
bastard, whose father was unknown. "This boy who is 

* *Despatch of Antonio de Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1458, July 24, State Archives, Milan. 

f **Despatch of Antonio de Strozzi (see supra, p. 469, note J) 
of July 14, 1458. Gonzaga Archives, Rome. 

+ See the **Despatch which we have already cited from 
Antonio de Pistoja of the 151)1 July, 1458 (Ambrosian Library), 
and the **Letter of Antonio de Strozzi of July uth, 1458. Goii- 
zaga Archives, Mantua. 

SeeBanchi, Relaz., 444 ; Niccola dellaTuccia, 68 ; *Despatch 
of Nicodemus to Fr. Sforza, dated Siena, 1458, July i (State 
Archives, Milan), and the *Letter of the Milanese ambassador of 
24th July, 1458, which we shall hereafter cite. Ambrosian 


nothing," he said, "calls himself King without our permis 
sion. Naples belongs to the Church, it is the possession 
of St. Peter. Alfonso would not assume this title until he 
had the consent of the Holy See, in this following our 
counsel. You," continued the Pope, "being from Lombardy,* 
where fiefs are more common than elsewhere, know that, 
admitting him to be the legitimate successor of Alfonso, he 
must have our confirmation before he can be called King. 
Moreover, Ferrante wrongfully holds possession of Terra- 
cina, Benevento, and other places which belong to the 
Church. Many have therefore thought that we should have 
proceeded against him with more severity, and altogether 
denied his right of succession. This we have not wished 
to do, but for the defence of the rights of the Church we 
have issued this just and holy Bull, which will stand not 
only on earth but also in heaven. In it we have reserved 
his rights as well as those of the other claimants, for every 
one shall have his due. If your Uuke, whom we greatly 
love, leaves us a free hand, we shall conquer and exalt him 
as we have always wished to do ; the Duke must attach no 
importance to a child who is nothing, and whom no one 
regards ; we have been told that Ferrante, when he heard 
the words of our Bull, burst into tears; his subjects do not 
wish to be excommunicated, and have accordingly deter 
mined to send ambassadors to us ; they will be obedient to 
the Church. If Don Ferrante will give up his usurped title 
and humbly place himself in our hands, we will treat him 
as one of our own nephews. "| 

* In reference to this expression, see supra, p. 428, notef. 

t **Letters of Otto de Carretto and Gio. de Caymis to Fr. 
Sforza, dated Rome, 1458, July 24. Cod. Z. 219, Sup. Ambrosian 
Library, Milan. Ferrante s letter to Calixtus III., dated July ist. 
1458, is published by Zurita, iv., 525. I found in a cipher 
*Despatch from the Bishop of Modena and Otto de Carretto, dated 


Ferrante was by no means disposed to do anything of 
the kind. He summoned a Parliament at Capua, and called 
on his barons for assistance against the unjust pretensions 
of the Pope. It was determined that ambassadors should be 
sent to Rome to appeal against the Bull of July I2th.* The 
messengers who brought the Bull into the kingdom were, 
by order of Ferrante, seized and soundly beaten. t It was 
a great advantage to him that the most powerful of Italian 
princes, Duke Francesco Sforza of Milan, declared himself 
against the Pope and acknowledged Ferrante as King. 
Cosmo de Medici united with Sforza in supporting him 
against Papal menaces and French pretensions. J 

Under these circumstances it would have been hard to 
foretell the complications to which the Neapolitan question 
might have given rise had not the death of Calixtus III. 
completely altered the aspect of affairs. 

The Pope had been seriously ill in the spring, but had 
recovered and risen up again with characteristic energy. 

Rome, 1458, June 8, the first certain account of the endeavours of 
Calixtus III. to win over the Duke of Milan to his Neapolitan 
scheme. Cod. cit. of the Ambrosian Library at Milan. 

* See the detailed *Report of the Milanese ambassadors to their 
Duke, dated Capua, 1458, July 3131, in Cod. 1588, f. 107 et seq. 
Funds Ital. National Library, Paris. 

f *Despatch of Antonio de Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1458, July 31: "Credo la S.V. hara intexo che quel maziero 
[sergente d arme] che porto le bolle nel reame publicate qui contra 
el Re e ritornato a Roma a piedi senza denari e senza havere potuto 
presentare le bolle ne anco reportarli in dreto, ha solamente re- 
portate certe bastonate." State Archives, Milan, Pot. Est. 

J Simonetta, 685-686; Comment. Pii II., in Meuschen, 411 ; see 
Cugnoni, 184 ; also Buser, 90. 

*Letters of Otto de Carretto to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1458, 
Jan. 4 and 8. State Archives, Milan, and *Despatch of Antonio 
Catabene to Lodovico Gonzaga, dated Rome, 1458, April 18. 
Gonzaea Archives, Mantua. 


From the beginning of July, however, there had been a 
general failure of strength, and about the middle of the 
month his condition had become so much worse that all the 
business of government had to be suspended. On the 
2ist a violent and most painful attack of gout supervened, 
and as he was also suffering from fever, which may have 
been due to agitation regarding the Neapolitan question, 
the physicians gave but little hopes of his recovery.* 

On the 3Oth July a report of the Pope s death was current 
in Rome, and immediately the hatred of the Romans against 
the " Catalans" broke forth ; the foreigners were ill-treated 
in the public streets by the populace, and a young Catalan 
was slain. The state of things was so alarming that the 

O <J 

Florentine merchants and the wealthy prelates and courtiers 
removed their possessions to places of safety. t 

Meanwhile the Pope had again rallied a little ; on the 
ist and 2nd of August he was decidedly better, but on the 
3rd a burning fever took away all hope of amendment. J 

* See Niccola della Tuccia, 68, an 1 *Lctters from Antonio da 
Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1458, July 24 and 26. State 
Archives, Milan. Antonio Catabenc, writing on the zSth July to 
Lodovico Gonzaga, informs him that the Pope has been ill for 
about eight days: *" de 4 infermitate, de fcbre, de fumchi, de 
renella e non digerisse alcuna cosa, cosi come intra il cibo cusi 
ussisse." Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. 

t *Despatch of Antonio da Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1458, July 31. State Archives, Milan, Pot. Est. The ambassador 
saw the Catalan struck down with the cry : " Death to thee, 
Catalan ! " 

J *Letter from Ouo de Carretto, dated Rome, 1458, Aug. i : 
" Lo S ! " N.S. papa he stato e he in gravissima infermita in modo che 
gia tre volte he stato tenuto per morto et sextima per ogniuno non 
campera molti di. Daheri in qua he alquanto megliorato, ma non 
cosa che daghi speranza de molta vita." On the 3rd August this 
ambassador says: *"Non e da sperare de la salute sua." Both 
letters are in the State Archives, Milan, the fonuor in the Sciics 
Pot. Est. and the latter in the Cart. gen. 


Even now the marvellous energy of the aged man made it 
hard for him to believe that he was so near his end. 
When the plain-spoken Cardinal Antonio de la Cerda told 
him that, as the physicians had given him up, it was now 
time to think of his soul and to prepare to die as beseems 
a Pope, Calixtus replied that it was not yet certain that he 
was to die this time. On the ist August, however, he 
made up his mind to receive the Sacraments,* and on the 
4th he was anointed. f 

The affairs of government occupied his attention while 
he lay on his death-bed ; on the 26th of July he held a 
Consistory,^ and on the 3isthe gave proof of the undying 
strength of his affection for his relations by an act of great 

On the death of King Alfonso, Terracina and Benevento 
had reverted to the Church, and on the above-named day 
the Pope granted the Vicariate of these two cities to his 
beloved Don Pedro. If we may rely on the report of 
the Milanese ambassador, the Cardinals consented from fear, 
lest opposition on their part might have involved imprison 
ment in St. Angelo. On the ist August, Calixtus conferred 
the Archbishopric of Naples on Cardinal Tebaldi, the 
brother of his physician. At the same time it was under 
stood that he intended to nominate no less than five new 
Cardinals, of whom two were to be " Catalans " and two 
Romans. A violent opposition arose on the part of the 
Sacred College, and Cardinals d Estouteville, Orsini, Barbo, 

* **Report of Antonio da Pistoja of the 2nd Aug., 1458, 
Ambrosian Library. 

t *Despatch of Otto de Carretto of 5th Aug., 1458. Ambrosian 
Library. Appendix No. 53. 

J *Despatch of Antonio da Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1458, July 26. State Archives, Milan. 

Borgia, Benevento, iii., 386-390. 


and de Mella met that evening in Cardinal Alain s Palace 
to take counsel. " It appears," writes one of the ambas 
sadors, "that they have determined not to go to the Pope s 
Palace, and above all not to cross the Tiber until St. 
Angelo is given over to the Sacred College. Moreover, 
they have resolved not to consent to the nomination of 
new Cardinals."* 

The excitement was not confined to the great Princes of 
the Church. The tidings of the mortal sickness of the 
Pope had deeply moved not only Rome, but also the 
Pontifical States, f and the general confusion was aggra 
vated by the arrival (August 2nd) of Don Ferranle s 
ambassadors, who affixed to the doors of St. Peter s an 
appeal to the new Pope or to a Council, and declared that 
if the Cardinals would not listen to them they would seek 
the alliance of the Romans. + 

"With a view of maintaining order, the Sacred College 
had, before the end of July, appointed a Commission 
consisting of four of its members Cardinals Bessarion, 
d Estouteville, Alain, and Barbo. The Commission met 
daily, and one of its first acts was the occupation of the 
Capitol by a force of two hundred men under the Arch- 

* **Report of Antonio da Pistoja of 2nd Aug., 1458. Ambrosian 
Library. See the *Despatches of Otto de Carretto to Fr. Sfurza, 
dated Rome, 1458, Aug. I and 5 (Appendix No. 53). In the 
Despatch of Au^. ist he says, regarding the Cardinals: * II 
car 1 - Orsino ne Colonna non vanno a palazo da otto cli in qua et 
questo per dubio che essendo essi cum li altri tutti cardinali in 
palazo non fuseno detenuti per Borges," etc. State Archives, 

t *"Tuta questa terra e in comotione," writes Antonio 
Catabene on the 2Sth July, 1458. Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. 

J *Letters of Antonio de Strozzi to Lodovico Gonzaga, dated 
Rome, 1458 [Aug.] 4. Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. 


bishop of Ragusa* The Cardinals further made every 
effort to come to an understanding with Don Pedro Borgia. 
This was accomplished more easily than had been expected. 
Don Pedro, on whom his brother Rodrigo exercised a 
restraining influence^ had sense enough to perceive that 
his longer residence in Rome would be attended with 
danger ; he therefore gave up to the College of Cardinals 
all the fortresses, including St. Angelo, and in return 
received in coin the sum of two-and-twenty thousand ducats 
which Calixtus III. had left him by will. His troops were 
at once required to take an oath of fealty to the Sacred 
College in the person of the Vice-Camerlengo ; the dying 
Pope being left in ignorance of these transactions. The 
Cardinals had already taken into their keeping the treasury 
of the Church, which at the time contained a hundred and 
twenty thousand ducats. J 

The excessive bitterness of the Orsini family against 
Don Pedro can easily be accounted for. It was an open 
secret that they would spare no efforts to bring about his 

* *Despatch of Antonio da Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1458, July 31. State Archives, Milan, Pot. Est, and *Letter of 
Antonio Catabene to Lodovico Gonzaga, dated Rome, 1458, 
Aug. i. Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. 

f This interesting fact is evident from the above-mentioned 
*Letter of Antonio Catabene of ist Aug., 1458- In regard to 
Don Pedro, he observes : " che intendeva fare molle cose se non 
f usse stato il vicecancelliere suo fratello che non ge a voluto con- 
sentire." Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. 

+ See in Appendix No. 53, Otto de Carretto s *Letter of the 
5 th + Aug., 1458, from the original in the Ambrosian Library. This 
ambassador writes concerning the treasure of the Church, on 
Aug. i, 1458: "II cardinal Yliardense [=Antonio de la Cerda] 
he deputato a star al palazo a la guardia de molti denari sigilati a 
nome del colegio de consensu pape in una cassa in la camera desso 
papa ; pur non se move ditta cassa de mano de chi era prima." 
State Archives, Milan, Pot. Est. 


downfall, and his way had been barred by land and by sea. 
Moreover, the violence of the popular fury against the 
"Catalans" had now in many places increased. In Rome 
the hated foreigners were cut to pieces whenever they fell 
into the hands of their enemies.* Under these circum 
stances Don Pedro felt that he was not safe, and he 
knew that his danger was all the greater because most of his 
troops were Italians, and he had not treated them very 
well ; by the end of July it was thought that he would 
flee to Spoleto, and there await the election of a new 

Don Pedro s flight actually took place early in the morn 
ing of the 6th of August. lie was assisted by Cardinal 
Pietro Barbo, who was a friend of the Borgias, and was 
anxious to prevent bloodshed. In order to avoid the 
snares of the Orsini, Don Pedro proceeded with the 
greatest circumspection. lie mounted his horse at three 
in the morning, accompanied by his brother Rodrigo in 
disguise, and by Cardinal Pietro Barbo, who brought with 
him three hundred horse and two hundred foot. They first 
passed through the Porta del Casteilo di St. Angelo, and 
turned towards Ponte Molle. They then came back 
through the Porta del Popolo into the city, and hurried 
on, choosing the least inhabited streets to the Porta di San 
Paolo. At this gate the two Cardinals parted from him, after 
commanding the soldiers to escort him to Ostia. But Don 


Pedro was already detested to such a degree that, although 
the order was given in the name of the Sacred College?, 
nearly all the soldiers refused to accompany him any 

* See the *Letter of Otto de Carretto of 5th Aug., 1458 
Appendix No. 53. 

f *Despatch of Antonio da Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, of the3ist 
July, 1458. State Archives, Milan, Pot. Est. 


further.* " Not one even of the grooms," says an ambas 
sador, "would remain with him."f Fresh difficulties met 
the forsaken fugitive at Ostia, where he had ordered a 
galley with money and other valuables to await him. In 
vain did he look for this vessel, which had disappeared long 
before his arrival, and he was accordingly compelled to 
escape in a boat to Civita Vecchia.J 

Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia shewed more courage. He had 
retired to Tivoli in June on account of the unhealthy state 
of Rome, but returned during the night, between the 25th 
and 26th July, on hearing of the dangerous illness of the 
Pope. In the general confusion his servants forsook him, 
so that his splendid palace was left to be plundered by the 
populace. Rodrigo s return to the city, after his brother s 
flight, was a brave action. The chronicler of Viterbo says 

* The narrative of Don Pedro s flight is from a **Letter of Otto 
de Carretto to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 1458, Aug. 6. Cod. Z., 
219, Sup., of the Ambrosian Library, Milan. See Muratori, iii., 

2, IOO3. 

f **Despatch of Antonio da Pistoja to Fr. Sforza, dated Rome, 
1458, Aug. 6. Ambrosian Library. 

.J *Account given by Otto de Carretto to Fr. Sforza, on the I2th 
Aug., 1458. State Archives, Milan. See the *Letter of Giov. 
Fr. de Balneo to his brother, Conte di Modigliana, dated Todi, 
1458, Aug. 24. Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. Don Pedro did not 
long survive his downfall, for he died on the 26th September in the 
Castle of Civita Vecchia. Niccola della Tuccia, 257, 

*" Monsignor Vicecancellero che era fuzito el mal acre a 
Tiboli e tomato questa nocte a Roma a 7 hore. Misser Borges non 
raxona piu di partire," writes Antonio da Pistoja to Fr. Sforza on 
the 26th July, 1458, from Rome. State Archives, Milan. Rodrigo s 
brother Luis Juan did not leave Rome till August 4th (Cronica di 
Bologna, 726), and arrived in Rome on the nth; see *Acta 
consist. Secret Archives of the Vatican. 


that the Cardinal went to St. Peter s to pray for the 
forsaken and dying Pope.* 

For fully a fortnight the aged Pontiff hung between life 
and death, until at last, on the evening of the 6th of August, 
the Feast of the Transfiguration, which he himself had 
instituted, God released him from his sufferings. f